Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (25)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi 

Summary from Goodreads:

"Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end"

Why I'm Wishing for It:
So far I've read the first novel in this trilogy, Shatter Me, and I have every intention to read Unravel Me soon since I have it sitting on my bookshelf. So, I'm going to need to get this to complete my set. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm now on Booklikes!

Just a short little post to say that I'm now on Booklikes! For anyone who isn't aware, Booklikes is like Goodreads meets Tumblr. Since I'm not a member of Goodreads, I thought I might as well have a go at Booklikes - people seem to be enjoying it! So here's what you can expect to find there:

  • Pretty much everything I post here: book reviews, Wishlist Wednesdays and discussion posts will be linked up on Booklikes
  • Since I post book reviews about a week after I finish the book, I'm going to post my initial reactions on Booklikes - thoughts, feelings, pros & cons
  • Anything and everything bookish: pictures, quotes, videos, random tidbits, memes, much stuff

If you feel like checking it out, here's my link:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Book Review: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Release Date: 24th May 2012
Publisher: Orion Books
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 399
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Marriage can be a real killer. 

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?
With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around."

This was a really great mystery. So many twists and turns, you never knew what was coming. But, I did have some issues with it.

So lets start with the pros. For a start, kudos to Flynn for making me feel so certain about one certain character. I wholeheartedly believed everything I read about this character, and felt very strongly about a certain other person. And then, everything gets flipped in the first big twist of the book. How you perceive these characters changed completely, and for being able to dupe me into feeling a certain way and then flipping it so I felt the complete opposite, I have to give Flynn credit. Moving forward with the story, there were quite a few twists and turns in there that you look for in a good mystery. So, for the plot and the fact that it's a good ol' mystery, this gets a thumbs up.

Moving onto the characters, Flynn did a great job at crafting her characters. We have a flawed leading protagonist, Nick Dunne, who of course you're a bit wary of from time to time. Besides talking about Nick, I don't want to get into the other character's too much, otherwise I'd be spoiling. But, overall, Flynn's characters were crafted really well, and they were all quite complex.

But here's the problem I had with this - there wasn't really any resolution. Even though our main character's went through a lot of stuff together, we ended up right back where we began. I didn't feel like there was any uplifting end. I was rooting for one of our characters, really hoping they got their way. But instead, we ended up with our characters in a shitty situation, and I really didn't like that.

Overall, this was a great mystery, one of the best I've read in a while. With so many twists and turns, I couldn't predict what was going to happen, so I'd definitely recommend this one 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Let's Talk: Halloween Reads

Let's Talk is a weekly meme hosted by Melissa at i swim for oceans. Each week, there's a new topic to discuss. 

This week, let's talk about Halloween Reads.

With Halloween being next week, what are your favourite creepy/spooky books? 

To be honest, I don't read much horror fiction. This year, so far I think the only thing classed as horror that I've read has been Anna Dressed in Blood, and I didn't even find it that scary. If we consider some creepy books, then I think the Mara Dyer series qualifies. Seriously weird stuff going on there. But it's also sooo good, seriously, if you aren't reading the Mara Dyer series then you really need to.

When I was younger, I was very much into the Goosebumps series (as I think almost every kid was). I remember they used to spook me real good, and so did the TV show that was based off the books. I vividly remember one episode where a boy finds a ventriloquists doll at a garage sale, but it turns out the doll is evil and turns the boy to wood, making him effectively a ventriloquists doll too. Downright creepy stuff there, espeically for my 8 year-old self. 

But besides that, horror isn't generally a genre I can do. I'm not big on scarying myself, espeically since I tend to read a lot right before bed.

What about you? Are you a fan of the horror genre? If so, any recommendations? 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (24)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Red by Alison Cherry 

Summary from Goodreads:

"Felicity St. John has it all—loyal best friends, a hot guy, and artistic talent. And she’s right on track to win the Miss Scarlet pageant. Her perfect life is possible because of just one thing: her long, wavy, coppery red hair.

Having red hair is all that matters in Scarletville. Redheads hold all the power—and everybody knows it. That’s why Felicity is scared down to her roots when she receives an anonymous note:

I know your secret.

