Monday 30 April 2012

The Awesome of Television (or Why I Have No Reviews to Post)

As you may have gathered by the lengthy title of the post, or from my incessant tweeting, I've been watching a lot of TV lately. If you follow me on Twitter, you can probably just stop here because you'll have seen it all before on there. Really, it's all I've been talking about these past couple of weeks. But I just need to talk about them, because I need to get all of my feelings out before I melt into a puddle of fangirlishness. Or something to that effect. So let us get on to the list of TV shows I've been watching (don't worry, it's not too long):

1. Game of Thrones
I first heard about GoT last April when it first starting airing. Actually, a bit before that because there were loads of people on Twitter who were really excited for it. Anyway, my mum watched it when it first aired and she told me all about it, and it kind of put me off it forever because she only really talked about the gross sex and violence. Which, to be fair, is quite a lot of it. But anyway, I thought I'd never even give it a go. But then my dad starting watching it this year and he told me to watch it, and I was like, 'y'know what, I'm 15 now. I think I can handle this shit', and so I watched it, and I was so annoyed at my 14 year old self who thought that just because it's content was a bit gratuitous, that meant it was crap. Though I don't think that my 14 year old self would've been able to cope with it.

It just works on so many levels, from story to characters to the quality of production. I never thought I'd be into something so high-fantasy, let alone have it make me want to read five 900 page long books, but Game of Thrones has accomplished all of that. 

Also, I don't think I've ever hated a character as much as I've hated Joffery before. You may have seen me on Twitter just ranting about him, but there are very few character who whenever I see their face I physically want to punch them. I don't, of course, because it's on a screen and I treasure my laptop far too much to risk it. It's just that there's absolutely nothing redeemable about him. He's just a massive arse, and he's cruel, and he can even make Sansa look pitiable and tolerable by comparison, which is quite a task. But I adore Arya and Tyrion and Dany and Jon, and they're segments if the plot have been my favourites. I know that all the other characters are really important too, and I like all of their bits too (though not THOSE kinds of bits. Jeez, get your mind out of the gutter).

The plot itself is just so clever. I never really know what's going to happen next, even though not a lot actually happens because despite everything that happens, the plot is quite meandering. But not in a bad way, in that 'I'm an epic fantasy series so everything that happens must happen very slowly' kind of way. But I like that it happens like that because it means that I can usually keep up with what's going on, so yay!

I think I'm going to have to read the books over this summer, after I'm done with my exams and stuff. See if I love them like I love the show.

2. Freaks and Geeks
I watched the entirety of Freaks and Geeks in three days. To be fair, I didn't do much else, but I still consider it kind of an accomplishment. It's pretty much the best teen TV series that I've, like, ever seen. It's just so GOOD. I don't even know what it is about it, but it just grew on me I just couldn't stop watching until I'd finished. I didn't even know that it had all of these amazing people in it, and when I saw Jason Segal and James Franco I was just like WHAT?! And as soon as I saw the opening credits (Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts) I was like, 'I am going to enjoy this series muchly.'

It's just so funny and sweet and adorable and occasionally cringe worthy, and I think that anyone who is a teenager should watch it, so that we can all be incoherent about it's greatness together.

I just loved all the characters. I can't think of a single member of the main ensemble that I didn't like, apart from Cindy. But Cindy's just a bitch. I mean, what sort of person asks how much a freaking heirloom was, as opposed to just being completely honoured that a boy actually gave you a family heirloom on their second or third date?! What a cow. But Lindsey and Sam were awesome, even though they sometimes did really stupid things (like that freaking jumpsuit. What the hell was Sam thinking?!). And I even liked Kim which really surprised me, because I was setting myself up to hate her and then she ended up being okay. I love the fact that Lindsey's main love interest was Daniel, too, because that's what you'd expect, but instead it's the nice guy! I think that Ken and Bill were my favourite out of all of them though. I mean, Bill is just adorable. How can anybody NOT love him. Seriously, he's the funniest thing I've ever seen.

What I just need now is for someone to basically write Freaks and Geeks as a YA novel or something now please, because I'm pretty sure that would make my life.

3. The Legend of Korra
Guys. Just, guys. This show. This show has already surpassed my expectations for it (which were really freaking high) in FOUR. EPISODES. Right, first off, I should probably say that if you haven't watched any of Avatar: The Last Airbender, then you should rectify that immediately. And secondly, no, it does not count if you saw the film. I refuse to acknowledge
 the fact that that film happened.

 Okay, so, the Legend of Korra is set seventy years after TLA, and Korra is the new Avatar. There's this whole revolutionary movement called The Equalists who are trying to change the fact that Benders always seem to be the one's in charge, treating non-benders like second class citizens. And obviously, they're not all too fond of the Avatar, notorious for being able to bend all four elements. Throw in a love square, awesome characters, and a beautiful animation, and you've got yourselves a winner.

