Friday, 29 August 2014

Currently Reading : One Day by David Nicholls


"The trick of it, she told herself is, to be courageous and bold and make a difference. Not to change the world exactly, just the bit around you. Go out there with your double-first, your passion and your new Smith Corona electric typewriter and work hard at ... something. Change lives through art maybe. Cherish your friends, stay true to your principles, live passionately and fully and well. Experience new things. Love and be loved of at all possible. Eat sensibly. Stuff like that. It wasn't much in the way of a guiding philosophy, and not one you could share, least of all with this man, but it was what she believed." ~ One Day by David Nicholls (page 12-13)

This extract of the book about living as an independent adult just really struck me... Something about it I just loved. It's beautifully written and feels so real and important that I had to share it.
Love Ellen xxx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

July Wrap Up and Mini Reviews

Sorry I haven't posted in ages, I don't really have any excuse seeing as it's the holidays, I guess I was just being a bit too lazy. Anyway, this is my July Wrap Up (I know it's super late because of going away and then being lazy and the longer I put it of, the harder it was to think about what I thought of these books, making me put it off even longer) and the mini reviews of the books I read.

In the first half of the month I read 5 books which were: Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding, Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, Amy and Rogers epic Detour by Morgan Matson, Wonder by R.J Palacio and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. I talked about these books and did mini reviews for them in my July halfway wrap up which you can find here.

The week after, the booktube-a-thon was held. I managed to read 1984 by George Orwell, Winger by Andrew Smith, The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle which you can see my mini reviews for here

In the final week and a bit of July, I was on holiday in Italy and as holiday is the perfect time to read, I read a lot and managed to read 5 more books before the end of July.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell                                                           96%
Cath and Wren are identical twins and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair anymore - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not easy for Cath. She would rather bury herself in the fanfiction she writes where there's romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realising that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible...
I loved this book. Rainbow Rowell has a witty and wonderful writing style that really let you sink into the story. I also thought it was so so so cute and I want Cath and Levi as my friends so darn much. Also, I think Cath is very relatable to lots of people as she is a definite Fangirl and book lover, which I can obviously relate to, as well as an introvert and although isn't something I relate to massively, I know others could definitely relate to and really understand her. The character development and all the different stories between Cath and different characters (e.g. With Nick, Levi, Wren, her dad, her teacher, her roommate) as well as between other characters was enthralling, and fun and I just loved it. The thing that made it lose that 4% is that it was slightly unrealistic in a few ways however that didn't bother me greatly or pull away from the story as the characters were so real and relatable. Also I would have liked a bit more after the end (don't want to give away spoilers, but those who have read it will know what I mean) but I still loved this read and Rainbow Rowell.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling   100%
I'm sure you know what this book is about, I mean even if you haven't read the series (if this is the case I question your sanity as they are the most amazing thing in the entire universe) or even seen the films almost everyone will know what Harry Potter is about. I think if possible, for some reason I loved this one even more than the last time I read it. It is definitely up there in my top three favourites of the series. The story is just so wonderful, and we get to learn so much more about the wizarding world as well as about the characters and all the history and it's just glorious.

Trouble by Non Pratt                                                                    76%
Hannah is smart and funny. She's also fifteen, pregnant and has a reputation for sleeping around. Aaron is the new boy at school. He doesn't want to attract attention. So why does Aaron offer to be the pretend dad to Hannah's unborn baby.
Growing up can be trouble but that's how you find out what really matters.
I thought this book was really interesting because it addressed a lot of issues that are quite prominent at the moment and during teenage years. I also found it very enjoyable and enjoyed the fact that for once, it was about friendship, not romance. I really liked that the point of view alternated between Hannah and Aaron every few pages or so as I felt that I really got to understand them both and what was going on in their heads. However, it scored down a bit as I felt the writing could be improved and that it was, at least for me, slightly predictable even though you got the impression that some of the things that happened during this book were meant to be twists. I still really enjoyed the story and would definitely recommend to anyone who thinks the story sounds interesting and enjoys strong character development.

