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Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases I can't wait to get my hands on!

                                                     This week's WoW pick is...
It's a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

Release Date: October 6th, 2015

I like to think of myself as someone who is not easily swayed by artsy covers and intriguing titles, but I have to admit that the cover and presentation of this book is one of the reasons I added it to my TBR list. Not that the premise sounds interesting (because it does), but I don't particularly appreciate it when the blurbs on the back of books praise themselves as this one seems to do. Let me find RJ "snarky, unapologetic" and "very real" myself, please! But apart from that tiny annoyance this does seem really cool and fun, and with a unique concept to spring off from.

What are you guys waiting on? I would love to find out and add some more books to my TBR list, so please leave a comment below! :) 

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Discussion Post: Audio Books – Yay or Nay?

Hey guys!

It's been a long time since I've had a discussion post here on the blog, and I've been wanting to do one on different book formats for a while now, so here goes!

I thought I would approach this – perhaps touchy – subject the way I do with most dilemmas I face in my life... by making a pros and cons list. I personally am not someone who likes to stray from the conventional correct method of reading; that is, a physical book with pages and all. BUT I figure that the large number of people who listen to audio books do so for a reason, and there must be some explanation for their growing popularity (maybe as a society we are just becoming lazier?... sounds all too possible an explanation to me...).


Audio books are more time efficient

I am sure many audio book-aficionados will agree that this is a huge reason why they read audio books. Especially for those who do not have enough spare time on their hands, audio books are excellent because they allow you to read while carrying out mindless tasks like cooking, exercising, etc. In fact, this is my last school year and I'm already finding it difficult to find time to read books of my choice, so I will probably (begrudgingly) start trialling some audio books soon.

Ease of reading

For those who find reading challenging or for books with particularly challenging writing styles (the classics, etc.), I think audio books are much easier to read and more accessible. This links back to the fact that audio books are waaaaay more time efficient; many people who do not read much will be able to fit audio books into their schedule.

The narrator
This is both a pro and con – on the positive side, the narrator's role is very important and the reader is able to experience the novel through different perspectives, which definitely adds to the whole experience. Depending on the quality of the narrator, having a book being read to you can add a depth of emotions and bring the characters to life.

Audio books are often a lot cheaper than physical books, and they can save space which is great for travelling! Instead of having to lug around a suitcase full of books (which, I've totally never done before....), you can have all of them on one electronic device.


Are audio books really books?
A lot of people, myself included, read books to not only immerse themselves in a different world, but also to improve their English skills. From personal experience, I have found that those who read are better writers which a much better control over the English language. Having a book read to you is no way even close to actually reading the book; one misses so many details and lessons in English grammar and writing.

The narrator
As mentioned above, this is both a pro and a con. Just as this can so easily add to a reader's experience, it can also easily take away from it. One of the joys of reading is that everyone interprets and experiences the book in their own, individual way, with their own unique narration. A danger of having a narrator reading a book to you is that their perspective can easily overshadow yours and what you may get from listening to the book may be different from what you would have gotten otherwise.

Reliance on technology

In the modern, heavily technologically-reliant world we live in today, almost everything is digitised and accessible through the internet or via technology. Do we really need that to happen with books too?

I wasn't sure if I wanted to include this point, as I don't know if other people feel the same way. For me, having a physical book in my hand, being able to flip through pages to re-read passages, and indexing certain pages that I want to remember is a huge part of the reading experience. Yes, audiobooks are essentially the same thing but I don't feel as connected to the story and the book as I do when I am really reading it. That may just be me, however.

SO in conclusion, there are definitely positive aspects of audiobooks, and I would be lying if I said I don't use them in moments when I am short on time or traveling. That being said... for me, there is no feeling like buying a new book, with its new book-smell and having a physical copy of it in my hands. I don't think there is anything wrong with listening to the occasional audio book, but I do think that it is important to not become too reliant on them, as there is no substitute for sitting down and actually reading the book.

What do you guys think about this topic? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please do leave a comment below! :)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases I can't wait to get my hands on!

                                                     This week's WoW pick is...
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Release Date: October 6th, 2015

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favourite Contemporary authors and if I am to guess based on how much I loved Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, I predict this is going to be awesome. And the fact that it's a continuation of Simon and Baz's story from Fangirl makes this probably one of my most highly anticipated reads of the. Whole. Year. While I was reading Fangirl I got so into the Simon & Baz story; in fact I'm pretty sure Rowell telepathically heard my incessant praying and hoping for more of Simon & Baz, and that resulted in the publication of this book! *thinks wishfully greedily*

What are you waiting on this fine Wednesday? 

Please do leave a comment or link below – I'm always looking for new books to add to my WoW list. :) 

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Review: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Rating: YA 16+ 
Genre/s: Comedy, Romance, Psychology
Pages: 288

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

There's a reason Sophie Kinsella is one of my favorite Chick-lit authors of all time and it's because every single one of her books that I've read has been undeniably cute and so nice and refreshing to read. Her writing and quirky characters never fail to draw me in and seize my attention for the whole duration of the novel – which is both annoying and wonderful. Given that Finding Audrey is Kinsella's first attempt at YA, I was a little anxious going into it, but literally seconds after I opened the book my doubts vanished and I delved into the darkly comical, uplifting and entertaining world of Finding Audrey.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Review: Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

Release Date: January 12th, 1999
Publisher: Dial Press Trade Paperback
Rating: 18+ (for mature readers)
Genre/s: Historical Fiction
Pages: 215

Kurt Vonnegut's absurdist classic Slaughterhouse-Five introduces us to Billy Pilgrim, a man who becomes unstuck in time after he is abducted by aliens from the planet Tralfamadore. In a plot-scrambling display of virtuosity, we follow Pilgrim simultaneously through all phases of his life, concentrating on his (and Vonnegut's) shattering experience as an American prisoner of war who witnesses the firebombing of Dresden.

Don't let the ease of reading fool you - Vonnegut's isn't a conventional, or simple, novel. He writes, "There are almost no characters in this story, and almost no dramatic confrontations, because most of the people in it are so sick, and so much the listless playthings of enormous forces. One of the main effects of war, after all, is that people are discouraged from being characters."

Slaughterhouse-Five is not only Vonnegut's most powerful book, it is also as important as any written since 1945. Like Catch- 22, it fashions the author's experiences in the Second World War into an eloquent and deeply funny plea against butchery in the service of authority. Slaughterhouse-Five boasts the same imagination, humanity, and gleeful appreciation of the absurd found in Vonnegut's other works, but the book's basis in rock-hard, tragic fact gives it a unique poignancy - and humor.

*This review contains spoilers*

I've barely even started this review yet and I can already tell that this is going to be one of the hardest reviews I've ever had to write. Why? Because I don't think I've ever read a book quite like Slaughterhouse 5. Because, sure, I've read plenty of war and in particular, World War 2 novels, but none written like this. In fact, even though I am sure I really enjoyed it, I still feel slightly shaky about my feelings for it and moreover my reasons for said feelings. My experience reading Slaughterhouse 5 can only be descried as bizarre, intoxicating and undoubtedly wonderful –– sure it was a dizzying, strange, and otherworldly experience, but I emerged feeling supremely impressed and with a newfound respect for Vonnegut's storytelling skills.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (36)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming releases I can't wait to get my hands on!

                                                     This week's WoW pick is...
Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never date your best friend

Always be original

Sometimes rules are meant to be broken 

Best friends Dave and Julia were determined to never be cliché high school kids—the ones who sit at the same lunch table every day, dissecting the drama from homeroom and plotting their campaigns for prom king and queen. They even wrote their own Never List of everything they vowed they'd never, ever do in high school.

Some of the rules have been easy to follow, like never die your hair a color of the rainbow never hook up with a teacher. But Dave has a secret: he's broken rule #8, never pine silently after someone for the entirety of high school. It's either that or break rule #10,never date your best friend. Dave has loved Julia for as long as he can remember.

Julia is beautiful, wild and impetuous. So when she suggests they do every Never on the list, Dave is happy to play along. He even dyes his hair an unfortunate shade of green. It starts as a joke, but then a funny thing happens: Dave and Julia discover that by skipping the clichés, they've actually been missing out on high school. And maybe even on love.

Release date: August 4th, 2015

As you guys probably know, I'm a sucker for any high school romance story that doesn't feature insta-love, so of course I'm going to be anxiously waiting for this to come out! Romance stories of people who first start out as friends are so cute and fun to read about, because there's nothing more sweet or that makes more sense in my opinion. And I love the sound of crossing things off a 'Never' list – it promises some hopefully humorous and fun, exciting moments. 

What are you waiting on this fine Wednesday? 

Please do leave a comment or link below – I'm always looking for new books to add to my WoW list. :) 
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