Acorss the Universe by Beth Revis – Book Review

A seriously good YA science fiction that grips from the first page to the last twist!

Across the Universe by Beth Revis. 

Summary courtesy of Amazon:

Trapped in space and frozen in time, Amy is bound for a new planet. But fifty years before she’s due to arrive, she is violently woken, the victim of an attempted murder. Now Amy’s lost on board and nothing makes sense – she’s never felt so alone.

Yet someone is waiting for her. He wants to protect her; and more if she’ll let him.

I fell in love with this book the moment I read a review on Grazing Pages. I think we can all agree this is a truly beautiful cover, and partnered with a glowing review from Katie I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Kindly best buddy Mr Crossley purchased this for me to cheer me up one day and I was thrilled.

So now about the book! The majority of the narrative is set onboard Godspeed, a spaceship destined for a new planet now that Earth (which they call Sol Earth) has spiralled into decline. The ship, big enough to house 3,000 occupants and a secret level full of frozen passengers to populate the new planet, is part way through its 300 year journey.


Now as a sci-fi lover this is enough to get my pulse racing about a book. But this is so much more. The frozen passengers are being unplugged. Amy is violently awoken and brought into a miniature world where she is very different. Everyone is mono-ethnic: caramel skin, brown eyes,brown hair and Amy with her pale complexion and fiery hair couldn’t look more different. But if this wasn’t enough more Frozens are getting unplugged and left to die trapped in the glass coffins they were frozen in. This is more than a YA sci-fi, this is a mystery / thriller / crime / sci-fi that is a cracking good read.


There are some really interesting topics brought up in this book that got me thinking, in a way that I really enjoy. To say any more or give examples would give to much away, but it is well worth reading just to chew them over in your mind every time you put the book down. 


This is a YA so the construction of sentences, word choice and the narrative as a whole, although shocking at times, is deliciously easy to devour and not a difficult read. I did find some of my short term predictions of the plot coming true in a way that is flattering rather than predictable, yet the narrative as a whole isn’t short of its twists. Some revlations at the end of the book left me reeling – and I think it is safe to say the second book in this series, A Million Suns, will be making its way to me in the post very soon!


Overall I think you can tell that I think a lot of this book, and really couldn’t give it anything less than:


10/10


In the comments below let me know if you have read this book and what you though of it. As always I love receiving book recommendations, so if you know something similar to this I might like to read please let me know here, on Facebook or Twitter.


Thanks for reading,


Love Rie x

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Book Review

When I had finished the first Hunger Games book I was gushing my love for it. I gave a glowing review for both the book and the the movie and couldn’t help telling anyone who cared to listen that they needed to read this book. But part of me wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy the second book. I knew of course I would read it soon, but because I enjoyed the first one so much, I didn’t think that the second book, Catching Fire, could ever live up to it. And it didn’t. But it wasn’t half bad either!

***Spoiler alert!! I try as always not to give away ANY spoilers for a book, but with a series this is particularly difficult. If you haven’t read the first book, please go ahead and read the review first and then the book before coming back to this one. I don’t want to give away anything that might spoil it for you! ***
***Second note, if you haven’t read this book yet I do give away one piece of information that could be considered a spoiler, but is in the description of the book. It is something I think will make you want to read the book even more. Read this review under your own discretion***


Summary courtesy of Amazon:  Katniss survived the Hunger Games. Now the Capitol wants revenge. It’s payback time, and her chance of survival is even slimmer than ever…

Like the first book, the opening chapters are back in District 12 and could be considered a little slow. A lot happens and things change dramatically after the end of the Games but nothing that is essential in my eyes to the narrative. The awkward love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale does develop better than I expected but I am left more confused than Katniss appears to be as the second book closes around her love life!
The second half of the book though was fantastic. As we return to the Hunger Games arena our favourite capitol characters return along with some new ones that build fantastic relationships and add to the narrative. The new arena is so complex and exciting that I was left again reading in a frenzy. There is something about the building rebellion in the districts and the new dramas within the arena that makes for fantastic reading. I was setting my alarm an hour early just so I could cram in another hours reading before I got started with my day, it was like an addiction.
The concluding events to this second book are well worth the slightly tedious start. The cliff hanger of a final sentence left me dying to read the next book. However I was left with a slightly sour note. Katniss’ character developed scarily out of control in the final chapter and the result was not nice. I have heard a lot about her character in the final book and I couldn’t help but agree with the rumors she turns from a strong female lead we all want to look up to into someone that is imperfect, selfish and some what unlikable. Haymitch on the other triumphs yet again to become a character I truly adore, along with the selflessness of Peeta they restore my faith in Collins character development.
This all taken into consideration it is difficult to score this book. I gave the first book in the series 10/10 and although it wasn’t as good as the first, it still had me reading like a mad woman and consumed my life for the four days it took me to read. I think it will have to be:
8/10 
Have you read this book? What did you think it compared to the first one? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x

