Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Top 5 Wednesday

December 31

Top 5 Books I've Read This Year

Well after a hefty break I am back with a Top 5 Wednesday! This week is the top 5 books you've read this year!

  1. Opposition - Jennifer L. Armentrout
    • This one has to be my number one just for the fact that i have loved this series from book one. It is just so funny and slightly cheesy but with characters to die for and all around happiness comes from reading it. So Opposition was a highly anticipated novel of 2014 because it was the end to an epic series and it is because of that anticipation and love for all of the books that I had to have it as one of my top 5 books I've read this year.
     2.  Tiger Lily - Jodi Lynn Anderson
    • I have this one as one of my top 5 because I was not expecting how much this novel really stayed with me. It was powerful and moving and all of it was a retelling of one of my all time favourite fairy tales/myths/legend. Plus it had the added bonus of being told from Tinkerbell's perspective so you weren't even reading from the main characters mind it was told entirely from someone outside looking in. It was simply stunning.
     3. Because She Loves Me - Mark Edwards

    • I had trouble deciding between Because She Loves Me and The Magpies by Mark Edwards because they were both so good and creepy and both struck me to my core. But I ultimately went with Because She Loves Me because I just did not expect the twist that came at the end. It literally came out of nowhere. Mark Edwards is one author that was introduced to me this year and he has definitely become one of the authors that I will automatically go to when I am looking for a thriller. I love his books and I love his writing. I love it all.
      4. Stay With Me - J. Lynn
    • Well I just had to do it, J. Lynn (also known as Jennifer L. Armentrout) is one of my all time favourite authors so its not a surprise that two of her books have made it on to my top 5 list. While Opposition is a young adult alien book, Stay With Me is a heartbreaking and deep new adult with serious themes but also has that addictive charm and wit that is always present with any of her books. It is the third book in the Wait for You series that again is my favourite new adult series so again it is no surprise that it has made the list. 
       5. Fire in the Woods - Jennifer M. Eaton
    • This book I had just recently found love in. It is again an alien book with heaps of vulnerable characters and their sweet romance that just has you yearning for more. The second book of the series has undoubtedly become one of my most anticipated releases of next year because I just cannot have it end where it ended. I need more of it. I don't know what it is with alien and human meet and fall in love books, I just can't get enough of them and Fire in the Woods would easily class as one of the many alien books that I have taken into my heart. 
So there you have it, the top 5 books that I have read this year. It took me a long time to narrow down my list, as there were so many amazing books that I had read this year, but I finally got it down to a small 5 and I would absolutely recommend any one of these books. Some may be slightly cheesy but they all stayed with me in some way or another as I couldn't get any one of them out of my head days after reading them. 
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Friday, 19 December 2014

Waterfire Saga: Deep Blue

Written by: Jennifer Donnelly
Published by: Hodder Children's Books
Format: Kindle
Pages: 373
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

When Serafina, a mermaid of the Mediterranean Sea, awakens on the morning of her betrothal, her biggest worry should be about reuniting with handsome Prince Mahdi, her childhood crush. Instead she finds herself haunted by strange dreams foretelling the return of an ancient evil, and dealing with the deaths of her parents as assassins storm the betrothal ceremony, plunging the city into chaos. 

Led only by her shadowy dreams and pursued by the invading army, Serafina and her best friend Neela embark on a quest to avenge her parents' death and prevent a war between the mer nations. In the process they discover a plot that threatens their - and our - world's very existence.

