Friday 26 April 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

387 Pages

Rating: 4/5

Cinder is a futuristic re-telling of the classic fairy tale Cinderella... with a twist. Cinder is a cyborg in New Beijing who is also a gifted mechanic. When her step sister falls ill very suddenly, Cinder is blamed for it. The novel follows Cinder as she learns new things about the world she lives in and new things about herself.

Despite being skeptical when I started reading this book, I really enjoyed it. I wasn't sure that the futuristic side of things would be for me but I found it really enjoyable and it's written in a way that makes it all very easy to read and understand.

I found it really interesting how Cinder learns new things about herself throughout the book. I thought it put a really nice twist on the classic fairy tale and made it different to other re-tellings.

All in all, I enjoyed Cinder a lot and will definitely be reading Scarlett soon as I'm interested to see the development! If you're thinking of reading it and are put off by the futuristic side of the novel or the fact she is a mechanic, don't be. I enjoyed it even though that's not the usual type of thing I go for.

(Book 9/50)

Monday 8 April 2013

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Rating: 4/5
393 Pages

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is set in a world where love is a disease. At the age of 18, everyone must undergo a medical procedure that means they are no longer able to love. The books follows the story of Lena, a 17 year old girl living in Portland, in the build up to her procedure, but as she learns more about the world she lives in and what is outside the electrocuted fence that surrounds her city, she discovers there are a lot of things that the government are keeping secret. 

As I started reading this book, I thought it was going to be exactly the same as Uglies by Scott Westerfeld, a book which I did not enjoy, but I soon realised this wasn't the case. The concept of this book alone I found really interesting. There's a lot more to the world Delirium is set in than just having the ability to love taken away. The way Lauren Oliver also includes that in their world only the rich people use electricity often and have cars I found really interesting. I also liked the way she described the obviously well thought out main side of the plot. The fact that after the procedure people seem 'numb' and the ability to love being taken away also means the ability to hate has been taken away was really interesting. I also really enjoyed the relationships between Lena and her friends and family. The way she subconsciously acts different around the cured to the uncured was handled beautifully.

I must admit, one of the things I did like about this book is that what you expect to happen doesn't. I've read a lot of books similar to this and I thought when I started reading it 'I know exactly what's going to happen' and then it didn't. Also, the relationship between Lena and Alex was beautiful.

Although I'm not the biggest fan of Lauren Oliver's writing, I can't fault her plots. There is something about the whole concept of this book that makes up for the writing style. I would definitely recommend it.

(Book 8/50)

Friday 5 April 2013

Book Haul! (Haul #1)

I've found that recently I haven't been reading as many books as I could be. I'm not sure whether this is because I feel that with studying for my GCSEs I've been reading too much as it is or whether I've just lost the motivation due to being busy at the moment but, either way, I thought it's time to fix that. The way I decided to fix it was by buying some books I've wanted to read for a while that will hopefully get me excited for reading again.

 I ordered 4 books, one of them from and the others from amazon. When I was deciding which ones to get I chose ones that either I've wanted to read for a while or ones that I've seen lots of good reviews about whether it's a written review or a review on YouTube.

'When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her uncle travelled to Austria... to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she conned her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. But now her dad's life is on the line, and Kat must go back to the world she tried so hard to escape...'

The first book I got is Heist Society by Ally Carter. After reading Ally Carter's other series The Gallagher Girls series and loving it, when I saw many good reviews of this series I had to read it. I decided to only get one other them although I'm sure I'll be ordering the others as soon as I finish it. 

'If your free-spirited aunt left you 13 little blue envelopes: Would you follow the directions? Would you travel around the world? Would you open the envelopes one by one? Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes...'

Being the massive John Green that I am, I'm actually surprised that I've managed to go this long without reading a Maureen Johnson book. I've wanted to read one of her books since I first heard about them last year and I finally got round to buying one. 

'Cinder: a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She's reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai's she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen - and a dangerous temptation.'

Over the past few weeks I've seen so many people getting really excited by Scarlett, the second book in this series by Marissa Meyer. I thought I'd look a little more into the series and see what it's about and when I discovered that it was a futuristic re-telling of Cinderella I knew I had to read it. I've wanted to read a re-telling of a fairy-tale for a while and I hope this one's worth it!

'There's the girl who is in love with Holden Caulfield. The boy who wants to be strong who falls for the girl who's convinced she needs to be weak. The girl who writes love songs for a girl she can't have. The two boys teetering on the brink of their first anniversary. And everyone in between.'

I actually found this book via tumblr when I saw a photo of a book that contained a really lovely quote. When I found out that it was written in verse it made me want to read it even more. I've thought about reading something that's been written relatively recently but is written in verse for a while and this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

So that was a little insight into why I chose the books I did and the blurb from the back of each one. I'll be reviewing these books after I finish them so keep a look out for that if you're interested in getting any of them. Also, if you've got any suggestions for books I should get in the future please let me know! I'm always on the lookout for more!

