Thursday, 27 December 2012

Struck By Lightning - Chris Colfer (2012)

 3 stars

There wasn't really much chance that I wouldn't read this as soon as I bought it, and my awe for Chris Colfer is still very much intact. I am quite excited for this movie to see how they do it, also for Lauren Lopez who has a tiny, but still legitimate, part in it.

I don't know whether he wrote the book first then turned it into a script or whether it was the other way round but either way I think this will work a lot better as a movie. Because the book is narrated in first person from Carson's perspective the book  has a natural stopping point where you can't really find out any more details which I was really curious about, I hope in the movie it's better explored. I think my favourite character was Malerie, but that may have been because I was picturing Rebel Wilson acting as her whenever she did anything and my love for Rebel Wilson may have influenced that decision. If it wasn't Malerie, my favourite character was probably Carson, maybe because no other likeable characters were explored enough, but I thought his humour made up for his angst and superiority complex. I would recommend this to anyone that wants an easy read, and likes teenage school drama.

Carson's only goal is to get into Northwestern and become an editor and writer, and this book follows his senior year in high school in his hometown of Clover. He will do anything to get into Northwestern which is why when they tell him to make a literary magazine at his school he blackmails his classmates so that he has submissions. He ends up with hilarious gossip on the whole student council and gets many submissions to the magazine however he doesn't get any letters from Northwestern. At the end of the year his Counsellor calls him in to tell him that because he didn't reply to his acceptance letter and his spot has been taken. He learns that his mum threw out his aceptance letter because "it's useless to dream" and on his way home from school the next day he is struck by lightning and killed.

Monday, 24 December 2012

A Storm of Swords - George R.R Martin (2000)

5 stars

This is my favourite book in the series so far. It was very gripping and I finished it in like a week. There are certain events that occur about 200 pages in that nearly made me want to stop reading, but I guess I'm to immersed in the series now to stop. George Martin himself said "The (don't want to spoil it) sequence in the third book... when I reached that chapter, I just couldn't make myself write it. So it was emotionally wrenching for me as a writer just as it is I hope for readers.".  

Daenerys remains my favourite, with Tyrion a close second - and the out-of-nowhere surprise at the end of the book was fantastic. I just like the way George Martin does things. All his twists and cliffhangers seem to come from nowhere, but there was always foreshadowing  and I kick myself a little for not being able to predict or join the dots.

Jaime is a useless member of the Kingsguard without his sword hand. Jon holds the Wall from the wildlings only to be called a turncloak, but ends up being voted Lord Commander. Catelyn is 'killed' at the Red Wedding but turns up alive. Robb is killed for real. Tyrion is blamed for Joffrey's death and is found guilty only to be freed by Jaime. Sansa manages to escape with the promise of home, but Littlefinger whisks her away to the Vale. Arya makes it to the Red Wedding and nearly sees her mother before the Hound stops her, he is then injured badly and Arya leaves him for dead. Bran is helped by the mysterious Coldhands and ventures into the haunted forest with Jojen and Meera. Samwell convinces the Night's watch to have Jon as Lord Commander. Davos convinces Stannis to help the Night's Watch in their war against the wildlings. Daenerys learns Jorah has been informing Varys of her doings and tells him to leave, she also decides to stop raiding and rule Mereen instead. 

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Storm of Swords, Part 1: Steel and Snow (2000) - George R.R Martin

4 stars

I love this series. Snapped this book up and part two as soon as I finished A Clash of Kings. There are some really cool editions of the series as well, including some beastly hardback versions with large (well larger) print and full-colour maps. Daenerys is totally my favourite character. She's just awesome and really kick-ass. Her story is separate from all the other characters/stories who are all linked to each other. Sadly, according to my Internet-trawling, her story doesn't link up until A Dance with Dragons, but I really wanna see what she does. I wanted to give this 5 stars, but I've started part 2 and it is so juicy it truly deserved the 5 stars. Stay tuned!

(trying to be brief, because to do it in-depth would be really long)

Jaime is taken to exchange for Sansa and Arya, but instead manages to get his sword hand chopped off (haha poor guy has no other talents). Jon continues to assimilate with the wildlings and breaks his vows with a wildling girl (oooh) but then manages to break free and tries to warn the Night's Watch. Catelyn is kept captive with her dying father. Tyrion and Sansa are forced to marry -  but its yet to be consummated.... Arya is captured by outlaws who want to ransom her. Bran gets weird visions and continues to the Wall with Meera and Jojen. Sam kidnaps one of Craster's pregnant wives and gets her to the Wall only to wake surrounded by wights. Davos is captured and loses his lucky fingerbones - he is also creeped out by Melisandre and tries to advise Stannis. The coolest character ever, Daenerys, buys hundreds of the Unsullied (highly trained eunuch soldiers) and casually frees a couple of slave cities.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Reached - Ally Condie (2012)

3.5 stars

I was pretty interested to see how this series was going to end, and although it wasn't what I expected, I found it really hard to put down and ended up reading till 1am finishing it.

I still think the best book in the series was probably Matched, however Crossed and Reached  were both good continuations for the characters, but not as much for the storyline. I think they were more like three serparate stories set in the same universe with the same characters than one big story arc. I really enjoyed reading from Xander's perspective in this book, especially comparing his feelings for Cassia with Ky's. My favourite characters in this book were Anna and Lei, Anna was really nice and an excellent leader figure that wasn't corrupt, she seemed unimportant but I liked how prominent she became. Lei was really lovely, and when I found out who she really was I was completely shocked and didn't see it coming at all. I would recommend this series to any dystopian fans.

The book starts with all three characters being part of the rising and recognizing that the takeover is starting. This means that the plague, which the society can't cure, has become widespread and the rising are the only people with the cure. However after a while the plague mutates and many people are falling into comas and some even dying as they no longer have a cure. The Pilot takes Ky, Xander and Cassia to the stone villages to discover the cure as the people there are immune and on the way Ky falls ill and goes into a coma. Cassia works out the right ingredient and her and Xander save Ky and get the Pilot to administer the cure to everyone once they find enough of the ingredient. The novel ends with Xander and Lei together in the stone villages and Ky and Cassia together and happy and casting their vote for who should be incharge now, Anna, the Rising, or the Society.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky (1999)

3 stars

I borrowed this off my sister because I have heard a lot of good things about it. It reminds me a lot of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 which was a best-seller in the early 80s. This story is a diary entry to the reader telling the life story of a 15-year-old boy who is a little different.

Like ClareBear I read this very quickly, I started it late last night and polished it off as soon as I got up this morning. I tried to stop and place my bookmark but I couldn't find a spot where my interest was lost. I recommend this book to anyone. It has a lot of late 90s pop culture references which gives you a bit of insight into how much the world has changed. Also a movie is coming out (starring Emma Watson and Mike from Friends), so have a look at the trailer - which I personally think looks pretty great.

ClareBear has beat me to reading this one, look at her summary!

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore (2012)

4 stars

I borrowed this off Clare because I really like this series - and I was not disappointed, this book was much better than I expected. I also did a little bit of research  on the series in the hope of finding a release date for the next book, to no avail. I did learn that there are meant to be a total of six books in the series. Pittacus Lore is supposed to be Lorien's elder who is on Earth - but it is actually the pseudonym for the two authors, James Frey and Jobie Hughes.

