Monday, 30 January 2012

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Legend (Legend, #1)
Title: Legend 
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend, #1
Pages: 368
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: 2nd February 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: The United States is gone, along with its flooded coasts. North America's two warring nations, the western Republic and the eastern Colonies, have reached a breaking point. In the midst of this broken continent and dark new world are two teenagers who will go down in history....

Born into the slums of Los Angeles, fifteen-year old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. A mysterious boy with no recorded image or fingerprints. A boy who should no longer exist. A boy who watches over his family until one evening, when the plague patrols mark his family's door with an X--the sign of plague infection. A death sentence for any family too poor to afford the antidote. Desperate, Day has no choice; he must steal it.

Born to an elite family in Los Angeles' wealthy Ruby sector, fifteen-year old June is the Republic's most promising prodigy. A superintelligent girl destined for great things in the country's highest military circles. Obedient, passionate, and committed to her country--until the day her brother Metias is murdered while on patrol during a break-in at the plague hospital.

Only one person could be responsible.

Day.

And now it's June's mission to hunt him down.

The truth they'll uncover will become legend.


My Thoughts:
June and Day are fifteen-year-olds living in the plague ridden society that is set in the future of the USA. Day is a super-criminal, and the country's most wanted - but his fingerprints don't match any on their database and they have no idea what he looks like. June is the only child to get full marks on the Trial - the test that all children take at the age of ten - therefore the country's most promising prodigy. Their worlds collide when June's brother, Metias, is killed, and June is sent out to find Day, because he's the only one who could possibly have done it.

I really liked that the book was told in dual narrative, alternating between chapters from Day and June's points of view. I liked how different they both seemed, and despite the fact that each chapter was in a different font, I could tell which character was which just by the way that certain chapter written. However, they were both very similar in personality and character - I think had they not been born into polar opposites of society, they would have been very good friends.

I liked Day's chapters best, I think. I loved how he's put up by the society to be invincible - an evil mastermind who no one can catch no matter how hard they try, but in reality he's actually just a scared fifteen year old, stealing plague medicine and causing trouble all for good reasons - sometimes I just wanted to wrap him up in a big hug and tell him everything would be alright. Also, the way he had feelings for June even though I thought he was meant to be some cold, hard, criminal was adorable... xD

June was cool too, though. I liked how she kept her head even after her brother was killed, and how she managed to keep control long enough to be able to find Day and capture him, without breaking down and falling apart. And later on in the book, her determination really was admirable; how she had to find out the truth about her brother's death, once it had become apparent that it wasn't all that it seemed.

The plot was fast paced and exciting, and it kept me glued to the pages. While I did correctly guess at quite a lot of the plot twists (which I was rather proud of) and it was quite predictable (nothing really surprised me at all) I still read for as long as I could at any given time to find out what would happen next because I couldn't leave Day and June in a tricky situation for too long without wondering how on earth they were going to get out of it. I just had to know.

Anyway, overall, Legend was a very strong debut novel from Marie Lu, and I am very much looking forward to the sequel. This is a great one for fans of YA dystopian fiction, and I think it'd be great for newcomers to the genre too. It comes out on Feb 2nd, and I strongly suggest you go out and buy yourself a copy as soon as you can, because it's a really great read!

*Thanks to Penguin for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!


Challenges:
2012 Debut Author Challenge
2012 ABC Reading Challenge - L

Sunday, 29 January 2012

In My Mailbox #43

Hey everyone, welcome to this month's In My Mailbox! I've decided I'm only going to do an IMM every month (I may change my mind yet again about this later - but I'm feeling rather lazy lately and some weeks I don't get many books so there's no point in a whole post about it so at the end of every month it is ;P ) instead of every week :) So, here's what I got since the last IMM (which was halfway through Jan, so this is the last hal of January instead of all of Jan ;) ) Anyway, I shall stop blabbering on now, and get onto the books!

