Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Princess Diaries: Third Time Lucky - Meg Cabot (2001)

I'm continuing reading this series, and originally it was going to be a trilogy so this book has a nice ending that ties up all the loose ends. This is probably one of the best book in the series.

In this book notes are included in the diary so you get to see a little bit of other peoples perspectives. Meg Cabot continues writing tremendously in this diary style and tries to wrap up all the storylines because she was originally only contracted to write three books. My favourite character in this book was Lars, he is usually hilarious whenever he is mentioned, but in this book he is a lot more prominent and included in the story at the perfect times. Anyone that likes the previous books will enjoy this book.

Mia is trying to break up with Kenny because she is in love with Michael and she is getting ready for the non-denominational winter carnival and dance, as well as her introduction to the Genovian people. She sends Michael anonymous love notes and he writes her a computer program, they then go to the dance together.

The Princess Diaries: Take Two - Meg Cabot (2000)

I continued reading this series because I like to at least get to the part where she's with Michael because otherwise I'm sad. This book is better than the first one, and probably my favourite in the series.

This book continues from the day after the last book finished, it was originally the first book in the series I read and I read it because it jumps into the twists of the storyline on the first page. This book contains more random lists and things than the last book which gives it a more journal-like feel, I still think Meg Cabot was in her writing element in this diary style series. My favourite character in this book is Michael, there weren't many other prominent characters in this book that were written as well or were quite as nice. Anyone that enjoyed the first book will enjoy this one as well.

In this book Mia must have an interview for television for which she is stressing about. When asked the vague question "Have you had some exciting news recently?" she tells the world about her mother and algebra teacher having a baby and their pending marriage when the interviewer was simply referring to her algebra grade. This starts Grandmere planning the wedding of a century to which Mia thinks her mother doesn't want, and Mia starts getting anonymous love notes who she hopes are from Michael. Mia's mother and Mr Gianini elope and Mia discovers the love letters are from her biology partner Kenny.

The Princess Diaries - Meg Cabot (2000)

I own all ten of the books in this series and although I've read them at least twice each it always cheers me up to reread some of them. The first one is not the best in the series, but it's probably one of the better ones.

Although these books are written for girls younger than I am, I think because I read them when I was in that age group I will forever love them. They are really funny and written in the quirky diary style that I think really suits the author. I also really like how the main character isn't a popular pretty girl, she's freakishly tall with frizzy hair and large feet, which is probably why I find it so easy to relate to her. My favourite character in this book would have to be Tina, I know she becomes more annoying later on but in this book she is really sweet and just wants a friend. I would recommend this to any girls between the ages of 10-16 (as a general range) who like to read about misfit girls whose inner monologues can be quite hilarious at times.

After her father discovers that he is now sterile and can have no moe children, Mia learns that she is the sole heir to the throne of Genovia. The unpopular 14 year old girl then gets asked out by the most popular guy in school only to be humiliated and used for her public status. Throughout the novel, she makes new friends, develops a crush on her best friend's brother and discovers her mother is dating her algebra teacher.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Angel Arias - Marianne de Pierres (2011)

I bought this book because I enjoyed the first one and was interested to see how the story would progress after leaving Ixion. I enjoyed it just as much as the first one and am quite excited to read the last one in the trilogy.

Even though this book wasn't set in Ixion, it still held the same adventurous feel that the previous book had. I also enjoyed learning more about the Grave and Markes, who I didn't think Naif got to know very well in the previous book. My favourite character was Liam, I thought what happened to him was terrible but De Pierres knew how to write him so that you could understand his scariness at first, but then understand his caring and fighting spirit. I would recommend this series to any fantasy or dystopia fans as Burn Bright was more fantasy, and this book was more dystopian, but with healthy amounts of both genres in both books.

The book starts with Naif on Ruzalia's island and wanting to leave for The Grave to discover why the Ripers have been there. After beads are smuggled onto her island Ruzalia agrees to take Naif and Markes to The Grave for two days. Once there Naif meets Liam, who was once on Ixion and had been removed, but the transformation had gone wrong so he and seven others had been taken to The Grave by Lenoir. Liam helps Naif and Markes get to his friend Emilia and her brother Jarrold who both agree to help them and want to go with them to Sanctus. Naif learns that the elders have made a deal with the Ripers because they have the queen of the uthers and they will keep her safe and deliver more children to Ixion if the Ripers give them a youth elixir that is produced when the night creatures feed on them. Naif, Markes, Emilia, Jarrold and Liam are then picked up by Ruzalia and taken back to Sanctus.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (2005)

I borrowed this book from Mac after I heard yet another positive review about this book and wanted to see what all the fuss was about. This book exceeded my expectations.

I loved this book, I thought it was so clever to have death narrate it and although it was super depressing I still really enjoyed it (which is a rarity for me). Although it is confusing at first, it is wonderfully written and has an amazing plot. My favourite characters were Hans and Rudy, Hans was so considerate to everyone and Rudy cared so much for Leisel that I couldn't help but love him. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone that is willing to deal with a story set in WW2.

For plot summary, see Mac's previous blog here.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Hereafter - Tara Hudson (2011)

I bought this because I was in a rush and wanted something new to read. Out of all the books I've read, this one sits very low on the list. It's boring, repetitive, unrealistic and cliché.

I don't recommend this. I don't understand how Harry Potter was hard to publish, yet this has Book 2 out next year.

Amelia is dead. Eli is trying to recruit her soul, so she can help him get other souls to join the underworld. Amelia saves the life of a boy called Josh and now he can See her. The two fall in love, except Josh's grandmother is a Seer and plans to exorcise Amelia. Eli really wants Amelia, so he sets up Josh's sister Jillian's death the same way he planned Amelia's. A party is on an unused bridge, he puts demons inside Jillian's friends so they push her off the bridge. Amelia saves Jillian, but Jillian refuses her existence, even though she can now See her.

A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett (1904)

The other day I could not stop thinking about this book, and when that happens.. it's time for a reread! I adored this book as a kid. I stayed up late reading it, spent a whole day pored over it, used it to survive long car trips and then read it again. I think I should be regarded as a children's classic along with Black Beauty and Little Women.

The language is clearly outdated but since it is a children's book it is still easy to understand. Unfortunately some of the words, especially the slang, I don't know the meaning of  and they cannot be found in a dictionary. This is a great book and it brings back a lot of memories as I read it. Definitely a recommended read.

Sara Crewe has always gotten everything she wanted. But despite being spoilt, she remains down to earth, wise and polite with a big imagiantion. Her father leaves her at a boarding school, with the instruction to the owner Miss Minchin that her every wish be granted. She has a maid, a bedroom and a sitting room all to herself. She is brilliant at all her lessons and is liked by all the girls except the jealous ones. Then one day, lawyers of her fathers estate arrive and tell Miss Minchin that Sara's father invested all his money into a friend's diamond mines, and when the project tanked, Mr Crewe died of the stress. Sara now has nothing. Miss Minchin takes her on as a slave, forcing her to do all the jobs no one wants to do, dressses her in rags, leaving her little food, a dingy attic room and making her study all night so she can tutor the little ones. Sara has already befriended a maid and they imagine they are in the Bastille. Sara likes to pretend that she is a princess, and a princess must always be polite to everyone. When she is starving, she gives a beggar the money she found instead. The sickly, wealthy man next door feels for her and transforms her attic room by night into luxury - with food, a soft mattress and furnishings. His monkey climbs into her room one night and the next day she returns him to the man. She tells him her story, and she has been the girl he has been looking for all along. It turns out that the diamond mines were real, and this man is her father's friend. Sara returns to her previous life of luxury, and stills tries to be a little princess.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sing You Home - Jodi Picoult (2011)

Mac leant me this book because we share a love of Jodi Picoult and I hadn't read this one yet, it held up to her standard of book and I couldn't put it down.

As usual with Picoult's books, once I get to the trial (usually the last hundred pages) I cannot stop reading, so many twists and turns! I love it! This book once again dealt with a controversial issue that is affecting society today, in this case it was lesbians adopting and church interference. My favourite character was Sammy, although she only is in it for the last two pages and we don't know much about her, I thought her perspective was written perfectly and she was so cute. Definitely recommend this book to any Picoult fans, as well as people that like a good drama.

Zoe is married to Max and is finally pregnant in her seventh month after four unsucessful IVF treatments. At her baby shower she starts bleeding and is rushed to the hospital to learn her baby is dead, she must then deliver the stillborn, and still wants to try for another baby which prompts Max to tell her that he wants a divorce. Max then goes back to his drinking until he has a car accident and finds God. Zoe becomes good friends with Vanessa and then falls in love with her and marries her. On their honeymoon Vanessa brings up kids and Zoe remembers that she still has three frozen embryos from her last round of IVF and Vanessa wants to carry them. Before Zoe can have the embryos, Max must sign a contract, and when she approaches him about it, he says he'll think about it but then goes to his pastor Clive Lincoln who tells him maybe God wants him to have the embryos to give to his brother Reid and his wife Liddy who have been trouble having a baby. A trial then follows where Zoe and Vanessa look like they're winning, until Pastor Clive comes in telling Zoe that the girl she has been counselling is his stepdaughter and he's convinced her to say that she has sexually harrassed her. Zoe decides to let them have the embryos to save Lucy from having to come to court and be torn between her friendship with Zoe or pressure from her father even though it is her last chance to have a child that is biologically hers. Max is awarded the embryos but decides to give them to Zoe. The last chapter is from the Sammy's perspective when she is six years old, she talks about how much she loves both her mothers, her father and his fiancee, and although people tease her, she knows she's the luckiest girl in the world.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Gone - Michael Grant (2008)

I bought this book because it was only ten dollars and I heard many good things about it from some of my friends. I was quite disappointed, and suprisingly scared by some of the things in this book.

The book has an excellent plot idea, however I think it could've been done so much better. I think it was too drawn out, and some storylines were unnecessary, you would think a story that is only twelve days would go pretty fast, unfortunately that was not the case. I also found this book quite confronting and scary for a teen book, the hands encased in cement was just too upsetting for me to handle and reminded me of the human centipede. The character of Drake was also frightening, I would have preferred not to have seen into the mind of such a psychopath, even a fictional one. My favourite character was definitely Lana, she was strong and funny and, her most important quality in my eyes, she loved her dog. I would recommend this book to people who like dystopian fiction, that have a stomach strong enough to withstand Drake and his cruelty.

Everyone fifteen or older suddenly disappears and Sam Templeton is looked to as a leader. Soon Caine, Diana, Drake and other Coates kids come and take over, they organise everything and they are appreciated, until they start making outrageous rules that turn out to be to do with "the power" that some kids have developed. Sam ends up getting most of the kids on his side and defeats Caine when he attacks them, both he and Caine (who we learn are twins separated at birth) also resist what is known as "the darkness" from taking them away like everyone else when they turn fifteen.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Forever... - Judy Blume (1975)

I don't even remember why I wanted to read this. I did love other Judy Blume books as a twelve-year-old (like Deenie and Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.) She writes really well, but only, I think, for the specified audience. This book was a bit tweeny for me. It was published in the seventies, and was very controversial, being as it is a young adult book that deals with sex.  Goodness knows, parents couldn't have their teenage daughters learning about contraception and STI's. It is also number seven on American Library Association 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000.

This book was kinda depressing. The guy pressures the girl into having sex and the girl falls for someone else after promising "forever." I guess it is realistic and tries to ease the idea that relationships and love is perfect. I do love a good the-boy-doesn't-get-the-girl ending, but the rest of the story wasn't happy enough to compensate. The most hilarious part is that the hero names his penis Ralph.

Katherine meets Michael. They hit it off and see each other every weekend. They and another couple - Artie and Erica - are always hanging out together. Michael is ready to have sex with Katherine, but Katherine isn't ready. Katherine's parents are worried that Katherine is spending too much time with one boy and thinks she should date other people too. Eventually they have sex, but it isn't perfect or what Katherine was hoping for. Artie tries to hang himself and this is hard on the rest of the group. Katherine's parents force her to work at a summer camp and Michael gets a summer job. They write letters to each other every day, but Katherine is beginning to fall for Theo, a guy who works at the camp with her. Michael visits and Katherine tells him about her Theo and they break up. They see each other once more and they realise they were happy to have some good times together.