Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Scariest Looking Book Covers

With Halloween just a couple of days away The Broke and The Bookish have asked for our Top Ten Scariest Looking Book Covers. After some easy topics over the past few weeks I found this one a bit more difficult so I have cheated a little bit and picked a complete series of vampire books that have creepy covers that match their dark topic.

     

The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan

  • A Living Nightmare
  • The Vampires Assistant
  • Tunnels of Blood
  • Vampire Mountain
  • Trials of Death
  • The Vampire Prince
  • Hunters of Dusk
  • Allies of the Night
  • Killer of the Dawn
  • The Lake of Souls
  • Lord of the Shadows
  • Sons of Destiny

     

What Book Covers Do You Find Scary?

Allegiant

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

I have literary just finished this books and I don’t know what to do with myself and the information I have!. My friend is only just started it and we have all promised Veronica Roth not to post spoilers so I am trapped with my feelings!. This was a really great end to the series. Getting to read from Tobias point of view as well as Tris was great although it took a  couple of chapters to get into the mind set of not every chapter being her.  I think the fact that he is Tobias and not Four really reflects how his character has changed since Tris has been in his life and he continues to discover things about himself through out this story. As does Tris. Everything they have known is questioned when they discover beyond the gates. They each have person battles to deal with but their relationship is also challenged. Seeing what they need in one another and learning what love really means to them features just as much in this story as the dystopian aspect. The romance and it’s challenges fitted in perfectly though, well balanced and beautifully written. As for the truth, it doesn’t make their lives any less complicated and they aren’t about to sit back and loose any more. 
I feel I can’t say any more about the story than this. I don’t want to just summaries the plot and I think my feelings about the end might reveal too much. All I can say is if you have read the first two in this series go and get your hands on this one NOW!. 

I wanted to add a bit more to this review now I have had a night to sleep on it. I still can’t get over what I have read but I do think it was the right thing for the story, The series has always been about Tris and her choices, despite the dystopian society and with this ending we really see that dauntless was the right choice. I think this book does have slightly less action than the others, and some people may think they too easily loose sight of what is going on inside the gates but for Tris to develop she needed a new environment. The chapters from Tobias point of view also could have benefited from not sounding exactly the same as Tris but his side of the events was needed to complete the picture of the world they are dealing with. I still love this as the last book in the series and it will be going down as one of my best in the year, I just wanted to balance my review out a little now I’m over the emotional response.

Blindness

A city is hit by an epidemic of “white blindness” that spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and assaulting women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides her charges—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and their procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. As Blindness reclaims the age-old story of a plague, it evokes the vivid and trembling horrors of the twentieth century, leaving readers with a powerful vision of the human spirit that’s bound both by weakness and exhilarating strength.

The idea behind this book was a really interest one. All of a sudden a man at a set of traffic lights goes blind, but rather than seeing black he is seeing white. When all the people he comes into contact with after however also go white blind the government tries to control the spread by  sending them all to an asylum. The doctor who seen the first man’s wife goes with him to the asylum although not yet blind but soon the number of people is more than the building and the government can handle. As things get out of control the horrors inside the asylum increase and the poor wife of the doctor becomes the only one left with her sight. I thought that the story was going to be about her and why she was the only one left but it was more a look at humanity, With every one blind the people inside the asylum have to relearn how to interpret the world around them and to organise themselves. It was amazing how quickly things turned into chaos. I was surprised by the amount of characters that displayed immoral characteristics and the horrors they put each other through. Of course there was also a lot of good characters that reacted they way you would hope you would and I think the contrast shows both sides of humanity at the extremes. It was quite a difficult book to read. The characters don’t have name and as there is a lot of speech it isn’t punctuated as normal. If I am honest I was mostly disappointed by the end because the story didn’t really develop into anything and I wont be reading the second one however I am going to watch the film.   

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Character Names

Another great topic this week from The Broke and The Bookish, our Top Ten Character Names. For me the best names are the interesting ones that you don’t actually hear much anywhere else or are well picked out nicknames. Animal names you will all see are favourites of mine too.

  • Alaska from Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Mr Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
  • Reepcheep from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S.Lewis
  • Luna from Harry Potter by JK Rowling
  • Rhine from Wither by Lauren Destefano
  • Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth
  • Pantoufle from Chocolate by Joanne Harris
  • Evanna from The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan
  • Montmorency from Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
  • Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl

What Are Your Favourite Character Names?