FOR REVIEW






Starters by Lissa Price (Random House, April 5th 2012)
Legend by Marie Lu (Penguin, February 2nd 2012)
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenburg (Penguin, February 2nd 2012)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins, February 2nd 2012)*
Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins (Simon and Schuster, March 29th 2012)
Dark Storm by Sarah Singleton (Simon and Schuster, March 29th 2012)
Falling Fast by Sophie McKenzie (Simon and Schuster, March 1st 2012)
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (Putnam, March 2012) (ebook) (not pictured)


NETGALLEY


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl  Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1)


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (ABRAMS, March 1st 2012)
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown (Delacorte BFYR, June 12th 2012)


*New cover - I've already read this, I read it last year when it first came out with the old cover (the same as the US one) but the UK copy has a new cover that will match the UK cover of the sequel, Insurgent, so we were kindly offered a copy by the lovely Rosi at HarperCollins if we wanted a matching series :D Thanks Rosi!

So that's what I've received in the last couple of weeks, how about you? I'm most excited to read Starters, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and The Catastropic History of You and Me, but they all look AWESOME :D Leave me a link to your IMM in the comments and I'll come and check out all your lovely new books! :D

Thanks to Simon and Schuster, Random House, netGalley, HarperCollins, Penguin, ABRAMS, Delacorte Books For Young Readers and Putnam for everything I received this month!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Book Review: The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe


The Way We FallTitle: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Series: The Way We Fall, #1
Pages: 304
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date of Publication: 24th January 2012
Source: netGalley*
Synopsis from Goodreads: It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back.

Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Megan Crewe crafts a powerful and gripping exploration of self-preservation, first love, and hope. Poignant and dizzying, this heart-wrenching story of one girl’s bravery and unbeatable spirit will leave readers fervently awaiting the next book in this standout new series.


My Thoughts:
I actually really, really enjoyed The Way We Fall, a whole lot more than I thought I would. I knew it was a post-apocalyptic novel before I read it, and I kind of assumed it would be the same as the other PA books I've read - as every single one of those were very, very alike. So that's what I thought I'd be getting with The Way We Fall. Luckily, I got something similar but not very similar. There were certain points which I recognised, and others that were completely new, so that was great.

I think the main thing that stood out for me about this book is how real it all felt. The problem with some PA books I've read, is that suddenly, something happens and everyone turns into flesh eating zombie killing machines. And it's not realistic. I don't believe that that could EVER happen in real life, and while that doesn't take away from the story (I have no problem with unrealistic scenarios), it was nice to read something that I could actually believe could happen. And the fact that it was so believable was terrifying.

Kaelyn's world comes crashing down around her when everyone on her island begins to get really ill. At first, she thinks it's nothing, just a few people getting ill, and then suddenly people are dropping like flies. And that's the thing. It's an epidemic, and it could so easily happen nowadays. All it would take is one person to contract a highly contagious disease and then spread it around a little bit, and then before the symptoms kick in, everyone already has it, and it's moving too fast and mutating too quickly that no cure can be made, and before you know it, hardly anyone survives. Scary, huh?

I really liked Kaelyn. I loved how determined she was, and how she never stopped trying to do what she thought was right, even when it came to risking her own life. Even when she was at risk of getting the disease, she carried on to save her family, to do what she could to make sure that as few people as possible got ill. I also really liked her relationship with Gav. I liked how it was realistic it was - how they got to know each other before and how even once they'd kissed, they weren't immediately 'in love' - they were hesitant and not really sure what their feelings for each other were... I don't know, I just think their relationship was very real and I could imagine it completely.

The plot definitely picks up towards the end - though that's not to say that it's slow at the beginning. As more and more people fall ill and the supplies on the island get lower and lower, more things start to happen, and it gets really rather exciting. I won't go into detail in case of spoilers, but there were some VERY surprising things that happened, that I wasn't expecting in the slightest... ;)

The book is written in the form of letters to Kaelyn's friend Leo. It's weird. It's very, very weird. Like, it's written in first person, and then suddenly Kaelyn will drop in a 'you did this' or 'you always thought' and I'll be confused for a second because it doesn't really make sense - I always had to look back over what I'd read to see if I'd missed some dialogue somewhere, or if I hadn't noticed she was talking - and then I'd remember that she's talking to Leo. I felt it was unnecessary, and it didn't really add all that much to the plot... However, it did help to tie up the end of the book in preparation for the sequel, so maybe it'll all come together in the next books... ;)

Overall, The Way We Fall was a really great read. I liked a lot more than I expected, and it's a very real and well written story that's guaranteed to keep you reading, even if it is just to find out whether or not the island manages to survive. I'd recommend this to fans of YA post apocalyptic and dystopian fiction (for there is a difference ;P ) as it would be great!

