Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Review: Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. 

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. 

To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. 

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Date of Publication: 6th October 2015

I absolutely love Rick Riordan, and all the books he writes, and this is no exception. I was a bit hesitant to begin this series because I didn't want to start comparing it to the Percy Jackson series (because I love it so much!) but this series is hilarious, sweet and hits all the right places in its own way so it doesn't beg to be compared. When Tom Hiddleston plays Loki he becomes such an intriguing character that you crave to learn more about- and he becomes so three-dimensional when you learn a bit of his backstory - so Norse mythology was something I was excited to read about. Rick Riordan's skills at finding fascinating myths within these mythologies and molding them intelligently and delicately into the bits and pieces of the plot never fails to amaze me.

I loved Magnus Chase! - he was an adorable, strong and intelligent (intelligent in the same way as Percy as he doesn't always act like he is and has slight Seaweed Brain tendencies;) but he's undeniably smart, daring and strategic in a battle). There's just something so relatable about Magnus because I get what he thinks and why, and you can tell how much his heart motivates him - there are so many frustrating protagonists in other novels so it was a relief to enjoy his voice wholeheartedly. He also starts of as 16 which makes him closer to my age than I thought he would be - and this makes it feel even more like I'm having a fascinating and fun conversation with a friend who happens to be a son of a Norse god. Sam was also a great character because of her strength, loyalty and determination to succeed despite constantly feeling like an outsider. I liked the moments of vulnerability we saw in her too because characters are so much more than a list of a few traits. The relationship between Sam and Magnus becomes a friendship after some struggles shall we say - but I can't help but wonder, as someone who loves Percabeth, whether it'll evolve into something more.

Talking about Percabeth, we also get to see our resident Wisegirl Annabeth Chase in this book because as Rick Riordan revealed, she is his cousin. The consistency in Rick's description of her made me feel so nostalgic as when the girl with the fierce, stormy grey eyes appears, I couldn't help but miss Percy. But I can't not mention that Magnus has many other relationships with friends or allies that are so moving and fun at the same time. Hearth and Blitz were so original, and Rick's development of the oh-so-fashionable Blitz and the determined Hearth was beautifully executed as usual.

The plot was inspired! The plot feels like a large and intricate spider web that Rick masterfully weaved because there are so many different dimensions of Norse mythology he explores from the gods, the nine worlds, runes, and a giant scary squirrel, but they all tie together in a natural and perfect way. There's also the fact that, like in Percy Jackson, Rick ties together one part of the plot - so one chapter of a bigger story closes which is refreshing because I feel satisfied rather than like I'm wheezing for some sense of closure.

Overall, I loved this book and I had a feeling I would because of who wrote it:) It was a perfect escape from school because it made me genuinely laugh out loud unlike so many other books. It has magic, Loki, quirky and unexpected plot lines, friendship and family - what more could you want?:P SO 5 GOLDEN stars!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly longing for and anticipating!

My choice is The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1) by Rick Riordan!

Here's how Rick described it in his exciting blog post:
How do you punish an immortal?  By making him human. 

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disoriented, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’ favor. 
 But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go. . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood. 

As I explained on tour, the idea came to me while writing Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, because Apollo had been turned mortal twice before when he got on Zeus' bad side. The first novel has been so much fun to write! The Trials of Apollo is told first person from Apollo's point of view. During the series you will see all the characters from the previous Percy/Heroes of Olympus series so you can get a chance to see what they are up to.
Date of Publication: 3 May 2016

Finding out about this book has been one of the best surprises! I know there's so long from now to May but this can be part of the sunshine at the end of my IB tunnel;) I was so sad to read the last Percy Jackson book because he was one of my favourite characters and always will be<3 To hear that characters from Percy's series (hopefully him included!) will make an appearance in this book was more than music to my ears.

One thing I really admire about Rick Riordan is how he manages to take fascinating tales from Greek mythology and use them in his own stories. He actually inspired me to read the original Greek myths and I love them all the more once characters as special as his have explored them in a modern landscape. Apollo in the Percy Jackson series was hilarious because of his love of writing goofy haikus so it'll be really interesting and different to see him play the leading protagonist. Also he'll be going to Camp Half Blood which makes me feel so nostalgic - as though I was once a demigod who lived there, and experienced Chiron's warm advice, Mr. D being Mr. D and the magic within it:)

Can you imagine all the funny events that will occur when Apollo, the shining god of the sun, poetry, archery, prophecy (and many other things...) is forced to endure being a mortal? Well I have a feeling that Rick Riordan will exceed any expectation and as always bring some heart and meaning to the whole story.

This is essentially how I feel...;)

Thank you for reading!
What's your Waiting on Wednesday?:)

Monday, 9 November 2015

Review: The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.

Date of Publication: 4th January 2011

This book is different from anything I've ever read and I loved every second of the unusual delight. As said in the blurb, it's a love story told through entries inspired by dictionaries.

For example:
abstraction, n.

Love is one kind of abstraction. And then there are those nights when I sleep alone, when I curl into a pillow that isn't you, when I hear the tiptoe sounds that aren't yours. It's not as if I can conjure you up completely. I must embrace the idea of you instead.”

ubiquitous, adj.

When it’s going well, the fact of it is everywhere. It’s there in the song that shuffles into your ears. It’s there in the book you’re reading. It’s there on the shelves of the store as you reach for a towel and forget about the towel. It’s there as you open the door. As you stare off into the subway, it’s what you’re looking at. You wear it on the inside of your hat. It lines your pockets. It’s the temperature.
The hitch, of course, it that when it’s going badly, it’s in all the same places.”

David Levithan is so articulate that he is able to breathe life into these words, and make them mean something and everything. He uses words like these and his character's versions of their definitions to show us a love story in all its stages. We get to see the good and the bad - the breathtaking and the heart wrenching and sometimes just appreciate the deliciously quiet moments of any relationship. 

