Sunday, 30 November 2014

Discussion Post: What Makes You Comment on Blogs?

Today I was pondering, as I often do and reminiscing (as I also tend to do) and procrastinating (which I will shamefully admit I happen to do frequently) and looking at old blog posts and page views for that post vs the comments for that post. I saw that the amount of page views was far, far larger than the amount of comments (yes, I am aware that, unfortunately, a lot of those page views will be from spammers) and I was wondering, what makes us comment on other blogs? What content is so appealing that it makes the person on the other side of the screen divulge a morsel of their thoughts? 

I will admit, I don't comment on blogs as much I should. I haven't been able to even visit blogs lately because of school work, which is quite unfortunate and makes me sad. 

BUT the summer is nearly upon us, I can feeeeeel it in my bones (and in the increasing temperature, but I like to think I'm special.) Which means the holidays are around the corner. Which means free time for blogging and commenting and reading and fangirling. Huzzah!

When I read blog posts, I will try to leave comment, even if it's just a short one. Sometimes at that moment I don't have the time but I always try to return to the post. I also generally only read posts if they discuss an interesting topic or the blogger is reviewing a book that I have interest in, because unfortunately I don't have time to read all the blog posts, although I'd very much like to!

So basically, I go through my feed and find posts that interest me and if I read a post which makes me think or has me wanting to comment a thought that it has induced within my frazzled brain, I will comment. Even if I don't have anything to say, I will try to comment back as I think if we are reading a post which a blogger has poured their blood, sweat and tears into (that might be a tad dramatic, but you get my drift) and even if don't have much to share, any blogger likes seeing a comment acknowledging that someone has taken the time and effort to read their precious. I also tend to comment on posts that aren't memes (unless I'm participating in said meme) but discussions/reviews because the memes can shortly get repetitive. 

That's my opinion. What makes you leave comments on blogs? Must the post invoke powerful emotions within you? Must you have read the book or must the book be one you've heard of? Are you more likely to comment on reviews on books you have or haven't read? Please, share your thoughts! 

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October & November Wrap-Up & December TBR Pile!


GUYS, it's nearly Christmas (okay, 24 days, but I'm pretty sure that constitutes as nearly) which I am super excited about as I LOVE Christmas, it's the best. Seriously. There's Christmas carols and everyone's happy and there's amazing food (I love mince pies, they're freaking awesome) and you get to spend time with family and it's all cold and you can thaw in front of the fireplace, well for those of you in the northern hemisphere, I'll most likely spend Christmas absolutely melting from the heat. Gah, I really love this time of the year!

Okay, I'll stop now.

This is my wrap-up for this month and last month as I somehow didn't get around to writing up a wrap-up post last month but HERE IT IS. I've barely read any books the last two months, it's actually pathetic. But I shall definitely be catching up this month and next month!

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

I know, it's a dismal amount. *Le sigh* LOVED them, though.

A Midsummer Night's Dream The Staff of Serapis (Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles Crossover, #2)The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The Infinite SeaIf I Stay (If I Stay, #1)Now and Forever

Ahh, that's better! 8 books is much better than 2, hoping I can read even more than 8 next month! I actually read some good books this month. I absolutely loved The 5th Wave, The Infinite Sea, If I Stay, Blood of Olympus, The Staff of Seraphis and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (a re-read). A Midsummer Night's Dream confused me (Shakespeare's works and I aren't very compatible) and Now & Forever was an average read. 

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)Teardrop (Teardrop, #1)

Quite a good selection there, I think. The Percy Jackson series is a reread because I CANNOT HANDLE THAT HEROES OF OLYMPUS IS OVER. Ahem. I'm also hoping to finish the Harry Potter series this summer and read Teardrop, as I got the sequel to review and it's high time I finally read it.

So my fellow bloglings, I shall leave you now. But, before I go, one last GIF. 

