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Escape your reality, if only for a little while.

Hey there, book lovers.

Month

April 2014

Book Review: Speechless by Hannah Harrington

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Hey, book lovers.

So, I am aware that all of my recent posts seem to be put up in the early morning (and yes, it is 2am), but that’s not something I’m doing on purpose. But I started reading this book immediately after finishing The Spectacular Now and I was immediately hooked, I’ve been wanting to read it for a while and I couldn’t really put it down, except for a visit to my nan’s earlier this afternoon.  But I’ve been reading it since I got back, until about 2am! I’m not the fastest of readers, and it takes me a while to get through a book, but this was probably my quickest on record for quite a while.

So, moving steadily on, this book is about Chelsea, popular high school student and second-in-command to the most popular girl in the year, Kristen. Chelsea is well-known, being best friends with Kristen sure has its advantages! The girls want to be her, they watch her with envy and the boys want to be with her. But she is also known for her secret-spilling habits, sharing rumours about everyone and anyone for the opportunity to raise her social status in Grand Lake High, much to the pleasure of Kristen herself! But it’s when they go to a party and Chelsea discovers a secret about one of the boys in one of her classes that things start to roll out of her control. And Noah, the boy she saw in the toilets with someone she had not expected at all, ends up in a coma in hospital for several weeks, all because she was drinking and told his secret to the other students she was once close to, who decide to take the information into their own hands and violence becomes the issue that caused this ordeal.

She tells the police, but this all only makes things worse for Chelsea and she becomes invisible to everyone at her school, her old best friend making her a social outcast. Inspired by a website that tells a story of the silence of monks, Chelsea makes a decision to be silent, taking a vow that means she cannot and will not speak, hoping to make things better and easier for everyone around her. But this new silence just puzzles the rest of her school and she is labelled a freak. But she does the right thing and even though she feels worthless and lower than ever, she earns friendships in completely new places, an Indian girl called Asha who loves to knit and is extremely good at Geometry, and then there is Sam, the best friend of Noah and the last person she would expect to befriend her after everything that has happened. But after a while she becomes drawn to him and a friendship and a romance begins to blossom! It’s really well written, I wasn’t completely sure when I picked it up as to how Hannah Harrington would do this, but it’s done well and suits the book. I’ll try not to give too much away and let you enjoy it for yourselves, but I definitely recommend this one.

Happy reading!

April

😀

 

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Book Review: The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

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Hello, book lovers.

I’m really sorry I haven’t written a post in so long, I’ve been a bit busy with assessments for my course as the May deadline is approaching quickly. I promise I’ll be able to write on here more once they’re all finished! So lots to read in the summer, my friends.

Anyway, moving steadily on. I have just finished reading a wonderful book called The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. It’s a cute little story of a reckless teenager called Sutter Keely who has a habit of drinking too much and throwing away any kind of relationship he has before it has really began.

Cassidy is his ex-girlfriend and friend, and they’ll constantly have this kind of chemistry-fired friendship going, even though Cassidy feels that at points it was like he didn’t really care about anything other than being the life of the party and joking around. Because you have to give him credit for that, he’s a hilarious character- he always seems to have a story or a joke to tell, and he likes to consider logical solutions for everything, so he’s not exactly stupid either. They love him for his laughter, mostly. But he’s been told he’s not serious enough, especially by Cassidy herself. And even though he doesn’t seem to see this as a bad thing, it’s gotten him into a little more trouble than he would have hoped for.

He’s witty and funny, and you can have a laugh with his narrative because it’s as if he’s talking to you directly (they call that a conversational tone.) And with Sutter’s character, it works spectacularly.

But it’s when he meets Aimee Finecky that things start to change in his life. She’s shy and builds walls around herself to stop people getting close to her, she’s drawn to her science fiction novels and has enormous dreams to live on a ranch full of horses and to work for NASA, a kind of ambition that Sutter begins to see beauty in. But at first she does not stand up for herself very well and so her friends, her mother and even her little brother are able to walk over her, and when Sutter sees this for himself, he teaches her to let out everything that has ever bothered her about her life and also to do things for herself and say no a little! His influence changes her completely and she becomes a new person, but this new-found confidence only exaggerates her aspirations and she finds herself falling in love with Sutter on the way, hoping for something a little more than he feels he is really able to give her.

It’s really a spectacular read! Go and give it a shot, if you like small-romance novels, you won’t regret it.

Happy reading!

April

😀

A Poem: My Inner Critic

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Hey, book lovers.