Wild Child by Mike Wells – Book Review

I first found this Author when for some reason I ended up following him on Twitter. When I read the behind the scenes story of how ‘Wild Child’ came to be published and the story behind its cover art I was intrigued, yet I was never converted to making the purchase. But when I then saw that it had become free on Amazon I downloaded it immediately and it moved faster than anticipated to the top of my TBR pile as I read more and more about the book. I have to admit this was not what I was expecting, but so much more.

Summary courtesy of AmazonBriana Fox is the wildest girl in school. She and Kyle have been close for a long time…almost lovers. But Kyle is afraid that if he pushes her, he’ll have his heart broken and lose his best friend. When Briana challenges him to a swim across the lake, she’s injured in a horrific accident, but she discovers a mysterious substance in an underwater cave that saves her life. What seems to be a magical yet harmless “power drug” invokes superhuman abilities, and Briana soon becomes dependent on it for her very survival. When two government agents learn of the discovery, they will stop at nothing to find the source and turn Briana into a human experiment. Is Kyle willing to risk everything to protect his love?

When I started reading this I was expecting a novel, but instead I was presented with a perfectly formed short story. Taking me just over 2 hours to read this book sucked me into the murky depths of the lake with Kyle and Brianne (referred to in the book as Brie) and only came up gasping for air once finished. I had read reviews that it was gripping and fast paced but I didn’t really understand what this meant until I began reading. The YA themes of teenage defiance of parental rules and awkward romances is over shadowed by a surprisingly thought provoking narrative, that developed into a fantasy science fiction themed focal point that is completly unexpected.

The character of Brie, although essential to the narrative, I felt very little connection to unlike the protagonist Kyle, who is fantastic! With his ability to both panic and stay calm under pressure, his devotion to Brie and the relationship with his Father creating a well developed and interesting character that I only want to know more about. What truly cemented my admiration for this fictional boy was the cliff hanger of an ending that left me with far more question that answers, and possibly the best reason to get my hands on the next book in the series!

The only downside however being the next book in the series. Now being a Kindle lover, I have become accustomed to only paying a certain amount for a eBook. Promising to be as ‘lean’ as the first one I am finding it difficult to bring myself to pay the £3.65 being asked for the rather unimaginatively named ‘Wild Child Book 2’ with the world ‘Lilith’ added on to the end almost as an after thought.

Overall I would give this book a 8/10.

You can book this short story up for free on here, but no promises you wont feel as frustrated as me when you are forced to pay for the second one!

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

The Hunger Games – Film Review

After finishing the book just last weekend, I was fairly late to The Hunger Games hype. However it did have its advantages, I didn’t have long to wait for the movie to come out! I booked my tickets early this week, and was at the advance showing at my local Vue cinema in Portsmouth, dragging along the boyfriend, Terry.

As a late comer, but complete nut of the Hunger Games book, I understand that my review will be slightly biased, so I have also asked the Terry (who has not read the book) to add his comments at the end so you can get both perspectives. As always there is NO spoilers of the book or film in this review.

Summary courtesy of IMDbSet in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her younger sister’s place for the latest match.  Based on the book by Suzanne Collins.

