Thursday 27 September 2012

Maggot Moon review

Maggot Moon
Sally Gardner
September 6th 2012
Hot Key Books

When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever present oppressive forces of The Motherland.

Friendship and trust inspire Standish to rise up against an oppressive regime and expose the truth about a planned moon landing in this original and spellbinding book.

I don't really know what I thought about this book, what to think about it now. Which probably isn't the best thing, considering I'm writing a review of it. Might actually want to get my thoughts straight. It was just a slightly confusing, weird, incredible book. It's Good-Weird as opposed to WTF-Weird, and it's a really powerful book, it's just that it's taking time for me to digest.

This is definitely the kind of book that if we'd have had to read it at school, I probably would've hated it. It's technically an easy book to read, but not as easy to fully understand, and that would've frustrated me if my sole task with would be to search for meaning more than to simply enjoy it and let the meaning seep in. Though this is a book I can easily see being used in schools, because it's really freaking good, and beautiful, and there are lots of other reasons but SPOILERS (though it's so good you really have to read it you guys)

Standish is Dyslexic, and we see the world from his perspective and, for fear of sounding like a terrible person, I thought that the spelling/grammar mistakes would annoy me, but it was actually fine, and I think made the book better. I was also surprised when I actually found myself liking Standish, as well. Not because he's Dyslexic, but just because I don't usually get male characters as well, and I think that this is a fairly male book. There isn't a romance (or so I say, but there kind of is and it's PERFECT AND SO HEARTBREAKING YOU GUYS), and there's only really one female character that plays a key role in the plot, so I thought I just wouldn't enjoy it. And in a way, I didn't enjoy it, because it's kind of a tough book to read. It's quite upsetting in places, and you may be looking at the cover thinking it looks a bit like it might be for 8-12 year olds, but it really isn't, unless they're mature for their age. That's really my main issue with the book - that it looks like it's for a younger audience than it is.

(obvious paragraph is obvious. If you look at the blurb on her site, it says alternative 1950's Britain. I don't do my research.) I also think that the society and the whole sci-fi aspect of Maggot Moon is really interesting. It's completely different from anything I've read before, and I definitely wouldn't classify it as a dystopian (which I'd kind of thought it was). It's more like a 50's/60's Space Race, Conspiracy Theory, Totalitarian government book. You know, that wildly popular genre. To me (and I could be completely wrong, so take what you will from it) it felt almost like a pseudo-Nazi regime, because there's a lot of stuff about Purity, and the Motherland and it isn't a Nazi book so don't be put off by my view of it, but after having studied Nazi Germany (only at GCSE level, I'm not a bleeding expert) it definitely came across like that. Though it wasn't. I don't know. JUST READ IT. I'M NOT GOOD AT EXPLAINING THINGS.

*Takes a deep breath* Sorry that this is so short, but it's difficult to talk about it without accidentally ruining anything for you. It's a not a super twisty plot, but it's a slow burner and you start off knowing next to nothing about Standish or the world he lives in, and you don't find out that much more about it thoughout the book. You never really find out the cause of how this regime came into power, but at the same time it isn't important, mostly because I don't think Standish really knew how. History is written by the victors, and all that. All that matters is that Standish knows that it's not right.

There was also this series of illustrations throughout the whole book that told a whole story of it's own. There's this rat and this fly, and it was really gross, but kind of fitting really. I feel like it's probably metaphorically important to the plot and the theme of the book, but I haven't figured that one out yet. I only finished the book today, guys! These things take time to ponder. They do add something aesthetically to the book, though, in a weird way, because even though it's kind of gross and made me feel all eugh to look at in places,  it just works.

Maggot Moon was just really good. But it's one of those that I didn't really know if I liked it or not until I finished it, and then realised that I'd thought it was amazing the whole time. It's kind of a weird one, and I don't think everyone will like it, but it's a really beautiful story and it made me cry and I want to give to everyone to read so that I can talk to them about the ending without spoiling anything for them.

Monday 24 September 2012

Falling to Ash review

Falling to Ash
Karen Mahoney
September 27th 2012
Corgi/Random House

You can’t choose your family... living or dead.

Trapped between two very different worlds, newly made vampire Moth is struggling to find her place in either. Not only does she have to answer to her strict Irish-Catholic Dad, but her over-protective maker, Theo, is intent on making her the star attraction in his powerful Boston vampire clan. Moth will have to pull off the double-act of the century to please both of them...

