Monday, 26 August 2013

Mortal Instruments: City of Bones Movie Review!

Directed by Harald Zwart. Starring Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Robert Sheehan, Kevin Zegers, Jemima West and Jonathan Rhys Meyers (for full cast and crew, click here). Based on Mortal Instruments novel, City of Bones, by Cassandra Clare. Release date was August 21st 2013. Rated 12A. Running time is 130 minutes.

When her mother disappears, Clary Fray learns that she descends from a line of warriors who protect our world from demons. She joins forces with others like her and heads into a dangerous alternate New York called Downworld. {movie synopsis}

First off, I should probably tell you that I read Cassandra Clare's book over two years ago, loved it and was expecting great things going into this movie. Luckily, I ended up absolutely loving it! It's easily become one of my favourite book-to-movie adaptions of all time. No, scratch that, one of my favourite movies ever. I loved it so much that I'm planning on going back to see it again sometime this week!

It goes without saying that I think you should read the book beforehand. I'm not saying that because I think you'd get confused if you didn't but because I feel you could appreciate it more because of how true it stays to the novel. Seriously, the opening scenes are pretty much exactly what happens in the beginning of the book! I'm not denying there weren't differences because, of course, there were - that's pretty much a given when a book's being adapted into a film! - but it stayed true enough to the book to keep me happy. However, I did go with a friend who hadn't read the book and she still ended up loving it just as much as myself. True, she did need me to clarify a few bits and pieces afterward, but nothing major. She did ask me about something that even I didn't quite understand though and that was *SPOILER*why Valentine tried to get Clary to drink out of the Mortal cup. I didn't get this part of the movie because, not only was it not in the book, but it just didn't make any sense. Clary's already a Shadowhunter so there should be no need for her to drink out of it... right?!*SPOILER OVER*

Okay, on to the cast! A few of you will know that I wasn't all too happy about Jamie Campbell Bower being cast as Jace at first. But then the trailer came out and he looked so promising that I instantly took back what I'd said. And in the movie?! He was freakin' amazing! Though he wasn't exactly like book Jace, he did an amazing job. By the end of the movie, I was just like:

source
So, yes, I'm now a huge fan of Jamie/movie Jace. Of course I can't not mention Lily Collins who also done a fantastic job bringing Clary to life. She was perfect. And, thanks to Robert Sheehan, I actually liked Simon! *gasps* (if only a little) For those of you who don't know, I find book Simon annoying... But that wasn't the case in the movie! Kevin Zegers (who I'd seen before in It's a Boy Girl Thing) also did a great job portraying Alec though he wasn't in it all that much. I think I'm a little in love with him too.

Okay, so I'm going to stop rambling now. Basically, I loved this movie and really recommend you go see it. It's AMAZING! The cast are great and you literally feel like you're in the book when watching it. If you haven't read the book, I totally recommend you do before going to see it - you'll really be able to appreciate it on a whole new level! Of course there are little things that aren't perfect but I loved it all the same and can't wait to see it again and again and again. They truly did a wonderful job turning a great book into a great - no, amazing - movie.


Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

PS: This is the first movie review I've ever done on the blog. Did I do okay? What'd you think? Also, don't worry, I won't be making this a regular occurrence. I only post stuff about movies if they are being adapted from YA books! :)

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Interview with Book Blogger, Rebecca!

Well, hello there! How are you? Good? To those of you still on your summer holiday... YOU ARE SO DARN LUCKY! My new school year is so demanding! When I'm not doing homework, chances are I'm sleeping... Anyway. Who wants to hear all about my school life when I've got an interview with Rebecca from Rebecca-Books to share?! Thought so. ;) Well, I hope you have as much fun getting to know this lovely book blogger as I did! Afterward, I suggest you hop on over to her wonderful blog and give it a follow! :)

Hey, Rebecca! *waves*

Hey Rachel! Glad to be here.

Would you mind introducing yourself and your lovely blog?

Sure. Well guys, I'm Rebecca, I'm 18 and I run a little blog called Rebecca-Books where I review and just basically plain fangirl about books. My life is pretty bookish actually outside the blog (which I am totally NOT ever complaining about). I've just finished my A levels which involved a LOT of reading and studying and I have a part-time job at my local Waterstones bookshop. I'm also a HUGE Tudor geek. I started my little area of the internet about 3 years ago after I discovered some other blogs like The Broke and the Bookish, Fluttering Butterflies and G-Reads and thought how great fun that looked. My first reviews though....let's not think about how much I cringe when I read them...

