Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fizpatrick
Series: The Hush Hush Saga, Book 1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: June 15th to 20th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
If you’ve been following my reviews lately, then you would know I have made myself a goal, to start finishing all these series I’ve started and then forgotten about. Next up in my pile was Hush, Hush, which I first read in 2012. Here is my original review(I gave it 3 stars):

I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about this book, but personally I kinda liked it. I read it within around three days, the storyline just grabbed me. Paraanormal romances are a dime a dozen these days, and most aren’t very good at all, but I did enjoy this story of fallen angels. Interesting concepts of getting back into heaven by becoming guardians, or by becoming human by killing a possessed Nephilim host. Not really sure what it was in this book that hooked me, but whatever it was allowed me to overlook some annoying little details, which I won’t point out because then you’ll notice them everywhere. So I’ll leave them for now!


Back then I obviously believed in more of allowing readers to make their own decisions without being influenced by my sorry excuse for a review. These days, that doesn’t bother me so much and I just say exactly what I think in my reviews. Like, that I think Nora is one of the most ‘wishy-washy’ characters I’ve read who seems to have little sense of self-preservation as she continually wanders into dark alleys and other potentially dangerous or just flat-out dangerous situations.

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The Maze Runner

Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner, Book 1
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: May 7th to 12th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
I didn’t love this book and I didn’t hate it. It’s difficult for the reader when so much is unexplained for the majority of the novel and the end leaves you with more questions than answers. I suppose then you’re supposed to run for book 2, The Scorch Trials.

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Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: The Juliette Chronicles, Book 1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: September 23rd to 24th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending me this copy!

Where to start with this review? Maybe with the heart wrenching affliction that Juliette has lived with every day of her life…my heart ached for her the whole novel. She has never known the warmth of a parents’ embrace, the feeling of a kind touch. All her life she has been told she is a monster. She has no idea how to interact with other human beings, even though you can see the yearning in her to be good, to help.

Juliette Ferrars has the ability, through her hands, to suck the life out of any human being she touches. But she does not want to harm people, she doesn’t want to be a danger to society. People are frightened of her anyway and when she accidentally kills someone, she is locked away in an asylum.

Being inside Juliette’s head fascinated me. I felt like I could feel what she was feeling. The writing style really suited this kind of novel. I kept willing her to be brave and strong even though if I was in her position I don’t know if I could endure like she did. I see her as an intricately woven tapestry – there seems to be so much more to her than has been revealed in this book, maybe more than she even knows herself.

I’ve read a lot of dystopian YA over the last few years but if it’s done well and is original, like Shatter Me, then I’m not likely to get sick of it. Yes, it does have the usual world-gone-to-shit background, although we are not yet told exactly why (this just frustrates me in general but it has nothing to do with the story and everything to do with my impatience!), but Juliette’s place in it and what may be her future role makes this one different to the many others. She’s not normal (clearly!), she has a gift, or curse, and I’m looking forward to see how that influences her decisions and her future.

I almost finished this review without mentioning Adam, then I realised I couldn’t do that! Adam is … interesting. A little bit too much the perfect boy seen in so many YA romances, but I like his relationship with James and there’s definite intrigue! I think there’s more to him too.

5 Stars!

Find my review of book 2 of this series, Unravel Me, here.

Jump

Author: Sean Williams
Series: Twinmaker, Book 1
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 4.5/5
Date Read: October 4th to 7th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

There is nothing better than a strong female character in teen literature. It seemed for a while every book I read had a wimpy, indecisive female character unable to do anything for herself. Clare, the heroine of our story here, is nothing of the sort. She is level-headed, practical and smart. She knows how to respond quickly to a situation and do what’s right and what’s necessary and while she is primarily motivated by emotion, she doesn’t let it rule her.

