Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Just One Year (Just One Day #2) by Gayle Forman

Firstly, thanks to Random House Children's Australia for this review copy <3

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Date Read: May 23 - 27 2014
Release Date: November 7th 2013
Publisher: Definitions (Random House Children's)
Source: Review copy via publisher
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Twenty-four hours can change your life . . .
Allyson and Willem share one magical day together in Paris, before chance rips them apart.

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents life throws at us.

But is one day enough to find your fate?"

---



“Accidents. It's all about the accidents.”

The perfect companion novel to Just One Day I absolutely loved this. Gayle Forman can do no wrong. I think I can understand why I’ve seen so many people say they didn’t care about the characters in this as they wanted a sequel of Just One Day – I know I expected it too. But this is Willem’s story, and once I took a step back and appreciated this, I ended up loving this so much. This is a beautiful story about accidents, chance and finding yourself in the face of life and all the things it throws at you.

Just One Year starts at the point when Willem and Allyson were separated in Paris – we finally know where Willem went that day and woah does it spark one heck of a journey.

Forman writes such perfectly flawed characters. Willem de Ruiter is no perfect guy. Far from it. He comes across as almost a player, having flings with different girls. And yet, reading from his point of view I couldn’t fault him. I always got this sense of restlessness from him, this feeling that he could never settle down because of things that had happened in the past 3 years. His home situation was complicated and because of that I think he was always on the move because he was trying to find where home really was. His voice was so relatable, so stunningly real and authentic. I was Willem as he struggled with trying to deal with loss, letting go and finding love. What made him so believable was that he wasn’t always right… In fact, it seemed a lot of the time he was always wrong but he learnt from his mistakes. He grew so much throughout JOY, faced his fears, his demons and acknowledged many truths and mistakes that, without this journey he wouldn’t have learnt.

“There’s a difference between losing something you knew you had and losing something you discovered you had. One is a disappointment. The other is truly a loss.

Through the one year, Willem comes across many people as he travels through Paris, the Netherlands, Mexico, India and back to Amsterdam. All these people – some strangers, some old friends – leave something for Willem to ponder. These diverse people show how we all have different outlooks on life, what we believe as fate and accidents. They challenged Willem’s own beliefs and made this book so wonderfully thought provoking. Do things happen by accident? Or are they not accidents anymore because we took the chance and acted upon it? Was it even an accident or the subject of chance and choice? What is love, what’s it like to be in love, to leave your mark on someone? To find double happiness? These are just some of the many brilliant questions about life that Forman has incorporated into this achingly truthful story. I’m STILL contemplating these things as I write this review, and I will contemplate them for the rest of my life – changing as I grow with experience.

“Sometimes fate or life or whatever you want to call it, leaves a door a little open and you walk through it. But sometimes it locks the door and you have to find the key, or the lock, or knock the damn thing down. And sometimes, it doesn’t even show you the door and you have to build it yourself.”

And essentially this is what this book is about – changing as one grows with experiences. How these experiences shape Willem, alter his beliefs and make him question everything he has grown up knowing by taking him out of his comfort zone through meeting these people. The interesting thing is, for the past 3 years he has been on this journey, but without Allyson, his “Lulu”, being the catalyst and opening his eyes to these possibilities, he’d have gone on like his old self. Just like how Willem’s presence left a mark on Allyson in JOD, “Lulu” has left her mark on Willem and she is present in everything he does. It blows me away how that one person can do that to a person.

“Love is not something you protect. It’s something you risk.”

Utilising Shakespeare again as a plot device, Forman uses the characters from some of the Bard’s much loved plays to help Willem grow and relate. To show the reader how these things we deal with today are timeless – have always been, and always will be as we are humans with emotions. I have never been a fan of Shakespeare. I’d studied his plays every year throughout high school and never enjoyed them. Yet, through Forman’s words and Willem’s thoughts/actions, I was able to appreciate the power of verse and iambic pentameter that Shakespeare so artfully manipulated.

“This moment. On this stage. I am Orlando, giving myself to Rosalind.”

This journey that Willem thinks is about finding Lulu – is it really? I thought it was something so much bigger. Something so much more profound. A personal journey to find what we truly desire even if we don’t know what it is. And you ask, does Willem find it? Does he find the meaning of family, love, double happiness? Well you’ll have to read the book to find out.

