Monday, 24 October 2016

Something by Shelby Lamb


Series: Wisteria
Author: Shelby Lamb
Page Count: 304
Published: March 7th, 2017
Publisher: Grunge Bookz
  4 Stars ★★★★

 I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for a review.

Aubrey is what many would consider 'damaged': she's obsessed with her ex-boyfriend, she's depressed, self harms, and deals with a lot of other issues. However, things start to get worse for her when she picks up a book titled 'Something'. As she shares passages from the book with others, strange occurrences take place and those around her start questioning their sanity. 

This book explored some of the real-life issues people might face, with some paranormal creepiness thrown in. It was a great combination and it worked very well! While written in third person, the author told the story of the chaos that ensues after reading passages from the mysterious book 'Something' from the perspectives of multiple characters, including the depressed Aubrey, teen mom Kendra, ex-boyfriend Nathan and aspiring porn star Bella. 

I wasn't too sure what to expect, considering how unique the idea seemed to me. I have never read anything like this book before, and I'm sure I won't read anything similar for a long time. Including real-life issues alongside paranormal ones is something I really like in a book and this one delivered on this for sure. 

I liked reading about the different characters and their personal situations. I can't say that I actually liked all of the characters, but their problems were intriguing and sometimes heart-breaking. Aubrey's self-esteem, self harm and related issues were realistic to me, in that they're something that I see a lot in real life as well, and I thought that this made the book more believable. Bella's hopes and dreams to become an adult entertainer seemed to make her determined and despite her mean-girl streak, I found myself cheering her on and hoping that she'd achieve her goals! Kendra appeared to be quite sweet and I think that she tried looking on the bright side of things even though she was dealing with motherhood at such a young age. As for Nathan, I felt some sympathy for him, having to deal with Aubrey's obsessive behavior. 

The paranormal aspect was enjoyable and mysterious. I often wondered if maybe the characters were slipping into madness, and that there wasn't really anything other-worldy going on at all. I must admit that at some times I found myself a bit confused because I wasn't really sure what was going on, some situations were a bit unclear to me. 

Another issue was the grammar, there were enough changes in word tense and spelling errors that at times it felt a bit disruptive. Because this is an ARC, I'm hoping that the book will be edited again before its actual release to fix these mistakes, however I can't ignore the way that these mistakes disrupted my reading experience, because it affected my enjoyment of the story.

In conclusion, I can say that this book was really, well, something. I want to know what happens next and I will probably read the next book when it comes out. If you like new adult paranormal mysteries, you might enjoy this. Readers who like books that mix real life issues with other-worldy intrigue will like this novel as well. 

Friday, 21 October 2016

50/50 Friday - Best/Worst Villain

This meme is hosted at The Butterfly Reader and Blue Eye Books


This week's topic is the best/worst villain! 

Best villain


Serpine from the first Skulduggery Pleasant book is what I consider to be a prime example of a great villain. Why? Because the author brings him to life. He has a history with one of the main characters. And he's super evil. I think that all of the villains from the Skulduggery Pleasant series are the best villains!

Worst villain


Ok, so I did enjoy this book overall, but the thing I didn't like about it was the villain, especially the villain's motive. I thought it seemed really far-fetched and the author didn't really write enough clues within the book to make the final reveal, and the villain themself, seem sinister enough. It was a bit of a let down. I really wish that the author had taken more time to develop the villain or at least offer the reader more clues.

What do you think of the villains from these books?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Stargazer by Claudia Gray


 Series: Evernight
Author: Claudia Gray
Page Count: 329
Published: March 24th, 2009
Publisher: HarperTeen
  5 Stars ★★★★★

In the sequel to Evernight, Bianca has spent some time without Lucas, the boy she loves, but she is able to communicate with him through letters. However, they have to be careful not to get caught, because Bianca is a vampire and Lucas is a vampire hunter. With everybody standing in their way of being together, things seem grim for their relationship, but they've decided not to give up on each other. 

