Thursday 30 August 2012

Top 6 Best Places to Read a Book

Whenever I get a chance, I try to read. But there are definitely some places I go where I enjoy reading more. Some places are just too noisy or they’re just not that comfortable or maybe you just can’t concentrate because the surroundings are too distracting. Here’s a list of my favourite places to read a book.

1.       In a book shop – I love reading in book shops and before my beloved Borders closed it was my favourite pastime. Since then I found Waterstones to be quite cosy and the warm atmosphere along with the smell off freshly brewed coffee (love the smell, hate the taste) is very welcoming. Book shops are also a great place to pick up stationary if you’re running low on pencils which I always am for some reason.

2.       On a long train journey –this is a great place to read, especially when you now you have four more hours until your stop comes. When you have a good book, a comfy seat and cup of hot chocolate, nothings better.

3.       In bed – sometimes when I just can’t get to sleep I pick up a book. Another excuse to read and a great way to cure that insomnia. Just remember to put you book away when you feel you’re starting to drift off or you could crease the pages. It’s happened…

4.       In the park – Reading outdoors is a good change from reading indoors. If you can find a quiet comfortable place to sit like a bench then it’s great. I find it isn’t as enjoyable when temperatures outside are below zero or when it’s raining so check the weather first.

5.       In a coffee shop – I hardly ever read in coffee shops but I knew a lot of people did so I decided to give it a try and it wasn’t too bad. Quite nice actually, hot chocolate, a muffin and a book. Reading heaven.

6.       On my favourite chair – This is my most favourite place to read. Even though I’m disrupted by someone every five minutes, nothing beats curling up on my soft, warm chair with a good book. I have to walk around every hour or so, otherwise my legs go numb.

Where are your favourite places to read?

Monday 27 August 2012

Next on my reading list: Pure by Julianna Baggott

When I finally finish The Night Circus (about halfway) I’ll be moving onto a new book I found on a trip to the supermarket, Pure by Julianna Baggott. I didn’t know what it was about but apparently if you ‘Love The Hunger Games’ you’ll ‘love Pure’ so I thought why not give it a try.

I think I prefer the US cover but this isn't too bad.

Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost--how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. (Goodreads)

I do like dystopian fiction so I’m looking forward to reading this.
What's next on your reading list?

Wednesday 22 August 2012

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count: 452
Publication Date: December 8th 2009


There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret...even if it kills her.

Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, FALLEN is a page-turning thriller and the ultimate love story.

What I Thought:

After an accident, our main character, 17 year old Lucinda Price or Luce as she’s more commonly called receives a court order saying she is to be removed from her private school and placed in a school for the mentally unstable, although it turns out to be more of a school for fallen angels.

I’ll have to start by saying I found Luce’s character quite boring and even irritating at times. Her obsession with Daniel (a fallen angel) is difficult to believe because he’s so horrible to her. Then to complete the obvious love triangle we have Cam who is another fallen angel but is considerably kinder to Luce. The reason for their opposite behaviour is that they both have ulterior motives.

My main problem with the book is the lack of realistic actions. I suppose we’re meant to assume that the reason Luce is drawn to Daniel is the work of an unearthly force or that Luce really is mentally unstable, so much so her better judgement is affected in a negative way. Ironically this poor judgement puts her in a better situation in the end as a certain someone turns out to be not as nice as you might think. I won’t ruin it for you.

Another problem I had was that the Luce escaped death so often, at the cost of someone else’s life. In many situations it was obvious she wasn’t going to die but I couldn’t help but wonder why. Well, that was until I finished the book, but by then I had another question.

Why didn’t I like Luce? Well I’m not saying she’s the only one in the world of books who does this but I feel she is the embodiment of anti-feminism. Now, I don’t expect or even want every female lead to be a feminist, but I do expect them to have some dignity. We later find out Luce thinks quite a lot of herself in a dialog she has with Daniel where she trying to convince him into believing she’s smart. The problem is by this point even I wasn’t sure what to think of Luce as everything she does makes us think she must have a terribly low self-esteem if she’s accepting the way Daniel treats her.

If you like fallen angels you might like this.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday 18 August 2012

Top 5 Best Book Covers

Because I like to pick random books off the shelf I often find myself judging books by their covers. How else would I choose? Well I could research them first but what's the fun in that? So I decided to make a short list of my top 5 favourite book covers, in no particular order:

1-      The Night Circus – 

The cover of the night circus reflects the book perfectly, mysterious and magical. I had no idea what the book was about when I picked it up other than a circus being the main focus and even a few pages in I still wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen, so the cover was what mainly drew me to the book.

2-      The Cardturner –

I reviewed this earlier but I don’t think I mentioned how much I liked the book cover.  I have the blue UK edition which is my favourite. Again I didn’t know what I was about to read when I bought it because there wasn’t much of a blurb but I wasn’t disappointed.

3-      Hush, hush –

A monochrome, silvery-grey angel falling from the sky. Probably the best of all the covers from the series. I don’t know why I do, but I just like this one.

4-      Fallen - 

One of the risks of judging a book by its cover – disappointment. I liked the cover but I didn’t really like the book.

5-      City of Bones – 

I haven’t actually read this book yet but I thought the cover was interesting.

What are your favourite book covers?

Thursday 16 August 2012

Dark Secrets – Legacy of Lies & Don’t Tell, by Elizabeth Chandler

Title: Dark Secrets
Author: Elizabeth Chandler
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Page Count: 431
Publication Date: March 8th 2011

Dark Secrets contains two stories. The first, Legacy of Lies, is about a girl called Megan who has to stay with her not-so-sweet grandmother over the summer. Due to her being adopted her grandmother refuses to be anything but hostile towards Megan which frustrates her greatly. She finds herself in a love triangle and learns she’s more connected to her families past than she thought.

I enjoyed both stories which I felt were well thought out but the love triangle in Legacy of lies felt a bit obvious. Another thing I thought was odd about it was that Matt was her cousin. I had to keep reminding myself that Megan was adopted to make it seem less strange. That aside, the story itself was greatly mysteriously, a little scary at times and had me gripped from start to end.

In the second story, Don’t Tell, we follow Lauren who revisits the town where, seven years ago, her mother drowned. Slowly, strange events occur that mimic those that happened before her mother’s death and Lauren starts to question the innocence of the accident and later wonders if she’s next.

The second story was my favourite of the two simply because I preferred the story which I felt was especially mysterious. Especially when Lauren is alone and waiting for something to happen. Every time something creepy happened I couldn’t help but wonder if this was going to be the end for Lauren. Especially because it seemed her fate is set out for her.

Overall both stories were mostly quite eerie and mysterious although Chandler managed to slip in some humour here and there which lifted the mood.  It’s a nice book that will give you chills when you read it at night and leave you looking over your shoulder in the morning.

Rating: 3/5

Monday 13 August 2012

The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Publisher: Puffin Books
Page Count: 406
Publication Date: 2012


I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight

What I thought:

I stare at the page.

Come on you can do this! I think as I take note of the page number. Ten pages in. I’m weak and tired but I’m also strong in will. A sudden icy cold shiver trails my spine as my brain kicks into overdrive. My first legacy. The power of Perseverance, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. My mouth sets into a grin as I ready myself for battle. Give it your best shot.

400 or so pages later I finally close the book. No legacy could have prepared me for this. There were just so… so many things wrong. How was this possible? I think, not much more than a second before the book turns to ash, falling through my fingers and onto my lap.

End scene.

Careful, spoilers ahead!

First things first, it was definately better than the first book. I was a tiny bit annoyed by the constant perspective changes which were defined by a change in font. Especially when they changed over halfway through a chapter for about a paragraph, just to tell us something meaningless. That being said most of things that happened in the book were meaningless and could have easily been left out altogether. For example, the awkward unrealistic conversations they had, riddled with the word ‘dude’ in every other sentence or maybe the random ‘fancy words’ that seem out of place in the characters vocabulary. (Segue)

Secondly, the characters, does Adelina not care about putting her life and Marina’s on the line by being oblivious to everything? They have no common sense. Especially John…

They somehow make John even more clueless than he was before, which is saying something if you read the first book. He constantly puts his own life and others at risk when it isn’t necessary (texting Sarah). He even cheers when Sam agrees to infiltrate a Mogodorian base with him. Which brings me onto two more points?

