Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review #373 - Getting Rooted in New Zealand by Jamie Baywood


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Craving change and lacking logic, at 26, Jamie, a cute and quirky Californian, impulsively moves to New Zealand to avoid dating after reading that the country's population has 100,000 fewer men. In her journal, she captures a hysterically honest look at herself, her past and her new wonderfully weird world filled with curious characters and slapstick situations in unbelievably bizarre jobs. It takes a zany jaunt to the end of the Earth and a serendipitous meeting with a fellow traveller before Jamie learns what it really means to get rooted.
 
 
My Rating: 4/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
This book was everything that I had been expecting Bridget Jones's Diary to be. This book was actually funny and had a likeable narrator.
 
 
As an Australian, I can't say that I was surprised or shocked by the  change of culture as it seemed almost identical to ours but could understand how different it would be from an American perspective.
 
 
I was actually more surprised by the American culture, especially the universal tax.
 
 
It was hard to believe how many "weirdos" the narrator seemed to meet. She was like a magnet for them. Gretchen was by far my favourite of these.


New Zealand has always been a country that I have had no interest in travelling to and after reading this book I can't say that it has changed my mind.

Book Review #372 - Tamlyn (Silvermay #2) by James Moloney

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When Silvermay first set eyes on Tamlyn Strongbow, she knew there would be no other for her. It didn′t matter that he was one of the Wyrdborn, a race of wizards who care only for themselves.


It is half a year later and Silvermay has followed Tamlyn through dangers no sixteen-year-old should face. Now she must help him defeat the darkness of his own soul, because Tamlyn wants revenge for a great wrong and the evil he has so far controlled may prove too strong.

Meanwhile, Tamlyn′s father, Coyle, is on the rise. He has possession of Silvermay′s other love, the baby Lucien, an innocent child to her, but with the magic inside him to destroy entire worlds. Tamlyn is the key. If Silvermay can save Tamlyn from himself, then together, they might save Lucien from the horror Coyle wants to inflict on him.
My Rating: 4.5/5
This is the second book in a trilogy. The first being Silvermay which was my favourite read of 2011. Obviously because of that, my expectations for this novel were ridiculously high.
I would have to say for the most part, this book did live up to what I had been expecting. It lacked some character development and the plot dragged a bit in the middle portion of the novel.
Given that it had been two years since I read Silvermay, I did re-read it before I read and really liked  the transition between the two novels especially the handling of the cliff hanger.
I am really interested in the third and last book in this series called Lucien as there are so many plot twists that need tying up.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #21

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Each week features a different topic, and you make a top ten list about it.
 
 
This weeks question is the Top Ten Books to Read at Halloween:
 
 
1. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - Just the house alone is creepy
 
 
2. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff - It's set partly in a graveyard and partly underground.
 
 
3. Carrie by Stephen King - imagine if you went to Carrie's school.
 
 
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - Not scary, but imagine if you lived in that world.
 
 
5. Any of the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine - these books were my childhood.
 
 
6. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier - Not exactly scary but has a gothic feel to it.
 
 
7. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling - It's about wizards. Harry Potter is perfect to read anytime.
 
 
8. Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka - guy wakes up as a giant bug.
 
 
9. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro - I don't think I have to say anything about this book.
 
 
10. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry - my favourite zombie series
 
 
 

Book Haul [29 October 2013]


  • Vote for Larry by Janet Tashjian
  • Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion
  • Boy vs Girl by Na'ima B. Robert
  • Origins (The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #1) by L.J. Smith
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Secret Circle #2-3 by L.J. Smith


  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
  • Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
  • Envy (Luxe #3) by Anna Godbersen
  • Rumours (Luxe #2) by Anna Godbersen
  • Exile (Mercy #2) by Rebecca Lim
  • Nine Lives: Football, Cancer and Getting on With Life by Adam Ramanauskas
  • Rebecca's Tale by Sally Beauman

Book Review #371 - Tess, Tiaras and Terrorists by Terry Baldwin


Thirteen-year old Tess has never been able to compete with her “perfect” older sister, but now she must—if she wants to inherit her grandmother’s priceless tiara. The two girls have been invited to their grandparent’s lake house for the summer to help take care of Grandma who’s been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. The sister who earns the most “helpful points” wins the former beauty queen’s crown.

"It’s not easy for Tess, who seems to always get things wrong despite best intentions. And who is that mysterious stranger who’s just moved next door to their grandparents’ summer cottage? Does he know that Tess’ grandmother was once the winner of a famous patriotic beauty contest? Or that she keeps her tiara where anyone can steal it? And why doesn’t he have a face?
 
 
My Rating: 4/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
This is probably more a children's book than young adult but I liked it anyway.
 
 
Tess was a very intriguing character, and her relationship with her older sister Brianna was very realistic.
 
