Friday, September 28, 2012

Follow Friday #48

Gain New Blog Followers
Follow Friday is a weekly event hosted by Parajunkee & Alison of Alison Can Read.

This weeks question is:

What is the BIGGEST word you've seen used in a book lately - that made you stop and look it up? Might as well leave the definition & book too.
I mainly read young adult so the words aren't that challenging. I have never had to look up a word as of yet. But I'm sure when I do, I'll be too lazy to look it up anyway.

Book Review #192 - Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)

"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.
My Rating: 4/5
If I could have split this book in half, the first half would get five stars and the second half would get three stars.
The book started off really well, very fast paced and I was sucked into Karou's world instantly. I really liked how unique and independent she was.
I found Brimstone and the mysterious Elsewhere very facinating and wished they were explored deeper.
The book being set in Prague, was a very interesting aspect as I have never read a book set there before. It had a very unique feel to it.
The plot was alot to take in. It was very complicated and towards the end when it started to explain things more in depth I was a little confused at times.
The second half of the book, when Karou and Akiva fall in love was when I started to lose interest. I didn't feel any chemistry between them and I didn't like how their love became the sole focus in the story.
I am definitely going to be reading the second book in the series, but I just hope it is more like the first half of this book and not the second half.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review #191 - Beautifully Broken (Spellbound #1) by Sherry Soule

Beautifully Broken (Spellbound series, #1) YA Urban Fantasy

Thirteenth daughter. Heritage witch. Demon slayer.

They say every town has its secrets, but that doesn’t even begin to describe Whispering Pines. The townsfolk are a superstitious lot and the mystical disappearance of a local teen has everyone murmuring about a centuries old witch’s curse…

Sixteen-year-old Shiloh Ravenwolf is a heritage witch from the Broussard family, a family both destined and cursed. After she takes a summer job at Ravenhurst Manor, she discovers a ghost with an agenda. That’s where she meets the new town hottie, Trent Donovan. But Trent may be the next victim on the supernatural hit list, and Shiloh is the only person with the power to save him.

Complicated much?

After receiving cryptic messages from a creepy wraith, and then frightening threats from a demon, Shiloh finally begins to understand the mysterious significance of the strange mark branded on her wrist. Now Shiloh must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice to protect the other teenagers in town.

Unfortunately, for Shiloh, not all ghosts want help crossing over. Some want vengeance.
My Rating: 4/5

I would like to thank the author for kindly sending me a copy of this book for review. Her Goodreads page is here.
This book starts off with a bang and made me instantly interested in the story.
Shiloh is such a likeable, brave, strong female character one who I connected to instantly. Her family dynamics were also very interesting especially her relationship with her mother.
Shiloh's relationship with the male protagonist Trent progressed too quickly for my liking and I never felt the connection between the two of them, but I did like them on their own.
My favourite part of this book was Ravenhurst Manor. The way it is described was intense and I loved the whole gothic feel of it. I loved the history it had and the reason behind all the hauntings was intriguing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review #190 - The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle, #1)

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
My Rating: 4/5
I received this book for review from Scholastic Australia.
The prologue drew me instantly into the the world created, it was one of my favourite parts of the book.
This book was mainly told from the two alternating perspectives of Blue and Gainsy.
I liked Blue from the opening prologue. She was very unique and had a very interesting family. I am looking forward to her further development over the series.
With Gainsy, I don't really know that much about him. With Blue's chapter it was mainly just her so there was alot of focus on her whereas with Gainsy he was always with his friends so the focus was shared.
My favourite character was Adam. I probably would have preferred him to have been the main male character.
I have only read one other book by the author and I really like her descriptive writing style. She is one of the best as describing things with amazing clarity.
The plot of this book is not what I thought it would be. I thought it would be as described on the book but it was completely different.
I found the plot to be unique, and very interesting. I found myself really invested in this series and so cannot wait for the second book to be published.  

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Each week features a different topic, and you make a top ten list about it.

This weeks top ten list is the top ten series I am yet to finish.
1. The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare. I have only read the first book.
2. The Gone Series by Michael Grant. I have only read the first book.
3. The Wolves of Mercy Falls by Maggie Stiefvater. I have only read the first book.
4. The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa. I have only read the first book.
5. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. I have read the first two books.
6. Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I have read the first three books in the series.
7. Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld. I have read the first two books.
8. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. I have read the first eight books.
9. The Sookie Stackhouse Series by Charlaine Harris. I'm not sure where I am up to in the series but plan on re-reading them all and reviewing them.
10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I have only read the first book.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Review #189 - Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.
My Rating: 4/5
I had pretty high expectations for this book as I am a fan of the dystopian genre. I would say for the mostpart this book met those expectations.
There was more romance in this book than I had hoped for, at times it overshadowed other elements. I liked both main characters Juliette and Adam, but I didn't feel any chemistry between them. This was the only problems I had with the book.
I really liked the writing style was unique and it took me a while to get used to it, especially the strike-outs. The writing had very vivid descriptions and likeable characters.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #10

"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is a fun meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey. This is where we share the books we have read last week and our reading plans for this week.
The books that I reviewed last week are:
Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5) by Sara Shepard;
Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard;
Heartless (Pretty Little Liars #7) by Sara Shepard;
Wanted (Pretty Little Liars #8) by Sara Shepard
The book that I am currently reading is:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."

