Wednesday, 26 December 2012

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

'The Lover's Dictionary'basis, n.

There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment does pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.

How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.'

This book is told through definitions, so it was extremely quick to get through. I enjoyed the concept of the book, the writing was faultless, and the way that David Levithan built up descriptions of characters that we don't even know the name of very witty and creative.

However, as much as I enjoyed the above aspects of the book, and as much as it was so different from anything I have ever read before, I didn't love the book as much as I hoped to. The picture of the characters that were built up was done very well, but it didn't lead to me becoming particularly attached to them. I ended up seeing them as objects, rather than people would I could ever empathise with or feel for.

I also felt as if the structure of the novel was a bit hap-hazard and never felt immersed in the story at any point throughout the book, which was a shame, as the writing was so reflective and artistic.

Overall, I gave The Lover's Dictionary 3/5 stars. It was an enjoyable read and the concept was very unique, but it just didn't really work as a novel for me.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)'No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again.'

Wow. Just wow. I was so blown away by this book, I can't even express it in words.

Before starting this book I was a little skeptical; YA romance, a dead ringer for insta love and whiny protagonists. It was only once I had finished the first chapter that I realsied Pushing the Limits was not so typical at all.

This book dealt with so many deep emotions and dark themes that is was the complete opposite of the lifeless contemporary I was expecting. Echo and Noah were so well developed that I found myself, at times, on the brink of tears or at others, laughing along with them, experiencing everything they did, caring about them more than I ever thought I would.

The romance was not too overbearing; it played a major part in the story, definitely, but the plot was still there, Echo's struggle to remember what had happened to her and Noah's fight for custody of his brothers tied in to everything else that happened throughout the book. I was kept reading to the end to find out what would happen to every single character, major or minor, so the author did a great job of really making me care about them all.

I also loved how Noah and Echo's relationship was realistic; it took a while for them to become something that could be called something, and I loved how Noah respected Echo for everything she chose to do - or not to do. At times, I didn't think they would last, at others I couldn't bear to think of them separated, and I was kept on the edge of my seat until the very last page to find out what would happen regarding their relationship.

Katie McGarry's fluent writing style just made the read all the better; I loved how she subtly intertwined hints of Greek mythology here and there and the alternating points of view flowed really well.

I was actually a little sad once I'd finished the book because I absolutely adored it! A sequel, following Beth, a friend of Noah's, is due to be published next year. It's safe to say that it is sitting right at the very top of my wishlist!

One of the best books I've read all year. 5/5 stars!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Splintered by A.G Howard

Splintered'This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence. Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.
When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.'

I really, really enjoyed the beginning of this book. Alyssa's quirky nature drew me in straight away, and I was intrigued by her mother's situation and the supposed curse that had been placed upon their family since Alice had fallen down the rabbit hole.

However, from about 30% - 70% of the novel, I got bored. I was really excited about the concept, but once Alyssa actually went down the rabbit hole, I lost interest rapidly, which I think may have been due to the extremely confusing romance.

Alyssa's relationship with Jeb, who is one of the main love interests in the novel, seemed to go from nothing to everything in a matter of pages, which really annoyed me, because I'm sick of unrealistic romances in YA. Then, just as quickly as the romance developed, it cooled off, and it seemed like every other chapter the two lovebirds were arguing and then making up again. It really distracted me from the main plot, which is why the middle dragged for me.

I found the other love interest, Morpheus, much more interesting and developed than Jeb. At times, he seemed cruel, but at others, his more sensitive and hurt side was revealed, which actually left me feeling quite sorry for him.

The descriptions of what lay underneath the rabbit hole were very well developed, and the dark undertones of both the place and of the normally harmless characters in the original story very vivid. I even found myself a little unsettled at times at how twisted things seemed.

The ending really picked up, and the explanation for everything was really well done. Overall, I gave Splintered 3.5/5 stars, and would recommend that you pick it up if you enjoyed Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Thank you to NetGalley & Amulet Books for providing me with the opportunity of reading this book!

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Field Guide by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

'When the three Grace children -- Mallory, Jared, and Simon -- and their mom move into Aunt Lucinda's old house, readers know there's magic afoot. The kids uncover a nest of assembled junk, and on a visit to the secret library via the dumbwaiter, Jared finds a note describing "my secret to all mankind." After a few mysterious pranks that get blamed on Jared, the boy finally digs up the real prize: Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. Fortunately enough, the kids meet one of the critters listed in the guide -- a brownie named Thimbletack -- who makes it all "real" and helps provide the book's suspenseful conclusion: "'Throw the book away, toss it in a fire. If you do not heed, you will draw their ire.''
This book is the first of five in the Spiderwick Chronicles. I will be reviewing each of them separately on this blog, to tie in with my comprehensive review of the entire series and the movie on my YouTube channel, so I will leave a link to that video after I have posted it.

This book revovles around three siblings, Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace, who move to their old aunt's ramshackle house after their dad leaves. Although this is a children's book, there were deeper emotions running throughout the story regarding their family situation, and at times I did really feel for the Grace children, especially Jared, when their actions hinted at what they were really feeling inside.

The writing was beautiful; very simple, and straight to the point, but still descriptive enough to make everything within the novel seem vivid and real. The writing made it very easy to whiz through, and even though the book is only short, helped by fly through it even quicker.

The Field Guide really sets up the foundations of the entire story told throughout the series, introducing us to Arthur Spiderwick, the creator of the Field Guide, and we also have an introduction to some of the fantastical creatures that I'm sure will feature heavily onwards throughout the series.

I also just want to mention the illustrations in the book as I felt they added a lot to the overall feel of the story and really made the book beautiful. Overall, I gave The Field Guide 5/5 stars, and am happy to say that I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I recommend that you pick it up if you haven't already!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

'Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.'
This book was a book that I jumped into having no idea what it was about, which is unusual for me, as since I have become part of the book-blogging and vlogging community, there is rarely a time when I pick up a book having not seen at least one review on it before.

However, I think, for this book, it was better that way. The relatioship that Eleanor and Park have is one of the most realistic ones that I have ever found in a YA novel. The story is told beautifully through the author's poetic descriptions, and the harsh reality that often came crashing down on the two main characters was such a breath of fresh air after reading so many YA romances where it is all rainbows and bunnies.

At times, the two main characters annoyed me in their own separate ways; I sometimes found Eleanor's needy, stubborn attitude irritating, and wished that she wasn't so scared of everything. Then again, it could be argued that what she had been through was what had made her that way, so I was torn over whether I really liked her or not.

What I did like, however, was the quirkiness of their relationship. They get to know each other through sharing comics and albums from the time it is set in, which makes the vivid yet simple descriptions seem all the more real.

Overall, I gave this book 4/5 stars. I would definitely recommend it if you like realistic romances, and if, like me, you would like a break from the typical YA lovey-dovey love stories. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for sending this to me for review.
(P.S. How amazing is that cover?!)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe (Luxe, #1)
Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone--from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud--threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...
I absolutely adored this book! I was drawn in at first by the pretty cover, and it certainly didn't disappoint! At first, the amount of characters can make it difficult to discern who the five teenagers mentioned in the synopsis are, but after a while everything settles down and it is very easy to immerse yourself in the story.
Godbersen's writing really brings the time to life, and her vivid descriptions make everything seem all the more real. Her characters are so well rounded that I finished the book feeling as if I knew them personally, and the particularly rebellious characters I grew to love most of all.
The ending of this book fitted the rest of it perfectly, making me desperate to read the next one. I did see what was coming, but I didn't know how Godbersen would do it. I'm pleased to say, she did it very well!

Overall, I gave this book 5/5 stars. Thanks for reading, and what did you think of The Luxe?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm by Philip Pullman

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version
This book is a collection of fifty fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm retold by Philip Pullman. It explores everything from the infamous Cinderella to lesser known tales such as Thousandfurs and The Girl with No Hands.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I found the slight adjustments made by Pullman in the tales were very well done, and really enjoyed the notes at the end of the stories that told you why he had changed this or that, and gave you an insight into different interpretations of that particular story.

I was also introduced to many amazing fairy tales that I have never before come across and probably never would have if they hadn't been included in this collection. Amongst some of my favourites were One Eye, Two Eyes and Three Eyes and The Singing, Springing Lark.

 Overall, I very much enjoyed every page of this book, and would highly recommend that you pick it up if you enjoy fairy tales. Remember, you're never too old for a dose of fairy godmothers or three wishes.

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful novel!

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

This book revolves around our main character Edgar who is on a visit to his Uncle Montague's house. On every visit, Uncle Montague shares with Edgar some of his many tales of terror. However, Edgar has noticed that all of these tales stem from particular objects...objects that are all in his Uncle's house...

This book is a collection of short scary stories interwoven within a bigger, creepier story. The writing is just descriptive enough to really send tingles down your spine, and the plot moves very swiftly from one spooky story to the next, making it all the more fun and entertaining to read.

I really liked Edgar as a main character; he acted much the same as I would have done in the situation, and I liked how he was always curious to find out more. At times I was really creeped out by Uncle Montague, but I suppose that is allowed, seem as it is a scary story collection!

At first I thought the stories in this book weren't going to be too scary, but as I delved deeper into the novel, I found myself being even more scared. I don't get scared easily by books, but this one definitely did it for me; the stark reality of some of the stories was enough to creep anyone out!

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel and recommend you pick it up. 5/5 stars!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Why We Broke Up'I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.'

I thought the whole concept of this book was really unique and was intriuged by it from the start. I was also really excited as it was written by Daniel Handler, who happens to be one of my favourite authors, so I am happy to say I wasn't too disappointed.

The writing style was one of the main things that I enjoyed throughout the book, as expected. Daniel Handler's writing is hilariously witty and sarcastic, and it really made the banter between Min and Ed believable.

I also really liked the characters, particularly Min and Al. I felt sorry for Al when Min got too caught up by Ed to really pay much attention to him anymore, but he was still there at the end when they, inevitably, break up. I wasn't so much a fan of Ed as he was too sure of himself and I could pretty much guess what was going to happen from the start.

This isn't the kind of book where you are waiting to find out what happens, as you can tell from the title and the synopsis what the entire novel is leading up to. I found that due to that it could be a little dragged out at times, and I felt it could have been a little shorter for a bigger effect.

I just want to mention the illustrations by Maira Kalman that are dotted throughout the book. They were absolutely amazing, and complimented the writing well. This book is definitely a pretty one to have on your shelf!

Overall, I gave Why We Broke Up 4/5 stars.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Coraline by Neil Gaiman


'Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.'

Continuing with the spooky theme this month, I decided to read the famous Coraline by Neil Gaiman. I'm so glad I did!

The concept and writing style of the book together made it very creepy. I wasn't terrified, but definitely creeped out by the fact that this little girl was exposed to this monstruous 'other mother'.

I also really enjoyed having Coraline as a main character; she was vulnerable, but very brave, and faced a lot of events throughout the book with maturity that you wouldn't expect from a girl of her age!

The only problem that I had with this book was that at times it seemed dragged out and at others far too rushed. I think I probably would have benefited from reading Coraline  a few years ago, because it is a children's book, but overall, I did really enjoy it and gave it 4/5 stars!

What did you think of Coraline?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1) 'Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.'

First of all, I absolutely LOVED this book. I devoured it with 24 hours, both the fast paced plot and humourous writing making it an easy yet captivating read.


Characters - Cas is quite full of himself, quite a cocky character throughout the novel. At times he did irritate me a little, but overall, I really enjoyed reading about him. I also liked Carmel and Thomas, who both turned out to be different to what my first impression of them was. And of course, Anna. I really loved reading about Anna, and felt for her throughout all her struggles. Her story was sadder than I expected it to be, and I think it made me appreciate everything that she had gone through a little more.

Plot - The plot was fast paced and action packed. Kendare Blake really doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to major points in the plot line, and I loved it. New events unfolding in every chapter really made this novel a page-turner.

Gore - Kendare Blake really didn't hesitate to put gory and sometimes chilling scenes into a YA novel, which I appreciated! I think more YA authors need to branch out and not tone down what have the potential to be gory/scary scenes.


Well, actually, there's only one thing I didn't like about this book, and that was the romance. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of romance in YA, but it has to be developed properly and not be anywhere near insta-love. Unfortunately, Anna Dressed in Blood had one of the weirdest romances I've ever read about.

