Book Review #2: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Monday, 29 December 2014 0 comments

Product details:
Publisher: Pocket Books
Format: Paperback
Length: 232 pages
Published: 2009
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Source: Purchased

Charlie is a freshman. And while's he's not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. He's a wallflower--shy and introspective, and intelligent beyond his years, if not very savvy in the social arts. We learn about Charlie through the letters he writes to someone of undisclosed name, age and gender; a stylistic technique that adds to the heart-wrenching earnestness saturating this teen's story. Charlie encounters the same struggles many face in high school--how to make friends, the intensity of a crush, family tensions, a first relationship, exploring sexuality, experimenting with drugs--but he must also deal with the devastating fact of his best friend's recent suicide. Charlie's letters take on the intimate feel of a journal as he shares his day-to-day thoughts and feelings. 

Moving swiftly on to how I felt about this book. Well at first I was highly skeptical about this book because although I had heard amazing things about it from reviews/goodreads, it did sound a bit too much to me like the cliched and familiar set up where the loser turns out to be really cool and popular and everyone lives happily ever after. Do not be fooled by this cliche. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a beautiful coming of age novel that catches you by surprise every time and will constantly urge you to keep turning the pages. The story is written through a series of letters Charlie sends to an anonymous person and through this we learn about his life, his new friends and especially Charlie's character himself. The one thing I really admired about Chbosky's character of Charlie is that Charlie himself is a huge mystery. With social anxiety, he often gets angry and constantly has flashbacks about his past and quite often his late Aunt Helen, which results in him passing out. In the beginning of the novel, literally the first 2 pages or so we learn that Charlie's only friend shot himself before the novel starts. To imagine that seems almost impossible, and the emotions that are captivated for Charlie's character are introduced immediately which really gripped me to the story.
Moving slightly on, Charlie introduced anonymous to two new characters, Patrick and Sam, whom are outsiders as well in their own way. Patrick is gay and Sam is described as a bit promiscuous. In laments terms, she's described as a slut. Pardon my French. However this remark along with so many others are adapted throughout the book and we truly begin to see not only the development of Charlie's character but also some of the others. Patrick and Sam introduce Charlie to a whole new lifestyle, going to parties, experimenting with drugs, listening to rock and roll music and overall living life to the full. Not that I'm promoting drugs in anyway, but for once it seems that these introductions are a new stage in Charlie's life and for once we see through his eyes that he knows what it means to have truly good friends, a moral that is highly prominent in this book.  What really drew me to this book however was Chbosky's aspect of realism. The motives of the characters are all really authentic and as someone who has just moved past my teenage years, it does in a sense draw me back to the days where I discovered who I was, because after all the teenage years are prime times for teenagers to discover who they really are and where they truly belong, and this novel is no exception to delving into this truth. I must warn you though, this novel does delve quite deeply into real emotional aspects that some younger readers may find disturbing. Themes of depression, social anxiety, self-harming, molestation do come into play quite highly in this book, but they are necessary for Charlie's true story to be told and I do recommend you stick through all of the tears you may shed whilst reading those particular scenes, I know I for one had a huge attachment to Charlie and did shed a tear or two when discovering his traumatic past. 

And that, Ladies and Gentleman is all I'm going to give you for this review of Stephen Chbosky's: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I rate it a full 5/5 stars, a definate recommendation to anyone! I also recommend you watch the movie adaptation, directed by the author himself. It's a beautiful rendition of the book captured by Logan Lerman as Charlie, Emma Watson as Sam and Ezra Miller as Patrick. A wonderful casting that portray's Chbosky's characters brilliantly! Check it out! 

You can buy The Perks of Being a Wallflower book from The Book Depository (here).

Anyway I will catch up with you all soon but in the meantime, I hope you're all having a wonderful Summer.

Book Review #1 - The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Product details:
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Hardcover
Length: 568 pages
Published: 2012
Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Source: Purchased

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?
Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

So what did I think of it? Well as the third instalment to Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series, I had to say that this book impressed me. Straight from the first few lines I was hooked into the action that was constantly reappearing throughout the book. You were given a deeper insight into Annabeth's own quest which was constantly referred to throughout, especially when she has to embark on her own to retrieve the Athena Parthenos from the spider goddess, Arachne. The demigods find themselves constantly at peril with some of the characters often being possessed by eildons, often causing the greek and roman demigods to turn against themselves. The plot was intense and there was often twists that even shocked myself, and being classed as a middle grade book, it even surprised me that they weren't predictable. I think however that the biggest shocker was when Percy and Annabeth clung for their lives onto the edge of the rock face, and after some romantic dialogue, plunge into the depths of Tartarus, unknown to the reader or watching characters whether they survive. Of course, we do know that they survive thanks to the reveal of the House of Hades cover reveal. Linked below.

So overall with the climactic cliffhanger left at the end of this book, I feel that October 8th, release date for Book 4, the House of Hades, cannot come sooner! Definitely need some more Percybeth adventure in my life! On a scale of 1-5 stars, this book definitely hits the full 5! Definitely an easy read full of adventure and action that will keep your eyes glued to the pages.

Links to the House of Hades (Book #4) cover reveal:

Book Review #9: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Product details:
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd.
Format: Hardback
Length: 416 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: Given as a present
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

So what did I think of Panic by Lauren Oliver? Well I have to say that although I own the entire Delirium trilogy by her, this was the first Lauren Oliver book that I picked up, and honestly I had high expectations from it. Similarly to We Were Liars to E Lockhart this was a Booksplosion book of the month (if you are unaware to what the Booksplosion book of the months are then read my We Were Liars review linked here). I started this book off with high expectations as mentioned before, and were those expectations met? Unfortunately not as much as I would have liked, and although I gave this book a 3 star rating, it feels that a 2.5 would be more appropriate. 

The general plot. I did generally enjoy the concept - a high risk game conducted in the summer holidays that in which you faced some deadly fears, all for the grand prize money of $50,000? The winner would be able to use the money to get out of the deadbeat down they lived in and to be able to start a new. So far I admit I thoroughly enjoyed the premise. It really captured my attention and drew me in to want to continue with it. This novel reminded me a bit of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline in the terms of a mass competition, and I really enjoyed Ready Player One so this book seemed to be getting all of the praise from me. The challenges were really entertaining to read about, were detailed in their description and did promote that ‘panic’ in me, a shortness of breath as I fully sympathised with the characters on how they were feeling. That is something of Lauren Oliver’s writing that I admire, she really knows how to grip you in with her words. Her writing as well is another feature to fully admire. Lauren Oliver can use adjectives in a way that I am yet to come across with another author. Quite often you see a lengthy paragraph filled with adjectives and you are put off because of the pace of the work. Lauren Oliver manages to overcome that 'put off' feature - I don't know how she does it but her words flow quite lyrically and never allow you to get bored, no matter how much description there is. 

So what about the characters? Well there was a whole variety of them and each had their own distinguishable voice, I liked that a lot. Each character's voice was made very distinct throughout the entire novel. Something that I find authors tend to struggle with these days - they all seem to blend into one. I also really enjoyed the backstories behind the characters that Oliver provides the reader, it really adds that relatable factor to each of them and I appreciated that immensely. I did really enjoy the reveal of that character who happened to be running the Panic games - I thought that this was a really confident choice for Lauren Oliver to make. It included a test of friendships in this novel, a feature that I find quite appealing as it is often a feature overlooked by most. I thought that it did promote a sense of realism which really promoted this book to me more and more by the second.
However, not all points in this review can be positive because on the whole, I am torn with whether I actually enjoyed this novel or not. At times I found the pace of the book to be quite slow. Not at all in the writing, as I mentioned before, Oliver has a way of turning a lengthy paragraph of pure description into feeling like you've only read a sentence. One of my main features however to point out was the duel point of views. I really wasn’t a fan of the narratives chosen and felt that it was really unnecessary to hear from both perspectives. Heathers POV for me would have been enough, as I found that I actually enjoyed her chapters more than I did reading Dodge’s, which is sad because I did enjoy Dodge’s character, just not his perspective on the situation. This really through me because I felt that if I wasn't enjoying a chapter from Dodge's perspective then I was probably missing out on crucial information from the storyline, which is a shame. 

Finally as I mentioned earlier on, I paired up Panic to sort of a Ready Player One - esk book, and I think this is where the book went majorly wrong for me. Probably my own flaw by paring it with such a highly acclaimed work in my opinion, Panic seemed to simply try just a little bit hard to be what it wasn't in the end. As I said, perhaps this is just my biased opinion and that I really wanted it to be similar to Ready Player One, but yeah I just feel that my expectations for all I had heard about this book were not as 5 star acclaimed as I had hoped.

So what do I give this book as an overall rating? It’s definitely a tough decision to make and finding the correct classification on my scale is hard. However this book was just a mixed mess for me, and although as I said I did enjoy the premise and some of the characters in this novel, there was just too much going on in the story that I wasn't picking up due to my dislike of one of the main narrators. Now as mentioned at the beginning of this review I am giving Panic by Lauren Oliver a 3 stars because that is what I feel it deserves, however in my heart of hearts I feel it lingers more to a 2.5 stars, because I was just looking for that little bit more to give this novel the 'wow' factor it was acclaimed for.

Book Review #8: We Were Liars by E Lockhart

Product details:
Publisher: Hot KeyBooks
Format: Paperback
Length: 227 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: Purchased
A beautiful and distinguished family.A private island.A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.A revolution. An accident. A secret.Lies upon lies.True love.The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Right, We Were Liars! What an amazingly interesting book. I first heard about We Were Liars thanks to Booktube. If you don’t know what that is then it’s a community of people who post and discuss book videos on Youtube. Some well known Booktubers include Katytastic (Kat), ArielBissett (Ariel), JessetheReader (Jesse), PolandBananaBooks (Christine) to name just a few. Now these book tubers in particular run this book club called Booksplosion and each month they choose a new book to read and review. One of their months happened to be We Were Liars and after watching all of their non spoiler reviews on the book, the premise just intrigued me and made me want to get to this book as soon as possible! So what did I think about it?
  • Well from the beginning the first thing I noticed was E Lockhart’s beautiful writing style, and the personification she uses to explore emotion?Drop dead gorgeous. Theres a beautiful example of this near the beginning of the novel when Cadence is describing her father leaving her and her mother, she mentions that he father took out a gun and shot her in the chest, leaving her to fall on the ground while her mother told her to pick herself up and then went inside. Such a beautiful idea there of how much her father leaving her effected her, so much so that it was literally like he shot her, and what about the mother’s neglect? It really speaks volumes about the characterisation of her mother. 
  • So another plus point is that the plot of this book is incredible. It kept me intrigued throughout the entire novel. I have to admit that there was not a dull moment in this book and I think that was wholeheartedly down to the way E Lockhart structured it. The entire way through we were slowly introduced to scenes from the past, and we were given an insight into this accident of Cadences. It’s not until towards the end of the novel when we come to realise just what happened. 
  • Speaking of the ending, unfortunately as there had been so much hype behind the book at the time, the ending and the event Cadence speaks of was spoiled by me. Obviously I don’t want to divulge the biggest spoiler in the book, but I felt that throughout the entire novel I was just waiting for this to happen, which I have to admit spoilt my reading experience but never once turned me away from the book. E Lockhart made sure in her writing that this wasn’t the case! I loved as well that the ending was very open to interpretation over what was happening, and I believe Ariel Bissett creates a beautiful argument over on her channel because it really does amplify just how much interpretation you can put on this book. Basically the question at hand is, and this is where I might spoil it for some people; ghosts or drugged hallucinations? In retrospect I can see genuine merit to both arguments and I like to think positively about each idea. Were they ghosts who stayed with Cadence while she returned to the island, having adventures with her? or were they simply the hallucinations of her girl so lonely she recreated her friends to be with her? Friendships they say are one of the strongest bonds in terms of emotional wellbeing. Obviously though there are some negatives to the idea, the hallucinations of a girl drugged by depression over what has happened, or the guilty hauntings of memories long gone. I personally linger more towards the hallucination scenario because there didn’t seem to be any other clues that really levitated towards the book being pitched as a paranormal novel, but that’s just my opinion. 
  • Going back to my initial thoughts about the book, I thought the way E Lockhart wrote her characters was really interesting, especially those of the Liars and that of the Grandfather. I think realistically I would have liked a bit more explanation to why the liars were called the liars, but I suppose interpretation can be put on that and seen as them lying over their happiness to please their parents? Speaking of the parents, oh my goodness I have never in my life come across any people just so spoilt. The liars, who in the novel are children seem to have a bigger moral understanding of the world than these parents do. My god, I mean I love the characters to bits and I find that E Lockharts representation of them is spot on, but fighting over who gets the larger estate?! Grow up! You have children you should be looking after. 

