Monday, July 31, 2017

July Wrap Up 2017

We're starting to get close to the end of the year now. I'm desperately hoping for time to slow up a little and give me a bit of a break. Anyway, I've had a relatively nice July so let's talk about it.

I read:
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
The Agony Of Bun O'Keefe by Heather T. Smith
The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
On The Spectrum by Jennifer Gold
Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I actually enjoyed all these reads. The Agony of Bun O'Keefe was one of my favourites. I think I'm posting my review in a few weeks so, look forward to that. I loved Lord of Shadows. It was brilliant, I can't believe it's such a long wait until the next book. It blew me away.  As you can tell, I'm rereading Harry Potter (again) at the moment. I just had no motivation to read anything but Harry Potter. I'm going to write a post about it once I'm done. I'm expecting to be finished in the next few weeks if I get a bit of a hustle on. So, you can look forward to that too.

At the beginning of the month I finished my exams and started some holidays. I went back to school this week which is full on. 13 weeks left until end of year exams and those determine your ATAR. I'm a little stressed and my life will probably be pure study for the next 13 weeks. I'm hoping if I can put in a lot of work early on that I can minimise the stress when the exams come around.

My holidays were nice. I had a few band rehearsals, as usual. I didn't do a lot else. I finally got my eyebrows done, I haven't had an appointment since December. Eyebrows are one of the things I indulge in because I love when you leave with nice, fresh brows. My dad started teaching me manual in our lovely little 2 year old car. I felt honoured that he let me drive his baby (he loves that car to death). I've been driving auto since I got my license but had planned on learning manual once I got comfortable. I've only stalled the car a hand full of times and I consider that an achievement. And, I watched a few episodes of Game of Thrones. I'm still only half way through season four because I'm completely useless when it comes to tv shows. But, I'm getting very excited. I also got a library card, finally, my library doesn't have a whole lot but I figured it was time to get one anyway. I borrowed a couple books I'm really looking forward too and spotted a few others I'd like read too.

I've got a few things planned for August. I'm doing my first practical driving assessment which I'm pretty nervous about. I'm at least 90% sure it'll be fine because I've been driving for 9 months now and usually this assessment is done after a few months. The weirdest thing will probably be taking a stranger in my parents car on my own. Other than that, it's mostly just a lot of study and practice. And hopefully a decent amount of reading.

As always, I'd love to know what you did in July and what your plans are for August.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

5 Stars

26156987“You can have anything,” she said, “once you admit you deserve it.”

Bloody hell. This was really something else and I'm so glad I read it. I knew when I saw if and heard how crazy diverse it is that it was definitely something I wanted to read and be a part of, I'm so pleased. 

I've only ever read one other book with a transgender main character and that was The Danish Girl and that's probably slightly different to If I Was Your Girl since it's based on a true story. And, I've read another book about gender which was What We Left Behind by Robin Talley but that was a lot more about the labels and terms and how you identify rather than life as someone who has actually transitioned. I really hope I'm phrasing it all right. As someone who is cisgendered, I am interested in learning a bit more and reading a bit more so I can understand. 

I really loved Amanda, she has a heart of pure gold. She is so great with her friends and I wish I could have a friend like Amanda. I hope I am a friend like Amanda. Not to mention that her friends are absolutely gorgeous people. I simply adored Anna especially towards the end when she said she wanted to learn despite what her religion says. It made my heart swell. I just love friendships like that in books because I think all to often friends get neglected for love interests. 

I think one of the reasons some people have issues with diverse books is because they don't think they'll be able to relate. But, we're all human and we all feel things and I think you can relate to a lot of things to some extent. Whilst this was all about Amanda and her transition it still had themes like relationships, secret keeping, family, acceptance, and I think to a certain extent we can all relate to some of the things Amanda goes through which is a beautiful thing. Obviously, we don't all relate in the same ways but I'm sure you can find something in the book you relate to. 

If I Was Your Girl has all the things I typically love in a good contemporary. Strong female friendships. Cute romancey stuff. Kissing. Likeable main character. Cool side characters. So, of course I adore it. It's one of the best contemporaries I've read in a while.

I really loved it. It was touching and thought provoking. It was so pure. I cried when I finished it because it just hit me somewhere and it made me so sad the way Amanda got treated by some people. I really hope everyone can read this and I really hope everyone loves it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

4 Word Reviews

I was searching through my posts and found a 5 Word Review post and I completely forgot I did them but I absolutely loved them and I think I only got around to doing two but today, I won't let *blank* Word Reviews go unforgotten because it's one of my favourite ideas I've had.

Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz Full Review

Caraval by Stephanie Garber Full Review

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater Full Review

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs Full Review

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Under The Lights by Abbi Glines

2 Stars

“I want more than that. I want you. I want to be able to kiss you anytime I want. I want to hold your hand in the halls. Hell, I want to be made fun of by the guys for wanting to be near you all the time.” 

