Fact File: Newt (from The Maze Runner) (no surname) (no surprise there)

Hey guys! Here’s another Maze Runner fact file for ya, and possibly the last one on the Maze Runner characters… although I might change my mind and do Teresa or Chuck. We shall see! After that I might do a few from A Series of Unfortunate Events because I’ll be watching the second season of it on Netflix!! EXCITEMENT.

Anyways, I have so many favourite characters from The Maze Runner trilogy because there are so many a-MAZE-ing ones (hahaha punny) to choose from, but we all know Newt is at the top. Well, somewhere at the top at least because Chuck is quite high up there too… As is Minho… ARGH why so many to choose from. Well let’s just say they’re my top three and I love them all equally because what kind of mother would I be if I were to pick a favourite child.

(But also Newt is totally my favourite oops)

(Also the art below isn’t mine; click it if you ache to explore other beautiful Maze Runner drawings)

Newt :
Gender : Male
Age : 16 or 17 (estimated)
Occupation : Runner (formerly), Second-in-Command
Famous for : leadership, selflessness, Britishness
Starring in : The Maze Runner - Books and Films 1-3,
(actor : Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and The Fever Code

Comment :
Newt is a firm but caring co-leader of the Gladers, having been part
of the group that first arrived when the Maze was created. He knows
everything that goes on and is welcoming and kind to the Greenies
(newcomers), unlike most of the others. As a result of his limp, he
takes charge instead of running through the Maze like he used to,
ensuring all the Gladers do their part and stick to the rules. Given
the title 'The Glue' in the second book, The Scorch Trials, Newt's
responsible for holding the group together as they face the dangers
of the real world, and I think he does a pretty good job of it. You
could say he's the mum of the Gladers. An all round legend really.

To learn more about Newt, click here.

“Stories are wild creatures…”

A Monster Calls ~ Patrick Ness (original idea by Siobhan Dowd)

Heyy bookworms! Today I’m reviewing what I consider a work of art rather than a book, called A Monster Calls. The idea was originally by Siobhan Dowd, but sadly she died of cancer before her story could be put to paper. Patrick Ness was given the role of writing the book and I think he did it so well! ‘Tis actually my first Patrick Ness book and I think he’s a great writer, so look out for more Ness-y reviews in the future 😉

For a while now, 13-year-old Conor has been having a nightmare. The same one over and over. Also for a while now, he’s been caring for his mum while she’s been sick. With his dad over in America and bullies tormenting him at school, Conor has no one to turn to and is lost inside his head. One night, a monster calls on Conor and informs him that he’s going to tell three stories. Three, and then Conor will tell him the fourth otherwise the monster will eat him. What the monster wants from Conor is the nightmare that has haunted him for so long, what he fears most. The monster wants the truth.

“Stories are important,” the monster said. “They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.”

This book’s writing is honestly stunning. Everything flowed so beautifully, making it an easy read but also not because it’s so heartbreaking. I could see the thought behind every word, and I finished the book just feeling overwhelmingly moved by this incredible story. The imagery helped with this feeling a lot because it was so enchanting, and I found myself dog-earring basically every other page where the writing had really jumped out at me.

“Stories are wild creatures,” the monster said. “When you let them loose, who knows what havoc they might wreak?”

Not much really happened plotwise – the book is so focused on Conor’s different relationships with his family and how they were all impacted by Conor’s mum having cancer – and yet it was still so captivating due to the magic of the writing. Ness is truly talented, a master of storytelling. Cancer is a tough topic to write about and understand fully, but I thought Ness did such a good job of really showing how cancer affects people’s lives on a day-to-day basis, which is extra difficult to do when told from a child’s perspective. The ending in particular, when Conor’s secret, his nightmare, is uncovered, really showed me how deep and complicated the effects of cancer on family can be. I felt Conor’s pain and loneliness and anger and confusion. I was invested.

“It’s okay that you’re angry, sweetheart…” she said. “And if you need to break things, then by God, you break them good and hard.”

