Saturday, 29 December 2012

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

I got this book for Christmas along with the other three John Green solo books. This one looked the most interesting and people always seem to rave about it the most so I thought I would read it first.

I am so glad I chose this one first.

People are always telling me that John Green books change your life. I knew of John before reading the book obviously because of him and Hank at Vlogbrothers, and I could tell before even reading it that it would be good.

But oh my goodness, I did not expect that.

I don't even know how to explain how it was so good. It's not like the plot was magnificent, because although it was original there was nothing that stood out in the way of storyline.

And I am in no way bashing his book. Just wait for it.

The thing that struck me the most, that really captured my heart about his writing, was that he made the teenage characters SMART.

Not only did he throw a few facts about philosophy and science in there, but he made it come from the main characters who happened to be teens. He wasn't afraid to use his own very adult intelligence in children, knowing that his characters were able to handle it.

You might not be seeing where I'm going here, but let me explain further. His books are for young adults, who are perhaps from the age of 13 through to adulthood. A normal author would not dare to include all of that information knowing that they were catering to a 13 year old, but John did. He didn't underestimate his reader's intelligence and this is what I adored.

A lot of young adult authors spoon-feed their book to us, and over explain the points that they think might go over our heads. This often dumbs down a book and people who want more of a challenge do not come away from the book satisfied.

But without doing any of that, John effortlessly writes what he wants and does it so brilliantly. It didn't take me long to finish the book but I felt completely satisfied with the short time I did have with this book.

What it's about (without giving too much away):

Hazel Lancaster first meets Augustus Waters in a support group for cancer sufferers that her mother makes her go to. From there, nothing much changes apart from the fact that she has found somebody that she can be 'okay' with. Augustus has a packet of cigarettes that he never lights and a crooked smile, but most of all he has Hazel and that's why he is okay.

(There are no spoilers in that.)

The Fault In Our Stars is a book that I would recommend to literally EVERYONE, as it is full of ups, downs, and everything else in-between.

Augustus Waters said in this book "It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you."

And it has been, dear book. It really has.

The Book Critic x

Friday, 28 December 2012

Kendal's Column: Music Post

i'm sorry, i'm ill and i'm done with life RN. please accept my gift of amazing music. i will *pinkie promise* make it up to you next week. 

Happy Friday!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Kendal's Column: A Mini Series Of Festivities- So What Have You Done?

Over the past few weeks I have given you 3 posts full of festivities to get you in the mood for Christmas but please don't forget to do something for other, less fortunate people than yourself.

I am going to talk about a few organisations that I feel passionately about. 

Harmless is a charity that provides help and support to those effected by self harming. I support this because I hear and see people talking about their struggles with self harm far to often on the internet and in my own life. It's a terrible, dark place to be in your life and people need help to get through it. It's a scary and lonely time in many people's lives and for someone to stop and say 'you're going to be OK now' coukld change a live. It could stop a suicide.

Project For Awesome
YouTube  is often very mysterious as we (the viewer) probably only subscribe to about 5-10 YouTube vlogers so we only see a very small percent of YouTube therefore most of us probably don't know that YouTubers are constantly talking to each other and have formed a wibbly wobbly (world-wide)web called the  YouTube community. They'll  meet at youtube conferences and discuss STUFF and they come up with amazing ideas like Project For Awesome. The idea actually come from our very own VlogBrothers who came up with a charity that would decrease WorldSuck and replace it with awesome. 
The idea grew and now every year in December since 2007, YouTubers everywhere (who participate) upload a video supporting a chosen charity which then gets uploaded to the P4A site THEN WE MAJESTICALLY ENTER and leave comments on those videos which donates a penny to the cause and we can donate extra money from our own piggy banks to (Yes. I still have a piggy bank).
The money raised is then spread out among the causes in videos like clean water, endangered/mistreated animals, people who suffer from cancer Alzheimers etc . Together YouTube decreases WorldSuck. 
It's so beautiful *wipes tear* 

Help For Heroes
i think this charity is beautiful beacuase i believe that the danger our soliders are in and the injuries that can occur are underrated by most people. These people go out to war-zones and some don't come back with what they left with. Some don't come back at all.
Help for heroes helps those soldiers who's lives have been affected by their time serving by offering financial care for soldiers who may have returned disabled, offering rehabilitation programes as well as help for mental illnesses that can develope whilst serving e.g combat stress. 
These people have served for their country and have helped so many people. Supporting a charity like H4H will do so much more for people than liking a picture on facebook that's captioned '1LYKE= 1 RESPEKT'.

I'm not saying that other charities aren't equally important but these are just a few of the charities I support. I am not forcing you to donate to any of the charities listed or any other for that matter as i do know that times are tough and Christmas is an expensive time but it doesn't matter if it's a penny or a pound- it all goes to the greater good and helps many people.

Happy Friday!
P.S. Have a wonderful christmas.

Its so precious i'm overflowing with pure Christmas feels 

Friday, 14 December 2012

Kendal's Column: A Mini Series Of Festivities- Home Sweet Home

Christmas is happening people! 
The advent calenders are over midway through, the presents have been bought (if your organised- unlike me) and you can't get away from all the Christmas ads (John Lewis is toying with my emotions like a cat with wool- WHY?! *sobs*)

You may have already thoroughly decked out you house in  store bought  Christmas decor but what makes it special is the warm feeling of  'I did that' so why not add a home made touch to your tree by adding some handmade ornaments or adding some paper snow flakes to your windows? It's easy on you and your money, and if you're having trouble coming up with your creations, here are some wonderful ideas for you- because I'm nice like that.

AND, if you run out of wrapping paper or Christmas cards then why not make them? The possibilities are endless! It doesn't matter if the card isn't the most elaborate (less IS more after all) as the handmade touch wont go unnoticed.  

So get your coloured card and glitter at the ready- get creative!  

Happy Friday!

p.s I'm really sorry this post isn't as long as I would like it to be but this week has been MANIC. SCHOOL- Y U SO CRUEL TO MY FREE TIME?!
I'm sorry and i will make up for it soon ;)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Kendal's Column: A Mini Series Of Festivities- Recipes for amazingness

Its 18 days until chistmas!
(Brony for life)
So, today is the second installment of my mini series of festivities! 
Today is about cooking some festive treats! (and if your not that keen on cooking-don't worry, these two recipes are fairly simple)
These are my absolute favorite things to make in winter.
So prepare your tummies people- its going to get seriously yummy!

1) Mug Cake
It's a cake in a mug- no oven required! It takes just 5 minutes to make and all you need is 
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder or hot chocolate powder
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (i think this is optional but i haven't tried it without yet)
To Make:
Place all the ingredients (apart from the chocolate chips) into a LARGE mug and mix.
Add the chocolate chips and stir gently, making sure of an even distribution
Microwave mixture (still in the mug) for either 4 minutes at 650-750 watts, 3 minutes at 750-1000 watts or 2 minutes for 1000+ watts
WAIT A MOMENT BEFORE EATING-It will be tres hot (like my french?)
One you think it has cooled enough, (whilst you wait you could make those around you jealous by wafting the smell of cake around your home.)
Once a reasonable temperature for eating-eat.

Note: you can read variations of this recipe (eg- nutella, strawberry and marshmellow etc) here

2) Ginger Bread! 
OK, whats else says Christmas in a biscuit more that ginger bread?!
To make your fabulous food you're gonna need
  • 350g/12 oz of pain flour ( NOT SELF RAISING-found that one out the hard way...)
  • 175g/6oz of brown sugar
  • 100g/4oz of butter (get it out of the fridge an hour before baking to soften)
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tablespoons of golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 and a half teaspoons of ground ginger
  • A biscuit cutter of desired shape
To Make
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Fahrenheit or gas mark 4
Place the flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and mix with fingertips until crumbly.
Add your sugar,syrup and egg to your 'crumble' and mix until it forms a pastry mix.
Roll your pastry out (with a rolling pin) (NOTE: if your pastry is sticking to your work surface, dust it with flour) making sure the thickness is quite even 
Cut out your gingerbread shapes with your cutter and place cut pastry shapes on a non stick or greased baking tray.
Cook for 15 minutes- make sure you check them after 10 minutes though!
Flaunt masterpiece(s) to everyone you see.
Flaunt masterpiece to the internet.

Happy Friday!