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Friday, 10 October 2014

Review - 'Solitaire' by Alice Oseman

Harper Collins
2014

Synopsis (from Amazon) - My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now. Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t.




My Review - First, can I preface this review by saying that never would I have expected this from a nineteen year old!

I really enjoyed Oseman’s writing style, witty, sophisticated and relatable. Not only that but her writing was genuinely funny in places. I really enjoyed the plethora of cultural references, I mean the book opens with a genuine debate about the relationship between Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy! What more do you need to know?

The characters in this book were also rather enjoyable to read about as well. I especially liked the way that the secondary characters were very well fleshed out, they were not they simply to accompany the protagonist, but actually served the plot and were well rounded, interesting characters. I really like reading about Michael and Lucas and Tori’s brother, and Becky was also a great character. I enjoyed reading about the characters interactions, especially Tori's and Michael's. I really liked their relationship, it was fun to read about, and I thought it was realistic and well written.

I will admit that I found Tori rather hard to like at times,I certainly couldn’t relate to her, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. She may have been unlikeable but I think that was the point, a main character doesn’t always have to be someone you like or relate to, as long as they are interesting and we can see them progress throughout the novel. Tori certainlyt fulfils this. I thought that she was such an great character to read about. Never have I read a book where the main character suffers with depression and social anxiety, and Oseman tackles the subject so well, so tactfully and with such understanding. Having known people who suffer with these conditions, it was plain to me that Oseman had really thought about what she was writing about, and she did it with such skill.

One of the main things I liked about the books is the representation of the LGBT community. A fairly prominent character, Tori’s brother, Charlie, is in a same sex relationship and I thought it was amazing. I just love the way Oseman dealt with the subject, so effortlessly and sensitively, and worked it into the story seemlessly.

So overall, I would utterly recommend this book to anyone, it’s such a fascinating and enjoyable read.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Bookish Habits - Organisation!


It has always fascinated me, how we organise our books. Personally I have always favoured sorting my books out alphabetically. It’s just the system that makes the most sense to me. But even then I have to make a decision, do I order it by author first name, last name, title? I have always used author last name, even as a child, simply because this was the way my school library did so, and they had to be right. Of course I grew up I realised there were various ways to organise books, genre, size, length et cetera. I still prefer using author surname but it is by no means perfect. You do not know frustration until you try to organise books by author and then realise that some of the taller books won’t fit on your shelf and you have put them elsewhere. A simple solution to this is to get suitable sized shelves, but this is not always an option. I have to admit I don’t understand people who organise their books by genre because when I have tried to do this I encounter two problems; 1. I find it challenging to choose just one genre for some books that can be placed in to more than one, and 2. I don’t think it’s the easiest way to locate books.

Anyway, what do you think? How do you organise your books?

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review - 'We Were Liars' by E. Lockhart


Hot Key Books
2014

Synopsis (from Amazon) - A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth. We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.


Have you ever read a book that is so emotionally draining, poignant and thought provoking that you had to put it down for a minute and contemplate what you’ve just read? That is what I experienced reading this book.

First thing’s first; the writing. Lockhart’s prose is unlike anything I have ever read, utterly unique. I was blown away by the quality of the writing. Having said this, at first I found it difficult to get used to the writing style and Cadence’s voice, but it didn’t take long for me fall in love with it. Lockhart made some interesting stylistic choices. I liked the way she used, or rather didn’t use, capital letters and the way she used and experimented with sentence structure. Not only this, but the characters she has weaved are intricate and interesting. The four central characters are mostly likeable and I couldn’t help but get engrossed in their story and become invested in what was going to happen to them.