How they heck did Sam survive all that? Of course he’s being held hostage or something now but really he should have died or have been severely injured when the Mogs blew the house up near the start. How did a regular human survive that and have time to grab the Chest? I had a hard time believing that.

What about the Mogs? Officially the worst villains I have ever known. There’s clearly an endless amount of them but they can’t even kill two Lorien kids and a human. Probably because they were too busy steam pressing their trench coats. But thankfully the awesome plot line hasn’t been tarnished by such things. There were nine of us who escaped.

Wait! No there weren’t because number ten jumps out of nowhere in the form of an eleven year old girl. I expected it, but not because of any good foreshadowing. Because the writers are so obvious. Why else would a new character get so much attention? It’s never explained how they made the (impossible) journey for Lorien, which is also frustrating. Not to mention the unnecessary love triangle? I’m sorry, love square. That’s right, John, Sam, Six and Sarah. Until Sarah’s character is sabotaged to make room for Six who is now my favourite. Sorry Sam.

That being said, this book is, like I mentioned, better than the first and if you don’t take it too seriously you could enjoy reading it for a laugh. But after investing so much time in a series which has disappointed me so much, I’m not sure if I should give the last book a try. We’ll see…

Rating: 2/5

Friday 10 August 2012

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar

Title: The Cardturner
Author: Louis Sachar
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Page Count: 336
Publication Date: 2010


When Alton's ageing, blind uncle asks him to attend bridge games with him, he agrees. After all, it's better than a crappy summer job in the local shopping mall, and Alton's mother thinks it might secure their way to a good inheritance sometime in the future. But, like all apparently casual choices in any of Louis Sachar's wonderful books, this choice soon turns out to be a lot more complex than Alton could ever have imagined. As his relationship with his uncle develops, and he meets the very attractive Toni, deeply buried secrets are uncovered and a romance that spans decades is finally brought to a conclusion. Alton's mother is in for a surprise!

What I Thought: 

A year or so ago I came across this book when I was looking for a few random things to read and the other day when I heard someone mention bridge I couldn't help but think of The Cardturner, so I decided to dig my copy out of a dusty pile and reread it which I suppose is what lead me to writing this review.

I’ll be honest, before I read this book (the first time) I’d never even heard of a game called Bridge, and I wasn’t sure how Sachar was going make a book with a card game being one of the primary focuses but I was pleasantly surprised, that being said this book isn’t for everyone and takes some patience.

Alton Richards is an ordinary teenage boy. He isn’t perfect but he isn’t the brooding, mysterious type either for a change. What I found particularly interesting was his relationship with his old, blind and very rich uncle. He isn’t a particularly nice person but Alton puts up with him at the wishes of his mother who is, to put it quite bluntly, money-crazed. At first, the task of becoming his uncle’s card turner is tedious and quite awkward as he’s doing it purely to put his family on the right side of his uncle who, like I said, is old and rich.

Not only is he being pressured into this situation by his parents, at the start we find out that his best friend is dating his ex-girlfriend. So although things aren’t looking too great for Alton I assure you, a few chapters in it picks up.

Whenever Alton explains certain rules of Bridge we are presented with a small icon of a whale (Moby Dick) as a warning so we can skip it if we aren’t that interested. Even though I was given the opportunity to skip these parts I decided to read them anyway because despite my confusion towards the way the game worked, I was still interested and wanted to learn. To this day I don’t understand anything other than the basics of Bridge and I’ve never won a game. I'm guessing I'm just not that great at Bridge, that being said, if you're looking to become a professional Bridge player I wouldn't recommend that you use this book as your sole guide to the game.

It’s a nice book with well thought out story so if you’re looking for an ordinary, no thrills read I’d give it a look.

Rating: 4/5