Friday, 20 August 2010

In My Mailbox (4)

I'm doing this early because I'll be on holiday for the next two weeks and won't have any internet access. I got two books this week. They were buy one get one free.

1. Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
2. The Railway Children by E. Nesbit

See you in two weeks!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies By Jane Austen And Seth Grahame-Smith

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton - and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilised sparring between the two young lovers - and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-consious landed gentry?
Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Predjudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read.
First off I will start by saying that the cover is kind of genius. As soon as I saw it I thought wow that's clever. Also, the several illustrations in the book are quite good too but unfortunately that's all I liked about this book.
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and thought that the added mix of zombies would make it a quick, fun read. After the first few chapters, the novelty of it ran out and it was kind of boring. The added scenes seemed to jar with the large chunks (copied verbatim) from Pride and Prejudice. It just doesn't flow, and the Bennet sisters now seem to have contradictory personalities that just washed them out. I felt it completely destroyed Elizabeth's character.
I'm generally a fan of zombie stories, but something that should have been highly original ended up being a big disappointment!
Random Passage: The second unmentionable was a lady, and much longer dead than her companion. She rushed at Elizabeth, her clawed fingers swaying clumsily about. Elizabeth lifted her skirt, disregarding modest, and delivered a swift kick to the creature's head, which exploded in a cloud of brittke skin and bone. She, too, fell and was no more.

In My Mailbox (3)

I got these two books this week. The second one I got from a campsite shop for £1.50 as it is second hand.

1. The Chosen One By Carol Lynch Williams

2.The Tommy-Knockers By Stephen King

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Spirit Bound By Richelle Mead

Just a quick reminder that the official synopsis does give SPOILERS away so please don't read it if you haven't read the previous Vampire Academy novels!

Rose Hathaway has been outrunning death ever since she swore to be the protector of her best friend, Lissa, no matter what.

She's finally made it back to the haven of St Vladimir's but with Dimitri, the boy she once loved, stalking her, Rose can only run so far.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance, and now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and she knows in her heart that he is hunting her. And if Rose won't join him, he won't rest until he has silenced her...forever.

I officially love this series. It is the fifth installment in the Vampire Academy series. The pacing is perfect and all the characters are well developed. Reading this series is definitely like meeting up with an old friend, something you feel comfortable with immediately. That's not to say that it doesn't keep you on the edge of your seat wanting to read the next chapter to find out what exactly happens next even though you desperately need to sleep!

Also, this book ends on a massive cliffhanger with Rose's future precariously in the balance. It is such a thrilling read with twists in abundance that you just don't see coming.

Spirit Bound was full of action, emotion and surprises that will keep any Vampire Academy fan turning the pages until the end. I can't wait for the next installment, The Last Sacrifice, that comes out in December.

Random Passage: It truly, truly hit me then that I was in the real world. Fear slammed into me. I'd taken on the title of guardian when I graduated, but had I really understood what it meant? Had I been playing make-believe - enjoying the perks and ignoring the consequences? I was out of school. There would be no detention for this. This was real. This was life or death.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Most Wanted...Continued (UK)

Another book I forgot to mention on my previous post that I am excited for is the following which was also released last week (5th August)

4. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in her isolated community without ever questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters; without ever questioning the strict rules imposed by 'the Prophet' who leads them. But now Kara has started keeping secrets. She reads books that are forbidden and sneaks away to meet Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself, instead of having a husband chosen for her. Kyra knows it's only a matter of time before her two secret loves arer discovered. And when the Prophet decrees that she is to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra is forced to make a desperate choice. But saving herself means endangering everyone she's ever cared for. How far should she go for freedom?
I'm really looking forward to reading this one. It sounds really emotional and a deep read about difficult choices.

Sunday, 8 August 2010

March: A Love Story In A Time Of War By Geraldine Brooks

1861, the first year of the American Civil War. March leaves his beloved wife and daughters to fight for the Northern forces. Alone in a country ripped apart by violence and hatred, he see things that shake his very soul. He also encounters the woman who had changed his very life nearly twenty years earlier - Grace. She is beautiful, educated, and a slave.