In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review #188 - Saturday by Ian McEwan


In his triumphant new novel, Ian McEwan, the bestselling author of Atonement, follows an ordinary man through a Saturday whose high promise gradually turns nightmarish. Henry Perowne - a neurosurgeon, urbane, privileged, deeply in love with his wife and grown-up children - plans to play a game of squash, visit his elderly mother, and cook dinner for his family. But after a minor traffic accident leads to an unsettling confrontation, Perowne must set aside his plans and summon a strength greater than he knew he had in order to preserve the life that is dear to him.

My Rating: 3/5

The biggest problem I had with this book was there was too much detail in every aspect. I can understand why because it is based on  one day in a guys life but at times it got quite boring.
I really liked the detail used when describing his work as a neurosurgeon as I found that really interesting, and it was this aspect that kept me interested to keep reading.
I feel like this book had a deeper meaning to it that I simply wasn't able to understand, and hope that one day if I ever decided to reread it I can fully appreciate it then.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Follow Friday #47

Gain New Blog Followers

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

This weeks question is:

What hyped up book was worth all of the fuss?

The book that I am currently reading which is Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was a book that I had put off reading it because of the hype, but I am really enjoying it and only have 30 or so pages to go.

Blog Hop #28

Book Blogger Hop is a bookish meme hosted by the blog Crazy For Books.

This weeks question:
Blogging Question: What is one thing that your blog readers probably do not know about you?
I am a fanatic supporter of the Fremantle Dockers Football Club which is an Australian Football team. They first played in 1995 and have supported them since then. I travelled interstate the last two weekends to watch them play finals.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Book Review #187 - Wanted (Pretty Little Liars #8) by Sara Shepard

Wanted (Pretty Little Liars, #8)
In Rosewood, not all that glitters is gold and the town harbours secrets darker than anyone could imagine - like the truth about what really happened the night Ali DiLaurentis went missing....

Back in middle school, Ali plucked Emily, Hanna, Aria and Spencer from obscurity and turned them into the beautiful, popular girls everyone wanted to be. Ali was the best friend they ever had. But she also made them do terrible things and taunted them with their worst secrets . Now, three years later, all their questions about Ali have finally been answered and they can put this awful chapter of their lives behind them. Or so they think.

Not every story has a happy ending, especially when four pretty little liars have done so many wicked things.

My Rating: 4/5

I was pretty excited to finally be reading this book as I knew this was originally going to be the end of the series and the mystery would be solved.
It did not end anywhere near how I thought it would. I thought that when the killer was revealed that you would be able to look back across the series and see hints that I might of missed.
The ending felt very rushed, which is why I was only able to give this book a rating of 4/5.
Other than that, I was happy the way the book ended with the characters and would have been happy had the series ended then but am excited to read the other remaining books in the series as this series is really addictive. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Book Review #186 - Heartless (Pretty Little Liars #7) by Sara Shepard

Heartless (Pretty Little Liars, #7)

In picturesque Rosewood, Pennsylvania, neighbors gossip over picket fences, and gleaming SUVs sit in every crushed-granite driveway. But recently, friendly smiles have been replaced with suspicious glares and accusatory whispers and it's all because Hanna, Aria, Emily, and Spencer just can't keep their mouths shut. .

First they claimed they found a dead body in the woods behind Spencer's house, only to have it vanish without a trace. Then when the same woods went up in flames, they swore they saw someone who's supposed to be dead rise from the ashes. And even after all that, the pretty little liars are still playing with fire.

Hanna's trading in her Dior trench for a straitjacket. Aria's trying to contact the dead. Emily's dumped her boyfriend and is skipping town . . . again. And Spencer thinks someone in her family has gotten away with murder.

The friends insist they're telling the truth about what they saw, but all of Rosewood thinks they're simply out for attention and nobody likes a girl who cries wolf. So when the big bad killer comes after the girls, will anyone believe them . . . or will they be the next to disappear?

My Rating: 5/5

This book was alot more slower paced than the previous books, but I still managed to read it really quickly. These books are really addictive. They have so many cliff hangers and twists in them that you can't stop reading them.

