Hook – Book Review

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(image via http://www.pexels.com)

Title: Hook
Author: K.R. Thompson
eBook: 262 pages
Published: December 14th 2014 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
My Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary (Goodreads): Archie Jameson sat in the dark corners of the print shop, dreaming of adventure. Today, it found him.
Caught in a chilly October storm, he ducked into a tavern, hoping to escape the rain. What he found, was a room teeming with pirates.
Shanghaied by the most elderly of the lot, Archie found himself serving on a ship captained by the fiercest pirate ever to sail the seven seas— the man known as Blackbeard.

Through a series of thrilling twists, Archie finds himself captain of another of Blackbeard’s ships, the Jolig Roger. In an attempt to flee danger, his ship becomes lost under stars never before seen.
Determined to save both his crew and the woman he loves, Archie will make decisions that will forever seal his fate. Discover the untold story of the man who became Captain Hook.

This was such a good retelling. Peter Pan is one of my all-time favourite books, in case you hadn’t noticed, and Hook does a brilliant job of bringing one of the most notorious villains in literature to life.

The story behind why Hook is…Hook, is well plotted and the reader experiences first-hand how he descends into his villainous form, from proper gentleman to dastardly pirate.

One of my favourite things is reading the villain’s side of the story, and seeing why they think that they are right – this one did just that, and it actually had me sympathising for Archie right to the end. I would’ve killed Peter myself for what he did, if I’m being totally honest.

Aside from Archie, there are a whole host of other characters that bring the story to life.
– Blackbeard the pirate captain (who actually disappears half-way through the book, never to be seen again) is an inspiration for Hook, by being intelligent and able to outwit any adversary.

– Harper, oh my poor kid. He’s the youngest guy on the ship and he’s actually my favourite character. All he wants is to get home to his beloved Mary (whom he has tattooed on his forearm.)

– Smee is straight-up terrifying. He’s the surgeon/cook/whatever he needs to be and he has a real dark side. At one point he actually just turns around and stabs someone, whilst maintaining a grandfatherly figure.

– Tiger Lily is given a storyline, but a part of me is annoyed that she’s basically there to be a love interest. Not my favourite book, concerning her, although she is still shown to be able to stand on her own two feet and be a decent huntress.

– The pirates are actually defined as different characters, but I’ll get their names mixed up if I try to write them down. They make the book, if I’m being honest and all of them have their own roles within the ship.

– The Lost Boys only show up once or twice, and they have different names to those from the original book (Beetle, Patch and Runt). They are quite sweet though.

Peter is…childish. This book really captures what a child he is, but also the incredibly dark side to him. He would be a genuinely terrifying person to come across in a dark forest without a weapon, I can assure you.

The plot is somewhat simplistic, but that allows for real character development, which is so, so, so good to see.
Also, there is an interesting take on why Hook has different coloured blood, which is explained my better than any others in my opinion (even if it’s blue in this version, rather than yellow, which I think is the canon colour? To be honest, it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not red.)

I think I’ll give the rest of this series a try! The other two books are from the POV of a mermaid and one of the younger pirates, so those should be pretty interesting.

Anyone else read these? Anyone got a good Peter Pan retelling recommendation?

Holly xx

My Questionable Music Taste

So, I often have my phone on shuffle when I’m working, just for background noise and I don’t tend to click on anything in particular.
I was messing around this morning with making some playlists, and found my ‘Most Played’ list – that led to a bunch of other things, and the long and short of it is that I figured it’d be fun to explore my music taste with you guys!

(All songs are linked to YouTube music videos – as far as possible, I’ve tried to link to the artist’s own videos, but some of them don’t have videos for particular songs, so I’ve linked to a fan-made one)

Starting off:

Top 10 Most Played Songs on Holly’s Phone:
1) Angels Fall by Breaking Benjamin
2) Flares by The Script
3) Holding Out for a Hero by Bonnie Tyler
4) ABC Café/Red and Black by the Les Mis 2012 Film Cast
5) Lightning by The Wanted
6) Radioactive by Imagine Dragons
7) Top of the World by Greek Fire
8) The Diary of Jane by Breaking Benjamin
9) Someone You Love by Arshad
10) The Phoenix by Fall Out Boy

