I have had Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers recommended to me twice; once, a number of years aOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I have had Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers recommended to me twice; once, a number of years ago, and I only remember the recommendation because of the book's epistolary format, and again earlier this year when looking for books written in an unusual format. As it is with there being so many books you want to read, I've been intrigued by this book for ages, but never actually picked it up. Fortunately, due to this new edition just being released, I was sent a copy for review, and it's just so brilliant, and wonderfully surprising.
Claire's mum is an obstetrician, and is always busy at work delivering babies. Claire has school, an active social life and her babysitting job. They both always seem to miss each other, so they leave notes for each other on the door of their fridge. Their relationship is like any other between a teenager and her mother, although sometimes difficult as they both want to see each other more, wish the other was a little less busy. But then Claire's mum gets some devastating news - news that will change both of them individually, as well as their relationship.
The story is told solely through through the notes left on the fridge, and as the novel is only 226 pages long and some of the notes only being a few lines long, I read the whole book yesterday in under an hour. Even so, it was very emotional, surprisingly so, and very moving. It made me think about my own relationship with my mum, and how just earlier in the morning I'd left a note for her as we'd miss each other, about my dinner plans, but also to wish her well for something happening in her day. This novel made me wish I'd been able to wish her well in person, and I gave her a big hug when I saw her next.
When Claire's mum (who, as far as I remember, is never actually named in the novel, despite Goodreads' summary) is diagnosed with breast cancer, she plays it down. She's sure everything will be fine, it's nothing to worry about. Because of this, Claire worries less than she might have. Her mother is a doctor, her mother is also her mother, and so she believes her that there's no need to worry. And so life for Claire carries on as normal for the most part; boy worries, wanting to go shopping and spending time with her friends. However, her mum's struggles with the treatment and needs her daughter to help out a little more, or wish she'd seen her, or, on days when the treatment makes her ratty, they get into arguments. Claire is still thinking that her mum will end up fine, so she is a little selfish at times, and it's so upsetting when you, the reader, know her mum is just trying to protect her from the worry though she's really taking quite a hit. It takes a while for Claire to realise just how serious this is, and even then, she doesn't know the right thing to do. She tries to help her mum, do things she think she would like, that would make her smile, but actually do the opposite, because she's still quite young, even at 15.
As the story goes on and you see the two get closer through their notes, as they try to see more of each other and be more honest about what they're thinking and feeling, it gets very emotional. It's beautiful to see their relationship get better, but so hard to see Claire suffer emotionally about her mum, and her mum struggle with her cancer. Less than 45 minutes into starting this book, I was close to tears.
For such a quick read, Kuipers really sucks you in and takes you through so many emotions. It's a great talent to get a reader so emotionally invested in a story when it's so short and so quickly read, but I was completely gripped by these characters and their story, and so hopeful for them. A fantastic novel, a great read if you've got a spare half hour, just be prepared to have your emotions go through the wringer.
Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books for the review copy....more
In King of the Murgos by David Eddings, the second book in the Malloreon, Garion and his friends' quest to fOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
In King of the Murgos by David Eddings, the second book in the Malloreon, Garion and his friends' quest to find find his abducted son - and the final meeting between the Child of Light and the Child or Dark, as foretold by the prophecies - finally begins. And, oooh, it's still just as exciting as it was the first time I read it!
In the first book, Guardians of the West, we learnt about Harakan, an underling of Urvon, a former disciple of Torak, who had managed to take control of the Bear-cult and scheme to murder Garion's wife Ce'Nedra and kill their son Geran - not abduct, that had Garion and the Alorn armies going after the Bear-cult. In this book, we learn about Naradas, an Angarak with only white for irides. We do not yet know who he is working for, but he has been causing all kinds of trouble in the West, throwing obstacles in Garion and his friends' path. Still, they manage to make it to Cthol Murgos under the guise of slavers, when they are captured by the Dagashi, highly trained Murgo assassins, who have a task for a group of slavers - to go to Rak Hagga by ship, including another person in their party. They end up at the Drojim palace, where they meet the King of Cthol Murgos, Urgit.
I loved this book! I loved meeting Urgit again, and having the group of friends get to know him and help him as a King. Urgit not a bad man, Garion is disappointed to find, but he is a weak King, and is bullied around by his staff. He's nothing like the Murgos the group has ever met in the past, and has no desire to be the King his father, Taur Urgas, was. I just really like him, and, knowing where the story goes from reading the series previously, I enjoyed all the surprises that occurred along the way.
However, there were a number of things that happened in this book that I had completely forgotten about. I knew that the group would meet Urgit, I just couldn't remember how that happened, so being captured by the Dagashi and the events that led to the group meeting Urgit were a surprise, as was pretty much everything that happened after leaving the Drojim palace. I remembered pieces; I knew the group would meet certain people at some point in the story, but I didn't know when - which book - or how. All those details had been lost to me over the years, so it was great to rediscover the story again. It was almost like reading it again for the first time, and I was completely captivated.
I have to say, being a feminist now, I'm noticing the misogyny in Guardians of the West and King of the Murgos than I did in previous reads. But I'm actually really enjoying how it's done. Whenever I read a male character being sexist, I immediately get angry, but as each instance goes on, it's made very clear what Eddings thinks of these characters views, and that character is always made a mockery of. One example from Guardians of the West; King Rhodar of Drasnia dies, but his son and heir, Prince Kheva, is only six years old. The other Alorn Kings - Garion, Cho-Hag of Algeria, and Anheg of Cherek - must decide what should be done. The obvious choice to Garion and Cho-Hag is for Queen Porenn, Rhodar's wife and Kheva's mother, to act as Queen Regent until Kheva is old enough to rule, not just because of who she is, but because of how capable she is. Anheg has a problem with this, though. A woman can't rule. It's not so much that he thinks Porenn can't do it, but that he's uncomfortable with a woman ruling a country. Eddings manages to make him look such a fool as Garion and Anheg criticise his objections, and it's actually quite an amusing moment. Another example in King of the Murgos is when Polgara has to do something (can't say, spoilers) that she really struggles with. She is unhappy and feels guilty, and hates that it was something she had to do. When talking to Garion, Belgarath criticises her, putting it down to the compassion of women, implying that compassion is a weakness, and men don't bother themselves with compassion. But Garion points out some Belgarath did in the first series with Mordai's Fenlings, where he gave them the power of human speech, something that he wouldn't gain from or give him any advantage in their quest at that time, something he did for Mordai out of compassion. Being reminded makes Belgarath embarrassed, and Garion gently scolds and mocks him for his folly in criticising Polgara. Being a Medieval England based high fantasy, I think the misogyny is actually realistic (though of course, authors could write fantasy without the real life prejudices the time is inspired by), but I love that each instance of misogyny and sexism is shown to be ridiculous. It feels like Eddings is saying, "Look at these stupid men!" and is laughing with us and the characters.
I really enjoyed reading King o the Murgos, and with that ending, I'm really looking forward to where the story goes next in Demon Lord of Karanda!...more
Having fell in love with Wicked the musical, I have been so intrigued to read the book it was based on. AlthOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Having fell in love with Wicked the musical, I have been so intrigued to read the book it was based on. Although I really enjoyed Wicked, it wasn't what I expected.
The musical doesn't have much in common with the book. It takes the basic plot, but twists so many things, and doesn't go into much details. The book is very political, and the witch - Elphaba - is mostly a political activist. She is called wicked by the other side, but both - though loosely for some - are doing what they feel is right. Right for Oz.
