A Little Something Different – by Sandy Hall

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A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Summary from Goodreads below:

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

The fourteen viewpoints were an interesting touch with this book as I haven’t seen any book with that many before. It was especially interesting as none of the viewpoints were from the main characters themselves – Azalea and Gabe. However there were a couple of viewpoints that I felt could have been left out, such as the bench and the squirrel. Another problem I have with the viewpoints was Victor’s point of view as it seemed to me that he hated Lea and Gabe and it felt a little as if his character was forced.

While reading this book, it did make me wish that Australia had a Starbucks, but instead I pictured my favourite local coffeeshop instead – a place called Hudson’s Coffee.

Spoiler Alert!

Gabe being in a car crash was also what I had guessed his problem was, but for him to act that way I thought someone had died in the crash. Whether someone died or not, it is still a big deal, definitely. But for him to be stuck on it for that long – that’s why I thought someone may have died.

On a happier note, I’m glad that they finally ended up together and when they kissed, it literally made me say “Aww! So cute!” aloud.

End Spoilers!

The author did do a good job with making the main characters likable though. My favourite secondary character would probably have to be their creative writing teacher though as I would probably have done a similar sort of thing if I was in that position.

Rating: 4/5

1 *2 *3 *4 *

Black Beauty – by Anna Sewell

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Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Summary from Goodreads below:

Black Beauty is a handsome, sweet-tempered colt with a strong spirit. As a young colt he is free to gallop in the fresh green meadows with his beloved mother, Duchess, and their kind master. But when his owners are forced to sell him, Black Beauty goes from a life of comfort and kindness to one of hard labour and cruelty. Bravely he works as hard as he can, suffering at the hands of men who treat animals badly. But Black Beauty has an unbreakable spirit and will, and is determined to survive

Once upon a time, I had a hardcover Black Beauty book with Black Beauty’s face looking at you from the front cover. Unfortunately, that was lost during one of our past moves. I have since purchased a box set of Puffin classics and this was one of those books.

This cover is actually quite good looking and it’s a nice hard cover too. I kept up with what page I was up to in the physical book while I mainly listened to it as an audio book.

There were actually many life lessons to be learned from this novel too. A couple of examples of this are on page 67 where it is said “There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast then it is all a sham – all a sham, James, and it won’t stand when things come to be turned inside out and put down for what they are.”

Another example is on page 204 where it is said “My doctrine is this, that if we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt.”

Spoiler Alert!

Towards the end, we lose a good character, who was a friend of Black Beauty’s, to death: Ginger. This made me actually pretty sad, but I wasn’t quite wanting to cry. The wording was done very well for that scene though, I think.

However, at the end of the book when Black Beauty ends up at his original home with his original name and back with little Joe Green who was originally at his home too, just older now like he was, made me very happy and actually shocked me a little.

End Spoilers!

This book is good for bringing animal cruelty and animal abuse to the surface. It is tough to read if you are sensitive to animal cruelty, but someone needs to talk about it in a way that will make people listen, which is what Anne Sewell has done.

Rating: 4/5

1 *2 *3 *4 *

Peter Pan and Wendy – by J.M Barrie

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/25246250-peter-pan-and-wendy

Below is a summary from Goodreads:

Meet Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up; Tinkerbell, the mischievous fairy; the Lost Boys; and the villainous Captain Hook. A swashbuckling children’s adventure classic for generations, this edition has beautiful illustrations by beloved illustrator Shirley Hughes.

This was a cute little book with really nice illustrations to look at every few pages or so.

As I’ve seen the Disney film Peter Pan a few times before, that’s all I could imagine Peter, the Lost Boys, Wendy and the other to look like. About halfway through I imagined the illustrations as the characters instead except Wendy.

This book is just a little darker than the Disney film showed us all it to be as there is death – Peter creates much of it himself – but it is sort of skirted around.

“They little dreamed that the unprincipled Hook would ambush them about 7 p.m. The consequence was, that they nearly all perished.”

Was still a good book to zoom through though.

1 *2 *3 *

 

Asking For It – by Louise O’Neill

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Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30965521-asking-for-it
Asking For It - ebook 2
Image taken from: http://louiseoneillauthor.com/books/

Trigger Warning: non-consent, suicide

Below is a summary from Louise O’Neill’s website:

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident.

One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there.

She doesn’t know why she’s in pain.

But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night.

But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

I got this book as an ebook from NetGalley.

It didn’t take me as long to read this book as I thought it would because I have been in a massive reading slump for months. However it did make a lot of powerful points.

“No one forced them to wear that. They’re just asking for something to happen to them like that.”

No.

No one forced the perpetrator to do what they did either, but they did it because they wanted to do it.

The main point of his book is that no one is ever ‘asking for it’ because of what they wear, how they act, and so on. Victims of sexual crimes shouldn’t be made to feel punished for something that isn’t their fault.

When the main character, Emma, had that happen to her, she didn’t know how to cope. Yet no one takes her side and believes her (not even her best friends). This is because she wasn’t the nicest person (even to her best friends), she dressed what could be classed as inappropriately, and she had slept with people before. But that’s sort of the point – non-consented sex can happen to anyone of any age, race, gender, or personality type.

“They are all innocent until proven guilty. Not me, I am a liar until proven honest.”

This is a book that I urge you to read. This is a book that I urge everyone to read. Especially those in high school. It’s hit-you-in-the-face honesty that we live in a world like this, and Louise O’Neill doesn’t sugar coat that fact.

This is a book that will stay in your mind.

