Monday, August 29, 2011

[Review] All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I've Done {goodreads}
Authors: Gabrielle Zevin
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 03/09/11
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
RRP: $16.99
Source: For review from publisher (thanks!)
Age: 14+
Pages: 350
ISBN: 9780330537896
My Rating:

Summary:
Sixteen year-old Anya becomes the head of a mafia family after her parents are both murdered by rival gangs. Although Anya is embrolied in the criminal world, she is determined to keep her brother and sister out of the mafia family, but her father's relatives aren't so keen to let them go. When Anya's violent ex-boyfriend is poisoned with contaminated chocolate – chocolate that is produced illegally by Anya's mafia family – she is arrested for attempted murder and sent to the notorious jail on Manhattan Island.

Eventually she is freed by the new D.A. in town, who believs she has been framed. But this D.A. is the father of Win, a boy at school to whom Anya feels irresistibly drawn, and her freedom comes with conditions. Win's father wants to be mayor, and he can't risk having his ambition jeopardised by rumours spreading that his son is seeing a member of a notorious crime family. Anya knows she risks the safety of her family by seeing Win again, but the feeling between them may be too strong to resist...
My thoughts: 

It is the year 2082. Anya Balanchine gets a lot of attention at school, and from the media and cops. Her parents were murdered, making her, and her sister and brother, orphans. It was only a matter of time; they were leading men in an illegal chocolate smuggling business, and while they made lots of friends since the chocolate ban, they also made many enemies.

When a chocolate poisoning goes underway, Anya is deemed the top suspect. And why wouldn't she be, considering her seedy background and motive. The victim is her ex-boyfriend, to whom she dumped a tray of lasagne on just the other day. And things get complicated when she falls in love with the District Attorney's son.

---

First off, I love the boldness of the font for this book! Despite the dark tones, it makes the book very striking, something I would want to know more of if I saw this on a bookshelf. Do I like this more than the US cover? I think the US cover looks more like a Gabrielle Zevin cover. The chocolate heart would make me super hungry if I were to read it though. I don't love the girl's face on this cover: I didn't picture Anya with so much makeup on, though the actual features are pretty spot-on. Let's move on, shall we?

This book has the now well-known premise and hook: What if chocolate was illegal? It's hard to call this book a dystopian and despite the resource shortages, it is only 71 years in the future and there is not much of an idealised utopia happening over there. All These Things I've Done came off more to me as a romance/mystery/crime thriller YA novel, with a peek at the future.

ATTID is set in New York, and the coffee speakeasies in the book mirror the speakeasies of the '20s, so it was nice to see a clear link between past and future. And of course the chocolate smuggling and organised crime syndicates mirror ANYTHING where something has been banned or illegalised. Just kind of stating the obvious there, but I like being able to see a historical link in dystopian novels.

The plot was great; I could not stop reading it! Every chapter has a little heading/tagline thingy that made me curious and want to find out what happened next. While the fast-paced and riveting storyline consumed all my attention, I couldn't help wonder: why? Why has this society placed a ban on coffee and chocolate, and how did things come to be? [This is the reason I had to bump the book down to 4 stars] I'm just hoping that more will be explained in the next book.

Anya Balanchine is a realist and a practical person. This is HER story. Her strong, snarky personality leave much room for characterisation. The Anya at the end is far changed from the girl we meet at the beginning of the book. At only sixteen, Anya takes on so much crap that it's hard to comprehend how she doesn't just break down. Despite her devout Catholicism, so much goes wrong for her.

Other characters include the members of her immediate, and extended, family; her best friend Scarlet; Win, the DA's son; the DA; Yuji Ono, Anya's Japanese friend; and probably some more. For the most part, they were all great characters, and they really came to life. I can't wait to see what's in store for them all in the next book.

All These Things I've Done is written in first person, in Anya's perspective. At times she speaks directly to us, which I've never seen before in a YA novel. As my first Gabrielle Zevin novel, this really does set the bar high for her other books. Since I love contemporary as much as, or maybe even more than dystopian, there's no way I can be disappointed. :)

In All These Things I've Done, Zevin draws up a strong premise -- It is 2082 in New York and chocolate is ILLEGAL -- and matches it with a strong protagonist and cast. While the rationale behind such a decision for the society to make it so could have been explained, the speedy plot and star-crossed romance makes up for the missing piece in the story.