I have to admit, however, that I found the book somewhat slow at first. I just could not gauge where the plot was going. I suppose the novel had a lot of setting up to do; the characters, setting, the clues to further events. It wasn’t until the middle of the story that I was truly gripped; we started hearing more about Cady’s accident and we delved deeper into the Sinclair’s familial problems. This when I feel that the plot progressed and I saw what everything was building up to. For most of the book I was wondering where it going, what it was setting up, which I guess made it very unpredictable, because, wow, you do not see that ending coming at all! I loved that; I have never been so taken by surprise by an ending of a book before. I got to end of the book with tears in my eyes. I genuinely had to put the book down and take a moment to recover. Suffice to say I was just a little bit emotional.

Underlying it’s beautiful, if sad, exterior, lurks a dark underbelly of deception, familial politics, as well as other various issues that I won’t go into for fear of spoilers. This book is not one you can talk about too much without spoilers, just read it! Sorry this wasn’t the best review in the world, I had a hard time to write a review about a book like this without giving everything away, I just want as many people as possible to read this. Enjoy!

Friday, 8 August 2014

Audiobooks

I have recently discovered a love of audiobooks. I have always enjoyed listening to them, but have never really made the effort to listen to them on a regular basis. I have always cherished the physical form of the book, any other form of reading has always felt like cheating on the book. Oh how the tides have turned. It started innocently. A onetime thing surely. I was reading J.K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy not long after it had been released and if I am honest I was finding it a bit slow, and I really wanted to finish it before I met her, so I thought, ‘what would make this process a bit easier?’ and it occurred to me, listening to an audiobook might help, so I did. I am so glad I did, I don’t think I would have finished the book in time otherwise. I just found it so much easier to listen to someone reading it out. Part of it might have been laziness, but that is neither here nor there.

Now this did get me thinking about audiobooks, and how my original prejudices were wrong. They can be incredibly useful. Granted I have not listened to many in to the last couple of years, but I have made effort to listen to a few. I mostly listen to them on the go, walking the dog, walking to work. It means I am not wasting valuable reading time. After all audiobooks are exact same text as the physical book, just spoken, so I have no qualms about listening to them anymore, and I highly recommend them for people who don’t have a lot of time for reading, or who do a lot of walking or travelling. So please at least give it a try if you have ever had any doubts!

Thanks for reading! Comment below or contact me on twitter if you fancy a discussion on this topic. No matter if you loathe audiobooks, as I used to, or grateful for them.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Review - 'Boys Don't Knit' by T.S Easton


Hot Key Books
2014

(Spoilers ahead)

Synopsis (from Amazon) - Ben Fletcher must get to grips with his more 'feminine' side following an unfortunate incident with a lollipop lady and a stolen bottle of Martini Rosso from Waitrose. All a big misunderstanding of course. To avoid the Young Offenders unit, Ben is ordered to give something back to the community and develop his sense of social alignment. Take up a hobby and keep on the straight and narrow. The hot teacher he likes runs a knitting group so Ben, reluctantly at first, gets 'stuck in'. Not easy when your dad is a sports fan and thinks Jeremy Clarkson is God. To his surprise, Ben finds that he likes knitting and that he has a mean competitive streak. If he can just keep it all a secret from his mates...and notice that the girl of his dreams, girl-next-door Megan Hooper has a bit of a thing for him…


My Review - The thing that first attracted me to this book was the title. I love the idea of the feminine and the masculine coming together so I instantly liked the idea of a male protagonist knitting, it seemed like such a good subject for a YA book, (not to mention the beautiful, eye catching cover). I feel like this is the sort of book I wished my younger brother would read, (no chance, he rarely reads). I just feel that teenage boys need to understand that not every young man is traditionally ‘masculine.’ I mean, why do we live in a world where an effeminate man is ridiculed? I know schools can be a cruel place for boys but this is simply because they are not educated well enough, if at all, about gender roles and how they can be bent and aren’t black and white. This books shows these prejudices, and informs young men that is okay to be effeminate, that they can knit if they want to. I have to admit I wanted to hug Ben and be his friend. He had his own preconceptions at the beginning of of the book and I really liked his character development, they way Ben’s views gradually changed.

