Sunday, September 30, 2012

Blogspiration (1) Taking Risks.

Blogspiration is a weekly meme hosted by GrowingUp YASaz101.

It's an unknown place. Taking risks is a difficult thing- it's almost as if you are standing on the edge of a cliff and you don't know what lies below you, because your eyes are covered. You could land on a trampoline and fly right back up into the air, and then, when you finally stop bouncing, you will be perfectly safe and full of adrenalin, or you could fall and not land quite so comfortably.
But I think it is worth taking risks, if you believe in the thing that you are taking a risk on.
Without taking risks so many amazing things wouldn't be a part of our lives- we almost certainly wouldn't have books, for one, but imagine how many other things we wouldn't have. Too many things. I think risks are worth it, and I hope I take more in the future.

Have a lovely week!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Coraline by Neil Gaiman 10th Anniversary Edition...

Title- Coraline. (10th Anniversary Edition.)
Author- Neil Gaiman.
Publish date- 3d September, 2012.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.



Thank you to Bloomsbury for this review copy!

What I thought:
Coraline was a book that I had heard a lot about, had known of for years, before I decided that I wanted to read it- I'm only sorry it took me so long!
I saw the film about a year before I read it, and it was a little bit of a turn off- I didn't really like it, it was strange and a little scary, especially for a childrens movie, but regardless I wanted to read the book for myself, and yes, it is a scary book, especially for a childrens book. It's unnerving. It's nightmarish. Because it's supposed to be... to me, it's the story of a girl who has to get lost to find out who she truly is, just like that magnificent quote (I forget who said it) says. And it is a scary, terrifying and magnificent story that I wish I had read when I was younger. Because, above all, above terrifying "Other mothers" and alternate universes where nothing is quite right and you have to fight to go home, it's the story about a girl who needs to be incredibly strong to resist temptation for things she has wanted desperately in her old life... and she's only a child, a child who has to make huge decisions and it is a book, that even as a 16 year old, has changed me (and will continue to) enormously.

The illustrations by Chris Riddell, whom I have been a huge fan of for years, since I read Fergus Crane and the Edge Chronicles, are both stunning, accurate and horrible- they show the terrible things that happen in the "Other world" so exquisitely and perfectly that I both look at them for minutes at a time, to catch all the intricate details, but also want to turn away from so as not to get the image of a "Other Mother" burnt into my memory- they are perfect!

I would change nothing about Coraline- it's one of the most perfect novels I have ever read and is a novel that makes me thankful, more thankful, for everything I have now.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne...

Title- The Terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket.
Author- John Boyne.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Random House.


Thank you to Random House for this review copy!

What I thought:
I have to start this review off by saying four words that end with at least five exclaimations-


My first, and before reading this only, John Boyne book was The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas- I tried to read Noah Barleywater runs away a few years after, but I found it awkward to get into and ended up deciding not to continue with it- that fact made me a little bit worried that I wouldn't like Barnaby Brocket, but those worries were shot to pieces upon reading the first one, two, three pages. I was immediately captivated by the writing that had, many years ago, captivated me and held me as I read the story of two very different boys. This story is completely different from that one, but it is just as thrilling a read, leaves just as important a message, though in both a very different and a similar way. John Boyne is able to weave words to do his bidding in a way few authors are able to, he is able to hint at things subtly and then leave the reader to guess what the meaning of it was, and those subtlies, those touches, make this a story beyond compare.

There was not one thing I disliked about this story- the whole thing was mysterious and also a learning experiance in acceptance and being yourself, and for all that, it will forever stay with me.

The story of Barnaby Brocket is shocking and warming, his adventures across the world, meeting wonderous people, learning their stories of acceptance and trouble, the way they made their ways, is beautiful, and I saw many things that I wouldn't have seen if I had read this at a younger age, things that, if I had read this as an eleven year old and then again as a sixteen year old, I would have probably have been shocked by but then entranced by- I found the way Mr. Boyne managed to smuggle these things into his novel beautiful.

I commend anyone who writes such beautiful works of art, and know only that this will forever be a treasured posession that I will gladly share with my family so they can find the joy in this tale as I have done.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Something like normal by Trish Doller...

Title- Something Like Nomal.
Author- Trish Doller.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.


Thank you to Bloomsbury for this review copy!

