Saturday, 23 August 2014

True Calling - Book review

True Calling
By Siobhan Davis

About:


Planet Novo, nestled in space twelve hundred miles above the surface of the Earth, is the new home of 17 year old Cadet Ariana Skyee. Confused by the government-sanctioned memory erase and distressed at her impending forced marriage and motherhood, Ariana’s plans for the future are thrown into complete disarray.

As the traumatic events within her family life enfold, Ariana grows increasingly alarmed at the authorities apparent pre-occupation with her and feels progressively more isolated and alone.

Her growing feelings for fellow Cadet Cal Remus intensify as the recently announced pageant, ‘The Calling’, gets underway. Struggling to comprehend the continuous, inexplicable dreams of the mysterious Zane, discovering the past helps shape her future, with devastating personal consequences.


Source: Goodreads


My rating: 4.2 / 5

My Thoughts:


I have mixed feelings about True Calling. I definitely enjoyed reading it, but I was constantly reminded of similar books. The 'calling' had elements of the selection by Kiera cass and hunger games, in that it was like a reality TV show, the audience were watching and voting, Cal and Ari were pulled apart and because of the people of Novo's outrage, they were allowed to be back together again, etc. Although Cal and Ari love each other, they needed to prove this to the world and show the world how happy they were in essentially being forced to get married and have kids asap.  

The ending was really, really goo and it really had me on the edge of my seat wondering if Ari would finally meet Zane, whether Ari would remember or feel anything for him. Don't get me wrong, Cal is sweet, but I'm on team Zane. He was the one left behind when everyone went to novo and he's been working tirelessly these last 2 years to rescue Ari. Plus, he has the cooler name! 

I'm not totally sure about Cal and his trustworthiness. I think Zane and Malcolm were wrong about him, but his anger fits are very worrying. Is he really dangerous?  

 I didn't realise this was a series so I wasn't expecting a cliffhanger ending, but I am intrigued to find out what happens next in this 'return to earth' mission. And, what is this vital information that Malcolm gave Ari before he died? Will it change the dynamics of her feelings for Cal?


Zed (:


Favourite Quotes:

It’s degrading being routinely subjected to a battery of medical tests to ensure I continue to deserve a place in this new world.
He’s a lovely guy, but there’s no spark between us whatsoever. It just goes to show, that even with all their fancy assessment tools, the government can’t legislate for chemistry.
“Well, whatever is going on, it doesn’t change the situation, we’re no longer allowed to be together,” I say sadly. 
“And that makes you unhappy?” he asks unsurely. 
I look at him as if he has ten heads. “Of course it does,” I snap at him, “what did you think all the crying was about?” 
“Just making sure, it’s been a confusing day; what with you mentioning other boys names in your sleep.”
I still grieve for her as much as I did at the start. There were those who told me it would get easier, but it hasn’t, and I know it won’t. I wonder which situation is hardest. Mine, because I remember everything, or hers because she can’t.
“Poor Ari. To have someone love you, like you do her, and for her not to know about it at all, that’s more than sad. Like losing something you never even realised you had in the first place.”

Review of The Divine One - 2 out of 5 stars

The Divine One
(Book #1)
By Danielle Mani


About:

Delilah Simms is an attractive high school senior who is being bullied by a cruel group of girls she calls the Imitators. As if the emotional harassment isn’t enough, she is also trying to heal from the sudden, tragic loss of her younger sister, Darcy—whom her mother believes is sending messages from beyond the grave.

On the verge of a breakdown, Delilah meets River Spencer—a handsome young man who she’s instantly attracted to. Although River seems perfect, Delilah can’t ignore the gnawing feeling that River is hiding something and that he may just be the biggest imitator of all.


