Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Should Be In A Beach Bag (your perfect beach reads!)

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can!

The Shopaholic books:  I would never consider myself a fan of Chick-Lit books.  They are good quick reads and full of laughs but they just don’t appeal to me really.  That being said these books are really sweet and funny books that you can whiz through on the beach or on the plane even.  Plus if you’re on your hols with other girls then it’s perfect to pass around the group or to mums’/sisters/aunts/cousins etc for them to read too.  They appeal to a range of people and are great to dip into for a giggle.

Twilight: Love it or Hate it, it’s a good read.  You can pick it up, read a chapter and put it down for a nap, wake up, turn over to rotate the tan line and read a bit more.  It’s basically like a Chick-Lit for teens (though not just strictly for teens).

Vampire academy:   If you like Twilight then you’ll love these books and then totally forget why you even loved Twilight in the first place because these are possible more awesome because there is all the elements of love, romance, action, scares and sex that Twilight but is rammed up to 11/10.  Trust me; you won’t be sorry to read this gem!

Sarah Dessen books:  I haven’t read these books but I’ve been loaned a few to read on my Summer holiday this year and been told by several sources that these are definitive summer reads.  I’m really looking forward to have a summer read fest with Sarah Dessen’s books.

The time travellers wife:  This will have you laughing and weeping and enjoying every page of this wonderfully written tale of a romance that spans decades but isn’t short of drama.  A seriously good book.

A good biography:  I can’t limit this to one biography because it depends on your personal area of interest but any biography about someone that you admire or find a real interest can keep your brain ticking over and working during those long summer says of doing not much at all.  Or if you are stuck inside at work and can only enjoy the idea of summer sun, then a good bit of educational enlightenment can be to solution in my opinion.

A Trashy/Fashion Magazine: Granted this isn’t an ACTUAL book but sometimes you just need a break from reading in between books and I can assure you that on my holiday this year that i’ll have a gossip fashion mag in my beach bag (especially if they have a free book on offer with the issue; or even a free beach bag!)

That’s all I have for these because normally I don’t read much on the beach or on holiday because I find it too hard to read in the sun and usually just listen to some music or don’t sit around for long anyway.  I get bored easy so usually read in the car or airport etc.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

IMM: In My Mailbox [19]

In My Mailbox is an epic feature run by The Story Siren and my links go to Amazon UK but other book sellers are out there too!

Ok so i'm posting this IMM as a special present to Krystal on Bookshelf Banter because I promised and you may only watch it with a few pieces of key information:

1. I filmed it Friday evening straight after coming home from work so thus the hair and make up might be a bit squiffy

2. I hate watching myself back so if i've made mistake etc and they are still in the video it's because I only watched it once and filmed it in one go so it's not my fault

3. I do NOT sound like I do in the video.  I think somehow the camera has made me talk funny and also I ramble when there is no one there to shut me up so it's a ramble video

SO here is my video IMM and also a mini tour of my new flat to expose my book hording secrets! COMMENTS WILL BE LOVED!!!!




Saturday, 28 May 2011

Review: Die for Me by Amy Plum

Kate has a tragic start to her tale in Die to Me with the death of her parents and thus moving from her beloved city of Brooklyn, New York to Paris, France with her older sister Georgina.  They both have a love for Paris and their grandparents that they live with, in the city but when everywhere you go reminds you of your lose and the new life you are forced to live it’s no wonder that she struggles.  She returns to her life inside her favourite novels and her room where as her sister parties and socialises to forget her woes.  What comes next can only described as a twist of fate as Kate decides to push herself out into the world a bit (I say she decides but really there is a far amount of nudging from her sister and grandma).  Her path crosses with Vincent and some of his friends and from then on this book begins the real journey into the second life that Kate could never have foreseen.

The world of Revenants and Numa becomes part of Kate’s life with meeting Vincent and soon life and death become very different concepts.  In a way she finds a new way to deal with the death of her parents and her old life by finding life with someone else and the fact that it’s surrounding by some much death and life is ironic.  The concept of Revenants is something I found so interesting and really intrigued me more than anything else.  The idea of people using their special gift of extended life to save others is something that is really commendable.  They are selfless heroes and yet they struggle with this eternal cycle and limited socialisation in causes.  How to you even begin to explain to someone new then idea of the un-dead and forever looping cycle of your life that you give over in order to save others?  Well; it’s easy to explain the logic of it but it’s a bit harder to explain to someone without them totally freaking out.