Okay, that's all. Byeeeee!
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Thursday, 27 November 2014

Review - The Blood of Olympus - Rick Riordan

The Blood of Olympus (The Heroes of Olympus, #5)Title: The Blood of Olympus
Series: Heroes of Olympus #5
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young-Adult, Middle-Grade, Mythology
Publication: 7th October 2014, Puffin
Pages: 514 Pages, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Penguin Books South Africa for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 4.5/5 Cupcakes!
Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they're stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it "might" be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea's army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.
It's over. One of my favourite series with some of my favourite characters has ended and that makes me really sad. I won't be seeing Persassy again or Annabeth, Leo, Nico, Reyna, Thalia, Frank, Hazel, Piper, Jason...ANY of the characters (unless, of course, Rick decides to write other spin-offs and incorporate them in) and that makes me sad. And I may have perhaps done a bit of this:

and some of this: 

and a lot of this:

I loved it, I really did. I read it slowly and over a week, trying to restrain myself from finishing it in two days and saving myself from regretting the fact that I'd read the last book featuring my favourite characters in a day or two. I loved hearing from characters' points of view that I hadn't really been able to hear from before and getting to experience this emotional journey with them and when it finally hit home that I'd probably never read a book with all seven (or nine, including Nico and Coach Hedge) where they're all on the Argo II I kind of just wanted to crawl into a ball with a slab of chocolate and the HoO books and flail. And although I absolutely loved the last instalment in this amazing series, there were some things I was disappointed about, hence not giving it a 100% rating, but besides that I really enjoyed it!

The Blood of Olympus is the last instalment in the Heroes of Olympus series. We have the seven demigods who are about to fulfill a prophecy and try to destroy Gaia, the "Earth Mother", from awakening. While the seven have to deal with trying to save the world, they also have to try to prevent the war breaking out between Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter, as if there's peace between the two camps, there's peace between the gods and this would assist the seven in their quests. Trials and tribulations surround the demigods as they prepare to face what could be their final battle.

As I said, for the most part I loved this book. It's funny and it's action packed and I love the characters and the adorable romance but at times, I felt slightly disappointed, but only slightly. I think what disappointed me the most, was that there were no Percy/Annabeth/Frank/Hazel chapters. Percy and Annabeth are my favourite characters and one of my favourite bookish couples ever, so as you can imagine it really disappointed me when we didn't get to see from their viewpoints. Perhaps Rick had mostly Jason/Piper/Leo chapters because that's the characters who this series started with, if so I could then understand his reasoning for doing that, but I wish he had at least one Percy and Annabeth chapter in the book. Another thing I was disappointed about, is that the battle with Gaia was very anti-climatic. She was defeated extraordinarily quickly and she was one of the major, MAJOR gods and yet she was defeated in a shorter time than some of the minor gods or even monsters that have featured in this series. I felt a bit let down by this as I was expecting a major battle that would have my adrenaline spiking and my heart pounding, yet it was over so quickly. This is the last instalment in a Percy Jackson series (that we know of) and it needed a battle to convey how terrible and horrifying Gaia was but it didn't happen and I think it should have. 


One last thing (not that I didn't like this but which I found odd), was that no one died, except Octavian. This is the biggest battle the demigods have ever had, if they don't win this battle, the ENTIRE WORLD will be completely and utterly obliterated as one of the most powerful gods is awakening from her slumber that lasted for practically ever and no ones dies. Trust me, I'm happy about that, I love these characters and if the author tortures them I want to wrap them in a blanket and keep them safe until the author promises to treat them nicely but it's a highly unrealistic ending. Not even lesser known characters died except for some of the Hunters of Artemis. Leo kind of died, THANK GOODNESS he didn't that would've totally messed me up, but I just found it very odd that everyone was safe and sound, not that I'm complaining, though. It's just that there was so much emphasis throughout the whole series about death and sacrifices and for none of that to happen and for there not to be a major battle, made the book seem a lot different than I expected. 

The ending was also a lot different to what I expected, when I read the first sentence of the Leo chapter I was like:

But then a page later he happened to be alive and I was just like "YES YES YES LEO I LOVE YOU YOU'RE THE BEST I LOVE YOU" (excuse my lack of appropriate grammar). 

