Ready, Set, Read-Athon Goals!

Posted on 31 August, 2012 by Faye - 9 Comments

Wahoo! The readathon is upon us! It officially started 8 hours ago for me! This post should have been up earlier but I’ve been a bit ill lately so getting it written and scheduled early wasn’t possible!

Anyway. Don’t know about the readathon yet? Check out this post for more info.
It’s not too late to sign up! Just head over to here.

At the bottom of this post I’ll be adding in a linky list so that you can all attach your goal posts and go and cheer each other on!
The Giveaway information will be posted either later on today, or tomorrow (depending on your timezone!)
If you’re participating, don’t forget to use #RSReadathon for your updates.

My Goals
Over this three day period, I hope to read 3 books. The only problem with this, is that I actually now have work every single day this weekend. The only fortunate thing about it is that with my illness, I may not be at work the entire day and should be able to nab some time to do reading during the day anyway!

  

The three books I plan to read are;
Traitors by Tom Becker
How I Found You by Gabriella Lepore
The History Keepers: Circus Maximus by Damian Dibben

Wish me luck!

Add your goal post below!

Posted on 31 August, 2012 by Faye - 9 Comments


Behind The Blog #16; It’s All in The History

Posted on 30 August, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments

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Behind the Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts, Faye, Kathe, and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or other media they find interesting!

If there is one constant throughout the world, it is that time never stops. It continues to trickle past us and what many people don’t realise is how important that fact is. People study history in school and a lot of people don’t really listen, bored of everyone stating that “history repeats itself.” So this week we’re looking at historical events and how they’ve shaped us today. It could be events in your life, in your lifetime or ones that happened years ago that have affected you in this life. What is your favourite historical event?
In relation to media; what historical fiction books and films have you loved? Were the historical details accurate? Was it the history or the fiction that pulled you in?


In all honesty I was never that interested in learning about history when I was growing up. It was a subject that I did, quite simply, find boring. Even in secondary school when they tried to make it more exciting to learn, I just found myself shutting off in the lessons and not bothering to extend myself. In many ways I rather regret this decision now because nowadays I am truly fascinated by history and historical events.

One of my favourite modules during my time at university was actually film history. I loved learning how it all started, the stages it went through before it finally got to how we watch films today. I love that you can watch a film that was only made ten years ago and it already looks dated and old, just because of how fast we’ve updated technology through the use of CGI and special effects. It is just amazing and inspiring to see how much history has affected not just the making of films but also the film industry as a whole. Unfortunately, the only thing about film history I found hard to stomach was the actual films that were produced. Some were okay, the others made me fall asleep.

The era of films that I find the most intriguing are the British films made during World War 2. Before university I wasn’t that interested in the war. I knew the major facts about it, I understood when it was and what had happened during it but it wasn’t until I studied the films and the period during which the films were made that I really got interested in the actual event. I liked knowing how most films were made in Blackpool while London was in blackout, I liked acknowledging that a lot of films were made about women workers to try and get more women to work in factories, but really I just liked learning about the effects of the war.

But that has really only been the beginning. For my dissertation I studied Chinese Fifth Generation Cinema and for the research I looked into the history of Chinese Cinema and I found myself fascinated not with just how the industry changed but with why the industry changed. I wanted to learn more about the wars they went through, more about the communist battle, more about what it was like to live in China. Through films and researching films, I wanted to know more about the country as a whole, in a way that just watching and analysing their films could never truly show me.

So really, I do kick myself for not wishing to learn history more when I was younger because now I find it interesting, fascinating and worthy pieces of information to have. I don’t want to know about history because I have to know about history, I want to know about history because I want to know it and that is the biggest difference between now and then. So for me, the biggest part of my past, the one that inspired the most change, was going to university and studying film and television because in a way, it inspired me to want to know more about the past.


This space here should be full of all the books I’ve read about historical events. It should be a list containing my favourite historical fiction books but instead it is me, unfortunately, admitting that I haven’t read many – if any at all – and therefore, have nothing to attribute to this section. However, I am going to ask all of you – what historical fiction books you would recommend I read as it is a genre I would really like to start reading more of!


Naturally, the amount of films I have watched with a historical event attached to them in some way, shape or form, is extremely high. It would take me a long time to list them all, so instead I’m going to list my favourite Five with a few sentences about why I chose them specifically.
  • Millions Like Us; A British Propaganda film made during WW2 that I just truly found intriguing and fascinating. It’s about women working in factories and really shows the difference women were making.
  • Gladiator; A historical fiction film about one guy who fights as a gladiator in Athens because he’s been captured. A truly magnificent film that I will always love.
  • Titanic; It would have been impossible to complete this list without mentioning this marvellous film that captured this event so brilliantly.
  • To Live; A truly fascinating Chinese film directed by Zhang Yimou that follows a man and his life throughout some of the history of China. An amazing film that is actually banned in China.
  • Robin Hood: The Prince of Thieves; Another historical fiction film surrounding the myths of Robin Hood and Sherwood forest. A truly marvellous film that Kevin Costner made utterly terrific.

