WWW Wednesday 23.04.14

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

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Currently Reading: I’m almost done with Insurgent and I’m also reading Cutlass to review for the blog tour tomorrow. It’s piratey good!

Recently Finished: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett which I reviewed here.

Up Next: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer… I know I keep saying it but I WILL get to it in the next few days! I’ve been busy with ARCs!

Bookish (and not to bookish) Thoughts #3

This meme is hosted by the Bookishly Boisterous and the idea is simple. It’s a round-up of your week, in and out of book world. A place to store your thoughts, and basically anything you’d like to share on your blog.

1. Easter Funtimes: Did everyone have a good Easter? I did! I drank too much, ate too much, watched a lot films and generally just lazed about. I really enjoy not being at work.

2. Locke: On Friday I went to the cinema to see Locke. It is basically Tom Hardy driving a car, talking on the phone and being angry and sad for about 90 minutes. Hot! It’s not the kind of film you’d watch more than once, but I enjoyed it. Obviously! Also, I NEED this in my life:
hardy

3. Books Bound in Human Skin: How creepy/cool is this guardian article? The macabre art of anthropodermic bibliopegy is a bit of a mouthful, also, a good pretentious band name.

4. Search Terms Advice Column: I found some really awesome new blogs last week and this one had me stitches. I’ve posted about hilarious search terms before but Captain Awkward takes it one step further.

5. Fancy Dress: So I went to a friend’s baby shower last weekend, which was Disney themed. It was a lot of fun, but the idea of having to get a costume together was a bit of an annoyance. I used to love fancy dress, and would go all out. For an 80s birthday party one year I dressed as a giant rubix cube. I couldn’t pee all night, and people kept leaving drinks on me (winning!). So I don’t really know where my new-found hatred of fancy dress has come from. Has it happened? Am I old and grumpy now?

6. OMG GoT! I try not to give away any spoilers about anything so all I can say is episode 2 of Game of Thrones…SRSLY O.M.G!

When Darkness Falls…

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

arc2On the alien, sunless planet they call Eden, the 532 members of the Family shelter beneath the light and warmth of the Forest’s lantern trees. Beyond the Forest lie the mountains of the Snowy Dark and a cold so bitter and a night so profound that no man has ever crossed it.

The Oldest among the Family recount legends of a world where light came from the sky, where men and women made boats that could cross the stars. These ships brought us here, the Oldest say—and the Family must only wait for the travelers to return.

But young John Redlantern will break the laws of Eden, shatter the Family and change history. He will abandon the old ways, venture into the Dark…and discover the truth about their world.

Woah, was my initial reaction to this book! Not because it completely blew me away, but because it’s such an epic journey to go on. I’m just not sure how much I enjoyed that journey.

Dark Eden is a book full of questions and very little answers. It is set on what we assume is an alien planet (although it’s pretty similar to earth) where almost two hundred years ago, humans crash landed. Some attempted to get back to earth, while one man and one woman thought it was too dangerous and stayed behind, deciding to make a go of living in the blackness of Eden until they were rescued.

Fast forward a hundred years or so and Eden is inhabited only by Family, who live a simple, deprived life, in a monotonous cycle of hunting, building fires and increasing the population by ‘slipping’ with anyone who offers, and a few species of animals similar to ours but with a few extra legs and lights on their heads. Sort of.

I found everything about Dark Eden intriguing. Beckett keeps us in the dark as much as the setting itself. We’re never quite sure where or what Eden is, nor can we trust what any of the characters say or think, because they don’t actually know anything. The world-building was good, and I liked that we were left to our own devices to imagine what certain things looked like but sometimes the lack of any specific details was irritating.

History and ideas about earth have been passed from generation to generation of Family, and many things have gotten lost, which is sometimes how I felt reading the book. Family cling onto a few surviving relics such as a toy car and keyboard but they know nothing of these things. Words have also been passed down like the biggest game of Chinese Whispers, so these too have altered in time making Dark Eden a challenging read to begin with.

Family are also taught that they must stay in one patch of Eden in case Earth returns for them, because that’s what the first settlers did. No one questions it, and no one tries to make their lives better by learning new things or exploring, that is until John Redlantern does.

At the start of the book, John is respected and sought after (for his juice – eww), but his new found inquisitiveness and out-spoken nature turns people against him, and eventually he is banished, sent away from their settlement to explore Dark Eden alone.

One of the main things that prevented me from loving this book was that I found it hard to like any of the characters. John was brave and clever but came across as a bit too aloof and I never felt like I knew him. All of the women in the book were betrayed pretty badly too, and the older members of the family were all completely unlikable – probably because of their tendencies to sleep with teenagers.

But what it lacked in character, Dark Eden made up for in themes and ideas. Each chapter gave me a new outlook on life, and how we live it; how we have evolved, and how society is only as good as the people in it. Family had no forward-thinkers, no one to teach the children and no one who could use their surroundings to invent new things and evolve as race. So they were stuck but didn’t know it.