From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brools takes March, the absent father gone to war, and conjures the story of a passionate man struggling not just to return to the heart of his family, but also to keep his faith - in himself, in his fellow man and in love itself.
I picked this book up after reading several young adult novels, and it was quite a refreshing change. It's a story about the father Mr March when he went to war. However, it was much more than just that. It also tells the way Mr March met his future wife and also the growing up of his four daughters which precedes the start of Little Women. It also shares the time when he is ill and Mrs March and Mr Brooke travel to see him; this part is swithched to the first person perspective of Mrs March (Marmee).
This book is also about a deep belief in the freedom of slaves. March is trying to live up to his ideal belief in this and feels horror-struck when people are killed and perhaps he could have done something to prevent their deaths. However, with the help of Grace, who gives him some much needed perspective, he is able to overcome some of his guilt and forgive himself and go on with his life.
I loved the parts where Mr March, Mrs March and their daughters lives are intertwined with the lives of Henry Thoreau, Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne. Apparently, Mr March is heavily inspired by Louisa May Alcott's father, Bronson Alcott, who was great friends with these writers, who also believed passionately in the freedom of slaves.
Overall a very honest novel, that explores the life of Peter March with his shattered dreams, and his love for the passionate, hot-tempered Marmee. It is a beautifully written novel that shows the heartache caused by the Civil War knowing that humans suffer.
I would also highly recommend two of Geraldine Brook's other novels, The Year Of Wonders and The People of The Book, which were also fantastic reads.
Random Passage: Waldo's wife was the one adult with whom Henry was never awkward or reserved, and to her children he could not have been more affectionate if they had been his own. With my girls, too, he was considerate and interested, and as soon as they were conversible, he elected himself their unofficial tutor in the ways of the natural world and became, perforce, our daily intimate. He delighted to take Meg and Jo into the woods to observe the life within. It was not all science with him: a row of orange fungus was an elven staircase, a cobweb the fairies' lace handkin.

My Most Wanted Books Published This Week (UK)

There are three books I am really looking forward to reading that have been published this week in the UK. Since it's my birthday in two weeks and my sister usually flat out asks me what I want, I haven't brought any of them.

1. The Girl Who Chased The Moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother's life. But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew, she realised mysteries aren't solved in Mullaby, they're a way of life. Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbour, Julia Winterson, bakes hope in the form of cakes, offering them to satisfy the town's sweet tooth - but also in the hope of rekindling a love she fears might be lost forever. Can a humminbird cake bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily's back yard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.
I've been waiting to read this book for ages since I loved Sarah Addison Allen's previous novels; Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen

2. The Maze Runner by James Dashner

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out.
I'm loving the young adult dystopian novels at the moment. This one in particular sounds intriguing and mysterious. As well as this one I can't wait for the release of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins later this month.
3. Fade by Lisa McMann

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open - but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behaviour has grave consequences for them both. And if that isn't bad enough, Janie has discovered Martha Stubin's journals, and what she learns through them chills her to the bone. For not only is her fate as a Dream Catcher sealed, but what's to come is so much darker than she'd ever feared...It seems that some nightmares never end...

This is the sequel to Wake, which was a brilliant and original start to the series that I really enjoyed, so I'm looking forward to reading this one.

In My Mailbow (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted my Kristi of The Story Siren.

Only one book this week. I wasn't intending to buy any but I saw this at my local supermarket for only £1.

1. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A Blue So Dark By Holly Schindler

Fifteen-year-old Aura Ambrose is hiding a secret. Her mother, a talented artist and art teacher, is slowly being consumed by schizophrenia, and Aura has been her sole caretaker ever sinve her dad left them. Convinced that "creative" equals crazy, Aura shuns her own artistic talent.

But as her mother sinks deeper into the darkness of mental illness, the hunger for a creative outlet draws Aura toward the depths of her imagination. Just as desperation threatens to swallow her whole, Aura discovers that art, love, and family are profoundly linked - and together may offer an escape from her fears.

Schindler's writing is beautiful, haunting, and lyrical and sometimes even chaotic, which fits in perfectly with the subject matter. The tension and desperation emanating from Aura increases as you read the book, as if any minute the world is going to explode and drop out right from under her feet. Therefore this is definitely not a light read, however, it doesn't leave you feeling depressed but quite the opposite in fact.

I loved how the the romance between her and Jeremy was only a small sub plot that didn't overshadow the true story. I also loved how Schindler delves into the connection between how creativity, whether it be art, writing or music, can lead to a sort of mad genius persona.

A stunning, powerful and emotional first novel (inside and out), that will stay with you even after you have read the last word.

Random Passage: I'm terrified that the next time Mom needs me, I'm going to crack right in two. Because the longer this drama goes on, the more I feel like somebody that's going to get offed in Mom's journey. Maybe not literally dead, but a spiritual corpse, you know? I'll snap, and the me I've always known will be gone, never to emerge again.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Evernight By Claudia Gray

At the eerily Gothic Evernight Academy, the other students are sleek, smart, and almost predatory. Bianca knows she doesn't fit in.
When she meets handsome, brooding Lucas, he warns her to be careful - even when it comes to caring about him. But the connection between them can't be denied. Bianca will risk anything to be with Lucas, but dark secrets are fated to tear them apart... and to make Bianca question everything she's ever believed.

This book wasn't quite what I was expecting, mainly down to the huge twist in the middle. I started off by thinking that it was going to follow the lines of other various popular vampire novels, so I was pleasantly surprised.

Claudia Gray has a real knack for setting up a great dark, gothic type atmosphere and relating it to the different seasons especially Autumn. The first chapter really pulled me in, beginning with the eerie forest, potenially menacing stranger and creepy nightmare flashbacks, all filled with suspense. Overall, there was forbidden romance, mystery (even after the half-way surprise) and a bit of action towards the end.

However, I not completely convinced on the love between Bianca and Lucas. I felt it happened too quick. And after finding out Lucas's secret near the end it felt even less plausible to me. Although I could see the attraction between the two, but maybe not as strong as it was supposed to be. I also feel that a lot of the vampire stuff was skimmed over, mainly the background of them. Maybe Gray will delve into this more in the sequel though.

Finally, there was one character I really liked which was Balthazar, who I found the most intriguing and hope I get to learn more about him in Stargazer.

Random Passage: The next day, on my way to history class, I glimpsed Lucas in the hallway at the very same moment he spotted me. Sunlight from the stained glass windows painted him the colors of autumn, and it seemed to me that he had never been more handsome

Monday, 2 August 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves By Carrie Ryan

Gabry lives a quiet life, secure in her town next to the sea and behind the Barrier. She's content to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse.

Home is all she's ever known and all she needs for happiness.

But life after the Return is never safe and there are threats even the Barrier can't hold back.

Gabry's mother thought she left her secrets behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth but, like the dead in their world, secrets don't stay buried. And now, Gabry's world is crumbling.

One night beyond the barrier...

One boy Gabry's known forever and one veiled in mystery...

One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned.

Now Gabry knows only one thing; if she has any hope of a future, she must face the forest of her mother's past.

The Dead-Tossed Waves is the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth. First off I will start by saying I loved The Forest of Hands and Teeth. There was a need for survival and hope throughout the book even though the threat and torment from the Unconsecrated seemed never-ending. It was filled with suspense, danger, horror and heartache but with a resounding voice of hope and the need to keep going even if all seemed lost.

The Dead-Tossed Waves had this same need for survival woven throughout the pages but I felt the hope was in short supply, as if there wasn't a real goal until right at the end. Even though it was a slightly depressing read I still loved it as the writing was so powerful and flowed easily. When I initially picked up the book I was slightly disappointed to find that the story doesn't really continue with Mary's life but with her daughter's, Gabry. All that was forgotten though when I started reading and saw that the two novels connect beautifully and I became immersed in Gabrys world almost immediately.

Overall, I would definetly recommend this book and I will be on the lookout for the next sequel, The Dark and Hollow Places.

Random Passage: The sun is bright and hot, the cicadas a loud buzz that seems to build inside my chest. I take a deep breath and press my fingers into the gaps of the sturdy logs, not caring that it's daylight. Not caring what happens if I'm caught. Just needing to take one last gasp of the person I could be if I didn't fear so much.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

In My Mailbox (1)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren.
This is my first In My Mailbox and my first post, so here goes. I bought four books this week:
1. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
2. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
4. Ireland: Awakening by Edward Rutherfurd