Sunday, 29 November 2015

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

Review -

This was a long overdue read for me after it has been sitting on my shelf for a good while now.  To be honest, I'm not too sure why it has taken me so long to pick up, but no matter what the reason, I'm really glad I finally got round to this one.  It was cute, fun but was still a really enjoyable read.

The basis of the story involves the sending out the main characters hidden love letters, each one written to a boy she has loved.  This is ultimately what drew me to this book in the first place, as it seemed like such a cute story but one that would  be different to the average contemporary romance story (not that I don't love one of those two).  One thing that I did like about this was that the plot was actually quite quick to move away from this dilemma and move onto another, although slightly connected, problem of its own.  I liked how the storyline evolved from the simple concept, only referring back to this idea every so often.

The book centres around the character Lara Song and her family, particularly her two sisters.  I really liked how big a part family played in this book, with the relationship between Lara and her sisters Margot and Kitty.  It was really nice to see a really strong family unit be as important as the romance and main plot, particularly one revolving around sisters.

I also really enjoyed watching as alot of the characters evolved through the course of the book, this particularly the case with Lara and Peter.  Both of them changed so much from the beginning to the end for the better, and I really felt as though you got to see them grow into much better people.  This also allowed Lara to become alot more relatable to me, something which made me like her alot more.  The only character I wasn't so keen on was Josh, who I have to admit I didn't like from the offset.  I can't exactly explain why, but I just never could grow to like him, and so wasn't too keen on his relationship with Lara.

One problem that I did have, particularly at the start of this book, was that the main character did feel just a bit immature.  I don't know what it was exactly, but there were certain points when I thought that she sounded a little younger than she was meant to be.  She did seem to mature through the book as she grew, but I just found her to be a little too immature at the start.

Finally, I couldn't write this review without commenting on the romance element, which I really did like.  I thought I could see where it was going from the beginning of the book and so wasn't amazingly too excited about reading on, when the book surprised me by going in a completely different direction, one that I definitely prefered.  I liked how it didn't go the obvious route and overall I just found the romance to be cute and really easy to read.

So, I think it's safe to say that I enjoyed this one.  I liked how it surprised me in many different ways and how much of a journey I felt I went on with this book.  I would definitely recommend it and I'm now really excited to pick up the sequel!

Character(s): Peter and Kitty
Scene(s): Peter and Lara baking cupcakes
Quote(s): 'But the little things are what make up life'

Song(s): I Choose You - Sara Bareilles
Bright - Echosmith 
Other Book(s): Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson



Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Twenty Seven

Top Ten Books I am most thankful for

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one I enjoyed as it really made me think about which books I am thankful for as well just making me think about the things that I am grateful for in a more general sense.  So here is a list of some of the books I am most thankful for in the world:

1) Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman - This is likely the first book that actually got me into properly into reading, and was definitely the first YA series I ever read.  I still love this story and I am so grateful to it for introducing me fully into the world of books. 
2) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky - This one wasn't so much as a first, but is more a book I absolutely love and am so glad I have read.  It's a story that has stayed with me for so long and I'm just so grateful for a story that makes me feel a little more comfortable being a wallflower.  
3) Switched by Amanda Hocking - I am so thankful that I picked this book up as it introduced me to one of my favourite authors.  Having read a total of 11 or so books by her, I can't imagine not having read this story or been introduced to this world.  
4) Revived by Cat Patrick - A second book to introduce me to another of my favourite authors, and a story I adore with all my heart.  This book still gives me chills and made me pick up her other two books, and for that I am grateful.  
5) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - I can't tell you how grateful I am to this series for so many different reasons.  Along with Noughts and Crosses, it was one the first YA series I read, was one of the first fandoms I joined and just became one of my favourite series to date.  
6) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - If I had to pick one book to be my favourite, it would have to be this one.  I am so glad I read all 600-odd pages of this as once again it is a story I keep coming back to and one I will recommend to anyone and everyone.  I am so grateful for simply having read this amazing work of art.  
7) The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - This is another I am grateful simply for being able to say that I have read and loved the story.  I am so thankful for the beauty of the writing and for it really introducing me into the world of horror and showing me that I could actually enjoy it.  