Quote:

First lines

"THE NIGHT BEFORE MY JUNIOR YEAR - I was sixteen, barely - Gable Arsley said he wanted to sleep with me. Not in the distant or semi-distant future either. Right then.
Admittedly, my taste in boys wasn't so great. I was attracted to the sort who weren't in the habit of asking permission to do anything. Boys like my father, I guess.

Favourites


"   'Why are you here?' I asked him.
   'That's an awfully big question, Anya.'
   'No, I meant here outside this office. What did you do wrong?'
   'Multiple choice,' he said. 'A. A few pointed comments made in Theology. B. The principal wants to have a chat with the new kid about wearing hats in school. C. My schedule. I'm just too darn smart for my classes. D. My eyewitness account of the girl who poured lasagne over her boyfriend's head. E. The principal's leaving her husband and wants to run away with me. F. None of the above. G. All of the above.'
   'Ex-boyfriend,' I murmured.
   'Good to know,' he said.

(p. 16 - this one's a biggie, but a goodie)

Win and Anya are in Forensic Science II together, and they are examining teeth for a project.

"   'I think you're right, Anya. Our girl was making herself sick.'
   I smiled at him. 'Her whole life story right there, waiting for us to read it.'
   He agreed. 'It's sad when you think about it, but also kind of beautiful.'
   It was a strange thing to say, I suppose. But I knew what he meant without having to ask. All these teeth had once been in real, live people. They had talked and smiled and eaten and sung and cursed and prayed. They had brushed and flossed and died. In English class, we read poems about death, but here, right in front of me, was a poem about death, too. Only this poem was true.

(p. 52)

"   'It's not tragic,' I assured her. 'This is nothing. Tragedy is when someone ends up dead. Everything else is just a bump in the road.' For the record, that was something Daddy used to say, but I'm pretty sure Shakespeare would have agreed, too.

(p. 178 - Shakespeare is still alive in 2082!)

Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS


All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.





I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Alyxandra Harvey videos!

I loved Haunting Violet by Alyxandra, so I was pleased to watch this video - she basically retells the basic plot of the story, but in non-spoilery detail. For fans of ghost stories especially.

Read my review here!



For fans of the Drake Chronicles, here she talks about the newest installment, Bleeding Hearts.



Thanks to Bloomsbury for sharing!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[Review] Shift by Em Bailey

Title: Shift {goodreads}
Authors: Em Bailey
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/09/11
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
RRP: $22.95
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 310
My Rating:

Summary:
Olive Corbett is definitely NOT crazy.

Not anymore. These days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with.

She doesn’t need a boyfriend. Especially not a lifesaver-type with a nice smile. And she doesn’t need the drama of that creepy new girl Miranda, who has somehow latched on to Olive's ex-best friend.

Yet from a distance, Olive can see there's something sinister about the new friendship. Something almost... parasitic. Maybe the wild rumours ARE true. Maybe Miranda is a killer.

But who would believe Olive? She does have a habit of letting her imagination run away with her…
My thoughts: 

I wanted to throw this book against a wall. No, it wasn't bad at all. I just really wanted to throw this book against a wall. It's one of those books that gets really under your skin; it slowly crawls up and then GRABS you. And won't let go. Shift is Em Bailey's debut YA novel, and it's quite a doozy. It's being compared to Liar (Justine Larbalestier) and Single White Female. I think if you're a fan of mystery/suspense/thrillers, you'll at least be drawn in by this book. Think Pretty Little Liars, but completely different.

Shift introduces us to Olive Corbett whose poisonous personality leads her straight to rehab. But now she's back: "these days she takes her meds like a good girl, hangs out with her best friend Ami, and stays the hell away from the toxic girls she used to be friends with" (taken from blurb).


She's a bit lost, a bit withdrawn, a bit bitter, a bit misunderstood. Just a bit. The only one getting her through each day, is Ami, her best friend. And I loved their relationship, and also the twist that involved them that really changed everything. Olive is such a complex character that it's really hard to keep track of what's really going on with her.


