I finished this last week but somehow I never updated my status here on Goodreads. I loved it! Despite my early uncertainties I pushed past the beg5/5
I finished this last week but somehow I never updated my status here on Goodreads. I loved it! Despite my early uncertainties I pushed past the beginning and quickly grew absorbed to the plot. I loved following the main character, "Esther", whose real name we don't know until much later in the story. Ugh. I'll have to gather all my thoughts and write a proper review for this book soon... I actually got this one for review.
+ Characters and romance succeeded in evoking this rare and elusive feeling of melancholic unease (maybe I'll find better words in the future when I write properly) + I enjoyed how the plot unfolded and progressed (finding the next Lucille, and Henry, etc.) + Creep factor and tension + Shocking twists + Good consistent writing and use of voice + Another perspective which I really appreciated (don't know if I will reveal this or not..?)
I loved this one far, far more than Shift, which was overall more on the forgettable side for me. I'm sure this one will stick for far longer as it has left quite the impression on me. Also it's about cult followings and psychopaths, hello?...more
I should have run the other way as soon as I saw the cover and read the description, but it's been such a long time since I actually reviewed a boo2/5
I should have run the other way as soon as I saw the cover and read the description, but it's been such a long time since I actually reviewed a book that I'd been sent for review (unsolicited) and I was in the mood for a light and fluffy read . . . Well, that's exactly what this book is: fluff. I felt like I was actually using less brain cells to read this book than I would have had I been watching an episode of The Bachelor. For some people that's not such a bad thing at all. After all, reading is a portal to another life, an escape from reality. But. I just could not connect at all. I'm only disappointed in myself because I knew exactly what I was walking into. One look at the cover and you should know what's in store for you. Now that that's out of the way, let's go a bit deeper.
'Signs Point to Yes' follows Jane, whose plans to spend the entire summer following graduation from high school writing Doctor Who crossover fan fiction are short-lived when her mum has other plans for her, namely, an internship at the place where she works. In order to avoid this, she decides to pick up a babysitting job instead. Unfortunately, that means she will regularly have to bump heads with the super hot but sort of awkward/dorky lifeguard with whom she used to be friends, Teo. Which is only a bad thing because his best friend REALLY hates her. Drama ensues.
I couldn't bother to work on a better summary of the book. These characters did nothing for me. I could not relate to them (which may have had something to do with the third-person narrative) and I found all their decisions and actions silly and juvenile. I could not believe how much blushing was in this book. The romance between Jane and Teo was blatantly shoved in our faces by the amount of blushing that went on. Mind you, I love a good story involving sexual tension where you're basically melting from frustration because CAN'T THEY JUST GET TOGETHER ALREADY? But I don't know. In this book, it was just... lackluster, and maybe that has something to do with the fact that they're such boring cliche characters.
Now let's talk about Ravi, Teo's best friend. Please tell me I'm not the only one who believed wholeheartedly that he has a massive crush on Teo and would do anything to have babies with him. I'm obviously not a guy but I have a hard time believing their friendship is just a friendship. I was so sure that there would be a big reveal, where Ravi confesses that he is actually gay and loves Teo, but I was sorely disappointed. Also, his reasoning for hating Jane was laughable. I'm sure there is a guy out there just like Ravi and let me tell you, he is one guy I hope never to meet because he's a massive tool. The only redemptive factor was his dedication to Teo, but again... I'm betting that he's secretly harbouring fantasies involving an alternate reality where they get together.
While we're at it, let's mention the "perfect" big sister Margo. Now, I also have a "perfect" big sister (seems like all big sisters are the "perfect" one). Which is fine. And this is probably where I had the most potential to really relate to Jane. Because I understand what it's like to be the lesser of the two and feeling like you're unable to meet expectations by comparison. Turns out Margo has a secret of her own. I like that this secret brings the sisters closer together, but I don't feel like the issue was explored completely. At the big reveal their parents seemed to brush it off, which kind of went against everything that the girls had implied from the beginning: that the parents would blow up.
