Saturday, 29 December 2012

Top 10 Best of 2012

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, eating yummy food, spending time with family, opening presents and (if you're religious), most importantly giving thanks to Jesus Christ, our Saviour <3

I thought I'd assemble a list of ten books I've enjoyed the most throughout the year, some of them I will have read before I started my blog, so they won't all have a link to a review, but without further ado...:

Top 10 Best Books I've Read in 2012:
1. The Sky is Everywhere - Jandy Nelson
2. Divergent - Veronica Roth
3. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer
4. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
5. War Horse- Michael Morpurgo
6. My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century - Rachel Harris
7. I was Jane Austen's Best Friend - Cora Harrison
8. Deadweather and Sunrise - Geoff Rodkey
9. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants - Ann Brashares
10. Melly, Fatty and Me - Edyth Bulbring

Top 10 Favourite Covers Of Books Published in 2012:
1. The Selection - Kiera Cass
2. Wake - AManda Hocking 
3. Defiance - C.J. Redwine
4. 52 Reasons to Hate my Father - Jessica Brody
5. Endlessly - Kierstin White
6. Fever - Dee Shulman
7. Time Piece - Myra McEntire
8. What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang
9. Enchanted - Alethea Kontis
10. Adorkable - Sarra Manning

Top 10 Books I'm looking forward to reading next year, in 2013:
1. (This one doesn't have a title yet, but after reading Divergent, I still need to read Insurgent, I can't wait to get my greedy hands on this one!) Untitled - Veronica Roth
2. The Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare
(I read Clockwork Angel last month and loved it! I'm waiting to read Clockwork Prince just before Clockwork Princess comes out so I won't have to wait too long :p)
3. The Archived - Victoria Schwab
4. Isla and the Happy After - Stephanie Perkins
5. The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen
6. Taken - Erin Bowman
7. Let the Sky fall - Shannon Messenger
8. My Name is Rapunzel - 
9. Going Vintage - Lindsay Leavitt
10. Jane Austen Goes Hollywood - Abby McDonald



Read More »

Friday, 28 December 2012

Review - The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn't See - Steve Brezenoff

The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn't SeeTitle: The Mount Rushmore Face That Couldn't See
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Genre: Middle grade/Early readers
Publication: August 1 2012, Stone Arch Bokos
Pages: 88, Paperback
Source: Thank you to Capstone Books for sending me this to review!
(Cat and her friends visit Mount Rushmore, and things quickly get mysterious. (Synopsis taken from Amazon)
 The Mount Rushmore face that couldn't see was a gorgeously illustrated book for early readers. This book is perfect for children who are just starting to read. The plot, which is basic, will have me interested, and the stunning, full colour illustrations will grab their attention and keep them transfixed. 

I loves the characters. They were sixth graders who love field trips and solving mysteries. Cat and her friends remind me of me when I was their age and a bit younger, I was constantly on the lookout for clues and solving "mysteries",always having fun with my equally adventure-seeking friends. 

The Mount Rushmore is a quick, easy read. You'll fall in love with the adorable characters, find the plot interesting and be transfixed by the stunning illustrations. A perfect book for children from five to eight. 

I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!

Read More »

Monday, 24 December 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

*I do not own this image*
Merry Christmas everybody! I hope everybody has a fabulous day! Enjoy being with you families and eating all the yummy food! If you're a Christian, don't forget include Jesus in your day <3 
Love you guys and merry Christmas!



Read More »

Review - Hocus Pocus Hotel - Michael Dahl

Hocus Pocus HotelTitle: Hocus Pocus Hotel
Author: Michael Dahl
Genre: Middle Grade
Publication: 1 Augsust 2012, Stone Arche Books
Pages: 216 Pages, Hardback
Source: Thank you to the publishers for sending me this book to review! :)
Ever since it was built by the great magician Abracadabra, the hotel Tyler Yu lives in has had its share of mysterious events. Ghosts wandering the halls, a magician who vanishes into thin air – Ty can’t figure these things out on his own. But Charlie Hitchcock, with his photographic memory, might just be the partner the school bully needs. Together, they’ll solve magical mysteries beyond your wildest imagination.



Hocus Pocus Hotel is an entertaining middle-grade read that will delight younger and older readers alike. Its fresh, fun and exciting! It will have you flipping the pages, enjoying the story and admiring the gorgeous illustrations.

Hocus Pocus Hotel is about the school brain and the school bully that strike up an unlikely friendship. When Charlie Hitchock is handed a note during the day, by none other then the school bully, Ty Yu. Charlie is expecting to fight Tyler Yu after school, as whenever someone is handed a note by Tyler, they know they're in trouble. Charlie, however, is pleasantly surprised when Tyler does not beat him up, but instead asks him to help solve a puzzle in the Hocus Pocus Hotel, also known as the Abracadraba. Charlie (with his acute visual memory) and Ty with his familiarity to the hotel, both set out together to figure out the magical mysteries hidden in the hotel's walls.

When I received this for review, I was expecting an adventurous, magical read, and that's exactly what I got. Although the book wasn't complex, and a quick read, seeing as its a a middle grade novel, I enjoyed it none the less. Although it was quite predictable, I enjoyed watching the characters piece together the clues and seeing what the final conclusion of the mystery was.

The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous, I can see Hocus Pocus Hotel sitting on my shelf for quite a while, as while I was reading the book, I constantly found my eyes were drifting towards the colourful drawings.
Hocus Pocus Hotel was a fun, entertaining read that I would recommend for middle-grade readers, and older readers that are looking for a magical, quick read that doesn't involve a complex plot. The illustrations are gorgeous, buy you a hardcopy of this, just so you can stare at the images. After a great book to the start of a new series, I eagerly await the second book in the series. 

