Monday, August 27, 2012

Black Heart Blue by Lousia Reid...

Title- Black Heart Blue.
Author- Louisa Reid.
Publish date- July 2012. 
Publisher- Razorbill and Michael Joseph. (Penguin AU)


Review...


Thank you to Penguin for this review copy!

What I thought:
From the description of Black Heart Blue I knew immediately that it would be a very heavy, intense, book- I have read a few books that deal with abuse, India Dark probably being the main one, but I certainly hadn't read anything of the sort for some time, so I was mildly tentative... yet I also felt sure that I wouldn't be disappointed, which I definitely haven't felt before reading a book I know so little about from an author I've never read anything of before.

The story starts soon after Hepzinah has died, and is told from two POV's, in two time settings- Hepzibah, the beautiful twin, tells her story of being accepted into social circles at Collage, of wanting to fall in love, all from the Before point of view.
Rebecca, the disfigured, outcast twin, tells her own story from the time after the accident that took her sisters life- she tells of entering a world unlike any she ever knew and being welcomed with horrified stares and cruel words.
Both the girls stories, though at times Hepzi's seemed to be a little fickle, are beautiful and end in a crescendo that I never could have expected when I began to read- they are heartwrenching and tear inducing, written superbly and always believeably. They are honest and tragic and scary, and they are, above all, touching... touching in ways that I have neve before felt with a book.

Romi. xoxo

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer...


Title- Between the Lines.
Author- Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer.
Publish date- July 2012.
Publisher- Allen and Unwin.


Thank you to Allen and Unwin for this review copy!

What I thought:
At first I thought this wasn't a book I would enjoy- the writing within the first pages, with the alternating POV's (more on that later) was extremely confusing and I had no idea where I was in the story or what was happening. I put it aside and didn't think of it for a while. After a week or so I picked it up again and read- this time I could read it without much trouble- I was still startled and a little bewildered by the changing point of view with each chapters, especially as the first three are quite short, but I was able to keep reading- I finished it remarkably quickly for a book of it's size and for the rate I had been getting through books, but, surprisingly, it wasn't a remarkable book, a favourite, for me.
First the problems I had with the story-

Delilah I found to be mildly annoying- she loves books and spends all her time reading, which is not something I find any problem with (it resembles me), but she didn't seem to have any real purpose and I found the things she did and, a lot of the time, the way she spoke to be distasteful.

Oliver I liked more- the role in the book that is is forced to play out is that of a afraid prince, one who has never fancied fighting. Delilah naturally assumes that that is how he is when she begins to speak to him, but he is just a boy written to be a prince who is tired of the life he lives in the book and wants to find a way to get out of it, and later, to be with Delilah. I'm not sure what one thing made me like him, maybe just the fact that I didn't dislike him made that the natural next step. I didn't like the fact that he didn't like the princess that he married in the fairytale, and yet had no qualms kissing her passionately each time the marriage scene occured in the story.. no problem with that what so ever. Yet he didn't like her. Not a friendly or a smart move.

Delilah's mother troubled me greviously- she ends up sending Delilah to a "shrink" because Delilah seemed to be spending too much time with her nose in a book, she thinks she needs a social life. Which is where her contrary persona begins. She thinks Delilah needs a social life yet she doesn't like Delilah's best friend and so that doesn't count. She wants Delilah to start living in the real world, says she's too old for fairytales, yet decides that she and Delilah should watch The Little Mermaid- WHAT? You think she is too old for fairy tales, but your comfort movie of The Little Mermaid... how does that make sense? Not to mention the fact that you don't seem to realise that your daughter is happy reading, that she enjoys reading the fairy tale. No- she is fifteen and too old to get enjoyment out of a fairytale. That mother made me shudder.

Different POV for each chapter- I mentioned this earlier and will explain now. Each charper changed the POV of the storyline- Chapter one starts with a chapter from the book that Oliver lives in, as Delilah would read it. Chapter two goes to Oliver's POV, inside the story. Then three is Delilah. It seems simple, but on opening it is was terribly mind messing. I do like the different colours for each chapter- Delilah is green, Oliver is purple, and the book is black- a unqiue idea.

Mermaids. Mermaids, mermaids, mermaids. An excerpt, which I have cut a little out of so as not to give out spoilers (the cut is the ...)-

"Marina slips her arm through mine. 'Honey, you've come to the right place. Whoever this guy is, you don't need him.'
(...) These mermaids, who are mancrazy in the fairy tale, are... hard-core feminists?"

Oh no you didn't... I will simply say that that is a perplexing sentence. Because they aren't falling head over heels for every man that walks by, because they stand for the fact that if a man treats you badly you shouldn't go running after him, getting hurt again and again, are thus titled hard-core feminists? That's just not right! It's not exactly promoting wide spread understanding to people who don't completely understand what feminists are, which frustrates me.

The list of things that I liked about the book is short, sadly- it frustrated me more than anything, so I don't have many things that I liked about it.
I liked the alternating font colours, and the way the fonts used weren't the norm- it made it fun and the reading even quicker.
I liked the story of a girl and a boy, one stuck in our world and one stuck in a fairy tale, who fall in love and try to be together- it was interesting and quite enjoyable if I didn't think of it as anything past that.
I liked the idea of characters in a book living lives when the book is closed- it got me thinking and it is certainly an interesting line of thought to ponder upon.
And I liked the dedication of Delilah's best friend, whom she forsakes for Oliver as she tries to free him- the fact that the friend forgave Delilah shows a friendship and dedication, a love, that isn't common- I'm not sure if it was a wise choice, I couldn't say wether I would make the same decision, but it was beautiful.

