Monday, 3 December 2012

Hello all

How is everyone?

I am planning on picking up normal service on the blog again at the beginning of next year. It feels like ages since I last had a proper book oriented conversation!!!


xx

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

An Apology...

I'm so sorry I have just been gone from the blog and from the book blogging realm for so long.

I have just been dealing with some personal stuff, but I really hope to get back into blogging soon - I miss you all!!! And I miss talking about books!!!!

Jules x

Friday, 11 May 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth




One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.


Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth and its been one of the most anticipated books of the year around the book blogging world.

I was excited to get my hands on a copy, but unfortunately Insurgent arrived on my door step right in the middle of course works and exams.

My quick thoughts -
Is it good? Yes, yes, yes.
Is it better than the first book? Absolutely.
Should you read it? Yes, but make sure and pick up Divergent first.

My slightly longer thoughts -
What I enjoyed most about Insurgent was the development of the characters and world. Divergent begins pretty much exactly where divergent left off with Tris and I do love Tris. Her character is memorable and I love the relationship she has with Four. Actually, who am I kidding I love Four...

Again I had some problems with the factions and aspects of the world building, it just didn’t quite work for me. Please don’t yell at me but I think the idea of factions with specific traits that are dominant is all a bit silly, I did say please don’t yell at me!

The biggest plus for me with Insurgent was the fact that I couldn’t put it down. I didn’t have the opportunity to sit down and just spend a long afternoon with the book but I was snatching chances to read pages in between almost every study break and down time I had. It was good and highly readable which isn’t true of a lot of YA dystopia.

And for some even longer thoughts -
I do intend to write a longer review when I get the chance, but I just wanted to make sure I got at least some of my thoughts down sooner rather than later.

To sum, it was good and very readable!

A big thank you to the publishers for giving me the chance to read and review Insurgent.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Book Review - DIVERGENT




In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. 

One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs and determines you loyalties...forever.







Divergent is set in a world that is unrecognisable from our own. The world, the people have changed and they are only capable of limited personalities and accordingly they will choose and live in only one of the five factions. 

The five factions are - 
Dauntless - The brave 
Abnegation - The selfless 
Erudite - The intelligent 
Amenity - The peaceful 
Candour - The honest 

While I did have some issues with some elements of Divergent I really liked the character of Tris (Beatrice), she wasn't your typical damsel in distress that seems to plague a lot of the YA dystopian genre. She was determined, strong and still vulnerable all at the same time. I liked her. And she is memorable. 

I also dare anyone who reads this not to like Four, the dauntless teacher that will put all the new recruits through their paces and a lot more. And I really enjoyed the part of the book where you learn why he was given the nickname of four. Again he is a character that I will look forward to reading more about as the series continues. 

However, as much as I loved some of the main characters a lot of the other characters felt a little underdeveloped and some were little more than a stereotype. Some authors have the knack of really creating a range of strong minor characters and personally I think Veronica Roth just fell short of that. 

Throughout the book there were a few scenarios that made me feel uncomfortable when reading them. There was a lot of bullying going on in the dauntless training camp and it was all seen as ok, expected even. For a dauntless it seemed that it was braver not stand up to bullies than to report them for fear people might think you are coward - my personal view just kept shouting WRONG, tell someone, tell anyone don't let that person nearly kill you before you stand up to them. It all just grated on me a bit. 

I found it hard to understand the dauntless society it just didn't fit with what the initial explanations behind the creation of the original five factions. Yes the author did try to explain the discrepancies but I felt like it was all glossed over and didn't really get to the heart of the matter, i.e., why a faction that favours bravery has turned more cruel than brave. 

I just wasn't convinced by a lot of situations throughout the story and often the characters seemed to act or do the opposite of what I would think of as brave choice. 

Again, most of what I didn't like came down to the fact that I thought a lot of the world building aspects were poorly done. There wasn't enough history or explanation why the society developed as it did and I really struggled with understanding why people fit so nicely into one faction or another. It didn't make sense, it made sense for more people to be Divergent. There is a sort of explanation towards the end of the book but it felt tacked on and not completely though through. 

There was just too many moments in Divergent that seemed to easily addressed by the author in a very convenient manner. I want more in depth answers. I want more complex world building. I want something more than formulaic relationships. I want something that just isn't ok. I didn't get moat of those things from Divergent. 

But, what I did get from Divergent was an entertaining story. And although I may have said some negative things I really did enjoy following the recruits from initiation onwards. Even if some of the sections felt a tad repetitive, as they have to participate in similar tasks more than once.

I do think that this series has potential and I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Insurgent. Hopefully some of the answers and explanations I really needed to like Divergent more will be laid out in Insurgent.

Recommended? Definitely, but just don't expect anything like all the hype surrounding this book suggests. 

To sum, reading Divergent was one choice that didn't transform me. I have read so many reviews from people who have loved this book, perhaps my main problem was because I was expecting more. If you do or have read Divergent be sure to let me know what you think. 






