Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Halloween Horror



Happy two days before Halloween, actually!!!


So if you know much about my reading tastes, you know there is pretty much only two genres I don't like reading. The first is travel books, although you'll see in a future post I am going to try and change that. But the second genre is horror!

I am a bit of a scaredy cat type of person, and I get very spooked out very easily. So horror books have never really appealed to me. I like thrillers more if I want to be slightly on edge, because a good thriller can have you just as scared, especially if your floorboards creak as much as mine do!

But right here I have decided to make a stand. I want to start reading more horror novels. So I'm asking for some recommendations! I want really scary books that will make me sit on the edge of my seat and jump every time someone makes a noise near me. So go on then! I completely trust every single one of you that reads this!

I hope to be reading a really scary book on Halloween so let me know what I should pick up!!

And because it is near Halloween I thought as a treat I would leave some links to music at the end of this post! The first is from "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and the second is a classic bit of Michael Jackson!! Enjoy!!

This Is Halloween!!
Thriller!!

Friday, 24 October 2014

LET'S GET GRAPHIC... The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

I couldn't find enough to say about this book to fill a proper review so it was a great chance to make another review graphic. I really enjoyed The Rosie Project and loved the characters, I brifely thought of them as generic, but Simsion just blew all the out of the water and gave me something that I didn't want to like but ended up loving anyway!

Title: The Rosie Project (Don Tillman #1)
Author: Graeme Simsion
Publisher: Penguin, January 2nd, 2014
Source: Bought!
Format: Paperback, 327 pages

Blurb ---
Meet Don Tillman. Don is getting married. He just doesn't know who to yet. But he has designed a very detailed questionnaire to help him find the perfect woman. One thing he already knows, though, is that it's not Rosie. Absolutely, completely, definitely not.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Why Do I Read?

So, a few weeks ago, I started to think about why I read. Why is it that I pick up a book and read it? I though about it for a while, and came up with a list. So here are my reasons for reading;
  • I read to escape. Over the last few months, a lot of stuff has hit me and I struggled to cope. But when I picked up the book I was reading, I forgot. I lost all my problems and just focused on the story. I escaped. I think that is a reason why all of us read. To escape.
  • I read to make friends. You know the feeling you get when you pick up one of your old favourite, reliable books and you just know your back with friends. I read for that feeling, the feeling of friendship I get from some of my favourite books.
  • I read to learn. I read to know facts, to learn in a way that doesn't feel like I'm learning. To expand my vocabulary, and make myself more aware of social challenges and issues. I learn from books because it is the best place to learn. 
  • I read so I can become a better person. So I can be kinder, be more caring, be more empathetic to others situations and issues. Books can give you morals and opinions and just generally make you a better person.
So they are a few reasons why I read. Comment with your reasons for reading.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Why I Have Never Published a Discussion Post

I'm just going to jump into this straight away without any faffing about: not having discussion posts as a real option limits the amount of variety if posts I can write, by at least 30%. And believe me, its not for lack of trying, I've written discussion posts loads of times about various topics but never had the nerve to post them for two main reasons. Both of which are seemingly related to self-confidence, of which I don't have much.

UN-ORIGINALITY

This shouldn't bother me, but it does. Basically the process usually goes like this; "oh, I really want to share my thoughts and opinions on this topic!" *writes post* *thinks* *realizes that the topic has already been talked about a billion times in much better ways than I can articulate* *gets discouraged* *deletes post and crawls into cave* Not only do I get discouraged when I see how other bloggers talk about the same topic in an amazing way, but I also don't want to seem like I copying other people by talking about the same thing, which discourages me even more... its a cruel process.

SELF-CONFIDENCE

Now this is pretty much the big mastermind behind why I don't publish discussion posts. I'm one of those people who doesn't really feel comfortable talking about something that is based fully on my opinion if I'm not an authority on the topic, or if I don't feel very strongly about the topic. If I do feel strongly about a topic then its like I'm invincible, I'll be super confident about my opinion but I won't be a jerk about it. Yet a lot of the time I don't feel that strongly about many topics so its easy for me to wiggle out of it and tell myself that people don't really want to hear this.

But now I really do want to write discussion posts and not be anxious about it all the time. I just want to be able to share my thoughts without any extra baggage. So I wanted to write this post to give you a little insight into that and hopefully I manage to actually post some discussion posts in the near future.

