Search This Blog

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Top Five Wednesday: Top Actor/Actress Portrayals of Characters

Seeing your favourite book characters on screen (whether TV or cinema) is a funny thing. You build up a specific picture in your head of what that person is like, what they look like etc, and if the actor chosen to play that character doesn't quite fit, it can really throw you out of the story you're watching. That's why I think good casting is very important!

I actually don't think what the actor looks like is too important, in my opinion it all rests on the performance, so as it stands, my top five page to screen portrayals are:

1. Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter series

This was a beautiful performance. I hated Umbridge so much in the books I had to put the book down at times and take a few deep breaths! Staunton manages to play her in a way that translates that hatred right onto the screen and I love her for it.

Speaking of villains...

2. Louise Fletcher as Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

This is another performance that makes me want to throw something at the screen. She's just so vile and yet so fabulous to watch!

3. Wallace Shawn as Vizzini in The Princess Bride

I tend to enjoy Wallace Shawn in any of his performances (He's also the second DS9 actor on this list!) and I just think he's brilliant in this film. Inconceivable!

4. Ian McKellen as Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films

Do I need to expand on this one? Just glorious.

5. Benedict Cumberbatch AND Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes in various adaptions

Ok, I am incapable of cheating on these lists, but I CANNOT choose between the two! Rathbone was always Holmes in my head when I read the books and he is certainly my Victorian Holmes, but Cumberbatch is just brilliant in that part and made me believe that you could make a decent modern day adaptation of Holmes, so he has to go on this list too.

Join the Top Five Wednesday group! It's fun!

Monday, 5 May 2014

April Book Haul

First of all, I must apologise for not updating the blog for a few weeks. I have been extremely busy at work and I have hardly had any time for reading, let alone writing a blog post!

However, my busy month did not stop me from buying more books, so here is my April book haul!

So, from the bottom up, I bought:

1. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

This is about a man who keeps re-living his life. He dies as an old man, then goes back to the start of his life; retaining all of his memories of all the previous lives he has lived. I've only just started reading this so that's about the only synopsis I can give you right now, but I'm really enjoying it so far. The premise is just so interesting! 

2. The Book of You by Claire Kendal

When I was in Waterstone's paying for Harry August the woman behind the counter said to me "Oh I've just finished reading that, it's brilliant! You should read The Book of You as well, it's really good!" Well, seeing as I am a sucker for a recommendation and the book was sitting right next to Harry August, I picked it up in there and then. It's about stalking. That's all I know. 

3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This is another one with a really interesting premise. The main character is in a car crash and is given the choice to go to heaven or to go back down to Earth. I think there's a film being made of this one at some point too. 

4. The Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel

This is a factual book about the wives of the Apollo space mission astronauts. I sounds really interesting and I found it in The Works for under £3 so I thought it was worth a go! 

5. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

I have heard so many people talking about this one and it sounds fantastic. I ordered this one from Amazon US as I couldn't find a UK release date and I am impatient. It's about a girl who has to go to Oz and kill Dorothy, who has become a tyrant. 

6. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

This is another one YouTube made me buy. It sounds like it has a bit of a Buffy The Vampire Slayer vibe about it so I think it'll be fun. 

7. Paris Revealed by Stephen Clarke

I am desperate to go to Paris this summer so I bought this to get in the mood. It seems to be an anecdote type book talking about the city and its inhabitants. 

8. Thirteen by Tom Hoyle

This is another "I like the premise so I'll pick it up" buy. It's about a boy who was born on the stroke of the new millennium and is the target of a cult that believes boys born on that date should die before their end of their thirteenth year.

and finally:

9. Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

A love story told from the point of view of a zombie. I'll be honest, I picked this one up because it took the price of my Amazon order up to £10, and I'd much rather spend money on books over shipping costs. I've not seen the film but it sounds like a fun read. 

What about you? Did you get any good books in April?

