Tuesday, 18 June 2013

I'll be back

Hi guys, I first and foremost want to apologize for the lack of posts lately, however, life has been pretty hectic lately! We built a house but now there's a major problem with the wooden floors, there are bad chemicals being released from the word and into the air, therefore we haven't been able to stay there and have moved into the guest house for the time-being. I don't have access to a computer and I am just quickly posting this from my mom's iPad, as I can't post reviews and such from it.

I have been reading a lot and writing the reviews on my phone, so when I have access to a computer or laptop I shall post them. I really hope this all gets sorted out soon and that I'll be able to blog daily again. :)
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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Review - Wonder - R.J. Palacio

WonderTitle: Wonder
Author: R.J. Palacio
Genre: Middle-grade
Publication: February 14th 2012, Knopf
Pages: 315 pages
Source: Thank you so much to RandomStruik for sending me this amazing book in exchange for a honest review!
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.
August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?
R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.

See what other fantastic books RandomStruik have in store for you:http://www.randomstruik.co.za/ 
When I begun Wonder, I was expecting to enjoy it, I've heard amazing things about it and most people have loved it. What I wasn't expecting, was for Wonder to effect me in such a way. I wasn't expecting it to teach me about the good that humanity is capable of, the courage of some people and the way one little boy could win the hearts of so many. There are not many novels I give five cupcakes to, but this one of them. This book deserves an infinite amount of cupcakes, I loved this so much I don't think words will quite be able to describe.

Wonder is about ten year old August Pullman, a little boy born with a severe facial deformity. August has been protected from the outside world, home-schooled his whole life..until now, he is about to go to a normal school, fifth grade, and he knows it's going to be tough but he's determined try.

When he starts school, people stare. People talk. People laugh. People avoid him, as if he has a the plague. However, August is determined to ignore their stares and get the best out of his school experience. Through being kind, funny and loving, his classmates realise that it's truly not about the outside that counts, but the person within.

August, Auggie, as his friends and family call him, is just an incredible little boy. The amount of turmoil he has been through at such a young age and his positive attitude and shiny personality still remains. As you're reading Wonder you really feel for Auggie, I can't imagine going places and knowing that everywhere I go, people will be staring and whispering, I would be too scared to go out I suppose. But not Auggie, decides to go to school, he decides to live life to the fullest and he makes sure to keep a positive attitude the whole way. And yes, most of the time he's fine, he's funny, he laughs and jokes, but other times you can feel the deep longing he feels to have a normal face and blend in, you can see the pain he feels at times, and it just makes him all the more realistic.

I also love that the secondary characters had their own unique personalities, and that they were just as important as Auggie to the story. We get to see all the secondary characters' points of view, which made you see how some of the things that happened to them shaped who they are today.  Another thing you see, is how all of them, fall head-over-heels in love with Auggie's sweet disposition and loving nature.

There was Via, August's older sister. When Via described how it was living in Auggie's shadow you really see just how tough it's been for her too. She has never told her parents about any of her bad days, any of the times school was tough and time something bad happened, because, she says, nothing compares to the problems Auggie has to deal with. She is such an amazing person for casting her worries aside to focus on her little brother. Seeing the love and protection she felt towards him was heart-warming. And even though she really loved Auggie, there were still those days that she felt like she didn't want her new high school knowing about him, she wanted to keep him a secret, once again painting her in a realistic light.

Jack and Summer were the two kids that Auggie befriended, it was amazing seeing how they sacrificed their old friends and what people thought of them to be friends with Auggie. Jack and Summer were both great kids. Jack made some mistakes along the way but he always had good intentions and he was just a great, kind kid.

Summer was amazing, she is the person we should all strive to be. Her kindness, friendliness and love resonates through the story and she is an amazing role model, she just proves that we should be kind to everyone and anyone.

You will feel an emotional connection to every character, from Auggie right through to Daisy, their amazing dog.

Wonder produced immensely strong emotions in me. I was amazed at the cruelness people could be capable of, but then later on I was constantly being pleased and overjoyed at the goodness that people can actually show. Those last few chapters where Auggie wins the hearts of his classmates and they realise just how amazing he is, it quite frankly, had me in tears.

