Tuesday, 29 July 2014

MUM'S THE WORD... Dystopia Genre (#1)

A monthly feature in which I sit down and talk to my mum about bookish related topics!
For the first installment of 'Mum's the Word' I decided to sit down with my mum and talk about... DYSTOPIA. One of my favourite genre's. The dystopian genre has churned out books such as 1984 by George Orwell, Brave New World by Aldos Huxley, The Giver by Lois Lowry to more recent releases  like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Earth Girl by Janet Edwards and Breathe by Ally Condie.*

Okay mum, I'm going to start off by reading out some definitions of dystopia.
{definition of dystopia}
Designed by yours truly. And yes this is actually what I read out to my mum.
What's your opinion on the genre as a whole, so far? 
DEPRESSING. Far-fetched.
How is it far-fetched?
I don’t think that human nature would ever go to that extreme. There are too many good people in the world for things to happen like that. I don't think it could ever become global. People are becoming more politically active now.
Yeah,  but the thing is that the government (generally) in these novels tries to crush anyone's who's different and tries to go against the system - they want to crush that 'rebellion'.
They tried to crush people in Egypt and it didn't work. Did you see the masses that rallied against what's happening in Gaza? You can give me a whole host of variables, I mean anything’s possible. I still think its far fetched. These books have created a situation where human nature... people can end up at each others throats. LIKE AN OIL CRISIS. Not having gas or oil, and having to queue up for miles to get materials. What they need is a leader [the society in dystopian novels].
But what if they're happy? In some of these novels/societies people don't want to look deeper than they have to - they're happy enough, so why would they start a movement? Why would someone, a potential leader, be supported if people already think they're happy?
They're being brainwashed into a condition where they're almost robotic.
Okay - well, you've watched The Hunger Games - the first book in a very popular dystopian trilogy - what are your views on the subject, and what happens in the arena?
They’re just creating an unnecessary piece of drama. 
Then why do you think this has become so popular? Why do people read things like this and LIKE it? 
I think people are fascinated by how extreme human nature, or to what extreme human nature will go for power. For entertainment. For control. There's always a part of... people. Just reflects the modern day thinking. Fear. I mean because, the past, they've done everyone fighting each other, the men with the swords hacking and slicing at each other, they've done all that. Next is the kids; what else is going to sell? There are always people who think of themselves as hero's, and people who can see themselves as villain's - they can relate.
Alright, and how do you think dystopian novels relate to the present? What effect do you think they could have? 
I think it could make you question the actions of the government; are they acting in a way that's for your benefit? Is it a plot? It creates... kind-of like a conspiracy theory.
D'you think this is positive or negative?
Both, depending on how extreme someone will take it - if they can be objective, balanced in their views. I mean, its always possible. 
Yes...
The Roman's captured slaves and had gladiators - made them fight each other in arena's - its an old story in a modern day twist.
 You don't think that this, what's described in these books, could ever happen? Could ever become a situation in which people would have to live in?
 Anything's possible. I hope for the best. I hope that human nature... I am hopeful that good will prevail. That people learn from the past. And act.
But isn't "good will prevail" more of a fairytale, mum? I mean, its quite a common theme.
 For me now, the world is too connected - there's too many new technologies, too many ways of communication, the world has become smaller and I can't see that something like this would be able to prevail in the future. Not as an isolated state or country.
Okay, but what about all those dystopia novels written in the 18th century like George Orwell's 1984, and there's another one called Brave New World that was published in 1932 - they didn't have the same technology we do, is it more credible then?
 The world was in such a state back then - World War One had just finished and the world was not in a good place. I mean, even for America; they had the Great Depression, people going hungry in a country that was supposed to be rich. The world economy was not good.. World War Two was going to occur. People were seeing and had seen some of the worst of human nature. World War One was a horrific war. 
Do you still stand by what you said about dystopia being far fetched now? 
Far-fetched but I can understand why people would start reading... why this genre would come into play. It would be relatable to the people of that time; they'd like to read books that puts a horrific event they had been experiencing {WW1} into something that's more understandable.
Additional comments: 
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Thursday, 24 July 2014

My Kindle And E-Book Week!!

I have a kindle. I don't use it much, but I have it. My kindle is one of the older ones, before they invented Fire's and Paperwhites. This is the type of kindle I have. It doesn't have a name. But if you think it should, leave suggestions in the comments. Best one will become my kindle name!!
I got my kindle in the June of 2012, and the first book I downloaded was The Complete Little Women Series: Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys which I bought for £0.77. Bargain right! I bought it because Little Women is my favourite book ever, and so to get used to kindle reading, I wanted to start with something I knew I loved.

Now I have roughly 63 books, I believe. And of those, I have read 26. *hides* Yeah, I have A LOT of unread books on there. A few of them, I  regret downloading, because now I know I will never read them. But at one point I thought I might. And so many of these books I started when I downloaded them, but never read much of, nor finished.  So that is why I created E-Book Week!


So next week, from the 27th until the 3rd, I will be reading e-books only. Because I need to get through my incredible kindle TBR. I plan on trying to read seven books, one a day, because some of the books are short or aren't books I would be comfortable with reading throughout the night. This is my TBR.




