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!