Friday, 20 March 2015

Seattle: The Day Before

Credits: Mike Meisenbach

Hey guys! I haven't done a personal post like this or anything really fun on this blog in ages. Ever since semester 2 started, I got so busy that I only really had time for book reviews. So I thought what a better time to start then today. The day before I go to America for the first time.

Tomorrow I will be flying off to Seattle for a 2 week long study trip with my school. We will be spending 5 days in Seattle then we will take a bus to Portland and spend 5 days there. While we are there we will be filming, writing and learning more about the American media industry as well as all the sights in the area. And of course we are jam packed with things to do and see and I'm just super super super excited about everything.

I've never been to America even though it's the number one thing on my bucket list so you can imagine my excitement when I  got told that I would be going to Seattle. Of course the number one place I want to go is New York but Seattle is just as pretty and cool so I really don't care.

I'm quite nervous too. I want to make sure that I'm dressed well and that I don't look like a giant puff ball in my jackets. I'm also pretty nervous about the fact that out of the 22 students going, I know only 2 people. That is completely nerve-wracking for me and I'm trying my best to remain calm about that fact. My anxiety is high. I keep getting these bursts of anxiety where I feel like someone is squeezing my heart. At the same time, I also get burst of 'OMG I'M GOING TO AMERICA!!!".

I'm going to try to blog every day or so while I'm there so you can stay up to date with me but I can't promise because we will be super busy and also Seattle is 16 hours behind Singapore so that's quite a crazy time difference. However, I will make sure I somehow immortalise my memories on this blog. Even if it's only after the trip is over.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Fragile Bones By Lorna Nicholson

Meet Harrison and Anna.

One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.

The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways. -Goodreads
I've always been interested in Autism and other neurological and personality disorders and because of that, I've always loved reading books on the subject (okay only fiction books for now). So I was very happy to receive a copy of this book to read and review. 

This book follows Harrison, who has autism, and Anna, the girl who befriends him. I really enjoyed this quick and simple read. In fact I cried a bit at some parts. I thought this book was really lovely. In fact, I was originally planning to give it a good old 5 stars. 


I saw a review that someone else had made on the book. It wasn't a very good review of the book but I like reading both good and bad reviews of a book especially before I review a book so that I can be objective. So I saw this review and in it, the person mentioned that she didn't really learn anything new about autism and that everything was told very superficially and that even Harrison's parts were not as deep as she hoped they would be. 

That got me thinking. I didn't learn anything new about autism through this book and yes, it was a very surface level kind of book. While I did feel that I understood people with autism better, I felt like I didn't get to really know as much as I would have liked from this book. If I saw a boy in the streets walking in circles and flapping his arms, I might be sympathetic but I wouldn't really understand him very well. Going into a book like this, one would hope to be able to look at that boy on the streets and understand the struggles that he goes through on a deeper level. It felt like Nicholson simply saw this boy and wrote about him with less research then one would expect from a book of this caliber. 

I also felt like the romance thing was a bit forced. I felt that Justin and Anna could have stayed friends. It might have made the story even more impactful. But instead the love story made the book just a tad cheesy. Just a tad.

Overall, this was a great read however if you are hoping to learn a great deal more about autism, maybe this book won't be for you. However I urge everyone to pick up this book because as surface as it is, it does help us empathise with someone who has a neurological disability and I think everyone needs to be aware of how they can help and how they can contribute to making a disabled person's life just a tad easier.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
*This book was given to me to read and review by the publishers*
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Wanted By Amanda Lance

Considering she’s a girl who calculates everything, Addie Battes knew the statistical probability of being abducted in her lifetime—too bad she never analyzed the odds of falling in love with her captor.

While stopping at a crowded rest area one summer night, seventeen-year-old Addie accidentally catches a truck hijacking in progress. Desperate to rid the crime of its only witness, one of the thieves kidnaps Addie. Now, forced on board a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, Addie finds herself surrounded by international smugglers who want nothing more than to throw her overboard.

All except the artistic and intriguing Charlie Hays, whose strange protectiveness convinces Addie to trust him, even when common sense tells her otherwise. Yet, despite her doubt, and his unrelenting temper, their relationship develops into something much more.
It honestly pains me to write this review. I've read two of Amanda Lance's books in the past. I read 'The Dark Road' and 'Breakdown'. I absolutely adored those two books. In fact, 'Breakdown' is one of my favourites. So I expected nothing short of wonderful with 'Wanted'. Unfortunately I was sorely mistaken.