Anyway, that is all I am going to say in terms of my review for this book. I strongly suggest you go out and read it. The writing as i’ve said is flawless, the characters give you all of the feelings and the plot is driven in the right direction, even if the ending had me screaming at the children for being idiots. It also spurred a lot of emotion in me in regards to Cadence’s life after the liars. But overall, a fantastic read, definitely worth the 5 star classification I give this novel.

Book Review #7: Solitaire by Alice Oseman

Product details:
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's
Format: Paperback
Length: 400 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: Purchased
In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.

So I have to say that Solitaire was probably one of my most anticipated reads for the summer. Why is that you may be asking? Well I will tell you. Solitaire is written by 19 year old Alice Oseman, and if that doesn’t get you questioning ‘What?! 19 and she’s written a book?!’ then I don’t know what will. I tried to write a book at 19, but never thought of getting it published. Alice succeeded so that kind of influenced me to read her book to see what such a young author could be capable of. You don’t see many young authors about these days so I thought I would give it a go, and the premise intrigued me. So what did I think? Well…

  • I have to be brutally honest and say that Solitaire drew me in within the first few pages. It’s narrated by Tori Spring, a pessimistic girl who hates school and loves to blog. I mean, I believe that covers atleast 1/4 of the tumblr population? Im intrigued. Then she goes and makes comments about who to ship in Harry Potter. I thought Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell was good, but this mention. Ugh it just drew me further and further in to the story! Such a good thing. 
  • Solitaire is written from the perspective of a teenager, and is authored by wait for it… an actual teenager! Huzzar! Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love when the main characters in books are teenagers, I mean that’s what YA discusses. But to have one from the actual perspective of a current 2014 teenager?! Yes. This is what I needed. It made Tori’s character so realistic as she was discussing issues that I once asked myself when I went through a phase of disliking school. And it’s all for the same reasons! I also admired Tori’s hate of literature. It is very rare these days that you see a character disliking books. I mean authors often don’t mention it at all and completely avoid it, or they make their characters adore books in general. Alice didn’t do this with Tori and it was something that I really appreciated. Although myself I am a book hoarder love, it was nice to see a character with such strict oppositions to me in that area. It really made me value her points a lot more. I also loved the little snippets of school life that we’re told to conform to. PEE on your paragraphs? I love it! Takes me back to my school life! 
  • The storyline was interesting and I really liked how it progressed. The idea of Solitaire being this anarchist group developing in a high school? Beautiful. I love the idea of anarchy at such a young age, not that I am promoting it in anyway, don’t get me wrong. I really just like the idea of it being explored in novels, especially by teenagers as we find in life that anarchy can be developed in any stage or any form and quite often we associate anarchy with opposition and dislike, and often this is a trait found in stereotypical teenagers. Correctly explored and developed. I applaud you Alice Oseman. 
  • I liked the fact that the whole aspect of Solitaire was focused around Tori’s character, and her dislikes for things and people were kind of reflected through this. Obviously at the start this was something that wasn’t prominent but as the story went on and the members of Solitaire organised the brutal beating of that boy. I understood why it happened and I felt that he deserved some sort of punishment for what he did, but that. Wow. It just really shows me what anarchy can do to some people. Saying that I really enjoyed this aspect however makes me question whether I thought it was specifically necessary to focus all of their anarchist doings around Tori’s character. It did make it interesting and obviously I can’t see the novel without it but it makes me question whether we still would have anarchy in school if it wasn’t focused around Tori? Perhaps a question to ponder.
  • Michael Holden. Hmm now this is a point I want to explore individually because I did enjoy all of the characters in Solitaire but Michael Holden for me was a questionable one. Now don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the way that Alice Oseman portrayed him and I understood his character. But whether he was likeable enough for me? That’s debatable. Michael Holden, in my own opinion could have been developed slightly more. For me, he was kind of just ‘there’. He moved the story along and developed Tori’s character being a love interest but I didn’t feel any particular connection with him what so ever. I think this might be something that could change with a re-read of Solitaire but for the minute that is how my opinion stands. 
  • I should probably point out as well that my favourite part of this entire book didn’t actually have anything to do with the plot. It’s on the last page of the book and Tori is making a reference to sitting down and watching the television. She talks about how you can feel when a film ends and the screen goes black and you often in that moment start questioning your life, pondering all the deep questions about will you ever get a happy ending ect. I loved that as a final line. I think even more than F Scott Fitzgerald’s “so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past’ from The Great Gatsby. I love memorable last few lines and Alice Oseman does a great job in making her final statements so prominent! 