The allure of the city of art, love and lights as well as a handsome guy that is clearly into you and has an accent that makes your knees weak is hard not to get sucked into.  What really made me love this book was the concept of Revenants, just because it seems so original and wasn’t a pre-established supernatural or mythical being.  There weren’t any preset concepts or boundaries that confide Amy Plum’s story and thus it flows freely in the narrative.  The balance of the Revenant characters was nice to mix up the action and view points to Revenant existence from the serious to the light hearted.  The secondary characters like Charlotte, Georgina and Charles all had established histories and existences outside Kate’s story and this made them real and 3 dimensional to me as I read Die for Me and so their actions and reactions to Kate and Vincent’s actions were believable.  

There is definitely more stories to be told in this world and I’d want to see more but my only niggling issue was just how overly perfect Vincent was.  You may be flapping your arms up and down and screaming at me now at how I could find the ‘perfect’ guy an issue.  I just think that I like my leads and romantic heroes with a few more flaws and not so physically attractive that you want to shield your eyes from his Abecrombie and Fitch beauty.  It’s just personal preference I guess but give me the geek or scarred and tragic hero any day over the model.  You can’t have everything but I DEFINATELY wouldn’t kick Vincent out of bed for being ‘too handsome’.  I’m not stupid.

Rating: 8/10

Published by Atom Books and is available here and at all good book sellers

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cover Reveal: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare


I nearly peed my pants seeing this was online now because I'd been offline writing reviews and such and so I'm a bit late posting but here goes.  At BEA in New York this week we've been waiting for the new of the new cover of the next in the Infernal devices series by Cassandra Clare.  This evening it was released on the ever wonderful Mundie Moms site and all I can do is share it with you now before I squeel anymore with delight

I ADORE this cover!  The colouring is dark and gothic making me think that this book will be the same and we will get more dark and strange twists in Clockwork Price.  I think it looks divine (and the model on the front has nothing to do with this *shifty eyes sideways* what do you mean you don't believe me?!)
I can't wait for this book because I adored the previous installment.  So much so that I and some fellow fans went on our own little tour of London via the book.  I think in the near future I shall re blog this outing here because it was such fun to do after reading about the story and then seeing the real places from the story.

As ever, tell me your thoughts and also check out Mundie Moms blog because they are awesome and have a to die for giveaway of goodies RIGHT NOW!

Review: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Set in the Depression era of America Water for Elephants follows the journey of Jacob Jankowski as we flip from his past memories to his present day life as an elderly man stuck in a nursing home.  Jacob, the young Jacob of his memories, is a promising Vet to be at a prestigious school when a freak car accident leads to the death of his parents and the discovery that due to the desperate times his father has been working for free essentially and there is no money and the family home and belongs now belong to the bank.  Jacob is left grief stricken and with nothing and in a fit of madness or realisation he leaves his life behind and jumps a train out of town.  The train in question is a travelling circus; The Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular show on Earth, and Jacob falls into a life he never expected and relationships he never thought he’d make.

The story jumps from past and present but you almost need these mini breaks to catch your breath in between the drama, tension and high life of the circus life.  I just loved the style that oozed from this book and the setting.  I love the glamourous image that the circus holds and the lingo and dialect that has developed among the self imposed hierarchy of the circus workers and performers.  It’s a self contained society and yet it only exists when it appears in other people’s lives from town to town; only to be torn down when they move to the next.  All the people in the book hold a special part in the world of Water for Elephants and Jacob’s life as he learns to cope with his life and what he wants to do now that his planned life has been ripped from him.

