Book Review: Replica – Lauren Oliver 

(4.5 stars)

This book took me completely by surprise and that is one of my ultimate, favourite things when it comes to reading a book. If I’m being completely honest, I picked this book up without reading the description or knowing what this book this book was about at all. I simply picked this book up because I was enthrilled by the whole layout and presentation of this book. Look at it and tell me that it doesn’t appeal to you because of how different it is from the majority of books?. I’d never seen a book like this one and with this beautiful cover, it just screamed out to me. So, I didn’t know what I was actually expecting from the storyline when I purchased this book, just that it was told from two peoples persepective, I would have to flip it upside down and that their stories, or perspectives, met in the centre of this book. 

But on saying that, I actually really enjoyed this book!! The way it works and is presented, with the storyline and how it is all written, blending together but yet having their own individuality, it was so clever. Each characters perspective is written slightly different to emulate each characters different personality and I loved that fact. There are a couple of ways that you can read this book, choosing one person’s first, Reading it in its full then continuing on by reading the other person’s story, or visa versa. However, I chose to read it a different way. I read a couple of chapters at a time and then flip it over to switch to the other characters perspective, so that it wouldn’t feel like I was reading the same book twice and I am glad I did it that way. They each select and include different things and have their own thoughts and moments to include, that when brought together make this story complete as a whole, so when reading it the way I did, I felt like I wasn’t missing anything. You do get some duplicate reading surrounding the same events, however as they are told from different perspectives, they feel like and are in themselves, different stories and need to be duplicated and I’m glad they were. 

There was so much hype that surrounded this book, even before it came out and based on my opinion, it was definitely worth all the hype that surrounded this book, even if most of the hype was about the way this book presented the two characters stories. I would’ve like a little bit more at the end, a conclusion or something, where they reached where they were heading and got to see all of the reactions and a bit more because I was looking forward to that, but we didn’t. Instead, we had to settle for a phone call, which wasn’t as dramatic as the ending I was looking forward to and a bit of a let down and I don’t want to say why as I don’t want to give away spoilers. I have found out that there is a second book coming out, so maybe that’s why this book ended the way it did, but I still had to remove half a star because of it. Edit

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, #4 – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is the fourth book in the Harry Potter series and this is the book where everything changes. This was the first Harry Potter book that I ever read and I am so glad that I have re-read it now and am continuing to read the rest in the correct order. I discovered so much more and everything has hit me a lot more this time round. The emotions of what took place in this book and everything that was getting ready and being set up for the upcoming books is just so emotional. Knowing what’s coming, I can see everything being set up so perfectly now (possibly because I know what’s going to happen) and its so brilliantly done, which is something I never noticed before. I can’t wait to read the last three books, but they are going to be even more emotional, as it’s all hitting me a lot more now as an adult. 

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews

I really enjoyed reading this book and I can’t believe I held off on reading it for soo long!! I lovvve the way this book is written, with it being written as through the author, aka the main character Greg, is speaking directly to the reader the entirity of the book. Right down to the beginning of the book where there is “A note from Greg Gaines” which just added that little bit extra something. I love it. 

This book feels honest, in a brutal way. There wad no holding back when it came to things that you would think not to include and tell people about, because of the awkwardness and out of embarrassment. Especially after we find out who and why Greg is actually writing this book for. But at the same time, Greg is in some serious denial, both about his feelings and when he says how all of this didn’t change or affect him. But with all that, it just adds to how realistic this story feels. Even the title is just honest and just tells you exactly what you’re in for! But on saying that, it’s not a book that just focuses everything on Rachel and the illness, but on the teenagers, growing up and other aspects, and. the illness is just another thing in this book.

You get these little parts within the story that look like a film script, which is so fitting and suits this characters personality down to a tee. These little extras are just so perfect, especially considering this book is written in the way that Greg is meant to have wrote it, and Greg states how he more a filmmaker, not a writer. 

In the Epilogue, there is a funny little thing that was just so funny to me, because of hindsight and because I waited so long to read this book. Greg states how he want be “making a film out of this book. There is no way in hell that is going to happen.” This made me laugh so much because I know that they made a film based on this book, so I found it hilarious. 

I’m so glad I’ve finally read this book!!!

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J.K. Rowling

wp-1488892121012.jpeg“Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transportation for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.”

