Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Publication:August 29th 2006 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1998)

Goodreads description:Young Tristran Thorn will do anything to win the cold heart of beautiful Victoria—even fetch her the star they watch fall from the night sky. But to do so, he must enter the unexplored lands on the other side of the ancient wall that gives their tiny village its name. Beyond that old stone wall, Tristran learns, lies Faerie—where nothing, not even a fallen star, is what he imagined.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman comes a remarkable quest into the dark and miraculous—in pursuit of love and the utterly impossible.

My thoughts:
Stardust is a fun quick adventure with everything form witches to unicorns. It's an easy read that feels like fariytale. An adult fairytale. 

This is the first Gaiman book I've ever read and I really like his style of writing. It's very mysterious and whimsical. 

I liked the characters for the most part. I liked how determined Tristran is to get the fallen star, even if, to me, it was a very stupid idea considering he barely knows the girl he claims to love.

Tristran and the stars relationship was very different for anything I've really read. It wasn't bad different it was just unlike anything I've read before.

Stardust is a very quick read. The plot and pacing is very fast. I would have liked the story to be slower so we could get to know the characters better. I felt like they weren't developed as well as they could have been. I read the book in one sitting and I wanted it to be longer to flesh out the characters a bit more.

A lot of the story was predictable but there were a few twists and turns. This may be because I have watched the movie a million times. I would recommend giving it a watch- it's not 100% accurate but it's really good! I've loved the movie for years; there are scenes in the it that I really loved that aren't in the book that really develop the story and make it so much more fun and magical. I loved the movie and just liked the book.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :) 
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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

Publication:January 26th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers 

Series: Lady Helen, #1

Goodread Description:
New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter!

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

My thoughts:
While I enjoyed parts of The Dark Days Club overall it just didn't live up to my expectations. I went in expecting demons left right and centre and fight scenes every few chapters and that's not what I got. Yes there is a few demons and fight scenes but overall it's a much slower story than I was expecting.

I struggled to get through the first half of the book and really had to push myself to read it; luckily I did because the second half was much better. If you push through it's worth it. The plot really picks up after the half way point and has a lot more action. The second half is really what saved the book for me.

Aspects of The Dark Days Club are unique but on numerous occasions I felt like I'd read it before. There was a lot of similarities to other YA books. Maybe it's because I've read a lot of YA so other readers may not notice this but I was constantly thinking 'hmm...this is like ___'. 

I really liked the historical aspect. I felt like it was pretty accurate.The author definitely did her research and it shows. I really liked reading about how society has all these rules about women and courting. It was interesting to see this world of balls and propriety mix with the paranormal stuff going on.

I loved the female friendship we get to see between Lady Helen and her maid.

I wasn't a fan of the romance. To me it was just okay. I didn't feel any spark between Lady Helen and her love interest. It's a very slow burning relationship and I assume it will be fleshed out / developed more in the next book.

I will probably pick up the next book if it gets really good reviews.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Publication:March 14th 2006 by Knopf Books for Young Readers 

Goodread Description:
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My thoughts:
The Book Thief is a masterpiece. I don't read a straight up historical fiction and I loved this book. It's a new favourite of mine. I know I will revisit in down the line for a reread; it was that good.

The way in which the story is narrated it incredible. Death is our narrator. When I heard that I thought it would be weird but it's done so well. I loved Death. He/She/It was one of my favourite characters. Death really knows how to tell as story. The Book Thief is written in a conversational style, so it's like Death is talking to you which is so cool. Be warned though, Death spoils the story he's telling on multiple occasions. 

The plot is very slow moving. The Book Thief is definitely a character driven story. But despite the slow pace I found the story super engaging. The characters were just going about their daily lives but I couldn't stop reading.

I loved Liesel. I loved how determined she is to learn to read and learn. I really liked how she tried to make the best of her situation and found beauty in such a horrific period in history. I loved how she did normal kid stuff like playing football with her friends on the street. With all this violnce going on in the world there is still some normality to her life. 

All the characters have layers and depth to them. No one felt one dimensional. Because the book is so long we really get to know all the characters and come to understand them a lot better than in other books where there is a big focus on plot.