And then, of course, there's the real HOOK of the book - the new girl. "What's the deal with her?" you ask. I'm not saying, but she is very, very wicked indeed. There is a supernaturality about her, but I haven't read about this specific creature/feature before so it was pretty fresh for me. She's misunderstood from the start, what with all the rumours that have been circulating the school even before she'd arrived, but Olive senses something off about her. ESPECIALLY when she is gradually promoted to 'Queen Bee' Katie's best friend, who used to be OLIVE's best friend.


I loved the escalation of the suspense that builds up throughout the book. Olive develops/discovers a theory that seems preposterous, but explains everything that has been happening since Miranda's appearance. Olive grows and is put down and grows some more, makes friends, opens herself up and tries to find her true self. I loved the insight we get into Olive's mind, especially when looking at how she is before and what she becomes after.


Music is a huge part of Olive's life, and ever since she came back from the hospital (and maybe much before that) she's been this alternative goddess. And she's got this huge crush on Dallas, the lead of this totally unknown band. Crazily enough, the band gets a gig someplace close by and Olive finally meets him . . . and feels nothing for him. Is there someone else? *nods*

One day at school, the mysterious, "no-name" but totally gorgeous new guy Lachlan talks to Olive. In an almost agitating amount of self-pity, Olive brushes him off time and time again. Because she's not worthy of a guy's affection. I actually really liked the romantic interactions (if you could call them that, at least at the beginning) between them. It was bittersweet and heartbreaking. It did get frustrating, just because Olive kept rejecting him when she probably knew ages ago how she'd felt about him. I could probably go on and on about this, but moving on . . . 

Independent, quirky, snarky and incredibly complex Olive retells the twisted events that follow her return to sanity. There's something so odd about the new girl, especially the way Olive's ex-best friend Katie has changed since they became besties. The inner psyche of Olive combined with the sinister plot, along with supportive family and friends, a budding relationship that can't happen, and betrayals and misunderstandings; and you get a well-rounded suspense/thriller/mystery YA novel. Deeply enjoyable; a worthy debut novel.

Quote:

First lines

"There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even started at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And the second? They were dead because Miranda had killed them.

Favourites


"We watched as Miranda drifted like a cloud to our classroom. During classes she sat down the back, near me. Totally silent and still.
...
And we watched Miranda during breaks as she sat on the bench near the back fence. Eyes half-closed. Palms together in her lap. Was she praying? Photosynthesising, maybe?

(p. 25)




"At first I fumed about how stupid everyone was not to realise that Miranda was manipulating the situation to suit herself. But after a while, I found this thought popping into my head: Maybe you imagined it.
     My doubt felt like one of those weeds that you see growing in cracks in the footpath - it's incredible that something so little can grow so strong to push up concrete. It's hard being the only person who sees things a certain way. Lonely. It would be easier to let go and just be carried along by the current like everyone else.

(p. 132)



Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS

Amazon | The Book Depository

All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: 2011 Debut Challenge (AU), Aussie YA Challenge

Saturday, August 13, 2011

[Review] Haunting Violet by Alyxandra Harvey

Title: Haunting Violet {goodreads}
Authors: Alyxandra Harvey
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/08/11
Publisher: Bloomsbury
RRP: $15.99
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 340
My Rating:

Summary:
Violet Willoughby doesn't believe in ghosts . . . but they believe in her.

Violet has spent years taking part in her mother's elaborately faked seances, putting the rich and powerful in touch with the dead, and their success has brought them a life of luxury they could only have dreamed of and Violet the prospect of a society marriage.

The last thing Violet expected was to start seeing and hearing the dead for real. But now she is haunted day and night by the ghost of a drowned girl who won't let her rest until her murdered is uncovered. Violet must use her talents to unravel the mystery surrounding the girl's death - and quickly before the killer strikes again . . .
My thoughts: 

Written 2 weeks after reading it, sorry! This review is dreadful . . . uni has just been a massive change and I don't know what to do with this blog at the moment. I'm still hanging on, barely, but I'm just really lagging on reviews.

