Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Imagine you came home one day to find a package; within the package are thirteen cassette tapes. These tapes contain some of the last words of your classmate (and first love) who overdosed on pills two weeks prior. On the tapes, she explains the steps that led to her making her fatal decision; thirteen tapes, thirteen reasons, thirteen people…and you are one of them.

Despite the subject matter, I  really liked Thirteen Reasons Why; I think mainly because of the unique idea and Asher’s way of writing, which glues you to the pages, along with the content as you yearn to discover who is to blame and why. I also liked unique format and dual narrative – you have Hannah on the tapes whilst Clay, the recipient, listens and traces the of her story throughout town, bumping into various people on the way and giving the reader immediate reactions to Hannah’s words, instead of in alternate chapters which would have been a very bad idea. I also loved the atmosphere of the town, no doubt helped by the map that Clay uses and the fact that the majority of it was based on real places, that Asher has managed to capture in his wonderfully woven story.

My only complaint was that Hannah did not appear to be all that depressed in her manner of narrating the tapes (though I appreciate this is also representative of a person going through such a difficult time), and appeared more of a moaner who took things that happen to everyone way too personally and seriously; so although I quite liked her as a character, I found it slightly difficult to sympathise with her, especially pulling people who didn’t need to be into it, like the person with the other set of tapes, but I generally found her and everyone else fairly realistic and it was an usually accurate representation of high school. I also found it fairly difficult to believe that no one had any idea at all what she was planning to do, not even when suicide was brought up in class, leaflets were handed out and she displayed the classic symptoms.

I really (though I hesitate to use the word) enjoyed Thirteen Reasons Why, and it’s such a thought-provoking, well written and eye-opening novel that I really think everyone should read it.

[SYNOPSIS: Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.]

Thursday, 9 August 2012

The Demon Trappers: Forgiven by Jana Oliver

**SPOILERS FOR FORSAKEN and FORBIDDEN, THE PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES (which you should definitely read first!)**

I’ve discussed how difficult I find it to give reviews of awesome books, but I honestly can’t do it! On the other hand, I do then I feel bad giving 4.5/5 stars to a novel with a tiny review that doesn’t really explain why I loved the book; so without further ado, I will list all the parts that I loved about this book (and yes, the vagueness is deliberate to prevent spoilers because you honestly should go out and read this book and I would hate to mar your enjoyment of this epic saga)

So the things I loved about this particular instalment:
  • The additional answers we get – I hate novels that think they can get away without answering major questions!
  • How caring Beck is towards Riley – this is how all men should act! (aside from the moodiness that is)
  • And on a similar note, how much I’ve grown to love the characters, especially Riley, from hardly caring about them due to the superb character development
  • The fun and witty writing
  • The shocks!
  • And, most epic of all in this book was the fight – much better than I was expecting and I love how creative Oliver is with her demons and such, though it was over a bit too quickly for my liking

The only bad thing I can think of is the ending, which is one of those painfully-contrived-for-a-cliffhanger-to-make-you-read-the-next-book but that is only a minor complaint.

This is one of those series that you have to give a try – it’s seriously underrated. I cannot wait for the last in the series Foretold!

[SYNOPSIS: The days are growing darker for 17-year-old demon trapper Riley Blackthorne. With her father’s reanimated body back safely, Beck barely speaking to her because of a certain hunky Fallen angel, and a freshly-made deal with Lucifer, she has enough on her hands to last a normal teenage lifetime. Though she bargained with Heaven to save his life, her ex-boyfriend Simon has told the Vatican’s Demon Hunters that she’s working with Hell. So now she’s in hiding, at the top of everyone’s most-wanted list.