My Rating: 3/5

Going into this novel, I was extremely excited but hugely anxious because a book that focuses on mermaids and their mythology is something completely and totally new to me. The synopsis of this book sounded extremely fascinating to me and I really could not wait to give it a go. Deep Blue is the first book in the Waterfire saga by Jennifer Donnelly and it revolves around Serafina and her mission to get revenge for her parent's death and not to mention trying to prevent a huge war that would shatter her newly crowned reign. I mean how can I not get interested in that? It has action and adventure and is all a part of a world that I have not even tried to read before. I was hooked, lined and sinkered.
Neela held her hands up. 'Wait...I need a zee zee. I won't get through this without one.'
From  the first page Deep Blue pulled me in with a creepy and intense atmosphere of Serafina experiencing a frightening vision that will not only affect her but her entire nations future. I loved the humour that laced throughout the action. Neela was perfect in breaking the tension which was absolutely needed because otherwise I felt the story would of been quite constricting. (This constricted feeling was down to me not having a proper grasp on the magic involved in the story world.) With the added humor it allowed me to relax back into the story and really be able to enjoy it.
That's what a leader does—she inspires other to believe in themselves.
The one thing that really stunted my enjoyment out of the story was the amount of information and confusing names and places that was seemed to be dumped in the story. It was an entirely new world but I felt as though you were expected to know everything about it before the story really began. So there were many times when I got lost and confused in the story because I didn't understand the magic that surrounded and was infused into the story-world. Then there was times where I just found the names hard to pronounce in my head so I found myself skipping the names altogether, which really did not help. 
She felt heartbroken and lost and scared of what lay ahead. And yet, alone at her work with cloth in her hands, and a sense of purpose in her heart, she felt something else too. For a few hours, she felt wildly, defiantly happy.
Overall this book is packed full of information that can be confusing at times but if you keep at it and persevere you do get a charming read that is full of hidden wit and some strong characters. I wasn't totally sold on the action and I did loose that gripping feeling that I felt at the start of the book but I did love the friendships that were created, most importantly the friendship between Serafina and Neela. It was a deep and loyal friendship that I just love to read, so it didn't surprise me that I forgot about the lost feeling I was getting most of the time and concentrated on the gratifying characters that were strong and inspiring. All in all, Deep Blue has everything that you would come to expect from a mermaid novel, it was enchanting and stocked full of word play that will keep you entertained throughout the entire novel.

Deep Blue (Waterfire Saga, #1)
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The Love List

Written by: Eve Devon
Published by: Harper Collins
Format: Kindle
Pages: 182
Purchase from: Amazon |  Book Depository

Falling in love is just not on Nora King’s To Do List…Neither is accidentally super-gluing her shoe to her hand right before the biggest presentation of her life!
With all the hard work she’d put into securing the family business after her father’s death, Nora has no choice but to accept help from a knight in shining armour.
Disaster relief worker Ethan Love is still haunted by his last deployment, and desperate for distraction. He’s in town to ask Nora for a major favour, and swooping in to save her presentation is a sure way to get her on side. 
As Ethan sticks around and helps Nora through her grief, her barriers tumble down…but will she dare to swap her To Do lists for a How to Fall in Love list?

My Rating: 3.5/5

I absolutely loved the beginning of this book! It was hilariously witty and just so chick-litty that I was in it from page one. That was it, I was hooked. The Love List is all about the relationship and grief that Nora King and Ethan Love juggles and holds. It's a really quick read that just screams typical chick-lit, the women falls hopelessly in love and they find themselves 'fixed' in the process. So you can imagine how light and fluffy I found this novel, with the right amount of sultry mixed in.
Love at first sight was for wish lists that you wrote with your favourite coloured markers when you were ten.
The characters are just as you want, the right amount of romantic and cheesy with the added helping of witty one liners that make you fall a little bit in love with them. I really liked that no matter how perfect Nora wanted to project herself I, as a reader, was able to see how much she was struggling over her father's death. It made her vulnerable enough that I was really able to connect with the characters and feel protective over her. 
'I fell a little in love with you the moment I saw you trying so hard to work out a way to make your meeting when you had a shoe super-glued to your hand.'
Another quirk that I liked about this book was the fact that it was written in dual perspective, so you got to enter both Ethan and Nora's mind, and it constantly switched between the two. I always love this when it happens in a book because you get such a better sense of the characters that it's hard not to love them both. It makes both characters extremely likable, so much so that when they are both feeling the same thing yet too stubborn to admit it I felt like screaming with frustration because I so wanted them to have their happily ever after already.
'Of course it helped tremendously that you looked exactly like my Love List.'
Yes there were many cheesy moments and some over the top happenings but it's what I have come to expect within a chick-lit novel so it didn't lessen my love for the book. I did find it a little predictable but I just couldn't stop myself from turning page after page because I had to find out how their little love story ended. It was so light and quick that I couldn't put it down and I fell a little bit harder for the characters when their need for each other became clear. Overall, if your looking for a cute and sometimes seductive read then you should really give the Love List a try, as its so quick to read and still has that all important impact needed for a chick-lit novel. 

The Love List
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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Love Hurts

Edited by: Malorie Blackman
Published by: Corgi Books
Pages: 576
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

My Rating: 3.5/5

Love Hurts is a collection of short stories that depict love in some sort of way, whether it is the beginning of love in a relationship to the ending of love. Every type is covered and shown in a unique and romantic way. I have to admit when I requested this book from NetGalley I didn't realise just how much of it was extracts from other books but it didn't effect how much I liked the book. In fact, if anything, it made me want to read the stories more, let alone encourage me to buy the original books, as I had just gotten a little sneak peek. So while there are many extracts within this collection don't let it hinder or take away the enjoyment from the other stories that are present. Because the other stories are also sweet and cute and deserve to be read. 
Maybe reading about love is our way of trying to figure it out. 
The collection starts with a new story from Marlorie Blackman called Humming Through My Fingers. It is a cute and strong story that really stood out because I had never read anything from a blinds person's perspective, which is why it was really unique to me. I loved how it portrayed a subtle hint of romance, it wasn't just thrown in your face, and yes there were some quite cheesy moments but I loved how it hinted at love can be seen without being looked for. Just like a blind person can see without the use of their sight. 
Out of all the original stories I think my favourite would have to be Gentlewoman by Laura Dorkrill. Wow that story just buried itself straight into my heart because it was so amazingly sweet and loving and real. I loved it. Completely.
'There's more to seeing that just looking Ethan,' I told him.
 As I mentioned before I didn't realise just how many extracts there would be within the collection but like I said it didn't really lessen the enjoyment I got out the book. In all honesty it adds to the effect the book tries to portray in showing you the ideas and uniqueness that comes from romance stories and their idea of love. I did get slightly lost in the pacing of the book when it came to the extracts. I felt that in some cases they lost my attention, just because I had already read the original story, so I did skip and skim read most of them as I had already read them previously. However when it did come to the extracts of stories that I had not read before, like The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle, I found that I was once again absorbed and it really made me want to get the original book so I can read more of the chemistry between the two characters. I loved it.
But we hold hands. We learn. We laugh. Chalk and chalk. Cheese and crackers. That's it. That's our first date.
Because they are a collection of short stories each individual story is fast paced and extremely engrossing. If you read it all at one time it does feel as though the pace gets stunted because you are jumping from one story to another but it is still an easy and enjoyable read. All in All, Love Hurts explores the many ways romance and love can be interpreted. To be honest I would of liked more original stories within the collection, as I found them really fresh and unique, because they were normally revolving around something that I had not read before. If you're a fan of romance I would definitely give this book a go, as it's diversity will reach so many readers.

Love Hurts
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Friday, 12 December 2014

The Scorch Trials

Written by: James Dashner
Published by: Chicken House
Pages: 359
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more running.
Thomas was sure that escaping meant he would get his life back. But no one knew what sort of life they were going back to...

Burned and baked, the earth is a wasteland, it's people driven mad by an infection known as the Flare.

Instead of freedom, Thomas must face another trial. He must cross the Scorch to once again save himself and his friends...

