Sunday, 14 January 2018

Review of 'The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily' by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Review of 'The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily' by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

I'm finally (sorta) catching up on my backlog of book reviews now, and this is the very last thing that I finished in 2017. I feel like everyone needs a feel good book at Christmas-time, and this was perfect. I was a little apprehensive at first because of how short it was (just over 200 pages), but the authors managed to cram so much depth into the characters; I was impressed. 

Lily resonated with me on a profound level. This was the first year that I didn't get totally overwhelmed by my excitement for Christmas, and I still haven't quite put my finger on why yet. It was the first year that Lily hadn't either. Usually she kicks off the twelve days of Christmas with a tree-putting-up ceremony, and from then on launches into full on Christmas mode.

This year, everything was changing for Lily. Her granddad, who she had been caring for after he got ill, decided to move away to her aunt's and receive more around the clock care. Lily was gutted, and Christmas didn't feel worth celebrating anymore. 


Dash loved Lily, and though he hadn't said those three little words out loud yet, he was keen to make his girlfriend enjoy her favourite time of year. So, he decided to create 12 days of activities to make Lily happy again. Although things went wrong more than once, Dash wouldn't give up. But could Lily overcome her sadness in time for Christmas?

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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Re-reading 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

Re-reading 'Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix'

I finally did it: I got through this massive 700+ page book. I've always ranked it as my least favourite in the series (largely because of its size), but now I'm not so sure. I absolutely loved the depth that Rowling goes into in this one. There's a lot more action than I remembered, and I honestly think it's a shame that it's so goddamn long - a lot more people would read it if it wasn't! 

The Order of the Phoenix is where things really start to get dark. Just a prewarn here: there are going to be a whole load of spoilers coming up, so if you haven't read it (why?!), then stop here. 

First, politics really enters the stage. The ministry really want to pretend that everything's okay, and my GOD it made me angry. They bring Umbridge into the castle, discredit Dumbledore, and make everything a whole lot easier for Voldemort to return. Nice one guys. 

Umbridge is one of my favourite villains I've ever come across. She's just so hate-worthy. With her sweet voice and innocent demeanour, she's so unvillainous in her outward appearance that I'm somehow even more angry that she turns out to be harbouring some kind of demon inside her. 

Just pipping the post in things I love in this was the DA. Finally Neville starts to come out of his shell and we see him really step up his game. The outright bullying of Luna's mental state is something I definitely wasn't here for in these scenes, but I loved the fact that Harry and the gang played on Fudge's biggest fear by calling themselves Dumbledore's Army.

Now let's get on to the heartbreak. Sirius. I'm just not okay with it. I'm still pretty much raging that Harry was fooled into thinking his dream was a reality, and let's not even talk about how much of a bellend Kreacher was, but losing Sirius was downright upsetting. It was so avoidable and Harry's pain was genuinely touching. Life would be great if authors didn't kill off the good ones, ya know?

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Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Review of 'When Dimple Met Rishi' by Sandhya Menon

Review of 'When Dimple Met Rishi' by Sandhya Menon

If you want a feel-good book to kick start your January, then this is your gal. When Dimple Met Rishi is funny and heartwarming and eye-opening and just incredible. I'm trying not to sound too much like one of those newspaper reviews, but oh my gosh it's hilariously delightful and will having you laughing and crying along with the characters. Okay, okay, I totally sound like one of those reviews now, but this is how the book makes me feel.

Dimple really wants to become more independent. Her parents are a little overbearing and she's more than thrilled when they finally let her go to a summer program for aspiring web developers. That is until she meets Rishi on her first day - and he thinks he's her future husband??? As it turns out, Dimple's parents really want an arranged marriage with the 'Ideal Indian Husband' aka Rishi, and that's why they let Dimple attend the same summer program that Rishi's at. After throwing her coffee all over him, Dimple is gutted that they've been paired to work together all summer long.

Rishi on the other hand is ... well confused. He dreams of finding the ideal wife and pleasing his parents. Up until the coffee incident, he thought that Dimple knew about the arrangement, and was happy with it too. He's lost all hope of finding a wife over the summer, but there's one small problem: he's in love with Dimple. 

Honestly this book is so  lovely to read. It's been a long time since I've read a YA romance that's been this genuine and realistic. I would love to read anything that Menon brings out in the future; her writing was incredible and I *think* I'm a little bit in love with Rishi.

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Monday, 1 January 2018

Review of 'One of Us is Lying' by Karen M. McManus

Review of 'One of Us is Lying' by Karen M. McManus

Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2018 has got off to an incredible start! I'm excited for all the new reads I'm going to be starting, and I'm setting my new Goodreads target! I'm a little behind on catching up with my reviews, so the next couple will be ones I've read in 2017, and I can't wait to share them with you.