Most Played Artist
Breaking Benjamin

Most Played Album
Phobia by Breaking Benjamin

Top 10 Recently Played
1) If Only by Dove Cameron
2) Stars (I have no idea which version this is, but it’s from Les Mis)
3) Empty Chairs at Empty Tables by Rob Houchen
4) Wake Me Up Inside by Evanescence
5) Angels Fall by Breaking Benjamin
6) Agony by Chris Pine and Billy Magnussen
7) Demons by Imagine Dragons
8) I Will Follow You Into The Dark by George Blagden
9) Viva la Vida by Coldplay
10) Had Enough by Breaking Benjamin

Most Added Genres
Alternative /Indie
Pop
Rock
R&B/Soul

Personal Favourite Songs on Phone
1) How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox Twenty
2) Arrival at Aslan’s How by Harry Gregson-Williams
3) Unknown Soldier by Breaking Benjamin
4) Lost Boy by Ruth B
5) Waterloo by ABBA
6) Over and Done With (Sunshine on Leith film version)
7) My Immortal by Evanescence
8) The Untitled Waltz by David Arnold
9) Right Place Right Time by Olly Murs
10) Impossible Opening from “Finding Neverland” by Paul Bateman and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra

That’s all I’ve got for this post, feel free to take it as a tag if you like!

Does anyone share a similar music taste to me?

Holly xx

Kill The Boy Band – Book Review

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Title: Kill The Boy Band
Author: Goldy Moldavsky
Paperback: 312 pages
Published: February 23rd 2016 by Point
My Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.

We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.

From thrilling new talent Goldy Moldavsky comes a pitch-black, hilarious take on fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make—or break—the people we call “celebrities”.

This book was a weird read for me. The plotline reads like a bad fanfiction, but the dark humour is its saving grace.

Let’s start with the negatives, for a change – as I’ve just stated, this reads like a bad fanfiction. You know the type; self-insert One Direction fics, where the Mary-Sueish OC somehow gets together with band-member-of-their-choice.

That literally happens in this book. I mean, seriously, the unnamed main character kisses her idol (although, she loses him and they never meet again). The plot is so unrealistic, it’s actually hilarious. Instead of finding this annoying, I found it more like a parody, which is new for me.

There are a couple of bigger issues I had with this book – namely sexual assault and fat shaming. Apple, one of the main character’s ‘friends’, winds up sitting on the lap of a band member that they have, tied up, with her shirt off, taking selfies and kissing him.

Um, no.

I get that fangirls can come across as crazy (come on, I’ve been there, just over fictional characters, not band members) but would they really go that far? In all fairness though, the protagonist does call her out on it.

The fat shaming is also iffy – Apple manages to knock a guy out by hugging him and apparently constantly posts about it on Twitter. It’s annoying.

Aside from that, I found the book to be one of those that’s so bad it’s good.

Let me give you the run-down: There is a boyband called The Ruperts. All of its members have the same first name. No prizes for guessing what it is.

There are four fangirls – Strepurs (Ruperts backwards) – that adore them. Our unnamed protagonist, her best mate Erin who is a Queen Bitch, Erin’s psychopathic best mate Izzy, and Apple.

The girls accidentally kidnap Rupert P, the one that nobody except Apple likes. He somehow dies (I won’t say who kills him – spoilers!) and they try to figure out who did it, as well as getting him out of their hotel room.

As I said, plotline is terrible, but if you have a sadistic streak, you might find this book is up your street. It definitely entertained me for a few hours.

Any thoughts?

Holly xx

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment – Book Review

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Title: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Author: James Patterson
Paperback: 454 pages
Published: April 10th 2006 by Headline
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Summary (From Goodreads):
WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE
Do not put this book down. I’m dead serious – your life could depend on it. I’m risking everything by telling you – but you need to know.

STRAP YOURSELF IN for the thrill ride you’ll want to take again and again! From Death Valley, California, to the bowels of the New York City subway system, you’re about to take off on a heart-stopping adventure that will blow you away…

YOUR FAITHFUL COMPANIONS: Max, Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman and Angel. Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways – except that they’re 98% human, 2% bird. They grew up in a lab, living like rats in cages, but now they’re free. Aside, of course, from the fact that they’re prime prey for Erasers – wicked wolf-like creatures with a taste for flying humans.

THE MISSIONS: Rescue Angel from malicious mutants. Infiltrate a secret facility to track down the flock’s missing parents. Scavenge for sustenance. Get revenge on an evil traitor. And save the world. If there’s time.