Where do I even begin with this? This is one of the first books I can remember blatantly disliking. I'm not overly picky as you can probably tell but this just brushed me the wrong way and looking quickly through goodreads ratings. I can see a lot of people did like it, later I'll probably go through and find out why exactly. I can't see the appeal. 

So, I only just realised this is the second book in a series. I don't think you need to have read the first book, Until Friday Night to read this because I got on fine without it. But, a quick bit of research tells me that there's a side character in this books who I actually wanted to learn more about was the main character of Until Friday Night. One of my initial issues with the books was the Riley had a really intriguing backstory and I wanted to learn more but no one really talked about it like  thought they would so I thought it was random to have that in there but now I know why it wasn't exactly explained. I'm kind of curious so I might end up reading it one day.

My first thought was that this was very dramatic and read like the kind of fanfic I wrote when I was about 12 years old. I was incredibly dramatic and I don't mean for that to sound rude, what I mean is it seems like the author is trying to fit as much scandal and drama into every page as she can and it just to me doesn't seem like mature writing. It was a lot going on, a lot of secrets, a lot of angst. I just thought it was so much going on and I don't really know how I felt about that much going on. 

I didn't like this whole love triangle thing. The thing is, I don't mind a love triangle when it's done well but this one wasn't it. It felt rushed and I thought it was hard to believe. Really, three guys are all into the one girl? Don't know. It felt unnecessary, it didn't add much to the story and it was hard to believe. 

It didn't feel like there was much of a climax or build up. It felt like a very solid read, you know what I mean? There wasn't much of a high point where everything comes together, it was like it was all coming together through out the whole book. There wasn't a lot to be excited for. 

It was also very 'omg, the girl from our childhood is so hot now' which made me wonder how much depth there was to the attraction. It was very blunt and whilst, I know boys can be like that, it's not very appealing. They talked about all girls like objects. They referred to Willa's 'bubble butt' and Serenas's huge boobs and 'hoover mouth'. It made it a bit uncomfortable to read. Butts and boobs I can get over but referring to someone as a 'hoover' definitely rubbed me the wrong way. Especially when it was the reason Gunner was taking her to homecoming. The lack of respect these boys had was a definite turn off for me. 

I'm not a fan, I don't know if I'll read anything else from this author. Honestly, probably not. I'm not sure if I'm the only one who had issues with this book. It's definitely not soft and pretty like the things I usually tend to read. I'd love to know if anyone else has read it and what they think of it because I'm just not thrilled at all. 

Illuminae by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

233956805 Stars

“You have me. Until ever last star in the galaxy dies. 

You have me.”

Holy shit. Those are the only words I have for this at the moment. It was truly incredible. I loved every moment of it and I completely devoured it.

The format is so strange. It's unlike anything I've read before. It took me a while to get used to it because it is strange to read in that sort of format. I really didn't think I'd be able to get any sort of grasp on the story but I did. It was great and I probably liked it more than I would have just through normal narration.

I usually stray away from sci-fi books because they aren't really my thing or at least I didn't think they were. This was brilliant though, I don't think I can get across how brilliant Illuminae is. It's really opened my eyes to the sci-fi genre and I definitely think I'll stop overlooking it.

I thought I'd have issues connecting with the characters due to the format but I felt so invested in Kady and Ezra. It felt like a really unique experience. Ezra is such a goof, I love him. I really felt as though I got a good sense of them and their relationship.

I am so ridiculously happy with the ending but also slightly nervous. I need to know that everything is going to be okay. I can't wait to get Gemina. It was great, there was a great lead up. Thoroughly enjoyed.

It was really unique. The format was strange but perfect, it really enhanced the experience and was such a different and refreshing approach to storytelling. I really enjoyed it. This is a short review because I just really liked and that's it.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Top Quotes From Harry Potter

There are many fantastic quotes from Harry Potter so I've complied some of my favourites. And I also decked it out with some of my favourite screencaps from the films. 

Image result for harry potter screencaps1. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

2. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”  

3.  “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”

4. “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”  
Image result for harry potter screencaps

5. “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.”  

6. “Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike.”

7. “Death's got an Invisibility Cloak?" Harry interrupted again.
"So he can sneak up on people," said Ron. "Sometimes he gets bored of running at them, flapping his arms and shrieking...”  
Image result for harry potter screencaps

8.  “Dumbledore says people find it far easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right.”

9. “Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!”

10. “But Dumbledore says he doesn't care what they do as long as they don't take him off the Chocolate Frog cards.” 
Image result for harry potter screencaps

11. “We've all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That's who we really are.”

12. “Just then Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary.”

