Monday, 29 April 2013

Book Review: Chasing The Dark by Sam Hepburn

Pages: 352
Published: 6 June 2013
Genres: Teen, Adventure, Thriller, Mystery

A copy of this book was given to me for review, from the Book Depository.

Joe Slattery is a 14 year old boy, whose mother has just died in a hit and run. Along with a stranger she was in the car with. As time goes by, Joe realizes there are many secrets surrounding the crash. And mysteries no one seems to know the answers to. One night, Joe takes his dog, Oz. On a walk through the woods, where he comes across an abandoned glass mansion. Where his search for the truth begins.


I didn't have high expectations for this book. The cover and the synopsis dont really jump out at me. But I'm so glad I got the opportunity to read this anyway.

Chasing the dark, was just such a fun and interesting book to read, and I really enjoyed it. The best thing about this book for me, was the mystery. It started off seeming quite boring, and ordinary. But then it flourished and grew, so that by the end of it. I had no idea what the big reveal would be. Although I'm not completely amazing at figuring out mysteries before they happen. I have been recently, in some of the other books I've been reading. So it was a nice surprise to see that this teen fiction had a great mystery.

Although the book felt a bit too fast at times, and there werent enough interesting characters in the first section of the book (other than the awesome dog, Oz). I still flew right through this fast paced mystery/adventure book, and would definitely recommend it. Great for a quick read, or for getting out of a reading slump.


Video Review...

Document Your Life | April 2013

Music: Riverside by Agnes Obel
Went to the beach, saw the Host, went to a bookstore and bought nothing (book-buying ban) and did some other stuff.

Document Your Life was created by Lauren Hannah - She can be found here

Monday, 22 April 2013

Book Review: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Pages: 374
Published: August 2011
Genres: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Fantasy

Its the year 2044, and the world is a pretty bad place. So bad in fact that most people spend the majority of their day. Not in the real world, but in a virtual one called Oasis. A world that is not only an escape for many, but holds a great treasure, hidden behind a series of puzzles. The clues and puzzles all involve 80's pop-culture, and millions of people have been searching to find the very first puzzle. No one has suceeded in doing so for many years, until a boy named Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle. Now the whole world is watching and racing to win this ultimate power and money. A world at stake. A quest for the ultimate prize. Are you ready?

Oh my goodness me, I cant wait for this book to be turned into a movie. It was so amazingly described and the world building was probably better than any book I've ever read before. If you have heard anything about this book, its probably that there are 80's references everywhere throughout the book. Seriously if you know 80's pop culture, you MUST read this book! And even if you don't, it is still such an amazing adventure to go on.

This book, its settings, characters and themes, are so wonderfully constructed. It will have you giggling with glee, while you read it. The real world that Wade is living in, is sharply contrasted with the magical utopia, that is Oasis. The characters are so real, they will both annoy you and inspire you. And the themes are built so subtly into the text, that you will slowly but surely grasp their importance.

Ready player one will draw you in to a world that you would never actually want to live in. But you will find yourself not wanting to leave while your reading. I cant say enough good things about this book. So I should probably say some bad things.

The only negative aspect of this book was the start. The first 100 pages were so different than the rest of the book, it was shocking. This is mostly because there is A LOT of info dumping. It sets the story up, and allows for the rest of the book to be so good. But seriously A LOT of dumping goes comes down. I would say get through the first 100 pages, learning about the world, and then enjoy the crazy ride! 


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Book Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

Pages: 252
Published: July 2007
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Crime

Fresh out of a Psych hospital, Camille Preaker who is a reporter. Is sent to her hometown to cover the murder of two preteen girls. She goes back very reluctantly, to the mansion she grew up in, the neurotic mother who never loved her, and a half sister she doesn't know. As she is working to solve the cases and write about them, she is forced to face a past she isn't sure of. A past she might not survive.

This is the first Gillian Flynn novel I have ever read, it is also the first one she ever published. And on the wake of her Gone Girl success, and multiple recommendations. I had high expectation for Sharp Objects
. For once these expectations were met by what I can only describe as a deliciously disturbing book.

The writing style was the first thing that struck me. It was very strong, determined and confident in its unique style. Then the setting which was so well described, that it had an immediate effect on me. This is what was especially great about the descriptions in the book. They all work together to create a dark and creepy world, that as you continue to read. Creeps closer and closer to you, wrapping you up. So that you are both repulsed, and forced to read on. 