My first impressions were this was very well done. Anyone who has read the book will know that around 2/3rds of the content is dominated by the main protagonist, Katniss’ inner monologue. Going into the movie I did wonder how they would over come this problem, and make the film interesting! It really is Kaniss’ thoughts, feelings and knowledge of the wilderness that create the tension and drama within the book. Yet it was the inclusion of the reality television style panel (consisting of the blue haired TV host, Caesar Flickerman & Claudius Templesmith the games announcer) to give commentary and explain events that non-readers of the book would not otherwise recognise, namely what Tracker Jackers are and the symptoms of their stings. Other events are also played out very well, with shaking camera shots, ringing ears sound effects and extreme close ups all provide a great alternative to Katniss’ thoughts.

Katniss, Primrose, Peeta & Haymitch


Jennifer Lawrence did a fantastic job of communicating a thousand words with the smallest facial expression.She brought Katniss’ character alive in the most tangible of ways, and was really well cast. Willow Shields who plays Primrose Everdeen was also fantastic and looked exactly how I imagined in the book. Other castings however were a surprise. I had imagined Peeta (who I didn’t realise until I saw the trailer of the film was pronounced Peter) to be a round faced and unimposing baker’s son but in fact played by the rather attractive Josh Hutcherson. Haymitch was also portrayed as being a lot younger, and some what more civilised character than I had pictured him whilst reading the book. The biggest surprise to myself however was the casting of Clove, the female tribute from district 2, played by Isabelle Fuhrman who also played Esther in possibly the scariest horror movie I have ever seen, Orphan. Something of her previous role stuck with me to make her a truly horrifying character. 

This is a film made about a book however, so naturally I am more critical. Several scenes were shortened to almost extinction, while other aspects of the film, such as the origins of the Mockingjay pin were changed completely. However, this was also done okay! No key scenes were really left out, and the changes made from the book made logical sense to tie the narrative together. Although it is a YA book, there was a certain amount of censorship of the stories true brutality at times to make it a 12A, but we have been promised an extended DVD edition to bring back more of the action which will be bumped up to a 15.

The one thing that really did disappoint me is so small it is barely worth noticing. However the book did do a fantastic job at aiming itself at young girls (and 20 some thing’s) by providing details such as hair, and nail art designs that girls could really latch onto and replicate. Although the signature side braid was included, my personal favourite girl on fire nails, which consisted of flames painted on the nails for the opening chariot ride to the games were completely absent! As I said, a very small detail, but disappointing to a nail polish fan like myself.

Picture of me, shamelessly copying Katniss’ style with the signature side braid.
This photo was taken after the movie, but still 1hr and 41mins before its official release…. I’m so sad!

Perhaps the one thing I did enjoy about the film more than the book is the flash backs. The back stories of the characters were provided quite freely and frequently within the book, not making you wait for any relevant information. However in the movie these were peppered throughout  in a series of short black and white teaser clips until they built up to reveal the whole story.

Terry’s Comments:

“I liked the film. It was alright, if not a little bit predictable. Even though I haven’t read the book, I understood everything. Defiantly enjoyed it enough to watch the inevitable sequel, and not just because Marie will force me to come along regardless!”

Overall I felt that this film did a great job of portraying a fantastic book without resorting to 3D or IMAX sound and flashy effects. Instead it relied on good camera angles and minimal special effects to create a more tangible Panem. Terry and I whilst talking the movie on the way home both agree our mark, now out of 10, for this movie without any discussion.

7/10

Thanks for reading,

Terry & Rie x

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Book Review

It is fair to say I read a lot of books. I get even more books recommended to me that I never get the chance to read. So when something like the Hunger Games comes along it takes something really special to make me go – Wow. Suzanne Collins did this.

Summary courtesy of Amazon: A fight to the death – on live TV. The game show where you kill or die, and where the winner’s prize is survival. In District 12, where Katniss Everdeen lives, life is harsh and brutal, ruled from afar by the all-powerful leaders of the Capitol. The climax of each year is the savage Hunger Games – where twelve boys and twelve girls from each District face each other in a murderous showdown. When sixteen-year-old Katniss is chosen to represent her district in the Games, everyone thinks it’s a death sentence. Only one person can survive the horrors of the arena. But plucky Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature…

I have heard about this book EVERYWHERE. Originally released back in 2008, it has taken a while to build the hype around this book, but with the up coming release of the movie at the end of next week it had reached fever pitch and I couldn’t ignore it any longer. No matter where I turned people where talking about it, particularly in the beauty blogging world, and it was finally Corrie, over at DizzyBrunette3 who got me to download it and launch into the arena.

Hunger Games is the first book in the YA (young adult) series by Suzanne Collins set in a fantasy dystopian world ruled by the Captol. To remind the 12 surrounding districts of their place, they get them to sacrifice 2 people from each district to fight to the death for their entertainment. Sounds bad, it gets worse – they are all between the ages of 12 and 18! This book it too good for just teens, no matter what your age you will enjoy this book!

The story follows the protagonist of Katniss, who volunteers for the games to save her 12 year old sister, Prim. Accompanied by fellow District 12 tribute Peeta, they are groomed, trained and flung into the Captol controlled arena. With only 3 days training behind them they must use everything that they have to offer to just stay alive, never mind win. With just the right amount to blood, death and romance this book draws you in and doesn’t let you go.

After 2 practically sleepless night I finished this books in a frenzy. This is superbly written to make you think about feel what the characters feel, and you begin to believe you are one of the people sat back at home forced to watch their children fight to the death for other peoples entertainment, and it feels so wrong, but you just keep reading.

Collins is a fantastic author, and Katniss has been crafted into a well rounded a likable character that any one can relate to. I can’t wait to see how this is translate on the big screen, and will be the first in line when it is pre-released on Thursday in the UK. I am infamously critical of my favourite books being turned into movies, and there is still some Harry Potter movies I have refused to watch because I feel it would ruin the books for me. This film has a lot to live up to, and I have a feeling it might do very well.

It has taken everything I had not to start reading the next book straight away. I get so absorbed into series, but also get so sad when they end. I have a lot of books I want to read (I have over 50 already downloaded to my Kindle in a folder called ‘To Read’) but I know they next book in the series, Catching Fire, will find its way to the top sooner rather than later!

I think you can tell by the tone of this review what I am going to give it. It has come to my attention that maybe marking books out of 5 does not give enough distinction between the good books and the fantastic books, so from this review on I am going to bump up my scale to 10.

10/10!

You can pick The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins up from just £3.59 on Amazon in multiple formats, so if you haven’t read it already, what are you waiting for?

Thanks for reading,

Love Rie x

[Stupid side note: I have been complaining for days that my hands have been aching. The fleshy bits below my thumbs appear bruised and tender to the touch and I just couldn’t work out why. It was only last night, whilst finishing this book it dawned on me – I having been gripping my Kindle so tight whilst reading that I have injured my hands. Kind of ironic/ and pathetic/ alongside the theme of this book. When you hurt Katniss, I really do hurt too!!]

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The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Book Review

I must confess. I started reading this books with negative preconceptions about its quality. Downloaded on a whim from an Amazon gift card it has been on my list of books that I should read, as it was from the author of the infamous Twilight series. Yet my best friend, Sam Crossley, had warned me this is the only book he hasn’t finish. But, me being me it just made me want to read it more! So I pushed it up to the top of my reading pile, with his warning ringing in my ears.
Summary courtesy of Amazon: Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy. Humans become hosts for these invaders, their minds taken over while their bodies remain intact and continue their lives apparently unchanged. Most of humanity has succumbed.

When Melanie, one of the few remaining “wild” humans, is captured, she is certain it is her end. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, was warned about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the glut of senses, the too-vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn’t expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Wanderer probes Melanie’s thoughts, hoping to discover the whereabouts of the remaining human resistance. Instead, Melanie fills Wanderer’s mind with visions of the man Melanie loves – Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body’s desires, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she has been tasked with exposing. When outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off on a dangerous and uncertain search for the man they both love.


On first impressions this science fiction book appeared to have potential for an interesting series of books, never mind just one, but I soon discovered why it often became unfinished. This book is too long. I made a comment on Twitter about how I was struggling and with a comment from my old English teacher I stuck at it and was rewarded in sorts.
This was a pure emotional rollercoaster. In my last post I commented how I am an emotional soul (no pun intended) but this had me in a steady stream of tears falling down my cheeks while finishing the final chapters last night.
The romance this book promised to be was easily the least interesting part. An impossible love triangle and the power of all consuming love… blah blah blah. It was too similar to the Twilight series in this respect, with Wanda hopelessly doomed to be the next Bella. Although the endings are very different the themes of the conclusions are almost identical which left me wanting more, or just something different from Meyer.
Overall this book had the foundations to be something so much more, but I did manage to finish this roller coaster ride of emotions, and I think by the end I began to enjoy it.
3/5 


Thank you as always for reading,
Love Rie x

City of the Falling Sky by Joseph Evans – Book Review

I began reading this book last Tuesday and stayed up a lot longer than anticipated. Four hours of reading later the only thing that stopped me from going on was falling asleep with a Kindle on my face, and I knew this was going to be a good book.

Summary Courtesy of Amazon: When Seckry Sevenstars is forced out of his village by the greedy Endrin Corporation and relocated to the daunting metropolis of Skyfall City, he harbours resentment for the company and vows to get them back one day for taking away his home, his school and his friends.

Fortunately, the marvels of the city do a good job in distracting Seckry from his anger and homesickness, and it isn’t long before he’s competing at Friction (the city’s most popular multiplayer video game), slurping awe-inspiring multicoloured milkshakes, and getting butterflies on his first date.

Then, when a mysterious email asks Seckry to break into the headquarters of the Endrin Corporation and steal a container full of worms for a hefty sum of money, his anger resurfaces, and he can’t resist the revenge he promised himself.

Alone at night, Seckry creeps through the sewers whilst wondering what experiments Endrin might be doing on the worms, and emerges into the silent complex. But the worms aren’t the only thing that he finds. Staring at him through the darkness, with wide, innocent eyes, is something that makes Seckry’s heart almost stop.

A girl.

She’s shaking, petrified, and has no recollection of who she is or what she’s doing there. Floodlights bleach the area and Seckry has no choice but to grab a hold of the girl and escape with her. Suddenly the question of what Endrin were doing with a few worms becomes the last thing on Seckry’s mind. What were Endrin doing with a human?

This book was a suggestion from Amazon, and without even reading the description, I decided to purchase it on a whim for just 99p. 
My first impressions of this book was its recommendations on its cover, in this image it is a little to small to see, but one recommendation says it is “even better than Harry Potter” from one young reader who claims it was the best book they have ever read. This is a big statement to make. One I didn’t think much of and read on regardless of this claim.Yet there is a serious similarity to J K Rowlings characters within the book. Snibble, the class bully, for example bears an uncanny resemblance to the character of Draco Malfoy accentuated by his thug-like body guards that follow him around. The headmaster of the school and Mr. Vance & could almost be translated into Professor Dumbledore and Prof. Lupin at a push. 
Despite this, the narrative is surprisingly original. Drawing influences from the bible, (with “for Geddins sake” being my new expletive of choice!), current debates of genetic modification, corporate responsibility and even school budgets it is topical and engaging. It is like a neatly tied braid, with no detail being provided that is not essential to the story line, no complex red herrings are used or for that point needed, but a clean and satisfying narrative that is almost impossible to put down. The only unanswered question which is teased upon the entire book is enough motivation for me to read the next book in the series. 
The need to be creative, and invent new names for things, was a little annoying. God is now Geddin, and Jesus = Sekry (or his nick name anyway). Ellonberrys sound delicious, but was it really necessary to rename blackberry’s? I am just not sure it adds much too the book. 
One of the books unique creations on the other hand is something I do wish was real. Friction. A virtual video game that suspends your body in a pod while you play though an avatar in a virtual game of treasure hunt. Sign me up now! This book is set in the future, so I will keep my fingers crossed. 
As a young adult (YA) book, at first I found it a little tedious. These are young protagonists currently in senior school and you can tell that. But when Seckry fell in love, I fell in love with this book. It is beautifully written (some Kindle books feel like they have missed out on the editing process but this is almost perfect) and I was sad to finish it.
From one lover of fantasy fiction to another, I loved this book. This is one of the best YA fictions I have ever read. And one day, with the right publicity maybe it could be as big as Harry Potter. I struggled marking this but as a YA I have to give it:

5/5

Since purchasing this book, it has now gone up to £2, but I still think this is great value for a good book. You can download it from Amazon here.

Thanks for reading,
Love Rie x
[since purchasing this book, it has now gone up to £2, but I still think this is great value for a good book!]