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THE HUNDRED AND ONE DALMATIONS

The Hundred and One Dalmatians - Dodie Smith Review on my blogAs good as the Disney film is, it is definitely not a patch (unintentional pun there) on the original book, although they are nothing like each other anyways. The book was filled with so much adventure for such a small read and I was getting really excited when reading this book to see what would happen next.The characters were the dogs, whom spoke to each other in their own animal way, but I still felt so much attachment to them all and loved each and every one of them. They showed so much love for one another, and it was just so refreshing to read something like that. On the other hand Cruella De Vil, who is still the evil character in the book as in the film, was a vile piece of work and I felt myself feel nervous and scared for the dogs themselves when they came into contact with her. I love characters in books, so you know I love it when I feel emotion towards the characters.

True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole, Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend

True Confessions of Adrian Albert Mole - Sue Townsend Review on my blogThis book, in reality, has 163 pages – the 89 that I have read were for Adrian Mole, and the other 74 were compiled of diaries of Margaret Hilda Roberts and Susan Lilian Townsend, of whom I had no want to read about. I am wanting to go through the diary of Adrian Mole and not these two strangers who I have known nothing about prior.I don’t think I’ve seen a series which such promise take such a slip with each book as the Adrian Mole series has. It has gone from witty, funny and quirky to just plain boring. This book was told, not really in a diary as previous, (even though some parts were dated so) but in the form of short stories – these stories weren’t even particularly compelling or funny to say the least. In fact I found them to be quite stupid and immature, and I didn’t believe Adrian as a character as much as I did in the other books. He kept the same demeanour as when he was a child of 13 3/4 which even for an immature 18 year old isn’t very realistic as he was still as naive then as he is now.It just didn’t do anything for me and I hope that the series picks up some serious pace in the next few books.

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole

The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole - Sue Townsend Read this on my blogThis is a coming of age (literally) novel surrounding the diary of Adrian Mole, a now 15 year old prepubescent boy who is learning to control his hormones, and work with and around his family problems at the same time as stabilising a relationship with a girl, who he believes is his one and only. This is a quick and easy read, and I found myself outwardly chuckling on various occasions as it is very to the point and quite witty for a boy that age.With regards to the wit, it’s not something that Adrian is fully aware of it seems, he just comes out with these quips like every kid does and doesn’t realise what he’s saying – this makes it to be even funnier with the naivety slotted behind it.This series is definitely one I would recommend.

The Fourth Bear

The Fourth Bear  - Jasper Fforde Review on my blogThis is a sequel to Big Over Easy in the Nursery Crime series, and also a completely separate story by itself. Being a sequel, Fforde had a lot to live up to after the first book, and I believe that he has done it again – if not better- with this absolutely brilliant book.Like the first book, it was witty, funny, likeable and those descriptions can be given to anything and everything in this book. The stories that are written in this book are so satirically wonderful that you just can’t help but love it. If anything, I thought that this was better story wise than the first book which I still absolutely loved – there just seemed to be more substance, ‘logic’ (if there were ever a misused word with regards to the book) and twists, and I couldn’t be anything but surprised at every event that we followed.Jasper Fforde is quickly becoming my favourite author.

The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia, #3)

The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia, #3) - C.S. Lewis See review on my blogAgain, like the other two books in the series, The Horse And His Boy is a wonderful piece of story telling. Nothing is rushed despite the shortness of the book, and it doesn’t take anything away from the content. The characters were absolutely wonderful, and they each had their own personal traits about them which development throughout the story and in a sense created many a moral throughout the book. I found this book to be a lot different from the last two books which was very refreshing to read; it was set in a totally different scenery of deserts and the worlds around Narnia for starters and the different races of people in the world made for an interesting read.Definitely a great short and easy read.

2001: a Space Odyssey.

