Friday Finds

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A weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading

 

This week I’ve ended up finding a few Contemporary novels about love. Even if my own love life is at a stand still, and will be for a long time if I have anything to do with it (I’m done with relationships and love at the moment, having no desire to search for it and preferring to focus on my independent wellbeing), that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy fictional love stories (which I do, a lot!). I believe in love, I really do, and (perhaps foolishly) I believe in true love. I don’t mean one true love, because I think it’s definitely possible for people to be in love many times during their life, but rather the kind of love that lasts, the kind that sticks around when you’re old and wrinkly. Anyway. Moving on to the good stuff. Odd that they all have blue/purple covers.

Love and Other Foreign Words 

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Goodreads

Can anyone be truly herself–or truly in love–in a language that’s not her own?

Sixteen-year-old Josie lives her life in translation. She speaks High School, College, Friends, Boyfriends, Break-ups, and even the language of Beautiful Girls. But none of these is her native tongue — the only people who speak that are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. So when Kate gets engaged to an epically insufferable guy, how can Josie see it as anything but the mistake of a lifetime? Kate is determined to bend Josie to her will for the wedding; Josie is determined to break Kate and her fiancé up. As battles are waged over secrets and semantics, Josie is forced to examine her feelings for the boyfriend who says he loves her, the sister she loves but doesn’t always like, and the best friend who hasn’t said a word — at least not in a language Josie understands.

Why I want to read it: Ignoring the fact that I’ve heard this is a perfect novel for fans of John Green and Rainbow Rowell (which I hear everywhere and isn’t starting to mean much) and the cover (which I don’t really like), I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about Josie’s character. She sounds like a good character. I think that’s the main reason why I want to read it. I’m hoping she’s not one of the girls who are all ‘oh I don’t know how I feel help me’ because that’s super annoying. And of course, I’m quite intrigued about this best friend of hers…I am a sucker for friendships turned into romance. Of course, that might not be the case here, but anyway. I think I’ll enjoy this novel regardless.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle 

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Goodreads 

For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now… not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?
Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.
And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them…

Why I want to read it: Well, not because of the title, that’s for sure. Jokes aside, this sounds like a particularly mushy love story full of tension that I just know I’ll enjoy. Well, I hope. (Hopefully this Wren girl doesn’t get on my nerves, but I have a feeling Charlie will make up for it).

Where Rainbows End (or Love, Rosie) by Cecilia Ahern 

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Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.
She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.
Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

Why I want to read it: Usually I avoid novels like this, the Nicholas Sparks kind. I don’t know why, but I suppose they’ve always seemed…too sentimental. But whatever. I’ve decided to give this one a go. I very recently saw the trailer for the film based on this book Love, Rose, which I would like to see. But as a booklover, it’s paramount that I read the book first :).

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The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson: Book Review

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Blurb:

There’s a ghost haunting 208 Walter Street. She doesn’t know who she was, or why she’s still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends – beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

But the ghost isn’t all that’s lurking in Gill Creek… Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

While this is the blurb for The Moment Collector, otherwise known as The Vanishing Season (see on Goodreads), it is important to know first off that this isn’t a ghost story. In fact, the ghost is only a small part of the novel, her voice only a few italicised passages beside the narration of Maggie, a teenage girl who has just moved to Gill Creek with her parents and the protagonist. No, this is a novel about much more than ghosts. Neither is it really about the serial killer – but speaking more about that will give the story away. It wasn’t what I’d expected. Instead, it was better.

I was pleasantly surprised by Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing style, so often poetic and meaningfully strung together. I was literally captivated, and only a few times did my mind wander. And if it did, it was usually to wonder at what was going to happen next. Anderson deals amazingly with issues of love, isolation, death and friendship. It’s truly beautiful the way she’s managed to convey them. A certain part towards the end of the novel actually made me cry. The key part that made me cry was this: ‘Love can’t be taken back once it’s given.’ 

I really liked the characters. I felt like I was Maggie. We’re actually quite similar, and it was nice to read a novel where I really liked the main character, because I hate it when I can’t stand the voice of the story.  I thought she was a brilliantly crafted and real character. I felt myself everything she was feeling. Maybe because I know what it is like to feel what she did.  It took me awhile to warm up to Pauline, because she’s the kind of character who gets what she wants and doesn’t see into herself quite enough to know what she really wants. Difficult to explain without giving away a particular part of the plot. At first, I was suspicious of Liam, but I came to really like him. He was an interesting character and well-written. Again, I can’t say much more without spoiling what happens between him, Maggie and Pauline, but I like that Liam’s part of the story showed how complicated love and feelings can be.

