Sunday, 30 October 2011

I'm Baaaack :)

I'M BACK. Okay, so I didn't advertise that I was going away apart from if you stalk me on Twitter (slightly scary thought there...) but I did. And I didn't go just anywhere. Well, it's a place which takes 11 hours flight from where I am right now.
This is a place I have wanted to go to in my whole sixteen years - finally my parents got the hint:

Own Holiday Snap
Yes, the one and only Las Vegas - or Sin City. It is an interesting place I must admit with the cheap tacky buildings mixed with some lovely hotels that I would seriously think about living in if I could.
Now, for those that live in America, you will know that Obama visited Las Vegas to do some talk on housing.
Oh yep. Well, I'm sitting in a traffic jam trying to get back to The Strip, which looks onto the airport. Suddenly, we see this huge line of about five black cars. Then, a bigger one, a couple of police cars, an ambulance and then another black car bringing up the rear. This was indeed Obama. I kind of feel privileged to see him (even if far away and not quite face to face) but still. This guy runs a country, which is pretty cool. And personally (sorry if I offend anyone but I am English and don't know EVERYTHING about this guy), I quite like him. 

Sorry - anyway. That was my highlight of the week as well as seeing the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam which are both equally breathtaking. Absolutely stunning and beautiful. I never knew America could be this beautiful and natural. I mean, I've only been to the tourist states really - LA, New York, Florida - so this was such a surprise. It really reminded me of Spain or the south of France. I can't describe how amazing it looks without you seeing it live. 

I didn't stay in the BIG hotels or anything, just a quiet apartment that we rented at the back of The Strip. I did however do every single free thing in the hotels and have a look around - from volcanoes, dancing fountains, moving statues and even lions - Las Vegas has, well, a lot of entertainment. I loved it there, it was so lovely there and there is always something you can be doing. 
Here are some pictures I thought you might enjoy:

Hoover Dam from above
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
New York New York hotel

Casino at Caesar's Palace...

Fountains at the Bellagio

Me improvising with the camera at the Las Vegas sign
Have a great week! :)

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Eva Ibbotson: a year on

Last August, I discovered the author that is Eva Ibbotson.
I had heard her before and seen a few of her younger aged books in libraries and book shops frequently. I started by reading The Secret Countess, a beautiful story centred around the ending of the Romanov's and the low, middle and high class of English society in the 1910's. Anna is a wonderful girl and someone I wanted to meet and even aspired to as a character.

I, then, proceeded to read A Song for Summer which ended the year 2010 for me. This is when I realised. I remember the day I was going the review for it earlier this year. I typed the name in Google, just to see if there was an author's website to add to the review. There wasn't. But then, I saw further down the page a link to an obituary by The Guardian (an English newspaper). It was in this moment that I realised that the author I had come to love after two books - had died.
And this was the first I heard of it.

Eva Ibbotson died a year ago today, aged 83. She was a mostly children's writer in England and eventually, the world. She wrote numerous children's books that won several prizes each with it.
The books that teenagers my age have fallen in love with again recently, were first published in the 1980's as adult books. Recently, they have been re-published, just before her death where they became so much more popular.

Her writing is one like no other. I like to read all sorts of books, Young Adult or Adult Fiction. But I find with Young Adult, it can be too unrealistic, or too different and young. When with Adult Fiction, it tackles more adult issues which sixteen year-old's don't want to think about right now. Eva Ibbotson's books provided a view in to a world of writing where they address us 'Young Adults' in a mature way that we can easily understand. Her writing provided vivid descriptions of foreign places such as Austria and war time London.

I can't believe so few have heard of this author, but for me, she should be remembered for making so many stories for us to read, regardless of our age. I know her stories, the ones I have read so far, will never quite leave me and I hope to pass them on to the generations to come.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Top Tuesday Top Ten: Books whose Titles or Covers made me buy it

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.


This week's theme is Books that I bought just because it had an amazing cover or title

1. Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher - I liked this sound of it too and saw a lot of good reviews for it on the blogosphere BUT NEVER SAW THE ACTUAL BOOK ANYWHERE. So, when I went into work at Oxfam and found it on the shelves, I picked it up, looked at the cover and then casually crept it under the counter to buy later. 
I love the cover. Book definitely not so much. 