Source: Goodreads

My rating: 2/5

My Thoughts:

I try very hard not to write negative reviews but sometimes it’s very hard not to. The first time I downloaded Divine One onto my kindle, there were format issues and I couldn’t read past the first page. However, the author very kindly offered me a gift copy from Amazon. Unfortunately, I only got as far as 25% into the book and I decided to stop reading. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not terrible but the only reason I continued reding past the first chapter is because I felt I ought to give it another chance.

The story was just so boring and, well, boring. The book starts off with Delilah being bullied by a group of girls she calls ‘ imitators.’ They make fun of Delilah by referring to her as ‘piggy’ but I’m sure the synopsis of the book was that Delilah is very attractive so why would they call her piggy? The bullying gets to Delilah so much that she can’t face going to school and her mum fully agrees that she should take a few days off until she sorts things out for her. Wow, I wish my mum was that lenient. There’s no way my mum would let me take a few days off school. And even if she did, I’m sure we would discuss the bullying issue and try to resolve it on the first day, something that Delilah’s mum doesn’t do.

Then there’s Delilah herself. She has problems because of her little sister passing away and for some reason she feels guilty because it was her fault, and I liked that because there was an element of mystery. However, I could not relate to this Delilah girl at all. She’s terrified of these girls but is happy to drive a stranger into her house and care for him, alone. Not to mention that although she meets this stranger twice in two days, and both times he helps her out. I’m sorry, but I thought that was highly impracticable. He just happens to be in the same park as her when he lives in the city at the same time as she takes a jog? I couldn’t feel the chemistry between Delilah and River, it was all too forced and jerky to me.  

Maybe the book takes an unexpected turn and becomes addictive, but it really wasn’t for me. The main character was too boring and unrealistic, and the story wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention. The cover of the book really does not help to sell it either!

Zed (:

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Liebster Award!

Liebster Award
Deasy Yolanda from The Bibliophilism was kind enough to nominate me for the Liebster Award. Thank you, Deasy, it's always a pleasure to be acknowledged, especially since I had a blogger's block for quite a while and have recently restarted my posts.




Here are the rules: 
1.   Link and thank the blogger who nominated you
2.    Answer the 11 questions they asked
3.    Pick 11 other bloggers with no more than 200 followers to nominate
4.    Ask them 11 questions and let them know you nominated them


My answers to Deasy’s questions are as follows:

1. What films you love the most which are adapted from books?

I am trying to think of something other than Harry Potter here. I prefer tv shows that are based on books, like Arrow and Vampire Diaries, rather than movies based on books. Although the Lord of the Rings movies were awesome.


2. What are your favorite parts of Harry Potter?

This is probably cheating but my favourite part of the HP series was probably all the scenes with Hagrid.

3. Do you often relate some particular songs with the books you read?

No, I don’t think I have ever done that but it sounds like an interesting idea.

4. Which book blog you like the most?

Epic Reads, probably because of #teatime

5. Do you have any special treatment to keep your books in good condition?

Afraid not!

6. What inspired you to create a book blog?

I love to read and I like to share my views, especially to help promote new authors.

7. How do you usually pick your new readings?

Sometimes I receive requests from new authors, other times I look at what’s on Net Galley and choose from the selection. I try to keep up with the series that I enjoy too, like Mortal Instruments, Bloodlines etc.


8. Do you like to write fictions?

Yes, I enjoy writing and I hope to be a more active writer in the near future.

9. If you were able to jump into some particular universe of a book, which one you would choose?

The Harry Potter series; I would love to see Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.

10. Most memorable characters?

The characters from Alice in Wonderland. I mean, who can forget the mad hatter, creepy cheshire cat or the hookah smoking caterpillar??!!

11. Which do you prefer, a paperback or e-book?

I like the feel of a book, and I know I shouldn't but I love books with pretty covers! But at the same time, ebooks are so much more convenient.

My questions for the 11 bloggers nominated are:

1) Are you a glass half empty or half full kind of person?

2) What’s your zodiac sign?

3) Who is your current favourite author?

4) What is the first book you ever remember reading?

