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Showing posts from April, 2018

When The Moon Was Ours Review

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When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore: My ReviewRating: 3.5/5 starsTo the boys who get called girls, the girls who get called boys, and those who live outside these worlds. To those called names, and those searching for names of their own. To those who live on the edges, and in the spaces in between. I wish for you every light in the sky. 
I'm really sad to say that I didn't enjoy When The Moon Was Ours nearly as much as I'd hoped to. This is really my first venture into the realm of magical realism novels and to be honest I wasn't really too sure what I was expecting, but I've come out the other side realising that there is certainly a unique way in which books in this genre are written and I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. 
Starting on a positive note, this book is written beautifully. Every single page dripped with golden prose, evoking all the senses and woven together into honest and intimate passages that address some very tender topics. There is…

Salt to the Sea Review

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Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys: My ReviewRating: 4/5 starsHow foolish to believe we are more powerful than the sea or the sky. 
Salt to the Sea was a breathtakingly intense, raw and emotional novel that I'm sure is going to stick with me for a very long time. Set in early 1945, it sheds light on the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustoff, a maritime disaster which claimed more than 9,000 lives, yet remains a very neglected part of history. I'd never heard a word about this tragedy before reading this book, conceivably due to a world that was less than sympathetic to German loss and pain following the end of WWII and the divulging of the Nazi acts of barbarity, or perhaps it's been overshadowed by the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania which had many famous passengers. Whatever the reason, I'm so very glad I read this book as it was hugely enlightening and just a devastatingly beautiful story. 
The novel follows four distinct perspectives: Joana, a Lithuanian nurse; Emilia,…

The Upside of Unrequited Review

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: My ReviewRating: 3.5/5 starsI don't entirely understand how anyone gets a boyfriend. Or a girlfriend. It just seems like the most impossible odds. You have to have a crush on the exact right person at the exact right moment. And they have to like you back. A perfect alignment of feelings and circumstances. It's almost unfathomable that it happens as often as it does. 
This is a difficult book to review because I'm not quite sure how I feel about it.
I found The Upside of Unrequited to be a very fun book to read and I finished it pretty quickly. But that doesn't mean to say I didn't have issues with parts of it. I thought the author articulated an impressively diverse cast very well and the representation was good - Molly is an overweight Jewish girl, her and her twin Cassie are sperm donor babies and have two biracial moms - but for many of the characters I felt there was a lack in the development of their personality and…

The Power Review

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The Power by Naomi Alderman: My ReviewRating: 2.5/5 starsIt doesn't matter that she shouldn't, that she never would. What matters is that she could, if she wanted. The power to hurt is a kind of wealth. 
This book frustrated me a great deal. Unfortunately I put it down just before I got halfway through for a number of reasons which I will discuss. Alderman's unusual abstraction of girls being able to produce electricity inside them to torture or kill is an extremely intriguing premise for a dystopian novel and the reason I picked it up in the first place, but for me it never unraveled into a particularly engaging story.
The Power imagines how the female body becoming an instrument of power would affect the world we live in, and what it would be like if men lived in constant fear of their physical safety instead. Across the globe, teenage girls develop a 'skein', a strip of muscle in their collarbone which conducts electricity, thus allowing them to instantly inflict …

The Essex Serpent Review

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The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: My ReviewRating: 5/5 starsYou told me once that you forget you are a woman, and I understand it now - you think to be a woman is to be weak - you think ours is a sisterhood of suffering! Perhaps so, but doesn't it take greater strength to walk a mile in pain than seven miles in none? You are a woman, and must begin to live like one. By which I mean: have courage. 

The Essex Serpent was just as complex and mesmerizing as its cover. The lack of a fast-paced mind-blowing plot is very satisfyingly substituted by the journey of a cast of stunning characters who discover the nature of themselves and those around them as well as the workings of science, faith and the human heart. 

The protagonists of the novel are a naturalist named Cora Seabourne and a pastor named Will Ransome, and I loved them both with all my heart. Cora starts out having recently become a widow after the death of her unloving but controlling husband; rather than being full of grief an…

The Sun Is Also A Star Review

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The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon: My ReviewRating: 4.5/5 starsWe're kindling amid lightning strikes, a lit match and dry wood, fire danger signs and a forest waiting to be burned.  

I devoured this book in one day, I absolutely adored it! I would recommend The Sun Is Also A Star over Everything, Everything any day as this story was so unique, funny, adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time, told with a much more mature writing style. 

Natasha and Daniel were such lovable, flawed and fully-developed characters who I connected to more and more as the book progressed. They both come from very different backgrounds but compliment eachother extremely well, as well as bringing a great amount of diversity to the story. Natasha is a black girl whose family is about to be deported back to Jamaica after being discovered as undocumented citizens, which she is desperately trying to prevent from happening. She is very practical and confident in her mindset while Daniel, who is a Kore…

Ready Player One Review

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: My ReviewRating: 4/5 stars No one in the world gets what they want and that is beautiful. 
This is the first science fiction novel I've ever read and it certainly won't be the last because Ready Player One has made me completely fall in love with nerdy dystopian universes. 
Despite not being a total geek in the realm of technology and video gaming, I became completely enthralled in the OASIS utopia which was so refreshingly unique and just as transporting for me as it was for the characters. I embraced the references to the many 1980s vintage arcade/computer games, films and songs that were unknown to me until now, as well as the detailed explanations of the way online gaming and virtual reality works. I did find some parts slightly too detailed for my real enjoyment and I felt myself getting distracted when reading long passages explaining the ins and outs of Wade's (or Parsival's) various commodities and immersion rig set ups, when I re…

about me! ♡

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Welcome to The Book Hour! My name is Amy Whitaker, I'm a 17 year old bibliophile and this is my bookish blog. Here I review and reflect on the books I read, either in the form of a full review or a monthly wrap-up, as well as record any research I do into a few topics of my personal interest (which often coincide with literature and history). 

Reading is a huge part of my life and my biggest passion; I spend most of my free time thinking about books, buying books, discussing books and, of course, reading books ✨


I like making lists, so here's a quick list of my favourite genres:

     ✫ historical fiction
     ✫ fantasy, paranormal & magical realism
     ✫ contemporary (romance/mental health)
     ✫ dystopian

I read mostly YA fiction, a lot of classics (which I don't review) as well as some adult literary fiction, memoirs and poetry from time to time. I'm don't usually read books in the genres of high-concept science-fiction or mysteries/thrillers of any kind. 

I have m…

A List of Cages Review

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A List of Cages by Robin Roe: My ReviewRating: 3.5/5 starsHate ricochets, but kindness does too. 

A List of Cages was a powerful story with a very striking message. I'd never before read a novel that represents child abuse and this really expanded my awareness of such an important societal problem. It definitely elicited emotion as I felt so sorry for Julian who, as a young boy, not only has had to overcome the death of his parents but has lived a very unsettling life until coming to live with his uncle who is probably one of the cruelest contemporary antagonists I've ever read about. The crimes he commits are so inexcusable and horrific; I was so glad to see he got the punishment he ultimately deserved. I absolutely loved Julian, he was so adorable and honestly just deserves all the happiness in the world. 

I also found it was very refreshing to read a YA contemporary that didn't focus on romance. A List of Cages primarily highlights the meaning of friendship, brotherhood a…

Fangirl Review

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: My ReviewRating: 4/5 starsTo really be a nerd, she'd decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one. 
I loved this book! I had a lot of high expectations going into it and I felt it definitely fulfilled them. 
Cath was such quirky, honest character who I found to be very relatable in many ways - introverted, loves living in fictional worlds, anxious about things others would find insignificant - and her development across the novel was so clear; she really grew into herself as a separate identity to her outgoing twin Wren who she always felt overshadowed her, yet at her core she still remains the endearingly and realistically flawed character who I loved at the very beginning. 
Levi was my favourite character because of the way he helped Cath discover herself and come out of her shell in so many ways. He was literally all that a girl could wish for in a boyfriend but at the same time he was believable, not perfect, but perfect enough. 
Another t…

The Night Circus Review

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: My ReviewRating: 5/5 starsYou may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone's soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your worlds. That is your role, your gift. 
The Night Circus is now officially one of my favourite books of all time. I adored every single thing about it. I adored the incredible intricate way it was written, how magic is interwoven into every sentence and passage. The prose sparkles throughout and the story itself was undeniably a feat of astonishing magical acrobatics. 
The main plot was genius - two ancient magicians set their two best students against one another in a mysterious magical competition, but the students don't really know the rules or how their victory will be determined. Everything about the concept I found to be so unique and intriguing, with new revelations and pieces of information occurring jus…

The Book Thief Review

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: My ReviewRating: 5/5 stars There were certainly some rounds to be made that year, from Poland to Russia to Africa and back again. You might argue that I make the rounds no matter what year it is, but sometimes the human race likes to crank things up a little. They increase the population of bodies and their escaping souls. A few bombs usually do the trick. Or some gas chambers, or the chitchat of some faraway guns. If none of that finishes proceedings, it at least strips people of their living arrangements, and I witness the homeless everywhere. They come after me as I wander through the streets of molested cities. They beg me to take them with me, not realising I'm too busy at is is. 
This book completely took my breath away. I can safely say this is now one of my favourite books of all time; the writing is quite honestly sublime and Zusak's stunningly-crafted characters will stay imprinted on my memory for a long long time. 

This is not an ordina…