Monthly Archives: March 2014

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on September 24th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Goodreads
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

I did enjoy Where the Stars Still Shine, but didn’t think it lived up to expectations. Everyone I’ve heard reviews from loved it–where as I was a bit disappointed. Callie was kidnapped by her mother as child and has been on the run for as long as she can remember. She only has distant, snapshot memories of her past life, but she knows she was kidnapped. Callie’s mother has a mental disability, and has not taken her prescribed tablets in years. Something happens that causes Callie to be re-united with her father and she has to dramatically change her lifestyle quickly and is expected to abide by a certain set of rules that weren’t in place before. This of course, causes issues.

Callie’s father, Greg, was such a sweet guy and I really loved him for it. They’re strangers to each other, Callie is 17 and grew up without a father figure. Callie has also grown up with abuse from her mother’s boyfriend/s. This is really the heart and trauma of the book. It affects Callie’s perception of men, and herself involving men. Callie adapted to this new lifestyle really well, but obviously she makes a lot of mistakes and has the tenancy  to run when things get hard.

Callie annoyed me in a lot of ways, because I felt she never tried to help herself. I could never, ever, understand the torrent of emotions and what she’s going through. However, sometimes she made things harder for herself and that frustrated me. Also, I never got a strong impression of her personality. She felt quite two-dimentional to me, because a lot of the book is obviously focused on her reaction to her situation, she felt a bit plastic. I’m not sure if this is intended though, because Callie’s never really had the opportunity to have a personality. Anyway, the whirlwind of emotions that tore through her was written beautifully and felt spot on–despite never having been in this situation myself. Callie’s torn between her wanting to love Greg, but wanting to be loyal to her mother; and even though she kind of hates her mother, her mother’s all she’s ever known.

There is romance, which I think added to the growth of Callie, because it caused her to overcome a lot of issues. Alex was a lot more sweeter than I thought he would be, but at the same time their relationship annoyed me. I thought they should have taken it slower, right from the beginning to contrast to her other relationships and show that it was different. I felt like she never really learnt anything, even though Alex helped change her perception of men.

Overall, I’ve never read anything like this before and enjoyed it originality the set-up. Even though I didn’t think it was outstanding, it was still a pretty amazing book and I would recommend it!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)Enclave by Ann Aguirre
Series: Razorland
Published by Macmillan, Square Fish on April 11th 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 259
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Goodreads
four-stars

Enclave was a really awesome read about ZOMBIES. I’m pretty obsessed with zombies at the moment, so this was facilitating my zombie love because they were a significant part of the novel. However it wasn’t like most zombie apocalypse books, where the entire book is about surviving the zombies. Zombies, or “Freaks”, were a big part of the plot, but there were a lot of other obstacles the characters had to overcome.

Deuce is part of an enclave underground and has been training her whole life to become a Huntress. They patrol the grounds, learn to fight and keep the Freaks away from the enclave. No one in the enclave has been aboveground because if they do, they believe they will die.

Deuce reminded me of Katniss, because of her slight unfeeling nature toward some things. She’s slightly ignorant towards people and doesn’t have a lot of emotional intelligence. However, I did like her, and simply felt sorry for her in some instances. She’s been living underground her whole life, and random things would crop up sometimes that seem obvious to us, but a revelation to her. Things she never knew about, like what chocolate was. C’mon. NOT KNOWING WHAT CHOCOLATE IS. I have to admit, that stood out to me more than some of the other instances.

The entire community of the enclave is corrupt and downright awful. Understandably though. None of the people brought up there were taught differently. Still, I did wonder why none of them actually though for themselves! Their whole community was a bunch of sheep, not questioning anything. The fact that they were underground, meant they had no idea of what was surreal. They could have been told marshmallows fell from the sky and believed it.

This is a book I’ve not heard much about but really recommend. The world is completely different and interesting. I read a whole book on it, yet I could read two more and still be fascinated. The characters have room for growth, and even developed in this instalment. I’m really interested to read about how Deuce changes, but also the more minor characters. There’s even enough romance to satisfy me, but again, there was this reminder of The Hunger Games and similarities between the two. I’m not going to delve into that now though, it’s complicated to explain, but if you’ve read it, comment and tell me if you understand! The only thing that was really lacking throughout Enclave was humour. The lack of humour gave this novel a brittle edge, and was hard to read at times because it’s so bleak.

Rating: 4 stars.

 

four-stars

sccary

Non-Fiction Aversion

I’m one of those people that read to escape, to get immersed in a world that’s not mine, and think about things that aren’t something I actually have to worry about. I like it. It’s relaxing, and I love getting caught up in relationships, and craving the next page because I JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN. I like the creativity of books, and the worlds I would have never otherwise thought about. Also, the characters, God, the characters I never would have experienced, fell fictionally in love with and been best friends with.

I don’t read Non-fiction. Non-fiction is scary:

It’s real life, where I can’t escape. It takes up precious reading time, when I could be reading about Celaena Sardothien or St Clair. The covers aren’t very pretty, and you can’t leave it thinking “jeez, I’m glad this isn’t actually happening and the world isn’t secretly getting taken over by Strigoi”.

