Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Is 'Fifty Shades of Grey' a good thing?

Fifty Shades of Grey.

I'm pretty sure it conjures up a mixture of opinions for people, myself included. I'm also sure it conjures up some amazement for numerous reasons, mostly to the fact it has sold a million copies for the Amazon Kindle alone and that it sold faster than any of the modern greats such as Lord of the Rings, Twilight or Harry Potter. I hear some of you cry, Harry Potter!? Totally true.
My question is: why is this book dubbed 'mummy porn' one of the fastest selling books of the 21st Century so far? And is this a good or bad thing?

I work in a bookshop, as I have said before. I remember a couple of months ago when the book was first released in the UK after the successful run in the US, so around March 2012. I was standing at the counter with my American colleague, Alice*. This middle aged woman with spectacles perched on her nose came to the tills, obviously about to launch into a series of questions for a book she wanted. Her question was: 'I'm looking for that book that's big in the US. 'Fifty' something? Do you know it?'

Funnily enough, I did. I pointed to the counter where a few copies had been placed as, well, we didn't know where else to put them. Picking it up, the lady looked at the blurb before asking us did we know why it was popular, what it was about and so forth. After a small conversation, she bought the book and then continued on her way saying she's heard it was 'life changing' from a friend therefore 'it had to be good'.
Ah, the innocent public then. Intrigued to what it was about, Alice and myself were talking about what we'd heard about it which was, well, not much at this point. After a small bit of Googling, we found it was a 'romance bordering erotica' novel. We were pretty intrigued.
It was this moment we picked up the book on the counter and flicked through it. Alice looked at it first and from the horror on her face, it just said it all. So, that was how I found out about the series named 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. We flicked through for another few minutes before replacing it on the shelf and looking at each other in disgust. When I say, EVERY PAGE, I mean EVERY PAGE has some kind of sexual reference. 

For the record, I'm okay with sex in books. I'm 17, for Christ's sake, and sat through many awkward sex education classes with boys looking at the girls in fear with the knowledge they'll have to touch THAT and worse, girls can bear children? Shock! Horror!
However, there are extremes in books where the sex is just, too much. I want some real issues, not just an indepth analysis of the event. I can imagine this is what this book is like. For me, erotica fiction recalls the past memories of finding a massive box of Miles and Boon novels in the Oxfam I used to work in and the small half of a shelf at the end of Fiction in the bookshop I work in which is the 'Erotica' shelf. Needless to say, it's a genre that doesn't do too well.

So why the sudden phenomenon of Fifty Shades of Grey? I think we need to realise what this series started out as. Which is fan-fiction of TWILIGHT of all books. Remember that big thing in 2008 when the first movie came out (I was NOT part of it)? This book started out on a fan-fiction website of Twilight. She was forced to leave for the, ahem, racy nature of her books and started her own website 50shades.com. An Australian publisher caught on to the series and made it into an e-book and then when the popularity increased, Random House bought the rights to publish it as a paperback. And the rest is history. Well, it is after a film company then bought the film rights. So, Fifty Shades, THE MOVIE, anyone?
I have a bias view as I find the book unappealing and slightly disturbing that this is the book that grips the world to buy more than Harry Potter or even the Hunger Games. I can certainly think of better literature to have sold a million copies on Amazon Kindle. I have always thought that, since that day in March when I discovered this series. Even when the first flocks of people came in to buy it, it never clicked this was the next 'big thing'. And even if it was, I was still never going to read it.

It was only until last weekend when I was working that I realised the extend of the popularity for the series. We opened at 11:30 with three shelves full right by the front door to the shop with the three books. At around 12:30 and after a huge rush of customers, my collegue at the time came up to the counter with an face of confusion holding a single copy of Fifty Shades of Grey proclaiming 'We only have one copy left'.
That's right, my bookshop sold out of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker, the second book in the series. Which left us with 50-odd copies of the third book, Fifty Shades Freed. After looking on the system, there were 200 copies on order. 200! It was this moment when I was bewilderment at why this book was chosen by the English population to be one of the most fastest-selling books of this side of 2010 that I realised that perhaps my disgust is a bad thing.

