Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead


About the book
The Indigo Spell is the third book in the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. It was published by Penguin on 12th February and the book is 416 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch--a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood--or else she might be next.

What I thought
Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy was one of my favourite ever series and I was so sad when it ended up also so happy that there was a spin off series! The Indigo Spell is the third book in the series and pretty much starts from where The Golden Lily ended.

To begin with in this series, I thought that Sydney was a bit boring. However, this book has completely changed my mind about her. As an Alchemist living with vampires (the good kind though), Sydney ends up conflicted a lot about what she actually believes is right or wrong. Then there is the addition of her new magic skills which add a lot to her personality I think. I really liked how Sydney progresses as a character in The Indigo Spell, compared with the first two books in the series. I also felt that she was a much more approachable and likeable character here, due to her coming out of her shell a bit more.

The plot for The Golden Lily was extremely exciting but I didn’t feel the same about this book. We are left reeling from the events that happened previously and this book seemed like a bit of a filler. There are quite a few different things going on in The Indigo Spell which is why I don’t think it was quite as exciting.  However, I liked this. The Indigo Spell introduces quite a lot of new things into the Bloodlines world and although they aren’t explained fully, it sets the scene for the next book and for numerous things that could happen.

One element of The Indigo Spell that I did really enjoy was Sydney and her magic. Along with the help of her teacher and Adrian, Sydney begins to realise that the magic is inside her no matter whether she thinks she believes in it or not. This part of the plot was exciting though compared to the rest. I don’t want to give away too much but being able to throw around some fireballs sounds pretty awesome to me. The magic aspects of this series really make it stand out compared to Vampire Academy and make it a worthwhile series all on its own.

A big part of the previous book was the story between Sydney and Adrian, which I have to say I was very pleased about. Things definitely develop in The Indigo Spell but things are still quite up in the air between the two characters. Adrian knows exactly what he wants while Sydney, well, she never seems to know. I absolutely adored Adrian in Vampire Academy and I have to say that this series has made me love him even more. That boy has so much going on and there is so much about him that is interesting. He’s also a wonderful person deep down and not the person he was once made out to be. I cannot wait to see more of these two in future books.

I was sad to see that Jill wasn’t in this book very much. Sydney’s whole reason for being in her particular position is because of Jill. She was quite a large part of the previous two books and while she does pop up now and again in this one, I don’t feel as though it was enough. I missed her presence throughout. However, as there are all kinds of other things going on, I can understand why she gets so little page space in comparison to other characters.

Even though this is a bit of a mixed review, I did love The Indigo Spell. There was a lot explained, a lot happening and showed that there is a hell of a lot more to come.  

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Geek Girl Blog Tour: Geek Chic

It is my absolute pleasure to be taking part of the Geek Girl blog tour today with a post by author, Holly Smale. I absolutely loved this book and you can read my review of it next Wednesday. Here is the synopsis:

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. 

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did. 

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?


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GEEK CHIC

The word GEEK is everywhere right now: you can’t move without being confronted by a T-shirt, or a jumper, or a badge, or a cleverly designed necklace. “Geek Chic” has gone from bad trousers and too-white trainers to big glasses and cardigans and baggy jumpers to just cutting to the chase and branding yourself.

Is it a good thing? Yes and no. On a train last week, I saw a group of young girls with confidence and style proudly wearing GEEK T-shirts. Great, I thought, until I noticed that they were giving another girl a hard time. A quiet girl with slightly greasy hair and solid shoes and red eyes from where she’d been crying. It was a bit like watching somebody thrash a horse with a horse-tail whip: the irony just made it even more cruel.

“Geek” is not a fashion choice. It’s not a trend, or an image. It’s a hurtful word, and it’s used to wound and to ostracize. It’s one thing to take that word and reclaim it; make it a positive thing, and something to be proud of. It’s one thing to admit that you’re an outsider without shame: that you are a bit different, and that’s OK. That you’re obsessively passionate about unpopular things, or that you’re shy, or awkward, or uncomfortable around other people, or all of the above. That you don’t fit in, but it doesn’t matter.

It’s quite another to take that word and exile people even further.

The word GEEK has changed over the years. There was no place in the 90s for geeks, and slowly that seems to be shifting. But it’s a delicate balance. If the word GEEK becomes too fashionable, it risks creating even more isolation: not just of geeks from popular kids with the confidence to brand themselves (confidence that real geeks usually don’t have), but of geeks from a word they can identify themselves with. If all the T-shirts and jumpers become the property of bullies, it makes it even harder for real geeks to find pride in being what they are or to stand up against the people trying to hurt them.

GEEK is a powerful word. It brings with it pain, and pride, and separation, and unity. It can make people cry, it can make people feel stronger; it can divide people and it can allow them to feel part of something. We should use it carefully. And - if we decide to wear it not in our hearts but on our sleeves - we should do so knowing what it means. 

And behave accordingly.

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Thanks Holly for such a fantastic post! Geek Girl by Holly Smale is out on 18th February and published by HarperCollins Children's Books, £6.99 (PB). Also available in e-book formats.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Book to Film (kind of) Review: The Raven




About the film
The Raven is a 2012 thriller film that is a fictionalised account of Edgar Allan Poe's last days. The film is rated 15 due to bloody violence and scenes of a disturbing nature. The Raven's run time is 111 minutes. The trailer for the film was released online on 7th October 2011 which is the anniversary of Poe's death. 

