Translate

Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Girl Who Came Back to Life Review

The Girl Who Came Back to Life: A Fairytale

Written by: Craig Staufenberg
# of pages: 163

My Rating: 2.5/5

Release Date: April 16, 2014
Read in September 2014

Summary according to goodreads 


When you die, your spirit wakes in the north, in the City of the Dead. There, you wander the cold until one of your living loved ones finds you, says "Goodbye," and Sends you to the next world. 

After her parents die, 12-year-old Sophie refuses to release their spirits. Instead, she resolves to travel to the City of the Dead to bring her mother and father's spirits back home with her. 

Taking the long pilgrimage north with her gruff & distant grandmother-by train, by foot, by boat; over ruined mountains and plains and oceans-Sophie struggles to return what death stole from her. Yet the journey offers her many hard, unexpected lessons-what to hold on to, when to let go, and who she must truly bring back to life.

My Thoughts

I received a copy of this book to review as part of a blog tour, but that does not affect my opinion. 

Since this was such a short novel there is not much that I can say about it, but it was a very quick read with an interesting writing style. The short chapters helped it to go by very quickly, but unfortunately I never got sucked into the story. I had expected it to have a smidge of creepiness, but I was wrong. If anything this novel is more of a coming of age story, with some character development thrown in. 

Sophie was an interesting character to read as she didn't have a lot of dialogue, but although she is young, she is very smart. She is also a very determined and independent young girl, who knew what she wanted and how she was going to do it. 

Unfortunately, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, nor did I feel any emotions towards Sophie and her journey. This novel is told from a third-person point of view, so as a read you never knew what Sophie or her grandmother were really feeling. I think if we had been able to see these characters open up more, I would have enjoyed it more than I did. 

I can't say who I would recommend it to because I think it varies based on reader, so if the synopsis sounds interesting to you then you should pick it up. If you do read it, make sure you let me know what you think!



Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Archived Review

The Archived

Written by: Victoria Schwab
# of pages: 321

Average Rating: 4.05/5
My Rating: 3/5

Release Date: January 22, 2013

Read in July 2014

Summary according to goodreads


Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what she once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often—violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn’t just dangerous—it’s a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da’s death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

My Thoughts


I went into this book with high expectations because of all the hype surrounding it. However, I also went into this book not knowing what it was about and I think that led to a slightly negative view. I was expecting to be blown away by this novel, and unfortunately I was not.

It took a little while for me to get fully enveloped into the story, but I had been told to keep going with it. I am glad I did because although it started off very different, it started to make sense and get more interesting. This novel is unlike anything I have read, and that made it more difficult to get through the beginning because it was so weird (in a sense). This author did a good job of world building, and creating a picture of the Archive and the Narrows for the reader.

Throughout reading this novel I wasn't sure who I should be in favour of, or who I should be trusting, because new information would arise causing me to start overthinking everything. I have a younger brother so I was very empathetic to Mackenzie and her feelings about what happened throughout the story, but I felt that her parents idea of leaving everything behind didn't help the healing process for anyone.

The more I think about it, the more I want to give this book closer to a 3 or 3.5 stars. There were some parts I had issues with, and the biggest one being the course of the novel. It is not very clear what timeline in which the story unfolds, and that made it harder to get a grasp on what is happening. On the other hand, nearer to the end of the novel, there was a page in particular that I felt was almost a waste as it was repetitive and didn't really provide any enlightenment to the story.

Although this is a young-adult novel, there was not a strong focus on romance. What romance there was bothered me because it didn't really make sense and it was weird, and if you've read it then you probably now what I'm referring to. All in all it was generally put on the back burner and I could really appreciate that considering everything else that was going on.

The sequel to this has already come out, and although I do not yet own it, I plan on picking it up relatively soon. Overall I felt that this novel was longer than it needed to be, and some parts were not necessary. The longer I sat and thought about this book, the more issues I found I had. Therefore I had to lower my rating from four stars to three.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rumble Review

Rumble

Written by: Ellen Hopkins
# of pages: 546

My Rating: 2/5

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Read in August 2014

Summary according to goodreads 


Matthew Turner doesn’t have faith in anything.

Not in family—his is a shambles after his younger brother was bullied into suicide. Not in so-called friends who turn their backs when things get tough. Not in some all-powerful creator who lets too much bad stuff happen. And certainly not in some “It Gets Better” psychobabble.

