Thursday, 28 November 2013

Review - The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a WallflowerTitle: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Classic
Publication: 1999
Pages: 231 Pages, Paperback
Source: Library
Rating: 3/5 Cupcakes
Content of Review: Ranting. A lot of it. Read at your own risk.
Spoilers: Yes, but it's hidden. Nothing big will be spoiled :)
Charlie is a freshman.And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward,he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
I've heard a lot about this book, it's a favourite for numerous amounts of people. I wasn't sure how I would enjoy it, though. I love contemporaries and coming-of-age stories, and this one has to be one of the most thought-provoking, emotional contemporaries out there. I really enjoyed this book, I won't say I completely loved it but it did persuade me to think about things.

What I Liked:

I love the narrator. The main character, fifteen-year-old Charlie. Through letters to a certain person, and to us, the readers, we really see the inner workings of Charlie's brain and his honest thoughts on the world around him.

Charlie is extremely sensitive. Sensitive to the feelings of other people, sensitive to not knowing answers to the questions he is constantly asking. Charlie's family don't pay much attention to him, although it's obvious that he is loved. There's his dad who keeps them in line and wants a good life for his family, Charlie's mom that loves her children but doesn't often say much; Charlie's college-aged older brother who is a talented footballer, and Charlie's older sister who is a vegan and a fighter for woman's rights. It was interesting to read about his family, the secrets they kept and the way they all interacted. 


Charlie is a wallflower. He observes situations and people, and would rather sit on the side-lines than actually participate in life. When his new English teacher becomes somewhat of a mentor to Charlie and giving him extra books to read and essays to write,  as well as help him out with his troubles and overthinking, Charlie takes Bill's advice and  decides it's time for him to navigate from the side-lines of life and start enjoying time on the dance floor. A thing that he was hesitant to do, but which ended up having amazing outcomes. 


He meets Sam, the girl he slowly falls in love. He meets her step-brother, Patrick, who is secretly gay and having a relationship with the school's most famed footballer. He starts navigating unfamiliar territory of all the highs and lows that come along with high-school life. He learns about intimate relationships, alcohol and drugs. He learns about being in love and how sometimes it's best to say something instead of just listening, like how he usually deals with a situation. 

I just love how honest Charlie is, how he is quite shy at first and how he loves reading. I loved reading about the specials bonds he made with his new friends and how lost he felt when they all went to college and left him to fend for himself. 

There were some stunning quotes in here. This book definitely takes you on an emotional-rollercoaster ride.

 Okay, moving onto the things I don't like:

This book deals with a LOT of dark issues. Sex, drugs, alcohol, depression, suicide, sexual abuse, homesexuality, rape, death, teenage pregnancy, abortion...this book has it all, and to be completely honest with you, I thought it was a bit of an overkill. These issues shouldn't be treated lightly and the author just threw them in on one page and forgot about them the rest. These issues need to be handled with in a sensitive manner and not all clumped into one book, a short book too. It honestly felt like the author had researched and put together a list of all the possible things that could ever go wrong in a teenager's life, and put them in the book.

I felt a lot of the things were unnecessary. I understand that the author was trying to create the essence of the full high school experience, but I don't think a high-schooler will face ALL these problems in their first year of high-school. I am home-schooled and although I went to high-school for three months when I lived in England I wasn't faced with any of these problems. I choose my friends carefully and I stayed away from the bad stuff.

Charlie was a complete and utter idiot at times. He starts drinking, smoking cigarettes and smoking pot. And he's merely fifteen years old. Okay, I know a LOT of teenagers apparently do this but I mean he just did everything and I honestly thought it was a bit much. When he started smoking, doing drugs and drinking I honestly wanted to slap him. Not only that, he allowed himself to be kissed by one of his homosexual friends because he thought it was "being a good friend" because the friend was going through a tough time. He can stop fights but he won't say no when a guy, wants to make a move on him. I just couldn't fathom this.

This book also just had to much issues in it for me. I was expecting a light-hearted read but there were such dark, horrifying scenes in this book that made me feel quite anxious. There is a scene when middle-grade Charlie views a guy raping a girl and his sister having an intimate moment with her boyfriend and I just felt it was so extremely wrong that he saw this at such a young age. I'm also pretty sure the guy who raped the girl wouldn't have done all that in front middle-grader.

