Monday, 31 March 2014

R is for: 'Raise Your Glass'

Explicit Version 

So, there was no song that I really liked that began with Q so I jumped to R and the song is Raise Your Glass by P!nk! 

This song just explains the whole feeling of not fitting in and that it's okay because there are other people like that in the world.That you shouldn't be afraid to let your voice be herd just because you have been dubbed an underdog. It's a song that just makes me want to scream and dance around the room to it and when 'm alone in the house that's what I tend to do. One of my favourite songs by P!ink. 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, on the song, below. 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Author: Patrick Ness 
Publisher: Walker
Series: The Chaos Walking Trilogy #1
Release Date: 22/10/2008
Pages: 479
Format: Paperback 
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @Patrick_Ness

‘Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts he can hear too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town of where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden – a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursers can hear your every thought?’ 

So, this is the first book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy that I had borrowed from my sister.

I don’t think I could speak highly enough of this book; it was just pure brilliance. Normally when I read a book there is one aspect that sells it for me and makes me love it. For this book, there wasn’t just one aspect for me, it was every single point in this book that made me love it. 

The whole plotline shows how Todd is used to having to privacy in his life. He’s used to everyone around him knowing how he’s feeling and how he’s thinking and how he thinks that it’s such a normal thing to have everyone know everything about you and the only way you can stop it is if you’re able to bury your thoughts under the rest of your Noise. I thought that related to a lot of people nowadays and the use of Social Media. The fact that there are a lot of people that tend to document every single thing on sites. Even though that might not have been what Ness was thinking about when writing it, that was what ended up coming to my head. 

I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to give away the book but one thing I loved was that you never knew what was going to happen next. No matter how much I tried to guess what was going to happen, things just kept surprising me. The whole book is filled with so many twists and revelations that you never get bored of reading. 

I really loved the fact that the whole book was written as Todd would speak, so you have his accent going through your head the whole time your reading and that for me brought the book alive even more. His whole character development was amazing and I can’t wait to see what happens with him in the next few books as he grows more as a character. You could see the affects that certain events in the book has had on him and how it’s changed the way he is or the way he reacts to different things. 

The end left me in pure shock and it was one of those cliff hangers that hurt my chest to read. 

I cannot wait to get my hands on this book and I would highly recommend this book to just about anyone!

Rating: ★★★★★

Sunday, 23 March 2014

P is for: 'Part Of Me'

P is for Part of Me by Katy Perry and this had to be one of my favourite songs of hers.

It has this huge summer vibe to it whenever I listen to it and just makes me want to sing out loud. What I love about this song is that it shows that she’s growing away from the people that have hurt her. That they can come back into her life but that won’t make a difference because she’s not going to change for them. She’s going to stay true to herself.

I love the video to this as well. She's not just getting over a guy, she's doing it in an entirely different way to the way you see most music videos portray it and I love it! 

It’s a song that’s on my revision playlist because it really just makes me want to work and show people that I’m not changing just because of what someone says.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, on the song, below.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Saira's Speculating Mind: Love Triangles

Love triangles! We see them in movies, books and real life but I’m going to be talking about the ones in literature. The ones that we see splattered across our pages as we read a newly bought book. I’m not just on about the love triangles where there’s that one person who trying to date two other people and is trying to keep it all a secret. I’m on about all kind of different love triangles. 

I think we can pretty much find love triangles in most books both old and new. Whether they be the main point in the plot of just a side plot to make the story that little bit more interesting. But are they overrated or are we still finding that we are clinging on to every single word being written? 

There tends to be a typical love triangle of the girl’s best friend being in love with her but she’s going out with someone else and that guy hurts her and she ends up falling into the arms of her hero… who is none other than her best friend. Are we tending to find these plot line boring though? There are a countless amount of books that I have read where this is somewhere in the plot and it tends to just be too predictable now. You know what happens. You know the author will make you fall in love with the “other guy” but still make you want to root for the best friend, knowing that he’s going to be the one who ends up with the girl. 

That’s what’s different with The Hunger Games though. Instead of Katniss ending up with Gale, the boy that she’s known for years and is in love with her – she ends up with the “other guy”. The one who’s been watching her from a far and has never spoken to her but still knows so much about her (that does sound slightly stalkerish though…). Her hero isn’t Gale, it’s Peeta. He’s the one that fixes her and they are the ones who help each other out after the aftermath of everything. 

For some people though, love triangles are the one thing that leave us clinging to the book for hours to make sure that our pairing does end up together. Is that the problem though? Do we spend too much time focusing on the love aspect of the book instead of the plot? Or is that what the author wanted us to do in the first place? 

Personally, I feel like sometimes a really well thought out plot can be overshadowed by a love triangle. It takes away from what’s going on and I’m often left in conversations with people who are just taking about the love triangle. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind talking about love triangles but there’s so much more going on in the plot as well. 

A love triangle can often add to the plot though, it help it develop and can help the character develop. But it seems as though love triangles in books are starting to lose my affection. I don’t mind them being there and I’m don’t mind reading about them. What I am finding though is that I want to read more about the plot, I want to be able to delve into the thick nitty gritty parts of the plot, without someone having to being battling with the feelings about which person they like. 

As much as I like love triangles, I do think that they can be slightly overrated and I could survive a book that didn’t have one in. However, when they are executed well and are not the main point in a story that isn't of the romance I don't mind them being there.

What about you? Are you still in love with love triangles? Or ready to break up with them? 

*Image of Katniss, Peeta and Gale taken from Google 

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Introducing Book Chat!

The wonderful world of twitter is a place where many bloggers get the chance to interact with other people and other bloggers. We and pagex394 found that there seemed to be a chat for a lot of different bloggers: teen bloggers, beauty bloggers, lifestyle bloggers but there didn’t seem to be one for book bloggers.

So, we decided to set up a twitter based all around book and you don’t necessarily have to be a book blogger to get involved. We discuss all things book related and bloggers, we give you the chance to give your links to the rest of the blogging community.

We held our first chat last Wednesday that was based around the theme of sidekicks and it was lovely to see people getting involved and giving their thoughts and we hope we can get some more people involved. We had some amazing answers, some of which were the same as mine and some of which I hadn’t really been thinking of. But it was an amazing way to see what fellow book lovers thought about sidekicks and what their favourite ones were. This week’s topic is going to be about diversity in books and we’re looking forward to what you think!

Book chat is hosted every Wednesday, 7pm – 8pm GMT. Follow @bookchats for the questions and use the hashtag #bookchat to get your tweets seen by everyone else and help spread the word around! I hope you see you there tomorrow! 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

O is for: 'The Only Exception'

O is for The Only Exception by Paramore.

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t actually hear this song until Glee did a cover of it and then I went and listened to the original and I loved it. It’s just seems to be the story of this young girl who has seen her parents’ divorce and ends up not wanting to trust people and falling in love because of it. She ends up meeting this person who she wants to let in but knows that they are going to be the only person she will let in.

I just like all the imagery I have in my head when I listen to this song and it’s just easy going. For some reason it reminds me of a summer evening.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, on the song, below.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Book Review: The Boy In Striped Pyjamas

Title: The Boy In Striped Pyjamas
Author: John Boyne 
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Release Date: 01/02/06
Pages: 216
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository
Author Twitter: @John_Boyne

‘When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move away from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance. 

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances and very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating circumstance.’ 

I read this book a good few years back and when I stumbled upon it again I really wanted to reread it. There isn't too much I can say on this book without spoiling it. 

At the age of eleven when I read it and knew minimum things about the topic of this book I was intrigued and wanted to find out more. Now, at the age of fifteen and knowing a lot more about it, it was a read that still very much intrigued me and haunts me. 

The book has an atmosphere throughout the book that constantly has you on edge. It creates this place in Bruno’s mind where you only understand things in the way of a nine year old boy and the way he is handling the changes that are going on in his life. His character, I think, would portray any younger person that was in his situation. From the curiosity he has about the world around him, to the way he tries to cope with his family and other people around him.

An extremely well thought out book that constantly makes you question what is going on. Boyne gives you no clues as to what is going to happen next and every page ends up a new adventure in the world of Bruno. You slowly start to latch onto what the book is about the same time he does, you feel the exact same things Bruno feels. 

A heart breaking book that will always have me in tears but always makes me remember that the events of this book had happened. 

Rating: ★★★

Monday, 10 March 2014

Picking GCSEs

Made With Tagxedo 
It’s that time of year again, or at least it is in my school, where the year nine are starting to pick their courses for next year. It can be a pretty big thing. I remember about this time last year when my year group were told that this was going to be one of the first ‘grown up’ decisions that we make. For a lot of people, including me, that didn’t really help but it did make us realise that it is something that you do have to take seriously. 

