Mini Reviews; Aristotle and Dante, Five Children and It, and Girl Online

Posted on 21 January, 2015 by Faye - 5 Comments

Aristotle and Dante Discover SecretsAuthor: Benjamin Alire Saenz
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: February 21st 2012
Pages: 359
Format: Paperback
Source:: Library Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, TBD

Summary:
Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.


I had high expectations when I started reading this book as I had heard so many good things about it. Fortunately I quickly discovered that it was as good as people had told me it would be. I very quickly fell in love with this story and all of the characters. I wanted to stay in their world, to discover more of their secret and to just witness thair lives. This book has a unique voice and a very fascinating and lovable main character. It holds a realistic romance and was just a book that I really enjoyed reading abd would definitely recommend to others.

Four Stars


Five Children and ItAuthor: E Nesbit
Publisher: Unknown
Published: 1902
Pages: 103
Format: Ebook
Source:: Free on Amazon
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, TBD

Summary:
The five children find a cantankerous sand fairy or ‘psammead’ in a gravel pit. Every day ‘It’ will grant each of them a wish that lasts until sunset, often with disastrous consequences. Never out of print since 1902. The Introduction to this edition examines Nesbit’s life and her reading, showing the change in childrens’ literature from Victorian times.


I read this book as part of my book group (and was then too ill to go!) but I am fairly certain I would not have read this book otherwise. I am also certain that if I had started this outside my book group, I would not have finished it. To me, this book had many flaws but my biggest problem with it is that the writing style seemed condescending and patronising. I know I am no longer a child but I feel even as a child, I’d have grown irritated by this book. Add to that a very boring and repetitive story and you should see why I really didn’t get on with it.

Two Stars


Girl OnlineAuthor: Zoe Sugg
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Published: 25th November 2014
Pages: 352
Format: Hardback
Source:: Library Copy
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, TBD

Summary:
I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has – I can’t believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! – and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes…

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family – and the panic attacks she’s suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love – and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny’s cover – and her closest friendship – forever.


I had trepidations when it came to this book. I had heard some mixed reviews about it and then there was all the drama surrounding it. However, I am really glad that I got around to reading this one anyway as I actually really enjoyed it. I loved the blog posts in this book, really enjoyed the plot and just found myself swept away by the story. There was insta-love in it that irked me slightly but essentially this was a cheesy, cute romance story that I couldn’t put down. It made me get emotionally invested and I went from cheesy smile to tears to smile again in a matter of moments. It may not win any awards but if you’re after a teen book that is cliched but still entertaining then you should definitely read Girl Online.

Three Stars

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Posted on 21 January, 2015 by Faye - 5 Comments


Book Review: The Opposite of Love by Sarah Lynn Scheerger

Posted on 12 September, 2014 by Faye - 1 Comment

Author: Sarah Lynn Scheerger
Publisher: Albert Whitman Teen
Published: September 1st 2014
Pages: 272
Format: Hardback
Source:: ARC
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, TBD

Summary:
Rose is the wild girl nobody really knows. Chase is haunted by his past. Both are self-proclaimed “disappointments,” attracted to each other enough to let down their defenses. When Rose’s strict, adoptive parents forbid the relationship it only makes things more intense. But Chase can’t hide from his own personal demons, and Rose has secrets of her own. After they’re wrenched apart, a cryptic email arrives in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve, beginning a desperate pursuit and a look back over their tumultuous romance. Will they find each other before the night is over, or will they be torn apart forever?


What Happens

I saw this book at BEA and picked it up because it looked interesting but I had no actual expectations of the book. Unfortunately this book was not a very good book. I very nearly DNF’d (Did not Finish) this book but essentially decided to continue so that I could have my questions answered. However, irritatingly, the ending was just as disappointing and horrific as the rest of the book had been and my questions were not answered. Needless to say, I really struggled to read this book and would struggle to recommend it.

When Life

The biggest problem I had with this book was how unrealistic it was. There were certain things that felt just right and so many other things that were so incredibly wrong. One of the biggest issues for me though was the use of a cat. One of the characters finds a stray and carries it home… under her top. She then keeps the cat in her room… without her parents realising because cats are easy, dumb, and quiet… aha… yeah… or not! As a cat owner and lover this really pulled me out of the story and I found it too difficult not to notice all of the other flaws layering this book. I feel a little more research could really have benefited this book.

Is Far

Possibly the only redeeming feature of this book were the characters. They were all in-depth and well thought-out. This is due to the author’s background as a pschyologist. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters properly but I did like Daniel. He had a lot of pressures going on at home and I liked how protective he was of his sister. I also liked how he eventually was around his dad. All the characters were very different and I think they worked well together.

Too Hard

This book was not an enjoyable book for me. While there was an addictive and curious feel to the book, it simply wasn’t good enough to make this book good. It was a book that did have potential but it simply flopped, in my opinion. The only interesting part of this story was the characters but they didn’t make up for the terrible plot and unrealistic situations, unfortunately. I really wouldn’t be able to recommend this book but I would be curious to hear from anyone else who has read it?

