Saturday, 31 December 2011

Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

What do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?
Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough.

At the beginning, I didn't think I'd like this book, because it just seemed to be about a whiny self-centered girl who needed a bit of sense put into her. But now I can see that it was so much more than that. I think the point of this book was to alert people to how little, seemingly-insignificant comments can actually mean a lot to someone else - whether it is good or bad. And to be honest, especially towards the end, I loved it. Even though Bridget is horrible at the beginning, at the end I actually liked her, and throughout the story (especially after the Boardroom), I could see how she'd changed. It wasn't just a click-of-a-finger thing - as she was put in the shoes (literally) of the five different characters, you could see it slowly dawn on her, and I think that was incredibly realistic, which made me relate to her better. On the back of my copy, it says "If you couldn't get enough of Before I Fall [by Lauren Oliver] you'll devour Here Lies Bridget's snarky, snappy wit" - even though I agree with this, and definitely recommend for you to read both of them, I'd suggest reading HLB before BIF, simply because the latter is literally life-changing, and hard to live up to, and even though I did thoroughly enjoy this book, I think Harbison could have improved on her supposed wit and perhaps could have extended the novel and made it a bit longer, including more events and relationships. But neverless, great book which did leave me in tears.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

The Medusa Project: The Set-Up by Sophie McKenzie

Fourteen years ago, scientist William Fox implanted four babies with the Medusa gene - a gene for psychic abilities. But Fox died and the babies were hidden away for years.
Now they're teenagers - and unaware that their psychic powers are about to kick in.
Cocky, charismatic Nico thinks his emerging telekinetic abilities will bring him money, power and the girl of his dreams. He's about to find out just how wrong he is.

I don't know whether I liked this book or not. After finishing it, I was left with a strange sense of unsatisfaction...I know the series continues, but I don't think I want to continue reading it. It was a good book - it was full of action, drama and suspense - but the characters were awful. Each one seemed to be incredibly stupid, whiney, and irritating, and I felt like slapping each and every one of them. It was like their personalities weren't set in stone; they were constantly changing. I also hated how obvious everything was - of course Jack was a bad guy, of course that girl was Viper, of course Dylan was secretly good, of course Ketty was in love with Nico - it was nothing new, nothing exciting. I would recommend this book to people between the ages of 10 - 14, but otherwise I think you'll find yourself a bit bored and irritated. McKenzie is a good author, and she gets to the point of the novel pretty quickly - but for me, it was too quick. I know the books may improve as the series continues, but for me it is a no-go.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to England to find her brother‚ the time is the reign of Queen Victoria‚ and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld‚ where supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters‚ warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons‚ keep order amidst the chaos. Tessa soon learns that she is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform into another person.

 After reading the Mortal Instruments series, I thought it would be impossible for this series to live up to its high standards - but it has, and even more so; I adored Clockwork Angel. This novel was the perfect piece to set off the series, what with an incredibly thick and twisted plot that is easy to follow, but still nevertheless complicated. All the mystery and twists and turns within the book make it absolutely un-put-downable, and, especially towards the end, I found myself unable to stop reading. It is truly amazing. I know I have said quite a few times that I'm not incredibly fond of books set in the past - but honestly? This novel has completely turned my opinion around. The way in which Clare unfolds not just the plot, but the characters, is brilliant, because she gives away little pieces to keep the reader satisfied, but not enough to give away the whole plot, which keeps the reader reading. And I have to say that every character was very well developed. I could feel all their emotions swirling around me, and I have genuinley grown attatched to quite a few of them (namely Jem, Henry and Sophie). I also loved how the characters both in the Mortal Instruments and the Infernal Devices are related - and how you can tell! Jace and Will both have that same easy arrogance; the Lightwoods both have that natural superiority. You can feel the family connection, and despite this being complete fiction, I do find it incredibly real at times. So, I think it is obvious enough to say that I loved this book, and I am eagerly awaiting to read Clockwork Prince, the second installment to this brilliant series.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Follow Friday (#1)

So, I thought I should get myself involved in some new memes, and I've stumbled upon this one so many times I just had to join! Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read where you meet and follow different bloggers.

Question of the Week: If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book, which book would you choose and why?

Easy - Harry Potter! I've been a major Potterhead since I was about seven, and it would be a complete dream to live inside the magical world and to attend Hogwarts. If I had to choose a specific book, it'd have to be the Prisoner of Azkaban, purely because Sirius, Neville and Snape are all alive, and they are my favourite characters.

But then again...I'd also love to live inside the Hunger Games. It's my third favourite series, and I just love the idea of it! To be honest, I'd want to be in the last book, Mockingjay, because you're outside of the Games, and you get to see the Capitol!

So - what book would you choose?

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Lucas by Kevin Brooks

Caitlin is spending the summer on the windswept island that is her home. She is caught between girlhood and maturity, and feels utterly isolated from the rest of the world. Then she meets Lucas, who is the embodiment of freedom and honesty. She is instantly drawn to him. But Caitlin must also grapple with the darker forces that seem to be confronting her family. Lucas himself further complicates matters when he is hunted for an awful crime that Caitlin herself becomes involved in. This gripping story, which takes place over one incredible month, will captivate young adult readers.

 So I picked up this book thinking it would be a light teenage romance novel - but it was much more than that. For me, this novel was absolutely brilliant. It's rare to find a novel that truly deals with certain issues, and really gets down into it - but this novel does. Not in a way that makes you uncomfortable, but a way that lets you see into what it's like. Brooks is an absolutely excellent author, and the way he characterized both Cait and Lucas was brilliant; you felt that Cait was at an awkward age between maturing and being a child - and Lucas was a 'lone wolf' and was mostly animal, full of instinct. Personally, I felt like I truly got under the skin of Cait, and I could relate to the relationship between her and Bill quite well. Even though I think I'm relatively mature, like Cait, I do have other friends that are like Bill, and want to try drugs and alcohol and sex and partying and all that, and I understand what a divide it can have on an otherwise strong friendship. The emotions from every character were so raw and real that I couldn't help forgetting that they are just fictional. It was a really great novel, and I would recommend it strongly to anyone 12+.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (#8)

Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, the book I am waiting on is: Hollow by Richard Denney.

Welcome to the house of Hollow.
In a dystopian future, sixteen year old Leah Munro has been sold to a rich woman in a crippling mansion. Soon Leah discovers that there is something mysterious going on around the home, and with the help of three other girls, she attempts to uncover what is truly happening... what lies beyond all of the plexiglass windows and the hideous screams in the middle of the night? Leah will soon find out.

As soon as I saw the cover art for this book, I knew that it would end up as one of my WOW's. For one thing, isn't the girl beautiful? To me, she seems to be the perfect fit for the character of Leah, because by the sounds of things she is going to be courageous and fiery - and since the girls hair is red, I thought it was a nice combination. The blurb is also really entrapping; although I am firmly against slave labour and trading, I am intruigied by this idea, as well as it being set in a 'dystopian future'. It is also set to be a two-book series, which I find great as well , considering the fact that I don't particularly like stupidly long book series. Overall, I think this book is going to be a great hit with many different kinds of people, especially since there is nothing like it around at the moment. I really cannot wait for it!

So - what are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it’s his job to usher souls from one realm to the next.

There’s a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says...

 So when I was younger, I read the Princess Diaries series - and if I'm being honest, I can remember nothing apart from what happens in the films. I have also read certain others books by her - like Jinx and Tommy Sullivan Is A Freak and Nicola and the Viscount. But I can't remember much of those either - so I was intruiged when I found this lying around in the library, considering it seemed to be so different from her previous books, which are more based on wishful-reality. And I have to say that now I have finished it, I'm rather on the fence, because there were aspects about it which I loved...and then there were some that I didn't. For example, how predictable it all was -I guessed what would happen at the end right from the beginning, and wasn't really shocked by anything. I also disliked the main character, Pierece- she was just that typical storybook girl, who is gorgeous (which she is unaware of) and has the extremely rich father who will pay for anything. She also ends up being the damsel in distress all the time, and is so dim-witted I felt like face-palming myself everytime she opened her mouth. But despite all this, the one thing that really riled me was how Cabot said she had anger issues, but she was never angry. If she really had an anger issue, she would have flipped out way more than she did - and definitely more dramatically. But, for what it's worth, I did like it some- it was an easy read, and Cabot did great background research, because all the little issues raised in the novel were solved, and the puzzle pieces did fit together nicely. I would recommend this book for any fan of books like Twilight - but if you're not fond of the typical clumsy heroine, then this is not the book for you.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures began in The Golden Compass and continued in The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from the armored bear Iorek Byrnison and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a maagnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies—and shocking sacrifices.
As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living—and the dead—finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

 I have literally just finished this book, and I can honestly say that I hated it...and loved exactly the same time. I know a lot of people say this, but this novel made me feel so many conflicting emotions all at once. For one thing, there is about 200 pages that are not needed - there's just countless unimportant information spilled down onto pages, and as I read it felt like I was forcing myself to do it, because I want to finish this trilogy. But then you have the other 300 great pages, packed full with adventure and tension that you feel like it's glued to your hands! I've never felt this conflicted about a book before. It was great, but awful. Pullman is definitely a talented author - but, for me, he is a little dated, and I can't help feeling relieved that I have finally finished this book. On the good side, I loved the storyline between Lyra, Will, Pan and Kirjava, as well as Mrs Coulter's storyline - but I detested Mary's storyline, and found myself skim-reading any page that mentioned her - I have never met a more boring character; everything about her is so dull and draining. I reckon this book would have been so much better if Pullman had just stuck to adventure featured in the book, rather than go into complicated detail about things that end up being unimportant. For me, books are my passion, and I have never felt that I have had to drag myself through a book like that before - not even a novel I have been set in an English class! But for what it's worth, this trilogy is worth a read, because I have never read a book that challenges religion and the meaning of our existance so much - and that is exactly what this book does, and really quite well. So for that reason, I would recommend it - but be warned, you have to have a high concentration level, especially in this final book.

Waiting on Wednesday (#7)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
So this week, I am waiting on: Lenobia's Vow by P.C. and Kristin Cast.

So, as for those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you will know that I adore the House of Night series, and have been a lover of it for many years now. When the first novella, Dragon's Oath came out, I really enjoyed the insight and backstory to a character who is not a main in the novels - and considering the fact that I adore Lenobia, I am even more excited for this sequel. Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

In a small southern town at the turn of the century, young Lenobia is developing into a beautiful young woman with ideas of her own. But when she is Marked as a fledgling vampyre, her world turns upside down, and she is drawn to the musical streets of New Orleans. There, she learns of the city’s dark underbelly, ruled by powerful black magic. As Lenobia experiences her first love – and loss – and discovers a passion for horses to sustain her, she must come face-to-face with Darkness itself. And she may not escape without scars.

Can't blame me for being excited now, can you? Dragon's Oath, for me, remade the series, and made me fall back in love with it after I was disappointed by both Burned and Awakened. I'm hoping that the authors will continue to do the well-loved characters justice and will continue to unfold the mysteries in this amazing series.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (#6)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, the book I am waiting on is: Fracture by Megan Miranda.

I put this book on my Goodreads 'To-read' list a week or two ago, and thought it definitely deserved to be this week's WoW. Here's the Goodreads synopsis:

Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

For fans of best-sellers like Before I Fall and If I Stay, this is a fascinating and heart-rending story about love and friendship and the fine line between life and death.

Sounds great, doesn't it? If the overall blurb didn't intruige me, the last sentence does; If I Stay and Before I Fall, especially, are some of the best-written and interesting books I have ever read - I know I've probably said this before, but the whole life-after-death thing fascinating - I mean, what does happen? I love author's interpretations of it, and this book sounds like it's going to be just as good as the two mentioned above. I also really like the cover art - it's a very cold blue, and is quite depressing, which mixes in with the theme of death. And then you have the girl-  who I presume is Delaney- reflected against herself, as if in water - which makes sense, because she drowned in a lake. So to sum it all up, I think the plot is brilliant, the cover amazing, and I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Clary is back in New York and life is good: she's training to be a Shadowhunter and is finally ale to call Jace her boyfriend. But nothing comes without a price. When Jace inexplicably begins to pull away from her, Clary is forced to acknowledge that she herself has set in motion a chain of events that could lead to the loss of everything she loves. Even Jace.

Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenege. The stakes are higher than ever.

I have heard quite a few bad reviews on this book, saying that there was no need to continue on the trilogy, and that it was basically the same story being told over and over again. But I completely disagree. Even though I do have my doubts sometimes about whether certain series should continue or not, this one definitely should have. At the end of City of Glass, I thought that all the untied ends had been tied, and that all the mysteries were solved - but from reading this book, I can see that there were a lot of openings that had seemed unimportant then, but were actually great storylines. First of all, we meet the exclusive Camille, who Raphael briefly mentioned in the previous book as being the real leader of the Manhattan vampire clan, who he was covering for currently. We are also introduced to a character called Kyle - who ends up being quite important - and we get a further look into the POV's and lives of Alec, Simon, Isabelle and Maia, as well as Jace and Clary. I have to say, the latter two are grinding on me a bit - I know they are the main characters, but honestly? There is only so much of their relationship I can take, and the fact that they have only just gotten together and are already falling apart is irritating me. However, I can see how them falling apart has got to be part of the plot, which is stupidly good - and although I hate giving away spoilers, there is Sebastian/Jonathan Valentine action in it - but to have any more information, you will have to read it! Clare is a brilliant author, and has yet again made me fall in love with this series, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves books based on mythical creatures.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Book of the Month: November

This month, I read three books that I rated 10: My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult, Girl Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen, and Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce. And honestly? I loved each and every one for completely different reasons:

My Sister's Keeper was a brilliant novel, and both the book and the film had me in a fit of tears. The emotion throughout was just amazing - it felt like I personally knew each of the characters, and could see their profiles and personalities. It was one of the best novels I've read yet.

Girl, Interrupted was...indescribable. You rarely manage to get your hands on books that hold onto that raw emotion and doesn't sugarcoat the blunt facts. This book, being a memoire, doesn't do that. You can feel the craziness of the different characters - you can feel what it's like to be in the hospital. It was a quick read, but at the same time very insightful, and a one-of-a-kind.

Sisters Red was a brilliant take on the well-known fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood and the bond between the sisters was incredibly realistic, and I'm sure anyone with a sister - or even a sibling - will understand the hardships that they have to go through, and how hard it is to get your head around the fact that your younger siblings are independant too, and won't always depend on you to protect them.

However, I can only chose one book, so it's got to be Girl, Interrupted. There is something in this book that is just so unique and rare. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, because it is harshly true - but to anyone who is interested in mental health and how people with mental health cope with it, then it is definately the book for you.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (#5)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am waiting on: Everlasting by Elizabeth Chandler.

For those of you who have followed me since October, you may have read my review on the previous Kissed By An Angel book, Evercrossed, with which I gave a rating of 5 because I really didn't like it. There was no need to continue the series, and everything about it was just...repeating on what we finally got around to solving in the third book. But I guess I can't help but want to read on - like I said: Kissed By An Angel was my all-time favourite book for many years, and even if I don't like it's continuation, I still feel a need to see it through to the end. Anyway - I will leave you with the blurb from Goodreads:

Ivy should be ecstatic that her formerly-dead boyfriend Tristan is back on earth with her, but the life of a fallen angel is never easy. Tristan has been cast down in the body of a murderer, and the police are after him. Now, there's only one way that he and Ivy can be together: they must clear him of the murder.
But when it becomes clear that there are darker forces at work, and Tristan and Ivy are still paying the price for Ivy's miraculous survival of the car crash, these starcrossed lovers have more at stake than ever before. And one of them may not be alive much longer...

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.
Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

I absolutely fell in love with this book. It's basically a modern twist on the fairytale story of Little Red Ridinghood, where the grandmother dies and the little girl, Scarlett, is determined to get revenge on the man - the wolf - that did this. And I found it utterly entrapping - at times, I just couldn't put it down. I loved the way that the woodsey fairytale world coinsided with the real world, and it felt like you were in both places at once. Although I don't have a sister, I do know what the sibling bond is like, and the connection between Scarlett and Rosie was so real, so strong that it practically gripped hold of me, and I found myself hurting at times when the sisters fought or got into an argument with each other. The emotions playing in each of the characters throughout the whole novel was just so raw and real, and I found myself being able to relate to both the girls - yes, Rosie should be able to do what she likes and be allowed to be a noncommited normal teenage girl - but then again, not enough people know about stuff and do something about it, and at the end of the day, the hunting does bond the girls together in an utterly unique way. It was just...brilliant. I literally cannot give it enough praise. The only thing I would have improved was how obvious some of the twists were - I knew who the Potential was right from when the readers met him, and I just felt...deflated a bit - it was anti-climatic, in a way. However - Pearce is a great author, and I want to eventually get around to reading her debut novel, which I have heard is amazing. I really recommend this book because it is a great twist on the famous fairytale and really makes you think about sibling bonds and relationships.

p.s. I love the sisters names! Scarlett and Rosie - Little Red Ridinghood. Get it?

Friday, 25 November 2011

Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen

In 1967, after a session with a psychiatrist she'd never seen before, eighteen-year-old Susanna Kaysen was put in a taxi and sent to McLean Hospital to be treated for depression. She spent most of the next two years on the ward for teenage girls in a psychiatric hospital renowned for its famous clientele - Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, James Taylor, Anne Sexton and Ray Charles.

I got requested to read this book by my friend Amber - a different Amber from the one who asked me to read Fable: The Balverine Order. And since me and her have such an alike taste in books, I knew that pretty much from the start, I was going to fall in love with it. And fall in love with it, I did. The book is basically a memoire of Kaysen's late teenage years, where she was put into a psychiatric hospital for a personality disorder. (It was really strange when I found this out, because earlier this week I started planning to write a story for my English assessment where the main character has a personality disorder - coincidence, much?) Even though it was years since the events that Kaysen published this book, you can still feel the powerful raw emotion the patients in the ward felt - and even though they were typically 'crazy', a lot of what she talked about I could relate to, and I found myself growing incredibly fond of not only Kaysen, but of Georgina, Lisa, Torrey, Polly, Alice - and even Daisy. It says on the back of the book: "Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to go a little crazy", and I swear this is going to become my new life motto, because it is absolutely true. And at the end of the day, she got better, and had a lot more knowledge from that experience than a lot of people can get in a lifetime - and through reading this book, I feel like I have obtained just a little bit of that knowledge, and I am entirely grateful for it. I read it in less than a day, and will surely read it again sometime - but for now, I'm going to keep my eye out for any other novels she may have written.
Rating: 5/5

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.

So I was stupidly excited when I stumbled across this book in the library, since I had been searching for it for ages. And I was so pleased by it! The novel is basically set 3 years after the end of If I Stay, and this time is told from the POV of Adam - which was definately one of it's best features. Throughout the previous novel, I was constantly dying to get inside his head - so when I finally did, I had really high expectations - and I wasn't disappointed. As I read, it felt like I could feel Adam's emotions brushing off on me, since they were all so raw and so clear. You can feel his pent-up hurt and anger, and when the two finally come face-to-face again, I didn't know whether I wanted them to kiss and make up, or for Mia to just go and crawl into a hole. Forman is such a talented author, and she somehow always manages to capture my attention and draw me into the story, even if it is just a recap of the previous novel. The sequel to the hugely popular If I Stay gave the closure the characters - and the readers - badly needed, and I'm eagerly waiting for whatever novel I am sure she will write next.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Waiting On Wednesday (#4)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week, the book I am waiting on is: Dreamless by Josephine Angelini.
So I really enjoyed the first installment to the Starcrossed series, and I hated the cliffhanger - I just wanted to know what was going to happen between Helen and Lucas, since they are such a stupidly good pair! I really liked the idea of this cycle of revenege going down through the generations, and I love the dramatic irony used within the book. The book was full of thrilling mysteries, most of which have not yet been uncovered - so I'm extremely excited for this book. However, my only critique is of the cover - I don't like it. If I was doing a Starcrossed cover war, I would have definately gone with the UK one, because I thought the US one was a bit boring. This, again, is the US one, but I don't know if they will do two different covers for this one or not. Only time will tell, I suppose! For now, I will leave you with the Goodreads synopsis:

As the only Scion that can enter Hades at will, Helen descends to the Underworld in search of a way to overcome the Furies and end the cycle of revenge that has cursed the Scions. But she’s running out of time. Each descent weakens her both in mind and spirit. A mysterious stranger might be her only salvation, but the price may be her love for Lucas Delos.

As an unforgettable love triangle emerges, Josephine Angelini’s compelling saga becomes ever more intricate and spellbinding. The eagerly awaited sequel to the internationally bestselling Starcrossed, Dreamless delivers with a huge emotional impact that will leave readers satisfied—and longing for more.

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Will is twelve years old and he's just killed a man. Now he's on his own, on the run, determined to discover the truth about his father's disappearance.

Then Will steps through a window in the air into another world, and finds himself with a companion - a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Like Will, she has a mission which she intends to carry out at all costs.

But the world of Cittàgazze is a strange and unsettling place. Deadly, soul-eating Spectres stalk its streets, while high above, the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. And in the myserious Torre degli Angeli lurks Cittàgazze's most important secret - an object which people from many worlds would kill to possess...

I absolutely loved the first installment in His Dark Materials, and I was really excited when I stumbled upon the second in my school library. But honestly? It wasn't that good - not in the beginning, anyway. If I had to rate the book is halves, the first part would probably get a 4, while the second would get a 9. The beginning dragged, and I found myself avoiding reading it because it just droned on and on about nothing of particular importance. And then suddenly, you dive into this amazing story - it has action, adventure, fighting, mysteries - everything! Towards the end, I felt like I literally could not put it down - and now that I've finished, I desperately want to go on to read The Amber Spyglass. But, because I know now that it can take a while to get into the book, I think I am going to read a couple of other novels first before finishing the trilogy. But nevertheless, overall I really did like it.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (#3)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, the book I am waiting on is: Torn by Cat Clarke.

Cat Clarke's previous book, Entangled, which was actually the first book I ever reviewed on this blog, is quite a favourite of mine, and when I found out that she was releasing another book in about a months time, I nearly leapt about with joy. Clarke is such a great author, and has a real knack at leaving it until the very end of the book to lift the final veil from your eyes, and you simply sit there going "Oooooh!". I also really love her cover art - both the girl on this one and her previous novel are absolutely stunning, and obviously great models because they manage to capture the essence of both books in just one look. Even though I have only read the blurb, I am still eagerly awaiting this release and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Destined by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Zoey is finally home where she belongs, safe with her Guardian Warrior, Stark, by her side, and preparing to face off against Neferet – which would be a whole lot easier if the High Counsel saw the ex-High Priestess for what she really is. Kalona has released his hold on Rephaim, and, through Nyx's gift of a human form, Rephaim and Stevie Rae are finally able to be together – if he can truly walk the path of the Goddess and stay free of his father's shadow…
But there are new forces at work at the House of Night. An influx of humans, including Lenobia’s handsome horse whisperer, threatens their precarious stability. And then there’s the mysterious Aurox, a jaw-droppingly gorgeous teen boy who is actually more – or possibly less – than human. Only Neferet knows he was created to be her greatest weapon. But Zoey can sense the part of his soul that remains human, the compassion that wars with his Dark calling. And there’s something strangely familiar about him… 
Will Neferet’s true nature be revealed before she succeeds in silencing them all? And will Zoey be able to touch Aurox’s humanity in time to protect him – and everyone – from his own fate?

I really enjoyed this book! As much as the House of Night books are one of my all-time favourite series, for the last couple of books, for me, they have been lacking in plot, character and suspense - especially because they were situated all over the place, and all that really seemed to happen was that people died and Zoey became best friends with a gazillion other people who you'd never even heard about before. But this book was a real comeback - here, you are back at the Tulsa House of Night where Zoey, the nerd herd and the red fledglings are fighting Neferet and Darkness. I think one of the things I most loved about this book was how some of those loose ends were tied - for example, the storyline with Dragon, which has honestly been bugging me for ages because I've always believed that he was a great guy - so when the Cast's made him all horrible, I was more than just a little bit annoyed. I also loved how finally the High Council are actually doing something about all the countless strange things that have been happening throughout the past books - I mean, it was a bit stupid before, when they are supposed to be this high and mighty group, yet they can't see through Neferet's obvious lies. However, as much as I liked this book, I can't give it full marks because one thing really annoyed me - that how Aurox plot. I like the idea of someone who died in a previous book being reborn - but honestly? Did it have to be that character? You finally think that Zoey has settled down with loving Stark -  but then another guy comes along?! Really? That really did annoy me. Although I know Zoey is typically the star of the show, I really think some of the other characters need a bit of the limelight - yes, Rephaim and Stevie Rae were centre stage for a book - but it's always back to Zoey. I know it seems like a small thing, but for me, it really did spoil a bit of the enjoyment of the book for me. But nevertheless, I really did love it, and I can't wait for the tenth installment to this series.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

From Where I Stand by Tabitha Suzuma

Raven is a deeply disturbed teenager. After witnessing the death of his mother and living in a children's home, he's now been placed in foster care. His new family, the Russels, do their best to earn his trust but it's going to take a long time.

Meanwhile, at school, bullies are making Raven's life a living hell. And then an unexpected saviour comes in the form of Lotte, a classmate bored by her 'ordinary' friends. Together, they set out to track down Raven's mum's killer, in order to expose him to the police. But their carefully crafted plan goes dangerously wrong and suddenly nothing is as it seems. Everything is falling apart and, ultimately, there is only one, final way out.

 I don't know what to say about this book. As many of you probably know, Suzuma is one of my all-time favourite authors, and this is the last of her five currently-published books that I've read. And honestly? I didn't really like it. I know it was about the second book she published, so of course her writing skills have developed over the years, but I just didn't connect with anything. Not the characters, not the twists, not the storyline. I only really enjoyed the ending, where the pace actually picked up. I'm not saying it was terrible, though. I do like the idea of the plot - Raven's mother's died, and he's dealing with his new life with his foster family. If I was thirteen, I reckon I would really have enjoyed this book - but since I'm two years old, all I could seem to do was pick holes within the story. I mean, for one thing, how stupid is Lotte? So many hints about the ending were openly said throughout the book, and it's like - you didn't pick up that any of this and Raven's actions were completely strange? But I don't know whether that's just because I tend to look too in-depth into books like this. But anyway - like I said, it wasn't that bad, and I still greatly admire Suzuma as an author.
Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Sara Fitzgerald's daughter Kate is just two years old when she is diagnosed with a rare form of leukaemia. Reeling with the helpless shock of it, Sara knows she will do anything - whatever it takes - to save her child.

Then the test results come back time and again to show that no one in their family is a match for Kate. If they are to find a donor for the crucial bone marrow transplant she needs, there is only one option: creating another baby, specifically designed to save her sister. For Sara, it seems the ideal solution. Not only does Kate live, but she gets a beautiful new daughter, Anna, too.

Until the moment Anna hands Sara the papers that will rock her whole world. Because, aged thirteen, Anna has decided that she doesn't want to help Kate live any more. She is suing her parents for the rights to her own body.

I have literally just finished this book, and I am currently an emotional wreck. It was actually amazing. Admittedly, I was worried at first that I wouldn't like it, purely because Picoult is an adult author, and I thought that I wouldn't be mature enough to understand some of the things that happened. But I was totally wrong. Merlin, I just...I'm speechless. My mum, who has read nearly all of Picoult's novels, warned me that at the end there is a twist that is just so unexpected you are just left sitting there going "What...the...hell!". And so this morning, I tried to guess what the major twist was, and in the end, my mum told me. But now that I've finished, I realize that she lied, and there was actually a way bigger twist yet to come! I just have so much praise for this book. By chopping and changing the point of view to every major character in the book, you really get up-close and under-the-skin of all of them, and you get to the point where you feel like you're an extra member of the family, yourself. I absolutely adored the characters of Brian, Jesse, Anna and Kate - but I couldn't stand Campbell or Sara half the time. But then again, all great books do have characters that you want to slap in them, don't they? Otherwise what's the point of a novel where all the characters are perfectly nice? Exactly - there wouldn't be a point. Picoult is such a talented author, and I'm really glad that I chose this book to be the first I ever read of hers. I hope the next one I pick up lives up to it's standards!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Fable: The Balverine Order by Peter David

 In a land without heroes, there are two choices: find one, or become one...

The days of magic and myth are fading away, the days of industry and science are coming. As the aged last Hero sits upon the throne of Albion, two friends - the privileged Thomas and his loyal servant, James - set out for the East in search of a legendary beast: the vicious, rarely seen balverine. But their desire for adventure may be their ultimate undoing.

For although the ages of Heroes is ending, dangers still abound in the wilds of Albion. And as they travel, they encounter both unlikely friends and unnerving allies who seek adventure of a different sort. Though Thomas and James seem on the verge of finding their quarry, they may not live to tell the tale. Because their quarry has just found them...

So I was requested to read this book by my friend Amber, who is an absolute Fable fanatic. For those of you who don't know what Fable is, it is basically a current trilogy of xBox games based in a kind of mythical land called Albion, and in each of the games, you take up the role of a Hero and set about trying to save the land from some evil guy. This book isn't a tale of any of the games - it is set around about inbetween Fable II and Fable III, when there are no current Heroes around. I have to say, I am about 50/50 with this book - because on one hand, I absolutely loved it, but on the other hand, I really didn't like it. Firstly, I honestly felt that reading the book was a bit of a drag - I kept waiting for it to pick up and get really exciting and give me an adrenaline rush like the game does - but it didn't, until the last 50 pages or so, which was rather disappointing. But then again, quests on Fable do have their boring bits, and those last 50 pages were stupidly good - I literally could not put the book down. I also loved both the developments of the main characters, Thomas and James - you honestly felt like you personally knew them, and were under their skin for the whole time. I also loved the plot twists that were put in, and how the mysteries were not at all obvious, and when you worked out certain parts, you felt like slapping yourself in the face for not realizing before. So, all-in-all, I'm really glad I read it, despite the boring bits, and I would definately recommend this novel to any Fable fan out there.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Sixteen-year-old Mattie Gokey has big dreams but little hope of seeing them come true. Desperate for money, she takes a job at the Glenmore, where hotel guest Grace Brown asks her to burn a bundle of secret letters. But when Grace's drowned body is fished from the lake, Mattie discovers the letters reveal the grim truth behind a murder.

If you've read my previous Jennifer Donnelly review on Revolution, you'll know that I am a major fan of hers - and this book was definitely no exception. Even though I preferred Revolution, this book was still of an incredibly high standard. The story is based on a real 20th century murder of a lady called Grace Brown, who wrote letters to her later-murderer, Chester Gilette. In the story, the fictional heroine, Mathilda Gokey, gets given her letters, and at several points during the tale she reads out those letters and finds out not just about Grace's story, but also her own. At first I thought the way that Donelley chopped and changed between the past and the present would be confusing - but she did it in such a brilliant way, with the past's titles all her dictionary's word-of-the-day, and the present having no titles. I also loved how well she developed each of the characters - especially Mattie, Weaver, Minnie and Miss Wilcox. I felt like I was under the skin of each of the characters, and constantly seeing them for the first time. Mattie wasn't your average super-hot and dumb damsel in distress - she was an ordinary girl who had big dreams and wasn't going to let certain people drag her down - I think that's why I loved her so much. That, and the fact that she was obsessed with books, just like me. I really think Donnelly has a knack for creating such imaginative but realistic characters, all of whom you can't help but love. I really enjoyed the story, and am sure I will re-read it again someday.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (#2)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, the book I am waiting on is: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

John Green is one of my favourite authors (and vloggers), and as soon as I heard he was publishing a new book, I immediately pre-ordered it! Looking for Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson are two of my all-time favourite novels, and I have high hopes for this next book. Although I don't know much about the initial plot, I know that the story is based on a girl he knew in real life - a 16 year old nerdfighter called Esther, who died last August because of incurable cancer. Through knowing Esther, Green says he was able to develop Hazel, who is the main character of the story. I find it really touching how he developed Hazel through Esther, and I know that she would have absolutely loved the book. I also love the cover art - it is really simple but effective - it gives the impression of  sky and childhood. Although the release date is still a couple of months away, I am still eagerly awaiting its delivery to my door, and I know I will get a review up about it within the week.

