Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Book Review: Aurelia by Anne Osterlund

"Princess Aurelia is next in line to rule the kingdom of Tyralt, but she would rather be one of the common folk, free to learn and roam and . . . not marry the next tyrannical prince that comes courting. Naturally, the king wants Aurelia to marry for political power. Aurelia wants to marry for love. And someone in the kingdom wants her . . . dead. Assigned to investigate and protect Aurelia is Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy and one of Aurelia's oldest friends. As Aurelia and Robert slowly uncover clues as to who is threatening her, their friendship turns to romance. With everything possible on the line, her life, her kingdom, her heart, Aurelia is forced to take matters into her own hands, no matter the cost." 
- Stolen from goodreads because  I suffer from laziness and so cannot be bothered to type out a synopsis. 

My Rating: 4.8

I LOVED THIS BOOK! I just got the sequel on my kindle and as soon as I'm finish writing this I am going to delve into it. I am excited to say the least :D

This book is a young adult, historical fiction kind of book and oh, do I love me a good historical fiction. 

I found myself being rather fond of the protagonist, Aurelia. Generally, while I do like some, maybe most, protagonists there is always something about them that pisses me off. Either they are constantly whining or they make the stupidest decisions and end up being a damsel in distress. Aurelia was headstrong, opinionated, caring but also, like all of us, had her insecurities. There is nothing about her that really got under my skin. 

As for who the culprit was, I was surprised. Completely did not see that coming, I had my guesses and if I thought harder about it, I may have suspected the female involved However, the guy I completely did not see coming. It took awhile for it to sink in. (I'm saying "female" and "guy" because I am trying so very hard not to ruin it) 

Even though the synopsis suggests a heavily romanced story, the romantic element is rather minuscule which was fine with me. However, if you're the type of reader who needs to have the heavily laden romance going on, then you might not enjoy it as much. Still give it a try though. 

The only point of criticism I could find was the ending, which went by rather quickly. There was really no explanation for the "whys", it just kind of blew by. But, all in all, it was a good book and I definitely recommend it. 
If you have read it, feel free to leave a comment or message telling me what you thought of it, however contrary it may be to my opinion. Variation is the spice of life?

Until next time, toodles :) xoxo

Monday, 15 July 2013

Top 5 Book Titles :)

Hey there, 
How are you? I hope you are well. 
Ever had a situation where the title of a book just drew you in? And it never leaves your mind? And you want to read that book just because the title sounds cool? Well I've had a few situations like those so I thought I would compile a list of my 5 favourite book titles. Enjoy!

-This list is not in order of my favourites or least favourites- 

1) A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This book is definitely one of my all time favourites! I can honestly say nothing negative about it, it was pretty close to perfection even down to the title. The title comes from a line from a poem entitled "Kabul" by a Persian poet named Said-e-Tabrizi and translated by Josephine Davis into english. The poem reads:
      "Every street of Kabul is enthralling to the eye
Through the bazaars, caravans of Egypt pass
One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs
And the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls"

The poem is actually mentioned in the novel by Laila's father when they were leaving the war torn city. The words evoke a beauty which stands as a contrast to the war ravaged city with rubble and blood which the backdrop of the novel is set against.

2) The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

If you've read a previous post of mine which was a review of Sarah Dessen's work (click here to view it), you may have guessed that this title would be on here. The Truth About Forever was the first Sarah Dessen book I read, I couldn't help it as it was just sitting there staring at me on my cousin's bookshelf, saying "Read Me! You know you want to" so I caved. The book was great, the best Sarah Dessen novel I have read. 

3) To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

"Remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird"..."Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy...but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird" 
I'm not really sure why but that line really stood out to me when I was reading it and I haven't since forgotten it. This was one of the prominent metaphors used in the book; mockingbirds were used to symbolise innocent and good people who are destroyed by evil. In the case of this book it was Tom Robinson and Boo Radley. 

4) The Fault In Our Stars- John Green

Recently, I have been seeing this book all over the place and quite rightly so. It's wonderfully written and the story just pulls at your heart strings. 

Once again, the title is also mentioned in the novel when Peter Van Houten said to Augustus in his letter:

"Were she better, or you sicker, then the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross, and never was Shakespeare more wrong than when he had Cassius note, ‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars/But in ourselves"

It is a really nice way of saying you can't control fate and sometimes you have really bad luck. Essentially, what happened to Augustus and the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the novel could not be controlled and is no one's fault. It's all in the stars. 
This title really sums up the essence of the novel and also sounds so poetic. 

