Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of the Universe

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I just put down Aristotle & Dante after reading the last page and am I speechless. I have absolutely no clue how I haven’t read this beautiful book before now. It’s a book that’s always been in the back of my radar, one I always meant to read but was never at the top of my list. Well, it should’ve been. Why did it take me so long?? Whatever the case, I’ve  finally read it and I loved every minute of doing so.

Aristotle & Dante is unlike any book you will ever read. I promise you that. It’s wonderful, it really is. Ari is a complex character that you just root for the whole way through. Dante is extraordinary. Their friendship and the lessons they learn together are so precious. Both Ari’s and Dante’s parents are wonderful. All the characters will make you feel everything, from heartbreak to happiness.

This is a story about loneliness and searching for answers. It’s about not knowing who you are and having to work hard to find out. It’s about letting what’s inside you come out, letting yourself talk to the people who want to listen. It’s about the best and the worst parts of the world. It’s about how important every human and animal on earth is. It’s about the fragility of everything. And it’s about having the strength not to run away. from what you’re afraid of.

And it’s about so much more than all that. I can’t even.

I absolutely loved reading this book and applaud Benjamin Alire Saenz on his profound way of portraying life through the eyes of a teenage boy struggling with his own existence in the universe.

If you’ve put of reading this book like I did, don’t any longer. It’s incredible and I promise you that you will love it. I’m rubbish at writing a good review that doesn’t blab away the whole story, but I hope if you read this that you at least consider picking this book up. You won’t regret it 🙂

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EDIT: Just discovered there will be a sequel called There Will Be Other Summers AND I AM BEYOND EXCITED!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My TBR For The Near Future

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This Week’s Topic: 

Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR List

As an Australian, my “fall” (a term I’ve never used) is always at a different time to pretty much the rest of the planet, so for this week’s TTT I chose to make a list of books I’d love to read soon during my travels in China, Southeast Asia and Australia! These are all books I haven’t purchased on my kindle (my go-to for books only because I am travel-bound at the moment and cannot buy many hardcopies/suffer from understocked UK libraries) but ones I’d definitely love to read asap!

 

1)

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

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I love some John Green novels and I’m a bit meh on others, but I’m still really looking forward to reading this, and I have to say it sounds like it could be a really great story! Hopefully Aza will be an amazing female character we’ll all fall in love with.

 

2)

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

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I love Emma Mills’ books (This Adventure Ends in particular), so I’m excited for this one. And it’s got a school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at its core, so what could be better?

 

3)

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga 

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I really liked Jasmine Warga’s debut novel, My Heart and Other Black Holes, so only natural that I’m keen to read this one. I don’t know much about it, but I expect some great things from it 🙂 Plus, the cover is so good!

 

4)

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life  by Benjamin Alire Saenz

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I’m currently/finally read Ari & Dante and I’m only a quarter of my way in and I love it already. So I’m beyond excited to check out this one and I’m sure it’ll be right up my street 🙂

 

5

Juniper Lemon’s Happiness Index by Julie Israel

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I came across this in the kindle store and the synopsis just grabbed my attention as it sounds quirky, angsty and fun all at the same time, so I think it’ll be a nice read.

 

6)

A Boy Worth Knowing by Jennifer Cosgrove

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Nate has problems with ghosts and the fact that he’s accidentally falling in love with his best friend. Just the ghost thing got me interested, but can’t help but love a good friendship to love (hopefully) story!

7)

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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I’m not keen on the title (hahaha) but this sounds like it could be a really good read involving creative writing (which I always love to see as a main topic in books) and what looks like a forbidden love between two boys.

 

8)

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

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Who doesn’t love a good mystery, especially when it has direct references to The Breakfast Club? Gimme.

 

9)

Madness by Zac Brewer

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This sounds really intriguing and dark. What do you expect from a book about two teens suffering from depression? I have a feeling this book will be powerful and unpredictable and I’m hoping it won’t fall into any tropes that some YA novels do.

