Thursday, May 29, 2014

Book Review #451 - Nailed by Patrick Jones


The nail that sticks out farthest gets hammered the hardest.

Flint Southwestern High School is run by a cult: the jockarchy. And Bret Hendricks could never fit into their conformity cult. Bret doesn't mind standing out from the crowd when he's on stage acting or singing in his band. And he feels at home in his funky girlfriend's arms because sticking out together doesn't seem as hard.

But loyalties aren't what Bret thinks they are, as his safe havens seem to disappear one by one, and he learns that sometimes you just have to risk getting hammered in order to build a great future.

For any teen who feels that standing out is harder than just conforming. Patrick Jones's second novel nails the real truth about the high price of hiding one's true self.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I have read a lot of contemporary books recently and although this one is not as well known as the others it is certainly just as good.

Bret was a very realistic, raw and honest yet very flawed protagonist. He embraces the fact that he is different from everyone else but struggles with the bullying that he is subjected to.

Bret's relationship with his father was another huge focus point in this book. I found this to be the most realistic portion of the book.

The romantic relationships Bret had didn't have much substance but there was an element of realism about them unlike most YA books.

The ending, although predictable from quite early in the book is the ending that I wanted.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Book Review #450 - City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) by Cassandra Clare



I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance?

My Rating: 5/5

This book was one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2014.

In the lead up to its release, I decided to re-read the entire series. I definitely fell more in love with the shadowhunter world.

City of Glass is still my favourite book of this series, but City of Heavenly Fire runs a close second.

I loved the introduction of Emma as she reminded me of a mixture of Clary and Jace. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about her in The Dark Artifices series.

This book was a lot longer than the others because it deals with a lot more plot twists, action and characters.

I had numerous ideas on how this series would end, and whilst I wasn't completely accurate I was on the right track.

Possible Spoiler: Out of all the plot twists and endings, the Simon one surprised me the most.

This was the first time (probably because I re-read the entire series in under a week) that I felt a connection to both Izzy and Alec.

There was a significant more romance in this book compared to the others which will please a lot of people.

I have yet to read The Infernal Devices series so a lot of references to the characters from that series and their ancestors went a little over my head.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review #449 - Fated (Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noel


Strange things are happening to Daire Santos. Crows mock her, glowing people stalk her, time stops without warning, and a beautiful boy with unearthly blue eyes haunts all her dreams. Fearing for her daughter’s sanity, Daire’s mother sends her to live with the grandmother she’s never met. A woman who recognizes the visions for what they truly are—the call to her destiny as a Soul Seeker—one who can navigate the worlds between the living and dead.

There on the dusty plains of Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire sets out to harness her mystical powers. But it’s when she meets Dace, the boy from her dreams, that her whole world is shaken to its core. Now Daire is forced to discover if Dace is the one guy she's meant to be with...or if he’s allied with the enemy she's destined to destroy.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I have a love/hate relationship with Alyson Noel's books so I was interested in how I would feel about this one. I would say I fell somewhere in between.

The main thing I loved about this book was the whole seeker magic aspect. I thought that this was unique as it depicted the magical element in a more natural way.

The main problem I had with this book was the characters. There wasn't anything redeeming about them and their actions weren't believable at all.

Daire the protagonist was annoying from the first paragraph - although I did think she softened out towards the end. Her relationship with Dace was a little unbelievable simply because of the pacing of it.

I also really loved the idea of the spirit animals and hope that this aspect gets developed more throughout the rest of the series.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Book Review #448 - The Beautiful and the Cursed (The Dispossessed #1) by Page Morgan


Ingrid Waverley is a young woman to be reckoned with. Faced with her brother's mysterious disappearance after an abrupt move to Paris, she is determined to discover what has happened to him. Soon she and her sister Gabriella are drawn into a Parisian underworld more terrifying than they could ever have imagined, but watching over them are two impossible (and impossibly handsome) young men. Luc is a 'Dispossessed', an ancient gargoyle whose sworn duty it is to protect the humans who inhabit his abbey. Nolan has secrets of his own too. He is a member of the Alliance - a shadowy group dedicated to keeping Paris safe from the demonic forces that threaten to destroy it.

Secrets, danger and hidden powers stalk the girls in this beautifully imagined paranormal romance that will keep readers gripped from beginning to end - and one thing is for sure - you'll never look at a gargoyle in the same way again....