5) One food you can’t stand?

6) Best book boyfriend?

7) If you could go anywhere in the universe, where would you go?

8) The last book that you read but did not like?

9) Three items you can’t live without?
10) Who do you think is the ultimate villain from any movie / book / show you've watched / read?

11) What is the first quote that comes to mind?

Review of Black Ice


Black Ice
 
By Becca Fitzpatrick

About:

Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that's about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think.
Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it's only a matter of time before things turn deadly . . .
Dark and adrenaline-filled, Black Ice will have you on the edge of your seat right until the final twist.


Source: Amazon
 
My rating: 4.8 / 5

My Thoughts:

*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
After reading the Hush Hush saga by Becca Fitzpatrick I knew that Black Ice would be a very good read, but I expected there to be a soppy, forbidden love somewhere along the line. Forbidden love there was but soppy it most definitely was not. I just wish the cover was more appealing, it really does not do the book any justice!

In the past year there have been several incidents where a girl has gone missing and either found dead in the mountains, or is expected to be dead. However, all these incidents are being treated as either accidents or murders. The police aren't paying too much attention to these deaths and neither is anyone else for that matter. People die in the wilderness all the time, don't they?

Britt has been preparing for her backpacking trip all year, trying to get over being dumped by her best friend Korbie's brother Calvin almost 8 months ago when he left for Stanford and broke up with her over the phone. On the day of the trip she discovers that Calvin will be chaperoning and Britt is excited but dreading it at the same time. She's been hurt by Calvin but she misses him dreadfully too and has no idea what to do about her conflicting emotions. On the way to the mountains, Britt and Korbie are caught in the snow storm and cannot reach their destination. Although Calvin and Korbie's boyfriend are on their way too, Britt is worried that she took a wrong turn and it is very unlikely that they will find them. Looking for shelter, the girls come across two strangers in a cabin, but they have no idea that they are in more danger in the cabin rather than out in the storm.

I haven't read a good, thrilling mystery in a while and this was definitely that. I only started reading it yesterday and it kept me up most of the night because I couldn't figure out who was the killer. Just when I felt I knew who it was, something would change in the story, making me doubt myself. Shaun was the most brutal, and the immediate suspect because he definitely acted like he had tipped off the edge, but Mason has a dark, secretive side too, and what was with his bipolar personality?! One minute he was happily helping a stranger out by pretending to be her boyfriend in front of her jerk of an ex, and the next minute he was so hostile and cold. And he had an uncanny talent of lying and being able to hide his emotion. Then there's Calvin, who Britt has known and adored all her life. Calvin is very charming and always saved Britt but has  had a troubling childhood, and the past stories of his always shed a darkness on him. For a minute, I even suspected Korbie's boyfriend Bear, his name certainly suggests it!

A fantastic read, with a teasing romance here and there, Becca outdoes herself yet again.


Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

Calvin cocked his head at me. "When we were together, did I ever take off for a week without telling you?"
You took off for eight months, I thought snidely. And broke up with me on the most important night of my life. Jesus said forgive, but there's always room for an exception.

"I hate you," I said miserably.
"Yeah, you said that. Let's go."

"It's purple."
"So?"
"You told me Bear hates purple."
She made an exasperated gesture. "That's why I'm wearing it. To help him change his mind. If he sees how great I look in purple, he'll realize he loves it."

"Everyone needs secrets. They keep us vulnerable."
"Why would anyone want to be vulnerable?"
"To keep their guard up, so they don't get sloppy."

If I was scared, it was outweighed by a reason to live. And that reason was looking me straight in the eye.

They say that when you're about to die your life flashes before your eyes. They never tell you that when you watch someone you once loved dying, hovering between this life and the next, it's twice as painful, because you're reliving two lives that travelled one road together.

I couldn't let him know that my heart felt like it was being severed in two. How could I be hurting so badly when the connection between us was imaginary?

