Friday, 18 January 2013

Book Review | Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Series: Unwind #1
Published: November 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 335

Rating
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
REVIEW: Upon reading the synopsis of this book I was thoroughly excited to read something different; a YA dystopian novel with a bit of depth and meaning to it, something dark and haunting. I genuinely thought the whole premise of the idea of 'unwinding' teens was incredibly imaginative and looked forward to seeing how the story developed and if there were any dark truths behind everything. To say I was extremely disappointed would be an understatement.

The story is told from the view points of quite a few people, including people who had nothing to do with the storyline (which was pointless), but primarily from the eyes of Connor, Risa and Lev. At the beginning, the way the three view points stories interlaced made me think that perhaps seeing things from three different angles wouldn't be so bad just because it was really nicely choreographed, if only the rest of the book went along like that in the same fashion. The angles made it confusing, and it wasn't as if they were long chapters each either, some characters only had a page at a time sometimes and I don't feel that that is enough to attach with their particular story. The idea of lesser characters getting chapters really frustrated me as well as you as a reader shouldn't care for these characters as they haven't been created as the main three have - I don't want to read a chapter from the eyes of the pawn broker, why is that even necessary? Why couldn't it have been told from the angle of one of the three? It just all seemed a bit haphazard and more hassle than it was worth.

The plot (or lack of it) was what I was most disappointed about - I felt as though Shusterman had a brilliant idea and just wasted it. Everything seemed either a bit too pre-meditated or really stereotypical, and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and thinking "oh, how convenient" for a lot of the book. The way the story moved just didn't excite me or keep me reading the book, and in the end I was more excited to finish the book than I was to see how the book was concluded. The majority of Unwind didn't actually feature anything to do with the 'unwinding' at all and there were points where I completely forgot what the book was primarily about - it just, to me, ended up like any normal YA book with teen angst and rivalry, which bored me immensely as that is exactly what I was trying to get away from.

Every single character annoyed the hell out of me; they were all so self righteous in their own ways and were completely unbelievable. I didn't feel anything for anyone and I didn't believe for an instant any of the emotions that they claimed to have felt - it all seemed fake. They all changed so quickly, followed easily and changed sides easily. It just didn't seem as though they were real people living in the real world, and the fact that everyone seemed to be the same, except the four main people, made it seem a little weird and unrealistic.

The one thing I did like about it however, when it did appear, was the depth of the idea of the 'bill of life' that was introduced after the second civil war when the pro choice and pro life armies came to an understanding and opted for the unwinding. The laws around this premise were very well thought out and the ideas behind everything from the 'storking' to the 'unwinding' and what happens when other people get unwound body parts was just so touching and fascinating at the same time. 
When the subject was touched it always seemed to move me and make me think about the life as we know it now, and what we take for granted. Another thing was at the beginning of each section there was either a famous quote or an extract of an article relating to the issues at hand, and I felt as though this gave you an insight as to how Shusterman came up with these chilling ideas and it portrays how his imagination works in putting his opinions across in the form of a published book. It's just a shame that these ideas, as great as they were, weren't included a great deal in my eyes.

I feel as though this book got too much hype over the idea, rather than the story itself which isn't what it should be about.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

"The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green



The Fault In Our Stars marked a couple of firsts in my life; one being that I have never read a 300 page book in an afternoon, and the other being that I have never before this book even shed a single tear, let alone been a full on emotional wreck from reading a book.

I would also like to point out, before you continue reading further, that I am still quite an emotional wreck at the present time of writing as I wanted the feelings to be raw and at the point of being - so please excuse any poor review on my part as I am clearly just writing from the heart.

Despite the timor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, he final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

A book has never tapped into my emotions quite like this one did upon reading it, the emotions are so raw and pure that you can't help but feel attachment from the off. These are emotions that any healthy person wouldn't ever dream of being able to feel as they are a thing that is somewhat taken for granted - I can honestly say that this book made me think about my life and how much I'm not grateful for in the grand scheme of things.

Everything in the life of these two teenagers is taken one day at a time just because of the fact that they don't know how long they have together - The little things in life get blown to huge proportions, you realise the true necessities in life and the world just seems that much more of a beautiful place. You go through all of this through the eyes of Hazel Grace Lancaster; you hear her thoughts, doubts and worries as well as the laughs, fun and flirting that has to go hand in hand with the pain. This book has taught me that through all the negative you must see the positive in order to go on. Life isn't just an unless torment out to get you, but something to be treasured. Yes, we all go through bad times, but in order to get to the good times you must first survive the bad and that is what these cancer patients have to go through every single day of their lives.

The characters were the most wonderful I have read in a long time, they were charming and realistic and just so down to earth. I felt the emotions of every single character in the book and related and sympathised with them immensely, (even though that is something that they would have hated) I believed in them so much that they actually felt as though they real people and that they were in real life my friends. I felt as much there for them as they did and were for each other and it's not every day that an author can create that kind of realistic relatable world that you feel so engrossed in.

