Oct
24

Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: October, 2015 by Macmillan
Thanks: Pan Macmillan, AU
Pages: 528
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

Final Thoughts:
This was such a contemporary kind of fantasy. From someone that normally finds the prospect of dragons and mages a snore, I was so glad to find that this one focussed as heavily on the characters as it did. It takes you on such an emotional journey, getting to know each of them, while still keeping the plot moving on around them. The switching perspectives became a non-issue as each and every point of view was relevant, never dragging you away from where you wanted to be. It all just flowed, allowing you to connect to the story without feeling like things were all over the place. Full of romance and great characterisations, this is one book I am most certainly sad to leave behind. I want more, but still, I loved it the way it was.

Read Full Review?

Sep
15

Title: Trial By Fire (Worldwalker #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Published: August, 2014 by Macmillan
Pages: 379
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted…which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily’s life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem – one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily’s identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.

Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

Final Thoughts:
After thirty or so pages of what felt like a contemporary, things shifted drastically and sent the story into a world of walled cities, oppressive witches, banished outlanders, regular hangings and the threat of killer monsters. Surprisingly, this was a lot of fun, especially for someone that doesn’t normally like fantasy. Kingdoms and dragons and all of that aren’t my thing, so I was happy to find this focused more on its unique take on magic…oh, and the budding romance. Still, that wasn’t too bad either—the chemistry felt natural, though angst was inserted every now and then leaving me a bit iffy on the guy at times, but it didn’t rush things (something I certainly appreciated)

Read Full Review?

Apr
14

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Published: April, 2014 by Pan Macmillan, AU
Pages: 461
My Rating: ★★★★★ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they’re off to university and Wren’s decided she doesn’t want to be one half of a pair any more – she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It’s not so easy for Cath. She’s horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she’s experienced in real life.

Without Wren Cath is completely on her own and totally outside her comfort zone. She’s got a surly room-mate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

Now Cath has to decide whether she’s ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she’s realizing that there’s more to learn about love than she ever thought possible…

Final Thoughts:
Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of this book before last week. I missed all of the hype, randomly picking up my copy of Fangirl while browsing my local bookstore. Finding out later that it was apparently the new bible of YA upped my expectations, but I can safely say that it delivered on them. I was left clutching the book for hours, never wanting it to end. With an abundance of disdain towards socialising and her passionate fanfic enthusiasm, Cath is one protagonist that you just can’t help but love. If I could live inside this book, I would.

Read Full Review?

Mar
13

Title: A Corner Of White (The Colours Of Madeleine #1)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Published: April, 2013 by Pan Macmillan
Pages: 412
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

This is a tale of missing persons. Madeleine and her mother have run away from their former life, under mysterious circumstances, and settled in a rainy corner of Cambridge (in our world).

Elliot, on the other hand, is in search of his father, who disappeared on the night his uncle was found dead. The talk in the town of Bonfire (in the Kingdom of Cello) is that Elliot’s dad may have killed his brother and run away with the Physics teacher. But Elliot refuses to believe it. And he is determined to find both his dad and the truth.

As Madeleine and Elliot move closer to unraveling their mysteries, they begin to exchange messages across worlds — through an accidental gap that hasn’t appeared in centuries. But even greater mysteries are unfolding on both sides of the gap: dangerous weather phenomena called “color storms;” a strange fascination with Isaac Newton; the myth of the “Butterfly Child,” whose appearance could end the droughts of Cello; and some unexpected kisses…

Final Thoughts:
The cover got me with this one. It was so colourful and quirky, plus I found the title a little strange, so I just had to pick it up and see what it was about. Reading the humorous introduction in store, I snatched it up and put it next in line on my to-read list. Unfortunately, once I got into it, I didn’t find it as gripping. I think I’d expected some kind of note-leaving romance like in The Lake House, but instead found chapters upon chapters of friendship drama. It was really a struggle to get through the first half of the book, so it surprised me when things suddenly turned around midway and I became addicted this story. It’s left me polarised on how I view the book. Finishing it, I felt like it was excellent, but then I have to remember the weeks I spent chugging along through the first half, wishing it would end.

Read Full Review?