Sunday, 10 August 2014

Where She Went - Gayle Forman (2011)

3.5 stars

I ordered this book as soon as I'd finished If I Stay and found out it had a sequel, and this book is just as good as the first one and was really enjoyable.

I read the majority of this book in one sitting, just like If I Stay, because the author writes such emotional journeys that I feel like I'm going on them too and I don't want to stop in the middle of it. I actually think I found this book sadder than If I Stay which is really surprising considering it was about a girl deciding whether or not to die and be with the rest of her family. This book is told from Adam's perspective, not Mia's, which I really liked. It was a nice change to hear his experiences during the events of the first book and also to see how much it affected him. Also I think Adam's feelings gave some really good insight into people with anxiety, I know in his case it was clearly made worse by all his fame and success but the basic feelings he still had were the same as anyone with anxiety can feel. My favourite character in this book was Liz, I know she was barely in it but I just really like the idea of her character always keeping an eye on Adam and when she saw Mia again her reaction was so wonderful. I would recommend these books to anyone who likes romance and emotional journeys.

It's been three and a half years since the accident and three years since Mia went to Julliard and just stopped talking to Adam altogether. His band Shooting Star became a huge success after their album Collateral Damage, that Adam wrote all about Mia leaving him, became a huge hit. He's leaving for their next tour in a day and his manager told him to take that day by himself to calm down before tour. He sees a poster for a big recital Mia is giving that night and he manages to get a ticket, it's the first time he's been able to have anything to do with her since she left and after the concert she requests to see him. They spend the night going to all her favourite places in New York because she too is leaving for a tour in the next few days, and she ends up telling him that she stopped calling because she was so mad at him for making her stay. She leaves and he's on his way home when she comes back and explains that she started remembering what happened when she was in her coma, Adam breaks down with the weight of all he's been feeling for three years and then they go back to her house and sleep on her couch. When they wake up and Adam goes to leave she shows him a room where she's kept all the articles about him and his bands album, and reveals that she bought his old guitar that was auctioned off for charity. She tells him she eventually worked through her anger, and realized it never was for him, it was just easiest to blame him as the cause of it. They reunite and make arrangements to see each other on their tours, at the end of which Adam will leave his band. The book ends with an article three years later about Adam's release of a solo album that is apparently a work of genius and it mentions how his romantic interest Mia must be a good muse for him.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The One - Kiera Cass (2014)

5 stars

I don't know whether I really enjoyed this book this much or because I read it in four hours I can't really remember any of the bad parts, but this book was definitely my favourite of the series.

This book had everything I ever wanted from America, she started actually telling people her ideas, which most of the time were pretty good, she worked out her feelings and expressed them (even if it was at the end), and she helped organise a rebellion. Reading this book it was like there never was a love triangle, there was no America being a wuss and not saying anything to Aspen and letting him pursue her, there was no angst over who she should be with, it was just pretty much a love story between her and Maxon, which I have no problem with. Also I feel like this book is probably the only one in the series that passes the Bechdel test, I loved that Celeste got some reasoning for her behaviour and that she and the other girls all became quite good friends, not even needing to talk about Maxon (for once). My favourite character in this book was probably Celeste, everyone else had a point in this book where they made me really dislike them, and ironically Celeste was probably the only one who didn't do that, I wasn't expecting the depth that she got in this book but I am really grateful for it. I would definitely recommend finishing this series, even if, like me, you didn't enjoy The Elite that much.

America and Maxon are summoned by the Northern rebels in the middle of the night because they want to show their support of Maxon and tell him they'll help fight against the Southern rebels if he gives them a sign that he's willing to change and get rid of the castes once he's in power. She and Georgia, one of the northern rebels become fast friends and Maxon has an ally in August, the other rebel who came. The Southern rebels start increasing their attacks to try to force them to stop the Selection, so America and Maxon get Aspen help them sneak out and meet with August and Georgia in the middle of the night. They learn that they need weapons if they are to go against the Southern rebels, so America invites both Georgia and Nicoletta, the princess of Italy, to one of the events the elite have to participate in and gets Italy to fund the Northern rebels weapons so they can help prevent the attacks. Maxon shows America his room, at this point both know they love the other, but neither is willing to admit it unless the other does first, and they are about to have sex when a guard shows up looking for America because her dad has died. America returns home for the funeral and learns that her dad was a member of the northern rebels and the way you identify them is by the star of david they display, usually as part of their wardrobe. She returns to the palace and finds all the girls from the selection are back because Maxon has narrowed it down Kriss and America and is announcing his engagement the next day. She goes to her room and Maxon comes to visit to give her an envelope full of letters he wrote while she was away and to tell her that she's the one he's picking. They spend the night together and when Aspen walks in on them in the morning Maxon goes to leave and while America is assuring Aspen that they didn't have sex Maxon comes back and sees them together. Although America assures him that she loves him and she and Aspen are just friends, Maxon rejects her and tells her she'll leave tomorrow. The next day at the engagement announcement, the Southern rebels suddenly attack having been scattered throughout the castle, when one comes to shoot Maxon, he instead decides to make him suffer and shoot America, Maxon jumps in front of her and takes the bullet. Aspen kills the shooter and Maxon tells him to take America to safety before helping him. When America is let out of her safe room after the battle she learns Maxon is alive and is King because his mother and father were both killed and when she goes to his room he shows her the documents he's making that will get rid of caste eight by absorbing it into caste seven, he then needs to work on it more but he will slowly get rid of the caste system. He proposes to her and she says yes. The book ends with America walking down the aisle at her wedding to Maxon and him saying "hello my dear" and she replies with "oh don't start" (and then I cried).

