Friday, 9 September 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne * Review*

Goodreads Synopsis
The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Review
First of all I have to say, I was delighted that there was another piece of Harry Potter I could cling onto. I'm also shocked that people are so against this play! If you haven't read it, please note the following things: 

  • It is not a novel, so please stop treating it as such. This is a new way to present the story and should not be criticised as it is just speech... use some imagination or just go and watch the play. 
  • J.K Rowling still had a massive involvement so don't criticise the storylines and how far they match what you think should have happened. She kind of owns these characters - JK would not have allowed anything she didn't like. This is like her baby. 
  • Enjoy it! Everyone is out to attack it, just enjoy it for what it is. A nugget of a new chapter in Harry Potter's life. 
I loved the new characters. Scorpious was a great addition as Draco's son; I always felt like Draco was just trapped in a family where he couldn't make his own choices and wasn't the villain that he was made out to be by many of the fans. Perhaps like Snape, he still found opportunities to be good. His son is almost the symbol of this for me and I, for one, loved it. Albus was hit and miss at times for me - he was childish and perhaps a little over the top for my liking however with a father like Harry to live up to? Perhaps he has his reasons. 

In terms of reaching back to the characters we know and love, I liked Harry. He was a normal dad struggling with the day to day lives of his children. There are many reviews which say there is no way Harry would be a bad father but I say 'Where is he a bad father?' He is simply going through what most parents do, this does not make him a bad father. The ending was particularly poignant for me and brought back every ounce of love for the characters of which we are all so familiar. 

The one character I did not like, or enjoy, was Ron. He was my favourite in the books and he had been turned into a caricature of his former self. Small criticism... just small. 

Overall, in terms of the story, I found myself emerged until I had finished the entire thing. It still managed to capture my world and delve me into a magical world. I didn't need the description that the books offered me because I knew this world and these characters so well already. I loved the time shifts - how could you not! The character's you know and love back from the dead with a pang for one in particular which I'll keep for you to find out yourself. There were new nuggets of information we didn't know before, like the role of the 'trolley lady' whose expertise is not just selecting and serving the right sweet. I will be going to see the play as soon as time allows me (and if I can actually bag myself some tickets!) If you truely love Harry Potter, I don't see how you wouldn't love this play. 


Saturday, 16 April 2016

One - Sarah Crossan *review*



Synopsis
Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?
 

Review
Being conjoined, Tippi and Grace share everything in their lives and it is unimaginable to people how they can tolerate being together for that amount of time. But the truth of it is they would be lost without each other. Like most families, Tippi and Grace's parents are finding it hard to manage three children. Their younger sister 'Dragon' is a ballet dancer and very different to them and tries to work to help out the family even though she is younger; something which Grace and Tippi don't feel comfortable with. When money runs out and the girls can't be home schooled anymore their lives are about to change forever. 

The novel is told from the point of view of Grace and is told completely in poetry, much like Crossan's previous novel 'Weight of the Water.' I found that I actually really liked this style of book and finished it within one sitting. The pace was fast moving and developed the story quickly. Grace's feelings and emotions transcend to the reader in a really lovely way and I found myself laughing and crying with her. 

I loved exploring the connection the girls had through the course of this novel, something which we may not always know about is fascinating. They are wonderful girls with a kindness second to none. In school, I really liked the secondary characters who have some amazing secrets to contend with too and just show you how lovely humans can be. Their loyalty is second to none and I really admire their friendship with two girls who are often seen as one. I found Jon a particular delight and his dedication to Grace in particular was beautiful. 

Overall, the girls must find it in themselves to comprehend what life would be like without each other and make an important decision which will dramatically change their lives forever. Pick it up, read it. Don't let the poetry put you off - it is a beautiful read! 


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Second Life - S J Watson *Review*



Goodreads Synopsis
The sensational new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Before I Go To Sleep.

She loves her husband. She's obsessed by a stranger.

She's a devoted mother. She's prepared to lose everything.

She knows what she's doing. She's out of control.

She's innocent. She's guilty as sin.

She's living two lives. She might lose both . . .

Review
As you can see from the signed copy of S J Watson's previous novel, I was a big fan of Before I Go To Sleep. I was really pleased when this came out and I managed to get hold of a copy from Netgalley. 

This was in some ways a very different novel from Before I Go to Sleep but came with the same twists and turns and not to mention, the ideas around a psychological thriller. You might not be suprised to find that the protagonist is a woman again who is coming to terms with her sister's murder in Paris. When connecting with her best friend Anna, Julia seeks to find her sister's real killer through the art of social media. Namely, a sex website. 


Julia's problems do not end there, she gets drawn into this exciting new world, very different from her ordinary life with her husband and son. Life suddenly becomes exciting and she begins an affair. I liked Julia for the most part although her quick obsession and whiny nature I did find a little annoying. Her husband did annoy me, his lack of knowledge and very little input in her life became a bit tiresome. 


Julia gets herself tied up in various different people's lives and cuts herself off from the ones that might be more beneficial or important. When all her world's begin to collide at once, I found myself unable to put the book down. The pace was exciting yet frustratingly slow (in a good way) 


Overall I think this book was really good. I would recommend it to anyone who likes twists and psychological thrillers. Oh, and the end... that will really leave you hanging...


Monday, 28 April 2014

Insurgent - Veronica Roth (Divergent #2) *Review*

Goodreads Synopsis

I HAVE DONE BAD THINGS.
I CAN'T TAKE THEM BACK,
AND THEY ARE PART OF WHO I AM.


Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever... because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

Review
This review contains no spoilers for this book however if you have not read the previous books in the series I recommend you don't read this review.

The secret is revealed.

Did I guess some of the secret? Yes, I did however there were elements of it I never would've guessed in a million years but it is not revealed till the last page of the book. No don't skip to the end - this journey is well worth the wait. This book picks up where Divergent left off, and then almost takes you around the factions, where, in each one you learn something new about the world or its characters. 

The simulation has been disabled and Tobias thinks he has a way to create an army to fight, join with the factionless which proves to have many more surprises than you might have imagined. Their leader is someone a little closer to home than you might have imagined. 

Tris and Tobias have finally gotten together yet the world in which they live in strive to yank them apart. This story has many twists and turns, all which challenge their relationship, with differing opinions about what needs to be done next the reader is left wondering whether their relationship will survive each hurdle. 

Tris is still trying to deal with her losses from the first book - she became an orphan in one night and found out more about her family than she ever did in her whole life. In this book she tries to remember them by being all that they symbolised, yet she finds out there is so much more to it than that. Told from the first person, we are able to see into Tris' thoughts and feelings, you can tell she is a teenager and still so young as sometimes they are irrational however her voice is very well portrayed and it adds to her characterisation of a young troubled girl. 

With a world which has now been shocked by the horrors of Divergent, the factions must decide where their loyalties lie. Half of Dauntless are with the Erudite and the other half are now factionless they must try and find a place where they fit and convince the other factions to help them fight their common enemy - even if they don't realise it yet. 

The characters develop a lot in this novel, especially Four. Tobias needs to come to terms with the fact that his father is back in his life and therefore dealing with what happened to him in the past. With both Dauntless and Abnegation in tatters they find some safety in the Amity compound but that won't last for long...

With lots of twists and turns the plot will keep you reading, eager to find out the secret however all is not revealed with a cliffhanger at the end of the book you won't be able to wait until the next one to find out.

Add it to your TBR pile - you won't regret it.



Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Forever Song - Julie Kagawa (Book 3 in the Blood of Eden Series) *Review*

Goodreads Synopsis
VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS 


Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? 

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. 

MONSTER 

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. 

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

Review
This review contains no spoilers for this book however if you have not read the previous books in the series I recommend you don't read this review. Find the review of the first book  The Immortal Rules  and the second book The Eternity Cure

Julie Kagawa does it again. I could not put this book down. Allie is yet again one of the most amazing female protagonists because, well lets be honest, she's a vampire, she kills humans and feasts on their blood. In theory we should all hate her. That is what is so brilliant about this book, Allie still wants to be human and strives to keep her humanity no matter what. 

The story begins very soon after the last book, in fact the whole series takes place in just a year. Allie is still devastated after Zeke's death and is struggling with the monster inside her. For the first few chapters she struggles with whether she should just be a monster or whether she should still fight to contain her humanity - except now this is the one thing she hates the most, because it has taken Zeke away from her. I have to say I really enjoyed this aspect of the novel, although the monster has always been within Allie, she has never questioned whether she wants to keep it hidden. 

Like the other books in the series, we go on a journey, this time back to Eden to stop Sarren from releasing the new plague, with which he intends to kill off all humanity and vampires alike. This new strain affects vampires too so Allie, Kanin and Jackel are no longer safe. You'd think these journey stories would be getting repetitive by now but this one is the best yet. The gang of vampires set off and come across many traps which Sarren has left behind for them. One of which will challenge Allie more than she has ever been challenged before. I have to say this twist I did not see coming and it was brilliant! But I promise no spoilers in my reviews so I will say no more.

Jackel is still a brilliant character, I love the sarcasm and hate between the two siblings. As Kanin is with them in this book he becomes like a father figure telling the children to behave or stop fighting which is really amusing within all the bloodshed and horror which is taking place in the book. Allie uses the two, and the help of another to find herself again and find something more to live for. There are many things stopping the gang getting to Eden and even then they don't know what they will find there. 

This book was extremely fast paced and I could not put it down. If you haven't begun this series please do so, it rivals The Hunger Games and Divergent. If you are a fan of either of those I recommend you pick this up. The vampire element is brilliant - much better than Twilight (which I also loved) This book doesn't cover up the evil of vampires - they still drink human blood and still kill people yet their hearts are still there. I am devastated this series is over, I will be looking forward to Julie Kagawa's new series though! Add this book/series to your wishlist - you won't regret it. 


Sunday, 13 April 2014

1001 Update

Recently read:


Dracula - Bram Stoker
I have to say I really enjoyed this and it was nothing like I expected!! Told from various different narratives this book really does keep you on your toes, it also frequently changes form, from letters to diary entries to newspaper articles. I love this idea of changing in a novel as you can explore different parts in so many different ways. I was also surprised at how little Dracula is actually seen and it is more the tale of catching this creature rather than his story (which was what I had expected) Full review coming soon!

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley
Again this was another novel in which I didn't really know what to expect. I had never seen any film adaptations or knew anything about the storyline which I think is a bonus in some ways. I loved it, the only reason it got 4 stars was because, at times, I found the pace to be a little slow. Frankenstein has created this monster and wishes to destroy it straight away rather than see the goodness in him. It is only when the monster is treated in an inhumane way that he does the same to others. A really powerful tale! Full review coming soon!

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee


This was a novel I had been meaning to read for many years and had never gotten around to. I have to say I was really impressed by the storyline. It tackles racism in a very new and interesting way in which Atticus is shunned because he is defending a black man in court. I have to say the ending in partiular took me by surprise. But this is not only a tale about racism, it also involves a coming of age story of a young girl, Scout. She is really firey and also challenges the stereotypes of young girls. Well worth a read! Full review coming soon!
Enduring Love - Ian McEwan

I had known about the basic outline for this book for a while and knew it involved a story about a hot air balloon accident. Delving in straight from the start our narrator chases a hot air balloon with a small child in trying to hold it down in the terrible winds. One man dies in the process and it is the actions of all the people involved where this story develops. Full review coming soon!

Currently Reading:


Let me know anything you might be reading or have read on the list! The version I use can be found here. Enjoy and keep on reading!



Sunday, 30 March 2014

Book Haul - Moving home

I know, I know, I haven't kept my promise of blogging every week but I've had some extremely exciting things happening and a huge book haul to share it's you all.
Firstly I am very pleased to announce that I have moved into my own home therefore have the resources at my disposal to 'almost' have a room specifically dedicated to books!!! Very exciting news indeed!


Book haul for THREE MONTHS

 I'm sure I have lots more that I have missed but here's just a few to keep you going!! If there are any you've read let me now what you thought! I've currently read The Flavours of Love which I gave 3 stars- review coming soon!