I wanted more of Conor’s relationship with his mum, but cancer had created a distance between them because she was constantly in and out of hospital. When she was there, Conor would stay with his grandma who I loved. Sure, she was cold most of the time, but her daughter’s well-being was always her top priority. I loved watching her relationship with Conor develop.

Also the film is actually great so thank you universe. I watched it in school before I read the book and I CRIED IN SCHOOL. The animation and acting was so powerful, but then again so was the writing of the book. Just the overall message of the tale – and the little messages too, in the stories that the monster tells Conor, let’s not forget about those – coupled with Ness’ fantastic but dark storytelling will tear your heart up into a million pieces.

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere inbetween.”

I found this book really difficult to review because it’s just one of those which you have to read to fully understand how amazing it is. I can’t really put it into words, which is why there are a lot of lil snippets of the book in this post. They show best what I loved about it and how important it is. Reading this book should be on everyone’s bucket list.

Clover count: ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ (10/10)

5 books I wish I could study in school but alas

Hey bookdragons!

In my last post I blabbered on about books I’ve studied in school that I actually liked so, as promised, today I will blabber a lil more, this time about books that I wish I were studying right now instead of Pride and Prejudice, the 19th century novel I have to know for my exams. I mean I like Pride and Prejudice, as I grew up watching its various adaptations, but the book is so difficult to understand?? The Shakespeare play I’m studying, Much Ado About Nothing, is (for me) easier to understand than Pride and Prejudice is, despite it being written 200 years earlier. Strange but true…

Anywayy let’s get on with the actual post, shall we?

(click the booky photos to go to their goodreads page)

Image result for the book thief book

The Book Thief ~ Markus Zusak

If you’ve read this wonderful book then you don’t even need to ask me why I’d love to study it at school. But if you haven’t read it (which of course you should because it’s a MASTERPIECE) then I’ll break down the reasons for ya:

1) It’s set in WWII Germany so would be educational for a History class

2) The writing is so enchanting and would be perfect for a language analysis question in English

3) It explores a wide variety of topics surrounding war but also just childhood and family so would be a great book to write essays about in an English Literature exam

4) Did I mention it’s a masterpiece?

(Also haha you can so tell that school has taken its toll on me, I’m literally planning lessons and exams around this book…)

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The perks of being a wallflower ~ Stephen Chbosky

This book would be such a good one to study! It’s well-written, thought-provoking, fearless with its discussion of high schoolish topics etc. while also being enjoyable and relatable to us schoolkids. Perks would be so interesting to do in school, especially with its frequent references to ’90s American culture. And the film is great sooooo there’s a bonus.

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A Monster Calls ~ Patrick Ness

The writing in this is so so gorgeous, the storytelling is brilliant and the themes of family and loss are so thoughtfully woven into the tale… This book is just beautiful and deserves to be read by the whole country, so if (for whatever wild reason) I get to parliament, the first thing I’ll do is change the syllabus so that everyone is taught this book because IT BEAUT. Also I’m reviewing it very soon so keep those eyes peeled y’all.

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Star of Kazan ~ Eva Ibbotson

I read this book a long time ago, but it still wanders the corridors of my mind (even though I hardly remember any of it, not even the main character’s name oops) so I thought I’d slip it in here because I think it would be a good book to just talk about in a class. I have a feeling the writing was very good so it could be studied in English? (Ahaha I really need to reread this sometime soon…)

Image result for lascar shahida rahman

Lascar ~ Shahida Rahman

Ah Lascar would be a perfect book to study! In English, History, Religious Education… There’s so much in it to explore and discuss because it’s focused around the treatment of racial minorities in Victorian England, but there’s also a lot about family and aak THE LOVE IN THIS BOOK. So many things to take away from it yet not enough people have taken away what is to be taken away! It must be studied immediately. Someone call the Secretary of State for Education and get them to sort out this mess.

So that is the list of books I’d love to study in school! There are more but my brain is too tired to think of others and also 5 is my favourite number and the only one I use for listy posts because it’s my favourite number. Did I say that already? Yeah, I’m a go sleep now.

BUT WAIT! I’m aware that some of y’all may have already studied these yourself in school and if so, that’s great! What was it like? And if not, would you love to study these books too? Or any others? Tell me all the things.

5 books I’ve studied in school that I actually liked

Hellooo peoples!

I’m sure most of y’all are either in school or have been at some point in your lives, so most of you have no doubt been forced to read a horrendously boring book, made worse by having to study it and watch endless adaptations of it, then act out some chapters/scenes until you’re so sick of it that you want to set fire to it and catapult it to Antarctica to be eaten by penguins. But every once in a while you might actually be given a decent book to read, and today I’m going to list a few of those books!

Then in my next post, I’ll be listing books that I wish I could study in school but sadly can’t because the world is a cruel place. I mean yeah, there are some downsides of having to study a book you love, like it might make you want to set fire to it and catapult it to Antarctica to be eaten by penguins because you’re so sick of it buuut a girl can dream. And anyway that’s for my next post!

(click the booky photos to go to their goodreads page)

How to Train Your Dragon (2003 book cover).jpg

How to Train Your Dragon ~ Cressida Cowell

At my primary school we only had 5 different types of lessons: the usual Maths, English, Science and PE, but we also had Topic which changed every term. This lesson was mostly History, but sometimes it would be the oddest of things. For example, when I was around 10 we did dragons for a term. Yes, dragons. All I really remember was drawing them, then reading some HTTYD but, like literally every book we studied in primary school, we never finished it so we watched the film to make up for it. (Though later on I bought the book and finished it of course because I couldn’t bear not knowing how it ended haha)

Goodnight Mister Tom ~ Michelle Magorian

World War II, especially evacuation, was a common topic for Topic (heh) so we read this book in class and OH THE SADNESS OF IT ALL. Of course we didn’t finish the book but we did watch the film and the teachers were all in tears which was a bit awkward. My friend was actually in a stage play of it too and watching that was when I got a bit emotional, I won’t lie to ya.

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The Lightning Thief ~ Rick Riordan

Another book I read for Topic! This time we were studying Greek mythology so obviously we were going to read this book. Surprise, surprise we never finished it, but we watched both of the films and I loved the whole Percy Jackson world so much that I borrowed the book from my sister, who luckily had the whole series and gave it to me because she isn’t a fan anymore oh what a shame.

Image result for curious incident of the dog in the nighttime book

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time ~ Mark Haddon

This one I read at secondary school (well, read the first part because who even finishes books these days??) and later got for Christmas, although I still haven’t reread it the whole way through. We studied this in English and acted out some of the chapters, but I don’t remember really discussing it as a class even though there’s so much in it to talk about! I guess, once I finally read it, I can discuss it with the birds living in my walls. Oh, and of course with all of y’all 😉

Image result for boy roald dahl book

Boy ~ Roald Dahl

YES MUM I KNOW YOU HATE ROALD DAHL BUT THIS ONE IS A NICE(ISH) ONE I SWEAR. Haha did I tell you guys about how I asked for Danny the Champion of the World for my birthday? And my mum bought it for me in Spanish so that I’d learn Spanish but also because she really doesn’t like Roald Dahl books so she wanted me to STRUGGLE. She cracks me up sometimes. But anyways she couldn’t stop me from reading this one at school and I actually liked it, though I wouldn’t read it again. Probably. Maybe. Who knows? I lead a wild life.

Yes, I know, the books I’ve studied in school are kind of odd but most of them I read in primary school where everything is odd. Also I’d just like to say that I have studied more common GCSE type books like Of Mice and Men and that, but didn’t like them as much aha I’m such a child at heart just look at this list.

Have you studied any of these? Do you like any of the books you’ve done in school?

Does blogging impact your reading?

Heyyy all. I’m finally back with another Lettuce Discuss post! My last one was so long ago – back in June last year – so my discussionness is a lil stiff, but we’ll see what I can rustle up.