One of Us is Lying is one of my favourite YA reads of 2017. It's a YA thriller loosely based on the Breakfast Club. Five teens enter detention, and four teens leave. Simon has a deadly nut allergy and is poisoned from his water glass. The obvious culprit would be Nate, the one with the criminal background, drug addicted father, and general lack of desire to be at school. But what about Yale-hopeful Bronwyn? Or prom Queen Addy? Or athlete Cooper? Simon runs a gossip site, and all four of them have a big secret that they don't want coming out - but who would kill for it?

This novel had me up late into the night reading 'just one more' page to find out everybody's secrets. I realised who the culprit was a little before it was revealed in the book, but it still made for a great read. I would definitely recommend this if you're into thrillers. 

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Sunday, 24 December 2017

Review of 'The Buried Giant' by Kazuo Ishiguro

Review of 'The Buried Giant' by Kazuo Ishiguro

This is a book that I SO wanted to like. It's the first book I read as part of the book club at my new job and I was keen to make a good impression, as quite a few of the others really enjoyed it, but I just could not fully get into it. I appreciate that it's an allegorical story with a meaning behind it, but the meaning was so obscured at times that I found it really hard to get on board with.

The Buried Giant is set in Roman Britain. A mist covers the land, breathed out by Querig, a dragon that lives in the mountains. Axl and Beatrice can't remember much of their life at all, but they know that they love each other. As they journey to their son's village, they encounter a series of dramatic situations, and they become convinced that they want to help slay Querig so that the mist lifts from the land.

I kept waiting and waiting for the volta in this novel, but there was just no dramatic peak. Even the killing of Querig was completely underwhelming, and the skirmishes that went on throughout the novel fell a little flat. The fantasy level of the novel worked well, blending in with reality. However, when the author introduced Sir Gawain to the story, I really hoped that it would connect up with Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an original Medieval story that I read a few years ago. It didn't, and I was a little disappointed. 

All in all, I'm not sure why there was so much hype surrounding this book. It was well written and the story was fine, but it's not something I would read again, or really recommend to anyone else.


Have you read it? What did you think? 

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Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Review of 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas

Review of 'The Hate U Give' by Angie Thomas

I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm just struggling to put into words how absolutely incredible this book is, and how much you all need to read it. It's the most important book that I've read in 2017 and everyone absolutely needs to get their hands on it. It really gets to the nitty gritty about race issues in the States, and exposes them in a way that I've not really come across anywhere else.

Starr Carter, the book's protagonist, is a 16-year-old African American schoolgirl who witnessed the shooting of her best friend when she was 8. When she gets a lift home from her childhood best friend Khalil, she doesn't think that this is the second day she's going to see someone get shot. Khalil and Starr get pulled over by a cop and when Khalil moves towards the passenger side of the car to see if Starr is okay, the cop shoots him repeatedly. 

In the following days and weeks, Starr is totally bowled over by the fact that this cop isn't straight up arrested for murdering her friend in front of her. Soon she starts to question everything. She goes to a private school where the majority of students are white, and doesn't want to speak up there. At school Starr is a different person, one who doesn't talk in the same way as she does with her family and friends from her neighborhood. She starts to wonder whether she's betraying her own identity by dating a white boy from the school. 

As riots break out over the town for Khalil's murder, Starr is forced to question her own identity and the justice system of the country she lives in.

It's an absolutely astounding book, and I'll honestly be buying any future novels Angie Thomas brings out because this was beyond insightful and powerful and heartbreaking.



Saturday, 25 November 2017

Re-reading 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' by J. K. Rowling

Re-reading 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' by J. K. Rowling

I couldn't not pick this quote out really, could I? Every time I read it I have a little chuckle because book Dumbledore and film Dumbledore definitely do not say this in the same way. I can't believe I've re-read the first four Harry Potter books now, and I'm almost ready to start the fifth. I have to admit, I've been putting off number 5 for a little bit because the Goblet of Fire is just one of the best, and the Order of the Phoenix has always been my least favourite. And it's so goddamn long. BUT. I've found that reading these as an adult I'm loving different things, so I'm hoping that I'll find the Order of the Phoenix a lot better than I did as a kid.

Anywho, this is the last book of the whole series that I've read quite a few times now. It's the first time that I've cried at Cedric's death because that was just not fair and I'm still raging about it. I loved the fact that all four contestants really came together to help each other out (in a roundabout way), and the kindness that Cedric and Harry showed each other was just heart breaking in the end. The other bit that my feelings totally couldn't handle was when everyone that Voldemort had killed emerged from his wand to help Harry. I. Just. Can't *weeps*. 

The one thing that's really been bothering me whilst I've been rereading the whole series, and especially this one, is that J.K. pairs Ron and Hermione up in the end. And I'm sorry but he's an absolute prick to her. He constantly mocks her for anything that she feels passionate about, he doesn't think she's attractive enough to find a date and he only finally starts to respect her at the end because Krum has a massive crush on her. I mean??? Hermione could do SO much better, and end up with someone that treats her with an iota of respect and cares about what she cares about? Ron's a pretty nice character aside from this but I just can't get over it. 

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