I’m interested in world affairs. I read, discuss and form (very strong) opinions. I deal with it all-day everyday, and so this isn’t something I want to read at 9 at night when I’m trying to de-stress myself (because life can get SO STRESSFUL sometimes).

scary

I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I’m sure there are a lot of Non-fiction books that I would be really interested in, but don’t get the chance to hear about. They don’t have to be about a heavy topic, but simply something I would enjoy reading about. Pottering about in a Fiction orientated bookish community, I have Fiction books I want to read coming out of my earlobes, but I hardly ever, ever, hear anyone talk about Non-fiction. Perhaps because people don’t want to clash their views with others, or because you guys don’t read it either. I don’t know.

I feel like I should make an effort to look for some Non-fiction, and you know, read it. Learn something that isn’t the language of Elvish in the Lord of the Rings series.

What about you guys? Do you read much Non-Fiction, or do you think it takes the pleasure out of reading? Feel free to share your recs, I’d love to hear them!

Níniatha n’i lû n’i a-govenitham!

Beautiful Bookends

I wanted to post a DIY bookend video/post, and I was looking for some inspiration. I can’t wait to show you what I’ve made and how you can make it! I’ve been wanting to do DIY videos/posts for ages!

Anyway, here are a couple that I saw and really liked:

bookends2

(Links to buy on the numbers below)

1. I thought it was funny and creative!

2. Trees can be really pretty and they represent life, so I like how the books would be in the middle, because you live a lot of lives while reading.

3. Elephants are wise and gentle.

4. Star Wars! This one really makes me laugh, it’s so funny and creative, whoever made it is awesome.

5. This Marvel one is also really funny. I’d love to put some Marvel comics between them.

6. I think this would be really cool if you could put all of your romance books inbetween.

7. I love this one! It’s a nice fairy tale symbolism, with the girl and the frog. I have one that my brother got me that’s similar. I adore it!

8. Birds are pwetty.

9. These are so imaginative and DIY. I think they’d look really awesome and artistic on a shelf.

I hope you liked the bookends I picked out! There are some really inventive ones out there. I can’t wait for you all to see my DIY bookend post, and what I choose to make. Do you guys have bookends, or do you simply use bookshelves?

 

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Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 4th 2010
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
three-half-stars
Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

After Amy’s dad dies in a car accident, her mother decides to move to Connecticut. Whilst Amy’s brother is in rehab, and her mother is getting the house ready in Connecticut, Amy is alone in her house in California. She hasn’t driven since her father died, so to get to her new house in Connecticut, Amy’s mother organises her to be driven by her old childhood friend–Roger.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour was a fun read with serious undertones, but not something that astounded me. Ultimately, because the romance let it down. (Romance is very important to me and this didn’t tick all the boxes, sadly.) I felt very much for Amy on a personal level, because my father died of cancer, and Amy’s dad died in a car accident. This made it a pretty emotional book to read at times, because I could relate to a lot of her regrets and thoughts. There’s a lot of messages about loss, family, love and life that anyone can identify with.

I loved the travelling aspect of this, because Amy and Roger travel over a whole lot of states in America. America is somewhere I’ve always wanted explore and go on a road-trip to. The UK is so small, that it freaks me out how huge North America is, therefore, I found it so cool to find out that some restaurants  and chocolate bars are only in certain states. Every couple of chapters there’s a list of songs that are from Roger’s playlist, which was really fun, and every chapter there were pictures and recipes which added to the exciting imagery of travelling.

An aspect that I really enjoyed is how Amy steps out of her comfort zone, by defying her mother and by spending a lot of time with a cute guy, when she has spent the last 3 months in her house alone.  Amy’s mother annoyed me beyond belief. Her father dies and her mum decides to move house. I understand the reasoning behind this, but after such a massive change, Amy now has to deal with a new house, new school and all the other stresses that comes with moving states. On top of that, Amy’s mother refuses to have a proper conversation with Amy, and leaves her alone in the house for THREE MONTHS, after her father has died. Neglect anyone? That is simply not okay, and means Amy has to mourn alone. There are so many more things that made me hate her mother, but that would probably take up pages so…

Roger was a cute guy, but was a bit lost and blind to what he wanted. The romance is slow-building and sweet, but nothing mind-blowing. However, it’s not really supposed to be. The last couple of romances I’ve read have left something to be desired! UGH. Anyway, when they realised their feelings together, the novel was pretty much done and there was really no room for any scenes together, which disappointed me. I like to see how the characters are in their relationship and how it develops.

Overall, a cute novel and something I would recommend because it has a lot to offer (travel, dealing with death, romance, stepping out of you comfort zone), and really it was the romance that let it down. Otherwise, it’s a really great book.

Rating: 3.5 stars

three-half-stars

culkin-shocked-face (1)

MY FIRST VIDEO (cue hyperventilating)

I finally, FINALLY filmed, edited and uploaded my first video. I’m so nervous, because I am a fail at editing and lighting and everything to do with this. Plus, it’s really hard putting your face out there for the first time. It’s all very well putting up a post, but a video is with you actually speaking and saying stuff…! I tried to be as natural as I could, but ultimately, I was talking to a camera and that’s not something I’m used to. My hands were itching to write up a post!

I hope you like it, hopefully I will get better at editing (I know it’s not the best it could be and I’m sorry!) Also, the lighting at the end was really bad because I was desperately trying to film it at dusk, which I know is an awful thing to do and all the video people will be mocking me and wincing. Oh well.

I won’t be posting any more of my videos on here, as this is my blog and it doesn’t involve vlogging. I know some bloggers hate watching vlogs, but I wanted to post it to show the people who might be interested.

You can watch it HERE.

Thanks guys! :)

(I’m now going to read to get my mind of this whole nervous debacle. I’m reading Enclave, has anyone read it? It’s GOOD.)

ransomriggs

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I’ve Never Read

Charles Dickens:

I really want to read A Christmas Carol, but every time Christmas comes round, I’m always so busy and have never taken the time to.

dickens

 

Sarah Dessen: Honestly, I’m not sure why I haven’t read any of her books, because they look like my thing, but I’ve never gotten the great urge to buy them.

 

dessen

 

David Levithan: I now have Two Boys Kissing by him, so I will have read him soon. I think I’ll love it as well, as everyone’s reviews are beaming!

david levithan

Dan Brown: Apparently The DaVinci Code is amazing. I would have no idea.

brown

 

Libba Bray: I own Beauty Queens, and hopefully will read it soon. I also hear A Great and Terrible Beauty is awesome! So hopefully I will read that soon as well.

bray

 

Stephen King: I saw the trailer for Carrie and thought it looked really good but generally, this kind of horror isn’t my thing.

king

 

George R. R. Martin: I have the first! I will get to it soon! Honest.

martin

 

Ransom Riggs: I have the first and can’t wait to read it!

ransomriggs

 

Rick Riordan: I simply haven’t gotten round to these, but they look amazing.

riordan

 

J. R. R. Tolkien: They’re just so big, and everyone says getting through The Lord of the Rings is so much effort!

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow RowellFangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Published by My Kinda Book on September 10th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 445
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
five-stars
A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

This book is all kinds of adorable and I loved it. Cath is a fangirl–if you hadn’t worked that out–and this is something many readers can relate to. Cath has a twin and does pretty much everything with Wren, because why wouldn’t she? However, when it comes to university, Wren doesn’t want to be roommates with Cath in a bid to be more independent. I really liked Cath’s character, because she was bookish and shy. She does not want to be rooming with some random person and make eye contact with them…and stuff. Therefore, she’s a little hurt, and turns into a slight recluse in her room.

I related to Cath in a lot of ways, particularly how much she loves books and in this case, a particular series. Except, I’m not her kind of fangirl. I don’t write or read fanfic, however, I do have posters and T-shirts like her. I loved that Cath was a really popular fanfiction writer, and loved writing about those characters.

Cath is a really shy person, and doesn’t really go out of her room at the beginning. She hates the idea of going to the cafeteria for the first time and having nobody to sit with. I get that, but everyone’s in the same boat at this point, so you might as well get it over with. Personally, I would make friends with my roommate or the people in halls, then go sit with them. But Cath just sits in her room and lives on protein bars for a couple of months! Oh my! By the time she makes her way down there, everyone’s already got their groups. So Reagan helps her out, and practically forces her down there to eat. Her roommate Reagan was so awesome. She’s my kind of person 100%. She says what she feels and doesn’t skirt around on bullshit. You know what to expect from her. Some think she’s rude, but really she’s just being real with you. I was more like Reagan personality-wise than Cath, because I’m not as shy as Cath. She’s really good to Cath, she helps her a lot, and without Reagan, Cath would have been a complete hermit. We all need friends that help us in ways we can’t help ourselves.

Then there’s Levi. Levi. Levi. I love Levi. So different from a lot of guy characters currently in YA books. He’s just so happy and smiley and genuine. He supported Cath in a lot of ways, and didn’t push her. He also has a very weird way of learning. He’s a dependant on auditory learning, and listens to lectures instead of reading. But he wasn’t stupid, he just learns in a different way and struggles with how things are taught, so he works harder. I could relate so much to this, except I’m a visual learner, and sometimes I find things harder to process–but I’m not stupid. I’m generally an A/B student, but I identified with Levi a lot in that respect. Cath is naturally a genius, and she gets a little lazy at times. It was so great how Levi just didn’t allow her to be lazy, because he works so hard for his grades and would kill to get amazing grades as easily as her. You go Levi.

Fangirl’s Cath has an obsession with Simon Snow, a character from their world’s Harry Potter. I didn’t grow up with Harry Potter, I’m a bit young and kind of missed the party on that. Therefore, I didn’t entirely relate to that aspect, but the overall Fangirl parts I did relate to.

I really, really loved this book. It was sweet, funny, interesting and something I could completely relate to. I’ve not read anything quite like it, and will re-read this again and again. This will definitely be added to my Contemporary Romance recommendations, and if you haven’t read it, you really need to!

Rating: 5 STARS!!

five-stars