My Rating: 3/5

This was a completely unique and refreshing book to read. I really loved the depth of the mythology behind the gargoyles existence.

Because of the uniqueness of the gargoyles, there is a lot of explaining of terminology and whilst I thought the amount of it slowed the pacing down a bit I do think it was required.

I would have preferred there to have been one narrator as I've read a lot of multiple narrations recently. I really enjoyed all of the characters differing perspectives though. 

I wasn't that interested in the romance in this book. I'm not a fan of love triangles, so that might be why.


Overall, I loved the concept and now that the world building has been done am hoping that the sequel will be even better.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Review #447 - The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu


There are a lot of rumours about Alice Franklin, and it's stopped mattering whether any of them are true. 

It all started at a party, when Alice was supposedly with two guys in one night.

Soon everyone at Healy High has picked a side in this game of he said/she said. Do they believe Brandon Fitzsimmons, the most popular guy at school and the football hero of Healy? Or do they believe Alice, the girl who wears too-tight T-shirts and was caught kissing Brandon in a closet a couple years before?

When Brandon dies in a car crash, there are serious allegations that his death was Alice's fault. As the rumour mill spins into overdrive, Alice's small town becomes suffocating. And when the truth becomes a matter of opinion, something's got to give.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont

This book is told from four characters perspectives and the only issue I had with this was that I thought the two females Kelsie and Elaine had very similar voices and I had a hard time telling them apart. 

Through the characters we are given Alice's story. I tried to keep an open mind throughout as I understood it was all second-hand information.

What I loved most about this book is that is showed how bullying and lying and spreading rumours for selfish reasons can really shape and influence other peoples lives.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review #446 - Fire & Flood (Fire & Flood #1) by Victoria Scott


A modern day thrill ride, where a teen girl and her animal companion must participate in a breathtaking race to save her brother's life—and her own.

Tella's brother is dying. He's got cancer, and Tella is helpless to save him. Or so she thought. When an invitation arrives for Tella to compete in the Brimstone Bleed, a deadly competition that will lead her through treacherous jungle and scorching desert, she doesn't think twice. Because the prize is a cure to any illness. But Tella will be facing more than just the elements.

My Rating: 4/5

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

Comparisons between this book and The Hunger Games made me both hesitant and excited to read this. 

I loved this book. The plot was unique and not like the Hunger Games at all. 

I loved the whole concept of the Brimstone Bleed and the pandora. The pandora reminded me of pokemon. 

I would have liked more character development as I didn't feel any connection with any of the characters - Tella especially. I found that I actually loved the pandora more than the humans. 

I didn't like how there was no build up to the relationship between Tella and Guy. 

The book ends with a relatively huge cliff-hanger and there are enough unanswered questions to leave me eagerly anticipating the sequel.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Book Review #445 - Of Neptune (Syrena Legacy #3) by Anna Banks


Emma and Galen s kingdom and their love is threatened by long-lost Syrena in the brilliant conclusion to Anna Banks bestselling trilogy.

Emma, half human and half Syrena, and her Syrena love, Galen, need time together alone. Away from the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. Emma s grandfather, the Poseidon king, suggests the two visit a small town called Neptune.

Neptune is home to both Syrena and Half-Breeds alike. But Emma and Galen didn t sign up to be peacemakers between the ocean and the land-dwelling, freshwater Syrena. They didn t bargain for meeting a charming Half-Breed named Reed, who can barely disguise his feelings for Emma. And they especially didn t expect to find themselves in the middle of a power struggle that threatens not only their love but their ocean kingdoms.

In this stunning conclusion to her bestselling Syrena Legacy, Anna Banks thrills fans with more action and romance than ever.

My Rating: 4.5/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont. It is the sequel to Of Poseidon and Of Triton. 

I didn't reread the first two books like I usually would do because I didn't have enough time but I found that this book was easy enough just to jump back into the Syrena world. 

This book was probably my favourite in the series because I really loved the whole idea of Neptune. 

Whilst the split narrative is very common now in the young adult genre, I don't think I have seen it work anywhere near as well as it does in this series. It worked especially well in this book as Emma and Galen spend so much time apart and their voices gel really well together. 