Charlie was also always constantly crying, anything that happened, be it good or bad, he cried. I know he's witnessed and been apart of every-big-catastrophe-a-teenager-can-ever-possibly-go-through because this author really puts EVERYTHING in this book, but I didn't think it was normal for him to do that. A lot of people say he might have some learning issues of such, I'm not sure though, I think he is just naturally sensitive and naive.

Charlie also deals with anxiety in this book which I can relate to as I had anxiety quite bad, but he ended up in a mental hospital for two months due to a certain moment that had brought up a nightmarish memory from his part. *SPOILER* He's own Aunt Helen, whom he loved so dearly, which had sadly died in a car accident, had actually molested Charlie when he was a little boy. Yet he suppressed the memories because he loved his aunt. Wait, what? That was highly inappropriate and I honestly didn't think that had to be included in the story. *SPOILER* But it was certainly a shocker and I might have had a complete meltdown after reading the ending as I wasn't expecting it AT all.

Despite it's abundance of serious, traumatic issues I did enjoy this book. It had some beautiful quotes and how you must always try to stay true to yourself. This book is quite short and it is engrossing and I read it quite quickly.

To be completely and utterly honest with you, the reading experience I gained from this book could be great times but mostly traumatic. There was just too much of everything in this book. Although I liked the characters, I didn't connect with all of them. At sometimes not even Charlie which his pathetic decisions to do drugs/smoke/drink etc.

This book is a banned book, but so is The Hunger Games, I was  not expecting all these issues to be thrown in. I wish I had read more reviews on it before I read it and the ones I did read, not many people mentioned the issues the author mentions. He doesn't really deal with them, just chucks them all in the book.

I think this is a book where I would prefer watching the movie as a lot of the hectic scenes had too much detail. I regret that I read this book this year and I wish I had waited till I was about sixteen or over to read it so that I wasn't so disturbed about the things that happened. But then again, there are teenagers being surrounded by all this in their day-to-day lives. I've always chosen to be sheltered from those things and I suppose in a way it was better that I found out about what actually happens in the real world, because whether I like it or not, there probably will be a time where I will be faced with at least one of these issues.

I would recommend this book, if you think you can deal with these issues.
I didn't ADORE this book, I didn't hate it (most of the time), but I liked it. Although I feel like my innocence has slightly been ruined after having to "experience" the things Charlie did. *shudders*

I give it: 3/5 CUPCAKES



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Movie Review - Catching Fire


*Sorry for the incredibly bad header, had to have a go at making a header for this post! These images are from Google Images, not sure of the exact sources. Each individual picture is not my own but this edited header is*

Okay, so I love The Hunger Games trilogy. They're amazing. And I love them. And this will be a fangirl review. With gifs. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Here is my first ever movie review on this blog and it is for 


*Also created this header. I love this font, although Fire looks like Five, but just ignore that hehe ;)*

THIS MOVIE WAS EPIC. I can't describe just how amazing it is. It was such an accurate representation of the book, it literally felt like I was seeing what I saw on the book played out in front of me. There were even times where I were saying lines along with them that were taken from the book. 


The intense fog that made their skin break out into poisonous warts, the monkeys that tried attacking them (gave me such a fright I literally jumped out of my seat whilst simultaneously crushing my friend's arm). 

The actors were perfect. I love Johanna in this movie. The actress who plays her, Jena Malone, portrayed her part perfectly. The elevator scene was brilliance and Jennifer Lawrence's facial expressions were perfect!

I also loved Sam Claflin, who played Finnick and I thought he was perfect for the part and did an amazing job!

I was quite disappointed with Prim's parts in the movie though. I felt like when she did have a speaking part, she didn't show a lot of emotion and it's important for her to.

Jennifer, Josh and Gale were absolutely amazing. Jennifer really gave it her all in this movie and she is such a freaking amazing actress.


My favourite character in the movie was definitely Haymitch. Gah, I adore Haymitch! The actor who portrays him portrays him perfectly and he is just brilliant. The banter between him and Katniss is perfection and he's just such a unique, albeit drunk, character.

I cried during this movie, I loved it. I am so proud of the job they did directing Catching Fire, as it really captured the feelings and the betrayal the previous victors felt after having to go into the arena again. This movie was utterly perfect and it is definitely one of my ultimate favourite movies.

