Tuesday, 3 September 2013

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1)
 Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan's life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she's known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth - that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she'll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

I didn't expect much from this book and it came as no surprise when it left me underwhelmed.

The first 100 pages of this book were really fast paced and entertaining, and I read almost a third of it in one sitting. But once Megan got into the fairy world, everything went downhill. The writing caught on endless descriptions of the places and a lot of new characters were thrown into the plot without any need for them.

Megan is a good main character; sensible and simple. The writing is also very poetic and flows nicely. That being said, there was a lot I didn't like.

The love interest, Ash, for me anyway, had no appeal. He is trying to hunt/catch Megan for most of the book and yet it seems she is instantly in love with him; how? I don't know.

When we are first introduced into the fairy world, all of the tension and fear surrounds the flying sparks between the Seelie and Unseelie Court. But at some point throughout the book, all of that tension dissipates and a new Iron King is introduced out of the blue. From then on, there is no mention of the rest of the fairy world, and this really annoyed me as there had been so much endless description of it in the beginning.

Overall, I gave this book 3/5 stars. The beginning was promising, but after that, it was a mess.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Purity by Jackson Pearce

Before her mother died, Shelby promised three things: to listen to her father, to love as much as possible, and to live without restraint. Those Promises become harder to keep when Shelby's father joins the planning committee for the Princess Ball, an annual dance that ends with a ceremonial vow to live pure lives -- in other words, no "bad behavior," no breaking the rules, and definitely no sex.

Torn between Promises One and Three, Shelby makes a decision -- to exploit a loophole and lose her virginity before taking the vow. But somewhere between failed hookup attempts and helping her dad plan the ball, Shelby starts to understand what her mother really meant, what her father really needs, and who really has the right to her purity.

This book was one that I picked up on a whim looking for a light read. Whilst it gave me what I was looking for, it also went a lot deeper than I expected.

I recently read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and didn't enjoy it all that much. After reading this book, I think that her writing style is more suited to contemporary novels. Her characters were well rounded and realistic and the book was short and sweet.

Purity is very short so there isn't really much to judge on plot; it moved at a steady pace and was very easy to follow. The main character, Shelby, is likable, and although she can sometimes be a little annoying, her decisions are generally well thought through and she doesn't jump into things.

The main problem that I had with this book is that the premise is a little strange. Shelby has to keep these three promises - and whilst it was all very sad and I could believe that she would stick to them so faithfully - I found the actual promises a little weird. I also felt that Shelby interpreted them completely wrong at times, which meant everything she did came with a long, complicated thought process.

I liked this book, but it wasn't something that I would read again. 3/5 stars.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Diviners by Libba Bray

The Diviners (The Diviners, #1)

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

The 20s is one of my favourite time periods, so I was really excited for this book. But, at the same time, I was a bit reluctant to embark on such a long journey; if you didn't already know, this book is HUGE.

The first 100 pages or so were slow, and I was thinking of returning it to the library without finishing it. After all, 100 pages was barely a fraction of the way through a book this long. But I decided to persevere after a few weeks' break from it, and I was so glad when I did.

I have decided that all of Libba Bray's books take a good 100 pages to get to the real plot, and this book fit that formula exactly. All of a sudden every chapter was bursting with new plot twists and the characters began to make rash decisions and I loved it! Every page was exciting and I couldn't wait for more.

What I really loved about this book was how Libba Bray manages to so accurately capture the atmosphere of the 20s whilst putting a supernatural twist on everything. The paranormal elements made the era seem even more magical and really bring to life a world which is so different from our own.

I was again impressed by Libba Bray's ability to create some of the most endearing and realistic characters than I have ever read about. Evie is spoilt and selfish, but throughout the book, she puts it to good use, and uses her precocious nature to get her own way. It's humorous and really brings her to life. There are too many side characters to name them all, but there wasn't one who I didn't like. My favourite was probably Theta, who is one of those tragic characters you can't help but be drawn to.

This book was amazing and I would definitely recommend it, especially if you enjoy the 20s. 5/5 stars!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying GirlGreg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

I had really high expectations for this book and, whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, they were not quite met.

The writing style is quirky and hilarious and never failed to make me laugh every time I picked this book up. I liked the different styles of writing such as the script format and felt that they helped carry the story well.

The characters are a little bland and it's hard to say who I liked and who I didn't because there wasn't too much description of anyone. The main character, Greg, is very funny and I liked his constant sarcasm, but I didn't take to anyone else. Earl was boring and didn't really add anything to the story, and we barely see anything of Rachel.

I also didn't think there was much of a plot either. The story seems to cut and jump all over the place and it's hard to keep track of what's happening at points. The ending was simple and to be expected.

3/5 stars. Nothing special, but enjoyable!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

So I left again, and I am sincerely sorry. Here's a review of the new J.K. Rowling book to make up for it!

A brilliant debut mystery in a classic vein: Detective Cormoran Strike investigates a supermodel's suicide.

After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office.

Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: His sister, thelegendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man.

I absolutely loved this book. If J.K. Rowling hasn't already shown that she can write, then she's smashed any doubt out of the picture with her new crime novel.