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Book Review: A Million Ways To Die In The West

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the creator of "Family Guy" and director of "Ted" comes a hilarious first novel that reinvents the Western. 
Mild-mannered sheep farmer Albert Stark is fed up with the harsh life of the American frontier, where it seems everything and anything can kill you: Duels at high noon. Barroom brawls. Poisonous snakes. Cholera-infected drinking water. Tumbleweed abrasion. Something called "toe-foot." Even a trip to the outhouse. Yes, there are a million ways to die in the wild, wild West, and Albert plans to avoid them all. Some people think that makes him a coward. Albert calls it common sense. But when his girlfriend dumps him for the most insufferable guy in town, Albert decides to fight back--even though he can't shoot, ride, or throw a punch. Fortunately, he teams up with a beautiful gunslinger who's tough enough for the both of them. "Un"fortunately, she's married to the biggest, meanest, most jealous badass on the frontier. Turns out Albert has just discovered a million "and one" ways to die in the West.

I ended up enjoying this book more than I thought I was going to, actually. If you're expecting Family Guy set in the Wild West you'll be disappointed, but this is a funny book and it is actually quite sweet in places. I found the characters to be likable and the situations did make me laugh out loud at times, although there were one or two jokes that I suspect will translate better onto the cinema screen than they did onto the page.

I really enjoyed the characters of Edward and Ruth. Ruth is a prostitute in the saloon bar but her and Edward are in love and are "saving themselves" for each other and for marriage. They are a very sweet couple and while a lot of their humour comes from the fact Ruth's job is not exactly the most innocent of careers I found myself really rooting for them and their relationship. I also enjoyed the main character, Albert, who spends most of his time being thoroughly grumpy about the fact he is living in the frontier with all of its dangers. He is a coward without being an over the top comedy "chicken" type character, and you can't really help thinking sometimes that if you were in his place, you would make the same choices he does.

This is a book by Seth MacFarlane, so expect there to be some off-colour jokes and this is certainly not a book for children or the easily offended, but if you're in the mood for something silly, you might want to give this one a try.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Top Five: Book Quotes

The topic for this week’s top five Wednesday is top five book quotes. I love this topic but it was so hard to narrow it down to just five! I went with the top five that came to my head, otherwise I’d be thinking about it forever and never write it down!

Here’s my list:

1. “Life’s great happiness to be convinced that we are loved”
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

2. “Of course it’s happening inside your head, Harry, but why on Earth should that mean it’s not real?”
J. K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

3. "In the beginning, the universe was created. This made a lot of people very angry, and has been widely regarded as a bad idea."
Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

4. “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. (...) You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you'll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.”
John Green, Looking for Alaska

5. “In that part of the book of my memory before which little can be read, there is a heading, which says: ‘Incipit vita nova: Here begins the new life’.”
Dante Alighieri, La Vita Nuova

And a bonus quote that I thought was appropriate:

“Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we're quoting.”
― John Green

Top Five Wednesday

Monday, 7 April 2014

Book Review: Requiem


Requiem by Lauren Oliver is the third book in the Delirium series.

I usually don't like books that are told from more than one perspective when written in the first person, but I did actually enjoy it here. Requiem is told from the perspective of Lena who is living outside of Portland with the resistance and then from the point of view of Hana who has been given her cure and is living in Portland preparing to get married. It was interesting to see what it like to be someone who had been cured, although Hana did seem to have worries about whether or not she had actually been cured properly or not.

I also thought that love triangle between Lena and Julian and Alex would annoy me; I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles, but this one I actually feel added to the story. I found myself changing my mind several times over who I thought Lena was best suited to, and I liked that Lena did not just suddenly start treating Julian like dirt just because Alex was back on the scene. I also liked that Coral did not instantly become "The Enemy". 

I am still not sure how I feel about the book's ending. I just felt like there was so much left to be resolved that I was beginning to wonder if the series was actually going to be in four parts! Now I do realise that sometimes an ambivalent or an open ended climax to a story can be a good thing, I just felt like the ending to Requiem was rushed and a little unsatisfying.

Having said that, I do think the series as a whole was enjoyable, and well worth a read. I just think the ending was a little disappointing.

If you've read Requiem, what did you think? Did you think the ending was well done or not? Why?

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Top Five Wednesday - GENRES

This week's top five topic over at Top Five Wednesday on Goodreads was your top five genres, so in no particular order, my favourite genres to read are:

1. Dystopia

I suppose dystopian fiction is more of a sub-genre than a genre, but I love reading them so much that I had to to include it here.

2. Fantasy/magical realism

I'm not a fan of the high fantasy genre, really. There are exceptions, like I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings but for the most part, I prefer fantasy that takes part in a recognisable world, like Harry Potter, or the Rivers of London series (have I talked about those books enough yet?!)

3. Science Fiction

I am certainly a fan of sci-fi in television; I grew up in a family of Trekkies!

4. Comedy

Sometimes you just want to read something light hearted that will make you laugh – especially after all those dystopian books I like to read! And speaking of comedy that leads us onto number five...

5. Discworld

Yes, yes, I know the Discworld series is not a genre. But it should be. Those books are wonderful; funny and creative and always extremely enjoyable.    

Who knows, maybe one day I'll be able to do a list like this without cheating! 

What about you? What are your favourite genres?

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten "Gateway" books

This week's topic for "Top Ten Tuesday" over at The Broke and the Bookish was "Gateway Books", so books that helped you along your reading journey, in whatever form that is.

Here's my list:

1. The Harry Potter Series by J. K Rowling

These are the books that really got me into discussing books with other people online. I remember when we first got the internet installed in my house and the first thing I asked my dad was “Are there Harry Potter websites?” There actually weren't that many at the time (giving away my age now) but there soon were lots and lots and waiting for each book in the series to be released and talking for hours with my friends about what we thought was going to happen was amazing. Goblet of Fire is also the first book I ever pre-ordered!

2. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾ by Sue Townsend

I have mentioned this book before and I'm sure I will mention it again, but it is a very important series to me! This is the first book I ever had to repurchase in hardback because I read it so many times it literally fell apart!

3. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

This is the first book I read where I actually preferred the film adaptation. Only slightly, but I do think the film is a little more fun than the book!

4. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

This is the first graphic novel I ever bought. I went to see the movie with some friends having no idea what the film was about and loved it so much I went straight out and bought the graphic novel!

5. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

The first book that made me cry. I love this so very much.

6. Automated Alice by Jeff Noon

The first book I ever bought just because I liked the cover. It was very cheap and I'm a sucker for anything Alice in Wonderland and bought this without even reading the blurb! It's been years since I read it but I remember enjoying it very much.

7. The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle

The first book I bought online because I could not find a copy in store for love nor money.

8. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch

Seriously, why does this series not have a fandom?! This was the first book that my friends and I found ourselves discussing almost as much as we had with the Harry Potter series. I am so excited for the next book coming out in July!

9. Looking for Alaska by John Green

This is the book that got me back into reading contemporary after so many years. I had stopped reading anything that didn't have some sort of fantastical element or science fiction or something like that, but then I started watching the Vlogbrothers back when they were doing their Brotherhood 2.0 project and I had to pick up John Green's books to see what his writing was like! I loved this and it made me forgive contemporary and realise that just because it doesn't have a dystopia, doesn't mean it's boring!

10. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (no picture because I don't actually own a copy!)

This was the first classic that I really enjoyed and couldn't put down. I love Jane and her sensible attitude to what happens to her. I love the myustery of the attic and the writing style is just beautiful.

What sort of books would be on your list?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

March Book Haul

It's the end of the month so it's time to have a look at the books I bought throughout March. There are a lot of them! I went a bit overboard this month, I am not sorry. Not even a little bit.

So in no particular order, the books I bought this month are:

1. Cinder by Marissa Myer
A retelling of Cinderella where Cinders is a cyborg? Yes please!

2. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This seems to be making its rounds on people's blogs so I thought I'd see what the fuss was about.

3. Half Bad by Sally Green
I am so excited to read this one – a story about good witches vs. bad witches and the boy in between.

4. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
I'll be honest, I have no idea what this book is about, I just bought it because it's by Markus Zusak.

5. The Shock of the Fall by Nathan Filer
The blurb on the back of this one grabbed me. It talks about Simon, who “in a couple of pages (will) be dead. And he was never the same after that.”

6. Thirsty by M. T. Anderson
A vampire book. It was recommended by John Green, so I trust his judgement!

7. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
I bought this because it sounded interesting and I needed something to add up the money on an online order so I could qualify for free shipping! Also I'd like to see the film and I do try to read the book of a film first.

8. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
I was reminiscing about books I read when I was a teenager and I remember that I loved this, so I thought I'd add it to my shelves again.

9. A Streetcat Named Bob by James Bowen

10. The World According to Bob by James Bowen

I saw these books everywhere recently so I looked up what they were about and bought both books straight away. It's a memoir of a man, a cat and an amazing friendship.  

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Book Review: Pandemonium


Pandemonium is the second book in Lauren Oliver's Delirium series. It is separated into “Then” and “Now” sections, with the “then” sections telling what happened to Lena directly after what happened at the end of Delirium, and the “now” sections talking about her involvement with the rebellion.

I always think going in to a second book in a trilogy that it is going to suffer from “second book syndrome” and end up just being filler preparing the reader for the end of the story in the third book. This however did not suffer from that at all. It was very enjoyable and I actually ended up reading the entire book over the course of one Sunday (who needs productivity anyway?)

We are introduced to some new characters in this book and I enjoyed reading about them all. I also thought that Julian was an interesting new character and again, although I went into this book expecting not to like him at all, I actually enjoyed his character a lot. I also think that Lena's character arc is really working here; she is becoming less naïve and innocent and is starting to make some big decisions for herself now.

We also get to see more of the world outside of Portland in this book and I really liked that. I always want to know about the wider society in dystopian books and so it was nice to learn more about the society in this one.

Pandemonium is a great second book and it definitely made me want to read the third and final book in the trilogy! Go get it!  

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Book Cake Tag

I saw this tag floating around YouTube and it looked fun so I thought I'd give it a go! The idea is you assign a book to each of the ingredients that go towards making a cake. I love cake and books so I had to do this, really.

1) Flour – A book that was a little bit slow to start off but that really picked up as it went along.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I wasn't sure about this one when I first started it but I ended up really enjoying it.

2) Butter – A book that had a really rich and great plot.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. (No photo because a friend of mine is borrowing my copy right now!) This one had me gripped the whole time. At one point I was reading it on the underground and when I had to switch lines I ran to my next train so I could see what was going to happen next!

3) Eggs – A book that you thought was going to be bad but actually turned out quite enjoyable.

Night of the Living Trekkies. I bought this for a laugh. It was £1 and the title made me laugh, and being the zombie fan and Trekkie that I am I had to pick it up. I actually ended up really enjoying it! Not the world's deepest book but it was certainly fun!

4) Sugar – A sugary/sweet book.

The Princess Diaries. I actually had a really hard time with this question – I need to read more sweet books I guess!

5) Icing – A book that covered every single element that you enjoy about a book (funny moments, action moments, sad moments, etc.).

The Harry Potter series. I'm probably cheating by naming a series rather than a solitary book, but come on! It's got everything! Magic spells, daring sword fights, and a (half-blood) Prince in disguise!

6) Sprinkles – A book series that you can kind of turn to for a little pick me up when you’re feeling down.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13¾. The story of a 13 year old “undiscovered intellectual” living in the Midlands in the 80s and pining over the love of his young life, Pandora Braithwaite. A great comic book. This book is utter comfort reading to me. The entire series is actually, but I thought I had better not cheat twice!

7) The cherry on top – Your favourite book this year so far.

Well it's only march, so I haven't read a lot of books yet, but so far I have to say I have enjoyed Delirium the most.

So there's my list - which books would be on yours?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Book Review: Delirium

What if love were a disease? Would you want to be cured?

Delirium by Lauren Oliver is set in a future America in a society where love is considered a disease. The government has developed a cure (essentially a lobotomy) which stops people being able to feel love. The cure is compulsory when people reach the age of 18.

Our heroine, Lena is looking forward to her procedure. She is counting down the days, in fact. Lena believes in the system, and thoroughly supports the idea of being cured. That is, until she meets Alex and everything changes.

Delirium was a beautifully written book and I really enjoyed it. I thought Lena was a great character and I enjoyed spending time with her. I liked that she seemed to actually have a decent head on her shoulders and didn't rush off into stupid decisions. The book's pacing was good and I never felt bored as I waited to see what was going to happen next.

I did have a few questions about the premise of the book. I wanted to know how it worked with familial love. Boys and girls are separated until they are “cured” so that they don't fall in love, and this being a dystopia, anyone who isn't straight is not welcome in the society; but I wanted to know how people felt about love towards their family? It's said in the book that parents don't love their children, because of the cure, but what about siblings under the age of 18? Cousins? What about a child's love for their parents? I don't think it's enough of a question to stop me from enjoying the book, not by a long shot, but I'd love to know what people think about how forms of love other than romantic love exist (or not) in this world.

Delirium is part one of a trilogy. I have read all three books now and I can recommend this series completely!

