Monday, 27 October 2014

"A Quote" Tag

I am a huge fan of quotes (the quote above explains why pretty well) so of course I had to do this tag ...even though I wasn't tagged in it.

A quote that is your favourite opening line to a book...
"The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle" ~ Papertowns, John Green
 "XTC was no good for drowning out the morons as the back of the bus" ~ Eleanor and park, Rainbow Rowell

A quote that makes you laugh...
"Thank you Daniel, that is very good to know. But if staying here means working within 10 yards of you, frankly, I'd rather have a job wiping Saddam Hussein's arse" ~ Bridget Jones Diary, Helen Fielding 

A quote that has helped you through something...
"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light" ~ Albus Dumbledore 

A quote that inspires you...
"Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve" ~ Ginny Weasley
"Be bold enough to use your voice, brave enough to listen to your heart and strong enough to live the life you've always imagines"

A quote you wish everyone knew...
"You are responsible for your on happiness"
"Life is about using the whole box of crayons"
"Don't feel stupid if you don't like what everyone else pretends to love"

A quote that makes you cry...
"The ones that love us never really leave us. You can always find here" ~ Sirius Black

A quote that is your favourite Harry Potter quote...
I have so many favourites (some of which already feature in this post), but I decided to include these two.
"We must try not to sink beneath our anguish, but battle on" ~ Albus Dumbledore
"Of course it is happening inside your head Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real" ~ Albus Dumbledore

A quote that is about books/reading...
"I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book" ~ J.K. Rowling 

A quote that is your favourite John Green quote...
"That's the thing about pain. It demands to be felt"

A quote that is your favourite ending line/s to a book...
"The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well." ~ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling 

A quote that you are going to try and remind yourself of throughout life...
"To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don't need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself"

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good week. You are all welcome to do this as well, so consider yourself tagged but I also tag Katie from Katie Lou.
Love Ellen xxx

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Book Review | The Big Wide Calm by Rich Marcello

Title: The Big Wide Calm  
Author: Rich Marcello
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Publication date: July 15th 2014
Pages: 254
Genre: New adult (maybe? - to be honest I have no idea)/ contemporary
Average rating: 4.00 / 5 stars 
My rating: 29%
Review type: Non-spoiler

Paige is a rock star. The world just doesn't know it yet. She's got the charisma, the drive, and, of course, the mega-musical skills. All she needs is to make her debut album, one that will change the world, inspire revolutions--and make her galactically famous along the way. 
When John Bustin, a former semi-famous singer/songwriter offers to record Paige's album for free, it feels like destiny, like the next step on her way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Guitar in hand, Paige sets off to John's recording compound, ready to unfold her future. But the ever-elusive John, with his mysterious history, and Paige, a big dreamer but naïve about her footing in life, clash as much as they coalesce. Before they can change the world through Paige's music, the improbable duo must learn to work together.
A coming of age story and retrospective, The Big Wide Calm focuses on human nature and the complexities of love through the eyes of young and old on the journey of creating the perfect album.

The short story....
Although I did slightly enjoy parts of this novel, I had a lot of problems with it, stopping it from being anything but an un-enjoyable read in my opinion. The story line was only okay and I began to find it boring at times as well as finding scenes a lot more explicit then I bargained for...but I'll get to that later. I found the story unrealistic, the characters unrelatable, fake and very annoying and the writing flat and failing to absorb me with the story. In short, these things are the reason that I did not enjoy this book.