James Frey formed a publishing company designed to create highly commerical books like Twilight. Allegedly, the company abuses MFA students for ideas and holds them to contracts where they are given very little money for their work. Jobie Hughes is a MFA students and he has been removed from the series and was not involved in the writing of The Rise of Nine.

Besides the fact I feel a little conned for reading and loving a book specifically designed for commerical success,  I do recommend this series. It's hard to put down and is a nice change of pace for the YA fiction genre.

Quintana of Charyn - Melina Marchetta (2012)

4.5 stars

I bought this book after reading the past two in the trilogy and needing to know what happened to Phaedra, because I love her.

It has been a long time since I read the first book in this series, Finnikin of the Rock, but I think this book is my favourite in the series. I really liked the world the series is set in, and how the political situation is important to the plot, but not the main storyline of the series. As shown by her other books, Melina Marchetta can write like the best of them, and in this book she makes me interested in the fate of Skulendore and all it's countries and provinces, which probably would have bored and disengaged me if it was written by anyone else. I tried to pick my favourite character in this book but it was too hard, I really loved a lot of the characters and grew to love some of the ones I didn't. A couple of the best ones in my opinion would probably be; Phaedra, who can kick some ass when she needs to, Perri, who developed a really nice sensitive side in this book, Quintana, who also developed her sensitive side, and Finnikin, whose character had a step up in this book compared to the last one which made me remember why the first book in the series is about him. This is an awesome fantasy series that I would reccommend to anyone who likes the magic, curses, kingdoms and rulers drama.

This book starts a couple weeks after Froi was attacked and Quintana hid away with Phaedra and the other girls. Froi is being looked after by Arjuro and soon leaves to go find Garagrin and Lirah, which he does, however when he finds them Finnikin is about to kill Gargarin. Froi convinces them to let him go and explains what has happened to him in Charyn, Finnikin, Trevanion and Perri then leave him to bring the news to Lumatere. De Lancey then approaches Gargarin and tells him they want him to be the King's regent once he's born, but Lirah can't live in the palace so Gargarin gets angry and leaves, but they threaten Arjuro and Froi goes to save him. Once together, Gargarin, Lirah, Froi and Arjuro decide to go to the Lasconian camp to use their army to save Quintana, once there they discover Bestiano's army is camped just across from them keeping watch. Soon the Turlans come to the camp to join forces as they want to help Quintana, and De Lancey and his army, who says that he has another massive army training in Desantos as the plague there is merely a rumour. Lirah then realises that Phaedra died of a plague that never existed, and realizes that Quintana would trust her because Froi did, their army then attacks Nebia's army and Froi goes to kill Bestiano. However Froi decides to hurt Bestiano first and his guards return and try to kill Froi, however Dorcas suffocates Bestiano instead. Meanwhile, Quintana and the girls were betrayed by Ginny, who told her husband Gies where they were and he and Donashe capture them and put them in a cave near the top of the valley. Everyone realizes that Bestiano's order was to kill Quintana once the baby was born so when Quintana goes into labour the girls put a peice of wood in her mouth to keep her form making any sounds to alert the guards. Nebia's army joins forces with the turlans, lasconians and De Lancey's men and they go to save Quintana. Isaboe gives birth to a stillborn boy, but tells everyone that he told her to go down to the valley, so she does and goes into the cave where Quintana's giving birth. They then tell the guards that Isaboe's gone into labour so she can take the little King to safety and Quintana can live till the army arrives. Once the army comes, Froi cries when he sees Quintana and the baby but he is told to stay in Lumatere until Gargarin writes. After six months, Quintana's consort is being chosen by the Provincari and Lord August and Lady Abain present Froi as their son and promise peace with Lumatere as their dowry, Froi is chosen and he and Quintana get to live together with their son.

Friday, 16 November 2012

A Clash of Kings - George R.R Martin (1999)

4 stars

I bought this the day I finished A Game of Thrones. It won the 1999 Locus award for best fantasy novel and the 2004 Ignotus award for best novel. In this book, two new narrating characters are introduced - Theon and Davos. And Theon's perspective is very interesting.

Just like A Game of Thrones, I highly recommend it. It is advertised as the height of modern fantasy, and that it certainly is. It is very long, but not boring. Instead of boring, it is engaging and has many cliffhangers that kept me reading long after I should have been asleep. I also recommend the TV series, it sticks surprisingly well to the original plot and the confusing parts are are a lot clearer in visual form.

(summaries of the narrating characters adventures)
Tyrion acts as the Hand to the King in place of his father. He continues his relationship with the whore Shae and does his best to improve the kingdom. He is badly injured in the battle between Stannis and Joffrey - of which Joffrey wins.

Catelyn helps Robb by negotiating with Walder Frey and betrothing Robb to one of Frey's daughters in exchange for passage. She also tries to negotiate with Renly and Stannis unsuccessfully. She is present when Renly is killed, and is rumoured to be his murderer. She learns that Winterfell is taken by Prince Theon Greyjoy and he has killed her sons Bran and Rickon.

Davos is sent by Stannis to take his ships and Stannis' men to King's Landing to fight in the battle against Joffrey.

Sansa is abused by Joffrey, but Ser Davos promises he will help her escape. The betrothal is broken when Joffrey agrees to marry Margaery Martell.

Arya is taken by Yoren and he says he will take her to Winterfell on his way to the Wall with the men. She pretends to be a boy. The group is caught and Yoren is killed and no one knows Arya's identity. She saves a man's life. Arya is kept as a slave, but the man she saved promises three lives in return. She gets him to kill tow and then save some prisoners. She is then taken as a cupbearer, but on learning she is getting a new master, she runs away with tow of the men intended for the Wall.

Bran remains a cripple and has to act as Lord of Winterfell in Robb's absence. Maester Luwin counsels him. When Winterfell is taken by Theon - Bran, Rickon, Meera, Jojen and Osha hide in the crypts.

Jon ventures outside the Wall with the Night's Watch. They hear more talk of whitewalkers. On watch they come across wildlings and kill them, but Jon allows his captive to yield. Later, the Night's Watch are left with no options but to flee and Jon (as commanded) yields to the wildlings while the rest of the Watch flees.

Theon goes back to the Iron Island only to find his father doesn't trust him and has appointed his sister as heir. Theon is given a small area to conquer, but instead he goes after Winterfell. He does not have enough men to hold it and struggles, and pretends to kill Bran and Rickon. He kills Ser Rodrik and others and manages to hold the castle.

Daenerys travels along desert with her khalasar. It is revealed that Ser Jorah has feelings for her. She gets to Qarth, and goes into a spirited house that gives her much to think about. They only want her dragons so she travels to the ports. There she finds that Magister Illyrio has sent ships to take her, her dragons and her khalasar back to him.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn (2002)

2 stars

I had to read this book for English. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it was fairly easy to read. It is loosely set in feudal Japan, utilising customs, places and names. Lian Hearn is a psuedonym for the children's author and playwright Gillian Rubenstein.

It won the 2004 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, which is a German award for outstanding children's literature. I really like Kaede's perspective in the book, a typical damsel in distress who is used as a pawn. It was really interesting and her character was thoroughly explored. The ending is surprising which made me appreciate it just that little bit more.

Yay for ClareBear's wonderful summary!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Across The Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn (2002)

3 stars

I had to read this book for my english class aand was pleasantly surprised by it.