John Green is definitely the master of amazing quotes. I normally don't take note of page numbers or quotes in books, but in this one in particular I found myself sticking little bits of post-it-notes on a lot of the pages just so I would remember a quote or two. They are so wonderfully profound and well written that they pulled on every single one of my heart strings each and every time. Some people might say that the quotes that characters came up with were 'unrealistic' or 'not something a normal teenager would say', and to that I say to you that they are not normal teenagers; they are cancer patients with not long to live, feel or love. They make every day their last and if that means expressing their feelings in such a profound way, then why on earth shouldn't they, and who are we to judge how somebody expresses themselves - it is also known in the book that they read an awful lot of literature as well.

To sum this up I have been hysterically crying from about the 260th page through to the end, and that is a mean feat for an author to have that affect on me - I am normally one hard-faced reader that barely sheds a tear for anything with regards to book. To have me watering up behind my eyes is one thing, but to have me in fits of sadness and tears is a totally different thing and I applaud Mr Green for proving me wrong.

"What book has changed your life?" I always hear that phrase being chucked around on booktube and in reviews, and I always thought that it was such a stupid question; How could a book change your life? How could a fictional piece of writing change the way in which you think? The Fault In Our Stars has answered that question for me and I feel like a different person for reading it. It has most definitely made me think about my life and how much I take for granted in this world and overall, I feel I will be haunted and changed by this book for the rest of my life.


Saturday, 12 January 2013

"Pushing The Limits" by Katie McGarry

Pushing The Limits is a contemporary novel, and my first novel of this genre was something of a disappointment so with this book I didn't have very high hopes of liking it even though I'd heard so many good things about this book.

It centres around Echo and Noah - Echo was one of the popular girls at school with the jock boyfriend until one night when she totally changed and came back to school as the freaky girl with the scars on her arms. Unfortunately for Echo, she cannot remember what happened on that night and is on the search for answers. Noah is known as the bad boy of the school, he does drugs, smokes, and has a reputation for sleeping around with girls - but he also has a dark past and his brothers have been taken away from him and put into a different foster care home than he is currently in, he is on the road to try and gain custody of them once and for all. These two stories intertwine throughout the book as they meet each other upon chance and start, little by little, to get to know each other and fall in love, but with the pasts that the two have had would love be enough?

The story is told in the two perspectives of the two characters, Echo and Noah, in interchanging chapters, this I found gave depth to the book as you can see how each character is developing individually than from just one persons outlook on the whole situation. There is no wondering if somebody feels a certain way or is thinking a certain thing because it will always be addressed in the next chapter and because of the fact you're seeing both sides you tend to want to push people into doing things and start getting interactive with the book itself.

I found myself not wanting to put the book down a lot of the time because I was so in tune with the story and wanting to find out what had actually happened to Echo and the resolve of Noah and his brothers. Nothing was predictable in the slightest, and everything came as a shock to me in the development of the actual storyline and the characters' issues. At the beginning of the story you think one thing and by the end you're thinking the exact opposite, I absolutely love that in a book when they can almost convince you of something at the beginning, but at the end you realise that it's not as bad as you first thought and you get all the reasonings alongside the twists as to what exactly happened in the meantime - (I hope that made sense).

The writing in this book was so emotive and descriptive and that in itself is what drew me in - McGarry definitely knows how to pull on my heart strings and the emotions that she conjured up throughout the book are beyond compare in my eyes. From the reactions of other people, the characters own emotions and the way they are with their parents and around each other, you definitely felt all of their pain, angst and plain raw emotion. The only bad thing about the writing was the repetitive use of certain words to describe Echo in Noahs mind; 'nymph' and 'siren' started to get on my nerves by the end of the book but at least it wasn't all 'flirty wink' or 'fine ass' but that alone was just a minor thing and is the only negative aspect I have.

I thought I would be disappointed by this book because it sounded as though it would be a very deep book with some meaningful topics being raised - I was afraid that it would forget all of that and just focus on the 'love' aspect of the story. This book totally blew my mind as it was totally and utterly the opposite. Pushing the Limits focussed on the depth of topical issues and growing emotions in an unstable person throughout the entirety of the book. The topics of peoples troubled pasts took precedence and it was presented in a very informative way and the characters never lost that part of them that would always make them quite vulnerable - obviously people put on facades, but that's a normal part of life sometimes, but I felt that the development of characters was very realistic. I felt that the development of love or emotion was very realistic as well, especially in the circumstances, it wasn't rushed, gushy or over powering to the story line. The love was beautifully gradual with as many ups and downs and doubts as there would be in any normal relationship. I have found that generally when there's a love aspect in a book, that characters, especially girls, will change their values around a boy they like, but Echo never did that and nothing was ever rushed - I found that to be quite refreshing as it wasn't a hypocritical story with hypocritical characters that change as soon as a prospective boyfriend starts to 'swoon' them.

