Tuesday 21 August 2012

Review: Black Dawn by Rachel Caine

This series is my safety. I know that I'll have at least two enjoyable books a year. I look forward to reading the next installment and I'm always grateful that Caine doesn't spend two years working on a sequel. By the time I'm done with one book, the next title and synopsis is already out. Thank you Caine <3

Even though The Morganville Vampires are one of my favourite vampire series', I never usually remember what happened in the last book until I read the next one (that make sense?). There have been so many books that it's a little hard for my little ol' brain to remember every single plot. This is why it took me a chapter of rummaging through my head to finally remember the biting/vampire-and-human difficulties between Eve and Michael, the scary vamp enemy - THE DRAUG - taking over Morganville and the slowly dying Founder of Morganville, Amelie. Now, how did I forget all of that?

Once I caught up, Black Dawn was enjoyable. It's considerably darker, like Bite Club, than the first ten (that's a whole lot of books!) in the series... which I liked. While the plot got more serious, the feelings and relationships between the characters got deeper and more interesting to read.

The characters have changed and grown a lot since the beginning of Glass Houses. But: what I don't understand is how Claire can be such a smart girl (does it irritate you like it does me that we are reminded she is so clever every other page?) and still lack so much common sense. Claire, when a vampire is sick and can't tell between a human and a bag of blood, you don't walk in to the room unarmed when you were specifically told not to!
You could also start to believe the psychic girl  who tells you scary stuff that always seems to come true. That would help.

Other than my sudden realisation that Claire isn't as amazing as I remembered her to be, the other characters are okie dokes. Eve and Michael are sweet and I like how they work through their problems at a relatively realistic time, pretty gradually. As for Shane, I could not love him more, his little quips and remarks never fail to make me smile. For the last couple of books Shane went through so much emotional and physical trauma, it broke my heart when he had to go through so much more mental pain in Black Dawn.

If there were any speculations about Claire leaving Shane for Myrnin, I think they have disappeared. Even though Claire didn't really impress me in this book, ShaneandClaire are stronger than ever. xD

Overall, Black Dawn is hard to put down, the plot is original and the writing is hooking. I'm not the hugest fan of the alternating point of views, sometimes the thoughts just sound the same which breaks the illusion of the different characters actually being different but... I can deal. I'm looking forward to the next installment. 

Music choice: Shane is amazing. He's probably one the one things that I love most about The Morganville Vampires so my music choice shows Shane's heartbreaking confusion about Claire after being attacked by the Draug. Illusion by Nathan Green :) 

Watch it now!!

Thursday 16 August 2012

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

This is the first book that made me obsessed with reading. This is the book that made me want to write down what I felt when reading. This is the book that made me want to document my thoughts after reading something that affected me, whether in a good way or bad.

Where She Went is simply amazing.

Where She Went starts three years after where we said goodbye in If I Stay. It takes place three years after the death of Mia's family, three years after Mia left to Julliard without Adam and three years after Adam broke down and then became a worldwide rock star.

I don't want to go on and dissect Where She Went to only tell you that every minute part is beautiful and heartbreaking.

Adam's voice is filled to the brim with raw emotion, his thoughts so honest and heartfelt. That's probably one of the things I love the most about this book, the honesty is Adam's narration, no matter how painful.

The prose and plot take a backseat, no matter how good they are. The relationship between Mia and Adam is the highlight of the book, there are no gimmicks and no love triangles, just two people walking around New York, talking and being together.

Where She Went is stripped back to only emotions, straight from the heart. It's like reading a diary, a train of thoughts, untampered with and pure.

I loved how the story unfolded and how the truth finally came out for both characters. It ended with a hope of something happy, something they both deserve - a perfect ending.

Safe to say, one of my very favourite books centered around love, forgiveness and honesty.

Music choice: It's hard to add a music choice to a book that is so focused on the love of music. But. Here goes. Hands Down by Dashboard Confessional - 'My heart is yours to fill or burst, to break or bury, or wear as jewelry, which ever you prefer'

itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/a-mark-a-mission-a-brand-a-scar/id13125496

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Review: Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Even though I adore Jennifer Lynn Barnes' Raised by Wolves series, it took me a while to actually pick up Every Other Day. Even though I love Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing, characters and plot in her Raised by Wolves series, I wasn't expecting to like much in this book.

My low expectations were probably caused by the unusual premise of this book. Has there been any other book where the main character changes species every other day? I thought that this book could only be amazing or be a complete flop.  

It turns out that Every Other Day, for me, is neither amazing nor complete shit. There were parts that were interesting and there were parts that made me skim read/skip pages.