Plot
When a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered in 19th century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in the local newspaper--part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social pariah Edgar Allan Poe. But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly murder occurs, also inspired by a popular Poe story. Realizing a serial killer is on the loose using Poe's writings as the backdrop for his bloody rampage; Fields enlists the author's help in stopping the attacks. But when it appears someone close to Poe may become the murderer's next victim, the stakes become even higher and the inventor of modern detective story calls on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it is too late. 

What I thought
I'm kind of cheating a little bit with this one as it is not technically based on one book but rather, an author and his works.  

When it comes to Poe's work, I know very little about it although this film has made me want to know more. With a title like The Raven, I figured that this film was going to be mostly about that poem but no, it featured many of Poe's works and only really mentions The Raven in passing. Obviously, this was quite disappointing and I don't think the film really deserves its title. The film is actually about a killer who bases his killings on the works on Poe. Even with this being the plot, none of his stories are shown or spoken about in much depth so you never really get to learn much about them. While some murders are shown in great detail, some are barely seen at all so because of this, you also don't get to fully appreciate the nature of Poe's work. 

As I said at the beginning of this review, The Raven is a thriller film. The murders and gore are definitely not high up the scale enough to make this a horror film but it is barely a thriller either. In my opinion, I would say it is more of a mystery with some added gore. Poe's stories are supposed to be extremely gory and shocking but there is only really one murder where this is shown well and explicitly. I wanted more gore and more killing. I also think that by doing this, it would have given much more importance to Poe's stories and why they were being used instead of it just being a simple reason. 

John Cusack seemed like a pretty strange choice to play Poe for me and after 
looking into the film a bit more, it seems he wasn't the first choice. I'm not quite sure about the others who were up for this role either so Cusack is pretty much the best of a strange bunch for me. While Cusack pulls of a moody and melancholic mood well, his characterisation is pathetic. There are only a couple of brief moments in the film where I truly felt sorry for Poe but for the rest of the time, I didn't care too much about what happened to him. From the beginning, Poe is shown as an annoying drunk who is full of himself - not the most likeable traits I'm sure you'll agree. The point is, you never get to learn enough about Poe as a person or his life to be able to understand his feelings or actions. 


Playing Poe's love interest Emily is Alice Eve who I have never heard of before. As a British actress, I thought that she did a very decent job of having an American accent in this film but that was about the only good thing about her. As a character, Emily is very much the damsel in distress for the most part although she does show signs of strength for a couple of brief moments. Overall though, her acting was terrible. There were moments where I would have actually loved to have been able to slap her or punch her in the face and to tell her to get a grip because she was that annoying. More than her acting being bad though is the way that she delivered her lines. Generally, she sounded extremely annoying the whole time so it was very hard for me to like her at all. 

The character and actor who surprised me the most was Luke Evans who plays Inspector Emmett Fields. Coming on to the scene to help solve the mystery of the murders, it was clear that Fields should have been the hero of the film. Letting him down though is lack of screen time and a weak script. While he pulls off his lines well, he doesn't get nearly enough of them. Also, there isn't much screen time given to Fields so that we can see him trying to solve the mystery of the murders. The whole point of this film is to figure out who is killing people by using Poe's work as inspiration but there isn't much detective work to be seen. More than this, we get to see a slow friendship of sorts building between Fields and Poe. Frankly, I couldn't care less whether they hated each other or not. I cared about the mystery being solved which was sadly given a back seat. 

The Raven was a very mixed bag for me. While I liked it, there were things that could have been done so much better and things that I thought were utterly pointless and stupid. An ok film but I won't be buying it on DVD.

Monday, 25 February 2013

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter


About the book
The Goddess Inheritance is the third and final book in the Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter. It was published by Mira Ink on 19th February and the book is 304 pages long. I received this book in e-book form for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

What I thought
I have really enjoyed the first two books in this series and I’m now quite sad to see it end. Aimee Carter has done wonderful things with Greek mythology in this series by bringing it up to date and giving it modern twists.

In The Goddess Inheritance the war between the Gods and the villain of the story, the Titan Cronus has escalated. Everything is now on the line which means this book is full of excitement and surprise. The previous two books have been about protagonist Kate finding her feet in her new life but I felt in this book, she really stepped up when it was needed and although it isn’t easy, she has taken on her new role really well. I enjoyed seeing how Kate coped in particular nasty situations because it showed just how brave she was.

The Goddess Inheritance has some more mature themes to it compared to the other two books due to the fact that Kate now has a baby. She’s still only a teenager and has a marriage and a child to think about even though there is a massive war going on around her. I don’t normally like books with babies but this one was different. Although the baby is a large part of the story, it isn’t gross at all or annoying at any point – which meant I didn’t hate the baby! I have no idea what my problem is with babies in books really, I think it just freaks me out a little.

The villains in this book were fantastic. Titan Cronus along with Calliope who betrayed everyone, were evil to the core but I loved these characters so much. Cronus made my skin crawl while Calliope was someone I wanted to punch. A villain in a book hasn’t stirred up my emotions like these two did in such a long time. However, as mean and nasty as they were, I think both were a little misunderstood. It’s strange feeling sorry for the bad guys but neither have had great lives so no wonder they wanted to act out. Maybe wanting to kill the whole of humanity was going a bit far though.

There are a lot of characters in this book, due to a lot of the Gods being featured at some point or another and there is also a couple of new characters brought in as well. I thought this would get very confusing but it doesn’t. Carter explains extremely well who everyone is and I didn’t get anyone mixed up once. Also, I felt as though in this book, we got to get to know some of the other Gods much more than we have done so far which was nice, especially as the series has come to an end now.

Overall, The Goddess Inheritance is a great end to an even better series which has lots of twists and turns, some sad moments but also some really happy moments. I really enjoyed this one. 

Sweet Legacy Cover Reveal

I absolutely love Tera Lynn Childs' books and I am happy to reveal the cover for the third book in the Medusa Trilogy, Sweet Legacy. Unfortunately, there is no synopsis yet though. 


The second book, Sweet Shadows is released next month here in the UK and I cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

Sweet Legacy is publishing in the UK September 2013 – 978-1-84877-942-6 £6.99 (PB)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Film Review: Young Adult



About the film
Young Adult is a comedy/ drama film that was released at the cinema on 3rd February 2012. The film was released on DVD on 25th June. Young Adult is rated 15 and has a run time of 93 minutes.

Plot
Although on a deadline to finish the last book in a series of which she is the ghost writer for,
Mavis Gary has just got divorced. She’s 37 and feels her life lacks meaning. Her book series has been cancelled and she has a failed marriage behind her. However, when Mavis receives an email from her ex-boyfriend in high school, she sees this as a sign that they are meant to be together – even if he and his wife have just had a baby. Mavis heads home to Mercury, Minnesota with the plans to win back her ex, Buddy, and get her life back in order.

What I thought
As a reviewer of young adult books, the title of this film instantly attracted me. However, before watching the film, I didn’t know anything about it other than Charlize Theron played the main character. Theron plays Mavis, a 37 year old woman who has just gone through a divorce. At the beginning of the film, Mavis is shown as a pretty pathetic character. She goes out drinking every night, sleeps with some random guy and spends her days wallowing in self-pity by watching re-runs of some really crappy TV show. Honestly, I didn’t like Mavis at all to begin with. However, Theron is her usual brilliant self as she is in any role she plays. When Theron takes on a role, she plays it to the fullest that she possibly can. That means she was the most pathetic Mavis that she could possibly be.

Although the title of the film does partly come from Mavis writing young adult novels, it also comes from her need to live through her past. Mavis is hell bent on getting her high school sweetheart back and doesn’t care one little bit that he appears to be happily married and has just has a baby with his wife. This aspect of the plot shows just how selfish and self-centred Mavis really is but also how desperate she is to get back to a time in her life when she felt good. It is quite obvious that life has not gone the way Mavis expected it to and she struggles with dealing with the fact that she is no longer the popular, prom queen anymore.

While Theron excels as Mavis, there are also some other cast members worth mentioning. The one who stood out for me was Patton Oswalt who plays Matt Freehauf. In high school, Matt was beaten up, leaving him partially disabled, and labelled as gay. When Mavis is out downing her sorrows again, she and Matt strike up an unlikely friendship as she lets him in on her plan to get Buddy back. Matt was a huge geek in high school and nothing has changed now that he’s grown up. However, Matt’s character is so likeable because he is very different from Mavis. Unlike her, he looks on the bright side of life and tries to get by as best he can. He doesn’t let bad things in the past get him down.

At first, I thought that this film was going to be a romantic comedy. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, it is quite depressing at times. While Mavis hasn’t had a bad life, she is constantly down about herself and tries to make herself happy with drinking and sleeping around. Even though I didn’t like her to begin with, I ended up feeling very sorry for her over the course of the film. Going from a big city to the small town she grew up in, it is clear just how much life has changed Mavis. Also, people back home don’t seem to have a very good opinion of Mavis, some of them commenting behind her back. Mavis hates small town life and wouldn’t be there if she didn’t think it could help her in some way.

Young Adult is a sad but moving story about what life can be like if you don’t take it for what it is. It is also a film about not living in the past, regretting things which you cannot change and dwelling on them for the rest of your life. While Young Adult was not at all what I was expecting, there is a great story and another fantastic performance by Charlize Theron.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Lullaby by Amanda Hocking


About the book
Lullaby is the second book in the Watersong series by Amanda Hocking. The book was published by Tor on 6th December 2012 and it is 356 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Beautiful but deadly, their song won’t let her rest.

Gemma had to disappear with Penn, Lexi and Thea after a night of incredible violence on the island. She can still barely come to terms with her new affinity with the ocean – and the siren powers that go with it. Now she’s been transformed, Gemma has no choice but to leave all she loves behind. She swears she won’t lose her humanity, but the call of the sea is maddening and compulsive.

Harper won’t give up on her missing sister. The search draws her closer than she’d like to bohemian Daniel, but she could really use his help. They’d almost given up, until a small news item tells of a horrific murder in a nearby beach town, and Harper thinks she’s found the deadly group. But can Gemma’s curse be reversed – and what if she doesn’t want to come home?

What I thought
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Wake, and luckily I had the second book all ready and waiting to be read.

Lullaby begins right where Wake left off, with Gemma gone, having run away with the crazy sirens while sister Harper is left to pick up the pieces. It isn’t only Harper though because Gemma’s boyfriend Alex is worried sick and has no idea what to do. Together, along with Daniel (Harper’s love interest) they have to figure out what the hell is going on and what can be done about it. A large chunk of Lullaby is spent with Harper, Daniel and Alex doing research into sirens and the curse surrounding them. However, we don’t really get to find out anything extra than we did in the first book.

While not a dual narrative, chapters tend to alternate between where Harper is and where Gemma is. I really liked this way of telling the story because as the characters were separated, I wanted to know what was going on from all sides. I have to admit that I enjoyed the chapters surrounding Gemma though because they were generally more interesting and exciting – she is living with sirens after all. Gemma is learning how to be a siren but it’s hard for her. A siren isn’t something she had a choice about being and something she definitely doesn’t want to be.

Lullaby made me like both Harper and Gemma a whole lot more because I felt I got to know them much better in this book. While everything is about the sirens, certain situations meant that character traits and personalities shone through better than they did in Wake. The girls aren’t bad girls and while they both have their faults, they’re only trying to do what they think is best which was something I admired them both for. Harper was slightly boring and uptight in Wake but in this book, I felt that she let go a little more and it did make me like her more.

Lullaby ends with so many questions being unanswered but that sets the scene really well for book 3, Tidal, which I can’t wait to get my hands on now. This series is really different from any others I have read and while it’s slightly gross at times (if you’ve read it, you’ll know why) it has plenty of excitement and mystery as well as humour and some romance. 

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by by Jessica Sorensen


About the book
The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen is a New Adult novel and the first in a series. The book was published in e-book format in the UK on 12th December 2012.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
There are those who don’t get luck handed to them on a shiny platter, who end up in the wrong place at the wrong time, who don’t get saved.

Luck was not on Callie’s side the day of her twelfth birthday when everything was stolen from her. After it’s all over, she locks up her feelings and vows never to tell anyone what happened. Six years later her painful past consumes her life and most days it’s a struggle just to breathe.

For as long as Kayden can remember, suffering in silence was the only way to survive life. As long as he did what he was told, everything was okay. One night, after making a terrible mistake, it seems like his life might be over. Luck was on his side, though, when Callie coincidentally is in the right place at the right time and saves him.

Now he can’t stop thinking about the girl he saw at school, but never really knew. When he ends up at the same college as Callie, he does everything he can to try to get to know her. But Callie is reserved and closed off. The more he tries to be part of her life, the more he realizes Callie might need to be saved.

What I thought
This is another New Adult e-book which I managed to get really cheap at only 77p!

I loved the beginning of this book. Callie is forced to go and drag her brother out of a high school party and she really, really doesn’t want to. Callie is quite the shy girl and has kept to herself for such a long time and having to deal with a house full of people who have made fun of her for years scares the crap out of her. However, on the way into the house, Callie comes across Kayden being beaten up by his Dad and she saves him. Callie was seriously brave here because as Kayden says, everyone else would have probably walked away.

When Callie goes off to college early, to get away from everyone and everything, she is lucky to find such a good friend in Seth, he understands why she is the way she is. Callie really is broken and has a lot of problems when it comes to social situations, making her a bit strange and reluctant to do anything. However, Seth really brings Callie’s personality out, making her do things she wouldn’t normally. The friendship between these two characters was a wonderful thing to read and I loved when the two of them were together.

Kayden is just as broken as Callie but for different reasons. His Dad has been beating on him for years, which Callie has experienced first hand. When Kayden realises that he’s at the same college as Callie, he knows he needs to make it up to her for how she saved him. Kayden is such a wonderful character and his issues make him the person that he is. Although he seemed to be a bit of an ass in high school, getting away to college appears to have changed things and he knows he wants to be better.

The building tension between Callie and Kayden runs for a long way through the book but it was exciting to see each of them beginning to let go with each other. Their relationship is so beautifully written and heart-breaking at the same time. These are two people who definitely needed each other at this point in the lives and although it isn’t easy between them, they have something worth fighting for. Although a New Adult novel, it doesn’t have quite as much sex in it as some of the others I have read, mostly due to some of the issues dealt with throughout the book. The scenes there was though were wonderfully written and not as steamy or explicit as some others I have read.

The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden is a really difficult read at times due to the subject matter but it is so worth it. The story of Callie and Kayden is utterly heart-breaking and it made me want to hug them both. The ending has one of the biggest cliff-hangers I have read in a long time and now it makes me desperately want to read the sequel. Jessica Sorensen definitely knows how to shock her readers and make them want more.

I don’t think I’ve really done this book justice in this review but for me, it was absolutely perfect and I couldn’t put it down. It’s going to take some doing that beat this as my favourite book of the year so far. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black

About the book
Dance of Shadows is the first book in the series of the same name by Yelena Black. The book was published on 12th February by Bloomsbury and the book is 384 pages long.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . .

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed . . .

What I thought
I really liked the idea of a book about dance. I hadn’t read anything like this before and it sounded different and exciting. The book starts off really well, showing protagonist Vanessa moving to the New York Ballet Academy, the school her elder sister once attended. However, Vanessa’s sister mysteriously disappeared and there has never been any explanation as to where she went or why she left the school. The beginning of the book showed huge promise for a story filled with secrets, mysteries and excitements.

I also really enjoyed the fact that this book was set around dance. I really don’t think that there are enough YA books with this kind of setting and I think there could be potential for a lot to be done with the subject. Vanessa quickly makes friends with some of her fellow dancers although the disappearance of her sister is always playing on her mind, and puts strain on her friendships. I would have loved to have seen more scenes between this group of friends, especially in the dance studio or for there to be more talk about dance though.

While the book’s synopsis seems to promise a good romance, this aspect of the book was extremely lacking for me. Although there is some romance throughout, it is never enough nor is it intense enough considering what is going on in the story. I thought that there were a few too many things going on in this department although none of them executed to their full potential. I think that as this is a continuing series, the romance aspect could pick up quite a lot in the second book but in this one, it just didn’t work for me.

Then there is the paranormal aspect of the book, which threw me completely. I did know there was a twist in this story but I wasn’t expecting what actually happened. Unfortunately, I don’t think the paranormal aspect worked at all in this book. I really wish that this had just been a book about dance as the paranormal elements really ruined the story for me. I kind of wanted to give up after the twists had been revealed but I carried on hoping for the best, which didn’t work out too well.

Dance of Shadows was really a mixed bag and while there were aspects of the book that I really enjoyed, there were also things that I hated.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Book to Film Review: Let Me In


About the film
Let Me In is a 2010 romantic horror film that was based on the Swedish film Let The Right One In and the book of the same name. The film has a rating of 15 due to violence and language and it has a run time of 116 minutes. 

Plot
Twelve year old Owen is a loner. He has no friends, gets bullied at school and has to put up with his divorced mother and the nightly phone calls from his father. He doesn't have much of a life apart from looking out of his window with a telescope. One night, he spots a young girl walking in the snow with no shoes on, entering the apartment building with an older man which he instantly assumes is her father. Upon meeting the young girl, Abby, Owen can see that she is just like him - shy, lonely and awkward. Although the two strike up a strange friendship, Owen has no idea that Abby is a child vampire, constantly stuck at twelve years old, needing blood every single night. 

When people start dying, Abby's 'father' in particular, a policeman is determined to find out what is going on but this could mean disaster for Abby and her lifestyle. 

What I thought
Let Me In wasn't a film I was too bothered about watching due to it being an American version of something else. However, my boyfriend bought me it after liking it himself. We have pretty similar taste in films so I was willing to give it a shot. 

As the film began to get going (after the weird opening) it quickly started to remind me of a really creepy version of About A Boy, mainly due to one of the main characters. Owen is a very unfortunate looking 12 year old boy who is a complete loner. The reason for comparing this with About A Boy is because Owen, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee looks so much like Nicholas Hoult did in that film. It soon becomes apparent that not only is Owen a loner but also gets bullied badly at school. I couldn't help but to feel sorry for Owen immediately. 

Abby, the other main characters, is mentioned in the opening scenes but you don't get to find out who she is until she moves into the same apartment building, next door in fact, to Owen. Most people will know Chloë Moretz, who plays Abby, for her role in Kick Ass. In comparison, these two roles are completely different. Abby is shy and extremely reserved, not really saying much to begin with and keeping very much to herself. While Owen, although not having any friends, tries to talk to her a lot, she doesn't respond well to begin with. Mortez plays Abby extremely well and while it is different to the role she is best known for now, she is still incredible. It's quite hard to think of her as being so young. 

Both characters begin to grow and develop as soon as they meet each other, yet still staying true to who they are. Neither character changes an awful lot but it is more about the impact they have on each other. Owen and Abby are extremely curious about each other and getting to know each other was one thing about the film I really loved. Their friendship is awkward and strange but then what else could it ever have been when one of them is a child vampire? Still, the story of their friendship is heart-warming and different. 

After being told that this was not really a horror, and it isn't, I wasn't expecting to be scared or jump at all. I was both at times. There were a couple of scenes that I was not expecting and these made me jump a hell of a lot but as there weren't that many like this, it made them scarier and the shock factor a lot higher than if they had been used more often. I was also not expecting for me to get quite emotional at this film - so much so that I cried a little bit. Let Me In made me feel a range of emotions that I just wasn't prepared for with a horror film but that is not a bad thing. It's great when a film can really surprise you and not be what you think it will. 

While the story and acting were great, there were some things that bugged me. Mostly, the visuals were fantastic. As this film is set in the '80s, everything looks extremely dated and it felt very authentic. However, when Abby shows that she is a vampire is where things weren't that great. Basic effects were done quite well, giving Abby scary white eyes and seeing blood all around her mouth. Really, it was when Abby began to move like a vampire that I had problems. There are a few scenes of Abby scaling buildings or climbing trees at enhanced speed but these scenes just looked fake. I think they either could have been shot a lot better or just done differently to make a better vampire out of Abby. 

While I haven't seen the original film yet or read the book (which I do have), I am looking forward to seeing what the differences are and which I like more. I wasn't expecting to like this film as much as I did at all.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Bad Rep by A. Meredith Walters


About the book
Bad Rep is a New Adult novel by A. Meredith Walters. It was published in e-book format on 21st December.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Maysie Ardin is soaking up the summer before her junior year of college, shopping, hanging by the pool and shopping some more. But when her black belt in spending lands her in trouble with her parents, she is forced to take a second job at a local bar to dig herself out of a deep financial pit.

She thought she’d be miserable. But then Maysie didn’t count on Jordan Levitt, the hot, pierced and tattooed, drum playing bartender who also happens to be very interested in her. And the feelings are totally mutual.

It had the makings of the perfect romantic set up. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy has girlfriend? Okay, maybe not.

But attraction is a hard thing to ignore and soon Jordan and Maysie find themselves in the middle of a gossip induced firestorm. Maysie has to learn whether she can set aside her fear of public disapproval in order to be with the one she wants. Or will she let the opinions of others dictate her life and her heart?

What I thought
I’ve been on a bit of a New Adult kick recently and this was another of the books I managed to get on Kindle at a cheap price over Christmas.

Maysie Ardin has the shock of her life when she gets a $3500 credit card bill which her parents insist she pays off herself. It was only supposed to be for emergencies and she blew the cash on expensive shoes. She already has one job but knows that is not going to cover the credit card bill, especially with sorority dues to pay as well. This obviously means getting a second job, which she does at a local bar along with her roommate. This is where the story begins as this is where she meets the devilishly hot Jordan.

I liked Maysie for the most part although she did annoy me slightly with the way she acted sometimes. Also with some of her phrases. Let’s just say there were far too many uses of vagina and I wanted to slap her a little bit. Other than that though, there was quite a lot to like about her. She sticks by her friends no matter what, she knows when she’s done wrong and also really doesn’t want to start anything with Jordan once she knows he has a girlfriend. I did admire this about her because she was loud and clear about how she felt about it. However, she wasn’t the greatest of characters and I do think there could have been more that was likeable about her.

Jordan, however, was smoking hot and I loved him – even though he was a bit of an asshole. He flirted with girls like crazy, especially Maysie as soon as she started her new job at the bar. Jordan is a drum playing, accounting major, pierced and tattooed guy with a bit of a reputation for being a womaniser. He isn’t all bad though – far from it actually. The more about Jordan I got to know, the more I loved him. Deep down, he isn’t the guy he is made out to be and I was glad to see there was a lot more to him than originally shown. Much like Maysie though, his sayings were annoying and there was too much ‘baby’ calling going on for my liking.

This is a New Adult novel so expect sex scenes and plenty of them. Although there isn’t too much of this in the first half, Walters more than makes up for it in the second half. The scenes are very steamy and passion fuelled although not entirely realistic a lot of the time. I didn’t really mind that though because when is sex ever really real in books. There has only been a handful of sex scenes I’ve read that were anything remotely resembling real.

Some of the other New Adult novels I’ve read have dealt with some really hard to read themes but this one is more of a light-hearted read which I was thankful for. The plot is all about liking someone you can’t have and the repercussions of doing something you shouldn’t. I liked that the whole plot wasn’t overtaken by Maysie and Jordan’s relationship and that there was so much about friendship in this book. The female characters are strong and outspoken which was something I loved and they were also all so different.

This isn’t my favourite of the New Adult novels I have read but I certainly didn’t dislike it. There were just a few things that really bugged me throughout. 

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Film Review: Gangster Squad



About the film
Gangster Squad is a 2013 crime film. It was released at the cinema on 10th January and it has a run time of 113 minutes. The film is rated 15 due to strong violence and bad language.

Plot
Set in 1949, gangster Micky Cohen has become the most powerful figure in the crime world of California. Not content with his already booming empire, Cohen plans to move further out and take over Chicago and New York as well. Everyone either fears Cohen or works for him so no one has the nerve to try to stop him. Until now. Sergeant John O’Mara and a group of others put together by the chief of the LAPD begin working together to take down the gangster boss and finish him once and for all. They call themselves the ‘Gangster Squad’.

Cast
Josh Brolin as Sergeant John O'Mara
Ryan Gosling as Sergeant Jerry Wooters
Sean Penn as Mickey Cohen
Emma Stone as Grace Faraday.
Nick Nolte as Chief Bill Parker
Mireille Enos as Connie O'Mara
Anthony Mackie as Detective Coleman Harris
Giovanni Ribisi as Detective Conwell Keeler
Michael Peña as Detective Navidad Ramirez
Robert Patrick as Detective Max Kennard
Sullivan Stapleton as Jack Whalen
Holt McCallany as Karl Lennox

What I thought
I love a good action movie as well as loving hot guys who act in them. What better than to add in gun, violence, gangsters and Ryan Gosling. Obviously, I wanted to see this film as soon as I had heard about it.

Gangster Squad has a fantastic cast and I’m not just talking about Ryan Gosling. Josh Brolin leads as Sergeant John O’Mara, a cop who doesn’t care about the consequences of going in and doing what he knows his right. He doesn’t really follow the rules and he rarely listens to what he is supposed to do. O’Mara has issues though, having come out of the war and knows no other way to act. As a character, he’s quite hard and although sometimes it came across as standoffish, it was more that he knew what he wanted. Still though, there are times when we get to see inside his family life and are able to see a softer side to him which was nice.

Sean Penn was fantastic as the gangster boss Micky Cohen. Cohen is a real piece of work and honestly, I would be terrified of him too. Penn puts into his character everything that you can imagine a gangster being. He has a cocky accent, a gruff and messed up looking face as well as dressing the part as well. As Cohen, Penn was very believable and although I know nothing about gangsters, I thought he was very realistic at the same time. However, I do feel as though we could have gotten more from the character. More from his past maybe. More about why he ended up the way he is. I don’t know, just something more.

As much as I love Emma Stone, she was undeniably underused in this film. Stone plays love interest Grace Faraday, the girlfriend of Cohen. However, she is also the love interest for Ryan Gosling’s character, Sergeant Jerry Wooters as well. Stone looks stunning in some fabulous dresses and dark lipsticks, matching the luxurious hairstyles and she looks every bit the part of the gangster’s girlfriend. However, her character is little more than a damsel in distress. There is no depth with her, no background history, no nothing really. She looks great, has great chemistry with Gosling but not much else. Don’t get me wrong, Stone is very good in her role but I think that she could have been much more than that.

As a crime film, Gangster Squad has plenty of guns and plenty of violence. I’m not the kind of girl to shy away from things like this and instead, I really love films with lots of violence. The beginning of the film sets the scene for the kinds of violence we are about to see through the whole film. If you think gangsters and ways of killing people, that’s exactly what you get here. Some scenes, especially the first, are really gruesome and there is loads of blood. Not only is there a lot of bloody violence but there are plenty of car chases and gun/ fight scenes to keep you entertained. I found the whole film extremely exciting and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Gangster Squad was a lot more stylish than I had imagined it to be for some reason. The late 40s costumes along with the bars and nightlife mixed in with the gangster scene all fit really well together. I loved the mix of luxury with the downright dirty and seedy. This film gives plenty of different perspectives on the era and it is shot beautifully. There were some scenes reminding me of the ‘crash’, ‘bang’, ‘wallop’ bits of cartoons/ comics which also helped to add to the atmospheric feeling of the film.

All in all, while I did really love Gangster Squad, there were things that could have made it even better. Character development was severely lacking in some places and the dialogue a bit wooden in some parts. Really, the action and fights are what make this film so good, along with the way that it looks on the screen. Still, highly recommended. 

Friday, 15 February 2013

Giveaway: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. 1 Day Only!

Running for one day only, I'm able to give away one copy of Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. Today is the last day of the blog tour and there are 2 other blogs giving you the chance to win a copy for yourself but the giveaways will only run for one day!  

Here's the synopsis of the book:

Everybody thinks Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave. Then Cate finds her mother's diary, and uncovers a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate starts scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe--not even from each other.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



For more chances to win a copy, head over to the links below. These blogs are all giving a copy away today! 





You can also read the first chapter to get you started!



Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Speechless by Hannah Harrington


About the book
Speechless is a stand-alone young adult novel by Hannah Harrington. It was published by Mira Ink in Kindle format on 7th September 2012 while the paperback has a release date of 13th February 2013. The book is 272 pages long. I was provided with an e-book for review.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
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 has taken a vow of silence—to learn to keep her mouth shut, and to stop hurting anyone else. And if she thinks keeping secrets is hard, not speaking up when she's ignored, ridiculed and even attacked is worse.

But there's strength in silence, and in the 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.

What I thought
I loved Hannah Harrington’s other book, Saving June and I couldn’t wait to get more from her.

In Speechless Chelsea Knot is popular and loves life. However, she has a habit to spread rumours around like wild fire and just cannot keep them to herself. When her best friend has a party and Chelsea finds out something major, she doesn’t keep it to herself for long at all. Unfortunately for Chelsea, this ends in disaster with a boy being beaten up to the point where he ends up in hospital and in a really bad way. It takes a lot of guilt for Chelsea to report the people who did it and it also ruins her life at school. After all of this, Chelsea realises that her spreading gossip and rumours isn’t a good thing to do so she takes a vow of silence.

I really liked the idea of Chelsea realising what she had been doing was so wrong and that she decided to try and rectify it by being silent and not talking not anyone, not even when she was at home. Although this was a little over the top maybe, especially not talking to her parents, I did understand her reasons. She thought that not talking at all would keep her out of trouble. Staying silent is also partly to show that she is really sorry for everything she has done.

As much as I felt sorry for Chelsea, especially after telling the police who beat up the boy, I could also kind of understand why the people at her school treat her in the way that they did. Once Chelsea speaks out, she is tormented by her former friends and also near enough everyone else in school. Because of speaking out, Chelsea becomes the subject of bullying in a massive way. Now, I’m not saying I understand the bullying aspect of this book but I more meant I understood why her ex-friends decided they didn’t want anything to do with her anymore.

Not only does this book tackle the subject of bullying but also homophobia, which is the reason the boy got beaten up in the first place. It was shocking to see how such a place, in a such a time, could be this homophobic. As this book is set in the present, it is hard to think that such small minded places and people exist and that people still feel this way. Although the homophobic characters were punished for what they did, I still don’t think that it was enough. As well, things are put into place to stop bad things happening again but I don’t think it was shown as being majorly important, when it should have been.

There are some great secondary characters in Speechless, mainly Asha though. She’s the one girl who befriends Chelsea when she has no one else and even when they have to have conversations on a whiteboard. I loved Asha because she really didn’t care what anyone else thought of her and she did exactly as she wanted. Asha also introduced Chelsea to a different way of life and introduced her to people who actually cared and didn’t treat her like an outcast.

While Speechless does have some really important issues spoken about, it just wasn’t strong enough for me. I wanted things more escalated to make them seem as important as they really are. I wanted to love this book but unfortunately, I didn’t love this one quite as much as I did Saving June. 

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Book to Film Review: Jack Reacher



About the film
Jack Reacher is a 2012 action film based on the Lee Child’s novel One Shot. The film has was released at cinemas on 26th December and it has a run time of 130 minutes. Jack Reacher is rated 12A.

Plot
When a sniper randomly kills five people, a man named James Barr is arrested for the crime. If he chooses to sign a confession, he gets to choose between death row or a lifetime in prison but instead, Barr asks for Jack Reacher. Reacher is a ghost, a man who can never be found – he finds you. As ex-army police, Reacher knows Barr and his past already and begins to unravel the mystery of what actually happened to those five dead people and whether or not Barr actually did it.

Cast
Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher
Rosamund Pike as Helen Rodin
Robert Duvall as Cash
Werner Herzog as The Zec
Richard Jenkins as Alex Rodin
David Oyelowo as Emerson
Michael Raymond-James as Linsky
James Martin Kelly as Rob Farrior
Nicole Forester as Nancy Holt
Alexia Fast as Sandy
Joseph Sikora as James Barr
Jai Courtney as Charlie

What I thought
Jack Reacher was a film I hadn’t heard much about before going to see it. If I’m honest, I only went to see it because it was for an advance screening with my Cineworld Unlimited Card and I had nothing better to do that night. I had never even heard of the books the film was based on, let alone read them.

The strange thing about this film was that when it begins, it shows who the real sniper is. You don’t go into the film wondering who did it the whole way through. I can’t say that I have ever seen something like this done before but it was something I liked. While the audience know who the real sniper is, Jack Reacher and Helen, the attorney representing Barr do not. Still though, there was the whole surprise of motives and some other things along the way.

I know many people have said they were worried about Tom Cruise being cast as Reacher, partly due to him being so small. From what I gather, in the books, Reacher is a bit of a giant of a man. Having not read the books, I can’t say that I really cared about Cruise being cast and I thought he was pretty good actually. Normally I think he comes across as arrogant and full of himself and while there were small aspects of this showing, I think it was what the character needed. Cruise also manages to deliver comedy well which is something I have very rarely seen him do.

The rest of the cast was mostly good. Rosamund Pike as Helen came over as a little too flat for my liking. I’m not sure what her character is supposed to be like but for someone taking on such a case, I expected her to have a little more fire inside her. I just didn’t feel any passion coming from her which was a shame as I think the character could have been really good. However, the bad guys in the film were fantastic. Jai Courtney plays Charlie and while he is super hot, he is also extremely bad but I loved him. He’s mean looking and brooding which made him all the better for me. The overall cast of this film is fantastic with not many of them letting the side down.

Plot wise, it was quite interesting but could have been better. There were plenty of exciting scenes but the idea behind the plot, the reason for the shootings, was extremely lacking. While the motive is explained, I felt there needed to be more. Reasons were given once realised by the characters but then nothing much happened about it. The reasons weren’t even very good in my opinion and I felt as though there either needed to be a lot more depth to the situation or the reasons needed to be used better. I hate to say that the plot was lacking because I did really enjoy the film. However, it seemed to be more about finding the motive rather than caring about the motive.

So overall, Jack Reacher was a good film but I wonder if fans of the book agree with what I thought.  

Monday, 11 February 2013

Rescue Me by Rachel Gibson


About the book
Rescue Me is an adult novel by Rachel Gibson and is the third book in the Lovett, Texas series. The book was published by Corgi on 6th December 2012 and it is 384 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy.

Synopsis (Taken from Goodreads.com)
Things are getting tricky for sexy Sadie Hollowell, about to be forced into a bubblegum-pink bridesmaid dress for her little cousin Tally Lynn's wedding. And if that ain't problem enough, the second she drives back into town, the entire population of Lovett, Texas will be fixing her up with the nearest available man - any man. She needs a rescue plan now. And good-looking stranger Vince Haven might just be the perfect 'date' she needs to get her family off her back.

But moody ex-Navy SEAL Vince Haven is only stopping by Lovett to visit his crazy Aunt Luraleen. 'No strings attached'is his motto, and he'll be damned if he acts as any woman's fake date! Sadie's out of luck again - but when Vince's aunt makes him an offer he can't refuse, he could be hanging around town for a while. And if Sadie gets that date after all, she might just get more than she bargained for!

What I thought
I’ve never read a Rachel Gibson book before although I have heard such good things about her books so I really wanted to give one a go. Although this is the third book in a series, it can be read as a stand-alone and you needn’t have any knowledge of the other books at all.

Rescue Me begins by telling the story of Sadie Hollowell, a girl born and raised in Texas and a girl who couldn’t get away quickly enough. She hasn’t been home to the ranch and her father in a long time but when a cousin getting married has her as a bridesmaid, she can’t say no. Sadie is a very independent woman, not letting anyone tell her what to do and she definitely doesn’t rely on any man. In fact, she barely ever has boyfriends. It took me a while to warm to Sadie but mainly because it took a while to really get to know her character. It wasn’t until her backstory and family history were explained that I really felt like I knew who she was.

Then there is Vince. Vince is the super hot guy Sadie rescues on her way into town. Like Sadie, Vince has a past and not one he is too willing to share with anyone. Being an ex-Navy SEAL, Vince has been all over the world and seen a great many things. It also means he has a body you’d want to lick! He also doesn’t really do relationships and is more a one night stand kind of guy. Vince is able to find a woman to keep him satisfied wherever he goes but it never gets to be anything more than that. Although Vince does sound like an asshole when describing him, he wasn’t at all. He knows what he wants and is very upfront about how he feels about relationships.

As both Sadie and Vince are stuck in town for a little while, they strike up a friends with benefits kind of situation although neither of them were expecting to. The way that these two characters begin to hit it off was extremely hot! The chemistry between these two character was absolutely smoking and I loved every second of them being together. As this is an adult novel, there is a hell of a lot of sex throughout but Rachel Vincent keeps it interesting by changing things up all of the time. Nothing is ever boring, which is also a theme running through this book.

Remember Me is a romance novel with a slightly dated setting but also with a really modern feel to it. The small town of Lovett, Texas is where the dated part comes in. It’s a town where everyone knows everyone else and their business but it also felt modern because of where Sadie and Vince have spent their time beforehand. I also really liked the use of the ranch belonging to Sadie’s family because I tend to put that together with Texas. Stereotypical I know but I can’t help it. The plot was pretty predictable though but I don’t expect new and extremely exciting plots from romances. They’re not why I read them.

I’m really happy to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my first Rachel Gibson book and now want more!