I haven’t shared one of my poems in a little while. This one’s more about the inner critic of writing. Here you go, I hope you like it!

My Inner Critic

She’s the one that has me up against the pillow at night

clutching its soft surface amongst all of my fury and despair

holding onto words that don’t really belong

and phrases I would never dare to say

 

Her heart is only a concept

she is no kind of reality, of skin or bones

but when I read over old words

her power bears something close to home

 

She has me with resentment-filled pupils

when I read over the words and stories of my past

present

and future.

 

To fulfil an ignorance of her contemptuous judgements would be a dream

but she speaks far too loud

screams her opinions in my ear

and forces the hate up from my gut

 

I begin to question every word I have written

each line becomes a wrong

a painful mistake

and I put the pen down

 

I read over past stories

written in lined-paper notebooks and pads

and the words, being too inadequate for my vain associate

line my skin like scars

 

She asks only for perfection

nothing else will ever be good enough

but I will have to stay away

if she is to not affect how my fingers mark each future page

Happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: Night School by C.J Daugherty

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Hey, book lovers.

Last night I finished reading this stunning book by C.J Daugherty called Night School; it’s the wonderfully crafted story of a young girl called Allie who, when her parents tell her that her rebellious behaviour of drinking with friends and even breaking entry into her school and spraying graffiti is becoming too mucch for them to handle and she is sent away to Cimmeria, a school with many secrets.

Allie herself is a really well written character, in my opinion. She’s a redhead with a fiery spirit and a lot of insecurities; since her older brother Christopher ran away she has not been the same. His disappearance has triggered many panic attacks and Allie is still struggling to deal with her anxieties he has caused while she is at the school. But she meets a lot of people and has to learn who to trust, there are a lot of liars at Cimmeria. A lot of friendships are made, including Jo, who becomes one of her closest friends, though later on an incident on the roof leads her to doubt Allie’s friendship. I do not want to go into too much detail as not to give away the whole story, but there is a lot to the plot so I suppose that would be difficult to do. Her other friends include Lisa, Ruth, Rachel, Lucas, Gabe and Carter.

She meets Sylvain, a french exchange student who she finds immediately charming, falling for his good looks and french accent. He takes to her instantly, and she soon comes to find that this is rare- many girls have tried to claim his affections in the past but he has never felt so deeply for any of them as he has for Allie. But it seems that there is more to him than first meets the eye. He is powerful, and on the night of their school ball, his desire is strong. Too strong.

No one will tell her about what is really happening at this school. The school has many secrets, and everyone is lying. Allie is the new girl, and because everyone in the school is already a legacy- they are connected to the school in some way, their parents went there, perhaps, they do not feel they can trust her enough to tell her, so she is special. Everyone knows her name. But later she discovers that she is a legacy after all, a very strong one.

Go and read this! It’s amazing, loved it.

Happy reading!

April

😀

A Short Story: Catch Me

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Hey, book lovers.

Here’s another of my short stories. I hope you like it!

Catch Me

She’d been waiting for a long while when he finally came along, crawling behind her on his little infant legs. It took him a long time to get around because of his small size. But she was a patient mother, Ella, she always had been. And she always knew what to do with her young son.

Come along, Kerron.” she said softly, turning around and lowering herself to the ground where he was sat, gazing up at her in awe, through those enormous blue eyes, almost transparent, like sugar.

He was sweet, her little boy; rarely made a peep. When he only stayed where he was, she scooped him into her arms and went on her way. Ella smiled to herself; he was already asleep. The pram was only several yards away, she walked to it and gently laid her sleeping child inside.

After some slow walking, pram pushing and enjoying of Irish Mountain Views all around, they made it to a small park. ‘Ah,’ thought Ella, studying the pretty view of the green grass, the ocean blue skies, the park benches and slim river on the side. ‘The perfect place for a picnic.’

Ella and Kerron weren’t from Ireland; they were from England, so the scenery was certainly a surprise. But a good one. It made her happy to know that her dying father would be spending his final months in such a beautiful place. Cancer would be the ruin of him, and they were there because of him; to spend time with him while they still had the chance. They would be there for several months, keeping him company, keeping him happy.

But while he was sleeping, Ella had decided to go with Kerron for a short walk; to leave the house surrounded by trees and flowers and nature and to go and explore, giving her baby a chance to improve his walking whilst at the same time getting a feel for all of the cool, fresh air around him. She often worried that he spent too much time inside.

We’ll see Daddy soon,” she said as she woke up. “He’ll be here with us very soon and then you can show him what a good crawler you are!”

