Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Review #236 - The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Catcher in the Rye

Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.
My Rating: 5/5
I had pretty low expectations for this book as I am never usually able to even finish classics.
I didn't like this book at first as I found it slow and boring, but once Holden left Pencey I found the book picked up.
I related to Holden a lot, and for a character driven novel this was very important.
There were parts of the book that reminded me of the movie Remember Me especially the relationship between Holden and his sister.
I didn't like the ending that much as I felt it ended too abruptly. Also I feel like this is a book that I am going to love it more every time I re-read it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Best of the Month - November 2012

Best of the Bunch is an awesome end-of-month meme created at Lyrical Reviews and now hosted by Sally at Always Lost in Stories. All you have to do is pick your favourite book of all the books you've read that month and post it.

Books I read and reviewed in November 2012:
1. The Miserable Mill (Series of Unfortunate Events #4) by Lemony Snicket.
2. Dreamless (Starcrossed #2) by Josephine Angelini.
3. The Giver (The Giver #1) by Louis Lowry.
4. February (Conspiracy 365 #2) by Gabrielle Lord.
5. Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson.
6. Holes (Holes #1) by Louis Sachar.
7. The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey.
8. Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre.
9. The Raft by S.A. Bodeen.
10. This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell.
11. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
12. Every Day by David Levithan.
13. Ransomwood by Sherryl Jordan.
14. Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicholson #1-2) by Louise Rennison.
15. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.
16. Wake (Water Song #1) by Amanda Hocking.
17. The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith.
18. Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee.
19. Wake (Dreamcatcher #1) by Lisa McMann.
20. March (Conspiracy 365 #3) by Gabrielle Lord.

21. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
My favourite book of November was:
Wake (Watersong, #1)
Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

Book Review #235 - March (Conspiracy 365 #3) by Gabrielle Lord

March (Conspiracy 365 #3)
On New Year’s Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Now everyone’s searching for Cal, the psycho kid who’s meant to have attacked his uncle and put his sister in a coma. He’s desperate to clear his name and protect his family, but he also has less than a year to solve an ancient family secret: the Ormond Singularity. And the closer he gets to the truth, the more dangerous his life becomes. He has 306 days. The threat is growing…
My Rating: 3/5
I was a little disappointed by this book, I just felt that it didn't advance any further with the plot.
I found Repro really interesting and would have liked to have known more about him and his story.
The book is still as fast paced and action packed as usual and the cliff-hanger at the end of the book was a lot better than the previous two as it affects not only Callum but the truck driver.
I will continue with the series, but I do hope that it shows some sign of developing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Book Review #234 - Wake (Dream Catchers #1) by Lisa McMann


For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....
My Rating: 3.5/5
This book was very fast paced and very short. It also has a very unique plot.
The writing was very choppy. There were alot of flashbacks which was confusing at times.
I really liked the idea of Janie being sucked into peoples dreams but I think the author didn't know where to take the story so she added in the Cabel storyline. That ruined the book for me.
The romance between Janie and Cabel was well paced and the connection between them was there. It was very believable for a young adult novel.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Review #233 - The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith

The Awakening (The Vampire Diaries, #1)

Elena Gilbert is a pretty, popular teen who was orphaned when her parents were killed in an accident. Despite the tragedy, her life has always been normal and wholesome. Until the beginning of the school year, when two new vampire brothers show up to shake the peaceful universe at Robert E. Lee High.
My Rating: 4/5
This is the second time I have read this book. I read it for the first time in 2009. I liked it alot more now than I did then.
This book starts off really slow but does gradually speed up as it goes along. It took me a while, but by the end I was invested in the story.
I didn't like Elena at first, she came across as selfish and full of herself that I really didn't like her. I think either she lost these characteristics at the story progressed or I was able to look past them as I didn't mind her in the end.
It is also interesting to note that although this book was first published over 20 years ago, it doesn't seemed to have dated and felt like it could have been written recently.
I can see that there is definitely going to be a love triangle in the future which at this stage I don't have an opinion on who I prefer.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book Review #232 - Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee

Slow Man
Paul Rayment is on the threshold of a comfortable old age when a calamitous cycling accident results in the amputation of a leg. Humiliated, his body truncated, his life circumscribed, he turns away from his friends.

