Tag: The Book Blogger Test

book blogger test

I am really excited to be doing this tag – big thanks to Cayce @ Fighting Dreamer for tagging me! ❤ ❤

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Top Ten Books I Would Like To See Made Into Movies

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Books I Would Like To See Made Into Movies

This week is a freebie topic so since I love waxing lyrical about books and movies, I have decided to combine the two for this week’s theme.

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Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Read

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Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader

top ten tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. This week’s theme is:

~Top Ten Reasons I Love Being A Blogger/Reader~

To make this week’s topic a little easier to answer, I am going to give 5 reasons why I love being a blogger and 5 reasons why I love being a reader.

5 reasons why I love being a blogger:

  • The sense of personal accomplishment. I have always loved to read. I didn’t need any urging to pick up a book. However, having a blog has not only made the reading part even more fun (if that is possible!) it has also given me a great sense of accomplishment to not only read books but to review them and to also share my personal opinions on them and other book related topics.
  • Blogging has given me an outlet to express my opinion. It has also been somewhat cathartic – being able to express my views honestly, without holding back, has released a lot of pent-up feelings of emotion, frustration and anxiety. I have not had the easiest time of it the last couple of years so having a medium to vent or release my feelings about something is hugely satisfying.
  • The social aspect: I love interacting with other like-minded people. Joining Goodreads certainly broadened my horizons and allowed me to connect with other readers but since starting this blog last August I have met so many bloggers who share the same interests as me. I have always been pretty shy, so at first it was quite daunting reaching out to other bloggers, but over the last few months I have had a lot of fun discussions and have hopefully made some new friends.
  • Blogging has really given me a chance to be creative again. Not just with how I choose to write reviews and what to say but also the design of my blog (took ages to find one that really worked for me – I was constantly changing my theme for the first couple of months!) and the content of my posts. I love when inspiration hits and I get an idea of what would make a good topic for me to write about. I am not much of a ‘planner’ (which is strange since I have OCD and that revolves around following various rules and routines). I am more of a ‘pantser’ – inspiration strikes and I usually just follow it through. Before I had my blog I had no outlet to express this side of my personality.
  • Following on from above, the fact that people are reading my thoughts encourages me to keep being creative. If I want to entertain or engage any of my followers (or potential followers) I have to keep this inspiration flowing. Knowing that I have an audience really encourages me to keep thinking up new ideas. I am forever jotting down potential topics and although many will never see the light of day, I love having that impetus there to keep the creative juices flowing (urgh did I really just say that – I’ve always hated that expression but nothing else seemed to fit!).

5 reasons why I love being a reader:

  • The most obvious reason is the sense of escapism that reading provides. Sure, a movie can let me escape my humdrum life for awhile, so too can listening to music, but nothing allows me to completely unplug the way a book can.
  • I also love getting swept up in a good book. I am primarily an emotional reader, I love to connect with a story and characters. I become very emotionally involved when I become invested in a book or series of books. I love that feeling of attachment. I once had a book mark that said ‘a good book is like a good friend’ – it has always been so for me.
  • Reading has greatly expanded my knowledge of the world. It sounds a bit trite but I do not think I would be the person I am today without books. I love learning and I really thrived in an academic environment. I think  I have the books I read as a youth to thank for this love of learning and academia. Reading is something I have always done for pleasure so it was never a hardship for me. Likewise, reading novels (any type really) is a way for me to keep this learning process going. I would hate to feel stagnant.
  • My vocabulary has grown immensely. There were a couple of years where I did very little reading and I found myself having difficulty really expressing myself. Now I feel much more verbose (some people might argue that this is not a good thing!) and find it easier to converse whether in written form or conversation. This links back to me being very shy which I mentioned above. Works have always been difficult for me due to near-crippling shyness (and maybe a touch of social phobia).
  • This is a biggie – to be able to experience new things. I live vicariously through my reading. One of my favourite books last year was Wanderlove. It was about a girl finding herself on a backpacking trip through Central America. I think it is very unlikely I will experience this myself (it is not impossible but I cannot see it happening for many reasons not least my OCD would make it extremely hard for me). I got to experience that wonder through the pages of the book and that is probably the most enjoyable thing about reading for me. I will never travel to Middle-Earth or Narnia. I will never go to Hogwarts. Yet reading the books made me feel as if I was there. It is a truly magical experience.

For more Top Ten Tuesday topics, check out the host site: The Broke and The Bookish

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Most Romantic Books You’ve Ever Read

valentine's day challengeHosted by Rachel at Parajunkee

Well this challenge looks like a lot of fun – too bad I’ve practically missed the whole thing! Ah well, never too late right?…Right?…Totally!

