Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review #295 - That Summer by Sarah Dessen

That Summer
For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister--the always perfect Ashley--is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.
My Rating: 4/5
This is Sarah's Dessen's first novel. I think this is about the third or fourth book I have read of hers. This would be my least favourite from the ones I have read so far. I just didn't find it as captivating as her other books.
The characters were all likeable with distinct personalities as is the case with all Sarah Dessen novels. Haven was an interesting protagonist and at times seemed younger that what she actually was.
The plot was a little simple and pretty straight forward. I kept expecting something to happen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review #294 - Summer (Beautiful Dead #3) by Eden Maguire

Summer (Beautiful Dead, #3)
Six months have passed since the last Ellerton teenager died, but Darina is still traumatized by the stabbing of her own beloved Phoenix. But there's work to be done as Darina must now turn her attention to the shooting of Summer Madison - the beautiful and gifted, singer-song-writer with a heart of gold. It's been nearly a year since the random shooting in a shopping mall caused Summer's meaningless death.

Summer left behind recordings of her wonderful songs and a deep sadness amongst high school friends. Now Darina must act as Summerās agent to track down the psychotic killer in a clear search for justice. With the sound of Summer's music constantly playing inside Darina's head, recalling the wonderful months when she was alive and performing her first gigs, Darina, Phoenix and the Beautiful Dead are determined to catch the crazed killer. And all the while Darinaās love for Phoenix continues to beat ...
My Rating: 4/5
This book is slightly different to the previous two books as Darina was more involved in the actual death part not just the solving part.
Summer was less involved that I thought she would be considering the book is named after her.
Darina is a pretty frustrating character. From the way she treats other characters to the way she pines after Phoenix her dead boyfriend. Also when she finds out the truth about Brandon and her car she doesn't even care.
I liked the mystery aspect again with the book as I did with the previous books but I wanted there to be a greater emphasis on it. It was good how there were never any real suspects until the truth was revealed.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Book Review #293 - Miracle by Elizabeth Scott


Megan survived the plane crash—but can she survive the aftermath? An intense, emotional novel from the author of The Unwritten Rule and Between Here and Forever.

Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved....
My Rating: 3/5
This is the first book I have read written by Elizabeth Scott. From other reviews I have read on this book it seems her writing style takes time to get used to.
I really liked the premise for this book which is why I decided to read it.

I wanted to like Megan but overall I failed to connect with her as I found it really hard to understand her. I also found her parents really annoying. I didn't understand how they expected her to be the same after she suffered that much trauma.

Overall I thought that this book was a pretty accurate portrayal of someone stuggling with post traumatic stress disorder but I just felt like something was missing. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review #292 - The Vile Village (Series of Unfortunate Events #7) by Lemony Snicket

The Vile Village (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #7)

Dear Reader,

You have undoubtedly picked up this book by mistake, so please put it down. Nobody in their right mind would read this particular book about the lives of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire on purpose, because each dismal moment of their stay in the village of V.F.D. has been faithfully and dreadfully recorded in these pages. I can think of no single reason why anyone would want to open a book containing such unpleasant matters as migrating crows, an angry mob, a newspaper headline, the arrest of innocent people, the Deluxe Cell, and some very strange hats. It is my solemn and sacred occupation to research each detail of the Baudelaire children's lives and write them all down, but you may prefer to do some other solemn and sacred thing, such as reading another book instead.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket
My Rating: 3.5/5
I am actually really starting to like this series. The sixth book is still my favourite of the series so far but this was a great addition.
I feel like the plot is going up another level as it becomes more complicated. Although I felt like even more questions were left unanswered at the end of this book than at the end of the previous one.
I thought the only character who showed any real signs of development was Sunny as she started walking and talking properly. Although, Violet and Klaus do seem more to be more mature than from the first book.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review #291 - Beautiful Creatures (Castor Chronicles #1) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps, and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.
My Rating: 4/5
This was the second time I read this book. I first read it in 2010 before I started this blog. I liked it considerably more this time around.
The biggest problem I had with this book when I read it three years ago was the protagonist Ethan. I thought he was weak and sensitive. This time around he didn't annoy me anywhere near as much but he was still far from my favourite character.
I really liked the feeling of a small town and how everyone knows one another and there aren't any secrets amongst them. It also gave great insight into the culture of southern America.
I liked the flashbacks which is something that I very rarely like in a book. The whole idea of Ethan and Lena reliving the past of their ancestors was something that I found interesting.
The whole paranormal aspect was something that I liked to a degree but I just felt like it lacked depth. The book ends with a cliff hanger and so I will probably be reading the sequel Beautiful Darkness pretty soon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review #290 - Pearl in a Cage (Woody Creek #1) by Joy Dettman

Pearl in a Cage

On a balmy midsummer's evening in 1923, a young woman – foreign, dishevelled and heavily pregnant – is found unconscious just off the railway tracks in the tiny logging community of Woody Creek.

