Monday, 30 September 2013

September review

It has been a slow month for me reading wise. Back to school means I'm super tired in the evenings and don't have the time to read as much as I'd like.


Books read
161) Pivot Point by Kasie West
162) More than this by Patrick Ness (British Books Challenge)
163) Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve (British Books Challenge)
164) That burning summer by Lydia Syson (British Books Challenge)
165) All these things I've done by Gabrielle Zevin
166) Because it is by Blood by Gabrielle Zevin
167) How to Love by Katie Cotugno
168) Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
169) Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
170) She is not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (British Books Challenge)
171) Model Misfit by Holly Smale (British Books Challenge)
172) Frost Hollow Hall by Emma Carroll (British Books Challenge)
173) Where the stars still shine by Trish Doller
174) The bone season by Samantha Shannon (British Books Challenge)

Book events attended
None this month although I did get to meet Sophie McKenzie for the briefest of lunches when she visited school for an event which I didn't get to stay for as I was teaching.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Bookcase Showcase: Josh Stanton



Big thank you for having me Kirsty and allowing me to share my strange order of books.




So, my bookcase isn’t arranged alphabetically, but kind of chronologically. So, my top shelf is the
books I read when I was a teenager, and a little after too. Darren Shan (One signed copy sitting on the shelf there) and Charlie Higson were a bit later, when I got to Uni, and really want to write horror for teens. This carried on, where I wanted to be the best horror writer ever. So, I started
collecting as much Stephen King as I could. I haven’t read all of his tomes yet. But I will. I keep the
Stephen King’s together by their covers. So, old tatty ones I’ve picked up in charity shops/library
sales at the front. Then nice colourful ones.And then his serious ones.




So, I really really got into horror. Horrible disgusting horror, like Brian Keene and Richard Laymon. It
was probably them who turned my stomach to think, maybe I should write something… a bit more
fun. So, I went back to my roots, and looked what I really enjoyed, chose to like when I was younger,
and then re-got into Steampunkyness and science fiction. So, I keep these all together. My Kindle has
a lot of classic science fiction, like the collection of Orwell and Verne. And a lot of free ebooks that I
have picked up, and will read, at some point.




Then I keep all the miscellaneous kind of books and hardbacks that I haven’t got round to arranging in some kind of order. This includes a few copies of my own books (The little ones before Making
Mone), I had made thanks to Lulu. And on the bottom, I have a little corner of comedy writing and
jokes. And then all my nonfictiony stuff, like a lot of how to’s and writing guides.

Now.Bookcase two.



So, apart from my collection of books, I also read tons of manga. These are all sorted alphabetically
and numerically. A proper order. They’re all arranged from going bottom to top in piles, otherwise I
wouldn’t have the room for them all.




And the last two bottom ones. More manga.But not nearly enough. At the bottom I keep my writing
magazines. And the empty space is usually reserved for library books, but I figure I better catch up
with what I have before I go back to that treasure trove again.

You can find me blogging about steampunk and writing on my website: www.joshstanton.com or
follow my thoughts on twitter @joshuastanton

Friday, 27 September 2013

More than this by Patrick Ness

This isn't a review because I can't write a review for this book. This is a heads up that everyone should go out and buy a copy of this book

goodreads synopsis
A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . .

Why buy this book I hear you say? Put simply it blew my mind. I couldn't put it down and I was left stunned at the end and haven't stopped thinking about it since. Hands down the best book I've read all year. Also if you are quick Foyles have signed first editions here http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/childrens/more-than-this-signed-first-edition,patrick-ness-xsignf1130

Thursday, 26 September 2013

No Books Allowed


September you cruel and wicked beast. Back to school for me so not too many adventures to tell you about.

The biggest thing I have been up to is work. I've just started a new year and I am exhausted. I'm not getting up to much at all other than school stuff. It is nice to be busy but I am also very much looking forward to half term already.

I have managed a few days out. I got to go out on a paddle steamer on the broads to celebrate the up and coming wedding of John and Lyndsey (page after page book blog blogger) which looked a bit like this


Lyndsey and I also got out to the East Anglian Blogger Party which was nice to meet other local bloggers (plus we got a fab goody bag)

other than reading I have been doing a little bit of viewing (mostly because I've ended up the month with a rotten head col and had to lay on the sofa in a sorry state).