No matter what his girlfriend Hayden says about faith and forgiveness, there’s no way Matt’s letting go of blame. He’s decided to “live large and go out with a huge bang,” and whatever happens happens. But when a horrific event plunges Matt into a dark, silent place, he hears a rumble…a rumble that wakes him up, calling everything he’s ever disbelieved into question.

My Thoughts


I received a copy of this novel to review, but that does not affect my opinion. 

This is an author that I usually love, and that made this one of my most anticipated books of this year. It is unfortunate that I must say this is my least favourite of her novels. If I had known what this book was about before I picked it up I probably would not have read it, but I do prefer to go into books "blind". From experience with her other novels I expected something dark, but this was very different. 

In my opinion, this novel was too focused on religion when it should have been more about Matt. He was a character that was dealing with a lot mentally, and instead I felt as though no one was helping him. I did not like his girlfriend, Hayden, because I felt she preached at him and did nothing to help him emotionally. She was too dramatic, assuming, and had a "holier than thou" attitude, which really got on my nerves. 

In fact, I can't say that I related, or even enjoyed any of the characters. Matt's parents were not connected enough to him, his school friends were not nice and, as I mentioned, I disliked Hayden very much. I can understand the way his parents handled the situation, in some way, because it is not easy to deal with the loss of a child. What did not help my opinion on the novel was the growth of a plot, or any character development until the last 75 pages. I feel that this story continued in a straight line from the beginning to the end, with no rises or falls.

Overall, I would not recommend this novel for any looking to read Ellen Hopkins for the first time, but instead to someone who has read her works and is interested in a religious-based plot. As disappointed as I was with this novel I am still grateful to Simon & Schuster for the copy, and will probably read more of Ellen's novels. 



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Author Interview: Michael Grant

"If you are wicked, the Messenger will find you"

Hey guys! So when I went to BEA this past May, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Grant and receiving an ARC copy of Messenger of Fear - scheduled to come out at the end of September. I recently read the book and really enjoyed it, so here is the interview I held with the author! Closer to the release date I will be posting a full review of the novel. 


Your GONE series was such a great one, but it was also so different from what readers can usually find on the shelf. What inspired the plot of Messenger of Fear?

There’s an old Swedish movie called The Seventh Seal.  It involves a Grim Reaper character who plays a game with a man.  So as I was pitching MESSENGER OF FEAR I’d tell people, “It’s the Seventh Seal with fewer Swedes and more teens.” This earned me many blank looks.


Which character from Messenger of Fear would you say that you relate to the most?

Oriax. Kidding.  I’d be one of the wrong-doers awaiting my just punishment.  



Do you remember what you were doing when you were inspired to write this novel? Is there any significance to the plot?

Mostly what I was doing was thinking, “Aren’t we all sick to death of dystopia? Oh, my GOD, make it stop!”  I had done GONE which is very big-canvas, lots of story, lots of characters, sort of dystopian.  And I had done BZRK which is sci-fi and very driven by gaming and technology and nihilism.  I’d written both in third person limited and it had been a long time since I’d done anything in first person.  So I knew I needed something more narrow-gauge and not dystopian.  I was attracted to the idea of doing horror, and after the moral bankruptcy of BZRK I wanted something with a different message.  And I wanted to write in first person, because I find it’s easier and I was kind of in the mood for it.



How long did you spend on the whole process of this novel?

Well, figure a period of maybe two weeks conceptualizing, creating the core characters, sketching out the world building, creating my “series bible.”  And two months for the actual writing.  And a bit of rewriting.  Maybe 12 weeks total?  Give or take a couple weeks.   



Was there any part of this novel that you did not enjoy writing? I can tell you that the scene involving the dog was not an easy one for me to read, but proved a solid example to the story.

See, this is where I’m a strange person:  all the stuff that is disturbing to readers is the stuff I love writing.  I’m never happier than when I’m thinking, “Oh, man, this scene will ruin someone’s sleep.”  I laugh to myself, sometimes out loud.  Yes, an actual LOL because I’m thinking of people pushing the book away and going, “I can’t read any more!” and then, slowly, inevitably coming back to finish the scene.  I have a sort of playful attitude toward readers, like we’re all in a game together and I’m trying to outwit them, teasing them, challenging them to engage.  I have smart readers.  I like them.  And I trust them to get what I’m up to.  



What is your favourite part of the writing process?

I hate editing.  I shouldn’t, but I always take any editing notes as a rebuke, like I haven’t my job well enough.  Actually I don’t get that many notes, and I love Katherine Tegen, but man I hate a revision letter. For me the fun parts are coming up with the initial concept, and writing the fun scenes.  I’m a first draft guy, that’s what I like, when the words are coming without me thinking about it and my fingers are just beating the shit out of the keyboard. Yeah, that’s fun. There was a lot of that with MESSENGER OF FEAR.  I told Tegen I was having so much fun she shouldn’t even pay me.  Of course she knows better than to take that literally.



