Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Darkest Minds but Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 18, 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 488

Source: Amazon

Goodreads | Amazon  | Book Depository

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Okay, I'm going to really try to get my thoughts across, but bear with me, because quite frankly, I'm not sure I can fully comprehend them myself ..

'The Darkest Minds' by Alexandra Bracken.
Personally, this book was a mass of really intriguing ideas and wonderfully realised characters, mixed with some disappointing execution and sub-par writing.

Firstly, and one of the predominant reasons for my indifference, is Alexandra Bracken's writing style. Honestly, I don't know if it was me, or the writing, but it just didn't gel with me; kinda rubbed me the wrong way. What I mean by that is, one minute I'd be so enthralled with what was happening and couldn't read fast enough, and then a few minutes later I'd be trying so hard not to fall asleep. I just found Bracken's writing style to be very inconsistent and incoherent at times, which is why I felt so indifferent toward the plot and the characters one minute, and then couldn't get enough the next. And that just frustrated me.

As a result of my disliking Bracken's writing, it took me a long time - and I mean a VERY long time - to actually get into the story, and actually start enjoying reading the book. But by then, I was already behind, both emotionally and literally. Emotionally because I didn't feel what I was supposed to feel toward the protagonist when she was in trouble, or when she was experiencing inner-turmoil; that emotional connection hadn't been established with me. And I say literally, because I was LITERALLY behind on details of the plot. I would often find myself struggling to remember details of what had happened a mere fifty pages previously, details that were required to continue understanding and appreciating the story. So that was disappointing.

Ruby, Ruby, Ruby. I wanted to like her so badly, and in fact, at times, I did really enjoy her point of view and her character, but there were just as many times that I didn't. Our relationship was like a pendulum; forever shifting. There were times I just wanted to jump into the story and rally behind her, and kiss her because it seemed her character was making so much progress, and then there were times I was just fed up with her. And because I ended up not liking nor disliking her, I also felt indifferent toward the book itself, because it's told from her point of view.

Okay I get it. I get that this is a YA Dystopian novel, and because of that, it's almost destined to follow some sort of sequence similar to many others in the same genre. But I really did expect more, and maybe that's my fault, but it's true.
The premise itself it pretty original - or as original as they come nowadays - but bar that, I just thought it was cookie-cutter material. It was really interesting, but sadly predictable at the same time. I was able to guess all but one big reveal, and even then, Bracken didn't even follow through with that one big reveal. You know, the one near the end that almost tore your heart out, but then.. didn't? I was ready to applaud Bracken for daring to take it that far, but then it's almost like she started having second thoughts, and decided against following through. It wasn't resolved at all.

So that's pretty much it, I guess. Once again, I really liked parts, and I really disliked parts. I'll probably end up giving the sequel a chance though.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

International Book Giveaway!

- Open from 29th October - 5th November 2014. 
- Prize is a book worth €10 / $13 / £8. 
- Will be using Book Depository or Amazon. 
- Make sure to get PARENTAL PERMISSION before giving out address. 
- Follow me with the links below.

Hope you guys enter, good luck!

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Unbecoming Of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 27th, 2011
Genre(s): Young Adult Paranormal / Romance
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 452

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger. She wakes from a coma in hospital with no memory of how she got there or of the bizarre accident that caused the deaths of her best friends and her boyfriend, yet left her mysteriously unharmed. The doctors suggest that starting over in a new city, a new school, would be good for her and just to let the memories gradually come back on their own.

But Mara’s new start is anything but comforting. She sees the faces of her dead friends everywhere, and when she suddenly begins to see other people’s deaths right before they happen, Mara wonders whether she’s going crazy. And if dealing with all this wasn’t enough, Noah Shaw, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen can’t seem to leave her alone… but as her life unravels around her, Mara can’t help but wonder if Noah has another agenda altogether…

After two days of pondering my feelings on this book, two whole days of not reading might I add, I've decided to go with my initial thoughts, right after reading the last page.

So here's the thing; I liked most of this book, like really liked it, but then in the last fifty or so pages, it sorta almost turned sour?..
Let me explain.

I started the book, and was just as confused as Mara had been waking up in the hospital. Surprisingly, that was something I enjoyed quite a bit. I quickly became immersed in her story, her history, and that moved the story along at quite a nice pace.
Then the real paranormal aspects set in.

It's not to say that I didn't like said aspects, I did! They just didn't make much sense to me, the more they were explained, which is ironic. I didn't understand where the abilities came from. I didn't believe how they could be so specific, what with only certain characters having them. I didn't like how one minute Mara was completely in the dark about everything, and then a couple of pages later, she was an expert on the topic. I just didn't get, and that was the most frustrating thing.

But as I said, that all happened in the last fifty or so pages.
I may have really disliked the end, but I did really like everything else. Well, most of it anyway.

First, I gotta say; Mara's family is up there with the best developed families in YA Literature history. While reading, I felt each character, almost knew them even! Their personalities were so well written, so realistically written too, and unlike most other families in this genre, they actually played a part in the protagonist's life. They were really refreshing.

Mara, on the other hand, didn't really spark anything inside me. She was interesting, and I did sympathise with her a crap-load throughout the book, but other than that, nothing really stood out.
And down again,  on my list of favourite characters, is Noah Shaw. I mean, all right, I didn't hate the guy, but I didn't particularly like him either. The stereotypical 'bad boy' character is so hard to pull off, and to be honest, I didn't think Hodkin was successful with Noah. Sure, he was nice to Mara and everything, but to everyone else he's a complete douche! His love for himself was smothering and really irritating, so when the time came to actually gift him some character development near the end of the book, I just didn't care.

I'll end on the plot.
Again, like I am with almost everything in this book, I liked it and I didn't like it. Long story short, I liked the PTSD part, the hallucinations and such, but everything else? Not so much.
Especially the Jude parts. What happened between Mara and Jude that night was absolutely ridiculous and just pissed me off. As did the ending.

So yeah, before this gets too long, I'll stop here.
I both liked and didn't like this book. I will definitely be reading on in the trilogy though.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne

Title: Monument 14
Author: Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Genre(s): Young Adult Dystopian
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 342
Source: Easons

Goodreads | Amazon  | Book Depository

Your mother hollers that you’re going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don’t stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don’t thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not—you launch yourself down the stairs and make a run for the corner.

Only, if it’s the last time you’ll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you’d stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus.

But the bus was barreling down our street, so I ran.

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong. 

Oh wow.




That's was one hell of a ride!

'Monument 14'.
A pretty fast-paced YA dystopian about a group of kids, who wind up locked inside a superstore after their school bus is thrown off course by hailstones the size of footballs..
What do you think happens next?

All right, well first of all; Monument 14, albeit a cool and catchy name, why on Earth is that the title? Apart from it being the Town in which the kids lived, what real significance does it have? I mean, come on, I read the word 'Denver' more times than I did 'Monument'. But I guess that's just nit-picking because this book was surprisingly really good!

Probably what I liked most about this book, was how much of a quick read it was! I'll end up saying this a hundred times over during this review but seriously, there are very few books I've read as fast as this one! When you look at the book in depth, there's not a whole lot that happens, not really, but the fast pace made it seem as if the exciting things were coming at every other page! As a Young Adult Dystopian, that's exactly what I was hoping to get from this book, and I got it in bucketfuls!

There are a lot of characters in this book. It doesn't feel like a lot having now finished the book, but there are, like, ten. That's a lot. But surprisingly, Emmy Laybourne manages to give them all the attention they need. The book was told from Dean's point of view, but we saw each of the ten characters develop just as much as he did. Some, even more!
I absolutely loved that. I loved seeing everyone react to the situation in which they found themselves. I loved seeing them adapt. I loved seeing them bond. I loved it.

As for the plot, as I said before, there wasn't a whole lot. You understand that the world is ending, and you're kept entertained by the obstacles they face in the superstore, but ultimately you can feel the sense of an over-arcing plot taking place. At least I did anyway, so I didn't expect to learn too much about what was going on. I just enjoyed what it gave me.
There were points throughout the story, at which I wasn't sure where I stood. For example, there was an incident revolving around a very serious theme nowadays, and it took me a while to figure out how I felt about it, but I decided that it was actually handled pretty well.

Okay, so I loved all that, but there was something I wasn't a huge fan of; The ending.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. I guess it just happened so fast, and didn't give me a chance to get over the negative feelings I towards it, which doesn't sit well with me. I honestly don't know if that made sense, but I'm trying not to spoil it haha.

So yeah, that's that.
One thing I would say, if you're thinking of picking this up, is that you should expect to be blown away. It's a YA Dystopian, and I mean that in the most respectful way. But it's definitely one of the great ones anyway!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Title: Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: March 9th, 2010
Genre(s): YA Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 419
Source: Book Depository

Goodreads Amazon | Book Depository

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother.

At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger.

Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

Jellicoe Road is one of those books.

It's one of those books that seems ordinary, but is actually quite extraordinary.
It's one of those books that forces you to push through the tough times before you can enjoy the treasure.
It's one of those books that completely changes your outlook on something; insightful, thought-provoking and wonderful.

It's just one of those books.

Jellicoe Road tells the story of Taylor Markham. Her at present, her in the past, and her even when she was all but a promise to the future. It tells of her and her life at Jellicoe School, fighting Territory wars with the Cadets and the Townies, and dealing with the hardships she's been dealt when she was younger.
But what surprised me was, that it also told of Webb, and Tate, and Narnie, and Fitz and Jude, anything and everything they had going on with them, before Taylor's time.

I can see why some people would be disappointed, when it comes to this book. Getting used to Marchetta's writing and what she's writing about does take time. Sure, I read through the first hundred pages without an ounce of understanding of what was going on, but I realised that this had been purposely done. Marchetta intentionally keeps the readers at bay while she carefully sets the scene, but it's worth it when all the pieces start to come together.

At times the story felt a complete mess. But again, it all starts to make as the story goes on. And considering 'Jellicoe Road' is supposed to be a mystery novel, I think there was sense behind its nonsense.

The characters are what drive this story. Taylor, Griggs, Santangelo, Webb, Tate, Narnie, Jude, Fitz - they didn't just feel like characters in a novel. They felt real. Their personalities were realistic, and kept firm the whole way through the book. The way they acted and reacted, was undeniably convincing, and so, made for a convincing story.

As for the story itself, it's obvious Melina Marchetta took time in carefully constructing this book. With the throw-backs interspersed throughout the book at just the right times, and whatnot. As I said before; it seems ordinary. What I loved about it, however, was that it wasn't at all.
This is the only YA novel I know, to have properly dealt with the issue of dependency, both on other people and on drugs. And the best part was, it dealt with it in such a realistic and poignant way. I've never understood the topic, why people do such things and all that, but I do now, and I have 'Jellicoe Road' to thank for that.

Would highly recommend to everyone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian (Lux #1)
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published: November 23, 2011
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Buy: The Book Depository

Starting over sucks.

When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.

Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me.

You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.

If I don't kill him first, that is.

Where to start, where to start..

Obsidian is exactly what you expect it to be. It's your typical YA Paranormal Romance, and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. There's the nerdy/shy girl who catches the eye of the dangerous, mysterious guy. A little bit of action, a sprinkle of life-threatening accidents, a whole load of romance, and there you have it! 
What I'm trying to say is that this book is just average, some good parts, and some bad.
Just.. average.

What these paranormal reads have got on their side, though, is that they're so damn easy to read! Given the opportunity, almost anyone could finish this in one sitting. The pacing is pretty quick, and I did enjoy some aspects, particularly the banter between Katy and Daemon, in the way you don't really want to admit. The whole 'alien' premise was actually surprisingly interesting, but then again, it wasn't at the forefront of the book, more or less taking a back seat in the Romance's car. 
So yes, I did actually enjoy some parts of 'Obsidian', but there was just so much I didn't like too..

My biggest problem with this book is probably how secluded I felt, and I have a theory as to why this happened. Most books nowadays, are gender-blind, meaning that no matter your gender, there's something featured in the story that will most likely appeal to you. But with this book I felt like it was so rigid in its attempts to entertain its target audience, that I was left out. 
I'll just say it flat-out, I felt like this story was directed toward girls. You could argue that the action and 'alien' aspect could interest anyone with the stereotypical 'guy's taste', but there's so little of that in the actual story, most of it consisting of the relationship between Katy and Daemon, that it sort of fails in its purpose. 

As well as feeling the book was written exclusively for its target audience, I also had a problem with the writing. Not the style, because as I said it was really easy to read, but how the character development was off at times, how the over-arching plot didn't feel concrete enough to support a whole series, those little things. They're just little things as you're reading, but when you take them all into account, it makes for a disappointing conclusion.

So altogether, Obsidian wasn't a bad read, it had it's high points, but not without the very low ones too. Which, as I said in the beginning, equates to an average book.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

Title: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Published: July 14, 202
Publisher: Atheneum
Genre: YA Contemporary
Buy: The Book Depository

In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter's senior year of high school, he is forced to examine everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

Meanwhile, the crisis of faith spawned by a young missionary's disillusion in Africa prompts a frantic search for meaning that has far-reaching consequences. As distant as the two stories initially seem, they are woven together through masterful plotting and merge in a surprising and harrowing climax.

Oh man, I really want to give this book five stars. I really do. But something's holding me, a feeling I'm sure every reader can relate to with their 'near-five-star' rated books.

Firstly, Whaley's writing.
I just want to say, flat out, that I love John Corey Whaley's writing style, absolutely love it! It's one of those cases where you just want to read anything and everything by that author because you just love the way they use their words. I thought it suited the story incredibly well, and suited Cullen's character incredibly well - which is important because it's told from his point of view.
Well, mostly.

Secondly, the plot.
I thought the plot of this book was really quite simple, yet interesting and complex all the same. I didn't see the point for the second pov, thinking that it actually detracted from my becoming invested in Cullen's story. But in the end, everything was cleared up. I really appreciated that.
The plot, did tend to get a bit slow, particularly in the middle, but Whaley somehow manages to re-capture my attention with just the littlest things.

Thirdly, the characters.
I think the characters, and their lives, are probably the best aspect of this book. Not to say that all others weren't good, they definitely were, it's just that in the short time you spend reading this book, you become so invested in their lives, that it becomes the most interesting thing while reading the book. John Corey Whaley makes us feel what the characters feel, and does it so effortlessly, that I can't help but commend him on that.

Lastly, the ending.
Pretty soon after starting this book, you realise that the ending is going to be one of the most important parts of story. Or at least that's what I thought, and still do think. But it's because I thought the ending would be this beautiful thing that overwhelms me with emotion, that I'm a tad disappointed in it. I was hoping it would be more solid than it was, and though I am happy with how it ended, I just know that I'm not as happy as I could've been.

Regardless of how I sounded in this review, I really really enjoyed this book. It's definitely one to make you think.. about a whole load of things.
And I love that.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore

Title: The Revenge of Seven (Lorien Legacies #5)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Buy: The Book Depository

The worst was supposed to be over. We were reunited after a decade apart. We were discovering the truth of our past. We were training and getting stronger every day. We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogodorians could turn one of our own against us. We were fools for trusting Five. And now Eight is lost forever. I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible. Instead, I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me. But that stops now. We're going to take the battle to them. We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses. And I finally have the power to fight back.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
Number Three in Kenya.
And Number Eight in Florida.
They killed them all.
I am Number Seven.
I will make them pay.

Let's see if I can pull myself together long enough to write this review.
I have a strong feeling I can't..

First of all, the fifth book in any series isn't like your average book. It doesn't look to develop the characters to the extent the first book does, or anything like that. That's not what it's aiming for, so that's not what I'll judge it on. What it wants is to further the over-arcing plot as much as it needs to, and to keep you entertained.
By God, this book did that!

I should probably start with the one thing I didn't love, and that was the lack of any Marina chapters in the book. I can't remember if 'The Rise of Nine' or 'The Fall of Five' featured points of view from Nine and Five respectively, but I really wanted to experience this part of the story through Marina's eyes, especially after what happened at the end of the previous book. To be honest though, around a quarter of the way through, I completely forgot about it, because the story was so enthralling. So I guess even my one negative point doesn't have too much hold haha.

Now onto the good great parts! Oh man, where to start!

As to what I said before, about fifth books in series wanting to further the story, this book definitely crossed that off it's to-do list! We learn so much in this book, not only about the Lorien rebirth and things to do with the guard, but we learn a lot about the Mogs as well, which I absolutely loved! We're given reasons behind the attack that seemed so unprovoked in previous books and surprised by secrets that are revealed! This book is clearly a crucial part of the series, not just a way to make money before releasing the book with the real story, and you feel that when you're reading!

Not a single dull moment passes in this book. When you're not reading about your favourite characters shooting down Mogs, you're learning about what happened between the Mogs and the Lorien Elders. It's so fast-paced and easy to fly through, especially because there are three alternating pov's, which make the reading experience all the better!

The ending. Oh man, oh man!
That's a cliff-hanger if I've ever read one! It definitely wasn't the best ending for readers, feeling almost unnaturally abrupt, but then again, isn't that how cliff-hangers are supposed to feel?
All I know, is that when it ended, I felt some series heart palpitations coming on! Haha

Anyway those are my thoughts for the time being. It literally makes me want to cry knowing I'll have to wait another whole year to continue the story, but I'll just have to stay strong!

Great book!
Great series!