But now that you’ve got to here, why don’t you join us!
Behind the Blog is a new meme for bloggers themselves. To find out more, check out the introduction on my blog or that on Kathe’s.
Are you joining us? Here are our rules:

  • The hosts’ Behind the Blog posts go live at midnight on Friday, GMT + 0:00. Feel free to post before that and then just link up on Friday!
  • Feel free to make use of the button shown above or, if it clashes with your blog colors, e-mail us or make your own.
  • Read, write, and connect! The Linky is there for you. Make use of it!
  • Last but not the least, have fun!

Posted on 30 August, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments


Invincible by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Posted on 30 August, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher: Atom
Published: March 22nd 2011
Pages: 309
Format: Paperback
Source: Review Copy from Atom
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

The second novel in the new teen series, The Chronicles of Nick, a spin-off from the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series–from #1 “New York Times” bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon

Nick Gautier’s day just keeps getting better and better. Yeah, he survived the zombie attacks, only to wake up and find himself enslaved to a world of shapeshifters and demons out to claim his soul.
His new principal thinks he’s even more of a hoodlum than the last one, his coach is trying to recruit him to things he can’t even mention and the girl he’s not seeing, but is, has secrets that terrify him.
But more than that, he’s being groomed by the darkest of powers and if he doesn’t learn how to raise the dead by the end of the week, he will become one of them…

We Begin Again
When I read Infinity, I found myself really intrigued by the concept and fell in love with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s writing style. The novel grabbed my attention and kept me wanting more. Invincible is the second book in this series but, unfortunately, it didn’t keep my attention as well as the first book did. Normally the next book on is better than the first, a way to bring that background concept to light. For me, however, Invincible simply did not achieve this. It was difficult to keep my focus on the book at times and I was constantly disappointed about how much I wasn’t thoroughly enjoying the book like I did with Infinity.

The Treacherous Path
In this novel, Nick faces many different obstacles, all of which could define who he is and who he will one day become. It was definitely nice to see which paths he took and why, it was interesting to see how he valued his life and the lives of his friends too. I did like the journey he went on but some of the things that happened just felt too odd to me and I didn’t particularly like the way it all came together in the end. There were parts in this story that were really interesting and kept you page-turning but there were also other moments that I found myself disinterested and bored. It was disappointing for me because I know how much potential the story has. While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but wonder, if I had a detailed background of The Dark Hunters, if I would have enjoyed this book a little more.

Has Many Helpers
While I did like a few characters in this book – such as Nick’s mum – there were quite a few that I struggled to like. Unfortunately, just as was the same in the first book, Nick was one character I just couldn’t get myself to like. It’s possible I just couldn’t understand him because I’m a girl and a lot older but I just found him to be annoying a lot of the time. I liked the journey he went on and a few of the choices he made but personality wise? I just couldn’t get behind him on a lot of things. I also didn’t like Caleb. He was just… irritating and I don’t think he was supposed to be. I can’t quite explain what I really didn’t like about him but I just couldn’t be happy when he appeared on the page. Kody was an alright character but there were also times when she got on my nerves and I just felt like rolling my eyes at her. I think my problem with all the characters is that at times they felt very two-dimensional, as though they are simply there for plot-fuelled reasons but don’t have their own distinct personalities at the same time. That, or they’re really better designed for younger audiences.

So that it Ends
I did like the ending of this book. I like how it concluded this “chapter” – as it were – of this series but you can tell that more is about to happen. It feels like the next book in the series has potential to be better than Invincible and for that reason I am looking forward to getting my hands on the next book. I can only hope that it doesn’t disappoint me as well. The world-building around this book was quite interesting and probably the main thing that kept me turning the page. I want to see where this leads to, how it all works out. Will Nick manage to save the world or will he destroy it? This question, among many more, is the reason that I have not yet given up on this series.

 With Grace and Dignity
Overall this is a book that I did like and enjoyed in parts but it was also difficult for me to keep my focus on. It took a while to read as I wasn’t compelled to keep reading. It is one that I feel younger audiences would pick up and read quickly and enjoy it thoroughly as I can see how it is better tuned in for their tastes. Unfortunately, that simply wasn’t the case for me. I am still interested in Sherrilyn Kenyon and am still intrigued enough with this story to carry on with the next book. I just do really hope that it picks my interest back up and keeps me completely involved in the story. This was a book that had the potential to be brilliant but was unfortunately, in my opinion, only mediocre.

