Saturday 25 September 2010

Book Review - The Hunger Games: Catching Fire


After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying... The terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games. 

**This may contain spoilers**
My Review
After finishing book the first book, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one. I got home from work today, thinking i would read for a couple of hours then put my laptop on. However after sitting down for 4 hours, i had finished the entire book. once  I had started I couldn't pull myself away, it was too compelling. 
After winning the Hunger Games with Peeta and returning home, Katniss hoped for a quiet life, however the Capitol is in uproar, there is news of an uprising beginning to spread and threaten authority. Threatened by this, the Mayor visits Katniss and demands she makes it better or there will be dire consequences. But trying to do the right thing without upsetting anyone, whilst trying to protect those you love is never easy. In this book it is the  75th annual Hunger Games, and rules state that every 25 years there will be special circumstances. Now, when this was announced I could see what would happen straight away, and knew I wouldn't like it, but I couldn't stop reading it. And yes i was right. As the twist this year, all the contestants would be made up from former champions, so Peeta and Katniss return to the Games! the competition would be harder, everyone knows how to win and are ruthless, even with allies, how do you know how to trust. I found myself trying to second guess everyone's intentions and think I became as wary as Katniss herself. LOL
This book in many ways frustrated me, the plot again is dark and more than a little disturbing so that at times I didn't want to carry on, but found that I couldn't stop. I had to know what was going to happen, and now i've finished it my hands are itching for the next one. 
I would like to see more of Gale and Prim as they are featured in this story but not nearly enough, they are more background characters than people you can really relate to.
Collins writing style hooks you in and won't let you go. I can still definitely see why these books are so popular. I can't get enough!

My Rating
I would give this book 9/10, another fantastic book, definitely worth a read, and i find myself reaching towards it again whilst I wait for book 3, Go on, find a copy, you won't be disappointed. :D

Book Review - Dustbin Baby


April Showers (so called because of her birth date, April 1st, and her tendency to burst into tears at the drop of a hat) was unceremoniously dumped in a rubbish bin when she was only a few hours old. Her young life has so far passed by in a blur of ever-changing foster homes, but as she enters her teens she decides it is time to find out the truth about her real family.

My Review
I used to love Jacqueline Wilson books as a child, but moved onto other things/genres as i got older, swapping the girly novels for fantasy and adventure. However i have recently got back into this sort of story and occasionally will pick one up. Last weekend I was channel hopping and found the film on telly and decided to watch it. It was only a short film but I really enjoyed it, so naturally as a bookworm I wanted to see how the novel compared. I must say the film was very faithful to the book, in some ways i am disappointed i saw the film first as i kept picturing that instead of letting my imagination work, but i still enjoyed the book. Wilson has once again tackled a  sensitive subject, abandonment, breakdowns of families and children in care. April was put in a dustbin behind a pizza parlour mere hours after she was born, found by a young pizza boy she is then sent into care, but soon adopted. However this ends tragically *SPOILER ALERT* when her 'dad' walks out on them, her 'mum' then kills herself. this leads to a downward spiral where April is sent from home to home and then boarding schools. 
As a book for older readers, there isn't a lot of content, it is a very short story at only 140 odd pages, but it covers a lot of ground and i could feel myself sympathizing with April and wishing her well. 
I would say only children of 9+ should read it due to the issues of Suicide, but other than that it is a very well written book, and I can see why Jacqueline Wilson is one of the most successful writers around. 

My Rating
I would give this book a 7/10 very well written but very short, I wanted more, not sure i would re-read it. i would watch the film again though. but, give it a try. :D

Friday 24 September 2010

Book Blogger Hop: September 24-27, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy-for-Books and is an awesome way to for book bloggers to interact and find each other. Such a wonderful idea! There's a new question every week that all the participating blogs have to answer. This week, Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews asks, "When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?"

My answer: I always wait until I have finished the book, partly because once I start a book I tend to be lost in it and don't want to emerge until finished, and also because I want the whole experience/feel of the book before I review it. There have been books I haven't liked much up to half way through then loved the second half, so I think it is fairer to finish the book before reviewing it. Although I do sometimes think of good things to put in my reviews, but by the time I finish reading the book and write the review, I have forgotten what I was going to say. lol!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, go back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!  We get over 200 links every week!! 

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Book Review - Fallen

There's something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price's attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He's the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce--and goes out of his way to make that very clear--she can't let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

My Review
I was always drawn to this book, something about the cover pulled me in, and the story sounded intriguing so i went for it. Luce has a very troubled past and sees shadows hovering about her, she is sent to Sword & Cross boarding school where every move is monitored and all the other students are weirdos. It took me a long time to get into the book, but when i did i really enjoyed it. Lauren Kate sets up the characters really well, giving you just enough information to get an idea of who they are, but not enough to really know what they are truly like or capable of, therefore making you think about why they do certain things and what their motives are. I found the idea of lovers from another life time quite interesting, but then saying that found Luce a bit whiny, does she like Daniel, or maybe Cam, but he ignores her, he's sweet, etc etc. felt like slapping her and telling her to get over herself. However when the book reached it's climax i was really into the book, staying up quite late so i could finish it. The book comes to a good stop, but nothing is really resolved and so leaves you hanging on waiting for the next book. which i will read. I would say this book was an ok read, definitely worth a look at, but not really worth raving about. If you are into the whole gothic fiction, vampires/angels/demons etc then you will love this book. I'd say a good one time read and ok to dip back to if bored. 