Two Stars

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

faye1

Posted on 12 September, 2014 by Faye - 1 Comment


Guest Review; Ink by Amanda Sun

Posted on 19 July, 2013 by Faye - No Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I have for you all a guest review by Kris. A longer bio is located at the bottom of this post.

inkAuthor: Amanda Sun
Publisher: MiraINK
Published: July 5th 2013
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source:: Bought
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Summary:
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.


** CAUTION ** This review contains spoilers ** CAUTION **

A girl, ordinary but special. A boy, misunderstood. Two dead mothers. Special powers. Fighting. Tears. A bag full of ‘My heart soared and I knew I couldn’t live without him’ cliches. Welcome to Young Adult Paranormal Romance fiction review.

In a genre where vampires, werewolves, zombies and faeries have received critical attention from every possible angle over the last few years, publishers are desperate to find something new and interesting, so Harlequin Teen must have been very pleased to find first-time author Amanda Sun’s novel about kami, spirits from the Shinto belief system, which in this particular incarnation take the form of individuals whose drawings come to life.

To walk us through this genuinely intriguing premise, we are introduced to spunky-but-vulnerable blonde-haired orphan gaijin teenager Katie Greene, who is living in Japan with a nondescript aunt due to an improbable set of circumstances with her extended family and US Social Services following the death of her mother. When she meets Yuu Tomohiro, a slouching, distant anti-hero who nonetheless guards an improbable heart of gold, she unwittingly stirs his kami blood to the point where dark and dangerous things start to happen.

So far, so good. Katie is a likeable if slightly bland main character, but Sun’s initial steps seem uncertain ones, with a notable over-reliance on colour as a visual medium in many scenes, including the one where we first meet Yuu. In the space of a few short paragraphs, we see his then-girlfriend’s black book, pink-and-silver nails, his own navy blazer and copper hair, and so on. The girlfriend is swiftly removed from the picture, and a pregnant might-be-girlfriend is introduced and immediately discounted within a few pages. This leaves the way open for Katie and Yuu, though their initial fleeting hints of romance are somewhat untidy, veering from the Bridget Jones-esque moment where she climbs a tree to prove to him that she can make an exit (simultaneously displaying her underwear to all and sundry) and a scene immediately afterwards where he tries to walk into her to intimidate her into leaving him alone.

Yuu is a vast disappointment as a love interest. He is an example of the stock teenage ‘bad boy’ mould, constructed directly from lazy cliches. In two consecutive scenes, we see him beating up boys much younger than him, and then when he thinks nobody is watching, he helps an old lady onto a train. Despite numerous references to how troublesome and dangerous he is, Katie is intrigued by his non-existent sense of mystery (where does he go when she’s not around?) and stalks him around the neighbourhood until she discovers that he breaks into a fenced-off archaeological site in order to be able to draw his magical sketches without attracting undue attention. Given that both his personality and his magical powers are still almost completely unexplored at this point, the idea of a dangerous guy who finds redemption through drawing sadly reminded me of the villain Raymond Calitri from the most recent film version of ‘Gone in 60 Seconds’ (2000). Calitri is an unintentionally comic figure, a supposedly vicious killer who nonetheless finds time to talk at length about his interest in carpentry. It is not a welcome comparison.

Characterisation is easily the weakest part of Sun’s debut. Without much effort on her part, Katie soon garners an alternative potential love interest called Jun, but he is suitably interchangeable with Yuu, given that the two have the same magical powers, the same interests and the same dependable white-knight qualities that seem so out of place in seventeen-year old males. Fortunately, Sun makes sure to avoid confusion between the two by giving them different coloured hair. The background characters are treated in a similarly off-hand fashion and seem about as substantial as the paper creatures that the kami create in the novel.

Since reading ‘Ink’, I have seen several online comparisons between it and the ‘Twilight’ series, a comparison which is to a degree inevitable given the subject matter and the lack of freedom that an author has to really explore their themes if they want to attract the attention of a major publisher these days. I cannot comment on the comparison as I have never read any of Stephanie Meyer’s work, but in common with the first ‘Twilight’ movie, the first half of ‘Ink’ moves at the speed of continental drift. However, unlike the first ‘Twilight’ movie, the midpoint in ‘Ink’ sees a dramatic improvement when the kami premise is explored and the characters actually start to do things.

Notably, there is a scene where in a bizarre attempt to force her away, Yuu takes Katie to a love hotel, treats her aggressively and kisses her forcefully. Without wishing to make light of the seriousness of the situation that Katie finds herself in, I have seen this referred to repeatedly online as a rape scene, and I can assure any potential reader that ‘A Clockwork Orange’, this is not. The truth is that the scene, like much of the novel, is so emotionally unengaging that I found myself wondering why it appears at all.

It is a tremendous shame that this sense of inconsequentiality pervades the novel to such an extent, given that Sun’s writing style is generally very good. Her dialogue is believable and enjoyable, and she does an excellent job of capturing Shizuoka through Katie’s eyes. Her use of pathetic fallacy is one example of technique applied subtly and unobtrusively. The settings, such as ‘the stomped-down grass and broken branches’ of Toro Iseki, or the ‘barnacle-encrusted base of the snaking orange hallways’ of the Itsukushima shrine, are distinctive and effective.

