Friday, 27 November 2015

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska Title: Looking For Alaska by John Green
Publication: February 28th 2013 by HarperCollins Publishers
Genre: Young-adult fiction
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Gift
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Synopsis:

Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Fran├žois Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. After. Nothing is ever the same.


Review: ( May contain spoilers)


I received this book as a Christmas present last year and I couldn't wait to read it. I had read John Green's other books such as 'The Fault in Our Stars','Paper Towns' and 'Will Grayson,Will Grayson'
and I have to say apart from 'Will Grayson,Will Grayson' which I found reading to be a bit confusing, I found all of John's other books to be amazing, I love 'The Fault in Our Stars' and I think the movie compliments the book well, and I found the movie adaptation of 'Paper Towns' to be good also.
I was expecting to really enjoy this book and could not wait to finally pick it up recently, only to find that it was kind of a let down to me....and before you click out of this review, let me explain why.

I like John Green's style of writing its just so out of the ordinary like how did he even think of the Black Santa thing from 'Paper Towns' like seriously! In this book, I see the quirkiness of John Green's writing as I find that only in a John Green book would the main character Miles Halter, have an obsession with knowing peoples famous last words.

This may sound strange but one thing I quite liked about this book was the fact that it was set in a boarding school, Culver Creek. I don't know why but ever since I was younger, when I really started to like reading and became a little bookworm, I was obsessed with books about boarding schools or set in boarding schools.I loved books such as 'The Naughtiest Girl' and 'Malory Towers' by Enid Blyton, I think I just found the idea of boarding school so cool, I never really planned on going myself but I still loved reading about them and I think a part of me still loves books set in boarding schools I just don't know why...

So early on in my blogging life, I don't really know how to write negative reviews but to be honest I found this book to be quite...boring. Nothing really stood out to me the characters were average, the plot was average and overall I just didn't get that feeling I enjoy from books, that feeling when you think " Wow this book is amazing, I have to drop everything to finish it" and that just didn't happen like it happened with other works by John Green.

 By the time I got to the After section of this book it felt like every time I went to read my book it was a chore. I think in some ways I found 'Looking For Alaska' and 'Paper Towns' to be too similar, the main characters both end up searching for the one they love, I know your all probably screaming at your screens right now  "how are they the same Margo was alive and Alaska is dead!", but its just my opinion...

I don't really know what else to say about this book...I didn't love it....but I didn't necessarily hate it either... I am just finding it hard to put into words why I didn't like it, but I can't seem to think of many definite reasons, I just simply didn't enjoy it very much. Sorry this review was not my best work but I decided to post it anyway instead of scraping it as practice makes perfect! The more books I review the better I will get at writing reviews,hopefully. Don't let this review turn you off John Green's books all together I highly recommend 'The Fault in Our Stars' to anyone who has not read it yet.

Rating:



Any tips on how I can improve my reviews? Comment below.. 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Discussion: Buying books Vs Borrowing books

When I was in my local library today, browsing the books, the idea for this blog post was formed so when I got home the first thing I did was grab my notebook and write it down so that I didn't forget about it, and now that I have some free time to write a blog post...Let's Discuss:

Buying vs Borrowing books


Lets start off on the topic of buying books:

When I was younger I used to never buy books, I thought it was a waste of money when all the books are sitting there in the library just waiting to be read.As I have gotten older though I have started buying more and more books in the last year or so, enough for me to have to go and purchase a bookcase, which I had never needed before as although I read a lot when I was younger I just took out 3 or 4 books from the library at a time and then bring them back when I needed more...because you know, that's how a library works (Duh!).

When I say I have started to buy books more and more, I am being slightly dishonest, true I have only in the last week or two went to the library again after totally abandoning it for a good year, but that does not mean books have been eating into my savings. When Christmas or Birthdays come around I just ask for books, sometimes if I do really well in a set of exams my mum may buy me a book or two and I may treat myself to a book also, this is what I mean when I talk of buying books because as I am not a very fast reader, the books I receive from Birthdays and Christmas will probably keep me going till next year...and if I don't receive too many books, I may receive some money to buy my own.It is usually only around these times of the year I allow myself make a book purchase.

Buying books can be expensive if you are not careful though. This wasn't a major problem for me as I have always been quite good with shopping around until I find the best price. If I am going to buy a book I will nearly always buy online, either from Amazon or The Book Depository (I may go into more detail about each in a later post). The only time I really buy books from a store would be if they have some sort of deal on or if I have received a gift card to use there. I found that the cheapest way for me to buy books is to not buy one book every 2 weeks or month, but to save up that money and buy a bunch of books in bulk from amazon, as then I qualify for free delivery (WooHoo!)

Now on to Library books:

When I first started to love reading, I never bought books and I basically lived in the library. I loved the day of the week when I got to go to the library, it was like shopping except everything was FREE!..well unless you return the book late then it was 5 cents a day, but back then I had so much time to read that, that wasn't much of a problem for me. The library was great for those first years of my ever growing book addiction, but then you hit a wall.


via GIPHY

You go to the library one day and realize you have read nearly all of the books that interest you,what else is there to read! You see one problem I had at my library when I used it a lot was that they never had the full series....and I know what your thinking "Sarah other people borrow books too, you just have to wait your turn", but it really started to get on my nerves, true you could request the book, but it always took 2 to 3 weeks to arrive and I was a very impatient 10 year old when it came to books.

My last incident with the library was the last straw for me and is what started me into buying books. Everyone in my school had been reading the Gone series by Michael Grant so naturally I could not wait to get my hands on it.I went to the library and of course the whole series was already out on loan, but I placed my request anyway. In the months that followed, I ended up purchasing the series and reading them...and when I was on the last book, several months later I got a text from the library saying that the first book in the series was now back in the library for me to collect.....enough said.

But you are probably thinking "Sarah, if you abandoned the library why were you in the library when you came up with the idea of this blog post?" and that it because in the last week or so, I went down to the library and got myself a new library card...I thought that it would be good to have if I ever need it, the library doesn't have many of the newer books but I still think it will be good for me to check do they have the books I want in the library before I go and buy them as I might be able to save a little bit of money that way, although I have not borrowed any books as of yet.

Conclusion:

Buying- Pros:                                                           
- You get to keep the book forever
- You can reread the book whenever you like
- You can have a book faster
- You own the book

Cons:
- It can be expensive
- Books take up a lot of space
- You waste your money if you didn't like the book
- less likely to experiment

Borrowing-Pros:
- Wide variety of books
- Free books!
- More likely to experiment
- You have more space

Cons:
- May not always have book you want
- Waiting lists are long...
- you don't own the book
- You may have to wait longer to read new releases
- You don't have easy access to new books

So... Buying vs Borrowing, personally I am leaning more towards buying the older I get as the books I want to read are becoming more specific where as i would read anything I could get my hands on when i was younger. Overall I would say a mixture of both is the best option.What do you think?
Do you buy books? Do you Borrow? How about both? Comment below....I would love to hear your opinions!



Friday, 20 November 2015

Review: Quidditch Through The Ages

Quidditch Through the Ages (Hogwarts Library)

Title: Quidditch Through The Ages by J.K Rowling, Kennilworthy Whisp (Pseudonym)
Publication: 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Genre: Fantasy, Speculative Fiction
Pages: 105
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis:

If you have ever asked yourself where the Golden Snitch came from, how the Bludgers came into existence or why the Wigtown Wanderers have pictures of meat cleavers on their robes, you need Quidditch Through the Ages. This edition is a copy of the volume in Hogwarts School Library, where it is consulted by young Quidditch fans on an almost daily basis.

Review:

I picked up this book over the summer holidays while scouting various charity shops for books. I do this every now and then before I make a book purchase online as you never know what you might find, you may save yourself a few euro, which if your anything like me,you will just spend on more books...oh the life of a book addict...

If I am to be totally honest I never even knew this book existed but when I saw it I knew I had to buy it, I didn't even read the back, I just saw Quidditch, J.K Rowling and I was sold I knew it was something I had to add to my ever growing Harry Potter collection.

This book is a must read for any Harry Potter fan. It gives you a quick taster of the wizarding world when you need to escape the muggle world for a while. This book is written and designed to look like it came out of the library at Hogwarts, with the library record inside the front cover showing that characters such as Hermione Granger has borrowed the book out of the library in the past. I also really like the "Praise for this book" page, for example:

"I've read worse"- Rita Skeeter, Daily Prophet

I also found the introduction to this book to be very funny. Before the book starts there is a short introduction written by Albus Dumbledore about his struggles with Madam Pince the librarian at Hogwarts, and her horror at the idea of letting the book out into the muggle world for muggles to read.

The book itself is very short and I read it in two short sittings. You learn many things from this book about the game of Quidditch, how it came about, rules, teams and about Quidditch nowadays. It is kind of like reading a history book except you actually want to read it and its interesting, instead of nearly falling asleep over your history textbook.

If this review wasn't enough to convince you to buy this book,maybe this will...J.K Rowling kindly wrote this book for Comic Relief. Comic Relief is a charity that raises money to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the poorest countries of the world. Proceeds from the sale of this book went to Comic Relief.

In conclusion, I found this book to be a fast and enjoyable read and it is a must have for any Harry Potter Addict.

Rating:

Don't let the muggles get you down...


Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Quotes I loved from books I read in the past year or so...


I am sure most of you guys have heard of this book blog meme by now, but if not it is a weekly feature/meme created by the people over at The Broke and the Bookish. If you would like to learn more about Top Ten Tuesdays or their blog click here
 Today I will be making a list of.....

Top 10 quotes I loved from books I read in the past year or so...

1. “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

2. “But you're so helpless sometimes. It's like watching a kitten with its head trapped in a Kleenex box.” 

― Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl

3. “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

4. “Let your smile change the world, but don't let the world change your smile.”

― Connor Franta, A Work in Progress

5. “Not my daughter, you bitch!”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

6. “Every time you post something online you have a choice. You can either make it something that adds to the happiness levels in the world—or you can make it something that takes away.”

― Zoe Sugg, Girl Online

7. “She loved mysteries so much, that she became one.”

― John Green, Paper Towns

8. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

9. “Nice tights," I snorted. Or I tried to snort, anyway. I'm not exactly sure how, though people in books are always doing it.”

― Rebecca Stead, When You Reach Me

10. “It's a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don't give it the power to do its killing.”

― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

As you can see from the list above I read The Harry Potter series for the first time at the start of this year...I may add that I found complying this list to be quite hard firstly to remember what books I read in the past year and secondly actually thinking of quotes ( I may have looked up a few)
you see I am not the type of person that remembers quotes easily but that doesn't really bother me, only one or two quotes from Harry Potter have really stuck with me to be honest. I know this is not book related but the only quote that I have ever really remembered and it is my favorite quote to this day is "Happiness is a choice"- Shay Carl

Comment down below your all time favorite quote I would love to hear them, it doesn't have to be book related...

Friday, 13 November 2015

Review: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare


City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)Title: City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Series: The Mortal Instruments, Book #6
Publication: May 28th 2014 by Walker Books Ltd
Genre: Fantasy, Young-adult, Urban fantasy
Pages: 733
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Buy: Amazon UK / The Book Depository
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis:

Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the internationally bestselling The Mortal Instruments series. Erchomai, Sebastian had said. I am coming. Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary's own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat him - must they journey to another world to find the chance?

Review:

I would like to start this review by saying that this review may contain spoilers...and I am blaming it all on this being only the second review I have ever written so I am focusing a lot on trying to write the review in the first place, that when I get started talking about something, I just won't stop, You have been warned....

So...where to start, I guess at the beginning. I picked up the mortal instruments series around the time I started watching booktubers, which was a good few months back. The Mortal Instruments was all anyone was talking about on booktube everyone doing reviews, reading it, ranting on about it in book talks and to be honest I felt kind of left out, why hadn't I read this series yet? So I went out and bought it and by the time I got around to finishing the series ( only recently) everyone else had moved on to raving about a new upcoming book.

I found the series as a whole quite enjoyable even though I am only now starting to read more fantasy books. Although I did find towards the middle of the series that it was dragging on a bit too long and I was getting slightly bored of reading about the adventures of Clary, Jace and the gang, but one habit I can never break is that once I start a series I can not read anything else until I finish it ( unless it is under serious circumstances such as a dreaded reading slump) so I pushed through and manged to complete the series.

To my surprise I actually really enjoyed the last installment of the series 'City of Heavenly Fire' as I was nearly ready to give up on the series toward the end and when I saw the size of the last book...lets just say it didn't help, but I think it was my favourite of the lot.

I like how well the author balanced the characters relationships with action and plot twists, as I don't want to read 200 pages on two characters being all soppy and in love and yet I don't want to have to go through 200 pages of action and fighting in order to see how their relationship has progressed. I personally think the author hit this balance just right and I really enjoyed the relationships that were formed between all of the characters not just Clary and Jace.

I have to say the villain of this book, Sebastian, was kind of creepy to me. I get that he wants to rule over hell and what-not, but I found his relationship with Clary to be kind of disturbing at times.Although the ending of the book changed my views toward Sebastian slightly as that ending was just incredible...like holy crap the feels..I was not expecting to feel even the tiniest bit sorry for Sebastian, but the way the ending was written had me feeling sorry for him, or shall I say Jonathan.

Overall, I think what I most enjoyed about this book was the ending. Okay, the rest of the book was good too but it's nothing we haven't already seen in the other books in the series in my opinion. Don't get me wrong I enjoyed the action leading up to the ending, but it was those last few chapters that made me thankful of my habit of completing a series once I start.

This may not make a lot of sense to a lot of you guys, but the first thing that popped into my head when trying to think of how to explain the ending was William Shakespeare. You see I don't know an awful lot about Shakespeare, but in my English class in school we have studied 'The Merchant of Venice' by William Shakespeare and I remember my teacher saying to us that there are two types of Shakespeare plays: Tragedies and comedies. In tragedies everyone dies and in comedies everyone lives happily ever after and gets married....The ending to this book definitely reminded me of a comedy, everyone gets together, Simon comes back, Magus and Alec make-up, the wedding....I am a sucker for endings like this and this one was no exception.

In conclusion, I found this book good, but it was the ending that was unforgettable to me, I would recommend this series to lovers of Fantasy and anyone who is just starting to get into reading Fantasy like me as there is still references to the real world so it doesn't feel totally made up.

Rating:

That's all for now...

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Discussion: Do I read too slow to be a book blogger?

This is the first discussion post I have ever made but I feel like it is something I have to address so early on in my blogging experience as a book blogger as this question has been at the back of my mind since I thought about starting a book blog.

Do I read too slow to be a book blogger?

I know this may sound silly but when I look at other peoples blogs they could be uploading reviews at least once a week...even twice a week in some cases, and here I am struggling to read a chapter of my book a day after I have finished all my homework, some days not even getting a chance to read at all as I am just too tired...

I see people with there goodreads reading challenges at 100 books and I am here hoping to read 50 and considering that a great accomplishment. I watch different booktubers wrap-ups at the end of each month and wonder do they all have some speed reading super power that they are hiding from the rest of the world, as they can read 5 or 6 books in a month...were as I can barely finish a book in a week ( unless its amazing and I go into hibernation in order to finish it).

So I ask myself and invite you all to discuss this issue in the comments below, is there such thing as reading to slow? Do book bloggers need to read at a certain speed? Although I am going to continue this blog no matter how slow I read, I feel it may affect the amount of readers I get to my blog as the ratio of discussion, memes and other posts to the amount of reviews will be too great...
My plan is to upload a post on Tuesdays such as a meme or discussion and then on Friday upload a review if I have one, what do you guys think of this plan?

I think the thing that will keep me blogging is that everyone here loves books, some read fast, some slow, but it doesn't affect our love for books and the friendships and discussions that will hopeful branch off this blog.

So..... whats your opinion on this topic? Leave your answer below...

Friday, 6 November 2015

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

         
Fangirl

Title: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Publication: October 2013 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Genre: Young-adult fiction
Pages: 433
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5 Stars

Synopsis:

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Eleanor & Park. A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love. Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan... But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words... And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone. For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review:

So...my first ever time trying to write a book review, lets see how this goes...
Fangirl is the first ever Rainbow Rowell book I have read and I am sure it won't be the last because of all the great reviews I am seeing about ' Carry On' the spin-off that compliments Fangirl.
I have to say I loved this book! It was a very quick read for me and I had it finished in a few days.

I love this book as I feel that its very relatable for all us fangirls out there. Weather you fangirl over bands,books, or whatever...we have all come across the term 'fan-fiction' most like myself have probably even read a bit or two and some going as far as writing their own ( I have...) and that is a main focus of this story in my opinion.I love the way Rainbow Rowell has written the book in such a way as although the main plot is about the relationship between Cath and Levi, I find myself looking forward to the end of the chapter so I can have myself a little Simon and Baz action as well.

My favourite character in this story is obviously Cath as I find myself in her in so many ways, first off the whole fangirl thing...but also how she is quite shy and anti-social around those she doesn't know or has just met, but once you get to know her you realize how weird and crazy she is ( In a good way).I also find the character Levi perfect, in my opinion he is the stereotypical proof of: "Boys in books are always better"

I found this book to be quite a light hearted read, it wasn't a very fast paced book but at the same time I just couldn't put it down and although I really enjoyed it I found the ending quite disappointing as the book doesn't really lead anywhere, if you know what I mean..it just kind of ends ( I am so bad at explaining things) Overall I found this book quite enjoyable and I would recommend this book to everyone who fangirls over anything....anything at all...it could be pizza for all I care, but this book will not disappoint!


Rating: 

That's all for now


Tuesday, 3 November 2015

My first post as a book blogger...

Hi, there! My name is Sarah and this is my new book blog....yeah that's all I can think off.
If you want to know a bit more about me visit the About Me page at the top of your screen, I would really appreciate it because it took me a good hour of searching blogs and youtube tutorials to find out how to put it there!

So... where to start...this isn't my first time trying create a blog or website. I have had my far share of failed blogs and websites through the years..all 15 of them! Since about the age 9 or 10 I became interested in trying to create my own websites, and I did, I created lots, I don't even remember what about, just silly things, obviously none of them ever became hits with one or two page views in a week before I got bored and moved onto another project with the realization that I would never get hundreds of visitors to a blog by a 10 year old ranting on about Club Penguin or Disney Channel.


Well, I guess I could say that after a few years absence I am back again with new hope, new determination and because I am ever so slightly bored on this mid-term break....so I have created this book blog. I have only found out about book blogs as of recently, I actually don't know many as of yet but I am hoping that I can find a few blogging friends if I keep up with this blog and hopefully don't quit after a week or two...

I started a booktube channel before this book blog a few months back, I got to about 5 videos and realized it wasn't for me, I felt too awkward talking to a camera but I really did enjoy what I was talking to the camera about, BOOKS! So I am hoping that through this book blog I can achieve that same feeling of loving books and having people to discuss the books you love with, but instead of on Youtube...through typing on a book blog! 

At first, I stopped myself making this blog because of various excuses in my head, I could never make a blog, I am in exam year at school, I don't even know how to review books!, I will just quit the moment I start, I wont post enough so won't get any views.....but then I thought who cares if I don’t get lots of views, I can always learn to write reviews, true its exam year but you need a break from studying every now and then... and who cares how much you post, as long as I am having fun with it, right? Well that's the attitude I am having towards it for now anyway.

My plan for this blog is not fully developed as of yet, but that's ok! I think I am going to post twice a week, maybe Tuesdays and Fridays. I will do reviews, but also other posts...as I don't think I read fast enough to post a review every week...but that's fine! Once I am enjoying writing what I post!
I think that is all I have to write for now....If anyone is reading this feel free to comment and if you would like follow me on twitter and like the Facebook page...because once I know I have caught at least one persons attention then I have a reason to blog :) Until the next post, Bye!  - Sarah


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