Monday, 26 August 2013

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

  

If you spend more than a healthy amount of your time on the Internet, you will have heard of this man's name... John Green. You will also have read those oh so overused quotes from The Fault in our Stars (not that I'm complaining, I loved that book too) and if you like reading his stuff then you may be looking for a very different kind of book to TFIOS. There is a lot more to John Green than TFIOS, and An Abundance of Katherine's proves that you don't have to stop at the one Green book. 

This is a book centred around a boy called Colin who is a child prodigy, and so the whole book focuses on his academic point of view. The maths may seem complicated to look at, but you don't exactly need a degree in algebra to keep up - just a basic understanding of maths means that you can easily follow, and you don't have to be a genius to find the linguistic humour funny. 

The story involves Colin, who has a bit of an unhealthy obsession with dating girls named Katherine. In fact, he has dated nineteen Katherine's over his school life. It's not his fault he falls for girls only named Katherine! It never seems to go well for him anyway, because all nineteen have dumped him, and he has spent many an hour sprawled out on the floor, trying to get his brain together and get over them.

After the nineteenth girl dumps him, his best friend Hassan comes around to his house and tries to make him feel better, like he always does. This time though, it doesn't go as easily as usual, so Hassan decides that what him and Colin needs is a road trip. 

A bit of time on the road and they come across the resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, so being the academic he is, Colin wants to go and have a tour. A girl called Lyndsey runs the tour, and as she gets to know the two boys she becomes very interested in them. Anyway, to cut a long story short she invites them back to her house in Gutshot where her mother gives them food and shelter in exchange for working as interviewers of the public for her. They also get paid a lot of money for this job.

The reason why all the maths was being used was because Colin wanted to create a Theorem that would explain the relationship pattern of every Katherine he has ever dated, so that he can determine when each future relationship would end, depending on the type of Katherine. 

SPOILER ALERT:

Colin successfully finishes the theorem, and also ends up dating Lyndsey, which wasn't obvious from the way the book was going. 

I loved this book because of how clever John Green treats his audience in particular, which is great for an author to do. There are an array of graphs and foreign languages incorporated into this book and the whole thing was just so... Comfortable to read. Which is a good thing! 

Hassan was hilarious, and thanks to him I am going to be calling myself a 'sitzpinkler' whenever I wimp out of something. I was in love with the linguistic concept of the book, and I actually learnt something from a fiction novel! Each and every footnote was a joy to read, and I found it refreshing to have a book where a boy is pining over and girl and not the other way around. That just added to how much of a new experience this book was overall. I raced through it unintentionally because I was so interested in the plot and the facts, and so I got through this book within a couple of days. 

I can find no fault in this book. If you want a completely different reading experience, get a copy of An Abundance of Katherine's.


My scrabble rating for An Abundance of Katherines is:




Friday, 23 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Some advice about GCSE's

Yesterday, I collected 2 Year 10 GCSE results. You go in and come out with a piece of paper with a letter or a group of letters that eventually lead you to go for college/6th form/vocational course. 
I have been to collect results before but still have to go one more time for year 11- THE BIG ONES.
Next year is my last year of high school and, as you have probably guessed, it's a big one with controlled assessments and exams and college applications and open evenings and-oh lord.

But lets just step back a minute

You are at school to do work and learn (I know- big shocker there), and I will tell you now that if you do the work in class and try your hardest to understand the topic then it is a damn-sight easier to revise and get good results. 
Now, I'm not saying that if you understood the topics in class you shouldn't revise because YOU SHOULD ALWAYS REVISE whether it's for a proper exam or a end of unit- REVISE. The more you revise now the easier it will be when you revise it later. It's basically revising to revise. 
Once you get in the exam, if a question pops up where you wonder whether you even learnt this topic in class 
  • First, move on and come back to it later -you might have an epiphany. 
  • If no epiphany arrives then look at the question carefully (and usually the topic title is at the top of the page) and try to think of key words for the question and write them down as you can get marks for it.
  • Write information about what the question is asking ie. if the questions is about pros and cons of fracking then include what the process of fracking is and not just the pros and cons.
  • IF ALL ELSE FAILS WING IT. if you cannot think of anything else to answer the question with then just go with whatever educated guess your brain comes up with. putting something is better than nothing. You can pick up marks for something- you can't with nothing.
Finally, once the exam is over, try not to worry about it. What's done is done and you can't go back on it. All you can do is wait for the result. 
Good luck in all the exams of the future.