The book is told from alternate perspectives of Takeo and Kaede, I prefer Takeo's perspective mainly because Kaede is a bit of a wimp for most of the book and Takeo's storyline is more interesting. I found the storyline interesting, but thought it was dragged out too long over the middle couple chapters. My favourite character was probably Shizuka, she was super cute but kick ass when she had to be. I would recommend this book to any fantasy fans, also people that enjoy intricate plot history.

Tomasu's tribe is wiped out by Iida, but before Iida can kill Tomasu he knocks him off his horse and runs away where Shigeru finds him and saves him from Iida's guards. He then changes his name to Takeo and gets adopted by Shigeru who trains him to read and write. He soon discovers that his father was from "the Tribe" so he has inherited many abilities like invisibility and super hearing, Shigeru then uses these abilities to train him to be an assassin. Shigeru is hung from the tower when they discover he was a traitor and Takeo kills him out of mercy then goes to kill Iida only to find that Kaede has already stabbed him in the chest. Takeo then leaves with the Tribe.

Friday, 12 October 2012

The Big Trip - Lonely Planet (2011)

3 stars

My friend bought me this for my birthday in preparation for my travels next year. It is published by Lonely Planet - the largest travel guide publishers in the world.  It outlines lots of useful things like; how to book planes, to pack and staying in touch with friends and family back home. It explains all the options available and the tricky things like round-the-world tickets. It also has chapters on common destinations and goes into details on tourist highlights and interesting out-of-the-way adventures.

It was really useful and gave me a lot of insight into my own travel next year.  It's written and aimed at young people, so it includes lots of anecdotes of hilarious travel mishaps (which may not have been so funny at the time.) It is written in a very casual, laid-back language, with the author talking to the reader. It was definitely a good read as it is very up-to-date and beautifully illustrated.

(The summary would be boring and very long - so I'll quote an amusing section for you)
10 ways to use your guidebook
1. To prevent snoring - simply prop it under their head for some elevation.
2. To escape with your life - hit them on the head
3. As toilet paper - desperate, but its better than a leaf!
4. As kindling
5. As bug control - swat them down
6. To block a mouse hole
7. To keep a window open - jam it between the sill and the glass
8. As roach material
9. As insulation
10. To get girls - play the lost tourist

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

A Game of Thrones - George R.R Martin (1996)

4 stars

I read this for numerous reasons. It's becoming really popular - so I feel I have to at least try it, Clare said it was good, I wanted to watch the TV show without spoilers and my boyfriend raves about it. It won the 1997 Locus Award for best fantasy novel and the 2003 Ignotus Award for best foreign novel. It was also nominated for the 1997 World Fantasy Award and the 1997 Nebula Award. It also became a New York Times bestseller in January 2011, and reached #1 by July. So basically, it was considered good in smaller circles at the time of publication, but it took 15 years to reach mainstream popularity (no doubt assisted by its popular TV adaptation.)

I was reluctant to read this. It is massive, and each book in the series only gets bigger. And if I liked it, I'd be seriously involved in a series that would take me literal months to read. But it's worth it. It took me a little while to get into it - there's just so many characters. Thankfully I managed to find a useful little app that lets me look up just about everything. The day I finished, I went out and bought the next in the series. I'm so excited to find out what happens to all the characters! A great read - I'd recommend it to anyone (keeping in mind there's adult content).

Thanks again ClareBear for the summary! That would have been fun to write.

The Casual Vacancy - J.K Rowling (2012)

2.5 stars

I bought this book because I think J.K Rowling is an amazing woman and I was super excited to see how she would write a book that wasn't Harry Potter.

Although the writing is excellent, I found this story to be a little boring and it didn't really resolve some of the storylines. I think that may have been what Rowling was trying to do as some problems don't just disappear in life, but I still thought some of the stories could have had more depth and explanation in the end. I did not have a favourite character in this novel because I didn't really like any of the characters in the novel consistently, they all did something to annoy me at some point in the story which once again I think was the point J.K was trying to make, that hardly anyone is consistently good their whole lives. I would recommend this book to older readers who like drama.

Barry Fairbrother, a parish councillor, dies of an aneurism. He was one of the few people on the Pagford council that was fighting for The Fields, a housing development next to Pagford which homed many drug addicts and children of drug addicts, to keep them as part of Pagford and allowed to attend their school. His death causes an election, where Simon Price, abusive father to Andrew, Colin "Cubby" Wall, the school vice principal with OCD and father to Fats, and Miles Mollison, son of Howard and Shirley Mollison, both already on the council and the leaders of the anti-field party, all wish to run for his spot. Andrew learns how to hack in computer class and hacks into Barry's old account on the Parish Council website where he changes the username to The_Ghost_of_Barry_Fairbrother and posts about his father's backdoor deals. Simon then withdraws from the election, after giving his sons and wife a severe beating and losing his job. Sukhvinder then hacks into the website and posts about how her mother, Parminder another supporter of Barry and pro-fields councilmember, was in love with Barry and only voted how he told her. Fats then hacks the website and posts about how his father constantly worries about touching students innapropriatley which causes him to have a psycological breakdown. Miles then wins the election and Andrew teaaches his dad how to hack the website so he posts about how Maureen and Howard were having an affair. Shirley then steals an EpiPen and plans to stab and kill Howard with it, however once she gets home he is having a heart attack, at the same time Krystal and Fats were having sex while Robbie was nearby, however Robbie wandered off and fell into the river. Sukhvinder dived into the river to save him but Robbie drowned anyway. Krystal then felt she had nothing to live for without her brother and kills herself, everyone continuing to hate her in her death, especially Shirley who thought that Howard, who survived, may have gotten to the hospital sooner had two ambulances not needed to come, getting the operator confused.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

5 stars

I wanted to read this book because I saw the previews for the movie and knew I would want to see it because it has Emma Watson and Ezra Miller in it, both whom I love. I had heard great things about this book, and I wasn't disappointed.

This book is told through letters to an unknown party from the main character, Charlie, I loved how as Charlie's writing got better so did the letters that comprise this book. That, and the fact that the book is written to a "good person" gives the book an aspect of reality that other books don't and made me kind of feel like it was written just for me. I read this book in two days, it was so excellent and really hard to put down especially once you're past part one because although the plot is nothing special, I got really attatched to the main character and his writing and insights on his world were amazing to read. My favourite character was Patrick, he was hilarious and adorable and helped Charlie when he didn't understand what he should do. I would recommend this book to anyone.

This book is written through letters from Charlie, who is starting his first year at high school. At first he has no friends due to his strange behaviour, however he soon makes friends with step siblings Sam and Patrick. This book details their adventures over the year, including Charlie falling in love with Sam, him having his first girlfriend, and learning that he has depression due to his Aunt dying while going to buy him his birthday present and his best friend killing himself when he was in middle school. At the end of the novel before Sam leaves for college she and Charlie are going to have sex however Charlie freezes and has to sleep on their couch, it turns out that his Aunt Helen molested him as a child and he had repressed it until now. The book ends with Charlie getting out of recovery in the hospital and looking forward to his sophmore year.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green (2012)

5 stars

I have been wanting to read this for a while and when my little sister bought a copy, I begged to borrow it. I can honestly say that I read this book in one sitting. It was a warm afternoon, and I sat on the swing chair on my deck and read for a few hours. The only time I stopped was when I couldn't see through my tears anymore. I really love this book because it made me laugh out loud and smile even though tears were streaming down my face.

I recommend this to anyone who has a heart. It is brutally real and easy to relate to. It has the capacity to make you happy and sad, and gives a heart-breakingly clear view into the life of a teen fighting cancer.

