REVIEW: Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein :: Mini-Freak Out

29 August 2013

Publisher: Electric Monkey
Published: June 3rd 2013
Book: Bought
Pages: 480
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Historical Fiction, War
Blurb: Rose Justice is a young American ATA pilot, delivering planes and taxiing pilots for the RAF in the UK during the summer of 1944. A budding poet who feels most alive while flying, she discovers that not all battles are fought in the air. An unforgettable journey from innocence to experience from the author of the best-selling, multi-award-nominated Code Name Verity. From the exhilaration of being the youngest pilot in the British air transport auxiliary, to the aftermath of surviving the notorious Ravensbruck women's concentration camp, Rose's story is one of courage in the face of adversity. Code Name Verity is shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.
-summary from goodreads

Title Page: *reads all the names* This book is scaring me already...WHO ARE THEY?!
Page 11: Strawberry Jam! I'm hungry..*trots off to the kitchen*
Page 16: Well you're a poet and a half..
Page 33: Don't worry Lady Beaufort-Stuart..I THINK THEY'RE SILLY TOO...although he does have a point. When Hitler's angry, he aint no cup of tea.
Page 44 :i disagree. crazy isn't the word..
Page 80: No no no you're freaking scaring me what happened?
Page 86: NICK!
Page 88: O__________O
Page 94: OMG OMG ROSE..
Page 96: Trust me, you don't want to know..
Page 100: You go girl!
Page 112: A mirror and a comb?! I'm laughing too.
Page 144: Einundfunfzigtausendvierhundertachtundneunzig...right. okay.
Page 166: Keep standing Rose, keep standing.
Page 183: I think i need to be sick
Page 194: STOP. OMG. *goes to hide under the bed*
Page 198: MUFFINS.
Page 250: lemonade... guys. do i have permission to cry?
Page 256: their own hands. THEIR OWN HANDS
Page 296: ALL the rabbits?!!
Page 315: You stinking weasel.
Page 328: *whispers* Karolina...oh Karolina
Page 363: i can't believe you lost them.
Page 399: LISETTE! *happy dance*
Page 403: Oh hai Rozycza *tackle hug*
Page 415: ihatethemihatethemihatethemihatethemIHATETHEMIHATETHEM *looks round wildly for a weapon* *finds a book* *picks it up menacingly*
Page 428: Oh..
Page 460: *reads the last page and the afterwords and flips back to the list of names at the beginning* *stares blankly at the wall for half an hour*
*stares blankly at the wall for another half an hour still clutching the book*
I decided to do a mini-freak out post for this because i didn't think i would be able to explain my feelings for this book any other way. it literally just made you feel a hundred different emotions and was so gritty, and heartbreaking and overpowering and i just. i can't.
If you have the strength. then read this book. and if you don't then i don't blame you but Rose Under Fire was seriously scary and at times i just wanted to put this book down, but there was always this invisible thread dragging my eyes left and right. left and right. left and right. i just couldn't stop.
Some of the things i read in there, especially about the Rabbits, made me want to vomit. I just couldn't believe HUMANS could do this to OTHER HUMANS. And yes i've read about concentration camps, and eyewitness accounts and life during the war, being a history freak....but i don't know, this book made things real. Elizabeth Wein has the talent to make you feel like you are living inside her book. It was as I was living life at Ravensbruck with Rosie and Irina and Rozycza and Lisette and all the other women, and i didn't like it one bit.
One of Rose's poems stood out for me, much more than the rest, although they were all beautiful and evocative. Maybe because it was about hope, and that was the running theme of this story. That no matter what happens. Never give up hope. Because even when you think all is lost - you can still pull through.
Kite Flying.
Hope has no feathers
Hope takes flight
tethered with twine
like a tattered kite,
slave to the wind's
capricious drift
eager to soar
but needing lift

Hope waits stubbornly
watching the sky
for turmoil, feeding on
things that fly:
crows, ashes, newspapers,
dry leaves in flight
all suggest wind
that could lift a kite

Hope sails and plunges
firmly caught
at the end of her string -
fallen slack, pulling taught,
ragged and featherless.
Hope never flies
but doggedly watches
for windy skies.

Quote Love:
“Hope is the most treacherous thing in the world. It lifts you and lets you plummet. But as long as you're being lifted you don't worry about plummeting.” 
“Your brain does amazing acrobatics when it doesn't want to believe something.”
"But people need lift too. People don't get moving, they don't soar, they don't achieve great heights, without something buoying them up." 
The Word:
At the end of reading this i was speechless. Rose Under Fire will overpower your mind and your thought and you will be able to think of nothing else for days. Even now. A few days after finishing it, i am still thinking of the book, and the horrors that lie within it's pretty cover. But even today: new horrors are facing people now. We aren't history. Yet.
*Thank you so so so so much for Nikki from Fiction Freak for coming up with the amazing idea of 'Mini-Freak Out posts and for letting me do them too. :) You can see all her hilarious funny Freak Outs right here.

The A-Z Book Survey

26 August 2013


This survey was created by Jamie from The Perpetual Page-Turner.
Author you've read the most books from.
Hmmm....probably Enid Blyton! I think I read nearly ALL her books when i was younger, and that's a lot! Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers, St Clares, i read zem all!
Best sequel ever
Insurgent by Veronica Roth...DUR. or....THE CLOCKWORK PRINCE! (by Cassandra Clare for you people who hath not read the books..*evil glare*)
Currently Reading
 ...a lot of books. ;)
One Crow Alone by S D Crockett
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Amber by Julie Sykes
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner...
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen..FOR THE 3RD TIME. *dies*
Drink of choice while reading
Anything. Everything? I really don't mind! But i love to drink tea and read...makes me feel so British..;)
E-reader or Physical Books
PHYSICAL BOOKS FTW. *dances around* And that's not just because i don't have an e-reader...;p I love the feel of a book in my hands, i love the crisp new pages, the shiny covers and the smell of 'em too..;)
Glad you gave this book a chance:
Divergent by Veronica Roth. Yes. I said it. I didn't actually think i would enjoy it at first. It was just at the beginning of my blogging ''career'' when i heard about it and i hadn't read many dystopians before that - and the cover i'd seen on it at the library wasn't appealing (yes, i sometimes judge books by their covers..sshhh..) so i was hesitant to pick it up, but i gave in to the hype and did..and LOVED IT. obviously.
Hidden Gem Book
Between The Lines By Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer. The Illustrations guys, the illustrations! *swoons*.
Important Moment in your reading life:
Starting this blog. Talking to authors who's books I LOVED...i can name a few things. ;)
Just finished:
Last Chance Angel by Alex Gutteridge and Roller Girls: Falling Hard by Megan Sparks. I loved them by the way. And i really want to start Roller Derby now..what do you think my name should be?..
Kinds of books you won't read
*cough* Erotica, need i say why?..Vampire books i will very rarely read as well.
Longest Book You've Read:
I do't know...i read pretty long books. Probably one of the Harry Potter books although once i've read The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon i think that'll blow all the other books out of the water! 
Major Book Hangover because of:
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. (GUS!) and...isn't it REALLY OBVIOUS. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare...*flails*
Number of Bookcases You Own:
One. But i also have piles of books under my bed, in my cupboard and i have a few shelves under my mirror. I NEED MORE BOOK SHELVES.
One Book You Have read Multiple Times:
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale. The writing people. The writing is stunning. I want to write like her...
Preferred Place to Read:
Anywhere, if i'm reading i'm not really in that place am I, i'm within the book. But, i do like to curl up in bed in my pyjamas with a good book...and some food. You can't forget the food. ;)
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:
“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars
Reading Regret
Reading The Harry Potter Series...i HATED THEM...
Probably...being pretty picky before i started blogging over the genre's i like. I mean, the only dystopian i read before then was The Hunger Games.. O___O
Series you started and Need to finish (all the books are out in the series):
The Delirium Series. I still haven't read the last one because i got scared off from all the negative reviews I heard...
Three of Your All-Time Favorite Books:
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys and Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Series? (i know this isn't part of the question but IT IS NOW.)
The Infernal Devices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth: i know the last one isn't out yet BUT IT WILL BE AWESOME. Same goes to The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer and the Geek Girl series by Holly Smale.
Unapologetic Fangirl for:
FOOD. Oh a book? My bad. The Elites by Natasha Ngan.
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:
Worst Bookish Habit:
Not reviewing a book straight after i've read it. And bugging people who are reading a book i've read and loved.
Me: What page are you on?
Me: What's just happened?
Me: What page are you on now?
Me: You've only read six pages in the last 15 minutes....
Them: -_- get my drift....;)
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
Witchfall by Victoria Lamb.
Your Latest Book Purchase:
Butter by Erin Jade Lange, The Diviners by Libba Bray, Partials by Dan Wells and Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger.
ZZZ-snatched book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein.
Have you done the A to Z Book Survey? If so, leave a link in the comments so i can come visit!

REVIEW: Cross My Heart by Carmen Reid

23 August 2013

Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Published: August 1st 2013
Pages: 384
Book: For Review*
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Historical Fiction.
Brussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias - Coco - Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you'll be caught, but when...
I'm a huge historical fiction geek. So when i had the opportunity to review this book i jumped at the chance. It destroyed me.This book chewed up my heart and then spat it out. The characters were vibrant, determined, hopeful and so so real. I felt like i could connect with the main character, Nicole, 'Codename Coco', and that for me is a winner of a book. When i feel what she feels, think what she thinks, and 'do' what she does, you know this book is good.
I loved Nicole as a character and as a person. She was so brave and strong-willed and i loved the relationship she had with her family, her father especially. I also loved who she didn't care what other people thought of her but she did what she thought was right.
All the other characters were equally well portrayed and developed and i especially loved Anton 'The Poet': The main male character and 'romantic interest'. Their relationship softened the edge of all the suffering and 'dark' sides of the book and gave a lighter break for the reader to enjoy. However, their relationship wasn't the main thread of the book and for that i am really grateful. I wanted a book that was gritty and real, about the problems children on the brink of adult hood had to face during the war and that's exactly what i got. Their relationship was a very important part of the story-line, but it didn't take my attention away from the main plot which is what i hate to happen in books.
As you can imagine, the subject of this book wasn't all light and fluffy and I had initial thoughts that i wouldn't be able to picture everything that was happening to her as well as if i had been there and experience it myself (no thanks!). However the book was so well written that her experiences jumped off the page at me and i loved how well researched everything was too. I even read the afterword (*cough* which i don't normally do!..) because the story intrigued me so much. It was worth it. :)
And the ending. Well. It broke my heart.
Quote Love:
"The trials of life only serve to make the strong stronger."
"The silence has settled on me like snow and it won't be broken.
Inside the silence I am safe."
"Courage is refusing to listen to your fears.."
The Word:
Because that's exactly what it was. It felt real. The characters felt real. And what happened to Nicole, well how do i know that didn't happen to someone. In real life? On the back of the book it says: Inspired by real people, real places and real events. And that scares me. But you can't hide from reality can you. This happened. Maybe not exactly. But pretty close. So that's why i sum this book up in one word: Real.
(feeling like Peeta right now..;))
*Thank you to Random House for sending me this book free, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book

Author Interview: Natasha Ngan

19 August 2013

Today I have the lovely Natasha come to answer a *few* questions about her lovely DEBUT, The Elites. And if you haven't already, make a note to buy the book when it comes out. (September 5th 2013). You can read my review here.
Hi Natasha! *hands plate of home-made cookies* Could you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your wonderful debut 'The Elites' that hits the stores in September?
Hi Hawwa! *Takes cookies and scoffs them in one* I'm a 23 year-old, half-Chinese, half-English girl from a little town just outside London, though I used to live in Malaysia, where my mum is originally from. I work as a social media freelancer, a fashion blogger (I run website Girl in the Lens with my boyfriend Callum), and a YA writer too now, which is obviously my favourite of all three.
The Elites is set in a futuristic city where no one ever enters, and no one leaves. The story follows Silver, a fifteen-year old girl who works for the city's leaders as an Elite, who ends up having to do the unthinkable and leave the city with her best friend Butterfly after her parents go missing, and what they discover outside the city's walls really make them question everything they've known about their lives up until then. The Elites is an YA adventure story with some romance, sci-fi, fantasy and social commentary elements mixed in!
Did The Elites ever have another name? Or was it always ''The Elites'' from the very beginning?
I actually used The Elites as a placeholder name, hoping my agent or publishers would come up with a better name! But everyone ended up liking it so it stayed. I've grown to love it. I think it hints at one of the key themes of the story - what does it mean to be 'an elite' and who really is one?
I know you are a fashion blogger, so at what point did you decide you wanted to write a book? Had you always wanted to?
Always. From as far back as I can remember. I love writing, hence my other jobs in social media and blogging, but novels have always been where my heart lies.
well i'm glad you decided to write it!
How did you come up with the characters names in The Elites? (j'adore by the way.)
Yay! So a lot of the names (eg. Akhezo, Tanaka, Taiyo) came from matching the names to a character's ethnicity. Then all the Elites also have meaningful names. Butterfly's name of course comes from the fact that he's got wings, and Allum's is inspired by aluminium, which reflects his strength. Cobe is a bit of a more abstract one - although it's pronounced as one syllable, it's based on the Japanese city Kobe, which is wedged in between two mountains. I just thought it reflected Cobe's conflicted position as Butterfly's friend (if you've read the book you'll know what I'm talking about).
yesyesyesyes perfect!
Who would play Butterfly, Silver, Ember and Cobe in the movie of The Elites? (which is TOTALLY going to happen if i get my way..)
Kristin Kreuk or Shay Mitchell's exotic looks would work well for Silver, I think. Butterfly I've always imagined as a cross between Adam Brody and a young Henry Cavill. For Ember, I think Olivia Wilde with dyed red hair would be perfect - she's got those intense green eyes and is super gorgeous too, of course, with a really sharp, sculpted face. Cobe's a difficult one. Maybe Aneurin Barnard? He's got the big eyes and slight awkwardness to his features that Cobe has, and is a fantastic actor too.
i looked up a young Kristin Kreuk and she would have been perfect! But where does that leave me?! 
If you could travel to any fictional world where would you go?
The Edge in Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's the Edge Chronicles! Such an inventive, colourful world.
Are any of the characters in The Elites based on real people?
Only Butterfly - he was influenced by my boyfriend Callum. Callum is one of the strongest, most loyal people I know, and he's always there for me, even when I'm at my worst. Unfortunately, Callum doesn't have wings ...
*sigh* he could grow some?! ;)
Which fictional character reminds you the most of yourself?
Probably Roald Dahl's Matilda! I'm always reading and living in my imagination. I'd like to say Hermione too, but I don't think I'm as brave as her.
When you look back at The Elites do you ever find anything you would like to change?
Oh my gosh, so many things! I see little things on every page that I'd like to edit, and there are a few bigger picture things that, if I had unlimited time, I might have worked a bit more on. But I think every author feels like that. I am proud of the fact that The Elites is my first book, and hopefully I can only improve with each one!
What is one super-power you would love to have?
Flying - I would love to be able to just take off into the sky. Plus, I'm scared of airplanes, so it'd be a much more pleasant way for me to travel!
oh me too! and my younger brother wants to be a pilot.. O____O
Where is your favourite place to write and why?
I'm quite easy when it comes to writing. As long as I'm somewhere without music, I can write. But most of the time I write at my dining room table - there's plenty of food within arm's reach!
What was the hardest challenge you faced while writing The Elites?
The same thing as it is when I write now - just sitting down and writing! It's weird really, as I'm always thinking about my stories when I'm not writing, and I mostly enjoy it once I've started. But that first bit of getting my bum into a chair ... it's tough. I think it's because I'm scared that I won't be able to do the ideas in my head justice.
Who inspired you to write your first book and how?
The Elites was a mix of my interest in cultures, things I was studying for my Geography degree, and a programme about DNA which showed just how many specific characteristics are coded into a person's genes. I've also always been fascinated by the nature versus nurture debate, so I wanted to explore it through a story. But though I had the idea for The Elites in my second year of university, I didn't actually start writing it until early last year (2012). I think, like my answer to the question above, I was scared to write. The Elites is the first novel I've ever written, so I had no idea whether I could actually write a whole book.
Who were your top ten authors/books when you were a teen and what is your current favourite YA book?
YA wasn't really a category when I was a teen (too long ago now, sigh!), so most of these are more on the children's side - The Edge Chronicles, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Noughts and Crosses, Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series and Harry Potter. That's loads more than ten if you include all the books of each series. Current favourite - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. Beautiful, beautiful book.
ELEANOR AND PARK!!! Don't get me started on that book! *happy sigh*
If you could have a fictional best friend and why?
Butterfly (duh). Because - hot boy with wings. He's also fiercely loyal and grounded, and will always have your back.
AAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Zombies have taken over the world and are going to transport you to a foreign land. You only have time to grab five books. What are they?
AAAAAHHHHHHHH! Ok - The Book Thief, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. And then The Elites (because I gotta show off to those zombies) and a blank notepad - because helloooo exciting inspiration for more stories!
hahah good choices. those zombies may become your friends - because they love your book so much?!
Quick Questions:
Favourite book cover? My own. Because it's my book under there. My book! How crazy is that?!
Physical books or e-books? Physical for home, ebooks for travel.
Inside or Outside? Inside for writing, outside for writing breaks.
Typewriter//Laptop//Paper? Laptop, because I touch type quick enough to almost keep up with my thoughts.

REVIEW: Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja

16 August 2013

Publisher: Curious Fox
Published: March 15th 2013
Book: For Review*
Pages: 269 approx.
Format: Paperback, Finished Copy
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Contemporary, Chick Lit
Diary of a Mall Girl was the first book i've read of Luisa Plaja's and i surprised myself by enjoying it quite a bit considering i hardly read chick-lit at all.. It was a nice break to read something light and not too intense. Which i have been doing a lot recently!
The mall is the heart of the fifteen-year-old Molly's suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, and experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives there, in the complex's residential wing, where she navigates the dramas of teenage life, falling out with her friends and falling for the dark, mysterious boy-next-door.
Diary of a Mall Girl was the first book i've read of Luisa Plaja's and i surprised myself by enjoying it quite a bit considering i hardly read chick-lit at all.. It was a nice break to read something light and not too intense. Which i have been doing a lot recently!
I really enjoyed Molly's character, she was awkward and so not cool: being kind of a klutz - so thankfully i could relate quite a bit! I had one slight issue at the beginning to do with her age as i thought, wrongly, that she was younger than i thought her to be. The reason being, she sounded a little immature when she wrote about all her ''problems''  in her entries and i automatically assumed she wasn't a teenager, or just barely so, so when i found out she was my age i was kind of stumped!
I also found her a little....naive. Her supposed ''best friends'' were AWFUL. I couldn't imagine ever being friends with them at all as they dumped her whenever they felt like it but when everything was 'ok', they just let her back in and Molly just accepted it...
I can't imagine living in a shopping center but i thought Molly described the potential ups and downs of living in one quite well. The bonus of not having to go far to shop. But the problem of having so many people literally outside of your doorstep, being labelled as a 'Mall Girl' which may not seem all its cracked up to be, and having nearly everyone you know hanging around outside your 'house' practically every day. I personally would love to live in a shopping center. Just to try it out. But i wouldn't want to live there forever!
Most books have a theme to them and this one was one i particularity enjoyed. It was all about self-discovery and it was quite amusing to have an insight into Molly's life as she works her way around living life as a teenager, and juggling all the other problems that inevitable come in her way.
 Quote Love:
"Friends are great, but they're also weird. I'm not completely convinced that you choose them any more than you choose your family. You just deal with what you've got."
The Word:
It was such a light, funny book and i loved that i could just sit back and relax and not take anything too seriously. It was a great way for me to just enjoy what i read, and have a break from the intense, traumatic (!!) dystopians that fill my book shelf.  Its a perfect read for teenage girls in need of some entertainment on a rainy day who don't want to have a too elaborate a book on their hands.
*Thank you to Curious Fox for sending me this book free of charge. This in no way affected my review.

Doorstep Delights #3

13 August 2013

it's been a two weeks since my last book haul and i already have 20 more books. yup. 20. i don't really know what happened. all i know is my postman is now clued in on the whole reviewing thing because a few days ago he handed over about 6 packages (in ONE day) and just looked at me like, who is this girl and what the heck is she doing. anyway. onto the good stuff..mostly all of my books were for review but i had my Eid celebration a week ago and i got a book voucher for Waterstones as one of my presents (people know me so well..;p) so i went on the weekend. and then. because i couldn't help it. i dropped by The Works on the way home and got another book because they had a sale on. Finally. SHOCK HORROR. I won something!
*Thank you so much to Random House, Alma Books, Chicken House, Walker Books, Harper Collins, Egmont UK and Templar.
pea ess. I'm so sorry about my lack of reviews. I've been busy with Ramadan then Eid and MY AWFUL BRACES. But hopefully my 'normal' schedule should resume soon. Honestly. Two book hauls back to back. So not good!

Doorstep Delights #2

04 August 2013

Guys - books are attracted to me. No joke. I don't know how i have got so many books this week. BUT I AM NOT COMPLAINING. I actually bought some books on Thursday. I hardly EVER buy books. BUT OMG OMG OMG I'M IN LOVE WITH MY BOOK HAUL!! *drum roll*
(All bought aside from Skulk and Diary of a Mall Girl which are for review)
...and there you have it! Quite a good book haul if i do say so myself! I am most excited to read One Crow Alone, Level 2, After Iris, Belle Epoque, Vivian Versus The Apocalypse, You Don't Know Me, Icons, Matched, Infinite Sky and all of the ones I just bought...basically ALL OF THEM (and i got The Scorch Trails for only one pound!!) *happy dance*. And I still have most of the books from the last book haul to read! For the first time ever I have more books unread on my bookshelves than read! Every book addicts dream! (Not so much a book reviewer though..;))
What did you get this week? Link me up! :D
*Thank you to Chicken House, Curios Fox, Hot Key Books, Faber, Lenore Appelhans, Macmillan, Debby, Lucy and Jessica.