Friday, 21 February 2014

Review- This Song Will Save Your Life (Leila Sales)

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.

Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.


My Review

This book is a beautiful coming of age story, but it’s more than that. It’s about discovering who you are or really who you’ve always been, and reaching the point where you’re OK with that. I think that’s something people struggle with no matter what the age.

The story focuses on 16 year old Elise Dembowski, a girl who is unpopular for no specific reason, who during the summer desperately attempted to change herself, in order to fit in, not necessarily with the ‘cool’ kids, but just anywhere. However changing your outward appearance, still means you’re you on the inside, with all the same inhibitions, doubts and uncertainties.

“They will see past that, see you, the girl who is still too scared, still too smart for her own good, still a beat behind, still, always wrong. Change all you want; you can’t change that”
- Elise, This Song Will Save Your Life

As a kid I was never all that popular, I had a small close-knit group of friends who I am still close with today. But I still yearned for more. I remember re-inventing myself in the holidays, meticulously planning my back to school outfit and painting my nails, all in the hopes that when I went back someone would notice and be like ‘ Wow, she’s really cool. Let’s be friends with her”. But when I look back I realize how ridiculous that was, just because I had nice new clothes and a summer tan, didn’t
change the fact that I was still a shy, anxious kid, who never would have gone out of her way to talk to people. Therefore my hope of making new friends was never really going to become a reality, because what my 10 year old self didn’t realize is that the outward change isn’t important. It’s the growth and self-discovery that occurs on the inside that will ultimately make you happy in the end.

The book has some pretty dark overtones, bullying, suicide, and self mutilation. But the author does a nice job of keeping the book light, and not overwhelming (not that any of the things mentioned should be taken lightly). But the book contrasts its darker side, with themes of friendship, accepting yourself and finding a place where you fit in. As for the main character Elise, I absolutely adored her. Her narration of the story was funny and relatable, and she felt like someone I could have easily known in real life.

“Tonight, the internet seemed filled with versions of me, like a funhouse filled with mirrors. Some of them made me look prettier, and some of them made me look uglier and some of them chopped me right in half, but none of them were right”
- Elise, This Song Will Save Your Life

I feel like no matter who picks up this book, they will find some part of themselves in Elise Dembowski, or at least have felt as she has at some point in their life. At 24, I still have moments where I feel like I struggle to fit in, but as I get older, fitting in seems less and less appealing and overall less important, and I’m learning to accept myself, flaws and all. I would recommend this book all teens, and adults, anyone who has felt like they never fit in, or who are still searching for their place in the world.

Things I loved about the book:

  • The main characters narrative, was so enjoyable. Funny, witty and headstrong.  
  •  There was romance, but it didn't take the main stage, and Elise's problems were not solved by a boy sweeping her off her feet.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday, 15 February 2014

February New Release Giveaway Hop



Congratulations the Winner is Nikki Ooi with entry # 1029 chosen via The winner has 48 hours to respond to my email or unfortunately another winner will be chosen. 

Since February is the month of Love, I thought I would share some of that love by giving away a February New Release! This is my first giveaway ever, so I'm pretty excited and I hope you all enjoy yourselves. So this month, some of the new releases I'm looking forward to in particular are:


  • Giveaway open INTERNATIONALLY provided The Book Depository ships to your country for free.
  • One winner will win a choice of one February 2014 New release.
  • You're welcome to choose a book I didn't mention here as long as it’s a February 2014 new release and equal to or under 17 NZD (New Zealand Dollars)- you can convert currency on TBD in the top right hand corner.
  • I will not be responsible for lost or damaged packages from The Book Depository.
  • If you are under 13 years old please get a parent or guardians permission before entering the giveaway.
  • The winner has 48 hours to reply to my email, otherwise the prize will be redrawn and a new winner picked. Likewise goes if you are chosen via and you have entered unfairly, you will be disqualified and another winner chosen at random.  

You can choose any book released in February 2014 up to $17 NZD.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Mini Review- The Magicians Nephew (C.S.Lewis)
The Adventure Begins. Narnia... where Talking Beasts walk... where a Witch waits... where a new world is about to be born. On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible....

