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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. :) 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

My (late) Summer Reading List

This post is a little late given that I am already half way into my Summer break (why won't time just slow the heck DOWN?!), but I just returned from vacation abroad and thought that it would be a good idea to share with all of you guys my Summer reading list as of now! Or, more accurately, my Summer bucket list as I would be extremely lucky if I finished all of these by the time school starts, given my fantastic procrastination skills as well as the occasional work I manage to get my hands on.

1. Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut

I cannot even begin to tell you guys HOW excited I am that I will be studying this book in school! I am half way into it and just wow. I am very grateful that it's on my school reading list for the summer as it has allowed me to discover a true gem! I will be posting a review soon, so look out for the gushing incoherent babbling that will no doubt ensue.

2. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
My best friend actually told me about this book. It doesn't seem like the type of book I would normally go for but lately I have been getting weirdly into books, movies and TV shows within the Horror, Thriller genres (Could it be that I'm FINALLY growing up??). This has been getting amazing reviews and it promises an eery and heart-pounding ride. I can't wait.

3. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

I need to have a light read every once in a while between my more 'serious' reads, and Kinsella is my long-time favorite author of the Chick-flick genre. Even more wonderful about this book is that it's connected to Psychology, only the one true love of my life!!! Because this book seems so tailored for me (Psychology + comedy + romance + Kinsella), my expectations right now are higher than the Eiffel tower. Pretty sure this book is going to meet them AND MORE, though. 

4. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
I've read some mixed reviews about this book; understandable given that Ghosh is exploring a new genre here, but I'm so hoping for this to be that stand-out Summer book for me. I'm also writing my Personal Statement and studying for a lot of standardized Med tests right now, so the subject matter is perfect for right now.

5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (re-read)

Yeah, so this is one of my favorite books ever and I can't wait to re-read it with fresh eyes! Reason being we are going to be studying it in my English Literature class (YES!).

6. We Can Work it Out (The Lonely Hearts Club, #2) by Elizabeth Eulberg
Ditto Finding Audrey –  this is my scheduled break from all my serious, 'thinking' books. It's The Lonely Hearts Club. Elizabeth – freaking – Eulberg. Need I say more? I received it for review aaaaages ago (thank you so much Point publishers!) but due to exams and field trips and IB etc. I haven't gotten around to reading it, but that shall be rectified very soon. 

7. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (re-read)

Again, this is a school read but ALSO one of my favorite books and Atwood is without doubt one of my favorite authors. I have an inkling Grade 12 is going to be my year! (Or at least in terms of English...)

8. Lying Out Loud by Kody Kiplinger
Author of The Duff. BAM.

9. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
I have heard that this is EVEN BETTER than 'The Sky is Everywhere'. I need to examine this claim firsthand, plus I am a sucker for Nelson's beautiful writing and characters so it's a shame that this is the last book on my list, but hopefully it will just motivate my to get through the other books and complete this amazing list!

So, there ya go. Hope you guys enjoyed this/were inspired by some of my picks. If any of you have a Summer reading list I would love to check it out so please leave a link/comment below! :) 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Review: The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

Release Date: March 27, 2007
Publisher: Penguin
Rating: YA 16+
Genre/s: Fantasy, Romance, Action
Pages: 662

Told in Kvothe's own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen. The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature. A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.
Assured prior to starting the book that I would become a passionate member of Rothfuss' cult, it's safe to say that I went in with fairly high expectations. It's been too long since a read a high-calibre Fantasy novel, so I was more than ready for Rothfuss' high-fantasy magic and detailed, intricate writing and world-building. In fact, even though I loved how the intricacies Rothfuss' long, beautiful descriptions that built the abstract world so well, at times I found the writing a little too dense and detail-packed. There were times I had to stop and reread the lines I had just read so I could take it all in.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (35)

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...
Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. 

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

Release Date: June 16th, 2015

Okay, so the premise doesn't sound entirely original or new... BUT the reviews of it have been amazing so far, and it is the talented Tamara Ireland Stone we are talking about here, so my hopes are high. While I do like my Contemporary novels a bit darker and edgier to compensate for the fact that they are so grounded in reality, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a high-school coming of age story every once in a while – if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

What are you waiting on? :) 

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