 

10)

The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

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This sci-fi novel has some really good reviews, lots of people seem to love it so I’m keen to give it a go. Something a little different and away from my normal YA 😛

What do you think of my TTT this week? And what delightful books were on yours? 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved When I Was A Young Teen

top-ten-tuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

 

This Week’s Topic: Throwback Freebie 

I’m a little late posting this, but really wanted to join in this week as I really love the topic! I remember really getting into reading in my early years of High School (as we call it in Australia) and I especially remember these 10 books as the ones I was reading when I was around 12-14 years old 🙂

 

1)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling 

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I can remember when I was in Year 7 being so excited about the fifth HP book being released and all of my friends were, too. I had the book pre-ordered and my Mum took me to pick it up the day it came out. And though it was the biggest book of the series, I demolished it in a weekend. Of course, the last two Harry Potter books are also obviously included here, I was just a little bit older when they came out (but still just as a excited like a kid on Christmas). And I’d already read the first 4 before High School, as they were pretty much all I wanted to read until then!

 

2)

Narnia by C.S Lewis

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I used to love reading Narnia and remember being so happy when my uncle bought me the whole series for Christmas the year before I started High School. I still think the opening sentence of this particular instalment is one of the funniest openings I’ve ever read: “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”

 

3)

Deadly and Wicked by Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman

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I had the box set of both Deadly and Wicked and at the time I absolutely loved them. They were hilarious and just something fun haha!

 

4)

Shadowland by Meg Cabot

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I read quite a lot of Meg Cabot books when I was younger, and I remember this one quite, though I couldn’t tell you how many of the series after the first book I actually read :P.

5)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

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This is still one of my favourite books. I read it on holiday in New Zealand when I was 14 and it’s always stuck with me. Such a great read!

 

6)

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

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Me and one of my best friends loved these books and used to read them together all the time. A very iconic series at the time and I’m proud to say I’ve read every single instalment.

 

7)

Love and Other Four Letter Words by Carolyn Mackler

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I also loved her other book, The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things. Kinda started my obsession with YA Contemporary “Chicklit” books haha.

 

8)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

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Which brings me to this series… which I did indeed love at the time, though I think when I read the final book I was a little bit over it 😛

 

9)

Holes by Louis Sacher

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This is a great book, I still think that today. I loved it when I first read it so much that I re-read it a few years later and it was even better :).

 

10)

Deadly, Unna? by Phillip Gwynne

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As an Australian teen with a Dad who loved AFL (Aus footbool) and a Mum who knew a lot about Indigenous Australian history, this book was a really great and interesting read for me. Really inspiring.

 

So, there you have it! Have you also read any of these? 🙂

August Wrap Up and September TBR

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August was awesome! I turned 26, my Grandma came to visit from Australia and we had an awesome getaway in The Lake District and I read a total of 7 books, which is the most I’ve read in one month in quite awhile! 😀

 

The Books I Read 

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I wasn’t blown away by this book, and there were parts that made no sense (i.e The Talent Show), but it was a cute story and Dimple and Rishi were likeable characters and I enjoyed the diversity, as I always do in YA :).

 

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I’ve actually read an abridged version of Falling Leaves a long time ago when I was in Primary School called Chinese Cinderella. They’re similar, but CC focuses more on Adeline’s childhood rather than her family history. Falling Leaves was very interesting in terms of both the family history and the history of China. It’s a very sad story, but one that is also hopeful. A great book to read before my venture to China in a few months!

 

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How have I not read this book until now!? It’s been on my radar for ages because I just saw it EVERYWHERE, but damn it took me awhile to read. I really, really enjoyed this book. It’s beautifully written, it’s diverse, it has these awesome little chapters in between the main story that show different perspectives of the minor characters (so cool!), and the two leads are really great characters. There’s only one thing I didn’t quite like; the book went a little too close to “insta-love” storyline for me. But, aside from that, I thought it was an inventive and insightful book about science, love, family and culture. One of my favourite books I’ve read this year!

 

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This is another of Zafon’s YA mysteries and I enjoyed it a lot. It was a quick and easy read, but it also had enough plot and story to keep me on the edge of my seat.

 

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If you’re looking for something both diverse and LGBT this is it! It’s so different to other LGBT books I’ve read, and that’s because there’s simply nothing like it out there! Pen is such a brilliant character. Her fight with her Portuguese culture and her sexuality/masculine persona is so interesting to read. She’s just so epic, you will love her as much as I do! There are loads of fantastic characters in this book, as well as super annoying parents and one particular friend of Pen’s that is probably the worst character I’ve come across lately. This is a thought-provoking, honest and kick-ass read you should definitely have read like yesterday! To quote Blake, it wins at everything.

