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My Books

I've always been a bit of a bookworm, but in the last two years or so my reading habits have spiralled out of control and now I'm rarely not reading something. My favourite genres include fantasy, paranormal, dystopia and historical fiction, but I'll read anything young adult. There aren't many things I'm not willing to at least try, even if I don't enjoy them, but I tend not to stray from my YA comfort zone.

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher Also view at Bookmarks and Blogging

From the beginning, I knew I wouldn't really enjoy Thirteen Reasons Why. I didn't know how angry it would make me, though.

While I can deal with switches in POVs and narration, I found it hard to keep up with the constant swaps in Thirteen Reasons Why. I understand why it was done, Hannah was the voice on the tapes and the rest of the book - Clay's POV - was written in first person. But that doesn't mean it wasn't annoying. I understand Clay's thoughts were interspersed within the playing of the tapes to break it up a little, but half the time the thoughts were random, boring and really had no relevance to the tape. Sure, he was talking about the same party they attended, but no one really cares if he forgot his jacket on purpose. This book is about Hannah's reasons for killing herself, not Clay's random and annoying thoughts to interrupt that. Or, that's how I viewed it anyway.

I also can't help but feel that Hannah's reasons were, well... rubbish. Not only that, I find her whole idea just down right cruel. Okay, it sounds interesting, but when it really comes down to it it's nasty. Why would you do something like that? As if people don't feel bad enough abut someone committing suicide, why would you guilt them? Why would you blame them for something that was ultimately your decision because you couldn't handle living any more? Why would you set them up to become public enemies? (That's my personal view, at least.) And going back to her reasons being rubbish, I just feel that they weren't enough for suicide. I feel like they're problems countless teens deal with on a daily basis, and yeah, things can spiral out of control, but suicide? I just feel she overreacted. Like, majorly. It made her sound whiny and like she was just doing it for attention or something. And she didn't even sound like she was suffering in the tapes, I actually thought she sounded like she was enjoying herself. Why would you commit suicide if you weren't suffering? (Whether that's the author not fully portraying her suffering or not, I don't know.) I understand a suicide note or something with an apology, but if you were really desperate and unable to cope, I can't see anyone taking the time to make cassette tapes and pass them around. I just... No. This book rubbed me the wrong way.

While I was reading this I got a very Perks of being a Wallflower-esque vibe and I cannot stand that book. Maybe that's part of the reason why I didn't get on with Thirteen Reasons Why. Or maybe it's just because I found it rather unbelievable.
Tempted (House of Night #6) - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast Also view atBookmarks and Blogging

Tempted is a turning point in the House of Night series.

Things begin to improve, the plot thickens and I found things to start being explained a little more. It's still not a great book by itself, but in House of Night terms, Tempted is amazing.

It may have something to with the introduction of new POVs, or the writer's may have just gained enough experience and been in the House of Night world long enough to get better. Whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain... much.

The new POVs in Tempted really help the reader to understand what's going on in everyone else's heads, and they're refreshing breaks from Zoey's constant babble and 'struggles' (not knowing which boy she likes best? Oh god, the world is ending! But seriously, that is not an issue that needs to be brought up in every. Single. Chapter.). That being said, they are a little confusing in the beginning, as not only does the POV change, but the tense does as well, from first person to third. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing (I don't think I'd have been able to cope with everyone else in first person, thanks a lot, Zoey), as it allows a little more world building and for the reader to see the bigger picture. Things aren't limited to that person's personal views and opinions, which is very nice, as first person can become incredibly boring and repetitive, what with the same thoughts going round and round.

We get insight into Stevie Rae and Aphrodite's minds in Tempted, with Aphrodite's being a lot more interesting, I found. While it was nice to see how conflicted and guilty Stevie Rae feels, the constant use of country idioms got very tiresome and, overall, her perky nature just got annoying. I found Aphrodite to be a lot more relateable, and I really liked how her chapters clued us in about her upbringing and how she feels behind the bitch façade. We also get a brief glimpse of the Raven Mocker, Rephaim's, POV but I found those parts a lot less interesting than everything else. Probably because I think the whole Raven Mocker storyline is too long-winded and dragged out (but I've already up to Destined, so that's probably why). And, at the very end, we even get little snippets from Heath and Stark, which I think helps with the whole 'Zoey has mulitple boyfriends' issue, which is getting so drawn out and annoying.

Not only do we get new POVs, but there's some actual plot!

Okay, some parts of Tempted are still a bit filler-y, like Hunted was, but these bits are done to build up to the next big instalment. And boy, is the next instalment big!

The build up is pretty good, even if I feel like the dialogue related to it was rather forced and unnatural. I felt things were laid out a little more clearly than usual, which was a very nice change from things being mentioned briefly and then pushed aside. The pacing was, again, nice. The writing kept things moving at a fair pace, but not so that you were overwhelmed with plot and details and left going 'huh?' over things.

All in all, a good addition to the House of Night series. Still not perfect, but definitely not the worst book in the series.
Hunted  - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast Also view at Bookmarks and Blogging

The House of Night series isn't great, I have no problem admitting that (or admitting that I don't really enjoy it), but Hunted wasn't bad.

Okay, yeah, it wasn't amazing either, but it wasn't totally awful like some of the other books have been (I'm looking at Marked and Chosen when I say this). It's definitely more filler material than actual plot development, but it was a nice change of pace.

The writing meant that it was incredibly quick to get through, as even though it's not the best or the most complex, it's gripping. Mainly because it's so simple, but also because there is a lot of suspense throughout the series. Unfortunately, a lot of that suspense is ruined if you're particularly good at guessing what happens next. But whatever, Hunted's still a quick read.

A lot of new characters are introduced in Hunted as well, mainly more red fledglings, but the old characters we've come to know (and either love or hate) don't really get any more development. Maybe that's just down to the filler-y nature of this book, or just because they're pretty bland characters, I don't know. What I do know is that it's annoying.

I thought that by re-reading this series I'd not only remember everything for when I come to read books 10 and onwards, I'd come to fall in love with it again. Sadly - or maybe not sadly - I haven't. Perhaps it's because when I first read these books I was only about 13 that I loved them. Now, with a whole bookcase of other books under my belt, I can see the faults. I don't know. I just feel rather disappointed and annoyed with this series.

My point is, Hunted (as well as many other House of Night books) is a quick, easy and enjoyable read if you're a young adult that likes vampires - sorry, vampyres - and bad dialogue. If you don't, it's still a quick, easy read, but it'll most likely end up annoying you or turning into that series that you love to hate.
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1) - Marissa Meyer Also view at Bookmarks and Blogging

Cinder is not your average fairy-tale retelling. It's set in a post-WWIV world with cyborgs, aliens and advanced technology, with a distinct lack of singing and helpful woodland creatures.

While that all sounds excellent, I can't help but feel a little unfulfilled. The fairy-tale, I found, was pushed aside almost completely, with only a few hints towards it throughout the book. Shelving that plot did open the story up for Marissa Meyer's new world, though, which ended up being a lot more interesting.

The setting for Cinder is certainly unique and intriguing, but I found it to be a little under-explained for how complex everything is. You're thrown in at the deep end, left floundering about in a wash of terminology that is never fully expanded on, as well as a whole new set up to the planet and how its countries are ruled. With a little more work, New Beijing and the entire Eastern Commonwealth could become a world as well known and loved as The Hunger Games' Panem or Harry Potter's Hogwarts.

Not to worry though, as Cinder herself seems to struggle with keeping up with it all, as the life-saving cyborg surgery she underwent five years ago has wiped her memories. At first, after I learnt that, I was hesitant about her. Having no memories is a perfect set-up for a weak character who falls prey to insta-love and walks right into the bad guy's plans. Fortunately, with Cinder, this wasn't the case. She is independent and strong, and doesn't really have a problem with standing up for herself.

Cinder was a very quick read due to the writing style, which wasn't especially complex, and - while I don't always enjoy science-fiction - I am finding myself wanting to read the sequel, and all the other books in the series.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1) - Cassandra Clare Also view at Bookmarks and Blogging

I actually really enjoyed this book. I don't think it quite lived up to all the hype surrounding it, but it certainly didn't disappoint me like I expected it to. Although, there were a few moments that had me thinking 'this is boring, why is it included?' Fortunately, all the good, action-packed, world-building, character developing bits outweighed the parts (mainly dialogue, I found) that dragged.

I think my favourite things about this book were the characters. As of now, I don't have a favourite - or a least favourite, if I think about it - but I'm sure I will if I decide to carry on the series. And I think I most definitely will be continuing with The Mortal Instruments books.

The thing I found most appealing about the characters was how they weren't one-sided. Okay, yeah, they could all still use a bit of work because they were a tad cliché, but I didn't find them to flat or unrealistic. Simon, for example, stood out to me. I liked that he ended up falling out with Clary at one point, despite the fact that they were best friends, because I feel that it really shows how people behave in reality. He was annoyed with Clary and he let her know by ignoring and snubbing her. You can tell that, even though they work through things, the things that were said and done between them will never truly allow for their old relationship to become fully fixed. I'm not sure that that made much sense, but what I'm trying to say is that they manage to get over themselves, but not in an overly dramatic 'I totally forgive you and want to be BFFs again'.

While I did really enjoy the world and all the fantasy elements that were introduced, I did find it rather difficult to keep track of everything. I was constantly opening up Google to search what a Downworlder is, or what a certain rune looks like, or what a Seraph blade is. You get the idea. I feel like all of that wasn't explained as clearly as it could have been, at that it should have been explained again towards the middle/end of the book to just refresh the reader's memory, because with everything that happened between the initial explanation and the ending (there were a lot of twists and turns, which again, were sometimes hard to get your head around and keep track of) it was easy for all these new words to just slip your mind.

City of Bones ended up being a quick, gripping read for me, but I'm still kind of wondering why it needed to be so long (and why there are so many more books in the series). I get that the world and characters need to be established, but can't it be a little more condensed so only the important, action-packed parts are included? Yeah you need non-actiony parts to balance it out, but not too many. In this case I felt like there were nearly too many, partly because the chapters were so long and the author's writing didn't really captivate me or motivate me to read lots at once (although I did finish this rather quickly). I don't know, I just feel like it's a bit too long, and that scenes could have been cut and it still be a good story.

Overall though, it was a good read. Perfect for any young adult fantasy fans that enjoy the Harry Potter books and the show Supernatural.
Breathe - Cliff McNish Also view at Bookmarks and Blogging
3.5 stars

I class myself as a horror fan. Not a big one, mind you, but I do enjoy a scary story every now and again. I like being left shaken and wondering if the things from the book are actually real and are coming to get me, even if it means I don't get to sleep for a week.

Maybe it's because I mainly read Stephen King when I read horror, or maybe it's because I'm not as much as a wimp as I first thought, but Breathe wasn't very scary. Quite creepy, yes, but not in the 'I need to put the book down for a while' kind of way.

I haven't read any typical ghost stories, so this was a nice change for me. I enjoyed how Jack, the main character, had a paranormal ability to sense other people through touching the furniture in the house and could talk to spirits. It wasn't overdone, like a lot of paranormal things tend to be, nor was it just done for the sake of it; it actually had a point to it and helped the story develop and unfold.

Speaking of the story, it was definitely interesting and intriguing. I was always wondering what's going to happen next? at the end of each chapter, and I found it a little tricky to try and figure it out. Normally, I'm quite good at figuring plots out (especially in cliché books) but I was pleasantly surprised that guessing Breathe's storyline was more difficult.

I did find the writing to be quite simple and more for children and younger readers than young adult/adults readers. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it did get a little boring at times, what with all the simple sentence openers. (Although that's probably because I've found myself reading more 'adult' books lately, and they have a distinctly different style of writing compared with young adult and young reader books). I think the flow of the writing and the story combined was good, but if the plot hadn't have been so interesting I think I would have enjoyed the writing less. It made for easy reading, though, and I found myself racing through this book and not having to stop and puzzle out the meaning of a word or anything.

Overall, I'd say Breathe fits more into the paranormal and supernatural genres rather than horror (that's not a bad thing! I enjoy paranormal and supernatural stories!), but that it's a quick, interesting read. I didn't find myself totally submerged in the story and right on the edge of my seat, but I don't regret buying and reading it.

I'd definitely recommend Breathe to any younger readers that are looking for something spooky and trying to break into the horror genre.
Neferet's Curse (House Of Night Novellas, #3) - P.C. Cast The journal style was an interesting approach, especially seeing as it often felt more like a story and less like an informal account of her thoughts. Despite that, I do kind of wish the other two novellas had been written in this style, as ultimately, it was a lot more interesting and - at times - better written (although there was the odd sentence or to that I found didn't make sense).

Ive never really liked Neferet as a character, but I will admit she is one of the - if not the - best developed characters in the House of Night series. I enjoyed reading about what made her turn out the way she did and why, and I can't help but feel her evolution is accurate and, dare I say it, realistic. Yes, she the bad guy, but she's a good bad guy.

Although there were times where it dragged and I found it difficult to continue reading, I did enjoy this more than the other two novellas.
Dragon's Oath (House Of Night Novellas, #1) - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast This was a nice change, a quick read and an interesting story. I enjoyed it a lot more than the main series, although I do feel that the writing still has a lot of room for improvement. Dragon has always been one of my favourite characters and it was nice to see a bit of back story for him. The illustrations in this were good, too.

Overall, not amazing, but certainly not as bad as Zoey's House of Night story.
Stolen: A Letter to My Captor - Lucy Christopher I can't decide whether I should give this 3 or 4 stars. Right now, it's at 3.5.

I was a little hesitant about reading Stolen, what with it being about a teenager being abducted, buy now I realise I needn't have worried much. It was, in my opinion, fairly tame and at times not very realistic.

I can understand Ty's 'I love you and am obsessed with you let me take care of you' attitude and personality, because why else would he have kidnapped Gemma and thought he was doing the right thing if he didn't want, what he thought was, the best for her? What I don't understand - or particularly like- is how normal he was and how well he treated Gemma. I expect people so crazily obsessed with others to be at least a little unstable. Mood swings, random acts of violence, forcing the captive to do things they don't want to do etc etc.

Ty didn't act like that.

In fact, he even offered to let Gemma go. Not something I could see happening in the real world. If he was so madly in love with her and obsessed with her (and I mean, he was pretty obsessed. Watching her since she was 10? Creeper alert.) he wouldn't have agreed to set her free.

Gemma's attitude to the whole situation surprised me, too. I was expecting a lot more crying and pleading to be taken home from her, as well as more escape attempts and lashing out at Ty whenever he came close.

Sure, Ty seems nice enough and maybe looks quite good, but he's still the guy that abducted you.

I understand captives can develop Stockholm Syndrome, and I was waiting for Gemma to. Except, when she did, it felt... off. I didn't believe it was Stockholm Syndrome. It didn't feel like she felt sorry for him or understood him, it just felt like bad romance to me. Like the author had gone 'I want to include Stockholm Syndromes to make it believable. I know, I'll have her suddenly fall in love with him for no apparent reason'. I don't really know how to explain how I feel about it, other than I felt it wasn't handled well and was poorly done.

Despite the characters not always being believable, I did enjoy Stolen. The writing was good, the story was interesting and I found, once I'd read a few pages, things flowed and I was able to read it fairly quickly.

What I would have really liked to see though, is proper chapters. Ones that start at the top of the page, have a number or title and are a set length (or there about). Not the sections that could either be pages and pages or just a few lines long. That really bugged me because it made finding a place to take a break a little difficult.

I found that it didn't really read like a letter, either. In a way, I'm glad it didn't because it meant we got to see more of the story and the setting etc. I felt like Stolen was Gemma remembering her time with Ty, maybe even talking to him as she remembered and voicing all the thoughts and questions she never got to share while she was kidnapped. Whatever it was, it wasn't the letter I was expecting.

Annoyances aside, Stolen is a good book. Like I said: it flows, it's interesting and I found it to be a good way for teen and young adult readers to break into 'heavy' subject matter. Sure, the captor/captive thing could have been done better, but it wasn't as gruesome as I know some more adult books are likely to be.

And that's perfect if you haven't read anything like Stolen before. It doesn't scare you away from the subject, it leave you wanting more.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - Mark Haddon I'm not entirely sure how I should feel after finishing this book. I do know that I feel confused and rather disappointed, which is a same, as I had high expectations for The Curious Incident.

When I picked it up, I was expecting a murder mystery. Nothing like Agatha Christie or Jonathan Creek, but an interesting tale about a boy that wanted to know the truth and achieved it, despite the complications his autism caused.

That's where I became disappointed. The Curious Incident is not an interesting tale about a boy that wanted to know the truth and achieved it, despite the complications his autism caused. At least not for me.

The mystery of the dog seems to become abandoned after the first 100 pages or so, but then it's brought up again 50 pages later by Christopher's dad in what seems to be a completely random situation.

The killer is revealed in the first 150 pages while there are still 120 left until the end. What next?

Nothing to do with a murder mystery, that's what.

