What do I read next? Help!

Ok guys, I need your help!

(Two posts in one day, crazy times.)

I’ve had it up to here (you can’t see here, but right now I’m holding my hand up gesturing above my head) with YA at the moment. I’ve been reading a whole lot of it lately because it’s easier when I have so much work on my plate, but I just can’t take any more for the moment. Not that there is anything wrong with it…I am just not very good at reading the same genre in a row, I get bored. 😛
I’m feeling in the mood for something on the other side of the spectrum and have narrowed it down to two books, but I can’t decide which one to pick! Continue reading

Dracula by Bram Stoker Review 4/5

Overall Impression: Longwinded; but ultimately a great atmospheric and tangible tale of the most notorious vampire in pop culture.

I have wanted to read this book for so long, that I almostDracula by Bram Stoker can’t believe I’ve finally done it! As a girl who got caught up in the vampire craze of YA literature, I knew that at some point I would have to delve back in history to one of the original sources and inspiration; Dracula. While, like many others I had of course heard of Dracula from the constant stream of references, puns and parodies saturating our media, I never really had any knowledge of the details and plot twists it entailed. And I have to say in many ways, it was not at all what I was expecting! When I finished the book in the early hours of 5am I was almost left with the feeling that the whole tale was real, or at least, that it could have really happened.
This I think, is a large aspect of its appeal.
This book was also read for the belated Eclectic Reader Challenge for the horror genre.

Collected inside this book are diary entries, letters and newspaper clippings that piece together the depraved story of the ultimate predator. A young lawyer on an assignment finds himself imprisoned in a Transylvanian castle by his mysterious host. Back at home his fiancée and friends are menaced by a malevolent force which seems intent on imposing suffering and destruction. Can the devil really have arrived on England’s shores? And what is it that he hungers for so desperately?

Jonathan Harker is a young Englishman with the new burden of responsibility, and all he wants to do is succeed. So when he is sent to help the mysterious Count Dracula he does everything within his power to please him. It is not long however, until he starts to find a few strange things about the place. There seem to be no serving staff – or anyone else living around for that matter. Why does the Count never eat, and where does he skulk off to late at night?  Continue reading

Christmas Book Haul: In which I foam at the mouth from all the literary goodness.

I really love doing these haul posts. I get all super happy looking at pictures of so many books, and the fact that they’re MY books, well, that just makes it even better!

The title may be a little misleading, because although all these books apparated into my home around the Christmas period, not all of them were actually Christmas presents. This is where I have to tell myself off for potentially breaking one of my New Years Resolutions already, or at least severely hindering it! As you can see, I’m doing excellently at reducing my tbr pile by buying more books. :L

Christmas booksSDC13892
These were a real surprise for me, I had no idea I was going to get them! I’ve heard that they’re really good from various people, but because I read Cornelia Funke’s Reckless and found it really boring I was a little unsure about putting these on my wishlist. But now I’ve got them anyway, and I’m really excited to read them! 🙂
The book series – or the first book anyway, is about a man who if he reads aloud brings the world within the book alive! Now doesn’t that sound awesome?! 😀 Continue reading

POSSIBLY THE COOLEST BOOK ART EVER!!!!!! :D

Peter_Pan_artwork

I am so overexcited about this discovery courtesy of storytelling nomad!!! I want these DESPERATELY. 😀 I’m sure everyone with a love of literature will have a similar reaction too.
The idea is that each poster based on a book is made up of the entire text of that book, and more than that, it’s actually readable! So you can have the full text of your favourite book laid out for you to read with a single glance. No words are left out but curved around to fit the picture.
There are loads of choices, this blog post shows just a few examples and they are in the process of creating more. Most of them are classics, but you can also request books you want them to do posters for, and if they can get the rights for the texts, they will make it for you! You can check out the awesome website Spineless Classics here. Why not take a look for yourself? 😀 They are expensive, but just look at them! Soooo worth it! Continue reading

The Collector by John Fowles Review 3/5

Overall Impression: A disturbing insight into the deranged mind of a sociopath.