2. Shadow Web - N.M.Browne - I had seen this repeatedly in the library, but never bothered to pick it up. However, when I did finally one day. I saw the cover and rushed over to the counter already getting my purse out. (You can see a theme of rushing here...)

3. The Other Countess - Eve Edwards - Now, Waterstones don't do this offer any more but they used to do a 3 for 2 offer on selected books. Anyway, I have two books in my hand and like ever I ramble through the shop, suddenly, sharply (alliteration, anyone...), turning when I see the bright orange sticker and then normally rambling back again when I see it's not a book I am interested in. 
This one I saw and was interested though. I had fallen in love with Historical Romance books again after reading The Secret Countess (Eva Ibbotson). This cover is gorgeous. So gorgeous. I mean THAT DRESS. I WANT IT. So, this was me free book :)


4. The Luxe - Anna Godbersen - You see my reaction to the dress on the front of The Other Countess? This was pretty much the same but with a screech when I saw it FINALLY in my school library. 

5. Wither - Lauren DeStefano - I HAVE A THING FOR BEAUTIFUL DRESSES ON THE FRONT OF BOOKS...also Wither? Intriguing...

6. The Sky Is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson - Wow. That was my reaction when I saw this book in the shops (and stared at it for about two weeks). It was a journal, not a book. It was bound, with amazing photographs and poems in there, and written on the loveliest paper. I was in love with this bound book. YOU WANT SOME PROOF? Click here, oh and here and I think the review shows lastly my love. 


* I was so mad when I wrote this...I have just done two hours of Media homework/coursework so my brain was scrambled. 


Sunday, 16 October 2011

Film Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Starring: Keira Knightley (The Duchess), Rosamund Pike (Die Another Day), Donald Sutherland (Going to be in the new Hunger Games), Matthew McFadyen (Spooks), Rupert Friend (The Young Victoria), Brenda Blethyn (Atonement), Talulah Riley (St. Trinians), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Simon Woods (Cranford), Kelly Reily (Sherlock Holmes), Tom Hollander (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Made in 2005 by Focus Features (US)
Filmed in various places in England
Directed by Joe Wright
Based on novel by Jane Austen published in 1813

L-R: Jena Malone (Lydia), Carey Mulligan (Kitty), Keira Knightley (Elizabeth),
Rosamund Pike (Jane), Talulah Riley (Mary)

It is universally acknowledged that Matthew McFadyen (who plays the one and only Mr Darcy) doesn't quite match the Darcy from the 1995 mini-series version of this book: Colin Firth. This maybe because of my particular likeness for Colin Firth since seeing him in The King's Speech but you know...he's well liked mostly because of the Mr Darcy role. Having seen some of the episodes of the 1995 version (and admittingly, I have the DVD of it - HEY. Don't judge. It was a joke birthday present), this version, ten years on, focuses much more on the cinematography of the film rather than the raw emotions like in the 1995 series.   
There are some beautiful images from the start that both represent feelings and events that happened in the book, but also to just make it a really nice movie to watch. It is slow, I admit, especially for non-Pride and Prejudice fans or non-Keira Knightley ones too as she is featured heavily in this lovely movie. 
I, however, like her, especially as she was born and bred around my area (as well as Bend It Like Beckham, which she featured in, being filmed around my town). So obviously, she is a personal favourite movie star of mine. 

This movie shows clearly the events in Pride and Prejudice as well as adding a slight modern look to the film although keeping with the traditional manners, dress and formalities of 18th Century England. There is some lovely scenes where the characters do not have to tell you how they're feeling, you just kind of know. In short, this movie's best strength is the way in which it has been filmed - it is utterly beautiful. 

The acting is also not too bad. Keira Knightley shows both the attractive and clever sides to Elizabeth Bennet although when she is angry, it isn't Knightley's best moments beauty wise. I also found her take on Elizabeth rather moody at points, a tad like Darcy is known to be. 
Matthew McFadyen was a great Darcy and clearly showed that change from maintaining pride to loving Elizabeth, it was like a truly completely different Darcy. The other actors also reflected their characters personalities in the novel well with the amusement we find between Mr and Mrs Bennet and Lydia's innocence and stupidity of being a giddy young teenager. Carey Mulligan as Kitty was a very different role from perhaps we see her doing now, being a big Hollywood actress. 
For me, the perfect choice for character was Rosamund Pike as Jane. Jane is supposed to be absolutely beautiful, in and out. Comforting. Everyone's favourite character and elegant. In the 1995 version, Jane is hardly any of these. Pike was a good choice for Jane. She became the Jane I see in my head when I read anything to do with Pride and Prejudice.

Overall, this film was full of amazing actors and actresses. It was shot beautifully and captured the essence of the 1700's and the world of Jane Austen. It was like stepping back in time...even though there are a few movie mistakes. 

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (#1)

Okay, so I know this review is probably WAY long overdue. I don't know why but when the Hunger Games came out and then, the hype around them, I was never interested in them. This is the type of book I like, but something made me not want to.
Maybe I was just being 'indie' (I use that term lightly) and didn't want to join the hype train for this series of books. Actually, I was with my friend Joey when she saw the copy of the last one in this series, Mockingkay, screamed and then ran to the till in Waterstones, her purse already in hand.
I laughed but even after her influencing other of my friends to read it, I still didn't read it AND I'M THE ONE WITH THE BOOK BLOG. So, when I heard there was going to be a movie which I knew I'd probably be taken to, I thought this is it. I'm going to read them.
And then I mentioned it and my friend then gave me his sister's copy of the first book and I knew it was kind of time to finally read it. Dramatic I know, but when I started reading it never felt forced, although it sort of was on my friends part. Anyway, before I bore you, I have no unthinkable excuse why I never read this book before and WHAT THE HELL HAVE I MISSED?! *runs off happily*

Synopsis (if you've been living in a cave): Annually, the Hunger Games are held at the Capitol, the capital of the future North America: Panem. Two tributes, a girl and a boy, aged between 12 and 18, come from the twelve different districts to compete. Only one can win. However, there is only one rule: kill or be killed. Tributes battle to kill one another to get the ultimate prize: survival.
Sixteen year-old, Katniss Everdeen, from District 12 - the poorest and less likely to win of all of Panem, takes her younger sister's place in the Hunger Games. But in the wilderness of the outskirts of District 12, Katniss has learnt how to survive, hunting has become second nature. Will she win or will she fall like so many others before her?

Review: My first reaction after reading this book: WOW. Just...wow. Also, firstly, I am SO sorry Suzanne Collins that I didn't read this book and hopefully the whole series sooner because erm, why Rebecca did you put them off so long? This review is basically going to be me rambling how amazing this book is, I can not think of any negatives to be honest. And the end...oh the end, I had tears. Oh my god, just wow. I am such a idiot for putting them off. Oh and Peeta and Katniss, oh. And oh the end. And oh.

Okay. Sorry, gushing over. This book is one of those books I think will be around for a while. I mean, they're making a movie of the series! So it has to have stuck out in the bookish world.

I have read a lot of dystopian since I discovered the genre, but nothing was quite up to scratch as this one. This has (I'm going to say it again...) everything you could want in a a few hundred pages. I don't quite know how Suzanne Collins does it. When we entered the arena, I think, around the 200 page mark, I thought 'How is she going to make time past so 23 tributes die while making it entertaining, funny and interesting with all readers rooting for Katniss? But she does it. And she does it well. The antics that happen within the Hunger Games arena are so engaging and portray a side of humanity we rarely see: the fight for survival.
Something about Katniss' whole situation brings out this cruel raw emotion in me. I mean, Katniss is sixteen. That's my age and I don't think I'd be ready to do what she does in this book. Or any Hunger Games for that matter. The thought of some day dying makes me cry and disappointed of the days where I haven't appreciated living. How would anyone feel to enter a place where you know that the odds are in favour of you probably dying? And these guys are teenagers as young as twelve. It's a sad, disgusting thought to think of in  the future.
So why the Hunger Games? Why did Panem just decide to kill 23 young people every year? There is a reason and I don't know whether to share it or not. If you want to know, email me, I think that's fair.
The reason is stupid really and unreal for us but I can see why the Capitol would make the Hunger Games to avenge.

