Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Review: Wither - Lauren DeStefano

This book is set in a world where, in an attempt to make the human race almost immortal and disease free, scientists released a ticking time bomb into the human DNA. Girls live to 20, and Boys to 25.
Rhine lives with her twin brother, that is until she is kid-napped and sold as a bride, along with two others, to a rich man. In her world, this is seen as common, and in some cases necessary. Although Rhine now lives in a mansion, she is a prisoner. Still, she remains strong, desperately trying to escape and return to her brother. But, she lives in comfort, and so what if she is forced to love her husband, so what if her sister-wife has already died of the virus? At home, she will return to poverty, but at her new house, there are parties and luxuries. How could she ever leave? After all, she only has four years left. 
I loved this book. It's one of those books you just fly through, and never put down. DeStefano has a great style, and some chapters still haunt me. Also, for a book so based on the concept of sex, it's fairly PG.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Review: Inheritance - Christopher Paolini

Wow. So, it's the end. I started Eragon when I was about 8 - well before even Eldest came out. And now, after waiting and waiting, the end has come. You can imagine the paradox I was trapped in; on one hand, I wanted to know what happened ASAP, on the other, I didn't want it to be over. As you can probably tell, my self control failed, and so, I'm done. It's done.
There isn't much I can tell you without revealing spoilers, but I'll do my best. For those of you who aren't familiar with the series (shame on you) it is an epic in the style of the Lord of the Rings. It is set in a mythical land, where dragons once roamed free. After much war between the race of Dragons and of Elves, a pact was made that bound them together, which men joined after. If a dragon egg hatched for a person, they became bonded in the most powerful of ways, connecting them mentally, and a Dragon Rider was created. For ages the Riders and their Dragons kept rule, until one among them rose against them, and slaughtered both the Riders, and the free dragons. This Rider claimed the throne, and has ruled since, as the lives of Riders can stretch on for centuries. He kept three eggs for himself though, and when one is stolen, and eventually ends up in the hands of a young farm boy by the name of Eragon, everything changes.
That is the pretense on which the first book starts, and I wont tell you anymore. I hope it has ignited something in you that yearns to read them, if not, do it anyway.
This last book, well I cant really think of how to describe it. Including the pronunciation guide and acknowledgments, it is 860 pages long. An unbelievable amount of events occur, and each one is satisfying. The battles, though numerous, each retain their individuality and are heart pounding. The emotional moments are just that - emotional. If I had been in a private place I would have been crying my eyes out.  Pretty much all the loose ends are tied up, even those from earlier books. It was a very satisfying read.
I have but a few faults with it. One, is the Paolini often reuses phrases in the series. I understand that it may be a character trait that must be described like that, or something similar, but it does get a bit annoying at times. Most notably, he uses the phase '...., even as..' often. Ok, thats not a phrase, but it's a word order. An example would be something like 'Eragon watched him, even as he had watched Arya." (That is made up, and has no real relevance to the story, I was just illustrating a point.)
The other fault was that the ending I had worked on trying to figure out was one entirely different to the actual one. (Yeah, I know I didn't write the series.... but still.. *disappointment*) I cannot say much, as even disproving my theory would tell you what would not happen, and that is almost, but not quite as bad as telling you what does happen. I had come up with an intricate theory, having deduced many things, and kept arriving at the same conclusion. I was so sure that one thing could not happen, but it did. My reason was that it would be too perfect. But, it seems to have righted itself, leaving a bittersweet ending, which I do enjoy. (I'm a horrible person yes, but who really wants a true 'happily ever after?)
Well, thats about all I can say, and so, it's over.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Review: Supernaturally - Kiersten White

This is the sequel to Paranormalcy. As the names suggest, they are rather supernatural books. Almost every sort of paranormal creature exists in Evie's world; vampires, faeries, mermaids, etc.
I can't really say much, because it it a sequel, so I'll give you a general summary. Evie can see through glamour - the cloaking magic that allows paranormals to walk unnoticed among humanity. But her gift is in high demand, and there are many sides and factions who try and claim her as their own. This is the second book, and Evie still struggles with her life, her soul. What side should she choose? And how will the others react? And, most importantly, what is she?
I know that that is very vague, but honestly, I cant say more without giving away some of the first book. Either way, I really enjoyed this book, but perhaps not as much as the first. Still, if you want a quick, fun to read book, this is the one for you!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Review: The Power of 6 - Pittacus Lore

This is the sequel to I Am Number 4. It is very much a sci-fi book, taking place in a world when aliens from the dying planet of Loren have come to earth in order to escape the race of aliens that have caused their planets destruction - but they cant evade the Mogadorians forever.
The plot to these books is simple (if you are used to the whole sci-fi/fantasy genre). The last survivors of an alien race have come to earth. They are in the form of pairs of children and their guardians. Each child has a number, from one to nine, and they cannot be killed out of order, except if they come into contact with another number.
You may notice I said 'killed' there. That's because the race of aliens that caused the destruction of the planet Loren have the same plans for earth. What's stopping them is the survival of the children - now teenagers. But the race is on, as now that they are older they have begun to develop legacies (powers).
The first book is focus around Number 4, whereas this one switches between Number 4, and Number 7.
I don't want to give too much away, and the background information there is about the same as you would get if you read a review of the first book, so I wont say much more.
I read this book in an odd manner. It's the kind of thriller that you cant put down - except I did, and I read it slowly. I think it was because I didn't have much time, but still, maybe it says something.
It was kind of light on the emotions (but then again, I have high standards for things like that... you'd be hard pressed to hand me a book that really makes me feel), but it's a good book, over all.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Music - Specials

Just to say, I recommend listening to Bright Lights by Ellie Goulding when reading Specials - or, in fact, any in the series. Especially songs like Human.... and, well the whole album!
Thats all! :)

Review: Extras - Scott Westerfeld

Again - futuristic world where everyone can get an operation to make themselves pretty.
In some ways, I can say even less about this one, as it is the last book.
In contrast to the last three books, it is set in what was once Japan, and a girl called Aya is the main character. Aya lives in a city with a reputation economy - this means that the people with the best face value get the best clothes, houses, you name it. Aya is a kicker, desperate to kick stories to her feed in order to gain a bit of fame, and raise her face value.
But when she meets people who care more about blending in then bursting out, she cant believe it, and more importantly, its the perfect story to kick.
But, not everything goes to plan, an it becomes a 'Special Circumstance.'
If you read this, you'll get that last part. ;)
I really like this one too, as it was new and fresh. And after I finished it, I wanted to read more, I needed to know more... but alas...

Review: Specials - Scott Westerfeld

So, as you guys know by know, this series is set in a world where at the age of sixteen everyone gets an operation that makes them pretty... but at what cost?
I've just realized that reviewing this book in any way really gives out a lot of spoilers, so all I'm going to keep this brief.
I enjoyed this book in some ways more than the others. As with its prequels, it's a little hard to get into at first, but after you're hooked, you're hooked. It doesn't really follow the basic bones of the same story as with the previous ones, instead there is more action - very icy. Also, I really liked the ending. It wasn't what I expected, but I liked it.
So.. Thats really all I can say!

Monday, 5 September 2011

Reading, reading, reading... Reading!!

So these past few days I've been in a really anti-social/hermitising mood. I suspect there are many reasons for this, but that's besides the point.
The point is, last month I was so busy that I didn't have time to read - which is funny, because it was summer. Now, though, I'm finding whole afternoons to read - which are facilitated by my sudden urge to become a hermit. I read an entire book yesterday, and found the time to almost finish another today - not to mention fit in the last episode of Sherlock, which was class.
I'll need to write up some reviews.
Sadly, though, despite this sudden mood, my pile of unread books is higher than ever, and it doesn't look like it's going to disappear anytime soon. I don't remember a time when I didn't have about 10 books waiting to be read.
Anyway, back to the books!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Book Club?