Something else that stood out for me was Ben’s parents. This is one the few YA novels I have read that has really fleshed out the parents. They weren’t there simply be the protagonist’s parents and nothing else, they actually served a purpose to the story. Ben’s Dad provided a major source of conflict and I thought their relationship was really interesting (even if it was based upon web of lies spun by Ben). When his Dad found out about Ben knitting, yes he was upset, but I think this was more to do with Ben lying to him about it, which I think is fair. I nearly cried when he showed up at the knitting competition to support his son, it was beautiful. His, however, was not as prominent in the story which I think is a shame because I think she sounded awesome, I mean how many of us have magicians for a mother?

What I also appreciated about this book was they way Easton was able to accurately, (at least from what I remember), portray teenage boys; the way they act and speak. I read a fair amount of YA and never have I read such effortless teenage dialogue. I also thought the way Ben’s friends went with him to the competition and stood up for him was inspiring.

Overall I loved this book, I liked the writing style, Ben’s voice was so distinctive and likeable.I think that every teenager should read this, and learn from it because it really is such an important book.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Bookish Habits - Reading In The Bath


So, as promised, here is my first ‘Bookish Habits’ Post! (Click here if you don’t know what I’m on about). Yay! I hear you cry out, well here goes nothing.

Today I want to talk to you about reading in the bath. A controversial topic to be sure, but one I will tackle nonetheless. Confession time! I read in the tub. Stop, before you hunt me down pitchforks and torches in hand, let me explain. I love a long bath, and laying there with a good book is one of the most wonderful and relaxing things in the world, there is literally nothing I would rather do when I come home from a long day at work.

Believe me, I am well aware of the risks, there is a glaringly obvious one, but to that I say, be careful. I am clumsiest person you are ever likely to meet and I have never once dropped a book in the bath, simply because I am extra cautious. In my experience because you’re holding the book with both hands, the risks are minimal.

What do you think? Do you read in the bath? Do you find it too dangerous? Are you more of a shower person? Let me know, comments are encouraged!

Monday, 28 July 2014

Review - 'The Vintage Girl' by Hester Browne

Quercus
2012


Synopsis (from Amazon) - When Evie Nicholson is asked to visit Kettlesheer Castle in Scotland to archive the family heirlooms, she jumps at the chance. Evie's passion for antiques means that, for her, the castle is a treasure trove of mysteries just waiting to be uncovered.


But in each heirloom lies a story, and in the course of her investigations Evie stumbles upon some long-buried family secrets. Add handsome, gloomy heir Robert McAndrew and a traditional candlelit gala to the mix and Evie's heart is sent reeling with an enthusiasm that may just extend beyond the Kettlesheer silver...





My Review - I am afraid for this review I am going to have to start with the bad, there were a few things that, shall we say, irked me. That is not to say that I did not enjoy this book, I did, but that being said, I have to be honest. As much as I loved Evie as a character, I found most of the other characters pretty 2 Dimensional. They just seemed liked caricatures rather than characters. Even Robert, the romantic lead did not seem to be anything more than that, the romantic, a broody, boring one at that. He is the stock ‘Mr Darcy’ type, but without the redemption arc. Other characters were not fleshed out enough for my liking, and other being reduced to a stereotype, for example Catriona was simply the ‘bitchy’ opposition to Evie, and I think she had so much more potential than that.


I also have to admit, that the plot did not gauge my attention as much as I thought it would. It sounded great in theory, my sort of book, I love history and antiques, so was really looking forward to reading this particular book. However, though the history side was there and I loved it, the plot as a whole seemed to be lacking. If I am honest not much actually seemed to happened. Evie went to this wonderful house to help a family in financial need, but other than that there was very little actual substance. The romantic aspect of the book also did lacked that all important substance. I know this book qualifies as chick lit but nonetheless I was hoping for more build up in the relationship between Evie and Rob, but there was little to none, it almost seemed to come out of nowhere on both sides.


Having said this, I did really like Evie, our protagonist. She was wonderful. I could relate to her, being a history nerd and lover of old things. Not only that but she was a dreamer, a romantic and this made accessible to the reader. She was a very likeable character, she was almost too perfect. I also really liked the conflict in the book, Max, and to an extent Catriona, were great ‘bad guys’, though I don’t think that an overly appropriate term. Despite the lack of plot, I did like the book as a whole, it was charming, and though I don’t usually like chit lit as a whole, for reasons already made clear in this post I think, I did like this book and couldn’t help get caught up in Evie’s escapades at Kettlesheer.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Review - 'The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet' by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick


Simon and Schuster
2014

This will be spoiler free.

Based off a web series based off of a book comes The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. Yes, this book, in case you didn’t know, is based on the Emmy Award Winning Web Series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, which in turn is based on Jane Austen’s classic novel Pride and Prejudice. The book delves even further into the events of the web series, and it is glorious! If there is anything you felt needed more explaining then read this book!


I have to be honest, as much as I was looking forward to reading this book my hopes were not high, I thought it would just be a novelization of the series, which to an extent it was, but it was so much more than that, trust me on this. Not only do you really get into Lizzie’s head, find out what she’s thinking throughout the events of the series, but you also get to read about the things that you don’t see in the videos. I loved that we could just read an uncensored Lizzie, (also meaning that she actually some strong language at some point). Su and Rorick’s writing was also flawless, as was expected. Throughout my reading I could hear Ashley Clement’s voice in my head. It’s simply a wonderful read that made me incredibly nostalgic, I really miss looking forward to the next episode. It also made it even more plain how much the people behind the show, such as Bernie Su, really care about the story, and that makes it all the more enjoyable reading.

The book really delves into the story, and really fleshes out the characters and the plot, adding depth to characters, at least to me, seemed pretty 2D, (*cough* Caroline Lee *cough*), but I will say no more, (spoilers... sort of). Like I said, I thought the book would essentially be a textual version of the videos, but this was not wholly the case, it was pleasantly surprising.


That being said, a bugbear of mine was that it was very hard to watch the videos alongside reading the diary, as had been recommended to me, though this was a good idea in theory,I would have liked a guide as to how to read and watch at the same time or helpful notes before each entry as to which video to watch before each one. I found that the order changed a lot, and there was a lot of overlap, especially as she started writing about events that happened on camera. We hear from the elusive Doctor Gardiner, more about the Bennet's financial difficulties and the extent to which her parents are as Lizzie portrayed in her videos. Most importantly we read Darcy's letter! And so much more.


To be honest there isn’t much else I can say that wouldn’t be spoiler, so you if you loved the web series then you need to read this! The perfect companion to the series we all loved.


Tuesday, 15 July 2014

YALC!


Sorry, this is going to be a long one.


Amidst all of the nerdy goodness that was London Film and Comic Con there was YALC! The UK’s first ever Young Adult Literature Con! A Whole con devoted to YA Literature! When a close friend of mine mentioned this to me I was very intrigued! Though I don’t solely read YA, (though I read a lot of YA), I do love it! Sorry, enough of the exclamation marks now.

I spent most of the day walking around in awe of everything. The LFCC itself was Nerd Heaven, a Geek’s Paradise if you will. I loved it. But then I got to the YALC section and I was blown away! Books, books, books everywhere! (Again with the exclamations marks, I do apologise). I arrived as early as I possibly could and queued to get tickets with a friend and fellow blogger. We got early bird tickets (for that I am grateful because it got crazy busy later on), and away we went. Our first point of call was YALC, of course, and we took the time to look around at the awesome, including the freebie stand, filled with bookmarks, postcards, book sample, posters, badges, wristbands, it was spectacular. My first signing was for a while so I decided to sign up for a couple of the workshops. These were; Writing HIstorical Fiction, and The Art of Blogging. There were limited places for the workshops so we all narrowed down by a lottery system.

