The Shakespeare Series || The Tempest

* The Shakespeare Series is a new series I’ll be doing here on Reading in the Rain and will involve my good self looking at Shakespeare plays, telling you why you might like to read said play, and then briefly reviewing them! I hope you enjoy 😊 *

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The Tempest

What’s it about?
Prospero – the magician, rightful Duke of Milan, and father to Miranda – employs his spirit Ariel to bring on a tempest in order to gather the men who betrayed him onto his island, to seek revenge for himself and a love for his daughter.  We follow the character’s as they set out on their respective journeys of punishment, love, forgiveness and the fantastical.

Why should you read it?
○ It is beautifully lyrical – Not only does Shakespeare create a vivid image of the island through reported speech but also the recurring references to the environment, the metaphysical, and the mythological are wonderful to read.

The clouds methought would open and show riches
Ready to drop upon me, that when I waked,
I cried to dream again.      

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Book Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

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“Judge people on what they have control over. Judge them on the way they treat their friends, or whether they persevere when they can’t do something… Be careful not to confuse a beautiful face with a beautiful heart”. 

This book was kindly sent to me by Walker Books, but this has no impact on my review!

When ‘Truth or Dare’ slid through my letterbox and into my hands I have to admit I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t really know anything about the plot and I’ve never actually read any of Non Pratt’s other works (much to the dismay of my friend Jasmine who convinced me to buy Trouble, which I have only read one chapter of!) So seeing as I had some free time and a new book I thought I’d dive in blind – and boy, was it worth it! I read it in just a handful of days because it was so addictive; never was there a moment of boredom and I just thoroughly enjoyed it!

‘Truth or Dare’ is a contemporary YA novel that deals with family, friendship, and love – but really that doesn’t even scratch the surface.

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Five Fantastic Non-Fictions

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nɒnˈfɪkʃ(ə)n/

noun: nonfiction

noun

1. prose writing that is informative or factual rather than fictional.

 2 . the genre that is most like marmite; either you love it, you hate it, or you’re too scared to give it a real taste.

When it comes to non-fiction I was the one “too scared to give it a real taste” for such a long time; the only non-fiction you would see me paying any attention to would be my school text books. However (you all knew it was coming) about a year or so ago I decided I had to give it a try and it’s safe to say, when I find a non-fic book on a topic I really love, I will plough my way through it! So I wanted to share some of my favourite non-fiction books, as well as a couple that I am desperate to start reading!

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My New Bookshelves || 2016

So I moved house just over a year ago now and I remember, as soon as we had settled in and the house wasn’t so full of cardboard boxes, asking my parents for some proper bookshelves. My Mum had put up the ones at my old house in the nooks on either side of my fireplace and so I didn’t actually own anything I could place my collection of books, films, comics and knick-knacks on. This was an issue.

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Halloween Recommendations 2016

I’m always that friend who gets overly excited for Halloween; pumpkins will litter my bedroom throughout the month of October, every detail of my costume will be planned for, and I’ll have a precise template for my pumpkin ready to carve! So I couldn’t wait to share some of my favourite halloween reads and watches.

If you’re looking for some spooky books then check out my video, if you want some ghoulish films and shows to watch then keep on reading!

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Book Review: The Last Beginning + Chat with Lauren James

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As Clove watched a petal slowly fall from the flower, she made herself a promise. When she was older, she was going to work here with the machine – even if it meant spending all her free time between now and then studying. Then one day, when she’d helped to get the machine working, she was going to be the first person to travel through time.

I was trying to think of a way to briefly describe The Last Beginning, the sequel and final book in The Next Together duology, but with the amount of plot twists, interesting new characters and jumps through time and space (all that wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…stuff) I couldn’t figure out what to say! Thankfully Lauren James, author of the fabulous book, managed to sum it up in precisely five words:

Lesbian romance with MANY JOKES.

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Book Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

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“Hope may be the thing that pulls you forward, may be the thing that keeps you going, but that it’s dangerous, that it’s painful and risky, that it’s making a dare in the world and when has the world ever let us win a dare?”

The Chaos Walking Trilogy has been one of those series which I had always heard about – always great things – but never got round to actually starting. Thankfully the first novel of the series, The Knife of Never Letting Go, was voted for my Online Bookclub‘s first read of the year!

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The story is set in a dystopian future where, after a group of families are forced to flee to the New World and have to fight off the alien inhabitants, the thoughts of every man are projected to everybody else. This unsettling history is not fully explained until further on in the story which is both incredibly frustrating and fantastically connecting. You, as the reader, learn the truth about the New World and Prentisstown at the same time as Todd, the protagonist. The setting is created so well, I’ve spoken before about Ness’s ability to fabricate brilliant detailed worlds and that is again shown here. He really allows you to visualise and place yourself in this irrepressible Noise and it is presented as absolutely horrible with everything so public. It did make me think about our own Noise due to our peculiar relationship with technology and social media.

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As Todd makes his journey from Prentisstown with his loyal dog Manchee the world continues to develop and it is wonderful to read; there’s an “action sequence” right at the end of the book that is set in the most beautiful place (I’m not going to spoil anything)! Todd’s character matures so much throughout the book and he feels utterly real. Ness writes from different points of view – using fonts to more easily distinguish characters – but Todd’s uneducated dialect is so recognisable. You can just hear his voice! At first it was quite annoying but after a while you get used to it and you realise that it compliments the fast-paced plot and emotional language. In fact there’s quite a lot about this book which will take you a little getting used to but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s a testament to how unique a read it is! But do be prepared.

