Saturday, 21 July 2012

Book Review- The Nightmare of Black Island

Title: Doctor Who: The Nightmare of Black Island
Author: Mike Tucker
Publication Date: June 6th 2006
Publisher: BBC Books
Pages: 250 (Hardcover)
Series: New Series Adventures #10
Genre: Doctor Who, Science Fiction

Rating: 4/5

On a lonely stretch of Welsh coastline, a fisherman is killed by a hideous creature from beneath the waves. When the Doctor and Rose arrive, they discover a village where the children are plagued by nightmares, and the nights are ruled by monsters. The villagers suspect that ancient industrialist Nathanial Morton is to blame, but the Doctor has suspicions of his own. Who are the ancient figures that sleep in the old priory? What are the monsters that prowl the woods after sunset? What is the light that glows in the disused lighthouse on Black Island? As the children's nightmares get worse, the Doctor and Rose discover an alien plot to resurrect an ancient evil...- Goodreads

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book as another extra story including the 10th Doctor and Rose, probably my favourite couple from Doctor Who. I really loved the idea of this novel and found it quite spooky with some scenes actually being a bit scary.

Plot: 4/5

I really enjoyed the plot in this novel, it was a different idea but one I would quite liked to have seen made into an episode on the tv. In this novel, the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a monster who is controlling the children's dreams. I found this idea quite intriguing and I liked how the monsters relied on something so normal as children's dreams and their imaginations. I also enjoyed the twist at the end, when the aliens plan didn't work quite as they wanted and the importance of the patients in the beds.

Characters: 4/5

The Doctor is very well written in this novel, he is exactly as he is in the tv series. Rose is also very similar to herself on the tv. The relationship between these two characters is great too, with the Doctor knowing just how much he needs Rose and showing just what a good team these two make when they work together.
The aliens in this novel are just as interesting but also scary as you would expect from Doctor Who. I also feel like these monsters had a very original plan to rule and this was interesting to read about.

Setting: 4/5

This novel is set in a rural Welsh village on the coast and I think this added a lot to the novel. The village was described very well in the dark and this definitely added to the eerieness of the whole book. This setting also allowed for running through woods, creepy lighthouse action and underground tunnels.

Overall: 4/5

I really enjoyed this book and it is probably one of the best Doctor Who novels I have read. I thought this was a really original and unique idea for a Doctor Who adventure. If you like Doctor Who I would really recommend this book.

Book Review- The Fallen Star

Title: The Fallen Star
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Publication Date: April 7th 2011
Publisher: Createspace
Pages: 449 (paperback)
Series: Fallen Star #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal Fantasy,

Rating: 3/5

"For eighteen year-old Gemma, life has never been normal. Up until recently, she has been incapable of feeling emotion. And when she's around Alex, the gorgeous new guy at school, she can feel electricity that makes her skin buzz. Not to mention the monsters that haunt her nightmares have crossed over into real-life. But with Alex seeming to hate her and secrets popping up everywhere, Gemma's life is turning into a chaotic mess. Things that shouldn't be real suddenly seem to exist. And as her world falls apart, figuring out the secrets of her past becomes a matter of life and death."- Goodreads

My Thoughts:

I got this book on my kindle at Christmas time as the novel was free on Amazon. I wasn't sure what to expect as I don't really like the paranormal genre of books but as it was free I was willing to give it a chance.

Plot: 3/5

I quite enjoyed this plot as it wasn't as predictable as I thought it would be. Although at the start of the novel it read like a terrible Twilight copy it did improve as it went on. The story around the fallen star, although has been used before, was presented in a different and unique way. I was worried at one part as there felt like there could be a love triangle being introduced but it seemed to fade away again.

Characters: 2/5

The main character is a girl called Gemma, who has got to be one of the worst and most dislikeable characters I have ever had the misfortune to read about. She is whinny and spent a lot of the novel complaining to anyone who would listen. She was also very childish and immature and I felt like telling her to grow up a lot. She also seemed quite cowardly in my eyes. She spent a lot of time hiding behind people,waiting for them to get her out of there.
The main love interest is a boy called Alex who is your usual mysterious good looking guy. Gemma seemed to fall in love with him instantly which annoys me and is very common in young adult fiction at the moment. He wasn't a particularly interesting character as you knew very little about him.

Overall: 3/5

Although this story starts like a poor Twilight copy it does improve. It isn't the most amazing paranormal novel I have ever read but it isn't bad. If you like paranormal novels I would give it try.

Book Review- Birdsong

Title: Birdsong
Author: Sebastian Faulks
Publication Date: 2 June 1993
Publisher: Vintage International
Pages: 483
Genre: Historical Fiction, War, Classics

Rating: 4/5

Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love, Birdsong is a novel that will be read and marveled at for years to come.- Goodreads

My Thoughts:

This is a classic novel which was recommended to me by my Mum. I really only picked it up because I had to take a book to English class last year and I thought this book would look good to my teacher. I started it in January of this year and the end of last month I decided to make myself finish it.

Plot: 3/5

Some parts of the plot of this novel I really enjoyed but some parts I felt the novel could have done without. I found the plot in the trenches with Stephen to be the best part of the novel. It felt like Faulks had a really extensive knowledge of what World War I was really like. The feelings of fear about going over the top and the constant unease of being so close to the enemy were easily felt and came across very strongly in the book. 
The parts of the plot I didn't enjoy was the beginning about Stephen and Isabella's relationship. I just didn't find it very interesting and didn't find myself wanting to pick the novel back up while reading it. Also I didn't enjoy the parts with Stephen's granddaughter Elizabeth discovering things about her grandfather. Chapters of this were between chapters about Stephen and his time in the trenches. I felt this broke up the flow of the story with Stephen and it didn't really add anything to the overall story. 

  Characters: 4/5

The main character in this novel is an Englishman called Stephen Wraysford. I really like this character as I found him likeable in the beginning when he was in France, but I felt his character change when he entered the trenches just like many men's did. In the trenches he was a hard, cold character who kept all his emotions kept bottled inside because he didn't want the men he was commanding, to see how scared he was.
Other characters include Isabella, who Stephen has an affair with at the beginning. I didn't like Isabella as a character as I found some of the things she did to Stephen and the reasons she gave for doing them as not good enough. I did enjoy her story during the war as I found that interesting but I still didn't like her.
We also get to meet Isabella's sister Jean who sends letters to Stephen during the war and has a part to play at the end as well.
The men Stephen comes in contact with during his time in the trenches are a mixed bunch with many of his original friends being dead by the end of the novel, just how it was in the war. There were some so likeable characters that I actually felt a bit sad when they died.

Overall: 4/5

I actually kind of wish that this whole novel was just based in the trenches as I found this to be the most interesting and wouldn't have minded a whole book on that. I would recommend this novel to everybody as it is a classic and I think everybody should probably read it.

 

 

 

Friday, 20 July 2012

Books I Want To Purchase (Released in First Half of This Year)

Hi guys, this is a couple of books that I want to buy soon which were released between January and June of 2012.
  1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. This was published on the 3rd of May by Puffin. The novel is about a cancer patient called Hazel and her relationship with a boy called Augustus Waters.
  2. Fear by Michael Grant. This was published on 2nd of April by Electric Monkey Publishers. This is the 5th book in the Gone series which continues the story on.
  3. Blood Red Road by Moira Young. This was published on the 4th of January by Marion Lloyd Books. This is about a girl called Saba, whos' twin is stolen and her quest to get him back.
  4. BZRK by Michael Grant. This was published on the 28th of February by Electric Monkey Publishers. This novel is an action thriller about nano technology and battles against it.
I can't wait to purchase and read these books as they are the ones I were looking forward to most.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

June Book Haul

Hi, These are all the books I purchased in the month of June. Enjoy!!
These first 4 books I bought from my local charity shop and they cost me £1 all together!
The first book is Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. This has a special World Book Night Cover on it. I was attracted to it mainly because my name is Rachel and I thought it was cool! The book has no blurb on the back so I don't know what it is about.
The next book I got from the charity shop was The Bretheren by John Grisham. I bought this book because John Grisham is an author that my English teacher recommended we check out so I purchased one to see what he was like as a writer. I also really like thrillers so I was excited to find a new thriller to read.
The third book from the charity shop was Dead Famous by Ben Elton. Ben Elton co-wrote the TV series Blackadder and as soon as I saw this book I had to have it as I love Blackadder and I was intrigued to see what he would be like as an author. I also found the blurb on the back to be very interesting and I am excited to read this soon.
The last book I purchased from the charity shop was Deception Point by Dan Brown. I love Dan Brown and my charity shop always has his books so as soon as I saw this one, which I haven't read, I picked it up. I love his style of writing and also his nail biting thrillers that he always manages to produce.
The last book I purchased wasn't from the charity shop, it was from Tesco. It is Pure by Julianna Baggott. I really love dystopian novels and when I saw it on the shelf in Tesco I had to buy it. It only cost me £3.86 so that was a good deal. I have seen this book on Goodreads and a lot of people seem to like it.
I bought all these books with my own money and I can't wait to read them all in the upcoming months. Thanks for reading!!