The animals in the Benzini Brothers circus hold a real heart to the story for Jacob because he is a vet and has that strong bound with them because they don’t hold judgement like the circus people do to start with.  Rosie the elephant is one of the two women in his life and he is just as enchanted with her as he is with Marlena, the wife of August and the talent performer in the horse act that drips with charm and a pure heart.  Jacob’s fascination with both these females proves very dangerous because of his place in the pecking order of the Circus and the man that holds power over them both, August.  August switches back and forth from Jacob’s trusted comrade to sworn enemy in a series of events and you never quite know what August will do next depending on his mood.  It’s terrifying to read because you hold your breath waiting for each reply to questions of actions.

This book was truthfully a moving narrative and I, someone that has accused of having a heart made of coal, found myself tearing up at the end of the story.  It was heart warming without being overly sappy and really hits you at how raw this existence is.  It doesn’t hold back or glosses over the lifestyle from sex to violence.  This story may not be for all ages or readers that don’t like these subject matters but I loved hearing the Jacob’s words both as a young and older man.  In a way it was more saddening to hear both their lives switching back and forth because they both have obstacles to overcome and desires.  Age does not stop you dreaming and wishing and knowledge and money doesn’t mean you are limited in living life to the fullest.  Water for Elephants shows you to appreciate what you have and that the old saying ‘Don’t judge a book by it’s cover’ can also be applied to relationships, people and elephants.  

 I really want an elephant.

Rating: 9.5/10

Published by Hodder& Stoughton and is available at now in paperback

The film version of the book is on general release now and stars Robert Pattinson, Reece Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books You Lied About

 Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can!

Great Expectations: I had to read it for school once and I only read a few pages.  Take note that we then had a pop quiz on it and I failed it...do your homework kids!

Lord of the Rings: I think everyone just assumes I’ve read it because I like fantasy and sci-fi type genres but I’ve never read it at all.

Northern Lights: I told my friend I read her copy she’d loaned me because I felt so bad for having held onto it for so long and still not reading it at all.  I have since read it and loved it but took a good few years to get me to actually read it in full!

The Dictionary;  I have no clue why but I once told someone I read the whole dictionary and just refused to admit i was lying.  I think I only carried on saying I had because I was annoyed they refused to think I could read it.  I was only like 10 at the time so had a real stubborn streak.

Midnight Sun:  The Infamous leaked draft of Twilight from Edward’s POV.  I kept saying I hadn’t read it for months and months because a big part of the fandom had a ‘thing’ about it being a bad fan move to read it as it had leaked but as far as I was concerned I got it via Stephanie’s site so I didn’t get it illegally or anything.  Plus it was so SO good.

Confessions of a Shopaholic:  I would never admit to reading this series or any Chick-Lit genre books but I did and I loved them.  Very funny and light hearted summer reads that you can whiz through.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:  I read the 1st one but told my mum that I read the whole set because I felt bad she bought them all and I hadn’t read past book one.  I have no clue where the set is now though.

Fanfic: I love me some fanfic!  I will swear blind that I’ve never read it but some of it is actually really good.  I even had a dabble writing some myself years ago but never really did much with it

Monday, 23 May 2011

Review: Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

I was encouraged by the lovely Scholastic people on twitter and a few of my other Twitter people that I should read this book because I’d love it and I was keen to get a copy and then I heard about the re-issues of the books with new (and drool worthy) covers so I held off till they were released in the UK at the beginning of this year and got the lovely black and red cover edition.  Sadly it then sat on the To Be Read pile since then but I just picked it up and read the whole thing in 2 days because it was so addictive that I couldn’t put it down.  I literally sat with my stomach rumbling for my dinner but refused to get up and cook anything until i reached the end of a chapter and even then i just grabbed a sandwich because it meant I could eat and read at the same time!  

Lament is the story of Dee, a talented harpist in high school,  Luke, the mystery flutist that appears in her life to duet with her and in turn make her believe in herself and her talents, James, Dee’s best friend and her ever funny partner in crime and Dee’s family as they become tangled in the world of Them.  Faeries.  Just your average troubles for a teenager girl that is just looking to have her own life, learn to drive, perform a show without throwing up and have a boyfriend if she can. 

