The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Book Review

15783514The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow Books
Published: June 18th, 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy
Source: Christmas Gift
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.

Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.

A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.

My Thoughts:

This review is going to be short and sweet. Mostly because it was a short book, but also because I feel that it is one of those books that you need to go into a bit blind. This was my first Neil Gaiman novel to read and I can tell you I was not disappointed. This book is magical and mysterious and very, very bizarre. It was sad and spooky and basically just made you feel a lot of things. It had me thinking about what it’s like to be a child and what it is like to be an adult.

“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”

If, as a child, you ever felt lonely or scared, lost or hopeless, confused or foolish, this book is for you. So, basically everyone. This book is for everyone. Anyone who has experienced childhood can take something from this book. That’s why it is so hard to explain why it’s a good read or what it’s about.

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

The characters are relatable. The magic feels real. This is most definitely a book I can see myself coming back to in the future. I have already recommended it to a few people and I will definitely continue to do so. This was my first read for 2015 and it definitely set the bar high. I’m interested in picking up many more of Neil Gaiman’s books… but first, project TBR.

Any recommendations for Neil Gaiman’s other novels? Has anyone read this one? What did you think? 




My True Love Gave to Me Book Review


My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: October 14th, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Short Stories
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

If you love holiday stories, holiday movies, made-for-TV-holiday specials, holiday episodes of your favorite sitcoms and, especially, if you love holiday anthologies, you’re going to fall in love with MY TRUE LOVE GAVE TO ME: TWELVE HOLIDAY STORIES by twelve bestselling young adult writers, edited by international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins.

Okay I’m not going to give a synopsis. If you haven’t heard of this book you must be living under a rock, because it has been all over everything since it came out. 12 holiday stories by 12 fantastic young adult authors. What more do you need to know? Seriously. This book is funny, charming, swoon worthy and just an all around great holiday read. I finished it last week just before Christmas Eve and ugh, it was just perfect. All together I rated it a 5 out of 5 stars as a whole because the whole anthology was marvellous. Now I’m going to go through each story and talk about what I liked/didn’t like and give an individual rating. I am not going to summarize them because I seriously suck at summarizing and the short stories are too small I might ruin it for you.

“Midnights” by Rainbow Rowell 

I loved this one. It was a great way to start off the book and it really set my standards high for the rest of the stories. I liked how it was told over a few years in a row and you got to see some changes in characters. 5 out of 5 stars.

“The Lady and the Fox” by Kelly Link 

Honestly, I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. I didn’t really feel connected to any of the characters and a lot of the time I was just confused. I liked the supernatural element (if you can call it that) and thought it was a neat story but definitely not my favourite. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“Angels in the Snow” by Matt De La Peña

I was pleasantly surprised by this one. For one thing it made me cry… but that’s really not a surprise since a lot can make me cry. I didn’t really like the idea of cheating but I loved both of the characters and their stories. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

“Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me” by Jenny Han

I was disappointed in this one. I’ve only read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han, but I just had higher hopes for this story. It was cute-ish, but also kind of boring. I didn’t connect to the main character, she was annoying, and the love interest was irritating. 3 out of 5 stars.

“It’s a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown” by Stephanie Perkins 

Now I know why everyone raves about Stephanie Perkins. I cried, I laughed, my stomach flipped, and I didn’t want it to end. This story was seriously perfect. Give me all of her books now… 5 out of 5 stars!

“Your Temporary Santa” by David Levithan 

I didn’t like this story as much as I thought I would. David Levithan is usually on point but this one kind of let me down. I couldn’t connect to the characters, the story was weird and the conflict with the sister/mother/father who left just made me uncomfortable. I don’t know why, I just wasn’t a fan. 3 out of 5 stars.

“Krampuslauf” by Holly Black

I really liked how this story was about Krampus! It made me laugh a bit and I felt like I could connect with the main character. However, I feel like it needed more time to blossom if you will. The story just felt a bit too rushed. Overall, 4 out of 5 stars.

“What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?” by Gayle Forman 

Love, love, love! This story was cute, funny, charming, witty. I thoroughly enjoyed it (and I’m pretty sure this one made me cry too). Definitely one of my favourites. Sign me up for more Gayle Forman. 5 out of 5 stars.

“Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus” by Myra McEntire

Not my most favourite, not my least favourite. I wasn’t captivated by it, but I also didn’t hate it. It was funny at times, kind of cute, but also kind of boring at other times. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“Welcome to Christmas, CA” by Kiersten White

I seriously think this one might be my favourite. I loved it. When I say I cried in some of the others one, I sobbed in this one. The way her family situation played out in the end just had me floored. I could not contain my emotions. Also, as a plus, cute boy who cooks AND bakes. Needless to say, 5 out of 5 stars!

“Star of Bethlehem” by Ally Carter 

I really enjoyed this one. It was kind of bizarre and confusing to me at first just because I was like “who the hell is this weird girl who gave up her plane ticket to New York and WHO IS SHE RUNNING FROM”. However, the small town family was so sweet and the boy was adorable. 4 out of 5 stars.

“The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor 

Really great ending to the book. I think I was expecting something different so I wasn’t blown away, but I really did enjoy this. Laini Taylor writes so beautifully and I just cannot wait to read more from her in the future. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Overall this anthology was just so great for the holiday season and if you haven’t picked it up yet, I strongly suggest you do. It will most definitely be a staple of mine every December.



Cinder Book Review


Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Published: January 3rd, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Fairy-tale Retelling
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the centre of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Thoughts: 

Never in a million years would I picture myself reading a fairy-tale retelling of the famous Cinderella featuring her as a cyborg. Even when I bought it and heard all of the good things being said about it, I still had my doubts. I actually haven’t read too much sci-fi so the thought of this book incorporating these sketchy moon people who plan on waging war against earth was a little questionable for me. When I finished Daughter of Smoke & Bone last week I really wanted to dive into something equally as entertaining, and also start hacking away at my TBR pile, so Cinder seemed like the obvious next choice. Honestly, I don’t know what it is, I’ve either been reading some pretty stellar books lately, or I’ve just been in a really good mood while reading because I don’t remember the last thing I rated that wasn’t 5 stars…

This book was fantastic. It was funny, it had action, it was suspenseful… It was seriously just an awesome read. I took a class last year in University called “Fantasy and Fairy-Tales” and since then I have been on this fairy-tale kick. I’ve watched Grimm, I just recently marathoned all of Once Upon a TIme, and now I honestly cannot wait to continue on with The Lunar Chronicles. It was such an interesting, unique way to retell the classic (sometimes boring) tale of Cinderella. My absolute favourite thing about this book was the characters, so let’s chat about them shall we?

First of all, Cinder is awesome. She is so kick-butt, so sassy and just a really great character to follow. But, not gonna lie, her sidekick and android Iko might seriously be my favourite. Her personality is hilarious, she’s so funny, adorable, and such a good friend. The interesting thing though is people claim she has a “faulty personality chip” because, unlike other androids, she seems to have the closest thing to feelings/opinions that androids can get. She is just so loveable and the book definitely would not have been the same without her. As for Cinders family. I like the idea that one of Cinder’s stepsisters like her. Peony is so cute and you can tell she really loves Cinder, and that Cinder really loves her (contrary to her stepmothers belief). It’s really unfortunate that her sister falls ill with this plague, but I think it made a really good driving point for Cinder. AND AS FOR PEARL AND ADRI. Ugh. UGH. I can’t even. Let’s quickly applaud Marissa Meyer for making characters that are so very, HATEABLE. Every single scene with Adri and Cinder made my skin crawl. I wanted to reach into the book and give her a punch right to the esophagus. I actually have to stop thinking about them for a second because I seriously can’t.

And last but certainly not least, Kai. Prince Kai deserves his own paragraph, and not because he’s royal, but because he’s a pain in my ass. I guess at the beginning I was like aaaah Prince Kai, so cute, so handsome *swoons*. Then I was like hmmm this is definitely not gonna end well. Then I thought it would. Then I thought it couldn’t. Then I KNEW it wouldn’t. And oh dear it didn’t. But seriously, was anyone else like “what a JERK?!”. The boy should be HONOURED to have a romance with a kick butt lunar-cyborg. Are you really SO REPULSED by her metal parts? Because if you are, she deserved better anyways. I seriously hope he has a difficult future because he had his chance and he blew it.

I intended for this to be brief, but apparently I cannot contain myself from ranting. Last thing I wanted to touch on was the fact that everyone seems to rate this book high on predictability. Honestly, I don’t know if I just suck at predicting things or something (I absolutely did NOT predict the ending of We Were Liars), but I really didn’t automatically know where this story was going. Of course after a while with her visits to the doctor and him threatening her to absolutely stay away from the Kingdom while Queen Levana is there because you’re a lunar “shell” oh wait nevermind you aren’t a shell but I won’t tell you what you are. Yeah, after that I kinda understood who she was, but still it’s not like you knew how it was going to end. Maybe Marissa Meyer wasn’t trying to be sneaky and hide it, because whether or not you suspect Cinder’s true identity, it doesn’t change the crazy, action-packed ending. Also, I do like a little bit of predictability, because it kind of makes you feel like you’re in on a secret, like you know but the other characters (sometimes even the main one) don’t, so you get to be excited in the background like “COME ON DOCTOR JUST TELL HER” or “COME ON KAI, SHE REALLY DIDN’T KNOW”. It’s just fun.

Clearly, if you haven’t noticed this book gave me a lot of feels. So if you haven’t yet read it, or you weren’t too sure about it, I suggest you pick it up and give it a go. Even if you don’t LOVE it, it’s a really entertaining read and you definitely won’t be disappointed. Also, since I’m on such a fairy-tale kick, if anyone can recommend any other good retellings I would appreciated it!



Daughter of Smoke & Bone Book Review


Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little Brown
Published: September 27th, 2011
Genre: YA Fantasy/Romance
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Thoughts:

Karou is a 17 year old human art student living in Prague, or so she thought. She was raised by four demons who are not at all human – as they are made up of an array of animal and human parts – in a shop that can open it’s doors to almost any city in the world. In these cities she runs “errands” for Brimstone (her, uh, foster father?) who collects teeth and grants wishes. So far, it sounds confusing, but that’s because it is. The interesting thing about Karou is she doesn’t try to live a double life. She fills her sketch book with drawings of her demon family and of the places she goes on her errands. The funny part is, when her bestfriend Zuzana ( or any of their other friends for that matter) ask her where she has been or what the drawings are, she tells them the complete truth. However, because it is completely insane and impossible they laugh it off and become addicted to her drawings and the stories that go along with them. Karou’s life is somewhat normal and consistent, that is, until three winged figures start showing up in the shadows of cities to mark the doorways of Brimstone’s shop. These fiery hand prints keep appearing until eventually they have marked the doorways of every portal and Brimstone’s shop is destroyed forever.

The first little bit of this book was very fast paced and completely mysterious. I had no idea what was going on, how these creatures were real, who they were, why the doorways were being marked, who the doorways were being marked by and how the heck Karou has anything to do with it. But honestly, that was half the fun of reading it. I was so overwhelmed and just wanted to find out what was going on that I could not put this book down. After every chapter it was like, oh, oh, OH, OH MY GOSH. Karou is so mysterious and so relatable. Of course not in the sense that normal people are raised by demons and can use magic to grant their wishes… But because she’s really confused by who she is and where she fits it and she just really wants to find her place in the world. I think every young person feels a little out of place at times and just wants to understand where they belong, and that’s why she is such a great protagonist.

It is also so refreshing to have everything we’ve every known about angels and devils shaken up and tipped on it’s head. Reading about angels as these pure evangelical beings gets a little tiresome after a while… This story is nice because for once it makes you question whether angels really do represent “good”, innocent beings. On the flip side, you really feel for the devils (or the chimaera as the book refers to them) and it makes you understand why Brimstone does what he does, and why it was necessary.

Overall, this book was a really awesome, action packed read and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy book. I can’t decide if I’m going to pick up the next book, Days of Blood and Starlight, right away or if I will let this one sink it for a little bit longer. Either way, I can’t wait to continue this trilogy and I will definitely do so soon.



The Book Thief Book Review


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Publisher: Knopf Books
Published: March 14th, 2006
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Bought
Rating: 5 absolutely brilliant, shining stars!

Goodreads Synopsis

It’s just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery.

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist: books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids – as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

My Thoughts:

I read I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak years ago. I must have been in 8th grade, so yeah about 7 years ago, and I really enjoyed it. It was a really unique story that I definitely never forgot, and I knew this book would be the same. Everyone who has ever read it has raved about it, but I just never picked it up for whatever reason (didn’t want to read something sad, already had too many books on the go, etc). Now that I have read it I honestly could not be more filled with regret that I didn’t read it sooner.

I could not speak a bad word about this book if I tried. Everything about it was perfect. At first I was a little weirded out that we were reading from death’s perspective, but after a couple pages I realized it actually made the story a lot more interesting. At the beginning of the story Liesel Meminger is 9 years old and has more reason than most to be angry with the world. She has just lost her brother to Death and she is being taken to Munich to live with a foster family during the war. As a young girl she has no idea what it means to be a communist (like her mother and father) or to be a Jew (like Max), but soon she begins to understand. It really isn’t a surprise that she resents her foster mother Rosa, and she gets into trouble at school and fights with other children. However, thanks to her foster father Hans she begins to learn to read and finds her passion in words.

All of the characters in this book are so beautiful and well developed. Rudy, Liesel’s bestfriend and first love, is so adorable and such a great sidekick of her to have in her book thievery. Hans is incredibly caring and wonderful to everyone he encounters, even when he knows he’s putting himself in a bad place because of it. It really is no wonder Liesel loves him and looks up to him the way she does. Even Rosa, who is annoying and mouthy at times, definitely grows on you throughout the book. It’s really beautiful to see how all of the characters in this book grow in some way because of their relationship with Liesel, and how Liesel grows and changes because of her relationship with books and words.

The writing. Oh dear god, the writing. Markus Zusak has so much talent. This book and it’s metaphors and imagery will stay with you for a very long time. When I finished reading I couldn’t stop thinking about this book, it grabs a hold of you and does not let go. I don’t even know what to say other than this book was so powerful and wonderful and I can definitely say I will be revisiting it in the future. If you have not yet picked this book up, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?! Do not be like me and cheat yourself of this story for any longer than you need to. Read it now.

Phenomenal story, beautiful characters, amazing imagery, and a heart-wrenching ending that will leave you wondering if Markus Zusak is a human or a literary god.


Kim Kardashian’s ugly-crying-face doesn’t even compare to mine at the end of this book. The movie was also really well done, if you have read the book and haven’t seen the movie I suggest checking it out. However, it really doesn’t do the book justice so do not skip the book for the movie!