Numbers 3: Inifinity

Thought I should share my views on the third and final book in Rachel Ward’s trilogy Numbers. Numbers 3: Infinity did the trilogy justice and did a great job in tying up the stories. It was action packed and I must admit, I read it in the space of 4-5 hours in just 2 sittings (would have been one if sleep and eating easter eggs hadn’t got in the way!)

This book, like book 2, has Adam and Sarah as the protagonists. Adam is now famous, like his mother Jem was in book 1, for seeing the death-date numbers in people’s eyes and saving them from the ‘chaos’ in book 2. He is living with Sarah, her daughter Mia (the result of incest from book 1) and Sarah’s two brothers sort of on the run. Or definitely, in the rough as the ‘chaos’ destroyed most homes. The government want Adam’s help in order to look at people’s numbers so they know when people are going to die i.e. where not to waste the country’s precious resources. Nice.

We have Saul in this book; a baddie. Something we haven’t really experienced in the books yet. The drama has originally come from circumstance and results  of the predicted numbers. This book still has all that, but it has this extra villain to add to the mix. Saul is working for the government and after impatiently realising Adam won’t come nicely, he forces him (and Mia and Sarah) to go with him. To a prison like place in the hillside. But it isn’t just Adam that Saul is interested in…… and it isn’t just Adam that has an interesting gift. We discover that Saul can ‘steal’ people’s numbers in order to live forever. We also know that Mia, whether intentionally or not, can do this. She took Nan’s number in the ‘chaos’ and survived instead. Mia didn’t just inherit Nan’s number though, she can also see people’s auras and colours, just like Nan did. So there is some special gifts floating about – but will they be used for good or evil?

Without giving anymore away, we learn in this book that the numbers aren’t as factual as numbers should be. It isn’t as clear-cut. Adam thought he know how it all worked but now people’s lives are at risk. Can he keep his little, dysfunctional family alive? And can they escape the number-sucking grip of Saul?

I truly recommend these books: to adults and teenagaers alike. They are a fantastic and dramatic read. It has as many twists and turns as there are numbers on this world. I don’t think I have ever been fascinated by something that was dominated by numbers  – as we all know, I am more of a words kind of girl 😉

So, One, two and three: read them all!

Happy reading this weekend!

XSXS

Numbers 2: Chaos

The second book in Rachel Ward’s fantastic trilogy doesn’t disappoint. It is just as exciting, if not more, than the first. I must say though, if you haven’t read the first book yet – then click off this page now until you have. As it may spoil some of the plot from the debut. 😉

Half of this book is from the perspective of Adam, the son of Jem and Spider. The other half is from Sarah’s point of view – one of Adam’s school colleagues, who first knows him from her nightmares. She can see the future, you see, in her nightmares. And Adam, you’ve guessed it, has his Mum’s gift and can see the numbers in people’s eyes. Yet, the gift seems to be developing with each generation and Adam can see and feel how the person is going to die too.

Spider and Jem aren’t in this book – you’ll see why at the end of the first book 😉 We are left with Adam, his great-nan from the first book and Sarah to try and help save London from the looming disaster. Adam keeps seeing the same number: 1st Jan 2027.  He sees it in people everywhere he does and knows something terrible is going to happen. This is no London Eye incident from the first book, this is going to affect thousands of people.

Adam starts to record the numbers, the people he saw them in, the place he saw them and the kind of death they will have. He starts to notice a pattern: fire, water and tumbling rubble. If people aren’t going to die on New Year’s Day then a lot of them are predicted to die days after. So what is going to happen? And can Adam change the future by warning people? Is anyone actually going to believe him?