Kerron’s father, Christopher, didn’t live with them any more, and Ella certainly didn’t have any kind of feelings for him. He belonged to the past. But he liked to visit his son regularly, and that was fine with her.

The problem was that he had been constantly jealous and controlling of Ella after only a year or so of marriage, and had suffered problems with his anger, too. She had removed herself from the relationship before, as she put it, he got out of hand. She just hoped his personal problems never had any effects on her little boy, otherwise she might have to stop them from seeing each other.

As she thought it all over, Ella walked. She tried to roll the pram across the grass but the surface was far too deep and thick, and it was impossible. She took the path alongside the river. A couple of other families arrived, they too with clear intentions to enjoy the beautiful weather while it lasted, and she sat down on one of the picnic benches before they were all taken, resting the pram up next to it.

Suddenly, Ella heard a voice. The accent was local and the tone soft and gentle. “Is this seat taken?” 

She looked up. Standing across the bench from her and smiling was a young man, tall, slim and with dark hair and a similar shade in his eye colour. She couldn’t help but blush a little at the sight of him; he was extremely good looking.

It took a few seconds for the question to register but she soon shook her head, when she understood fully what he had asked. “No,” she said. She started rambling, “You can sit there. If you like. It’s a lovely day, isn’t it. Ireland is nothing like the countries I’ve seen before. It’s so beautiful. Of course. You can sit there. If you like.”

The young man grinned in amusement. “Well, thank you very much.” he said.

She blushed crimson. He sat down. Glanced at the pram, over at little Kerron who was now wide awake and staring wide-eyed at the man opposite them, peeking his head a little around the side.

Who’s this then?” asked the young man politely, clearly trying to make conversation.

Kerron, my son.” Ella replied, offering a smile.

How old?”

Kerron was now beaming from ear to ear, realising that all of the adults’ attention was on him.

He is five months, six next week.” Ella smiled.

Must be a handful, then, I presume?” said the man, chuckling.

He offered her his hand. “What ever happened to my manners? I’m Liam Mason.”

He is,” Ella said, in answer to his previous question. She took his hand and shook it. “Ella Andrews.”

Well, it’s very nice to meet you Ella.”

You too, Liam.” she replied.

She admired his politeness. Chris could sure learn a trick or two from this young man, she found herself thinking.

They talked for a couple of hours, just eating and discussing the general realities of their lives, before suddenly Ella’s world went into complete turmoil. She found herself letting go of the pram just for the slightest second and it lurched forwards into the freezing cold river.

Ella screamed. “Kerron!”

She ran forwards and threw herself into the water. She splashed, she swam and she deepened her fight but she could not find her poor baby or the pram anywhere. She kept going, her tiny son’s face flashing and flickering incessantly like torch lights at the front of her mind. She felt her feet touch the bottom, and dived down to try to meet with her hands the spot she had found. Just how low was he now?

Dear God,” she pleaded. “Please do not let him drown…”

She kept going. How much time could his tiny lungs take? She felt a sudden movement in the water next to her. She came up for air, coughed and heaved bucket loads of water from her throat. It all came rushing up like bile.

Liam’s face appeared next to her. Liam the stranger.

The words echoed in her mind. “I’ve got him. I’ve got him…”

Liam the saviour.

He began to swim towards the edge of the river where several faces were perched, people watching and waiting. Ella’s only thought was Kerron.

Liam climbed stiffly out of the water, holding her child, then placed him down and offered her both of his hands to help her out. She took them both and held on for dear life, eventually wriggling herself up against his side and turning to him. “My baby?”

He handed Kerron to her, soaking wet, with skin as cold as ice. She cuddled his little frame to her chest. She wasn’t sure if he was still breathing, or how much life was left inside him; he was so fragile.

Somebody call for an ambulance!” she screamed. The woman beside her was on the phone to the emergency services within seconds.

While they waited, Liam moved towards Ella and wrapped his arms around her. He took his coat from the bench and wrapped it around Kerron like a blanket. “This should keep him warm until they get here.” he said.

Ella had tears in her eyes. “Thank you,” she said. “For everything.”

I did what I needed to do.” he said. “I did what anyone would have done.”

This is all my fault,” she continued, the tears draining all of the colour from her cheeks and staining them blood red. “I let him slip.”

He held her tighter. “It wasn’t your fault. Look at the ground by the riverbed, it’s all one big slope! Besides, we saved him-”

You saved him.”

He’s going to be okay.’ he said. ‘Surely that’s all that matters?”