The picture that Galbraith/Rowling (what are you supposed to say?!!) paints of London is gritty and realistic, complete with a portrait of celebrity life that captures both the bad and the good. Cormoran Strike is appealingly disastrous and his quirky assistant Robin is perfect in so many ways that you can't help but like her. Throughout the book the chemistry between Strike and Robin grows and makes every page come to life just a little bit more.

The plot isn't too fast paced and the case itself takes a good hundred pages to form; that said, there was something going on at all times, with every detail linking together in some way. At about three quarters of the way through the book, I though that there were too many loose ends and that at least one of them would get left by the wayside, but everything tied together nicely.

Although I was telling myself all the way through that it must be her or it must be him or go for the least obvious one! That's what Christie would do!, I have to come clean and admit, albeit rather shamefacedly, that I didn't guess the ending. Which made it just that little bit better.

5/5 stars. So entertaining! I cannot wait for the next one.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Book Haul | #2

Hi everyone! Long time no see. I wish I had an excuse for not posting, but truth is I got a little lazy. I'll hopefully be posting more often from now on.

Anyway, here's my latest book haul for you all. It's just one of my most recent videos, but I thought I'd post it here anyway:

Thanks for reading/watching!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite (The Selection, #2)

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

I was really looking forward to this book after loving The Selection, but unfortunately it suffered from a bout of second-book-syndrome and was a complete disappointment.

I won't deny that while the writing isn't excellent, it definitely kept me engaged and turning the page; it only took me a few hours to finish. So, there's no denying that it is a book that is quick and easy to get through, but whether that's due to the writing style or the lack of substance in the story, it's hard to tell.

I enjoyed some characters, specifically America's maids, Celeste and Marlee. Aside from them, every other character annoyed or grated on me in some way. After loving Maxon in The Selection, I was looking forward to more of him, but he ended up being a very weak character and didn't ever seem to have an opinion on anything. Aspen, as always, was positively horrific, and America herself was beyond irritating. She's possibly one of the worst main characters I have ever had to endure; selfish while claiming to care for everyone around her and arrogant while pretending to have no confidence. She makes rash decisions that make a mockery of the story, and is, above all, a complete and total hypocrite.

The main thing that let this book down was the plot. From the end of The Selection to the end of The Elite, nothing happens. All romance between America & Maxon and America & Aspen has completely dissipated and leaves behind a cringe-worthy few hundred pages of America desperately flicking between the two while claiming to be sorting herself out. There were a few instances that could have been embellished and made a little more intense and this would have lifted the story, but it seemed as if the author was too scared to commit to anything that might drastically affect the plot.

Overall, an extreme disappointment. 2/5 stars.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters. 
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire student on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect. 
As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Going into this book, I had no idea what to expect. I'd had a lot of comments on my videos telling me to read it, but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about how cliché and typical it was going to be. But after reading the first hundred pages, I knew I had been completely wrong.

Rachel Hawkins has a writing style that is both effortless and hilarious, and at times I often found myself laughing at something she had written. The effortless style made the book easy to whizz through, and I found the book hard to put down.

The plot was also a lot more crazy than I though it would be. There's always more than one thing going on at a time, so if one plot slacks, the other picks up, and the different story lines kept the pace of the book up right until the end.

Getting to know the world that Rachel Hawkins had created was also really enjoyable. Although I had come across all of the paranormal creatures in the story before, I liked the author's take on them and how vampires were kind of social outcasts in the school. At Hex Hall they're not learning magic but rather learning to control it and hide it from the world, which was interesting as I've never seen that done before. Although there wasn't too much magic in the book, the stuff that we did see was awesome, and I'm excited for more in book two.

The thing that really made the book for me was the characters. I absolutely loved the main character Sophie; she was hilariously sarcastic all the time, and her comments on everything really lifted the plot up for me. I also liked Jenna, her best friend, and how there was a slight mystery surrounding her until the end of the book. Even the three enemies, Chaston, Anna and Elodie were enjoyable to read about, and I was really shocked by what happened to them in the end; it felt like the author wasn't afraid to hold back on throwing shocking points into the story, which I really liked.

Archer Cross, the love interest, was also amazing, and I though that Sophie bounced off him really well; they were both witty and sarcastic and it made for a lot of hilarious banter throughout the book. The only small criticism that I have is that there could have been slightly more development between them before certain things took place, but in this case, it didn't really bother me too much.

Overall, an amazing, fun read. Definitely read it! 4/5 stars.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Weekly Wrap Up (2)

This week was a much better reading week than the weeks in April! I finished two books and am currently about half way through another.
1. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - LOVED this! So much better than I thought it would be. My review is coming later this week.
2. Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins - LOVED this one as well! Seriously, I don't know why it took me so long to get to this series! I will be doing a review of this one soon as well.
Currently Reading
1. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins - Yeah, I'm kinda obsessed with this series now. I am really looking forward to finding out what happens, but also a bit sad because I don't want the series to end.
That's what I've been reading this week! Let me know your weekly reads below!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

May TBR Pile

I'm not going to be too ambitious with my TBR pile this month as every month I fail miserably at sticking to what I intended to read at the beginning of the month. I've picked out a few books that I think I will definitely get through, but in May I hope to read around six books.

1. Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins - continuing straight on from Hex Hall with this trilogy. Love the writing and I'm nearly done with this one right now so it should be an early finish for me this month.

2. Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins - again, hope to read this trilogy cover to cover and get it finished with this month before the spin-off series is released.

3. The Elite by Kiera Cass - I have quite low expectations for this book as even though I loved The Selection, I haven't heard many good reviews. Hopefully I'll enjoy it!
4. The Diviners by Libba Bray - picked this one up from the library and now I really want to read it. It's set in my favourite era and I hope that I will enjoy it even though it's sooo long!

Those are all of the books that I picked out to read this month. I hope to read more than this but again, I'm not going to be too ambitious because I'm awful at sticking to TBR piles!

Let me know what's on your May TBR pile below!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

April Wrap Up

April was a terrible reading month for me. Although I got through 5 books, it took me the whole month to get through all of them because I kept stopping and starting without ever reading more than 20 pages. Saying that, I did read some good books and discover what I think is my favourite book of all time, so it wasn't too bad in the end.

When God Was a Rabbit
1. When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman - I was disappointed by this book, and my expectations weren't really all that high. I was in the mood for something reminiscent with good writing, and although both of those things were fulfilled to a certain extent, there was no story to be told and towards the end it felt like the author was trying to throw stupid, non-realistic twists in to make the plot more interesting, but it backfired and made me dislike it even more. 3/5 stars.
Going Out
2. Going Out by Scarlett Thomas - I really liked this one. I love the author's writing style, so there were no problems there. I didn't feel it was as clever or as adventurous as The End of Mr. Y, but it was still a good read. 4/5 stars.
The Great Gatsby
3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - All time favourite. I absolutely loved it. The writing was nothing short of beautiful and the story was tragic and poignant and all the things it should have been. A definite 5/5 stars.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin - I was disappointed in this one, too. The writing annoyed me and I felt like there was too much emphasis on the romance rather than the struggles that Mara was going through. However I did enjoy it, and you can read my full review here for more, but I decided on a 3/5 stars.
Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins - LOVED this one. Although the cover of my edition (not this one) is hideous and made it look super tacky, it was actually a really great read. I loved the main character Sophie and the story was just really well built. 4/5 stars, review coming later on in the week!
Those are all the books I read in April, let me know what books you read below!

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
She’s wrong.

I was really excited to read this book as I had heard so many amazing things about it. To a certain extent, it met all of my expectations, but there were some things that I didn't like and didn't really expect to come across.

I liked the story, but I felt it was a little disjointed. I think that the all over the place nature of the book does help in places to represent Mara's chaotic mind-set, but at times I actually found it hard to follow because there were so many random events that were thrust into the story out of the blue and then never really referred to again. This book is pretty long at around 450 pages, and I felt like the story could have been nicely wrapped up in 100 less.

Before reading this book, I gauged from the back that it would be about Mara coming to terms with what had happened to her and discovering along the way that something abnormal was going on. Even though this was a big part of the story, I felt that sometimes everything that was going on with Noah overshadowed what I thought would be the main theme in the book, and at times bringing up creepy and disturbing visions that Mara kept having just felt a little odd.

Noah, the love interest, was everything you'd expect; typical bad boy but when you scratch beneath the surface he's not really that awful, straight A student without paying attention and rich beyond imagination. He forms an attachment to Mara when she doesn't take to him like other girls, and then takes to pretty much stalking her everywhere. I think that could have been taken further, but it felt like the story edged around the beginning of their relationship until boom, they're practically married.

I'm focusing on the bad here, but I did really enjoy this book. The writing was good, if a little awkward at times, and gave a good voice for Mara's story. The characters were well built, even if we didn't get to see enough of some of them, and the story itself was very intriguing and I'm excited to see what happens next.

Overall, 3/5 stars. Recommended.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Weekly Wrap Up #1

As I can't film any videos at the moment, I thought that I would do my Weekly Wrap Up over on my blog for this week. It wasn't a great reading week, and April hasn't really been a great reading month, but I finished one and have a few planned to read next week.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #1)
As I said, I only finished one book this week and that was The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Although this book took a long time to get through, I did really enjoy it and will be posting my full review later this week.
Currently Reading
Hex Hall (Hex Hall, #1)
I've put Lolita aside for the moment because it was a little too heavy for my mood and instead I'm reading Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins. This book is amazing so far, and I think I might get the chance to finish it later today as it's really quick to get through!
That was my Weekly Wrap Up for this week, let me know what you've been reading in the comments!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red (Fairytale Retellings, #1)
Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris--the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She's determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls' bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett's only friend--but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they've worked for?

I don't really have all that much to say about this book as it was one of those in between books that was neither good nor bad, so it's hard to decide what to include in this review.

The basic premise of the story was good - I liked the idea of the Fenris and about how Red Riding Hood becomes the hunter and not the victim - I thought that idea was great, in fact. I liked how the Fenris were in packs and how the world was solidly built, and how fast and frequent the action scenes were - but that was about all I liked.

First of all, I didn't think that enough back story was given on the Fenris - why were they called Fenris? Where did they come from? What do the packs mean? There were so many questions that were left unanswered that I found it hard to get into the book without really understanding the reasons behind everything.