I like the fact that Jennifer Lynn Barnes wasn't afraid to make Every Other Day different. I can’t say that the risk completely paid off, however. The thing about Every Other Day is that it's very different from Raised by Wolves. Yes, it still fits into the young adult paranormal genre but it isn't same-y. Authors who have success with a book/series sometimes try and use the same type of characters or the same type of plot to try and match their earlier success.

First of all, the blurb is very misleading, it makes the reader think that Kali (the main character) has to try and figure out a way to save a girl on a day that she's human. The book isn't about this, in reality, Kali saves the girl in the first couple of pages. The book is actually about Kali trying to save herself and Kali trying to figure out who and what she is. I guess that wasn't necessarily bad, the blurb being misleading, after I got over my initial anger of the situation (sometimes I get angry over stupid things, don't mind me), I realised that I liked that I didn't know what was going to happen. The unpredictability made the mediocre read a little bit more enjoyable. 

Every Other Day is a fairly short read and I'm pretty sure it's a stand alone novel although I do think that it needs a sequel. Maybe there will be one, there are definitely enough loose ends to create a second book. Anyway, due to Every Other Day's length, I felt like Barnes didn't have enough time to really put some flesh on the characters she introduced. A lot of the time the names of Skylar's many brothers just blended together, only separated by their various occupations. Kali is a decent main character, she's no Mary Sue, an interesting teenage girl with a unique...quirk. Barnes tries hard to create characters that break usual stereotypes, like the surprisingly deep and caring cheerleader however, she doesn't give them enough layers or depth to make the reader relate to these carefully constructed characters. 

Although I had some problems with the depth of the characters themselves, I really enjoyed reading about the mother-daughter dynamics and also, the changing relationship between Kali and her dad. Barnes cleverly made the reader connect with the main character, even though this is a paranormal book, by bringing in the common teenage problem: parents. 

The romance/love aspect of this book is unusual. Throughout most of the book the love interest, Zev, is just a voice in Kali's head, almost like a figment of her imagination. 

It was both interesting and weird to read. The relationship between Zev and Kali progresses a bit too fast at the beginning but that wasn't so hard to get over. Again, I bring up the characterisation, we don't know a lot about Zev at the beginning of the novel (oooh, mystery, nice) but we also don't know a whole lot about him at the end (dafuk?). 

Overall the book is pretty standard; there's nothing that really stood out or is very memorable. I will probably read the sequel (if there is one!) because as a series, this does have the potential to be kick-ass. :) 

Music choice: Let's just say it's hard to find a song that depicts a girl only human every other day ;) I decided to pick Perfect by Simple Plan because of how much the relationship Kali has with her dad affected me. 

Listen here...

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

It's been a while since I read the first book in the Infernal Devices series and because of this, before I started to read Clockwork Prince I had forgottenwhy I liked Clockwork Angel. I couldn't remember what it was that I enjoyed so much about the plot and what it was that completely mesmerized me about the characters. 

Once I started reading Clockwork Prince I didn't immediately remember, in all honesty it was hard for me to get into the story. I didn't understand the significance of the characters, there are so many characters and at first they meant nothing to me. 

After the first (couple of) chapters I finally understood why I had loved Clockwork Angel so much. The plot is so fascinating and near impossible to predict and although the book is quite big (about 500 pages!) each of Clare's words are written to mean something important. 

I can safely say that I like the Infernal Devices series more than the Mortal Instruments. This could be because I think that the fourth book in the Mortal Instruments is unnecessary but it is more likely because of the characters in the Infernal Devices

I felt something for every character, especially for Will. Whenever the characters went through any heartache (and there was a lot of heartache!) I was close to tears and whenever one of the characters was shocked by an event occurring in the book I audibly gasped with them. You know that the author has done at least something right when you feel what the character does; it can't be easy to build such an amazing emotional connection between the reader and the characters within a book.

The best way to sum up these books is with the word 'addictive'. Other than the slow start there is nothing about this book that I didn't love. 

Well actually... 


This love triangle had me screaming and completely freaking out. Everybody must think I am a complete psycho for practically stabbing my book in frustration.

I never understood why people picked sides when love triangles appeared in books, especially when it is usually obvious who the main character will choose (e.g. Twilight: Edward, The Vampire Academy: Dimitri) but in Clockwork Prince... Hmmm... In Clockwork Prince, I can't call it. Tessa has different but equally as powerful connections with both Will and Jem. 

No matter how much I think the love triangle annoys me and no matter how much I died at the cliffhanger(s) at the end of the book, I definitely enjoyed Clockwork Prince a whole lot. 

Clockwork Princess, please be released sooner. 