5)  One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The title of this book is pretty clear cut. It's set in a fictional town which is isolated from the rest of Colombia. Technology eventually gets to this place, in about a hundred years. 

What is striking about the title though is the use of the word 'solitude'. Other words, such as isolation, convey the same meaning and could have been used. Solitude makes it seem more personal and so the title could also refer to the Buendia family who all seem emotionally disconnected. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this list. If you have any others you would like to add, feel free to leave a comment or message me. Don't forget to follow for more ;)

And until next time, toodles :) xoxo

Saturday, 13 July 2013

30 Facts About Me!

Hey there, 

     This post is going to be different from the ones I have recently been posting. I thought I would do something more about me for a change and what better way to do that than to post a bunch of facts, eh?! I had to do some serious thinking when coming up with this list which is just sad and pathetic. Come on, how hard is it to write 50 facts about yourself? Well apparently it is hard. Anyway, let's jump  right into it. 

1) I want to get an eyebrow piercing- I remember seeing a picture of a woman with one as a child and thinking how cool it looked. 10 years on and nothing has changed. Unfortunately, not even my mother's stance :( I remember telling her this as a child and receiving the most scandalised look, I could almost hear her thinking "What sort of people does my child associate with? Where is the nearest boot camp?"

2) When I am buying something from a store, I'll always pick up the product behind the first one. I don't really know how this started but I never got rid of it. It had something to do with a younger me thinking that the first has gotten all felt up and it has been exposed to the elements so the ones behind it were "safer". Logically, they all have to get "felt up" in order to get stacked on the shelf so go figure.

3) I am definitely not an animal person. I believe them to be smarter than me and the inability of us to successfully communicate intimidate me. 

4) Johnny Depp is my favourite actor.

5) I strongly believe that life exists elsewhere in this massive universe. It can't be just us, right?

6) Even though I am not a fan of most animals up close, I would have to say that I hold a special detestation for snakes. The mere thought of them crawls my skin and I dread ever coming into contact with one. Lord help me if it is an inland taipan or viper. 
I would also like to take a minute to appreciate Mother Nature going out of her way to make sure that most of the deadliest snakes are found in an isolated and mysterious place called Australia. 

7) I collect different patterns of funky socks and I'd say my collection is pretty impressive. 

8) I love the smell of coffee and all things coffee flavoured but not the actual coffee. 

9) My favourite childhood book was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Willy Wonka's factory was fantasy world I dream of visiting. I remember there being these sweets called nerds by a brand called Wonka (see pic below) and I spent a time under the illusion that they were somehow related. But don't worry, big brothers exist to squash happy delusions like these. 
Another favourite of mine was the The Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton. That one set the imaginative wheels in my brain going. 

The infamous nerds.

10) As you can probably tell from my previous fact and my blog, I have always loved reading and still do. Asking me to choose my favourite book is like asking a parent to choose their favourite child. That's not entirely accurate but you get my point.

11) The worst injury I have ever had was a sprained ankle. *knock on wood*

12) I am blessed to able to say that I have never had someone I was close to me die in my lifetime.

13) Continuing on that depressing note, I actually cannot remember the last funeral I went to. 

14) I can't imagine me living in just one country for the rest of my life. 

15) The toilet, shower and in bed before I go to sleep are where I have the deepest, most profound thoughts on life.

16) I have no allergies that I know of :)

17) I love paintings. In my future home, I hope to have a big collection of paintings all over the house. I love the look of little ornaments (when chosen carefully) but they are such a pain in the you know where to dust. I can barely can keep my room in order, I don't think I could keep pointless little ornaments. 

18) I prefer even numbers over odd numbers.

19) I like to bake in my free time but the cleaning up process is such a pain in the rectum.

20) I often find myself wishing my life was a musical so I could burst into a song and all the people surrounding me would join in but alas, people do not work that way. 

21) I love using the word alas :-)

22) I have a deep appreciation for puns.

23) I have been told many times that I am more mature than people my age which after told, I could actually see. Because of this, I can sometimes find it hard to relate to people my age :(

24) When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an astronaut, explorer, garbage collector or gutter cleaner. I earned another scandalised look from my mother when I mentioned the last two to her. 

25) I absolutely love watching plays and theatre performances but unfortunately, there is not much available in Barbados.

26) The only special talent that I know I have is the ability to fake burp. So lady like, I know...

27) I am terrified of clowns. It all started when I mistakenly ended up watching half of the movie IT which is based on the novel by Stephen King when I was really young (like 4 or something). Yupp, if you know what that is you would understand. If not, it was basically about this clown who went around killing little children. Ugh, just the thought of that movie sends shivers down my spine. I remember this scene where the clown shows up in the shower and this other one with it in a drainage thing on the sidewalk. 

28) I generally like change. Not bad change but just change. Except facebook changes because they always seem to suck. 

29) I want to travel the world :D

30) And finally, you following this blog would make me really happy :)

If you made it to the end, kudos to you. If any of these things also describe you, let me know via the comments or a message. I would love to know :) 

Until next time, toodles :) xoxo

Sarah Dessen Books Review

Stolen from the internet. 

Hey there, 
Today I am going to be a review of all the Sarah Dessen novels I have read. Sarah Dessen is a very popular young adult novelist so if you read ya books, you've probably heard of her. So starting from the first, let's go: 
  • The Truth About Forever
  • Lock And Key
  • This Lullaby
  • Keeping the Moon
  • Just Listen
  • Along For The Ride
  • What Happened to Goodbye
The first S.D novel I bought was actually Keeping the Moon when I found it at a book sale, say 5 years? ago. It was A LONG time ago. Anyway, I had started reading it but it didn't keep my interest so I tucked it away in my bookshelf, barely read. After that I was not as interested in reading her novels so I never picked up another. That was until last summer when I was hanging out with my cousin and saw a couple S.D novels on her bookshelf. The Truth About Forever caught my eye because of the title. It has one of those titles that just screams "READ ME!" So because of that and my cousin's very high recommendation of it, I decided to give it a whirl. I was not disappointed. I started reading it in the evening and I pretty much did no sleeping that night. My entire outlook on Sarah Dessen novels had changed. After reading that one, I quickly grabbed the other two on her bookshelf, Lock and Key and This Lullaby, and even though I did not love This Lullaby as much the others, I was on a mission to find and read all S.D novels. 

Now as you can see from my list above, I have not read all of them. What happened, you ask? Is it because you have not had the time to read at all or is it because there are so many other books out there to read? Both have an element of truth to it however, neither are the actual reason. 
After reading the first 4 or 5 of them, they began to lose that original spark they had. Reading the first one was like when you first watched gangnam style or harlem shake, it was different and enjoyable and you liked it. You continue to enjoy the song or other harlem shake videos but then, it goes mainstream, you're seeing it all over the place, you get annoyed and want to rip your ears off when you happen to hear it. Okay so, Sarah Dessen books were not as drastic as that and it's a slightly different situation, but you get my point ( I hope)

In a nutshell, Sarah Dessen's novels are very formulaic. She knows what she's good at and she sticks with it. It begins with a girl who is unhappy about something in her life. Then you either have "That Summer" where this said girl does something a little different or it takes place in her school year. She ALWAYS meets a boy and they get close and start to date. Then something happens, and they begin to doubt each other, they have a fight and consequently break up. After that, it's like she'll suddenly see the light or something and she discovers something deep and profound about herself or life etc etc, she'll realise that breaking up with him was a mistake, they will reconcile and we have a happy ending. Oh, and whatever was going on in her life will also be resolved so by the end she'll be a gleeful and free bird cheerfully chirping away with a prospective life of sunshine and rainbows awaiting. 
The other very repetitive thing about her books are the characters. You always have the shy girl who doesn't realise she's pretty and the hot, moody guy. And the female lead will always need to the guy's help to resolve whatever is going on at home. *rolls eyes* It just gets so cliche. 

You could argue that all authors use the same outline for all their works and that may be true but I find it so much more prevalent in Sarah Dessen's books.

Even though I find her novels so formulaic, I do recommend you try them. I probably will not be reading another of her novels anytime soon because her repetitive style has irked me and I really can't stand the same thing over and over again but if you took each novel individually and changed how the story unfolds but still keeping with the same character and her problems, I think they would be phenomenal. So I do still recommend them because they are good books and can be very relatable to young girls out there. 

Anyway, I would love to hear your opinion on her novels even if it is rave, so feel free to leave me a comment or message.