Ok, so I didn’t pick this book out of choice. It was set as The Collector by John Fowlesrequired reading for my first module on my Creative and Professional Writing course. Previous to this I knew nothing about the book or the writer, so I went in blind! We haven’t actually started discussing it yet so my thoughts on it may change in the next few weeks. But for now, on with the review! 🙂

Withdrawn, uneducated and unloved, Frederick collects butterflies and takes photographs. He is obsessed with a beautiful stranger, the art student Miranda. When he wins the pools he buys a remote Sussex house and calmly abducts Miranda, believing she will grow to love him in time. Alone and desperate, Miranda must struggle to overcome her own prejudices and contempt if she is to understand her captor, and so gain her freedom.

I think that’s all the plot explanation you need; the premise is quite simple as the books emphasis is heavily character driven and busting with social commentary rather than plot points.

John Fowles
writing is a hard one to critique in this case because I didn’t like it. In fact, I think the point is that you are not supposed to like it. There are no elaborate descriptions to paint a bright picture of the settings, places or people. The writing feels clinical and very matter of fact, and I think this is supposed to reflect the way that Frederick views the world; his detachment and his negative outlook on society. Continue reading

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Review 2/5

Overall Impression: At the risk of sounding immature andThe Great Gatsby cover uncultured – what a snooze fest!

This book was read as part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge.
I really wanted to like this book.
From the moment I first bought it, I was staring longingly toward the spot it occupied on my bookshelf. Excited to discover this epic story that is so widely praised, and cherished.
Umm yeah…no.
Seriously, what just happened? Gatsby goers what am I missing?
This year I set myself the goal of trying to read more classics including books from the Rory Gilmore Challenge. And weirdly it has only just dawned on me – I am not going to like all of them; because no matter how much literary merit they have, people’s tastes vary. Unfortunately this was one I just did not get on with.
A pre warning, this is probably more of a rant than a review, and when I look back on it later I hope I will be able to look down my nose at it and say ‘gosh, I was so immature’. But here goes!

Jay Gatsby is a self-made man famed for his decadent, champagne-drenched parties. Despite being surrounded by Long Island’s bright and beautiful, he longs only for Daisy Buchanan. In shimmering prose, Fitzgerald shows Gatsby pursue his dream to its tragic conclusion.

The above description pretty much sums up the entire plot (it’s only a small book, 148 pages in my version). We are guided by Nick Carraway, our narrator (implementing the age old unreliable narrator debate) a man in his 30s recovering from his involvement in the war. He decides to try his hand at the bond business, moving to New York. As an outsider he paints a bright picture of the 1920s in America – the glamour, the parties, and the desecrated American Dream. He rents a house which resides next to the mansion of the one and only Jay Gatsby, a figure of mystery and intrigue who’s story is slowly revealed throughout the course of the novel.  As past and present collide, tensions hit breaking point in a whirlwind of love, jealousy and betrayal. Continue reading

The Complete Fairy Tales by The Brothers Grimm Review 3/5

Overall Impression: An endless book of fabulous fantasy and childish imagination.9780099511441

Way back in February after completing a set of exams I decided to reward myself with a book spurge. The Complete Fairytales by The Brothers Grimm was one of those books. Since then, fairytales seem to have become some sort of trend, making appearances in both the TV and film industries. Which does make me wonder, why did I decide to pick up the Brothers Grimm this year? Was it really on a whim? Or did it get into my subconscious?
Another reason I chose this book is because two of the stories are on The Rory Gilmore Challenge (Rapunzel, and Snow White and Rose Red) and being the type of person who never likes to do things half way, I though hey, why not read ALL the Grimm fairytales?! 🙂

‘The stories have immense vitality…no punches are pulled…no emotion is unrepresented’
– Margaret Atwood

Wolves and grandmothers, the seven dwarfs, a goose made of gold…the folk tales collected by the Grimm brothers created an astonishingly influential imaginative world. However, this is also a world where a woman cooks her stepson and an evil queen dances to death in a pair of burning shoes. Violent, funny, disturbing and wise, these stories have intrigued both children and adults for generations.

