Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Deadlands by Lily Herne

Deadlands by Lily Herne*
Life for Lele is beyond bizarre - she lives in an enclosure in Cape Town and outside of the large fence zombies roam free in the suburbs, known as the Deadlands. The low hum of their murderous groans is now the backdrop to her life. 

The living are watched over by a mysterious cult called the Guardians. They dress in robes and their faces are always hidden. They escort the deceased to the Deadlands and keep the living at bay by enforcing strict rules. Each year they stage a human Lottery that selects five teenagers to be sent outside of the enclosure for a secret task. It's highly sought after with a lot of teens aspiring to be picked - but not Lele. She has her doubts and seems to be the only one who questions the motives of the Guardians. What could they possible want with all these teenagers?! 

Written by mother-daughter writing duo under the name of Lily Herne, this book provides mystery, suspense and heart racing fight scenes that you'd expect from a zombie drama. Think The Hunger Games meets The Walking Dead.
Deadlands is the first of the series and is the first young adult zombie book I've read. This book serves as an introduction to all of the different characters (some of which you'll grow very attached to) and the backdrop of post-apocalyptic Cape Town.
I loved this book and I can't wait to read the rest in the series! 

*Thanks to Constable Robinson for sending me this book to review! 

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Monday, 18 August 2014

August Book Challenge: The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling Review

Before I start this review, I just want to make it clear that I desperately wanted to like this book. The Jungle Book is one of my most loved childhood films (both live-action and Disney animated) and I couldn't wait to revisit this book.

I'm not sure if I unintentionally tripped myself up by expecting great things or that I'm too used to the heavily adapted film versions, but I struggled to enjoy this book. It's a lot more violent and revenge-filled than the adaptation and it worked in parts, however at times I found the uproar unnecessary. 

The book is a collection of various short stories about the wildlife that live in the jungle. Well-loved characters Mowgli, Baloo and Bagheera are the subjects of quite a few of the stories, but not all. Although the theme of friendship and family is constant throughout, I think the message often got lost amongst fighting scenes.

Each short story was used as a fable to teach moral lessons to children at the time it was written. It was also speculated that they represented the politics of society at the time. I usually enjoy novels that encompass those themes, however, I think that I am too used to the adapted versions to fully appreciate this book.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

We're all going on a summer holiday...

Good morning, bookworms.

I hope you've all had a great week so far, mine's been lovely and relaxed as I've spent my week off work reading, writing and watching countless amounts of films. I'm also heading off to the land of glitz, glamour and fake tan when I arrive in Essex tomorrow! My mom and I are spending a couple of days there as we always have a UK city break together in the summer.

One of my favourite parts of holiday preparation is packing. I'm probably on my own there as most people despise it, but there's something about planning out all of your outfits and summer essentials that really excites me.

And of course, I've hand selected a few books to take with me:

  • Deadlands by Lily Herne*
 Deadlands is a book series written by Lily Herne, a mother-daughter writing duo, Sarah and Savanna Lotz. It's set in Cape Town after the zombie apocalypse and has been compared to The Hunger Games and The Walking Dead. 

I recently reviewed The Three by Sarah Lotz and I thought it was incredibly really well-written, and seen as I've had the Deadlands book trilogy on my TBR pile for a while now, I thought my holiday would be the ideal time to start it.

  • Solitaire by Alice Oseman
I bought this book at its launch party a couple of weeks ago and have been eager to bury my nose in it since. Alice Oseman is so friendly in person and a true inspiration as she's a published author at just 19 years old! One of my closest friends has already read it and speaks very highly of it, so I'm looking forward to seeing if I agree with her.

  • Ready, Set, Novel by Lindsey Grant, Tavia Stewart-Streit and Chris Baty
I bought this writing journal a while ago and I've just reached the half way point. It's full of amazing advice and fun tasks to help you create interesting characters and stories. It's always been a dream of mine to write a novel (even if it's just for my eyes only) and I can see myself writing whilst on holiday, so will be taking it with me for when inspiration strikes! 

I'd love to know if you're going on holiday this year, and what books you'll be taking with you!

* Thank you to Constable and Robinson for sending me the Deadlands trilogy for review! 

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Monday, 11 August 2014

Review: The Humans by Matt Haig

The Humans by Matt Haig
My favourite kind of story is type that can blend tragedy and comedy perfectly. The Humans by Matt Haig is one of those books that will make you laugh out loud, but will also make you reflect on serious issues.

The book is written in the perspective of an alien who is inhabiting a famous academics body. Human life is a completely bizarre concept to him as he comes from a planet that is void of emotion. His homeland is completely rational, and he views human beings as being violent, greedy and fame-hungry. However, the man who's body he has consumed has a wife, a teenage son and a dog. At first he is repulsed by all of them, but then starts to realise the importance of family.

The laughs come from the alien trying to figure out his place. He first arrives to Earth naked without any concept of money or etiquette. On his planet, spitting at people is a polite and friendly greeting - something that is not taken too kindly to here on Earth!

The books genius is that it forces you to see the 'ordinary' through a completely new pair of eyes. It makes you question your own lifestyle choices and those of others. Plus the subject of depression is handled beautiful in this book.

I had the pleasure of meeting Matt at World Book Night in April and during a Q&A session he said that his main inspiration for The Humans was his own experiences with panic attacks and depression. He felt completely alienated by the rest of the world and found it hard to relate to people. I think this is such a brilliant way of channeling those feelings into such an original idea for a story. 
I'd highly recommend this book!
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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Weekly Favourites #1

Good morning bookworms. 
I hope you've all got a lovely weekend planned - I've got two friends' birthdays and a wedding, so I'm going to be rushed off my feet, but having a great time, I'm sure!
I've decided that I'm going to start a 'Weekly Favourites' feature on the blog every Saturdays, so here goes:

Reading... The Jungle Book by Rudyark Kipling. I've revisited this childhood classic as a part of my 2014 book challenge. I must say, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting - but it's a great book and with only 100 or so pages left to go, I'm sure there will be a review up very soon!

Watching... It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I kept hearing how great this show was and oh wow - is it funny! If you have Netflix I'd highly recommend it, and I'm so glad that I've finally found a filler for the void Modern Family left me when the latest season finished.

Listening... to Rizzle Kick's mash-up of Iggy Azelea - Fancy and Ed Sheeran - Sing. I love all of these artists, so it was an absolute treat when they performed this on Radio 1 this week. Seriously, listen to it - it's amazing!

Wearing... new black wedges for work. They're not broken in yet - ouch! The things I do for pretty shoes...

I'd love to know what you've been up to this week - leave a comment or tweet me!
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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Lolito by Ben Brooks - Book Club Review

Lolito by Ben Brooks
A few month ago a blogger friend of mine, The Girl in the Moonlight and I, decided to have our very own book club! We picked a book out of a hat after suggesting three books each, which led us to Lolito by Ben Brooks. (It turns out that we both wanted to read it after Youtuber, Carrie Fletcher recommended it - complete fan girls!)

We sent each other regular emails about our thoughts while we were reading it and I must admit, I haven't enjoy a book so much in a long time. I completely sped through the story and ended up finishing it in a couple of days.

The plot is a modern day take on Lolita written by Vladimir Nabokov. The genders are switched in Lolito and it becomes a story about a young boy, Etgar who embarks on a intimate relationship with a much older woman, Macy.
On the surface, a story about a fifteen year old and a forty-something seems outrageously wrong, but Ben handles the sensitive subject matter in such very positive way. He presents Macy as a good person, but who also seems depressed and confused. Etgar and Macy are both lost and going through tough times in their lives and they find solace in each other, and that makes the relationship hard to question despite how uncomfortable it should make you feel.

In fact, it was Etgar that manipulated Macy into believing that he was older than what he was, which eliminates any thoughts of Macy being a paedophilic predator. This book completely questions your ethics and were you stand morally and I always give high recommendations to books that make you think.

Make sure you read The Girl in the Moonlight's review here.

