Sunday, 12 March 2017

February Wrap-Up

And here we go sailing into March. I didn't get a lot of reading done in February, I blame the month for being short, but I also took some time out of my home town to soak up some of the last of the summer sun at the beach for a few weekends.

Normally that would mean a whole lot of reading for me and my introverted self, but the friends we stayed with are pretty outdoorsy and always need to be doing something (unlike me who is quite content with plonking myself on the sofa and reading the weekend away). So that meant a lot of time swimming at the beach, paddle-boarding and just generally being social in situations where pulling out a book to read may have been interpreted as rude. 

A good time was still had all round and I definitely had a lot of fun (apart from my alabaster skin getting fried in the sun, which lucky with my genetics eventually faded into a nice tan). 

Finished 


 Reboot by Amy Tintera Rebel by Amy Tintera
A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks  Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Reboot and Rebel were a duology, which I was happily surprised by. It came out some time ago and I've had it on my TBR for a while now. I picked it up on a whim and was instantly caught up in the story. I'll have a review of both books out later this month. If you're looking for a diverse read, I highly recommend None of the Above. It was a greatly informational book while also being entertaining . You can find my full review here. 

I managed to read A Walk to Remember in a day. While I wouldn't say its the most fast paced book, there is something delightfully charming about its story. However, I do prefer the movie adaptation than the book, same with The Notebook. Coming up for Air, is an ARC I was lucky enough to receive. It was probably my favorite book of the month and I have to say it is my favorite of the Hundred Oak series thus far, and I enjoyed it immensely more than her last release 'Defending Taylor'. (My Review for Defending Taylor can be found Here)


Up Next In March

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Between, #1)The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1) The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2)


Other Favorites



So I built a fort in my living room, because you know I'm 26 and live with my fiance in our own home, so why not? I mean it was a little embarrassing when his auntie showed up unannounced at our house, as you know we're suppose to be adults and all but pfftt. Basically we built the fort so we could watch telly and play playstation in it and that's basically what we did all weekend. (If you want to see a short video of what our fort looked like, it's on my Instagam :P)

So now I'm back into playing GTA 5, and I'm pretty close to clocking the games main story line. I've sunk a lot of my reading hours into this this past week haha but it's been so worth it and it's also helped with my anxiety quite a bit.

I've also started back into watching House. M.D after taking a little break. While I love the show, I feel that the story lines may be different but they do tend to follow the same formula of "This person is sick, they must have this. Treats for specific illness/disease. Oh no, they're not getting better, they must actually have this, lets treat them. Oh no they've gotten worse. Amazing spin at the end, where at the last minute the mystery is solved". Don't get me wrong, I do love the show, but there's only so much I can watch at one time, hence the hiatus for a little while. 




Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Review- None Of The Above (I. W. Gregorio)

None of the Above



Synopsis


A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex... and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?


When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.


But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."
Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?




                     Goodreads.com


Review 


After a bad experience trying to have sex after prom, Kristin visits her OB/GYN as a precaution as her mother had died a few years earlier from cervical cancer. However, the visit is more than she is expecting and after some questions and an examination, the doctor is suspicious Kristin may have a chromosomal abnormality which causes her to externally look female, but internally carry male hormones and have internal male structures. The book covers her life as she learns to accept her new diagnosis, which she is having a tough time dealing with. This is all made worse when people at her school find out. The lack of support she receives from her peers, and the start of bullying, both emotionally and physically at one point, go to show how ignorance breeds fear and hatred.

Kristin is a strong character overall, but also allows herself to show weakness. She has a tough time dealing with all the information being thrown at her all at once, and goes through the stages of grief as a result. The supporting characters were also important in the overall shaping of the novel. There are the best friends, Faith and Vee, who upon discovery of Kristin’s disorder attempt to be supportive but there is also tension and confusion for them as well. Then there is her dad, who tries to help in the only way he knows how, by researching everything from A to Z and offering his own support while encouraging her to reach out to others who are in the same position as her.

This book proved informative, while also remaining engaging and entertaining. There were a lot of important educational messages about AIS, along with messages on bullying and acceptance. The fact that it was written by a surgeon who has encountered people with this disorder before provides an authentic and likely well researched novel.

Diverse novels always leave me with a lot to think about. None of the Above was a particularly interesting one which brought to the forefront of my mind many a question of how I would feel in the situation of Kristin. If I had been told that I had internal male sex organs, or that my chromosomes weren’t the expected XX of a girl, how would I feel? How would I deal with this knowledge? How would I learn to adjust to the idea of never carrying a child of my own?

Reading these kinds of novels are so important for young and old alike, because it teaches us to empathize and put ourselves in the position of the characters, and just maybe if we do that in our everyday lives a little more often the world could be a better place.

SPOILER BELOW


So the romance between Darren and Kristin seemed somewhat unnecessary to me. I thought they could have just remained friends, instead of turning it into a romance and right at the end too. Or if the author was determined to make it into a romantic relationship then Darren’s girlfriend, who conveniently broke up with him right before him and Kristin get together seemed such an unnecessary character. She didn’t really serve any point to the plot, and if Darren had been single for the book the romance would have come across much more genuine at the end than the rushed and opportune ending that we were left with. Other than that I did like their romance and I thought it was particularly sweet, especially since they had known each other when they were much younger. 

My Rating 4/5


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Review- Blood and Chocolate (Annette Curtis Klause)

Blood and Chocolate



Synopsis


Vivian Gandillon relishes the change, the sweet, fierce ache that carries her from girl to wolf. At sixteen, she is beautiful and strong, and all the young wolves are on her tail. But Vivian still grieves for her dead father; her pack remains leaderless and in disarray, and she feels lost in the suburbs of Maryland. She longs for a normal life. But what is normal for a werewolf?

Then Vivian falls in love with a human, a meat-boy. Aiden is kind and gentle, a welcome relief from the squabbling pack. He’s fascinated by magic, and Vivian longs to reveal herself to him. Surely he would understand her and delight in the wonder of her dual nature, not fear her as an ordinary human would.

Vivian’s divided loyalties are strained further when a brutal murder threatens to expose the pack. Moving between two worlds, she does not seem to belong in either. What is she really—human or beast? Which tastes sweeter—blood or chocolate?


                     Goodreads.com


Review 


As far as werewolf books go, Blood and Chocolate is one I can read again and again (and indeed I have). Written quite some time ago (1997), long before the hype of Twilight and other supernatural books like it. Blood and Chocolate follows the typical path of werewolf girl falling for a human boy, but it’s not all candy and roses.

Our main character Vivian finds kinship in a male teen, Aiden, from her high school, after she reads a poem he’s written for their school newspaper. The poem speaks to her wolf side on many levels and shows an understanding that she would never expect to find from a human. Teen romantic escapades ensue, and Vivian begins to believe that she could actually reveal her true self to Aiden and have a somewhat normal life.


“It's only a game, she told her herself, to see if I can snare him. But she wanted to know what was in a human head to make him write that poem, and she wanted to know why he'd stolen the breath from her lips"
- Annette Curtis Klause (Blood and Chocolate)

Vivian is hard character to empathise with. The author did a great job of giving her a lot of ‘canine’ traits that I would expect to see in a werewolf; aggressive, hyper-sexuality, conceited and drop-dead gorgeous. Unfortunately, this doesn’t make for an easy character to like. There are a lot of instances where her dominant wolf-side comes out and it’s not necessarily pretty or nice. 

“I'd like to feel my teeth in her throat, Vivian thought. I'd like to slit her gullet"
- Annette Curtis Klause (Blood and Chocolate)

Aiden on the other hand is your typical teen boy, who falls for a mysterious, beautiful girl. While his character loses some esteem in my eyes, I really can’t blame him for his faults. A teen boy can only accept so much.

I have a feeling there will be many ill feelings regarding the ending, but for me it makes perfect sense. I don’t want to spoil it, but Vivian learns that having someone who truly accepts and understands you as a mate is better than hiding who you truly are. Unfortunately, this may disappoint some people who were hoping for a romantic ending about love overcoming all obstacles blah, blah.

The wolf pack itself and all the main players really gave off the vibe of a pack. There was hierarchy, fights for mates, dominance, and a hell of a lot of misogyny going on. Which while may be difficult to read in this day and age with equality between the sexes as the ideal, it pretty much nails the principles of pack and canine behaviour on the head.

Overall an enjoyable re-read, that I will more than likely come back to again in the coming years. Definitely one of my favourite romance werewolf novels that appears to grasp the morals and conventions of a wolf pack, without any of the ‘sparkles’.  

My Rating 4/5


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