Thursday 4 April 2013

50 Subscribers on YouTube, Where I've Been and Too Close by Alex Clare Cover

For those of you who don't know, I have a channel on YouTube which I use to post videos of me singing (mainly original songs but the odd cover from time to time). In recent months I have neglected my YouTube account because I haven't much free time. I'm currently in year 11 which means I'll be sitting my GCSE exams in May and June and I've had lots of coursework deadlines and revision things that have needed to be done. Seeing as though last week and this week were my Easter holidays, I had hoped that I would be able to film a few videos that I could use to upload over the next few weeks so I could create an almost regular schedule to upload video but it hasn't really worked out that way. Over the summer I hope to be able to film regularly because I'd really like to be able to get into the process or uploading videos regularly, whether that will be weekly, fortnightly or even monthly, anything is better than my current absences that last for months on end.

While I was away from YouTube I managed to reach 50 subscribers. I'm sure any of you with an interest in YouTube will think of this as a very small number but to me, it seems massive. When I think of it as 50 people turning up to a show to see me and only me, it just seems incredible. Also, in my opinion, 50 is the first milestone of follower/subscriber numbers and I can't even explain how grateful I was the day I reached it. If you've subscribed to me, thank you. I really do appreciate it.

The latest addition to my YouTube channel is a really quick cover of Too Close by Alex Clare that I recorded today. I was having a break from revision and the sun was shining so I thought I'd take advantage of having decent lighting (which is a rare occurrence where I live in Wales) and just film it. It's full to the brim with little mistakes and flaws but I figured a rough and unpolished video is better than no video! Especially because my last one was uploaded in December!

Let me know what you think of my YouTube channel and if you've got any helpful hints or tips I would very much appreciate them! Thanks for watching it and reading this and just being generally lovely. :)

Monday 1 April 2013

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

338 Pages

Rating: 5/5

Lola and the Boy Next Door follows the story of Lola Nolan, a costume enthusiast who vows to never wear the same thing twice, as she finds herself in various difficult situations. 17 year old Lola is completely in love with her 22 year old boyfriend Max, but when her next door neighbours move back after several years she finds it difficult to remind herself of this fact. Her neighbour, Cricket Bell, has grown up and matured since the last time she saw him. With Cricket's new sense of style, maturity and height also comes the old feelings Lola once had for him. But what will she do?

Having read Anna and the French Kiss last summer, I was so excited to read this book and I'm happy to say, it didn't disappoint in the slightest. I didn't find the characters as lovable as those in Anna and the French Kiss, however they were still very likable. Stephanie Perkins' talent for writing never ceases to amaze me and reading this made me extremely excited for her next book, Isla and the Happily Ever After, to come out.

If you've not read Anna and the French Kiss I would definitely recommend reading that first. Although the story doesn't continue, there are certain things that were much nicer to read having known certain things from Anna and the French Kiss. Other than that, I would recommend this book very highly!

(Book 7/50)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

262  Pages

Rating: 4/5

This is the first classic book that I've read outside a classroom situation and entirely because I wanted to read it and I have to say, once I got used to the older language in it I found it very enjoyable! It was less difficult to understand and follow than I expected it to be and I found that by around halfway through I was just enjoying it and I was used to the writing style along with everything else.

I'm sure the majority of you are aware of the story of Pride and Prejudice, but it follows Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters. It sees them deal with difficult situations and follows their quest to find husbands.

Personally, I feel that this is the kind of book that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. It's such an iconic book and I can definitely see why. I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading and wants to read a classic book, even if they haven't read one yet.

One of the things that inspired me to read this book is the web series adaptation that I'm currently following called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The web series (created by Hank Green) is based around a modern adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Lizzie tells the story entirely through video diaries. It's definitely worth the time it takes to watch it. It can be found here:

(Book 6/50)

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

260 Pages

Rating 3/5

I got this book for Christmas and wasn't really sure about it at first. I wasn't sure if it was my kind of thing and a lot of reviews I'd come across mentioned not to be deceived by the cover and described it as not being a light bit of 'chick-lit' but I think I disagree to a certain extent. Although the story line isn't that of a stereotypical 'girly' book, I did think it was still a quick and light read.

Kiss Me Kill Me is the first in the Scarlett Wakefield series. When Scarlett gets invited to a party thrown by one of the 'cool' girls in the school, she jumps at the chance. The party takes a turn for the worse and she kisses a boy called Dan who promptly dies in her arms. No one knows how Dan died but they all blame Scarlett and this forces Scarlett to transfer schools. The book shows how Scarlett begins to uncover the truth about that night and follows her on her quest to discover how Dan really died.

