Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review #440 - The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey


The 1st Wave took out half a million people.

The 2nd Wave put that number to shame.

The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks... four billion dead.

In the 4th Wave, you can't trust that people are still people. 

And the 5th Wave? No one knows. But it's coming.

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs. Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth's last survivors.

To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope. 

Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death.

 My Rating: 3/5

I had heard nothing but positive things about this book before reading and so had pretty high expectations for it. Even though I had heard a lot of hype about the book, I didn't actually know that much about the plot and had been expecting this to be more dystopian than sci-fi. 

The Start of this book was very promising. It was very informative in setting up the plot and characters in great detail. 

I really liked the story when it was told from Cassie's perspective. Once it started changing between her and Ben I thought that it slowed down immensely and I found it rather confusing at times. 

Evan was a character that from the second he was introduced I was very suspicious of. Even though he redeems himself at the end, I still don't feel like I connected with him the way I was meant to. 

This story is set in a war zone so the abundance of action packed sequences was inevitable. It is because of this aspect that I can see this book successfully being adapted as a film.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Book Review #439 - The Other Side of Nowhere by Steve Johnston


When Johnno and his friends survive the freak storm that rips apart their yacht, they're just glad to be alive. That is, until reality hits: they've washed up on an uninhabited island with few supplies, no phone and no way to get home. 

The situation becomes even more desperate when the four teenagers discover they are not alone on the island. There's a hideout where men with guns are covering up a dark secret that they will protect at any cost. 

With nowhere to run, Johnno and his friends are forced into a dangerous game with the criminals as they fight to save one of their own. 

The Other Side of Nowhere is a dangerous place to be when you're hungry, trapped, and being hunted.

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont.  

I really liked this book to begin with. It was very action packed, adventurous and fast paced. 

At around 100 or so pages in, around the time they arrive on the island I found that the pace of the book slowed down considerably. 

It was also around this time that the immaturity of the characters started to show. Nick was the main culprit. 

I found Johnno's relationship with George a little weird and very awkward. They were cousins but that didn't seem to both Johnno.       

What I did love most about this book was that it had a very Australian feel to it, especially in the characters.    

Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review #438 - Stolen: A Letter to my Captor by Lucy Christopher


Gemma, 16, is on layover at Bangkok Airport, en route with her parents to a vacation in Vietnam. She steps away for just a second, to get a cup of coffee. Ty - rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar - pays for Gemma's drink. And drugs it. They talk. Their hands touch. And before Gemma knows what's happening, Ty takes her. Steals her away. The unknowing object of a long obsession, Gemma has been kidnapped by her stalker and brought to the desolate Australian Outback.

My Rating: 5/5

This is a very hard book to write a review about simply because my thoughts about it are all over the place. 

The plot was very unique, suspenseful and always engaging. This is my second Lucy Christopher book and I really love her writing style. 

What I loved most about this book is the way Gemma's narration plays with your head. Because she goes through Stockholm Syndrome, the reader does as well. 

Ty was a character that I loved whilst reading because he was so likeable and it was easy to feel sorry for him as he had such a certain vulnerability about him. 

I found that once I finished reading that I could see how what Ty did was so wrong and I found it a little scary that I wasn't able to think that clearly about him whilst reading. 

The setting of Australia was something that surprised me. I didn't expect to feel such an emotional connection with it. 

Not only is the book set for the most part in my country, it is also set in my state and at the very end it is set in my city so I found that really relateable in that regard. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review #437 - Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5 & 2.5) by Tahereh Mafi


Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner’s point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can’t stop thinking about her—and he’ll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.

Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective and bridges the gap between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam's more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam cares about.

My Rating: 3/5

Unite Me comprises two novellas from the Shatter Me series. The first, Destroy Me is told from Warner's perspective and is set between Shatter Me and Unravel Me. 

Warner is a character that I have found very hard to connect with. I still see him the way he was when he was first introduced and that is as evil. 

His story in Destroy Me did little to convince me of his more positive attributes. I felt like he was constantly pining over Juliette and I couldn't work out whether it was because of her gift or because he truly loved her. 

The second novella, Fracture Me is told from Adam's perspective and is set between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. It was my favourite out of the two. 

This novella contained a lot more action and included more characters which I liked. With Warner's story it was mostly his inner thoughts which got annoying after a while. 

Kenji is a character that I seem to be liking more and more as this story progresses and I loved the amount of time James was present as he is one of my favourite characters. 

The ending of the novella sets up Ignite Me perfectly and I cannot wait to get my hands on it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Book Review #436 - Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira


It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person - any dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand a bit of what Laurel is going through. Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart... it's like she can't stop. And she'd certainly never dream of handing them in to her teacher. She writes about what it's like going to a new high school, meeting new friends, falling in love for the first time - and how her family has shattered since May died.

But much as Laurel might find writing the letters cathartic, she can't keep real life out forever. The ghosts of her past won't be contained between the lines of a page, and she will have to come to terms with growing up, the agony of losing a beloved sister, and the realization that only you can shape your destiny.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Five Mile Press

The author of this book is the protege of Stephen Chbosky and I could definitely see the influence that The Perks of Being a Wallflower had on this book. There were also qualities about this book that reminded me of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 

The idea of Laurel writing to deceased people was a very smart and original idea in which to convey Laurel's story. Each of the people that she wrote to heavily influenced or inspired her life in some way. Most of the time it was through the sister she idolized in May.

I liked how informative Laurel's letters were not just about her life but the person she was writing to as well. 

There were so many issues addressed in this book. At times I felt like there were perhaps too many, but I loved the way they all tied together at the end. 

Overall this was a very grief driven, captivating read and something that I think all contemporary fans will enjoy.   

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review #435 - The Transfer: A Divergent Story (Divergent #0.1)


More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by "The Transfer," the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, back story, and relationships. 

My Rating: 4/5

What I loved most about this book was how familiar yet foreign it felt at the same time. It was basically Tobias's experiences of everything that had been previously explored through Tris. 

Aside from Tris, Tobias is my favourite character in this series so I found it very intriguing to be in his head without the shared narration of Tris like in Allegiant

This book helped with his character development as it delved even deeper into his history specifically his life in Abnegation. 

I am looking forward to reading the rest of these Divergent Story companions and hope they will be published in a physical format soon. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review #434 - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald


Generally considered to be F. Scott Fitzgerald's finest novel, The Great Gatsby is a consummate summary of the 'roaring twenties' and a devastating exposé of the shallowness of the 'Jazz Age'. Through the narration of Nick Carraway, the reader is taken into the superficially glittering world of the mansions which lined the Long Island shore in the 1920's, to encounter Nick's cousin Daisy, her brash but wealthy husband Tom Buchanan, Jay Gatsby and the dark mystery which surrounds him.

The Great Gatsby is an undisputed classic of American literature from the period following the First World War, and is one of the great novels of the twentieth century.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I read this book as part of my 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die challenge where I try to read at least one book from the list per month. 

This is a book that I have been somewhat avoided reading. I started reading this book for the first time in January 2013 and never got past the opening chapter. 

I loved that this book is set in a particular time period. Even something as simple as there being no mention of technology made their world seem so alive. 

Gatsby was a real enigma and recluse. Other than him the other characters were all introduced very close together and so I kept getting them confused for most of the book. 

I found this book rather slow paced but because of it's short length this didn't both me at all. I wouldn't say I was completely invested in this book until the car incident about 20-30 pages from the end. 

It was around the time of the car incident that all the characters lives started intertwining with one another so it became easier for me to tell them apart. 

I'm not sure about the writing style. I really loved the descriptive nature of it as I could vividly picture the Gatsby Mansion. However, on the other hand I didn't like how it wasn't in chronological order. Normally this wouldn't bother me with flashbacks/memories however not even the flashbacks were in any order which made me confused at times.

I am definitely looking forward to watching a film adaptation of this book as I believe it will translate well over to the screen. 

Even though I didn't like this book nearly as much as I would have liked to I think that the problems I had with it will disappear once I become more familiar with the text by reading it numerous more times. I can see that this will probably be a book that I will grow to love.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review #433 - Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Rating: 4/5

According to Goodreads I have had this book sitting unread on my bookshelf since February 2012. The fact that a book of this quality sat on my shelf that long is a little embarassing. 

From the first page when I discovered that this wasn't set in the United States like virtually every other dystopian book in existence I knew I would enjoy this book. 

I didn't really know that much about the book before reading and whilst reading didn't really ever know where the book was going - which is a massive positive. Although I did predict the main and major plot twist very early in the book which was very annoying. 

The Lunars were the ideal antagonists. The abilities they have that could potentially destroy humans is just terrifying. I would have liked more explanation about them though. Like information about their home and how they initiated contact with Earth. 

Although I am not very familiar with the story of Cinderella, the only similarities I could find between the two were Cinder's family life. 

Kai was a character that I was left quite disappointed with. For him as the main male protagonist and as the potential love interest for Cinder I had expected him to be developed more. He seemed likeable enough but there just wasn't enough substance to him to enable me to connect with him. 

There were a few brief moments were I felt some chemistry between Kai and Cinder however for the most part I wasn't a fan of them as a couple. 

Plot-wise there didn't seem like there was any major structure. It seemed to follow numerous smaller plot-lines which I thought worked perfectly for this book. 

At this point I can't really see how this story can span itself over four books but I am definitely on board for checking them out.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Follow Friday #68

 Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.
The question this week is: 

Question of the Week: Tell us about a book that you didn’t like and why we shouldn’t read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible) 


My answer for this has to be Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding. I loved the movie but the book was nothing but Bridget whinging. My review of it can be found here.

Book Review #432 - Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi


it's almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She's finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam's life.

My Rating: 4/5

This book is the sequel to Shatter Me which I did read for the second time before reading this. 

There were A LOT of plot twists in this book which made me read the last 250 or so pages in one sitting. 

I really do not like Warner. Although I am hoping that once I read Destroy Me which I believe is told from his perspective I might open up to him a bit.

The character that most surprised me in this book was Kenji. I didn't like him that much in Shatter Me probably because it wasn't completely clear whether Juliette could trust him or not. I love his 'superpower' the most and his backstory. 

James is sweet like his brother Adam but also has an innocent nature to him which makes it impossible not to like him. Adam actually annoyed me a bit in this book. He just seemed like a completely different character from the first book. 

The romance in this book wasn't as strong in this book as it was in Shatter Me which I loved because I felt like it overshadowed the plot in Shatter Me. 

I am hoping that we find out what became of Juliette's parents in the last book as I keep expecting them to make an appearance.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Follow Friday #67

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

Late April Fools. What was the best prank you’ve played or had played on you? Share!


The only thing I can think of is when I was in primary school I had a birthday party at my house. For some reason I decided to push my best friend down the stairs which my brother got blamed for. 

The funniest part is my brother and I still fight over it to this day because he really believes now that he was the one to push her!!

Book Review #431 - The Walking Dead (The Walking Dead #1-12) by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moor, Charlie Adlard & Cliff Rathburn


The world we knew is gone. The world of commerce and frivolous necessity has been replaced by a world of survival and responsibility. An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months society has crumbled: no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. In a world ruled by the dead, the survivors are forced to finally start living.

My Rating: 5/5

This is the first full length Graphic Novel that I have read that hasn't been converted from another book. 

As a fan of the TV Show, I have been wanting to read the graphic novels for the longest time and had high expectations for it. 

Apart from character development I thought that it was equally as good as the show. Nothing could be done about the character development though because clearly it is easier for that on TV. 

There were a few main characters on the show that were noticeably missing such as Daryl, Merle and Beth but the plot was on a basic level the same. 

If these hardcover books weren't so expensive I would definitely be reading the second book right now.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Book Review #430 - Because It Is My Blood (Birthright #2) by Gabrielle Zevin


“Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”- Michael Corleone, The Godfather

Freed from jail, Anya hopes that things will get back to normal. But life on the outside is even more dangerous than life behind bars. Some of her gangland family want revenge for the crime for which she has done time: the shooting of her uncle. Forced to flee the country, Anya hides out in a cacao plantation in Mexico. There she learns the secrets of the chocolate trade, a trade that is illegal and deadly in her native New York. There too she discovers that seemingly random acts of violence carried out across the world have a single target: her family. As innocent bystanders get caught in the crossfire Anya must act fast and decisively to stop it, no matter what the danger to herself.

My Rating: 4.5/5

This book is the sequel to All These Things I've Done and is the second book in the trilogy. 

I liked this book a lot more than the first one. Simply because I found the plot more interesting and I loved the character development. 

In this book Anya discovers that she can't escape her life as she was born into it but that she can control it to be something she feels comfortable with. Through this discovery, I felt like she matured a lot even though she was already very mature. 

Natty was the character that matured the most. She went from a dependent young girl to a independent teenager in the space of Anya's stay at Liberty. 

I really liked the chemistry between Anya and Theo. I would like Theo to play a larger role in the third and final book as I really can't stand Win. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Book Review #429 - The Kill Order (The Maze Runner #0.5) by James Dashner


Before WICKED was formed, before the Glade was built, before Thomas entered the Maze, sun flares hit the earth and mankind fell to disease. 

Mark and Trina were there when it happened, and they survived. But surviving the sun flares was easy compared to what came next.

Now a disease of rage and lunacy races across the eastern United States, and there’s something suspicious about its origin. Worse yet, it’s mutating, and all evidence suggests that it will bring humanity to its knees.

Mark and Trina are convinced there’s a way to save those left living from descending into madness. And they’re determined to find it—if they can stay alive. Because in this new, devastated world, every life has a price. And to some, you’re worth more dead than alive.

My Rating: 3/5

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

It feels like forever since I read The Maze Runner. In fact that was only the 9th book review I posted on this blog. 

Apart from the epilogue, I didn't really feel any connection with The Maze Runner at all. I liked Mark's story and battle against losing his mind though. 

I liked the extensive background in terms of world building and the whole history of the sun flares and viruses.   

I am definitely looking forward to reading the rest of the series and can't believe I haven't done so yet.