No, I have not had a change of heart and want to read this series because, as many customers have told me, it is 'life-changing' (this is normally answered with a smile and nod thinking 'seriously?'). Despite the numerous times I am asked have I read it, would I recommend it, even by my friends, my answer will always be 'Well a lot of people have been buying it...'
However, in some ways I can't hate this phenomenon too much really. A bookshop is starting to fade from existence with the use of Amazon. Borders have disappeared in America. Waterstones have resorted to an alliance with Amazon to sell their Kindles (my thoughts on that are a totally different blog post). The bookshop, believe it or not, is dying sadly with a cheaper alternative of Amazon taking its place. People are tight with their cash these days so no wonder Amazon is always the first look place when looking for 'that book you want to read but don't want to spend too much'. I admit, I use Amazon but if I can, I try not to.
Anyway, this book has mostly done well online; unsurprisingly with the subject matter, I don't think I'd want people to know I was reading it. But as demonstrated at my work, it also has done well in bookshops with the physical form. So perhaps E.L.James is all we needed to keep the bookshop alive right? This is encouraging more and more people to go outside and buy the book in their local bookshop. I understand the opposite argument would be 'But a million hits online?'. True, but the way I see it, people jump on bandwagons. All the time. People want a book that other people have recommended it, more than just one person.
Could it be said that Fifty Shades of Grey is really what was needed to get people back into reading? From this, they discover new books, perhaps related, go to bookshops, buy from publishers and overall, keep the physical book alive instead of the increase the e-book. I know some people read e-books religiously but in reality, it is keeping them reading and, the way I view this, if that means they keep reading, they encourage others to keep reading which helps the publishers, which helps the bookshops - either commercial or independent. I want to work in the publishing industry, a career I am always told will never last by the time I get around to getting a full-time job. So something like this has to be a good thing to keep a centuries old profession alive in times like now, right?

So what am I saying? I'm saying that despite the fact that most of us turn our noses with disgust thinking the most used book of the London commuters is this erotica fiction rather than some light-hearted romance or dense historical novel, despite all that - this book is keeping the idea of a good old book alive. It is keeping it going for the foreseeable future in my opinion. Because although the whole Fifty Shades of Grey thing will end by the time 2013 rolls around, people still have this book on their shelves or their computer reminding them 'Hey, what about some other books, some company on this shelf?'
I will never read this series. But I have lift my hat up to E.L.James for getting the nation, and the world, reading again. Thanks for securing my future.


Write what you think about Fifty Shades of Grey below or tweet me at @rebeccabooks - I really want to know what you guys think. 


*this isn't her real name but you know, it's not fair to proclaim her name on the internet - she's so nice. 

Theodore Boone: The Accused - John Grisham (#3)

**This is the third book in the Theodore Boone series. I would seriously recommend them so perhaps have a look at the first book, Theodore Boone, or the sequel, The Abduction as there may be a few SPOILERS**


For old followers of the blog, you will know I am quite a big fan in the children's series, Theodore Boone by adult crime writer, John Grisham. I love the mystery, the drama and most of all, the main man, Theodore. He is just so cute and lovely - a topic of many of a friend of mine and I's conversations. Especially with her wanting to be a lawyer too.
So, it's unsurprising as I hovered by this book continuously at work, seeing who would buy it and then after, said friend read it in a couple of days and talked how brilliant it was, I felt it was time for me to get it. And I needed to know what happened next...

Synopsis: Theodore Boone is a thirteen year-old kid lawyer whose already helped provide a major suspect in Strattenburg's biggest murder trial and find his missing best friend. This time, it's Theo's turn to be the victim. After Theo is framed and his bike vandalised, he is accused of a burglary at an expensive computer equipment store with him being the only suspect. It looks like Theo's status and future as a lawyer is at threat so he must find the framer before it's too late.

