Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Fault in our Stars Review

By: John Green
Published: January 10th 2012 by Dutton Books

Goodreads Description: 

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

My thoughts:

I have very mixed feelings about this book and the characters in it. I've read a lot of reviews and seen a lot of people talking/raving about it on tumblr, so I had the expectation before I read it that it would totally blow my mind and change my world view etc. It didn't. Not that I'm saying I didn't enjoy it...I did enjoy it, if you can call liking a book about kids with cancer enjoying it. I just thought that it was a bit pretentious at times, and when Hazel or Augustus were giving some of their big speeches about the universe and oblivion etc, I have to admit I got pretty lost at times.

I liked Hazel. She wasn't a hero. She was a pissed off teenager, mad at the world and at her terminal disease. Rightly so. I understood her fears of hurting the others around her by dying, and not wanting to get close to people she could avoid hurting. I was torn between not wanting her to get too close to Augustus, (because we all knew what would happen to him, let's be honest) and screaming 'JUST LET HIM LOVE YOU!' at her.

Augustus was sweet and charming and just...*sigh*. What he did for Hazel, his letters to Van Houten. I have to admit he made me cry in many public places.

Isaac was probably my favourite character though. He was another one that didn't even pretend to be the typical strong, heroic cancer kid types. He was sad (though admittedly less about losing his sight and more about losing his girlfiend) but hey, he's a teenage lad, we can forgive him for that. He had a self depreciating humour that I just found adorable. I loved his relationship with Hazel too, and of course his love for Augustus. Oh man, his...let's say speech...turned me into a weeping mess.

If I could sum up this book in one word, it would have to be clever. I liked the parallel between Hazel's story and that of Anna, though I was really expecting it to end in the middle of

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Name of the Star Review

By: Maureen Johnson
Published: September 29th 2011 by HarperCollins

Goodreads Description:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

My thoughts

Wow. There were so many things I loved about this book. It's not what I usually go for, but it was recommended to me and I liked it straight away, just because it was £1 in Waterstone's. Plus the main character was called Rory, and I totally judged a book by its cover (I love the name Rory).

In the first few pages, the writing style actually frustrated me. I thought at first that it was being written by an English person trying to write from an American's point of view. It was only those first few pages though, and then I forgot anything about what I thought. (I also discovered that Maureen Johnson is American so maybe that made me forget.) Overall though, I loved the writing style. I liked Rory's voice and how Johnson told the story from her point of view, and I think she did a good job of writing a believable teenager who was a bit out of her depth in another country.

I loved Rory as a character, too. She was strong, independent and proved from the start that she could stick up for herself. I liked her sense of humour. I liked Jazza too, although her problem with Charlotte did bore me a bit. I loved the easy relationship between Rory and Jazza. I felt a personal connection to their friendship because it reminded me of my relationship with my friend Keeley, who's from Iowa. A favourite America vs. England conversation of theirs has to be;

‎'I feel quite boring next to you.' Jazza Said.
'Boring?' I repeated. 'You're English.'
'Yes. That's not very interesting.'
'You...have a cello! And dogs! And you live in a farmhouse...kind of thing. In a village.'
'Again, that's not very exciting. I love our village, but we're all quite...normal.'
'In our town,' I say solemnly, 'that would make you a kind of God.'

It's very similar to conversations I've had with Keeley in the past, so I laughed reading it. As for the rest of the characters; I liked Jerome, and their relationship was set up really early on in the story, so I was a bit disappointed that he sort of dwindled out and wasn't really involved in the end. I thought he would have had a bit more of a storyline. I liked Stephen and Callum, and the fact they brought a bit more emotional depth into their stories than Boo did. Boo was just...Boo. I figured out almost straight away who/what she was, so I think that spoiled it a bit for me when it came to the big reveal about the squad.

My biggest problem with the characters had to be Charlotte. I personally didn't see anything wrong with Charlotte, other than that she was a bit of a bitch. But who isn't? The first couple of chapters seemed to be setting her up as a bit of a villain, as did the way Jazza and Jerome talked about her. Again, her part seemed to fizzle out as the story went on, until the end. Sure, she was annoying and got in peoples' way, but I didn't really see any reason for Jazza to go on about her like she did, other than petty jealousy. Hmm, maybe that's just my opinion? I don't know.

The story was really clever. I learned a thing or two through reading it. I've never really learned anything about Jack the Ripper, so it was interesting to find out more about him. I think the parallel between the two cases was great. The idea that they knew exactly when are where the murders were going to happen was pretty scary, especially towards the end when they were trapped inside the school. The ghosts were really interesting, and I liked the idea of the squad and how they were able to see them; that added more depth to the story and the characters, because like Rory, I wanted to know what had happened to them. 

Overall, I really enjoyed it and spent pretty much all day yesterday reading it, because I wanted to know what happened. The end made me sad though, although it was understandable. I can't wait for the next one now! 

I give this book 4/5.

Dear Laura's Library...

I'm sorry that I have neglected you for so long. I created you, lovingly designed you, posted few and far between pretty rubbish posts, and then abandoned you. I regret my past actions. Please take me back? I promise to pay more attention to you in the future. I'll update you more, even write some proper reviews.


Awesome. So here's an update on my Goodreads Reading Challenge...

Nicholas Sparks - The Lucky One (****)
Jason Manford - Brung Up Proper (***)
E.L. James - Fifty Shades of Grey (*****)
E.L. James - Fifty Shades Darker (*****)

E.L. James - Fifty Shades Freed (****)
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games (*****)
Suzanne Collins - Catching Fire (****)

Suzanne Collins - Mockingjay (****)
Maureen Johnson - The Name of the Star (****)

With 9/70 read, I'm 3 books behind. I blame February. I started both The King's Speech and The Lord of the Rings and quit them both. I really tried with LOTR, but after a week and only getting three chapters in, I had to give in. It was just so tiring! Hopefully, at the speed I've been reading over the last couple of weeks, I'll catch up soon!

I've really enjoyed the books I've read so far, as you can probably tell from all the 4 and 5 star ratings. I think I need to work on being more strict with my ratings, but whatever. I can't help falling in love with books! I also need to remind myself not to read The Hunger Games in public places, because I will cry and I will embarrass myself.

Currently reading:

Reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey and The Name of the Star are coming soon.