R.J. Palacio has a raw talent, her words and colourful, emotional, story pulls a reader in and comforts them, as if it were a warm blanket on a winter night. You won't want the story to end, you want to read about August and how he's attitude makes everyone adore him. You'll want to continue reading, you'll want to feel all those emotions, from heart-warming happiness to that sadness that contains hopefulness. You'll want to become a better person, be that one more person that makes the world a better place. You'll be laughing one minute and the things that August says, the next minute you'll be crying, be it from happiness or sadness, your heart will be giving the book and characters a standing ovation. A novel that everyone on this Earth should read.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #5 - Top Ten Beach Reads

Top Ten Beach Reads (Books that I have read and recommend)

It's actually winter over here in Africa at the moment, so I should be doing a post on winter reads! :P I absolutely love summer though and when it is summer I'm always on the lookout for new summery reads! :D Below are books that I have read that are quite good for summer :D

Smart Girls Get What They WantLife After TheftThe Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)Kidnap in the Caribbean (Laura Marlin Mysteries, #2)Lucky (Avery Sisters Trilogy, #1)Lula Does the HulaLily B On The Brink Of ParisThe Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Sisterhood, #1)WonderMy Super Sweet Sixteenth Century

1. Smart Girls Get They Want doesn't necessarily take place on the beach or during summer, but it's a great,cute contemporary!

2. Life After Theft takes place on a beach, a contemporary novel with a twist, it's also an addictive read!

3.  The Summer I Turned Pretty takes place in a beach house, on the beach, whilst reading it, it honestly feels like you can hear the waves and feel the sand beneath your feet. The romance in there is also perfect for summer.

4.  Kidnap in the Caribbean is a middle-grade mystery novel that takes place in the Caribbean. Although it's a mystery novel, it's still a quick, super-fun read that will honestly make you feel like you are in the Caribbean.

5. Lucky is a nice poolside reach, it's your typical contemporary, there isn't much depth to  it, but it's a perfect read for a lazy day.

6. Lula does the  Hula is a fun summery novel that has mystery, contemporary, humour and hula-dancing all tied in one!

7. Lily B on the Brink of Paris is a fantastically well-written, and quite hilarious, novel about Lily B and her time in Paris.

8. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants is about four friends and the places they go on their summer vacation, I completely recommend it! 

9. I finished Wonder yesterday, it's such a cute, inspiring story that is lovely to read in summer.

10. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century is an awesome contemporary novel! Summer, time-travel, Italy and cute Italian boys combined makes this a must-read for summer!
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Review - Hostage - Chris Bradford

Hostage (Bodyguard, #1)Title: Hostage (Bodyguard #1)
Author: Chris Bradford
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: May 2nd 2013, Puffin Books
Pages: 420 Pages
Source: Thank you to Penguin Publishers for providing me with the opportunity to read and review Hostage :)
Rating: 4/5 CUPCAKES!
In a dangerous world, everyone needs protection. 
No one suspects that a teenager could protect someone – but Connor Reeves is no ordinary 14 year old. He’s a professional bodyguard trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat. When he’s summoned to protect the President’s daughter, his protection skills face the ultimate test.
Alicia doesn’t want to be guarded. She just wants to have fun. With no clue that Connor is her bodyguard, she tries to escape the Secret Service and lead him astray. But unknown to her and Connor, a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated. 
Its mission: to take the President’s daughter HOSTAGE.

Want to see more info on the book, head to the Bodyguard series' website:http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17797635-hostage
See what other fantastic books Penguin SA have in store for you: http://penguinbooks.co.za/young-adult-books

When I received Hostage to review, I was quite excited to begin reading. I read Chris Bradford's first book, Way of the Warrior, a couple of months ago and I really enjoyed it! It was incredibly well-written and action packed. If you thought Way of the Warriors was good, Hostage was even better, containing nail-biting, on the-edge-of-your-seat excitement. I can say it is definitely one of the top books I have read this year.

Hostage is about fourteen year old Connor, who has just gained the title of Kick-Boxing Champion, when things take an unexpected turn, he finds himself hired by Buddyguard - a secret organization that trains kids to be undercover bodyguards. After being trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat, Connor is sent on his first assignment, to protect the President of America's daughter. Nobody suspects that there will be any danger on Connor's first assignment, but when there is a surprise terrorist attack, Connor will have to put everything into action that he has learnt, his goal is just to prevent Alicia from being harmed - even if it means laying down his life.

Wow. I really wasn't expecting such a gripping, heart-pounding novel. I've read quite a few spy/detective/action books in my life but never have had such a unique idea or given me such a high adrenalin rush. Hostage is incredibly unique. The idea of undercover, teenage bodyguards is genius.I'm so used to the teenage spy thing but Hostage offers a unique approach, as he isn't a spy he's a bodyguard, or to put it more precisely, a buddyguard. I love it when authors come up with these unique ideas as it really sets their novels apart from other books that are on the market.