The Rosie Project by  Raeme Simsion                                       83%
Love isn't an exact science but no one told Don Tillman. A handsome thirty-nine year old geneticist, Don's never had a second date. So he devises The Wife Project, a scientific test to find the perfect partner. Enter Rosie - 'the world's most incompatible woman' - throwing Don's safe, ordered life into chaos. Just what is this unsettling, alien emotion he's feeling?
I very much almost loved this book. I thought the writing was brilliant, in the way that it really captured what Don was like as it was written in a rather intelligent and scientific way that was really interesting. I also thought it was extremely funny with a brilliant story line and you could really see the protagonists development as the story went on. In the book, you got the impression that Don may have Aspergers, or some kind of autism but you can never be sure and he certainly didn't realise. I thought that this was a really good touch as it's very common for people to not be aware of it and it was very interesting to be in the point of view of a character expressing these characteristics. I also thought that the writing really showed this which made it a very good read. As much as I loved the characters however, they were very unrelatable and the book was just missing something... I don't know what, that stopped me from loving it. I really, really enjoyed it though and would recommend it to people who love intelligent, funny reads about love and development and interesting characters.
Everyday by David Levithan                                                          94%
Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. 
A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere. It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.
Everyday is the fourth David Levithan that I have read and once again, he has not failed to massively please me. I love his work, with a brilliant, witty and intelligent writing style (similar to that of John Green and the likes but still with distinct differences) and beautiful story lines. It would definitely be a toss up between Everyday and Boy Meets Boy for my favourite. This story is so unique and so heart crushing and just really very wonderful. You just to read it to understand I think as I don't know how much I can say with out inducing spoilers. I don't know why I haven't given it 100% or near enough but it wasn't quite there - you know one of those books that you put down and just think "wow wow wow wow". I guess Everyday was more of just a singular "wow". If you love John Green, Rainbow Rowell and A.S King then I would definitely recommend Everyday.

I hope that you enjoyed this post, and again I apologise for it being so late and for not blogging in so long. Have you read any of these books, what was your opinion on them? What was your favourite book in July? 
Love Ellen xxx

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Top Eleven Most Influential Books (and series)

Books are a big part of my life, and have been for a long time. They have massively influenced me in many different ways and I have read so many of them, for such a long time that my top ten most influential books was very hard to choose. Whilst some I knew instantaneously that they would make it to this list, it was hard to narrow it down to only ten as so many books have made such an impact on me. That is why I decided to add one more to the list and go for 11 instead as I simply could not decide which to choose. It will be in a pretty rough order of the most influential to the least (#10 and #11 are joint place) with a brief explanation for each.

#1 The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
These books had to be on my list, to be honest they are probably on almost everyone's list. They inspired my intense love and passion for reading, have taught me so much about love and friendship, good and evil and to be quite frank, are pretty much my childhood, pretty much my life actually. The books give me a place to disappear to when my day, week or even month hasn't turned out the way I would have liked - I love this series more than almost anything (I guess you could say, apart from my family and friends) and I definitely wouldn't be the same person today, they shaped who I am in some senses (I know cringey but it's true).

#2  The Fault in our Stars by John Green
This books means a hell of a lot to me. It is a beautiful story, made me love reading even more and helped me through a time when I was struggling with the loss of my Grandma and Grandpa to cancer in the same year. For me, it really summed up how it feels and it has made a massive impact on my life. I can not even explain how important this story is to me.

#3 The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Again, this book made me love reading even more. I actually read it when I was going through a hard time and the story and how the character felt really stuck with me. Charlie, the protagonist is finding life hard and one of his lines really hit home because it summed up exactly how I felt at that time. "So this is my life, and I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I am still trying to figure out how that could be". 

#4 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This was the first classic I read (as far as I can recall) which makes it quite important and influential to me as even though it isn't a particularly hard classic to read, I was proud to say that I had read it. I love classics, having really enjoyed every one that I have read and this is the book that started that off. It is also a brilliant story with important themes. 

#5 Goodnight Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
This is another book that really inspired my love of reading and holds quite a special place in my heart as one of my childhood favourites. It's a heart touching, emotional and real story that I will never forget and will go back to again and again.

#6 Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher 
I found this book very influential mainly because of the morals that this story held. It taught me that you never know what is going on in someone's life and therefore you should always treat people kindly and with respect (well, unless they don't deserve it) as even little bits disrespect and cruelty can really make someone's life considerably harder. You can find my review for it here.

#7 No and Me
This book is a very recent read and has taught me a few things about life. Firstly, that life is often unfair and cruel but you are expected to get on with it anyway because what else can you do. Secondly, that warnings do not come before a bad event, there is no chance to prepare or gather your thoughts - life is unpredictable and unexpected, there is no time to pause for a while. Finally, it showed how easy it is to get in over your head and end up in a situation that you don't want nor can deal with, which is terrifying. 