There is not a chronological order which may seem confusing but I liked how the book felt like a puzzle that I could put together in my mind as I dissect the love put before us. However I do wish that there was a feeling of finality when I had finished because I felt like I wasn't at the end of the story at all. But looking back I realize that relationships don't have clear cut beginnings and ends - in fact, they're messy but in a gorgeous kind of way so the structure of the book does reflect that. I would have loved if the end had more of an impact - like one last word that just made me smile or made the world around me stop so that the experience of the book could be represented well.

This book isn't long and it got me out of a reading slump so if you'd like to try something different and you love love and raw feelings (and maybe you're a dictionary aficionado who can't wait to see your favorite words in a new light?) then this is the book for you! Books with concepts like this don't come so often so embracing the creativity of the experience made it even better. 

I would probably give this book 4.5 stars out of 5:)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Books in Second Person

There's something so fascinating about books in the second person. I haven't read that many in novels in the second-person narrative but as soon as I came across it, I knew I needed more! How entrancing and captivating is it that you become the character? All these beautiful and complex plots are told around that unexpected "you."

So here's a list of books that use second person because they may be worth exploring!

1. If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler is a marvel of ingenuity, an experimental text that looks longingly back to the great age of narration--"when time no longer seemed stopped and did not yet seem to have exploded."
The Reader buys a fashionable new book, which opens with an exhortation: "Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade." Calvino intersperses 10 different pastiches--stories of menace, spies, mystery, premonition--with explorations of how and why we read, make meanings, and get our bearings or fail to.

This book is one of the most famous second person books and it's supposed to be the ultimate book for book-lovers! Why? Because it's all about reading, but throughout the journey of books is also love and tragedy which sounds like a intoxicating mix to me!

A book that starts with "You are about to begin reading Italo Calvino's new novel, If on a winter's night a traveler. Relax. Concentrate. Dispel every other thought. Let the world around you fade. Best to close the door; the TV is always on in the next room. Tell the others right away, "No, I don't want to watch TV!" Raise your voice -- they won't hear you otherwise -- "I'm reading! I don't want to be disturbed!" Maybe they haven't heard you, with all that racket; speak louder, yell: "I'm beginning to read Italo Calvino's new novel!" Or if you prefer, don't say anything: just hope they'll leave you alone." is a book I know I'll drown into. One great thing about second person books is that you tend to forget the world around you and feel fully immersed in a book that's engaging you as there's some intangible emotional pull to an author writing about "you" - especially when you're characterised as "The Reader". I haven't read this book yet but I really want to so hopefully I will soon.

2. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night. 

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

I have read this book and I'm absolutely infatuated with the use of second person because it transported me to the mystical and magical night circus that I now dream of visiting. The plot about the duel may not have always been strong nor parts of the romance but this book was definitely worth reading and I still love it because it's one of those times when I felt like I had literally jumped into a fantasy world. The writing is gorgeous and Rick Riordan himself loves it;)

The whole novel is not in second person but whenever the night circus is being described, second person is used to give the reader a feel of the dreaminess of it all. There's a quote from the book that goes, "like stepping into a fairy tale under a curtain of stars" and that's how the description of me walking into this bizarre and beautiful circus made me feel.

“You think, as you walk away from Le Cirque des Rêves and into the creeping dawn, that you felt more awake within the confines of the circus.
You are no longer quite certain which side of the fence is the dream.”

3. Bright Light, Big City by Jay McInerney

With the publication of Bright Lights, Big City in 1984, Jay McInerney became a literary sensation, heralded as the voice of a generation. 
The novel follows a young man, living in Manhattan as if he owned it, through nightclubs, fashion shows, editorial offices, and loft parties as he attempts to outstrip mortality and the recurring approach of dawn. With nothing but goodwill, controlled substances, and wit to sustain him in this anti-quest, he runs until he reaches his reckoning point, where he is forced to acknowledge loss and, possibly, to rediscover his better instincts. 
This remarkable novel of youth and New York remains one of the most beloved, imitated, and iconic novels in America.

This is also one of the most famous second person narratives. I am so intrigued by the idea of experiencing someone's "anti-quest" as he slowly loses himself but hopefully finds his happiness again. I feel like reading a book like this could give me a new perspective and also give me the opportunity to experience his rollercoaster journey (from the safety of my couch). From the blurb it seems as though he loses hope and purpose, and if a book that brings you in, by making you the protagonist, explores this journey, I hope it leaves you with a profound message on redemption or identity.

And read this amazing quote: "But what you are left with is a premonition of the way your life will fade behind you, like a book you have read too quickly, leaving a dwindling trail of images and emotions, until all you can remember is a name.”

4. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris, David Javerbaum and Antony Hare


Tired of memoirs that only tell you what really happened? Sick of deeply personal accounts written in the first person? Seeking an exciting, interactive read that puts the “u” back in “aUtobiography”? Then look no further than Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography! In this revolutionary, Joycean experiment in light celebrity narrative, actor/personality/carbon-based life-form Neil Patrick Harris lets you, the reader, live his life. You will be born in New Mexico. You will get your big break at an acting camp. You will get into a bizarre confrontation outside a nightclub with actor Scott Caan. Even better, at each critical juncture of your life, you will choose how to proceed. You will decide whether to try out for Doogie Howser, M.D. You will decide whether to spend years struggling with your sexuality. You will decide what kind of caviar you want to eat on board Elton John’s yacht. Choose correctly and you’ll find fame, fortune, and true love. Choose incorrectly and you’ll find misery, heartbreak, and a hideous death by piranhas. All this, plus magic tricks, cocktail recipes, embarrassing pictures from your time as a child actor, and even a closing song. Yes, if you buy one book this year, congratulations on being above the American average, but make that book Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography!

As an avid 'How I Met Your Mother' fan, I was so excited by this book. But that's not the only reason... an autobiography that's in second person is such a fun idea! I like the idea of choosing Neil's path and seeing where Neil would end up if I was the one making the decisions. It's a book that seems like it would make me smile.

Also Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the Kingkiller Chronicles, said, "I expected this book to be witty. I expected it to be clever and fun. And it was. It was all of those things in spades. But I didn't expect it to be sweet and sad and honest and touching. I mean, it's framed as a choose-your-own-adventure. You don't expect those to be heartfelt, emotional stories...." (To read his lovely review, click here!).

That's all for now!
Thanks for reading:)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly longing for and anticipating!

My choice is The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy #3) by Marie Rutkoski!

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks. 
But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

Date of Publication: 1 March 2016

YESSSS! I loved both books in this series and I cannot wait for more! The first book made my heart skip a beat and the second took my breath away. Arin and Kestrel's relationship is so complex, beautiful, scarred and undeniable that I can't help but feel wholly invested in them. It's the last book in the trilogy so I need Kestrel and Arin to be together but whatever the outcome, I know the journey is going to be unexpected and perfect.

There are so many miscommunications that hinder their relationship from being fully realised and I'm one step away from jumping into this book and making them finally kiss. When a book like this comes along all I can do is anxiously wait for it to come out. But at the same time, I don't want this series to end... I love it too much. If you haven't read this series then I strongly recommend it if you love reading books with characters that are so well-written than they become pieces of art, romance, political intrigue and power plays.

Thank you for reading!
What's your Waiting on Wednesday?:)

Monday, 31 August 2015

Review: Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised. With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Date of Publication: 7th April 2015

So in my Top Ten Tuesday I mentioned this book (and fangirled all over it) while I had still been in the process of reading it and can I say I LOVE IT SO MUCH!
This is what I said about it then and all of it is still truer than true:) :

I'm reading this book right now but I'm already fangirling about it because it's not just like eating an amazing chocolate bar - it's like eating your favourite kind of chocolate cake, your favourite chocolate bar, brownies, and all of your favourite comfort food being laid out before you while your all-time favourite movie happens to play and pillows form underneath you till you're in some kind of fluffy paradise. What I'm incoherently trying to express is that this book makes me smile more than most books have ever managed! It's been a while since I've loved a narrator so much that I've just wanted to watch Harry Potter with them and give them a great big hug because they deserve a thousand. Simon is a Harry Potter fan (a.k.a. he's one of us;)) who is a lovely friend. He's a bit uncomfortable at parties and has a golden retriever called Bieber - can I just say I love him? This story is about Simon, who is gay, falling for a guy he only knows as Blue as they've been emailing after Simon saw a beautiful written post Blue wrote that he needed to tell him he loved. Simon is being blackmailed by someone who read his emails so he's in a tricky situation plus he knows Blue and he go to the same school but not who he is (it was unexpectedly suspenseful!) Reading their emails and seeing Simon's reactions to them is like eating candy. This is a book about the characters (like how The Office is about the wacky and wonderful characters) so if you love that then give this a go!

This book makes me feel happier than happy. IB causes so much stress but while reading this I felt like I was on a cotton candy cloud and I couldn't keep a smile off my face. I loved everything about this book so ending it was a painful bittersweet experience because I wish I could erase my memory of it and read it all over again.

Simon is the kind of protagonist and narrator that you want to be your friend because it's so fun to be in his mind and you can't help but see the world in his bubbly, sweet and unique point of view and wish that you could buy a pair of sunglasses tinted with his colourful perspective. He's someone built up with such love that I can imagine him in reality and I can imagine having a crush on him even if I knew he's gay:( He's been emailing this guy he only knows as 'Blue' for quite a while and would love and fear meeting him. Slowly over email they become close and he can't help but wonder who Blue is. His curiosity became mine and it felt as suspenseful as a mystery novel because I felt so invested in the characters. I wished I could hire Sherlock Holmes to help Simon figure out who this funny and lovely grammar nerd of a guy is. BUT I wouldn't actually because I loved (how many times I have used the word 'love' in this review;)) how Becky Albertalli resolved this mystery. It ended perfectly. At one point I was worried I wouldn't like the truth of who Blue is but my faith in this story overruled and my trust in the author was way more than well deserved. 

Also the author manages to capture a teenager's voice in an impressive way. She did work as a psychologist at a high school so she gained insight into our flowery and strange minds. Sometimes when adults try to harness a teenager's voice it feels awkward and like they're trying to capture a voice they haven't quite understood, but here Simon feels like a real and lovable teenager who I could pluck out of the book at anytime.

The romance was something special. Blue and Simon have something like a meet-cute via the internet (Tumblr I believe;)) that turns into something so much more. It was so refreshing to see a romance that starts with words - that starts with two souls meeting. I know that physical attraction does play a role in romance, but sometimes it is has too much emphasis and this takes a way from the genuine connection between the characters. The pace of their relationship is just right. Their relationship from friendship to more is enviable because they just make each other happy and that is beautiful in its own simple way. Reading their emails made me feel like I was allowed a privileged sneak peak into a conversation that showed just how powerful words can be.

Simon's friends and family make up a big part of his life and so a big part of this book. They're all like a huge, hilarious and compassionate family. Their interactions felt genuine and beautiful because Simon valued his friends and his family which was refreshing when compared to other YA novels. None of the characters ever felt like they had a label on them - often with books that deal with high school there are stereotypes used (and sometimes they are wonderfully and skilfully challenged) but here all the characters had many dimensions like fascinating, real and relatable pieces of art. Nick isn't just the guy who plays guitar, Abby isn't just the cheerleader and none of the secondary characters feel like they're being used to fill up space. They have relationships and feelings too - they're the protagonists of their own stories. Relationships are really what makes this book feel like it's written with sunshine. The focus on the characters is done without exploiting them at any turn and without them falling into the expected. Simon isn't defined by his sexual orientation and like he says throughout the book, a part of him wants coming out to be a big deal and the other part strongly doesn't want it to be. He and Blue both have personalities as bold and sweet and special as a impressionist painting so that's how we know them and just how we love them.

I think I'm going to stop myself because I can just feel more metaphors coming on - comparing this book to some of the things that make me feel like I can never stop smiling, things that make me feel at home and comfortable and things that I want to hug so I shall stop myself before I ramble on:) 

If I could say one thing I would say: Give this book a try if you want to remember how books can make you feel like it's harder not to smile than to smile;)

So, obviously, 5 burning bright stars!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught Contemporary (with a lot of romance!) 101

Time for some Top Ten Tuesday:)
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely book blog: The Broke and the Bookish.
Today I'm going to be exploring the topic: Top ten books that would be on my syllabus if I taught contemporary 101! The funny thing is, initially I came in a bit weary of what the vast and colourful world of contemporary world would be like but then these books made me realise that it's a kind of paradise.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
One of the first contemporary books I ever read (thanks to my BFF<3) was Anna and the French Kiss  This book has made Stephanie Perkins an auto-buy author for me because I cannot tell you how much I love this book! It's in Paris, the city of love, and is filled with an atmosphere I wish I could bottle up and save so it would twinkle in a little glass bottle endlessly. The CHARACTERS. Anna is one of the most relatable and likeable characters ever- sometimes she thinks just as awkwardly as I do and she's so fun to experience the story with. Etienne... *sigh* - I loved how he and Anna go together like PB&J. While I use the cliche of PB&J, I'd like to add in that I never found it too cheesy - in fact I kinda loved how I felt like I floated away to Paris when I read this book and I thought the relationships felt so grounded in a true and beautiful connection that it wasn't too cheesy but perfect. They're so sweet and real and serious and right for each other that their scenes together make me feel like I'm watching one of my favourite romcoms. The thing is I use this as my standard of contemporary romances because this romance felt genuine because the characters actually got to know each other over time to the point of you getting more and more invested in their relationship as the books goes on. If you want to smile and swoon then this is for you!

Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
I'm reading this book right now but I'm already fangirling about it because it's not just like eating an amazing chocolate bar - it's like eating your favourite kind of chocolate cake, your favourite chocolate bar, brownies, and all of your favourite comfort food being laid out before you while your all-time favourite movie happens to play and pillows form underneath you till you're in some kind of fluffy paradise. What I'm incoherently trying to express is that this book makes me smile more than most books have ever managed! It's been a while since I've loved a narrator so much that I've just wanted to watch Harry Potter with them and give them a great big hug because they deserve a thousand. Simon is a Harry Potter fan (a.k.a. he's one of us;)) who is a lovely friend. He's a bit uncomfortable at parties and has a golden retriever called Bieber - can I just say I love him? This story is about Simon, who is gay, falling for a guy he only knows as Blue as they've been emailing after Simon saw a beautiful written post Blue wrote that he needed to tell him he loved. Simon is being blackmailed by someone who read his emails so he's in a tricky situation plus he knows Blue and he go to the same school but not who he is (it was unexpectedly suspenseful!) Reading their emails and seeing Simon's reactions to them is like eating candy. This is a book about the characters (like how The Office is about the wacky and wonderful characters) so if you love that then give this a go!

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." Gosh I adore this book like I love art and love. 
A story about twins, family, love, tragedy, art, mistakes and acceptance that makes me feel like I've lived through everything the characters go through because I'm so invested in them.I actually wrote a review on it here:) --> http://anotheronceuponatime.blogspot.sg/2015/07/review-ill-give-you-sun-by-jandy-nelson.html
Let's just say the rainbow of creativity within this story, the beyond soulful and beautiful description of art in Noah's mind and the messed up but lovely characters made this one to remember. 

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
 I may have read this a loooong time ago but I'll always treasure the romance of it. Brittany and Alex are so different... or are they? Being in high school, it's so interesting to see how two people from two very different groups interact and how slowly they realise what people expect of them isn't what defines them. Love is a choice we get to make and this book shows you what a intense and butterfly-inducing experience it is when you get it right.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This book was a moving and gorgeous read that anyone who loves bookshops might love. It's about a bookstore owner, A.J. Fikry, who has given up on life because he's never smiling - he's never really living. But then one day a baby called Maya is left on his doorstep and his life changes forever. I liked reading a story about becoming who you are and love and explored these themes in a new way. The fact that the main character is a booklover helped too:P Seeing someone's life go through a rollercoaster of change is really something that makes you appreciate every little lovely thing and it makes you root for them and yourself.

Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
I wrote a review which basically explored this book and MY LOVE FOR IT!: http://anotheronceuponatime.blogspot.sg/2015/02/2-mini-reviews-these-broken-stars-amy.html
This was also at the beginning of my contemporary journey and let me just say this is one I'll never forget. This is what I want falling in love to feel like for me. Who doesn't love a good friends to something a bit (a lot!) like love romance?:) Amy and Roger were written so insightfully and with a loving hand because they're wonderful apart and together. They go on a road trip together that turns into so much more than a trip with a destination - it turns into an adventure in which Amy and Roger counter bears, delicious food, ice cream, new makeover-loving and video game-loving friends, golf courses and Graceland. 

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
This book is like a melody that you never want to let go of. The lyrics that Gayle Forman wrote as Adam's character are so emotional and raw - they give the book a whole new layer of golden musical notes. I think the love story in this one is one that I couldn't help but root for. An undeniable connection. Love leaking through their eyes. Hoping love wins. 
Reading this book felt like lying on a cloud above and watching a couple so destined for each other work their way back together.

Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
Another perfect recommendation from my amiga! Just thinking back to this book makes me relive it - and it's a wonderful feeling. It's such an intense romance that I felt and still feel so sucked in by it. I loved who Noah and Echo both went through so much in their lives and somehow it leads them to each other. They don't seem like two pieces that would fit together yet they're strangely and perfectly made for each other. Noah's in YA tend to be amazing, don't they?
He's had a hard life and so has Echo, and I felt like I had their scars while reading this which made me love them all the more.

Two Contemporary Books I Want To Read:
Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley: It's a book about teenagers on an adventure of graffiti, art, high school, love and life in 24 hours. After reading 'I'll Give You The Sun," I've been longing for another book that made the world a bit more colourful and chalky.

Hello, Goodbye and Everything in Between by Jennifer E. Smith: This is about a couple who are about to embark on the next chapter: university. They're trying to make the difficult decision of whether to break up or try long distance once they go to university so they decide to retrace their relationship. I'm fascinated by the idea of a couple reflecting on their own relationship so I hope it proves an emotional, sweet and moving read. (& the COVER!)

Thanks for reading! What do you guys think should be on my Contemporary 101 syllabus?:)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics. Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel. Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

Date of Publication: 1st March 2012

This is book is a bit of a rebel - it deviates from what you expect a book that explores illness, friendship and finding yourself in high school to be like. And I really appreciated that. It's like seeing a rainbow that's painted in teal, maroon and pink. It's a book I wanted to experience ever since I watched the trailer of the movie (AND look at that cover:)) and felt chills and felt excited for this new and weird (in a lovely sense) coming-of-age story! It didn't live up to my expectations but it was worth the read. 

The beginning of this book is one of my favourite beginnings. Although the beginnings of books tend to not be the strongest, this one unashamedly makes me laugh and pokes fun of the high school hierarchy. I picked up this book hoping it would be as hilarious as I hoped it would be and Greg's description of high school groups is not cliche in any way but so ridiculous and perfect that a smile can't resist itself. 

Greg's philosophy on high school is so different from most peoples that I felt like I was watching a social experiment. He doesn't want to belong with anyone - he doesn't want friends - he just wants to make it through high school without having a spotlight shining on him. I loved how he and Earl make quirky parody movies because it's fun to hear about the ideas behind their weird and wonderful (not technically but in spirit;)) films. Greg and Earl have an interesting and unusual relationship that I would call friendship even though the 'friendless' Greg refuses to acknowledge he does indeed have a friend. Their dynamic is a special part of this book because it shows you that friendship can spring from unlikely places and that friends have the ability to push you to become a better person.

This book is not a dreamer. This book does not pretend to be a dreamer or an optimist. That was one thing that made it unique. It refused to give in to what we expect in a book: romance, typical relationships and big dreams dreamt by everyone. It chooses to be raw and realistic and funny, even when you it would be so easy for it to fall to convention. I liked how Rachel, Greg and Earl interacted with eachother because it was like pieces of different puzzles somehow coming together. It could get really awkward for them (People cringe in real life so why not in books too?:P) but that's what the start of things tends to be like (and I like how their awkwardness and weirdness was so real - it wasn't eccentric - it was more grounded in reality with a fun twist). 

But there was just a slight disconnect between me and this book. I'm not sure if it's just me being an eternal dreamer and an optimist who likes a bit of cheesy or lots of emotion but I just didn't feel like I got an emotional pay off as I didn't feel satisfied by the end of the book. Normally books that focus on characters and relationships are my chocolate (for example, the TV show, the Office (US) has so much humour but also touching and beautiful moments - and it's about a paper company BUT it's really about the people who work there!) but I just never felt as invested in the characters or in the plot as I wanted to be. That's why the start of this book was my favourite part of it. I did thoroughly  enjoy this book but it's not an all-time favourite for me and if there was a fire and I had to choose which books to save (Never let this happen!), this would probably not be one I'd run for.

So this book gets a lovely 4 stars!

Review: Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy. While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
Date of Publication: September 2 2015

As always, Sarah J. Maas' characters are written with so much honesty and insightful detail, that they feel real. It was almost as though Celaena Sardothien had just appeared right in front of me with her unquenched anger, latent sadness and glowing strength radiating from her. In the last book I think we all saw Celaena in one of her darkest and most vengeance-fuelled moments but here we get to see the startling after shock of her actions and how she deals with what she's been through. More than anything she feels alone at the beginning, not even the loveable and cute Fleetfoot is with her, so we see her deal with a whole colour wheel of feelings by herself for a while.

But one special thing about this book is that there's a bunch of new characters! I loved getting to explore how these new puzzle pieces fit into the story because I know at first it seems like it has the potential to take us away from the characters we are so invested in but in the end it really added to the story. Some of the new characters became huge parts of the main characters' lives, and because of that we get to see a new side of them. 
Some of the new characters are Rowan, Sorsha and Manon. Rowan is rough and tough, but not...;) He, in a way, acts as a begrudging mentor to Celaena - but their dynamic is wonderful because he isn't afraid of her unleashed wildness.

(Spoilers from the 2nd book) 
Rowan has awesome and complex tattoos and comes off as glaringly hostile and tough at first. But, of course, in this world the characters are beautifully 3-dimensional so we delve deeper into his true compassion and acceptance. He is the one who pushes Celaena to accept her Fae nature and not be afraid of what she can do- he is not afraid of her in the least. I loved the dynamic between them because it feels like Celaena has met her match, which you can see in their snarky battle of words and the way he makes her see what she is capable of. It isn't all sunshine and rainbows because he isn't for the faint-hearted- when I say he pushes her, I mean he shoves her towards her destiny of magic.
(Spoiler done;))

Sorsha has actually been part of the story before. She is the healer, who oh-so-kindly helped take care of all our characters in the last book when they got hurt. So here we see her own story and sweetly innocent thoughts - she's almost the opposite of Celaena in some ways which was interesting to see because I'm so used to our fearless, bold and daring protagonist, that to see someone who was in the background before come to the spotlight is new in a great way.

Chaol and Dorian are thankfully not forgotten at allI liked how Chaol moves away from his obedience to the King and instead chooses to walk down a path filled with danger, rebellion and magic. It shows us just how much Celaena has awoken him to the cruelty of the King and his role to play in fighting it. Come on guys!- just reunitePretty please...

I've always liked Dorian's character, not necessarily for Celaena, but instead just as a character. I feel like Dorian would be a way better ruler than his father could ever imagine, just because of his kindness and his determination to right what's wronged. Did I say I love the twist (from the last book) in which he has magical abilites? Because I doIn this book the author uses it to give him a new love interest... As cute as the stolen glances, blushes and puppy-love smiles were, I wish their romance was developed further- I like the whole Cinderella-esque romance because he's the Prince and she never even thinks he notices her but I just want them to have a funny conversation so that we can see that they can make each other smile in normal times. I wanted Dorian to be given a new love interest because it would mean he's finally over Celaena and moving on to someone who loves him back. As said in Moulin Rouge, "the greatest thing is just to love and to be loved in return."So he does get a romance that is startlingly different to the one he had with Celaena.

Manon Blackbeak is a new character that is so dark and twisted because that's how she was brought up to be. At first I hated the cruel grin on her bloodthirsty face but later we get to see her show some kindness to someone who has only been hurt and left to break.
Ah the character development is so wonderful!

(Spoilers from 2nd book and minor spoilers from this book)
Manon and the beaten but ferocious and determined wyvern was one unexpected but wonderful storyline. As someone who loves animals, I couldn't help but appreciate the way she treated him with friendship when everyone else was satisfied to watch him break. Go Manon
Aedin so obviously cares for Celaena that I really want them to meet again! The flashbacks just showed how they were like a two-in-one deal so having that positive side of her past come back in the flesh might be fun and may be endearingly sweet. 
(Spoilers done!)

Writing: As always the writing was engaging, magical, gentle, harsh and everything right! Initially I was sticky-noting all the parts which had lovely writing that made me re-read the quotes again and again. But then I was basically bookmarking every single page so I decided to stop:P None of the meaningful and almost lyrical lines she writes feels forced- the feel like they break open a hidden light in characters or create a setting so vivid that I can feel the frost chill my bones or feel the leaves tickle my arms as I run past them faster than an enchanted hurricane.

Plot: The plot... the plot... it was... AMAZING! I mean I'm always somehow shocked by just how unique the storylines are. I honestly wish I could borrow Sarah J. Maas' mind someday because the tiniest things that happen in the plot are always so well-thought out and push forward the overall story and character development. The plot starts off quite slow for Celaena which was unusual but I think it reflects her situation and then all of a sudden the plot is just on fire! There are so many things I didn't see coming but that, even if they break my heart, I loved. There were many shadows at the end of the tunnel but none were out of the blue, which makes for a perfect book!

So 5 stars!

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga. Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird. In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration. That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo. First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

Date of Publication: 27 March 2014

I don’t even know how to start with this book because it’s so beautiful.
Leslye Walton is going to be on my auto-buy list of authors because the world she creates feels so real and surreal at the same time. She uses magical realism like it’s something she’s done for a 100 years. In fact, the reason I enjoyed her magical realism was that I feel it shows a truer version of the world – feelings and thoughts felt on the inside are illustrated on the outside in ways which show a raw and magical reality. In this world if I felt rejected my heart would literally break and that adds this layer of silver honesty which was perfect.

The story spanned generations of the Roux family which made it feel like an epic - years of tragedy, lost love, desire and regret. I devoured every single story and read every single word like they were the last words I’d ever read. It felt like I was absorbed in a cinematic universe of colours, pain and angel wings with each story. Seeing the different downfalls of the family and the ways they succumbed or survived was mesmerising and emotional. I felt so emotionally invested in all the character’s stories, especially Ava and Viviane’s stories - I haven’t experienced anything like they have yet it felt like I had felt everything they felt - like a pang in the heart, a midnight kiss or a breaking heart - on a new starry out-of-this-world level. 

Ava was born with angel wings but in the end she’s just a girl who wants to fit in. I think the exploration of the importance of self-acceptance and finding people in your life who love you as you are is wonderful because everyone can relate to that. I loved the progression of her story because it stayed true to her character yet showed her grow into someone stronger - character development is one of my favourite journeys to go on. Her character shone like someone had painted her with golden glitter, and so did the romance she experiences because that shimmered with blossoming flowers and constellations because it was so refreshing and sweet - it didn’t overpower the plot but it played a role in it that felt natural. 

Also, Ava has a twin brother who has never spoken a word - and can I just say I LOVED how his character grew because it was adorable and weird and lovely. 
Nathaniel Sorrows thinks that Ava is an angel and not an ordinary girl because of her angelic and majestic wings. We get to see his perspective and just thinking about him gives me chills because he’s so set on his views that nothing stops him. His existence in the book adds suspense that keeps you feeling wide awake and a bit frightened for our favourite characters because he’s cruel and obsessive and we can see that through every word he uses and every thought he thinks. 
Viviane and Jack's stories was one of my favourite to read - and Emilienne's and her sisters so maybe just all of them! - because its equal amounts hopeful and heartbreaking so I think it's a story that takes you places you don't always expect it to go which can be so immersive.

The settings were so vividly described that they spilled out of the pages with the smell of newly baked bread, celebrations and rain-soaked grass and the colours of a swirly and perfect masterpiece. 

So read it for the characters, read it for the scale, read it if you want to live in a crooked fairytale;)


Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Review: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

A brilliant, luminous story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell. 

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. 

But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. 

The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world. 
 This radiant novel from the acclaimed, award-winning author of The Sky Is Everywhere will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Date of Publication: 16 September 2014

This book is such a gem that I didn’t even know if I could write a review that could show you even half of my love for it. The writing is special because there is so much to admire about it. Jandy Nelson uses magical realism at times and I felt like it made the book feel like a piece of art with colours that grew out of it and sprayed my heart with all of its teal, crimson and lilac emotions. It’s made me want to explore magical realism to the point that I obsessively researched books with a similar style of writing only to realise that one more reason to hold this book tight is that the writing is fearless in a bold and artsy way.

