Jul
11

Title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Published: April, 2008 by Razorbill
Thanks: Penguin, AU
Pages: 327
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

Rose has serious guy trouble. Her gorgeous tutor, Dimitri, has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason has a huge crush on her, and she keeps getting stuck in her best friend Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian.

Then a nearby Strigoi attack puts St. Vladimir’s on high alert, and the Academy whisks its students away on a mandatory holiday ski trip. But the glittering winter landscape and posh Idaho resort only provide the illusion of safety. When three students run away to strike back against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. Only this time, Rose – and her heart – are in more danger than she ever could have imagined…

Final Thoughts:
Not a lot was achieved throughout this instalment. It felt more like a side story on the way to something bigger. For the most part, I felt like I was waiting for the plot to happen. There’s a fair bit packed into the last quarter of the book, and when it got going, it was good, but in leading up, I thought we spent far too much time with Rose worrying about where her non-relationship with Dimitri was going. Where was all of the Lissa/Rose bond stuff (or more importantly—their friendship) that was introduced in book one?

Jul
06

Title: A Little Something Different
Author: Sandy Hall
Published: August, 2014 by Swoon Reads
Pages: 247
My Rating: ★★★★½ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out. But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship.

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

Final Thoughts:
Not going to lie, I picked this book up purely because one of the POVs is a squirrel, and my RPT (Random Page Test) landed me on the squirrel telling us how his friend’s tail got trodden on one summer and has never been the same since. That was all I needed. I bought it, took it home, and got stuck right into it. By the end of the novel I was in love. A Little Something Different is not only hilarious, and romantic, but as the title suggests, it provides us with a new way of experiencing the YA contemporary/ romance: from the perspective of basically everyone except that of the target ‘couple’.

Jun
27

Title: It’s Not Me, It’s You
Author: Mhairi McFarlane
Published: June, 2015 by HarperCollins
Pages: 560
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Delia Moss isn’t quite sure where she went wrong. When she proposed and discovered her boyfriend was sleeping with someone else – she thought it was her fault. When she realised life would never be the same again – she thought it was her fault. And when he wanted her back like nothing had changed – Delia started to wonder if perhaps she was not to blame…From Newcastle to London and back again, with dodgy jobs, eccentric bosses and annoyingly handsome journalists thrown in, Delia must find out where her old self went – and if she can ever get her back.

Final Thoughts:
I’ve come to crave Mhairi’s writing. Her characters are just so engaging. I’ve gotten to the point where I baulk at most books over 400 pages now, wondering if I have the time to commit to it, but not with this one. I lapped every page up, not wanting that feeling of belonging—the connection to these characters—to end. The world that she has created here was realistic, full of moments of hilarity, angst and tough decisions. Of course, it was a romance too, but I found it more a case of Delia’s journey to find out who she was again rather than attaching herself to the next man to come along.

Jun
07

Title: Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: Becky Albertalli
Published: April, 2015 by Penguin
Pages: 303
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Final Thoughts:
This book grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. After weeks of searching bookstores, trying to spot a copy, I finally gave in and just ordered it online. I don’t know if it’s because it’s got a LGBT main character that none of my local stores were ordering it in, but they definitely should be stocking this. It’s one of the best contemporaries I have come across this year. Keeping you emotionally invested with its wide berth of characters locked in Simon’s orbit, this quickly became one of those “just one more chapter” books that keep you up long into the night.

May
20

Title: All The Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Published: January, 2015 by Penguin
Pages: 388
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the ‘natural wonders’ of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself – a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

Final Thoughts:
These characters. Wow. They spoke to me. And I loved them. Okay, more to the point, they were actual people, with actual people problems. I may not be suicidal, but I could connect with their issues, the emotions they were feeling, or trying not to feel. All of that, it added up to great book, one that I had to put down too many times because lunch breaks just aren’t long enough. I would have read this so much quicker if spending time with family wasn’t a thing, oh, and working, that too.

May
17

Title: Insurgent (Divergent #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: May, 2012 by HarperCollins
Pages: 525
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable – and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Final Thoughts:
I put off seeing this one at the cinema in favour of getting to the book first. Without having seen the movie yet, it’s hard to know whether or not that was the right decision. The book didn’t hook me. I enjoyed it, but found it lacking in some way from the magic of Divergent. This happens so often: I love the first book, but then things just go downhill from there. Tris became harder to root for, and Four/Tobias (whichever he’s being called), he displayed a shift in personality that I wasn’t entirely on board with. They loved each other, they hated each other, they loved each other again, they didn’t trust each other. Love. Hate. Love. Hate. Waaaaayyyy too much of that back and forth romantic nonsense.

While I wasn’t too fussed with the main two characters, those surrounding them actually became a bit more interesting. I found myself coming to like some and despise others. And in getting to know the side characters more, it gave the series a bit more depth and made the deaths that happened more meaningful.

In terms of the action, I felt that much like the romance, it went through crescendo after crescendo, though in this instance, it can be a good thing. It kept a constant build up and ebbing of tension as the book progressed. The only real downfall I felt was that the dystopian plot didn’t get enough coverage. Being the middle book of the series, it still left me in the dark for far too long. Bits and pieces are thrown out there occasionally, and the ending, yes, it did get me intrigued. But, leading up to it, I couldn’t help but wish I could skip some pages because I wasn’t interested enough and wanted to get onto the next book already. Though, knowing me, I’ll probably leave that until the next movie’s out too.

Apr
22

Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Published: January, 2006 by Penguin
Pages: 227
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Final Thoughts:
While it’s not my favourite book, it was a breeze to get through. That may sound like I didn’t enjoy it, but I did. The characters felt authentic; the situation, despite being a little out there, was quite easy to swallow and get into the groove of this contemporary summer road-trip adventure. My only real wonder was at how Colin—with all of his social inadequacies—managed to land nineteen girlfriends, let alone nineteen with the same name. Putting that aside, though, the banter of Colin and his best friend, Hassan, proved to be just about enough to keep the two hundred or so pages of this short book afloat.