Book of the Month: October

Over this past month, I have read six books in total, and the best book would definitely have to be City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. If you have read my reviews over the first three books in the Mortal Instruments series, you'd know that I am a big fan of them now, and am waiting on City of Fallen Angels to arrive in my school library. But despite the high standard in all the books, I did enjoy the first one best of all because it gave off such a fresh and original vibe, and all the characters and the plot were thoroughly developed. I really loved it!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

My Worst Best Friend by Dyan Sheldon

Gracie and Savannah are best friends - despite being totally different. Together they make a great if surprising team and it seems like nothing could come between them - but over a long summer Gracie begins to question Savannah's reliance on lies and manipulation to get her own way and wonder whether her friend is quite as confident as she seems.
I first picked this book up not because I have previously read a different book by Sheldon, but because I like the initial plot idea - it sounded like a typical coming-of-age novel about a teenage girl discovering who her true friends were. And at the end, I did feel a kind of satisfaction from reading it. But while I was reading it, I wasn't so keen. For one thing, I wanted to strangle Gracie's best friend, Savanna. She has to be one of my top five most annoying fiction-novel girls. I mean, for one thing, she said 'like' as many times as 'blood' is mentioned in Shakespeare's Macbeth (which is a lot, let me tell you). And it's a shame to say this, but my strong dislike for just one character really did spoil the rest of the book for me. But also, I don't think the actual plot was strong enough - I reckon that if Sheldon had developed the character of Gracie a bit more, it could have been really good - but half of the time, I just wanted to scream at her "Stick up for yourself, girl!". She is just so infuriatingly wimpy - there is practically zero confrontation with her, she lets Savanna walk all over her, and she has the personality of a haystack. The pair are more than 'totally different' - they are literally one end of the scale to the other. There was no in between, which made the novel really unstable. I'm not saying I hated it, but there wasn't anything remarkable or special about it - however, for what it's worth, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Sheldon's novels, and I have to say that, all-in-all, I did still like it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Evercrossed by Elizabeth Chandler

It’s been a year since Ivy’s boyfriend, Tristan, died. They’ve both moved on—Tristan to the other side of the afterlife, and Ivy to sweet, dependable Will. Now Ivy’s heading to Cape Cod, hoping to leave the horror of last summer behind. She wants nothing more than to lie on the beach, sip lemonade, and hang out with her friends.
But then a car crash ends Ivy’s life.
As she floats to the beyond, looking down on the life she’s left behind, Tristan breathes life back into her with a passionate kiss. She wakes up in the hospital, surrounded by Will and her family, but all she can think about is the love that she lost.
But memories aren’t all that’s come back from the past. And this time, Ivy’s not sure love will be enough to save her.

 I was so disappointed by this book! I have put off reading it for a while now, because Kissed By An Angel was my favourite book for a long time, and I was worried that reading its sequel would put me off it. I'm a strong believer in the fact that certain books should not be added to - for example, the Hunger Games trilogy - if a fourth book was made, I don't think I'd read it, because the main story is done and dusted; it doesn't need adding to. This was the same as Kissed By An Angel - in the previous book, all loose ends were tied, and the story was finished. And this book - for me - had completely ruined the whole series. For a start, I used to love Ivy, and now she just annoys the heck out of me. I found that now she is too trusting, and half of her actions throughout the book are too unbelieveable to accept - surely a teenage girl of her age would have more sense? Obviously not. And again - the whole fling with Guy - it was obvious right from the start that he was either Tristan or Gregory, and how Guy and Ivy came about getting close was again, unbelieveable. And for another thing - I used to adore Will and Beth. Now I dislike both of them. They used to be sweet, kind, and always have Ivy's best interests at heart - now Will seems like an overly-protective and jealous boyfriend, and Beth seems like a jealous, clingy and difficult best friend. I really don't know what happened with this book - Chandler was one of my favourite authors, and there was only a hint of suspense and mystery to this book - and she is capable of so much more! Admittedly, it wasn't a completely terrible book - but it could be improved by far, and I really don't want to read the book that will ultimately come after this.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (#1)

'Waiting on Wednesday' is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

So the book I'm waiting on this week is: Destined by P.C. and Kristin Cast (Okay, so the book actually came out today - but my order hasn't arrived yet, so...yeah. I'm going to cheat a little bit.)

I've been excited about this book coming out for ages! I've followed the House of Night novels ever since Hunted (the 5th installment), and after all this time, I still consider the series to be in my top five favourite reads. At times, I do think that some of the books can get a bit dragged-out and boring - but in the last book, Awakened, a lot of stuff happened just before the end, so I've been eagerly awaiting this release to get some answers to my endless questions. I'm really excited to see what happens not only to Zoey, Stark and all their friends but also Heath, Kalona and Dragon. If the preview chapters are anything to go by, I really think this book is going to rekindle the spark that was present in the first few books. I also really love the cover art - perhaps more than the others?

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

When Lyra's friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, set out to find him. They travel to the ice kingdom of the North, where armoured bears rule and the witch-queens fly through the frozen skies. Lyra possesses a device that will aid their quest - if she can decipher its mysterious messages. But it knows terrifying secrets about their journey, and the dangers that await them in worlds far beyond their own.

  I have wanted to read this book (and the following two) ever since I watched the Golden Compass in the cinema, and I have only just got round to it - but boy, do I wish I had read it earlier! It was truely a great novel - Pullman is just a brilliant author, and somehow manages to make these alternative worlds and creatures totally believeable - you expect to look out of the window and see witches flying in the air and children running through the streets with their dæmon's by their sides. I would highly recommend it to anyone between the ages of 10 - 18, because even though Lyra is 12 years old (aka, younger than me), I could still relate to her (despite that its a fantasy world set in a kind of different world to what we live in) and at the end of the book, I felt like I had known her, Pan and Iorek since forever. I absolutely fell head over heels for every character - well, apart from Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter, but that's pretty understandable right from the start - and I'm itching to get the next two books from the library to see what happens to Lyra and Pan next.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

Amid the chaos of the war, the Shadowhunters must decide to fight with the vampires, werewolves and other Downworlders - or against them. Meanwhile, Jace and Clary have their own decision to make: should they persue the love they know is forbidden?

Okay, so my first thought when I read this title was FINALLY! Finally, they will be going to Idris, the original home of the Shadowhunters. So I suppose that the title gave away that some action was going to go down anyway - even though that was probably a given, seeing as how the previous book ended. But I really did enjoy this book. There was practically action going on in every page, and I literally could not put it down, especially towards the last 200 pages or so - it had me hooked, it really had. I felt like I was watching the scenes unfold in front of me - I was laughing, shouting - I nearly even broke down in a fit of tears on the bus. The emotions from all the characters were raw and so real, despite this being a fantasy novel, and I found myself falling back in love with characters, such as Jace, Clary, Hodge, and even Valentine (to some extent, of course). I really think Clare upped her game again for this book - so many mysteries were planted and revealed, and half the twists that went on during the book were so unpredictable, I didn't see them coming. The only reason stopping me from giving this book a rating of 10 is because of how disappointed I was at Clary's wish. When she wished for Jace - as was predictable - I think she should have wished back everyone who had been harmed by Valentine and his minions over the past 2 days. I really think that would have made the book positively perfect. But maybe she didn't wish for that for a reason? I'll have to find out, with Clare's next book, City of Fallen Angels - but, I won't be reading this immediately because I have only just ordered it in through my school library.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Haunted by her past, Clary is dragged deeper into New York City's terrifying underworld of demons and Shadowhunters - but can she control her feelings for a boy who can never be hers?

I didn't enjoy this book as much as the last Mortal Instruments book. For one thing, the plot wasn't as thick, and a lot of the storyline was predictable - which wasn't that great, because you could see it coming and when it did come you felt a strong sense of disappointment and anti-climax. But nevertheless, I still loved this book, and I still love this series. I do like the complicated relationship between Clary and Simon, and I have to admit that there were some surprise in the book about their relationship that I wasn't expecting - but I got really confused by the fact that they were but were not boyfriend and girlfriend. And then Maia entered into the scene, and I still don't know whether she is dead or not, because Clare just didn't make that clear enough. I suppose that that would be the one thing I'd really want her to improve on, if she could rewrite this novel - make certain events clearer to the reader, because I got completely confused about ten times during reading the book. I know this review sounds pretty negative, but I honestly did like it, and am now going to read City of Glass, which I still have high hopes for.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.... 

I didn't know whether I would like this book or not simply because of the review by Stephenie Meyer saying she loved it (no offence to her, but the Twilight Saga is complete rubbish, in my personal opinion). But it was amazing - I could barely put it down! The suspense in between the pages is so thick it practically makes the book explode. It was impossible to get bored of, and I found myself growing fond of all the characters - Clary, Jace, Alec, Isabelle, Simon - and even Luke. Clare manages to write so simply but so well at the same time - and one of the things I loved the most was how believeable it all was - you could imagine a different world being hidden from the real world by just glamour we mudanes can't see. I have completely fell in love with the Mortal Instruments series, and I am now reading City of Ashes, which I have high hopes for. I really do recommend this series to any of my followers - you will love it!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Book of the Month: September

Hey guys! So I decided that each month I would look over the books I have read and choose my best read and explain why. This month I have chosen Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly, because if I'm being honest, I had my doubts at first - but it was amazing. I rated it a 10, but to be honest, it deserves an 11. For me, it was the perfect example of what every book should have - an amazing plot, characters you really get to know, mysteries that slowly get solved and more. I really do recommend this book - it is amazing and I suppose that, in some ways, I look at life differently now. I really want to read her other novel, and I hope she continues to write more books that are as brilliant as that was.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Careless by Anne Cassidy

As Chloe Cozens mourns the death of her mother, Lesley, teenage 'delinquent' Nicky Nelson experiences quite a different emotion towards her, his social worker, the one person he thought he could rely on when everyone else had let him down. Lesley Cozens wrote Nicky a letter before she died, the contents of which the reader does not know until much later in the novel, but the letter triggers a rage in Nicky that could have had tragic consequences if Chloe had not got involved. When Nicky begins hanging around Chloe's house with a mixture of curiosity and anger that she has had a happy life compared with his, he is prepared to hate her, but instead the two of them form a strange kind of bond. Chloe is her mother's daughter, and finds herself wanting to help Nicky find his real mother, the one who abandoned him at birth. Ironically, the clues she pieces together about what happened lead her back to her mother's home town, and to her childhood friend, Sonia, who is keeping a painful secret of her own. Chloe finds comfort in helping Nicky, a boy who is almost like a brother in that her own mother looked out for him for so long, and Nicky discovers that sometimes you have to trust in people in order to move on and build a life...

This book was rubbish. I chose it from the library because the blurb makes it sound good - like it has a lot of unanswered mysteries in it. And it does, that's for sure. But the way Cassidy reveals them...she just downplays it. I honestly think that the initial storyline is great - she could have done so much with it. But she didn't. Every mystery turned out to be obvious and rubbish. You didn't feel for Nicky or Chloe or Lesley or Sonia. You didn't even get to know them, despite knowing their brief background history and some stuff which should be personal. I just...words can't describe how disappointed I was. Really not worth the read, but I will admit that it is a light and easy read.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

BROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.


When I started this book, I was a bit unsure as to whether I would like it or not. As I've said before, I'm not overly keen on books set in the past, and at the beginning of the book I didn't know whether it was currently set in the past or the future. But as I read on, things started to become clear, and I fell absolutely head-over-heels for this book! It was amazing - honestly amazing. One thing that made me pick up this book in the first place was because of how thick it is - nearly 500 pages. Nowadays, thick teenage books are hard to come upon, and I really fancied a novel I could sink my teeth into. And this book was perfect for the job, and even now that I've finished it, I just want to pick it up and read it all over again. Throughout the story, you connect with each of the main characters and feel like all the events are simply unfolding before you - you feel like you are inside Andi's head. It's so brilliantly and beautifully written - Donnelly manages to capture the escence of present-day teen as well as post-day teen. And she seems to do it so effortlessly, too. I enjoyed this book more than words can describe, and I really want to read another one of her books soon.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

A Voice in the Distance by Tabitha Suzuma

In his final year at the Royal College of Music, star pianist Flynn Laukonen has the world at his feet. He has moved in with his girlfriend Jennah and is already getting concert bookings for what promises to be a glittering career. Yet he knows he is skating on thin ice - only two small pills a day keep him from plunging back into the whirlpool of manic depression that once threatened to destroy him. Unexpectedly his friends seem to be getting annoyed with him for no apparent reason, he needs less and less sleep, he is filled with unbridled energy. Events begin to spiral out of control and Flynn suddenly finds himself in hospital, heavily sedated, carnage left behind him. The medication isn't working any more, the dose needs to be increased, and depression strikes again, this time with horrific consequences. His freedom is snatched away and the medicine's side-effects threaten to jeopardize his chances in one of the biggest piano competitions of his life. It seems like he has to make a choice between the medication and his career. But in all this he has forgotten the one person he would give his life for, and Flynn suddenly finds himself facing the biggest sacrifice of all.

A Voice in the Distance is the sequel to Tabitha Suzuma's other novel, A Note of Madness. Again, it is based around pianist Flynn, and his struggle to cope with bipolar. As an addition to the previous book, the tale is now told in two POV's - Flynn's and his girlfriend, Jennah's. That is probably one of the things I best loved about this book - you not only saw how the mental illness affected Flynn, but also the loved ones around him. I honestly think that this book is better than its prequel, but prehaps that is because I was more emotionally attatched to the last one, and found it uncomfortable to face up to some home truths? All the way throughout the story, Suzuma manages to keep it realistic, making sure that it isn't sugarcoated - it is just the raw truth. She captures the relationship between Jennah and Flynn amazingly, and at the end I could feel tears in my eyes. Although I wish the ending had been different, I know that what happened had to happen - but I want to read more. I really hope that Suzuma continues this tale and extends it into a triology so that I can see what happens to the pair - and their family and friends - next. I really enjoyed these two books, and I want to read the last of Suzuma's five novels soon.

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Note of Mandess by Tabitha Suzuma

Life as a student is good for Flynn. As one of the top pianists at the Royal College of Music, he has been put forward for an important concert, the opportunity of a lifetime. But beneath the surface, things are changing. On a good day, he feels full of energy and life, but on a bad day being alive is worse than being dead. Sometimes he wants to compose and practise all night, at other times he can't get out of bed. His flatmate Harry tries to understand but is increasingly confused by Flynn's erratic mood swings. His friend Jennah tries to help, but Flynn finds it difficult to be around her as he struggles to control his feelings and behaviour. With the pressure of the forthcoming concert and the growing concern of his family and friends, emotions come to a head. Sometimes things can only get worse before they get better.

Usually when I go to write my review, I have an idea of what I am going to rate it. But not with this book. Suzuma is definately one of my favourite authors, and what I mostly love about her books is that she somehow manages to really capture the essence of what its like to be a teenager in these complicated situations, and I honestly felt myself cringing at parts of this book because I could relate so much to them. I guess that's really what makes me want to rate it a 9 - not because I didn't think it was excellent, but because the emotions shown were so raw and so real that it literally made me want to put the book down and turn away, or skip to the next chapter. But apart from that, I really enjoyed it. Compared to her others books, it wasn't as good, but I think thats what happens when you are dealing with topics that don't usually get written about. Throughout the story, Flynn's emotions become more clear and more raw, and I didn't know whether I wanted to hug him or slap him at some parts. Because on one hand, his bipolar is horrible for him, and you just want him to be okay again - but then he can just be a prick to Harry, Rami and Jennah, which is partly his bipolars fault, but he doesn't make things any easier for himself. However, its hard not to love Flynn all the same. All in all, I really enjoyed the book, and I am currently reading the sequel to this, A Voice In The Distance. I hope it will live up to the standards this book has set.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Drawing With Light by Julia Green

Kat and Emily have grown up without their mother for almost as long as they can remember. And now Dad is with Cassy and they all muddle along together well enough - even though they are living in a cramped caravan while their new house is being renovated. Then Cassy and Dad tell them that Cassy is pregnant, and everything seems to shift. Emily feels a new urge to find her own mother. How could she have left them the way she did? Never writing to them? Not communicating with them? And as Emily begins her search, not knowing what she will find, she is at the same time embarking on a new relationship of her own, that of her romance with Seb. This is an evocative and finely drawn novel about family relationships, in particular that of mother and daughter, and the shifting emotions of a teenager trying to make sense of her family and her world.
 This is the first book I have read of Green's, and I was really impressed. The storyline was great - it mainly focused on family, but it also had hints of romance, and was, in a way, a coming-of-age novel. Throughout the story, Green really delves into Emily's life, and combined with the memories and stories told, the reader really feels more like friends with Emily than just an observer. Green's writing really captures teenage readers attention, with a perfect balance between description and conversation. Also, the small hints about Emily's mother, Cassy, Bob and Seb throughout the novel keep the reader hooked, and the unfolding of the mystery right at the end really leaves the reader feeling satisfied. I honestly enjoyed it, and really want to reader another one of her books soon.

Monday, 12 September 2011

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

Supposing you wanted to prove something, something important. Supposing you wanted to prove, for argument’s sake, that there is life after death.

“1798, 10mo, 6d. I believe he intends to practise some unholy rite, a summoning, a conjuration. A thing of magic.”

Two lives, two centuries apart. But they walked the same paths, lived in the same house, and became obsessed by the same question.
When city girl Rebecca steps into the quiet streets of Winterfold that relentlessly hot summer, her uneasy friendship with strange, elfin Ferelith sets in motion a shocking train of events.

There was just something about this book that I didn't like. Firstly, you didn't really get to properly know any of the characters - and secondly, every mystery brought up in the book was not solved, apart from the main one, which was rather infuriating. As you read, you want to know more about Rebecca (how does she feel about everything going on? Is she in love with Ferelith?), about Ferelith (is she in love with Rebecca? Why did she do what she did?), about Rebecca and Adam's past relationship (why did he break up with her?), about John (what did he do to the girl? Why was he blamed? Was it his fault?), what happened to the vicar and the doctor (did they die? Did they get caught?), the Wizard of Oz DVD (how did it get there?) - and so much more. I finished the book and felt completely unsatisfied. However, despite my criticisms, the ending was very good - definately the best part out of the whole book. Throughout the tale, Sedgwick kind of hinted that something big was going to happen - and I really think he did the right thing in the end; I don't think he could have ended the story any other way. I really liked the plot idea, and if it had just been developed a bit more, I really think I would have enjoyed it. But unfortunately it wasn't, and I'm not too keen on reading any more of his books in the future.