BUT I wanted more closure than that ending. He fetches Calypso (yay - I'm so happy about that!) and they ride off to heaven knows where and it ends and I'm just sitting there completely shocked and flicking through the rest of the book hoping that that's not how it ends because why didn't Rick Riordan let him reunite with the other demigods?! The others are sitting around thinking Leo is dead and we don't get to see them be reunited with him or anything and HOW COULD IT END LIKE THAT?! Unless, of course, they feature in the Norse series but really. REALLY?! I needed more closure, they needed more closure. GAH.


Everything else though, I loved. I loved (most) of the plot although I didn't think it was as good as the other books but it was still good. I loved the family/friendship dynamics that featured through and how courageous, brave and confident the characters were.

Like I said, we didn't get to see much of Percy or Annabeth or Frank or Hazel, but we did get to see other characters' viewpoints and I LOVED that. There were a lot of Jason chapters and initially I wasn't a fan of Jason but he really redeemed himself in this book and I quite like and respect him now. He kept Nico's secret, he saved Percy and strongly featured in defeating gods and monsters throughout the series. He was really vulnerable and adorable and I feel like throughout this whole series he's been trying to prove his worth to the Greeks (as the Romans love him) and to us readers. He has a lot of competition with Percy and I feel as if he's finally been accepted and is "allowed" to play a larger role, I really like Jason, he's brave and fair and kind and I hope that we all, now that we've reached the end of the series, have accepted him and will stop comparing him to Percy. One of the quotes in the book, we finally see how he really feels about being in the limelight and always having to be the one who makes decisions:
"Jason felt hundreds of eyes on him. This has been the story of my life, he thought bitterly. Everyone had always watched him, expecting him to lead the way."
I could finally understand that perhaps he didn't always want to be a leader and that the pressure of having to be somewhat of a hero made him slightly agitated sometimes. I'm glad I can say, though, that after reading this book I like Jason a lot more than I did.

I also warmed up to Piper in this book, I was never really a fan of her and Jason but I started liking their characters much more in this book. She's become so powerful with her charm-speaking ability and she's also an extremely caring person and a great friend. 

Leo was absolutely amazing and I acted so noble. I truly admire how he was willing to risk his life to not only save the world, but also to save his friends. I felt really bad for him when he felt like a third wheel and like he didn't belong and I was just think "Just you wait till you're with Calypso, then you won't feel so alone" and I just wanted to hug him and tell him how much people actually love him because you can tell he doesn't think that. And I feel sorry for him because he cracks jokes to lighten the mood and they crew get frustrated with him and I don't think they understand truly know how much he's done for them and I JUST LOVE HIM SO MUCH! He is so sassy and funny and I just love him so freaking much.

I wish we could've also seen more of Frank and Hazel. Frank has never been one of my favourites but I absolutely adore Hazel and I was sad that they (and Percabeth) were background characters. It was fantastic seeing Frank so self-assured and Hazel being more confident in her abilities. They've all become so much confident and I love that!

Another character whose viewpoint was featured, was Reyna's. I never really connected with Reyna in previous books, but after reading this I adore her! She's so strong, courageous and independent and always puts herself before other people. She carries so much sadness, though, and so much guilt and I felt terrible for her because she never has time to recover from the sadness she's experienced because she has to run a legion. Then there's the conversation she had with Aphrodite about how no demigod will ever love her and Orion rubbed salt into that wound by reminding her how she was rejected by Percy and Jason and I really hope that "if" Rick Riordan writes a cross-over or sequel that it will show Reyna finding love and is able to rid the sadness within her.

Another character whose viewpoint we got to see was Nico's and I LOVED reading from his POV. I've never adored Nico in this past, but after reading Blood of Olympus, I love him. He's so sad and tortured and blames himself for everything and carries so much sorrow and I just wanted to hug him and tell him that everything would be okay. I love how he finally felt like he'd been accepted in this book and how he felt as if he made friends and as if people finally understood him. He finally let people in and I was cheering him along and marvelling at the vast improvement he's made  from who he was in the previous books. Nico is also incredibly powerful - more so than I ever thought. It's like in each book his power increases and he's able to do more things. Some of the things he does is incredible and shows just how powerful he is.