 
I liked how much the author was able to squeeze into the story and not make it too heavy. From grandmother's Alzheimer's to the neighbour being autistic. Plus the whole terrorism aspect.
 
 
This book was also very fast paced and would be the perfect read for reluctant readers.

Book Review #370 - Carrie by Stephen King



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The story of misfit high-school girl, Carrie White, who gradually discovers that she has telekinetic powers. Repressed by a domineering, ultra-religious mother and tormented by her peers at school, her efforts to fit in lead to a dramatic confrontation during the senior prom.
 

 
My Rating: 3/5
 

 
I vaguely remember reading this book in my early teens. This is the first Stephen King novel I have read. Given that this is also his first published work, I have decided to read his other books in order.
 

 
This book was quite different to what I had been expecting. I thought it would have contained more horror, gore and suspense. It also had a stronger paranormal element to it than I had expected.
 

 
The main reason why I only gave this book a 3 star rating was because of the amount of points of view. There were just way too many for a book of under 200 pages.
 

 
The first half of the book was really fast paced, and then it rapidly slowed down in the second half. The peak of the action was in more towards the middle of the book which was different.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #14





"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. This is where we share the books we have read last week and our reading plans for this week.
 
 
 
Last week I reviewed:
 
 
The Zombie Playground (Grisly High #2) by Brian Rowe
Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum #3) by Janet Evanovich
Tiberius Found by Andrew Goodman
The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) by Lemony Snicket
The Scavengers (Tyrfingr #1) by Mike Parker
The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L.J. Smith
Last Kiss in Venice (Legend of the White Snake #1) by Martin Chu Shui
127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston
The Tide Breaker by Sonya Watson
Blood Red Road (Dustlands #1) by Moira Young


and the book that I am currently reading is:

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When Silvermay first set eyes on Tamlyn Strongbow, she knew there would be no other for her. It didn′t matter that he was one of the Wyrdborn, a race of wizards who care only for themselves.

It is half a year later and Silvermay has followed Tamlyn through dangers no sixteen-year-old should face. Now she must help him defeat the darkness of his own soul, because Tamlyn wants revenge for a great wrong and the evil he has so far controlled may prove too strong.

Meanwhile, Tamlyn′s father, Coyle, is on the rise. He has possession of Silvermay′s other love, the baby Lucien, an innocent child to her, but with the magic inside him to destroy entire worlds. Tamlyn is the key. If Silvermay can save Tamlyn from himself, then together, they might save Lucien from the horror Coyle wants to inflict on him.
 
 
 

Book Review #369 - Paraglide by Peter Anthony Kelley

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For siblings Jim and Erica Winters, a summer vacation to London promises adventure and a bit of freedom from their overprotective mother. But once they arrive, they end up with more excitement than they bargained for. Their mother is kidnapped and her captors demand the one thing they can’t produce – their long-absent father.


Unable to trust the authorities, Jim and Erica set off in pursuit of their father, racing across Europe and fending off mysterious assailants. As the trail of clues dries up, help arrives in the form of a raven-haired beauty. Is she the answer to their prayers or a romantic distraction?
 

With the kidnapper’s deadline looming, the truth about their father’s shadowy past is revealed. In a last ditch effort to save their mother, Jim and Erica must climb high into the Swiss Alps where a perilous choice confronts them. Can they trust their father who has repeatedly betrayed them?
 
 
My Rating: 3.5/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
I liked the brother/sister relationship between Jim and Erica. It was very realistically portrayed and genuine.
 
 
My favourite part of the book was the fact that contained a broad range of settings particularly across Europe.
 
 
It is hard to pigeonhole this book in one particular main genre, it seems to have little bits of a lot of genres in it.
 

Book Review #368 - Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion


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'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.


Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.


This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...
 

 
My Rating: 5/5
 

 
Ever since I watched the first three seasons of The Walking Dead in under a week I have been craving a really good zombie book. This book is exactly what I was after.
 

 
What is entirely unique about this book is that it is told from the zombie's perspective. R was an interesting protagonist, he had lots of thoughts, he just wasn't able to communicate efficiently.
 

 
What else is unique about this book is the conclusion. How the zombie infection is not a virus but was more a society issue.
 

 
I read this book in under an hour, it was really fast paced and witty and I just couldn't put it down.
 

 
I know this book is classified as Young Adult, but given that R has no idea how old he is and the content involved, I would probably say this is more general fiction. Adults would like this as well.
 

 
I watched the movie straight after I finished reading and was disappointed in how much they changed the story. My review of the film will be posted soon on my movie review blog.

 

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Follow Friday #62

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.

 
 
This weeks question:


Bookagram: Photograph your fave read in a funny place.