1 *2 *3 *4 *

 

A Court of Thorns and Roses – by Sarah J. Maas

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Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22839894-a-court-of-thorns-and-roses

Below is a summary from Sarah J. Maas’ website:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin-one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow over the faerie lands is growing, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin-and his world-forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristen Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

A Court of Thorns and Roses (also nicknamed ACOTAR) is the first book in a new trilogy by Sarah J. Maas and is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast story. Luckily there is a guide in the back for those hard to pronounce names such as Feyre (Fay-ruh) and Rhysand (Ree-sand).

I still can’t quite get my thoughts together about this book but I do know that I absolutely loved it, even as I think that I’m coming into a reading slump. There were points when I wanted to cry yet didn’t. However, there was one moment when I lost it and just broke down.

Spoiler Alert!

This, my friends, would be the part where Feyre died and how Tamlin reacted when he knew that she was gone. Also following that too when all the High Fae gave her a little sprinkle of magic or something along those lines to bring her back.

End Spoilers!

There is a divide between a lot of people over whether Feyre should be with Rhysand (with a ‘ship’ name of Feysand) or whether she should be with Tamlin with the lovely ‘ship’ name of Feylin. Until today, I was firmly in the camp of Feylin, but now I have one foot each side of the line.

I think that it was good that she went home even just so that we could find out what happened to her sisters and to give us peace of mind to know that her family was okay.

The only thing that slightly bugged me was the way that Rhysand left at the end, only as I badly want to know what happened there but there is no hint to what that is yet so I assume it will be shown in the next book.

Rating: 5/5

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 * 5 *

The Ice Dragon – by George R.R. Martin

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Image taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23627690-the-ice-dragon

Below is a summary from Goodreads:

In the world of A Song of Ice and Fire the ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember.

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara’s home.

And only a winter child-and the ice dragon who loved her-could save her world from utter destruction.

I bought this book from a local Big W as it was short and looked quite interesting from the cover. (Yes, I know. ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’. But this one matched up well.) That it was written by Mr George R.R. Martin was also a plus for me.

Later on I found out that it was classed as a children’s book. It could be read by anyone older too though as it’s written very well. Even though it is essentially classed as a children’s book it still includes dragons, a lot of death and the idea of ‘Winter is Coming’ from the Song of Ice and Fire universe.

While reading this book I spent more time looking at the illustrations than I did reading the words. The illustrations were amazing and very detailed.

Rating: 4/5

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 *

Circle of Nine: Beltany – by Valerie Biel

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Below is a summary from Goodreads:

“Since I was a little girl I’ve been labeled a freak in my small town. There’s no blending in when your mom practices an ancient pagan religion and everyone believes she’s a witch. On my 15th birthday my secret wish is the same as always – to just be normal. But that’s not what I get. Not even close.” – Brigit Quinn

Instead, Brigit is shocked to learn she’s descended from a legendary Celtic tribe – powerful people who serve as guardians of the stone circles of Ireland. A spellbound book of family history reveals the magical powers of her ancestors. Powers that could be hers – if only she wanted them.

And when someone sinister and evil returns to steal her family’s strength, Brigit has to make a decision. Fight to keep her unique heritage or reject it for the normal life she’s always wanted.

. . . . .
INSPIRATION

A story can get started a thousand different ways. Circle of Nine started when I visited standing stone circles in Ireland and England. The most famous of these is Stonehenge. Most people don’t know that there are hundreds of stone circles and ancient monuments dotting the countryside in Great Britain and northern France. I began to think about the people who built them, and I wondered what they were really used for. (There’s a lot of debate about this.) Then, I began my internal “what if” questions. What if there were people alive today who were descendants of the circle builders? What if they kept their heritage a secret? What if they could tell us what these circles were all about, but they’re sworn to secrecy? And, what if there was a modern-day girl who really wasn’t sure that she liked this extra-special heritage so much? What then…? (You can find out if you read the book!)

. . . . .

I received a free copy of this novel for my Kindle as my blog is one of the stops on it’s blog tour! Now on with the review…

Circle of Nine: Beltany was a very well written book by Valerie Biel. This was the first time that I have read about Ireland or it’s history and I actually quite liked reading about it.

My favourite part of this novel would have to be getting to read the book that was given to Brigit Quinn by her mother about their ancestors. It felt like I was really looking through her ancestors eyes and seeing what they got up to in each of their own eras. I think that it would be cool to read a copy of the ancestry from each woman’s point of view rather than just the few though.

Brigit may have thought that her mother seemed weird to other people, but I agree with her and think that her mother was pretty cool.

At one stage I did think that Bigit was going to end up with someone else in Ireland, but I think that the author was right to keep Brigit’s boyfriend and her together as it also kept his grandmother in the picture – giving Brigit’s mother a reason to tell the story of their past together.

If you like reading about the history of Ireland, or even Ireland itself then I would say this book is one you might like to read.

Rating: 4/5

1 * 2 * 3 * 4 *

valeriebielABOUT THE AUTHOR

Valerie Biel’s love for travel inspires her books for teens and tweens. Circle of Nine – Beltany is set partially in Ireland where Valerie was inspired by the ancient stone circles which dot the countryside. Beltany, an actual stone circle in County Donegal, Ireland, plays an important part in this novel. “There’s something eerie and beautiful about these circles which rise up out of the greenest grass you’ve ever seen. Who built them? Why did they build them? If that’s not enough to start a story, nothing is.”

This young adult novel was a top six finalist (out of 1000) in the Gotham Writers’ YA Novel Discovery Contest.

When Valerie’s not writing, she’s working on freelance public relations projects, wrangling her overgrown garden, traveling the world, and reading everything she can get her hands on. Once upon a time, she graduated from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in journalism and political science. More recently, she moved back to small-town Wisconsin, happily violating her teenage vow that she would never do so. Valerie’s husband and three children are always providing her with new story ideas whether they mean to or not.

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