*Thanks to netGalley and Disney-Hyperion for allowing me access to this galley in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 


My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!


Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars
Title: The Fault in Our Stars 
Author: John Green
Series: Standalone
Pages: 313
Publisher: Dutton
Date of Publication: 10th January 2012
Source: Bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs... for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

Apologies in advance for the rambliness and the jumpiness of this review... It's not going to be structured all that well. Sorry ;P There may also be a couple of EXTREMELY OBVIOUS spoilers. Spoilers you can guess from the synopsis, so this is your only warning.

My Thoughts:
I don't really know where to start with this review. I have nothing to work with, apart from the jumble of feelings and emotions that are currently floating around in my head, so I don't really know what you're going to have read by the time you get to the end of this post. Sorry about that.

I guess I should start by saying this: I've read Looking For Alaska and John's short story in Let It Snow, and if I'm being perfectly honest, was a little bit disappointed by both. Not that they weren't good reads or anything, they just weren't mind blowing and not nearly as good as I expected them to be, having heard all the hype surrounding them on the internet. So I was SUPER excited for TFiOS, but I also wasn't expecting AMAZING things (but you know, I also kind of was... MAKES NO SENSE, I KNOW). I think this is one of the main reasons why I loved TFiOS SO much - because I had NO IDEA that what I was reading was going to be as good as it was.

I think one of the things that really stands out for me in John's books (especially in this one) is that he is SO good at writing extremely real and believable characters. There's nothing really special or extraordinary about them - they are just normal people. And yeah, OK, some of them have weird 'talents' (like Pudge in LfA's obsession with last words or they are really nerdy (but come on, it's John Green - do we expect anything less? ;P )) but they still seem like real people... Anyway, John is amazing at really getting into his characters, I have no idea how he managed to get into the head of a teenage girl so well and so accurately, but it was awesome. It was as if it actually was the diary of a terminally ill teenage cancer patient.

The Fault in Our Stars broke my heart. I have NEVER cried so much at a book before, and a book has certainly never ever made me sob. Like, I know I said this in my last review but I don't cry at books... I feel heartless and cold, but I just don't. And I don't LIKE crying because someone just died, I mean, that's not fun, right?! But I loved that it made me feel so much that I couldn't hold in my tears - it takes a lot for that to happen, so it must be something special.

I don't really know what else to say. It made me feel so much, and being not that great with words, I don't know how to explain. Just know that it was awesome, as in, the proper sense of the word. It's incredible - moving but also ridiculously funny in the most inappropriate of times. It's definitely John Green's best work, (and I know I haven't read all of them so I can't really say that, but I WILL!) so whether you've read any of his books before or not, read this one. Or at least give it a chance, because I honestly don't think you'll be disappointed.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

In My Mailbox #42

Hey everyone! I haven't done an IMM in ages so I don't know how much stuff I'm going to have... These are all the books I've got for review, as Christmas presents, gifted, or I've bought with my Christmas money in the last month or so!



FOR REVIEW
The Future of Us by Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler (Simon & Schuster, Jan 5th)
Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber (Electric Monkey, March)
Switched by Amanda Hocking (Macmillan, January 19th)
Fallen In Love by Lauren Kate (Doubleday, February 2nd)
Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja (Corgi, February 2nd)
Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan (Hodder & Stoughton)
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan (Hodder & Stoughton, January 5th)

 


CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Darkness Falls by Mia James
A Need So Beautiful by Suzanne Young (ebook) not pictured
Bad Taste in Boys by Carrie Harris (ebook) not pictured



BOUGHT
Wither by Lauren DeStefano (ebook) not pictured
Witch Song by Amber Argyle (ebook) not pictured
Hana by Lauren Oliver (ebook) not pictured
Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee not pictured
The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Dark Matter by Michelle Paver

Spellcaster (Spellbound #2)  Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test, #2)  Don't You Wish  New Girl

NETGALLEY EBOOKS

SpellCaster by Cara Lynn Shultz (HarlequinTEEN, March 27th)
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (HarlequinTEEN, March 27th)
Don't You Wish by Roxanne St. Clair (Random House, July 10th)
New Girl by Paige Harbison (HarlequinTEEN, January 31st)


Have you read any of these? The Fault in Our Stars, and The Future of Us were AMAZING, and I'm extremely excited to read Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick, Shatter Me and SpellCaster! Let me know in the comments what you got, leave me a link and I'll come check it out!

