Welcome everyone :) Things may be a little slow at the moment as I am in my last few months of school so I am swamped with work and exams but if you had time to leave a comment it would make my day!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Review: Frostbite

      Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2)

Title: Frostbite
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #2
Pages: 327
Publisher: Razorbill Penguin
Release Date: Released
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #89

Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose... 

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

*There may be spoilers of the first novel in the Vampire Academy series*

The first book in the Vampire Academy series involves a lot of world building to set the scene for the rest of the series and the pace definitely picks up in Frostbite. It feels a lot darker but still has all the fun that was in the first book.

I really really liked Rose in 'Frostbite'. She went through a lot of character development and matures but still doesn't lose those moments of reckless and immaturity that naturally comes with being a teenager. There is also an introduction to new characters, the most prominent being Adrian and Rose's mother. It was really interesting to see Rose's relationship with her mother and see how it developed throughout the book. Adrian...hmm. Not a fan. I think he's a bit creepy.

The plot is super fast-paced and really draws you into the story. The story starts with a Strigoi attack and that really sets the tone for the rest of the novel. The novel definitely is a lot more serious and less light-hearted than the first novel but it feels like a natural progression and there are lighter moments to provide relief.

A wonderful addition the series and I cannot wait to continue.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Review: How To Save a Life

    How to Save a Life
Title: How To Save a Life
Author: Sara Zarr
Series: None
Pages: 411
Publisher: Usborne
Release Date: September 1st 2012 (UK)
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #90

Jill's life lost all meaning when her dad died. Friends, boyfriend, college – nothing matters any more. Then her mom drops a bombshell: she's going to adopt a baby.

Mandy is desperate for her life to change. Seventeen, pregnant and leaving home, she is sure of only one thing – her baby must never have a life like hers, whatever it takes.

As their worlds change around them, Jill and Mandy must learn both how to hold on and how to let go, finding that nothing is as easy - or as difficult - as it seems.

'How to Save a Life' and I got off on a rocky start. I liked Jill well enough but Mandy just seemed like an absolute psycho. She is awkward and inappropriate when talking to people and I just had a feeling I wouldn't get on with the book because of that. However, as the book goes on I began to fall harder for it and ended up being really moved by it.

It is not a plot driven novel by any stretch of the imagination. It is about growth, change and acceptance. It is about moving forward. Zarr crafts her characters beautifully, all of them feeling unqiue, realistic and purposeful. No character seemed like they were there simply to be there. It was characters that inched the plot forward and it was really beautiful to watch.

The characters are the true heroes of this novel. They were all beautifully flawed and beautifully vulnerable. Ravi and Dylan, two secondary characters, played a huge part in the novel and neither were perfect yet because of this, they were. I left the novel feeling like I knew these characters and wanted to know them more.

The writing is very poetic and flows very nicely. It is definitely easy to read which, when a novel isn't driven by plot, is very important. There is such a softness in this novel which I can't describe in any other way. It feels delicate, like it needs to be handled carefully.

The outcome of the novel didn't truly surprise me but it was still very interesting to watch unfold and see the progression up to that point. If you enjoy novels about characters and growth and moving forward then this is something you will probably enjoy. It really touched me.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Review: Vampire Academy

    Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
Title: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Vampire Academy #1
Pages: 332
Publisher: Razorbill Penguin
Release Date: Released
Source: Bought
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #88

St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger...

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

I have heard nothing but good things from the Vampire Academy series and I figured 2012 was the time to jump on the band wagon. I have been hesitant due to the vampire subject matter. Paranormal, as many of you may know by now, is not a favourite of mine. However, I have found an area of paranormal that I do enjoy; paranormal novels set in a paranormal world rather than a hot mysterious guy being all "Let me suck your blood". It is much more interesting. Vampire Academy is a intricately created world with a lot of depth. 

I really admired Rose as a protagonist. She was strong, reckless but ultimately selfless. Her dedication to Lissa's safety was so admirable and their friendship was really touching. Despite the hierarchy in society between Moroi and Dhampir, they treat each other with mutual respect and kindness.

And let's get on to the important bit...guys. SWOON! A lot of sexy men about (and a fair share of jerks also). I loved both Dimitri and Christian. And Vampire Academy was a lot steamier than I expected. WIN!

I am so glad that I finally got around to starting the series and I can't wait to finish it. Read it, even if you aren't a huge vampire/ paranormal fan. You shan't regret it!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Review: What's Left of Me

    What's Left of Me (The Hybrid Chronicles, #1)
Title: What's Left of Me
Author: Kat Zhang 
Series: The Hybrid Chronicles #1
Pages: 343
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: September 27th 2012
Source: For Review
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #84

I should not exist. But I do.

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

What's Left of Me is an extremely original read which is rather rare in the ever expanding dystopian genre. It poses a lot of ethical issues which I found to be very provoking. A refreshing debut novel in the sea of formulaic dystopians.

I thought the narrative from Eva - the trapped soul - was a really intriguing way of narrating the story. The distinct behaviour of Addie and Eva made it so easy to distinguish between the two despite them being in the same body. They has such different personalities and whilst I preferred Evie to begin with I began to understand and ultimately connect with Addie. The relationship between them was really touching and personal.

The actual concept of two souls residing in one body reminded me a lot of conjoined twins and whether it is right to kill off one twin in order to improve the life span of the other. The idea of sacrificing a child in order to prolong the life of an other, if both would result in an early death otherwise, is something that has, does and will happen and I can easily see how a society like this could have been formed. Books that pose such difficult ethical questions really resonate with me and I tend to hold on to them for a long while.

I am really looking forward to see how the series progresses and find out some answers to those many questions revealed in the first instalment. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

      The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky 
Series: None
Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Release Date: Released
Source: For Review
Rating: 4 stars
100 Book challenge: #75

standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective…but there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor. since its publication, stephen chbosky’s haunting debut novel has received critical acclaim, provoked discussion and debate, grown into a cult phenomenon with over a million copies in print, and inspired a major motion picture.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a story about what it’s like to travel that strange course through the uncharted territory of high school. the world of first dates, family dramas, and new friends. of sex, drugs, and the rocky horror picture show. of those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

I have been meaning to read 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' for what feels like forever. There is a huge amount of hype surrounding the novel and with the film coming up this year I felt like it was a perfect time to dive in. It is likened to 'The Catcher in the Rye' and other coming of age novel that follow the growth of a boy to a man so to speak. 'Perks' definitely encapsulated those feelings and whilst I didn't find it to be as life changing as many other readers have, I still tremendously enjoyed it and it certainly gave me a lot to think about. 

The novel is told through letters from Charlie to a 'friend'. It felt extremely genuine and personal and I felt it really helped to connect with Charlie in the same way reading his diary would. The way in which the novel is written does make it feel like a classic. It has an timeless quality to it.

What I enjoyed most about 'Perks' is the way it makes you think. Nothing is black and white and I am constantly questioning whether the actions of the characters are right or wrong. It is definitely a book that could be discussed for hours. The characters are so three dimensional and they feel so real. Whether their actions were right or wrong I cared deeply for all of them.

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' is a young adult novel that captures the essence of what being a teenager feels like and how hard growing up can be. It deals with issues that, at the time of publication, would have been more shocking than they are today. That being said, it still provides an insight to issues teens still face today and it is a novel I would recommend you pick up.
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