There's not much more I can say except is that if you haven't already seen it... what are you waiting for?

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!

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Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #20

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am very eagerly anticipating...

Title: Dissonance by Erica O'Rourke
Publication Date: July 22nd  2014, Simon & Schuster

Dissonance (Dissonance, #1)
Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.
Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.
But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.
Dissonance looks like an intriguing, unique novel and I can not WAIT to read! The cover is equally stunning!
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Monday, 25 November 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #9 - Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For


This is a great topic to do! There are so many things that I am thankful for but that we so often take for granted! :)

Top Ten Things I Am Thankful For
  1. My Family - My parents have always been there for me and they support me and are just in general, awesome parents. My brother as well, he's awesome and we're extremely close. I don't know what I'd do if I lost any one of my family members. I look at others who don't have a family or who have abusive parents and I feel awful for them because you really need a loving family.
  2. My Dogs - I love my dogs! They're constantly providing me with laughs and cuddles and they are my whole world!
  3. My Health - I am thankful that I am healthy! The other day I injured my upper back during dancing and I couldn't dance for a week or two without it paining and I just realised how I had taken my health for granted. It's not until something happens that we realise what we had. It's better now, thank goodness, as I couldn't go a day without dancing!
  4. My Mom's Recovery - My mom has an illness called M.E. (myalgic encephalomyelitis) and there have been times where she has been incredibly sick and at one point we honestly thought we were going to lose her. She has been getting slightly better though and I am so thankful for that!
  5. My Friends - I have a couple of close good friends and I'm so thankful for them! 
  6. Authors - I am thankful to all the amazing authors out there that write books that fuel my imagination. I can't imagine my life without books and it's all thanks to the authors that create those worlds and characters.
  7. My Bloggy Buddies - I love all my blogging buddies and they make my blogging experience even more enjoyable!
  8. Libraries - I love libraries and (although I have enough books of my own...) they always have good books there for me to read!
  9. My Faith - I am thankful that I live in a country where Christianity isn't condemned. I am glad being a Christian isn't frowned upon where I live! :)
  10. My Education - I am so happy that I am home-schooled and that I have a proper education. It really saddens me that there are kids in Africa/India and other places that so badly want to learn but can't. Everyone should learn and I learn amazing stuff and I am thankful for that!
What are you thankful for? :)

                                                                                                                    
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Review - The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Publication: September 14 2008, Scholastic Press
Pages: 374 pages, Paperback
Source: Library book
Rating: 5/5 Cupcakes
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning?
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. 
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. 
If she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Wow. Simply wow. I am awed by this book and to be dead honest with you guys, I don't actually know what to say. This novel was perfection, real, sweet, perfection. I tried reading The Hunger Games last year, didn't like it, got up to chapter four. Tried reading it this year, I finished it in 2-3 days. Thinking back, I'm not actually sure why I didn't like it back then, but I loved it the second time round and that's all that matters.

The Hunger Games is a young adult dystopian novel that in the nation  of Panem, lies a Capitol surrounded by twelve districts. To make sure the districts obey them, each year,each district, has to send a boy and a girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in The Hunger Games, on live TV, where they will fight to the death. 24 tributes. One winner.


I am probably one of the last people on this earth to read The Hunger Games. When someone use to ask me if I had read The Hunger Games and I would reply with a no, they would just stare at me. And I'd be like yep, while looking awkwardly at the ground. I am very proud to say that I have read The Hunger Games. It was an excellent, original novel. A hauntingly possible idea, real, fierce but loveable characters and an abundance of action, the Hunger Games will leave you craving more, and I am extremely happy that I have read this stunning piece of literature.


The idea, the book, everything was amazing. The Hunger Games was a brutal event that I hope will never take place in our world, it's a horrifying thought that one day, however, it possibly could.


The plot was perfect, not for one minute did I get bored. I was intrigued from the beginning but I literally couldn't remove my eyes from the pages once it was announced that the seventy-fourth Hunger Games had begun, that's when my attention was even more focused than before. 


Katniss is my new favourite fictional heroine, in fact, she is probably even a role model to me. She stands up for those she loves and will literally fight to the death for them. It was amazing looking at her strategies on how to win and I was cheering her on the whole way. And since reading The Hunger Games, I have crafted a bow and arrow from the trees in my garden and I want to begin archery lessons! :D


Peeta, to be honest, I didn't like him that much in the beginning, but he grew on me, he really did. You could see he actually really liked Katniss and he thought the romance was real but Katniss thought it wasn't authentic and her viewpoint was that the romance was just for the games and that ending practically broke my HEART! I felt so sorry for Peeta and I just wanted Katniss to make it right because you could see the pain emanating from him when she spoke about the romance strategies and how she wasn't sure about her feelings for him.


The writing was fantastic. Suzanne Collins is a fantastic author! Her descriptions were perfection and I could imagine everything so clearly, as if it were a movie being played in front of me, and throughout the book it felt like I was Katniss, as if I was experiencing all the pain, all the suffering she was going through, and her need to survive. 


The Hunger Games was phenomenal and I just want to shout from the rooftops about how epic this novel is, and I'm pretty sure I'll have thousands of people agreeing with me about how amazing it is. Dealing with love, loss, survival and inner strength, The Hunger Games will knock you off your feet. You will feel the characters' need to survive, and you can feel the tragedy that consumes them when one of the others they are close to dies. You just feel everything! 


The Hunger Games is perfection.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!



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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #19

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I am very eagerly anticipating...

Title: The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe
Publication Date: February 6th 2014, Viking Children's

The Sound of Letting Go
For sixteen years, Daisy has been good. A good daughter, helping out with her autistic younger brother uncomplainingly. A good friend, even when her best friend makes her feel like a third wheel. When her parents announce they’re sending her brother to an institution—without consulting her—Daisy’s furious, and decides the best way to be a good sister is to start being bad. She quits jazz band and orchestra, slacks in school, and falls for bad-boy Dave. But one person won’t let Daisy forget who she used to be: Irish exchange student and brilliant musician Cal. Does she want the bad boy or the prodigy? Should she side with her parents or protect her brother? How can she know when to hold on and when—and how—to let go?
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Monday, 18 November 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #8 - Top Ten Books I Would Recommend to a Reluctant Reader

 Top Ten Books I'd Recommend To a Reluctant Reader


This year there have been quite a few people I have converted into readers. I haven't turned them into completely avid readers, not yet anyway, but I have had them reader more books than they usually do. Below are some of the books I have recommended and will recommend to future reluctant readers!

Top 10 Recommended Reads

1. Divergent - Veronica Roth

One of the most intense novels I have read. It really draws a reader in, with non-stop action not even the most fidgety of people will be able to put this down.
Divergent (Divergent, #1)

2. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Yet another dystopia. The Hunger Games is a frightening novel that deals with what could be of the future. A read that will have you staying up the whole night.

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

3. Life As We Knew It - Suzanne Pfeffer
I LOVE this book! One of the first every dystopian/ post-apocalyptic books I have ever read! Gives a frightening glimpse into the future and approaches the idea of what we would need to do in order to survive if the earth's resources were suddenly cut back.

Life As We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)

4. The Summer I Turned Pretty trilogy - Jenny Han
Another trilogy I have come to adore. This has been of the most popular books I have recommended this year with most of the people coming back and stating that they enjoyed the trilogy. Romance, summer, the beach and loveable characters. Who wouldn't love it?!

The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer, #1)

5. The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
This book tore my heart to shreds, but then slowly, with each captivating word the author wrote, my heart was slowly patched back together again .This book will make every reader laugh, cry, smile and realise all the beauty in life,

The Sky is Everywhere

6. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick ness
Although this book is slightly hard to grasp at first, you will eventually become immersed in the story and fall in love with the characters and the world. This book shows us how hard it would be to live in a world where everything can hear each others thoughts , and the conflict that will inevitably arise.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking, #1)

7.  Wonder - R.J. Palacio
A compelling novel that sensitively deals with being born with defects and how one boy can change everyone's lives for the better. It's beautiful and a pure gem.

Wonder

8. The Mortal Instruments series - Cassandra Clare
Need I say more? These books are filled with betrayal, heart-ache, humour, shockers and an intriguing story line that I think anyone would enjoy!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

9. The Emerald Atlas - John Stephens
Quite a new series, but a fantastic one at that! A reader of any  age will be astounded at the bravery these three children show throughout their life-changing journey,  I couldn't put it down! It's filled to the brim with loveable characters and an action-packed plot!