Being a witch, you would expect her to have some magic, but she doesn't have any at all. Everything she does is practical not magical. She ends up with a spell book, and does some experiments with it towards the end of the book, but there is no real magic from either wicked witch in Wicked at all. Glinda has some aptitude for magic, and we know she does well in the subject when studying it, but we never really see anything you would expect.
At it's heart, Wicked is a sad and tragic story of someone who had strong opinion and morals, fought for what she believed in, and paid for it at every turn. Elphaba is such a strong woman, someone I really admired. She didn't give up, no matter what happened, no matter how many times she was knocked down. They just made her more determined to do what was right.
Wicked is a very wordy book, and feels quite literary. A dictionary was very much required more times than I could count. The style took some getting used to, but it made the story feel more credible. The Wizard of Oz is a classic, and Wicked is a classic retelling - it definitely keeps the classic vibe. And it's amazing how Maguire took a children's story, and expanded it so much to make an intricate and believable adult story, while still sticking to what we know of The Wizard of Oz. Fantastic!
A really fantastic book! I'm so looking forward to reading the sequel, The Son of a Witch!...more
There is a way women dance these days. Whether it's with a guy or with their girlfriends. When I see it, it alwayOriginally published on Jo Scribbles.
There is a way women dance these days. Whether it's with a guy or with their girlfriends. When I see it, it always seems to me that they're not dancing for themselves, they're dancing to be seen - by men. To be noticed. To have an affect on them. There are also female artists, and how they dance these days, in videos and during performances. It's all very sexual, and it's always, even before I discovered feminism, made me uncomfortable. Why do these women want men to see them that way? It's partly because of this that I had wanted to read Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture by Ariel Levy. But, as fascinating as it is, I was a little disappointed.
This is partly down to me. Female Chauvinist Pigs was published in the UK in 2006, and, being written by an American author, it focuses on America - neither of which I realised when I bought it. So not only is it a little dated, but it's also talking about American pop culture, of which I know very little.
Saying that, it was really fascinating when it came to the history of the American Women's Movement, something I knew nothing about. I loved learning about all the things they achieved until things became divisive between those who were anti-porn, and those who were also part for sexual liberation.
'"Sometimes [there] were emotional defenses of free speech, but to our bewilderment, we also saw that some women identified their sexuality with the S/M pictures we found degrading," Brownmiller wrote. "They claimed we were condemning their minds and behavior, and I guess we were."' (p63)
Levy talks us through the history that led to raunch culture from this divide in the Women's Movement, and how it led to programmes like Girls Gone Wild, and obsession with porn stars, strippers and pole dancing. How people claim women are now sexually liberated to be as sexual as they please, when really, it's all just for the male gaze.
'Why is this the "new feminism" and not what it looks like: the old objectification? [...] The truth is that the new conception of raunch culture as a path to liberation rather than oppression is a convenient (and lucrative) fantasy with nothing to back it up.' (p81 - 82)
As well as the women who are emulating strippers and porn stars, Levy discusses how some women now spurn anything to do with femininity; not wanting to be or liking "girly-girls" (yet perfectly happy to watch said "girly-girls" strip off along with their male friends), and basically linking girl/womanhood with weakness and negativity. Instead, they want to be like, to emulate, men.
'Women who've wanted to be perceived as powerful have long found it more efficient to identify with men than to try and elevate the entire female sex to their level. [...] There is a certain kind of woman--talented, powerful, unrepentant--whom we've always found it difficult to describe without some version of the phrase "like a man," and plenty of those women have never had a problem with that. Not everyone cares that this doesn't do much for the sisterhood.' (p95)
There was one chapter I had some problems with, though. In the chapter From Womyn to Bois, Levy discusses how lesbians present: butch, femme, and the new (at the time) boi. To me, it seems she confuses gender identity and sexuality, as if they are linked; bois like to appear young and boyish, rather than manly, and some even discuss with her the gender binary, and how it doesn't quite work. I don't know if it's the time, and things are understood better now, or if Levy herself just didn't completely understand, but when discussing gender identity and trans men (specifically straight trans men, because she's linking them to lesbians), she seems to not get that trans men were always male:
'But despite the differences between the scene and, say, spring break in South Beach, there are also meaningful similarities in the ways young women across this country, gay and straight, are conceiving of themselves, their bodies, sex, and each other. Women are invested in being "like a man," and in the case of FTMs, women are actually becoming men.' (p138 - emphasis mine.)
The whole chapter, really, made me uncomfortable. It was fascinating at times, but I also feel there is a great deal of lack of understanding - and not just about trans men, but lesbians, too. I could be wrong, but it felt... problematic.
The book overall has really interesting things to say on female sexuality, raunch culture, and what we're obsessed with...
'The women who are really being emulated and obsessed over in our culture now--strippers, porn stars, pinups--aren't even people. They are merely sexual personae, erotic dollies from the land of make-believe. In their performances, which is the only capacity in which we see these women we so fetishize, they don't even speak. As far as we know, they have no ideas, no feelings, no political beliefs, no relationships, no past, no future, no humanity.' (p196)
'[W]e are not even free in the sexual arena. We have simply adopted a new norm, a new role to play: lusty, busty exhibitionist. There are other choices. If we are really going to be sexually liberated, we need to make room for a range of options as wide as the variety of human desire. We need to allow ourselves the freedom to figure out what we internally want from sex instead of mimicking whatever popular culture holds up to as sexy. That would be sexual liberation.' (p200)
...but at the same time, I also felt like it wasn't saying very much in regards to how things can be changed. That last paragraph I quote talks more about what we can do individually, but a lot of this is down to popular culture, and there isn't really anything suggested in how to tackle changing what we see on TV and in magazines. As fascinating as the book was, as much as I agreed with the things Levy was saying, I feel not a huge amount was actually said beyond, "This is the ways things are, this is how we got here, and it's really pretty terrible." I also think it has become quite dated in the 11 years since in was published - although a lot of what Levy says is still relevant, I think, in some ways, things have got worse, that or they're just different here in the UK.
A fascinating read, but more one that wants you to think and change your ways, than trying to inspire you to get out and make a difference....more
The basic premise of The Notebook is so beautiful there are no words. The story of an old man who reads to his Alzeimer-suffering wife the story of hoThe basic premise of The Notebook is so beautiful there are no words. The story of an old man who reads to his Alzeimer-suffering wife the story of how they got together every day in the hopes of bringing her back to him is so fantastically beautiful, the idea alone makes me want to cry. I have no shame telling you that when I first watched the movie several years ago, I was crying through most of the film and it have been my favourite ever since; it's just so beautiful.
Nicholas Sparks has this wonderful way of writing, where I think I would enjoy reading even if he wrote something where the plot was completely ridiculous. The way he writes is almost poetical, and the way he describes, for example, Noah just sitting on the porch in the evening playing his guitar - nothing all that spectacular - makes it sound like something so amazing. His description and imagery, I find, are just so calming, that while reading I feel like I'm in a dream-like state, with a sense of wonder over the smallest things.
The story, however, fell a little short for me. I characters didn't seem all that believable to me, the things Noah and Allie thought and said, the way they formed their sentences, it just isn't how people talk. They were structured, not automatic as they would be for normal conversation/thinking. And they kept talking about their love for each other, but I didn't really feel it. There was a lack of, well, passion.
It was a good read, a sad but strangely optimistic read, but it was fantastic. I was warned to keep the tissues near me during this book. They weren't really needed; I cried once, when a particular part of the story reminded me of what happens at a particular point in the film, whih never fails to make me sob like a child. It was the reminder of the film that brought the emotion, rather than the stroy itself. The plot didn't stir any emotion in me, it was the writing that did.
