Wednesday, 29 February 2012

World Book Day!

It has now turned midnight which means it is 1st March - World Book Day! Possibly the best day of the year for a nerd like me.

A while ago I blogged that I wasn't going to buy any more books until i'd read at least 10 that I already own. I should have also said that didn't include today. Every year I buy a book for World Book Day and that was never going to change.

So with that said, this year I picked The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson.
Hopefully i'll get to start it at some point today but right now i'm reading a book called Breaking the Silence by Diane Chamberlain. It's one that has been sitting on my loaded shelves for a while now and I picked it up earlier. I'm not very far in but so far so good! Definitely has my attention :)
Who knows -- if the day goes as boring as they usually do, I might even get them both finished before the day is out. I won't be holding my breath.

Let me know what your World Book Day choice is!

Review // Zombicorns - John Green



Zombicorns by John Green was never written to be a published thing. From what I remember, it was written for charity. This book is not available for sale but it can be found online for free. I don't have time to look for the link right now but if you can't find it, i'm willing to send it by email. Just ask in the comments.

I didn't enjoy this story as much as I do the other books he has written but I think that's because it's so short and I didn't get into it enough. However, I DID still like it and it is some powerful writing.

Green makes some beautiful comments on society and what it means to be a person. Although in true John Green style, it's not overloading at all and humans are compared with dogs in an amusing but thoughtful way.

Another of my personal favourite moments is when Caroline shouts, “LEEERRROOOY JEEENNKKIINNNSS!” Despite the fact that two teenage girls are literally fighting for survival in a world gone mad, there are still huge elements of fun. (Leroy Jenkins being a video that went viral.)

Zombicorns successfully shocked me towards the end and its twist (if that's the right word to use) came out of nowhere for me. That doesn't happen very often.

This should be a definite read for any nerdfighter and zombie lover and also for those who just want a quick short read :)

Goodreads Challenge 12/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 2/5
Dystopian Challenge 3/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Review // The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

This isn't the cover of my version.
I barely know where to start with this review, hence why it has taken a while to put it up here.
The Hunger Games has changed my way of reading. I've always enjoyed reading YA and Dystopian novels but believe it or not, this is one of the first YA Dystopian books I have read and putting my experience into words is going to be difficult.

As a person who reads a lot of books consecutively, it is difficult for me to really get attached to a book. I move on from one book to the next so fast that the love I hold for a particular character is immediately cast aside. The Hunger Games was different though. After every couple of chapters I had to put the book down to seriously think about what was happening and to keep my emotions in check. I was genuinely terrified for Katniss, Peeta and Rue and also everyone back in District 12. I was holding on to the bed, anxious to know what was going to happen next! It's been a long time since a book made me feel that way.

The only downside I have of The Hunger Games is what happens in the caves. (No spoilers!) The rest of the book was filled with excitement and an uncertainty and then it dulled too much. I realise that for the ending to fully work, there needed to be a respite of sorts but this was too much. I didn't like the way that the book became focused on relationships, love and emotion. It just didn't feel right and was a little uncomfortable. It didn't effect the overall story though so that's all I will say!

I wish that more people had read this book and I can't wait to see the film production next month :)

Goodreads Challenge 10/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 2/5
Dystopian Challenge 2/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Review // A Study In Scarlet - Arthur Conan Doyle

A Study in Scarlet is the introduction to Sherlock Holmes. The detective fiction series feature Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. Together they solve mysteries and have become perhaps the biggest fictional detectives in the world.

This was the first time i'd ever read a Sherlock Holmes book or infact, anything by Arthur Conan Doyle. As a big fan of the BBC TV show, Sherlock, I picked up the collection for my Kindle.

The story is set in two parts. The first section was truly enjoyable. I got to appreciate how well the Sherlock on TV is in comparison to the real man on the page and they are very similar. I loved the relationship between Holmes and Watson and the general feel of the story as well as the text itself.
However, the second half of the story was very confusing for me. I did understand what was going on (eventually) but the digression and commentary of puritan living seemed unnecessary. I think perhaps that was just my reading of it though as I read it over quite a long period.

I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, but not for a while I would imagine. A definite for any Sherlock fan but perhaps not for a quick read ;)

Goodreads Challenge 10/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 2/5
Dystopian Challenge 2/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Update.

Just a quick update really!

I recently finished The Hunger Games and a review will come asap. Struggling a bit with reviews if i'm honest and there's a pile of books I still need to do. I'm reading Divergent right now by Veronica Roth and i'm absolutely loving it <3
I just wish I had more time to sit and read the whole thing rather than sneaking in a few pages when I can. I'm glad I bought it for my Kindle though so it comes everywhere in case I get a spare minute :)

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review // Twelfth Night - William Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, the well loved play by William Shakespeare needs no introduction.

I have read this play multiple times, and this particular time was for University.
As is often seen in Shakespeare plays, Twelfth Night features mistaken identities, tragedies, comic relief/moments/scenes, memorable characters and perhaps most importantly, the resolution.

