The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

The Fault in Our StarsI am ashamed to say that this book was sitting on my to-read pile for months, having been told it was a tear jerking book, I couldn’t quite bring myself to read it.

However, I eventually worked up the courage and I am so glad I did. This is my book of the year without a doubt.

The books follows Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl living with terminal cancer, following her diagnosis her life changed.

She now attends a Cancer Support Group somewhat reluctantly, her only friend in the group Isaac, a teenage boy with cancer in his eye.

However, one week everything changes when Isaac brings along his friend Augustus Waters, known as Gus. Immediately Hazel and Gus grow close and share their thoughts, including Hazel’s favourite book, An Imperial Affliction – which both Hazel and Gus can easily relate to.

However, the book ends suddenly and Hazel is desperate to know what happens to the characters. Henceforth, Gus and Hazel embark on a journey to Amsterdam to meet the author.

This trip allows Hazel and Gus to grow even closer with some shocking truths being revealed…

From the start of the book I thought Hazel was a brilliant character, as it is written in first person readers immediately grow close to the character and in my case, grow to care for her. (I don’t care if she is a “fictional character”). Gus was also instantly likeable, with his humour and quirkiness I often found myself laughing out loud. Both characters had real depth and showed unusual viewpoints, for example their ongoing jokes revolving around”cancer perks”.

John Green writes this book beautifully, his prose allows readers to truly visualise the scenes which further adds to the emotions felt during the book.

With an unexpected twist that with leave all in tears, this book is  the most tear jerking and heart wrenching novel I have ever read, yet I would not hesitate to read it again.

TFIOS has secured it’s place upon my list of favourite book and the plot and characters will stay with me for a long time. It stands out from other books as it is so different, the characters seem so real and the plot line is so realistic coupled with beautiful prose this book will tug at your heartstrings.

Ultimately, I would recommend this book to all and encourage all to read John Green’s other books.

The film adaption is currently being filmed with a release date set for next year which I am awaiting with excitement, hopefully the film will live up to my expectations following the novel.

I cried and I’m sure you will too, so get your hankies ready…

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Smuggler’s Kiss – Marie-Louise Jensen

Smuggler's KissIts not a crime to steal a heart

The book begins with Isabelle walking into the sea – fed up with life and ready to give up. However, when faced with the reality of her decision, she changes her mind and regrets her choice. She believes it to be too late to be saved, but fortunately for her, she is chanced upon by a band of smugglers and they drag her from the water.

A great argument then ensues regarding Isabelle’s future – they must decide whether to return her to shore, throw her overboard or keep her on-board their ship. Isabelle refuses to tell the crew her story and this encourages some of the men to distrust her, this leads to a very heated argument with Isabelle genuinely fearing for her life.

Fortunately, the eventual decisions swings in Isabelle’s favour.

Isabelle is grateful for the reprieve however she is accustomed to a life of luxury and getting her own way; She struggles to adapt to her new way of life, without extravagance.

Isabelle eventually settles into her new life and begins to interact more with the crew and make real friends. Isabelle is shocked to learn more about ‘how the other half live’ and begins to disregard the stereotypes she has grown up with. She also aids the crew in their illegal exploits when she helps to smuggle lace into the country, which she is surprised to find she rather enjoys.

Throughout the plot, Isabelle grows closer to one smuggler, Will. I thought Will was a great character, he was very mysterious and constantly kept me guessing as to his “identity”.

However, I found Isabelle annoying at points; At the beginning of the book, she was very selfish and spoilt. Thankfully though, she dramatically matured throughout the plot and she really grew as a character.

The mysterious nature of the book kept me engaged the whole way through, I couldn’t bear to put it down. The book combines so many different aspects wonderfully; Romance, mystery, adventure, intrigue and the historical detail.

I would definitely recommend this book to everyone, and now I am going to try Marie Louise-Jensen’s other books – I hope they live up to my expectations!

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven BoysIf you kiss your true love, he will die

I first read Maggie’s book, Shiver, a few years ago. I immediately fell in love with the series, and indeed the author. I have since read all her books, which are all written so beautifully.

Whilst visiting The Hay Festival earlier this year, I was lucky enough to listen to Maggie speak and promote her new book, The Raven Boys. I was excited for the release of the book and I got my hands on a copy as soon as possible.

The books follows Blue, a teenager with a psychic mother which has ensured a somewhat different upbringing for Blue. Blue has been told countless times that she is to kill her true love, and this has left a shadow hanging over her life as she doesn’t know why or how this is to happen.

However, Blue’s life becomes more interesting when she finally tastes a bit of magic. She sees Gansey’s soul, a boy who is destined to die. Blue is told she was able see him as she will either love him or kill him.

This leaves Blue wondering how this is to happen, yet when she meets him she is disappointed. Gansey is a Raven Boy, a  pupil at the local private school for boys. These are boys who Blue has been warned off all her life. Yet when she finally interacts with them, she realises that they are not as bad as their reputation would have them.

She makes friends with a group of Raven Boys, Gansey and his three best friends. Together, they then explore the possibility of true magic in the world. This involves hard work and a lot of new discoveries!

I thought this book was written in typical Maggie style (e.g. descriptive and magical), the descriptions allowed me to really visualise the events of the book.

At the start of the book, the numerous characters confused me as I struggled to remember which character was being referred to, however this may just be me.

Also the blurb was slightly misleading – it seems to be more of a blurb for the series rather then the book, this is something that could be improved.

Overall though, it was a great book, which has left me expectant for great things in the sequel, where I hope the story continues and the characters develop further.

I would definitely recommend this book, anyone with a love of adventures involving magic should read it!

