Tag Archive | romance

Book Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.” – BookNerd

“It is said that a picture can say a thousand words. Well, so can a thousand words. They are the keys by which we can unlock new and amazing worlds, some of which ascend beyond the imagination, and it all begins on the first page.”BookNerd

Greetings Fellow BookNerds,

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new book review! I have been looking forward to reading this book for a VERY long time, ever since I finished reading Paper Towns what feels like ages ago now. Looking For Alaska was his first, the book that launched a thousand more… okay, maybe not quite THAT many, but it certainly paved the way for what I have no doubt will achieve the same level of memorability as those classic novels from decades ago that we continue to study in school today.

Going into this book, I tried very hard to avoid any online spoilers, and surprisingly enough I was successful, considering I follow John Green and his brother Hank on Youtube [it’s so hard to put that in words that doesn’t make one sound like a stalker] . This means that I had absolutely no idea of what to expect going in, and I can honestly say, it exceeded my expectations coming out.

Looking For Alaska  Looking For Alaska by John Green

stars-5

How he lived his life then, and how he will continue to live it in the future have changed drastically for Miles “Pudge” Halter. He started off as a teenage boy who ended up celebrating the day he was born with his parents, on account of his friends list being somewhat empty. He was tall, not exactly the athletic type, and his greatest talent was his ability to remember the last words of those who had died. His life, for lack of a better word, was mundane. Uneventful, even… that is, until he started hi first day at Culver Creek Preparatory High School, the beginning of his journey towards a Great Perhaps.

What I always love about John Green’s books is that he manages to create characters that are easy to relate to, and are so real that you can almost picture them sitting beside you as you read their part of the story. I also love how he manages to shine a light on both the ugliness and the beauty of life, and you can’t help but accept them both because they make up both sides of the same truth; that life is both ugly and beautiful, and that’s what makes it so exciting.

Alaska Young understands this truth only too well, which is why she has chosen to live her life on the precipice between life and the Great Perhaps. At first, it seems like it’s going to be your typical romance story: boy moves to new school, boy meets beautiful girl, boy immediately falls in love with beautiful girl, boy wins heart of beautiful girl and they live their life happily ever after as boy and beautiful girl. Well, that definitely ain’t this story. Instead, it’s more like boy pines after girl he knows he can’t have, and it doesn’t help that her unpredictable nature sometimes gives him false hope that there could be something more.

But this is not a love story. I mean, it is, but at the same time, it’s not. It’s about finding friendship in unlikely people, pushing boundaries to find what lies beyond the mundane, eating fried burritos, and that we most always keep searching for a Great Perhaps. It’s also about uncovering the mystery that is Alaska Young, trying to understand why she does what she does, and what this labyrinth is that she seems to be trapped in. This is a novel that will captivate you from beginning to end, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you start asking yourself about the meaning of life when you’re finished.

I hope very much that this one will be the next one to follow in the footsteps of The Fault In Our Stars and Papertowns by making its way to the big screen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, but until that time comes, I’ll just have to keep nose in the books so I can continue offering up more recommendations for all of you wonderful followers.

Keep On Reading!

BookNerd 

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Book review: Night Over Water

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I’m usually rather tentative when it comes to purchasing things online, since it’s not as easy to know exactly what you’re getting when all you have is a picture and a brief description to go off of. Still, when you have an amazon gift card in your grasp and a list of several books you’ve always wanted to read… well, it doesn’t take much more convincing than that. So, I now have three more Neil Gaiman books to add to my collection, which I will hopefully get to reading sooner rather than later.

That’s something to look forward to in the future though. Back to the present time, I am both excited and relieved to say that I have finally finished reading a book I borrowed from a friend of mine well over a year ago… I would also like to apologize to said individual, if you were looking for it at any point forgetting that it has been in my possession. I kept it safe and sound all this time, so there is no need to fret over its wellbeing, and I shall return it to you as soon as humanly possible.

Night Over Water by Ken Follett

 

220px-NightOverWater

Night Over Water is one of those books that ten years ago, I would never have had any interest in reading at all. What kind of book doesn’t have magic, dragons and epic battles? My reading bubble was very small back then, limited to books that at least on some level resembled Harry Potter or The Chronicles of Narnia. It wouldn’t be too far off to say that I was a shallow reader, for which I am rather ashamed, but I am happy to say that I have improved a great deal since then, and this book is proof of that.

