Eclectic Mini Reviews: Atonement, It and I Heart Vegas.

Eclectic Mini Reviews
Hello, bookworms of the blogosphere! Today I bring you three for the price of one, aka, mini book reviews. Woohoo! These novels all told very different stories in contrasting genres, but all of them have one thing in common, I had somewhat conflicted opinions about them. Do you ever have that problem when there are some aspects you LOVE intensely about a book, but there are so many other things that get in the way of you being able to rate it as high as you want? These are all books that meet this criteria. So without further ado…

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 5/5

Overall Impression: A mesmerizing book of ideas and what-ifs, set in a dreary, heartless future.

Whoa, this was one amazing book.Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I had no idea what to expect from Fahrenheit 451 when I picked it up, other than that it was a novel about burning books and was generally held in lower esteem than its dystopian rival, 1984. When I spotted the novel last summer looking battered and lonely in the sci-fi section of a second hand bookshop I couldn’t help but adopt it. It had clearly been mistreated and needed a new home. The spine was torn, the pages orange with age and reeking of must, yet oddly it added to its charm. It almost seemed as if the novel had been through the same hardships that had occurred in the story, that it had come a little too close to being incinerated in its lifetime and was now a scarred casualty of war.
Yeah, I know, I have an overactive imagination right?!
This book was also read as part of The Rory Gilmore Challenge.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house?
The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

While I can easily say that Fahrenheit 451 is one of the best novels I’ve ever read, it’s also one of the weirdest and to begin with I had no idea what to make of the whole thing! From the first page you are thrust into the deep end, Continue reading

Stuart Little by E.B. White Review 3/5

Overall Impression: A sweet little tale full of childishStuart Little by E.B. White adventure.

I’ll fess up now, I bought this purely because it was on The Rory Gilmore Challenge, not because I had any inclination to read it. I picked it up from the hidden depths of a bargain bucket, forking out a whopping 10p to pay for it. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal! Even though E.B. White has long been considered a prestigious children’s author and I remembered enjoying the Stuart Little films when I was younger, I didn’t have high expectations. So, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! That’s the great thing about this challenge, it makes me pick up books I never would have considered reading otherwise. 🙂

He’s one small mouse on one very big adventure.
Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother, George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and  thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure.
When his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest, Stuart is determined to track her down. He ventures away from home for the very first time in his life and finds adventure aplenty, but will he find his friend?

Stuart Little has all the elements needed for a great children’s book, there are an array of cute and fuzzy animals (mice, cats, birds), daring adventures with an element of danger (such as trips down the drain and rides in the garbage truck), positive morals weaved throughout and a heartfelt friendship between two characters that gives you something to root for. Continue reading

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee Review 5/5

Overall Impression: A beautiful, deeply moving book about the best and worst humanity has to offer.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

How strange is it that I decided To Kill a Mockingbird was going to be my next read only a few days before everybody was in uproar about Michael Gove axing it from the UK English curriculum? Could there have been a more perfect time for me to start reading this, when everyone is feeling so passionate about it?
To Kill a Mockingbird has always been one of those novels I felt everyone except me had read. I wasn’t given the option to study it at school and for years and years people’s pop culture references about Atticus, Scout and Boo Radley were utterly lost on me. Before diving in all I knew about Lee’s famous tale was that it was set in the south and tackled the topic of racism, but this novel has so much more to offer than that.
This book was also read as part of The Rory Gilmore Challenge.

‘Shoot all the bluejays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.’
Atticus Finch gives this advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of this classic novel – a black man charged with attacking a white girl. Through the eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Lee explores the issues of race and class in the Deep South of the 1930s with compassion and humour. She also creates one of the great heroes of literature in their father, whose lone struggle for justice pricks the conscience of a town steeped in prejudice and hypocrisy.
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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold Review 3/5

Overall Impression: Unnerving, beautiful, bizarre and…boring?