Adding to her problems is the dangerously attractive Jason Murdoch, a trainee vampire hunter who loves to play cat and mouse in his spare time (Jace = cat; Moth = mouse). But when the teenagers of Boston’s wealthiest families start to disappear, it forces Moth and Jace into an uneasy truce. Will they be able to solve the mystery behind the disappearances—before someone winds up undead?

Before you start rolling your eyes at the word vampire, hear me out. I'm going to give you cynics more reason than just the beautiful cover to read this book. It's not a new take on vampires, but to be honest with you, I prefer my vamps just like your bog-standard vamps, because it's when people start making their own drastic twists on these things that really kind of grate on me. It feels more like an urban fantasy than anything else, as well, which I really enjoyed because I don't read enough urban fantasies these days, and I prefer them infinitely more to paranormal romance (and yes, they so ARE different, even if they're both still YA).

A lot of my enjoyment of this book was because I just loved Moth. I really need to read the short stories about her, because she's just so cool. I saw her described around the interwebz as being like Buffy, but if Buffy were a vampire, and I cannot agree more. She's a badass for a fairly new vamp,and she definitely utilized her vampy strength. She was a bit needy at times, but she admitted it to herself so it didn't really bother me. Besides, I think it would've annoyed me more if she wasn't, and wasn't still a bit messed up from being turned, because then she just wouldn't have felt real. That was the thing about Buffy, not that she was a badass, but the she was a badass with a heart and all the other things you need for a good character. (Not that badassness is key to having a good character- that's not true.)

I actually really liked the relationship situation, as well. It took me a while to warm to Jace because it felt a bit like he was being so blatantly set up as the love interest that all I could ascertain about him was that Moth was seriously lusting after him, but after I got past the hundred page mark, we started to see a lot more of Jace (no, it's not THAT kind of book!) and he became so much more that just the love interest, and I'm actually really glad it ended the way it did because after everything that happened to him in the big finale fight, he really needed to take a break. But I am very looking forward to the next book and seeing how things happen between him and Moth.

I wasn't too keen on Theo at first. As soon as centuries old vampires start calling people 'my child' or whatever, my creeper alert starts a-flashing. Seriously, centuries old vampires, it is NOT cool or sexy and you're just not doing yourself any favours. I did grow to like him quite a bit though, and if everything had gone as Kyle had wanted it, I would've been really bummed. I really hope that him and Moth sort stuff out, because I think that they're relationship is really interesting, though realistically, it'd probably be better for both of them if they just, well, stopped.

The vampire mythology in this book was really good, too, because it wasn't overly-complicated, and yet it still managed to make itself feel different enough from other vampire books that I've read (though admittedly, I haven't really read that many. Vampires are not my favourites. It's the bloodsucking - it's just so GROSS.) I really liked the vampire families, and I hope we get to see more of them in the next book. I really want Holly to be in it more! I feel like we definitely didn't get to see her enough even though she's Moth's roomie. I did really like the focus being of Caitlin and Moth's human family, too, though, and I hope that Caitlin is still in it a lot. I'd like to see more of the Vampire heirarcy in the next book as well. I thought that the structure of it was pretty interesting, and I want to see some of the higher-ups.

Falling to Ash is a really great first book in what I think is a duology, and I really just want to read more about her. If you're curious about it, for the book's release there's a webcomic that's being updated every Monday and Friday, so do please check it out! It's really great :) 

Sunday 23 September 2012

Letterbox Love #19

Letterbox Love is the UK's version of IMM, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking :)

For review:
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (about a million and one people have now told me to read this book. I figured it's about time I actually got around to it! The series just got republished with new covers, so I thought I'd take the opportunity! Thank you Random House!)
On The Day I Died by Candace Fleming (I have never heard of this before, but it looks like it'll be a quick read! Thanks again, Random House)
Possessed by Kate Cann
Fire by Kate Cann
Witch Crag by Kate Cann
Leaving Poppy by Kate Cann (These were all a lovely surprise from Scholastic. I've never heard of the books or the author before, but I think that Wicth Crag is the newest, and the rest have just been repackaged. They look like they'll be fun and a bit creepy, anyway! That's the best thing about October releases.)

