Monday, 30 December 2013

Helen Fielding : BRIDGET JONES - MAD ABOUT THE BOY

Oh Helen, Helen, Helen.. what have you done???



We all fell in love with the clumsy, neurotic, always-get-herself-into-ridiculous-situations Bridget Jones when the first book BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY was published in 1996. She became an instant heroine for all the women around the world and we all finally fell proud of our BIG PANTIES and all-alone-drunken nights spent singing "All by myself" while simultaneously eating Ben&Jerry's Cookie Dough straight out of the tub. Then in 1999 was published a sequel, BRIDGET JONES : THE EDGE OF REASON,  which has become an international best-seller and we all had the privilege to get another glimpse to Bridget's life. Both books have been made into very, very successful films starring Renee Zellweger as famous Bridget and Colin Firth as her own Mr Darcy.

These books became a permanent parts of every girl and woman's library. So when the news spread that Helen Fielding is writing another book, BRIDGET JONES: MAD ABOUT THE BOY,  we all got excited!! There were articles, tweets, Facebook updates predicting the next chapter in Bridget's life. So this year, the hardback (yes, only the hardback) came out. Immediately, there was a scandal with the publishing house messing up the book release with some autobiography. But I did end up spending my hard-earned £9 in Asda's special offer and purchased this book. I was ecstatic. Couldn't wait to read it and Christmas time fell like the appropriate time to read this beauty.


But I must say, it was a big piece of a disappointment.

We are meeting Bridget as mother, a widow, a woman lost in her own life. Mark Darcy tragically died four and half years ago on some foreign mission and left Bridget behind with their two children - Billy and Mabel. Bridget is now a full time mother, who is trying to make it big as screenwriter adapting works of great writers for the modern day audience. She struggles being a mother and finding love in the world filled with online dating, Twitter and technology. She can't even work out how the remote control to her Virgin Media box works. She finds herself a toy boy while catching the interest of school teacher Mr Wallaker.


Ok, we all know Bridget for the funny situations she finds herself in and the incredibly hilarious commentary to it and the writer is really trying to keep up the same style, but sadly is failing to do so. I feel like the book lost its famous wit. There is more forced humour than cheese in my fridge. And I am sorry, but I find it really boring at times and too over-written. 

Some situation are literately forced on the reader to enjoy. I laughed the most at Bridget's obsession with Twitter as it reminded me so much of mine and my friends'. But the story with Toy Boy who hopelessly falls in love with her but can't be with her because of the age barrier, is silly. And then Bridget finds again a happy ending with a man she didn't like before! Sounds familiar???? Same recipe but a slight change in the main ingredient. We are not making a orange sponge cake but a lemon sponge cake!!



But I have to highlight some good bits about this book. I like the cover! It's simple and beautiful. Tasteful. No flashy images or some photograph with has nothing to do with the story itself. I have loved some great insights mentioned in this book and how Helen portrayed today's social view of elder women and their sometime very expensive tries to keep the youth. Hair extensions. Botox. Fat hospitals. Desperate measures to stay young. 

But all in all, this book failed to impress me. Now the book has 386 pages and it only started to be a little bit funny 180 pages in. I have truly struggled with reading it. Everyday I had to force myself to pick up the book and finish it. It was a torture of a book. 

I have to say Ms Fielding. I do love Bridget Jones and we all look up to her as a modern day heroine, but you shouldn't have written this one. It was perfectly fine the way it finished in the second book. She got her happy ending and that's what we all look for. 


The only quote from the book I liked and remembered :


"The fantastic thing about texting is that it allows you to have an instant, intimate emotional relationship giving each other a running commentary on your lives, without taking up any time whatsoever or involving meetings or arrangements or any of the complicated things which take place in the boring old non-cyber world. Apart from sex, it would be perfectly possible to have an entire relationship that is much closer and healthier than many traditional marriages without actually meeting in person at all!
Maybe this will be the way forward. Sperm will simply be donated, frozen through the dating website which originally introduced you. "


Friday, 27 December 2013

Veronica Roth : THE TRANSFER

Guess what?!? She has done it again. Ms Veronica Roth wrote another short story from Tobias's life before Tris. THE TRANSFER.


THE TRANSFER takes to Tobias's own Simulation Test and Choosing Day Ceremony and the reasons why Tobias made the decision to leave Abnegation for Dauntless. We found out what his own initiation was like. And how he got the famous legendary nickname - FOUR!!

Not only we get another glimpse into Tobias's mind and life, but we get to meet some already known faces - Zeke, Amar, Tori, Max, Eric… We see his first ever walk through the fear landscape. And how much Marcus actually hurt and abused Tobias not only physically, but mentally too. You just want to punch Marcus or hang his by his balls!!! 


I have really enjoy this mini-story from Tobias's life. It slowly helps us to discover the factors which influenced him to become the fearless dauntless person he is. And you fall in love with him even more. 

This short story is easy to read and follow. It's entertaining. Smart. Fresh. Eye-opening and funny at times. Veronica Roth keeps continue to write in her famous style which keeps us interested for hours. 

I am happy to announce that we can look forward to THE INITIATE, THE SON and THE TRAITOR - stories which are due to release next year! And I cannot wait to read more from Tobias's life. 

Keep them coming Ms Roth. 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

DANDY'S TOP TEN CHRISTMAS SONGS

A little birdy told me recently (quite possibly a partridge shaped one hiding amongst a conference of fruit) to cheer the hell up, stop being such a cynical arse and deck the halls and bound for the holly for now 'tis indeed the season to be jolly, fa la la la laaaa-la la la laaa. Don't really know what he meant by the last bit, maybe he had a feather stuck in this throat, but be that as prepared or woefully unprepared as you may be: Christmas is well and truly, festive Turkey well and terminally done 'clucking', here. What better way to ring out the bells than by answering the distant peals with some Yule tide music of my own. Choice that is, they're not my songs. If they were I would be considerably less skint than I am now.