Reed was a refreshing character. He reminded me of a stereotypical Australian. He was very laid back, charismatic and very outgoing. 

Emma and Galen both annoyed me at times throughout the book and I think this was because there wasn't as much focus on secondary characters as there has been in the first two books. 

I love the amount of depth put into the whole Syrena biology and politics. Overall, this is a was a fantastic series and definitely my favourite in the mermaid genre.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Review #444 - The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp


So, my girlfriend, Cassidy, is threatening to kick me to the curb again, my best friend suddenly wants to put the brakes on our lives of fabulous fun, my mom and big sister are plotting a future in which I turn into an atomic vampire, and my dad, well, my dad is a big fat question mark that I’m not sure I want the answer to. 

Some people would let a senior year like this get them down. Not me. I’m Sutter Keely, master of the party. But don’t mistake a midnight philosopher like me for nothing more than a shallow party boy. Just ask Aimee, the new girl in my life. She saw the depth in the Sutterman from that first moment when she found me passed out on the front lawn. Okay, so she’s a social disaster, but that’s where I come in. 

Yes, life is weird, but I embrace the weird. Let everyone else go marching off into their great shining futures if they want. Me, I’ve always been more than content to tip my whisky bottle and take a ride straight into the heart of the spectacular now.

My Rating: 5/5

I had been putting off reading this book for a long time because I had made the mistake in watching the movie first. I thought that if I waited until I had forgotten most of the movie then I would enjoy the book more. The problem with this theory was that the movie was too memorable. 

The only influence the movie had on me whilst reading was that I was a little impatient in waiting for Aimee to be introduced. Other than that, I loved it as much as I was supposed to. 

Sutter is such a distinct and unique character. He was a lot deeper than most males in the young adult genre. He was a character that had a likeable personality but you wanted to punch him at the same time because of his wasted potential. 

I didn't particularly like the ending, and it wasn't because it was bad or anything. It was simply because it didn't end the way in which I thought it would or the way I wanted it to. 

Overall this book is most definitely my favourite contemporary book and my favourite (rereads aside) book I've read so far in 2014.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Book Review #443 - Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell


Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My Rating: 4.5/5

Having read and loved Fangirl in March, I had very high expectations for this book. If it's possible, I think I actually liked this book more. 

What was great about this book was how believable and realistic it was in dealing with real issues. The romantic aspect was well dealt with as well. 

Between Park and Eleanor's five parents they cover virtually every parental type which is good because every reader will probably relate to at least one of them. 

Even though this book is set in 1986, it has a story strong enough to convey its relevance in any time period. Apart from the music and technology, it could have been set in any time period anyway. 

Being 2/2 with Rainbow Rowell's books has made me even more excited to read Attachments.   

Monday, May 5, 2014

Book Review #442 - Letters from the Inside by John Marsden


The relationship between two teenage girls who become acquainted through letters intensifies as their correspondence reveals some of the terrible problems of their lives.

My Rating: 3/5

I've lost track of the amount of John Marsden books that I have read, but they all seem to be of very high quality. 

This book tells the story of two girls from very different backgrounds who decide to be pen pals. 

The more the book progresses, the darker it gets and both girls begin to realize that their lives are more alike than they first imagined. 

This is a very character driven novel, and I felt like Tracey had a more dominant voice than Mandy. 

The ending was open to interpretation which is something that I really dislike in books.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review #441 - Run by Gregg Olsen


What if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about yourself was a lie? 

Rylee is fifteen. She comes home from school one afternoon to find the most shocking thing possible - her father dead, with a knife through his heart, and a key clutched in his hand. Her mother's purse is on the counter, but she appears to be long gone. A message in blood is written on the floor... RUN.

With her brother in tow, Rylee begins a dark journey, one that will uncover horrific and chilling crimes and lead her to an unexpected and gruesome discovery about her real father and what - or who - is behind his insatiable desire to kill. By the journey's end Rylee's childhood is a long way behind her...

My Rating: 4.5/5

I received this book for review from Five Mile Press

This book was very gripping and thrilling from the very first page and didn't let up throughout.

The plot was very fast paced and was filled with so many twists and turns it was very hard to predict where it was going. 

The realistic nature of the characters (especially Rylee) grounded the unbelievability of the plot at times. 

I liked this book a lot more than I thought I would considering the fact that it is classified under a genre I don't often read.