How do you react of feel when people say that they read a book in a sitting or less than 24 hours? Does it bring you pleasure knowing they got so into the story? Or do you feel it wasn't properly enjoyed because there wasn't time to soak up all the little things? 

I love it.  Are you kidding? My goal in life is to keep you up all night reading.  


From the beginning of the novel, Mara was very level-headed, alert, and brave considering circumstances. As the story continues it is clear she goes through character development, but by the end she seemed to me as almost a whole new character. Is the going to change for the better or learn more about herself in the coming novels?

Character arc is tricky in series, doesn’t matter if it’s a book series or TV series, either way you have to grow the character without making the character a different person.  So what we’ll see with Mara is a growth of maturity, awareness, responsibility, and doubt.  



Another character that I am very intrigued about is Messenger. Will the next novel give any backstory as to his life and whatever wrong he might have done?

I am teasing out Messenger’s story little by little.  But there’s a big reveal in Book 2.  



Is there anything you can tell us about where the series will continue and what we can expect?

Well, the plan is for three books and two digital shorts.  I’ve already written the second book and the first short.  But I am sort of harboring this hope that the series does well enough that I can add more books. It’s very much a procedural, meaning its a bit like Law and Order in that there are defined elements that repeat.  So there’s room for more.  We’ll have to see.  It’s fun to write so I kind of don’t want to stop, I guess.  



One day I aspire to be a respected author, such as yourself, so is there any advice you would give to developing writers?

Focus on the doing and not on the being.  It’s a job, not a state of grace.  When you call a plumber you want him to know how to fix a toilet not watch him revel in his job title. As a writer you are no better than any other working stiff, and what the world wants from you is not you but the words you put on paper. Can you fix a toilet?  Can you write a scene?  Learn the job, get better at the job, do the job.  



Is there anything else you would like to add for anyone reading?

When GONE first came out I’d get these reviews on blogs or Goodreads that would say, “You didn’t tell us enough!  We want to know everything!”  I’m getting a bit of that on MESSENGER OF FEAR.  But by the end of GONE’s last book, LIGHT, everyone was saying, “He actually told us everything!”  So I guess what I would say is:  patience, people, all will be revealed, all will be clarified, I realize it’s hard not knowing, but frankly I revel in your pain so. . . Wait, that’s probably not the right way to put it.  Trust me:  in the end you will know all.



I just want to say a big thank you to Michael Grant for letting me pick his brain about his writing and this series, and you can follow him on twitter @thefayz

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wake by Amanda Hocking Review

Wake

Written by: Amanda Hocking
# of pages: 320

Average Rating: 3.71/5
My Rating: 3.5/5

Read in June 2014

Summary according to goodreads


Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs.  She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door.  He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back.  Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever.  She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove.  They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price.  And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.

My Thoughts


This is one of the first books that I have contemplated giving a half a star on the rating. The more I think about it, I feel that it was more than okay, but it won't be on my favourites shelf. I enjoyed the pacing once you get into the story, and I read it in about a 24-hour period. 

For this first 100 pages, I found that the story seemed to drag and that is was almost unnecessary. There was some background given on most of the characters, but most of the content could have been shortened or removed. 

Mermaids aren't usually my point of interest, and I would not recommend someone who hasn't read this genre before to start with this series. I mean nothing against the novel or the series, it just showed a darker side to the "sirens", and it was not what I had been expecting from the novel. 

There is a book trailer for this novel which I will link (click here), and I recommend checking that out if you are skeptical and want more information. The trailer did I good job of representing the story and isn't too misleading. 

I already own the rest of the series and eventually plan on continuing the series, but I was not immediately drawn to picking up the sequel. After the ending of the first novel I am curious as to how it will continue on. I have heard that the series gets better as you go along, so I have high hopes that I will not be disappointed. 


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Conversion Review

Conversion

Written by: Katherine Howe
# of pages: 402

My Rating: 5/5

Read in July 2014

Summary according to Goodreads


It’s senior year at St. Joan’s Academy, and school is a pressure cooker. College applications, the battle for valedictorian, deciphering boys’ texts: Through it all, Colleen Rowley and her friends are expected to keep it together. Until they can’t.
 