Sarah has the same nightmare every night and her days are filled with a nightmare too  – her Dad rapes her on a regular basis. Up to this point, I thought these books would be great for teenagers in schools to study, but it does has very adult themes like this. Something good comes out of her horrible ordeal though. A child. Which to me, seems a bit odd. I mean, I get why it happened, as a result of incest. But she seems absolutely fine with bringing up her Dad’s baby and doesn’t seem emotionally torn in how to love the baby or now – I just thought that may have been more of an issue. And what will happen when the baby asks about her Dad one day? But Ward does do a great job with Sarah and her love/hatred/fear of her father. And the story running parallel to the first book : means she also runs away. She is also partly running away from Adam, he may have met her at school, but she has known him for years from her nightmares! She is terrified of him but doesn’t know why and as much as she runs, she finds that she always runs into him.

Together, will they figure out a solution to the looming New Year’s Day? Will they all survive? And since the gift has now changed through the generations – can Adam now change the numbers?

My only issue with the book (apart from the baby issue that I have already mentioned) is technology. I like how the book is set in the future and people get chipped and there are these palm computer gadgets that every school pupil has. There are TV screens all over London giving safety info. That all seems quite believable. Yet, Adam doesn’t know how to use the internet. Whaaat? Ward claims, Jem always kept Adam away from the internet because it is full of rubbish. But would we seriously believe that a teenage boy, even these days, would do as his Mum says and avoid the internet completely? Let alone in 14 years time! Teenagers can’t avoid the internet, yet Adam doesn’t even know how to warn people of 1.1.2027 through forums or blogs or anything. I find this to be unrealistic, as I imagine people will pretty much use the internet to survive in the future! Adam would have grown up with it.

This book is aptly named ‘Chaos’ as there is nothing but that from beginning to end. It isn’t a particularly happy book,  but as I say about things like that, it will always make you feel better about your own life 😉 I did get a bit freaked out though by the 1st Jan 2027 date – because could something happen on that day?  Could Ward be right? But I guess you always get that with books set in the future – and George Orwell wasn’t right with 1984 was he?! 😉

Happy reading,

XSXS

Numbers

I have never had a head for numbers. You may have realised that I am more of a words kind of girl. 😉 That doesn’t mean that I am not fascinated by numbers though – even if I can’t always add them together very well 😉 For this reason, I would like to say that is why I was drawn to reading the book Numbers by Rachel Ward. But I was bought it randomly by my sister and her boyfriend for Christmas – random, just as numbers can be.

Numbers is a trilogy  – Numbers 2 Chaos and Numbers 3 Infinity completing the trio. So far, I have read the first two. And they are fantastic. Full of drama and twists and turns. And, I know we shouldn’t judge a book by the cover and all – but they are pretty ace too. Numbers also litter the pages and I swear I could see numbers along the closed pages when the book is shut – but I wasn’t sure if I was going a little crazy like the characters and thinking I could see numbers 😉

The first in the fantastic series….

But I haven’t told you enough to make you want to pick up a copy yet. In the first book, Jem is a troubled teenage girl and she can see numbers. In people’s eyes. It is a date. Of when they are going to die. As soon as I read that on the blurb, I was intrigued. I like psychological plots and I knew this would be one. Like, would she ever tell someone their number? Could she save lives? Will she find out her own number? It is compelling stuff because if you think about it, we all have a number. A death number. Without being too morbid, we are all going to die some day. But we don’t think about it because there is no point. We don’t know when it will be. Even if we have a terminal illness, we don’t know the exact day. Would you want to know? I sure as hell wouldn’t. I would be terrified of that day getting nearer. We all like to believe that we have a long stretch of life in front of us and maybe that’s what gets us from day-to-day.

But Jem does know. She sees a number each time she looks at someone, meaning that a lot of the time she doesn’t want to look people in the eye. She is a typical teenage girl in that she avoids eye contact and is awkward in social situations. She is not so typical for the reasons though: She not only sees the date that will end a person’s existence but she has lost her mum to drug addiction, she has no other family and gets shoved from foster home to foster home and she has no friend in the world. Depressing yes – so maybe not get it your teenager to help cheer them up 😉

It is however action packed and this begins when she meets Spider. Jem is a small, delicate, white girl. Spider in strong contrast is a tall, black, gangly bloke. They are opposites, yet find that one thing in common. They are both outcasts and both lonely.

The plot thickens when Jem and Spider are out for the day. Hanging out in London like teenagers do, they want to go on the London Eye but realise it’s too expensive. Jem quickly realises this is meant to be, as all the people around them, have the same death number. The date of that day. She manages to convince Spider, without telling him why, that they need to go. Minutes later, the London Eye explodes. Taking lives and reinforcing the fact that the numbers must be true! But they are seen running from the London Eye just before the explosion and the police think they are responsible for it. So they go on the run.

I won’t give more away but it all gets very intense as these two naive teenagers go on the run. Spider steals cars yet he has never driven one before. The whole country knows their faces so they have to keep hidden. And remember, as soon as Jem looked Spider in the eye, she knew his number. And she knows his fateful day is going to be soon. So it’s all about can she change his number? Can they stay hidden from the police and the press? Or is she going to have to come clean about her number visions?

It really is an amazing story and they are believable characters. Spider’s gran adds a lot of humour and wackiness to the story, whereas Karen, Jem’s foster Mum brings in the realistic and sensible elements – and tries to bring in some stability for Jem.

I’ll discuss the second book in a separate post – but if you like drama, action and romance, then this book is a great combination of all three! 🙂

XSXS

My Final 50 Shades of Freed Opinion

Well guys, I have read the third and final book in the 50 Shades trilogy. 50 Shades Freed, I enjoyed. I am trying to work out if it was a good book, though, or if I really enjoyed it because it was the first book I read on my Nook (I’m loving how Nook rhymes with book by the way!) I think it is part novelty factor that I was excited to read it each time. I kept joking that ‘I was going to bed with my Nook!’ You can’t deny it doesn’t automatically remind you of nooky! Haha.

Anyway, to the book itself… in its fine ebook form. I enjoyed the story of this one, as predictable as it was. It had a happy ending, which i do admit, for the characters in it I wasn’t expecting but it is a generic ending overall. There was some twists and turns, which I admit did keep me page turning (with a flick of the finger on my Nook) and yearning to read on.

I hate to say this though… I got bored with the sex! For starters, they do it far too often. How often can it be physically possible?! And one point they do it again 5 minutes after… I mean I know Mr. Grey is young but he isn’t 18 anymore! And as for Ana, surely she would get sore, thrush or something with the amount of times they do it?! You never hear the words ‘sorry love, I’m not in the mood/I have a headache/let’s just cuddle.’ Ana says at times when they have had arguments that they need to have sex because ‘it is what they do.’ It is almost like sex is a barometer in their relationship and tells them that all is okay. When you think of it like that then maybe all our relationships are like that. So, yes I felt myself skimming across the sex scenes because I felt there could be no news way for them to do it and the author was certainly not going to bust out that thesaurus to write it in different ways (I discovered this after book 1).

But, as ever, I did enjoy the depths of Christian and finding out why he is the way he is. I really liked him as a character in the end and in this book it was Ana I was more frequently annoyed with. Sunbathing topless, driving a jet ski, going out drinking without calling him when her husband is so needy, clingy and paranoid. It was like she was deliberately trying to piss him off. At least we understand why he is like that. I enjoyed finding out more about his past and I also thought it was a nice touch how the book started and ended with Christian’s perspective (rather than Ana’s like the rest of the book) as it showed both sides to the two characters we had come to know.

So if you have read the first two books, then this is worth a read to complete your sexy trilogy. If you enjoy the sex parts then definitely read this one as it has a lot of raunchy bits – much more then the second book. It isn’t amazing writing; it isn’t portrayed to be. But a holiday read, a sunday afternoon read or a new Nook read.. Yes.

Now which book to read on my Nook…. I must remember that you do actually buy the books. It is easy to forget when a book is on your screen ready to read within seconds of a few touches and clicks.

XSXS

Good Vs Evil

Last night, I went to see Jekyll and Hyde, a production put on by the Burton Operatic Society, and it was fantastic! This is not really a review but I will encourage any of you that live in the midlands to go and see it. The leads were amazing with very strong singing voices and the portrayal of the story was brilliant. All the cast, band and people backstage did a wonderful job. I always enjoy these shows and it is great to see one of my good friends come alive on stage… not that she doesn’t seem alive the rest of the time, but you know what I mean 😉

I loved the depiction of good and evil within the production like where Dr. Jekyll’s fiancée was up high getting ready for bed in her angel like nightie and in contrast at the same time, Lucy was down below being amorous with a man…very devil like. And Jekyll himself, at the end, was torn between his two selves and kept rapidly turning his head from ‘Jekyll’ to ‘Hyde’ and this was shown by his change of hair (half up for Jekyll and down for Hyde, which I thought was very clever!) and the colours of light blue/red. The language too… when Jekyll says to his fiancée ‘Night, my angel.’ and she replies ‘Night, my devil,’ very good hint at the future!

The production got me thinking about the idea of there being Good and Bad within all of us. Do we agree with this? Nobody is perfect so we all have good points and faults. But would we go as far to say that there is evil within us? If the evil within you became a person in their own right then would they be as sinister as Mr Hyde in the story? Would they go around killing people? It is an interesting thought that there are two sides to us. But I am not sure it as simple as that because like we are all different then surely we have different amounts of good and bad too.

Do we get murderers, rapists and paedophiles because they have more evil in them than good? I think probably so. I think it is a battle between the angel and devil we always see on TV but not literally. We have these two urges in our mind that represent good and evil and one will win. This explains why bad things get done and whilst some people are mostly ‘good’ but have their moments of nastiness…. human nature I guess. To back up with a little solid psychology theory: Freud’s structural model of the psyche can help us a little here. He believes that there are three parts to our brain to make up our personality structure; the Id, the Ego and the Super-Ego. The Id is what controls our instant gratification driven by what Freud calls the ‘Pleasure principal’. So when you just ‘need’ that chocolate bar then it is your Id that is winning the battle there….. I wish mine was a little more strong-willed! The Ego is based in reality (Reality Principle) and what should happen according to the situation but still getting what you want in the end. The Super-Ego is related to our morals, fighting the Id and acting on what is right for what we believe in. That is very simple summarising of it and I’m sure there is more to it. But if we take this and think of a situation where we really dislike someone and want to shove the ice-cream they are eating into their face… the Id will be all for this and doing it there and then, the Ego would want to punish the woman but maybe through another way? Or nick her ice-cream when she goes to the loo? The Super-Ego would then rationalise it all and think there could be a better way to deal with it as shoving food in her face would be wrong. So imagine these three battling it out and depending on who we are, how we have been brought up and what morals we have then who knows who will win? Someone with a bigger Id could be more evil maybe, every nasty, negative thought is acted on impulsively. This is just a thought of mine anyway, it could explain a lot.

I also think, that as humans, we are all capable of killing someone. This thought first came to me years ago when I studied Shakespeare’s Othello and Othello is a calm, gentle man and is driven to kill his own wife because doubts and rumours are planted his mind by the villain Iago that his wife has been unfaithful. Can we all be driven to killing someone? I’m not saying that if our mates tell us our partners are cheating when we will go and murder them but this example made me think about it and how a calm, gentle man was pushed to the limit. If we had family members who were killed, would we not want to kill the killer? We could all be in a situation where we want revenge and could be pushed and driven to acting in this evil way.

And yes we all have some good in us too… as hard as it to believe with some people as they keep it very well hidden! Tell their Id to go away 😉

A nice topic that ties in nicely with Halloween! Happy Halloween everyone… hope you get treated and not tricked this evening!

XSXS

50 Darker Shades of Opinion (by Miss Gray)

Evening guys, thought I would finally share with you my thoughts on the second book in this famous trilogy. I summed up the first one as ‘bad writing, good sex.’ If I have to sum this one up in the same way, I will say, ‘Less sex, more plot.’ I preferred this one a lot more. I suppose people will be drawn in to read the trilogy by the sex and by the second book they are engrossed and want to know what happens in the actual story.

I still stand by my first review as I am trying to look at them as separate books. The writing is similar but I can happily get used to that. The characters do seem a bit more developed and I start to find them believable in this book. In fact, I like them quite a lot. Ana seems to come to terms with who Christian is and takes on, not only her first ever relationship, but a very complicated and high maintenance one. She starts to accept him for who he is, which brings out favourable qualities in her. She seems to be tipped over the edge a bit too often for my liking though and I don’t get the fact that she can handle his screwed up past but can’t handle him giving his mentally disturbed ex-submissive a bath? Guess she has a lot to deal with though…. Christian, we found out a lot more about and it becomes very interesting why he is like how he is. Power, control are the only things he has ever understood and the only way he has learnt how to be. As Ana learns to deal with more about this for their relationship, he also learns the other side; ‘hearts and flowers’. There is more romance in this book to balance out with the sex.

One theme that I have discovered runs through the book is ‘hunger’. That’s what I would write about if I wrote an essay about it. Yes, I think about that sometimes being the English writing geek that I am! Christian spent his childhood being ‘hungry’ for food, which is why we discover he is obsessed with Ana eating regular meals so that she is not hungry. Ana is always ‘hungry’ for information. Constantly asking him about his past, the Room of Pain, ‘Mrs Robinson’, his ex submissives, his real mother etc etc etc. She is like an inquisitive child, pushing her luck really with someone who doesn’t really like being open and talking. And of course they are both, quite frequently, ‘hungry’ for each other. For sex. Ana often responds to the, ‘Are you hungry?’ question with the response, ‘Yes, but not for food..’ Ooooh how saucy.

‘Mrs Robinson’ features in this book. Obviously I give her name in quotation marks, as that is not her real name. For some reason, I picture her to be that actress who plays Stifler’s Mum in American Pie. I think it’s because she, too, goes for the younger man and the song Mrs. Robinson plays in the first American Pie film when Finch first sleeps with her. I think the character in 50 Shades is meant to be more sophisticated and more beautiful (no offense to the actress!) but that is how I picture her at the minute. So, yes we neet her and that definitely adds some action to the plot. As does, his ex-submissive Leila and Anna’s boss, Jack. We are talking, thrown drinks, arguments, sexual assault, guns and break-ins. But I won’t give anything away 😉

When we read we like to escape don’t we? Escape our reality and to know that anything could happen. This is why I quite enjoy the whole ‘rich lifestyle’ of it all. Ana gets to fly in helicopters, visit fancy restaurants, view mansion style houses that are then bought, sail on amazing boats and drink expensive white wine and Champagne all the time! Jealous, much?! The thing I am jealous the most of all is that Christian has his own library in his own flat. He must be the person who has a Red Room of Pain full of whips, nipple clamps and handcuffs and also a room full of shelves of great literature. Of course, the most endearing thing about it all is that Ana isn’t impressed by money. She enjoys all he has to offer yes but that isn’t why she is involved. I guess it helps though! It’s almost like she has to ‘learn’ to be rich and get used to having whatever she wants. Mmm… hard life.  I found the part when she bid on the auction at the masked ball hilarious. Not very often I laugh at books but that was funny, as she had no such money but got swept along with the moment.

So yes, I enjoyed the second book and it has a great cliff hanger at the end too 😉 The question now bugging me is – ‘Who is going to play Ana and Christian in the film?!?!’ Everyone seems to have views. Will Ana be beautiful? It seems to say she is nothing special, physically. But we have to remember that it is from her perspective and she doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself. So, will she be more beautiful that she lets on?? Christian, naturally, has to be a god in human form. Brilliant opportunity for some actor out there, they are going to be loved by all women! I imagine him as Neil Patrick Harris in his role as Barney Stinson from How I met you Mother. But a bit more rugged and less cheesy. Maybe no man exists? Truth is, whoever is chosen, someone is going to be disappointed because we all have our own visions of who the dark, handsome millionaire will be. I look forward to finding out….

So, on to the third book…..

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

50 Shades of Opinion… by Miss Gray

Hi guys, Iim back! Had a lovely holiday but thought my first post back would be a review of 50 Shades of Grey since I know you’re all dying to know what I thought…..

My first thought, funnily enough, was finding it odd to see ‘Grey’ with an ‘e’ written as a name and the colour written ‘gray’ with an ‘a’. I know, with all the sex.. why is this my first thought?! Well it’s annoying since I spend most of my life telling people that my name is Gray with an ‘a’. Damn Americans confusing things!

Before I read the book I was told it was badly written… do I agree with this? Yes I do. Thank god I do really. I would have been a bit concerned if I couldn’t tell the bad writing what with me having an English degree and all. It was readable yes and no worse than your average chick lit but the things that annoyed me the most: the repetition of phrases… I lost count of how many times Grey had a ‘ghost of a smile’ or the ‘trace of a smile’ and whenever Ana had an orgasm… ‘I shattered into a thousand/million pieces.’ E L James… heard of a thesaurus?? Get it out and vary how you write! There were also a few sentences that didn’t make sense and had poor expression. The characters were poorly developed too. I know Grey is meant to have so many levels and have ’50 shades’ but a lot of the time his moods just didn’t seem believable and I doubt anyone would be quite that changeable unless they had bi-polar disorder.

Ana also annoyed me because she seemed to confident within herself and her studies. She was a university student who seemed quite ‘normal’ and hung around with popular, outgoing people, yet she had never touched alcohol or had sex. I know, I know, it could be true but in the way she told the story it just wasn’t convincing. She was willing to drive a long distance to a town and interview a complete stranger yet became a blubbering wreck when she see’s him. Then all of a sudden he likes her ‘fast mouth’ but she blushes all the time and before we know it she is sex-mad minx who is willing to try bondage. I just didn’t really get who she was really meant to be. She was oh so confident to write to him on email and as I said, used fast comebacks in person but she couldn’t voice her concerns to him at any given point. She had been studying English and was going into publishing, so shouldn’t she be verbal and articulate? Yet, she can’t seem to tell him that she is not sure if she wants to be hit indeed for pleasure or pain. Weird.

It is the fastest selling paperback of all time. I find this depressing. I can see why people want to read it, yes. But is this what people seem to look for and need from a good book; good sex and bad writing? It’s such a shame because it could have been so much better. Will I be reading the next one? Sadly, yes I will. I want to see how it turns out. I don’t think the same reasons keep me turning the page though as they did for most people. People seem obsessed with the sex in it. It is very descriptive, if not too repetitve at times, interesting and shocking. But to be honest, sex takes up about a half of the book and after the first five or so times, I’m a bit like ‘Oh here we go again.’ Even with his ‘Room of Pain’ I don’t think there are enough different ways to talk about sex as it is mentioned. I was more interested in seeing how their relationship developed and I kept turning those pages to discover more about Christian Grey, who we discover had a lot of pain and lack of love in his life. So, it’s the psychological side I’m the most interested in… yeh yeh the sex is good too but like I say there is just too much of it…. I like them to talk so we can discover more about the characters and I was secretly hoping that they developed further…. I’m still waiting.

I also liked Kate and Elliot. They seem to be a constant contrast of what a ‘normal’ relationship is like and makes us think of Grey and Ana; ‘god their relationship is messed up!’ The parents of Ana and Christian are all interesting characters but we don’t really see them enough for them to fully develop. I think there was one part where Ana phoned her Mum and we got a little history about her and then before we know it, she is phoning her Step-Dad and we hear about him… and I’m thinking Sloowww down, I was just digesting the new information about the mother.

It is worth a read yes but if you take away the sex then you are left with a boy meets girl, boy doesn’t want to commit scenario and let’s face it, that’s been done 50 million times before. But if you are like me, you will want your own opinion on the fast ever selling paperback. And I’ll keep you posted when I have read the other two books 😉

Hope you all had a good week and let me know if you have been reading or have read the 50 Shades books too!

See you tomorrow,

XSXS

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