There is also the obvious ties to the Garden of Eden story. Having to rebuild humanity afresh from just two people, inevitably means incest. The original father Tommy, had sex with his children and their children, and they had sex with their brothers and sisters, which is obviously the reason why some babies are born Batfaces or Clawfeet – although that is never stated, because they are ignorant to it. There’s a lot of talk of ‘baby juice’ which is pretty gross, but it does make you think about relationships and sex in a different way.

I feel like this book could have been shorter, but it was compelling and thought provoking. I wish I liked the characters more, and at times it was infuriating but it is a science fiction story that is scarily believable.

It reminded me of a cross between The Lord of the Flies, The Knife of Never Letting Go, and even Robinson Crusoe at times. It’s quite a feat. Read it.

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Disclosure?: Yep, I recieved a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review!
Title: Dark Eden
Author: Chris Beckett
Details: Paperback, 448 pages
Published: April 1st 2014 by Broadway Books (first published January 1st 2012)
My Rating: 4/5

Friday Feature: 5 Rabbit Books I Haven’t Read!

Happy Easter Everyone!

I’ve been pondering what to do for today’s Friday Feature all week. I wanted to do an Easter special, because y’know, four glorious days off work deserves at least that but I kept coming up blank where Easter-ish books are concerned.

It turns out, I’m not really big on rabbits – something you have to associate with Easter, right? So I thought I’d educate myself and post a top 5 of books featuring rabbits.

If you’ve read any of them, let me know if they’re worth a read.

5. When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

ff1 This is a book about a brother and a sister. It’s a book about secrets and starting over, friendship and family, triumph and tragedy, and everything in between. More than anything, it’s a book about love in all its forms.

In a remarkably honest and confident voice, Sarah Winman has written the story of a memorable young heroine, Elly, and her loss of innocence- a magical portrait of growing up and the pull and power of family ties. From Essex and Cornwall to the streets of New York, from 1968 to the events of 9/11, When God Was a Rabbit follows the evolving bond of love and secrets between Elly and her brother Joe, and her increasing concern for an unusual best friend, Jenny Penny, who has secrets of her own. With its wit and humor, engaging characters whose eccentricities are adroitly and sometimes darkly drawn, and its themes of memory and identity, When God Was a Rabbit is a love letter to true friendship and fraternal love.

Funny, utterly compelling, fully of sparkle, and poignant, too, When God Was a Rabbit heralds the start of a remarkable new literary career.

4. Masquerade by Kit Williams

ff2 Somewhere in Britain Jack Hare lost the Moon’s gift to the sun. Solve the riddles, unravel the puzzles, and see if you can figure out where.

3. Who Censored Roger Rabbit by Gary Wolf

ff3Gary K. Wolf creates a wonderfully skewed and totally believable world made up of equal parts Raymond Chandler, Lewis Carroll, and Walt Disney. A riotously surreal spoof of the hard-boiled detective novel. Packed with action and laughs. Wolf s cult classic, highly praised novel is the basis for the blockbuster Walt Disney/Steven Spielberg film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

2. Redwall by Brian Jacques

ff4Redwall Abbey, tranquil home to a community of peace-loving mice is threatened by Cluny the Scourge – the evil-one-eyed rat warlord – and his battle-hardened horde of predators. Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army but he hasn’t bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice and their loyal woodland friends. . . . .

1. Bunnicula by Deborah & James Howe

ff5BEWARE THE HARE!
Is he or isn’t he a vampire?

Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!

 

And here is one that I have read, and recommend:

The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue

ff6Emma Donoghue vividly brings to life stories inspired by her discoveries of fascinating, hidden scraps of the past. Here an engraving of a woman giving birth to rabbits, a plague ballad, surgical case notes, theological pamphlets, and an articulated skeleton are ingeniously fleshed out into rollicking, full-bodied fictions.
Whether she’s spinning the tale of an English soldier tricked into marrying a dowdy spinster, a Victorian surgeon’s attempts to “improve” women, a seventeenth-century Irish countess who ran away to Italy disguised as a man, or an “undead” murderess returning for the maid she left behind to be executed in her place, Emma Donoghue brings to her tales a colorful, elegant prose filled with the sights and smells and sounds of the period. She summons the ghosts of those men and women who counted for nothing in their own day and brings them to unforgettable life in fiction.

Divergent, The Movie: A Rant

I famously hate all of the movie adaptations of books I love, so don’t let this put you off seeing it…

 
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I’ll keep it brief:

  1. NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENE ON TRAIN
  2. What was wrong with Four’s voice (and he totally wasn’t hot enough)?
  3. NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENE ON TRAIN
  4. All the Dauntless transfer boys looked the same. It was confusing
  5. Worst tattoos ever
  6. The fighting was lame
  7. SERIOUSLY, THERE WERE NO HOT MAKE-OUT SCENES

But other than that it was OK I guess…

 

*I thought Shailene Woodley was actually pretty good, and I liked the music.