This book opens up even more unanswered questions, that you feel like you are on the verge of answering but just can't quite seem to put enough of the pieces together.

The cliff hanger from the last book was left unsolved, and so that remains in the top three of unanswered questions behind who killed Alison and who is A? (I don't think A is the person they arrested).

Spencer's uncovers what has probably been the biggest twist of the series so far. I was really shocked and didn't see it coming.

Aria starts dating someone her own age and has an interesting life of his own.

Hanna is still unsure who she can trust in her own family and her time in a mental institution opens more questions that need answers.

I liked Emily in this book which was a surprise. I thought her story (apart from Spencer's) was the most captivating.

The ending again at the end of the book was one of the biggest cliff hangers of the series so far. I am not sure why it ended the way it did and what influence it is going to have.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Review #185 - Killer (Pretty Little Liars #6) by Sara Shepard

Killer (Pretty Little Liars, #6)

In picture-perfect Rosewood, Pennsylvania, ash-blond highlights gleam in the winter sun and frozen lakes sparkle like Swarovski crystals. But pictures often lie--and so do Rosewood's four prettiest girls.

Hanna, Aria, Spencer, and Emily have been lying ever since they became friends with beautiful Alison DiLaurentis. Ali made them do terrible things--things they had to keep secret for "years." And even though Ali was killed at the end of seventh grade, their bad-girl ways didn't die with her.

Hanna's on a mission to corrupt Rosewood's youth, starting with a very attractive sophomore. Aria's snooping into her boyfriend's past. Spencer's stealing--from her family. And pure little Emily's abstaining from abstinence.

The girls should be careful, though. They thought they were safe when Ali's killer was arrested and A's true identity was finally revealed. But now there's a new A in town turning up the heat. And this time Rosewood is going to burn.
My Rating: 5/5
What I liked most about this book was A. He/She was no longer just there to blackmail the girls with their secrets, but to make the story alot more interesting and stopped it from being repetitve.

I liked Hanna's relationship with her step-sister Kate because like Hanna I was unsure whether she could be trusted or not.

Given that Aria is my favourite character, I would have liked her to have had a more definitive part in this novel. Her storyline was more about her family than her.

Spencer had the most intriguing story, and I am interested to learn more about it. Spencer is probably the one character that I find it hard to connect to, but I still like her.

Emily is still the character that I like the least. Her storyline in this book was the best she's had since the first few books.

I am not sure what to think of the ending of this book. At first I was shocked, but now I am thinking this is becoming like a soap opera.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Review #184 - Wicked (Pretty Little Liars #5) by Sara Shepard

Wicked (Pretty Little Liars, #5)

In idyllic Rosewood, Pennsylvania, four very pretty girls just can't help but be bad. . . .
Hanna will do anything to be Rosewood's queen bee. Spencer's digging up her family's secrets. Emily can't stop thinking about her new boyfriend. And Aria approves a little too strongly of her mom's taste in men.
Now that Ali's killer is finally behind bars, the girls think they're safe. But those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. And they should know by now that I'm always watching. . .
My Rating: 5/5
I was curious to see how this series would keep going given that A has been revealed, but I can see that it had to because we still don't know who killed Alison.
I don't think it was as good as the first four books, but I still really enjoyed reading it and read it really fast.
Aria still seems to be my favourite character, even though I found Emily's storyline the most interesting in this book.
The cliff hanger at the end of the book, just makes you want to pick up the next book straight away, which is what I did.
Anyone who hasn't read these books yet, but plans to make sure you always have the next book because they are really addictive.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Book Haul (16 September 2012)

Books for review:

The Raven Boys (Raven Cycle #1) by Maggie Stiefvater  - sent for review by Scholastic Australia;

The Eyes of the Desert Sand (Chrysalis Chronicles #1) by Edwin Wolfe - sent for review by the author.

I was lucky enough to go to Melbourne two weekends ago, and then also go to Adelaide last weekend. These are just some books that I picked up in that time:

Ill Wind (Weather Warden #1) by Rachel Caine;

The Rest Falls Away (Gardella Vampire Chronicles #1) by Colleen Gleason;

HMS Surprise (Aubrey/Maturin #3) by Patrick O'Brian;

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan;

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Black Heart (Vampirates #4) by Justin Somper;

Troubletwisters: The Monster (Troubletwisters #2) by Garth Nix and Sean Williams;

Museum of Thieves (The Keepers Trilogy #1) by Lian Tanner;

Reckless (Reckless #1) by Cornelia Funke;

The Wildkin's Curse (The Starkin Crown #2) by Kate Forsyth;

Invisible City (Joshua Files #1) by M.G. Harris;