Percy and Annabeth were amazing as ever, even though we didn't see much of their characters. Percy was so funny and sassy and Annabeth was just as wise and kick-butt as ever. We can see in this book that Annabeth is struggling slightly after being in Tartarus. She mentions her and Percy being in there and how she's really afraid that she will lose him. I felt so sorry for her and I hope (if Rick Riordan incorporates them in the other books) that she never has to lose Percy, but he'll probably make that happen because he loves torturing us.

The friendship dynamics in this book were beautiful to read! I loved Piper and Annabeth's friendship and how they were always there for another. I LOVED Reyna and Nico's friendship, they were the two characters who were the most afraid to let people in which led them confiding to each other and becoming strong with the help of each other. I absolutely love how Reyna acted like Nico's big sister and how they began to share secrets from their past that continued to haunt them and how they were always there for each other. The part where Reyna embraces Nico and he gets tears in his eyes made ME get tears in my eyes, it could've been my allergies, but I'm pretty sure it was emotional tears. It's almost as if Reyna is acting like Bianca towards Nico. Their friendship is so beautiful.

"Then she did something so unexpected Nico would later think he dreamed it. She walked up to Nico, who was standing to one side in the shadows, as usual. She grabbed his hand and pulled him gently into the firelight. 'We had one home,' she now. 'Now we have two.' She gave Nico a big hug and the crowd roared with approval. For once, Nico didn't feel like pulling away. He buried his face in Reyna's shoulder and blinked the tears out of his eyes."

Percy and Annabeth's relationship was completely adorable and I love them so freaking much. 
They're so sassy with each other and you can see how much they rely on each other and how they need each other and it's just so utterly heart-warming to read about.

I wish we had chapters from their POV because they're amazing and I love them and I'm rambling so I'm going to end this review shortly. 

Jason and Piper were really cute in this book and you can see they really love each other and care about each other. They're both so strong-willed, caring and determined and I ship them, very much so. They remind me of another version of Percy and Annabeth and I'm so glad they've stayed together.

All the characters have become more confident and I love how there all friends and support each other and that previous rivalries don't really exist anymore. The characters have definitely evolved into better people. It's been incredible embarking on this journey with them and seeing them transform into such strong, wonderful characters and I'm probably going to start tearing up now, so I shall finish off by saying that:

The Blood of Olympus was a spectacular finale in an action-packed and emotionally-charged series. I feel like I've grown with the characters and I feel so absolutely and wholly privileged that I've been able to experience their stories and become their best friends. Thank you, Mr. Riordan, for creating such noble and admirable characters that I aspire to be like. Thank you for showing that just because someone's blonde, doesn't mean they're unable to exercise the ability to have an intelligent notion. Thank you for creating such a beautiful world filled with heroes, humor, kindness, compassion and bravery that I can escape into, as well as creating such amazing characters that have become my best friends, characters who feel so completely real to me. Thank you for your wonderful writing, thank you. 

I give it: 4.5/5 Cupcakes!

*The following quotes are taken from the Goodreads quotes for said book*
“What if we promoted, like, Adidas shoes?’ Percy wondered. ‘Would that make Nike mad enough to show up?" Leo smiled nervously. Maybe he and Percy did share something else – a stupid sense of humour. "Yeah, I bet that would totally be against her sponsorship deal. THOSE ARE NOT THE OFFICIAL SHOES OF THE OLYMPICS! YOU WILL DIE NOW!” 
“The crew gathered for a hurried meeting on the foredeck – mostly because Percy was keeping an eye on a giant red sea serpent swimming off the port side. ‘That thing is really red,’ Percy muttered. ‘I wonder if it’s cherry-flavoured.’ 
‘Why don’t you swim over and find out?’ Annabeth asked. 
‘How about no.” 
“Correct." Kekrops sounded bitter, like he regretted his decision. "My people were the original Athenians--the gemini.""Like your zodiac sign?" Percy asked. "I'm a Leo.""No, stupid," Leo said. "I'm a Leo. You're a Percy.” 
“No one can hate you with more intensity than someone who used to love you.” 

“Catch that last episode of Doctor Who? Oh, right. You were trudging through the Pit of Eternal Damnation!” 
“Atlantis?' Jason asked.'That's a myth,' Percy said.'Uh...don't we deal in myths?''No, I mean it's a MADE-UP myth. Not like, an actual true myth.'
'So this is why Annabeth is the brains of the operation, huh?” 
“The rivalry ends here," Percy said. "I love you, Wise Girl.” 
“Now...well, after what happened in Tartarus, it seemed like Percy had graduated to a totally different level of butt-kickery.” 
“No one can hate you with more intensity than someone who used to love you.” 
“He forced his fists to unclench. "Look, lady, we're not going to go all Hunger Games on each other. Isn't going to happen.” 
And for Rick to prove he's even more awesome, he added a Hunger Games and Doctor Who reference.

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Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Review - Now and Forever - Susane Colosanti

Now and ForeverTitle: Now & Forever
Series: N/A
Author: Susane Colasanti 
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: May 20th 2014 by Viking Juvenile
Pages: 273 Pages, Hardcover
Source: Thank you to Penguin Books South Africa for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!
Rating: 3/5 Cupcakes!
What if your boyfriend was the world's biggest rockstar?
Sterling is crazy in love with Ethan. Not only is he the sweetest boy she's ever met, but he's an incredibly talented guitarist, singer, and songwriter. And since forever, he's believed he has what it takes to be a star.
When Ethan becomes an overnight sensation, he's thrown head-first into the glam world of celebrity-and so is Sterling. Before she knows it, she's attending red-carpet premieres, getting free designer clothes, and flying around the country to attend Ethan's monumental sold-out concerts.
It's a dream come true...but whose dream is Sterling living? And what do you do when "forever" comes to an end?
This will be a long review with a lot of quotes and ranting and GIFs. A lot.

When I saw this book was available to request, I immediately jumped at the chance to review it because I like contemporary books with romance and music and people who become internationally recognised. It was right up my alley.

And then I started reading it.

The writing style infuriated me and the characters weren't my favorite and I felt somewhat...let down. I was ecstatic to read this book and it didn't live up to my heightened expectations. To be completely honest, the whole premise of the book was the only thing that kept me reading. However, once I hit the 100 page mark I started liking the narrator slightly more and really enjoying the story and becoming immersed in the world, with only a couple of face-palms, which was a vast improvement. My dislike for the book did lessen as I read more and although I didn't love it, I eventually thoroughly enjoyed the story and was even slightly sad when it ended. 

Now & Forever is about Sterling and her boyfriend, Ethan. Sterling loves baking and has a fetish with correcting typos and Ethan is a senior with a love of music, trying to get his name out there. A couple of months after they begin dating, Ethan is signed by a record company and quickly becomes internationally known for his music. At first, Sterling is fine with it, she's super proud of Ethan and, shamelessly, admits that she loves the attention. However, as Ethan's fame grows by the day and she starts being pushed aside, she starts realising that she's not living her own life and her whole world is focused on Ethan and she intends to do something about that. 

Like I said, I LOVE the whole premise of the story. I must say, I'm a sucker for books featured on people who become famous and world-renowned musicians and how they have to adjust to that lifestyle. When I was tempted to throw the book at a wall in my frustration, the only thing that kept it in my hands was the story line that I was hoping wouldn't let me down, although there were plenty of things that irked me endlessly about this book. I must say, my initial feelings of dislike have decreased and I did, eventually, come to like Sterling and adjust to the writing style. Mostly. 