Second, the characters were some of the most boring characters that I have ever read about. I preferred Rosie to Scarlett, but that doesn't mean I particularly liked her. Scarlett tried to force her opinions on everyone all the time and didn't understand that not everyone was like her, and Rosie was too weak to try and tell her sister otherwise, which annoyed me. Silas was okay - not great, but okay. The romance was irritating and superfluous to the story; it didn't exactly add anything and it didn't exactly take anything away. It was just there, with no build up or aftermath to it.

The plot line was boring for most of the way through; it started off well but lost momentum almost instantly and never really recovered. I thought the big mystery was obvious and the ending fell flat, which sucked the fun out of the read. I also didn't think the writing style was all that great either; it wasn't descriptive and nothing was ever really developed.

Overall, a 3/5 stars.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

(A Late) Top Ten Words

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Blog.
This weeks theme was a rewind - a revisit to an older post or one that you missed. Seem as this is my first Top Ten, it was perfect for me!
I decided to go with a post from a few years ago - My Top Ten Words. I love words, but I love some more than others, so I though this would be fun post to share with you all!
1. Exacerbate  - I like to make things worse.
2. Discombobulate - Just because.
3. Ostensibly - It just makes me feel so posh that I can't help saying it.
4. Lackadaisical - I'm just too lazy to use this word, but I do love it. (harharrrrr)
5. Phobophobia - Don't judge my fears.
6. Evitable - Purely because inevitable is used so much more.
7. Asphyxiate - I need one word on this list I can't pronounce.
8. Magnanimous - I have no reasoning for this one. It is just there.
9. Juxtaposition - Analysing Shakespeare nearly killed this word for me. But only nearly. I STILL LOVE IT.
10. Totalitarianism - I RULE ALL.
Those are my Top Ten Words! Let me know some of yours below.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem (Delirium, #3)They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

I want to start off this review by saying that I thought this book was the best in the entire trilogy. Like the other books, it still had its flaws, but the many great parts of the book made up for everything that was wrong with it.

The plot picks up right after where Pandemonium left off, and I just want to say that if you haven't read Pandemonium and especially if you haven't read Delirium, there will be spoilers for both those books in this review.

I found that the plot was faster paced than either of the other two books and for me the story never once lost momentum; the characters were always moving around and the tension between Alex and Lena really added to and developed the plot line. I also liked how it was written from both Lena's and Hana's point of view; I felt the contrasting characters added to the build up towards the end and the different perspectives on certain events made the read a lot more exciting.

The writing, as always, was exquisite; Lauren Oliver's writing style is one of the most elegant and descriptive that I have ever experienced within the YA genre. This descriptiveness aided the plot line well, but I also felt as if it was a little less developed than Delirium, which was a good thing; as I mentioned in my review of Delirium, five pages focusing on a bike ride isn't always a good thing.

I found Lena a little more bearable in this book than in the others; during Delirium she really irritated me, during Pandemonium she got a little better, and in this one she improved a little as well. I wouldn't say she was one of the strongest protagonists that I have read about, but she had come a long way from the whinging in Delirium. I loved Julian throughout this book; he was so helpful and supportive and never once got angry at Lena even when she was treating him like dirt. I absolutely detested Alex throughout this book; he was so selfish and arrogant that every time he came up in the story I found myself wanting to scream at him. He never once gave Lena or Julian a chance to speak, and was constantly making snide comments that just weren't necessary.

The ending, as everyone has said, was a disappointment. I wouldn't say that it was left too open; to me, it was obvious who she ends up with, and was obvious from the start of the book. I wasn't happy with her choice, but I won't go too much into detail for fear of spoilers. I also felt that the wider ending was a little anti-climactic; all the way through the book, there is a big build up to this major event, and when it actually happened I felt it fell a little flat. There is also a scene with Hana that there is a build up to as well, but as I had already read the short story Hana, I knew what happened and that took the tension and suspense out of a big part of the story.

Overall, this book was amazing and I loved it right up to the end. If you haven't started this series yet - and you shouldn't be here if you haven't! - then you definitely should just for the action and fast paced plot in Requiem.

4/5 stars.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Stacking the Shelves (1)

Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.
This is only a small haul because I am supposed to be on a book buying ban, but it's not really going too well. I bought 3 books, was gifted one and got the odd ones for review!
Going Out by Scarlett Thomas - Reading this one at the moment, and loving it so far! It's a wacky retelling of the Wizard of Oz and it's just as hilarious as the other books I have read by her.
Bright Young Things by Scarlett Thomas - This one sounds like a modern version of Lord of the Flies. I'm really looking forward to it!

PopCo by Scarlett Thomas - Yeah, I went on a bit of a Scarlett Thomas spree. This one sounds really weirdly amazing, like all of her other stuff, and JUST LOOK AT THAT COVER.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer - My mum bought me this book after I had been going on about wanting to read it for ages (thanks, Mum!) I'm really looking forward to it, but it is a HUUGE book!
Arabelle's Shadows by Fleur Gaskin - Don't know too much about this one, but it looks pretty good and the cover is amazing!
Those are all the books I got, but I'm sure there'll be some more soon. Let me know what you thought of any of them below!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek GirlHarriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a "jiffy" lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn't quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she's spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend's dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn't seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

The premise of Geek Girl was one that both intruiged and frightened me; it could either be everything I was looking for in a good contemporary, or fall completely flat. So, with unexpected reluctance, I read the first page and realised that my doubts had been completely ill founded.