Now, Katniss. I love the name for starters. I loved Katniss' voice throughout the novel and she became a part of the book I think would not be complete without her. She is young, less strong that she may seem but the Hunger Games matures her within the first hundred pages of the book. Then, Peeta.
While reading this, my Hunger Games fan friends kept saying 'Oh Peeta, he's so cute' while I sat there thinking 'Erm, really? Not seeing it'. Until one moment. And then I understood everyone's love for Peeta and the whole love triangle with Gale (although he doesn't feature heavily in this book) and him. The Hunger Games provides a cast of characters so diverse, original and entertaining, that you enjoy this book more. The writing slows down and speeds up in the appropriate places and makes you feel so many emotions in the space of a dozen pages. This book is an emotional roller coaster to read for both Katniss and yourself.

Suzanne Collins, pretty unknown before this book was released, has created this amazing world of Panem and gives a possible insight to what our world could become with the continuation of war. She successfully hints future events (I only know from reading synopsis of the two other novels) and put me as a reader on edge so much, you are practically screaming for their survival as the pages turn. And the end. Wow. The end is cruel, truthful, happy, heart breaking and just...I don't know how to describe it as it kind of jumped on me as I started to think of what to write for this review. This book is, ultimately, perfect and I cannot praise it enough.
Verdict: Every young adult should read this book. I haven't read a book this good in a while.

I give it a 5 out of 5

The next two book are released already, Catching Fire and Mockingjay. The Hunger Games movie is due to be released April 2012.

Author's Website: http://www.suzannecollinsbooks.com/ and http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/
Pages: 454
Publisher: Scholastic
Challenges: None

Related Posts:
Book #2: Catching Fire
Book #3: Mockingjay

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Braces are off.

On the 11th June 2008, I got fitted for braces. I was a tall thirteen year-old approaching Year 9 - the BIG year of SATS and GCSE options - and having already gone a semi-serious operation in the April where I had been put to sleep and couldn't even talk for 3 days.
I've never been too fussed about them since. While my friends hide them away, I just got on with life regardless of my braces. Because of this, I think the majority of my friends and family cannot imagine me without them, especially newer friends. 
I was forecasted to have braces for 2 and a half years. That turned into 32 months, then soon approaching 3 years. It seemed like they would never go, I would live with them forever.
Until a couple of months ago in a passing comment to my orthodontist, I mentioned I hated them by now and just wanted them off. Before I knew it she was going into a long spiel that I should contact my dentist, do this, go book an appointment. It looked like I was finally having them gone.

This morning I woke up earlier than I should have gone.  The idea for the last two months seemed unreal that I, Rebecca, would be getting her braces off. It still now feels like a dream that I'm going to wake up and poof. They're back.
So I got ready, had breakfast, brushed my teeth, got into the car and drove to the orthodontists with my mother. Suddenly, I was in the chair. Suddenly, I was being asked to open my mouth, close it, bite together, open again. Suddenly, there was clipping somewhere rather close, a little pulling and then. Oh.

The thing I have been wanting so desperately for months, happened without me realising. I had my braces off. FINALLY.

The next part of the more hideous of the whole experience: cleaning my teeth and getting the glue off with numerous spinny tools that weren't too pleasant at all.
Anyway, around 20 minutes later, I was done.
The nurse handed me a tissue and glass of water and a mirror. I look at myself in the mirror first.

I have blood and moulding (for the retainer) smouldered around my mouth, mascara smudged under my eyes and let's just say, it was not the most attractive moment of my life. But then I opened my mouth and smiled. AND I LOOKED SO DIFFERENT. I hardly recognised myself, I feel like a new me.

For those who have braces or getting them soon, go through the pain, just live with it. When you do finally get them off, it will be the best day of your life so far.


(That is not food in my braces, it was just the light - honestly!)

Tuesday Top Ten: Books I wish I could read again for the first time

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.