If my disappointment at ‘Ink’ is palpable to you, you should be aware that as a 35-year-old man, I am not the likely target market for this book. Nonetheless, I was quietly optimistic that ‘Ink’ had the potential to be genre-defining in the way that ‘The Hunger Games’ or ‘Divergent’ were. While it would do the book a disservice to describe it as an opportunity lost, it would be true to describe it as an opportunity that is not fully realised, for while the action scenes in the second half are well-observed, the characters left me feeling largely ambivalent and the romance seems thoroughly contrived. While I would certainly read more fiction by Amanda Sun, I would expect that the subsequent volumes in this particular series will pass me by.

Before I finish, I would like to make a special mention of the ‘Ink’ cover art, which on my pre-release copy is absolutely beautiful and one of the reasons I was attracted to reviewing it. Suffice to say, if Katie had been formed as well by her actions in the novel as she is captured in brush stroke on its cover, ‘Ink’ could have been something very special indeed. Sadly, it seems like it was not meant to be.

Two Stars

** I bought this book myself. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **


kris2 Kris Holt is a writer, reviewer and political activist who blogs at www.4thousandwords.blogspot.com. His debut novel, ‘What Comes From the Earth‘, will hopefully be released before the end of 2013.


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Posted on 19 July, 2013 by Faye - No Comments


Monday’s Movie Musings; Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Posted on 25 February, 2013 by Faye - 11 Comments

moviemusings

Monday’s Movie Musings is a new feature here at A Daydreamer’s Thoughts. The idea of this feature is to have all of my movie things occuring in one place. Whether it is a review, article, or something else, this feature will just be all about movies.

This week I have a review of Beautiful Creatures for you all.


beautiful creaturesDirected By: Richard LaGravenese
Adapted By: Richard LaGravenese
Book Written By: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Production Company: Warner Bros Entertainment
Main Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Alice Englert, Jeremy Irons, and Emma Thompson
Format: Cinema {OUT NOW}
Add It: IMDB

Summary:
(From IMDB) Ethan longs to escape his small Southern town. He meets a mysterious new girl, Lena. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town.


There Is

After reading Beautiful Creatures last month, I really struggled to see why so many people were doting on the book. The characters weren’t likeable, the story was ruined by an awful ending, and the descriptions were long, unnessecary, and wholly boring. When it comes to the film, I decided to take the risk and see it to see if it managed to salvage the few good things I did like about the book. It is, therefore, with sadness that I now write this review because while the film was different from the book, it just wasn’t good enough to make me like it. I was needing this film to “wow” me, and it just didn’t.

A Hidden Curse

Taking the book out of the equation, I felt that the plot had a few fatal flaws. The film itself felt very rushed, leaving important details unexplained to audiences so tey had to bumble along in the dark. It also meant that the relationship between Lena and Ethan just happened so fast that there was no way to sort of show the build up of the emotions there – in my opinion. The final action scene was slightly less confusing than it was in the book, but the ending was still a large cop-out and not readily explained. I have a feeling many audience members simply wouldn’t understand the hows or whys, which is not a great thing for a film. I, obviously, had preconceptions about the film but I tried to look at it with open eyes but this films plot just did not work for me.

That Must

Ethan Wate is a good character in this film. You get a good feel for who he is and Alden Ehrenreich acted the part really well. You could appreciate his character. Lena was also a better character in the film than in the book, she was less whiny and more – full-speed ahead – but I’m still not sure if I liked her. Alice did do a good job acting the part and really suited the character though. Emma Thompson and Jeremy Irons were my favourite actors in this film bu far. Emma was absolutely outstanding in her performance and really made Mrs Lincoln everything I imagined her to be. Jeremy brought Macon to life really well also, you could really manage to capture the essence of his character and his actions which helped to make the film just a little bit more bearable.

Be Broken

The biggest thing that put me off this film was the CGI. In places it was spectacular and really worked well within the story but in others it was downright apalling. There were too many places where CGI was unnecessary but was used “simply because they could” and that, for me, really distracted me and pulled me further away from the film. I couldn’t become fully invested in the film when all I could see in front of me were flaws. There were also a few metaphor moments that had me rolling my eyes in agony at the simplistic and just over-used use of them. The cinematograpy was well used in the film, as were costume and sound effects. I just found it difficult to look passed the CGI which ended up reminding me of low-budget films even though this didn’t seem to be low-budget at all. Though, of the two friends I went with, I was the only one with major issues with the CGI so I know this is probably more of a personal thing to me than anything else!