 
"Where are we?" she asked groggily.
"We're going hunting for abalone," Caz said. What's abalone? she mouthed back at me.
"Sea snails," I answered.
"Ah," Caz said wisely. "We are hunting for sea snails, which may or may not be code for something else."
 
I never asked him how long he could hold his breath. Whatever his record, I had him beat. I'd been holding mine for a year.
 
"We don't have to talk about him," Caz said. "But if he broke your heart, I will rip out his soul and feed it to my family's pet pig, Big Ol' Pig."

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Review of Day 21

Day 21
(The Hundred, #2)

by Kass Morgan


About:

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.
It's been 21 days since the hundred landed on Earth. They're the only humans to set foot on the planet in centuries...or so they thought. Facing an unknown enemy, Wells attempts to keep the group together. Clarke strikes out for Mount Weather, in search of other Colonists, while Bellamy is determined to rescue his sister, no matter the cost. And back on the ship, Glass faces an unthinkable choice between the love of her life and life itself.
In this pulse-pounding sequel to Kass Morgan's The 100, secrets are revealed, beliefs are challenged, and relationships are tested. And the hundred will struggle to survive the only way they can -- together.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5 
(but this rating may be biased because I love the show!)

My Thoughts:

*I received a free copy of this book via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.*

In the previous book we saw how the 100 juvenile criminals were sent down to earth to see if the earth was inhabitable and how those 100 began their journeys. In this book we learn more about each of the main character’s histories and it is very surprising to discover how they are all linked. For example, the only girl that Bellamy has ever loved before Clarke was Lilly, who was experimented on by Clarke’s parents and was a very close friend of Clarke’s.

Octavia is still missing and although they know the Earthborn’s have taken her, we don’t know where they are. That is until they capture one of the Earthborn’s, a girl called Sasha. Some want to torture the truth out of her, whilst other’s like Wells and Clarke are more civilised and try talking to her and befriending her (Wells more so than the others)!

Meanwhile, out in space they have closed the bridge between the different sections so that only the wealthy folk in Phoenix have oxygen, whilst the others in Walden and Arcadia are dying of oxygen deprivation. They do this because there isn’t enough oxygen for everyone and there are limited dropships too. The plan is for the Phoenicians to go to earth in the limited dropships, whilst the others die. However, Glass risks her life, and with Luke’s help manages to open the gate/bridge between the two to allow everyone to have an equal share of the remaining oxygen, even if this means reducing the lifespan of everyone in space.

Once Glass accomplished this it was interesting to see the chaos when everyone fought and struggled to get on the dropship to earth. Even the juvenile criminals on earth weren’t behaving as crazily as the supposed civilised adults in space!

Bellamy and Clarke’s love story has its highs and lows, but I’m glad to say it was mostly highs, although their histories cause lots of problems between them. This is similar to Glass and Luke’s relationship in space. Come to think of it, there are lots of similarities between the two relationships. The girl is a wealthy Phoenician, whilst the boy is a lot poorer. The girl has secrets that led to the death of someone very close to the boy. Interesting...


This time, the book isn’t that far behind the show because in both Octavia is found and the dropships with the remaining space people (!) are landing. However, in the book we learn that Clarke’s parents may be alive. I wonder if this is a spoiler to the show, and if there is a possibility that Clarke’s father is still alive?

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

Bellamy was going to rescue his sister, no matter what it took. He’d spent the past fifteen years risking his life to keep her safe, and he had no intention of stopping now.

“Promise me you won’t talk to her,” he said. “I don’t trust her alone with you.”
“I’m not alone,” Clarke said. “Molly and Felix are here.”
“Unconscious people don’t count…”

The only relic he might catch a glimpse of was the pen holder inscribed with the ancient phrase Non Nobis Solum Nati Sumus. “We are not born for ourselves alone,” a quote from a Roman writer named Cicero.

“…Why all the secrecy?”
Well hesitated, unsure how much to reveal about the mission. Admitting that they’d all committed crimes and been sentenced to die on their eighteenth birthdays probably wasn’t the best way to seem trustworthy.

“Hey,” the first girl said. “We need a tall person to help us fix the roof on the north cabin. It’s caving in already.”
Bellamy barely glanced at her. “Build a ladder.”

She’d spent her whole life believing that she’d never be as beautiful as her mother, never be as charming. But perhaps Glass could succeed where her mother had failed. She would figure out how to get what she wanted – what she needed – even when her long lashes failed to convince, when her body was no longer young and beautiful.
She’d be more than pretty. She’d be strong.

What would he say to Wells when he found out that they’d essentially kidnapped the very first Earthborn they’d encountered? Would he deem his son a hero or a fool? A coward or a criminal?

“Peaceful and terrifying at the same time,” he said finally. “Like you suddenly know the answers to questions you never thought to ask.” [Luke to Glass]


“You might find this hard to believe, Graham, but there are far more interesting things to see on Earth than your little spear collection. If I had to spy on you, I’d fall asleep.” [Octavia]

Friday, 15 August 2014

Review of Katwalk

Katwalk 

By Maria Murnane

About:



Katrina Lynden has always walked a straight line in life, an approach that has resulted in a stable career and pleased her hard-nosed parents but that has also left her feeling unfulfilled and miserable. When her best friend suggests they quit their Silicon Valley jobs and embark on two months of adventure in New York City, Katrina balks at the idea but ultimately agrees, terrified yet proud of herself for finally doing something interesting with her life. But when her friend has to back out at the last minute, Katrina finds herself with a tough decision to make. Much to her surprise, she summons the courage to go alone, and the resulting journey is transformative, both emotionally and physically. Along the way she makes new friends, loses others, learns what is really important to her, and finds a way to grow up without leaving herself behind.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

Some books arrive at the perfect time in your life and for me, this was the perfect time to read Katwalk. In this book we see how Katrina after much persuasion from her best friend takes the plunge to leave the job she hates in the finance department, to go on a 2 month holiday to New York. The plan was for both friends to leave their jobs the same day so they could travel together but Deb's plan changed after receiving an unexpected promotion. Katrina is terrified of going by herself but seeing as she has already left her job she decides to go on the adventure by herself. 
The big apple is everything she had hoped for and so much more. Despite her introverted nature and lack of self confidence, Katrina makes new friends, enjoys the social scene and begins a new chapter in her life as Kat. What I liked most about this book was seeing the transition from the girl with the rigid routine to the spontaneous adventurer she becomes. It made me feel like it's never too late to start fresh. Kat just needed to change her perspective and make small changes in the way she thought and saw the world, everything else just fell into place. After reading Katwalk I'm thinking more about my own life and how it's the small things that matter. Kat needed to find herself and understand what she wanted in order to be happy. Everyone else saw the potential in her except herself and sometimes the hardest thing is having self belief. Now I want to be more adventurous and step outside my comfort zone to see what awaits me. Most importantly, I need to try a blueberry scone!

Zed (:


Favourite Quotes:

Grace raised her eyebrows. "You paint?"
"I try to paint. I don't know if I actually paint. What are you up to?"
Grace patted the box. "Another meeting with a potential buyer. More getting my hopes up, more dreams dashed, the usual. I swear to God this is worse than online dating."

Shana tapped Grace on the arm. "How is two out of five a majority?"
Grace pushed her hand away. "I'm Asian. Don't question my math skills."

"...Then you could tell that bag of bones what to do with her scrawny ass."
Katrina laughed and gestured to Grace. "I still can't wrap my head around how such vulgar comments come out of someone who looks like a porcelain doll."
Grace shrugged. "You should hear my sister. I'm the nice one."

Perspective really is everything.  And everyone's perspective is different.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Review of the 100

The 100 

(The Hundred #1)

by Kass Morgan

About:

No one has set foot on Earth in centuries -- until now.