My Rating: 3.5/5

The Scorch Trials is the second book in the Maze runner series, which follows Thomas and his Glader friends as they are thrown into another mystery induced, action packed trial. Earlier in the year I read The Maze Runner (read the review here) and I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. Mainly because I couldn't really connect with the characters, which was why I was a little apprehensive going into this one. However, I have to admit that, I did start to get hooked halfway through The Scorch Trails because there was just so much going on. Every small thing turned into massive action in every twist and turn thrown at you. It was hard not to enjoy it. 
He turned to look just in time to see the rain start falling out as if the storm had finally decided to weep with shame for what it had done to them.
The Maze Runner ended on a slight cliffhanger in the fact that it told us that not all was what it seemed and the Gladers weren't as safe as they believed. So as soon as The Scorch Trials begins you have this constant feeling that something big was about to happen and it didn't let you relax for one second because it threw you straight into the action that would be constantly happening throughout the entire story. Just like the first novel there is always something going on, no breaks just full on survival fights and plans. Which is the main thing that kept me entertained and engrossed, having the effect that if I put it down I would miss something massive. 
The chaos around him seemed to siphon away his humanity, turn him into an animal. All he wanted was to survive, make it to that building, get inside. Live. Gain another day.
Dashner has a great skill of writing this gripped feeling throughout the series because even though I still didn't particually click with the characters I still could not put the book down. The characters took a back seat with me as I felt the action and the story overshadowed them. The only one I really wanted to survive and stay alive was Minho and that was because he had so much personality while I felt the others were weak in comparison. Even Thomas felt less strong in this one compared to when he was in the Maze. So again I felt the lack of connection I had with the characters lowered the enjoyment I had with the story.
I'm a Crank. I'm slowly going crazy. I keep wanting to chew off my own fingers and randomly kill people.
To sum everything up, The Scorch Trials matches up to the enjoyment that The Maze Runner had. It had all the mystery and intrigue that was present with the first novel as you were never quite sure what was going on, which could be confusing at times, and not only this it was just as action packed and fast paced. Yet once again I personally found it hard to feel something with the characters, so I was not really fused as too whether they lived or died (apart from Minho... Minho had to survive) which is why I could not fall in love with the novel only enjoy it. However I still feel the need to continue on with the series because once again the story ended with a cliffhanger that is just begging you to find out what will happen next. 

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner, #2)
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Friday, 5 December 2014


Written by: Edith Pattou
Published by: Skyscape
Format: Kindle
Pages: 441
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

On a hot summer night in a midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry.
Alcohol, guns, and a dare. 
Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. 
But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

My Rating: 3/5

I really did not know what to expect with this book, it was something that I had never read before which is why I wanted to give it a go and requested it from publishers through NetGalley. I had never had the courage to read a book that is written in free verse and other styles and I really had no idea how much I would like this book. So it was a pleasant surprise when I found many things I liked about this book.
But a ghost. What a rush that would be, to see something from another world, something that most people never get to see.
I really enjoyed the pace of the book, it flowed really nicely and I don't know whether that was down to the different styles the author used for the different character narratives but it seemed to just breeze from one narrative to another and tell the story seamlessly. The was no hitch and that made it easy to read because it was just continuously drifting through the narratives. I also genuinely liked how it was set in two parts. The before and after. Again it was something unique that I had never read before so I honestly enjoyed how it was all set out.
I watch her go, helpless as a snake with its mouth sewn shut.
There were times that I did get a little lost in what was going on and because of the styles of how it was written I did find myself not really emotionally involved with everything drastic that was happening, Just because I couldn't really get what was actually enfolding. Having said this I did find it really easy to catch up to what I missed so I didn't stay lost for very long. But because I found myself trying to place what was happening I didn't really get time to connect with the characters because I was so busy trying to figure out what was going on. So while I loved the uniqueness of the book, I did find myself disconnecting from it really easily. 
We fit together. EMFAX. On this day. On this beach. With this garden gnome. In this new now time.
To sum it up I did enjoy Ghosting, mainly because it was so unique and something that I had never really read before. Plus I did appreciate the story because it was extremely dramatic and thrilling. Yet I unfortunately didn't click with it because there were times when I was completely lost as to what was enfolding and I never did get a sense of the characters because I was slightly overwhelmed by the vastly different styles of writing. All in all, it was a very likable read because it was so fast paced and was hugely easy to get gripped by. 

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Wednesday, 3 December 2014

My Heart & Other Black Holes

Written by: Jasmine Warga
Published by: Hodder and Stoughton
Pages: 320
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

Aysel and Roman are practically strangers, but they've been drawn into an unthinkable partnership. In a month's time they plan to commit suicide - together.