Here are my choices for the most romantic books I have ever read (in no particular order):

valentine

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

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What are your most romantic reads?

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Top Reads of 2013

I must apologise once again for not having posted in some time. I have been going though some tough times in my personal life which has not given me any real time for blogging. I am hoping to rectify this at some point but for now, here are my top reads of 2013.

10: Angelfall by Susan Ee

angelfallSo many people have raved about this book I half-expected it to be a complete disappointment. Luckily (for me) it turned out to be an exciting, adrenaline-filled rush of a book – one I simply could not put down. Penryn was a great protagonist and I really ended up loving Raffe, the ‘fallen’ angel who becomes her companion when Penryn has to save her younger sister Paige from the clutches of a group of angels intent on harming her. 

9: The Tied Man by Tabitha McGowan

tied manThe Tied Man was an enthralling, unnerving and intense read. I felt positively battered when I got to the end of this book but it was well worth the emotional turmoil it put me through. This was a very dark read but was also incredibly emotionally satisfying.

8: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

speechI thoroughly enjoyed Speechless and thought its overall message was a positive one. Protagonist Chelsea learns the hard way the damage passing on a seemingly harmless piece of gossip can cause. Seeing her go from being a rather thoughtless, unlikable character to one with remarkable strength and courage was a joy to read.

7: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

sweetThis book gutted me. I think it is one of the most heart-breaking books I have ever read. Managing to be both bleak and yet somehow hopeful – this book has stayed with since I first read it. This was my first Sara Zarr novel – it will definitely not be my last.

6: If I Die by Rachel Vincent

if i dieI loved the whole Soul Screamers series but this entry (book 5 of 7) was my favourite. This is where the stakes are truly raised for protagonist Kaylee Cavanaugh. When Kaylee discovers what fate awaits her, she finds herself turning to an unlikely source for help and comfort (and as a total fangirl of this pairing I couldn’t help but squee at this development!!). This was my favourite book series read this year and If I Die was the most exciting and emotional installment.

5: Dark Space by Lisa Henry

dark spaceLisa Henry is a new author for me. I was totally blown away by Dark Space – a truly fantastic space opera saga (and I am overjoyed to find out a sequel is now in the works!!). It was creepy and intense and had an almost claustrophobic atmosphere (being set primarily in a space station on the edge of alien territory) yet at the same time it managed to convey a sweetly compelling love story. The protagonists Brady and Cameron are two very different young men but the bond that grows between them was lovely to behold, even if there was an overwhelming sense of impending doom clouding their developing romance.

4: Sins & Needles by Karina Halle

sinsKarina Halle was another new discovery for me this year. Sins & Needles was the first book written by her that I read. I immediately tore through Karina Halle’s entire back catalogue once I had finished reading this.  Although overall I think I may prefer her Experiment in Terror series, I was totally sucked into this book and I loved the main character Ellie Watt. Her flaws made her seem all the more real and relatable to me (also Camden is one of the hottest love interests I have ever read – definitely my book boyfriend of the year – move over Adrian Ivashkov!!).

3: Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

jellicoeI had a bit of a Melina Marchetta book fest last year. I read all of her catalogue – except for this book – which I had heard from reliable sources was the best of all her works. I could not convey eloquently enough in words just how brilliant this book is. I would urge anyone who has not already read this to seek it out. It is a fantastic, beautiful, if somewhat initially confusing read. I saved it for a time when I most felt I needed to read it – and the book did not disappoint.

2: Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

wanderloveI adored this book with the strength of a hundred fiery suns. I stated in my original review that it is probably one of the best, if not the very best, YA novels I have ever read. I loved the story of Bria, a young girl who finds herself on a journey through Central America, and her friendship and eventual romance with Rowan, a young wanderer she meets on her travels. An evocative and inspirational book – I could not put it down. When I finished reading I almost wished I hadn’t read it yet so I could discover it all over again.

1: Suicide Watch by Kelley York

suicideThe number one spot was a close call for me but in the end I had to go with Kelley York’s Suicide Watch. This book has left a lasting impression on me and I have actually re-read it several times already this year. This book made me feel – it completely and utterly captivated me. It manages to be both depressing yet completely uplifting at the same time. Suicide Watch is a truly beautiful story that will haunt me for a long, long time.

Honourable mentions:

These books just fell short of my top ten but were exceptional reads that I would wholly recommend:

Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz
Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Crush by Laura Susan Johnson
Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

wanderloveI am seriously in love with this book. I think it is one of the best ya novels I have ever read (and I have read and loved a lot). At first you could be mistaken for thinking it is just a run-of-the-mill piece of travel fiction but it is so much more than that. The tone itself was filled with wonder and excitement and the locations practically jumped of the page. I read afterwards that the author Kirsten Hubbard had been a backpacker herself and it shows. It feels like you are getting a real glimpse into the experience, a feeling of immersion lacking in other books I have read of the same ilk. After reading I really wanted to go and visit all these far-off wondrous places myself but I will settle for having experienced them with Bria Sandoval, the main character of the novel.

