Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Junk by Melvyn Burgess






Junk.


Heroin, H, smack, whatever. This book is about junk.


Bristol in the 1980's, and Gemma and Tar are fourteen. Tar is 24 hours away from running away from home, to get away from his abusive dad and alcoholic mum. Gemma, his girlfriend, is all for it- in her opinion, it's the best thing that he could do.


At home for Gemma, things aren't too good either, and after she has a fight with her parents, she decides to run away and join Tar in the city.


In the two weeks since he left, Tar has been introduced to Richard, an anarchist who sets up squats for homeless kids. He's living in an uninhabited building with Vonny, Jerry and Richard, and invited Gemma to come and live with them.


Gemma and Tar are living rough, and they're happy. But Vonny thinks that Gemma is bad for Tar and she wants her to leave. They decide that Gemma will have to find somewhere else to live after the housewarming party that Richard has dewcided to have.


At the party, Gemma meets Lily and Rob. Lily is mad, a completely free spirit, and Rob is her bloke. Gemma and Lily are instantly best friends, and she decides to drop Tar and go and live with them. But they soon get back together and the four of them are all living together, stealing food and belongings and pretty well anything so they can get money.


But the main thing is that Lily and Rob are both on junk, and soon Gemma and Tar are both on it as well. They try to give up, but Gemma is sure that she could stop when she wants to so none of them ever try particularly hard.


Lily and Gemma are both working in a brothel for money for the heroin, and life, in their opinion, is pretty good. They're free.


Soon, Gemma and Tar are seventeen, and Lily is pregnant. She decides that she's going to quit the junk for the sake of the baby, and they all go away to a house in the country. But Rob brings a little stash of junk with him, and two days later they're all back on.

When Lily's baby is born, it's full of smack, because it gets it through the milk. And then Gemma gets pregnant.


She's so horrified by watching Lily and her baby, Sunny, that she decides that she'll do anything to get off the heroin for her baby. She goes to hospital and the police raid their house and Tar goes to jail for drug possession, and Lily and Sunny and Rob are all sent to various rehab centres.


Months pass, and Tar gets out of jail, and Gemma has a baby girl called Oona. But she realises that she doesn't love Tar anymore, she just wants him to go away, and six months later they break up and he moves away, and he hardly sees his baby girl anymore.


They are only eighteen.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Paper Towns by John Green


I haven't posted a book review yet, and I just finished Paper Towns, so why not make it my first review?


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Summary: Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Speiegleman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life-dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge-he follows.
After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues-and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew. (Summary from the inside flap of the dust jacket.)

I absolutely loved Paper Towns. It is definitely at the top of my "favorite books" list, along with Looking For Alaska.

Just like John's other books, Paper Towns is really funny. But the thing is, that can change really quick. The book would have me laughing on one page, it would nearly make me cry in another, and the next page would make me smile. But it all seems connected.

I don't like Paper Towns because I relate to any of the awesome characters in it, I like it because it made me think-really think.

But Paper Towns isn't one of those super-serious books Language Arts teachers would force you to read. It's actually really funny. It's one of the reasons why I love John's writing to it. He can make a book hilarious, but he can add a good message into the story.

Some of my favourite quotes from the beginning of the book:

May contain spoilers!

"IT'S NOT MY FAULT THAT THAT MY PARENTS OWN THE WORLDS LARGEST COLLECTION OF BLACK SANTAS!"

"You you just got to tell her, man. You just have to say 'Angela, I really like you, but there's something you need to know: when we go to my house and hook up, we'll be watched by the twenty-four hundred eyes of twelve hundred black Santas"

"HEY! Ninjas don't splash other ninjas!"
"The true ninja doesn't make a splash at all"
"Ooh, touché"

(after sucking out snake poison)
"How was making out with my leg?"
"Pretty good."

End of "spoilers"

There are a ton of funny quotes in Paper Towns, but I don't want to give them away. *insert evil
laugh here*

PAper Towns is an amazing book. I'd give it a 10000000/5 stars if i could. But I can only give it five stars, so it'll get five stars.

~Melody

P.S. I had to re-post it. I messed up the first one in a pathetic attempt at coding.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Heavy Metal and You by Christopher Krovatin


So here's the story:

Boy listens to lots of loud music and hangs with friends
Boy meets girl
Boy falls dippy-happy-scared-as-hell in love with girl
Friends meet girl- and aren't impressed
Girl meets friends- and isn't impressed
Boy meets big dilemma
Boy plays music even louder
Big dilemma meets big, complicated resolution.


I read this book last night and I thought it was fantastic. I got about two pages in and straightaway thought that it was way too short.
To summarise: Sam, metalhead, meets Melissa, preppy straightedge goddess. Sam is into getting stoned, wasted and moshing with his best mates, Brent and Irish. Melissa is into Greek mythology, not drinking, and hanging out with the in crowd.

The way these kids talk, is almost exactly how me and my mates talk. Well, not exactly. But the "yo mama" jokes and constant swearing certainly rings a bell. What I'm trying to say- it sounds real. The author has picked up a little slice of metalhead culture and written it down in a fantastic book about love, loss, and Slayer.

Sam and Melissa's relationship is really lovely to read about, but you can see the cracks appearing, along with Sam, and the end of the book is almost a relief when all the little niggling and things reach a conclusion.

Sam is fun, funny and a great protaganist, and when he goes out with Melissa and her friends you know exactly how he feels and you feel so sorry for him.

When I was reading it half of the scenes between Sam and Melissa made me think of me and Keiran, and nearly all of the scenes between Sam, Brent and Irish reminded me of me, Dean and the Sex God. The characters, storyline, dialogue -just everything, in fact- ring so true, and I for one could easily identify with it.

I think this is a seriously fantastic book. I don't know if we're rating them, but if we are I give it 3.5 stars.
Apologies for the shit quality of the picture, by the way :']

Sunday, 19 October 2008

The Eight by Katherine Neville

“Chess is Life” – Bobby Fischer

the eight

I just finished this book a few days ago and have been gradually compiling a “review.” In my reviews I may or may not include my opinions on the book, and pictures, and character profiles, and my soundtrack for the book, and quotes, and whatever other crap I end up posting. :D But anyway. I don’t want to give too too much away but I DO want to ramble about stuff from the book so I’ll do my rambling and warn you before hand if I do end up telling you something you may not want to know if you plan to read the book in the future.

I was completely enthralled by The Eight. I have to say I was totally fascinated, and, most of the time, confused. It’s one of those books that just has so much happening and so much information is being shoved down your throat at times it’s well . . . very hard to swallow! It’s one of those books I could read like a dozen times consecutively and just obsess over it and analyse everything and figure everything out in detail. I have to, sadly, return this book to the library in like three days which will hardly give me enough time to do so. I’ll have to purchase this one! But as I was saying, I would love to map everything out on a piece of paper and write out whom everyone is and who they are related or “related” to. Moving on.

Here’s the review from Amazon.com -
Katherine Neville's debut novel is a postmodern thriller set in 1972 ... and 1790. In the 20th century, Catherine Velis is a computer expert with a flair for music, painting, and chess who, on her way to Algeria at the behest of the accounting firm where she is employed, is invited to take a mysterious moonlighting assignment: recover the pieces of an old chess set missing for centuries.
In the midst of the French Revolution, a young novice discovers that her abbey is the hiding place of a chess set, once owned by the great Charlemagne, which allows those who play it to tap into incredible powers beyond the imagination. She eventually comes into contact with the major historical figures of the day, from Robespierre to Napoleon, each of whom has an agenda.
The Eight is a non-stop ride that recalls the swashbuckling adventures of Indiana Jones as well as the historical puzzles of Umberto Eco which, since its first publication in 1988, has gone on to acquire a substantial cult following.


So basically, throughout the entire book it switches back and forth between Mireille’s story in the 1790s and Cat’s in 1970. You get to go with Mireille on her adventure concerning the Montglane Service, the chess service from the legend of Charlemagne, which had been buried for so long in the Montglane Abbey before having to be removed. And then you also follow Cat’s story as she get’s pulled into The Game and meet’s the mysterious Alexander Solarin and various other characters. You discover with her the Formula (I’m not sure if I should tell you what the formula is for) and make an important decision concerning it and the rest of her and her friends’ lives, just as Mireille did almost two hundred years previously. I love how the whole book is a chess game. It’s like a whole huge extended metaphor. Like...majorly extended.

I can’t say how surprised I was at Sascha and Slava’s reunion. (I know it seems like I totally gave something away but I didn’t :P) It’s really amazing how things just sort of fell together at the end. How The Game and The Montglane Service and The Formula and The Knight’s Tour and everything were all so linked together.
Anywho...

My Soundtrack for the Book would definitely include I Will Follow You Into The Dark by Death Cab For Cutie (that song is just so perfect, seriously) and Someday We’ll Know by Mandy Moore and Jonathan Freeman, Trust Me by the Fray, No Cars Go by Arcade Fire (This song cracks me up now because I think of Cat and Lily in the desert...you gotta read it to understand,) Vienna by the Fray (not sure why...it just fits) and Fall Away by the Fray (wow....most of these songs are by the Fray, but seriously, I could add a couple more them...seriously, so many of their songs are PERFECT for this book, I think anyway)

But really. Just read the book, and then we can obsess over it together because I don’t want to tell you all about it before you read it because it’s just that awesome. Knowing the end to this mystery would totally ruin it I think.

So Imma shut up now, and you should go read this book.

Over and Out,
-LTC (latuacantante)

Friday, 17 October 2008

The Declaration by Gemma Malley

Spoiler warning: as in, this review will have some.


Well, I decided I was going to do a book review, and I figured since I'd just finished reading The Resistance that I should review its prequel - The Declaration.


The summary (that I got from Times online!)
The Declaration is set in a world in which resources are running out, longevity drugs have been found so that nobody needs to die, and having a child is permitted only to those who have opted out of immortality. Any children born to parents who did not “Opt Out” at the age of 16 are “Surpluses”, and are snatched from their parents and trained to serve the “Legals”, while using as few resources as possible, on the grounds that their existence is theft from the immortal childless population.

Anna, a teenage Surplus, abides by the rules of the cruel institution she inhabits, hating her parents – as she has been taught to do – for illegally giving her life. Then, one day, a rebel boy arrives who offers her kindness and revelations about her own history that change everything. Anna’s conversion from the beliefs with which she has been indoctrinated is persuasively recorded in a novel that, along with characters to care about, considers the virtue of mortality and projects a credible, nightmarish extension of beliefs we are already inclined to hold.
-----------

Though it takes a while for things to kick in, by the first few chapters I was hooked. The mystery that surrounds the new Surplus Peter is almost terrifying- how does he know what he does? Is what he says true, or just a ruse to ruin Surplus Anna's chance at being a Valuable Asset?

The first thing that I adored about this book is how real it is. Longevity drugs are a product of Stem Cell research. First they cured Cancer, HIV, and finally, ageing. The power to be immortal is what most people wish for - not to have their bones weaken, their skin to sag and their lives to end. It is possible, in the future, that this could happen; that we could all be immortal, and with it, lose the chance to have children.

The second thing that struck me is how sure Anna is of everything. She is Surplus. She does not have the right to live forever. She does not have the right to own any possessions. Her parents are evil beings, only intent on breaking rules. She has no other purpose in life than to be a Valuable Asset. Then, the third thing strikes like a snake - Peter changes her. Everything she thinks, everything she does, it's for the better.

Surplus Anna drags you along with her - you walk through the corridors of Grange Hall with her... you crawl through the escape tunnel with her, you see her brother for the first time with her, you feel the terror of the Catchers approaching, the desperation when Ben will not be quiet. And finally, you watch her parents die with her.

This unique story is thought provoking and terrifying, and it leads onto on of the best books I have read so far: The Resistance.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Hello!

Just a warning, towards the end there will be some spoilers, so don't read there if you haven't read it. I'll warn you when there's about to be spoilers, though.

Okay.

Some Information On The Book:

Title: And Then There Were None. (It was also published as Ten Little Indians, though)
Author: Agatha Christie.
Basically the summary would be:

Ten different people get notified that they've been invited to Soldier Island, by an unreliable source. Once they get there, one by one they all drop like flies...

Genre: Murder-Mystery.

I recommend the book. The first chapter is kind of hard to get through, but I loved the rest of it. :D

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

What I loved most about the book was the poem, and I would post it here, but I don't own the book. :( Anyways, I loved how the poem and the little soldier statues tangled into each other. How each person was killed accordingly, depending on how many were left and by what happened in the poem. And as each person died, one statue would dissapear.

A lot of people who read the book think it's Vera Claythorne who is the homicidal killer, because she wasn't murdered, she commited suicide, and then she was the last one to die.

But, the fact is, that a person would have had to hung the tied loose and placed the chair in her room.

My favorite character was Vera Claythorne, because I related to her the most.

Agatha Christie is famous for writing murder-mysteries, and this is the first of her collection that I've read.

I'm an avid reader, so you can beat I'll be posting book reviews a LOT.

[I'm currectly reading the Maximum Ride series, I'm on book three. :D]

Until next [book] review,

signed,
Mari,
Hollywood Reporter.

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