 My absolute favourite part was the characters Jandy Nelson writes because of how flawed and frustrating they are – why? – well because at the end of every sentence, comma and paragraph you realise how much you care for them no matter what they do. Noah not only has a lovely name but is also one rainbow of a character with his dorkiness, passion and just this inner sweetness that I can’t describe well enough. His passion for art was a highlight because in his mind the whole world takes on a new glow, especially when he describes his drawings which add fairy light to everything as he IS an ARTIST – it’s a part of him as much as a limb or heart – In fact I’m pretty sure his heart is drawn from charcoal or painted in watercolours. He and Jude make tons and tons of mistakes that made me want to jump into their story and tell them not to do something but the thing is it’s a realistic depiction of teenagers and humans in general when they makes mistakes and learn from them- but witnessing the heavy consequences they endure was excruciating and true and mesmerising.

 Jude was a quirky character just like her brother, but in a completely different way. Her past has changed her and made her dress unlike herself, imagine her grandmother’s ghost and always follow superstitious sayings. The suspense of how she changed, since we see her brother’s perspective in the past and hers in the present, was tangible while I was reading because I needed to know why she and Noah became who they are. I really enjoyed reading from both their distinct perspectives because they both bring so much to the story and seeing them explore friendship, family and art in their own ways was insightful. Jude was such a weirdo but I liked that about her so don’t be scared off;) In the end it is a story of twins: a brother and a sister – how they fall apart and if they’ll come back together.

The family element of stories is always interesting to think about because in so many books it’s almost as though the characters don’t have a family or have lost them in a tragic way and that is not always a bad thing because it can be integral to the plot for the character to feel like a wanderer without a home or to need revenge or a family to love and support them. I really enjoyed how Rick Riordan explored family in Percy Jackson because who doesn’t think Sally Jackson with her array of blue food isn’t a wonderful mom who helped Percy become the awesome guy he is? Here, family is a central theme and it brings out a million shades of emotions in me when I think about their journey. I felt like I was the house they lived in, watching the kids grow older and the parents navigating life, and hoping with the strength of my walls that they’ll be okay because the book is that immersive (sorry for the weird analogy;)).

I will say that the first tiny bit of the book wasn’t the best beginning I’ve read but I did fall in love with the story soon so it’s barely a blimp on my radar (especially since it’s a good thing for a book to get better as it goes on rather than worse!). And to make up for it one thing I liked was how the author played with time through the two perspectives as something might happen in the past in Noah’s perspective and then it’ll cut off into Jude’s perspective and we’ll experience the impact.

There was, of course, some lovely romance in this book! I’m quite a sappy romantic but it takes a good romance for me to fall in love with it. I loved Noah’s romance – I’ve never actually read a romantic story in the perspective of a gay guy so it’s about time:P The added layer of tension made me feel like there was a literal layer of anxiety engulfing me because the “will they? Won’t they?” is so intense and ugh I could see pink hearts floating from the pages but just like Noah you can’t help but wonder if his love interest is interested in him and cross your fingers that he is. I JUST LOVED THEM SO MUCH… Jude’s love story happens with a guy I think a lot of readers will envy meeting because he’s… well… British and a photographer who believes in destiny (maybe a bit too much for me but it makes him quirky and lovely for Jude;)) and calls her an angel so yeah… pretty perfect;) In a way he felt like an actual dream guy of a YA – especially since he’s also troubled but with a really sweet Teddy bear side. So he may not be the most original love interest but I really enjoyed their relationship because when something is done well in an original book I don’t mind if he’s not one of a kind outside the book as long as I love him in the book. Plus he and Jude are so quirky together and he embraces her for all that she is that I can’t help but root for them (yay British guys who ride motorcycles ;)). Also as the story goes on new layers of complexity are added to their relationship which I personally found rejuvenating because, just like the end of the book, it’s like pieces of an epic puzzle with over a million pieces, each of a different tone and shade, coming together in a whole new way.

So from me this book gets the A* (5 stars) it deserves for showing me why I love reading.

I tried to write a slightly different kind of review where I just poured all my thoughts into it so I hope you like it:)
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Made Me Cry

