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Top Ten: Fictional Places

I've been wanting to make this post for a while, as the fantasy, fairytale and science fiction genres are some of my absolute favourites, and I love the imagination involved in creating the places that they feature. Before I give you my top ten though, I should just note that these are in no particular order because I am far too indecisive for that. Comment below with some of your favourite fictional places!

Hogwarts* from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The narrow path had opened suddenly on to the edge of a great black lake. Perched atop a high mountain on the other side, its windows sparkling in the starry sky, was a vast castle with many turrets and towers.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling

The Discworld from the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
The disc, being flat, has no real horizon. Any adventurous sailor who got funny ideas from staring at eggs and oranges for too long and set out for the antipodes soon learned that the reason why distan…

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

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Name: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: 2014
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
- From Goodreads.
I really liked the plot of Allegiant, in fact I adored it, with all its different layers of secrets and plan…

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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Name: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: 2012
Rating: 4/5

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. - From Goodre…

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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Name: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: 2012
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating conseque…

Review: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

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Name: Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Authors: John Green and David Levithan
Publisher: Penguin
Date published: 2013
Rating: 4/5 (actually more like a 4.5 out of 5, but Goodreads doesn't do ratings by halves, so I suppose that I won't either).
One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage. - From Goodreads.
In Will Grayson, Will Grayson, I thought that there was a really interesting dynamic between the two Will Graysons (Grayson's?). They were two very different people who still managed to understand each other despite their differences. I liked the symmetry of the fact that they only met twice; the first time towards the beginning, on the night that sort of put everything into motion (I don't want to say the night w…

Review: Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern

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Name: Love, Rosie
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Harper
Date published: 2014
Rating: 5/5
Best friends since forever, Rosie and Alex have shared their hopes, dreams - and firsts. But one awkward moment at eighteen, one missed opportunity, and life sends them hurtling in different directions. Although they stay in touch, misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck seem to be conspiring to keep them apart. Can they gamble everything - even their friendship - on true love? - From Goodreads.
One of my greatest weaknesses is stories of romance, or, even better, stories of romance and comedy (Love Actually? Notting Hill? Four Weddings and a Funeral? Yes, please), and Love, Rosie has both, and a brilliant combination of both, at that.
The fact that the story takes you over a lifetime, rather than just looking at a year or so in the character's life, really means you can take the time to get to know all the characters and become attached to them, to understand them, to really feel like y…

Review: No Stone Unturned by Helen Watts

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Name: No Stone Unturned
Author: Helen Watts
Publisher: A & C Black
Date published: 2014
Rating: 5/5
Kelly, a Traveller girl, is isolated and unhappy at her new school. Until the hot summer day when she meets Ben. Ben offers to help Kelly with her history project. It's just schoolwork - except that the investigation quickly becomes compelling. Strange puzzles are revealed. A dark secret of the local quarry comes to life. Soon the mystery of the past is spilling into the present - and into Kelly's own life. Kelly must bring the long-buried truth to light. And she will leave no stone unturned... - From Goodreads
No Stone Unturned was an excellent, intriguing story that I really loved reading. I loved the way the author was inspired by real history to create a story of her own, and that story really brought history to life, giving facts and figures real action and emotions.
I think I really enjoyed this so much because I've always been interested in history, especially with how it…

Review: Paper Towns by John Green

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Name: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date published: 2010
Rating: 5/5

Quentin has always loved Margo Roth Spiegelman, for Margo (and her adventures) are the stuff of legend at their high school. So when she one day climbs through his window and summons him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow.
But the next day Margo doesn’t come to school and a week later she is still missing. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance . . . and they are for him. But as he gets deeper into the mystery – culminating in another awesome road trip across America – he becomes less sure of who and what he is looking for.
- From Goodreads.
Paper Towns was a book full of insightful metaphors, beautiful descriptions, fantastic symbolism and all that other kind of stuff that John Green is just so good at. 
I thought that the book had a really interesting perspective on the way that we look at people and whether  what we see when we look at people is actually t…

Review: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

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Name: The Sin Eater's Daughter
Author: Melinda Salisbury
Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books
Date published: 2015
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Pretty major, to be honest. I couldn't seem to write about this book without spoiling it, to be honest.
I am the perfect weapon. I kill with a single touch. Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch. Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is. Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told...
- From Goodreads.
I thought that The Sin Eater's Daughter included really brilliant world-building with the beliefs, geography, legends and all of the other details of the fantasy world it was set in being so well thought out. This was especially true with the way that we c…

Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

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Name: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Date published: 2015
Rating: 5/5
Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.
Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.
Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia - cue extreme adolescent awkwardness - but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.
And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.
- From Goodreads.
I don't even know if I can form a coherent sentence about this book (in a good way), but I suppose it's worth a try.…

Review: Dare to Dream by Carys Jones

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Name: Dare to Dream
Author: Carys Jones
Publisher: REUTS Publications
Date published: 2015
Rating: 3/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate
“The world was going to end. Of that, Maggie Trafford was certain.” Fourteen-year-old Maggie Trafford leads a normal life. Well, as normal as being crammed in a three-bedroom house with four siblings and a single parent can be, anyway. But despite being somewhat ignored at home, Maggie excels, earning top grades, a best friend who would do anything for her, and stolen looks from a boy in Maths. It’s not until the dreams start that Maggie realizes “normal” is the least of her problems. Every night, she lives the same nightmare—red lightning, shattered glass, destruction. But nightmares are just that, right? No one believes her when she says it’s an omen. At least, not until the already mysterious pillars of Stonehenge start falling. No longer alone in her fear, Maggie and the world watch with bated breath as one after another, the historic stones tumble, like a clock …

Review: The WorldMight by Cyril Bussiere

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Name: The WorldMight
Author: Cyril Bussiere Publisher: Cyril Bussiere Date published: 2014 Rating: 3/5 A mysterious prince looks the world over for a word that would save his love from the grip of an ancient beast. 
In the kingdom of Alymphia, Princess Aria and Prince Hob are readying themselves for the Fall Passing Festival, unaware that events that happened generations prior are about to change everything.
An epic fantasy imbued with romance and mysticism, The WorldMight is a classic tale of love truer than time, a spiritual journey in a world heavy with secrets and magic. Despite spanning generations and more, it is also a very personal story of devotion, jealousy, and redemption. - From Goodreads.

I think there was a lot about this story that I really liked, and that definitely includes the description. I thought the description was excellent and gave a wonderful sense of rhythm to the writing. It draws you in and floats you along the story, the emphasis really is on the words of the book.…

Top Ten: Snacks & Drinks for Revision

Since exam season is now upon us (I have a presentation this Thursday and then my first exam is the following Monday and I'm feeling pretty nervous to be honest), I thought a post to help you in your revision would be useful, possibly. Now, because I'm not entirely sure how great any revision tips from me would be, because effective revision is still something I'm working on (but hey, maybe next year I'll have improved and might be able to write a post about that), I decided to write about the snacks and drinks that I have found to be best for revision. Because snacks and drinks I can do. Although I will give you one revision tip, it's not best to eat while you're revising, rather it's better to take a 15 minute (or half an hour, depending on how you're feeling) break to maybe check your phone or watch a YouTube video for a bit of relief, and eat a little something and have a drink while you're doing that. So anyway, here are my top ten snacks and d…

Review: From Bad to Cursed by Katie Alender

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Name: From Bad to Cursed
Author: Katie Alender
Publisher: Hyperion
Date published: 2011
Rating: 3/5
Spoiler warning: Minor
Although I did think that it was a good book, I did have a couple of issues with From Bad to Cursed. I thought that perhaps Alexis' change from trying to destroy Aralt to worshipping him could have been slightly more subtle and gradual. I found it quite noticeable and pronounced. If it had been done more discreetly, with the realisation of what was happening only eventually creeping up on the reader, that could have made it a little more intriguing.
And then there were other parts that were slightly hard to follow and sometimes I found it hard to remember whether Alexis was completely loyal to Aralt or not. I know this sounds contradictory to my last point but what I mean is that because Alexis' transformation from enemy to worshipper of Aralt was so sudden, because it was not slow enough, it was a bit difficult to understand, I was confused rather than intrigu…

Review: Fearless by Tim Lott

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Name: Fearless
Author: Tim Lott
Publisher: Walker Books
Date published: 2007
Rating: 5/5
Spoiler warning: Minor
With Fearless, I really liked how the story was mostly told from the perspective of Little Fearless and the other children. They were quite innocent and naive, not exactly knowing or understanding what was going on outside the institute, or inside it, for that matter. But they were still intelligent, and definitely brave, in their own ways, and I think this all added to the inspirational nature of the story.
The book also had a very emotional nature, and I found the Controller's part especially sad. I did guess who he was (in relation to Little Fearless) quite close to the beginning of the book, but that did not make it any less heartbreaking when the truth was revealed.
Fearless had a very strong and important message about control and freedom, and I thought that the fact that it almost seemed to be written as if it was a young children's story while it had such a siniste…

Rambles (#3): On Being "Normal"

"Normal" can be a tricky and potentially dangerous word, but it shouldn't be. Because most people are normal. Being unique, having qualities and quirks of your own, doesn't make you abnormal. Everybody has a little something different about them, and that's normal. And everyone is at least a tiny bit similar to everyone else, and that's normal too. Just because you like a type of music that nobody else seems to like, that doesn't make you strange. And just because you like a new trend going round that a lot of other people like too, that doesn't make you dull.
When you type "define normal" into Google, the first definition given (and the definition relevant to this ramble, we're not going to go into the mathematical and scientific ones) is "conforming to a standard; usual typical, or expected". Personally, I don't think that's a bad thing, and it's not exactly a good thing either, it's somewhere in between. It r…

A Notice (#4): Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin
I have now officially joined the Bloglovin train/bandwagon/group/situation/thing, so, if you wish, you can follow this blog on there! Let me know below if your blog is on Bloglovin and I might just follow you!

Review: Someone Else's Life by Katie Dale

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Name: Someone Else's Life
Author: Katie Dale
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Date published: 2012
Number of pages: 478
Rating: 3/5
Someone Else's Life was incredibly dramatic, with many, many plot twists. Although I understood why it was so dramatic, as it dealt with a couple of very serious topics, I'm not sure if I liked how some parts were done and how there were a couple of questions that were still unanswered by the end. Seeing as the main point of the story was for Rosie to go on this journey to find out the truth about her life and the lives of the people around her, I felt it strange that I still had questions when it was over. Surely all my questions should have been answered?
At some points I did enjoy reading the book, it wasn't all bad, far from it, but there were some points when I really did not enjoy it. I especially didn't enjoy it between the middle and end of the book, when some of the characters' actions frustrated me and annoyed me slightly, so I…

Rambles (#2): On Ambition

I suppose I could be called ambitious, after all, not only do I want to be a writer (something which recently I've become very determined to be) but I've also found that I'm also quite ambitious in everyday terms. I always want to do at least one productive thing every day and I hate waking up late (mostly I aim to be up by 10 o' clock) because I feel like I'm wasting the day away sleeping when I could be getting stuff done (plus I don't like missing the oppurtunity to have breakfast, I like my food). Most people my age that I've come across find this quite strange and look at me weirdly when I say I've never slept later than 11am. But I'm most productive in the mornings and early afternoons, I think, so I might as well be awake when I'm most productive.
So, I like to do at least one productive thing a day. And it's not just that I like to do it, I also feel like I have to if I want to achieve my goals and go through with my plans, of which …

My Life (#6): Resolutions

So, back in January, like many other people, I made some resolutions, basically a list of things I want to do this year, and since we're now into the second month of the year, I thought I would look back on the past month to see how I've been progressing with those resolutions.
Firstly, I decided I wanted to be more experimental with cooking; I wanted to try new recipes and make a meal plan for each week to keep track of what I was going to eat (which makes it easier to make shopping lists, as well as to keep track of how I'm doing with my resolution). I decided to do this because last term, which was my first term at university, I mainly survived on rice, pasta, and soup (although I am happy to say that I barely touched a ready meal and went nowhere near the pot noodles). And I have to say, I think I'm doing quite well with this resolution. I mean, I still make quite basic meals, and there is a lot of pasta and rice involved, but I think I am becoming more varied in w…

Rambles (#1): Writing About Writing

A couple of months ago, I spent some of my birthday money on a couple of notebooks, and I was not sure what I wanted to write in one of them, so I just began to write what came into my head. Then, when I had written a page, I realised it read like a blog post, so, I decided that this new notebook would be where I wrote all my rambling thoughts that could potentially become blog posts, and, since this blog is called I Tend To Ramble, I have decided to call the posts that come from my rambling writings 'Rambles'. And here is that first ramble:

I don't think I know a lot about much, to be honest I'm not even too sure why I'm writing this, or what exactly I'm actually going to write. I do know that I just want to write something. That's a feeling I've known for as long as I can remember, I've always loved to write. I didn't always want to be a writer, sometimes I wanted to be an artist or a singer, but there has always been that need to keep writing…