What do you love the most about book blogging? I'm feeling pretty generous so you can mention up to three things! ;)

AH. So. many. things.

Okay, let's do this. Definitely the interaction with bloggers in sharing something you love and cherish. When I started my blog, I was like 14 or something and most of my friends at the time thought it was weird that I read a lot. So having that community that supports and understands me has been a life saver in my teenage years. I also love the freewill of writing my own opinions about whatever I choose on something I love and that is shared by others: books.

Knowing about the publishing industry has also been amazing to learn about in book blogging and it's kind of that, that has made me want to go into the publishing industry. Just finding out about all the different books out there and how hard the industry is especially for the authors themselves - it makes you appreciate reading and books in general more I think.

And one more...I know I said about the interaction with bloggers but I also love, love, LOVE the bloggers themselves. Because let's face it without the friends we make in blogging, it wouldn't be as fun.

Your top five bookish pet-peeves?

Oh my. Okay, some of these have developed from becoming a bookseller.

1) OKay, you know when Twilight went BIG, suddenly all these authors kind of jumped on that paranormal, dark romance, cheesy band wagon? And then Fifty Shades of Grey came riding along and suddenly THAT kind of book was like the thing to read. And then Suzanne Collins came in with Jennifer Lawrence in her convertible and then immediately, everyone believed you when you said that series was good and people SAW the movie before reading the book and you're like 'WHY DO THAT?'. That hype thing that ALWAYS ALWAYS happens? I really dislike that.

2) Linking from that...I really dislike watching a movie adaptation willingly before actually reading the book. Classics like Pride and Prejudice or Les Miserables, I make an exemption because a) Les Mis is HUGE and b) EVERYONE knows the plot already. For instance, The Great Gatsby came out. Lots of people saw it. Only after they had complained about the lack of plot, the excess and then (the clincher) how 'shallow' Daisy is...they read the book. And found out that that all happens in the book (Had to study TGG for A level English Literature so I KNOW that book well. Good book).

3) This is more a book peeve at myself. But I have this thing where I don't like buying books that I'm not sure what they're going to be like despite my Waterstones discount, despite the tons of reviews I may see. It annoys me A LOT.

4) That general universal thought that reading equals geekiness. Sure I'm a total geek, I'd admit that. But because I read is not the reason. I also dislike it when people just hate a certain book without giving it a chance or just hate the whole idea of reading without giving it a chance (I know, I know, people actually DON'T read?!)

5) Bend or dirty books. I can't...

(Loved this question, Rachel, let me bookish anger out a little bit!)

Quick, a demon is running straight at you! Which hunky fictional guy do you bring to life to protect you? Why?

Well. This kind of changes depending on my recent reads, like I had a huge French guy phrase after I read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins because you know, Etienne St Clair...

At the moment, I'm all for Jamie in Louise Rozett's Confessions series (which is bad because he's all, well, bad). However, my ultimate fictional guy who I will ALWAYS love is Wes from Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever. He made me realise what a true boyfriend or even guy friend should be like which was muchly needed when I read it.

If you could only read books by one author for the rest of your life, which author would you choose and why?

THIS IS SO HARD RACHEL. I'm just going to throw John Green in there because I like all his books and I don't think I will ever not like one of his books. His books just make me feel so good, you know?

The world is ending and you have to jump into a book! Which book do you seek refuge in and why?

AGAIN, SO HARD. Hmmmm, probably The Other Countess by Eve Edwards. As I said, I love the Tudor period so much and it'll be pretty cool to live in that era for a bit.

Finally, can you recommend one popular, well-known author and one underappreciated and not-so-popular author to us?

AH. So many. Erm, I would recommend Marie Lu and her Legend series as the well-known one as well as Veronica Roth *whispers* I think Divergent is so much better than The Hunger Games...

Underappreciated...Erin Morgenstern probably. Seriously, The Night Circus is one of the best, most amazing books I have ever had the fortune to read. It is truly beautiful - everyone should read it.

Quick-Fire:

Physical book or ebook? ALWAYS physical. I love my Kindle and Netgalley, I'm a little obsessed with. But you can never beat the physical book in your hands.
Snow or rain? Snow. Walking home on a snowy evening in winter with snow crunching, just reminds me of my childhood.
Ron or Hermionie? Okay, this is going to get me a lot of 'WHAT?!' and a guy at work told me he didn't want to talk to me when I told him this. BUT...I've never been a huge fan of Harry Potter. And...thought the movies were so much better than the books. I get why people like it and it's so watchable...but I don't like it THAT much. Hermionie was my favourite character in the series though....
Blue or Pink? Blue. I wear too much navy...
Chick-lit or Fantasy? Hmmm...chick-lit. You can never beat a good chick-lit when you're feeling down.

