Book Review: Love Letters to The Dead by Ava Dellaira

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This coming of age story revolves around the female protagonist Laurel, a high school freshman whose beloved and through Laurel’s eyes, perfect older sister, May, who has died recently. The tale addresses Laurel’s way of receiving closure and finding herself along the way. To avoid the painful reminders of her sister, she changes schools for some new scenery.

At her new school, she is given an assignment by the teacher  to write a letter to a famous dead person. Laurel begins writing a series of letters to numerous famous dead people, such as, River Phoenix, Heath Ledger and Amy Winehouse. She doesn’t have any intention to hand in the assignment but continues to write these letters to express her feelings about May’s death and other dark issues in her life.  She finds a new group of friends who help her escape from reality. Also a crush who has issues of his own and seems to be hiding a secret…

This novel is beautifully written and has dark themes of  sexual abuse, possible suicide, physical violence and homosexuality. Insimilar context and writing style to Stephen Chbosky’s ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’.

This unique novel also allows readers to understand the lives and deaths of the  celebrities  a little better, and I feel as though each person relates to each celebrity and letter, differently. Personally, I had a real connection with the letters written to River Phoenix. I began to YouTube his interviews and the distressing 911 call. I feel that researching the celebrities in the books, enhances the reading experience. Especially when listening to Kurt Cobain’s music and understanding the references to the book.

The author dedicated this book to her recently deceased mother. Because she beautifully depicts her true emotions into the pages, is a way I think this how she is able to connect with her readers in such an intriguing manner.  Can’t wait to see what she has in store for us in her next book.

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I give it 4.5 stars

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Book Review: The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

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Whilst this book is considered as YA, it is  far from the usual that we are used to, and it is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.

The plot follows a young girl of fifteen named Anais Hendricks, who has been treading the dark waters of the foster system.

She has been in over fifty homes and is now being transferred to a place called The Panopticon ( a place for young offenders), waiting on trial for putting a member of the police force in coma.

The only problem is that she was so high on the day of the incident that she cannot remember if she committed the crime…

With scenarios similar to Orange is The New Black, this book is shockingly captivating with issues such as sex, rape, drug use, mental illness, crime, prostitution, suicide and basically everything shitty you can think of.

It also gives us peek into real life issues of these young offenders and how they are seen in society, perhaps they are not all delinquents that we define them to be…

The story can be hard to read at times, and some of the terms used in the book is Scottish slang, so Google was my friend here! But all in all I quite enjoyed the book, as it was very different to any other YA I have ever read. If you can handle a bit of controversy, explicit language, and very dark issues then it’s definitely worth a read.

I give it 4.5 out 5 stars.

Book Review: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

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As some of you may notice that I may have a certain addiction with books that contain darker elements.

I love paranormal stories especially when they involve spirits/ghosts.

So I have decided to fuel my passion for them by reading as many books in this genre as I can. Perhaps even revisiting books by some of my favourite authors such a Stephen King and Dean Koontz.

Here are my thoughts on Anna Dressed in Blood:

The book begins a little slowly, but creates the ambience perfectly.

Theseus Cassio Lowood (Cas) is an average teen who has a quite a peculiar part-time job, he kills the dead. Inheriting a magical athame (knife) from his father, he is now the heir of the ghost-hunting lineage.

He is in the search for Anna. A vengeful spirit who is draped in a white dress dripping of blood. But she is different, more powerful than any other spirit he has come across…

While I did enjoy the book , I do think it needed a little more improvements such as, a greater explanation of the types of Witchcraft and Voodoo practices that takes place in the book, little details such as chants and spells were completely left out, a greater depth in character building and a better explanation of Cas’ family bloodline of ghost-hunters. I also thought that start was a bit slow and the end was rushed.

That being said, the author does use brilliant vocabulary and a vividly imaginative writing style. Blake has a capability to intrigue readers. I will definitely be reading the second book, as I am not quite done yet with Anna’s tale.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

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Book Review: Fangirl By Rainbow Rowell

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The witty and clever writing style of author Rainbow Rowell (don’t let her name fool you!), will ensure to keep you entertained and wanting more of her first book Fangirl.

