Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Twilight Reimagined: Worth Reading or Just Another Moneyspinner?

Before I start, let me just say that I am a fan of the Twilight series - the first three books at least. I mean Breaking Dawn was kind of a mess. Like a lot of people, Twilight is what got me reading YA. It also helped me rediscover my love of reading after completing a college degree that kinda knocked the fun out of reading for me (in an 'I don't ever want to see another book again' sort of way! Ahem). So, I thank Twilight and Stephenie Meyer for that. I'm not here to diss Twilight by any means.


I heard the news yesterday that in celebration of the tenth anniversary of Twilight (can you believe it's been ten years already?!) Meyer has written a gender-swapped reimagining of the book. Say what? That's right. In this gender-swapped retelling Bella Swan is a boy named Beau (short for Beaufort) and Edward Cullen is now a female vampire called Edythe. Meyer picks all the best names, doesn't she? Edythe?! I presume it's pronounced Edith, which is quite a nice name - Meyer just happened to pick not a very nice spelling of said name. At least it's not as bad as Renesmee, hey!

I didn't know this but apparently the other characters in Twilight have been gender-swapped too: Jacob is now Julie, Alice is Archie, and Rosalie is now, er, Royal (?!)  Bella, I mean, Beau's parents remain unchanged due to "custody reasons".

This is what Meyer had to say about writing the reimagined book:  (It was) “fun, but also really fast and easy.” Ka-ching!

Also, this:  (Meyer wanted to)  "dispel the notion that Bella was a stereotypical damsel in distress who found self-worth in the arms of a handsome man."

On hearing the news of this gender-swapped reimagining of Twilight I initially thought it was an April Fool's joke, uh,  in October. I really did. Because I don't really see the point of this? Meyer has already written (the never released) Midnight Sun, which is Twilight from Edward's point-of-view - and now this. I'm pretty sure she was writing a mermaid book at one point, but that doesn't seem to be happening, nor does the long-awaited sequel to The Host.   Maybe Meyer will just keep on rewriting Twilight from different points-of-view for eternity. I really don't know. Perhaps Renesmee will get her own book in a few years time? Wait. Does this book mean that Renesmee never happens and we can forget about all that imprinting shizz?! Was that the whole point of this?! Yes?!!

I can't say that I'm all that curious about reading Twilight Reimagined (never say never!) - but I have read a spoiler regarding the ending of this book, and I like what she did there. Ha!

So, what do you think about all of this? If you've already read Twilight Reimagined I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Additional info & quotes:

Friday, 2 October 2015

Book Review: Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

Product details:
Publisher: William Heinemann.
Paperback, 400 pages.
Release date: September 17th 2015.
Rating:  2 out of 5.
Ages: Adult.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Fates and Furies is a literary masterpiece that defies expectation. A dazzling examination of a marriage, it is also a portrait of creative partnership written by one of the best writers of her generation.

Every story has two sides. Every relationship has two perspectives. And sometimes, it turns out, the key to a great marriage is not its truths but its secrets. At the core of this rich, expansive, layered novel, Lauren Groff presents the story of one such marriage over the course of twenty-four years.

At age twenty-two, Lotto and Mathilde are tall, glamorous, madly in love, and destined for greatness. A decade later, their marriage is still the envy of their friends, but with an electric thrill we understand that things are even more complicated and remarkable than they have seemed. With stunning revelations and multiple threads, and in prose that is vibrantly alive and original, Groff delivers a deeply satisfying novel about love, art, creativity, and power that is unlike anything that has come before it. Profound, surprising, propulsive, and emotionally riveting, it stirs both the mind and the heart.

 A critically acclaimed novel, longlisted for the 2015 National Book Awards and described as ‘a literary masterpiece that defies expectation,’ it’s safe to say that when I picked up my copy of Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff, I was sure I was in for a real treat.  Now, there are some books that you fall in love with immediately, some that take a little time, and some that you don’t give up on even when they’re not working out for you, well, because you’ve been promised that the book is pretty much the best thing since sliced bread, written by no less than ‘one of the best writers of her generation.’

 I’ve never been the kind of blogger who enjoys writing scathing reviews, but I have to be totally honest here and say that I was seriously unimpressed with this book. It’s got a major PR campaign behind it, and once again I fell for the publisher hype. Lesson learned, you would hope – although I can’t promise I won’t make this mistake again.  Safe to say that for me, Fates and Furies didn’t read like a literary masterpiece.  Rather it read like an unfinished first draft at times; one full of rambling self-indulgent prose, half-baked sentences and unconventional, unconvincing syntax. Groff’s writing style takes a whole lot of getting used to, it has to be said. The prose is pure purple and sentences are often constructed in such a long-winded, clunky and complex fashion as to make Fates and Furies a sometimes downright draining reading experience.

The story itself is a pretty simple one (although you wouldn’t think that from the way it’s written!) The story of Lancelot (Lotto) and Mathilde, married after a weeks-long whirlwind romance in their early twenties, told over twentysomething years.  The first part of the story (Fates) is told from Lotto’s point of view. Born into wealth, wannabe actor Lotto is disinherited when he marries Mathilde, but that doesn’t stop him from flourishing in life. Lotto is as charming as his life is charmed. But his story doesn’t make for a very interesting read. Lotto is presented to us as a little too-perfect, his life a little too easy, and that just reads as boring.   Mathilde, however, is a more complex creature. An enigma until the second part of the book (Furies), Mathilde is as detached as Lotto is the life of the party and where Lotto wears his heart on his sleeve, Mathilde says little, observing everything. Together, Lotto and Mathilde defy the doubts of their friends, all of who are convinced that their marriage is doomed to fail any time now. So, what makes the marriage of this seemingly opposite-in-every-way couple work?

You’ll find out when Groff delves into the mind of Mathilde.  Mathilde’s story is what saved this book from being a total DNF for me, because let me tell you, that almost happened a number of times.  There are twists in Mathilde’s tale that make this story an almost-absorbing read at times; although the overblown writing style soon puts an end to that.  Fates and Furies promotes the notion that it is the secrets and lies held deep within a marriage that make it work, but I prefer to deal in truths, so while this book may win a whole host of literary awards and garner praise far and wide, I’ll just put this out there, and say what I really mean: Overwritten, overwrought and overblown – this book was not for me.

I recommend reading an extract of Fates and Furies before you decide whether or not to read the book. I think Groff’s writing style may be a love/hate kind of thing, and while it obviously didn’t work for me, this book certainly has its plaudits.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

What I'm Wishing on Wednesday #2.

What I'm wishing on Wednesday is a new blog feature in which I give you a sneak peek into all the lovely things from around the web I'm wishing were in my life!

 I'll be including everything from beauty to books and beyond in this feature, and I'll link up with Waiting on Wednesday too in order to do some much needed book blogger networking (I haven't found any new book blogs to read in ages!) So, if you're taking part in that feature, here's where you can find the next book I can't wait to read.

 This time round I'm wishing on Morgan Matson's new book The Unexpected Everything. With the cover reveal a few days back I'm sure this will be a popular pick this week. Matson is an auto-buy author for me, and I'm very excited to read this one!

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson || Release date: May 2016

Andie had it all planned out. 

When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.

Important internship? Check.

Amazing friends? Check.

Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life.

Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected. 

And where’s the fun in that? 


Image via Scissorsaurus

This Taylor Tee. I spotted this Tee (modeled on Sonic Youth's Goo album cover) on Instagram earlier this week and decided that I need it in my life! I already have the Sonic Youth Tee so I reckon this'll be a nice addition to my wardrobe!  You can buy it here - they have kids sizes and tote bags too!


I have just about run out of my one of my favourite winter face masks and I need to restock. GLAMGLOW masks are great - but also kinda pricey - so I am saving my pennies and wishing on this! This is such a great hydrating mask - one of the best I have tried. You can read my full review here: Glamglow Thirstymud Hydrating Treatment Review.


This book has been on my wish list for ages and now that it's out in paperback I might finally get around to actually buying it.  If anyone has already read this, I'll love to know what you thought. I read a lot of psychological thrillers - some good, some not so good - and I'd love to know if this lives up to the hype I've created in my head! I see it's described as Gone Girl on Speed on the paperback cover, so by that reckoning it should be right up my street! 


Let me know what you are waiting on and wishing for this Wednesday! 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Reviewed by Arianne: All Fall Down by Ally Carter.

Product details:  
Publisher: Orchard Books.
Paperback, 320 pages.
Release date: February 5th 2015.
Rating: 4½ out of 5.
Ages: 13+
Reviewed by: Arianne.

 Grace can best be described as a daredevil, an Army brat, and a rebel. She is also the only granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful ambassador in the world and Grace has spent every summer of her childhood running across the roofs of Embassy Row.

Now, at age sixteen, she's come back to stay - in order to solve the mystery of her mother's death. In the process, she uncovers an international conspiracy of unsettling proportions, and must choose her friends and watch her foes carefully if she and the world are to be saved.

Ally Carter is a name synonymous with thrilling, sophisticated stories which deal in danger as well as romance, and All Fall Down more than lives up to expectation. This book will appeal to Carter’s long-time fans, but as the first in a brand-new series, it’s also perfect for any fan of well-written, action-packed YA fiction, from We Were Liars by E. Lockhart to The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes.

Set in the fictional European nation of Adria (think the flashy price tag and old-school glamour of Monaco, but with the rich history of Italy and the ancient catacombs of Paris) this is a book with serious credentials and all the ingredients needed for a great read: engaging characters, high stakes, thrilling chases, and a mystery that stretches far deeper than anyone could have realized. Of course, with such a big name author, it’s impossible not see the hallmarks of Carter’s innate style here and there; the luxurious setting, the plush prose, the mysterious bad boy, the confident good guy best friend — yet one of the best things about this book is how truly unpredictable, surprisingly and original it feels. 

Yet even against the background of privileged embassy life, there are fantastic flashes of humour and of course, plenty of opportunities for reckless heroine Grace to cause international diplomatic incidents. Readers will also soon realize that the seemingly invincible Grace is a notoriously unreliable narrator. I loved this aspect of Grace’s character. It’s the pin that holds the entire story together, and she’s playing a dangerous game.

There are two male leads in this book, but let me be clear: there's no love triangle in sight (yet). Outgoing extrovert Noah is Grace’s self-appointed new best friend, but even more than that, he’s a fantastic mixture of loyalty and complexity, showing that while he’s genuine and has a good heart, he’s not immune from the hurt Grace is capable of causing. Alexei is in many ways Noah’s antithesis, but that doesn’t mean he cares for Grace any less. He’s the best friend of Grace’s older brother, and has promised to look out for her, but this is one guy with his heart locked up tight. There’s so much chemistry between Grace and Alexei, but I liked that he kept his word — so many YA heartthrobs try and fail to ‘stay away’ from the leading character, but Grace and Alexei’s relationship just oozes slow-burn; it’s just enough to keep the reader rooting for them, but the best is definitely yet to come.

In fact, one of my only issues with the book was that it felt a little too much like a series opener for me. Much of All Fall Down is spent working through Grace’s own issues, clearing the way for her to move on with her life, and while there’s plenty of action and conflict, I almost feel like the second book will be where the real adventure begins. I wasn’t a huge fan of the flashback sequences, and I would have liked to have had a more solid, detailed ending. Grace’s father and brother are mentioned but not seen here, so I’d love for them to have a bigger role to play in the next book, too. 

In short: I picked up this book for the premise, but I kept reading for the plot. Stylish, cinematic and packed with action, this book features great characters and great writing. Definitely worth reading.


Friday, 25 September 2015

Book Review: Edgewater by Courtney Sheinmel.

Product details:  
Publisher: Amulet Books.
Hardcover, 336 pages.
Release date: September 8th 2015.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Lorrie Hollander used to be a rich girl, but now she’s lost everything because of the secrets and lies of the people around her. It’s been 12 years since Lorrie’s mother skipped town and left Lorrie in the care of her unstable aunt Gigi. Together they live in a neglected, decrepit mansion called Edgewater, the eyesore in a town of extraordinary wealth and privilege.

When Charlie, the son of an esteemed senator, takes an interest in Lorrie, her shame for her family and lifestyle runs deep. But what she doesn’t know is that Charlie’s family is hiding something, too, and that their secrets are inextricably tied. Now Lorrie must confront the truth about her family—and everything she ever thought she knew about herself.

Grey Gardens meets Scandal via The O.C. in Edgewater, Courtney Sheinmel’s YA debut.  Beautifully written and compelling throughout, Edgewater, named after the dilapidated mansion which houses our heroine, is a late-night guilty-pleasure Soap Opera in book form. Shocking drama, dashingly handsome hunks, political intrigue and family secrets are the page-turning order of the day!

Lorrie Hollander has never had to worry about money. Ever since her mother left to start a new life with her boyfriend twelve years previously, Lorrie and her sister have been in the care of their eccentric aunt Gigi and a seemingly bottomless trust fund, courtesy of mom –well, it’s the least she could do!  The family comes from money and their stead may once have been a grand old mansion, but aunt Gigi isn’t one for home maintenance, preferring instead to spend her money on extravagant parties and expensive designer shoes. As such the mansion has long since fallen into disrepair, overrun by cats and raccoons, and hated by well-to-do neighbours.

Away at riding camp for the summer, Lorrie soon finds out that her fees haven’t been paid. Worse still, it seems that this isn’t, as Lorrie first thinks, just an administrative oversight.  Lorrie can’t pay her fees, because there is no money. Her cards are declined at every turn. The money has gone, vanished.  Heartbroken Lorrie has to leave her beloved horse Orion behind and return to Edgewater to find out just what exactly is going on. On her return she discovers that things are worse than she could ever have imagined. She’s so flat broke she can’t even pay her phone bill. And aunt Gigi, oblivious to it all, is still buying new designer shoes while her house crumbles around her. Lorrie is at her wits end.  And she’s stuck at home for the summer where she has to take a job mucking out stables in order to raise the cash to bring Orion home. Then she meets Charlie Copeland – ah, the silver lining to Lorrie’s cloud.

Too-good-looking-by-far and with better hair than you or me, Charlie Copeland is the kind of guy dreams are made of.  The son of a senator, Charlie is golden boy with a penchant for rule-breaking and the kind of endlessly sunny nature that is only ever borne from absolute privilege.  This guys’ family is Kennedy-alike, he has the looks of Nate Archibald (Gossip Girl fans!) and a private beach to boot. Who could resist? Not Lorrie. Our girl is instantly smitten and feeling is entirely mutual as far as Charlie is concerned. So begins the summer romance of Lorrie’s dreams. But it’s not all plain sailing. Oh, no. Where would be the fun in that?! Lorrie, determined to keep up well-to-do appearances, lies to Charlie about everything –even her name- right from the off. Never a good idea! And it seems that too-good-to-be-true Charlie just might have some secrets of his own. Hmmm…

An engagingly written, absorbing read, Edgewater is the kind of book that demands to be read in one sitting. In fact, I did just that.  This book is a quick read, and while all the major components of the central mystery are expertly solved in a plot-twist filled conclusion of a-ha realizations, I have to say that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how certain ending-elements of this book played out. It all wraps up very quickly and neatly and I guess I wanted more.  More of certain characters, mostly. Beyond the fact that he is too good-looking for words, we never really get to know Charlie - and to this effect the apparent depth of feeling in his relationship with Lorrie towards the end of the book didn’t really ring true for me.

But maybe that’s just a personal thing. I’m big into getting to know characters beyond their shiny surfaces. Is there more to Charlie than just nice guy with a pretty face? I’m not quite sure about that. But maybe a pretty face is enough for a summer romance? In fact, I’m pretty sure it is!

If you love Grey Gardens and the TV show Scandal, beautiful writing and books that keep you guessing, then Edgewater is the book for you. Beyond the Grey Gardens references I wasn’t really sure what this book was about when I picked it up, but the enigmatic nature of this book is all part of its endless, multi-layered charm, and for that, Edgewater gets a thumbs up from me.
Related Posts with Thumbnails