Thursday, 3 March 2011

Book Review: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Goodreads Summary:

There are six things very wrong with my life:
1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.
2. It is on my nose
3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.
4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.
5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.
6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

In this wildly funny journal of a year in the life of Georgia Nicolson, British author Louise Rennison has perfectly captured the soaring joys and bottomless angst of being a teenager. In the spirit of Bridget Jones's Diary, this fresh, irreverent, and simply hilarious book will leave you laughing out loud. As Georgia would say, it's "Fabbity fab fab!"
My Review:

I think Louise Rennison must have snuck a look at my diary from high school. Seriously, this book is my life from when I was 11 until 15. I love Georgia's character so much! She comes out with some great one liners and had me laughing the whole way through. I rarely read things from books out loud to people but I found myself reading out pages at a time as it was so funny.

I have been meaning to read this series for ages! I first entered the world of Georgia when I was about 11 and randomly read a few chapters of the 4th book and found it hilarious. I totally forgot all about it until the film came out. I watched it and loved it, and when I saw the first 2 books in a charity shop for £2 I bought them straight away and read them in a day.

Georgia is a self-centred, vain, moody drama-queen and I love her for it. Most of her time is spent obsessing over boys or how to make herself prettier to attract the boys. She is obsessed with the size of her nose, and her increasingly big nunga-nunga's (boobs), and through her diary entries we get to see the totally crazy lengths that she (and nearly every teenage girl) goes through on her quest for beauty eg. shaving off her eyebrows, making her legs look like Wotsits with fake tan and spending hours putting on make-up to get the natural look!

The supporting characters are just as fab, especially her rather embarassing little sister and her cat that is half scottish wildcat, Georgia's mates- the Ace Gang and of course Sex God Robbie. I love the way Georgia's parents react to her and know how to wind her up, especially her dad. Just like mine! The whole book is laugh-out loud funny but here are a few of my favourite quotes:

(After shaving off her eyebrows)
7:00 p.m
Dad is annoying me so much. He just comes to the door, looks in and laughs, and then he goes away... for a bit. He brought Uncle Eddie upstairs for a look. What am I? A daughter or a fairground attraction? Uncle Eddie said, "Never mind, if they don't grow back you and I can go into showbiz. We can do a double act doing impressions of billiard balls." Oh how I laughed. Not.

Sunday February 7th
Got dressed in a short skirt, then me and Jas walked up and down to the main road. We wanted to see how many cars with boys in them hooted at us. Ten!! (We had to walk up and down for four hours... still, ten is ten!!!)

Louise Rennison's writing is so strong and Georgia's voice is hilarious which totally makes the book. I will definitely be re-reading this one a lot, especially when I need cheering up! If you haven't read this yet, I recommend you get a copy as soon as you can but don't read it in public if you get easily embarassed, as I guarantee you will laugh out loud. There are 10 books in the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series and I can't wait to read the rest! (Also, the film is just as good so I suggest checking that out too!)

Rating: A+
Cover: B

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Book Review: Entangled by Cat Clarke

Goodreads Summary:

The same questions whirl round and round in my head:
What does he want from me?
How could I have let this happen?

17-year-old Grace wakes up in a white room, with a table, pens and paper - and no clue how she got here.

As Grace pours her tangled life onto the page, she is forced to remember everything she's tried to forget. There's falling hopelessly in love with the gorgeous Nat, and the unravelling of her relationship with her best friend Sal. But there's something missing. As hard as she's trying to remember, is there something she just can't see?

Grace must face the most important question of all. Why is she here?

A story of dark secrets, intense friendship and electrifying attraction.

My Review:

I knew I wanted to read Entangled as soon as I saw the cover and read the synopsis. The cover is GORGEOUS! I love the model's red hair and does anyone else think she looks like Naomi Watts? Anyway, onto the less shallow things!

I was sucked into this book from the very first page. I honestly don't think anyone could read the first chapter and put this down. The book was so addicting that I read it in one sitting. I loved the fact that it was British because although I am British, I don't find that many contemperary young adult books set here. It was a gritty book and felt very true to life.

Grace's voice was very strong. She was sarcastic, moody and self-centred, especially when it came to her best friend Sal but despite that I still felt myself warming to her. She comes across as a tough cookie but inside I felt she was just lost, scared and lonely. Her mum is never there for her, Sal has a huge problem of her own and the person she loved more than anyone is gone. As the book progresses, Grace works through everything that's happened and she learns a lot about herself. She drags you through every emotion she feels and it's hard reading at times, because you're feeling what she feels every step of the way. Cat Clarke dealt with some difficult issues but they were never over-dramatized or so uncomfortable that it would make you want to put the book down.

One thing I was a little disappointed with was the whole Ethan/kidnapping scenario. I was expecting a bit more from this, and to have my mind blown at the end but it fell a little flat for me. I probably hyped it up too much in my head because I was expecting something different but I don't think it made the book any less enjoyable.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone looking to get engrossed in a well written, thought-provoking book. But be warned, you might want to set aside a few hours or you'll have to drag yourself away from Grace's addicting story!

