Friday, 29 April 2011

Sharp Objects



Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
First published by Shaye Areheart Books in 2006 (this edition by Phoenix - an imprint of Orion - in 2010)







Description: (from Goodreads)

WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart 
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. 


NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg 
Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory. 


HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle 
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. 

With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable.



My thoughts:
First of all, sorry for the huge blurb. But it was the one I liked best. The one on the back cover of the copy I own doesn't really say much about the story. This description was much, much better.


This book is Gillian Flynn's debut novel. She has also written another book, Dark Places (my review). She is more well known for Sharp Objects, but I had great difficulty in trying to find a copy of the book in Greece (I probably visited 6 different bookshops, in two different cities), so when I managed to find a copy of Dark Places, I just bought it. In the end, I managed to find this one too! You can't imagine the relief I felt when I found it in the bookshop! I'm going off topic here... But it was all for my brother. (Aren't I a lovely sister??)


Even though I do not limit myself to genres and try to keep my reading tastes quite varied, thrillers are not my favourite books to read. However, I really liked Ms Flynn's style of writing in Dark Places, and I was rather intrigued by that HUGE blurb (which I first read on her website).


Anyway... Camille is a journalist, who is sent to her hometown of Wind Gap to investigate the murder of a little girl that has come to the surface because of the recent abduction of another one. She is quite reluctant to go, as she has been estranged from her mother for many years. In the end, she goes and arrives on her family doorstep, where she faces a non-too-pleasant greeting. Honestly, she is a b---- right from the start.


The title of the book is very significant, but I am not going to tell you why. I'll let you figure it out or read it for yourselves. Camille was truly a lovely character. She was not faultless, but she had a pretty tough past and managed to survive. Her mum, Adorna, was pretty awful. She did not show any love for Camille. Later on in the book why find out exactly why, but I felt rather bad for Camille before and after the revelation. The character I hated the most was Camille's 13-year-old sister, Amma. She was what one might describe as a bitch-from-hell. I can't think of another way to describe her, as there is no polite way of saying it. She is a very manipulative girl, who had a rather weird effect on everyone in town. It was the way she treated everyone that made me loathe her.


Ms Flynn has done an excellent job of describing the characters. All of them seem real; cases that we can find in everyday life (maybe not all of them together, but they definitely exist). She came up with a rather interesting story, where every side plot only helps us understand what is happening in the main story and why. The end was completely and utterly unexpected! I did not see it coming. I actually thought I knew what was going to happen in the end and it didn't!


Sharp Objects is a book that I definitely recommend reading!


Rating: 8/10


Author:
You can find out more about Gillian Flynn at the end of my review of Dark Places, which you can find HERE.


Counts as Book #34 in the 100 Books In A Year Challenge.
Also counts towards the 2nds Challenge.


TGIF (1)


TGIF is a feature hosted by Ginger from GReads! every Friday! This feature allows us to re-cap our posts of the week and answer a fun question at the same time!


This is my first time participating in TGIF, but I rather liked the question so I decided to join in!

This week's question is:

Stand-alone's vs Series: what's your stance?
____________

This one is an relatively easy one! I love both of them! I read a great number of books that are just stand-alone novels, but I also read a similar amount of books that are part of a series. Though, thinking about writing the answer to this question made me realise that - as of late - most of the books I have been reading are parts of series.

Stand-alone novels are stand-alone's because of the fact that the length of one book is enough to tell the story exactly the way the author wants to tell it. On the other hand, series are made because the authors feel that their story is too long to fit into only one book.

Other than that I have to add that even when books are a part of a series, I do not read them back to back. I prefer spacing them out over a period of time, because I find it a little too much to read all together. Whereas, if I read a few books in between, then I actually enjoy the next books in the series more! Though it all really depends on my mood at the time...

____________

This week I also posted (if you're interested!):


Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2





Have you seen it??? I want it to be July tomorrow... I have to see this film! But at the same time, I am kind-of sad that it's all going to be over...

