Friday, May 1, 2015

Penguin's Little Black Classics

Hey everyone!

Penguin publishers recently celebrated their 80th birthday and to celebrate they released 80 'Little Black Classics'. These quaint little books give just as small section of work from some of the most famous authors and their works. So of course I had to pick up a few for my collection, showcasing both authors I've heard of and those I haven't. This is definitely a great way of being introduced to classical authors and works that otherwise would have been too daunting and unknown. At $1.99 each these are a great steal, so definitely check them out.

Annelise xoxo

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: A Year In Review

Hello everyone!

Happy new year, 2015 is finally upon us. Today I'll be reviewing my reading year of 2014. I only just reached my goodreads challenge of 80 books last year, I pushed it right to the end reading the last book on new years eve, but I'm glad I made it. For this year I will be challenging myself to read 100 books, which is quite a jump from last time.

The first book I read last year was 'The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath' and the last book I read was 'The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami'. Altogether I read a total of 24,513 pages and the longest book I read was 'A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin' with 835 pages. I read 33 5-star reads and ventured into graphic novels for the first time. Overall 2014 was a great reading year and I can't wait to dive into the books I have lined up for this year.

So now for my Top 10 Books Of 2014, this was definitely a hard decision to make and because of that I have decided not to rate them in order and just list them in no particular order.

A Game Of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
This was the perfect epic fantasy with amazing world building and detailed characters, this read kept me on my seat the entire time and although its a large book I absolutely flew through it.

Saga by Bryan K Vaughn & Fiona Staples 
The saga series was my first graphic novel that I ever read, and since then I have been hooked and can't wait to read more and more graphic novels. This sci-fi read had amazing images with a witty and intriguing story line, with each volume only leaving you wanting more.

Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
This young adult novel is the perfect light contemporary romance. I read this in around two sittings and absolutely devoured it, the cute story left me feeling warm and fuzzy the entire way through.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
At first I was quite hesitant to read this after first attempting it when it first came out. Im so glad I gave it a second chance, such an intriguing and unique concept. It has a great female protagonist that continually drives the story forwards.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I only picked up this novel on a whim after not liking her other works but I'm so glad that I did. Such a relatable main character for all us nerdy types out there. This contemporary read was funny and heart wrenching at the same time and I will definitely be re-reading this some time soon.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
This has got to be one of the only books that has ever made me cry. The beautiful prose carries the story through laughter and difficulties. The Book Thief is a special piece of literature I will forever hold to my heart.

Being Jade by Kate Belle by Leslye Walton
I was really surprised by this adult contemporary novel, I absolutely loved it despite it being far from my usual reading style. A heart wrenching book about love, loss and family.

It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini 
I flew through this book, loving the voice of the main character and how relatable he is to the teenage generation. This book deals with some really serious issues in a light hearted and entertaining read everyone will love.

The Strange & Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender 
There are no words for how beautiful this book is, both its words and the cover. This reads like an old fairy tale with gorgeous imagery painting a picture in your head. This absolutely took my breath away.

The Colourless Tsukuru Tzaki & His Years Of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami
This was my first Murakami novel and I loved it and flew through this adult novel so quickly. I believe its best going into this not knowing too much, but it does detail the doubts and anxieties of being a human making this an intriguing and suspenseful read.

Let me know your favourite books of 2014 in the comments below.

Annelise xoxo

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Books I Read In October & November

Hey everyone!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while but finally everything is slowing down and I have more time for reading and writing. So here are all the books I read in the months of October and November.

The Diviners by Libba Bray
*5/5 stars
This book was definitely not what I expected and continued to surprise me the entire way through. This perfect spooky read set in the roaring 1920's of New York detailing the adventures of the supernatural, occult and the dark and evil. A fantastic Halloween read.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
This was a fantastic conclusion to the If I Stay Trilogy, answering all unanswered questions with a  rekindled lost love. A must read for lovers of If I Stay.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This was a super fun read about a set of twins entering there first years of college highlighting the differences between them and the worries of stepping out of your comfort zone. This definitely has to be my favourite Rainbow Rowell book to date.

The Unknown Unknown by Mark Forsyth
This short essay is a must read for book lovers alike all about how bookshops can give you something you never knew you needed.

The Sleeper In The Spindle by Neil Gaiman
This newly published picture book is a gorgeous retelling of a combination of fairy tales with unique pictures and Gaiman's signature writing style. I must have for any book collector. Be sure to check out my full review of this book.

