Month: February 2016

Book Review: Boot Camp

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Boot Camp by Robert Muchamore (Rock War #2) – Hardback, 347 pages – Published 2015 by Hodder Children’s Books

So this is the sequel to Rock War by Robert Muchamore, which is the only other novel I’ve read by this author. I can’t say I loved the first book, but I was intrigued to find out what happened next!

Twelve young bands have earned their big break, and are due to spend their summer in Rock War Manor as part of a new TV show. Among these contestants we have Brontobyte, Jet, and Industrial Scale Slaughter – all of whom we met in the previous novel.

The bands are put through vigorous training, before performing live and having to deal with the nosy media. There’s also the added issue of tension among some contestants, such as Jay and his ex-band-mates. There are, of course, some more positive relationships going on too.

This book paints a rather realistic picture of life in the media, with all the ups and down that “fame” can bring. Not that I have any actual experience in this matter, of course.

My main problem with these books is how immature they feel. The language isn’t simple, but it just somehow feels childish to me. Not to mention how most characters are a few years younger than me, and remind me of my first couple of years at secondary school.

Despite this, the story is pretty good, and I was really rather shocked by the ending. Again, I’m left wanting to know what happens next?

So although I don’t love this book, I don’t hate it, and I can see how some people could really enjoy it. So I think it deserves 3.5 stars.

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WWW Wednesdays

Sorry it’s late again! Yesterday was kind of stressful, but at least I’m uploading it now!

What am I currently reading?

I’m afraid I’ll have to admit that I am still reading Pride and Prejudice, Homunculus and the Cat and True Calling. I’m also reading Boot Camp and Breakfast with Tiffany at the moment.

What did I finish reading recently?

The Divide, Romeo and Juliet and The Complete Alice.

What am I reading next?

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I need to start reading The Night Circus ASAP, but other than that the choice is all yours! There are four categories for you to choose from, and you’re welcome to comment or contact me with other suggestions.

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Book Review: The Complete Alice

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The Complete Alice (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking-Glass / What Alice Found There) by Lewis Carroll – Hardback, 466 pages – Published July 4th 2015 by Macmillan Children’s Books

Alice in Wonderland has got to be my favourite story. I just love everything about it! Hence why I got this book for Christmas; it’s a really gorgeous book.

I don’t think I need to go into much detail regarding the story; everyone knows Alice in Wonderland! What I will say is that the extra bits are lovely; there are letters from Carroll himself, details about how the story was written and printed, and other notes.

As for the illustrations… I love them! The original Tenniel illustrations are all in full colour, displayed wonderfully throughout the book. It just all looks so gorgeous!

So as I said, I won’t want to go into too much detail. The story is obviously fantastic, and it’s nice to see it all together – even with the “deleted scene” from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There. The poems and songs and riddles… Fantastic!

Everything about this book is lovely. The cover, the layout, the red shine around the edge of the pages. Love it! A huge favourite of mine. 5 stars for definite.

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Book Review: Romeo and Juliet

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Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare – Paperback, 160 pages – Published November 5th 2000 by Wordsworth Classics

I’m pretty sure everyone is familiar with this play; the infamous rivalry between two houses, the children of which fall hopelessly in love.

As I’m studying this play for my exams at school, I’m not going to make this review too long or detailed. It’s more just going to be a little recap on what I thought about this book.

So we all know the story of the Capulets and Mountagues; they have been enemies for years. The son of Mountague, young Romeo, is heartbroken by his strong but unrequited love for Rosaline. In an attempt to remove his thoughts from the matter, his friends suggest attending a party at the house of the Capulets.

Here is where he meets fair Juliet. Love at first sight; instantly, Romeo has forgotten about his previous love and pain and is infatuated with this new woman. But can they ever be together, when they parents hate each other so?

The pair decide to marry in secret, with the help of Friar Lawrence and Juliet’s maid. But within the same day, Romeo is banished from Verona after killing Tybalt, Juliet’s cousin. He should have been sentenced to death, but Tybalt himself was guilty of murdering Mercutio, and so Romeo is pardoned that sentence. To this newly married couple, banishment is worse than death, for they fear they will never see one another again. Even worse, Juliet is due to marry Count Paris.