Besides the characters and the writing style, I think the best part of the this novel was that it wasn’t predictable. I’d gone into reading this with not very many expectations, but reading it I found it was so much deeper than I’d expected. A novel full of sorrow and tender moments and a novel that tells you to remember and treasure every moment because even if they end they still happened and they’re still with you.

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

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Meme hosted by Uncorked Thoughts

UM SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ HARRY POTTER…BUT WHO HASN’T, I MEAN, COME ON.

30/10/2014 – Could you ever double as a spy like Snape?

Severus Snape is in my top 5 favourite Harry Potter characters (alongside Ron Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom and Rubeus Hagrid, and before Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Dobby and The Weasley Twins (top 10 favourites when it comes to Harry Potter is so hard!)). I doubt very much that I could ever “double as I spy like Snape.” I mean, Snape is seriously one of a kind and I don’t think I’d ever have as much nerve and courage as he did, nor be able to trick two of the most powerful wizards that ever existed. J.K Rowling is a storytelling genius, and one of the reasons why she is a storytelling genius is because she managed to make Snape so convincing on both sides. But well, sure, we probably should have listened to Dumbledore every time when he said Snape was on their side, but that was a difficult thing when our hero Harry thought otherwise (even if he was often a little stubborn about it). Whatever the case, the way we learnt the truth about Snape and his love for Lily Potter (ALWAYS) and everything he did for her and all the conflicts he faced with himself while he was at Hogwarts…All of that was just breathtaking and a definite favourite moment for me in the novel. It literally gave me goosebumps reading that. The movie version of it was pretty epic, too. Point is, I don’t think I could ever be as brilliant as Snape or as cunning or as smart.

Moving away from Harry Potter and into the real world (NOOO), if I were to become a spy of two opposite sides for whatever reason, I’m pretty sure I’d fail miserably and end up dead before the story ended. It’s just not in my nature to be that way. I’m pretty much a Hufflepuff. I can put on a poker face for a little while, but I’m crap at lying and I don’t have it in me to do things I don’t mean. I have courage, but not on the same level as a Gryffindor. I’m a loyal person, but I think I’d only be able to be loyal to whatever side it was or person I believed in, and if the other side said something horrible about the side I was on, they’d be sorry. Anyway. I’m probably thinking too much about this, right?

Short answer: No.

Have a good Harry Potter day everyone 🙂

Teaser Tuesdays

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme held by Should be Reading. The idea is to open whatever book you’re reading to a random page and provide two teaser sentences, so long as they don’t spoil anything!

Technically I’ve already finished this week’s book, but I love it so much that I just had to use it for this. I’m hoping the teaser will suffice to make you read it asap!

The book: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides (published in 1993).

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Goodreads

Blurb:

The haunting, humorous and tender story of the brief lives of the five entrancing Lisbon sisters, The Virgin Suicides, now a major film, is Jeffrey Eugenides’ classic debut novel.
The shocking thing about the girls was how nearly normal they seemed when their mother let them out for the one and only date of their lives. Twenty years on, their enigmatic personalities are embalmed in the memories of the boys who worshipped them and who now recall their shared adolescence: the brassiere draped over a crucifix belonging to the promiscuous Lux; the sisters’ breathtaking appearance on the night of the dance; and the sultry, sleepy street across which they watched a family disintegrate and fragile lives disappear.

(I have no idea if the picture is an actual book cover, but it’s so pretty! Don’t let the girliness of it fool you, though.)

The Teasers:

‘”Just like eloping,” Eugie Kent said, and the words made our minds drift, to a red-faced, small-town justice of the peace, and a sleeper compartment in a train passing through blue wheat fields at night.’

‘The sun had fallen below the horizon, but still lit the sky in an orange chemical streak more beautiful than nature.’

You can read my review of this book here.