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
This first instalment of the Chaos Walking Trilogy took me a really long time to finish but after getting through the first half the pace picked up and the anticipation climbed helping me finish it off. It wasn't my favourite book but I will definitely be picking up the next one just to see how it ends.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
This beautifully written historical fiction read based on a true story details the life of a women charged with murder and sent to a farm to wait out her days. I was definitely taken by surprise whilst reading but absolutely loved this haunting read.

Anna & The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
I can't believe it took me so long to finally pick this up. I absolutely devoured and loved this book. A perfect light contemporary read about a boarding school in Paris. A must read for anyone looking for a cute romance.

Tinder by Sally Gardner
This graphic novel retelling of The Tinderbox has stunning pictures but took me a really long time to finish as I really did not find the story intriguing or captivating and only really finished it to get it out of the way, I was really disappointed by this read.

Veronika Decides To Die by Paolo Coelho
This was another quick read that was delightfully surprising. This novel details the journey of a woman who tries to kill herself yet wakes up but is told she only has a certain amount of time left. This emotional novel is definitely a must read and shows how second chances are sometimes a godsend.

Not That Kind Of Girl by Lena Dunham
Lena Dunham's book of essays are hysterical, a light read detailing the life of a woman aspiring to be a writer and dealing with whatever life throws at you. A definite must read for any young woman.

Let me know what you guys read in the months of October and November or what you're planning to read this month.

Annelise xoxo

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Hey guys!

A couple of weeks ago I was sent Meg Wolitzer's new young adult novel 'Belzhar' by Simon & Schuster and recently I finally got around to reading it. I flew through this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. This novel tells the story of Jam who's dealing with the recent loss of her boyfriend. Unable to cope with his death she is sent a boarding school called The Wooden Barn for "emotionally fragile" students, whilst there she enrolled into a exclusive class 'Special Topics'. During the semester they study the works of Sylvia Plath and learn to deal with the emotional problems through the power of reading and writing.

This is a sensitive and thought provoking read which deals with the choice between reliving past memories forever and moving on. I definitely enjoyed the originality of the interesting ideas and premise Wolitzer has created. The characters develop through the growing friendships and connections they make, their back stories also creating another interesting element. I very much appreciated how she subtly approaches the topic of mental illness which adopts a different approach to 'dealing' with it. In an interesting twist there are elements of magical realism allowing for a different dimension to be added, although I do believe that it could have been further developed. I loved the poetic writing style of the author although there needed to be more showing rather than telling. I also thought the main character could be slightly immature and her emotional aspects could also be further developed. It was extremely interesting to see how Sylvia Plath's 'Bell Jar' was integrated within the story and allowed for emotional development of the characters. I gave this 3.5/5 stars.

Definitely an interesting and enjoyable read which I would recommend for lovers of young adult novels. Let me know your thoughts if you've also read this book as its now available in bookstores.

Annelise xoxo

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Sleeper & The Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Hello everyone!

Today in the post I received a lovely little surprise in the form of a package from the book depository with Neil Gaiman's latest work 'The Sleeper & The Spindle' which was illustrated by Chris Riddell. I devoured this short Sleeping Beauty and Snow White mashup fairy tale retelling instantly not only falling for this gorgeous edition but the magical words Gaiman so artistically strings together.

First of all what instantly hooked me was the way in which it was presented, the book itself is a white hardcover with the image of the sleeping girl on the cover, the best part though is the transparent matte dust jacket which is also gorgeously illustrated with vines and flowers. I absolutely love the simplistic way in which the words and images use the colour scheme of black, white and gold. The images within are stunning black and white line drawings yet insanely detailed. The illustrations have a very traditional and gothic feel whilst adding the creepiness that Gaiman's words describe. I am definitely a sucker for beautifully bounded books and this book has obviously had a lot of detail and effort put into the publishing.

I was quite surprised whilst reading to find out the different angle that Gaiman took whilst writing this retelling, it was different from any other fairy tale or retellings I've ever read. He crafts a beautifully written story in which Snow White is queen and about to be married yet is not to happy with prospects of marriage. Her dwarf friends enlighten her on the plague of sleep that is sweeping across the nation, so she sets off in to find out what is happening. There are many surprises and twists as we delve deeper into the story subtly subverting the normal expectations of a fairy tale. This ending is definitely one you won't see coming. I cannot fault the alluring script and imagery that is created. This is perfect for any lover of beautiful books and stunningly crafted fairy tales. A definite 5/5 read.

Let me know in the comments if anyone else has read this book or can suggest anymore of Neil Gaiman's work!

Annelise xoxo

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Books I Read In September

Hello everyone!

