Alone On A Wide Wide Sea

When orphaned Arthur Hobhouse is shipped to Australia after World War II he loses his sister, his country and everything he knows. The coming years will test him to his limits, as he endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback. But Arthur is also saved, again and again, by his love of the sea. And when he meets a nurse whose father owns a boat-building business, all the pieces of his broken life come together.
Now, at the end of his life, Arthur has built a special boat for his daughter Allie, whose love of the sea is as strong and as vital as her father’s. Now Allie has a boat that will take her to England solo, across the world’s roughest seas, in search of her father’s long-lost sister. Will the threads of Arthur’s life finally come together?

A lovely story about life and hope.

Arthur isn’t entirely convinced that he hasn’t made up the memory of his sister, but with a key round his neck he has hope. When he makes best-friends with another boy on the boat to Australia the pair find themselves on a bus full of boys driving through a new world full of wonder. Where they end up however turns out to be more of a hell. The boys help each other through though and as time passes their anger grows enough to give them the courage to do something about it.

Where they end up finally allows Arthur to feel like he belongs but the troubles of his life aren’t over yet. It will take a lot more battering for him to finally give up on himself and lead him to the woman who will save him. Giving him a life he loves with a wife and a daughter and a promise to find out if Kitty exists.

Arthur’s story however is unfinished. Does his sister Kitty exist. Daughter Allie wants to know and she is willing to go around the world to find out. Putting herself through a physical and emotional journey she sets off for England hoping to answer the question of what her father’s key opens.

I bought this book a long time ago and I would say it is aimed at people around 9 -13. Despite of this I am so glad I have finally read it. It has turned out to be a lovely book. With well written characters and a plot full of hope and loss I enjoyed every minute of it. Michael Morpurgo was one of my favourite authors when I was younger and yet again he has delivered.

The Da Vinci Code

Harvard professor Robert Langton, visiting Paris, is called in when the curator of the Louvre is murdered. Alongside the body is a series of baffling codes. Langton and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, are amazed to find a trail that leads to the works of Da Vinci – and beyond.

I’m not going to say too much about this book as I think the plot line is pretty well known.

Mostly I am just excited to have finally finished the book. Having first attempted to read it what must be 2006 I have since tried to read it a few times and never made it past chapter 5. I started reading it again probably a year ago now and I did actually enjoy it. With its short chapters and racing plot I found it easy to keep going and wanted to find out what was happening. However I kind of hit a wall with it. I think because it is so long and having seen the film knowing what was roughly going to happen I got to the stage where I just wanted to be done with it.

Having been abandoned for a while I finally picked it back up last weekend and can now finally say I have finished it.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished

A new week and a new topic from The Broke and the Bookish. This week it’s the Top Ten Series I Haven’t Finished. Although I did have a list for this fairly quickly it doesn’t include ten books. I tend to not like not finishing series when I start them but there are a few that have been neglected.

  1. The House of Night Series by PC Cast & Kristin Cast I was surprised when I started reading these as I did enjoy them however when it came to book 6 they changed the style of writing and I just never managed to get into it. Since then I have never gone back to reading them. 
  2. The Medusa Project Series by Sophie McKenzie Usually I enjoy Sophie McKenzie’s way of mixing action with more female writing but I just got a bit bored of this series. It was too similar a story in each book. 
  3. Shiver Series by Maggie Stiefvater I don’t really have a reason for not finishing this series, however I do plan on finishing it.
  4. The Declaration Series by Gemma Malley I own the next book in this series I just haven’t got round to reading it. I have tried to but it’s a hard back copy and I struggle to read them. 
  5. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket I only own the first three books in this series so I guess that’s why I have never finished it.
  6. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis For Christmas last year I got the book of all these stories. I read the first three but I was kind of disappointed and stopped there. 
  7. Ally’s World by Karen McCombie This is a strange one as I only have the 5th book in this series and I read it so long ago I can’t remember. I tried to look for the the rest of the series but I never came across it so I just gave up on it. 
  8. Traveler’s Series by Claudia Lefeve I got the first book in this series free on the kindle. I wasn’t impressed by it though so I don’t really want to get the rest because you have to pay for them. I may give in though as I feel I should finish the series and although it wasn’t great I do kind of want to know what happens. 

Now Is Good the film of Before I Die

When I seen the advert for this film I had a suspicion it would be based on a book but was surprised when I found out it was based on one Jenny Downham’s books, Before I Die.

Making films of books is always a risky business and at first I was mostly just annoyed they had changed the name. However having read the book I had to go and see the film.

My conclusion? I loved it !

The film was beautiful and I will admit I cried my heart out at the end. The best thing about it though was that I felt that it kept to the book very well. The casting was done well and the acting brought to story to life making it believable. The plot followed that of the book and I could match up the scenes with the chapters. I think most people will be happy with the interpretation.

Going on a Sunday night meant there was only 4 of us in the screening and the after the other woman there was speaking to us and made a great point about how unlike a lot of American films that are about being a show with famous actors and eccentric clothing British films are very down to earth and more like real life. I think that is what makes this such a good film. You can imagine it as if it was almost a documentary and it was that which touched my heart.

If you have read this book I would suggest you see the film. Please come and tell me if you agree with me about it. If you haven’t read it then GO READ IT! and then go see the film.

Tessa has just months to live. Fighting back against hospital visits, endless tests, and drugs with excruciating side effects, Tessa compiles a list. It’s her To Do Before I Die list. And number one is Sex. Released from the constraints of “normal” life, Tessa tastes new experiences to make her feel alive while her failing body struggles to keep up. 

Tessa’s feelings, her relationships with her father and brother, her estranged mother, her best friend, and her new boyfriend, are all painfully crystallized in the precious weeks before Tessa’s time finally runs out.

Sugarcoated

Cloddy is stuck in her dad’s optician’s shop working for little to nothing every Saturday, bored out of her brain in the middle of Greenwood Shopping Center—or Deadsville as she prefers to call it. One Saturday she closes the shop to get some peace and quiet to eat her lunch, but as she’s picking at her food, a trio of youths skulk out of Gluehead Alley down the side of her dad’s shop. Out of nowhere a massive hand gushing blood is splayed across the window of the shop. And then a head is thumped against the window. Neither the victim nor attackers see Cloddy, but she sees everything. Afraid for her life, she decides not to tell anyone what she’s seen. Who wants to think about such things anyway when there’s gorgeous Stefan to think about? Stefan who is cool and charming and has plenty of cash. Stefan who has come out of nowhere and sweeps her off her feet. Stefan who wouldn’t normally look at a girl like Cloddy, let alone make her his girlfriend. At her most vulnerable time he’ll look after her—or will he?

After witnessing terrible violence Clod just wants to forget. As far as she is concerned she has seen nothing and that it the story she is sticking to. Lucky for her she is about to meet a good-looking stranger in the news agents who shares her love for minstrels. At first the mysterious Stefan is Clod’s dream heart-throb, her first date with a fancy meal and champagne. She is able to avoid the police and their questions and although it seems strange that Stefan has a posh apartment Clod convinces herself she is just lucky.

However, things aren’t quite right and they are about to get even more mysterious. When a trip to the shops not only raises questions about Stefan’s identity but turns violent and a trip to the dentist causes even more confusion Clod finally starts listening to her doubts. But is it too late?

This book is defiantly for younger teens. I have only read one other book by Catherine Forde and I found that just plain strange. I didn’t find this as bizarre but I didn’t find it gripping and interesting either. Although I appreciated the fact that she tried to make the character someone you could relate with I just found the descriptions a little unrealistic. For younger teenagers this may be a good book if they are interested in books where there is mystery and suspense but for me it was just OK.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet

So this week The Broke and the Bookish have set us the topic of the Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Me. I didn’t find this one very easy if I am honest but after some thought I have come up with my ten.

Most of my list is authors;

1. Malorie Blackman Malorie Blackman’s is one of the author’s whose work continues to arouse emotion in my longs after reading her stories and I would love to meet her and talk to her about the Noughts & Crosses series. 

2. Anne Frank I know this one is totally impossible but I really would love to meet her and let her know that her dream of being a famous writer came true. 

3. Stephenie Meyer As cliché as it is I do love the Twilight saga and I would love to meet Stephenie Meyer. She changed my reading habits as I am now hooked to reading series. 

4. JK Rowling I can’t imagine many people wouldn’t want to meet JK Rowling. 

5. Sophie McKenzie I think Sophie has a unique way of writing and I would really like to talk to her about why she writes the way she  does and where she gets her inspiration from. 

6. Carol Anne Duffy Although I love to read I really, really didn’t enjoy English class at school. In higher my teacher loved Carol Ann Duffy and I found something I could finally like. I would just really like to thank her for getting my through my higher. 

7. Melvin Burgess The book Junk is actually the only book of his I have read but I know how controversial it was at the time and it would be interesting to hear his thoughts about why he wrote it. 

8. Tabitha Suzuma Tabitha writes about a lot of controversial topics and I would love to know what makes her do this. Particularly why she wrote Forbidden. 

However I would also like to meet;

9. the director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival This must be an awesome job and it would great to see everything involved and find out if its as fun a job as it seems

and of course

10. The Team at The Broke and The Bookish! This blog has been vital in my introduction to the blogging world. The Top Ten Tuesday meme helps me communicate with other book blogger and I would love to here their inspiration for their blog. 

Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.

At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Ethan’s dreams are very really. When he wakes up in the morning he is often left with physical evidence of his nightmare including mud on his fingernails. When the girl in his dreams turns up in his town he can’t quite believe it. Being with her however isn’t going to be easy. In the small town of Galin they don’t like new comers and with her weird appearance and the fact she is the niece of the town lock-in they really don’t like Lena.

Things go from bad to worse when there is an incident at school. Ethan however just can’t stay away. Going after Lena their connection grows but Ethan still has a lot to learn about Lena and her family. He is about to learn that being together isn’t just a problem from the town, Lena is cursed and counting down the days till she turns 16. Is there anything they can do to prevent loosing on another?

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book, I usually stay away from books about ‘magic’ (apart from Harry Potter of course). Having now finished the book I actually quite enjoyed it. There are a lot of paranormal romances going about just now and I feel this one doesn’t follow the pattern that occurs in many of the others. It is easy to sympathise with Ethan as his life isn’t easy and he is living in a town where nothing is a secret. I also felt bad for Lena and there was part of me that wanted her to be able to shake the rest of the town into being more welcoming. This was a good book and I enjoyed reading a new take on a popular genre.