I enjoyed this book waaay more than I thought I would.

At first, I found the writing style difficult to read and thought it felt kind of childish. Each chapter is about 2 pages long and they ended on the most ridiculously small cliff-hangers, but I soon got used to it and started to ignore each new chapter heading. (There is one that is literally half a page though, which was a bit anticlimactic).

I also found the narrative voice was very masculine (and, I’m ashamed to admit, it took me until page 56 to realise that Max was female. I’m not sure how, considering how her actions towards Angel are pretty motherly.)
The book makes use of first and third person narratives – first person for Max and third person for anyone else. I liked this, because it saved me getting totally confused about who was talking.

Max, I found, was actually a pretty cool heroine. I was expecting her to be Mary-Sueish and annoying, but actually she’s more of a female Percy Jackson. The sarcasm that she has is limitless. I did feel a couple of times that she was too mature for a 14 year old, but considering how she was brought up, that actually fitted her character.

Fang, I also loved. He was kind of the stereotypical, brooding character, but he did actually have some depth to him besides standing around and glowering at everyone. Considering that this book was written in 2006, there’s plenty of sarcasm from him too. One part in particular made me snort out loud (for context, Fang has just been beaten up pretty bad, like knocked unconscious and broken bones.)

“Jeez, what happened to you?” Directed at Fang.

“Cut myself shaving,” Fang said.

Nudge annoyed me, gotta be honest. She feels like a stereotypical chatterbox and I just…nah, I’ll pass. She’s not detestable, just not my favourite character.

Iggy was brilliant – for those not in the know, he’s blind, so representation! He is so skilled as a person, and whilst there’s references to his blindness, it doesn’t seem to hinder him. Rather, his other senses are enhanced and he makes use of them to make up for it.

Gazzy…was an overexcited eight year old. Don’t get me wrong, he was a sweet kid and basically the personification of ‘annoying little brother’, which was plenty realistic, but not my cup of tea.

Angel, I don’t know what to think about. Clearly, she’s pretty intelligent for a 6 year old, but something just feels…off about her. I’m not sure why, considering she acts like virtually every other 6 year old that I know. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see when I’m reading the next book.

This book was enjoyable – not the best in terms of writing style, which I’ve taken a star off for, but it kept me turning the pages and it kept me entertained. I think I’d actually read this one again!

Has anyone got different thoughts on this book?

Holly xx

The Darkest Part of the Forest – Book Review

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Title: The Darkest Part of the Forest
Author: Holly Black
Paperback: 324 pages
Published: February 5th 2015 by Indigo
My Rating: 2/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the centre of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

My initial reaction to this book is that it is very simple.

The idea is good, and parts of it are interesting, but for me, this book is under-developed. This could be because I’ve literally just finished ACOMAF which is also about fae and is twice the size of this book, but I think the fault lies in the plot.

The book feels rushed, and I feel a little cheated. There are so many storylines that could have been explored further – Jack and his mother, Hazel’s other life, Ben’s music, the whole thing with Molly etc.
They were tied up badly, and the book felt…bland.

There were good parts, don’t get me wrong. Firstly, representation: Ben is gay and he also gets a happy ending, so I mean, that’s pretty good. I also loved the fact that Hazel becomes a knight, and gender roles become blurred into non-existence.

The Alderking was a pretty poor villain, as villains go. He didn’t seem to do much, aside from sit on his throne and rule. He was weak and didn’t feel like that much of a threat if I’m being honest.

Severin, whom I thought was going to be the novel’s main focus, ends up with maybe five scenes, I think? He faded into the background to make way for Hazel and Jack’s love story (which I found quite cute, actually) and just…he was there. He acted as he should and did everything that was expected of him, which made most of the plot predictable.

Hazel, as far as protagonists go, wasn’t insufferable. She’s not one of my all-time-favourites, but I do like her and find her compelling enough to read. Her thought processes were a little bizarre at times, but she was decent enough.

Jack was probably my favourite, because he is a real sweetheart. If Hazel wasn’t the knight, then he certainly would be.

Ben was also an interesting character, as he wants the same things as Hazel, but goes about the situations differently, which is what also caused some tension in the book.

To be honest, I actually quite liked all of the characters, alongside the first couple of chapters – after that, the plot just declines into a half-baked mess.

Some people love this book, but I think it just wasn’t for me. Thoughts?

Holly xx

A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

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Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Author: Sarah J Maas
Paperback: 624 pages
Published: May 3rd 2016 by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
My Rating: 5/5 stars

Summary (From Goodreads): Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Wow.

This book is infinitely better than its predecessor. I loved it so much more, not only for the characters but for the changes in scenery and the fact that Feyre wasn’t cooped up in a house for the entire book.

Feyre changed so much in this book – she really grew as a character, into her own skin and her role as a Fae. Gone is the helpless little human that she was at the beginning of A Court of Thorns and Roses – now she’s lethal.

If I liked Rhysand from the first book, then I love him now. He also changed in this one, to someone so much better. Well, that being said, all of the first book was technically an act. But he’s…perfect. Imperfectly perfect. He gives Feyre the space and freedom she needs and y’know actually cares about her.

Tamlin, I could do without.
As could the majority of the characters in the book.
I mean. I hate him. He hasn’t grown at all from the first book and is so possessive over Feyre it’s unreal. Despite everything she said to him, everything she pleaded from him, he locked her up in that house.

Lucien…Lucien, I think, can redeem himself. I like him as a character, and although he’s made mistakes, I think he can sort himself out, especially for the sake of Elain.

Nesta and Elain showed up again, and my opinions on them haven’t really changed. I like Elain, she’s sweet, and I love Nesta for being a Queen.

We also got a whole bunch of new characters! Rhys’s Inner Circle were fantastic and I love them all. Mor, Azriel, Amren and Cassian (especially Cassian) made me laugh time and again, and the way that they just took Feyre in is just…they’re her family. If any of them die in the last book, I will cry.
(Yes, Az is my favourite. Yes, I will cry if he dies.)

Speaking of crying, I came close to it in this book, but not quite. That could be because everyone who’s already read it told me I would cry, and  so I was expecting to. There was one part where I very nearly screamed because something shocking just happened, like BAM, but aside from that…nah.

We saw the Summer Court as well, which was fun. I did enjoy those scenes – Tarquin is so sweet, bless him. Poor guy.

The plot of this book was better too! It didn’t drag, it was fast paced, and was so much more gripping than whatever Tamlin was doing back in the Spring Court. I don’t really remember, if I’m being honest. We have an arcing storyline now, and the threat of war from the King of Hybern is engaging enough to make me desperate for the third book to come out.

I’m going to have to bring this up too – this book is graphic, and not in a violent way. There is heavy romance. If you are not into reading that, then I suggest you find a different book (or just skip those scenes), because there are at least three scenes of that nature that I can count of the top of my head.

Anyway – I loved this book and would highly recommend it to anyone over the age of 16.

Holly xx

Fifty Bookish Questions Tag

This is a long one, folks! I’m back today with yet another book tag – this time found on My Little Book Blog, where anyone has been tagged to do it! It’s 50 questions, so I’ve tried to answer them as quickly as possible, because we all have things to do and places to be. Without further ado:

1.What was the last book you read?

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

2. Was it a good one?

So -so. See my review here.

3. What made it good?

See above! (The characters and the second half of the book is the short answer to that question.)

4. Would you recommend it to other people?

Yes, as long as they’re a fantasy lover

5. How often do you read?

Hmm, not as much as I used to, because exams, but I try to read as much as I can during the holidays.

6. Do you like to read?

Of course

7. What was the last bad book you read?

Ooh…House of Night #1, I’m afraid

8. What made you dislike it?

Lack of character development, mostly. See the full review here.

9. Do you wish to be a writer?

Yes, but at the moment that seems to have taken a back seat

10. Has any book every influenced you greatly?

Most books I read influence me, to be honest. Sometimes the influence is ‘please write a better book than this’.

11. Do you read fan fiction?

Yes, for a whole bunch of different fandoms

12. Do you write fan fiction?

Not so much now, but I used to a couple of years ago *shudders*

13. What’s your favourite book?

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

14. What’s your least favourite book?

I wouldn’t say I have a least favourite. I mean, House of Night ranks up there with the worst, but I don’t really remember any others that are horribly bad.