What I thought:
I'm not sure what was the thing that intrigued me most about this book when I heard about it mid last year- the storyline sounded interesting, not like that of anything I had ever read- that and a lot of other things, made me decide to try it out.
The thing that struck me first was 

There is quite a lot of swearing and sexual refrences, a bit too much of an overload for me in any book, so doubly so such a short one- I confess that I counted, in the space of about twenty pages/fifteen minutes of reading, how many swearwords ect. were uttered... then counted different things, it went something like this-

Eff's- 9.
Fingers (giving someone the finger)- 2.
Remarks on sex (not generally lightly put)- 3-4.

That's probably about enough for an entire book, for me, and perhaps if I had known about it earlier I mightn't have been so interested, I would have been less game. Wether that is a good thing or not I cannot say- I just really don't like swearing and untastefully crude chat.

One thing, probably the main thing, I couldn't understand was Harper- she seems like a really sweet character who's reputation was blown to pieces when she was thirteen and Travis embellished a kiss betwen the two. He ruined her teen years, and yet she lets him into her life... she nursed her hate for him for years, punches him, and the next day takes him to breakfast. Before you know it she's letting him into her life, which seemed radical... I would have imagined her to be very cautious and never want to have anything to do with him, whereas it's the opposite.

Something Like Normal just didn't have the special something that favourite books hold- it was a really interesting story, but it seemed abrupt and I think that certainly would have imporved with length, though I don't believe I would have kept reading it if it was double the size... I didn't like the choices Travis made, which I suppose is one of the things he wants to change about himself, I didn't like the way Harper reacted to things, and I didn't like how relaxed Travis would ocassionally seem about the things he was doing, some pretty drastic things.

Overall it wasn't a me read- I think higher young adult readers would like it more- the story is really interesting, especially when we learn more about what happened in Afghanistan to make him get extra leave. Very interesting and unlike anything I've ever read, but not one I would read again or recommend to anyone under the age of 16.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Survive by Alex Morel...

Title- Survive.
Author- Alex Morel.
Publish date- July 2012.
Publisher- Hardie Grant Egmont.


Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy!

What I thought:
I couldn't specificially pinpoint my dislike for this book on one single thing- there are many things, some big, some small, that have all congregated to make this book stand out as being one I didn't enjoy reading- I finished reading it mostly because it intrigued me... I am really very interested in the idea, the story, but the way it was written just didn't work for me. Here are the three things that got to me most about it-

1. The protagonist, Jane, is suicidal- her father killed himself on christmas eve and so did his father, and her grandmother- she never seems especially worried about this fact, she just seems... perhaps tired is the best way to describe it. She's living in rehabilatation and has tried to kill herself twice already before coming up with the plan to get on a plane, take a bunch of pills and finish the job she's never been able to do before. (The following contains spoilers- highlight to read) And yet, after Paul dies, she stops trying to kill herself, or so it seems from the epilouge. She seems to have moved on- supposedly because she realised, with him, that she needed to live... but it seemed unrealistic, that after so much trauma, she was able to stop cutting, not to overdose again...?
2. Paul. Jane doesn't like him at all when they first meet on the plane, and yet, after mere days, the two make a connection end up falling in love. It seemed like it was going to happen, but if I had just seen everyone else in the plane I was in lying dead in the snow, only to be faced with possible death myself, I wound be a little more worried about finding my way out of the wilderness than starting a relationship.
3. The staff at Jane's place of rehabilatation.  I am frankly stunned that they let her off so easily- on her way to the plane, for instance, she goes into a drug store and buys all the drugs she needs to make sure she never wakes up again, the pretense of buying christmas presents for her mother as her cover- the chemist isn't on the approved list of places, and yet she is let off the hook... no bag search, nothing. And Jane seems to think that Old Doctor has a sense of what she's going to do, I got the feeling too, and yet he does nothing. 

I was really hoping I would love Survive, and I'm sad that I didn't connect with it as I hoped, but it often seemed to me that ridiculous things happened, that the way the characters coped and did things were unrealistic, and I suppose I expected something different, I can't say for sure what.

So I did really like the idea for Survive, and I think it is definitely going to work for a lot of people- even though it's about tough subjects it wasn't, for me, a really full on read, so if that is the same for other readers, it will be a easy going read on a subject they might never have read about before.
Also, the cover- I love it.