Maybe I'm just too old to appreciate 'Signs Point to Yes'. I feel like maybe tweens will like this, but I refuse to believe that anyone their age would act in the same way. The dialogue was also quite stale, and there was a lot of telling involved (a big writing no-no!). I gave this book an honest try, and I even ended up finishing it which I think is a big achievement on my part.
Let me ask my magic 8 ball: Would I recommend this book? Not likely. (Only if you're really young, like <15 years, and/or you're looking for shallow fluff.)...more
Wow. This was such a beautiful story, and I an not ashamed to admit that the ending brought me to tears.
'One' is a young adult novel, written in4.5/5
Wow. This was such a beautiful story, and I an not ashamed to admit that the ending brought me to tears.
'One' is a young adult novel, written in verse, told in the perspective of conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi. So many thanks goes to Allen and Unwin for the opportunity to read this important book. For the short time I have spent with these characters between the covers I will take to heart the lovely messages and lessons Crossan has imbued in me with her storytelling. For me this is such a special book, as are all contemporary/realistic fiction... because it is just about people- their fictionalisation is merely an aside.
Grace and Tippi are fourteen when they are forced out of homeschooling. At Hornbeacon High, they are, unsurprisingly, subject to much scrutiny and hostility by the school body. However, they find friends in eccentric I-don't-give-a-damn Yasmeen and cool, not-so-perfect Jon, with whom Grace quickly becomes smitten. There are issues in their family as well. Their normal sister, Dragon, aspires towards ballet and will make any sacrifice to get there. Their dad is fueled by booze, unable to secure a job. And mum is placed in the middle of it all, a heavy burden to bear.
I loved the formatting of this book. Verse is generally hit or miss for me. The lesser time spent immersed within the pages before the story ends proves to be either a blessing or a curse. What I found in 'One' that I rarely find in other verse novels is connection. I felt connected to these characters, ESPECIALLY Grace. I loved her quiet soul, and my heart ached for her and everyone involved in her life. She and Tippi are seemingly different as can be, but ultimately their bond and love for one another is simply beautiful and a powerful thing to behold. At its core it has allowed me to re-evaluate the sanctity of the relationship shared among sisters: for all the disagreements in the end we are bound together, until death may tear us apart.
Crossan explores the many facets of life as one of conjoined twins, and it is clear that some research took place. She addresses love, image, future, death, and the effects it may have on the family as a whole. I have never really thought about how life must be like for them. Essentially they are just people, but things that we give no thought to in our daily lives are a major feat to them. I like that psychologists and doctors were involved, as well as the press in Caroline.
As expressed already at the beginning of this review, the ending broke me. I don't want to get into it because anything I say will be spoilerific, but man... Reading this book has been a truly unique experience. It is for these kinds of books that I read for, the kinds of books that leave you not as you were, but as a person changed for having read something so special. This is the first book I've read by Crossan, but after this I will definitely seek out more of her stuff (I have Apple and Rain...) ...more
Poppy in the Field is a continuation of Poppy by Mary Hooper. As the title suggests, we, once again, follow the hopeful young VAD Poppy who decides4/5
Poppy in the Field is a continuation of Poppy by Mary Hooper. As the title suggests, we, once again, follow the hopeful young VAD Poppy who decides to apply for a position at a base hospital in France in the wake of turbulent heartbreak that has come with the recent news of her love Freddie's marriage to a sophisticated debutante.
Hooper has evidently done extensive research and in amongst the pages there is ample amount of descriptive detail that places you right in the time period. From the character portrayals to the world building to the language used, Hooper excels at creating the right environment in her writing.
Poppy is such a relatable character. As a newly registered nurse myself (I will not make any distinction between myself and her - a VAD, which I believe is the equivalent to an AIN), I could empathise with many of the struggles and hurdles that Poppy had to overcome during her nursing career. The cases of men in this book are, of course, of a more critical nature than my own patients (being a paediatric nurse that is only natural), but I think back to when I did my training... I felt very at home with her character - traces of her personality and situations I could see in myself. She is, overall, just here to do good. She wants to make the world a better place and oftentimes comments on the meaninglessness of the war and mortality. I can identify with her strong moral conduct easily, and found her to be a generally well-written heroine.
There is a romance in this book, as expected, and the love interest could be seen from miles away (hint: he was in the first book!). This predictability, however, did not detract from the sweetness and adorableness of the progression of their relationship. Although a bit hasty, but I suppose that can be related to the nature of the world they live in. In all honesty I got excited whenever they were together. It's possible that my reading this book was relatively quick was due to the fact that I wanted them to just GET TOGETHER ALREADY!!!
The writing style is easy to follow. In light of the difficult subject matter I was able to breeze through this novel, Hooper is to be commended in this way. The dialogue seemed quite authentic too.
The ending felt a tad rushed, like the author just wanted to get this book done ASAP. I was left wanting more detail, more insight into the future for all of the characters... but maybe it was the author's decision to leave some missing pieces, for the reader to fill in the blanks. In any case, the bigger issues and plot points had been tied up. I guess I just want more....more
+ I did not expect the ending. I actually really liked the direction in which Oliver took the story, and found it very fitting and poignant. The me4/5
+ I did not expect the ending. I actually really liked the direction in which Oliver took the story, and found it very fitting and poignant. The meaning behind the narrative has changed, our viewpoint on Nick has changed, etc.
+ This is the first time I'd ever read a book where the protagonist works at an amusement park. I found it very refreshing and interesting. It's only until you step back and look at the big picture do you realise that this time is very important to Nick's character development. Especially the end where Alice talks about the amusement park and why she is so invested in it, it's really quite beautiful.
+ Sisters. They're complicated relationships. Dara and Nick were close, once upon a time. Something changed recently. Dara has been sneaking off, never home, and then the accident happens. Nick comes back and everything is so different yet the same. Their relationship becomes a series of unreplied messages, silence and disappearances. Nick would do anything to get things back the way they were.. and when Dara actually goes missing, maybe it's a cry for help, maybe she's in trouble, and maybe there's a connection to the Madeline Snow case.
+ Broken family. Divorce. Children dealing with their parent finding someone new, conflicting emotions.
This sounds amazing. I just received this proof in the mail, courtesy of Penguin Australia. There is an orange post-it note tacked in the middle of aThis sounds amazing. I just received this proof in the mail, courtesy of Penguin Australia. There is an orange post-it note tacked in the middle of a blue-background cover. It says, "WAKING UP ON THE DAY OF A SPECIAL". I have no idea what it means, but the post-it covers the flower (seen on the final cover). Very curious. The proof was accompanied with a letter, the writer's story and why she wrote this book. And... OMG there are post-its throughout!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!?!?!!?!?
It's been a while since a book has so strongly moved me. I barely even know where to begin.
+ The overarching plot was very well done. Everything that happened, every word mattered in the grand scheme of things. + Violet + Finch. The development of their relationship is so beautiful, and half-way realistic too. + Family plays a crucial role in this book, namely, what it means for Violet and Finch. They come from different kinds of families: Finch, from an abusive and neglectful home, Violet, from a nurturing and blase, broken home in the wake of a tragedy. + Grief, and getting back out there and facing your fears After + Exploration. Kind of makes me want to do some wandering too. + Dual POV, narratives distinct and the writing was pretty good + Mental illness and the debilitating effects of bullying --> both physical and emotional
Got another winner here. Contemporary fans, gather 'round. This one's going to be big....more
Eh. Not feeling like reading this anymore. I can see why Michael Grant is such a popular author though - the way he writes atmospherMade it to p.55...
Eh. Not feeling like reading this anymore. I can see why Michael Grant is such a popular author though - the way he writes atmosphere is phenomenal. Still, I'm not engaging with the story enough to care what happens from here. At least for now. MAYBE one day I'll want to pick this up again....more
"It can seem a little overdone, but I highly praise Mafi's lyrical prose; there's a level of sophistication in the writing that few YA books attain. It's a bold move, that's for sure. She also incorporates striked-out text that is an acquired taste, and it took a while for me to get used to it."
I accidentally deleted my GR review, but it SHOULD have been the same as what's on my blog. I remember being extremely excited for this book - the hype for it was overwhelming - but ultimately I was let down....more
3.5-4/5 [Review to be posted on the blog sometime this week. :P]
I had no idea that this book would have a sequel, but as I was nearing the end I knew t3.5-4/5 [Review to be posted on the blog sometime this week. :P]
I had no idea that this book would have a sequel, but as I was nearing the end I knew there was no way there couldn't have been. May 2015, 'Poppy in the Field'. I know it's going to be an emotional and intense read.
Last week I received a package from Bloomsbury in the mail, containing two books: this was one of them. I hadn't heard anything about it, but 1) I adore good historical fiction; 2) Mary Hooper is quite a well-known staple of YA historical fiction; 3) This book focuses on WWI; 4) The heroine becomes a VAD nurse for the war effort, so I picked it up almost immediately and don't regret the decision one bit.
Poppy Pearson is a young woman working as a parlourmaid for the de Veres. The war rages on. While the older de Vere brother enlists to fight in the war, the younger, Freddie, only joins after being handed an anonymous white feather in the mail (which Poppy's teacher had encouraged her to send). It is also by her teacher's suggestion that she also partake in the war effort by joining the VAD as a nurse. She's good at taking orders and she is no stranger to hard work and long hours. Before Freddie and Poppy part, they share a few moments: a look, a kiss, a touch and squeeze of the hand; and despite their difference in social standing they exchange letters and agree to meet once again. But Mrs de Vere will not allow the two of them to end up together--her son must marry someone of higher class...
Poppy was quite an easy read and definitely recommended for younger readers (12+) who are interested in learning more about what it was like in these times. Written in third person, with simple prose.
The characters were just okay for me. None of them were really that fleshed out or memorable. I like Poppy; she's a hard-working, honest and kind young woman, but she can be a bit frivolous and indecisive. Nonetheless, I liked following her in her progression as a nurse, and found that I could relate to a few of the situations that arose. Obviously, as a nurse myself, I had to draw some comparison between the conditions of the war hospitals back then, and how the hospitals are now. It was highly interesting and I think Hooper did a good job portraying the hospital working environment in England at the time.
Freddie de Vere doesn't have much of a personality at all; all I can really gather is that he's fighting in the war, he's from an extremely well-off family, he's quite a sentimental person, and he loves Poppy. Despite this, I think things will get a lot more interesting in the sequel. Something big happens in the end of Poppy, and it'll be interesting to see how that escalates, how both of them react to the actions of the other. As for the other young man in her life, the doctor at the hospital...
Poppy's VAD friends at her station, Matthews and Jameson, were interchangeable for me. They were the support that Poppy needed to get through the various ups and downs in her life, but I could never tell them apart!
A few of the Tommies (soldiers) and higher-ups were fun to read about. I like that Hooper included some of the injured, gave them names, personalities and back-stories of their own, so that they weren't just something thrown in the background. Instead, Hooper gives them life and brings forth the point that all of the injured and those who died in the war, had lives and voices of their own.
Finally I want to mention Poppy's brother, Billy/William. I think it is important that he was included in this story. While many young men jumped at the chance to gain glory and fight the good fight, many were frightened and were bullied or pressured into enlisting. The experience proves too much for him and he returns home in pretty bad circumstances. I can't wait to find out what happens to him next!
Poppy is the first book I've read that was set in England in 1914-1915 and overall I think that Hooper succeeded in portraying the setting with a level of realism worthy of the historical fiction genre. While I didn't fall in love with any of the characters I am invested in their lives and stories such that I will, without a doubt, be reading on with the sequel, Poppy on the Field! An easy to read account of what VAD nurses may have experienced in war-time England....more
So it took me three months to FINISH this book. There are 17 stories. There were some really good ones and quite a few that didn't work for me--this iSo it took me three months to FINISH this book. There are 17 stories. There were some really good ones and quite a few that didn't work for me--this is to be expected of an anthology though. Got to read the whole lot to find the gems. ;P These are just prompts for me (written in status updates as I was progressing) for a future review. Maybe next week when I'm less lazy. Hahahaha! How am I supposed to rate this out of 5?