The first thing that made me strongly dislike this book was the writing style. I initially found it extremely difficult to connect with the characters and the whole book and even towards the end the disjointed, halting writing style. If the writing style flowed in a effortless manner this book would've been so much better and would've felt so much more authentic! The sentences were so short and simple, I wish she had incorporated some compound sentences into the book to make the whole atmosphere of the book better. Some of the sentences really, really irked me. For example: 
"She gestures at the bed's control panel. This means she wants me to raise the bed so she can sit up. When we get the bed the way she wants, she looks at the gift bag. 'You shouldn't have spent your money on me,' she says. She says this about everything. Even if you give her a paper clip, she will insist she is unworthy.'"
"Gram hates being like this. She doesn't like having to rely on anyone to take care of her. Taking care of people is her thing. She's been a strong, independent woman her whole life."
"Ethan knew he was going to be famous when he was six. That's when he started taking guitar and voice lessons. He told me about that day he was at a guitar lesson. He was strumming a new chord when he suddenly knew he was meant for insane. He was to young to understand the scope of his epiphany, but he knew in his heart what it meant. His fate was undeniable. He was six."
Those are examples, taken from the book, to show how the majority of the sentences are. I strongly dislike very short sentences in books as it slows the pacing of the book down and it makes it harder to become fully invested. Everything in this book was told and nothing was shown, that was also another thing I disliked about it. We are told everything and we weren't shown how the characters were feeling, at times it was like reading a book written by someone of quite a young age, and that was really disappointing.

There was also unnecessary information and too much information, at times it felt like I was reading a fact file on the characters and not actually being able to become acquainted with them. To give you an example, Sterling feels the need to tell us about Ethan's new dieting and exercising schedule, which I didn't care about as I wasn't invested in the story yet:
"He's been doing five small meals a day. He has to have carbs an hour and a half before cardio for energy. He has to do a protein shake twenty minutes after lifting, to help build muscle mass."
I wanted to yell at Sterling that I REALLY DON'T CARE about what he eats or how often he exercises. Perhaps if it was Will Herondale or Tobias, then yes, because I actually feel connected to them and as if they are real people. I didn't care enough about Ethan to want to know every single aspect of his life. There was quite a lot of unnecessary detail in here that wasn't needed. 

 The writing did make the book seem quite impersonal and it really frustrated me as they were characters I wanted to know, I wanted to experience this journey with them and feel the excitement and the nervousness and the amazement alongside the characters, not just be told everything about them straight up, I wanted to read the book and page by page discover their little quirks and not be told everything in one go. The characters' full personalities should be an enigma that is slowly pieced together throughout the book, not shoved at us. 

Another aspect of the writing that I had a problem with was the dialogue. It was so flat and toneless, even when I thought a character was joking, I wasn't entirely sure if they actually were or not. It seemed forced, staccato and unnatural and one of my must-haves when I read a book is that there must be some kind of witty banter involved. Here is an example from when Sterling was talking to her best friend on the first day that they met:
"'Did your mom make those?" I asked.
'No, I did. I love to bake.'
'So do I!'
'That's so cool. How did you get into cooking?'
'My mom can't cook. I took over the kitchen when I was twelve. I even take cooking classes.'"
Perhaps it's just me, but I found those few sentences very tedious to read. They were sixteen or seventeen at the time and it sounded like a conversation between elementary-aged children, not high-schoolers. Once again, the sentences are very short and it makes the dialogue seem quite awkward.
"'I know!' I yell back. 'This is awesome!' Marissa and Georgia say hey."
"'They're from my mom,' he says.
Georgia and I are like, 'Awww!' We adore how supportive Mrs. Cross is." 
"Scary Security Guard is on the girl in a flash. 'Do not test me today!' SSG booms. 'If you do not step back, you will be dealing with an angrier version of me. You do not want to be dealing with an angrier version of me.'" 

I'm not sure what it exactly is about these sentences but I don't like them. There could've been more description and more showing instead of just randomly pointing out that her friends greeted each other. The second example also seems quite juvenile and something that I would find generally written by beginner writers. The actions seem quite false sometimes and not fully fleshed out and I think that also affected how I felt during the beginning of the book.

There was also some slang that irked me slightly and there were a LOT of repetitive phases. Examples:
"'Thanks. But we can do better. I'm thinking of asking Marisa to take pictures at the at the next show.'"You should. Her pics are mad profesh. She could seriously sell them.'"
People don't talk like this, it felt very unnatural and all the dialogue seems like the characters are emotionally disinterested in life.

There were things that were constantly repeated and it made those parts quite frustrating to read. For an instance, there were several times that she said stuff like "Melting. Into. My chair." And "Melting. In. The foyer." And "Melting. In. The bed." And I wanted to scream ENOUGH WITH MELTING ON OBJECTS ALREADY! I could've handled it if it only happened once but every time Ethan said something "cute" she'd figuratively melt.

