Summer Reads and Films by Neela Kumar

Whether you’re into getting lost in a novel or watching characters and plots on the big screen, the summer of 2014 has something for you! Whatever the genre, whatever your interests, there are some spectacular new releases in the form of books and also films on the big screen. However, if you’re not sure what’s for you, here are a few suggestions of what’s out there:


The book for you – The Heist by Daniel Silva (released 15th July 2014)

‘Sometimes the best way to find a stolen masterpiece is to steal another one…’

Even from that one gripping line, one can tell that this novel is action packed! Gabriel Allon, an art restorer, assassin and secret agent seeks out a stolen painting by Caravaggio in this novel by Daniel Silva. This best-selling author is the New York Times’ number one and The Heist is his 17th spy based novel. His previous book ‘The English Girl’ was widely recognised, and this book is set to be just as imaginative and intriguing. You won’t be disappointed!

The film for you – Guardians of the Galaxy (released 31st July 2014)

Following the huge successes of other films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is the film that we’ve all been waiting for. If you loved heroes like Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, here’s a film about a group of misfits brought together by Peter Quill (Chris Pratt). He’s being chased by bounty hunters after taking an orb desired by Kree villain Ronan (Lee Pace).

To escape, Quill must band together four unusual characters Rocket (Bradley Cooper): a raccoon with skills in using weapons, Groot (Vin Diesel): a tree-like humanoid, Gamora (Zoe Saldana): an alien assassin who’s after redemption and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) who is fueled by vengeance. As you can expect, it’ll be difficult to group these four together and fight to save the galaxy, but it’s set to be full of fantastic special effects and comic based goodies – making it a must see film of the summer.


The book for you – Cop Town by Karin Slaughter (released 24th June 2014)

Claimed to be ‘one of the best crime novelists in America’ (The Washington Post), Karin Slaughter’s new and first stand-alone novel ‘Cop Town’ is on track to be just as thrilling and full of suspense as her previous series of Will Trent novels. This book is set in Atlanta in 1974, following a hunt of a serial killer with a twist – they’re only after cops. The people who are meant to keep the town safe are the ones in trouble this time. After a well-liked police officer is murdered, Kate Murphy, a young woman who’s just starting her new job, and her partner Maggie Lawson, forced into the police to prove a point to her family, are the ones who have to search for the killer. Full of confrontations, pride and anger from all parts of the police community, this novel confronts different themes and will have you eager to turn the page.

The film for you – Into the Storm (released 22nd August 2014)

The town of Silverton is under threat – not from people or an alien invasion but from Mother Nature in the form of tornadoes, and a lot of them! In only one day the cyclones cause terror to the town and it’s everyone’s instinct to run for shelter and try to escape. With awesome special effects and the knowledge that tornadoes are potentially real life threats, this thriller will have you on the edge of your seat the whole way through.


The book for you – How Did All This Happen? by John Bishop (released 3rd July 2014)

John Bishop, one of the UK’s funniest and greatest comedians tells his story in his autobiography ‘How Did All This Happen?’ They say life begins at forty and this was certainly true for him! From a normal life working in sales and marketing, living in Manchester with his wife and children, Bishop reveals how he made the change and took the risk of a life on stage sharing his comedy with the nation. He tells us of how his life changed from his beginnings on a council state, to travelling the world, marriage and children and how he began his career doing what he loved, which changed his life forever. Told in a hilarious way, exactly what we would expect from Bishop, with his own anecdotes and memories, the book is extremely funny and will have you laughing out loud with each turn of the page!

The film for you – Tammy (released 4th July 2014)

Melissa McCarthy has become a star after starring in hilarious films like ‘Bridesmaids’, ‘The Hangover – Part 3’ and ‘The Heat’ but here she returns as Tammy – a woman who’s life is about to change. She’s just been fired from a fast food restaurant and has found her husband (Nat Faxon) on a date with their neighbour (Toni Collette), so packs her things and heads home to her parents (who live only a few houses away). Her family won’t let her go on a road trip to Niagara Falls, except for her grandmother Pearl (Susan Sarandon) who wants to go with her, and she’s the one with the money! Tammy ends up looking after Pearl, both an alcoholic and a diabetic and has to rob the fast food place to bail her out of jail. It’s full of her misadventures and funny moments, so if you enjoyed other films starring McCarthy, it’s likely you’ll enjoy this one too.


The book for you – The Italian Girl by Lucinda Riley (released 3rd July 2014)

‘Nothing sings as sweetly as love, or burns quite like betrayal’

This book, first published as ‘Aria’ and reprinted as ‘The Italian Girl’, is full of passion, emotion and the pain of being betrayed. Rosanna Menici and Roberto Rossini, two talented opera singers meet several years after their first encounter when she was just a child as their destinies entwine. Fueled by passionate love and obsession, their love is set to affect the people closest to them. Rosanna who is from the back streets of Naples has a whole different life on huge opera stages, but she slowly finds out that the past is going to catch up with her and her lover. A beautiful story full of intense themes and romantic locations, this is a must for your bookshelf.

The film for you – The Fault in Our Stars (released 19th June 2014)

Adapted from the heart wrenching book of the same name, ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ is a heartbreaking and romantic film which won’t disappoint. Hazel (Shailene Woodley) and Gus (Ansel Elgort) are two teenagers who meet at a cancer support group and in their darkest times, they fall in love and begin a journey together. She has terminal thyroid cancer which affects her lungs, meaning she has to keep an oxygen canister with her wherever she goes, and has an intelligent and sarcastic personality. Gus has had osteosarcoma and had to have his leg amputated. They bond over their experiences with cancer and try to chase the end of an unfinished novel whilst battling with their illnesses. Whilst some films may not do their book counterparts justice (which in this case I also highly recommend), this is one that most definitely does.

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