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Monday 23 September 2013

Review: The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Author: Robyn Schneider
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Page Count: 335 pages, Hardback
Date Published: August 27th 2013
Find it on Goodreads: The Book Thief
Source: Purchased

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

As one of my most anticipated books of 2013, I'm so saddened to say that The Beginning of Everything disappointed me in a way that I can't describe very well. It wasn't that I didn't like it.... I did. But I didn't.... enjoy it, if that makes sense. 

The Beginning of Everything is your typical hipster book. Think inspiring quotes, nerd culture references, pixie dream girl and messed up teenage male protagonist. Usually, I actually enjoy these novels. They're different, you see. They're books that I can relate to, books that I am inspired by. Eleanor and Park was one of those books for me and it's one of my favourite books of this year. But I think because I hyped The Beginning of Everything in my mind so much, I was bound to be disappointed.

I just couldn't really take it seriously. I found the writing to be.... plastic. I don't know how else to describe it. I know a lot of people will really enjoy this novel, but it wasn't for me. Yes there was a lot of unique aspects to it, but at the same time, I felt as if I had read it before. I can think of many people that I could recommend this novel to and they'd probably love it. But it wasn't for me. I liked it,  but I was expecting and wanting to love it and I didn't. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on Schneider's debut. My feelings for this novel are obviously quite mixed up and hard to follow, but if you'd like to discuss, leave me a comment!

Happy reading!

Sunday 22 September 2013

Alone. In Public.

I've been feeling lately very uninspired. Nothing seems to get my wheels turning like they used to. Except for one thing. Starbucks.

I'm not just talking about the coffee, though that helps, too. I'm talking about the atmosphere. As I'm writing this, I've been sitting in my mall's Starbucks for over two hours, drinking my mocha, people watching, pondering, writing, etc. I haven't written this much for the blog in a long time. Usually my writing space is my room. My desk, my dresser, my bed, my floor... They've all been homes to my laptop and I as I express my feelings through the written word. Lately however, they're not. So I come to Starbucks. I order my drink, set  up a station, secretly watch the cute barista (haha I mean... okay, yeah) and I write. There's something so inspiring about watching the busyness of a coffee shop. Mothers with three children ordering a Venti coffee with an extra bit of espresso. Tween girls giggling over their frappucinos, clutching shopping bags. A couple holding hands, shy and quiet, sipping their lattes. 

It's no secret that I love to be alone. I enjoy the quietness of no one talking to me, being wrapped up in my own thoughts and feelings. But I love being alone in public. I love sitting by myself at a table, listening to the symphony of conversations, coffee being made, the beep of a card reader. It's all so beautiful. Nothing beats the smell of espresso, the sounds of the people in the town, the liberation of writing down your thoughts and feelings and being inspired by the community of a coffee shop. I get some of my best work done when I am alone, in public, with a coffee in my hand. 

So here's a big thank you to Starbucks. I know they probably won't see this, but I just thought I'd express my appreciation for a company that keeps my writing alive. Sure it's a huge international company and maybe this is a bit of a cliche, but it's still a coffee shop in the end, right?

Happy reading. 

Sunday 15 September 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Author:  Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Page Count: 368 pages, Hardcover
Date Published: September 3rd 2013
Find it on Goodreads: All Our Yesterdays
Source: Received for review from publisher/author in exchange of honest opinion

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.
Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 
All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Y'all know I love time travel books and this one was a fantastic read! Action packed and full of suspense, it was difficult to put down!

This book was written in two different points of views and I liked it a lot how it alternated between the past and the present. It was interesting and kept me reading into the late hours of the night! I thought the characters were extremely well written, as well.... Terrill wrote characters that you can't help but care about and I was a big fan of how their relationships with each other were handled. The romance didn't overpower the plot and I appreciate when authors are able to write books that have a unique romantic subplot... It's unique and refreshing, compared to all the novels we read that are just romance! Terrill did an excellent job at keeping her story new and different from what I've read before.

Ambitious, intense and crazy awesome, All Our Yesterdays was a wild ride that I thoroughly enjoyed. It lived up to it's hype and I would recommend this to anyone who can wrap their minds around the whole "wibbly wobbly timey wimey" situation with time travel.

Cristin Terrill is a young adult author and aspiring grown-up. She grew up semi-nomadic and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in drama. After getting her masters in Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon, she lived in London, Austin, Boston, and Washington, DC while working as a theatrical stage manager. Now she writes and leads creative writing workshops for DC-area kids and teens. All Our Yesterdays is her first novel.

Happy reading!

Tuesday 10 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Movie and TV Adaptation Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is : Top Ten Books I Wish Were TV Shows and Movies.

I had kind of a hard time with this one because I find it hard to think of books as movies or tv shows until they are one. But these are eight that I could envision the best! What books would you want to see adapted into a movie or TV shows? I'd love to know!

Happy reading!

