Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Host - Stephanie Meyer (2008)

3 stars

I read this back in 2008 and absolutely loved it. I raved about it and lent it out to quite a few friends. On re-reading it now that I'm a bit older, I didn't like it quite as much. It has a tendency to get too descriptive which leads to a lack of plot and therefore a lack of interest. Once you get into it, however, it is quite the page-turner.

Don't be discouraged from reading this just because it is by the same author as the Twilight saga. It is a completely different genre with very different themes. This book could almost be called a dystopian novel, rather than than paranormal/ romance genre that Twilight falls in. I would definitely recommend this, I do really enjoy reading it. It has a couple of good twists and it gives an interesting take on what a perfect world would be like.

Much to my excitement, The Host is becoming a movie! It looks pretty good to me and I am definitely going to go see it at the movies. Check out the trailer:

Wanda is a 'soul' - a species that takes over the minds of humans and uses their body. The thing is, Wanda's human, Melanie, continues to be conscious.  Mel takes her to a secret refuge where humans are still alive, where her brother and boyfriend are. Wanda is ostracised by the group and attempts are made on her life. Wanda falls in love with Mel's boyfriend but at the same time falls in love with another human, Ian. After some time, she slowly starts to fit in and be trusted. She goes out on a raid, when medicine is badly needed because her own kind have no reason to mistrust her. She is assigned a 'Seeker' - one of her kind who tracks humans - who tracks her down, but the Seeker is captured. Wanda shows the humans how to remove souls after making them promise they won't  harm them.  She then sacrifices herself, then waking up to find they put here in another body so she could live. She is then able to live happily in the community with Ian and they soon discover there are many more humans living in hiding.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Boundless - Cynthia Hand (2013)

4.5 stars

Unearthly was one of the more enjoyable paranormal series I had read and the last book in the trilogy was no exception.

Unearthly and Hallowed were kind of odd for angel books because the characters try to live normal life and don't seek out adventures, dangerous love interests or danger in general. I really like that aspect of the story and this book was no exception in that aspect, because although Clara has grown since the first book and knows how to deal with her visions, she doesn't actively seek them out (until it's neccessary in the final few chapters). This book was written similarly to the first book, with a lot of detail in the first half of the book then the last half full of the drama and action you were waiting for. I understand now why the second book didn't have much of a drama, because all the information and details it was jam-packed with were neccessary for the trilogy to make sense and unfold nicely in this book. My favourite character was probably Christian, he was well written as a discarded love interest, but I found him one of the more likeable and stable characters in the novel. I would recommend this book to any fans of Fallen by Lauren Kate, or anyone who likes the young adult paranormal genre.

Clara is going to Stanford with Angela and Christian and after about a month of barely seeing Angela, she goes to see her to discover that she's pregnant. Her dad starts teaching her and Christian how to use a glory sword, a sword that they fashion out of their glory, and while he trains them they learn more about angels in general, like how there can only be seven triplare walking the earth at one time. They then work out that Clara, Jeffrey and Christian make three, and Asael, a black wing, also has three which means that the baby Angela is carrying, whose father is an undecided angel from Italy, is the seventh. Angela's vision was to tell somone in a gray suit that "the seventh is ours" so she tells Phen who tells Asael who takes Angela to hell till she tells him where Webster, her son, is. Christian and Clara decide to go to hell to save Angela, once there they find Jeffrey as well and take him out. Clara takes them to Tucker's barn by accident and Asael follows them and takes Tucker hostage, Clara swaps places with him and stabs Asael with her glory sword, but then Lucy, one of the evil triplare take Tucker and drops him to the ground from a great height. Clara tries to save him and ends up giving him a bit of her glory, turning him into a prophet. They get married and Angela raises Webster and Christian waits for Clara to love him.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Across the Universe - Beth Revis (2011)

4.5 stars

I bought this book from book depository because it kept being recommended to me by many websites and it sounded really interesting, I'm really happy that I did.

This book reminded me a lot of Glow as it was a futuristic romance set on a spaceship to a new earth. This book was written in chapters that alternated between Amy and Elder's perspective which I liked, both perspectives were well written, but I felt Amy's perspective when discussing being unfrozen and her feelings of isolation were excellently written. Although I worked out the murderer within the first 100 pages, the book still had lots of revalations and plot twists that surprised me, and the plot was so intriguing that I read it within about three days. My favourite character was probably Harley or Steela, they were both strong characters that didn't believe what they were told, and their small acts of rebellion made the population on the ship seem more lifelike and close to reality. I would recommend this book to any dystopian fans or science fiction fans that don't mind a romance side plot going on.

Amy is cryogenically frozen with her parents as they are going to colonize the new earth, however Amy is woken up fifty years early onto a ship that is full of mindless drones. Elder is the apprentice to Eldest, the leader of the ship, and when bodies that are frozen begin to be unplugged he and Amy try to work together to find out who did it. They discover that the ship hasn't been flying for 250 years like they thought but rather 350 years, and it's still going to take another 100 to get to the planet because the engine is having problems. They also discover that Eldest is drugging the people on the ship so they don't have strong emotions, and telling them every forty years that the ship will not land for an extra 25 years and that even though they won't get to see the new planet, their children will. It is then discovered that Orion is really the previous Elder and has been unplugging the frozens that have military experience because he thinks they will use the inhabitants of the ship as slaves when they finally land. He kills Eldest, then Elder freezes him and tells the population on the ship about the actual landing time and decides to stop drugging them.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks (2010)

5 stars

I bought this book because of a staff recommendation in dymocks and I am so grateful to that staff member, because I've read some Nicholas Sparks that are terrible so I'm always hesitant to buy a new one.