I love the dramatic irony that features throughout Twelfth Night. The reader/audience of the play are fully aware that Cesario is in fact Violet and therefore there are plenty of cringe moments!

That's all i'm going to say on this play, other than I think it's well worth a read for any literature lover!

Goodreads Challenge 9/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 1/5
Dystopian Challenge 1/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Friday, 17 February 2012

Book Survey

Taken from Kayley

1. Favorite childhood book?
Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling.
2. What are you reading right now?
Essays by George Orwell.
3. What books do you have on request at the library?
None. I only use the library for criticism books and even then I prefer to buy them if possible. I like to highlight!
4. Bad book habit?
I don't actually have any that i'm aware of.
5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
None.
6. Do you have an e-reader?
I do! I have a Kindle (called Sherlock) and I love it. I was very dubious about it at first as i'm a great lover of physical books and everything that goes with it. It's great though and I love being able to get books in seconds rather than having to wait until I can travel and buy some.
7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
I definitely prefer one at a time but it's not possible when studying English Literature. I usually have about 4 on the go (3 for uni, 1 for relaxing).
8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Not really. I've always read a wide range of books, but I think i'm more aware of genres now. I plan to spend less time reading YA and more time with classics. Not for any pretentious reason, I just love those kinds of books and tend to forget about them once university is finished in summer.
9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Richard III by Shakespeare. I am a Shakespeare fan but not so much of the history plays. I enjoyed the context but the play itself seemed to be a chore.
10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
Quite often! At the moment i'm reading Essays by George Orwell and that's something I would usually avoid but i'm loving it! It is really interesting and I would definitely recommend it.
12. What is your reading comfort zone?
Fantasy & YA
13. Can you read on the bus?
No, it makes me sick :(
14. Favorite place to read?
On my bed! Cuddled up with blankets and a steaming mug of tea <3
15. What is your policy on book lending?
It is fun to lend out books and share reading experiences but certain people always return them looking atrocious and it's terrible. Books cost a lot of money and they don't seem to care when it's not their own.
16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
No.
17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
If it is a book solely for university then yes, every time. I generally highlight or keep it pristine though.
18. Not even with text books?
^
19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English
20. What makes you love a book?
How closely I connect with the characters and their stories. The overall story could be quite poor but if the individual stories are interesting then I grow to love it. 
21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If i've read it myself and enjoyed it, and feel that I can accurately sell the story.
22. Favorite genre?
I tend to read fantasy because I can get through them quickly as they're exciting and new, but I don't have a favourite genre really.
23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
Sci-fi! I love sci-fi but it gets put on the back burner due to my limited reading. Most of my yearly reading is academic.
24. Favorite biography?
I don't really read them.
25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Nope.
26. Favorite cookbook?
I don't have one.
27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
28. Favorite reading snack?
I don't tend to eat whilst i'm reading (dirty pages!) but I drink a lot of tea.
29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Nothing comes to mind but i'm sure there are some! I'm going to read The Hunger Games ASAP so that could be one of them.
30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
I only read the criticism of university books and it's not to agree, it's just purely for research.
31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I'm honest, so if the book is bad it deserves a bad review. People wouldn't read my blog if they didn't like the types of books I read/my opinion.
32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you choose?
Probably French but only because there have been so many snippets of French in books i've read that required me to go and look up a translation or figure out dimly with my useless knowledge I already have.
33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? 
Another book I have on my 'currently reading' list is Vanity Fair. The sheer size of it is quite intimidating.
34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Wizard's First Rule by Terry Goodkind. My friends love it and highly recommend it and I love the TV adaptation (Legend of the Seeker). I'm afraid the books might not be what I hope!
35. Favorite Poet?
Edgar Allan Poe.
36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
None.
37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
Once. It was half read and I do plan to pick it up again some day.
38. Favorite fictional character? 
I couldn't choose.
39. Favorite fictional villain?
Draco Malfoy.
40. Books you’re most likely to bring on vacation?
I want to read His Dark Materials books whilst in Norway. Yeah...
41. The longest you’ve gone without reading.
A few weeks maybe.
42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
I'm struggling with bringing myself to finish The Rainbow. I started it over a year ago now and I just can't get into it! I might try and get it for my Kindle and hope the different reading experiences changes anything.
43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Nothing.
44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
Eragon (Christopher Paolini)
46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Oh, over £100 easy.
47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Never. I don't want to ruin it.
48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
Being thrown into another book (university) or general disinterest. I always finish eventually though.
49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I have a special kind of system :P
50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
Keep.
51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Hmm none that I can think of. I'm pretty open to most books/genres. It just might take me a while to actually get around to reading it.
52. Name a book that made you angry.
Like Kayley, I choose Breaking Dawn. Not because of the same reasons though and I did enjoy parts of it and the whole series. I just thought things had got too ridiculous and that I was cheated out of a real story. It doesn't stop me re-reading it though.
53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
The one i'm reading currently.
54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
All of my reading is guilt-free (I love to read!) but I guess in other peoples' eyes, it would be Twilight.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Review // A Witch in Winter - Ruth Warburton

When Anna meets Seth, it's magic. But her hidden powers unleash a spell that sparks a war among witches and enslaves Seth's heart.


