Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
Release Date: 5th Feb 2013
Publisher: Puffin Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 452
Rating: 5.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY, 2013 GVR and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:

"Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. 

buy the book from The Book Depository, free deliveryHalfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner."

This was a fitting sequel to Meyer's debut novel, Cinder. To be honest, I was worried that the introduction of new main characters might interfere with what was already set up in book one, but it all worked out really well.

What I love about this series is that each book incorporates a retelling of an old fairytale. Cinder, if you can't tell based from the name, was based on Cinderella, and Scarlet has been based on Red Riding Hood. I was worried a bit when I found this out, because I wondered how Meyer was going to effectively incorporate a new story and new characters, whilst also continuing on the story she began in Cinder. But, Meyer was very clever with how she used the characters of Scarlet (little red riding hood), Wolf (that one's pretty self explanatory) and Scarlet's grandmother Michelle, so that they had significance to the continuing storyline from Cinder. 

Overall, Meyer continued the fascinating story of Cinder in the second novel in the Lunar Chronicles, and I'm really excited to see where the next novel takes us. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Book Review: Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall #1) by Hilary Mantel

Wolf Hall (Wolf Hall #1) by Hilary Mantel
Release Date: 1st April 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 650
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY and 2013 GVR

Summary from Amazon:
"In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power.
buy the book from The Book Depository, free deliveryEngland in the 1520s is a heartbeat from disaster. If the king dies without a male heir, the country could be destroyed by civil war. Henry VIII wants to annul his marriage of twenty years, and marry Anne Boleyn. The pope and most of Europe opposes him. The quest for the king’s freedom destroys his adviser, the brilliant Cardinal Wolsey, and leaves a power vacuum.

Into this impasse steps Thomas Cromwell. Cromwell is a wholly original man, a charmer and a bully, both idealist and opportunist, astute in reading people and a demon of energy: he is also a consummate politician, hardened by his personal losses, implacable in his ambition. But Henry is volatile: one day tender, one day murderous. Cromwell helps him break the opposition, but what will be the price of his triumph?

In inimitable style, Hilary Mantel presents a picture of a half-made society on the cusp of change, where individuals fight or embrace their fate with passion and courage. With a vast array of characters, overflowing with incident, the novel re-creates an era when the personal and political are separated by a hairbreadth, where success brings unlimited power but a single failure means death."

I'm actually finding it a bit hard to sort out my thoughts on this book. On the one hand, I really like reading historical fiction and this book was definitely interesting. But on the other, nothing particularly surprised me in this book, and being surprised by the plot is one of the things I most enjoy about reading. Having already watched The Tudors on TV (which is amazing, by the way), I already had some understanding of the going-ons at the Tudor Court, and as a result, I pretty much knew the whole story. Granted, this was told from someone else's perspective, but it all boiled down to the same story. 

So now I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place, because I just cannot sort out my thoughts on this book. Would I have enjoyed it more had I not seen The Tudors first? Probably, but I really can't be sure. This book was very long and extremely dense for me, and that could have overwhelmed me if I didn't already know the plot. In this sense, having already seen The Tudors pushed me to keep reading this book, because I knew the plot would be interesting. 

Overall, I think that hardcore historical fans will really enjoy this book, but I wouldn't say this book is for everyone. What I would recommend is watching The Tudors - that show is seriously good. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Musing Mondays (16)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Musing Mondays is a weekly Meme by Mizb @ Should Be Reading

This weeks musing asks...Do you have a bookish rant? Share it with us!

There are probably many things I can rant on about to do with books, but today I'm going to stick with something that doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, it just ruins it for me. People spoiling the book. I just don't understand why you would do that! If it's an honest mistake, or something very minor, then I can probably forgive you, but if you give away the entire ending, expect to get an evil stare from me. The whole reason I am reading the book is to find things out as I go, to get to be surprised when the surprising things happen. Honestly, if someone gives me a massive spoiler, then what even is the point of continuing to read the book?! I now know how its going to end, and I have many other books I don't know the plot to that I could be reading, so I think to myself, why am I even bothering? Luckily, books don't get spoiled for me that often :D

What about you? Do books get spoiled for you often? Or do you spoil books for others?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Know Me Better (10)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Know Me Better is a weekly Meme by Inspired Kathy
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

This weeks questions are...

Pieces of advice you have for aspiring authors.
Books are judged by their covers, so make sure you have a good one. Thoroughly plan out you story - make sure you have a timeline for the plot, fully flesh out your characters, choose the right setting - get all the small details right. Also, seek advice - from other authors, editors, publishers, friends, family - from anyone you can get to read your book!

Favourite TV show when you were younger?

There were so many. The first ones that come to mind are Spongebob Squarepants, Dexter's Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls and Arthur . 

What would we find if we looked under your bed?
Nothing - there's no room for anything under my bed, it only sits a couple of centimetres above the floor. 

Book store or Library?
Book store - everything is so nice and new there. 

Heads or Tails?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Book Review: The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross

The Girl in the Steel Corset (The Steampunk Chronicles #1) by Kady Cross
Release Date: 17th April 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 375
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY, 2013 GVR and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
"In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her

When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch.

Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets, against the wishes of his band of misfits. And Finley thinks she might finally be a part of something, finally fit in—until a criminal mastermind known as the Machinist threatens to tear the group apart…."

Overall, I thought this was a solid read, and an interesting introduction to the steampunk genre for me. This book had a bit of everything in it - romance, mystery, action and a bit of history - and it all worked really well together to form solid characters and plots. All the characters are likeable (even if they, or rather, one of them acts downright stupid at some points) and the plot, for the most part, is unpredictable. It's only downfall is how easy it is to pick out the villian - as soon as he is introduced, you know it's him.

Whilst I did enjoy this book, I didn't feel particularly involved with it as I read. I never really felt immersed in the story; I felt like an outsider just watching in. Quite possibly this is because I haven't read steampunk before, and I didn't find it a genre that was easy to take too. Maybe my next foray into the genre will be different (one can hope!)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Know Me Better (9)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Know Me Better is a weekly Meme by Inspired Kathy
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

This weeks questions are...

I can't live without...
Coffee! Seriously, I can't get through uni without at least one cup of coffee 

Do you make your bed each morning?

Nope, I can't be bothered. 

Country or City?
City! I really don't think I could handle living in the country, at least not at this time.  

Most embarrassing moment?
Oh there are so many. One time my maxi dress got stuck in an escalator, and the only friend I was with had to leave me to get centre management. It felt like FOREVER before she got back. While she was gone three people stopped to try to help me, but my dress really wasn't going to move. 

What do you think of book trailers?
I find that I tend to watch book trailers after I've started reading the book, usually because the book is so darn good that I'm interested to see the trailer. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren Destefano

Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #1) by Lauren Destefano
Release Date: 6th December 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 358
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY, 2013 GVR and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
"By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males born with a lifespan of 25 years, and females a lifespan of 20 years--leaving the world in a state of panic. Geneticists seek a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Yet her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement; her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next; and Rhine has no way to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive.

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?"

I really liked the premise for this story. The dystopian future that the book was set in was really interesting to me, mostly because I thought that the future it presented could (at a stretch) become a reality. What with developments in medicine and scientific advancement, its not entirely crazy to think that one day, all the worlds health problems could be obliterated. But, of course, something goes wrong and now the children of the 'perfect race' are dying young - women die at age 20, men at 25 - of some unknown virus.

Enter Rhine, a 16 year old who has been forced to marry a rich 21 year old man. I didn't mind Rhine as a character, and I liked where her story took her, but I also found it a little predictable. Of course there has to be some sort of relationship with a servant, when really she should just be focusing on getting out of this forced marriage and getting back to her brother. Besides this, I did like her character development, especially in regards to her feelings about Linden (a bit of Stockholm syndrome going on there).

I've seen in some other reviews that Rhine has been criticised for not taking action, for taking too long to actually escape. Granted, it did take her about a year or so to actually get away, but there was a reason for this. She realised that in order to have a good chance of getting away, she needed to build trust first. She needed to find a way to be allowed off the wives floor, the only level in the house she was allowed on; then Linden needed to trust her enough to actually take her outside the compound, so she could get some sort of idea of where the gate, her only exit, was; and then she needed to figure out a way to get from the house to the gate without raising suspicions. It wasn't simply a matter of jumping out a window and running for it (disregard what happened during the tornado), because she would be captured and she would not have the chance to escape again. Rhine knew she only had one chance, she had to get it right. And in this respect, her plan of escape was a pretty solid plan.

When I came to end of the book, I felt like the story was pretty much resolved - I don't really feel the need to continue on with this series. Overall, I liked the majority of the characters, the setting, and the plot (albeit a bit predictable) - it was a good story, but I think it could have done better.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Musing Mondays (15)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Musing Mondays is a weekly Meme by Mizb @ Should Be Reading

This weeks musing asks...Describe one of your reading habits. 
One thing I always do when I bring a new book home is immediately find a spot for it on my bookshelf. I'm a bit OCD about my bookshelf - I have specific shelves where I put my favourite books and series, and my books have to be in height order. So, when I buy a new book, I usually need to move some things around in order to find just the right spot for it. And then when new books arrive, I go through the process again, and books might need to be shuffled around some more - arranging my bookshelf is a never ending job! 

What about you? Do you have any interesting book habits?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Know Me Better (8)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Know Me Better is a weekly Meme by Inspired Kathy
I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

This weeks questions are...

Is there anything you would like to say to or ask your favourite author?
Whilst I'm having trouble deciding who exactly my favourite author is, I would love to know how they come up with the ideas for their stories. Some stories I read are just so freaking amazing, I'd just love to know where some authors draw inspiration for their characters, the world's they create, etc. 

Are you a dreamer or a realist?

I think everyone likes to dream, but I know that my dreams (the latest of which is owning the entire wardrobe from Gossip Girl) are just never going to happen, so I'd have to say realist. 

Theater or Rental?
The theater is so much nicer. If it's a movie I really want to see, I'll try to see it at the cinema, but if I can't, then I'll make an effort to rent it. Besides that, I don't rent movies much. 

Share a family tradition.

Over the last couple of years, its become tradition for my brother and I to spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning with our dad, stepmum and younger brother. He's only 2 and a half years old, so it's great to see him open his presents in the morning. Then, we spend Christmas day with our mum. 

Favourite late night snack?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor
Release Date: 5th June 2012
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 418
Rating: 5.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 OTS, 2013 ODY and 2013 BSR

Summary from Amazon:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
"Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.

When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"

My lord, this book. This. was. amazing! The fact that I'm quite tired right now may be contributing to this, but I don't have words to describe how good this book was.                                        This was my reading process: 

Just go and read this book. Seriously.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...