Great if you're looking for a quick read that is beautifully written, but not overly heavy on the heart....more
Luna is one of those novels that when you finish reading, you feel so lucky to have read it, so honoured thaOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
Luna is one of those novels that when you finish reading, you feel so lucky to have read it, so honoured that Julie Anne Peters wrote it to share with us readers, to share with me. I am completely blown away.
Regan's older brother is actually her sister. Liam is a transgendered female in a male body, and Regan is the only one who knows her secret - knows her sister, Luna, that Liam has to force down and hide during the day, but who is let out to spread her wings at night. Regan has felt the burden of being Luna's confident, as Luna leans heavily on her, the only person with whom she can be herself, the only person who's advice she can ask on clothes and make-up. In trying to keep Luna's secret, Regan has struggled to live her own life, not getting too close to anyone, in case she slips up and ruins everything. But now Luna has decided to transition, to start showing herself during the day in public, and is desperate for Regan to stand by her side, just as the new guy at school wants to get to know Regan better.
'I cried for her.I cried for me.I cried for a world that wouldn't let her be.' (p211)
This is such a hard story. Difficult story. Not to read, but for the lives of the characters. Luna has to live such a hard life. Being this person every day that she hates, pretending to everyone she meets that she's someone she's not, trying to live up to other people's expectations - especially her dad's - when she has no interest in or desire for the things expected of her. It's got to be emotionally crushing. If Luna was told from her point of view, this book would be such a difficult read.
'Liam lifted his head and straightened in his seat. "Every day, the same old thing. Hiding, lying, holding her in. It's too hard. I can't do it...When people look at me, they don't see the real me. They can't because I look like this." He swept a hand down his chest..."No one will ever know the person I am inside. The true me. The girl, the woman. All they see is this . . . this nothing.""You're not nothing," I snapped. "You're a person. You're Liam.""Liam." He let out a short laugh. "Who's that? A caricature I've created. A puppet, a mime, a cartoon character. I'm this male macho version of a son that Dad has in his head." (p20)
You can understand how she lives for the nights when she can be herself, talk to her sister as a girl, show off her new clothes and make-up, like any other girl likes to do. She is desperate for these moments to be herself, when she looks in the mirror and likes what she sees.
'"Like it?" She shimmied in front of the mirror. The llayered fringe on the dress she was wearing swayed in waves. "It's an old flappeer dress I found at Goodwill," she said. In her stockinged feet, she performed a little Charleston for me. "It's vintage. Totally retro. Don't you think? I'm wearing this baby to prom."...Examining the length of herself, she hooked her long hair over her ears and wiggled her hips again. She'd chosen the vlonde wig tonight. It wasn't her favourite, since she thought it made her look cheap. Like a slut. It did go well with the red dress though. She caught me looking at her and smiled.' (p1)
Both Regan and Luna are similar that they can be quite selfish at times. Luna outwardly, constantly needing Regan to lean on, confide in, talk to, be herself with, without much thought about Regan's need to sleep or have a life of her own, and Regan internally, thinking selfish thoughts. Though that's not entirely true. Regan is pretty much always there was Liam/Luna, whether he's acting the part or she's being herself. Regan just doesn't want to have to be. And I can kind of understand it. When as far back as you can remember, you have been the emotional crutch to someone else, and being so affects your own life, you can start to get resentful.
'Same way I hated my brother. He was always there, invading, interfering, ruining my chances of any kind of normal existence. It was always him, his needs, his wants. What about what I wanted? A regular family. A circle of friends. A best friend. A boyfriend. Was that so much to ask?' (p172)
Regan does understand though. Or understands as much as she's able without actually going through it. She see's her sister suffering in silence during the day, going through so much pain.
'The gender scales didn't extend equidistant in both directions. For example, if you were a girl you could be off-the-scale feminine and that'd be find, but if you acted or felt just a little too masculine, you were a dyke. Same for guys. Mucho macho, fine. Soft and gentle, fag. What happened if you were born off both scales, between scales, like Liam? Then you were just a freak. I know that's how Liam felt. He told me once that there was no place for him in the world, that he didn't fit anywhere. He was really off the scale. Boy by day, girl by night. Except, he was a girl all the time, inside. It was hardwired into his brain, he said, the way intelligence or memory is. His body didn't reflect his inner image. His body betrayed him. The way people viewed Liam, as a boy, meant he had to play to their expectations. Dress the part. Act the role. And Liam was good at it, expert. He'd had all those years of practice. It had to be horrible, though, day after day after day, seeing all around him what he wanted so desperately to be and never could.' (p51)
Resentment and understanding battle in Regan through most of the novel; wanting her own life, but knowing how much ;Luna needs her and wanting to help. There's just no balance, really.
'Why can't you just give this up? Leave it the way it is, the way it's always been? I turned to say it, but the vibes emanating from Liam made me swallow the words. His need, the longing, they were palpable, physical, flowing back and forth between us as if we shared one vascular system. One heart.'
When Luna decides to start her slow transition into being herself out in the big wide world, you can't help but admire her, despite the fact that it's now more need than choice.
"I'm strangling her. She's not the one I want to eliminate. All this suppressing and holding her down, keeping her caged, perpetuating this fraud, this sham. I can't do it anymore." He shook his head. "I can't." He raised his chin and looked at me. "It won't go away. No matter how much I wish, or pray, she's always with me. She is me. I am her. I want to be her. I want to be Luna." "You are," I said. "You can be." "No." He blinked. "I mean all the time. I want to be free. I want to transition." (p20-21)
Luna is so brave and courageous, but by reading this book, I've realised there's no real choice in the matter. Luna either goes out and take the risks, shows the world who she really is and take steps to becoming the girl she's always known she is, or live a lie, a miserable, poor excuse for a life. Luna decides to take the path of being true to herself, a path that isn't without hardship, fear or doubt, but a path of hope for joy and happiness. Luna's is an amazing story, and watching Regan try and build a life for herself while Luna starts living hers is just wonderful. As I said, it's a difficult story, but a completely beautiful one. I finished it with tears in my eyes. An incredible story, and one I implore everyone to read. ...more
The final book, and an awesome conclusion to what is a pretty great trilogy.
With the Bhelliom in his possession, Sparhawk travels back to Elenia and to his Queen, equipped to cure her from the poison coursing through her veins. Back to perfect health, Queen Ehlana can now take control of her kingdom. But Primate Annias still has his sights set on becoming the Archprelate, and even with Ehlana back in charge, his schemes have already been set in motion. And so Sparhawk the Church Knights make their way to the Basillica at Chyrellos to do what they can to thwart his plans. But Annias' has had renegade Pandion Martel stirring up the peoples of Rendor and Lamorkand, and marches armies to lay siege to the Holy City. Now Bhelliom has resurfaced, the evil god Azash is doubling his efforts to have the sapphire rose fall into his hands with his alliances with Martel.
Oh, how I love Queen Ehlana! What a woman! At only 18-years-old and Queen of the kingdom, she's quick, sharp, and knows how to get her way. She has perfected the art of oration and is a fantastic actress. She can use other's sexism and ageism against them, by planning up to their expectations, and managing to get what she wants. She comes across as girlish and maybe even slightly foolish, but she has a strong and intelligent mind behind her winsome smile, and can talk anyone round. She's a political genius, and just such a strong woman! She also has a wonderful sense of humour, and doesn't pass up the opportunity to take the mick out of anyone.
