The Sun Is Also A Star

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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon is the story of two teenagers, Natasha and Daniel, who meet on a day that could change both of their lives. Natasha’s family are undocumented and are being deported back to Jamaica that night, but she is going to do everything in her power to keep her family in America. Daniel is on his way to an interview for medical school at Yale, but becoming a doctor is something his parent want not him, once he walks into the interview he feels that his life’s path will be set in stone.

At the beginning of the book Natasha mentions that her mother always says that “Things happen for a reason” and this is a theme which is carried throughout the book. We see the impact of things which happen to others; the train driver who found God , the insurance actuary  who lost his daughter, the lawyer who is having an affair with his paralegal. These things, although apparently inconsequential to Natasha and Daniel, have a profound effect on their lives.

The connection between Natasha and Daniel is wonderful and comes across as very natural. They are two very different people, different backgrounds, different cultures and also very different in how they see the world. But all of this works, they compliment each other beautifully even though they may not always agree on things. Even though the book is set over only one day everything between them is believable.

I think this is a book that needed to be written, it has many subtle messages that needed to be put out into the world. Nicola Yoon has done a wonderful job of addressing issues such as race and immigration, she did not shy away from it at all. It all comes across as believable and well informed. What more can I say? I loved it!

5
5/5 stars

After The Fall

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“In the early hours of this morning, the Lowe Corporation rescue helicopter was scrambled to airlift a five-year old boy from a coastal address north of Napier”

Some books grip you from the very first sentence, After The Fall by Charity Norman is one of those books. The newspaper article describing the incident raises many more questions than it answers. How and why did Finn fall? Did he survive? If so, how serious are his injuries? As we read the first chapter another question arises; what does his mother Martha know that she does not want to admit to?

Told from Martha’s point of view we are taken back to over a year before when she and her husband Kit decide to emigrate to New Zealand. It is a decision that shocks everyone but it is one that Martha and Kit feel is best for their family. Her sister Lou is devastated, her father tell her to do what she thinks is best, her daughter Sacha thinks that her mum is ruining her life. Somehow they push through all of this and make the move. On arriving in New Zealand they fall in love with a picturesque house in the middle of nowhere and begin to rebuild their lives with school, work, neighbours and a new community.

As the story progresses through the year between the move and Finn’s fall we are given glimpses of the aftermath, but still no hints as to what really happened. Throughout this I found myself wondering how and where did it all go so wrong? Both Martha and Kit’s careers are picking up, the twins are loving their new home and Sacha has made new friends and is doing well at school.

The characters, including the more minor characters, all feel so real and the beautiful town the McNamara’s live in really comes alive so before you know it you are at the last quarter of the book. The first three quarters had me hooked, but I read the last quarter almost compulsively as we finally learn the truth about the events that led to Finn’s fall.

I would say more but trust me, this is not a book you want spoiled for you, it hit me right in the heart and I am still reeling from it.

5
5/5 stars

Bookworm

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I picked up Bookworm by Christopher Nuttall for two reasons. The first was that it was, as the title suggests, about books and the second was that it involved magic.It is also largely set around a huge library filled with these books on magic, my interest was piqued.

Elaine No-Kin was brought up in an orphanage in the Golden City, never knowing her parents or where she came from. Although her magic is limited she attends and graduates from the Peerless School and then takes a job at the Great Library. The Great Library holds the largest collection of books on magic there is, including those books which are banned as they contain information on the dark magic which nearly destroyed them in the necromantic war many years ago.
While sorting through a box of books left to the Great Library by a recently deceased duke Elaine accidentally sets off a magical trap which almost kills her. When she finally comes round she realises that she now has the the knowledge from every book in the library stored inside her own head, including the banned books kept locked in the Black Vault.

I am very conflicted on this book, so lets start with the good points. If there is one thing I love it’s imagination put into books about magic. This book definitely has that. The magic system is well thought out and it works well, throughout the book we see hints of magics capabilities and its limits. We are shown the different and complex ways it can be used, and its shortcomings. The main character is very relatable, and the other characters are really brought to life and hold their own. The plot moves at a good pace and definitely kept me interested, the world it itself is fascinating and beautifully described.

With all the praise I have given, why then am I conflicted and whats stopping me from giving this book a five star rating? This book is listed in more than one place as being Young Adult fiction, so why then is it filled with so much sex? It adds nothing to the story and certainly makes it inappropriate for the young adult category. Elaine and her roommate have a fairly detailed conversation about oral sex after Elaine’s first date, she later walks in on a man receiving oral sex, after being kidnapped she is tortured, mostly psychically but there is also some sexual abuse from her captors. This is all rounded off with a graphic sex scene between Elaine and Bee, her new boyfriend. I have no issue with erotica, but if I want to read that then I will buy it. I don’t expect to find in when reading a young adult book.

Although the book is part of a series, the plot comes together nicely at the end. It makes it clear that there is a next one but wraps most things up satisfyingly. If it had not been for a repeated sexual content this book would have had five stars. However it just felt out of place and inappropriate, therefore I have given it 3 stars.

3
3/5 stars

Serpent’s Kiss

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I really enjoyed Serpent’s Kiss by Melissa de la Cruz, it was the perfect follow on to Witches of East End.
Freya’s twin brother Fryr, now known as Freddie, has escaped Limbo and returned to get his revenge on the man he believes responsible for his incarceration, Killian. While Freya goes between the two attempting to prove Killian innocent and find out who is really to blame, Ingrid has her own problems. Her new relationship with Detective Matt Noble is blossoming, but the pixies who accosted her in the park and are now asking for her help are at the center of his investigation into recent burglaries. Joanna meanwhile has received a message from the dead which she is struggling alone to decipher, and the best person she can think of to help her is her long estranged husband, Norman.
One of the highlights of this book was the pixies and also the background information their story line provided into the different worlds which have been touched on in the previous book. World building and lore always get a thumbs up from me!
Overall a very enjoyable and entertaining read. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book.

4
4/5 stars

Out Of Orange

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Having read Orange Is The New Black and loved it, I was very excited to read Cleary Wolters’ side to the story. Having now read it I have to say I have mixed feelings about it. Parts of it I loved; her reactions to Piper Kerman’s book coming out and the subsequent Netflix series, her account of her first time smuggling drugs through an airport, and her time in prison, especially the incidents with the cat she adopted while there and of course, the information on chicken wing smuggling.
However there were other parts which felt dragged out, including the pages and pages about her cats and the time spent waiting for drugs to be delivered to them in far flung countries. Compared to these parts, the parts I was most interested to read about seemed very short.
I became most invested in her towards the end of the book, when she talked about her sister also doing time, her parents unwavering support for her, and her attempts to see her father when he became ill.
If you are on the fence about reading this book I would say give it a try, it gives a good amount of background to the drug smuggling ring she and Piper were part of and more information on how they met and their relationship. Just be prepared for more information than you ever thought you needed on someones cats!

3
3/5 stars

The Night Circus

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern may just be one of my favourite books of all time. From the moment you start reading you get sucked into the story, and also into the circus itself. Spread throughout the book between chapters, is your own walk through the circus. The atmosphere, the tents, the people, everything is described in such detail that you become almost sure you are there yourself. The further into the the book you go, the further into the circus you walk, and by the end of the book you do not want to leave.
Celia Bowen and Marco Alisdair are the pupils of two different magicians, set to compete against each other in an unknown game with the circus as its venue. Neither of them fully understand the game that they have been training for most of the lives for, but they begin to make moves by creating new wondrous tents for the circus.
The circus is brought to life by the wonderful characters both within it and outside it The tarot reader Isobel, the owner Chandresh, the Murray twins Poppet and Widget, Bailey, Friedrick Thiessan who is the unofficial leader of the circus’ fan club, the Rêveurs and many others who become intrinsically linked with the circus.
I have rarely read a book so well thought out, it will take you until the very last page to put everything together but believe me it is worth it. This book is truly magical. I will happily pull out my black coat and red scarf and read this again and again. I definitely consider myself a rêveur.

5
5/5 stars

Am I Normal Yet?

So, let’s kick this off with a pretty amazing book that I read last year.Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne.

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I read this book in under 24 hours, I got it for free as part of World Book Night 2016 and wasn’t sure what to expect. However I was hooked from the first few pages.

Am I Normal Yet? is the first book in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series, which follows friends Evie, Amber and Lottie. The story is told from the point of view of Evie, a sixteen year old girl in recovery from OCD and Generalised Anxiety Disorder. All Evie wants is to be “normal”, just like everyone else she goes to college with. We watch her attempting to navigate family, friends, feminism, lessons and, of course, boys, alongside her recovery. Funny, sad, brutally honest and filled with hope this book accurately portrays what it is like to try to recover from a mental illness while also trying to live a “normal” life. It also shows Evie’s acceptance of her mental health issues as part of who she is, and not something she needs to hide.
This may have been my first time reading one of Holly Bourne’s books, but it will certainly not be my last!

5
5/5 Stars

Me, myself and lots of books

The day I discovered what a library was was probably one of the best days of my life. A building filled with hundreds of books, and I could take as many as I liked home with me to read? Ok so apparently I could only take eight, and also I could only read ones in the area with the brightly coloured carpet. But still this was so many more books than my over crammed bookshelves at home would hold! So I got my very own library card and went in search of as many Sleepover Club and Glitter Girls books as I could carry home, and three days later when I had finished them all I begged my mum to take me back for more.

Weekly trips to the library were some of my favourite moments as a child, and nothing changed as I got older. At the age of fifteen, I moved to a completely new area and started a new school. I was terrified and very shy. As I had moved in Year 11 I was not able to fill my timetable properly, which resulted in me having at least one free period a day. I think my face must have lit up when I was told I would spend these in the library doing homework. I interpreted that as extra time to read and was thrilled about it. While I did make some friends at that school I never felt like I completely fitted in, and the little desk in the corner of the library became my happy sanctuary.

At seventeen I moved again, this time up North to live with my grandma, she lived in a bungalow in a small town and therefore my bedroom was tiny. To me this meant one thing, limited book space. So what was I do to? Stop buying books? I could just as easily have stopped breathing. No, instead I did something I had sworn I would never do, after having a go with my stepmum’s, I bought a Kindle. And I fell in love with it.

This was four years ago. Today my Kindle book count totals 435  books, many I have finished, many I have promised myself I would finish, and lots more that I keep saying I am going to read. But still I keep downloading them and believe me I have no intention of stopping. I also keep saying that I will upgrade my Kindle to a newer model, my Kindle Touch is so old that Amazon no longer sell them! However my faithful old Kindle keeps going no matter how many books I fill it with, and I have become far too attached to it. It has outlived three phones and two iPod touch’s and it doesn’t look like it has any intention of stopping.

Which brings us to this blog; So Many eBooks, So Little Time. I have reviewed a few books on Goodreads, my home from home, and while writing one today I found myself thinking that I would like to do a lot more of this and do it properly. All I can hope is that I will utilise this blog, and not stop halfway through like I did The Green Mile because I got distracted by something shiny and new.