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.