Because Felicity is a big fake. Her hair color comes straight out of a bottle. And if anyone discovered the truth, she’d be a social outcast faster than she could say "strawberry blond." Her mother would disown her, her friends would shun her, and her boyfriend would dump her. And forget about winning that pageant crown and the prize money that comes with it—money that would allow her to fulfill her dream of going to art school.
Felicity isn’t about to let someone blackmail her life away. But just how far is she willing to go to protect her red cred?"

Why I'm Wishing for It:
I find the premise of this book hilarious. A town where red-heads are revered, held in a higher opinion than everyone else. Being a red-head myself, I just find it so, so funny. Which, of course, means I have to read it. I have to read about a fictional town that adores all natural red-heads, just to give myself an ego boost. Moving past that, I'm sure this is an interesting mystery and I've seen some good reviews. Definitely something I'm wishing for. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review: The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales

The Bling Ring by Nancy Jo Sales
Release Date: 21st May 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 259
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Meet the Bling Ring: six club-hopping LA teenagers accused of stealing more than $3 million in clothing and jewelry from the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and other young members of the Hollywood elite-allegedly the most audacious burglary gang in recent history.

Driven by celebrity worship, vanity, and the desire to look and dress like the rich and famous, the Bling Ring made headlines in 2009 for using readily available sources-like Google maps, Facebook and TMZ, to track the comings and goings of their targets. Seven teens were arrested for the crimes, and instantly became tabloid fodder. The world asked-how did the American obsession with celebrity get so out of hand? And why did a band of ostensibly privileged LA teens take such a risk?

Vanity Fair reporter Nancy Jo Sales found the answer: they did it because they could. And because it was just that easy.

Author of the acclaimed Vanity Fair story on the Bling Ring "The Suspect Wore Louboutins," Sales gained unprecedented access to the Hollywood thieves, and in the process uncovered a dark world of teenage arrogance, greed, obsession, and delusion. Now, for the first time in a full book length work, Sales details the Bling Ring crimes up close and in depth, and reveals the key players' stories in a shocking look at the seedy world of the real young Hollywood.

What with The Bling Ring movie being released this year, when I saw this little book on a book stand for only $10, I thought I'd give it a go. And this was indeed a good read. 

I don't read a lot of non-fiction, because most of the time I find that it bores me. But, thankfully, I didn't encounter this problem here. The topic of interest is just so interesting - a bunch of teenagers burgled the homes of some of the highest profile celebrities, and didn't get caught, all because they were obsessed by celebrity culture. It really was fascinating to read about the reasons why they did it - it wasn't because they were poor, or they were criminal masterminds who sold everything they stole. Quite the opposite actually - these were relatively well off teenagers who stole from these celebs because they wanted to look like them, be like them, live their life. It's really fascinating to read about how affected these kids were by celebrity culture. It wasn't enough for them to read about their fave celebs, or see them on the TV - they wanted to be them. 

Being non-fiction, I would only suggest picking this one up if the story surrounding The Bling Ring interests you. Me, being quite interested by celebrity and pop culture, found this one really interesting. And it makes me just a little more interested to see how well the movie pulls this version of the story off. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Let's Talk: Re-reads

Let's Talk is a weekly meme hosted by Melissa at i swim for oceans. Each week, there's a new topic to discuss. 

This week, let's talk about Re-reads.

Do you ever re-read books that didn't work for you the first time around and have them work the next time? Has it ever worked the opposite for you? 

I'm just not the type of reader who re-reads. I don't think I've ever, in my entire life, re-read a book, unless it was required reading. For me, I just think that they're are so many great books out there, waiting to be read, that the time spent reading a book I've already read before could be put to better use reading one of the many books from my TBR. There are just too many books to read and not enough time!

Also, I tend not to DNF books, so trying  to re-read a DNF isn't likely. Furthermore, I don't really see the point in re-reading books you didn't enjoy the first time around. If you didn't enjoy it initially, what makes you think you'll like it the next time? I'm sure there are some books I've read that I found mediocre, but I'd enjoy the second time around, but then we get back to the too many books, too little time problem. 

Given that I don't re-read, there are actually quite a few books on my bookshelf that I hope to re-read one day. Maybe next year I'll sign up for some type of re-reads challenge, to actually push me to do it, because I really don't see myself doing it otherwise. 

Just a selection of the books I hope to one day re-read. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (23)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

World After by Susan Ee 

Summary from Goodreads:

"In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.
Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?"

