Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Paper Towns by John Green

SPOILER FREE
  I want to be completely honest and say that I didn't love this book as much as I wanted to love it. I absolutely adore the Vlogbrothers and think John and Hank are hilarious but for some reason I have not been able to say the same for this book. 
  This is a contemporary novel that is told from the perspective of Quentin (Q) an eighteen year old about to graduate from high school. He has lived next to Margo Roth Spiegelman since he was a kid but they have grown apart until at the point where the story really begins and they are practically strangers. Then one night Margo appears in Quentin's room dressed like a girl on a mission set out to get revenge. Quentin hopes that this will reignite their friendship but after this night Margo disappears and has left impossible clues that may or may not lead to her. 
  I enjoyed the secondary characters more than I enjoyed Quentin. I thought that they had a little more life in them. I did love Quentin's determination- that was sweet, but he definitely bordered on obsessive. Margo was a great idea but I couldn't make myself like her. 
  There were some parts of the plot that I really thoroughly enjoyed, one or two stick out in my mind but the other parts felt a little flat. It seemed that there either had to be something big happening or not much at all. 
  Saying that it was an enjoyable book. It had some interesting ideas that made me think. I am looking forward to seeing how it is portrayed in the movie but I do not think that this is one that I would read again. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

NO SPOILERS
  I will warn you right now that if you do not like gore you will not like this book. There are blood and guts and queasy making moments galore! However if you like adventure and excitement and scares of the Jurassic Park variety then you will probably love it. 
  This book is set in the eighteen hundreds and it follows young Will Henry who is twelve at the time that this story takes place. Will Henry is the apprentice to Dr. Warthrop who is a monstrumologist- that being someone who studies monsters. 
  Monsters in this world are real and they are a real threat and danger. The story really begins with the arrival of a mysterious stranger with a morbid parcel in the middle of the night. This is the beginning of what will be a unraveling of what Dr Warthrop has thought possible and an adventure that is both bloody and thrilling. 
  I loved the characters in this story. The eccentric Dr Warthrop and his complete dedication to his cause was so interesting to see. Will Henry was an excellent view point to see from as he manages to constantly be in the thick of what ever disaster is happening. There are many characters that come to light in the story that are equally unconventional- it is fascinating! 
  The plot was fast paced and there were rarely times when there wasn't something to attract your attention and keep you gripped and turning those pages. 
  The actual encounters with the monsters were scary in a Jurassic Park kind of way- kept you on the edge of your seat with an excited terrified humour. 
  I am excited to get into the rest of the series and see what other monsters haunt this world. This is an adventure you will be glad that you took. 

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

NO SPOILERS

  I love the fact that this was written by an Irish woman! Supporting Irish writers WHOO!
I would also like to say that I love the fact that this is a duology and not another trilogy.
  Breathe is set in a future where all of the trees have died. There is not enough oxygen left in the world to keep the population alive and so everyone lives under a great glass dome where oxygen is pumped into it.
  Oxygen is expensive and only the Premiums can afford to exercise or do anything that creates the need to breathe excessively.
  This story is told from three perspectives. Firstly, Alina, who is part of a rebel group called the resistance. Secondly, Bea, who is one of the lower class in this society. Her family cannot afford to do to much and she is trying to raise her status to help herself and them. Lastly, Quinn, who is a Premium. He also happens to be Bea's best friend. All three lives become entangled and they are thrown into something that is much more harsh than any of them could have imagined.
  I enjoyed this book but I felt that it was a fairly standard dystopian novel. I gave it three and a half out of five stars. It was well done and I loved the characters and their relationships but I felt that the plot was pretty basic. I was never really left with my heart pounding and I was hoping that that would happen. I will continue onto the next book as soon as I can, though surprisingly it was incredibly difficult to source in physical bookshops. I thought that with it being written by an Irish writer and a recent book (2013) it would be readily available but I couldn't source it anywhere but online which was disappointing. I will read it once I get my hands on it... but with the post being what it is don't hold your breath...LOL. 

Friday, 13 March 2015

Atlantia by Ally Condie

NO SPOILERS
   
 I want to start by saying that I loved this book. I was not expecting it because I was not a fan of Ally Condie's series - the Matched trilogy. This book was so much better than I was expecting. I think that was because with matched I could see most of what was coming with this there was so much that went against the normal dystopian stereotypes.
 This is a standalone novel set in the future when earth's surface has become so polluted that all those that live there become ill. There is built an undersea cities like Atlantia. Atlantia is dependant on the 'above'-those who remained above water. The people above send down supplies and keep these cities going. Those who live Below consider themselves incredibly fortunate and lucky. On the sixteenth birthday of a citizen of Atlantia they are given the option to continue living Below or to sacrifice themselves to the Above  to assist those Below.


   Rio and Bay are twins. Rio has always dreamed of going Above and seeing the world above the ocean. She has waited her whole life to leave what she has known behind and see the things she has only ever heard of. But will Rio get the opportunity to live life on land?
                                                           
 I loved the setting of this book. It reminded me of Atlantis. I loved the way that history would get lost. It's a sad kind of digression that is always so addicting to me. There were so times when I wasn't sure what was going to happen. The characters were not typical YA characters. They would often behave in ways that were much more realistic than usual dystopian fiction. It was refreshing.
 I loved this book. I  give it four and a half stars and I highly recommend it. 

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Faking Faulkner

 I am currently reading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. I am not enjoying it. This is another one that I have to read for class. I was spoiled because I didn't get it read in time for the lecture. My own fault. Still, I was very confused reading this novel.
  As best as I can tell this story is told from a multiple perspective, about a family of three brothers and their sister. But to be honest. I cannot follow the story line at all. Once it swapped into the second part of the story it was as if the plot was lost in a stream of conscious. It seems to be about the decline of this family. That's all I've got.
  I am probably going to have to answer an exam question on this. Great. How am I going to blab my way through that? I am probably going to have to look up a summary on shmoop or something.
  I don't like this. This is the idiotic feeling I got after reading Moby Dick by Herman Melville. It's the feeling of confusion when you have read something but only absorbed half of it. Or less.
  As it is, I am not a Faulkner fan. Maybe I'll attempt another book in the future but it doesn't seem likely. I've read Faulkner, but have I? If I didn't get it does it count? How often do we go through our lives faking Faulkner?

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Shadow of the Wolf by Tim Hall

  NO SPOILERS
  Shadow of the Wolf is a dark retelling of Robin Hood. This story completely remakes the legendary anti-hero. While this is a fantasy book the fantasy elements were fairly scarce. The plot doesn't overly focus on the fantasy side to this tale.
  I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book. It was definitely different to whatever it was that I was expecting.
  I suppose I'll start with the start. This book begins when an eight year old Robin is left in the Winterwood by his father. He returns to his home to find that his family are no longer there and he must fend for himself in the area that he used to know as home. It is in the forest near his old homestead that he meets Marian by chance. The plot gets much darker as the two protagonists age. While this is a slow paced book at the beginning it still keeps you entirely engaged throughout.
  I loved Marian as a character. She was much more full of spunk than the fox in the Disney. I thought that she was excellently suited to the role that she held up in the novel.
  I really loved the way that she and Robin worked together. I loved that they had an understanding that was more than just a romantic relationship but was also a strong friendship. I think that was very important for the characters that they were.
  The writing style in this book was not my favourite. There were some points where I was confused as to what actually was happening. I know that these will be explained in later books but I felt that I was very separate from this world because I couldn't fully understand it.
  I didn't know before I picked this book up that it was the start of a new series. This was something that frustrated me as I had thought it was a standalone, though that was a fault on my part for not researching it fully. I thought that the story of this instalment wrapped up well, not too much of a cliffhanger. I was satisfied with the ending.
  There were a few gruesome parts. I am just warning you. Don't eat a sandwich or something when your reading it.
  The fantastical elements to this book were quite dark. I loved it. I just wish that it had been a more heavily featured part of the book.
  Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I would recommend it if you like retellings, if you like books with a more sinister feel to them and if you like Robin hood - at all.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

I have a Series-ous Problem

  A while ago I did a video about the all book series that I started that I hand't finished. Unfinished Series The list was waaaayyy longer than I thought. I did however, forget some. Also, some have now been finished (yay progress!) and some new series have been added to the list (WHAT are you thinking Emma?) I thought I would give you the updated list of series that I intend to finish. Here goes:

  •  Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
  •  His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
  •  Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black and Toni DiTirlizzi 
  •  The Maze Runner trilogy and prequel by James Dashner
  •  Clockwork Century series by Cheri Priest
  •  Heist Society by Ally Carter
  •  Hereafter trilogy by Tara Hudson
  •  Luxe series by Anna Godbersen  
  •  The Keepers Daughter duology Gill Arbuthnott
  •  The Secrets of the Immortal Nicolas Flamel seriesby Micheal Scott
  •  Discworld series by Terry Prachett
  •  Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum
  •  Peter Pan books by J. M. Barrie
  •  Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  •  Just William series by Richmal Crompton 
  •  Under the Hawthorn Tree trilogy by Marita Conlon-Mckenna
  •  Scarlet trilogy by A. C. Gaughen
  •  Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
  •  Hallow City by Randsom Riggs
  •  The Heir by Kiera Cass
  •  Diviners series by Libba Bray
  •  Seraphina by Rachel Hartman 
  •  The 5th Wave trilogy by Rick Yancy
  •  The Naughtiest Girl series by Enid Blyton
  •  Hetty Feather series by Jacqueline Wilson
  •  Amy Green series by Sarah Webb
  •  Ondine series by Ebony Mckenna
  •  Sabriel series by Garth Nix
  •  Starbound series by Amy Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  •  Ally's World series by Karen Mckombie
  •  Wings series by Aprilynne Pike
  •  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  •  Stoker and Holmes series by Colleen Gleeson 
As you can see there is a lot to get through, I hadn't realised that I had a problem with not finishing series until I counted them all up. I apologise if the series titles aren't all correct for some I just listed the book I had left to finish in the series or the first book. Hopefully by the end of the year this list will have shrunk somewhat. Hopefully.