Happy Friday!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal


Monday, 19 August 2013

Review: Infinite Sky by CJ Flood





This is the perfect summer read. On the beach, in the garden, by the pool... There is no better time than summer to get stuck into this book. 

Infinite Sky is an insightful book about a girl named Iris Dancy who lives in the countryside, with a semi-alcoholic father and an older brother who went off the rails after their mother left without a warning or a proper reason. The story is centred around travellers and the idea of being your own person, so when a family of travellers illegally set up camp in Iris' family farm, this is where the real trouble starts. Iris is keen to get to know the boy of the travelling family, Trick, and doing so sparks a friendship that could just save her from being completely alone in the World.

Of course, both her father and older brother, Sam, disapprove of the family camping out in their field. Against both of their wishes, Iris befriends Trick and starts to actually enjoy her summer... Even after she falls out with her best friend Matty, whose mother is unbearable and plays the "I'm so sorry your mother ran away" card every time she goes over to Matty's house. But nothing is ever simple, and the grudge the rest of the Dancy family have against travellers makes a tragic ending for the story. I'm not going to spoil anything, so no spoilers will be used in this review.

In my opinion, this was everything I was hoping the story would be and more. It was extremely insightful into the world of travellers and the way they are stereotyped, which is a large issue that arises in the book. CJ Flood included many hard hitting subject matters and dealt with them in an appropriate way, whilst still managing to make the reader empathise with Iris and anyone else who was having a hard time.

The book made me giggle in places, but mostly I felt terribly sorry for the innocent travellers who were wrongly accused for all sorts of things and had to battle with the stereotyping commonly seen in real life. The love story that formed between Iris and Trick was very subtle and did not ruin the tone of the book nor the importance of the friendship for this book, and I commend Flood on the success of this factor.

I think what I loved about this book the most was that the characters all had their own minds. Each character was perfectly drawn up and I could understand their personal stories and feelings, which is a rare thing in an individual book. That just made it all the more special! I couldn't put the book down and I practically devoured it. It was a powerful book that left me satisfied after I had finished. 

I would recommend this book to pretty much everyone. I think it is suitable for most adults who want to experience a fresh concept and a different perspective of life. There were many beautiful quotes that I took out of this book and I will carry them with me for a long time. This is why I gave the book 5/5 stars. 

Get it on your 'to read' list now! 

My scrabble rating for this book:




Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Fanfiction Focus: Shamy #2

I have just read the cutest shamy fanfiction ever!

Yep, Sheldon and Amy from The Big Bang Theory have stolen my heart again. And this is all thanks to possibly one of my favourite fanfiction authors EVER, Genki-Escapist!

This girl is a must-read for anyone who loves fanfiction. Her main topic of writing is Shamy, but she also writes about Naruto, Fairy Tale, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Harry Potter, and Avatar (the last airbender). Her stories are super cute, insanely accurate to each fandom, and just down right amazing. 


Her profile pic!


The story that I have just been reading is called 'The First Date Resurgence', which is a four chapter fic concerning Shamy. In this story, Leonard's mother comes to visit from New Jersey and she is introdiced to Amy Farrah Fowler, but she finds Amy's face all too familiar. Then she is reminded of where she knows Amy... she was the first girl Leonard ever dated! Leonard had since forgotten and when Sheldon hears about their rendevous at 13 years old he gets jealous. Even though many years have passed since the date happened, Beverly Hofstadter is determined to pair Amy and Leonard up again, because she thinks the two are made for each other...

But will Amy leave Sheldon? 

Will Penny let 'Lamy' happen?

Read it for yourself to find out!


This girl's fanfictions are the cutest. They are rated from K+ to T, which basically means they are suitable for any age. I know we all secretly read smutty fics, but I seriously recommend this girl's work. You will be just as happy reading this as you would with Johnlock smut or something!

Her Tumblr can also be found at genki-escapist.tumblr.com 

Go and check it out!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong




Okay, I had pretty low expectations for this one since the first two didn't impress me at all. And for a reader, that's a really depressing thing to admit. I gave this book three out of five stars because it was conducted much better than the second, but did not grip me as much as the first. My other ratings and reviews for the rest of the trilogy prove my findings.


(NOT SO) SPOILER ALERT:



If you haven't read this book yet, it's okay to keep reading the review. In fact, I would like very much to put you out of your misery. Being completely honest with you, there isn't much to tell. The book starts with the teens settling in Andrew's house after their week on the run, and finishes with them going on the run again. In between this, the love triangle starts to straighten itself out and becomes a rather anti-climatic love story. Nothing really happens and there seemed to be confusion on how Derek really felt, because at the start of the trilogy Armstrong stressed enough times that this werewolf couldn't feel emotion like everyone else. But apparently she got her own character wrong and he ended up being the most sentient one of the lot. Of course, I'm not bashing Derek, because quite frankly he was the only reason I kept willingly turning the pages.



Real spoiler now: it was plainly obvious to see that Andrew was one of the bad guys. Margaret was dodgy from the start and Russell didn't have much of an appearance in the whole book yet the other characters were really scared of him. His lack of presence in the novel didn't allow the readers to fully appreciate the fear he struck into everyone. The adult characters, overall, were weak. Aunt Lauren's motives still baffle me even after completing the book.



I really wanted to praise this book today, because I got to the last 50 or so pages and the story really picked up. As someone who was quite pessimistic about the whole series, it was refreshing to see more action and pure terror in the book. I had a lovely review planned for that, but then the last two pages completely spoilt the mood. I understand that Chloe and Derek are together now, but Armstrong did not have to waste her last thousand words on a poorly depicted love scene between the two. It was an anticlimactic ending to what started out as a climatic ending for the trilogy.



At the end of the book, Simon's dad was found. Thank goodness for that. I had only waited 900 pages for their very first objective to finally pan out. And then they all decided they had to lay low and so went on the run again... Which is literally all I had been reading for the past week of my life. 



Can I just point out the fact that we never got any closure in this book? A few pages ago, Chloe was being told that Simon and Tori were related. That's a pretty big deal. Will Tori ever find out? Do the gang flee to safety? Do they all die in the end? Did they find Rae? A minute ago they were all desperate to find Rae and that never happened. I don't like being left in the lurch in real life and I hate it in books. There was no closure at all and there were too many loose strings in the plot that should have been tied together by the end. YOU HAD THREE WHOLE BOOKS TO DO IT IN! 



Rant over. Trilogy read. Case closed.



Unless you're willing to give this trilogy a good go and you have the patient of a saint, I wouldn't recommend reading this series. Do something better with your time. I hate giving bad reviews but the truth had to be given out. I wasn't impressed with the plot structure overall.

My rating:



Friday, 9 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Conventions

Over the last month or so, many conventions and gatherings have happened around the world including comic-con(s), vidcon and this weekend is Summer In The City. With all of these events happening a lot of things have been announced, been shown and been revealed.

However, I'm not planning to list all that has come to light over the last few weeks because that is what tumblr and twitter are for but what i am going to write about is my own experience at comic-con (manchester).
This year was my first time going to a convention and me and my friends only decided we were going days before the event so I had no time to find a costume and cosplay but the cosplayers that were there were amazing and should all get some kind of award for being so damn creative.
From 11:30 until around 2 we walked around looking at stalls and buying merch and crying with the feels at seeing the face of Warwick Davis and soon I had run out of cash so me and my friend had to join the hour long queue for the one ATM at the convention centre after about half an hour in the queue I decided to check my DS for spotpass. The guy in front of us was by himself and he saw me get my DS out and asked me what I was playing and we got into a conversation. This may seem like really random story to tell but the guy seemed really nervous but it was great because it got me thinking that comic-con, vidcon and everything else is not only an opportunity to fangirl at everything and everyone, its also an opportunity to talk to people who might not feel so comfortable in social situations so if you are going to a gathering/convention- try to socialize, it's a great oppotunity to make new friends and make someone else feel more confident.


Summer Playlist: https://play.spotify.com/user/kendalface/playlist/5fRTFpKbwm9y1jaWV3ifjh


Happy Friday!
Kendal
@Team_Haymitch
xx

Friday, 2 August 2013

Kendal's Column: Summer update ft. Lifescouts #7

The summer holidays have finally arrived and I, for one, cannot be happier.
I have a few things I need to do this summer including getting ahead of blogging and catching up on reading (I'm 15 books behind on my goodreads challenge *THE SHAME*) which will also mean more book reviews (find my summer reading list below). I have also recently bought a kindle paperwhite, which is either going to make me read loads or make me buy the books and never read them.
There are also quite a few film releases that are happening in August including Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters (August 7th) and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones (August 21st) so I'll probably do posts on those as well. 
I forewarn you that I am on holiday on Friday August 30th so I don't know if there'll be a post that day (depends on if I can schedule enough posts to last until then/ if i can get wifi to write a post if I don't have one already scheduled) 

Lifescouts #7
Lifescouts have officially stopped releasing new badges for this year so the number of badges included in a Kendal's Lifescout badges post will be going down considerably so that i have enough badges to post about. This post will only include one as this post is to do with summer updates.

Rollercoater
I am a rollercoaster junkie. You take me to a theme park and i swear i will go on every single one regardless of loops, upside down bits, water, scariness or if i've just eaten.
(kind of like the ride
i'm talking about)
I was 11 and went to butlins park during a horse-riding holiday and I got on one of those rides thats like an arm that rotates on an axle so when you are at the highest point you're upside down. They had a height restriction and ,being 11, I was ONLY JUST tall enough. When we sat down on the ride there was a button that you were sat on when you rode and someone told me that if you weren't pushing down the button then
the harness would come up. The ride starts and goes upside down and , because of gravity, am leaning on the harness and I come off the button because my upper body is so small so there i am 60ft above the ground looking at the tarmac and thinking 'this is how i am going to die- on a ride with a teddy bear painted on the side, the harness is going to come up because I'm not on the damn button. this is it'
It was the longest 90 seconds of my life and the only ride I was actually terrified on. Needless to say, the arm didn't come up and i realised later that it couldn't have because of the backup seatbelt buckle that held the harness down- so to the person who told me that: *angry glare*

And finally, instead of just one track, I figured I'd make a summer playlist as I normally listen to COMPLETELY different music during summer than I do at any other time of year.  i'll also be adding to this playlist over the course of summer (link will be incuded in every post up to the 6th September post)



Summer Reading list:
(note: list is open to change)
My sisters Keeper-Jodi Picoult (currently reading)
Selection-Kiera Cass
Eleanor and Park- Rainbow Rowell (recommended to me by Keris Stainton -@keris)
Maze Runner Trilogy- James Dashner
Au Revoir Crazy European Chick- Joe Schreiber
The 5th Wave- Rick Yancey
About a boy- Nick Hornby (for school)
SARAH DESSEN. 

Happy Friday!
Kendal
@Team_Haymitch
xx