The emotions in this book, and not just the love for each other, was so powerful - the love for family, the emotions of not knowing and wondering, the idea of feeling lost in the world. These were just some of the feelings that I got from the story and at times it was so touching that I almost cried, (I don't normally cry in books and it takes a lot for me to get all teary eyed) I felt so much sympathy with Echo and Noah in both of their personal situations that it made me think about my life and how much I take for granted in the world. This kind of thought makes me feel as though I've really connected with the characters, and when that happens it is the making of a brilliant book - one that really makes you think.

I am ridiculously surprised with this book and I am so glad that I picked this one up after much hesitancy on my part. This has definitely marked contemporary novels up a level on my spectrum and I can honestly say that I absolutely loved it and it has changed the way I think. Amazing.



Monday, 7 January 2013

30 Day Book Challenge [5/30]

Day 5 - A book that you’ve read the most times

I'm not really, like the last challenge, the type of person to read a book more than once. I normally stand by the idea that there are so many wonderful books out there to read, so why would you waste your time reading one more than once. 

I probably read books when I was a child more than once; children's picture books and such but I'm pretty sure those won't count - not that I would be able to remember anyways.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This is probably the only book I can think of off hand that I know for a fact I've read more than once. As I think I've stated before, I have a thing where I can't read a series of books in a row one after the other. I like to read the first book, read a few other books then go back to the second in the series - this causes me to forget about the series generally and this is what happened with the His Dark Materials series. 

I read it ages ago and forgot to read the second one, so by the time I wanted to read the second one I had completely forgotten what had happened in the first one (I didn't want to watch the film to remind myself as the film is NOTHING LIKE THE BOOK AT ALL) so I re-read it to reacquaint myself with the surroundings of everything. To my enjoyment it was just as good second time around.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

"The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And DIsappeared" by Jonas Jonasson

I picked up The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared from the Amazon kindle store for a mere 20p. This is just like borrowing a book from a library for me because what's 20p, if I like it I've got another book to treasure, but if I find it awful, I've only spent a tiny bit of money on it. That's my stance on the whole thing anyways.

The book was originally a Swedish novel and centres around Allan Karlsson who is living in an old peoples home - and as simply as the title of the book puts it, he escapes out of his window and disappears on his hundredth birthday. When he first escapes, he happens upon a suitcase filled with money (that he is unaware of) and makes his way on a bus journey to as far as his fifty crown note will take him whereupon a mass of crazy adventures and people ensue.

This book was absolutely hilarious, combining history with dark comedy with just plain stupidity. The adventures that follow Allan in the present day are ridiculous but this just makes it pure genius. I've found that a lot of authors tend to try and over complicate things within a story, but I thought that Jonasson created a story from the simplest of ideas - an old man escaping from an old peoples home - it's so simple that you wonder why nobody had thought of it before, and I think that a lot of people would think it sounds too obvious and everyone's always after the more intriguing, complicated, imaginative stories out there when in fact the best ones are made of the simplest ingredients. Saying that, I'm not implying that this book was simple in the least, in fact it was far from simple. It followed the life of Allan from the escape as well as following Allan's life as a whole from the day he was born up until the present day itself. In fact Allan's past was just as hilarious and coincidental as his escape was.

The story had a nice balance between the past Allan and the present day Allan and at the beginning I didn't want either side of the story to end when it came to the end of that particular chapter. Halfway through the book, however, the balance became a little too one sided in favour of past Allan and the present day Allan was a little neglected, it was as if Jonasson had come to the end of his tether with regards to the crazy adventures Allan could get himself into on the run from the police and the old peoples home. It started to get a little lacklustre and the historical element, as brilliant as they were to read as they were based upon real events in actuality, started to become a little tiresome for my likings. A lot of the historical issues that were presented in the past Allan scenes were on the topic of politics, and as much as I was trying to keep up and understand, I'm just generally not interested and am admittedly quite ignorant on that particular subject so found myself to (not entirely) be skimming the pages about communists, socialists, etc as it started to get a little bit boring for me. On the other hand, if you understand, then I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem but for me it's just a personal preference.

The thing that really stood out to me was the characters, each character along Allan's journey has an amazing story behind them and for once the description of each and every characters main life story did not detract from the whole books story as a whole - in fact it added to the hilarity and plain ludicrous nature of it. This was spread out across almost every character from past to present and there wasn't anybody I hated in the slightest as everyone had their own little unique twist on the story and sometimes their little tales were so unbelievable that you just had to sit back and laugh. This meant that you got to know the characters, not on a personal emotional level, but on a factual level which was a refreshing change to the books I have been known to read revolving around peoples emotions and love stories which I have started to grow sick of.

This was just a simple book with an enormous amount of crazy surrounding it. In fact it's the most ridiculous unbelievable book I have ever read, but that's just what makes it pure genius.


Friday, 4 January 2013

Friday Reads | 4th January 2013

In this section I will be going over what I plan on reading over the weekend - I work 8.30-5 every week day so the weekend is where I get a large chunk of my reading done so I hope to get a couple of books finished this weekend.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

I'm currently about 75% of the way through this book and actually plan on finishing it tonight. I'm absolutely adoring this book so far though; it's imaginative, funny, quirky and is actually ridiculous, but that much that it's actually a literary genius.

It's about a man who on his hundredth birthday decided he's had enough so escapes through the window of his care home room and goes on an unplanned adventure that consists of many a mishap and journey. It's such a simple idea that it's so original - a lot of people try to come up with amazingly complicated stories and fail but it's the simple ones that always comes out on top sometimes. This is a prime example of that.


Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

This is classed as a contemporary romance - or so I've been told - and I've heard that this book is exceptionally good so I'm really excited to start reading this one. 

The last 'contemporary romance' book I read was The Boy Who Sneaked In My Bedroom and I wasn't particularly impressed by that book and to be honest, from the experience of contemporary novels as a whole that I've had, I'm not entirely keen on the genre full stop.

I'm not entirely sure what this one's about really, I just want to read it and see where it takes me.







Thursday, 3 January 2013

December 2012 | Wrap up and Resolutions 2013

In addition to my resolution post, this is my resolutions video alongside my wrap up of all the books I have read in the month of December. 

Books mentioned:
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
Hush Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver
The Boy Who Sneaked In My Bedroom Window - Kirsty Moseley 
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (1)

Originally created by Pen To Paper

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


I really don't like seeing films before I've read the book it's based upon, I find that if I do that I imagine the characters in the book as the actors that play them - this also happens when I see trailers before or half way through books, it ruins the whole experience of reading a book for me. 

However much I want to read this book before the film comes out, I doubt that it's actually going to happen because I'm currently on a book buying ban which I plan to stick to until I've read at least twenty books that are currently on my shelves.

But I digress, I'm really eager to read this book as it sounds wonderful and I've heard so many good things about it, it just sounds really interesting. The cover, I admit, was the thing that drew me to the book originally; it's absolutely beautiful and I love any cover with gorgeous typography. Ergh, so lovely, and the contrast between the purple and the black - it reminds me of the gone series by Michael Grant cover wise and that series was one of my favourite cover sets. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

New Years Resolutions 2013

So, it's a new year, and with new years comes the new years resolutions. The dreaded new years resolutions which are made every year with the sole intention of keeping them throughout the entirety of the year until the end of the first week of January - well that's how it happens every year in my life. 

This year, however, I want to make a positive change with my life and start doing things that I enjoy and want to do. I'm fed up of procrastinating and not doing anything productive 90% of the time, I want to actually do something with my life and say to myself at the end of the year, 'I've achieved something' or 'I've kept to something'. That in itself would make my year, period.

So here we have it. Below I've listed my new years resolutions and I will look back at this at the end of the year and see how it's come along or not as it may be. 
  1. Read 100 books. On Goodreads I have challenged myself to read 100 books. Now, I'm not sure if this is me being a little bit too ambitious but I'm going to try my hardest to complete this by the end of the year and if I don't make it, fair enough but I'm not going to decrease the number to compensate for what I haven't done.
  2. Read a variety of genres. I am participating in the 2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge on A Daydreamer's Thoughts blog. I have a tendency to read YA all of the time and I've decided that it's time to broaden my horizons and read a lot more genres as I might be pleasantly surprised with what I find. I plan to read 24 different genres.
  3. Finish book series. Any series of books that I have started in the past I plan to finish. I always read book 1, not want to read the second one straight away, read something else and then forget that I'm meant to read the other books in the series. A few examples of this are The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, His Dark Materials, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  4. Blog every day. I need to write something every day on this blog and keep to it for once. If I'm away for a week I will create posts that will be posted on the particular days that I am not around.  I'm going to be creating a sort of schedule in a little while as well.
  5. Draw every day. I love art and design and I want to get back into drawing and sketching for fun, so I want to draw something, anything at least once a day - these will be posted on my tumblr if anyone's interested as well.
  6. Read books I have. I have a load of books on my bookshelves at home that I have had since I was little but I haven't read, alongside a load of books that I've read but really want to reread as I haven't completed the series and have forgotten everything about them and where I left off. I need to stop buying as many books and just read what I have for a little bit. I'm not setting myself a goal of how many books off my shelf I want to be read but I want to read quite a few is all I will say. Funnily enough I've got about £40 worth of book vouchers to spend this year from christmas presents I received - whoops.
Do you have any new years resolutions? 