The Key by Rachel Hawkins: was quite dark, short and interesting. Figment by Jeri Smith-Ready: Thoroughly enjoyable. I liked this one. The Twelfth Girl: wasn't bad, was an intriguing story that drew me in. The ending wasn't the best, but it had a nice tone to it I suppose. The Raven Princess: one of my faves of the bunch so far! :) Thinner than Water: really reminded me of Grimm tropes: incestuous marriage/relations. I thought the ending was a bit meh, but overall it was okay. Before the Rose Bloomed: meh Beast/Beast: meh The Brothers Piggett: good, kind of unique and a bit spooky Untethered: it was okay Better: I just couldn't get past the cheesy writing. The concept was kind of cool though, wish more time could have been spent fleshing out the world and details regarding the Disease, though. Light it Up: I quite liked this modern reimagining of Hansel and Gretl actually. Sharper than a Serpent's Tongue: A quick and easy read. Very simple. Not much to say about it, really. A Real Boy - I kind of really dug it, the whole concept of humanity and what it means to be human. But the ending was a bit... too cheesy for my liking. Skin Trade: I really did not like this one. :| Beauty and the Chad: Loved this one, I thought the spin on the tale was lovely and the fact that the Beast was this really chill fratboy was funny and made for great dialogue. The ending was interesting too. The Pink: This one was okay. Very fairy-tale-esque, easy to read, with a simple plot and concept. Didn't like or dislike this, it just fell in the middle Sell Out: I didn't really GET this one. I don't know what I was supposed to get out of it. Besides I was so excited to be at the last story that I just wanted to whiz right through it (and luckily enough it was really short)....more
I deemed this my worst book of 2013 (I think)... sure, why NOT give me the sequel for review? Surely nothing will go wrong -- in fact, I bet I'll fallI deemed this my worst book of 2013 (I think)... sure, why NOT give me the sequel for review? Surely nothing will go wrong -- in fact, I bet I'll fall in love and add Seles to my author auto-buy list.
But seriously... now that I have a copy of it I'm considering reading it. Eventually... When I'm in the mood for something trashy...
**Hint: there may be a TIIIIIIIIINY trace of sarcasm in the above comment....more
This was my first venture into Rainbow Rowell's writing so any of my expectations were established by the enormous amount of buzz, hype and lov3.5-4/5
This was my first venture into Rainbow Rowell's writing so any of my expectations were established by the enormous amount of buzz, hype and love that surrounds this author. 'Landline' was a delight to read, and it invites the reader to question what they would do in that situation: if you had a magic phone that could somehow contact someone from the past, would you try to fix things?
Georgie McCool, a comedy TV writer, married with two kids,
I kind of saw the magic phone as a physical and fantastical representation of the main character sifting through her memories and trying to figure out how things went wrong. Kind of like her brain just... snapped, and the sort of psychiatric haze that she's put in after her husband leaves with their kids to Omaha for the Christmas without her (because she's just landed the chance of a lifetime with work) was interesting to explore and follow. I loved the utilisation of the phone, and it made for some hilariously awkward moments between present-Georgie and past-Neal.
+ I liked the tension between Georgie and Seth. They're so close, yet there's always been that boundary between them. They've got this history; in the past, before Neal, everyone thought they were going to end up together, and I kind of WANTED them to get together. Rainbow Rowell infuses this arc with bittersweet feelings, regret, longing, and it really agreed with me. I prefer how she leaves the two of them at the end of the story too. + The writing. Accessible, easy to read, succinct. Could have done with more description. + The memories. + ...more
Somehow, after knowing what happens in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, revisiting Celaena BEFORE the salt mines5/5 (Review posted on the blog!)
