Introducing the Series Binge Read!

series binge read

So this is exciting! The launch of my first original feature to come to Crash My Book Party, Series Binge Read. It won’t be a weekly or monthly feature, this is a whenever-I-feel-like-it feature depending on my TBR and review copies and other things. So what is it exactly?

Continue reading

Advertisements

The Austere Academy

Author: Lemony Snicket
Series: A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Book 5
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: August 12th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
The woeful stories of the Baudelaire children continue in book five, The Austere Academy, when the siblings are placed in boarding school at Prufrock Prep. Violin playing Vice Principal Nero promises his advanced computer will keep Count Olaf why, even though the children don’t understand how it possibly could, while Violet and Klaus attend classes and Sunny works as Nero’s administrative secretary.

Continue reading

The Miserable Mill

The Miserable Mill

Author: Lemony Snicket
Series: A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Book 4
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 4/5
Date Read: August 12th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
I feel like I just can’t help but enjoy these books. I am sure I read this one in my primary school days but I couldn’t remember it at all, so it was like I was reading it for the first time. I finished it in the train ride from my boyfriend’s house (where I access these books when I have nothing else to read) and was glad I had the foresight to grab number five as well, The Austere Academy, for the train ride home.

Continue reading

The Wide Window

Author: Lemony Snicket
Series: A Series Of Unfortunate Events, Book 3
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: March 24th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
I couldn’t believe it when, staying the night at my boyfriend’s, I reached into my bag for large, well-thumbed (despite only being the first reading) copy of War and Peace – only to find it wasn’t there. Great. I loathe being without a book. I had trains to catch the next morning, for crying out loud! Couldn’t believe I’d done something so rookie-like as to forget to pack a book. Off to the boyfriend’s bookshelf it was (even though I also don’t like starting a new book when I’m in the middle of another).

Continue reading

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.

Unravel Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi
Series: The Juliette Chronicles, Book 2
Publisher: Harper Collins
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: September 25th to 26th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:I just finished reading Unravel Me and my thoughts and feelings regarding this book are all over the place. I don’t know how I’m going to rate it so I’ll have to sort through them first! Did I like it? Well…yes and no.
**Beware, this review will contain major spoilers because I have no idea how to write this without them!**

In Shatter Me, what struck me most was just how heartbreaking Juliette’s affliction was. How hyperaware she needed to be of simply where her uncovered skin was all the time (although I have to ask – why didn’t anyone think of gloves sooner?!). People were afraid of her, told their kids to keep their distance. She was a freak, a monster, and her own parents didn’t want her. The fact that she was still able to hold onto her compassion and some resemblance of sanity is actually amazing. So for her to that somehow there was not one but two people in that messed-up world who can stand her touch – of course that must be shocking. It was a completely new experience for her to be able to touch someone’s skin without causing them extreme harm – or worse. And for her to feel another’s touch would be even more thrilling. So much so that I can’t help but feel that both Adam and Warner are taking advantage of her. When she tries to stand up to them, tells Adam she doesn’t want to hurt him and Warner that she doesn’t want him, they touch her. And she’s going to feel it more acutely than if she was normal, because it is so strange to her. That’s why she feels an attraction to both of them. And those two boys are both so selfish they don’t realise what they’re doing to her and only know that they want her. They are both so possessive it makes me sick.

I felt like Juliette started making real progress as a strong, independent young woman when she ‘broke up’ with Adam, like she herself noticed – but not enough until she had a talking to from Kenji, which was a long time coming. I was so excited for her when they arrived at Omega Point and found there were other people with abilities above and beyond the norm. I thought she would be able to learn more about herself and her capabilities, and understand how to harness & control her energy. Her capabilities are different to the others and make life a lot harder for her but I really believed she would do it, and want to. I thought she would be excited about who she was and how to use her ability so I was disappointed in her ‘oh poor me’ routine. What Kenji said to her was the slap in the face she needed. Good. I’m glad that she showed that she was able to make friends and finally expressed an interest in training. She needed it to take her mind off angsty Adam.

Adam was really visiting Crazytown in this book. I wish Kenji had shaken him too and told him to snap out of it. One – why not tell Juliette about your ability? There was no good reason to keep it from her. Two – mate don’t be such a sook and do something productive instead of whine! And three – don’t take your shit out on everyone else, it’s not their fault and they’ve all got stuff to deal with too. His begging Juliette not to leave him was not what I expected of him – however my opinion was improved when he simply said he would work out a way for them to be together. Stop grovelling and whining and do something useful! But although I realise Juliette was trying not to hurt him physical she just made a further mess of him emotionally. Control yourselves, people! Yes, yes, I understand love and passion and raging emotions but sometimes you have to be practical.

And Warner. Do not get me started on Warner and Juliette’s stupidity. People can change, people can discover compassion in their lives but he doesn’t want to. He wants the life he knows and he wants Juliette. He craves power and having Juliette will give him that. He may love her too in his own twisted way but he doesn’t care about what she wants and what is important to her – kindness and compassion and empathy. That is not love. He feels none of that and what drives me crazy is Juliette knows that. Yet she is attracted to him because he’s beautiful (I am so sick of ‘beautiful’ boys!) and because he can touch her. She may see the potential for him to be better but he will never live up to it, and for all her attraction to him she will never love him. I don’t believe that mentally she would be able to be with him. But she lets him do what he wants – mainly I think because simply being touched is so novel to her it’s like a shock to the senses. Although I sympathise, the scene with Juliette and Warner in her bedroom made me feel sick. She needs to stand up for herself and you know what? If she really loved Adam he wouldn’t have flown out of her mind so easy. I was so angry! She needs to tell both boys to leave her the hell alone until she sorts her shit out.

I only hope she doesn’t end up with Warner mainly because I feel he is a horrible person and has no inclination to change. But I also feel like if she loves Adam she needs to be loyal. If no, maybe she shouldn’t be with either. Simply being able to touch her isn’t a good enough reason.

Did I mention love triangles frustrate the hell out of me?

So to return to the original question, did I like it? Yes. I like the main dystopian plot (although I’ve hardly mentioned it!), the secondary characters, the fast flowing story. I read this quite quickly and if I didn’t have a paper to work on it would have been finished even faster. I still want to read the last book but I’m really hoping it doesn’t disappoint.

Find my review of book 1 of this series, Shatter Me, here.