Book Review | Unwind by Neal Shusterman


Series: Unwind #1
Published: November 2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 335

Rating
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
REVIEW: Upon reading the synopsis of this book I was thoroughly excited to read something different; a YA dystopian novel with a bit of depth and meaning to it, something dark and haunting. I genuinely thought the whole premise of the idea of 'unwinding' teens was incredibly imaginative and looked forward to seeing how the story developed and if there were any dark truths behind everything. To say I was extremely disappointed would be an understatement.

The story is told from the view points of quite a few people, including people who had nothing to do with the storyline (which was pointless), but primarily from the eyes of Connor, Risa and Lev. At the beginning, the way the three view points stories interlaced made me think that perhaps seeing things from three different angles wouldn't be so bad just because it was really nicely choreographed, if only the rest of the book went along like that in the same fashion. The angles made it confusing, and it wasn't as if they were long chapters each either, some characters only had a page at a time sometimes and I don't feel that that is enough to attach with their particular story. The idea of lesser characters getting chapters really frustrated me as well as you as a reader shouldn't care for these characters as they haven't been created as the main three have - I don't want to read a chapter from the eyes of the pawn broker, why is that even necessary? Why couldn't it have been told from the angle of one of the three? It just all seemed a bit haphazard and more hassle than it was worth.

The plot (or lack of it) was what I was most disappointed about - I felt as though Shusterman had a brilliant idea and just wasted it. Everything seemed either a bit too pre-meditated or really stereotypical, and I found myself rolling my eyes a lot and thinking "oh, how convenient" for a lot of the book. The way the story moved just didn't excite me or keep me reading the book, and in the end I was more excited to finish the book than I was to see how the book was concluded. The majority of Unwind didn't actually feature anything to do with the 'unwinding' at all and there were points where I completely forgot what the book was primarily about - it just, to me, ended up like any normal YA book with teen angst and rivalry, which bored me immensely as that is exactly what I was trying to get away from.

Every single character annoyed the hell out of me; they were all so self righteous in their own ways and were completely unbelievable. I didn't feel anything for anyone and I didn't believe for an instant any of the emotions that they claimed to have felt - it all seemed fake. They all changed so quickly, followed easily and changed sides easily. It just didn't seem as though they were real people living in the real world, and the fact that everyone seemed to be the same, except the four main people, made it seem a little weird and unrealistic.

The one thing I did like about it however, when it did appear, was the depth of the idea of the 'bill of life' that was introduced after the second civil war when the pro choice and pro life armies came to an understanding and opted for the unwinding. The laws around this premise were very well thought out and the ideas behind everything from the 'storking' to the 'unwinding' and what happens when other people get unwound body parts was just so touching and fascinating at the same time. 
When the subject was touched it always seemed to move me and make me think about the life as we know it now, and what we take for granted. Another thing was at the beginning of each section there was either a famous quote or an extract of an article relating to the issues at hand, and I felt as though this gave you an insight as to how Shusterman came up with these chilling ideas and it portrays how his imagination works in putting his opinions across in the form of a published book. It's just a shame that these ideas, as great as they were, weren't included a great deal in my eyes.

I feel as though this book got too much hype over the idea, rather than the story itself which isn't what it should be about.

"The Fault In Our Stars" by John Green



The Fault In Our Stars marked a couple of firsts in my life; one being that I have never read a 300 page book in an afternoon, and the other being that I have never before this book even shed a single tear, let alone been a full on emotional wreck from reading a book.

I would also like to point out, before you continue reading further, that I am still quite an emotional wreck at the present time of writing as I wanted the feelings to be raw and at the point of being - so please excuse any poor review on my part as I am clearly just writing from the heart.

Despite the timor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, he final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

A book has never tapped into my emotions quite like this one did upon reading it, the emotions are so raw and pure that you can't help but feel attachment from the off. These are emotions that any healthy person wouldn't ever dream of being able to feel as they are a thing that is somewhat taken for granted - I can honestly say that this book made me think about my life and how much I'm not grateful for in the grand scheme of things.

Everything in the life of these two teenagers is taken one day at a time just because of the fact that they don't know how long they have together - The little things in life get blown to huge proportions, you realise the true necessities in life and the world just seems that much more of a beautiful place. You go through all of this through the eyes of Hazel Grace Lancaster; you hear her thoughts, doubts and worries as well as the laughs, fun and flirting that has to go hand in hand with the pain. This book has taught me that through all the negative you must see the positive in order to go on. Life isn't just an unless torment out to get you, but something to be treasured. Yes, we all go through bad times, but in order to get to the good times you must first survive the bad and that is what these cancer patients have to go through every single day of their lives.

The characters were the most wonderful I have read in a long time, they were charming and realistic and just so down to earth. I felt the emotions of every single character in the book and related and sympathised with them immensely, (even though that is something that they would have hated) I believed in them so much that they actually felt as though they real people and that they were in real life my friends. I felt as much there for them as they did and were for each other and it's not every day that an author can create that kind of realistic relatable world that you feel so engrossed in.

John Green is definitely the master of amazing quotes. I normally don't take note of page numbers or quotes in books, but in this one in particular I found myself sticking little bits of post-it-notes on a lot of the pages just so I would remember a quote or two. They are so wonderfully profound and well written that they pulled on every single one of my heart strings each and every time. Some people might say that the quotes that characters came up with were 'unrealistic' or 'not something a normal teenager would say', and to that I say to you that they are not normal teenagers; they are cancer patients with not long to live, feel or love. They make every day their last and if that means expressing their feelings in such a profound way, then why on earth shouldn't they, and who are we to judge how somebody expresses themselves - it is also known in the book that they read an awful lot of literature as well.

To sum this up I have been hysterically crying from about the 260th page through to the end, and that is a mean feat for an author to have that affect on me - I am normally one hard-faced reader that barely sheds a tear for anything with regards to book. To have me watering up behind my eyes is one thing, but to have me in fits of sadness and tears is a totally different thing and I applaud Mr Green for proving me wrong.

"What book has changed your life?" I always hear that phrase being chucked around on booktube and in reviews, and I always thought that it was such a stupid question; How could a book change your life? How could a fictional piece of writing change the way in which you think? The Fault In Our Stars has answered that question for me and I feel like a different person for reading it. It has most definitely made me think about my life and how much I take for granted in this world and overall, I feel I will be haunted and changed by this book for the rest of my life.


"Pushing The Limits" by Katie McGarry

Pushing The Limits is a contemporary novel, and my first novel of this genre was something of a disappointment so with this book I didn't have very high hopes of liking it even though I'd heard so many good things about this book.

It centres around Echo and Noah - Echo was one of the popular girls at school with the jock boyfriend until one night when she totally changed and came back to school as the freaky girl with the scars on her arms. Unfortunately for Echo, she cannot remember what happened on that night and is on the search for answers. Noah is known as the bad boy of the school, he does drugs, smokes, and has a reputation for sleeping around with girls - but he also has a dark past and his brothers have been taken away from him and put into a different foster care home than he is currently in, he is on the road to try and gain custody of them once and for all. These two stories intertwine throughout the book as they meet each other upon chance and start, little by little, to get to know each other and fall in love, but with the pasts that the two have had would love be enough?

The story is told in the two perspectives of the two characters, Echo and Noah, in interchanging chapters, this I found gave depth to the book as you can see how each character is developing individually than from just one persons outlook on the whole situation. There is no wondering if somebody feels a certain way or is thinking a certain thing because it will always be addressed in the next chapter and because of the fact you're seeing both sides you tend to want to push people into doing things and start getting interactive with the book itself.

I found myself not wanting to put the book down a lot of the time because I was so in tune with the story and wanting to find out what had actually happened to Echo and the resolve of Noah and his brothers. Nothing was predictable in the slightest, and everything came as a shock to me in the development of the actual storyline and the characters' issues. At the beginning of the story you think one thing and by the end you're thinking the exact opposite, I absolutely love that in a book when they can almost convince you of something at the beginning, but at the end you realise that it's not as bad as you first thought and you get all the reasonings alongside the twists as to what exactly happened in the meantime - (I hope that made sense).

The writing in this book was so emotive and descriptive and that in itself is what drew me in - McGarry definitely knows how to pull on my heart strings and the emotions that she conjured up throughout the book are beyond compare in my eyes. From the reactions of other people, the characters own emotions and the way they are with their parents and around each other, you definitely felt all of their pain, angst and plain raw emotion. The only bad thing about the writing was the repetitive use of certain words to describe Echo in Noahs mind; 'nymph' and 'siren' started to get on my nerves by the end of the book but at least it wasn't all 'flirty wink' or 'fine ass' but that alone was just a minor thing and is the only negative aspect I have.

I thought I would be disappointed by this book because it sounded as though it would be a very deep book with some meaningful topics being raised - I was afraid that it would forget all of that and just focus on the 'love' aspect of the story. This book totally blew my mind as it was totally and utterly the opposite. Pushing the Limits focussed on the depth of topical issues and growing emotions in an unstable person throughout the entirety of the book. The topics of peoples troubled pasts took precedence and it was presented in a very informative way and the characters never lost that part of them that would always make them quite vulnerable - obviously people put on facades, but that's a normal part of life sometimes, but I felt that the development of characters was very realistic. I felt that the development of love or emotion was very realistic as well, especially in the circumstances, it wasn't rushed, gushy or over powering to the story line. The love was beautifully gradual with as many ups and downs and doubts as there would be in any normal relationship. I have found that generally when there's a love aspect in a book, that characters, especially girls, will change their values around a boy they like, but Echo never did that and nothing was ever rushed - I found that to be quite refreshing as it wasn't a hypocritical story with hypocritical characters that change as soon as a prospective boyfriend starts to 'swoon' them.

