Thursday, July 31, 2014

Book Review #471 - Cloaked by Alex Flinn


I’m not your average hero. I actually wasn’t your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all.

It all started with the curse. And the frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.

There wasn’t a fairy godmother or any of that. And even though I fell in love along the way, what happened to me is unlike any fairy tale I’ve ever heard. Before I knew it, I was spying with a flock of enchanted swans, talking (yes, talking!) to a fox named Todd, and nearly trampled by giants in the Keys.

Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either. But you’ll see. Because I knew it all was true, the second I got CLOAKED.

My Rating: 3/5

Having read and loved both Beastly and A Kiss in Time I really hoped that Cloaked would be equally as good.

I had a really hard time getting into this book. Whilst I really enjoyed the magical aspect in the other books, in this one it felt too over the top.

In the other books it was more about how magic exists in a modern world whereas in this book even though it was set in Florida, felt like it predominately revolved around a fantasy world.

I really liked how loyal and independent Johnny was and how family orientated he was however I didn't like him as much as I was probably supposed to.

It took me around 4 days to read this which is a extremely long time for me. I feel like this is largely due to the simplicity of the plot. I kept waiting for something more progressive to happen, but it just never did.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Book Review #470 - The Back Door of Midnight (Dark Secrets #5) by Elizabeth Chandler


Anna O'Neill knows her family is a little crazy. But when she goes to visit her aunt and uncle for the summer and learns that her uncle's charred body has been found, her life reaches a new level of insanity. According to the local town gossip, all the O'Neill women are psychic or psychotic, and with her erratic aunt's 'psychic' abilities, exaggerated by grief, making her more unstable than ever, perhaps even dangerous, Anna is struggling to pick up the pieces and establish any sense of normality. Anna desperately wants to trust Zack, the cute boy next door, but it seems even he might know more than he's letting on. But when Anna starts to feel an unexplainable pull to the site of her uncle's murder, she begins to believe that maybe her family's supernatural gifts are real after all. Torn between loyalty and suspicion, Anna is certain of only one thing; she must discover who killed her uncle before she ends up in ashes herself...

My Rating: 4/5

Based on the quality of the first four books in this underrated series, I had pretty high expectations for this book. It definitely met them though because this was my favourite book in the series.

I loved the perfect blend of mysteriousness and suspense whilst also having a darker paranormal undertone.

The protagonist not only had to work out the mysterious nature of her uncle's death but also had to uncover the secrets surrounding her identity.

Like with the previous books in this series, I was unable to predict who the murderer was before it was revealed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review #469 - Kisses from Hell by Various Authors


Truly, Madly, Undeadly

This irresistible collection features stories of love amid vampires by five of today's hottest authors—Kristin Cast (Tempted), Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy), Alyson Noël (Evermore), Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning), and Francesca Lia Block (Pretty Dead).

From a fugitive vampire forced to trust a boy who might work for the group bent on destroying her to the legendary romance of two immortals whose love compels them to risk everything, this heart-pounding collection brings new meaning to the words "love you forever." Whether you're into romances that are dark and moody or light and fun, these stories will quench that insatiable thirst for enchanting tales of the beautiful undead.

My Rating: 3/5

This book contains five different vampire related stories, which I will review separately.

The first story was Sunshine by Richelle Mead. This was a companion story to the Vampire Academy series wherein it depicts where Lissa's parents meet.

This was my second favourite story in the book and because it was set in an already existing world, it was easier to read as well.

The second story was Bring Me to Life by Alyson Noel. This was a very atmospheric story.

The only negative thing about this story is that in a book that is full of vampire stories, having a plot twist where it is revealed a character is a vampire was too obvious and predictable.

The third story was Above by Kristin Cast. This was my least favourite story in the book.I found the writing too cryptic and hard to follow.

The fourth story was Hunting Kat by Kelley Armstrong. This was my favourite story in the book and it was by far the most unique.

This story was one of the longest in the book but it was definitely also the fasted paced one as it was really action packed.

The last story in the book was Lilith by Francesca Lia Block. This was the story that intrigued me the most as it is written by the only author in the book whose writing I have yet to discovered.

This story was the shortest in the book but definitely had the strongest character development. Even though it was more about demons than vampires it was my third favourite story.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Review #468 - As Red as Blood (Lumikki Andersson #1) by Salla Simukka


In the midst of the freezing Arctic winter, seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson walks into her school’s dark room and finds a stash of wet, crimson-colored money. Thousands of Euros left to dry—splattered with someone’s blood.

Lumikki lives alone in a studio apartment far from her parents and the past she left behind. She transferred into a prestigious art school, and she’s singularly focused on studying and graduating. Lumikki ignores the cliques, the gossip, and the parties held by the school’s most popular and beautiful boys and girls.

But finding the blood-stained money changes everything. Suddenly, Lumikki is swept into a whirlpool of events as she finds herself helping to trace the origins of the money. Events turn even more deadly when evidence points to dirty cops and a notorious drug kingpin best known for the brutality with which he runs his business.

As Lumikki loses control of her carefully constructed world, she discovers that she’s been blind to the forces swirling around her—and she’s running out of time to set them right. When she sees the stark red of blood on snow, it may be too late to save her friends or herself.

My Rating: 3.5/5

I received this book for review from Five Mile Press.

I am actually really surprised by how well this book translated into English. I have read numerous translations that have seemed to have lost something in the translation, but this book didn't seem to have that problem.

The only negative thing I can say about this book was that I found the foreign names confusing and hard to distinguish them from one another at times.

The plot was my favourite part of the book. It was very intriguing, fast paced, action packed and rather intense.

Lumikki was a very strong, mature and independent protagonist.

I found this book rather slow paced until the last 70 or so pages where it sped up significantly.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review #467 - Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukaemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

My Rating: 3/5

There seem to be a lot of young adult books about cancer and dying in general but it's safe to say that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is not like any of them.

Greg was a character that I didn't particularly warm to until the second portion of the book. He had a very strong personality and his overuse of humour to compensate for his low self-esteem came across as obnoxious at times. 

Earl was by far the most interesting and dynamic character. Everything about him, especially his family was insane. Apart from that though, he was definitely the character that developed the most throughout. 

Rachel aka the dying girl was the most underdeveloped character. Greg's realisation at the end of the book that he didn't really know her illustrates my point. 

There was no real plot structure to this book. In most parts it was also completely predictable. 

Overall though I found this book humorous and I liked the film aspects but I definitely expected to like it a lot more than what I did.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book Review #466 - The Savages (Savages #1) by Matt Whyman


They'd love to have you for dinner . . .

Sasha Savage is in love with Jack - a handsome, charming ... vegetarian. Which wouldn't be a problem if it weren't for the fact that Sasha's family are very much 'carnivorous'. Behind the family facade all is not as it seems. Sasha's father rules his clan with an iron fist and her mother's culinary skills are getting more adventurous by the day. When a too-curious private detective starts to dig for truths, the tight-knit family starts to unravel - as does their sinister taste in human beings . .

My Rating: 4/5

For some reason before reading this book I had assumed it was about a vampire family. So when I found out it was actually about cannibals I was both equally intrigued and slightly horrified.

Cannibalism, which would normally be considered a somewhat dark subject matter, was lightened significantly by the author's wit and humour. 

The Savage family were all equally portrayed which I liked because it would have been easy to focus predominately on one particular member.

The other points of views covered like the investigator and the psychologist gave an all rounded portrayal of the story.

This book was definitely not fast paced, but it wasn't particularly slow either. It did however take me significantly longer to read than it would normally a book of this size.

The whole vegetarian v meat eaters battle was quite humorous because both parties had such extreme views on the matter.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review #465 - Nine (The Last Thirteen #5) by James Phelan

9 : The Last Thirteen : Book 5 - James Phelan

Not this, anything but this.

In the aftermath of their devastating tragedy, the Academy turns towards an unlikely ally. But Sam's trust in everyone around him continues to be tested to the limits.

Sam journeys to South America, his dream leading him to a long-lost ancient city. Hidden deep within the Amazon rainforest, he is forced to navigate deadly traps in pursuit of another Gear. Can Sam work out who the next dreamer is in time, or will his enemies succeed once more?

My Rating: 3/5

I received this book for review from  Scholastic Australia.

I found that this book wasn't particularly as fast paced as the previous books in this series. A lot of the action occurred in the second half of the book. 

I would have liked there to have been more development of the antagonists in this series by now, Solaris in particular. 

The final portion sets up the story in Brazil which is something that I liked because every book is set in a different country. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Review #464 - Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan


When Apple's mother returns after eleven years away, Apple feels whole again. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother's homecoming is bittersweet. It's only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is that she begins to see things as they really are.

A story about sad endings.
A story about happy beginnings.
A story to make you realise who is special.