She nodded. Cursed herself for thinking such things. “Of course.”

Good. Now come, the ambulance is here. They’ll take good care of him and he’ll be just fine. Just you wait and see.”

And though Ella didn’t know it then, he came to be right. After several hours of intensive care at the nearby hospital, Kerron’s little life was saved and a new romance was born.

Happy reading!

April

😀

Book Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Hey, book lovers.

I’ve recently finished reading this cute little book about a first love between the boy at the back of the bus and the new girl with curly red hair they call ‘Big Red.’ Park is of Korean heritage, sits at the back of the bus to school each morning reading comics and thinks he has managed to make himself invisible to those at his school, but when new girl Eleanor arrives, everything changes.

The other kids taunt and tease her, chanting ‘Big Red!’ and when she is left with no seat, though at first he finds her odd, he lets her take his seat. As time goes by and Eleanor begins to take her place next to him, she reads his comics over his shoulder and a common interest is shared. They do not speak to each other for a while, but Park continues to bring his comics and sees no problem in sharing them with Eleanor.

In a short period of time, a friendship begins to form.

But Eleanor and Park’s home lives are certainly world’s apart- Eleanor has a fragile mother, three small brothers and a little sister and a violent Stepdad who seeks to cause Eleanor all the trouble he can, while Park’s parents are protective of him and his younger brother, but are loving and try to do the best they can.

There’s probably no other word for this book but cute. I mean, it’s beautiful in places, Rainbow Rowell describes their growing romance perfectly, it’s a love between a girl with very little self-confidence and a boy who has always tried to be invisible. As he begins to fall for her, she dislikes herself so much that she finds it hard to believe that someone who is so perfect in her eyes could love her. But they are young and naive, and this brings a cuteness to the story.

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I could not recommend this book more. Go out and buy  it. You will not regret it!

Happy reading!

April

😀

 

A Short Story: Gentle Bones

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Hey, book lovers.

So here is another short story, one I wrote about a year ago now. It’s a tragic one, so be prepared to get the tissues out, but I hope you like it!

Gentle Bones

The day was bright; the grass its ripest green and the sun floating high in the sky, and Daisy was as ready as she could ever be for a walk in the park with her older sister and best friend, Buttercup. With their mother a florist, them being named after flowers had always been inevitable. But she had always wondered why her mother had chosen those two specifically. When she had first asked her, the woman had simply smiled and said, “They’re my favourite two flowers.”

But every time Daisy repeated the question, she had replied with completely different answers, such as, “They’re just really beautiful names,”

Or, “Your father loved them, and so did I,”

Or even, “Every time I saw the flowers in my shop, I knew they would make lovely names for my baby girls if I were ever to have any.”

But Daisy wondered why their mother had changed her answers so many times. Had she been lying? She thought about it as she waited for Buttercup to finish getting ready. She was one for making herself pretty, now that boys were starting to take up more of her attention. But Daisy wished her older sister would just stick to playing in the fields with her, and besides, eleven was too young for kisses and romance!

What is so great about any of that, anyway? she wondered. Yuck! Daisy often missed her sister and how she used to be.

“Come on, Buttercup!” she called, standing at the door of the cottage to enable the girl to hear her better. Buttercup came running down the stairs wearing her prettiest summer dress, it was bright yellow and had orange frills around the edges. She had blond hair that was so long it flowed over her bare shoulders, and a pretty smile on her face. Her appearance made her look, well, like a Buttercup!

Her skinny legs rattled like wooden twigs as she ran out of the door. Unfortunately, Buttercup had a condition that made her bones brittle and easily breakable, which meant that she often looked like a little ragdoll: she was much smaller than Daisy, even though her sister was two years younger.

Their mother appeared in the doorway of their cottage with an expression of concern on her face. She kept her eyes on Buttercup. Daisy’s sister was always the centre of their mother’s attention. Daisy hardly found it fair.

“Please be careful!” their mother called, her gaze following her oldest daughter’s small frame as she jumped and ran excitedly around the garden.

“I will, Mother!” grinned Buttercup, still jumping, except now using only one foot. “We’ll be back before tea.”

Their mother rested a hand on Daisy’s shoulder and whispered softly in her ear, “Look after her for me, won’t you?”

Daisy nodded, the slightest trace of reluctance in her tone. It was always, “Look after Buttercup,” never, “take care of Daisy,” as it should be. After all, she was the youngest.

The baby of their small family. But it never felt that way.