Why I'm Wishing for It:
To be honest, I think almost every YA read out there is wishing for this one. I read Angelfall about a week ago, and I was trudging along, enjoying the book but not thinking it was anything special until BAM, I got hit with that ending. And now, I have to read the sequel, because I have to know what's going on. Eagerly anticipating this one's release!

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel #6) by Michael Scott

The Enchantress (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel #6) by Michael Scott
Release Date: 22nd May 2012
Publisher: Random House 
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 509
Rating: 5.0/5.0

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

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.

San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.

But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—one to save the world and one to destroy it?"

What a fitting end to this series. It was action packed, it had twists and turns, and everything came to a head. The prophecy was fulfilled, our questions were answered, and everything wrapped up pretty well. When it comes down to it, this was just a solid ending to a series I was well invested in.

When it comes to this novel, what I've said in the reviews for the preceding novels in the series still applies here. The story is action packed, the chapters are short and to the point, and the constant change in POV keeps you interested. Our character's are still the character's that we know and love, but they've grown and matured, and they're finally here, at the end, playing their role in fulfilling the prophecy.

And that ending. It was perfect. And, I totally wasn't expecting it. Yes, I knew that the prophecy would be fulfilled - that we'd have one twin to save the world, one to destroy it. We've known that the entire series. But then, WOAH, DIDN'T SEE THAT COMING. If you've read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about. I think the whole issue with Sophie and Josh's parents distracted me from thinking about that character, and how they'd play them into the story. Kudos to Scott - you played that one well.

When it comes down to it, this is a solid end to a solid series. It had all the elements we loved in the first 5 novels, answered all our questions, and also didn't have a cop-out ending where everything ended hunky-dory for everyone - we had a solid, and unexpected, ending, which I'm still thinking about days after reading it. I know this review may not be the most insightful thing, but if you haven't read the series, read my (short) review for The Alchemyst, and then see if you'd like to give it a go. And if you're midway through the series, and aren't sure about sticking with it, hopefully this review convinced you to keep at it, because I really think this final instalment is worth the read. 

Afterthought: Who exactly was the Enchantress? Each book was title referred too one of the main characters, but I couldn't figure out who the Enchantress was supposed to be. My first thought was Perenelle, but she's the Sorceress. Was it Virgina Dare? Any ideas?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Book Review: Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) by Susan Ee
Release Date: 23rd May 2013
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 282
Rating: 4.5/5.0

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

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

At first, I thought this book was exactly what I was expecting - a girl fighting for survival, teaming up with an angel, and against all odds, they work together and even start to like each other. The plot, albeit there were some things in there I wasn't expecting, was pretty much going to way I expected it to. And then BAM, in the last 100 pages, we turn the dial up 1000, shit gets real and so much happens that you're just left mindblown.

So lets talk about the first 150-200 pages or so first. For me, this went pretty much as I expected it to. Whilst I haven't read a post-apocalyspe book before, when you take that away, you're left with a plot that you've read before. Two enemies, a girl and an extremely attractive guy, are forced to work together. They might not get along, but the hurdles they have to get over brings them together, and eventually, they start to like one another. It's a story you've read before. And that disappointed me a bit, because I had heard such good things about this book, and so far, it wasn't living up to my expectation.

And then the last 100 pages happen, and so much gets thrown your way that you just don't know what to do with it. And the creep dial is turned to the max, with some pretty creepy ass stuff going on. Can I just say, exploring the angel's world in the second book is going to be pretty interesting - I need to find out what's the deal with all the children! The end of this book is just so good, I don't understand why the beginning had to drag. Maybe it's just me, and the fact that I read a lot of these books, but the plot at the beginning could have been a bit stronger to match the ending. Either way, the ending brought this home and brought what I was thinking as a 3.5 book up to a 4.5. I'd love to give it a 5.0, just for that ending, but with a weak beginning I just can't. 

Moving away from the plot, everything else worked. Being my first post-apocalypse book, I found exploring the new world, the world of the angel's, very interesting. And our characters were interesting as well. Whilst I think Penryn is your stereotypical heroine, Raffe was fascinating - he's definitely not what you'd expect an angel to be like. And let's not forget Penryn's mother. Her illness fascinates me, and I think it has a lot more to do with the angels - hopefully more on her will be revealed in the books to come.