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)

10. Percy Jackson - Rick Riordan
I love these books! Greeks gods who had offspring with humans to create these powerful demi-gods who get sent to Camp Half-Blood to train against evil monsters, uh, yes PLEASE!The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)

These are my top ten books I'd recommend to a reluctant reader! What are yours?
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Sunday, 17 November 2013

Review - The Emerald Atlas - John Stephens

The Emerald Atlas (The Books of Beginning #1)
Title: The Emerald Atlas
Series: The Books of Beginning
Author: John Stephens
Genre: Middle-grade, Fantasy, Adventure
Publication: April 14th 2011, Doubleday Children's Books
Pages: Paperback, 417 pages
Source: Library
Rating: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
They were taken from their beds one frozen night, when the world was covered in snow. The silhouette of a tall, thin man has haunted Kate ever since.
Ten years on, Kate, Michael and Emma have grown up in a string of miserable orphanages, and all memories of their parents have faded to a blur. Arriving at Cambridge Falls, the children quickly realise there is something different about this place - and Kate feels sure she has seen the dark, crooked house before.
As they explore, they discover an old, empty leather book. The moment they touch it, an ancient magical prophecy is set irrevocably in motion, and the children are thrown into a dangerous alternate reality of dark enchantments and terrifying monsters. Only they can prevent the terrible event that will ruin Cambridge Falls - and stop the world from falling into complete devastation.

When I first saw this book in the bookshop a few years back, my eleven year old self desperately wanted to read it, but sadly never managed to. However, all that changed when the not-so-eleven-year-old-me found this very book in the library and took it home. I didn't realise that The Emerald Atlas would capture my heart, catapult me into stunning magical world, where there are dwarves, dragons, creatures that will haunt your nightmares, a wicked witch that brings cruelty to new levels, loveable characters and a heart-racing plot. The Emerald Atlas was better than I expected and once I was near finishing this book...I immediately rushed to the library and got the sequel.
 
The Emerald Atlas is about three siblings, who were taken from their beds in the dead of the night, ten years ago. Growing up in a string of orphanages that grow increasingly worse with every new one they move to, Kate, Michael and Emma are feeling more despondent than ever. However, their whole lives completely shift when another orphanage finally agrees to take them in. From the moment they arrive at the eerie dock where they await to take them to there new home in Cambridge Falls, the children know something is amiss. Arriving in the town, the children notice a few peculiar happenings and upon meeting Dr Pym, the man who runs the supposed orphanage, they realise a tragic secret of the town which they now reside in. As they slowly watch what they thought they knew dissipate before their eyes, Kate, Michael and Emma begin to learn of their prophecy and the important role they have to play in both the real world and the magical world that they weren't aware existed. When they find a mysterious book in a study hidden within the depths of the house, they can't prepare themselves for the emotional journey that they will take. A journey which will reveal the truth about their personal past, and the catastrophic past of Cambridge Falls. But maybe, just maybe, the book that Kate, Michael and Emma hold in their hands, could be powerful enough to rewrite history.
 
This book was utterly amazing. I haven't read a book in a long time that takes me on such an action-packed journey in awhile. One that makes me feel as if I truly knew the characters. I love middle-grade novels and a lot of the ones I have read recently I just haven't enjoyed...The Emerald Atlas completely blew the other middle-grade books I've read this year out of the water. This book is everything I've ever hoped to read about. It's the kind of adventure that you want to partake in even though it's deadly. Words honestly fail me. This book is perfect. 

The writing is phenomenal. I could picture every single tree, every inconspicuous crevice. I could imagine the deathly Screechers, the unearthly beautiful witch that has is poisonous inside. I could imagine Kate's protective face as she watches over her younger siblings, I could imagine Michael's furrowed brow as he scribbles more important deals of their experience in his notebook, I could imagine Emma's eyes sparkling defiantly as she challenges anyone who dare disrespects her and her siblings. I could imagine the leafy forests that they ran through, the trickling rivers that they jumpeft over. I felt there pain and devastation that they had to endure, I felt their exhilaration and their blinding terror as they were transported back to a dangerous part in history. The Emerald Atlas will have you utterly captivated. 