Holly Smale's writing style is one that is so fluid and effortless that this book was one that I didn't put down once; I read it back to back in a few hours because it was just that addictive. It conveys the main character's geeky thought processes so well that I often found myself laughing at the obscure facts that she somehow manages to include in conversations.

The book is fast paced; the characters are never in the same place or doing the same thing for too long, so the plot never dies out or gets boring. The other characters aside from Harriet, such as Toby and Nat, are hilarious and each add to the plot in their own ways, which I loved.

I also liked that Harriet's home life wasn't perfect; I felt that her struggles with her parents really added to the story and helped to develop her character.

The insight into the modeling world was something else that I enjoyed throughout this book; that Holly Smale has a background in modeling is evident, and definitely made the story more believable.

The only problem I had with this book was the romance. It's not that I didn't want it to happen (I did, I really did), it was just that the way it happened felt a little too rushed and there was little development between the two characters. Aside from that though, I thought the book was perfect and can't wait for the next books in the series!

4/5 stars.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2)'Allison Sekemoto has vowed to rescue her creator, Kanin, who is being held hostage and tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. The call of blood leads her back to the beginning—New Covington and the Fringe, and a vampire prince who wants her dead yet may become her wary ally.

Even as Allie faces shocking revelations and heartbreak like she’s never known, a new strain of the Red Lung virus that decimated humanity is rising to threaten human and vampire alike.'

I loved The Immortal Rules and how fast paced and action packed the plot was, so I was really excited to continue on and see where Julie Kagawa would take the story.

The plot, as before, was fast paced and full of action, but I did feel at times as if the actual story was being undermined by the constant arguments and fight scenes, which began to grate on me after a while. I also felt that this book was a little more predictable than the last one, and that certain revelations that the reader was supposed to be shocked by were a little anti-climactic and fell a little flat. Not nearly as much happened in this book compared to the last one, but I did enjoy the story nontheless.

The characters were a major aspect of this book that I really enjoyed. Jackal, as evil and twisted as he was, was a character who I took to straight away; his constant sarcasm and vile sense of humour really lifted the book up for me, and I liked how this time round, he played a major role in the story. I also enjoyed Zeke and how strong he remained throughout the book. Kanin was a character that was a little irritating at times; I did not take to his defeatist, self-pitying attitude and  felt like he could have helped the others a lot more than he did. I was a little disappoined in Allison as our main character; I still loved her fesity nature and can-do attitude, but her constant surprise at mundane things such as Zeke saying 'dammit' were really irritating, and her inner struggles with being a vampire also became a little annoying as well.

I felt that there was less character development in this book than in the first, and that both literally and metaphorically the characters did not travel as far, but some aspects were developed more than they were in the first book; we get a more detailed back story to everything that happened with the scientists, and Allison and Zeke's relationship came a long way from the start to the end of the book. I loved how their relationship was not superfluous to the story, but didn't overshadow anything else that was going on either.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Was it better than the first? I wouldn't say so, but it was still exciting and the cliffhanger at the end was to die for! I can't wait to continue on with the series and move on to some more Julie Kagawa. 4/5 stars.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I want to start off this review by saying that I was really reluctant to start this book. Whether that was because I was scared Insurgent would have typical second-book-syndrome or whether I was just a little tired of the similar patterns in dystopian YA, I couldn't say. But, despite my reluctance, once I was past the first few chapters, I started to get into the writing and really flew through it.

I enjoyed the characters in this book. Tris, our main protagonist, was feisty and outgoing in every way possible, and I really enjoyed the insight we got into how her Divergence was affecting her choices. However, sometimes she could get a little reckless and it seemed like everything she was told not to do, she was immediately determined to do as if to show that she could not be controlled, which started to grate on me after a while. There is also a certain matter concerning Will - which I won't go into due to spoilers - that bridged the gap between the first and second book, and was, I felt, a little too dragged out during this book. I understood that it needed to be there, but after a while it did start to annoy me.

The plot was crazy; there's lots of running around and jumping on trains between factions, and there never seems to be a time when a character stays still. I really enjoyed learning about the members and customs of other factions, although sometimes I felt that there was a little too much running around with not really too much purpose. The build up to the ending was absolute chaos, but I loved it; the last few chapters of the book, with so much happening, were really exciting to read. However the ending, I felt, was slightly underwhelming; this may have been because I had been told so many times about how mind blowing it was, and although it was interesting and offers some explanation on the factions and how they came about, I still didn't feel as if it was anything too revealing.

Tris and Four's relationship throughout the book is turbulent, and I enjoyed how it wasn't too simplistic or perfect as it made it more realistic. There were times when I wanted to scream at them to just be honest with each other, and times when I didn't feel like they would last, but I was happy with the last we saw of their relationship before the end, and am interested to see how it develops further in the last book.