Basically I’ve been thinking for awhile now about how blogging has changed my reading and, I don’t know if it’s the same for you but, it’s actually changed reading quite significantly for me. So this post is going to be about how blogging has changed my reading and in what ways, because for me there isn’t really a counter-argument. Nevertheless, if there is for you then do tell all below!

what I read

This is definitely a good impact because before I started blogging I used to read those hella cringey tween girl books about going to high school and falling out with friends and then making up right at the end with a sleepover and just EW. I do admit that Bex Carter (which I got as a free ebook haha that tells you all you need to know) (but also go buy it because it’s still free and I know you’re cheap) is a bit of a guilty pleasure but otherwise I say no no to these books. My old library was literally full of them though so they were pretty much all I read, but when I started my blog I felt like they were just too tacky to review, soooo I went out looking for better books. And I was somewhat successful! Through blogging I’ve found some of my favourite books of all time, and if I didn’t have a blog I’d still be reading *shudders* Cathy Cassidy and Totally Lucy (sidenote: it took me ages to find the name of this series because all I remember is that her dog dribbled on her dress and I was literally putting that into Google mahaha).

(Although, somewhere along the line, I did find out that I don’t have to review every single book I read, so Bex Carter here I come… 😉 )

(Also yes, I’m still weirdly addicted to brackets)

how I read

Because of blogging, I’ve started reading books upside down and it’s really changed the way I see things…

Mahaha my humour. Also what does mahaha even mean? If not mwahaha or hahaha? Who knows, Gerry.

Fun fact: my laptop’s name is Gerry! Short for Gerald. But anywhoooo I’m getting a bit offtrack.

I’d say this is more of a negative impact. When I’m reading a book, I’m constantly thinking about what I’m going to write in my review – which characters I like/dislike and why, what the author does well, whether the writing is good, whether there’s actually a plot – and it can sometimes take away the enjoyment of reading. And don’t even get me started on trying to remember all my thoughts, on top of remembering the actual plot of the book because do I even have a memory for books/films? See, I can’t even remember if I can even remember books/films. My brain is basically a deconstructed lemon meringue pie.

HOWEVER! There can be some positives to reading a book with a blogging hat on. Par exemple, it can make you think deeper about the book and its effect on the reader and so on and so on. But yeah that’s all I can really think of oops.

why I read

I foresee some deep cheese here, but this one is very true! I remember my Dad suggesting I start a blog about books and honestly I was a bit surprised because my sister was way more bookish than me. I didn’t even call myself a bookworm back then. Blogging has definitely made me discover my love for books, and now reading is much more than a hobby to me: ’tis a tool for connecting with people all over the world, for finding inspiration, for exploring new cultures and ideas… Without a blog, reading for me would be just for a rainy Sunday afternoon and I’m glad that it’s not.

There ya have it, my munchkins! The ways in which blogging has changed my reading. Has it changed yours? Do you forget books an hour after you’ve finished them? And then have to look on wikia when it comes to writing your review? Lettuce discuss.

Fact File: Minho (from The Maze Runner) (doesn’t have a surname either)

Hey Gladers (characters from The Maze Runner who live in the Glade at the heart of the maze)! Is it just me or have I got weirdly into brackets lately…? Anywhosss today I’m back with another Glader fact file! This time on Minho, one of my favourite characters EVER because he so sarky but also has guts and I just wanna squish him but he might take my eye out if I did.

Onto the fact file! Also yes of course the art below isn’t mine, Sandra, and it never will be unless I discover I’m a descendant of Leonardo Da Vinci and have secret artistic gifts I never knew of before but the chances of that are slim because he didn’t have any children… And here I am getting sidetracked again. In short, I didn’t draw the fanart in this post but the artist is wonderfully talented so please go check them out and cry with envy for their gifts.

Minho :
Gender : Male
Age : 17 (estimated)
Occupation : Keeper of the Runners
Famous for : sarcasm, physical strength
Starring in : The Maze Runner (Books 1-3), Films
(actor : Ki Hong Lee) and The Fever Code

Comment :
Minho was one of the first to arrive in The Glade so is seen by the
others as a leader. His strength both outwardly and inwardly, as is
evident in the face of peril, aid him in his job as a Runner. Always
first to volunteer in difficult situations, he's unafraid to stand
up for what is right even if it's stupid and/or very dangerous.
Basically he is quite stubborn BUT ALSO A BADASS. As well as his
bravery, he has also proven loyal and trustworthy to his closest
friends. He's always there to lighten the mood even if it annoys the
Gladers and they're literally on the brink of death, so really he's
the true hero of the story.

To learn more about Minho, click here.

Charlie’s angels

The perks of being a wallflower ~ Stephen Chbosky

Hey bookworms! I’ve finally read the masterpiece that is The perks of being a wallflower and oh how glad I am that I did. When I was little I read a lot of cringy high school books, but this one is aimed at an older audience so tackles a wider range of more important subjects that honestly need to be given more attention in schools. But yeah, less ranting about how terrible schools are at dealing with stuff and more ranting about Charlie and this book and how he dealt with stuff.

As Charlie, a wallflower, reserved but attentive, begins his freshman year of high school, he develops an unlikely friendship with a group of seniors who help him navigate the complexities of high school life, introducing him to a world of vibrant culture. However Charlie is numbed by the loss in his past and over time his closest friends – Sam and Patrick – must teach him how to feel again, but most of all how to step away from the sidelines and experience life to the fullest.

Ahhhh this book! Honestly a work of art. Unlike many high schoolish books, this one actually made me think about stuff when I put it down. Crazy, right?? As aforementioned, it discussed loads of teenish topics from social anxiety and suicide to friendship and sexuality all in a relatively smol book, written as letters from Charlie to a stranger so we were right inside Charlie’s brainforest (eek my favourite word), feeling everything he was feeling. Being a wallflower, it was kind of easy for Charlie to be treated like a puppy, which I felt he was quite a lot throughout the book especially as his friends were pretty much all older than him. But being inside Charlie’s head the whole time was so incredibly interesting and insightful because it showed every little thing he saw and thought and felt that the other characters were unaware of. I was so immersed in the story because Charlie was so well-written, and surprisingly relatable despite being a pretty outgoing muffin myself, always wanting to have a say in everything. Charlie constantly had a lot on his mind about love and life and all the deep things, but he’d only really open up about all of it in his letters which created a stronger bond between him and the reader, or at least that’s how I felt.

I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.

By the end of the book Charlie really felt like a friend and *sniffs* I’m going to miss him… I loved his lil quirks, especially his repetition of the word ‘incidentally’ (seriously it was in almost every letter, ’twas adorable don’t ask me why) and the phrase ‘and that was enough’ as well, which just showed how much he appreciated everything in his life and aw I just wanted to squish him every time he said it.

Also we must talk about Charlie’s family because aaaak his relationship with them was just the sweetest lil thing. His parents were actually nice? And alive? But not creepily overprotective? But also not neglectful? And he actually got on with his siblings? Like, thank you Stephen Chbosky because this is pretty rare in YA. Sam and Patrick were angels too – hence the title of this post – and I loved how unique and loving each of Charlie’s friends were. Just hugs and cookies all round.

I watched the film about a year before I read the book I think? So I couldn’t really remember the storyline, other than the fact that it made me sob an ocean or two but I didn’t actually cry in the book. I’m thinking my heart may have been shipped to Antarctica and then been mailed back cold and frozen in the space between watching the film and reading the book. Who even knows what adventures my heart has been on, but I sure went on an adventure reading this book even if my heart was a bit icy. A cute, slightly cringy tale of love and all that gobbledygook* that I’d recommend to anyone who has a heart but wants it shredded.

Clover count: ♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣♣ (9/10)

*I just looked up where the word ‘gobbledygook’ comes from and well…

What exactly is gobbledygook, and where does the word come from? Texas Congressman Maury Maverick coined the word in 1944 to describe the frustrating jargon used by policymakers in Washington. It reminded him of the sound of turkeys gobbling.