Monday, 26 January 2015

Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story

Goodreads: Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness

My Review:

‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ is a truly wonderful book. I’d been searching for it for a while and suddenly spotted it on a Waterstones buy one get one half price tables. Obviously, this was a sign that I should buy it. It tackles mental illness in such a relatable way that doesn’t feel patronizing or dramatic in any way, instead it feels real and you can feel Craig’s emotions spill through the page. It’s a beautiful book and I would definitely recommend people pick it up!

You can tell straight off the bat that there will be a downward spiral as Vizzini creates multiple problems for Craig that would pressure any teenager. His friends all had their faults and Craig is not in a good place when the book starts. This book made me laugh and cry, Vizzini captured the true feelings of a teenage boy struggling with depression and this made me care for Craig so much. There’s only one negative that I would say brought the book down, is that I don’t think there needed to be a love story involved. I would have been quite happy if it was just a journey of discovery and self-love. 
Overall, I do love this book. It kept me hooked and I felt like I understood Craig. I recently found out that there was a movie adaptation of it too, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth watching as the book was so good. If any of you have seen it and would recommend it then let me know! 

4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Just a short post about my lack of reviewing

I thought it would be best to fill you all in on my lack of reviewing and posting.. so here goes.

During my second year of university I was struggling quite a lot, countless things were happening and I didn’t know how to handle them. I’d also moved miles away from home so felt very isolated. What I was experiencing, I was soon to find was depression. I’d suffered with anxiety in the past and a bit of depression before but it was never like this. Plus, there’s the whole expectation that university is supposed to be the best time of your life and you’re supposed to love it and everything will be amazing.

One of the saddest things that happened was that I lost my love of reading. I wouldn’t have the motivation to read (I KNOW) and I felt like it was a chore. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I felt as if I was screaming underneath but too numb to really feel anything. I would stay in bed for hours upon hours without really doing anything. I felt like reviewing became something forced and I hated how it felt like that. I decided I needed to take a break from reading and reviewing and focus on getting better.

I went to the doctor, which is one of the hardest things in the world to do when you’re suffering with depression and he put me on beta-blockers and anti-depressants. For a while, they worked and everything was good. But then my body sort of became used to them and I started reversing and wheeling out of control again, I would cry for hours for no apparent reason. So back I went to the doctors and they started to talk about changing my medication and researching therapy groups. I was dubious as I’d had therapy in the past and it didn’t work for me at all. However, little by little, I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m beginning to get excited over new books all the time again, I’m reading every day and to me this feels like a huge achievement.  I hope to come back into the reviewing world soon, and I hope you can all understand why I needed to take a little break. 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Goodreads: "Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came." In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

My Review:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those books that make me question why I didn’t pick it up aggggggggggges ago. Taylor’s descriptions of exotic destinations including Prague and Marrakesh really transport you into Karou’s world. I really enjoyed this book, it was a fresh take on the angels theme that has obviously been explored a lot in YA. I liked how they were contrasted with the chimera as I thought that was a new twist and was interesting to think about half human, half animal creatures battling angels.

Karou was an enjoyable character, she made me laugh, she made me feel sad and I truly experience everything that she did. I liked how she was a strong character, especially against Kaz –her ex-boyfriend. I enjoyed the scenes with him a lot! Karou is just like every other seventeen year old in my opinion, she seeks revenge on her enemies (the eyebrows was funny) and tries to make sense of herself. Zuzana was also one of my favourite characters, I enjoyed the e-mails are the end of the book. Akiva, what to say about Akiva… He’s a good character, plagued with guilt and torment. I just felt like he was a bit too perfect, ya know? Ok, nobody hate me please! But I found all the history behind the angels a bit tiresome in the middle and felt my attention in the book lag massively, to the point where I was skipping pages. However, I did enjoy him more towards the end when everything is revealed, but not enough to make me love him, sorry Akiva! Thiago is definitely a creepy baddie in this! I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him, he is such a brute! I hope we find out more about him in the other books.