Until next time, toodles :) xoxo

P.s Let me clarify, I loved The Truth About Forever. It is one of my favourite novels :) I also loved Lock and Key, but the rest sort of went downhill for me. 

Friday, 12 July 2013

Cassandra Clare Quotes?

Hey there,
As you can tell by my previous post, I have read and am a fan of most of Cassie Clare's works. I must admit though that The Mortal Instruments series was not one of my favourites. Nonetheless, I find that Clare's books have quite entertaining and often humorous dialogue/language. She is a genius there. Anyway, I thought I would share some of my favourite quotes (not the best word to use) or dialogue. Here they are:

The Mortal Instruments: 

  • “Have you fallen in love with the wrong person yet?'

Jace said, "Unfortunately, Lady of the Haven, my one true love remains myself."
..."At least," she said, "you don't have to worry about rejection, Jace Wayland."
"Not necessarily. I turn myself down occasionally, just to keep it interesting.” 

  • “Jesus!" Luke exclaimed.

"Actually, it's just me," said Simon. "Although I've been told the resemblance is startling.” 

  • “We came to see Jace. Is he alright?"

"I don't know," Magnus said. "Does he normally just lie on the floor like that without moving?” 

  • “Do you remember back at the hotel when you promised that if we lived, you’d get dressed up in a nurse’s outfit and give me a sponge bath?" asked Jace.

"It was Simon who promised you the sponge bath."
"As soon as I’m back on my feet, handsome," said Simon.
"I knew we should have left you a rat.” 

  • “I am a man" he told her, "and men do not consume pink beverages. Get thee gone woman, and bring me something brown.” 

  • “Well, I’m not kissing the mundane," said Jace. "I’d rather stay down here and rot."

"Forever?" said Simon. "Forever’s an awfully long time."
Jace raised his eyebrows. "I knew it," he said. "You want to kiss me, don’t you?” 

  • “Malachi scowled. "I don't remember the Clave inviting you into the Glass City, Magnus Bane."

"They didn't," Magnus said. "Your wards are down."
"Really?" the Consul's voice dripped sarcasm. "I hadn't noticed."
Magnus looked concerned. "That's terrible. Someone should have told you." He glanced at Luke. "Tell him the wards are down.” 

  • “Just because you call an electric eel a rubber duck doesn't make it a rubber duck, does it? And God help the poor bastard who decides they want to take a bath with the duckie."

  • “I've got a stele we can use. Who wants to do me?"

"A regrettable choice of words," muttered Magnus.” 

  • “So when the moon's only partly full, you only feel a little wolfy?" 

"You could say that."
"Well, you can go ahead and hang your head out the car window if you feel like it."
"I'm a werewolf, not a golden retriever.” 

  • “What are all these?" Clary asked.

"Vials of holy water, blessed knives, steel and silver blades," Jace said, piling the weapons on the floor beside him, "electrum wire - not much use at the moment but it's always good to have spares - silver bullets, charms of protetion, crucifixes, stars of David-"
"Jesus," said Clary
"I doubt he'd fit."
"Jace." Clary was appalled.

  • “I guess it’s true what they say," observed Jace. "There are no straight men in the trenches."

          "That’s atheists, jackass," said Simon furiously. "There are no atheists in the trenches.”

 The Infernal Devices: 

  • “You know," Gabriel said, "there was a time I thought we could be friends, Will."

"There was a time I thought I was a ferret," Will said, "but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? Because I didn't.” 

  • “Remember when you tried to convince me to feed a poultry pie to the mallards in the park to see if you could breed a race of cannibal ducks?" 

"They ate it too," Will reminisced. "Bloodthirsty little beasts. Never trust a duck.” 

  • “Ah,” said a voice from the doorway, “having your annual ‘everyone thinks Will is a lunatic’ meeting, are you? 

“It’s biannual,” said Jem. “And no, this is not that meeting.” 

  • “Are you implying that shreds of my reputation remain intact?" Will demanded with mock horror. "Clearly I have been doing something wrong. Or not something wrong, as the case may be." 

He banged on the side of the carriage. "Thomas! We must away at once to the nearest brothel. I seek scandal and low companionship.” 

  • “They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.

Will blinked at her. “What?”
“Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
“I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
“Mauve,” said Will.” 

  • “Trains are great dirty smoky things," said Will. "You won't like it." 