I give it: 4 CUPCAKES!

Read More »

Sunday, 23 December 2012

My Reading Plan #8


Week #8: - 24/12/2012

1. Wake - Amanda Hocking
I can't wait to read this one! I've been dying to get my hands on it and when Pan Macmillan sent me a copy, I was super excited! :D
WakeFall under the spell of Wake—the first book in an achingly beautiful new series by celebrated author Amanda Hocking—and lose yourself to the Watersong.

Gorgeous. Fearless. Dangerous. They're the kind of girls you envy; the kind of girls you want to hate. Strangers in town for the summer, Penn, Lexi and Thea have caught everyone's attention—but it’s Gemma who’s attracted theirs. She’s the one they’ve chosen to be part of their group.

Gemma seems to have it all—she’s carefree, pretty, and falling in love with Alex, the boy next door. He’s always been just a friend, but this summer they’ve taken their relationship to the next level, and now there’s no going back. Then one night, Gemma’s ordinary life changes forever. She’s taking a late night swim under the stars when she finds Penn, Lexi and Thea partying on the cove. They invite her to join them, and the next morning she wakes up on the beach feeling groggy and sick, knowing something is different.

Suddenly Gemma is stronger, faster, and more beautiful than ever. But her new powers come with a terrifying price. And as she uncovers the truth, she’s is forced to choose between staying with those she loves—or entering a new world brimming with dark hungers and unimaginable secrets.
Read More »

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Stacking the Shelves #29


I didn't get a very big haul this week, and I'm quite glad to be honest as I have been extremely busy, BUT  I did get a few review books and my local bookshop had a sale, and seeing that I am on a book-buying ban, I only bought books that I REEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLYYYYYYYYYYYY wanted!

For review: 
1. Echo - Alyson Noel

Echo (Soul Seekers, #2)
She inherited a magical destiny—and a mission to stop a powerful family of dark sorcerers. She never expected to fall in love with one of them.
There’s still so much Daire Santos has to learn about being the last Soul Seeker….and about herself.  As her magical training becomes more intense, so does her relationship with Dace.  But when she learns that his connection to the evil Richter family goes far deeper than she ever imagined, she begins to question if love really can conquer all.
Dace is painfully aware that he wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the Richters’ dark magic—and now his brother Cade is determined to use his love for Daire against him.  Dace is willing to sacrifice anything to protect the girl he loves —including his own life.  But will Daire allow it?  And what if defeating Cade costs not only his life, but his soul too?
2. If You Find Me -  Emily Murdoch
If You Find Me
THERE ARE SOME THINGS YOU CAN'T LEAVE BEHIND ... 
A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen-year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey's younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and the girls are found by their father, a stranger, and taken to re-enter the "normal" life of school, clothes and boys. 
Now, Carey must come to terms with the truth of why their mother spirited them away ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won't let her go ... a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn't spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.
3. Chocolate-Covered Baloney - K.D. McCrite
Chocolate-Covered Baloney
The last thing April Grace wants is more change in her life--but that's exactly what she gets! Plus, April has a new mystery to solve when Myra Sue starts sneaking around and acting very suspicious!
From snooty new neighbors to starting junior high to getting a new baby brother to having her "grandmother" get a boyfriend, April Grace has had enough change to last until she is at least 87 years old.
But when it rains, it pours, and April Grace is in for the ride of her life when her prissy, citified neighbor Isabel becomes her gym teacher and a long-lost relative suddenly reappears and throws everything into a tizzy. On top of that, April's sister, Myra Sue, has been hiding something and sneaking around. April needs to find out what is going on before her silly sister gets herself into trouble again. More important, will April find the grace she needs to handle her topsy-turvy life and forgive past wrongs?
Girls will fall in love with April's humor and completely relate to her as she deals with family, friends, drama, and both the humor and the heartache that are part of growing up.
Bought:
4. New Girl - Paige Harbison

New Girl
They call me 'New Girl'...
Ever since I arrived at exclusive, prestigious Manderly Academy, that’s who I am. New girl. Unknown. But not unnoticed—because of her.
Becca Normandy—that’s the name on everyone’s lips. The girl whose picture I see everywhere. The girl I can’t compare to. I mean, her going missing is the only reason a spot opened up for me at the academy. And everyone stares at me like it’s my fault.
Except for Max Holloway—the boy whose name shouldn’t be spoken. At least, not by me. Everyone thinks of him as Becca’s boyfriend…but she’s gone, and here I am, replacing her. I wish it were that easy. Sometimes, when I think of Max, I can imagine how Becca’s life was so much better than mine could ever be.
And maybe she’s still out there, waiting to take it back.


 5. Crescendo - Becca Fitzpatrick
Crescendo (Hush, Hush, #2)
Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but at least she got a guardian angel out of it. A mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever (if that's possible) and what's worse, he seems to be spending time with Nora's archenemy, Marcie Millar.
Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadn't been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude, Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feelings that he is hiding something.
If that weren't enough, Nora is haunted by images of her murdered father, and comes to question whether her Nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death. Desperate to figure out what happened, she puts herself in increasingly dangerous situations to get the answer. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

 IMG05101-20121222-1255.jpgIMG05102-20121222-1256.jpg
Read More »

