Saturday 13 October 2012

Review on The Mortal Instruments #4 City of Fallen Angels

Although the war against Valentine is over, Clary and her friends problems are not over yet. After Simon is approached by Camille, one of the oldest vampires in the world, Simon’s life changes for the worst. Shadowhunters are getting murdered all over New York, and strange men in grey tracksuits are following him round. What they don’t know is that Simon now has the mark of Cain, meaning that anyone who tries to harm him would have the damage come back at them seven-fold  Simon, Clary, Jace and the Lightwoods must figure out who is killing the Shadowhunters and why Simon is receiving continuous threats to his life. But what they find out is not pleasant, and they must stop the person behind it before it is too late.

As the author originally intended to stop this series at book three, I was interested to find out what was going to happen next, as the previous story line had already been concluded, meaning that Clare needed to come up with a completely new problem for the characters to face. Although I loved this book, I felt as if the story line in the previous books was stronger. I also thought there should have been more issues needing to be resolved to go into the next book with, as at the end there is only one problem left. I also felt that some of the characters needed development. For example, near the start of the book, Camille is seen to be one of the most powerful and oldest Downworlders in existence, but as the novel progresses she seems to become weaker and less important. As there are only two bad characters who has survived at the end, I felt as if her character should have been developed further, as I am sure it will be continued into the next book.

Overall I enjoyed this book and will continue to read this series. I have enjoyed seeing how the characters have grown and changed through the course of the series, and how relationships have progressed.  It is nice to see how there are both gay and straight relationships, as in the majority of novels, all the relationships are between a heterosexual couple, and gay relationships are seen in a negative light, whereas the relationship between Alec and Magnus is seen to be no different to the one between Jace and Clary. The book is continuously exciting with lots of action scenes, and there is never a dull moment, as even the slower parts are interesting, as you get to learn more about the characters and the plot. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

Wednesday 5 September 2012

Review on The Mortal Instruments #3 City of Glass

Clary is determined to save her mothers life, but to do so she must travel to the glass city of Alicante in Idris, the Shadowhunters country. But things are not going to get any easier for Clary, as her father Valentine is determined to destroy all Shadowhunters who do not follow him. The Shadowhunters must make a huge decision, whether they are going to succumb to Valentine, or join leagues with the Downworlders, whom the Shadowhunters have been enemies with for years. Clary must help them to make the right decision, and declare war against Valentine and his army of demons. Meanwhile Jace must discover the truth behind his identity, and confront Valentine alone.

As I loved the previous two books, I have decided to continue with this series, as each book seems to be better than the last. As the author intended this book to be the last one in the series, it is action packed, with battles against demons and the deaths of some of the characters. The story that has been continued from the first two books comes to a climax at the end of the book. Some new characters are introduced such as Sebastian, who turns out not to be who he says he is, and the Clave become a part of the story instead of just being mentioned by the characters. All the old characters from the previous two books also return, such as Clary, Jace, Alec and Isabelle. I always enjoy returning to books that are in a series, as it is like continuing the journey with old friends. Most of the characters relationships also come together in the book, such as Clary and Jace, and also Alec and Magnus. I felt as if this needed to happen in this book, especially Alec and Magnus, as although before Clary finds out the truth, her relationship with Jace seems to be forbidden, the relationship between Alec and Magnus seems more so, as they are a gay couple. Although I am not sure if this would be frowned upon in Shadowhunter society, it usually is in the normal world. Also, Magnus is a Downworlder, whereas Alec is a Shadowhunter, and in the series before the Shadowhunters decide to join forces with the Downworlders in an attempt to destroy Valentine, they have always hated each other, as Downworlders have demon blood, whereas Shadowhunters have angel blood. This means that Shadowhunters see Downworlders to be no better than demons, although Downworlders have a soul whereas Shadowhunters do not.

As this was meant to be the last book in the series, I am interested to find out why Clare decided to continue with it. City of Glass brought the current story to a climax, so I am eager to find out what the characters will have to face next. This book also seemed to be the most unique out of the series so far, as I was not continuously comparing it to other book series such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings as I had been doing with the previous books. This was my main disappointment in this series, but the book had a good plot, and I read it late into the night on many occasions. If you like fantasy stories then I definitely recommend this book series.

Saturday 18 August 2012

Review on 'Holes'

Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake, a special camp to punish young boys who have committed a crime. The only problem is, Stanley has been falsely accused. He did not steal the baseball players shoes from the auction, they had simply fallen from the sky onto his head, but of course they did not believe that at the court. Stanley is forced to dig holes in the dry lake, five feet deep and five feet wide. However, Stanley soon finds out that the digging is not to build character as he and the other boys have been told. The warden is searching for something, and it is up to Stanley to find out what it is and why.

I found this book entertaining and was surprised by the plot twist at the end of the novel. It was nice to see that Zero, who at the start of the novel was quiet and shy, ended up becoming an important character to the plot, and was the one boy who was willing to help Stanley, although at first Stanley believed the rest of the boys that Zero was stupid. However, Stanley soon discovers that although Zero is illiterate, he is a fast learner, and although he has never learnt to read or write, he is brilliant at maths, and is also the fastest at digging holes. Zero also helps Stanley in his journey of discovering the wardens secret of why she wants the boys to dig holes. I also found it interesting how the plot changed back and forth from what Stanley was doing to what happened 100 years ago to his great great grandfather, and how the end of the novel tied the two stories together. The sub plot of the curse was also interesting, as although the curse was not definite, I found it interesting how once Stanley had ‘lifted’ the curse, things started to go well for him and his family. Although it is a childrens book, I feel that adults would also enjoy it and learn the lessons of friendship and honesty that the book teaches.

Tuesday 31 July 2012

Review on 'The Land of Stories'

Twelve year old twins, Alex and Conner inherit a book of fairytales from their grandmother for their birthday. However, it is not an ordinary book, as one night when Alex is trying to sleep, the book starts to glow. Alex discovers that it is a portal into the fairytale world, and when she accidentally falls into the book, Conner has no choice but to go after her. The twins soon discover that although the fairy tale world has all the good characters they had read about, it also contains the bad ones, and soon run into various creatures such as goblins, trolls, the big bad wolf pack, and most terrifying of all, the Evil Queen. The only way for them to get back home is to collect various items from the Kingdoms, and join them together to trigger the Wishing Spell. However, the twins are in a race against time, as the Evil Queen is also looking for the Wishing Spell items. Conner and Alex must find all the items before the Evil Queen if they ever want to get back home.

Although this book was wrote for children, I absolutely adored it. I am a big fan of Chris Colfer, and when I found out that he was publishing a book I just had to read it. The book is action packed, full of suspense and humorous. The original stories of the fairytale characters have been cleverly interwoven into the world of The Land Of Stories, with each Kingdom being ruled by queens such as Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella. As I loved reading fairytales as a child, I found it interesting how Colfer had interpreted what had happened to the various fairytale characters after the original stories had ended. I also enjoyed how the plot progressed, and the information about the twins father before he had died integrated into the story further on. Although there were many plot points that I figured out myself long before the twins, there was one that I did not figure out at all, and that tied up all the loose ends. I also enjoyed the fact that although Colfer intends on making The Land Of Stories into a series, the first book did not end on a cliff-hanger, and everything was figured out. Overall the book was brilliant and Chris should be very proud for having such a successful debut novel. I am looking forward to future instalments in this series.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

Review on 'It's Kind Of a Funny Story

After 15 year old Craig Gilner gets into the best high school in Manhattan, he realizes that he is an average student who receives average grades. He struggles to keep up with his work load, and slowly sinks into a depression,  eventually causing him to have suicidal thoughts. After calling the suicide helpline, Craig checks himself into a psychiatric hospital, where he meets other patients with their own problems, such as a girl who has cut her own face and a man who seems to have a limited vocabulary. With the help of his new friends, Craig is able to locate the source of his problems, find a hobby that helps with his depression and decide what he is going to do when he leaves the hospital.

This book is similar to some of the others I have read recently, such as ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’ and ‘Grow Up.’ However, although ‘Grow Up’ also dealt with teen depression, It’s kind of a funny story takes this problem a step further, with a teenager actually contemplating suicide, and checking himself into a mental hospital as a result. I thought the plot was interesting, and as the author had actually spent some time in a psychiatric hospital himself, it is possible that Craig has similar experiences. The book focuses on the fact that just because you are going through a hard time in your life, you should not end your life because of it, and you should never be embarrassed to get help. I think the book sends out a strong positive message to teenagers who could be in a similar situation as Craig, and the author captures the struggles of a typical teenager perfectly.

Thursday 19 July 2012

Review on 'The Invention of Hugo Cabret'

Hugo is a 12 year old boy. When his father dies in a fire, he is forced to be his uncles apprentice and work inside the walls of a train station in Paris, helping to keep the clocks working. However when his uncle mysteriously disappears, Hugo is forced to keep the clocks running alone, with his only distraction being to fix the automaton his father had been working on before he had died. With the help of his friend Isabelle, Hugo fixes the automaton and discovers a secret drawing, which helps him on his quest to find out who Isabelles godfather really is.

I thought this novel was really unique, as it is told through both drawings and text. Although it is similar to a graphic novel, it is not quite the same as some parts of the story are told through pictures alone with no text to accompany them, which gives it almost a cinematic feel. I thought this way of presenting the book was well thought out, as the books main focus is the history of film, focusing on film maker Georges Melies, who we learn from the book made over 500 films, his most popular film being called ‘A Trip To The Moon.’ As well as being greatly entertaining, the book is also educational as the reader learns real facts about film, such as information on the life of Georges Melies and also a few other facts, e.g one of the very first films, a train pulling into a station, which caused the audience to believe they were going to get hit by the train, as they had never witnessed anything like it before. As I enjoy non fiction being combined with fiction, I thought this was a clever way of doing it, as fictional characters were combined with the character of Georges Melies, whose story in the book was accurate to real life events.

Friday 13 July 2012

Review on 'Grow Up'

Jasper is a 17 year old boy who aspires to become a novelist. However, although he has ambitions Jasper is still an average teenage boy, with problems involving exams, booze, drugs, girls, suicide and sex. Then theres Keith, his step dad, who Jasper believes murdered his ex wife and is now planning to murder his mum. Jasper must overcome his his own fears while also helping his best friend Tanaya, who is depressed over her ex boyfriend and who Jasper believes is suicidal

Although this book covers some serious issues such as drugs, teenage pregnancy and suicide, it is in no way depressing and is extremely funny. The foul language and sex references could be offensive to some readers so I suggest you do not read this book if you are easily offended. However if you are like me and don’t get easily offended then I highly suggest giving this book a read as it is extremely comedic, and deals with the struggles and temptations than the average teenager goes through. I thought that it was similar to books such as the catcher in the rye and the perks of being a wallflower, as it is narrated from the point of view of a teenage boy, and deals with his personal problems and frustrations. As I enjoyed catcher in the rye and perks, I found this different outlook on teenage life funny and interesting, but like all teenagers there is more to Jasper than just wanting to have sex with pretty girls and do drugs, as he is worried about his best friend thinking of suicide, and is convinced that his step dad is a murderer and is going to attempt to kill his mum, which has many comedic moments such as him getting in trouble by the police for calling them about it and digging in the garden of Keith’s old house where Jasper is convinced his dead wife is buried. Definitely worth a read even if it is just for the comedic value.

Monday 9 July 2012

Review on The Mortal Instruments #2 City of Ashes

Clary’s battle against Valentine continues, as he gets hold of the second of the instruments, the Soul Sword. Valentine is planning to use this sword to create an army of demons, but first he must change the swords alliance from angelic to demonic. To do this he needs the blood from four different types of downworldly children, a child of Lilith, a child of the moon, a child of the night, and a child of the faerie. Can Clary, with the help of the other Shadowhunters stop him before it’s too late, or will Clary and her friends be faced with a battle that they can not win?

After reading City of Bones, I knew I had to continue with this series as I was hooked on the shadow world. The second book did not disappoint and lived up to the expectations I had from reading the first one. The book is action packed with never a dull page, as Clary and Jace’s battle against Valentine to save the world as they know it. The author has done a good job with the portrayal of characters, as I ended up hating characters such as the Inquisitor and Valentine, but falling in love with characters such as Jace and Magnus Bane. I also found myself caring about the feelings and relationships of the characters, which to me always shows that they have been well thought out and all have their own personalities. The plot itself was also amazing and the book was very difficult to put down once I started reading. Whereas the first book took a while to get into the action, as it had to explain all the different terminologies, City of Ashes got more or less straight into the action, combining imagery with action to create a beautiful and exciting world. Overall a very good read and I can’t wait to get the next book to find out what happens next.