 

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I LOVED THIS BOOK. This is a pretty new release and I didn’t know much about it, but just decided to buy it on the off-chance it might be good. And oh wow, it was. I couldn’t put it down. It’s one of those books that’s filled with so much happiness and angst, it’s difficult to know what to feel. It has a wonderful balance of both, really. I loved the characters (Levi in particular), I loved the whole Colour Project concept, I loved the representation of a great female friendship in Bee and Gretchen, I loved the inclusion of music (especially Bon Iver), I loved Bee’s family. This book frustrated me, it made me smile, it made me swoon, it made me cry (just a little). I thought it was pretty wonderful, really.

 

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Read my little review on this AMAZING book here.  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Meant To Read

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Once again, I never got around to reading this!!! I will do next month though!! As you’ll see below in my September TBR with the alternative cover art 😀

 

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September 

I have so many books I want to read, so this list for September is quite long. But hopefully I get through most of them, it’s only 1 more than I read in August after all!

 

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Book Review: The Hate U Give

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I have so much respect for Angie Thomas and the strength it must have taken to write this book. The Hate U Give is the most important and relevant book I’ve read this year, and I’m so pleased it’s getting such well-deserved praise and hype. As a white person, I’m so happy that I read it because it gave me really important insight into something I only knew so much about.

The story revolves around Starr Carter, a teenager who lives in Garden Heights (a black neighbourhood in which poverty, crime and gangs are high) and goes to a predominately white-kid school. Starr witnesses her friend Khalil being fatally shot by a policeman, he was unarmed and didn’t do anything wrong. Soon after her neighbourhood is overwhelmed by riots and violence, in which she and her family get caught up. The novel is an enthralling mix of anger, love and fighting for justice. Starr has to decide if she can speak up for Khalil’s life, the life so unfairly taken from him. She was a really interesting character, especially in the way she presented herself differently in the eyes of either her white friends or “Ghetto” neighbourhood and family, and in how she dealt with witnessing her best friends death. Angie Thomas presents fascinating and honest insights into what it’s like to grow up as an African American in similar neighbourhoods to Garden Heights, common white perspectives and, most of all, the justice any of us should want for lives taken so wrongly, wastefully and unnecessarily.

I will tell anyone and everyone to read this book. Whether you’re black, white, yellow. We’re all human and we must fight what’s happening in this world, this world that should have “progressed” more than it has. Black Lives Matter. Every single life matters, but too often, as Angie Thomas writes, people including Emmett Till, Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin (it kills me how many more people there are) are thrown aside like they don’t matter at all. This is why we have to continue to do the right thing and to speak up against those who are way behind where the rest of us are. Even if that’s just reading this book and talking about it.

 

July Wrap-Up and August TBR

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July

July has been a great month! My boyfriend and I got couple tattoos (they look amazing!) and my Grandma arrived from Australia to visit me and her family that still live over here. It was so nice to see her and can’t wait til she’s back with us in August. It’s also been a great month of reading for me 😀 😀 As you’ll see below…

 

Books I Read

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So, the second book in Justin Cronin’s epic Vampire saga. Much like with the first book, it took me awhile to warm up. But, around a quarter or so in, I was pretty hooked again. My problem was that I wanted to read about the characters I already knew, rather than a new group of them, so I was a little stumped at first. BUT, and this is the important thing about this series, YOU HAVE TO KEEP READING. If you’re ever like me when you read these books, maybe feeling a little bored with some characters or whatever, just keep going! It all makes sense in the end and all falls into place so amazingly. The Twelve keeps you on your toes to the point you really have no idea what’s coming next. It’s exciting, raw and yep, a little bit terrifying. Brilliant read.

 

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I had absolutely no idea what I expected from the third and final book of The Passage series, I only knew that I’d sat next to my boyfriend while he was reading it and it made him so psyched, he couldn’t put it down. I read it shortly after finishing The Twelve and it took me a little less time to read than the others. I think it might be my favourite of the trilogy, though I can’t really pinpoint why. It really just bought the whole story into a whole, everything came together in a way that was unexpected, brave and clever. There’s a whole segment in this book that I didn’t expect to like as it was focused on a character we hadn’t really met yet (NO SPOILERS), but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. I just loved seeing how everything panned out for the characters I’d gotten to know over the last few weeks. I can’t really fault this book as a finale, it’s pretty spectacular. Definitely think you should read this series if you’re at all interested in an enthralling story, raw characters and of course, vampires. And not one’s that sparkle or are much like anything you’ve probably seen before. I recommend this series to all :).

