New Read: Divergent

Divergent

Earlier this year I watched Divergent (2014) and Insurgent (2015) based on Veronica Roth’s dystopian, young adult novels. I watched these films in a row and enjoyed them even more than I thought. I now have a wait for Allegiant part 1 and 2. With that in mind my friend lent me the 3 books to read; first up Divergent.

Divergent takes us into the future, to a post-apocalyptic Chicago, USA. The limited population of the city are now divided into factions based on traits. Abnegation for selflessness, Amity for peace, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Erudite for intelligence. When a person reaches 16 years old they are given an aptitude test to help them decide which faction to choose. Once you have chosen there is no going back and individuals may even have to turn their backs on family; faction before blood. Some people though don’t fit into just one faction. They are known as divergents and are seen as dangerous.

Our protagonist is Beatrice (Tris) Prior who at the beginning of the novel lives in Abnegation with her family. Tris lives a comfortable and happy life, and while she is a kind and likeable person she does find it hard to be effortlessly selfless. Instead Tris finds herself eyeing the fearless and fun life of the Dauntless. Her aptitude test is only to confuse rather than help her choose though. Her results are inconclusive, meaning she is divergent and her life is in danger. Now Tris must balance her love for her family, her wishes for her own life, and hiding what she is from those in power who mean her harm.

Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth which I think is really impressive. I think Divergent is well written and visualised dystopian world, with a really good pace. The tension was kept high as Tris and her fellow initiates go through a gruelling initiation with the ever present fear of failure. Failing will mean living in poverty without protection as a factionless. To lighten the darkness of the story though Roth has used humour and a cool, snarky edge. A lot of which comes from our protagonist Tris. I liked and respected Tris. She is young, small and physically not the strongest but she is mentally strong and doesn’t allow others to change her own moral code. I haven’t read a young adult novel in a while. There is of course the required love interest but thankfully there isn’t a love triangle in sight!

Divergent is a well written, immersive, and taut dystopian adventure. I highly recommend to those who enjoy dystopian, young adult novels. I look forward to reading Insurgent next. Good read.

Have you read and/or watched this? What other dystopian novels or films do you recommend?

Adaptations: April 2015 (2)

Adaptations #3

I absolutely love adaptations. I know this can sometimes be a controversial subject with book lovers but not for me. I think my real love of them came from my time studying performance at university. There I became fascinated with taking a story and telling it through a different medium; whether that be book, film, TV, or on the stage.

Here are more adaptations I watched during April:

The NeverEnding Story II (1990)          Not Read     Film     Television
Fantasy sequel inspired by the second half of Michael Ende’s novel. I watched all three films as a child but I feel the first film is by far the more superior hence why it is the only one I own on DVD. This sequel was easy, fantasy fun which passed a lazy Saturday afternoon. Okay watch.

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)     Not Read     Film     Television
Fantasy adventure based on the Mariah Mundi novels by G P Taylor. A young man is thrown into a world of treachery, magical antiquities and steampunk machinery. I totally missed this when it was released at the cinema, where it sadly received poor reviews. I thought it was a bit of fun though, with a good ensemble cast including plenty of well known faces. Okay watch.

The Maze Runner (2014)          Not Read     Film     DVD
Dystopian, action thriller based on the young adult novel by James Dashner. I thought the concept of a group of young men being tested in a lethal and mind-boggling maze was fascinating; with great special effects and interesting characters. I am so pleased I was lent this on DVD by a friend and I look forward to the upcoming release of the sequel. Good watch.

Edge of Tomorrow (2014)          Not Read     Film     Television
Science fiction blockbuster based on the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. A soldier relives a brutal battle over and over again in a sadistic, Groundhog Day style, loop to find a way to destroy the aliens. I thought this would be good but I got so much more with this twisted, brilliant concept. Amazing special effects, interesting time cuts, and great performances from Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. Great watch.

Poldark (2015)          Not Read     TV Series     Television
BBC costume drama based on the first two novels from the Poldark series by Winston Graham. Ross Poldark returns home to try to resurrect his family’s mine. A stark and often heart breaking portrayal of life in Cornwall in the late 1700s, brought to life by a good and rather attractive ensemble cast, in stunning scenery and beautiful costumes. I look forward to series 2. Good watch.