 
 This is my Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book on my sleeping dog.
 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review #367 - The Zombie Playground (Grisly High #2) by Brian Rowe

 
Brin Skar has had a rough couple of weeks. She barely survived the grisly vampire attack in Bodie Ghost Town, the mysterious Paul is now a guest in her own home, and her dad Kristopher, dead for over a year, has emerged from the grave to try to kill his only daughter. After two somber funerals and the baffling disappearance of her Film teacher, Brin decides she needs a break from all the pain and heartache. And what’s a better escape than a round of golf at the brand new Macabre Golf Course? But as soon as Brin and her friends hit the links, strange noises and bizarre sightings begin to occur. And unfortunately for the group, the vampire encounter is going to seem like child’s play… especially when the zombies come out to play!
 
 
My Rating: 4/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
This is the sequel to The Vampire Underground a book which I really enjoyed. I didn't like this book quite as much as the first one.
 
 
I found this book as action packed and fast paced as the first. It carried on virtually seamlessly from the first one.
 
 
The Zombies were an interesting inclusion. They weren't as interesting as the vampires though. Probably because with the vampires, the characters had proper interactions with them unlike the zombies.
 
 
Again like with the first book, I really enjoyed the movie references throughout.
 
 
The only problems I had with this book were Paul and the plot twist right at the end.
 
 
Paul is a vampire, yet he doesn't act like one. He knows that the zombies can't hurt him, he even states that yet he still runs from them and acts scared. It was funny though when a zombie did try and eat him.
 
 
The final plot twist with (spoiler alert) the portal came completely out of nowhere and didn't really fit in with the theme.

Book Review #366 - Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum #3) by Janet Evanovich




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A “saintly” old candy store owner is on the lam - and bounty hunter extraordinaire Stephanie Plum is on the case. As the body count rises, Stephanie finds herself dealing with dead drug dealers and slippery fugitives on the chase of her life. And with the help of eccentric friends and family, Steph must see to it that this case doesn't end up being her last....
 


 
My Rating: 5/5


 
 
This is by far my favourite book in the series so far and I am starting to understand why this series is as popular as it is.
 

 
These books are genuinely funny and witty particularly with Grandma Mazur. Although she wasn't involved in this book as much as the previous two.
 

 
Stephanie is probably the world's second worst bounty hunter, only behind Luna who was the funniest character in this book. She was just crazy and had the best lines.
 

 
The plot with Mo turned out to be a little darker than the previous books.
 

 
I am finally starting to feel the connection between Stephanie and Morelli which was the biggest positive I took from this book.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Book Review #365 - Tiberius Found (Emperor Initiative #1) by Andrew Goodman



What would you do if your whole life was a lie?

Daniel Henstock thinks he’s an ordinary schoolboy. But on his sixteenth birthday, his world is shaken to its core by a shocking revelation. Daniel is the world’s first genetically-engineered human – and Gregory Dryden, the man who created him, wants him back to continue his deadly experiments.

Running for his life, Daniel is forced to go ‘off grid’ in New York. In this near-future America, where the security-obsessed authorities force citizens to carry DNA cards, Daniel meets the feisty and beautiful Eleanor. But by falling for her, Daniel is putting her in terrible danger.

Daniel pursues the truth about his origins but is hunted by an agent sent by Dryden to bring him home. Can Daniel find out the truth about his origins whilst evading those who think they own him? As his enemies close in, Daniel must draw on resources he didn’t know he had to win his freedom – but in doing so he may be walking into a deadly trap…
 
 
My Rating: 4/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
This book was really fast paced, suspenseful and overall very enjoyable to read.
 
 
The book is told from a few different perspectives. First there was Daniel who is the protagonist. Daniel is a clone who is on the run from the people who created him. There were a few other characters, just not as important as the ones mentioned.
 
 
The second character is Brennan whose job it is to follow and keep track of Daniel. He reports this to Dryden who is the main evil character.
 
 
There are enough action scenes to keep the pace moving, however I found the middle portion of the book a little slow.
 
 
I liked how Daniel returned to his school in England to see his best friend and to also finally stand up to his long time bully.
 
 
 

Book Review #364 - The Slippery Slope (A Series of Unfortunate Events #10) by Lemony Snicket


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Dear Reader,
 
 
 
Like handshakes, house pets, or raw carrots, many things are preferable when not slippery. Unfortunately, in this miserable volume, I am afraid that Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire run into more than their fair share of slipperiness during their harrowing journey up -- and down -- a range of strange and distressing mountains.


In order to spare you any further repulsion, it would be best not to mention any of the unpleasant details of this story, particularly a secret message, a toboggan, a deceitful trap, a swarm of snow gnats, a scheming villain, a troupe of organized youngsters, a covered casserole dish, and a surprising survivor of a terrible fire.