Overall I did enjoy this book, but looking back and thinking about it, there actually isn’t much that I can say stands out in my memory. There are a few plot points, but everything kind of blurs together, and I have to say that even hours after I finished Solitaire I started to feel that way. So this book is definitely going to be a novel that I re-read because although in one way I loved this book, I have to say that there wasn’t much more too it and I think I was looking for something just a little extra that I can’t put my finger on. For this reason I feel that overall Solitaire is going to get a classification rating of 3 stars. It was a good book and I did enjoy it but there was nothing huge that jumped out at me. I will however look forward to anything else Alice Oseman writes - especially to see how she can develop on from Solitaire.

Book Review #6: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K.Rowling)

Product details:
Publisher: Sphere
Format: Hardback
Length: 456 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆
Source: Purchased
When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days - as he has done before - and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.
But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives - so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.
And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before …

So first up, The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, the infamous J.K.Rowling’s second crime novel in the Cormoran Strike series. So what did I think of it? Well, similarly to the first book in the series, The Cuckoo’s Calling, I really enjoyed it. Here are some of my thoughts on it:

  • The novel picks up not long after the conclusion of the first book, probably a few months to a year? Not bad in terms of novelisation timelines. I thought that due to this the novel had a great flow from the get go, and even though the time space is quite large, J.K didn’t limit us to knowing only the bare minimum. She informed us from the beginning of how Comoran was dealing with his newly found ‘fame’ as the infamous detective who solved the Lula Landry case. I found that all of the ideas and character development plots that were discussed this early on really shaped how Comoran’s character developed throughout this novel alone. It showed how that with his ‘fame’ comes a lot of troubles, and with everyone knowing who he was it was difficult to go about the case in his own ways as he normally did. 
  • The characters. I’ve already discussed how I felt Comoran’s character went through a lot of development in this book, but obviously he is not the only character in this book. Robin I felt was extremely in-depth and we got to find out a lot more about her situations and her feelings as things in her life outside of the detective business came into play. One thing I admire immensely about J.K’s writing, and always have, is her ability to make these characters so relatable and putting them in everyday situations no matter the situation. I think this was extremely prominent in her novel The Casual Vacancy -being a purely character driven novel and without huge amounts of plot points it really showed us as readers exactly what she is capable of besides of writing of the young boy wizard. Anyway back to The Silkworm. I though that some of the other characters that we meet as the investigation goes on were really well written, and there were definitely times where unlike the first novel I was trying to work out who exactly the murderer was. Honestly, I felt like I was playing a massive game of Cluedo, which I suppose is realistically J.K’s intentions. After every piece of evidence I was always going back and forth between one or two characters on being the prime suspect. I even started doubting the victim’s widow at one point even though through Comoran’s perspective I really didn’t want too. However whilst I mention all of the positives of these characters it’s only fair to my review if I mention some of the downfalls I feel this book had. There were at times because there were so many characters that I would often tend to merge this in my mind and forget who in particular Comoran or Robin were speaking about. Although I love that J.K can individualise a character by their traits I feel that there were a few characters, and for the life of me I cannot at this time remember who, that felt a little all to similar not in their appearance but in their motives and I often got people confused through this. I also missed quite a lot of the humour that I felt was a lot more present in The Cuckoo’s Calling. I mentioned in my review of that book that there were often times that I found myself literally chuckling away at some of the dialogue that was happening between Comoran and Robin. I understand that as the novels progress and situations with both of the characters change that there will be less of a light on the plot, but I felt that those little inserts of humour really added to the story for me and never once did it detach me from the seriousness of the topics discussed.
