Monday, 28 February 2011

It's Monday What are you reading? (1)

This is my first Monday What are you Reading, and this meme is hosted by Lisa's World of Books! I thought that this would be a great opportunity to plan out my books, as well as sharing them! I've put the books' links to their Shelfari page, if you are interested in learning more. And the links of the Read books to my review!

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Feed by Mira Grant
 Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Hoping to read:
 City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
The Replacement  by Brenna Yovanoff

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Follow my Book Blog Friday

I know I'm a bit late for this, but I've seen this put in with a lot of other Book Blog Hop posts, so I thought I might as well do this as well! It's hosted by Parajunkie if you are interested in joining.

The question this week is:

Share your current favorite TV show?

Band of Brothers! 

To be honest, this is always my favorite TV show. It's based around a true story of a company of paratroopers during WW2. It follows them from training until the taking of the Eagles Nest. I've always loved/been interested in true life combat memoirs from WW2 (I've read a lot of them), and in my opinion, Band of Brothers is one of the very best war portrayals, and unfortunately, it's highly underrated. It's also along the same wave-length as Saving Private Ryan and The Pacific, which just came out this year. As they both co-created by Tom Hanks and Steven Speilberg. 

I could go on for ever about how much I love this mini-series, but I think I'll stop there! 

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Book Blogger Hop

So I decided I should join in with this Book Blogger Hop as I really need to find some more book blogs to interact with. And it just looks like fun!

Book Blogger Hop

And the question this week is:

Do you ever wish you had named your blog something different?

Well, I've not had mine too long. My blog wasn't initially meant to be a book blog but it just turned out that way. I don't mind my name really. Ramblings of one in a Billion still pretty much sums me up.

In My Mailbox (1)

So I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon and do my first In My Mailbox, this week hosted by The Story Siren. Especially considering I got loads of books this week (from shops and the library).

I'd previously bought two books off Amazon weeks ago, and they had only just come. But by then, I hadn't got any other books, and was itching for some more. So when I went on my trip to the beach, I specially saved up my money to do a big book shop. Though in the end I had to take one book back (The Body Finder), because I didn't have enough money for lunch or the bus back, haha!

For me, this is quite a big haul, and I probably won't be getting anymore for a while, as I need to read through these!  

Bought in the shops: 

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
I enjoyed the first book a lot so I'm looking forward to reading this.

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
I'd heard of this book coming out, so I was pretty excited when I saw it in the shop. Though I really don't like the UK cover. I think when covers have models like that, it really commercializes a book. I like the US one with the pram and the knifes hanging over it.

Lament by Maggie Stiefvater
I hadn't heard anything about this book before, even though I'd heard a lot about the author (I know she's written Shiver and Linger which have no appeal to me because of how much it gets compared to Twilight). But Replacements was in a Buy one, get one for a pound offer, so I got this seeing as it was a pound and looked quite interesting. 

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder 
I was interested in reading this after I read Snyder's newest novel, Inside Out. Even though I was a bit meh on the book, I liked her writing style and was interested in reading this book. I was lucked out when I walked into a cheap bibs and bobs shop and saw this selling brand new for £1.99! So of course, I had to get it.

Bought off Amazon:

Feed by Mira Grant

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

From the Library

Numbers 2: The Chaos by Rachel Ward

Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

100 books in a year Reading Challenge

So I thought I would join this challenge as I have been looking for another general reading challenge.So far I only have the dystopia one, so I thought this one would be a good idea, and also good motivation to read as much as possible.

Here's the link to the page, if you are interested in signing up:

It's going to be tough reading a hundred books, but I thought I'd give it a try!

Feed and Incarceron

So I just experienced one of those beautiful moments when that Royal Mail van arrives at my doorstep and lo and behold there is my Amazon parcel that I ordered. Now this is me being a bit greedy because I am having a trip to the beach later this week where I plan on going book shopping. But at least then, I will have lots to read and not need to buy anymore.

Anyway, here's what I got:

Feed by Mira Grant
I'm a big fan of zombie books and young adult books, so I was more than pleased to have stumbled upon this book randomly when searching for Feed by M. T. Anderson.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
I had been meaning to read this one for a while, but at the same time I'm really not sure what to expect. I also have to say that I really hate this cover, I think that the US version is far more interesting.