Review: For any big fans of Theodore Boone out there (if not, you should read it immediately), don't expect the Duffy case from Book 1 to be resolved in this book. I did and entered thinking this was it, done and dusted, end of Theodore.
Well, it isn't. The book opens with the trial starting again and Theo proudly being the only one at his middle school to go to the trial. Grisham gives the impression that this is it and after something happens at the trial, you may think you know exactly what the book is going to be about.
Well it's not. I have a feeling that Grisham is purposefully keeping us waiting to hear the result as the book could be read as a stand alone novel, with few references to Book 1 and practically zero to Book 2. This seems like a sidetrack, a mini adventure for Theo while we all wait to the main story to finalise. In short, I thought this was a trilogy - but it doesn't look like it.

I like this series partly because it's such a light-hearted yet entertaining read. There are points where Grisham makes it clear that that part is memorable, even if it seems that it isn't important for the storyline. This is for a much younger audience that a typical Grisham crime novel but through the young Theo, he gives lessons on  life and raises issues that are largely absent from books normally aimed at this audience. The world of the internet for teenagers is explored as well as the internet's use in rumours and bullying - more accurately than other teenage fiction books I have read. There is also the issue of privacy and what is hacking. On the surface, this is merely a mystery novel based around a young teenager with a bicycle, however, looking deeper, it does look at all the problems faced today by teenagers.

There are a few things that I felt seemed a little pointless to include but I may be proved wrong in the next book as I have done before. I was also a tad disappointed compared to the previous books but I think this is because it took me a while to get into it due to lots of things happening. The mystery is still there and the anticipation to find out what will happen but I was still not as excited as I thought I would be to start off with.
This is a must for fans of Theodore Boone and should not be missed. I really love Theo, with his mixture of being a proper teenager, his lawyer antics and his innocence - he is a lovely character to read about. I enjoyed this and am incredibly looking forward to the next book, lets see what John Grisham will throw at Theo next.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://www.theodoreboone.com/
Pages: 271
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Challenges: None

Book 1: Theodore Boone
Book 2: Theodore Boon: The Abduction

Thursday, 21 June 2012

I have something to admit.

I have something to admit.
No, I'm not pregnant.
Neither am I moving to a wilderness with no internet access. EVER AGAIN.
And I'm not starting the plagiarism issue again.

But, I AM finding blogging a tad taxing at the moment.
What do you mean?! I hear you cry. I mean, that I'm just not a big blogging mood or mindset at the moment. The idea of writing a review doesn't thrill me any more (even the comments do - love them!). Yes, getting books with the nice excuse that I am a 'book blogger' is still nice, but now I feel I have changed my reading habits completely. UTTERLY.

Before, I would discover new books and authors in the wonderful land of the library. I have 3 in good distances from my house and work so it's not like I have no excuse to visit them. Two of my libraries are also made of amazingness because they actually update the Teen section regularly with newly released books so, as I receive not many no ARCs or proof copies, this is the only and best vehicle for me to read the books EVERYONE (everyone meaning the blogosphere. If I meant, 'everyone', I would be rushing for 50 Shades of Grey right now...I'm not, for the record) is talking about.
So, with that in mind, when I visit the library, I don't ponder over the older books there at all, unless I have heard good things about them. Like Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. When the new covers were released recently and some started appearing on the blogosphere, it gave me the motivation and want to read it after years of staring at the cover.