  • So the plot? This part I don’t think I’m going to write an awful lot about because my notes are slightly vague in this respect. I wrote that the plot was strong and that it kept me drawn in the entire time and that I enjoyed all of the new elements that were brought in as the mystery developed. Reflecting on it now I feel that yes that is partially true but I have to be true to myself in saying that because of the fact I read this novel in parts across weeks, my overall enthusiasm of the book was lost slightly. I admit that my reading pattern for this book is entirely to blame but I felt that because I was either forgetting crucial bits of information that I had just read about in my last sitting, that I was finding times in this novel when I wished certain bits would be over and that the killer was identified so I could put it down. I think honestly that the size of the book also pushed this idea on me. Because every time I returned to the book I seemed less and less enthusiastic, I just felt that it seemed to drag. However don’t take my word as law. Looking back on this I can definitely identify, as I already have, some very strong plot points and praise for this book. I think that if I hadn’t read it in such a spaced out timeframe that I would have enjoyed this book a whole lot more than I did. I think that the novel is also very complicated and has a lot of information that unfortunately you do need to pay attention to and remember because unfortunately as I did I feel that this can easily be lost.

Overall though I did really enjoy this book and it was a pretty decent sequel on to that of The Cuckoo’s Calling. Will I be continuing on with this series? Of course. Will I be doing it just because it’s J.K Rowling? No. Although I seem to have tiny problems with this book I will not just read it because it’s from my favourite author. I admit that is why I picked up the first book but The Silkworm has definitely proved to me that the book can stand up on it’s own, without the reputation of the author. So Robert Galbraith, I applaud you sir. I award this novel the classification of 3 stars!

Review #5: The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Product details:
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Format: Hardback
Length: 516 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Source: Purchased

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.
The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.
The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Right, lets get started with this review. The Blood of Olympus. Can we just take a minute to look back at where it all began, back with Percy and Annabeth in The Lightning Thief. How time has flown. However, this is the Heroes of Olympus series we’re talking about and I need to focus on that. I will start off point blank by saying that I adored this book, and although there was an issue I found with it that I’ll discuss later, I have to say that Rick Riordan deserves a large round of applause, because that man knows exactly what his reader’s want, and did he deliver? Yes.Yes he did.

We start off Blood of Olympus with the chapter scene that Rick Riordan released earlier in the year, with Jason’s perspective. Jason, Annabeth and Piper are infiltrating Odysseus’s
palace to see what the suitors, who have returned from the dead, are up to and to see if
they can gain any information on what to do next. What I want to point out here is that the
book takes place two weeks after the events of The House of Hades. I’ve seen a lot of
comments about saying that Annabeth and Percy aren’t very phased by what happened to
them in Tartarus and don’t discuss it with any of their friends for support. Can I just mention
that we got a whole half a book of Percy and Annabeth going through the toils of Tartarus, I
think it’s pretty clear we got the idea of what they were going through and how it would
develop, and in regards to the not discussing it? For all we know the characters could haveconversed in that whole two week period we are missing text for.

I’m not going to go any further with detailed plotpoints because that is what the synopsis is for, and well spoilers really. Go out and buy the book and read it for yourself, trust me it’s worth it. However, I will say this. Throughout the book our viewpoints switch between the seven demigods on the Argo II, and Reyna, Nico and Coach Hedge and we get the two different story lines which eventually overlap in the final few chapters. But yes, it is all amazing.