He hires a nurse named Marijana, with whom he has a European childhood in common: hers in Croatia, his in France. Tactfully and efficiently she ministers to his needs. But his feelings for her, and for her handsome teenage son, are complicated by the sudden arrival on his doorstep of the celebrated Australian novelist Elizabeth Costello, who threatens to take over the direction of his life and the affairs of his heart.
My Rating: 3/5

This book starts off right away with Paul's accident. This drew me into the story immediately. However, I found that I kept losing interest with it when it slowed down.
I connected with Paul more than I thought I would considering he is 60 years old, but for the most part I didn't care for him that much.
The setting was not as dull and boring as I thought it would be when I found out it was set in Adelaide.  
The biggest problem I had with this book was Elizabeth Costello. I really do not understand what her purpose was at all. I felt like she was just added to move along the plot.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book Haul - 23 November 2012

Chill Factor (Weather Warden #3) by Rachel Caine;
Unfed (Undead #2) by Kirsty McKay - For review from Scholastic Australia.
Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst;
Echo (Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noel - For review from Pan MacMillan Australia.
Lullaby (Watersong #2) by Amanda Hocking - For review from Pan MacMillan Australia.
Deadly Unna? by Phillip Gwynne - gifted;
Blood Red Road (Dust Lands #1) by Moira Young;
Hourglass (Evernight #3) by Claudia Gray;
Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray;
Balthazar (Evernight #5) by Claudia Gray

Book Review #231 - Wake (Watersong #1) by Amanda Hocking

Wake (Watersong, #1)
Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.
My Rating: 5/5
This book is set in third person. At first it made me confused as it kept jumping from character to character in the space of one page, but by the end of the novel I wouldn't have preferred it any other way.
As for the characters, I connected with Gemma instantly and felt the connection between her and Alex instantly which is extremely rare for me. Harper, I slowly warmed up to her throughout.
This is my first Amanda Hocking book and I really liked the writing style. I will definitely be reading Lullaby as soon as possible.
Although there were predictable plot twists, there was also one that came out of nowhere which was also the cliff-hanger in this book.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Book Review #230 - Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson:

What if your oldest, wildest, only best friend started writing a musical about your life… and it made you look like a joke?

What if the girl you didn’t think you were interested in started being interested in you?

And who is this other guy called Will Grayson?

The other Will Grayson:

What if you are technically depressed? What if you’re in love with someone you’ve never met?

And what’s the story with the guy walking around with your name?

My Rating: 4/5

Prior to reading this book I was unsure what to think about it, and after reading it I find myself wondering the same thing.
At first I found it difficult to distinguish the two Will Graysons, but once they developed I was able to and it was then I was unable to put the book down.
This book had alot of unique characters especially Tiny Cooper.
I liked how there were parents involved in this book, and not in a negative way like most young adult novels.
The only thing I didn't like about this book was the ending. Although I think it was well thought out, it was too over the top for my liking.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review #229 - Ransomwood Sherryl Jordan

Spurned by her lover, and with her uncle threatening to marry her off to his odious widowed brother, Gwenifer is almost relieved to be sent away to escort the magistrate's old, blind mother to Ransomwood, where the tears of the statue of the Holy Mother are said to have healing qualities. Together with Harry, the village halfwit, who is escaping a sentence of hanging for being in charge of an ox that trampled a child almost to death, they embark on a perilous journey..... each of them looking for a different kind of healing.
My Rating: 3.5/5
I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia.
I didn't know anything about this book prior to reading, nor had I ever heard of the author.
I found this book very enjoyable and read it in one sitting. It was perfectly paced and I liked how it was set in the Middle Ages.
The only problem I had with this book was Gwenifer. I really did not like her. She was very selfish and always cruel towards Harry.
I would recommend this book to people who loved Silvermay as Ransomwood reminded me of it at times.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Book Review #228 - Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson #1-2) by Louise Rennison

Angus, Thongs And Perfect Snogging: With "It's Ok, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers!" (Confessions Of Georgia Nicolson)
This is a bind-up of the first two books, and I am going to review them separately.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #1)There are six things very wrong with my life:

1. I have one of those under-the-skin spots that will never come to a head but lurk in a red way for the next two years.

2. It is on my nose

3. I have a three-year-old sister who may have peed somewhere in my room.

4. In fourteen days the summer hols will be over and then it will be back to Stalag 14 and Oberfuhrer Frau Simpson and her bunch of sadistic teachers.