Monday 2 July 2012

Review on 'Me Before You'

Louisa Clark has an ordinary life. She has lived in the same small village all her life and enjoys her job at a local café. However, thinks begin to change for her when the café closes down causing her to lose her job and forcing her to get a new one to support her family. Her small world collides with Will Traynor’s, a 35 year old man who got hit by a motorcycle, causing him to become paralysed and live out his life in a wheelchair. However Louisa finds out the shocking truth of the reason why she has only been signed to a six month contract. Will is planning on ending his life at the end of this time. Louisa is forced into a battle of helping to save this mans life by trying to get him to change his mind before the six months is over.

Firstly let me point out that the cover is deceiving. When I picked up this book I thought it would be fluffy and romantic. How very wrong I was. The story is about a quadriplegic man who is tired of life, as he can no longer do the things that he used to enjoy before his accident. I will admit that I cry at movies, but it is very rare that I cry at a book. This however was an exception, as the ending of this novel had be bawling my eyes out. If you want a lovely, happy, romantic read, then this book is definitely not the right choice. There was a certain direction that I thought that this novel was going in, and when it turned in a completely different direction I was both shocked and upset. However I always enjoy novels which have a shocking twist, so although the ending was upsetting I thought it was better than what I had originally thought the ending would be. Although I rarely read this type of book, as I prefer young adult adventure stories, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, and I am glad that it didn’t turn out to be the sappy love story that I was expecting.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Review on The Mortal Instruments #1 City of Bones

Clary is just an ordinary teenage girl living in Manhattan. That is until she meets Jace Wayland, a demon slayer, known as a Shadowhunter. After her mum goes missing, Clary slowly starts to learn the truth, that her mum was a Shadowhunter too, and that she must learn to see the Shadow world. Clary is in a race against time with Valentine, a Shadowhunter who had been believed to be dead, but is now back with a vengeance. Clary must reach the mortal cup, a special cup which allows the user to turn mundane children into Shadowhunters, before Valentine uses it to create his own army.

Even though a friend who I trust to give me good book recommendations told me to read this, I was a bit sceptical at first as the first thing I seen on my edition upon looking at the cover was a review by Stephenie Meyer. As I’m not a fan if the Twilight series, I was worried that this book would be full of sparkling vampires and werewolf boys who ripped their shirt off every five minutes. I was not disappointed however. The vampires did what vampires are meant to do and the werewolf clan were not portrayed as being sexy men. The plot itself was brilliant, with lots of twists and turns. Although some of the plot themes were obvious to me from the start, there was also a few that shocked me. The only bad thing I can say about it is it’s not completely original, as I was constantly comparing various plot themes to Star Wars and Harry Potter. With that said however it’s very rare to come across a completely original book nowadays, so overall it was a very good read, and I will definitely continue reading the rest of this series.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Review on 'The Night Circus'

                ‘The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there,                                                                    when yesterday it was not'

The night circus is different to other circus’. For one it opens with the sunset and closes with the sunrise. Another difference is that instead of the colourful themes you expect with a circus, this circus is completely in black and white, from the black and white striped tents to the performers costumes and the white bonfire that burns in the middle of the courtyard. However, it is not only a circus but an arena for an ongoing game between Marco and Celia. A battle against each other which has been going on since their childhood before they had even met each other. There can only be one winner, but will their love for each other have an effect on the outcome of the game?

The one thing that stands out about this novel is the beautiful imagery. From the description of the white bonfire to the intricate details of tents such as the ice garden, Morgenstern creates a fantastic description of the circus, making the reader feel as if they can see the fantastic tents and smell the scent of the caramel and popcorn. Such details such as the clock that stands at the entrance of the circus stay in the readers mind, making them wish they could visit this amazing circus. However the novels downfall is the plot itself, as although at the start of the novel the thought of Marco and Celia having to go against each other in a game of magic seems promising, it turns out to be a disappointment when you find out that instead of a physical battle, the battle is more to do with who can create the best tents for the circus. The fact that the reader is promised that only one will survive is also not true at the end of the novel. It can also be confusing at times, as the narrative is not linear, constantly switching between two different narratives and years until the two come together. It is worth a read simply for the imagery, but the plot is somewhat lacking.

Friday 1 June 2012

Perks Of Being A Wallflower review

The Perks Of Being A Wallflower tells the story of a teenage boy named Charlie, who stands on the edges of life, observing but rarely participating. Charlie, who is starting his first year of high school narrates his story along the course of a year, through a series of letters to an anonymous receiver, who he refers to simply as “friend.”  Along the way he meets new friends, tries drugs for the first time, attends his first house party and remembers the truth about his awful past. 

I decided to read this book as I knew it was being turned into a movie soon, and I always like to read the book that a movie is based on first. Although I usually prefer adventure stories, I really enjoyed this book although there was no particular plot other than sharing the life of a teenage boy. The novel has many twists and turns, including both humour and angst. The book also deals with many themes that the majority of teenagers experience, such as alcohol, drugs, bullying and sex. Anyone who was not popular in high school is able to relate to Charlie, as before meeting Patrick and Sam, Charlie does not have any friends. Although he does make friends during the course of the novel, he continues to stay on the borders, learning secrets about his new friends but not sharing his thoughts. I thought Charlie was a likeable character, as although his friends have different opinions and personalities, he does not judge them. Steven Chbosky has done a brilliant job of getting inside the mind of a sixteen year old boy and presenting him to the reader in a very believable way.

My Rating: 4/5

Friday 25 May 2012

Summer Reading

So i've decided I'm going to keep this as my summer reading blog. Basically I read a bunch of books during the summer holidays as I don't really get the chance to during term time with the amount of university work I have. So basically I'm using this to keep a track on how many books I read over the summer break then check how many books I've managed to read. As I have done in the past I'll still be reviewing each book I read so in the unlikely case than anyone stumbles across this blog and decides to take a look then they will have some reviews to read instead of just a list of random book titles. I've started reading the perks of being a wallflower as I am planning on seeing the movie when it comes out and I always like to read the books first so that when I see the movie I can compare it to the book. Yes I have a sad life like that but it's something I enjoy doing, although anyone who is with me gets slightly annoyed. Anyway once I've finished the book I'll review it, move onto another book, review that etc. If you have any suggestions on books that I should read and review then please feel free to leave me a comment and I'll do my best to get hold of them and give an honest review on them. That's all for now =]

Friday 20 January 2012

Book review on "Evil Star" by Anthony Horowitz

Matt's adventure continues as he travels to Peru to try to stop a second gate opening. However, there is a traitor in the Nexus who is giving the evil Salamander,  who is trying to open the gate to release the old ones information on Matt's every move. Matt has to try to stop this gate from opening while avoiding the clutches of Salamader before it is too late.

I really enjoyed this book, which is the second in the power of five series. I loved Ravens Gate so I thought I would continue with the series and I'm glad I did, as Evil Star is just as good, if not better than Ravens Gate. It has all the action that the first book had, and even more exciting chase scenes, as Matt is continually being chased down by the police who work for Salamander, and has to try to escape from then each time. I also found it interesting that another member of the five has been introduced, a poor boy that Matt meets in Peru. I thought this was a good addition, as it shows that the five are not all of the same race and social class, and do not all speak the same language. This gives it a sense of unity, as although the five could be completely different from each other, in the end they will all have to unite together.

I am interested to find out how the story will progress, and to find out about the other three, and see what powers they posses, as the two members that have already been introduced have the powers of being able to predict the future, control objects without touching them and having the power to heal the injured. As the Old Ones are too powerful to be defeated by Matt alone, I am looking forward to seeing if the five are able to overthrow the Old Ones once they have all come together. I will definitely be continuing this series in the near future.

Monday 16 January 2012

Random Update

Just thought i'd update this blog seeing as I haven't in a while. Soo what have I been up to? Well i've finally finished my English essay which means I have a little more free time although I have to start on a brand new reading setlist. I probably won't do reviews on them seeing as i'm probably going to stick to reviewing childrens and young adult books seeing as those are the ones that interest me most, and the novels I will have to read for my American Literature course are probably going to be boring. If I find one that I think is worth a review though who knows? Right now i'm in the middle of Evil Star which is the second novel in the Power of Five series. I'm enjoying it so far and it seems to be as good if not better than Ravens Gate. I will be doing a review on it once i've finished it. I may not have time to read books not on my set list as often as I would like, so it may mean less reviews and more of me talking about my boring life and complaining about work. Right now i'm writing up a new chapter for the fanfiction i'm working on, but i'm planning on getting back to my book before I decide to go to sleep, so hopefully i'll have a new book review posted by next week.

Thursday 5 January 2012

Book review on "Ravens Gate" by Anthony Horowitz

Matt is not a normal 14 year old boy. He has the power to see into the future, and to move objects without touching them. He discovers this power when he is 8 years old, and manages to escape death by foreseeing that his parents would die in a car crash, which happens later on in the day. He makes friends with a boy who is a bad influence, and convinces him to steal for a warehouse, which results in him getting caught by the police and getting sent off to live with Jayne Deverill who lives near a small village called Lesser Malling. However Matt finds out that something is not right in the village. A man warns him to leave as soon as possible, he starts to hear whispering in what seems to be a strange language, and he sees electrical lights coming from the abandoned nuclear power plant. Matt becomes involved in a race to stop what the villagers are planning, and to stop the Old Ones from returning after hundreds of years of being locked behind Ravens Gate.

Ravens Gate is the first book in the Power of Fives series, which is about 5 children who are destined to save the world from the Old Ones. I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up from the university library having no idea what it was about,but once I started reading it I was hooked from the start. The book is very fast paced, and does not take too long to get into the story as a lot of books do, and is more like you are watching an action movie than reading a book. Once you finish a chapter it is difficult to put the book down, as you need to know what is going to happen next, and I finished the book in three days even though it was 283 pages long. It has both a sense of action and mystery, as it is somewhat like a detective novel, as Matt has to find out why the villagers are acting so strange, and find out what Ravens Gate is. The reader finds out more information with Matt, so this helps the reader identify with him, as they want Matt to find the source of what is going on in the village. As the book is part of a series, I will definitely be checking out the rest of the series to see how the story about the Old Ones progresses, and what the other four children will have to do.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday 4 January 2012

10 facts you may or may not know about me

- I'm an only child
- I know karate
- I had a cockatiel for my 10th birthday but it died a few years ago
- My favorite fictional couples are Blaine and Kurt from Glee and Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter
- my favorite band is McFly and I have seen them over 8 times and have met them twice
- My middle name is Lauren
- I love musicals and am hoping to go to London to see Wicked sometime soon
- I have never met my real grandpa on my mums side and he has no idea that I exist
- My best friend lives across an ocean but I am determined to meet her sometime soon
- I often laugh at my own jokes as nobody else finds them funny or understands them

Hey There =]

So if you are reading this then you have somehow stumbled across my blog. I made this mainly to post about things that the majority of people who know me won't care about, but my closer friends may find interesing. That means I will be posting about my pathetic excuse for a life, and will be doing reviews on books and movies. So I guess I'll start by posting a little about myself. I'm Rachel and I'm 20 years old. I'm from Wrexham which is a town in North Wales. I currently go to Liverpool Hope University where I am studying Media and English Literature. I'm hoping to get a job in media when I leave, such as working for a small tv company working behind the scenes. I also wish to publish a novel some day which I have a basic idea for but have not had the time to start writing yet. I'm hoping to start this in the summer holidays, as I will have a few month off to start this. I am currently working on a fan fiction with my friend Michelle. This is purely for our entertainment and to improve our writing skills. We post this onto where we have a small following of readers who write reviews on each chapter as they get posted. This helps us as they tell us what they like and dislike about it, so that we know when we are doing something right and when something needs to be changed. soo that's just a bit about my life for my first post. hopefully this blog will improve as time goes on, as this is the first time I've started a blog so I'm not too sure what I'm doing at the moment.