2001: A Space Odyssey  - Arthur C. Clarke See the full review on my blogOn my copy of this book, there wasn’t actually a synopsis, so I went into this book not knowing an awful lot about what it was about and what kind of things to expect – a blank canvas per se. The synopsis above makes it sound like an amazing adventure but I do not think that that reflects anything and if anything it exaggerates what really happens.First of all, this book was written before any space travel of any value had actually been accomplished – at the time this was a new and profound outlook on what space may be like as it was seen as futuristic. This was written in the 1960s and I am reading this in 2013, so maybe that hindered my view of this book a little. Had I read it in the 60s, however, I probably would have been a lot more intrigued, but I found this book to be written like a non fiction novel, (or what I’d think a non fiction novel to be like) in the way that everything was described to the most minutest of details, and I found this to be very harrowing.I found it to be very bland – full of figures, suits (pardon the unintentional space pun), and too many ‘facts’ – I wanted there to be adventure, they’re in space for crying out loud. This may make me sound quite naive, but in the 60s, as aforementioned, space wasn’t a well known thing and I thought Clarke could have brought a little more imagination into the mix, there were, and still are, endless possibilities regarding space travel, and a book is the medium in which is take imagination one step further.The sections of the book where things started to get interesting were my favourite, the take over of Hal and the penultimate ending, which is the only part when the overwhelming description became absolutely brilliant and showed a bit of imagination. On second thoughts, these were the only interesting parts of the book.Now I can appreciate that in 1968 when this was written, that it would have been something new, and exciting, and something everyone knew little about, so at the time this would have been an amazing book. If I could time travel and read this book in the past I would, just to appreciate the novelty, but reading this in 2013 is such a let down.

Before I Fall

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver See the full review on my blogThe first chapter is full of all the popular high school girl clichés of being a total bitch, having a boyfriend you are about to have sex with for the first time and just thinking you are the best thing since sliced bread, so to say. I inwardly sighed upon the first chapter, hoping that it wasn’t like this the whole way through – it most definitely wasn’t, and it was nothing like I thought it would be generally either. This is a book to make you think, this is a book to make you value your life and those around you a little bit more than you did.Throughout the book, as Sam is reliving the very day she dies, she starts seeing things in a different light to how she would be prior. She sees the beauty in things, she sees how her behaviour has affected different people. All this emotion and realisation is written in such a beautiful way that makes it hard not to take parts of it in mould it into your life – it’s just wonderfully hard-hitting, if there ever were a relevant oxymoron for the description.First impressions: This is going to be an awful high school chick lit, I can see it. Final impressions: Absolutely brilliant and emotional. Do not judge this book on face value, or the first chapter because it gets so much better than that.

Wonder

Wonder - R.J. Palacio Read the full review on my blogI would class this book, not as a YA, but as a children’s book – it is very simply written. Auggie is 10 years old so it does sort of figure that it would be written in such an easy way, but it was just too easy for me. Maybe it’s because I’m reading this book in my early 20s that I feel this way, but it just didn’t capture me enough – the only thing that got me through this book was the hope that it might get better and because it was such an easy read.The book was sectioned off into showing different peoples perspectives of the situation, from August, to his best friend Jack Will, to his sister Via. His sisters perspective was by far the best of them all because it was so real and true, the feelings that she was expressing were not those that were being portrayed in Auggie’s section because he didn’t see that she was not being who she really was – it’s all explained in her section so I won’t go into too much detail, but it was by far the most hard hitting for me. There’s a section towards the end of the book that was written without any capital letters and with a lack of grammar, I did not understand why this was written this way as it wasn’t explained and I found it very hard to concentrate while reading as it was really disconcerting.The last thing I want to say is that I didn’t find it realistic in any way shape or form. Little kids are cruel, little kids make fun of things that they don’t see as ‘normal’. The majority of people in Auggie’s school, although they did a little bit, did not bully him as much as I would have expected them to. I know this sounds really awful on my part but it’s the reality of the situation, if a boy that had a natural deformity went to school, the likelihood of him being bullied immensely is very high. I wouldn’t want it to happen to anyone but the thing is, it happens, and I didn’t think this showed the true colours of a lot of young children.I didn’t feel anything for Auggie, whether it be sadness or happiness, I don’t know whether that was because he didn’t go through enough to warrant me feeling that way or not, but I didn’t really care. I may sound like a heartless human being but these are just my thoughts of reality, and this book didn’t live up to the hype for me.

Ready Player One

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline Read the full review on my blogIt’s 2044, the creator of the OASIS; a virtual reality game world, has just passed away leaving a message for all of his gamers. In his will, he is leaving the entirety of his fortune along with the ownership of the OASIS to the one person who can find the ‘easter egg’ in the game – they have to find 3 keys and 3 gates in order to find it by following a number of clues and riddles. Wade Watts, or Parzival as is username depicts in the OASIS is the first person to find the first key.Thousands, if not millions of people log into the OASIS everyday, it’s a place where you can go to a virtual school, make friends, play the game with quests, earn experience points and even order clothes or food. Basically, it’s like the real world but in a game, and this is what made it so attractive to everyone.This book is full of 80s references galore, and to be honest, I only knew a few of them and the majority of them went way over my head, this did not in any way detract from the story as this was only relevent due to the fact that James Halliday, the creator of the OASIS, was a massive 80s fan and loved every single nook and cranny of that era. There were, however, as many gaming reference as there were 80s ones with regards to the playing of the game in the first place – this is definitely more up my street. It was the little things, like not having enough room in your inventory, having a sword with a +5 fire abillity and getting different clothes and equipment for your character. I’m a fan of gaming, so this definitely make me smile on many an occasion.The plot is by far the best thing about this book though and is it’s driving force. The characters are having to figure out the riddles that Halliday has left for them in his will for the different keys and this is all the excitement that anyone needs. The riddles aren’t easy, like a lot of other books I’ve read of the same nature, they are very cryptic and even the characters take months and sometimes years in order to figure out the answers to these troublesome clues. This I found to be brilliant just because Halliday would not have made this quest an easy task for anybody – somebody will be going away with a mass fortune and the ownership of a massive game for crying out loud – if it had been any easier it would have been awful and stupid.It wasn’t all just fun and games however, there was a corporate company who was paying a hoard of people to figure out the clues to try and find the keys in order so they would have full control of the company and to start making it into a mass marketing scheme to make more money (which wasn’t what Halliday wanted). This company were technically the ‘bad guys’ of the book but they were realistic in the way of business, and the way that some people would do anything to get what they want. This made for an exciting read, as it was a race to see who would be able to figure out everything first and you were rooting for Wade every step of the way (as is obvious) despite an onslaught of tricks and cheats that they play.Due to the fact that everyone’s logged into the OASIS for a lot of the time, the actual real world has been neglected and people were forgetting that the OASIS wasn’t actually the real world.This is the cause of mass poverty, bad climate change and the general unwell being of the majority of the worlds population – the OASIS was a paradise in comparison to the real world and I believe that that’s a reason that people went there in the first place. Forget about the bad things that are happening in the world, if I’m in the virtual world I won’t be able to see it and won’t need to deal with it. This kind of attitude and idea is what I think makes this book seem so realistic, it sounds as though it’s something that probably could happen in the future with the way our technology’s growing and the way our world is getting worse.This got bumped to the top of my reading pile, as everyone on booktube would not stop talking about how amazing it is and that everyone should read it – so like the follower I am, I pushed it right up to the top. No regrets, it’s PHENOMENAL.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak Read the full review on my blogIt follows nine year old Liesel growing up in Nazi Germany from 1939 and as a consequence of this, there is definitely a lot of depth to the book. Depth, not just in the story but in the emotions as this is a time in history that would have affected so many different people in so many different ways. The emotions in The Book Thief were raw and as realistic as it could get for a 9 year old girl growing up with a foster family, she has already gone through a couple of traumas so far in just getting to the house, let alone the rest of the book during the war. I loved each and every one of the characters, they each brought something different to the table and they showed the true multi-faceted nature of the human being. Liesels foster mama in particular was a loud, aggressive person who swore to no end, but she was caring, and loving, and she tried to do what was best for her family and neighbours – this shows what certain situations leads you to be like, you need to be strong for others around you. This is one of the many lessons that you learnt in this book.Liesel’s development through this book was wonderful. She started off being a scared little scrawny child who had gone through things at 9 that nobody wants to go through in their entire life, she turns into a more confident teenager (although still scrawny). Her attitude changes throughout the book and due to the fact that so many things are going on in her life, instead of taking them to heart and going in on herself, she uses it to make her stronger person. The fact that she was learning to read and write was also a staple point for this development as she felt as though she was doing something with her life and wasn’t years behind her peers as she once was.As is quite obvious, the idea of ‘books’ was a powerful thing, and the fact that Liesel was a book thief was even stronger. Books had ideas, theories, history and so much more in them in Nazi Germany, so much so that Hitler wanted to burn any that he didn’t agree with – this in itself makes the symbol stand out. Liesel, although unknowing of it herself, had the power to change people, give them ideas, make them think about what was really happening, and this is something that can be thrown into the present day, let alone just in the time of Nazi Germany. Books aren’t really as popular in a knowledge sense, as they were a little while ago; people are choosing technology, games, social media, instead of books and history and it’s starting to get forgotten. People are forgetting things that have happened and in order to not make the same mistakes twice, people need to know what happened in order to save themselves from doing just that. I believe this book is one of those books which puts that realisation in peoples minds and brings forward the idea that books really are powerful things.

A Monster Calls (non illustrated)

A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness Read the full review on my blogThis is one of the most creative books about illness I’ve ever read about; it’s told from the point of view of Conor who is dealing with the idea of his mother suffering with a terminal cancer. It’s about his fears, grief and sufferings primarily – the family suffer as much as the diagnosed in a sense.It is written like a children’s book in a simplistic, fairytale manner, but the content I would say is aimed for an older audience. The themes in the book are quite hard hitting and complex at times, and this creates an odd lull to the book as you’re not entirely sure how it’s supposed to be perceived. This creates for an easy read, and I got through this book in a day, not just because of the simplistic manner that this book was written, but also due to the fact that it was such an enthralling read with something new always around the corner.The writing is laced with emotion, and from the very beginning you sympathise with this young boys imminent loss – he goes into himself, he acts out and he lets his emotions get the better of him sometimes, but this comes with the roller-coaster of a journey he’s having to go through at the moment. Although only 13, Conor is very relatable to anyone at any age going through the same thing – we all feel small and vulnerable in times of need, and we all need someone to hang on to.Being a “fairytale” as such, it comes with a moral, and a strong one at that. This is the kind of book that leaves you hanging, not for the story, but for yourself – it makes you think about life and how precious it is even with the ups and downs that we so dearly despise. A wonderful read, and I can’t say more than that without ruining the magic of a first time read.

The Big Over Easy (Nursery Crime Adventures 1)

The Big Over Easy  - Jasper Fforde See the full review on my blogPunny funny murder mystery; if I had to describe this book, those four words sum it up to a tee. Fforde is known for his funny and ingenuitive concepts, and his even funnier writing style, he combines fun children’s characters with puns-a-plenty with the seriousness of a murder case – an oxymoron of a book if ever there was one. The characters were based around nursery rhyme characters for the most part, and all but one of them I found, extracted a personality very well from their very own piece of poetry or prose. There were little things spotted around the story which related to the supposed nursery rhymes; the forgetting of Rumpelstiltzkin’s name or Jack trading in a painting of a cow for some magical beans being a couple of examples. This wasn’t a hilarious book as such, but one that made you inwardly laugh at the irony of it all, which made it very subtly clever. There were definitive ‘good’ and ‘bad’ characters in this book and this was primarily obvious from the start, we loved the good guys and despised the bad guys and this flowed quite nicely with the nursery theme. The crunch of the book was the crime solving element, and although it had funny quips surrounding the main action it was still a serious affair and this came across in the writing. There was a genuine crime to be solved, it didn’t just end after a couple of people being questioned, it was a full on police investigation with clues, red herrings and the odd lie or few. I was certainly intrigued to finish the book and see who had committed the crime, as I can honestly say that I had no clue and was going along with the investigations and felt as though I was figuring it out for myself with Jack Spratt and Mary Mary by my side which is a wonderful element I love in books. It wasn’t predictable in the slightest and it didn’t even get boring, as when it started to slow, something would come in and throw everything up in the air again and they would have to pick up the pieces.This is the second Jasper Fforde book that I have read, I loved ‘Shades of Grey’ and I can most certainly say that that wasn’t a fluke as this one was fabulous and I will most definitely be reading an array of his books in the future.

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury See the full review on my bloghis is a classic dystopian novel, and because it was written in the 1950s it is relevant today, and a lot of the issues that are raised in the story are ones we are going through in this day and age; consequently, this creates a scary atmosphere from the offset, as Bradbury in a way has predicted what was going to happen in the future. It paints a harsh but realistic reality on what’s happening as well as what could happen if we don’t change and the fact that it is so relevant makes it really creepy to read and relate.The writing is absolutely stunning, the fluidity of the prose was almost poetic in its description, and flowed extremely well off the tongue upon reading aloud, which I admit is a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t normally take too much notice of description if there’s a lot of it, and normally I don’t like a lot of it either, but this book is so full of wonderful metaphors that were so beautifully put together that I couldn’t help but take notice. The descriptions definitely didn’t detract from the story, and if anything, they enforced you to imagine the world in a clearer light.In this story, books were forbidden because they gave people freedom of speech, imagination and something to think about – the government wanted anything but that; they wanted people to just live and not think about things that mean anything. The world was rounded up in Montag’s wife Mildred, she was epitome of ignorance – she created a bubble around herself and blocked herself away from the world by using different contraptions that had been invented to do just this. Instead of creating a full cast of characters in this manner, Bradbury created one, and this I believe was enough to create the idea that everyone else was the same in this almost robotic state.I can proudly say that this book, Fahrenheit 451, is the first non YA book that I have absolutely loved. Ever. It was so powerful and relevant that it just gave me shivers reading it. It is one of those books that will stay with you forever and makes you think about the world around you and everything that is going on. Amazing.

ABOUT A BOY.

About a Boy - Nick Hornby This book is a story of a coming of age for both the older and newer generations alike; although the results may end up being a little different along the way, it shows a lovely progression of character development up to the point of finding oneself.Marcus; a shy, weird, pre teen boy, is faced with a life of bullying and torment while his mother is completely oblivious to everything – she makes him interested in kitsch and slightly obscure things which a “normal” boy of his age would not be interested in. His mother is a wreck, and through the book, Marcus has a lot of things to deal with on top of family problems. His progression through these ordeals is extraordinary, and the amount that one character can change so much, without it being sudden, right before your eyes is an outstanding feat.Will, on the other hand, is a shallow layabout that doesn’t really do much with his day other than read, watch neighbours and try to chat up random women at single parent conventions. Will matures throughout the book and this comes across in his spoken words as well as his thoughts and actions – he becomes a lot more selfless and just starts to take the barriers down when it comes to feeling any kind of emotion other than vanity.Marcus and Will as a duo throughout the book were a pleasure to read, their bats of conversation were so straight to the point and they just seemed to bounce off of each other as well as help each other progress as people. In fact they each had a hand in the others development as characters as they each had something to give to the other.This book is pretty much a character and feelings based book, and this point is proven solely by the lack of any particular plot or storyline. There were times when I didn’t actually think that the book was going anywhere, and it just seemed to be stuck in a rut – things were being overly described unnecessarily, and I was just getting bored. Thinking about it afterwards, there is no particular storyline as it is just a book about finding yourself. I thought that made it slightly lacking to a degree as every single other box was ticked in my “good book checklist” bar the story. Don’t get me wrong, the depths behind this book were stunning, and I found myself highlighting a lot of the quotes on my kindle as I went as little bits of advice for myself even, but I just would have liked to have had some structure.Thoroughly enjoyed this read, Hornby’s definitely plucked my character involvement strings with this book, and I’d gladly pick up another of his in the future.

Legend (Legend, #1)

Legend (Legend, #1) - Marie Lu (See the full review on my blog)The story was told in alternating chapters in the view of Day and June respectively and this made the book very balanced. June was of a more privileged background to Day, and seeing the story from two different perspectives made it quite an unbiassed read as you weren’t just seeing it from the poorer perspective as is usually the case. Admittedly the book did tend to favour the poorer communities in a rich vs poor stereotypical battle a little bit more, but you do tend to get a lot of that in young adult books – this levelled out at the end when a lot of things got revealed, but for the most part it was pretty equal.Legend was a very fast paced book and everything seemed to happen in such a short amount of time, this suited the story very well as it is technically a tale of cat and mouse. You never spent too much time on one thing, and different things happened and were revealed at exactly the right times. The revelations in this book were brilliant, and I can honestly say that I was not expecting any single one of them – I’m usually reading a book like this and predicting everything that you would expect to happen, but in this book I was so shocked at the truths and the twists that the story had to give. Maybe it was predictable, maybe I was reading it feeling as though I was there in the characters shoes and totally missed the obvious, but that in itself is amazing, as to be so absorbed in the characters means that something is obviously going right.I fell in love with each and every character individually – even the “bad” ones – they were very relatable and felt so real. I felt as though I was there with them going along with every hardship and good time that they went through and when I connect with characters in that way I know I’m onto a good book as characters are everything to me.June in particular was wonderful to read about, she was so meticulous in her thoughts and calculations that it was just great to read. This was technically a “murder mystery” of sorts, and having a character that thinks about evidence in the way that June did I find to be most interesting – in these types of books I like to wonder, I like to think about what might have happened and what everything adds up to, and with June’s thorough thought processes I thought this was highlighted brilliantly.I picked this book up due to the high praise it was being given at the time due to the imminent release of the sequel “Prodigy” (which is now out), and I thought this book would perhaps be a little too overrated and wouldn’t exceed the expectations of the hype. I was wrong. It was amazing.

City of Glass: Mortal Instruments, Book 3 (The Mortal Instruments)

City of Glass  - Cassandra Clare OMG this series just gets better and better when I just thought it had topped itself! Need to buy the next book!