Saturday, 25 July 2015

All I've Never Wanted - Ana Huang

The Scions are extremely rich and powerful. At Valesca school no one dares to cross them, instead everyone just dreams about one day getting to be a member of their inner circle. Maya however was different. She purposely tries to avoid the Scions, even going to the extremes of arriving at school very early in order to avoid seeing them when they arrived. Then one day, thanks to Maya’s ability to not be able to keep her mouth shut, she suddenly finds her life gets entwined with the lives of the Scions. Before she knows it she’s fake dating one and somehow falling slowly in love with another. 
The storyline is something that normally would be completely my kind of book. However, All I’ve Never Wanted by Ana Huang just didn’t capture my attention. I just found the story boring. I read a lot of young adult romance novels meaning this story should’ve been for me, but I just felt like All I’ve Never Wanted just didn’t seem to go anywhere. I’m certainly not shy of reading a long book but I wonder if the book was a few chapters shorter and got to the point a bit quicker maybe I would’ve been more interested. I also didn’t like the way in which this book is wrote. At times I just felt like I was reading fanfiction rather than a novel which after reading about the book to write this review, I discovered that interestingly this was how the book started out. 
Again for someone who reads alot of books with stereotypical characters I just didn’t like any of them in the book. The Scions, in particular Roman, seem so self obsessed and arrogant. I hated the scene where Roman turned the whole school against Maya just because she stood up to him. There was just no need for that and it demonstrated the power the Scions had but for me, it only made me hate them more which only made it increasingly more difficult to like them as the book progressed. However, even when this happened to Maya, I didn’t really feel sorry for her. I thought her character was a little two dimensional and not relatable in the slightest which made me really not care what happened to her. Also, the ways in which Maya and the Scions interacted with each other just didn’t seem believable which again made it hard for me to read.  
Usually when I’m not so fond of a book I try to keep reading until the end, however I’m over 50% of the way through and I just can’t read any more of this book. Perhaps my review would’ve been different if I had persevered to the end. My problem was that I just didn’t care about the characters or particularly the story to read anymore. I usually desperately require closure to a book but I don’t have an interest in finding out what happens to these characters. It has got to the stage where it’s become a real chore to pick up my kindle to read this book so unfortunately I’ve just given up and decided not to read anymore of All I’ve Never Wanted.  
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend reading All I’ve Never Wanted. Complete credit to the author for getting this book published after writing on Wattpad but it just wasn’t for me. In my opinion, the story was long winded and the characters were boring. However, from reading others people’s reviews it seems that the story is very similar to that of Japanese show, Hana Yori Dango so perhaps you’d enjoy All I’ve Never Wanted a lot more than I did if you like that.  

Sunday, 19 July 2015

London Film And Comic Con 2015

This is a little different from my usual blog post but I thought that for this weeks post I would write about my experience at this weekends London Film & Comic Con at Kensington Olympia which I am currently sat on the train home from. 

Having attended various conventions since 2010, I am by no means a newbie to the organisers, Showmasters conventions so by now I know exactly how things work and what to expect. This year however, was my first time at the UK's largest convention of its kind, London Film & Comic Con (LFCC). I've never really fancied attending before as it is much bigger than the other conventions that I have attended in the past. This year however, LFCC was focussed on the 30th anniversary of one of my favourite films, Back To The Future so like many others I couldn't resist attending this year. 

This year was especially different to other years due to the fact that entry tickets and many of the photoshoots were sold out plus it added into the equation the addition of diamond passes for some of the bigger named guests. Not unsurprising when you look at some of the incredible guests that were on this lineup. Unfortunately gold/diamond passes were out of my price range so this blog comes from somebody who did the weekend entirely with a standard ticket. Despite the entry queue snaking almost the entire way around Olympia, Showmasters staff quickly got the crowds inside and although it may have taken me almost an hour to get inside the queue never stopped moving once so it didn't feel like much time at all. Considering the large amounts of attendees I think it was extremely well managed, particularly compared with some experiences I've had at not Showmasters run conventions.

I had photoshoot sessions booked in advance of the day, with the stars of Back To The Future, Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd and from Harry Potter, David Bradley and Michael Gambon. Michael J Fox is someone who I never thought I would get the opportunity to meet so I consider myself extremely lucky to have managed to get a photoshoot ticket to meet him. Of course, many other attendees were there to meet Michael J Fox too and the photoshoot area was by far the busiest I attended all day. It was extremely warm waiting and I seemed to be surrounded by people complaining that it was poorly organised but truthfully I think it wasn't too bad. Yes a better system could probably be thought of now Showmasters are getting extremely high profile guests attending but photo batches were clearly shouted by the staff member and held up on whiteboard so everyone should see. Everyone waiting got what they paid for in the end, the opportunity to get a photo and spend a few seconds speaking to someone they've watched on television for years. My biggest surprise came with Michael J Fox as I found him surprisingly chatty in comparison to Michael Gambon towards the end of the day, whose photo session seemed extremely rushed. A nice addition now is that you get your photo almost instantly after it is taken, much improvement to a few years back when you had to wait hours for your photo to be printed. Credit goes completely to the gentleman who was manning the big guest photoshoot area as I really think he kept all the photoshoots running as smoothly as they possibly could. 

My only real gripe about the convention is accessibility and the lack of air con, though this is more a fault of the venue rather than Showmasters themselves. Access to the comic book and young adult book sections as well as a few of the signing areas on levels 2 and 3 was poor. The only way up was by lift or a very small staircase which was very time consuming whichever option you chose to use. Despite me wanting to go and meet some authors, the accessibility really put me off making multiple trips up to those zones.

I need to mention the young adult literacy convention (YALC) which was part of LFCC this year. Featuring signings and talks from popular authors such as Samantha Shannon (author of The Bone Season series), Malory Blackman (author of the Noughts and Crosses series) and author of Take Back The Skies, Lucy Saxon, who even came in cosplay! As someone who is very interested in reading books of the young adult genre it was great that it had its own dedicated section of the convention. I just wish it had easier access so I could've spent more time browsing the book stalls and getting more of my books signed.

All in all I thought LFCC was brilliant and would certainly consider going again in the future. Although I've read quite negative opinions on this year's convention, I found the organisation to be pretty good overall. The guests this year were real one in a lifetime opportunity guests and I am very thankful for Showmasters for giving me the opportunity to meet everyone I did. If you want to attend LFCC I would highly recommend attending one of Showmasters other conversations first to get the feel of how they work with ticketing (particularly if you want autographs) as I think that LFCC may be a little overwhelming if it's your first conversation. 

Saturday, 4 July 2015

My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend - Eleanor Wood

I’ve seen My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend by Eleanor Wood be mentioned rather a lot on Twitter the past week or so. The title sounded just like the type of book that I’d love so I couldn’t resist giving it a read. Unfortunately the book isn’t quite like the title suggests its going to be and the love interest between the main character, Tuesday and rockstar Jackson Griffith, barely even crosses the more than friends line. 
The book focuses on blogger Tuesday. She loves to write and that is what she wants to do more than everything. However, other than her mum, boyfriend and best friend no one ever reads her blog so when one day she unexpectedly gets a comment from a poster calling themselves Jackson Griffith, a rockstar she had a massive crush on when she was younger, it’s safe to say she was a little bit excited. Her friends and boyfriend, understandably, don’t believe that the comments are being left by the real Jackson Griffith and are very quick to burst Tuesday’s bubble. However, Tuesday completely believes that it is him so ends up emailing Jackson who sends her a photo of himself reading her blog which is undeniable proof that he is the real deal. Tuesday is currently in the middle of her final year of A Levels so can’t afford a distraction right now but Jackson does just that. 
What’s refreshing about this book is that Tuesday isn’t the stereotypical main character. She is completely quirky and is very much aware of her future and the dangers of meeting a stranger from the internet which makes the book a much more enjoyable read. However, I didn’t enjoy the other characters in the book. Tuesday’s best friend, Nishi, is the worst friend to her and her boyfriend Seymour isn’t much better. Seymour comes from a different background to Tuesday and his parents just think that Tuesday isn’t good enough for their son to be dating. Seymour doesn’t have any sweet, caring moments with Tuesday and I really don’t know how they got together in the first place so it’s no wonder she ditches them both for a guy who writes nice comments on her blog. However, Jackson was known for being an alcoholic and drug addict and his influence threatens to ruin Tuesday’s future which makes me dislike him.
However, despite this I found the book to be an easy read, with it effortlessly blending the realms of reality and the fantasy world that normally only lives in daydreams. Having a blog myself makes it much more realistic to imagine how I’d react if my favourite musician commented on my blog. I’ve also attended Glastonbury Festival a few times myself and of course I remember doing my A Levels so those settings too made it so much more relatable. 
This book wasn’t completely my cup of tea but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading. I completely judged this book by its title to begin with so perhaps my mistake was expecting to read a story completely different to what it turned out to be about. Even when I got to grips with what the story was about I was just expecting something more, though I’m not entirely sure what. Personally I think this book is perhaps for a more teenage audience. I hated Tuesday’s friends but if you can get past that, the settings, music references and some of the meetings with Jackson is what makes My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend great.