Review of City of Bones

Title: City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments series) 
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: 2007
Pages: 442
My Rating: 4/5

I had heard a lot about the City of Bones. Two people in my class have read the series and got so excited when they saw me reading it at my desk. I'm not usually one for fantasy. Only really because they involve a lot of the same ideas of vampires, werewolves, witches and demons to name a few, and I just have a need for something more original. Not to say that fantasy books aren't good of course. City of Bones is a prime example of that.

The story is about a fifteen year old girl named Clary who gets dragged into this wonderful and dangerous fantasy world of Demons, Werewolves, Vampires and Shadowhunters - a group of half-Angel demon hunters who she finds out she is a part of.

I loved the roller coaster ride this book took me on. I felt like I was going through all the action, twisting suspense and shock information with Clary all the way through. I also loved the way the characters were written. They were so lifelike and believable, even some of the smaller characters, you could almost tell what they were thinking and how they were going to react. My two favorite characters were Jace and Simon. Simon being Clary's old best friends and maybe not the most useful person agaisnt the Shadowhunters. And Jace being the handsome and confident Shadowhunter who helps Clary through the events that take place.

The book kept me turning the page all the way through, and I honestly don't think I'll ever get over the shock twist at the end.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Change of blog

I have officially decided to turn this blog into a book blog. I have only really felt interested in posting about books, and book blogs are the only things that I follow at the moment anyway.

I will not delete my past non-book posts, but just let them fade away. I just thought, that having my blog purely on one subject would be more interesting.

Bookstore Wishlist

Bookstores tend to have all the most popular books in them and not always what I am specifically looking for. That's why I buy a lot of my books on Amazon.  They almost always have the book I want, they are much cheaper and hell, they save a trip into town!

But I have my eye on a few recent releases which I have seen and know I'm going to look out for next time I am in a Book shop. These are:

Matched by Ally Condie

The concept of this, instantly grabbed me. Anything dystopic and young adult immediately draws me in. Although the concept does seem interesting, there seems to be quite a strong romance element to it. This is the only thing that has put me off reading it so far. But as my 'to read' list shortens, I think I'm going to give it a try.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting 

I'd been very aware of the count down for the realise of this book, and was even quite excited myself. But other books just distracted me and I still haven't read this book. It doesn't appear to be dystopic or Sci Fi as far as I can tell, but I'm also going to give this one a try next time I'm in town.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Review of Inside Out

Title: Inside Out
Author: Maria V. Snyder 
Published: 2010
Pages: 315
My Rating: 3/5

I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while. I was immediately captured by the well composed cover art and interesting concept in the blurb.  It seemed like a perfect fit for my dystopia YA fix.

Unfortunately, I'm a little disappointed to say that I was a bit underwhelmed by this. It was basically what I expected when reading the blurb. But that was it, there didn't feel like there was anything more. I found the story line quite uninteresting and confusing, feeling like the main character, Trella was just going backwards and forwards to collect this, deliver that, discuss this... I didn't really feel like the story was going anywhere, and I couldn't get into it.

But this being said, I wasn't totally let down by it, and it wasn't a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. The writing was brilliant, exactly the sort of writing style that I love! It had the classic young adult characters that I'm always a fun of and the concept was brilliant! It definitely ticked all the boxes for a YA dystopia book, and I recommend it to fans of that gene.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Never Let Me Go

Title: Never Let Me Go
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley 

One thing, that annoyed me about the advertising of this film, is that it has primarily been advertised as a soppy love story. Even though it does involve the love triangle of the three main characters, it is a lot more than just that, and doesn't even concentrate on that aspect that much. I'm a huge sucker for anything dystopia, as I've said before, and it's so refreshing to see a dystopian film, thats not necessarily marketed as one. 

The three principle cast members were great, particularly Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. Garfield has easily become my favourite rising star at the moment, with this, The Social Network and soon to be the remake of Spiderman. 

Anyway, I thought that this was a very interesting and understated film, and it's a shame that it hasn't been put up for many awards because of it's competition. 

True Grit and Never Let Me Go

Title: True Grit
Directed by: Coen Brothers
Starring: Hailee Steinfield, Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon

Many people say that True Grit is a remake of the 1969 film, True Grit starring John Wayne. But it is in fact the second adaptation of the the novel True Grit by Charles Portis.