Now before I begin let me warn you that there is no The Pouges Fairytale of New York on this list. Yes I love the song but thanks to the brilliant idea of me and an old friend deciding to sing it karaoke, in March over 6 years ago, and the fact that I went to a karaoke place every week and due to our rendition's popularity, we kept doing it, every week; the song has lost it's Christmas exclusivity somewhat. Still love the song but I can pretty much listen to it any time of the year, and frequently do. Another omission is David Essex A Winter's Tale. I sing that a lot to this day (only in the winter time mind) and it never struck me as very Christmas song so despite me also enjoying the hell out of both singing and listening to it, it's not the Christmas list. So what is? Let's have look...


10
 
IN DULCIO JUBILO
Mike Oldfield
 
 
 
 
What do you get when you cross a 14th century dance of worship and the multi-instrumentalist genius, who made you soil your kegs whilst you watched The Exorcist? You get probably one the happiest sounding pieces of music ever to grace the pop charts (Dear Jessie by Madonna and The Feeling's Fill My Little World being the rare few others) 
 
Try listening to this without even just a hint of a smile creeping up on your face, it's a hard task to be sure, and let your imagination run wild. Personally whenever I hear this song I'm catapulted into a medieval court of kings, with motley clad performers, playing various instruments and skipping around a perimeter of banqueting tables, deliciously spread out with a huge Christmas feast; when out of nowhere Bill & Ted walk in and let loose with some 'most excellent' guitar playing to finish off (they do get better after all) 
 
  
 
 
 
 
9
 
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU
 Mariah Carey 
 
 
 
 
Way way back in 1994, Carey and collaborator Walter Afaniseif wrote an up tempo little ditty about just wanting to have the hypothetical other half home at Christmas time. Sounds pretty bland on page, but what they came up with is a festive tune that will never go out of date, will transcend the generations for years, nay decades to come and a whole lot more. Why? Because it's just so impossibly bright, gleeful and has one of the catchiest vocal hooks of any Christmas song, ever.
 
It's just a wonderfully put together song and I'm not ashamed to admit it. Even the lyrics don't fall into being anything too overly cheesy and actually come across as warm and genuine as a log fire burning with wooden effigys of every nice thing anyone has ever said about you. I seriously can't believe I just wrote that, I'll be joining the cast of Ballamory if that shit continues.  
 
Want to hear something weird? Besides the thought that I can hold my head up high and say I like Mariah Carey in a non-ironic way? (well, to some extent) I digress, the weird thing I'm going on about is that this song is the fastest pace song on the list. No joke. In fact, maybe it doesn't come as that much of a surprise; I mean when it gets going after the staple 'diva' intro, just listen to it. 
 
This is horse galloping music at it's most swiftly paced indeed. I've heard power metal bands with less urgency in their percussion, and these are bands that uniformly only sing about werewolves. I got so intrigued by this that I set up a clicker and decided to count just how many beats per minute Mariah was pumping out; I got 153. I double checked on a handy website I found to get a result they rendered earlier; 150. Let's say they were right and I was three beats off the mark; that's still 25 more than Muse's Assassin. It's over 30 more than Metallica's Master of Puppets, it's on the same level as what was voted as the greatest driving song in the world; Queen's Don't Stop Me Now. A Mariah Carey Christmas song that you can be a complete speed freak to? Inconceivable. I love this song even more now.
 
 
 
8
 
WHEN A CHILD IS BORN
 Johnny Mathis (Michael Ball)
 
 
 
 
And this is where my sentimental side kicks in with the force of a F5 hurricane made entirely of Chuck Norris. Whether it's this version or my personal favourite by Michael Ball (which I couldn't find a recording of) I just get tingles every time I hear it. The gradual build up, the almost humming introduction and the way verse soars into such unrestrained humility. Allowing me to be serious (it can happen, once in every full blue moon) this is a song that will always remind me of my nephew, and Christmas he ever had with his family. It was that year that I discovered my preferred Ball version. It just sounds a touch more emotive and better orchestrated, plus it omits the ever so slightly racist spoken word bridge that Mathis does. You could get away with a lot in the 70's. Platform shoes on guys for a start. 
 
 
 
7
 
THANK GOD IT'S CHRISTMAS
 Queen
 
 
 
 
 
This should have become MUCH bigger than it did. Besides Queen's A Winter's Tale (not to be confused with the aforementioned David Essex's, A Winter's Tale) this is Queen's one true Christmas song and should be far more well known. I've never cared for A Winter's Tail (I'm going to call it that to avoid confusion) it's sounds pretty enough but to me it always came across as a bit of vocal jam session Mercury put on, with bizarrely placed 'ohs' and 'yeahs' just to add some seasonal spice into the minced mix. Thank God It's Christmas however is fantastically powerful song with, moving lyrics, pulse pounding verses and a general feeling of pride about everything that Christmas stands for. Apart from the whole sheep, wisemen and a newborn in a barn thing.

 
 

6

SLEIGH RIDE
Harry Connick Jr
 
 
 
 

Forget your Ronettes, Bing Crosby, The Carpenters and most definitely, Mickey Bubbles; this is the definitive version of this song. Not only is it pretty much unchanged from it's original composition (back in 1948) but Connick's vocals are so smooth and endearing he makes Buble' sound as charming as Piers Morgan dressed as an angler fish. If you ever get the chance to get Connick's Christmas album, do so. He is the best modern crooner around and will not be bettered in any real urgency. Oh and if you're wondering; yes, this is the same guy that starred opposite Will Smith in Independence Day    
 
 
 
5
 
CHRISTMAS TIME
 (DON'T LET THE BELLS END)
 The Darkness
 
 
 
 
Say what you want about The Darkness, many do and not all of it is favourable. Skin tight, naval showing catsuits and nipple piercings aside however, these guys are all competent musicians who can write catchy retro rock with their tongue stud firmly lodged in their heavily foundationed cheek. They are almost a self aware parody, I say almost because sometimes you get the impression that lead squee-er Justin Hawkins thought they were bigger than they are. Not to the same egotistical level as say, Liam Gallagher saying they were bigger than The Beatles, or The Beatles saying they were bigger than Jesus, but more along the lines of having naïve delusions that people wouldn't tire of the cheesy riffs and tight flares. They did however: The Darkness petered out after 2 albums and only a bunch of top 40 hits through a combination of bad sales and Hawkins varying substance abusiveness (after he came out of rehab they made a 3rd album in 2012 but from what I've heard it was a non starter)
 
They did however leave a legacy, which any savvy band should do if they want to get uplift on their pension plan every single year; they wrote this Christmas song. Now correct me if I'm wrong and feel free to insult my lack of musical knowledge by all means (that is what the comments box is tailor made for) but I'm pretty certain that this is the last original Christmas themed, rock song that ever made the top ten. This was 10 years ago! It got as high as number 2 but was beaten the to the top spot by Gary Jules's macabre cover of Mad World. Mad World was Christmas number 1. Just how full of Christmas cheer were we in 2003? The vast majority of the populous going from stuffing the turkey to stuffing themselves with Prozac.
 
This song will always have a place in my Christmas themed musical heart though. It is cynical enough to emote a response and cheesy enough to make you think before you begin turning Everest's out of mole hills. It's also just so much fun and not only makes we want to whine out the notes with Hawkins but it makes me laugh every time I hear it. Yes, they wrote a Christmas song including the words 'bells end'. Yes, they know it has double meaning and yes it was VERY much deliberate. Listen to Hawkins at the end just blatantly screaming it out after a choir of kids come in; 'BELLSS ENDDD!!!' Freaking hilarious.    

 
 
4
 
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYBODY
Slade
 
 
 
Like you actually thought I would leave out this one. Yeah, right. This is it as far as Christmas rock goes, there is no better song. Wizzard? I'll admit it's pretty catchy and well produced but the lyrics are garbage: 'When the snowman brings the snow'? That's the chicken/egg debate all over again and lets be honest, no one wants it to be Christmas everyday. Think of how skint you'd be. All of the time.
Slade however get it spot on, the lyrics are so beautifully simple and true to life they can relate to everybody. The music is catchy and timeless and Noddy Holder's voice is in a league of it's own. Give it a go, next time you're in the car, shower or wherever your preferred singing preference. Try out the chorus; you'll probably get through 'So here it is' relatively unscathed but as soon as you hit the second syllable of 'Merry' you'll find yourself either coughing up what remains of your diaphragm, shouting it without hitting an actual note of any description or you'll be feeling incredibly smug that you actually managed it. Either way, whatever the outcome you will have to admit one thing; that man has some serious pipes and we've not even mentioned the 'IT'S CHRIIIIIIIISSSSTTMASSSSSSS' part.
 
If you like the song you should check out more of Slade's work, they are probably one of the most underrated bands of the 70's. I'm going to end this post with a non-Christmas song, my favourite Slade song of all time which has been given a new lease of life thanks to a recent advertising campaign. But that's for later. So let's move on to...    
 

 
3
 
KEEPING THE DREAM ALIVE
Munchener Freiheit
 
 
 
 
 

Say Munchener Freiheit  fast enough and it could be the name of a Halloween themed diner. A Yorkshire accent does help with that. These guys are German by the way, not that you would know it from listening alone though. It's really amazing how unGerman they sound, it's like Arnold Schwarznegger speaking in flawless Brummie, or Sean Connery having any accent other than brogue Scot.  
 
Not strictly a Christmas song in the same sense of the others, I mean it doesn't even have a winter or snow theme (save for the white covered, not really there, mountains in the video) but you will never hear this song outside of November to January. Why is this? Well, it was released back in 1988, in December and that's it. Bang! Christmas top 20 hit which now receives radio/shopping centre play every single year. Nicely played guys.
 
There's more to this song than just luck of the release date though: With a vocal that sounds like Paul McCartney combined with the exuberant musicianship of ELO, what we get is a truly gorgeous sounding song, reminiscent of Pachelbel's Canon in it's style of swelling progression which get's more fuller and richer with every stanza (the use of the London Symphony Orchestra was a stroke of genius) The harmonies are just a joy to listen to and the lyrics are full of feelings of hope, courage and love in every sense of the word. It's a song you can listen to feel good about what's gone right in your life and not to dwell on what didn't. Without any mention of Christmas traditions, they unwittingly wrote one of the best non-Christmas, Christmas songs out there.
 
 
 
2
 
CHRISTMAS WRAPPING
The Waitresses
 
 
 
 
 
Bah-Humbug! But that's too strong, cause's it's one of my favourite Christmas songs. Love the sound of the happy beat, it makes me wanna move my feet. Made in 1981 (the very year 'fore I was born) This tune's been with me all my life, amongst the background of  Christmas lights.
 
 
It is a background song too, chances are if you heard this it was either whilst doing some Christmas shopping, faintly heard in the background at work's Christmas do or on TV as a segue between an upcoming preview of what shows are going to be on in December. This song deserves more than that. I'm ashamed to admit it that I never properly heard the song all the way through till this year, heck I didn't even know the name of the song or who preforms it! Quickly amended that though, this is the song I've been listening to the most out of all these choices. Making up for lost time I guess.
 
I love how fresh this song sounds, even though it's 32 years old I don't think it will ever sound out of date. The lyrics are fun, witty and masterfully put together. The song's production sounds way ahead of it's time and it has probably the best and most infectious sounding Christmas riffs of any song I've heard. I love the minimalist vocal performance by Patty Donahue, that comes off as both enjoyably sardonic and very relatable. Kate Nash can only dream of sounding this charismatic. I sadly found out that Miss Donahue passed away back in 1996, only 40 years of age. Her contribution to Christmas I believe will out last us all, or at least I hope it will. Check out The Waitresses other works too, seriously they are much much more than just a one hit wonder.     
 
  
 
1
 
(THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE)
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Perry Como
 
 
 
 
 
This song, to me is Christmas. I find it funny that it's such an American themed song and yet when I think about Christmas's in the past, it always reverts back to this cheerful little tune from the 50's. The reason for this is because my family had Perry Como's Christmas album (yes, that means vinyl) and it was always played the first thing on Christmas morning. And this was the first song. So the happy memories of family gift giving and receiving. So while I excitedly unravelled things over the years like BMX, cuddly toys, MASK action figures, Manta Force, Nintendo, Hero Quest, Curse of the Idol (anyone else remember that but me?) Space Crusade, Street Fighter 2 Turbo and whole host of other things, Perry Como's silky tones were seemingly narrating my very thoughts at the time, even though what he was actually singing about was about travelling thousands of miles across various state lines in an automobile. It didn't matter though; to me hearing his voice was as Christmassy as leaving a mince pie, a glass of sherry and a carrot for a certain Mr Claus. To me, that's why he takes the top spot. 
 
A special mention must go to his version of The Christmas Song which is a later track on the album. It's the best version of that classic one ever recorded. Check it out while you're recovering from turkey overdose (or nut roast if you're a veggie)
 
 
 
 
Finally....
 
As promised here is Slade with Everyday.


 
 
Have a great Christmas everyone and good tidings to you of comfort and joy
(comfort and joy)
O tidings of comfort and joy     
 
 
 
    


Monday, 23 December 2013

#MondayNews





Well hello there!!! How are we all doing?!?! I hope nobody is stressed out from the upcoming holiday!! I've been very organised this year compare to the previous ones. All presents bought and wrapped week before the famous gifts-giving, lots-of-food-eating, alcohol-drinking, relaxing, spending-the-time-with-family Jesus' birthday!!

But even the well planned gift buying and post preparing didn't spare me a christmas flu!! Great!! Nothing better that spend the holiday with a tissue glued to your nose sneezing like you would be getting paid for it. Happy Xmas to me!!

Never the less, I am well enough to share with you all the things we have in store for you for next two weeks!! Yes, you heard me! Like any magazine in the world, we are taking the two-week edition of #MondayNews!!! 

Firstly, Dandy has finally decided to be productive and wrote the well anticipated take on the Chapter 6 of Fifty shades of Grey!! It's been written and posted yesterday, so please make sure to read it!! I am sure to pull out my whip and make sure that the 7th chapter isn't long behind! Not even the 8th one! But he wasn't only busy reading about the attics of Christian Grey and his new mistress Anna Steele! He has been glued to his headphones listening through the at-the-moment hugely popular christmas songs and is preparing for his TOP 10 CHRISTMAS SONG chart! Are you excited??? And I cannot forget to mention to hugely talked about END-OF-THE-YEAR chart!!!!! I really don't know which songs will make the the top 10 best and which will be at the opposite end!! Keep your eyes open for those posts too. 

Claire has finished her ENDER'S GAME book and is busy writing the review of this well known book. Not only that, but for her birthday I got her a book she has been talking about since the waiting-at-the-airport-on-our-way-to-Corfu trip. She has a new book on her bookshelf! THE UNIVERSE VERSUS ALEX WOODS by Gavin Extence!! So I am sure that she will be sharing her thoughts on this book as well. 

Now Dave has finally picked up the pen and wrote aka typed his BEST & WORST (basically a summary) of 2013. I am so excited to share with you his first post so definitely keep a watchful eye on that one. He isn't the only one preparing the summary of the year! Me, Andy & Claire are working on ours too, so don't worry there is plenty of posts to come!!

Little me (the shortest person in the group - but the most important LOL)… I am currently making my way through Bridget Jones and Mad About The Boy book. I will be honest I am struggling a little bit, but hopefully the disappointment of a book will be soon over, so I can share with you my very surprising thoughts and reactions to this year's most anticipated novel. And this post will be worth. Also I have prepared for you another mini-post about another mini story by Veronica Roth from the world of Divergent. I can't forget to mention a post I working on at the moment (when not torturing myself by reading Helen Fielding's latest creation!) about most beautiful books I own in my library! And hopefully, I will find the time and space to finish off the FALLEN SERIES by Lauren Kate. All books are sitting patiently on my bookshelf waiting to be read!!!



As you can see, we have a lot in work at the moment. We aren't going to forget about this holiday! Don't fret!! I will make sure to have a post for you everyday for next two weeks!!! FOURTEEN BRAND NEW POSTS only for you, our lovely readers!!


I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Enjoy this time with family and friends! Don't forget to tweet us, Facebook us or leave a comment below with the presents of descriptions of what you found underneath the christmas tree in your homes!! If you get any books, let us know what they are and if you recommend to read them!!

Looking forward to speak to you soon !!!


MERRY CHRISTMAS LOVELIES!!!!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

50 Shades of (D)read: Chapter 6 - 'I don't make love, I Ffffornicate... hard'



I'm going to start off on a bit of a tangent here: What does a comma mean to you Ms James? To me and dare I say it a fair few others, a comma means a pause. A, pause.

This, is one thing I have noticed and become increasingly frustrated. About, this insipid book. More, than anything. So much so, it's not only affecting the way I'm reading the damn thing but also the way I'm, writing about it. Unbelievable, is E.L James' complete disdain for grammar. And, her total incapability of writing smooth exchanges of dialogue, or even a freaking sentence of more than three words to any form of competency. This is one of the many reasons why this book and the writer are just, a little bit,rubbish.

Here are just some examples for you:


'Me, too'

'Good. That's all, Andrea'

'Good evening, Miss Steele'

'Hello, Taylor'

'Yes, it's been a long day for me, too'

'Christian, it's wonderful'


Pretty much every single character in this book does this and it annoys me so much it causes my already fairly substantial dislike of a character and turns it up by freaking eleven. To me this is just bad acting, in written form. I mean if James' approach to this was to make their characters seem more stilted and wooden than an actor from Sunset Beach, trying to show any emotion other confusion and constipation, then bra freaking vo, you have damn well succeeded.