The other annoying thing is my life. I am a 17 year-old student entering the last year of college (or high-school) where I will essay-write, stress and take exams like my life depends on it for one whole year. This time next year, I will know what university I will probably be going to. This time next year I will be done with A levels and preparing for degree-level and ultimately, moving away from my childhood home. Scary, and rather stressful stuff.
So where am I getting with this? Well, our lives are uncontrollably busy. No-one can deny that. For those that are thinking of, I have college everyday during the week. I leave the house at 7:45am and enter back in it  at 5pm where I have around an hour or two to do any homework before I collapse from exhaustion on the settee after dinner. My weekends? My social life is non-existent and the little part I do have I have to fit around everything else happening. I plan things like going out for dinner with friends, at least two weeks ahead.
An example weekend? This Saturday, I am visiting a university all day which is a 2 hour drive from my house. And then on Sunday, I am working until 5.30pm when I come home again exhausted to start another exhausting week. OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

I have no problem with this at all. I like being busy and these things I enjoy doing and want to do so I'm not complaining, just illustrating the fullness of my weeks, months on end.
This is why blogging has gone down hill, especially with doing more independent work for the A levels.

I have no motivation to write reviews at the moment because I am thinking of around a million other things I have to do in the next few weeks of college until the summer while massaging my back as I've been lurched over a computer all day. I would suggest a time off period like for the exams but a) I would not stick to it and b) it would just keep extending and extending until I would never appear again.

I want to keep the blog, there is no doubt about it. It has helped me so much and the prospect of having a little more freedom with it once I'm in university is so exciting.
It's just I don't see how blogging is going to fit into my life over the next year. At all. When did it all become so much?

So. I guess this is an apology for the lack of reviews. You'll get them eventually. Maybe.

*trungles off to do Media coursework while eating and watching TV (a skill I assure you)*

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Delirium - Lauren Oliver (#1)

I saw Delirium many times before I picked it up. I think the reason may have been that the idea of love being a disease seemed very...far-fetched? Basic? I'm not quite sure but that is what turned me off. I think I also had a nagging idea that this would be a little like Twilight and with some of the negative reviews I have seen for this book, this wasn't exactly on my to-read list.
I found this in the library, drawn by the different cover I found to the other versions I had seen. When I realised what the book was, in fact, the ONE I had seen, I had already read the blurb and pulled in. I was already intrigued for positive and negative reasons - it was time to give it a go.

Synopsis: Set in the future, Lena Holloway lives in a world where love is a official disease that everyone suffers from. Scientists have found a cure that take this (and other) feelings away. Lena is 17, close to receiving her cure. When all teenagers turn 18, they receive the cure with their partners selected for them as well as their job and the number of offspring they will have. It is how Lena's world works and she has always looked forward to the day when she'll be cured. With 95 days to go, Lena does something amazing. She falls in love.

Review: The book is set in the future as one can possible tell. It is not too far into it as there are references that any reader nowadays would understand. It is at least 100 years as Lena states in the first few lines of the book 'It has been sixty-four years since the president and the Consortium identified love as a disease, and forty-three since the scientists perfected the cure'. So as you can tell, the cure is still relatively brand new.
Despite this being set in the future however, there is this underlying feeling, for me anyway, that technology has reversed or at least is less accessible than now or we think technology will be. For starters, Lena's daily chore is washing the dishes by hand. She mentions only the rich can afford computers. And that they pass the time by reading or testing each other for exams or dreaming of their future partners. Needless to say, when you start to read, subtly Oliver has created a world that although largely recognisable, is very different to our own.

The idea of love being a cure is interesting. This was part of the reason for me being turned off before but throughout reading, it was interesting to see how this came about and how they enforced it. Without a doubt, this world is a harsh state where there are curfews for the uncured and patrols to avoid. Lena lives in a safe haven, waiting to be finally cured and then continue with her life. Each city is barriered so no-one can get in. But no-one can get out either without permission. The curfews for the uncured prevent any wrongdoings, which only the uncured would cause. Also, if 'amour deliria nervosa' is shown in young people, they are whisked off to be cured straight away. Easy. The only people who can fight this scheme won't because they have no emotions and the uncured just want to be 18 to be cleansed of this disease. Again, easy for the government to control.
It is clear that Oliver has seriously thought about the world and it comes through. I liked the stereotypical things for teenagers to do being deemed scandalous to do for Lena and her best friend, Hana such as a house party, listening to music. It really put into context the do's and don't's of the world especially for a YA audience.
So the idea was clever and can see it happening in the future if I'm honest. However, at times it did feel a little far-fetched like 'Would people REALLY allow that?'. And that President that declared love a disease and the subsequent presidents must have been really manipulative to have the people ALLOW it. It felt to me that there was a major disaster to spur this thought however this is never said. Just seemed a little weird that they would suddenly one day declare this.