5. I am very ugly
and need to go into an ugly home.

6. I went to a party dressed as a stuffed olive.
My Rating: 3.5/5
I went into the book not expecting much from it. It sounded alot similar to Bridget Jones's Diary, which is a book that I didn't like. The name of the book also threw me off as it sounded immature.

Whilst I did find this book immature, I think the maturity level made it as funny as it was.

I found this book a really easy book to read. It was incredibly fast paced and just a really enjoyable read.

The protagonist, Georgia was a character that I slowly connected to throughout the novel. She had a huge personality that was really the heart of the book. 

It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, #2)Fourteen-year-old Georgia Nicolson is back in British author Louise Rennison's irreverent, laugh-out-loud sequel to the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging. Written in diary form, these truly hilarious books chronicle the often minute-by-minute, very dramatic, and significant flip-flops of a teenager's psyche.

7:18 p.m.
My eyes are all swollen up like mice eyes from crying. Even my nose is swollen. It's not small at the best of times, but now it looks like I've got three cheeks. Marvelous. Thank you, God.

9:00 p.m.

 I'll never get over this.

9:10 p.m.

Time goes very slowly when you're suicidal. What tragedy has her so distraught? Her parents have told her she's moving to New Zealand just when she's managed to snog (kiss--look it up in the glossary) the SG (Sex God, a.k.a Robbie). This is of course not the only source of drama in Georgia's eventful life. Her half Scottish wildcat, Angus, who is the size of a small Labrador, herds the poodles next door and terrorizes the neighborhood. Her little sister, Libby, who is slightly mad, stores her "pooey knickers" and her scuba-diving Barbie doll in Georgia's bed. Her mother (from whom she inherited her orangutan eyebrow gene and possibly her "gigantic basoomas") is clearly inhabiting Earth solely to make her life miserable, and even her best friend Jas is "half girl, half turnip."
Despite the fact that she's spared from going to "Kiwi-a-gogo land," things don't get much better for Georgia. She's suspended for a childish prank right before her dad returns from New Zealand, she falls in love with the SG who dumps her for being too young, and Dave, the "red-herring" boyfriend she's using to make the SG jealous calls her a "heartless whatsit." And, she continues, "the spot on my bum is probably a boil. I wonder what Buddha would do now?" Rennison's comedic timing is brilliant. Adolescent angst ("I hope I am not driven to the brink of madness by grief") vanishes less than an hour later ("Angus can fetch sticks!!!") and sometimes even sooner.

My Rating: 3/5

I did not like this book as much as the first. I think this was because I read them back to back and the constant use of slang got annoying.

I am really liking this series, they might not be amazing but they are good for a light, enjoyable read and a laugh.

I found Georgia's sister Libby really annoying and kept thinking she was alot younger than what she actually was.

I am going to take a break from this series, but fully intend to finish the other eight books in the future.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Book Review #227 - Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day
In his New York Times bestselling novel, David Levithan introduces readers to what Entertainment Weekly calls a "wise, wildly unique" love story about A, a teen who wakes up every morning in a different body, living a different life.

Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day.
My Rating: 4/5
The premise of this book is what initially drew me in and having read and loved alot of the authors previous works, I knew I would enjoy this book.
I was more interested in the fact that A wakes up in a new body everyday than I was with the love aspect. This is why I couldn't give this book five stars.
I didn't like Rhiannon as much as I was meant to. I think she had fascinating aspects to her, but I just didn't feel any connection between her and A.
I liked the variety of people that A was during the course of the novel. Not only was he both male and female, but he was also a drug addict, an obese person, someone planning suicide and alot more.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Review #226 - James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach

James's aunts call him names, beat and starve him and make his life a misery. If only his parents hadn't been eaten by an escaped rhinoceros, he wouldn't be in this mess. But one day he meets a man who gives him a bag of magic crocodile tongues and so begins the adventure of his dreams.
My Rating: 4/5
This is one of the few Roald Dahl books I read as child although I found that I had not remembered any of it.
From the opening chapter, when James's aunts are introduced I thought it sounded very similar to Matilda, although they don't last that long into the story.
I found this book to be a fun, light and interesting read. There was a very eclectic group of characters, all of whom bonded well together.
The pictures, and the songs is what would make this book the perfect book to read aloud to a child.

Follow Friday #53

Gain New Blog Followers
Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.

This week I have been chosen as the feature, and so have to answer some questions.

When did you start blogging?

I started this blog on 1 January 2011.


What is your favourite part of book blogging?

The variety of books that I get introduced to

What is your favourite book(s)?

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

What has been the best thing that has happened to you because of book blogging?

Publishers and authors sending me books for review

This weeks question is:

Books are turned into movies all the time! Turn it around. What movie would make a great book?

I think that ET: The Extra Terristrial, which is one of my favourite movies would make a great book.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Review #225 - This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

This Is Not a Drill
The door swings open and a man walks in like he owns the place. He raises his fist. Gripping a handgun. Aimed directly at the teacher. Emery finds it awkward as hell tutoring a bunch of grade-one kids with her ex-boyfriend. It's not easy for Jake either - he knows Emery thinks he's useless, especially after what he did to her. But when a boy's father turns up at school with a gun, a bad situation for Emery and Jake suddenly turns deadly. The boy's father - a soldier home from Iraq - says he just wants to spend time with his kid. But resistance from the teacher has deadly consequences. The man isn't afraid of opening fire, even in front of the children. And one way or another, he's not leaving without his son.

My Rating: 3/5
I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Edgmont.
I found the beginning of the book to be really interesting, the plot was suspenseful and I liked the characters to a degree.
The middle portion of the book seemed to flatline. The fact that the entire novel aside from flashbacks is set in the one room made the story boring at times.
The ending seemed a little rushed but had a very thrilling conclusion.
The characters that I did like were the children as a whole. They were all very innocent and the way they behaved was really realistic.
The relationship between Emery and Jake was not very fleshed out, and there was no real need for their back story. It just distracted me from the main plot of the novel. I found Mr Stutts's back story the most fascinating aspect in the entire book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Review #224 - The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

The Raft
Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Being a fan of the movie Cast Away, I was looking forward to reading this book. It definitely met my expectations.
I read this book in a few hours, the size of the chapters contributed heavily to that fact. The chapters were almost always only two or three pages long.
There was never a dull moment in this book, and I found it incredibly fast paced and a very thrilling read.
The protagonist, Robie was interesting and unique but there wasn't anything really special about her.
I suspected something about Max from the start, but was still surprised when it was revealed.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review #223 - Enclave (Razorland #1) by Ann Aguirre

Enclave (Razorland, #1)

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.
My Rating: 4/5
It took me quite a long time to read this book. Whilst I did enjoy it when reading, I found that I was constantly putting the book down.
The characters develop slowly, but they were by far my favourite thing about this book. I liked Deuce and Fade, but didn't care for Tegan at all.
The world didn't seem developed enough. This was probably the reason why I had a hard time getting sucked into the story.
Also, I'm not sure why the blurb said "For fans of the Hunger Games" as the only thing these two books have in common is the genre.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Book Review #222 - The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvey

The Amber Amulet
Meet a new generation of superhero in this moving novella from an acclaimed author.

Dear Sir/Ma’am, Please find enclosed this Amber Amulet. That must sound unusual to a citizen, but you will have to trust me on this count because the science is too detailed for me to outline here. All you need to know is that the Amber Amulet will eliminate your unhappiness by counteracting it with Positive Energy. This should see you straight. Fear not, you’re in safe hands now. Take care. The Masked Avenger.

Meet twelve-year-old Liam McKenzie, who patrols his suburban neighbourhood as the Masked Avenger - a superhero with powers so potent not even he can fully comprehend their extent. Along with his sidekick, Richie the Powerbeagle, he protects the people of Franklin Street from chaos, mayhem, evil and low tyre pressure - but can he save them from sadness?

My Rating: 4/5
I don't really have that much to say about this book as it was incredibly short.
The protagonist was likeable, from what I learnt about him. He was surprisingly well developed for such a short story. The addition of the dog was a great idea.
I liked the whole idea about the Masked Avenger getting his energy from gems and would have liked this to have been a full length novel.
The book on its own was really well put together. It has glossy pages and alot of interesting diagrams and maps. It reminded me of a scrapbook.