Aysel knows why she wants to die: being the daughter of a murderer doesn't equal normal, well-adjusted teenager. But she can't figure out why handsome, popular Roman wants to end it all...and why he's even more determined than she it.

With the deadline getting closer, something starts to grow between Aysel and Roman - a feeling she never thought she would experience. It seems there might be something to live for, after all - but is Aysel in so deep she can't turn back?

My Rating: 5/5

I don't even know where to start with this book. Its just very hard to try to find a way to summerise how good this book is into one review. My Heart & Other Black Holes is the debut novel from Jasmine Warga that pulls on your heart stings and leaves you with a sense of hope in a normally gloomy world. But not only does it immerse you in a world where even a small light of hope is found swirled in the darkness it also gives you a deeper understanding of depression and the effect it can have. It was simply brilliant, so brilliant that I read this book in one sitting all through the night because I just couldn't stop reading it. 

Aysel and Roman were totally and completely loveable and yet they felt 'broken' so there was always that edge to them, the idea that they were imperfect. The energy that surrounded them was always so compelling and their stories were always heartbreaking but you never felt that they were as lost as they seemed because there was always that sense of hope for the better that underlined everything. It made the book a simply stunning read that stays with you long after.

My Heart & Other Black Holes is a deep and heart rendering story that not only keeps you thoroughly gripped but also teaches you about depression and helps eliminate the stigma that comes with it. Yet it doesn't burden you with the idea but instead parries it with humor and love that mixes in with the darkness to help create a shining light for those who need it. It was an unequivocally brilliant read that I would recommend to anyone. 

My Heart and Other Black Holes
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Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The 5th Wave

Written by: Rick Yancey
Published by: Penguin Books
Pages: 460
Purchase from: Amazon  |  Book Depository

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs.
Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth's last survivors.
To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.
Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death.

My Rating: 4/5

The 5th waves features the adventures of Cassie and the life after the aliens came. Its a really intense survival story that shows the different paths that the characters go on after the arrival that destroys humanity. This book was put upon my highly anticipated shelf the moment I heard about it, because it had everything that I have come to love about a young adult novel. Drama, suspense, romance and action all rolled into one with the added bonus of aliens. So I was not really surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel, it had everything that I love and it didn't let me down in the slightest.
How do you rid the Earth of humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
The whole mystery surrounding it, not knowing what is going to happen and what they are planning, just sucks you in and I honestly couldn't even begin to guess what actually was going on. I would think that I had an idea of where it was leading only to have the story shift and I would realise that I wasn't even the slightest bit right. It was compelling and completely thought provoking, I couldn't go one minute without thinking of the possibilities of the 5th wave. I just had to know. I also loved the two different storylines of Ben and Cassie. At the beginning I didn't realise how important Ben was so it was a likable twist that he got his own adventure storyline. To be honest I did prefer Ben's storyline to Cassie's just because there were so many twists and turns in Cassie's part that I found it hard to keep up with at times. 
I don't care what the stars say about how small we are. One, even the smallest, weakest, most insignificant one, matters.
If there was one thing that I didn't quite like as much as I thought I would, it would be the idea of a romance between Cassie and Evan. It just seemed really creepy and stalkerish between them. I don't know why, it might just be that I didn't really connect with Evan so I couldn't really see them together. Or it might be because I really wanted Cassie to be with Ben. Whatever the reason I just felt really creeped out whenever it came to those kind of scenes between them. Having said that I did love Cassie as a character she was strong and determined, so a perfect heroine, that didn't take any crap thrown at her without fighting against it. I loved it. She was a perfect character to get behind and it really clicked with whole atmosphere of the story.
Sarcasm doesn't appear to work on him. If that's true, I'm in trouble: It's my normal mode of communication.
So overall, It was a massively enjoyable read that pulled me in and threw me into surprising turns of events that I just couldn't see coming. The characters were great, the writing was epic and the story itself was completely enthralling and seemed so realistic that it left me seriously scared of an alien apocalypse. All in all, if your looking for an action-packed thrilling post-apocalyptic mystery then you should really give The 5th Wave a go.

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)
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