Thursday 20 September 2012

Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy review

Cross My Heart And Hope To Spy
Ally Carter
October 2nd 2007
Orchard Books

Cammie Morgan is back, and it's clear that her life hasn't calmed down since the events of I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You. At first, giddy anticipation is in the air. Gallagher Academy, Cammie's elite spy school, is hosting a visit from a covert training center for boys. Soon after the boys' arrival, though, everything goes dangerously awry when a series of security breaches are discovered at the academy. Worse yet, teenage agent-in-training Cammie is being blamed for the penetration. With the school's top-secret status at risk, the Gallagher Girls have to work quickly to save their beloved school.

Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy was everything I wanted from the second book in the Gallagher Girls series and more. It was fun, exciting and started to hint at the darker tone I think these books will start to have. Also, there's a new interest and I WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE OF HIM PLEASE ALLY THAT WOULD BE GOOD.

Sorry, I'm just freaking out about Zach because after boring Josh who had all the personality of a soggy biscuit, Zach was kind of awesome. It still didn't feel like there was much different about him than a lot of YA love interests, but let's face it, they're all a bit samey these days anyway. I quite like the saminess, really, because I'd rather have bog-standard Snarky-Hot-Funny-Nice-Guy than, say, a murderer or something. And I still love them, regardless, so it's all good. Besides, Zach definitely has some mystery to him, what with the whole Blackthorne thing! What the hell are they? There better be a good explanation, because if it turns out that they're just the same as the Gallagher academy (which is said to have the best curriculum in the world) and they're better at being spies than the girls, then I will be really pissed off. There were a lot of times that I really just wanted Cammie to dropkick him or something to stop him from being such a douche all the time. Damn you, sexual tension! (I'm just kidding. You youngun's have as much sexual tension as you want.) 

Now I feel like we're really starting to get into the thick of the story. I think that they're all kind of standalone-ish, but with an overarching plot, so it's good to see that get started. After reading this, the first book felt a bit like a Pilot. Nothing happened in it to affect the rest of the books that much, apart from the stuff with Josh. This book felt like it had a lot more actual Spy action in it, which was really great because I like the spy parts a lot. I know I said this already, but it made me kind of sad that the first book was all about Cammie not really wanting to be a spy. I feel like we're either going to see her really start to embrace the spy lifestyle, or really start to hate it. Though I am SO freaking glad that the new guy is also a spy so we can get that whole gimmick of Pretending-Not-To-Be-Spy thing out of the way. If Josh had been the LI for the whole series, I don't think I'd be half as interested in it.

I'm really starting to like Cammie a lot now, as I feel we're starting to get to see more of her as a character. She's starting to become a lot more three dimensional than the person we saw in the first book.(Not that she wasn't realistic or anything, it's just that we really only saw glimpses of the serious Cammie). There was still a lot of humour, though, which I enjoyed even if sometimes it either fell a bit flat or felt a bit forced. There were times around Zach that I thought Cammie acted rather stupidly for a girl who goes to a school for Spy Geniuses, but that was really my only problem with Cammie in this book.

I'm still annoyed that there hasn't really been any real threat yet. In both these books, the big finale scene has always been a test, and we're never really that worried for the characters, and there isn't a bad guy. I need a bad guy! I need an evil group of spies who are evil and do evil things and make everyone's life hell, and I don't care if it's lame or stereotyped, I just need an actual threat and fast. And after peeking through some of the next 3 books (what?! I had to check if Zach was still around...) and I think there definitely will be some really bad stuff happening to Cammie and her friends in the next few books.

Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy is a really great second book, that feels like we're really starting to get into the series now, and I don't think it'll be long until I start reading the next 3. And the Heist Society books. What can I say? I'm hooked.

Monday 17 September 2012

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You review

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You
Ally Carter
April 25th 2006
Orchard Books

Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it's really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she's an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real "pavement artist"-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her? 

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she's on her most dangerous mission-falling in love.

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You (hereafter referred to as The Book (I like long titles, but there is a limit)) was exactly what I needed to read. I've been reading The Road for English Lit, and it is the bleakest book I have ever read in my life, and This Book was the antidote for it. It's been weeks since I last read a proper, fun, YA book (Harry Potter doesn't count), and I just really, really enjoyed it. It's not an amazing book, but it was a really fun start to the series, and who can say no to a bit of Teen Spy Action?

What I don't really get, though, is the comparisons to Harry Potter. Yeah, it's set in a boarding school which the normal folk aren't allowed to know about. That's about the only similarity I can think of. What it really brought to mind, for me, was St Trinians, and I don't even think that that's because I watched it while I was reading The Book. It's an all girls academy, it's a bit unorthodox (well, maybe not THAT unorthodox, but you see the point I'm making) and it's awesome in that relentlessly fun kind of way. (I don't know if you can tell, but I WANT TO GO TO GALLAGHER ACADEMY AND BECOME A SPY WHY ARE ALL THE GOOD PLACES FICTIONAL *WAILS*)

I wasn't entirely sure how I'd feel about this book, mostly because I'd started it once a while ago (which reminds me, I have a spare copy of it now! Giveaway?) and I didn't get that far into it before putting it down, but I was either in the wrong frame of mind for it or judged it prematurely, because I liked it a lot more this time around. I also wasn't that sure about it because of the whole SuperSpy Girl Cares More About Boy Then Being A SuperSpy, but it really wasn't. Though I'm still glad it ended the way it did because (spoiler) Josh was SO BORING  seriously. I'm so excited about the new love interest though! (yes I am on the second book. Why do you ask? (spoiler over).

Cammie was a really great character, because I could relate to her Chameleon-ness. I also liked that even though her friends were pretty, or really clever, she didn't always lament the fact that she wasn't as pretty as them. I understand that sometimes that's the case, but seriously, if all a character does in spend their time being insecure with people they love and trust, and who find themselves being jealous of them all the time, then that's a character that I don't want to know. I thought that her, Bex and Liz (and even Macey) was probably the more important part of the book, because even though Josh was nice, he was just so bland and I really didn't care that much for him. Also, I just really like seeing close friendships in books. But you know that already. Oh, and I loved the fact that Macey was actually okay! I was fully prepared for her to be some horrible person to Cammie and the gang, but she was really great, and I think we're going to see a lot more from their friendship too. 

Even though this book had it's serious moments, it was mostly just super cool (pretty unrealistic) spy/romance fluff. And it was exactly what I needed. I think I'm really going to like the Gallagher Girls books.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Letterbox Love #18

Letterbox Love is the UK's version of IMM, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking :)

For review:

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner (Excited about this one! I love Sally, so it should be really good. Thank you Hot Key!)
Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney (I really like her other series, and I love the sound of this one, too! Plus the cover is super pretty. Thank you, Random House!)

Thursday 13 September 2012

Fahrenheit 451 review

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
A Long, Long Time Ago (1953)
I Don't Even Know (Harper Voyager (this edition, anyway))

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. 

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear, and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. 

When Mildred attempts suicide, and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life. 

First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.

This is another one of those 'reviews' that can't really be called a review because I have no idea how to actually review review a modern classic. There's a reason I never wrote about Gatsby or Slaughterhouse 5 when I read them on here, and I think that's probably because I'm really insecure about my ability to understand these kinds of books on the deeper level that they're meant to be understood. I really enjoyed Gatsby, but I couldn't tell you anything about what it actually means, and I guess I just really don't want to look like I'm stupid, or that I've misunderstood. But this isn't an analysis of the text, this isn't meant to be me talking about what it means, and quoting it, and looking way too much into why he used the words he used and all that rubbish. I have enough of that in school (and I actually really enjoy it, but only when somebodies started me off). This is just meant to be me telling you how I actually, personally felt about the book. So. I should probably get on with that now.

I really liked this book. I feel like we should start off there, because that's the only that that, at the minute, I really know that I feel about it. It was just so completely differently to what I usually read (sounds a bit obvious, I know, but sometimes I forget how different books about adults are compared to books written about teenagers. Though it could be argued that there are some similarities in themes because Montag is suddenly shown this new way of seeing the world by Clarisse, and he has to adjust to this sudden new way of thinking, and this new person he's becoming who's so different from the person he was but a week ago, and the whole rebellion thing, with him starting to take an interest in the books he's spent his life destroying. I'm not going to be the person to argue it though.)

