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Lullabies By Lang Leav

Lullabies By Lang Leav
Publication Date: 16th Sept 2014 By Andrews McMeel Publishing

Goodreads

SummaryA sequel to the hugely popular, best-selling Love & MisadventureLullabies continues to explore the intricacies of love and loss.

Set to a musical theme, love’s poetic journey in this new, original collection begins with a Duet and travels through Interlude and Finale with an Encore popular piece from the best-selling Love & Misadventure. Lang Leav’s evocative poetry speaks to the soul of anyone who is on this journey.

Leav has an unnerving ability to see inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Her talent for translating complex emotions with astonishing simplicity has won her a cult following of devoted fans from all over the world.

Lang Leav is a poet and internationally exhibiting artist.

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Lang Leav’s Love & Misadventure is one of my favourite poetry books of all time. I also had the opportunity to meet her last year at a book signing she did here. Imagine my surprise when I found limited copies of Lullabies on the shelves at the bookstore! I ran, I paid, and I read. Immediately.

I read it in a day and fell in love.

I own many poetry books but I find myself constantly going back to Lang’s poetry. One of my favourite things about her writing is that it is simple and succinct enough that it doesn’t take much to understand the poem. I love that no matter how simple it is, it really tugs at your heartstrings and pulls you in.

I really enjoy poetry, but often I find that it can be very difficult to understand what the author is trying to say. You’d have to sit and think and really analyse what’s written and why it was written the way it was — and it gets critical sometimes. But I find that Lang Leav’s work is simplistic enough that even someone who isn’t too familiar with poetry can enjoy.

Lullabies is much longer than Love & Misadventure, but it does keep to the same feel of love, desire, yearning and loss. There are some longer pieces in Lullabies, all of which were very interesting to read. The compilation of poetry in Lullabies is just as the name suggests — it is soothing enough to bring you to another place even for a short while.

I highly recommend Lang Leav’s works, especially if you’re someone who is just starting out to read poetry. I think that Lang’s work is very relatable and it captures different emotions very well. I’ve re-read her first collection of poems so many times and I’m very certain I will do the same with Lullabies.

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The Innocent Assassins By Pema Donyo

The Innocent Assassins By Pema Donyo
Published June 24th 2014 By Astraea Press

Disclaimer: I received a review copy c/o the author in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads

Summary: There are three rules to staying an assassin at the corporation of Covert Operatives: (1) your parents must be deceased, (2) your contracts must remain confidential, and (3) you must be under the age of eighteen.

After a murder mission goes awry a month before her eighteenth birthday, Covert Operatives assassin Jane Lu finds herself caught by the federal government and forced to spy for the CIA while remaining in Covert Operatives. Once her spying mission is over she will be allowed to live a civilian life without facing criminal consequences, a life she’s only dreamed of having.

As Jane leaks information to the CIA, she uncovers secrets with enough power to both destroy Covert Operatives and her own boyfriend, Adrian King, who’s next in line to be CEO of the company. When her identity as a double agent for the CIA is discovered within Covert Operatives, she must decide where her allegiance, and her heart, truly lies.

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I absolutely adored The Innocent Assassins.

It is no secret that I love anything Nikita-esque, so its not surprise I jumped at the opportunity to review this book.

The Innocent Assassins is action-packed and extremely fast-paced that it keeps you turning pages from start to end. The Innocent Assassins revolves around Covert Operatives agent, Jane and her journey after a mission goes awry and is forced to double cross CO to work for the CIA.

If you’re familiar with the TV show Nikita, The Innocent Assassins is pretty similar to it. From the characteristics of the main characters Jane and Adrian, down to the way CO operates is pretty similar to that of Nikita. But that’s where the differences end. The Innocent Assassins does bear its own colour — it’s different enough to keep me in suspense and pull me in.

Of all the different assassin books I’ve read, I’d have to say this is one of my favourites and most memorable. I enjoyed the romance between Jane and Adrian but I also liked how the relationship played a part in the decision making for both characters. I liked that they were in love from the start and there wasn’t any insta-love. I really loved CO and the different weapons they produced and the classes they attended; it was all really fascinating even though it wasn’t really new.

In terms of writing, even though it was good, there were instances where I felt that the author explained too much and was a bit unnecessary.

“Silence descended for a few moments. It was pregnant silence, filled with recent events between us and all the words left unsaid”

/

“His face fell. Not literally, but something sunk in his features which only reminded me of falling.”

I’m also not a huge fan of Emma — I felt that the way she behaved was a little odd and even though it was explained, I didn’t feel like the reasoning behind it warranted the way she behaved. I appreciated that Lucy was a good friend and appeared several times throughout the book though her appearances didn’t really make an impact enough for me to care about her. The ending was a little bit rushed and I was hoping it would be a little bit longer but it was still a great ending.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Innocent Assassins. It was an impressive attempt to make something already done new and interesting. I’m hoping that there will be a sequel to this, because judging from the ending there is some unfinished business and I definitely need more Jane and Adrian!

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Movie Review: How I Live Now

Disclaimer: This movie review of How I Live Now is spoiler-free for both the movie and the book. You can read my review of the book here.

I really enjoyed How I Live Now. If you’ve read my book review of How I Live Now, you’ll know that I had some issues with the main character Daisy but I loved the book as a whole. Similarly, that’s how I felt about How I Live Now the movie.

The movie is a little bit different from the book, which is completely understandable as book to movie adaptations go. The movie generally follows the same premise about the book — Daisy is being shipped off to the UK, her aunt has to go to a business convention of sorts and leaves the children at home when the war starts to break out.

I felt that movie-Daisy was more intense. She’s meaner, nastier and is pretty much really rude to everybody. In the beginning there are shades of her having some kind of mental issues, where she hears voices in her head and criticising herself which isn’t evident in the book. She doesn’t really do anything but keeps to herself most of the time. I already had some issues with Daisy (from the book) but looking at it as a whole, I think the intensity adds another layer of dimension to her character. I quite enjoyed Saorise Ronan’s portrayal of angry-Daisy, I think she captured the essence of what the character is like (except angrier).

The relationship between Daisy and Edmond is a little strange and gave off this paranormal-vibe to it especially towards the end of the movie. But as a whole it was alright. Movie-Edmond is really good looking, which helps me like him a little bit more but he doesn’t really talk much in the movie either so…

The visual elements of the movie helped to bring out the nature of the war and the difficulties that these kids go through because of the war. It is more evident, it is clearer and as visuals go, it depicted how I imagined t would have been like in the book. I really like the location it was shot, it is incredibly beautiful and the cinematography in general was wonderful. It does have some slightly darker content than the book, and overall more intense, but it worked.

I really liked the movie — I’m not going to compare which is better but in terms of staying true to the overall concept, yes, the movie does the book justice. But I think the movie holds its own as a really good film that will make you feel all the feels.

I’d recommend you reading the book as well as giving the movie a go.

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If I Stay By Gayle Forman

If I Stay By Gayle Forman
If I Stay #1
Published Apr 2nd 2009 By Dutton Juvenille

Goodreads

SummaryJust listen, Adam says with a voice that sounds like shrapnel.

I open my eyes wide now.
I sit up as much as I can.
And I listen.

Stay, he says.

Choices. Seventeen-year-old Mia is faced with some tough ones: Stay true to her first love—music—even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?

Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.

If I Stay is a heartachingly beautiful book about the power of love, the true meaning of family, and the choices we all make.

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I’ll admit it — the premise of If I Stay didn’t sound entirely interesting when I first heard about it. But then it kept getting rave reviews and then Chloe Grace Möretz signed on to play Mia in the movie. And so I craved and read it.

And I loved it.

If I Stay is a bit of a tear jerker. Not The Fault In Our Stars kind of tear jerker, but enough to tug on your heartstrings. If I Stay is about Mia who got into a car crash with her family and is in limbo between being dead and being alive. While in limbo, she observes her surrounding before deciding if she wants to stay alive or die. If I Stay is a pretty short book; it takes place within a 24-48 hour span, in which Mia recalls her memories with her family and her boyfriend along with her observations of what’s happening around her as she goes into limbo. The story has a lot of flashbacks/dual perspective but I felt that it added to the story and we learn a lot more about Mia and the relationships she built with these people that are by her side.

