Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: If I Was A Teacher My Classroom Would Be Stocked With These Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme held by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic is: Back to School Freebie; So I went with the books I would house on my classroom bookshelves if I was a teacher.

I'm imaging myself as a grade 7 or higher teacher because YA is life. And I know those bookshelves would have a wide range of books. It could be because the story is an important one. Or it's a favourite and I think everyone and anyone should read it. Maybe it's a good introduction to a certain genre. There'd be many a reason why these books would find a home in my classroom and why I think they'd impact these teens in a positive way. As hard as this is, I've kept my list to ten(and yes, I'm missing the obvious that is Harry Potter because obviously).

Narrowing this down was so hard. I feel like my list is incomplete. But I love this books. Agree? Disagree? Hook up your TTT below.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Review: I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit

I'm Still Here by Clelie Avit(translated by Lucy Foster)

Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 23rd, 2016
Pages: 256
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 2/5
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A modern take on Sleeping Beauty, for fans of Jojo Moyes.

Elsa is spending her thirtieth birthday in the hospital bed where she's lain for months after a devastating mountain accident. Unable to speak, see, or move, she appears to be in an irreversible coma, but her friends and family don't know that she's regained the power of hearing.

That day, a stranger named Thibault enters the hospital to visit his brother, who's just been injured in an accident that killed two young girls. He instead seeks refuge in the room where Elsa lies and quickly becomes intrigued by the young woman, returning day after day to sit beside her, convinced that his words are being heard.

As their connection grows, the doctors deliver a devastating blow to her family. Is it possible that Thibault knows something no one else does, and can he reach her before it's too late?

I'm Still Here has a synopsis that draws me in. It's ultimately why I requested it to review. It sounded like it had the same vibe and base story as The Women Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes(who is a favourite and I love that book). But nope, I highly recommend reading The Women Who Stole My Life if this book sounds at all appealing to you. Unfortunately, I'm Still Here fell flat in pretty much every aspect.

A modern re-telling of Sleeping Beauty is pretty spot on. There's the creepy guy falling in love with a sleeping girl whom he's never met. Nothing was surprising. I'm Still Here followed predictable to a tee. There was a major disconnect. The story lacked any sort of emotion expecting knowing how to piss me off. I'm not sure if something got lost in translation but all I can do is review the book I read.

I felt for Elsa. Poor girl can hear her doctors not giving a shit, her parents discussing pulling the plug on her life, her sister getting busy with a different boy every week. But as a character you don't get to know her. She's in a comatose state and yea, there're her thoughts and some memories but what can you really take away from that? Next to nothing is the answer.

Thiebault was barely any better. I get his anger and disgust towards his brother; makes sense. But what the hell kind of guy makes himself comfortable around, and ultimately thinks he's in love with women who's in a coma? Just no. It's not romantic. It's fucking creepy. Lurking in her room. Visiting her a few times a week. Making room for yourself on her hospital bed so you can sleep. Playing around with her tubes and machines. What the hell dude? Gross.

Then you see Elsa falling for this guy(Thiebault) too, looking forward to his visits(which I can overlook). She's alone in her head with a whole whack of absentee family members and friends. Random guy is the only one, creepily, paying attention to you. Actually having faith in your recovery. So I'm pretty sure, considering the situation, most of us would feel the same as Elsa.

Now what I can't overlook is the horrible medical care. What the bloody hell?! I can only hope that Avet isn't basing the doctors off of personal experience. Maybe she just hates doctors. Doesn't matter. Everything was just a piss off. Elsa's doctor could care less about her life. Elsa ain't brain dead. She's had some improvement since she entered the hospital. But head doc doesn't care. He's hell bent on convincing her parents that she's gone and it's time to pull the plug. He's not the only one; a few times Elsa shows signs of life and the doctors just rub it off as impossible and don't bother to check up on her. No scans, nothing. In fact, one doctor ordered one then saw her chart which shows that her head doctor pretty much says don't bother worrying about her, so he cancels the scan. It's a whole bunch of infuriating. Even more so knowing Elsa can hear them all making attempts to end her life. Also, how about the fact that she's literally lying in this bed for months and there's no nurse coming to switch positions, keep her muscles from deteriorating to nothing. They pretty much leave her for dead.

Which leads into what a caring family she has... Her parents barely visit. Her sister comes once a week to pretty much discuss her rolling door of boyfriends. Her parents complete lack of faith in Elsa is terrible. Her dad is so angry over how she landed in the hospital that he can't even get over it to feel for Elsa. Be sad, jackass. At least I know that if I ever found myself in Elsa's shoes I'd have a family that would be there for me every day, fighting to make sure I have the best care. Poor Elsa.

The ending was bull shit. You know when you're reading and everything is starting to happen in a rush because the ending is a few pages away? Well, that's annoying as hell. Here I am at ten pages left and Elsa is still asleep. So I just knew I was going to be angry with whatever happened. And I sure the hell was. Abrupt and stupid. I'll leave it at that....

So clearly I'm Still Here just really didn't work for me. It wasn't romantic or sweet. There wasn't that urgency for Elsa to just get better. The story lacked a lot. I definitely didn't hate my time spent reading it. I just lean heavily on the side of skipping over this one. Unless you read French, then maybe give it a go.

Happy reading!


Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 2nd, 2016
Pages: 384
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 5/5
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Sometimes it is the one who loves you who hurts you the most.

Lily hasn’t always had it easy, but that’s never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She’s come a long way from the small town in Maine where she grew up—she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. So when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily’s life suddenly seems almost too good to be true.

Ryle is assertive, stubborn, maybe even a little arrogant. He’s also sensitive, brilliant, and has a total soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn’t hurt. Lily can’t get him out of her head. But Ryle’s complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his “no dating” rule, she can’t help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.

As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan—her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.

With this bold and deeply personal novel, Colleen Hoover delivers a heart-wrenching story that breaks exciting new ground for her as a writer. Combining a captivating romance with a cast of all-too-human characters, It Ends With Us is an unforgettable tale of love that comes at the ultimate price.

I actually first read It Ends With Us a few months ago. It's pretty simple, when a CoHo book shows up in your hands there's no waiting. That first read left me emotionally drained. So I failed to write a review. Making a reread in order. And I'm so glad it worked out this way as my second read was able to give me some much-needed perspective well knowing what was to come. Still being emotionally immersed in the story I was now able to step outside it and think about everything this story made me feel; my reactions to the raw situations and most importantly the happy ones. What I mean to really say is that It Ends With Us needs to be read twice. That first read is a prelude to what the second read will really offer you. Still, no matter how many times I read this book it will never take away from how much I love it and appreciate its existence.

The first rule of reading It Ends With Us is not spoiling It Ends With Us. This a book and story that everyone needs to discover for themselves. It is a story about Lily meeting a boy, Ryle and how their love unfolds. It is a story about Lily's past with a different boy shaping her future. It is a story about Lily's childhood mirroring her adult years in a way she never thought she'd let it. It Ends With Us is a raw and scary story saturated in Colleen Hoover's personal experience. Which is both moving and profound. It Ends With Us showcases the importance of having a supportive and caring support system. Ultimately this is a story that will have readers discussing a lot of important topics.

Naked truth, It Ends With Us was eye opening and has changed my life in less than 400 pages. This one line resonated with me, as I'm sure it will many people; as well as setting the tone for the book(actually the whole first chapter is a brilliant use of foreshadowing; after you've read the book go back and reread it and you'll see what I mean).
"Ryle looks over at me with a thoughtful expression. "Lily," he says pointedly. "There is no such thing as bad people. We're all just people who sometimes do bad things." pg.17
Lily's relationship is far from black and white. And the opinions I had before I read this book have drastically changed(on some aspects). It is so easy for someone outside of the situation to have an opinion. It is much different to be living through that situation. And I really understood those differences through what Lily experiences.

Beyond everything else, It Ends With Us is a deeply emotional story that is an important one. Tragically bad things happen and books like this one tell that story that many people are living. But also it doesn't have to end tragically; there can be a happy ending and that not everyone is alone.

Happy reading!