13. And without thinking, without planning it, without worrying about the fact that fifty people were watching, Harry kissed her. After several long moments, or it might have been half an hour-or possibly several sunlit days- they broke apart.”
Image result for harry potter screencaps

14. “It was not, after all, so easy to die.”

15. “What do I care how 'e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave!” 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

5 Stars

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”
I loved this so very much. I powered through it in a day. I thought it was going to take me much longer than that. It was brilliant and one of the few books I've read that I felt actually really lived up to the hype.

It captivated me immediately. Which is tricky sometimes and it's rare that I find a book that reels me in immediately. So I was thrilled with that and was desperately hoping it wouldn't let me down from there. It didn't. Caraval set itself up for a really interesting story. In the first few chapters we learnt about the characters but nothing was an info dump. It was a fantastic start.

I really liked Julian, he's my favourite character by now. I wasn't a huge fan of Scarlett but she wasn't annoying and she didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. I appreciate the bond Scarlett and Tella had. It was really beautiful. I'm a sucker for good sibling relationships. I thought all of the Caraval players and performers were so interesting.

I thought the whole plot was so interesting. I love these sorts of books. It reminded me a lot of The Night Circus which I loved. This was just as dazzling and unique. I couldn't put it down because there was always something interesting happening. It was just so interesting and different. There was definitely something about it. It almost had an Alice in Wonderland vibe to it.

I really loved it. It was captivating and interesting. It was different. There were just so many good points. I think it's definitely something you'll have to read for yourself. It was like an experience just reading it. I really look forward to reading more books from the author. A very strange but gorgeous book.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Best Parents in YA

I've been wanting to write this post for a while because I love seeing awesome parents in YA. I can already guarantee I will forget at least one book with some brilliant parents but, here we go.

Lara Jean's Dad in To All The Boys I've Loved Before
How awesome in Lara Jean's dad? He is the best. He loves all his daughters with all his heart and it really shows. He is so supportive of them and takes such good care of them I think it's fantastic. Its awesome to see some good representation of a good single dad.

Tris' Mum in Divergent
I'm not the biggest fan of the Divergent trilogy but I love Tris' mum. She is so great and I love that she was willingly to fight alongside her daughter and for her daughter. It was great, she's a kick ass kind of mum and I appreciate that a lot.

Molly and Cassie's mums in The Upside of Unrequited
The girls' mums are so lovely. They are so supportive and patient and I love them a lot. I also think it was really important that they were such good mums because it doesn't matter if it's a mum and a dad or only a mum or only a dad or two dads or two mums, a good parent is a good parent.

Cath and Wren's Dad in Fangirl
Another single dad and I don't think he's the last on this list either. I think I have a soft spot for good dads in YA because media is so populated with stories of crappy dads. You can tell that Wren and Cath's dad love them so much and they are such a big part of his world, just like Lara Jean's dad. He's a sweetheart.

Mr and Mrs Weasley from Harry Potter
Could this be a best parents post without the Weasleys? They are both so pure and wonderful. They took Harry in and treated him as their own without a second thought. They have so much love in their hearts for their kids and they are so phenomenal.

Mia's Parents in If I Stay
Mia's parents were so cool. I totally loved them and they may have been my favourite part of book. I loved that they cared so much for Mia and Teddy and spending time with them was such a big priority. Musician parents are also just cool to have.

Those are all the parents I could think of right off the top of my head but I can assure you, there are plenty more. If you can think of any more, I'd love to know.

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

5 Stars

“I bet you could sometimes find all the mysteries of the universe in someone's hand.” 
Woah. I knew I would love this. I've had so many people tell me I would love this. I've been dying to read it since I joined to bookish community. Now, I've finally read it and it was everything.

I wasn't what I expected but it still exceeded my expectations. I think I was anticipating something a bit more sickly sweet. I got something so much more than that. It almost reminded me of I'll Give You The Sun a bit at the start. The Noah parts though. But, then it just came into it's own. 

From the minute we were introduced to Dante, I loved him. He is so sweet and I want to protect him at all costs. The way he was written I think it would have been completely impossible to not love Dante. I loved him even more when he said his favourite song was The Long and Winding Road because that's mine. Ari was such a great character too. His character had a great complexity but when it came down to it he was so sweet as well. And witty. 

Ari and Dante's connection was everything. It was magical and gorgeous and everything I could have asked for. Ari is so brooding and Dante is so sweet and delicate. It's perfect. I love it. It was so well written and made me so happy. It was a beautiful thing.

 Oh, and their parents?!?!? AMAZING. Their parents were so good and pure and lovely. I loved the way they supported their boys and their relationship. I think they are definitely some of my favourite bookish parents. I just really liked them. Dante's parents reminded me of my own but so did Ari's parents and I love that. They are just so supportive and full of love. 

I loved seeing them grow into men. At the beginning of the book they were just boys and we got to see them change and grow into beautiful young men. That was actually really well written, they matured but they were also the same and I'm pleased. 