The long story...
The idea of the talented musician on the road to success is an okay (though somewhat cliché story) that could be mildly enjoyable if done well. However, in my opinion it wasn't at all correctly executed and it ended up just being over-the-top, extremely predictable, very unrealistic and, quite frankly, boring. There were things happening in this book that would just never happen in real life which made it very unbelievable as a storyline and extremely hard to carry on reading the book or to feel at all absorbed by it.I also found that throughout the story, the protagonist had a lot of "deep and profound" thoughts or epiphanies that felt very forced and not really deep at all but mostly obvious and often shallow.
I feel the need to mention that this book had a few... lets just say, explicit sex scenes in it that I was not expecting. The only reason I read this was because I won it in a giveaway and I had no idea what it was about or what it involved but I was fairly surprised - or maybe the better word would be shocked when I stumbled on to one too near the beginning for my liking. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with sex in books - it's a normal part of life and it often makes the story more realistic as well as sometimes adding to it. Even though again there is nothing wrong with it, I have never read anything as explicit as was featured in this novel seeing as I'm only 15 (it's really not something I'm interested in reading) but I guess I wouldn't be too bothered about it in the right situation - what I mean to say in a really long-winded way is that I really wouldn't care about reading a book with "sexy" scenes in if it was done well or added to the story. However, I found that making these scenes as explicit  and over done as they were very unnecessary and rather than being "steamy" (which is, of course one of the reasons sex scenes are used in literature such as new adult and is what other people look for in these scenes) they were just crude and awkward and I cant imagine it being enjoyable for anyone.
Going on to characters, the one thing I would give credit to this book for would be the character back stories which I thought were well thought-out and developed. However, I really didn't like the characters. They felt extremely fake, unrelatable and it was so unnatural and annoying that I couldn't even try to like them or enjoy the story. Moreover, while there was character development, I didn't feel it was done very well and again it felt very forced. 
My final point is about the writing. While the writing wasn't bad by any means it felt quite simple and flat with no style to it, failing to bring me into the story as well as boring me a lot. Moreover, the speech wasn't written well, sounding very fake and cold be compared to movie speech, which of course isn't realistic. the tone of the writing annoyed me greatly, and while I knew the author was trying to be unique in his style and aiming to give the protagonist a distinct voice, it did not feel well-executed but instead very forced and irritating.

All in all, I am sure you can tell that I did not enjoy this book and I wouldn't recommend it. However, it has had a lot of good ratings and reviews on Goodreads and of course, this review is just my personal opinion and obviously other people will think different things. So if you are interested in picking it up and seeing what you think, you can have a look at some more positive reviews on Goodreads and I would love to know what you think if you do read it.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good week. Have you read this book? If you have I would love to hear your opinion of it and find out if you agree or disagree with me as I know there have been a lot of mixed reviews.

Love Ellen xxx
Instagram: @ramblingsofabibliophile
Twitter: @bibliophile556

Saturday, 4 October 2014

September Mini Reviews

Last month, I read 8 books and listened to 2 audio book (which I'm going to say counts) which in total is 10 books - 2406 pages and about 12/13 hours of audio book. I am very pleased with this seeing as I'm back at school and already very busy. I had a good reading month and got round to reading a few things that I had been meaning to read for a while as well as crossing of 1 and 2/3 books from the 100 books BBC the Big Read.

One Day by David Nichols  95%
Emma and Dexter meet for the first time on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that? And every year that follows? Twenty years, two people, ONE DAY.
This is one of the best books I have read this year, and believe me I have read a lot of good ones. I had already seen the film (which Anne Hathaway is amazing in by the way) so I knew the gist of what happened but the novel is actually pretty different. Firstly, the concept was unique and the story line enthralling. Secondly, the writing was just beautiful, it was real and somehow managed to sum up life exactly - just what I was looking for. The character development was fantastic and it was care at to see how Emma and Dexter changed and grew over the twenty years, it was just done so meticulously and the characters were so real, relatable and just normal people. The ending though, I don't want to give any spoilers, (even though I knew that it was going to happen) just absolutely tore me apart and made One Day the amazing story that it is. I am literally still recovering now - it is making my heart rip just thinking about it. One Day was an emotional, raw and beautiful story and David Nichols is an amazing author so I can't wait to read his brand new book, Us, that literally just came out in September and is the first novel he has written since One Day.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 62%
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything. Today should be one of the worst days of Hadley's life... her father is getting married in London to a woman she's never even met, and she's her flight. Hadley has never believed in destiny of fate before...
But, stuck at the airport in New York, today is also the day she meets Oliver. He's British. He's cute. And he's on her new flight.
Set over twenty-four hours, Hadley and Oliver's sorry will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.
I won't actually say a nothing about this book because I have already done a full review for it. It has both a short summary of what I thought of this book, and a more in depth explanation as well so if you are interested you can find that here.

The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman 85%
Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
These are the first two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy (and I am actually half way through the final, The Amber Spyglass), which is listed on the 100 books BBC the Big Read as the whole trilogy being one book, which is how I have read two thirds of a book from that list. I listened to these as an audio book because I don't own them (plus you can get the audio books on youtube so why not?!). I really enjoyed these two middle grade books. They are really fun adventure, fantasy stories with brilliant characters and amazing world building - I mean the world in this is so developed, in-depth and amazingly described. I definitely reccomend this trilogy to people who love adventurous stories with some fantasy thrown in there. 

Persuasion by Jane Austen 87%
Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?
Although I didn't enjoy this book as much as Pride and Prejudice, which is the only other Jane Austen novel that I have read, I still really enjoyed this read. It was quite a hard read as it takes a while to get used to the old fashioned style of writing ( so even though it is quite a short book, it took a while to read) but once you do it is much easier to understand and you can really appreciate the beautiful writing and the brilliant story. Jane Austen has a wonderful and distinct writing style and her books are so fascinating and interesting to read because life was just so different back then, compared to know. The stories are timeless though and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Anne Elliot and rooting for her throughout the story - I really didn't know how it was going to end, making it an enthralling read which I would recommend, 

Obsidian and Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout 87%
Starting over sucks. When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up. And then he opened his mouth. Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me. You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don't kill him first, that is.
I loved the first two books in the Lux series, the first of which I read for The Little Book Club, ran by the booktuber, The Little Book Owl (Catriona) who is having a live show on the 5th of October for it. These books were full of sexual tension, teenage angst and dreaminess (Daemon is literally gorgeous). It has such a brilliant, story line and really well paced meaning that I really struggled to put this book down. Jennifer L. Armentrout has a brilliant writing style and builds and develops a fantastic story with relatable and real characters. I can't wait to read the rest of the series - I would recommend this to anyone who loves paranormal romance, and even people who don't because I never read books from that genre but still loved these two. 

The Crucible by Arthur Miller 83%
Arthur Miller wrote of his classic play about the witch-hunts and trials in seventeenth-century Salem, Massachusetts. Based on historical people and real events, Miller's drama is a searing portrait of a community engulfed by hysteria. In the rigid theocracy of Salem, rumors that women are practicing witchcraft galvanise the town's most basic fears and suspicions; and when a young girl accuses Elizabeth Proctor of being a witch, self-righteous church leaders and townspeople insist that Elizabeth be brought to trial. The ruthlessness of the prosecutors and the eagerness of neighbour to testify against neighbour brilliantly illuminate the destructive power of socially sanctioned violence.
I read this play for school and I really appreciated and enjoyed it. The story is brilliant, and a great reflection of McCarthyism in the USA during the Cold War. It was a very powerful story that was extremely interesting to study it in depth aith a lot of things to h&m about and questions with no one answer. I definitely recommend this as a brilliant modern classic, it is well worn a read and I am glad we get to study it in my English Literature lessons.

An Abundance of Katherine's by John Green
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
Of course, I again really enjoyed this John Green book, though I think it is my least favourite of his (his only books I haven't read are the ones he has written with other authors). It had a great story line with hilarious characters and of course it was extremely witty and interesting. It was very different from his other books, though of it was like any I would have to compare it to Paper Towns. I do however, think that the writing style really didn't feel like John Greens writing which stopped it from getting a higher rating as I love his writing style because of his distinct, unique voice but I felt this was drowned out a little. I still recommend it to John Green lovers though - I know some people are a bit wary of reading it as it isn't as highly acclaimed as his other books but it is still a truly great read that I very much enjoyed. 

You Against Me by Jenny Downham 85%
If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right? If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you?
When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart. When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel. When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.
This is a brave and unflinching novel about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love.
This book was really good and I am very glad that I read it, because I have been hesitant by reading it as I wasn't sure whether I would enjoy it but I really did. It was fast paced and I couldn't put it down, meaning that I read it in only a day. Jenny Downham is a great writer and created emotional, real and a raw story. One of my only problems with it though was that I felt like it ended to abruptly and it wasn't all wrapped up. This, I think was intentional but I would have much preferred for it to carry on longer after the end. Saying that, it was still a good ending and a great read. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. What books did you read in September? Have you read any of these books - what did you think of them? 
Love Ellen xxx