Clare has already read it - so check out her summary!

Pure - Julianna Baggott (2012)

5 stars

I borrowed this at the school library  because I'd heard about it and really wanted to read it. And it was totally worth the hype. I love this book, it is the best dystopian I have ever read. It was realistic and heartbreaking. The greatest part was there was no underlying romance that overtook the dystopian setting. The world and the terrifying situations it presents to the characters are the main focus of the story and they are original and compelling.

It's definitely a confronting read, but it gives you a lot to think about. It's a big improvement on the last few dystopians I've read (ie. Delirium and Birthmarked). I really like the world the author has created and the story she has constructed around it. The best part it - it's a trilogy! So keep your eyes open in February 2013, because Fuse is going to be released!

Fast forward to a world where everything is destroyed, with only a sustainable nuclear-proof dome left intact. The people outside the dome have everyday objects fused to them. Pressia is one of these people. She has a doll's head fused to her hand. She lives with her grandfather and she makes toys from junk so they can buy food. Partridge is in the dome, and he escapes to be with his mother on the outside. Pressia is recruited by a corrupt police force and is bugged (unbeknownst to her). Pressia and Partridge meet and try and find his mother. They find that there have been forces inside the dome working to help those outside, organised by Partridge's mum. They find Partridge's mum, only for it to be revealed that she is Pressia's mum too. The police force surrounds them and kills their mother. The pair continue on with the goal of overthrowing the corrupt forces that govern the dome.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore

5 stars

I read the previous two books in this series and really enjoyed them, this book didn't let me down and is my favourite in the series so far.

Much like the second book in the series, The Power of Six, the book is told from different perspectives, except in this book it adds the perspective of Six, to Marina's and John's. I really enjoyed reading from Six's perspective and I really hope to read from Nine's in the next book, if they continue adding a new perspective each book, because I think he is a character that has a lot of hidden depth. I also really enjoy the whole "this is real" pretense of this book, being written by Pittacus Lore and the intro and outro that tell you that the events in the book are real. I liked this book better than the previous because it had a good balance of action, and discovery about Lorien and the other members of the Garde, the previous book didn't have much action till the very end. I also really enjoyed having a realistic bad guy that I could really hate for a change. Setrakus didn't give in to petty insults that work on most villians, my favourite part during the battle was when they were saying he's weak for not fighting fair and he replies with: "You can call me whatever names you want. It's not going to change the fact that you're about to die". My favourite character in this book was Eight, I loved the playfulness he brought to the group that no-one had done yet, and he had really cool legacies. I would recommend this series to any science fiction or action fans of any age.

John and Nine are travelling together and although John doesn't like him at first, him and Nine bond over their commitment to Lorien and after discovering how the tablet that John found in Paradise works, they learn that their ship, and another member of the Garde, Six, is in New Mexico so they head there. Six, Marina and Ella follow Crayton's lead where he thinks another Garde is and they find Eight in India. Eight has the legacy of telporting, so he teleports the group to New Mexico after a battle with the Mogs where Crayton dies. However he wasn't used to teleporting groups of people and while Six gets to New Mexico, Eight, Ella and Marina take a few more tries before they get there. Before they can get to New Mexico, Six gets captured and taken to the FBI base there where they are working with Setrakus Ra and other Mogs. Setrakus then immobilises her in rock and changes shape into her, meanwhile Ella has developed her first legacy to communicate to other members of the Garde and gets her, Eight and Marina to meet up with Nine and John. They fight their way into the base, finding Sarah on the way, however when they find "Six" Eight teleports to her to give her a hug and Setrakus stabs him. Setrakus then takes away the Garde's legacies and they continue a losing battle with him until Ella uses a dart on Setrakus that gives them all their legacies back. Marina then heals Eight and after Sarah and Ella are shot, Four discovers he also has the healing legacy and heals them. Setrakus then disappears when he realizes he is losing and the novel finishes with the Garde almost fully united and ready to fight.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

The Killables - Gemma Malley (2012)

3 stars

I bought this book because I absolutely adored The Declaration by Gemma Malley and I thought another dystopian novel by her would be just as good, unfortunately I was underwhelmed.

I thought the idea for this novel was good, although similar to many other dystopian novels I've read. I think because I've read so many dystopian novels it made it hard to read this book without getting bored because I found it predictable. I also found it irritating how there had to be a love triangle, I've had enough of them in popular novels lately and I think in this book it's obvious who she really loves. I liked how this book kept using the same memory, and as her journey progressed the memory grew then at the end she used the same pattern but changed it for the present situation. My favourite character was Lucas, he always knew what he was doing and I never doubted him, I really liked the parts from his perspective as well. I would recommend this book to any big dystopian fans.

Evie lives in the City, where evil doesn't exist because everyone that enters the City must undergo a "new baptism" where their amygdalas are removed so they are incapable of evil. Evie thinks she is evil as she is in love with Raffy, her childhood friend. However when Raffy is going to be labelled a K, for killable, his brother Lucas helps him and Evie to escape because killables are left outside the City to be killed by the "evils". Once they escape together Evie and Raffy are captured by Linus, who tells them that he started the City with the Great Leader and the Brother however he wanted to make it so everyones needs were taken care of by the system, whereas the Great Leader wanted to continue his experiments, which he did and ended up creating the "evils", people who are irreparably brain damaged. With Lucas' help, Linus and his men invade the City and disable the system. The book ends with Lucas and Linus staying in the City to restore order and reassure everyone of the truth about the Brother, and Lucas helping Evie and Raffy to escape after telling Evie he loves her.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Delirium - Lauren Oliver (2011)

2.5 stars

I bought this book online, because I bought it for a friend and I really wanted to read it (also it had a really cool cover). To be honest, it was a bit of a disappointment, and the ending was downright depressing. It reminded me a lot of Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. It seemed to present nothing new to the YA dystopian genre. It had an oppressive society that tries to run your life, and it had an area outside that society who were free from restrictions - just like the two aforementioned novels.

It does have a cool concept - love is a disease that they cure so people can function. I really liked that part. The author does into a lot of depth on the hows and whys and the history of this particular society. All in all, a good read, but not particularly original.

I also found another blogger who wrote about this book - it was especially interesting that she compared it to Birthmarked like I did and compared it to Matched like Clare did. hmmm....
On a sidenote, I managed to find a cute little poem someone wrote inspired by this novel.

ClareBear has already done a summary!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Golden Lily - Richelle Mead (2012)

3.5 stars

I read all the books in the Vampire Academy series and enjoyed most of them, I then read Bloodlines and was interested to see how The Golden Lily would continue from it.

I didn't enjoy this book as much as Bloodlines but I still found it hard to do other things when I could be reading it. It follows the usual style of Mead's books with a lot of build up and sub-plots occurring before the last hundred or so pages when the action and resolution happens. I think the more of her books you read the easier it is to call the twist that she hints at early on, I found with this book I worked it out earlier than I would in most other books, usually stuff like that occurs to me right before it's revealed (or not at all and I startle people around me by exclaiming my surprise). My favourite character was Adrian, I loved him in the Vampire Academy series and in this series he is one of the few prominent characters, and I enjoy watching his character be examined thoughroughly and develop. The end set up for a very interesting next book which I think could be really good, I would recommend this series to anyone who likes paranormal YA fiction.

The book starts with Sydney being interviewed at the alchemists base about Keith, while there she sees a human prisoner who is chained up because he is determined to become strigoi, this reinforces in Sydney why she shouldn't get too close to vampires. She returns to Palm Springs amd talks to Sonya and Adrian about their experiments to try to find something that stops someone turning strigoi, Sonya thinks it would be useful to use some of Sydney's blood since the strigoi couldn't drink it and she complies. Sonya and Sydney are walking the streets together when they are attacked by men who want to decapitate Sonya as they think she's still a strigoi, Dimitri comes and saves them but after a few days Sonya goes missing. Sydney, using the help of Ms. Terwilliger creates a spell to find Sonya and discovers that the rumours of "vampire hunters" were real and that Trey is one of them. He manages to get Sydney into their compound to speak on behalf of Sonya before they execute her, and although her point is completely valid, they refuse to let Sonya go and are about to kill her when Dimitri, Eddie and a heap of other guardians break in to save Sonya. Sydney escapes out a back door and gets lost until Adrian finds her and they escape together, once home Adrian confesses his feelings for Sydney and kisses her. Although she enjoys it (and clearly loves him back) she denies it and tells him that her belief against vampires is too strong.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Between the Lines - Jodi Picoult (2012)

3 stars

I bought this because it had Picoult emblazoned across the cover (and she is one of my favourite authors!) She and her daughter Sammy wrote it together. I think I would have liked it a lot more if I was a part of the intended audience - ie pre-teens. It is well written, and it includes the classic Picoult character narration swapping. It is about a fairy-tale that one girl sees come to life and she tries to bring the hero into the real world. It changes between character narration and the fairy-tale with beautiful illustrations throughout the novel.

I did like it, and I was definitely an original idea. However, the end wasn't suitably thought out and seemed too easy to be realistic.

Delilah finds herself enthralled by a child's fairy-tale. And to her surprise, the hero Oliver comes to life in the book. Delilah has had a crush on him ever since she started reading. So she starts spending all her time brainstorming with Oliver to find a way to bring him into the real world. Her mother begins to worry about her spending so much time with her head in a fairy-tale and sends her to a psychologist. Delilah continues talking to Oliver in secret. He concocts a plan, and he brings Delilah into the story. She is not happy and misses her life and soon manages to return. In desperation, Delilah tracks down the author of the fairy-tale and begs her to change the ending so Oliver can leave the story. The author says that she can't, the story is is the hands of the reader's now. Delilah gets onto her computer and gives the story a new ending. She writes the author's son into the story, who chooses voluntarily to swap places with Oliver.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Hallowed - Cynthia Hand (2012)

3.5 stars

I finally finished this book! It's been really hard finding time to read lately, I feel guilty for not studying whenever I try to relax - but I squeezed in this one. I also noticed that Clare and I have only read three books between us this month - an all-time low! So we've gotta work on that.  I really liked the prequel Unearthly and Clare and I were hanging out for Hallowed.

After a little research (ie. Google) I found Cynthia Hand's blog Writing Angels, and she is really honest and down-to-earth. Even more juicier - the third book in the Unearthly Trilogy is called Boundless and is due out 22 January 2013 (so soon!)

On a separate note - I have an enormous stack of books sitting in my room, waiting to be read. Annoyingly I never get the time to read any before the pile grows again thanks to school. But next year, I hope to read it down to nothing. Wish me luck!

Yet again, ClareBear's done the hard yards for me, check out her plot summary!

A Series of Unfortunate Events - Lemony Snicket (1999)

3 stars

This was a series that I adored as a child and waited impatiently for the latest to be released. It's one of those few books that is accurately translated into a movie. Reading it again, I realised that it is a very depressing book for a child to read (and I was reading it around the age of eleven...) though in saying that the resourceful children always find a way to get themselves out of their unfortunate circumstances.

There is 13 books and each details a new unfortunate adventure that the children worm their way out of, with Count Olaf constantly on their tales.

Trailer for the movie: (it's got Jim Carrey!)

Violet, Klaus and Sunny live a happy life with their loving parents, until a fire burns down their house and leave them orphans. They are taken to their (geographically) closest  relative, who is Count Olaf. He immediately relates his plot to take their fortune from them. He forces them to do enormous amounts of chores. The children try to tell the manager of their parent's estate and their neighbour, but they are ignored. Fortunately, the children cannot access the money until Violet is 18. But Count Olaf continues to conspire and  involves the children in a play. Violet is the bride, and Olaf the groom. But it is really a marriage under the guise of a play. If Olaf marries Violet, her money becomes his as well. But Violet signs the marriage certificate with her left hand, and this invalidates it. Count Olaf is revealed as the true louse that he is, but manages to get away from the authorities. The orphans are shepherded to their next closest relative.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell - Chris Colfer (2012)

3.5 stars

I was really excited for this book because I think Chris Colfer is an amazing person and I was interested to see if he would write a book well. I was happily surprised with how much I liked this book, considering I usually find fairytales a bit boring. I think I would still admire Chris even if this book was bad, considering he wrote this while he was editing his screenplay for his movie that he wrote, and later starred in, at the same time as being on glee tour. Also he's friends with John Green and that makes anyone ten times cooler.

Although this book is for children, I found it had some complex vocabulary and themes in it that made it enjoyable for me as well as other older readers. I think it's a good idea for a plot with the idea of fairytale characters having more to them then their popular story. I thought Chris did a great job when writing the main characters, giving both twins aspects that are familiar at the same time as being original. My favourite character was probably Conner, (I read this a while ago and can't really remember which princesses I liked) I thought he brought much needed lightheartedness to the story and ever since he said that he can't deal with stories where dogs die, I felt that even though he's a fictional character, we share a bond. Although the end was predictable and corny, I thouroughly enjoyed most of this book and would recommend it to anyone that is a fan of fairytales.

Alex and Conner are twins celebrating their 12th birthday, their first birthday after their Dad's death. Their Grandmother comes to visit them for their birthday and she gives them their Dad's old book of fairy tales, The Land of Stories, Alex is overjoyed with excitement as she's loved the book ever since she was a little girl however Conner starts to notice Alex acting strangely. Alex tells Conner that the book glows and absorbs anything she drops into it, Conner then realises that Alex is going to go into the book herself and he gets home just in time to see her going into the book so he follows her. They end up in the Land of Stories in the middle of a forest and are rescued by Froggy, a frog who was once a man but turned into a frog by a witch. He lets them stay the night at his house and gives them a journal which details how to use the wishing spell so they can go home. To complete the spell they must collect items from all over the fairy kingdom, on the way they battle trolls, wolves and must complete the spell before the Evil Queen does as the spell can only be used once more. The Queen captures them before they can complete the spell and tells them her story then uses the spell to bring back her love, but he dies in the process. The twins are then at Cinderella's baby shower when the fairy Godmother requests to see them, she turns out to be their grandmother and has been travelling between the worlds her whole life. She tells them their Dad grew up in the Land of Stories and she took him to their world once and he fell in love with their mother, it turns out it was him that was the one that had used the wishing spell previously so he could return to their mother. Their Grandmother then takes them back to their world with the promise that they would go back again someday.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Quirky Tales - Paul Jennings (1987)

4 stars

I found my old copy of this and was compelled to read it. As a child, I loved Paul Jennings and I still do. I remember teachers and librarians reading the class extracts to get us interested in reading. This is the first Jennings book I bought and led me to amass a considerable collection. His short stories are very clever, they are designed for the kids who hate reading - short and punchy. But reading them now, there are a lot of  nuances that I never noticed as a kid.

It had nine short stories:

Sneeze'n coffin
A girl's undertaker stepfather brings home a corpse.

Santa Claws
A boy saves the life of a Santa Claus that has claws for fingernails (for climbing chimneys) that gives him and his siblings two wishes each. 

A Dozen Bloomin' Roses
A boy buys flowers for the girl he likes, and when she does nothing when she is bullied, he is killed and then his flowers grow from her hand.
Tonsil Eye 'Tis
A boy is given a gnome with a little face in its mouth. The face attaches itself to his tonsil and an eye appears on his finger.

Unhappily Ever After
A sadistic principal goes for a boat ride and is sucked into a whirlpool, and what he has done to others is done to him.

Spooks Incorporated
Two boys pretend to be ghosts to convince owners to sell their 'haunted' houses. 

The Copy
A boy's inventor friend designs a machine that can copy anything, even a person.

A boy takes revenge on a man who kills and stuffs cane toads and sells them to tourists.

No is Yes
A girl is locked up in her house her whole life, being taught words with opposite meaning.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Rapture - Lauren Kate (2012)

 3 stars

This is the fourth book in the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, and I was underwhelmed by the conclusion to the series.

This book was written from Luce's perspective like the other books, however unlike the other books when both the prologue and epilogue is from Daniel's perspective the epilogue in this book is from the angels and nephilim's perpective (minus Cam). I didn't like this book as much as it's predecessors mainly because I thought it was kind of predictable and although I liked the ending, it didn't really have much action or suspense like the previous books where I felt I had to keep reading. My favourite character was Arianne, she was cute and loveable as always and brought some lightheartedness to the darkness that Lucinda was feeling for most of the novel. I was frustrated by the mystery that surrounded Cam, the question of who he loved, what he was going to do for the rest of eternity, and where he was during the epilogue are things that could have made the book that much more interesting, and I can only assume that Kate was setting up for a spin off series based on him, which would probably be good because I always liked his character. I recommend this series to any paranormal romance fans.

For a plot summary see Mac's previous blog.

Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James (2011)

1 star

I read this because its prequel Fifty Shades of Grey ended on a big cliffhanger. It was no improvement from the former. Needless to say, I will not be reading the third.

Ana and Christian are both miserable being away from each other. Christian suggests a new arrangement  -  a real relationship without the BDSM - and Ana agrees. Ana starts at her new job and her boss Jack keeps trying to crack onto her. Christian take over the firm that Ana works for and fires her boss. He proposes to her and she has no answer. They go to his psychiatrist and beforehand Ana hands him a present to be opened on his birthday. His psychiatrist elaborates on why Christian is so messed up. Then one day, Christian stops replying to Ana's emails. His plane crashed and he had to hitchhike home - leaving Ana and his family worried for his life. Turns out Ana's boss sabotages his plane. They go to his birthday bash and Christian opens his present from Ana - a keyring that flashes the word 'YES.' She gave it to him beforehand to show that nothing she found out about him would stop her loving him.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

5 stars

I watched bits and pieces of this show and liked it, and then I heard some really good reviews of this book so I decided to read it and I wasn't disappointed.

I really enjoyed this book, although I found it incredibly long (which is why I haven't posted a blog in about a month) and it's hard to power through an eight hundred page book when you've seen bits of the tv show and know what's going to happen. This book is very good , and although the television show is a pretty accurate retelling, the book has a lot more detail and makes everything a lot clearer. It is very well written, and describes the battles and deaths in such a way that explains all the details of the wounds without being too gruesome for me. My favourite character was Arya, a well written kick-ass heroine that doesn't annoy me in any way, which is very rare for a heroine in most books I read. I would recommend this book to mature readers who like really intricate fantasy.

Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark is King Robert Baratheon's oldest friend and when Jon Arryn, the King's Hand, dies suddenly Ned is given the job. While serving the King and living at court Ned looks into Jon's death and learns that Robert's children to the Queen are not his but Jaime Lannister's, The Queen's own twin. Cersei learns that Ned knows this and poisons Robert while he's on his hunting trip. When on his deathbed Robert makes Ned write out a new will naming him Protector of the Realm until his "son" Joffrey comes of age and Ned doesn't have the heart to tell him his children aren't his when he's about to die so he changes the will so it says "heir" not son. Once Robert dies Ned tries to tell people that Joffrey doesn't have any right to the title, however Cersei names him a traitor and has him taken to the dungeons. Joffrey is then named King and Stannis Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, and Robb Stark form armies to march against him. Sansa is kept in King's Landing and still betrothed to Joffrey, Arya escapes and takes the guise of a boy going to the wall with Yoren, Catelyn moves with Robb and his army, and Bran is lord of Winterfell and looking after Rickon. Joffrey orders Ned's execution against the advice of everyone on the council, including his mother, and Daenerys, the last true heir to the throne, hatches three dragons, which were long thought to be extinct.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James (2011)

2 stars

I picked this up because.... I don't really know why. It makes me feel awkward seeing little old ladies clutching this novel in their hands.  It topped best-seller lists internationally and has sold over 31 million copies - becoming the fastest selling paperback of all time, beating out Harry Potter. It started off as Twilight fan fiction (here's the link with the original names.) But honestly, the only similarities I drew were; the descriptions of the characters - Anastasia and Christian both look like Bella and Edward - and that Christian is domineering like Edward and Anastasia is subservient like Bella. The plot-lines vary greatly.

It is definitely a trashy read, but with more merit than the typical erotic romances portrayed by Mills & Boon. Despite the fact the that the main character Ana annoyed me to no end and the writing style bothered me, it was really hard to put down and I managed to read it very quickly. The New Zealand Herald got it right in saying that it "will win no prizes for its prose" but it was an easy read if you "can suspend your disbelief and your desire to ...slap the heroine, you might enjoy it." And again with The Columbus Dispatch - "Despite the clunky prose, James does cause one to turn the page."


Subbing for someone else, Anastasia interviews corporate magnate Christian Steele. She is instantly attracted to him, but also finds him intimidating. Next thing she knows, he turns up at her workplace, buying cable ties, rope and masking tape - come on Ana, use your brains! He asks her out for coffee and asks if she’s single and Ana learns he isn’t the boyfriend type.  Ana goes out drinking with her friends and ends up drunk dialing Grey, who comes to pick her up because she’s so drunk. Her friend Jose attempts to force a kiss and is stopped by Grey. Ana leaves with Grey, and wakes to find herself in Grey's hotel room with him revealing he would like to have sex with her. Grey insists that she sign a NDA so she won’t talk about what they do together and takes her to his playroom full of BDSM toys and gear. There Grey informs her that there will be no romance, only sex. Grey realises that Ana is a virgin and agrees to take her virginity without making her sign the contract. Ana and Grey later meet up to go over Ana's hard and soft limits. Ana is spanked for the first time by Christian, which leaves her both aroused and confused by the interaction. She also manages to get a job with Seattle Independent Publishing.  Ana asks Grey to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Grey fulfills Ana's request, beating her with a belt, only for Ana to realize that the two of them are incompatible and she leaves him.

The Book of Awesome - Neil Pasricha (2010)

3.5 stars

I was browsing thorough a book-store, when the spine with The Book of Awesome emblazoned along it jumped out at me. I picked it up and flipped through it. It is full of amusing anecdotes of the small things in life that makes us smile. It is based on a blog called 1000 Awesome Things which posts one awesome thing in life every weekday. It has also won 3 Webby awards.