Another thing that was repeated a lot was the phrase "Before Ethan blew up" and "After Ethan blew up" and "'Why are you blowing up my phone?" That phrase was used to often it made me want to claw my eyes out.

The characters took me a while to warm up to, and when I did, the only one I fully warmed up to was Sterling and, slightly, Damien. As I promise to review books completely honestly, I must be in honest in saying that I really didn't like or connect with Sterling in the beginning, and a lot of the things she did irritated me. She had (what I assumed should've been enduring) quirks about her that I think the author thought would make us feel more connected to her, but what, eventually, made me feel quite annoyed with her. We know she loves cooking and she is obsessed with correcting typos, but she came off quite obnoxious about it and worriedly obsessed with one's typing errors. I could relate to her on that level as I am forever correcting my friends' grammar, but I don't become so obsessed with it that it ruins my day if I see someone's grammatical error. Example being:

"I point at the most depressing comment on the 'Night on Fire' video:
awesome u look so hottt ur my fave musisan I wnt 2 met u on day lv jen age 11
'Does anyone know how to spell anymore?' Georgia says.
'It's a dwindling skill. Beyond depressing. It should not be hard for people to spell words correctly. Hot with three Ts? How pathetic is it when misspelled words are actually longer than the correct spelling?'
'Maybe this generation is a group of aliens who've come to Earth to abduct our intelligence.'
'Wouldn't it be hilarious if I could edit Ethan's comments? These fangirls wouldn't even know how to read them.'"

I will admit that I did some severe eye-rolling during this part. Firstly, I hate how Sterling comes across as extremely obnoxious during this section and puts fangirls down. Not all of us spell in such a horrific fashion and I hate that her character generalises to such extremes. Also, the person who commented said she was eleven, I'm pretty sure at eleven I also abbreviated words and added extra letters to express my opinion, heck, sometimes I still do it. Sometimes extra letters are needed to convey just how strongly we think of something. Sterling also goes on and on and on about correct grammar and spelling where, before a year ago, she didn't care at all about her education, so you think that would make her less judgmental. Aside from all that, I eventually grew to like Sterling and I felt sorry for her when her and Ethan began to grow apart and she never saw him anymore. I was also proud of her that she didn't stand for his nonsense towards the end and she decided to do what was best for her. I thought it was going to end with her taking him back after he'd done something bad, as I've read several books before where that idea has featured. I'm not exactly sure what I eventually liked about Sterling, perhaps I appreciated her self-confidence and her ability to stand up for herself, but I eventually grew used to her voice and found her character more appealing. Her character also became more in-depth and we began to see the less glamorous side of being a rockstar's girlfriend and the insecurities and anxiety that surrounds it. Her fears were understandable and I could understand why she began to doubt her appearance and her style and began to wonder if she was good enough, and I could imagine how horrible she must've felt.

Like I said, Sterling was my favourite character in this book, the others were quite one-dimensional and didn't really have much going for them. I wasn't keen on Sterling's friend Georgia  and she acted extremely juvenile sometimes. When people asked Sterling about Ethan, she got all huffy and when Sterling asked her what was wrong she said nothing and then accused Sterling of never asking her how she is. The put down others for their spelling but then they go act incredibly childish, their characters weren't very consistent. Georgia was also obsessed with plants, which I couldn't really relate to. When one of her plants got attacked by bugs, she held a funeral for it, that scene could have been really quirky and funny, if the writing style wasn't so halted.

Another character we were introduced to was Damien, one of Ethan's roadies. When he was introduced I know there was going to be some sort of love triangle between him, Sterling and Ethan. It's a pity he didn't feature more in the book, as I think I could've actually liked him, but we rarely saw him. He was extremely sweet, supportive and quite philosophical, but the dialogue was, again, written in an awkward manner and I think that's why I didn't really connect to him. I was also disappointed that he didn't feature more in the book, as he really needed to.