To Save Her

By the end of the film, I couldn’t summarise my thoughts on the film. In fact, even now I’m unsure if I really hated it or if I just wasn’t expecting it, or what. But I do know that I definitely didn’t love it. It wasn’t a film that finished with me sitting in awe and wondering how something so amazing could have been created, but then, I also just never really expected this film to cause that reaction in me. I do know a few people who have really enjoyed this film but I just found that I personally couldn’t deal with it. Although, aside from the CGI, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that irritated me so much about the film. I think, essentially, the fact that everything I did actually like in the book failed to appear in the movie didn’t help the situation any. And I was spending too much of the film confused and trying to remember if this was a new plot point or not was a bit of an issue as well. I think this book has the potential to be liked, in the same way that Twilight was liked, but it just was not the right film for me personally.

two out of five hearts

Have you seen this film yet? What are your thoughts? Or, if you haven’t seen the film, will you?

faye1

Posted on 25 February, 2013 by Faye - 11 Comments


Book Review; Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Posted on 30 January, 2013 by Faye - 4 Comments

Mystic City

Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Corgi Books
Published: October 11th 2012
Pages: 397
Format: Paperback
Source:: Complimentary Copy from Publisher
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Summary:
For fans of Matched, The Hunger Games, X-Men, and Blade Runner comes a tale of a magical city divided, a political rebellion ignited, and a love that was meant to last forever. Book One of the Mystic City Novels.

Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.


Things Aren’t Always

As soon as I heard about Mystic City I was instantly intrigued. It sounded like such an amazing read with a really interesting premise, so it was with disappointment that I finished this book feeling that it had not lived up to its potential. This was a book that I had really wanted to work out well but it, unfortunately, just really fell flat off the mark and I have to admit that I almost gave up on the book entirely part way through but decided, instead, to preserve but found that it never got any better. I can see how others may enjoy this book, but it just simply was not a book that captured all of my interests.

What They Seem

It was described in the press release as “an epic Romeo-and-Juliet style tale of a magical city divided”, which is a large reason why I was so intrigued by this book and I have to admit that this part of the book I did enjoy. I liked the divide within the city, it gave a very interesting setting for this book but that was where my enjoyment ended. The Romeo-and-Juliet style relationship didn’t quite cut it for me, and the journey that our main protagonist, Aria, goes on just was not appealing to me. There was enough action and suspense and mystery to keep me reading, and I was curious to find out where it was all going to lead eventually but by the time I reached the end, I just found I was disinterested in the story and just became annoyed with how it ultimately ended. I feel that because I like a story to be driven wholly by the protagonist, and not for the protagonist to simply be there, I struggled to fully enjoy this story.

We Must Question

One of the major reasons I really struggled with finding this book entertaining is due to how irritating and frustrating I found Aria to be. From the start she is disoriented – as you would expect her to be – but instead of really thinking and acting on her predicament, she simply seems to let things happen around her instead. I found her actions and her naivety throughout the novel to be utterly grating and while her character did grow slightly towards the end of the novel, she definitely was not the heroine I had hoped she would be. I feel like she just needed to show a bit more of her personality and she may have been an easier character to get along with but all in all, I just could not like her character.

On the other hand, Hunter was a character that I quickly found myself enjoying. He was mysterious, quirky, and incredibly protective and charming. There were many things that he did not just for himself, but to protect every one he loved and cared about. For me, he was the character that actually made small parts of this book readable. There were a few scenes that involved him that I found myself truly enjoying, so it was a shame that he couldn’t redeem the rest of the novel for me.

And Challenge

Alongside Hunter, another aspect of this story that I did actually find intriguing was the magic hidden beneath it all. I loved the city setting with the underground city beneath it, I adored the idea of the Mystics and everything that they represent and I loved the fact that they all protected one another and stood their ground. It was a really great part of the novel and another reason why I continued to read it as I really wanted to know what would happen in the end. Would it be that the world would change again? Would it be good or bad? These questions kept me turning the page and reading on. So it was disappointing when the ending finally came around and I found myself irritated, leaving me to question why I had continued reading instead of putting the book down and walking away because it really wasn’t a book that worked out for me.

All That Arises

All in all, Mystic City had a great premise, it had an amazing setting and a few interesting characters to balance it all out but the storyline just was not enough to keep my attention, and ultimately the ending just really ruined it for me. I feel I may be looking at the book in a harsher light then I should simply because I had been so very excited to read it and it is always difficult when such excitement then suddenly falls flat. However, I do still see the appeal in the book and I feel that if you like books that have a little magic, can see past a heroine that is naive and gullible, and like a little romance then this book may just be the perfect read for you. Plus, it does have a spectacular setting that may be able to redeem the book for you. I’m not sure yet if I’ll read the second book in this series when it comes out, but I do know that despite disliking it I am glad that I read Mystic City and I only hope that your experience reading it will go down better than mine did.

** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **

two out of five hearts

Faye

Posted on 30 January, 2013 by Faye - 4 Comments


Crusher by Niall Leaonard

Posted on 3 November, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment

Author: Niall Leonard
Publisher: Random House
Published: 13th September 2012
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: ARC copy from publisher
Add It: Goodreads, Amazon, TBD

Summary:

To catch a killer,Finn Maguire may have to become one….
Everything changed the day Finn found his father in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death. His dull, dreary life is turned upside downas he become’s the prime suspect. How can he clear his name and find out who hated his dad enough to kill him?
Facing danger at every turn, uncovering dark family secrets and braving the seedy London underworld,Finn is about to discover that only the people you trust can really hurt you…



A Crime
When I first heard about Crusher at the Random House Children’s Blogger Meet, I was instantly immersed. I didn’t just want to read this book, I felt like I needed to. Swayed by the magnificent cover, enthralling blurb and the enthusiastic publicity stuff, I knew that I simply had to get my hands on this book. Which is why, ultimately, I felt more than a little disappointed when the book did not fill me with the same giddiness that I had seen and expected. In fact, I struggled to read this book from start to finish, wanting to simply put the book down and walk away on more than one occasion. I did, however, stick with it and while it was a disappointing read, I cannot deny that it did have a few good aspects that did, overall keep me entertained. I can certainly see why others have loved it so much, but for me, this book just simply fell too short off of the mark.

Is Committed
Probably because crime novels are a large part of my reading pattern, the plot of this story felt too simple and stereotypical. The storyline followed a basic pattern, but it also didn’t feel as though it had a lot of action within it. While Finn was supposedly actively seeking out his fathers’ murderer, it didn’t really come across that way in the book. A lot of what happened seemed to happen by chance rather than because Finn had instigated it. While it would be impossible to expect a teenager who had never dealt with crime before to know instantly what to do, it seemed that Finn had less of a clue than anyone. A lot of the book was filled with mundane tasks, such as Finn at work, or sitting on a bus, or watching someone from a cafe – there wasn’t a lot of action until near the end of the book and even then, to me, it felt too little, too late. This book had a large potential to be amazing, but I couldn’t help but feel like this plot could have done with a lot more work. I feel that for a newer crime genre reader, this novel will probably hit the mark of a brilliant and enticing plot but as I could easily guess what came next, I just really struggled to enjoy the experience.

Before you feel like there was absolutely nothing in this book that kept me going, I should give you some positives about it. I did like the part where Finn goes to the bar and meets his father’s friends who were more than willing to talk about the guy, and I liked the scene where Finn is taken to the broken down car lot – although some of that did seem unrealistic to me. And I did, essentially, enjoy reading the book enough to read to the end. There are only a few books that I don’t finish but this book did have enough in it to keep me reading to the end so I can certainly feel that someone other than me could enjoy it.

Suspects Are Found
One of the major problems I had with this book, the one thing that truly made it difficult to continue reading this book was the small fact that I couldn’t stand Finn. I cannot quite pinpoint what it was about him that really irritated me but I just found it really difficult to find myself attached to his character. I liked that he wasn’t a perfect guy, that he had his flaws like the rest of us but I just feel that I couldn’t get my head around him. I have a feeling that what I didn’t like about him was that he didn’t feel the right fit for a crime novel, or at least, not in the way that I see a crime novel protagonist. For me, he just didn’t have enough of the right drive. He had plenty of motivation to find his father’s killer, and he did a lot to get to the bottom of things but for me, it just didn’t sway me.

The other characters in the story were all, also, incredibly stereotypical. With the eccentric mob boss who cared enough about his children to give Finn the light of day, to the goons that helped him at his beck and call, right down to the stereotypical cops and their stereotypical routine. These characters were jarring to read, it made the book feel like it had no substance or depth. This was just a story for story’s sake and I just truly found myself struggling to take something away from the experience of reading it. I have tried to think of just one character in this story that I was at least, slightly attached to but I failed. Every character had the potential to be great but I unfortunately found them to be two-dimensional or just simply couldn’t sympathise with them.

Motives Are Theorised
While I am certain that this has been noted in other reviews, I feel it is important to note that it is very easy to see that Niall Leonard is a screenplay writer. This book has the potential to be a very intriguing and interesting film – with a little work – but the style just did not seem to work for this novel. Moreoover, this book was written during a NaNoWriMo and while I am currently doing it this year, I cannot fully condone the event but I do understand that any novel I finish this month will never be ready to be published straight away. This novel feels too rushed, it feels like it really needed to be edited a bit more to help make it live up to the potential that it held within it. I feel that Niall has a lot in him and if he continues to improve as he writes, there is a chance that he does have a good career ahead of him. I just hope that this first novel doesn’t hinder that.

Until It’s Solved
All in all, Crusher simply was not the book for me. I had hoped that it would be because the blurb really did pull me into what could have been an exciting story but it simply did not work out for me. I have heard many reviewers admit that they found it difficult to put the book down as it was enthralling and enticing, such as Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies, so when I didn’t feel that way, I felt like I was missing something. Unfortunately, I have also now read a few reviews that also didn’t feel like Crusher lived up to its potential either, such as Lucy from ChooseYA. This is a book that has a large potential to be a marmite book; you’ll either love it or you’ll hate it. Fortunately, I didn’t hate this book but I didn’t love it either. There is a few things to like about this book and I can see how some people will devour it and love it but if you’re a hardcore crime fiction fan, I would highly recommend only reading this as a break from it all. It is a story with little depth but an entertaining story that will let you escape the real world for a few hours – and isn’t that all that we should be asking for in a story anyway?