Pasricha started the blog because at the time "if you flipped open the newspaper it was filled with the same stuff every day. The polar ice caps were melting, there were pirates storming the seas, the economy was on the verge of collapse, and there were wars going on all over the world."

One of my favourite inclusions:

“For a sperm to meet an egg it means your mom met your dad. But it's not just them. Think about how many people had to meet, fall in love, and make love for you to be here. Here's the answer: a lot. Like a lot a lot.Before they had you, none of your ancestors downed in a pond, got strangled by a python, or skied into a tree. None of your ancestors choked on a peach pit, was trampled by buffalo, or got their tie stuck in an assembly line.None of your ancestors was a virgin.You are the most modern, brightest spark of years and years, and years of survivors who all had to meet each other in order to eventually make you...Your Middle Ages Grandpa met your Middle Ages Grandma while they both poured hot oil from the castle turrets on pillaging Vikings. “She liked his grunts and he thought the flowers in her hair made her heaving bosoms jump out.Your Ice Age Grandpa crossing the Bering Bridge in a woolly mammoth fur met your Ice Age Grandma dragging a club in the opposite direction. He liked her sabertoothed necklace and she dug his unibrow.Your ancient rainforest Grandpa was picking berries naked in the bush while your ancient rainforest Grandma was spearing dodos for dinner. She liked his jungle funk and he liked her cave drawings. If it wasn’t for the picnic they had afterward, maybe you wouldn’t be here.You’re pretty lucky all those people met, fell in love, make love, had babies, and raised them into other people who did it all over again. This happened over and over and over again for you to be here. Look around the plane, coffee shop, or park right now. Look at your husband snoring in bed, your girlfriend watching TV, or your sister playing in the backyard. You are surrounded by lucky people.

The Power of One - Bryce Courtnenay (1990)

4 stars

I adore Bryce Courtenay, (as you may be able to tell from my rave about April Fool's Day.) So when I saw a copy of this book at a friend's house, I couldn't resist begging to borrow it. It's been sitting on my pile of to-be-reads for a while and I decided to take it with me on holiday. It is set in South Africa during WW2, holding a lot of incomprehensible slang. Sadly, I only found the glossary once I finished. The edition I read was a children's edition, and at the end was a note that it was only part of the story. So I shall have to read the rest one day.

Peekay is a little kid, raised by his black Nanny. His mother has mental issues and in a recession, he is sent to a boarding school. Being the only European kid, he is bullied constantly. He is given the name Pisskop - which translates to piss head in English. He tweaks it to Peekay. He is sent home one holiday and the conductor Hoppie befriends him. Hoppie takes him to watch him box, and despite being a complete underdog - he wins. This then sends Peekay onto a path to yearning to excel at boxing. He does very well at school because of the mixed classes at boarding school. He stays with his mother and makes friends with a German professor. The German professor is arrested for treason which is eventually downgraded to lack of citizenship. Peekay visits him constantly and joins the prison boxing squad. After a couple of years, he is allowed to compete. He is victorious despite his small size. He also helps prisoners get letters to their families in secret, as he knows a variety of South African languages. Because of his academic excellence he earns a scholarship to an prestigious boarding school (and this is where the young reader's edition ends...)

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Rapture - Lauren Kate (2012)

4 stars

The long-awaited finale to the Fallen series. I have been hanging out for this for quite a while. It was optioned by Disney in 2010 and is currently in pre-production. There is a lot of history behind Luce and Daniel. Foreshadowing has been planted since the first book and this book tied up the loose ends without coming up with unrealistic random conclusions. It is definitely an epic love story. An angel and a mortal cursed to fall in love with each other for millennia.

If this sounds like your kind of book, you can test the waters by reading the first 30 or so pages online:

Here's the official book trailer:

The fallen angels need to find three relics to discover the location of their fall and stop Lucifer from starting time over again. They have nine days until Lucifer finishes his fall. Luce and Daniel dive to find a halo. The other angels find a goblet. And an old friend is friend is revealed to be the third relic. They put the three together and a map appears, placing their fall in Troy. They race to Troy, and Luce discovers that she is not a mortal but an angel. She learns that Lucifer taught her to love and she left him because she fell out of love with him and in love with Daniel. She had thought that Daniel was the angel that had to pick between Heaven and Hell to balance the scale. But it is her. She chooses the same as before, as does Daniel - they choose love. The Throne acquiesces and allows them their choice. They are both made mortal, but the Throne declares they may not even meet each other in their mortal lives and will not remember anything. It then details Luce starting college as a normal girl who does not constantly see Announcers and tells of Luce's and Daniel's first encounter. The novel finishes with the Angels and the Nephilim watching over Luce and Daniel as if their story is a movie.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Dreamless - Josephine Angelini (2012)

5 stars

I bought  Starcrossed on a whim after seeing the Lauren Kate reccommendation on the cover, and I am so very glad I picked it up, I really enjoy this series and seem to have trouble putting the books down once I start them.

Once again, Angelini has me frustrated beyond belief that the next book isn't out yet as the book has another cliffhanger ending (oh how I love those *cough*). I enjoyed this book just as much, if not more, than the first. It was written wonderfully, with the short changes in perspective put in excellent spots in the plotline, it informs you of Greek mytholgy without making it seem like your just being funnelled information and it makes me hate certain characters, which I think is a mark of excellent writing. My favourite characters in this book were Zach and Orion. I know I always pick the love interest, but Orion was written so well, with the troubled background and kick ass powers it's very hard not to like him. I also really liked Zach's character because he was very relatable, and his inner struggle was conveyed really well throughout the novel. I would recommend this book to any paranormal fiction fans as well as any Percy Jackson fans.

To save you from reading the whole plot summary to find out, Helen and Lucas still think they're cousins at the end of this book.
This book kicks off a week after the end of Starcrossed and Helen has "descended" every night. When she descends time stops in the real world, but she can be stuck in the underworld for days or weeks, she is getting so tired and lonely that she cries for help and meets Orion. Orion is the Head of the House of Rome and heir to the House of Athens, he's an earthshaker and a son of Aphrodite so he can do weird mumbo jumbo on peoples feelings. He descends with Helen every night and soon they think to talk to Persephone who tells them they must bring the furies water from a river, but Helen can't remember which river. In the midst of a battle caused by Eris and Terror Helen descends and must get water from the river Lethe, which makes people forget, this causes her and Orion a lot of difficulty in knowing what their purpose is when they get to the river. But they work it out together and once the furies drink the water they forget who they are and what their purpose is. The houses can now interact freely without wanting to kill each other and outcasts are no more. However Automedon, a Myrmidon, has been waiting for Helen to complete this task so he can capture her between worlds when she is vulnerable and bring him to his master, Ares, the God of War. Ares plan once he's captured Helen is for both Orion and Lucas to come try to help her so he can spill all their blood and they all become blood brothers, uniting the houses, freeing the Gods and starting the war. His plan works perfectly except Zach changes sides in battle and is stabbed by Automedon, before he dies he tells Helen that Automedon is blood brothers with Achilles, so Helen stabs Automedon in the heel and he finally dies. Helen is then so furious with what Ares has done that she opens a portal to the underworld and curses him to live forever in Tartarus with the souls he's double-crossed. The book ends with Daphne helping them all plan for battle and seeming quite happy with herself.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Graceling - Kristen Cashore (2008)

3.5 stars

My co-bogger lent this to me after she learnt that I hadn't read it yet. I was a little disappointed in it considering it won so many awards, but it was still a good read.