At the start of the novel, 18 year old Bria Sandoval is embarking on a journey, one which she hopes will heal the still-aching wounds of her past. Bria is just getting over a relationship with a fellow artist (who is gradually over the course of the book revealed to have been emotionally abusive to her and has sapped all her creativity and enery). Bria is lacking in confidence and has given up her one great love – art. She is hoping that the trip across Central America will fill the void left inside of her but that doesn’t seem likely when it turns out that the trip she has booked is filled with older tourists and she stands out like a sore thumb. She doesn’t quite fit in with the image of a true backpacker either, her apparel and equipment not ‘cool’ looking or functional enough to blend in with the droves of young backpackers she sees around everywhere.

Bria somehow falls in with a pair of travelling siblings, Starling and Rowan, after a trick played by Rowan ends up with her stranded with them overnight on an Island. At Starling’s urging, Bria is convinced to abandon her tour group and she sets out on an adventure across ‘true’ Central America, off the beaten track on a journey of self-discovery and wonder. Starling, Rowan’s humanitarian sister, is someone who Bria would dearly like to be; outspoken, smart and confident. Rowan, a dive-instructor and long-term backpacker, is also an incitement for Bria. He is exciting and attractive but there is something in his past that he is trying to escape from. Initially the two of them argue very frequently but there is something that draws them together. In Rowan, Bria finds something of a kindred spirit though she is reluctant to get involved with someone again after the meltdown of her previous relationship. Rowan appears to have a brotherly sort of affection for her anyway so Bria does not see their friendship as being a problem, even when Startling ditches them and they are left travelling alone together to Laughingbird Caye where a diving job waits for Rowan and the ‘Lobsterfest’ festival will soon draw the hoards of young backpackers. Bria and Rowan begin to get even closer as they travel but their past is only ever a step away from destroying their new-found connection.

Words truly cannot convey just how much I adored this novel. I loved the setting and the writing just totally drew me into the story and I was swept away in it with the characters. I was there experiencing everything with Bria and gradually falling in love with Rowan along with her. Their connection was a beautiful thing to behold. The build up between them is slow but steady, almost palpable, you feel their attraction even before they do. I was rooting for them to get together and was on edge several times when i did not know what was going to happen. Both were strong characters with many flaws, both trying (not always successfully) to escape the past. What I liked is that both of them grew by getting to know and rely on the other but they had their moments of individual growth too.

Bria was such a great protagonist. At the start she is unsure of herself and trying desperately to fit in. I was cringing at some of the things she was doing and saying but I totally related to her and got why she was acting this way. She had been through a lot and her confidence was practically non-existent. It was amazing seeing her change throughout her journey and at the end she is a far more confident young women, who doesn’t need to rely on others for help. Rowan was also an amazing character. He comes off a bit sketchy at first but as the layers are peeled back and Bria slowly gets to know and understand him, you realize that he is just as much of a lost soul as she. It is really no wonder the two of them form such a strong connection. Rowan is a former bad-boy trying to get his life back on track. He was trying to do this before meeting Bria so its not a situation where the good girl is able to change the bad boy (I hate that trope – it never works in real-life). Rowan is such a great character (I hesitate to use character – both he and Bria feel like real people to me). He is carrying a world of hurt and pain but is actively trying to turn his life around. Bria and Rowan both learn a great deal and gain strength from each other. Their bond ultimately helps them to heal their wounds.

I really loved Wanderlove. The lyrical, almost whimsical quality of the prose and the illustrations dotted throughout gave it an almost magical feel. The exotic setting was evocative and inspirational but the real strength for me lay in the characters and character building. Bria and Rowan were amazing and I loved getting to know them throughout the book. The love story didn’t overtake the novel at all, it was just there, slowly building in intensity in the background until the perfect moment when you realise just how deeply the pair have come to care for each other. Actually, the story itself is a slow-build as well, though never in a boring, drawn-out way. Things are revealed a bit at a time and I found myself unable to put the book down (I read it in a single sitting – not unusual for me as I do frequently get caught up but there was no way I was putting this one down until I got to the end).

Once I got to the denouement I felt emotional – happy – but also upset that the book was over so soon and I would not get to read any more about Bria and Rowan. Both felt so authentically real to me that I will really miss them. This is one book I can already tell I will be re-reading again in the very-near future. It truly has had a profound effect on me and will stay with me for a long time.

Overall score: 5/5 stars