Another wonder in Flute. Now her identity as the Child Goddess Aphrael, one of the Younger Gods of Styricum, has been revealed, her moments on the page are dazzling. She's small and looks to be around six, but she has a towering personality, and she takes charge of those men in steel like they're the children. Completely wonderful! Also with a wonderful sense of humour, a little more offensive than Ehlana, but absolutely devoted to those she loves - and love our varied group of heroes she does. She's a treasure, and it's no wonder she always manages to get her way. She doesn't make as much of an appearance in this book as she has done previously, but when she does, you can't help but smile. I absolutely love how Eddings puts such strong female characters into his novels! With him putting them in a sexist setting, it's really quite wonderful seeing them come out on top - and says really a lot about his own view of women. I would not be surprised to find out that Eddings was a feminist.
Surprisingly (it's been a really long time since I last read these books), the siege at Chyrellos takes up the majority of the book. Considering this is the last book, and everything must come to ahead - the confrontation with the evil god Azash, and what that will lead to - I kept thinking "How long is this going to take?" while reading. I knew they had to move on at some point, I just didn't know when, or how, or even why. And I was getting closer to the end.
It has been awesome re-reading this trilogy, but now I've come to the end of it, I have realised I remember a whole lot more happening in it's pages than actually does. There is a lot more political scheming, intrigue and plotting to combat enemies than there is actual fighting and confrontation. It's a bit like chess, maneuvering and strategising to stay one step ahead of the other. While interesting and fascinating, with each book hitting aroung the 500 page mark, and expecting a lot more action, I finish this series a little disappointed. My own fault though for misremembering.
Political intrigue is absolutely fascinating, though, and I still love this trilogy dearly! A wonder from David Edding's and his fantastic imagination!...more
When Kim’s father makes her move from her posh girls school to the school fool of trouble makers. Sure she’s not going to fit in for being thought a sWhen Kim’s father makes her move from her posh girls school to the school fool of trouble makers. Sure she’s not going to fit in for being thought a snob, she’s surprised when Sugar, the most popular girl at school, befriends her. As Sugar leads Kim down the road of alcohol and drugs, Kim experiences things she never has before, including feelings for Sugar. Is she falling for her new best friend?
I’m so glad I never really saw the TV programme before I read this. From what I know of the programme, some of it is different from the book, like Sugar’s race for instance, which is a small but important part of the book. I’m not too sure if I liked this book. It was good, but I got annoyed Kim some of the time when she wasn’t treated too well. I suppose heterosexual or homosexual, though, we all get a little blinded when we really like some, and make mistakes, so I can’t really fault her too much.
It was sad seeing that Kim’s home life wasn’t too great, with her mum leaving home, but I got annoyed with how a lot of the book was of Kim and Sugar doing practically the same things over and over, and Kim agonizing over whether or not her and Sugar were an item. It was just all a little bit samey.
I don’t really know what I expected, but the only thing that makes this lesbian fiction is the two girls, but it’s a story all girls know too well, the only difference was that Sugar wasn’t male. There isn’t really anything on the hardships of being homosexual; there’s no coming out to parents, no having to deal with homophobia, no being worried about what people will think. There is however a few occasions when guys like that the girls are kissing, which Sugar uses to her advantage.
The front cover warns that the book contains explicit content, but I don’t know what was explicit about it. The sex was mentioned, some sexual acts were hinted at, but we never actually got to “see” anything, and there wasn’t any detail. Compared to some other books, this novel is quite tame.
I don’t think Sugar Rush was especially amazing; there wasn’t anything all that special about it. However, it has spiked my interest enough for me to want to pick up the sequel, Sweet, to find out what happens later on to the main characters. Overall, and ok book. ...more
I absolutely loved City of Bones when I first read it about two years ago, so much so I was dying to read CiOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I absolutely loved City of Bones when I first read it about two years ago, so much so I was dying to read City of Ashes. However, due to my TBR pile, it took me a while to actually get to it. I picked it up towards the end of last year... yet was bored. I got 121 pages in, and decided to put it down. For whatever reason, it just wasn't doing it for me. However, after reading something about the series recently, I decided to pick it up again, and I really enjoyed it! I'm not sure what it was that stopped me from enjoying it the first time round, because I didn't have any problem this time. It must have just been the mood I was in. Saying that, although I really enjoyed it, I wasn't as blown away as I was by the first book.
It's strange because I don't really know what to say about City of Ashes. It was both action packed, yet also a book where not a lot happened. We're introduced to the Inquisitor, who is the Shadow Hunters judge for all intents and purposes. After finding out that Jace is actually Valentine's son, she is certain that Valentine sent Jace back to the Institute as a spy, and so refuses to trust Jace at all, believing every word that comes out of his mouth is a lie. She becomes a massive obstacle, locking Jace up, and stopping him from trying being able to... well, do his job, especially when Valentine is still after more power. It's because of this that it feels like nothing happens. At every turn, she's there, blocking everyone from doing anything. She does her job, because we're supposed to hate her, but I feel she just slows the story down. Our Shadow Hunters have to wait around to find a way to weasel out of the constraints - sometimes literally - they're put in. Granted, some of the things she does leads to finding out things that our characters wouldn't have known otherwise, but it just annoyed me.
Despite this, there are a number of great fight scenes and other exciting moments. There are demons and danger and some major changes for a number of characters. There are new characters, plans to thwart, and discoveries made. And growing tension between Jace and Clary. That had to be the best part of the story. Just because they've found out they're related doesn't stop them from being attracted to each other, and it causes a great amount of inner turmoil. And Simon! Poor ol' Simon! He is such a sweetie, but he does have a tough time of it in this book - even more so than in City of Bones.
There is excitement and humour, and an addictive plot. City of Ashes really is an awesome read, and I am so excited to continue with this series, and see where it goes!...more
When Audrey dumps her musician boyfriend, Evan, he wies a song about it. A song that gets released and makes his band famous. And no veryone wants toWhen Audrey dumps her musician boyfriend, Evan, he wies a song about it. A song that gets released and makes his band famous. And no veryone wants to know Audrey and what's happening in her life. The paparazzi follow her aond, andevery little detail about her life is gossip gold dust. It turns out being famous isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Audrey tells her story, and she has the most awesome voice! She is so sarcastic wih the greatest sense of humour. I also fund I relaed to her quite a bit; before the fame thing hit, she has a life that was very similar to my own not that long ago - like Audrey, I went to a lot of gigs of unsigned bands, and although I didn't go out with a band member (or had a song written about me, thank God!), I was good friends with a partcular band and knew well the "I'm with the band" scenarios that Audrey experienced. There wasn't enough of those moments in the book for my liking, but that's only a small thing.
I loved the storyline! I assume it's pretty eye-opening for someone who doesn't know what goes on, or one of the people on the outside - fans for example - and I think it'll make people realise how much rubbish famous people have to go through.
The characters were amazing! It was funny to read about Evan, as he's like an amalgamation of aspects of several people I've me, so I felt like I knew him. I've also met a fair few "teenies", so whenever Audrey made a comment about fans who were fans just because, like, wow, they're famous (!), I was lauging along thinkig "I know!"
Victoria, Audrey's best friend, was just awesome! She's so funny, and she bounces off Audrey so well! She reminded me of my own friends as one person. However, she started to bug me hugely when she was enjoying Audrey's fame rather than seeing that Audrey was having a crap time. Jonah and James were just two of the coolestus, they were just so funny!
One thing I didn't like about the book was how much swearing there was. Itmay be true tolife, but I hear enough of everyday, I don't want to read it too.