Moving onto Rick Riordan’s writing style, which if you’re reading this review, you’ve
already read Rick’s previous books so are aware of how comical he can be with not
only his dialogue but also character developments. In my opinion, The Blood of Olympus
brought all of the ‘laugh out loud’ moments and provided me with laughter almost on every
page. Going from Percy’s comments of children of Poseidon not being able to drown and
neither will his pancakes, to Leo’s astrology representations of I’m a Leo, you’re a Percy –
each comical in their own right and frankly they just made this book a lot more enjoyable for

Now characters. Rick has a reputation for showing great character development in his
novels and the Blood of Olympus is no exception. Although some people disagree I think we
can definitely agree that some of the newly introduced characters (Leo, Jason, Piper,
Hazel, Frank) have developed tremendously from The Lost Hero and the Son of Neptune.
As you can probably tell already from my reactions in this review but Leo is clearly my
favourite out of the new bunch, especially for his clever wit and constant comic relief –
although this comical attitude developed quite seriously towards the end of the novel (those
who have read the book know what I’m on about.) I also want to talk about how refreshing it
was to be inside Nico and especially Reyna’s head. So far with Nico I have been torn
between getting really frustrated how angsty he had become in this series and loving
him to pieces. Obviously Rick revealed a large character development in Nico’s scene with
Cupid in the House of Hades, but I felt Nico’s POV’s in this book really allows the reader to
understand why he felt that way, and that scene with his father? Can we just take a minute
to give Rick another round of applause. It is deserved. Now Reyna, I was so glad to hear
her point of view because up until this book I was never that invested in Reyna’s character.
If I’m honest, it really took me a while to remember what importance she played in the
series, but this book really opened it up for me. Hearing Reyna’s backstory I feel was
incredibly crucial and it was nice to see how relatable she was at times, especially to the
other characters.

But enough about characters, I would like to talk about an issue I had about this book,
and for those of you who have not completed the book yet I strongly suggest you do not
read ahead. Major Spoilers, because what I had an issue with was the final battle. Let me
say that I loved the scene where the Gods came down to assist the demigods with killing the
giants. I thought that was incredibly well fleshed out and then I could understand why the
final fight with Gaia was left to the demigods, they needed to prove they could do it alone. I
get that. What annoyed me slightly was that Gaia’s awakening has been foreshadowed and
built up to throughout the entire Heroes of Olympus series, and don’t get me wrong I loved
how Rick Riordan brought about her demise, but I felt as if there wasn’t much too it before
hand. I expected to really get a good glimpse at what Gaia herself was capable of. I’m
talking about some Avatar style godly earth bending here. Yet her demise seemed to be as
sudden as she awoke and rose from the ground by Half Blood Hill. Let me know what you
think about that, I might have just read through it too fast and missed bits but it seemed very
much ‘Gaia rises from the hill. Festus grabs her and flies high into the sky, Leo goes The
Human Torch on her ass and then Octavian becomes a human comet. Dead.’ As I said, it’s
possibly just me, but oh well.

Anyway, my final rating and ‘feels’ on the book as Rick would call them. I loved it. I thought it was extremely well written, I just feel that the final fight scene with Gaia was a bit more fleshed out. I was expecting an ending similar to The Last Olympian from PJO in terms of action. Shame. I would also like to briefly point out that people that I have seen review this so far have complained about all of the loose ends and mini cliffhangers, seeming quite shocked that Riordan hasn’t tied them off. Guys, we were warned of mini cliffhangers in the dedication of the book. You should know by now Rick Riordan does not mess about, well not that much. Overall I give this book a solid 4 star classification!