Part historical fiction, part supernatural mystery, HAUNTING VIOLET possessed great qualities from both worlds. We've got the modern-archaic writing style, and Victorian England environment and cast; as well as a girl who can see, hear and speak to the dead, which leads to a complete whirlwind of a whodunnit plotline.

It actually gave me the same chilling atmosphere and feel as THE ETERNAL ONES and PROPHECY OF THE SISTERS -- both which I loved! However, it definitely stands on its own. Violet, the main character in this book, is cleverer than Haven. And Violet grows up with a brother figure like the Milthorpe sisters, but he's an adopted orphan . . .


[enter crappy synopsis thingy]
Violet Willoughby has been living under the shadow of her mother since she was young - she aids in making her mother's fake seances work. Her mother, Celeste, has been obsessed with the wealthy and since she harbours no real skills, other than relentless foolery, she is the town's regarded seance. Violet and her only friend Collin, an orphan taken in by Celeste, are the only ones who know. One day, Celeste is given a job by an elitist. And it's only then that Violet discovers she can see ghosts for real, and one ghost in particular wants her murderer known by all. 


Sorry about that. Anyway, this review is probably going to be short otherwise I'll go around in circles.


I just loved it. Harvey's writing style was detailed but in a way that it wasn't boring or too longwinded. Yes, there were some slow points in the book, but don't worry because it all quickly picked up again. What I enjoyed most of the book was the constant guessing. Who killed this girl? I love the mystery revolving around that, and the cluelessness of the people in the area really made it even spookier. Everything was cleverly planned out; one small action could change your outlook entirely and think that one suspect was innocent. And then something else would happen that could turn it all around.


As for the characters themselves . . . I liked the history revolving around the Willoughby family. I'd have loved more information about Collin, though I suppose most of it would be terribly depressing. His interactions and presence really shifts the dynamic in the "family". Celeste (the mother) patronisingly dotes on Violet, while mostly ignoring Collin and treating him like a slave. But V and Collin are as close as anything. And their relationship gets annoying. Collin is overly protective of V, which is good, but I don't know, it just drove me mad at times.


I wish I could remember more about the specific townspeople but my memory is appalling, so. Yeah. Uh. That's pretty much it.


Haunting Violet is a suspenseful rollercoaster: one minute you know exactly what's going on, the next you don't. With a sweeping family dynamic and a female protagonist whose haunting newfound powers drive the plot, you won't want to let go!

Quote:

First lines

"I was nine years old when my mother decided it was time I took part in the family business. I was pretty enough now, she said, that I might be of use. I'd grown into my ears and my long neck and might be clever enough to handle myself. Besides which, she claimed, she had no other option.




Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS

Amazon | The Book Depository

All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: ---

Thursday, August 11, 2011

[Review] The Karma Club by Jessica Brody

Title: The Karma Club {goodreads}
Authors: Jessica Brody
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 27/07/11
Publisher: Pan Macmillan (Square Fish)
RRP: $16.95
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 260 (& extras!)
My Rating:

Summary:
Madison Kasparkova always thought she understood how Karma works. Do good things and you'll be rewarded, do something bad and Karma will make sure you get what you deserve. But when Maddy’s boyfriend cheats on her, nothing bad comes his way. That’s why Maddy starts the Karma Club, to clean up the messes that the universe has left behind. Sometimes, though, it isn’t wise to meddle with the universe. It turns out Karma often has plans of its own.
My thoughts: 

THE KARMA CLUB was very reminiscent of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB, but instead of just "giving up boys until the end of high school", these girls take it upon themselves to payback those who have wronged them to "balance out recent Karmic imbalance" . . . though the members of The Karma Club also vow to give up boys until the end of high school.



Very fun, very cute, The Karma Club really just delivered exactly what I wanted at the time - something light that didn't require my brain to work too hard.



Maddy wants more than anything to be popular - imagine her luck when her gorgeous but modest boyfriend gets featured in a hotties list in the popular teen magazine, Contempo Girl! Granted instant access to popularity, Maddy takes this opportunity to get into the place to be: The Loft. Enter snippy queen bee, and we get disaster. Cheated on and defeated, Maddy is whisked away to a spiritual clinic with her mum, where she learns about Karma. You make your own luck. And so The Karma Club is born.