Friday, 21 December 2012

Review - I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1)Title: I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1)
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Publication: August 3 2010, Penguin
Pages: 374, Paperback
Nine of us came here. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you. But we are not you. We can do things you dream of doing. We have powers you dream of having. We are stronger and faster than anything you have ever seen. We are the superheroes you worship in movies and comic books--but we are real.
Our plan was to grow, and train, and become strong, and become one, and fight them. But they found us and started hunting us first. Now all of us are running. Spending our lives in shadows, in places where no one would look, blending in. we have lived among you without you knowing.
But "they" know.
They caught Number One in Malaysia.Number Two in England.And Number Three in Kenya.They killed them all.
I am Number Four.
I am next.
I'm writing this review a day after reading the book, going against my personal policy to review a book straight after I've read it, why am I going against my personal policy, you may ask? Because I needed to collect my thoughts, try and be calm, try to stop crying after that HEART-BREAKING ENDING! When I started I Am Number Four I really didn't know what to expect, I hadn't watched the movie, but I'd heard the book was quite good. I was just expecting this high action and adventure sci-fi novel that wouldn't hold any depth to it, I was so incredibly wrong, this book produced a bucket load of emotions that raged inside me. There was the heart-break of loss, the unfairness, the bitterness, the pain...I Am Number Four will have you sitting intensely on the edge of your seat, your eyes riveted to the book as you watch Four's fight of survival, and then just when you think everything is going to be a-okay, you're faced with another problem, or a heart-breaking discovery. I really underestimated I Am Number Four and boy, did it prove me wrong! If there was ever a book I thought I would dislike but loved, it would be this one.

I am now officially a science fiction fan. I've never really been interested in those type of books but I think since reading I Am Number Four, I might just have found my new favourite genre. Quite a few of my close bloggy buddies know that I want to be an astronomer when I'm older, and I suppose reading about these alien planets, and their atmospheres and what *might* be happening in space, fascinates me. Its such an incredible thought thinking that there are all those planets, galaxies and solar systems out there and that maybe there are other life forms living on one of those planets. I Am Number Four is a great science fiction novel. The alien planets that Pittacus Lore creates are described in detail. I can imagine the lush, green, alive Lorien bursting with colours, and then turning into a barren wasteland. I can clearly see the Mogadorians soldiers with their translucent skin and empty black eyes. I can see the desperation that is reflected in both the aliens of Mogadore and Lorien, they're both fighting to survive, both trying to save the only homes they know.

The writing immediately drew me in. Pittacus Lore (collaboration of (James Frey and Jobie Hughes) Creates sentences that have you constantly in suspense, sentences, words, paragraphs and chapters that are inviting and gripping. The way they write forces you to continue reading, there is always something mystifying happening, something that you always want to know ends well. But when things are going smoothly, another shell-shocker is dropped and you are left wanting to finish reading the book, just to know how everything turns out, hoping that Four will be safe and that the rest of the Garde will be protected.


I loved Four/John. It must have been extremely difficult for him and Henri, to constantly be on the look-out, constantly keeping to themselves, and when something suspicious does occur, to then uproot and leave without saying good-bye. I really admired Four. I would have most probably been caught and killed, after all the years of moving and changing identities, the strength would have evaporated from my bones. Thank goodness that wasn't the case for Four. When Number Three had been caught and killed in Kenya, Four knew that he was next in line to be  slain by the Mogadorians. Four was extremely brave considering the circumstances, and he was never ready to give up. I honestly think he might be my new fictional crush, I mean, come on, his a hot alien, who is resistant to fire, can move things with his mind and he is super fast and strong.

I also absolutely ADORE Sam! His this cute, almost nerdy kid with an obsession with aliens. I loved reading the parts where Sam was watching Four training, he was so fascinated and I could just imagine the huge goofy grin drawn upon his face. He's loyalty to Four and the aliens really made me feel happy, if my best friend told me she was an alien I'd fall about laughing, slap her on the back and say "Good one" and then when she proves it I'd probably pass out...so I was impressed the way Sam handled it.

The romance in I Am Number Four was sweet, however I will not permit my brain to believe that Four and Sarah's relationship will last forever. With Four constantly being on the run, and being an alien it's just not going to work. Whenever Four is with Sarah he is endangering her and I know he would be a wreck if anything hurt her, which forces him to stay away from her. Also, if he ever does move back to Lorien one day, Sarah won't be able to go with. AND Henri states that one of the kids that came to Earth is destined to be with Four. So there's a lot of complications that I don't think they'll be able to get through. Which is a pity, as I think they make a cute couple.

The storyline is extremely unique. The idea of two alien planets fighting on earth, involving the humans. Nine aliens chosen to carry out the powers of the Elders. Gaining their Legacies and powers. The series is definitely a new favourite!

The fighting scenes are seriously just...awesome. You may laugh at me, but straight after finishing I Am Number Four, I was throwing karate kicks and punches around the house, pretending I was fighting aliens. Don't laugh...you'll be doing that too...or maybe its just me. But the fighting will have you biting your nails with intense worry, just a warning before you read the book.

I Am Number Four is a fantastic start to what I am sure is a phenomenal series. With an original story idea that will take your breath away, action that will have you biting your nails furiously, characters that will wrench your heart out and superpowers that will have you green with envy, I Am Number Four is a thrilling book that will have you greedily wanting to read more in this awesome series. With kick-butt characters, nefarious aliens, a sweet romance and a heart-breaking ending, you couldn't ask for more.

I give it: 5/5 CUPCAKES!





Read More »

Monday, 17 December 2012

Review - Loving Summer - Kailin Gow

Loving Summer (Loving Summer, #1)Title: Loving Summer
Author: Kailin Gow
Genre; Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: May 28 2012, Edge Books
Pages: Ebook
Source: Previously for Blog Tour
Summer has always looked forward to spending her summers at her Aunt's beach house with the Donovans. To her, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house was magical, especially getting to spend time with the Donovans - her best friend Rachel and Rachel's brothers Nathaniel, and Drew. Here at Aunt Sookie's beach house, they can be anyone and anything they dreamed. For Summer, she had always wished to become as pretty as Rachel and for her brothers to think of her as more than Rachel's friend. For Nat and Drew, summers at Aunt Sookie's beach house meant fun and escape, a place where they go to with their mom and sister for the summer, away from city life. They never thought this summer would be different. They never thought things would change as much as they did...and it all began with them falling for and loving Summer.
When I heard about Loving Summer a few months ago, I thought to myself that it looked like a delightful, sizzling, summer read. I was expecting a romantic yet heart-breaking young adult contemporary, that would experience the soaring sensation of first time love and the devastating impact it can have when that sweet summer romance is over. However, Loving Summer wasn't quite what I expected. 