P.S.: What's with that weird jumping scene???? Where did that one come from?

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Wings



Wings by Aprilynne Pike
First published by HarperTeen in 2009 (this edition is the Kindle edition, published in 2009 by HarperCollins e-books)


Book #1 in the Wings trilogy




Description: (from Goodreads)

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.

Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.

In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.



My thoughts:

Wings is the second book I have read that features fairies (or maybe fearies/fae blah blah blah), the first one being Lament by Maggie Stiefvater (you can find my review here). I had seen it over a few blogs during the past few weeks, but only decided to download it when I saw a link on Alison's blog (Alison Can Read). To cut a long story short, Aprilynne Pike was organising a read-along of Wings on certain blogs, whom she offered various links so that their readers could download the book for free. I was one of them.

When I started reading the book, I was not sure exactly what to expect. But I was definitely NOT expecting what actually happened! I'm not going to give out any more information about that, lest I spoil the story for anyone who has not already read it. It was definitely a fresh take on the whole mythology surrounding faeries and I enjoyed that part of the story very much.

The main character, Laurel, is depicted to be blonde, thin, with translucent skin - perfect, in other words. It might come out as a little cliche'd, but when you understand why she is like that when the author comes to the explanation of the situation. The story revolves around the fact that Laurel turns out to be a faerie. She wakes up one day with what seems to be a huge spot (zit) on her back. After a week or so, the spot disappears and in its place is a set of flower petals that look a lot like wings (hence the title).

I liked all the characters in the book: Laurel, David, Chelsea and Tamani, as well as Laurel's parents. They all played some important role in some part of the story or another and they were all beautifully presented. My favourite character from this book would have to be David, though. He loves Biology (which you don't often see in books), he owns a microscope and is also able to take every weird thing that happens (and there are lots) in his stride. He proves to be a great help to Laurel. Such a great guy! Towards the end of the book, I started to rather like Tamani, too! I'm not sure what happens in the second book, but I hope Tamani features a little more in it. (I don't really like the name though... Much prefer plain Tam.)

All in all, it was a good book. It was very easy to read and very enjoyeable, without being particularly light and fluffy. I definitely want to read the next one in the series (Spells), to see what happens!

Rating: 6/10


Author:
Aprilynne Pike is an American author. She was born in Salt Lake City, but grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She holds a BA in Creative Writing from Lewis-Clark State College, which she finished in only 3 years. She is married with three children and currently lives in Arizona.
Wings was her first book, but she has gone on to publish another two after it to add to the Wings series. The latest book, Illusions (or Wild in the UK) is coming out tomorrow!

Here are the covers of all the books:


US / UK


US / UK


US / UK

I just love the UK covers for this series... I like the first one in the US series, too, as it seems to fit the title a little better that the UK one. The other US ones are a little mediocre, in my opinion... They're not really eye-catching in the way that the UK ones are.

You can find out more about Aprilynne Pike here:

Counts as Book #33 in the 100 Books In A Year Challenge
Also counts towards the 1st In A Series Challenge.


Marvelous May Masterminds


Ashley over at Books Obsession is organising a HUGE event which will run throughout May! She will be posting every single day, with events such as interviews, contests, guest posts and giveaways!

She's managed to get loads of authors on board!!! All on her own! The list includes Susane Colasanti, Libba Bray, Josephine Angelini and Jessi Kirbi. Check the announcement post out HERE!!!

I - for one - am looking forward to see what Ashley has in store for us! The event starts on the 1st of May! Don't forget to check it out! :-)

Good luck Ashley!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Mean Girls In Books


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

This week we are making a list of the top ten meanest girls in books. Or - as Jamie from The Broke and The Bookish says - top ten female characters she'd bitch slap.

So, here is my top ten list (in no particular order):

1. Elena from the Vampire Diaries series
Oh, did I want to slap her! Honestly, from the first few pages, she became one of my least favourite characters. She is completely and utterly self-absorbed, has to have everything she wants and ends up ignoring her best friends quite a few times in the process... I have no idea why they were still friends with her...

