Holding Up The Universe

Author: Jennifer Niven
Year: 2016
Pages: 388
Genre: Young Adult

I have so much love for this book.
I can’t stop thinking about it.

Holding up the Universe is one of those books that makes you fall in love with reading again. That’s the exact effect that it had on me and, honestly, I just want to talk to everyone about how thought provoking and amazing it is.

I’ve talked it up a lot, now. I suppose I should feel nervous that you may rush out to the bookstore and get yourself a copy, read the first couple of pages, and hate it. But you won’t.

I read the first 2 pages and was so overcome with “feels” that I had to stop, put the book down, and utter “WOW” about 10 times. I’m not kidding.

Holding up the Universe is a novel told from two perspectives:

  1. Libby Strout – A girl plagued by the prejudice she attracts due to her size.
  2. Jack Masselin – A boy who needs to project who he is onto others, for fear of completely losing his identity.

Both characters have their own struggles and make their own discoveries within themselves, but when they come together, they find comfort and strength that they never knew possible.

I found Niven’s prose to be angelic – a joy to read. I couldn’t get enough.

It inspired me – to create something as special, something as meaningful, something as sophisticated for my own readers.

…it also gave me an inferiority complex… but I can’t help feeling like it was bestowed in the best way possible.

What are you still doing here?

Go read it!

Until next time,

x much love.

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The Christmasaurus

Author: Tom Fletcher
Year: 2016
Pages: 384
Genre: Children’s Fiction

How do I describe this book to you?

This is the type of book that almost makes me wish that I had a child of my own to share it with. Whilst reading it, I was wracking my brains trying to figure out who had kids of the correct age to buy it for.

The Christmasaurus is a children’s novel written by the awesomely loveable (and perhaps overly obsessed with Christmas and dinosaurs), Tom Fletcher. You may have heard of Tom Fletcher before. He’s pretty much got his finger in all creative pies – he’s a member of the UK pop group, McFly; he’s a YouTuber, he’s song writer for big bands like One Direction; he’s co author of “The Dinosaur that Pooped …” series; and now he’s a novelist and the brains behind a stage show based on this lovely novel I am currently reviewing.

Can anyone say “Wow”?

I can.

I’ll do it for you.

WOW!

Tom’s debut novel follows a young boy named William Trundle who, more than anything, would like Santa to give him a real, live dinosaur. I mean, who wouldn’t? William is the subject of bullying and social out-casting due to being stuck in a wheelchair (and therefore different from all the other kids).

William’s wish finally comes true, due to a series of fortunate and unfortunate events, and they head off on a dangerous and thrilling adventure.

This book is a gem. It’s full of child wonder, and mystery. It reminds you how magical a child’s imagination can be – and how important it is to preserve that in children and in yourself.

It made me laugh, it very nearly made me cry, and it most certainly entertained.

Though I was not the intended audience of such a book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m sure you will too. And if that’s not enough to convince you, the illustrations that accompany the text are utterly stunning.

Go. Read it. Fall in love William and his best friend, Christmasaurus.

 

‘Milk and Honey’


Author: Rupi Kaur

Year: 2015

Pages: 204

Genre: Poetry/Feminism

I don’t like big, sweeping statements. They are too generalised. But … I’m just going to come out and say it … Every woman should read this book.

That’s right, you read correctly. Every. Single. Woman. In the world.

Before I bought this book, all I knew about it was that it was filled with poetry. I had heard the title thrown around here and there, but I knew nothing about the subject matter.

I wonder, if I knew that it was feminist poetry, if I still would have bought it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a feminist. I believe that women should have equal opportunities as men, and should be treated as though they are on an even keel as men. I would be stupid if I didn’t. Something about me stating that Milk and Honey is feminist poetry, though, somehow makes it lose a bit of spark. Perhaps this is due to the radicalness negatively associated with feminism—something that, frankly, I am ashamed to admit.

The poems are short, and are accompanied by small black and white sketches. They layout is impeccable.

The content raises many questions about how women view life—relationships, work, love, sex. It certainly made me reflect on the way in which I choose to carry out my own life.

I congratulate Rupi Kaur on such a stunning collection of works. I feel as though any of the words I am typing don’t even have half the grandeur and praise that this book deserves.

Read it. Now.

‘Always With Love’

Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Year: 2016

Pages: 401

Genre: Chick Lit/Romance

I’m a fan of Gi Fletcher. No doubt. Her YouTube videos and other books are full of warmth and her personality has absorbed into every word she has written. Her latest novel, Always With Love, is no exception.

Always With Love is the sequel to her first novel Billy and Me. Though, you can read this one as a stand alone novel, I recommend that you read its predecessor first, so you get the full picture and the whole story of Sophie May and Billy Buskin.

Our protagonist, Sophie May is an introverted young woman who owns her own tea shop in a small English village. Billy Buskin is a big shot movie star. They are dating and are very happy… Until Billy gets a role offer that he can’t refuse, filming in LA, which causes their close relationship to stretch and strain across continents. Always With Love is the story of their fight for survival when distance tears them apart.

Though I loved this book, and Giovanna Fletcher, I couldn’t help but be frustrated. This feeling stayed with me through both Billy and Me and Always With Love and after finished the latter, I have finally deduced that it is the character of Sophie May that is the cause of my frustration.

In saying that, my frustration was able to be overcome in order to thoroughly enjoy both books. And I am sure that my frustrations toward it are just that – mine, and no one else’s. Perhaps it’s because I see so much of myself in Sophie. Who knows?