I loved how there was a big emphasis on relationships and how they form and change over time. I really liked reading how Liesel and Hans' father-daughter relationship was developed. There's also a kind of brother-sister relationship between Liesel and Max which was interesting to see unfold. I also really liked Liesels interactions with her best friend Rudy.

Overall, The Book Thief was both beautiful and tragic and it is a story that will stick with the reader for a very long time.

My rating: 5 stars out of 5

Thanks for reading,
A :)
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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Publication:June 2nd 2015 by Soho Teen

Goodreads description:
In his twisty, gritty, profoundly moving debut—called “mandatory reading” by the New York Times—Adam Silvera brings to life a charged, dangerous near-future summer in the Bronx.

In the months after his father's suicide, it's been tough for 16-year-old Aaron Soto to find happiness again--but he's still gunning for it. With the support of his girlfriend Genevieve and his overworked mom, he's slowly remembering what that might feel like. But grief and the smile-shaped scar on his wrist prevent him from forgetting completely. 

When Genevieve leaves for a couple of weeks, Aaron spends all his time hanging out with this new guy, Thomas. Aaron's crew notices, and they're not exactly thrilled. But Aaron can't deny the happiness Thomas brings or how Thomas makes him feel safe from himself, despite the tensions their friendship is stirring with his girlfriend and friends. Since Aaron can't stay away from Thomas or turn off his newfound feelings for him, he considers turning to the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure to straighten himself out, even if it means forgetting who he truly is. 

Why does happiness have to be so hard?

My Thoughts:
More Happy Than Not is a hard hitting thought provoking story that I think everyone should read. I was surprised how much I liked this book. It was such a quick read. The writing was super easy to get into. I fell into the story straight away and finished the book in 2 sittings.

I really liked the characters.They all have internal struggles they are dealing with. They are all flawed and that made them seem real. Also there is lots of diversity!

Aaron is an easy protagonist to relate to and his train of thought is easy to follow. He's a very likeable character. I appreciated how he was dealing with real life situations teenagers deal with. I loved going on this self-discovery journey with him.

My favourite character is probably Thomas. I just found him the most interesting.

Though the title had the word happy in it; this is a dark book. It explores themes such as depression and suicide and homophobia. There is lighter themes woven into the story as well, such as friendship, which I really liked.

More Happy Than Not is not a cute teen romance which was refreshing to read about. 

My only problems were there was a lot of swearing and personally I don't like that, and I would have liked a bit more about the Leteo Institute's revolutionary memory-alteration procedure.

I highly recommend this thoughtful and touching debut. I will definitely be picking up more books by Adam Silvera in the future!

My rating: 4 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :) 
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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publication:May 17th 2016 by Harlequin Teen

Goodreads description:
For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

My thoughts:
Heartbreaking and beautiful. One of my favourite reads so far this year.

I'm not going to lie, The Problem With Forever was hard to read. Child abuse and neglect and its long term effects are at the forefront of this story. I think Armentrout dealt with a very hard subject well and I'm glad she decided to write a story about it as it shines some light on a topic that's not talked about often but unfortunately is prevalent in our society today.

As you can guess The Problem With Forever is a character driven story. I loved getting to know Mallory and going on this journey with her. Her character development is done in an excellent and realistic way. I found myself relating to Mallory straight off the bat. She's extremely easy to relate to even if he situation is drastically different to most people's. I think a lot of people will relate to her- she suffers from anxiety and is very quiet and personally I really liked that as I could relate to her. I really felt for her, when she was happy I was happy for her and on numerous occasions I was so proud of how far she's come.

I loved how things like stereotyping, biases and  prejudices were themes woven into the story. Armentrout highlights how we shouldn't be so quick to judge people. I've never really thought about it but that's not something that's talked a lot about in YA.

There are so many good messages in this book, I could go on forever about them. Standing up for yourself is touched on. I think everyone will take something away from this book. Personally I've taken away how it's okay to be afraid but you shouldn't let that fear stop you from living.

There is definitely  heartbreaking parts in this story, as can be be expected with a topic such as child abuse so it's a tearjerker so have the tissues ready!

Overall, The Problem With Forever was an amazing story. I want to see more books like this in the YA section of the bookshop.

My rating: 4.5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)
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