The amount of courses that you are able to pick will vary from school to school but no matter how many option pools that you have, you need to think about the pros and cons of the subjects that you are considering to take. If you have an idea in mind of what you want to do in the future that can sometimes help a lot when you’re trying to narrow down your option pools. If your school has an Options Evening and you’ve gone to it or are going to it then try to keep in mind what your teachers have said to you. Or if you haven’t gone to your Options Evening or your school doesn’t have one then just talk to your teachers about it. 

Go to the teachers you are potentially teaching the subjects that you want to take and just ask them what the course would entail and what the coursework is like, if there are any exams included in the course and what sort of thing you would be learning about. Another thing that I personally found quite useful is if you know people I the year above you or have brothers or sisters that have taken the courses you are thinking of taking then talk to them as well. Sometimes, teachers will sell their subjects as much as possible because they want to see the numbers of that subject rise but people who have taken it will give you an honest answer as to what they thought of the course. But, you shouldn’t let that be the only thing that dictates whether you take the subject or not. 

Never let what your friends are doing make you decided what you are though. They are not you. They might not like the same things you do or may not what to go into the same line of work as you and that’s okay. You’ll make friends in the classes. Trust me. I know it seems like an unlikely thing to happen considering the fact that you have been in school for about four years at the time. But you’ve probably spent a lot of your lessons in your form class and there are still probably a lot of people who you don’t talk to in your year group, or it might just be a few. Still though, if someone has taken the same subject as you they at least have that common interest with you and that’s something you can talk to them about. Even if you only end up talking to them in that class. Pick a subject that you want to pick no matter what your friends think of it. If you end up being in the same class as your friends that’s great but don’t choose subject solely based on that. 

Look at subjects that both interest you and you think you will do well in. You want to be able to come out of year eleven knowing that you enjoyed the courses that you chose to take and that you have done your best in all of them. If you think that a subject isn't best suited to you and you're probably going to spend the next two year bored out of your skull then don't take it because to years is a long time to sit in a classroom where you're trying to get a qualification. 

Your school, and your family and there to support you and help you make the best possible decision for yourself so talk to them. Think about it, ask people on Twitter that you know have picked their options if you want to. There are so many ways of getting information about your year ten and eleven courses so look into them and then make a decision. No one is forcing you to take a subject that you don’t want to take. 

Take your time, take care in picking and good luck! 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

N is for: 'New York'

This week’s song is New York by Snow Patrol.

I don’t know what it is about this song but I love it as much as I love Snow Patrol. It’s the pre-chorus beat that has to be my favourite part of the song.

I tend to interpret this song as the hurt of having someone you love not being near you and how you cope with it. The fact that the nights are getting lonely and you ache from wanting this person near you and you’re trying to explain this all to them. A slightly upsetting song but I still find it a beautiful song.

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, on the song, below. 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

WISE: Marie Curie

This month’s ‘Woman in Science & Engineering’ is Marie Curie. 

Marie Curie was born in Warsaw, Poland on the 7th November 1867. In 1891, she went to Paris to study physics and mathematics at the Sorbonne and here she met her husband. Pierre Curie, professor at the School of Physics. They married in 1895. 

Together they worked on investigating radioactivity, they had been building on the work of the German physicist, Roentgen, and the French physicist, Becquerel. By 1898, the Curies had announces the discovery of a new chemical element, polonium. They had then announced the discovery of radium towards the end of the year. The Curies and Becquerel had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1903. 

Marie Curie’s husband had died in 1906 when he was knocked down and killed by a carriage. Yet, she still carried on with her work. Curie took over her husband’s teaching post which made her become the first female teacher at the Sorbonne, and she devoted herself to the work that her and her husband had started together. Curie was awarded another Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911

The research that both husband and wife had done was crucial in the development of x-rays in surgery. During World War One, Marie Curie helped to equip the ambulances with x-rays and would then drive ambulances to the front line herself. She was made head of the radiological service by the International British Red Cross. She also held training courses for medical orderlies, and doctors in new techniques. 

Though Curie had a huge amount of success, she still faced oppression from male scientists in France and she had never received significant financial benefits from the work that she did. In the late 1920s, her health had started to deteriorate and on the 4th July 1934 she died from leukaemia. Her leukaemia had been caused by the fact that she had had exposure to high-energy radiation for her research. 