Despite this minor hiccup, I would heartily recommend you read any and all of Giovanna Fletcher’s novels. They are great to read when all you want is to curl up in bed and forget the world.

Keep at it, Gi! Love all you do! Xx

‘Outlander’

Author: Diana Gabaldon

Year: 1991

Pages: 640

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

Jamie Fraser … the ultimate 18th century Scot … amiright?

Well … I mean, he has his flaws … all the best people do. But of all the messages I could have got from a book so long and so intricate, I got the very intense message that I want to marry a burly Scottish man willing to do whatever it takes to protect me …

Outlander was recommended to me by a bookish friend – someone who very much understands the way that my brain ticks. She told me that I would love it, and I did.

It follows a young English woman, Claire Randall, on her honeymoon in Scotland in 1945, who accidentally falls through a time portal on a hilltop henge and comes out in the year 1743. It is here that she (almost immediately) meets the ancestor of her modern day husband, Black Jack Randall, who has rather questionable morals and the least amount of qualms relating to inflicting bodily harm that you could possibly have.

Thus, she is rescued from his clutches and adopted (under suspicion) by a rambunctious Scottish clan. This is where Jamie comes in. Jamie is on the outer layer of the clan, as is Claire , fondly called Sassenach (Gaelic for Outlander).

For the majority of the remainder of the book, readers are given an exploration of the relationship between Jamie and Claire, and Claire’s desperation to get back to the year she came from.

The book for me had me on a rollercoaster. It was an assault (for want of a better word) on my emotions, causing highs and very lows. I was desperate to know what happened and how it ended.

As a vocal reader, I found myself cringing and crying out in pain for Jamie when he finally faced Randall. Through those bits, I read with my eyes half-closed, as if it would help my not to see the images racing through my imaginative mind.

The only criticism that I had, was that it was just too long. I felt as though some scene could have been omitted, and some descriptions could have been less lengthy. Though I enjoyed Gabaldon’s writing style, I found it difficult to get through that much content … though so much detail made for a cracking first season of the television series …

I guess, though, that a longer book meant more Jamie, and I can’t complain that. Although, I would have liked to have spared him from that horrific encounter with Randall … It just shows you: Heroes can’t save themselves as well as the others. Sacrifices must be made.

… and on that note … I shall see you next time!

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See you next time, lovelies, mwah!

(Sorry, no photo today)

‘My Lady Jane’

my-lady-janeAuthor(s): Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Year: 2016

Pages: 491

Genre: Historical Fiction/Young Adult

I haven’t posted a review in FOREVER! And I am sorry for that! I am going to try and be better with posting regularly, but I can’t guarantee you that I will post weekly.

My Lady Jane is easily one of the best of the best books that I have read this year. It had me in tears of laughter within the first two pages.

The book tells readers the story of Lady Jane Grey, the sixteen year old girl that became Queen after the death of the sixteen year old king, Edward VI. In reality, she lasted nine days on the throne of England before Mary I wrangled an army, took Jane captive and subsequently had her beheaded. In My Lady Jane, Jane has a little more of a chance to be the person she should have been allowed to grow up to be.

As a lover of all things to do with the Tudor period, I found this representation of the life of Lady Jane Grey and her (non) demise a breath of fresh air between all of the other dire accounts of Historical fiction.

The authors have replaced the conflicting religions of Catholicism and Protestantism with the rather fun idea that there are a set of people with the ability to transform into an animal (Eδians) and there are a set of people who can’t – the same conflict and illogical hate, but with a lot more comedic effect.

Jane’s husband (yes, husband. though sixteen, she did actually get married before she died), Gifford, became my favourite character of the book. His inability to control his transformations (into a horse) were endearing and I found myself willing him to finally master the gift he had been given.

Though I wouldn’t recommend this book to those lovers of Historical fiction who hate it when authors play with the cold hard facts (the entire second half of the plot completely deviates from reality), I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction and is up for a bit of a chuckle.

Must have: a sense of the ridiculous!

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

 

20160209_012344-1Author: Jill Mansell

Year: 2008

Pages: 410

Genre: Chick Lit/Romance

 

I don’t know where to begin with this one. There are so many elements to such a seemingly straightforward novel.

Jill Mansell guides is through the trials, tribulations and tragedies of the life of Lola Malone. At the age of 17, she has a boyfriend and is living life… Until her boyfriend’s mother offers her £10,000 as incentive to stay away from her son.

Ten years later, her ex walks back into her life in a very intriguing way with a very large chip on his shoulder – as you would expect if your girlfriend walked out of your life without any warning whatsoever.

The question that Mansell poses to us, though, is: can Lola win him back?

On the surface, Mansell’s An Offer You Can’t Refuse is just another chick lot novel. Girl loves boy, unsure if not loves girl, can girl win boy? A formula Jane Austen has used with Persuasion.

But something that caught me like a fish hook was how little I could predict.

As a former literature and creative writing student, I have come to be able to pick up on signals to changes in plot and the typical tropes of literature, but Mansell yanked me left when I was sure we were going right. I loved it!

Lola, as a character, got a little annoying at times with her undying borderline obsession with winning back her ex. At times, I wanted to slap some sense into her.

She was desperate to make him love her, but unwilling to tell him the real reason why she left him in the first place.

Despite this, she wasn’t all had, though. Such a flawed and questionable character fits the intricate plotline Mansell has chosen.

It tore me between siding with Lola and siding with Dougie (the ex), who obviously blames Lola for his unhappiness in life.

For lovers of chick lot, I would highly recommend An Offer You Can’t Refuse. It is easy to read, humorous and keeps you on your toes. I enjoyed it very much.