I didn't like Maddy at the beginning, just because I lose respect for people who only want to be popular. However after she is betrayed, she becomes a half-way decent/likeable character. She assumes that sarcastic witty voice in a way that can come across as whiny and annoying, but doesn't. She just sounds like a real teenager.



This book has a killer trailer - Jessica Brody knows how to get good trailers done. I could easily see it become a movie, and of course it would be a total teen chick flick. The soundtrack that accompanies this book suits the book really well. There are some nice tracks on there - I would not mind if more books had accompanying OFFICIAL and original soundtracks.

And lastly, I just did not like this cover. I didn't love the first cover either, but I don't know... I like the spine though, just because it's clear and simple.

The Karma Club is an extremely quick, fun book that may just get readers thinking about that "larger than life" philosophy of making your own luck. Brody has created a colourful cast of characters as well as a predictable plot, but actually knowing the details of The Karma Club's schemes and downfalls is really what makes this a worthwhile read.

Quote:

First lines

"I can tell you right now. It's all Karma's fault.
    Yes, Karma. You know, that unmistakable force in the universe that makes sure good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished."




Buy:


* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

INTERNATIONAL READERS

Amazon | The Book Depository

All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: Debut Challenge 2011 (AU)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

[Review] Siren's Storm by Lisa Papademetriou

Title: Siren's Storm {goodreads}
Authors: Lisa Papademetriou
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/08/11
Publisher: Random House Australia
RRP: $18.95
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 280
My Rating:
 

Summary:
Nothing has been the same for Will ever since what happened last summer. One day, on an ordinary sailing trip with his brother, there is a strange accident. When Will wakes up, he learns his brother has disappeared, presumed drowned. Worst of all, Will can't remember what happened—his family finds him unconscious, with no memory of the accident.

Now Will and his best friend and neighbor, Gretchen, are starting a new summer. Gretchen seems troubled—her sleepwalking habit is getting worse, and she keeps waking up closer and closer to the water. Will is drawn to Asia, the exotic new girl in town. Nobody knows where she's from—all Will knows is that her beauty and her mesmerizing voice have a powerful effect on people.

Then there is another mysterious drowning, and Will and Gretchen begin to wonder: Is Asia just another beautiful, wealthy summer resident? Or is she something entirely more sinister . . . and inhuman?
My thoughts: 

Siren's Storm is my first siren story, but it will definitely not be the last. I love books that revolve itself on some kind of mythology, and while the author doesn't get into the nitty gritty of it it was nice to get the feel of mythology. I'm only just writing a review like 2 weeks after I read it, so it's not going to be too well written, just warning you!

*sorry this synopsis thing is so dodgy and spoilery probably DON'T READ IT!!*
The book starts off really slowly. We are introduced to the setting first, with an article from the Walfang Gazette, where a huge storm is to arrive in the near future. Introduced to Will in the third person as he goes out and finds a creature lurking in the shadows. Creeped out, he drives onward towards his destination. The same creature, Will thinks, then drops off at a nearby creek, with him the only witness. And the next day, there she is, and she's the mysterious new girl, and there's something about her that's . . . off.

When I first finished this book I had set the rating straight up to 4.5 stars, but that was only truly reflective of the fast-paced bits near the end - not the whole of the book. Most of this book was just too slow for my liking, and while the mystery of it all did keep me going, I was still putting it down after each chapter. And after 2 weeks I remember fragments of the book, but not the ones that made me believe this book was THAT amazing. Basically, it was good but not great or amazing (in between 3.5 and 4 stars).

After about the 100 page mark I finally got into the book and was actually hooked, and actually wanted to keep on reading. I'm not sure whether this was just the situation at the time/recently (because I've been bored with book beginnings for a while now), but I've heard that other people struggled with the beginning too. I am glad that there will be a sequel, kind of. I found that the ending was a tad cheesy and although all loose strings are tied up, I don't think I'm ready to let go of Will and Gretchen.