It feels like it had a more obvious message than other modern classics that I've read, but I guess that's because it's a whole different genre (yeah, Slaughterhouse is kind of sci-fi-y, but I'll be dead before I make head or tail of that book. So it goes.) The middle section of the book was probably the most difficult for me to relate to, because a lot of it was just Montag getting angry at his wife/Beatty or Faber talking about why books were really being burned now, as opposed to the false history Beatty had previously given. It felt like the least subtle part of the book to me, which I guess shouldn't really be a problem given the fact that usually the deeper meaning of these kinds of books go straight over my head, but it did at times feel clunky, and like there hadn't been much to prompt this change in Montag apart from Clarisse spouting stuff about actually talking to people and tasting the rain, ect. It definitely would've been a bigger issue for me, though, if there wasn't such a beautiful use of language.

That being said, though, I often felt like it was too much at once. Too much packed into such a short book. But then you'd never get any of the intensity of the book. And it feels intense, at times, it really does. Particularly in the last third of the book. It's just that such an intense use of language and punctuation (so many exclamation marks!) and character is used that it takes a while to adjust to, and after you have adjusted to it you've already finished the book. If I was writing this as an essay opposed to as a Rambly-Cicely-Has-All-The-Thoughts type of thing, I would probably relate the intensity of the language to whole fire theme of the book; that it's like the intensity of the flames as they lash out and at first burn books, but then burn people (spolier alert!). But I'm not going to. At least not any more than that, anyway. *Takes off the Almighty Hat Of Pretensions*

It's really weird for me, reading a book full of people that I cannot relate to, and I think this is my main issue with adult books as a whole. Not the fear of not understanding, but the fact that I have such a different mindset and lifestyle to these people, and that they're not going through the things I'm going through, and feeling the things that I'm feeling. It's a great comfort, when you're a teenager, to read about other teenagers who are like you and end up okay. With these kinds of books it's a completely different experience, and that's why it always takes me a bit longer to read them. The other thing with the characters is that sometimes they come across as not being characters, but acting as a metaphor. This I found especially with the main female characters: Clarisse and Mildred. Clarisse is obviously meant to represent the time before this dystopian future, and people who embrace the idea of having conversations and thinking and actually experiencing being alive, whereas Mildred is meant to be the reality of people in this future. Someone who believes that she is happy because she constantly ignores any real problems she has by shutting them out and spending time with the 'family'. It's really odd having the two-dimensionality of the characters in the face of the three-dimensionality of the world that's been built, and the way in which society and the media has been represented. (I don't actually know what I'm talking about now. I'm just making it up as I go along, really.)

Now that I've gotten to the point at which I'm spouting pretentious nonsense, I think it's time for me to finish this up. I'll try and review more classics (if/when I read them) though I can't guarantee that they'll be any better than this, of course. It was just a bit of an experiment. But I did genuinely really enjoy Fahrenheit 451, and I feel like it's one of those that I'll understand and enjoy much more as I get older. (I was going to make a pun here, but it didn't really seem to fit the whole theme of this post. Felt a bit out of place.)

Monday 10 September 2012

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire review

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J. K. Rowling
July 8th 2000

Fourteen-year-old Harry Potter joins the Weasleys at the Quidditch World Cup, then enters his fourth year at Hogwarts Academy where he is mysteriously entered in an unusual contest that challenges his wizarding skills, friendships and character, amid signs that an old enemy is growing stronger.

It's been a whole month since my last Harry Potter review! Nearly! Did you miss it? I know you did. How could you not miss your favourite idiot rambling on about some of the best Children's books in the universe. Or maybe actually THE best. I haven't decided yet. We'll reach that verdict once I've finished book 7 (of which I have already planned the first line of my review. Yup.)

I can't decide if I liked Goblet of Fire more than Prisoner of Azkaban. I think I like them equally at the minute, but at this point in the series is where we really start to see the differences between the books and the film. In the first three it was relatively small things, maybe a couple of chapters, but there was loads in this book that they missed out in the film! I really liked getting to see all of the extra detail that gets missed out, and I'm still kicking myself that I took until bloody NOW to read them. I am a bonafide fool, and I give you my permission to shun me. 

I feel like we get a better sense of who the characters are in this book, which sounds a bit stupid, but I mean that we start seeing more of them than just, like, children's book characters. They're starting to have light and dark, and have romances and feel jealousy, and I'm starting to see them all as much more three dimensional people. I still kind of feel that the Slytherin's are getting a bad rap. Everybody in the whole entire universe knows that Crabbe and Goyle (and Malfoy, really, but I'm witholding judgement for  him) and Pansy are douchebags, but there must be some decent people in Slytherin, too. The fact that they have the highest number of people who become dark wizards doesn't mean that they're the 'Evil' house. Then again, we see everything from Harry's point of view, and let's face it, Harry's a bit bias. But there must be douchebags in Gryffindor and Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, too. These are just minor niggles, though.