My Rating
I would give this book a 6/10, an ok read but nothing to rave about, fairly interesting but not the best, good enough to want to read book 2, lets hope it gets better!  

Book Review - The Hunger Games


Katniss Everdeen is a survivor. She has to be; she's representing her District, number 12, in the 74th Hunger Games in the Capitol, the heart of Panem, a new land that rose from the ruins of a post-apocalyptic North America. To punish citizens for an early rebellion, the rulers require each district to provide one girl and one boy, 24 in all, to fight like gladiators in a futuristic arena. The event is broadcast like reality TV, and the winner returns with wealth for his or her district. 

My Review
I had seen this book on the shelves many times, and was attracted by the cover, but wasn't overly sure form the blurb that i would want to read it. This book has grown in popularity so much recently that everyone was asking for it in the library and asking if i had read it. I always politely said no, and that it wasn't my sort of thing. However, it got me thinking, if so many people are reading this and coming back so positive, there has got to be something right there, so after one of my colleagues bought it back saying her daughter had just finished it and couldn't get enough, i took it from her. And boy, was i shocked, I read it in less than a day and was truly captivated. I found the start a bit slow, i wanted them to just get on with the Games, but as the story progressed, i was glad there was so much background and build up and it really gave you a sense of where the main character 'Katniss' was coming from. I was a bit disturbed at the content, the government arrange a Hunger Games every year, where a boy and girl from each district (equaling 24 kids in total) are sent into an arena and the only way to get out is to kill the other competitors, they can collect packs and weapons but is pure chance what you will get, there are no rules in the Games other than Kill or be Killed. The government also have the power to change the landscape/conditions etc to make it more interesting or to make sure someone dies. The whole event is broadcasted on TV and all must watch. The idea of children being put into an arena to kill each other for entertainment as well as what the government sees as discipline to it's country isn't exactly a happy circumstance or something you would ever want to face, but Suzanne Collins writes so well, you can't help but be fascinated, even whilst disturbed. The book isn't too gory, you get told of the deaths and how they died but nothing too graphic. I also loved the mixture of personalities of the contestants. it made me love some more than others, which was obviously what she was going for. I cried when one of the contestants died, for those who have read it, i think you'll know who, for those that haven't read it, be prepared. This book had me gasping, laughing, crying, shouting (both YESSS and NOOO!!!) and there were quite a few twists I definitely didn't see coming. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone. 
On most copies of the book there is a review on the cover from Stephanie Meyer, now I HATE Twilight, can't stand it and having the author review this book, was not a good decision on the publishers part in my opinion, as really Twilight is like Marmite, you either love it or hate it. but for the people out there like me who really dislike it, don't let the fact she reviewed it put you off. 
Also, one more note, many people including myself, have compared this story to 'Battle Royale' a manga and sci-fi epic, and yes the two are very similar, but don't let that put you off, Collins takes the idea and makes it her own. I'm not going to debate whether she 'stole' the idea or was just inspired by it, or if she has ever heard of it, i can't say. But I wanted to put on here that i know of the similarities but despite that i love the book and so no negative comments please.

My Rating
I would give this book 9/10. pick it up now, you won't regret it!

Friday 17 September 2010

Book Review - Skulduggery Pleasant: Mortal Coil


Skulduggery Pleasant and Valkyrie Cain are back – just in time to see their whole world get turned upside down…
While they struggle to protect a known killer from an unstoppable assassin, Valkyrie is on a secret mission of her own. This quest, to prevent her dark and murderous destiny, threatens to take her to the brink of death and beyond. And then the body-snatching Remnants get loose, thousands of twisted souls who possess the living like puppets, and they begin their search for a being powerful enough to lead them. Facing such insurmountable odds, Skulduggery, Valkyrie, Ghastly and Tanith can trust no one. Not even each other…