The Catastrophic History of You and Me – Jess Rothenberg

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.

I saw this book on my friend’s bookshelf and immediately knew it was my next read! My friend said it was great and I couldn’t wait to try it for myself!

It didn’t disappoint!

The book begins with Brie watching her funeral, an experience its hard to imagine  Brie’s death is the “trigger” for the book, with the story line following her new “life” in heaven. Brie blames her ex-boyfriend for her death, as she died due to a broken heart.

During the book, Brie passes through the 5 stages of death, under the watchful eye of Patrick (who I loved throughout the book). Brie grew a lot over the book, at some points her actions annoyed me as I thought she was particularly mean, but I suppose these were the things that she learnt from.

I thought the format of the book was interesting, with Brie living her “death” and experiencing flashbacks to when she was alive, this was an original concept which worked for me.

I also thought the chapter titles were good choices, with each being a song lyric. The song was referenced in the chapter, or the lyric was obviously related to the events.

All in all, a great book I would definitely recommend to everyone! It was a great Young Adult Romance novel with a great paranormal twist.

I can’t wait to read more books by Ruth Rothenberg!

Oh and finally I want to say thanks to my friend for letting me borrow her book! 😉

Ascend – Amanda Hocking

Ascend: Book Three in the Trylle Trilogy**Ascend is the third book in the series so this review contains unavoidable spoilers**

What will she give up for those she loves?

Ascend is the final book in the Tryelle trilogy. I had really enjoyed the others in the series, and I was looking forward to concluding the story.

Ascend continued the trilogy and kept with the storyline. I began reading Ascend immediately after finishing Torn so to me the books flowed well.

During this book Wendy gets married to Tove, and Loki once more enters her life. I was glad that Loki re-entered the series, as he was definitely my favourite character!

After a lot of tension and planning, the fight between Father and Daughter finally ends.

A main theme in this book was standing up for your beliefs, especially by Wendy. I really respect Wendy as she always stood up for her friends and what she believed to be right.

For me, Wendy made the right decisions, and the ending was good. However, the concluding chapter of Ascend would have left me disappointed if it wasn’t for the short story “Ever After” which was included in the edition I read. This short story was set a year later and showed how all the characters lives had changed. This is the true ending of the book!

Although, I am sad that I won’t be able to read about these characters again, I am also happy with the way the series concluded.

Now, I can’t wait to read Amanda Hocking’s new book Wake, I’ve read the first chapter and it was has definitely left me wanting more!

I would definitely recommend the book, and indeed the series to all! The series is aimed at teenage girls, although anybody with a love of YA Romance should definitely read these books!

Torn – Amanda Hocking

Torn: Book Two in the Trylle Trilogy

**Torn is the second book in the series so this review contains unavoidable spoilers**

What happens when everything changes?

Torn is the second book in the Tryelle trilogy, after reading the first (Switched) earlier in the year I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the series!

Switched left me with high expectations for this book, and it delivered above and beyond!

The book begins where Switched finished, with Wendy, and Rhys, returning home to Matt. This made the series flow well and also gently reminded me of the events of the previous book.

The book is filled with action and suspense from the start.

In this book Wendy is kidnapped by the Vittra and tries to formulate a plan to escape, this book is also where Wendy meets Loki. Even after Wendy has escaped the book is still fast-paced and action filled. This made the book un-put down-able!

Wendy has grown as a character over the books, and the characters around her have also grown. I really like Wendy, I think she is a great character, and I admire the way she stands up for those she loves and her stubborn attitude towards the things she believes in.

In this book I started to dislike Finn, as a character in the book he was great, but his personality and actions in this book made me stop liking him. However, this left a gap for Loki, a new character, to fill. Loki is my favourite character in the book, as his lines made me laugh throughout the book. However, Loki also had more serious moments where you got a real insight into his life. Tove featured more prominently in this book and played an important role in the outcome of the book, I was glad of this as I liked the “glimpses” of him we had in Switched.

A great continuation of a great series, which sadly only has one more book left…

I would definitely recommend the book, and indeed the series to all! The series is aimed at teenage girls, although anybody with a love of YA Romance should definitely read these books!

I can’t wait to start reading Ascend, the third and final book in he series.

A Witch In Winter – Ruth Warburton

A Witch in Winter - Winter TrilogyWhen love is tangled up in magic, how do you know what’s real?

I saw a review of this book on a reviewing blog on-line (http://www.books4teens.co.uk/), and I immediately knew that I had to read it!

I am so glad I did! It is such a great book!

The book is about Anna, a teenage girl, who has just moved from London to Winter, a small fishing village by the coast.

The story begins with the move which it is obvious Anna is unhappy about, as I am sure I would be in her situation.

The book then follows Anna’s beginnings in Winter, she worries about making new friends and fitting in when she begins the local school. She soon makes friends though, and then the book really starts to get interesting!

However, the main storyline is that of magic. This starts when Anna accidentally finds out that she is a witch when she casts a love spell for a joke with her friends.

This spell has consequences though, Anna realises what she has done and tries to remedy the problem. But it isn’t that simple, more problems come to light and soon everything changes for Anna…

Anna was an immediately likeable character, and she was also easy to relate to (not the witch part though). Seth, the main male character, was also a great character. Both of these main characters had depth and this made both characters seem very realistic.

The plot was great, the story developed well and kept me guessing for the most part, although at some points it was slightly predictable. The book also got me thinking about people and the way they act and how different influences change people.

I thought this book was brilliant, I would recommend this book to any readers who like a romance with a slight paranormal twist. This is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series “A Witch In Love”!