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.