This aside, I thought the film was brilliant. It started off powerfully and ended powerfully. The cast was great, but the stand out performance was by far that of Hailee Steinfield. At 14 years old (and actually a bit younger than the character she played), she gave many grown actors a run for their money, earning herself an Academy Award nomination as well as a number of other nominations.

I really enjoyed this film, but being up agaisnt The King's Speech and plenty of other fine competition, I don't think it'll take home quite as much as it deserves.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Dystopia Reading Challenge

I love Dystopia books and since the summer I've read loads, so I thought it would be perfect to take part in this Dystopia Reading Challenge!

Here is the link where you can find out about it:

I'm going for challenge level 2. Contagion meaning that I will have to try and read 15 books before the end of the year, which sounds pretty easy for me. I read loads of the most popular dystopia books last year, so I'm gonna have to do some digging for more, which I'm sure won't be a huge problem.

Here's the Dystopia books that I read last year: 
  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  2. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins.
  3. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
  4. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.
  5. The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
  6. The Dead Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan.
  7. The Declaration by Gemma Malley.
  8. Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. 
  9. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.
  10. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness.
  11. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness.
  12. The Scorch Trials by James Dashner. 
And here is a list of the Dystopia books I've read so far this year: 
  1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman.
  2. Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman.
  3. The Giver by Lois Lowry.
  4. Uglies by Scott Westerfield. 
  5. Pretties by Scott Westerfield.
  6. The Enemy by Charlie Higson. 
And finally, here is a list of Dystopia books that I could read for this challenge: 
  1. Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder.
  2. Specials by Scott Westerfield. 
  3. Matched by Allyson Braithwaite Condie.
  4. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.
  5. Shades of Gray by Jasper Fforde.
  6. The Death Cure by James Dashner.
  7. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow.
  8. Feed by M. T. Anderson. 
  9. The Running Man by Stephen King. 
  10. Incarceration by Catherine Fisher.
  11. The Compound by A. S. Bodeen. 
  12. Feed by Mira Grant. 
  13. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.
  14. 1984 by George Orwell. 

Inside Out and City of Bones

Today I finally got Inside Out, the book that I've been meaning to get for ages. It was 3 for 2 and I spent about 78 hours trying to find other 3 for 2 books to put with it. But I couldn't find any in that particular shop.
 But I did exchange Procession of the Dead in another book shop with a book called City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, part of the Mortal Instruments series. I probably should of got my money back instead of spending it all on books, but I just couldn't resist, I've heard so much about this book.

I haven't really been into fantasy much lately, but as I seem to have read most of the popular and young adult dystopia fiction, I think it's time to move onto something else. The one thing that angers me about the cover of City of Bones is that the title and authors name are at the bottom, compositioned well. But there's a huge quote by Stephenie Meyer right in the middle, what's that about!? Sorry, just had to mention that.

 But for now, I'm going to start Inside Out.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Enemy

Title: The Enemy
Author: Charlie Higson
Published: '09
Pages: 416
My Rating: 4/5

I know I said that I had started reading Precession of the Dead about a week ago. Well....I couldn't get on with it. I got about 40 pages in and was bored. I don't know if I can take it back as I got it on a gift card, so I'll keep it for now, and maybe try reading it again.
     Lost with nothing to read, I picked up this book I'd got ages ago on a special offer but hadn't got to reading it yet. It's called The Enemy by Charlie Higson. I enjoy zombie books and thought this looked like fun. It's about a world that has succumb to the zombies of everyone above the age of 14. Anyone under that age left, is fighting to survive. It follows a group of kids who have lived in Waitrose for the past year fighting off the zombies 'Grown-ups' as they call them, and scavenging for food.
     This book definitely was fun. It was action packed, exciting and gory. Quite surprisingly gory considering the young age group. One thing that I think will stick in my head as unusual about this book, was a shocking death in the first hundred pages. But I will not say more as it's quite a large spoiler. It had excellent plot-twists. The only comment I have, is that I found something sloppy about the way the characters were written, but I wouldn't expect it to be too complex for an exciting zombie book like this. I know that there is a second out, that I have seen in the shops, and I am looking forward to reading it.