My Rating: 5/5

I received this book for review from Bloomsbury Australia.

I loved this book. When I first picked it up I intended to read a few chapters before I went to bed, but before I knew it I had finished it at 2:30am.

Apple surprised me. When I first found out she was only 13 years old I thought she would have been more immature than what she was.

This book is primarily about the consequences of very bad decisions, but also how to recover from them.

Apple's family dynamic was very intriguing yet sad. It reminded me at times of Eleanor's family from Eleanor & Park.

Rain was my favourite character. I felt like she had the most depth of all the characters. Although she annoyed me at times, it was obvious all she craved was attention.

Apple's mother was a character that I deeply despised. She was a very selfish woman and should never have been a mother.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Book Review #463 - Heap House (Iremonger #1) by Edward Carey


Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries reclaimed from the city and built into a living maze of staircases and scurrying rats.

The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug, says ‘James Henry’, Cousin Tummis’s tap is squeaking ‘Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’ and something in the attic is shouting ‘Robert Burrington‘ and it sounds angry.

A storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived from the city, everything changes. The secrets that bind Heap House together begin to unravel to reveal a dark truth that threatens to destroy Clod’s world.

My Rating: 4/5

I received this book for review from Five Mile Press.

This was a very unique, captivating yet dark and weird read. I have never read anything remotely like it before.

The house itself was probably my favourite part. It was mysterious with secrets contained in just about every room, not to mention it's dark and gothic feel and it's just as mysterious occupants. 

The plot was very imaginative and had a very fairytale type feel to it. 

The portrait pictures throughout the book of the characters not only showed what they looked like but really set up the 1800's time period. 

Not everyone who reads this book is going to like it due to its quirkiness but if you can embrace that it really is an enjoyable read. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book Review #462 - Four: A Divergent Story Collection (Divergent #0.1 - #0.4) by Veronica Roth


Two years before Beatrice Prior made her choice, the sixteen-year-old son of Abnegation’s faction leader did the same. Tobias’s transfer to Dauntless is a chance to begin again. Here, he will not be called the name his parents gave him. Here, he will not let fear turn him into a cowering child.

Newly christened “Four,” he discovers during initiation that he will succeed in Dauntless. Initiation is only the beginning, though; Four must claim his place in the Dauntless hierarchy. His decisions will affect future initiates as well as uncover secrets that could threaten his own future—and the future of the entire faction system.

Two years later, Four is poised to take action, but the course is still unclear. The first new initiate who jumps into the net might change all that. With her, the way to righting their world might become clear. With her, it might become possible to be Tobias once again.

My Rating: 5/5

This was one of my most eagerly anticipated books of 2014 and so I was happy to discover that it met my very high expectations.

I liked not only the insight we got into Tobias's background and thoughts but also the faction world.

In this book which is primarily set 2 years before Divergent, the cracks are only just starting to appear in the faction system whilst in Divergent it is already shattered and fully corrupt.

I found that whilst I really did enjoy all the individual stories, they seemed to get better as the book progressed.

My individual review of the short story The Transfer can be found here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review #461 - Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer


This is not the fairytale you remember.

But it’s one you won’t forget.

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner . . .

My Rating: 5/5

This book is the sequel to Cinder which I read earlier this year.

When I first began reading this book it didn't feel like a sequel at all and felt rather more like a companion novel. This was due to the change of narrator.

Because of this, I found it a little difficult to get into the story, even though it was enjoyable, I had to adjust my expectations.

However, once Scarlet and Cinder's stories began to merge I was unable to put the book down and found that ultimately I liked this book a lot more than I liked Cinder.

I found Scarlet a lot more relatable that Cinder as I found her to be more genuine.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review #460 - Spurt by Chris Miles


Jack Sprigley isn’t just a late-bloomer. He’s a no-bloomer. It's nearly the end of Year 8, and with puberty still a total no-show, Jack's in serious danger of being left behind by his friends. But then he comes up with a plan to solve all his problems. It's simple: all he has to do is fake puberty....

My Rating: 3.5/5

I received this book for review from Hardie Grant Egmont.

I decided to read this book because it seemed entirely different to usually read, and it was.

The reality TV aspect of it reminded me a lot of Loathing Lola. Other than that, this book was entirely unique.

The characters were only 14 years old and so they were quite immature and juvenile which didn't annoy me anywhere near as much as something like that usually would.

I would recommend this book primarily to anyone in the 12-15 age bracket, but I think anyone could pick this book up and get a laugh out of it.