 

WWW Wednesday! 16.04.2014

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading? • What did you recently finish reading? • What do you think you’ll read next?

Wednesday, already! And, just one more day to go until a lonnnnnnnnnnng weekend for me! If you can’t tell, I’m very excited about this!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this week and just look how pretty these covers are together!!

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Currently Reading: After much indecision between this and Scarlet, I started Insurgent. I had to after watching the Divergent film – which I’m doing a quick post about soon.

Recently Finished: Dark Eden by Chris Beckett which was…I don’t even know….I’m trying to put my thoughts in order! And The Selection Stories by Kiera Cass which I reviewed here.

Up Next: Definitely Scarlet by Marissa Meyer! I also have After Wimbledon by Jennifer Gilby Roberts which I keep pushing back (sorry!!!), and Cutlass by Ashley Nixon for a blog tour in a week or so. Busy, busy.

Leave your link and I’ll come visit :)

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish (but not books) Wishlist…

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is Top Ten bookish (but not actual books) that you wish you own.

1. I’m guessing this will on the top of most people’s list but I NEED my own library, preferably in a room that used to be a ballroom, with mirrored walls. Or failing that, all of these: Amazing Home Libraries

2. A window seat with a pretty view.
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3. Some amazing book ends. Like these:
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4. To arrange my books by colour – and to all be the same size!
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5. I’ve wanted a Peter Pan tattoo for about 10 years. This will happen. Soon!

6. My own library stamp for loaning books, like this one from Etsy.

7. A Penguin Books deck chair for reading outside in the summer.
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8. A throne for reading. Everyone needs a reading throne, right? Maybe something like this…
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9. An e-reader that is actually a book. As in, you can download any book onto it, but it still looks and feels like a book. Does this exist? It must exist. If not, COPYRIGHTED.

10. To read every book like this:

The Selection Stories [insert squeal here] by Kiera Cass.

18172471 (1)Two novellas set in the world of Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times bestselling Selection series are now available in print for the first time. The Prince and The Guard both offer captivating views into the hearts and minds of the two men fighting to win America Singer’s love. This collection also features exclusive bonus content, including a sneak peek at The One, the eagerly anticipated third novel in the Selection series.

Before America arrived at the palace to compete in the Selection, there was another girl in Prince Maxon’s life. The Prince opens the week before the Selection begins and follows Maxon through the first day of the competition.

Raised as a Six, Aspen Leger never dreamed that he would find himself living in the palace as a member of the royal guard. In The Guard, readers get an inside look at Aspen’s life within the palace walls–and the truth about a guard’s world that America will never know.

Just in case you’ve missed my previous fangirling installments, I’m a teeny bit obsessed with Kiera Cass’ The Selection Series, certainly more obsessed than any 30 year old should be (shudder)! But I’ve never been one to read novellas, especially when they’re only available online, so I was pretty stoked when this was released last month to add to my collection of pretty covers.

Oh Maxon. Swoon.

There’s not a great deal to The Prince and The Guard really, but they still quenched my Selection thirst and will tide me over until The One is released next month.

Both novellas let us see the selection process from different perspectives than the books. In The Prince, we see Maxon prepare for the arrival of the girls, his anxieties and fears. And we also get more of an insight into his relationship with the king.

I liked finding out what he thought of America and the other girls, and becoming king. He’s just so cute, and slightly damaged which obviously hot. TEAM MAXON all the way.

In The Guard, we get a better insight into the royal guard and Aspen’s plans to win America back, set at the time of the second book, The Elite. We also see more of the sinister underbelly of the court, and the rebel attacks.

Also, there was this weird part about the guards taking drugs to enhance their abilities, which never really developed into anything but was a welcome element of intrigue. Hopefully it’ll develop into more in The One.

I think it would be hard to recommend this to anyone who hasn’t read the books, but it could be a good taster. The series is definitely not for everyone, but I think it’s a masterpiece in YA trash. I can’t get enough.

Is it May 6th yet???

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Disclosure?: Nope, I bought it!
Title: The Selection Stories
Author: Kiera Cass
Details: Paperback, 227 pages
Published: February 4th 2014 by HarperTeen
My Rating: 4/5

Friday Feature: Labyrinth Mania

Labyrinth, the 1986 Jim Henson film starring David Bowie (swoon) and Jennifer Connelly (it’s not fairrrrr) is clearly the best film there ever was.

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So just imagine my excitement when I discovered that not only is there a book ‘based on the film’-why is that not a thing anymore?- there is also a sequel in manga form. And it is amazing.

So far, I’ve only managed to get Vol 1 and 2 and have been on the look our for the other two for about three years now…they seem quite rare, and pricey! I refuse to pay £20 for a manga comic, even if it does look as cool as this:

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Just look at Jareth. Woah.

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You can read the first two volumes online at Manga Here.

And that is my gift to you all as we head into the weekend. Big Yays.

View the series on Goodreads