Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review #236 (Part 2) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger


Since his debut in 1951 as The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield has been synonymous with "cynical adolescent." Holden narrates the story of a couple of days in his sixteen-year-old life, just after he's been expelled from prep school, in a slang that sounds edgy even today and keeps this novel on banned book lists. It begins,

"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them."
His constant wry observations about what he encounters, from teachers to phonies (the two of course are not mutually exclusive) capture the essence of the eternal teenage experience of alienation.

My Rating: 5/5

I first read and reviewed this book in 2012. My original review can be found here. I decided to review it again because I felt I had a deeper understanding of the book my second time around. 

In my original review I mentioned that I thought I would enjoy this book each time I would reread it. I would have to say that statement was half true. On one hand I definitely felt like I understood the book a lot more but on the other hand I didn't connect with Holden as much as I did the first time around. 

Holden is a very, very difficult character to characterize without spoiling the entire book. The book is Holden, and Holden is, well, Holden.

It was obvious to me reading this that Holden is terrified of growing up. He sees adults as 'phonies' and feels he has to protect children from growing up and losing their innocence by entering adulthood. 

It was also obvious to me that Holden was in the midst of a deep depression and based on the time period this book is set, this goes unnoticed for the entirety of the novel. 

I still found the book rather slow paced and directionless for long periods and an actual plot would have helped this but overall I really do love this book as it is more a character driven novel. 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Book Review #648 - Revelations (Blue Bloods #3) by Melissa de la Cruz


Schuyler Van Alen's blood legacy has just been called into question: is the young vampire in fact a Blue Blood, or is it the sinister Silver Blood that runs through her veins? As controversy swirls, Schuyler is left stranded in the Force household, trapped under the same roof as her cunning nemesis, Mimi Force, and her forbidden crush, Jack Force.

When an ancient place of power is threatened in Rio de Janeiro, however, the Blue Bloods need Schuyler on their side. The stakes are high, the battle is bloody; and through it all Schuyler is torn between duty and passion, love and freedom.

My Rating: 3/5

The romance in this book does not appeal to me at all. I didn't feel any connection between Schuyler and Oliver, but I do love their friendship. 

As for Schuyler and Jack, I feel like Jack is severely underdeveloped considering the large part he continually plays in the series. 

The vampire lore in this series continues to develop with every book, but I still feel like I am still a very long way off completely grasping it all. 

Bliss is one of my favourite characters and so I loved the amount of development her character went through. There has always been a little mysteriousness surrounding her and so it was good to finally get some answers. 

The only negative thing I can say about this book, and in fact the series as a whole is that it is rather shallow. 

If there was less name dropping or brand dropping or the characters weren't such socialites then more emphasis would be placed on the actual plot and the story would move faster. 

The pacing of the book could have been better as I spent most of the book waiting for something to happen, only to have to wait until the last 20 or so pages. 

This book left me with so many unanswered questions that I will more than likely be picking up book 4 in the near future. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Book Review #647 - The Rain (The Rain #1) by Virginia Bergin


It's in the rain...and just one drop will kill you.

They don't believe it at first. Crowded in Zach's kitchen, Ruby and the rest of the partygoers laugh at Zach's parents' frenzied push to get them all inside as it starts to drizzle. But then the radio comes on with the warning, "It's in the rain! It's fatal, it's contagious, and there's no cure."

Two weeks later, Ruby is alone. Anyone who's been touched by rain or washed their hands with tap water is dead. The only drinkable water is quickly running out. Ruby's only chance for survival is a treacherous hike across the country to find her father-if he's even still alive.

My Rating: 4.5/5

As a huge fan of the dystopian genre, I was really intrigued by the premise of this book as it seemed so unique compared to others in the genre. 

Firstly, the book is set in the current day, not decades or even centuries into the future where a dystopian society has already begun. 

Secondly, there are no zombies, aliens or controlling governments. Instead, the earth's most needed resource water is the ultimate villain. 

When I first started this book I loved how open and honest Ruby (the protagonist) was. It was almost like she had no filter and I loved this because I felt like I truly knew her. 

Ruby's relationship with her step-father Simon was a favourite dynamic of mine in the book. Ruby went from hating him unconditionally to having to completely trust him. 

I loved how Ruby rescued all the neighbourhood dogs and transported them around with her as this is something that I could see myself doing in that situation. 

There were moments though where I wanted to reach into the book and slap Ruby. For example, she walks outside with no protection from the rain and she seemed more concerned about her physical appearance than her actual wellbeing. Like instead of thinking of sources of clean water, she is raiding shops for makeup and clothing. 

The whole romantic aspect between Ruby and Darius did not impact the story at all and felt rather out of place in the story. 

The way the book ended I am glad that I have already ordered the sequel entitled The Storm

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Book Review #646 - Thirteen (Adam Grant #1) by Tom Hoyle


Born at midnight in London, on the stroke of the new millennium, Adam is the target of a cult that believes boys born on this date must die before the end of their thirteenth year. Twelve boys have been killed so far. Coron, the crazy cult leader, will stop at nothing to bring in his new kingdom. And now he is planning a bombing spectacular across London to celebrate the sacrifice of his final victim: Adam. 

My Rating: 2.5/5

I really, really wanted to enjoy this book more than what I did as I really did enjoy the book as a whole but I just found the book really all over the place and at times hard to follow. 

I found the whole cult aspect really interesting as I don't think I have read a book with a cult present before. Although, I found the dynamics surrounding the cult rather underdeveloped and vague. Hopefully this gets explained more in the sequel. 

Adam was the main character but I never really connected with him all that much. He was thirteen years old but seemed younger at times. He just wasn't fleshed out enough. 

The plot was also pretty far fetched. If we are to believe that the cult has previously killed twelve other boys before Adam, why do they fail so badly with killing Adam especially considering that for a large portion of the book Adam is completely oblivious to them hunting him. 

The ending of this book leaves the door open for a sequel which at this stage I am unlikely to pick up. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Review #645 - The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2) by Rick Yancey


The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I picked up this book after about a year since I read The 5th Wave

The Infinite Sea doesn't offer anything in way of refreshers in order to help those who hadn't recently read The 5th Wave like myself. 

Due to this, I was a little confused to begin with as to who all the characters were. It wasn't until Cassie was the narrator that I found some stability with the story. 

The last quarter of the book (when it is told from Ringer's perspective) was rather slow and boring although developed the plot immensely. 

I will probably have to reread both The 5th Wave and this book before I read the third and final book in the trilogy The Last Star to prevent being confused like this time. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Book Review #644 - How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon #1) by Cressida Cowell


Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer"...but it wasn't always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and become a hero!

My Rating: 5/5

I absolutely love the film/TV adaptations of this book and its sequels and so I was surprised to find that the book was of the same quality. 

There are so many differences between the book and the film that I won't go into them except to mention the one that I loved the most and that was the fact that Toothless and the other dragons are able to talk in the book. 

I loved the adventure you can only find in children's books and am definitely adding this series to the list of books I will give to my nephews when they are old enough to read. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Book Review #643 - Heist Society (Heist Society #1) by Ally Carter


When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

My Rating: 2.5/5

This book has been on my TBR shelf for the longest time. It wasn't until I was rearranging my library and came across it that I decided it was about time I finally read it. 

From the very beginning I had problems with this book, mainly the complete lack of depth. 

I found it incredibly difficult to get into the book. The characters were all one-dimensional, shallow and superficial to me and the plot was far fetched and rather boring. 

I felt like this was the second book in a series as there was so much back story that was not explained, or was rushed over like I was expected to already know what they were talking about. 

Overall, I did not particularly enjoy this book at all and at this stage will not be picking up the sequels. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Book Review #642 - Cooper Bartholomew is Dead by Rebecca James


Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff. 


That's the official finding, that's what everyone believes. 
Cooper's girlfriend, Libby, has her doubts. They'd been 
happy, in love. Why would he take his own life?

As Libby searches for answers, and probes more deeply
into what really happened the day Cooper died, she and
her friends unravel a web of deception and betrayal. 
Are those friends – and enemies – what they seem? 
Who is hiding a dangerous secret? And will the truth set them all free? 

My Rating: 3/5

When I first started reading this book I thought it was going to be a YA/NA version of The Girl on the Train but whereas TGOTT left me guessing until the very end, I worked things out pretty early in this book. 

The book switches back and forth between before and after Cooper's death - this method worked extremely well in this book as Cooper became a real character and not just someone all the other characters are mourning. 

The book had a very Australian feel to it which made it much more relateable to me - and it wasn't just the setting, it was more the language and personalities of the characters. 

Overall, I felt like this book started off really well and got my interest but it fell away in the middle and never fully recovered. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Book Review #641 - Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti


Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.

How long can Lani keep running from the boy who might be her destiny?

My Rating: 3/5

I decided to read this book as I found myself in a reading slump and knew that a light, contemporary book would likely help me to get out of it. I was right, as I finished this book in a day. 

The book as a whole was rather immature but not in a negative way at all. Just the whole mess the characters found themselves in and how if they had developed the right communication skills all of it could have been prevented. 

Overall, this book wasn't very memorable, but I am glad I read it as not only did it get me out of a reading slump, but it also added some variety to the books I read as I had been on a fantasy binge. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review #640 - TTYL (Internet Girls #1) by Lauren Myracle


My Rating: 2.5/5

This book is told entirely through instant messaging and so when I first started reading it I wondered if I would be able to get through 220 pages of it. 

However, after a few pages, I warmed to the style and never looked back. This book rather surprised me as it is not the type of book I would typically read. It had a Pretty Little Liars vibe to it, just with 80% less drama. 

The three girls in this book are all completely different and interesting in their own way. 

Their immaturity didn't bother me as much as I thought it would and the issues raised in this book were nothing that hasn't been seen before. 

Because the book is told entirely through instant messaging the characters aren't portrayed in any great detail. In this case, I thought the personality quizzes the girls would sent to one another were a neat way of adding some depth to them. 

Overall, I found this book immature yet compelling and the unique IM style won me over eventually. I am still undecided whether I will read the sequel or not.