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Showing posts with label books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label books. Show all posts

Read in August

I read a lot of the current popular young adult fiction books this month, which was a bit of a change for me, but a change I very much enjoyed! So, I just thought I'd give you a little breakdown of the different books I read during the month of August and what I thought:


If I Stay - Gayle Forman
I've already written a review of this book here which you are very welcome to read! But long story short, I adored this book, and I love it even more so now after having seen the film last night which by the way, was totally and utterly amazing. It was every bit as good as I was hoping it would be and Chloe Moretz was great in it as well!
Rating: ««««

Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Again, I've already written a review of this book here and it's another one that I just really really loved. I'd definitely say it's up there among my favourite books of all time now. I just completely fell in love with the characters and just found this book so lovely and warm and touching. A must-read if you haven't already!
Rating: «««««

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart
The blurb for this book is as follows:

'We are liars
We are beautiful and privileged
We are cracked and broken
A tale of love and romance
A tale of tragedy
Which are lies?
Which is truth?
You decide'

Purposely ambiguous, since it's just one of those books that's better to go into blind, so I'm not going to say much more other than that the story revolves around an extremely wealthy, privileged family who spend their summer holidays each year on a private island. 

I decided to read this book mostly because of the ridiculous amount of hype surrounding it and thought I may as well jump on the bandwagon. It took me a really really long time to get into (basically the entire book) and I very much disliked all of the characters- even the righteous Gat managed to rub me all the wrong ways- but I do feel like that was kind of the idea with this book. Also, at times I found the writing style extremely pretentious. However, the ending did manage to redeem this book in my eyes and I'd urge anyone reading it at the minute who feels similarly to me to read on until the end, it is worth it. 
Rating: «««

Where She Went - Gayle Forman
This is the sequel to 'If I Stay', continuing the story between Mia and Adam and how their lives pan out in the years following Mia's accident. I was reluctant to read this book, just in case maybe things didn't work out well and it ruined how I felt about the first book, but I went for it anyway and I'm so glad I did because I thought it was actually even better than the original book, which I had never expected! The writing is just a lot more mature and the characters more developed. The story itself was so beautiful and heartbreaking, I felt like I was right there living it. If you're a fan of 'If I Stay' I'd definitely say don't hesitate to read this book, it's really brilliant!
Rating: «««««

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
This book is just about a girl called Cath- whose passion in life is writing 'Simon Snow' fanfiction- and her experiences starting college and having to survive on her own for the first time, separate from her twin sister Wren who she's been close to all her life.
Again, a big reason I read this book was because of the hype and all the great reviews I'd read recommending to read it, but also because I'd enjoyed 'Eleanor & Park' so much I was really looking forward to reading more from Rowell. I did like this book, don't get me wrong, but it just wasn't on par with 'Eleanor and Park' for me. I found the plot a little bit thin and the characters didn't grip me and tug on my heartstrings the same way they had in E&P. However, what I did like about this book was the fact that Cath and her college experiences are very easy to relate to- particularly if you're an introvert. She's basically a poster child for all us introverts out there which was nice to see in such a popular young adult novel.
Rating: «««
21

Book Review | Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


This book. I don't even know where to begin. I don't even know what to say.

I bought this edition off Amazon, it arrived, I was intrigued, I was excited, although I did raise an eyebrow to the quote from John Green on the front cover which in true dreamy John Green fashion had stated: "Reminded me not just what it's like to be young and in love with a girl, but also what it's like to be young and in love with a book". 

'Psssssht, alright...' I had thought- I'm not really one for such sentimentalities- but I'm just going to say, I get it now. This book is an absolute gem.

The story itself tells the simple tale of one budding romance between two misfit teenagers in 1986, unfolding through many weeks of silent bus journeys and a shared appreciation for music and comic books.

There are countless things I love about this book: it's powerful, it's sexy, it's endearing, it's counter-cultural, but above all else it's raw and masterfully written. The characters are so complex and well-developed that with each turn of the page I felt every one of their sorrows, their joys, and their triumphs. I got to know Eleanor and Park so intimately that by the end of the novel they felt like lifelong friends. And I'll tell you what, this book gave me major feels- I laughed, I cried, it was a total emotional roller-coaster, but one that I never wanted to end.

There's a lot to be said for a book that makes you feel so many things so deeply, and I well believe that Rainbow Rowell's writing is the kind of material that could convert even the most religious of book snobs into young adult fiction fanatics. I'm also in love with all of her cover art, the way it's so bright and stylised. Eleanor and Park comes in a whole pile of other editions and I'm actually tempted to collect the rest of them- is that a little extreme?


Anyways, I would 100% recommend this book. It's actually topping my list of my most favourite books of all time right now. Though if you've already read Eleanor and Park I'd love to hear what you thought of it too!
15

Book Review | If I Stay by Gayle Forman


"And that's just it, isn't it? That's how we manage to survive the loss. Because love, it never dies, it never goes away, it never fades, so long as you hang on to it."