The story is very character-centric, where it focuses a lot on relationships that Mia fostered with her parents, family friends, best friend and boyfriend. Mia is a great narrator and a fantastic character as a whole. She’s smart, relatable and has an amazing family that she can always depend on. As a whole, all of the characters in If I Stay are fantastic. In their own ways, they’re wonderful and quirky but their love for Mia is the same. Throughout the book I really felt their love for her and her love for them — and I think that’s what makes this book really sad but also makes you attached to them. This book definitely brings out all of your emotions and makes you really appreciate the people around you a lot more.

On a personal level, I could definitely relate with Mia a lot, especially with her struggles to adapt to her musician boyfriend. My boyfriend is a musician as well and though I do not play music, I certainly have felt awkward and like I didn’t belong. I think there were a lot of aspects of Mia’s life, where she feels she’s so different from everyone in her family and her boyfriend, really hits home for me which is why I fell in love with this book.

Its a little difficult to try and sum up my feelings for If I Stay in a written review, but I would definitely recommend everyone to give this book a chance if you haven’t already. It goes beyond just struggling with loss, but its a great book filled with wonderful human relationships that will stay with you.

I’m looking forward to reading Where She Went next; the ending of If I Stay was such a cliffhanger, I just needed more. If I Stay is another one of those books that made it into my favourite books of all time list and I’m definitely going to check out more of Gayle Forman’s works.

After I’d played for about ten minutes, it came to me: My aversion to Adam’s shows has nothing to do with music or groupies or envy. It had to with the doubts. The same niggling doubts I always had about not belonging. I didn’t feel like I belonged with my family, and now I didn’t feel like I belonged with Adam, except unlike my family, who was stuck with me, Adam had chosen me, and this I didn’t understand. Why had he fallen for me? It didn’t make sense.

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July Wrap Up

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I can’t believe July is already over. Where did all the time go? I’ve been busy in July with assignments for university and preparing for Eid and only managed to read 7 books in my spare time. I think I’m still feeling a little bit burnt out from reading, but I’ve gotten a bit of a kick from reading If I Stay by Gayle Forman a few days ago, that I might have gotten my reading kick back! I’ll be busy studying for my final exam of university ever so hopefully I’ll be able to read freely without feeling guilty about it.

Golden By Jessi Kirby • Pieces of it All By Tracy Krimmer • Vivian Versus the Apocalypse By Katie Coyle • Cameo By Tanille • Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek By Maya Van Wagenen • The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet By Bernie Su & Kate Rorick •  The Thousand Dollar Tan Line  By Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham

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How I Live Now By Meg Rosoff

How I Live Now By Meg Rosoff
Published Nov 30th 2004 By Wendy Lamb Books

Goodreads

Summary“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

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How I Live Now is a little complicated for me to review. I loved it, for the most part, but I have my reservations about the main character, Daisy.

This is my first Meg Rosoff book and I’m almost convinced that she can write anything and make me buy it. Her writing is simple yet beautiful, and it was very engaging from start to end. But How I Live Now is plot driven, so perhaps the writing can only do so much to elevate the book.

The thing about How I Live Now isn’t that it has a terrible plot or writing but it’s that the narrator can get a little bit annoying. Daisy comes across as very hateful and it begins with her hate for her stepmother. While I can understand her dislike for change, we never actually find out why she dislikes her stepmother. Daisy is pretty extreme; she doesn’t eat and its all so she can make a statement to her stepmother. For such extreme measures you only expect that her stepmother is a monster of sorts but it doesn’t seem that way. There wasn’t indication that she was mistreated at all. Daisy’s judgemental, self-centered and her air of I-don’t-care-that-people-are-dying gets pretty annoying after a while.

And then there’s Daisy and Edmond. Edmond is her cousin whom she falls in love with and has a relationship with. And it is not the nature of the relationship that bothered me (it doesn’t) but it is how the relationship panned out. It didn’t feel real to me; it feels forced and a bit fake. Pretentious almost. I didn’t care much for their relationship and besides, Edmond didn’t have much character to him anyway.

I did love How I Live Now. Beyond Daisy and Edmond, there’s a real plot and the story about surviving the war was realistic and interesting. It’s interesting to see it in the perspectives of children and what they do in order to survive. The loyalty they have as family and siblings were heartwarming.

I’d still recommend this book to everyone despite my dislike for the main character. Perhaps she might be more tolarable to others who read this book. Overall a solid four-star book, though it is a shame that I couldn’t give it the full five.

I’m looking forward to see the movie and hoping that the movie will help me fall in love with the story more.

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