The romace wasn't necesarily insta-love or even completely under-developed. It just seemed too rushed towards the end, seemed to come out of nowhere. One minute, Cas was thinking about how he still couldn't trust Anna, how he was still wary of her, how he still had to kill her, and in literally the next chapter he was madly in love with her?

I really didn't understand where the romance came from, and it definitely needed to be developed a lot more, but other than that, I really loved this novel and would highly recommend it for a Halloween read!

4/5 stars.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)'When a local boy is killed by wolves, Grace's small town becomes a place of fear and suspicion. But Grace can't help being fascinated by the pack, and by one yellow-eyed wolf in particular. There's something about him - something almost human. Then she meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away...

A chilling love story that will have you hooked from the very first page.'

This novel is told from both Grace and Sam's point of view. I thought the transitions between their two perspectives were well done; there was no jumping, and the writing really did flow.

The writing style of this book was perfect; elegant, descriptive and flowing. I really enjoyed Maggie Steifvater's writing, and hope to enjoy it again some time soon!

The romance between Sam and Grace was very cute and I really enjoyed watching their relationship blossom! I didn't have any kind of problem with the insta-love that you often find in YA novels; Sam and Grace's relationship developed, for me, at the right pace.

The only problem I had with this book was that it was far too long for the amount that happened in it. There wasn't too much of a plot, and I felt some aspects of the book were dragged on far too long. I therefore decided to give Shiver 4/5 stars, but if it had been around 100 pages shorter, it probably would have been a 5!

What did you think of Shiver?

Monday, 17 September 2012

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

'Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.'

I went into this book with expectations that were sky-high. And for the third time in a row this month, my expectations were surpassed! BY A MILE. Having never read a fairytale retelling before, I was kind of skeptical about how I would feel about it. I chose to read Cinder as my first one because it had so many rave reviews. AND I'M SO GLAD I DID.

I can't even explain how much I loved this book. Actually, I can:

I love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love itI love it.

The setting was perfect, so believable, so real that I felt I was walking around in New Beijing with Cinder. I believed everything about the constant war with the Lunars (argggh, I hated them) and struggle that Kai went through when certain things happen to him right at the start of the book made me feel so sorry for him. 

The characters were also perfect. I liked the twist that Meyer threw in with one of the step sisters actually being nice rather than them both hating her. Cinder was such an amazing character to read about, so strong and self-assured but in some ways but in others completely lost and vulnerable. Prince Kai, well...he was Prince Kai. (ilovehimilovehimilovehimilovehimilovehimilovehim)

I totally managed to forget that this was even a fairytale retelling until right at the end when Cinder's foot came off on the stairs. I see what you did there, Marissa! ;)

As much as I loved this book, I will admit that it was a bit predictable, but only concerning certain things. It certainly wasn't predictable enough for me to actually be able to put it down and definitely won't prevent me from giving it a deserved 5/5 stars!

Ahh, I can't wait for Scarlet, which I hope to start reading the mili-second it comes out. If you haven't read Cinder already, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? GO!

To listen to a free audiobook excerpt of Cinder, click here. A big thank you to Macmillan Audio for offering my readers this great opportunity!

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1)

'For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.'

I honestly didn't expect to like this book at all. But I'm so glad I did!

The world that The Selection is set in is very believable. The only thing that annoyed me about the setting wasn't the actual setting, but when Kiera Cass made up that history lesson that was to supposedly teach the reader about how the world had come to be as it was. I believed in the world enough already to not need the history lesson, and it was pretty obvious and a tad forced, but I can see why the author threw it in there.

The Selection didn't have the most exciting of plots, but that didn't hinder it in any way for me. Although only small things happened in many of the chapters, it was still enough to entice me to read more, and I read the book in about a day on account of that alone.

I loved the characters. America could be a little annoying at times, but overall, she seemed very real and I really enjoyed reading about her. Maxon was such a gentleman, so kind and aaahh, loved him as well. So, as you may have gathered, the equation that has formed so far goes something like:

Love for America + Love for Maxon = SHIPPING THEM SO HARD I CAN'T EVEN BREATHE.

And what's that, you say? The little rat, Aspen? 


Enough said.