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The mystery in this novel is superb. Despite it being a pretty thick book you get through it quickly; it is so compelling and you end up turning page after page after page just to know what happens next. Another thing that I and many others enjoyed about this book was the absence of romance. We all like a cute love story but they’re sometimes hard to avoid, so to have a strong boy-girl relationship which is platonic is lovely to read. The friendship between Todd and ‘Mystery Character A’ is the main focus and it is executed really well and really realistically; they don’t always get along but they care for each other no matter what. I really appreciate a relationship like this because there isn’t an imbalance between the two, sometimes in romance novels it can feel like the female is totally dependent on the male or vice-versa and I don’t feel like that’s a good representation. Whereas here they both need each other, they are both strong and they are both important.

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The Knife of Never Letting Go is so unique, full of action, and an absolute emotional roller-coaster with one death that I assure you will make you put the book down for a little bit just so you can process all the feels!

I’d recommend this book to anybody looking for something a little different – I mean this book has a talking dog and he pretty much makes the book! It’s definitely one that I think almost anybody could read and enjoy.

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Book Review: Killing Floor by Lee Child

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“Evaluate. Long experience had taught me to evaluate and assess. When the unexpected gets dumped on you, don’t waste time. Don’t figure out how or why it happened. Don’t recriminate. Don’t figure out whose fault it is. Don’t work out how to avoid the same mistake next time. All of that you do later. If you survive.”

This is the first book in the 20 book -and counting- series. As I am currently studying the genre of crime in my English class I thought I would read some more modern crime novel and so Killing Floor by Lee Child seemed like a perfect choice! Despite reading this book with an analytical eye I thoroughly enjoyed it; I found the plot enthralling and there was a good number of common crime elements whilst still remaining unique and exciting.

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The plot follows Jack Reacher, an ex-a homicide investigator from the military police, after he is arrested for murder as he passes through the small pristine town of Margrave. As he works to prove his innocence and help discover the real murder her uncovers an extensive criminal conspiracy and has to figure out how to stop it. The book is fairly long and therefore allows it to really go into depths with the story. The crime itself causes new crimes resulting in more crimes which really are covering up one incredibly large crime! Everything flows, making it very realistic and multi-dimensional. In spite of this the story is really easy to follow, it never gets too overwhelming. Also there are a lot of twists so you’re really kept on your toes when reading.

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Lee Child is a truly amazing writer; he really gets into the head of his characters and building up the world around them. You quickly come to feel for them. Even though almost every character has a questionable moral compass. I love how Jack is a real hardcore guy, I liked the scenes where we followed him in ambushes as I’ve never really read anything like that before. However he also shows more Sherlock-like qualities, the most prominent being his ability to ‘deduce’ quite accurately although unlike Sherlock Reacher openly states that he’s often guessing and sometimes seems less confident with these deductions. It’s really interesting to see a character who is both a detective and criminal-vigilante. Another character I really enjoyed was Roscoe. She was a police officer in Margrave who fell for Jack and assisted him and Officer Finlay in discovering the truth behind the murder. I liked how was a presentation of moral dimension; she cared, she worried, she feared, she loved. I thought this was a really interesting way to show this common crime element. Watching how others reacted to her also created a really great dynamic and helped the reader see different aspects to the other tougher characters. And of course she was feisty and independent at the same time, which is always nice to see!

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There’s something about this book which makes it work for any age – excluding maybe under 13/14’s – and gender. Lee Child is an incredible writer; he makes a fantastic balance between the different moods. It never gets overwhelmingly gruesome, mysterious, funny or sad. They all equal each other out so reading it is so much fun and feels so natural. However this book didn’t get five stars from me because there was just something…lacking. I can’t figure out exactly what it is; perhaps it was the fact that fairly early on in the novel you’re lead to the correct culprit and so it doesn’t have that shock-factor, or that being set in America I couldn’t personally connect as much. I’ll probably figure it out after so more reflection!

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I’d definitely recommend this book to people wanting to get into the crime genre and want something a bit more gritty.

Mini Monday Review #9

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Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

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“Because they are mean is no reason why I should be. I hate such things, and though I think I’ve a right to be hurt, I don’t intend to show it.”

This book is such an acclaimed classic, since receiving this beautiful Scholastics Classics edition for my birthday I’ve been anticipating reading it! Thankfully it definitely lived up to my expectations with it’s feminist themes  – which are still relevant nowadays – and ideas on social conformity – which is also applicable today as well as having absolutely beautiful writing! This book doesn’t feel stodgy at all as is often the case with classics as the language is very different and it sometimes feels like you can’t connect with the characters due to the time period.

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 With the novel spanning a year in the life of the March family, after Mr.March goes off to war, we follow Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy as they learn to ‘play pilgrims’ whilst dealing with romance, friendships and  poverty. In my opinion the characters are the best parts of this book; with the plot being quite thin it’s true to say that Little Women is really a character driven story. Each sister has very distinct characteristics and skills; Jo being a feisty tomboy who has a passion for writing, Beth a timid musical girl, Amy the youngest sister is a great artist and finally Meg, the more conventional girly girl. It’s so easy to relate to these girls; I personally connected most to Jo as she just adored literature and refused to let society change who she was.

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It is so well written too; the settings are so engaging. You could feel the breeze as Meg and Jo walked to work in Winter and you could see the girls discussing in their ‘Busy Bee society’. If you’re looking for a relatively light classic read involving endearing characters and is jam-packed with emotions, subtle feminist and social themes then Little Women is certainly for you!