Saturday, 28 June 2014

The Fandom Confectionery: June 2014 - TFiOS Edition

The Fault in Our Stars movie is already out in a few counties and it's coming out soon in the UK. So, I thought I would make this month's fandom confectionery based around TFiOS to feed our little obsessions. Here's what I've found! 

1) Set of 12 "Okay?" "Okay" Cupcake Wrappers 
To all of the bakers out there, here are some TFiOS inspired cupcake wrappers. I think we all know that we're going to need some comfort food after this movie! So, why not bake some cupcakes in something that'll probably make you cry more. 
Buy - £4.88


2) 12 Milk Carton Party Favours 
If your birthday is coming up or you're planning someone else's, here are some TFiOS milk carton party favours. I came across these a few days ago and then I had to find them again for this post because I love them! I just think they're really cute. 
Buy - £7.32

3) Travel Mug
The mug has got "My thoughts are stars that I can't fathom into constellation" on one side and one the other it has "The Fault In Our Stars" on the other side. It's a really simplistic design that I really like and I'm also starting to have a slight obsession with travel mugs for some reason. 
Buy - £10.98 

4) "The Literal Heart of Jesus" t-shirt 
You have no idea how much I was this top! I've seen so many with the "Okay" quote on there  that I was looking for something different and I came across this top. I'm pretty much in love with it now because you know.... It is the literal heart of Jesus 
Buy - £17.39

5) Hand Painted Fake Nails 
A set of 24 TFiOS hand painted fake nails that are reusable! I haven't worn fake nails before and I probably won't but I they looked pretty awesome. Especially since they are hand painted and I thought for anyone who does use fake nails I'd put them up here or even if you just wanted some TFiOS styles nails.
Buy - £13.42

6) Bead Bracelet 
I know I put a version of these on my May edition but I found a TFiOS version on their shop and I had to include it. It's a TFiOS paper bead bracelet. So, you can carry the part of the book where ever you go. 
Buy - £9.15

7) Wooden iPhone 5 Case
I am a huge fan of wooden phone cases, I think it's because the finish on them is just gorgeous. I love dark coloured wood as well and I find this case so pretty. Ideal way to protect your phone TFiOS style. I don't have an iPhone but I really wish they made one for my phone because I really really just love the finish on it. 
Buy - £15.25

8) Quote Card 
The card says "Ma'am, your daughter's car has just been deservedly egged by a blind man." I have no idea why you might need this card, I don't really think I'm going to ever need this card but I needed to include it because of the sheer awesome. One of the quotes that you don't see around often but still one of the best in the book! 
Buy - £1.51

9) Throw Pillow 
The price at the bottom is only the price for throw not for the filling but you can buy it with the filling as well. The cover says, "The world is not a wish granting factory". I don't know about you guys but I know that I going to need something to hold and cry into and this seems like the right thing! Reminds me that the world isn't a wish granting factory because look at the book! 
Buy - £14.00


10) Photographic Print
I don't know what it is about this print but I like it so much more than the others that I've seen. It's not the general white and blue one. It's different and shows a few of the symbols that you just relate to TFiOS. It's just really pretty and I'd love to have it up in my room! 
Buy - £6.58

Those are all my picks for the month to celebrate the release of TFiOS. Anything on here that you have or want to get? And do you own any other TFiOS merchandise? 

*Postage and Packing aren't included in the prices 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

WISE: Engineering Statistics

I though I'd do something a little different with this month's WISE post. I know that I explained why I wanted to do these posts in my very first WISE post but there's a lot more to WISE. I want to show you guys some statistics that'll hopefully give you an insight to the world of women in engineering. So here are my top five facts about women in engineering. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Movie Review: The Fault in Our Stars

Title: The Fault in Our Stars 
Based On: John Green's: 'The Fault In Our Stars'
Director: Josh Boone 
Writers: Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber
Stars: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, Nat Wolff

'Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group.'

What can I tell you about this movie, other than the fact that it made me cry so many times and it left me emotionally drained by the end of it? 

