Friday, August 22, 2014

Follow Friday #70

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.
The question this week is:

What book/series do you think would make a better TV show than a movie?

The Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich. Given how poor the movie adaptation was, I think there is no doubt this would be better suited to television.

There are so many characters that come in and out of the story along the series and together with the fact there is a stable setting would make this very suitable for television.

Book Review #481 - Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie McGuire


Abby Abernathy doesn't drink or swear and she works hard. Abby believes she has buried her dark past, but when she arrives at college, ger dreams of a new beginning are quickly challenged by the university's walking one-night stand.

Travis Maddox, sexy, built, and covered in tattoos, is exactly what Abby needs - and wants - to avoid. He spends his nights winning money in a floating fight club, and his days as the notorious college Lothario.

Intrigued by Abby's resistance to his charms, Travis tricks her into his life with a simple bet. If he loses, he must remain celibate for a month. If Abby loses, she must live in travis's apartment of trh same amount of time.

Either way, Travis has no idea that he has met his match. Or that this is the start of an obsessive, intense relationship that will lead them both into unimaginable territory.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I didn't know anything about this book before reading it so Travis was a bit of a shock.

This book tells the love story of Abby and Travis and the increasingly dependant, obsessive nature of it.

I read this book in one long sitting and so the rollercoaster nature of their relationship started to get overwhelming towards the end.

Travis is a character that seems to be the common thread amongst the negative reviews of this book. I didn't have any problem with him as even though there are real guys out there like him, Travis is fictional.

The only thing that annoyed me about this book was the use of the nickname Pigeon. It was never explained where he got the nickname from and it was completely overused.

The strongest element of this book was the character's back stories. Travis and Abby don't seem to have much in common until their lives are more deeply explored.

Overall this was a very tense and compelling read and because of the intensity of it, it remains in your head days after finishing it.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review #480 - Tide of Terror (Vampirates #2) by Justin Somper


Connor Tempest may only be fourteen but he's taken to the life of a pirate like a duck to water. But his loyalties are divided between his shipmates and his sister. Grace isn't finding the pirate life so appealing. She cannot shake the feeling that all is not well on the vampirate ship she left behind. Sidorio may have been expelled from the vampirate ship but his dark deeds are just beginning...

My Rating: 3/5

This is the second book in the Vampirate series and is the sequel to Demons of the Ocean which I read back in 2011.

Even though Connor and Grace are reunited, they soon realise that their lives are going in completely different directions.

Connor loves the fact that he is considered a pirate prodigy whilst Grace is left missing the Vampirate ship and the friends onboard.

When a fellow pirate dies, Grace is exposed to the dangerous reality of pirate life and becomes overly worried for Connor.

Trying to remove him from that environment, she convinces him that the two of them would be better suited to go to Pirate Academy.

I found the idea of Pirate Academy interesting but there was no sense of adventure in it. The period of time the twins spent there was substantial and quite boring.

By the end of the book, Connor and Grace have followed along with their separate destinies, setting up the third instalment perfectly.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book Review #479 - We Were Liars by E. Lockhart


A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honouree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I read this book the same day I bought it. Given that I already had 1000 unread books shows how eager I was to read this as I had heard so many positive things about it.

The main characters were all from wealthy families except one so it was interesting to read about their lavish lifestyles. 

The minor characters such as the aunties and the younger cousins could have been more incorporated into the story. This would have at least prevented me from frequently looking at the family tree. 

The family dynamics were fascinating to read about. Plot wise, I didn't really know where this book was heading even though I predicted 75% of the ending I was still blown away by the finish. 

The writing style was a little choppy but I found that it didn't take me long to get used to it.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Book Review #478 - Where She Went (If I Stay #2) by Gayle Forman


If you had a second chance at first love... would you take it?

It's been three years since Adam's love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it... and three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.
If you had a second chance at first love... would you take it?

It's been three years since Adam's love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it... and three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Julliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the sequel to If I Stay which I read and reviewed in 2011.

This book is told from Adam's perspective which I surprisingly preferred to that of Mia's in If I Stay.

Like with Mia in If I Stay, Adam's life is in complete disarray. However, it felt like Adam was more in tune with his emotions and delved a lot deeper into them than Mia.

Whilst in If I Stay, it is about Mia's relationships with the different members of her family and Adam, this book focuses primarily on Mia and Adam's relationship which was something that I enjoyed. 

This book is set three years after the accident and in all that time Adam hasn't seen Mia at all, not by his choosing. When they finally meet they both realise that whilst Mia may carry the physical scars of the accident, both of them carry the emotional ones. 

The first book is primarily set in the hospital so it was refreshing to see the characters in a much more normal and less stressful environment.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review #477 - The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan


Seventh grade has been surprisingly quiet for Percy Jackson. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get...well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of his friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.

In the follow-up to the wildly popular The Lightning Thief, The Graphic Novel, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family--one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon's son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

My Rating: 3/5

I'm not the biggest fan of graphic novels especially ones adapted from novels but seeing as I read the first one, I thought I would try its sequel.

Whilst I thought that the drawings were more expressive than the first book, the story was a lot weaker. If it wasn't for the fact that I have read the novel, I would have been left confused as there were numerous plot holes.

Reading this though has inspired me to finish the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books, so I hope to read the remaining four books soon.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Follow Friday #69

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.
The question this week is:

Suggest a question! We need questions of the week for future FFs. Any ideas?

Maybe showing a bit about where you live because book blogging reaches world wide.   

Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review #476 - Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear #1) by Michael Grant


I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . .

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont.

This was a very cryptic book. Like the protagonist, the reader is left completely in the dark about everything in what was a rather interesting world.

Whilst cryptic is usually associated with confusing, this book is an exception to that. This book reveals just enough along the way to just understand but not enough where you are able to predict where it's going.

When the plot is revealed rather slowly and meticulously throughout the pacing is important, and I felt like this book was paced rather well.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Book Review #475 - Broken Strings by Maria Farrer


It is the story of a brilliant young violinist, her determination and struggle to achieve her dreams and the discovery that she is at the centre of an extraordinary secret that has pulled apart her family for two generations. Jess, a talented 17-year-old violinist, suffers from stage-fright as she auditions for a place at a prestigious music school. Her family do not have enough money for her to continue to study so when she fails, she vows not to play again. Until her wealthy grandmother - estranged from her family since Jess's mother fell pregnant - shows up at their doorstep and promises six months of tuition in exchange for Jess moving to live with her. Once ensconced in her grandmother's rich, but empty, life she starts to uncover the mystery of why her grandmother never spoke to her mother again, and the secret which tore her family apart.

My Rating: 3.5/5.

I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia.

I studied music for a short period of time and really disliked it so I was actually a little hesitant to read a full length novel on the subject.

From the outset, this book was massively predictable and offered very little throughout in terms of plot twists and surprises.

Being set in London, I felt like this book could have used that as a massive advantage instead Jess was constantly stuck inside the house.

Jess/Jessica, the protagonist was one of the most dislikeable characters I have come across in a very long time. She was incredibly immature and made excuses for just about everything. As much as I disliked her, she somehow manages to get herself in the middle of a love triangle.

I always have mixed feelings about love triangles. I think there is only a small margin of error to keep them from being trashy.

The two male characters in this book Charlie and Stefan were surprisingly very friendly, warm characters.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book Review #474 - Sinner (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3.5) by Maggie Stiefvater


Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole's story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole's darkest secret -- his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel's life. Can this sinner be saved?

My Rating: 3.5/5

I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia.

I didn't know how this book would be without the main characters of Sam and Grace but I found that it didn't bother me as much I thought it would. The main reason for this was because it felt completely disconnected from the previous books.

The book commences with Cole moving to LA to restart his music career and hopefully rekindle his relationship with Isabel.

The book being set in LA was my biggest grievance with this book as I really loved the enchanting Mercy Falls setting and really missed it in this book.

