Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

This week I ended up going to the library and I got two books.  They are:

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Blood Roses by Francesca Lia Block

What shall we do, all of us? all of us passionate girls who fear crushing the boys we love with our mouths like caverns of teeth, our mushrooming brains, our watermelon hearts?
In these nine tales of transformation, what's real is what's imagined, and the seemingly ordinary gleams with the magic of possibility.

And that was my week in the way of books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Logic of Demons by H. A. Goodman

Title: Logic of Demons

Author: H. A. Goodman

Published: AuthorHouse, 2010

Pages: 272

First Line: "He couldn't stop staring at the ultrasound image."

Summary: What would you do if the love of your life was murdered by a deranged killer? Would you become a vigilante and seek retribution? And would this revenge affect those you care for in the afterlife? LOGIC OF DEMONS The Quest for Nadine's Soul takes you on a journey inside the psyches of men and women forced to deal with the spiritual consequences of their decisions. Through the lives of a demon, two Angels, and a mysterious teenage girl, a plethora of politically and socially relevant issues ranging from the roots of genocide and sex trafficking to child conscription and religious fundamentalism are addressed in this fantasy thriller. Life as well as the afterlife converge in this novel to explain certain peculiarities of the human condition.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Logic of Demons is quite good as a philosophical novel.  Being very interested in philosophy I really enjoyed that aspect of Logic of Demons.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as far as story line went and as I was reading through Logic of Demons I thought I knew what was going to happen but every couple of chapters things would take an unexpected turn so the surprise element was definitely there.

I felt bad for Devin almost the whole way through because things just kept going badly for him.

Logic of Demons is a really good book when it comes to showing that not everything is black and white and everyone’s opinion has it’s validities even if others don’t agree with it.  In Logic of Demons there were a few different viewpoints about what to do with people and each one was justified but at the end of the day it’s up to ourselves to make a good decision about what is the best idea.

I quite liked Logic of Demons, I think that the ending was a bit of a letdown but other than that it wasn’t too bad.  If you like books about what happens when we die or looking at consequences for our actions then Logic of Demons would be good for you.

Source: H. A. Goodman for review

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Lake by William P. Crawford

Title: The Lake

Author: William P.Crawford

Published: BookSurge Publishing, 2010

Pages: 308

First Line: "So far the trip had zigzagged across the Great Plains to Boise and then to Spokane where, in an airport motel, he had watched a documentary on supervolcanoes."

Summary: After Southern California’s Lake Crowley is split at its foundation by an earthquake, the water becomes an elixir—and a truth serum. As desperate people migrate to its shores to drink from its waters, pandemonium besets Los Angeles and a group of public servants, including the California governor and American president, will be forced to intercede between human nature and Mother Nature. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: The Lake is a very interesting book that takes the idea of the fountain of youth and explores what would happen if it was found.  William P Crawford explores this idea in a philosophical, psychological, scientific and political way, which made for one very good read.

The Lake was really well written and extremely realistic in that it felt like William P Crawford had done his research. 

While at times I felt The Lake to be slow, it was an overall intriguing read.  At first it was a little slow but when I got further into the story I found it to be really engrossing and I read the second half of the book in one sitting.

The characters were all very unique and distinctive and while they weren’t developed completely I felt that they were developed enough for me to enjoy the story.

Overall, I thought that The Lake was a really clever and really good read.  If you like environmental science or are looking for something a little different then The Lake would definitely be a good read.

Source: William P. Crawford for review

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

Title: Generation Dead

Author: Daniel Waters

Published: Simon & Schuster, 2008

Pages: 400

Summary: All over the country, a strange phenomenon is occurring. Some teenagers who die aren't staying dead. But when they come back to life, they are no longer the same. Feared and misunderstood, they are doing their best to blend into a society that doesn’t want them. 
The administration at Oakvale High attempts to be more welcoming of the “differently biotic." But the students don’t want to take classes or eat in the cafeteria next to someone who isn’t breathing. And there are no laws that exist to protect the “living impaired” from the people who want them to disappear—for good. 
When Phoebe falls for Tommy Williams, the leader of the dead kids, no one can believe it; not her best friend, Margi, and especially not her neighbor, Adam, the star of the football team. Adam has feelings for Phoebe that run much deeper than just friendship; he would do anything for her. But what if protecting Tommy is the one thing that would make her happy?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review:  Zombies!  But in a high school setting and that is what you have with Generation Dead.  I’ve been reading a bucket load of dystopian fiction lately so I wanted to read Generation Dead.  I wouldn’t say it’s a dystopian however, even if it does feature zombies.  No Generation Dead is more a light hearted approach to zombies and I think that Daniel Waters did it wonderfully.