While I don’t usually pick up contemporary books, I read raving reviews about this one, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Fangirl is about a girl named Cather (Cath), who has a twin sister named Wren. She is socially awkward and has just started college. She also, writes fan-fiction online, and has been for a number of years, and has a cult following, hence, the title: Fangirl.

Personally, I don’t usually feel as close to the main character if the book is not narrated by them, however, this book is an exception, it allows readers to feel and connect with the characters as though they were a fly on the wall.

There are tough issues that characters face in the book, such as mental illness, addictions, divorce, abandonment and mistrust. These are the issues that create such depth in the story that most contemporary books do not.

What’s great about the story is that excerpts of Cath’s fan-fiction is included throughout the book, and they are quite good!

Cath’s fan-fiction is heavily inspired by Harry Potter, in my point of view anyway. Perhaps, Rowell could be a Fangirl, with Harry Potter literature herself? It is this story that brings love and happiness into Cath’s life.

With quirky and funny quotes such as this:

‘His mouth was small, but bowed. Like a doll’s. She wondered if he had trouble opening it wide enough to eat apples.’

This book is sure to entertain.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

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Although, the title begs to differ, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is such a heart-warming tale about a toddler who meanders his way through the gates of a graveyard, whilst a tradgedy of murder is occuring in his home.

Approached by Mrs Owens, a resident ghost of the graveyard, the boy feels right at home.

During their living life, Mr & Mrs Owens could not have the chance to have children of their own, the endearing boy quickly tugs at the strings of Mrs Owens’ heart.

The spirits of the graveyard succumb to adopting the child as one of their own.

However, he must be bound within the graveyard, never to step a foot outside of the grounds.

And so, the story begins of Nobody Owens.

In a world of anomalies for most of his life, will he ever return to the real world outside the gates of the graveyard?

Yet, there lies a secret within the boy, which makes him an anomaly himself…

If you appreciate stories that are heart-warming, with dark, paranormal and a hint of magical themes, you will truly enjoy this touching tale.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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They say never to judge a book by its cover.

However, on this case it is the intriguing cover that reeled me in.

The story unravels around a boy named Jacob, whose grandfather tells him strange fairytales of his life during WWII.

Stories of  living in a home of peculiar children with extraordinary talents.

As a child, Jacob thought them to be true until he grew out of believing the tall tales that his grandfather had told him.

After his grandfather’s mysterious death. Jacob heads out on an adventure to a caliginous and eerie island in search for any truth behind Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Author Ransom Riggs and his imaginative tale will enthrall readers into a world of mystery, magic and the paranormal.

Riggs also reflects his love for creepy vintage photography into the book, by adding genuine photos in its pages for the curiousity and enjoyment of readers. A great little touch!

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I give 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A Book Review: Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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I have been meaning to read Coraline for while now and finally I did. Done and dusted. Just in a day.

The author Neil Gaiman, has a way with words and pulls you to keep reading…

Coraline is a self-titled story, about a determined young girl, who enjoys the frequent meander in and around her new home.

She gained some strange and quirky characters as her new neighbours, whom she finds irritating at first.

Her parents pay little attention to her intelligence and her hunger for adventure.

In the midst of exploring her home, she stumbles upon a door…

A door to nowhere.

One night she follows a shadow through the door that once lead her to a brick wall. Where she meets her ‘Other Mother’, who appears exaclty like her own mother but with big black shiny buttons for eyes.

Her world is turned upside down when she immerses herself within the mysteriousness and horror of the other world behind the door to nowhere.

Who is this ‘other mother’?

Why does she have creepy buttons for eyes?

Will she ever be able to leave?

Coraline is a true page turner and will have you wanting more.

Much better than the movie adaption.

A must read!

I give it 4 stars.

The Liebster Award.

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I received the Liebster Award from a fellow blogger animalsandmagic for my A Love Affair with Books blog.

Thank you Jennifer for the nomination! Please check out her great blog and make sure to follow.