Without Sam and Grace's added narration, Isabel was a bit exposed as a character as I don't think her voice is as strong as theirs or Coles.

I have read numerous books about reality television and fame but none that felt as realistic as this one.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Book Review #473 - Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater


When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.

My Rating: 4/5

This is the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls Series and is the sequel to Shiver and Linger.

The way that Linger ended I can't believe I waited 9 months to finally read Forever. The story kicks off straight from Linger's ending.

I found the second portion of the book a lot more enjoyable than the first half - this was due to Grace and Sam's reunion halfway through the book. Both of their characters are stronger when in the others presence.

The plot in this book was rather basic - Isabel's fathers ongoing crusade to rid Mercy Falls of wolves goes to the next level leaving Grace, Sam, Cole and the pack at risk of extermination.

There were minor sub-plots like the police's fascination with Sam and Grace's parents but I wish there was more in this area.

Cole seems to grow and grow with each book and by the end of Sinner he will probably more than likely be my favourite character.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review #472 - Grim by Various Authors and Edited by Christine Johnson


This is a book full of short stories including a lot by some of the most popular young adult authors of today. Surprisingly though I had not yet read any books by the majority of these authors.

Because there are a total of 17 short stories told over the course of 454 pages, each of the stories are unsurprisingly shorter than other short story compilations that I have previously read.

Also, these short stories are retellings of the original Grim fairy tales, and I often wasn't familiar with the original story. I will review the short stories separately.

1. Key by Rachel Hawkins

This story contained an amazing amount of depth for its short length.

2. Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready

This story had an interesting plot in that it was told from an inanimate object's perspective.

3. The Twelfth Girl by Malinda Lo

This story was slightly dark and very mysterious.

4. The Raven Princess by Jon Skrovon

This story had the most genuine fairy tale feel to it in the entire book.

5. Thinner Than Water by Saundra Mitchell

This story was significantly darker and more disturbing than the others, yet I found it somewhat enchanting at the same time.

6. Before the Rose Bloomed by Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins is an author that I have heard plenty of positive things about but hadn't got around to reading any of her work yet. Her unique writing style puts me off. I found that the verse format helped with the enchanting feel to the story and this was one of my favourite stories in the book.

7. Beast/Beast by Tessa Grafton

This was another one of my favourites and it reminded me of Beastly by Alex Flinn as it is obviously a retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

8. The Brothers Piggett by Julie Kagawa

This was a retelling of the Three Little Pigs, one of the last stories I had expected in this book. This story had a very unique concept and Julie Kagawa's high standard of writing.

9. Untethered by Sonia Gensler

Even though this story lacked the fairy tale feel to it, I found it quite intriguing and loved the dark undertones.

10. Better by Shaun David Hutchinson

This had a significantly more sci-fi than fairytale approach to it which I loved because it really stood out from the others.

11. Light it Up by Kimberly Derting

I was really captivated by this story. I loved the genuine sibling relationship and the simplicity of the plot. The fact that this was one of the few stories that I was aware of the original story helped.

12. Sharper than a Serpant's Tongue by Christine Johnson

This story was extremely short and had a distinct fable feel to it.

13. The Real Boy by Claudia Gray

I loved the dystopian like setting of this story but I found it hard to get invested in the story.

14. Skin Trade by Myra McEntire

This was a retelling of Pinocchio with a cyborg twist. I found this story hard to follow and rather cryptic.

15. Beauty and the Chad by Sarah Rees Brennan

I was a little surprised to see another Beauty and the Beast retelling in the same anthology. This one was interesting but the lack of dialogue frustrated me.

16. The Pink by Amanda Hocking

I would consider Amanda Hocking as one of my favourite authors and so this was the story I was most looking forward to reading. Because I wasn't even remotely familiar with the familiar story, I thought this story was rather unique and I really enjoyed the characters.

17. Sell Out by Jackson Pearce

I loved how far this story strayed from the original concept whilst at the same time kept the obvious link to the original story. I would have liked this to have either been longer or full length as I felt like it was just building when it ended.