Friday, 3 June 2011

A Quick Note

Just a quick note, I do appologise if I review some books and don't review others. I'm a newbie when it comes to blogging and still only getting to grips with the whole process. I hope to liven it up by having a rating system hopefully with pictures as well as pictures of the actual book I'm reviewing, if I ever learn how to do it. I also should probably stick to a specific genre rather an a wide variety?  I don't know about that one because I want to read a mixture to prepare me for Uni.
 I also can sometimes read slow depending on how busy my week is. Sometimes it's busy, busy. busy and others I get to read more : )
I just thought I would get that out now.
Thanks M X

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Perfume is about Jean Baptiste Grenouille, the main character of the book with an extraordinary gift: a powerful sense of smell. He takes work as an apprentice to a Perfumer where Jean turns his love of smells into beautiful smelling perfumes. Slowly Jean becomes obsessed with capturing smells but there is one he cannot capture: the scent of an innocent young virgin. In order to create the ultimate perfume he must have this ingredient, and Jean will stop at nothing to claim it.

The book is narrated and tells the readers about Jean rather than showing Jean’s life.  I must admit too much of being shown could get quite boring, but having to sit and read paragraph after paragraph of Jean’s life without any dialogue to break it up is a really bad thing for me unless the writing is fun to read (for example: Harry Potter

I watched the Film/Movie of Perfume many years before actually reading the book, so I was well aware of the story and the general weirdness to the story. Still it amazed me just how weird the story is upon reading it. We’re reading about a guy obsessed with capturing smells so much so that he has to kill women left, right and centre in order to claim their scent. So he doesn’t see a woman but a walking scent he can claim as his own. Yes that isn’t weird at all.

The weirdness doesn’t stop there though; no it carries on leading us into an unbelievable ending which is damn right weird. I saw that in the film/movie and I couldn’t believe it then. The word Eww springs to mind. Still as a lover of Perfume myself, I will say this: that Perfume he had with him at the end must have been bloody good stuff.

All in all, Perfume must have been one of the weirdest books if not the weirdest book I have ever had the pleasure of reading.  I won’t be reading it again though but I might watch the film/movie again so I can relieve the weirdness all over again : )

Friday, 15 April 2011

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Beauty by Robin Mckinley is a retelling of the fairytale:  Beauty and the Beast. In this retelling, Beauty is not beautiful. She is plain and awkward. She doesn’t process her sisters’ beauty or their interest in handsome suitors or ball gowns. Beauty much prefers to lose herself in her treasured books.
Her life changes when her father loses his way in the dark forest near their home and winds up in a castle where the beast lives.  He innocently plucks a rose from the beast gardens to take home to Beauty and angers the Beast in the process.  The Beast demands one of the daughters for the man’s life he had intended on ending.
Beauty soon finds herself in the castle at the mercy of the Beast. She discovers magic, curses and love which allow her to look past the outer shell of the Beast to reveal his own beauty.
First off, I love anything to do with fairytales retellings. I also love the story of Beauty and the Beast, as it is my favourite fairytale. So I couldn’t wait to read Beauty by Robin McKinley.
In this retelling there is no villain, instead the story focuses on bringing Beauty and the Beast together before letting them separate for just a small amount of time. It is during this time that danger finds the beast and Beauty realises just how much the Beast has grown to mean to her. Maybe one person can see it as the Beast being the villain at the beginning, but over time his harder out shell melts for just one person, Beauty.
The book is told from Beauty’s point of view and contains more descriptions of things than dialogue.  I must admit that I lose interest rather quickly if there are too much descriptive paragraphs, and there was but the book didn’t bore me. I think it was because of the fact it’s told from Beauty’s POV as well is being wrote in first person. I find first person books a lot easier to get through than any others. I think this also helped me to connect in some way with the book’s heroine because I ended up caring about her and wanted her to have her happy ending. 
I loved how equal Beauty and the Beast were in terms of beauty. Beauty herself isn’t described as beautiful, she described as “Thin, awkward, and undersized”.  She hasn’t the beauty that has been portrayed in other Beauty and the Beast works, for example the Disney Film: Beauty and the Beast, Belle was a beauty on the outside as well as on the inside. It is Beauty’s personality that is beautiful which enables her to see past the beastly form the beast has been cursed into and see the man hidden within.
I also loved how the Beast let Beauty leave him even though he knew he would die because of it. I loved how her leaving him caused him to die a slow death, which is so beautiful in a way. As readers we’re shown just how connected the Beast is to the castle and everything else around him, so much that when he dies the magic in his castle dies with him.
I did like how much Roses played a big part in the book, which reminded me of other Beauty and the Beast retellings I have read in the past. There isn’t an enchanted rose in a glass like the Disney film; there are rose gardens and enchanted roses given to Beauty by the Beast.
I loved the book very much and I would definitely reread it at a later stage to lose myself in its magic once more.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen lives in a post-apocalyptic future in Panem, a capital surrounded by twelve other districts.  Every year two children from each district are chosen to appear in the Hunger Games; a cruel reality TV program where contestants fight to the death on live TV.   When her sister's name is called, Katniss steps forward and takes her sister's place in the Hunger Games. Katniss sees it as a death sentence, but Katniss has survival skills and has learnt to survive before. Katniss and the baker's boy Peeta are transported to the Capitol where they must train before being placed into the arena where the Hunger Games take place.
 The Hunger Games are deadly and terrifying and only have one rule: Kill or be killed.

I decided to read the Hunger Games just because of all the good ratings it had been receiving and the talks of a film coming about about it. So I ordered a copy from my local library and waited eagerly until I could read the book which has been the talk of the year it seems so far.  
  At 454 pages long, the book is a chunky Mother, and upon seeing the book I did start to change my mind about reading it. I stuck with it because of the reviews dotted about on the cover of the book and inside the first page.
 The first part of the book for me dragged mainly because nothing much was happening. I was eager to read about the actual Games themselves, and didn't much care for the character's background history.  The book picked up for me when Katniss steps forward and she is thrown into preparation for the Hunger Games event along with Peeta.  I read constantly until I reached part two, my heart raced in anticipation at what was to come and I think I sat down for too long because I was beginning to go numb in some places as well.
 During the second part of the book, the Games start and it became impossible to stop reading. We followed Katniss as she fights for survival and we see as readers just how horrible these Games truly are. I read in shock just how willingly these children are to kill another just to be crowned winner of the Games.
The final part of the book is just too important for me to put down and stop reading. By this point I have gotten so in to reading the book that I don't care whether I am suffering from Hunger or thirst because I have sat in one place and read for so long, neither do I care that I am actually tired and have to go to work soon. I read and read and come to the end all too soon, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's a good thing because I finally get to read who has won the Games, and it is a bad thing because It means that the book will be over shortly and I haven't the second book to follow on with.
 As I read this book I couldn't believe it and yet I could at the same time. I have seen reality TV shows where it seems the only thing producers are concerned about is ratings, and if ratings are low then it means they need to think up mean ways to hike the ratings back up.  I was shocked because of all the deaths airing Live on TV that people in this capitol were watching.
 T his book amazed me, and for ages after reading it I could not stop thinking about it, and literary had to tell anyone who would listen about it even if they didn't care.  I loved the first person point of view, which for me makes it all the more real and completely fits the story line. I also in the end loved the length of the book because if this book had been shortened it wouldn't have been  as good.  I now have to wait to read the second book which I'm hoping will be as good as or if not better than the first book. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Book review: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I finished reading Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater today, and I think it deserves a review just because of how good it was.  

Shiver is about Grace and Sam. Grace was attacked by a pack of wolves when she was younger and only survived because of a yellow eyed wolf protected her. Since then she has watched the woods for the yellow eyed wolf to appear. Every winter her yellow eyed wolf makes his appearance and every summer he disappears.

Sam is the yellow eyed wolf Grace watches for. He is a wolf during the winter because the cold changes him into a wolf, and a human during the summer because the heat changes him to a human.
 Grace and Sam connect in ways they have not connected with others before. They also feel deeply for the other in a powerful way. As the winter draws closer Sam must fight to stay human, to stay with Grace. Grace doesn't want Sam to change back into a wolf because it could be his last change.
  The relationship between Grace and Sam unfolds as they explore communication between touch, taste and speech. Their time is limited however as winter draws closer bringing with it colder weather. Sam has little time left in his human body before reverts back to his wolf form.
   Shiver is written beautifully by Maggie Stiefvater. She describes things in vivid detail and describes emotions in such a powerful way that the reader actually goes through the pain or hurt the character is feeling. Some parts of the book actually brought un-shed tears to my eyes which wouldn't have happened if the writing wasn't so well done.
 I couldn't decide whether to read the book or not at first because some of the recent reviews of the book had rated the book rather poorly, and also the book is aimed at teens and sometimes the teen books can be quite young. I'm glad I ignored my doubts though and went ahead to read it anyway. I did find the book dragged in the middle during the summery happy days, but winter soon made it's appearance, bringing with it danger for the book's young couple.
I would highly recommend the book for anyone who enjoys the 'Paranormal Romance' genre.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Boy, can I pick them

It's been ages since I last blogged and I've read a few more books since then (eight in total) I also got round to watching Toy Story 3 again (yay!!)
 I have to say that the last two books: 'The Prince of Frogs' and 'The Notebook' were really  a waste of paper and reading time. I found the whole reading experience annoying and endlessly wishing the book would hurry up and end.
Night's Rose
So I stumbled upon this book and 'The Prince of Frogs' in the library. I was immediately captured by the titles and front covers of the books. I also saw on the back of 'Night's Rose'  that the book is based upon the fairytale 'Sleeping Beauty'. Now I loooove fairytales, So naturally I snapped the pair of them up in a hurry and checked them out.
  Rosemarie Edenbery (sleeping beauty) is the heroine of the story. She was not awakened by a kiss but by the pain of  pushing out ogre shaped children (because an ogre raped her) and while this is going, on her friend Ambrose is watching it happen (weird?). So she goes around kicking the arses of ogres everywhere with the help of two men, Gareth (a vampire) and Ambrose (a faerie)
I thought the book was ok-ish but mostly weird. There wasn't enough of the original fairytale in it for me, but in replace a weird version. I liked Gareth and not Ambrose, but the whole love triangle got confusing.
The Prince of Frogs
 The second book was even weirder if that were possible. In this book Gareth and Rose are married as they got married at the end of the last book. Gareth begins to act suspiciously making Rose doubt her husband and Rose still feels for Ambrose (shocking!)
Gareth is hiding a secret he doesn't want to tell anybody so he disappears for a while leaving Rose to give in to her urges and strip the clothes from Ambrose's body (in an alleyway none the less) and then bam! Gareth appears.
 I grew annoyed with Rose's constant flitting between the two men. It was obvious she wasn't happy with a husband, she has to have a bit on the side as well. As for Gareth's secret, I found this the most weird. I mean come on half vampire and half frog? is that even possible?! and then at the end of the book Rose gets two husbands instead of one, cue the sex scenes.
 I didn't understand how she can go from hating Ambrose in the first book, who was watching her while bad things happened to her, and then love him in the second?  weird.
The Notebook
I read this because I saw the film a while ago and loved it, so I naturally wanted to read the book. I actually paid money for it, So now wishing I had just rented it from the library.
I didn't enjoy the book, I found it stupid and annoying. I didn't like the why the author wrote the book either so NOT going to read another of his. The whole romance was so bleh!  but the bits when the pair were older were better. I think they were wrote better than the rest of the book.
Ok, that was a pretty lame review, but it annoyed me so I shoved my feelings out of my head for that book so there.
 And as for Toy Story 3? Loved it, loved it, loved it. What more can I say?

Monday, 17 January 2011

So, I lost one

*Warning: Here be Spoilers ahh matey!*

So I lost one, a book that is from my 150 book challenge. I didn't want it to happen and I didn't intend for it to happen but it happened. The book was 'My sister's keeper' by Jodi Picoult and I tried really hard to finish the book but it just wasn't happening. I probably made the mistake of watching the film first but if i didn't I wouldn't have tried to read the book.
  The general plot line of the book is about Anna Fritzgerald who undergo's countless operations and surgerie's so her sister Kate can fight her battle with leukema. Anna was concived for this reason to be a donor for her Kate. Anna is thirteen years old and has no say in the matter of whether she wants things taken away from her or not so she goes to a lawyer for the rights to her own body. Anna wont give up her kidney which Kate needs which annoys her mother Sara.
The book is narrated by the different characters so every chapter is narrated by a different charater. Anna's and Jessie's narration was quite easy and simple to read by the book in my opinon became complex and difficult to read when Brian (the father) and Sara (the mother) began to narrate there side of things. During these chapters a lot of medical Jargon was used and long paragraphs describing medical treatments filled the chapter. I skimmed these bits, but it got to the point where I was skimming more than I was reading of the book, which I found completely stupid so I flicked to the end.
  I found out at the end of the book that Anna becomes brain-dead after a car accident and dies which is not what happens in the film. In the film Kate dies at the end and Anna lives which is the version I like better. I like Kate but I think Anna deserves a like which is given to the charater at the end of the film. So when I found this out I didn't read anymore of the book because it just annoyed me greatly.
So I don't think I'll be reading anymore from the author but I will watch the film again because I enjoyed the film.
 I'm annoyed I lost a book from my challenge and annoyed that I didn't get to finish it. I like to finish books once I've started them and I could have finished this one but I wouldn't have really read it because most of it I skimmed over. I only wasted a day reading that book, still a day mades all the difference people!
That is all.

Friday, 14 January 2011

The wonders of Joss Whedon and Firefly

It's been a while since I last blogged and I'm terribly sorry. I've been busy with the whole work, work, College work thing (work=bore ) but I've managed to squeeze in time to watch Firefly!
I watched the first episode a few days ago and to be completely honest here, I thought the beginning of episode one started off in a wierd place. Now that could be how the series ends I don't know, all I'm saying is I found it strange to start off with and made me wonder whether I had skipped an episode or not. I continued with it though and didn't get into it straight away, it took me a couple of episodes but I finally succeeded into falling under Firefly's spell.
Now while we're on the subject of Firefly I would just like to say one thing, and that one thing is: Nathan Fillion (aka Malcom Reynolds) Seriously people, how hot is he?!
I didn't think I would even think that about him, I mean I saw him in Buffy the vampire slayer program before I saw him in Firefly I think (don't hold me to that.) He played this priest person I think but he was evil. I didn't think anything of him while he was in Buffy, but watching him in Firefly and it's like "Hel-lo" very wierd.
What can I say about the rest of the crew? I'm liking Zoe and her Kick -Arse attitude. I like a female who can stick up for herself. I'm not too sure about her husband (I swear he dies in Serenity film.. hmm)
I haven't watched many episodes but I can't wait to watch more and then the film so I can finally understand it, and then weep because it's over :(.  We don't see much of Joss Whedon in the U.K any more. He needs to make more series because I was a major fan of Buffy when that was on T.V and becoming a fan of Firefly, damn him.
oh well, I must go and watch more :)

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

It has been four days since the start of the New Year and it's taken me that long to decide on goals for the year ahead. I decided against the resoultions because I just don't stick to them, or change them to something else so by the time Christmas comes around again I would have changed them like five times. Goals I think are the way forward which I will actually stick to and succeed in completing. They are as follows:
  • To watch all of the star wars films-I have only seen bits of the films or a film. I don't actually know what bits I have seen belong to what film. In the past I've avoided the films just because I didn't understand them and the thought of people running around spacey type worlds with lightsavers is quite comical. I still find it comical but I will seek them out and watch them instead of running away from them and marvel and the brilliant imagination of Lucas something or other (Lucas is the director?)
  • To read more- I read way to much already but not nearly as much as I should. I aim to be like Matilda in the BFG or similar. I just want to go into a bookstore or a Libuary and say 'I've read all of that shelf and the one below it.' that be so cool.
  • To write more- I have my own stories to tell and not writing as much as I should, but that could be difficult what with all the reading I will be doing this year hmm haven't thought that one through, but then I am a female and we are known for multi-tasking.
  • To watch Firefly- I didn't catch it the first time it came out on T.V and I probably didn't even have the right channel to watch it on so I wouldn't have made a difference. I've seen the feature film and didn't really understand It but I wasn't aware at the time you had to watch the series and then the film. So I shall do that when I get round to it, should be an easy one to complete since there is only one series.
I can think of so many more to add to this list but I wont, I'll keep it short and sweet and report back next year to tell u I failed or succeeded. I'm hoping on the latter then changing my name to Matty, because Matilida is taken. Only joking :)

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Day one

I started my reading Challenge yesterday because it seemed fitting what with the first day of the new year and everything. The book i started with was Cast in Chaos by Michelle Sagara. For those who have not read the books the series follows Kaylin Neya a private Hawk with a complicated past on the road to self-discovery. In every book Kaylin learns a little more about herself and her powers as well as winding up in some sort of trouble.
 If you like the Fantasy genre and a good Heroine then I recommend the book. Well, I recommend starting from book one and finishing with book six. I'm not one for jumping leap-frogging through series, I have to read from the start to the end other wise you might miss important bits.

I expected Cast in Chaos to be a chunky monkey and I wasn't disappointed. At 503 pages It's a chunky bugger, which might not seem like a lot but when you have a deadline to fulfill it is an overwhelming number. My mind then started to calcuate, reading a book a week will leave me reading 52 by the end of the year, PANIC! ( Yes I did take a while to realise how many weeks are in a year, even though I should really know this by now)

 It wont be as bad as I first thought, I'll read the book in no time and have my number one with 99 left to go. Victory will be mine!
I could always read skinny Minnie's but then that wouldn't be very fun either, it wont be challenging enough. It takes the challenge right out of the word challenge. Now I must continue reading so I can make a review.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

So It begins

So, I've decided to create a blog because It's a new year and I've wanted a blog for ages but haven't got round to making one. I think why the heck not, while I blog I can develop my writing skills and confuse the nation with my whirlwind of scattered thoughts.

As It's a new year I've set myself a reading challenge I hope to complete before Christmas 2011 or maybe New years Eve 2011 because It will give me more time to read books. I'm going for a hundred books, which I'm confident I will reach long before my deadline, but you never know what's around the corner.  I could end up blind in a couple of months and have to listen to audio books. I'm not saying that's a bad, thing I personally tend to get bored with listening to them, I would rather read. 

I don't have a New Years Resolution yet and maybe that's a good thing, because how many people actually stick to their resolution's? i know the resolution's I have made in the past I have given up halfway through them or forgotten them and changed them to something else.

So without further ado, let the whirlwind of scattered thoughts start.