The plot was fantastic. There was seriously non-stop action and I when I had to go do something, I regretted putting the book down.  I'm not kidding when I say almost every chapter ends with a cliff-hanger, and the chapters are short, so when you say you'll finish one more chapter...it could lead to you finishing the whole book in one sitting. Especially towards the end of the novel, the last few chapters were intense and there was one point when I was reading so fast to find out how this would end that I actually had to make myself read the text slightly slower so that I could drink in all that was happening. A few of the events had my heart-racing and my palms sweating and I honestly couldn't believe how the story was unfolding.

I liked Connor as a main character. He was brave, loyal, charming, kind and would risk everything in order to protect the life of his Principal, Alicia.
He handled his assignments with maturity and understanding and understood the consequences of all his actions. A really lovely main character!

Alicia herself was a nice enough character, and you could feel the frustration and unfairness she felt due to her protected life. If I was Alicia I would be going off my head, she was constantly being watched and guarded and I didn't blame her for wanting to take off at any chance she got, however, I did find her slightly stupid to go off unprotected but she learnt her lesson in the end and finally understood why she had to have security with her at all times.

The only improvement I could hope for, is for us to learn a bit more about Connor and the Principal. I felt like we knew him and Alicia but we didn't perhaps get a proper and complete understanding for them. If we had a bit more details of the characters, I think Hostage would be the perfect novel.

The writing was once again phenomenal. Chris Bradford has a way of words, his words pull you into the world he has created, and you see everything through his eyes as well as your own. Another thing I really appreciated about Hostage, and of the author, is that you could see his researched the topic of being a body-guard and what commences in the training and strategies for it, and I even read somewhere that he went to take a course in training for those kind of stuff in order to write Hostage. Not many authors do that, and I appreciate that he did. There have been books that I have read, although very little, that you can tell the author has written just what they think they know and not really the truth of the matter. 

You know what else I loved? Is I actually learnt so much whilst reading Hostage. I learnt about techniques bodyguards used, I learnt about Code White, Code Yellow, Code Orange and Code Red, and I have even tried practising, myself, to be in Code Yellow at all times. My mom's one friend's two little boys, aged ten and seven, are into this whole spy/combat thingy and I was trying to  explain to them all I had learnt in Hostage and I was actually surprised I now know so much, I felt like a complete genius after reading Hostage!

Hostage is a fantastic new novel to the start of what I am predicting is going to be a highly popular series. With moments that make your heart race, a loveable, brave main character and the unique original idea, you will adore this book! I honestly cannot wait for the next one as Hostage was such an amazing adventure! I hope that they'll create a movie for Hostage as it would be awesome to see everything that enfolds in the book, enfold on the big screen. A novel that should not be missed.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

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Saturday, 8 June 2013




Soo, it's the 8th of June. And guess what? It's one of my BEST, BLOGGING FRIENDS' BIRTHDAY!!!

And judging by the gif, and the happy birthday message, it is EILEENI's (my nickname for Eileen, it's a long story about how I use to think that's what it said in her blog title but it was Eileen LI and not EileenI, which I shall tell you another time..) BIRTHDAY, who runs the amazing blog The Unicorn, otherwise known as ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***!! HAPPY FOURTEENTH BIRTHDAY, EILEEN! We are now officially the same age, which is awesome. *high fives*

Now, Eileen, I'm going to tell you just why I think you are awesome. Please, sit down, grab a book and a croissant. *shoves croissants at you*

Eileeeeeeni, you are

1). An interesting, spazzy, awkward croissant tweeting creature. 
2.) Amazing at reviewing books
3.) A great singer
4.) A super-fast reader
5.) Awesome, just awesome.
6.) Hilarious! Have I ever told you about how hilarious you are?! Nope, I haven't but I am now! Eileen you are laughing-till-red-in-the-face-plus-crying-plus-can't-breathe hilarious!
7.) So very kind :')

You, my friend, make the book blogging community a whole lot more happier and fun! I swear, you're like, one of the most funnest people I know (and yes, I don't care that funnest is not a word, but hey! It totally should be :D) and the world would be a very sad place without you!!

You are an inspiration to the blogging community. Your blog is well-known, you write amazing reviews AND amazing song reviews, and even better you are an utterly amazing person.

When I first started blogging, you would be the first person I turned to for help and you were always able to help me with something! In fact, looking back at those emails I don't know how you put up with me, the amount of questions I asked ... :P Thank you so much for being such a help!

You are kind! :D You are really kind and sweet.