Music choice: Although there is a lot of action in this book, the one thing that dominated the book for me was the love triangle and the angst. So this is my choice... Two Princes by Spin Doctors. Jem and Will? They truly are 'two princes'

Haven't heard of it? It's good :) 

itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/two-princes-best-spin-doctors/id288888947

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I want to start by saying that Divergent, the first book in this series, is one of my favourite books of 2011, out of the hundred or so books I read that year. Divergent, for me, was new, exciting and truly amazing. It was because of this that I expected even more from Insurgent... and that's a lot to expect, even from an author like Roth.

A large part of Insurgent's appeal is the surprising plot and unpredictable places Roth takes the reader so, I don't want to give away too much of the plot. If you haven't already read Insurgent yet, it would be best to go into it not knowing much, or better yet, not knowing anything about the story line of the novel.

Insurgent starts where it left off in Divergent, Tris (you know her), Four (I like the name Four better than Tobias, is that only me?), Caleb (Tris' brother and Erudite initiate), Peter (that Dauntless initiate dude in Divergent who stabbed a kid in the eye) and Marcus (Four's abusive  father and Abnegation leader) having just broken the simulation that was controlling the Dauntless soldiers, are travelling to Amity headquarters to get to safety and try to find out what Erudite are going to do next. While the story was fairly easy to follow because of the fact it started straight after Divergent finished, the various characters weren't so easy to follow. When I first started reading Insurgent I had forgotten who Caleb and Marcus were! Keeping up with the characters didn't become much easier as the novel progressed, more secondary and primary characters were introduced which only increased my confusion.

Losing track of the numerous people in Insurgent wasn't the only problem I had when reading this sequel, one of the first things I fell in love with about Divergent was Tris' fierce, brave characteristics that made her such an amazing heroine but in Insurgent, sometimes I felt like I was reading about a totally different person. A lot of Tris' internal narration is spent feeling sorry her self. At the beginning of Insurgent I understood why she did this, she had gone through a lot in Divergent however, no matter how much I tried to empathise with her, as I got deeper into the book, Tris' constant cries irritated me.

I sound like I didn't like this book, I did. Honest. Although I didn't love Tris' character, her changing relationships that she has with enemies, friends, brother, boyfriend and ex-friend-/-girlfriend-of-boy-she-killed were very interesting to read. The way that Roth is able to stay one step ahead of the reader isn't so bad either, I had no idea what was going to happen next, I was hooked.

Oh, a quick warning before I finish: the ending will kill you. There should be a precaution sticker on the front of the book.

Other than a few minor problems (character glitches and you know, a death inducing ending) Insurgent is a great read and I cannot wait for the next book to be released and in my eager hands.

Music choice: Something about this book makes me think of an uprising or revolution so I thought about picking a song along those lines but I decided on something else. This song is about standing out and being strong. Also, the lyrics 'I'm sick of wondering Is it life or death?' perfectly shows Tris' frustrations about all the situations she finds her self in. I've picked One X by Three Days Grace.

Here you go...

itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/one-x/id388130643

Sunday 12 August 2012

Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

The thing about Easy is that as soon as I read the blurb for the book I was intrigued and after I read a couple of 5 and 4 star reviews, I was impressed. Without my consent, my expectations for this book had risen impossibly high. I really don't like it when I have high expectations... it only ever ends with me being disappointed.

Easy is a very good book; well written, emotional and original. The book starts dramatically (which ignited my interest), at a party where Jacqueline is in the car park, she is grabbed by a friend of a friend, Buck, and he attempts to rape her. Lucas, our love interest, comes to the rescue and quite simply, beats the shit out of Buck. And that's just the beginning of Easy! The book, for a contemporary read, is full of action and dramatic scenes.

At first I didn't really like the fact that the attempted rape wasn't immediately reported but I guess that's what this book is about; the gradual realisation that you can't keep something like assault hidden away and forgotten. As the book progressed and I found out how the assault was dealt with in the novel, I was satisfied. Webber realistically weaves together a novel with an initial problem and a slow, plausible solution. She doesn't make the problem go away suddenly, Webber realises the significance of attempted rape and outlines the various consequences and also clearly shows, how high the number of people who are affected by just one assault is.

I have mixed feelings for the characters in Easy. Most of the characters are top notch -  they are layered characters with more than solely one side to them which made them both interesting and believable to read about. If I had to pick, my favourite characters would have to be Lucas and it's pretty easy to explain why. Lucas is probably one of the best love interests and best male YA characters I have ever read. He may actually be the fantasy of all women and men (I am not limiting Lucas to just women) everywhere. Lucas is sensitive and caring, attentive and protective, sweet and loving. Lucas is smart and beautiful and... and... and he has a lip piercing! Ah! Lucas = perfect being.

