Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (34)

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Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

Summary from Goodreads:

"You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.
The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
This one sounds pretty interesting. I'm hoping it's a bit like The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, where it's all  bit weird and things are happening and we don't know why until we figure it out. And purely for that reason, this is on my TBR list. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Book Review: Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G Howard

Unhinged (Splintered #2) by A.G Howard
Release Date: 1st January 2014
Publisher: Amulet Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 387
Rating: 5.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2014 SSC 

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she's always dreamed of.

That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she'll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head. 


** Spoiler Alert: Read at your own risk**

Do I really need to even write this review. Just, go read the book. Or if you haven't read its predecessor Splintered yet, go read that first, then read this novel. Because, like, you really need to. It's just that good. 

I think what's great about this follow up to Howard's amazing debut is that it's not entirely what you'd expect it to be. Whilst Splintered was predominantly set in the twisted world of Wonderland, we spend the majority of this one in the human world. But don't worry about missing the creepiness of Wonderland, because that manages to follow Alyssa into the real world too; from her mosaics to Sister Two herself, this time, the battle is fought on Alyssa's turf. Even Morpheus is there, doing questionable things, but ultimately doing it all for Alyssa. What's great about Morpheus in this novel is that we get to see a different side to him, something softer. He's still manipulative as all hell, but another side of him is starting to peek through. With this extra attention on Morpheus, Alyssa's other love interest, Jeb, does get pushed to the back a little. But he's there just enough that a love triangle is firmly established, and really, Alyssa could choose either one of them.

Now let's move onto Alyssa's mother Alison, because man o' man, everything revolving her little story arc was just plain amazing. When Alyssa discovered one of her mosaic's depicted three Red Queens dueling for the crown, I was sure the twist would be that Alison was going to try to steal the crown for herself. But then NOPE, actually it was something completely different, something I totally wasn't expecting, because it had to do with Alyssa's DAD. Because, of course, he's somehow involved in this all too. Which is actually handy, considering that massive cliffhanger ending. Lord, it's going to be tough waiting for the final instalment in this trilogy. 

Overall, just go and read this series. Just do it. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (33)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Summary from Goodreads:

"Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day, only two of them came back. Alice Tully knows exactly what happened that spring day six years ago, though it’s still hard for her to believe it. She’ll never be able to forget, even though she’s trying to lead a normal life—she has a job, friends, and a boyfriend whom she adores. But Alice’s past is dangerous, and violent, and sad... and it’s about to rip her new life apart.

A gripping and emotionally searing novel by accomplished British author Anne Cassidy, Looking for JJ infuses a terrifying subject with humanity and hope."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
Last week I'm pretty sure the sequel to this novel was featured on a Wishlist Wednesday, and I just have to feature Looking for JJ this week, because damn, I really want to read this again. I read this years and years ago, I think I might have been about 14 years old, and I remember loving it, but don't really remember the storyline. What with a sequel coming out, I really think I should read this one again.   

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Book Review: Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1) by Kasie West
Release Date: 12th February 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Format: eBook
Pages: 237
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2014 EBC, 2014 RC and 2014 SSC 

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.


** Spoiler Alert: Read at your own risk**

Overall, I thought this was a solid read. The story is something I've never come across before - our protagonist, Addie, has the ability to see into her future when presented with a choice. She can see both outcomes clearly, in fact, she feels like she's living both outcomes, so when she returns from her 'searches', as she so calls them, she has to live through whichever path she chooses, without having the ability to change anything, whilst still remembering the other path. And so, on one horrible day when her parents sit her down to tell her of their divorce, and her need to choose which parent to live with, she thinks nothing of doing a quick search into her future. And that's when things get interesting. 

In essence, we read through two whole story lines. In one, Addie stays with her mother and starts to be pursued by Duke, the most popular guy in school, and in the other, she travels outside The Compound with her father, and develops the cutest romance with all-round-nice-guy Trevor. And that's one aspect that I love about this book. We basically have two story lines we alternate between, never quite sure which one Addie will actually live through. And what with a big ol' mystery unfolding in both paths, its interesting to try to piece the mystery together with information from both realities. 