Just One Year is another achingly beautiful story that Forman seems to execute so effortlessly with her eloquent words and intricate meanings about life. A story about finding us – whoever that may be.

“I can’t tell them apart, last year, this year. They are one and the same. Then is now. Now is then.”



---

Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) Mini Review


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Date Read: May 29th 2014
Release Date: May 29th 2014
Publisher: Definitions (Random House Children's)
Source: Bought
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter."

---

Forman has now continued Allyson and Willem’s story in Just One Night. Over the course of one night, two people reunite for the first time after spending one fateful day in Paris together. 

The ideas of accidents, chance, connectivity and double happiness are further explored in this emotional novella. Unspoken words are finally said and I, for one, finally got all the answers I wanted. All the themes come back and tie our two characters together, showing the parallels and how, just maybe, we have to wait for the right time for things to happen.

The conclusion to one day that started from one chance encounter that spanned over the course of two journeys in one year... This one night is what everybody needs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Firstly, thanks to HarperTeen for this review copy <3



Date Read: April 2 - 4 2014
Release Date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.
And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be?"

---


“No one ever said war was easy.”

The Art of Lainey (hereafter referred to as Lainey) is a really fun and sweet read that is the perfect summer read. If you like fluffy books that make you laugh and swoon then this is the book for you (basically a book for everyone!)

When Lainey’s longtime boyfriend Jason suddenly dumps her in public, her best friend Bianca helps her devise a plan to get him back. Using the ancient Chinese war manual, The Art of War, the two adapt the teachings of military strategist Sun Tzu into various ways of making Jason realize what he’s given up. And ladies and gentlemen, we have The Art of Lainey.

Lainey herself is a soccer fanatic and other than Jason it seems to be only other thing on her mind – oh and fashion. I found her a bit ditzy to be honest and her near obsession with Jason in the beginning drove me crazy. She’s the kind of girl that would have left him 50 missed calls until he got back to her unless Bianca stopped her. Lainey was a bit na├»ve too at times, which, coupled with her ditziness, made her not very likable in the beginning for me. However, Stokes does character growth really well. I could see Lainey really mature throughout the book – she really grew into herself and realised what was important by the end. What I really loved about Lainey was how selfless she became – how she was willing to put Micah’s happiness before hers because she thought he was more deserving; the way she helped Micah’s sister and stood up to Kendall was a ground-breaking moment and I was just cheering so much for Lainey.

“And then I realise I’ve made this conversation all about me. I have a feeling I do that a lot.”

I loved the secondary characters Stokes included. She developed them all with great personalities and depth. The friendship between Lainey and Bianca was beautiful – in so many YA books, there is always some flaw with the best friend; they’re either too whiny or too out-going and the protagonist feels like they’re being outshone by the best friend. Bianca was the opposite. She may have seemed like the quiet type but she shone on her own – through her caring and observant nature, through the way she constantly supported Lainey. Bianca is extremely smart but she never bragged about it and without her, The Art of War wouldn’t have been used. I loved the way she interpreted the strategies into laymen terms for Lainey, but never made her feel dumb. There are lots of lessons about friendship, broadening one’s horizon and not judging people that many of the secondary characters (especially Kendall and Leo) teach which I thought added depth to the story.

“And that’s Bee. A watcher. A ‘think first and leap later’ girl.”

Micah was such a sweet guy and I think the perfect example of not judging someone by appearances. He’s a very considerate boy and surprisingly knowledgeable about Lainey’s habits but not in a creepy way! He’s just the kind of guy who observes and takes people’s feelings into account which I thought made him really wonderful. I enjoyed him heckling Lainey in the beginning and his witty/sarcastic comments. I love guys who are snarky but can be sweet because it really balances out.

The romance was so swoony and cute. I was biting my lip and smiling more often than not. Point, set and match to Stokes for no insta-love and developing the romance at the perfect pace! Stokes gave Lainey and Micah the perfect foundation (and history) for developing a friendship and grounds for furthering that. In their game, I noticed little slips of real emotion coming out. It was slow, hesitant and oh so sweet because neither party occasionally couldn’t draw the line between what was part of the game or what was reality. And then the pain of realising that it was all based on a game and what they were each willing to give up for each other’s happiness *swoon*

“His hands feel warm, even on my flushed skin. His fingertips linger on my jawbone.”