15. Do you prefer physical books or ready on a device (like a kindle)?

Actually, I quite like to read on my kindle! (Unpopular opinion, I know). I like being able to read immediately – I get so impatient! However, I do own mostly real books because they feel nicer to hold. (Also they look more impressive)

16. When did you learn to read?

At the age of about 4-5, I believe? Sometime in Reception at school.

17. What is your favourite book you had to read in school?

Ooh, that’s tough. I’d have to say Of Mice and Men or perhaps The Tempest (not technically a book, but I love it anyway).

18. What is your favourite book series?

So many. Vampire Academy, Harry Potter, The Infernal Devices…the list goes on.

19. Who is your favourite author?

Rick Riordan, without a doubt. Maggie Stiefvater is a close second!

20. What is your favourite genre?

Fantasy, usually, although I do love a good mystery book.

21. Who is your favourite character in a book series?

Are you seriously asking me to pick one? I have so many favourites it’s unreal.

22. Has a book ever transported you somewhere else?

Yes, plenty of times.

23.Which book do you wish had a sequel?

The Night of the Solstice/Heart of Valour by L.J. Anderson are technically a duology, but she’s teased a third book which may or may not ever actually be written. I hope it is!

24. Which book do you wish DIDN’T have a sequel?

Divergent. The first book was decent, then it all went downhill…

25. How long does it take you to read a book?

Depends on whether I’m enjoying it or not – The Hidden Oracle, I read in a day. The Night Circus took me from October to New Year’s Eve. (Les Mis I started last March and am barely half-way through.)

26. Do you like when books become movies?

I actually do!

27. Which book was ruined by its movie adaptation?

Ooh…I like most  movie adaptations, if I’m being honest, but I’d have to say The Mortal Instruments.

28. Which movie has done a book justice?

Narnia did a pretty good job. The other one is Holes by Louis Sachar.

29. Do you read newspapers?

I pick one up if it happens to have an interesting title, but aside from that, no.

30: Do you read magazines?

More so than newspapers – I used to read a lot more of them (mostly Girl Talk and teen ones) but nowadays I read far fewer.

31. Do you prefer newspapers or magazines?

Magazines, for the sole reason of them being more colourful and less likely to fall to pieces if I drop them.

32. Do you read while in bed?

All the time.

33. Do you read while on the toilet?

Occasionally.

34. Do you read while in the car?

I try to, but either get told off because ‘car sickness’ or actually get car sick.

35. Do you read while in the bath?

Not anymore, since I had a close encounter of nearly dropping my book in the bath.

36. Are you a fast reader?

Yes.

37. Are you a slow reader?

…no.

38. Where is your favourite place to read?

My bedroom, either in bed or by the radiator.

39. Is it hard for you to concentrate while you read?

Depends on whether I’m engaged with it or not.

40. Do you need a room to be silent while you read?

Nope, I can happily read in the middle of a bustling café.

41. Who gave you your love for reading?

My parents, mostly, considering they both still sit and read all the time.

42. What book is next on your list to read?

I’m halfway through A Court of Mist and Fury (as well as 4 other books)

43. When did you start to read chapter books?

I actually remember this! When I was about six, at school, my teacher was doing guided reading and we read a chapter book.

44. Who is your favourite children’s book author?

Enid Blyton! She wrote so many books and people barely ever know who she is. In case you don’t recognise the name, she’s responsible for the Famous Five, The Secret Seven, The Five Find-Outers, Malory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl in the School, The Twins at St Clare’s, Noddy, The Magic Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair, amongst so many others.

45. Which author would you most want to interview?

Can I say Shakespeare? I’m saying Shakespeare.

46. Which author do you think you’d be friends with?

Heh…also Shakespeare.

47. What book have you reread the most?

I don’t re-read books as often as I’d like, but I think Peter Pan has been read a few times by me.

48. Which books do you consider “classics”?

Any of the Penguin Classics or the black and white covered books. You know the ones I’m on about – if not, go to the classics section of your local library and look for them.

49. Which books do you think should be taught in every school?

Ooh…aside from the ones that are already taught (Of Mice and Men, Gatsby, An Inspector Calls, Shakespeare etc.) I’d love to see some of the more childish books in schools again. Peter Pan, Oliver Twist, Alice in Wonderland and that kind of thing.

50. Which books should be banned from all schools?

All books are a learning experience, even the bad ones. Don’t ban books.

And that’s me done! Feel free to do this book tag, and tag me so I can read your answers too!

Holly xx