But it’s becoming clear that this is bigger than Riley, and rapidly getting out of control: something sinister is happening in Atlanta… or some
one. The demons are working together for the first time ever and refusing to die, putting civilians in harm’s way. Riley thinks she might know who’s behind it all, but who’s going to believe her? Caught between her bargain with Heaven and her promise to Lucifer, Riley fears the final war is coming – and it may be closer than anyone thinks…]

Sunday, 22 July 2012

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.
This week I got:

Dreamless ~ Josephine Angelini (MKB)
Finally! Can't wait to see how Angelini continues her saga :)

Fear ~ Michael Grant (Library)
Already read; Grant is nothing less than a literary god - I adore this series!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Again, already read - such a stunning book! Cannot get over how much I liked everything about this amazing novel

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your IMM :)

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

Lenah Beaudonte is not a typical sixteen-year-old girl; for a start, she used to be a vampire, notorious for being the most dangerous of her kind. Secondly, she was made a vampire about five hundred years ago. Thirdly, her coven will be searching for her to reclaim her as their queen…and when they discover she is human once again, hell will break lose for Lenah and all those she loves.

Sounds like an exciting and unique premise right? Sadly the fanfiction-esque writing, lack of character development and serious Mary Sue protagonist makes what should be a great book into a hard-to-get-through slog.

 Inevitably hordes of boys fall in love with the beautiful, smart and interesting (despite the lack of evidence for all three points) Lenah; in fact, there was only one major shock for me in this whole novel (naming it would spoil though) whilst the rest plodded out exactly as I suspected it would.

The only thing that separates this novel from others in its class is the amount of research that Maizel has clearly carried out, along with the amount of thought that has gone into the vampire mythology. If only she had put that level of consideration into making Lenah genuinely sound 500+ years old instead of the general confusion at today’s technology and the occasional dropping in of a sophisticated word to illustrate Lenah's true age, the novel would have been vastly improved.

Interestingly Maizel uses Lenah to comment on the society of today, such as girls degrading other girls to make themselves feel superior and whether or not it had always occurred, which I found quite a nice addition. 

I found ‘I’ was way too overused – and yes, it is from a first person perspective but it jars the pace of the novel when you realise the number of times “I did this” and “I did that” it feels like an eight year old had written parts.

Nonetheless, I will probably end up pursuing the sequel Stolen Nights to see how the series plays out.

[SYNOPSISFor 500 years Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire. 500 years of seduction, blood and destruction. But she is sickened by her dark powers – and longs to feel the sun on her skin, grass under her bare feet, and share the breath of a human kiss. She wants to be mortal again. But is she really capable of being human, after her long years of darkness? Waking up as a sixteen-year-old girl brings Lenah many things – the life she has missed, taste, touch, love. But a vampire soul is not easily shed. And her coven – the four vampires she led in decadence and thrilling destruction – want their queen back . . . ]

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Thisby is a unique island where the resident’s lives centre around the capall uisce – beautiful but deadly water horses who rise from the sea. The residents either take care of the tourists that visit the island or are participants in the annual November Scorpio Races; those that are interested in neither escape to the mainland, which is what Kate’s brother is planning to do. In order to stem his journey and save the house, Kate agrees to partake in this year’s annual race, against all the odds and her brother’s wishes. It’s a difficult book to sum up, hence the vague synopsis and my own not-very-good attempt but it is an amazing read nonetheless.

Stiefvater maintains her beautiful style of writing, combined with very picturesque surroundings. However, I didn’t particularly like fact that we are given no indication of the period or of Thisby’s location in the world; this was probably to make the novel feel timeless but instead it felt a bit disjointed and messy to me.

I loved the capall uisce idea – it is extremely original, believable and just generally well done overall as it really felt like fully developed age-old mythology; the world-building was extremely thorough, barring the missing out of details that I have already mentioned.

The Scorpio Races features an excellent set of characters – you genuinely love some, like George Holly, and hate others such as Matt, although you are not compelled to feel so unlike in some other books – it is solely the way they act that makes you feel so. There was a nice pace of the romance developing, although in terms of action it was a bit lacklustre, particularly at the beginning. You really can picture the island, its customs and residents that Stiefvater writes so marvellously. One of my few complaints about the one other Stiefvater book I have read, Shiver, is that the points of view of Grace and Sam were virtually identical; happily though, in The Scorpio Races the viewpoints differ a lot more.