Meanwhile, Bianca finds herself the target of a ghost at Evernight. With her friend Balthazar, she hopes to find out why she is being targeted and to prevent the spirit from endangering the students at the academy. However, this haunting brings secrets forward, secrets that will change everything.

I enjoyed Evernight a lot, so while I was excited to pick up the sequel I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the first novel. Thankfully, it exceeded my expectations and kept me reading late into the night. Returning to the setting of Evernight Academy and Bianca's relationship issues made for an enjoyable read, and I'm sure that I will continue reading this series. 

I'm a fan of love triangles, if they're done well. The author achieves this in Stargazer, with a love triangle between Lucas, Bianca, and Balthazar. I found myself torn over which love interest I prefer and want Bianca to end up with, which I find to be a good quality within stories featuring love triangles. The romance wasn't cheesy, the tension wasn't overdone and I like how the love triangle wasn't 'aggressive' or Bianca's most important worry.

Of course, the characters within this novel were just as interesting and enjoyable to read about as they were in the first book. I really love the cast of characters in this series, especially Balthazar! There's just something about him that seems unique and I hope that he's featured within the next books of the Evernight saga. Lucas can be a bit stereotypical-YA-boy-love-interest at times, but it's not overwhelming and I find him quite likeable. Bianca, the main character, is full of personality and a great protagonist, and I think that her identity as a vampire adds to her struggles in a way that makes readers care about her issues and root for her for the entirety of the first two books. I hope this continues on throughout the series.

I think that the use of the ghost or spirit within the story made this book suspenseful and added originality to the author's interpretation of vampires. The connection to Bianca was unexpected and I never would've guessed it! It adds a new level to Bianca's troubles. 

I completely recommend this sequel to Evernight! If you've read the first book and you're unsure of whether or not you should continue the series, I think that it would be wise because Claudia Gray's writing, characters and ideas remain just as captivating and exciting as they did in the first book.

Friday, 14 October 2016

50/50 Friday - Book to Movie

This is a meme hosted at The Butterfly Reader !

This week's topic is: Book to the big screen/Never to the big screen

Book to the big screen

I want Shiver to become a movie so badly! The wolves would probably be a bit CGI but it wouldn't really ruin the film for me. I think seeing Sam and Grace's romance on the big screen would be so sweet

Never to the big screen

Now this book is entirely different. I would love to see one of my favourite books played out in film, but having Skulduggery Pleasant  become a film could be really disastrous. Unlike with the wolves in Shiver, having the creatures in Skulduggery Pleasant be CGI would possibly ruin the whole thing. A lot of the creatures and people within the book are paranormal or fantasy, so it would be hard to create them through make up and costumes alone. I'd be worried it would end up super unrealistic and distracting. 
What would you think if either of these books were set to be filmed? Would you be excited, or would you fear disappointment?


Monday, 10 October 2016

If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan


Series: N/A
Author: Sara Farizan
Page Count: 247
Published: August 20th, 2013
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
  5 Stars ★★★★★ 

Sahar is in love with her friend, Nasrin. But there's a problem: they're both girls, and they live in Iran, where being gay can get you killed. Sahar has trouble imagining a life without Nasrin, so when Nasrin gets engaged she comes up with a drastic solution; become a man. 

As Sahar struggles with the uncertainty of the future and the prejudice present in her society, she meets some new friends and spends time with her gay cousin, Ali. She forms a plan to stop Nasrin's marriage and hopes for a happily ever after, but she is unsure of whether she will go through with it.

I wasn't planning on reading this book because it sounded too sad for me, but my book club voted it as one of the books of the month, and it was in my library, so I picked it up. I can say that I was absolutely correct, this is an incredibly sad book. I struggled reading about all of the things that Sahar had to deal with and I did my best to prevent myself from crying while I read. However, at the end of the book, I did shed some tears. 

The most striking thing about this novel, in my opinion, is how raw it is. Sahar's narration doesn't hold anything back, and reading about her hopes and fears was heartbreaking. I couldn't put the book down. This book isn't the type of thing that I usually read but I am so glad that I picked it up.

