Saturday, 10 January 2015

November Mini Reviews

I haven't posted in a real long time and this post is extremely late but I have been super busy with school work and mocks and other things, which is also a reason I didn't read as many books as I would have liked in November. However I did read more than I thought I have, somehow managing to finish 5 books even though I was insanely busy and struggling through a reading slump.

Animal Farm by George Orwell 90%
Tired of their servitude to man, a group of farm animals revolt and establish their own society, only to be betrayed into worse servitude by their leaders, the pigs, whose slogan becomes "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
This is a satirical novel which essentially addresses the communism and beliefs of Stalin in the Soviet Union using animals metaphorically to symbolise different aspects of the Soviet Union. Although I had some knowledge of the communist set out of USSR at this time, it wasn't extensive but this book really improved my understanding of it and I found it thoroughly interesting. It is, I think an important book to read, as with all George Orwell's work, which relentlessly worked to expand my knowledge and interest of the subject as well as portraying how corrupt it was and putting forward Orwell's clear opinion. Of course, it was extremely well written, and though not fast-paced, short and concise and never bored me. I definite must read for anyone interested in history and politics. 

Just Listen by Sarah Dessin 75%
Last year, Annabel, was "the girl who has everything" - at least that's the part she played I. The television commercial for Kropf's Department store. This year, she's the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owens' help, maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she lost it all. 
This is the third book by Sarah Dessin and I think my favourite. I really enjoy her books as fast, easy reads to bridge a gap between two more intense books that I want to read. I flew through this book and really liked it. It felt a lot more real compared to her other two, and the characters felt relatable and very well developed. It also dealt with bigger issues, such as Anorexia and she did it in a sensitive way without being too cautious, representing the illness in a way that was raw and truthful. Having my own experience dealing with someone I know having Anorexia this was something I really appreciated as people on the outside rarely see how it can make the person act. I also liked that we got the opportunity to see other characters stories and see them develop. However, her writing, though well composed and clear, isn't distinct or interesting in a way that would make this close to a five star rating, 

To Kill a Mockingbord by Harper Lee 95%
"Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it's a sin to kill a mockingbird." A lawyers advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird - a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man's struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much...
This was a re-read for me, being a favourite book of mine as well as one of the most influential that I have read, and I loved it even more than last time. It is such a beautiful, heart-wrenching and emotional story with an imperatively important message. It is also amazingly written, Harper Lee has such a beautiful style in which she tells the story and a distinct, unique voice that draws you in. This novel never fails to both warm my heart and rip it out, as well as making my cry on multiple occasions. It is a book that will always hold a place in my heart, will always be room for on my shelf and one that I will come back to again and again. A definite recommendation (especially for someone looking to start reading more classics and not knowing where to start) and something everyone needs to read at least once in their lifetime. 

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas 92%
I won't give a synopsis for this because it's the second in the series and spoilers would be inevitable but you probably have some idea about what the Throne of Glass series is about. I loved this book, possibly even more than the last. The story was so intriguing and mysterious and just gripped me right from the beginning. The world building and character development is phenomenal, there is so much background and it is all so well-developed and thought out, making the story the author has created genuinely amazing. The writing is also fantastic, being fast-paced and interesting. And then the emotions, oh I had all the feels, sadness, humour, intense frustration...everything. I am actually really struggling to hold back and not read the next one, Heir of Fire, because I really want to find out what happens next, but know I'd have to wait for ages for the next one and I don't know I'd I can do that This epic fantasy series is a definite reccomend if your are looking to get into more fantasy, especially high epic fantasy type books. 

The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye 43%
Jude and Nina are the epitome of that whole raw, unflinching love thing that most people are jealous of. That is, until Jude dies and wakes up in The Waiting Room, surrounded by other sounds who are all waiting to pass over into their next life. But unlike those sounds, Jude's name is never called by the mysterious "receptionist". He waits, watching Nina out of giant windows. He's waiting for her. What is this place? How long will he wait? And what will happen when and if Nina does join him? The Waiting Room is a story of not just love, but of faith, predestination, and philosophy, friendship and self-actualisation, of waiting.
I have a lot of thoughts about this book so I may do a full review, but I'm not sure if I've left it too late. Although I would love to say that I really enjoyed this book, it really wasn't for me. Starting of well because premise is really interesting and the book is very well written as well as fast paced it went downhill pretty quickly after Nina turned up. This book felt repetitive and kind of boring, especially after going into it thinking it would be discussing important issues and making me think a little differently, it kind of fell flat and disappointed me a bit. It was pretty short, but felt quite long and dragged out and then the ending came without me even realising, it was so abrupt - I was reading it on a kindle app and I clicked to move on to the next page and continue reading only to find out it had actually finished, I was very confused. Saying that, there were some enjoyable parts and it has some good reviews elsewhere so it might be something you may enjoy, it just wasn't for me. 

That is everything I read in November, sorry this post is so late. I hope you are having a good week and enjoying the lead up to Christmas or general winter holidays. What was your favourite read in November?
Love Ellen xxx
(p.s sorry about the absence of photos I am having to post this using my phone because of my tablet breaking and uploading a photo would be rather challenging)