Monday, 25 August 2014

The Key to the Golden Firebird, Maureen Johnson

The Key to the Golden Firebird by Maureen Johnson, reviewed by Eleanor

Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Buy this book: Amazon uk/Amazon us
Number of pages: 297

What is this book about?
As three teenage sisters struggle to cope with their father's sudden death, they find they must reexamine friendships, lifelong dreams, and their relationships with each other and their father. (goodreads)
Who should read this book?
If you like Sarah Dessen, you'll definitely like Maureen Johnson.

Star Rating: 3 Stars

Would you have tea with the protagonist? Yeah, I guess. Although she's pretty busy holding her family together to do anything for fun.

Would you fall for the main love interest? No, Pete is sweet but a bit too annoying for me.

Would you want to 'strain' the main antagonist? The books I have been reading recently have had a severe lack of obvious antagonists. I'd say May's nemesis is her past. And yes, I would strain it.

Were the characters three dimensional? Yep.

Do you like the authors flavour of writing? It kept me reading so yes.

Was the writing strong or weak? It was an easy read.

Was the ending to your taste? At the very end it was but there were a couple of things that happened towards the end that I didn't really care for.

If this cover were tea, would you drink it? No.

Favourite Quote: "The funny thing about stop signs is that they're also start signs.”

Overall: This is a good read, written in a style similar to Sarah Dessen's novels. I preferred it to '13 Little Blue Envelopes', (the first book I reviewed!) just because I liked May more than Ginny, but they are both great books. I read this fairly quickly, in about a day I think, so it's not a difficult read at all and the ending is nice!

What did you think of this book? What would you like us to review next?

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Unrest, Michelle Harrison

Unrest by Michelle Harrison, reviewed by Eleanor

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Buy this book: Amazon uk/Amazon us
Number of pages: 375

What is this book about?
Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn't slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless - but to Elliot they're terrifying. Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England's most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. (blurb)

Star Rating: 3 Stars

Would you have tea with the protagonist?
No. He's a bit boring to be honest.

Would you want to 'strain' the main antagonist?
There isn't a main antagonist in this book but I would definitely want to strain all the restless ghosts that won't leave Elliott alone as well as overprotective Hodge.

Were the characters three dimensional?
They were.

Do you like the authors flavour of writing?

Was the writing strong or weak?

Was the ending to your taste?
No, not at all. I really enjoyed the book until the last 15-20%.

If this cover were tea, would you drink it?
No. It's quite a creepy cover.

Overall: I was really really enjoying this book until, as I have mentioned above, I got close to the end and just didn't like where the story was going anymore. The characters were actually great, okay a little boring but I still really liked them, and I thought that the relationships between them were interesting and realistic. I think the main problem for me was that I can read very fantastical books and I can also read very real life books, but this book was a little bit too much 'in between' for my liking. I am not superstitious at all and so, no matter how realistic an out of body experience might feel, I would not ever think that it was anything other than my mind doing crazy things. I started this book in that mind set and so when it became clear that the dreams in this book were in fact something other than just a mind playing tricks, in my eyes it became unbelievable and a little silly. I know that this is a fiction book and so ghosts being real is absolutely fine but, for me, it didn't really work. Saying all that, up until the end I really was hugely enjoying this book and the twist at the end (not the ghost one) was really surprising, which was great, so I would still recommend this if it sounds like your sort of thing.

What did you think of this book? What would you like us to review next?

Sunday, 17 August 2014

All The Truth That's In Me, Julie Berry

All The Truth That's In Me by Julie Berry, reviewed by Eleanor

Publisher: Templar Publishing
Buy this book: Amazon uk/Amazon us
Number of pages: 272

What is this book about? Judith has been missing for a long time. Kidnapped two years ago she has now returned home to her mother and brother, only without a tongue. Unable to speak, Judith silently pours out her thoughts to Lucas, the boy she is completely in love with. (blurb)

Who should read this book? Young Adult.

Star Rating: 4 stars

Would you have tea with the protagonist?

Yes, I would. Although, as she cannot talk, there would not be much conversation.

Would you fall for the main love interest?
I don't think I would. Lucas is great for Judith but not for me.

Would you want to 'strain' the main antagonist?
There isn't a main antagonist, there are just lots of misunderstood people who I probably wouldn't strain.

Were the characters three dimensional?
Yes, they were 3D and they were real people.

Do you like the authors flavour of writing?
The style of writing is not 'modern' at all but I really really liked it.

Was the writing strong or weak?
I would definitely describe the writing as strong but in a really good way.

Was the ending to your taste?
The ending was very much to my taste. It tied up loose ends but not so much that it became sickening.

If this cover were tea, would you drink it?
No. I don't mind the cover but it is a little bland, in my opinion.

Favourite Quote:
“And what rules of economy dictate that a boy without a foot is more whole than a girl without a tongue?”

Overall: You have to start this book with an open mind. It's different to your typical young adult book and, at first, it is quite a slow read. But then, all of a sudden, you realise that you absolutely have to know what happens and that you do not want to put the book down until you have heard the whole of Judith's story. Judith makes this book. She is a truly amazing protagonist who makes normal people decisions, (I cannot stand it when the (main) characters in books make stupid, unnecessary decisions that no one would ever even contemplate) she's not annoying and she's real. The plot is clever and unwinds slowly as Judith opens up more and more to Lucas, the boy she loves with all her heart. The whole book is written in second tense, which is different but only adds to the book in a positive way and makes it stand out against other novels. This book surprised me with how good it was and, although it is very different to a lot of the books out there, I would definitely, definitely recommend it. I loved it!

What did you think of this book? What would you like us to review next?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Top Ten Books I Am Not Sure I Want To Read

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a list of the top ten books we are not sure we want to read. It could be we have them on our bookshelves but have never picked them up or that everyone is always talking about them but we just don't feel drawn this particular book...


1. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare. I know this is relatively contradictory to previous Top Ten Tuesdays (the books I was putting in my beach bag, I think) but its just every time I think about reading this book I go back to the same pressing issues. 1. I can't remember the ending of the last one 2. It is sooo long 3. Will it live up to expectation 4. Will it be as good as the Infernal Devices series. You see my problem - has anyone read it yet? Please tell me if I should or shouldn't.

2.  If I should Die by Amy Plum. Again, we have the slight same issue in that I can't remember the detail (and here I am just going to point out that I only like ready books in a series if I can absolutely remember everything because otherwise I get confused and my enjoyability level goes down - easily confused you see...) I also seem to remember that I did not like the ending of the last book. (Die for Me Review)

3. Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I thought this series started off so well. I loved it because it was different and exciting - almost thrilling and the unexpected seemed to always happen - you seemed to expect the unexpected. However, I felt that it just went on a little and the authors were kind of introducing unplanned things just to drag it out slightly longer. (Page to Screen 'Beautiful Creatures')



4. The Gift (The First Book of Pellinor) by Alison Croggon. This is more of a book I haven't got around to reading rather than want I don't want to read. The problem with it is that the first page is a huge complicated map and the second page is a list of how to pronounce all the different letter combinations that the characters will be using in speech/that are in the characters names. This seems like a book where extreme concentration is necessary and I'm just not ready to commit to that. I will very very soon though because it does look really good!

5. Allegiant by Veronica Roth (the finale of the Divergent trilogy). I don't know what it is that happens at the end of this book but I've heard that it is bad. Really bad. So I just can't quite bring myself to read it. I know, I'm a wimp.

6. The Vampire Diaries Series by LJ Smith. I love love love the TV series (yes, I watched the series before reading the books, disgraceful) but I haven't heard such great things about the books and so I am not sure I will be reading them.



7. The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. I was/am a Harry Potter superfan. I read every book, joined Pottermore (Hufflepuff if you must know), even wrote a bit of fanfiction. However, this novel has had some pretty appalling criticism. I may hate it, I may love it, but I am way too lazy to find out. Sorry not sorry. Except I am, really sorry and everything. 

8. Forever Blue by Ann Brashares. I know what happens here. YEAH I READ THOSE SPOILER REVIEWS. And I'm not letting it happen. If I don't read it, it didn't happen to the sisterhood in my head. If you did read the novels though, which was your favourite character? Mine continually changes every time I go for a re-read. 

9. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. I definitely will be reading it. 100%- in fact I'll probably pre-order it. However do I want to do this? I'm nervous. I love Stephanie Perkins' books so much, and really respect the decision she has made to put off writing and publishing this novel. But I've been waiting so long, with the rest of the superfans that instead of pressure being alleviated, I feel it has mounted. 


10. Shadow of the Zeppelin by Bernard Ashley. This is our school summer read that for me personally, (Bronte) I have yet to make a decision whether I will finish it!! 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Top Ten Books I'd Give To Readers Who Have Never Read Dystopian

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a list of our top ten books in the Dystopian genre


1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book is one of the best dystopian novels I have read, and also one of the first.

2. The Host by Stephanie Meyer. This book has a slightly different take on a dystopian world and I think its brilliant writing and story making.

3. Matched by Ally Condie. Although I actually haven't finished this series, I like the fact that, to begin with especially in Matched, the story seemed to be well planned out and wasn't very predictable at all.


4. Firstly, I'm going to have to say, 'Partials' by Dan Wells. I know I can't seem to be able to stop going on about this book but I just love it so much!

5. Next, 'Wool' by Hugh Howey. I haven't reviewed this book yet, but it is a very good dystopian. Terrifying, yes, but also very good.

6. And, 'Legend' by Marie Lu. Another one I haven't reviewed (oops) but that is an excellent read that I would really recommend.



7. Divergent by Veronica Roth. This is my favourite Dystopian series ever, as I think the action and the love is balanced perfectly. Also I think Roth created interesting, believable characters. There has been a bit of uproar about the final novel but I think this is a trilogy really worth reading. 

So confession time; I actually haven't read any other dystopian novels other than, The Hunger Games, The Host, Divergent and Uglies. I wouldn't really recommend Uglies, unless you were already a massive reader of dystopian as I found it really difficult to get into and didn't enjoy much. I always find dystopians a bit too heavy on action and a bit lax on character development and good writing. However, Eleanor and Bronte are huge fans of the genre so it's all personal taste. Sorry for being such a party pooper!


10. 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins. It has to be mentioned. The first book in this series is a must read for anyone trying out the dystopian genre.


(Book descriptions from Goodreads)

Friday, 1 August 2014

Page to Screen: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green,
The Fault in Our Stars, by Josh Boone,
Compared by Bronte.

Author: Website Twitter
Film: IMDb
Buy this book: Amazon Barnes and Noble
See this film: Cineworld Odeon

Were there any key scenes missing from the film?

This is probably one of the few films I have seen that stays so, so true to the book. This, of course, made me extremely happy as often films can be nothing like the book it was based on - which makes no sense. I went to see the film because I liked the book, so when the film isn't like the book...! Don't even get me started! This film was practically identical the the book, I think this might have something to do with John Greens avid involvement in the production.

Were there any characters missing from the film?

It has been a while since I have read this book, I am not going to lie but there were a few characters missing from the film that only played a minor role in the book, I seem to remember. Hazel does have a friend (the name of which I have forgotten) who plays a small part, whereas in the film it appears Hazel is very lonely and doesn't go out at all - which to be honest is practically the same as the book.

I really enjoyed that fact that the film was based closely on fewer characters - it was a lot easier to connect with them. It works to include a minor character in a couple of chapters in a book, whereas in a film it would be odd if we had a 2 minute passing glance of a character who would quickly be forgotten and add nothing to the story in the eye of the audience.

Was there anything added to the film (not in the book) that was interesting?

The ending was slightly different as Peter Van Houten appeared at Gus' funeral. I think this was an incredibly good thing to do. For lovers of the book it created an almost closure to the fact that he does care, even if only slightly. He could have just sent the letter, as he did in the book, but the fact that he delivered it...I don't know, others may disagree but for me it added a little bit of sentimentality.

Did anyone drink tea in the film?

There was rather a lot of tea drinking, particularly in the hotel in Amsterdam!

Favourite scene in the film:

A particularly impossible question to answer. It was all amazing. But. I have to answer so I am going to say the bit when they go out for dinner in Amsterdam. They both looked amazing and I loved how the lights were like stars, and then they were drinking the stars in a was just so well done! I also loved what is often referred to as their meet-cute - it was perfect and you got a complete insight into Gus' character.

Overall - Book vs Film:
The film is never as good as the book. In this case, however, both were equally as amazing as the other. I probably just preferred the book but it is a close call. The actors were so well cast - Shailene and Ansel were AMAZING as were everyone else. I thought that for the few who had not read the book, Gus' illness came as a very big shock; in the book you have a little bit of an insight that something is about to happen, unlike in the film. Unlike many others, I thought that Isaac's hair was perfect, even though it was black! It did everything for me, I laughed, smiled, ahhh, cried, just about recovered and then sobbed. John Green is a legend of Young Adult Literature and I am so excited to see what comes next!