In 1948, which was the same year the National Health Service had been launched, a group of committee members from the Hampstead-based Marie Curie hospital decided to preserve Marie Curie’s name in the charitable medical field, just before the Hampstead-based Marie Curie Hospital was transferred over to the NHS. 

This just happened to be the beginning of the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation – a charity that is now dedicated to alleviating suffering from cancer – today known as the Marie Curie Cancer Care. 

After the donation of an engagement ring, to help raise funds for the charity, the very first appeal was then launched and had brought in a significant £4,000. By 1950, the ongoing appeal raised a massive £30,000 and only two years later the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation had managed to officially become a charity.

The charity had dedicated itself to several ideas which, at the time, were revolutionary and the Marie Curie Memorial Foundation had quickly established itself as a leader in the field of improving facilities for cancer patients. 

They had dedicated themselves to: 
Providing specialist homes for the care of cancer patients 
Providing nursing for patients at home 
Educating the public on the symptoms and the treatment of cancer 
Providing urgent welfare needs

Today though, the Marie Curie Cancer Care has a few different things that they are aiming for as well: 
Dedicating themselves to providing better and more care for patients and their families through the Marie Curie Nursing Services and its nine hospices. 
Is committed to carrying out research and innovation necessary to find out what the best possible care is and how to provide it. 
Ensuring that measures are in place to give people the choice of place for their life care and death through the Marie Curie Delivering Choice Programme. 
Is determined that the needs of the dying patients remain on the political agenda and will continue to campaign for patients to be able to die at their own homes in all four countries of the UK through its policy and public affairs work. 

Marie Curie has made a huge impact into the world of medicine in the time she was alive and is continuing to make the impact even as she is not here any more. Her work during World War One and the charity that is now set up in her name just shows what an amazing impact one person can have on one field. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Book Review: The Glimpse

Title: The Glimpse 
Author: Claire Merle 
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Series: The Glimpse #1
Release Date: 07/06/2013
Pages: 411
Format: Paperback
Buy: Book Depository 
Author Twitter: @clairemerle

‘In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illnesses. 17 year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. 

Jasper is from a rich and influential family, and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday looms closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a “normal” life. But then Jasper disappears. 

Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not deal with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that will destroy everything she has grown up to believe.’ 

The Glimpse is the first out of two books in The Glimpse series by Claire Merle.

There were a lot of aspects to this book that I really enjoyed reading. I loved the fact that Merle had set this dystopian fiction not so far into the future. She linked things in her books with things that are going on around us at the moment and things that had happened in the past. It felt realistic in those terms when she was explaining what things had happened. This book was a huge wake up call for stigma around mental health and illnesses. I think it really showed where things could go if we let things carry on the way they are. Towards the beginning of the book I thought that Merle was only really focusing towards the extremes on mental illnesses but as the book went on you could see where she was trying to go with it and why she had put things into that life. 

What I did find with this book, is that it never really gave you time to sit to question and guess what was going to happen next. Personally, I like to be able to try and guess what’s going to happen next but I really didn’t get the chance to here. At points it felt so jam packed with information that it was hard to process everything and then other parts just seemed quite empty. 

I’m, personally, not really huge fan on Ana. I felt throughout the book she was still quite ignorant about what life in the City was like and the people in there. It felt as though it wasn’t until towards the end that you saw the character development in her within a few chapters, when you had been waiting throughout the book for it. 

There were some parts in the book where I felt the plot took a little while to move on but it’s still worth a read and there were quite a few parts that I found enjoyable. 

Rating: ★★★

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Book Haul Time! (#2)

So, I’ve managed to accumulate quite a few books since Christmas and though they aren’t that many but I thought I might share the books that I have in a miniature book haul!

The Pledge (The Pledge #1) by Kimberly Derting
Delirium (Delirium Trilogy #1) by Lauren Oliver 

The Pledge is actually a book I haven’t heard of before but my sister got it for me and it actually looks extremely interesting and I’m looking forward to reading it. It’s the first in a series so we shall see how it does. Delirium on the other hand was one that has been on my wishlist on the Book Depository and I ended up getting when I signed up for the Ninja Book Swap. I haven’t gotten around to reading it just yet but hopefully I will be able to soon. 