Overall, I'm going to give the Selection 5/5, it was aaaaamazing, and you should definitely check it out!

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1)  

'Sixteen-year-old Gemma has had an unconventional upbringing in India, until the day she foresees her mother's death in a black, swirling vision that turns out to be true. Sent back to England, she is enrolled at Spence, a girls' academy with a mysterious burned-out East Wing. There Gemma is snubbed by powerful Felicity, beautiful Pippa, and even her own dumpy roommate Ann, until she blackmails herself and Ann into the treacherous clique. Gemma is distressed to find that she has been followed from India by Kartik, a beautiful young man who warns her to fight off the visions. Nevertheless, they continue, and one night she is led by a child-spirit to find a diary that reveals the secrets of a mystical Order. The clique soon finds a way to accompany Gemma to the other-world realms of her visions "for a bit of fun" and to taste the power they will never have as Victorian wives, but they discover that the delights of the realms are overwhelmed by a menace they cannot control. Gemma is left with the knowledge that her role as the link between worlds leaves her with a mission to seek out the "others" and rebuild the Order.'
This book was so magical, I loved every single minute of it. Plus, the copy I had smelled like a Harry Potter book. Always a good sign. 
(that was weird, I know)
My expectations going into this book weren't particularly high, as I had heard many mixed reviews on it. But the expectations I did have were exceeded by far. (Even though I am obsessed with fiction set during the Victorian era, so I may be a little biased.)
Libba Bray threw a little bit of everything into this novel. There's romance, mystery, suspense, magic and soo much more it's hard to not be interested in the plot line. Sometimes I would be thinking it was predictable, and I was sitting there all like 'yeaah, I know what's going to happen', and the complete opposite just came and blew me out the water. 
I loved the characters as well. Gemma isn't perfect - but then again, who is? Yes, she makes stupid decisions, and sometimes I felt like screaming at her, but she wasn't weak and she without a doubt knew her own mind, and I love that in a character. I don't like characters who are all good or all bad, because, let's face it, we're all a mix of both. The same thing applied to Felicity, Pippa and Ann, although for some reason, I couldn't like Ann as much as the others. I think, compared to the other three girls, Ann had no will power at all, and she was a bit hit and miss throughout the book. 
OVERALL, A Great and Terrible Beauty gets 5/5 stars. AMAAZING! Read it, if you haven't already!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Legend by Marie Lu

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family’s door with an X—the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles’ wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic’s most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country’s highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country—until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.


And now it’s June’s mission to hunt him down.

The truth they’ll uncover will become legend.
Legend (Legend, #1)Legend was a short read: to the point and full of action. Not necessarily a page-turner, but pretty close. It followed the typical dystopian pattern, which was by no means something wrong with the book, but after reading The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc., it can get a bit repetitive. Overall, it was a great book, but I did have a few problems with it, which I will explain belooooooooow...
Predictability was the main problem for me throughout this book. From the minute the whole incident with Metias occured, I could tell something wasn't quite right. The descriptions were sometimes so specific, you could tell it was calling out 'REMEMBER ME, I'M IMPORTANT' all over the place. Some of the hints that should have been dropped a little more subtly were planted all over the book like big road signs. For example, at the end of a dream, Day says he thinks someone is going to die. And they do.
INSTA-LOVE INSTA-LOVE INSTA-LOVE. Okaaaay, it wasn't that bad, but it was definitely there. Day and June (that's so not a spoiler, who else would the relationship focus around?) seem to meet and become besotted with each other within the first day of meeting. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight had less insta-love than this book, and it's set over 24 hours. There was very little relationship building, and it did seem a little forced at the start. I did grow to like the relationship, but the beginning was toooooooooooooo quick.
OKAY, negativity over with, let's discuss what I did like. Day and June were both very strong characters; June wasn't weak, Day wasn't overly strong. Looved them. The action never stopped, something was always happening, I wasn't left hanging for anything for too long, making the book short and to the point. Loved that as well!
Overall, I'm going to give Legend 4 stars. I can't wait for the next book. I recommend you check it out if you like dystopians!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger


"The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield. Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it. There are many voices in this novel: children's voices, adult voices, underground voices--but Holden's voice is the most eloquent of all. Transcending his own vernacular, yet remaining marvelously faithful to it, he issues a perfectly articulated cry of mixed pain and pleasure. However, like most lovers and clowns and poets of the higher orders, he keeps most of the pain to, and for, himself. The pleasure he gives away, or sets aside, with all his heart. It is there for the reader who can handle it to keep."