When I heard there was a love triangle, I was (for once) okay with it. I thought that it would suit the book, and as long as it was written in the right way, it would make Loving Summer a perfect summer read. But then there was another boy introduced. A famous TV star, and that, my friends, was just a bit too much. Like I said, this love triangle/square relationship could have worked, but Kailin Gow did not pull it off. Every single page was each of the boys vying for their attention, it was so completely and utterly unrealistic. Like, when Summer was ready to go on a date with Aston, Nat wouldn't let her out in such revealing clothing, and I was like, "Dude. Chill. You are not her mother". I would have probably actually liked that scene if it were written properly. If the author had taken time to develop the scene, it would have looked like Nat was being this protective/older brother type of guy towards her, with maybe a hint of jealousy thrown in, which would have been fine, it would've made the scene interesting. But no, it was rushed and we didn't have time to connect with the scene.

The way Kailin Gow writes, it feels like she is consistently rushing the story, it was not written in a fluid motion, and really, for this type of book, it especially needed to be. The whole book consisted of this staccato and robotic motion. No detail whatsoever was threaded through this book. I'm telling you the truth now, ALL THIS BOOK CONSISTED OF WAS SUMMER NOT KNOWING WHICH BOY TO CHOOSE and THEM VYING FOR HER ATTENTION. It could have really worked,  but it didn't. I feel really bad for saying this, but I don't like her writing. I haven't read any of her other books, so I can't compare, but what I read in this book did not impress me. The book was too short and there really needed to be more detail, more explanation. Not just boys expressing cheesy feelings towards her.

That brings me onto another topic: the cheesiness. I found myself, several times, actually, rolling my eyes at the boys' ridiculous sayings. "You've always been the girl for me" and "I love you so much" and "We'll be together forever", I think Astor even said something along the lines of "When we older and together for ever" indicating marriage, that was almost the last straw for me and, seriously. It made me want to gag. And there was this one part, where Summer, Rachel, Nat and Drew went to this party, and Drew ended up sleeping with this girl in a bush. Then they both nonchalantly stroll out of the bush, but Summer has seen it, then Drew comes to Summer and is like, "Summer, I can explain" and then she's like, "No Drew, I don't want to know, it's not my business" AND then Drew (trying to make it better and prove to Summer that his not actually a total jerk/player) says "Please, Summer, I've been going through a hard time. I haven't always been like that". Firstly, Drew, if you sleep around with girls, and continue to have one night stands, you're a player. Stop sleeping around and ta-da, you won't be labelled a player anymore, and that would prove you're a worthy guy to Summer. Secondly, I know a lot of people who have gone through a tough time and they are not total players! Gah! 

Moving on from the extra dose of cheesiness that Loving Summer could have done without, I shall rant about the Love Interests.


 Let me fill you in. There are three boys, involved in this love square, as well as Summer, the geeky girl that has turned pretty over the course of three years. The three dudes are: Nat, Drew and Astor. 

I shall begin with Nat. I actually liked him in the beginning, I thought he was this sweet, responsible dude that takes care of the others like an older brother. I thought he was sweet to Summer and in the end they would end up together. But then he did something that proved he was a total jerkface. He broke up with his girlfriend. Just so he *might* be able to be Summer's boyfriend. 

Firstly, how can you dump the girl you "love", just upon seeing another gorgeous girl? That's not right, at all. 

Secondly, it proves just how shallow Nat is, and all the other guys. Throughout the book all they say is "Summer, you're so beautiful", not once do they say she is a nice person, or any of her qualities that makes her a decent  human being. Its all about her looks. When they were younger and Summer wasn't as pretty as she is now, they didn't even give her a second glance, but now that she's beautiful and more grown up, they can't seem to leave her alone.

Thirdly, Nat kept on playing with Summer's emotions. He was leading her along, making her believe that she was about to be his, and then he let her down and she was heart-broken again. So, yes, I can't stand Nat.

Drew. Drew, Drew, Drew. Younger brother by one year to Nat. I really hated you in the beginning. Honestly. You were a total pig. Treating girls as if they were nothing, playing with their emotions. Having a one night stand and then leaving in the morning before the girls got attached. Then when you see Summer again, you say, Summer's not just any other girl, she's MY Summer. How can you say she's not just any other girl? Are you saying other girls can be treated like dirt, but Summer can't. That's just twisted, you should be treating all girls with respect, Drew. ALL girls.

And then, when Astor and Summer go on a date to Disneyland, you stalk them, following them and sticking by them. If you want to win a girl's heart, its not going to be by trailing her and her date around the destination where their date will take place. Stalker. *scowls*

Despite you being a complete idiot in the beginning, I actually took a liking towards you in the end. You became sweeter and not-so girl obsessed. And you didn't force Summer to kiss you, sleep with you OR be your girlfriend. And you haven't laid eyes on another girl since sleeping with a girl at Disneyland. Yay!

Astor. I'm not too crazy about you, I'm not sure why. You're this really famous TV star, that is polite, well-mannered and sweet, particularly towards Summer. I think I might dislike you because I have a feeling that you and Summer aren't going to last long together. She was kind of cheating on you behind your back, and I feel like whenever she was about to dump you, you lavished her with presents and she stayed with you. I think you might feel as if she isn't truly committed to you (which she isn't, I think) and therefore you buy her presents so that she will stay with you.