The world created here by Williams is fresh and original. Futuristic YA fiction is a dime a dozen but Jump was different. Instead of a world that had been almost destroyed, as in dystopian fiction, in Williams’ futuristic world he presents what actually seems to be ‘the perfect world’ – ours is ancient by comparison. Until her best friend Libby messes around with a new ‘meme’ called Improvement, Clare doesn’t realise there could be something very wrong with their world, a world which allows global travel in the matter of seconds and has rendered farms obsolete due to the ability to ‘fab’ whatever you require from a hole in the wall. When Libby uses Improvement to remove a birth mark, her whole personality seems to change and this sets Clare on a journey where she is forced to question everything she thought she knew about her world.

Right from the very beginning, this book takes off at a fast pace and doesn’t slow down. It is an action packed adventure that I didn’t want to put down. I connected with the characters and Clare and Jesse’s budding romance felt natural and not forced – I liked that it wasn’t the main point of the story.
I was also so excited by this book once I got to end of it I forgot about what was so irksome to me in the opening chapter or so of this book. It wasn’t until I was browsing some other reviews that I actually remembered why I wasn’t sure about this book until the cracking pace and non stop action took over. I don’t want to add in spoilers but the fact that the rest of the book was so good it made me actually forget about a part I disliked – that says a fair bit about the author!

3There was a bigger point to this story than the romance. And of course, the inevitable cliffhanger – I should have known there would be one, but I didn’t pick what was actually going to happen! – that has left me a bit shell shocked and shattered that the next book isn’t released for another year. I need it now!

I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You

Author: Ally Carter
Series: Gallagher Girls, Book 1
Publisher: Lothian
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: January 15th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
A few years ago I found myself in the predicament of having nothing to read. This can either be the best or the worst situation to find yourself in, depending on the circumstances. Mine was about the middle of the road. I was 14, had some pocket money and was wandering through the book department at Target (they have a somewhat limited selection). I chanced upon I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You, the first of the Gallagher Girls series. Fastforward to today, the sixth and final book has been released and I have bought the five books in the series I didn’t already own and am revisiting Cammie and her friends to see how it all ends.

There is one main word that comes to mind when I am describing this book: fun . I have always found The Gallagher Girls such an enjoyable read and I have narrowed it down to two predominant aspects. The first is that it takes place at boarding school (the Gallagher Academy). I have always wanted to go to boarding school, since I started reading stories where the main character goes away to school and has a roommate and goes to class where she lives and gets into mischief and has adventures. From Malory Towers to Hogwarts, I have always had an obsession with the idea of boarding school and always wanted to go to ‘see what it was like’, as I told my parents who never caught on to the idea. The second aspect is SPIES. Badass, kick your ass, teenage girl spies (in training). At the boarding school. Where they take classes such as Covert Operations and Protections & Enforcement. You can say it sounds far fetched all you like, but I think it sounds awesome and that’s why it appealed to my 14 year old self and why it still appeals to my 20 year old self today.

In this first installment, we are introduced to Cammie ‘The Chameleon’ Morgan whose mother is the headmistress of the Gallagher Academy and whose father was killed on assignment. It is not a normal life and Cammie is not a normal teenage girl, and neither are her friends. The school is an all girls school, with little opportunity for interaction with *gasp* those other kinds of humans….boys! So when Cammie meets one who thinks she’s just your average teenager and who is showing some interest in her, she’s way out of her depth. He can never know what she is. And yet, the promise of being normal draws her in and she is left with some tough choices to make.

I feel like my own summary of the book doesn’t do it enough justice. The dialogue between characters and also inside Cammie’s head was witty and funny, and I especially enjoyed her ‘real history lessons’ where a Gallagher Girl was involved in almost everything you know about and stuff you don’t. I loved her relationship with her friends and how important she realised it was. The gadgets were cool, the classes sound heaps better than mine and I found I enjoyed this just as much at 20 as I did at 14. Bear in mind when you do read this that it is the point of view of a fifteen year old, written for fifteen year olds, and be careful not to expect a literary masterpiece – and you might just enjoy it. The four star rating I first gave it still stands. Bring on book 2!

Find my review of Book 2 of this series, Cross My Heart and Hope To Spy, here.
Find my review of Book 3 of this series,
Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover, here.
Find my review of Book 4 of this series,
Only The Good Spy Young, here.
Find my review of Book 5 of this series,
Out of Sight, Out of Time, here.
Find my review of Book 6 of this series, United We Spy, here.

The Diviners

Author: Libba Bray
Series: The Diviners, Book 1
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 5/5
Date Read: January 13th to 15th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
You know that feeling, when you completely fall head over heels in love with a book, that you have no idea how to express just how amazing you think it is, other than being very, very glad there’s a whole series to look forward to? This, and more, is how The Diviners made me feel.

In The Diviners, we are taken back to 1920s New York. It is a city full of wonder and dreams and possibilities and is a whole world away from boring old Ohio, where Evie O’Neill has been exiled from by her parents after her antics of revealing a damaging secret about the town’s golden boy. Evie could not have been more thrilled about leaving the backwards town behind and embraces the chance to be somebody in that great big city where dreams come alive. She moves in with her uncle, the curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult, and here her adventures begin.

But there are strange things afoot in the city and Evie, her uncle Will and a cast of other interesting characters are drawn further into these unusual happenings when they are enlisted to help the police investigate a series of occult murders.

The Diviners is an enormous book which can appear extremely daunting, but do not let yourself be intimidated! It is a worthy read which I devoured in two days simply because I could not put it down (aided by some hot weather that made it hard to sleep). Ms. Bray has created a fascinating, intricately woven world of the supernatural, mingled with the culture of 1920s New York City and hidden from the masses. The backstory was brilliant and it is evident this novel was well researched. The plot was ever building and suspenseful, the writing full of evocative imaging that will send a chill or two up your spine. Not for the faint of heart, I found as I delved further into the story and was presented with some grisly details that only made the story seem more authentic.

You know you’ve encountered a talented writer when they take something you wouldn’t believe if someone told you it was true – and makes it really damn believable. Hell, I want to believe in Seers and Healers and all sorts of Diviners!

This book played host to a number of characters, all unique and interesting in their own way. Some of them are confused, some are empowered by what they can do, some use their talents for good and others not so good. All of them are searching for something. Their personal histories are elaborate but engaging and important. I’m looking forward to the forthcoming books in this series and following the characters and story through further developments and to see where it all leads.

A thrilling, exciting read of all those ‘things that go bump in the night’. Fantastic.

Noughts & Crosses

Author: Malorie Blackman
Series: Noughts & Crosses, Book 1
Publisher: Corgi
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: January 6th to 9th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
I first read Noughts & Crosses around five years ago and gave it an instant five star rating. On reading it again, I saw why it had so appealed to my fifteen year old self and also that it still appealed to me now at almost-twenty. But I still felt the need to drop it from a five star rating to a four.

Noughts & Crosses is the powerful moving tale of a world divided into two: the pale skinned noughts, like Callum, who are considered second class citizens, and the dark skinned Crosses, like Sephy, who are the elite and privileged. The two divisions are never meant to collide. Sephy and Callum did. Friends since childhood, as they grow older their worlds begin to change and it is not so easy to be together, as friends or as anything more. Sephy is naive and doesn’t understand why the world has to be this way. Callum is learning the hard way what it means to be a nought in a Cross world.

I enjoyed the story as much as I did the first time, couldn’t put it down for the day and a bit it took me to finish, and again I cried buckets at the end. But this time I was more aware of little things that annoyed me about the writing, such as the immaturity of some of the narration and the overuse of exclamation marks. I tried to tell myself this is just how people of that age speak (Sephy being fourteen for most of the novel and Callum sixteen) and there was still a clear difference between the two narrative voices, but it still got under my skin a little. Maybe I’m just being picky.

Overall, I was still satisfied with the book as I had loved it when I first read it. I was still moved and angry and sad and full of emotion when I read it. The development of the two main characters and their friendship was beautifully done. I felt for them. How hard it must be, when something has always seemed right to you, only to be told that it’s wrong. The ending was brave! But at the same time it seemed inevitable, for the world that was described. I’m not ready to let go yet, so I’m glad I have the next three books here beside me!

Read my review for Book 2 of this series, Knife Edge, here.
Read my review for Book 3 of this series, Checkmate, here.
Read my review for Book 4 of this series,
Double Cross, here.