This story made me really stop and think. I thought about how lucky I am to live where I do, and reading about Sahar's situation made me so grateful that I have basic rights, which aren't really compromised due to my sexuality, as opposed to what she was facing. It also made me angry. Very, very angry that people have to live in places where they fear being jailed or even killed for who they are, and who they love. I feel like this book is a sort of call to action to readers, to look into what hardships LGBTQ people face in other countries, and maybe to consider helping them in whatever way possible.

Aside from the highly emotional aspect, Sahar's character was extremely likeable and she had a unique and memorable voice. She stuck out to me because of her struggles and her internal dialogue and narration, and I think that she was the perfect choice for a narrator. I feel that if Nasrin were narrating I might not feel the same connection, considering that some descriptions of her made her seem selfish or inconsistent. 

I can't say much concerning the accuracy of the author's portrayal of the setting, however I can say that I found myself fully immersed in the story and setting and that it was easy to understand what was going on despite cultural differences, terms, et cetera. I understood the danger that Sahar faced in her country and the rules and regulations very easily, as the author explained them well through Sahar's voice. 

While I recommend this book to anyone looking for emotional YA and LGBTQ books, I do want to say that I think that very sensitive readers might want to steer clear of this one. There are upsetting situations which could hit close to home for some people, and the theme of homophobia is rather dark considering the risk of violence and death.

As I mentioned, this book will be enjoyed by those looking for emotional YA and/or LGBTQ stories. If you're interested in a book that deals with being LGBTQ in a country where it's illegal to have same sex relationships, this book is for you.

Friday, 7 October 2016

50/50 Friday - Underrated/Overrated Book

This is a meme hosted at The Butterfly Reader

This week's topic is an underrated and an overrated book

An underrated book

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I've only read the first two as of yet, but I own the third. I can't bring myself to read it quite yet, though....I don't want Isobel and Varen's story to end! I hope Kelly Creagh writes many more books. I wish this series was more's one of my favourites!

An overrated book

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I like the idea of The Hunger Games trilogy, I enjoyed the film and novel. I just didn't find the book good enough to persuade me to read the next one, and I'm not rushing to watch the film series, either (I haven't even watched Catching Fire yet!). I can see why others would find this trilogy amazing, but I honestly wish that the hype from this might have been shared with Nevermore, my pick for underrated book!

What do you think of these books? Are you a fan of Nevermore or The Hunger Games?

This meme was really fun! I hope to continue to participate in the future :)  

Monday, 3 October 2016

Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard


 Series: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Page Count: 286
Published: October 1st, 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  3 Stars ★★★ 

Aria, Emily, Spencer, and Hanna are four girls with one thing in common - they were all friends with Alison DiLaurentis, who went missing. Now, several years later, in their junior year of high school, Aria returns from Iceland where her father moved their family right after Alison's disappearance. The girls have drifted apart, Hanna shoplifts, Spencer is an over-achiever and Emily is struggling with her relationship.  

They begin to receive texts from someone who calls themself 'A'. And this 'A' knows about some of their most personal secrets, secrets that only Alison knew. But she can't be back, can she?

The thing that I liked the most about this book is the way that the chapters tell the stories of each of the four girls separately, yet describes the ways that they are still tied together. While in third person, the narration of some of their thoughts gave a great insight into how they were dealing with their various issues and where the story would go next.

However, I can't help but to think that this book seems almost unfinished. I understand that it's a series, but there wasn't a whole lot of action really going on throughout the book. There were smaller things, with personal tensions and a few more major incidents, but nothing too exciting or mysterious. Even the description of 'A's texts were disappointing. I was hoping for more thrills and more close calls, but this book didn't really deliver on that expectation.

It actually seemed almost like an extended beginning of a book, like a really long introduction. I can say, though, that the big reveal and 'A's message at the end definitely sets up some interesting ideas for the next book. For a short read, this was enjoyable, however I feel like it went too slowly and was too short. 

Fans of contemporary YA novels will like this. If you're interested in YA mysteries this could be a good read for you.