My Review

As a child I grew up watching the BBC versions of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, in a time long before Harry Potter was born. They are probably one of the reasons I love fantasy books as much as I do today (although the aforementioned Harry Potter has a part to play in that too.) To be honest I didn’t even know this book existed for quite some time. I was always under the impression that “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was the first tale in the Chronicles of Narnia. This book was published 6th in the series, but can easily be read as the first book. I actually preferred reading it first, as I already knew the basic premise of TLTWaTW, and this book helped clarify some things that I always questioned. Such as how did Narnia come to be? How on earth did a wardrobe(of all things) lead there? And so on and so forth.

This should come as no surprise, but C.S. Lewis is known for his use of religious symbolism, which as a child I never really picked up on. However as I read The Magicians Nephew I could understand what other readers were talking about. The Magicians Nephew is strife with religious symbolism, which I felt suffocated by at times. For example, the main characters are transported to this world which is dark, blank, where nothing exists. Then suddenly a voice starts singing, the sun emerges and Aslan (who is the one singing) starts creating life in this world ie. Plants, trees, lakes, mountains, animals etc It all just reminded me so much of the first lines of Genesis in the bible ...

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light”                     - The Bible

There is also a part where the male protagonist Digory, is sent by Aslan to pick an apple from a ‘special garden’, where the young boy is tempted by evil to keep the magic apple for himself. Remind you of the Garden of Eden? These are only a few examples which really stuck out for me, but there are countless others.

In spite of this however, I think many young children would not pick up on these hints at the bible, and some of them actually serve as very good moral lessons. This book was truly a delight to read, and took me back to my childhood. It’s a simple read, aimed at youngin’s, but as a twenty something year old, I still found some magic in it. 


Things I loved about the book:

  • A short, sweet adventure, that will keep the young in's on their toes.

Things I didn't enjoy so much about the book:

  • The religious comparisons felt overdone, and overwhelming. As an adult it bothered me slightly, but I don't think many children would make similar comparisons.

My rating: 4/5 
Disclaimer *I have tried to rate this book as from the perspective of a middle grade reader, rather than an adult. 

Friday, 7 February 2014

Review- Hopeless (Colleen Hoover)
Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.


My Review

I must warn you that this is basically going to just be me gushing about the book, with very little constructive insight. You have been warned ;D

So this book basically tore my heart out, it was an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. 
There was, laughter, anger, tears, smiling, swooning, and more tears. The book deals with some pretty heavy and disturbing issues, which I would definitely not recommend to a younger audience (except if you think you’re mature enough to deal with it).

Sky, has been brought up in an unusual household. She is homeschooled for starters, she doesn’t have a cell-phone, TV or any technology for that matter, and in addition to this she is also adopted. However for her senior year, she has finally convinced her mum to let her enrol in public school. She’s expecting to have a whole year of senior year adventures with her best friend Six, that is until Six is accepted to go studying abroad. All alone, Sky experiences what high-school is really like, making an ally along the way, and catching the attention of the mysterious and enigmatic Holder.

Our main protagonist Sky is so amazingly strong, despite what has happened in her past. I can’t really say much about her other than that. She deals with the revelations of her life with strength and dignity, having to make hard choices over and over again.

“Sometimes you have to choose between a bunch of wrong choices and no right ones. You just have to choose which wrong choice feels the least wrong".
- Holder, Hopeless (Colleen Hoover)

As for Holder, I didn't like him much at first, his ‘bipolar’ (for lack of a better word’) attitude irked me. One moment he was flirting and smiling and then 2 seconds later he would be punching the crap out of a locker. But this also endeared me to his character, and made me want to find out what was going on his head. As the story goes on, we find out more about Holders past and the pain, guilt and hopelessness that he has been masking. As a reader, I definitely grew to love Holders character, he was complicated but in a good way and by the end he had me.