I then wandered around some more, spoke to a couple of more bloggers, (including book blogger/author Alice Oseman), saw a couple of friends, bought some books to be signed, and looked around the LFCC itself, it was glorious. I have to admit though the whole event was hectic, purely because of the sheer amount of people there, so props to the people who ran it, it was crazy!


(The lovely Alice Oseman with her new book, Solitaire, coming out on the 31st July).

So after my fangirling had died somewhat, I went to see if I had gotten into my first workshop, and I had! The talk was given by Catherine Johnson, a YA Historical Novelist, so of course, my love of history me to her workshop. I have wanted to write historical fiction, which though I have done has never been edited or submitted for publishing as yet, so was very interested to see what someone with actual experience in doing so would advise. I have to admit I had never heard of her, (a reflection on my reading not her writing I am sure), but I am so glad to have been introduced to her, her books sound like my cup of tea, and I can not wait to read them. Catherine herself was lovely, I got to chat to her a little later on and she was such a pleasure to talk to, so friendly. The talk itself was inspiring and invigorating, she is so passionate about writing and history, had some good advice to pass onto us. Unfortunately her talk was in the main convention hall, which as already pointed out was ludicrously busy, so we all straining to her despite her practically yelling, something we bemoaned about when I spoke to her later. I honestly do not know why the workshops weren’t in a separate room, or why she wasn’t given a microphone or something! Those beyond the second row could hardly hear a thing. I felt bad for those who had signed up for the talk only to not be able to hear what Johnson was saying. She even apologized to me personally later on when I got my book (Sawbones) signed.

Since I was at LFCC I was also hoping to meet a couple of the actors that were in attendance but after trying a few times I gave up, every time I went they were just too busy. So I went to the get a drink because I was boiling by this point and hadn’t eaten. I wanted to meet Malorie Blackman at this, I love her Noughts and Crosses  series so much, but again she was just too busy, the queue was ridiculous and it would have meant I would have missed Rainbow Rowell, and she was signing again later so thought it would be best to try again then.

So I joined the already huge queue for the Rainbow Rowell signing. I had read Fangirl and Eleanor and Park and had bought her other two book Attachments and Landline earlier that day. I do not think there have many other times in my life where I have ever been as excited I was then, I adored both of the books I had by her and I really wanted to meet the woman who had these incredible books. I queued for the best part of an hour and it was worth it! She was so lovely! She even thanked me for waiting, she thanked me! Sadly our time was brief, but special, (at least to me, I can’t speak for Miss Rowell), because she was popular they had to move on as quickly as possible, which is a shame. I can not describe the feeling I had waiting in line to meet an author that I fell for fast, surrounded by people who love these books as much as I do, I got emotional, I am not going to lie. I don’t always know what to say to authors, I usually come up with something (though when I met J.K Rowling all I said was ‘Loved the book, thanks, bye’, literally, that was it, I was just stunned), so I just complimented her top and asked her how she was, thanked her, the usual, she was just wonderful, and so patient!

After Rainbow Rowell I got a book signed by Frances Hardinge. I bought her book Cuckoo Song a while ago after being recommended it by a friend, but hadn’t had a chance to read by this point, but it was still good to meet her and get it signed. I also saw Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick who I also wanted to meet and get books signed by but they both cut into my Rainbow Rowell so sadly was not meant to be, and neither was the Malorie Blackman signing which was also too busy, I was already exhausted from being up since half 4 that morning and a lot of travelling, and I hadn’t eaten, so it just wasn’t going to happen, but I did get to see CJ Skuse, Andy Robb, Andrew Lane, (who I have met before), Charlie Higson, Holly Bourne and Natasha Ngan.

So although I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted to I had an awesome and met some awesome people, thanks to the organisers, you did an amazing job!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Bookish Habits - An Introduction!