You are so incredibly hilarious, if I'm having a bad day I know I can just tweet you and you will say something completely random and something completely Eileen that will have me howling with laughter and getting concerned looks from my parents.

I can't say enough good things about you that's how awesome you are!! I hope one day when I visit America (one of my dreaaaams) that I'll be able to see you because gurrrrl, we would have an awesome time chatting about book-boyfriends, ranting about books and eating croissants and eating spoonfuls of Nutella.

I love ya Eileen, you're one of my blogging friends EVER and the most awesome person alive!!!!! :D :')

Click HERE to read Inky's post from Book Haven Extraordinaire for you! 
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Review - Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3)
Title: Clockwork Princess
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: Young Adult
Publication: March 19th 2013
Pages: 568 pages
Source: Thank you so very much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for providing me with a copy of Clockwork Princess in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes!
Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy. 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.

Since I read Clockwork Angel the end of last year, I've been meaning to read the next two books in The Infernal Devices trilogy. I loved Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince was even better and Clockwork Princess was phenomenal, although there were one or two things that slightly irked me.

Clockwork Princess picks off from where Clockwork Prince left off. Tessa is now engaged to be married to Jem, Will is trying to retain his over-powering love for Tessa, Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood have joined the Institute and Charlotte and Henry are trying to keep Charlotte's position as head of the institute whilst preparing for the birth of their new baby. However, things take a turn for the worse when their is a surprise attack on the London Institute, as it swarms with automatons, Tessa is grabbed and whisked away by the malevolent Mrs Black. As the carriage draws closer to Mortmain and Tessa's fate, the Shadowhunters at the Institute prepare to rescue Tessa from Mortmain's clutches, however, one of the Shadowhunters fall deathly ill and they have to stay at the Institute to be with the patient. Will then sets off on his black horse, trying in desperation to save Tessa. Will he survive the journey, and will Tessa escape?

I loved Clockwork Princess. The amount of action, the amount of shocking events that entailed, the romance...sweet mama of chickens, the romance in Clockwork Angel was so extremely well written and stunning I was left gaping.

The great thing about Clare's books, which it quite unique, and proves that she is a good author,  is that she manages to write and produce the perfect mixture of realistic aspects, fantasy aspects, swoon-worthy yet gentle romances and characters that you form a deep bond with.

Her writing is also inspiring, there are countless, beautiful quotes that made my heart thud and tears well up in my eyes. Her descriptions are so detailed it feels like you are not merely reading words on a page but watching a heart-warming, poignant movies. Her words form pictures in your mind, pictures and words that show the cruelty of life and death, the love the completes you, sacrifices...pure perfection.

The plot was great! All the questions that we've been asking since reading Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, have finally been resolved in Clockwork Princess. We realise what Tessa is, we are told more about the inhabitants of the Institute's pasts, we are told why Mortmain so desperately wants Tessa...and it is revealed who Tessa will end up with.

The characters gave their all in this book, and we discover more about them then ever in the last instalment of TID. We see their hopes, their dreams, their personal sufferings and burdens they bare, we see their full personalities, we see them fall in love, we see them grieve...we see them in a whole new light.

We also learn more about the secondary characters, and they brought an even more humorous and interesting appeal to TID. Gabriel and Gideon Lightwood were our enemies, but now they're part of the family. They've been through a lot which may have negative influences on some of their choices, however, they eventually proved their loyalty and you can't help but fall in love with them!

Sophie is the Institute's mundane servant, although, she actually is more their friend than anything! Sophie has had an awful past, yet she is incredibly brave and an excellent fighter and will lay down her life in gratitude to Charlotte for taking her in.

Cecily, I loved Cecily! Will's spunky, fierce fifteen year old sister was really amusing! It was so sweet seeing her and Will's sibling bond and it was awesome having another Herondale to read about!

And we see Charlotte and Henry's true affection for each other, and despite the stuff people say about their marriage, they still stand strong. I do wish though that they included Charlotte's pregnancy a bit more in the book, as she was fighting Mortmain and automatons and the Consul and I was thinking it was quite odd that there weren't a few references towards the unborn baby in those scenes.
Tessa has always wanted to know what she is, she is seems to be some sort of warlock, yet she doesn't bare the warlock mark. When she finds out about herself and her family's past, will the she embrace who she is or will it lead her to destruction.