I have come across many readers who have strong opinions about The Lovely Bones. Before even The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold1reading a page I had heard it hailed as an unforgettable tale able to reduce even the most stoical reader to tears. On the other hand, I had also spoken to others who found it a painful slog through atrocious writing.
Naturally this made me curious.
Considering this is such a well-known bestseller with over a million copies sold I am shocked that it has taken me so long to read it! It’s even famous enough to have made it onto the prestigious Rory Gilmore Book List.
I adored the movie adaptation which I saw several years ago so I will admit I had high expectations. Did it live up to them? Yes and no is the short answer.
Warning: Readers should note that this book does cover the delicate issue of rape, although this is only one aspect of the story. If this topic is a painful trigger, you may not want to read on.

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood.
Watching from her place in heaven, Susie Salmon sees her suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself.
But life is not quite finished with Susie yet…

Sebold’s writing is quite….I’m searching for the best word here. Odd? I can understand why it has divided so many readers causing both awe and frustration. The story is told from Susie’s point of view after her death and this was one of the many things that drew me into the book. It is an interesting way to write and certainly provoked thought. Throughout the entire novel I had this sense of closeness to the story. With an invisible protagonist you can go anywhere, see anything including people’s deepest darkest hidden emotions. Yet at the same time the narration felt distant, disconnected, and I think that reflected Susie’s predicament perfectly. Death gave her the ability to understand those around her better than she ever did on earth, and yet she cannot be a part of it remaining trapped and unseen by the ones she loves. The narration seemed to have no boundaries and was quite harrowing at times. Susie explained the details of her death in an unsettling, factual and calm manner. The opening scene of this book was one of most uncomfortable I have ever read and will stick with me for a long time. On this level, Sebold has done a fantastic job.

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens Review 5/5

Overall Impression: One boy’s journey of self discovery packed to the brim with some of the most memorable characters I have ever come across.

I was scared to open this book, and I mean scared. That never happens to me, but a had this huge trepidation about Dickens. I remember loathinGreat Expectationsg Oliver Twist when I was younger, I encountered the film many times and the book itself during year nine English and have steered away from all Dickens since. God help anyone who starts singing about ‘gruel’. Seriously, there is a special place in hell dedicated to people who sing those songs. 😛
However, in the name of literature (and because the book is on The Rory Gilmore Challenge) I decided to attempt Great Expectations, all the while thinking I should rename it ‘Low Expectations’. Even having seen TV adaptions and enjoying them, I couldn’t put away that pain from year nine English.
Ohh how I have been missing out! I took the book on holiday with me because I thought it would help me fall asleep earlier, but instead it kept me up later!

Pip’s life as an ordinary country boy is destined to be unexceptional until a chain of mysterious events leads him away from his humble origins and up the social ladder. His efforts to become a London gentleman bring him into contact not just with the upper classes but also with dangerous criminals. Pip’s desire to improve himself is matched only by his longing for the icy-hearted Estella, but secrets from the past impede his progress and he has many hard lessons to learn.

Philip Pirrip know simply as Pip by most, is an unassuming young orphan in the care of his older sister and her husband, Joe. They live poorly, scraping by on dinners of bread and butter in a village near the misty marshes where criminals have been known to wander.  Continue reading

Belated Birthday Book Haul! (As Requested)

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There comes a time in every bookworms life when they just have to say no to books. When your to-be-read pile is overflowing and you have run out of shelf space for the third time running, you know that you have a serious problem! Not to mention when you start to calculate how long it will take you to read all those books you own…..lets just say some of mine will still be unread in ten years time. :S So it was with much pain and internal suffering that I stated to my family ‘do not buy me any books for my Birthday this year, I have too many!’
When I headed home the weekend after my birthday and opened my presents I was really happy with everything I got, but couldn’t getting rid of a nagging little voice inside my head that said ‘but Becky, there are no books.’
So when my blogging buddies started asking me what books I got and telling me to let them know about my crazy haul I didn’t really have an answer, because I didn’t have anything to tell!

But, as the title suggests I did get some books in the end after all, they were just very delayed due to various friends being off at uni. This is the part where I have an excuse to take lots of pretty pictures of my books and fulfill my promise, one book haul post coming up! 😉 Continue reading