But, there is a problem with this. Even though I loved the story and the idea behind it, with the whole seeing into your future, I just couldn't shake the feeling that none of it seemed real. It was like when you watch a dramatic TV episode only to have the main character wake up at the end, realising it was only a dream. I understand that for Addie, even though she only lives through one of her chosen paths, both feel completely real for her, but I just couldn't get the whole it's only but a dream idea out of my head. In the end, she only lives through one storyline, and it's not even the one that includes Trevor. She lives through the shitty one where the guy uses her for her abilities. After moving outside The Compound with her father, immersing herself into this strange new world of the Norms, coming to learn that there's nothing wrong with Norms, and maybe having 'superpowers' ain't so great anyway; after all that character growth she went through, it all just gets erased. She never lived through it, and not only that, she doesn't even remember it. And I hate that.

But, putting that aside, this was a very enjoyable book. Reading through both story lines was fascinating, and I loved how it gave us a very whole picture of Addie. Seeing her grow in both environments gives us a more complete view of her character, something we wouldn't see if we only saw one reality.   And Trevor, one of my fave characters in the book. The way he was with Addie, how he made her feel and learn to accept Norms as nothing different, was really quite great, and did a lot for Addie's character growth. And on top of that, when everything with Layla went down, he told Addie not to choose the path with her father, not to choose the path with him, which speaks volumes about his character. So much better for Addie than Duke. I just hope they're able to sort everything out with Addie and Trevor in Split Second, because it really would be a shame if they didn't. 

TL;DR This was a very enjoyable book that I would definitely recommend.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (32)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Summary from Goodreads:
"Meet Meda. She eats people.

Well, technically, she eats their soul. But she totally promises to only go for people who deserve it. She’s special. It’s not her fault she enjoys it. She can’t help being a bad guy. Besides, what else can she do? Her mother was killed and it’s not like there are any other “soul-eaters” around to show her how to be different. That is, until the three men in suits show up.

They can do what she can do. They’re like her. Meda might finally have a chance to figure out what she is. The problem? They kind of want to kill her. Before they get the chance Meda is rescued by crusaders, members of an elite group dedicated to wiping out Meda’s kind. This is her chance! Play along with the “good guys” and she’ll finally figure out what, exactly, her ‘kind’ is.

Be careful what you wish for. Playing capture the flag with her mortal enemies, babysitting a teenage boy with a hero complex, and trying to keep one step ahead of a too-clever girl are bad enough. But the Hunger is gaining on her.
The more she learns, the worse it gets. And when Meda uncovers a shocking secret about her mother, her past, and her destiny… she may finally give into it."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
Common, do I really need to explain why I'm wishing for this one. Just read that synopsis. Guys, she eats souls. How bad ass is that? This is something I definitely need to add to my TBR. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Awaken (Abandon Trilogy #3) by Meg Cabot

Awaken (Abandon Trilogy #3) by Meg Cabot
Release Date: 7th May 2013
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: eBook
Pages: 258
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2014 EBC, 2014 RC and 2014 SSC 

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.

Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.

But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.

If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

Overall, this was a solid end to a series that I was starting to worry about. After that infuriating second novel, I was worried our third and final addition to this trilogy would be similar. But, thankfully, we returned to what I loved about Abandon (mostly). 

If you read my review of Underworld, you'll know that I had some major problems with Pierce. She just acted so stupid sometimes, and she couldn't seem to get by without John glued to her side. Thankfully that stopped. Whilst she may have been forced to deal with things without John, Pierce still managed to do quite well, so when John did return, she didn't return to the annoying girl she was in Underworld. And whilst John is still fiercely protective of Pierce, I don't remember him manipulating her as much as he has in previous novels. Then again, this could be because he was gone for a while and he actually wasn't able to, but I like to look on the positive side and see it as character growth.

Overall I enjoyed the plot. Lots of questions were answered, everything was resolved, John and Pierce are in a good place. Honestly, I can't actually remember specifically what happened, which probably is an indication of how memorable this book is. What I do remember were the major conveniences. Like the whole thing with Alex - majorly convenient. But lets not get into that, because that would lead to spoilers.  

So, my final thoughts? I enjoyed it. I thought it was a fitting end to a series that had started to go downhill - much, much better than the second novel. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (31)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson 

Summary from Goodreads:
"The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it's the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. 

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn't notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities."

Why I'm Wishing for It:
This has been on my wishlist for way to long now. And it sounds so interesting - Jack the Ripper? Count me in!

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Book Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: 12th April 2012
Publisher: Orion Books
Format: eBook
Pages: 252
Rating: 4.0/5.0

This book was read as part of the 2014 EBC and 2014 RC 

Summary from Goodreads:
buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery"Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under."

