Thursday, 1 March 2012

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo REVIEW

Four Hearts...

Goodreads Synopsis:
Michael Morpurgo's War Horse
A powerful tale of war, redemption, and a hero's journey.In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

This is a bit of a tricky one for me to review, because my experience with it was really mixed. I decided to read it originally for a couple of reasons, firstly when I was younger I was a massive fan of anything Michael Morpurgo (so I don't know how I managed to avoid reading this until now!) plus, the film adaptation was released earlier this year meaning that I was desperate to read this before I watched that! But, I knew that I would most likely enjoy it, as I am a massive lover of anything related to the time period of both WW1 and WW2, I just find them to be emotionally charged and consuming, so that being said...

Being a childrens book it's considerably short, so didn't take me very long, maybe a couple of hours over two days. In the beginning I found it slow to get into, I didn't really feel connected with the main character - Joey - for at least the first few chapters; I don't really know why, it just didn't really immediately hit me like some books do! All that changed however when I got about a quarter to a half of the way through, at that point it really hit me hard. The characters that Joey was paired with when he left for France - particularly Topthorn - really touched me and I became very attatched to them in the end.

In terms of form, I thought the fact that the book was written from the perspective of Joey an incredibly wise decision for Morpurgo to have made, mainly because in some of the more emotionally charged situations you just find yourself desperately wishing Joey had the ability to shout or scream out, but you know that he can't and that for me was part of the magic of the story.

I would definately recommend this book to absolutely anyone, of any age! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, and it really did touch me bringing me to tears at some points, it's incredibly well written, and you really do get to become embroiled in the characters and the devastating locations and events.

In short, it doesn't take long to read, if you can do it in one sitting it'd probably take a couple of hours and no more.. so if you get the chance, I think you should all seek this book out! Another incredible one from Morpurgo.

Number 16 off my 2012 TBR Pile Challenge

Abi.. x

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Building Blocks of Books.. Blog Hop!

This is the first week of a new weekly blog hop hosted by Gemma over on Passion for Novels. Each week there will be a question for us to answer about how a book has changed an aspect of our lives...

This week the question is...

A Book that made you feel brilliant after having a really tough few days/weeks

To answer this I'm going to choose a book I'm sure EVERYONE in the reading world has heard about over and over again (so I apologise in advance if you're sick of hearing about it, but I'm a massive fan!) it is... The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Now, it was actually Gemma (at Passion for Novels) who introduced me to this trilogy, and I had put off reading the first one for ages - mainly because it was around the same time as my first assignments for semester one for university were being finished so I didn't really have the time to indulge in reading just for my own pleasure! But, the second I had handed in the assessment's on deadline day I grabbed my Kindle and started this book... and finished it within about 48 hours!

I literally loved it, for me it was the perfect book at the perfect time, I'd had a crazy couple of weeks trying to get all of my university work in order and up to scratch for hand in and I was really stressed, but this story just literally managed to let me escape! I was glued to my Kindle and the second I had finished it I read the other two in very quick succession! So, The Hunger Games pretty much fell into my lap at the perfect time, when I desperately needed something that would take my mind completely away from all the stresses of the past few weeks, and this book was really perfect for this!

So, if any of you out there have somehow avoided reading these books up until now.. go and read them! They really are truly inspirational and pretty much all consuming, I'm warning you, once you pick up the first one, you'll have difficulty functioning until you have finished all three!

If you want to take part in this brand new blog hop then head on over to Passion for Novels for the details!

Abi.. x

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #4

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly blog hop hosted over on Pen to Paper in which we post about a book that we have on our wishlist - either one we've just discovered or one we've had our eyes on for a while!

This week I've chosen...

Skin Deep by Laura Jarratt - Goodreads Synopsis...

Ugly people don't have feelings. They're not like everyone else. They don't notice if you stare at them and turn away. And if they did notice, it wouldn't hurt them. They're not like real people. Or that's what I used to think. Before I learned...