To keep the Liebster Award rolling in the blogging community, there are some basic rules:

  • Each nominee must link back to the nominator’s blog
  • Answer 10 questions set by your nominee
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
  •  Write 10 new questions of your own for your nominees to answer.
  • Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

This is lovely idea as it enables readers to get to know new bloggers & connect with a wider audience plus it’s FUN!

Here are the questions Jennifer set for me… so here we go!!

1) If you were to picture yourself as an animal what would you be and why?

Although, it’s a fish, I think I would definitely be a Sea Horse because I’m a bit peculiar, I love the water and would prefer my husband to carry and give birth to our future children!

2) Do you play video games? If so what game is your favorite?

Yes, I do. My all time favourite would have to be the classics… Super Mario and Zelda.

3) What fictional world would you love to be a part of and why?

Being a huge fan of the Harry Potter series, it would have to be the magical world of Harry Potter. Attending Hogwarts would be a stupendous. I would never want to go home! And yes,  I’m still waiting for my acceptance letter…

4) If you were a superhero’s sidekick what superhero would you want to be partnered up with most?

I would be Robin… so I can ride with Bruce in the Bat Mobile 😀

5) If you were a smurf what would your name be?

Dreamer Smurf.

6) Quick, name a book! What book did you think of first?

The Lovely Bones (because it’s on my nightstand ready to be read).

7) What one food do you think you could never get tired of eating? 

Chocolate.

8) What’s one thing you wish somebody would invent?

An automatic makeup applicator, to save time in the mornings.

9) Who is your favorite fictional character and what do you like about them?

Elizabeth Bennet… her wit and charm never ceases to amaze me.

10) If you could have an animal character from either a book, TV show, or movie, which would you choose and why?  

Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch, firstly because I loved that show when growing up, and I found Salem so funny and who wouldn’t want to have three awesome Witches as your owners?

Okay, it took me while with these but here are my nominees:

1.  MROZIUK 1

2. editorialeyes

3. Stories about Goats

4. Grace’s Wanderings

5. Chris Knox

6.  A Rare Pocket of Time

7. laurynthemagnanimous

8. Ne Jibana- The Twisted Flower

9.  Teacups and Literature

10.  The Secret Life of Miss Nerd

Nominees here are your questions. You must answer these on your own blogs, just as I have.. and don’t forget to have fun! I’ll answer these questions myself within the next week. Followers/readers are more than welcome to answer these in the comment section.

1) Which fictional character from a book, TV show or movie, would be your ideal partner? Why?

2) A Cherished Memory

3) Which one do you prefer… read the book or watch movie adaptation?

4) Which fictional character from a book, TV show or movie resembles you the most and why?

5) A song that moves you

6)  Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

7) Your favourite current TV Show

8) Do you believe in love at first sight?

9) How would you sum up your blog in a single sentence?

10) Who has been your greatest inspiration?

Enjoy.

xxx

A Love Affair With Books

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This meme just about sums up my life.

My hunger for reading began at quite a young age… while other little girls were busy with their barbie and Ariel dolls (real 90s baby here!), I was busy reading books. Don’t get me wrong, I did my fair share of pretend play with dolls and toys but books was a place where  I could immerse myself into a vivid fantasy world.

The first book I remember purchasing with my own pocket money was Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes (which I still own), whilst I was in second grade and was 7 years old.

Then came the Disney movie Beauty & The Beast. Beast’s library. That was the real fairy tale ending for me.

Endless shelves of books, what more can you ever ask for?

That library still makes me swoon like none other.

My dream is to recreate it in my own home but at a much smaller scale of course!

My first ‘grown up’ book I ever read was when I was 10 years old and it was Dean Koontz’s Lightening.

 It made me smile, indignant and tearful all rolled into one. 

It is still probably one of the best modern books I have read, not only because of the astounding plot, but because it holds a special place in my heart.

Reading is still my escape, a place where I can get lost with words that consume me with emotives that no movie ever could.

That being said, I have decided to add book reviews to my blog to ensure that the little girl  for a love of books in me never dies.

At that note, here’s a  few words of wisdom to live by:

Marry the beast and get THAT library.