This was a book-to-movie adaptation that I had been dying to watch and you have no idea how happy I am that I went to watch it. There were so many people.who said that the movie stayed true to the book and I just wanted to find out for myself if that was the case. These people were right. The movie was absolutely amazing and stuck with the book so well. 

I really don't know where to start here, there were so many scenes that I really did just fall in love with. All the scenery was everything I pictured it to be and I loved the skeleton that the kids were playing on. All of the Amsterdam scenes were just beautiful to watch. It was really nice seeing the scene where Hazel and Augustus went up to Anne Frank's Annex and how they played out the whole Van Houten scene. I hated him just as much as I did in the book and possibly more. 

There was no doubt that I though Woodley and Elgort did a fantastic but I have to say and even though he wasn't on the screen as much as the two of them, Nat Wolff was the person who I really though did an absolutely terrific job as playing Isaac. I really do think he captured the character perfectly and did an amazing job of bringing some humour to a film that can be extremely upsetting. 

That was the thing about this film, it is heart-breaking and there are times that you will be balling your eyes out, because I lost count of the times where I had tears streaming down my face, there were so many times where everyone watching the movie just burst out into laughter because you just couldn't help it. The humorous parts of the movie really just helped the atmosphere of the screening. People wanted to laugh along when the characters were laughing and cry when they were as well. 

There were some scenes which I really did wish were in the move from the book but I understand that they couldn't fit everything in there as much as they probably wanted to. It didn't take away from what was already in the movie though. There were a few lines that they put into the movie as expected and usually I feel like they never seem to fit in as well but if anything, they just added to the characters. 

As much as Augustus and Hazel's story really got to me, the scenes in the movie that really made me not stop crying were the scenes between Hazel and her parents. They seemed so realistic and it was all done in a way where you couldn't help but think about the position they were in and what they had to deal with and the fact that this is the reality for a lot of people out there. 

It was a fantastic movie though and whether you've read the book or not, if you're looking for a movie that will make you laugh and cry all within the space of two hours then this really is the movie for you. 

Rating: ★★★ 1/2

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Book Review: Unremembered

Title: Unremembered 
Author: Jessica Brody
Publisher: Macmilan Children's Books
Series: Unremembered #1 
Release Date: 05/03/2013
Pages: 320 
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @jessicabrody

'A catastrophic plan crash leaves one survivor: a girl with no memory.

Who is she?

Where does she come from?

Nobody knows and no one comes forward to claim her.

Haunted by a looming threat she can't remember and plagued by abilities she doesn't understand, she struggles to recall who she is. But every clue leads to more questions. And she's running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a boy who claims they were once in love.

Alone and on the run, who should she trust? And what if she discovers that she is safer with a past that stays unremembered?'

So, I saw this book on a giveaway on twitter and I was really looking forward to reading it. I looked it up on goodreads and it just seemed like the type of book that I was looking for and I just really liked the sound of it. 

I was disappointed with this book though for numerous reasons. The actual sound of the plot was amazing but I felt that nothing really happened in the book until about 60% of the way in and even then, I wasn't exactly drawn into the book. I know that in a book explanation does need to be given and there are essential parts of the plot that you need include but for me, it was a really slow read. There seemed to be a lot of information dumping, which made it harder to get my head around everything that was going on, especially towards the end of the book. I struggled to get into the story and I felt like I was only trying to get through the book so that I could finish reading it instead of enjoying. 

What was supposed to be a sci-fi book and a romance book turned out to be quite heavy with romance with very little sci-fi. I have nothing against romance books but I was looking forward to a sci-fi read but it wasn't there. There were aspects of it but I think I was predicting a book that would be slightly more based on the sci-fi. It just felt as though we were trying to have our attention brought to the romance aspect of the book that was going on.

I found it extremely hard to get in touch with Seraphina and to be able to empathise with her. No matter how much her situation was explained to try to get us to understood her, I found it incredibly hard and it just made it a little harder for me to read the book. It was understandable that she had lost her memory but even as the book progressed, I just felt like there was no real personality there and it was only really towards the end of the book that there seemed to be a small connection between me and the character. 