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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Blogger Tips: How to stay organised

When I started my blog at the beginning of the year, I never made myself a blogging schedule or a plan, I just typed away whenever inspiration took me. A great idea in theory, but when you're suffering from writers block or you're week is a little busier than usual - blogging doesn't get done.
A few months ago, I was completely stuck in a rut with my writing and I wasn't spending any time on my blog. I felt guilty and I missed the blogging community, but it turned into a vicious cycle as I'd feel guilty about not writing, and then I'd feel bad and not want to do anything other than feel annoyed.

But for the past few weeks, I've been on a roll with it all, and it's because I've made more of an effort to get myself organised! And I thought I'd share a few of my top tips with you:

1. Write it down

Seriously. If its not written down, I'll more than likely forget it. There's something really satisfying about writing all of your tasks down for the day. I'll often list them in terms of priority and once each one is ticked off, you'll feel like a super productive hero!

I always make sure that important information is written down in more than one place - a physical and a digital copy. I currently use a journal and the calendar on my iMac, which is synced up to my work computer and to my phone, so there is absolutely no excuse for me to forget! 

2. Make time to blog
The main excuse I used when I started blogging less was that I just didn't have time, something that I now know simply wasn't true. Now if I have a hectic week, I make sure I have at least one night off to write blogs and take photos for the rest of the week.
I like to have blog ideas two weeks ahead, so if I know I've got a busy week coming up, I'll write posts in bulk and schedule them. It's a lifesaver for those weeks when you're feeling frazzled! 
3. Pretty stationery 

This tip might only work if you're me... But I'm a visual person, and if I have good looking stationery, I'm more than likely going to use it! A recent trick to Paperchase sent me back a few pretty pennies as I found so many quirky pieces of stationery that I wanted to use straight away!
My dairy is now colour coded depending on the type of task that needs completing and it looks gorgeous on paper - which makes me want to blog! 
So, there you have it - my top three tips to staying organised. I'd love to hear your hints and tips! 

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Sunday, 3 August 2014

Showcase Sunday #12

The Death of the Poet by N Quentin Woolf*, Solitaire by Alice Oseman and The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Showcase Sunday is hosted by the lovely Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. It's a chance for bloggers to show of their weekly book swag and an opportunity to meet other bloggers and talk about all things bookish!

Happy Sunday, bookworms. I hope you're all having a great day - I'm having a perfectly lazy one, as all Sundays should be.

This week I've treated myself to two books, the first being Solitaire by Alice Oseman. I attended the launch party for this book this week, and had the best time. This copy is also signed in a vividly bright orange pen to match the spine of the book!

The Jungle Book was a treat to myself in order to complete this month's reading challenge. I'm really looking forward to revisiting this childhood classic.

The Death of the Poet by N Quentin Woolf was sent to me for review. I received this copy a couple of weeks back, but I kept forgetting to include it in a Showcase Sunday haul. I've heard this debut novel is beautiful written, so I'm really looking forward to starting it.

I'd love to see your book swag this week, so make sure you leave your Showcase Sunday links for me to read through!

 *A big thanks to N Quentin Woolf for sending me The Death of the Poet for review.

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Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Jungle VIP: August Book Challenge

It's going to get a little wild on my blog this month as I'm going to be reading The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling!

As you may already know, each month I set myself a challenge to read the works of the writer displayed on my Waterstones Literary Calendar. This month we have the wonderful Rudyard Kipling.

I'm really excited to be reading another children's book as the book I read to kick start the challenge in January was Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. It was great to revisit a childhood favourite of mine as an adult, and hopefully I'll feel the same when I read The Jungle Book this month.

I really like the Vintage Classics children's books as they always seem to have beautifully illustrated covers. I spent some of my well-earned Waterstones points on this purchase, so it didn't even cost me anything, which was a lovely surprise!

Alongside The Jungle Book, I'm planning to read The Humans by Matt Haig, Solitaire by Alice Oseman (who I had the pleasure of meeting this week!) and another horror/thriller for a GeekTown review. What are you planning on reading this month?

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