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  1. Wonder by R.J. Palacio Review

    Tuesday, 29 April 2014

    Wonder by R.J. Palacio


    I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

    August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

    R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels

    Publisher: Corgi Children's
    Publish date: January 3rd 2013
    Pages: 315



    Wonder is one of those books that you stay up late into the night just to finish, then stay up the rest of the night thinking about. I have read a lot of books about real situations. Heck, if it came down to it, I could recite them by heart. But Wonder, is quite honestly one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, life-affirming books that I have ever had the pleasure to read. From page onwards, I have laughed, cried, gasped and rooted for Auggie, who is possibly one of my favourite fictional characters. Ever.

    If you don't know what Wonder is about. It's about August Pullman, who was born with a birth defect that causes facial abnormalities (or facial anomalies). Auggie is just a normal kid. He has an Xbox, he wants friends, and he argues with his sister, Via, who he shares a very close bond with. Auggie has spent his whole life trying to blend into the background, but some people are just made to stand out, stars amongst rocks. And August is a shining example of this.

    "You can't blend in when you were born to stand out."

    I love this quote, so so so much. It just seems to set the tone for the whole book. Wonder is one of those rare books that make you sit back and reevaluate yourself as a person. It makes you think: have I ever stared like this? Do I do or say unkind things without realising? August's personality seems to just shine through perfectly. He's just a normal kid, really. One who happens to have facial deformities. Though he doesn't like to call them that.

    Auggie has lived a pretty sheltered life. Being home-schooled by his Mum, until he reaches middle school ages and his Mum decides he might want to go to school. August is reluctant at first. He knows kids will stare, and say horrible things. And they do, at first. In that way kids do. Wonder is a brutally honest story about fitting in when you're different, bullying, and the effects of being the friends and relatives of a child with a genetic condition.

    This book has touched on areas I didn't even know I possess. It sparked emotions in me, and made me want to become a better person. Auggies story, and all the people involved has touched me deeply, and it is one who will stay with me forever.

    Amazon/Goodreads rating: 5*


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  2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell


    Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.


    Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.



    Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose

    Publish date: February 28th 2013
    Published by: Orion Publishing
    Pages: 324

    No matter where you are. No matter where you come from. You will find yourself really identifying with this book, the characters. Everything. Eleanor and Park . . . Okay, I'll admit I was a bit reluctant to read it. There was so much buzz around it, and it was hugely popular. I haven't really had a lot of good experience with popular books. But this one, this one. . . Can we just stop for a moment and just appreciate the beauty of this novel? Seriously, I feel like I am killing off any writing skills I may possess  just writing this review, but it has to be said. Eleanor and Park wa beautiful, amazing, flawless. It completely epitomises what it is to be a teenager, a misfit and to be in love with someone for the first time.

    Not only does it perfectly capture the essence of youth. It also perfectly captures the hardships of being a misfit, an outcast. The characters aren't perfect. Not by any standards. In fact, they're so flawed, so real that you feel as if you could reach right into the pages and pluck them out, fully formed.

    Eleanor and Park is written from the point of view of both interests. In this way, she manages to weave a very real and very beautiful picture of their relationship. I have never fell in love with characters, or a book so much since Harry potter. Eleanor and Park has that rare ability to worm its way into your heart and capture your soul perfectly. And the whole time, you're just reading it and you can easily find yourself in their shoes, or even remember situations much the same.

    But can we just talk about that ending? I've read so many heartbroken reviews talking about the ending. And yes, I wanted them to have a happily ever after. Of course I did. But the ending was so wholly real, so bittersweet that I couldn't think of a better way that the book could have ended. Please, I implore you, if you want to remember what it was like to be young, to be in love for the first time, then this really is the novel for you!
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  3. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith



    Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the story of how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

    To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition

    Publication Date: 11th February 2014 
    Published by: Electric Monkey Publishing
    Number of pages: 394 

    Normally when reading a book, there is one recurring theme running through my head the entire time. This time was no different. However, unlike other times I have read books, the thoughts that were running through my heads were somewhere along the lines of: "What the heck am I reading?, "This is so weird!" or "Ew, that's gross!"

    Grasshopper Jungle, if you haven't read it is quite possibly the strangest, most original and hauntingly compelling piece of end-of-the-world-fiction that I have ever laid eyes on. While most apocalypse fiction adheres to the same set of strict morals and gore fests, Grasshopper Jungle swerves completely away from that, creating a whole new era of Armageddon storytelling. Most novels, for me are now completely predictable, I can easily spot overused element or subtle cues that tell me that something is about to happen.

    However with Grasshopper Jungle, I was taken completely and utterly by surprise.  It starts with a killer of a hook and draws you in to the weird, gruesome and very horny world of sexually confused Austin, his gay best friend Robby Brees and his girlfriend Shann as they navigate a scary new apocalyptic world, slowly being overrun by giant praying mantises. 

    Andrew Smith has created a horrifying, yet oddly satisfying world of two headed babies, penises in a jar, giant grasshoppers, germs that turn people into hungry/horny/murderous insects, sexual confusion, horny teenagers, horny adults, strange psychopathic men that grow weird things in jars using their own semen, underground silos and just a general sense of complete, unmitigated bat poop craziness!

    In the nicest possible way, I found myself pausing several times throughout and pondering the much pondered question: What the hell am I reading? Never has a character been so intriguing, horny or sexually confused in all the masses of fiction I have ever laid my grubby pincers (See what I did there) on.

    I honestly think Andrew Smith must have been high or drunk, or extremely horny when he decided to write Grasshopper Jungle, because surely something as deliciously strange of this could have been created from the byproduct of an acid trip. To be honest, if you like this book or not is purely a question of taste.

    Some people may find it too rude or vulgar for them. Some may find it too strange or too gross. I found it all four, and yet I enjoyed it immensely. It isn't often that something has the power to voice my thoughts out loud, and Grasshopper Jungle did just that. There were plots, inside plots, inside plots and yet Andrew Smith managed to weave them seamlessly together, so that somehow, it all seemed to make sense.

    No holds are barred with this book. There is sex. There is drugs and violence and homosexuality. There is blood and gore and a slight bit of religion all thrown in there. The writing is shocking, abrupt and witty. Short and to the point. No need for pretty words or fancy prose. It is so utterly bizarre that you actually start to question your own sanity. At some points, there are moments that you just laugh out loud and others where you seriously begin to worry for the author's sanity.

    If you want a unique, crazy, original, blunt, unblushing book to read this summer. Something that has sparked an entire generation of storytelling as a whole, then I would highly recommend Grasshopper Jungle. I for a fact, will never look at fiction in the same way again.


    Goodreads/Amazon Rating: 5 *****







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  4. Get Noticed with Bloglovin'

    Monday, 14 April 2014


    So I recently came across the most amazing discovery: Bloglovin'. For those of you who are not aware, Bloglovin' is a genius way to follow all of your favourite blogs without having to individually type their search addresses each time you want to check their address. Instead, if they have the button installed, you can follow them through Bloglovin' and gain notifications every time an update is posted.

    It's also a genius way for bloggers to start out and build up a readership. I only recently discovered it after searching for ways to get my Blog noticed. And what pops up; but Bloglovin'? It can show you the traffic and follower stats for your blog, in a weekly and monthly breakdown. This is the must have website for anyone who wants to get noticed in the Blogging World.

    Don't allow my rambling to deter you. Why don't you go check it out yourself? Even if you're not a blogger yourself, you can still gain something out of this (free) service!


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  5. There's nothing better than free books, right? Right. So to be in with a chance to win, why don't you go on ahead and enter? You can find Rachel's Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyR1lWw_xmc. She is giving away 80 books, that's right, 80, that's 40 books each for two winners! plus other awesome stuff. There are also 70 authors who are getting in on this.

    Honestly. You want to get in on this, it is a 250 book giveaway. Not to mention the fact that you can win other stuff such as T-shirts and mousepads. Also head on over to http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/250-book-giveaway-introduction.html for further details. The giveaway ends 13th May, so get in there before it's too late! She will also be giving 40 books each to two lucky winners.

    You do have to sign up for a rafflecopter, but as has been mentioned, they don't spam you, and it's the only way you can enter.

    Rafflecopter is posted below. Check out all links for further information.


    Rafflecopter:  http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/21bd26160/
    RayKayBooks (Youtube): https://www.youtube.com/user/RayKayBooks
    Krystal's Blog: http://livetoread-krystal.blogspot.co.uk/ 


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