Book news, Discussion, life

The Place for YA At University

Something happened today.

You see, up until this point I felt a lack of reading culture at my university. It was an absence that continued to plague me and I couldn’t help asking myself?

How do these people not love books?!

Don’t get me wrong, I have found a few mutual friends who share a love of books but at a larger scale people tend to be more concerned with socialising and surfing facebook than generating thoughtful discussions on books.

Don’t get me wrong, I respect other people’s ideals but sometimes I feel like we as a society tend to be promoting a more extroverted ideal more than the notion of taking time to yourself and immersing yourself in reading or a more though provoking exercise.

Why is that?

On a more happier note, I did find a little nook at my university which is dedicated to leisure reading. The sight of shelves upon shelves of YA books warmed my heart like nothing else ever could and ever will.

Book reviews

Am I Normal Yet? | Life Lessons About Mental Illness

Title: Am I Normal Yet?

Author: Holly Bourne

Series: The Normal Series #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis:23592235

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love?

 

GUYS I POSSIBLY JUST FINISHED THE BEST BOOK! If you know me, you know I’m quite a critical person and it’s not that easy to get me so excited about a book. But YOU MUST read this book. Here’s why:

Our protagonist Evie has one of the most distinct and honest voices the likes of which I’ve only read in John Green books. From the get go you’re inside Evie’s head and even after finishing the book I have moments when I can imagine what Evie would make of the situation I’m in. The author does a brilliant job of portraying the world through the perspective of someone who has OCD.

Which brings me to the ever-important theme of mental illness explored in the novel. Unlike other novels I’ve read where mental illness is sugar coated or represented through fifty million metaphors this book just says it like it is. It’s realistic, it acknowledges that mental illness is a REAL problem with REAL drawbacks.

I also like how the novel makes a point that mental illness has now become somewhat mainstream and people believe it’s okay to throw around words like OCD or bipolar without realizing that it is an actual illness that people actually suffer.

This book wins at diversity

Aside from mental illness we also see the exploration of feminism. The topic is represented in a humorous and quirky way which makes it much more interesting and I can now safely say I have learnt SO MUCH about women’s rights and mental illness in regards to women and oh the importance of cheesy snacks while discussing the said issues of course.

Now don’t get the impression that Evie hogs the whole novel because we also see cyber-bullying, drugs and other forms of mental illness, basically all issues that would concern teenagers of the modern world. A majority of the reason I enjoyed the novel so much was because how relatable it was.

If genuine characters, diversity and cheesy snacks sounds like your cup of tea then I highly recommend you to pick up this book.

Rating

5

I wouldn’t have known the existence of this novel if it weren’t for my Aussie Secret Santa @soundless_rune_le_bookdragon so thank you so much!

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Book reviews

10 Reasons Why You Should Read Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly RIGHT NOW

Title: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes

Genre: YA Contemporary

Page Count: 400 pages

Source: Harper Collins YA

Release Date: June 22nd 2015

Synopsis: The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.

And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it’s clear Minnow knows something. But she’s not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of; if she is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is easily one of my favourite books of the year and here are ten reasons why:

10. It has depth

This book is a psychological thriller and a crime novel but it’s also so much more. It explores blind faith and poses questions such as:

How do we know what we know? Why do we choose to believe in certain things? What extreme measures are people willing to take in order to grasp onto that one bit of sanity?

9

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is unique in the sense that it is very raw. The story is gory and it evokes raw emotions within you which I didn’t know a book was capable of doing. I’ve never read anything like it

8

The story travels between Minnow’s present which is in Juvie and Minnow’s past in the Community with her Cult. The plot was assembled very well. In the beginning I just wanted to read all about her past but later on you realize the writing in the present is also very important  to observe Minnow’s self-development.

7. You’re going to want to read about Minnow Bly

Minnow has one of the most distinct voices in YA fiction. As soon as the story began I was like “woah I can already hear her voice in my head”. HOW IS SOMEONE ABLE TO DO THAT. But seriously I love observant she is and honest too

6. The Feels 

If you’re a fan of YA (you probably are since you’re on the blog and reading this post) then you definitely go for the feels in a book.

Minnow’s character has gone through so much, I mean her father cut her hands off on orders from a strange man! and the author does a really good job of showing that through Minnow’s defiance in the Community, her journey towards redemption and coming to terms with her past. And you’re able to empathise really well with all her emotions.