A simply stunning novel – very different from Shiver but still containing Stiefvater's 'magic touch' so I would recommend this book to everyone – I’m really not doing it justice in this review.

[SYNOPSIS: It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die.

At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Fear by Charlie Higson


Higson wonderfully carries on his excellent zombie series with this third instalment. This time reading the prior books is fairly essential to the story and we have a proper sequel and not just a prequel like The Dead was, as well as some nice links to all the gangs of kids, such as Waitrose, Morrisons, Buckingham Palace and The Tower lots. However, as I read the previous books a fair while ago, I found myself struggling to remember the kids from these groups, so perhaps a reread may be a good idea before embarking on the third book.

This time we mainly follow the lives of DogNut, Courtney and a few fighters as they aim to reunite with their ‘Tesco van’ friends whom they were cruelly split from in The Dead, although they aren’t sure where they would be, or if they’re even still alive. London is as dangerous as ever, and a fatal mistake of leaving one behind is going to have serious consequences for them all…

 The Fear was full of twists - some I saw coming, most I didn’t - with the same trademark fast pace that keeps you reading long into the night. Again, I have to warn off the easily disturbed and queasy as it is a zombie novel after all, and Higson does not shy away from gruesome events and descriptions, but this is not my normal kind of book and I found it added to realising the danger the kids are in and imagining the post-apocalyptic world.

I didn’t enjoy The Fear quite as much as I did its predecessors The Enemy and The Dead – the plot and pace weren’t as tight and I felt this was more a lead up to the final books as it is a planned series of seven, which I personally feel is not really required. Nonetheless, I can’t wait to read the next one, The Sacrifice, probably this time next year.


The sickness struck everyone over the age of fourteen. 
Mothers and fathers, older brothers, sisters and best friends. No one escaped its touch. And now children across London are being hunted by ferocious grown-ups . . . 
They’re hungry. They’re bloodthirsty. And they aren’t giving up. 
Dog Nut and the rest of his crew want to find their lost friends, and set off on a deadly mission from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and beyond, as the sickos lie in wait. But who are their friends and who is the enemy in this changed world?

Saturday, 25 February 2012

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.
This week I got:

Forgiven ~ Jana Oliver (MKB)
EEEEEP!! I love this series a LOT, so I'm really excited to get into this one, especially as each book has got better and better! Plus, I just found out there's another one so I don't have to say goodbye just yet :P
Paper Towns ~ John Green (Library)
I've heard nothing but good things about this man, and I fairly enjoyed Looking For Alaska (review coming soon) so I'm hoping this is good :)

Forgot to take pictures again this week, but I promise I actually got them :S 
What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your IMM :)

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

I always find it the most difficult to write reviews of books I loved; with awful books, I find it easy to rant why I disliked it, and put my feelings on finishing it into words, but with amazing books I never know what to put to be able to recommend so others have the chance to enjoy it as much as I did. This is the problem I have writing a review for The Knife of Never Letting Go, the first in the Chaos Walking trilogy.

Twelve-year-old Todd is going to be a man in just a month. He is the youngest boy in his town, and the only one who isn’t yet a man, thanks to the war that wiped out all of the women and half of the men in Prentisstown when he was a mere baby. One day whilst out walking with his dog, Manchee, Todd comes across a patch of silence, which, when you live in Prentisstown where everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts is a very dangerous thing; it’s time for Todd to run…

The Knife of Never Letting go was very original and gripping, with a tight plot and fast pace, and lots of wonderful twists I never anticipated. I loved all of the characters, especially Manchee the dog and Viola, although I was annoyed because we didn’t get an explanation as to why she refused to talk at first.