Somehow, after knowing what happens in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight, revisiting Celaena BEFORE the salt mines of Endovier brought forth a whole new perspective and a newfound appreciation for Celaena's character AND Sarah J. Maas' writing and vision. I LOVED that I was given the chance to reread the novellas in a print paperback format. I believe the experience was somehow different and richer because of it.
This book contains the five novellas that precede Throne of Glass--The Assassin and: the Pirate Lord, the Healer, the Desert, the Underworld and the Empire.
The additional novella/story, The Assassin and the Healer, was nice, and showed yet another side of Celaena. I believe the greatest importance of these novellas is the fact that it paints Celaena in a more sympathetic light. She has a bit of an abrasive and frivolous personality which may rub some readers the wrong way. We learn some of Celaena's past before she is freed from the salt mines of Endovier in Throne of Glass.
I still adore Celaena, think she's one of the greatest YA literary heroines I have read so far, and can't wait to continue the series with Heir of Fire! Sarah J. Maas introduces a romantic interest in these stories that develops beautifully. I felt kind of guilty, rereading these stories--I absolutely love Chaol (who is introduced in Throne of Glass), but remembering Celaena's first love... just... speechless.
Arobynn, King of the Assassins, is such an amazing character to rival the likes of Warner (Shatter Me) and King Leck (Graceling). I love the relationship that Celaena has with him: confused, conflicted, undefined, uncertain. Arobynn is just a little insane, especially about her. And his money. The first time his true nature and utmost potential was revealed to us I was more than surprised. He's introduced to us as a formidable and important figure from the getgo, but once he is truly unveiled to the reader, it's really quite amazing and a great achievement on Maas's part. I loved every bit of his character and was glad to see him make a few reappearances past the novellas.
These stories are far from easy to read, but it's such an absorbing tale that it'll be hard to stay away. Maas's writing is perfect: the atmosphere, mood and setting were always spot-on and appropriate; the character development and portrayals consistent and realistic; the pacing just right.
Highly recommended. These novellas are brilliantly written and set an excellent prequel to one of the hottest high fantasy series in YA--Throne of Glass!...more
I love that overarching concept: even when you win, you lose. That is the main idea of this book, and you see it in everything that happens. I only4/5
I love that overarching concept: even when you win, you lose. That is the main idea of this book, and you see it in everything that happens. I only really appreciated the brilliance of it all once I'd flipped to that last page and everything kind of clicked. It's not my favourite of 2014 by far, however I am still eagerly anticipating the next book in this exciting new fantasy trilogy.
I was so wary of the romance in this book until near the end, when it had transformed from one tragedy to another. I can't get into too many details here, but I appreciated the slow-burning relationship that Kestrel and Arin form throughout the course of the novel. It never felt rushed or false. Rutkoski brings them together in so many different ways and they develop mutual understanding and companionship such that when the dynamic is, inevitably, destroyed the hopeless situation resonates within the reader. The romance is complicated and messy and tragic, which naturally meant that I would fall in love with it.
As for the characters themselves... I found Kestrel to be an extremely admirable and sympathetic character. It was easy to like her. She's bold and brave, but also vulnerable and fiercely protective of the things that matter to her personally. She's competitive, cunning, intelligent, calculating. She's also a victim of circumstance, kind of a loser either way.
Arin is so so confusing. On the one hand I can understand him completely: he'd been a slave for 10 years; he was previously high class and his whole world crashed down on him when Kestrel's kind arrived. I think at that last scene the whole hopelessness of his OWN situation was also made clear to me. I can't wait to find out what happens next because Rutkoski left us with their lives completely screwed up.
+ The violence and fight scenes. + The politics. + Father to daughter relationship. Power struggle. + I love interracial/"interclass" romances. + I love the idea "the things we love may be our downfall" --> this holds true for Kestrel (music and Arin) and Arin (Kestrel). Also the fact that Kestrel MUST win, but ends up losing anyway. ~ The writing is pretty common for fantasy: third person past. No complaints. Decent, consistent writing. Though... I would have liked more description. I can't imagine any of the characters or the places. Maybe that's my own fault though. (There are no maps!)