Happy reading!

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Book Review: Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Never EighteenTitle: Never Eighteen 
Author: Megan Bostic
Series: Standalone
Pages: 204
Publisher: HMH Children's Books
Date of Publication: 17th January 2012
Source: netGalley*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Austin Parker is on a journey to bring truth, beauty, and meaning to his life.

Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. The doctors say his chances of surviving are slim to none even with treatment, so he’s decided it’s time to let go.

But before he goes, Austin wants to mend the broken fences in his life. So with the help of his best friend, Kaylee, Austin visits every person in his life who touched him in a special way. He journeys to places he’s loved and those he’s never seen. And what starts as a way to say goodbye turns into a personal journey that brings love, acceptance, and meaning to Austin’s life.

My Thoughts:
I've had Never Eighteen for ages, since April 2011. I'd been meaning to read it shortly after I got it, but I just never got around to it. Which is a shame, because I really enjoyed it! It was short and quick and cute and sad and I cried. And I'm not a crier. I don't EVER cry, but with this book, I did. It's about cancer, and at any mention of cancer killing people, I turn into a little crying ball of mess... Okay, yeah, I *might* have exaggerated there.

Anyway, don't let that put you off! It was good, I promise! :D The book is about a guy called Austin who is dying of cancer, and he decides he has to go out and make good with everyone he felt he needed to - whether he'd wronged them in the past, or whether he felt that they had a chance to live and they should live it because they never know when it might get taken away from them. I found that at each stop he went to, each person he went to see, I got to know him even more. I loved meeting each new person, and I loved hearing what he had to say to them, and trying to work out what happened to them and how Austin was trying to make it better.

I especially loved that Austin wasn't always successful. He didn't always get through to the person he was talking to, yet even though sometimes doing what he did made the situation even worse, I still kind of got a sense of fulfilment from it - because I knew that he'd done all he could to make things right, and he couldn't regret not doing more because there was nothing more that he could do.

But I also felt that there was more to the book then him just seeing these people and tying up any loose ends. I think the book was also about Austin coming to terms with the fact that he was actually, literally going to die in the very near future. I don't know about you, but I'd be bloody terrified, yet not once throughout the whole book did I get a sense that Austin wasn't ready. I felt that he handled it in a very calm and controlled way, and while I find it difficult to imagine that I could ever cope as well as he did, it was completely believable that that was the way in which he would have reacted to his dying, had he been a real person.

Kaylee, was awesome. I quickly found myself loving her and the amazing friendship she had with Austin. She gets annoyed, offended, upset, angry... She goes through so many bad emotions for Austin, yet she's ALWAYS there, ready to drive him to the next place and wait for him in the car, just because she's an amazing friend. And it's SO obvious that she's in love with him, and it's adorable, but also infuriating because she won't admit it. It broke my heart so many times that they couldn't be together as a couple, but I know why Bostic wrote it that way, and I'm SO glad she did. It wouldn't nearly be the awesome book that it was, had Bostic written them together as a couple for the entirety of the book.

The last thing I'll talk about is the end. Oh. My. Word. The end, awww, it was both the best and worst ending it could possibly have had. I won't spoil it, but it involves a letter, and the whole way through said letter, I had to keep wiping my eyes because I literally couldn't see the words on my Kindle because of my tears. Seriously, it's adorable and sad and just wow. It was amazing. Incredible. Wow. I'd have a mental breakdown if someone wrote that letter to me... So - the best because it made me feel SO MUCH, and the worst for the same reason - it broke my heart. (as a lot of things in this book did, it seems... ;P )

Overall though, I really, really enjoyed Never Eighteen. It's cute and sad and a quick, awesome read, even if it is a little rushed at times (which is the ONLY reason I gave it 4 feet - because sometimes it REALLY annoyed me that I didn't get those extra pages that I think would have made it perfect). It made me think and it made me cry. I'd definitely recommend it to any fans of YA contemporary fiction because it's awesome, and I can't believe it's a debut! I'll most definitely make sure to read anything else that Megan Bostic writes in the future, because I love her writing style - short and simple, and very, very emotive. Read it!

*Huge thanks to HMH and netGalley for allowing me access to this title in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the novel. 