One of the best things about Korra is that there is light and dark, and the world is not black and white like it's so easy to do in cartoons mainly aimed at children (though judging that the whole cast is older, one would thing that they've caught on to the fact that whole swath of people who are not children watch this show religiously). The Equalist movement is terrifying, mainly because of Amon, and what he does to Benders is awful, but it's also kind of scary how easy it is to see where they come from. While the majority of Benders that we see in the main cast of both shows are people not focused on proving authority or power over other people, but instead focus on peace, there are a lot of Benders who do see themselves as better than Non-Benders, and as such a sort of heirarchy has obviously been formed. We even see in episode four that it appears that there is no representative for Non-Benders on the Republic City Council. Amon's approach to the situation, and his cruel retaliation to how Non-Benders have been treated over the years isn't the right way to go about it, but that doesn't mean that the Equalists themselves are evil. It's not just a case of beating up the bad guys and having the Benders prevail once again, while the Non-Benders continue to suffer. Because it wouldn't stop the movement.

I just love the dark nuances and the political undertones to the story. It's such a well thought out series, and it constantly amazes me how anyone could not watch it in the basis that it's a cartoon.

Also, the setting is brilliant. They continue the world building from TLA so impeccably well, and the world has developed in such an interesting way over the 70 years between the two series. Republic City has been based on Shanghai in the 1920's, and has a really interesting mix of Asian cultures, which is one of the things I loved so much about TLA. Also, props to the creators for creating a follow up series to a TV show primarily aimed at 12 year old boys centred around a female character. But as I read somewhere, they don't care if she's a girl because she kicks ass. But not only that, she has a deeply vulnerable side too, and even though she's funny and an awesome bender and fighter, and brave as hell, she also struggles with issues like identity and responsibility. She's just so three dimensional! She is pretty much my ideal heroine, and I'd love to see more main characters like her in YA. Mako and Bolin are also really freaking great, and I adore them so much already. I love Bolin and his 'ladykilling' ways, and his joking around all the time, and I probably wouldn't mind if he and Korra got together for a bit, but I'd rather that her, Mako and Bolin formed the kind of friendship that Aang, Katara and Sokka had before anything like that happened, even though that's less likely because of the fact that they're all 16/17, whereas the old gang were a bit younger. Mako is so lovely as well, and when we get past his kind of brooding facade, he's actually pretty funny. I was surprised when I watched the most recent episode of how much he looked like Bolin. I'd never really seen it before, but there's definitely a family resemblance. If any of you watch this show, talk to me on Twitter, because I need more people to fangirl about it with, otherwise you're going to have rambly posts like this all the time because of all the feelings I have to express about it. All the people IRL are fed up of me talking about all these TV shows that they've never even heard of before.

 I just have an immense amount of love for this universe, as you can probably tell, and I'm going to stop this here because I've basically written the equivalent of a book review about four episodes of a cartoon. I should probably leave the house more.

Hm. So this post was a bit longer than I expected it to be. Sorry about that. I just have a lot of feelings.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Scarlet review

A.C. Gaughen
June 7th 2012

Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance. Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire.

Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

Well, this book was pretty darn awesome. I was expecting to like this book, but I wasn't expecting to like it this much. At first, when I started it, I thought it was just going to annoy me, because it's written in a regional dialect, but after getting used to that, it rocked. Seriously.

There were some bits that annoyed me beyond the writing style, though, so we'll get those out of the way before I get onto the good stuff, because the good stuff far outweighs the vaguely irritating stuff. Okay, so Robin and John kind of pissed me off, because they kept of treating Scarlet like some little girl that needed serious looking after, even though she'd proved on multiple occasions that she was totally capable of looking after herself, and that she wouldn't break into tiny little pieces if she got hit or anything. I get that they wanted to look after her and keep her safe and whatever, but they shouldn't have treated her so differently just because she was a girl. She was really brave and badass, and you would've thought that they'd realise that the more they tried to look after her, the more she was going to go about risking her life to prove herself to them. So, yeah. (Edit: Though this was probably because of historical context or whatever, so it made sense. And really wasn't as annoying as I was making out. So sorry about that. It's a really good book!)

Seriously, though, Scarlet was awesome as a character. I loved the fact that she wasn't cowardly or anything, even though she did, of course, get scared (and for good reason, Gisbourne is an arse.) She rarely backed down, and sometimes she was less than rational, but at the same time she was one of the smartest people in the band, and one of the most useful, which is why it annoyed me that they treated like that, Good intentions, I know, but annoying. Also, though I could tell a lot of what was going to happen and what was gonna be revealed and stuff, there was some things that surprised me. Probably because I'm really not that familiar with the story of Robin Hood. I mean, I didn't even really know who Will Scarlet was. Yeah. But now I do, so it's all good.