Summer, the stunning girl that Nat, Drew and Astor have all fallen for. She was okay, I suppose. I didn't like her, but I didn't hate her. She seemed nice enough, but I honestly don't know how she can be so torn and indecisive between three different guys...surely she knows who she likes? What really bugged me about Summer is that she was kissing Nat, Drew and Astor at the same time. Not literally at the same time as that would be seriously awkward, but she was kissing Nat and Drew behind Astor's back, confirming (to me) that she doesn't love him as much as she makes out too. So, I didn't like Summer, she's a cheater.

My favourite characters would definitely be Aunt Sookie and Rachel. Aunt Sookie seemed like this bubbly, happy woman. And I loved reading about her, what happened in the end had me sad, but then again I barely knew her, so it wasn't such a loss towards me. I liked Rachel and I really hope to see more of her in the next book (which yes, I will be reading. As I want to see who Summer chooses :D) as she seemed like a sweet girl, and if we get to know about her a bit more, a great character. Sadly, my two favourite characters were barely in the book :(

Another issue I had with Loving Summer, is that the devastating events that occurred weren't explained and I was just given a fleeting glance into what happened, which didn't make me feel any pang of emotions. The author didn't pace the events very well, I couldn't attach myself to the characters and when the suicide attempt happened and the one character died, I didn't feel any emotion. The book felt as if it were constantly on fast forward, never going straight to the core of the matter, the event just happened and then the author moved the story along without giving any depth to the "shocking" turn of events.

The other thing that infuriated me, is that when the two big things happen towards the end of the book, the characters expressed no emotion whatsoever. It was just like, oh okay. I mean seriously?! Something awful just happened, yet you don't cry or do anything, you just sit there with less expression on your face then a brick wall. Hopefully in the next book, Kailin will develop her character's emotions a bit more.

Unfortunately, Loving Summer fell flat with me. The characters were infuriating, some of the events were not explained in detail, therefore there wasn't that emotional connection that you look for when something tragic happens. The writing was simple, and I'm sure Kailin has lots of thrifty metaphors and similes waiting to be used. The writing could be better, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The romance wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be, but I'm sure it will be better in the next instalment, which I am excited to read. Despite all the issues I had with Loving Summer, a part of me still would like to know who she ends up with. 

I give it: 2/5 CUPCAKES!

Read More »

Monday, 10 December 2012

Review - The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo CabretTitle: The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Author: Brian Selznick
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade
Publication: April 1 2007, Scholastic
Pages: 522, Hardcover
Source: Library book
The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an American historical fiction book written and illustrated by Brian Selznick and published by Scholastic Press. The hardcover edition was released on January 30, 2007, and the paperback edition was released on June 2, 2008. With 284 pictures between the book's 533 pages, the book depends equally on its pictures as it does on the actual words. Selznick himself has described the book as "not exactly a novel, not quite a picture book, not really a graphic novel, or a flip book or a movie, but a combination of all these things."[1] The book won the 2008 Caldecott Medal,[2] the first novel to do so, as the Caldecott Medal is for picture books.
The book's primary inspiration is the true story of turn-of-the-century French pioneer filmmaker Georges Méliès, his surviving films, and his collection of mechanical, wind-up figures called automata. Selznick decided to add automata to the storyline after reading Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which tells the story of Edison's attempt to create a talking wind-up doll. Méliès actually had a set of automata, which were either sold or lost. At the end of his life Méliès was broke, even as his films were screening widely in the United States. He did work in a toy booth in a Paris railway station, hence the setting. Selznick drew Méliès's real door in the book.
 I enjoyed this book, it was fascinating reading the words and depicting the meaning of the drawings. This will be a short review, as The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a thick book, but the story is short and sweet :)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is an interesting book. The story is told through images and words. It looks and feels like you are watching a black and white movie. Alternating between the author's beautiful drawings and his meaningful words, Selznick tells a story of twelve year old Hugo, a clock keeper and a thief, who rescues and repairs an automaton that his late dad was working on. I loved reading the different turns the story took, the pictures also made it feel like I was rotating between reading a book and watching a movie, which gave it a really unique twist.

The writing was good, but very simple. However, I think the simplicity captured the pure magic and innocence of the story. I enjoyed reading about the automaton, the clocks and the mystery surrounding the picture the automaton draws. Its a mystery that is finally solved, and I enjoyed solving the mystery a long with Hugo and Isabel.

I liked the characters. I instantly took a liking to Hugo, he was. Strong, determined, driven boy. I admired how he turned the clocks twice every single day, how he did what he was supposed to, even when times were tough. Isabel and Papa Georges were interesting. Isabel was a feisty young girl, and it always made me giggle and shake my head when she stubbornly refused to what Hugo wanted. 

Papa Georges was the second star in the story, after Hugo, that is. He had this bitter, harsh exterior, but when Hugo broke through that wall, I realized just how wonderful he could be, and I finally understood the reasoning for his previous behavior. I thought it was very clever how Brian Selznick created the story, as its part true. It would have meant more to me if I knew that one of the characters was actually a real person, and the real story surrounding it. I shan't say who the person was, as that would be quite spoilery. 

