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Monday, 30 January 2012

Coming Soon... Recently read

Ashes by Ilsa J. Bick.

I brought this after seeing it advertised, and as it was relatively cheap to buy for my kindle (at the time! It has doubled now). The most annoying thing about this book was that it left you on a cliff-hanger! As I will now leave you on one... You will have to wait for my review, and whether you should invest money into this book.

Keep an eye out! It's coming soon...

I recommend... Nicholas Sparks

You can not call yourself a romantic book lover until you have read Nicholas Sparks! His novels are just beautiful. The way he tells the story is inspiring; he makes them run so smoothly and the different viewpoints in some novels connect effortlessly. If you have not heard of Nicholas Sparks, you may wonder how a male can write the best romance novels ever. I don’t know, but he does it! My theory is that he is able to understand how a male would react to certain situations, and this makes females want to read more. (He does write from female point of view, and realistically too!)

A Walk to Remember

I came across Nicholas when I fell in love with the movie version of his novel, A Walk to Remember. A romance between two people that you thought wouldn’t fit together, they are so different. A series of situations and noble acts makes love blossom… It sounds similar to many romance novels, doesn’t it? But Nicholas doesn’t leave it at that. When you think that the love story has a happy ending, a secret is unearthed that has the power to break the newly formed relationship. It is the characters that really hold in your heart; their love, their growth, their personalities. I had to read the book! From this point on, I was captured by his writing, his style, and his stories. I recommend the film version as well as the book, they are both masterpieces.

The Last Song

I read this book before the film version, which I am grateful for (although I did enjoy the film). If I had watched the film first, the characters would have been in my mind throughout reading, and the book gives too much depth for that. The book is very… enlightening. It makes you realise what you have and what you shouldn’t take for granted, to put the past in the past and more forward in life. I loved this novel, and it was so different from A Walk to Remember! I can’t believe how the same author could have written both novels. Normally they stick to the same basic story – girl meets boy, something happens to test their love, and they end up together – but not Nicholas Sparks! He includes family troubles, illnesses, morals, trouble makers, crimes, everything! The ranges to his novels are just so amazing! And this counts for all of them, not just The Last Song.

Safe Haven

I would definitely recommend this book! Just wow! It has gone from teenage love stories and troubles, to a woman escaping to a new life whilst her abusive husband tries to track her down. The story is so strong, at the end you feel like you can conquer anything. The reality that abuse does happen will make you feel very attached to the main character, wanting to help her and in turn real people will these troubles. This is definitely for the more mature readers and as a teenager I found the descriptions quite heavy at times, but essential to make the story as strong and impacting as it is. The twist at the end was a surprise, but there are signs along the way, so if you don’t like the storyline, read it anyway to see if you are more observant than me!

The Lucky One

It has been a while since I last read this novel of his, and I only borrowed it then so I can not read it again! I will definitely recommend it to anyone, and again it is very different from all of the others. This novel is about a man who, during the war, finds a photo of a beautiful girl. After the owner of the photo is not found he decides to hold on to it, and luckily too because it saves his life. The girl is his lucky charm, and he wants to say thank you. He goes on a search for this girl in the photo, and when he sees a “help wanted” sign where she works, he thinks this is the perfect way to repay her. As you can see through me recounting the story after so long, it does stick with you (as with all his novels), and is heart warming to read.

I am currently reading his novel Message in a Bottle, and my aim is to read all of his novels before I die - not a hard target, but you have to make it achievable. I would recommend Nicholas Sparks to all the romantics out there, as his writing style and imagination to make each story a new adventure is remarkable.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

This review includes: The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mokingjay, all brilliantly written by Suzanne Collins.

Wow! Whatever I was expecting from these books just got blown out the window. They were… indescribable. Just thinking about them, I might scrap this review and go read them all again now! As stated in my previous post, it only took me three days to read all three books. Yes, you heard me. Quicker than Twilight, quicker than Harry Potter, even quicker than The Inheritance Cycle (Christopher Paolini) and Noughts and Crosses series (Malorie Blackman). Before you begin these novels, cancel all your plans in advance and be prepared to hibernate at home for a few days. I can guarantee, if you like this sort of thing, you will be captivated! You will be sucked into the world, the characters, the action, the Hunger Games.

I grouped all of these together into one review, because as I read them so close together they all merged into one. It is made harder to distinguish between them due to Suzanne’s writing technique. The books overall have a much greater theme than what you will find it under at a bookstore (or Amazon even). The book does contain romance, a love triangle, and the usual hiccups involved, but also an underlying theme of world issues. It is very hard to explain if you have not read the books, and I would be more than willing to discuss it with those of you who have! Once reading the books, you will be enlightened about the happening of our country. The ruling system. Even why we enjoy watching shows like Big Brother, or… You’ve Been Framed (haven’t watched it in years, but seems fitting in a way).

The romance. Amazingly done, and more true-to-life than other purely romantic novels. The love is tested, grown, taken away, everything that could possibly happen. And just to think it is all a plan in the first novel…

So from the start: there are Hunger Games played every year, with two people (one male, one female) aged between 12 and 18 chosen from each of the twelve districts. They are put in an arena and battle against each other whilst everyone watches on TV and only one must survive. Katniss Everdee volunteers in replacement for her younger sister. Having sisters of my own (although not younger) I can honestly relate to Katniss in the fact that I would do anything for them, and this act is terrifying yet heart-warming to read. Peeta is the male chosen from District 12.

