Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Book Review #428 - Eleven (The Last Thirteen #3) by James Phelan

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This is it. My nightmares have finally come true.

Sam's deepest fears become real as his enemies grow more numerous and ever-more powerful. 


Struggling to stay one step ahead, Sam must locate 11 more Dreamers and solve the next piece of the puzzle.


Can Sam and his allies unlock the secrets of an ancient journal to reveal their final destiny? Sam is far from home, with the fate of the entire world in his hands. 


He must find the last 13. The race is on.




My Rating: 3.5/5





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


I feel like this series would be better off if each book was told from a different character's perspective rather than jumping back and forth with each book. 


The reason for this is because apart from Sam I don't feel like they have very distinct personalities and when I first jumped back into this series I was confused at first as I couldn't remember any key details of the secondary characters. 


I would like to Solaris develop more. All we know about him is that he is evil. I would like to know more about his past and what made him evil. 


I really like the extremely short but action packed chapters as it really entices you to keep reading. No bookmark needed with this book. 


The plot developed more in this book than it did in the first two combined. There seemed to be more structure to the plot and an objective in the gears. 


I didn't like the way Eva and Gabriella's relationship is building. They are too petty towards each other and I can see that they will probably end up fighting over Sam at some stage. 


Like I said in my reviews of the first two books, I really like the travel and history aspects. This time they traveled to Germany. The history touched upon the World War II planes and Leonardo da Vinci's mirror writing style.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review #427 - Hot Six (Stephanie Plum #6) by Janet Evanovich

Hot Six : Stephanie Plum Series : Book 6 - Janet Evanovich



First there's fellow bounty hunter Ranger, currently on the run from a murder rap and requesting Stephanie's help. Trouble is she can't decide if she should turn him in or keep him for herself. Then there's sexy vice cop Joe Morelli - the man her heart says she's in love with (even though her head says otherwise). He's after Ranger too - but for less romantic reasons. . . And now there's another male in her life. He's big, he's orange, and he howls when he's left alone. Sexual temptation, homicidal maniacs, car crashes and doughnut addiction are all part of Stephanie Plum's daily routine. But all that pales into insignificance when Grandma Mazur moves in . . .


My Rating: 4/5


Like with High Five, this book breaks the mold again by not having a regular FTA. This time Stephanie has to chase down Ranger who is wanted for murder. 


Grandma Mazur plays a huge role in this book which I loved as she is my favourite character. Every time she is present in the story it is bound to be hilarious. 


I loved the inclusion of Bob the Golden Retriever as I have a Labrador and Bob reminded me a lot of him. My favourite part in the whole book was when Habib and Mitchell try to dognap him. 


Whilst I didn't think the romance aspect developed on a whole (we are no closer to knowing who Stephanie is going to pick) both Morelli and Ranger developed immensely as characters. 


Everything we learned about Ranger was new as he is a very secretive guy and not much was known about him. Morelli started showing his sensitive side which was something I hadn't been expecting. 


At this stage I am like Stephanie and have absolutely no idea who I prefer. 


I really love the book cover as it accurately portrays the story which is something you don't see anymore. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Follow Friday #66

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow


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

 

This weeks question:


How have your reading habits changed in the past few years? Did you get interested in a new genre? Do you read more? Less? Why do you think your habits changed, if they did.


I have been reading more adult fiction, non-fiction and classics over the last year.

Book Review #426 - A Special Love by Krissy Bells


When Robert Adler and Meredith Conrad fall in love, all that is left for them to do is prepare to live a fairy-tale life. With the blessing of their second child, a son named Michael, everything they have always dreamed of begins to become a reality. But his autism diagnosis is something they never anticipated. The struggle they face after the diagnosis puts a strain on their family that begins to tear them apart. Years later, Michael begins high school, and the true love his older sister Ann Marie finds there helps bring her insight and appreciation of Michael’s unique gifts and identity. It might be just what is needed to put their family back together.
 
 
My Rating: 4/5
 
This book was sent to me for review from the author. Her Goodreads page can be found here.


This is not the type of book that I would usually find myself reading. However, once I read the synopsis I knew I had to read it.
 
 
This book goes very in depth into the life of a family with an autistic child. It shows how important family values are.


The book starts with Robert and Meredith meeting and I really liked the chemistry between them. 


Michael was such an intriguing character. Sure he was frustrating at times but overall you couldn't help but fall in love with him. 


Apart from Michael, Ann Marie was my favourite character. She was very mature and her relationship with Michael was something that her parents should have been trying. 


There wasn't much depth plot-wise but as this is such a character driven novel I was able to overlook that. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Book Review #425 - Daughters of Siberia by Julia Taylor



My Rating: 3.5/5


This book was given to me by my Nana whose cousin happens to be the author of this book. 



This book tells the story of the beginning of the Gold Rush era in the Siberia/Kalgoorlie area of my home state of Western Australia.


Some of the people included in the story were my ancestors so that was pretty interesting to read about.


What I liked most about this book was that even though it would be classified as a non-fiction book it read more like fiction given the way it is more orientated towards the characters rather than facts and stories. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Book Review #424 - Looking for JJ (Jennifer Jones #1) by Anne Cassidy


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Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life—she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad... and it’s about to rip her new life apart.




My Rating: 5/5




I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia.




The first part of the book was a bit slow with Alice explaining her current life with confusing flashbacks to her past. She is constantly worrying in this part and that kind of annoyed me.




The second part of the book was my favourite part as that is where I became completely absorbed in the story. It was interesting to see Jennifer's unstable childhood through the eyes of a 10 year old as she was often oblivious to the selfish nature of her mother.




Alice and Jennifer were both written in such a way that you felt anger at what they did but sad for them at the same time.




The whole romantic aspect of the book never really added anything to the story but created a startling scene at the end when Alice reveals her past to her boyfriend.




The last portion of the book deals with Alice's past catching up to her. She once again is forced to abandon everything and everyone she knows and is once again alone like she has been virtually her entire life.




This book leads pretty well into the sequel. There are a few things I would like answers to. Like Kate's mother and Lucy and her family.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Review #423 - Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell


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Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life. Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She's got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words ...And she can't stop worrying about her dad, who's loving and fragile and has never really been alone. Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible ...


My Rating: 4.5/5


I received this book for review from Pan Macmillan Australia.


I have been hearing nothing but good things about Rainbow Rowell's books for a while now and can't believe it took me so long to finally read one.


Fangirl was a refreshing read. I liked how it was set in the college lifestyle as this is rarely done in YA literature.


The protagonist Cath was a character that I had a love/hate relationship. I loved how socially awkward she was and how she hated to leave her comfort zone as these were traits that I could relate to.


Her obsession with fanfiction was not something that I was familiar with but I liked that she had something she was very passionate about.


There were times however that her obsession annoyed me, especially when she was willing to throw away her second chance with her fiction writing assignment.


Whilst this might have been my first Rainbow Rowell book, it certainly won't be my last.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Book Review #422 - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland #1) by Lewis Carroll


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Alice lives an ordinary life, until the day she follows the White Rabbit down, down, down a rabbit hole. She suddenly finds herself in an enchanted world, surrounded by zany creatures like the Mad Hatter, the Duchess, and the Cheshire Cat. Alice is delighted to find that nothing in Wonderland is the least bit ordinary.


My Rating: 2.5/5


I read this book as part of my challenge of reading all the books from the 1001 Books to Read Before You Die list.


I found this book really disappointing as I had rather high expectations for it.


The writing was all over the place and had no continuity to it.


I thought that the talking animals were completely overdone although I did like their character and they brought to life the fantasy feel of the book.


I never thought I would say this, but this seems to be a story that I prefer the movie version.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review #421 - We Bought a Zoo by Benjamin Mee



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Benjamin Mee decided to uproot his family and move them to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo on the English countryside, complete with over 200 exotic animals. It was his dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. There was much work to be done, and none of it easy. Tigers broke loose, money ran low, the staff grew skeptical, and family tensions ran high. Then tragedy struck. His wife had a recurrence of a brain tumor, forcing Benjamin and his children to face the heartbreak of illness and the devastating loss of a wife and mother. But inspired by her memory and the healing power of the incredible family of animals they had grown to love, Benjamin and his kids resovled to move forward. The Mee family opened the gates of the revitalized zoo in July 2007.


My Rating: 3.5/5


I was interested in reading this book as I am somewhat of an animal lover. I thought that this book gave a great insight into the inner management of a zoo.


The writing was the only problem I had with this book. At times it seemed too clinical. I would have liked there to have been a heavier focus on the animals rather than the funding problems.


The book starts slowly, solely focusing on his family life in France. His wife's battle with a brain tumour was very detailed which was something that I found really interesting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Book Review #420 - Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

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If Naomi had picked tails, she would have won the coin toss. She wouldn’t have had to go back for the yearbook camera, and she wouldn’t have hit her head on the steps. She wouldn’t have woken up in an ambulance with amnesia. She certainly would have remembered her boyfriend, Ace. She might even have remembered why she fell in love with him in the first place. She would understand why her best friend, Will, keeps calling her “Chief.” She’d know about her mom’s new family. She’d know about her dad’s fiancĂ©e. She never would have met James, the boy with the questionable past and the even fuzzier future, who tells her he once wanted to kiss her. She wouldn’t have wanted to kiss him back.
 

But Naomi picked heads.


My Rating: 4/5


After reading and enjoying All These Things I've Done last month I decided to read what many refer to as Gabrielle Zevin's best book.



Naomi was a character that was easy to relate to and fun to listen to. Even before her accident she was always thinking of the alternate lives she could have lead had she not been adopted by Americans. 


When Naomi awakens after diving down the stairs she discovers the last thing she remembers is being twelve years old. 


I felt like the story could have focused a little more on the things that Naomi had forgotten, like her parent's divorce and subsequent relationships with other people rather than Naomi's love life. 


I liked the wittiness of Will, but never saw him as anything other than Naomi's best friend.  


In a way her falling down the stairs was a positive for her as she got to reevaluate her life in ways that made her happier within herself.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review #419 - My Left Foot by Christy Brown


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Christy Brown was born a victim of cerebral palsy. But the hapless, lolling baby concealed the brilliantly imaginative and sensitive mind of a writer who would take his place among the giants of Irish literature.


This is Christy Brown's own story. He recounts his childhood struggle to learn to read, write, paint and finally type, with the toe of his left foot.


My Rating: 3/5




There were two main aspects of this book that I found interesting. The first was the detailed insight into living with such a debilitating condition in a time period where it was nowhere near as understood as it is today.




The second was the time period as it was set from the 1930's up until the mid 1950's.




Since Christy was a child he never saw himself as being different. This plays a dominant role in his personality and is the reason why he was able to accomplish as much as he did with his life.




Christy's mother was an amazing woman as she never gave up on Christy and was able to care for him even though she had twenty plus other children.