book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · literacy · ya · young adult

Dreamology

Author: Lucy Keating
Warnings: Death of a sibling, parental separation.

‘For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Max is the boy of her dreams – and only her dreams. Until the morning she finds him sitting next to her in class, very much alive.
As Alice and Max get to know each other all over again, Alice learns that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max. He’s complicated and stubborn and has a whole life Alice isn’t a part of.
When their dreams start interfering with their waking hours, Alice and Max have to find a way to make them stop. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?’

I’m not going to say that I bought this for the cover.

But I bought this for the cover.

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You’re not allowed to judge me, the cover is beautiful. So I bought this on Amazon without reading what it was about, but I had heard other reviews saying that other people had enjoyed it.

Once I started it, I ended up really liking the premise – and the unexplained sciencey bits in between, even though every time they talked about dreams it felt like I was doing Psychology revision. (Picture me, sitting at a table and shouting “FREUD!” whenever they talked about the meaning of dreams.) The romance didn’t really have a build up, because they’re already in love, but it was dealt with really well by Lucy Keating to still make their relationship seem new.

I liked the characters, even though they could have had a bit more depth. I think Celeste was my favourite – she just seemed to handle things in a more realistic way (or maybe just how I would have reacted). I was really sad that her character arc wasn’t really tied up properly because she was a secondary character.

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Some of the other characters I liked less – I found Alice a likeable character, but some of the things that she did made me cringe. And the way that all of the characters simply accepted that “Yes they’re connected through dreams this is real and ok” straight away confused me. I’d question it a little. I also think Max is a bit trashy for cheating on his girlfriend so easily and again, there’s a lack of questioning. WTF, Max?

Although the romance in this book is cute and all, bits of the science seemed off to me (not only the fact that it’s fake shh). I’ve just demonstrated how quick I am to question literally everything, so I found this a good don’t-ask-questions-just-accept-it kind of book.

But the cover though.

5/10
-ABG

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book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · nonfiction · ya · young adult

Top Ten Authors I’ve Met/Want to Meet

My first go at Top Ten Tuesday! How exciting.
So this is both the Top Ten authors that I have met, and those that I want to meet in the future (because I am a fangirl and I want to meet the people that I want to obsess over okay thanks).

Authors I’ve Met

Cathy Cassidy
I’ve seen her talk twice now I think, and I got her book Fortune Cookie the second time I saw her. I had a nice chat with her and another book blogger (abookandbeyond, go check out her blog, she’s great) and she was really lovely. Her agent even let me have the book for £2 cheaper because I didn’t bring enough money for it.

Lucy Saxon
I saw her speak at the Hay Festival in the UK, and oml. She was so cool in the talk that she was doing with two other young authors. I got her books and UGHHHHHH. They’re perfect and I love them and the third one is out now so I have to buy it. She’s also got really cool hair, so when I got my books signed I told her that and then ran away.
It makes me very angry because practically no one else on the blogosphere knows about her and she’s SO GOOD. Read her books please and thanks.

Neil Gaiman
The Graveyard Book was one of my all time faves as a kid. I met him and completely geeked, so didn’t say anything at all and I’ve regretted it ever since. Neil, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry I’m a nerd.

Alan Gibbons
He came to my school when I was in year 8. He was very interesting and I got his book inspired by the Minotaur (I can’t remember the name sORRY), which is a lot more my style than his books inspired by combat and war. He was very nice, and I also didn’t talk to him. Even though I have a very confident and opinionated online voice, I am a very meek little mole in real life.

Authors I Want to Meet

Maggie Steifvater
I would like to have a very LONG AND DETAILED CONVERSATION about the Raven Cycle. Preferably with Maggie. I just have so many questions. Why is there no sequel to The Scorpio Races? Why isn’t Gansey real? Why do I want to be part of Blue’s family? I need answers. I just want everything to be okay again in my little head.
Anyone who hasn’t read any of her books, do it right now. PLeaseeeeeee. So I can have long internet conversations with you about how perfect they are.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chimamanda is one of my icons. She gives a different perspective on feminism and helps me to understand things better through her books, which are also so entertaining. UNF. I just want to meet her and see her talk and love her. I’m doing my graphics project at the moment at underrepresented feminists, and Chimamanda is one of them. She’s so much fun to draw.

Leigh Bardugo
Again. So many questions. CROOKED KINGDOM? SIX OF CROWS? WHY CAN’T I FIND THE GRISHA BOOKS IN ANY SHOPS NEAR ME? I also want to ask where she gets all of her ideas because they are PERFECT. Theives and knives and boys that I want to squish and girls that I want to squish.

Jennifer Niven
Her books make me cry. I want to see if meeting her will make me cry too. That is all.

J K Rowling
Must I even explain? The Harry Potter universe is one of my favourite long series (I get bored very easily) and also my favourite films. Her life story is so inspiring and everything she makes makes me want to cry a little bit (aka NEWT PERFECT MAN SCAMANDER. WHERE CAN I FIND ONE? AND I’M OLD ENOUGH TO MARRY NOW SO PREPARE YOURSELF REDMAYNE) I just want to give her a hug and thank her for putting me in Slytherin.

Please comment and tell me if you’ve met any of my bucket list authors. Were they perfect humans or were they slightly disappointing?

-abnormalbookgeek

book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · ya · young adult

Americanah

Warnings: Swearing,vague sexual references, mild racism, mild abortion references.
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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‘As teenagers, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love in a Nigeria under military dictatorship. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America, where Obinze hopes to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face?’