June Wrap Up

This is a blog post just showing you all the books I read in June and the ratings I gave each one.
I Am A Dalek- Gareth Roberts
I gave this short story 4/5 stars as I am a huge Doctor Who fan and I really enjoyed this book. I got this book for 20p from my local charity shop.
Nineteen Eighty Four- George Orwell
I gave this modern classic novel 4/5 stars as I found it a enthralling book with a scary realism to it. I borrowed this book from the library.
Inheritance- Christopher Paolini
I gave the final book in the Inheritance Cycle 3/5 stars as I didn't really enjoy this series and found the whole idea a bit boring. I borrowed this book off my brother.
Brisingr- Christopher Paolini
I gave the third novel in the Inheritance Cycle 3/5 stars as like I said above I didn't really enjoy this series. I also borrowed this from my brother.
These are all the book I read in June. I hope you enjoyed!!

Book Review- Brisingr

Title: Brisingr
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publication date: September 20th 2008
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 763
Series: Inheritance #3
Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Rating: 3/5
OATHS SWORN . . . loyalties tested . . . forces collide.Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.
First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.
Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once-simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king? - Goodreads

My Thoughts

Compared to the last two books this was a great improvement, but it still wasn't a great novel. I am pleased to say that the series is developing, with parts from previous books becoming important now, which is what a good series should do.

Plot: 3/5

Although this is the longest book in the series, I am pleased to say that I didn't feel the need to skip through the large sections of descriptions as this book did not contain many, unlike the previous books. This plot was faster paced, with more action but still contained a lot of excess talking and information that I didn't really felt was necessary. Again Paolini has written some great action sequences that were so well written that I felt as if I was there. At times, his writing can compete with great fantasy authors, and these flashes of brilliance are what made this book more enjoyable.

Characters: 2/5

There is very little change in the characters from the previous book. Also no new characters were added, which I felt was a bit disappointing but there are a lot of characters as it is. I still wish I had more information on some characters like Angela (c'mon what is going on with her?) but most of them are quite one dimensional and I don't feel like there is much more I could know.

Overall: 3/5

Thankfully this series is improving but I still struggled to get through the whole book but if you can get through the first two books then persevere through this book too because trust me, it gets better.

Book Review- I Am A Dalek

Title: I Am A Dalek
Author: Gareth Roberts
Publication Date: August 2nd 2006
Publisher: BBC Books
Pages: 105
Series: Doctor Who: Quick Reads #1
Genre: Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Equipped with space suits, golf clubs and a flag, the Doctor and Rose are planning to live it up, Apollo mission-style, on the Moon. But the TARDIS has other plans, landing them instead in a village on the south coast of England; a picture-postcard sort of place where nothing much happens. Until now... An archaeological dig has turned up a Roman mosaic, circa 70 A.D., depicting mythical scenes, grapes - and a Dalek. A few days later a young woman, rushing for work, is knocked over and killed by a bus, then comes back to life. It's not long before all hell breaks loose, and the Doctor and Rose must use all their courage and cunning against an alien enemy - and a not-quite-alien accomplice - who are intent on destroying humanity.- Goodreads

My Thoughts:

As a massive Doctor Who fan, as soon as I saw this in the charity shop, I had to have it. It was only 20p so it was a good deal. As a short story it was good and I like the author's attention to detail about the way the 10th Doctor and Rose spoke and acted around each other.

Plot: 3/5

As the title suggests, in this story, the Doctor and Rose come face to face with a Dalek on Earth. I liked the plot as it sounded just like a miniature episode of the TV show, with the right amount of running and smart ass jokes by the Doctor. As it was only a short 100 page story I finished it in one sitting but the plot still kept me hooked as it was fast paced and exciting.

Characters: 4/5

The 10th Doctor and Rose were probably my favourite pairing of Doctor and companion so far and I enjoyed them just as much on paper as on the screen. Roberts has their relationship just right, with the joking but also the fondness they have for each other.

Overall: 4/5

I really enjoyed this short story and I can't wait to try and find some more of them to buy as I really enjoyed it. I would recommend this to fans of the TV show as it would probably appeal more you than someone who hasn't seen the show.

Book Review- Nineteen Eighty Four

Title: Nineteen Eighty Four
Author: George Orwell
Publication Date: June 8th 1949
Publisher: Signet Classics
Pages: 326
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopians, Classics
Rating: 4/5
Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell's chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell's narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time. - Goodreads

My Thoughts

Ok, this book was great, really great. I loved the whole idea for it and how methodically Orwell had planned out his world until it felt real. I felt whilst I was reading it, that something like that could really happen. It freaked me out but also made me sit up and think about what our society is like today.

Plot: 4/5

I really enjoyed the plot as a whole but I did find the start a tad boring. Orwell spent quite a lot of time explaining and describing the deeper political and social parts of his world and I found myself overloaded with a lot of rather boring information at the start. This was all very helpful later on in the novel so it wasn't wasted but at the time I found myself a little bored by so much telling of information and no plot so to speak. The middle part where all the adventure/excitement happens is my favourite part as I found it quite nerve racking and I was worried about what would happen to our main characters. The very end of the novel slightly confused me as I feel as if Orwell missed out a part or something as the novel skipped through a chunk of time and changed the setting and I was a bit confused as to what was going on.

Characters: 4/5

The main character in the novel is a man called Winston Smith who finds himself different to everyone else in society. I found Winston to be a great main character as I felt sorry for him at the start and really wanted thngs to work out for him. The other main character is called Julia and I liked her too but not as much. I'm not sure whether this was on purpose or not but I felt she was rather dim and it annoyed me. The characters develop nicely and you see a real change in them towards the end of the novel.

Setting: 5/5

The novel is set in 1984 (funnily enough!) which, when Orwell wrote it, was in the future. Although 1984 has passed I still feel this is a situation that might one day happen to the world. Having the novel set in a world that we can all relate to makes it very hard hitting but also more scary as it feels more realistic as you can recognise things that go on today

Overall: 4/5

This is a really good novel which is also a modern (ish) classic and I definitely think you should read it at least once as it does linger with you even after you have closed the book.

Book Review- Inheritance

Title: Inheritance
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publication Date: November 8th 2011
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 860
Series: Inheritance #4
Genre: Fantasy Young Adult
Rating: 3/5
It began with Eragon....It ends with Inheritance. Not so very long ago, Eragon--Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider--was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now the fate of an entire civilization rests on their shoulders.
Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no one can. There will be no second chance.
The Rider and his dragon have come farther than anyone dared to imagine. But can they topple the evil king and restore justice to Alagaesia? And if so, at what cost?
This is the spellbinding conclusion to Christopher Paolini's worldwide bestselling Inheritance cycle. - Goodreads

My Thoughts

As the last book in the series I felt a slight relief in the fact that I had made it to the end. This isn't the sort of reaction I want to have at the end of a series but I feel this one deserved it. I wouldn't say this was an amazing book but I feel like Paolini has definitely grown up and matured throughout the series and this is most evident in this novel.

Plot: 4/5

This is the strongest part of the book as the plot amazingly actually managed to keep me engrossed throughout. There was much more action to keep you on your toes and another great use of the split narrative through chapters. This helped to add a different dimension and appeal to the story and definitely added another star out of 5 for me. The twists in the story were very predictable, the two biggest ones I had guessed from the frontcover of the book and so didn't give the emphasis they were meant to. I think if Paolini had tried a little harder he could have made his twists less obvious but maybe that was just me?

Characters: 3/5

In my opinion this is a part that Paolini really needs to improve. There is barely any character development with any of the major characters, with them all seeming a little stale in this last novel. The split narration allowed for some character development with Nasuada and also a relationship to develop but he quickly ended this and found a cheap and easy way of not having to write any more of that. Some of the questions I had from the last book weren't even answered by the end of this novel and that left me feeling unsatissfied and disappointed.

Overall: 3/5

This was probably my favourite book of the series but that isn't saying much considering how much I hated the others. I felt quite proud of myself for making it to the end of this series, which, I thought was frankly mind numbing. If you have made it to this novel you are rewarded with a slightly better read but not spectacular. This is a series I shall not be picking up again.

Book Review- Eragon

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publication date: August 26th 2003
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 503
Series: Inheritance #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 3/5
When young Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his adopted family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of inescapable destiny, magical forces, and powerful people. With only an ancient sword and the instruction of an old,mysterious, hermit storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a Emperor whose evil and power knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands….
- Goodreads

My thoughts

I love fantasy books and as soon as I picked up this book and saw the dragon on the front I was sure it was going to be a winner. I was one word.....dissapointed. This is a series I was hoping would fill the void left by the end of the Harry Potter series as it is of a similar genre. Unfortunately it was not to be.

Plot: 3/5

Many people compare the plot of this book to Star Wars and although I am familiar with the Star Wars saga, I don't really see the connection. In my opinion it seems a lot more similar to the Lord of The Rings trilogy. It is fine for authors to take inspiration from other works especially as fantasy is such a broad genre. However I feel there are too many similarities and I subconsiously felt myself comparing the two books, with Tolkien coming up trumps. As a plot on its own I felt that the pace was too slow. The beginning was drawn out too much, just so we could learn inconsequential things about various characters and places. I thought perhaps it had improved towards the middle, when the action began but it soon frittered out and resumed its slow, lethargic pace.

Characters: 4/5

The main character in the novel is Eragon, who is our hero for the whole series. I feel that although I know who Eragon is and his personality I still have really no idea what he looks like. I am basing my idea of him on the actor who plays him in the film of this book. Paolini spends enough time describing what his dragon looks like but not enough on Eragon himself. Eragon's dragon is called Saphira, and is a character that I rather like in this book. I enjoy some of the witty things she says and feel like I know a great deal about her. Of the minor characters, I liked; Brom, Roran and Murtagh. I enjoyed the diversity there was between these 3 male characters even though they didn't interact with each other a lot.

Setting: 2/5

The book is set in a world Paolini has created from his imagination. Apart from being ridiculously named in words no one can pronounce, the world is described so haphazzardly in the book that I have no idea where anywhere is situated in relation to anywhere else. Paolini did provide a map at the start of the book, but I don't want to be flicking to the front of a book just to establish where the characters are.

Overall:

I was dissapointed by this book as I anticipated so much more. I felt that the descriptions were too long and forced, in some cases causing me to skip over a paragraph just to get the story moving. As I read through it I found myself questioning some of the metaphors Paolini had used as in my mind they didn't make sense or add anything to the description.
I wouldn't reccommend this book as there are many other fantasy series for a reader to enjoy instead.

Book Review- Eldest

Title: Eldest
Author: Chrisopher Paolini
Publication date: August 23rd 2007
Publisher: Corgi
Pages: 668
Series: Inheritance #2
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 2/5
Darkness falls ...Despair abounds ...Evil reigns ...Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have just saved the rebel state from destruction by the mighty forces of King Galbatorix, cruel ruler of the Empire. Now Eragon must travel to Ellesmera, land of the elves, for further training in magic and swordsmanship, the vital skills of the Dragon Rider.It is the journey of a lifetime, filled with awe-inspiring new places and people, each day a fresh adventure. But chaos and betrayal plague him at every turn, and Eragon isn't sure whom he can trust. Meanwhile, his cousin Roran must fight a new battle back home in Carvahall - one that puts Eragon in even graver danger. Will the king's dark hand strangle all resistance? Eragon may not escape with even his life .
- Goodreads

My Thoughts

As Eragon was such an average book I really wasn't expecting wonderful things from this book. In my opinion this is the worst book in the series as it is slower and more boring than all the others. For much of the book I found myself skimming over parts in a desperate attempt to get the book finished.

Plot: 1/5

This is perhaps the major failling in this book is the frankly awful plot. It feels to me as if this is a kind of filler book, that Paolini has written without really planning the story beforehand. Apart from being incredibly slow to read, it also lacked any major events to move the story along until perhaps the last 80 pages. Paolini coud have deleted 600 pages and been left with a credible 80 page fantasy short story. Although most of this book wasn't good, we did get another display of Paolini's form when it comes to writing action sequences. This is something I believe Paolini does very well and the end of this book was a perfect example of this.

Characters: 2/5

None of the characters we were introduced to in the last book have changed or matured that much in this novel, but the new characters we were introduced to have been interesting so far. Oromis and Glaeder are two likeable characters that I would have loved to find out a bit more about in this book. Elva is another intriguing character that I look forward to reading more about as is Nasuada.

Writing Style: 3/5

One thing I definitely liked in Eldest was the way the novel was written. I really enjoyed reading Roran's story and I found some light relief in his story from Eragon's tedious training. I liked the way this writing style kept me on my toes with which story I was in, but also it was the only reason I continued reading the book.

Overall: 2/5

I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone because as a sequel it was very poor and there are definitely better series around.