I'm going to keep this review short for two reasons, one being the fact it will turn into a rant, and the next being that I don't want to upset anybody who loves this book. I'm not disputing the fact that it is a classic - I totally see why it is. I just, personally, was one of the people who didn't like it. That is all.

The MAIN problem that I had with this book (and trust me, there was a few), was Holden. To like a character driven book, you kinda have to like the main character. And I didn't. Not at all.

For starters, he flunks all his subjects except English, but I really don't see why. He gets sent to all the best schools, has all the best teachers who actually try and work with him, but it's like he's on a mission to waste anything and everything that he can. From the way he writes and gives an insight into certain things, it's obvious that Holden isn't stupid. But yet, he refuses to apply himself in anything other than what pleases him. I guess it doesn't help that intelligent people who do not apply themselves is one of my major pet peeves.

Secondly, he has some kind of superior attitude to everyone else, and is so quick to judge we don't even have the time to form our own opinion on something. Holden isn't perfect, but yet he judges other people without a second thought, and it reaaally annoyed me.

FINALLY, (and I know a lot of people are going to disagree), Holden, to me, was just a whiny, spoiled brat. He had opportunites that other kids would die for, and yet, he just wastes it all. He complains that he feels bad that he got kicked out of PP because his mum is going to be upset - what?! TRY A LITTLE HARDER THEN. AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

OKAY, rant over. I'm sorry. I. Just. Don't. Like. It. 2 STARS.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

"The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth."
This book is a whirlwind of emotions. In other words, I definitely experienced 'ALL THE FEELS' whilst reading it.
A Monster Calls is definitely a character driven story, but it's certainly not bereft of any plot. Throughout the book, we are left waiting to find out the 'truth', along with the monster, and I found that that certainly drove the book along as well as following Conor on his journey.
I know this is a super super tinsy-winsy review, but I really don't have that much to say about it. Patrick Ness has taken Siobhan Dowd's wonderful idea, and with the help of beautiful illustrations by Jim Kay, created a MASTERPIECE. 5 STARS. YAY.
Now, I leave you with some of the sums up the amazingness of this book better than I can.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

What I Didn't Say by Keary Taylor

"Getting drunk homecoming night your senior year is never a good idea, but Jake Hayes never expected it all to end with a car crash and a t-post embedded in his throat.

His biggest regret about it all? What he never said to Samantha Shay. He's been in love with her for years and never had the guts to tell her. Now it's too late. Because after that night, Jake will never be able to talk again.

When Jake returns to his small island home, population 5,000, he'll have to learn how to deal with being mute. He also finds that his family isn't limited to his six brothers and sisters, that sometimes an entire island is watching out for you. And when he gets the chance to spend more time with Samantha, she'll help him learn that not being able to talk isn’t the worst thing that could ever happen to you. Maybe, if she'll let him, Jake will finally tell her what he didn't say before, even if he can't actually say it."

The overall feel that I got from this book was to be grateful for what you have, and appreciate your friends and family, because you never know how quickly things might change. This book left a great impression on the way I view certain things, and it was certainly a great eye-opener.

I loved Jake as a character. I really felt for him and can’t imagine what he must have been going through. And when we discover certain things surrounding Sam, my heart nearly broke! Both characters somehow remain such lovely people even after everything they go through, and that’s what I really liked about them.

I also just want to mention Jake’s family - I loved them all! I have never read about a more supportive, kind or loving family. They were always there for Jake, and supported him through all his troubles.
The setting was also believable – a small island, a close knit community, a culture separate from many others. It was great to read about a place so secluded and yet so individual.

The ending, in my eyes, was perfect. I can’t imagine how it could have ended any differently. Loved it!

Overall, I would give this book a 4/5 stars. Sometimes the pacing lagged a little, but otherwise, it’s perfect. Thanks again to NetGalley and Keary Taylor for giving me the opportunity to read and love this book!