First it’s the school’s queen bee, Clara Rutherford, who suddenly falls into uncontrollable tics in the middle of class. Her mystery illness quickly spreads to her closest clique of friends, then more students and symptoms follow: seizures, hair loss, violent coughing fits. St. Joan’s buzzes with rumor; rumor blossoms into full-blown panic.
 
Soon the media descends on Danvers, Massachusetts, as everyone scrambles to find something, or someone, to blame. Pollution? Stress? Or are the girls faking? Only Colleen—who’s been reading The Crucible for extra credit—comes to realize what nobody else has: Danvers was once Salem Village, where another group of girls suffered from a similarly bizarre epidemic three centuries ago . . .
 
Inspired by true events—from seventeenth-century colonial life to the halls of a modern-day high school—Conversion casts a spell. With her signature wit and passion, New York Times bestselling author Katherine Howe delivers an exciting and suspenseful novel, a chilling mystery that raises the question, what’s really happening to the girls at St. Joan’s?

My Thoughts


I received a finished copy of this book at Book Expo America 2014.


This novel starts with a prelude, and at first it left me confused, because I went into this book blind, but it eventually all made sense. After only about 15 pages, I was hooked. 

The way this novel was written was very unique, because it almost had two stories in one. Every couple of chapters it would switch in time to the 1700s, and give you a story from a seemingly unrelated event. I enjoyed this way of telling the two stories because the reader does not get an information dump, and instead learns things from the past, as things in the present start happening. I am not someone that is familiar with the Salem Witch Trials, but this novel raised enough points to get me interested in doing more reading about it. This author did a very good job of flowing the story well back and forth between the past and the present - both with the attitudes of the characters, the language, and the surroundings. 


Although this novel is around 400 pages, I can tell you that you get sucked into the story, and you don't even realize how quickly you are turning the pages. This is a novel that you will not want to put down, and it is so fast paced that you won't. While reading this novel I was never quite sure about how it was going to end, although I did have a good idea. I thought I had been accurate in my assumption, but there ended up being a revelation to the story that I did not expect. In the end all of the loose ends were tied up nicely, and it did not feel abrupt. Both stories - those of Ann and Colleen - got the conclusion they needed. 

Overall I really enjoyed this novel as well as the writing style, and am very interested in reading more from this author. I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for something suspenseful with historical aspects, of at least a young adult age. 


Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Harder I Fall Review

The Harder I Fall

Written by: Jessica Gibson
# of pages: 215

Average Rating: 3.68/5
My Rating: 4/5

Read in June 2014

Summary according to goodreads


Becca Langer was not a normal girl, she didn't have normal girl problems. For most of her life, she’s had to take care of herself, her younger brother Chad, and her drunk mother. She’s lived under the shadow of what her father did when she was ten years old. Forever branded by his actions.

College was her escape, she could get away and finally live. Her dream was to make it in the New York Ballet Company one day. That for her meant a long road full of hard work and dedication. She didn't have time for distractions, and Levi Klein was definitely a distraction.

Will Levi be able to crack through her tough exterior and really see the wounded soul underneath? Becca needs to be loved, but the question is, will she let Levi love her?

My Thoughts


I received an ebook copy of this book to review, however that does not influence my opinion of the novel.


This book is such a quick, cute, and easy read with a plot that is perfect to read in the summer. In the beginning of the novel I found Levi, the love interest, to be kind of pushy, but I think that he grew as a character throughout the story. There was actually a significant amount of character development for Becca considering her life, and it was good to experience her growth.

Since this is such a short story, there were many parts that felt rushed. I can understand that since this story took place over the course of a school year, and it was only 200 pages that there wasn't a lot of time. However, I felt that some parts did not get the attention they deserved. 

I could so easily relate to this character, and I know you guys will too, that it was simple to have an attachment to her. I was so excited for her at Christmas, and so envious that she got to spend it in New York. Reading about her experience for the first time in the city - seeing Times Square and Broadway, etc - made me nostalgic of my first time there only a number of weeks ago. Her whole trip makes me want to go back and visit so much more. Another way that I could relate is in the upcoming fall I will be attending college across the country in which I am living, and she made me so excited for that adventure.

Although the characters in this story are 18/19, I would consider it to be New Adult because of the content and them being in college. 
I have not read many New Adult novels, but I know some people are hesitant to pick it up because of sexual content. In this novel there were some "adult" moments, but it was non-descriptive, leaving the reader comfortable with the situation.

One of the lines in this book is; "I promise you, I will always catch you." And just, AHH THE FEELS.