It also goes without saying that I have to thank all the girls from Oh, the Books for giving me a little push to write this post [even if the didn't know it!] and by extension I also need to thank Erika from The Red Bookmark for giving me the nudge I needed to post this. Other than that I hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

[JOINT] REVIEW || Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Book Title: Falling into Place
Author: Amy Zhang
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, September 9th, 2014
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton's laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road. Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High's most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force - Liz didn't understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn't understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang's haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Foreman, and Jay Ashner.
*Massive thank-you to Harper360 for sending us  free copies of Falling into Place before its publication date to read and review! This in no way affected our reviews!* 
I've been so exited for this book, and I was amazed that I had gotten and early copy, I wanted to read it immediately but made myself wait so that I could finish my current read (Daughter of Smoke and Bone) and I'm glad that I did wait because I don't think I would have had as good a reading experience if I had started it in my excited frenzy. I was able to savour the book rather instead of rushing through it.

Unfortunately, Falling Into Place fell short of my expectations. Don't get me wrong it truly is a really well written book, I mean, there isn't a single fault that I could find in the book. Its unique, told from a striking perspective, and just generally brilliant. I did truly enjoy reading Falling Into Place. The only thing that let it down was the fact that I felt very emotionally detached from the book, and the emotion I was expecting to experience was such a huge part of my expectations and anticipation that when I finished the book and hadn't felt anything; I was really disappointed, there is only one way to say it and sadly its not what I wanted to end up saying about this book.

In the end Falling Into Place also made me felt slightly stupid and inadequate, because everyone who had read it was talking about the mystery narrator and who it actually was; and I'll be honest, I didn't have a single clue, nothing, nada, zilch. Yet everyone else seemed to share the answer.

I also had been very excited to get this book, but unlike Fionnuala, I started it quite soon after receiving it. I kind of wish that I had more time when reading this book because I feel like I, not only, could have read it faster, but could have appreciated it more had I not been reading a little then having to do some work. 

I really enjoyed Falling Into Place. As Fionnuala said, it is an extremely well written book. I loved the unique perspective, and found that it almost made me read the book faster because I felt like I wanted to know who or what the unique perspective was. This book does make you think about who is affected in these sorts of situations and how much we can influence each other. I found this book to be very emotional and I think that added to my enjoyment of the book, although I feel part of the emotion I felt was almost drawn upon from the emotion I felt in similar situations that have happened to my over the past few months.

Also, the fact I understood a lot of the Physics mentioned in the book made me so happy!

Thursday, 16 October 2014

REVIEW || Inside Divergent: The Initiates World by Cecilia Bernard

Book Title: Inside Divergent: The Initiates World
Author: Cecilia Bernard
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books, February 11th, 2014
Source: Review copy from publisher!
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Illustrated with more than 100 photographs - many never before seen - this eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent where you'll discover the factions, meet the initiates, and enter the thrilling dystopian world.
I only got round to finally reading this review copy when I found it whilst re-organizing my bookshelves the other day  (cringe for un-organization), it was in a pile with other books that I wasn't able to find a designated place for - I was really excited because I am a fan of the film and an even bigger fan of the books, but it didn't really meet my expectations. Inside Divergent is basically a lengthened pamphlet informing you about the world of Divergent in a very basic way - it was like a very simplistic transcript just with a great layout and brilliant photos.

Whilst I can see that people who haven't read the books may enjoy this along with the film but since I have read the books, this just didn't offer anything new or interesting for me. Half of the time my eyes kept drifting away from the writing to just stare at The-*cough* the photo's, that's what I mean't to say... I'm not dismissing the fact that this book is really well designed and has some great shots, but it did very much feel like style over substance for me and I think if you've read the books you don't really need this in your life. Furthermore, there was no flow to the writing, no tempo, no humor nothing to make it discernibly unique. I get that its non-fiction but at least make it something people will enjoy reading.
Rating = 2 Bookish Birds

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sorry!!

Hey! So this feels strange. It's been ages since I sat down and actually wrote a post. Today, I'm just quickly letting you know why I haven't posted in ages, and how that will change. So, on the 19th of August I went back to school. I'm in my exam year and that means I have a lot of homework, and tests and the like. It also means I have literally no free time to myself. I haven't had time to write posts or anything, I haven't even had time to read! But, as I write this, I am on holiday. And I am kicking myself into gear and writing some posts, because I want to be organised!

Every Wednesday, and some Saturdays, I will be posting. They will be anything, from My Top Ten lists, to themed posts, and maybe even the occasional post that has nothing to do with books. I am spending a few hours over the next few days writing as many posts as possible so that when I am back at school and stressed, I am at least not worrying about posts. Reviews from me will also be going up from November onward. At the moment, I haven't got a lot of books I can review but I am slowly building up a collection for you!! My first proper post should be going up on Wednesday, next week, so keep your eyes peeled for that! I better go and start writing up some posts!! Bye, for now!!

I just want to quickly add in my own wee bit to Zoe's post; you all know that I don't work to a blog schedule because its just not how I operate, but like Zoe I'm in my exam year and I have less than six months until my GCSE's and less than a month until my Mocks. Therefore, whilst I'm still not working to a schedule, I've chosen allotted days to post on as well since Zoe will be posting every Wednesday and possibly on Saturday's, I've decided to post every Monday and possibly on Friday's - so you should at least get three posts from us every week! ~ Fionnuala

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

LET'S GET GRAPHIC... Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Its been a while since my last review graphic, and I mean a while! I think that the last one I did was near the end of August. Ah well, I can only make graphics I'm happy with when inspiration strikes, and in this case it did strike, and I'm really happy with it. I was also surprisingly happy with this book too. As you can see from the title of the post, I did indeed jump on the bandwagon and start Anna and the French Kiss, the first in a companion trilogy by Stephanie Perkins - which has been about the blogosphere for ages, and I can see why. I hope you all like the graphic!!

Title: Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Usborne Publishing, January 1st, 2014
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback, 416 pages


Blurb ---
Anna has everything figured out - she was about to start senior year with her best friend, she had a great weekend job, and her huge work crush looked as if it might finally be going somewhere... Until her dad decides to send her 4383 miles away to Paris. On her own. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna finds herself making new friends, including Etienne, the smart, beautiful boy from the floor above. But he's taken - and Anna might be too. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?
In case you missed it, my last review graphic was for Holly Smales's GEEK GIRL! Click on the image below to see the post!

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average personal laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

TAG || Book Blogger Confessions

Thanks to Emz from Icy Cold Reads for tagging me! This tag was originally created on Laura's Book Reviews!

The Rules ---
Answer these questions truthfully.
Once you've completed this tag, tag five other book bloggers to answer these questions next.

The Questions ---
Which book, most recently, did you not finish?
Attachments by Rainbow Rowell - not because I didn't want to read it, or because I didn't enjoy it, but because my copy arrived slightly damaged from The Book Depository and the first one hundred pages or so began falling apart whilst I was reading it! So I stopped reading that copy.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?
The book that immediately comes to mind is Twilight, I own all the books in the series and I do enjoy reading them from time to time... don't get me wrong I don't identify with it at all, and I often mock the books and films, but they're easy reading when I'm bored or stuck in a serious slump.

Which book do you love to hate?
It took me a while to come up with an answer to this but I finally decided on The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, its a bit like Twilight - I enjoyed the book when I read it but apart from when I'm actually reading it I hate it. I hated the romance, and the book just didn't makes sense to me.

Which book would you throw into the sea?
In a fit of joy I would probably toss my physics textbook into the sea after I finish my GCSE's - does that count as a book? Ah well, I'm including it anyway.

Which book have you read the most?
Its a tie between Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, the Alex Rider series, and the Harry Potter books! I've read each of them roughly the same amount of time, all you have to do is look at how well worn the spines are *winces*

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?
Daughter of Smoke and Bone be Laini Taylor! Like Emz its not because I hate the book, I actually really love it, but I've received various copies of it including one I bought and I really don't need another copy of it!

Which book could you not live without?
I don't even know how I'm supposed to answer this... I guess I would pick Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer... I mean I re-read it nearly every month, and if there's one book that I couldn't live without it would be that one.

Which book made me the angriest?
A book has never actually made me angry, but the book that has made me the most conflicted and irritated was Winger by Andrew Smith mainly because I couldn't decide whether to give it five stars or one star and the ending just made my brain melt. On the one hand I enjoyed it, but on the other there was nothing I could pinpoint that I liked about it - hence why I still haven't reviewed it.

Which book made you cry the most?
A book has never made me cry, so.... none?

Which book cover do you hate the most?
Off the top of my head... I really, REALLY don't like the sparkly covers of the Lux series bind-ups and Opposition, I've been meaning to buy the series for ages but my bookshop only sells the silly sparkly covers and that's put me off.

I'm tagging ---

Thursday, 2 October 2014

REVIEW || The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

Book Title: The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter #1)
Author: Megan Shepherd
Publisher: Balzer + Bray, January 29th, 2013
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback, 420 pages
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository
Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London - working as a main, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. Accompanies by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edwards - both of whom she is deeply drawn to - Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experiments on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before its too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius - and madness - in her own blood.
I've had my eye on this trilogy for the past couple of months and I originally bought the second book (Her Dark Curiosity) but decided not to read it until I got the first book, and I eventually bought it and finally read it the other day - I don't usually post reviews of books a few days after I've read them, but I really wanted to talk about this one because its just so unique and I genuinely loved it.

The concept of the series was really what drew me in in the first place - I adore re-tellings and whilst The Madman's Daughter wasn't an exact retelling but was rather inspired by the classic by H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau. I loved the accurate re-creation of the era, the way you just knew straight off that this was not present day, and the underlying darkness that filtered in throughout the early stages of the book was excellent. You really got such good descriptions in the book that everything felt alive in quite a vintage way [does that even make sense? again, I'm terrible with trying to explain things properly...] and the different atmosphere's created were just brilliant, for example you get the real feel of the grittiness of the city and the alienation [for want of a better word] of the island and its inhabitants.

Of course there was a vague [maybe not so vague...] love triangle, and I admit I'm slightly biased as all my experience with love triangles and books hasn't been exactly positive. As I mentioned to Arianne in a little Twitter conversation the romance in The Madman's Daughter wasn't terrible, not by far, but personally I found it quite average [albeit the context] and I would have preferred something that was maybe a little more original - which was a bit disappointing because that was pretty much the only downside to the book.

Onto the more scientific side of the novel - I know for a fact that Juliet and I share at least one quality, and that is her scientific curiosity. Whilst I've never seen a live dissection, or vivisection or anything that Juliet has experienced I still have that same curiosity - a thirst for knowledge, I suppose you could call it - and I just find a lot of things fascinating; like breathing, or the sky and many more things that I'm not going to mention because them I'll go off and talk about them for ages. So this novel was basically an extension of my wanting to experience, and theorize [even if it is fictional] something that I would have usually associated with Frankenstein, or the show The Addams Family, in a rather comical way - I did spend moments putting it into realistic context but Megan Shepherd widened those boundaries so much more. And it really was that much more realistic, it seems absolutely possible. And that's what fiction is all about, right? Making the impossible possible?

Well, I ended up going off on a bit of a spin anyway, but hopefully that conveys how good this book was - I do have to say that for around two-thirds of the book nothing as thrilling as death and experiments really happens but its written in such a way, like it keeps tugging at you to read on, that its not boring, instead its intriguing.

SPOILER ALERT: The next paragraph contains spoilers for the ending of The Madman's Daughter and the first half of Her Dark Curiosity (they have been covered!) YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

I have to say I loved the ending to pieces, throughout the entire book I was just wondering how the author was going to end it and I honestly thought it was going to be terrible. Well, to be clear, not terrible as in this-is-such-bad-writing-please-drown-me terrible but as in I personally wouldn't like the way it ended, but it was bloody brilliant. Maybe this shows that I'm a little bit mad myself, but I really like that Shepherd killed off Edward and made Montgomery betray Juliet, unfortunately now that I'm currently reading Her Dark Curiosity I've found out that Edward wasn't actually killed [which, to be fair, I did suspect] and now that opens up possibilities of Montgomery coming back too, sigh. It was still a pretty good ending nonetheless.

In general, I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good thriller and/or psychological book, historical novels, or re-tellings - but I do urge any and everyone to give this book a go!

Rating = 4 Bookish Birds