Summer Reading Wrap Up

 

Book Reviews
What I read in December 2015 – February 2016

 

 

 
I love summer for so many reasons! One of them being that I feel I have time to get a fair bit of reading done, without worrying about studying, work, or getting enough sleep.
Now that summer is sadly over, here are reviews of the books that accompanied me during the warm weather and relaxing days.

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I Heart Christmas by Lindsey Kelk
★★★★
I am an incredibly festive person; I love absolutely everything about the Christmas season! So I now make it my December tradition to have a festive novel as my current read. I noticed this book in one of Zoella’s ‘Christmas Bedroom Inspiration’ videos about two years ago, and I hadn’t really heard of many Christmas books. It looked perfect so I noted it down to read.
My first impression while reading this book was that it reminded me of the girly books you read in early primary school (that I was never able to get into) except for adults! (In a good way!)

The story follows main character, Angela, who is very excited for the Christmas season (love a relatable protagonist!) However, life soon gets in the way of all her plans. She has a new job title at her magazine publishing company, her husband wants to settle down, one of her best friends wants a baby, and the other shows up at her door step, causing Angela’s relaxing festive season to turn into stressful nightmare.

While the theme of Christmas is merely that; a theme, I quite enjoyed this book. The story is more about Angela’s life during this season, rather than the actual celebration itself. I found the book easy to get lost in, which did surprise me because it is not something I would usually read.

I Heart Christmas is the sixth book in the I Heart Series by Lindsay Kelk, and even though I hadn’t read any of the previous books I didn’t find it difficult to follow at all. However, it’s frustrating me that I have read the last one now, so I really need to go and read the rest of the series..!

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
★★★

I discovered this book a while back but never actually started it, but there has been so much hype about Rainbow Rowell over the internet recently, so I couldn’t go past not giving her books a read.

I found Eleanor and Park to essentially be about being an outsider in high school, and finding someone you can feel comfortable around, someone who bring to good out of you. Eleanor is the new girl at school, and if that wasn’t enough to make her stand out, her classmates think that her personality and the way she dresses is odd. Eleanor sits next to the odd boy with the comic books on the bus named Park, and soon a first love blossoms.

This book switches between both Eleanor and Park’s point of view, which I like, because it shows the feelings of young love from both the perspective of the boy and the girl. This book doesn’t have climatic, roller-coaster type events, but I think that really does add to the essence of it. It’s real. I love a good, sappy love story, and there is nothing wrong with dreaming of a fairytale ending. But Rowell shows that a first love isn’t always the fairytale portrayed in movies. She doesn’t sugar coat it; she writes Eleanor and Park’s love story as it is.

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
★★★★★

I had heard a lot of hype about this book as well, and when I heard the synopsis of it I was itching to see how the story was going to go. I could not put this book down!  It reminded me of a cross between The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. I loved it.

All Theodore Finch thinks about is death and ways he can kill himself. Violet Markey suffered a tragedy in her life, and dreams of the day she finally graduates. The pair meet on the ledge of their school bell tower, and it’s hard to tell who saves who. Theodore and Violet are then paired together on a school project about discovering the natural wonders of their state, but it becomes more than that; they both learn a new outlook on life from one another, and go on adventures they never thought they would come to love.

I have so much love for this book! Jennifer Niven wrote and incredibly beautiful story, and such a great insight into the life of someone with depression. She doesn’t try to glorify such an illness nor make it more than what it is. Niven has taken a different approach to a character with depression, and shows that it is a hidden demon, and never the same for two people.

My favourite quote from this book sums it up perfectly-


It’s my experience that people are a lot more sympathetic if they can see you hurting, and for the millionth time in my life I wish for measles or smallpox or some other easily understood disease just to make it easier on me and also on them.


I found myself not wanting to put this book down. I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next, but didn’t want the story to end!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
★★★★★

A story about a girl who loves reading and writing, and get’s lost in a fictional world and loves it more than reality? This book was written for me! This was another book that recently had a lot of people talking, and I’m glad I gave it a read.

Fangirl is the story of Cath, who is off to college with her twin sister, Wren. The two have always been incredibly close, bonding of their favourite story ‘Simon Snow’. However, Wren wants independence, and to start living her own life, while Cath wants to continue to immerse herself into her fanfiction; not wanting to live the ‘college lifestyle’. Cath is excited to study fiction writing, but receives a shock when her professor doesn’t believe fan fiction (Cath’s one true love) is an appropriate type of writing at such a professional level. On top of that, Cath must deal with Regan, her intimidating room-mate, Levi, her room-mates over-charming boyfriend, Nick, her writing partner with the gorgeous face, all while worrying about Wren’s partying antics!

I think this storyline can come across as naive, but there is so much more to it. The theme in this book isn’t obvious, but it is so strong; there is nothing wrong with what you like, and furthermore, who you are; always stay true to yourself.

Rainbow Rowell stated in FAQ at the end of the book that Cath has social anxiety and a fear of change, and a strong desire to escape into fiction. I think that Rowell did a fantatic job at portraying such relatable issues in a way that is not often understood.

This book was really entertaining and drew me in straight away. I fell in love with the characters, and even found myself challenging some of the choices they made.. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

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A new genre of books has been opened up to me. Most of my life I spent only reading a specific type of book (particularly fantasy), but over these past two years I have discovered my love for a new range of stories. I think I have John Green and The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chboskyto thank for that, he has opened my eyes to a new way of perceiving the world around us.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any of the books I’ve spoken about, and your thoughts on them, or if you plan on reading them now. I would love to have a book chat with you!

Jess xx

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