Another thing that I loved about The Emerald Atlas was how I quickly I flew this book, when I had a chance to read it. I won't lie, it took me quite a few days to read this book, it's a big book and it's been pretty hectic over here, but when I did get time, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I also experienced that awesome moment where you're so invested in a book that you literally don't realise how much you're reading and you're not completely conscious that your fingers are turning the pages. You literally become so involved with the story that you're convinced you are truly living the characters' lives and you are completely oblivious to just how much time has passed since you say down to read. It's a magical feeling.

I love the plot. The storyline. I loved the world building. The author perfectly captured the eerie yet beautiful places to which they travelled. There was not a singular dull moment in The Emerald Atlas, there was constant action and suspense, constant new places being explored and constant new, shocking revelations to do with the prophecy that the children are part of. 

I didn't find many faults with The Emerald Atlas, however I did feel like the author introduced too many characters. There were certain points,where I found myself confused as to what part various characters played in the story. There were just too many, but they all had their own personalities, so it was generally not too hard to differentiate one from the other. Just complicated remembering their roles and relationships to the other characters. 

I also felt it was a tad unrealistic in the beginning when Kate's mom had her promise to look after Michael and Emma, as she was only four years old and at four you really don't know the meaning of things. Also the way the dialogue was written between four year old Kate and her mother wasn't very realistic, as no four year old I know speaks like that.

The characters have their unique personalities and I could easily tell who was speaking just by the way their personalities shone through the pages.

First, we have Kate, fourteen years old and the eldest of the three children. Kate missed out on a childhood, as she was constantly on the lookout for her brother and sister. Kate's earliest memory is the one on the night her and her siblings were snatched away, the one where her mom told her to promise to always protect Emma and Michael. And for the last ten years, Kate has kept that promise. I felt so sorry for Kate. Her whole childhood had been robbed from her by looking after them, and you could see how desperately she wanted someone to step in and take care of all three of them.

Kate is a great role model. She is brave, caring, wise and selfless. She always thought of others before her self. I just wish that when something bad happened to her, she would tell the others and not just keep it to herself to keep the others happy and at peace.

We then have quirky twelve year old Michael. The only boy in the family and one who is obsessed with the history of magical dwarves and jotting down facts in his notebooks of things that will help him in the future. I loved Michael's character, he was geeky, sweet and totally a fanboy! He was definitely the character I could relate to the most. He loved reading, obsessed about fictional characters and carried his notebook with facts he had gathered, everywhere with him. He was also like the majority of us book lovers, when he found out that a certain mythical creature was real, he totally fangirled (fanboyed?) whilst collecting annoyed stares from people around him. We can all relate to that!

Last but not least is Emma. The youngest of the three. I loved Emma, she has a strong, defiant disposition due to always being picked on at the orphanages. Yet you can see the fragility she hides underneath. How she, the most out of the three, just longs and yearns for her family to be back together. I adored Emma and by the end of the novel, it honestly felt like she was my little sister. 

The secondary characters were all written in fantastic detail as well. From Dr Pym, the quirky yet powerful wizard that helps the children through their journey. From the dwarves who are slightly deranged but loveable all the same. From Gabriel, the powerful man they meet in the woods that will protect them, especially Emma, through this all.

I adored Gabriel, him and Emma's father/daughter relationship was truly beautiful to watch. How they protected each other, stuck together and helped each other through the tough times. I was so glad that Emma found a father figure, someone who could properly care for her and her siblings. One of the quotes from Gabriel and Emma's dialogue: 
"I do not know what happened with your parents or why they did what they did. But in all the world, I could have wished for no daughter but you."

I loved that scene.

Last but not least, I can't go without mentioning the dialogue between the characters in this book. There were many scenes of raucous banter between the siblings that will have you shaking with laughter, particularly between Emma and Michael. There will definitely be moments of laughter in this book, I can guarantee you that.

I also thought the whole time-travelling aspect was presented well. Things like that generally confuse me, but the author wrote this novel in detail and you won't experience many head-scratches of confusion in this book.

The Emerald Atlas is a captivating debut from a talented author whose books I will definitely be reading more of in the future. A book that deals with keeping hope even during the toughest time and the lengths individuals will go through in order to get their family back together. A book that will take you on a heart-pounding, mind-racing journey, where you will experience every jolt of fear and shock as you take this journey with characters you'll love from the moment you meet them. Descriptive writing, heart-rendering moments and an astounding journey, this book is a keeper.