The novel was overall very addictive with the mystery and plot twists that keep you reading. Numerous times the chapter would end on a cliff-hanger and then the next chapter would start with an anecdote until you found out what happened eventually. I did find myself flicking through the next few pages to see what would happen as I was on the edge of my seat. The anecdotes were effective as a lot of Lena's past was revealed through there which helps to fill the reader in.

The romance. As you can tell from the synopsis, there is romance throughout with Lena and...I don't want to say who because I was NOT expecting it when it happened. Yes, it is partly obvious at the beginning but...oh you'll find out! Anyway, on reflection, to me the romance felt very fast and sudden where hate to love goes very quickly. It just seemed quite unrealistic to me. However, the romance is nice - not over the top or understated but the perfect amount and to this heavy and depressing topic, gives a nice positive feeling as well.

The novel has been praised for Lauren Oliver's use of poetic prose. Meh, I'm not always a fan of it while others rave so I'm probably not the most reliable on this term. I thought it started off very well and creative. However, as the book wore on, I found it a bit boring and tedious especially if it was in the middle of a tense scene. I'm just not a fan of it but in this case, I felt it broke this book up well and made it a bit different.

I read this book straight after Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (review) and for me, they are both so alike in the writing, setting and plot. Both Tally and Lena defy authority both knowingly and unknowingly, they find romance and almost conform to that authority. AND THEY BOTH HAVE CLIFFHANGER ENDINGS. I think Uglies plays more on the world and the problems within it when Delirium puts emphasis on the romance and her own personal struggle. So if you have read either of these books, you should like the other.

Overall, despite my critisms, I did certainly enjoy this book and it has hooked me for the rest of the series. Lauren Oliver has created this original novel that for me played homage to the best bits of other dystopian novels such as Matched by Ally Condie (review) and The Declaration by Gemma Malley (review) - it certainly is a dystopian fan's delight.
I can totally see why Lauren Oliver is such an acclaimed writer in the blogosphere and after reading the first chapter of her debut, Before I Fall, she is definitely now on my radar. With so many questions left open at this ending, I am definitely looking for the newly released sequel Pandemonium.
This is one time when the quote 'It's better to have loved and lost rather than to never have loved at all' rings quite true.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://www.laurenoliverbooks.com/
Pages: 393
Publisher: Hodder
Challenges: None

The sequel, Pandemonium is out now in all good bookshops. The third in the trilogy is out next year.


So, while I was reading this on holiday, I listened to the below song and thought the lyrics went really well with this book, especially the chorus. The song is 'The Way You Make Me Feel' by Steps. If you don't know who they are, they were a British 90's band and also one of my favourite childhood bands - and my first concert! They had lots of hits like 'Stomp' and 'Tragedy'. They recently got back together so I'm having a bit of a Steps-fest and re-visiting all the old songs. 
Those who have read Delirium, have a listen and let me know if you agree or disagree. Enjoy! (I love the dresses...)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Calling all UK Maureen Johnson fans!

Do you live in the UK? Do you like Maureen Johnson i.e. the hilarious Twitterer and writer of 13 Little Blue Envelopes (my review here), The Last Little Blue Envelope and The Name of the Star?
Yes? Well, this is for you then.

As part of the Queen of Teen award (where you can vote for your favourite YA writer), Guildford High Street Waterstones is hosting the official after-party for the ceremony to celebrate the greatness of females and teen fiction. And who is one of these nominees? You got it, Maureen Johnson amongst others. Past winners have been Cathy Cassidy and Louise Rennison!