2. Adorna from Sharp Objects
I suppose that for the daughter to have so many problems, there had to be something wrong with her mother's treatment, but she was just one reeeeally bad person. Technically, she's not a girl. But from the descriptions in the book, she was the same even when she was younger, due to the fact that she had an unloving mother herself. Anyway, she was definitely a b----.

3. Amma from Sharp Objects
I know this might be cheating a little bit, but this one was even worse than her mother, Adorna. She is supposed to be 13 years old in the book, but from what she says and does, it's quite obvious that she does not have the mentality of a 13 year old. She manipulated everyone in sight. The more I read about her, the more I disliked her.

4. Anne Boleyn from The Other Boleyn Girl
She just wanted power, power and more power. When she saw that King Henry (the VIII) showed a preference for her sister, Mary, she worked twice as hard to lure him away from her. It worked in the end, but look where that led her... Her head was cut off...

5. Miss Caroline Bingley from Pride and Prejudice
She just meddled in everything. Hateful comments - both in front of and behind Elisabeth's back - about her upbringing and talents, constant criticism and she was just awful to poor Jane, when she went to London.


I'm going to stop here... This was a rather hard list to come up with and, to be honest, I can't come up with any more... I was probably sitting in front of my bookcase for about 20 minutes trying to find books with bitchy female characters in them... I think I failed... There are books with characters that I can't stand, but they're not really bitch-y in the books, so I don't think they qualify for this list... Maybe some other time!

Which ones did you put on your lists??? Feel free to leave a comment! :)

Monday, 25 April 2011

Tyme's End



Tyme's End by B.R. Collins
First published by Bloomsbury in 2011 (this edition by Bloomsbury in 2011)








Description: (from back cover)
Bibi feels out of place everywhere - everywhere that is, except for Tyme's End, the deserted house that she breaks into when she thinks nobody is nearby. There she unexpectedly meets Oliver Gardner, the owner of the house, who's just returned after ten years away. Their story and the story of Oliver's grandfather becomes inextricably entwined, linked as they are by Tyme's End itself. For Tyme's End is more than just a deserted house. It is a house that by turns can be romantic, beguiling, sinister and malevolent. It is a house that had a cruel and manipulative owner. And anybody who enters Tyme's End must prepare themselves for terror ...


My thoughts:
This book was a very pleasant surprise! I started reading it without really knowing what to expect, but, as the story progressed I found myself more and more engrossed in the story!


The actual story is split into three parts, each one describing the events that happened in a particular year (mainly over the course of a few days to a few months each). It starts off with Bibi's part in the story, which is set in 2006. As it says in the blurb, Bibi essentially feels at home only when she is at Tyme's End, a deserted house near her home. She has actually set up her own corner in a room in the house, to run to whenever she feels low. There, quite unexpectedly, she meets Oliver, the owner of the house, who has not set his foot in England (or Tyme's End) for 10 years. Through her encounters with Oliver, we learn many scraps of information, which only caused me to want to keep on reading the book, to find out what has happened!


Thus, we get into the second part of the story, which is set in 1996 and is told from Oliver's point of view. That, as you can see is ten years earlier. That leads us to the third - and last - part of the story, which is set in 1936. With these two last parts, we get to find out the exact history surrounding Tyme's End.


I really enjoyed this book. I loved the air of mystery that the author enveloped Tyme's End in. The way the story progressed was just right, giving us just the right amount of information to make us speculate about what really happened. The author gives all sorts of information, describing various scenes in such detail, that you end up thinking, 'Ah! Yes! That's it! I knew it all along!'. But in the end you just sit there thinking, 'Wow! Did not see that one coming.'. And that makes a talented author. She makes you go exactly where she wants you to go. That takes some talent.


All in all, this book was a definite surprise! It's one of the best mystery books I have read as of late and I would really love to read Ms Collins' other two books, to see if they're just as good! Definitely recommended!


Rating: 8/10


Author:
B.R. (Bridget) Collins has graduated from both university and drama school. Her debut novel, 'The Traitor Game' won the Banford Boase Award in 2009 and was longlisted for the 2009 Carnegie Medal. She currently lives in Kent.
Her other books are:
Goodreads page
Goodreads page

Counts as Book #31 in my 100 Books In A Year Challenge and as Book #15 in the British Books Challenge 2011.









(Disclaimer: I received this book from Bloomsbury for free, as part of a prize pack. Everything stated above reflects my own views on the book. My review has not been influenced in any way.)

Sunday, 24 April 2011

In My Mailbox (6)


Hello everyone! Welcome to another IMM post! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

Before I go on to the books I bought...

HAPPY EASTER!!!!!
Hope you had/are having a great day with friends and family, regardless of whether you actually celebrate it!

This week I did not get any books in the post, nor did I buy any at the bookshop! (I really must go there this week... They must be missing me...). However, I decided to make an Amazon.com account, so as to take advantage of a wonderful offer.

There is a 'contest' going on, where certain bloggers participated in an event hosted by Aprilynne Pike, where she offered them unique links to her first book in the Wings trilogy, Wings, so that the readers of the blogs could download the e-book for free and read-along.
I downloaded my copy of Wings from Alison at Alison Can Read.

Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Wings #1)

While browsing through Amazon, I stumbled upon two other books that could be downloaded for free. The first one I have heard quite a lot about, so decided to download it and see for myself what it's about, and the second one I had heard nothing of, but I read the blurb and liked the sound of it, so I downloaded it.



I think the cover of The Golden Acorn is gorgeous! It probably looks a little too much like a children's book, but it's really pretty...

I have already read Wings and the review will be up soon! (I tend to read rather quickly when I read on the computer...)

So, that's all I got this week! (In retrospect, this IMM post makes me look rather stingy...)



What did you get in your mailbox this week?? 
I'd love to have a look!


Friday, 22 April 2011

Magic Study



Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder
First published by Mira Books in 2006 (this edition by Mira Books in 2006)


Book #2 in the Study Trilogy






Description: (from Goodreads)

You know your life is bad when you miss your days as a poison taster... 

With her greatest enemy dead, and on her way to be reunited with the family she'd been stolen from long ago, Yelena should be pleased. But though she has gained her freedom, she can't help feeling isolated in Sitia. Her Ixian background has changed her in many ways—and her newfound friends and relatives don't think it's for the better....
Despite the turmoil, she's eager to start her magic training—especially as she's been given one year to harness her power or be put to death. But her plans take a radical turn when she becomes involved with a plot to reclaim Ixia's throne for a lost prince—and gets entangled in powerful rivalries with her fellow magicians.
If that wasn't bad enough, it appears her brother would love to see her dead. Luckily, Yelena has some old friends to help her with all her new enemies....



My thoughts:
I was sooo happy when this book arrived in the post!! As soon as I finished reading 'Pretties', I picked it up and started reading this one! It took me a little longer to read than the first one, but that was only because I did not have as much time to read as I had with the first one.


At the end of Poison Study (you can find my review here), Yelena has got together with Valek (yay!!!) and she is on her way to Sitia to learn how to control her magic. So in this book, the main focus is how Yelena learns to use her magic. Obviously, that is not the only thing that happens, otherwise there wouldn't be much of a story. She finds her long-lost family, she makes friends, and she also meets a man who claims to be Ixia's long lost heir to the throne, the only member of the Royal family who was not killed when Commander Ambrose took over Ixia.


Magic Study was a really good book!! I liked Poison Study just a teensy-wheensy bit more, but that's just my opinion! I loved the added complication of magic in Yelena's life! The new setting of Sitia was very refreshing! I enjoyed Yelena's encounters with the beggars, which she had never even know existed (as in Ixia everyone has a job). She also now has a family! Yes, she belongs to the Zaltana clan! She also has a brother, who seems to hate her (and he's got a lovely name - Leif). You can tell he is a tormented soul though. I liked him from the beginning, even though he wasn't particularly nice to Yelena.


There is one more thing I would really love to say, but I'm not going to, as it would give away part of the story. It was something I had not thought would happen at all in this book, so I was quite happy to find that was not the case! Now I've puzzled you, haven't I?? Sorry, I don't know if the sentences even make proper sense... It's rather late as I am writing this. (I'm trying to be organised, so I am writing this earlier, so it's ready to post on the day you see it.)


If you haven't read this book, or Poison Study, then go read it!! Right away! Shooo!


Rating: 8/10


Author:
You can find out more info about the author, Maria V. Snyder, at the end of my review of Poison Study.



Counts as Book #31 in my 100 Books In A Year Challenge
Also counts towards my 2nds Challenge.


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Pretties



Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
First published by Simon Pulse in 2005 (this edition by Simon & Schuster in 2010)

Book #2 in the Uglies series





Description: (from back cover)
Tally has finally become Pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes cool, her boyfriend totally gorgeous, and she's completely popular. It's everything she's ever wanted.
But beneath all the fun - the non-stop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom - is the nagging sense that something is very wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally's Ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what's wrong with Pretty life, and the fun stops cold. Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life...


Opinions:
Pretties is the second book in the Uglies series. I read and reviewed the first book in the series, Uglies, earlier this year (you can find my review here). I really enjoyed reading Uglies (hence the 9/10), so I ordered Pretties and Specials straight away, so that I could read them as soon as possible. They ended up taking a month to get here...

To review this book, I obviously have to mention things that happened in the first book, so if you haven't read Uglies, then read at your own risk. (That sounds rather ominous, doesn't it!)

In Uglies, Tally desperately wanted to become a Pretty. But her friend Shay ran away and she was sent by the Special Circumstances to look for her. She ended up living in the Smoke for some time, but then circumstances forced her to return and give herself up to become a Pretty. I'm not going to say more than that, just in case you have decided to read on. I'm not going to spoil the book completely for you!

This book starts off with Tally as a Pretty, who lives a wonderfully carefree life, goes to parties, is either drunk or hungover. On that first night, she is getting ready to go to a costume party, where she is going to be judged.  So it can be decided whether she will become a part of the Crim gang. But then something happens. Something which she agreed to do, but cannot remember doing so. She decides to trust herself anyway (she reads a note she wrote herself, at the end of the first book) and just go for it. This obviously ends up leading to a big adventure for Tally, as well as some of her fellow Crims, and most importantly her boyfriend.

I have to say, I was rather dissapointed. I did not love this book as much as I loved the first one. First and foremost, the style of writing rather annoyed me. I know he was doing it on purpose, as he wanted to show us the airy-headedness (yes, I think that's a word) of the Pretties. But it just ended up being annoying. I mean, come on: Tally-wa and Shay-la...??? Those were bad enough, but then came the worst: Zane-la... (note: Zane is a boy)

Other than that, the story was ok. It had adventure, as well as some other elements that I did not expect. Though I didn't really like Tally as much in this book, to be honest. It seemed as if the Pretty surgery had taken something away from her spunk. She was still mischievous and troublemaking, but there was also something missing. Another character I really didn't like was Zane. I know he was a good guy, but I just could not like him, even though he goes through a lot in this book. I suppose it just interfered with my dream of Tally and David's relationship progressing, despite Tally becoming a Pretty... Ah well... We'll have to see what happens in Specials.

All in all, it was a good book, but, for me, it was definitely inferior to Uglies.

Rating: 6/10

Author:
You can find out more about Scott Westerfeld at the end of my Uglies review, which you can find here!


Counts as Book #30 in my 100 Books In A Year Challenge
Also counts towards my 2nds Challenge and the Dystopia Challenge.


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Nice Girls Read Books: The Time-Traveling Fashionista Giveaway




Brittany over at Nice Girls Read Books is having a giveaway of The Time-Traveling Fashionista by Bianca Turetsky and she's giving away two copies! Both international!




You only need to be a follower of her blog, as well as spread the word somewhere/somehow (it can be your blog, facebook, twitter or somewhere else!!).

What are you waiting for??

P.S.: Brittany, I love your new look!


Top Ten Tuesday Rewind: A Tuesday I Missed


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke And The Bookish.

This week we get to choose one of the previous TTT that were hosted, but that we didn't get the chance to participate in. There was a long list of topics (which can be found here) and I chose to do:

Top Ten Book To Film Adaptations

So, lets get started! (The first two are tied in first position - hence the two number 1s - but the others are in no particular order!)

1. Harry Potter
Yes, Harry Potter! I love the books and I love the films! I didn't mind the changes they made and the films just seem to get better and better!! All the actors they have cast in all the different roles have been fantastic! I don't think anyone could be disappointed with the result! I especially loved the choice of Alan Rickman for Snape! That was just genius...



1. Pride and Prejudice (BBC TV series)
I know that technically this is not a film, it's a TV series, but I just had to include it in the list! I only watched it about a month ago, but it's just so much better than the film with Keira Knightley! I loved the film, but I think I love the TV series more. (And it's not just because of Colin Firth.) I think this is a must-see for everyone, especially those who would love to read the book, but don't particularly enjoy Austen's way of writing!



3. Coraline
This one is based on a story by Neil Gaiman (for those who don't know). I haven't actually read the book, but I have seen the film and I can honestly say it is one of the nicest films I have seen! It was also the first stop-motion film I saw, but that's not really relevant.



4. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
This is an example of a film that I enjoyed more than the actual book it is based on. I also watched it long before actually reading the books. I especially liked Poseidon (or the actor who plays Poseidon)!! *wink


5. Bridget Jones (both books)
I really enjoyed these two books when I read them, and I equally enjoyed the films too! Well, no. That's not true. I enjoyed the films a lot more! Renee Zellwegger as Bridget was just hilarious, Hugh Grant was just the typical womaniser and Colin Firth was just dreamy! (Yes, I have a crush on Colin. Don't you??)


6. The Reader
I have not actually read this book (though I'd like to), but the film was very good. Very very good. I probably teared up a little at the end. Kate Winslet did get an Academy Award for it, which she definitely deserved.


7. The Chronicles of Narnia
I've watched two of the Chronicles of Narnia films to date (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) and I enjoyed both of them. The books I have never read. I remember trying to read them when I was younger, but I just couldn't get into them. I might try reading them again sometime soon. (We've got them all, just sitting there, gathering dust)


8. Lord of the Rings
I've actually read The Fellowship of the Ring and half of The Two Towers, before I just gave up. But the films are just epic. Yes, epic. They're all very long films, with great costumes, great scenery (I want to go to New Zealand someday) and great acting.


9. Atonement
Another book that I haven't read, but really should! This was honestly one of the best films I saw last year! (I know it came out in 2007, but I only saw it last year). I hadn't really heard much about it when I decided to watch it, so I was very pleasantly surprised. I have to watch it again, now that I reminded myself of it.


10. Mary Poppins
I don't think I can accurately say how many times I have watched this film! It was one of my favourites when I was younger (along with Bed-knobs and Broomsticks) and I used to sing-along to all the songs! (I still do, but shhh!) I haven't read this book either, but I probably should!

This is my Top Ten Tuesday for this week! Next week, we will be talking about our Top Ten Mean Girls In Books! Should be interesting!

What's on your Top Ten Tuesday list this week??


Monday, 18 April 2011

The Hunger Games

And the time has come...


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
First published by Scholastic in 2008 (this edition by Scholastic in 2009)


Book #1 in The Hunger Games trilogy




Description: (from back cover)
In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.



My thoughts:
The time has come for me to read and review the book that everyone recommends reading! Quite honestly, I had never even heard of the book before becoming a part of the book blogging community. Isn't that rather embarrasing...? To be fair though, I do live in Greece and the city I live in has one (yes, ONE!) bookshop that stocks English books. I do believe I have made them rich. I don't even want to think about how much money I have spent in that shop. Anyhow, I digress. 


I was a little guarded when I decided to pick up this book to read. All you lovely bloggers who commented on my IMM posts (when I bought my own copies of The Hunger Games books) told me again and again that I would absolutely love it. So I decided to wait a few weeks before reading it so as not to get carried away by other people's views of the book. I needn't have worried, though! This book is sooooo great that it doesn't matter what other people say. You can tell it's great just by reading the first few pages!!


Yes, it's that good. I think I must have read it in 6 or 7 hours, maximum. While in the middle of a project with a deadline on the next day! But I just couldn't put it down! I remember I was reading a chapter, then putting the book down for 10 minutes to answer the next question for my project and then picking it up again. I think I ended up going to sleep at about 4 in the morning. Needless to say, I couldn't get up after. Ah well!


Anyway, to the actual review (as opposed to my ravings). I thought this book was wonderfully written. The story just flows from the pages. You finish one chapter, you have to read the next one as soon as possible. You just have to know what is going to happen next. Ms Collins definitely has a way with words!


The world described in the book is rather weird and it's set in the future (which is why the book is classified as a dystopian one - duh!). There are 12 districts, though there used to be 13. There was some kind of revolution and the authorities completely destroyed the District 13. So as to maintain the peace, they have an annual event, which is broadcast to all 12 districts called The Hunger Games. What happens there is that they choose two people from each district (one boy and one girl, to a total of 24 people) to compete in the Hunger Games. The aim is to be the last one standing alive. There can only be one winner. Now, doesn't that just make you want to read about what is going to happen?? 


The characters in this book are very well presented and developed. You just end up loving them. Well, not all of them necessarily, but definitely Katniss and Peeta! Katniss is a girl who has obviously been through a lot and has had to take on a lot of responsibility from quite a young age. Peeta is the baker's son, so he has had a better life than Katniss, but only marginally. They are the two 'tributes' from District 12, which means that one of them will ultimately have to kill the other to survive. The whole book is told from Katniss' point of view, so we are limited to what Katniss thinks of Peeta. But it's still enough to get a clear picture of what a nice person he is. I also loved the relationship between Katniss and Gale. It is clear that he is very important to her, as he helped her during a time of her life that she needed help and company. I thought it was lovely that they were such good friends. I hope there is more of him in the next book!


All in all, I loved this book and I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. (Though I'm not going to read them straight away, as I like to have 'breaks' in between books in the same series! Yup, I'm weird!)


Rating: 10/10 (with a cherry on top! ;-) )


Author:
Suzanne Collins is an American TV writer and author. She holds an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from New York University. She started working as a writer for children's television shows in 1991. After meeting with children's author James Proimos, she decided to start writing children's books herself. Her first book, published in 2003, was Gregor the Overlander, the first book in what turned out to be a series of 5 books under the title The Underlander Chronicles. In 2008, she published The Hunger Games, with the last book in the trilogy (Mockingjay) coming out in 2010.
Here are some of the covers of her books:



The Underlander Chronicles (Book 1 and Book 2)


The Hunger Games trilogy (Book 2 and Book 3)

I think it has been known for quite some time (I'm not sure on this one though), that The Hunger Games is going to be made into a film. Regardless of that, the actors that will portray the three major roles in this film have already been cast. Jennifer Lawrence has been cast as Katniss, Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Liam Hemsworth as Gale. I am definitely looking forward to watching this one (when it comes out!). 

You can find out more about Suzanne Collins here:

Counts as Book #29 in the 100 Books In A Year Challenge
Also counts towards the 1st In A Series Challenge and the Dystopia Challenge.





Sunday, 17 April 2011

In My Mailbox (5)


Hello everyone! Welcome to another IMM post! In My Mailbox is a meme that is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, so we get the chance to share our new books for the week (bought, borrowed or won) with all the lovely bloggers out there!

