Review: The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne 

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

39999Synopsis: Berlin, 1942 : When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.


“If it wasn’t for the fact that Bruno was nowhere near as skinny as the boys on his side of the fence, and not quite so pale either, it would have been difficult to tell them apart. It was almost (Schmuel thought) AS IF THEY WERE ALL EXACTLY THE SAME REALLY.” – this is quite possibly the most important thing anyone can take from this book today. Still relevant, holocaust or not. Let’s not forget this this is first and foremost, a children’s novel. A book written for the target audience of children aged 10-15 to make them aware of the issues. So people that are getting pedantic about the “British phrasing” and metric/imperial measurements should just give it a rest for a minute, because and that’s not what’s important here.

Of course this book has its issues, no one is perfect. But the heart of this book lies in the incredible naivety of the young boy Bruno, who has grown up with such a sheltered and privileged life, that he simply does not understand the severity of what is happening in his backyard. How could he? If he’s never been told what all of this means, and is only fed the information that will cause him to follow the rest of the brainwashed society in supporting and continuing Hitler’s ways.

It is the youth in the narrative voice that makes this book so powerful, particularly when reading as an adult who knows enough about the subject to understand what “Out-With” and “The Fury” actually mean. Or when a man “falls down but doesn’t get back up again”… the exact words don’t need to be said. It’s in the simplicity and honesty of a child’s voice that the power of this novel sits, and is the reason why the outcome is so devastatingly heartbreaking to read.


View The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas on Goodreads

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Review: The Sun is Also a Star – Nicola Yoon

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

28763485Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


My rating for this has gone back and forth between 3 and 4 stars on Goodreads, I honestly couldn’t decide, so I’ve settled on a 3.5 for the purpose of this review.

I was soooo excited to read this when it was released. I absolutely loved Everything, Everything, and raved about it in my review, but this just didn’t come up to par. Maybe my expectations were too high? I don’t know, I just felt a little disappointed.

The novel starts with the introduction of two characters andis written from a dual POV: Daniel, an American-Korean teen, and Natasha, a Jamaican immigrant living in America. Already we’ve got oodles of diversity, which is fabulous. I actually haven’t read a book with these two cultures represented in them before, so it was great to read into that and learn a little bit more about how they are historically related to one another (Turns out it’s black hair care products – who knew?!) We also have input from other notable characters, which I enjoyed. I loved how each character was written with their own unique voice and dialect.

Now, here’s where my issues start. Natasha is a scientist. She only believes in the facts. Daniel is a poet, the creative sort, and believes in destiny and fate. We are told this a gazillion times… It wore on me after the third time, which only took a couple of chapters…

There was also the whole “Love at first sight” thing, at least on Daniel’s part. Natasha was having none of it, being the science type. But I mean, he actually followed her around New York for the day – what kind of crazy person does that?! I would have told him (and Natasha did) to go the hell away. Isn’t this like, stalking…? I’m not cool with that.

The parts that actually did work for me, were the bits that dealt directly with racism. Daniel’s Korean parents were most certainly not okay with him hanging out with Natasha, not only because she was black, but more importantly, because she wasn’t Korean. They would’ve also had a problem with an American girl walking into their family. These issues are so important to be addressed in YA fiction, because sometimes I think that people just don’t get how deep these issues run. It’s not just one minority that is targeted, almost every single race, religion or culture is affected in one way or another.

Although I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as I had hoped, I am very glad that I read it. My lower rating is simply down to my own hyped up expectations and then disappointment. It is a very good book, there were just had little niggling things that annoyed me. The ending however, was cute. It wasn’t happy in the way you want it to be, don’t get me wrong, but I liked it. That’s all I’ll say on that one.

One of the most important messages that I think anyone can take from this book is to not let others define who you are. Make your own choices and live life how you want to live it. Find your passion and let it carry you; don’t hold yourself back out of fear of what others will think of you.

You all should read it. A very interesting portrayal of cause and effect in human life, and a great read if you’re looking for some diverse books!


View The Sun is Also a Star on Goodreads.

Unboxing: November Fairy Loot – “Royals & Rogues”

Fairy Loot is a UK based Bookish subscription box, and I’ve got to say – it’s bloody brilliant! I received my first box in October and just loved it, so I know that I’ll be staying subscribed for the foreseeable future.

Each box contains a new release hardback book, and Bookish items which are all of extremely high quality and support small businesses within the bookish community.

Without further ado, let’s see what wonders were concealed in the November box…


INSIDE THE BOX:

1. “Nemesis” by Anna Banks: “the first in a new high fantasy series. The story is set in an exotic kingdom, an it’s full of mythical creatures and magic. Nemesis by Anna Banks has the perfect amount of  magic, mystery, romance and action!” – I had heard neither of the book nor the author prior to this box, but I’m excited to read! It sounds super cool, and also came with a signed bookplate, a bookmark, a letter from the author and a “Perani” sketch (a Perani is a weird mer-person creature thing, which I’m assuming has relevance to the story…)

2. “Queen of Books” Mug designed by ReadAtMidnight: I absolutely adore this mug! It’s my first ceramic bookish mug, so naturally I’m using it all the time! Please feature more items like this, because I’m just obsessed.

3. Royals & Rogues Tea by The Tea Leaf Company: So, I’m not that adventurous when it comes to tea. I just like your bog-standard breakfast tea, milk and one sugar. But I have to say, if the packaging is anything to go by then this looks good! It’s an earl grey blend (haven’t tried this before) and even included tea filter bags for those of us not fancy enough to own a strainer.

4. Calipha Pocket Mirror by Bookworm Boutique: This cute little black and gold mirror is inspired by The Wrath and The Dawn duology.

5. “Queen of Terrasen” Mini Notepad by Alexis Lampley: A Throne of Glass inspired item? Yes PLEASE!  I’ve been reading this series recently, so when I saw this in my box I got super excited. The only thing I would say is that there isn’t really much room to write anything on it, so I probably won’t use it that much, but it’s still cute.

6. Scented Spectorium Soap Crystals by  CraftyRagamuffin: Apparently this item will make more sense once I’ve read the book, but it’s sparkly and smells good, so I already like it.

8. ACOMAF quote Tote Bag: The info for this item wasn’t on the packing list, so I’m not sure who it was designed by, but the colours on it are gorgeous. It’s a decent sized bag and feels like it’s made from a pretty good material – perfect for carrying those books are with you.

7. Double Sided Red Queen Art Print: One side is a lettering design by LovelyOwlsBooks and the illustration side is by BookOtter. The only issue is that I can’t decide which of the beautiful sides to show on my wall… dilemma.


Here’s a photo of all the contents – In my opinion, this was the best box yet, and I’m so excited to get my box this month!

 


The theme for Januray, Mystery & Mischief, went on sale today, so grab it whilst you can because it looks amazing and they’re going out fast! Go to Fairy Loot now.

Mini Review: Heir of Fire (TOG #3) – Sarah J. Maas

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

20617636Synopsis: Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?


First of all, I want to say that I started this book straight after reading Crown of Midnight (Which was amazing, and you can read my mini review here), and had a serious book hangover from it. I got about 100 pages in and put it down. For 2 whole months. The world wasn’t the same, there were lots of changes and my hangover just wasn’t having any of it. I also ended up going through a bunch of personal stuff in those 2 months, and just didn’t read anything at all, so don’t take it personally Heir of Fire fanatics.

Anyway, once I’d dragged myself out of my own miseries, I finally picked it back up again, and boy oh boy do I wish I could have just read it all in one sitting. ANOTHER amazing book in this series! Sometimes after a couple of books the writing starts to become sluggish and forced, but not in this case. It was even more fast paced than before, and there were new freakish monsters and glorious characters introduced, whom I just adored.

I do however feel that certain parts were just a teeeeeeny bit lengthy, and could’ve been explained a bit quicker, however, in true Maas style, I’m sure that every single tiny detail will be used as plot ammunition in the coming books.

I’m very excited to continue reading more into the series, especially to see how Manon’s character develops. I think she could become one of my favourites; what an interesting lady! I also particularly loved the flashback scene where we learned of Celaena’s escape after her parent’s death, and I’m very much looking forward to the introduction of Arobynn’s character in Queen of Shadows – I think things are going to get intense.