When the Knight Bus crashes through the darkness and screeches to a halt in front of him, it’s the start of another far from ordinary year at Hogwarts for Harry Potter. Sirius Black, escaped mass-murderer and follower of Lord Voldemort, is on the run – and they say he is coming after Harry. In his first ever Divination class, Professor Trelawney sees an omen of death in Harry’s tea leaves… But perhaps most terrifying of all are the Dementors patrolling the school grounds, with their soul-sucking kiss… ”

This is the second time within a year that I have read this book and I am not disappointed. How is it that you can read the same book within a close proximity to each other and still see it differently each time? It’s amazing. I only read this book last year because it was the only Harry Potter book that I hadn’t read and it became my favourite. This may possibly have been because I was reading it as an adult and knew roughly was going to happen because of the films and the other books, which I had read, so I already felt like I was reading it for a second time with an all knowing eye. My enjoyment of this book, made me fall back in love with this series and made me want to re-read the whole entire series again, but this time doing it right for the first time.

I was apprehensive re-reading this book again so close, but boy was I wrong to be nervous. It felt so much better reading this book this time around. Because I was doing right and I had just read Book 1 and 2 in the series already, the story carried on and it flowed that much better. All the little jokes, although deep within me made sense the first time around, didn’t need any thinking, which made me enjoy them so much. There was just so much more that I just picked up on and because of this, made the story that much more special.

This is one of the books where there is so much more in the book that is just left out of the movies, so if you decide to read this, you uncover so many more layers. The most simplest of things, such as, who wrote and created the Map that Fred and George gave to Harry. The names are so clearly there for all to see, in both movie and book, it made me feel like I had been so ignorant when I had been watching the film’s before for not noticing them before because of how obvious they were and I had to have them explained to me so clearly.

I loved everything about this book, and this is one of those few books that definitely did live up to and exceed the hype that surrounded it. The characters that you already know and love are growing up slowly and you can see it happening and I only wish that I read them in the right order so I could’ve seen that more clearly. You can see that the style of the book is growing as the age of not only the characters are growing older, but the age of the readers are also growing older alongside the characters. This is shown with the writing style and the language that takes a darker turn and with there being a more complex storyline to follow. The book is also bigger in size, as there is more of a story to tell, requiring the reader to have more determination to read and finish this book. I loved it!

I would definitely recommend this book and this ENTIRE series to everybody and to anybody who wishes to go on an adventure. I would say to start off with the first book Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone and make your way through the series in the correct order, regardless if you’ve already read them because re-reading them now as an adult are way more enjoyable now, than when I was a child. These books are NOT just for children and are fantastic reads. You will not regret it. Enjoy!!! 5 out of 5 stars.

5 Stars

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

wp-1488893370918.jpeg*I was lucky enough to win an Uncorrected Proof Copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, so I would first like to say thank you for choosing me as one of the winners.*

“Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc.

Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.

Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard from the President of the United States.

Aaron Starmer rewrites the rulebook with Spontaneous. But beneath the outrageous is a ridiculously funny, super honest, and truly moving exemplar of the absurd and raw truths of being a teenager in the 21st century . . . and the heartache of saying goodbye.”

When I read the premise of this book I was so excited and even more so when I won this book on Goodreads and was eager to read it. It’s not every day you read a book about teenagers/young adults just spontaneously combusting, so this definitely had me intrigued. There were some really good and enjoyable aspects to this book. This book did make me laugh, in certain parts, considering that this is a book about 17/18 year olds randomly exploding, so it’s good to have those little light hearted parts in this book. Trust me, I got some weird looks off my mum when she saw my me reading this book, which she knew was about exploding people, and randomly chuckling every now and again. Yeah, she thinks I’m kind of weird.

However, I was disappointed when it came to actually reading Spontaneous as a whole. I was expecting something more or something different, but this book just let me down and disappointed me. When it came to the development of the characters in this book, it was very sloppy and poorly done. This book is told from a first persons perspective, told from the point of view of the character Mara Carlyle, who witnesses a lot of these combustions. Considering the vast number of characters in this book, we maybe get three main characters, and a couple of additional characters who also play essential parts in the story. It is hard to therefore get strong character development on all of these characters, but even the main three characters, Mara, Tess and Dylan, I don’t believe that they had a strong enough development throughout the whole book. And the most disappointing part of the whole book is that YOU DON’T GET ANY ANSWERS at the end! It basically tells you to make up your own mind, literally. Plus, it gives you an ending where you can interpret two ways.

I was so hoping to enjoy this book way more than I actually did and all of the potential was there with the initial storyline. I think that disappointment just let this book down as I had built up this hype in my own mind. For this I am going to give this book, 2.5 stars, for the let down, the frustration, but it wasn’t the worse book I’ve read. It had so much potential!