Hello! Time for some Top Ten Tuesday:)
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely book blog: The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is ... a FREEBIE! It took me forever to choose a topic because there are endless possibilities but I couldn't resist writing a post of books that broke my heart in two...
This powerful and lovely quote by John Green sums up how I feel about most of these books: "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book." A book doesn't need to be sad to be meaningful or life-changing, but these are examples of books that are well worth the tears and the money the tubs of ice cream will cost you afterwards.
Warning: I cry quite a bit...;)
  1. Percy Jackson series (ESPECIALLY the last one) by Rick Riordan: Did I mention this is one of my favourite series ever? No? Because IT IS undeniably soBut it would take me beyond infinite hours to tell you why I want to hug this book for its retelling of entrancing greek myths, its ability to make me give reading a chance and eventually become so very bookish and its array of hilarious, troubled, broken, brave, compassionate and just EVERYTHING characters (and *cough* Percabeth;) *cough*). I want to visit Camp Half Blood (if it were real...) because imagine the strawberry fields, the satyrs, each cabin crafted to fit its God or Goddess and the food (Blue cookies in a drink? yes please!) So many characters in this series have remained in my heart - Percy himself is such a lovingly crafted character that you can't help but love the guy and his story - and when characters have a difficult (to say the least...) path ahead, you go on that path with them. But it's not only the protagonists who are constructed three-dimensionally with insightful and emotional backstories, which leads to a whole lot of loving and crying. So, Rick Riordan basically made me run out of tears from crying so much!
  2. Harry Potter series (every single word and punctuation mark can make me dissolve into tears - especially from Prisoner of Azkaban and onwards) by JK Rowling: You know, I think that we're all truly waiting for one little letter that can change our lives to come to us one day... via owl perhaps? I think we all know of the emotional turmoil JK Rowling has put us through - in fact, sometimes if I just think about certain parts of the book I want to melt into tears and I do inevitably because JK Rowling is just that wonderful at creating a story that will forever be haunting me and making me smile at the same time! Since this is no spoilers (but if you've read the series I think this one's an obvious pick;)), I'll just say that JK Rowling is not afraid to make you cry - for example with the unexpected depths of the characters, the strong messages on love, family and strength, the characters to look up to (I want to ace my O.W.L.S like HERMIONE!) and the twists in every book that send us to Heartbreak Hotel (metaphorically so). Additionally the sorrow of never receiving an acceptance letter to Hogwarts to become a wizard (Who wouldn't love a wand, meeting animagi, Dumbledore, Wizarding tournaments, enchanted joke stores, magical food and being up to no good?) hurts too.
  3. The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: My lovely, lovely best friend got me hooked onto these - they're just heartbreaking in the strangest and most obvious ways. Once I cried because I was so shocked about a happy moment in one of these books - real happy tears! Both books wowed me because of the way every detail of the character's journeys becomes your life. I want to fly beautiful kites with Amir and Hassan and I never want them to grow up, I want to reread the last page of Kite Runner endlessly because of what is says about hope or hopelessness, I want to create a wonderful and hidden place where Tariq and Laila can hide from their problems forever, I want to tell Mariam that she's been braver than brave right from the first word and I want you to experience these life changing books so that you know how it feels to cherish these books like I do!
  4. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak:  Oh how unexpected a book about WWII... BUT it's unique and wonderful and blew me away. Firstly, it's written by Death, funny thing Death sure knows how to make me cry, who happens to be very funny, poetic, sombre and reflective - some of his lines just stepped on my heart! I didn't know this book was going to make me sob but Zusak taught me I don't know anything. Liesel Meminger is one girl I'd love to meet - she has lost so much but books give her power - they give her the strength to survive and love, which I love. Rudy, the boy with hair the colour of lemons who wants to be just like Jessie Owens, is the best friend Liesel could ever have and he could make me cry just from everything sweet he does with his big blue eyes shining at his Saumensch:P If you want a book you'll always hold close to your heart and that can leave you crying at 2am in the dark of the night then this is it.
  5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: I'm pretty sure I put off this book for months because I was not "emotionally ready" as I weirdly said but every tear, every punch in the gut, every slow smile, every hysterical laugh - it's all worth the ride a million times over. I didn't expect to become so attached to this book but John Green's original, quirky, honest, whimsical and intelligent writing pulled me in, only to tear me into pieces. Hazel is a character that is prepared to let life go by despite the humour, love and Hazel-ness she can bring to it while Augustus is someone who can make you smile when you least think you can. I think I just sat by myself crying for a few minutes, hours, or days because of this book - gosh yes the fault is indeed in our stars sometimes, Sorry Shakespeare, but life can be so unfair to lovely characters like the ones in this book.
  6. The Name of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: This book was the startpoint on my roadmap into fantasy and wow did I surprisingly enjoy Kvothe's journey immensely. I mean, it does start slow but once it gets into the action it gets magical and never turns back. We see Kvothe grow up from a boy who loses his parents, to a courageous teenager looking for a future of adventure, learning and a great and seemingly impossible love and the book is structured so that we also see him in the present as a lonely, sad man with his bright red hair still as bright as ever but his smile dulled. Kvothe just made me want to hug him so many times - so I blame Patrick Rothfuss for making Kvothe so so hurt by tragedy (and playing his lovely tragic songs), as it hurts me too.
  7. Allegiant by Veronica Roth: Okay, so I didn't like this book to say the least...;) But I did love Divergent - I loved Tris' unusual choices, her bravery which occasionally became dangerously close to recklessness, Four (his strength, his dark blue eyes, his hidden sweetness (for Tris<3), the idea of society being separated according to factions such as Erudite and Dauntless was also intriguing and really well set up in Divergent. But Allegiant lost the plot (in my opinion) - the characters diluted into something else, the plot became less meaningful and got confused in trying to explain the premise - YET what made me cry was reading the end - it wasn't that I particularly enjoyed the ending but that it shocked me to the core - it made me hurt for the characters - the characters in Divergent that I grew to love suffered so much throughout the series so no matter my disappointment in the last book I still feel connected to them and to their sorrow. Veronica Roth created a wonderful book so I'll always respect her choices but I just, personally, felt a bit broken about the end.
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald:  I haven't read as many classics as I would have liked to just yet but this classic would make me read them all because it's truly a golden star on a dark night. It's all about idealism, the destructive nature of love, hope, the American Dream and loss - a perfect combination! Gatsby's story and Fitzgerald's writing (which reminds me of fairy lights, strawberries and cream, stars and salty tears) together is just bound to make you feel something NEW. You feel nostalgic and freshly infused with dreams with Gatsby, confused and unsatisfied with Daisy and curious and entranced with Nick. The end of the story and the build up to it scream tragedy a million times over - they roar it and warn you but this book is too good to stay away:)
  9. Graceling by Kritsin Cashore:  I didn't expect to cry with this one but one moment near the end just led to tears leaking from my misty eyes because it's a moment centred on loss. When you realise how that character must feel and how alone they feel in their struggle to continue to appear strong to others you just want to give them a cuddle. The characters' interactions in that moment of the book just spill with accepting and undeniable love (not just attraction but compassion) and break you with a shock but build you up again with hope.
  10. I think that the Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski will make me cry...: I'm about halfway through the Winner's Crime and I already adore it endlessly. It took me out of an exam-induced reading slump because I was instantly transported into this story that I didn't want to leave - that familiar feeling of falling into a book with characters you already know and love is wonderful! I just care for this series so much that I feel like this book has the potential to get a tear out of me - because there are too many decisions and sacrifices made by the characters that feel like my own personal problems - If I went to a counsellor, I'd probably be talking about Kestrel and Arin's problems and how much it all stresses me out!

Thanks for reading! What's your WoW?:)