This book was wonderfully written, I have no idea how Sparks was able to write from Kevin's perspective because sometimes while reading it I had to stop for a minute to remember he's fictional and I don't know anyone that messed up in the head in real life. The plot was really enthralling as well, just when Alex and Katie's love started to get boring, Kevin's story started being told, it was so well paced I found it hard to stop reading at all. My favourite character was Jo, she was really funny and gave Katie the reassurance she needed to settle down and give love a chance, I thought her character could have been used more near the end of the story, but then her plot twist made me understand why she became more sparse towards the end of the plot. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Nicholas Sparks' books or romance novels with a bit of drama.

Katie comes to Southport starving and unemployed, she gets a job as a waitress at Ivan's and soon meets Alex, the general store owner who is a widower with two kids. They form a friendship and Katie starts to settle down in Southport, they soon start dating and Katie tells Alex about her past. She was abused by her husband who was a drunk (and a psycho in my opinion) and it took her a year to steal the money she needed from him to escape and she stole the identity of her neighbours dead daughter to escape without him finding her. After about six months Kevin finds out the identity Erin (Katie's real name) stole and finds her. He drank four bottles of vodka in one day and can't see straight, but he decides that fire is purifying so he douses Alex's house in gasoline, where Katie is babysitting the kids while Alex drives a neighbour back from the airport. Katie manages to get the kids out safely, however Kevin then threatens them with a gun, so Katie distracts him while telling them to run to her house. Alex sees them on the road and drops them off before going to the store to help Katie, when he gets there he runs over Kevin's hand and breaks it. Before they can do anything else Kevin manages to drive off to where Katie is staying so they also head there to protect the kids. Once there Kevin knocks Alex over the head with a crowbar, and while Katie's holding the gun, he pulls the trigger cause he thinks it's pointing at her, but he accidently shoots himself in the gut. Kevin dies and Alex and Katie are happy, Katie realizes that her neighbour that she had made friends with was really Carly's (Alex's wife) ghost and is happy that she approves of her with Alex.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (2002)

3.5 stars

This is the last book that Mac bought me for my birthday this year and probably had the most interesting concept of the three, although it was kind of slow in places it was still enjoyable.

This book reminded me a little bit of The Help as it is set in the same kind of time period and racism is a major theme in the novel, however I found that the characters in this book were not quite as loveable as those in The Help and I didn't really love them like I do in most books. The books does get slow and drag on a bit sometimes, especially around the middle of the novel I found it very hard to want to read because it got so bogged down with the beekeeping details. My favourite character in this novel was Zach, he had strong morals and big dreams, and I liked how Lily's love for him wasn't a big deal. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes period dramas, books that overcome racism, or anyone who likes a quirky drama.

Lily Owens thinks she shot her mother when she was four. She is now fourteen and the only person who loves her is her housekeeper and nanny Rosaleen. When Rosaleen goes to register to vote, white men attack her and throw her in jail, Lily manages to break her out and runs away to Tiburion with her, a place that her mother wrote on the back of a honey label Lily keeps. Once there they stay with three African American sisters who make honey. After a month Lily asks them about her mother, it turns out August was her housekeeper when she was a child and when she was trying to take Lily away she was trying to bring her there. T. Ray, Lily's father, comes looking for her and she convinces him to let her stay with August but when she asks him whether she really did kill her mother he said that she did, it was an accident, but she did shoot her mother.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

One Day - David Nicholls (2009)

3 stars

This was another of the books that Mac bought me for my birthday earlier this year, and although I found it less engaging than Water for Elephants (the previous book she bought me) I think it would make a more interesting movie.

This book follows the relationship between Emma and Dexter by describing what happens to them every year on July 15th. Although it's an interesting concept, it does get quite boring for several of the middle years and if I hadn't had so much free time today it would have taken me a lot longer to get through those years to the last couple where they get interesting again. I liked how it just switched between the two perspectives with no markings or change of chapters because it made the characters more relatable and it seemed nice and informal, like they were two of my friends. I didn;t really have a favourite character in this book, not because I didn't like any, but because none of them really jumped out at me or added anything particularly special to the novel. I would recommend this to anyone who likes romance novels and doesn't mind a surprising twist.

Em and Dex meet the night of graduation and spend the enitre night talking. Although they both like each other and want to be more than just friends the timing is never quite right. Over the years they become best friends and stick together through many ups and downs in each others lives including Dex's mother dying, Dex's drinking problem and Em's affair with her boss. In their late thirties they finally start to date and are married and trying for a baby in after a little more than a year, however just before Dex's fourtieth birthday Em gets hit by a car and dies.

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho (1993)

1 star

I bought this on a recommendation by one of my previous teachers, I should've known better than to trust someone who was blacklisted from Korea.

I was really disappointed by this book considering how much everyone always talks about it, I can see the appeal, it's a philosophical book that basically tells you to follow your dreams and not to be scared of failing or to settle for something that is only adequate. However I found that the storyline didn't have much happening and even the interesting parts were written very dry and it ended up taking me a week to read a 150 page book. My favourite character was probably Fatima, I wasn't particularly engaged or invested in any characters, but I liked how Fatima didn't beg Santiago to stay but instead just told him she would still be here once he finished his journey, it was also a nice change for a character to not tell Santiago what to do, which all the others pretty much were the whole book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes philosophy and enjoys books with a journey or quest.

Santiago has a reccurring dream about finding treasure at the pyramids and a gypsy woman gives him the advice that the treasure is real. He then meets an old king who tells him that he shouls follow his personal legend, which most people don't do in life. Santiago eventually makes it to the pyramids where he learns gthat the treasure was back where he started all along.