One thing I will give begrudging credit for this book, compared to many others, is that so far every chapter has started up exactly where the last one ended. I find this quite refreshing in respect much better stories sometimes taking multiple leaps in time within a small number of pages. So far however, 50 Shades wants to keep a steady track of what's going on and where, but then again hand holding through a plot as cliché and boring as this one does seem a bit extreme and unnecessary. Like no smoking sign with a picture of a coffin and a big 'you could be here' arrow pointing at the skeleton resting inside.

After the love'in an elevator incident, Grey's main concern is to get Ana home, using ways, means and ambiance designed to get her even more wet than the floppy trout she is already (what was I saying about tactics both extreme and unnecessary?) He does this by showing her his 'beast' of a car (self satisfied engorgement brought to you Audi) and playing her some opera. Which she immediately thinks is just wonderful. I have sneaking suspicion he could have played Napalm Death and it would have garnered the same response. It seems her entire lack personality is being replaced by one Grey has picked out for her, something apparently easier than changing a AAA battery in a TV remote. Grey proudly explains that he has eclectic taste, which is about as ground breaking a personality trait as saying 'I like my bread buttered', and proceeds to put on Kings Of Leon to prove it. Now which Kings of Leon song could he possibly play to showcase this? Charmer maybe? Holy Roller Novocaine? Spiral Staircase? Of course not, it's Sex on Fire. A song choice about as imaginative and obvious as an elf wearing green, having slightly pointy ears and is pretty nifty with a bow. Well done James, Grey's personality has now evolved to that of a  sheep. The music doesn't last long however when he is interrupted by a constant string of phone calls that he answers his best , mono symbolic, telephone voice. To which Ana listens to in rapturous wonder.


'Grey' he snaps, he's so brusque (dote)

'Grey' (swoon)

'Grey' (saturate)


Yes, you know you have definitely made it in the world when you can answer the phone with nothing more than your last name and the air of annoyance that someone is trying to contact you. Good thing he has one of those surnames that lends itself to that way of introduction more than others. For example if his name was Pratt, Lilicrapp or Vystrcilova.

Speaking of names, I do love this little exchange that Chris and Ana have in the car regarding his pedantic bellendness.

'Why do you insist on calling me Anastasia?' (good question)

'Because it's your name' (and because I like saying it)

'I prefer Ana' (good point)

'Do you now?' (tough shit)


He also adds that the lift thing was a mistake and won't be happening again soon. Which leaves Ana glum and alone with her thoughts (crickets and tumble weed ahoy)



"Why won't he kiss me again? (the prophet stared at his crystal ball) I pout at the thought. I don't understand. (there's no vision there at all) Honestly, his surname should be Cryptic, not Grey."



My reaction to this... 'thing', was to gently rest the book on the table, inhale slowly and exhale for around 5 seconds, just before I let gravity get the better of me and made my head plummet into the open book with a loud whump. I stayed there for around 10 seconds. This was my respite.

His surname should be Cryptic, not Grey is the lamest thing I've read in the entire story, thus far. I hope it will not be for pure exasperated rage sakes. The scale of corniness and just sheer lack of effort in this stupid comparison is woeful. Hell, the writers of flaming Hollyoaks would laugh you out of the room if it was suggested.


Besides if his surname was Cryptic then he would undoubtedly be Batman's next nemesis.


When they arrive at Ana's they are greeted by a 'jus' been shagging' Kate and Elliott, Grey's foster brother and own personal weapon of mass procreation. They both seem in a happy mood and very loved up as much as anyone who just met and had sex with would (single eyebrow raised in your direction James) Christian leaves Ana a parting gift, literally he parts a some of her hair that got loose, which causes Kate to lose control after he looks at her, leaving James' in her wistful, somewhat obtuse element.

"My breath hitches at the contact and I lean my head into his fingers. His eyes soften, and he runs his thumb across my lower lip. My blood sears in my veins"(as opposed to your ear canals?)


Kate wants to hear all the gossip after the Brothers Grey leave on there merry way and is anxious to know if Ana is as big a whore as she is. When the answer turns out to be no, she doesn't seem surprised (no one is as big a whore as Kate after all) but vows to doll up Ana good and proper so that Grey has no option but to sex her up good and proper. That's what friends are for after all.


Christian comes to pick Ana up the next evening, with his driver and sets off to the to the heliport so he can show off just how well he can pilot his ginormous manhood, I mean big chopper, I mean metaphor for his well endowed masculinity, I mean dick. The flight goes by without a issue, just a lot of bravado talk and a woman author who clearly has no real clue about helicopter flight lingo or logistics other than what she scraped up from Wikipedia and watching Air America.
 
They land, disembark and Christian proceeds to lay his cards on the table to make it perfectly clear that the only person in control right now, is him.


"He doesn't take his eyes off me. I feel them following me as I turn and glance around this vast room. 'Room' is the wrong word. It's not a room - it's a mission statement"


Actually I think you'll find that room is indeed the right word. Regardless of size, a room is still a room. Mission statement is both incorrect in the context, whether metaphorical or literal. I think the word/words you are looking for is power-play, or mission objective, or I'm seriously over compensating for something in the trouser department. Stop trying to be clever James', it comes across as desperate, just like Ana.


At this point the book is incensing me so much my sinuses I've started to haemorrhage .


And it seems like it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Christian gives Ana a non disclosure agreement to read over and sign so that he may indulge in sexual relations with this man and she can't say anything to anyone. Does she read it? Nope, she just signs it, no questions asked. The excuse James gives Ana for doing this is that she would never tell anyone about what her and Christian get up to regardless so if it bothers him so much she'll just shut up and sign, like an obedient dog, who can hold a pen (they exist, check out Youtube. Srsly) Our protagonist ladies and gentlemen. Two short planks got nothing on this broad. Signed on the dotted line Ana asks the question she;s begging to ask since she laid eyes on his dark, light, ever indecisive, grey eyes.



'Does this mean you're going to make love to me tonight, Christian?'

'No, Anastasia, it doesn't. First, I don't make love. I f***k... hard (empowered women of the world unite)
'Secondly, there's a lot more paper work to do' (maybe all first dates like should come contractual clauses, oh wait, that won't work because of the book e most normal people will tell you to f***k off if the mere mention of legality and non disclosure is mentioned, no matter how hard you claim to f***k)



So after the paper week is signed, Christian decides to show her his play room. Ana, bless her little virgin socks, she thinks they are going to play Xbox. What he does show her is actually not revealed, first cliffhanger ending of a chapter so far, (well,as much a cliffhanger when you start pretending fall off the couch, until you realise you actually are falling so your arms are waving around like an air traffic controller on acid)

I guess this can only mean one thing; bring on the RED ROOM OF PAIN!!

(as if James' writing wasn't torturous enough)



Saturday, 21 December 2013

Veronica Roth : FREE FOUR

FREE FOUR is a short story written by Divergent's author Veronica Roth


After the success of the Divergent Trilogy, the writer decided to surprise us and release couple of mini stories written from Tobias's point of view. And you all know how much I love Tobias, so for me this was a welcome treat and distraction in reading a current novel. 

FREE FOUR was the first one to be released. It's a story from the Divergent book. It's actually the knife-throwing scene, where Four is forced to throw the knives at Tris after she volunteered to take Al's place. We knew how Tris fell, but now we get to see what was going on in Four's mind when he had to do it. 

I found it story easy to read. Entertaining. Fresh. Funny. As mentioned in the review of Divergent Series,  I have loved that the author decided to write the last book from Tobias's point of view as well, so this was a lovely present to be. 

It's a look into Tobias's mind and the way he looks at Tris before they were a couple. How she managed to get under his skin and made him see something beautiful in the world. 

Free Four is a wonderful companion to the Divergent Series and I cannot wait to read more from his life before Tris. 

The only down of these stories is that they are currently only available as E-books, but I how that this will be rectified once they are all published a s a collection of short stories. 

Otherwise, well done Ms Roth. What a brilliant idea. Keep the stories coming!

Friday, 20 December 2013

Veronica Roth : THE DIVERGENT TRILOGY

Oh my GOD! I must have been living in a cave, because I have discovered THE DIVERGENT TRILOGY only this year! Actually, the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation and Theo James is the reason why I purchased these books in the first place. I would sell my soul to do devil to be with him. 


THE DIVERGENT TRILOGY is written by young author (even younger than me) VERONICA ROTH. This talented writer brought the first book into this world in 2011 and it immediately become a best-seller!



"With brisk pacing and lavish flights of imagination, DIVERGENT clearly has thrills, but it also movingly explores a more common adolescent anxiety - the painful realisation that coming into one's own sometimes means leaving family behind, both ideologically and physically." 
NEW YORK TIMES

"DIVERGENT is captivating, fascinating book that kept me in constant suspense and was never short of surprises. It will be a long time before I quit thinking about this hating vision of the future. " 
JAMES DASHNER, author of THE MAZE RUNNER



These are only few of the great reviews this wonderful trilogy got. My best friend and co-author of this blog was blown away with these books, so logically I had to read them for myself. And I was in for a treat. 


The story divides into three books:

DIVERGENT
INSURGENT
ALLEGIANT


We fallow the story of Tris Prior who lives in the dystopian Chicago. Her whole world is divided into 5 factions and their communities. ABNEGATION. AMITY. CANDOR. DAUNTLESS. ERUDITE. Every faction choses it's members for their distinctive characteristics. Abnegation is selfless. Candor values honesty. Dauntless are brave. Erudite is smart. And Amity is the peaceful addition to the family. When you are 16 you choose a faction where you belong. You go through a test (simulation) which helps you to choose which faction you should join. Unless you Divergent. This means that you have the ability to exercise more than one of these values. And our heroine, Tris, is divergent. At the Choosing Ceremony she chooses the least unexpected faction for a person from Abnegation. She chooses Dauntless. And leaves her family and friends behind to embrace the new life and find herself. 



Of course this story is not only about that. It's not another coming-to-age story. This story takes you on a journey full of twists and turns. You will fight for your believes and the ultimate truth. You will fight for your own survival. 

Veronica Roth created a wonderful world which leaves you to use your imagination to the fullest. You find yourself lost in the world of factions. You will even want to join them. You find new friends, get surprised by unexpected enemies and you fall in love with TOBIAS aka Four. Trust you won't be able to resist. 

This story is unlike others in the Young Adult Genre. It's exciting. Fresh. Full of secrets and unanswered questions. Divergent is a unique story about strength and struggle for power. It's about friendship and love. About betrayals and finding new allies where you wouldn't expect it. It twists and turns and keeps you constantly on your toes. There is so many aspects of their adventures which manage to keep on turning. 

There are more changes and surprises than in other books I have read. I fell for the story so much that I couldn't stop thinking about it. Me and Claire have spent hours discussing these books, the story and the relationship between characters. And each of us came up with different ideas. And that is a sign of a great writer and her incredible writing skills. It gets under your skin. It makes you passionate. And it makes you fall in love with it and its characters. 

The hero of this story for me is not Tris. Actually it's TOBIAS. I am sorry Jem Carstairs, Jace Wayland, Noah and Andrew Parish… but there is a new man in town. And I have fallen in love with him instantly. TOBIAS EATON aka FOUR. The one and only dauntless guy who wants to be brave, selfless, smart, honest and kind. The guy with gorgeous body, beautiful heart, kind soul and fire behind his eyes. He has taken the place in your heart rightfully. His strength through the bad times of his life is inspiring. He continuously keeps improving and raise up with each chapter and book. He makes mistakes. He is not perfect. He gets hurt. He suffers great losses. BUT even in the darkest hour he fights to stay alive. He learns from his mistakes and gives you a second chance. He is a great character to follow and I fell for him deeply and unconditionally. 


Now, I know that this story is TRIS's story. But I must say I do not like that girl one little bit. Yes, she is a very strong character. She cares for Tobias, her family and friends and ultimately she wants to help the whole world. And I know she is only a sixteen-year-old girl who's teenage years has been cut short by revolution and constant fighting to stay alive. But OH MY. I couldn't warm up to her. And this is so new to me.  Usually I want to be the main character. I want to be the heroine of this story. But instead I am finding her reckless, whiney, superior, selfish and annoying. I hate her when gets all knowing and always right. She could give people a lot of grief for their actions but never owned to her own mistakes. They were always forgotten, because somehow she managed that people looked up to her. Even Tobias put her on a pedestal, she couldn't do anything wrong. He blindly loved her. And I DO NOT THINK SHE DESERVED IT. 

In fact, sometimes, I get the impression that Tris found out that Tobias liked her and just went along with it. There are only three occasions in this book that she really loved him. And oh my !!! Where is the trust in this relationship?!! I found their relationship very dysfunctional and actually liked that their didn't get to ride off into the sunset. 


The person I wanted to be in this book was Christina. She is smart. Funny. Knows how to have a good time. She is kind. Loving. Forgiving. And a wonderful friend. She is always there for you to help you through the tough times and supports you in every way. That is a person I want to be. 


Now the theory of Good Genes (Divergent) and The Bad Genes… it's scary how technology and the science can destroy the people and their characters. Nobody should play the God. There are always consequences … But people deserve to have their own will. They deserve to have the chance to make their own mistakes and bad decisions. We need to be free. We need to make the mistakes to learn from them. We are humans and this is life! And it's scary how the constant medical alternation and new science developments can destroy it. Would you inject yourself with good genes? I have found this story most fascinating. Especially when they tried different experiments of how to cleanse the population! They developed the human kind and their life again with what they considered as good genes. It's a petrifying thought! But you could see it happening in the future. I loved that Veronica touched up on this subject. 

Three books down. One amazing story has ended. I have fallen in love with the world of factions where everyone know where they belong. I fell for Tobias who is one of the most amazing characters I got to know. A perfect crush. And I found the ending of this story a PURE PERFECTION. I liked the fact that Tris didn't survive. I know it's not nice to wish her death, but I couldn't see how this would end if she would be alive. Her death made this story unique. Original. So different from others. The transition from the book written from Tris's point of view to Tobias' was flawless. Without any faults. The aftermath of Tris's passing was just mesmerising. I only wish that the books would be written from both points of view from the beginning. 


The Divergent Trilogy was one of the best book series I have ever read. I got completely lost in the world Veronica Roth created. I got sucked in it without a chance to breathe. It was a wonderful experience which will stay with me for some time. 

But luckily I don't have to wait too long! The film adaptation is coming out next year with SHAYNE WOODLEY as Tris and THEO JAMES as Tobias. That man is just gorgeous. An afternoon delight! So pencil the dates in your next year's diary. I am sure we are in for a treat!

BE BRAVE. 



Quotes which stuck with me and the quotes I loved:

“Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”

“Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up” 

“I didn't know that idiocy caused people to just start spontaneously bleeding from the nose.”

“Every faction conditions its members to think and act a certain way. And most people do it. For most people, it's not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way. But our minds move in a dozen different directions. We can't be confined to one way of thinking, and that terrifies our leaders. It means we can't be controlled. And it means that no matter what they do, we will always cause trouble for them.” 

“Crying defies scientific explanation. Tears are only meant to lubricate the eyes. There is no real reason for tear glands to overproduce tears at the behest of emotion.” 

“I never used to understand why people bothered to hold hands as they walked, but then he runs one of his fingertips down my palm, and I shiver and understand it completely”

“Don’t worry about me handling the pain," I say. "I’ve had a lot of practice.” 

“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved for the sake of something greater.” 

“I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.”



“What thought or message would you put in a fortune cookie?

"Stop reading this. Eat the cookie and live your life.”



“There are no safe rooms, no safe truths, no safe secrets to tell.”

“You’re the one who has to live with your choice,” she says. “Everyone else will get over it, move on, no matter what you decide. But you never will.”



“Morning," I say.

"Shh," she says. "If you don't acknowledge it, maybe it will go away.” 


“Honesty leads to peace.”

Monday, 16 December 2013

#MondayNews

Well Hello there my lovelies!!

I hope you are doing all well and had an eventful week and weekend. We had a GAME NIGHT in our household and it was epic!! Board games. Food. Black Russians to drink. And a fantastic company. We laughed and laughed. 

But sadly, the weekend is over and it's time to get back to work. Well, for some of us, it's only couple more days and then we break for the Christmas break, for others (like me), we have some more hours of work to do and then we can finally enjoy this time of the year!

I know that we are all busy at the moment. All the queues in the shop while doing christmas shopping are taking up all our time, but don't worry. We haven't forgotten about you. Well maybe Andy did hehe. (sorry Andy!)



Anyways, there is plenty on offer for you this week. Claire is finishing her Ender's Game book by Orson Scott Card, so I am sure we have to look forward to another great review. 

Andy is currently printing of all the singles released this year and is going to listen to every single one of them, so he can bring you his music posts for the end of the year. But don't worry, he is still wrapped up in the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Fifty Shades of Grey is quickly becoming his favourite book of all time. So don't be worried, there will be plenty of posts about his reading. 

Now, Dave hasn't settled in his new role yet, so please be patient and give him some time before he adjusts to the life of our guest author. I am sure we can expect some great posts from him in the future. 

Myself, I am just finishing The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth. The last book will be read completely tonight so you can look forward to my review. The next from my TO-READ list is Bridget Jones and Mad about the boy. So light reading for the pre-christmas week. So make sure to watch out for it. 

And we all are writing our Best & Worst of our year, so please make sure that you check it out once we share it with you :)

In the meantime, have a great week. I hope you won't get too stressed and instead enjoy this time of the year with your families. 

Have a great week xxx

Saturday, 14 December 2013

John Boyne : THE BOY IN STRIPED PYJAMAS

THE BOY IN STRIPED PYJAMAS is a heart-breaking novel, which shocked the world, written by JOHN BOYNE in 2006. It became such a bestseller that couple of years ago it was made to a film. And when it hit the silver screen, it was a success.




The story of this book takes us to the horrible times of human history - World War II, and the time when the most horrible man of the world, who ever existed, Adolf Hilter, was in charge of Germany.

We are meeting a nine-year-old Bruno, who lives in Germany and has a very happy childhood. That is until all of sudden, his father gets a new job and they have to re-locate to live in Outwith (as he calls it). Bruno is unhappy about the change, he doesn't like the new place and new house one little bit. But that all changes when one late afternoon, on one of his exploration journeys, he finds a boy behind a fence. Shmuel. A boy in Striped pyjamas. They become firm friends who share long talks about their families, backgrounds, hopes and dreams.



One thing I will make sure of. It's clear actually as soon as you spot the book in your book shop! This story is powerful. It's the most powerful story I have ever read. Might be due to the fact that it's based on events which has actually happen in not so distant history and we live in a constant fear that they might repeat. It just simply gets under yours skin. Slowly creeps up on you and never leaves. It will get a permanent ever-lasting mark on you and you won't be able to look at the world the same way.

Wonderfully written from the point of a nine-year-old boy who doesn't have a slightest idea of what is really going on around him. He doesn't fully understand the events surrounding his family and new life. For him the most important thing is that he had to leave his four best friends behind along with a five-floor-house.

This story is beautiful. Charming. HEART-BREAKING. Make sure to have a box of tissues ready at your side. You will need it. It's a must-read so we, readers and survivors, can fully understand what was happening in that dark time in our history. It's a story of unlikely friendship formed in one of the most horrifying places in the world - Auschwitz. It will make you stop and think. You will think about the cruelty the world and people are capable of. And you will be terrified. Petrified at what one little German man with horrifying agenda did to the world and its people.



It's unique. Original. Wonderful. Eye-opening. Absolutely petrifying. Thoughtful. An extra-ordinary story about extra-ordinary friendship. Boyne delivers a wonder. One in a billion stories - which will make you stop and look at the world in a completely different way. You will appreciate life the way it is now. And you will respect the people who lived through it all with a new-found respect. So much greater than before.

You find yourself compelled to this novel. You will want to read on. Find out what has really happened in those dark times. How the book ends.

It's very easy to read. Sometimes it's hard to forget about the events which this book describes, but the originality of this book is found in its writing. Simple. Naive. Wonderful. A boy who calls Hitler Fury. Auschwitz is Outwith. People aren't wearing prisoner's uniforms but  pyjamas. You will connect the dots and realise the horrifying events of this story.

Boyne has manages to open eyes of all those who didn't really appreciate or didn't really pay much attention to the events of WWII and terror which Hitler caused. After reading this book, you will find yourself glued to your computer re-searching more about it. You will rent movies (including the film adaptation of this novel) and want to suck up more information about the dark times in human's history. And you will feel partially guilty. Either because you haven't paid enough attention to it before, or just purely somehow that we let it happen.

And that is the true power of this book. You will never find another book like this one. Simple written with the a strong message. It will beg you, not to let it happen again.



A one in a billion books, which should be definitely a permanent part of your library, passed from one generation to other. Hugo & Shmuel's story will live with you forever.





Here are some Quotes from the book which left the ever-lasting impression:

“Sitting around miserable all day won't make you any happier.” 


“...Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel's hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.” 


“The thing about exploring is that you have to know whether the thing you've found is worth finding. Some things are just sitting there, minding their own business, waiting to be discovered. Like America. And other things are probably better off left alone. Like a dead mouse at the back of the cupboard.” 


“What exactly was the difference? he wondered to himself. And who decided which people wore the striped pajamas and which people wore the uniforms?”


“He looked down and did something quite out of character for him: he took hold of Shmuel's tiny hand in his and squeezed it tightly.
"You're my best friend, Shmuel," he said. "My best friend for life.”


“Don't make it worse by thinking it's more painful than it actually is.” 

“. . .only the victims and survivors can truly comprehend the awfulness of that time and place; the rest of us live on the other side of the fence, staring through from our own comfortable place, trying in our own clumsy ways to make sense of it all.” 


“Well you've been brought here against your will, just like I have. If you ask me, we're all in the same boat. And it's leaking.”

“In his heart, he knew that there was no reason to be impolite to someone, even if they did work for you. There was such a thing as manners after all.” 

“Very slowly he turned his head back to look at Shmuel, who wasn't crying anymore, merely staring at the floor and looking as if he was trying to convince his soul not to live inside his tiny body anymore, but to slip away and sail to the door and rise up into the sky, gliding through the clouds until it was very far away.''


“But still there are moments when a brother and sister can lay down their instruments of torture for a moment and speak as civilized human beings and Bruno decided to make this one of those moments.” 

“It reminds me of how grandmother always had the right costume for me to wear. You wear the right outfit and you feel like the person you're pretending to be.” 


“And shortly after that the blob became a figure. And then, as Bruno got even closer, he saw that the thing was neither a dot nor a speck nor a blob nor a figure, but a person.”

“When I make mistakes I get punished,' insisted Bruno, irritated by the fact that the rules that always applied to children never seemed to apply to grown-ups at all (despite the fact that they were the ones ho enforced them).” 

“Those people... well, they're not people at all, Bruno”