All in all, I would recommend ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’, if like me, you’ve been putting it off because it doesn’t really seem like ‘your thing’, push it away and dive right into this! You will be spending your days roaming Prague streets and exploring Marrakesh with some truly interesting characters.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Review: Everyday by David Levithan

Everyday by David Levithan  Each morning, A wakes up in a different body. There's never any warning about who it will be, but A is used to that. Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. And that's fine - until A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin's girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply

Add to Goodreads: HERE

My Review:
‘Everyday’ by Levithan is a powerful thought-provoking read that left me hooked for hours. Levithan is fast becoming one of my favourite authors after I finished ‘The Lover’s Dictionary’ last year. He has a special way of writing that captivates you and leaves you longing for more. ‘Everyday’ did not fail to disappoint and left me thinking about the themes long after I’d finished reading it.

‘Everyday’ is written from the viewpoint of ‘A’ who is a genderless person. Some days ‘A’ will be a boy and others a girl. There was a huge variation of the type of teenager that he would become, from the spoilt nasty popular girl, to the massively overweight boy. It was unlike anything I’ve read before as normally I know whether the narrator is female or male, but this was different and I enjoyed how the contrasts could be massive from one day to the next. I enjoyed how Levithan didn’t just include heterosexual romance in this book as well, he opened it up and there was boys loving boys and girls who equally loved girls. I’m glad Levithan chose to include this as it made ‘Everyday’ feel more modern and up to date and it’s good to see an author not shy away from homosexuality, because love is love at the end of the day.

I really enjoyed ‘Everyday’ as you can probably guess. Each page that I read left me wanting more and more and it was a constant page turner. I was intrigued to find out who ‘A’ would be the next day and how he would work through his situation. I truly felt that with each character Levithan introduced, I understood the ins and outs of them, and that’s a difficult task with so many characters. 
The ending left me a bit disappointed I’ll admit. I still had questions that I wanted answers to and the ending didn’t tie these up for me, but maybe Levithan did this on purpose so the reader could make up their own mind and what happens after the events unfold. 

Overall, ‘Everyday’ is a book I would highly recommend. It looks at love and opens up relationships between teenagers in a unique and interesting way. If you want to read something that will captivate you then pick up ‘Everyday’ and you won’t regret it.

5 out of 5 stars.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking For Alaska by John Green

Goodreads: Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same.

My Review:

Okay guys, I read my first John Green book. Epic isn’t even the word. I loved it and could easily read ‘Looking For Alaska’ at least twenty times. I now understand why people fall in love with his books, because they are brutally honest and real and totally captivating. I was shocked multiple times and if anybody could get an award for the ‘most devastating event to ever happen in a book’, then John Green would win hands down. He truly knows how to smack you right in the stomach, but personally, I love books that do this.

I was intrigued firstly by the chapter titles… it says things like ’Eighty-nine days before…’ and it immediately made me question what exactly was going to happen. All that I knew was that it wasn’t going to be pretty. The plot definitely moved at a fast pace, I was constantly questioning everything that was happening and when you do finally find out what the ‘event’ was, it’s a MAJOR shocker. I definitely was not expecting it at all.

The characters are superb and very realistic. It was really interesting to read from Pudge’s perspective, as most of the books I read are from female points of view. Alaska has to be my favourite character, as I’m sure she’s most peoples who have read this book. She’s dynamic and quick-witted and intelligent and fiercely independent and strong and I could go on and on. The reactions of the characters are all justifiable and I could expect them to actually happen in real life because it’s so believable.

Looking For Alaska is a read that will teach you some very important things about life and really make you question things. It has believable characters, major shockers and a journey that you won’t forget.

5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Publisher: HarperCollins
Cover Love: 9/10
Add to: Goodreads

Goodreads: By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

My Review:

Wither reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale mixed with a little bit of The Selection. There are definitely strong themes running in both of these novels which feature prominently in Wither. It has been out for a while and I’m totally surprised that I wasn’t told to read it sooner, because I really really enjoyed it! 

I loved reading from Rhine’s point of view. She had a very strong inner voice, which felt very realistic. All of the characters each had their own personalities and I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say that Cecily annoyed me so much, but she’s still only young. Jenna was an interesting character to work out, not everything was completely revealed about her and I am so curious. I truly felt so sorry for her, she clearly did not want to be in her situation so buried her head in books to forget where she actually was. Vaughn is such a creep, he is so sinister and slimy, and I’m looking forward to seeing his reaction to certain events in the next books. I actually felt sorry for Linden, I hated him at first, but as the novel progresses you can only feel pity for his ignorance. Gabriel is such a sweetie! I really like him, so I hope everything goes well for him. Rose is an important character; she emphasizes the disease and really shows all the girls the fragility of life. The short story at the end really helped me to see the difference in her attitude and behavior from when she was younger to when she was dying. 

The plot was good, it kept me entertained. I could see that certain things were going to happen when they did, but I still enjoyed it. There were lots of little loops and things that were tied up together at the end. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next the most! 

Overall, a really entertaining and enjoyable read which left me hooked for the next one! 

4 out of 5 stars.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers
: St. Martins Griffin
Cover Love: 10/10
Add: Goodreads

 Goodreads: It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

My Review:

This is the very first book that I have read by Courtney Summers, but it will definitely not be the last! She has such an amazing writing style; I can truly get into the character’s mind and become the person myself. This is Not a Test is a book that certainly grabbed my attention straight away, firstly from the cover. Have you not seen it? It’s amazing, I love the simplicity of it, but also how her hair is swept across her face and the blood splatters the page make you want to delve in deeper. I was able to read the first chapter online and just KNEW that I HAD to have it after reading it. It kept me on my toes, shocked me, excited me and all in one little chapter. This is Not a Test is a book that will stay with you for weeks, heck, months even, after you’ve finished it. It still creeps up on me and I finished it in early December.

Summers knows how to create the perfect voice for her characters. Each and every one of them all has their own personalities and quirks and I felt like they were very believable. I cried with them, shouted with them and on the rare occasion, even laughed. Sloane –the main protagonist has such a distinct voice because she is broken, quite simply. She is not like the others, who genuinely want to survive and this was a very interesting perspective to read from. I liked Sloane, I really did. She was not perfect, but who is?

Although this is a ‘zombie post-apocalyptic’ novel, don’t be fooled. This is Not a Test may feature zombies, but most of the action takes place within the town’s school building. This creates a very atmospheric and hostile background. Being in constant presence of other people 24/7 and the fear of the zombies was the perfect concoction to create chaos. Things are not as they seem and do not trust anyone. Question everything and pay attention to subtle things. This is Not a Test focuses more on the character’s interactions and how well or not-so-well they deal with the zombies and each other.

This is Not a Test definitely keeps you on your toes. Right from the very start, things do not start well for Sloane. I don’t think the first chapter is still available but seriously, read this book! If you haven’t, you are seriously missing out! Summer’s is the expert in creating tension and there was not a dull moment in this book. I did not want to put it down, I cancelled dates, turned my phone off  and locked myself away with a hot chocolate for about three hours. So if you’re going to read this book, know that it is seriously addictive!  I was frantically turning the pages again and again, devouring it.

You will truly begin to care for the characters in This is Not a Test. They all have little secrets that are unraveled throughout and some of them are real shockers. I really did not expect some of them, but that made me love the book even more. This is not a fairytale, so there is no guarantee for a happy ending. Some characters will not make it out alive and you’ll cry for them as if you were there. The realism is also there too, as they do act like normal teenagers would; getting some alcohol and playing truth or dare and there is some romance in this book.

Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough. Just read it and you will understand. This is one amazing book that should not be missed. There is lots of action, a screamable(did I just make that up?)- amount-of-tension, some steamy romance and very human emotions. What are you waiting for?! Read it now!

5 out of 5 stars


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