This week, the other two books that I ordered from the Book Depository finally arrived!! (Links go to Goodreads.)

Sooo...

I got

Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (Book #2 in the Study trilogy)
(Just finished it this morning! Review coming soon!)

and

Wideacre by Philippa Gregory (Book #1 in the Wideacre trilogy)

So, both my books actually arrived in the post this week! Ha! Imagine that!


What did you get in your mailbox this week?? 
I'd love to have a look!


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

I had actually never read this book, when I noticed this book in a bookshop for only 4 euros. I only just got round to reading it though, so here is my review.


The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by R. L. Stevenson
First published by Longmans, Green & Co. in 1886 (this edition by HarperPress in 2010)






Description: (from back cover)
'All human beings, as we meet them, are commingled out of good and evil.'
After taking an elixir created in his laboratory, mild mannered Dr Jekyll is transformed into the cruel and despicable Mr Hyde. Although seemingly harmless at first, things soon descend into chaos and Jekyll quickly realises there is only one way to stop Hyde. Stevenson's quintessential novella of the Victorian era epitomizes the conflict between psychology, science and religious morality, but is fundamentally a triumphant study of the duality of human nature.


Opinions:
I kept hearing about this story for years and years, but only vaguely knew what it was about. I can honestly say that having now read the book, it wasn't really what I was expecting.


We all know the basic plot. We have one man, Dr Jekyll, who drinks some sort of potion he makes and is promptly transformed into Mr Hyde. The difference between these two men is not limited to their appearance, but goes as far as their actual character. Dr Jekyll is described as a mild mannered man, whereas Mr Hyde is said to be evil personified (or maybe that's too harsh). He seems to repel each and every character in the book.


I don't know why, but I remember that, at some point, I used to think that Dr Jekyll was the evil one and Mr Hyde the good one. I was a little embarrassed when someone pointed out that it was the opposite. Though I think that my assumption that Dr Jekyll was the evil one came from the fact that he is a doctor (just like Frankenstein, who created his monster).


I don't want to spoil the book, so I can't really get into many details. The book is less than 100 pages long, so I have to be careful not to give any information away that could potentially ruin the book for someone who has not yet read it. The book is told in the third person, through the eyes of the people in the immediate circle of Dr Jekyll or through letters. This actually gives it an air of mystery, as everyone has a view of what is going on, but have no means of knowing why each thing is happening.


The story actually want to show the duality of human nature. Dr Jekyll stands for the good part in a person, whereas Mr Hyde stands for the evil part of the same person. Thus, Hyde really acts like a mask, behind which Jekyll is free to do anything he wants. One thing that stood out (to me) was the fact that Dr Jekyll is described as a tall and healthy man, with a pleasant face, but Mr Hyde is presented as a man of short stature and looks that make people want to look away from him. I always imagined Hyde as a tall, muscular sort of fellow, who was probably a bit of a bully because of his size. So I was quite surprised to see that was not the case.


All in all, it was a good book, if a little short. I think it could have done with a little more development and it wouldn't have been at all tiring. I liked the setting of the book and the message it was trying to get across. A book that people should read. I, for one, think I should have read this book years ago. It's not really scary. It's more mysterious, really. So, just go read it if you haven't!


Rating: 7/10


Author:
Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish poet and novelist and is regarded as a leading representative of Neo-romanticism in English literature. He was greatly admired by many well-known authors, such as Jorge Luis Borges, Rudyard Kipling, Vladimir Nabokov and Ernest Hemingway. He published his first book at the age of 33 and died of an apparent cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 44. During his relatively few years of writing, he managed to write an impressive number of novels, short stories, poetry and travel writing, a list of which you can find HERE.
His most well-known books include Treasure Island, Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.





Counts as Book #28 in my 100 Books In A Year Challenge and as Book #14 in my British Books Challenge 2011!
Also counts toward the Victorian Literature Challenge.




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