I know I've been absent for a quite a while, I finally graduated high school and have been studying hard for my end of school exams which has pretty much taken up all my time especially my reading and blogging time. But fear not I will be back to normal very soon. So last month I only read three books which has got to be my lowest of all time, and hopefully the next few months will be better and I can get some more reading done from that steadily growing pile of unread books. Here is what I read in September:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
4/5 stars
Most of you have probably heard of this book due to the recently released movie but I thought I better give it a read before I went and saw it. I thoroughly enjoyed this adult psychological thriller and found elements to be quite surprising with never a boring moment. The character development was really the key to this book and the author really nailed that, I especially loved how our perspectives on character could change instantly due to new facts and interesting twists. I'm eager to see how the movie will portray this read and have heard that the ending is quite different. I really would recommend this to anyone who's up for a bit of suspense.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
4/5 stars
This is also a well known and hyped book with a movie that was recently released. I loved this fast paced dystopian young adult novel and managed to fly through it. The initial concept is really quite interesting and there is enough mystery, suspense and action to make you not want to put this down. The descriptive imagery was perfect and always managed to paint a picture in my mind. I definitely recommend this book to anyone and can't wait to pick up the next one and continue on where the story last left us.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
3.5/5 stars
I received an early copy from publishers Simon & Scheuster so you won't be able to get it until the 9th of October. This young adult magical realism was quite an easy read which I flew through. What I really loved about it though was the way the author subtly deals with the topic of mental illness and adopts a different approach of "dealing" with it. There were some areas where improvement could be made with developing the emotional aspects but overall was a really intriguing read.

I also have thrown in some of my favourite book marks for this month which are pictured above, all of these I picked up at Book Expo Australia. These gorgeous illustrations are perfect to mark your pages. As for what I'm planning to read this month I will just see how I'm feeling and pick up whatever intrigues me next.

Let me know what you guys read last month or what you're planning to read this month.

Annelise xoxo

Monday, September 8, 2014

Books I Read In August

Hello everyone!

Here are the books that I read in the month of August, as like last month I didn't get as much reading done as I would have liked but I definitely need to pick up my game with the looming pile of un-read books that just seems to be getting bigger. Anyway, here is what I read;

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
I ended up enjoying this a lot more than I thought, it took me quite a while to get sucked into the whole adventure but once I was more than half way through the novel it just sped by. This was a sci-fi, young adult novel, with a heavy focus on romance and I definitely would recommend this book. I gave this a 4/5 stars.

The Realm Of Possibility by David Levithan
I only picked up this book on a whim whilst searching through stacks of books in a local book shop, I was not only enticed by the design of the cover but the blurb on the back. But this really did disappoint, this book is written entirely in prose which is something that I do quite like, but the fragmented stories with no real plot line was something that was hard to get into. This book is quite small but took me a long time to finish as I generally had no interest in it. I ended up giving this a 2.5/5 stars.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
As I saw the movie was coming out this month and the fact there was so much hype surrounding it, I decided to pick this book up, and I absolutely loved it. I read it all in one sitting absolutely devouring the way Gayle Forman so poetically told this tragic tale. A definite must read for everyone. A 5/5 star read.

Colourless Tsukuru Tzaki And His Years Of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami 
Honestly this was a big cover buy for me, I have heard all the praise for Murakami's novels, but seeing that gorgeous hardback really forced me to buy it. I was extremely surprised as to how entertaining this novel was, the simple concept evoked such emotion and pain and seeing the main character grow and develop was very refreshing. But what topped it off for me was Murakami's beautiful and raw writing style. I would recommend this book to anyone really as it might just surprise you. Another 5/5 read.

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger
I finally managed to read this cult classic and it definitely was not what I expected it to be. To be honest I was quite disappointed when reading this as I thought there would be a little more substance and event to it but thats not to say I didn't not like it. It took me a little while to get through it as I wasn't the biggest fan of the main character but in some way identified with his experience of adolescence. Even though I finished this novel a while ago it is still making me think and I'm trying to make my mind up on how I feel about it, which really does say something in itself about Salinger's novel. I ended up giving this 3.5/5 stars.

Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
This novel is a middle grade contemporary about schoolgirls in the mid 90's and the tests of friendships. I found this quite enjoyable and relatable as any girl who was once 13 years old would. Although it has comical elements it explores in the issues surrounding the time, family relationships and the difficulties and changes that friendships go through. My only problem would have to be at some times it can be written a little simplistically but I still would recommend it. A 4/5 star read.

Thats all I read last month, be sure to look out for reviews on some of the books mentioned and let me know in the comments if you've read any of these books.

Happy reading everyone!

Annelise xoxo