Just a quick one today! I want to introduce my new series, ‘Bookish Habits.’ This series will discuss the habits that us bibliophiles do or do not have. The idea is for us to talk about our reading habits. Personally I know that I have a lot of habits when it comes to reading and my books, (for example, I read in the bath, I know, don’t shoot me!). If you want you can send me your good or bad habits on twitter @readerofthings and I hope we can get some good discussion going and I can include diverse points of views in my posts! Hope to hear you from you soon!

xxx

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Discussion - From Book to Movie: 'The Book Thief'



Warning - Spoiler alert!




The other day I walked into my local supermarket and there I saw it, the DVD of the film adaptation of the The Book Thief. I was so excited I bought it there and then. Unfortunately I would have to wait until that evening to watch it as I had to work. So I rushed to one of my best friend’s house after I finished and we sat down and watched it. I had waited a long time to watch this film. I read the book years ago and fell completely in love with it, and it soon became one of my all time favourites. When I heard that it was being turned into a film I was equally ecstatic and nervous; what if they ruined it? (I’ll do a separate post about my views on film adaptations of books). Nevertheless I really wanted to see this movie. I wanted to see how they would pull it of. Despite this I had no-one to see at the cinema with so I had to wait for the DVD, and boy was it worth it!




First and foremost; the cast was perfect. Sophie NĂ©lisse was spot on as Liesel! I have never seen her in anything else and I was blown away by her acting abilities. I never expect very much from child actors, but I thought she was amazing, a truly delightful performance! Geoffrey Rush was, as always, brilliant. I always love watching him on screen, and his portrayal of Hans Hubermann was astounding and very enjoyable. These two performance stood out for, though of course I loved Emily Watson as Rosa and Ben Schnetzer as Max were also sublime. I really liked the effort that went into the acting, and the film in general. You could tell that everyone involved in the movie really cared about what they were making, it made it such a joy to watch and it makes us book readers weep with joy, (not that I cried…). Speaking of, the ending was as heartbreaking and tear-worthy as I imagined; the way Liesel looked around for her family after the bombing, and finding Rudy, and having him die in her arms, was truly soul crushing. It was just so well done and exquisitely acted by NĂ©lisse and Nico Liersch, who played Rudy. I rarely cry at movies, (with the exception of Bambi, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and The Fault in Our Stars), but I had tears in my eyes throughout the final scenes.





The only thing I would say against the movie is that it didn’t really go into too much detail about Liesel’s ‘book-thieving’, they had her steal the first book from the Nazi book burning and they only had her steal a book from the mayor once, rather than it being a repeat occurrence, (seriously, there wasn’t even a montage!). They didn’t really capture Liesel’s love of reading and her almost kleptomaniac ways, which did disappoint me a little, but the story has so much else going on, it wasn’t wholly unforgivable. They also didn’t have the scene where Liesel tears up a book up in frustration in the mayor’s library, which is a shame because I thought it was great way of showing how her situation was taking it’s toll on her, whereas in the film she seems to sit back and take what’s thrown at her. But anyway, I don’t want to nit-pick, it was a wonderful film, a great adaptation of the book, and I could talk about it all day, but I will just say that if you liked the book and/or are a history buff, definitely watch this!



Overall, the film handled the story really well, it kept the essence of the movie and the characters, and dealt with the issues from the book effortlessly and I loved it!


Sunday, 6 July 2014

Favourite Books

I mentioned in my 'Desert Island Books' post that I don't like to pick favourite books. I find the whole concept of 'favourite' books a weird one. I mean, firstly there are literally millions, if not billions of books that have ever been published, does it now seem arbitrary to pick just one or a handful of favourite titles? Not only that but if you read a lot (which if you're reading this, I assume you do), but you're constantly being introduced to new books, new stories, worlds, characters. So how can you possibly narrow it down? My favourite books change pretty regularly and the list is always expanding. If you have one book that you can consider your favourite then I commend you, because someone asking, 'so what's your favourite book?'  has caused me so much unnecessary stress over the years.
So what do you think? Do you have a favourite book? Do agree with me? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 4 July 2014

Review - Half Bad by Sally Green

Greetings!