Two Stars
two out of five hearts

Faye

Posted on 3 November, 2012 by Faye - 1 Comment


Everything Must Go (2010) – Aidy’s Review!

Posted on 7 March, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments

Hey Guys!
Today I am introducing you to Aidy from Aidy’s Reviews! He has kindly written a film review for this site and this will (hopefully) happen every week (on tuesdays!). 
I have also written a book review for his site which I will let you know about when it is up!
Without further ado;
 
Director: Dan Rush
Writers: Dan Rush, Raymond Carver “Why Don’t You Dance.”
Stars: Will Ferrell, Rebecca Hall, and Christopher Jordan Wallace
Everything Must Go is an indie film that is based on the 1981 short-story by Raymond Carver called Why Don’t You Dance. The story is about a man named Nicholas Halsey (Will Ferrell), a semi recovering alcoholic who has just lost his job as a salesman and at the same time, his wife and his home.
There isn’t much to be said about a person who has hit rock bottom and is forced to live among all worldly possessions strewn about on the front lawn of what used to be his home. While he sifts through all the things that he thought of as influential in his life, he is forced to return to the realization that life as he knew it was over after repeated attempts to phone his wife failed, his credit cards cancelled–his car repo’d. He has to start his life over somehow. But not before buying him another case of beer, and sleeping in his Lazy Boy recliner on the front lawn as an effort to maintain a sense of normalcy. 
He abruptly awake to the sprinklers on his front lawn, and bumbles about trying to prevent the water the prized furniture and equipment that he owned. A young kid, Kenny (Christopher Jordan Wallace), who is left alone to fend for himself while his mother cares for a sick person, rides up on his bike and becomes an unintentional source for wisdom, and eventually a savvy business partner. He becomes friends with Samantha (Rebecca Hall), who never quite asks him why he is living out on his front lawn. It seems she has more things to deal with on a personal level, being pregnant, waiting for her husband to join her at their new home, and giving up her job as a photography teacher in New York so that her husband can focus more on his career.
The film comes down to that inevitable fact for each them–that life is a eternal process of learning. Ferrell’s character had to learn again what it is like to be normal–away from the booze. It is as if for the first time, he is beginning to hear what people perhaps have been saying to him all along–get your life in order. The film places an emphasis on his character’s self-pity, anger, and insecurities, forcing him to confront life’s inner demons while sober. “Everything” is one more film that forces us emotionally, to respond to a down on his luck, broken alcoholic who is evidently, a good person. Nicholas Cage was successful at portraying an over indulgent and repressive alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas. Ferrell doesn’t drink himself to death nor does he come close to doing so. He just haphazardly navigates his neighborhood and confront a few self-actualization’s along the way.
What does prevail in the film is what these three individuals have in common–isolation. The story and its characters are of a stoic capacity and the overall, the ineffective social narrative of the film just empties there, on Nick’s front lawn. You know that these three people are hurting somehow and yet there isn’t enough of proper motivation in the story to resolve matters. It isn’t until Nick realizes that he can no longer live on his front lawn and finally agrees to let go and sell all of the tangible parts of his life that the movie finally ends where it begins–on his lawn. Sadly, we are left wondering just how everyone will fair thereafter. Real life isn’t so easily resolvable, and it is disappointing that the film eluded a more conclusive concept for believability.
2.75 OUT OF 5 STARS ***

Posted on 7 March, 2012 by Faye - 2 Comments


Young Adult (2012)

Posted on 6 February, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments

Directed By: Jason Reitman

Written By: Diablo Cody
Main Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson and Patton Oswalt
Storyline: 
A Young-Adult Fiction writer who is about to start writing the last instalment of a series finds out that her ex-boyfriend has had a child. With this information on the brain, she ends up visiting her home-town where she decides that she will try and win him back, even though he is happily married with a newborn daughter.

TWO OUT OF FIVE STARS **
Unfortunately, while this film held potential and could have been an extremely decent film, for this blogger, it simply flopped. While there were good moments within this film and it had good, rich and raw cinematography, it simply wasn’t a good movie overall. It was hard to empathize with the main protagonist and it was this major flaw in the narration that really forces the film to lose its desire. It is extremely difficult to sit through a film when all you really want to do is shake the protagonist and tell her to get a grip and move on.
Charlize Theron plays Mavis Gary who had been one of the most popular girls in highschool, who went out with one of the jocks. After high school ended, however, she left for the city and eventually started writing a series of Young Adult books. It is shown from the very beginning of the film that she is living in a slump. She wakes up in a crashed out position on her bed and the rest of her apartment is messy and untidy, just the same as her appearance. This persona continues throughout the film as Mavis travels to her home town and tries to act the same as she did when she was in high-school. She is one of the most annoying protagonists that I have watched in a long time and I really found it difficult to keep focused on the film. I was curious, hoping that her journey would end up somewhere, that she might learn a lesson from it all but by the end of the film, it just seemed that nothing had changed.
Theron, however, manages to truly perfect this personality. It is difficult to imagine anyone else portraying this character any better. It is therefore extremely unfortunate that Charlize may never be seen for her full potential as many people may be put off of this film, especially as her character is supposed to be hated. While this can be successful within films, usually because by the end of the film they have transformed their lives, and the audience can fully understand the journey that has taken place, in this film, it simply does not work. Mavis Gary leaves her home town in the same way that she left – in a state. There are hints that she might be changing her act and will get better but this is never explicitly spoken or shown and therefore I found it increasingly difficult to appreciate the film as a whole.
Another frustrating thing about this film was the novel that Mavis was writing. It is obvious that the story she is writing interlinks with her own life and so the acknowledgment that this is the last instalment can be a sign that this is her chance to change, but once again, this is never actually stated. The story itself, which had parts told in voiceover, was possibly the worst story that I have ever heard. From the very first sentence, only five minutes into the film, I knew that if it had been a real book, I would never bother to read it. It, like the film, had the most annoying protagonist and, just as I struggled to watch, I would have struggled to read. As an avid reader, blogger and film-goer, this upset me as the idea of having a book linked to the life of an author is such a lovely concept, but it just did not work within this film.
However, despite all of these moments, the film did have some good moments. There were times when a scene would fully capture my attention and cause me to laugh out loud. And there were some moments when I was left craving more, wanting to hear more of the conversation. Unfortunately though, this moments were few and far between. I did like the final climax scene and I found that this was quite rich and raw with emotions and I almost felt a little empathy towards Mavis as I managed to place myself in her shoes, but then this was ripped from me again when she reverted back to the way she was before, as though the realisation of everything that had just happened didn’t affect her in the slightest. This, in fact, possibly made the film worse for me as I almost thought that I could see where this film was going, could almost imagine it getting better, and then that was taken away from me at the last moment.
All in all, this film just didn’t seem to have a purpose. I could not get an overall theme from it and just found it too difficult to get into. I was infuriated by the main protagonist throughout the film and simply couldn’t get my head around the ambiguous ending. So, while I held high expectations of this film, it unfortunately didn’t uphold to them and therefore I found that I just could not enjoy this film. Which is a shame, because it would have been the perfect film for me to love as I love films and young adult books. Maybe next time?
Faye

Posted on 6 February, 2012 by Faye - 5 Comments


Paradox: The Angels are Here by Patti Roberts

Posted on 20 January, 2012 by Faye - No Comments

Author: Patti Roberts
Published: October 18th 2010
Publisher: Patti Roberts
Pages: 122
Goodreads: Add It
Summary: (Goodreads)
My name is Juliette. Nine hundred years ago, I died. Now my soul lives on in the body of a young girl…

Grace’s world is turned upside down by a visitor, the Angel of Death. She finds herself trapped in a nightmare, consumed by her paralyzing loss and overwhelming grief. The haunting visions and untimely deaths of others are a constant reminder that life and death are only a heartbeat away.

A journey crossing Two Worlds. One Ancient – One New.

How do the heartbreaking visions experienced by a little girl fit into this Ancient World of Angels, Myth & Legend?

Where lives are bound by blood – and nothing is as it seems. In a World where there are more questions than answers. This journey will leave you wanting and have you asking… Who, When, Where?

Is your Guardian Angel From Heaven or Hell…?
This is not a story about Vampires. However, we are talking about a predatory being that existed long before the word Vampire was ever whispered… the real monsters behind the legendary Vampire myths that reigned in Ancient times. They were a race of Fallen Angels called Grigorians. With their black feathered wings and their unyielding taste for human flesh and blood, it is easy to see how the myths about Vampires first began. And so today, while mankind continues to be enthralled by tales about Vampires and such, the real identity of the true villain, the Grigorian, remains hidden and free to walk among us at will…

There are those that know the truth. The Bulguardians. An Imperial race of Angels who continue to hunt and fight to the death in a bid to save humanity from extinction.