After the car crash that leaves her best friend dead, Jenna is permanently scarred. She struggles to rebuild her life, but every stare in the street, every time she looks in the mirror, makes her want to retreat further from the world. Until she meets Ryan. Ryan's a traveller. When he and his mother moor their narrow boat on the outskirts of a village, she tells him this time it will be different. He doesn't believe her; he can't imagine why this place shouldn't be as unwelcoming as the rest. Until he meets Jenna. But as Jenna and Ryan grow closer, repercussions from the crash continue to reverberate through the community. And then a body is found...

I found a review of this book over on Books for Company and immediately fell in love with the idea of the story, I think it sounds fabulous and immediately wanted to read it! Unfortunately for me it isn't due for release until March 5th this year, looks like I'm going to have to wait for it... make it more special when I finally get my hands on it though! ;)

What would your Wishlist Wednesday be?

Abi.. x

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

TBR Pile Challenge 2012!

Like every other book blogger and reading fanatic I have come across I have a pretty hefty To Be Read list, both hard copies sitting unread on my bookshelf, and EBooks on my lovely little Kindle. So, I thought it might be fun if I joined in on the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Bookish and nine other bloggers. Hopefully, having the list physically written in front of me, and crossing off and reviewing books everytime I read them will help me get through them all! Or at least most of them ;)

The different levels from which you can choose in this challenge are...
1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children
Now, I have a lot of reading and secondary reading to do for my English Literature course at university, so to allow myself a bit of leaway I'm going with the "11-20 - A Friendly Hug" simply because I'm pretty much 100% sure I can cope with that amount, in fact I reckon I'll swap it up to "A Sweet Kiss" within the next couple of months, but since you can't switch down a level I'm playing it safe for now ;)

Here is my list of books - including the two that I'm reading at the moment!... (click on any of the titles to view the Goodreads synopsis)

2. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
3. Room - Emma Donoghue
4. Night Road - Kristin Hannah
5. Dark Matter - Michelle Paver
6. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
8. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
9. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
10. Random Acts of Heroic Love - Danny Scheinmann
11. The Fault in our Stars - John Green
12. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
13. Before I Die - Jenny Downham
14. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
15. When God was a Rabbit - Sarah Winman
16. War Horse - Michael Morpurgo
17. The Book of Fires - Jane Borodale
18. The Host - Stephanie Meyer
19. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
20. The Blasphemer - Nigel Farndale

So there is my list so far... I'm not going to lie, there were quite a few left over I didn't include ;) so I am pretty convinced that it will increase! Not necessarily a bad thing!

I am going to make a designated page on my blog for my TBR Pile challenge, where I will steadily cross the titles off my list and link my reviews as I go through them, I can't promise to read them in this order though! :D

Here is a list of the ten hosts of this challenge and their links...

Nicole from All I Ever Read -
Bonnie from Hands and Home -
Donna from Book Passion For Life -
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading -
Rie from Mission To Read -
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -
Christa from Hooked On Books -
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction -
Angel from Mermaids Vision -
If you are also a book blogger and want to join in on this challenge, then visit Bookish for the ORIGINAL POST about the challenge and the full set of guidelines, post your linky there and get stuck in! :D

Happy Reading everyone! :D

Abi.. x

Teaser Tuesday #1

Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be Reading, where we take our current read, let the book open to a random page and share two (2) teaser sentences from that page... without spoiling the book for other readers!

My teaser is from Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, page 265...

"One day in June he was in Hedestad, thinking about something altogether different when his bus turned on to Jarnvagsgatan and it suddenly came to him what had been germinating in the back of his mind. The insight struck him like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky."

This is not by any means the easiest book I've ever read, it is complex and challenging, BUT, it's so full of suspense and mystery I can't help myself!

Leave a link, or post your own Teaser Tuesday in the comments :)

Abi.. x

Top Ten Tuesday #1

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme post hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, each week we choose our top ten books in answer to the question..

This week the list is... Top Ten Books that would make good Book Club Reads!

For my top ten I have chosen five books which I have hard copies of and five books off my Kindle...

Here are my five hard copies...