Shifty's War

This is sort of relating to the last post I made about Band of Brothers. I just wanted to talk about this new book that's coming out soon. It's a biography of Darrel 'Shifty' Powers, one of the paratroopers portrayed in Band of Brothers. I'm pretty excited to read it.
    I've always loved reading first hand accounts and biographies of soldiers during WW2. It's one area that really fascinates me. I've read Band of Brothers by Stephen Ambrose (what the mini-series was initially based on) and Easy Company Soldier by Don Malarky (one of the Easy Company veterans)  From the Pacific mini-series (another brilliant WW2 epic following US Marines in the Pacific, also created by Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg) I've read Helmet for my Pillow by Robert Leckie, With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge and Islands of the Damned by R.V. Burgin. For Band of Brothers I'm also hoping to read Babe and Wild Bill's book, and Winters'.
      I know that these are all based off the mini-series' and have only really become famous because of that. But it's actually surprisingly hard to find first-hand combat accounts from WW2. I've read Sixty Days of Combat by Dean Joy (a US infantryman) and I've also got If you Survive (the authors name escapes me at the moment) to read. It's sad that there aren't more around as I'm sure some people have amazing stories to tell of the war. But alas, I'm just looking forward to Shifty's War for now.

Band of Brothers stars to jump out of moving plane for real!

I haven't talked about it on here before, but one of my favourite things of all time (Film/TV wise) is Band of Brothers. A WW2 mini-series based on a real company of US paratroopers, created by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. It's absolutely fantastic, but I'll give a better description of my love for it on here later on. I wanted to talk about something that is happening soon.
    Back in January, I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Major Richard Winters. A true hero, who commanded the 'Band of Brothers' during WW2. I often think about all the soldiers and veterans of previous wars. So many of them have done the most heroic things for their country, allies and to end the war, and they don't -in my opinion- get the recognition that they deserve. Dick Winters was one of the many heroes in the war, and for me represents all soldiers and veterans who aren't known for what they've done for us. 
     An event taking place in the summer at LA and the UK is taking place in aid of the Richard Winters Leadership Project.  Here, a group of the stars from Band of Brothers, including: Micheal Cudlitz, James Madio, Ross McCall, Nolan Hemmings, Scott Grimes, Peter Youngblood Hills and Matthew Leitch will be taking part in a sponcered parachute jump from a moving plane. The event is going to be filmed by Black Sky Radio, who have also done some great cast and veteran interviews from Band of Brothers. Go here for the full article:

       I'm personally so excited for this! I get excited anytime something Band of Brothers related happens or when cast get together, keeping the magic of the amazing mini-series alive. But the fact that the cast are actually going to be jumping FOR REAL out of a plane all for the Richard Winters Leadership Project is amazing. I can't wait to see the videos and donate in the summer. It's going to be great!

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Tomorrow Series Mystery

A while ago I talked about the fantastic Tomorrow Series when I had finished the second book. After that I went on to order the third (the first two were only like £4 on Amazon). I found that the third, fourth and sixth books were around £70-£120 on Amazon! I was in shock, they were only paper back books, and as I said, the first two and (after I searched) the fifth and seventh, were only about £4. Ridiculous!
    I searched round, and found that out of the whole series, those three books were almost impossible to get my hands on without having to pay a hell of a lot of money! I found an Australian seller on Ebay selling the Australian versions for about £10 each including postage and packaging. It was perfect but I very (VERY) stupidly left off getting them until it was too late and there were no more. But I needed these books so bad! And as my birthday was in a month, I wanted to ask for them as a birthday present.
     In the end, I found this site that finds and sells out-of-print books which had quite a few of the books I wanted. Unfortunately, they were still pretty pricey, but just about affordable for my birthday. I decided on getting the third and fourth books and holding off on getting the sixth for the moment. The two books came to about £30. One is an second-hand hardback library book from Austrailia and the other is from the US with a cover that I HATE. But still, it's not about the covers, it's about the books and I now can't wait to read them.
      But I still can't get my head round the fact that the third, fourth and fifth books can't be found in the UK when the rest can. It will have to remain a mystery for now.

The Fighter

Last night, I saw the Fighter.
Surprisingly, there isn't really much I have to say about it, other than it was a very good film. And, in my opinion, worth it's nomination, even if it doesn't win. I'm a little bit wary with Mark Wahlberg films these days (I've always been more of a Donnie Wahlberg fan), but he did very well in The Fighter.
     However, the stand out performance was by far Christian Bale. He was terrific, and I kept having to remind myself that that was in fact Christian Bale up there. I'm now hoping that, if not Geoffrey Rush, he will get the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Academy Awards predictions and favourites.