Book Review #4: Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol (Graphic Novel)

Product details:
Publisher: Square Fish
Format: Paperback
Length: 240 pages
Published: 2014
Rating: ☆☆☆

Source: Purchased
Of all the things Anya expected to find at the bottom of an old well, a new friend was not one of them. Especially not a new friend who’s been dead for a century.Falling down a well is bad enough, but Anya’s normal life might actually be worse. She’s embarrassed by her family, self-conscious about her body, and she’s pretty much given up on fitting in at school. A new friend—even a ghost—is just what she needs. Or so she thinks. Anya could really use a friend. But her new BFF isn’t kidding about the “Forever” part.

So let’s get this review started! First off, I wanted to say that I have recently become reintroduced to graphic novels, having enjoyed them immensely in my childhood. The artwork for one is stunning, simplistic yet unique. The illustrations are often in grey with a slight purple undertone running throughout and it really makes it a pleasure to read through.

Now for the storyline, I’m not going to just repeat the Goodreads synopsis so I won’t waste your time, but I have to say I also fell in love with the storyline. Anya is your ‘typical’ and I use the term loosely, teenage girl trying to fit into high school. She’s worried about her appearance, her interest in boys, skipping the bleep test at school (we all did it!) and trying to fit in with the popular crowd. After an argument with her friend Siobhan, Anya walks off into the forest and with so much on her mind, she doesn’t notice the hole and just like Alice she tumbles down a hole- but this time, it’s not Wonderland she finds, it’s a human skeleton, and a ghost. Anya manages to escape but manages to take something with her and soon Emily the ghost enters her life, assisting with tests, her fashion sense and boy problems, but when Anya starts to get suspicious and uncomfortable about the situation, things start to get ugly.

• I loved the fact that Anya was from Russian decent, it really gave depth to her character and with the help of the insight given into her family’s life, it allowed the character to become more realistic - showing the struggles of an ‘outsider’ in an american society. I liked as well how it highlighted the prejudices found within stereotypical high schools.

• The beautiful illustrations and storyline. (I know I’ve repeated this point a thousand times but they are fantastic!)

• The complex nature of the story and characters. I was always trying to guess what was up with Emily, knowing going into the story that something was fishy. I didn’t manage to guess the ending so it came as a nice surprise!


• Although at 220 pages the graphic novel was substantial in size, I felt as if I required some sort of sequel as I didn’t want the story to end. I just enjoyed it that much.

So in comparison to some of the other graphic novels I have read in my time, this one was definitely one of my favourites. Original storyline, great character depth, beautiful illustrations. Well done Vera Brosgol, a very intriguing read. On my classification scale I award this book 5 stars! The full shebang! 


As per usual you can pick this up from The Book Depository using the link here.

Book Review #3: The Cuckoos Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K.Rowling)

Product details:
Publisher: Sphere
Format: Hardback
Length: 550 pages
Published: 2013
Rating: ☆☆☆☆

Source: Purchased
After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.
Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.
You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.

So what did I think of it? Well I have to say as a lover of crime novels that I absolutely adored The Cuckoo’s Calling! Naturally I had high expectations from this book after J.K’s success over her other adult book, The Casual Vacancy (which I also loved) so naturally it’s safe to say that once again she blew me away!  

I adored the characters of Comoran Strike and Robin, his newly acquired secretary and I loved the comparisons between these two characters, it really did feel like a whole Batman and Robin scenario! What made them realistic for me was pretty much the simplistic charms that each character had, such as Robin’s ability to pry information from people from trying on a few clothes.  

I really loved the plotline, the mysterious death of famous model Lula Landry gripped me throughout the book however towards the end I managed to get myself a bit confused. Whether that was because I was flying through the book so fast I didn’t notice, or maybe because I just clearly wasn’t paying enough attention, but the reveal of the murderer left me with unanswered questions. Perhaps we’ll get them in a sequel.  What I didn’t understand is why her brother would enquire to Strike about Lula’s murder, when in fact it was him himself. Surely he would have gotten away with it since the poilce just took it as suicide? Maybe he was trying to frame it on somebody else and I clearly just didn’t read it properly.

Overall however, I thought it was a brilliant storyline, the characters were really well developed and I can’t wait for J.K to continue writing as Robert Galbraith! On my classification scale I award this book 4 stars!

You can find The Cuckoo’s Calling (here) on The Book Depository!

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