I thought that the plot was really original and a really interesting concept to think about. The book was well written, however I think it had too much travelling, the ratio of travelling to a destination and actually being at that destination and acomplishing something was like 3:1, I found it really frustrating. My favourite character was Bitterblue, I thought she was totally awesome and kick-ass, I know Mac was irritated that Katsa ended up with a man, but she totally missed that Bitterblue is the superhero female in this story. I would be really disappointed if in the last book in the trilogy she ended up all weak and helpless. I would recommend this book to any people that like a good adventure/quest type story.

To read a plot summary see Mac's previous blog.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Insurgent - Veronica Roth (2012)

4.5 stars

I am so lucky that all those months ago, I bought Divergent in a rush because I needed something to read. I loved Divergent so much, it was the book I chose to pitch in a speech in front of my English class last year. It's one of my favourite YA fiction series', because we're all a little over vampires, werewolves and angels. Both Divergent and Insurgent were New York Times bestsellers. Not to mention, it is a trilogy and this book will certainly leave you hanging for the third.

The film rights were sold, and it's got a lot of action which could make a really good film. What I was wondering though, what is Roth going to call the third one? Turns out she's having a problem with that too, so the working title is Detergent. The coolest thing about Roth - she's only 22. So she's a tumblr addict, so straight off her blog I found:

Also, here is the book trailer:

Yet again, Clare's done the hard yards for me!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Lone Wolf - Jodi Picoult (2012)

3.5 stars

I really enjoy Jodi's books and was interested to read this as it didn't seem to have a controversial issue like her books usually do. This book did turn out to have a controversial issue, however she didn't handle it as well as she usually did. I am interested to see how her new book Between the Lines will work and am quite excited as it will be unlike her previous works.

I found this to be one of her less interesting books, and I struggled to want to read it until the trial occurred. Although this is still a good book that deals well with the idea of pulling the plug on a family member, I think it was probably one of her weaker stories, although I found the wolf information really interesting at times. My favourite character was definitely Edward, I think I would have had the same opinion as him and would have made a lot of the same decisions as him if I was in any of those situations. A good read, however I wouldn't recommend it over most of her other books.

For plot summary see Mac's previous blog post.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare (2012)

3.5 stars

I borrowed the latest in this series from my boyfriend after he devoured it. I really liked it, and once I got into it, it was really hard to put down. I have a lot of friends who love this series - it definetely has a wide-ranging appeal. It's good for those kids who want a cooler, less-lame and better-in-general version of Twilight.
My favourite character is Alec. He tries so hard and it never seems to work out for him. I love him and Magnus as a couple. So keen for book 6!

Clare's read it, so she's done the summary already!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Insurgent - Veronica Roth (2012)

5 stars

I was so excited for this book because Divergent was probably the best book I read last year. I was not disappointed by the sequel at all.

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first book, it was amazingly well written and went into more depth of the fictional society than the previous novel. Veronica also went into a lot more detail with the other characters in the novel that weren't properly developed in Divergent. My favourite character in this book was once again Four, I'm 100% certain that Veronica wrote the most lovable character in the world and in this book I just love him more and more. I also found it hard to pick a faction in this book, because whenever I favoured a faction, I learned more about them and didn't like them, a clever tactic that is probably leading to the destruction of factions in future novels. I would recommend this and Divergent to anyone, anyone at all, anyone with a soul, anyone that loves anything, because these books are amazing and can be enjoyed by all.

The book starts with Tris and the other Dauntless in Amity, they stay there until Erudite launch an attack and they must leave. Tris and Tobias then meet with the factionless who are led by Tobias' mother, whom he thought to be dead. After leaving the factionless, Tris and Tobias meet up with other Dauntless and Abnegation at Candor headquarters where they are publicly interrogated with truth serum. Erudite then launch another attack, this time on Candor, in which they shoot everyone with long range transmitters so they can put them under simulation whenever they want. The Dauntless then return to Dauntless headquarters and destroy the security cameras, and that night three of the Dauntless that have long range transmitters are controlled by Jeanine and tell Tris that if a Dauntless doesn't surrender to Erudite this will happen every two days. Two of the three people are saved, but Marlene dies and Tris goes to Erudite after promising Tobias that she won't. Tris is then experimented on by Jeanine, who wants to develop a serum that will work on divergents, Tobias also comes to Erudite to be a prisoner with Tris and they both escape with the help of Peter. The Dauntless and factionless then form an alliance to attack the Erudite and destroy their information, however Tris works with Marcus to try to get the information that Jeanine is protecting and her mother died for. Tori kills Jeanine before she can locate the information for Tris and Tris is labelled a traitor for wanting to save Jeanine. The factionless then tell Dauntless that there will be no more factions and that no-one can argue with them because they commandeered all the weapons, Tobias then shows the video Tris was looking for to everyone which shows that they were all separated from society to be protected from human nature itself.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Keep Calm and Drink Up (2010)

I'm not sure if this really counts as a book, but I'm falling behind Clare on the book tally and have to resort to sneak tactics to get on top. My friend Emma gave this to me for my eighteenth birthday. It is full of quotes about alcohol and life. Some are funny and some are inspiring.

Some of my favourite quotes:
"You are not drunk if you can lie on the floor without holding on." Dean Martin
"If you resolve to give up... drinking... you don't actually live longer, it just seems longer." Clement Freud
"Alcohol may be man's worst enemy, but the Bible says to love your enemy." Frank Sinatra
"Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness." Seneca
"Abstainer: a weak person who yields to the temptation of denying himself a pleasure." Ambrose Bierce
"The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol." Mignon McLaughlin
"Reality is an illusion created by a lack of alcohol." Anonymous

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Tully - Paullina Simons (1995)

5 stars

Tully is one of my most favourite books of all time. I picked it up a few years ago at a book sale on a whim. I could not put it down. I remember structuring my life around reading Tully (at over 600 pages with small print, it took a while!) Heads up, this is not a book for younger readers. It deals with complex, adult issues and contains a lot of profanity.

The best part about Tully, is Tully - the main character. She must be the most frustrating character ever written. I spend most of the book screaming at her. She has a hard life, and all she wants is what she can never have.

Tully has been abused by her mother her whole life. Luckily, she has two best friends - Jennifer and Julie - whose parents have her over as often as they can. Jennifer and Tully hold a special bond as both of them are't fond of chatting and both dream of living in California. In senior year, Tully meets Robin and the pair go out. Jennifer falls in love with Jack, who rejects her and breaks her heart. Jennifer kills herself, and Tully is devastated. Tully moves out and does some social work and goes to university. She then meets Jeremy, who promises to live with her in her beloved California. However, Tully is pregnant and circumstances mean it must be Robin's. She marries with Robin and has a son - Robin Jr. Tully struggles to stay in touch with Julie because it is painful and continues to put flowers on Jennifer's grave. One day she meets Jack, who is also putting flowers on Jennifer's grave. Jack and Tully fall in love and spend every Sunday together. Tully falls pregnant and thinks the baby is Jack's. She gives birth, but then is very ill and nearly dies. She names her daughter Jennifer. She wants to leave Robin and go with Jack to California, but Robin won't let her take her son. She then realises that she has always been in love with Robin and could never leave him and doesn't want to go to California.