This week's theme is Books that I wish I could read again for the first time not knowing what was going to happen

1. Any Sarah Dessen books - I have read them all so the thrill of her writing and plots has started to fade slightly, although I still need to read her newest books, What Happened to Goodbye

2. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne - when I first read this book, I didn't quite know what to expect. I didn't understand the blurb and people had said how harrowing this book is. After re-reading this book this year, I realised that this is true and I want this confused, afraid self to read it now, not entirely sure what is going to happen until it hits you.

3. Shadow Web - N.M. Browne - one of my favourite ever books, this book makes me laugh, cry, smile, be angry. I want those emotions first hand, not knowing when I need to feel them.

4. The Declaration series - Gemma Malley - I haven't re-read this but I liked reading the series throughout slowly understanding what Longetivity was and wondering why Anna and Peter were going to do next, would they live? WOULD THEY FINALLY KISS? 

5. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness - I haven't read this book in years but I know when I do, despite not remembering what happened, I won't be able to help thinking of what happens in the future two books. 


Sunday, 9 October 2011

Now - Morris Gleitzman (#3)

*There may be SPOILERS for those who have not read Once or Then*

Now is the final book in this phenomenal trilogy. After reading Once and Then in quick succession, I didn't think Now would be easy to find as it's not the book in this series I see the most. So when I walked into my local library and found it SITTING ON THE FRONT DESK, I knew I should get it out to read. Which I did.
For all you Morris Gleitzman fans or fans of this series so far, this is very different to any of the other books in this series.

Synopsis: ONCE I didn't know about my grandfather Felix's scary childhood. THEN I found out what the Nazis did to his best friend Zelda. NOW I understand why Felix does the things he does. At least he's got me. My name is Zelda too. This is our story.
(From the blurb of the book)

Review: 
Okay, this is incredibly hard to write so this is going to just be a low-down really. 
When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought what Felix was 'doing' was fighting against the Nazis violently like we see him doing at the end of Then. Although, thinking back now, I realise that this is so unlike the Felix we have got to know over this trilogy.

Now is the last instalment in this series and also acts as a shocking reminder that the events we describe as disgusting and  morally wrong are still happening today and will be around for future generations. The event this book focuses on is the fires in the Australian outback in February 2009 as well as modern day bullying.

Gleitzman makes you feel so many emotions - fear, anger, joy, pity - it is a roller-coaster of a ride to read and could leave you feeling anything, depending on how you read it. This book for me wasn't up to the mark as it's predecessors' but it still had Gleitzman's excellent writing and wonderful characters, mostly new.
The story is told from twelve-year-old Zelda, the granddaughter of Felix, the young boy in the previous books. It is set in modern day Australia. Zelda was named in honour of Felix's best friend during the Holocaust when he was a similar age to his granddaughter. Her legend lives on through the generations in Felix's family and of course, the locket which is still present in this book.

Felix is the Felix I love - however, he is eighty years-old.  However, there are still traits of the wonderful Zelda who we know was killed in the previous book. We learn about what happened to Felix after Then although nothing is ever revealed about Zelda's grandmother which I thought a little weird. It may not be relevant  to this story but I would have liked to know about her.

As Morris Gleitzman writes at the end, you don't have to read this books in order although I would recommend it as you get a total feel for young Felix's journey.
The descriptions in this are far different the rest of the trilogy which I preferred. Zelda started off to annoy me and I wanted Felix's voice again, although she grew on me. The ending is the best I could possibly think of for this series and really highlights what life is about: surviving. I have learned so much from this series of books as they give you a high powered glimpse into this period of time that we wish humanity could forget. However, the horrible things that the Nazis did so mercilessly to Jewish people is still rife today. The bullying described by Zelda that she experiences, and some I have experienced myself, is still harsh and disgusting. Although, bullying in this sense is not as bad as what the Nazis horrifically did to the Jews, the book shows that bullying is strong in all past, present and certainly future. Perhaps it is a humane thing to do.

This book I know will always stay with me in the future and although Felix is not a true character, those that were very much like him and risking their lives at such an age will always be heroes to us.
Verdict: This has been an amazing series. If you haven't read it yet, don't fret, start with Once and prepare a box of tissues.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Review for Once
Review for Then
Review for After

Author's Website: http://www.morrisgleitzman.com/
Pages: 167
Publisher: Puffin from Penguin
Challenges: BBC

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Tuesday Top Ten: Books which were MINDBLOWING at the end

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish.


This week's theme is Books that leave my mouth hanging open and unable to speak.


(Sorry, short again - was in the middle of some homework when I thought of this...)
The sentences after the books listed are my reactions to the ending


1. The Knife of Never Letting Go - Patrick Ness - Reaction: What the... oh my god, oh my fricking god. 
2. The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness - I hate you Mayor. 
3. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne - *Silence.*
4. The Diary of Anne Frank - I think if I remember at the end of this one I started crying and then got up and went about my business.
5. Then - Morris Gleitzman - Oh. Why kill them? I hate the Nazis. Go Felix. 


Sorry, for my short rendition of this post, I shall be back fully next week.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy into a movie!?

Okay, so I'm casually going on to Patrick Ness' Diary because I do a lot to check if there's a signing in London for me and my crazy-obsessed-with-him-but-still-not-meet-him friend. AND THIS IS WHAT I FIND.



YES. I KNOW.

THE CHAOS WALKING SERIES (The Knife of Never Letting Go, The Ask and the Answer, Monsters of Men) are being made into movies but none less than the Hunger Games makers themselves.

Personally, I don't quite know what to think. This is great and whatever, but well, will it ruin the magic and danger of these books that a lot of us readers will love? Will it be absolutely amazing and we well all wonder why we worried? I DON'T KNOW WHETHER TO BE WORRIED OR HAPPY.

Anyway, well done Patrick Ness - they deserve this kind of recognition and I WILL be going to see all three movies regardless of if I agree with the making of them or not....Nice surprise for a boring Monday.


Sunday, 2 October 2011

On My Bookshelf (10)

This meme is inspired by the similar meme, 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren 
(I don't have a Mailbox...)


Bought: 
- Across the Universe - Beth Revis (£2.00 in a charity shop)
- Othello - William Shakespeare (for college)
- Death of a Salesman - Arthur Miller (for college)
- The Great Gatsby - F.Scott Fitzgerald (for college) - Wanted to read this for a long time so glad I am studying! 

Borrowed:
- The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
}{

So, I was walking past the British Heart Foundation charity shop which I had to walk past nearly every day when I worked at Oxfam over the summer. In the window, I had noticed that they have some good books such as the whole series of The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. So, I'm walking past here to get a bus and for some reason, I am drawn in. I don't know why because normally I don't have a desire to go in there. But this day, I did. 
I have a quick look round the accessories before I settle at looking at the books, seeing the normal books that I used to put out all the time in Oxfam, you know, The Da Vinci Code, The Other Boleyn Girl - those sorts of MEGA popular books everyone has. Before I stumble across a copy of Across the Universe. A books I have never seen in a charity shop before.
Before I know, I am at the till and handing a £2 coin over to the girl and walking out with it in a bag. It wasn't until I was on the bus going home, that I realised this is an 'Uncorrected Bound Proof'. I have no idea if I'm meant to have it or not but for some reason, I know I'm going to enjoy looking for the spelling mistakes...


So I only got the books of Othello and Death of a Salesman a week ago BUT ALREADY THEY ARE COVERED IN WRITING (like shown below). Normally I hate writing in books, but when it's English Literature, you kind of have to. At first, rather sadly, I felt a bit rebellious writing in a book. The feeling wares off. Quickly. 

Othello

Death of a Salesman

What about you? What books did you get? Do you like writing in books? Do you have any uncorrected proofs? 

The Rogue's Princess - Eve Edwards (#3)

*There may be some SPOILERS for those who haven't read the first two books The Other Countess and The Queen's Lady*


When I found out in about April 2011 that there was going to be a third book in this series now named The Lacey Chronicles, I knew I had to get it and read it as soon as possible. So I pre-ordered it as it was half price and it was delivered over at the end of August, a couple of days before the release day. I was rather happy really. Due to commitments to other things, this is the first chance I've had to read this book and BOY, IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT. Warning: I will be gushing on how much I love this book.

Synopsis: A chance encounter finds Kit, actor and illegitimate brother to the Lacey brothers, falling hopelessly in love with the charms of a rich merchants daughter, Mercy. Who is also a Puritan. The match is doomed. A vagabond marrying a merchant's daughter - and a Puritan - it cannot be. As Mercy starts to call equally for Kit as well, she knows that she might have to renounce her family name and leave home. Will she choose duty over her heart? Suddenly, Kit is caught is a dangerous web, one which could be fatal.

Review: For avid readers of the Lacy Chronicles, we know that we were introduced to Kit in Book 2 of this series, The Queen's Lady, as a close friend of Milly Porter, who is consequently good friends with Lady Jane (now James Lacey, the middle brother's, wife - she was focused on in Book 2) Milly Porter goes on to marry Diego, a servant of the Lacey family. The brothers found out that Kit was their illegitimate brother and let him into the family as if his illegitimacy was non-existent.
This book focuses on this mysterious Kit that we have been only recently introduced to and his search for love, like his previous two brothers. From reading this, I can tell that some will not enjoy it as the format is rather similar to the previous two books although with different people and the central theme of the theatre, but I personally like this consistency. I know that I am going to probably enjoy it and this type of 'historical romance' books have become my favourite.

Saying this, when I first started the book, I was doubtful if I would enjoy it completely. I was actually rather worried when I started the book, as for me the beginning was...well, average, as I think I wrote about the intro in The Queen's Lady. The lengthy passage on Mercy thinking herself sinful started to annoy me. The long description of Kit's debut and then, being 'purified' was, although a little bit more interesting, not anything up to the standards Eve Edwards has placed herself. Now, before any readers that LOVE these series, as do I, start throwing insults at me for saying this - wait.
Then, we hit the moment when they meet and suddenly, I was falling in love with Edwards' writing all over again, like I have twice before. I could feel the excitement in the room they were in, the emotions of Kit and Mercy - everything. Every time I read Eve Edwards' books, I fall into this historical paradise which I hardly want to leave in a hurry.

Here, again, we have old and new characters. Will, James and especially Tobias all feature in this book and help Kit along the path to try and marry Mercy; Ladies Ellie and Jane are also in it briefly. Milly and Diego are also featured briefly. For new characters, we are introduced to Mercy's family - her strict, uptight father, John; her siblings, Faith and Edwin - both more Puritan and well behaved than the younger Mercy; her jolly aunt, Rose and the hilarious character of her Grandmother Isham - who for me made the comedy in this book. They all have a part to play in getting Mercy and Kit together. All of these are interesting characters that you will enjoy. Kit and Mercy play engaging protagonists, although Kit's humour favoured me more.

The great thing about these books are they are always so detailed historical wise. I learnt so much about the world of theatre (useful as I'm reading Othello in English Literature) and being a Puritan (by the way, apparently Rebecca is a Puritan name...). The language, although not quite so '1600's' as Shakespeare is, the language uses odd sentences and words that wouldn't be used nowadays but makes it so it is still easy to understand. The bit which I smiled at the most was the casual references to big events and characters that we all know about in modern day. Kit is in the same theatre company as William Shakespeare himself who is bursting at the chance to write - 'The company was still a little in shock that something so good could come from rural Stratford' (Page 252). And a mention of 'the what-his-name Marlowe' which really shows you what people those days must have thought of these normal seeming guys. Who knew they would be remembered four centuries later?

This book really shone out for me and I enjoyed it immensely. The characters of Mercy and Kit are incredibly entertaining and it's lovely to see their relationship flower and personalities deepen into characters that I would love to meet. The romance once again is there in force but not too sensual to offend anyone, you can tell deeply that they do truly love each other. The book is one of the best of 2011 so far and coming home every day this book from college, I just wanted to snuggle up and go back to the wonderful world of the Lacey's, Let's hope, there are some more coming soon. Keep up the good work, Edwards.
Verdict: The beginning is a tad rocky, but the book as a whole makes up for it.

I give it a out of 5

Review of The Other Countess
Review of The Queen's Lady

Author's Website: http://eve-edwards.co.uk/
Pages: 256 (also includes first chapters of The Other Countess and The Queen's Lady)
Publisher: Razorbill, Penguin
Challenges: Historical Fiction, BBC