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of my IDOLS. I’m drawing her for my GCSE Graphics project and I’ve pre-ordered a bunch of her books to binge from the library. I loved Purple Hibiscus so I was super excited to read this (even though the only copy I could find was in LARGE PRINT).

I really enjoyed Ifemelu as a character – she seemed real and genuine, not manufactured like some book characters. Her journey from Nigeria to the US wasn’t the typical ‘I moved here and now I have a nice house and I’m making money and I love everything!!!’ It showed the struggle that she went to both in understanding the culture and finding a job. I felt like most of the story focused on her, detailing her life, relationships and blog posts. This incredible depth into her life made the sections on Obinze and his life in London seem a bit more fuzzy. But, it also made him seem more interesting as the story only focused on him for the most interesting parts of his life – both the highs and lows. The other characters were less central but also had lots of depth and emotion.

I liked the way that the story would flip both between the two characters and through time frames – sometimes it was modern, sometimes it was in their teens as they first met. I enjoyed seeing the development of their relationship in different aspects and I want someone like that lmao please love me. I don’t know if it was the large text of the book (it made it 730 pages long compared to 477 pages in the normal copy) but this book seemed very long. That’s not to say that I was bored, although some sections were a bit slow, but the way Adichie writes made it seem like someone’s life, not a whistle-stop tour of only the extremely dramatic parts.

There are undertones of racism and sexism all through the book – both in the US with Ifemelu, UK with Obinze and Nigeria with both of them. This made a theme that interlocked everything in the book, and showed the reader that although the countries are very different in terms of development, they have a lot of the same problems. There’s also discussion of mental illness and how it affects black communities – Ifemelu is firm in the fact that she isn’t depressed because that just happens to Americans and white people. This made for the book being generally very heavy reading that didn’t particularly seem heavy as the nuances to the issues are so subtle.

To be honest, I liked Purple Hibiscus more as I related to the characters and the story, but I still really liked the writing of Americanah and the way that people leave and reenter Nigeria, along with how that affects people in Nigeria.

7/10
-abnormalbookgeek

 

book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · literacy · tag · ya · young adult

These Shallow Graves

Warnings: descriptions of dead bodies, death, mild swearing.
Author: Jennifer Donnelly

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A wealthy family. A deadly secret. A girl with more to lose than she knows.

NEW YORK, 1890
Josephine Montfort is from one of New York’s most respected and wealthiest families. Like most affluent girls, Jo’s future is set: a comfortable life in a suitable marriage – but her heart can’t help yearning for more.
And then her father is found dead. It was supposedly a tragic accident, although some details don’t seem to quite add up. Was it really an accident… or worse, murder?
With the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher, Jo is in a race against time to find the culprit. Escaping her gilded cage could be dangerous and Jo will have to face some dark characters on the gritty streets of New York. But some secrets can’t stay hidden forever, no matter how deep you bury them.’

YAY VICTORIAN NOVELS NOT SET IN LONDON!!!!!!

This was an impulse buy after reading Paper Fury’s review, but I’ve only just got to it now because of the pile of books that is my TBR.  Honestly, I loved this book. Especially the characters. Jo is a sassy, new-world feminist and don’t even get me STARTED on Fay. I adore her so much and I want to steal her and protect her from the world.

I have been known to be partial to a murder mystery, but I find it quite difficult to get into them sometimes if they’re not well written or don’t have a good premise. But this book interested me from the start (I also love crime shows, so anything like Criminal Minds is a yes from me). The involvement of early forensics was also really cool, and gave reasons for their conclusions, instead of just guesswork.

The characters were so diverse, I think just because of the class difference between a lot of the major characters. Especially the younger children living on the streets, because of their individuals stories you feel connected to them even through they have no dialogue. I felt like a lot of the upper-class characters like Bram and Jo’s mother felt quite bland because of their sheltered lifestyle, which made me connect with Jo more as I wanted to get out to the more interesting people.

10/10
-abnormalbookgeek

book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · literacy · ya · young adult

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Warnings: none
Author: J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

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The eighth story. Nineteen years later…

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.’

I have one question after reading the Cursed Child: WHERE IS GEORGE?!

I never expected to have any more Harry Potter on my book shelf, so after the initial rush I went and bought myself a copy. I don’t want to give away too much and ruin the story for anyone else, so this may be quite a brief review.

First of all, I liked the story. Nothing was given away easily, and the notes for the actors were extremely detailed and allowed the reader to see how the play would work onstage. I liked that it took into account the other characters and showed how the  events in the play would affect the whole wizarding world.

I thought Albus was a bit too teenager-y, but because his reasons were explained I overlooked that a bit. He was definitely a Potter – oblivious, jumps into things without thinking, needs quite a bit of help from his friends. That underlying Potter-ness is probably what endeared him to me. I was a bit put off by the lack of stage-time for his siblings though – I would’ve liked to see more of James and Lily than just in the first scene.

The only major criticism I have is the lack of characters. I was excited to see how all the (living) characters from the original books were getting on. I assume there’s not enough room for as many characters than in the films/books, but I wanted to check in with the Weasleys, see how George is coping, see Teddy (who’s Harry’s godson! Why isn’t he mentioned at all?) but the majority of onstage original characters are Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, Draco and Professor McGonagall. Most of the story was centred around Albus, but it would still be nice to get some time with other characters.

7/10 for nostalgia
9/10 for story
-abnormalbookgeek