The Best Moments In Reading Are When You Come Across Something- A Thought, A Feeling, A Way At Looking At Things- Which You Had Thought Special And Particular To You. And Now, Here It Is, Set Down By Someone Else, A Person You Have Never Met, Someone Who Is Even Long Dead. And It Is As If A Hand Has Come Out, And Taken Yours.

Alan Bennett

The History Boys

Sunday, March 13, 2016

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)Title: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before 
Author: Jenny Han
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: April 15, 2014
Genre: YA/Fiction/Romance
Length: 358 pages
Source: Amazon

Lara Jean keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. One for every boy she's ever loved. When she writes, she can pour out her heart and soul and say all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only.Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly Lara Jean's love life goes from imaginary to out of control.

Lara Jean is a sixteen year old half Korean, half American teen living with alone with her American father and two sisters since her mother’s death. Lara Jean likes collecting things, one of the things being long love letters she wrote to each of her crushes or loves. She keeps them in a teal box which her mother gave her for no one to ever see, until one day they all get mailed by accident. 

Okay, first of all let me tell you something about this book’s ratings. I was completely shocked to see adults saying this book was rubbish just because 1. Lara Jean has a crush on her sister’s ex-boyfriend (which seems ridiculous because is she not allowed to have a crush on him? If she likes him should she just not talk about it because it may seem strange to some readers?) I really doubt that’s something she can control, and through most of her book her relationship with him is written as a brother and sister relationship which she realizes and accepts like a complete adult. 2. People say her best friend Chris was an outrageous, loud slut. Yes, they actually said that about a teen fictional character. I will acknowledge that Chris can be a bit over the top sometimes but so is this comment. And, does no one care that Lara Jean is being bullied in school by a her “boyfriend’s” sadistic ex? Is the only thing they care about her best friend (who that makes her feel better and completely understands her) likes being the centre of attention when there are boys around? 4.The book had no ending. Am I the only one who realizes there’s a sequel?! Plus I thought the ending was kind of cliché romantic but still sweet.

Okay and now to the review. You know how sometimes you have badass main female characters, and then you have the shy, introspective, often girly main characters? You know, the one that often wears pastel color, whose hobbies include riding her vintage bike to the flea market full of vintage finds, and whose bedroom looks like something out of a teen Tumblr post? Well you just defined Lara Jean in one sentence. Sure, she has different qualities such as kind, polite and considered to be “quirky” whatever that means, but sometimes it’s a little painful to watch her perfection, and her forever talking about how average and up-pretty she is. She isn’t trying to sound whiny, but it just comes out that way. Also, when will we have a main character in YA with faults? While, that aspect of her personality was very frustrating (at least to me) at times, Lara Jean is a great main character. She’s optimistic, even though I agree sometimes a little bit childish about handling things, but she’s herself. What do I mean by childish? Often, she is troubled by what others think about her, and sometimes she puts herself down for no reason, and it kind of seems like she’s fishing for compliments.

One of the things I really liked about the story, was how her siblings played a huge part in the plot and story. Her entire family really. They aren’t just labelled as good siblings or bad siblings only to put away and later be brought up in dialogues convenient for the author, (most of the time in family fights) they’re there. A huge part of our lives are spent with siblings and you can’t just change them with a best friend instead in a book. Her relationship with her dad and sisters just seemed really real.

I thought the writing style would bore me, but over time I got used to it and really started liking it! It’s this mix of childhood memories, hopes, and dreams that will leave you all warm and fuzzy inside. While it wasn’t “funny”, it had plenty of sweet moments which just made you smile. I can’t wait to read the second book, (which is taunting me from right next to me on my bedside table) so I have to go! But the book has good characters, a memorable plot, and even though most of the story consists of Lara Jean’s thoughts it still manages to be exciting without a lot of plot twists, simply because you care about the main character and possibly see your younger (or older) self in her.
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Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday 4# A study in Scarlet

Waiting on Wednesday 4# 
Study In Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro 