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: Book Review

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Reading this novel was like consuming the most delicious and fascinating structure of words in the English language. To say that I adored the experience of reading this novel and the novel itself is an understatement. I don’t know why I put off reading it for so long. I began reading it a while ago, and found it extremely witty and intriguing, but as it happens sometimes, other things (and other books) got in the way of reading it back then. Now that I have finished reading it, I am beyond words to even describe how wonderful it was.

Jeffrey Eugenides is just an amazing craftsman, that much I can tell you. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything with a similar voice and tone as his. The way he chose to tell the story of the Lisbon girls is beyond anything else. From point of view/narration to the poetic and hypnotic use of language to the way the story flows seamlessly, Eugenides has definitely become a favourite author of mine, and The Virgin Suicides is creeping further and further up my favourite books of all time list the more time I spend thinking about it.

I’m sorry to tell you that this review will not suffice to informing you just how fascinating this novel really is. I am literally speechless. There was just so much in this novel about childhood and growing up and the fragility and futility of life (at least so far as it can often be). There’s so much about loving without really knowing, death, decay, mental illness and desire. The story winds through the young lives of the Lisbon girls through the eyes of the boys who loved them in such a way that makes the reader feel everything they did when they thought about the girls – which they spent the majority of their lives doing. Instantly I was pulled into this world, into the minds of the boys as they tried to understand these girls, and the magnetic force that pulled them towards the Lisbon house on their street.

I can’t say much more, because to be honest, I am currently unable to put together a review that really honours this amazing novel. All I can say now is that I strongly advice, if you think you’ll enjoy a novel that focuses on the internal struggles of a neighbourhood during the Year of Suicides, a novel that filled my mind with endless wit and sorrow, you to read this novel STAT.

There is also a film version made in 1999, which I saw a couple of years ago. I can’t remember liking it nearly as much as the novel though. There really is something incredibly wonderful about Eugenides writing that makes it all the worth while to spend the extra time reading the story rather than watching the cut-down version. There is just so much more in this novel, and I really think it deserves to be appreciated by an avid reader.

Jasmine’s Playlists #5: happy/chill songs (with meaningful lyrics).

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1. First Time by Vance Joy

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You’ll find out

That the deepest cut

Is the first time

2. Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall by Coldplay

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So you can hurt, hurt me bad

But I’ll still raise the flag

3. My Heart Is A Wheel by Megan Washington 

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Didn’t mean to let go of your hand

But I am, I am

4. I’m Not Coming Back by Husky

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I’m waking fright, with the moon outside 

Sleep won’t come.

I hope I’ll breath.

5. How Much Does Your Love Cost by Thelma Plum

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Don’t speak

I hope you’re happy

‘Cause I think I payed what you want

You don’t deserve my love now

6. Jasmine by Mosman Alder

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Where my mother died 

Jasmine on her grave 

7. Bayonne by Little Comets

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So always be suspicious when they put their arms around you

And they tell you they’re delighted to see you

8. Featherstone by Paper Kites

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We’ll hate what we’ve lost

But we’ll love what we find

9. Young Blood by The Naked and Famous 

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The bittersweet between my teeth

Trying to find the in-between 

Fall back in love eventually 

10. Something Good Can Work (Acoustic) by Two Door Cinema Club

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Let’s make this happen girl

You gotta show the world that something good can work

And it can work for you

Friday Finds

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Okay, time to start participating in yet another book meme. Friday Finds is hosted by Should Be Reading. Basically a list of books you’ve “found” and added to your TBR list. Not that I really need to add books to my list, I already have so many on there, but well…more to look forward to!

So here goes. I found all of the following books online by riffling through different book lists on Goodreads and looking at books similar to ones I’ve loved before. I don’t know if I’ll even be able to get hold of some of these without really digging into my savings or putting up with e-books, but hopefully some of them will be available at my library!

This is Shyness by Leanne Hall 

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A captivating novel told from the points of view of two unforgettable characters. In the suburb of Shyness, the sun doesn’t rise. Wolfboy meets a stranger called Wildgirl, who dares him to be her guide through the endless night. There are things that can only be said in the dark.This is Shyness was shortlisted for a number of major Australian literary awards and named a Children’s Book Council of Australia Notable Book.

Why I want to read it: Purely just because it sounds interesting and sweet. And I’m a shy person, so that clicks for me. Plus, I enjoy “children’s” novels.