Being part of both Waterstones and blogging communities, I am attending with my friend who is a MASSIVE Maureen Johnson fan. We both cannot wait for the day especially as I finish college that day also for the summer. Double YAY.

So, this is the low-down:

Date: 6th July 2012
Time: 7pm
Where: Guildford High St Waterstones (just outside of London)
How do I get there: It's about a 15 minute talk from the train station which connects to Clapham Junction (I'm getting the train to Clapham Junction from my hometown and then changing)

What's happening: Hopefully all the nominees will be there for the Queen of Teen Award but Maureen Johnson has definitely confirmed along with James Dawson, Sue Ransom and Samantha Mackintosh for an evening of food, drinks, talking and most of all books.
*You can still vote for your favourite here:  http://www.queenofteen.co.uk/

If you are interested in this or have any questions, I shall direct you to the lovely Jessica from Waterstones who is organising the event. You can reach her through this email address: events@guildford.waterstones.com 


If you cannot attend that event, Guildford Waterstones have also got Philippa Gregory on the 16th August (small WOW from over here) for the publication of her new book!


I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Uglies - Scott Westerfeld (#1)

There are an infinite amount of reasons why I didn't pick up this book sooner. The original covers of Scott Westerfeld Uglies series were the thing that mostly intrigued me. They featured parts of Barbie's that now having read the book, totally go with the messages contained. It was such an original and unique idea that I was drawn to staring at the covers in wonder. However, no matter how much I loved the original covers, I never picked the book up. I remember looking at them in the library or at my local bookshop yet for some unknown reason I never borrowed it or brought the book. I DO wish I knew why.

So when I was in the library a couple of weeks ago and noticed this sitting casually on a magazine table, I was surprised to find myself already picking up the book and walking to the self-service borrow machines (really sad, but true I'm afraid). Why did it take so long to pick this book up?!

Synopsis: Tally lives in a world where when every teenager turns 16, they have the chance to undergo an operation to become a Pretty and then they can go to the glamourous party districts of New Pretty Town. Until then, under 16's are considered Uglies and live in dorms in the dull Uglyville. This way everyone is pretty and Tally most of all can't wait the few weeks until her 16th birthday. However, Tally's friend, Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty and when she runs away the day before the operation, Tally starts to learn the other side to the idea of being Pretty and is forced to make a choice between not turning Pretty ever or turning her friend in which has drastic consequences.

Review: The stark reality of this novel is that I can totally see this happening in the future. A world where cosmetic surgery is something sort after and more acceptable than individuality - heck, what happened to the time when being a hippy or 'indie kid' was the 'in' thing? Now, being blonde, gorgeous and preferably a Hollister/Abercombie & Fitch/Jack Wills/Gilly Hicks model/sales assistant is the ideal (I have nothing against these brands, just a little cynical of them) and the coolness of being a geek or just plain different is starting to wear off gradually leaving us with this idea that EVERYONE has to be Pretty otherwise, well, you're ugly and insignificant. For the record, I fall in to none of the above categories - I am a brunette with temperamental hair, working in a bookshop in an unflattering Christmas shapeless t-shirt and jeans and the idea of the perfect outfit is a vintage inspired one looking like I just stepped out of either The Great Gatsby or Hairspray. I think that says it all, right?
   On terms of the novel, the life of being a teenager does transpire a lot to this story and it is clear that Westerfeld has used teenager's experiences and thoughts on image and fashion in Uglies. This is a book about cosmetic surgery and the effects of this in the future, but most of all, this is a book of self-image and how we should think of ourselves. He totally rocked that.

The world, as well as having this uncomfortable familiar quality, also has this mystery and intrigue of this place where it is never too explicit when this is set into our future. The Rusties that are referred to throughout as this mystic, exotic and freakish tribe are so so similar to us yet centuries old to Tally and the other characters in the story. There are almost myths or legends told throughout of the demise of the Rusties such as a bug infecting the remaining oil which is so vital in most industries, therefore, this created drastic and tragic consequences. This mystery added this rather depressing thought that this is an idea of an event that could happen any day now.