I didn't really like John all that much though. Even though, as far as love triangles go, it wasn't a bad one, and didn't detract from my enjoyment of the  book as they sometimes do, I didn't like the way John acted towards her. He treated Scarlet like she was one of the girls that he fools around with, and I guess that must just be because he doesn't really know how to act around girls in any other way, it still irked me how condescending he could be at times. Though I could just be reading way too much into this. I probably am just reading too much into this, actually, but as far as love and stuff was concerned, I much preferred the idea of Rob and Scarlet together. Though that being said, it was only really for the first 2/3 of the book that John irked me, and even then it was only when he was trying to flirt with Scarlet. He was pretty cool by the end of it. Rob was also pretty cool, but I felt like the romance was a little less developed than Scarlet and John, but when Scarlet and Rob were around each other, I felt like they were better suited to each other, you know?

I really enjoyed the plot, and after I got used to writing style I felt it actually added a lot to the story, and I felt a lot more like I was in medieval Nottinghamshire than if it had been written completely normally. Though it didn't  feel so stuck in the past that I couldn't connect with it at all. It just really worked well, and I loved it as a retelling. I definitely needed refreshing on my knowledge about Robin Hood, and this definitely helped me to remember. It was also a really fast read, and I had it finished in about a day, both because it was fast-paced and because I just wanted to finish it.

I feel like this review has come off pretty negatively, but that is really not the case, I assure you. Scarlet really kicked butt, and was a really quick fun read with the perfect amount of adventure and romance and excitement. I really enjoyed it :)

Tuesday 24 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Favourite Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers make lists about books and other suitably bookish things.  This week we'e doing our all time favourite characters!

So this post could definitely prove to be a tough one. I have a LOT of favourite characters. A lot a lot. More than ten. Let's how this works out, then...

1. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Okay, so I don't actually like Katniss a whole lot. Don't beat me up about it, she's not ridiculously likeable. That's something that's touched on in the books a lot. But she is a great character, and definitely has something to do with kickass heroines turning up around the place more often. Not that I mean to insinuate kickass heroines are based on her, because they're probably not, just that publishers and film makers see that it brings people in, and people want to see and read things about people who kick butt regardless of gender.

2. Tris from Divergent. Similar reasons as above, really. Also, her character development is awesome, and she's just, you know, awesome. (Cicely Wynne, Queen of Eloquent Wording.)

3. Magnus Bane from every book Cassandra has written ever. Magnus is completely fabulous, and I want him to be my friend very much so. I adore him, and nothing he did could ever make me not thing he's one of the best characters ever.

4. Tyrion Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire. I know what you're thinking, Cicely's read GoT?! When did that happen? Well, if you thought that, then you're wrong. I haven't, but I have full intentions of reading them at some point. I do, however, watch the TV show, and seeing as it's based on a book, I figured picking Tyrion would be okay. He's my favourite character in the whole of GoT, and I don't really know why. He's just brilliant.

5. Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games. I spoke about this in a lot more detail in my recent review of THG. I don't think Woody did him full justice in the film, though he gave a damn good try, but he's so full of hidden depths and pain. Just think about how much e must hurt all the time. He's not an asshole, he's just constantly suffering and needs to take whatever solace he can find. Even if it's alcohol. Everyone knows he's a good guy, really.

6. Matilda from Matilda. I think I spent a majority of my childhood wanting to be her, even if she was really, really lonely. She was a freaking genius and COULD MOVE THINGS WITH HER MIND. Ever think there's a reason I read so much? One day, I'll be telekinetic just like Matilda! (NB: Just kidding. Maybe.)

7. Sherlock Holmes from the Sherlock Holmes canon. Come on, guys, he's Sherlock Holmes! Everyone loves Sherlock Holmes! Apart from everyone because he's kind of arrogant and a druggie, but hey! I still love him ;)

8. Christian Ozera from the Vampire Academy series. So, I still haven't read the last books and I don't know if Christian goes all horrible psycho and stuff (but I don't think he will), and I love Rose and Dimka and Lissa and everything, but as I've said a lot of times, Christian is just one of my favourites. 

9. Brimstone from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I don't know if you're starting to notice a trend here, because I am... But yes. Brimstone is a great character! Full of amorality and secrets, with all the bonus of being a Chimera! Woo hoo!

10. the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. The first amoral, sarcastic talking cat I ever came across. And you know I couldn't have a post like this and *not* include an amoral sarcastic talking cat. I think that should be a bonafide character type, like Manic Pixie Dream Girl, or Mary-Sue, only they, unlike these two, should be in ALL THE BOOKS.

So yeah, for all my talking about Kick Ass heroines at the start of this post, turns out a lot of my favourite characters are horrifically sarcastic and secretly either lovely or brilliant. Or both. And characters like that are more often than not male... Well, it's interesting to me, anyway. You probably just want this to be over with. I concur.

Monday 23 April 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower review

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Stephen Chbosky
February 1st 1999
Pocket Books

Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie's letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, andThe Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.

Well, I literally sped through this book. I don't know what it was about it, because it's not like it's fast paced or action or anything, I just didn't want to stop reading it. I think I was just enjoying my time in Charlie's company, and seeing him grow and whatever. I don't know. I just really liked it.

I really enjoyed the actual  format the story was told in, as it was written as a series of letters to a person who neither we nor Charlie actually know, and who we don't even know the name of. I thought that that was a really interesting way to tell the story, and showed Charlie off as a character a lot better than if it had been written in the usual novel format. Also, it was just kind of fun and different.

I also really loved the whole tone of the book. It just felt gentle and quiet, and soft, which I guess are weird words to use when describing a book, but it just feels like the only way I can describe how it felt when I read it. It also felt kind of sombre, even though it wasn't really a sad story or anything. I know this isn't really making much sense, but I'm still kind of just getting my feelings together about it. I definitely feel like Asleep is the perfect song for it, and I desperately hope they use it in the film because it's such an important song in this book. Which brings me into talking about the music mentioned in the book, too. It wasn't, like, a music book or anything, and music isn't particularly important in it, but there are a lot of songs mentioned, particularly those on the Winter mixtape Charlie gave to Patrick, that just sort of feel like this book. And I hope they're all on the soundtrack for the film, because that'd make it even more beautiful.

Charlie was kind of a sweet character, and I really enjoyed reading everything from his perspective. The letter format, I feel, allowed for more of personality to show and you really just get a feel of who he is purely because of how it's written. His writing style is kind of simple, but not in a bad way, which makes the book easy to read, yet still somehow sounds so significant and insightful and it makes me thing that you don't always need fancy sentences to write a beautiful book, but I guess sometimes it helps. It just depends what kind of book it is, I guess!

The other characters were also lovely, and I was kind of glad that it was a book with a lot of nice people in it. Nice people that do drugs sometimes and drink a lot and whatever, but nice people nevertheless. Patrick and Sam were my favourites (of course), but I loved Mary Elizabeth a lot too, and it makes me miss reading books about just normal people every now and again. I loved the fact that Patrick was gay it wasn't a big deal, and it wasn't an issues book or anything, and I loved the fact that they loved Charlie so much, which I guess makes sense because Charlie is really one of the sweetest people you'll ever read about. All of his presents that he got people at Christmas and stuff, and everything he did was always with other people in mind and he was just lovely. Messed up, but lovely. Plus, Bill the English teacher! I almost forgot about him. My English teacher is lovely, but I still think I want one like Bill, whose more a friend than an English teacher, and he was just really nice.

Also, I thought that the twist at the end was a really interesting move on the authors part. I believe I heard that it's meant to be a bit like Catcher in the Rye, which I'll admit I've never read but certainly wish to now that I've read this. I think that the twist certainly added another dimension to a story that I just thought was going to be this boys reflection on his first year in high school. Even though it never really goes into detail about what happened, it does imply things that explain quite a lot of stuff, actually. 

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a really wonderful book. It's not especially happy and it's no especially sad, and reading this review book I'm wondering if I just didn't get the book completely, but I kind of feel that it doesn't matter because I loved it anyway, and I'm rambling, but you should definietly just read this book. It's very good.

And on that very insightful note of mine, I shall leave you with this song.

Friday 20 April 2012

Forbidden review

Tabitha Suzuma
May 27th 2010
Random House

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

I knew straight away from reading the blurb that this book was not going to end well. But I really didn't think that I'd like it as much as I did (Which I know  I literally say in every review ever now. I really must think of something new to say...) But with the subject matter it's safe to say I was a bit careful. Though now I've actually given it a go, I totally understand all the hype about it! I'll be honest, I didn't actively enjoy. It wasn't an enjoyable book to read, so if you're looking for something light and fluffy, do not read this book. It is heavy and difficult to read, not literally, but purely because of what it's about.

I was really worried that it would be a bit of a flop. Even having read all of the glowing reviews for it, I still thought that it wouldn't be that well handled and that it wouldn't really have much of an impact emotionally at all, but I was really wrong. First of all, the book itself was beautifully written, almost lyrical in places, and it really just completely swept me up into the story. I was in kind of a minor reading slump this weekend, and  started two or three different books, but as soon as I picked this one up I knew it would be different. And it kind of reminded me of Stolen in the way that it took a completely taboo relationship and turned it into something you almost wanted to root for, even though you know in the back your mind that it's something we consider to be fundamentally wrong. And even though I didn't really, really want Maya and Lochan to get properly together because they would never have been in a happy, lasting relationship, I really could never see them being with anyone else. If that makes sense.

You can really tell that Maya and Lochan grew up in a bad environment, especially Lochan, and though I didn't really actually like either of them a great deal, I still felt for them. I still cared what happened to them. I still cried at the end. I still forged an emotional connection to them even though if I knew them, I probably wouldn't be friends with them. Lochan especially was a tricky one, because he was so unstable throughout the book. One minute I thought he was nice and sweet, and the next he's just have a breakdown. I know that he was under a great deal of pressure, and that his way of living was having a huge negative impact on him, and I did think it helped to add to the books intensity, so it wasn't a bad thing being said, but it didn't help me to actively like him. It just made me feel sorry for him. And there wasn't anything wrong with Maya at all! She was just very naive towards the relationship she was instigating, and very optimistic about their chances of actually getting to stay together. She was nice, but she didn't stand out. But I think that helped to accentuate how normal she was. That even though they're in this kind of relationship, they're just normal kids. It's not like they're fetishy freaks or that they were doing anything they didn't want to. That's the main thing that twists your morals about this book. They're just normal teenagers trying to find love and be happy amongst everything else they have that sucks in their lives.

My favourite characters were Tiffin and Willa, Maya and Lochan's youngest siblings. They were just so adorable, and I really felt awful that they had to be stuck in the middle of everything. That they had to get their hopes dashed by their own mother who just kind of abandoned them. Surprisingly, I also liked Kit. He just had a bad way of coping with everything, when he's a nice kid really. I feel for him most out of everyone apart from the two main characters because of the guilt he has to live with. It must be horrible. (she speaks like they're real people, they're not.) The mother, though, was just deplorable. I know that she wasn't evil, and she had reasons and everything, but she could've at least been there. She resents their father for abandoning her with the five children she never even wanted, but then she swans off and does exactly the same thing. I just didn't have much pity for her whatsoever. And the way she just acts like their mother whenever she feels like it, when she was drunk or angry and wanted to tell them what to do, but when it came to actually being a responsible parent, she didn't give two shits. She pissed me off most in the epilogue, not that she was evenly actively in it, but I think that's the thing that got to me most. After everything, after kind of being the one responsible for what happened, she just left them. She looked after them for a while, and then she left them.

Forbidden is a dark book, and not for the light hearted, but it's also beautifully written, and takes an incredibly difficult subject and turns it into something else completely. Definitely read this if you liked Stolen, or like getting to see these kinds of things from a completely new perspective.

Tuesday 17 April 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Tips For New Book Bloggers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish where bloggers make lists about books and other suitably bookish things. This week we're doing our top tips for new bloggers! Though I really don't consider myself any kind of authority on blogging at all. I'm still not very good at it! ;)

1. Use Twitter. Or Facebook. Or whichever social networking site. Talk to other bloggers! We don't bite. Though you may have just signed up to the biggest timesuck of your life. (Queen of procrastination.)

2. Don't stress.  You're a blogger, and you blog under your own free will. If you're in a funk or feel the need to take a break, take a break! People will understand.

3. Don't be afraid to express your opinion. I'll admit, I'm guilty of this one. When I first started blogging, I was scared of having a different opinion to everyone else, and gave glowing reviews to books I didn't really love (only once or twice), but I've learnt now that honesty is the best policy and all that! People won't hate on you for not loving a book.

4. Be nice. I know I just said don't be afraid to express your opinion, but at least have the courtesy to do it politely.

5. Don't go into book blogging for the wrong reasons. If you just started a blog because you saw people getting free books and you wanted some, stop, sit in that corner over there and reflect on your actions. Most bloggers get books from publishers because they have worked hard at their blogs and toiled, and because of their love for books.

6. Read what you want. Don't feel pressured that because you usually read one type of book that you can't, like, read other kinds of books because the people on your blog might not like it. It's your blog and your space on the internet. No one can tell you exactly how to do it. Which brings me to my next tip:

7. Don't take my advice. I still don't really know what I'm doing, but that doesn't matter because I like what I'm doing, and I'm part of an awesome community and have made some great friends because of it.


9. Don't panic and carry a towel. 

Yeah, it's not 10, but as you can see from about 1 onwards I was running out of things to say ;)

Monday 16 April 2012

Blood Promise review

Blood Promise
Richelle Mead
August 25th 2009

How far will Rose go to keep a promise?

The recent Strigoi attack at St. Vladimir’s Academy was the deadliest ever in the school’s history, claiming the lives of Moroi students, teachers, and guardians alike. Even worse, the Strigoi took some of their victims with them... including Dimitri.

He’d rather die than be one of them, and now Rose must abandon her best friend, Lissa—the one she has sworn to protect no matter what—and keep the promise Dimitri begged her to make long ago. But with everything at stake, how can she possibly destroy the person she loves most?

*This review will possibly contain spoilers and will definitely include emotional outbursts*

Well, now that you've all been suitably warned, let's get on with this. I think this book has been my least favourite of the series so far (which, considering how much I love the other books, is not bad thing, and I still loved it, it's just that there was more that annoyed me in this book than there have been in the others.) First of all, Rose from about half way in until about 70 pages from the end. What the hell, girl?! (I'll come back to this in a minute). Second, Lissa and Christian (and by this I mean, not enough Christian. What? He's one of my favourite characters!) Thirdly, I kind of felt my attention wandering in places, but not in the places I thought I would.

