Book Review – Bitten by Kelley Armstrong

It’s taken me a while to work through this book, partly because my head hasn’t been in the right place but also because although well written, the book is quite long winded.

Penned by Kelley Armstrong ‘Bitten’ follows the story of Elena, whom after being bitten by Clay years ago is the only female werewolf in existence. Leaving the pack behind her and moving to Toronto, Elena has started building a new ‘normal’ life and has even found someone to share it with. But pretty soon her new life is disrupted, as she is summoned back by her Alpha, Jeremy. A young girl has been found murdered and the Pack requires Elena’s ‘skills’ to track down the mutts who did it.

Don’t get me wrong, Kelley has created a really in depth protagonist with plenty of background drama to make her internal monologues alone an interesting read, but I felt that some of the storyline and characters were not believable enough. The pacing of the book was too slow, which could have easily have been avoided and some of the moments between Elena and Clay just seemed so cliché and cheese laden, that I found myself rolling my eyes. The so-called ‘tasty’ sex scenes between Elena and Clay were a lot milder than I’d been lead to believe. And the latter part of the book just seemed to be one cliché after another.

That being said, some of the characters were intriguing and the legacy of the werewolves was interesting enough. I’d probably read another in the series, but it would have to be pretty strong to keep me coming back for more.

Star Rating out of 5: 3.5

This book would be great for people who love fantasy and are looking for a relatively strong female lead in a book, also for fans of anything involving werewolves.

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Book Review – The Waiting Room by Alysha Kaye

So, I’ll admit when I first started reading ‘The Waiting Room’ by Alysha Kaye, I rolled my eyes a couple of times because I thought it was going to be an overly cheesy story about a man who loves a woman so much he can’t rest in peace. But I hold up my hands before you now and admit, I was wrong.

The Waiting Room follows the story of Jude who dies, leaving his wife Nina, just at the cusp of what should be the start of their real life together, planning to have children, starting their own business. Upon dying Jude finds himself in ‘The Waiting Room’ a bland room with a receptionist, where people go when they die. They have windows, which they can look through and watch the people they left behind, until their name is called out and they go on to live another life.

The Waiting Room soon becomes a book full of depth that gives different perspectives on what actually happens when we die. There’s reincarnation, people believing they’re being given a second chance because they didn’t fully live their first life to it’s full ability and plenty of mentions of God and Heaven. But Alysha has left the book open to interpretation, which is great, because it really does allow you the space to ponder what you think the room is or represents.

My only criticism would be the ending. We see three or four more interpretations of Jude and Nina living another life, and it felt just a tad too much. Aside from that it’s a great little novel that definitely provides plenty of food for thought. You’ll enjoy this if you want something that will offer new perspectives on the afterlife or a love story with a difference.

Star Rating out of 5: 4

You can follow Alysha’s Blog here; http://alyshakaye.wordpress.com/

 

**Side note – if you want differing perspectives on the after life you may also want to check out ‘Sum: Tales from the Afterlives’ by David Eagleman. A great book that offers different thoughts on what happens after we cease to exist.

Buzzfeed Books.

So I did a post just the other day about how much I love Goodreads. A site that acts like a beacon for book lovers all over the world, but I thought it was only right to mention another great little treat for us Bookworms out there. By now, we’re all familiar with Buzzfeed and it’s ability to pull together the most accurate and hilarious lists on Primary School Years or Things Only Short People Will Understand. But just last night, I came across possibly one of the most accurate lists compiled. You can view it here – http://www.buzzfeed.com/summeranne/signs-youre-addicted-to-books-reading?utm_term=292iux8#292iux8

But I thought I’d go through the points that I could empathise with (which was pretty much all of them, bar one or two) and explain why I can relate to them so much.

1. When you were little, books were your best friends in the world – They’ve used a gif from the film Matilda with this and I felt like I was home. My childhood soul mate growing up was Matilda (as you may have noticed in a previous post – my parents were not scary and my school didn’t have a tyrant like Miss Trunchbull) but growing up books were my go to security blanket. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends, but kids can be cruel. I was bullied a lot as a child, and books didn’t hurt me, or say mean things. They just accepted me. So right from the start of reading the list I was smiling and nodding my head.

2. When you’re reading a good book, you forget to eat or sleep – So ok, this one may be a little far fetched, but if I’m reading a book and dinner is served, I will wait until I have at least reached the end of a paragraph or page until I tuck into my meal. The same with sleep, I can’t just stop reading mid sentence, I have to be at a comfortable place to put the book down.

3. This is all you think about when you picture you “dream home” – As a logophile/bookworm, it would be pretty silly of me, if this WASN’T my idea of a dream home. Just look at all those books, I feel giddy just looking at the photo.

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4. Walking by a closed bookstore is torture. When they’re open, you’re incapable of going in without buying something – Yes and yes. Quite simply, I hate ‘shopping’ in the traditional sense. I’ve never really been one of those girls who gets her nails done and has regular retail therapy. Despite being 29, my mum is always telling me I need to buy new clothes, but the truth is it depresses me. I walk into these shops with their neon lights and mannequins wearing all these bright and daring cuts and colours and my mouth goes dry. My hands start to sweat and I start tugging at my hair. I always inevitably panic buy a pair of jeans (that are like the other 3 pairs I have) a jumper or a cardigan and if I do buy a dress its black and white. Books fit all sizes and types of personality, they suit everyone. *Please note that I do own some nice clothes, but they’ve either been bought for me as Christmas gifts, or I’ve shopped from the safety of my home minus the queues and dressing rooms of clothes shop*

5. Anytime you undertake any idea or project, the first step is to read a lot of books about it. You assume that a book can teach you anything Well, yes! If I was to wake up tomorrow and decided I wanted to be an Astrophysicist (which I did want to be at one point) or become an expert at fixing cars, I wouldn’t be able to just go out and do it. A certain amount of studying would be involved. Ergo, it makes sense to read up on a project.

6. You would never shame someone for reading. But you’re happy to shame them for not reading – Yes! Now, before you all start screaming at the computer screens claiming I’m ignorant, I know reading isn’t for everybody and I know some people don’t have the concentration for reading, or just don’t find it appealing. That is fair enough, what I don’t like are the people where the conversation goes something like this; Person A: ‘WHY are you reading that?! It’s so bad!’Person B: ‘Oh, well I like to form my own opinion on something. I take it you’ve read it then?!’Person A: ‘No! But I’ve been told it’s shit!’ Person B: *full on death glare* Don’t criticise something if you haven’t read it, tried to read it or at least read an excerpt from it. Don’t try to shame me for wanting to read something when you have no interest in reading it at all. Just go away.

7. You make decisions about people based on the number of books they have – Ok, so this one isn’t necessarily true. It’s great if you go to someone’s house and they have a bookshelf because you can speak to them about their books; see if you have any of the same reading tastes. But what I will not tolerate is people who claim to have never read a book. I smell a slight hint of nonsense my friend, even if you haven’t read a book since you left school, the chances are you have probably read at least one book in your life. Not only that, but a statement like that is so incredibly offensive to the people of the world who don’t have the ability to read because of learning difficulties or the fact they live in a 3rd world country. Just, no!

8. But when someone reads a book you recommend them, your faith in humanity is completely restored – I get SO excited when people ask me for book recommendations. I feel quite flattered that people want to read something new and exciting and have come ask my opinion on what they should try out. Like my opinion matters, because in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t. Books, like anything else, are subjective to the person reading it. What I love and adore someone else could detest. But still it is nice to recommend something, have someone read it and then hear what they have to say when they come back.

9. The book is always, always, always better – I do love a good book to film adaptation but when you read a book, and it’s such a personal experience. It’s immersive; you can create your own idea of how that world looks, or how those characters sound. Plus the bonus of a book is you often know what the characters are thinking and feeling.

10. One of your life’s greatest pleasures is the smell of old books – Every book I buy, whether it’s brand new from a bookshop, or bought fourth hand from a pop up book stall on the street, I always smell them. I’ve had a few strange looks for this in the past, and people have even told me it’s gross. But I just like to think, especially if it’s an old book, just think for a second what journey that book has been on, who has owned the book. The book itself is a story of it’s own and I’m just smelling it’s journey through time.

11. Book violence concerns you greatly – I will not tolerate people who use books as coasters for their coffee cups, or break the spine of a book. Stop being violent to them. It takes a lot of time for that book to get where it is, from the first idea sparked in the authors brain, to re-writes, edits, proofreading, printing…All those stages it’s been through just for you to get it and throw it around. Books are priceless little gifts, treat them with respect.

12. Finishing a book you loved is like losing a best friend – This sums up how I felt about the Harry Potter series. The long waits between each book, racing through them because they were so well written and when it got to that final book, trying to pace yourself because you know as soon as you finishing reading that’s it. But looking at this from another perspective, I can pick up a book and revisit those pages again and still feel the same things over and over again. That’s the beauty of books, once you’ve invested in them, they’ll never let you down.

Like I said, I did relate to most of the Buzzfeed list but these are the ones that REALLY spoke to me. Go check out the list, you may find yourself empathising too.

These Are A Few Of My Favourite…..Words!

Word-Lover

As we communicate on a daily basis, there are words that we use more than others, but this post is all about the other words. The words that are delightful to use but tend not to seem right in our modern day society. So here are some of my favourite words.

 

Word: Discombobulate

Meaning: Verb INFORMAL MAINLY HUMOROUS – to confuse someone or make someone feel uncomfortable

Reason: My question to you would be ‘What’s NOT to love about this word?’ Just say it, go on…Discombobulate. It’s so enjoyable to say, so why don’t you make someone feel uncomfortable and use the word in your next conversation.

 

Word: Plebeian

Meaning: Adjective – of, relating to, or characteristic of the common people, esp. those of Rome

Reason: In my head there’s something so incredibly ancient about this word, it also reminds me of something I think the Queen would use in private to talk about the likes of normal people.

 

Word: Obstreperous

Meaning: Adjective – Noisy and difficult to control: ‘the boy is cocky and obstreperous’

Reason: When I finally have a child and it misbehaves, this is the word I’m going to pull out of the hat when other mothers are judging me because my little boy or girl is being noisy. I can see it now ‘Harry, stop being so obstreperous’ I can then look at the judgemental mothers, roll my eyes and give a little chuckle and walk away feeling smug in the knowledge that whilst my child may be a little mischievous, I’ve also used a rather beautiful word that they will have to go home and look up on the internet, because it’s the little victories in life.

 

Word: Ameliorate

Meaning: Verb – to make or become better; improve

Reason: Because to me, this word perfectly encapsulates, why many of us choose to get lost in a good book. We want to expand our mind, introduce ourselves to new characters and the worlds in which they live, but aside from that we want to add to our vocabulary. Essentially we all ameliorate from time to time, whether it be at sports, at work or in ourselves, we all want to become better and improve.

 

Word: Schmaltz

Meaning: Noun – excessive sentimentality, esp. in music

Reason: I love this because it sounds like a word that’s been made up by a TV show and popular culture, but it’s origins lie in German and Yiddish. Just give it a try, it sounds delightful in the mouth.

 

Word: Macabre

Meaning: Adjective – gruesome; ghastly; grim

Reason: This one of few words that when uttered by anyone, instantly conjures up images of dark and grotesque things. Let’s be honest you would be more inclined to visit the ‘Haunted House’ at a fair or read a horror novel if someone used the word macabre to describe it to you…Or is that just me?!

 

Word: Serendipity

Meaning: Noun – the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident

Reason: The actual meaning of the word is what I enjoy the most. Who hasn’t found a crumpled £5 note in a pair of jeans right when you really needed it, a pair of jeans you were just about to throw out too?! It isn’t all luck; it’s serendipity lending a hand when you’re least expecting it.

 

Word: Logophile

Meaning: Noun – a lover of words

Reason: This one makes me laugh, for someone who is a lover of words, one would expect the word itself to be more poetic, ambitious or, at least, slightly difficult to pronounce but alas logophile is what I am, and indeed you are. But I do love this word, because I thrive on learning new words and their meanings. I am a logophile and proud, thank you very much!

 

Ahhh, beautiful words…. I’d love to learn about the words other people enjoy or appreciate, so please do get in touch in the comments below.

 

Goodreads & Why I Love It So Much

So as I mentioned very early on in my blog, in my first blog post to be pedantic, I took some time off reading when I went out into the big scary world and got a full time job. It wasn’t that reading didn’t appeal to me anymore, I just found myself getting consumed with other means of entertainment, and developed quite a hectic working life and a social life that more than made up for it. Not only that but I’d fallen into a lull when the Harry Potter series came to an end, and I hate to say it, but I wondered if I’d ever find a book that made me feel the way that series did. A book that completely enveloped me and made me part of it’s world.

I wish I could remember who told me about Goodreads, as I’d love to give them a huge, warming cuddle and enjoy a pot or two of tea with them, because it really gave me the much needed boost I’d been longing for. It was like a place where likeminded people could meet, with some anonymity (if they wish) and discuss their passion for books. But it was more than that; it allowed me to set goals of how many books I thought I’d be able to read in a year, as I had a deadline (1st Jan – 31st Dec) and a group of friends following my progress through the site, it really motivated me to try and read as much as possible.

I sometimes feel that in those early days of getting to grips with the website, and honing my Book Challenge, I cheated a little bit, as I re-read a couple of books I had read in the past. But I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said ‘If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use to reading it at all.’ And he was right, if a book is truly enjoyable to you, then there is no crime in reading that same book over and over again. Goodreads also allowed me to join forums, meet likeminded people, befriend them on the site and swap book recommendations. Now this, and this alone, is what really makes me love the site. I have lost count of how many books I have added to my ‘Want To Read’ list and all because I’ve seen that someone else is reading it and I’ve enjoyed the sound of the blurb.

It’s really opened doors for me, helping me reignite my passion of reading once more, but also helping me expand my imagination by introducing me to new world’s, new authors and new ideas. If you don’t have a Goodreads account, I’d really recommend it, it may just be the best thing you do this year.

I end with a quote from W.Somerset Maugham, whose book ‘Of Human Bondage’ I found, read and thoroughly enjoyed, thanks to Goodreads. This quote is the perfect rebuttal to anyone who says you’re wrong to like a certain book ‘because it’s boring/crap/expletive of choice’ He said ‘The only important thing in a book is the meaning that is has for you.’ Perfect.