Firstly we both sat and watched our way through Castle season one and Supernatural season two. I thoroughly enjoyed castle and am slowly starting to warm to supernatural. Also I managed to do a bit of guilty reality TV watching. I caught up on Educating Yorkshire which I must say I find fascinating and allowed the teenager in me to watch through the big reunion on tour.



I was also lent by my loveliest friend in the world Seeking a friend for the end of the world which I knew nothing about and really really enjoyed.

All in all a super busy month for me workwise. Looking forward to getting a bit more time to myself next month.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Review: Being a boy by James Dawson


 Being a Boy by James Dawson
Published by Red Lemon Press


Goodreads Synopsis
Everything you wanted to know about puberty, but were too afraid to Google. Queen of Teen nominee, acclaimed YA author and former PSHCE teacher, James Dawson, expertly guides boys through puberty from surviving the social scene to learning about sex, how to pull, dealing with spotty faces and everything in between. Witty text paired with over 50 hilarious black-and-white illustrations by Spike Gerrell makes this the essential guide to growing up brutal honesty included

My Thoughts
I was lucky enough to receive a review copy of this book and without a doubt it is a perfect book for teenage boys.

Being a boy talks to teenage boys in a frank and funny way about being a teenager, going through puberty and sex. It isn't judgemental or glamourised and sets the facts out straight. In a world where the sexualisation of children is rife and where hard core porn can be access by all with the click of a button this book is so needed. What I love about this book is it is so frank. It outllines facts such as, the vital impoortance of safe sec, the fact that everyone has body hair, that sex seen in porn isn't realistic and that everyone everywhere no matter what gender of sexual orientation is capable of finding a loving relationship if they so choose to wish to do so. In an age when unrealistic body images which are airbrushed and manipulated are portrayed by the media as the norm I can't think of better messages for teenage boys to hear.

I love how unjudgemental this book is. It screams equality for all regardless of sex or gender identity and encourages teens not to label themselves whilst they are still young and finding out who they want to be. In addition to all the sex stuff it has lovely messages about being a decent human being, bullying, treating people with respect and about feminism which is also vitally important for young men to hear. I particularly loved the social hierarchy stereotypes including characters such as the 'pin head peacock', the 'sheep' and my personal favourite the 'shitweasel' which was used to outline vividly the types of people you should aim not to be in life if possible.

I could go on for ages about the messages contained within this book and now important they are however for me the real selling point and the reason why this will be popular within the target audience is how it doesn't take itself too seriously. Quite honestly I have never laughed so much reading a book about sex and puberty which is a stark contrast to the dreaded sex education lessons I remember being subjected to as a teen when my crumbly old science teacher bored us through the dry biological parts of puberty and then horrified us through personal stories of his own sexual conquests in the seventies substituting sandwich bags for condoms. Being delivered in such a funny and accessible way is so engaging and whilst driving vital messages home.

A fantastic and much needed book for teenage boys which offers frank, non-judgemental and honest advice from someone who has been there. In age of Internet porn, and unrealistic body image role models this book is utterly vital for those hopping precariously through the puberty minefield.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Review: Vivian versus the apocalypse by Katie Coyle


Vivian versus The Apocalypse by Katie Coyle 
Published by Hot Key books

Goodreads Synopsis
A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated 'Rapture' -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church's thrall for too long, and she's looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed 'Rapture', her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling...

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been 'left behind', they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving 'Believer' gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the 'New Orphans', Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.


My Thoughts
Well written and fascinating reading but I'm left a bit conflicted on this book as I'm not too certain if now how I felt about it.

The story was engaging and interesting throughout. It is set in a world directly after several thousands of 'believers' have disappeared off to a 'better place' as prophesied by a preacher is charge of a new religion based on Christianity where the worshiped are almost fanatical.

I did find it interesting and I loved the world building around it. You can almost see how the events could unfold in real life today. I loved how there was doubt about the events and how the main character Vivian goes on a journey to discover the truth even if I did feel at times that it was a bit rushed. I loved loved loved the relationship between Vivian and her best friend and I really loved the roadtrip aspect of the story.

However for me I was left by the end of this book with an uncomfortable feeling about what I had just read. I'm not sure if that was because it was a bit too life like or really what it was but certainly one I need to think about for a while to come. I'll be interested to see what others make of it over the coming months as more and more people review it.

You'll love this if you loved
The other life by S Winnacker

Monday, 23 September 2013

Review: Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross


Belle Epoque by Elizabeth Ross
Published by Hot Key Books

Goodreads Synopsis
When sixteen-year-old Maude runs away to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Increasingly desperate for money, she answers a mysterious advert: 'Young Women Wanted for Undemanding Work. Apply In Person To The Durandeau Agency.' But the work is very strange indeed. Maude discovers she is to be a repoussoir - an ugly young woman hired by Parisian socialites to enhance their beauty.

Maude is humiliated - but faced with destitution, what choice does she have? Quickly (and secretly) selected as the perfect companion for the Countess Dubern's daughter Isabelle, Maude is thrown into a decadent world full of parties, glamour and astonishing cruelty. Maude finds that academic Isabelle is equally disenchanted with the Parisian social scene, and the girls form a tight bond. But when bohemian artist Paul and the handsome Duke d'Avaray are introduced into the girls' lives, their friendship will be tested to its limits. The girls are about to discover the true meaning of being beautiful...


My Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed Belle Époque. A fascinating read with a story that will have you hooked in a historical setting. Exactly what I wanted.

Belle Époque is the story of Maude. Maude has run away to Paris after her father arranged a marriage for her with the local butcher who was twice her age. Not wanting to live a life not of her choosing she decides to make it on her own. She has an unfortunate start and starts to struggle for money. Desperate she applies for a job working for an agency who employs ugly women who accompany other women to events to make them appear more beautiful. While at first she hates the idea the lire of the money she could earn drags her in.

I loved this book. I loved the historical setting more than anything else. Paris post revolution in its full glory. I loved seeing the differences between the differing social classes and the lives they led. I was fascinated by all the events Maude attends and the glitz and glamour of it all. Maude's job fascinated me and I loved seeing this whole new world through her eyes.

The main part of the story focuses on Maude's fist big job working for a family where the daughter does not know Maude has been employed to work alongside her. I loved seeing how she tried to fit in and the questioned it raised as you went along about self worth and being the person you want to be rather than the person you are expected to be. The relationship between the two girls was utterly fascinating in that regard for me.

The story has a romantic thread to it. I liked however that it wasn't the main focus of the story and an extra strand to the book. Sometimes I feel that part of a book can take over but it didn't in this case and I loved how it developed over the book. I loved what that thread of the story said about how subjective beauty is.

All in all a fab read which I really enjoyed.

You'll love this if you love
Velvet by Mary Hooper

Friday, 20 September 2013

Review: Stay where you are and leave by John Boyne


Stay where you are and leave by John Boyne
Published by RHCP

Goodreads Synopsis
The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight - but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name - on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by - a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . 


My Thoughts
Stay where you and leave is a brilliant read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

the story is told from the point of view of Alfie who is 9. His father went to war and never returned and he can't quite fathom what happened to him because his father insist he isn't dead. Alfie helps out his mother by working as a shoe shine a few days a week and whilst doing that he finds a clue as to where his father might be and decides to investigate further.

I must admit I was never a huge fan of boy in the striped pyjamas as I found it too simplistic and I was concerned that this book would be the same for me considering the main character is so young. Luckily for me in this case it worked. I loved following Alfie as he pieced together what had happened to his father and I loved how the story addressed a lot of issues around the way serving men were treated poorly by their own regiments when they were affected by the atrocities they witnessed whilst fighting for their country. I also liked the parts of the storyline that focused on those who didn't go off and fight as they objected to the war and their treatment by the public for choosing to remain behind.

As a history teacher I really think this book is a bit of a gem. I can see myself happily using it to suggest as extended reading for those eager students who want a bit more out of the World War One unit I currently teach but we haven't got the time for in class. Being aimed at a slightly younger audience also meant it wasn't nasty or graphic in the way war stories for teens can be meaning I can happily recommend it to younger or more sensitive students without worrying about them being traumatised by what they are reading.

A really nice and thoughtful read which I really enjoyed and destined to be a modern children's classic.  


You'll love this if you loved
The boy in the striped Pajamas by John Boyne
Paradise Barn by Victor Watson

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Review: Tarnish by Katherine Longshore


Tarnish by Katherine Longshore
Published by Simon and Schuster
Companion to Gilt by Katherine Lonshore

Goodreads synopsis
Anne Boleyn is the odd girl out. Newly arrived to the court of King Henry VIII, everything about her seems wrong, from her clothes to her manners to her witty but sharp tongue. So when the dashing poet Thomas Wyatt offers to coach her on how to shine at court - and to convince the whole court they're lovers - she accepts. Before long, Anne's popularity has soared, and even the charismatic and irresistible king takes notice. More than popularity, Anne wants a voice - but she also wants love. What began as a game becomes high stakes as Anne finds herself forced to make an impossible choice between her heart's desire and the chance to make history.

My Thoughts
A quick review for this book.

Tarnish is the story of Anne Boleyn before she got involved with Henry VIII and became the Queen we all learn about in history lessons.

I enjoyed this book for several reasons. Firstly it gave me insight into a historical character which was different from the narrative you normally hear about. It was nice to get inside the head of a young Anne and see the person she was before she was this famous historical figure. I enjoyed seeing all the political intrigue at court and seeing all the various relationships and deadline that went on underneath the surface. I loved the history involved and seeing all the backdrop to the story and how people lived. I also loved that it was engaging and wasn't at all dry which I find can be a problem with some historical fiction. I found myself wanting to read page after page to find out what happened next.

An interesting and engaging read which I very much enjoyed.


You'll love this if you loved
Gilt by Katherine Longshore
VIII by HM Castor
The Tudors TV series 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review: The Rig by Joe Ducie

The Rig by Joe Ducie
Published by Hot Key

Goodreads synopsis
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at The Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from The Rig. No one except for Drake...

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on The Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X - a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom - but can they survive long enough to make it? 


My thoughts 

I must admit I started this book not really knowing what I was letting myself into and worrying that it might be a bit too much of a boy book (note there is no such thing as a 'boy' book you naughty book blogger) but I must say from the first page I was utterly hooked.

Firstly this book is so fast paced you barely get a moment to draw breathe let alone anything else. I needed to keep reading to find out what happened next and found that I flew through it in a matter of hours.

I loved that it was a little bit different to everything else I have read for a long while in its setting and feel yet in saying that I did feel that it almost had a boarding school school feel. I don't mean this in a bad way at all but in that there was this camaraderie between the main characters as they snuck round the building not always doing what they should be doing. There's even a competitive sport the inmates play Think Harry Potter but set in a prison and you are half way there. I don't think it is just me who made that observation but I'd be interested to know.

For me this book was about unravelling both the mysteries of the rig which were cascading but also the stories behind the teenage characters who have been judged to be so dangerous they are sent to a high security prison in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. I loved getting to the bottom of the story about each of them.

The only thing that bugged me about it as a story was that it seems to finish and wrap up a bit too quickly. Granted I'd take them over a drawn out series any day but I did feel it maybe needed a little more.

All in all a book I didn't expect to enjoy but really did and one I'd certainly recommend.

You'll love this is you love
Prison Break
Insignia by SJ Kincaid


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Books I can't wait to read

I always have a wishlist of future titles I am desperate to read and I thought from time to time I'd share the books I am most looking forward to. All links go to goodreads so you can add them to your wishlist.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth


One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.


I need this series to be finished. I loved book one. Book two was a bit of a let down in hindsight for me. I'm hoping book three pulls it all together. The picture above isn't the UK edition but I may have preordered the beautiful US hardcover box set even though I'm not supposed to be spending money at the moment.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?


I've literally just read Rainbow's last two books back to back and I need more!! I'm actually hoping for this to arrive on my doormat within the next couple of days.

Where the Stars still shine by Trish Doller



Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.


I read Trish's book this summer and loved it. I cannot wait for this as her writing is brilliant and everyone who has read it says it is fab too. Cannot wait. 

To All the boys I've loved before by Jenny Han



To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters…

I loved Jenny Han's summer series. I have the feeling this is going to be a book I love completely!! 

Ignite me by Tahereh Mafi



Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns. Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.


I must admit I haven't read book two in this series yet. My plan is to reread the first one then the rest of the series straight back through. I read so much that I wonder if a lot of the time the problem I have with second books in the series is more down to me. Either way looking forward to it lots

Monday, 16 September 2013

Review: Picture me gone by Meg Rosoff


Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Published by Penguin

Goodreads Synopsis
Mila is on a roadtrip across the USA with her father. They are looking for his best friend but Mila discovers a more important truth. Sometimes the act of searching reveals more than the final discovery can. Adults do not have all the answers. It all depends what questions you ask.

My Thoughts
Meg Rosoff is an author I am always desperate to read after loving her first book completely. Picture Me Gone was therefore a book I have been desperately looking forward to for a fair while now.

So did I love Picture Me Gone as much as I loved How I Live Now? No however there was certainly a lot I liked about it but I wasn't bowled over.

I loved how original it was. There's nothing out there that I've read that I can think of that I could compare it to (and I read over 200 books in a year). I enjoyed being drawn into the world of the book and being surprised and not being able to guess what was going to happen.

I loved the main character Mila completely. This story is very much her coming of age story as she discovers things aren't what she thought they were. I loved seeing her puzzle out the world around her and seeing her take on the world as she sees it. A special mention has to go to Honey the dog who I loved completely.

The story itself is a slow burner. Mila goes with her father to New York to find out where his best friend has gone. In a bid to find him Mila and her father go off on a road trip. I must admit I was as keen on the slow pace and found myself as times wondering when something was going to happen and it wasn't until a bit of a twist half way through that I found myself really drawn in by the story.

So certainly a good read on the whole but not one that instantly drew me in.


You'll love this if you loved
 What I was by Meg Rosoff

Friday, 13 September 2013

Blog Tour: Little White Lies by Katie Dale - Friday 13th Guest Post



Today I have a guest post from Katie Dale author of Little White Lies

Eek! It’s Friday 13th! The day when everything’s supposed to go wrong and bad luck abounds. If you’re superstitious, that is.  I guess it comes down to whether you believe in luck, fate, and all the rest of it. In LITTLE WHITE LIES Christian tell Lou that he does:
‘It’s like fate keeps pushing us together.’ Christian grins.
‘Well, you can’t resist fate,’ I smile.
But is it really fate that brought them together?
Which got me thinking about how many other fictional characters met each other purely by chance or (if you believe in it) Fate.
Here are my top five:

1) Casablanca


“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
Poor Rick. Having lost the love of his life, Ilsa, years ago, he has resigned himself to running a bar in Casablanca, when who should walk in? Ilsa…with her husband. As their lives again explosively collide and intertwine under the looming threat of the Nazis, it seems Casablanca isn’t big enough for the three of them – but who will Ilsa choose…?


2) Titanic


“I won my ticket on Titanic here at a lucky hand at poker...a very lucky hand”
Hm, that’s probably debatable, but it’s true that Jack Dawson was never supposed to be on the Titanic – there’s no way the penniless artist could have afforded a ticket, yet thanks to the luck of the draw (or fate), he won a ticket on the greatest ship ever built, and met and won the love of his life. If only it weren’t for a pesky iceberg…or was that fate again?


3) Strangers on a train


Of course, not all chance encounters are of the romantic kind. While on a train, Guy Haines has the misfortune to encounter a stranger, Bruno Anthony, who tells Guy about his idea for the perfect "criss-cross" murder: he will kill Guy’s wife, Miriam, allowing Guy to be with Ruth, the woman he loves, and in exchange Guy will kill Bruno's father. This is perfect, Bruno claims, as since they are unconnected strangers, there is no identifiable motive for the crimes, and therefore there can be no suspicion from the police. Guy hurriedly leaves, but Bruno followshim to his hometown, where he strangles Miriam in an amusement park. Now Guy must kill Bruno's father in return…or Bruno will frame Guy for Miriam’s murder.

4) Private Lives


Imagine the scene: You’ve just arrived on the first evening of your honeymoon at an idyllic seaside hotel, complete with pretty wrought-iron balcony. But as your new spouse goes inside to change, who should appear at the adjoining balcony?
Your ex.
Also on honeymoon.
What are the odds? One in a million, at least, so it must be fate, right? But is it bad luck or good luck for Elyot and Amanda…?
Noel Coward’s hilarious play is as resonant and witty as it ever was as the couple who can’t live with or without each other are given a second chance…for better or for worse.


5) Serendipity


And of course, no list of chance encounters would be complete without Serendipity, a film which is all about Fate or “happy accidents”. After a (admittedly slightly tenuous) chance encounter over a pair of gloves each wants to buy their lover (really? How many pairs of gloves would be the right size for both sexes?) Sara and Jonathon feel a mutual attraction, and end up eating ice cream together. They say goodbye, but later both realize that they have left something at the cafe, and return only to find each other again.
Considering this to be a stroke of fate, Jonathan and Sara decide to go out on the town together, but, insisting that if fate wants them to be together, fate must bring them back together, Sara asks Jonathan to write his phone number on a $5 bill, while she writes her number on the inside cover of a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera.If they are meant to be together, he will find the book and she will find the $5 bill, and they will find their way back to each other… What will fate decide…?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Review: Hurt by Tabitha Suzama





Hurt by Tabitha Suzuma
Published by RHCP

Goodreads Synopsis
Why? is the burning question on everyone’s lips. Why would a guy like Mathéo Walsh want to die? At seventeen, he is Britain’s most promising diving champion. He is a heartthrob, a straight A student and lives in one of the wealthiest areas of London. He has great mates and is the envy of everyone around him. And most importantly of all, he is deeply in love with his girlfriend, Lola. He has always been a stable, well-adjusted guy...

Until one weekend. A weekend he cannot seem to remember. All he knows is that he has come back a changed person. One who no longer knows how to have fun, no longer wants to spend time with his friends, no longer enjoys diving. Something terrible happened that weekend – something violent and bloody and twisted. He no longer knows who he is. He no longer trusts himself around people: he only wants to hurt, wound and destroy. Slowly, he begins to piece back the buried, fragmented memories, and finds himself staring at the reflection of a monster.

Tormented, Mathéo suddenly finds himself faced with the most devastating choice of his life. Keep his secret, and put those closest to him in terrible danger. Or confess, and lose Lola forever...


My thoughts
I literally have no idea where to begin with this review nor am I sure I have the words to do it justice. What follows is probably going to be a ramble about what I think since I have read this glorious book.

Hurt is the story of Mattie. Mattie wakes up one day with his room smashed to pieces and no memory of why it is so or why from that day on he no longer feels anything and is so sad he is crying himself to sleep most evenings. On the face of it he has it all. A shot at gold at the Olympics as a rising star in the diving world training with the best trainer in the world, a beautiful girlfriend, a world class education and a luxury home. Mattie needs to remember what happened in order to come to terms with what he's been through to help him piece his world back together again.

I loved this book. I loved getting to know Mattie and seeing the contrast between his world that was and the one he was currently living in since the incident. I loved the relationship with his girlfriend Lola and seeing how that develops as the book goes on. I also loved seeing how clinical the relationship with his parents had become with him being used almost as a sign of their status and being paraded out in front of others with no real thought for what Mattie was feeling. Also the scenes with Mattie and his younger brother have to be the most heartfelt and gorgeous scenes I have ever read between two brothers.

I can't tell you too much about this book. Doing so would ruin it completely for you. The story is beautifully written and has you drawn in from the outset to the character's world and you just need to know more. I literally couldn't put it down especially once the revelations started to come out. They smack you straight in the chest shocking you to the core and playing havoc with your emotions. My jaw literally dropped at several points throughout the book and was followed up with me being hit in the face with raw emotion. What is masterful about this book is you don't see it coming and the revelations just keep coming. By the end of the story I was left an emotional wreck after everything I had been through with Mattie.

A stunning book which is beautifully written and packs and emotional punch which will leave you reeling.  


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