Stokes’ writing is great. The way she incorporated an ancient war strategy into a modern book for teens made me realise how it’s a great lesson on adaptations and how timeless some things are. Applying The Art of War to such a normal situation made it so realistic. There were so many great quotes about fighting battles that related to daily life, I loved the way they were phrased and how motivational they are. It was great how this developed slowly – Stokes makes it a point that nothing worth having comes easy. We must work for it, and even then, results aren’t instant, but take time and persistence. We’ll make mistakes along the way, and maybe we’ll realise that what we initially wanted changes as we grow.

“It’s about picking your battles, knowing when to fight, knowing exactly what and who is worth fighting for.”

Lainey is an extremely cute and sweet read. Perfect for summer, heartbreaks, or just when you want to feel good about yourself. Filled with great messages, a swoony romance and lovely characters that are well thought out, I think Lainey is a book anybody will enjoy.

“Wars aren’t fought in a day.”


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #7



Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

This week's: Top Ten Books About Friendship

These books may not be centred on friendship specifically, but for me they resonated with their themes regarding friendship.



Clicking the book cover will take you to the Goodreads page.

1. The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington - Vi and Steph's friendship


2. Harry Potter by JK Rowling - The Golden Trio




3. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead - Rose and Lissa



4. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - Tara, Tom, Jimmy, Siobhan




5. Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi - Juliette and Kenji



6. Under the Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi - Aria and Roar



7. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales - Elise and Vicky



8. Split Second (Pivot Point #2) by Kasie West - Addy and Laila



9. The Darkest Minds by Alexendra Bracken - Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Zu




10. The Sea of Tranquility - Nastya and Drew


Monday, May 19, 2014

Spoiler Review: The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

This review contains spoilers for the book. If you don't want spoilers then don't read this review!



Date Read: May 6 - 7 2014
Release Date: May 6th 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Source: Bought
Genre: Really Fluffy Dystopian
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned."

---

Be prepared for a FULL spoiler review of The One. If you haven’t read the books, then STOP NOW. Or if you can’t be bothered reading them or The One and, like many, just want to know who America ends up with then please continue.

I didn’t receive The One as a review copy but I’m reviewing it anyway because I reviewed/ranted about the first two and my OCD won’t let me rest until I get this one out too.

Let me be clear that I don’t like this series. I can’t believe I wasted nearly 2 years of my life on these books. Like many, I was hooked in by the gorgeous cover for The Selection. Luckily, these books are all extremely quick reads otherwise I would have just dropped the series and asked somebody who she ends up with.

Oh yeah she ends up with Maxon THANK GOD. At least Cass had America end up with the right guy. She got one thing right.

Anyway I actually enjoyed The Selection way back when, you can find my review here. It was a quick read, very light and fluffy and not at all like a dystopian. That’s where it all went downhill because The Elite was a travesty. One of the most horrible books I’ve ever read, you can see my raging review here.

The One isn’t much better. America has practically no character growth. She’s always impulsive, can’t keep her mouth shut and crosses that line between bravery and stupidity. Near the middle she realises that she’s a potential princess and can boss people around… that was the extent of her character growth. What I really, really hated was her constant inner battle between Aspen or Maxon. THREE BOOKS. THREE BOOKS THIS HAS GONE ON FOR AND SHE COULDN’T MAKE UP HER DARN MIND.

Basically, her thought processes ran something similar to this:

“Oh Maxon is giving the other girls attention, I am so jealous, I really do like him”

“Aspen is here ohmygod he’s so hot I love him”

“Maxon is so sweet and I want him to kiss me”

“But Aspen might be looking what do I do?”

Seriously, the whole book.

The series also never got deep enough for me to take the political stuff seriously. Everything was all on the surface, even when rebels were introduced as a real threat. It happened in a rush; the Northern rebels apparently want to help the monarchy while the Southern rebels apparently just want power and are the real threat. Southern rebels come in and shoot everybody, Northern rebels save the day because, woah with just TWO short talks with Maxon and America, both parties are suddenly chummy and on-board with each other! America even runs to hug the Northern rebel female leader. Jesus Christ you could see the rainbows come out and flowers spring up in all the friendliness.

By the end the only thing that’s achieved is the removal of the caste system. Because really, what else could have fit when there really was no depth to the story? And even then, there is only talk of this… It doesn’t actually happen. Have no idea how Maxon is going to achieve this.

Oh and the ending was just so bloody convenient. Of course the king and queen get killed off so that Maxon can ascend to the throne and bring on his little revolution. Pfft yeah… Story ends with America walking down the aisle AND WE DON’T EVEN GET AN EPILOGUE. What happened to Aspen you ask? He ended up with Lucy because apparently they fell in love (so convenient) but I mean I guess that’s plausible because she was always such a damsel-in-distress.

How did this book get 3 stars again? I don’t know. It’s more a 2.5 but I liked the ending because Maxon is SO SWEET. He writes these beautiful letters to America when she isn’t present and I’ll admit my heart did race reading them. Maybe I gave this 3 because I also adore that cover. Meh.

It’s finally over.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

500 Twitter Follower Giveaway

I just hit 500 followers on Twitter and I am gobsmacked that there are this many people (well nearly this many, there are probably some weird companies in that follow list) that care about my crazy fangirl ramblings! You guys mean so much to me omg <3333


THANK YOU so much I never expected to get to 500 followers. It's been a slow journey for me - I actually made my Twitter in... 2009 I think... but didn't start using it until the end of 2012 when my friend introduced me to the book blogging community. I remember how happy I was to get 100 followers but woah 500? Next stop 1000 LOL, that'll probably take me another 2 years or so :P But yes THANK YOU I AM ONE HAPPY GIRL.

As a huge thank you to old and new followers alike - for wanting to hear my thoughts and for those who have stuck by me since the beginning I am going to do a giveaway!


And to show my gratitude to the amazing authors who follow me, the giveaway will feature books from those authors who I've interacted with a LOT and who I absolutely adore <3 these authors are some of the nicest people I've ever met (I wish I knew a lot of them in real life) and have always made time to talk to me!



Note on giveaway entries:
Please don't follow me on Twitter just for the entries and then be one of those people that unfollow after - I've given you FIVE (well 3 minus Bloglovin) other entries so you don't have to follow me just to unfollow after the giveaway is over. Only follow if you genuinely want to know me and listen to my snark :D

There will be TWO giveaways: an INTERNATIONAL one and an AUSTRALIAN one. Details below, please read the rules carefully

International Giveaway


Authors Shown:
  • Cora Carmack (Losing It series, Rusk University series)
  • Rachel Carter (So Close to You)
  • Lindsay Cummings (The Murder Complex series)
  • Trish Doller (Something Like Normal, Where the Stars Still Shine)
  • Kate Evangelista (Taste, Vicious Feast series, Romancing the Bookworm, The Reaper Series, Fractured Souls series)
  • Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door, What I Thought Was True)
  • Rachel Harris (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century series, The Fine Art of Pretending series)
  • Wendy Higgins (Sweet trilogy)
  • Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (Starbound trilogy, Skylark - Meagan Spooner)
  • Brigid Kemmerer (The Elementals)
  • Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits series)
  • Fiona Paul (The Secrets of the Eternal Rose trilogy)
  • Samantha Shannon (The Bone Season series)
  • Paula Stokes (The Art of Lainey)
  • Amanda Sun (Paper Gods series)
  • Kat Zhang (The Hybrid Chronicles)

Rules

  • This is open to anybody age 13+ (or something, I don't think you can just give me your address if you're a kid, sorry. Not that I'd know but yeah please don't put this on my conscience)
  • ONE winner chooses ONE book from the above pictured/listed
  • The Book Depository MUST ship to your country for the book you choose, to find out if TBD ships to your country click here 
  • You must choose a book from the ones pictured - although, I know many of those are series so you can pick ANY ONE from the series, OR if I haven't shown all of that author's books, you can also pick any book by that author PROVIDED it ships from The Book Depository (e.g. any of Brigid Kemmerer's Elemental series or Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limit's series)
  • Pre-orders are fine as long as the book is listed ready for pre-order on The Book Depository! E.g. The Fine Art of Pretending by Rachel Harris, The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings etc.
  • Winner must respond within 48h or a new winner will be picked

Australian Giveaway (includes international selection!!!)

And because I want to support Aussie (and one NZ) authors, there will be an AUSTRALIAN giveaway YAYAYAYAYAYA.


Many of the Aussie authors who follow me don't have books that ship from The Book Depository. As such, to also support the Australian publisher, I'll be shipping from Bookworld if the winner of the Australian giveaway chooses an Australian book, or the book is published by an Aussie pub here. I am so darn generous aren't I?


Authors Shown (in additional to the International ones!):
  • Sarah Ayoub (Hate is Such a Strong Word)
  • Rachael Craw (Spark)
  • Tara Eglington (Aurora Skye series)
  • Ellie Marney (Every series)
  • Josephine Moon (The Tea Chest)
  • Amie Kaufman (co-author of Starbound trilogy)
  • Gabrielle Tozer (The Intern)

Rules

  • This is open to AUSTRALIANS ONLY age 13+
  • ONE winner chooses ONE book from ANY books from the International Giveaway OR Australian Giveaway - that's right, you guys get more of a choice!
  • Same rules apply as International Giveaway for sequels and pre-orders from TBD (but will also apply to Bookworld)
  • If the book is an Australian book that is yet unreleased but is available for pre-order from Bookworld then that's fine! E.g. Every Word by Ellie Marney, Spark by Rachael Craw etc.
  • Winner must respond within 48h or a new winner will be picked


That sounds a lot more complicated than it really is I swear. Ok are we clear? Crystal? Excellent. 

SPREADING THE BOOK LOVE LIKE YEAHHHH.


If you got a problem take it to Hyukjae^! I kid, drop me a comment if you have questions.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

Firstly, thanks to Macmillan Children's for this review copy <3



Date Read: June 21 - August 12 2013
Release Date: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Macmillan)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together."

---

“Sometimes, when you are worn down, day after day, relentlessly, with no reprieve for years piled on years, sometimes you lose everything but the ability to cry.”

When I first started reading TSWSYL I was genuinely worried about how it would affect me. The synopsis said it was told from a funny voice, I’m not sure I completely agree with this. The beginning was so bleak I was scared about how the story would progress.

Elise Dembowski has been bullied for as long as she can remember. She doesn’t have a single friend and when she tries to talk to people they shy away from her. In her last attempt to be accepted, she spends the summer before school starts trying to reinvent herself – perusing blogs and fashion magazines she has a complete makeover, using what little pocket money she has to change her clothing. And yet still the “popular” girls at school find faults and continue bullying her. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her character; she likes things most other people would if only they talked to her. I wouldn’t even call her socially awkward because she can communicate as we see later on. She’s a nice person, she has her flaws, but so does everybody else. She is just one of those unlucky people that the world, for some unknown reason, finds it funny to make fun of. Despite never having been in such a bad position as Elise, her voice and her situation were extremely relatable.

“You think it's so easy to change yourself. You think it's so easy, but it's not.”

On the brink of giving up, and my God this part was so depressing, Elise is wandering around one night when she stumbles upon a warehouse that’s a club playing oldies music. Upon entering she immediately befriends Vicky. Vicky was such an amazing secondary character, one of the nicest and most non-judgemental people I’ve ever read. She’s honest and realistic yet somehow manages to be positive and exudes such a great energy one cannot help but smile at her presence. Considerate and caring, Vicky was just the friend Elise needed. People like Vicky are what restore my faith in humanity.

Through Elise’s interactions with the various people in the club – Vicky, Char the DJ, Pippa and even the bouncer, Elise learns what it means to have friends and all the ups and downs that come with it. For once she is with like-minded people, she is not alone and she gets to freely express herself through her love for music. Vicky shows her what it’s like to be cared for, to have that selfless friend who accepts and doesn’t judge no matter what; Pippa shows her that in the face of friendship, conflicts can happen – that friendship isn’t always happy rainbows, but that some friends are worth keeping and some aren’t. Char teaches her how to DJ and through this, Elise learns what it really means to do something you love, to be good at something and be passionate about it.