Tomorrow, When The War Began

When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong — their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision — run and hide, give themselves up and be with their families, or fight back.

I have only really just put this book down and I don’t like to start a review negatively but I feel disappointed by this book. Since I started my dystopian challenge this is a book I have been really interested to read but having read it I’m not totally convinced I would count it as dystopian. It is the story of a group of friends who go off camping to a remote part of the bush and when they return it has been invaded. They work out roughly what has happened and so put together supplies and return to their camp to decide what to do. The book is being written by Ellie, who has been nominated to record everything that has happened to them so far. As a result of this we get to live through her emotions as the story unfolds but what annoyed me was that it included a love triangle. I know this book is 11 years old and before the fad but it still always puts me off a story. Whats more I just didn’t find it an understandable thing to be worrying about giving else that was going on. The disappointment however was the actual story, it just didn’t feel realistic. Some of the things that are said and the actions they take are pretty extreme and I just don’t think teens would act that way in that situation. Maybe that is me just being cynical but it didn’t work for me. The thing I did like though was the look at evil and nature. Ellie is really interested in these concepts and her musings about them are interesting to think about. Overall I didn’t hate this book I just didn’t feel that excited by it. It was an easy read and I don’t think I will read any more of the series but I will try the film. 

 

Genesis

Anax thinks she knows history. Her grueling all-day Examination has just begun, and if she passes, she’ll be admitted into the Academy—the elite governing institution of her utopian society. But Anax is about to discover that for all her learning, the history she’s been taught isn’t the whole story. And the Academy isn’t what she believes it to be. In this brilliant novel of dazzling ingenuity, Anax’s examination leads us into a future where we are confronted with unresolved questions raised by science and philosophy. Centuries old, these questions have gained new urgency in the face of rapidly developing technology. What is consciousness? What makes us human? If artificial intelligence were developed to a high enough capability, what special status could humanity still claim? Outstanding and original, Beckett’s dramatic narrative comes to a shocking conclusion.

This was recommended to me by a friend on goodreads and as I am trying to read 24 dystopians this year and the book had amazing reviews I decided to go ahead and download is for my kindle (it was only 98p). When I started it I was expecting it to be like a lot of other dystopia at the moment but it was totally different. The style of writing isn’t the usual you would find in Young Adult fiction. The story is told as an exam of the societies history and it almost feels like you are reading a piece of educational text. The character we are seeing from is a 17 year old girl but she is studying the creation of their society by telling  the examiners about Adam and Art. During their time their island has been cut off from the rest of the world because of a dangerous plague destroying the world. Adam is a bit of a trouble maker in this new society and so he finds himself sentenced to help a philosopher with his work into artificial intelligence, Art. Through their interactions the book questions humanity. The pair argue about consciousness;

“Consciousness is the feel of accessing memory.” 

the mind;

“The mind is not a machine, it is an idea. And the Idea resists all attempts to control it.” 

and ideas;

“The only thing binding individuals together is ideas. Ideas mutate and spread; they change their hosts as much as their hosts change them.”

and our narrator Anax offers beautiful definitions of human spirit;

“Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved, differences resolved. It is a type of confidence. And it is fragile.”

superstition;

“Superstition is the need to view the world in terms of simple cause and effect. As I have already said, religious fundamentalism was on the rise, but that is not the type of superstition I am referring to. The superstition that held sway at the time was a belief in simple causes. 

Even the plainest of events is tied down by a thick tangle of permutation and possibility, but the human mind struggles with such complexity. In times of trouble, when the belief in simple gods breaks down, a cult of conspiracy arises. So it was back then. Unable to attribute misfortune to chance, unable to accept their ultimate insignificance within the greater scheme, the people looked for monsters in their midst. 

The more the media peddled fear, the more the people lost the ability to believe in one another. For every new ill that befell them, the media created an explanation, and the explanation always had a face and a name. The people came to fear even their closest neighbors. At the level of the individual, the community, and the nation, people sought signs of others’ ill intentions; and everywhere they looked, they found them, for this is what looking does.”

and fear;

“But time passes. Fear becomes a memory. Terror becomes routine; it loses its grip.” 

I don’t feel I can really say to much about the thoughts offered in this books because they are best as they are presented. I would recommend this book to those who love the classic dystopians like 1984 because this book  isn’t about what happened but what was discussed and in the end it will surprise you because you might think you know whats coming but it’s not as you expect. 

“In the end, living is defined by dying. Book- ended by oblivion, we are caught in the vice of terror, squeezed to bursting by the approaching end. Fear is ever-present, waiting to be called to the surface.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Note of Madness

Life as a student is good for Flynn. As one of the top pianists at the Royal College of Music, he has been put forward for an important concert, the opportunity of a lifetime. But beneath the surface, things are changing. On a good day he feels full of energy and life, but on a bad day being alive is worse than being dead. Sometimes he wants to compose and practice all night, at other times he can’t get out of bed. With the pressure of the forthcoming concert and the growing concern of his family and friends, emotions come to a head. Sometimes things can only get worse before they get better.

This was a powerful book, made more powerful but its uncomplicated writing. It did take me a little while to get started with this book but once I did it was very easy to read. For me this is important to the story because it shows how easily mental illness can become part of you life. Flynn was a perfectly happy and normal student who was hit out of nowhere with Bipolar. He goes from manic highs to immobilizing lows and his descriptions allow you to feel the emotional journey and how sudden it is. He tries really hard to continue his normal life as a music student and to socialize with his friends but all becomes to much. He is a really good pianist ask to perform at a the Royal Albert Hall but music becomes his obsession. Romance is out of the question for him as he cannot see himself as worthwhile and friendships break down around him. It isn’t a book with a massive plot and and a fast pace though, but that isn’t the point of the story. I think the message here is about mental illness and everyday life. how it really effects people and how we might be able to recognize it and help.  

Re-Read Review – Insurgent

With just days till Allegiant is released I’m really glad I have re-read these two books. I had actually forgotten quite a bit that happened in this one and although I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first it is still a great read. There is quite a lot to take in that is important to the story through out this book. We begin to get a real understanding of how powerful faction loyalty can be but more importantly the people who are capable of thinking about what’s right and wrong for themselves. The best description however for this book I think though is one from the book itself;

“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”

Everyone seems to have a plan in this story. There are many important characters all with secrets and Tris is able to work out almost all of them. Better than that though she knows which secret really needs to be revealed and is able to get the information she needs to change everything. What I really like about these books though is that her relationship with Tobias comes second to the dystopia. There relationship is really challenged in this one because this is reflected in the attitude Tris has and I can’t wait to see what the information she has unleashed does to their society and what is waiting on the other side of the fence.

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read

This topic of our Top Ten Books I Was Forced To Read from The Broke and The Bookish  is a really interesting one. There can’t be many reasons why you were forced to read a book so my list is made up of the ones we had to read for school that I enjoyed. I don’t have a list of 10 but these are the books I was surprised by at both primary and secondary school.

     

  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  • The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • Witch Child by Celia Rees

What Books Were You Forced To Read But Ended Up Enjoying?

The Princess Bride

What happens when the most beautiful girl in the world marries the handsomest prince of all time and he turns out to be…well…a lot less than the man of her dreams?

As a boy, William Goldman claims, he loved to hear his father read the S. Morgenstern classic, The Princess Bride. But as a grown-up he discovered that the boring parts were left out of good old Dad’s recitation, and only the “good parts” reached his ears.

Now Goldman does Dad one better. He’s reconstructed the “Good Parts Version” to delight wise kids and wide-eyed grownups everywhere.

What’s it about? Fencing. Fighting. True Love. Strong Hate. Harsh Revenge. A Few Giants. Lots of Bad Men. Lots of Good Men. Five or Six Beautiful Women. Beasties Monstrous and Gentle. Some Swell Escapes and Captures. Death, Lies, Truth, Miracles, and a Little Sex.

In short, it’s about everything.

I think I am one of only a few people who didn’t love this book. It’s not that I didn’t like it, I just thought I would like it more than I did. I think part of this was that I didn’t read the blurb before I started and thought the authors notes were just in my copy. The authors notes just annoyed me because it made me feel like I was missing out on part of the story and I will admit after a whole chapter was cut out I just ignored them. I really love this film because it of the mixture of action and romance but I felt the book didn’t have to same energy particularly with the romance. The story does have plenty going on and the language isn’t too complicated but there wasn’t a lot of chemistry build between Buttercup and Westley.  It was a really easy read though and once I got into it it only took me a few hours to read it. I am glad I have read it after enjoying the film so much but for me its one of those rare occasions where the film is better.