Buttercup took hold of Daisy’s wrist and, together, they ran off to the fields where they usually played their games of make-believe or sat making daisy chains, or where, if she

was in a good mood, Buttercup would rest a small yellow flower up under her chin to see if she was ticklish.

They sat down in their usual spot on the grass, underneath a small apple tree in the centre of the field. There were flowers growing everywhere they could see, scattered and stretching out for miles around, in all of the colours of the rainbow.

Just above the horizon, you could just about see the shape of a tiny cottage with smoke drifting from the chimney. It was theirs- the only one to be seen.

Daisy and Buttercup had always adored their countryside heritage; it was the way things had always been and the way Daisy hoped they would stay. Daisy did not welcome change; she never had. Change was for those with nothing special in their lives, for those with nothing they could truly appreciate. Daisy had her mother and her older sister and their little games, and that was enough for her.

As usual, Buttercup wanted to climb the Apple tree. As usual, Daisy had to tell her that it wasn’t allowed. That it was dangerous for a girl of her condition; she was so fragile.

But this time Buttercup was in one of her stubborn moods, and Daisy could tell that no matter how hard she tried to  persuade, she would have no influence over her. She just went ahead and climbed the tree anyway, began climbing higher and higher. Though she didn’t know it then, it would be Buttercup’s stubbornness that would be her downfall.

She carried on climbing, becoming ever close to the skies above. Daisy was so scared for her sister’s safety; what if she fell? She would surely break something.

But, as she reached the highest branch and took her seat there, Daisy noticed that her sister’s spirit was stronger than it had ever been before. She tiptoed up onto the branch she had previously been sitting on and stared up at the sky. It would be the biggest mistake she would ever make. The branch snapped under her weight and Daisy heard the repetitive snapping sound of broken twigs and broken bones when her sister’s fragile body hit the ground.

Oh, God!” cried Daisy, violent tears welling in her eyes. “Please, let her be okay…”

Daisy ran to her sister and held her limp, lifeless body in her arms. She felt for a pulse, as her mother had taught her to do so many times before. She could feel the slightest trace of a heartbeat.

Relief flooded Daisy’s heart, then gushed like blood through her veins and hit her brain. She praised God in Heaven, grinning, feeling almost ecstatic at the emotions working against her in that moment. “Thank you, thank you, thank you…”

Daisy did her best to gently scoop her sister’s small body into her arms and carried her back home.

Mother!” she cried when she reached the door. “Come quickly!”

Her mother appeared in front of her within seconds. “Daisy?” she said, gazing down at her unconscious daughter. “What happened?”

Daisy began to cry again. She could barely get the words out as she tried to explain all to her mother. “She…Buttercup…she wanted to climb the Apple Tree and I didn’t want her to but she did it anyway and all I could see was her body hitting the ground. I’m so sorry, Mother. I shouldn’t have let her.”

Shh, shh,” her mother held her close, and then they, very gently, moved Buttercup onto the couch, and her mother tried to wake her carefully. When she received no response, Daisy’s mother’s fingers reached for the soft spot of skin under Buttercup’s chin.

She collapsed in a heap on the ground, screaming, “Nooo! My poor baby…” her voice trailed away and she and Daisy sat in silence, feeling nothing but despair.

They stayed that way for God knows how many minutes, sobbing silently against each other, neither of them having in their minds anything they could possibly say.

As the time passed, the sadness grew thicker and the shadows around them rose up around their shoulders, standing tall like creatures made from the darkness, ready to consume all happiness. The cheerful atmosphere that had once been went weak like poor Buttercup’s fragile bones.

When there was nothing left but silence, Daisy turned to her mother. “Why did you call her Buttercup?” she asked softly.

Her mother’s reply broke Daisy’s heart in two. “Because she was the rarest flower of all.”

Happy reading!

April

😀

It Seems I Have A Lot To Get Through…

Hey, book lovers.

So, on the topic of the wonderful collection that is my bedroom bookshelf, it seems that I have quite a lot more books to get through and review on this blog than I had originally thought.  When you love the literary world as much as I do, it feels amazing to be able to say that you have TOO MANY to think of reading. If you’ve read one of my previous posts where I list all of the books I have left to review, you might be happy to read my update to this list. So, here goes.

1. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- I’m currently reading this one, I’m about half way through so there will be a review up very soon.

2. Shift by Hugh Howey (I am meeting him tomorrow as he is coming in to talk to us about writing)

3. Night School by C.J Daughterty

And more!

I also have plenty more short stories and poems to share with you on this blog, so watch this space!

Happy reading!

April

😀

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