I’m taking a short break from this series now, just to get some other reading in, but trust me, I shall be returning to it very shortly!


View Heir of Fire on Goodreads


I just want to say a quick congrats to all of the Goodreads Award 2017 winners – Sarah J. Maas won yet again, this time with ACOMAF, which I regret to say I am yet to read… You can see a list of the winner’s for each category by clicking here.

 

#DAReadathon Sign-Up Post

So I’m very excited about this post… I’m taking part in my first ever readathon! I have to say, I’m a little scared; I usually only manage 3-4 books per month because I get so busy, so doing at least 7 is going to be one hell of a challenge… but hey, why not!?

dareadathon-sign-upThis one is hosted by the very lovely Aentee @ ReadAtMidnight and takes inspiration from all of the spells used by Dumbledore’s Army focusing on diversity within fiction, in particular one’s with #OwnVoices. You can read her original post here, and sign up for yourselves to represent your Hogwarts house!

The readathon is running from the 1st-15th January, midnight to midnight in whichever time zone you’re in.

So without further ado, it’s time to set myself a TBR for each of the prompts…


dareadathon-expecto-patronum

18460392The Patronus charm is deeply personal and is fuelled by your love and positive experiences. For this prompt, read a diverse book highlighting a topic of personal significance to you or a loved one.

For this I’ve chosen to read All The Bright Places by Jenifer Niven. Depression and anxiety have been things that I’ve been  dealing with for a few years now, and this book deals with this in the most extreme of these circumstances. It also deals with suicide and loss, which a few of my close friends have unfortunately experienced first hand.

da-readathon-expelliarmus

23058402This Disarming spell became one of Harry’s signature move. I ask you to disarm your own prejudices and step out of your comfort zone for this prompt. Go read a diverse book featuring a marginalised group you either have not read about, or don’t read enough about.

I haven’t ever read a book with transgender character, so for this reason I simply must read The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson. It’s been on my to read list for nearly a year now, so it’a definitely time to get it checked off my list!

da-readathon-protego

32075671I hope that everyone will strive to pick #OwnVoices books for these prompts anyway, but here’s a category that demands you to cast that Shield Charm and protect #OwnVoices story by reading one!

I was lucky enough to be sent an advanced copy of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, so that’s going to be my pick for this prompt. The book was written as part of the Black Lives Matter movement, and is more important now than ever in the current political climate.

da-readathon-reducto


Feminism is important, but it means nothing if it’s not inter-sectional feminism. Use this Reductor Curse to smash the patriarchy and read a book, either non-fictional or fictional, that highlight feminism which is inclusive to all women.

25544401It took me so long to decide on a book for this category, but I finally settled on What Was Never Said by Emma Craigie. This is another that’s been sat on my shelf for a couple of years now (It was released on my birthday in 2005, which is the main reason I bought it.) It tackles FGM (Female Genital Mutilation) which I haven’t ever come across before. Although not specifically “Feminism” it’s something that’s extremely degrading for a marginialised group of women, and takes away their femininity – an issue that needs to be addressed, tackled, and fought.

dareadathon-impedimenta

27774758Rouse yourself from that Impediment Hex and go read a diverse book that’s been languishing on your TBR for far too long.

Most of the books I’m picking for this read-aton have actually been on my TBR for aaagggeeess, but I’ve chosen An Ember in The Ashes by Sabaa Tahir for this one, because I really want to read it and it fits here! (The others could fit into the other prompts better than this one.)

dareadathon-stupefy

23437156For this prompt, find a book that’s taken over the Internet with a Stunning Spell and causing hype everywhere – then read it.

Well there is one book which I recently won a signed copy of in a giveaway, and that is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. This book has had some serious hype surrounding it, and I just keep seeing fan art everywhere, so I really need to get in on this one asap!

dareadthon-lumos

25663637Lumos will illuminate your way in the darkness. If you’re struggling to find diverse books to read, go and find one of your most trusted bloggers and ask them for a recommendation, let them light your way to the read for this prompt.