The pace wasn’t overly slow but it wasn’t too fast either.  There were just enough questions to keep me interested and I enjoyed every minute of Generation Dead.

Phoebe, Tommy and Adam are all great characters and the ending was OMG not expected.  I really want to read the next book in the series because I just have to know what happens next.

Generation Dead is a fantastic read and if you haven’t read it then I definitely recommend it.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How do you choose what book to read next?

This year I'd really like to whittle down my reading pile by reading more of the books I have and buy less books.  So, I have come up with what I think is a fun yet interesting way to choose which book I read next.

The first thing I did was arrange my books into two piles, firstly the review pile.  I aim to read those first before reading the second pile which consists of my own books.

Next I arranged my two piles into alphabetical order of last names and I then put them back on the shelf.

Now comes the fun part.  Starting with my review pile I have numbered each book from one onwards and then using a random number generator I pick my next book.

So after I finish a book I use a random number generator to tell me which book to read next.  It's pretty fun and leads for a surprising reading experience as I never know what book will get picked out next.

So what about you?  Do you have a special way of picking out what book you read next?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams

Title: Mostly Harmless

Author: Douglas Adams

Published: Del Rey, 2000

Pages: 240

First Line: "Anything that happens, happens."

Summary: Random, the daughter of Arthur Dent, has grown up on a remote world at the edge of the universe. Now she sets out on a transgalactic quest to find the planet of her ancestors. . . .  (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Being the fifth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  I was hoping to get a few laughs as I did with the other books in the series but unfortunately I was a tad let down in that department.  I didn’t really laugh at all.  I just felt that Mostly Harmless had a more serious tone to it.

I thought that Mostly Harmless was an alright book.  It had some interesting parts but for the most part it just didn’t capture my attention too much.  I also got a bit confused by the parallels in the book because I wasn’t sure what was going on.  I managed to get my head around it toward the very end of the book.

It was good to see a new character in the series, Random, who is rather random and quite a surprise.

I don’t have much else to say about Mostly Harmless.  I thought it was quite an interesting story but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I did any of the other books in the series.  If you’ve read the other books in the series, however, this one is worth reading to finish the series.

Source: Own Book

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Title: The Secret Garden

Author: Frances Hodgson Burnett

Published: Puffin Books, 1994

Pages: 298

Summary: Mistress Mary is quite contrary until she helps her garden grow. Along the way, she manages to cure her sickly cousin Colin, who is every bit as imperious as she. These two are sullen little peas in a pod, closed up in a gloomy old manor on the Yorkshire moors of England, until a locked-up garden captures their imaginations and puts the blush of a wild rose in their cheeks; "It was the sweetest, most mysterious-looking place any one could imagine. The high walls which shut it in were covered with the leafless stems of roses which were so thick, that they matted together.... 'No wonder it is still,' Mary whispered. 'I am the first person who has spoken here for ten years.'" As new life sprouts from the earth, Mary and Colin's sour natures begin to sweeten. (Taken from Goodreads)

Rebecca: I saw the movie The Secret Garden years ago and I really liked it.  Now I managed to read the book and I loved that too.

Scarlett: I remember seeing the movie too but I don’t think I was all that fond of it.  I tend to prefer to visualise the descriptions in my head and movies don’t really let people do that.  However, as this is a book review and not a review about the movie, I can happily say that I did enjoy the book.

There is a reason that some books are made into classics.  The Secret Garden is really well written and while the language slowed me down a little bit I loved the way that Frances Hodgson Burnett had written the speech.  It just made it more realistic.

The Yorkshire speak slowed my pace down a little too.  I’m usually a fast reader but I had to keep stopping so I could understand what it was the characters were saying.

I think another reason I loved The Secret Garden so much was because I really like gardens and plants and secret places so this book being about a secret garden was just my type of book.  I love imagining myself in Mary’s shoes, befriending Dickon and working on the garden in secret so that they have their own secret place to escape to.

I agree, I think that them working in the garden every day was a great way to bring Mary and Colin out of their shelves and it just made a really great coming of age story.

Overall, I think that The Secret Garden is one of those books that you should read if you enjoy classics, or if you’re interested in flowers and animals.  It’s also very good at showing that hope can be found in places you never thought you could.  I really enjoyed The Secret Garden and I definitely recommend it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi of The Story Siren.

Over my summer holidays I have been trying to get on top of my reading pile so I've been trying to avoid getting books but this week I saw one at the library that will count towards the debut author challenge.  That book is:

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

And that is all I got this week but it is an interesting book and I can't wait to see what everyone else got this week.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Title: Frindle

Author: Andrew Clements

Published: Aladdin, 1998

Pages: 112

First Line: "If you ask the kids and teachers at Lincoln Elementary school to make three lists, all the really bad kids, all the really smart kids, and all the really good kids Nick Allen would not be on any of them."