So overall, this is definitely a book I recommend. If you had the same problem as me, and thought the beginning wasn't anything spectacular, stick with it - because that ending if just too good to miss. 


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (22)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

Summary from Goodreads:

"If fate sent you an email, would you answer?

When teenage movie star Graham Larkin accidentally sends small town girl Ellie O'Neill an email about his pet pig, the two seventeen-year-olds strike up a witty and unforgettable correspondence, discussing everything under the sun, except for their names or backgrounds.

 Then Graham finds out that Ellie's Maine hometown is the perfect location for his latest film, and he decides to take their relationship from online to in-person. But can a star as famous as Graham really start a relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie want to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?"

Why I'm Wishing for It:
Not that long ago I read The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight {review} and I loved it! I had needed something a bit different from what I usually go for, so this fuzzy, light-hearted contemporary was my pick. And since I loved TSPoLaFS I knew I had to check out Smith's other books, and I'm very interested in this one. Hopefully I can get my hands on it soon! 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, October 7, 2013

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Release Date: 2nd January 2012
Publisher: Poppy
Format: Paperback 
Pages: 236
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2013 ODY

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it. "

When I picked this book up, what I was looking for was a light, breezy contemporary with the type of love story you'd never find in real life. And that's exactly what I got. 

TSPoLaFS is the light hearted kind of story that's exactly what you'd expect from the title. We follow Hadley and Oliver over a period of less than 24 hours as they meet, converse, and eventually start to fall for one another. Whilst the series of events that follows them is extremely improbable (I mean really, what is the chance that a couple were going to both the wedding Hadley was at, and the event Oliver would be at? Furthermore, what are the chances that Hadley can even find where that event is, given one small detail Oliver told her?), the relationship between the two is just too cute, you can't help but love it. I think we've all been where Hadley's been: you meet a cute guy, you strike up a conversation, and you just find that you click. There's no explanation for it, but your conversation flows and you start to find yourself liking this person more and more. This is the cute kind of romance that you wish you had in high school. With this romance to focus on, you even forget about how improbable some of the events are. 

After a DNF book and the feeling of falling into a reading slump, this is exactly what I needed to pull me out of it. The simple change of pace - from the usual types of books I read that generally involve our hero fighting to save the world, to a light breezy romance where someone's biggest concern is attending a wedding - was all that was needed. Do I think I would have loved this book any less if I had read it at a different time - no. Whilst this isn't the best romance out there, it's undeniably cute, and you can't help but enjoy the ride. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday (21)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell 

Summary from Goodreads:

"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
Rainbow Rowell is a firm favourite in the blogosphere, and her books have been on my radar for a while, but I still haven't read one yet. Eleanor and Park, being her debut YA novel, is a must read. Plus, it helps that everyone is raving about it - this is definitely a must read!

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

2013 Quarterly Challenge Update Post #3

This year I'm partipating in five reading challenges. So far I've managed the following...

                             28/30 read for the OTS Challenge
                             34/30 read for the ODY Challenge
                                     13/10 read for the EBC
                              11/12 read for the GVR Challenge
                            25/20+ read for the BSR Challenge

Would you look at that, I've reached the levels I was hoping to reach for three of my challenges. Since the ODY is all about reading more than you did that last year, I'm keeping that one open. Technically I've finished the EBC, and I don't think I'll read enough ebooks to reach the next level by the end of the year, but we'll see. And I've surpassed the highest level for the BSR! So close with the OTS and GVR - won't be long now

Here's a list of the books I've read over the past three months, and which challenges they count for: 

24. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky OTS, ODY, EBC
25. A Game of Thrones by George R.R Martin OTS, ODY, EBC, BSR
26. Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith OTS, ODY  
27. A Clash of Kings by George R.R Martin OTS, ODY, EBC, BSR
28. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor ODY, BSR
29. The Help by Kathryn Stockett OTS, ODY, EBC, BSR
30. A is for Alibi by Sue Grafton OTS, ODY, EBC, GVR, BSR
31. Underworld by Meg Cabot ODY, BSR
32. Legend by Marie Lu OTS, ODY, BSR
33. Withering Tights by Louise Rennison ODY, BSR 
34. Wicked by Gregory Maguire OTS, ODY, EBC, BSR

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