TWO OUT OF FIVE STARS **
The premise and the concept of this novel was one that I was really intrigued by and one that I was actually really looking forward to reading, therefore it is with sadness that I write this review. While others have loved, and I expect will love, this novel, it simply was not the right read for me. Personally I found it just too difficult to fully become attached to the story and just could not get myself invested in the story that was being told to me. This was unfortunate as I really did want to like this book.
That being said, this book did have its good moments. I deliberated between giving it a two or three stars before eventually deciding that two better suits my personal feelings towards the book. However, it was an interesting read and one that I was able to get through in just a couple of days. It wasn’t too long and was fairly easy to read, although it was quite difficult to get my head around some of the parts and I was left utterly confused as the novel continued its journey until, by the end, I simply felt at a loss. There are thoughts in my head on what could be happening which is quite interesting and is definitely a good way to lead into a sequel but I personally prefer to have most of the details in front of me. A first book, to me, should set up the story for the upcoming novels.
I did like seeing the world through Grace’s eyes. It was certainly a refreshing scene to view the world as though I was a twelve year old girl instead of the usual sixteen-eighteen year olds that I’ve been reading lately! I also loved how the middle section of the book worked, but I think that this is possibly because there was little angel interaction that was confusing or unexplained. I really liked Officer Wade and would read the next book just to see how that turns out because I think that is an especially interesting part of the storyline!
I did also enjoy seeing the angels from the evil side interacting with each other, but I also felt that they just didn’t seem evil enough to me. I know that it could have been a bit hard to get that dark feeling across but I just felt that they didn’t seem like they were dark enough for my tastes. But this is just a personal preference and others could feel that they’re perfectly evil for their likings. I believe the problem I had was just how little I connected with these characters, I didn’t despise them or love them, they were just there and it was a struggle to really see their purpose in the story. Of course, it is possible that this will come to light in the next novels of the series but for this one, it just didn’t work for me.
All put together this was an okay read. It wasn’t anything that really captivated my attention and it wasn’t a story that made me want to read the next instalment straight away but it was one that I am glad I read and one that I will probably try and continue, just to see if it ties everything together for me. If you’ve read to hear and are still wondering about my two stars, I feel I should justify once more that I just did not connect to this story at all. Perhaps the problem was the hype surrounding it and so I was expecting more, but either way, I just found it difficult to really get attached to story so while there are elements of the story that I enjoyed and liked, there were large quantities that I found disinteresting and just hard to like.
I received this book for review from the Goodreads group ‘Shut up and Read’s Read it & Reap and am glad that I was given the opportunity. I would recommend this book to people that like angel stories but perhaps have a wider knowledge of them then this reviewer!
Faye

Posted on 20 January, 2012 by Faye - No Comments


Symphony Of Blood – Adam Pepper

Posted on 19 December, 2011 by Faye - No Comments

Author: Adam Pepper

Publisher: self-published

Published: July 22nd 2011

Pages: 227 (e-book)

Summary: (From Goodreads)

Hank Mondale, a rough-around-the-edges P.I. with a small drinking problem and a large gambling problem, needs a break. With his landlord threatening eviction and his bookie threatening worse, things look bleak. Until real estate mogul Thomas Blake calls with an incredible story: a monster is trying to kill his daughter.

Hank figures she’s probably some whacked-out spoiled brat, but desperate, Hank takes the case to track down the supposed monster. It seems that people around Mackenzie Blake are disappearing. It’s obviously no coincidence. Was Hank hired to unwittingly aid a wealthy murderess? Or is there really someone…or some thing, trying to kill Mackenzie Blake?

A symphony plays that only It can hear. But there will be a special performance, just for her.

TWO STARS OUT OF FIVE **

This is a book that I didn’t wholly dislike but there were too many moments during the novel that just really didn’t interest me. It started out fairly well, if you can ignore the basic and coincidental set up, and the first person narrative was well-written and easy to follow and understand. Then started the second chapter and while I thought it was an interesting practice to switch POV and it wasn’t confusing, I did find myself tuning out during this chapter. It was slow and boring and was just repeating details we had already found out and therefore didn’t really need to read again. I found myself trying to rush through this section of the book to get back to the first person narrative again which is slightly depressing.

What this novel then failed to achieve was a good ending. It seemed like it was leading somewhere but when I realised it only had a few pages left, I wondered how it would all go down. It turns out it wasn’t as action packed as it promised and then, instead of really tying up any leads, the main character is seen a time after the incident just having dinner with family and friends. It looks like the ending was leading into another book in the series but it didn’t do so very effectively and I, for one, am not particularly interested enough to pick up the next book if, and when, it arrives. This is extremely unfortunate.

While it is interesting to read the book in Hank’s perspective, it also leaves a lot of the details hanging open and just left untouched. Such as the fact that his actual name appears to be Henry as this is what his mother calls him but it is never explained and is something we’re just supposed to know. While this isn’t a particular problem, it would have been nice to have been told why he now goes by the name of Hank as it would have helped to flesh out his character a bit. More on from this is the fact that there are very few good qualities about Hank. He drinks, couldn’t get into the cop business, neglects his (single?) mother, refuses to fire a secretary that he can’t pay and has gambling problem and debts up to his ears. It is hard to sympathise with him as a main protagonist which is disappointing.

Unfortunately, this lack of sympathy carries on when we get the second POV and once again, it is difficult to truly feel sorry for the creature (monster?) that devours humans for energy. There isn’t a true ‘animal’ connection to this creature that we’re supposed to feel through the character of Mackenzie. But this could also be because Mackenzie herself seems very flat and unbelievable. She changes her mood in a second and becomes a shrill character and honestly, there is no way that I believe her to be a nineteen year old girl. Not even for one second. Which is, you know, a little concerning as that is how old she is supposed to be.

The novel itself was fairly well written and if the characters had a bit of a better fleshing out and background and reality to them, then maybe this novel could have been a bit more successful for me but as it stands, it just simply didn’t hit the right spots. It was interesting to read a book with a changing POV and narrative tense but unfortunately, it just didn’t achieve it with gold flying stars. I may still be slightly curious to have a small peak at the next book at the series but if the characters are still not enjoyable to read then it will probably be one that I will never finish.

I received this novel for review from the Paranormal and Urban Fantasy Fanatics group on Goodreads. (R2R)

Faye

Posted on 19 December, 2011 by Faye - No Comments