Unfortunately, I have dedicated my life to researching and recording the sad tale of the Baudelaire Orphans. There is no reason for you to dedicate yourself to such things, and you might instead dedicate yourself to letting this slippery book slip from your hands into a nearby trash receptacle, or deep pit.


With all due respect,
 

Lemony Snicket
 
 
My Rating: 3/5
 
 
This book was different from the previous ones in that it is told from two different perspectives. Violet and Klaus is one and Sunny and Count Olaf is the other one.
 
 
I thought that this book didn't have as much depth to it as the previous few books in this series. It seemed to be more of a book written solely to set up the last two books in the series.
 
 
Sunny developed more in this book than she has the previous nine books combined. Violet and Klaus also seemed much more mature in this instalment.
 
 
I am interested in finding out where this series is going and how they are going to meet up with the Quagmire triplets/twins.
 
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review #363 - The Scavengers (Tyrfingr #1) by Mike Parker


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Tyrfingr.


 
It's appearing portends the end of the world...or the beginning of a new age. Some believe it to be a grimoire, a book of ancient evil with the power to divide the truth from lies, light from darkness, bone from marrow, the soul from the spirit. Some say it even has the power to raise the dead back to life. Others claim it to be the marvelous Sword of Light - the sword that could only be drawn from its resting place on the Corner Stone beneath the Dome of the Rock by the hand of the true king, who will himself return from the dead to deliver mankind at its darkest hour.
 

One thing is sure - whoever holds Tyrfingr rules the world. Two men long for its power. Only one can pull it from the Stone.
 
 
My Rating: 3.5/5
 

 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.


This book starts off very action packed. An asteroid is heading towards Earth and life as we know it is doomed.


The rest of the book is set in what was left of the United States, although they're not so united anymore.


Because of the dystopian type world, I had to keep reminding myself that this book was set in the future and not the past. 

 
 

Usually with the large amount of characters this book contains, I would either have gotten confused or made a cheat sheet. I didn't need to in this case which was surprising. All the characters had distinct personalities and stories.



This dystopian world is different to most dystopian novels because society has declined rather than improved. The medical knowledge is pretty much non-existent and there is absolutely no technology.  
 

Book Review #362 - The Struggle (The Vampire Diaries #2) by L.J. Smith


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Torn between two vampire brothers

Damon: determined to make Elena his, he'd kill his own brother to possess her.


Stefan: desperate for the power to destroy Damon, and protect Elena, he gives in to his thirst for human blood.


Elena: the girl who can have anyone finds herself in the middle of a love triangle . . . one that might turn deadly.
 
 
My Rating: 3/5
 
 
This is a series that I had high expectations for. There is some serious hype about these books because of the TV Show but I just can't seem to get interested in them.
 
 
I found it really hard to connect with or care about any of the characters. They just didn't have much life to them and didn't seem to have grown at all from the first book.
 
 
The major problem I had with this book was the fact that romance was the dominant aspect. I prefer it to be in the background.
 
 
The plot was virtually non-existent. Apart from the mystery surrounding Elena's missing diary virtually nothing really happens.
 
 
I will continue reading this series as I want to watch the TV Show, plus I have all the remaining books on my TBR.
 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Book Review #361 - Last Kiss in Venice (Legend of the White Snake #1) by Martin Chu Shui


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Beside a bridge over a canal in Venice, Charlie is spellbound not only by Caitlin’s absolute beauty but also by what seems like a mythical bond between them. The more he knows about her, the more mysterious she becomes. As they finally admit their love to each other in Paris, then move to settle down in Australia together, it looks like the start of Happily Ever After. But neither of them realizes that this is just the start of a heart-wrenching journey.



After a lifetime of searching, Caitlin finally finds her true love, settles down in the beautiful rolling countryside of outback Australia, and starts to raise a family, but her enemy is never far away. She loves Charlie deeply and is certain he is her soul mate, but she knows she can never reveal her secret; he must never know who she really is, and that is her downfall. Information in the hands of her enemy brings her life crashing down around her. To save all she has worked for, she must fight for her love and the right to survive.


“Last Kiss in Venice” is a reinterpretation of one of China’s most famous love stories, ‘Legend of the White Snake’. It is a supernatural love epic that encompasses both eastern and western culture to tell a story of love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, revenge and justice. This cocktail of oriental magic, vampires, and sword fights is a legend not easily forgotten.
 
 
 
My Rating: 3.5/5
 
 
I received this book for review from the author. The author's Goodreads page can be found here.
 
 
This book is a modern retelling of a Chinese legend, of which I am unfamiliar of.
 
 
This book is primarily romance which on its own I am not usually that fond of. However, this book contained enough paranormal elements to keep me interested.
 
 
I liked how many locations this book included - especially as it one was my city. I also enjoyed the insight this book gave to the Chinese culture.