Thursday, June 26, 2014

Book Review #459 - The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder


Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingos in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

My Rating: 3/5

I didn't know what this book was about when I decided to borrow it from my local library, and when I read the synopsis I debated whether to read it or not because I was hesitant to read something that reminded me of The Fault in Our Stars.

Cam was a difficult character for me to connect with. She was very pessimistic and selfish. However when she moves across country and meets Asher and she then accepts that the cancer doesn't define her I thought that she really opened up and I didn't find her anywhere near as annoying.

Cam's eleven year old sister Perry was a unique character that had me laughing numerous times throughout the book.

I liked how the author didn't focus too heavily on the romance although there was still plenty of that, but Cam's relationship with her family seemed to be the main focus.

I thought that the overall pacing of this book was a little on the slow side and was probably about 50 pages too long.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Book Review #458 - Wonder by R.J. Palacio


I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

My Rating: 5/5

Even though I had heard nothing but positive things about this book, I was really surprised by how much I loved it.

August was such a likeable character and because this is very much a character driven novel having a narrator like him was very helpful.

All the other characters in this book were equally developed and each of them were unique.

The short chapters and the continual change of narrator kept the story fresh and fast paced.

Because August is only ten years old there is obviously a sense of innocence about him but at the same time I thought he was quite mature for his age.

Because August's 'disability' is so visually evident it was interesting how the author was able to realistically portray not only what August has to deal with but also his parents and his sister.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Book Review #457 - Genesis (The Rosie Black Chronicles #1) by Lara Morgan


Five hundred years into the future, the world is a different place. The Melt has sunk most of the coastal cities and Newperth is divided into the haves, the “Centrals”; the have-nots, the “Bankers”; and the fringe dwellers, the “Ferals”.

Rosie Black is a Banker. When Rosie finds an unusual box, she has no idea of the grave consequences of her discovery. A mysterious organisation wants it – and will kill to get it.

Forced to rely on two strangers, Rosie is on the run. But who can she trust? Pip, the too attractive Feral, or the secretive man he calls boss?

From Earth to Mars, Rosie must learn the secrets of the box – before it’s too late.

My Rating: 4/5

This was a completely unique dystopian book. It is not about government, which is not very common in YA literature.

The whole idea of space travel was my favourite aspect of this boo. I loved the whole depiction of a colony on Mars, it was very visually pleasing.

The story begins innocently enough with Rosie and her friend finding a mysterious box, which I was very curious about. The further I got into the book, the deeper and more intricate the plot became.

The plot was engaging and perfectly paced mixing action and suspense very well.

The illness part of the story, being the MaIX virus is also a central plot element. I hope this gets explored deeper in the sequels because I would like to know more about it.

Rosie was such a likeable character. This was probably because she came across as very genuine and down to earth. Pip was my second favourite character as he had a certain vulnerability to him but had a cheeky, mischievous wall.

I will definitely be reading the sequels to this book as I really am in love with this world.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review #456 - Breaking Butterflies by M. Anjelais


Sphinxie and Cadence. Promised to each other in childhood. Drawn together again as teens. Sphinxie is sweet, compassionate, and plain. Cadence is brilliant, charismatic. Damaged. And diseased. When they were kids, he scarred her with a knife. Now, as his illness progresses, he becomes increasingly demanding. She wants to be loyal--but fears for her life. Only the ultimate sacrifice will give this love an ending.

My Rating: 4/5

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

The summary on the back of the book was very cryptic and so I had no idea at all what this book was about before reading.

The first thing I noticed with this book was that it is a lot darker than what the cover suggests.

The protagonist Sphinx annoyed me endlessly. I just couldn't understand her loyalty towards Cadence even after everything he had done to her.

Cadence was a character that creeped me out immensely - hence why I couldn't understand Sphinx's loyalty towards him. Even from a young age, everything that he did was very calculated.

Reading this book really opened my eyes to what a sociopath is. I knew the symptoms before but actually seeing them portrayed in a person and the way it influences the people around them made me see it a totally different way and I love it when I can take something like this away from a book.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Book Review #455 - Nowhere Boys by Elise McCredie


Four teenage boys are hiking in the bush when they are caught in a freak storm. After surviving the night, the boys expect a hero’s welcome, but instead they find that nobody knows who they are. Not their family. Not their friends. They are faced with a town of blank faces and are trapped in a world where they don’t exist. Sam, Jake and Andy are desperate to right their lives. They need to figure out how to make things go back to the way they used to be. Only Felix is conflicted: there are certain things about this new world that he likes. But as they grapple with their situation, it becomes clear that other things have been disturbed. A dark force has been unleashed and suddenly the situation becomes desperate. The boys must find a way to right their lives before evil destroys them.

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont

This book is a novelization of a TV Show of the same name which I had never heard of prior to receiving this book. 

Given that the author of this book wrote numerous episodes of the show, I feel like this book probably shows a honest portrayal of the characters and the show as a whole. 

The four main protagonists had completely different  personalities and vastly different backgrounds which made their interactions very interesting. 

I liked the whole idea of their friends and family not knowing who they were but felt like more could have been done if the reason was more sci-fi related rather than witchcraft. 

The whole witchcraft aspect completely surprised me because it didn't feel like that kind of book up until that point. At first I thought it was a little over the top but once the characters became accepting of it I found I was as well. 

The book ends with a cliff-hanger so I'm not sure if sequels are in the works.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Book Review #454 - As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman


In north-eastern Victoria, bush-covered hills erupt into flames. A Bush Stone-curlew escapes the fire but a woman studying the endangered bird does not.

When Robin's parents split up after the fire, her mother drags her from the country to a new life in the ugly city. Robin misses her dog, her best-friend, the cows, trees, creek, bushland and, especially, the birds. Robin is a self-confessed, signed-up, card-carrying bird-nerd. Just like her dad.

On the first day at her new school, Robin meets Delia. She's freaky, a bit of a workaholic, and definitely not good for Robin's image.

Delia's older brother Seth has given up school to prowl the city streets. He is angry at everything, but mostly at the fire that killed his mother.

When the Bush Stone-curlew turns up in the city parklands next to Seth and Delia's house the three teenagers become inextricably linked. Soon their lives are circling tighter and tighter around each other, and the curlew.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I received this book for review from Pan Macmillan Australia.

Before reading this book I had found myself in a bit of a reading slump, but this book was so beautifully written that it pulled me from that from its opening sentence.

This book tells the story of three teenagers Robin, Delia and Seth whose lives intertwine because of a unique bird they discover in their local bushland. 

For Robin, the bird in a connection to the bush she was forced to leave for city life. For siblings Delia and Seth the bird's appearance is much more emotional as it reminds them of their mother who died recently. 

Delia and Robin become somewhat friends although neither of them know the others connection with their bird. Whilst their side of it is innocent, Seth's is much darker as he has an intense need to protect Delia.

This book has a very authentic Australian feel to it which I could obviously relate to. It incorporated the Australian wildlife and the unforgiving landscape perfectly.

I also thought that the characters were all genuine portrayals of everyday Australians.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Book Review #453 - Ten (The Last Thirteen #4) by James Phelan


An unexpected saviour ensures Sam lives to continue his search for the last 13. His next all-too-real nightmare leads him to Paris and the Council of Dreamers. With Solaris seemingly one step ahead of Sam's every move, unlikely alliances form. Treasure beyond belief beckons, while tragedy strikes at the very heart of the Academy. Will Sam and his friends survive and stay ahead of the game, or is the world doomed?

My Rating: 3/5

It had been a while since I read the last book in this series (Eleven) so I found the summary at the beginning of the book incredibly helpful.

This series is the ultimate battle between good and evil. The line between the two becomes blurred in this book as Sam is left unsure who he can and cannot trust. 

I feel like the more I read this series the more action packed it becomes. 

Each book a new dreamer is introduced and in this book it was Zara. The male/female ratio amongst the dreamers is starting to get ridiculous. 

I love how this series is always set in a different location every book as it incorporates different cultures. This book was set in Paris. 

Sam is definitely becoming the dominant character which I liked as I always disliked the continual changes in perspectives. I liked that the other characters were somewhat pushed into the background in this book.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Book Review #452 - Say Her Name by James Dawson


Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before...

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Five Mile Press.

The tale of Bloody Mary is well known throughout pop culture, but it receives a new fresh and captivating twist in this book.

The plot was definitely what I loved most about this book. It was very suspenseful and chilling and had enough plot twists along the way to keep it interesting.

The romance was not as heavily portrayed as others in the YA genre which was something that I really enjoyed as it created a greater emphasis on the plot.

I also loved the historical elements involved in the plot especially with the school and its students.

The writing style was very honest and gave life to very genuine and likeable characters.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood