Have I Finally Found A New Book Series?

9 09 2015

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

I like reading. I really do enjoy reading books. I enjoy the opportunity to get lost inside a new world, one that I have either not experienced before, or continuing one I previously have entered. For the past few years, since 2012 I think, reading has become one of my favourite past times, particularly when I am travelling by train. The amount I can read on the train depends on the distance of travel, but for Young-adult fiction; which is my main genre of choice, even the short 15-20 minute travel time between Lancaster and Preston can result in one whole chapter being read. Recently though I have been having a bit of a problem with my reading.

The Young Elites (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers - 2014)

The issue has been something of finding a book to read in the first place. I like reading book series as when one finishes, another begins and this continues until the final book in the series. When a series finishes then I have the tough task of finding a new book/series to read, but when at the beginning or in the middle of one I can just look forward to the next book. Due to how slowly I read also, series can last a number of months, and when I am interested in a particular series, I can just read that one and nothing more. Of late though its become a real struggle to find a new series.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

It’s not like I have very little choice either. My Goodreads wish list allows me to keep tabs on books I have spotted and explore them further. This allows plenty of consideration time as what I would like to read next. But some of the book series I have read over the last couple of years are ones I am not too sure about continuing. In that time I have read several series of books from Michael Grant’s GONE series, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games books and more recently Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy and A Monster Calls. I have also started some other series I wish to continue at some point from possibly Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles, Jasper Fforde’s Chronicles of Kazam and Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth books (the second book is my current bed time read). But other series of books I have tried in the recent past, have not gone the way I had hoped. Two particular series of mention include The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. While I did like some of these books and do have something in them for me to want to see where they are going, they also have little problems in them that I find put me off from reading anymore in the series either. However, in the midst of all these though I think I may have finally found a series that works for me.

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

Recently I have been reading The Enemy by Charlie Higson. It’s a series I have known about for about a year now, and it was only when I was looking for a new bedtime read that I picked up a copy of it. After finishing The Young Elites I began reading The Enemy. In my first sitting I read the first 10 chapters all in one go. I just couldn’t stop reading it. I didn’t struggle with the text size or formatting like I did with The Young Elites, nor did I think it was too complicated a plot. Much of it I thought read a bit like the GONE books. Due to a busy workload helping out at The Dukes play in the park again this year, plus other bits and bobs, continuing the book was a bit of a problem, but as I went down on the train for my holiday a couple of weeks ago, I was able to get back into it, and with relative ease, and I just couldn’t stop reading it then either, or even on the way back. At the time of writing this I was roughly no more than about 70 pages away from finishing it.

The Dead (Penguin - 2013)

Probably by the time this gets posted I will have already started the next one in the series; The Dead. I really do like the books. The setting of a zombie parent filled London and the children trying to survive in a new world without their parents is an interesting one. While there are moments I find a little bit silly, there are some really good characters and some really interesting stories going on. It’s not too hard of a read either; chapters are relatively quite short, and when in the reading zone can be just blitzed through. I really am enjoying it, and while this series like many others will not last and then I will need to go find new stuff to read, for now I am happy that I have found something new to read but will also keep me occupied for some time.

Stone Heart (Disney-Hyperion - 2006)

GENEPOOL

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Books I’m Currently Reading

18 02 2015

The Knife Of Never Letting Go (Patrick Ness - 2008)

Since reading The Hunger Games back in 2012, I have been a constant reader. After joining Goodreads in 2013 I have been posting up what is the most recent book I have read and they appear in a little tab on the side of this blog and my stories blog. in 2014 I took part in a reading challenge on Goodreads. Initially I thought I would try and read 10 books. I thought that was a good number. In total I read 25, (with me constantly editing the challenge every time I reached a milestone). This year I thought I would go up from the original 10 but not go overblown like I did with the challenge in 2014, and try to read at least 15 books this year. So far I have read 5 this year, but the first four were quite quick reads and in essence the first three were comic books. The books are:

The thing that I am struggling with this year though is getting late nights and therefore feeling really tired to actually read. On several occasions in recent months I have found myself trying to induce a power nap before hand so I can then have plenty of awake-ness to be able to read. The usual time I would read regularly is on the train to and from Preston, but due to the tiredness, I don’t feel up to reading, so most of the times I have read recently are when I feel like reading and when I force myself to do some reading. But given the last two books I have read, I haven’t minded, because they were truly gripping.

A Monster Calls (Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd - 2011)

Another issue I have had (but this one is more constant over the last 2 years) is there is too much I want to read. Every now and then I find myself in Waterstones looking at new books I want to buy and read. The problem this incurs is that I start reading too many things when in hindsight I can read roughly less than 5 books at any one time. So at the moment I am pushing myself into that reading state and have no more than 4 books to read at any one time. While it is the case I have started some and not finished them as well as have quite a few books on my shelf that I need to get round to reading, I am forcing myself to stay on track with 4 books, and each one of these has a particular category. They are:

  • Main Reading
  • Bed Time Reading
  • Course/Research Reading
  • Christian Reading

My main reading refers to my main book reading at the moment and that is usually and has been for a long while, Fiction, particularly, Young Adult/Teen Fiction. I rarely find myself exploring adult genres, however, I have become a fan of Michael Crichton and have read both Jurassic Park and Micro (finished by Richard Preston). Bed Time Reading, is a spot I allow myself to read something completely different but only allow myself to read it as bed time approaches. Due to my current bed situation though, I am currently not reading anything at bed time. For the most part I read comics at this time as they are an easy read, mainly X-Men but have become interested in reading Fables at some point. Course/Research reading refers to reading something for my course at University, this has allowed fiction in the past with books including The Casual Vacancy (didn’t read all of it, 25 pages at most), War Horse and Jurassic Park. Christian Reading refers to the current Christian I am reading at the moment. My Christian book library is quite small at the moment, but each book I have read during this time has personally helped me every now and then. So with my current reading situation coming down to just 3 books. I thought I would let you know what I am reading at the moment.

Facing A Task Unfinished (Roger Carswell - 2011)

Title: Facing a Task Unfinished: A Personal Devotional for Evangelism

Author: Roger Carswell

Category: Christian Reading

I have owned this book since 2012 when I picked it up at Saved2Serve. It wasn’t until I left Saved2Serve 2014 and returned home that I began reading it. My reading of it is a bit on and off as it is a study course of one mini chapter per week. I find myself reading it when I can and read 2 or 3 chapters at a time. It is quite useful as it has a bible verse in each section, followed by a thought for meditation, then there is a little poem followed by a prayer you can read. the book also comes with space to allow you to write down your own personal prayers. It’s quite a nice little handy book to have as it doesn’t require much time to use and so even if you only have 5 or 10 minutes to spare, you have plenty of time just to read a little bit at a time.

Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need

Title: Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You’ll Ever Need

Author: Blake Snyder

Course: Course/Research Reading

I have been reading this book for almost 2 years now, not as long as it took me to read MogWorld, but still a long time. It’s the case that while I try to read it regularly, doing just that is quite hard. I find it weird though that I don’t regularly read it; because it’s so good. It’s very explanative and also very funny to read but also puts your mind in situations of understanding and then goes through with you certain important points of how to write a film script. These points include, pitching, structuring and plotting out everything before you even write the first ‘FADE’ on your script. A really terrific read that is both informative to those who want to learn how to write a script as well as interesting to those who are just interested in the subject.

The Ask And The Answer (Patrick Ness - 2009)

Title: The Ask And The Answer

Author: Patrick Ness

Category: Main Reading

What is now the third Patrick Ness book I have read in a row, The Ask And The Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy, the first being The Knife Of Never Letting Go. I have actually yet to start reading it due to the sleep problems but hope to start reading it this week. I am really looking forward to it and to see where the story goes as the last book finished on a huge cliff hanger and now have to wait and see what happens next.

Bookshelf

So that is what I am reading at the moment. While I currently am not reading anything at bed time, the floor is open to pretty much anything, as long as it’s a quick reading. as for the other collections, while I do not know what the next Christian Book will be or the next Course/Research book, I look forward to reading them, providing I enjoy them. While The Ask And The Answer will likely take me time to read it,  as long as I continue to enjoy the series I will probably proceed to read the final book in the series; Monsters Of Men, then I’ll have to start looking again as to what I should read next.

Monsters Of Men (Patrick Ness - 2010)

GENEPOOL





Pope’s Question

9 06 2012

A few weeks ago I was watching some Wrestling videos on YouTube and got really pumped up. I noticed the 10 questions thing that Tim and Matt were doing and fancied doing something like that but I already had some plans for June. What I did instead was ask 4 friends from Roothill and Tim (who I have not met) if they would like to ask me 1 question, OK, what I really said was this;

“After getting pumped up just now from watching lots of wrestling videos I have decided to do something extraordinary for next month. I am giving people the chance to ask me 1 question each. Now like the recent showdown between Matt and Tim you ask me a question and I will answer it in a post, However this does not work like the 10/20 questions because I don’t ask you any questions. This is a chance for you to ask a question to one of the most extraordinary minds on the internet (that’s the adrenaline kicking in)”

Today’s Question comes from the Pope (not the actual Pope, with a name like that he could be a Good professional Wrestler, oh I forgot there already is). His question was: “What do you see yourself doing in 20 years time (apart from being an expert on Minecraft)?”.

Well that is an interesting question but first I will address what it says about Minecraft. While I do like Minecraft I am taking some time off after a particularly bad experience a few weeks ago. I am currently planning my return and am thinking of building a new residence and becoming a Samurai Grand Master and train people on the server to become Samurai. I would like to finish off my Lighthouse and my Boxing Arena too. I also thought of organizing a battle between my new Samurai Castle (when built) and Tom’s Ice Castle. I also want to build a Hunger Games Arena, but for now I just want to get back into the state of it being a game and fun again before I return. Before I took my time off I built a Gravestone, I suppose I could be the Minecraft version of The Undertaker, anyway, back to the main question.

Looking into the future is a hard thing to do and only a few fictional characters have been able to do it,  what could happen is a bit easier, I do this all the time but this can be problematic due to me being a Huge Optimist. For years I have always planned out what I want to do, but so far none of these have really worked out, technically by now I should be the British Heavyweight Wrestling Champion under the name The Black Phoenix, but sadly I am not. Yes at one point I wanted to be a Professional Wrestler and part of me would still like to be.

I am currently aiming to be a writer and I primarily want to do novels but this can be quite hard so I have kept my options open to include Film and Television. I have got some interesting inspiration recently from writers like Suzanne Collins, Cormac McCarthy and film maker Akira Kurosawa. I would really like to make some homemade type films but getting a production crew together is quite hard (even though I did once have a conversation with one of my best friends about something like this). I do have some work for Matt’s Animations and I have some Ideas for Papercuts but I need to figure out the story a little bit more. I have also written a short screenplay that I hope to write out a bit more or turn it into a novel. As Usual I have high optimistic hopes for the future, my dream job is to make a Japanese Godzilla Film (well, more than one, as many as I want if I am allowed) but I have also though about writing for the French Cartoon Series Totally Spies! (it may seem odd that I like that show, but don’t knock it, it is a brilliant show), perhaps even Doctor Who and make it GOOD again.

So to answer the question, I don’t know what I will be doing in 20 years time but I do know what I optimistically want to do.

GENEPOOL (I could alternatively be a Rock/Metal Star if I manage to start that Heavy Metal Band)





A Nice Film That Will Be Hard To Beat – The Hunger Games

31 03 2012

The Hunger Games

It has been a hard few weeks for me recently. The GAME store in Lancaster has closed down and I have had to work almost round the clock to get assignment work done and it has been hard to find time for me. Well that time is upon us because over the next few weeks several of the best looking films this year are released. If you saw my list of the top 10 films for this year you would see that there are many good-looking films coming out this year, but there is one film that after seeing it I wish I had included. With so many mainstream films being released it is hard to see the ones in the corner but when you spot them and see them you will wonder why you did not see them before. Nicely tucked away in the corner of the current film releases is this film – The Hunger Games.

Alexander Ludwig, Leven Rambin, Isabelle Fuhrman and Jack Quaid

Now I would just like to say a few words to fans of Battle Royale: THIS IS NOT A RIP OFF. It has some themes relating to it such as children fighting each other but this has some nicer themes as well. I have seen some of Battle Royale and that is a blood festival compared to this, technically you could count Battle Royale as a younger rip off to The Running Man.

Amandla Stenberg

Now as I have said before this is nicely tucked away in the corner and so it is not all that visible, I remember seeing images for this film in a recent edition of Empire and thought it looked interesting. It was not until I saw it advised at the UK’s Best Cinema Chain that I took an interest and then when I saw the trailer it reminded me of images from the edition of Empire. The film does have some themes and does sound like Battle Royale in some ways but it is not Battle Royale, it is something else.

Jennifer Lawrence

The film takes place in a place called Panem which is what is left after an unknown event in North America. After a failed uprising against the capitol a new form of entertainment is founded in which children from 12 districts are chosen at random to fight to the death. If they win they will receive more food and will live in well-furnished accommodation. The story then moves to the character of Katniss played by Jennifer Lawrence. She spends her time hunting and looking after her sister, she is also in love with someone named Gale (Liam Hemsworth). The reaping begins where a boy and girl are chosen from each district to fight in the Hunger Games. Katniss has her name placed in the raffle several times for taking more food and oil than other people; her sister is only in once but is chosen. Katniss volunteers so her sister does not have to fight. A boy called Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) is also chosen who has some link with Katniss. The two of them journey to the capitol and are then trained by a mentor, and groomed to look good for the television people as well as trying to get sponsors who will try to keep them alive. Originally they are not favoured due to them coming from district 12 but after showing off a lot Katniss becomes the favourite.

Jennifer Lawrence and John Hutcherson

The day of the games arrive and she is transported to the arena base and then enters the arena through a tube. After 1 minute passes the games begin, several people are killed within the first few minutes. Katniss opts for getting basics instead of better supplies and begins to look around the arena to survive. Every time the guns go off she knows it means someone has been killed. She continues her survival but then has to run away from a fire started by the television people and a group of other district children who have banned together. After getting help from a girl called Rue she manages to escape and collect her weapon of choice, a bow and arrows. After falling ill Rue looks after her and they become friends and work together. Rue is eventually killed and Katniss finds Peeta wounded, Rue’s death causes riots to happen in District 11. Peeta and Katniss form an alliance after rules were announced that if 2 people from the same district are the only ones left they both win. A short while later supplies are sent in and Katniss is almost killed but is saved by the other entry from the same district as Rue. Eventually the TV people send in mutant dogs to finish off the contestants and from this Katniss and Peeta overcome the final entrant in the contest. Thinking they are safe  but then the rule stating that 2 people can win is overturned. However Katniss persuades Peeta to eat some poisonous berries, just before they eat the berries the decision is overturned, they both win becoming the first entrants from District 12 to win. They are celebrated back in the Capitol and return home.

Donald Sutherland

The film has an interesting setting, OK it is based on a series of novels written by Suzanne Collins but when you see what it looks like, it is an incredible sight. District 12 is a very poor district and because I have recently read The Road you can kind of compare the two but in this case there are more people. The Capitol is a very rich place and well looked after, so you do see this struggle and how the authorities keep the country under control through poverty and fear, it is a police state in other words with lots of white guards all over the place.

The characters themselves are one of the real treats. The president of Panem is played by Donald Sutherland. His character has the underlying tone of being mean and evil but Donald Sutherland plays this in a nice way and so even though he has this underside he is mostly a nice person and his scenes are some of the best in the film. Rue’s character (Amandla Stenberg) is interesting, she is quite for most of the film and you get the feeling that she could be a potential psychopath in the games but when she speaks and becomes friends with Katniss she becomes this wonderful character and when she dies it is a real shame because you come to like her character and like several people in the contests she is just a nice person in a horrible game. The Star Attraction is Katniss though. From start to end she is a strong character and person who is only doing what she has been forced to do but will not resort to the levels of some of the other entrants and only really kills when she has to, not because she wants to, because she doesn’t. You can see a bit of resemblance between her and Jessica Biel’s character in Blade Trinity.

Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Biel

It is hard to forget what the contest is about, it is about the slaughter of children. It has this disturbing theme which shows the fear that the country is imposing on the people. This is the punishment for the uprising and you don’t want to get entered. When the first few contestants die they die in gruesome fashion but I don’t think it is all that bloodthirsty. But while this is the main plot of the film there are several nice sequences where it tones this down, even in the arena scenes. In the capitol scenes you get this feeling that the people are like bullies and that the way that they like the games is like entertainment for them and even when they are groomed it is like reality TV. However there are nice people and there are some scenes which represent this including the scene before the start of the games where Katniss receives her coat from her stylist and he puts on the Mockingjay badge. Even scenes in the arena where Katniss is just by herself in the trees just trying to survive have a nice style to them even the scenes with Rue have this strong nice feel to them. Scenes with Peeta and Katniss may look like the plot trying to slow down but these are the scenes which keep the film in a nice way and not a blood festival. The music helps with this as well with the end credits song showing a balance of survival and pleasantness.

 Jennifer Lawrence

The Hunger Games is an Amazing film with some nice powerful touches, A very good selection of cast and characters that work nicely together, and a story that does not get boring and all of this is brilliantly brought together by Director Gary Ross The Hunger Games has arrived at an interesting point. OK, it is more young adult than Harry Potter but now Harry Potter is not in the way The Hunger games can already enjoy its immediate success. It is a series of books as well and the sequel is already in production for 2013 so it is moving at the same speed as the Harry Potter series which means that if its success continues this could be the new Harry Potter. In fact this is better than Harry Potter. The film has only just been released and has already done very well. If you compare it to the more mainstream film John Carter which has not made profit yet The Hunger Games deserves its success. I would like to watch it again actually; I might go and read the book now. A truly wonderful film which is worth every penny, my advice to you is this, while there are other more mainstream films coming out this one is not worth missing, it is a film which you must watch. While you may not agree with its general theme it is overall a nice film and it has been a while since a film that had both an action style as well as some truly nice memorable bits was released. There are more films that I am looking forward to this year but this film is something special and should not be overlooked. To date this is my favourite film this year and with films like The Dark Knight Rises coming out (as well as The Host sequel and possibly the Legendary Pictures Godzilla film) they will have to be something even more special to do better than this. So trust me on this, go and watch The Hunger Games, it is a nice film that will be hard to beat and I am so glad that I decided to go and watch it, because it has made me so happy.

GENEPOOL (The last time a film came out and touched me like this it went straight to the top of my top 10 Non-Godzilla film list)








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