Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Fiktshun's Soul Screamers Reading Challenge: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

 Synopsis (From the Waterstone's Website)

Being a teenager just got much more complicated. There is something very wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh: she senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally. Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next.

What I Have To Say

 The thing I think I love most about this book is how realistic the characters are. I like how damaged Kaylee is. Here's a main character who's been struggling with a  condition which she doesn't know anything about and as a result is being treated for mental health issues. She doesn't just live out a normal existence until one day she finds out that she has special powers. No, Kaylee has known that there's something different about her for her entire life and has suffered the consequences of this, with noticeable side affects. 

And what's more, she doesn't hide that much of her problems from those around her. Although, there aren't many people to hide if from and she does have to conceal some stuff once she finds out what is actually different about her. But mostly this is something that can't be hidden from those close to her (the screaming is a bit too much of a loud reaction to be able to hide). And because of this Kaylee has suffered. She's been institutionalised and strapped down with padded straps and she has the scars to prove it! 

It's just too common these days for characters to go through hell and then just walk away unscathed. Not that it's that much of a bad thing in a book. I think most people can enjoy books that don't have realistic features of trauma. But it's really good to get a book where there are characters who do have that kind of depth and reaction. 

Another thing I like is that all of this has happened in the past. I think a lot of authors feel that if something dramatic happens it has to be included in the book. It's good to have a story where they refer to it when we haven't seen it happen. And in such little ways too. Ways like just having the character shaken and afraid from someone holding her wrist. 

So I think this is the thing that I'm taking away from this book. The characters. It's really good depth. Rachel Vincent is an amazing writer and she writes Kaylee well. 

Next month I'll mention whether or not My Soul to Save keeps up this realism. Don't let me forget! 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Synopsis (from the Waterstones Website )

Now you know why you are drawn to me - why your flesh comes creeping to mine, and what it comes for. Let it creep. From the dark heart of a Victorian prison, disgraced spiritualist Selina Dawes weaves an enigmatic spell. Is she a fraud, or a prodigy? By the time it all begins to matter, you'll find yourself desperately wanting to believe in magic.

What I Have to Say 

 I'm not a big fan of ghost stories. I get scared too easily and then can't turn off the lights at night. It was a problem as a kid, but now I can just amuse myself until the sun comes up and then sleep then. 

Insomnia has brought me a lot of things, one of them being the ability to read ghost stories without it being a problem. And I'm glad, because if I still couldn't read ghost stories, I'd never have found the beautiful writing of Sarah Waters. 

It can get really spooky in parts but in a good way and you really feel for the characters. So if you like lyrical prose and ghost stories then this book is for you.  

And this is the last of my catch up posts. From now on it's all books that I've read since making this blog! Hope you've enjoyed my posts so far and continue to do so in the future. Leave a comment! :) 

Monday, 23 January 2012

City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

Synopsis (from amazon.co.uk)

Set in Talia, a parallel world very similar to 16th-century Italy, the narrative follows Lucien, who in our world is very ill. Given a marbled notebook to use as a diary, the notebook is the unexpected means that transports Lucien to this dangerous new world; a world that thrills to the delight of political intrigue and where a life can be snuffed out with a flash of a merlino blade.

 What I Have to Say 

This is the first book in the wonderful Stravaganza series by Mary Hoffman. I first read this book when I was pretty young. I fell in love instantly with both the world that she had created and with the city of Venice, though I fear that when I do finally get to Venice (which should be soon \o/) it will be a disappointment in comparison to the beautiful city of Bellezza that Hoffman describes.  I just love the world she's created too much.

The series is still going and the next book in the series is due to come out this year. Go and check it out. There's time to read the books so far before the next one comes out.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

Synopsis (from the Waterstones Website)

There is a fire and they are in There. They are in there ...Black smoke stains a summer blue sky. A school is on fire. And one mother, Grace, sees the smoke and runs. She knows her teenage daughter Jenny is inside. She runs into the burning building to rescue her. Afterwards, Grace must find the identity of the arsonist and protect her family from the person who's still intent on destroying them. Afterwards, she must fight the limits of her physical strength and discover the limitlessness of love.