2.5 Stars

Book Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

wp-1488929385768.jpegA beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

Read it.

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

I went into reading this book, completely and utterly oblivious to what this book was about whatsoever! All I knew was the title and that I had seen it popping up here and again, so I wanted to see why this book was so popular. Sometimes, I love to just dive into a book that I have no idea what it’s about. I haven’t read the description, any reviews, nothing. Just taking the cover and the title and going for it. Have you ever done that? Because that’s exactly what I did when it came to this book and I will admit that it was different to what I was expecting. Honestly, I don’t really know what I was expecting if I’m being honest.

I will admit that there were parts of this book that were a little bit blah when I was reading it. It felt like I was reading some ramblings or something and I wasn’t that keen to keep reading. It felt like a chore, which is sad because it’s only a short book, at about 200 odd pages. But then I didn’t want to put the book down and I became engrossed and felt as though I was involved in the mystery of the story. I wanted to discover the truth, just like Cady. But believe me, I was completely shocked by what I discovered towards the end of the book. That kind of ending is either cleverly or poorly executed, in order to surprise the reader and I was completely surprised and I think in this case it was cleverly done. I felt so stupid for not realising and uncovering the truth for myself, because once I knew, parts were obviously hinted at. It’s now making me want to re-read the book again, as soon as I finished it tbh, to see if I can now see the plot better and spot what so clearly put in place for the readers, especially knowing what I now know. But also to see all the ways to see where the author tried to trick the reader, seeing if I can spot any inconsistencies.

I don’t want to give too much away when it comes to this book, because I am glad that I went into it completely blind. The less you know the better. There is something that did irritate me and I’m am stilling questioning as I’m typing up this review, but that may cause a spoiler. But props to this book as not many surprised me and get me like this book did, which is why I’m giving it four stars out of five! So if you want to read a Young Adult, Contemporary book with a lot of Mystery, then give this book a read. Plus, it’s a quick read with only 227 pages.

4 Stars

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen, #2) – Victoria Aveyard

Glass Sword ReviewWARNING!!!! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR BOOK 1 RED QUEEN!!!

“Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?”

I went into this book thinking that I was going to really hate it because of all the negative and bad reviews that I had heard and read EVERYWHERE when this book was first released. This is why it has taken me so long to actually read this book, from then to now. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and was so eagerly awaiting this sequel when it first came out, which is why I think I have been therefore putting off reading it for so long. Plus I also read the two novellas, Queen Song and Steel Scars thanks to Netgalley in anticipation for this book a while ago and they were such huge disappointments!

I am a stickler when it comes to series and wanting to see how stories, plots and characters unfold and completing them, and I was already one book and two novellas deep, plus I had already bought the book. I was however, pleasantly surprised by how much I did enjoy this book. They do say if you go into something thinking you’re going to be underwhelmed, then you can only go up and I did. Don’t get me wrong, there were some bad points to this book and reasons I can clearly see why there are so many bad reviews, plenty of them. It can be majorly repetitive which was really annoying, it doesn’t quite live up to the first one book as most sequels don’t, and can be quite a daunting, drawing out a little, making reading this book feel more like a task rather than enjoyment at times. But it did have it’s good points to it also. You do get to see what happens in the aftermath of how Red Queen ended and how all the characters deal with it and how the story then goes from there. You get introduced to all of these extra characters, building up this plot and leading you up to this ending and you get to see the world a little bit more from the other side. We get to see how the events of the previous novel had an impact on their lives and their mental states. We get some heartache and we do actually get some action. But it does seem rushed at points also.
But for me, I hated Mare! This isn’t good when she is the main character of the book, and even more so when this whole entire book is told from her perspective. I can never really connect to a book when I hate the main character, because I have no emotional investment in this book. There was one truly sad part and that just made me hate her so much more. But maybe it is a little justified to a degree, without giving away spoilers. I would read the third book, which is why I read this book now, and hope that it’s better than this one, maybe reading and listening to reviews first and hoping it jumps back up to the quality and story we all loved when it came to the Red Queen!.
3 Stars

Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2) – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets“There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.”

