March-April 2017 Wrap Up

Hello!

So apparently I haven’t actually posted on here for another 6 months. I really don’t have much of an excuse aside from changing courses once again, and I am now doing a science course and have made two friends in my class which is great!

I have read a total of 29 books since I posted my last update, but in this wrap up I am just going to be talking about the 7 books that I have read in the past two months as I can still remember a fair amount of them clearly.

  • More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. This book focuses on a character called Aaron Soto who is considering undergoing a mind-altering procedure to wipe certain aspects of his memories. The book talks a lot about his search for happiness, and the relationships he has, and also about his grief due to the death of his father. I found the concept of this book interesting, especially the idea of the mind-altering procedure and the LGBT aspects, however I struggled to get fully immersed in the book, and felt somewhat emotionally removed from the characters in it. I began to feel more interested as the plot started to unravel a little more, but as this seemed to happen nearer to the end of the book, I only ended up giving his book three stars. However, I am interested to read more of this authors works, as I have watched interviews with him and he seems pretty wonderful.
  •  Jackdaw Summer by David Almond. This is a story about a little boy called Liam, and begins with him and his friend discovering a baby left alone in an abandoned farm house. The story focuses mainly on violence and morality, and although it was classed on the back as for ‘younger readers’, I personally still felt very disturbed by it at times, even as a 19 year old. I have been gradually trying to work my way through this author’s books after reading Skellig and absolutely loving it. Overall, I gave this book four stars as I would not necessarily say that I was always completely gripped by the story, but yet it was hard-hitting and I think it touched upon some important themes.
  • The Poison Apples by Lily Archer. This is about three girls named Alice, Reena and Molly who all have ‘evil’ stepmothers, and when they all meet at a posh boarding school, they come up with a plan for revenge in the form of a group called ‘The Poison Apples.’ I thought that this book was wonderful, I loved all three of the girls, and the friendship that formed between them all made me really happy. I would have to say that my favourite character was probably Molly though, because with her obsession with the dictionary and her wild curly hair she was absolutely adorable, and I honestly wish that I could be friends with her. I gave this book five stars, and I am so sad that there is not a sequel and that the author has not written any other books.
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This follows a boy named Clay as he listens to a series of tapes that were recorded by his classmate and first love, Hannah Baker, before she committed suicide. In these she gives each of her reasons as to how she came to ending her own life. I found this book quite interesting, and I could sympathise with Hannah, and also felt empathy for Clay. The whole premise of listening to a series of reasons for someone’s suicide sounded like an interesting plot, which is what drew me in, alongside the hype that has surrounded this book. However, I did sometimes feel that Hannah was placing the blame of her suicide on the other people, and not taking any responsibility for herself, as well as occasionally coming across as a little whiny. For this reason I will not be watching the Netflix adaptation of Thirteen Reasons Why, and I gave this book four stars.
  • Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded by Hannah Hart. I cannot describe how much I love Hannah Hart, honestly. She’s a wonderful human being and she makes me smile so much. This book is a memoir of hers from when she was a young child until where she is now, and focuses a lot on her family, as well as her own personal growth and coming out journey.  Parts of this book were incredibly sad, and quite heartbreaking, however there are also a lot of positive messages and lessons in there too and it gives such an amazing insight into Hannah as a person, and also into the people around her. I gave this book five stars.
  • I’m Not Scared by Niccolo Ammaniti. This story follows a young boy named Michele, and his friends and adults surrounding him in a tiny village community in Italy over the course of one summer. The main story focuses around a huge discovery that Michele makes, and all of the consequences of that discovery. It places a strong emphasis on morality, and also on the difference aspects of good/bad in people. I found myself really pulled into this story, and could clearly picture everything that was being described. I also found it to be really disturbing at times, and it is a story that I think will stay with me for a long time. I gave this book five stars.
  • The Misbegotten by Katherine Webb. This story follows a number of different characters, most prominently a woman named Rachel Croften who leaves her position of being a governess, and moves to Bath after marrying a wine merchant, and also a servant named Starling. Rachel’s arrival to Bath, and her introduction to those within it bring up a lot of dark hidden secrets from the past, and the novel is almost a mystery in the way that you are kind of kept guessing until the very end, where it all unravels. This book was amazing, the characters are so whole and believable, and I found myself strongly sympathising with both Rachel and Starling, and the mystery kept me reading and reading because I so desperately wanted to know what had happened. I am looking forward to reading all of the author’s other works. I gave this book five stars.

I am currently reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, which is a project that have been working on for a number of weeks now, and also Gut Symmetries by Jeanette Winterson. I shall update on how I feel about these hopefully in next month’s wrap up!

