Friday, 29 August 2014

Little English Bookshops - Minster Gate Bookshop

Yesterday I went on a day-trip to York in England, which is a gorgeous old city with streets that remind me very strongly of Diagon Alley in Harry Potter. I just had to drag my mum to possibly the most lovely book store: Minster Gate Bookshop (situated a stones throw from the cathedral). 

York Cathedral! 
It boasts an impressive four floors of bookish delight, including the bottom level 'bargain basement', where I found Tess of the D'Urbervilles for a pocket friendly £2. The cashier is situated in a room on the ground floor filled to the brim with rare and expensive copies of books.I am the proud owner of one such copy: the 1967 edition of K.M. Briggs The Fairies in Tradition and Literature - which I got for my eighteenth birthday. All the other floors cover a wide, wide range of topics, including an international/foreign section!

All the rooms, even the stairways, are filled to the brim with beautiful books in all shapes and sizes including a beautiful edition of Peter Pan that I almost splurged on.

The building is super quiet despite being bang-smack in the middle of a busy street and I could have got lost in there for hours! It's like stepping into a real life fairytale itself because it's in this obviously ancient building equipped with narrow stairways and creaky floors - filled to the brim with that old book smell!

Whoever owns it obviously loves it passionately and has put in a lot of effort to make it perfect. It's a booklovers dream, so if you ever get the chance, you should step in because it's so worth it!

Look at all the books!

Shop front!

Over excited by the calligraphy writing.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

"Waiting on" Wednesday: I Was Here - Gayle Forman

Meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 

Synopsis from Goodreads
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

So this looks like it's going to be absolutely heartbreaking, but at the same time I get the feeling it's going to be one of those amazing books that will make me question all sorts of things. I'm super pumped for this book mainly because I haven't ever really read anything that sounds similar, and I'm all for branching out. Totally hoping this doesn't disappoint! 

Also, I've never read anything by Gayle Forman, so hopefully she's as amazing a writer as the synopsis makes me feel she probably is. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Monsters of Men - Patrick Ness: Chaos Walking #3

Title: Monsters of Men
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking
Publication date: September 2010
Rating: Four stars!

This book was so packed with action that I'm not even sure where to begin. It quite graphically presents the real terror and contradiction of war. The fight for peace is rendered obsolete whilst both the Mayor and Mistress Coyle fight for their own personal cause. Which ties perfectly into the phrase repeated numerous times throughout the story: don't make war personal.

Of course this is difficult when Todd and Viola are constantly faced with saving each other or ending the war. This does lead to some moments that made me facepalm a little, because I felt like they constantly got sidetracked in a way that was a little whiny and irresponsible. But also very human. I thought the development of their relationship in this book was more gratifying, because despite all the mistrust and trouble that brews between them they both still see the love the other has for them, which I thought was really sweet.

I loved the input of the Spackle voice, in fact it was probably my favourite thing in the entire trilogy. Their lives are so complex and alien, but made understandable as 1017/The Return tries to make sense of himself and his feelings of loneliness despite being surrounded by his own kind.

There were so many moments in this book where I though "yay it's all going to end well" only for shit to hit the fan AGAIN, but I think,despite slowing the whole thing down for me during the middle section of the book, the ending was really worth while. The bonus story I got in my edition of the book though really, really cleared something that would have killed me not to know up. So overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this trilogy and Patrick Ness is now one of my favourite authors. His characters shone through so vividly for me, even the bad ones, that it has really been an emotional roller coaster.

Friday, 8 August 2014

The Ask and The Answer- Patrick Ness

Title: The Ask and The Answer
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: Chaos Walking trilogy
Publication date: May 2009
Rating: Four and a half stars.

*Synopsis from back of book*
"Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd and Viola once again face their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss.
Immediately imprisoned and separated from Viola, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order.
And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode... "

The action starts straight away, sensible considering the MASSIVE cliffhanger of the last book. This one has some truly cracking moments. Bombs, rebellion, more bombs...

I felt so conflicted when Todd and Viola got sucked up into the grizzly worlds of The Ask and The Answer...separately. Plus with the impending arrival of Viola's ship it's all super tense. I didn't think there were any lengthy boring gaps where I thought it was drab because a hell of a lot goes on, especially because it's told from Todd and Viola's viewpoint - and different things are happening with them both. New Prentisstown becomes a town of war and terror under the influence of two opposing sides, and is completely victimised as both aim for victory.

Todd is transformed by so much in this story, and I feel sorry and simultaneously pissed off at him a lot of the time. He has to deal with his feelings for the spackle and their's for him, the pressure of the Mayor's influence, and spending everyday with Davy Prentiss. Viola practically shines in this book, her true strength of character blossoms as she battles through loss and mistrust. Their relationship also blossoms, it's just lovely. It's not overly romantic but it's quite clear that they centre around each other a lot despite all that fights against them and apparent betrayal.

There are so many fantastic characters in this books, fantastic in terms of their presence and totalitarian personalities. And it's really hard hitting, but I thought this was a great second instalment and I wasn't disappointed, though it was nothing like I thought it was going to be. I really hope that in the next book we hear more about  Lee, because I felt like he was more of a plot tool than someone relevant, but I really want to hear how it turns out for him.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Top ten books I'd recommend to people who haven't tried dystopian novels

1.) Brave New World - Aldous Huxley. Actually the first one that I ever read, so it holds a special place in my heart and gets top spot!

2.) More Than This - Patrick Ness. I loved everything about this book. Definitely recommend for a twisty and chilling plot-line!

3.) Blood Red Road - Moira Young. Feisty heroine, brilliant setting, and brutal plot - what more can I say.

4.) 1984 - George Orwell. Why not throw a classic in there? I know they aren't YA but they are fantastic and make you really glad you live in today's society.

5.) The Chaos Walking trilogy - Patrick Ness. It's got a fantastic story and characters you fall in love with, but also runs the risk of tears and suspense induced bitten down finger nails - read with caution.

6.) A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess. Freaky as shit. I love it.

7.) The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins. Of course - it's GREAT if you're just starting to read novels with a dystopian setting.

8.) Angel. - L.A. Weatherly. Don't know if you can technically class this as dystopian, but it definitely involves a society I WOULD NOT want to live in when it all goes to hell.

9.) Dark Inside - Jeyn Roberts. Nitty, gritty, and sure as hell not pretty.

10.) Divergent - Veronica Roth. Okay, I'm going to choose this one because it's so popular. The first book is immense, but I've been put-off reading the 2nd and 3rd because of all the negativity I've heard about it. BUT I think the first book was perfect, so there.