The intentionally incorrect spelling and grammar, like tho and yer, severely irked the grammar Nazi in me, and almost caused me to put the book down, but I am SO glad I gritted my teeth and preserved as it does eventually add to its charm, and I would have missed out on this wonderful story. It takes a while to get into and to get used to Todd’s dystopian world, but when you do, it’s impossible to put down.  I have to warn you that there are a number of gory, brutal and violent moments that I can imagine the faint-hearted reader would not like. I can very highly recommend it, and can’t wait to get stuck into the sequel The Ask and The Answer

[SYNOPSIS: Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. 
But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?]

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Dark Inside by Jeyn Roberts

An earthquake caused the end of the world; it triggered a change in people. Bloodthirsty crazy human ‘baggers’ possessed by a violent rage with black veins in their eyes perhaps wasn’t the way everyone expected it to happen, but they are certainly more efficient than global warming because in a matter of days civilisation has broken down and only a few survivors remain, clinging to life, or what’s left of it anyway; they include Mason, Michael, Clementine and Aries, whose stories of survival are the focus of Dark Inside.

This had such an excellent premise but I feel it was ever so slightly let down in its execution, particularly the lack of plot – the four were clearly trying to survive and, in one case, find loved ones, but there wasn’t much else, unlike the similar Enemy books which always feel well structured. Whilst reading, I felt it was a slight mistake on Roberts’ part to have four narrators as, although I did like the varied action, stories and a sense of the scale of destruction, I found it difficult to connect to any of them, none of them had a distinctive voice and I struggled to remember who was who, and what had happened to whom. I also found it annoying that you didn’t find out more about what caused people to become ‘baggers’ or whom Nothing, whose mysterious and confusing point of view we are also treated to, actually is, although it’s somewhat obvious; I have a hatred of purposefully unexplained stuff which can be easily explained in the first book – although I do appreciate you can’t reveal everything in the first book of a series – as I always get the impression it’s just to make you pick up the sequel.

Despite this, I was seriously gripped by Dark Inside and its fast pace throughout, staying up long into the night to find out what fates awaited our protagonists and only very reluctantly putting the book down – it’s incredibly easy to get lost into.

The horror was very well done and of course you should probably steer clear if you don’t like that kind of stuff, although it doesn’t exactly dominate the book as much as you may expect; if you are a fan, you should definitely check out Dark Inside as it is a very good book. I love the cover too – I feel a bit stupid that it took me a while to work out that our leads are portrayed in the crack, but I think it makes a wonderful effect when you finally do realise. White is such an underused colour as well, so it really helps the book to stand out, along with the contrasting black and striking red – it’s a cover that, to me at least, screams ‘look at me!’ and I love it.

If you’re a fan of post-apocalyptic horror, a gripping fast pace or just a good overall novel, you should be sure to check out Dark Inside. It’s not perfect and it has a lot of room for improvement, but you won’t regret picking it up.

[SYNOPSIS: Four teenagers on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found. 

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…. Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even worse is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, hooking on to weakness, turning the unwary into hunters, killers, crazies. 

Mason: His mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground. Everyone he knows is killed. 
Aries: A school bus, an aftershock and a crash. Pulled out of the wreckage by a mysterious stranger, she’s about to discover a world changed forever. 
Clementine: An emergency meeting at the town hall that descends into murderous chaos. Outside the rest of their community encircle with weapons. How can those you trust turn into savage strangers? 
Michael: A brutal road rage incident. When the police arrive on the scene they gun down the guilty and turn on the by-standing crowd. Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad?

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Cover Reveal: Dreamless UK/rambling apology/IMM (17)

Oh my days...isn't it beautiful? I think I prefer it to Starcrossed - I just LOVE that shade of red! :D This has got me even more excited now - I want the release date to hurry up!!!


On a completely unrelated note, I owe you guys a bit of an apology as well - I'm aware of how terrible a blogger I've been recently, but I've had fairly valid reasons (namely sixth form work, extra curricular stuff and me being really bad at time management) and I hope to get back into reading and reviewing sometime soon and I will be making up for it come summer :) 


I'd also like to do an extremely belated In My Mailbox and thank the wonderful MyKindaBook for giving me the amazing looking After The Snow by Sophie Crockett - I'm sorry I'm behind with reviews for you guys too, but I have some lined up with more to hopefully come :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sister, Missing by Sophie McKenzie

                I remember reading Girl, Missing years ago when it first came out in 2006, and absolutely loving it; however, I never even began to consider it as having ‘sequel potential’ – much like Finding Nemo, Beautiful Malice and The Graveyard Book, there could not be less call for a sequel, other than to ring in the cash cow; so it was dubiously that I accepted this news, and even more so when I ordered it from my library.

                I was pleasantly surprised. The highlight of Girl, Missing was, for me, the unpredictability, and this is where Sister, Missing fell a little flat for me as I guessed at least half of the twists quite a while before they occurred, whereas I did not with its predecessor (although I was a lot younger at the time!). I love McKenzie’s writing – it’s rather simplistic but wonderful at the same time, and a joy to read.  I like the cover – it’s very striking, although it took me a while to fully work out what the illusion is and the Lauren on the cover in no way matches what I perceive her to look like, though that may just be me.

Our characters are fleshed out even further than they were in the original, and my major complaint is that it was too short - I felt a lot more could have been elaborated on as I felt a bit overwhelmed at the pace. It’s wonderfully gripping and awfully heartwrenching, but I wholeheartedly recommend it; though you should definitely pick up Girl, Missing first to ingratiate yourself with Lauren’s story prior to the events of this novel, which is in my opinion better, though that’s not to say this isn’t a worthwhile read.


[SYNOPSIS: It's two years after the events of Girl, Missing and life is not getting any easier for sixteen-year-old Lauren, as exam pressure and a recent family tragedy take their toll. Lauren's birth mother takes Lauren and her two sisters on holiday in the hope that some time together will help, but a few days into the holiday one of the sisters disappears, under circumstances very similar to those in which Lauren was taken years before. Can Lauren save her sister, and stop the nightmare happening all over again?]

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Darkness Becomes Her was very interesting, and this was probably its saving grace. Our focus is on Ari, an orphan who’s always felt alone since her mum committed suicide aged just 21; in fact, it seems a reoccurring pattern with the females in her family…So when she finds a letter warning her of the danger she is in from her deceased mother, she has no other option than to run, and find out what from. Her search leads her into more danger than she can ever imagine, revealing more of the world than she thought possible…

Darkness Becomes Her features a lot of paranormal and mythology to further the story and add to its intriguing – with vampires, witches and a fair amount of Greek mythology…which is butchered, yet again –  Athena was the goddess of tactical warfare, not war in general – that was Ares! And though of course I am open to modern interpretations of how she would change and act there is no way she would drop the f-bomb or act the way she does in the book. Those are my main complaints with how Keaton handled this aspect of the book, which, without giving too much away is a pretty major part, and caused me to not enjoy Darkness Becomes Her as much as I would have liked, though I don’t suppose it would annoy people who weren’t Greek mythology nerds like myself.

I did mostly like it, as it was fairly gripping but we have an awfully lacking instaromance, lacklustre writing and an unlikable heroine who’s supposed to be ‘sassy’ but is more annoyingly stupid, and accepts the existence of the paranormal creatures with little-to-none questions or freak out moments. I don’t really get the need for the teal eyes and silver hair – it only contributed to Ari feeling isolated with no other reason, nor why twenty one was the chosen age, though I hope this is explained in the sequel, which I probably won’t read.

All in all, I didn’t really enjoy Darkness Becomes Her – it felt far too rushed, as though Keaton had been given a week to write it and didn’t plan much beforehand or make much effort to make events flow, although I can see others enjoying it.

[SYNOPSIS: Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers a message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.
She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.
Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.]
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