 

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The best thing this coming-out novel had going for it was humour. It made me laugh almost on every page. Noah is one funny guy! In some ways, I feel like the book was a bit too far away from my age group (though I can’t really be considered a Young Adult myself anyway anymore, even if I feel like I haven’t changed much since I was one), because some of it was a bit immature/dumb. But I guess that was part of the charm and part of Noah’s discovery of himself. I did really enjoy it overall. Noah’s Grandma is the best character beside Noah himself, and well, his relationship with Harry is pretty darn adorkable. A nice, easy little read :).

 

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Now, this was exactly the kind of feel-good YA contemporary I’ve been looking for. It made me gush and laugh and even get a bit weepy inside. Bailey is a great character. I couldn’t put the book down. I can’t say much else because I don’t want to spoil it, but if you’re looking for a fun book to read, this one’s it.

 

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I am a massive fan of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, so decided to read one of his three young adult novels, the first one he ever published. I enjoyed The Prince of Mist enough to want to check out the other ones, but I think the translation of this particular story got a little lost at times, so I couldn’t connect to it at times. It seemed the language was often over simplified. But, still, Zafon is a fantastic storyteller and he always manages to surprise me with his fantastic mysteries, so I can’t really fault him too much.

 

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I bought this on a whim for 99p on my kindle and soon after I noticed there’s a lot of hate on this book on Goodreads. Which, now that I’ve read it, I can understand but some of it I don’t agree with. People were slamming the main character, Molly, for never learning from her mistakes, but I feel like she had to make those mistakes to learn. Molly wasn’t very in touch with herself, which made it seem like she never knew what she was doing, but there are times that we are all like that. It’s very human to be that way, to have no idea who you are and to make mistakes and to hurt people when you’re simply feeling too much. I think Molly is an interesting, flawed character. I actually liked that this book’s not your normal Contemporary teen romance story. It also contains a good lesson about double standards, so props for that.

 

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Hands down one of the most raw and honest novels about sexuality and belonging I’ve ever read. I adored it. It actually made me cry. I want to write a proper review for this book because I think it deserves it, so hopefully I get some time to. Seth King isn’t always the perfect writer. There were times I thought Cole’s monologues rambled a bit and that feelings and ideas were often repeated. But King knows exactly how to get his points across and how to make you feel, deep in your heart. This is so worth the read and such an important story, telling to the world as it is today, the world that many of us don’t see. Read it.

 

 

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August

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Book Traveling Thursdays: First Book In A Series I Want To Read Soooon

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I feel like I am always apologising for being the a super neglectful blogger! I can’t count how many Book Traveling Thursdays I’ve missed in the last several months, not to mention other weekly memes or any posts besides my monthly Wrap-Up and TBR. I have NOT been a good member of the blogging community at all, but hopefully I can try to post a little more in the next couple months before my travels begin.

Moving on.

Book Traveling Thursday is an awesome weekly event held by Danielle and Catia over on Goodreads. There’s a new topic every week and the deal is to share why you chose the book and four different covers of the book: The Original Cover, Your Countries Cover, Your Least Favourite and Your Favourite:).

The Topic This Week: Choose the first book in a series you want to start soon.

For my return to Book Traveling Thursdays after approximately 8 months of neglect (yes, it’s been that long), I have chosen Sabriel by Garth Nix, which is the first of The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen Series. Ever sinceI finally read His Dark Materials recently, I’ve wanted to read another fantasy series that would hopefully impress and move me just as much. It sounds amazing and has so many good things said about it, so I can’t wait to see for myself soon! 🙂

 

The Original Cover:

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As first covers go, this one’s not bad. I like the colours and how it probably depicts exactly the kind of story there is inside 🙂

 

Australian & Favourite Cover:

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It’s not very often that the cover from my country is my favourite, but this time it is. I really love this cover and the character design. She looks so badass and it really makes me want to pick it up and see just how kickass she is! 🙂

 

Least Favourite Cover:

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Maybe it’s because I haven’t read the book yet, but I just find this German cover very odd. What’s with the bells floating in the air? Maybe they’re symbolic of something, but either way this cover just doesn’t work for me.

 

Bonus/2nd Favourite Cover:

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Something quite different than the other covers and the most recent edition. I like it. There’s also an even more minimalist cover out there without the bottom images on it which I quite like as well :).

 

What do you think of the covers? If you’ve read the series, I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