Saturday, 30 May 2015

Ender's Game (Review)


Title: Ender's Game 
Author: Orson Scott Card
Publisher: Macmillian
Published Date: 15th January 1985
Rating: 5 Stars
Synopsis: The human race faces annihilation.
An alien threat is on the horizon, ready to strike. And if humanity is to be defended, the government must create the greatest military commander in history.
The brilliant young Ender Wiggin is their last hope. But first he must survive the rigours of a brutal military training program - to prove that he can be the leader of all leaders.
A saviour for mankind must be produced, through whatever means possible. But are they creating a hero or a monster?
This is the multiple award-winning classic ENDER'S GAME - a groundbreaking tale of war, strategy and survival.

Review: There had been a lot of talk about this book so I decided it was about time I picked it up and tried it for myself. And although this book is science fiction it can be so easily applied to our lives as well in general.

I loved Ender and Valentine as characters because they are both smart and intelligent as well as perceptive. I could go on and on in detail about how realistic and yet great their characters were. But as usual, when it comes to great books, I think words are escaping me.

What made this book so great was all its underlining themes. Such as coming to face your true self, that moment when you group and can see what the future holds and knowing you can choose your own path. But there is also the theme of manipulation, of those above you telling you one thing and doing another, making you believe this will happen and then twisting things so it doesn’t. Never knowing what the truth is and what isn’t. There will always be someone with power or someone above you in life, and maybe someone with the possibility of using you how you wish. Ignoring this is one thing, realising it is wisdom and acting on it? That’s something else. And as much as this is a fiction book I think most of what is mentioned here is pretty true to today’s times as well.

The one critique I have with this book is that space is such a broad, well, space! And even if Orson Scott Card didn’t even want to make the setting to broad and get lost in it, the Battle school must’ve been a much larger facility than it was made out to be in the book. I felt like it was really limited to the game room and battle room when we are there. I know this is most of what Ender’s sees, and same again for the second location… but yeah. I thought a bit more could’ve been done there. 

But in general, when it came to this book it left me mind blown. There were so many significant things which had hidden meanings to them, all the characters were AHMAZING and then the plot was... brilliant. And when you get to the plot twist, of course you will be mind blown. Basically because you would never have expected it, like me!

I would recommend this book to obviously, anyone who enjoys science-fiction and any young adult readers as well. Adults included, and those who like books with themes that make you think ;) I’m looking forwards to seeing the movie :D And reading the sequel!

New Video! Emoji Book tag!

Olivia's Question: Would you ever want to go to space?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Absolutely True Lies (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Absolutely True Lies
Author: Rachel Stuhler
Publisher: Touchstone (Simon and Schuster)
Published Date: 26th May 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: A fledgling entertainment writer stumbles into the gig of a lifetime writing a teenage pop star’s memoir and soon realizes that the young celebrity's squeaky-clean image is purely a work of fiction.

Struggling writer Holly Gracin is on the verge of moving back home to upstate New York when she gets hired to write the memoirs of eighteen-year-old Daisy Mae Dixson, a former Nickelodeon child star who has moved seamlessly into both blockbuster movies and pop music.

Holly quickly realizes that Daisy’s wholesome public image is purely a work of fiction, as Holly finds herself trailing the star as she travels around the world on yachts, gets stalked by paparazzi, and sneaks out of five-star hotels in the dead of night.

As Holly struggles to write a flattering portrait of a teenage millionaire who only eats “nightshades” and treats her employees like slaves, Daisy has a public meltdown—and suddenly, her book is the cornerstone of resurrecting her image. But working at all hours trailing a pop star has taken its toll, and Holly must decide if becoming the ultimate insider is worth losing a starring role in her own life.

Fun, juicy, and inspired by Rachel Stuhler’s own stranger-than-fiction experiences as a celebrity ghost writer, Absolutely True Lies is an entertaining look at how the lifestyles of the rich and famous aren’t always what they seem.

Review:   I couldn’t wait to start this one once I was accepted the copy! Not only would it contribute to my 2015 reading challenge but it was also an author who had been a ghostwriter writing about someone who ends up being a ghostwriter. How cool is that? It’s not a job I have ever considered but if I am wanting to be a writer it is always interesting to think about other jobs which could involve just that as well – writing.

I thought this one also had an interesting portrayal of celebrity life. Holly is thrust into the world of glamour almost without asking because all she wants is a job which can make sure she gets the rent paid by the end of the month and enough for her to survive off of as well. I don’t know how accurate the idea of celebrity life in this one was, and how much Stuhler based this off of her own experiences, but it did seem like it could be very realistic. It seems so glamorous, but in reality there were cracks in the vision as well. It seemed like if you weren’t popular enough, then you could easily be left behind. And it never really mattered what was wrong with Daisy the main character mentally or physically – she was almost like a puppet sometimes. If she did enough for everyone to get their paycheck then they were happy enough. I felt like few people actually cared about her.

As well as that, the amount of money they earned for doing little things was astounding O.o Once again, I am not sure how realistic that was but I would believe it, and it was pretty shocking. I can’t imagine people having to do so little to get so much money! They really did throw it around unknowingly.

Every time someone revealed themselves to be there for the money
and not Daisy herself.
But as always, everything comes at a price. There were quite a few characters in this book and finding out who could really be trusted seemed to be a running theme here. People you could’ve sworn were good and genuine ended up not being so. It was hard to see who was there for the money and who was there for Daisy. Sometimes the people who weren’t really there to support her made me feel irrevocably sad. She deserved better than that :(

Holly was a nice character. She was just a small town person trying to get by. When she enters into the celeb life, no matter how badly she gets treated and by who she always tries to get back on her feet again. And all through the novel, no matter what Daisy might do you can see that she is someone who is actually there for her. I have to admire that quality about that. She does seem to moan quite a bit, but that is only within context because I would be grumpy if the people I was working for always seemed to be jetting off without telling her. So I was able to accept that.

I liked reading about all the characters. They all seemed very realistic. Daisy most of all, and she was the one we were able to see the most about. Faith, her mother was also quite important in the story as well. Jamieson always seemed a bit cruel and like he was using the family for their money. I don’t wait to dive too much into the characters in fear of giving away who was there for what reason.

There was a love triangle in this one. First of all Holly meets Vaughn, one of the geeky producers who is kind to her. And a while into the story she meets Ben, a very good looking furnisher for the set. I felt like the love triangle was a bit predictable in my opinion. Once again, this one was largely based on trust. She was trying to find out who would be there for her the most when it came to the point when she would really need it.

Overall, a nice, very well written book. I’m not sure what the ‘more’ was that I was looking for, but I did feel like something was holding it back from being four stars. It was interesting to learn about the ghost writing experience though.

Giveaway! Open to US/Canada only this time round! Win one of two paperback copies of Absolutely True Lies.

Olivia’s Question: Do you find it easy to trust others?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Devon's Choice (Review)

Hi there!

Quickie Announcement! I have two things to announce today! First off is that I have reached day 50 of my 365 day photo challenge and still going strong ;) Hopefully after the summer I can put some of the photography up on here too. And secondly, my friend and I have finally gotten around to making a joint nail art instagram account! Come check it out here!

Title: Devon’s Choice
Author: Catherine Bennett
Publisher: Clean Reads
Published Date: 12th January 2015
Rating: 3 Stars
*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Life holds no surprises for Devon Murphy. Her life consists of keeping tabs on her aging Irish father, working part time at a coffee shop, and building her online graphics design business. Devon’s only tricky situation is a shallow relationship with the pampered and affluent Michael Turner, who sees her as just another woman to conquer.

Following his father’s death, Brandon’s only goal is to expand the family business and live life on his own terms. That is, until he walks into the coffee shop one snowy evening and meets the enchanting, red-haired barista behind the counter. But can Devon and Brandon’s attraction for each other be strong enough to help erase their deepest disappointments and renew their faith in God?

Review: After seeing this book featured on Inspired Books Guide I became all the more curious about it and wanted to try it out for myself. I’ve also been trying to mix my style of reading some more and this one would fall under Christian fiction, so I was looking forward to it.

I did enjoy this one, and I think my main problem was that it was so short. It’s at about 160 pages and I think if the author had written some more and expanded on some points, I would’ve been able to get to know a lot of the characters better and expanded on some scenes and enjoyed the whole thing. But let’s start with some good points.

I immediately liked Devon. She was a generally nice character and she had a lot of the same principals as I did – family, faith and friends. Even though she had strayed from the church community she still wanted to stay pure until marriage despite pressure from her boyfriend. You have to give her some respect for that! And her friend, Megan, never stopped inviting her to church and promising her that she would be welcomed and not shunned from the group. You have to admire that about Megan as well.

There was a love triangle in this one, with two love interests. There was Michael who was rich and a bit bossy as well. He would tell Devon what to do and though he seemed to stick to the grounds she wanted, he did seem pushy as well. Personally I felt like he was always set up to be the ‘bad guy’ of the two of them and I felt like we never got to see the good side to him that must’ve made Devon want to go out with him in the first place.

Brandon was a nice, kind guy. Although he wasn’t religious, again he had some good mindsets and was a hard worker. He stuck to the guidelines Devon set and I felt like although he did have his own flaws, he was good at respecting her as well. Again, I did feel like he was set up to be the ‘good guy’ since we first meet him, and would’ve liked if the lines between the two were a bit more blurred. If we got see the good and bad side of them both!

The writing style was a bit simplistic which was fine for reading but it didn’t excite me or particularly draw me into the story too much. The main conflict in this novel was between Devon choosing what she wanted. And then her father is ill – and some of the conflict was him battling his illness.

This was reasonably short, so I don’t have too much to say! But I would be happy to read some more Christian fiction after this one!

Olivia’s Question: Do you read any religious fiction of your own religion?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Top 10: Reasons Why I Write!

This one is for all my readers who are also writers!

Not all readers are writers, but I am one of them. I was a reader before a writer, but now if I had to choose between one of them, I would probably choose writing. (Or maybe not. I'm unsure about this...) I started writing when I was ten because my grandfather passed away. We had a writing exercise and that was my chosen subject to write about. I did burst into tears after reading it aloud, but I learned that it was a great way to release emotions. I dabbled on and off with writing until I was twelve and found the Young Writers Society and became more series. I started blogging at fourteen and realised it wasn’t just novels and poetry I liked writing, but reviews and everything.

1.      Making Characters
This has to be one of my favourite things about writing. Maybe it’s because I love games like Sims and Animal Crossing, or maybe because I’m a character driven reader. But I strive to make my own characters as realistic as possible, with strong relationships between each other. Filling out character profiles is so fun :D

2.      Beauty in Words
This refers to poetry. It takes a lot of practice to find a perfect combination of words that lead to a beautiful poem. But I just love it when everything falls into place and you have a beautiful outcome.

3.      The Community
Through YWS and blogging I have met a lot of authors. Regardless of whether I love their books/writing or not, they all seem like nice people. Agents and publicists included! I have also managed to talk to some of my favourite authors of all time, like Anne Tibbets and Sharon M. Draper.

4.      Making a Change
Writing can raise awareness about a subject and make a change. After reading Carrier and Walled by Anne Tibbets I donated money to a cause. After reading Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper I changed my perspective on those with disabilities. I, myself am writing a novel about sweatshops and human trafficking because I think it is an important subject and hope to make a change with it.

5.      Release Emotions
I don’t think I need to cover this because of the introduction. But I think it explains why lots of poetry is dark and depressing. Who needs to release happy emotions? We need to release the bad ones!

6.      Handwriting
People say handwriting is a dying art, but if it was up to me it wouldn’t be! I think it is pretty :3 I write all my poetry by hand first (mainly because inspiration strikes amongst real life and not behind a laptop screen) and handwrote my novella before typing it.

7.      Imagination
Your brain needs training as well, and so does my imagination. Writing is the perfect way for me to do this.
8.      Experimenting
Again, this is mainly to do with poetry. But I love experimenting with the traditional formats and trying to make a nice poem while sticking to the rules. It’s a huge challenge and really difficult in most cases.

9.      Audience
One day I would like to write and know I have an audience. Kind of like I do for this blog, but then for a novel. The idea of that makes me motivated to keep writing.

10.   Fun!
Writing is super fun for me. As fun as reading, or blogging or eating which is my main reason for doing it of course.

New video! Have you heard of We Were Liars?

Olivia’s Question: Do you like writing?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Edge of Evil (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Edge of Evil (Dark Secrets #2)
Author Shea Berkley
Publisher:Thursday Publishing
Published Date: 3rd March 2015
Rating: 4 stars
*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*

Check out my book review of book one here.

Synopsis: What if nightmares, best kept in the dark, refuse to stay hidden?

Dr. Maya Kelbeck believes no matter how unusual her patients’ delusions, she can help. When billionaire Alden Caldwell seeks her counsel to escape a controlling relationship, she’s intrigued by his unusual diagnosis, lycanthropy—her patient actually believes he is over 600 years old and a werewolf.

Alden Caldwell’s life is not his own and hasn’t been since the middle ages, not since he was transformed into a werewolf. The once noble knight now finds himself no more than a slave to a female vampire who is without morals, without conscious, without a soul.

Maya promises Alden she can help him, and at first it looks like she can, until the supernatural world in which he lives wants him back. Can Alden convince Maya his delusions are real in time to save her, or has he just sentenced a woman who cares for him despite his past transgressions to a fate worse than death? 

Review: Whoa. How did the first book get two stars and the second four stars?
Because it was awesome, duh xD

But seriously, I am so SO glad I kept on reading with this series in the end. This one was a huge improvement from the first novel. I don’t even think you have to read the first one to enjoy this one, although it is always more fun when you do. It had the addictiveness of the previous novel, but this time it got everything right that went wrong last time.

This book had a new focus. Instead of seeing things from the vampire slayers point of view, we’re getting to see things from the point of view of Maya – who is a normal human, and Alden – who is a werewolf. So yes, this is a werewolf book, but we’re also seeing a lot of things about the vampires too. And I wanted that in the first book and didn’t get it, so I was so happy to find it was given here instead. It was also centered on a new cast of characters. Ryan and Anara are mentioned, as is Sage, but they aren’t really included. I think they might come in during future novels. However, Beau is here (although referred to as di Taro) as well as a twelve-year-old Baby. She was so grown up D:

I loved the two main characters we heard from. One was Maya, a psychiatrist who devoted her life to her job and helping others control their mind. I loved reading things from her point of view because I just loved her voice and the style the author adopted. She was smart and realistic, completely down to earth. When she was told about the existence of vampires and werewolves she failed to believe it as well. It was very realistic how she took convincing.

Alden the werewolf was very cool as well. As we learn in the previous books the werewolves are slaves to the vampires, controlled by their minds. He was someone who had been the slave of Juliana (the head of the coven) for centuries and he now wanted out. He’d made a cameo appearance in the first book and I hadn’t known his character would become important. His point of view was intense, but his emotions were very well explained. The internal conflict he felt at being brainwashed into doing things he didn’t want to do, and wanting out.

Basically me the whole time I was reading.
When it comes to romance in this book there was an instant attraction, but there was no insta-love like in the first book. That had me sighing with relief! This book was much better written, had lots of intricate details that made the characters spring to life and build on the world building. It dealt with the paranormal level of things well and even introduced ghosts – which we didn’t get to see much of but I am sure will appear in the future books.

Like the previous book there was an epic battle scene here. What I didn’t expect was there to be two of them. The first was pretty well done and I liked how it played out. It was realistic and very suspenseful. I couldn’t put the book down. However, the second one was pretty disappointing because I ended up wanting something more from the final big fight and ended up being a bit disappointing.

Berkley uses flashbacks in this novel and it works well to get us to see more of Alden’s past and how he got trapped in the life of slavery to Juliana. I enjoyed that as well and was so glad it was included because Alden has gone through a troublesome past and it was valuable to know all of it. It made him all the more realistic and what we learned in the past was beneficial to understanding the present story.

The last thing I am going to say is that I was a bit unsatisfied when it came to evil Juliana’s story. Her past to us is blurry and although we hear about it, we never get to know the details. She seemed to be one of the villains who was ‘born’ evil or just evil without reason to be. I wanted to know why she was as cruel as she was. I wanted to know more about her backstory. It was a bit of a shame there :/

But otherwise? A very good book. It has set me back in the paranormal mode! I will be reading more of this series whenever Shea Berkley releases book three!

Giveaway Time! Win a $10 amazon giftcard, open worldwide!

Olivia’s Question: Do you enjoy reading backstory of characters? Why so/why not?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Love Hurts (Review)

Hi there!

Title: Love Hurts
Authors: Various (although they were chosen by Malorie Blackman)
Publisher:  Corgi Childrens
Published Date:  29th January 2015 (my birthday!)
Rating: 3 stars

*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Help me out! I blog just as much for myself as I do for those who read! And lately I thought it would be great to hear back from YOU. So I have made a short (seriously, seriously short) survey to quickly find out what you might want to see on here. So click here to help me out!

Synopsis:  Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts - both brand-new and old favourites - about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak, Patrick Ness and Andrew Smith, and with a new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

Review: When I saw that the short stories were chosen by Malorie Blackman, one of my favourite authors, I knew I had to try this anthology. However, I thought it would be filled with original stories. The majority of these were excerpts of longer novels, which was a bit disappointing. People could jolly well go and read the actual book instead of reading a collection of excerpts. Anyway, I worked my way through it and there were 23 stories – far too many for me to cover all in one review. So I have pulled out my top ten to discuss. So, in no particular order:

Humming Through my Fingers by Malorie Blackman: I have read this original short story of hers somewhere before, probably in one of her own collections. And it still touched me just as much here. I think the title was brilliant, for one. It was about a girl who is blind and the way that she sees life. It was an eye opener to me, and it still intrigues me how someone who is not blind could write about blindness so well.

The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle: This one had some lovely descriptions in it, and I loved how the main character speculated about life. A sweet story and I have added it to my TBR because I would like to see more.

If I Stay by Gayle Foreman: I know, I still haven’t read this one but I will! I have heard so much about it and this author, and I ended up enjoying what I read. I loved how tied in music was to the story, especially as I am a music lover myself. Loved the style, romance mentioned and also the characters. Can’t wait!

Trouble by Non Pratt: I am SO going to read this now, and I am glad I stumbled upon it now. It’s a story about teen pregnancy where someone agrees to pretend to be the father in a way of making a small redemption for Hannah, the teenager who is pregnant. I can’t wait to see where this goes. TBR!

You Against Me by Jenny Downham: I think this has been on my TBR for a while and I am intrigued now. I loved the set-up of the betrayal and how both of them were using each other.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman: YES I LOVE THIS SERIES. When I saw the excerpt included I got so excited you wouldn’t believe it. Every time I think about the first book my heart breaks a little. You need to read these books if you haven’t. It puts a different spin on the discrimination idea where the blacks (crosses) are the ones above the whites (noughts). There is also a forbidden love in there.

Gentlewoman by Laura Dockrill: Interesting… this one was about gender change. I have never read about that before and I would like to try this one to simply see what it is about. It is not a published book yet, but when it is, you know what will happen ^.^

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak: After loving the Book Thief this is definitely one for the TBR. I loved the style it was written in and approve of the main character a lot. His thinking rhythm is pretty similar to mind in some cases, picking out random things others might not notice. Beautiful descriptions.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma: Hm, this book is about a brother and sister who fall in love. I have never read a book like this or with this theme (except y’know, The Mortal Instruments but I am not going to count that) so I want to read the whole book and see how it is handled there.

We Were Liars by Emily Lockhart: Well, I have already read and loved this book. The romance isn’t as strongly featured in this one, but it is more so the idea of friendship. And the ending will blow you away, so just read it already.

Olivia’s Question: Do you like reading excerpts?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 16 May 2015

How To: Nightmare Before Christmas NOTD

Hi guys! 

Quickie Update: I have really been working hard at doing all the things I have always said I was going to do and actually y'know, doing them. So I made a Facebook Page! I would love if you could check it out.

So a while back I posted these NOTD posts where I had designed something for The Nightmare Before Christmas. Well, my friend and I are soon to be starting a nail design account on Instagram (I will let you know when it is up!) and I have uploaded a video of how to make the Nightmare Before Christmas! Here it is below: 

This should be the end design:

I hope you have fun trying out this design!

Olivia's question: Are you creative with your nail art?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Stone Cold Dead (Review)

Hi there!

Title: Stone Cold Dead (Dark Secrets #1)
Author:  Shea Berkley
Publisher:  Thursday Publishing
Published Date: 1st February 2015
Rating: 2 stars
*Thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy*

Quickie Update! Not sure how many of you noticed but I have finally gotten around to adding an About Me on side bar as well as a list of blogs I follow a little further below. There's some really cool ones down there, so be sure to check it out. 

Synopsis: When an ancient curse brings Anara Whitecliff to Boston, she must choose between standing by and watching the city suffer, or join a daring mortal in his fight to protect the innocent. A brand new series from award winning author Shea Berkley. Step into the world of Dark Secrets for unparalleled paranormal action, adventure and romance. Death stalks the dark streets of Boston, but even death has enemies… Being a hero is Ryan di Taro’s job. Eradicating the city of vampires and other monsters that hide in the dark is how he got the title. When an unknown woman appears and saves his life and then disappears, he’s not sure if he’s made a friend or enemy. Should he accept her help in hunting down the undead, or is she part of an elaborate plan the creatures of darkness have created to end his quest to see evil eliminated for good? “Reading Shea Berkley is like watching magic unfold before your eyes.” — Darynda Jones, New York Times bestselling author.

Review: I am being a bit harsh on this book. It had a lot of elements in it that I didn’t like, and yet I still managed to enjoy the book reasonably well and hope to read the second book.

It had been SO long since I’d read a vampire book so I was looking forward to it. I couldn’t help being a bit disappointed that this book was mostly centered on the vampire hunters and not the vampires themselves. In fact, we even get a bit of werewolf and witch-work in here. But not that much focus on the vampires at all, so this really wasn’t what I was expecting.

The main character (Anara) and I did not get off to a good start. She makes a mistake when she is trying to save a woman from vampires and then goes and makes the exact same mistake when she is going to save someone else. I mean, hello, learn from what you did wrong the first time! I will admit that her character started to grow on me, but at the beginning she made some dumb decisions and seemed to over-play her mysterious element somewhat.

I also felt like this had a lot of movie-like moments in them. Not where it seemed the author had been writing the words with a story in mind, but more so like she had been writing it as a scene for a movie. That gave it a strangely cliché and cheesy feeling to it? I wanted to read a book and not a movie.

At the beginning we are straight away thrown into a hunting of vampires. I felt like that was fine – but then we never get the backstory at all! In my opinion I don’t like being thrown right into the story without knowing anything about the past. So it bothered me somewhat, but I moved on from that.

Ryan and Beau are basically Sam and Dean
 but specified to vampires
They are also hunting some children in this novel called Sage and Baby. When we find out why they are being hunted, the reason was somewhat disappointing. I wanted it to be because they were special for some reason or so, but it ended up being something a whole lot more generic.

There was insta-love in this book and that is what brought the rating down to two stars for sure where I was previously debating. They knew each other for two days and were together… and then for four days and were popping the words ‘I love you’. It was just too fast and not sincere enough for my liking >.>

I did love the characters of Sage and Baby. They do make some silly decisions as well but that can be excused because they are simply children. Sage is pretty smart for her ages and a very good older sister to have. And then Baby is just too cute and trusting, trying to be the best she can be to make her older sister’s job of looking after her easier. Ryan and Beau were nice characters but nothing special in my opinion. And though Anara and I started on the wrong foot, she grew on me and we became okay.

In summary, this book was pretty cliché, a quick read and typical as well. But at the same time, even with all its flaws it was strangely enjoyable? I know I will be reading the sequel soon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you like looking after children?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Now You See Me (Movie Review)

I’m here to tell you about a movie called ‘Now You See Me,’ released in 2013. There is going to be a sequel, but it isn’t out yet. And this is movie is a rated a 12 plus. The theme was something different: magic. Four magicians each answer a mysterious calling to a random address. They each specialize in a different section of magic. One is a mind reader, another a escape artist and so on. At a performance they appear to have really robbed a bank in what was supposed to be a magic trick. This then brings them to the attention of the police, and an agent is set on their case. This is difficult for the agents to solve alone because of the illusionist attributes to the case, so they call in a man who is familiar with foiling magic shows – Thaddeus Bradley. This results in a strange investigation where the magic can always trick you and the motto of the film is brought to light: the closer you look, the less you see.

This movie stars a lot of familiar actors as well. There are some big names like Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Isla Fisher [Confessions of a Shopaholic], Woody Harrelson [Haymitch, Hunger Games] and Mark Ruffalo [The Hulk]. I really like Isla Fisher as an actress, and although I haven’t seen many of her movies I always love her talent. Of course, it was just as spectacular in this movie too.

My favourite scene in the movie had to be the fighting scene between Dave Franco and Mark Ruffalo. I mean, who doesn’t like a good fistfight? And when you add magic in there it becomes slightly bizarre and all the more the interesting in my opinion. For me, that was my favourite bit I suppose. I also liked the beginning of the film where each of the four magicians showcased their talent. It was intriguing, and in some cases even funny. The special effects in the film were of course splendid, they had to be for us to believe in the magic ^^

The ending of the film was very colourful, and used special effects the most. And of course, the moment when the mystery is revealed and everyone goes oh! I was pleased to say I was able to guess some of the solutions to the problem, but it wasn’t predictable at all for the most part.

It was directed by Lois Leterrier who has directed other films like: The Incredible Hulk and Clash of the Titans. It runs for five minutes under two hours, but the extended version runs for ten extra minutes. I would rate this film four out of five, it’s pretty good!

New video! Book hauling time :D

Olivia’s Question: Do you believe in magic?

Olivia-Savannah x

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Book Haul #5 - Nails and Movie Time Too!

Hello everyone :D

Today it's that haul time again! I have lots of books for you, and also some DVDs and nail polish talk as well. It's going to be a month long collection, so lets get started right away!

| The Boy in a Box - Christopher Michael (for review) | Invisible Wings - Janell Rhiannion (for review) | Where You'll Fine Me - Erin Fletcher (won @ Random Daily Thoughts) | Witchcraft Couture - Katarina West (for review) | Lola and the Boy Next Door and Isla and the Happily Ever After - Stephanie Perkins | Summer Truth - Linda Gatewood (for review) | Loan Some - Megan McLauchlan (for review) | Tequila and Tea Bags - Laura Barnard (won @ Reading... Dreaming) |

I got the Dark Shadows DVD because it has Chloe Grace Moretz in it, and that's reason enough to buy it. As well as vampires! I got The Hobbit part one because I hated the book, and hope maybe the movies can encourage me to try Lord of the Rings.

I have a best friend who doesn't wear too much nail polish. So she gave away basically them all apart from a few for herself, and gave them to me! I was so happy because that is 21 new, basically unused bottles! There were also a few designer ones in there, like Sally Hansen, China Glaze, etc...

Ebook Freebies: I said I wanted to cut down on the amount of freebies I download, and I think I have managed to do so!

| Fire in Frost - Alicia Rades | Priceless - Shannon Mayer | V is for Virgin - Kelly Oram (after reading Cinder and Ella by this author I was so happy to snag another book by her!) | The Geneva Decision - Seeley James |

Giveaway Wins: I have really been lucky lately!

| Cera's Place - Elizabeth McKenna @ Reading... Dreaming | Hooked - Christine Manzari @ Autumn Reviews | Revelations - Jennifer Carole Lewis @ Bad Bird Reads | Death Wish - Megan Tayte @ My Addiction: Books | Darkness and Luminaire - Ciye Cho @ Mermaid with a Book | Operation Deceit - K. Williams @ Fictionzeal | Teeth by Chele Cook |

For Review:

 | The Grim Series (complete collection) - Isabelle Fontaine and Ken Brosky | Winter Secret and Spring Promise - Linda Gatewood | Angelfall and World After - Susan Ee | The Wedding Shroud and Golden Dice - Elizabeth Storrs | Pride and Prejudice adapted by Stacy King |  You Can Trust Me - Sophie McKenzie | The Girl in the Road - Monica Byrne | Bits and Pieces - Jonathan Maberry | Black Tide - Patrick Freivald |

That's all from this book haul!

Olivia's Question: What new books have you acquired recently? What're you reading?

Olivia-Savannah x

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Liars, Inc. (Review)

Hi there!

Title: Liars, Inc.
Author:  Paula Stokes
Publisher:  Harper
Published Date: 24th March 2015
Rating: 4 stars
*Thank you to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: A dark and twisted psychological tale that will keep readers guessing, perfect for fans of I Hunt Killers and Gone Girl.

Max Cantrell has never been a big fan of the truth, so when the opportunity arises to sell forged permission slips and cover stories to his classmates, it sounds like a good way to make a little money. So with the help of his friend Preston and his girlfriend, Parvati, Max starts Liars, Inc. Suddenly everybody needs something, and the cash starts pouring in. Who knew lying could be so lucrative?
When Preston wants his own cover story to go visit a girl he met online, Max doesn't think twice about it. But then Preston never comes home. And the evidence starts to pile up—terrifying clues that lead to Preston's body.

Terrifying clues that point to Max as the killer…

Review: Now where do I start with this book? I am not sure if anything I say will really give it the justice it needs. I absolutely loved this one, and I had been looking forward to it since last year when I fell in love with the cover. I can now assure you there is more than just a cover to this book as well.

Liars, Inc. is a business of setting up lies for other people. Need a permission slip signed that your parents refused to? Done. Need someone to call in sick for you? Done. Need to swap test papers? Done. I like how Liars, Inc. sort of started unintentionally, but then as soon as Parvati and Preston hooked onto that accident they made a business out of it. It was also interesting how a lot of these things the students could’ve done themselves if they had tried hard enough… but they chose not to.

But there was more to this book than simply that! The mystery that unfolds is when Max is being pegged as a murderer. He makes some pretty silly decisions when he is accused, and does a lot of suspicious things. I can excuse him for all of that though, because what would you do if you were under that kind of pressure? There is also the factor of not knowing who is lying in this book. It seems that everyone is lying, and it is hard to discern or guess who is or who isn’t. It made me curious about everyone, and that was one of the reasons this was so good. The OH moment in the mystery where all the clues clicked together bawled me over. I would never have guessed it, but then again, it all seemed so obvious once I knew. There was also enough action in here to keep me satisfied too (although nothing too special.)

Max was a good main character. He was someone who had lived rough on the streets and been homeless as a child, but then was put into foster home. After being adopted, he does have trust issues (which is definitely normal after the childhood he has been through). And because of that I got the impression that this book wasn’t solely about lying and what the consequences are – but also about trust and how to heal yourself enough to trust other people.

Parvati and Preston were the other two main characters. Parvati is rich and confident, and she wants to be a CIA officer. And the likes of which might have to be good at lying every now and again. I wasn’t sure if I could trust her as a character or not, and couldn’t make up my mind about her. I did like her, but as Max’s girlfriend I didn’t want her to be playing him. If she is… I’ll leave that to you and your reading experience.

I couldn’t stop reading. The ending made me realise the major theme sin this were love, lies, trust and family. I would highly recommend it to all YA lovers and those who like a mystery from time to time as well.

Olivia’s Question: What’s the worst lie you’ve told?

Olivia-Savannah x

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Uncross the Stars (Review & Giveaway!)

Hi there!

Title: Uncross the Stars
Author:  Janell Rhiannon
Publisher:  Self-published
Published Date: 18th December 2014
Rating: 4 stars
*Thank you to the author for the review copy*

Synopsis: Fiona Lavender is the new girl at school. She has a chip on her shoulder and a penchant for poetry. Dario Martinez is the star quarterback, and the most unattainable guy on campus. Their stars cross when they are paired to study Romeo and Juliet for a senior English project. Their attraction is fragile and undeniable. But, Dario is afraid of what love will do; and Fiona is waiting for love to claim her. Will they uncross the stars and find the love they both need to heal their pasts?

Review: I was so excited to read this novel! I loved the cover the first time I saw it, and won an ecopy. I read that and then was sent a paperback copy from the author as well. Which makes me very happy to have it on my shelf! I liked this so much it was easy to read in one sitting.

First of all, isn’t the authors name so beautiful? Janell Rhiannon… I love that name ^.^

The first 100 pages of this book was fairly slow moving and kind of typical. It mostly revolved around the slow growing romance and at a certain point I wondered what more could happen in the story. But at exactly halfway things picked up and took a turn in a completely different direction! It quickly became much more than a romance, and I feel more and more in love the story.

At the beginning of the novel Fiona bothered me a bit. She acted a bit immature for a teenager and seemed to be unnecessarily mean to her mother. But that quickly turned around when we found out the reason for this which didn’t quite excuse it but meant that we could understand.

I felt that the romance was so cute as it grew. They were such a sweet couple, Dario and Fiona. There was also the Romeo and Juliet theme in the story which was a huge plus for me as well, because I have discussed that on this blog as well. The mention of poetry too? Definitely earning this book some bonus points.

There was a theme of family, football and university issues. I felt like they were all pretty clear and well brought across in the story.

Now for some fangirling speak. I really hated the character Ryan. HATED him, but that was allowed because we were supposed to! Some of the things he did and caused me to feel so frustrated! But then again, in a good way because that was exactly how I was supposed to feel. I have never felt such frustrated feels about things going wrong involving a book until now…

One thing that I didn’t like was Meagan’s character. What bugged me about her was how naïve she was. I couldn’t avoid feeling frustrated because she was being used in the most blatantly obvious way and she couldn’t see beyond the blind love she had for Ryan. I wanted to shake her or let her open her eyes – when someone says not ask questions you should easily know something fishy is going on!

I can’t wait to read another book by this author!

Giveaway Time! Win a $20 Amazon Giftcard! Open internationally!

New Video! A video about some of the books I loved in my childhood. What are your childhood favourites?

Olivia’s Question: Have you ever been used by someone else?

Olivia-Savannah x