What I Have to Say 

My mum recommends me a lot of books. She the one who told me to read Sister by the same author, which I still haven't read >< sorry mum! But I do know now that it's one to look forward to reading.

With Afterwards, she brought me a copy and didn't let up until I read it. I'm really glad she did because I really loved it. So now I'm doing the same to you and if I could I'd buy you all a copy and bug you until you've read it. Alas I'm a poor uni student and can't afford it.

It's got that need to read thing going for it, which I think is really good in a book because it means you care about the characters. Also, it's a really cool idea. It's sort of supernatural, but at the same time it isn't.

Anyway, trust me. It's a brilliant story. Go read it! Yes, right now! I'm watching you >.>

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fiktshun's Soul Screamers Reading Challenge

So just another quick update to let you guys know that I'm going to be doing the Soul Screamers reading challenge. I read the first book a while back and really liked it but haven't gotten around to reading the rest so now I'm going to.

I need to reread get the first book from my parents house so it'll be a couple of weeks until the review of it comes up. When I start doing the reviews I'm going to post them up separately to my normal reviews so there will still be a weekly review alongside the reviews of the Soul Screamers books.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Synopsis (From The Waterstones Website) 

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel had prepared herself to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs...for now. Two years later, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means) Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours kept at bay with a constant chemical assault. 

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and to Hazel’s surprise interested in her. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.
What I Have to Say 

I am breaking what little routine that this blog has for this book. Normally I wouldn't post up a review this soon after reviewing a book by the same author. And I apologise profusely for posting on a Tuesday after promising to only post on Mondays :P I'm also writing this directly into the blog post box thingymy rather than writing it out by hand first, which is what I usually do. But it is important to me to write this review and post it up now on the day it's out, on the day I've brought it and a few minutes after I have finished reading it.

Normally, books such as this don't appeal to me. It's not that I don't like books about cancer sufferers, it's just that I probably wouldn't pick one up in a bookshop. So it was only really because it written by John Green that made me so excited, excited enough to go to Waterstones this morning worried that they wouldn't have it in stock (I screwed up the amazon order so I had to hope that it would be in stock). 

Anyway. Since the moment, on the bus back from Waterstones when I started reading this book. I put it down three times. One time was walking back from the bus stop to home as I didn't want it to get wet and another was a few minutes ago once I'd read the first page. It was very similar to my experience reading Looking for Alaska in this way. 

I started out the book with the same feeling that it would be okay but probably nothing special, but again John Green surprised me with his ability to write such touching characters as well as humour and sadness. In one part of the book he actually got me to cry and laugh at the same time. 

What I'm saying is that this book was amazing and yet again Green managed to create something absolutely wonderful. 

Looking for Alaska is still my favourite John Green book, but The Fault in our Stars has definitely become a first second.

 So seriously. Buy this book. 

On Monday we will return to books that I read a while back which I don't want to miss. We apologise for the inconvenience (cookies for anyone who gets the reference).

Monday, 9 January 2012

Looking For Alaska by John Green


I'm not going to post a synopsis with this book for reasons that I go into in more depth in my review. To give the book a decent synopsis would be to spoil the plot and to give anything less would be a gross understatement of the book.

What I have to Say
As I just said, ignore any summary of this book. It's impossible to give it credit without spoiling the story. The reason is that there's an important event that happens towards the middle of the book and the plot centres around it. So just trust me there is much much more to the book than it appears to be from the blurb.

This book is fast paced, intreging and gives the reader the kind of urgency to read that stops them from doing anything else until they find out what happened. I think I read it in about 4 hours because it was too good to put it down. Luckily it's short enough that even a slow reader shouldn't find it too hard to read it in a day. So clear out a day when you can just do nothing but read.

What I'm really trying to say is read this. It's such a wonderful novel with just enough mystery to keep you guessing.

Plus it's John Green! He's made of awesome.