Overall, a fantastic book, and I can't recommnd itenugh It's just a shame "Audrey, Wait!" isn't an actual song....more
I LOVED Wake! It was so good! Really different from what I’m used to reading in urban fantasy. Such a great premise!
Wake is a very quick, very easy reI LOVED Wake! It was so good! Really different from what I’m used to reading in urban fantasy. Such a great premise!
Wake is a very quick, very easy read. It’s not all that fast paced, but it’s not necessary for it to be, as things get interesting as soon as anyone goes to sleep nearby. There isn’t exactly a resolution in to the main story, but there is a resolution to a plot thread that doesn’t really have anything to do with Janie, but the effects will lead on to a big change for Janie in the second book Fade.
Wake is very much a first book; you find out about the main characters, learn about Janie’s dream issues, and go along with her as she discovers more about them. There’s also the set up of the almost separate plot thread, which leads to more happening for Janie.
Not a huge deal happens in this novel in the great scheme of things, a lot of emphasis is put on Janie trying to work out how and why she slips into other people’s dreams, and how she can control it, and her relationship with her love interest, Caleb, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t interesting. There are a great set of characters, and as I said, the idea of slipping into other people’s dreams is just incredible!
If I was going to criticise the book at all, I would criticise Caleb-as-a-boyfriend. Generally, he’s fine, but when he’s expressing his feelings, it’s not completely believable in my opinion. I had no trouble over looking it though, because generally speaking, the book is amazing!
I highly recommend this book to everyone! Wake is just awesome, and Fade looks even better! A great start to what looks to be a fantastic series! ...more
Suzy used to be a wild child; a rebellious girl who’d get into trouble now and again. That all changes when Rosie, Suzy’s older sister, dies and her fSuzy used to be a wild child; a rebellious girl who’d get into trouble now and again. That all changes when Rosie, Suzy’s older sister, dies and her family moves town. Now Suzy strives to be the best she can; good grades, good behaviour, and the right kind of friends. When her new friends tell her about the virginity club they belong to, Suzy decides to join to; anything to fit in. The only thing is, she’s not a virgin. But who’s going to know? All’s fine until Ryan, Suzy’s ex, shows up, and Suzy starts panicking. What if he tells everyone her secret? What if they find out what she’s really like? What will they think?
The Second Virginity of Suzy Green is a great story of figuring out who you are, dealing with grief, and working out what doing the right thing really means. This book had me cringing several times as Suzy finds herself in some embarrassing moments, and at other times I wanted to hug her as she struggles with trying to be someone she’s not. It’s really a poignant but uplifting book about not having to be perfect or what everyone thinks you should be; that being yourself is the best person you can be.
This book is more about abstaining from sex than it is about having sex. Although I generally think abstaining until you get married is a great idea if that’s what you want to do, the virginity club in this book, “Wait for Love”, is a little on the creepy side if you ask me. The leader, Jamie, a youth worker, has its members come up on stage to confess whenever they feel like going to any level with someone, even kissing, so that the group can help support them and help them fight temptation. It just seems a little over the top if you ask me.
The story does bring up some interesting points. While “are you doing it for the right reasons?” is a question normally linked to sex, this book asks “are you NOT doing it for the right reasons?” The characters in this book seem to be not having sex because of what the leader Jamie, and all their friends, will think, no necessarily because they don’t want to themselves. Lori, a girl Suzy makes friends with, is a big supporter of the virginity club, yet even she is interested in taking things a little further, kissing at least, but doesn’t because of what Jamie says. The novel seems to be saying is asking our teens not to have sex the best way of dealing with things? When Suzy does talk about her first time, it is always clear it is because she wanted to, because she and Ryan had strong feelings for each other at the time, and there was no pressure – and Ryan was tender and careful. Possibly a better way?
This is an awesome book which tackles two problems teenagers face; working out who you are and peer pressure, and it’s a great way to get teens thinking about what the right course of action is for them. ...more
During a Personal Development lesson that was talks about female reproduction, periods, the pill, and how it all works out, the teacher says somethingDuring a Personal Development lesson that was talks about female reproduction, periods, the pill, and how it all works out, the teacher says something that will change 15-year-old Megan’s life. Of course, it is possible be pregnant and still have periods.
From that point on, everything changes for Megan, because she finds out she’s five months pregnant. How did this happen? What is she going to do? What will the father say? What will her Mum say?
This book is pretty good! It focuses mainly on Megan and how she’s thinking and feeling, and what she’s going to do, and less so on what happens to her physically, but it was good! You have no idea how often I wanted to slap her Mum. She was so nasty, insulting and unsupportive, it was just so awful. Reading this book as a 22-year-old, I wanted to give Megan a hug and knock her Mum’s lights out, but if I had read this book at 15, or maybe younger, it would probably have scared me. It could work that young readers may decide to be extra careful because they wouldn’t want their mothers talking to and treating them like that. It was awful.
Claire, Megan’s best friend, also needs a slap. She enjoyed the drama of it all, and didn’t think enough about Megan’s feelings. It was because of her that everyone at school found out and treated her so horribly. She kept pestering Megan about what she was going to do, and had she told her Mum, she just wasn’t helping at all.
I liked how we got to read the conversations with the social worker, Susie. Through those conversations, everything was explained bout what Megan’s options were; keeping the baby or having it adopted, and what either choice would mean for her as she is 15. Not only does Megan get this information, but so does the young adult reader. I thought it was clever.
I think it would have been better if there was more on what happened at antenatal classes and doctors appointments. It would have been cool to see how Megan reacted on seeing her first scan, and all these other things. However, Megan’s feelings on being pregnant were brilliantly portrayed.
"I’d have given anything to have my own room. I really needed it now; I felt the need to pace about, to shout, rock backwards and forwards and generally cry, yell and make a fuss about what happened to me. And another part of me wanted to get right inside myself and be quiet, try and sort things out in my head." P 29
There were no sex scenes in the book, as it happened before the book started, but it’s a pretty good story that deals with an outcome of unprotected sex. Over all, Megan is a pretty good book, and maybe good as an introduction to the topic for younger readers. I liked it....more
The fourth and penultimate book in the Belgariad series, and things are starting to come to ahead!
Ctuchik destroyed himself when in an effort to keep possession of the Orb, making certain that Belgarath succeeded in reclaiming it. Now with Errand, the young innocent boy with only purity in his heart Zedar used to steal the Orb, under their protection, Garion and his friends make their way to Riva, picking up Ce'Nedra on the way. The Orb must be returned to it's rightful home in the Hall of the Rivan King, and Ce'Nedra must present herself before the throne on her sixteenth birthday to be the bride of the Rivan King, if he returns, to meet with the agreement set out in the Accords of Vo Mimbre. Garion believes his part in this adventure nearly at the end, but the Prophecy has not yet finished with him.
This is the book where it all comes together! All hints lead to here, and all loose ends are finally brought together. This is the book where we finally discover what Garion's destiny is, right along with him - though so many hints have been dropped throughout the previous three books, if any reader is surprised by what happens in this book, I'd be bowled over. It's where things really start to get interesting, and you can see exactly where this story will lead, and it's so exciting!