Three Stars
Three out of Five Hearts

* I received this book in return for an honest review *

Faye

Posted on 30 August, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Ready, Set, Read-Athon is nearly upon us!

Posted on 29 August, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments

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Hey Guys!
So the readathon I am co-hosting, Ready, Set, Read-Athon, is close to starting! On Friday at midnight (your local time), we will start reading as much as we can for three straight days!

Haven’t heard about this yet and want to sign up? It’s not too late! You can sign up here.

Already signed up? Great! Here’s some more information for you;

Twitter
Throughout the readathon, Danie (@booktacular) and I (@daydreamin_star) will be “manning” twitter by keeping our eyes peeled on the hashtag; #RSReadathon 
If you have an update on the books you’re reading, or just want to chat, make sure to use the hashtag so other participants can get to know you too!

Twitter Chat
On Saturday we will also be hosting a twitter chat! Starting at 10pm (GMT+1) and lasting for an hour (or more if we’re really chatty!), we shall be talking to any and all who turn up! Hope to see you there!

Giveaway
Throughout the weekend, Danie, Kate, and I have a giveaway planned for you. There are three prizes up for grabs and just by being a participant, you get a chance to enter! There are other extra entries you can grab too but more info on that will appear on Friday.

Goal Posts
On Friday, Danie and I will be posting our goal posts for the weekend, setting out what we aim to achieve and what books we intend to read. At the bottom of our posts we will have a linky list for you to link up your own goal posts too!
If you’re a participant without a blog but still wish to set your goals, feel free to comment on our posts and simply link back to our posts in the linky!

That’s everything!
If you know someone you think might want to join in the fun, feel free to send them our way! The more the merrier! =D

Faye

Posted on 29 August, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments


Speechless by Hannah Harrington

Posted on 28 August, 2012 by Faye - 9 Comments

Author: Hannah Harrington
Publisher: Kennsington / Mira INK
Published: August 28th 2012 (AU) / September 7th 2012 (UK)
Pages: Unknown
Format: Ebook
Source: Netgalley.com
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

Everyone knows that Chelsea Knot can’t keep a secret.
Until now. Because the last secret she shared turned her into a social outcast–and nearly got someone killed.
Now Chelsea’s has taken a vow of silence–to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting everyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets if hard, not speaking up when she’s ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.
But there’s strength in silence, and in new friends who are, shockingly, coming her way. People she never noticed before. A boy she might even fall for. If only her new friends can forgive what she’s done. If only she can forgive herself.

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The Rumours Spread
There are some reviews where I sit with my fingers poised over the keyboard while my mind tries to think of the best way to articulate the thoughts and emotions that are swirling around in my head. Sometimes the words come easily and sometimes they take forever to form. In some reviews, however, I struggle so much with knowing what to write not because I don’t know how I feel about a book, but because I feel so strongly about a book that I don’t want to ruin it’s perfect words with some scrubby ones. Speechless is a book that I know I am going to struggle to fully define well but the first thing I know without absolute certainty is that this book rendered me speechless.

The Action is Taken
Knowing where to begin with this review has been incredibly difficult; knowing how to describe this book has been even harder. The reason for this is that I was completely moved by this story. I could relate to it so much, and it simply is written so well, with such powerful marvellous words. The plot was easy to follow and although it did follow a general pattern of other books like it (I kept being reminded of Welcome Caller, This is Chloe-a book about speaking out in a different way), it still managed to keep it original and entertaining. Really, looking past the plot, it was the messages that this book carries with it that truly made it such a great read for me. Dealing with issues of bullying, friendships, morality, and learning to be who you are, not who you want to be, this book is simply inspirational.

Consequences Appear
What really brings this story alive are the characters. Just like in Saving June, the characters are strong, three-dimensional, and simply come bursting to the brim with depth. At first I really didn’t like Chelsea. In fact, I really, really, didn’t like her at the beginning and I had to grit my teeth as I read her words but then the story continued going and I very quickly found myself not just falling in love with her character but truly understanding her character. Chelsea goes through a very coming-of-age story and you can just see how her own actions are weighing her down. I loved her journey, it was inspiring. She was so lost after everything collapsed under her but instead of just rolling over, she picked herself up and did everything she could to make everything better. A brilliant, strong character who simply wasn’t aware of just how strong she was.

While I really should mention Sam next, I can’t ignore the fact that Asha is my second favourite character. She’s so lovely and friendly and just sees the good in everyone and all throughout the film I just wanted to pick her up and give her the biggest hug. I think the journey she travelled in this book is small in comparison to Chelsea but is still so great and amazing and I was so happy for her. I truly loved her and could actually see one of my friends in her and it made me want to tell that friend to never change. Moving onto Sam, I have to admit that I really, really, really liked this guy. He was sensitive and caring, yet he was protective and cautious all at the same time. He knows he doesn’t have all the answers, that things aren’t black and white but he’s willing to work on things. He’s admiring and brilliant and someone that I just loved reading about.

Scores are Settled
The ending of this novel was perfect. It was a brilliant balance of things being calm while there’s still things that could go rocky and unsure. It gives the reader a sense of hope, but also a sense of reality. Things in life are never clear cut. Things don’t just end happily and this book makes sure to know that while the future is unknown, at least, for now, things are as they should be. I loved the ending as much as I loved the rest of the book, it simply manages to tie everything together. They’re moving forward, working out the problems in the school, in their lives but they’re doing it together and praying for a better future than the past gave them. It is a brilliant message and one that really struck home for me.

Normality Resumes
All in all, this book is simply magnificent. It was read by me in a day – which never happens – as I was truly compelled to keep turning the page and refusing to do much of anything else. It has some deep, meaningful messages hidden within the pages and is a perfect vision of friendship and growing-up. It’s not easy, it is something we have to work at, but when we get it right, it’s the best feeling in the world. This book shows how we shouldn’t judge people on first sight, we don’t know what they’re like or what they’re dealing with and that sometimes even the meanest people in the world are actually soft and gooey in the centre. A brilliant, emotional, moving read that I would recommend to people in a heartbeat.

five stars
five out of five hearts

Faye

Posted on 28 August, 2012 by Faye - 9 Comments


Fresh Start September Event Announcement

Posted on 27 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments

Hey Guys!
So some of you may have seen my excitement on twitter about things I have planned for the blog and today I am going to be revealing it all to you!
I’m going to be co-hosting an awesome event all throughout next month called Fresh Start September.
My lovely and wonderful co-hosts are Melissa from Melissa’s Midnight Musings and Daphne from Winged Reviews.

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Are you looking for new books to read? Want to read something by a debut author but don’t know of any debuts that are coming up? Want to compare thoughts on debuts and new series?

Don’t miss out on the fun as Melissa, Daphne and I bring you exciting things like author interviews, cover polls, guest posts and some great giveaways! With interviews from upcoming debut authors like Jay Kristoff and Niall Leonard, as well as many more, you really won’t want to miss this!

Come back on the 1st September for a full round up of everything we have in store for you this month!

Faye

Posted on 27 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments


Blogger Spotlight! – INTERVIEW

Posted on 25 August, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment

alexbloggerspotlight

Hey Guys!
So today I have Alexandra here for an interview! Hopefully you’ll see how truly stunning she is and will want to go and see more of what she has to offer!
Without further ado;

Tell us a little something about yourself!
I am in my fourth year of psychology at university, and hope to specialise in trauma counselling. I live in Australia, have loved books and words since I was a baby, and have been writing – in one form or another – since I was about five. I also love the rainstorms and forests. Walking through a forest in the rain is my own personal heaven. I also tend to use too many dashes when I write. And my absolute favourite word is “incandescent”.

How long have you had your blog?
Since the very end of January 2012, so that’s what, just over seven months now? I am loving it. Especially since I learned how to schedule posts. (I’m not very tech-savvy, so it took me a while). Most of my friends in everyday life aren’t readers, or if they are, don’t read the genres I do, so this has been the first time in my life that I have been surrounded by fellow bookworms, in an environment in which it’s not just OK, it’s kind of expected that you get wildly excited about new books, and swoon over fictional young men, etc.

Is there an interesting background story to the name of your blog, if there is, tell us!
Eh, not really – I adore names, but (oddly) I also suck at coming up with titles, and apparently my brain decided to classify “Giving my blog a name” as “Needed: One title” and promptly went blank. So it’s not especially creative, but it works.

As we’ve got this far without mentioning it, why not tell us a little something about your blog, what you post, how it runs, who you cater to, etc.
I’ve sort of settled into a weekly routine now (I’m one of these people who likes a comfortable routine). Most weeks, I do a Blogspiration (hosted by Saz and Kristin) and a Behind the Blog (hosted by Faye, Melissa and Kathe). Both are awesome memes! I also make lists on various topics, or talk about a particular issue that I’ve been thinking about, occasionally post poems or favourite words, and of course, post book reviews. I mostly review YA books (contemporary and paranormal) because that makes up the bulk of what I read. But I also do some adult fiction reviews too. Oh, and I’ve also just started doing a semi-regular post called “How Novel” which combines my love of fictional characters with my love of clothes and jewellery, and I’m having a lot of fun with that.

