The Social Networks Tag

This tag was originally created by Youtuber Faultydevices and she took aspects of several social networks and created questions around them. Her video can be found here. Ariel Bissett however changed the questions slightly, you can watch her video here, and as I prefer her adaption of the tag it is her questions I am going to be doing.

Twitter: Your favourite shortest book.  The Cay by Theodore Taylor This book was read to us while I was in primary 7 and I never really forgot it. I was given it as a Christmas present two years ago and after rereading it I still felt the same. It is a really moving story particularly considering its only 118 pages.
Facebook: A book everyone pressured you into reading.  The Fault In Our Stars by John Green I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t really fussed about reading this book. I have read a number of stories about people dying of terminal illness and this was just another to me, but a friend of mine got tickets to go and see John Green and I felt like I couldn’t go without having read it.
Tumblr: A book you read before it was cool.  Twilight by Stephenie Meyer I bought Twilight way back in 2006 with some birthday money I had and I picked it up purely because I liked the cover. Little did I know I was about to fall in love with the book and lend it to all my friends and endure the agonising wait for all the sequels. Before I knew it, it was a massively popular book and it was being turned into a movie and although I do love the book its hard not to feel like you’ve lost a bit of the magic of finding a great book.
Myspace: A book you don’t remember whether you liked or not.  When It Happens by Suzane Colasanti I have no idea what I thought of this book. I remember getting it in the mail from amazon. I remember reading it and it not taking very long but I have no idea if I liked it or not. I’ve currently got it rated 3 stars on Goodreads but it might be time to refresh my memory of this one.
Instagram: A book that was so beautiful that you and to instagram it.  I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith I hadn’t really been interested in this book, but when I seen this version of the book I finally picked it up and decided it was worth buying. I don’t actually have Instgram but if I did I would have shared this cover.  
Youtube: A book you wish would be turned into a movie.  Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway The whole way through reading the book I kept imagining how good it would be to see it as a film so it was an easy choice for this questionThe book is full of interesting description of devices and adventures that I think could be translated beautifully to screen.
Goodreads: A book you recommend to everyone.  All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque I found this question really hard because everyone has their own taste in reading and it’s quite challenging to find a book that covers everything. What I’ve gone for in the end is one I think everyone should read. This book is about the First World War. It tells the story of an ordinary soldier who fought like so many others, but what I think is most important is that it’s from the point of view of a German soldier and his story is no different from a British soldiers’.

What I’ve Been Reading in 2014

As I haven’t been blogging so far this year I wanted to catch up on the books I’ve been reading. So far I have managed to read 28 books and I feel like I am going slow however I am currently on track for Goodreads goal for the year of 60 books. Sadly I’ve not found anything this year that’s really blown me away, I have enjoyed some books, but most of them have just been OK. Currently I am reading The Fellowship of the Ring which isn’t helping me feel like I’m reading fast but I am getting through it and so far liking it so hopefully the second half of the year will be a better one for reading.

Rainbow Rowell   

My very first book of 2014 was Eleanor and Park which I enjoyed it a lot and have since read both her other published books; Fangirl and Attachments. I didn’t realise this former was an adult book till I got into it but it was just as good as her other work telling a really interesting story about three characters who’s lives are coming together. Fangirl is her other YA book and was a very easy read with a really enjoyable contemporary story that would make a perfect summer read.

Patrick Ness  

This year I have also got to sample some more of Patrick Ness’ work. Firstly I picked up A Monster Calls as they had it at a cheap book store. I was expecting it to be a creepy thriller type story but it turned out to be a very beautiful story about a child learning to deal with illness that definitely left me with wet eyes. More Than This on the other hand was more of a sci-fi story looking at the capabilities of the internet and a very different view of life after death.

War Books 

I also wanted to show some respect to the 100th anniversary of WW1 and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in a personal way by reading books set during the war. I’ve managed to read a few thanks to the library but the one that I enjoyed most was All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque. Unlike a lot of war books I have read it was set during World War 1 but what made it more interesting was it is from the point of view of a German solider and it very much put across the fact that in the end, it was just boys who have done nothing wrong but fight for their country.

Adult  

Another person goal of mine has been to branch out with me reading, particularly to stop being afraid of adult novels. The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs was one of the first books I read this year and I really enjoyed it. It’s a dark romance involving the paranormal and was an intoxicating read. My biggest surprise of the year was a book I picked up in the library purely for the name. The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard turned out to be an exciting adventure with a touch of magic and I think will definitely be making me top reads of 2014.

Classics  

Similarly reading more classics is on my list for the year and I recently read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. This was one of those books that stays with you long after you close it. There isn’t a huge plot to the book but the society and the ideals presented in the book give you plenty to think about. Another more modern classic I’ve got through is Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. This was never on my To Read list and I hadn’t seen the film but when I over heard my friends talking about the twist in it I decided to give it a shot. It was certainly an interesting read and having now seen the film I am glad I read the book first.

Series    

There’s been a lot of good and bad series going about the last few years and I’ve not got many on the go at the moment but I did have Shattered by Teri Terry to look forward to. This was the final book in a dystopian series and this last book was quite a change from the first two. I enjoyed the change of setting for this book, however I feel there was maybe a little to much worry about the romance. A better balance of romance to action could be founf in The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey which I only recently finished. This book turned out to be another one that was different from what I was expecting but definitely in a good way. I can’t wait to see where this series will go. I finally also managed to pick up The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was a very quick read with some interesting ideas but it didn’t blow me away like I had expected.  A book I had never planned really on reading but picked this year was The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. I have seen the start of the movie adaptation of this several times but never made it to the end so it is good to finally know what happens. I’m not going to carry on with these at the moment but I did find it a worth while read and certainly an entertaining one.

Booksplosion 

Lastly is We Were Liars by E Lockhart. This is being read by a group of booktubers I watch and being so short I figured I would just give it a go. It’s a book you need to go into not knowing anything about it however for me I was expecting a great story from all its hype and sadly it didn’t live up to that.

There have been more books this year but these are the ones I feel are worth noting about. I am looking forward to hopefully getting through so more noteworthy books soon and maybe getting some good review up soon!.

 

 

 

The Reflections of Queen Snow White

What happens when “happily ever after” has come and gone? 

On the eve of her only daughter, Princess Raven’s wedding, an aging Snow White finds it impossible to share in the joyous spirit of the occasion. The ceremony itself promises to be the most glamorous social event of the decade. Snow White’s castle has been meticulously scrubbed, polished and opulently decorated for the celebration. It is already nearly bursting with jubilant guests and merry well-wishers. Prince Edel, Raven’s fiancé, is a fine man from a neighboring kingdom and Snow White’s own domain is prosperous and at peace. Things could not be better, in fact, except for one thing: 

The king is dead. 

The queen has been in a moribund state of hopeless depression for over a year with no end in sight. It is only when, in a fit of bitter despair, she seeks solitude in the vastness of her own sprawling castle and climbs a long disused and forgotten tower stair that she comes face to face with herself in the very same magic mirror used by her stepmother of old. 

It promises her respite in its shimmering depths, but can Snow White trust a device that was so precious to a woman who sought to cause her such irreparable harm? Can she confront the demons of her own difficult past to discover a better future for herself and her family? And finally, can she release her soul-crushing grief and suffocating loneliness to once again discover what “happily ever after” really means? 

Only time will tell as she wrestles with her past and is forced to confront The Reflections of Queen Snow White.

This book really surprised me, in a good way. Although I read the blurb I didn’t really appreciate that it was going to be a mature book dealing with grief and hope and not just a future continuation of a well known fairy tale. Dealing with grief has a very personal connection to life at the moment and I found Snow’s feelings about her loss very true. The use of the mirror to help her come to terms with this was inspired and I think a very powerful way to explore the process. Throughout the story we relive some of the best and worst moments of Snow’s life and I found the writing particularly beautiful. It wasn’t complex but care has been taken to use the right words to describe both setting and feelings. I was particularly shocked by the end of chapter 7 when the story included a more detailed personal memory than I had expected to read  however the writing captured perfectly an experience that was a pleasure to read. The more harsh memories however was also written well so as to capture the pain of the moment without being too gruesome. Of course what is important is how Snow deals with reliving them. In her grief she has lost her hope and strength believing it to have been down to Charming but with the mirrors help she is able to realise that within her there are still these qualities and through her daughter they can keep his memory alive and continue to live happily.  

Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Series I Want To Start

Our topic this week from The Broke and The Bookish is suppose to be Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To Get My Hands On. However at the moment I have only one series with a new book to come out  which is Shattered by Teri Terry. So instead I thought I would come up with my own topic that is similar and I am going to share the Top Ten Series I Want To Start.

    

  • Altered by Jennifer Rush
  • The Program by Suzanne Young
  • Giver, The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  • Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson
  • Life As We Knew It, Last Survivors by Susan Beth Pfeffer
  • The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
  • Pushing The Limits by Katie McGarry
  • Angelfall, Penryn & The End of Days by Susan Ee
  • The Iron Butterfly by Chanda Hahn
  • Dinner With A Vampire, The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs

    

What Series Are You Wanting To Try? Or Have You Sequels You Are Waiting For?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.   

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

Jane Eyre

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

There is something about reading a classic that fills you with an expectation that seems unreachable. I have to admit that I actually don’t know that much about what a lot of the classics are actually about and Jane Eyre was no different, it is known to me for being a really good classic rather than its story. Like with Pride and Prejudice though I was actually quite glad I didn’t know they story as I was able to enjoy its plot developing. 

I did suspect that it was a love story but I was surprised that it is autobiographical. The story is easy to split into parts. Her childhood with Mrs Reed. Her teenage years at Lowood. Being a governess at Thornfield. Living with the Rivers and returning to Mr Rochester.  From the beginning it is quite an action packed story. There is lots of things that occur that keep your interest and Jane’s strong character is interesting to experience, particularly while with Mrs Reed. When she moves to Lowood she is able to experience a better quality of company and I think this really rubs off on her. The religious beliefs of her friend in particular appear again through out the book. There was a lot of unexpected almost paranormal incidents once she moves to Thornfield. However her time there was my favourite to read about. I loved her relationship with Adele and I never suspected Rochester’s behaviours being to out Jane. To me there was a bit of The Sound of Music about the story with Jane becoming a governess and falling in love with her master. When things seemed to be working well for her and it was only just half way through the book I was sure something bad was about to happen but the truth was not what I had expected. I can’t decided if I feel her decision to run away was a good one or not but I did enjoy her time at the moor house. It was nice for her to again make friends and the story felt a bit lighter again till Johns proposal. The ending of course is a good one although the things that occurred while she was gone where extreme and unexpected. 

There were times as i often find with classics when I was just scanning the page a bit as I lost concentration but I don’t think I missed anything important and I did really enjoy the story. It was full of things to keep you turning pages and the characters were interesting, I am pleased to be a bit further in my quest to read the classics and it is getting easier with every book. 

Close My Eyes

Book Blurb

It’s been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing’s really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune – and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable – but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found…So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?

Review

I was really interested in this book as I really enjoyed Mckenzie’s more action based teenage and I felt the premise of this book may be similar to that. She did achieve a similar idea with this one although I did feel a little less of the energy she builds in her books for younger readers. I’m only really beginning to really explore more adult fiction so I’m not sure if this was done purposely however I did feel it was about the right level to go alone with the rest of the story. The book as a whole for me was OK but that’s really all. I don’t read a lot of adult fiction because I find it too everyday and although this wasn’t an normal life situation it was still approached with characters leading a life I’ve not got experience of yet. For that reason relating to the characters is more difficult and that effects my a level of enjoyment. The characters in the book were interesting though and there is a lot of suspision built up about them all throughout the story. This was what really made the book as it was really who was involved that you were reading till the end to find out about rather than what was going to happen. Throughout the book we are also given snippets of story from a child’s point of view and as the book progresses your opinion of who that child is changes. When I first read them related to the first character you initially believe them to be they seemed to build to what was going to be the action at the end of the story. The reveal however was a surprise for me at the end and although I was pleased to read the action I’d pick the book up for however the very last two pages really let the story down for me as I felt it added something unnecessary. Overall the book for me was fine, I didn’t particularly feel driven by the story but I am still glad I read it.