Summary: Of all Nick's ideas, the frindle is his most successful. What's a frindle? It's a pen, or what used to be called a pen before Nick began his brilliant campaign. Soon much of the nation is crazy about frindles--except for Mrs. Granger, Nick's teacher, who, although she doesn't realize it, was the inspiration for the idea. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Frindle was a quick read suitable for younger readers, around aged 10 or so would be a good starting point.  I picked it up because I have read a book by Andrew Clements before, Things Not Seen, and absolutely loved it, so I picked up Frindle for something different.

Frindle is a really nice read.  It isn’t an overly complicated novel but it is certainly a memorable one.  It brings the idea of what if I made up a word and everybody went with it, into a story.  I thought that the story played out well and everything developed rather nicely.

There was a nice little twist at the end and it made me smile.  Actually, the whole time I was reading Frindle I was smiling.  It’s just a really nice, really good read that isn’t overly complicated.

Frindle is a nice change of pace story and well worth a read.

Source: Library

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus

Title: The Dresskeeper

Author: Mary Naylus

Published: Prospera Publishing, 2009

Pages: 238

First Line: "A day like any other."

Summary: When 13-year-old Picky's Mum forces her to look after Gran, who has dementia, she is accidentally locked in Gran's dusty old attic. There she finds a chest full of old clothes, and tomboy Picky is forced to don what appears to be a ball-gown when the freezing night temperatures hit. As soon as the dress is pinned together, Picky is transported back to the year 1700, where a man who appears to know her as Amelia is trying to kill her. Managing to get the dress off just in time, Picky returns to the present with the dress covered in blood. Did the man kill the girl called Amelia? Will wearing the other dresses in the chest take her back in time too? And will she be in danger again should she try it? (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I found The Dresskeeper to be slow at first but about three quarters of the way in it picked up and I devoured the rest of the book.

I don’t usually get to read many books by British authors and so this one was quite a nice change.  Not only did it feature London in the present, it also contained London in the past which was really interesting.  Another thing that sets this book apart is that the language is different.  From Mary Naylus’ writing style you just get the feeling of a British protagonist which is what Picky is and it adds a unique twist to the book that I found to be a nice change of pace.  It makes it easy to imagine myself in Picky’s shoes.

As far as story line goes, I was slightly surprised by The Dresskeeper.  I wasn’t entirely sure how the story would move along but I found myself learning a thing or two about England’s history that I didn’t really know anything about until reading The Dresskeeper.

I liked Picky as a character, she wasn’t the best looking person around but she didn’t care which I thought was good.  I liked that during the course of The Dresskeeper Picky really came into her own and grew stronger.

The Dresskeeper is quite a unique and original story and while at first I didn’t enjoy it so much, in the end I quite enjoyed it.

If you like historical fiction novels then I think that The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus would be worth checking out.

Source: Own book

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

Title: Violet Wings

Author: Victoria Hanley

Published: Egmont, 2009

Pages: 357

First Line: "Back when I was nine, my parents went missing."

Summary: For Zaria Tourmaline, the three years without her mother and brother have been lonely ones, living with a cold and distant guardian while she completes her education. Just as she is ready to join the world of adult fairies and genies, she finds a spellbook written entirely in her mother’s hand. But this treasured object is not safe from a new enemy, a fairy with more power than Zaria ever dreamed existed. Only among the humans–who must never know fairies and genies exist–can Zaria hide the spellbook; but hidden magic, it turns out, can expose a fairy in ways she never thought possible. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: I absolutely adore fairies so I was really excited to pick up Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley.  Needless to say I was entranced by the book and it made it really difficult for me to put the book down.
I was surprised by how different the world of fairies was in Violet Wings.  In this world, males are known as genies and females are fairies, and they are every colour imaginable.  So you could get pink fairies or orange genies.  It just sounded so cool and I thought it was a really neat concept.

Violet Wings is more suited to the younger YA audience in that it hasn’t got any romantic elements in it or anything like that.  So if you’re looking for more of a romance book then this isn’t it.  Needless to say I still found Violet Wings to be great.  The friendships were really well established and I just thought that how all of the characters interacted with each other was really believable.

I loved the story line of Violet Wings and I read it in no time because each chapter left me wanting more.  I thought that the end summed things up nicely and I am curious as to whether there is a sequel or not as there was one thing that wasn’t entirely resolved.

In a nutshell, Violet Wings is awesome.  If you love fairies or you’re looking for something different then I definitely recommend Violet Wings.

