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  1. Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

    A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

    It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

    Very rarely now, do I come across a story that manages to capture my utmost attention the whole way through. For me, a novel needs to have mystery, awe-inspiring prose and a sparkling kind of magic that enchants and entrances the whole way through. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar is one of those rare gems, sparkling amidst the blackened coals.

    This book has it all. It's mysterious, original, slightly twisted in its own intense way, thought provoking, flawless, fantastic, magical to name a few! With the startling imagery and creepy photos that seem so unreal that they have to be manipulated, mixed with the realistic prose and dialogue, makes for a very startling, very visual story. One which can redefine not just fantasy, but storytelling as a whole.

    I loved everything about this book. I loved how the author used poetry and letters and photographs to tell the story. I loved the characters, who in themselves were enigmas of the finest. I loved the scenes that he depicted that provided some very startling pictures in my head. Which seemed to unfurl before me by the pictures also provided. All which aided in telling the story.

    For those of you who don't know, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children centres around our protagonist Jacob, a young boy who had a very close bond with his grandfather. As a young child, Jacob's grandfather used to regale him with stories of fantastical beasts, of peculiar children with spectacular abilities: children that could levitate, a scrawny boy that could lift boulders probably ten times his weight, a man with a mouth in the back of his head to name a few. Naturally, as he grew older, these tales became fairy stories, and were soon lost to his grandfather's mind. When tragedy strikes, and Jacob sees something unexplainable, something that he had heard of only in his grandfather's stories, his mind is thrown into jeopardy which ultimately ends up with him deciding to visit this island, Cairnhorn, where Miss Peregrine's Home is based. 

    This book had it all. It had creepy houses and it had children with superpowers, it had time travel and a woman who can turn into a falcon, because why the hell not? Each sentence was both moving and haunting, each sentence delivered a blow and touched somewhere inside of me. I really grew to know Jacob's character and his close relationship with his grandfather, I grew to understand his father's own relationship with his father and learnt some surprising discoveries that should have been obvious but they weren't. Because they were delivered in such a way that you were left wide eyed when things were finally revealed!

    I can't say I had a favourite character. I loved them all! They each had their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. Traits that made them unique, though I did have a bit of a soft spot for Bronwyn, the girl with gargantuan strength. For me, she was exactly what her power represented. Strength, and definitely some courage thrown in there.

    Much like Harry Potter, to which this had been compared, this story has some dark undertones but they are done so flawlessly, so subtly that you wonder if it was ever intentional. If you want a beautiful gem of a story, one that will inspire and awe you, then pick this up. It may just be the best thing you read this year!


  2. My Summer TBR

    Friday, 6 June 2014

    Okay, hands up. I admit it. I'm a terrible person. Unless a novel is absolutely fantastic, then chances are I'll find one I want to read more, and read that one instead. And thus, the book takes the back burner on the dustiest, most unexplored plains of my bookshelves. And over time, these books piled up. So in lieu with my recent book-buying ban. I've come to the realisation that I need to read the books I started before buying anymore. No matter how much they call out to me on their shelves.

    If You Find Me
    Emily Murdoch

    Carey is keeping a terrible secret. If she tells. It could destroy her future. If she doesn't, will she ever be free?

    For almost as long as she can remember, Carey has lived in the heart of the woods with her drug-addicted mother and her six year old sister Jenessa.

    Their mother routinely disappear for weeks at a time, leaving the girls to cope alone. Survival is Carey's only priority - until strangers arrive and everything changes . . .

    I think I bought this one on the summary. For me, it was perfect. It gave that sense of mystery that enticed deep shivers within me. The sort that promised a riveting read. But unfortunately, I set it aside and moved onto other projects. I'm hoping to get it finished by the end of Summer. 

    The Book Thief
    Marcus Zusak

    This is the tale of the book thief. As narrated by death. And when death tells a story, you really have to listen.

    It's just a small story really, about amongst other things:

    A girl

    An accordionist

    Some fanatical Germans

    A Jewish fist fighter

    And quite a lot of thievery.

    I know. I know! I'm terrible. You don't need to tell me. Everyone and their dog has read this book. Everyone except me that is . . . I bought this book during the massive hype over it but never really got started. This will go towards the top of my TBR list!

    Anna and the French Kiss
    Stephanie Perkins

    Anna is less than thrilled to be shipped off to boarding school in Paris, leaving a fledgling romance behind - until she meets Etienne St Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Etienne has it all... including a girlfriend. But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with a longed-for French Kiss?

    I'm actually still reading this one. So far, I've been eh about it if I'm completely honest. Having bought it together with Eleanor and Park and My Life Next Door, I thought that I would love this book just as much. But to be honest, I haven't felt any sparks with this novel yet. But I'm nothing, if not persistent. So I will finish it. And I will give a fair, but honest review.

    The Ocean at the End of the Lane
    Neil Gaiman

    It began for our narrator forty years ago when the family lodger stole their car and committed suicide in it, stirring up ancient powers best left undisturbed. Dark creatures from beyond the world are on the loose, and it will take everything our narrator has just to stay alive: there is primal horror here, and menace unleashed - within his family and from the forces that have gathered to destroy it. 

    His only defense is three women, on a farm at the end of the lane. The youngest of them claims that her duckpond is an ocean. The oldest can remember the Big Bang. 

    THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE is a fable that reshapes modern fantasy: moving, terrifying and elegiac - as pure as a dream, as delicate as a butterfly's wing, as dangerous as a knife in the dark.

    I haven't even started on this one yet. I got it in Tescos on a 2 for £7 deal alongside another book. But I've heard so much good stuff about it. And everyone I hear talk about it, raves about its amazingness. (Yes, that's a word now!)

    Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
    Rick Riordan

    Half boy. Half God. ALL Hero.
    Look, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.
    I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.
    This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

    So. Kind of ashamed that I still haven't read this. But be fair here, I was still shivering uncontrollably from Harry Potter feels. Let's hope this book doesn't entice the same!

    Why We Broke Up
    Daniel Handler

    "I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened." Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship.

    Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. In Why We Broke Up, international best-selling author of A Series of Unfortunate Events – made into a Hollywood film starring Jim Carrey – writes about romance and breaking up in his first book for young adults with every bit as much skill as he does gothic humour.

    I am rather ashamed to say that I bought this book over a year ago and still haven't gotten round to reading it. I will definitely read it this Summer. Promise!

    Well. That's all for now. I'm sure that many other books will pop up on my TBR list over the coming months, and I'll be sure to note them all down. But for now, happy reading!