Sunday, 22 November 2015

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley Doyle

I recently picked this one up to try and get me in the mood for Halloween without reading a fully-blown horror story, as it sounded creepy and intrigued me from the offset.  I found it to be more mysterious than scary, but with it still fitting the October mood which I wanted. And overall - I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.

The book tells the story of a family who, every October, become extremely accident prone and face many tragedies.  Simply the concept of this drew me in, with the reasons behind their misfortunate hidden deep within the story.  I loved how mysterious it all was, especially as things slowly began to unfold as the book went on.  I really liked how so many different plots seemed to come together so effortlessly easy.  I also enjoyed watching as all the characters secrets, and hidden aspects of their lives unfolded, with nothing really being what it seemed.  

But, one thing that did annoy me slightly towards the end of the book was the confusion around some of the actual answers, with a few being given in a brief or mysterious way.  I also wasn't too keen on the flashbacks that were in between the chapters as I just didn't find much need for them, and honestly they just gave away too many clues to some of the mysteries we had to uncover.  

Many of the main characters in this book are from the family it centres around, with the story being told from the point of view of Cara.  I found that, despite not liking some of the characters from the offset, by the end I was definitely a fan of almost all of them.  Pretty much every character grew at least slightly through the course of the book, with some of them having changed an awful lot by the time the last page came around.  I particularly loved the characters of Alice and Sam, these two being the ones who I felt became such amazing characters by the ending; if I thought I liked them at the beginning, I loved them at the end.  

Another thing that I liked was the fast paced writing style, this making the book very easy to get through and harder to put down.  However, I did sometimes find that it meant that some scenes were brushed over very quickly, with some parts progressing extremely quickly.  But, nonetheless, I did enjoy the writing style, even if I did sometimes want things to slow down just slightly.  

Many of the sub-plots in this book were quite dark and most were quite deep and sometimes controversial topics.  I personally really liked how this added to the story, as it made the story seem so much more real as it gave a sense of reality to a book which otherwise was based around a mysterious and supernatural storyline.  It gave the characters more individuality as they had all had their own problem to overcome through the book.

Finally, I really liked the horror and supernatural-esque aspect in this book.  I loved the constant visions and dreams that kept cropping up and really enjoyed having to decipher what was real and what was simply in her head.  The book was also alot scarier in parts than I was expecting, with some scenes terrifying me more than some of those that I have read in horror books.  

So, overall, I did really enjoy this book, even if I didn't love it.  It was mysterious, creepy and was the perfect book to read just before Halloween.  I would definitely recommend people to at least give it a go, particularly if you are looking for a dark, mystical read.

Character(s): Alice and Sam 
Scene(s): Alice, Sam, Bea and Cara decorating the abandoned house
Quote(s): Accidents happen.  Our bones shatter, our skin splits, our hearts break.  We burn, we drown, we stay alive.

Song(s): Daniel in the Den - Bastille  
Other Book(s): We Were Liars by E. Lockhart 



Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Twenty Six

Top Ten Quotes I loved from books I read in the last year (ish) 

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  I can't tell you long I have been looking forward to this topic as, if you don't know, I am absolutely lover of quotes.  I really enjoyed reading back over some of my dog-eared pages and rediscovering the words that I adored.  So here is my slightly longer list of some of my favourite quotes from the last year - enjoy! 

1) The best discoveries always happened to those who weren't looking for them

2) A life with all its business finished is a live too cautiously lived

3) We had yet to learn that the devil created youth so that we could make our mistakes and that God established maturity and old age so that we could pay for them 
- The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafon 

4) The things you hope for the most are the things that destroy the most in the end

5) Maybe there is something you're afraid to say, or someone you're afraid to love, or somewhere you're afraid to go.  Its gonna hurt.  Its gonna hurt because it matters.

 - Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan 

6) It was living.  Really living, like imagine the width of a moment rather than the length, and two people determined to fill every last millimetre of it.
 - Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher 

7) But the little things are what make up life
 - To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han 

8) The best books, they don't talk about things you never thought about before.  They talk about things you'd always thought about, but that you didn't think anyone else had thought about.  You read them, and suddenly you're a little bit less alone in the world. 