We also start to get a sense of the bigger picture in this book, not that Voldey's back and isn't just a weird creepy baby thing that Wormtail brings around with him. And even though we do get a bigger sense of the actual threat that Harry's facing, it feels the most standalone of them all. It's a whole story of its own, that isn't just about Harry and Voldey. It's about Harry and the Triwizard Tournament, which is kind of a big freaking deal if you're a wizard. But I did enjoy the implications at the end of the book about what's going to happen in the next three, especially with Snape.

I thought Hermione and Ron were both really great in this book. I kind of wish they'd just had the S.P.E.W badges or something in the film. That would've been a nice touch. I thought it was really sweet, although a tad grating, all of er campaigning for the rights of House Elves (who don't really want it), and a nice nod to what she ends up doing as a job. I also liked that we got to see Ron being jealous, and he definitely felt like a teenager in this book. I completely get his jealousy of Harry, because if I had 7 brothers, all of whom I considered better than me, and a best friend who was, well, HARRY FREAKING POTTER, I'd be jealous too. And the whole Krum-Hermione (or Herm-own-ninny) thing was completely underplayed in the film. They made it out like it was just a Yule Ball thing, but it lasted way until the end of the book! (Though let's not forget about the cheeky (literally) kiss you gave Harry before he left, Hermione.) I still don't understand how it was always meant to be Harry and Hermione though. Even if I hadn't have seen the films and been familiar with the story, it's been obvious to me that Hermione and Ron have had a thing since book 2. Even more so now after the whole Krum debacle! Just admit that you like her, Ron. Just. Bloody. Admit. It.

This is still the darkest book so far. The whole plot with Barty Crouch Jr Polyjuicing into Mad-Eye Moody and sabotaging Harry in the tournament was pretty dark. And, obviously, the scene with Voldey and the Death Eaters (my new Wrock band) (not really) in the graveyard. It'd never really bothered me that much in the film, but I really didn't like it when Wormtail cut his hand off. I don't know why... It just made me cringe a bit. And I feel like we're starting to see another side to Dumbledore, too. I feel like he isn't as present in the books as he is the films, and when we have seen him, he's usually been his quirky, old-man self, and I feel that it's only now that Harry's starting to realise that this man has a past, and he is just so much more that Harry ever imagined, and maybe not all of that is this pure, righteous good that Harry seems to think he possesses. 

Goblet of Fire is probably my joint favourite out of the first four Harry Potter books, and I'm really looking forward to reading Order of the Phoenix, though that might not be  for a while because a) I don't know where it is and, b) it took me a week to read Goblet of Fire, and Order is about 200 pages longer that that, so... Yeah.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Letterbox Love #17

Letterbox Love is the UK's version of IMM, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking :)

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy by Ally Carter
Don't Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter
Only The Good Spy Young by Ally Carter
Out of Sight, Out of Time by Ally Carter
Heist Society by Ally Carter
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter ( I won all of these from the awesome Cait at The Cait Files! All but two of them are signed, as well! So cool. Thank you so much Cait and Orchard Books!)

Thursday 6 September 2012

Sorry, Guys

But I think I'm going to have to become an even more unreliable blogger. You may be wondering how that is even possible, considering I barely even post three times a week, but I just started doing my A levels and I think that I'm soon going to be drowning under a shit ton of history essays, English coursework and revision for exams I'm not going to be taking for months. 

So, yeah, I don't know how much time I'll be getting to read and blog and do all the other stuff that I like doing (though I sincerely hope it's more than all of my teachers keep on telling me), and considering I was only posting two reviews a week when I was doing absolutely nothing with my life, it's not looking good. 

Just a brief warning for what could be a lot of breaks and infrequent posts over the next two years! But maybe me being more organised for college will mean that I'll start being more organised on the blog, too. Swings and roundabouts.

Monday 3 September 2012

Falling Fast review

Shameless Self Promotion alert! The awesome UKYA website does a series of people's Top Ten UKYA, and mine is on there today! Here's the link if you want to take a peek :)

Falling Fast
Sophie McKenzie
March 1st 2012
Simon & Schuster

When River auditions for a part in an interschool performance of Romeo and Juliet, she finds herself smitten by Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. But Flynn comes from a damaged family—is he even capable of giving River what she wants? The path of true love never did run smooth . . . 

This is real life, not a rehearsal...

Falling Fast is a cute, quick read that I enjoyed, but that didn't really have any lasting impact on me. It also annoyed me a bit, but I think that that's just because I couldn't really connect with either of the main characters. Still, I thought it was okay, and it was just the kind of book I was in the mood for, so.

I kind of wish that I'd liked this book more, because I think that a lot of the problems I had with it were things that no one else really was that bothered about. In fact, I wish I had more feelings about it, because  I'm really struggling to write this review. I just can't think of that much to say... I haven't read any of Sophie's books before, but I know that her other series is meant to be really good, so I'll have to read those and see if they have any more of an impact on me.

The main barrier for me in this book was River and Flynn themselves. I just didn't get them. I didn't understand her need for this big, Romeo + Juliet 'die for you' love. And even if I did, I didn't understand why she would want it with Flynn. I think that River's a Fixer, though. She's one of those people who likes to be with people who are a little bit broken, and who think that their intensity is them being romantic. And though I wish it'd been a different kind of love interest, or a different kind of story, I also think that it's the only kind of relationship that River would be happy with. I just personally don't understand it myself. Then again, I have friends who want to be like R+J, too, so it's not like it's unrealistic. Everybody wants something different, and even if I don't like it, doesn't mean that I should make a big deal out of it.

But I really didn't like Flynn. I get that he's ad a bad life, but he's so unstable it's ridiculous. He has so many issues that River is never going to be able to fix, as much as she wants to. He doesn't need a girlfriend, he needs freaking counselling. And his mood swings were really bad, too. One minute he'd be fine, and the next he'd be shouting at River or just storming off, like he was blaming her for saying things that she had no clue were sensitive topics for him. I know that he doesn't want to be that way, but that doesn't change the fact that if he doesn't start sorting his issues out, then they're probably going to end up it a kind of abusive relationship. NOT GOOD. I don't know if this is just a standalone, or if it's going to be a series or have companion novels, but I do hope that the end wasn't, y'know, the END end. I'd like to see a little more development that isn't them kind of ignoring any issues they have.

But, I'm one of the only people that had these problems with it, and I'm probably reading too much into it anyway (I think that it was kind of the point of the book, and wasn't done in an unintentional way like it is when it pisses me off most, so it didn't annoy me as much as it usually would), so if you're into comtemps and are looking for something that won't take up much of your time to read, then you should read this. I actually really liked the whole idea about them meeting at the play (it sounds a bit cheesy, I know), but I liked the fact that River was cast as Juliet, and I liked that River was kind of shy and  not snarky all the time, because I love me some snark, but sometimes I need a break from main characters that are so witty all the time. It makes me jealous that I can't come up with comebacks that sharp and funny in seconds like they can. Not that I ever really have much of a use for comebacks, but still, it'd be nice.

I also really liked River's friends, Emmy and Grace, but that's probably because I definitely would've taken their side on the who Flynn thing. And, like them, I would've dropped it in the end because I wanted to see my friend happy even if I didn't really like who they were going out with. I liked how they stayed good friends with River, even if there were some times where it looked like there might be a rift forming. I liked how Emmy went with River's plan at the end of the book (even if it was an AWFUL idea), and seeing them all actually stay friends by the end of the book. 

Falling Fast was a sweet, fast read, and even if I couldn't really get on with the main characters, I do still think it's worth checking out if you're in the mood for something easy and romantic to read.

Sunday 2 September 2012

Letterbox Love #16

Letterbox Love is the UK's version of IMM, hosted by the lovely Lynsey at Narratively Speaking :)

Losing Lila by Sarah Alderson (Really excited about this! Thank you Bella from Cheezyfeet Books for this :D)

Soul Fire by Kate Harrison (Thank you Indigo for this! Really enjoyed the first one, so I'm looking forward to this one!)

Naked by Kevin Brooks (I've been meaning to buy a finished copy of this since I read it, just because it's one of my favourite books, and I needed a copy of it on my shelf.)
Now is Good by Jenny Downham (I'm really annoyed that I had to get the Movie tie-in edition of this book, but I'm still looking forward to reading it. Want to try and read it before the film comes out, so I can get all my crying out for about a year...)

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