I’m sure I’ve said this before, but what I love most about Ken Follett’s writing is that no matter how big or small the character is, every single one of them is integral to the over-arching plot, each thrust into a complex situation that reveals not only the type of person they are, but which also serves as a reflection of the time in which they exist.

Night Over Water takes place during World War II. The Germans are advancing on Britain. Some choose to remain behind and take part in the war efforts. Others, for one reason or another, support Hitler’s fascist ideals and hope to curry favour with him and help to create the world he envisioned. Then there are those who seek to escape the destruction and bloodshed, and those are the ones who have found themselves aboard the Pan American Clipper as it embarks on its journey towards America. You would think being in the sky would be much safer than being on the ground, but it just wouldn’t be a Ken Follett novel if that were the case. Scandals, lust, politics, thievery and sabotage abound as the lives of characters coming from various walks of life intertwine with one another, and not always for the better.

I have to confess that this is one of those books that I couldn’t just sit down and read at any time. For me, I had to be in the right mood and with the right mindset before I could dive in, and that’s because even though it’s a fictitious story, it is based on a very bloody and heart wrenching part of human history. Also, even though I watch a lot of television that’s filled with sex and violence, it has a very different feel to it when you’re reading it in such detail, which is another mark of a Ken Follett novel. When I am in the right mood though, it’s a hard book to put down.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Admittedly, war themed novels are not usually to my liking – I would go into why, but I don’t feel the need to start a debate on ideologies at the present time – but this novel focuses less on the war and more on how the lives of these characters – from the rich to the less well off – are affected by it instead. There are also some interesting perspectives shared on the various political ideologies that were both popular and unpopular at the time, which is something I found to be most intriguing.

That’s one more book I can add to my read shelf. If you have any questions about the book, or if you have read it yourself and would like to share some of your opinions on it, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post, or on my blogs Facebook page. As always, I look forward to hearing from you, and until next time, happy reading!

 

Cheers,

BookNerd

 

The Fault In Our Stars: A Role Model For Modern Romance

I read to live and I live to read. That's my circle of life.

“I read to live and I live to read. That’s my circle of life.”

Greetings Fellow BookNerds!

I know the movie has been out for some time now, and it seems like rather odd timing to be giving my own review for it, but I don’t believe in putting time stamps on these sorts of things. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Fault In Our Stars, which I just so happened to have written as I watched it 🙂

I used to always mock romance movies, refusing to lay even one eye – let alone two – on them for fear that their cliche storylines and cheesy scripts would infect my brain and influence my writing in a very bad way. That is, until I found The Fault In Our Stars.

It’s more than a story of two people finding each other and falling hopelessly in love. That may be an element of it, but that does not define this story. From my perspective, it’s about overcoming what life throws at us, which can sometimes be a lot, and accepting it all as part of who we are; taking in both the pain and the pleasures. It is, as some would put it, a story about cancer which isn’t about cancer. It’s also a story about exploring our own existence within this infinity in which we have found ourselves, even if our time within that infinity is short lived.

There is so much depth and insight, and I enjoyed seeing it almost as much as I loved reading it. I found myself laughing and crying all the way through, and at one point was even tempted to go out and buy a pack of cigarrettes just so I could stick one between my teeth, my own little tribute to Augustus’ metaphor.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to be so young, with an entire life of possibilities ahead of you, suddenly dwindled down to a nuber of days that can be counted on a single calender page. Where suddenly your greatest fear is whether you’ll be strong enough to fight through another day with the people you love. Cancer is merciless. It has taken people from my life whom I wanted to spend many more tomorrow’s with, replacing those days with relentless tears and distant memories… Well, life is too short to remain in a state of grief, and I’m sure they wouldn’t want me to only feel sadness whenever I thought about them, so here’s a happier train of thought.

Although he may never know of this blogs existence, and will likely never even know my name, I would just like to say that John Green has influenced my life in ways that go beyond what words can say. If I were to put it into words, though, let’s just say that his books managed to take a shy, socially awkward, self-conscious, anxiety-ridden, country girl, and bring her into a world that she used to only day dream about; a world with friends, love, laughter, and where the seemingly impossible becomes a little more possible with each passing day. I’ve even gotten to the point where I can look back on some of the worst moments from my personal timeline and smile, because as much pain as they brought me, they suddenly don’t seem so bad. After all, they were moments which brought me to this very moment, and even if I were given the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a damn thing, because then I wouldn’t have today. Thank you John Green for unknowingly helping me to live my life, as opposed to watching with jealousy and envy as others lived theirs.