My Rating:
I give it 4 stars!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Book Review: Fated by Sarah Alderson

Fated (Fated, #1)
Title: Fated 
Author: Sarah Alderson
Series: Standalone
Pages: 310
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Date of Publication: 5th January 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?

My Thoughts:
Having never read anything by Sarah Alderson before, I wasn't sure what to expect. I was hoping for lots of action and some romance and just an all round really good read. And that's EXACTLY what I got. It was jam-packed with action and there was a cute little romance going on, and the writing was incredible and ahh, it was just amazing. A PERFECT way to start the year!

Fated jumps right in and starts with action, and it doesn't stop until the very last page. I haven't read a book with so much fighting and training and everything like that for a while, and it was great! There wasn't a single moment in the book in which I was bored or left hanging, wondering what was going to happen next, because nothing ever stopped happening, if that makes sense! I NEEDED to keep reading even though it was super late and I was falling asleep because there was no way I'd be able to wait to find out what happened to Evie.

Speaking of Evie... She was AWESOME. She was kick-butt and (nearly) the whole time she was determined and strong and I loved finding out all about her and her new world right along with her. There was a little bit in the middle in which she disappointed me, but that didn't matter so much because she comes back EVEN BETTER and even stronger so it wasn't all bad. I loved how wary she was of everything, and how she didn't believe everything she was told all at once just because someone who says they're 'the good guy' says so. She seemed very level-headed and sensible and I liked how she didn't get distracted by all the crazy... ;)

And then there was Lucas. He was pretty cool, I must say... ;) I loved how there were two storylines about him - one with Evie and one with The Brotherhood. I enjoyed reading about both sides of his life, and it was great learning all about the Brotherhood and finding out how they operated. Let me tell you, they sound SCARY. Like, a big, supernatural gang who have no problem with killing you if you get in their way... *cowers in the corner* Haha no really I'm not that scared... :P Anyway, what he did in the end was ADORABLE. Aww, it was so cute and he gave up so much and awwww it was great. But I won't spoil you!

The plot was amazing. Like I said before, it was full of action, but it wasn't just that. I couldn't stop reading because there was always something happening, and I could NEVER guess what was coming next. Like, I'm awful at guessing plots anyway, but with this I had no hope at all. Half way through I thought maybe I had an idea as to what would happen, but I was so, so wrong. And at the end, looking back, I'd never have guessed. Like, there were complete character reversals, and I'm still not 100% sure who was good and who was bad. I think it's open to interpretation as there's not a sequel planned, but I can't decide! I can't decide whether a certain character was a bad, selfish, evil guy, or whether he was just doing his best to try and protect Evie and he just wasn't particularly good at it... ;)

Overall, Fated was amazing. An awesome read, one that I'd recommend to everyone who's a fan of young adult. It's one of those paranormal books that's more of a contemporary with a paranormal twist than a paranormal... But it is most definitely paranormal at the same time... That makes little sense, I know, but I think if you read it you might understand what I mean. Anyway, if you're a fan of Sarah Alderson definitely do not miss this one, and if like me, you've not read anything else by her this is a great one to start with! I'm definitely going to be finally reading my copy of Hunting Lila that's been sitting on my shelf for ages, now!

*Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

My Thoughts:
I give it 5 Feet!

Challenges:
2012 British Books Challenge

Friday, 6 January 2012

Book Review: Fracture by Megan Miranda

Fracture
Title: Fracture 
Author: Megan Miranda
Series: Standalone
Pages: 262
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Date of Publication: 5th January 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine
-despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she's far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can't control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?


Then Delaney meets Troy Varga, who recently emerged from a coma with similar abilities. At first she's reassured to find someone who understands the strangeness of her new existence, but Delaney soon discovers that Troy's motives aren't quite what she thought. Is their gift a miracle, a freak of nature-or something much more frightening?

My Thoughts:
I have mixed feelings about this book. I had really high hopes for it, because so many people whose opinions I trust had said it was awesome. And it was awesome. But it also wasn't. Allow me to explain.

I started the book, and the first couple of chapters I really liked - it was Delaney trying to figure out what was happening to her and more importantly - why? Why had she managed to survive eleven minutes underwater? She should be dead, but she wasn't, and it was really interesting for me that she would be having these thoughts. If it were me I'd just be so grateful that I was still alive, against all odds. Anyway, once she got back into her routine (or as much as she could after technically dying and coming back to life) though, I got a bit bored. Or not bored, exactly, just uncaring. There just wasn't anything particularly interesting going on, and it slowed down a whole lot.