There Will Come A Time by Carrie Arcos 

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Mark knows grief. Ever since the accident that killed his twin sister, Grace, the only time he feels at peace is when he visits the bridge on which she died. Comfort is fleeting, but it’s almost within reach when he’s standing on the wrong side of the suicide bars. Almost.
Grace’s best friend, Hanna, says she understands what he’s going through. But she doesn’t. She can’t. It’s not just the enormity of his loss. As her twin, Mark should have known Grace as well as he knows himself. Yet when he reads her journal, it’s as if he didn’t know her at all.
As a way to remember Grace, Hanna convinces Mark to complete Grace’s bucket list from her journal. Mark’s sadness, anger, and his growing feelings for Hannah threaten to overwhelm him. But Mark can’t back out. He made a promise to honour Grace—and it’s his one chance to set things right.

Why I want to read it: I enjoy novels where the protagonist is in conflict with their feelings and feel like they’re alone or that they know everything but really they still have a lot to learn about themselves and the people they care about.

Blindness by Jose Saramago 

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 A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that’s bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength. 

Why I want to read it: Maybe I shouldn’t be including this as a Friday Find, because I’ve seen it around quite a bit lately. Anyway, I’d like to read it, not just because it won the Nobel Prize, but because I am generally really interested in the whole concept, and it’s probably the kind of novel I don’t really read much of, so it will be good to read something different.

Random by Tom Leveen 

Who’s the real victim here? This tense and gripping exploration of cyberbullying and teen suicide is perfect for fans of Before I Fall and Thirteen Reasons Why.
Late at night Tori receives a random random-tom-leveenphone call. It’s a wrong number. But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.
He asks for a single thing—one reason not to kill himself.
The request plunges her into confusion. Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life. And the first just might land her in jail. After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect the caller is a fraud. But what if he’s not? Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.
With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger—and maybe redeem herself—leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

Why I want to read it: Maybe I’m a bit strange, but I’m really interested in the cyberbullying genre, or anything related to technology/the Internet (well it makes sense if you were to read my thesis). Whatever the case, I am quite intrigued by this.

After the Snow by S.D Crockett

11801954 Fifteen-year-old Willo was out hunting when the trucks came and took his family away. Left alone in the snow, Willo becomes determined to find and rescue his family, and he knows just who to talk with to learn where they are. He plans to head across the mountains and make Farmer Geraint tell him where his family has gone.
But on the way across the mountain, he finds Mary, a refugee from the city, whose father is lost and who is starving to death. The smart thing to do would be to leave her alone — he doesn’t have enough supplies for two or the time to take care of a girl — but Willo just can’t do it. However, with the world trapped in an ice age, the odds of them surviving on their own are not good. And even if he does manage to keep Mary safe, what about finding his family?

Why I want to read it: Well, I just love a good survival tale. Really, if this is well-written, I think it has the potential for being quite a good read. I hope.

How It Ends by Laura Wiess

how-it-ends_lu6p Seventeen-year-old Hanna has been in love with Seth for as long as she can remember, but now that she and Seth are in an actual relationship, love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Seth is controlling and all they seem to do anymore is fight. If that’s what love is, Hanna doesn’t want any part of it. Besides, she has something else on her mind: graduation. But she’s been ignoring the school’s community service requirement, and now she needs to rack up some hours in a hurry.

Hanna volunteers as a caretaker for her neighbor Mrs. Schoenmaker—an elderly woman with advanced Parkinson’s whose husband can’t always be there to watch over her. While caring for Mrs. S., Hanna becomes mesmerized by an audiobook that the older woman is listening to, a love story of passion, sacrifice, and complete devotion. She’s fascinated by the idea that love like that really exists, and slowly, the story begins to change her. But what Hanna doesn’t know is that the story she’s listening to is not fiction—and that Mrs. Schoenmaker and her husband’s devotion to each other is about to reach its shattering, irrevocable conclusion….

Why I want to read it: I don’t really know why, but I feel like I’d learn something from this novel. I know what it’s like for things to end, so I guess on that level I’d relate to this novel. But also I’m hoping to reach some kind of revelation about love myself by reading this. Might sound stupid, and I probably won’t, but still. I’d love to give this one a crack.

So there you have it. I’ll be posting Friday Finds weekly, though they might not always be this many books. Have to stop myself from adding 500 books to my reading list or something.

What are your Friday Finds? 🙂