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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

General Info:
     Title: Everything, Everything
     Author: Nicola Yoon
     Genre: YA, Contemporary
     Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
     Publishing Date: September 1st, 2015

          - Quotes - I related so much to them~
          - Oliver, the love interest - not the typical love interest
    Things that could have been better:
         - Maddy, the main character, was bland - hardly ever connected to her 
          - Not much of a plot - more slice of life? 
Rating: 3.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

I picked up Everything, Everything, because I found it in the library, and I've seen a lot of book reviews for it! It sounded interesting - as a hopeful doctor, I was intrigued by SCIDs. 

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.


I didn't love the main character Maddy at all. She wasn't appealing, I don't know why, but she just didn't resonate with me. She was just...bland. Wait, actually she did elicit irritation from me, like once. Spoiler ahead though, so highlight at your own risk: The one time that she actually gave me an emotional reaction was when she decided to foolishly leave her house, because she didn't want to live cooped up. Even though it did turn out that she didn't have SCIDS, I was appalled at that, just because I believe in the sanctity of human life, and how she was willing to throw that away for love, or to 'truly live'. 
But yeah, Maddy was just bland - no character, no personality to her at all. She seemed to be defined by her illness - that was the only thing special about her. Oh wait, one more thing elicited an emotional response from me - the part in the book that reads as follows: 
Madeleine's Dictionary
prom-ise (prämɘs) n. pl. -es. 
1. The lie you want to keep.
[2015, Whittier] 
In my experience, this is quite true - so I really connected to Maddy for that one moment. 

Oliver, our love interest, on the other hand, was a guy I could connect to for pretty much most of the book. The things he says, whilst pretentious, are not Augustus Waters level of pretentiousness. They struck a chord within me, because they just work. Like take this for example:
"We're just outputs for a set of inputs....I think there are one or two inputs that matter the most. Figure those out and you've figured out the person." 
As a huge math nerd, this really interested me a lot! I mean, it makes sense up to a certain point for me - after that, I think that people really can't just be defined by two things, but sTILL, MATH <3 

And of course, there were some sappy scenes in the book. But I dunno, whilst I was rolling my eyes, at the same time, man, Nicola Yoon really manages to encapsulate the feeling of love, not just first love, but romantic love in general really. 

"In my head I know I've been in love before, but it doesn't feel like it. Being in love with you is better than the first time. It feels like the first time and the last time and the only time all at once" 


The plot was probably the weakest thing about this book, to be honest. I think, at points, it felt like there was no plot, More like this was a slice of life novel. I mean, there was the underlying mystery of her disease, SCIDs, but that was it. The plot twist was something I kind of saw coming, just because Yoon really did foreshadow it - and I liked that I could see the plot twist coming. Because yeah, Yoon set up the threads for it, and I just feel accomplished that I had an inkling of what might happen.  

Writing Style

The writing style was refreshing to read. As seen in the Characters section above - there were some stellar quotes, which kept me reading! It was also really easy to read, so I just seamlessly breezed through this book (I think it only took me about two hours to read?). Plus, the illustrations were gorgeous, and the way the illustrations were embedded throughout the book really made for such an interactive experience <3 The illustrations were cute and gorgeous, and I really loved looking at them! 

Entertainment Value 

Very entertaining - I felt very tempted to read it throughout my BIOL lecture haha xD But at the same time, I couldn't help but feel a bit put off by Maddy's character - she just wasn't appealing, and so I wanted to put the book down a couple of times because she was just so bland. 

Final Thoughts

Everything, Everything is a novel that I'd highly recommend if you want a swoonworthy boy, if you want to read scenes that really encapsulate what it means to fall in love. I wouldn't recommend it if you're intrigued by SCIDs - it plays a large role in the book, but information about it is usually repeated. All in all, Everything, Everything is a romance novel - and you should pretty much only read it if you're prepared for that. 


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Conversations: Fifty Shades of Grey for 15 Year Olds?

Saturday, April 23, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Another fortnight has passed...and it's time for another Conversations post! :D This week, let's discuss.... Is 15 years old too young to be reading Fifty Shades of Grey?

Having never read Fifty Shades of Grey myself, I don't think I can adequately comment on if fifteen year old is too young to be reading it. I'll try to answer the prompt though, based on what I've heard from other people! 

Some people say that 15 year old is too young to read Fifty Shades of Grey, because it involves sex. However, having been a 15 year old girl (or at least close to it...I was 16) around when the Fifty Shades of Grey movie came out, I remember that a couple of people my age went to go see the movie. Some went multiple times. I know that I even joked about going to see it myself. I think 15 year olds are pretty aware of what sex is - so from an age perspective - I think 15 year olds are mature enough to read it. 

However, with regards to the actual sexual content in Fifty Shades of Grey, I've heard that it represents the BDSM community pretty poorly - apparently in BDSM, there is a safeword, and once that's uttered, things need to cool down. But in Fifty Shades of Grey, I;ve heard that either there's no safeword, or that the pairing don't cool off. That's a dangerous depiction of BDSM, and very incorrect. The true hazard comes with 15 year olds attempting this depiction of BDSM, and resulting in one or both of them feeling traumatised or some other worse side effects. That's when these 15 year olds shouldn't be reading this book - because yeah, 15 year olds have sex. And when that sex goes wrong...well...that's bad. 

My view is this: It's fine for 15 year olds to be reading Fifty Shades of Grey - so long as they are aware that its content is fictional, and that it's not a good model of sex for them. I think 15 year olds nowadays are pretty aware of what sex involves, and what might be an accurate depiction of it. I feel like we can get lots of information about it online, in books, etc. nowadays, so if there is anything they feel uncomfortable about, if there's anything they're unsure about - they can check up with those resources. Of course, my opinion relies on 15 year olds being very mature and responsible...which might not necessarily be the case. 

Man, this post was really hard to write. Honestly, my views about this really fluctuate a lot xD Link up your posts about this topic, or else comment below to let me know! Hopefully you can make things a lot more clearer for me! :) 

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My Favourite Childhood Book | The Library Project

Saturday, April 16, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Today, I'd like to talk about my favourite childhood book, to help raise awareness for The Library Project, which is a not-for-profit organisation that supplies reading supplies and books to poor schools or orphanages in China and Vietnam. As a strong believer in education and the impact that books have on us all, I thought that their mission was an important one to highlight here at Corralling Books. 

As a child, I don't think I had any one favourite childhood book. I was rereading a couple, at different times, because I was the child that could get easily distracted. But I think the book that I reread the most was Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables is a story about a girl called Anne, and the mischiefs she gets up to in Prince Edward Island. I think what captivated me so much about this book was how carefree Anne was. She was the model I looked up to - her carefree spirit and her strength of mind. She was a strong female character - although she didn't always know what she wanted, she learned from her mistakes. 

Let's not forget the other characters in the novel. We had the absolutely swoonworthy Gilbert Blythe. He was partially why I loved Anne of Green Gables so much - he was that antagonising boy, but the one who grew into a strong, young man. 

I guess for me, the reason why I loved Anne of Green Gables so much was because of the characters. They changed and developed so much in the book (not to mention the other books in the series!), it was hard for me NOT to love them (I'm a sucker for character development). Hopefully, through The Library Project, more children in Vietnam and China will realise their love for reading and discover a favourite book like I have with Anne of Green Gables.

What about you? What were your favourite childhood books to read and why? I hope we can conquer this, and make sure that reading isn't a privilege! :) If you're interested in supporting The Library Project in some way, you can click on the link here and see what you can do and what they advocate for! :) 

Additional side note: I'll be extending my hiatus for a while longer... I'm honestly so busy with uni and life- I'm so sorry! :( 
Midsemester exams are on the 23rd of April - after that I'm here for ALL OF YOU <3 

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Conversations: Diverse Books

Friday, April 08, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Welcome everyone, to the first ever Conversations! We (Joan @ Fiddler Blue and I) are so glad to be hosting Conversations, seeing people make friends, get to know others, and just have awesome conversations in general! 

This week, the topic is....Are there any particular diverse books you read more and why?

Diverse books I read
This is a really interesting topic for me. I actually don't read too many diverse books, to be honest! I think I like reading books about Chinese/South-East Asian characters, as well as books about mental illness.

Why I read these diverse books
I read books with Chinese/South-East Asian characters and backdrops because I connect with my culture in that way - I live in Australia now, so it's very difficult for me to get a true sense of where I came from, apart from reading these books. I make connections when I read these books to what my family life is like - for example, at home, my parents speak a dialect, Hokkien. I'm in the middle of reading a book with Cilla @ Paved With Books called Crazy Rich Asians, and I see bits of Hokkien interspersed, and Malaysia, and everything makes sense to me.
I haven't read tooo many books about mental illness so far - I've only started reading them in the past year or so, but I read thee books because I realised how big of an issue mental illness is. Someone I knew was mentally ill, and I wanted to know what they went through every day.

Diverse books I want to read and why I want to read them

A couple of months ago, I read Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. I was hooked by it - I felt serious emotions, I connected to the struggle that Mariam and Laila went through. I'm hoping to read more books about Afghanistan, or else more books about Muslims in general - because in this current climate, I want diverse books that tell me how it might be like to be Muslim, what it's like to live in a country that is war-ravaged, how it must feel like to be a woman in such a country. I read to understand, to live a different life to my own. And diverse books are so important to me, because without them, I don't think I can even begin to understand how other people live their lives.

Let me know what diverse books you read more and why by either a) linking up below! or b) commenting below!

Keep reading and loving books!

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The Dragon Loyalty Award

Tuesday, April 05, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

Woo, I was nominated to do this awesome tag by three people! 
  1. Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
  2. TT @ Intro to Blurb
  3. Joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts
Thanks for the tag, guys! 
So, the way this tag works is that you have to try and guess which four or five of the facts I've written below are true
  1. I went to Nepal for a hiking trip in 2014
  2. I'm a ChaTime addict - I always get my bubble tea there!
  3. My favourite book series is Harry Potter
  4. I started my Twitter account this year
  5. I'm trying to learn French via Duolingo
  6. My favourite genre of TV shows/movies is drama
  7. I love Taylor Swift's 1989, but didn't like most of her songs before that album! 
  8. I utterly adore Cassandra Clare's books
  9. My favourite book genre is contemporary
So...which one is true? GUESS AND FIND OUT :) May the odds be ever in your favour! :)  

Additional side note - if I'm not replying to your comments, etc. for a while - I'm really sorry - I'm going to be on a mini hiatus for a week (maybe shorter...depends on how stressed I get) - I've got a couple of assignments and tests due, as well as trying to frantically catch up with NaNo). I'll still be posting content and working with Joan to give you all quality discussions via Conversations, but I probably won't be actively blogging! SORRY AND I LOVE YOU ALL <3 I'll reply back and love you all with words, confetti and hearts when I come baaack! :) 

Keep reading and loving books!

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If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse by Gina Barreca

Saturday, April 02, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments

The Breakdown

General Info:
     Title: If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse? 
     Author: Gina Barreca
     Genre: Non-fiction, Feminist
     Publisher: St Martin's Press
     Publishing Date: March 29th, 2016

          - Humorous 
          - Written for all women

    Things that could have been better:
         - I can't think of anything. 

Rating: 5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

I requested this book on Netgalley, because the synopsis really interested me. I identify as a feminist, and this book sounded like a perfect book for female empowerment!

Gina Barreca is fed up with women who lean in, but don't open their mouths. In her latest collection of essays, she turns her attention to subjects like bondage which she notes now seems to come in fifty shades of grey and has been renamed Spanx. She muses on those lessons learned in Kindergarten that every woman must unlearn like not having to hold the hand of the person you're waking next to (especially if he's a bad boyfriend) or needing to have milk, cookies and a nap every day at 3:00 PM (which tends to sap one's energy not to mention what it does to one's waistline). She sounds off about all those things a woman hates to hear from a man like "Calm down" or "Next time, try buying shoes that fit". "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" is about getting loud, getting love, getting ahead and getting the first draw (or the last shot). Here are tips, lessons and bold confessions about bad boyfriends at any age, about friends we love and ones we can't stand anymore, about waist size and wasted time, about panic, placebos, placentas and certain kinds of not-so adorable paternalism attached to certain kinds of politicians. The world is kept lively by loud women talking and "'If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?'" cheers and challenges those voices to come together and speak up. You think she's kidding? Oh, boy, do you have another thing coming.

I very rarely read non-fiction/opinionated essays. So I'm finding it a bit hard to review this collection of essays! I read a couple of essays that Barreca wrote in this book - and in all these essays, the common thing that all her essays brought for me, was a barrel of laughs. Barreca has a unique way of writing - she's very concise and gets straight to the point. The way she satirises is quite profound - I know I hadn't thought of some of the things she brought up in her essays. 

I also loved how all the essays were relevant to many different women - regardless of age, race or any other division. Although at times, I couldn't relate to some of the things Barreca brought up (I'm only in my late teens...), I still read through her essays, because they were just so humorous! 

The only thing is - I didn't finish reading this book. This shouldn't be a reflection of Barecca's writing - it's more of a reflection of me as a reader. I've been in a bit of a reading slump, and I couldn't quite bring myself to finish reading Barecca's collection of essays. Regardless, the ones I did read were awesome, and they all made me laugh!

All in all - a good book to pick up if you're in the mood for some satire! :) Five stars - because not only did Barreca make me think, but she did it in such a humorous way! Loved reading If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse! I'll have to get around to reading the essays I didn't get around to when I break out of the reading slump. 

Keep reading and loving books!

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