5

The writing in this book is very straight to the point. I love it because it paints a clear picture of the Community and even Juvie. I also felt like I didn’t have to work very hard to understand what Minnow was feeling

4

I read a post recently on YA Midnight Reads (my favourite book blog) about how The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly came about and you should definitely check it out.

But I am so grateful that the author decided to set this story in the modern world and not in a dystopian future. It just makes the whole idea of religious cults that much more possible to imagine and be freaked out by (we all love that don’t we?)

3. Religion in YA

This is possibly the first time religion has been so exclusively discussed in YA. It adds to the awesome diversity thing we have going and I love the fact that this books voices questions that literally all of us have asked sometime in our lives.

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I have nothing bad to say about this book. Trust me when I say I am a very picky reader in the sense that I nit-pick the smallest things in a book but I just cannot find anything wrong with The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.

If the above nine reasons weren’t convincing enough then I hope this final tenth reason convinces you to go out of your houses on June 22nd to buy this book

1. BECAUSE IT’S JUST SO GOOD

But seriously guys. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. Get on it.

Rating

5

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Discussion, life

Discussion | Could YA Have A Negative Influence?

Recently. I’ve noticed that the best friend has started saying this particular line to me quite often:

“It’s not like that. You read too many books. Gosh”

This is usually in reply to my random perspectives on life.

Which got me thinking. What if the books I read have started influencing me? I mean what if they’ve warped my perspective about something?

Now of course, considering I read so many books it’s a given that they’d influence me in some way or another. But what  if they’ve started affecting my take on life, like majorly?

Let’s take love for example, literally every fictional novel I have ever read has some kind of romance in it. And I’ve noticed that, particularly in YA, love is this huge philosophical thing, it’s exaggerated really but being a teenager and being easily impressionable, I see it as this huge powerful event that’s gonna knock the wind out of me and the universe will collapse unto itself or something.

So has my reading resulted in me forming unrealistic expectations of love? Have I formed an idea that true love looks like Augustus and Hazel or Anna and Etienne?

That’s the other thing about YA, it sets this unrealistic bar for what boys should be like. I mean, let’s be honest, we’re all looking for an Augutus Waters or Chaol Westfall to stride in and sweep us off our feet.

I’m not trying to single out YA as the culprit of unrealistic expectations,  I mean everything from TV to Disney Movies to Instagram has us forming unrealistic expectations about everything, not just love.

I guess at the end of the day, we have to remember that, that particular representation of love in the novel is the author’s idea and experience.

And the best way is to just not be so gullible,get out there and discover your own idea of love or anything really through experience.

Apologies if this post was a bit vague or sounded too much like an “inner ramblings of a teenager” rather than a bookish discussion. But yeah it’s been plaguing me

Do you think books set unrealistic expectation?

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Book news

Book Blitz: Henge by Realm Lovejoy

Hey everybody!

If you haven’t guessed it already. I am a HUGE fan of fantasy so I am really excited to introduce you to…without further re due HENGE!

Series: Le Fay #1HENGE_Cover

Author: Realm Lovejoy

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis

Inspired by one of the greatest legends of all time…

Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.

Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.

Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.

But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.

Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze.

Praise for Henge

KirkusReview_HENGE

Purchase Link:

amazon

goodreads

About the Author:HENGE_author_photo_lowres

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at realmlovejoy.com

Author’s links:

Website: http://www.realmlovejoy.com/index2.php

Blog: http://realmlovejoy.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorrealmlovejoy

Twitter: https://twitter.com/realmlovejoy

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23151530-henge

~infinityreads

 

Film review

Film Review: If I stay

Director: R.J.Cutlerif-i-stay

Stars: Chloe-Grace Moretz, Mireille Enos and Jamie Blackley

Genre: Drama

The highly anticipated film adaptation of Gayle Forman’s If I stay  surpassed all expectations. But that doesn’t mean it’s perfect.

I absolutely adored the book and recently reviewed it here. To be honest I wasn’t anticipating the movie too much because I was convinced that no adaptation could impress me more than The Fault In Our Stars film but let me tell you. I was wrong. If I stay is phenomenal

Characters

Chloe-Grace Moretz is slaying it in the young-adult adaptation world. Her portrayal as Mia Hall in the film was acceptable however, in my opinion Mia’s character has an immense amount of depth and strong emotions. Chloe did an average job of being this emotional girl but it required more depth and she just wasn’t fully immersed in the role. But I have to say, she slayed that rock chic look. And I also wonder whether she can actually play the cello.

