Monday, 30 January 2012

The Choice - Nicholas Sparks (2007)

I bought this book because it was one dollar at an op-shop and it was Nicholas Sparks so it would probably be pretty good. However, I was very disappointed and thought it was extremely predictable.

The book is split into two parts, the first part, which is the majority of the book, is the weekend eleven years ago when Travis and Gabby fell in love. This is the first thing that annoys me, a weekend. That's two days. Two days with Travis convinces her to break up with her lovely boyfriend of five years to be with Travis. The second part is the present in which Gabby is in a coma and Travis must make "The Choice" as to whether to put her in a nursing home or remove her feeding tubes. 80 of the 90 pages is just Travis remembering Gabby and repeating the pros and cons of each choice. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone, maybe Nicholas Sparks fans because they read all his books anyway.

Gabby is dating Kevin, and meets Travis, her next door neighbour a sexy vet who is good with kids. After a boat trip with him and his friends he invites her to dinner at his house where he kisses her and she pushes him away, despite this they spend the next day together and fall in love. Eleven years later Gabby is in a coma after Travis ran a red light in the rain, and he doesn't know whether to remove her feeding tubes because that's what she made him promise her a few years ago, or to move her to a nursing home in case she ever wakes up. He moves her to a nursing home and then nine weeks later she wakes up.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Birthmarked - Caragh O'Brien (2010)

I bought this because I couldn't find anything else and I had a voucher. Clare seemed certain that it was going to be good. It sounded like the sort of dystopian fiction that we like. But unfortunately it didn't live up to expectations. The 'code' that the main character Gaia had was actually just a lame 'freckle' tattoo that her mother put on all the babies she delivered and the romance was predictable. I will give the author credit for the unforeseen curveballs thrown in at the end.

Not a huge fan, so I wouldn't recommend you go out and but it. However it isn't terrible and I can see a lot of similiarities between Birthmarked and The Hunger Games (which I didn't adore like just about everyone.. don't shoot me!)

Gaia is a sixteen-year-old midwife, who has to give a certain amount of babies every month to the Enclave - the people inside the wall. When her parents are taken away for 'questioning' never to return, Gaia starts to question everything. The Enclave have begun to panic, the gene pool is so small and the parents are anonymous, genetic diseases like haemophilia are running rampant. Gaia reliases her parents have left her a code that identifies the babies her mother delivered, when they were born and who their parents are. The Enclave suspects her, and she gets help to go under the wall and try to rescue her parents. She saves a baby from the body of a hanged woman and is then wanted by officals. She falls in love with Leon, the Protectorat;s son (who actaully came form outside the wall) who helps her as best he can. She finds her mother as a political prisoner, pregnant. They escape, but her mother goes into labour and bleeds out. Gaia and Leon try to escape with the bay, but at the last moment Leon sacrifucces himself, so Gaia and her new sister have the chance to live in the unchartered forest.

Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult (1999)

Despite having several other books to read, I still wanted to read it again. I love Jodi Picoult and Keeping Faith is one of my all-time favourite books. This author always picks great topics to write about and this was no different. A little girl who has a female God as an imaginary friend. Sounds unrealistic, but reading the book   informs you of all the  how-to-be-saint processes and the idea of God from the viewpoint of different religions.

I definetely recommend this. It's interesting, has a good twist, a solid plot and even a love story thrown in. Don't write Picoult off as the kind of book 50-year-old women read in the waiting room. Get addicted.

Mariah and her daughter Faith return home one day to find their husband/father in bed with another woman. This  devastates Mariah and Faith finds an imaginary friend - Guard. When Faith develops stigmata, her psychologist infers that 'Guard' may actually be 'God'. Faith's grandmother has a heart attack and minutes after she dies, Faith shakes her and she wakes up. This lends Faith a huge cult following, especially since her God is a woman. People and camera crews sit outside their house. Faith takes a turn for the worse and lands in hospital, but the patients nearby all suddenly recuperate. Faith's father sues for the custody he previously relinquished. His lawyer claims Mariah is hurting Faith to get attention. The court case ends in Mariah's favour. The novel ends with Faith talking to God, but only because she knows her mother is listening.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

The Help - Kathryn Stockett (2009)

The same friend that bought me Glow for my birthday bought me this as well and I can't believe that she got two amazing books in one shop when sometimes I struggle to find any that even look appealing these days.

I thought this book was wonderful, it had a clever idea behind it and was written extremely well, I completely understand how this was a bestseller and a movie. My favourite character was definitely Aibileen, I thought she was lovely, gentle and had a great storyline, from her son Treelore to Mae Mobley. I also admired Skeeter, however I found her story with Stuart was quite tedious at times.