#8 Alone on a Wide Wide Sea by Michael Morpurgo 
Michael Morpurgo's books are brilliant stories for children aged 8-11 and they were a big part of this time of my life and I really loved them. They were the first books that read which were not the kiddy, girly stuff (starting off with My Secret Unicorn and then moving on to books by Jaqueline Wilson, Cathy Cassidy and the likes as I got older) which are great reads but there was a point when I was just rereading them again and again, maybe slightly past the age that I should have. Michael Morpurgo's stories marked the beginning of a new reading era and Alone on a Wide Wide Sea is one of my favourites and one that touched me.

#9 Sundae Girl by Cathy Cassidy
Even when I was young, I have always loved to read but Cathy Cassidy's books again marked a new reading era. I felt so grown up reading them, when in actual fact they are kind of a really huge part of my childhood and massively strengthened my love for reading. Sundae Girl was the first one I owned and read so it's means quite a bit to me.

#10 Room by Emma Donoghue
I can't really explain why this books was influential to me, it just was. For some reason, I felt that I couldn't remove it from this list. This book was just very deeply affecting and compelling and I think it made quite the impact on me and my life. It is not a book that I will forget.

#11 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I loved this book, and because it is such a prestigious novel and an important contribution to female literature I felt really proud to have read it. Not only could it be considered a challenging read due to the old fashioned language and somewhat traditional language, but it's actually written by a woman. A women living in the 1800s who stood up against all the prejudice towards females and actually managed to write this amazing book. That makes me proud to say I have read it. Don't get me wrong, I love this classic, but it's the history behind it and everything Austen must have put into this novel and  acted as a stand against the overpowering belief that I feel is the most spectacular, the most influential. 

I hope you enjoyed this post showcasing my most influential books and I hope that there is an off chance that you have been inspired to read one of them (if you haven't already). I know that in the future this list will change but I think that's pretty exciting and at this moment I'm quite proud of this list in a weird, nostalgic way. What have you read that have been influential? 
Ellen xxx

Saturday, 2 August 2014

July Book Haul

Having accumulated a fair amount of books that I am really excited about (having read and really enjoyed them or am really looking forward to read) I thought I would show the books I purchased.
(Disclaimer: all of these books I bought either with my own money or with gift cards given to me by family as birthday presents. I would also like to mention that I feel extremely priveliged and grateful that I am able to buy these books and I am not trying to show off in anyway. I just love books and want to share this with you.)


Winger by Andrew Smith

Ryan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old junior at a boarding school for rich kids. He’s living in Opportunity Hall, the dorm for troublemakers, and rooming with the biggest bully on the rugby team. And he’s madly in love with his best friend Annie, who thinks of him as a little boy.

With the help of his sense of humor, rugby buddies, and his penchant for doodling comics, Ryan Dean manages to survive life’s complications and even find some happiness along the way. But when the unthinkable happens, he has to figure out how to hold on to what’s important, even when it feels like everything has fallen apart.

I have already read this and it is a wonderful story with brilliant and hilarious pictures throughout it. You can hear more about my opinion in my booktube-a-thon wrap up.

Trouble by Non Pratt

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.
This sounds like a really good and interesting contemporary that I am definitely taking with me on holiday. I also think that it's just a friendship rather than a romance which sounds brilliant as it will be good to read a boy-girl friendship for a change.

Tribute by Ellen Renner
Zara is a mage, one of the elite in a world where magic is power, and the non-magic majority live as slaves. When her slave child best friend is killed for the crime of literacy, Zara seeks revenge by spying for the rebel Knowledge Seekers. She finds her bravery and magical skill tested to the limit when a young Maker, Aidan, is taken hostage in a bid for supposed peace. Surprised by first love, she promises to help him. But before Zara can keep her promise, her secret is discovered. Hunted by her own, she seeks refuge with the Knowledge Seekers. But when you can kill with a thought, can you ever be trusted? 
The cover is beautiful, she has the same name as me and it's a YA fantasy, how could I not pick this up? It sounds really good and has good reviews so I am excited to read this.

The Winners Curse by Marie Rutkoski
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 
One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 
But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
This book sounds fantastic, with great reviews, what seems to be a brilliant story and a beautiful cover, I needed this book.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.

The truth. 
This book has got loads of hype recently and no one who hasn't read it is allowed to know what's it's about. I want to know, so I bought it.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?
Ellen xxx