I feel like everyone has raved about this book but it was seriously so good. It also reminded me a bit of The Perks Of Being A Wallflower which is one of my favourites. So that's great. It was beautiful and I cried a lot. It was so good but it made me so sad too. Not like bad sad though, if you get me. It was really unique. Definitely one of my favourites so far. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

A June Book Haul

If you follow me on twitter, you've probably seen my various tweets complaining about my book buying ban. I'm trying to save up for a new trumpet right now so at the beginning of the year I told myself  'no more books'. And I've stuck to it pretty well. I've accumulated a small collection of books over the past couple of days so I wanted to show it to you just to do something a bit different. P.S, I was going to take my own artsy pictures of these but I waited too long and now it's dark so Goodreads will be my lifesaver once again.

Image resultBegin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology
I kind of love anthologies and when I saw this in store, I knew I had to buy. I'm definitely a bit late but better late than never. I've already read this one and I loved it so much. It's got me adding so many new books to my TBR. It is absolutely gorgeous and looks beautiful on my shelves. It was definitely worth it.

Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone 20th anniversary edition
My mum is currently away for work. She is staying somewhere with a Dymocks and where we live, there is not one. In fact, I think we have about three book stores in total and they're all independently owned so they don't have a huge stock. So, my absolute angel of a mother asked me if there was anything I wanted and I said no because I always feel guilty about my mum spending money on me. She knew I really wanted this though and when she came back for the weekend and showed me I was ecstatic. It's beautiful. I got the Ravenclaw one because I am a Ravenclaw and mum knew I wasn't a huge fan of the paperbacks so she got me the hardcover. It is gorgeous and I am so in love.

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil
28052476Another Dymocks buy from my beautiful mother. I was really excited about this because I read the OzYA Anthology and I loved Melissa Keil's story. I hasn't read any of her books but after reading her short story, I really wanted to. I'm so excited, mum got the last signed copy! I knew Dymocks did signed copies but it didn't even occur to me that there would be any there. I love it so much and I'm so excited to read it.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Okay, so the next couple of books I bought at a used book fair where I live. I didn't realise it was on until my parents told me and they knew I'd want to check it out. I didn't think I'd find anything. A lot of it was chick lit and other books with spines so cracked I could hardly make out a title. I found Gone Girl though and it was one of those books that I kind of wanted to read but didn't want to commit to buying so this was really convenient for me. The three books I bought cost $6.30 at 90c per cm of spine. So it was an absolute bargain and they were all in pretty good condition.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Yet another buy that I didn't want to commit to full price for. I'm just interested in this, I've heard a lot of things and I kind of think it would be fun to pull apart, I know it's studied a lot in schools. So anyway, I just saw it there and thought it looked like it was in good condition and I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

P.S I Still Love You by Jenny Han

5 Stars

20698530“People come in and out of your life. For a time they are your world; they are everything. And then one day they’re not. There’s no telling how long you will have them near.”

Ughhhh. This was unbelievably good. It really just did things to my heart and I haven't read a book like it in a while. 

I really adore Lara Jean. She reminds me so much of myself which might be why I love To All The Boys so much.  I love that she's still figuring out the ropes and she doesn't just naturally know everything about relationships. I love that she has such a big heart. I love that she can hold her own. She's just great and I really like her. I still love Peter even though his relationship with Gen irritates the hell out of me. I appreciate his loyalty to her. I love how well he treats the girls in his life. 

I really liked that this book dealt with the ins and outs of a relationship. Usually, you get all the build up but you never get to see what happens afterwards. I liked the way the book dealt with it. I liked how Lara Jean talked about how she had to put in work too and how it's sometimes the smallest thing that will make your significant other happy. I just really liked that whole part of it. 

Again, I love the family dynamic of this book. The Song girls all have a brilliant relationship with each other and their father. It's just really lovely to see such a gorgeous family in YA. It absolutely warms my heart and makes me want to give my parents a hug. 

This book made me really emotional. It felt so real as I was reading it. You know? I read it all in one sitting because I was just completely engrossed. I couldn't put it down. My heart hurt with Lara Jean and I grinned like crazy with Lara Jean. It really pulled me in and kept me in and I love books like this. My favourite genre is contemporary because they just have such an ability to make it feel so real. I don't know if anyone else gets that.

I knew I had to read this book after To All The Boys and I was even more determined when Forever and Always, Lara Jean was announced. I"m glad because I absolutely loved it and I have such a craving for Jenny Han books now. I can not wait for Always and Forever, Lara Jean (knowing me, it'll already be out by the time this review is up) and in fact I'll probably go preorder it as soon as I'm done here (Brooklyn's bank account cries). I love it and it's one of my favourite contemporaries ever. Go read it. Also, I am the biggest Lara Jean and Peter shipper ever.