Then we have Ethan. From the beginning I knew Ethan was going to change and that was he going to become full of himself. I never really warmed up to Ethan, I never hated him but I wasn't falling in love with him either. I also found his personality wasn't consistent, other times he was acting like such a jerk to Sterling and then he was acting all nice and in love with her and I felt that it didn't really add up. Ethan did something really horrible which I think was actually quite predictable, but I felt really bad for Sterling that Ethan had gone and changed when she thought he never would.  Ethan changed a lot and it happened quickly and I know how terrible Sterling must've felt as it sucks when people we love change until they're nearly unrecognisable.

I also found his character slightly out of place during this one point. He was acting very "manly" and then he acted like a teenage girl and I also found that quite inconsistent. Example:
"We look at each other for a minute. Then we bust out screaming. We're jumping up and down and laughing and hugging each other."
Guys don't generally scream and jump up and down when they're excited about something, that's more a girl thing.

The romance was very cheesy and cliché and most scenes that involved romance had me rolling my eyes. I got tired of Sterling's admiration for Ethan and how she would ignore blatant truths because she was so biased, but I suppose being in love does that to people. I like how supportive she was and always there for him and I felt for her that he didn't reciprocate. As I said previously he would be really sentimental and then act like a total jerk, and I couldn't quite suss out his total character. The romance was really...too sweet and I did get slightly annoyed with how Sterling used to go on and on and on about him.
"'We knew this day would come. You knew it right along with me.' There are tears in his eyes. 'Thank you for believing in me as much as I believe in myself.' 'Of course. You're destined for greatness.'"
"'You look...' He comes over to me. 'You're the most beautiful girl I've ever seen.' The way Ethan's looking at me, I can tell he really means it. There are tears in his eyes."

Like I said, the only thing that made me keep reading was the storyline and Sterling, because I eventually liked her voice and despite the writing style, cheesy romance and quite flat characters, it did have something about it that made me interested to know how it ends. The first 80 pages I didn't like, but I enjoyed most of the rest of the book and I did care enough about Sterling (eventually) to read on and finish this book. It did have an important theme of being yourself and about doing things that make you happy. If you like writing that flows very well and a quite in depth book, then this book probably won't appeal to you, but if you're in the mood for a fluffy book that doesn't require much thinking, you might enjoy it. This book wasn't terrible, it was average and I really liked the premise, although there were several things that spoiled it.

I give it: 3/5 Cupcakes

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Monday, 24 November 2014

Top Ten Tuesday #20 - Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR

The original title of today's topic had to do with winter, but since it's summer here now, I will be doing Top Ten Books on my Summer TBR Pile instead. 

As you guys know I LOVE summer, when I'm able to wear shorts and skirts and t-shirts instead of sweatpants and jerseys, it makes me want to do some of this:

It's a chance for me to lie outside the whole day whilst eating copious amounts of ice-cream, get a tan and catch up on some contemporary books (I generally read fantasy/dystopia in winter instead of contemporaries, generally.).

Here is my list of top ten books that I'll be reading in summer, yes, I am aware that some of these books constitute as whole series but...pfft, I'm sure that doesn't matter.

Harry Potter: The Complete SeriesPercy Jackson and the Olympians Boxed Set (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1-3)Isla and the Happily Ever After (Anna and the French Kiss, #3)Along for the RideThe Fine Art of Pretending (The Fine Art of Pretending, #1)We Were LiarsThat Boy (That Boy, #1)That SummerThe Goddess Test (Goddess Test, #1)City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

These are the top books on my TBR! I've been waiting for the long summer holidays to finish the Harry Potter series and City of Heavenly Fire without school distracting me. I really want to read Isla and the Happily Ever After as I loved the other two books. I love Sarah Dessen's books, as they have the perfect summer feel so I'm excited to read those! I've heard endless good things about We Were Liars, so I hope that once I read it I'll enjoy it! That Boy and The Fine Art of Pretending look so cute, so I can't wait to read those! I'm also into mythology books at the moment and The Goddess Test series seem like the perfect contender! Because I have also just finished The Blood of Olympus and the series is over, I have an urge to re-read the Percy Jackson series, it's been nearly four years so it's time for a re-read!

Leave your links below and I'll stop by!

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