I actually had to do some research before purchasing this book so I would like to warn anyone interested in reading the Grimm Fairytales to do the same. The reason for this is that there are a lot of books out there claiming to be the complete version, when in actual fact they are not. There are a lot of different volumes due to the fact that the Brothers Grimm didn’t publish them all in one go. The official number of tales is 210, so this is the number you should look for. My version however boasts on it’s back cover 279 stories, and claims to be the only complete edition available because it also includes The Omitted Tales, Selected Tales from the annotation of 1856, Jacob Grimm’s Tales, Published Tales and finally Selected Tales from the Posthumous Papers of the Brothers Grimm. These are extra bonus stories for those that are interested. So if your looking for the best book to go for, I would say this is definitely the one to pick! 🙂

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What are you Reading this Summer?

Here in the UK, summer has begun.

For some of us this means a chance to relax and splurge on an expensive holiday, for others it provides some much needed hope when shuffling into work, but for students it means the long awaited summer holidays are finally here; a short break from ramming facts and figures into our heads. Of the overwhelming stress and the manic shots of adrenaline our bodies pump through our system to keep us revising until 2am in the morning. But most importantly for me, it means the opportunity to hopefully get a lot more reading done!

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Emma by Jane Austen Review 4/5

emma by jane austenOverall Impression: Insightful and funny, with traditional Jane Austen flair, this makes the perfect summer read.

I read this book as a part of the Eclectic Reader Challenge, the Rory Gilmore Challenge, and also because of my personal goal to try and read more classics this year. This is the second Jane Austen book I have read, the first being Pride and Prejudice, but I enjoyed this one much more! Emma was quite a different experience because I had no prior knowledge of the plot, and I think this led to a much more rewarding read.


Emma Woodhouse, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition’ thinks a little too highly of herself, and entertains herself by meddling in the affairs of others. The results are not always to her liking.

The blurb doesn’t give you much of a taster of the book, so here’s my expanded version, as always, no spoilers. 🙂
Emma Woodhouse lives with her eccentric/hypochondriac father and her governess Miss Taylor. Life is good. She lives in the beautiful estate Hartfield, has everything she wants, and has no desire to marry. However, when her closest friend and steady companion Miss Taylor is wed to Mr Weston and moves out, Emma finds herself with a lot of solitary leisure time. Holding herself in high esteem from being the one who first introduced Miss Taylor and Mr Weston, she decides to take up matchmaking, much to the dismay of her friend Mr Knightly. She finds her perfect mission in Harriet Smith, a beautiful but naive young girl who is easily led. She quickly befriends her and sways her in the direction of Mr Elton, a well mannered man she believes is in need of a spouse. But Emma’s scheming doesn’t go to plan, and soon she finds herself in a flurry of unforeseen events, tumbling in a downwards spiral of confusion and mayhem. Continue reading

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen Review 4/5

Overall Impression: There’s a reason this book is a classic. pride_and_prejudice_cover

When Elizabeth Bennett meets Mr Darcy, it’s fair to say he doesn’t make the best first impression. Arrogant, condescending and aloof, he’s everything the spirited and clever Elizabeth despises – and that’s before he breaks her sisters heart.
But why, then, do her thoughts turn to him again and again? Slowly, Elizabeth starts to realize that her first impression may have been wrong. But by then it may just be too late…

Expanding on the blurb, Elizabeth Bennet and her five sisters live in a period of time where the main aim of a lady’s life is to marry. To marry for money, to marry for estate, to marry for the sake of your family; but rarely, to marry for love. So when the wealthy Mr Bingley arrives at Netherfield Park along with his sisters and his friend Mr Darcy, Mrs Bennet begins to hear wedding bells.  A ball is held, as they often are in these stories, which gives the Bennett’s a chance to meet their new neighbours. Mr Bingley begins to show an interest in Jane Bennet, and she is all too flattered by the attention. Meanwhile Elizabeth Bennett has the pleasure of meeting Mr Darcy, an arrogant, and rude man, that insults Elizabeth at their first meeting.
One day, Continue reading