I think the reason I felt this was the introduction of Troy Varga. He's handsome, hot, and seems to know a lot about Delaney, and surprise surprise, she might just fall for him. Well, I really didn't see that one coming. Anyway, he annoyed me to no end throughout the whole book. I mean, even when I started to enjoy it even more he just pissed me off. There was just something about him, and to be brutally honest I have no idea what it was about him, but I just couldn't stand him. I didn't care what happened to him, I just wanted him to get the hell out of my book. Harsh, I guess, but it's the truth.

Anyway, that's all I'll say about Troy because if I don't stop now, I never will. So yeah, it got slow in the middle. But then it picked up very quickly and all of a sudden, in the middle of the night, I couldn't stop reading. I was up until 1am finishing it, even though I said to myself that I'd only read for 10 minutes. There was just something about it... I don't know, I just couldn't stop reading past the midway point. So if you're reading it, and like me, weren't seeing what everyone else seems to be, keep going because I promise it gets better!

Now I'll talk about the characters that I DID like. Delaney. She was cool, and I liked the mystery that surrounded her as I tried to work out how she managed to survive. I liked finding out about her strange gift (if you can call it that) of finding dying people, and I especially admired her determination to try and save the people even though she's been told countless times that there was nothing she could do. She seemed like a great person who I'd like to be friends with, though some poor decisions on her part really annoyed me. (Everything seems to annoy me lately... I must be a very annoyable person ;P) For example, whenever it came to Decker.

Speaking of, I loved Decker. I've read a couple of books recently about best friends who both want something more but neither wants to ruin their friendship, but in not doing anything about it it's being ruined anyway, and I really like this scenario! It annoyed me constantly throughout the whole book and I was pretty sure that they would get together in the end (I mean, they always do, right?) but I still needed to read through just to make sure that they did. Anyway, I thought it was so cute how he was always there for Delaney no matter what, even when he was maybe dating Tara (I'm not sure if they were ever officially going out though) and his Christmas present to her was adorable... Anyway, he was awesome, and cute, and Delaney was horrid to him on more than one occasion but he just kept going back and it makes you wish you had someone like that... ;)

Overall, Fracture started off disappointingly but finished spectacularly. I'd definitely recommend to any fan of YA who's looking for something that isn't your typical paranormal - it could be contemporary with just a little hint of paranormal. Either way, I think you should read it! And if there are things in it that you don't enjoy, push through because I promise you the ending is awesome. So so awesome. It nearly made me cry, it was that good. So read it!

*Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book!


** Also very sorry for my rambly-all-over-the-place-ness. I had a lot of mixed feelings with this book and I'm not all that good with words so apologies if it doesn't make all that much sense! ;) 

My Rating:
I give it 4 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 Paranormal YA Reading Challenge #53
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #107

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer

The Statistical Probability of Love at First SightTitle: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight 
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Series: Standalone
Pages: 224
Publisher: Headline
Date of Publication: 5th January 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn't fogotten the book. Or if there hadn't been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn't fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she'd run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn't sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it's the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...


My Thoughts:
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight (TSPOLAFS for short), is adorable. It's short and sweet, and I absolutely adored reading it.

The book starts off with Hadley missing her plane, and right from the prologue I knew that the book would not take me very long at all. I mean, what's not to like about a guy and a girl who meet on a plane, and then they get talking and they possibly could fall in love?! It was so simple and all I could think was, this is either going to be really adorable and I'll love it, or it would try and be cute, and it would fail spectacularly... But don't worry, it didn't (fail spectacularly, that is)! It was AWESOME.

I really liked Hadley. I thought that the way in which she talked about her family's troubles, and how she thought about her dad's wedding felt very much like how I imagine a real teenager would feel, and I really got a feel for her frustration and confusion about all her feelings. I have no idea how I would feel in her situation, but I imagine it would be very much like Hadley, so I really liked that about her. I also loved how normal she was. She wasn't exceptionally pretty or super nerdy - she was just a regular, 'normal' girl.