What is the best book you read in 2011?
Eh, 2011? So long ago. Hmm, I discovered Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Family Chronicles – so much fun, with surprising depth. Gayle Forman’s If I Stay was the first book to make me cry in ages – I get emotionally invested in books all the time, but I actually rarely cry over them. Agh, that scene at the hospital with her grandfather gets me every time. Oh! And I loved burn bright by Marianne de Pierres, but was sadly less enthralled with the sequel, angel arias. Oh x2! I also LOVED Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. How on earth did I nearly forget that one?

What about in 2012?
Does anyone ever actually manage to put one for these questions? I adored Brigid Kemmerer’s Storm – the heroine Becca immediately jumped onto my list of all-time favourite heroines EVER, and Melina Marchetta’s Jellicoe Road (can’t believe it took me so long to pick it up). And I remembered my love for Adrian in Richelle Mead’s The Golden Lily. Also, I reread Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales trilogy (Tithe, Valiant and Ironside) – I’d read them a few years ago and thought they were OK, but this time round I absolutely loved them. Not sure what the difference was – maybe I was in a different headspace this time?

Has there ever been a book that you haven’t been able to finish? If so, what was it? And why couldn’t you finish?
I am a very, very curious (my Dad would call it ‘nosy’) person, so I can’t not-finish books because I NEED TO KNOW what happens. Fortunately for me, I also read very fast, and am pretty good at skim-reading. So if the book really and truly sucks, I’ll skip the middle and skim through the end. Curiosity satisfied, and all is well in Alex-land.

I didn’t not-finish them, but the books that this question bought to mind were Jessica Shirvington’s Violet Eden Chapters – I loathe the main character, get annoyed by much of the plot, BUT I CAN’T STOP READING THEM. It’s my personal brand of heroin, to quote our favourite sparkly vampire. So it’s a case of “I wish I couldn’t finish you, but I just have to”. And to be fair to the series, I think I’m in the minority – most people out there seem to love ‘em.

Quick Fire Round
ebook or hardcopy?
Hardcopy. At some stage, I will buy myself a kindle/kobo/some other e-book reader, but until that day, I will continue to break my arms lugging a stack of hardcopy books with me whenever I travel. I have perfected the art of making my carry-on luggage look like it fits the weight restrictions, rather than being the ten + kilos over that it really is.
ya or adult?
YA.
vampires or werewolves?

Vampires to read about, but if I actually had to be one, weres. Though I’d rather be a werecat than a werewolf.
chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate.
harry potter or twilight?
Twilight. Nah, just kidding. Harry Potter. So much more depth of world-building and character.
four or peeta?

Definitely Four, although, in the interests of full disclosure – I haven’t actually read The Hunger Games. I know, ay, it’s terrible. I do know the basics of the storyline and characters – I think it would be almost impossible to be a YA book blogger and NOT know that. Anyway, Four’s intelligent and deadly in combat, respects Tris and encourages her to be the best her that she can be. Um, yes please!
series or single?

Hmm. Single for YA contemporary, series for YA paranormal. But the series can’t just keep going and going forever, and each book in the series should have a full, proper and satisfying story-arc of its own, as well as being part of the big overall story-arc.

Related side note – Sarah Dessen’s books are all stand-alone, but various characters and places in from previous books pop up in cameos in later books. I love that.
blogger or wordpress?

WordPress, but I’ve never used blogger. Perhaps if I had, I’d have loved it. We’ll never know.

And finally,

Is there anything else you would like to say about you or your blog?
Hmm. If there’s any other questions you guys have, post them in the comments. Hope to see you over on my blog!

Also, thanks for having me Faye, and letting me write long answers to short questions!

xo

Thanks for the interview Alexandra. If you like what you see, feel free to go visit her blog, Alexandra’s Scribblings, and follow her! It’ll be worth it, I promise.

Posted on 25 August, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment


Behind the Blog #15; Music of My Life

Posted on 23 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments

BTB4

Behind the Blog is a meme to help bloggers connect their life and interests to the content showcased on their blog. The co-hosts, Faye, Kathe, and Melissa will provide a different topic, idea, or question every week that bloggers can relate to themselves and the books, films, or other media they find interesting!

Have you ever wondered what the soundtrack to your life would be? Which artists would play for the major events? Would certain artists/tracks be reserved for particular emotions?
In relation to books; Have you ever read a book that had an accompanying soundtrack? If you could pick a theme song for your favorite book what would it be and why?


Throughout my life music has actually played a rather large part in things. I find it incredibly difficult to sit in silence (on my own) for a long time and so generally have music on in the background – even when I’m reading! – and so for many of the bigger events in my life, I already had music playing or I played music recently after that somehow fit the mood. In this post I’ll be letting you know which songs touched me, when and why. It’s not a full list of every major event in my life but a fairly good one, I think.

When I was in secondary school (highschool), I started to get annoyed with pop songs, so while my childhood was spent listening to them – bands like Spice Girls, S Club 7 and Steps were my favourites – I soon found myself wanting a change of scenery. This was when I first hit my indie phase and if we’re being truly honest, that phase still hasn’t left me.