The town midwife, Gertrude Foote, is roused from her bed when the woman is brought to her door. Try as she might, Gertrude is unable to save her, but the baby lives.

When no relatives come forth to claim the infant, Gertrude's daughter Amber – who has recently lost a son in childbirth – and her husband Norman take the child in. In the ensuing weeks, Norman becomes convinced that God has sent the baby to their door, and in an act of reckless compassion and lonely desperation, he names the baby Jennifer and registers her in place of his son.

Loved by some but scorned by more, including her stepmother and sister, Jenny survives her childhood and grows into an exquisite and talented young woman. But who were her parents?

Spanning two momentous decades and capturing rural Australia's complex and mysterious heart, Pearl in a Cage is the unputdownable new novel by one of our most talented storytellers.
My Rating: 4.5/5
I received this book for review from Pan Macmillan Australia. They also provided me with the other three books in the series.
This is my most surprising read so far of 2013. I don't read much of adult fiction and so really did not expect to love this book as much as I did.
I found this book really slow paced and even though normally this would be something that would make me stop reading I wasn't able to because I was so caught up with the characters and the story.
The amount of characters as well is something that would normally turn me off. I liked that there were so many characters as it gave the realistic feeling of a small Australian country town.
I liked how the author casually mentions historical facts in with the story such as the prime minister dying or World War II as it reminded me what era this book is set and also gave more life to the characters and the town.
The characters were all so well portrayed and every single one of them were written with so much depth. Jenny was by far my favourite but there weren't any characters that I didn't love or didn't love to hate.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Blog Hop #29

Book Blogger Hop is a bookish meme hosted by the blog Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer.
This weeks question is:
What is your favorite book set in a different country than the one you live in?
Well I live in Australia so I have a huge selection to choose from as 99% of the books I read are set overseas.
I'm going to go with Harry Potter because it's my favourite series of all time.

Follow Friday #58

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

This weeks question:
What is a book you didn't like that all your friends raved about or what book did you love that wasn't popular?
The Vampire Kisses series by Ellen Schrieber. It has been a while since I read them but I remember not liking them very much.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review #289 - Arizona (Beautiful Dead #2) by Eden Maguire

Arizona (Beautiful Dead, #2)
There's been no sign of the Beautiful Dead for weeks. Darina achingly misses Phoenix all over again. But surely he will return with the rest of the Beautiful Dead as so much still remains unresolved. It's been ten months since Arizona drowned in Hartmann Lake. Suicide, it would seem. But something doesn't add up.


Drowning herself in a hidden - away lake does not sound like strong, confident, Arizona: Ellerton High School's high-maintenance drama queen. Darina needs to help Arizona the way she helped Jonas. But time is running out...
My Rating: 4/5
This is the second book in the Beautiful Dead series and is the sequel to Jonas.
I liked this book equally as much as Jonas. I didn't think that the two books were all that different from one another.
As for the character, I still haven't completely warmed up to Darina yet but I did like her more than I did in the first book.
I am really enjoying this series because it has a really unique paranormal aspect whilst also combining with interesting mystery. I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Book Review #288 - Give Me Four Reasons by Lizzie Wilcock

A powerful novel by Lizzie Wilcock, the acclaimed author of Losing It. Quiet, shy Paige has been best friends with Elfi and Rochelle for years. Together with their mate Jed, the gang vows on the last day of school to stay friends forever. But when Paige discovers no one has written in her yearbook, she starts to feel invisible. When Paige gets back to school after the summer, she accidentally falls in with the popular crowd and her world turns upside down. Can Paige find a way to stay true to herself when everything around her is changing? Give Me Four Reasons is a coming-of-age book for girls, leaving behind the comfort of primary school and embarking on the adventure of secondary school!

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont. 

This is not the type of book that I expected to like as much as I did. The plot although fast paced and interesting was far from unique and pretty predictable.

What saves this book though is the characters. They all had strong personalities. The protagonist Paige was immature and naive but never in a negative way.

The book had a very Australian feel about it which I loved. The ending seemed a little too perfect but I liked it anyway.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Review #287 - Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann

Cryer's Cross
Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer's Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she's not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world's sweetest boyfriend, behind.