I would have easily given this book five stars if it hadn't been for that ending. I am not going to discuss it in too much detail because I don't want to spoil it, but I was very disappointed. This wasn't how I expected Becca to act, especially considering all she had come through, and I found it to be a very rash decision. 

There is a companion novel coming out told from Becca's brother Chad's perspective, and I am very interested in reading it. I enjoyed the writing style of this novel quite a bit, so I look forward to reading other works from this other.

P.S, This book is currently only $1.00 and some change for kindle, so I totally recommend you guys give it a try! Click here to view it on Amazon!



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Colour of Evil Series Review

Colour of Evil 
Written by: Connie Corcoran Wilson




Colour of Evil 
    Read in June 2014
    # of pages: 279
    Average Rating: 3.44/5
    My Rating: 4/5








Red is for Rage 
    Read in June 2014
    # of pages: 258

    Average Rating: 3.67/5
    My Rating: 4/5


Khaki = Killer 
    Read in June 2014
    # of pages: 220
    Average Rating: 4.25/5
    My Rating: 4/5




Summary of first novel according to goodreads

Tad McGreevy has a power that he has never revealed, not even to his life-long best friend, Stevie Scranton. When Tad looks at others, he sees colors. These auras tell Tad whether a person is good or evil. At night, Tad dreams about the evil-doers, reliving their crimes in horrifyingly vivid detail. 

But Tad doesn't know if the evil acts he witnesses in his nightmares are happening now, are already over, or are going to occur in the future. He has no control over the horrifying visions. He has been told (by his parents) never to speak of his power. All Tad knows is that he wants to protect those he loves. And he wants the bad dreams to stop. 

At Tad's eighth birthday party (April 1, 1995) in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the clown his parents hire to entertain Tad's third-grade classmates is one of the bad people. Pogo, the Killer Clown (aka Michael Clay) is a serial killer. So begins 53 nights of terror as Tad relives Pogo's crime, awakens screaming, and recites the terrifying details to his disbelieving family. The situation becomes so dire that Tad is hospitalized in a private institution under the care of a psychiatrist--who also does not believe the small boy's stories.

And then the police arrest Pogo, the Killer Clown.

Flash forward to the beginning of Tad's junior year in high school, 8 years later. Tad is 16 and recovered from the spring of his third-grade year. When Michael Clay was caught and imprisoned, the crime spree ended and so did Tad's bad dreams. 

Until now, in the year of our Lord 2003, when evil once again stalks the land.

This is a terrifying, intense story of the dark people and places that lurk just beneath the surface of seemingly normal small-town America. As one reviewer says, "Wilson nails the darkness beneath the surface of small-town Midwestern life with an intense story based on fact." 

Tad must wage a silent war against those who would harm the ones he loves. A battle to the death.

My Thoughts


I received these books to review as part of a blog tour, specifically the third book, but that does not influence my opinion.


Something that I really enjoyed about the first book was that it got into all of the details for many characters. In the beginning there were chapters dedicated to each character, giving the reader different information on their past and ideas on their personality. It is such an easy novel to get into because it grabs your attention and keeps you interested. 

The writing throughout this series is easy to read, and the chapters are short so it is easy to fly through. This author did a fantastic job of getting you interested in each of the character's lives, and feel strong emotions towards all of them - both positive and negative. 

Throughout the continuation of the series it is evident that the writer finds her groove into the story, thus leading the reader to get even more involved. I must inform you, however, that there is some darker, more adult content including murder, sex, and child molestation - so be aware if that is not something you are fond of reading.

In my opinion the third novel was the best because it wrapped everything up nicely, leaving no questions unanswered.

This is a series I would recommended for readers around 17 or older, because of the content, but it is an overall great series. You may find it odd that I am recommending such a strong series during the summer, but it is a good read because it is a quick one. Plus guess what! Book 2 in the series, Red Is For Rage will be free on Kindle June 26-30th! Make sure you pick it up!



Overall I really enjoyed this series!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Tween Hobo: Off the Rails Review

Tween Hobo: Off the Rails

Written by: Tween Hobo with Alena Smith
# of pages: 230

My Rating: 3/5

Read in May 2014

Summary according to goodreads


A hilarious and irreverent illustrated book based on the popular Twitter feed (@tweenhobo), featuring a young spunky girl who packs up her glitter pens and sneaks out of math class one Monday afternoon to traverse the railroads in search of freedom, adventure, and her own personal obsession: Justin Bieber tickets.



My Thoughts

I received a copy of this book from Simon and Schuster Canada, but that does not influence my opinion of the novel.

I know that this book was based off of a twitter account, but I had never heard of it before being contacted to review this book. The first-person narrator was an eleven year old girl, so that alone should tell you the depth of the story. There were many pop cultural references, including many to Justin Bieber. This got kind of annoying, as did the language although I know it was just part of the character.

I am someone that cannot grasp the difference between my age group and the next, because everything was so different when I was a kid. We did not have twitter or Facebook, and the only time I could use the Internet was at the library at school or the massive desktop my parents had. Reading this book kind of made me feel annoyed because it portrays, at the beginning for sure, a girl that is ignorant of a world away from teen heartthrobs and tumblr.

On a more positive note, there were tweets and drawings, and random other things woven into the story, which were a nice touch. Having more than just text helped create the illusion that you were reading an eleven year olds diary.

In all honesty I am not sure who I would recommend this book to, if I would recommend it at all, but it was just something quick to read. I do not mean to steer anyone off from picking it up, and I would love to hear your thoughts if you do pick it up.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Altered Review

Altered

Written by: Jennifer Rush

# of pages: 323

Average Rating: 4.07/5
My Rating: 4/5

Read in April 2014

Summary according to goodreads 


Everything about Anna’s life is a secret. Her father works for the Branch at the helm of its latest project: monitoring and administering treatments to the four genetically altered boys in the lab below their farmhouse. There’s Nick, Cas, Trev . . . and Sam, who’s stolen Anna’s heart. When the Branch decides it’s time to take the boys, Sam stages an escape, killing the agents sent to retrieve them. 

Anna is torn between following Sam or staying behind in the safety of her everyday life. But her father pushes her to flee, making Sam promise to keep her away from the Branch, at all costs. There’s just one problem. Sam and the boys don’t remember anything before living in the lab—not even their true identities.

Now on the run, Anna soon discovers that she and Sam are connected in more ways than either of them expected. And if they’re both going to survive, they must piece together the clues of their past before the Branch catches up to them and steals it all away.

My Thoughts


I had started this book last summer, but for reasons I can't remember put it down. I am so glad I picked it back up and finished it! This is a series I am now hooked on.

Right from the beginning of a novel you get thrown into the story, but are gradually given back story of what is going on. This makes it a much quicker read, which I can appreciate, and made it feel like you were reading less than 300 pages. The author did a good job of including many things, but not dragging them out - so you didn't feel as though you were getting too much information, or too little.

One of the reasons that I enjoyed this novel so much were all of the different elements. This is a young-adult dystopian book, with themes of thriller and romance thrown into the mix. Everything was balanced very well and the romance didn't overpower the story, it was more put on the back burner. What unfolded throughout this story was a very realistic depiction of what would have happened for people in that situation. There were also many things going on that I did not predict, including the last hundred pages. I could not put it down and finished it at midnight because I just had to know what happened.

I believe this is going to be a trilogy but only two of the books have been released. Obviously I ordered the second book and am anxiously awaiting it's arrival, and I cannot wait to continue on this journey with these awesome characters. Did I mention it's about a girl and four hot guys? Yes please ... Besides all the bad things that happen of course. This is a series that I could easily recommend to any reader, male or female, because there are comedic elements as well, but also it is not a major focus of how hot these guys are. Hopefully other readers enjoy it as much as I did!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hypocrisy Book Review

Hypocrisy

Written by: D.M Annechino
# of pages: 278

Average Rating: 3.76/5
My Rating: 5/5

Read in May 2014

Summary according to goodreads


Dr. Lauren Crawford is a brilliant research scientist who discovers a revolutionary treatment for cancer that not only extends life, but much improves the quality of life for terminal cancer patients. The treatment, in some instances, can even cure certain cancers. On the evening before Dr. Crawford holds a press conference to announce that the FDA has given preliminary approval of her new cancer treatment, somebody follows her to her car and puts three bullets in her head. Was it a planned murder with a motive, a mugging gone badly, or merely a random act of violence? Two New York City homicide detectives, Amaris Dupree and T.J. Brown, are assigned to the investigation. The detectives evaluate the circumstances surrounding Dr. Crawford's death, and follow a trail of clues that exposes a sequence of startling facts. One by one, the detectives carefully examine each suspect and piece together a puzzle with unimaginable implications. As the investigation gets more intense, and the detectives get closer to solving the murder mystery, someone threatens Dupree's life. The detectives now realize that Dr. Crawford's murder was much more than a homicide. And if they don't arrest the murderer soon, Dupree might be the next victim.


My Thoughts


I received a copy of this book to review as part of a blog tour, but that does not influence my opinion.

Right from the beginning this novel sucks you into the story, starting with a short prologue from the victims point of view. Having this prologue opens the readers mind to what the story will unfold and what this doctor was on the verge of uncovering. I considered this to be an under-appreciated aspect, because although this was a character that had died, a reader was still able to get a grasp on who she was.

Reading this book was like watching an episode of CSI (or any other crime scene show) and it was awesome. If it wasn't so dangerous being a homicide detective, I would seriously consider getting a degree in criminology. Reading this novel makes you so interested in the story and trying to figure out who was involved. There were no moments where you wanted to put this book down, and that is so important in a thriller.

Something that I really enjoyed about this novel was that the language was acceptable, and there were no "adults only" content like most of the adult books I've read. Most adult books I have been sent to read branch off into moments of erotica and it catches me off guard, or there is an unnecessary amount of curse words. Considering that this book was written about detectives, it was a good creative move to have this characters act and speak professionally. This was a murder mystery/thriller novel, and that's exactly what the author focused on.

I am really glad that I received a copy of this novel because otherwise I might not have picked it up. This is a book I have not heard people talk about, but I can only hope to influence more people to read it. 


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Miss Peregrine's Graphic Novel Review

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Graphic Novel

Written by: Ransom Riggs
Art by: Cassandra Jean
# of pages: 272

Average Rating: 4.13/5
My Rating: 4/5

Read in March 2014

Summary according to goodreads

Ransom Riggs's haunting fantasy bestseller adapted to a graphic novel! 
As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow-impossible though it seems-they may still be alive.


My Thoughts

This book is now one of my favourite graphic novels. The art was so well done, it helped me as a reader to better see and understand what the author visualized as he was writing the original novel. 

I wasn't the biggest fan of the original book as I was disappointed, but this graphic novel made me really enjoy it and realize how good it was. Having this book to make me reflect on was a positive as it made me even more excited to read the sequel, Hollow City. I chose to pick up the graphic novel before reading Hollow City because it had been over a year since I had picked up this series. I am very glad I did because there were some details that I had forgotten about the original story. 

This book was just so well made, both as a hardcover and the pictures inside. The pages were nice and thick, but were also coloured when Jacob was at the house, which I think added a lot to the story. Having the different colours of art helped add life to the story when necessary, and tone it down when called for. Hopefully they do a graphic novel for Hollow City as well, because I think they would also do a good job on that one.


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Lens and the Looker Review

The Lens and the Looker

Written by: Lory S. Kaufman
# of pages: 322

Average Rating: 3.48/5
My Rating: 3/5

Read in May 2014

Summary according to Goodreads


It's the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s), have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth's distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradations. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan. In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don't have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities. These three "hard cases" refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It's hardly the ideal environment to fall in love - but that's exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them - or it could change history. The series takes readers along on the life-changing journey of three 24th century teens. While the three protagonists appear quite immature in the first half of The Lens and the Looker, this is not a series aimed exclusively at young teens. Lory Kaufman says he writes for readers 13 to 113, (and precocious 12-year-olds) This is borne out by the fact that about half the readership of the series is adult. What many readers say they love about this series is its wonderful mix of science fiction (the future) and historical fiction (the past). While there's time travel, there are also sword fights, and while there are detailed descriptions of ancient technologies, the story also includes many colorful characters who just happen to be artificial intelligences. There's allusions to a Romeo and Juliet love story and also characters who have murderous intentions toward the lovers. And the setting? Many readers are praising the accurately described historical setting of 14th century Verona Italy, where much of the story takes place.

My Thoughts


I received a copy of this book to review as part of a blog tour, but that does not influence my opinion.


This novel is the first in a triology, but it was not a series I was interested in reading back to back. It is nothing against the story, but at the beginning of this novel there was such an info dump, and so much to wrap your head around, that I felt like I needed to write something light afterward. This trilogy is a post-dystopian fiction in the young adult genre, but it also has aspects of time travel.

I really enjoyed the historical aspects of this novel, as they take these teenagers back to old life in Verona. Reading about life and culture back then was an interesting addition to the novel, and added dimension to the plot. Another good choice the author made while writing this novel was having the story be told from third person. I enjoyed this because you got a deeper look into all of the characters thoughts, and how they reacted to the changes. 

Hansum by far was my favourite character, and I am not usually one to choose a male protagonist over a female. I felt that Hansum had more character development, could be seen as more relatable, and also was just fun to read. 

Overally I thought this book was very interesting and had a unique concept, and I would recommend it to readers that are looking for something different. Although I did not marathon-read the trilogy, I do plan on reading them this summer. 