This is such a simple idea that Westerfeld has created but while being entertaining and engaging on one level, it is also a comment on some of the major problems with today's society, such as cosmetic surgery or the over use of oil. Although the novel was written in 2005, six years ago, the problems Westerfeld addressed still ring true with no real change. However, while these themes are never explicitly spelled out, they are shown and hinted at in a subtle yet simple way that makes it much more interesting to read.

This book is clever, very in fact. However, it is far from perfect for me, although I did thoroughly enjoy it. For starters, the 3rd person narrative made me feel very detached from Tally which in turn made me not feel sympathy or connection all together with Tally. It described her emotions, yes, but I didn't really get to see her - she comes across desperate and selfish to start with but ends very differently. Secondly, some events that happened seemed to have been added purely to move the narrative along. I know technically this happens in all books, but I felt that it could have been done in a more subtle way perhaps. I just felt conscious at times about events being added to merely move the narrative along.
Partly linking to that, I felt Tally trusted David WAY too easily. Here is a guy who is outside of the city borders she knows, part of the reason for Shay running away and she trusts him practically straight away, unlike the other characters there. She has JUST met him. The romance also I felt moved too quickly and due to the third person narrative, I didn't see it coming from Tally's side, which disappointed me slightly.
Lastly, Shay MAJORLY annoyed me. She....oh, it's hard to explain. She is so demanding!

Before thinking the idea that this book seems really really good but isn't, stop. This book has it's faults as many other books do, however, I enjoyed it immensely and the fact it was in the New York Times Bestseller's list for weeks and weeks - others must have enjoyed it too.
The cliffhangers and mystery behind the characters and world move this story along and the parts that keep you the most engrossed. This is one of the, for me, original modern dystopians and I could see a lot of similarities to other dystopians such as Matched or even The Hunger Games. Even if I am still not gripping you, just to read this book for the beginning and end is worth it. THE END - ah! SUCH a major cliffhanger that it was one of those moments where I'm flicking through the pages desperately looking for the rest.

In simple terms? This book is worth a read, especially for dystopian fans, but the things that make this book so clever and original is not the characters like most, but the world, the beginning and end and most of all, Westerfeld's comment to our world showing 'Guys, this is what our world could be like'.
I am now stalking down the next book in the series, Pretties - why did it take so long?

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website: http://scottwesterfeld.com/
Pages: 425
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Challenges: None


More books by Scott Westerfeld:
So Yesterday

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Looking back at MAY

Previous months: 
February
March

April

My blogging time has gradually reduced since April as I have had exams as I said in one or two of my posts this month. I started to find it hard to manage both blogging and college work without feeling guilty for not doing the other one. So one has to stop, right? And college can't so it had to be blogging.
The coming months should be must better blogging wise as I have finished all my exams for the year and am now starting the work for next year and relaxing after the stressful period of 9 days in which I took 5 exams.

The work we do is hard to say the least so I am thankful that any old followers have not pressed the 'unfollow' button this month when my posting was much reduced. I know a lot of bloggers have put their blogs on hold this month for academic priorities so I think it shows how much blogging takes of our time.


Reviews:

Read but not reviewed:
The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

As you can see the amount of reviews and new books read this month has vastly reduced because I had little energy in the mornings or evenings to read at all because I was so tired and stressed. I decided to do re-reads this month of some of my favourite books so I would enjoy the reading I did do more. It also gave me a chance to improve on the reviews of The Lady in the Tower and Shadow Web that I wrote in my very early blogging days (the reviews made me cringe to read over!) 
The Truth About Forever is and will always be my favourite book. That is why I cannot review it because well, it's too hard to put all your thoughts of a book you cherish into a couple of paragraphs. Just take my advice. Read it. 


Memes:

Letterbox Love (1) (temporary) 


Other: