Posts Tagged ‘books made in to movies’

Five Fabulous Beauty and the Beast Re-imaginings

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is an original feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books and bookish things, with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and sharing recommendations for similar books. We love to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. You are very welcome to use the Five Fabulous feature on your own blog just be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations! Feel free to copy and paste our Fabulou5 graphic or create one of your own.

I’m a huge fan of Disney’s animated Beauty and the Beast. It is my favorite Disney animation and the Disney film I related too most growing up. Not only is Belle a brunette and a bookworm, she was the first Disney “princess” I recall who seemed to have a choice about who she would go on to marry.

I loved that the beast and her developed a relationship rather than being victims of the insta love- I’ve met you once, you’ve saved me and now ill marry you- that Disney’s early incarnations had suffered from. While its wonderful to see Disney developing more realistic relationships and fewer teen brides, for me it started with belle. Even now I can’t get enough of the slow burning misunderstanding and dislike to love and respect romance trope.

Of course my daughter and I just had to go and see the movie on opening weekend and I have to say that we did not leave disappointed. If you are reluctant to see the movie as a big fan of the animation, let me reassure you that the story line pretty much follows its animated predecessor with the exception of clearing up the large plot holes from the original. Add to that some original songs, beautiful costumes and ensemble dance numbers, it reminded my of my childhood curled up on the sofa with my mum on a Sunday afternoon watching elaborate Technicolor musicals. I loved sharing the experience with my own daughter.

I have to admit that I’ve never actually read the original story, my love for all things Beauty and the Beast originates from the Disney classics, never the less this love has led to a passion of one of my favorite sub genres- the fairytale retelling- and today oday I would like to share with you five of my favorite Beauty and the beast reimagines.

Beastly by Alex Flinn
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…
But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.
Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”
Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…
In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.
Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.
As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

Wish List
My obsession doesn’t stop there. I have many Beauty and the Beast inspired titles on my wish list. At the top of the list is Hunted by Meagan Spooner which is being released on the 20th April in hardback
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronesses…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Posted by Caroline

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Five Fabulous books…Made in to Films

fab-five-logo-e1397403514389Five Fabulous Books is a new feature here at Big Book Little Book. The aim of the feature is to showcase fabulous books with connecting themes, there by promoting reads we have enjoyed and share recommendations for similar books. We hope to share contributions from fellow bibliophiles, bloggers, vloggers and twitter users. We love to hear from you too, so don’t forget to comment with your favourite themed books. If you create your own Fabulous Five posts be sure to link back to Big Book Little Book and leave your link in the comments below so we can check out your recommendations!

Two of my favourite things to do are reading books and watching films. Therefore I get really excited when there are films which were originally books.

My fabulous five favourite books made in to films.

Harry Potter
The sound track to the film is absolutely amazing! It really brings the magic to life. Whenever I hear the music I tingle!

Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
All of the special effects brought the strory to life just as I imagined it to be.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The real actors portrayed the characters as they were in my head.

Paddington
The way that they made Paddinfton Bear was amazing! It actually looked like there was a real live bear which made it look fantastic.

The Worst Witch Saves the Day
The film was very true to the book. The bits that were missed out or changed slightly didn’t take away from the story

Post by Avilee (8)

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Bookish Brits: TFiOS Trailer Reaction

Yesterday there was a great deal of soggy, tear stained, excitement in the blogosphere. It was all down to the release of the trailer for The Fault In Our Stars movie, based on the heartbreaking book by John Green.

Take a look at this beautiful trailer for yourself. Then if you want you can scroll down and watch my reaction to it!

Posted by Caroline

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Allegiant

Veronica Roth

imageWhat 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.

Warning contains spoilers for Divergent and Insurgent

I was soooo excited to get my hands on a copy of Allegiant to review, I had read the previous two books and, like many others, was waiting for this to come out. I devoured this in about three days, which with two young children at home is probably the fastest I have read anything recently! And is testament to the fact that I only put it down with great reluctance!

The action begins exactly from where we left it as Tris has survived and shown everyone the video that reveals startling information about the history of their city and way of life. As their world is falling part around them Tris, Tobias and their friends try to figure out what to believe, who to trust and what to do next. The faction system has fallen apart but there are those who want to return to it, others are glad to see the back of it, but the most pressing question is what is outside the fence that meant their city was constructed in the first place.

Although the continuing story of what is happening inside the city is interesting it is the story of what is outside that is predominantly the focus of this tale. As you would expect Tris and Tobias, with a few other notable characters are the first to get out and find out what is going on. What is revealed is certainly not what I expected, although I have to admit that I am not to sure what that would have been anyway!

Without wanting to totally give away the twists and turns of the plot they find a society dividing genetics into people who are deemed ok and those who are not. Chicago has been part of an experiment to fix genetically damaged people. Of course this raises hundreds of ethical questions and our characters have to come to terms with these new ideas quite quickly, and decide how they feel about the world outside and what has happened to them and their own universe.

The issues introduce plenty of friction and Tris and Tobias’ already strained relationship is put further to the test. This time the story is not solely told by Tris, Tobias gets to have his say too. At times I found the switching back and forth irritating as I would forget who was talking and have to go back and check, but on the whole I| liked hearing from both of them. It was interesting to see how Tobias sees Tris as opposed to her own views on herself! I did wonder though if this dual narrative is one of the reasons I felt the novel lacked the depth of the first two.

There is so much to find out about the outside and in the back story and I definitely still have questions that weren’t answered. Having had the first two books to get to know the characters and the faction system the same amount of time (or pages?) could easily have been given to the outside world. I would have enjoyed getting to know the characters there more and having a chance to get deeper into their situations and the whole motivation behind the project, as well as see them maybe learn a few lessons from the questioning of our main characters.

That said there is plenty to get your teeth to and the plot still has some twists and turns to keep you guessing as we would expect from Veronica. The ending is a little controversial, but for me it worked well and felt fitting to the overall story, as well as being quite refreshing, I think Veronica was brave to do this!

So despite feeling slightly unsatisfied that I didn’t get more of everything in this novel I still thoroughly enjoyed the ride and would still recommend it as a good rounding off to the trilogy.

Verdict: I only wish it could have been a quartet!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: November 2013
Format: Hardback
Pages: 526
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones Movie

Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Headly

TMI-website-one-sheetHave you seen New York City’s dark side?
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) thought she was an ordinary teenager living in Brooklyn until one night in a downtown nightclub she encounters the sexy, mysterious Jace. Upon witnessing Jace hunt down and kill a demon in the crowded club, Clary begins to wonder if she is that ordinary after all. Especially as she appears to be the only one who can see him…
Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower) is a Shadowhunter. Part of a secret cadre of half-angel warriors, he is tasked with protecting humanity in an ancient battle against demonic forces. This battle has been fought secretly in our midst for centuries, but the stakes have just been raised.
When Clary’s mother is viciously attacked and taken from their home, she discovers her connections to Jace run deeper than she could ever have imagined and beneath surface of the city exists another world…one she unknowingly belongs to.
As both Clary and best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) are drawn into this dark and dangerous world, Clary realises Jace is both the key to uncovering her past and protecting her future.
Based on Cassandra Clare’s bestselling novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is directed by Harold Zwart and also stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Lena Headey.
Discover a world hidden within our own

It’s no secret that I love the work of Cassandra Claire (read my fan girling here). I’m sure that you can imagine my reaction when I received an email from the lovelies at Walker Books, inviting me to the press preview of The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones. The term kid on Christmas morning doesn’t quite cover it!

Arriving at Odeon West End in London’s Leicester Squire (the smaller cinema located south of the square), I shuffled past the long queue of very excited, very patient, Mortal Instruments fans waiting for their screening, to the press entrance. I was immediately directed to sign a non disclosure agreement, preventing me from talking about the film until now. Paperwork complete and “stele” pen in hand I explored the cinema. I was greeted by darken rooms, extremely tall “shadow hunters” serving canapés and a delicious bramble flavoured “Brooklyn Cocktail”.

Grabbing my drink, I made my way to the screening to meet up with fellow book bloggers Caitlin from The Cait Files (visit her blog here), Andrew (The Pewter Wolf) and Casey (from Dark Readers) both of whom I’d met for the first time queueing at a Cassie Claire signing ( read event repot here), and book tuber Katie (visit her you tube channel, Oh Cakey, here)

After what felt like a very brief catch up the movie began.

For a little taste of the movie check out this trailer.

In honour of my first ever movie “review” I decided to pluck up the courage to film my first ever volg (video blog).

I have to say a massive thanks to faye ( read her fabulous book blog, A Daydreamers Thoughts, here). Without Faye’s editing skills you would be subjected to at least four minutes of “ummm”‘s, not to mention a dozen or so more uses of “slick”, “energetic”, “firstly”,”so” and “I feel”.

So here it is, my thoughts and feelings on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones movie.

Image and blurb take from eOne Films UK. For more information on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones and other films you can visit the site (here).

Posted by Caroline

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

the hunger games ebookCould you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hunger games already, but don’t always judge a book by its movie! I read this book in two days flat and I think it’s addictive! It’s set in the ruins of North America in a place called Panem in which there are 12 districts; district 1, district 2 and so on. The higher the number of your district, the higher poverty rates are. All of the 12 districts are run by the Capitol, the capital city and where the President, President Snow lives.

16 year old Katniss Everdeen lives in district 12 in a tiny house with her little sister Primrose, Prim for short and her mum. Because the capitol want to show the districts who is the best and to stop them revolting, they declare every year, that all children from the ages of 12 to 18 are to have their names put into a bowl and then, in each district, a male and female, will be selected to fight to the death in an arena, and it would be called the hunger games. The reaping day was when they picked out the names, and as you got older the more times your name would be put into the selection bowl. Katniss was in there 24 times, Prim was in there once. Before the Reaping, Katniss went out hunting in the woods, which was forbidden but she and her hunting partner Gale knew how to hunt.

So at the reaping, they line up the children from district 12 and they first pick out a girl. Out of 7000 people, Primrose Everdeen is picked. Katniss volunteers in place of her little sister. But out of the Boys Peeta Mellark is picked and he becomes very prominent in the next part of the book. Find out how Peeta confesses his love for Katniss, we meet some strange but amusing characters, they train hard, make an alliance with a little girl but does Katniss defeat the odds and rise to victory? Well find out yourself!

Verdict: you have to read this book! I mean it! I took no time to finish it, but the book has so much to it I couldn’t write it all down! I’m soo glad that there are two other books after it because I was left hanging off the edge. The most Thrilling, adrenaline pumping book you have ever read. You don’t want to miss out on it! I give it 10 out of 10 nothing else said.
Verdict the Second: Are you reading it yet? Don’t forget to read: Catching Fire (book 2) and Mockingjay (book 3), I’m reading Mockingjay at the moment, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Daisy(12)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 2009
Format: eBook
Pages: 387
Genre: Dystopian, Adventure, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (12)
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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The Lovely Bones

Alice Sebold

the lovely bones 2012My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy, suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet . . .

Ok, confessions first, seeing as the story is triggered by a crime! I saw the film first, even though I’d been told continually how much better the book was. (Score 1 Hollywood) But if I’m completely honest I wouldn’t have bought a copy if I hadn’t seen the film (score 1 Literature) Also I’m not a complete film-adaptation snob, Lord of the Rings had a similar effect, and I was even able to finish all 6 books before the end of the Hollywood franchise made it to the screens! Anyway, I feel a burden has been lifted, so back to the book in question The Lovely Bones is not my normal theme of choice, as murder stories of children aren’t something I’m particularly drawn to. But I knew (thanks to the film makers) that the brutal murder would take place early on and that the story as a whole is deeper than a whodunit.

So for those that haven’t sold out and seen the film (!). This story begins with the tale of Susie Salmon a 14 year old girl who is cruelly ripped from the centre of her family by their twisted serial killer neighbour. (Don’t worry, I didn’t put a spoiler alert here because the killer’s identity is revealed within the first few chapters.

You are drawn into the story immediately, and the character Susie is so charismatic you want to be right beside her throughout her limbo voyeurism on her friends and families. Also Sebold plots the timing of Susie’s horrific demise perfectly to engulf us in an enormous fog of sympathetic love for Susie. She is at the age where the noble Britney Spears would tell us she is ‘Not a girl, not yet a woman’. Susie is at the exploratory stage in life where she is full of enthusiasm, uncertainty and curiosity. And as a result is the perfect narrator to the experiences of her family and friends following her sudden departure from their lives. It is through her insightful narration that the story takes grip of you as we see relationships weaken, strengthen, kindle, break and rebuild following the loss of child/sibling/peer.

Susie’s family consists of; her parents, Jack and Abigail who were childhood/college sweethearts full of youthful aspirations who fall into parenthood and married life with two daughters and then unexpectedly a son; her gifted and sporty and rather spirited younger sister, Lindsey; her baby brother Buckley who is forced to deal with the loss of his sister at a very young age; and finally her Grandmother, Grandma Lynn who is a force to be reckoned with whist balancing a freshly poured glass of her favourite tipple.

We are also follow a handful of other people impacted by Susie Salmon. First and foremost there is the creepy neighbour Mr Harvey who we discover has a haunted history of luring, sexually abusing and ultimately fulfilling his thirst by ending their lives. Although she has never met, Len Fenerman in her lifetime, Susie oversees the troubled Detective Fenerman’s interaction with her family throughout the investigation of her murder. Singh, Susie’s first and only kiss, originally fingered as Susie’s killer by the community which doesn’t help the English/Asian immigrant feel less of an outsider. And finally, creative Ruth Connors, who only ever had a few fleeting encounters with Susie, another stranger to the social norm and finds her final brush with Susie has an everlasting imprint.

So, what does Susie see from her limbo viewpoint? Well, she is led into setting up her own world with her guide and then friend Holly, where they can dip in and out of the lives of the above who were left behind. We are initially shown two very different reactions to grief by Susie’s parents. Jack becomes obsessed with the investigation and very suspicious of Mr Harvey, which leads him into meeting different people and some rather hard situations. Ultimately his search weakens him both emotionally and physically almost to the point when his wife, Abigail, leaves it has little impact on him. What never lessens is his love for his children, both living and deceased, I was particularly touched by the advice he gives Lindsey about shaving her legs for the first time in the absence of her older sister and mother, for me it showed a loving father’s attention to detail and attempt to be there when in other circumstances it wouldn’t be his place. The love between Susie and her father is so strong that perhaps between pure determination perhaps help along by us willing it! a connection is made and ultimately after many years Susie has to decide when it’s time to let her father go.

Susie’s mother, Abigail, is also devastated by her loss, but contains with her grief much more inwardly. Abigail is creative and very pensive by nature and this is reflected in her oceanic eyes which was captured by a photograph taken by Susie. Abigail struggles to deal with her surviving family and falls into a brief affair with another man and ultimately abandons them all to really run away from everything. It is interesting how sympathetic Susie is towards her mother’s action in comparison to her siblings, who are both equally angry with Abigail when she returns years later from her vacation of discovery.

Lindsey is a feisty character, and through her Susie experiences falling in love and the transition from girl to young woman which she missed out on. She watches Lindsey fall in love with her childhood sweetheart Sam and how they evolve into a mature loving couple. This is whilst simultaneously dealing with being compared to her murdered sister and the feeling of being whispered about. She deals with the whispers or typical sympathetic comments with a rather angry retorts, but manages to not allow Susie’s death to define her, and you can feel the pride of Susie as she sees this. Lindsey also has a strong bond with her father and when he is physically unable to ‘investigate’ Mr Harvey, she willingly picks up the baton and takes a big risk to uncover evidence which ultimately links Harvey to Susie’s killing.

Susie’s brother Buckley is only 3 or 4 years old at the time of the murder, and finds himself regularly shipped out to a neighbour to shelter him from the pain. However as with young children they will eventually need answers and for Buckley it’s rather confusing as it becomes evident he is able to see Susie as she looks in on her family. We are shown Buckley growing up in a motherless, yet loving environment and his response to the re-introduction of his mother to the family home shows this.

Outside the immediate family Susie shows us how her last touch on earth (as a spirit) on young Ruth Connors helps bring Ruth and Ray together as outsiders with a common interest, Susie. I found this relationship an interesting one, it’s almost both forced and natural at the same time. I guess you could call it a supernatural one! However their developing relationship also helps Susie discover elements of ‘grown up’ love and she is able to connect with Ray again one more time, which is a strange and sweet scene. A little bit like Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore/Whoopi Goldberg , a Potter’s Wheel and The Righteous Brothers.

Also whilst in limbo Susie meets and connects with a long list of girls and women all sadly on George Harvey’s list of victims, and we discover where his bloodlust begins. As we are taken through his journey of destruction of the innocent, we’re shown how his evil mind meticulously plots his plan of death and there is are little if any redeeming features about him. There are levels of intrigue about the skill of his intelligence of how he weaves stories of a deceased wife (usually named after his previous victim) in order to quash suspicions of a single man who makes dolls houses. He is indeed a nasty character who we slowly await his just desserts, and I let you decide whether you think Susie had any help in serving it!

Verdict : I feel like I’ve rabbitted quite a lot about this story, but it is an amazingly complex web of characters, some I’ve had to leave out for you to discover yourself, who all drawn together through the life of Susie Salmon. Although her departure rocked them all I really enjoyed how this story focuses on how it makes them all too. Even after experiencing such deep sorrow and tragedy these characters are able to build themselves and each other back up again. There is also the question about life after death, and I found Susie answering that by basically watching over her family and friends lives fuelling that spiritual desire within telling us no matter where our loved ones have gone they are still there when we need them.

I’ll give it 9/10 and agree with all the book first purists that yes the book is of course twice as good as the film (final score Literature 2, Hollywood 1).

Reviewed by Sam

Publisher: Picador
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: ebook
Pages: 335/566KB
Genre: Crime, Mystery
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Sam
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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Karen’s 2012 review

What is your favourite read of 2012?

There have been so many books that I have enjoyed this year, that whittling down to just one seems like such a disservice to all the rest! I’ll therefore slightly cheat and say that my favourite children’s book was Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. Young Adult – a tie between the Infernal Devices’ series (Cassandra Clare) and The Enemy (Charlie Higson) series and for adult, I really enjoyed Them or Us the final instalment in the Hater’ series by David Moody.

Which book have you most enjoyed reading with your children in 2012?

I think I have made it very clear on this blog how much my husband and I adored reading, A fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley Phillips to the kidlets. In particular because it was the first book that made my then 1 year old son so enthusiastic to listen to a story all the way through without the help of tactile/noisy features.

What have you enjoyed most about book reviewing/blogging in 2012?

The fact that blogging allows you to pick up and read any book you like the look of without prejudice. In particular, children’s and young adult books. Blogging also insists that no matter how busy my life is, I need to set time aside for reading. This is something which I really appreciate as reading does give me such a chance of escaping the daily pressures of life.

What book are you most looking forward to reading in 2013?

I’m impatiently waiting for Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare to come out as I have adored the series so far.

Other blogging thoughts:

In 2012 I read a number of books that are the inspiration for movies playing in cinemas in 2013.

Whilst it’s been a while since I last read the book, The Hobbit it needs to be mentioned as it will still be watched in the cinemas come January. Having seen the movie adaptation, I’m curious enough to reread the book to work out which bits were added in to fill out the first part of the trilogy. It’ll also give me a chance to sigh ‘Ohh Kili’ every time that sexy little dwarf gets a mention 🙂

I think I’ll save my pennies and wait for Jack Reacher to come out on rental release, just because I can’t get over the fact that Tom Cruise is playing Jack. In the books he is described as being very tall, literally 6ft+ and some. He uses his height to his advantage in fights and to intimidate and in general is very ‘rough and ready’. I worry that whilst it will probably be a good action movie, what made Jack Reacher such a fascinating and iconic character will be lost in the process.

Whilst randomly exploring You Tube I came across the trailer for Warm Bodies which in turn encouraged me to read the book. Previous headlines based around having a zombie boyfriend had put me off the book thinking that this was one step too far, but I found this an interesting twist on the zombie genre. This book is on my to do list to write a review so I will leave it at that for now!

Still on the zombie genre, World War Z as a film really interests me. Looking at the trailer it looks like the focus is on Brad Pitt’s character and his family. The book’s genius and originality is that it’s made up of different survivors’ accounts of how they endured a zombie apocalypse across the world so it will be interesting to see what aspects of the book the movie has tried to recreate.

Then there is of course,The Mortal Instruments with one of my favourite actors, Robert Sheehan playing Simon. Is it bad though that I am already hoping that this means that the Infernal Devices series will be made into a movie?!

Karen’s Favourite books of 2012 (Click on the title below to learn more)

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Payley-Phillips

Post by Karen

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Novel Nibbles: Amma’s Coca Cola Cake

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that’s what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.
Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.
In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Set in the south, The Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, contains so many saliva inducing food references; Fried chicken, Grits, Biscuits and Buttermilk Pie *stomach rumbles*. It certainly wouldn’t be a hardship to dedicate a whole series of Novel Nibbles posts to the culinary offerings of Amma, the Wate family’s no-nonsense, housekeeper.

Of all of the recipes featured in the Beautiful Creatures books, the one that inspired me the most is Coca Cola Cake. I know, I KNOW, more baking! In my defence, I am pretty sure I warned you that these posts would be an excuse to indulge my sweet tooth!

A quick search online uncovered author Kami Garcia’s recipe for Coca Cola Cake. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, have literally been baking Amma’s cake!

The original recipe can be found here at Beautiful Creatures fan site, Caster Girls &Boys

As before this American recipe has been “translated” for our european readers.

The Ingredients
The Cake

240g of Plain Flour
400g of Caster/Granulated Sugar (yep you read that right!)
1 sp Bicarbonate of Soda
250mls Coca Cola
230g of Unsalted Butter
3 TBS Coco Powder
125mls of Butter Milk ( or 125mls of milk soured with 2TBS of lemon juice or white wine vinegar)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract ( use to good stuff people)
2 eggs
75g ( two large handfuls) of Mini Marshmallows

The Icing
120g Unsalted Butter
3 TBS of Coco Powder
6 TBS of Coca cola
1tsp Vanilla Extract
450g Icing Sugar
A Large handful of chopped Pecans (excluded in our recipe due to Pruedence’s allergy)

Pre heat the oven to a rather cool 160C.

The original recipe suggests you cook the cake for 30 mins however in practice we found that the cake actually needed 50mins!

I would usually provide you with a step by step photo storyboard of the cooking process. However there is no way that I could demonstrate this recipe better than Kami Garcia herself.

Here is mine and, my able assistant, Prudence’s attempt!

The final tray bake was very large, rich and sweet and only a small serving was required to sate my sweet tooth.
The texture was heavier than a sponge cake, somewhere between a devils food cake and a pudding.
I think that it would make a great dessert, served warm out of the oven with ice-cream. Due to it’s size and the novelty of using coca cola, it would also make an interesting addition to a bake sale.

Post by Caroline

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Confessions Of Georgia Nicholson: Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging

Louise Rennison

There are six things very wrong with my life:
1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years
2. It is on my nose
3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.
4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers
5. I am very ugly and need to go into an ugly home.
6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.

This book had me laughing out loud in places, I really enjoyed it. Georgia typifies many a 14 year old girl the dilemma’s about spots, school, parents, parties and above all boys and snogging. Georgia is a great character and she and her friends go through the ups and downs of teenage life. The basic story follows her as she meets Robbie (sex god) and makes plenty of mistakes in chasing him until she finally gets her man!

The story is told through the form of Georgia’s diary, this works really well as it allows for multiple entries on some days and then no entries for a few weeks when life is dull! Getting Georgia’s voice directly also brings in that element of freshness and authenticity. Her vanity and self-centeredness are given a perfect platform and in a diary she can really let herself ago, this makes it very dramatic, after all many 14 year old girls love to exaggerate a little!! It is also clear when she is not being honest with herself and emotions like anger and jealousy shine through.

The best thing about the book is the humour. This is no angsty, introverted teen read, although Georgia definitely has times of hiding under the duvet (particularly when she shaves her eyebrows off!), and being depressed even these times are spiced with comedy as she finds her sister has peed in her bed, or she goes to sleep with her face mask on. Louise Rennison really brings out the funny side of those dilemmas about what to wear, how to talk to a boy and how snoresville parents are! I particularly enjoyed her dilemmas over the kissing lesson and the on-going slating of Lindsay (Robbie’s girlfriend)

Verdict: This was a real giggle, great for early teens and those who might like an amusing jog down memory lane!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s
Publication Date: August 2005
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British Book
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