So, when I was fifteen years old and one of my best friends told me that her parents were selling their house and moving to a town 300 miles away, I was very upset. We both were. And, sitting on the bus one day after sharing the news, we happened to be listening to my MP3 player together when Incubus – I Miss You started playing. Not all the lyrics worked but the meaning behind how the song was heard and how we felt will never leave me. Every single time I hear this song, I think of her and I’m so glad that we’re still in contact but I still miss her so much.

The second major event in my life – that I remember had a song with it – was when I had my heart broken for the first time. This wasn’t a relationship break up like most people. This was just the end of an extremely long friendship that literally ripped my heart apart, a heart that has never been the same again. That very night, my playlist was on shuffle, as it always is, when The Fray – How to Save a Life started playing. I couldn’t help hearing “Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend / Somewhere along in the bitterness / And I would have stayed up with you all night.” I ended up listening to that song over and over again and to this day it still reminds me of everything I had lost that night.

On a lighter note, supposedly every couple has their song and the story behind this track is a little like that. On the day  that one of my ex-boyfriends became my boyfriend, I was elated and his dad offered me a lift home because it was raining and I accepted, my boyfriend telling me he’d ride with me. In the car, Christina Aguilera – Beautiful came on the radio and I couldn’t help smiling because for the first time in my life, I really understood the words of that song. I looked across at my boy and he was just looking at me smiling and just felt so alive. Now I find it hard to listen to this song without crying due to how wrong it all ended, but at the time – it took my breath away.

In my first year at university, I made many new friends and in one I found someone who liked the same bands as I did. I introduced her to All Time Low and We the Kings and she introduced me to You Me At Six and Forever the Sickest Kids and with how much we loved them, we went to see them all live together and every gig was brilliant. One song that makes me think of her is All Time Low – Weightless because I was listening to it in the new year and together we decided that it was going to be our year for a change. The last six months of my first year were really great and I was just so glad that she was there to celebrate them with me – and we certainly made it our year.

In my third year there are many songs that got not just on my nerves but on the nerves of my housemates too and it would be odd not to include them here too. Instead of putting them all down however, I have chosen the one that truly makes me think of them all. I truly hate the song and the one line that always gets in my head but I also love it. I love that it reminds me of that moment, of the way I could just say four words and make everyone groan. It is a truly hypocritical song. Sak Noel – Loca People ; all day, all night.

I wasn’t sure what song to add in here next, I could have placed in some of my favourites in my last year of uni like Christina Perri’s Jar of Hearts but I have decided that the last song in my soundtrack has to be Yellowcard – Here I am Alive. Ironically, I have only just listened to it. I was youtubing all of the other songs above when this came up in the sidebar. I love Yellowcard but I hadn’t heard this song yet and I have fallen into instant love and it has just spoken to me. “They say you don’t grow up, you just grow old. It’s safe to say I haven’t done both.” – I love the lyrics, I love the tune, I love the song. And let’s face it; Here I am Alive.

My Soundtrack
- Incubus – I Miss You
- The Fray – How to Save a Life
- Christina Aguilera – Beautiful
- All Time Low – Weightless
- Sak Noel – Loca People
- Yellowcard – Here I am Alive

Bonus Features
- Christina Perri – Jar of Hearts
- Lil Red Riding Hood – Bowling for Soup
- Worlds Apart – Thieves and Villains
- The Captain – Biffy Clyro
- Crash Land – Twin Atlantic

That was extremely hard to come up with, and I’m sure I’ve missed a whole pile of brilliant songs, ones which keep popping into my head, like any by Imogen Heap which remind me of college and Avril Lavigne and Blue October and He is We and Nickleback. But I have to stop myself or I’ll be here all night.


This is also a hard task – relating music to books. I also listen to music when I read but I usually manage to separate the two. One book I have read lately however, that had songs mentioned all over the place was;
  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington
    - And it is a marvellous book too! Some of the songs I didn’t know but the ones I did, I could totally see how they worked.

As for songs that remind me of books? I don’t really know. I should probably do some research and you know, think a bit, but I just find it difficult to put the two together. I’m much more of a mood-music listener. I like listening to songs because I’m in the mood for that kind of song, and such. Maybe one day I’ll do this task! But what books can you link to songs?