All of these things were great parts of the book, but the thing that Flynn does better than anything else. Is her characters and their relationships. Camilla is both weak and incredibly strong. She finds herself on many occasions, having to work against herself and her impulses just to survive. As she continued to lose this battle throughout the book. I felt myself as a reader lose control too. Even though I was just sitting in bed reading a book. The degree to which every character and their relationship is messed up, is astounding. 

The world that has been crafted and the characters in them are what make this novel as good as it is. Even though the crime/murder-mystery aspects were not very surprising. The book still stood out to me because of its creepiness and the effect it had on me.


Saturday, 20 April 2013

Book Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Pages: 452
Published: September 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Mystery

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.


She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.


The premise of this book drew me in immediately. And if Ive learnt anything form buying books based on their premise. Its that, the book is most probably going to disappoint me. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is no different.

There are some really good aspects to this book. Some of the characters were cool, and interesting. The whole mystery and the surprise at the end. And most of all, the main character losing control of herself/mind. Even though she was fighting as hard as she could to not go crazy. It made me feel like I was dizzy and about to fall, but it was too late to stop it. I love it when books have that type of effect on me.

However the bad aspects of the book definitely overshadow the good for me. First and foremost, the romance. Mara and Noah ARE Bella and Edward from Twilight. Ok I need to explain, the characters themselves are not exact replica's. However there are so many common factors (minus the vampires) in the two books romances, and circumstances. That throughout the book, I was constantly wondering whether this was fan-fiction. It isnt, but just the fact that it made me question that is really bad. And this emulation of the Twilight romance is not just a momentary occurrence, it spans the entire book and if nothing else, annoyed the hell out of me.

There was also a part in the book that had a deeply obvious flaw. One that makes me question how much (if any) research the author did. And even though the two main characters were interesting, especially Mara. Most of the other characters were dull, and just background noise. 

Although I would have loved more focus on the creepiness and much less on the romance. This was still a really enjoyable read that I finished in a flash. I will be picking up the next book in the series. To find out what happens next, and also because of the awesome covers.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

April Book Haul

These are the books I've bought recently. I'm really happy that there's lots of variety, and I'm really excited to start reading all of these books. I had better be, because guess what? I'm on a book buying ban! (Until June, if I can last that long)

Watch my book haul on YouTube...

Buy the books...
Chasing the Dark by Sam Hepburn
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith
The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
Gemel Edition Box Set by Mark Forsyth

Book Review: Across The Universe by Beth Revis

Buy This Book  
Pages: 398
Published: January 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery, Romance

Goodreads Synopsis...
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

Oh book hype, how you bring my hopes up (even though I know better) and then slap me in the face, laughing maniacally at my foolishness. 

Firstly I must make a comment on the cover of this book, so here it is: SO PWEEEEEETTTTIIIIEEEEEEEEE!!!!

There have been many things said about this book, both good and bad. So I will get to the point. This book had all the ingredients for an amazing book. It had a new mixture of genres, and the setting and premise are amazing. But either there isn't enough of some ingredients, or some of them were way past their expiry date, and need to be thrown away.

First of all the romance, it wasn't that it was an overbearing part of the book. Or even that it was forced down my throat like medicine. It was that once it was there, it left a bitter taste. And did nothing AT ALL to improve or add to things. It was just so darn awkward everytime Amy and Elder were anywhere near each other. Plus there was no chemistry, and generally nothing fun or interesting about their romance.

The Science fiction elements however where amazing! I loved how this was used to show the themes in the book. And also it was just so freaking cool to read about life on a spaceship, and being frozen and stored, so that hundreds of years later you could be reawakened.

The mystery element of the book was a bit dull, and I figured it out around the time the characters in the book should have, which was about 100 pages in to this 400 page book. And I didn't just have a hint as to what was happening. I was basically 100% sure who was the 'bad guy' in the story, and how things would end.

As well as bad ingredients, the way this story was presented to me wasn't so great. The writing was pretty sloppy, and the story wasn't engaging even though I expected it to be. The characters were also pretty dull, and stereotypical.

So if your thinking of buying this book, I would say don't waste your time and money. There are plenty of other books out there. That don't fall short of their awesome premise. And hopefully when I review them, I wont feel compelled to use so many food metaphors.