18 Jul 2014

Inside Divergent; The intiate's world - Review


Available now
www.harpercollins.co.uk 

What's it about?

This eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent. With more than 100 photographs—many never before seen—Inside Divergent will immerse you in the thrilling dystopian world of futuristic Chicago, where you'll meet the initiates and discover the factions.

Review
This is a nice little extra for fans of the movie, although if you've read the books then don't expect to learn anything new as it only covers the basics about the factions and main characters. But it comes with some lovely glossy pictures from the movie and is still worth a look through. I particularly liked the pictures in the last section which is about Dauntless because you get to see up close some of the extra little details that went into the set for the movie and its all as I imagined. I liked the little character profiles and what's not to like about a full page picture of Four?
So I'd certainly say give this a peruse even if you're a huge fan and know all the details, it won't take long to read and will sit pretty next to your collection of the books. Its also a great intro into the world if your not familiar with it or if you need reminding of  a few facts if you haven't read the book in a while and want to brush up before watching the movie.


17 Jul 2014

Trust games - Review

Trust games by Simon Packham
Available now
piccadillypress.co.uk 
What's it about?When kind, charismatic new drama teacher, Mr Moore, arrives at school, Beth s life starts to look up. She s cast as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and as she grows close to super-popular Hannah (Juliet), Beth finally has the female friend she s been yearning for. Meanwhile it seems that all the girls including Beth are in love with Mr Moore. And when a scandal breaks, Beth must make a decision that can only have dire consequences for everyone involved.
My review
I've got to be honest, when I first started Trust games I wasn't really into it, there's no particular depth to the writing and I didn't like Beth at all. But I continued because I wanted to see how it handled such a sensitive subject and its pretty short so I knew I'd read it quickly.
After turning the last pages I feel myself conflicted, see, I kept turning the pages, the story felt true to life and I wanted to see what happened but at the same time I wish the book had more to it, that it was written better. I just felt like everything could've been explored more and that the dialogue left something to be desired, but then maybe I'm just too used to reading American books because even when I read British books by British authors, the slang always sounds off to me because I know me and my friends don't talk like that in reality. Either way it makes it hard to figure out if that's just a personal problem for me, who knows.
Anyway, I mentioned before I wasn't a fan of Beth, there was something so pathetic about her and she was so sullen, I'm not sure why Grunt was friends with her at all, even if they'd known each other since they were kids. I also wish we'd got to know Mr Moore better because I couldn't see the attraction to him at all except that he was young and good looking, all Beth knows about him is that he likes poetry and The cure. Becuase of this, the characters and their actions didn't always ring true but the story itself did, it was really something that could happen exactly like that in reality. And Beth's final action at the end of the book did something towards redeeming her character and I liked that she at least went a way to fixing the other relationships in her life that she seemed pretty blind to, and selfish about, at the start of the book.
What I did like about this book was how it explored the content, obviously its about a teacher and student relationship of the forbidden kind. I was glad it, at least briefly, explored a difference of opinion between the characters outside of the relationship, everyone was trying to find somewhere to place the blame but the ultimate message of the book was that no matter if the young girl said yes and thought she was in love, Mr Moore was completely in the wrong, as the adult, he was taking advantage of a young girl and should have been the one to stop it from happening, something I agree with whole heartedly.
So all in all, I'd recommend this for a quick read but don't expect it to change your life, well unless you're thinking about sleeping with your teacher, then it'll show you why not to!

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16 Jul 2014

Love monster and the last chocolate - Review


Love monster and the last chocolate by Rachel Bright. 
A delicious new story about Love Monster, the only monster in Cutesville, from phenomenal, award-winning picture book talent Rachel Bright! When Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door, he can't believe his luck. But he's soon thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil. Should he keep the chocolates for himself? Or risk the perils of sharing his good fortune with his friends? This super-funny-rumbly-tummy-sherbert-explosion of a story shows that when faced with the selection box of life, following your heart will bring you the best treats of all.


Review
Children and adults alike can relate to this cute little story, who doesn't get a box of chocolates and want to eat them all to themselves? When Love monster arrives home from holiday to find a box of chocolates on his doorstep, this is the dilemma he faces, he knows he should share, but what if there aren't enough to go round? Will he do the right thing and share with his friends or will he sneak away to eat them by himself? Its a good message for children that's handled well in this story because it recognises that sometimes we don't want to share rather than just telling kids that they should, the book shows that sharing makes Love monster feels good about himself in the end, which is worth more than a box of chocolates, and in doing so he finds a surprise himself.
The illustrations are lovely too, I love the eye catching gold cover and all the pictures within which focus on what's happening with little background scenery but bright colours.
This is one to check out, it makes a nice bed time story with a message of sharing and friendship.

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14 Jul 2014

Since you've been gone - Review

Available now
simonandschuster.co.uk 
What's it about?
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell.But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just... disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try... unless they could lead back to her best friend. Apple Picking at Night? Ok, easy enough.Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait... what?
Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find?
Go Skinny Dipping? Um...
My review
Since you've been gone is a heart warming book about a young girl who spends a summer challenging herself and discovering who she really is, and falling in love along the way. It was a really enjoyable book, full of the fun of summer.
I liked Emily a lot and taking her journey with her, I felt her become braver as she continued to complete Sloane's list and I fell in love with Frank alongside her, but then its hard not to fall for such a good guy.
I think what I liked best about this book was the slow build up in the romance, I've been reading so many books with a case of instalove lately that this was such a refreshing change. It happened so slowly that Emily didn't even realise it was happening, I was eventually screaming internally at her 'Kiss him you idiot!' and when they did, it was full of the right tension.
The book wasn't all about the romance though, don't get me wrong, there was plenty more filling up the pages whilst that happened in the background. It was a lot of fun seeing how Emily fulfilled the items on her little list of dares as they became more outrageous and wondering if she'd really do them all. Then there was the big mystery of where Sloane had disappeared to and if Emily would find her, I've never had a friendship as close as hers with Sloane but I felt her heartache at missing her best friend, but it was nice that she made a new circle of friends too. Since you've been gone is definitely about friendship at its core and how important those friendships are, its nice to have a boyfriend but the relationship with a best friend takes the same amount of work to keep going if you want to keep that friend around. Its beautifully written and, being my first read by this author, has made me want to read the rest of her books right away.
So, if you're looking for a perfect beach read with the feel of summer and the message of friendship and a dash of romance, then put Since you've been gone in your TBR immediately because this book is for you.

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9 Jul 2014

Bookish questions: Does size matter?


Do you prefer long books or short ones?

When it comes to the length of a novel, perhaps there is no perfect amount of pages that a book should be.
But when it comes to my own personal preference, most of the time I'm looking for a quick read, something I can get through in a couple of days instead of feeling like I've just spent half my life reading it.
Honestly, big books scare me, there's just something intimidating about a novel big enough to club someone with, then there's the other problems of 'How will I fit that in my handbag?' if I decide I want to take out to read on my travels and don't get me started on the thumb ache and weighed down arms when trying to read it. Big books can be a work out all of their own.
After these issues, there's the more pressing worry that I could be investing a lot of time in something I mightn't even like, an author I've enjoyed in the past or a synopsis that sounds like my perfect story are more fair game but if I've never heard of you and your book is 450+ pages, chances are I might be scared out of reading it. Unless of course all of my friends have read it because, I admit, sometimes I'm a sheep.
But most the time I just have to wonder, how much story do you really have to tell for it to be that long? Am I going to end up reading pages and pages of unnecessary descriptions that leave nothing for the imagination, or is the book filled with lots of extra plot twists that don't really need to be there, just to make it longer, or maybe the book just changes halfway through and possibly could've just been two separate books?
All these worries and more run through my head when I'm weighing up a hefty tome and even though the book might actually be brilliant, there's a good chance I'll never know because I was too scared to read it.
There is a flip side to this though, like I said I'm usually after a quick read, about 300 pages is my perfect size, but countless times I've finished a novel this length and upon closing the book have wistfully though 'I wish that had been longer to go into more detail.' I know right, I'm a total book hypocrite! I want to spend more time in a book I love, yet I won't pick it up if its reeeeally long so I'm often putting myself in a lose-lose situation.
If its a sequel to a book I loved, then I'll pick it up without hesitation no matter the size, because chances are, I'm going to love it as much as the book(s) before it, but if its something new to me, I'm more on the fence and spend so much time umming and ahhing about it that it usually ends up back in the TBR and I read something else.

What's your preference when it comes to book size?

6 Jul 2014

Hello Kitty; I love my Daddy and Happy birthday - Reviews

I love my Daddy.
Hello Kitty thinks her daddy is very special. He's funny, clever, brave and kind, like every good daddy is! Read this wonderful book to find out all the things Hello Kitty loves about her daddy.

Happy birthday.
Celebrate all that's great about birthdays with Hello Kitty! Hello Kitty loves birthdays and today is her very own birthday. Celebrate with her as she has a party, opens presents, plays games, blows out the candles on her cake and more. Everyone loves birthdays and they're even more special with Hello Kitty.

Review
Both of these books are beautifully illustrated with simple, yet colourful pictures. They both have short stories, perfect for reading to little sleepy heads at bedtime or for first time readers looking to try and read to themselves. In I love my daddy Hello Kitty is talking about all the things she loves about her dad, the things he does for her and how he makes her feel like a princess, it really captures the bond between a father and his little girl in such a simple way that I think any daddy's girl will relate, whatever the age. I also liked that she mentions things he loves that she doesn't quite enjoy, like his bad singing and a favourite part of mine was that he can always help solve her problems unless its maths because even though her daddy is her hero, she knows he isn't perfect, but that's okay. It's a lovely message for a kids book.
In Happy birthday it is of course Hello Kitty's birthday, she's having a party that all her friends are coming to. What I liked about this book is that it often asks the reader questions, like what should Hello Kitty wear or who is wearing the silliest hat, it encourages young readers to get involved with the story and to really look at the illustrations.
Both books are wonderful for little princesses and little readers all around, I'd highly recommend them.

Find out about more Hello Kitty picture book titles on HarperCollins' website.


26 Jun 2014

The one - Review


The selection book three.
Available now 

What's it about?

THE SELECTION changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. Now, only one will claim Prince Maxon’s heart.
For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.
Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.
My review
A great end to a great series, The one was another enjoyable read from Kiera Cass.
Whilst I think the ending was always obvious, it was still a great journey getting there and meeting all the great characters in the world of The selection. The final book still sees twists like the others as the tension ramps up in both the competition and with the rebels. America is still making herself stand out by sticking to her beliefs, a trait I've always admired in her, she's willing to risk herself and her place in the competition rather than go against her morals which in the end, I think only endears her more to Maxon and the public. I've really enjoyed the story as a trilogy and each book individually as I felt they all had something to add. By the end of The one I found everything was wrapped up nicely, I wasn't left with any niggling questions and personally I was happy with how things ended for everyone. I also found The one to be a more emotional read than the previous two books as well, maybe because I was feeling the end of a series loss but there really are some big moments that will bring a tear to your eye or having you saying 'awww' and by the last pages I was happy for everyone but sad to say goodbye at the same time. The selection has been a wonderful series to read and was written beautifully, I enjoyed the competition, the emotions and of course, the pretty dresses. I hope whatever Kiera Cass creates next will be just as wonderful as this trilogy was.

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10 Jun 2014

Take back the skies - Review

Take back the skies book one
Available now 
What's it about?
Catherine Hunter is the daughter of a senior government official on the island of Anglya. She’s one of the privileged – she has luxurious clothes, plenty to eat, and is protected from the Collections which have ravaged families throughout the land. But Catherine longs to escape the confines of her life, before her dad can marry her off to a government brat and trap her forever.
So Catherine becomes Cat, pretends to be a kid escaping the Collections, and stows away on the skyship Stormdancer. As they leave Anglya behind and brave the storms that fill the skies around the islands of Tellus, Cat’s world becomes more turbulent than she could ever have imagined, and dangerous secrets unravel her old life once and for all . . .
My review
I was so excited to read Take back the skies so its extra saddening that I was disappointed by this book. It really was the story that saved it for me, had the book gone through a couple more rounds of edits to better polish up the writing, it could have been a brilliant novel. But unfortunately it came off glaringly obvious that this was someone's first attempt at writing a book, all the characters spoke exactly the same and overuse of the words 'murmured' and 'queried' drove me to insanity, sometimes its okay to just use 'said' or 'asked'. There was also a pretty lacklustre love story, I couldn't buy the whole hot and cold angle the author was trying to work because most of their exchanges were the same argument, they hardly actually talked and got to know each other so it was particularly hard to swallow when, after only knowing him for about two weeks, Cat quite literally described Fox as the love of her life, she barely even knew him.
So many times I came close to abandoning this book but at the same time I was compelled with a need to find out what the hell was going on and see what was going to happen next because writing aside, the author came up with a damn good plot, honestly I in no way guessed what was really happening and was just as shocked as Cat when we found out and the ending was another shock too. Although things often seemed to be a bit too easy or coincidental for our little gang, I did enjoy watching them try to uncover and end a government conspiracy, they were good people with their hearts in the right places and I liked them all a lot. Boy drama aside, Cat is one tough girl with a lot of bravery.
So despite my disappointment I came away intrigued enough to carry on reading the series with the hope that the authors writing will mature with more practice. I'm interested to see more of the world that Lucy Saxon has created as I feel we've only scratched the surface on all the places in Tellus.

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9 Jun 2014

Nail your books (14)

'Nail your books' is a feature where I share book inspired manicures that I have done.

It has been so long since I've done some book inspired nail art but here's a mani I did last week based on the cover art for Lucy Saxon's Take back the skies


What do you think?

5 Jun 2014

The giver - Review

The giver quartet book one
Available now
www.harpercollins.co.uk 
What's it about?
Jonas's world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
My review
The Giver was actually first bought to my attention when I saw the trailer for the movie as soon as I saw it was based on a book, I knew I had to read it, even more so when I found out it was being described as the first dystopia book, a genre that I love!
Considering the book was originally published in 1993, because of the setting, it doesn't feel dated at all, I really enjoyed it. Jonas lives in a seemingly perfect world, where everyone gets on and is happy, or so it seems until it occurs to him to look closer and he realises that actually, no one has a choice, there's no colour or feelings to his world, people almost act like robots in the way they are controlled without realising it. I really felt connected to Jonas as we see the world as he first perceives it when the story starts and then as he discovers the hidden depths and what could be, I felt his outrage and dismay at feeling like he couldn't do anything about it but needed to.
While I enjoyed delving into this world, I wish the book had been longer because there was room for more, particularly when Jonas starts his training with The Giver, I'd really have liked to have seen some more of that and had a bit more explanation on how its possible, but a year is passed along in a few chapters, presumably to hurry the book along to its exciting ending.
That aside though, The giver was a gripping read with some great world building, a lead character I'm looking forward to seeing more of as I feel he has a lot more growing to do and its started off a series with promise, thankfully the other three books are out for me to get my hands on as soon as possible so I can find out what Jonas does next.

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