The reason I didn't give this book a higher rating is because I felt it didn't really have much content in it. I found the writing style nice and easy to read however the plot seemed a little slow at times. I still enjoyed it though and will be buying the next one in the series.

(Book 5/50)

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

248 Pages

Rating 4/5

This is the book I'm currently studying (in Year 11) for my English Literature GCSE. I wasn't expecting much from this book after reading last year's book To Kill A Mockingbird and not enjoying it because I assumed it was just that I didn't enjoy books I had to read rather than had chosen to. This book proved that wasn't the case.

Because we are studying this in school, a lot of it was read during lesson time by classmates and my teachers. I found that because we were encouraged to talk about the events of the chapter immediately after reading it, the novel became even more interesting. There were many examples of symbolism that were pointed out by my classmates and my teacher that I may not have picked up on if I'd read it myself.

The story follows a group of boys who are stranded on a desert island after a plane crash. All of these boys are under 12 years old. As the novel progresses we learn how they chose to deal with their situation and the community they develop.

I can definitely see why this is the novel is chosen to be the novel studied in Year 11 GCSE English Literature. I felt like I learned a lot from reading this novel, not only as a reader but also as a writer. The way William Golding uses symbolism is both beautiful and intelligent and I found it really interesting to try and decipher what was symbolism and what wasn't.

I would definitely recommend this book as I personally found it a really enjoyable read!

(Book 4/50)

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart

323 Pages

Rating 4/5

As a massive fan of the TV program 'Miranda', when one of my best friends gave me this as a birthday present at the end of December I was very excited. It definitely didn't disappoint either.

This book isn't what I expected it to be. It's not the typical book written by someone 'famous' that's an autobiography they release seemingly for the sake of being able to say they've written a book. In Is It Just Me? Miranda tells many different funny stories that have happened over the years or just her opinions on certain topics and often talks to her 18-year-old self giving her helpful little hints and tips.

Having spoken to other people who have read this book, I've realised it maybe isn't to everyone's taste. A few people that are fans of the TV show 'Miranda' that have tried reading this book said they didn't enjoy it. Obviously I am here to give my opinion on the matter and I can honestly say, I thought this book was fantastic.

I found this book really unique due to the style of it and I don't think anyone who enjoys both reading and Miranda's TV show won't be disappointed with this read. It's definitely worth it for me.

(Book 3/50)

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

313 Pages

Rating: 5/5

I read this book last year and it quickly because my favourite book of all time. Since it came out in January last year I thought it was a good time to re-read it and I'd forgotten just how much I loved this book.

The Fault In Our Stars is the story of 16 year old Hazel who has a form of cancer that affects her lungs and 17 year old Augustus who lost his leg to cancer. Although cancer and illness are obviously one of the main themes of this book, it's about a lot more than that.

I think one of the reasons I love this book so much is because it shows how 2 teenagers make the best out of the situations they find themselves in, often without meaning to. I also like the fact that what you think will happen doesn't and things don't always go their way. I also think the other characters are all really believable, from Hazel and Gus' parents to their other friends.

I really can't recommend this book enough. I think it's truly one of the most amazing books I've read and it's one that, if I had the time, I would happily sit down and read cover to cover.

This book has several paragraphs and sentences in it that I think are truly amazing pieces of writing, so I thought I'd share one with you:
"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."

(Book 2/50)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

295 Pages

Rating 4/5

After seeing many BookTubers rave about this book (mainly padfootandprongs07 and jessethereader) I asked for it for Christmas and if was definitely worth it! There's just something about this book that I found amazing and couldn't put down. I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers as it contains a lot of humour that wouldn't be understood by younger readers and some of the language used isn't appropriate for anyone under the age of around 13, in my opinion. Obviously, that's just my opinion however if you are under that age, it's probably best to ask your parents if it's okay to read this.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is written from the perspective of Greg Gaines, a typical high school student who's main aim is to remain 'friendly' with everyone without committing to one social group. His only real friend is a boy named Earl and even then, they describe their relationship as 'professional'. One day, Greg's mother tells him how a girl named Rachel that he knew when he was younger has been diagnosed with Leukemia. Greg then decides to spend time with Rachel, more because he feels as though he has too than wants to.

This book says so it's self, it is not a typical 'caner book'. There's something about the way this book was written that made me fully believe that Jesse Andrews was really Gregory Gaines and the character was so believable, even in writing style, that I found this book was really unique.

I can see how this isn't the kind of book everyone would enjoy but if you think it might be your cup of tea, I would definitely recommend it because, in my opinion, it's definitely worth reading.

(Book 1/50)

Guess Who's Back...

 So... it's been a while! So looking at my most recent post, it's been a grand total of 7 years, 4 months and 12 days since I last u...