Rating: A
Cover: A+

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Just HAD To Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it is my first time taking part. Yay! It's very fitting for me to start this week because the topic this week is....

Books I Just HAD to Buy...But Are Still Sitting On My Bookshelf

I buy books I must have like crazy and then they end up gathering dust on my shelf. Oops! I'm sure I would love them but there's just not enough hours in the day! So here is the shortlist...

1. Noughts and Crosses Series by Malorie Blackman: It is stupid how long I have had these books!I think I bought the first one in about 2005 when I was 12!The premise sounds so good so I don't know why I haven't read them yet.
Hopefully I'll get round to them this year?!

2.A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray: Saw the cover,
read the blurb- had to have it! I still really want to read this one so will
deffo make time for it soon (and the sequels!)

3.Alice's Adventures In Wonderland and Through  The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll: How did I go through childhood without reading this? I finally bought it last year because it was the gorgeous Vintage Classics cover with the original illustrations but I haven't had a chance to pick it up.

4.Wuthering Heights/Pride & Prejudice/Anything by a Bronte sister or Jane Austen: Shameful, I know! I pretty much know what happens in most of them from my love of period dramas but haven't had time to actually read them yet :(

5.Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz: I love the cover and have heard great things but I've just never got
round to it. It seems I have a lot of firsts of series on this list but at least this way I don't have
to wait for the sequels!

6.Torment by Lauren Kate: I think I need to read Fallen again before reading this as I've kind of
forgotten exactly what happened!

7.Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink: I wanted this one for aaages but it was only available in
hardback and then when I finally got it, it kept getting pushed down my tbr list. I'm gonna try and
read it soon!

8.Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld: Got this to read on the Eurostar but bought another one at the station and
forgot all about it!

9.One Day by David Nicholls: Technically, this doesn't count because I've read half. I think I started a new book and just forgot about it. Oops. I was enjoying it though so I'll have to get cracking to read it before the film comes out!

10.The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: Got the book, decided to wait for the film to come out. Loved the film but haven't got round to the book yet! :(

Sadly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Yes, I have a problem. My name is Natalie and I am a book-a-holic. I'm just gonna have to step up my game and read like crazy!! Then I can add more books to my shelves haha!

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Summary:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that one love -the deliria- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:

I. Am. Not. Worthy. There is no way I could ever do this book justice in my review and I bow down and kiss the feet of the genius that is Lauren Oliver! I count Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver's debut novel, as one of my top 5 of all time. At the back of  the book was a passage from her second novel, Delirium, and as I read it I fell in love all over again. Then I found out it would be a whole 7 months until I could get my hands on it! Man, was it along 7 months but it was so worth it! The concept in itself is just so original. Lauren Oliver's writing is just so beautiful and dreamy and GAH..She could re-write the phonebook and I would lap it up.

I loved the characters and in particular, I liked how much Lena grew as a person over the course of the book. What she wanted and her hopes for the future at the start couldn't have been more different than what they were at the end. When we meet Lena she followed the rules and not only did she accept that when she turned 18 she would never feel love or passion again, she looked forward to it! She counted down the days to her operation like a teenager girl in our world would to their prom. Then she met Alex. Alex is pretty much everything that Lena has been taught to fear and he makes her question if a life 'cured' of love is really as perfect as it seems. I love love love Alex! He was sweet and passionate and you could tell he really cared for Lena. I thought the way Alex first saw her and why he was drawn to her and what he left for her was adorable. He's definitely a rebel with a cause but he's not all brooding doom-and-gloom serious all the time like some love interests are in a lot of YA books. It makes a nice change because he is cheeky and charming. Here's a quote from Lena that I think sums Alex up nicely: "I've never seen anyone maintain a smile for so long. It's like his face is naturally molded that way." And he recites forbidden poetry to boot! Alex is definitely a ray of sunshine in this book (and Lena's life) and probably the reason I loved it so much!

The world Lauren Oliver creates feels so real and desperately sad. A world where love is considered a disease is unthinkable. I guess life would be a lot simpler, but it wouldn't be so beautiful either. The members of Lena's family who have gone through the procedure are very cold and the way that the relationship between Lena and her sister has changed is heartbreaking to read. Her silent cousin Grace is also a character I adored.

Another thing I love is the way the chapters start with a quote from the Book of Shhh (The Safety, Health and Happiness Handbook) or a childrens nursery rhyme. It gives us a look at how they have been brought up and manipulated to believe that love or amor deliria nervosa is a dangerous disease that should be feared. I particularly thought it was a nice touch to have Romeo and Juliet presented to them as a cautionary tale.

The ending was just CRUEL. I have to know what happens next!! I honestly don't know what's going to happen between Lena and Alex because it's such a heartbreaking situation and I am so super excited (and terrified) to see how their relationship is going to work or not (gulp!).

If you haven't got a copy yet- WHY NOT?- run to the bookshop pronto! Beg, borrow, steal if you have to (just kidding!). Seriously though, it is such a delight and experience to read Delirium and now begins the pain-staking wait for Pandemonium to come out!

Rating: A+
Cover: A
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