In Castle of Wizardry, we once again meet two characters we only see very briefly at the end of Magician's Gambit, Taiba and Errand. Taiba was a slave kept by the Murgos. She was born into slavery, and has known nothing but cruelty her whole life. She has a very unique view of on morality which drives Relg insane; when life is cruel, you take joy whereever you find it. Despite the hardships she's had to suffer, she's a strong woman who has a strong sense of self-worth, and will not be made to feel ashamed for what was done to her. Errand is the young boy of about four who carries the Orb - the only person who can. The Orb will kill anyone who has any ill-intent in his heart. Errand can only say one word - "errand", hence that is what the others call him as he responds to the word. He is always trying to pass the Orb on to someone else, making the others believe he has been told by Zedar he has an errand which is to pass the Orb onto someone else, Zedar meaning Torak. Errand is completely trusting and loving of all, and has no idea what danger or evil is. He is a complete innocent, and the cutest little boy because of it.
Ce'Nedra comes into her own at the end of this book. She realises she has a part to play as well, and isn't just along for the ride. She comes to understand just what the Prophecy requires of her. Ce'Nedra is still very much the same girl, but she puts aside the girlish whims and desires, and becomes a very capable - if nervous of her role - young woman. She does what needs to be done, despite what she believes it will ultimately mean. But in her heart she knows it's necessary, even if ever step she takes breaks her heart. Love is a powerful motivator.
Castle of Wizardry ends with the ball in motion, heading inevitably towards it's conclusion - the meeting between the Child of Light and the Child of Dark. What the outcome of that meeting will be no-one can say - but it's going to be cataclysmic!...more
Nick has been on the run for as long as he can remember. His mother stole a charm off of a very powerful magician before he was born, and he wants itNick has been on the run for as long as he can remember. His mother stole a charm off of a very powerful magician before he was born, and he wants it back. He and his older brother, Alan, move around the country with their deranged mother to escape the magicians and the demons the magicians send after them. But then Alan gets a demon mark - a mark that leads to possession and then death - when he tries to help two other teenagers who are in trouble. Nick is the only person who can save him, but that gets harder to do when he starts to think Alan is hiding things from him.
I liked this book, but it doesn't match up to all the hype surrounding it. It just wasn't very "wow!" to me, like I expected. The novel starts off wuite slow; it only starts to pick up after three or four chapters, and the chapters aren't short. I actually ended up putting the book down to read some others I was excited about.
When the book did start picking up, it got to half way through the book before anything, in my opinion, really happened. When things did start happening, though, it gets quite intriguing. Nick has all these questions about Alan's strange and secretive behaviour, and there's how they go about trying to get rid of the demon mark.
I didn't like most of the characters, though. Nick is too angry, aggressive, selfish and insensitive, which bugged the hell out of me, but is explained by the end. Alan was too sensitive, and Mae ws too much of a girl in my opinion. Jamie was best, with his sarcastic sense of humour shining through when he was most scared - which was pretty much all the time.
I did find the ending very surprising; you're left guesing all the way through, but this ending is not what you expect. Still, when the book ended, I was left a little unsatisfied, a little "is that it?" Although it's an urban fantasy, I don't feel there are enough fntasy elements that we actually get to see, as most happens outside the group of people we follow. I was pretty underwhelmed, but I will be checking out the sequel, The Demon's Covenant when it comes out next year. A good book overall, but not as amazing as I expected.
**I'd like to add that I wrote this review after I finished the book earlier in the wook, and since finishing it, I have been thinking a lot about the book. Perhaps my review is a bit harsh when it comes to the characters. I think I might actually like them all, in their own way. I think I was just a little disappointed when I originally wrote the review....more
On the face of it, Leslie is a normal, healthy, well-adjusted fourteen-year-old girl. She goes to a good school, has a great friend in Cavett, and a mOn the face of it, Leslie is a normal, healthy, well-adjusted fourteen-year-old girl. She goes to a good school, has a great friend in Cavett, and a mother who loves her to the moon and back. She should be happy, yet she’s not. She would be, she thinks, if only she were thinner. But “thinking thin” becomes a dangerous obsession and Leslie’s weight drops to five stone, threatening to destroy her and the whole fabric of her family life. Only by realizing that this condition is an illness – and one that has its roots in a deep problem – can Leslie hope to survive. From Amazon UK
This is such a brilliant, heart breaking but wonderful novel! I have no idea how I can possibly do this book justice with this review.
The book starts off a little slow. Leslie has started a new school, she makes a friend, and we see she has some issues with her mother. The issues run all the way through, but I must admit that I don't fully understand what her problems with her mother are. Sometimes she seems to love her desperately, and other times she wants to shout at her mother, but I can't see myself what her mum has done wrong, even though the novel is in first person. This may just be me, maybe it would be clearer to others. But the issues that she has she goes through in her internal monologue, and it's just heart breaking to see her chop and change so quickly from desperately loving her mother, to blaming her with such fury.
It's also heart breaking to read about Leslie developing anorexia. It starts with stomach flu. She loses a few pounds, and her jeans aren't as tight, so she decides to go on a "diet" - that involves eating hardly anything. Everyone compliments her as she loses weight, so she loses more and more. Though she doesn't know it at the time, the anorexia is the little dictator in her head, berating her over how greedy she is, telling her she's fat, but she's strong, and she can go without. The little dictator is merciless.
It gets to the point where how much food she's not eating, how much she weighs is all Leslie thinks about - until she can't make it to the bus stop to get to school because she is just so weak and tired. Reading it all made me feel so empty, like I was the one who hadn't eaten. I can't explain it, but I was just so effected by this story. She ended up wanting help, but it seemed like she didn't know exactly what help she wanted. When hospitalised, she wouldn't eat right and had no desire to put on weight, but she was desperate to be helped. It was just so hard to read. And every time I read Leslie saying "I'll know when I'm thin enough because I'll be happy", it was just so upsetting.
What also made this book extremely powerful was the fact that it was semi-autobiographical. Deborah Hautzig was suffering from anorexia, not yet cured, when this book was originally released. She was experiencing it as she wrote it. It's just so, so sad. This is the one book I have read for this month where there is no resolution. Does Leslie get better? We don't know. But she's getting help - and that's the point where Hautzig was at when she wrote the book.
This is a brilliantly powerful and poignant book that just took my breath away. It's just brilliant, and one I think everyone should read.
As soon as I saw this book on the shelf, I knew I had to have it. Without knowing what it was about. Had toOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
As soon as I saw this book on the shelf, I knew I had to have it. Without knowing what it was about. Had to have it. Last year at work, we had a beautiful window display for Rob Ryan's picture book, The Invisible Kingdom. It was so, so beautiful! And I knew, when I saw This Is For You, I had to have this book for my own, knowing it will be just as beautiful. What I didn't expect was for This Is For You to be so deeply moving!
Everything in this book is papercut - words and pictures cut from paper. Every single page, and there are 64 pages of these intricate, detailed, stunning images. The time and effort that had to have gone into this book is astounding. This Is For You isn't just a book with a cool story/message, it's a complete work of art. Although each image links to the one after for the story, each image is a completely singular thing of beauty. You're reading the story, but you're also amazed by the art!
And then there's the story. It's pretty much a love letter from the narrator - and considering it mentions papercutting, I would assume perhaps, actually, the author - to some unknown person, the person they will end up being with. Think Michael Bublé's "I Just Haven't Met You Yet", in some ways, it's along similar lines. It's a love letter of hope and joy, of yearning and looking forward to no longer feeling "empty" once they're big heart finally holds someone else's too, and of the complete joy that, despite still feeling empty, knowing that emptiness will be filled. With love. It's an absolutely exquisite story; uplifting, full of hope, and profoundly moving.
This book is too beautiful for words, and I absolutely must get my hands on every other book Rob Ryan has written and collaborated on. I am completely awe-inspired....more
Continuing to re-read this trilogy, and I'm still loving it!