Thank you so much for being on the blog today, Rebecca! I had a lot of fun reading your answers! I, too, cringe A LOT when I read my first reviews! *lowers voice* I also like Divergent a little bit more than The Hunger Games! *raises voice into a shout* YOU DON'T LIKE HARRY POTTER?! WH-WHAT?! Just 'cause I'm feeling friendly, I won't disown you. ;P

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Monday, 12 August 2013

Review: Diary of a Mall Girl

Author: Luisa Plaja
Edition: Curious Fox Paperback
Released: 15th March 2013
Series: n/a (Standalone)
Pages: 269 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

The mall is the heart of fifteen-year-old Molly's suburban town. Most teens hang around with friends there, get their first job there, and experience their first kiss there. And Molly? She actually lives there, in the complex's residential wing.

But living in a massive shopping centre isn't as much fun as it sounds. That is, until mysterious twins Jewel and Jasper move into the flat upstairs. Suddenly life is a lot more exciting - and complicated. Will Molly get what she wants, or will it all come crashing down?

This is the third Luisa Plaja book I've read and so can now say for sure I know what to expect from this author. When I picked this up off my review pile I was looking for a light, fluffy read. Something I wouldn't take all too seriously. And this proved to be the perfect read for the mood I was in. Though I didn't love it, it was a fun book to pass the time.

If there's one thing I love in chick-lit books, it's how the main character always seems to embarrass themselves one way or another. In Molly's case, she really did have some super cringey/awkward moments. Most of which had me laughing hysterically. Seriously, Luisa Plaja has a talent for making me as giggly as I was whilst reading this book! At certain points I even had to sit the book down and take a breather because I was so embarrassed on Molly's behalf!

Speaking of Molly, she was a fun character - likeable enough. Admittedly, when she fussed over her problems, I wanted to shake her. Her problems were just so juvenile! However, I would always remind myself just to enjoy this book for what it was - a harmless, light-hearted read - and it wouldn't bother me as much. Jasper was also likeable, despite being quite hot-headed and stubborn. I really didn't like Wendy and Ameera though! Molly's supposed 'best friends'. I found them to be too immature. There was a quote from this book that did make me stop and think though.

"Friends are great, but they're also weird. I'm not completely convinced that you choose them any more than you choose your family. You just deal with what you've got."

I can actually believe that to be true. No matter how much my own friends annoy me, I love them - despite their flaws. I think a lot of people can relate to that quote too. Anyway. To conclude, I enjoyed this book. It was a light, fun, fluffy read with some truly hilarious moments. I managed to get through it in only a few hours. Though Diary of a Mall Girl isn't amazing or complex, it's still a great read for a rainy day. I can easily recommend it to a number of teenage girls!

THREE AND A HALF/FOUR STARS FOR THIS BOOK!
Huge thanks go out to Curious Fox publishers for sending me a review copy! :)
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo
 
PS: I apologize for not having been around much this past week. School is starting up again this Friday so I've been busy preparing for it and relishing the last days of the holiday. I suspect I'll also be a little absent over the next couple weeks but hopefully everything will settle down quickly. I'll still be on Twitter though. ;)

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Interview with Author, Sangu Mandanna!

So I've interviewed the lovely Sangu Mandanna. How amazing is that?! Her debut novel, The Lost Girl (you can find my review HERE), is one of my absolute favourites so I advise - after you read this interview and leave a delicious comment - you go buy it! It's a real one-off read! Anyways. Hope you enjoy the Q&A! :D

To begin with, can you tell us a little about yourself and your book?

I'm 25, obsessed with reading and Doctor Who, and spend my days dividing nonexistent time between writing, making things up in my head, and running around after my toddler. Sometimes I tell people I'm a stunt motorcyclist just to see the looks on their faces. The Lost Girl is my first book and it's about death and love and how far we'd go to keep the people we love. It's about a world where it's possible to make copies of the people you've lost, only those echoes aren't perfect and one of them - specifically my main character Eva - is determined to be more than just a copy.

What made you want to [partly] set your book in India? Were there any specific reasons?

I don't think it was something I thought about; the book just was partly set there. It was like it was already decided. I don't often have as much control over my stories and characters as I'd like! But I'm also sure part of it was the fact that I grew up in India and know Bangalore so well.