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Treatment Review

The Treatment

Written by: Susanne Young
# of pages: 340

My Rating: 5/5

Read in January 2014

Summary according to goodreads


How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

My Thoughts 


I received a copy of this book for review, but that does not influence my opinion.

To put it briefly: AMAZING. One of the best sequels I have ever read. The Program was in the top 3 of the books I read in 2013, and The Treatment was one of most anticipated reads of 2014! So happy to say that this did not disappoint! As much as I loved this series, I liked the way it ended and don't feel that it needed another book (meaning making it a trilogy). Everything that I wanted to happen, happened and all of my questions got answered.

There were so many things that I wasn't expecting, but I did have an idea that one event would happen. Luckily, I was still surprised because it didn't happen the way that I though it would!

And another thing: James. That should speak for itself. He is one of my favourite "love interest" characters because he is funny, charming, but incredibly supportive and strong-willed.

To talk about a physical detail of the book, I loved that when you take of the dust jacket, there is a design on the actually book. This is consistent with the first novel in this series, so I appreciated that aspect. This book left me speechless, so it is hard for me to form sentences to review it. If you haven't read this duology I recommend you do, as they are fast paced novels that grab your attention and keep it the whole time. 

PS, big thanks to the author for retweeting and favouriting my fangirl tweets after I finished the book. 



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Stolen Review

Stolen 

Written by: Lucy Christopher
# of pages: 300

Average Rating: 3.94/5
My Rating: 2/5

Read in March 2014

Summary according to goodreads

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? 

The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost.


My Thoughts

I really enjoyed how the writing style of this book helped you feel like you were there. It was so unique to read a book that was written in the form of a letter to the captor, instead of just a first-person play by play of what had happened. 

It scared me to think how easy he took her out of the airport, and how often it actually happens in our world. Being someone that has travelled alone, and will be doing more travelling, it makes me wary of strangers because you never know who is really… crazy for lack of a better word.

Ty - the main antagonist - was an interesting character as he was not what I expect out of a regular kidnapper. I have studied sociology and psycology, and have done studies on kidnappers, and he doesn't fit the average. His tactics were well thought out, but his reasonings for taking her were not the usual. Most people kidnap children mostly for their own fantasies, or other deranged reasons, but he thought he was doing it for her benefit. 

I am torn over how I feel about the ending of this book. It was kind of predictable, and maybe even realistic when compared to real life situations, but I think it could have been written better. As I was reading it, I didn't feel the emotions that Gemma was describing. 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Freeing of Jonathon Mark Review

The Freeing of Jonathon Mark

Written by: Nathan Gross
# of pages: 320

My Rating: 4/5

Read in March 2014

Summary according to Goodreads

Jonathon is a Taker, some type of modern day psych in the growing industry of modern grief. Takers treat people for all that ails them just by listening. In session, a Taker doesn’t speak. A Taker doesn’t move. A Taker doesn’t even blink. They take till their patients have got no more negativity to give.

A chance meeting throws a new patient into Jonathon’s life. A girl whose carefree lightness of being is in complete contrast to the average patient. She makes Jonathon realise he can no longer refuse to deal with how his job makes him sick, nor his own destructive vice.

Murder is his only way out, an action that leads him towards his own death and beyond. It is a path he hopes will lead him to his freedom.


My Thoughts

I recieved a copy of this book to review as part of a blog tour, but that does not influence my opinion. 

The writing style for this novel was very different, and actually included examples of onomatopoeia (words that make sounds like "pop", "bang", "click", "buzz", etc) - which is very unique for me to read. For this being an adult novel I found that the story flowed very well, and I did not find it to be too dense or slow. 

The concept of this novel was also very unique and interesting, and thankfully executed well. It was such a different idea, that I think it could be a good and entertaining read for a lot of people. Every other chapter (more or less) is of one of Jonathon's clients, and this should a lot of character both in himself and for the clients. I found it very funny to read Jonathon's opinion of his clients, and what he really thought about them. As a Taker he isn't allowed to speak to his clients, so reading everything he wanted to say was a good addition to the story and character. 

The author did a very good job balancing the story with excerpts about the clients and their issues, as well as Jonathon and his own problems. Considering I am only a teenage girl and the protagonast was a male adult, I was able to understand the character, and I believe that is a very powerful thing for a writer to do. 

For anyone wanting to read this novel, just take into consideration that it is a adult book that includes things like swearing and sex. If that doesn't bother you, I definitely recommend you check it out!