I wrote this review while I was watching the movie, which I had never felt compeled to do before. It’s amazing how so many coherent thoughts can suddenly come flooding out through your finger tips when your heart and mind are swimming in a turbulent sea of emotions. Now, I say coherent, but for all know this is only making sense in my head. Nevertheless, I think I’ve managed to convey just how much I was touched by this film.

This is what a love story should be, and all I can think of to say to finish off is that I’m looking forward to seeing more of John Green’s books being brought into a new life like this one was, and that there will also be many more books that me and my fellow BookNerds can continue reading throughout our infinity.

Happy Reading Everyone!

Cheers,

BookNerd

The Fault In Our Stars Movie Trailer

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

I never truly appreciate the arrival of spring reading week until I have spent the week prior doing nothing except studying for midterms, struggling to complete last minute assignments, and then finally writing those midterms right before my brain has turned to mush. It is a much needed reprieve from the stressful academic environment, and hopefully one day it will become incorporated into every University.

Since my return home, I have finally had the chance to view all of the trailers for upcoming movies and television series, of which there are many. There was really only one I was looking for, and given the title of this post, it shouldn’t be too difficult to guess which one it is. It was in 2012 that the book was published, and now, a mere 2 years later, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is coming ever closer to the big screen. The movie is set to appear in theaters on June 6th of this year, and although that may feel like a lifetime away, that just means more time to give the book a few more reads through. If that’s not enough to tide you over, then you can follow John Green and his brother Hank on their Vlogbrothers channel in the hopes that they reveal a little bit more of what we can expect in June. John also has several videos that will take you behind the scenes of the TFIOS movie, providing a glimpse of what actually goes into making a movie.

In the meantime, and if you haven’t seen it already, here is the official TFIOS movie trailer, which was released back in January, but it’s the closest thing to seeing the movie at this point so it won’t hurt to watch it a few more times 🙂

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss

Shailene Woodley (Hazel) and Ansel Elgort (Augustus) are the stars of this heart warming love story that will tug at your heart strings from beginning to end. This movie really will be one of a kind, and if you haven’t read the book yet, then you are missing out on an amazing experience that will never come around again.

Adapting books into movies is like a coin toss; you either succeed or you fail, with very little wiggle room in between. Still, when done right, they can be some of the most amazing films you have ever seen. What books would you like to see turned into movies? If you have any in mind, I’d like to know. Leave the names of those books in the comments, and if there are some book-to-movie adaptations that already exist that you feel very strongly about – positive or negative – you can throw in a comment about that as well. By my next post, I’m hoping to have finished the first book in the Mistborn series, and will be able to provide a first hand review for all of you wonderful BookNerds. Until then, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

It’s Story Time!

nerdfighters rules Hello Fellow BookNerds!

In one of my previous posts (see the Short Stories page), I gave you all a little sneak peek at the story I had been working on during Nanowrimo. Well, although I haven’t gotten through editing the entire first chapter, I decided to let you guys read what I have gotten done thus far. So, without further ado, here is my story…

To Catch A Butterfly

purple-butterfly-wallpaper

Chapter One: Weird First Impressions

   It took a while to draw myself back into the world of the living. Probably would have helped if I hadn’t spent the entire night trying to finish a term paper that I should have been done weeks ago. In my own defence, trying to relate the historical theories of mathematics to the practice of classical music isn’t exactly the kind of topic that gets your pen moving. In the end, I was able to throw together a C+ worthy paper before nodding off.

   Thank God for the new alarm clock my mom had bought me as a supposed ‘early birthday present’, even though it wasn’t for another three months. The incessant beeping woke me up from a disturbing dream involving a giant starfish and the sudden disappearance of my lower limbs. As I brushed the adrenaline induced sweat from my forehead, and gave the snooze button a slap, I made a mental note to avoid any and all bodies of water for a while.