Today, I have a review for you! (My first ever on this blog, yay!)


Publisher: Penguin
Date Published: 3/03/2014

Synopsis (Amazon) - He's half White Witch, half Black Witch. His mother was a healer, his father is a killer. He's been kept in a cage since he was fourteen. But if White Witches are good and Black Witches are evil, what happens if you are both?







This was, in no uncertain terms, wonderful. I would recommend anyone who has ever had the slightest inclination towards the supernatural genre to read this book! The story centres around Nathan, a young boy, his father is a dark witch, his mother a light one. This is practically unheard of and as a result, he is very much shunned by the light community.


What I found especially interesting about this book is that Nathan is not perfect, in fact at times I found him fairly unlikeable. Nonetheless he was relatable. Green does a very good job of portraying the struggles of growing up. She uses the concept of magic to show the changes that teenagers go through and they struggle with it. Nathan wrestled with himself, his ‘dark’ and ‘light’ sides. Granted, the majority of teenagers are not the son of a dark and a light witch, but nevertheless, many struggle with their identities. This really appealed to me, and I wished I could have read this as a teen. It shows young people that it’s alright to question yourself and that’s it okay to look for yourself, and that it can take some searching before you find yourself.


If I am completely honest, one of prominent aspects of the book is that the romantic subplot is not over the top or completely thrown at the reader randomly. It’s simply part of the story as opposed to be forced in their for the sake of it, something that I sometimes finds happens a little too much in YA literature. But the relationship between Nathan and Annalise was natural and gradual. The only aspect I did not like was the Romeo and Juliet-esque way it was presented, with her brother hating Nathan and his family not trusting hers, it adds to the story, and highlights the hatred between dark and light witches, but it irked me slightly.


To sum up, this book is one those rarities in that it understands how teenagers think and what they go through and the relationships they have with their family and peers.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Desert Island Books

Greetings!

The idea of this post is for you to get to know me as a reader, and possibly find out what to expect from my blog. I have decided to use (ahem, steal, ahem), the idea of being stranded on a desert island, and I am going to give you the top 10 books I would take with me, (I know it’s usually 5, but I couldn’t narrow it down, okay?). I am also going to make an attempt to justify my choices. I would like to point out that these are not necessarily my favourite books, (though I do love these books, I just find it hard to definitively say which books are my favourites). Mostly, I have just tried to choose a good variety of books. This is going to be a long one I am afraid, so bear with.


(Disclaimer: I have also decided to eliminate series from this list because otherwise it could get complicated and it seems like cheating to put a whole series as one option, and also silly to pick just one book from a whole series!)


1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green





What can I say about this book? Such a beautiful book. You’re probably sick of hearing about it, but trust me, it definitely lives up the hype. I adore it. Beautifully written and heartbreaking, you will not regret reading it. The novel tells the story of Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters. Hazel has cancer, which should give you a heads up as to the sort of story this. I can’t say too much without spoiling it but this book is utterly dazzling. This book would certainly keep me in touch with my emotions whilst I am stranded.


2. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory



I have loved this book for many years. I could not imagine going anywhere for a long  period of time without it. This book started my love for Philippa Gregory, who is now one of my favourite authors. I have loved the Tudor period for such a long time, so when the film for this book was advertised, I discovered the book and desperately wanted to read it before I saw the movie. If you don’t know, the book is based off of the relationship between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s sister, as well as the tumultuous relationship between the king and Anne Boleyn herself. I love historical fiction and this is one my absolute favourites.

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell






Quite a newly published book, but I could not help but add it to this list. I could read this book over and over again without getting bored. This was a rare book in that the romance in it did not annoy me in the slightest, it was simply adorable and believable. As soon as I read this book, I had the urge to read everything this woman has ever written, only to find that she had only written two other books! I have now read Eleanor and Park, and can not wait to read Attachments! The book deals with a variety of issues, which were tackled in a sensitive way, which I really appreciated. I plan on doing a review of this book, so look out for that!

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen







A classic, rather obvious choice, but Austen’s characters and prose will keep me coming back again and again. I read this book when I was 13 and I am glad I did! This is a must read for every woman ever. I know there are some preconceptions about this book but it really isn’t as soppy as it is made out to be. Everyone knows about the epic love story between Darcy and Elizabeth, but the book deals with a lot of other topics, and is filled with amazing characters that you can’t help but love. I had to include this book. I just had to.

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusack








Again, a book a lot of people talk about this but it is also well worth the hype. Set in Nazi Germany, the story centres around Liesel, a young girl who finds herself being fostered after tragic circumstances. Despite all of this I was able to relate to Liesel for one particular reason; her love of books. The book is so well written, the prose is so accessible and fluid, I love Zusack’s writing. He really makes you care about what happens to the character even though you know the ending will not necessarily be a good one. One of the best historical novels I have ever read, I could not be without it.
6. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen





Another Austen I am afraid. I debated a lot about whether to include another but I could not pick between P & P and the wonderful Northanger Abbey. I would consider Northanger Abbey my favourite Austen. Although I adore P & P, there is something about the gothic feel to this novel that really attracts me. I would also say that I can relate to the protagonist, Catherine Moorland, much more than Lizzie Bennet. The way Catherine loves reading, and enjoys talking about books, and lets her imagination get away from her that I just love and relate to so much. I love this book way too much not to include it in this list.

7. Come Together by Josie Lloyd and Emlyn Reese







Okay, now, very few people seem to have heard of this book, and I don’t know why, it’s brilliant! Lloyd and Reese are fantastic writers. Everytime I read one of their books I am blown away by the hilarious writing and likeable characters. I would need this book in particular on a desert island because it is just so funny, and I would need something to cheer me up. Come Together was the first book I have ever read by this couple. What really attracted me to it is the fact that it is the same story but written from two points of view, which though not unheard of, really intrigued my 15 year old brain. This book is your typical rom-com and I can not resist its charm. The book tells the story of Jack and Amy, both unlucky in love, but when they meet, neither one expects what is to come.


8. Seraphina by Rachel Hartman





Dragons! I’ve caught your attention now haven’t I? Yes, this book has many dragons! I can not resist a good dragon story and Seraphina is not only one of the best books about dragons but just one of the most well written books ever! Hartman’s writing is none like I have ever read, it’s just brilliant. There really isn’t much else I can say, but if you’re a fantasy lover, definitely read this! Look out for a review.

9. One Day by David Nicholls



Oh my gosh, such a beautiful book. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I found it so endearing and funny in places. The plot follows Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew (Dex), but just on one day every year, July 15th. It’s a really unique and intriguing way of writing a novel, I loved the whole concept. I also loved the characters of Emma and Dex. I was able to relate to Emma in particular, but their whole relationship reminded me of mine with my best friends, (platonic, of course). It brought up so many emotions for me, good and bad, it was an interesting and engaging read.

10. It by Stephen King





Now, I know Stephen King is not to everyone’s taste, but I happen to enjoy his books, most of all, ‘It.’ It is such a large novel but certainly worth it. If you liked the mini series, then you will love the book, there is so much more detail in the book, as well the pleasure of King’s delightfully graphic and gruesome prose. The story centres around 6 children who find themselves facing their own fears when each of them meet Pennywise the Clown. King does something that would have been far more effective had I not already seen the mini series, but he jumps ahead 30 years to when the children are now adults and have to face the clown yet again. The book is so well written though the time shift, I can imagine, could be a little disorientating, but really effective. I would love for this to keep me company on a desert island as I think it would throw something different in to mix.


So I hope you didn’t find this too boring or cliche. I hope you now know more about what I like to read, I think it was a good way to start this blog, so thanks for reading!

Happy reading!