While I love Lucas and many of the characters, for example, Erin, I didn't like Jacqueline as much as the others. If she had been a side character, a friend, I don't think I would have had a problem with Jacqueline but she isn't a side character, she's the protagonist. When I read a book, the protagonist or the main character has to be relatable so I feel more connected and sympathetic towards the characters thus, making the reading experience more emotional and memorable. Perhaps, it is the situation and what Jacqueline goes through that made me feel like I couldn't really relate or feel connected to Jacqueline. Whatever it is, although I didn't like Jacqueline as much as the other characters (it's all because the other characters rocked so much :) ), she is a good character. I like the fact that Jacqueline isn't a typical, virginal YA protagonist, it made the read more interesting.

The plot is a hooking one that played out well and although I found some parts a little predictable, it was an enjoyable story line to read. The pace of the novel is good until the very last part, I thought that the book ended a bit too fast after the final revelations.

Despite my little problem with Jacqueline, my annoyingly high expectations and the slight predictability of the plot, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Easy and I predict I will be reading more books by Webber.

Music choice: My music pick for Easy is Kiss Me by Ed Sheeran, I think that the lyrics and the softness of the song show exactly how Lucas is feeling when he's with Jacqueline. I especially like the lyrics 'Settle down with me And I'll be your safety' and 'I was made to keep your body warm But I'm cold and the wind blows So hold me in your arms'

Want to have a listen?

itunes link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/kiss-me/id448213992?i=448214025&ign-mpt=uo%3D4

Saturday 11 August 2012

Review: Such a Rush by Jennifer Echols

Such a Rush is the highly anticipated new novel by popular teen/young adult author, Jennifer Echols. Even though Echols' Forget You and Going Too Far impressed me a great deal when I first started reading her books, her more recent releases, Love Story and The One That I Want didn't really hit the mark which made me dubious and put off reading Such a Rush for some time.

Unlike many people who love this book and compare it to Echols' earlier treasures, I can't say that it ticks all the boxes.

The novel starts with a flashback of Leah Jones (our main character) at 14 years old making the life changing decision to not be like her mom and all the other people living in her trailer park next to the airport by learning how to fly. I thought this was quite inspiring actually, the way that Leah at only 14 took her life into her own hands when she knew that nobody else would help her by asking for a job at the airport and making the money she needed to try and make her dream come true.

After the reader sees how Leah starts her flying lessons with aerial banner-advertising business owner, Mr Hall and how she meets Mr Halls' twin sons Grayson and Alec Hall the book then cuts to 3 years later, where Mr Hall has died and Leah, Grayson and Alec are now 18 years old. Reading the blurb, I thought that after the death of Mr Hall, Grayson and Alec would run the business together and both fall for Leah which is what I thought the book would be about: Leah unsure about which brother to choose. That wasn't the case. Basically, Grayson blackmails Leah into working for him and fake-dating Alec but Leah doesn't have feelings for Alec, she only has feelings for the boy forcing her to date his brother... I guess you don't choose the people you like?

Grayson irritated me non-stop throughout the book. I really didn't understand his appeal as a love interest, all he seemed to do was push Leah away emotionally and push her towards Alec. Yes, he does things to keep people he loves safe but the way he goes about it just hurts everybody around him. Grayson doesn't really have any redeeming qualities, apart from his good looks but I couldn't conjure up an image of an attractive Grayson in my head when all I could think about was his egotistical characteristics. Alec wasn't really much better, both Alec and Grayson neglected everybody else's feelings when they made choices about themselves.

I liked Leah better as a character, her determination and loyalty was inspiring. However, I felt like Leah judged and stereotyped the people she didn't understand and the people she didn't actually know which I thought was quite ironic because she complained how people judged her and labelled her as a 'slut' because of her background but she continued to do the same to the people around her. None of the characters in Such a Rush, I feel, are very memorable.

I do think that the premise of Such a Rush is an original one. The story line was hard to predict at the beginning of the novel and although it became more predictable towards the end, the fact that I couldn't really guess what was going to happen at first made me enjoy the book more. On the subject of the plot, a big part of the novel was the reasoning behind Grayson's need to blackmail Leah into dating Alec. There was a lot of build up to the final revelation but I felt like when we did find out, it was very anticlimactic. The reasoning made sense but after so much angst and questions, I was expecting more.

There was a lot of hype for this book despite the disappointment of Love Story and it is safe to say that Such a Rush is much better that than Echols' last book, Love Story. The premise of Such a Rush held such promise and it is an intriguing one but I think the characters let the plot down a bit.

Music choice: (No, I didn't pick Airplanes by B.O.B but yes, there were many in Such a Rush.)
I have decided on Weightless by All Time Low - the lyrics perfectly portray Leah's choice to get up and do something different with her life and also, weightless... flying? Get it? :)

Listen now!

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