Tessa was unmoved. "I won't know if I like it until I try it, will I?" 
"I've never swum naked in the Thames before, but I know I wouldn't like it." 
"But think how entertaining for sightseers," said Tessa, and she saw Jem duck his head to hide the quick flash of his grin.” 

I really love the ones from TID, Will is such a charming and amusing character. I find the similarities between him and Jace to be quite striking. Genetics really is a funny thing. Anyway, I have probably forgotten some, so let me know if there are others you liked or which ones are your favourites. 

Until next time, toodles :) xx

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Book Review: Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

"Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?

Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.

A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her."

My Rating: 4.7 Stars.

*WARNING: This review will contain spoilers.*

Where do I start with this book? I ABSOLUTELY loved it. I'm currently going through a serious case of book hangover after reading it. I got so engrossed in this world Cassandra Clare had created that when I had finished the novel, I had no idea how I was supposed to continue living my life. 

Anyway, moving off from me, this is the last book in the Infernal Devices trilogy by Cassandra Clare. This trilogy is actually a spin-off series of the Mortal Instruments series also by Cassie Clare (Yep, I'm going to call her Cassie). 
If you've read the other two in the series, you definitely have to read this one and if you haven't read any in the series, you have to start. Now! Go! Why are you still here? :-) If you were a person who did not enjoy the Mortal Instruments series because Clary was annoying (for me) or for whatever other reason, I still recommend this series. In my opinion, it is MUCH better that the TMI series. 

I think I'm going to start with the setting of this series. It's set in Victorian England and I am a sucker for novels, movies or tv shows set in historic England. I will watch any movie set in old England, even if the plot does not entice me. So naturally, I took to the setting of this book. However, I must say that more could have been done with the writing of this novel. Even though it was set in England, the characters still felt American in a way (Yes, I know Tessa is actually American) and as if they were in the present.

With that out of the way, onto the good stuff. The love triangle. Team Jem? Team Will? Who cares! EVERYBODY WINS! Before reading this book, I wanted Jem and Tessa to work out because they were already engaged and he was just the sweetest, kindest, most selfless character who I did not want to see get hurt. With that being said, I also loved Will. He was hilarious and loved books and all round  just loveable. I felt like Tessa in this situation. 

This is one of the best written love triangles. The two guys don't hate each other and arn't all "I wanna punch you in the face for looking at her" etc etc. It was written in such a way that the respect and honour of all involved remained intact. 
I was still pining for a cure for Jem and so that scene with Will and Jem when he was about to die just broke me. I had to close the book for a minute and just breathe...

Found this on someones review and thought it was so appropriate. 

The Jem-Will relationship would have to be one of the best, if not the best part of this book. It's even better than the love triangle. We really understand what it's like to have a parabatai bond, it's more than being just a brother and the best part is that the reader felt it. When the bond broke, I swear something broke in me as well. Good work Cassie! I actually wouldn't have mind seeing Jem and Will end up together and be all "Bros before hoes". I'm joking, Tessa's not really a hoe. But seriously, I would not have been disappointed if Cassie decided to solve the love triangle by doing that (I am such a twisted person, I know)

So after I went through all of that emotional trauma over the loss of Jem BAM! It's like the thunderstom immediately cleared up and we see a rainbow- JEM IS ALIVE! Well sort of- as a silent brother. He's actually Brother Zachariah in TMI. Hmm, I see what you did there Cassie Clare, you smart woman. On a side note, that got me thinking about the lives of the other silent brothers and how they were before becoming a silent brother. It would be interesting if there were a novella written about Brother Enoch or  any of the others. Here's an idea for you Cassie! 

I probably should mention why I gave this novel a 4.7 and not a full 5 after I just went on about how amazing I thought it was. Firstly, I am a very harsh rater so I rarely ever give books a full 5 stars. Secondly, I found Cassie's writing to be a bit verbose at times. So at some points I would be reading a paragraph and thinking "what's the point of this?" and so I just skipped it. Thankfully, that did not happen to often. 

All in all, it was a wonderful...wonderful doesn't seem to do it justice...AMAZINGTASTICAL (that's better and in caps too, woo hoo! Go me!) end to an even more AMAZINGTASTICAL (sorry, I couldn't help it) series. I'm utterly heartbroken that it's ended but alas, all good things must come to an end. 

Until next time, toodles :) xx

P.s- If you've read this book, I'd love to hear what you thought of it in the comments so feel free to leave me one :)