The emotions in this book, and not just the love for each other, was so powerful - the love for family, the emotions of not knowing and wondering, the idea of feeling lost in the world. These were just some of the feelings that I got from the story and at times it was so touching that I almost cried, (I don't normally cry in books and it takes a lot for me to get all teary eyed) I felt so much sympathy with Echo and Noah in both of their personal situations that it made me think about my life and how much I take for granted in the world. This kind of thought makes me feel as though I've really connected with the characters, and when that happens it is the making of a brilliant book - one that really makes you think.

I am ridiculously surprised with this book and I am so glad that I picked this one up after much hesitancy on my part. This has definitely marked contemporary novels up a level on my spectrum and I can honestly say that I absolutely loved it and it has changed the way I think. Amazing.



30 Day Book Challenge [5/30]

Day 5 - A book that you’ve read the most times

I'm not really, like the last challenge, the type of person to read a book more than once. I normally stand by the idea that there are so many wonderful books out there to read, so why would you waste your time reading one more than once. 

I probably read books when I was a child more than once; children's picture books and such but I'm pretty sure those won't count - not that I would be able to remember anyways.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

This is probably the only book I can think of off hand that I know for a fact I've read more than once. As I think I've stated before, I have a thing where I can't read a series of books in a row one after the other. I like to read the first book, read a few other books then go back to the second in the series - this causes me to forget about the series generally and this is what happened with the His Dark Materials series. 

I read it ages ago and forgot to read the second one, so by the time I wanted to read the second one I had completely forgotten what had happened in the first one (I didn't want to watch the film to remind myself as the film is NOTHING LIKE THE BOOK AT ALL) so I re-read it to reacquaint myself with the surroundings of everything. To my enjoyment it was just as good second time around.

"The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And DIsappeared" by Jonas Jonasson

I picked up The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared from the Amazon kindle store for a mere 20p. This is just like borrowing a book from a library for me because what's 20p, if I like it I've got another book to treasure, but if I find it awful, I've only spent a tiny bit of money on it. That's my stance on the whole thing anyways.

The book was originally a Swedish novel and centres around Allan Karlsson who is living in an old peoples home - and as simply as the title of the book puts it, he escapes out of his window and disappears on his hundredth birthday. When he first escapes, he happens upon a suitcase filled with money (that he is unaware of) and makes his way on a bus journey to as far as his fifty crown note will take him whereupon a mass of crazy adventures and people ensue.

This book was absolutely hilarious, combining history with dark comedy with just plain stupidity. The adventures that follow Allan in the present day are ridiculous but this just makes it pure genius. I've found that a lot of authors tend to try and over complicate things within a story, but I thought that Jonasson created a story from the simplest of ideas - an old man escaping from an old peoples home - it's so simple that you wonder why nobody had thought of it before, and I think that a lot of people would think it sounds too obvious and everyone's always after the more intriguing, complicated, imaginative stories out there when in fact the best ones are made of the simplest ingredients. Saying that, I'm not implying that this book was simple in the least, in fact it was far from simple. It followed the life of Allan from the escape as well as following Allan's life as a whole from the day he was born up until the present day itself. In fact Allan's past was just as hilarious and coincidental as his escape was.

The story had a nice balance between the past Allan and the present day Allan and at the beginning I didn't want either side of the story to end when it came to the end of that particular chapter. Halfway through the book, however, the balance became a little too one sided in favour of past Allan and the present day Allan was a little neglected, it was as if Jonasson had come to the end of his tether with regards to the crazy adventures Allan could get himself into on the run from the police and the old peoples home. It started to get a little lacklustre and the historical element, as brilliant as they were to read as they were based upon real events in actuality, started to become a little tiresome for my likings. A lot of the historical issues that were presented in the past Allan scenes were on the topic of politics, and as much as I was trying to keep up and understand, I'm just generally not interested and am admittedly quite ignorant on that particular subject so found myself to (not entirely) be skimming the pages about communists, socialists, etc as it started to get a little bit boring for me. On the other hand, if you understand, then I'm sure this wouldn't be a problem but for me it's just a personal preference.

The thing that really stood out to me was the characters, each character along Allan's journey has an amazing story behind them and for once the description of each and every characters main life story did not detract from the whole books story as a whole - in fact it added to the hilarity and plain ludicrous nature of it. This was spread out across almost every character from past to present and there wasn't anybody I hated in the slightest as everyone had their own little unique twist on the story and sometimes their little tales were so unbelievable that you just had to sit back and laugh. This meant that you got to know the characters, not on a personal emotional level, but on a factual level which was a refreshing change to the books I have been known to read revolving around peoples emotions and love stories which I have started to grow sick of.

This was just a simple book with an enormous amount of crazy surrounding it. In fact it's the most ridiculous unbelievable book I have ever read, but that's just what makes it pure genius.