As you can see, my TBR consists of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, Find Me by Romily Bernard, The Glimpse by Claire Merle, Shift by Em Bailey, Lies Like Love by Louisa Reid, Priscilla the Great by Sybil Nelson and Dead Silent by Sharon Jones.

That's my TBR for E-Book Week. I hope you can join in with me, cause it's going to be good fun, and a perfect time to read some of those unread e-books!! Remember to help me name my kindle in the comments below and I'll see you in my next review, or thing!!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

LET'S GET GRAPHIC... Solitaire by Alice Oseman

The last 'Let's Get Graphic' post that I did seemed to be received really well, so let's do another one! This time I am reviewing Solitaire by Alice Oseman (a highly anticipated YA Contemporary book) WITH my co-blogger Zoe. Meaning you get both our opinions - HarperCollins were nice enough to send us both Uncorrected Proof Copies too!!

My thoughts...
Rating = 2 Bookish Birds
Zoe's thoughts...
Rating = 5 Bookish Birds
*please click on the image to be brought to a bigger version*
*graphics designed by me, book cover used from Goodreads*

BOOK INFORMATION & BLURB ---

Book Title: Solitaire
Author: Alice Oseman
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's, July 31st, 2014
Source: Uncorrected Proof from Publisher
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
In case you're wondering this is not a love story. My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year - before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people - I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that's all over now. Now there's Solitaire. And Michael Holden. I don't know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don't care about Michael Holden. I really don't. 
There you have it! I hope you enjoyed reading about our opinions, if you're going to pick up a copy of Solitaire (or have already pre-ordered a copy!) let us know what you're most looking forward to in it!

*HUGE thank-you to the awesome people at HarperCollins for sending us Uncorrected Proofs to read and review <3*

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Farewell for Now - City of Heavenly Fire Thoughts

It’s always hard to finish a series, to leave the characters, and say goodbye. Especially a series that you've been following for a long time, something you've really invested yourself in. For me, prime examples include Harry Potter, Alex Rider, and now The Mortal Instruments.

It’s funny how you want that last book so much, it’s so greatly awaited by fans, as soon as you've got your hands on it you want to rush through it (at least in my experience), and get to the end. Then you read that last page, and a sort-of shock sets in. You don’t want it to be over, yet it is; it’s all over. Whether the book ended the way you wanted it to, or if it was total crap, it’s over. That’s it.

So now I’m writing this post and thinking about City of Heavenly Fire, the last book in The Mortal Instruments series; sure, there’s going to be The Dark Artifices, but this is it, really, for Clary, Jace, Simon, Isabelle, and Alec – that’s their set of adventures done with, right?

Did it end the way I wanted it to? In short, yes, I thought the Epilogue was perfect – bittersweet in ways, but of course I’m not naive enough to think we’d get a full on happy ending, no deaths, that wouldn’t be like Cassie, I think, and to be fair that would have been a real let down – no matter how much I might have wanted it.

Something was different this time, missing – City of Heavenly Fire didn't give me the same ‘buzz’ that the other books did, I just wasn't… gripped. It’s actually really hard to explain, I read the book in one sitting, but I could have put it down – I didn't because I needed to know what happened, yet with the others books I was absolutely hooked, every time I had to put them down my mind was constantly thinking about what was going to happen. My experience with CoHF was definitely a lot mellower.

Whilst I thought that Cassie’s writing style was pretty weak in this book, I did love having Jace’s familiar personality back, I mean, who else would bring condoms to a demon dimension? Water would have been higher on my list, but hey, it worked out well for him. In fact, I loved having all the characters back, AND THE SHIPS. CLACE. SIZZY. MALEC. I also really had a soft spot for Emma’s bits in this book, and that makes me doubly excited for The Dark Artifices trilogy (series?).

When I finished this book I couldn't even English, I totally ranted on Twitter to Rita (thankies you awesome peep) and writing this post has definitely helped me sift through some of my thoughts, but I am in no way done thinking about this book. I’m just done writing about it, for now.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

LET'S GET GRAPHIC... We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I've always wanted to try my hand at review graphics, and since writing an actual review for this book was proving very unsuccessful, it seemed like a great time to go ahead and do it. Now, my designing skills aren't brilliant, they are in fact very amateur, but I did have a great deal of fun making this!

There was so much I wanted to say about this book, and so much I didn't want to/couldn't say, which is basically why I ended up making this graphic than writing a full length review - but you can read on without fear, there are NO spoilers at all

Book Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publisher: Hot Key Books, May 15th, 2014
Source: Bought (The Book Depository)
Format: Paperback, 228 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Whilst this book did have its (few) negatives, it did surprised me beyond measure, and it was just nothing that I'd expected - definitely one of the most originally written contemporaries I've read this year.

Rating = 5 Bookish Birds

Emma over at Mab is Mab wrote a fantastic review of We Were Liars (you can read that here - spoiler free), which was the main reason why I picked this book up sooner rather than later. Emma is also one of my favourite bloggers, so I definitely recommend you give her blog a read!