The Academy Awards are taking place on the 27th of February. I can't deny that I'm very much looking forward to it. I just thought that I would make a post here about my predictions and favourites. Blue is who I think will win, and green is who I want to win for each category.

(Also, one thing to bare in mind is that in the UK True Grit and The Fighter aren't out yet, so things may change when I have seen them. Also, don't the colours look pretty?)

Best Picture: The Social Network or The King's Speech / The King's Speech or 127 Hours
Best Director: David Fincher - The Social Network / David Fincher -The Social Network
Best Actor: Colin Firth / Colin Firth or James Franco
Best Actress: Natalie Portman / Natalie Portman 
Best Writing - Original Screenplay: The King's Speech / Inception 
Best Writing - Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network / 127 Hours
Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3 / Toy Story 3
Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat - The King's Speech / Hans Zimmer - Inception 
Best Art Direction: Inception / Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Pan's Labyrinth

 So I'd heard a lot about Pan's Labyrinth and had been meaning to watch it for a while. But in class, I'm working on a assignment based on the two words, Playful and Profound. I decided to use dark children's stories and the adult side of Fairy Tales as an interpretation to the two words. And this is when my Ceramic's lecturer lent me Pan's Labyrinth as it was pretty relevant to what I was doing.
        Pan's Labyrinth wasn't quite what I expected. I'd read reviews saying that it was like a dark Spanish  Narnia. But there was more of the story in the outside world, where I was under the impression that she'd go into this magical world by herself and explore. I make it sound as though I was disappointed in the film, when actually I loved it! I thought it was brilliant and actually liked the whole story outside of the Labyrinth. It was so refreshing to see a film that is primarily a children's story with a child star, that's serious and powerful (and is also rated a 15).
       Obviously, one of the scenes that sticks out in my mind is the Pale Man monster. Easily one of the creepiest creatures invented. The eyes in the hands is such an iconic image that I've seen everywhere, that for some reason I thought he'd be a nice advisor man to her. So it was a bit of a surprise to see that he was a much scarier child-eating monster.
       But overall, I loved the film. The dark fantasy and the not so original twist at the end was fantastic.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Procession of the Dead

So I went into town today at lunchtime to get the book I have been looking forward to getting for a while (Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder) But even though I was told it was going to be in on Tuesday, they still didn't have it, and I didn't want to go through the hassle of ordering it, so I thought I'd wait.
     However, I still didn't have a book to read and I had a gift card leftover from Christmas, so I had a look around and found this book. It's called Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan. I read the blurb and a couple pages, and it seemed quite interesting so I gave it a try. It wasn't until I got home that I realised it was a zombie book. No complaints though; I love zombie books.
Here's the blurb:
Quick-witted and cocksure, young upstart Capac Raimi arrives in the city determined to make his make his mark as a gangster. Then he crosses paths with The Cardinal, and his life changes forever. 
      The Cardinal is the City and the City is The Cardinal. They are joined in soul. Nothing moves on the streets, or below them, without the Cardinal's knowledge. His rule is absolute.
        As Capac begins to discover more about the extent of the Cardinal's influence on this life he is faced with hard choices. And as his ambition soars ever higher he will learn all there is to know about loss, and the true cost of ultimate power ...

So even though it's quite a vague blurb, I thought it looked quite interesting. There will be more of this to come.

127 Hours

I just wanted to talk a bit about this film this morning.
127 Hours is a true story about a climber called Aron Ralston's remarkable journey into surviving after having his arm trapped by a fallen boulder. It's another direction from Danny Boyle, and another fantastic film.
    I love this film. I thought it was written brilliantly, and most definitely performed brilliantly by it's lead James Franco (who I've always liked in the past, so I'm probably biased there). It was a breathtaking, eye opening film that caused me to cringe more than once, and I can't deny that I had to shut my eyes for a while at one point. No shame.
    127 Hours has been nominated for an Academy Award in Best Picture. I have seen The King's Speech, Black Swan and The Social Network, and I'm pretty sure that one of them is going to sweep Best Picture (King's Speech if I was betting on it). But I find myself strangely routing for this film. I hope, at least, that it wins Best Adapted Screenplay. I really feel as though it deserves it.