Minny and Aibileen are coloured maids working in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962. Skeeter Phelan is an aspiring journalist and a white woman who is part of the high class circle that these maids work for. When Skeeter gets fed up with how some of her friends are treating the maids, she decides to write a book of interviews of the maids to show some of the ups and downs that they have to deal with. Skeeter becomes good friends with Aibileen but they struggle to get more maids to help them with the book, however after Aibileen gets her best friend Minny on board she helps them get ten other maids for the book. The book gets published and doesn't get much attention for a while, but after its reviewed on television all the ladies in Jackson read it and Skeeter gets a job in New York. Minny is then assurred that she will always have her job with Celia, however Hilly makes sure that Aibileen gets fired.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Burn Bright - Marianne de Pierres (2011)

Mac gave this book to me for my birthday this year because it had a staff recommendation, and I can understand how someone could be totally obsessed with this series.

This book was written in that funny, kind of always wanting to know more way, that reminds me of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. It has an interesting plot that is nothing like anything that I've read. My favourite character was Suki, I thought she was lovely and super tough at the same time. I also thought that creating the world where the women were the powerful ones that protected the men was pretty clever. I would recommend this to any fantasy fans, especially fans of complicated plots you need to think about.

Retra jumps onto a barge that will take her to Ixion, an island of non-stop darkness and partying. Most people run away to Ixion because they want to rebel and party, but Retra goes there to find her brother Joel, who ran away a year ago. There we discover the land of Ixion where Ripers are there to "protect" you, night creatures linger in the dark beyond the paths, and when you become too old you are withdrawn. When Retra sees the Riper Brand attacking Krista-belle she slams a chair over his back and gets noticed by a lot of people, including the head Riper Lenoir. Retra then learns that her brother is Clash, the second in command of the League and working for Ruzalia. Brand then tries to hurt Retra and cuts her femeral artery, Lenoir then heals her, however in doing that they become bonded. Retra then changes her name to Naif and a battle occurs between the league and the night creatures. The night creatures want to kill Naif as Lenoir also killed one of them to protect her, Joel then calls Ruzalia to take Naif away and Lenoir tells her that the only way to stop the night creatures attacking is for her to leave. Before she does, he tells her that the night creatures won't kill him because he is one of them and they won't kill one of their own, Ruzalia then takes Naif, Markes and Charlonge away from Ixion.

Glow - Amy Kathleen Ryan (2011)

I got this book for my birthday and I wasn't sure if it looked good or not, turns out it was pretty great.

This book was really excellent, it's set in space and has an excellent plot. I thought it was so well-written I found it hard to stop reading, I also thought that the villian Anne Mather was so well portrayed and I couldn't hate her more, she reminded me of Umbridge. My favourite character was Amanda, as she was one of the only consistently good characters throughout the book. I would recommend this book to any teenager, it has aspects that can appeal to many different kinds of people.

Waverly and Kieran are in love, they live on a ship called the Empyrean which is flying to New Earth. There is another ship, the New Horizon, which set sail a year before the Empyrean that has slowed down to rendevouz with them, however instead of talking, the New Horizon crew boards the ship and kills almost all the adults on board. They then take all the girls on to their ship and tell them that they didn't shoot anyone they merely tranquilised them. Waverly doesn't believe them and quietly rebels with Samantha and Sarah, they soon learn that some adults from the Empyrean that got away are stored in the basement of the New Horizon. Anne Mather is the ship's pastor and captain, she tells Waverly that Captain Jones sent them an injection that destroyed their ovaries and thats why they have no children on board. Anne soon drugs Waverly and a number of other girls and harvests their eggs without their consent. Waverly and the other girls escape however they are unable to free their parents from the basement without being shot like Samantha, who died. Meanwhile on the Empyrean, Kieran is in charge, he and Seth save the few adults that were trapped downstairs while trying to save the ship from radioactivity however they are badly burned and some die. Seth then turns on Kieran and becomes a ruthless dictator and starves Kieran in a cell, soon the other boys help take down Seth so Kieran returns to be leader of the ship. Waverly and the other girls then return to the ship, however Waverly doesn't want to be with Kieran anymore because he has started running religious services and it reminds her too much of Anne Mather.

Crossed - Ally Condie (2011)

Mac gave me Matched for my birthday last year and I got this one for Christmas. The end of the last book wasn't that big a cliffhanger and I wasn't really dying to read this, however I think this book is an improvement on the last one.

I think this book was better than the last one as it shows Ky's perspective as well as Cassia's, it also had a lot more adventure and excitment than the last one. My favourite character was Hunter, I found him interesting and well written and I hope he is in the last book.