The relationship that develops between Holder and Sky, feels genuine. There is chemistry right from the start, and a lot of playful banter, but also a lot or arguing. I like that Sky doesn’t fall head over heels for him the instant she sees him, although there is instant attraction (and honestly if I saw him, I think I’d be instantly attracted too.) Despite finding him insatiable, she is wary of him, he's intense, moody and over-protective.

"He's moody,he's got a temper and...he's just...he's hopeless.I don't know what my type is,but I know I don't want it to be Holder.
– Sky, Hopeless (Colleen Hoover)

“He’s completely unreadable and even more unpredictable. It pisses me off”
– Sky, Hopeless (Colleen Hoover) 

As for the more disturbing and shocking parts of the book, I feel like the author wrote them with grace. She let you know what was happening during the scenes, but without making you feel more uncomfortable than you already were. (That's all I can really say, without ruining the story.)

Colleen Hoover has become one of those authors that I will instantly read, before I even know what the book is about. This book is one that will leave you emotionally raw, and wanting to curl up in the fetal position and cry for the injustices of the world. With all that said, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of the book...

"Fuck all the firsts Sky. The only thing that matters to me with you are the forevers"

 – Holder, Hopeless (Colleen Hoover)

 **I haven't even really covered half of the reasons I loved this book so much. You'll just have to take my word on how AMAZING this book is and READ IT.

Things I loved about the book:

  • Everything. Sorry I can't be more specific than that :)
  • Ok I'll try and be more specific... the writing, Holder and Sky's romance, just Holder in general with all his dreamy, over-protective, broken, hopeless sexiness, Sky's hilarious friends Six and Breckin, the emotional strength of the main characters.

Things I didn't enjoy so much about the book:

  • I would have liked to know a bit more about Holders past, but I guess that will be more detailed in his book 'Losing Hope'.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Waiting On Wednesday (4)

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine! that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Since You've Been Gone

(Morgan Matson)
Expected publication: May 6th 2014

The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?

Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go Skinny Dipping? Um..


Why I'm Waiting for it:

I love books that involve lists of things the main protagonist has to do, and this just sounds like a great summer read. I've heard lots of good things about Morgan Matson, so I can't wait for this book!

What book are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (10)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the amazing Broke And The Bookish.

Top Five Books That Will Make You Cry


As you can see I’ve only chosen 5 books to feature this week. Whether that’s because A) I don’t read many books that are sad, because I hate crying or B) I don’t cry even when a book is sad, because I hate crying....I don’t know. But here are 5 books that have managed to bring me to tears or close enough to it...

A Time For Dancing

By Davida Wills Hurwin

I think I’ve featured this book quite a few times on multiple Top Ten Tuesday Posts. It’s just so good, and deserves more recognition. It deals with some tough subjects, but ultimately is about friendship.


by Andrew Smith 

OMG the ending of this book got me. The entire book  is relatively light and funny, but the ending was just so heartbreaking and it came out of nowhere, and hit me like a ton of bricks.

The Program 

by Suzanne Young

There a parts of this that are just so sad, particularly between Sloane and James that just tore my heart out. The whole book was just generally sad, and I felt so immersed in the characters, as if I was in their position. The Program (The Program, #1)

The Pact 

by Jodi Picoult 

This book deals with some heavy issues, around teen suicide. An amazing book, that had me full of despair and sadness. Jodi Picoult never ceases to amaze me with her writing.


by Colleen Hoover

Another book that deals with some heavy and pretty disturbing issues.I wouldn't suggest it for everyone because of some of the content, but  This one definitely got me right in the feels. (Hopeless, #1)

Sunday, 2 February 2014

January 2014 Wrap-up

I can't believe it's February already!! Time has just flown by, and I'm slowly feeling my summer freedom slipping through my fingers. Before I know it I'll be back at University, slaving away over textbooks, rather than my preferred fiction books. *Sigh*. However, I think I've made a decent start to the year blogging wise, and I've kept up semi-regular posting which is one of my goals for the year. I managed to read 6 Books in total, writing reviews for 4 of them which can be found here...