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro - The 17 Most Anticipated YA Books to Read in March via @EpicReads
Don’t you just love the blue and orange combination? Apart from that, who doesn’t love a good Sherlock and Holmes re-make? I know I do, and not only does it sounds suspenseful and adventurous, but the main heroes seem very likable. Also, how many re-makes of the famous Sherlock and Holmes duo were there? Like forty? How many of those had main characters that were teens and made the mystery genre more appealing to that certain age group? If I’m not counting a recent read of mine called A Mystery so Unladylike, (which I’m not counting as the characters seemed more like 11 year olds than teens), than none (I’ve ever heard of). I love a good mystery from Poirot to Sherlock (as in the modern one), and this one seems very appealing and decides to make a genre that’s usually untouchable for children more well known by them. Which I think is great, because they get used to knowing and trying more genres than the very narrow genre of adventure, YA, and romance. Actually I have a feeling it has already hit the shelf a couple of days ago, but it’s still not available for Europe, so there you go. And also honestly doesn’t making the descendants of Sherlock and Holmes teens such a good idea overall?! Okay, I am actually genuinely excited about this!

13 Reasons Why

Title: 13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: October 18, 2007
Genre: YA/Fiction
Length: 324 pages
Source: Borrowed from friend

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorder by Hannah Baker- his classmate and first love- who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why. 

All through the night, Clay keeps listening- and what he discovers changes his life… Forever.

After returning home from school one day Clay Jensen (main character), finds a small package with no return address, with his name on it. After opening it, Clay realizes it’s a series of 7 tapes pre-recorder by his classmate (and first love) Hannah Baker who had committed suicide earlier. Each tape contains two reasons why she killed herself (except the last one which only has one reason, altogether making them 13) and revolves around one person who stands behind the reason or caused the reason for her suicide. Clay is shocked to realize that the tapes were only sent to those that are one of the reasons, and the only way to find out what it is, is to listen to Hannah’s story until it’s his turn… 

It is very, very hard to talk about suicide mainly with teens. This book not only manages to effectively mange to talk about it, explain how something as small as a mean comment can contribute to something a lot larger without us knowing it, it also manages to literally break the fourth wall of YA book storytelling with it’s witty dialogues and completely new way of narration: through a series of pre-recorded tapes. While the idea of this book is simple; it is very easy to get lost in it, mainly as it has so many characters to which the spotlight changes to every chapter. The main character Clay Jensen is very likable, and even though we don’t really know a lot about him apart from what happens to him or what he thinks about the day he gets the tapes, it’s still easy to see ourselves in him. This book also was one thing, and then suddenly it was another. Some parts were very suspenseful and exciting, yet I felt disgusted by the things that happened to her. Sometimes I agreed with some of the characters, and other times I absolutely hated everyone in the entire book. So… how did I feel about this book? It was twisty and thorny just like real life, managed to talk about suicide with teens, broke the 4th wall of narration, and managed to convey very strong feelings of both extremes into readers. I have not read a book like it for a long time, and even though it was very strong, I want to give it a bad number of stars due to the disgusting things the author made the characters do, and the vapid thoughts he made some of them think. However, I know it’s part of the book and helped create the plot and atmosphere, so I’m giving it 4 stars! I would definitely read it if I were you, but get to be angry, sad, and disgusted by this book.
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Monday, March 7, 2016

February Favorites

February Favorites*

American Horror Story
Finding out about Netflix finally coming to countries other than the U.S. I immediately decided to start a free one month trial. About five minutes later I was completely hooked and amazed at how many shows I could not previously watch were there. I started a couple of shows to see how it would go and what I would like and my favorites were Orange is the New Black, American Horror Story, The Big Bang Theory, and How to Get Away with Murder in no particular order (since I couldn’t decide). I also watched a couple of really good and really bad movies. Although, my favorite movie was probably Catch Me If You Can (with that in mind please finally give Leonardo an oscar). But one show that I particularly liked was American Horror Story. I have heard a lot about it previously and it was even aired in my country but the dabing was so terrible I stopped watching five minutes in. I was in Germany this week (and for some reason the Netflix selection of movies was different) so I watched a couple of Murder House episodes which turned into binge watching the entire season 1 in a day. Despite Murder House not being very popular I really liked it and I feel that there weren’t any slow paced moments. I also started Asylum which I thought was also really good, yet I formed this relationship with the Murder House plot and characters that Asylum wasn’t really able to re-create. Murder House was therefore definitely my favorite (so far) because you left every episode on this note of not knowing what will happen next and needing to start the other episode following it ASAP. There were many plot twists but somehow you never got lost in them which would resemble a telenovela. If you have the time and aren’t sure whether you should start watching AHS I highly recommend you to, since it’s just that type of show you can watch the entire day and not get bored of. Not only was the plot very cleverly written but you actually cared for the characters which I know is very hard to do sometimes. I particularly liked the character of Moira, Vivienne, and Violet, while in Asylum I don’t particularly care for any of the characters. Moving on… 


I am very surprised that this isn’t more known than it is. Djeco is a French company that makes amazingly creative and sophisticated toys known for its creative project boxes. You basically buy a small box which includes the materials and instructions on how to build or make something you usually would have a hard time finding the materials for or making yourself. Even though the toys are mainly targeted for kids; from very small children to young adults, there are certainly many projects that would interest an adult. I love receiving Djeco craft boxes for Christmas or my birthday because there are so many the chances of getting the same present are unlikely. Some of my personal favorites are painting elegant and fashionable silk scarves, using patterns to enhance an already sketched design, painting Japanese styled portraits of geishas, nature and animals. I think that one of the reasons why I like them so much is because my family and I travel a lot and instead of packing a billion pencils and boxes for crafts in the car, you pack conveniently pack one small Djeco box. Also, most of the boxes come with these very good quality two-sided markers that are very hard to find elsewhere, and have this beautiful bright pastel color. Anyways, I recommend you to check it out and I’ll leave a link right over here:

Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom
About last year I really got into adult coloring books. I have always liked drawing and coloring stuff in, but I quit at ten when they got too easy for me. Hmm… Actually let me rephrase that they didn’t necessarily get too easy, there just wasn’t enough to color in. I guess, they weren't intricate enough. Anyways, before receiving this as a gift, I already had one copy which I half-heartedly colored in (I bought it myself when I was 11) and I’m not going to lie when I say that the first time I had her book I didn’t really get into it as much as I did when I got a new copy from my aunt this Christmas. I’m about halfway through, but I like it a lot now, taking it with me whenever I travel somewhere. I actually even took it this week when I went to visit my aunt in Germany last week. I think the illustrations are very neat but still there is a sense of chaos (in a good way).
Aussie Shampoo and Conditioner
I was recently introduced to Aussie when a friend of mine recommended it to me due to my dry hair, when a different blogger said that it was supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. I really like not only the pretty pale blue color (which doesn’t really make a huge difference but is still pretty) and the amazing Australian blue fruit and flowers smell (which does matter). My hair was always  really dry and both the shampoo and conditioner helped a lot. Another tip: If you have extremely dry hair ends, what I do is I take half a pea sized amount of non- perfumed hand cream and gently rub it into my ends. The only thing is that you probably shouldn't do this immediately after washing your hair because you risk   the fact that if you put too much in, your hair might look greasy. Anyways, here is my favorite shampoo and conditioner (so far).

Marc Jacobs pale pink Natasha Cross body bag
Before I got this bag for this year’s Christmas none of my bags were “designer”. And with that in mind it’s not a bad thing, I really like some designer bags but I would never buy a bag just because it’s designer. I mean I can honestly say I love all my book bags and purses each commemorating a different part of my life, or memory, or country I visited. Quite honestly I still wear all my bags depending on the occasion but I just don’t have the urge to throw a single one away (because 1. why would I, they’re awesome? and 2. They’ve been given to me by one of my loved ones which were thinking I might like a nice bag (I do) or I even bought it myself. The reason why I chose this particular bag is because of how convenient it is for most things and in-the-city activities. Not only is it a stunning pale pink (one of my many favorite colors including pastel blue and purple) but it’s not big and therefore heavy and inconvenient, but also not tiny and barely able to hold any of my things. Sure, it looks tiny, but have you ever encountered a hand bag that was able to hold: A hot pink Guess purse, an eyeglass case with a pair of black detective styled glasses, a notepad, a pair of bobby pins spilled throughout, and a (very) small book? I have, but none were this pretty. I always wanted a bag that  would fit all my stuff in including my book for the week (and in the worst case scenario at least my kindle) and would also look presentable in case of a birthday party or a party overall.

*(aka a belief that buying things that your favorite youtuber/blogger likes will make you more like them.)