I think that my favourite part of this book was actually the beginning. Well, just the whole first half. I thought that I'd find it a bit boring and dragging because there was no Dimitri, but this wasn't actually the case. I found myself falling in love with Russia, and more so the people Rose met there. Dimitri's family was one of my favourite things about this book, as I'd never really given them that much thought before, and they turned out being amazingly lovely. I kind of want them to adopt me a little bit. I even loved Yeva! In fact, I especially loved Yeva. Any granny who pretends not to speak English to avoid crap conversations is awesome in my books. Also, I love Abe. And not even because of the things explained in the end (though that did add to my love for him). It's just because he's one of these kind of funny, kind of terrifying people, and I don't really know why I like him actually...  I just do.

Also, I loved the new side of Adrian we saw in this book. It was interesting to get to see him act as more of a big-brother type than him just fancying Rose all the time, but that being said, I think that when Rose came back he acted really well then too, and I just think he's gotten better as a character. I loved him anyway, but I just like the way that he's acting towards everyone more now, I guess? And Jill! I love Jill! If I was anyone in this series, I would probably be Jill (unless she ends up being a bitch in Bloodlines and stuff, in which case, no.) But for the time being I think that she's pretty funny and sweet, and kind of a fangirl, but she also wants to learn to fight and stuff, which is cool. Lissa kind of annoyed me in this book, but that wasn't her fault. I'm just kind of annoyed about what happened with Christian and they MUST get back together or I will be pissed.

Okay, I think I'm ready to talk about Rose now. This'll be the most spoilery bit, so, yeah.
*inhales* Okay, Rose, what the hell? Seriously. I know that you love Dimitri more than anything and all that, but seriously? What happened to the bad ass Rose that I got to know in the first three books? Because for a lot of this book, she was pretty freaking vacant. And I know that Dimitri was all biting you and stuff, and that you were all confused. Fair enough. And I know it all lead to you being awesome in the end, it still just frustrated me to no end. You forgot everything you learned about, from the guy you love I might add, and you just kind of became a wimp. And while I think it was helpful in terms of character development and all that, it still irritated me. So we'll be having none of that again.

Rant over. Okay, I think I've vented enough about this book. I also think it was kind of stupid of me to call this a review. It's just kind of me getting angry. Sorry about that. I hope you enjoy seeing me in emotional pain because of a blooming book series. Who am I kidding, I love it all really ;)

Saturday 14 April 2012

In My Mailbox (70)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, though I've taken the liberty of doing it fortnightly :)

Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead (I had to. I just had to.)

For Review:
The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo (Looks amazing! Thank you Orion!)
Hitler's Angel by William Osborne (Thank you Chicken House! They also sent a really cool catalogue of their summer/autumn titles)

The awesome Iffath from Painting With Words lent me some books at the Sarwat Chadda launch party yesterday :D
Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece by Annabel Pitcher
Jasmine Skies by Sita Brahmachari
Thank you Iffath!

Thursday 12 April 2012

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress review

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress
Sarwat Chadda
March 1st 2012
HarperCollins Children's Books

Ash Mistry hates India. Which is a problem since his uncle has brought him and his annoying younger sister Lucky there to take up a dream job with the mysterious Lord Savage. But Ash immediately suspects something is very wrong with the eccentric millionaire. 

Soon, Ash finds himself in a desperate battle to stop Savage's masterplan - the opening of the Iron Gates that have kept Ravana, the demon king, at bay for four millennia...

Breathtaking action adventure for 8 to 12-year-olds. Ash Mistry, reluctant hero, faces ancient demons...and comes into an astonishing, magical inheritance.

Varanasi: holy city of the Ganges.
In this land of ancient temples, incense and snake charmers...
Where the monsters and heroes of the past come to life...
One slightly geeky boy from our time...

Ash Mistry is, indeed, a book that kicks butt. In fact, I'm starting to worry myself a little that I keep on enjoying these books for 11 year old boys. I think I secretly am one. But not literally, obviously. Anyway, I really need to stop going into books like these thinking they won't be my thing, because most of the time they are. But I think most books are my thing really. Okay, I'll stop rambling now.

I'll be honest with you, I wasn't really expecting this book to be as serious as it was. Like, it still had funny bits, but it wasn't a really light-hearted book, and I liked that about it because it had a nice balance between the light and dark. And some parts of it I really just wasn't expecting to come from this sort of book at all. Though it did all add up a lot to Ash becoming the person he was at the end of the book, I felt like some of it didn't have the  impact that it should have. But it all worked out it the end! Kind of... ;)

I thought that Ash was a really great character, and there was a great amount of character development. It was really good to see him go from being a scrawny gamer pre-teen to a hero, and I liked how him being able to save the world came at a price. Also, yay for good sibling relationships! I really liked how even though he found his little sister annoying, he'd do anything to save her if she was in trouble, and that saving her was a big part of his motivation for saving the world. That was pretty adorable.

