Monday, 29 September 2014

Oh my goodness, finally have time to breathe. I haven't been able to post anything because this year I decided to do Freshers Crew for Freshers Week at my university and it has been none stop. I have been soooo busy.

Moved into the house I'm renting with my friends though, and it's great. Put together a little bookshelf in a somewhat ramshackle way and am slowly enjoying filling it to bursting point. Choosing books to bring with me was HARD (I only allowed myself five none course related books).

Because of my course I've been reading a lot of classics, I'm talking Tess of the d'Urbervilles, North and South, The Way of All Flesh etc. Plus got a free book from my uni that looks interesting: The Garden of Evening Mists by Twang Eng Tan. Looking forward to having a read of that! Last year I got The Accidental by Ali Smith.  

Hopefully going to be back into the swing of things after this week at least. Feeling a little run down due to acquiring freshers flu and on top of that I have a job interview this Wednesday. When did my life get this hectic?

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"Waiting on" Wednesday: The Fall - Bethany Griffin

Meme hosted by Breaking the Spine 

Publication date: 7th October 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:
She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.
Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.
In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

Admittedly, it was the cover that originally attracted me to this book, it looks like the story sounds from what I've read: intense, chilling, yet beautiful.

I know quite a few people have been reviewing this already, and that the reviews make it sound like it's going to be right up my street! I automatically thought that it's got the same intense look as Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, in a strange kind of way! 

The whole concept looks amazing, and although I haven't read the work this book is based on (Edgar Allan Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher) I cannot wait to get my hands on this book!

Monday, 8 September 2014

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart

Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication date: May 2014
Purchased: ASDA - £3.85
Rating: three stars

We are liars
We are beautiful and privileged
We are cracked and broken
A tale of love and romance
A tale of tragedy

Which are lies?
Which is truth? 
You decide 
*synopsis from back of book*

Honestly, I think I was expecting a little more from this book than I actually got. But whilst it was a good contemporary novel with a powerful story, it just wasn't one hundred per cent for me.

I thought that Lockhart created a fantastic setting, I really could see the island and the houses. She was really good at capturing each scene in the novel perfectly. The only drawback was that I felt like the protagonist Cadence had no personality. I never really got a grasp of who she was and couldn't really get involved with how she felt. She kept using these extreme metaphors to describe how she felt, but, to be honest, I didn't like them. But everyone else I got a real strong sense of personality, made especially by the writing style. Example a: "Mirren, she is sugar, curiosity, and rain" - I love how simplistic yet impacting these little descriptions can be. I thought it was beautiful.

It dealt with some real issues, especially surrounding family. Cadence's parents divorce and her complicated relationship with her mum, and the three sister's relationship with their father was of a lot of interest to me. I'm not a tall, blonde beauty born into a millionaire family with a budding financial problem, but I could believe what I was reading (mostly). The children being cleaved between the pressures of living up to expectations and just wanting it all to end is probably something a lot of people can emphasise with, and it was depicted well enough that I could sympathise.

However, in terms of plot Cadence's illness seemed pretty sketchy to me at some points. I know that there was a big old twist that had for the story's sake to be kept hush, but when it did come out (and no I didn't expect it) it made the story a little meh for me. I honestly don't know enough about what she suffered to prove it was unrealistic, but I felt like she would've know more than she did until the end of her weeks on the island. I really do, but I could be wrong. Like I said before, I didn't expect the twist, maybe that was silly of me not to, but I definitely thought it was the best bit of the book, I shed a little tear.

Overall it was a story with a great plotline, but at times I found it a bit puzzling and I couldn't really get involved with Cadence as a character as I would have liked to. Maybe I'm missing something, but it was just my impression.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Solitaire - Alice Oseman

Title: Solitaire 
Author: Alice Oseman
Published: 31st July 2014
Rating: four stars
Bought from ASDA for £3.95

"I don't remember not being serious. As far as I'm concerned, I came out of the womb spouting cynicism and wishing for rain."
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year 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. 
*Synopsis from back of book* 

So when I first started reading this book I had an immediate problem, I didn't think I was going to like Tori much at all. When I read the synopsis I thought I'd be able to associate with her as a character because she was a blogger and seemed like a bit of introvert, but nuh-uh. I felt like she was judgemental of other people and that she never made an effort, yet acted like the world was against her. And I didn't like it. She didn't get involved with conversation nor did she make any effort to keep the bonds she had with her friends. 

But, big but, she wasn't oblivious to this fact and she seemed to develop over the course of the book, whilst still remaining herself. In the end, it was Tori's development in the story that made the book for me, instead of the plot. I could completely understand why she felt the way she did, the world has a horrible way of sitting on shoulders, even if I did want to make her realise that the world isn't a hundred per cent badness. 

The plot itself was very interesting and the story dealt and handled a lot of issues really nicely. Psychological disorders, depression, justice, lack of care (on an almost Less Than Zero level), as well as friendship. Solitaire was an interesting mystery and it was nice to see their actions resonate bigger than just complimenting Tori's life, but rather they highlighted the dangerous cultural norm that is placing others on a pedestal and mistaking their violence for excitement and justice. 

The romance in this novel was inevitable, but it was still good. I loved Michael and I loved him with Tori. The ice skating scene is probably the cutest romantic scene I have ever read. In a lot of ways, these two compliment each other perfectly, without either of them being perfect.

If there was one thing I would have liked a bit more of it would be that I wanted to hear a bit more about Tori's family. The story had quite a lot of interaction between Charlie and Tori, but I felt that the parents were there because they had to be there. They had no real input into the story. 

Overall it was a good read, which I read really quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed Tori as a character and I thought it was written really well, especially because I've never read a book that's similar. Ultimate kudos to Alice Oseman.