Archive | December 2012

Warm and Cosy

Fortum and Mason’s Front Window, London, 2012


Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium CoverDelirium Details

Lena Haloway is less than six months away from getting the procedure known as ‘The cure’. In a world that is surrounded by the all-knowing government, people receive the cure as soon as they are eighteen. Love is a disease that makes one crazy, dangerous and out of control. Everyone is fearful of catching ‘deliria’. Her mother committed suicide because of it; her sister nearly suffered the same fate. Lena is determined to stay in line, receive her cure with accompanying marks and be paired for immediate marriage after college graduation. It’s just as life is supposed to be.

It’s during her evaluation that something changes in Lena. Unable to vocalise her practiced answer, she nearly loses everything, but an unforeseen distraction causes her test to be invalid. It’s also when she meets Alex: a nineteen-year-old boy that bares the mark. He’s cured, providing Lena with a security blanket for their friendship. If he wasn’t, she could be hauled away to the Crypts for being seen with him. Being too busy following all the rules, there’s to more to Lena’s world that she’s never noticed. As the bubbles of her life gradually pop, she’s going to have to make a choice: To love, or to die.

I have to be honest, I much preferred Delirium to Oliver’s Before I Fall. Lena is an excellent example of how effective brainwashing can be. I see this book as a spooky foretelling of America’s future. Living in a country that’s known for its ‘Big Brother’, I found myself wondering how far is too far for a society to be looked at?  I can’t imagine a world without free speech or the freedom to love whomever you want. And yet, there are many passages where this easily could have taken place in a modern day America.

This is a story about growing up, falling in love and discovering what is important in life. People are different; a large population cannot conform to one simple ideal. History has proven this and Delirium takes advantage of human nature the right way. What would the world be like if we weren’t allowed to love? What would happen to a society if they found a way to love again? A fast paced read with a love story of Romeo and Juliet, I’m really hoping my local library will have the second book available! (Just checked – it’s a disappointing no.)

Many thanks to the publisher Hodder & Stoughton for sending me two copies from their social media campaign! 

My Holiday Wish List 2012

It’s nearly Christmas! Back home I had a wonderful tree with all of my childhood and grown up ornaments that I would put up every year. I’ve wrap all the gifts for my friends and family and put them under the tree. The perfect Christmas cheer corner! 

Sadly, I wasn’t able to bring my tree over to the UK, or any of my ornaments. Oh well, in my flat we do have tree with a few gifts to brighten up the cold living room. (The heating doesn’t really work…)

Here’s what I’m hoping is under the tree for me (or arriving in the post) this year! What kinds of books are hoping to unwrap this holiday season?? Because there should be LOADS!

Matched Cover

Crossed Cover

Reached Cover

I have been DYING to read this series and the final book was published last month! With such stand out covers, they’d be the perfect stocking stuffers! Find out what they’re about here.  Luckily, all titles are available at my local library so next year it can be easy enough to get them read!

Above cover

I’ve heard mixed things about this book. Due to this I still really want to make my own opinion about it. Plus the cover is so spectacular, I can’t shy away from it! Find the description here.

Promised Cover

This is the last in a series that I started this year and truth be told I want this book most of all! Find the description for the first book here. Find my review here

Croak Cover

Lastly, this was a recommendation from the Seattle Public Library. I really liked the premise of the book and have been patiently hoping it would come to the libraries here. Sadly this isn’t the case, but it’s on my radar and I know, one day I’ll get it read. Find the description here. 


That’s all for now readers! May you have a few literary treasures under tree, near the menorah or whatever festival holiday you celebrate. Let’s enjoy the days off and read away!


Forever by Judy Blume

I’m doing something new for ashleyisee. Every month I’ll cover a ‘vintage’ Young Adult novel in my eyes. I challenge you to think about some of the choices I make and encourage comments for discussion. YA is a relatively new genre but I want to show that it truly has always been around, it’s just been marketed in a different way.

This month’s vintage YA is none other than the ground breaking Forever by Judy Blume.


Published in 1975, Blume’s simply story of a girl meets boy, girl falls in love with boy and girl decides to have sex with boy, was one of the most controversial books of it’s time. I also like to see it as the ‘birth’ of YA. Young Adult fiction was originally categorised as a story revolving around teenage or young adult characters that experience tales of growing up.

Nowadays however, the genre is bombarded with unrealistic romance and every kind of fantasy or science fiction aspect that can be thought of. There isn’t anything wrong with these books, they still are YA, but it’s rare to find a contemporary type of young adult book such as Forever. Is it just as powerful as it was in 1975? I think so. Is it as tantalising and scandalous? Unfortunately not. However, there is one thing that makes this story timeless and that is how her main character Katherine falls in love. At times it isn’t logical, nor is she considering things that truly matter in a relationship, but guess what, she’s a teenager and that’s what they do.

Thank you Judy Blume for opening the door to teenage fiction. To paving the way for young love to find a voice.


Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall Cover

Before I Fall Details

February 12th, also known as ‘Cupid Day’ for senior Samantha Kingston at Thomas Jefferson High School. Every American High School has a day like this. Students buy flowers, write a message and send them to whomever throughout the day. It’s a race for popularity to see who receives the most. Sam’s one of the most popular girls in school along with her best friends Lindsay, Ally and Elody. Her boyfriend Rob is the hottest guy in school and tonight she’s going to lose her virginity to him.

With popularity comes a way to act and for Sam this is no different. Cruel and cold to all the other students in her class, she doesn’t bat an eye to painful pranks pulled by Lindsay against her enemy Juliet Sykes. When the group attend a party by geeky guy Kent in school, Sam watches as her life pools at her feet. Tired and drunk from the festivities, Sam sits in the front of the car as Lindsay gets behind the wheel. They were supposed to make it home, Sam is too young to die, but the car hits something and suddenly she’s falling.

However, that isn’t the end of Sam’s story as she wakes up to a brand new February 12th. Stuck in the ‘in between’, Sam must figure why she’s reliving her last day on Earth. A journey of self-discovery that comes too late, Samantha Kingston, this was your life.

This is the kind of book that you might not originally like whilst reading, but it’s after you finish that it creeps into your heart. Sam Kingston is your typical mean girl and I really struggled with her character throughout most of the book. Her redeeming qualities took forever to come about and I felt as if most of the novel was just an excuse for her to piss all over everyone simply because she could.

Yet, the ending gives me what I want and as each day begins anew there’s a little bit more of Sam that is less snobbish and more genuine. This isn’t a story of the Mean Girls; it’s a story behind every insecure teenager trying to get through High School in one piece. Sam does evolve and I grew to like her for learning to stand up for herself. This is the kind of book that does take you back to those four years when everyone though they were invincible, that the future was bright and open. You’ll anxiously await turning the pages, wondering what Sam is going to do or learn next.

Many thanks to Stacey of PrettyBooks for this book!