For anyone interested in more by John Green, his new book The Fault in our Stars comes out tomorrow!!! *iswaytooexcitedconsideringshehasimportantunistufftodo*

Monday, 2 January 2012

Just a Quick Check In

Hey, so I've done a few blog posts now and I hope that I've given you guys a bit of a feel for what I'm about. I still have some more catch-up-with-what-I've-loved-in-the-past posts and then a few books that I've read recently that I want to review. But I really just want to check in and have a bit more of a personal chat.

I think that most of you are my friends at this point. I mean please post and let me know if you're not because I'd  love to hear from you if you're someone who's stumbled on my blog and liked it. But since I'm only just starting out, I think it's pretty safe to assume that the majority of people reading this are people who I know.

Anyway, the thing I'm really trying to talk about through all this rambling is that I'd like your feedback. As I'm just starting out and trying to find my style as a blogger, I would really like to know what works and what doesn't. I think I'm a little too formal in my style at the moment so I'm trying to dial it back a bit (it's really hard :( It just comes out like that!!!). Is this working or is it just sounding crazy?

Also, and this goes for all time and not just while I'm starting out, I want to know what you think! Have you read a book that I'm reviewing that you completely disagree with my review of? Then say! I'd like to know what you think. Even if you just post saying that you think I'm speaking complete rubbish or that I'm absolutely right! I want to know.

And if you have a book that you think I should read and review then please say and I'll try and fit it in.

So basically, I want you to comment. Say what you think. Give me feedback. Discuss the book. Discuss other books. Just say hello! Or talk about the weather! Anything. I want to hear from you. 

 I've been scheduling the posts that I've been writing. I've started this mostly because I've got this tendency to sit down and write a lot of reviews at once and I don't want to swamp you with lots of posts at once. I think it's worked quite well, well apart from being kidnapped by the holiday season and not managing to type up some reviews in time. How is this working for you? Is Monday a good day? I'm thinking of keeping it that way. So even if you don't hear from me for months and months you'll know that Monday is the day that you'll get an update. What do you think? Send your replies on a blank postcard please (or you know... comment.)

I will end this very long, unashamedly begging for comments post with a list of titles that are coming up. Order may be changed around during scheduling or based on your feedback (*puppydogeyes*).

Firstly, the books that I read before starting the blog:

- Looking For Alaska by John Green

- Afterwards by Rosamund Lupton

- City of Masks by Mary Hoffman

- Affinity by Sarah Waters

And the books I've read since that I have written reviews for:

- The Scorpio Races by Maggie Strifvater

- Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

- Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

Synopsis (From The Waterstone Website)

 A lost child ...On the eve of the First World War, a little girl is found abandoned on a ship to Australia. A mysterious woman called the Authoress had promised to look after her but has disappeared without a trace. A terrible secret ...On the night of her twenty-first birthday, Nell Andrews learns a secret that will change her life forever. Decades later, she embarks upon a search for the truth that leads her to the windswept Cornish coast and the strange and beautiful Blackhurst Manor, once owned by the aristocratic Mountrachet family. A mysterious inheritance ...On Nell's death, her granddaughter, Cassandra, comes into an unexpected inheritance. Cliff Cottage and its forgotten garden are notorious amongst the Cornish locals for the secrets they hold secrets about the doomed Mountrachet family and their ward Eliza Makepeace, a writer of dark Victorian fairytales. It is here that Cassandra will finally uncover the truth about the family, and solve the century-old mystery of a little girl lost.

What I Have to Say 

The Thing I love most about this book is the interweaving of the narrative between the storyline and a book of fairytales which is quite central to the plot. It's artistic and unusual, whilst at the same time being easy to read and enjoy. Also I have a bit of a soft spot for fairy tales ^_^

Sometimes when an author tries to break the conventions of storytelling and do something a bit different it can end up being confusing or just bad. Kate Morton, however, has managed to pull it off in a way that is new and refreshing as well as being really entertaining. 
Go read it and see for yourself.