In YA a majority of the "new kid" plot is with a guy, so I liked that this time around it was a girl. She was mysterious and beautiful and troubled and cryptic, the kind of girl that both petrifies and allures. Sounds like a siren (or rather, a seekrieger) to me!

Will and Gretchen aren't anything too special. Really, they're just normal kids who just happened to find themselves at the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the right time). But I think it's that that made me like them, even a bit. More than that, I just liked how their friendship changes and deepens during that summer.

I hope to see more of Gretchen's life in the next book. Saying that, none of the "main-ish" characters were dull or boring or cardboard cutouts or cliches. As far as I could tell. If there was any disconnect, it was just because of the third person perspective.

That said, Siren's Storm is an evocative and cleverly-plotted siren novel that twists and turns so that once you finally think you've got it figured out, just like Will and Gretchen, you discover you were dead wrong. The build-up of the relationship between Will and Gretchen is cute, and helps lighten up an otherwise pitch dark summer read.

Quote:

Favourites


"Will saw her strawberry lips forming words, and hungered to know what they were. Will didn't care what she was saying. He wished he could catch each word from her mouth and preserve them in a jar, like fireflies.


(p. 117)




Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile *

INTERNATIONAL READERS

Amazon The Book Depository

All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: Debut Challenge 2011 (AU)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Maria V. Snyder Contest - Winner!

Out of 57 entries (AU).

The winner of my Maria V. Snyder contest is...

#21: KRAZY KATE (QLD)

Congratulations!

Please notify me by email ASAP if you do not want your prize.
If you do not see this post then it will be a pleasant surprise, no?

30 Day Book Meme: Day 9

"Memes are fun! Well, some of them are at least."
Hosted by Arielle (Chimneys and Magic)!
Day 9: A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

Note: I usually won't read books I don't think I'll at least like, unless they were for review. All of these were, though they were either accepted or requested. :P

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder (contemporary)
Verse novels and I don't normally get along.
This was my first Schroeder book and certainly not my last.

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (paranormal)
Before this book I thought that paranormal just wasn't for me.
This series is out of this world outstanding. *sigh*



Across the Universe by Beth Revis (sci-fi)
If it weren't for the hype and publicity this would have slipped right past me.
I loved this book, and I'm so glad I finally ordered a copy!

Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle (paranormal)
At first, when I started reading, I was so unsure whether I'd like this or not.
Paranormal is still shaky for me, but I absolutely loved it.



What is a book you thought you wouldn’t like
but ended up loving?


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

30 Day Book Meme: Day 8

"Memes are fun! Well, some of them are at least."
Hosted by Arielle (Chimneys and Magic)!
Day 8: Most overrated book

Note: I don't like this topic. Most of these books I liked
but expected much more of due to the hype.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (contemporary)
Just took me ages to get through this. It just didn't do it for me.
I still liked this, but I wish I hadn't bought it.

Matched (dystopian)
This is probably #1, if I were listing in order.
I loved the concept, but it was just boring and too slow.
That stupid cliffhanger makes me want to know what happens next though.
I didn't hate it, but I was severely let down.



Glimmerglass by Jenna Black (fantasy)
Ugh. I just don't know why so many people loved this one.
Either I was sleeping or nothing really did happen.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (contemporary)
 I have no doubts that this was lifechanging for so many people.
But I just didn't dig it, you know?



Again, these were all books where the high ratings and hyped up reviews just let me down.
If I hadn't been expecting so much, maybe ...

What is the most overrated book?


[Review] Days Like This by Alison Stewart

Title: Days Like This {goodreads}
Authors: Alison Stewart
Publication (dd/mm/yy): 01/08/11
Publisher: Penguin Australia
RRP: $19.95
Source: Publisher for review
Age: 14+
Pages: 300
My Rating:




Summary:

SHE HAS TO
ESCAPE.

BUT WHO ELSE IS OUT THERE?
AND CAN ANYONE
SURVIVE DAYS
LIKE THIS?


I    want    to    go    back
to the days when life made sense. The days before our parents
became strange; before the warming ate away at all the
living things in the world; before The Committee and their
Blacktroopers. Before the Wall.
Lily is a prisoner in her own home. Forced to stay inside by The
Committee and guarded by their increasingly distant parents,
Lily and her brother Daniel are beginning to ask why. Then,
when Daniel disappears just before his seventeeth birthday,
Lily knows she is next.