Undone by Cat Clarke
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 

These are two book that I had end up getting from Amber at The Mile Long Bookshelf. I’ve read on of Cat Clarke’s books and absolutely loved her writing style and when I saw that this one was up for grabs I couldn’t help but ask for it! The School for Good and Evil was one that I saw in my Waterstones but I never really picked it up after seeing the cover for some reason. I ended up looking up the blurb on Goodreads and it actually look really good. I’ve started reading it and am about a good 100 pages into the book so far and I’m loving it so far. 

Larby Lodge by G&P Gallcher
Severed Heads, Broken Heart by Robyn Schneider

I ended up winning Larby Lodge over on twitter in exchange for writing a review on it on Amazon. I can say quite truthfully that even though I’m only a chapter into the book it has really intrigued me and I’ve really been enjoying it so I’m looking forward to getting into more of the book! Severed Heads Broken Hearts was supposed to be one of my sister’s birthday present but she ended up getting it before I could give it to her. So, I ended up keeping the copy because it was a book that I really wanted to read as well. I’ve already read it and I cannot express how much I love this book! 

Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead 

These are my last set to tell you guys and the ones that I’ most excited about! This was a set of books that my sister got me because she knows how obsessed I am with them! I am in love with them and I kind of just want to continuously read the whole set until I’m done but that’s probably not the best idea! 

That’s my book haul for now! What books have to guys recently gotten and have you got any of the same ones as me? 

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Looking Back At: February 2014

February! A month were I stop feeling so disorientated about the year! January was a bit of a whiz with everything going on but I feel like I have a stable hand of everything going on around me this month. It’s been a pretty busy month but I’ve loved it and there are so many things that have put a grin on my face this month. 

School has been busy but I’ve been enjoying it! I love being busy and having things to do and even though there’s been a few pieces of controlled assessment preparation that I’ve needed to do, homework to complete and revision to be done, it’s kept me on my toes and made sure that I keep busy.

My school and their usual PSE day this year where each year group has a theme and they’ll head over to activities that are based around their themes. A lot of the time for key stage three they’ll get some of the older pupils to lead their lessons and a lot of my friends went to HYPE training a few weeks before hand and were going to lead some year eight form groups and teach them about drugs. I had an idea a few weeks ago that I really wanted to use so I ended up working with some year seven classes to do a team building activity. I can’t say it wasn’t without some difficulties but it was still enjoyable when they actually did start to join in and it was a really good laugh. 

This month I also ended up getting my exam timetable! I ended up running up to my form class when I had spare lessons and got my timetable. It’s not as though I didn’t realise that my exams were coming up but I think looking at the timetable just made it more realistic. It also gave me dates to work towards which has made me ten times more determined. 

Half term came around which I thoroughly enjoyed since it was really nice to have the break from school but I cannot wait to go back and throw myself back into work! I’ve been getting my maths past paper done along with some revision and spending time with my family. 

The big thing that happened this month was that my sister has book our trip to New York City! That also explains the banner! We’re going to be bringing in 2015 over there and I cannot wait! So, we’ve both been spending some time looking at the different things we can do and starting to plan some things out. I’ve been starting to save up for spending money when we go out there but I’m so excited and it’s still setting in that we’re actually going! 

Book wise I’ve been pretty happy with what I’ve read this month as I have loved every single book I have read! 

The Boy In Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne – reread 
Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead 
The Knife of Never Letting Go (The Chaos Walking Trilogy #1) 
Severed Heads, Broken Heart by Robyn Schneider

I’ve also started reading: 

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani 
Larby Lodge by G&P Gallacher 

I’ve read 10 out of the 50 books I’ve set for myself in my Goodreads challenge so at the moment I’m to books ahead of schedule which I’m pretty happy with. 

So, that’s been my month and I can’t wait to see what March has in store for me! I’ve got a pretty good feeling about this month so I shall have to wait and see what happens! 

Hope you all had a great February and will have an even better March! 

Saturday, 1 March 2014

M is for: 'Man In The Mirror'

This week we have Man In The Mirror by Michael Jackson.

There have been so many different variations on this song I love them all but personally, nothing will be the original. This is the type of song that makes me want to get up and do something that can help other people. It’s just one of those songs that tends to make me want to cry sometimes. 

It’s just thinking about those who are less fortunate than you and knowing that if you want to make a change you have to do something as well as waiting for other people to make a change. We can’t be blind to everything else that is going on around us. We need to take notice of issues that aren’t just effecting us. 

Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments, on the song, below.