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My first impression of James Blackley as Adam while I was watching the trailer for If I stay was: He’s too soft. I imagine Adam as this hard-core (but not too hard-core) guy with this laid back attitude. And Blackley did surprise me. Throughout the film he did a great job of being that hard-core guy especially while performing his musci but he was also this sweet guy. So great job James Blackley!

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The rest of the casting was great, Mia with her ex punk rock parents and her grandparents with Teddy aw bless him. The film succeeded in capturing the close bonds in Mia’s family and I was feeling the feels when the turmoil hit.

One thing that did bug me was Adam and Mia’s relationship, It was adapted well for the most part with all the cute teenagery moments and what not but I was a bit confused about their break up. It didn’t even seem like a break up, it seemed like this fight that got interrupted by Mia’s accident and I’m not even exactly sure WHY they were breaking up. The film didn’t execute the break up to a satisfactory level I believe.

And what’s with Adam’s back story of being left behind by his parents? Pretty sure that wasn’t in the books but it did give insight into his nature and decisions so I’m cool with that.

Music

As you may or may not know, Mia is a cellist and Adam is part of a band so music played a vital part in this film. The music choice was great. That is all I have to say for that, it was great. Mia’s cello pieces were on point and rejuvenated this love for classical music inside me and on the other hand Adam’s rock performances made his character stronger. I was a bit disappointed that Say Something didn’t appear throughout the film since it was in the trailer and would’ve blended in beautifully with the film oh!

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Plot

With adaptations I understand that the film doesn’t follow the book word for word. For the most part I feel like this film stayed true to the book and what it represented, that you don’t take your family and friends for granted and you never know what’s gonna happen. This, I believe is a powerful message that was executed powerfully by the film.

I was a little skeptical of how the creators of the film would show the difference between present day and Mia’s memories since the book/film goes back and forth between present and past. Much to my surprise the present situation and Mia’s memories of past events were very distinguishable which made me very happy.

Okay so I am a rather picky person so bear with me but I would’ve liked to see a back story to most characters as is the case in the book. For example, the fact that Mia’s best friend Kim does not get along with her boyfriend Adam at the start and Mia is conflicted about this but during Mia’s accident they come closer as the circumstance calls for it. I thought little stories like this told from Mia’s perspective in the book connected me that much more to these minor characters. But you can’t have everything hey?

If I stay definitely impressed me in terms of movie adaptations and I know at some point in this blog post I sound like I’m complaining but really I’m just a picky person, I really did enjoy the film. Hoping to see the sequel in cinemas sometime soon!

Rating

4

 

 

Book reviews

Throne of Glass- Review

By: Srah.J.Maas download (1)

Series:  Throne of glass #1

Genre: Young adult/fantasy

Pages: 404

Summary

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen year old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught. Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice, Caelena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament- fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. She is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

Ok so I’ve been avoiding writing this review because to be honest, this book was shit. The character development was poor, the plot was predictable and boring and the main character in fact ALL the characters (except maybe 2) from the book annoyed me.

Caelena was a poorly represented assassin; she seemed nothing like an assassin rather just another bratty princess. She was arrogant, unrealistic and got on my nerves most if not all the time. What makes it so unbelievable is everyone seems to fall in love with her the moment they see her, I mean aren’t people meant to be wary and not have much trust in assassins at first glance?

The prince is another important character throughout the book. Reading his POV I felt like I was in the mind of a petty, arrogant 15 year old instead of a 19 year old. Again, poor decision making and character development. The romance between Caelena and him was cliché and seems like it was based mostly on appearance.

On a positive note, Captain Westfall was a rather good character. I liked him all the way through the book since he seemed so realistic and his decisions and reasoning did not get on my nerves. I would have loved to see more from his POV.

The world building in Throne of Glass was interesting however only minimal information was provided in order to support the events in the books, (if that makes sense). For example, there are references to Caelena’s past but not enough detail as it doesn’t correlate to the plotline of this particular book.

The book continued at a steady pace however, this seems like one of those action packed books and there just wasn’t enough of the adrenaline.  I did like the second plotline which involves a bit of mystery and if that had been the main plotline the book would have been a 5/5, instead the author decided to focus on romance and court life.

Rant over! On a parting note I’m contemplating whether to read the sequel but I’ll get around to it.

Rating:

2

 

`Infinityreads