Aug
17

Title: The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Published: December, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
Pages: 488
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Final Thoughts:
Coming highly recommended by one of my friends who can be quite critical with her reviews, I went and picked this one up from my library straight away. However, it didn’t click with me. It was by no means a bad book. I liked the characters, found them realistic given their circumstances, but I couldn’t connect with them. I just didn’t care about the outcome. Not even halfway through on the night before it was due back at the library, I went to renew my loan but found it had been reserved, therefore leaving me with two options—give up, or power through like a madman. I powered through. I’m not sure if the deadline soured my views or not, but I knew while reading it that I just wanted it to be over.

Aug
05

Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: July, 2014 by Orion
Pages: 310
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Final Thoughts:
I stopped mid-way through another book when this one arrived. It was calling to me. Rainbow Rowell and her magic phone…I couldn’t put it off. Her books warm me up in a way that not many others do. I just find myself immersed in the characters, really caring about their struggles, bursting out in fits of laughter at the wit, tearing up—all of it. The fact that the characters here were in their late thirties played no bearing on how well I could relate to them. No matter what age bracket, all of Rainbow’s characters have managed to strike a chord with me.

Jul
22

Title: Time Between Us (Time Between Us #1)
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Published: October, 2012 by Doubleday
Pages: 371
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna is sixteen in 1995, fiercely determined to leave her quiet town and finally travel the world. Bennett’s seventeen in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time – an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves.

When Bennett suddenly finds himself in Anna’s world, they are inescapably drawn to one another – it’s almost as if they have met before. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs – and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces.

Final Thoughts:
I’ve always been quite fond of time travel, and recently, I’ve gotten into contemporaries. This book seems to combine the two in a way that could easily pass as a contemporary romance; and not just if you took out the fact that the boy is from the future. It focussed quite a bit on the romance. Still, it was a bit hit-and-miss for me, though. I found stretches of the book had me hooked, keeping me speeding through the chapters, yet others fell a bit on the slow side. It was still good though, and I hand that to the characters. Anna actually had some personality to her, and while I may not have agreed with her at every moment, she wasn’t one of those characters too stupid to live—definitely a plus when you’re trying to enjoy a book.

Jul
12

Title: Picture Perfect (Geek Girl #3)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: September, 2013 by Harper Collins
Pages: 400
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Harriet Manners knows more facts that most. She knows that New York is the most populous city in the United States. She knows that its official motto is “Ever Upward”. She knows that 28% of Americans believe we never landed on the moon.

But she knows nothing about modelling in the Big Apple, and how her family will cope with life stateside. Or how to “become a brand”, as the models in New York put it. And, even more importantly, what to do when the big romantic gestures aren’t coming from your boyfriend…

Does geek girl go too far this time?

Final Thoughts:
So, it turns out this wasn’t the finale of the trilogy like I had thought it would be. In fact, I can’t see an end in sight. With little of an overarching plot, Harriet’s modelling/teen drama adventures could continue on for many books to come. At least I can say they’re fun—fluff, but fun. Some of Harriet’s antics did irritate me this time, but I still didn’t want to stop reading. I think I’m hooked. Books two and three haven’t been as funny, though. The burst-out-in-fits-of-laughter humour seems to have been tamed down in favour of focusing on Harriet’s love life. And while I missed that, honestly, it was about time we got to see why Harriet liked this boy so much.

Jul
06

Title: Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: September, 2013 by Harper Collins
Pages: 386
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?

Final Thoughts:
Having read and loved Geek Girl a week prior to this, I jumped straight in, ready to lap up another instalment of Harriet Manners, haphazard model-slash-know-it-all and all of the whacky characters that came along with her. However, and I hate having to say this, I think a bit of second-book-syndrome came into play this time. A lot of the crazy antics that her agent, Wilbur, as well as her wannabe-teenage father and lawyer, but loveable, stepmother brought were gone. And that’s just because the characters were. Shipping Harriet off to Japan—while cool—left all of the side characters I’d come to love behind, and so, it felt like the book had lost something…

Jun
29

Title: Geek Girl (Geek Girl #1)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: February, 2013 by Harper Collins
Pages: 378
My Rating: ★★★★½ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things.

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves.

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did.

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?

Final Thoughts:
Prepared to be irritated by a know-it-all character, I went into Geek Girl on the defensive, but Harriet quickly broke me down and had me cracking up page after page. It was seriously freaking hilarious. I think it came from her inane way of blurting out the most random things at perfectly timed intervals, or sometimes constantly. While I may be more inclined towards sarcasm and drier wit, she was simply that hilarious that she even had me on board. Coupled with an abundance of heart, this was one book I just couldn’t let go of. Even during my first time sitting beside the pilot on my employer’s private plane yesterday, I had my head buried in this book rather than looking out the front of the cockpit. Harriet was just so much fun.

Jun
25

Title: The Distance Between Us
Author: Kasie West
Published: July, 2013 by Harper Teen
Pages: 312
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

Final Thoughts:
Effortless. I soared through the pages of this. Caymen was just such loveably sarcastic narrator that I wanted to read more, more and more. I love dry wit—nothing makes me laugh more. And laugh I did. I cracked up reading this book. Sure, it’s a romance, but if you’re a sarcastic person, you’ll find it hilarious at the same time. It’s kind of fluffy, with rich boy meets poor girl, different worlds—the stuff you could make a montage out of—but it’s the slow build of their romance, all of the interactions, that make it worth it.