Friday, 8 August 2014

Resist - Sarah Crossan (2013)

3 stars

I really enjoyed Breathe and when I found this book I thought it would be interesting to see how all that got set up in the last book would be resolved in only one more.

My main problem with this book is that it all was too perfect, everything happened really quickly and always at coincidental times, anytime the group separated, they were immediately found by one of the other friends, and to avoid any consequences the head of the army had conveniently changed his mind and decided to help them. This book is told from four perspectives, the same three as the last book plus Ronan Knavery, Cain Knavery's son. I also find it really hard to understand how Vanya ran her base with so many oxygen tanks, but didn't have any trees or sources of oxygen like Petra did. My favourite character was probably Bea, she was so strong through everything she did and my favourite part of the whole book was when Jude said that "Bea Whitcraft turns boys into men". I would recommend this series to people who like dystopian novels and like the premise of having to pay for air.

Jazz is severely injured after the destruction of the Grove so Quinn has to leave her and Bea in a train station with many portable air recyclers that were left behind by drifters so they can stay put and be safe while he goes to get help from Sequoia. On the way there he meets Abel and Jo, who had previously left there and are headed back because Jo is heavily pregnant. Alina and Silas are already there and they learn that Vanya, the lady who runs the Sequoia rebellion is crazy, grows no trees and forces the people living there to breed as the thinks children raised in this environment can be immune to the low oxygen levels. When Quinn gets to Sequoia, Vanya refuses to send help for Bea and Jazz until she learns that it is Jazz, her child, that is injured. Ronan had been sent out by Jude to go find Quinn but instead he found Bea and Jazz, he radioed Jude and got him to take Jazz back to the pod so she could get medical assistance. When Quinn comes to find Bea and Jazz he talks to Bea and she tells him that she and Ronan have made a plan to get Jude to recruit and train auxilaries that are part of the resistance as part of the army so they can turn on the pod when they are ready. Quinn tells Bea to go back with Ronan and he will go back to Sequoia and tell Alina and get her to come back with him. Once Bea and Ronan are back at the pod, Quinn and Alin start they're escape with all of their other allies at Sequoia and on their way they learn that Vanya plans on destroying the recycling plants at the pod so they kill everyone inside. Chaos break out in the pod when Vanya's army attacks and the rebels aren't as prepared as they thought they'd be, Alina, Quinn and Silas saw Vanya's people headed to the pod so they ran there to make sure they could help fight. When there is one recycling plant left, Alina takes the bomb that Vanya has set in it and runs it out of the pod and dies. The rebels eventually subdue Vanya and her people and have one recycling plant left standing. The book ends a few weeks or months later, it's not really clear, where Bea, Quinn, Maude and Ronan are building a settlement a few hundred metres or so away from the pod with a giant nursery that Abel is constantly tending to.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Landline - Rainbow Rowell (2014)

2.5 stars

After loving all of Rainbow's previous books I was super excited to read this, however I ended up being pretty disappointed with it.

The writing was hilarious and fun, like all of Rainbow's other books, and I enjoyed all the characters with the exception of Neal but I didn't mind because I understood why Georgie loved him. I think my main problem with this book was that the premise was a magic phone, that had no explanation and wasn't mentioned to any other characters or utilised to it's full potential in the story. Also part of the reason I probably didn't like this book as much as I thought I would is that nothing really happened. In the first chapter Georgie makes a tough decision to stay at home while her husband and kids leave for Christmas at his parents and then quickly afterwards anyone who reads this can see that Georgie is unhappy with what she chose and should just go and be with them, but instead we read about her getting more and more miserable over six days and only talking to her husband in the past through the magic phone. It was also very hard to be invested in what Georgie was going to decide (it was basically going to be will she let her marriage slip away or will she fight for it from the first page) when even though their love story was adorable, I didn't really care because I didn't really like Neal that much. My favourite couple of chapters in this book were the chapters at the end where she actually interacted with other people, in one of them helping deliver puppies with her sister, who she just found out was gay, and the chapter where the adorable couple from the airport give her a lift, who I found out after I had already read this were Cath and Levi from Fangirl and who are ENGAGED. My favourite character in this book was Heather, which is really the only option with pessimistic Neal, depressed Georgie and clearly pining Seth, Heather was a ray of beautiful sunshine in a sea of characters who were all at their grumpiest. I would recommend reading this if you're a fan of Rainbow, because after seeing some other reviews it seems I am just an anomaly in the Rainbow fan club.

The book starts with Georgie telling her husband Neal that she can't go to Omaha with him and their kids for Christmas because the show she has been working on her whole life might be getting picked up but they need four episodes written in a little over a week so she has to stay at home and write them. Neal tells her it's fine, that they'll all go without her and even though Georgie knows he's upset with her she lets him. That night she uses the landline in her mum's house to call Neal's house and realizes that she's talking to past Neal from fourteen years ago, the only other time they spent apart, at the end of which Neal showed up on her door and proposed to her. The more she realizes about this "magic fucking phone" the more she can't focus on her writing and the more she delves into a depression about her relationship. Eventually she realizes that everything she is saying to Neal in the past has already happened, and these conversations are what drives him to go and propose to her. She also eventually realizes that she has to go be with Neal and she goes straight to the airport to go to Omaha. With a little help from Levi and Cath she makes it to Neal's parents house and tells him that she'll try harder from this point onwards.