Overall, I enjoyed this, but I don't think it lived up to all the hype. 

So what did I like? Well, I thought the romance was super cute. I caught myself stupidly grinning to myself after reading something because it was just so. damn. cute. And I liked Eleanor's story. It's not something I've read a lot of, and it was interesting to juxtapose Eleanor's life with Park's. And also super cute that they found that connection, in spite of their different backgrounds. And I thought the ending was very fitting - bittersweet, maybe not what people wanted, but it fit with the story.

So what didn't I like? Well, the romance felt a little instalovey to me. Eleanor and Park hardly knew each other before they were declaring full blown love (well, at least one of them was). They basically started a relationship before they even started talking to one another. It just didn't feel like a natural progression. And on top of that, I was waiting for this OMG moment, which I assumed would happen because everyone raves about this book. And I think I know which moment that was supposed to be, but it wasn't an OMG moment for me. It was completely reasonable and not entirely surprising. Sad, yes, but surprising, no. 

Overall, I enjoyed this, but not as much as I thought I would. I enjoyed the plot and the dual perspective. But, everything was pulled down by the instalovey relationship that the story was centred on.  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Let's Talk about Series

It seems today that YA fiction is dominated by series and trilogies. Even a novel written as a standalone can be expanded into a trilogy if it's popular enough. With my signup for the 2014 Seriously Series Reading Challenge, I thought I'd take a look at all the series I've either read, am currently reading, or plan to read in the future. 

Series Completed: 7 (I'm sure I've completed more, but since I only started keeping track of what I read in late 2011, I honestly don't remember)

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer
The Luxe by Anna Godbersen
The Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flammel by Michael Scott
The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison

Series Actively Reading: 14 (these are the series where when the next book is released, I have to buy it and read it soon!)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Tempest by Julie Cross
The Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Splintered by A.G Howard
The Flappers by Jillian Larkin
Tempe Brennan by Kathy Reichs
Abandon by Meg Cabot
Penryn & the End of Days by Susan Ee
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Precious Stones Trilogy by Kerstin Geir
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Series Not Actively Reading: 6 (these are the series that I plan to continue reading one day, but not in the immediate future)

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Misadventures of Talluah Casey by Louise Rennison 
Legend by Marie Lu
A Song of Ice & Fire by George R.R Martin
The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini
The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart

Series Started with No Intent to Finish: 11

Anna by Kendare Blake
Kinsey Millhone by Sue Grafton
Carrier Trilogy by Leigh Fallon
The Steampunk Chronicles by Kady Cross
The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren Destefano
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
The Cousin's War by Philippa Gregory
George Smiley by John le Carre
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Wicked Years by Gregory Maguire
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

Series I Own the First Book In and Have Yet to Start: 100+ (which means there are waaaay too many to list here, so I'm just going to list those I plan to begin reading this year)

Eve by Anna Carey
The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo 
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Pivot Point by Kasie West
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
His Fair Assassin by Robin LaFevers
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
All Our Yesterdays by Christin Terrill
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Icons by Margaret Stohl
The Blackcoat Rebellion by Aimee Carter
Newsflesh Trilogy by Mira Grant
Just One Day by Gayle Forman
The Maze Runner by James Dasher
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
The Program by Suzanne Young
Reboot by Amy Tintera 

It's a bit sad that I can only remember finishing 7 series in my past. I don't know if this was because back in the day I didn't read as many series, or I failed to finish them, but since I have started 11 series in the past two years and have no intent on finishing them, I'm going to go with the latter. On the plus side, I'm planning to start 20 series this year! I don't know whether this is a good idea or not, since if I enjoy them all, that means I'll have a lot more books to bump up by TBR list, which pushes down other books I really want to read...ARGH it's so hard when you read so many good books! #bookishpeopleproblems

How about you? Are you better than me and finish every series you start, or are you one of those people who never finishes a series ever? I'm curious to know!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wishlist Wednesday (30)

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery
Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly Meme hosted at Pen to Paper

This week I'm wishing for...

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Summary from Goodreads:
"I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

Why I'm Wishing for It:
Just look at that cover. Doesn't that immediately pull you in? Plus the blurb sounds amazing, and it is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz, which I'm bound to love (forgetting about how I felt about Wicked). I definitely need to get this next year. 

What about you? What are you wishing for this week?
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