Ky is in the outer provinces as a decoy for the enemy to shoot at, his friend Vick is the only other abberration that has lasted as long as he has. He, Vick and a boy called Eli escape into a maze of hills and canyons, known as the Carving. Cassia and her friend Indie soon make their way to the outer provinces and run to the Carving to find Ky, but before they meet up Vick dies. Cassia soon learns of a rebellion against society known as The Rising and wants to join, however Ky already knew about them and didn't want to join, instead he wants to join The Farmers, a group that lives away from both the society and the rising. Cassia, Indie and Ky end up all joining the Rising and they discover that Xander was already part of it.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Hallowed - Cynthia Hand (2012)

I read Unearthly last year and was absolutely captivated, I read it in a day. I know there is a lot of young adult paranormal books that are popular now, but I think this is one of the better ones.

This book doesn't really have a big fight scene or a large complication like most books do which is both good and bad, but it was still well written enough for me to read it in two days. My favourite characters in this book were Mr Phibbs and Christian. In books with love triangles I usually go for the guy that the main character chooses, like Peeta in The Hunger Games, or Edward in Twilight, probably partly because they're portrayed more likeable, however in this book I really liked Christian a lot more than Tucker. I also just liked Mr Phibbs cause he's pretty cool. I would recommend this series to any fans of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate.

This book follows Clara's journey after failing at her purpose in Unearthly. She has chosen to love Tucker but is becoming better friends with Christian throughout the novel, especially after they learn that angel-bloods only live to be 120 years old and that's how old her mum is. Samjeeza is constantly around Clara and it is worrying everyone a lot until Clara and Jeffrey's dad comes to see their mum before she dies and banishes Samjeeza. They then learn that their dad is an angel, an Intangere, which means that both her and Jeffrey are Triplare and are extremely rare and will be constantly hunted by black wings. Christian then takes Clara to his mother's grave and tells her that he is also a Triplare and that's why they are meant to be together, he then kisses her and Clara runs away. That kiss, the fact that Clara has so many angel secrets from Tucker and the long distance factor now that Clara is moving to Stanford causes her and Tucker to break up. Clara then learns that last year when Jeffrey was so upset after the fire it was because he started the fire Tucker was in and it was his purpose to then save him but Clara ruined it all. Jeffrey then runs away and Clara goes to Italy for the summer with Angela.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Inheritance - Christopher Paolini (2011)

I have read and enjoyed all the books in this series, although not as much as Mac has, and really wanted to see how it would all end. I know that this series has a pretty hardcore cult following (Mac included) so I'm sure it pleases all of you to know that Christopher Paolini says he will write more books in the setting of Algaesia and I myself will definitely be reading them if this series is the standard they will be held to.

I enjoyed this book, though probably not as much as its predecessors because it took half the book to get to the main plotline that is described in Mac's previous blog. Also the biggest disappointment to me was the fact that Eragon and Arya didn't end up together, most other endings were predictable (excluding the dwarves and urgals becoming riders) however that is one thing that I would've liked to predict. My favourite characters were Saphira, Murtagh and Orik, I loved the chapter that was from Saphira's perspective and it upset me that there was only one chapter like that. I also just have a soft spot for Orik and Murtagh which I have had from the start of the series, and when Orik arranged a farewell with all the dwarves for Eragon I must admit there were some tears. I would recommend Eragon to any big fantasy fans that have not already read it, I would be recommending this book as well but I know that anyone who has read the rest of the books will get around to reading it sooner or later.

For plot summary see Mac's previous blog.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Homecoming - Cathy Kelly (2010)

I bought this because it was "1 of the 100 books you should read" at Dymocks. Pffft, mistake. I kept reading despite my lack of interest in the hope that it would improve. I can't even think up a substantial post to talk about this book, it is that lacklustre.

I really don't like this book. It's predictable, boring and cliché. Not even a beach-worthy read. You'd find more fun in reading the ingredients on a shampoo bottle.

Eleanor returns to her hometown of Ireland after her husband dies. She meets Connie, a 39-year-old teacher, with no man in her life, who falls in love with the man next door and his young daughter. Eleanor also helps Megan, an famous actress in hiding after being uncovered as the homewerecker of one of LA's few longstanding marriages. Then there's Rae, a cafe-owner, mother, wife and charity-worker with a big secret. As a teenager living in an abusive household, Rae fell pregnant and adopted her daughter out. Now her daughter has contacted her and Rae has to finally tell her husband. Eleanor becomes involved in the lives of Connie, Megan and Rae and uses her psychoanalyst background to help them make the right choices.