As for feeling confused, that stems from the multiple equations and diagrams dotted about and the way sentences took forever to end. These long sentences, as well as not having much punctuation in them, tended to state Christopher's thoughts which in themselves were very complex and difficult to read and understand. I get it was done to add to the novel and give an accurate portrayal of autistic thoughts, but I found it made Christopher come across as simple (as did much of the writing, especially the dialogue) when clearly he is anything but simple.

I also found the repetition of 'And I said...'/'And he said...' every time there was a lot of dialogue extremely boring and annoying. It made the conversations seem less real and more stilted and forced, which sure, they might have been, but it's not interesting to read every single time.

The reason I didn't enjoy this is more a case of poor writing and a - what I see as a - failed attempt at showing learning difficulties/mental illness in it's true form rather than it not being interesting. Despite it not being a true murder mystery, The Curious Incident was fairly unique and the ideas behind it were interesting, it's just not my cup of tea.

I went in expecting amazing things and left feeling cheated.


Mesmerized - Julia Crane,  Talia Jager When I first started this book I really wanted to like it. I was willing to look past the flawless main character and the fact that boys are constantly falling all over her (even though that's pretty much the plot) in order to truly appreciate the book. I don't have anything against supernatural characters, in fact I quite like them. What I don't like, however, is when they're beautiful and perfect and are overly-dramatic like 'oh no I'm a vampire/demon/whatever I'm so awkward everyone hates me yet I'm perfect'. For once I'd like to see a book with a supernatural main character that's not exactly pretty, has flaws and doesn't have 2678 enemies at school.

I'm not sure if this is supposed to be a young adult book, but if so I find the constant 'he's hot I'm a demon I want to rip his clothes off oops I can't' extremely boring, overdone and frankly, annoying. I understand that teens Lily's age think like that and I get that she's a demon that thrives on male attention but that she's trying to control herself, but the constant reminder of the sexual tension and desire between them begins to wear thin after a few pages. Sure, a lot of teens might like to read about desire ant lust and whatnot, but can we just get on with the plot and not have to stop every chapter to mention how hot he looks and how much she wants him?

Speaking of the plot, it's pretty bad. Sending Ben to the hospital I can understand, seeing as she's a demon, but the whole running away with a boy she's just met? Over dramatic and unnecessary if you ask me. I find it hard to believe that someone who felt so guilty would be able to leave, even if they were worried about being found out for what they truly are, and put their trust completely unto someone that they hardly know. I also find it hard to believe that her parents would be okay with running away with a strange, overprotective boy who seems to control Lily and likes telling her what she can't do.

The romance side is also pretty poor. It's unbelievable for starters. Who falls madly in love with someone they've only laid eyes on once? Who runs away with a stranger and thinks it's totally okay because they're 'in love'? Who's parents would be okay with that? And then the whole getting angry at him when he thinks about becoming mortal again? Darling, not everything is about you so let the boy decide without the 'you don't care how could you' attitude. I find it hard to believe that people in real life actually act like this, and that people actually enjoy reading stuff like this.

One thing I did enjoy was the line 'we have to get these people off our backs'. I couldn't help but laugh after reading it. Just because you love him doesn't mean they're suddenly hunting you down. Sure, they want to torture you but they aren't 'on your back' all of a sudden. They're on Jake's back because he's immortal. They aren't on Lily's back because she's not important to them, but they think they can use her to get Jake to talk.

I just don't even know what to say, really. I was expecting this to be different from all the other supernatural books I've read, due to it not being written in first person, but I was wrong. Overall, I didn't enjoy it, thought it was cliché and I wouldn't recommend it.
Destined - Kristin Cast, P.C. Cast These books are really beginning to annoy me, yet I can't stop reading them to find out what happens.

When I first started reading the House of Night books, I enjoyed them, but then as book after book was being churned out, the story just seemed to be dragging on. The constant switch in POVs is just a way for the writers to pad out their story without actually taking the plot anywhere.

I really thought this book would be the end - God knows I'm ready for the end of this series - yet we are, yet again, left wondering what the hell will happen next. I felt like the whole Stevie Rae/Rephiam situation was too drawn out and that he should died as well as Dragon at the end. At least that way, we'd be closer to the end. Bringing Heath back seems like the biggest mistake made - seriously, he was annoying and I'm glad he died - and it just leaves the story open for countless more books. I also think there's too much going on with Neferet and that she's getting involved in too much.

Overall, feel like the end of this series is a long, long way away and that the writers have no idea where they are taking this story so they're just sticking in a load of rubbish.