Friday Reads | 4th January 2013

In this section I will be going over what I plan on reading over the weekend - I work 8.30-5 every week day so the weekend is where I get a large chunk of my reading done so I hope to get a couple of books finished this weekend.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

I'm currently about 75% of the way through this book and actually plan on finishing it tonight. I'm absolutely adoring this book so far though; it's imaginative, funny, quirky and is actually ridiculous, but that much that it's actually a literary genius.

It's about a man who on his hundredth birthday decided he's had enough so escapes through the window of his care home room and goes on an unplanned adventure that consists of many a mishap and journey. It's such a simple idea that it's so original - a lot of people try to come up with amazingly complicated stories and fail but it's the simple ones that always comes out on top sometimes. This is a prime example of that.


Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry

This is classed as a contemporary romance - or so I've been told - and I've heard that this book is exceptionally good so I'm really excited to start reading this one. 

The last 'contemporary romance' book I read was The Boy Who Sneaked In My Bedroom and I wasn't particularly impressed by that book and to be honest, from the experience of contemporary novels as a whole that I've had, I'm not entirely keen on the genre full stop.

I'm not entirely sure what this one's about really, I just want to read it and see where it takes me.







December 2012 | Wrap up and Resolutions 2013

In addition to my resolution post, this is my resolutions video alongside my wrap up of all the books I have read in the month of December. 

Books mentioned:
Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas
A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin
Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld
Hush Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
Pandemonium - Lauren Oliver
The Boy Who Sneaked In My Bedroom Window - Kirsty Moseley 
Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

Wishlist Wednesday (1)

Originally created by Pen To Paper

Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it’s entirely up to you), that we can’t wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.


I really don't like seeing films before I've read the book it's based upon, I find that if I do that I imagine the characters in the book as the actors that play them - this also happens when I see trailers before or half way through books, it ruins the whole experience of reading a book for me. 

However much I want to read this book before the film comes out, I doubt that it's actually going to happen because I'm currently on a book buying ban which I plan to stick to until I've read at least twenty books that are currently on my shelves.

But I digress, I'm really eager to read this book as it sounds wonderful and I've heard so many good things about it, it just sounds really interesting. The cover, I admit, was the thing that drew me to the book originally; it's absolutely beautiful and I love any cover with gorgeous typography. Ergh, so lovely, and the contrast between the purple and the black - it reminds me of the gone series by Michael Grant cover wise and that series was one of my favourite cover sets. 

New Years Resolutions 2013

So, it's a new year, and with new years comes the new years resolutions. The dreaded new years resolutions which are made every year with the sole intention of keeping them throughout the entirety of the year until the end of the first week of January - well that's how it happens every year in my life. 

This year, however, I want to make a positive change with my life and start doing things that I enjoy and want to do. I'm fed up of procrastinating and not doing anything productive 90% of the time, I want to actually do something with my life and say to myself at the end of the year, 'I've achieved something' or 'I've kept to something'. That in itself would make my year, period.

So here we have it. Below I've listed my new years resolutions and I will look back at this at the end of the year and see how it's come along or not as it may be. 
  1. Read 100 books. On Goodreads I have challenged myself to read 100 books. Now, I'm not sure if this is me being a little bit too ambitious but I'm going to try my hardest to complete this by the end of the year and if I don't make it, fair enough but I'm not going to decrease the number to compensate for what I haven't done.
  2. Read a variety of genres. I am participating in the 2013 Genre Variety Reading Challenge on A Daydreamer's Thoughts blog. I have a tendency to read YA all of the time and I've decided that it's time to broaden my horizons and read a lot more genres as I might be pleasantly surprised with what I find. I plan to read 24 different genres.
  3. Finish book series. Any series of books that I have started in the past I plan to finish. I always read book 1, not want to read the second one straight away, read something else and then forget that I'm meant to read the other books in the series. A few examples of this are The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, His Dark Materials, Percy Jackson and the Olympians
  4. Blog every day. I need to write something every day on this blog and keep to it for once. If I'm away for a week I will create posts that will be posted on the particular days that I am not around.  I'm going to be creating a sort of schedule in a little while as well.
  5. Draw every day. I love art and design and I want to get back into drawing and sketching for fun, so I want to draw something, anything at least once a day - these will be posted on my tumblr if anyone's interested as well.
  6. Read books I have. I have a load of books on my bookshelves at home that I have had since I was little but I haven't read, alongside a load of books that I've read but really want to reread as I haven't completed the series and have forgotten everything about them and where I left off. I need to stop buying as many books and just read what I have for a little bit. I'm not setting myself a goal of how many books off my shelf I want to be read but I want to read quite a few is all I will say. Funnily enough I've got about £40 worth of book vouchers to spend this year from christmas presents I received - whoops.
Do you have any new years resolutions?