I'd seen this book floating around on my recent book shop visits. Though the cover I'd seen before had been the film version which admittedly I much prefer, I ended up buying this version from Amazon out of handiness after I saw it recommended by Sanne of Books and Quills on a recent video where she was talking about upcoming book to movie adaptations (the film adaptation of this book stars Chloe Moretz and is set to be released on the 22nd August).

Long story short, this book arrived in the post yesterday, from the first few pages I was completely hooked, and now having just finished it I thought I would quickly gather my thoughts and write a review while the story was still fresh in my head. 

The story itself takes place only over a period of 24 hours as seventeen-year-old Mia, in a coma following a horrific car accident which leaves both her parents and potentially her younger brother dead, has an out-of-body experience that allows her to witness the ways in which the people around her, including her grandparents, best friend and boyfriend cope with her condition, whereby she realises that she must make the decision whether to stay, and experience the pain of living without her parents, or simply slip away.

This was the sort of refreshing read I think I really needed, it was gripping and touching yet not too heavy or overly-descriptive. At the beginning I wasn't sure exactly what I was expecting, I didn't think it would be anything incredibly profound, but in fact I was very pleasantly surprised. I liked that the scenario Forman presents here encourages some thought on what is a primal fear in all of us: the loss of the people we love. From the perspective of someone who has never really experienced death, much like the protagonist, it made me reflect on how painful the experience of losing a loved one must be and posed questions such as how do we begin to move on with our lives or indeed, if given the chance would we even want to? Where does our strength come from to keep going when we feel we have nothing left?

I also really appreciated some of the themes in the novel about love and survival in spite of dire circumstances. In Mia reflecting on the things she still has to live for, Forman presents her life and future in a beautiful and colourful way and so, despite the fact that at times this book is challenging and sad, there is still a sense of hope which prevails throughout.

I'd definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for an easy page-turner as I managed to whiz through the 250 pages in no time with ease. The characters and character-development you see in the novel are very rich and descriptive and the novel also has its fair share of romance as you see the relationship between Mia and her boyfriend, Adam played out from its beginnings.

Frankly, I'm VERY excited to see how this film translates onto the Big Screen, especially because the trailer looks pretty amazing!


Just a quick update also: my posts might be a little infrequent/sporadic these next few weeks as I'm working full-time interning with an accountancy firm so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to keep up with my blog but I'm really going to try!

Hope you're all well!
18

Mini Classic Fiction Haul



I recently went book shopping for the first time in ages. The plan was to buy some easy summer reads, something a bit more contemporary maybe, mostly because of how long it was taking me to get through 'The Rainbow' by D.H. Lawrence (I found it super tedious) but the call from the classic fiction section was too strong and I came home with these instead and really, I'm very glad I did.

First of all I picked up this beautiful Alma Classics edition of 'Tender is the Night' by F. Scott Fitzgerald which I'm really enjoying so far. This version has a few inserts with photos of Scott and his family as well as some background on the book on the inside cover and a fairly extensive biography of Fitzgerald at the back which I thought was a nice touch. I would actually recommend this book for some summer reading since the story revolves around a young Hollywood actress holidaying in the south of France.

When I first had a look at 'A Room with a View' I had my eye on a different edition but decided to buy the Penguin English Library version instead since I already had their version of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' and thought I might as well start a little collection, plus they're a little bit cheaper than the normal Penguin classics and I do generally like their design.

Finally, I picked up another Penguin English Library edition of 'Emma'. I've never actually read any Jane Austen before so I thought it was finally time to give it a go. I'll let you know what I think!



Tender is the Night - F. Scott Fitzgerald
“You're the only girl I've seen for a long time that actually did look like something blooming.”

Emma - Jane Austen
“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”

A Room with a View - E.M. Forster
"It isn't possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal."

Have you read any of these books before? If so, what did you think?
14

April Reading List


  1. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.” 
  1. The Four Loves - C.S. Lewis
“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” 
  1. The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde
“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.” 
  1. Surprised by Joy - C.S. Lewis
“All Joy reminds. It is never a possession, always a desire for something longer ago or further away or still 'about to be'.” 

I've really been enjoying C.S. Lewis this month. I find his stories and philosophical and theological reflection really uplifting and after recently finishing 'Surprised by Joy' I can now say it's definitely one of my favourite books of all time; well-worth a read for anyone who has any interest in the life of C.S. Lewis or his works. 'The Four Loves' is now next on my list to finish for April, followed by 'The Lion the Wish and the Wardrobe' as I am ashamed to admit I never read the Chronicles of Narnia as a child! I also picked up a beautiful Penguin edition of 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' in Camden Market while I was in London- bit of a contrast from C.S. Lewis but a great read all the same.

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