To get around this tricky situation, Friar Lawrence helps Juliet devise a plan. She is to drink a sleeping potion that gives the illusion of death; Romeo is then to find her, and together they can run away and live happily ever after. However, Romeo does not hear of the plan, and believes his wife to truly be dead. He purchases poison to end his own life, drinking it just moments before Juliet awakens. She then kills herself out in anguish, leaving both families shocked and in despair.

Romeo is such a headstrong, passionate character. He feels so strongly about everything, and doesn’t tend to think before he acts. Personally, I think he’s rather immature and frankly a bit of a drama queen. Did he ever really love either women, or was he just too obsessed with the idea of love?

As for Juliet, we see her become more independent after meeting Romeo. She beings to think about her own wants, rather than those of her parents. Of course, she’s very young and new to the idea of love, hence her shockingly passionate and forward decisions. At the time this was written, a young girl such as Juliet feeling so strongly about someone she barely knows would have been practically unheard of.

The characters and their relationships are very interesting in this play. The death of Mercutio is very clever; he’s such a lively character, the death is truly dramatic.

I’m really not a romance kinda gal, but I can still appreciate this tragic tale. It can be rather hard to follow Shakespeare’s writing, but it is pretty good when you get into it. I think I’ll give this play 4 stars.

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Book Review: The Divide

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The Divide by Elizabeth Kay (The Divide #1) – Paperback, 320 pages – Published April 1st 2006 by Chicken House

I started reading this when I was about eleven, and I had really enjoyed it. It’s a bit of a kids’ book really, but I just wanted to see how it ended!

So Felix, who’s thirteen, has a debilitating heart condition. He and his parents visit Costa Rica, home of the Continental Divide. Nothing could prepare him for what happens after passing out across the Divide.

Suddenly, Felix is in a strange new world where myths are real and real life is fake. Humans aren’t supposed to be real – so when Felix arrives, people start going crazy. They want to find a way into his world, where they can see science in real life, and where they can have a fresh market for their magic.

Betony becomes Felix’s good friend, and along with her siblings and some other mythical creatures, they discover a japegrin who is selling untested magical remedies, causing side-affects in those who take them. They manage to spread the word about this, but he won’t go down without a fight.

Like I said, this is more a children’s book than a YA. I only really wanted to read it again because I was curious, and I seemed to enjoy it so much when I was younger. It’s not a bad book, but obviously it’s not one that teens are going to be raving about.

It’s cute, but has such a childish feel to it. I mean, wise-hoofs and ear-rot? Snakeweed the villain?! The general plot is pretty good, unlike any other book I’ve read. But I can’t say I’m going to be hunting down the rest of the series. 2.5 stars.

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WWW Wednesdays

What am I currently reading?

Well I’ve been given a few things to read for school recently, and I’ve got tons of books due back to the library soon so I’m still reading The Complete Alice and Pride and Prejudice, as well as True Calling, Homunculus and the Cat, Romeo and Juliet and now The Divide.

What did I finish reading recently?

I’ve finished ReachedAn Inspector Calls and City of Bones.

What am I reading next?

Well I need to get And Another Thing and Boot Camp back to the library so they’re up next.

But as usual, you also have a choice in what I read soon!

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Book Review: City of Bones

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City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #1) – Paperback, 442 pages – Published July 2nd 2007 by Walker Books

I’ve heard so much about this series, so I’ve got the whole series out of the library. It’s nearly midnight; I’ve stayed up reading until I finished this book!

This sounds like any other paranormal YA book really, and I suppose it is pretty much the same as all the others in many ways. But it’s a great read, with its own unique twists and advantages.

Clarissa, a 15-year-old red-head who lives with her mother, is the protagonist of this novel. She’s just like any other girl – until she sees someone being followed by people that nobody else can see. After witnessing these people destroy a demon in the storage room of a club, Clary knows her life is never going to be the quite the same.

Accompanied by Jace, Isabelle, Alec and her good friend Simon, Clary begins to learn about her heritage, just as her mother is kidnapped by a monstrous creature. The rescue mission is complicated – people often turn out to be different than who they first appear to be – and not without it’s difficulties. Clary has to unravel the lies that her life has been built upon, all the while dealing with the confusing emotions of both her and her friends.

This book is full of action! Fight scenes galore! It really is an exciting read, which is somewhat surprising due to the length. I often find that longer books get a little too dragged-on, but that was not the case with City of Bones. I’m really excited about the rest of this series.

The characters and the relationships between them are wonderful. I don’t want to include any spoilers, but things between Jace and Clary are so complicated, and it’s fascinating to see how their relationship is affected by the occurrences in this book. The less prominent characters, such as Hodge and Luke, are also full of emotion and depth. Their back-stories are amazing, and I found it easy to feel the same emotions towards them as Clary did at any given time.

Another thing that I really liked is the little details in this book. The foreshadowing, for example, and the inclusion of Alec being gay, but not openly. It’s the little things that really submerge you in the world of a book.

I really did enjoy reading this, but it isn’t quite in my favourites. It’s thrilling and full of action and emotion, as well as tons of plot twists. I’d say 4.5 stars!

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Book Review: An Inspector Calls

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An Inspector Calls by J.B. Priestley – Hardback, 81 pages Published January 12th 1992 by Heinemann Educational Books

My GCSEs are coming up soon, and I was told that this play may be included. I remember a few people saying how much they loved this book and my school had a spare copy so I thought I may as well give it a read.

Wow. I didn’t really look into the synopsis of this before I read it, and I’m kind of glad I didn’t. The story unfolded so beautifully, and the Inspector’s questions kept me gripped throughout the whole play. I was just desperate to know what had happened!

This is a pretty unique book in the way that they all talk about what happened in the past. Basically, a police inspector arrives and begins asking the group about a girl who has apparently committed suicide. None of them know her at first, until the inspector reminds them of the nasty things that they had each done to her. Slowly, we learn of the girl’s life and put together all the pieces from each person’s story.

This really is a great book! Honestly, I’m not much interested in plays and scripts, but this was just such a great read. It really makes you think about how your actions and words may affect someone in the long-run, and how much of an impact you can have on a stranger’s life.

I sped through most of this in one evening. It is a short book, but the main reason I read it so fast is just because it was so very gripping and interesting. This is definitely a new favourite of mine; 5 stars!

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Book Review: Reached

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Reached by Ally Condie (Matched #3) – Paperback, 512 pages – Published November 30th 2012 by Penguin

So Reached is the final novel in the Matched series, written by Ally Condie. It’s by far the longest of the three, which can be a little off-putting to some readers. However, I managed to get through it all and enjoyed it a lot!

In this novel, the Rising finally comes into power, overtaking the Society. Cassia, Ky and Xander each play their individual parts, whilst trying to find one another again.

The Plague, designed for the Enemy, infiltrates the water of the Society, leaving thousands of people still. The Rising has a cure, and quickly gets to work curing everybody. Until an unexpected mutation develops, leaving people uncurable and even dead.

The three young people are finally reunited when the Pilot, leader of the Rising, gathers them together to begin creating a cure for this new Plague. But will they do it in time?

I’ve actually really enjoyed this trilogy. I know some people aren’t so keen on it, and I wasn’t sure how interesting this last book would be. I expected it to be a bit dragged on as it’s so long, but I didn’t find myself bored whilst reading it at all.

The love triangle between Cassia, Ky and Xander is finally brought to an end at the end of this novel. It’s nice how everyone ends up happy, and although they separate again everything is good.

They all play very important roles throughout the Rising’s takeover, and the hunt for the new cure. The book is written alternately from each main character’s point of view, giving us an insight on everything that’s happening with each person.

Condie seems to have a very unique writing style. It’s very to-the-point, yet expressive and romantic. I really like her writing, and I applaud her for writing such a long book without losing the interest of the readers.

So basically I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It’s a nice conclusion to the trilogy, leaving room for the imagination after the last page. Everything sort of works itself out, and although there are tons of losses and problems, the characters all find a sense of peace at last. 4 stars!

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