All the books I read I enjoyed. My favorites would have to be Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano, her writing is just stunning, and Breathe by Abbi Glines it was just the perfect summer read, while I was away at the beach. In January I also read 2 other books which I did not review, which were A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, and Tango Makes Three (a picture book, about a gay penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo).

Up Next In February:


As you can see I'm definitely in a contemporary mood lately haha. It's the summer time, it makes me in the mood for romance. Although I do have plans to read Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff if I get the chance. But at the moment I'm just setting myself 4 books, a relatively easy goal.

I will also be participating in the February New Release Hop hosted By Bo-ok Nerd. This will be my first Giveaway ever so I'm super excited and a little nervous! I felt like I needed to give back this month since I have won a few books via these hops. They are so much fun and a great way to find new blogs and a chance to win some great books.
 If you're interested in signing up for this hop, click on the banner below and add yourself to the linky.

What books did You read in the Month of January, and which was your favorite? Book plans for the month of February?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Review- She's So Dead To Us (Kieran Scott)

Ally Ryan would rather be in Maryland. She would rather be anywhere, in fact, than Orchard Hill, site of her downfall. Well, not hers exactly—but when your father’s hedge fund goes south and all your friends lose their trust funds, things don’t look so sunny for you. Her mother moved her to Maryland to flee the shame, but now they’re moving back. Back to the country-club, new-car-every-year, my-family-came-over-on-the-Mayflower lifestyle that Ally has outgrown. One bright spot, however, is gorgeous, intense Jake Graydon. But it won’t be easy for the two of them to be together—not if his friends (her former friends) have anything to say about it. Is Ally ready to get thrown back into the drama of the life she left behind? -

My Review

I don't think I've EVER wanted to punch so many characters in a book before!!
The book is told from two perspectives, Ally and Jake. Ally use to live the high life In Orchard Hill until her father made a bad investment with not only their money but also the money of all her friends. After leaving town humiliated, her family are moving back to Orchard Hill after almost two years, but nothing is the same. Ally is no longer apart of the upper class ‘Crestie’ families and has been downgraded to a ‘Norm’. All her old friends have ostracized her and everyone treats her like a pariah. Jake, moved into town soon after Ally’s family left, he knows nothing of her past, except hat all his friends hate her, and that he likes her.

While the book was written well, and I enjoyed the authors writing style, I just couldn’t seem to like the characters. First off we have Ally Ryan, as far as teenage girls go she’s not all that bad. She has some strong moments, where she shows that unlike the other characters she has a moral conscious. But the fact that she is so head over heels for Jake Graydon, who treats her like a stranger when his friends are around, but then tells her how much he wants her in private, is just nauseating. For a male he just comes off as pathetic and weak. Never standing up for what he feels is right and always going along with his friends because it’s easier than causing a scene. The fact that the main female character is attracted to someone who treats her like that baffles me, and really makes me dislike her.

“What's wrong?" I asked.
"Are you serious?" she asked.
"Ally, come on. It's not like we could go to the prom together". I said
"Right, because it's okay for you to slum it with us Norms out here, but God forbid a Crestie take a Norm to prom. The whole world might collapse in on itself". She said sarcastically.
..."What'd you want me to do, stay home?" I asked, my face screwing up in disbelief.
"That's what I'm doing" she shot back.
..."Well, I can't. Everyone's going. And if I don't go, it's going to look..." 
- Jakes POV, She's So Dead To Us (Kieran Scott)

Overall the book was well written, the plot was interesting and reminiscent of Gossip Girl meets Desperate Housewives. My main issue was with the characters both main and supporting. I had trouble finding anything redeeming about them. The girls were so catty and nasty and it appeared so for such childish reasons, and the boys just stood about wanting to intercept but never doing anything. There are two more books in the series, which I will read eventually but I need to let my blood pressure settle first. 


Things I loved about the book:

  • Nice writing style, that kept me reading.
  • Even though I didn’t like the characters, I felt they were written well and through their actions their personalities really shined, both good and bad.

Things I didn't enjoy so much about the book:

  • Characters were so unlikeable, even the ones I should like, I didn’t particularly care for.
  • Was predictable at times.

My rating: 3/5
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