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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Thoughts

            A couple of years ago I read this novel by Stephen Chbosky, because everyone I knew was talking about how amazing it was. While I was reading it, I did not realize how significant this story was to everyday life. I had found the plot to be boring, and not direct, which led me to giving it a low review. I recently watched the film adaptation to this novel, and it completely changed my view on this story. I found it to be heartbreaking and captivating,
            The casting could not have been done better, Logan Lerman has the face and attitude of someone you want to trust and know will never judge you. He went from such an innocent character to someone who was destroyed by a past with no social skills in his present. Emma Watson brought life and love to a character that wants to help flourish the wallflowers.

            Everyone can relate in one way or another to Charlie and the emotional struggles he has faced throughout his life. On a personal level, I can understand Charlie because I have suffered from manic depression and anxiety for the last four years. It was not an easy journey to go through, but I was happy to see all things come together in the end. I cannot say that this is an inspiring movie since there is a long time before something goes right in his life, but it is worth the watch.   

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Book Review: All In

All In

Written by: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Number of Pages: 376

Average Rating: 4.47/5 stars
My Rating: 5/5 stars 

Published: November 3, 2015
Read in January 2016

Summary according to goodreads

Three casinos. Three bodies. Three days.

After a string of brutal murders in Las Vegas, Cassie Hobbes and the Naturals are called in to investigate. But even with the team’s unique profiling talents, these murders seem baffling: unlike many serial killers, this one uses different methods every time. All of the victims were killed in public, yet the killer does not show up on any tape. And each victim has a string  of numbers tattooed on their wrist. Hidden in the numbers is a code - and the closer the Naturals come to unraveling the mystery, the more perilous the case becomes. 

Meanwhile, Cassie is dealing with an equally dangerous and much more painful mystery. For the first time in years, there’s been a break in mother’s case. As personal issues and tensions between the team mount, Cassie and the Naturals will be faced with impossible odds - and impossible choices. 

My Thoughts

This series is still one of my favourites, even three books in. It is extremely difficult to put these books down, which is why I waited for my winter break before starting this one. 

While reading this novel, I thought I knew where the plot would be going. I WAS SO WRONG. Jennifer Lynn Barnes is an amazing storyteller because she can keep you on your toes for 300 pages, and then do a 180degree turn. This author can somehow answer questions that the reader has had from the first book, while also throwing us off with even more questions!

One of my favourite things about this series is how much character development they bring out. In the first book The Naturals, we learned a lot about the main character, Cassandra Hobbes, while in the second novel we focused more on the past of Michael and Dean. With this third book we learned the history of a side character, Sloane, and how she is crucial to the success of this program - and also how she developed her skills. I am hoping to learn more about Lia in the fourth book, as her character is still a bit of a mystery. 

Regarding the plot, I had no issues whatsoever. In comparison to the previous novels, this one was longer but also more complex. I was never bored, and instead was thinking about the crimes myself as if I was an investigator on the team. While I was reading this book I felt like I finally understood everyone’s skills and how they analyze crime scenes, suspects, etc. It was almost as if they previous two books were just set for world building - and All In was the big climax!

My involvement to these stories could be due to the fact that I am a criminal psychology major, but I do recommend these books to readers. They are engaging, action-packed, and realistic which are some of my favourite things to see in young adult literature. The characters are all very well-rounded and work well together, but also have room to grow and work through their own issues. Sometimes they are put into such mature situations, you can forget that they are only teenagers. It will be very difficult for me to wait until November for the fourth book, I may just have to reread them all.  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My Favourite Books of 2015!

2015 was a relatively good year for me when it came to reading, and I had a fairly difficult time choosing ten favourite books. There is no particular order to this list, just my overall favourites of the year, derived from the 67 books that I read in 2015. 

 Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma 

I have talking about this book quite a few times, but I cannot express enough what a powerful novel this is. Between the complex characters and hard plot, this is an emotional ride of a story. 

Never, Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

This romantic psychological thriller series is an addicting one. They follow a young couple who cannot keep their memory. They have no recollection of who they are or what happened to them, and work together to fix it. I stayed up through the night to read these short books, and cannot wait for the third one to be released at the end of this month. 

Damaged by Cathy Glass

This is another novel that deals with harsher topics, as this non-fiction work centres around an 8-year old that has severe anger issues and has been abandoned by her birth parents. Throughout this novel we follow her path and struggle to overcome the physical and psychological damage done to her - as told by her foster mother. 

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins 

This series was one of my favourites and I was sad to see it end. Stephanie Perkins' writing is effortless and captivating, making her characters and stories enjoyable to read. Although Anna's story will always be my favourite, I enjoyed this one for its elements of travel, friendship, and of course bringing together all of the previous characters. 

Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines

This. Series. Though. If you follow me on Goodreads, you would have been witness to my gushing over these four books (Fallen Too Far, Never Too Far, Forever Too Far, and Rush Too Far). These were so addicting and fast-paced, once I finished one I had to run to my bookstore to buy the next. It was these books that formed my appreciativeness of Abbi Glines, and I hope to read many more of her books this year. 

Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting 

Another new adult novel that I read this year, this one has older characters (meaning their early twenties) but still holds all of the drama you would expect from this genre. I also found this one to be addicting from the plot, but I will warn that there is more sexual content in these than the Abbi Glines ones. This year I hope to read the sequel Inked Armour, but I may need to reread this one to refresh myself on the small details. 

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Another series that I managed to finish, I was hooked from start to finish. This is not your typical young-adult dystopian read, although there are some similar aspects. I enjoyed how action packed this series was, and that it took turns the reader didn't see coming. 

Identical by Ellen Hopkins 

This is another psychological story, clearly I had an obsession with hard plots in 2015. As per all of her other works, this novel is written in the form of free verse, which makes all of her stories that much more intense. This one in particular is about two twin teenage girls, one who lives the life of the perfect child, and the other who receives a different type of love from their father. 

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins 

Similar to how I described Identical, this story follows three teenagers who find themselves on suicide watch at a mental hospital? Why? That is for the reader to find out. 

Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I know I said there was no order to this list, but this book (and series) may be at the top of my list. This series is so engaging, and psychologically interesting, that I can't help but love these books. They average at high ratings, so I know I am not the only one believing that! I have reviewed two of these books, so check them out if you are interested! 

What were some of your favourite books of 2015? Make sure you let me know in the comments, or tweet me! Hopefully we all some amazing books to add for next years list!