“Don't you ever want to have just one thing that no one else knows about, so no one can ruin it for you?”

I loved the way Elise grew into herself, the way she applied herself with a frenzied obsession – I could really relate because that’s sometimes I how approach new things I love. Sales does character growth spectacularly. The changes from bleak to hopeful were noticeable and yet paced perfectly.

I’m a complete sucker for books that incorporate music. Pretty much all the books I’ve read that have used music to help tell the story have gotten 4 or 5 stars from me. Sales joins this list. I don’t even listen to any of this kind of music and yet I was there on the dance floor with Vicky, moving with the surging bodies as they belted out the lyrics to Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark; I was DJing with Elise as she merged tracks and watched people cheer as I Wanna Dance With Somebody came on.

“I believe that a person's taste in music tells you a lot about them. In some cases, it tells you everything you need to know.”

Dealing with the serious issue of bullying and the dire consequences that can arise, including loneliness/depression and suicide, Sales writes a moving story of identity, relationships and hope by connecting people through music. This story really touched me and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

“Sometimes you just have those days where everything goes wrong. But sometimes, and totally unexpectedly, something can go right.”

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #6


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where, each week, a Top Ten list is posted based on a particular topic.

This week's: Top Ten Books I Almost Put Down But Didn't

I am so glad I didn't put these down because many of these turned out to be some of my favourite books/series of all time.

Clicking the book cover will take you to the Goodreads page.

1. Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi (4/5)

The beginning of this was really slow, but I'm so glad I kept reading because it got a lot better and this has become one of my favourite series of all time.

2. The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa (5/5)

I didn't like Meghan in the beginning but Kagawa's world-building was so amazing I decided to keep going. Glad I did because AHHHH Ash <3 this is another of my all time favourite series

3. Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) by Cassandra Clare (2.5/5)

I really didn't like this book because Tessa annoyed me. But I really like steampunk and JEM CARSTAIRS haha. Again, I'm really glad I kept going because I LOVED Clockwork Prince (Jemmmmm) and Clockwork Princess had me bawling.

4. The Bone Season (The Bone Season #1) by Samantha Shannon (4/5)

The size of this book and the writing style really intimidated me. I'd read about 20 pages last year but stopped. I decided to pick it up again this year and thank goodness because THE WORLD-BUILDING, THE PLOT, EVERYTHING WOAH. Samantha Shannon is a goddess!

5. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales (5/5)

The beginning of this was so depressing and bleak I nearly didn't want to continue because I was worried about what it would do to me. I ended up loving this and it was a very powerful book.

6. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover (5/5)

Again, another very bleak book. When I realised what was happening I actually had to put this down for a while but I found the nerve to pick it up again I managed to finish it - Colleen Hoover is a really fantastic writer and the way she deals with tough issues is stellar.

7. Every Breath (Every #1) by Ellie Marney (3/5)

Near the end, the plot turned out exactly as I had suspected. I thought it was the cliche type that all mysteries had and wasn't pleased. But Marney's writing is really good and her characters strong so I finished this anyway which I'm glad I did. I'm excited for her next book Every Word.

8. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer (3/5)

I nearly DNF this at page 44 because Meyer killed the whole plot with 1 sentence. I decided to finish it just to see how it played out and because I wanted to read other books in the series.

9. Mercy (Mercy #1) by Rebecca Lim (3.5/5)

The different take on angels had me put this down before my friend persuaded me to finish it because she said it was good. I've ended up really enjoying the series.

10. The Elite (The Selection #2) by Kiera Cass (1/5)

I hate this book. But I was going to read The One so I needed to know what happened. I have nothing good to say about this book. I was just hooked because I needed closure. I can't believe I wasted 2.5 years of my life on this series.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Video: The Book Blogger Test

Eugenia from Chasm of Books tagged me in something called The Book Blogger Test! I've never done something like this before so thought I'd give it a go.

And since it's a day of firsts for me I also thought I'd do the test in the form of a video - behold my first ever booktube video! I used my webcam so the quality is a bit meh and my video editing skills are horrid but uh... I hope you enjoy? :D



Q1. What are your top three book pet hates?
1. Insta-love
2. Cracked spines
3. Cover changes in a series

Q2. Describe your perfect reading spot.
Lying in bed!