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Top Five Wednesday - SEQUELS

I love watching “Top Five Wednesday” videos on YouTube, so I'm really excited to be finally making my own top five list! This week the topic was “Top Five Sequels”. So, in no particular order, my top five sequels are:

1. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

This book was so exciting, it introduced some great new characters, was full of action and set up for the final part of the trilogy beautifully.

2. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch

I love the Rivers of London series and I feel like people are not talking about it nearly as much. Peter Grant is a policeman working in London for a special branch of the Met – the magic branch. This is a really funny book, full of dry humour and a great follow up to the brilliant Rivers of London (or Midnight Riot in the US)

3. The Growning Pains of Adrian Mole by Sue Townsend

Adrian Mole will always have a special place in my memory. This series is real comfort reading for me, and so I couldn't talk about sequels without mention this one.

4. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

I've only just read this, so maybe I'm including it because it's fresh in my mind, but I sat and read the whole thing over the course of one Sunday and loved it. I enjoyed the new characters that were introduced and I really felt like the story was being continued in an exciting way, so this book had to be included here.

5. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K Rowling

I'm not sure if I'm cheating by naming the third book in a series instead of the second, but I think this might be my favourite book of the entire series. I loved the amount of character development that happened in this book, the plot kept me gripped the whole time, and it was the first Harry Potter book where I counted down the days until the release date. This one has a special place in my heart!

You can find the list of people participating in Top Five Wednesday at:

Monday, 17 March 2014

Three Men in a Boat Book Review

I needed a break from all the dystopian fiction I've been reading lately so I picked up a copy of Three Men in a Boat (to say nothing of the dog) by Jerome K. Jerome. I remember my grandfather always telling me that this was one of his favourite books and so I thought it was time I finally got around to reading it! I'm really glad I did.

Three Men in a Boat is about three men and a dog who decide that they are all feeling fed up and the best thing that they should do is to spend two weeks on a boating holiday down the Thames. The book is then made up of the things they get up to on that holiday interspersed with anecdotes from the narrator's past.

One thing people always seem to mention when they talk about this book is how modern it seems. The writing style does feel very modern; it reminds me of P.G Wodehouse actually. I really loved the section when J (as the narrator is referred to by his friends) is talking about people in the future considering everyday 19th century objects as something precious:

Will it be the same in the future? Will the prized treasures of to-day always be the cheap trifles of the day before? Will rows of our willow- pattern dinner-plates be ranged above the chimneypieces of the great in the years 2000 and odd?”

I loved that passage because, yes J, people will do that. My grandparents had willow pattern plates on their wall above the fireplace.

The book is very funny, and the section where Harris talks about his adventures getting lost in Hampton Court maze is brilliant. Although there is a passage towards the end of the book where J describes a time when he found the body of a dead woman in the river. The section does not seem to fit with the tone of the rest of the book and it was a little off-putting. Just something to bear in mind if you decide to read this book.

I would recommend this book to anyone that wants a short, light-hearted read, and especially to anyone who has ever been on a boating holiday along the Thames!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Book Haul!

I went a bit silly over the last few days and ordered a whole bunch of books from the internet so I thought I'd share what I got:

The books I got are:

1. Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson

The premise of this book really interested me and it sounded like something very different from what I would usually read.

2. Panic by Lauren Oliver

I just finished reading Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy (reviews to come!) so I was pretty excited to get her newest novel.

3. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

4. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

I have heard so many good things about these books so I picked them both up. I can't wait to read them!

5. Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh

I've enjoyed a lot of  the comics on the Hyperbole and a Half blog so I had to get the book!

6. Bridget and Joan's Diary by Bridget Golightly and Joan Hardcastle

I've been in the mood for funny books recently and bought this one on a whim.

7. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Again, the premise interested me and it's different from the sort of books I usually read.

Has anyone read any of these books? What did you think?

(All books were purchased by me)

An Introduction

Hi there! I thought seeing as this was the first post on my blog I had better introduce myself a little. My name is Lisa and I love to read. I set up the blog because I wanted my own little corner of the internet where I could talk about books and book related subjects!

I read pretty much anything, so for now this blog will consist mostly of me talking about the books I read, as I read them. I'm always up for recommendations too, so feel free to recommend something you've loved!

I'm very new to this whole blogging thing, so I am just stumbling through as I go really, but I'd love to get talking about books, so feel free to join me anytime!

Happy reading!