Between the Lines is a really easy read, once you pass the confusion over the alternating POV's- very quick to read and quite enjoyable, but for me definitely not a re-read. It just annoyed me and I don't think I would recommend it- it's good, as long as you don't think too deeply about the characters and their motives, but reading a story and not thinking deeply about it isn't something I want to be doing with my reading time, that's not what stories are about, for me.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass...


Title- Throne of Glass.
Author- Sarah J. Mass.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Bloomsbury.


Review...

Thank you to Bloomsbury for this review copy!


What I thought:
I have to admit, at first I was hesitant- it is apparently semi-inspired by Cinderella and I thought an assassin trying to kill the prince sounded pretty interesting, though I wasn't totally sure wether I would enjoy it- so I didn't wholly invest myself in the first few pages.
It would have been the worse for me if I hadn't finished reading it.
Three pages in I was suddenly grasped by these words...
"She was standing in front of the Crown Prince of Adarlan."
I don't know what they did to me, but suddenly I found myself totally immersed in the story of Adarlan's Assassin, Celaena Sardothien, a girl who is a deadly killer, has a sharp tounge, and is absolutely beautiful.

The setting of this book isn't like anything I've read for a long time- recently, and indeed for the past few years, I have mostly kept to modern books with modern settings, or at least those written in the 1800-1900's; this, though written in modern day, is set in a world unlike our own... the time for the novel isn't ever mentioned, I don't think, but it feels like it would be set in the 1700's... maybe even in the 1600's, which makes a big change. A change, in Throne of Glass, that I loved.

Celaena Sardothien is a wonderful character- she has fight, she is witty and speaks confidently, she isn't perfect, but gosh was she lovable. I look forward to reading more from her POV.

Probably my only problem was the title. Game of Thrones is massive right now and I do feel that the title was worked to that popularity- it suited the book well enough, but I didn't really like the conflict there.

I really enjoyed Throne of Glass- I can't wait for book two!

Romi.x
P.S. You can enter to win a copy of Throne of Glass on Goodreads right now- here. Open to AU and NZ residents only.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Distopia.


I think I've made it pretty clear that I like Dystopian novels. I love them. Capatalize that. I LOVE THEM. I don't know what it is that makes my pulse quicken and my eyes widen upon hearing/reading/finishing/anything to do with a dystopia, I think it has something to do with the fact that, in a way, I feel I am reading about our future lives- we have no idea what will happen a hundred, two hundred years from now, so there's a kind of magic about that that draws me to it... also the fact that it makes me all the more grateful for the life I'm living that isn't ruled by a Government that sends me and twenty three other teenagers into an arena to fight to the death in pennance for uprising... but lately I have found myself getting the feeling that people have forgotten how to do it right. Or at least do it in a way that I find both enjoyable and thrilling. And I feel that that is what happens when a certain genre becomes the BIG THING.
It's happened hundreds of times and will continue to happen hundred of times more- it like clothes, something becomes popular and it gets done over and over and over again until the remanints aren't really anything alike the beginning article, until it's been too overdone to appreciate. It happened with Vampires. Werewolves. Presumably Wizards. And is now happening with Distopians.
Now I'm not saying that Struck wasn't origonal, but the whole point is that I didn't feel that connection with it as I have felt with many other books in the genre, preceeded by the slow, terrifying knowledge that it, the genre, has become too popular... so many books have become half hearted attempts at creating something origonal, vying for the million dollar spot, that the ones that truly matter get lost. And I hate that.


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Paving the New Road by Sulari Gentill...


Title- Paving the New Road. (Rowland Sinclair book #4.)
Author- Sulari Gentill.
Publish date- August 2012.
Publisher- Pantera Press.

*May contain spoilers for those who have not read the previous books in the series)
Review Time...


What I thought:
Paving the New Road is definitely one of my favourite books in the Rowland Sinclair series- it has a terrific sense of excitement and danger, doubled by the fact that the four characters are in possibly the most dangerous place for them to be at the time this book is set. I had a few guesses who the murderer was, but I didn't quite get it, which doesn't surprise me- I don't think I'm ever very good at picking the murderers, and Sulari Gentill is fantastic at keeping one in suspense until the very end!

The violence was, I think, the most profound out of all the books so far- in a short, about 2-4 pages, there was some serious action happening, unlike anything in the previous novels, and one of my favourite things about these books is the fact that, wether is be murder, fighting, attempted assination ect., it's never sickeningly described, and though it was intense and the most vividly painted of all the previous books, for me personally, it wasn't gruesome or cringworthy, it was very real but not sickening. That is a way of writing that leaves one in awe.

For some time, especially in the very last pages, I was a little concerned that this was the final book in the series- it wrapped everything up very neatly and seemed like an almost definite end, so for those who read the book and feel the same sense of dread, it is not so- there will be another book next year! Rejoice!

Paving the New Road is just as fantastic as all the other books in the series, incorporating some of the most well known events in history to make another excellent and highly intriguing story, that will be giving you much to think about long after you've turned the final page.



Thank you to Pantera Press for this review copy!