Personally, I don't think I'm going to be picking up the other books in the series. It wasn't an enjoyable read for me and I was looking more forward to finishing it than finding out what was going to happen in the plot. 

Rating: ★★

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Write Every Wrong: The Journal

This is a piece of writing that I based off a Writer's Digest prompt. 

Clicking her tongue in that annoying way she always did when she was trying to find something, Aubree pushed her glasses up that was slowly falling down her nose whilst her green eyes carried on  scanning the shelves in her school library. There was a never ending flow of homework lately; essay after essay just kept coming at her. It seemed as though she was never going to leave this library, whether it would be to pick up books or to do the work there.

The French Revolution was the topic of the week for her work. Mrs Manning could not have picked a more interesting subject! Aubree wasn’t a huge fan of the topic, nor of her history lessons at the moment. What used to be a subject that excited her was now one that made her want to fall asleep in the back of the classroom. She couldn’t afford to do that though. In her last year of Secondary it felt as though missing half an hour of a lesson was enough to put her mark down by a whole grade.

Aub just wanted a few books to help her out on her paper. Mrs Manning had a strict policy of no use of computers. No matter how hard someone tried to get away with it, she always seemed to just know. Aubree didn’t even attempt using a computer, there was no point. Mrs Manning liked all of her papers handwritten and all of the information done from books. It could be worse though, she could have asked them to reference everything that they found.

Venturing further and further into the history section, Aubree was hoping that she would stumble across a book of some use to her soon. It had been a long enough day already and the last thing that she wanted was to have to stay behind any longer than necessary.

As her finger ran across the spines of numerous books, she stopped when she felt the out of place feeling on leather. Curious, she pulled the book out and furrowed her brow. It didn’t look like one of the library books, there wasn’t even a title on the front. Aub opened the book ready to thumb through the page but stopped and looked at the first page.

“Property of Callum Ricks. If lost please return to:
Grange High School,
Thank you.”

The ever polite Callum Ricks, even in writing he didn’t find it in his heart to be rude. Callum was one of the quieter boys in Aubree’s year but all the same, he still excelled in school and the teachers loved him. Aub had spoken to him a few times on the way to class and they sometimes partnered up in science but she couldn’t say that she spoke to him loads. The book must have been placed there by one of the librarians by accident.

The better part of Aubree knew that she should take the book back to the reception area, as had been instructed on the first page but there was a niggling feeling inside of her that she was desperately trying to ignore. What was in this book? What could quiet, little Callum Ricks possibly be doing with this book? Aub had never seen him with it before. Biting her lip, she went to go sit in an isolated section of the library that had a few bean bags in a corner. She settled herself down and opened the book up again. Although she did feel horrendously bad about doing this, it couldn’t possible hurt just to have a little look at what was in there. Surely, Callum wouldn’t mind. It wasn’t like she was going to go around school and tell everyone what was in there. Aub just wanted to get rid of that rather annoying, festering feeling and there was only one way to do that. She convinced herself that she wasn’t going to be completely nosey; she would just take a quick flick through the pages and then hand it straight into reception.

Curiosity would not let that happen though. It wanted her to delve deeper and see what else was in there. Aubree didn’t have to will power to go against that and she soon found herself looking at each page slowly and carefully as if there was some hidden message in there. She just couldn’t help herself.

Aubree soon learnt that Callum was a doodler, there was a sketch on every page, whether it just be in the corner or taking up a whole page. By the time she had gotten around about five pages in she started to take more notice of the writing. What she thought looked like a journal seemed like so much more at the moment. He seemed to document more than just what his day was. It was a record of the people he met, the people he had walked past that day, it was the inside of his head all written down. Aubree kept reading and noticed that there were a few times where her name cropped up. Here he wrote about how he enjoyed the chats that he had with her, however short they may be. Aub couldn’t help but smile at that but her smile soon faded as she carried on reading.

He felt alone a lot of the time; like isolation had become his best friend over the years. He tried to make friends but from what Aub had read, she struggled with it. He struggled finding a way to fit in with everything else and all of the things they got involved in. Aubree had always thought that Callum stayed away from people out of choice; that he would rather have time to himself instead of being among the crowd of the rest of the school. Realising that that wasn’t the case made her feel slightly differently. She liked speaking to Callum but didn’t really approach him unless they were outside of class or paired up because she didn’t want to bother him. She wanted to start making more of an effort with him. She wanted to show him that making friends was pretty easy.