That’s another 5 adaptations watched which when added to the previous 6 makes the grand total 11 adaptations for April; a great month which has only been matched in January. The Easter bank holiday really helped bump up my numbers. I am looking forward to seeing what adaptations I watch in May, as I have 3 TV adaptations on the go and I really must go see the new Avengers film at the cinema.

Have you watched any of these? What have you been watching?

New Books: February 2015

New Books - February #1

Hello my fellow bookworms, here’s what goodies I have managed to add to my bookshelf and Kindle recently:

The Curse Keepers Collection by Denise Grover Swank
(including 3 novels and 3 prequel novellas)

The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland

Victorian Fairy Tales edited by Michael Newton

I received this really interesting mixture of fantasy and supernatural novels, novellas and short story collection for my Kindle from Netgalley.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J K Rowling

My father picked these up for me from an antique shop as they are first editions with the original cover art. My Potter books currently have several different covers which my OCD nature doesn’t like. These two books help me along to making one complete, matching set.

New Books - February #2

The Hairy Dieters: Eat For Life by Si King & Dave Myers

The Hairy Dieters: Good Eating by Si King & Dave Myers

For a while I have been keeping my eyes peeled for these cookbooks so when I saw them for only £8 each I had to get them. These are from the nation’s (UK) beloved ‘Hairy Biker’ chefs. I am not looking to lose weight particularly but I love how down to earth and well balanced these recipes are.

Elizabeth I and Her Circle by Susan Doran

I also received this historical non-fiction for my Kindle from Netgalley. I just couldn’t resist clicking download as it’s about one of my favourite historical characters.

Have you read any of these? What new books are you excited about?

New Read: City of Lost Souls

City of Lost Souls

It hasn’t been long since I read the previous instalment but with my continued busy timetable leading up to the Easter holiday I was still in the mood for a fantastical escapist read. In which case I reached for the last instalment of The Mortal Instruments the City of Lost Souls as an easy comfort read.

City of Lost Souls is the fifth instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Lost Souls continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary. Clary and her friends and family barely have time to think let alone act after the last pitched battle and victory over the greater Demon Lilith when they discover after the fighting that Jace has disappeared without trace. Even more worrying is along with Jace the body of Clary’s estranged brother Sebastian (Jonathan) is also missing. They are all left fearing the worst. As the days and weeks past Clary and Jace’s friends and family are finding it hard to continue their normal lives with this cloud hanging over them. They presume the greater Demon Lilith’s plan to resurrect Sebastian has worked after all and that he has taken Jace hostage. Clary and Jace’s friends and family are desperate to discover where he is and what has happened, they willing to do almost anything to have him back too.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. Through her training, the confidence in her new powers and the experience of recent troubles have started to mould Clary into a true shadowhunter. Clary has started to lose her shyness and awkwardness which I was pleased to see as she starts to rely more on her own power rather than being reliant on others. Clary is however still joined by her friends and family  Simon (vampire), her mother Jocelyn, Maryse, Isabelle and Alec (shadowhunters), Luke and Maia (werewolves) and Magnus Bane (warlock) on this new dangerous adventure.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Lost Souls is now the fifth book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalments I found City of Lost Souls to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner from the start. No need to wait for the action to kick off I was hooked almost instantly. I am pleased to say the changes and growth in the characters that turned them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really like and believe in continues in this book especially in Clary. For those reasons I think I have enjoyed this series more and more each book I have read.

City of Lost Souls is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. Sadly this is the last instalment in this series so far. All I can hope is more will be written in the mean time perhaps I should start reading Clare’s other series The Infernal Devices? Good read.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

I’m counting City of Lost Souls as Urban Fantasy for the Once Upon a Time VIII event hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings.

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes
3. City of Glass
4. City of Fallen Angels

New Read: City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels

March has seen me as busy as ever with college, my work placement, agency work, pantomime performance, puppets, dancing and drama workshops! In which case I reached again for the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments the City of Fallen Angels as an easy and comfort read.

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Fallen Angels continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary is beginning to come to terms with her powers as a shadowhunter after she helped secure victory in Alicante. On returning to New York Clary begins her shadowhunter training, looks forward to a settled relationship with Jace and preparations for her mother’s wedding. A life as a Shadow Hunter in the world of vampires, demons, fairies and werewolves could be okay. Then dead shadowhunters from Valentine’s circle start turning up in the different Down Worlder territories, Clary’s best friend Simon is being hunted by mysterious hooded figures and Jace is plagued by horrifying nightmares. Something is brewing in New York which will mean Shadow Hunters and Down Worlders joining forces again.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she is a powerful shadowhunter. Clary through out this book is continuing to try to come to terms with her power, the lifestyle that comes with it, her relationship with Jace and the danger that surrounds them. There a few more new character additions in City of Fallen Angels including fairies, vampires, werewolves and demons. Clary is however still joined by her friends Simon (vampire), Jace, Isabelle and Alec (shadowhunters), Luke and Maia (werewolves) and Magnus Bane (warlock) on this new dangerous adventure.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Fallen Angels is now the fourth book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment City of Glass I found City of Fallen Angels to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once I got into the main action of the book.  I am pleased to say the changes and growth in the characters that turned them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really like and believe in continues in this book. For these reasons I think I am continuing to enjoy this series more each book I read.

City of Fallen Angels is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Lost Souls the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it. Good read.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

I’m counting City of Fallen Angels as Urban Fantasy for the Once Upon a Time VIII event hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings.

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes
3. City of Glass

New Read: City of Glass

City of Glass

January 2014 still sees me a very busy bee juggling my college work, work placement, first aid course, puppets, dancing, drama and my birthday! Phew with all that I reached for the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments the City of Glass as an easy and comfort read.

City of Glass is the third instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Glass continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary’s world has been turned upside down not only has she had to come to terms with the fact that werewolves, vampires, fairies and demons are real and the fact she is a powerful Shadowhunter but now she needs to get them all to work together. Valentine has stolen two of the powerful mortal instruments and only needs one more to summon Raziel the Angel who created Shadowhunters. The Clave (Shadowhunter council) to counter this threat has called all Shadowhunter back to Alicante the glass capital city of Idris. This is the first time Clary has ever seen her homeland but it isn’t to be a peaceful visit as she not only has to face Valentine but seek a cure for her mother too.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she is a powerful Shadowhunter. Clary through out this book is trying to come to terms with her power, the lifestyle that comes with it and the danger that now surrounds her. There are many new character additions in City of Glass mainly Shadowhunters Clary meets in Alicante. She is however still joined by her friends Simon (vampire), Jace, Isabelle and Alec (shadowhunters), Luke and Maia (werewolves) and Magnus Bane (warlock) on this new dangerous adventure.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Glass is the third book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment I found City of Glass to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once you got into the main action of the book.  I am pleased to say the changes and growth in the characters that turned them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really like and believe in continues in this book. For that reason I enjoyed City of Glass.

City of Glass is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Fallen Angels the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it. Good read.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes

New Read: City of Ashes

City of Ashes

December has been an extremely busy time for me. What with college work and review dates, school play, carol service and end of term fun and of course getting ready for Christmas! When I have had time for reading I have wanted something easy to escape into. That is why I reached for City of Ashes the second instalment of The Mortal Instruments series which was lent to me by a family friend (who has already read the whole series).

City of Ashes is the second instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Ashes continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary’s world has been turned upside down not only has she had to come to terms with the fact that werewolves, vampires, fairies and demons are real but also the fact she is descended from powerful Shadowhunters; a race created from the blood of angels to defend and keep the world in order from demons. Clary and her friends have barely started to heal from their last deadly battle when Clary’s estranged father Valentine returns with another hideous scheme to gain power and rid the world of Downworlders for good. If that wasn’t bad enough Jace has come to the notice of the Inquisitor who is convinced he is a spy for Valentine. So City of Ashes was another good magical adventure to get myself lost in.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she, her mother, father and brother are all powerful Shadowhunters. Clary through out this book is trying to come to terms with her power and some very awkward truths. Her best friend Simon is still madly in love with her (although she isn’t oblivious to it now at least). Simon has changes of his own to come to terms with though in this book. Then we still have the mysterious, brooding and drop dead gorgeous Jace a skilled Shadowhunter also with a lot to work out. There is still the love triangle in this book but since the shocking revelation at the  end of City of Bones this takes on a whole new element. I think all the characters in City of Ashes had quite a lot of changes and growing up to go through. This made me like them a whole lot more.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Ashes is only the second book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment I found City of Ashes to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once you got into the main action of the book. I am pleased to say I saw a lot of changes and growth in the characters turning them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really could like and believe in. For that reason I enjoyed City of Ashes much more than City of Bones.

City of Ashes is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Glass the third instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones