Book Review | Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Release Date: June 7th 2011
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Young Adult, Dark Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 352
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"A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive."

My Thoughts
This is a book that you can't really mention without first talking about the imagery used throughout. I loved how they were incorporated into the book and found that they gave a very eerie and believable feel to the story, especially since all of the photo used are real and weren't specifically shot for the book.

The plot was very detailed and did a good job of evolving the story at a decent pace, albeit the odd few parts were slow, with just the right amount of development. I found the book to be a lot darker than most YA and is something that I'm grateful for as it set a really good tone for the book and made you fear for the characters as they face the more 'creepy' and dangerous characters. I also really enjoyed the initial reluctance from Jacob at what he seeing and was being told, it was a refreshing change to some books in which the protagonist suddenly discovers that they aren't normal/supernatural and roll with it straight away 'no questions asked'.

My main issues with the book were that I found there to be quite a lot of characters to take in initially, which made me a little confused when it came to remembering their names and also the peculiar ability. Also was the romance/relationship between Emma and Jacob. (Next part is spoiler tagged as it gives away a little 'reveal'.)

Overall it was a really enjoyable read, a little slow in parts - mainly getting into the plot. It had a good development of character and story, with the fantastic additions of the photographs. I would defiantly recommend as its quite a unique book both plot and presentation wise, with the right amount of darkness that most YA lacks. 


Book Haul #1

This is just a collective haul from the last month or so of books I've bought (all at ridiculously good prices) and (one) that I received as a present! 
(All the goodreads pages are linked underneath each book)
First off I just want to say how much I hate the UK cover of this book?! The US one is SO much nicer!
Also I'm really excited to read this as, like everyone else, I'm interested in pretty much everything J.K writes!
Angelfall - Susan EE | £3.49 - Sainsburys
The Liar - Stephen Fry | 25p Market Stall
Timequake - Kurt Vonnegut | 25p Market Stall


Book Review | The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Release Date: October 6th 2009
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 374
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"When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out."

My Thoughts
This book absolutely blew me away! I literally could not put it down when reading, each chapter ending so that you could do nothing but continue on. I found it so refreshing to read a book after so long where I just couldn't predict what would happen next.

The plot was interesting and moved at excellent pace so there were never any times when I was loosing interest. I found the world building to be really well executed in this novel, each aspect of the glade and maze was constructed in such a way that it felt real, that this place could really exist. The main issue I tend to find with some dystopian novels is the lack of presence the world has, most tend to go with 'huge mushroom cloud explosion and now the world is in tatters' type explanation and then because of this don't necessarily give great descriptions of the surroundings, instead just assuming you think of ruined lands.

I really like the main character Thomas, especially the way that he interacted with the others in the novel. It was very realistic in the beginning with how much questions he was asking and his reactions to being ignored. Also with this aspect I liked that a lot of information was withheld from the reader. It made the story more intense as piece by piece the mystery of the maze unfolded keeping with great pace and suspense. The other characters in the book really all had great conversations, it was the right amount of sarcasm, wit and friendship that really tied them all together. You really experienced a great dynamic within the group and I think that was especially well done by not going overboard with the introduction of characters.

The only 'flaw' I could give this book, and I say that loosely, was the use of third person narrative. Personally I think that in certain cases, such as Harry Potter, it works well as the author can switch points of view to reveal more to the reader, but in the Maze Runner I just didn't think it was necessary. At first it bothered me slightly as I'm not so used to reading in that narrative but after a couple of chapters I forgot about it. (As I said VERY minor 'flaw')

Overall I thought this book was amazing and I would totally recommend it to most people who enjoy anything young adult dystopian, SciFi or Fantasy (or all of them!). I also think this would be a great book for males, especially as it has the uniqueness of having a pretty much all male set of characters. (I say this as I know many boys/men can be put off the YA genre as a lot of the books are geared towards females).



Page to Screen | Vampire Academy Casting

A little bit late but the Vampire Academy film adaptation has had some casting news! The named 'Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters' film has had it's three lead character cast, and this is so exciting because, in my opinion, they are SUCH good matches!

First up we have Zoey Deutch as lead Rosemarie 'Rose' Hathaway.

I wasn't as sure about Zoey's look when I first heard she was Rose as I was picturing how she was in the 'Beautiful Creatures'movie, however after seeing her with darker hair and fuller eyebrows I think she looks absolutely great!
I'm hoping that through training she will put on more muscle and hopefully a little bit more weight to really harness the curvy dhampir figure Rose is supposed to have.

Next is Lucy Fry as Moroi Princess Vasilisa 'Lissa' Dragomir.
A book
Lucy is near on PERFECT for the look of Lissa I think! Although I don't tend to picture actors generally when reading books, if I'd have seen Lucy when reading I would have totally pictured her. She has such a soft and pretty face that I think really matches to the personality of Lissa .
She's an Australian actress who is fairly unknown, only having a few TV roles but nothing major. The only concern I have with Lucy is how well she can do an American accent, other than that I think she looks great!

Finally we have Danila Kozlovsky as guardian and Rose's love interest Dimitri Belikov
A book
I think Danila is probably my favourite of the three cast, alongside looking perfect he's an actual RUSSIAN actor. I mean how great is that?! I love that he will have the perfect accent and we won't have to go through that worry-some process of wondering if he will be able to pull it off or not. 

I'm curious as to whether they are going to have Danila grow his hair longer so it can be put in a pony tail (as in the book) or keep it to the longish and messy length that it is now. Personally I really quite like the length in the photo so I wouldn't be too bothered either way.

Overall I'm REALLY excited to get the rest of the cast if they are getting people as dead on as these three! I also really like that they aren't so well known actors so that they won't have any stigma attached to them or there isn't any other character that they could be compared too.

*all images from Google image search

Book Review | The Host by Stephenie Meyer

Title: The Host
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Release Date: May 6th 2008
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Genre: Science Fiction
Pages: 619
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"Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, didn't expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love."

My Thoughts
I've tried to read this book before, the year it came out to be exact, but I just didn't enjoy it at all and stopped after around 50 pages. After a few years I'd heard that it got better once you go into in but I wasn't really interested in trying it again, and only due to how good the trailer for the film looks is why I decided to pick it up again.

I think my main problem with this book is similar to what happened with me when reading 'Warm Bodies', I saw the trailer and was expecting different things from the book that just didn't happen. I felt that the book shuffled along at a pretty slow pace and didn't really pick up until after 300+ pages, but after then I really did enjoy it. The trailer also seemed to show a much more action packed adventure, which isn't really similar to the book at all. Although it took me a while to get into and I wasn't that gripped initially when reading, every time I put the book down I would find myself later thinking about it and want to read it again.

I didn't find many of the characters in the book that memorable Jamie and Jeb where two that seemed to be pretty much the same personality but just and older and younger version. Melanie, the host body that Wanda takes over, is so irritating at first! She acts ridiculously immature for an apparent 21 year old, constantly winging because Wanda is starting to feel emotions towards Jared. The romance element between Melanie and Jared felt unbelievable in my opinion, it was insta-love at it's worst! I felt there was nothing that indicated WHY they loved each other and needed to be together, other than when they found each other they hadn't seen any other humans in a few years. On the other hand the romance that sparks between Ian and Wanda was really well done, you grew to love the characters together and really see how they connected together.

Overall I found the ending to be the best part about the whole book, it really pushed up my rating because I enjoyed it so much and couldn't help but read on. Although I kind of predicted what would happen it still didn't stop me loving it and feeling so much emotion towards the characters. I think that with the apparent sequels that are being written aren't entirely necessary as I felt that the book was left on a good ending, but I still would read them if and when they are published!



Book Review | Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline
Release Date: January 1st 2011
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction
Pages: 386
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"Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. 

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune--and remarkable power--to whoever can unlock them. 

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved--that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig. 

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. 

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt--among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life--and love--in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape. 

A world at stake. 
A quest for the ultimate prize. 
Are you ready?"

My Thoughts
I loved this book so much! I'd heard a lot of people rave on about it which made me worry that I held it with to high expectations, but they were all met and surpassed. This book is sheer genius, it incorporates a kind of vintagey sci-fi feel that you would expect from the 'virtual reality' type story but sets it in the not so distant future. For one I found that the futuristic elements are featured in a realised way that fits with the current state of the books world. There are not 'flying hover boards' or other things that seem to always be lumped in with anything to do with the 'future', the only really stereotypical futuristic element is the virtual reality game 'the Oasis' but its shown in a way that it isn't so successful because of the progression of the current world but because all of the decay it has experienced  The game offers a world where people can escape their current environment and become literally anyone or anything they want. This is one of the main things that really drew me into the book, the realistic world building that Cline does is just phenomenal, it's really depicting what could really happen with the world as more and more people rely on the internet as an 'escape'.

The plot of the book I felt moved along at a really good pace, I liked how there were gaps of time that passed between the finding of the keys rather than they all be found at once and it just be one huge race to the finish. The events that happened were a lot more intense than I was anticipating but I really enjoyed that as there were moments that you were caught by surprise. Also like pretty much every other person who seems to have read this book I ADORED all of the referencing (mainly 80's), and how well it all connected together into the plot. I've read a few review where people found this distracting and a lot of the references seemed to be just shoved in to prove a point, although I can understand why people may think this I don't really agree as sometimes the way that things were mentioned it was in a very fact based way and this in my opinion is because this is the type of way our main character Wade thinks.

Although there are many other characters featured in the book, Wade is the only one that we truly get the chance to know. I found his character to be really engaging, even though I'm never that drawn to male leads, I think this is due a lot to the referencing he does and also down to the sheer determination that you feel from him. I like how he grows as a character, as at first he is a little selfish by simply wanting to win to just better his own life (which is also a little understandable due to his circumstances) but when compared to that of Art3mis who say's if she wins she wants to use the money to try to better the world. I really liked Art3mis as a character as I think she helped the changes that we see in Wade.

Overall this is an extermely engaging read and a book that I would definatly go back to in the future!