The Ruby Knight picks up right where The Diamond Throne ended. After talking to the late King Aldreas' ghost, Sparhawk now knows the only way to save Queen Ehlana after she was poisoned is to find Bhelliom, the sapphire jewel carved into the shape of a rose. Infused with the power of the Troll Gods, Bhelliom is practically invincible, and can do anything. However, Bhelliom has been lost for around give centuries. Sparhawk must again go out to find Bhelliom, which was last seen in the crown of King Sarak, who died during the Zemoch invasion 500 years ago. Travelling with his companions to Lake Rendor, where the majority of the battle took place, they discover a creature of darkness sent by evil Sytric Elder God Azash hot on their heels, the search becomes more desperate to find Bhelliom, before it falls into the wrong hands.
Sparhawk's journey is long, and with each month that goes by, another knight dies, handing over his sword to Sephrenia. Sparhawk begins to get frustrated and melancholic, and finds he has doubts about their journey and what it will accomplish. Is it just a fool's errand? Will they ever find Bhelliom, and will they even find it in time to save the young Queen? The danger is somewhat amped up in this book with various groups of people trying to hinder their search, and it's absolutely wonderful!
In this book do some of the events I remember take place. Fights with senseless people, raising the dead, an encounter with a crazy woman with insatiable blood lust! It's just incredible! I love the moments when Flute finally speaks and astounds them all, and when they discover the truth about who she is. And I love how we get to know some of Sparhawk's companions better. In The Diamond Throne, he is joined by Tynion, Bevier and Ulath, three brilliant Knights from the other three orders of Church Knights, and they're such great characters. Bevier is so devout and proper, but has no problem loping off someone's head if the situation arises. Ulath is strong and quiet, but has exceptional wit when he does speak, and works wonders when it comes to getting their enemies to comply. Tynian is like Kalten, another humourous, happy-go-lucky Knight, but built as big as an ox, and just as intimidating with a sword as how he looks.
A wonderful second novel, and loving where the final book is going - I've already picked it up. Really can't recommend these books enough!...more
I've been a fan of Sarra Manning's for a while, but hadn't yet got to Pretty Things, so was excited to see wOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I've been a fan of Sarra Manning's for a while, but hadn't yet got to Pretty Things, so was excited to see when doing my research for LGBTQ Month that Pretty Things fit the bill, especially as it was already on my shelf. And just the other Manning novels I've read, Pretty Things is amazing!
The blurb makes it sound complicated, but it's not. Each of the four teens narrates the story in alternating chapters. Obsessed with fashion and make-up, and known for not being the brightest spark, Brie is thought of as a bit of an air-headed bimbo, but underneath the clothes and cosmetics, she has hazardously low self-esteem. Charlie, her best friend, is the only person that really knows the girl behind costume and understands her, the only one who'll really give her the time of day, and she's in love with him - even if he does force her to join the summer drama club. Charlie, however is gay, and has had difficulty finding a guy he really likes, and so when he does finally fall for someone at drama club, Walker, is pretty crestfallen to discover that he's straight. Walker is known for his promiscuity, and is loathed for how he treats girls, but what no-one knows is that he is constantly being disappointed and having his heartbroken by girls, finding out that were never the people they alluded to be. But then he meets Daisy at the drama club, who is so much more than just her beauty, and everything Walker has always wanted. But Daisy is a lesbian, a card-caring feminist, and has strong views about gay rights - though she's not as sure of herself as she seems.
Ok, that does sound complicated, but they all interact with each other and become "friends" with each other at the club, so with them all hanging out, it's easy to keep up.
Pretty Things is one of those books that deceptively looks like it's light and fluffy, but actually covers some serious issues in a way that is completely accessible. Manning has a wonderful way of channelling the teenage voice and using humour and sarcasm that makes it fun read rather than a serious issue book. It's awesome that Pretty Things can get readers thinking about such subjects without going down heavy paths.
And I suppose that's partly down to the fact that, despite there being two protagonists who are gay and another two straight ones who are in love with them, this isn't a book that is about sexuality. Sure, some characters struggle with the sexuality of others. And, ok, there are times when characters question their own sexuality. And yes, moments of experimentation. But Pretty Things is about four individuals and their experience with love - discovering love, working out what love is, unrequited love, basically romantic love in all it's forms - and their self-identity. In the author's note, Manning wrote:
"This is probably the bit where I say that Pretty Things is a serious story about the quest for sexual identity in four emotionally stunted youths. But it's so not. It's about love and how it bops you over the head when you least expect it."
And that's exactly how the story comes across. It doesn't matter what their gender is, what their sexuality is, or the gender of the person they fall for, it's about their feelings and their relationships with each other, and, as I said, about the characters as individuals. As Charlie says, "...being gay is not all I am. Why should who you sleep with define you?" (p106), something Daisy is just starting to figure out: "Maybe I should stop defining myself through the people I sleep with and trying to work out who the hell I actually am because I don't have a clue." (p312 - emphasis mine, not the author's.)
LGBTQ themes are not the only thing this book covers, I could have read it for Sex in Teen Lit Month and Body Image and Self-Perception Month as well as LGBTQ YA Month. Each character has their own issues with themselves, and varying views on sex - whatever their sexuality, and to have so many things covered makes for really interesting reading.
A fantastic novel, Pretty Things is a fun and sensitive story of love and self-discovery, and one I highly recommend....more
I'd never heard of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry until becoming a book blogger. Other bloggeOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
I'd never heard of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry until becoming a book blogger. Other bloggers have raved about it being one of their favourite children's classics, and how much it meant to them, so when I was offered the opportunity to review it, I decided to see why it is so dearly loved. Now I completely understand.
When a pilot crashes in the Sahara, with only eight days to fix his plane before his water runs out, the last thing he expects is to meet a Little Prince - a young boy from another planet. The Little Prince regales the pilot with stories of his tiny home planet, with it's three volcanoes (one extinct, but "you never know"!) and his flower - a vain and arrogant flower - but one he loves dearly, and of the many moral lessons he learns on his travels to other planets before he comes to Earth. The Little Prince teaches the pilot so many things, and is forever changed by the little boy.
The Little Prince is such a wonderful, wonderful story! I was absolutely bowled over by this sweet little boy and the insight that comes through because of his innocence. I was moved by his relationship with his flower and the love he felt for it, and how something (or someone) can be so special and important to you, even if there are others quite a lot like it. There's also something brilliant to be said about platonic love and friendship, no matter how short, and the line, "It was worth it for the colour of wheat", really touched me. Other discussions covered by The Little Prince are on superiority, materialism and ownership, work, loneliness; it's written in a way that everything seems really obvious, but, despite this being a children's book, I did have a few light bulb moments. The topics covered were obvious, but it's the way the Little Prince talks about them, his perspective, that really opened my eyes.
The Little Prince is a beautiful story, and I absolutely loved it. I can completely understand why this book is such a classic, and I'm sure it will be marvelling readers for years to come.
Thank you to Alma Classics for the review copy....more
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is considered a modern classic and highly acclaimed. Because of this, I haveOriginally posted on Once Upon a Bookcase.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is considered a modern classic and highly acclaimed. Because of this, I have only just read it for the first time. I generally have problems with classics - not in enjoyment or some kind of snobbery, I just tend to have trouble understanding them. The classics that are from decades ago. However, I was never aware how recently Perks was written, and so overlooked it because of intimidation. This is just going to be another one of those books that's just too smart for me to get. Without ever really picking it up, I would see it on the shelves in book stores and look at it sadly, feeling inadequate and unintelligent because I wouldn't be able to read it.