I have always been intrigued by Stockholm's Syndrome but I'm aware that it can be a very tricky topic to write about and therefore I rarely read books on the subject. When writing fiction on this topic, one has to be careful not to turn their book into something that reads like fan fiction or an erotica (considering that it was not their original intent).

From the very first chapter, I was shaking my head. This book was awful. She started falling for her captor mere hours after she was abducted. I mean if it were me, I would still be fighting the shock of being freaking kidnapped! I would be thinking of my poor dad who was probably walking around the gas station frantically looking for me rather then how pretty my kidnapper's eyes are. Good grief! I mean there was no build up whatsoever! She just falls in love with him. There was no iota of forbidden love or whatever. No sense of the fact that what she was doing was wrong. Nothing. Nada. 

And then okay, she finds herself on a ship on the way to Singapore. Okay. What does she do? She doesn't think about escaping or stealing a phone to call for help. No no. She decides to befriend her captors, cook for them, and spend her days cuddling with her main kidnapper, Charlie. I mean what. Excuse me have you forgotten your poor father, brother, hometown and entire police crew who are all frantically trying to find you?? She is infuriating.

And then what happens? She gets into a fight with Charlie. So in the rain, she crawls to the bottom of the boat and nearly kills herself because she's curled up and pretty much frozen there for ages. When Charlie inevitably saves her, instead of thinking about how she could have died or how much danger she was in, she thinks about how her fight with Charlie upset her and how much she loves him. UGH!

I'm sorry but this book was so crap. I felt like I was reading some tween girl's fan fiction. If I wanted to read horribly developed fan fiction, I would have gone to Wattpad. Such a disappointment from an author that I truly like.

My Rating: 2/5
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers to read and review*

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

The Color Of Happiness By K.P. Gazelle

Faith Lane is the girl who has everything. At least, that’s what everyone thinks when they see her rocking a killer dress while laughing with her best friend, Tiffany. But Faith’s life is far from flawless. Her peers torment her relentlessly, and her parents expect her to be the epitome of perfection. Criticized and pressured at school and home, Faith retreats into silent acceptance and finds an escape in her passion of dancing. Then she meets Alex – quirky, forever with a pass, and concealing a mysterious secret of his own. And through his encouragement, Faith starts believing in her gift for dance and gains courage to stand up for herself. But will she be able to keep her footing when the events of one night consume her with the need to jump off the rocky cliffs near her coastal home? And what has pushed her to the edge of reason? -Goodreads
Let's start with the good points for this one. This book was well written. The author had a lovely style that drew you in and kept you wanting to read. The storyline was also really good. A little bit unbelievable at points and a little over dramatic but it was good. I laughed and I cried through the book. The parts with Alex and Faith made me feel mushy inside(Almost like I was reading fan fiction). I felt angry on her behalf at her slightly crazy parents.

Now, on to the bad points which may be a little spoilery. I found Faith's first suicide attempt to be very abrupt and quite frankly very weird. In the book, Faith gets bullied for wearing clothes that people deem to be too conservative. So she goes through that. But then she also mentions that she doesn't really care what people think and that apparently she was also known for her fashion sense. That's very weird and if she had such mixed feelings about that, why was she all of a sudden, randomly drawn to try to shove a handful of pills down her throat?

 Also, I would hardly refer to the mild comments made by her peers 'relentless tormenting'. I used to be bullied. I know what relentless tormenting is and let me tell you, this is not it.

Then there was the fact that the writing was somewhat pretentious and overly dramatic. I felt like the author made certain parts much more dramatic and unbelievable then they had to be. In fact, Faith's second suicide was almost just as all over the place as the first. I understand that what she was going through in that instance was too much for her but come on. Give me a break.

If you take away the bad points, this book is good. I mean it has a good storyline and its captivating. It makes you feel all the emotions. It's an okay book.

My Rating: 3/5
*An advanced copy of  book was given to me by the publishers to read and review*
Purchase the books at The Book Depositary using my special link Here