Source: Borrowed

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country by Allan Richard Shickman

Title: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country

Author: Allan Richard Shickman

Published: Earthshaker Books, 2009

Pages: 151

Series: Sequel to Zan-Gah : A Prehistoric Adventure

First Line: "When Lissa-Na died, Dael wept real tears."

Summary: In this story, Zan s troubled twin brother, Dael, having suffered greatly during his earlier captivity, receives a ruinous new shock when his wife suddenly dies. Disturbed and traumatized, all of his manic energies explode into acts of hostility and bloodshed. His obsession is the destruction of the wasp men, his first captors, who dwell in the Beautiful Country. When he, Zan-Gah, and a band of adventurers trek to their bountiful home, they find that all of the wasp people have died in war or of disease. The Beautiful Country is empty for the taking, and Zan s people, the Ba-Coro, decide to migrate and resettle there. But the Noi, Dael s cruelest enemies and former tormentors, make the same migration from their desert home, and the possibility develops of contention and war over this rich and lovely new land. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country starts off on a sad note but a captivating one.  I sat down to read the first couple of pages and ended up reading on and on.  Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country starts off with a really interesting start and kept me reading right up until the very end.

I love Allan Richard Shickman’s descriptive writing.  He’s really good at it and I felt myself being transported into Zan Gah’s world and could picture it clearly in my mind.

I loved all of the characters in Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country, each one was unique in their own way and just added something to the table.  I think my favourite character would have to be Rydl, he just seemed such a cool and intelligent person.

I definitely think that Zan-Gah and the Beautiful Country is well worth a read.  It would pay to read the first book beforehand however, but both books are short and don’t take too long to read through.  If you’re interested in prehistoric times then Zan-Gah’s world will definitely entertain you.

Source: Earthshaker Books for review

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Eiffel Tower's Daughter by Bethany Huang

Title: The Eiffel Tower's Daughter

Author: Bethany Huang

Published: Authorhouse, 2010

Pages: 100

First Line: "My father named me Swanilde because swans are beautiful and graceful, and I was like one when I was young."

Summary: The Eiffel Tower's Daughter is a story about love, compassion, family, and life. A girl who has to face it all with no one to help her. She runs away from home the day after her divorced Mother unknowingly marries a spy. Swanilde has to deal with rivalry and vengeance on her way to warn her father and ask for help. Swanilde thinks she's on a quest for truth, but her family reveals all of the secrets and lies they have been hiding from her for years. As Swanilde's world crumbles under her, she realizes how precious life is and how short it is. She tries to deal with all of the obstacles in her way to find who she really is-until disaster strikes and she's running again. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter sounded like an intriguing adventure story so I picked it up for a read.  I quite enjoyed reading it but at the same time there were a couple of parts that confused me.

The story itself was quite a good one.  Every moment there was action and adventure and Swanilde stayed strong through all of it.  The changing viewpoints were quite good as well.  It was interesting to know what other characters were thinking about.

There was one big thing that had me confused for the entire book though and that was the way time was represented.  To know that the book was set just after the French Revolution I had to read the historical note at the end of the book and then during the book I had no idea of how much time had passed between events or anything.

The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter is a quick read so it’s quite easy to read in one sitting.
I quite enjoyed The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter and when I had finished it I discovered that the author, Bethany Huang is only ten years old.  I have to say that it is quite a well written book for a ten year old, I’m really impressed.

The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter is quite an interesting book and if you like historical fiction or adventure stories then you might enjoy The Eiffel Tower’s Daughter.

Source: Bohlsen PR for review

Monday, January 17, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Published: Dutton Juvenile, 2010

Pages: 356

Series: Book 1, Matched

Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: In case you haven’t seen any of my other reviews lately then you will not know that I am absolutely obsessed with dystopian fiction at the moment and what better book to read than Matched by Ally Condie to get me through my fix.

In Matched all of the decisions are made for everybody so nobody gets a choice. Nobody really questions that though because that’s how their society works.

The first thing that drew me to Matched was the absolutely gorgeous cover. It was also extremely well written and a great start to what I deem to be a very promising series.

And just between you and me, I would prefer Ky just because it seems so different to what society would have as the norm.

Matched is truly amazing and well worth the read.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by The Story Siren.

Because I am away at the moment I only got two books this week from NetGalley.

They are:

Shine by Lauren Myracle

When her best guy friend falls victim to a vicious hate crime, sixteen-year-old Cat sets out to discover who in her small town did it. Richly atmospheric, this daring mystery mines the secrets of a tightly knit Southern community and examines the strength of will it takes to go against everyone you know in the name of justice. 

and the second one was:

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.
That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

And that was my books this week which I'm really excited about and can't wait to read.  I can't wait to see what everyone else got!