Although Hugo Cabret isn't a favourite, it's a book I can see myself revisiting in the future. To watch the story unfold before me, as if I were in a movie theatre. With magical drawings that are real and spellbinding, a sweet story of discovering secrets that have yet to be unveiled, interesting characters that are beautiful inside and out, The Invention  of Hugo Cabret is like nothing you'll ever read before.
Read More »

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Stacking the Shelves #28


How good do these books look?! :D 

For review:
1. Model Spy - Shannon Greenland
Model Spy (The Specialists, #1)
Teen genius Kelly James is in a lot of hot water. A whiz with computers, she agreed to help her college rA, David, uncover some top-secret information. After all, she doesn't have many friends and David has always been nice to her. it doesn't hurt that he's supercute and irresistible, too. All she has to do is hack into the government's main computer system. but a few hours later, her whole life changes. she is caught and taken in for questioning, only this isn't your run-of-the-mill arrest. rather than serve a juvenile detention sentence, she accepts the option to change her name and enlist in a secret government spy agency that trains teen agents to go undercover. As if that wasn't overwhelming enough, she discovers that David works for this agency as well! And before she even begins to understand what is going on, she's sent on her first mission as an undercover model. And who better to partner with than David himself!
Bought:
2. Die for Me - Amy Plum
Die for Me (Revenants, #1)
 In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.
When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
3. Until I Die - Amy Plum
Until I Die (Revenants, #2)
 Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.
As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.
In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.
4. The Iron Legends - Julie Kagawa
The Iron Legends (The Iron Fey, #1.5, 3.5, 4.5)
 Enter the world of the internationally bestselling Iron Fey series. Dangerous faeries. Heartbreaking romance. Thrilling action and limitless adventure. The world of the fey has never been so powerful. This collection includes three novellas set in the world of the Iron Fey plus the Guide to the Iron Fey with exclusive information about Julie Kagawa's unforgettable world of Faery.Winter's Passage
Never make a promise to a faery. They always come to collect. Now Meghan Chase must fulfill her promise to Prince Ash of the Winter Court and embark upon a dangerous journey into the heart of enemy territory—while being pursued by a relentless new foe and guarding her own foolish heart.
Summer's Crossing
What can turn enemies into reluctant allies? A call from the Exile Queen, Leanansidhe, ties legendary prankster Puck to his archenemy, Prince Ash, on a journey that may end in betrayal and will set them both on an irreversible path.
Iron's Prophecy
Before she ever knew what she might become, Iron Queen Meghan Chase was warned by the oracle that her firstborn child would bring nothing but grief. And even as Meghan and Ash celebrate their long-awaited union, the prophecy stirs.…


Read More »

Friday, 7 December 2012

Review - Dreamland - Sarah Dessen

Dreamland Title: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: September 1 2000, Speak
Pages: Paperback, 250
Source: Library book
Wake up, Caitlin
Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

I've heard amazing views on Sarah Dessen's books. My one friend loves reading them and highly recommends them. When I saw two of her books sitting upon a shelf in the YA section of the library, I took them out without first reading the blurb, which wasn't the brightest thing I could've done. Dreamland was a book that I was expected to be a light-hearted read, instead the book had a hovering, dark feeling. There were drugs, alcohol, smoking, an abusive relationship and a rehabilitation center involved. Perhaps if I had read the blurb first I would've been more prepared, but as the book continued I discovered that it wasn't the fluffy contemporary that I thought I would be reading. I honestly didn't enjoy it that much, and it was disappointing to me, as it was the first time reading a book by Sarah. I will definitely read her other books as I've heard that Dreamland wasn't the best she's written.

The thing that irked me with Dreamland, is that the main character, Caitlin, had no backbone. She just let things happen to her, bad things, that she could have said no to, but she didn't. She let herself be hit around, she started chain-smoking, she started smoking pot, endless drugs, her life was going in a downward spiral. She could've prevented it and climbed back to the top, it was all in her power to tell someone and get help, but alas she didn't. I was so completely furious with her, she was stuck in a rut that she could easily climb out of.

Hit after hit she took from her abusive boyfriend, broke her down physically and mentally. But what did she do? She didn't fight back, she didn't tell anyone. If I ever have a boyfriend one day, that physically abuses me. I would slap him back, set my dog on him, and get him in jail. I would not take that from a guy. Another thing that irritated me, is that she was completely blindly in love. She would take blows from a guy, and say she still loves him. She would have sex with him, and even though she said it didn't feel right she didn't break up with him anyway. Every second she feared, every second she was thinking about Rogerson, making sure she was on time, making sure she did what he said. When he offered her drugs, she thought to herself, I should say no, not cave into peer pressure. I'm positive she was about to say no, but then he says trust me, and then SHE SMOKES POT. Its her first proper date with him, and when he says trust me, the idiot, TRUSTS him. How can you trust someone you've only met twice, and someone who has a bad reputation? That's right, no normal person should do that! Oh yes, and on the first night she met him, he offered to drive her home. Firstly, stranger danger. Its a teenage boy, he may seem harmless, but how did she know he wasn't some sick pervert? And then, while his driving her home, they start making out and he un-fastens her bra. Perv alert!

Caitlin was a completely naïve, sixteen year old, who, because she wanted to create her own path in life and not follow in the steps of her sister, starts taking drugs and suffering abuse from her boyfriend. She didn't think about herself at all, at how the events that she were causing would effect her in the long run. I know I was supposed to feel sympathy for Caitlin, but I couldn't. I didn't feel sorry for her AT ALL. It was her own stupid fault she was going through this. In fact, I still can't believe she went through all that for a guy. She frustrates me, I'm not going to continue ranting, because if I do this review will honestly never end. So, moving on.

Rogerson is a completely BUTTHEAD, IDIOT, PERVERT, MEANIE, and every other adjective that describes a complete and utter self-centred JERK! I understand that he gets hit by his father, but then he should understand the pain that is inflicted upon a person when they are being hit and beaten up. But nooo, he goes and beats other people up too, and not someone his own age, size or gender, but a girl. His girlfriend to be exact. That is smaller than him and weaker. If Sarah Dessen wanted us to feel sorry for him, it did NOT work for me. I still completely and utterly hate his character. He should tell people what happens at home and get help. He needs it. Oh yes, he's also a drug dealer. I'm still not understanding how Caitlin fell for him. And no, Rogerson, despite what you say, I'm pretty sure its NOT the hair.