I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!
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Friday, 15 November 2013

Stacking the Shelves #54


ASDFGHJKL *fangirl session*

I am SO excited about all the amazing books I got this week and I want to say a BIG thank you to RandomStruik! When I received Teardrop and Confessions: Private School Murders, I completely FLIPPED as they were high on my wish list! THANK YOU!

Also, if you missed the post, I am hosting a giveaway. (South Africa only, sorry international readers!) You can win Born Wicked, Invisibility and Arclight! Click here!

Without further ado, my BOOK HAUL!

What did you get this week?

For Review:
Confessions: The Private School Murders (Confessions, #2)Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine, #1)Stay Where You Are And Then Leave

Library Books
The Fire Chronicle

Ebooks to Review:
Ophelia and the Marvelous BoySuitcase of StarsClaus: Legend of the Fat Man

Look at the pretty packaging Teardrop came in!

Ta-da! Review books!

My library book for this week as well as my current read!

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Thursday, 14 November 2013

GIVEAWAY! - WIN THREE YA BOOKS!

Why hello there, fellow book-lovers!

I have a treat in store for all my lovely South African readers!

PENGUIN SOUTH AFRICA AND I ARE HOSTING A GIVEAWAY,
AND
YOU
COULD BE THE WINNER OF 
THREE AMAZING, PHENOMENAL, FANTASTIC, EXTRAORDINARY BOOKS!!!

*CUE INTERNAL SCREAMING*


Below are the rules and the prizes!

Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favour! 

RULES:
1. This is open to SOUTH AFRICA ONLY (sorry international followers, will try and organise an international giveaway soon!)
2. You must be 13 and older to enter, unless you have your parent's consent
3. You must have a legitimate address
4. You can also do additional little tasks to increase your chance of winning!
5. There will be ONE winner that will win all three books
6. This giveaway will run from today (15th November) through to 22 November 2013! One week!

  THE PRIZES:
Now, what you have all been waiting for...*dramatic music*...the PRIZES

InvisibilityBorn Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)Arclight (Arclight, #1)

LOOK HOW PRETTY THEY ARE! AND THEY CAN BE YOURS! 

Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win these fantastic books!

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What's Next? #12


Which book should I read next?

1. Gideon the Cutpurse - Linda Buckley-Archer 
Gideon the Cutpurse (The Gideon Trilogy, #1)
1763. Gideon Seymour, cutpurse and gentleman, hides from the villainous Tar Man. Suddenly the sky peels away like fabric and from the gaping hole fall two curious-looking children. Peter Schock and Kate Dyer have fallen straight from the twenty-first century, thanks to an experiment with an antigravity machine. Before Gideon and the children have a chance to gather their wits, the Tar Man takes off with the machine -- and Kate and Peter's only chance of getting home. Soon Gideon, Kate, and Peter are swept into a journey through eighteenth-century London and form a bond that, they hope, will stand strong in the face of unfathomable treachery.

2.  The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making - Catherynne Valente
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland, #1)
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.
With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.
3. A Face Like Glass - Frances Hardinge
A Face Like Glass
 In Caverna, lies are an art — and everyone's an artist . . .In the underground city of Caverna the world's most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare — wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer, even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned, and only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.
Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell's emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed ...
4. Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
 Charlie is a freshman.And while he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward,he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can't stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
5. The Paladin Prophecy - Mark Frost
The Paladin Prophecy (The Paladin Prophecy, #1)
 Will West is careful to live life under the radar. At his parents' insistence, he's made sure to get mediocre grades and to stay in the middle of the pack on his cross-country team. Then Will slips up, accidentally scoring off the charts on a nationwide exam.
Now Will is being courted by an exclusive prep school . . . and is being followed by men driving black sedans. When Will suddenly loses his parents, he must flee to the school. There he begins to explore all that he's capable of--physical and mental feats that should be impossible--and learns that his abilities are connected to a struggle between titanic forces that has lasted for millennia.
6. The Lost Hero - Rick Riordan
The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1)
 Jason has a problem. He doesn’t remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper. His best friend is a kid named Leo, and they’re all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for “bad kids”, as Leo puts it. What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea — except that everything seems very wrong.
Piper has a secret. Her father, a famous actor, has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he’s in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn’t recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on? 
Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What’s troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper’s gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all—including Leo—related to a god.
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