And then, there was Oliver. Oh, Oliver... *sigh* He was pretty darn cute, if I may say so. Everything about him I loved! I loved how he joked about things, and how he managed to hide his own feelings when Hadley was talking about herself, and how he didn't get annoyed with her because of this. I felt so sorry for him when we found out what was actually going on, and all I wanted to do was hug him. Last thing I'll say about him is about the end - he was adorable :D If you've read it, you'll know, if you haven't, you should read it and find out!

I have one complaint, and it's a very small one. I WANT MORE! The book is very short at 224 pages, and while I know it was written to take place over 24 hours, some of the story felt a little rushed and I think that Oliver and Hadley's relationship could have been more spaced out throughout the book to make it more realistic, but really, that's only a little thing that probably only bothers me ;)

Overall, TSPOLAFS was an awesome novel from Jennifer E. Smith. I'll DEFINITELY be reading anything else she writes in the future, because I can only imagine that they'll be just as awesome as this was! I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fan of young adult contemporaries - it'd be PERFECT for you! I especially say fans of Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han would love this, so if that's you, what are you waiting for? Go and order yourself a copy NOW!

*Huge thanks to Headline for sending me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book.

My Rating:
I give it 4 feet!

Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #98

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Book Review: Night School by CJ Daugherty

Night School
Title: Night School
Author: CJ Daugherty
Series: Night School, #1
Pages: 465
Publisher: ATOM
Date of Publication: 5th January 2012
Source: Publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads: Sometimes school is murder.

Allie Sheridan's world is falling apart. She hates her school. Her brother has run away from home. And she's just been arrested.

Again.

This time her parents have finally had enough. They cut her off from her friends and send her away to a boarding school for problem teenagers.

But Cimmeria Academy is no ordinary school. Its rules are strangely archaic. It allows no computers or phones. Its students are an odd mixture of the gifted, the tough and the privileged. And then there's the secretive Night School, whose activities other students are forbidden even to watch.

When Allie is attacked one night the incident sets off a chain of events leading to the violent death of a girl at the summer ball. As the school begins to seem like a very dangerous place, Allie must learn who she can trust. And what's really going on at Cimmeria Academy.

My Thoughts:
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this book. I hadn't heard of it before I received it, and while I was interested, it wasn't something that I was dying to read. And I think this is part of the reason I enjoyed it so much - because I didn't expect to. I saw the cover and just thought it was another paranormal, and I'm kind of sick of paranormals at the moment... I don't know, just right now I'm looking for something that doesn't have your generic love triangle and generic plotline... Anyway, I'd read some glowing reviews of this and it sounded like people really loved it so I thought, why not? And I'm so glad I picked it up! It was so so good.

I have a thing about books set in boarding schools. I love them - I love how because the characters are together 24/7 there is always something going on, and dramas between characters are often intensified. And when the school is a huge, old, creepy mansion, it makes it even better. And Cimmeria Academy is set in a huge, old, creepy mansion, and it was fantastic. The setting really added to the mood of the book and made everything that bit more creepy (not that it needed it - it was creepy anyway!), and there were several times when I had to make sure that I wasn't alone in the house because I was freaked. The whole footsteps thing... *shiver*

I really liked Allie. At first she was really annoying, and I didn't like her because she seemed like the kind of person who goes out of their way to annoy everyone (sorry, but these people really annoy me). But as soon as she got to Cimmeria and she explained to Jo what was really going on with her, I found that I liked her more and more as the story went on. She made some pretty poor decisions but she learnt from her mistakes, and she did her best to cope with everything that was going on around her, and I couldn't help but feel for her when she was being ignored by everyone... She really went through everything that a new girl in a school full of people who have known each other their whole life has to go through, and more. It was sad, and all I wanted to do was give her a huge hug.

And I know I said before that I've had enough of the generic love triangle, but I didn't mind the love triangle in this book... I don't know, maybe it's because she went with one guy who turned out to be a douche-bag before she moved onto the other one, and there was no cheating involved at all, but it didn't really feel like your typical love triangle. And yeah, OK, maybe she fell for the two guys because they were good looking and had no interest in any girls seriously until she came along (I mean, really, when does that EVER happen in real life?) but still, I could overlook the triangleness towards the end, when I'd decided which guy was right for Allie, and which one was a dick. So yeah, I'm team Carter. Just so ya know ;)

I really enjoyed the plot, I thought there was always something exciting going on to keep me interested. There wasn't one point in the book at which I got bored or wanted to put the book down, and I actually managed to read the last half of it (which is only 200 pages) in a couple of hours on CHRISTMAS day, when I was meant to be playing with my little cousins, but I just couldn't put the book down. I NEEDED to know what was going on, and the mysterious and eerie mood of the whole book made it difficult for me to leave it alone. And the end... Well. Let's just say my mum had to say my name at least four times before I actually took notice... I haven't been that engrossed in a book for a long time so that was awesome.

Overall, I really enjoyed Night School and I think it's a very strong debut that will do very well in the next year or so. I can't wait for the sequel! I'd definitely recommend to any fans of YA, especially if you like contemporary with a twist of paranormal creepiness (I promise there are no vampires or werewolves or faeries or anything like that!) It has just enough of everything - mystery, creepiness, romance, fun, seriousness... There's a little bit of something for everyone and I'm sure I'm not the only one in saying that you won't be disappointed! Released on January 5th - go and get yourself a copy as soon as you can, and if you already have one, read it!

*Huge thanks to ATOM for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

My Rating:
I give it 5 Feet!

Challenges:
2011 100+ Reading Challenge #4

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Happily Ever Endings Giveaway Winners!

Remember Happily Ever Endings, where you can read the ending of books that you're about to read the sequels to and be refreshed of the ending, so you don't have to go into reading a book having no idea what happened in the previous one? Remember that giveaway we did? Yeah, that one. Well, WE HAVE WINNERS! :D

*drumroll*

Daphne (lvngbooks) and Jocelyn!

Legend (Legend, #1)  Still Waters  Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices, #2)  Torn   Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
The Alchemy of Forever  Saving June  

Congrats you two! If you haven't already received emails from Amber, you should get one very soon, so you can pick your prize from the books above and send your addresses so we can get them out to you as soon as possible! Thanks everyone for entering, and I hope that Happily Ever Endings will be useful to you in the future!

Decided you want to help out? Email Amber at amberinblunderland@yahoo.com for more info and to sign up!

Monday, 2 January 2012

New Releases in January 2012

Welcome to my first new releases post of 2012! :D There is SO MUCH AWESOME coming out this month! If I've missed anything let me know in the comments!

In Darkness  Don't Breathe a Word  The Future of Us

In Darkness by Nick Lake (3rd January 2012 by Bloomsbury)
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala (3rd January 2012 by HarperTEEN)
The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler (5th January 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Books)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight  Fracture  Tempest (Tempest #1)

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (5th January 2012 by Headline)
Fracture by Megan Miranda (5th January 2012 by Bloomsbury)
Tempest by Julie Cross (5th January 2012 by MacMillan)

Fated (Fated, #1)  Darkness Falls  Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Fated by Sarah Alderson (5th January 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan (5th January 2012 by Hodder & Stoughton)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (5th January 2012 by Penguin)

Saving Daisy  A Witch in Winter  Dragonswood

Saving Daisy by Phil Earle (5th January 2012 by Puffin)
A Witch in Winter by Ruth Warburton (5th January 2012 by Hodder Children's)
Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey (5th January 2012 by Penguin Young Readers Group)

The Weight of Water  Night School  The Book of Blood and Shadow

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan (5th January 2012 by Bloomsbury)
Night School by CJ Daugherty (5th January 2012 by ATOM)
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman (5th January 2012 by ATOM)

The Fault in Our Stars Jessica Rules the Dark Side (Jessica, #2) Never Eighteen

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (10th January 2012 by Dutton)
Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (10th January 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books)
Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (17th January 2012 by Harcourt Children's Books)

Try Not to Breathe  The Way We Fall  Article 5 (Article 5, #1)

Try Not To Breathe by Jennifer R. Hubbard (19th January 2012 by Viking Juvenile)
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe (24th January 2012 by Disney-Hyperion)
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons (31st January 2012 by TOR Teen)

Lenobia's Vow (House of Night Novellas)  New Girl  Incarnate (Newsoul, #1)

Lenobia's Vow by PC & Kristin Cast (31st January 2012 by ATOM)
New Girl by Paige Harbison (31st January 2012 by Harlequin Teen)
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows (5th January 2012 by HarperCollins Children's Books)
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