Harry Potter’s summer has included the worst birthday ever, doomy warnings from a house-elf called Dobby, and rescue from the Dursleys by his friend Ron Weasley in a magical flying car! Back at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for his second year, Harry hears strange whispers echo through empty corridors – and then the attacks start. Students are found as though turned to stone… Dobby’s sinister predictions seem to be coming true”

This is the second instalment in the Harry Potter series and as I remembered, or slightly remembered, this book didn’t disappoint. OMG the amount of times that I laughed in this book while reading the scenes between Mrs Weasley and her sons was incredible. I can’t remember the last time I actually laugh so much while reading a book and pure genuine laughter. Sensational. Yet this book still looked at some dark and scary times, so those scenes were just what was needed, while also slowly bringing the reader slowly into the dark world, that these book do end up becoming. You need these characters that just provide you with this much joy and that’s so perfectly timed also.

Re-reading this book you get to see all of the subtleness that you missed when you read it for the first time. The little mention of something here and the sprinkle of something there, that when you have no idea what the ending of the book is going to be, is so ingenuous and so great to read, while you are re-reading it. I was reading it this time around with  smirk on my face at these little subtleness’s, truly appreciating the amount of work and effort there was from J.K. Rowling put into this book. I am really glad that I am re-reading these books, because I never did appreciate the greatness of the story of a whole, the way it all links in together, and I am taking so much more away from these books now as an adult than I ever did as a child/teenager. Even though I am an adult and reading this book, which is about a couple of twelve year olds (in this book), I can still connect to the characters and the story, maybe because it brings back memories for me, or because I am taking away so much more and like I do always say, these books are not just for kids.

I couldn’t recommend these books high enough, as I do believe that everyone should read this entire series at least once in their life, and then if you read them as a child, give them a little re-read as an adult. See if you have a different experience. Roll On Book Three!!!

5 Stars

 

Book Review: All The Bright Places – Jennifer Niven

all-the-bright-places-jennifer-niven

I have heard so many good reviews of this book that I had to buy this it for myself and just see what all of this fuss was about. To be honest, I ended up buying two versions of this book, paperback and on audiobook and it was the later that I ended up experiencing this book through. Here is the books description thanks to Goodreads:

“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
 
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
 
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.” – Goodreads

This would’ve been my third time listening to an audiobook, but for me and there was something special about listening to this book particularly as an audiobook. It may have been the fact that because this story is told from two different characters perspectives, as an audiobook they have used a male and a female voice in order to portray both Violet and Theodores’ voices, our two main characters. This added some realness to it all and a much deeper connection, for me anyway, towards them both as characters. This book is written from a first person perspective, so it felt as though they were each telling me their own story, like a diary or a friend, which may have been a completely different experience if I had actually read the physical book. The voices held and showed so much more of the emotions that the characters were mean to be having at the time of certain events, which make it feel more genuine, as you could hear that they were about the cry, the breaks in their voices, chuckles, nervousness, and so on, which just added those little extra bits that you definitely  wouldn’t get from reading the actual physical book. And you can connect more when you can hear things like that. Anyway, back to the actual review of the story.

Theodore Finch and Violet Markey are our storytellers and main characters of All The Bright Places, and even though I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started listening to this book, except that there was going to be something to do with mental illness and that the book is poplar, I am so glad that I picked it up! This was such a great experience for me. The storyline starts off big, with Theo and Violet meeting on top of the School Bell Tower, where they were each going to jump off, unbeknownst to them that the other person was there. Luckily however they were and that’s just where their story starts, getting better as time goes on. From there we get adventure, romance, sadness, happiness, times that make the reader smile and such tragic times that make you scream nooo! The emotions.

The characters themselves couldn’t have been any different. One of them looking forward to the future and counting down the days, while the other was always thinking and coming up with new ways someone could come up with killing themselves. But there was something a little off with them both. I found myself connecting so much more when it came to Theodore’s character, than Violet’s. Even though he felt more distant at times, it felt more real for his character. His quirks, his experiences in his life, I felt more for him, remember more about him and his life after finishing the story, therefore that’s shows how much more I connected with him. Whereas, when it comes to Violet, it just feels like she was an extra piece in the story at certain points. An extra point of view to add to the story, or some extra emotion or additional story to add and watch playout and unfold, adding even more emotion. Possible even using her character as a way to boost or show more of Theodore’s character.

It takes a lot in a book to create genuine emotion and make me care that much about a character or to get me so invested in a story that I cry or show, again, genuine physical sadness. This was one of those books! I didn’t cry, but the heartbreak I suffered because of this book, even though I had somewhat expected it, was still so unexpected and surprised myself. This is why I have given it 4 stars and why it’s going to stay with me for a while. Even the author’s note after the story had ended. I may have to read the actual book and see if I get the same reaction as I did while listening to the audiobook, only not anytime soon because I can’t handle the sadness so soon.

Definitely worth a read and I would recommend!

4-stars