But when Cryer's Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn't get close to... the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she's always loved, Kendall keeps up the search--and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can't stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried....
My Rating: 3.5/5
I have been wanting to read this book for a while now and had relatively high expectations for it.
The only other book I had previously read by the author was Wake which was a book that I had mixed opinions about. I had similar opinions about this book.
Whilst it was a very interesting story, I never once felt scared or the creepiness which the cover would suggest.
Because the story is told in third person it felt like there was a barrier between me and the characters at times. Kendall was kind of boring with not much personality.
I didn't care for the romance aspect at all. It just seemed that Kendall only realised she didn't love Nico when he disappeared, but then used Nico's disappearance as an excuse not to be with Jacian.
The whole mystery aspect was the most intersting part for me although I would have liked more depth with it. I felt like it all happened at the end of the book instead of being paced out.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #19

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 question is the Top Ten series I would like to start but haven't yet.

1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien - I have owned these books since I was a child but haven't read them yet for some reason. I haven't even seen the movies yet either.
2. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini - I have signed copies of all the books but still haven't managed to even start them yet.
3. His Dark Materials by Philip Pulman - I have heard nothing but positive things about this series. I think my expectations are too high which is why I keep putting off reading them.
4. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R Martin - My brother keeps recommending me the TV show, but I want to read the books first. I think I find the length of them intimidating.
That's all I can think of for now. I tend to start series and not read further than the first few books rather than never start them.

Book Review #286 - The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events #6) by Lemony Snicket

The Ersatz Elevator (A Series of Unfortunate Events, #6)
In their most daring misadventure, the Baudelaire orphans are adopted by very, very rich people, whose penthouse apartment is located mysteriously close to the place where all their misfortune began. Even though their new home in the city is fancy, and the children are clever and charming, I′m sorry to say that still, the unlucky orphans will encounter more disaster and woe. In fact, in this sixth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, the children will experience a darkened staircase, a red herring, an auction, parsley soda, some friends in a dire situation, a secret passageway, and pinstripe suits.
My Rating: 4/5
This series seems to be very hit and miss for me. I tend to get sick of the repetitiveness of it all. This didn't happen for me with this instalment.
From the very first page I instantly liked this book more than all the previous ones. I am not even sure why that was.
The plot in this book was very basic, but very interesting. Sunny seemed to be more strongly portrayed in this book and less in the shadow of her older siblings.
The children's new caretakers were interesting people. I found the whole "in" thing really unique and fascinating.
It was good to see Duncan and Isadora appear again and I am interested to see how the Baudelaire's save them.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review #285 - Jonas (Beautiful Dead #1) by Eden Maguire

Jonas (Beautiful Dead, #1)

Something strange is happening in Ellerton High. Phoenix is the fourth teenager to die within a year. His street fight stabbing follows the deaths of Jonas, Summer and Arizona in equally strange and sudden circumstances.


Rumours of ghosts and strange happenings rip through the small community as it comes to terms with shock and loss. Darina, Phoenix's grief-stricken girlfriend, is on the verge. She can't escape her intense heartache, or the impossible apparitions of those that are meant to be dead. And all the while the sound of beating wings echo inside her head! And then one day Phoenix appears to Darina.

Ecstatic to be reunited, he tells her about the Beautiful Dead. Souls in limbo, they have been chosen to return to the world to set right a wrong linked to their deaths and bring about justice. Beautiful, superhuman and powerful, they are marked by a 'death mark' - a small tattoo of angel's wings. Phoenix tells her that the sound of invisible wings beating are the millions of souls in limbo, desperate to return to earth. Darina's mission is clear: she must help Jonas, Summer, Arizona, and impossibly, her beloved Phoenix, right the wrong linked to their deaths to set them free from limbo so that they can finally rest in peace. Will love conquer death? And if it does, can Darina set it free?
My Rating: 4/5
This book was very intriguing and had a very unique concept. Given that the protagonist Darina's boyfriend had recently died, it does have a slightly dark undertone to it which I liked.
The whole paranormal aspect of it was what I liked the most. I am interested to learn more about Hunter and the others in future books, as their abilities weren't fully developed.
The characters all had unique names, which for a small town was pretty unrealistic. I didn't feel the connection between Darina and Phoenix. She kept on about how much she loved him, but I just didn't feel it.
A character that I did like was Zoey. I hope that she remains in the story even though Jonas's story is finished.
I didn't really like the ending. I thought that Darina would have needed more proof than to just tell Jonas's dad.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Follow Friday #57

Alison Can Read Feature & Follow

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

This weeks question:
Confess your blogger sins! Is there anything as a newbie blogger that you've done, that as you gained more experience you were like -- oops?
I used to write my reviews on the day that I posted my review rather than when I finished the book.
Since I post a review every weekday, sometimes I was reviewing a book that I had read a week ago and so it wasn't fresh in my mind.
I now write my review as soon as I finish the book and then I schedule my post. Plus now I don't have to worry about finding the time to post it.