One of the best parts about the book, for me, was all of the mythology. I loved learning about all of the Indian culture and each time I picked it up I felt immersed in it all. Or maybe that was just because I rarely ever read books not set in America/England and therefore get over excited when a book is set somewhere else. But I did like that it was very much based on Indian culture (though it could've all been made up for all I know about Indian culture. Which is about zero.) and that all the demons and bad guys and good guys were from Indian mythology. I also thought the whole reincarnation thing was cool, and I really liked the few flashback scenes we got of one of Ash's past lives.

Ash Mistry is an awesome read about a 13 year old boy who does literally kick the demon hordes of India back to Hell, and it's totally worth you picking up for a read.

Monday 9 April 2012

Spell Bound review

Spell Bound
Rachel Hawkins
March 29th 2012
Simon Pulse

Hailed as “impossible to put down,” the Hex Hall series has both critics and teens cheering. With a winning combination of romance, action, magic and humor, this third volume will leave readers enchanted. 

Just as Sophie Mercer has come to accept her extraordinary magical powers as a demon, the Prodigium Council strips them away. Now Sophie is defenseless, alone, and at the mercy of her sworn enemies—the Brannicks, a family of warrior women who hunt down the Prodigium. Or at least that’s what Sophie thinks, until she makes a surprising discovery. The Brannicks know an epic war is coming, and they believe Sophie is the only one powerful enough to stop the world from ending. But without her magic, Sophie isn’t as confident. 

Sophie’s bound for one hell of a ride—can she get her powers back before it’s too late?

When these guys say impossible to put down, they freaking mean it. It's been just over a year since I read Demonglass and I had completely forgotten just how fast paced and addicting these books are. I'd also forgotten how much I adore Sophie, and much I loved Archer Cross despite his being a part of The Eye. He's a good guy really. 

And when I say that I adore Sophie, I mean. I know, I know, I say this in all of my reviews of this series, but you guys need to know! She's wickedly funny, Like, every page, even in the middle of all the awful things, she still has the time to be sarcastic and make jokes and I appreciate someone who does that, and who expresses her panic by not shutting up, because I do that too! If she wasn't fictional, I would so want to be her friend. Also, lack of breakdowns! There's nothing that annoys me more than a silly little Bella-esque break down, and while there were many situations totally deserving of one, Sophie didn't. She wanted to, but she didn't for the sake of everyone she loved. Yay courage!

Archer was brilliant too. I know some people need convincing about Archer *still* (though I don't know why. He's a smart arse and has pretty hair. What else do you need from a guy) but I think this book will be enough to convince anyone to like him. I liked that while he did walk away sometimes because of certain horrible revelations made about his family, he always came back (and sometimes with back-up) to help Sophie and the gang out. Cal was also in this book a lot, and I really like him, but I never wanted him with Sophie because Sophie never really wanted him with her! And while he's a really, really nice guy, I kind of like where his love life is going now. But seriously Cal, that was NOT OKAY. NOT. OKAY. 

There was loads of revelations about The Casnoff's and the Brannicks in this book, and I really liked finding out about their backgrounds and history, and it was interesting to see this whole Prodigium thing from a different perspective. But The Casnoff's history did not excuse what they tried to do to all of those kids. Not cool, Lara Casnoff. Not cool. But one character really got my respect back for her at the end, and I was kind of shocked to see that she did that. But I take my hat off to her.

The plot, like always, was twisted and it was always tricky to know what was going to happen next. Guesswork is wasted on these books, so you may as well just give up and enjoy the ride. And get suitably shocked at each twist. It's so much fun. And I think that's the main thing about these books for me. They're just so much fun to read! And who doesn't want to read a fun book? 

Spell Bound was an excellent end to the series, and gave the perfect amount of closure (so weird reading a Hex Hall book and NOT wanting to kill anyone after the cliffhanger!) but I really do want to see more from these guys, so I can't wait for the spin-off!

Friday 6 April 2012

Vixen review

The Flappers: Vixen
Jillian Larkin
March 1st 2012
Random House Children's Books

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It’s a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can’t have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle—and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she’s engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago’s most powerful families, Gloria’s party days are over before they’ve even begun . . . or are they?
Clara Knowles, Gloria’s goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch—but Clara isn’t as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she’ll do anything to keep hidden. . . . 
Lorraine Dyer, Gloria’s social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria’s shadow. When Lorraine’s envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone’s going to be very sorry. . . . 
From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.

Vixen was a really fabulous historical novel, full of drama, scandal, romance and betrayal, and I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've never really read any books set in this time period, though I've always been interested in it, and now that I kind of know what to expect, I really must bump Bright Young Things up my TBR. 

The characters in Vixen were definitely the most interesting part, for me, I guess because they were the main focus of the novel. Well, the main characters are ALWAYS the main focus of a novel, really, aren't they... But I liked how it was done. It was great to have the story told from the three different perspectives of Gloria, Clara and Lorraine, and while I didn't really *like* them, they were fun to read about. I really liked that some of the more important scenes would be shown from more than one POV, plus it enabled the reader to know exactly what was happening when all the other character were clueless. 