I was a bit fearful about reading another series by Maggie just because I’m such a big fan of her other series that I was almost worried that this wouldn’t be as good or would make me disappointed that Lament wasn’t Shiver or Linger in style.  It’s at this point that you find the difference between great writers and writers that have written a great story.  Great writers will suck you into any story they write to the point that you forget everything else; their characters in other works and even that you were ever hesitant in the first place.

At first I was a tad concerned at how quickly Dee seemed to be falling head over heels for Luke.  If my friend was acting like that after meeting a total stranger, no matter how hot or an excellent flute player, I would have slapped some sense into her but I must admit; I feel for him too.  There’s something about a mysterious hero type that makes a girl fawn all about the place.  He’s the white knight on the steed come to save the princess even if the princess could probably give him a run for his money if she wanted.  James on the other hand isn’t just a sidekick for Dee.  He’s funny and clever in a way a nice balance to Dee because he has a lighter approach to life whereas she seems very concerned and on edge.  It’s not until Luke comes onto the scene that we see her relax more and even then James is that sparkling gem that kept me chuckling no matter how scary or drama fuelled the story became.

The realism in the story is, I believe, due to the historical research in folklore and it’s clear to see that there is a real love for this subject matter as well as the music.  Key pieces and the skills and techniques used for the instruments haven’t been by passed and though I wouldn’t know the front from the back of a harp, having these kinds of details re-enforces the believability in the story.  Maggie Stiefvater’s has made a well crafted world of faeries in this small American town with its own ice cream parlour and greasy spoon restaurant, the Sticky Pig (which sounds amazing).  

Lament is beyond doubt a charming read and is an excellent addition to any YA fans bookshelf.  It has all the elements of a mesmerizing paranormal romance but some really unique factors, particularly the eye for detail in key moments, to validate the characters and their interests.  I make no claims to know the difference between folk songs or classical pieces but Maggie Stiefvater never shy’s away from including these details; she doesn’t dumb down her stories in the least and for this I am grateful. 

Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Scholastic UK and Available here and all good book sellers

Sunday, 22 May 2011

IMM: In My Mailbox [18]

In My Mailbox is an epic feature run by The Story Siren and my links go to Amazon UK but other book sellers are out there too!

Shocking I know but i'm trying to hold off on buying more books until after my birthday in the hopes that i get either vouchers to buy books or books from family.  

Hopefully i'll have something to post about next week but until then i'm busy reading through my massive TBR pile so I can't complain!  Plus I saw Taking Back Sunday on Friday so money went on that instead of books.



Thursday, 19 May 2011

Review: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

So I bought this on a whim some time ago because after really loving Torment by Lauren Kate and hearing that this book was something different.  I do enjoy seeing other work by authors I’m interested in because it’s nice to dip into other worlds from the same mind as one’s you all ready have fun existing in.  Plus, Lauren Kate’s books always have the most ‘to die for’ cover art around and after seeing this divine cover with the oh so pretty purple dress on the model I just wanted to steal it and dance around my flat wearing it.  I do like a nice evening dress even if I have nowhere to wear one too.

Natalie Hargrove is a bitch.  I won’t lie because there is no getting around this point.  She’s a flat out mean girl, schemer,  self centred and only thinks of problems and situations in terms of ;how will this affect me and my life’  rather than ‘how does my life reflect on the world around me’.  This is because Natalie thinks the world does revolve around her quite frankly and thus it should bend to will.  

As intriguing a story this was and I seriously thought the plot was well paced and cleverly thought about, it was hard to get over the fact that this girl considered no one else unless it meant she could get ahead or protect herself.  It made reading hard at times but you continue on because you hope against hope that she is a character that finds redemption or is “saved” from her ways.  What gradually unfold are the foundations of her background and her makings of one of the elite members of the elitist school she attends.

Natalie is a popular girl at school and all she wants to do before the year is over is be crowned Prince and Princess Palmetto alongside her boyfriend Mike.  She has built up this dream and carefully plotted plan to this moment and nothing is going to change her plans to get the crown and have the life she thinks she deserves but it all starts to unravel when fate and a drunken party leads to death and lies for Natalie and her world becomes sand in her hands and slowly slips between the gaps.

What I did like about The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove was the a real step away from Lauren Kate’s previous books and we have a lead character that isn’t so heart warming and inviting and yet you felt compelled to like her in a way.  She wants to rise above her past and change her life for the better but her end goal has become her only focus and she loses sight of why she wanted to change from her old life on the wrong side of the tracks.  She wanted to be a better person and better herself but she just changes her circumstances and environment but doesn’t strive to change the person she is.  She fits the mould she thinks leads to success but can’t factor in things like real life and her old life creeping in on her plans.

The story was well built and did want me to carry on until the dramatic end but I don’t think that if this had been part of a series that I would have wanted to read the next book.  I enjoyed the build up and haunting nature of the old Natalie that lingers over Natalie’s dreams and aspirations to be crowned Queen.  Clear references to Macbeth can be drawn but it never over powers the story-telling skills of Lauren Kate’s writing or the characters and their problems that almost become too much for them to handle as Natalie and those her life and lies touches.  

A fine read for someone that likes their murder mysteries and thrillers, but I wouldn't expect to be rooting for a clear good guy and booing the baddie because the lines are very blurred and the only hope for these subjects is to come out of these events with a little damage as possible.

Rating: 6.5/10
Published by Corgi and Available from here and all good book retailers

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Movie News: Katniss from The Hunger Games movie revealed

So after months of guessing and wondering about the casting and details of The Hunger Games movie adaptation and we've been getting casting details but until now no official images.

Here is the just released EW cover featuring the lovely Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in full on costume and make-up.

My thoughts: I'm really pleased.  Mostly because they haven't tried to make Jennifer look too Hollywood and glam.  Katniss isn't a sexy guy magnet; she's a rough and tough girl that hunts and survives.  She is pretty but in a natural way that is only seen in full bloom after she's made up for the Games.

Leave your thoughts in the comments below and be sure to head to the EW page to read more.  Plus if you live in an area where you can get the magazine then be sure to go and get a copy when it's released!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Minor Charaters

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. This meme was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We'd love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!

Each week we will post a new Top Ten list complete with one of our bloggers’ answers. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND post a comment on our post with a link to your Top Ten Tuesday post to share with us and all those who are participating. If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. If you can't come up with ten, don't worry about it---post as many as you can!


Top Ten Favorite Minor Characters ( you know... all those great supporting character or a VERY minor character that might have been only in there a page or two but had an effect on you)

1. Peeves the ghost in Harry Potter: He's so funny and a naughty delight that it is a shame he isn't in the movies (or at least I don't think he was in the film version anyway)
2. Rand the cook in Poison Study: He is probably one of the first people to be-friend Yelena and he's just a great additional character to bring some life and light to the sad and hard times.
3. The Mulefa creatures from The Amber Spyglass: They just always stuck with me because they were so strange but always the most understanding and learning beings.  They shaped Mary Malone's views in a way as she learnt to live with them and how they saw the world.
4. Angela in Shiver: She is really a tender touch character that has a big heart and seems to have a bigger effect on the main characters than they probably realise.  She's a good friend and has her own life that you don't really see in the book but get a real feel for her passions via Grace
5. Madge Undersee in The Hunger Games:  She's the Mayor's daughter and Katniss' friend and is the reason the Katniss has the MockingJay pin.  She's a character that you feel wants to be as brave and as strong as Katniss but can't quite do it.  She has the heart but not the will power and for her Katniss is a symbol of hope for herself.  Without her Katniss wouldn't have the pin.
6. Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda:  The kid eats a whole chocolate cake!!!!
7. Ilsa Hermann in The Book Thief: She has a tragic life and she is a real turning point character in Liesel's life.  She was one character in a book that I just wanted to reach out and hug
8. The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet: I just like her because she has faith in love and hope and she is the mother figure for Juliet when she needed it rather than her real mother.
9. Merris Cromwell in The Demon's Covenant: She is very wise and wonderful with a real strength that you don't quite realise how much of a strength to some of the characters until towards the end of the story.  READ THESE BOOKS :-)
10. Jenny in A Certain Slant of Light: She is a really unusual character because you get to know her without her even being there.  You only just meet the real her briefly but you already know her.