Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review #414 - Lucky Man: A Memoir by Michael J. Fox


A funny, highly personal, gorgeously written account of what it's like to be a 30-year-old man who is told he has an 80-year-old's disease.

"Life is great. Sometimes, though, you just have to put up with a little more crap." --Michael J. Fox

In September 1998, Michael J. Fox stunned the world by announcing he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease -- a degenerative neurological condition. In fact, he had been secretly fighting it for seven years. The worldwide response was staggering. Fortunately, he had accepted the diagnosis and by the time the public started grieving for him, he had stopped grieving for himself. Now, with the same passion, humour, and energy that Fox has invested in his dozens of performances over the last 18 years, he tells the story of his life, his career, and his campaign to find a cure for Parkinson's.

Combining his trademark ironic sensibility and keen sense of the absurd, he recounts his life -- from his childhood in a small town in western Canada to his meteoric rise in film and television which made him a worldwide celebrity. Most importantly however, he writes of the last 10 years, during which -- with the unswerving support of his wife, family, and friends -- he has dealt with his illness. He talks about what Parkinson's has given him: the chance to appreciate a wonderful life and career, and the opportunity to help search for a cure and spread public awareness of the disease. He is a very lucky man, indeed.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Michael J. Fox is an actor that I didn't know that much about before reading this book. I am a fan of the Back to the Future movies which is the reason I picked up this book.

Not only does this book give great insight into what it was like for him being diagnosed with such a crippling disease but is also gave insight into what it is like being famous and the advantages and disadvantages that come with that.

It amazed me to what lengths he had to go through just to keep his tremors away from the public eye. From having to move his hand every four seconds to timing his medication to perfection.

He lived two very different lives. He kept his personal life and his celebrity life completely separate and the lengths he went to to keep it that way were also very interesting.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Review #413 - Dead Romantic by C.J. Skuse


Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she knows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from Chicken House for Scholastic Australia.

Because I had read and loved Rockoholic by the same author I had expected to like this book more than what I actually did.

The biggest problem I had with this book were the characters. Camille, the protagonist was so obsessed with popularity and getting a boyfriend that it made it impossible for me to like her at all.

Zoe was the only character that had any substance at all and even then she was as Camille says throughout the book "a psychopath".

The whole scientific side of their Frankenstein project was interesting and was my favourite part of the book.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Book Review #412 - High Five (Stephanie Plum #5) by Janet Evanovich


Whilst the romantic aspect was toned down compared to the last instalment it does take on a new twist. Morelli seems to be more mature, but Stephanie has her eyes on someone else. There is a cliff-hanger at the end which shows there could be a love triangle in the future. 

Like all these books, there are new interesting characters introduced. In this book it was Briggs, a little person who Stephanie wrestles down a few flights of stairs and new roommate.

My Rating: 4/5

I didn't think this book was as good as Four to Score, but I am loving this series more and more. These books are not usually what I would read but they are quickly becoming one of my favourite series.

This book is different that the others because Stephanie is not chasing a FTA (failure to appear), she is trying to find her Uncle whilst also doing odd jobs for Ranger.

Stephanie's bad luck with cars continues. I have lost count of how many cars she has had blown up now and it has only been 5 books.

Whilst the romantic aspect was toned down compared to the last instalment it does take on a new twist. Morelli seems to be more mature, but Stephanie has her eyes on someone else. There is a cliff-hanger at the end which shows there could be a love triangle in the future.

Like all these books, there are new interesting characters introduced. In this book it was Briggs, a little person who Stephanie wrestles down a few flights of stairs and new roommate.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review #411 - Shadowfell (Shadowfell #1) by Juliet Marillier


The people of Alban are afraid.

The tyrannical king and his masked Enforcers are scouring the land, burning villages and enslaving the canny.

Fifteen-year-old Neryn has fled her home in the wake of its destruction, and is alone and penniless, hiding her extraordinary magical power. She can rely on no one – not even the elusive Good Folk who challenge and bewilder her with their words.

When an enigmatic stranger saves her life, Neryn and the young man called Flint begin an uneasy journey together. She wants to trust Flint but how can she tell who is true in this land of evil?

For Neryn has heard whisper of a mysterious place far away: a place where rebels are amassing to free the land and end the King's reign.

A place called Shadowfell.

A story of courage, hope, danger and love from one of the most compelling fantasy storytellers.

My Rating: 5/5

I am ashamed to say that I had never heard of this author until I received this book for review from Pan Macmillan Australia.

I can see why she has a large following though as her writing has a very enchanting feel to it.

This book follows the story of Neryn who after the death of her father is all alone in the world. She has to travel to a place called Shadowfell where the rebels are forming to overturn the evil king.

Along the way she meets Flint. Flint was an intriguing character. He was very helpful towards Neryn but you could tell he had an ulterior motive for that.

The plot builds gradually. There are a few times when it slowed but it was always a page turner.

I really liked the magical feel to the world Neryn lives in. The Good Folk that only Neryn seemed to be able to see were interesting little creatures.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Book Review #410 - Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan


After learning that he is the son of a mortal woman and Poseidon, god of the sea, twelve-year-old Percy is sent to a summer camp for demigods like himself, and joins his new friends on a quest to prevent a war between the gods.

My Rating: 3/5

This is the first full length graphic novel that I have read. I thought that reading a story that I am already familiar with would be the perfect introduction to a new style of reading.

I do see myself reading more graphic novels in the future although I will probably stick with original ones rather than ones based off of some of my favourite books as it is hard not to compare them with each other.

The only positives of the graphic novel over the actual novel were that it was a thousand times quicker to read and that it was good to get a visual of what I was reading.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review #409 - Prince Caspian (The Chronicles of Narnia #4) by C.S. Lewis


A prince fights for his crown. Narnia... where animals talk... where trees walk... here a battle is about to begin. A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honour between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This is my favourite Narnia book so far. I liked the historical element to it as this is set a century after the last one.

The Pevensie children were more present in this book which I liked as they are the real protagonists of this series.

Normally I really don't like talking animals in either books or movies and this is probably the reason why I have been unable to connect with Aslan. The Pevensie's are always in awe of Aslan and I just don't understand their relationship with him at all.

The writing was more free flowing and contained a lot more action. I am finally starting to see why these books are so popular.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Review #408 - Twelve (The Last Thirteen #2) by James Phelan


This is where you die, Sam.

The nightmare is real and Sam must face his destiny. Will the chilling prophecy and the ultimate battle against Solaris come true?

Nothing could have prepared Sam for this terrifying new life as one of the last 13 Dreamers. From New York to Egypt, to Italy - the search for the rest of the last 13 will take Sam across the globe. He cannot do it alone, but who can he really trust? He must find the rest of the last 13.

The race has begun.

13 books. 13 nightmares. 1 destiny.

Are you one of them?

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia. It is the sequel to Thirteen.

My thoughts on this book are very similar to Thirteen however I found that the lack of depth and no character development didn't bother me at all in this book.

The action packed sequences especially in Rome were the highlight of the book for me. The writing improved greatly from the first book.

I love how this series lightly touches on history. This allows the story to be set in some fascinating places like the Vatican and the Pantheon in this instalment.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Book Review #407 - When Did You See Her Last (All the Wrong Questions #2) by Lemony Snicket


The second in the highly anticipated new series by Lemony Snicket, the enigmatic author of the bestselling A Series of Unfortunate Events.

In the fading town of Stain’d-by-the-Sea, young apprentice Lemony Snicket has a new case to solve when he and his chaperone are hired to find a missing girl.

Is the girl a runaway? Or was she kidnapped? Was she seen last at the grocery store? Or could she have stopped at the diner? Is it really any of your business?

These are all the wrong questions.

My Rating: 3.5/5

This book is the sequel to Who Could That Be At This Hour?. They do carry on from each other to an extent so I would recommend reading them together.

This book had all the fun, interesting character that were introduced in book one. I really liked the husband and wife cops with their son who they use as their siren.

I am interested to see how or if this series connects to the Series of Unfortunate Events series as they are completely different in every aspect.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Book Review #406 - The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia #5) by C.S. Lewis


On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the centre of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.

My Rating: 3/5

I have been reading these books in chronological order rather than publication order so this is the third Narnia book which I have read.

This book was a lot simpler than the previous two. The Pevensies  are more secondary characters in this book which I actually liked.

I also liked how the book is set entirely in Narnia and its surrounding lands. The setting of Narnia continues to be my favourite aspect of these books.

For the most part, nothing much happens for a large portion of the book. Considering how short this book is it's not hard to see why this book is considered the least liked of the Narnia series.

This series has yet to meet the high expectations I had for it, but I am hoping that when or if I finish the series that I will then have a greater appreciation for it.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Book Review #405 - Twice Upon a Time by Kate Forster

Twice Upon A Time

Cinda's backpacking trip takes an unexpected turn when she meets gorgeous, fun-loving and incredibly wealthy Ludo in Italy. Suddenly, Cinda is thrust into the heady, glamorous world of the super rich, and she's hanging out on yachts and villas all over Europe. It's the ultimate summer fling - what more could a girl want?

But when Cinda meets Gus, Ludo's equally gorgeous twin brother - and heir to the Sardinian throne - she starts to realise true happiness is not just about how much you party. And that true love can be found in the most unexpected places.

Both prince brothers are determined to win Cinda's heart, and one of them will throw everything away to be with her.....but will it be the right one?

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont. 

This was a fun and exciting book to read. I loved how it was set in Europe as it is different from all the other Smitten novels.

Kate Forster always creates strong protagonists and this book wasn't any different. Cinda was very mature and outgoing. I liked how she didn't treat Ludo and Gus any differently when she found out they were royalty.

To begin with Ludo was charming and seemed perfect for Cinda. Gus was arrogant and didn't respect anyone he deemed beneath him.

Jonas was the perfect best friend for Cinda. Their relationship was realistic and likeable.

There was a strong fairy tale feel to this book which I loved. The ending, although not very realistic helped create this.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review #404 - To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Tomboy Scout Finch comes of age in a small Alabama town during a crisis in 1935. She admires her father Atticus, how he deals with issues of racism, injustice, intolerance and bigotry, his courage and his love.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I read this book as part of my 1001 Books Challenge where I try and read at least one book from the list per month.

I liked this book a lot more that I thought I would. I think that the reason I had been putting off reading it was because I didn't think it was my kind of book.

This book is filled with a lot of fascinating characters. This is one of the few books that I have read where I don't have a favourite character.

Atticus is the real protagonist of the book. The story is told through the eyes of his daughter and so as the reader you have a very subjective view of him. The way he defended Tom Robinson showed that he was way before his time.

Scout was the narrator. I loved her youthfulness and her tomboy nature. She resisted every feminine thing people tried to put on her. Her relationship with her brother Jem was one of my favourite aspects.

I loved how protective Jem was of Scout and how much he grows and matures throughout the book.

Arthur "Boo" Radley was the most fascinating character. He is introduced as the villain but ultimately over a short period of time becomes the hero of the book. Even though he doesn't speak much, his thoughts are strongly portrayed.

The racism aspect was a lot more prominent than I though it would be. I knew it was one of the main themes of the book but I didn't expect it to be so descriptive.

It was interesting to view it through the eyes of a child though as there was a massive difference in what she was hearing and what she was understanding.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Follow Friday #65

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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


This weeks question:

Resolutions: Put together your blogger resolution list for all of us to see.

1. To read a minimum of 150 books;

2. To read a wider variety of genres; and

3. To read at least 1 book per month from the 1001 books list.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review #403 - Four to Score (Stephanie Plum #4) by Janet Evanovich


Stephanie Plum, Trenton, New Jersey's favourite pistol-packing, condom-carrying bounty hunter, is back - and on the trail of a revenge-seeking waitress who's skipped bail. With the help of 73-year-old Grandma Mazur, ex-hooker Lula, a transvestite musician named Sally Sweet, and the all-too-hospitable, all-too-sexy Joe Morelli, Stephanie might just catch her woman. Then again, with more mishaps than there are exits on the Jersey Turnpike - including murders, firebombs, and Stephanie's arch-rival bounty hunter chasing after the same fugitive - Stephanie better watch her back big-time if she wants to live to crack this case.
My Rating: 4/5
The more I read of this series the more I love it. I am glad that I am not even a quarter the way through this series yet as I have so many more left to read.
Stephanie is one of my favourite female protagonists. She always gets herself into the most awkward and strange situations. The closer she gets to Morelli the more dysfunctional their relationship becomes.
The mystery aspect was again interesting although I predicted part of it before it was revealed. The inclusion of Joyce was humorous especially with her 'fainting spells'.
I like the setting of the Burg as it feels like a real community, especially when street names are continually used throughout. It would be helpful though if a map was included.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Book Review #402 - Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde


When Kerry’s little brother forgets his stuffed bear at the laundry, Kerry ventures out at 11:00 p.m. to retrieve it for him. The laundry is deserted and kind of spooky, and while she’s there three men burst in, dragging a bound and bloodied young man they insist is a vampire. Kerry helps him escape, only to be caught up in a desperate game between vampire hunters and their prey.
My Rating: 3/5
This book is just over 200 pages but took me around 3 days to read. The first few chapters were interesting but it progressively slowed down from there.
The story is told from a third person perspective which I think ruined my ability to connect to the characters. The characters themselves weren't really predictable and seemed to have split personalities (especially Kerry).
The whole vampire aspect, although more realistic than in other young adult vampire novels just didn't do it for me. I don't think enough about their nature was explained and Ethan was quite boring for a vampire.
This book is action packed and fast paced at times, but there just wasn't enough of this throughout the book and all the action seemed to be contained in the first few chapters.