Until I heard somewhere online it was - or could be considered - a YA novel. Then I picked it up and read the blurb. It sounded interesting, but still I put it back. It didn't really leave my mind though. I wanted to read it, I wanted to be able to read it. And when doing research for the upcoming LGBTQ YA Month I'll be having on my blog, this book was listed. Then I was sent an email from Simon and Schuster; they were republishing it, and it was also going to be coming out as a movie, and would I like a review copy? Everything in this paragraph happened over a series of a few weeks. Perhaps fate was telling me to give it a go, but I don't really believe in that kind of thing. I watched the movie trailer, and replied saying I'd like to review it. I picked it up Monday, a few days after receiving it, and coincidentally, this week is Banned Books Week. Perks is a banned book so, everything kind of happened around the right time. So I read it, finished yesterday, and oh my god, I have fallen in love! I don't think I have read a book so beautiful in my life.
First of all, I guess I shouldn't be so fearful of the word "classic" - so there are a few I struggle with, that doesn't mean I'll have problems with all of them! Perks was so incredibly easy to read and enjoyable, that my original intimidation just flew out of my head. I love Charlie, and I love this book!
Charlie is such a shy guy, and is so introverted. He is starting high school, he has no friends, and he is scared, so he writes letters to an anonymous person - "Dear Friend" - for someone to talk to, for someone to confide in, as he has heard this Friend "...listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with people even if they could have. I need to know that these people exist." (p3) The story is told through the letters that charlie writes to Friend as he experiences his Sophomore year.
The way Charlie views the world, his innocence, and the way he expresses what's normally kept internal, his thoughts and feelings - rather than it just being a narration, he's actually telling an anonymous someone - has captured my heart. He is so honest and real! He can be so unbelievably smart or he can seem a little naive and innocent with the things that surprise/amuse him, his voice just feels so authentic. And he is just so unbelievably thoughtful and kind, and very sensitive. From the very beginning of this book, it was set in my mind that Charlie is such a special guy. He's just one of those characters that you'll take into your heart from the very beginning, and won't ever allow to leave, because you adore him from page one.
The other characters in the book, especially Patrick and Sam, are great, but what's better is Charlie's relationship with them. From being someone who is so shy without any friends, who never had too many friends before high school as well, Patrick and Sam become very important to him. Step-siblings, they are both outside of the popular crowd, but not outcasts. They are seniors, so both two years older than Charlie - Charlie was kept back a year because of things that happened when he was younger - but they both take him under their wing and become fast friends. Although he seeks advice from them at times about things he's yet to experience, for their friendship, the age gap is never a problem and nor does it ever really feel like they are quite older than him. Charlie is just their friend, like and of their other friends, and is accepted in to their group with no questions. Both seem to feel a little protective of Charlie, not because of his age, but because of who he is, being so shy and such an outsider, and in their way, they show him what life is. It's the sweetest friendship I've probably ever read; it's clear how important both Patrick and Sam are to Charlie, but they really care about him too. It's heart-warming.
Generally speaking, Perks is a coming-of-age story, and it deals with all the things that are part of teenager life; first love, first sexual experience, experimenting with drink and drugs, dances and music, family issues, romantic issues, and the normal teenage angst, but it deals with it all in a sensitive way. I was surprised with how the drink and drugs was handled; it's not glorified, but nor is it condemned either, which I don't think I've read before. It just is what it is, Charlie experiments with drugs, and that's it. As Charlie is writing the letters, he doesn't get excited about it or think he's doing something bad, he talks about it like he talks about driving, it's just something that happened. But that's just who Charlie was.
As I said, generally speaking, this is a coming-of-age story, but it also covers a number of serious issues. Perks is quite short at 232 pages (my copy), but Chbosky manages to have a number of things seen through Charlie's eyes without the book feeling clunky or like it's been all crammed in. Either Charlie's experienced something, or it's something a friend has that is discussed with him,. Teen pregnancy, abuse, suicide, homosexuality, and a number of other subjects are covered, but dealt with in such a great way, through Charlie's unique view of the world.
Perks is an absolutely wonderful novel, a delight of a book. There is this speech towards the end of the novel made by Sam that will always stay with me, because it was just so powerful. Perks will break your heart, it will put the pieces back together again, and it will move your far beyond words. You'll cry, you'll laugh, and you will finish the book saddened that's ended, but uplifted by where Charlie finds himself. Perks might just be the best book I have ever read....more
Clary Fray's life changes forever after going to a nightclub one evening and sees a boy murder another - who's body disappears. Then when her mother dClary Fray's life changes forever after going to a nightclub one evening and sees a boy murder another - who's body disappears. Then when her mother disappears, and she finds a monster in her house, Clary is thrown into a world of demons and Shadow Hunters, those who hunt them. Everything she knows is turned upside down, and with the return of th Shadow Hunter's worst enemy, Valentine, and the search to find an ancient relic of great power, the Mortal Cup, before he does, Clary discovers she is more than just an average girl.
I've seen reviews for the Mortal Instruments series for a fair while, and thought I would give City of Bones a go even though it didn't really appeal to me. This book has been sitting in my TBR pie for a few months now, and finally made my way to it. And you know what? I so wish I picked this up sooner!
As I hand write this review (I'm on holiday, and can't get to a computer right now), I've literally jus finished City of Bone and I am BUZZING! There aren't really any words I am capable of using right now to describe how good it is, but the fact that I feel the urge to shout and scream and jump about should give you the idea. City of Bones is that good! Someon pass me City of Ashes now!
It may sound odd, but this book reminds me of Doctor Who's tardis in a way; you know how it's bigger on the inside? Well it's kind of opposite with this book. City of Bones is a fair sized book at 442 pages, and the font is fairly small, yet it was such a quick read! And although a lot happens, it looks like I should have at least half the book still to read. My point is, I thought I'd be reading this book for quite a while (I'm not the fastest reader going), and that it may be a little tedious, but it took just two days, and was so exciting. I got through the book much faster than I thought possible for me - while on holiday!
The storyline at it's very, very basic isn't all that original; a group of teenagers fighting against an evil adult antagonist, one of said teenagers finding their life isn't what they thought. Sound familiar? Of course it does, you could apply this to any number of YA novels out right now, but this is just the bare bones of the novel. It's the meat of the book that makes this book so fantastic, and stand out from the rest!
Like the characters for example. Clary herself is awesome, funny, and strong when she's forced to be, but she is fairly ordinary as a person that any girl could relate to her. The other characters are also amazing! Jace, one of the Shadow Hunters, with his golden angelic good looks, arrogance and humour make him irresistible, even if he is a git at times; Simon, Clary's best friend, the most hilarious nerd I've ever seen read, you just wantto give him a big hug; Isabelle, another Shadow Hunter, beautiful and a right cow, and her brother Alec, just as good looking, but not the nicest bloke around. All of these characters and their individual sub-plots intertwine and ovelap with th main thread to creae a brilliant, and at times beautifully heartbreaking, story.
There are so many romantic threads weaving through this book, you're continually switching back and forth over who you're rooting for. The action in City of Bones is incredible, ad it really gets the heart pumping and the adrenalin rushing. Definitely edge-of-your-seat stuff. Simply amazing!
This book has jumped right up there with my favourites! Anyone who is umming and ahhing about reading this book like I was, stop hesitating and pick it up now. You won't reget it! I'll leave you with an image that should seal the deal: beautiful, gorgeous Jace, with a cocky smile, sitting astride a flying motorbike. Oh my. ...more