Sunday, 13 September 2015

Extraordinary Means | Book Review

Extraordinary Means is a fiction book following the lives of two 17-year-olds after they have been diagnosed with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis and are sent to live at a treatment centre called Latham House. Sadie has been there about a year and a half before Lane arrives, which is when the book begins. Sadie doesn't like Lane at the beginning because of something she thought he had done to her when they were at summer camp together four years earlier. After it is cleared up, they soon become friends and develop feelings for each other and end up falling in love.

I really really enjoyed this book. The first thing that drew me to it was the fact that it deals with the topic of tuberculosis. Although nowadays there are very few cases in developed countries, TB is still unfortunately very much existent in developing countries today. I think it was a good thing for Robyn Schneider to write about it because it raises awareness for a disease which is often overlooked today. If you want to read more about TB you can click here.

Robyn Schneider's style of writing is quite similar to that of John Green and not just because the story of Extraordinary Means is slightly similar to The Fault In Our Stars. The use of dry humour and the descriptions of the relationships between Sadie, Lane, Nick, Marina and Charlie really reminded me of John Green's writing style. If you like his books then you have to read Extraordinary Means!

My favourite character in the book is Sadie. I love her sense of humour and her boldness and I just found I could relate to her a lot. The relationship between her and Lane is beautiful! What I would give to have something like that...sigh...

Extraordinary Means contains lots of messages and it gave me a lot to think about. One of the biggest things it left me thinking about was the fact that life is short. As we are living, we are dying and so we should spend more time doings things we enjoy with the people we love. Lane learns this when he arrives at Latham House. He had spent all of his time in his freshman, sophomore and junior years studying and slogging it out to get a place at Stanford. Being sent to Latham House puts his plans on hold and when he befriends Sadie he realises that life can't be all hard work and no fun. You need to spend time with friends and family and do things you enjoy.

I love everything about this book. It contains a lot of things that, for me personally, make a great book: friendship, love, humour, fun... It made me laugh and it made me cry (oh boy, did it make me cry! No spoilers though!). I would definitely recommend this book if you are into love stories and John Green-style books. I love it!

Have you read Extraordinary Means
Or do you have any book recommendations? I love finding new stuff to read! :)

- Caoimhe x

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Top 5 Tunesday #14

Happy September everyone! I hope you all had an amazing summer and are having fun settling back into the routine of normal life. I know I'm not...

Instead I'm going to reminisce on the summer. So, here are my top 5 most listened-to songs of August...

1. Marvin Gaye - Charlie Puth feat. Meghan Trainor

This is such a catchy song and the lyrics are so sweet! I really like Charlie Puth and Meghan Trainor as separate artists and together they are like a power duo! I'm so glad this song is doing so well at the minute because they are two very talented and deserving artists. 

2. Fight Song - Rachel Platten

Oh man, this song. It just gets me so fired up and motivated. The message behind it is so inspiring and uplifting and the lyrics just make me feel so determined. This song is a great one to listen to if you're going through a bit of a tough time and don't feel like you have much left. You're strong and you can keep going. Just keep your head up and keep fighting.

3. Drag Me Down - One Direction

I really love this song! I'm sorry Zayn but this is definitely my favourite One Direction song. I like the whole rock-like feel to it and the message behind it is so empowering. I can't wait to hear their fifth album now!

4. Glitterball - Sigma feat. Ella Henderson

This is a great song! I love Ella Henderson and I think her voice along with Sigma's track is a really good combination. I also think the name of this song is so cool. It's really original and just sounds really cool, idk.

5. Big Girls Cry - Sia

I love the honesty of Sia's songs and lyrics. You can tell from listening to them that she has gone through tough times in her life and I like how she doesn't sugarcoat some of life's harsh realities. I think she is an amazing singer-songwriter and Maddie Ziegler is great for her music videos. Her dancing and her whole aesthetic in the videos is so haunting but in such a way that you just can't look away. I really really like this song!

To see July's top 5, click here

- Caoimhe x

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Summer Round-Up

For the first two weeks of July I was at my holiday house. I spent the majority of my time during those two weeks on the golf course. I play in a few competitions and also just generally for the plain fun of it. I find golf is a really good way to spend summer afternoons because you get out for fresh air and exercise and, I mean, just look at the amazing view in the picture below!

In the third week of July I spent my mornings volunteering at a Spanish summer scheme for children aged 4 to 11. I take Spanish for A Level and I adore the language so when I saw this summer scheme advertised I really wanted to help out. I was delighted when the two ladies said they'd be happy to have me there! I had such a fun time there playing games and singing songs in Spanish with the children. They learnt everything from simple greetings to ordering food at the mini restaurant we had on the final day. All the children were so cute and lovely and a lot of them picked up Spanish really quickly!

That same week I also started taking driving lessons with a proper instructor. I had been out driving with my dad quite a bit beforehand and I was glad to have a bit of experience under my belt because it took away a few of the nerves I had. I really didn't need to be nervous at all, though! My instructor is really nice and he's a really good teacher. I've had 7 hours of lessons so far and I'm really enjoying them!

The following Monday my family officially gained a new member: we got a new kitten! His name is Oscar and he's the cutest little thing! He's the perfect combination between relaxed and playful. Right now he's 12 weeks old but he's growing so fast!

That same day we went back up to my holiday house and spent three full weeks there. Again, most of my time was spent golfing with my cousins and sometimes with people I didn't know before. It was so good getting to meet new people! In total in the summer I won a painting, a watch, two mugs, a golf glove and a nice woolly hat. Not too shabby! For me though my favourite achievement was getting my handicap cut to 28 in the last competition of the summer. I'd been trying so hard to get it cut all summer and all the hard work finally paid off!

The 11th of August marked my dad's 50th birthday which we spent in Athlone in the south of Ireland (you can read about my trip here). On the Friday before that, however, we had a joint party for my dad and a family-friend who had turned 50 just a few days earlier! It was such a good night and I think my dad enjoyed both the party and his actual birthday. I just can't believe he's 50 now!

When we came home after our three weeks away, it really marked the end of the summer. During the last week in August I had to go into school for an hour and a half on the Wednesday to get my timetable and a few other bits and bobs. On the Friday of that week I had to go into school again but for a different reason. It was for the first rehearsal of our school musical, Beauty and the Beast. I'm in the chorus and although I know it's going to be hectic for the next few weeks (as we perform in October!), I think it'll be such a fun experience and I'm so glad to be a part of it!

I had such a great summer. Even though I didn't go away anywhere foreign, I still felt like I got a complete break from everything when I was at my holiday house. I so enjoyed spending time with my family and friends and I know I made memories this summer that I'll have forever :)

- Caoimhe x

P.S. Here's a little thought for September:


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