#1: Angela Carter - Wise Children, I think this book would be fantastic in a book club, I first read it when I was about 17, and immediately fell in love. It's one of those books that divides people down the middle, about half of the people I knew who had read it absolutely despised it! But the other half were obsessed. It's structurally challenging, and the characters are amazing and complex, I think this would generate some brilliant discussions in a book club!
#2: J.G Ballard - Empire of the Sun has to be one of the most emotional books I have ever read. I really had to put this into this top ten, it's one of those books that I believe puts forward and includes such important yet tragic events that I think it's a must read for pretty much everyone!

#3: Malorie Blackman - Noughts and Crosses similarly to #2, I think this book is a must read. The role reversal Blackman uses is sure to inspire some amazing discussions on this novel, despite the fact that it's targeted at young adult readers I really do feel that you could read this book at any age and it would always have a huge emotional impact. The issues it deals with are so sensitive that I think it'd be perfect for bookish discussions!

#4: David Nicholls - One Day is not a book I immediately thought of, mainly because I felt a bit let down by it! I thought the premise of the book sounded perfect, and had heard mainly good things about it; but, when I myself finally got round to reading it I wasn't as into it as I thought I would be. I found it a challenging read, but the final parts of the book were worth the effort. It was by no stretch of the imagination the worst book I have ever read, but the challenge I found reading it I think would make it ideal for a group of other readers to tackle together and discuss!

#5: Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants I cannot say a single bad word about this book. In short, I adored it. That is the only justification I can give for putting it on this list! I think it is a book that everyone (and I mean everyone!) should have the pleasure of reading! It's magical, escapist, and romantic... a massive favourite and I want to share it with everyone who has not yet got round to reading it!

On to my Kindle books...

#6: Stieg Larsson - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the two books I'm reading at the moment - or trying to read! - but I have to say, it's not an easy read! It is really interesting, and definately full of suspense and intrigue, BUT, it is hard going at times. This is why I think it'd be great in a book club!
#7: Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games I would put all three of this trilogy in if I could, but I've just chosen the first one because it made more sense to! I loved this series, I literally could not put it down, even at work! It is technically YA I think, but still, it's so enthralling that I think it makes a fantastic read at any age, and I'm yet to meet someone who says they didn't like it!

#8: Ian McEwan - Atonement is one I read for university and loved! One of those little gems you get told to read and then end up really enjoying. I think the story is amazing, and the era it's set in is as you can tell one which I really enjoy reading about!

#9: Audrey Niffenegger - The Time Travellers Wife is one we have all heard lots about, romantic, captivating and above all an incredible love story! I sobbed pretty much throughout this novel, and the film adaptation as well! I just think this is a book that a lot of people would really enjoy, quite an easy read but at the same time tragic!                                                                         

#10: Stephen E. Ambrose - Band of Brothers I have a feeling this would be quite a random one in this list, but I promise there is a reason! As you can probably tell from some of my other choices, as well as reading, I have a huge passion for history, particularly the periods of the first and second world wars. I think they are such a vital time period to recognise and learn about, and I love to read about them! Stephen E. Ambrose is in my opinion a fantastic writer, and this book is one of my all time favourites. I have visited Normandy, and visited the museum in which much of the information about Easy Company is housed, and it is a story which has forever touched my soul! I just think it's such an important topic, that it would be a shame not to include a book like this on a book club list!

What would your top ten be?

Abi.. x

Monday, 30 January 2012

Musing Mondays #1

Musing Monday's is a post hosted by Should be Reading which each week asks us a question every loving reader should be able to answer!

This week the question is...

How far along are you in your current read before you start thinking about what you’ll read next?

I have to admit that I'm pretty bad in terms of this question! I usually have a line of books in my head so I tend to be thinking about the book I am going to read next immediatly as I begin a book! But, I end up with so many books on my ever growing TBR list that I just end up swamped sometimes! I'm not very good at reading more than one book at a time so most of my reads tend to lead on from one another, like at the moment for example I'm reading Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks - a well known war novel - and the book I'm going to move onto next is Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo because my current read has put me in the right frame of mind to go for another war novel. So basically, I tend to already have a novel lined up to read next when I begin a book, but the majority of the time, my 'to read next book' tends to be influenced by my current read!

What would your response to this be?

Abi.. x