 

 

Advertisements

Update & October Wrap Up

So I haven’t posted on here in around three months now I believe, and I think that this is in part due to just being more busy than before, and also because I wrote the review of the Dorothy Koomson book and did not enjoy writing it much at all, and as I have a ridiculously small attention span, I gave up on it entirely like I normally do. So, I have decided to just write and include posts which I find to be interesting. I am only going to write reviews on books that I particularly feel like writing about, and those reviews are unlikely to be as structured as the ‘That Girl From Nowhere’ one, as I felt a lot of pressure whilst writing it, and don’t know if I particularly got many of my own true feelings across.

In the space of the last month I have dropped out of University after staying for one night, and then started at a new college in which I have no friends, and so this has all been pretty stressful. However, I have been spending a lot more time with friends from my previous college and it’s been great!

Due to not having any friends to sit with during my breaks, and also having incredibly long spaces of time free in which I just sit in the library on my own, I have been reading a fair amount more. During the month of October I have read:

  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. This is a book about a girl called Maddy who is allergic to a huge amount of different things, and has spent much of her life locked inside her house not able to see anyone except her Mum and her nurse, Carla. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, and especially appreciated the diagrams and charts that were included. I loved it when Maddy would describe her reading and books, as one of my favourite things to read about is characters describing their love of books. However, I personally did not enjoy the plot twist. I gave this book three stars.
  • Lifegame  by Alison Allen-Grey. This is a book set on a dystopian island in which an orphan named Fella and his best friend Grebe are attempting to uncover the truth about where they live and who Fella is. I thought that this book did an amazing job of getting you to vividly visualise the settings and situations that the characters were in, and also great at building the suspense as the book went on. I felt very attached to both of the main characters fairly early on, and the side characters were also written in a way that made you care about them a lot as well. I thought that the ending was very well written, and I would not have guessed it. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and so gave it five stars.
  • The Ottoman Motel by Christopher Currie.This is a mystery book about a young boy named Simon whose parents go missing when they go to visit his Grandma in a small town. The book then follows the story of him coming to terms with his parents being absent, and also the investigation into his parents death.Possibly my favourite thing about this book was the exploration of multiple character’s points of view, and there were quite a lot of characters. Each character was incredibly realistic, and I felt invested in every single one of their stories. Whilst reading it, I felt huge amounts of emotion for each of them, as if I was experiencing everything that was happening with them. Mystery is not a genre that I have delved into much, but I thought that this book was incredibly captivating and I find myself thinking about the characters at random moments in my day.

    I gave this book four stars, due to huge amounts of spelling and grammatical errors which were incredibly distracting at times.

  • Every Day by David Levithan. This book follows a person named A who wakes up in a different body with someone else’s life every single day. The main part of the story comes from where they fall in love with a girl called Rhiannon who is the girlfriend of one of the people’s lives that they inhabit for a day, and it is about the difficulties and experiences that arise from this unusual situation. My favourite part about this book was the detailed view into so many character’s separate lives, families and thoughts. However, I didn’t really get attached to either of the main two characters, even though I felt a little more for Rhiannon than I did A. I found myself becoming slightly bored with the way that A was describing his love for Rhiannon as it was at times bordering overly dramatic, considering the fact that they had only known her for a day at first. Regardless of this, I will probably read the second book if it comes into my library as I would like to know how the story wraps up. I gave this book three stars.
  • Rio Grande Shoot-Out by Ethan Wall. This is a Western story about a civil war in America. It follows the stories of quite a few characters, including  a husband and wife that are fleeing their home in order to stop the husband being killed by the army, and a priest that lives in the small town where they end up. I picked up this book from the library as I have been attempting to read a more diverse range of book genres. However, I do not think I will be reading any more Western books for the foreseeable future as I really did not find this book to be particularly enjoyable. I didn’t find myself caring too much about any of the characters, except maybe towards the end of the book, and it took me quite a long time to finish it as I felt no excitement towards it. I gave this book two stars, as I did feel that it had some potential if it had perhaps been written slightly differently.
  • The Humans by Matt Haig. This is a book about an alien from a planet called Vonnadoria who comes down to Earth on a mission to destroy all evidence that the Riemann Hypothesis has been solved in order to protect the humans from getting knowledge too quickly and destroying themselves. The alien takes the form of professor Andrew Martin. The book is his about his outsider’s exploration and discoveries of human life. I will start off by saying that I did not particularly find the story line of this book to be overly entertaining, nor did I find it to be ‘hilarious’ or ‘wonderfully funny’ as The Guardian and The Times suggested it was going to be, and so this was the reason why I took a stars off my overall rating. I also at times found it slightly tedious, and lost interest at various points in the book. However, this book has left a profound impression on me due to it’s commentary on human life and behaviour. It talks about topics such as human issues with appearance and it’s irrelevance, shows how irrelevant some of our social constructions are, and comments on some of the pointless things that we do in our lives that make us unhappy. Near the end of the book there is an ‘advice for a human’ list of 97 items which is written for Andrew Martin’s son, and I found this outsider’s perspective to be really insightful and I will remember quite a few of the points on the list for a long time. The way that Matt Haig has written this book is kind of extraordinary, as you can really believe that it is written by an alien because it has such a detached tone to it. In the back of the book there is a note from the author explaining that the idea for writing the book came to him when he was in the grips of a panic disorder where human life for him felt as strange as it does for the alien narrator of his book. This really resonated with me, and I found that a lot of the things I think about were explored in this book in a way that I hadn’t really heard anyone else talking about them, which was incredibly comforting and thought provoking. I gave this book four stars, and it is one that I can’t stop thinking about when I am just going about my daily life, and I think is likely to stick with me for a long time.

That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson Review

Reading Dates: 21/07/16 – 02/08/16

Rating: 3 stars

That Girl From Nowhere is an adult fiction story about a woman named Smitty, who was adopted as a baby with nothing more to link her to her birth parents than a butterfly-painted box that she was given to sleep in as a baby. When she moves to Brighton, the place of her birth, with her Mum that adopted her as a baby, having just split up with her partner of twelve years, she begins a journey to discover the truth about her childhood and those around her.

I find it difficult to sum up my feelings about this book, in part due to my resistance to say anything that I don’t like about Dorothy Koomson’s work because of my love of her books from when I younger. Like all of her other books that I have read I found the character development of this book to be amazing, with each of the characters having very separate, whole, and believable identities. The characters and their own storylines have kept me thinking about them even when I am not reading the book, and I became quite attached to the majority of the characters including those who were not particularly favourable or prominent in the book. My favourite character was probably Smitty as I found her vulnerability relatable at times, whilst still being funny, and overall someone who I would like to be friends with if I were to meet her in real life.

One of my favourite things about this book was that it dealt with the topic of adoption, which is not something that I generally have read about much. It was interesting to get multiple perspectives from Smitty, who had been adopted, as well as from the birth parents, siblings, and her adoptive parents.

The writing style in the book was very smooth and easy to read, however, I did find that when I put the book down I was not necessarily particularly excited to pick it back up again, which may be in part due to the fact that I found the beginning of the book up to around the last quarter of the book slightly slow, but it may also be more to do with the mood I was in when reading the book.

Overall, this book was enjoyable and addressed an important topic which has not been dealt with too often in the books that I have read. I would recommend this book to older teens or adults who enjoy realistic fiction that deals a lot with the family.

02/08/16 Weekly Wrap Up

Hi!

So this week has not been a particularly successful week for reading in my opinion, in fact I only managed to read one book despite the fact that I am currently on holiday from school. I think the main reason is that the book I read was quite large in comparison to the other books that I have been reading recently, and I also did not find it particularly engaging and so it took me a while to get through.

Within the last week I have read:

  • That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson. I read quite a few of Dorothy Koomson’s books when I was much younger, and so it was almost nostalgic to read one of her books again. I gave this book three stars.

I am currently reading Barely Breathing by Rebecca Donovan and I am 54 pages in!

 

Hi!

Hello!

My name is Hannah and I am 18 years old from the U.K. I have decided to create this blog in order to encourage me to start reading more again. When I was younger I would read a book a day, yet as I hit my teenage years I started reading less and less until I pretty much stopped reading entirely around the age of fourteen. Within the last year I have started to read much more due to finding booktube and Goodreads, and I now have a ginormous TBR pile!

I am hoping that through blogging about what I read and writing reviews when I finish books I will begin to become even more enthusiastic about books, as well as thinking more about what I’ve read.

Probably my favourite book that I’ve stood by for the last couple of years is Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson because it was the first book in years that I felt fully engrossed in, and I remember falling in love with the characters and it being exactly what I needed at the time in which I was reading it.

Within the last week I have read:

  • The last hundred pages of Reason to Breathe by Rebecca Donovan (The first in the Breathing series.) This was a re-read for me, and I gave the book four stars.
  • Girls Under Pressure by Jacqueline Wilson (The second in the Girls series). When I was younger I was absolutely obsessed with Jacqueline Wilson’s writing, and I really enjoyed reading one of her books again; I also gave this four stars.
  • Dani’s Diary by Narinder Dhami. This is a book that was given to me when I was around ten years old by one of my best friends, and it is only now that I have gotten around to reading it, I gave this book three stars.
  • The Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall. This is also a book that I got at least four years ago, and I am so happy that I finally got around to reading it. I gave this book four stars, although if it was possible I would have definitely given it four and a half stars I think!

I am currently reading That Girl From Nowhere by Dorothy Koomson and I am 136 pages in!FullSizeRender (1)