Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors Who Deserve More Recognition

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I don't think I can think of ten! I feel like a lot of authors I read are well-known or already read by a wide audience, so here's my top five:

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Clockwise from the top left:

1. Erin McCarthy - Author of True, a beautiful boy meets girl story but one which tackles deeper issues such as domestic abuse.

2. Michael Dibdin who writes The Last Sherlock Holmes Story. This book is a brilliant twist on Sherlock Holmes - it's my absolute favourite. It's based on secret papers found 50 years after Dr. Watson's death which contain information on the case Sherlock was working on at the time - Jack the Ripper. Extremely recommended! 

3. Karin Slaughter who writes the series Grant County and Will Trent. To people who love their crime fiction, she is a much-loved staple but I wish more people would read her work. I'm working my way through both of the series and I'm always left amazed by her story-telling and how she manipulates both her characters and the reader.

4. David Nicholls is mostly known for writing One Day, but his other two books, Starter for Ten and The Understudy are also brilliant books. It's a shame when an author gets great success with one book but their others are left un-read by many - and these two are real gems. 

5. Alan Gibbons who has written many, many books but that I don't see read that often in the blogosphere. I've personally only started the Hell's Underground series but they are really gripping and chilling reads. I had him as a guest author in my library last year and he's so passionate about reading and writing and he was a joy to be around. 

What are your Top Ten picks this week? Leave me a link in the comments so I can check them out! :)


Monday, 15 July 2013

Apologies!




This is just a quick apology to explain the lack of posts around here in the last few days - I've been a busy bee!

Thursday I graduated from my Masters degree (yay!) so I was down in Aberystwyth for a couple of days - enjoying the beautiful weather by the sea in my old university town.

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Aberystwyth by night
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Sunset
Morning walk along the front
Then on Saturday, me and my husband got the keys to our new house and the whole weekend has been an excited blur of boxes, moving vans, dust and champagne :)

So all in all, quite a life-changing week for me but all should be back to normal on here soon enough! 



Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (7)

Hosted by Breaking The Spine 

Earthbound (Earthbound #1) by Aprilynne Pike

Publication date: 30th July 2013
EarthboundTavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. Tavia will soon discover that she’s an Earthbound—someone with the ability to create matter out of nothing—and that she alone holds the key to stopping the Reduciata, an evil society that manipulates global events for its own shadowy purposes. Tavia will ultimately have to make a choice: to come into her powers and save the world from the evil Reduciata or to choose free will and a love of her own. [Goodreads]
Why I'm Waiting?
Pure and simple - this just sounds like a really great read. I'm excited to see how the author works the main character being able to create matter out of nothing - sounds really interesting :)




Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - The Best & Worst Book to Film Adaptations


I definitely love to read the book before the movie and then if I've loved reading it I really can't wait to see the film adaptation. Like every reader, I picture the characters and world in my head and all I want is for them to come alive - it's so exciting when the director and cast nail it.

When making my list I realised there weren't many that I disliked so much that I would describe them as awful so I've done the best adaptations :)

The Best
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1. Harry Potter - I loved all of them, but the first one will always be special. I could finally see the Harry Potter world from my 8 year old imagination come true and it held up really, really well - it just felt...well...magic ;) 

2. Romeo and Juliet - The Baz Luhrmann version. When I was struggling to get to grips with Shakespeare in high school, this film just made everything click into place. I finally saw why the play was so good and I became hooked. Shakespeare ended up being my favourite writer to study at uni and of course...Leonardo DiCaprio always helps!

3. Matilda - This film just perfectly captured everything special about the book. I think all book-lovers have wished that the premise of this movie would come true!

4. The Time Traveler's Wife - I loved this book so much and the film just seemed to get it. So heartbreaking and emotional. 

5. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) - I love watching this adaptation, over and over again. It just feels as though you've jumped straight into Roald Dahl's classic. 

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid - I think all three of these films are fantastic and really do justice to the books. They're so funny and they've really helped get my students engaged in reading as they've all been dying to read the series.

7. Shutter Island - We read this in uni and were forbidden from watching the film when it came out until we'd finishing the book. I'm glad I waited, because the book is amazing but I'm so glad the film got the tone just right - full of suspense and very creepy!

8. The Beach - Again, this really just seems to take the book and make it into the most fitting film - a very subtle yet sinister story. 

9. Bridget Jones' Diary - For me, this is both of the films. I know a lot of people don't like the second movie, but I really enjoyed it. Renée Zellweger is perfect for the part and the films definitely capture the spirit of the books. Bridget Jones really does seem to make it onto all my lists!

10. Sherlock - I love the two movies starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law (swoon) but the BBC TV series is definitely the best. Benedict Cumberbatch was a genius casting decision and the series really catch everything about the books.  

The Worst

Two that I have to say I hated though was Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Eugh!! They just felt too crazy and really ruined everything about both of these books and their previous amazing movies for me. 



I'd never realsied before how much Leonardo DiCaprio stars in book adaptations and how much I love them - and how much I hate Johnny Depp in them! 



Sunday, 7 July 2013

Review - Numbers by Rachel Ward

Numbers (Numbers, #1)Title: Numbers (Numbers #1)
Author: Rachel Ward
Publication: 1st February 2010 by Chichen House
Source: Library book

Ever since she was child, Jem has kept a secret: Whenever she meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die. Burdened with such awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. The two plan a trip to the city. But while waiting to ride the Eye ferris wheel, Jem is terrified to see that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today's number. Today's date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem's world is about to explode!

The whole premise of this book has always intrigued me - being able to see the date people are going to die and wondering if this can ever be changed or if everything is pre-destined. The topic has an extremely large scope and the book could have gone in a number of directions, and to be honest, I didn't love the one the author chose. This book has been sat in my library for a long time and I've always wanted to find the time to pick it up, but knowing it was the first in a trilogy stopped me for a while because I had so many series already to start and finish. However, it came highly recommended from one of my students who devoured all three books in a few days so I thought I'd better make time for it. 

I had been harbouring expectations for this book for a long time - I wanted suspense, action and some kind of big secret. For me, Numbers didn't quite deliver. However, this review is based solely on the first book so things may change as the trilogy moves along. The ending to this book certainly made me want to pick up the second so the story could potentially lead anywhere. 

To start with, I mostly liked Jem as a character. She was feisty, strong-willed and brave and she definitely pushed the story along. The first few scenes in the book have her struggling in class with a teacher she can't connect with, enduring battles with her foster mother and skipping out on school to hang out on her own. She felt like a typical 'lost' child - she feels useless and as though no one cares. I didn't like some of her behaviour though and sometimes she was downright cruel but I felt like there was more to her that was yet to be discovered. She's also struggling with the massive burden of being able to see people's death dates as soon as she makes eye contact with them. She hates this 'gift' and she spends a lot of her life putting up barriers to protect herself and distance herself from the numbers. She's never found anyone who makes her want to lower them or who makes her want to forge a friendship. Enter Spider - a fellow student in her class who, although is starting to get caught up in a criminal world as a means to make some cash, is also a very sweet, endearing and fun-loving character. Even though Jem and Spider come from very similar backgrounds and home-lives, they feel very opposite to each other. Spider softens Jem's character and acts as a cushion to her negative attitude. He's full of life and starts to help Jem realise that there's nothing wrong with having a friend to help along the way. 

The rest of the book stems from the event detailed in the synopsis - Jem and Spider head into London for a day out and as they're stood looking at the prices for the London Eye Jem notices that everyone in the queue has the same number - it's today's date. As she panics and runs away, dragging Spider with her, they hear a massive bang and turn around to see that the London Eye has exploded. For me, this was when the book was starting to get exciting. It's the same with every book - you reach the point in the story that you were enticed with in the synopsis and you get excited for the adventure ahead.

However for me, the rest of the book fell flat. Without giving too much away, Jem and Spider end up running away with stolen money and a stolen car. They find out that they were caught running away from the scene in London on CCTV and now the police are on the look-out for them. This was one aspect that I did enjoy reading about as Rachel Ward raised the issue of police profiling and racial issues - whether or not the police are on the lookout for a stereotypical scapegoat to place blame on and how much this could truly change and damage someone's life.

Most of the rest of the book follows Jem and Spider making their way across the south of England to the seaside town of Weston-Super-Mare which holds a great importance for Spider as it's the only place he's ever felt truly happy. 
Parts of this adventure were quite exciting to read but never reached their full potential, but you could feel the danger as the police were snapping at their heels and starting to catch-up with them. The romance added a welcome layer to the story, mainly because it was something different to them running away. It was pretty strange and awkward but it felt genuine. However, I felt cheated. I wanted the amazing premise of the book to feel like something more than two teenagers sleeping rough and rationing a packet of biscuits as they tried to escape. It felt like the majority of the book had nothing to do with Jem being able to see these numbers and that was the part that had made me pick the book up in the first place. 

The end of the book, however, redeemed it somewhat. I can't say anything without it being a spoiler but it was pretty sad and the cliffhanger also made me really wonder where this story was going to lead and spiked my interest again. I will read the second book at some point because I really want my questions answered, however, the book has left me in two minds. If the premise grabbed you, have a read and let me know what you think too!                         
                                       

Stacking the Shelves (5)

Hosted by Tynga's Reviews

I missed doing this post last week (and I'm a day late this week!) so I think a couple of these may be from then...but I'll put them here anyway. I've had a whole load of NetGalley requests approved at once, so that's why there's so many! I swear I'm not that click-happy...I think! 
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*All from NetGalley this week - huge thanks!
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Thursday, 4 July 2013

Review - Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood

Yours Truly
Title: Yours Truly
Author: Kirsty Greenwood
Published: 4th July 2012
Source: Kindle edition from Amazon UK

Your bum does not look big in that dress.

Mmm, it tastes delicious!

Of course you’re better looking than Jon Hamm.

Newly engaged Natalie Butterworth is an easy-going girl. She’ll do anything for a quiet life and if telling a few teensy white lies keeps her friends and family happy, then so what? It’s not like they’ll ever discover what she’s really thinking… 

Until one night, thanks to a pub hypnotist, Natalie’s most private thoughts begin to bubble up and pop out of her mouth. Things get very messy indeed. Especially when some sticky home truths offend her fiancé.

Natalie must track down the hypnotist before the wedding is officially cancelled. So along with bad influence bestie Meg, Natalie finds herself in the Yorkshire Parish of Little Trooley - a small village bursting with big secrets, nosy old folk and intriguing Wellington-wearing men.

When the girls get stranded in the village with no means of escape and no way to break the hypnotist's spell, Natalie is forced to face the truths she has been avoiding her whole life...[Goodreads]

I first discovered this book through Novelicious - the founding editor of the site is Kirsty Greenwood, the author of this book. At the moment this is still only available as an ebook but I think it's being released as a paperback later this year as Kirsty has signed on an official book deal. 

I will admit that, at first, I was slightly wary of buying this. I wanted to support Kirsty as a long-time reader of Novelicious but I really didn't know what to expect. The site produces really great reviews, book news and articles but this would be something else entirely. 


However, I'm so glad I decided to buy it. It completely exceeded what I was expecting in every way - it was so warm and very, very funny. I laughed out loud so many times whilst reading it and that's exactly what I had wanted from it. The love story was also very well written with enough twists to keep the whole story going. Overall, it was an entertaining, feel-good read that left me with a smile on my face. There were a few editing issues but I bought the ebook very early on so these have probably been corrected by now, or I'm sure they will be for the paperback edition. Having said that, I didn't even find them off-putting or distracting as I would normally. 


Kirsty definitely has a true talent for writing and her debut novel was a pleasure to read. I hope we'll see many more fantastic books from her in the future!
           

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (6)

Hosted by Breaking The Spine 

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

Publication date: 8th April 2014
Rebel BelleHarper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.
With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y'all beg for more. [Goodreads]





Why I'm Waiting?

This will be Rachel Hawkins' new series starting next year and I cannot wait. Earlier this year I hadn't read any of her work before, even though I'd been meaning to read Hex Hall for a long time. I then received an ARC of School Spirits and really fell for her writing, style and storytelling talents. This book sounds brilliant - super abilities, action, a love interest and a hidden secret. And it's all set in the South which I'm always fascinated by with a gorgeous cover to boot!



Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday - Most Intimidating Books


This is such a fun topic this week, I can't wait to look through everyone's choices! Quite often on a Tuesday I am left bewildered, shameful and a little lost - it seems to highlight all the books I still haven't had time to read and I end up adding loads more to my TBR list or I get a bit click-happy on Amazon. Well...this week the secrets are out! :) 

Top Ten Most Intimidating Books

Sheer length of book or series: 


1. Gone Series by Michael Grant - I've been meaning to start this for so long but there's 6 in the series now. It's still one I definitely want to begin but I do find it intimidating everytime I think of starting it!

2. Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - Wow. Do I have the time to get invested in this? Probably not. Everyone raves about it though, so I feel like I'm missing out. But...it's so long! 

3. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - This one seems so complicated, I don't know if I would get impatient with it and end up throwing it at the wall in frustration! 

4. A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - This has such good reviews and I've been recommended it a lot - but the length really intimidates me! I think it's one to definitely get stuck into though...when I have time...

Topic:

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5. Anything by Stephen King - He scares me. I started Misery when I was very young and it made me cry so I hid it away. It now sits on my bookshelf next to Carrie and they stare at me whilst I watch TV. One day I will try again because I'm not that little girl anymore and we need to grow up sometime...right?!

6. Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I've put this under 'Topic' because I really don't know if it's one I want to spend time reading about. I don't want to admit it...but I don't get it. I've not watched the film yet, but I might just give the book a miss! 

Extras: 

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7. Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham - I love Lauren Graham, she has a special place in my heart, as does Gilmore Girls. I don't want her book to be rubbish and ruin that for me! I've got it ready and waiting on my Kindle for when I finally take the step! 

8. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - So many people love this and I know it has a huge fan base but I think that makes me build up massive expectations that will always be too big for it to compare. 

9. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - I wasn't a massive fan of the first two but I hate leaving things unfinished - I just need to get round to this but I don't like knowing I'm going into something I probably won't enjoy all that much. 

10. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia - Although this is long, that's not what's intimidating me about this one. Like Throne of Glass, I think the hype is putting me off. It sounds like a book I would really love, but I really don't want to be disappointed! 


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