I will say, though, that for a considerable amount of the book I was really only interested in Gloria's story, and her romance with Jerome than Clara and Lorraine's stories. By the latter part of the book, I was more invested in what they were up to, but it took me a longer time to warm to them, I guess. Although I think that Clara was actually my favourite character. And Lorraine was definitely interesting too, by the end of it, and I'm really interested to see where her story will go now. I think that she'll end up being an antagonist for a while, if she keeps on going the way she's going, even though she's not actually a bad person. She just wants attention, and her best friend back. Though after everything that's happened I'm not sure if she wants Gloria back as her best friend any more. I just REALLY hope she doesn't get all involved in the Mob, because that will never end well.

I thought that the historical aspect was also done really well, though I'm not exactly an expert. And by that I mean  I know pretty much zilch about the 1920's apart from jazz, flappers and speakeasies, but I didn't feel too lost with the language used and everything. Sometimes it still felt really modern, though, and for about the first 100 pages I had to keep on reminding myself that this was set in 1924, no 2000.

Vixen is a really fun historical with the perfect amounts of forbidden romance (if that's what rocks your boat), a dash of action, and enough bitchiness to keep anyone going. If you like historicals, you should make sure to check this one out.

Thursday 5 April 2012

Shadow Kiss review

Shadow Kiss
Richelle Mead
November 13th 2008

Rose Hathaway knows it is forbidden to love another guardian. Her best friend, Lissa—the last Dragomir princess—must always come first. Unfortunately, when it comes to gorgeous Dimitri Belikov, some rules are meant to be broken... 

But since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn’t been feeling right. Something dark has begun to grow in her mind, and ghostly shadows warn of a terrible evil drawing nearer to the Academy’s iron gates. And now that Lissa and Rose’s sworn enemy, Victor Dashkov, is on trial for his freedom, tensions in the Moroi world are higher than ever. 

Lying to Lissa about Dimitri is one thing but suddenly there’s way more than friendship at stake. The immortal undead are on the prowl, and they want vengeance for the lives that Rose has stolen. In a heart-stopping battle to rival her worst nightmare, Rose will have to choose between life, love, and the two people who matter most... but will her choice mean that only one can survive?

* I cannot guarantee that there won't be spoilers in this review, though I'll try to be careful. Also, I'm pretty sure you could replace every word in this 'review' with angst and it would come to have the same effect. Just warning you.

Richelle Mead is evil. She must be. Only she would end a book the way that Shadow Kiss ended, especially after all of the things that happened between Rose and Dimitri in this book. I've decided that she obviously lives in a palace made of her readers torment, and she drinks our tears as wine. That must be the only reason that she does this to us! It's cliffhangers like this, though, that make me glad I waited until all of the books are out to start reading them.

But I really never thought I would love this series as much as I do. Every time someone talked about Vampire Academy, I would sit there being all 'how can books that look like that be GOOD? They're just Twilight only longer' but then I gave in and started reading them, and how I wish I'd just thrown a copy of it into past me's face, because I UNDERSTAND now. I get it. I literally just cannot put them down! They just keep on getting better and better.

Rose kind of annoyed me in this book, though. It wasn't really her fault, I guess, and I liked the reasoning for her pretty erratic behaviour, but I'm definitely looking forward to a bit more stability in her character in the next book, if she's going to be away from Lissa for a while. But Dimitri really came into the story a lot more. Not like he hadn't already, obviously, but the romance was turned up a notch and the tension between them was stronger than ever. The only problem I really have with their relationship is that it's so intense, you know? They're so deeply in 'love' with each other because they never really get to see each other romantically that often, and there isn't really much light to their relationship as a couple. I don't really like the romance scenes between them as I do the more friendly scenes between them. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but I've made my point about super-duper intense relationships before and they irk me a little bit, is all.

I really, really liked Adrian in this book too, but still not as a love interest. Though I think as a character, I like him more than Dimitri, but I just don't buy him and Rose. Yes, I have very contradicting opinions about this series and who should be with who, but I just think that they work so much better as friends, because you can see that if they got together all of the funny banter would be gone because underneath Adrian's arrogant exterior is a delicate soul (I think this is meant to be sarcastic, but I'm still a little screwed up from reading this so I'm not really sure). Anyway, they make better friends then they would a couple. Yeah.

My favourite part of this book, though, was probably Christian. I'm pretty sure that even if he turned Strigoi (which I'm fairly sure he won't, but Richelle IS evil...) he'd still be my favourite character. There's just something about him! Plus, he was a bad ass in this book, and I loved getting to know him better, and not just through the eyes of Lissa. I'm glad that Rose and him became better friends in this book, too, because it would've sucked if they just hated each other the whole time.

But the ending! WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?! I would've rather he died because at least then he wouldn't have become the last thing he ever wanted to be! Though I guess technically he DID die, but still! Just leave me over here to angst myself to death or something.

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