If you could jump inside your book, what would be the first thing you'd do and why?

I'd go to the Loom and look inside all the rooms and try to spy on the Weavers at work. So much of the Loom is a mystery to Eva and so much of it is a mystery to me still; I also love the idea of literally stitching a person into life, so I would love to be able to watch Matthew or Adrian or Elsa do that (given the choice between the three, I'd probably pick Matthew. I'm sure he has his own quirks and methods and I bet he chatters nonstop while he works, so it'd be intriguing and hilarious...)

Did you encounter any struggles while writing The Lost Girl? How did you overcome them?

I remember there was a point, round about Chapter 5, that I stopped writing it altogether. It was like my enthusiasm for it just died. I don't know why, but I suspect it had to do with feeling burned out. I'm very manic when I work - or I used to be before my son was born and I had free time, anyway! - and used to write anywhere between an hour to twelve hours a day and stay up all night and sleep in the afternoons and that kind of thing. That kind of process means it's easy to get exhausted and burned out. In the end it was just time away that fixed it; six weeks later, I went back to the book and never looked back! I think that's how I always overcome writing problems or struggles: it seems to work best. Taking a break and getting some perspective really brings the enthusiasm back and also gives you room to come up with new ideas.

Quick, an alien has barged into your house! Which fictional character will you bring to life to protect you?

Oh, without question it would be the Doctor from Doctor Who. Who else? Alien expert: check. Suitably badass when the situation calls for it: check. Funny and sexy to boot: check.

A YA book genie has granted you 3 wishes! What do you wish for in YA literacy?

1. More Harry Potter books. 2. [WARNING: Harry Potter SPOILER!] That Sirius Black never died. [SPOILER OVER!] 3. To be able to snap my fingers and have any book, whether it's published yet or not, in my hands instantly.

Finally, can you tell us about any books you're currently working on?

I'm currently working on a book I call GREY. It's a fantasy, steampunk-esque, about a girl who turns vigilante and gradually becomes a hero and a symbol of hope to a city. It's bleak and romantic and tragic and thrilling (I hope, anyway!) and working on it has been incredibly hard but also brilliant!

Quick-Fire:

Toffee or Caramel? Caramel
Blue or Pink? Blue (though I do have a soft spot for pink tech: my iPad has a hot pink cover and my stylus is pink and it's so pretty!)
Dogs or Cats? Oooeeer can't choose! Maybe dogs?
Dystopian or Contemporary? Contemporary right now, but I have phases and if you'd asked me last year it would have been dystopian!
Keyboard or Notebook? Keyboard for drafts, notebook for scribbles and notes.

Oh how I'd love to visit India! It looks like such a beautiful county - really rich in culture! *gazes off dreamily* I'd also love to visit the Loom! See what's going on in there! And more Harry Potter books?! YES PLEASE! The book you're currently working on sounds AMAZING! Thank you so much for letting me interview you - I love your answers!

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Showcase Sunday {22}

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky over at Books, Biscuits & Tea where book bloggers showcase the books they have received throughout the week.

I'm really excited about all the books I got this week! I received some great review books through the post (one of which was a complete surprise!) and, a few days ago, I went into town with a friend and bought a few more books with my own money. All of which I can't wait to show you!


For Review:

Teardrop (Teardrop #1) by Lauren Kate (ARC/Proof):
This was the surprise review book of the lot. I'm not quite sure when I'll be able to get on to it - it'll probably be a good while yet - but the synopsis is really intriguing! I read the first couple books in Kate's Fallen series a couple years ago and enjoyed them. Though I won't be going back to finish off the series... I've gone off angel books, unfortunetly! Luckily, this isn't an angel book so I should be ok! Huge thanks to Random house for sending me out a copy!

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf:
I joined an awesome group of book reviewers last week - Team Fox! - and got to choose a couple books to review from the publishers website and this book was one of them. It doesn't sound much like the usual books I read so I really don't know what I'll think of it! Apparently it's meant to be scary so I can't wait to give it a go!

Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja:
This is the other book I chose and I'm glad I did - I really enjoyed it! I'd read a few of Luisa's other books before (and rather enjoyed them) so knew what to expect with this one. My full review of the book will be up sometime this coming week!

Sample Chapter of Amber by Julie Sykes:
This was also included in the package along with the other two review books from Curious Fox publishers. The synopsis of the book sounds very promising so I can't wait to get a taster of it with this little excerpt! Huge thanks to Curious Fox for sending me all of this! :)

Purchased:

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff:
I have wanted this book for months now. Ever since I first heard of it, in fact. It sounds so unique and promising and I've read loads of glowing reviews on it so how could I not?! I really can't wait to find the time to delve into it - I seriously hope it meets my expectations!

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) by Julie Kagawa:
Eeeeeeeek! I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS ONE! I loved the first book in the series, The Immortal Rules, and cannot wait to see what happens in book two! I especially loved Zeke so are hoping to see more of him in this one! :')

City of Bones and City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #1 & 2) by Cassandra Clare:
I'VE FINALLY GOT MY OWN COPY OF CITY OF BONES! Everyone may rejoice now! ;) I LOVED this book and can't wait to continue the series on - especially now that Clare's other series, The Infernal Devices, has finished. *sniffles* I'm planning on re-reading CoB before moving on to CoA - which I think the lovely Zoe and I will be buddy reading together, I hope! But it won't be for a while yet so I'm glad I've got all these other goodies to keep me entertained! :P

*dusts off hands* Well, there we go! That's all the books I received this week! I am seriously SO excited right now! I can't wait to get started on them! xD Leave a link to your own book haul and I'll try and stop by! :)

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Review: Listening for Lucca

Author: Suzanne LaFleur
My Edition: Puffin Hardback (early copy)
Releases: 8th August 2013
Series: n/a
Pages: 229 approx.
Links: Goodreads | Author's Website | Buy the book!

'We're moving to your house - the one from your dream.'

Siena sees what isn't there, collects what's left behind.

'Lucca led me to his room, and then just stood in the middle, waiting for me to notice something.'

Her brother Lucca hasn't spoken for over a year.

The doctors think he needs a fresh start, that's why her family left Brooklyn. But their new home feels hauntingly familiar - and when Siena finds an old pen, the story she writes is not her own...

Can the secrets of the past help Siena break her brother's silence?

When I opened this book, I didn't quite know what to expect. I'd never heard of anything like it and all I was hoping for was that it'd turn out as unusual as the synopsis suggested. And it did. Apart from providing me with a unique story, it introduced me to a number of likeable characters and, afterward, left a ghost of a smile on my lips.

Since I'd been reading quite heavy, complex books beforehand, Listening for Lucca was a much-needed break away from it all. It was really quite refreshing. It didn't require too much concentration to get into the story and, once you were in, you couldn't help but turn page after page after page. If anything I'd say this story is targeted more toward a younger audience. I hadn't realised this until I was just about to start the book but it's recommended for 9+. However, I could still appreciate the story. I do think it true that a younger me would have enjoyed the story more though.

The main character, 13-year-old Siena, is truly an extremely likeable character. She's very selfless and always looking out for her brother. Though she blames herself for Lucca's inability to speak, you can tell she does everything to make it up to him - though she really isn't to blame! Lucca, himself, was a really adorable character and I was constantly waiting for him to say something. Sam was also a nice addition to the story. The only character I truly hated was Jezzie. She was manipulative, selfish and just plain nasty!

Overall, Listening for Lucca was a great story to cuddle up with on a rainy day. I easily managed to get caught up in Siena and Lucca's world and it ended up being a really cute read. Siena was an admirable character and Lucca was a wee cutie. I would definitely say that younger readers would enjoy this book more though. The writing style isn't complex or confusing and the romance is only very lightly brushed upon - it is virtually non-existent. I'm still glad I read this story though, it was refreshing and different.

THREE AND A HALF/FOUR STARS FOR LISTENING FOR LUCCA!
Huge thanks go out to Penguin for sending me a review copy of this book!
 
Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo

Friday, 2 August 2013

Feature & Follow Friday #9

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee and is a great way to meet new bloggers and discover great blogs. Every week there are two featured blogs and a fun question to answer, so head on over to join in! [I know, I know, I haven't done one of these in ages!]

Qu: How do you handle a book you don’t like? Do you DNF or do you power through?

I actually do a bit of both. But I'm more than likely to put a book down after a while if it's not holding my interest. The last book I really didn't like but managed to power through was Seraphina by Rachel Hartman. Though, now that I think about it, was over a year ago! So, yeah, I'll not finish a book if I'm not enjoying it - especially when I've got a towering TBR pile to get through!

If you follow, thank you SO much! Leave a link to your own blog and I'll return the favour! ^.^

Happy Reading,
Rachel xoxo