Ever since a devastating nuclear war, humanity has lived on spaceships far above Earth's radioactive surface. Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents -- considered expendable by society -- are being sent on a dangerous mission: to recolonize the planet. It could be their second chance at life...or it could be a suicide mission.

CLARKE was arrested for treason, though she's haunted by the memory of what she really did. WELLS, the chancellor's son, came to Earth for the girl he loves -- but will she ever forgive him? Reckless BELLAMY fought his way onto the transport pod to protect his sister, the other half of the only pair of siblings in the universe. And GLASS managed to escape back onto the ship, only to find that life there is just as dangerous as she feared it would be on Earth.

Confronted with a savage land and haunted by secrets from their pasts, the hundred must fight to survive. They were never meant to be heroes, but they may be mankind's last hope.

Source: Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

My Thoughts:

I am guilty of having read this book after I watched the 100 TV series, but in my defence I had no idea that the TV series was based on a book, nor that the series would be so addictive!

There are a lot of similarities and many, many differences between the book and the show. Most noticeable to me was that there's no Finn in the book. How can that possibly be?! Okay maybe I'm a bit biased because he's pretty important (and hot) in the show. On the other hand, Bellamy appears to be more of a love interest in the book, which is interesting.

The story is based on 100 convicts being sent from space to Earth to find out if Earth is inhabitable because the satellite is running out of oxygen. If the convicts survive then others from space will join them, but if they die then the others will die in space when they run out of oxygen. Since the 100 are convicts, they're worth less than the normal citizens so if they do die it's not that big of a deal (!)

The book is shown in two main perspectives, one from different characters on earth (Wells, Clarke and Bellamy), and the other from a girl called Glass' point of view, who is still in space. Bellamy and Glass inadvertently switched places because Glass was meant to go to Earth, and Bellamy was supposed to stay in space. At the last minute Glass snuck out of the dropship and Bellamy forced his way on to protect his sister, Octavia, one of the 100 juvenile criminals.

The story tells of power struggles and as there are so many criminals, a lot of fights break out on earth. Everyone on earth is there for a reason and we find these out as the story unfolds. Meanwhile on space they are running out of oxygen faster than anticipated, and decisions are being taken on who to save and who to basically kill. Glass is in love with someone less wealthy than her and we see her character development as she begins to appreciate things she wouldn't have even considered before, like water rations.

I was hoping to have a better insight of the next series of the TV show after I had read the book but turns out that the show is ahead of the book! Not to worry, Net Galley have approved for me to read Day 21, the next book in the series, so wait for the review...

Zed (:

Favourite Quotes:

“I swear, Thalia, it’s all going to be okay.” It sounded more like a prayer than a reassurance, although she wasn’t sure who she was praying to. Humans had abandoned Earth during its darkest hour. It wouldn’t care how many died trying to return.

His selfless little sister was sentenced to die for having too big of a heart.
[Bellamy thinking of Octavia]

“But I also know what he risked to come here.” She smiled. “He loves you, Clarke. The kind of love most people spend their whole lives looking for.”
Clarke sighed. “Well, I hope, for your sake, that you never find it.”

She knew she was doing the right thing, for once. She just wished it didn’t hurt so much. [Glass]

“You need to let yourself be happy. Or else, what’s the point of anything?”

“I don’t think anything’s unforgiveable,” he said quietly. “Not if it’s done for the right reasons.”

He wasn’t the brave knight who’d come to rescue the princess. He was the reason she’d been locked away in the dungeon.

He didn’t care whether they’d found the missing medicine. There was no drug strong enough to repair a broken heart.

The fire hadn’t reached the trees, whose flowers stretched out to greet the light, blissfully unaware of – or unconcerned with – the tragedy below. But that was the thing about grief, Bellamy knew. You couldn’t expect anyone else to share your suffering. You had to carry your pain alone.