I’ve had so many people recommend When We Collided by Emery Lord to me since I first started on bookstagram and my blog earlier this year. It was also the book included in my first ever Illumicrate box in May. Another book tackling depression here, and it’s an #OwnVoices match; perfect opportunity!


dareadathon-points

I’m stepping up for the Gryffindors!

(Seriously though, more Gryffindors need to sign up, so if you’re a fellow lion, get on it)

dareadathon-points-card-2

The points system is as follows:

  • Each 10 pages you read will earn you 1 House Point.
  • Each book you complete will earn you 5 House Points.
  • Each book you review specifically for the #DAReadAThon will earn you 5 House Points.
  • Crosspost your review to Amazon for 1 House Point.
  • Post an image of your #DAReadAThon ID on Twitter for 1 House Point, and it allows other members of your House to find you!
  • Tweeting on the #DAReadAThon hashtag (with meaningful tweets about your current reads, recommendations of #OwnVoices) will earn you 1 House Point each. You can have a maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions.
  • Photos of your #DAReadAThon books or TBR pile will earn you 1 House Point each. This contributes towards the maximum of 20 House Points from Social Media interactions mentioned above.

Who else is taking part? Do I have anymore Gryffindors out there? Comment below!

Book Tag: Christmas Song Book Tag

Happy December everybody! Only 24 sleeps to go until the best day of the year… WAHHHOOOOO!

I was looking for a fun book tag to do, and found this one, although I’m not sure who created it to begin with. If anyone knows who created it, please do let me know so I can give credit where it’s due! I chose this one because it’s Christmas themed, and I’m a little bit excited for the holiday season this year, if you couldn’t already tell… I mean, I put my tree up mid November because I just couldn’t wait any longer!

In this tag, titles of popular Christmas songs are taken and a question is made out of each one. Here we go!


1. “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch” – Name a villainous character you couldn’t help but love to hate.

I’m picking an obvious one here, but she is my absolute favourite villain… Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and the Order fo the Phoenix.

anigif_enhanced-29437-1420775279-16_preview

I just think she’s fantastic. A big pink, seeming fluffy, crazy cat loving pile of evil meringue.

2. “All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which book do you most hope to see under your Christmas tree this year? 

Ahhhhh there are so many! I would love the illustrated HP books though. Or anything with a beautiful hardback cover like the Barnes and Noble leatherbound editions. I also love the Puffin in Bloom classic editions.

3. “Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer” – Name a character that overcomes major obstacles and learns to believe in themselves.

Does Celeana Sardothian count? I’m saying she does. I mean, imagine having your whole world just ripped apart like hers continuously is. Yet she stays strong and kicks ass! Goals.

4. “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” – a) Which character do you think is at the top of the naughty list and b) which character do you think is at the top of the nice list?

I’m sticking with a theme for this one and picking two characters from Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon:

Naughty List: Maddy’s Mum… (What an evil B****)

Nice List: Olly. What a sweetheart.

I wrote a review of this book not too long ago.

5. “Frosty the Snowman” – Which book just melts your heart? 

All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr.

It melts it, then breaks it, then puts it all back together again.

Click here to read my review

6. “Feliz Navidad” – Pick a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Most books do, because a lot of what I read and is written is set in the US. I’m in the UK, so let’s go somewhere other than the US and say The Book Thief – Markus Zusak which is set in Germany.

7. “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” – Which Christmas book do you use to spread the Christmas joy.

I can’t actually remember reading a book set over Christmas… Which upsets me because I love everything about Christmas!

8. “Sleigh Ride” – Which character would you choose to spend the holidays with?

This is a toughie. Can I pick Buddy the Elf…? I know he’s not from a book, but…

200_s

9. “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – which book, that you didn’t like, would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

Gone Girl. Burn that pile of overhyped nonsense to the ground!

10. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” – Which book do you think everyone should read?

I have to say The Book Thief, because even though it was over a year ago since I read it, it’s still my favourite.

You can read my recommendation here


Fell free to spread the Christmas cheer and try out this tag for yourselves! Be sure to comment a link to your post below if you do decide to do it so I can check it out.

Happy holidays! 🎄