That relationship was totally messed up as well. Rogerson was this boy who was serving community service because he had done a wrong deed and that's where their relationship really started. Caitlin went on drug rounds with him on their first date as well as ending up smoking pot. And then she saw him be abused by his father and then he started beating her. Their whole relationship ended up being built on lies and feigning trust. It was very wrong.

I also found I got quite bored of the book. The beginning to me was more intriguing then the rest of the book. When the drugs was introduced, it completely turned me off the book and I was about to mark it as a DNF. It got quite monotonous.

I also didn't feel like I knew Cass very well, she was one of the focal points in the story, but I don't feel like I know her. I don't have an accurate description of her and I barely know her, I do wish we got to knew her first before she ran away.

I did love one of the supporting characters, Boo. She was sweet, gentle and unique and whenever she came into the story I loved reading about her. She was probably the only thing I liked about this book. However, I did like Sarah's writing, if I didn't dislike the main characters and plot so much, it would easily be a book I fall in love with. Her writing is addictive, like a chocolate cupcake that you can't stop eating. And I was reading the book in a frenzy until the whole situation with Rogerson was introduced.

I think Sarah Dessen approached the topic with gentleness and care, but too me it hung heavy and dark in the air, and I didn't like that. The characters infuriated me, as well as their actions. The plot was quite monotonous as I have previously mentioned, and had me sometimes skipping pages, which I rarely ever do. Dreamland was a disappointment to me, as I was expecting something different. I will be reading the author's other books, as I've heard great things about them, and I did enjoy Sarah's writing until the big event with Rogerson. If you enjoy reading books that addresses heavy issues, I'm sure you'll love this. Have any of you guys read this, and what did you think?


I give it: 2/5 CUPCAKES!

Read More »

Personal post #4

Hi!

It has been SO frustrating, my internet has been off the whole day and when it is on, its super slow. I might not be blogging that much the next few months while we build and when we move into our new home. Also, my best friend is going to be visiting for a few days and my mom's best friend who is moving near us, her kids are moving down in a few days (they were supposed to be here two days a go) and I can't wait to see them and be by them!

Also, we decided on which home schooling programme to order and that will be coming next month sometime, and its quite a high level of school work so I won't be reading and blogging as much. However, its a home schooling programme that focuses on literature and you get amazing books to read for the literature lessons, so if I have the time I shall be reviewing those. 

I hope you guys have a great weekend and I can't believe its almost Christmas!
Read More »

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wishlist Wednesday #1



Wishlist Wednesday is a book blog hop where we will post about one book per week that has been on our wishlist for some time, or just added (it's entirely up to you), that we can't wait to get off the wishlist and onto our wonderful shelves.


So what do you need to do to join in?
  • Follow Pen to Paper as host of the meme.
  • Please consider adding the blog hop button to your blog somewhere, so others can find it easily and join in too! Help spread the word! The code will be at the bottom of the post under the linky.
  • Pick a book from your wishlist that you are dying to get to put on your shelves.
  • Do a post telling your readers about the book and why it's on your wishlist.
  • Add your blog to the linky at the bottom of this post.
  • Put a link back to pen to paper (http://www.pentopaperblog.com) somewhere in your post, and a note saying that Pen to Paper is the host of the meme.
  • Visit the other blogs and enjoy!
Going Vintage - Lindsey Leavitt
Published: March 26th 2013
Going Vintage
When Mallory discovers that her boyfriend, Jeremy, is cheating on her with an online girlfriend, she swears off boys. She also swears off modern technology. Inspired by a list of goals her grandmother made in 1962, Mallory decides to "go vintage" and return to a simpler time (when boyfriends couldn't cheat on you online). She sets out to complete grandma's list: run for pep club secretary, host a dinner party, sew a homecoming dress, find a steady, do something dangerous. But the list is trickier than it looks. And obviously finding a steady is out . . . no matter how good Oliver (Jeremy's cousin) smells. But with the help of her sister, she'll get it done. Somehow. Lindsey Leavitt perfectly pairs heartfelt family moments, laugh-out-loud humor, and a little bit of romance in this delightful contemporary novel.

I have read one of Lindsey's books, called Princess for Hire, and I really enjoyed it. I love contemporary YA novels with great covers, a great storyline and a great message, and this book looks like it will fit the bill. I love the story idea, and I must admit I haven't really read a vintage type book before. I also love the way the green and pink contrast together
Read More »