9) All the world was a cage 

10) You didn't win the game of life by losing the least... Real winning was having the most to lose, even if it meant you might lose it all.  Even though it meant you would lose it all, sooner or later

10) Give someone the power of the gods and they will become as indifferent as the gods.

11) Some things, down to the smallest of things, are worth the sum of all things

 - The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey 

12) We are reading the story of our lives 
As though we were in it 
As though we had written it

13) Fate has a strange way of making plans 

14) Normal isn't all it's cracked up to be

15) He said that ghosts are just stories that tell themselves.
So are the living


Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Twenty Five

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This weeks topic was one that really got me excited about all the book to movie adaptations that are either already out there or are soon to be.  As with last week, I choose to do both of the suggested topics in order to make the list a reasonable length.  Enjoy: 

Top Ten Book to Movie adaptations I still need to see 

1) The Spectacular Now - I read this book what must be around 2 years ago now, mainly down to the fact that it was a movie with Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller as the leads.  And yet, I still have to watch the movie.

2) The Scorch Trials - Despite not being able to finish the book, I was really looking forward to watching the film when it came out earlier this year, as I had loved the first film.  But alas, I left it too late to watch it and so now have to wait to watch it.  

3) Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist - This one I didn't even know existed until I spotted it on Netflix and knew instantly that I needed to read the book instantly.  But now, around six months later, I have yet to either read the book or watch the film.  

4) Me, Earl and The Dying Girl - This is another case where the sole reason for me not being able to or wanting to watch it is because I have not yet read the book.  This one is a little more annoying as the book is actually sitting on my shelf, but I still haven't got round to reading it, and so I will not be watching this until I finally do.  


Top Ten Book to Movie adaptations I'm looking forward to 

1) The Hunger Games Mockingjay: Part 2 - I'm pretty sure that almost everyone, including me, is anxiously anticipating the release of this one.  I honestly can't wait to watch this one as Mockingjay was my favourite book but I also don't want this series to end!  

2) The 5th Wave - I didn't even know this one was becoming a film until a few months ago when the trailer popped up on my screen.  I really enjoyed this book and so can't wait to see how they portray the story on screen.  

3) Let It Snow - Despite only finding out about this one a few days ago while searching for some upcoming book to movie adaptations, I am so excited for this as I can already picture it being an amazingly cute little festive film! 

4) Looking For Alaska - This is the one which I think I have been waiting the longest for, as ever since the news came out I have been anticipating its release (even if it was a few years away).  This one was by far my favourite John Green book and so I'm so happy they decided to turn it into a film.  

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday Twenty Four

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's theme was one I actually found fairly hard to come up with as I discovered that I tend to read series, marathon a certain authors books or not read debut authors books but rather read their books in the wrong order.  Therefore, I decided that instead of just skipping this topic entirely, I would combine the two suggestions and provide a small list for both.  So I hope you enjoy: 

Top Ten Sophomore novels that I loved just as much/ more than the author's debut:

1) Annabel Pitcher - I really did enjoy My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece, but I do have to say that I loved Ketchup Clouds so much more.  I think I just prefered the mysterious storyline and the setting of the book over her debut, causing me to prefer this one overall.  

2) Stephanie Perkins - Out of the three books currently out by Stephen Perkins, Lola is by far my favourite, with Anna coming in a close second.  I did enjoy all of the books but Lola definitely triumphed Anna in my opinion.  

3) Cat Patrick - I actually read her sophomore novel, Revived before any of her others, including her debut, Forgotten.  However, I still found that I did enjoy Revived more than Forgotten as this may even just make it into my list of favourite books.  

(Just realised that this is not Morgan Matson's second book, but her third - sorry!)

4) Morgan Matson - Again, I did read this books in the wrong order (2nd book first), but I still have to say that I did love Since You've Been Gone just that little bit more than Amy and Roger's Epic Detour.


Top Ten Debut Authors who have me looking forward to their sophomore novel: 

1) Tommy Wallach - I read We All Looked up earlier this year and absolutely loved it, so I think it's safe to say that I am extremely excited and anticipating reading his second book, which I'm hoping to pick up very soon after its release date next year.  

2) Moira Fowley-Doyle - I have only very recently read The Accident Season by her, but even still I already can't wait for another book by her and hope that it will come as soon as possible!