Monday 9 September 2013

Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky

Author:  Daria Snadowsky
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Page Count: 272 pages, Paperback
Date Published: January 9th 2008
Find it on Goodreads: Anatomy of a Boyfriend
Source: Received for review from author in exchange of honest opinion

Before this all happened, the closest I'd ever come to getting physical with a guy was playing the board game Operation. Okay, so maybe that sounds pathetic, but it's not like there were any guys at my high school who I cared to share more than three words with, let alone my body.
Then I met Wes, a track star senior from across town. Maybe it was his soulful blue eyes, or maybe my hormones just started raging. Either way, I was hooked. And after a while, he was too. I couldn't believe how intense my feelings became, or the fact that I was seeing—and touching—parts of the body I'd only read about in my Gray's Anatomy textbook. You could say Wes and I experienced a lot of firsts together that spring. It was scary. It was fun. It was love.
And then came the fall.

When the author had contacted me to read and review her books, I was so excited. I had been wanting to read this novel for a long time as I had heard it was 'this generation's Forever by Judy Blume,' a book that I adore. I went into it excited and came out exceptionally pleased! 

Let me just start off by saying, Anatomy of a Boyfriend is a book for older teens, or at least people that are comfortable with talk about sex, relationships and things like that. One of my pet peeves in books is when authors gloss over the physical side of a relationship in the story and make it all seem like a wonderful amazing fairy land. This book did not do that.  Anatomy follows a couple who meet, start to talk a bit more and get to know each other and then eventually begin dating. It was brutally honest in the subjects that a lot of authors swerve away from and that is much appreciated. As a teenage girl, a lot of stuff we learn is from what we read, what we watch and what we listen to. And while aw-lovey-dovey perfectly romantic scenes make my heart swoon, they're not all that realistic. Anatomy handles the subject of losing your virginity in the way that I think it should be. It's not graphic or erotic or anything like that. It's just what everyone kind of says their first time was like.... awkward. Sometimes, romantic 'awwwww' scenes are awesome, but a lot of times, I don't want that to get into my head to be what I should expect. I commend Snadowsky for going a bit further with the subject and diving deeper than just candles and roses.

I'm not going to go into too much more detail about the book, but I will just say that while the writing was not perfect, the story and the book in general was extremely well done. I enjoyed it immensely, it made me think, it taught me things and it was also just an incredibly amusing story to read. I loved it and I think every teenage girl should read this, along with Forever by Judy Blume, for all the things that they don't really tell you in sex ed class... 

I apologise if this is an extremely awkward review for some of y'all, but I just really want to get the word out about this book, because I think it's amazing. I think it discusses a lot of important issues about sex and how it should be handled. This is not an erotica, but it is definitely a bit more detailed than other books that just kind of gloss over those types of scenes, so if you're not comfortable with that, don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy reading!

Tuesday 3 September 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Required Reading Wishlist

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.This week's topic  is : Top Ten Books I Wish Were Required Reading in Schools. School just started for me today and as I was reading my English course outline, I was pretty excited because we're reading some pretty great books! But they're all classics. I want teachers to be more open about reading books in class that were written in the 2000's!!! These are just a few books that I sometimes wish were taught in schools. I know that some of them are a bit controversial, (ahem, Perks) but all of these books either have unique writing styles or storylines or messages that I think should be discussed and taught. 

What books do you wish were taught in schools? Are any of my choices the same as yours? Have you read any of my choices at school? Let me know!

Happy reading!

Sunday 1 September 2013

Where I've Been and Where I'll Be

Hello my long-lost pals! Long time no talk, it feels like! I know it's only been a week or two since my last post, but OMG so much has happened in that time and it just feels so crazy overwhelming!

Last May, I wrote about a university program that I was accepted into while still in high school and explained how this would be affecting the blog and my lifestyle. You were all extremely supportive and I so appreciated that. Alas, it has come to that time of year where school starts and my crazy journey begins. While it is September 1st and I should really be going to Hogwarts, I know that in a couple of days I'll be starting grade 11 and then a few days later, uni. And with that will come a lot of stress and not a lot of time.

These past couple of weeks have been kind of a blur, but what was going on was this:

  • I was in Oregon for a week. Wi-Fi broke down the day after we arrived and came back the day before we left. I almost died. 
  • Back to school shopping and prep! I've been getting all of my supplies ready and trying to get organised before the year starts... plus new shoes!!
  • University orientation! Almost got lost on the big campus trying to find my mum... that was scary. BUT, they have a Tim Horton's! WHOO!
  • Crazy awesome opportunity that was offered to me that I don't know if I can talk about but ahhhhh
  • Just an overall crazy last bit of summer trying to get back on schedule and figure out how I'm going to survive this year! 
I have hardly done any reading this month, as you could tell if you looked at my 2013 reading challenge... I only read one book in Oregon, but to my defense, it was The Book Thief and I still have a major book hangover from it. These last couple of days of summer, I'm going to try and get at least a week or two scheduled for the blog and then from there I can work my way forward. 

These next two years are going to be crazy for me, but I will push through and survive. I will be taking breaks and I will probably go on a few unwarned absences but I will come back. I have set myself a book buying ban from this day, as on Friday I bought one book and now I'm not going to buy anymore until I finish however many I can... I haven't really figured that out yet. But on another point, my laptop is dying a slow and painful death and it's going to cost me a lot more that I want to spend for me to fix just one little part of it, so I've began saving up for a MacBook Pro. It'll take a while, but I really think it'll be a good decision.

So, yes. I just wanted to let y'all know that yes, I'm still alive and yes, I'm still around, I've just been extremely busy and will be still for the next little while. But I wanted to say hi! So... hi!

Happy reading!
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