Aub didn’t want him to get suspicious though, she didn’t want him to wonder why all of a sudden she had started to speak to him more. She could tell him but she wasn’t sure how he would react and she didn’t want Callum thinking that she was only speaking to him because she felt pity. That wasn’t the reason at all. That was a battle that she was going to have to spend the night thinking about but for now all Aubree wanted to do was to go home and strike up a conversation with Callum online. 

This work belongs to Saira Ahmed and should not be taken or used without permission. Thank you 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Book Review: Shadow Kiss

Title: Shadow Kiss
Author: Richelle Mead
Publisher: Razorbill
Series: Vampire Academy #3
Release Date: 13/11/2008
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @RichelleMead

'It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's been having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts. 

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has been experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy, Victor Dashkov, might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.'

So many feelings about this book and they are all positive! I loved this book so much more than I expected to. I love the Vampire Academy series anyway but this book made me love the series so much more, I didn't even think that was possible. 

Shadow Kiss, for me, had so much more going on in the plot, and not in the confusing sort of way where you can't follow what's going on. It was so much more action packed and I felt that the plot gave the reader so much more in the book than the others. You could see the plot taking the front seat as a lot of the explanation had been done in the past two books. I was constantly guessing what was going to happen next and there were so many surprises in the book that made me have to reread just to double check what I had read. 

Character development in this book was, once again, done extremely well. Once thing that I was really happy with by the end of this book was the fact that we saw Rose actually go through raw emotions after killing Strigoi and having everything that happened in the last book catch up with her. It wasn't one of these things, where she was acting like she was invincible and nothing was affecting her. You could see the knock on events from Frostbite and it was nice to see that they weren't being brushed under the carpet and instead they ended up playing a big part in the plot. 

One thing that I really enjoyed reading in the book was the way Christian and Rose were interacting. It was so much of a strain for them to get along with each other and they had the odd compliment. It was just nice to see their relationship growing in terms of friendship. I loved seeing more of Christian and Lissa's relationship and how it's still very prominent that Christian really cares for her and is very protective of her regardless of what other people were saying. 

I was so happy to see that Adrian Ivashkov was back in this book. I think I ended up falling even more in love with his character in this book. You could see a more serious side come out of him in this book but I still loved the way that he joked around. This was a character that I thought Mead wrote really well. Victor Dashkov is still a character that makes my skin crawl and I have a feeling he is going to be turning up later on in the series. 

I don't want to end up spoiling too much of the book, but this time around you could really see how some relationships blossomed and how you could see the crack in some relationships. It was an action packed book that kept me wanting to turn the page. For me, it was Mead's best work in the series so far. 

Rating: ★★★★★

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Book Review: Soulmates

Title: Soulmates
Author: Holly B
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Release Date: 01/09/2013
Pages: 544
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @Holly_BourneYA

‘Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love… thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems. 

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometimes students and… soulmates.

 After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible between the ending of the world, or a life without love…’

This book has been sitting in my TBR pile and I couldn’t wait to pick it up after I saw a lot of hype about it on twitter. So, I finally decided that it was my next book to tackle and I didn’t regret it at all. 

There are so many reasons that I am in love with this book. All the way through the book you could sense that it was pure British; from the language Bourne had used to the way she spoke about college for Poppy and her friends. It’s not often that I come about a book that is based in Britain and catches my eye and this one was amazing. 

Lately in books, I have really been struggling to find one that finds a good balance between descriptive writing and speech and for me, Soulmates hit the hammer on the head with the balance. I was two chapters into the books and the description was beautiful, it was exactly the sort of thing that I have missed reading and that had to be one of the main things that made me hooked to the book. I loved the way everything was explained and how the writing just flowed. 

I was in love with Poppy’s dad from the moment that he was mentioned. The father-daughter relationship was really well wrote and you could see that he was the one that Poppy inherited a lot of her habits from and that they seemed to understand each other and the way they are. I love his attitude towards most things in life and how he looks out for Poppy but not in an over-bearing way. 

Even though Poppy and Noah were the main focus of the book, we got chapters where it was jumping to the people who knew what was going on between Poppy and Noah which I really enjoyed reading about because it gave you a little break from the main point of the story whilst still being about it. Anita and Rain were two people I really wanted to see more of and I really did get curious as to what was going to happen between those two. Anita’s story really made me want to read on and find out what happened to her. 
I love Poppy and Noah’s relationship and how they ended up opening up to each other and grow with each other. It was really enjoyable to read. 

I did find Poppy slightly annoying though as she did seem to be slightly stereotypical as she was quite cynical about love and what was going on in the world. That was the only fault that I have with the book, as a character I found it hard to deal with her sometimes and the way she hated everything mainstream. Her character development happened pretty quickly for me, though that may have been intended when Noah came into her life, for me it just didn’t seem to sit well and was something that did bug me throughout the book. 

This book was amazing though and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a romance with a twist. It was completely worth the read and I cannot wait to get my hands on Holly Bourne’s next book. 

Rating: ★★★★

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Book Review: The Geography of You and Me

Title: The Geography of You and Me 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Hachette
Release Date: 15/04/2014
Pages: 353
Service: BookBridgr
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @JenESmith

'Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking...

The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can't shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can't, as Lucy and Owen experience the joy - and pain - of first love.

And as they makes their separate journeys in search of a home, they discover that it is sometimes a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.' 

I have so many feelings about this book that I am finding it really had to fathom proper sentences for this review. So, here goes nothing. 

I had heard so many good things about this book and I really wanted to read it so when I saw it on BookBridgr it was one of those books I immediately requested and was so excited when it  I came home to see the package waiting on the table.

I loved both Lucy's and Owen's history in terms of everything they had gone through before meeting each other. You could see how these things ended up having a knock on effect to what was going on in their lives and minds at the time and that was really nice to see. You could actually understand why they were thinking certain things and for me, that made me feel a lot more in touch with the characters. There was a lot more room for empathy and there were so many times that I just wanted to hug Owen and tell them that everything was going to be okay and things would eventually fall into place. 

Another thing that made me fall in love with this book was how heavily both of character's parents were woven into the plot. I love reading YA fiction that shows the part that the parents play. By the end you could really see the way Lucy had developed in her relationship with her mother and even the small steps she was taking with her father. With Owen, you could see how him and his father just sprang off each other. They helped each other out and both just guided each other with decisions that the both of them had made. It was nice to see that father-son relationship in a book and it was really well written. 

It was a journey about Owen and Lucy of not only finding each again but also figuring out how to fix certain aspects of their lives that they didn't think were possible to fix. They're searching for each other and they're searching for a place that they can call home and just feel settled. My heart broke for Owen so many times throughout that book and I did really feel for Lucy and the situation she was in.

The whole plot of this book was based around Owen and Lucy, the only real sub-plots there were throughout the books were just where the relationship with their parents developed. So, if you want more than just a romance story, this may not be the best book for you. It is one of those reads though that is quite relaxing and you can just wind down to and take you time reading. 

There were some chapters in the book that were really, really short but I see why it was written that way. At times though, it did slightly annoy me but it's only for a small portion of the book that is quite easily to push past. That's the only real problem that I had with the book.

I love Smith's writing style though and I definitely I'll be picking up more of her books. I loved the banter between her character's and the way she described the cities and feelings of the characters. The ending of the book was something that I was expecting but it didn't bother me. I felt content with the ending. It just felt right with what happened and the way the book was finished off.

It's a feel good book that just shows you that fate brings people together for a reason. It's a story about how you can fall in love without even realising it 

If you are looking for a YA-romance-contemporary book then I really suggest that you read this book. I was in love with it from first page to last and it's a perfect book to sit and unwind to. 

Rating: ★★★★★

Thank you to Hachette publishing and Bookbridgr who sent me this book in exchange for an honest review.