Friday, March 20, 2015

Movie Review #1 - Insurgent (2015)

This is my first movie review on this blog so sorry if this is long and confusing.

Given how much I loved the film adaptation of Divergent (I saw it in the cinemas 3 times) I had high expectations for the sequel.

Before seeing the film I thought that Shailene Woodley's hair would bother me but after the first 10 or so minutes (she cuts her hair in the first few minutes) I didn't even notice it.

What I liked most about the Divergent film was how loyal it stuck to the book whilst also adding the required cinematic stuff. Insurgent was completely opposite this. Only about 20% of the book makes its way onto the big screen, and that's probably being generous. The main difference between the book and the movie was the major things they left out.

I know that when condensing a 525 page book into a 2 hour movie, things have to be cut but so many major, pivotal things weren't included which both confused and frustrated me. These included Tris overdosing on Truth Serum and Tris betraying Four with her alliance with Marcus.

Uriah, whilst finally being included in the films played such a small role that I have no idea where his character will end up in Allegiant. He is only mentioned by name twice and even then it's only noticeable when you listen for it. 

The questionable sex scene from Allegiant somehow makes its way into this movie and lasts about as long as it does in the book.

The special effects in this movie were outstanding especially in the simulations. If you are a purist and hate movies that don't stick to the books then you probably won't like this movie. I walked out of the cinema confused as they didn't set up Allegiant at all. From a solely movie standpoint I really enjoyed it and am more than likely going to go and watch it again but next time in 3D. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review #543 - All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1) by Ally Carter


Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three certain things:

1. She is not crazy

2. Her mother was murdered

3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay

The thing is, nobody else believes her and there's no-one she can trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.

Grace's past has come back to haunt her... and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia. 

This book was equally as suspenseful as it was mysterious which was a great combination for a fast paced book like this. 

This book follows Grace, a 16 year old girl who witnessed her mother's 'murder' 3 years prior. Everyone including her Grandfather believe her death was just an unfortunate accident. 

Grace becomes very obsessive with proving them wrong when she believes she sees her mother's murderer in her new home. 

Grace was an unreliable narrator. I found myself wanting to believe her but there was so much evidence against her that at times I felt like she actually could be crazy. 

The plot unravels at such a pace that it is always engaging and page turning. 

This book could have worked well as a stand alone, but I am glad it is going to have a sequel as I am very intrigued to see where the story and characters go and also get some answers to a multitude of questions. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

Book Review #542 - A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin


Kings and queens, Knights and renegades, liars, lords and honest men. All will play the Game of Thrones.

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun. It will stretch from the south, where heat breeds plot, lusts and intrigues; to the vast and savage eastern lands; all the way to the frozen north, where an 800-foot wall of ice protects the kingdom from the dark forces that lie beyond.

The Game of Thrones. You win, or you die.

My Rating: 4/5

This is a book that I have had sitting on my bookshelf unread for a while and I was too intimidated to read it. I had also never watched the TV show at all before reading it. 

This book took me exactly one month to read which is an excessive amount of time for me with it being nearly 800 pages in length. 

I absolutely loved the setting of the story instantly although the multitude of characters made it hard for me at first to distinguish one from the other. 

Once the characters and plot settled and I finally was able to grasp it all I couldn't put the book down and flew through the last portion of the book. 

My favourite characters at this stage are Jon Snow, Robb, Bran and Arya Stark and Tyrion Lannister. 

I am now looking forward to finally watching the TV show!!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review #541 - The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner


AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from The Five Mile Press. 

Time Travel is a genre that I don't really like as they seem to always contain a lot of plot holes. For that reason I didn't go into this book with the highest expectations. 

I really liked the past more than the present. This was largely because I felt like the characters and settings were more developed than the ones in the present world. 

There were a few things I would have liked to have been explained  little deeper. 

I found this book fast paced and I practically breezed through it. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review #540 - The Two of Us by Andy Jones


Falling in love is the easy part. What matters most is what happens next...

Fisher and Ivy have been an item for a whole nineteen days. And they just know they are meant to be together. The fact that they know little else about each other is a minor detail. Over the course of twelve months, in which their lives will change forever, Fisher and Ivy discover that falling in love is one thing, but staying there is an entirely different story.

The Two of Us is a charming, honest and heart-breaking novel about life, love, and the importance of taking neither one for granted.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Simon and Schuster Australia. 

As a reader of mainly Young Adult literature I really did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. 

The book begins at the beginning of Fisher and Ivy's relationship. Fisher is 31 whilst Ivy is 42. At the beginning their relationship is purely physical but after a life altering complication they are left with no option but to commit to one another even though they are still somewhat strangers. 

Fisher is the protagonist, and we see the story solely from his perspective. I would have liked at least an alternate chapter from Ivy as I found most of the time I had no idea what she was thinking and for that reason I feel like I didn't like her as much as I was supposed to. 

Even though this book is obviously about the process of a relationship, it is far from a love story. Instead it is a poignant and accurate depiction of the ups and downs of a relationship. 

Fisher's friendship with his childhood friend Eli who happens to be in the end stages of Huntingtons added an interesting dynamic to the story. The rapidness of Eli's condition even in the year or so in which this book is set really brought other parts of the story into perspective. 

Both Ivy and Fisher are heavily flawed characters and their relationship is anything but easy. As annoying as Ivy's brother Frank was (to Fisher anyway) I really liked his presence. 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Book Review #539 - The Red Pyramid (The Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan


I guess it started the night our Dad blew up the British Museum...

Carter and Sadie Kane's dad is brilliant Egyptologist with a secret plan that goes horribly wrong. An explosion shatters the ancient Rosetta Stone and unleashes Set, the evil god of chaos...

Set imprisons Dr Kane is a golden coffin, and Carter and Sadie are forced to run for their lives. To save their dad, they must embark on a terrifying quest from Cairo and Paris to the American South-west and discover the truth about their family's connection to the House of Life: an Egyptian temple of magic that has existed for thousands of years.

The pharaohs of ancient Egypt are far from dead and buried. And so, unfortunately are their gods...

My Rating: 2.5/5

After reading The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series I decided to pick this book up whilst I waited for my bookmail of the Heroes of Olympus series to arrive. 

With the PJO series, even though I knew very little about Greek Mythology I was still able to follow the story. With this book, knowing very little about Egyptian Mythology made this book very confusing for me. 

I also found the pacing of this book to be extremely slow. It took me around a week to finish which is a long time for me, but by the time I had finished it I had felt like I had been reading it for months. 

This book still had the Rick Riordan quality to it, which I believe is the only reason why I was able to finish it. 

The book is told from split narration between the twin protagonists Sadie and Carter Kane. They both had very distinctive voices and I never once confused them throughout. 

Overall I felt like I probably went into this book with unrealistic expectations but even if I had read this book before the PJO series I'd like to think my views would be the same. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Book Review #538 - Opposing Sides by C.M Doporto


College senior, Lexi Thompson, finds herself in a relationship to be wed to the university’s star baseball pitcher, Collin Norris. Collin’s damn hot but it’s his lack of spark that has Lexi thinking twice before she says ‘I Do’. When she’s forced to tutor bad boy football quarterback, Raven Davenport, she soon discovers all the things she’s missing in her relationship with Collin. Will she succumb to the temptations enticing her or will Collin be able to convince his sweet, innocent fiancĂ©e that his love for her is genuine despite his lack of affection? 

My Rating: 3.5/5

I started reading this book on my iPad before I went to bed as I felt like reading but was too lazy to get up and turn on the light. 

I had expected to read a few chapters and then sleep, however found that after a few hours I had completed the book. 

The only other New Adult books I have read are Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster both by Jamie McGuire and it's definitely a genre I am keen to read more of. 

The protagonist, Lexi was rather whiny and angsty throughout the book but had a realness quality to her. 

Based on the cover, I had thought that sport was going to play a larger role in the story than what it did and it was a large reason why I even decided to read it, and for that reason I feel like this book had the potential to be a lot better than what it was. 

Raven was an interesting character and I am looking forward to learning more about him in the sequel that I am more than likely going to read at some point. 

Collin was such a boring character and I didn't feel sorry for him at all. I know that his parents made him that way but he just annoyed me endlessly. 

Parents are a huge theme in this book with all involved being controlling and manipulative, mostly to the extreme. Lexi's mother was the mother from hell and I was beyond happy when she finally stood up to her.