Will. Geez I love him! His act of being a bad boy have crumbled away now that the "curse" has been lifted, and we see how fragile he can be. It pains him every day to see Tessa madly in love with Jem, yet he knows that he knows they are happy together and that as all that matters, which shows just how loyal he is. The fact that he reads and quotes literature just makes him all the more swoon-worthy! <3

Jem is sweet and kind and he is engaged to Tessa. It was sweet seeing their romantic sides and the public display of affection they showed. *spoiler* It was quite upsetting when Jem died, however I don't think he's death was written in the best way. I couldn't feel the full impact of his death, as it was more on how Will reacted after losing his parabati, but the other characters almost didn't seem to display that much emotion to his death except Will, which I found quite odd. Surely they would have been in hysterics? When we later found out that Jem became a Silent Brother I was quite shocked as it wasn't necessarily a twist I was expecting, quite clever of the author to write that!*spoiler*

The romance between Tessa, Will and Jem was...wow. The love Tessa shared for Jem as his fiancé didn't really feel fully authentic to me. I could really feel she loved him, but I thought, not really in that way. Whereas when she was with Will, you could feel and see that fiery love they held for each other, that spark and passion that radiated from them. I don't know about you, but I think Will is the one for her, I just can't picture her with anyone else.

It was also lovely seeing the secondary characters fall in love and seeing how beautiful their relationships were.

There were times during Clockwork Princess that I felt, in a way, that Tessa was being a bit...I'm not sure, but she would kiss Jem and then, even though she was engaged, she would kiss Will, and that wasn't right, they didn't deserve that.

The epilogue was filled with upset but also happiness. *spoiler* It was incredibly upsetting viewing Will's death, watching him grow old and die and I teared up quite a bit and wanted to hug my copy to pieces because I didn't want Will to die, I wanted to live with Tessa for eternity, as I just could picture one without the other. The thing with the epilogue is that Jem and Tessa meet every year on the same day on Blackfriars Bridge, even though Jem is a Silent Brother. However, in the year 2008, 71 years after the passing of Will, Jem is different, reborn in a way, and definitely not a Silent Brother anymore. After Jem and Tessa talk they realise they want to be together in Jem's lifetime, he is no longer a Silent Brother and no longer an addict of the yin fen, the drug that slowly killed him. 

Now, here's the thing, as much as I adore Jem, I just simply can't come to terms that Tessa will be with anyone besides Will. I know Jem and Tessa were previously engaged before the demise of Jem, but Jem is not the same person anymore. He just doesn't seem the same and he isn't, and it's hard because it's almost like, during the epilogue, we're meeting him for the first time. I also really wish that Tessa didn't live for eternity, because now as she time goes by, the people she loves will pass away. I also felt it so saddening when she said that she left after Will died, because she could barely survive out-living her husband but she wouldn't be able to bear out-living her children.
*spoiler* And that's the thing, although the epilogue had me feeling sad and almost nostalgic in a way, I think it was a good ending that will satisfy Team Will and Team Jem. The epilogue just has a certain sadness to it, it really showed the love Tessa, Will and Jem all shared for each other, however, *spoiler* seeing Will die*spoiler* was awful! But it had to happen, as Tessa is *spoiler*immortal*spoiler* and Will isn't.

Clockwork Princess was the phenomenal, astounding finale to The Infernal Devices, and it's a trilogy I can see myself re-reading in the future. Clockwork Princess tugged at my heart-strings and had a sense of nostalgia about it. Through reading Clockwork Princess you will begin to understand the meaning of true love and the sacrifices people will make for those they love. There were parts that broke my heart, parts that made my heart swell with happiness and parts that had me laughing and the humorous banter between the characters! The final book will satisfy any fan of Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, whether they're Team Will or Team Jem and I'm sure all readers will love it! But beware you might just find yourself crying at parts...be it laughter or from sadness, you should have a box of chocolates and tissues nearby!

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

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Thursday, 6 June 2013

Stacking the Shelves #47

I didn't get a big haul this week but the three books I did buy, I can't wait to read! :D

Every DayWhy We Broke UpSmart Girls Get What They Want

I read Smart Girls Get What They Want and I absolutely ADORED it! Every geek should read it! A really amazing read! :D

I got some amazing looking books this week...what did YOU get? :D

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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I'm back!

Hi guys!

I am officially back! As some of you may know we have been building a house for the last 5 months and it was officially finished about a week or two ago, and last Friday we moved in! We're still unpacking and settling in, and I we still need to get some bookshelves, so as soon as all my books are in place I will take pictures and post them! :)

Thanks to everyone on Twitter that has wished me luck with the move, it didn't go too bad actually! :P

So yep, I'll be posting everyday again from today and I hope you'll enjoy reading more of my posts! :P
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