Overall, I gave Insurgent 4/5 stars. Was it as good as Divergent? I wouldn't say so, but it was certainly a fast paced sequel that didn't have too many symptoms of second-book-syndrome. I am really excited to see how the last book unfolds, and to see how Veronica Roth will wrap up the story.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

I was a little dubious about starting this book as the hype surrounding it was like no other and I don't tend to be a fan of contemporary romances. However, having been pleasantly surprised by Pushing the Limits, I decided to at least give it a go. And I may have absolutely fallen in love with it. Just a bit.

As soon as I had read the first page, I knew I was going to like it. The writing style was quick and witty, and conveyed Anna's voice really well. Reading the novel whilst in Paris really brought the book to life, and seeing sights that Anna has just been to in the last chapter made the whole experience even more enjoyable.

I loved Anna's quirky and unique character. Her sarcasm gave the novel a humorous touch, which I also really enjoyed. (I enjoyed a lot, as you can probably tell) The other side characters were also great, and very well developed; Rashmi, Mer, Josh...they all added to the story in their own way and I liked especially how they all bounced off each other within their group. Étienne St. Clair was okay too.

Okay, maybe he was a bit more than okay. Maybe he was a bit more than phenomenal. Maybe he was even BRITISH. Maybe.

I loved him. I still love him. My heart. It hurts. But it's okay, I forgive you Anna. It was worth it for that ending. SWOON.

I think I've gushed enough, but seriously, if you haven't read this book already, READ IT. 5/5 STARS. OF COURSE. (that's for you, St. Clair)

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

WonderAugust (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

I think this is one of my favourite books of all time. Even thinking about it now makes me want to read it and enjoy it all again.

I loved the characters that the author built; Auggie was adorable, his sister Via was so supportive, his friends all had their own stories; every character was well rounded and we were given a solid back story to all of their lives, which made me enjoy the novel all the more. I liked how the different parts of the book were told from different points of view; even though we were learning about the POV character's lives, R.J. Palacio was also building up an even more well rounded image of August using their opinions and perspectives on him. I though that this was really unique, and I really enjoyed how it was done.

The writing style conveyed August's voice very well; I felt very close to him throughout the novel and thought that the author did a good job of showing the reader through subtle hints and changes how he was maturing as time passed. I also liked how the writing didn't linger over lengthy descriptions; it was just descriptive enough, and this made it easier for me to fly through the book.

The ending was perfect and I couldn't help but feel proud of August after all he had been through and how much he had changed and matured from the first few pages.

Overall, this book was amazing and too touching to give it any less that 5/5 stars. Let me know what you thought of Wonder, and if you're considering picking it up in the future!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies, #1)
A zombie who yearns for a better life ends up falling in love—with a human—in this astonishingly original debut novel.

R is a zombie. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He doesn’t enjoy killing people; he enjoys riding escalators and listening to Frank Sinatra. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

I want to start off this review by saying that before I read this book, I hated anything to do with zombies. So to turn that opinion around, Isaac Marion did a pretty good job.

The writing style was descriptive, but just descriptive enough, and I enjoyed how the world was built. I especially enjoyed the description of the airport where the zombies are living, and found the whole premise of the book really believable.

I really liked R as the main character, and found him really amusing at times, especially when he can't get out more than a few syllables. Julie was a very feisty character, and I really liked how strong her opinions were at times, but how we were also shown a sadder side to her as well. I also loved how their relationship slowly developed, and how they really seemed to bounce off each other.

I also really enjoyed the diagrams that began every chapter - it was something that I thought really added to the novel and made me feel more immersed in the world.

The only problems I had with the novel were the dreams that often took up big sections of the chapters and how sometimes I felt the story was a little bit disjointed. I also though that the ending fell a bit flat; all the way through the book I had been expecting something momentous to happen, but it never really did.

Overall, I'm giving Warm Bodies 4/5 stars, and I would definitely recommend it, even if you don't like zombies.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of GrayLina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I am still reeling in shock after finishing this book. It was so unbelievably deep and moved me so much that I can barely bring myself to start reading another one.

To be completely honest, when I picked this book up, having not read the back and basing it purely on the cover, I thought it was about the Holocaust. When I discovered it was about Stalin, I was a little put off because I had never read anything about him before and I didn’t know what to expect.

I watched an interview with Ruta Sepetys and in that she said how much less people know the full extent of what Stalin did due to the prisoners released from the camps were not allowed to speak of what had happened to them and that that had made her all the more determined to tell this story. I learned so much about what happened in Siberia during that time whilst reading this novel that it made it an even greater read than it would have been without.

All of the characters are well developed and the author weaves their individual, well rounded personalities into the novel so well that I really cared about each and every one of them. Lina, the main protagonist, is such an inspirational, strong girl who I grew attached to within the first chapter. I loved how her drawings and expression of who she was through her art remained a huge part of the story even with the terrible conditions in which they were in, and that made me love her all the more.

The situation and conditions in which these characters are living really upset me at points; the ways in which they were treated really made me angry at times, so I liked how the author brought out so many emotions in the reader. A lot of the deaths in the story were so abrupt and done so coldly that it made them seem all the more real, and again, the writing style of Ruta Sepetys made me feel so many emotions throughout the entire novel.

I thought the ending was perfect and although sad, I was satisfied with what became of the characters remaining. Overall, an amazing, touching story that I don’t think I wil ever forget. 5/5 stars.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tin Tin in the Land of the Soviets by Hergé

Tintin in the Land of the SovietsIn his debut adventure, Tintin is pursued by Bolshevik agents trying to prevent him from exposing the new Soviet regime. Punctuated by slapstick and political revelations, this story is based on the writings of an anticommunist Belgian ex-consul to the Ukraine. Herge's early style revealed strong graphics, influenced by photo-reporting from the period, marking the historic debut of a major artist.

This book was the first graphic novel that I had dared to go near to in a long time, as I generally do not enjoy them at all. However, I am glad to say that this book changed my mind!

The plot was very fast paced and easy to laugh along with, even if it was a little unbelievable. I liked how Tin Tin and Snowy moved around so much, and how everything that took place was just so ridiculous.

The illustrations were great, and really brought the story to life for me. As there is not much text, the book was extremely quick to get through, but the illustrations reinforced everythig that was written and realy made the whole experience a lot more enjoyable.

I loved Tin Tin and especaily Snowy as main characters. Tin Tin handled various situations very well, but Snowy’s sarcastic comments throughout really made me laugh.

Overall, a great read. Not quite as good as reading a novel, but better than any other comic I have read before. 4/5 stars.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Harken by Kaleb Nation

Harken (Harken, #1)After surviving an assassination attempt, teenager Michael Asher discovers that he is at the center of a worldwide conspiracy reaching higher than any earthly power. A supernatural organization desperately wants him dead. He doesn't know why. Everyone who might have the answers has already been killed.

Tumbling into a web of international secrets, Michael is forced to fight back and dig up the truth. He begins to question how much of the world is truly as people are led to believe it is. Are there things that humanity is not being told? Who is the puppet master? And how far into the maze can he venture before he is lost forever?

This book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. There were some aspects I really enjoyed, and others not so much.

I enjoyed Michael as a character, and thought that he was a very strong protaganist and was well rounded during the novel, but I never really felt attached to him. Although I liked reading about what he was doing, I couldnt really bring myself to care about what was going to happen to him. The character that I enjoyed the most was Michael’s little sister, Alli. For some reason, I grew attached to her straight away and wanted more of her witty, hilarious character in the novel.

The plot was quite fast paced, and something of interest happened in every chapter, but from the start, the story didn’t grab me. I definitely believed in the conspiracy and found the whole idea plausible, but it wasn’t anything that I would chose to read again. A lot of the time I felt I could predict what was going to happen, although a few twists were thrown in here and there which made everything a little more exciting.

The writing style was good, but that’s as far as it goes. I generally do not like the use of exclamation marks in novels (with the exception of dialogue), and this book was no different. I found that the exclamation marks made everything a little contrived and awkward.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t anything too memorable. For me, it was just lacking in the strength and background of some (not all) of the characters, and in catching my attention from the start; I never really felt engaged or immersed in the story.

3/5 stars.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

Long ago, in a time forgotten, a preternatural event threw the seasons out of balance. In a land where summers can last decades and winters a lifetime, trouble is brewing. The cold is returning, and in the frozen wastes to the north of Winterfell, sinister forces are massing beyond the kingdom’s protective Wall. To the south, the king’s powers are failing—his most trusted adviser dead under mysterious circumstances and his enemies emerging from the shadows of the throne. At the center of the conflict lie the Starks of Winterfell, a family as harsh and unyielding as the frozen land they were born to. Now Lord Eddard Stark is reluctantly summoned to serve as the king’s new Hand, an appointment that threatens to sunder not only his family but the kingdom itself.

Sweeping from a harsh land of cold to a summertime kingdom of epicurean plenty, A Game of Thrones tells a tale of lords and ladies, soldiers and sorcerers, assassins and bastards, who come together in a time of grim omens. Here an enigmatic band of warriors bear swords of no human metal; a tribe of fierce wildlings carry men off into madness; a cruel young dragon prince barters his sister to win back his throne; a child is lost in the twilight between life and death; and a determined woman undertakes a treacherous journey to protect all she holds dear. Amid plots and counter-plots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, allies and enemies, the fate of the Starks hangs perilously in the balance, as each side endeavors to win that deadliest of conflicts: the game of thrones.

First of all, I want to just mention that I absolutely adored this book. At first, I was a little intimidated by the length of it and found the amount of characters a little overwhelming, but found that once I was immersed within the story, I seemed to fly through the novel quicker than I ever could have anticipated and soon knew who everyone was without even thinking about it.
The world building was done so effortlessly that before I even got past the first hundred pages or so, I believed that everything that took place was taking place, and that this perfectly carved world was the one in which I was living.

The characters were another part of this book that I really enjoyed. There was not one character that was merely there; every single person mentioned in the novel came with their own detailed back story and had a part to play. My favourite characters were Arya and Daenerys, whether it be because they were young or that they were particularly feisty, but I was really drawn to them and found myself getting exicted when it came to their chapters.

I also really liked how the chapters changed perspectives; as it is such a long book, without the constant switching and swapping, I would have become bored very easily, so the way it was written helped me get through the book much faster than I thought I would.
Overall, an amazing journrey. 5/5 stars, and a must read for anyone who hasn't picked it up yet!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Lucinda's Secret by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

 Lucinda's Secret (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #3)

This book focuses heavily on the history of the Spiderwick family, introducing us to Aunt Lucinda, the only living person who understands what the Grace children are going through, and also giving us a back story of Arthur Spiderwick, to whom the original Field Guide belonged.
The story progresses at a fast pace, aided by beautiful illustrations, making it easy to fly through, and the writing, as always, was concise and flowed nicely.

Jared’s witty character was really brought to life, for me personally, in this installment in the series than any of the others so far. I loved his witty decisions and the way he tackled certain events towards the end of the novel were thoroughly entertaining to read about.

Exciting revelations were made right towards the end of the book, making me even more eager to move on to the next one. You can see my reviews of previou installments in the series, The Field Guide and The Seeing Stone, by clicking on the titles. Another 5/5 stars!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola

The Ladies' ParadiseThe Ladies' Paradise is a compelling story of ambition and love set against the backdrop of the spectacular rise of the department store in 1860s Paris. Octave Mouret is a business genius who transforms a modest draper's shop into a hugely successful retail enterprise, masterfully exploiting the desires of his female customers and ruining small competitors along the way. Through the eyes of trainee salesgirl Denise we see the inner workings of the store and the relations and intrigues among the staff, human dramas played out alongside the relentless pursuit of commercial supremacy.
I was first introduced to the story of the Ladies’ Paradise through the BBC adaptation that was set in London and renamed a more concise ‘The Paradise’.  I loved the programme, and so was desperate to read the book, seem as they are always better than anything on screen, and I am pleased to say it did not let me down.
The writing throughout this book is fluent, descriptive and creates well developed and realistic characters with such ease that I found myself mourning the loss of the prominent narrative when I moved on to another read. The book is translated from the original, which was written in French, and so I have to say that the translator did an amazing job at not losing the story through the language change.

The book was certainly not too plot heavy, but for me, the story carried along at a nice pace. I would say, however, that if you do not like period dramas and stories that are not too action packed then you might want to give this one a miss.

And finally, to the characters. Denise’s situation was a lot harsher in the novel than it was transferred to screen, so at first I was a little shocked when she brought along with her her two brothers and her uncle turned her away. However, this only made me admire her more; I grew along with her as the story progressed, and enjoyed every second of her story. Mouret was something/somebody else that was a lot harsher on page than on screen, so I was a little surprised at how cruel he was during the first few chapters of the novel, but again, as he softened, I warmed up to him and began to enjoy him as a character again.

Overall, I absolutely adored this book and without a doubt give it 5 stars. A must read for anyone who likes period dramas and also what I view as a great introduction to classic novels.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi

The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2)'The Grace kids are just beginning to get used to Aunt Lucinda's strange old mansion when Simon suddenly disappears. Jared and his sister have to rely on the help of a mischievous house boggart, a nasty bridge troll, and a loud-mouthed hobgoblin to get him back.'

This book, like the first, was incredibly quick to get through and the perfect light and easy read that I was looking for.
This installment in the Spiderwick Chronicles introduces us to more creatures that belong to the alternate world revealed to the Grace children in the Field Guide (click here for review), and also starts to build up the idea that not everybody in this world views Jared, Simon and Mallory in a particularly favourable way.

The writing was again, descriptive enough for the story, and the chapters flowed nicely. The illustrations were as before, absolutely amazing and really brought the novel to life more than I realised in the first book.

The end of the Seeing Stone led on nicely to the third book in the series, which I will definitely be reading soon. Overall, a simple, fast paced read that kept me turning the pages all the way through. 5/5 stars.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium (Delirium, #1)'Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.'

I was really excited to read this book as it was going to be the only dystopian I had delved into after reading The Hunger Games. I though the concept was unique and intriguing, and was interested to see how a world without love would work.

For the most part, I enjoyed this book; the writing was good, the concept (as I already mentioned) was unique, the characters were believable, and the world building was solid.

However, I did have some problems. For starters, after the first hundred pages or so, I got really tired of Lena. All she seemed to do was moan and wallow in her own despair, and after a while I could only get through about ten pages at a time before having to take a break because she grated on me so much.

I also found that the very descriptive writing style was - well, it was too descriptive. It seemed to focus on ridiculous things - there is a scene when Lena is riding her bike somewhere, and it took about five pages for her to actually get there, and then about a paragraph was spent detailing what took place there. The writing style did make it easy to imagine the world, and really aided the world building, but at times just seemed a little too much for the little things that were happening.

Finally, the book was too long. The first few hundred pages could have easily been condensed with a little less focus on things irrelevant to the story, and at times I really was just reading to finish it. However, during the last hundred pages or so, the pacing of the plot really picked up and more and  as more things started to happen I started to look forward to reading the book and was excited to get to the end. If only the first half of the book had been like the second, it would have been almost perfect.

The ending was good, but I could kind of see it coming from the moment what was going to happen was proposed by the two main characters. I was particularly shocked by the ending, but still a little surprised to see how it was done, which was very enjoyable!

Overall, I gave Delirium 4/5 stars. I was going to give it 3, but the last hundred pages really bumped up the rating.