Blood Captain (Vampirates #3) by Justin Somper

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma;

Article 5 (Article 5 #1) by Kristen Simmons;

Guide to The Hunger Games by Caroline Carpenter;

Raising Demons (Hex Hall #2) by Rachel Hawkins;

Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer;

Spells (Wings #2) by Aprilynne Pike;

Eona (Eon #2) by Alison Goodman;

The Name of the Star (Shades of London #1) by Maureen Johnson;

Hereafter (Hereafter #1) by Tara Hudson;

Raising Champions: A Parents' Perspective by Philippa Coates

Everything We Ever Wanted by Sara Shepard;

Soulsurfer by Bethany Hamilton;

One Hundred Candles (Past Midnight #2) by Mara Purnhagen;

Eve (#1) by Anna Carey

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Friday, September 7, 2012

Blog Hop #27

Book Blogger Hop is a bookish meme hosted by the blog Crazy For Books.

This weeks question:
What book series do you never want to see end?
Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard - I am up to book 5 and am really enjoying it.

Follow Friday #46

Gain New Blog Followers

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

This weeks question is:

 What are you reading right now? How do you like it?.
I am not reading anything right now, which is strange. A book that I did recently finish though is The Traitors by Tom Becker which I reviewed today. The reason I am not reading anything right now is because I am travelling interstate over the weekend and didn't want to be in the middle of a book. 

Book Review #183 - The Traitors by Tom Becker

The Traitors
Adam has betrayed his best friend and now he must face the consequences. His punishment is 274 years in the Dial, a prison in a notime world, where teenage traitors are forced to atone for their crime. It's a terrible place, ruled over by a cruel despot, where every day is a struggle for survival - and escape.

Legend has it that only one person has fled the Colditz-like prison. Nobody knows if he made it back to the real world, but he left behind a ray of hope that has reached through the years. Soon Adam is caught up in a deadly plan to escape. But in a world full of traitors, you can trust no one.
My Rating: 4/5
I received this book from Scholastic Australia for review.

The premise of this book was really intriguing and unique. I think that it could have been better though.

The protagonist Adam, was under developed but still was very likeable and carried the novel well.

I liked the whole concept of this book, it was fast paced and you never knew what was going to happen next. The ending especially was something that I never expected.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read an edge of your seat thriller that you will love from the very first page. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Book Review #182 - Loathing Lola by William Kostakis

Loathing Lola

Fifteen-year-old Courtney Marlow didn't exactly think it through. She thought the offer to have her life broadcast on national television was the perfect solution to her family's financial troubles.

She was wrong.

Mackenzie Dahl, the show’s producer, promised to show Australia a real teenager. Courtney was going to be a positive role model, someone on television without a boob job and an eating disorder.

Soon, everyone wants their 15 minutes of fame via a little bit of Courtney – especially her conniving friend Katie, and her stepmother, Lola. And Courtney is just beginning to realise that ‘ordinary’ does not translate to ‘entertaining’…

My Rating: 4/5

As someone who generally dislikes reality television, I wasn't too sure if I would like this book or not.

Courtney was a great protagonist as she was very realistic, and very easy to connect with. I really liked her relationship with Tim, although towards the end he was barely mentioned.
Katie was a very strong personality, one who I knew I would like from the very first page. The funeral scene at the beginning was a great way to set the tone for the novel.
What really surprised me was how funny I found the book to be, as I didn't perceive it to be a comedy.
The book was well written and just lacked maturity at times, but that will come with experience. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review #181 - My Story by Tom Daley

My Story

Enter the enthralling world of Olympian Tom Daley.

Tom had hearts in mouths when he dived at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where he won two gold medals. He is one of Britain's gleaming hopes for gold at the London 2012 Olympics. But there is also a heartbreaking and inspiring story of a young athlete coping with the death of his father whilst under the glare of the world's media spotlight.

In this, Tom's first official memoir, he offers unprecedented access to the pressures, challenges and fascinating experiences of a world-class Olympian. From his day-to-day schedule, to his hobbies and family life, to sharing his hopes and dreams in the build up to the London Olympics, this book offers a unique chance to get close to Tom. Featuring exclusive photography and published simultaneously as a hardback and enhanced e-book, this will be the ultimate book for the 2012 Olympics.
My Rating: 5/5
I read this book very quickly, in fact it only just arrived in the mail a few hours ago. It was very easy to read, and really fast paced. I never got bored which is rare with non-fiction.
The only thing I was unsure about with this book was the fact that it was the autobiography of a 18 year old. Yet, the writing was mature and I found that I could relate to it.
The quality of the book is really good as well, it has glossy pages and alot of pictures.
This book was really inspirational and the best autobiography I have read for a while.