mercredi 30 mars 2016

My Favourite Childhood Books

Hi everyone! Lately, I've seen quite a few videos about childhood reads on BookTube, namely ReadbyZoe's most recent one, which inspired me to do the same thing in a written form. However, you'll quickly realize that many of them are actually written for a much older audience than I was at the time (I only wanted big books, basically). Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy this post and think about the books you enjoyed reading when you were younger! I'd love to know about them.

1. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (the obvious one)
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)
As most of you probably know, I'm Lucy Maud Montgomery's biggest fan mainly because of her Anne series. I read the first book when I was about 8 years old and I never stopped loving this series. As of today, I've probably read LMM's books a hundred times (which isn't even an exaggeration), so I would highly recommend her books, especially this one. It's about a young orphaned girl who is adopted by a family who only realize when they get her that she's a girl, even though they had asked for a boy. Anne is my favourite character ever and I've wished I could be her countless times. Gilbert Blythe, another character in this series, was my first book crush and I swear you'll fall in love with him if you give this book a chance. It's set in the early 1900s and it's written in a poetic way that makes those books perfect for adults as well as children. 

2. Emily of New Moon by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Continuing the way I started this list, I have to tell you that this other series by Lucy Maud Montgomery caught my heart quite early in my life (in 2007, if I believe my library's archives). This book, although it might sound similar to Anne of Green Gables because it's about an orphan, but Emily's story is completely different from Anne's. It's much darker (but only because Anne is such a positive anc charismatic character while Emily's life is really sad and she doesn't have as much positivity as Anne does), but it's still written in the beautiful way LMM's other books are written and it presents incredible characters that you'll remember forever.

3. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
As a big fan of this TV show, I had to read the books, especially since they were some of my mother's favourite books. I think they might have been some of the favourite books I read, since I owned the three first of the series and my mother read them to my sister and me. I actually pretended I was Laura while my sister said she was Mary and we'd act some scenes together. I received a nightgown that looked exactly like one of Laura's dresses from my grandmother, who made it specially for me with a cap. I went to bed with little braids to look like Laura's TV show character and the nightgown was destroyed by the time I stopped wearing it, so you can probably see how obsessed I was with this series.

4. The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
I started reading this series pretty young and it followed me throughout the years, so much that I actually got to review the most recent book of this series (which made my ten-year-old self very happy). It's one of the first series I recommended to my sister when she started reading, which brings back many old memories of us fangirling together. It's something that I would recommend to any young girl, because it makes you fantasize about being a princess in a realistic way. 

5. Eragon by Christopher Paolini
I'm one of those weird little girls who didn't care about the types of books she read, so I read this book when I was 7 or 8 years old - before the movie even came out. I loved this particular book, but since I was so young, the sequels got too complicated for me and I ended up giving up on the third book. I do plan on rereading this series one day, maybe when I have children, because it made me wish so hard that I could have my own dragon (I pretended I slept under my dragon's wings when I was younger).

6. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
I have no idea what age I was when I first read this series, but I know for a fact that I was way too young, because the last one kind of freaked me out when I read it (my parents never put a veto on what I wanted to read since I read so much, but I wish they had a few times, because some books kind of traumatized me). I do remember that I wished I had such a large group of close friends, since it's always only been me and my best friend, as well as a few other friends, instead of me and my three best friends, like it's the case with the girls in this book. I wanted my own pair of jeans like that, too, and I truly think it's a fabulous idea for a series.

7. I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
I wasn't as young when I read this book, maybe 12 years old, but I'll count it. I did read this after watching the movie (which gave me a huge crush on Alex Pettyfer, haha), but I remember loving the complexity of the books, which was much more interesting than the movie. I think I read the first three books of this series, but I would have read all of them if they were on sale where I live (which they sadly aren't. They release one every three year or so and it sucks). 

8. Stolen Voices: Young People's War Diaries, from World War I to Iraq by Zlata Filipovic
This is one of the first non-fiction books I read and it really stuck with me through the years. I couldn't believe how sad those kids' lives were when I read this, especially since a lot of them were my age. It made me open my eyes to the world I lived in and I think it's one of the reasons why I'm so interested in history today, especially during wars. I would highly recommend it.

9. The Saddle Club series by Bonnie Bryant
As a young rider, I had to at least watch this TV show, which I very happily did. Steph, Carole and Lisa were my models and I wanted nothing more than to be as good a rider as they were, even though it's a known fact to all riders that they'ra actually quite bad in the version I watched (I was 5, so give me a break). When I discovered that there were books of this show, I was the happiest I'd ever been. I flew through all of the books I could get my hands on and they were my favourite ones. This is making me quite nostalgic, because I almost forgot about them and my 7-year-old self would probably never forgive me for that!

10. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
You didn't think I'd do such a post without including Harry Potter, did you? It's definitely one of my childhood favourites, so a list like this one wouldn't be complete without it. I watched some of the movies first, because they came out when I was quite young, but I went to every single one of their theater releases (which scared me of the theater for quite a while, because they were scary movies for a young kid and the loud noises made it even worse) and I read the books as soon as I learned how to read. I've always been called 'Hermione' as a joke in my family because of my love of books and my obsession with school and being right, so I remember loving her hair (which is embarrassing) and when I'd take off my Laura Ingalls braids, I turned into Hermione for the day, which was awesome (I mean, cosplaying two characters pretty much at once, how awesome is that?). Basically, I would completely judge you if you told me you haven't read/watched this series (sorry not sorry).

samedi 26 mars 2016

This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl

Goodreads summary:

A collection of the journals, fiction, letters, and sketches of the late Esther Grace Earl, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 16. Photographs and essays by family and friends will help to tell Esther’s story along with an introduction by award-winning author John Green who dedicated his #1 bestselling novel The Fault in Our Stars to her.

My review:


Dear Esther,

I do not know you, and you certainly don't know me. I mean, I was born four years later than you were and during all our lives, we've been separated by miles and miles, even by borders. I wasn't part of Nerdfighteria when you were and I don't even know if I had a Facebook account when you were still alive, let alone a Youtube account. However, your story touched me so, so, so much. 

Life is unfair, we all know it. Some of us, like me, have been blessed enough to have a relatively easy life so far and to only see illnesses and death from a very far away perspective. However, reading your journals, watching your videos, and hearing people talk about you has made me realize how unfair your life was. How could a person so radiant, so cheerful and so smart like you have to go such hard times? I know from your own words that you became okay with the fact that you had cancer and that your faith has helped you a lot with that. This is a truly fantastic thing, especially from the point of view of an atheist like me. I have always envied people who belong to a religion, because I can imagine how much easier it can be to think that everything happens for a reason. This book proved my thoughts, because you made it sound so easy.

I loved the person you were, or at least the idea I got of the person you were. I know that I could never get to know you as much as I want to, because I've only seen a glimpse of the person you were, but I do know that everyone around you was lucky to have you. I don't know what you would think of people like me, who read your book, your journal, even, watch your videos, hear your friends talking about you and end up loving you. I hope you'd like it, because everyone has described you as a 'welcomer', a loving person who accepted everyone. I love that about you. That's the way more people should be. In a way, you're a bit like how everyone should be:  caring, passionate, intelligent, confident. I'm not saying you were perfect, but I do think you were an awesome person. 

My thoughts go to your friends, your family, your cats. As weird as it must be for them to see you become some sort of celebrity, I hope they accept the support we are willing to give them, because your book has truly made my eyes open. From Heaven (because I know that's where you are, even though I am in no way religious), I hope that you're happy that your cause has brought so many of us together to make the world a better place to live in, even though you will never have this chance again and it's breaking my heart. Don't forget to be awesome, Esther, while we'll never forget how bright a star you were.

mercredi 23 mars 2016

Jane Blond International Spy - Brianna and Stan Schatt

Goodreads summary:

Fourteen year-old Jane Blond thought getting through high school was difficult enough with her dad in prison and her mother dating. Throw in being bullied by the popular girl who has everything, and it’s completely unbearable. But when terrorists kidnap a boy she cares about, she knows she is the only one who can save him. Jane must rely on her courage and cunning as well as on a computer genius, a teen with Asperger’s, and a parrot with an attitude.

My review:


I was expecting more from this book, but I was just not able to connect with the characters as much as I wanted to... I thought the summary sounded great and I wanted to read about a younger character thrown in a crazy situation. It didn't quite meet up to my expectations.

The first negative point I found was the fact that the writing style is quite confusing. The verb tenses keep changing, which I found annoying, as someone who's a tiny bit obsessed with grammar and writing in general. I was able to look past that, though, but I never really got to connect with the characters during my time reading. I think it's because the writing felt a bit choppy to me (but it might just be me, because I've read great reviews of this novel), but I guess it was just not the book for me. I'm older than the characters, so it's no surprise that I found some of them a bit whiny and immature, but some books still manage to make their younger characters relatable for me, so I was hoping this would be one of those,

I think this book does have promise - my younger self would probably have loved it, it seems like the writing works with a lot of readers, and the whole idea behind it is great (honestly, I love the summary because characters with similar names to famous people are so funny to me). 

Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Carry On - Rainbow Rowell

Goodreads summary:

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

My review:


I'm usually not the biggest Fantasy fan. I do love some classics, but it's not my favourite genre. However, I knew I had to read this, because it's from Rainbow Rowell (my queen). I'm so glad I did, because the second I opened this book, I could not stop reading. 

It's written in the amazing way Rainbow Rowell creates stories, so it's very realistic and full of complex characters. I loved how every single one of them is special and interesting, but then again, it shouldn't be a surprise. I didn't know this book was written in different points of vue, but I'm so glad it is. It made me discover the main characters much more than I would've otherwise and I actually discovered the big mystery early in the story because of those different perspectives. I fell in love with Simon, Baz, and Penny from the beginning. They're all quirky and loveable, even though Baz is considered as an enemy for most of the book. I wish I could have Simon and Penny's friendship, because they're such adorable friends that I found myself wishing I could be a part of it. 

I know some people complain about this book's resemblance to the Harry Potter series. Obviously, the link between those two is there, but once you get into the story, you discover that it's a much different universe. I do wish that this would be a series, since a single book isn't much to create a complex world of magic, but I did get an idea of what it looked like and it's quite a lot different from Harry Potter. As Rainbow Rowell says, this book is more about being the "Chosen One" (which must suck, to be honest), and I think that this, with the fact that it's set at a wizarding school, explains how similar it can be to Harry Potter. 

The main point that I am not too keen on is the mystery of this story. As I said before, I found out quite early what it was, which disappointed me a little. I thought it was so obvious and I'm not even the kind of person who guesses easily what's about to happen. I couldn't believe it when I read one of the hints in the story, because I don't think it could've been more obvious. I still loved this book, so it wasn't too big of a deal for me. 

I really liked the romance in this book, even though I think Simon wasn't too invested in it. I get that it's just him going with the flow, but I wish there had been more realization of it on his part. Nonetheless, it was adorable and it fit really well with the story. It's different from most love stories in Fantasy for many reasons and I loved it. 

Overall, I think this is a fantastic book. I haven't enjoyed one this much in a long while, so I had a great time reading it. I'd absolutely recommend it, no matter what part of it interests you the most. It's the kind of book that can please many types of readers, in my opinion.
Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 


mardi 8 mars 2016

Finding Daylight - Mara Dabrishus

Goodreads summary:

Georgie Quinn and the filly Sweet Bells are an unbeatable team. When they win the Breeders’ Cup Classic against colts, the world can’t seem to get enough. Overnight, Georgie becomes the face of horse racing, and Sweet Bells becomes its queen.

Although they’re the morning line favorites, Georgie feels like she’s barely keeping her head above water. Her parents’ farm is a crumbling has-been, her jockey career consumes her time, and Harris Armstrong, heir to Tupelo Stud and grandson of Sweet Bells’ owner, won’t forgive her for telling a lie that kept her family together as the truth ripped his apart.

Georgie refuses to apologize, so she’s stunned when Harris asks her to ride his new colt. The most tenuous partnership in racing has begun. One that threatens to swallow Georgie whole.

My review:


I was afraid that I wouldn't enjoy this book as much as I thought when I had a hard time getting into it, but once I did, I loved it. I've become a fan of Mara's writing a while ago, when I read Stay the Distance and then Whirlaway, and I think it's going to stick with me for a long while.

Once again, I found myself surrounded by a realistic and amazing horse world in which I fit more than I ever do in books. It's full of details, well researched and it feels like you're the one riding the horses or taking care of them. While the atmosphere in the stables of this one isn't as heartwarming as in Mara's other books (for obvious reasons: it's pretty much the most important part of the plot), there's something reassuring as soon as there are horses in a story. I loved Sweet Bells dearly, especially since she reminded me a lot of my own horse of a few years ago, which I had to sell and it broke my heart. I could relate a lot to Georgie because of that, since I experienced having to let a horse you love go without having a say in it. I also loved learning about horse racing, since it's always been quite foreign to me, seeing as I'm an English saddle rider who lives in Canada (where there aren't any races, at least in my province). The fact that Georgie is a jockey taught me a lot about this profession and its ups and downs, which I loved. I would never be able to ride racing horses because of my paranoia and my obsession with control, but I can see how some people can love it. 

The relationship in this novel is even more complex than the one in Stay the Distance, but so is the whole story. I think that might be the reason why I couldn't get into the story at first, since I wasn't sure I understood what I was reading. Don't get discouraged if that happens to you, because you'd miss such a good story! I loved both Harris and Georgie and I shipped them pretty much from the beginning, because there's something about them that tells you they care for each other even when they're both convinced they hate each other. Seeing them learn to be around each other again and try to protect the other one was really touching and it made me swoon more than once. 

This is a fantastic story that is about horses, but also about much more than that. It can be pretty heartbreaking at times and it's definitely not light-hearted, but it did leave me with a good feeling. I thought it was confusing at first, but I would recommend it to everyone. 

Thank you Mara for sending me a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I did an interview with the author last summer, which you can find here