Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Book Review: Isabella's Last Request

Isabella's Last Request by Laura Lawrence* is a novel in which a girl in her twenties with a brain tumour writes a list of all of the things she wants to do before she dies. The novel is narrated by Isabella's best friend, Olivia, as they complete the tasks whilst travelling the world. Along the way they meet two boys and of course there's a little bit of romantic involvement. It's a nice easy read that's a little bit juicy. If you like novels by Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern then this is one for you.

I was able to read this book in a day. I normally read Kindle books a lot faster than paperbacks but this is only about 200 pages(give or take depending on your ereader). The book is quite sad at times(although I didn't cry like everyone who's review it on Amazon has) and talks about cancer so if this is quite a sensitive topic for you then you might want to be a little bit wary. I did really like the list that they had written and found it really added something to the novel. It made me think about what I would do if I found out I was going to die. It gave a firm plot line for the story to follow as well. I really liked the two different romances that occur. The relationship between Isabella and her man is very 'bad boy' and reckless whilst Olivia kind of settles down with someone who is very caring. I think the relationships were a really nice way of showing their personalities a little bit better.

I think my main issue with the book and why I chose not to give it a higher star rating is because it skipped out on a lot of detail. They'll be standing talking in the queue to go swim with dolphins and then the next thing you know they're talking after swimming with dolphins. But really what I want to be reading about is swimming with the dolphins, what they done, how it felt etc. etc. I think because of this I didn't feel myself getting very connected to Isabelle as a character. Yes she had cancer and that sucks but I was definitely a lot more attached to Olivia, mostly because it was written from her perspective. As I've said, this book is about 200 pages long and I would have preferred if it was a little bit longer. Just adding those little bits of detail would have made it so much better for me.

For £2.02 I think Isabella's Last Request is great book to buy from the Kindle store. It's a fun, easy read that's perfect for summer. Something I'd recommend to read by the pool with your Kindle in one hand and a pina colada in the other. There's also a sequel called Isabella's Last Gift which I have bought and am looking forawrd to reading. As I said earlier I felt more attached to Olivia and this novella follows her after she moves to America.

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This book was given to me by the author for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own. However, I bought the sequel with my own money.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

OOTD: Alan Davies Gig

Dress: Internationale
Necklace: Internationale
Brooch: Hairy Coo
Boots: New Look
Bag: Asos

Hello everyone. My boyfriend and I went to see Alan Davies at the SECC on Thursday night and I thought I'd do a little OOTD to show you what I wore. He was absolutely hilarious and it was a really nice night out. Despite being in row R we still got a really good view of the stage. I've never been to see a comdedian live before but I will definitely be going back because it was great. This is my 3rd OOTD of the month so I've successfully completed my goal. OOTDs are some of my favourite posts to write but it's such an effort finding someone to take my photos for me. I really need to get myself a tripod and a wireless remote. I have a wireless remote in mind but I'm undecided on the tripod. The trouble is that I'm 5'8 and most tripods only go up to about 5'2. I don't really fancy spending a lot of money on one but at the same time I don't want to buy a super cheap one that's going to get me nothing but chin shots. No one wants to see the chin shots! What do you think? If you have a tripod do you think it's important to have one roughly the same height as you?

I bought this dress the week before in the sale at Internationale as well as the necklace. My local store is shutting down so everything is reduced, I got myself some great bargains. I also bought this little highland cow badge. I love it and think it goes great with the dress but my mum thinks it's hideous, each to their own! And again just my usual boots and bag. You must all think I'm so boring. I have awkwardly sized feet so whenever I find a pair of boots or shoes that fit I tend to wear them until they break! On that note, would anyone be interested in seeing a shoe collection post? I love watching videos like that but not sure how well it will translate to a blog post, let me know!

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Monday, 21 April 2014

Top 5 Stand Alone Novels

Hello everyone. Another 'Top 5' post today! This time it's one that was requested. I was asked to do posts on my favourite stand alone novels and my favourite series, so here's the first part. If you have any other requests then please let me know. I love it when people request posts, it makes me feel important haha!

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
I Am The Messenger follows the story of a 19 year old New Yorker called Ed. Ed isn't really going far in life, he's just working as an underage taxi driver and doesn't have much in the way of ambition. He starts to get playing cards in the mail that have messages on them. Sometimes it's an address, sometimes it's a name but they're all clues that lead him to someone who needs his help. This book had me laughing and it made me what to cry. It's a really good book that ironically, gives a great message.

Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where'd You Go Bernadette is made up of letters and emails collected by Bernadette's daughter. Bernadette was a bit of a free spirit so felt a little bit tied down with everything and then one day she just disappeared. This book has a really quirky writing style, it reminded me of the 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Blah Blah Blah that one. Bernadette's daughter is on a mission to find out why she left and eventually tracks her down, it's hilarious.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Have you ever read a book in which the writing is so vivid and rich that you actually felt like you were there? Until this book that had only happened to me with the Harry Potter novels. But Morgenstern's writing style is so wonderful, it took me right to the circus. Standing there in awe of all the acts, I could smell the caramel popcorn. It's the story of two magicians who have been challenged together in a duel as children. As they grow up they meet each other when they both start to work for the circus but neither of them know who their opponent really is. It also tells the stories of some other side characters and about how the circus has effected them. This worked really well for me as a stand alone novel as everything was wrapped up nicely and there were no loose ends.

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
In 13 Reasons Why a high school student is delivered a parcel in the post containing several tapes. The parcel is from a girl he went to high school with, but she killed herself last week. As Clay starts to listen to the tapes he realises that Hannah is explaining the 13 reasons why she killed herself, and he is one of them. This novel was beautiful and it really made me think about things. It's great and I really recommend it.

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Speak is a novel that I only read recently, but I already know that it's one of my favourite books of all time. It follows the story of a young girl who has been raped at a party that she then called the police to. She never told anyone about the rape and so this book is about how she deals with it by herself. All of her friends are shunning her because she got the party shut down and at school she is bullied quite a lot. It's an incredibly sad story but it has a great ending. Laure Halse Anderson wrote an epilogue explaining why she hasn't written a sequel. Until I read this I was annoyed at the ending but that epilogue made me respect Anderson's decision a lot more. 5/5 would recommend!

What are your favourite stand alone novels?

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Sunday, 20 April 2014

50 Books That Will Change Your Life

So for World Book Day a wide range of people were surveyed about books that have changed their lives. And these were the top 50 that kept coming up. I've seen other variations on this(I think the BBC have one) but I thought it would be interesting to look at this list because it was made so recently. I saw a post by Charlene where she was going through the list to see how many she'd read and I thought it was a great post. It's kind of like a tag so if you'd be interested in doing this then please do! It's something a little bit different!

Books that will scare you
Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

The Rats by James Herbert
The Shining by Stephen King
1984 by George Orwell
Lord Loss by Darren Shan

Score: 2/5

I'm not really a fan of scary books if I'm honest. I've read 1984 and The Shining. I've never even heard of the others.

Books that will teach you about love
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Forever by Judy Blume
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

Score: 3/6
Halfway there! I've read The Diary Of A Young Girl, Twilight and How I live Now. I absolutely hated How I Live Now by the way, I really do not see what all the fuss is about. I downloaded Jane Eyre onto my Kindle last week so I will be getting around to reading that eventually.

Books that will make you laugh 
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison
Geek Girl by Holly Smale
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Score: 2/6
I've read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging. I did take Catch 22 out of the library but I couldn't really get into it. I might come back to it again, I didn't know it was supposed to be humorous.

Books that will transport you
The Great Gatsby by F.Scott Fitzgerald
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
Percy Jackson (series) by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

Score: 4/6
I've read The Great Gatsby, Life of Pi, the Harry Potter series and the first book in the LOTR series, so does that count as 4? I'm counting it as 4. The Percy Jackson series is something I've wanted to read for a while but honestly I have no real desire to read Northern Lights.

Books that will change the way you think

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Book Thief by Marcus Zusack

Score: 6/7
I almost got a full house! Damn you A Streetcat Named Bob for letting me down! That did sound kind of interesting so maybe I will pick it up.

Books that will make you cry

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
My Sister's Keeper by Jodie Picoult
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker

Score: 6/7
I've read all of these apart from War Horse and I have not cried at a single one of them. The only book that's ever made me cry was The Fault In Our Stars.

Books that will help you understand you  
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Score: 4/5
AGAIN. I think I'll forever be one book away from completing any sections! I've not read The Outsiders by SE Hinton. I've never even heard of it. -searches on GoodReads-  Yeah it doesn't really sound like it's for me!

Books that will thrill you

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Gone by Michael Grant
Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
Divergent by Veronica Roth

Score: 3/7
Not a great one for me either. I've read City Of Bones, The Hunger Games and Divergent.

Ultimate Score: 30/50

That's not too bad. 60%. That's a B? I'm pretty pleased with that. I might make the extra effort to read the ones I've been meaning to read this year. Have you read many of these? And what books would you like to see on a list like this?

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Saturday, 19 April 2014

Names I Wish I Had

When I was younger I hated the name Hayley. I just didn't think it was very 'me' at all. Now I'm a lot more attached to my name and I don't think I'll ever change it but I thought it would be interesting to share the names I wish I had at some point. Do you ever wish you had a different name? I like most of these names because of the way that they sound, because I think they're pretty or because they're quite unique. Hayley is quite a popular name in my generation(there were 4 Hayleys in my year in high school) so I've always kind of wished I had a name that wasn't so common. 

 I guess I could have called this post names I'd call my children/pets but I don't really want kids nor do I want to freak out my mother in such a way. I'm also not a big fan of human names on pets. Yes I know that my dog is called Sam but he came with his name! If you've ever thought of changing your name I would love it if you could also do a post about what names you've liked!

What names do you like? Is your name one of these names?

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