Genre - YA, dystopian 
Published by HaperCollins (2011) 
Paperback - 487 pages (£9.99 - £6.99)
Source - I received a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth from the publishers in exchange for an honest review






REVIEW of INSURGENT coming soon :D

Monday, 9 April 2012

Short but not all that sweet - Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan




Tabitha can’t shake the feeling that something exists beyond the fences of her village. And when she sneaks out, past the gates and down the path into the Forest of Hands and Teeth, she meets a boy who teaches her heart things she never knew. But love in a world surrounded by so much death doesn’t come without its sacrifices, and Tabitha gradually realizes just how much she’ll have to give up to live among the Unconsecrated.







I really enjoyed the Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan, so I was more than just a little excited about revisiting the series and reading Hare Moon on my lovely new kindle (as far as I am aware Hare Moon is only available in e-book format). 


Hare Moon is set before the Forest of Hands and Teeth and is a novella (rather than another novel) and a short one at that, I read it in well under an hour.

When I first realised that the short story would be all about Tabitha my first thought was – Wow - Carrie Ryan chose a great character to write a short story about.

Tabitha was certainly a memorable character from the first book and was a character that I did want to know more about. In the Forest of Hands and Teeth, Tabitha, was an old lady and leader of the Sisterhood. But, she wasn’t a loved leader among her people, she was a bit of a tyrant and someone that you wouldn’t want to cross. Personally, I didn’t like Tabitha in the Forest of Hands and Teeth and after reading Hare Moon I STILL didn’t like her.

In Hare Moon I struggled to get my head around her decisions, I know what Carrie Ryan was doing and she was writing, she had a specific ending in mind. After all we already know that Tabitha was a rather mean, stubborn and downright scary old women who ruled over the sisterhood and did what needed to be done to keep the village isolated and safe. I just struggled to believe the actions of the character, I wanted her to make different decisions and although I did get why she made the decisions she did – as it makes all the loose ends come together – it didn’t feel like the real actions of someone in love.

Sorry to be cryptic, I just don’t want to give away any spoilers. But, in Hare Moon Tabitha has an extremely difficult choice to make and I whole heartedly think she makes the wrong one, I just didn’t like it and more importantly I didn’t believe it. Carrie Ryan was trying to do the impossible and create a character that we would like and empathise with and then have her turn around and do something out of character because it then suits her later character...argh...am I even making any sense now?

To sum, I thought the beginning seemed a little weak and more like a first attempt rather than a polished product, the middle was ok and the ending was a disappointment.

Overall, I don’t think that Hare Moon adds anything to the trilogy as a whole. I wouldn’t recommend reading this unless you are very determined. It’s quite expensive considering how little reading time it takes and it was a huge disappointment to me.

Although this has mostly been a negative review, I really did enjoy the full length series of novels. In fact, the forest of hands and teeth was some of the first YA that really opened my eyes to what I had been missing. I am still looking forward to reading what Carrie Ryan produces next. 



 

Genre – YA, Zombies
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (April 2011 - £1.28)
Source – I purchased a copy of Hare Moon by Carrie Ryan

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

One of the best titles ever...



Northern Exposure. Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham--who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska--has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.


For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.


If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .


Who wouldn’t want to read a book with the title – How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf?

I found this book really hard to review, there were elements that I thought worked  fantastically well, but then there were other aspects that I found disappointing.

I loved the characters and How Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is definitely a character driven story. It was easy to get swept up in the community and lives of not only Mo but all the other residents of Grundy. However, that was also the problem. How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf was all great characters (and even great minor characters) but the story had very little plot, it was more just like a sequence of events. Unfortunately, I would even go as far to say that what little plot there was wasn’t very original. It was only saved by some great characters.

I loved, loved, loved Mo. She’s one of the best characters that I’ve come across in a while and I was more than happy to follow her life for the entirety of the story. Mo also had the most quirky hippy parents that sent her running across the country so that she was free to eat all the processed food she wanted. Mo was the type of character that was easy to connect with and I would certainly want her as a friend.

There was a bit of a love triangle going on for a while in the book and I loved Alan, he was the ultimate sweet, loyal, dependable guy that did everything right apart from set Mo’s heart or body on fire. Cooper was probably the most clichéd character of the bunch and wasn’t my favourite male lead, he did have his moments thou.

Molly Harper really does have the knack for great characters and great descriptions. After reading How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf I desperately wanted to visit Alaska and I still do, it just sounds amazing. Although I think I would definitely prefer the summer months when the area is more accessible. The location in the story really was like another character and added a lot to my enjoyment of the book.