Q3. Tell us three book confessions.
1. If I love a book enough I will buy it in every edition that I want it in
2. There are over 100 unread books on my shelf
3. I'm so impatient for books to come out I'll usually get the e-book for release day and then wait for my ordered physical copy to arrive - by which time I'd have finished the e-book

Q4. When was the last time you cried during a book?
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare which was only 2 books ago LOL!

Q5. How many books are on your bedside table?
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Q6. What is your favourite snack whilst you’re reading?
Triple butter popcorn

Q7. Name three books you would recommend to everyone.
1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [link to review]
2. Between the Lives by Jessica Shirvington [link to review]
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Q8. Show us a picture of your favourite bookshelf on your bookcase.
Heh  refer to the video :P

Q9. Write how much books mean to you in just three words.
Saved my life

Q10. What is your biggest reading secret?
Sometimes, just as I've started a book, I flip to the end to see if it's worth reading...

Thanks Eugenia for tagging me!

5 other bloggers I'll tag - soz if you've been tagged before.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Firstly, thanks to Random House Children's for this review copy <3



Date Read: February 21 - 24 2014
Release Date: May 13th 2014
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House Children's)
Source: NetGalley
Genre: Contemporary/Mystery
My rating: 

Synopsis:
"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.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE."

---


“Life feels beautiful that day. The four of us Liars, we have always been. We always will be.”

Ahhhhh this book. Where do I even start? HOW do I start? This book blew me away utterly and completely. It knocked me off my feet and mind fucked me to the max. This was hands down one of the most original books I’ve ever read in my entire life.

The synopsis doesn’t say much about the book. It was this vagueness that actually pulled me in. It was everything unsaid that made me want to find out what was between the lines. And I’m so glad I did.

The story is told from the point of view of Cadence Sinclair, the only daughter of one of the three Sinclair sisters. They are part of an extremely wealthy family who own an island. The setting itself had an almost historic quality to it. The island is so isolated from the rest of civilisation, it’s a world of its own. Cadence, her two cousins and their friend Gat form a strong friendship over the course of many summers and are dubbed the Liars. This is their story.

“This island is ours. Here, in some way, we are young forever.”

The setting and writing style together made me initially think this was a historic novel because it was so otherworldy but it’s actually set in the modern day. Absolutely beautiful writing, Lockhart’s style is enchanting and poetic. Cadence's thoughts are pondering and thought provoking, and at times haunting. I loved this style because as I said, very thought provoking and left room for one’s own interpretations for what she could possibly mean.

This book builds and builds and despite only following these four teenagers through their summers, you can’t help but get sucked in to their life on the island. There is friendship, love, adventure and suspense. The plot was amazing, everything just fell into place and that ending? Woah. Shocking. Stunning. Emotional. I’ll give you only that, don’t ask me anymore because I’ll have to lie.

“For a moment, the two of us were alone on the planet, with all the vastness of the sky and the future and the past spreading out around us.”

Possibly the shortest review I’ve ever written since I officially started book blogging, I hope you’re intrigued. I hope I’ve piqued your interest enough to want to pick up this book. I implore you to pick up this book, to meet the Liars, embark on this mystery and find the truth. And when you do, come back because I would love to hear your thoughts.

“But there must be more to know. There will be more.”



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Throne of Glass Ambassador Post: Heir of Fire Competition


It has been so long since I've done a ToG Ambassador post. Probably a year now! But you know what that means now that we're here? HEIR OF FIRE IS NEARLY UPON US


Awwwww yeah.

And does Bloomsbury have something fantastic for you fans!

Send in your own fan art or fan video of why you love the series and the best entries will be featured in the Heir of Fire trailer.

But that's not all...

ONE lucky winner will receive:
  • SIGNED copies of the series
  • AND... THEIR NAME FEATURED IN THE NEXT BOOK


Well, what are you still doing here? Chop chop get working on those entries!

More information and submission information here: www.facebook.com/THRONEOFGLASS

Be on the lookout for more Ambassador posts as the release of HoF draws closer.