A Witch in Winter is Ruth Warburton's debut novel. As the book cover suggests, protagonist Anna and her loveable father move to a little place called Winter and into an old creaky and freaky house. At first, we see Anna struggle to get used to the big move and find a place amongst the school kids. When Anna finally finds her place, it comes at a price. She discovers that she has magical powers and they are not to be messed with. Anna's power must be controlled and there are people in the book who would like to control her powers and use them for themselves.

This book was an impulse buy and I chose it mostly because the cover was pretty - something I don't do very often. I read it in one sitting and actually really enjoyed it! I engaged with the characters and I was definitely left waiting for more. Just inside the cover I discovered that this book is part of a series so I will be keeping an eye out for the next installment. A great debut novel.

Goodreads Challenge 8/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 1/5
Dystopian Challenge 0/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Addiction.

It's official.
I've known it for a while now but it is definitely official.
I have an addiction to buying books.

There, I said it.
It's actually worse than my addiction to READING them which is why i'm making this public.

NO
MORE
BOOKS

I have a lot of physical books, a fair amount of kindle books and WAY too much literary criticism to read for my degree. I need to stop spending precious money on books when I don't actually have the time to read them!

So, blog followers, I hereby announce that other than course related books, I will not purchase a new book until I have read at least TEN books that I already own and need to read.
 

Goodreads Challenge 8/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 1/5
Dystopian Challenge 0/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 2/5

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Book Haul!

I've got a couple of new books over the past few days so it's Book Haul time! :)

For my Kindle I got one of my favourite trilogy's. I own them in book format too but i'm very happy to have them as e-books too!


I haven't read them in a long time so i'm looking forward to them very much :)

Then today when I went shopping with the parents, I bought Vol. 4 of Stefan's Diaries (The Vampire Diaries)


& a book called A Witch in Winter. It's the debut novel by Ruth Warburton. I picked it for a few reasons. The blurb of the book sounded interesting and grabbed my attention, the cover is beautiful and caught my eye straight away, and I need to read 5 books by debut authors for one of my challenges. I'll review it when i'm done!


Review // Shimmer - Alyson Noel

Riley Bloom is starting to get to grips with being dead. OK, so she'll never turn thirteen, but she can manifest anything she desires. And, after her first success as a Soul Catcher, she's finally got her 'glow' on. Then she meets Rebecca - a furious ghost who is trapped on Earth, desperate to seek revenge for her own death - and Riley's determined to help her, even if it means defying her cute-but-annoying guide, Bodhi, and breaking all the rules...


Shimmer, is the second book in the Riley Bloom series [a sort of spin off of the Immortals series].
The first book, Radiance, wasn't really one of the best books i'd read but as a book lover with slight OCD, I feel obliged to continue the rest of the series anyway (sometimes they get better and become great!)

The first few chapters of Shimmer just didn't interest me at all. It's sad really because whilst reading the Immortals, I *loved* Riley and wanted to know more about her, but this series just doesn't hook me at all. I kept reading though and surprisingly, it got better!

It still isn't brilliant by any standards but a little after the half way point, I actually started caring about what was happening. Shimmer seemed to be full of moral questioning and whilst I usually don't like that, it worked here. The next book in the series, Dreamland, is out now and of course i'll be reading it and hopefully I stay interested in Riley, Bodhi and Buttercup but for me, the Riley Bloom books are nothing in comparison to the ones about Ever.
 
Goodreads Challenge 7/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 0/5
Dystopian Challenge 0/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 1/5

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Review // City of Shadows - Celia Rees

Davey's grandmother has always told him he was "the gift" - Second Sight, some call it. But it never seemed real - just a stupid old wives' tale. Until now...


It is the summer of his twelfth birthday, and Davey, his sister Kate, and his twin cousins, join the hoards of tourists eager to catch a glimpse of the legendary underground city in Davey's hometown. A harmless trip. Just a bit of fun. But for Davey it is the start of a nightmare, and a long, terrifying battle with the dead...


City of Shadows was recommended to me by a friend. This series was one of her favourites as a young teenager and I can sort of see why. Younger me, would have loved these books. They have the right amount of creepy and a good assortment of characters to keep the story flowing. Unfortunately (as much as I still do read and love children's literature) it was perhaps a little too childish for me. Amidst all of the Shakespeare and Orwell I am currently reading for my degree, I fear that I judged this book too harshly when reading as my critical blinkers were turned on. As the first in a trilogy though, I plan to finish the next 2 books over the summer when I have more time to read books for enjoyment and wont be comparing it to the greats that are top of my reading list.


Goodreads Challenge 6/50
Chick Lit Challenge 0/5
Debut Author Challenge 0/5
Dystopian Challenge 0/5
Paranormal Fantasy Challenge 1/5
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