My class is supposed to have a Book Club this year. At first I was like "Wow!"but I have come to the realization that it is not that great an idea, for various reasons.
1) Everyone reads at different speeds. What would take me a few days would take someone else 6 months. This means that we cant really discuss the chosen book in class.
2) Not everyone has the same taste in books. There is a girl in my class who hates love stories. There are people who think that Epics are... well not very epic.
3) Our teacher wont listen to our suggestions. I made loads of suggestion to her, which were seconded by some of my friends. In the end, she picked a book that none of us had ever heard of. I don't mind that much, but I would appreciate if she at least considered our ideas.

So, in the end, all we decided upon was that we were called The McLovin Club.... And that we are going to read 'Random Acts Of Heroic Love.' I hope it's good.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Review: Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

This is the sequel to Uglies, which is set in a futuristic world where at the age of 16 everyone undergoes an operation to make them beautiful - at a cost.
Tally Youngblood has undergone the operation despite knowing the risks - in order to try and find a cure to 'pretty-headedness" Tally and Zane will do almost anything to stay bubbly. Pulling Ugly tricks and starving themselves works for a while, but a masked ghost from Tally's past changes everything.
As the name suggests, this book is as much about Pretties as the last one was about Uglies. A recurring problem I've noticed with these books is that they are slow to start, but it is soon remedied by the middle and ending - so don't loose heart!
Overall, it's a good book. The story is full of originality, and although it does bear a slight resemblance to its prequel, I feel as though it is worth reading.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Review: The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

So I just got back from the west of Ireland, and I finally have internet! When I was down there, I finished The Book Theif.
As I said before, it's about WWII. The protagonist is a girl names Liesel, who has a love of books. It's a fantastic tale about the power of words, and how much they can anchor us in an unsteady time.
I really enjoyed Death's narration (Yes, narrated by Death!). I found the focus on colours truly interesting, and quite true, surprisingly. Zusak uses creative imagery as regards things like the sky.
Zusak also has a way of making you feel truly hollow at the horror of that time, without using so much as a single gruesome phrase. I love books that make you feel.
Over all, this book is fantastic. You should read it, even if, like me, you're not so fussed on non-fantasy/sci-fi stuff.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Whatcha Reading??

Right now I'm reading The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I wasn't sold on it right away - it'a about a family during WWII, not really my thing. But get this, its narrated by Death. The moment I heard that, I had already taken out my money and bought it.
It's an interesting book, whereby the story is given out in little threads, and sometimes not in the correct order. Altogether though, I think it will end with a beautiful rug - or carpet - or whatever analogy you want to use.
When I've finished it I'll write up a review.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Writing styles.

I took a break from writing my book, and concentrated on short passages instead. Problem is, my style has changed a good bit. Now I'm trying to write a new chapter, but it sounds completely different to the previous ones. This sucks....

Monday, 25 July 2011

Writing emotions

Is it truly possible to capture an emotion in words? Such indescribable feelings as love, loss, or anger? Sure, you can write and make the reader understand what the character is feeling, but making them feel it themselves is an entirely different story.
So, you have to balance cliches and new metaphors, because nobody likes too many unimaginative cliches, and yet using metaphors that are completely unheard of can leave the reader confused or unimpressed.
A good story has coherent feeling in it. A great story actually makes you feel.

Review: The Two Towers - J. R. R. Tolkien

I'm not sure this merits it's own review, as the Lord of the Rings is just one continued journey, and each book continues on where the other left off, but it's what I read, so I'm reviewing it! :)
What I noticed about this book, in contrast to The Fellowship, is that there are far fewer songs. Perhaps it gets darker as Frodo travels closer to Mordor, or maybe Tolkien just ran out of rhymes, either way I miss the merry songs.
The company has also broken apart in this book, so there is a lot more to follow, and more regions of Middle-Earth are expired. Whether it is the lonely barren landscapes around Mordor, or the Ents of Fangorn Forest.
Overall, as I have said before, the Lord of the Rings is a must read. Truly fantastic detail. The only thing I would fault is that it focuses more on characters and scenes, rather than emotions, so deaths and sorrow don't have as true an impact as I would like.

Thursday, 14 July 2011


Recently I have been writing about feelings. I'll pick a certain feeling, like pain, or an abstract concept, like feeling detached from a situation, and write about it. The storyline comes after I decide on a feeling.
I just thought this was odd...

Review: The Fellowship of the Ring - J. R. R. Tolkien

This book really needs no introduction. Odds are, you've seen the films, or at least know the basic storyline. The Fellowship of the Ring, is of course, the first in the Lord of The Rings Trilogy.
For those who don't know, this is an epic fantasy novel. It really is the start of the whole fantasy genre, and a must read.
This series is essentially a Good Vs. Evil tale. Frodo must destroy the Ring, or all of Middle-Earth will fall under the reign of Sauron, and everything he knows will be lost. But Frodo is a mere hobbit, insignificant in the lands of Middle-Earth, forgotten to many. How much difference can one person make? How much inner strength can one person have? This novel is but the first leg of his journey.
If you like detail, this is the book for you. Middle-Earth is beautifully brought to life by Tolkien. How he thought of so many different scenes puzzles me. Each character has an intricate backstory, and individual traits. Not to mention all the songs, poems and Elvish language he created.
To me, this story starts slowly, but it is engrossing, and the writing is superb. Truly, if you don't know The Lord of the Rings, you don't know fantasy.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Writing is difficult...

Don't you think words are powerful? With a single perfectly constructed phrase you can make someone break done in tears, or smile quietly to themselves. The problem is structuring that phrase. Do I use this verb? I used that noun before. This adjective isn't working... etcetera, etcetera.
With words alone you can walk through the forests of Middle Earth with the elves, or though Hogwarts castle, or any manner of impossible things. It's too easy to mess up though. A simple slip of mind, or straying too far off the path of your story can be the undoing of it. Or the simple fear that your characters are too weak, or don't have enough flaws. That's my problem. I know their flaws, but I still try to trip them up in every chapter...
So maybe it's just me, but writing is a great undertaking. But hey, if a story is worth telling, it's worth telling write. (Ha ha, get it? write? Yeah... stupid pun...)

Friday, 1 July 2011

Review: Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Uglies is set in a futuristic world, where when you turn 16 you also turn 'pretty'. Scott Westerfeld uses this book to each the lesson that beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder.
Tally Youngblood can't wait to have the operation and become pretty, and why would she? Being pretty means partying all day long and having fun. After her best friend becomes pretty, Tally is left alone on the Ugly side of town. Soon she makes a new friend, but Shay isn't so sure she wants the operation, and when she runs away to 'The Smoke' Tally is given an ultimatum: find Shay and turn her in, or never become pretty at all. Tally's choice will lead her on a dangerous journey, and change her world forever.
This book is fantastic. It is original and engrossing, and well and truly raises the question 'what price would you pay for beauty?

Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth - Carrie Ryan

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is set in a post zombie-apocalypse world. The premise, though somewhat cliche and present in most horror movies to date, has originality and Carrie Ryan's style of writing is emotional to say the least.
Mary, the main character, lives in a village in the middle of a vast forest - The Forest of Hands and Teeth - which is constantly under threat from the Unconsecrated that push at the fences, forever hungry. After Mary's mother dies and returns, and her own brother shuns her, she is forced to join the Sisterhood, a religious order that controls the town and convinces all its occupants that they are the last of humanity, saved by God. Soon Mary learns that all is not what it seems, and some people will go to any length to protect what they know.
This book is an ultimate tear-jerker, tissues advised. Carrie Ryan is not afraid to go into gruesome details regarding the Unconsecrated, and at some moments your heart literally aches from the pain and loss she describes. Love, loss, adventure, zombies, it has it all! It is a story that truly makes you feel.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Hello :)

Hey! Thanks for stopping by!
This blog is, in essence, about books. I will be posting reviews and the like, as well as what I'm reading and thoughts I have on writing. Bare with me while I figure out the ins and outs of blogging, I hope you enjoy it :)