My Review
I was so excited in April when book 4 came out to learn that book five would be released in September. Two Skulduggery books in one year is Awesome!. Then to find out he would be signing his new book at my local Waterstones, i couldn't believe it. Then after meeting Derek Landy I was desperate to read the book, and i was not disappointed. This book like the others had me laughing out loud with his one-liners and witty humour. I was kept on the edge of my seat and there were a few shocking moments. All my favourite characters were back (good and bad) and a few new ones.
In this book Valkyrie and Skulduggery's partnership is tested, and they spend a bit of time apart, i quite liked this at it let Valkyrie develop more, but the unity is still there, and the clever conversations still appear. Fletcher is back and provided most of the comedy.
I am desperately waiting now for the next book. However am not entirely happy with how this one finished, i won't spoil it for people that haven't read it yet, but one of my favourite characters has, shall we say, gone to the dark side! i was devastated. Hopefully she won't be lost forever, and Landy will recover this in the next book.
Definitely worth reading, should read first 4 books before this one, but you won't regret it. These are some of the best books ever written! I recommend them to people all the time. Soon everyone will have read Skulduggery books, we shall take over the world!!! lol :D

My Rating
I would give this book 9.5/10. I'm taking half a point off for the character going bad, but the book is still amazing. Read it, Read it NOW!!!

Sunday 12 September 2010

Book Review - Airhead Runaway


Emerson Watts is on the run: from school, from her family and from herself. She's reeling from the shock that Nikki, the girl whose body her brain was forced to inhabit, is still alive. And she's furious. Manipulative Brandon plans to use Em to discover a secret that will ensure his success, whilst Christopher is out for revenge, fuelled by his jealousy. With everyone around her playing a dangerous game, maybe Em should just keep on running . . .

My Review
This is book is the third in the series and i have been waiting for it since February, the hardback was supposed to be out then, but never appeared so had to wait till now for the paperback release.
After trying to remember what had happened in book 2, i sat down to get into this book. 
Em Watts is still in Nikki Howard's body and on the run, but not safe, with her is the real Nikki Howard inside someone else's body, Nikki's mum and brother, and Brandon Stark, who is only there to find out the secret that Nikki knows, the one his dad tried to kill her for. Em knows he has no interest in any of them apart from that secret, would they be safe if he knew. Nikki wants her body back and doesn't care what would happen to Em if she got it, so feeling threatened from all sides, Em is on edge.
Can Em reveal the secret of Stark enterprises before it's too late, and will Christophe help her, or is he still too mad at her.

This book lived up to my expectations, it is fast paced and full of twists and turns. Still slightly unbelievable in places, but thats part of the charm. 
I love the characters, especially Lulu and Frida, they are great. I could picture events in the book, it is written descriptively, but not so much it is boring, and once the secret of the story is revealed, you will catch your breathe.

Another fantastic book by Meg Cabot, hope she writes more soon.

My Rating

I would give this book a 8.5/10, very good, nice story, left me wanting more. Give it a go, but i recommend reading the first two books in the series before this one, it will make so much more sense.

Sunday 5 September 2010

Author Signing Derek Landy!

I first heard that Derek Landy would be visiting Waterstones in Milton Keynes on September 5th at 11am to sign his new book 'Mortal Coil' about a month ago, and I screamed and jumped about like a lunatic. My best friend and I are huge Skulduggery Pleasant fans and marked the date on our calendars. For the last week I have been counting down the days.
Finally I woke up this morning with a huge smile and got ready for the day ahead. We had planned to get there for about 10.20 to start queuing, but because of traffic and other factors we didn't arrive until about 10.40 by which time the queue was right across the front of the shop, round the side and going round the back. We left my friends mum in the queue whist we went inside to buy a copy of the book. From the cash desk we could see Derek coming in and start to sign. Excited and armed with our books, we went to find our place in the queue.
We ended up towards the back of the side and guessed we were in for about an hour wait. The queue moved fairly quick to start with, but after about 20 minutes it slowed down and we hardly moved.
We were then in the queue for another hour, my friends mum decided she would leave us to it and go look round the shops, by this time we were across the front of the shop and thinking the end was close. We had both started reading the books, chatted about other books we had read, and settled for a snack from Millies Cookies (essential queuing food!!!) and talked about what we would say to Derek.

After another hour we were about four people away from the front of the queue, we could hear Derek talking and if we peered over peoples heads we could get a glimpse of him. 
Suddenly the last two and a half hours was totally worth it, we were about to meet the Legend himself. 
At last we were at the front and talking to Derek Landy, who turned out to be one of the nicest people in the world, just as funny in person as he is on paper, and an awesome person.  He signed our books and let us take photos! 

He truly is a fantastic person and it was an honour to meet him.
The only disappointment was I had drawn a picture for him, but then forgot to take it with me, so I told him I was a follower on his blog and would post a picture online. It won't let me put the picture on his comments, so i am posting it here, and putting a link on his page.

Derek if you do read this:  Thank you for an awesome day and for being so nice. Can't wait to read your new book. When I have there will be a review on here too, so feel free to have a look.

This is my fan pic of Skulduggery himself, it didn't come out quite how I planned, but am quite pleased with it. :D
Sorry I forgot it.

For anyone that hasn't ever read Skulduggery Pleasant - what on earth have you been doing with your life, go find a copy of the books now, go to a quiet room, lock yourselves in and don't come out until you have finished them!!! You'll thank me later! :D