My thoughts: 

It is no mystery that the Dystopian genre is growing. Looking into a far changed society that has become otherworldly, I sometimes forget that these things happen supposedly on the other side of the world. Well this book happens to take place in Sydney!


Days Like This follows Lily, who has not stepped outside of her house since the Wall was built. The Warming has stripped the land bare; anyone living outside the priviledged area around Sydney is left in the barren wasteland to perish without the basic neccessities. Life at home has long turned sour, and when her twin brother Daniel disappears, Lily knows she has to escape at any cost.


I liked Lily as the protagonist. She loves her family, to the point where she will risk her life to save them. Her insanely strong will is so admirable. She does have her flaws - she is stubborn and can be irrational and clumsy, but that's what makes a great and likeable main character.


The people Lily meets are varied and bring a whole new dimension to the amount of damage and trauma the Community has brought them all.


The plot moves steadily, the mysteries surrounding the new world motivation enough for me to keep turning the pages.


There is a romance in the book, and while this book ends quite conclusively, if there does happen to be a sequel, I can tell there would be a love triangle. Lily has two guys of interest, though one guy cannot be trusted and so things are over before they even start.


Days Like This is a shocking tale of a corrupted society founded and coerced by greed, pride and vanity, and a girl whose familial loss brings her to a new world. The exploration of the future is always interesting, and Stewart's new book will get Aussie readers wondering, and edge-of-your-seat entertained to the end.

Quote:

First line

"'Oh no,' Lily said, jumping up. 'Not again.'




Buy:

* cheapest Australian e-store price

AUSTRALIAN RESIDENTS

Fishpond * | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

INTERNATIONAL READERS

Amazon | The Book Depository

All links from Booko, because I'm too lazy to search each individual store anymore.




I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

Challenge: Aussie YA Challenge

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

30 Day Book Meme: Day 7

"Memes are fun! Well, some of them are at least."
Hosted by Arielle (Chimneys and Magic)!
Day 7: Most underrated book

Note: I'm going to be taking "underrated" as not read by many.
All of these have actually been rated highly on Goodreads.

Harmonic Feedback by Tara Kelly (contemporary)
Mental Illness. Music.
Great main character and situations.
Love.

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang (historical)
This girl is like Mulan - she kicks ass!
Amazing historical YA that brings ancient China to life.
A beautiful story that will always stay with me.



Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber (historical)
Trailer trailer trailer, you must watch the trailer!
Other than that, this book has such a rustic beauty to it that is unmatched.
This coming of age novel brings literary credit where credit is due.

The Light of Asteria by Elizabeth Isaacs (fantasy)
Isaacs was super sweet and handed me an e-copy for review.
A fantastical read with characters that spring to life and words smooth as honey.




What is the most underrated book?


Monday, August 1, 2011

Live Q&A with M.J. Hearle, author of Winter's Shadow!


Fictional Fantasy is hosting a Live Q&A with MJ Hearle,
Author of Winter’s Shadow

Come along and join us on Fictional Fantasy’s Facebook Page.
MJ will be online to answer your questions!

At 8pm (Syd time +10 GMT), Thursday 4th August 2011.

30 Day Book Meme: Day 6

"Memes are fun! Well, some of them are at least."
Hosted by Arielle (Chimneys and Magic)!
Day 6: A book that makes you sad


Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This book is blow after blow of sadness. And hope. But lots of sadness.
What a beautiful masterpiece.



Delirium by Lauren Oliver

That ending. Chokes me up everytime.
Why is Pandemonium taking so long?
Also, I must be the only person even a bit peeved by the cover change,
if only because it means I'll have to expend to match the covers.



If I Stay by Gayle Forman
&
Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Come on. These are so emotional.
They're actually not my favourites anymore, just because my preferences have changed a bit and I would prefer books where more happens, if you know what I mean.



As mentioned yesterday, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford would also fit in this one. :P Same with Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

What is a book that makes you sad?


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