   My jaw dropped so low as I yawned that I probably looked like a snake trying to swallow an egg whole. Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I glanced blearily at the window. It was still dark, aside from the dull orange glow from the street light across the road. Turning from the window to the clock, I groaned and fell back into my pillow. It was only 6:30 in the morning.

   ‘Pain in the ass,’ I muttered, dropping an arm over my eyes as I tried to fall back to sleep. Unfortunately, my stomach had other plans. When I could no longer tolerate the hunger pangs in my gut, I threw off the covers and opened my eyes to the new day. I couldn’t remember hearing my mom come home last night, so just in case I tried to avoid making too much noise. Fortunately, I had neglected to turn off the hallway lights last night, so I was able to make it to the bathroom without tripping over that damn ironing board again.

   ‘Well, isn’t that a pretty sight,’ I said, looking in the mirror at a face that only a mother could love. My chin was covered in a thick layer of copper stubble, the bags under my eyes made me look like a blood hound, and the holes from my piercings made it look as though a smattering of acne had developed on my face over night. To top it all off, my hair felt the need to defy gravity, and my attempts to flatten it down with my hands proved ineffective. This was a pretty serious situation all right, but after twenty minutes of primping and preening, everything was back into place; my copper-brown hair was a more acceptable level of messy, my chin was as smooth as I could make it with the cheap razors my mom bought me, every piercing was back in its respectable hole, and a good splash of water to the face perked my eyes right up.

   ‘Now there’s a handsome devil.’ Satisfied with the results, I shuffled back to my room and forced the door to my wardrobe open. Not that I really care about being organized, but as I dug through the mountainous piles of wrinkled pants and bunched up shirts, I began to think that maybe a little cleaning up later on wouldn’t hurt. Even in all the clutter, though, I was able to put together an outfit that didn’t look half bad, especially for one such as I who preferred being able to hide in plain sight. It was all so clichéd, from the ripped black jeans to the oversized black t-shirt with the Metallica logo printed on the back, but that’s what all of the guys were wearing so I didn’t mind. I tied a black chocker with my name on it around my neck, adding a touch of individuality to my look, but it still wouldn’t be very noticeable. That suited me perfectly.

   As I looked over my appearance in the mirror, I couldn’t help but notice that everything about me screamed plainness. I had no redeeming physical features, I was by no means attractive, and I’m certain that if I were to stop coming to class, no one would be any the wiser. I tried to think back to a time when I wasn’t so hopelessly average. The first thing to pop into my head was the me of sixth grade, who thought it would be cool to wear extra large sweaters and a pair of black rubber boots to school. No wonder I couldn’t make any friends; they probably all thought I was mentally deranged or something. At the time, I didn’t care; I hated the idea of giving in to societal pressures and conforming to their idea of what was ‘normal’. Once I got to high school, though, my rebellious nature died, along with something else in my life…

   Trying to shake the unpleasant memory from my mind, I closed the door to my wardrobe and left the room. I was accustomed to the sound of my mother making a racket in the kitchen, usually while preparing breakfast, so I found it kind of eerie to be walking down a silent hallway. She must still be at work, then. It had been like this for months now, my mom coming home later and later with every passing day. I’d given up expecting her home on time a long time ago, accepting the fact that my mom would never be the same after what happened a year ago…

   As I reached the end of the hallway, I caught sight of the family portrait in the corner of my eye, the last one we ever took together as a family. It dredged up that unpleasant memory; the day I decided to become no more noticeable than a shadow in the corner of a room. You see, my dad had died almost a year ago, killed in the very plane which he had piloted for twenty five years. Although the case is closed, I couldn’t never accept the reason they had printed in the newspaper. The cops had been convinced that the plane went down due to what they called ‘pilot error’, but I knew that was a load of bull shit. My dad would never let something like that happen, and to think otherwise was absurd.

   I closed my eyes until the portrait was well behind me, and then proceeded to walk down the stairs. I kept hoping that one of these days, I would be able to walk down that hallway without feeling like my insides were being twisted into a knot and then burned from the inside out. When I reached the bottom of the stairs, I turned left towards the kitchen. I contemplated he idea of making a big plate of eggs, crispy bacon, French toast and hash browns… and then remembered that I couldn’t cook worth a damn. So instead, I threw a couple of pop tarts into the toaster and grabbed the jug of orange juice from the fridge.

———-

I hope you have enjoyed my story up to this point. I will continue to post pits and pieces of it as I continue to trudge through the editing process. Any comments or critiques would be gladly accepted and appreciated, so long as they are related to the story. That’s all for today, and as always, happy reading!

Cheers,

BookNerd

It’s Story Time!

Hello All!

I’m not sure if you remember, but last November I participated in the Nanowrimo (National Writing Month) challenge, in which I successfully completed my goal of writing a 50,000 word story. I have only just begun to editing process, which although rewarding, is also incredibly time consuming and requires the kind of attention I just don’t have a lot of right now. Still, I thought I might give you all a little sneak peek at what I’ve finished thus far – and by finished I mean I don’t hate what I’ve written but I might still edit it a few more times – and get some of your feedback. I am not placing you all under any obligation to comment on or critique it, but anything you do write will be accepted with my utmost gratitude.

I should let you know a few things first:

1. This story contains some crude language (and by crude, I mean swearing), so use your own discretion.

2. This is my first time writing a romance themed book, so this story is more or less a learning process for me.

3. I mostly wrote this for fun, but one day I do hope to get it published

Keep all of this in mind while you are reading. This is only the prologue. I may decide to post the first chapter if I can get around to giving it a once over. The only reason I am sharing this is because I believe that every story should be shared with the world. It is through the sharing of our stories that we are able to unlock human empathy and a shared understanding of the human experience, hopefully bringing us all closer together … too cheesy?

Anyway, before I go rambling on for too long, here is the beginning of my fictional tale of love, lose, and butterflies. That’s right, butterflies. Enjoy 🙂

To Catch a Butterfly

 purple-butterfly-wallpaper

It was the same thing every day with those two; sizing each other up on the courtyard, only to wind up sitting in the office looking absolutely pathetic with their swollen faces hidden behind a school issues ice pack. I will admit, I’d witnessed some moments that probably would have shot up the ratings on Jerry Springer, but for the most part it was nothing short of childish. That’s what I used to think, anyway, until something in my life changed, and not necessarily for the better…

       ‘Hey, jackass!’ It was definitely a girl’s voice, no mistaking that, although the punch that she threw was definitely a little more on the masculine side. The guy was practically thrown off his feet from the impact. A hush fell over the crowd as everyone stared, mouths opened, as the school’s strongest quarter back got knocked out by the quietest girl in school.

       I had only been vaguely aware of the girl’s existence, like something glimpsed from the corner of your eye. All I could piece together about the girl was her unique taste in clothing, which consisted of a variety of insect themed jewellery and clothing items, coupled with a curtain of long dark hair that resembled something out of a horror film from the way it hung over her face. Today, she wore a large pair of silver, butterfly earrings and a long purple skirt decorated with dragonflies, which danced about her legs in the gentle breeze. She was the exact opposite of intimidating, aside from having the guys blood smeared across her knuckles. If I hadn’t known any better, although I’m happy to say I did, I would have thought she had been possessed by a demon.

       ‘What the hell was that for, you psycho bitch?’ the guy shouted, both hands gripping his broken, bloody nose. I think his name was Ryan. He was the star player of the school’s football team, and the object of every girls’ desire. He was pretty violent by nature, but I never pegged him as the type who would strike back at a woman. Still, I couldn’t help but feel a pang of unease as I watched them facing off, brawn against bizarre, wondering if this girl knew just what it was she had gotten herself into. And then she spoke, her quiet demeanour shattered once more by her shrieking tone.

        ‘I am so sick of watching your guys act like a couple of immature brats!’ I wouldn’t have been surprised if students on the other side of the school could hear her. Still, it was hard to take her seriously when she dressed like a materialistic mother nature. Her words, however, were enough to warrant a resounding gasp from the crowd. I mean, there must have been something seriously wrong with this girl for her to think she could get away with saying that, even if she were to pull out the gender card.

        Still, as I gazed upon this spectacle, my eyes focused unwaveringly upon the girl as she stood there, bare arms crossed overtop of her flowery shirt, strangely coloured eyes burning like wild fire. In that moment, I experienced an inexplicable urge to find out what her name was.

        That’s pretty much how everything started. My complete life alteration, a diversion away from any resemblance of a normal routine. Everything I had ever believed in was turned upside down and inside out within a single moment, all thanks to this strangely captivating, yet completely mysterious girl.