For me if a book doesn’t have a strong plot I would pretty much dismiss it, because I really need both great characters and great plot to make a great story. However, I really enjoyed this book. I do wonder if I enjoyed it more because I was listening to the story on audiobook rather than reading if from a paperback. When I picked How to Flirt with a Werewolf to listen to I was getting ready for a long bus trip and just wanted something light that would keep me entertained and wasn’t going to be overly taxing, and that is exactly what I got.

To sum, How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf was an enjoyable, character driven story that doesn’t require a lot of effort to get swept up in. Mo’s life was certainly entertaining as she braves the Alaskan weather and gets caught up in all sorts of trouble.

The audiobook was good, the narrator was clear and really easy to listen to. There was only one small point that irritated me ever so slightly and that was the accent the narrator used to portray Cooper. However, that was only a small annoyance and I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to more audiobooks narrated by Amanda Ronconi in the future.

So as for the important question - Would I recommend How to flirt with a naked werewolf by Molly Harper? I’m not sure, I did enjoy it and I have given it quite a high rating but if you prefer plot driven stories more than character driven stories then stay away. How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf is all about the characters.



Have you read it? What did you think? 




 
Genre – Adult, Werewolves
Audiobook – 9 hours and 14 minutes (Unabridged)
Published by Audible Ltd (June 2011)
Source – I bought a copy of How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Good beginning to a new series - Fated by Sarah Alderson





What happens when you discover you aren't who you thought you were? And that the person you love is the person who will betray you? If your fate is already determined, can you fight it?

When Evie Tremain discovers that she’s the last in a long line of Demon slayers and that she’s being hunted by an elite band of assassins –Shapeshifters, Vampires and Mixen demons amongst them – she knows she can’t run. They’ll find her wherever she goes. Instead she must learn to stand and fight. 

But when the half-human, half-Shadow Warrior Lucas Gray - is sent to spy on Evie and then ordered to kill her before she can fulfil a dangerous prophecy, their fates become inextricably linked. The war that has raged for one thousand years between humans and demons is about to reach a devastating and inevitable conclusion. Either one or both of them will die before this war ends. 

If your life becomes bound to another’s, what will it take to sever it?

Even despite hearing wonderful things about Hunting Lila I never got round to buying it – I know! So I started reading Fated knowing very little about the book or author other than some of my friends loved Hunting Lila. In fact, when I first picked up this book I hadn’t even heard of it before, but the blurb and opening paragraphs really drew me in. So much so that Fated by Sarah Alderson didn’t even hit the TBR pile it went straight from the mailbox into my hand, something that doesn’t happen often.

No one can doubt that Sarah Alderson is anything but a beautiful and talented writer. The prose and story flowed effortlessly and most aspects of the book just worked. I also thought that Fated was a bit different to the abundance of YA paranormal stuff out there, but only just a little different nothing game changing.

I’m writing this review after a few weeks of finishing the book and although it was enjoyable it hasn’t really stuck firmly in my memory. Even thou I found some aspects of Fated predictable I did enjoy it on the whole. Sarah Alderson has succeeded in creating an interesting cast of characters, especially those on the side of the evil Brotherhood. Most of the characters haven’t left a lasting impression, but what I did like and what stands out is the variety of characters from acid skinned cheerleader types, to vamps, shape shifters and the dark and mysterious shadow warrior that is Lucas.

However, something that let the book down was the ‘insta-love’ relationship between Evie and Lucas. He seemed to love her on first site and it was all a very predictable Romeo and Juliet type relationship. They realise that they shouldn’t be together because they are on opposite sides of an ancient and ongoing war but they can’t resist one another. Lucas is also willing to sacrifice everything for Evie, it just all seemed a little clichéd. But having said that I did enjoy their story, I just knew where it was going.

The ending of Fated was good and it definitely left the story open and begging for a sequel, which would be a book that I wouldn’t hesitate to pick up. I suspect that the next book would be even better than Fated because there was a lot of background explanations and info dumps at the beginning of Fated that was needed to set up the scene.

Personally I thought the book had a bit of a slow start and some slow chapters dotted throughout, but overall the story was interesting, strong and definitely made for a book that I read over a couple of days. In fact, Fated ended up being a terrible influence on me, when I should have been paying more attention to my studies I was out cheating on my Academic career reading about Evie and Lucas.


If I had to sum Fated up I’d probably say a so so beginning, a slightly better middle but with an utterly gripping end.

As I mentioned I haven’t read any of Sarah Alderson’s other books but I will certainly be reading more from her in the future. Hopefully I will be picking up Hunting Lila sometime soon, especially because I know that it has received some pretty glowing reviews from readers and reviewers that I trust.





The Cover - Would you pick this up off the book store shelf? - I don't think that I would if I knew nothing else about the book, I just don't like the cover! I also don't think it suited the story much, but I do like the colours.  - What do you think?




Genre – YA, Paranormal
Published by Simon & Schuster UK (Jan 2012)
Paperback – 320 pages (£6.99)
Source – I received a copy of Fated by Sarah Alderson from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 
 
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