Let It Snow – John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle| A YEAR IN BOOKS

Title: Let It Snow

Authors: John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

I don’t usually reach for festive books – let alone romance novels – but the combination of a cute cover and John Green’s name caught me initially. And then I started reading, and the book reeled me in all by itself.

As the book came out in 2008 – I am very late to the game with this one – I doubt you need an in-depth summary of the plot, so I’ll give you a brief one.

Let It Snow follows the story of Gracetown, a small American town in the middle of nowhere. It’s Christmas Eve and love – and the worse snowstorm for fifty years – is in the air.

The book is written in three parts, one part per author, and they take us on a journey through Gracetown as the snow takes its toll on cars, cheerleaders, and relationships.

All the characters in the novel are individual and brilliant in their own right, but my favourite pair had to be Stuart and Jubilee. They are the beautiful result of kindness from a stranger and a derailed train (a train whose passengers make quite the effect on Christmas Eve).

Stuart is a heartbroken, sweet, brotherly guy who opens his home to Jubilee on Christmas Eve when she bravely ventures away from the train in search of warmth. His over-bearing but harmless, Jewish mother is determined to get the two of them together and makes it her personal mission in life to do so.

Jubilee has found herself alone on Christmas Eve after her parents are charmingly arrested in a brawl at a Flobie House sale, and she gets sent to California to spend the holidays with her grandparents.

But then, as her day gets worse and she ends up in a Waffle House full of cheerleaders in an attempt to escape the broken-down train, a handsome stranger invites her home for Christmas.

I could spend hours talking about this book – and I probably will to my S.O (feel sorry for him!), but you would probably get bored of hearing about it, so I’ll make my point.

Let It Snow is a charming, witty, off-beat Christmas romance novel, that shows that every story has another side, that every loner, weirdo and shy teen deserves love, and that Christmas Eve is the kind of day where magic can happen – even in a snowstorm.

Star Rating: *****

4 Years On WordPress | Best Bits

Well, well, well, Happy 4th Birthday to my WordPress account! *pops party popper*. When I started these blogs a few years ago, I never imagined they would lead to such amazing opportunities.

Let’s throwback to some of our best bits in the wonderful world of WordPress…

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Milestones:

Four years is a huge commitment to one blog for me, admittedly I do have several WordPress blogs, but all on the same platform. I love that I have been able to link them and easily switch between the four of them, so thanks for that!

Earlier this year we hit another amazing milestone, which was 500 WordPress followers, and you guys are from all over the world! Thank you, everyone, for your support, and putting up with my erratic posting schedule.

Books:

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WordPress was and always will be a huge part of my creative process, particularly when it comes to writing books. I published my first novella, The Snow Killer, originally as a series of blog posts, which transformed into a twisted serial killer fiction novel. I loved every minute of it, as it launched my dreams as an author as set me on a path to novel writing.

I originally started my life as a blogger on BlogSpot, (which I rediscovered and was hit with a wave of nostalgia whilst researching this post) [my BlogSpot page] but after I was introduced to WordPress, I have never turned back.

Since then, I have self-published several e-books, with the help of WordPress as a blogging and promotional tool, and met many of my close author friends through the website – as well as some amazing book reviewers and bloggers.

Articles: 

In 2016 I wrote an article about my transition from loathing to loving John Green, and its current view total is 6,153! (Correct of 29.11.17) Read the article here…  It ended up being read by Hank Green (also famous and very creative brother of the author, and was shared all over WordPress and Tumblr.)

That article made me realize the true power of books, and that the time taken to be passionate and involved in your work, is far more important than dishing out half-finished books in order to hit a deadline.

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I’d just like to say thank you again for all of your wonderful support, and here’s to an amazing 2018 with WordPress!

The Fault in Our Stars | Book Review

tfios-melissaholden94I spent a long time avoiding this book, and I feel like an idiot for it.

I did cover the topic briefly in my John Green article I posted a couple of weeks ago, but the general premise is that I was swayed by other people’s opinions and basically didn’t get John Green’s work a chance.
I didn’t give his books the time and devotion to reading that they deserve, and believe me when I say: I regret that and I plan on catching up pretty damn quick.

The Fault In Our Stars was first published January 2012 under Penguin – the sixth book by John Green -, and has since sold 10.7 million copies worldwide.  The movie adaptation came out in 2014, and the screenplay was co-written by the author himself, which attests for how close a resemblance the screen version has to the original novel.

green_2The plot (in case you’ve been living under a rock – as I have!): (Sourced from Amazon UK)

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

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Hazel: 16-year-old Hazel-Grace has accepted her cancer-ridden fate and is pretty much living in her day to day routine, waiting for death. Her coddling mother thinks Hazel has depression so often forces her to socialize with other ‘cancer kids’.

She has been living with cancer for a long time, so has since grown used to life with rubbish lungs. She gets on with school and reading and seeing friends when she can, and is pretty settled – if unhappy – wth her routine. But when she meets Augustus Waters at a ‘cancer kids’ meeting, all that goes out the window.

03f45905f29d65c365f67d5498014173Augustus Waters: Originally introduced as your typical tall, dark and handsome, Gus is a one-legged cancer survivor and romantic lead of The Fault In Our Stars. He is quick to admit his attraction to Hazel, and is not deterred by her initial rejections of a relationship.

Originally introduced as your typical tall, dark and handsome, Gus is a one-legged cancer survivor and romantic lead of The Fault In Our Stars. He is quick to admit his attraction to Hazel, and is not deterred by her initial rejections of a relationship. He is weird as he as beautiful, so he’s a perfect match for our main girl.

Van Houten: Van Houten, the author of Hazel’s favourite (fictional) novel, An Imperial Affliction, is the typical example of ‘never meet your heroes’. He’s a drunk, a fool and a rude old man who doesn’t feel he should waste his time writing a sequel to Hazels’ cherished book, let a lone answer some of her questions. He has some secrets of his own, but they aren’t revealed until later on, making him somewhat of a bitter but one-leveled character until the end.

3f10f7365f73d9b28ffccb50e24a844d1eb8755616c22a72abb09a3ec295b4bdRomance: Neither Gus or Hazel are your typical love interest, however – which makes this a far more interesting read. It’s not just your average star-crossed lover’s tale (although there is some element of Shakespearean tragedy towards the end of the book).

Cancer: I can’t review the book without mentioning one of its main themes: cancer sucks. There is no beautification of cancer in this book as far as I am concerned, and I am so glad for that.

John Green wrote from experience about the issues and pain and day-to-day suffering of a ‘cancer kid’, so it stands to reason that his depiction of two teenagers with cancer would be more or less accurate.

I personally knew someone who had this sucky illness, and there were places in this novel that sent a shiver down my spine: because I had seen them happen in real life. It cannot have been easy for Green to write this, and particularly as there was such a backlash concerning it, so for that alone; I applaud him.

The Fault in Our Stars continues to raise money for The Teenage Cancer Trust, click here if you would like to find out a bit more about the charity. 

Overall review: I really wish I hadn’t waited four years to read this amazing novel, and I am happy to say that it’s up there with my favourite novels. It is a heart-wrenching, beautiful novel that is very hard to put down. So for god’s sake – read it. download

Other Recommendations:

If you’re interested in reading books about Cancer and how disastrous it can be from a true-life perspective, I recommend Discussing Wittgenstein by Ann Drysdale.

Plot: (Sourced from Amazon UK)

Launched at the 2009 Hay festival, Discussing Wittgenstein picks up the story of Philip Grey and Ann Drysdale after their near death-bed marriage and Philip s return home. It is the end of a remarkable love story, but it is also much more; a tender, poignant testimony to how personal mythologies are built and survive. Discussing Wittgenstein is an elegy to the human spirit and to our quest to shape experience into meaning.

John Green: From Loathe To Love

When I first heard about John Green, it was in 2012 when The Fault In Our Stars was released, and I immediately hated him. Let me explain before you stone me.

I was always on the lookout for young adult books that weren’t vampires, because vampires were getting boring, fast. So here comes this decent author with a book about kids with cancer, and I thought ‘hey, if it’s a good story and it raises awareness, this is going on my to-read list.’

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So with my brand new copy of The Fault In Our Stars, I settle down in my communal living room to start reading, tea in hand and then I hear a screech from my wonderfully-vocal Italian housemate and best friend. I then spent the next two hours receiving a lecture from her about how John Green was profiting from cancer and that the medical aspects of the book were completely outrageous. So the book went on my shelf and hasn’t been opened since.

So four years pass, I get a degree, move back to my home town, get a job, blah blah blah, and then I hear about this edgy indie book with a bad-ass female lead with a weird name and an amazing metaphor: Paper Towns. Three guesses who it’s by, *drum roll* John Green.

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In the four years, I had pretty much forgotten about my hatred for John Green, as I had since learned that my loud friend’s opinion of TFiOS was just that, an opinion. But still with this ingrained fear of reading the book, I skipped it altogether and dove head first into Paper Towns. I finished it in less than a week.

Safe to say that since then, I’ve been pretty happy to hear about John Green’s work, particularly when I realised he is the older brother to Hank Green, and that they co-created YouTube channel vlogbrothers, the world of Nerdfighteria, and are ultra nerds that are so cool and the human embodiment of tumblr.com.

I now spend nearly all of my spare time attempting to catch up on the 10 years of vlogbrothers videos, and am eagerly awaiting payday so I can buy all of John Green’s book and add them to my copies of Paper Towns and The Fault In Our Stars. I’m also desperately searching for a copy of John Green reading TFiOS audiobook.

I have officially become a fan, and I wish I had had the balls to stand up for The Fault In Our Stars when I first bought it all those years ago… and I shall be reading it tonight!

So, I have one thing to say to you John Green and other members of Nerdfighteria (if you’ll forgive my stupidity): Don’t forget to be awesome! 

Me, Earl and The Dying Girl: Book review

BOOK REVIEW! (Originally published on my Instagram page: http://www.instagram.com/melissaholden94)

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I only started this book this morning and I’ve already finished it! I’m in a YA mood after Paper Towns, so this was perfect! It was rather surreal and the writing was real.  Real as in no attempt at love, or poetry. Just raw, honest selfish pain and emotion.

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The author covers a risky subject in a risky way. There’s violence,  drugs, cancer. It’s hard hitting. I admire that amount of Real Life Bullshit Honesty. We need more writers like this. Selfish and petty and fucking brilliant. 

Add it to your To Read List. This book’s too real not to read.

A Half-Way Through Book Review | Paper Towns by John Green

I was dubious to get involved in the fandom-surrounded world that is a John Green novel, but Paper Towns intrigued me from the get-go.

For the those of you that have been living under a rock, Paper Towns is about neighbors Margo and Q going on a midnight adventure around Orlando to avenge Margo against her friends. But the next day, Margo is nowhere to be found and she chose Q to spend her last night with. Margo becomes the mystery story she craves as her friends try to track her down. But it won’t be that easy.

*Confession* although I haven’t seen the film, I have seen the Paper Towns movie trailer, so of course Cara Delevingne’s face is Margo’s face. And Q is Nat Wolff (who first came to my dewy-eyed attention in ‘Stuck In Love’.)

Amazing casting choices, and I am more than happy to have their voices in my head whilst I read Paper Towns, but I do wish I had put my blinkers on and just read the book without and intervention from movie trailers!

I am in love with Q. There, I said it! He is a fantastic character: weak, confused and utterly in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman. He’s a real teenage guy: I’Ming all night, but sticking to his dream of going to Duke University.

When Margo runs face-first back into his life, he can’t help but let go of his fears and grab Margo’s dreams head on. Margo isn’t your typical female lead character, which seems to be a theme for John Green.
Margo is strange, lonely and rebellious. She’s popular and loved, but she doesn’t care about her preppy wannabe school friends, she wants to live dangerously and enjoy the risks. She sees Orlando as what it really is: a paper town. All fake and built to please, but not strong enough to hold her down.

paper towns by john green: a review by @melissaholden94

I’m not finished reading Paper Towns yet, but I am loving it so far! I almost don’t want to reach the end because I adore Q and Margo and don’t really want to close the book on them. But let’s see how it goes!

I still won’t go anywhere near The Fault In Our Stars for fear of being beaten to death by academics, but John Green has won me over.