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Posted on 23 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments


Turf by John Lucas

Posted on 23 August, 2012 by Faye - 3 Comments

Author: John Lucas
Publisher: Random House
Published: August 2nd
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC from publishers
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

Jay’s life seems pretty sorted: 15 years old and already a rising member of the notorious Blake Street Boyz gang, he takes his lessons from the street. With a knife in his pocket and his best friend Milk by his side, their days are spent fiercely defending their turf.
When Jay gets the chance to step up and become a senior of the Boyz, he faces the biggest decision of his life: he must stab and kill a classmate – and rival gang member – or face the consequences.
It doesn’t take long for Jay’s world to spiral out of control. As the line between right and wrong begins to fade, he finds no escape. Jay has to act, but at what and whose cost?
Set against the backdrop of London’s inner-city tower blocks, in a world where killing can be easier than choosing what chocolate bar to eat, Turf is a story of intense friendship and brutal gang violence, of loyalty at any cost – even to the price of your own soul.
It’s the kind of story that continues to dominate front page headlines and this powerful novel shows us just how violent life can be for people living under street gang rule.

Four Stars
four out of five hearts

It all starts somewhere
I feel it imperative to start of this review by saying something about the inspiration not only behind the book but behind my reasoning in picking it up. Unfortunately there is a lot of violence and crime on the streets, especially in London amongst the youths. I don’t personally live in London myself but I do leave near to the city and the events of last summer truly shocked me. I was horrified and petrified as I knew people who lived in the areas that were attacked. I was devastated for the business owners who were targeted and just worried that the police would struggle to handle it all. Fortunately, it all blew over but this problem still exists within London today. An awareness of this is needed but an awareness of why is more important and I really feel that books like Turf are a great start.

it builds up
For me, Turf is an exceptional book that I really enjoyed reading. I found myself emotional invested in the story and hoping that things would turn around. It has a dark and deep undertone throughout the book that leaves you with a lot to think about. It may be a fictional story and the events within the book may not be true to life completely, but it allows the reader to reflect on the world today and how the youth manage, or don’t manage, to cope with the life they lead. It is an eye-opening and just truly inspired novel that really managed to keep me interested. I just wanted to read on, I needed to know what Jay was going to do next while I bit my lip and hoped that things would turn around for him soon.

The plot in the book is not entirely fast-paced and in reality, it seems like not a lot actually happens but at the same time, a lot does go on. It seems that in a blink of an eye, so many different factors and worries have occurred that the reader is left feeling breathless. It really kept you needing to turn the next page to know what was going to happen next. You could see how things were going to turn out and yet found yourself wishing that they didn’t have to. John Lucas has truly managed to capture the way that youths, and adults alike, have so many hard decisions to make in life and sometimes just one decision can ruin your entire life before you even realise that it has been made.

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until it reaches
If there was ever anything good to be said about this book, I hope that people pick up on how brilliant the characters are. Jaylon was a magnificent character and I could really sympathise with him and everything that he had on his shoulders. He just wanted to be a good friend, a great boyfriend, the best brother and a good son but with so many decisions weighing him down, he knew he would always end up letting someone down. He had a lot to go through, pressure coming down on him from too many places and all he really wanted to do was live, to enjoy his life without dealing with the pressures of everyday life. Why was it such a problem to have a milky way bar? He was such a realistic character and I just wanted to be able to give him a helping hand along the way. I felt for him and it was just such a perfect portrayal of the way things can be.

The gang was intense and believable. It was the perfect way to show how violent and overbearing gangs can be, in fiction and in real life and it was just showcased in such a great way. The leader was truly remarkable; if you had someone like that on your back, it would definitely make it harder to be who you wanted to be. The split was nice to see as well. The Youngers and the Olders really showing how young people are roped into being a gang member and being shown the way of violence and crime. It was incredible to read about and I really felt that it helped to give the novel that little bit extra.

the breaking point
The only issue I had with this novel was the images surrounding religion. While I have nothing against it, I just found it difficult to get my head around at times. But, fortunately, I totally understand why it was there. It made the story that much better. It showed that Jay really didn’t know which way to turn, that it seemed the world was turning its back on him. It took a while to get used to, but once the significance of its placement was made known, I found it to be a perfect companion to the book and one that I wouldn’t want to remove. I just wish that the reason for its existence came to light a little bit earlier.

and disappears again
The ending of this novel truly moved me. I was at a loss when the book ended, knowing that I had just finished a truly great novel and one that should be read by many people. It was inspiring, eye-opening and powerful. A novel that should not be dismissed. I truly enjoyed the story and the journey that it took me on and just how much it made me think afterward. My heart ached, my brain ached and all I wanted to do was pick up the book again so that I could read it all over again. This is a novel that packs a punch, it is emotional and moving and is one novel that will stay in my mind for a long time to come. I would recommend it to so many people and I really hope that if you pick this one up, you feel as strongly about it as I do.

Faye

Posted on 23 August, 2012 by Faye - 3 Comments


Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Posted on 21 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments

Author: Rachel Hartman
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 19th 2012
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcopy
Source: ARC from publishers
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

five stars
five out of five hearts

it is opened
There are some books that you read that are so amazing and compelling that it is incredibly difficult to stop reading and return to your normal substandard life. Seraphina, for me, was one such book. It was an inspirational story that I found myself truly engrossed in and could not wait to be able to read more of it. It was imaginative, irresistible and just an all out brilliant book that I am looking forward to reading again and again and again, and would easily recommend to a lot of people. Seraphina is a book that is full of creativity and imagination, a true example of how talented Rachel Hartman is.

the world unfolds
Being able to create an entirely new world is definitely no easy feat and yet Rachel has managed to so with relative ease – or at least it appears that way. The world that Seraphina lives within is inspiring, beautiful and extremely dangerous and deadly. I found the descriptions of be exquisite and enticing, allowing me to imagine the world perfectly in my mind. I adored the castle, with all it’s different rooms and stairwells. It was so brilliantly written that I just truly found myself admiring Rachel’s writing and wishing that I could write even half as well as her.

While there are a fair few novels out there that deal with dragons, I haven’t actually read that many of them – and I don’t think Harry Potter really counts anyway – so I may not be the best person to talk about the dragons in this book (here’s hoping I just don’t sound like a twilight fan who adored the sparkling vampires), but I really loved her take on the creatures. I found the way they transformed into humans as fascinating but what I really enjoyed was how they lived among the humans while trying to keep a distance from them as well. I felt that it was all really imaginative and had some foreshadowing on how people act around those who they feel are different.

the plot unravels
With so many books out on the shelves, it is incredibly difficult to write a story these days that isn’t the same as another in some ways. As I was reading Seraphina, I felt like I knew how it was going to end, I could foresee where things would go wrong and what would happen because of that. Yet, somehow, despite it somewhat going the way I planned, Rachel still managed to surprise me with some things. It is for this reason that I found myself enjoying Seraphina even more. Sometimes it’s not just about what happens, but it is also about how these things happen, and what else happens around it that really bring a story to life.

By the end of the book, I found myself really wanting to carry on the story, to find myself entangled in that world once more so I was sad when I remembered I would have to wait a bit of a while before the next book is released. Fortunately, I can now go backwards and read the prequel instead. The book wasn’t left on a cliff-hanger, like some novels like to do, but it was a nice ending that kept you wanting more while also satisfying the story within that book.

the characters unwind
There were so many characters in Seraphina that I found myself truly liking and enjoying and while Seraphina should be the natural favourite, I actually much preferred Prince Lucian. He was so… simplistic but yet also full of depth. I loved that he basically wore his heart on his sleeve, he said what he wanted to and he had this look on his face that just… I could just imagine it perfectly. I found myself feeling sorry for him and wanting to kick him all at the same time and really, he was just a really well-written character. I did also like Seraphina. She had a lot going on, a lot to deal with and hide but she was still stubborn and curious. I liked that she did what she wanted to, worrying about the consequences second but that she was also so protective of people. She was a great character with a depth and it was so easy to see that she wasn’t some two-dimensional annoying protagonist.

I also loved Orma, he was such a brilliant character who was living with such a dilemma. He needed to remain faithful to his dragons because it was the only way to save the one he loved and in that act he had to be emotionless, as all dragons are, but in remaining faithful he was merely showing how full of emotions he truly was. A dynamic character that I really found myself getting attached too. Princess Glisselda was another favourite of mine. She has a lot to learn but by the end of the story, you can see the cloggs turning in her head as she takes everything on and does her best to be the best she can be. She has the world thrust upon her shoulders and she handles it with grace and charm, just as a princess should.

the problems unseen
While this book was absolutely stunning and I found it to be a marvellous read, there were a few issues along the way. At first I found it quite hard to get into. There was a lot of new information piled on and not a lot of things that actually happened so it made it difficult to keep going but I was so glad that I did carry on as it was so worth it. Understandably this needs to be there as the new original world needs to be described to the reader for them to understand the rest of the story, but it might have been a little better if more had happened. Hopefully I’m the only who has found this problem however. Other issues included the music teacher, I found it difficult to get behind his character and found his actions hard to believe at the end of the novel but that could just be my problem. Fortunately, these issues did not deter me from reading the book, nor did they stop me from enjoying it, and I hope that this would be the same for you as well.

it all comes to a close
Overall this novel is a magnificent and glorious masterpiece that I would easily re-read and would definitely recommend to people who love fantasy stories – especially epic fantasies. It was imaginative and just really captured a lovely piece of this world. It is clear that there is so much more on the horizon just waiting to arrive and I cannot wait to read the next book when it gets released. This is one book that I honestly don’t think you want to miss! So, if you haven’t already got this one in your collection… what are you waiting for?

* I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review *

Faye

Posted on 21 August, 2012 by Faye - 4 Comments