Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review #345 - Beautiful Redemption (Beautiful Creatures #4) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles, #4)

Is death the end . . . or only the beginning?

Ethan Wate always dreamed of leaving the stifling Southern town of Gatlin.

But he never dreamt that finding love with Lena Duchannes would drive him away. Lena is a Caster girl whose supernatural powers unveiled a secretive and cursed side of Gatlin, so powerful it forced him to make a terrible sacrifice.

Now Ethan must find a way to return to Lena - and Gatlin - as she vows to do whatever it takes to get him back. Even if it means trusting old enemies or risking their loved ones' lives.

Can Ethan and Lena rewrite their fate and their spellbinding love story in this stunning finale to the Beautiful Creatures series?
My Rating: 4/5
Given the way the last book ended, I was very intrigued to read this book. It was always obvious that Ethan wouldn't actually die so it that case, the book was quite predictable.
I liked how the book split the point of view between Ethan and Lena because both are characters I can't seem to tolerate for long periods of time.
I really liked the inclusion of Xavier. He was my favourite of all the new characters. I also liked the inclusion of Lila, Ethan's mother as she has always been involved heavily throughout the books without actually being present until now.
Ethan's journey through the underworld was really interesting and I liked how it incorporated a bit of Greek mythology.
I didn't really think the death at the end was really all that necessary and the series would have ended on a better note without it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Book Review #344 - Beauty and the Beat by Kate Forster

Beauty and the Beat

Mia knows what she wants in life – she was born to perform, and she doesn't need anyone's help to succeed.

So when she is paired with the obnoxious new guy for her final music assessment, she is beyond frustrated. Rob is rude, disrespectful and has terrible taste in music. They have absolutely zero in common.

But as they spend more time together, Mia starts to realise that there's more to Rob than she'd thought. That he might even be the guy she never knew she was looking for. Too bad she's already scared him off...
My Rating: 4/5
I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont.
I found this book really easy to read. I read it in only a few short hours and in one sitting.
The characters, although stereotyped were actually really likeable and easy to relate to. I didn't like Mia at first as I thought she was too uptight and arrogant but she completely changed by the end of the book.
Although it rarely mentions that it is set in Australia, it definitely had an Australian city life feel about it.
I definitely did feel a connection between Mia and Rob, but their relationship progressed too quickly for my liking.
I would recommend this book for anyone looking for a fun, light contemporary read.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Follow Friday #60

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.

This weeks question:
Where is the best destination reading spot for you? (other than your home)
For me, it would have to be whenever I go to the Cricket. I usually read a book a day whenever I go. It's amazing how much you can read between each delivery.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Book Review #343 - Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles, #3)

Cursed lovers Ethan and Lena have returned to their home town, which is now ravaged by swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms. What -or who - will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He's being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn't by Lena - and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself - forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn't know why, and most days he's too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn't just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there's no going back. And this time there won't be a happy ending.
My Rating: 4/5
This is a series that I think would be ideally read straight after one another as they seem to read as one long book rather than separate books. Given that it has been a while since I read the first two, I felt a little lost at first but gradually picked it up.
I am definitely liking the characters more and more as the series goes on. Ethan doesn't bother me at all now, and I am actually starting to like his relationship with Lena.
I really like the setting of Gatlin, it just feels like a typical stereotyped small southern town.
The cliff hanger at the end is making me want to read the fourth instalment, Beautiful Redemption as soon as possible which I can because I thankfully it have on loan from the Library.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Review #342 - Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Lord of the Flies
William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death. As ordinary standards of behaviour collapse, the whole world the boys know collapses with them—the world of cricket and homework and adventure stories—and another world is revealed beneath, primitive and terrible.
My Rating: 4/5
I started reading this book a few months ago and after struggling for 50 or so pages I just gave up. I picked it up again last night and read it cover to cover in a few hours.
When I bought this book from a used Library book sale, the Librarian told me this was his favourite book of all time. I can see why this might have been the case had I read this book when I was in school.
The only problem I had with this book was the fact that I knew how it ended, as (and this happens with most classics) it got referenced in another book that I had read.
This book reminded me of the TV show Lost, what I've seen of that show anyway.
I would have liked there to have been more depth with the characters as apart from Ralph, Jack and Piggy they all seemed the same.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review #341 - Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Memoirs of a Geisha
This story is a rare and utterly engaging experience. It tells the extraordinary story of a geisha -summoning up a quarter century from 1929 to the post-war years of Japan's dramatic history, and opening a window into a half-hidden world of eroticism and enchantment, exploitation and degradation. A young peasant girl is sold as servant and apprentice to a renowned geisha house. She tells her story many years later from the Waldorf Astoria in New York. Her memoirs conjure up the perfection and the ugliness of life behind rice-paper screens, where young girls learn the arts of geisha - dancing and singing, how to wind the kimono, how to walk and pour tea, and how to beguile the land's most powerful men.

My Rating: 5/5

Before reading this book I knew very little about Geisha's and Japanese culture. This has now changed as this book is very in depth with both of those aspects.

I definitely liked the first half of the book more than the second half. The childhood part was more interesting along with all the politics involved in a Geisha house.

It is amazing though of what a vivid portrayal the author creates not only with the Japanese setting but the characters as well. It really felt like you were in the characters heads sometimes.

Given that this is mostly a young adult blog, I wouldn't recommend this book to younger readers as it does have some detailed adult themes.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review #340 - On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road

On the Road chronicles Jack Kerouac's years traveling the North American continent with his friend Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the snowy West." As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two roam the country in a quest for self-knowledge and experience. Kerouac's love of America, his compassion for humanity, and his sense of language as jazz combine to make On the Road an inspirational work of lasting importance.
My Rating: 2.5/5
This was a book that I had high expectations for. It seems to be rated very highly on all fronts and so I expected to like it more that what I did.
The biggest problem I had with this book was the writing style. It was very choppy and didn't have much continuity to it.
The story is not set in any particular order and characters pop in and out of the story which was confusing.
I never understood Sal's fascination with Dean. The way that he talked about him like he was his hero.
I never planned to watch the movie, but considering how confusing I found some parts of this book, watching the movie might help clear that up.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Book Review #339 - Falling In by Samantha R. Anderer

Now that summer vacation has begun, Peyton Cole wants to relax and enjoy the last book of her favorite Young Adult romance series. She reads as Gavin Forrester and Venus Angeletti notice someone watching them from the bushes, and Peyton realizes they mean her. Suddenly she is part of their world, and she doesn't know how she got there.

Hot-beyond-belief Gavin seems attracted to her, and she thinks it might be fun to pop in and out of the book at will. Then everything changes when someone tries to kill her. Peyton wants to return to the safety of her world, but she can't get out of the story. Her best friends, her sister, and the boy who loves her rush against time to save her, but the truth may be more than they can handle.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from the author. The author's website can be found here.
This book reminded me at times of Between the Lines. Like that book, I just really enjoyed the concept of a book within a book.
This book was a lot of fun to read. It had likeable characters, interesting plot and a paranormal twist at the end.
What was good about the characters was that it didn't just focus on the protagonist Peyton. Both of her best friends have their points of views portrayed for a solid portion of the book as well. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review #338 - Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Jane Eyre

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity.

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed.
My Rating: 4/5
This is the first real classic that I have read and so I am not really that sure on how to really review it. There isn't much I can say about this that hasn't already been said.
I liked how it started with Jane's childhood, as this gave her a lot of character. This book is definitely character driven and so being connected to Jane is massively important.
Because of my lack of knowledge of the era in which this book is set, I am not used to men like Mr Rochester and so I found him arrogant and brooding most of the time. There was a quality about him though that I found interesting.
The idea of marriage in that era was also something that I wasn't used to. They all marry out of necessity or to raise their social standing rather than love. 
Although I did find this book slow paced and it did take me around a week to read I really did enjoy it. I didn't realise how much I enjoyed reading it until I had finished.