I don’t want to say more than that about the plot, as it would ruin the book for you. But there is fighting, war and masterfully told action. The plot is outstanding and it is just… I have run out of adjectives! As you can tell, these are my new favourite books by far! There is so much that happens in them, you will have to read it for yourself to believe me.

I can’t wait for the film version of The Hunger Games that comes out in March, and I hope my ramblings about the trilogy will encourage you to read them.

Coming Soon...

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins reviews.

These were the first books I brought on my kindle for Christmas, and they were finished in three days!

Brilliant and captivating - I couldn't put them down! Possibly better than Twilight (and I love Twilight!).

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

I waited for ages to get my hands on this book! I couldn’t wait to read it after first hearing about it. Magic, romance, an air of mystery, all mixed into one. Unfortunately I only got to hear it through an audio book, which made it hard to follow as I couldn’t flick back for references. It is a book that once you have read it you have to read it again, and it has been on my mind since the last page ended. It captures you into the world. Making you want to visit The Night Circus.

The story centres on a game, with two competitors and rules not known to them. The game takes place in the circus. From the book description, I thought the game was a physical challenge, like a duel, but it is so much more than that! It was a game of skill and stamina; like when one card was played the following had to be higher, yet this pack was never ending. The game doesn’t end until – ah, you’ll have to read the book for that part! Let’s just say, the game doesn’t want a happy ending, and the romance between Ceila and Marco was doomed from the beginning. 

At the circus, the characters themselves are enchanting. You will meet a pair of twins and their friend, who are full of life and enlightening to read about. Although Marco is the quiet sort of guy, Ceila is strong willed and I wish you would get a bit more than you do from her view.

The downfall to this book was the time period that it is set over. The time between two chapters could be years, skipping the best bits of the romance blooming between Marco and Ceila. All the little bits – the stolen minutes – are just as heart warming to read about, yet the author misses this and just focuses on the big moments. I can’t complain more than that, because the big moments are great!

Overall, I loved this book and want to read it again. As much as I want to read more, I think the book finished perfectly, so I will settle with making it up in my head. The magic of the circus is captivating and –even if you don’t like the romance – that is worth reading it for. There are several viewpoints being used, which brings the book to life and is what makes it magical.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (book)

I first read this book a few years ago, stumbling upon it by accident in the library. It took all my power to return the book, wanting to keep it to read again. The story stuck with me, and I found myself watching it like a film in my head. I recently decided to buy the book, wanting to see if it was as great as I remember, or just enhanced by my then childish mind. Let’s just say, no one saw me for a day whilst I revisited an amazing story.

The book is about a young girl, Ruby, who was ditched by her mum and left fending for herself. When Ruby is forced to live with her long lost sister, she is angry. Her sister left her with their abusive mum, to start a new life. But when the story really unravels, you feel a deep connection to the characters.

Ruby is someone that you can relate to, either through the whole family situation, her attitude, her view on life, her naive independence, or even her struggles at school. There are several stories being told, all merging together perfectly. Ruby’s life isn’t the only one we get to enter, and these people will stick with you for a long time. They are brought to life through Sarah Dessen’s writing, and I would recommend this book to anyone! (Probably more of a girl book though!)

One last note, this book isn't as innocent as you might expect. There are drugs, alcohol and abuse. It  makes the story more realistic, compared to other novels, and gives the story more depth.

Oh, and be prepared to cry (or be moved a little at least!) during one chapter.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Cowboys & Aliens

I never thought this would be my first review and post... forget your first reaction to the trailer. Trust me, you might like it!

I’m not going to lie, when I saw the trailer my first thought was: rubbish. Really? Cowboys and aliens in the same film? How could that work? The trailer – and the story itself – made it seem too… not right. Apart from starring Daniel Craig, I didn’t give it a second thought and didn’t plan on wasting a cinema ticket to view it. What a big mistake I made!

My friend, who had similar views to me about the trailer, was forced to watch it with his younger brother. I told him to “have fun”, sarcastically, and was surprised when he actually did! That convinced me to give it the benefit of the doubt, and a lot of doubt was still present.

The balance between cowboys and aliens is perfect. Obviously there are more cowboys, but just the hint of aliens before the final battle; enough to grab the audience. The mystery surrounding Daniel Craig’s character, Jake Lonergan, is crafted wonderfully. Even my mum, who can’t sit through whole films unless at the cinema, wouldn’t have wanted to leave even if we were at home. Now that’s saying something about the brilliance of the directing. Craig’s character is lost, and the audience can relate to that as we don’t know what’s going on! We get shoved in the middle of the story, in a sense, because Jake has already been through an alien abduction and the lost of his lover. Yet this is perfect for us – we learn as Jake does.

This film isn’t all about aliens, like I expected it to be. It is about the human race grouping together: the cowboys, the India’s, even looking past previous hatreds to defeat these aliens who are trying to steal all the worlds gold. Everyone can gain something from this film, even if they aren’t expecting it. It will grab you and through you into the action. You are Jake. You know as much about him as he himself does. This film will surprise you, and if it doesn’t it’s a good film anyway!