Monday, 3 December 2012

Review - Power of Six - Pittacus Lore

The Power of SixTitle: The Power of Six
Author: Pittacus Lore
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publication: 2011, Penguin Books
Pages: 380 pages, Paperback
Source: Library book/own 
We are the last defence.I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.
Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?
They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.
I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.
And I'm ready to fight.
After reading I Am Number Four, and after reading that heart-breaking ending, I was lucky that I could delve right into Power of Six.
I enjoyed I Am number Four so much and I was super excited to start reading the second one. I really enjoyed The Power of Six, however, it did feel like something was missing, therefore I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous one, but it was still an enjoyable, action-packed science fiction young adult novel. The Power of Six was a great follow up to I Am Number Four, just a warning for those who haven't yet read IANF, you do need to preferably read the first book in order to understand what happens in The Power of Six. There were lots of revelations in I Am Number Four, but we weren't always told the full story, therefore it left a lot of loose, unfinished endings, and a lot of the unanswered questions raised in I Am Number Four, were now revealed in The Power of Six. Its a series you definitely need to read in chronological order. You'll also feel more sympathy towards the characters, knowing the background story on Four, and the tragedy that happened towards his Cepan in  the end of the first book.
The title has had me and quite a few readers confused. At first, upon finishing I Am Number Four, I thought perhaps the second book would be from Six's point of view, however it wasn't, and I did find myself a bit disappointed. Six is my most favourite character in the Lorien Legacies, and I would have loved it if it were her narration in The Power of Six. When I had read the first few chapters, I came to the conclusion that The Power of Six, didn't really have any relation to Six, but it merely meant, the power of the six Garde left when they are united. But its okay, I was enjoying reading about the new characters introduced and reminiscing with the characters introduced in the previous book. I do think that the author should perhaps have given more of an indication to the meaning of the title though.
The writing didn't seem as good to me as I Am Number Four. There was no descriptiveness, it was mostly a few similes and metaphors scattered here and there. And the writing didn't really have any depth woven into it. I've learnt when writing   a story to show not tell, and a great deal of The Power of Six, was just the author telling what was happening, instead of using excellent vocabulary and similies/metaphors to make the story beautiful. The writing was very basic and I would've preferred it if the author had used better synonyms for the primary words that were printed in The Power of Six. I really do hope that he will show his true talent that he exposed in I Am Number Four, in The Rise of Nine.

I enjoyed being introduced to the new characters and learning more of the previous characters' pasts. In I Am Number Four, we heard Four's voice, we heard his past story, we heard his current story. Towards the end, we were introduced to a new number, number 6. I instantly warmed to Six, I could tell she was a head-strong, kick-butt girl that had an unfortunate past. A girl that had learnt from previous mistakes. I was also insanely impressed at the amount of fighting and survival techniques that she had taught herself after her Cepan died, Six age just thirteen. I was also clapping in glee when Six kicked Four and Sam's butt during their training sessions, I would absolutely love to be able to do all her fighting moves.

So Six was a newish character, introduced in book one, and developed in book two. One of my favourite new characters is number Seven, also going by the name, Marina. I loved listening to her voice resonate throughout the story. Her voice is sweet and gentle. She loves painting and quite a few of her legacies have to do with nurturing others and to do with nature. She was different to the others in my eyes. She seemed sensitive, more like an artist than an alien sent to Earth to kick evil alien butt.  Her life as a Garde was also unfair. Her Cepan wouldn't accept or acknowledge the fact that they had been sent to earth, from an alien planet, Lorien, in order to keep the world from being destructed by filthy, war-driven Mogadorians. When her Cepan finally showed some emotion towards Marina, and jumped into action to start preparing I was so relieved. It must have been awful for Marina, being bullied by the convent girls, and not having her Cepan to talk to when her legacies started showing. My favourite characters so far are Six and Seven. Six for her toughness and for her emotional story that has changed the way I see her. As you read about her, bit by bit of her hard edge will be chipped away, revealing the true person she is beneath. Seven for her caring gentleness and her eager ,urgent enthusiasm to learn how to control her legacies and defend Lorien and Earth.


The plot was interesting. I was constantly in suspense, on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Mogadorians to strike. Waiting for them to kill number Four, "John", to continue the rest of the assassination of the other Garde remaining. Whenever the Garde escaped another near-death run-in, I would breathe a sigh of relief and continue reading, but my relief would be short-lived as the Mogadorians, or the human police (convinced that John, Sam and Six are terrorists) continued chasing them, trying to track them down and kill them.

SPOILER AHEAD


I don't like Sarah anymore. How could she do that?! You don't betray your  boyfriend to the FBI! He isn't even just an ordinary boyfriend, but a special alien, who is one of six left to SAVE MANKIND. It was a pretty good twist though, and I'm a sucker for good twists. And I'm also cross with John, as you don't make out with your gorgeous, powerful alien friend, while you are dating someone else. He is a cheater and I can not stand cheaters.  AND John betrayed Sam, as Sam has got a MEGA crush on Six. The other thing is that I knew that John and Sarah's relationship wasn't going to last that long, his an alien that people are claiming to be a terrorist and she's miss popular, that has now become an outcast since John "blew up" a school. Maybe she traded him in for revenge? Who knows...
I really do think that the romance could have been a bit more structured and well developed.

SPOILER OVER


I also found the ending, where Sam was locked in the Mogadorian cave, unnecessary. The author should have done a more well-rounded up ending. As Sam being in the cave wasn't the best cliffhanger, if that's what it were intended to be. It also didn't have me in tears, as I didn't feel that emotionally connected to Sam in the second installment of I Am Number Four. The only emotion that this event left me with was annoyance. John was such a jerk to not immediately go in there and save his friend. If my best friend was locked in a cave filled with aliens out for her and my blood, I would risk my life for her. But not John. He needs to grow up a bit more me think.

Its also getting a bit much with the Cepans being killed off at the ending of every book, it seems quite pointless to me. If you're going to kill a character, at least have us be introduced to the character and get to know them, so that when they die we will be able to show some emotion, like in I Am Number Four. When one of the Cepans died in there, there were tears rolling down my eyes. The author needs to try and recreate those scenes in his next books when the characters die.

The Power of Six was a good sequel to the outstanding first book in a new Young Adult science fiction, The Lorien Legacies. However, it was a slight let-down after reading I Am Number Four. The first installment in the series I found I had my heart wrenched out and my heart racing, the Power of Six didn't produce such strong feelings in me. The action was great and it was the best part of the book. I was constantly in awe watching their fight for survival unfold before me. I'm hoping in the next book to see better writing skills, a more developed romance and better plot twists. I did enjoy this book, but I think it could've been a lot better.


I give it: 4/5 CUPCAKES!




Read More »