Thursday, 3 May 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time

This is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more info visit this page

Book Number: 14
Title: The Curious Incident of the Dog at Night-Time
Author: Mark Haddon
Date of Completion: 20/1/2012
Rating: 5 stars

I've been waiting to review this book ever since I read it, I personally enjoyed it, but I know it is quite different and it is clearly not for everyone. In fact, I only like it because the way that things were in the novel was justified, and it was very different, if heaps of books were like this, or it wasn't written from an emotionally and mentally challenged person's point of view I would not have liked it. Another huge thing, how the heck can you still say autistic/aspergers people are stupid after reading this book? it shows that they can be extremely smart too (I wouldn't be able to do the prime numbers thing without a calculator, actually I could but it would take ages), they just think in different ways. 

Why I Read It: This book was first recommended to me when I was in Year 6, I haven't gotten many more recommendations for it since but I have heard that it won many awards.

Summary: Upon finding the body of a murdered dog, Christopher decides to write a murder mystery novel and investigate the crime. His investigations lead him to uncover many hidden family issues and learn to deal with them. Ok, that didn't sound very good, but it was good.

The Characters:
Christopher - Is the 'writer' of this novel and he has either autism or aspergers syndrome (it is not specified). It was very interesting reading from his point of view, he does stuff most people wouldn't normally do but it is explained, sometimes when reading you'll be like "Why on Earth did they do that? why couldn't they of..." but you get why he does things most people wouldn't do, because he thinks differently to most people. It's hard to put a personality on him, because personalities are usually shaped by interactions and reactions to other people, and Christopher has a very limited understanding of emotions. He is smart (in a scientific and calculating sense), flighty and a bit unsure of himself and other people, very impulsive and since he can't empathise he misunderstands people.

Christopher's Family - Despite caring for his son, Christopher's father doesn't really understand him. He is quick to anger and he often does rash and harmful things due to this. I think he was a really good addition to the cast, and was a well-developed character who had strengths and weaknesses, but still felt regret for any rash decisions. His mother, from Christopher's memories and the letters seems to be a very kind, patient victim of circumstances, but she also seems exasperated by Christopher's behaviour.**SPOILERS AHEAD** When we meet her she still finds it hard to deal with Christopher's behaviour but she is much more independent and strong-willed. **END SPOILER**

The Shears - Mrs Shears would often help around the Boone household after Mrs Boone left. She is really attached to her dog, Wellington who was murdered at the start of the novel. Mr Shears is an automatic suspect for the murder due to him moving to London suddenly, and his connection to Wellington. Understandably he is quite perturbed by Christopher's sudden arrival and isn't very patient with him

Others - I wanted to know more about Siobhan she seemed like the character who actually understood Christopher and there were so many references to her, but we didn't really get to meet her properly. All the characters all fit in to their parts and are believable and realistic.

The Plot:
It has all its twists and turns and it was character-driven. It was not predictable and quickly shifts focus from the dog's murder to family issues. Which is a good thing. The plot changed because of Christopher, not because of the events and it was well planned.

The Writing:
It was in 1st person (it works real well for this book), and it let's you get into Christopher's head really well, it allows you to understand his unusual thought processes and reactions to things and why he does what he does. Occasionally (it may have been on purpose) there would be a phrase which was grammatically incorrect, and was usually to with a verb or tense, for example, I found, 'do groaning' in there. I did like the diagrams and pictures in there and I also liked how the chapters were numbered by prime numbers not 1,2, 3, 4 etc, I did get a bit confused when I couldn't find a chapter 4 though. Other than that there is not much notable about the writing.

I know this book will not appeal to a lot of people so I'm going to be specific in my recommendation.  If you simply cannot get it into you head that people with autism/aspergers view the world differently to most other people, then this is not for you. If you think people with disabilities are stupid/worse/asked for it, we then you should definitely not try this book, and maybe you should think about this prejudice and realise that they did not ask for and were born that way/were involved in an accident. If you despise 1st person writing, then this is not for you and frankly this book would be kinda sucky if it wasn't in 1st person. I'd probably say this is for Grade 6+ (inclusive). If you want something different to most books, go for it.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: A Kiss in Time

This is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge for more info on it click here 

Hey, guys its the holidays now, meaning I actually have time to review things (and read more). 

Book Number: 13
Title: A Kiss in Time
Author: Alex Flinn
Date of Completion: 19/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Why I Read it: Well I have had no previous experience with Alex Flinn (heck, I didn't even realise she was a female until a week or two after I read this) but my internet searchings have led me to believe that Beastly is quite good (and its based on Beauty and the Beast :3) so I was at this bookstore yes, and then I saw that this mysterious Alex Flinn character also had other books which also happen to be fairytale retellings (I love fairytale/myth retellings! unless they are horrible) so I picked up this and I could tell it was Sleeping beauty - the blurb was like: something something.. Talia something something..kiss Hey, this has got to be Sleeping Beauty...something something... sleeping for centuries yep definitely Sleeping Beauty retelling of Sleeping Beauty I knew it. Personally I wasn't a fan of Sleeping Beauty, it was just a bit too boring, but it is a retelling so they might add something fresh to it (another reason why I adore retellings) and you can't judge an authors merit by 1 book, so if she was a good author this as well as Beastly would be good. So I picked it up. 

Summary: Jack wasn't looking for anything when he stumbles a kingdom with all its members in comatose.  With a kiss he wakes up Talia, and her entire kingdom who has been asleep for 300 years. Now Jack is stuck with a spoilt princess, in a world completely different to the one she left. All this because of a curse and a kiss.

The Characters 
Jack - Average-ish kinda guy, he wasn't really to note-worthy but I guess that was the point. To have some average guys life turned around by this one action. He was nice, likable, funny and pretty realistic. But he has the qualities that good characters should have (motivations, descriptions, relationships, talent, weaknesses etc.). It's sweet how he takes responsibility for Talia even though he doesn't have to and could have just left her there. 

Talia - Was just a nice and thoughtful as a Disney fan would expect of their princesses. So basically she wakes up 300 yrs past her time, so you would expect her to need someone else's help and frankly if she did her own thing she could get into trouble (so all you super-feminists can be quiet about the meaning of Alex Flinn creating a semi-but-totally-justified-damsel-in-distress and how everything is sooo sexist), so what, she needed help and she got it. She genuinely tries to help her people as well as those who have helped her and always sees the best in people and I really felt sorry for her. Also, she couldn't help touching the spindle, it was in the spell, and its kind of annoying how the readers as well as the townspeople blame her for it. I also liked how it kept both the traditional fairytale's names for Beauty in (Talia is the most common, but a lot of versions call her Aurora) but her other 3 middle names are pretty funny, Ludwiga, seriously? 

Malvolia - Well I liked the backstory for her a lot better than the original tale's. I mean seriously, she doesn't get invited to little beauty's christening so she goes and curses her in revenge, to touch a spindle and die, extreme much? Yeah, thought so too. Whereas in this she has a real reason to have revenge on the royal family of Euphrasia. It's also creepy how she spies on Talia as a flower and all. 

Others - Jack's dad and sister were interesting, they didn't get along too well with Jack but they still looked out for him and wanted what was best for him. I also found the commentary on beauty today from a modelling perspective today to be interesting: Talia is pretty much the image of beauty but they'd rather take the sister (forgot the name sorry) who is tall, thin and not curvy at all, although she is plain looking. I also relate to Talia's disgust at the slutty girls who hit on Jack. 

The Plot: 
Was much more deep than in the original story, like I said I like Malvolia's backstory it makes things so much better. The changed curse makes things a whole lot more complicated, and the fact that it took 300 years for her true love to come does as well. Really its the nice fairy's (forgot the name) fault that the kingdom is in such a rut. The death of a princess would be sad, but the kingdom could go through it, but being forgotten waking up 300 yrs into the future is pretty disastrous. I also like that never-ending hill part. And this was definitely much better then the old rape unconscious girl, get her pregnant with twins, she gives birth to twins in sleep version - much better. 

The Writing: 
Was relateable, easy to understand, funny and realistic. It helps explain why Jack kisses some random unconscious girl, which I never got in the original versions. If you hate 1st person, then this probably isn't the book for you.

Recommendation: For anyone who loves fairytale retellings, and doesn't mind 1st person. Or fans of Alex Flinn's other stuff.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: Lola and the Boy Next Door

This is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more info on that veiw here.

Well after the amazingness that was Anna and the French Kiss I just had to pick up this. And it was good, not great like Anna was, but still. I'm still looking forward to Isla and the Happily Ever After Lola's a real personality and ain't Cricket just such a sweetheart. Sorry for the huge delays but I had College which takes priority (but it's the holidays now so i should be able to up my reading and reviewing speed) and also it gets hard to review books when you've read so many others more recently. 

Why I Read It: Because I adored Anna and the French Kiss.

Summary: Lola is a budding designer, she doesn't believe in fashion but costume, the more expressive the better. Everything is going fine until her life is turned around when the Bell twins return to town and Cricket steps out of his sisters shadow, and back into Lola's life.

The Characters:
Lola - Is a budding designer who believes in costume rather than fashion and is never seen in the same costume twice. A lot of people are saying that people like Lola simply do not exist, I beg to differ. There a lot of girls who aim to not wear the same outfit twice, a lot of girls who would love to wear a ballgown to their prom, a lot of people are very into costuming (I know I fit in with the latter two) and Lola is like a combination and exaggeration of these not-rare traits. It's great to have a heroine with a unique personality, I mean even the fantastic heroines seem pretty much the same so it was good to have someone like Lola, who although she was not strong had a great unique personality and believable weaknesses. 

Cricket - Ain't he just so sweet? So pretty much he is the boy who's always been under the shadow of his twin sister's ice-skating talent, and his whole life has been shaped by that. He and Lola used to be best buddies until his sister got jealous and kind of broke them up, and know the two have got confusing feelings for eachother. It's way cute how he has liked Lola for ages, and it's also cute how he made her all these presents with his engineering talent. Some people are complaining about his name bur seriously, Cricket Bell has a nice ring to it, and I think it's adorkable (and the fact that cricket is also a type of bug isn't really off-putting for me). I also like how he feels that he can't be a proper inventor, despite his obvious talent for it, because his ancestor (Alexander Graham Bell) stole other peoples inventions. Before I had read this book, it sounded like Cricket was going to take over as my new book boyfriend (which is still Hale from Heist Society series), but he hasn't.

Max - Well my douchebag senses were tingling from the get-go for this guy - I mean, hot rocker boyfriend, age-difference (which wouldn't have been a big deal if Lola wasn't a teen and he an adult), the fact that he is good and considerate because he doesn't smoke pot and cigarettes before he gets to see her parents, puh-lease, of course this guy is not an awesome boyfriend unless he undergoes some sort of transformation. I also get what others are saying about him being villain-ised through out this novel, but I reckon he was that way all along, but he just hid it from Lola, but when Cricket came along he just couldn't hide that side of him.

Others - Lola's parents the gay couple were pretty cool, I mean they were gay but they didn't go and flaunt their gayness and act all special and different because of it (which is good because gays are just any other people, so they shouldn't act different because of it). Calliope was also realistic and she had weaknesses and good qualities like all characters should have (some more minor characters tend to miss out on them).It's cool how we get to see how Anna and Etienne are doing now but I have to agree with most people, Etienne is acting differently.

The Plot:
The plot was not too special, pretty basic really (with some quirkier characters) but it was carried quite well with realistic emotions and actions. People are saying its just the same Anna and the French Kiss except with Etienne as the main character and female, and fine, if you want to go into the real basics it is. But books are more than just that,and this is saying that Max is like Ellie (who was for all intents and purposes nice, while Max was not) and Cricket is like Anna (when Cricket has been part of Lola's life a lot longer, and frankly Anna is more interesting) and the friends and families of Lola and Etienne are entirely different. Also, the title totally gives away the outcome of the book, that is my main (and one of very few) problem with Stephanie Perkins' books, the titles, even though they aren't really her fault they are still majorly off-putting.

The Writing: 
Was pretty similar to the writing style of Anna and the French Kiss, ie. funny, fresh, enjoyable, teen-talk-ish, but still descriptive and not-lacking in techniques. Btw, this is in 1st person but it is done well, I don't know some people find all 1st person sloppy (even the good stuff). 

Recommendation: For all fans of Anna and the French Kiss, which you should probably read first (see my review of it for the recommendation. Warning, this is a bit different. 

Quote: Ok, this one is an essay of a quote but it's just so dang romantic that I had to stick it in. 
Once upon a time, there was a girl who talked to the moon. And she was mysterious and she was perfect, in that way that girls who talk to moons are. In the house next door, there lived a boy. And the boy watched the girl grow more and more perfect, more and more beautiful with each passing year. He watched her watch the moon. And he began to wonder if the moon would help him unravel the mystery of the beautiful girl. So the boy looked into the sky. But he couldn't concentrate on the moon. He was too distracted by the stars. And it didn't matter how many songs or poems had already been written about them, because whenever he thought about the girl, the stars shone brighter. As if she were the one keeping them illuminated. 

One day, the boy had to move away. He couldn't bring the girl with him, so he brought the stars. When he'd look out his window at night, he would start with one. One star. And the boy would make a wish on it, and the wish would be her name. 

At the sound of her name, a second star would appear. And then he'd wish her name again, and the stars would double into four. And four became eight, and eight became sixteen, and so on, in the greatest mathematical equation the universe had ever seen. And by the time an hour had passed, the sky would be filled with so many stars that it would wake the neighbors. People wondered who'd turned on the floodlights. 
The boy did. By thinking about the girl.” -Cricket Bell, Lola and the Boy Next Door

Saturday, 10 March 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood

This book is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more information visit this page

Sorry for taking so long between reviews, but I've got college and seriously I don't want to fail it. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood is the sequel to the popular The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares. Make sure that you read my review of it because I do not want to repeat myself, here's the link. I will be doing my review for this differently to my usual reviews, in the same style as I did for The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, and 3 Willows. Although it wasn't as strong as the first book, I still enjoyed reading about the Septembers further adventures.

Book Number: 11
Series: The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants, book 2
Date of Completion: 16/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Why I Read It: I read the first one and I liked it.

Summary: After the brilliant journeys the previous summer the Sisterhood girls decide they should spend the Pants magic only on summers. Tibby is at a new film school and is short of friends. Lena at home and is still pining over Kostos, the wonderboy from last summer. After discovering some letters from her grandmother that her father hid from her, Bridget decides to visit and ask more about her deceased mother.  Carmen's mum is getting back in the dating game, and Carmen isn't sure how to react to that. Another great summer of the travelling pants.

The Characters and their Plots:
Tibby - I absolutely adored Tibby's story in the first book, but I missed Bailey, she brought the magic to it. Regardless Tibby's story is interesting and worthwhile. She learns a thing or two about friendship and fitting in and to consider others feelings more. Tibby is still the girl that she was in the previous book: sarcastic, witty and bored but you can definitely see that she has been changed by Bailey.

Bridget - You can tell Bridget is not the same after Eric, if you couldn't tell in the last book, you can certainly tell now. She ain't all sparky and confident, the worlds not her oyster anymore. She takes on a new persona, new name, new hair, and new personality. Her plot is great, she finds a lot about herself while being someone else, and learns a lot more about her deceased mother. I love it how the Pants stop fitting Bridget as she is not being herself. 

Lena - Lena is still pining over Kostos, and frankly quite annoying. Of course leaving a newly-discovered love behind overseas, is heck hard and obviously your feelings aren't going to disappear cleanly as soon as you hop on the plane. Still, Lena's pining seems a bit much, oh well, this is very relate-able there are many people are still pining for lost loves of varying degrees. EDIT: For any of you who read this before the edit, I'm sorry I made this huge rant about Lena losing her virginity, which I found out while reading the 4th book, never happened, sorry, I was heck confused though, stupid vague writing (I could barely tell when Bridget lost hers and I totally misread this part) anyway, enough about that, it doesn't end out too well anyways.

Carmen - I can understand the confusion and annoyance that Carmen felt, like if my mum started acting like a girly teen with a crush I would be very annoyed (that would be freaky, I hope that never happens!). Again Carmen's story is relate-able to a lot of people and her emotions are easy to understand and she's the same girl we know and love. 

Other Characters in Tibby's Story - Nawwww Brian is so sweet, I love how they met because he was a loser, but now he is fast on his way to becoming Tibby's boyfriend. It's good to see a bit more of Tibby's family as well. I miss Bailey though, she was great.

Others in Bridget's Story - I don't have to much to say about these, they were all fine, I liked her grandma and Billy.

Others in Lena's Story - I like Effie **SPOILERS AHEAD:** and it's sad that Bapi died **END SPOILERS**. But my gssh, Kostos, how could you do this, if you love Lena as much as you say you do, **SPOILERS AHEAD:** then don't date other people while still together, especially don't *bleeping* screw her after your second date. Don't tell your stupid sap stories and say you love Lena, after you got some other girl pregnant. Just don't, luckily he learnt his lesson kinda and isn't screwing girls straight away anymore **END SPOILERS** then don't be such a friggin' jerk to her. Oh well, I still have hope - Lena and Paul.

Others in Carmen's Story - David and Porter were both good additions to the story and it's great to be able to explore Christina's character more and see her relationship with Carmen more. It's funny in a good way, how Krista is trying to be like Carmen now, and it's fantastic that Carmen and Paul are good friends now.

The Writing:
Is basically the same as in the previous book, I do love the photo at the end, where it turns out to be the four of their mothers in jeans, it was just a really magical moment. 

Recommendation: If you have read the Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and you enjoyed it, you should already want to read this, so go ahead.

Quote: “There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don't.” 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants

This book is part of my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, for more info on that click here 

Book Number: 9
Title: The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants
Author: Ann Brashares
Date of Completion: 15/1/2012
Rating: 5 Stars

The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants was one of the best realistic fiction stories I have read in a while and it is definitely a worthwhile read for all teenage girls. The Septembers were likeable and most would be able to relate to the things that happen to the girls in this book and understand how they were feeling (or at least empathize with them). I cared about and liked all the characters, the plots were good too and the writing lets you get into their heads without being in 1st person. For all the people who actually follow me, sorry for taking forever to write a review, College started. I have also read The Second Summer of the Sisterhood and 3 Willows: A New Sisterhood Grows, both not as good but still fine. I am going to review this different to how I usually review stuff because the 4 main characters have their own plots.

Why I Read It: Well I have heard plenty of (mainly good) stuff about this book but I wasn't sure if I should read it or not, so when the movie was playing on TV, I decided  I might as well watch it (I know it's a bad habit, but don't kill me guys) and I enjoyed it so I decided to read the book.

Practically best friends from birth (no exaggeration) the Septembers are facing their first summer apart when they chance upon a pair of jeans that magically fit all four of them (despite the differences in size and shape) and bring out the best in them. The girls decide to mail the Pants between them during their summer to keep them together.

Lena is staying with her extended family in Greece. Bridget's an all-star soccer player attending soccer-camp in Mexico, when she gets a mad crush on a handsome and totally-off-limits soccer coach, Eric. Carmen is off to visit Dad after a long-time of living apart. Her daddy-daughter reunion is shattered by the surprise, her Dad's new family. They all seem to be perfect, her Dad is totally changed and is too engrossed with his upcoming wedding to spend time with Carmen. Tibby is stuck at home, while all her friends are off travelling, boring summer when she runs into Bailey, a 12 yr old leukemia victim. 

The Characters and their Plots:
Lena - I understood and liked Lena but her plot felt lacking and less relate-able in comparison to the others. I liked how she was totally and utterly beautiful but she always saw that as a bad thing and thought that when people were nice to her she thought it was because she was beautiful. She saw her own beauty as a curse, and saw the worst in people because of it. I think a lot of people can't see or appreciate just how beautiful they really are, and Lena's story is good in that way. Edit: I found out that her story was based on a myth about Artemis, yeah I like it a lot better now, see other reviews for my love of Greek mythology

Bridget - Is a go-getter, she's just that kind of person that is super-confident and outgoing in an admirable way. A lot of girls will go though an all-consuming crush, and lots of people have off-limits crushes as well (teachers etc.) both of which are totally unhealthy. So yeah, its pretty relate-able stuff here. **SPOILERS AHEAD** also the losing of virginity is also a pretty big issue for a lot of teens **END SPOILERS**

Carmen - This is probably the best story (in terms of relatability and well, good-ness) out of the 4 in The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants. There are a lot of people whose parents live apart, there are a lot of people who rarely see one of their parents, there are a lot of people who feel left out of perfect groups and this makes it easy for people to empathise with Carmen and understand her actions and emotions and I think that's really great. 

Tibby - She learns that time and life is precious, her sucky town ain't that bad after all and that an adventure doesn't need an exotic locale, but can happen anywhere, even in your neighborhood. I loved Tibby's story, it was just really profound, and well I like that stuff. I understood Tibby's views on her town, it's inhabitants and her job, and I liked it how the semi-rebel realised that there was more out there, and she doesn't actually have it worse off. 

Others in Lena's story - Kostos was a sweetheart in this (not so much in The Second Summer of The Sisterhood) and I liked him, but we didn't get to explore his character too much. Lena's family in Greece were all too cute, they were caring and kind, but funny too.

Others in Bridget's story - I didn't get too know Eric enough to form a proper opinion of him, but at least wasn't her teacher, and he tried to resist Bridget and they were close in age not like most those horrible stories of teacher-student relationships, Ugh. The others in her story were also fine.

Others in Carmen's story - The pthers in Carmen's story fit so well into their roles. Lydia and Krista were hateable in a they-aren't-actually-doing-anything-wrong way. And well her father Albert, also doesn't realise the wrongs that he is doing to his daughter, but still looks out for her. That colossal mistake of not not telling Carmen that he was engaged into the perfect family was just so, soo stupid.

Others in Tibby's story - I adore Bailey, or maybe I just have a soft spot for wise-beyond-years, 12 yr old girls with fatal diseases. But yeah Bailey is fantastic, she's curious, enthusiastic and sees the best in people, she's totally sweet when helping with the suckumentary. This girl, although very near to death, is not frightened by it and ain't silly about it Eg. not 'dying a virgin!that is so pathetic, boohoo' but 'I am afraid of time'. Aside from the Bailey-fest, I think Brian McBrian's name is hilarious.

The Writing:
The writing is pretty good and the letters in between were great insights into what the characters sound like. Judging by the kind of book it was, I expected it to be written in 1st person, but it isn't (except for the prologue, letters and epilogue) and it worked perfectly fine that way. The transitions in between different points of view could be made more distinct. I liked the quotes in between chapters, but I found it weird that there were quotes from the characters themselves in there too. The pants were a bit of a weird metaphor, but I understand what they represent, so yeah.

Recommendation: All teenage female readers should give this book a go, even non-reading female teens should give it a go.

Quote: “Maybe, sometimes, it's easier to be mad at the people you trust because you know they'll always love you, no matter what.” 

Thursday, 2 February 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: 3 Willows

This review is for my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge, to view more info on it go here.

Book Number: 9
Title: 3 Willows: A New Sisterhood Grows
Author: Ann Brashares
Date of Completition: 13/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Being the total rebel that I am, decided to read 3 Willows before I have read The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants (don't worry I am going to read that too). I don't think it lessened my enjoyment of the novel in any way, I just didn't realise who Effie was until Lena came, but really that's nothing to the story. Sorry for taking so long to write another review I was on holiday for the last 12 days and had almost no contact with computers. The characters were nice, and sometimes relate-able and I grew to care for them. The 3 willows were a really good symbol for their friendship cos' although they are separate, they're always by each others sides and they grow together, with their branches and roots growing into each other but also spreading apart. I'm going to do this a bit differently to how I usually review because each person has their own seperate plot so I'll put my views on their plots with them. 

Why I Read It: I was decided to read The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants and I discovered that the author had also written this, since the characters were younger than the Sisterhood girls (even though I am the same age as the Sisterhood girls) I decided to read this first as the Sisterhood girls get older with each book  so chances are I will continue to like them, where as I will grow further away from the 3 Willlows girls as I get older.

Ama, Jo and Polly used to be the best of friends but as they've grown they have moved apart. Ama is less than thrilled when she gets forced into a wilderness trip instead of the academic course she wanted. She struggles with  bugs, dirt, physical, her slutty roommate, her untameable hair and being left out of the group. Jo has grown out of her old best friends, Ama and Polly, and has started working as a busgirl alongside her popular friend Bryn, she's still hasn't finished adapting to her new social status and realises its a whole different world at the top. After hearing that her grandmother was a model, Polly decides that she's going to become one too, but the modelling agencies have a very different idea of beauty. The girls learn who they can rely on, and try out new things, but is one summer enough to get them back to how they were before?

The Characters and their Plots: 
Ama - I found was the most relate-able character and the most relate-able story (although I think a lot of people would find Jo's story the most relateable). Like me Ama is more into the academic stuff rather than physical stuff, has frustrating hair, and doesn't like sweating, bugs etc  although I don't hate the great outdoors as she does. 

Jo - Well I've read plenty of stories about a girl who's trying to get into the popular group and realises that it's not as good as they made it out to be and that their old friends were better, so I was kind of meh, to this story, but it wasn't bad. It is not smart to make out with people who you don't know the names of, so don't do it, as Jo learnt. 

Polly - This plot just didn't seem as appealing, real, interesting and as good as the others. It seems as if Ann Brashare's kind of ran out of good plots for her girls after writing 4 bestselling Sisterhood books with four plots in each and then writing plots for Ama and Jo. Still, Polly faces an uphill battle and I liked how she found out that all this time that her mum was at her art studio she was drinking rather than making art, and how after her dream ends her mum and her friends support her after all the modelling people told her she wasn't good enough. 

Others - The supporting cast was decent, I liked how Polly's mum and Jo's dad supported their daughters even though they weren't that present in their daughters lives. 

The Writing: 
The writing was pretty good. I expected it to be in 1st person because these types of novels usually are, but it was fine in third person and you still got to get inside the characters heads. 

Other: Comparison to The Sisterhood of Travelling Pants 
Now that I've read both I can compare them, I didn't want to spend my whole review comparing this to the Sisterhood but you guys might want that, so I'll stick it in here. I already said before that the 3 willows were a great symbol for their friendship above, and they worked better than the Travelling Pants. Many people think the magical pants are stupid and unnecessary but I understand their symbolism and I like how it keeps the girls together even when they are apart. I liked The Septembers more than Ama, Jo and Polly, I just connected to them more and faster and their plots were better than the plots in 3 Willows.

For fans of The Sisterhood of travelling pants, and teenage female readers who are looking for a decent realistic fiction novel.

“There are moments in your life when the big pieces slide and shift. Sometimes the big changes don't happen gradually but all at once. That's how it was for us. That was the day we discovered that friends can do things for you that your parents can't.” 

Thursday, 19 January 2012

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus

This is a review for my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge. For more info visit here.

Book Number: 8
Title: Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus
Author: Kate O'Hearn
Date of Completion: 12/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Pegasus and the Fight for Olympus by Kate O'Hearn is the sequel to Pegasus and the Flame and if you haven't read my review for that read it here, because I don't want to repeat stuff.

Why I Read it: I liked the first book

Olympus has been freed from the Nirads and rebuilt, and Emily is struggling with the new powers she has gained as the Flame of Olympus and decides to go and  rescue her father with Joel, Paelen and Cupid. Along the way they run into more Nirads who are being led by Chrysoar (a flying boar) and discover that the Nirads aren't finished with their attack on Olympus and the real reason behind the attack.

The Characters:
Emily - Stayed pretty much the same as she was at the end of Pegasus and the Flame. She's got some new troubles now because of her new status. She didn't have as much action as I wanted her to have, since she kept on being left behind at the Red Apple with Pegs while the rest of the gang is going on missions. She's still a great heroine that is compassionate, caring, and likeable.

Joel - Joel has really grown since the start of the 1st book, he no longer has anger management issues, and is more caring, brave and observant. He is really quite an asset for the team now.

Cupid - Although I missed Diana, Cupid made quite a good addition to the team. I liked how he was a teenager rather than a little cherub (I did not pick up this book to read about babysitting adventures!). He was funny (in a laugh at him kind of way), I don't know about anyone else but I find it funny in TV shows and animes when there is this one really hot character who everyone else just swoons and acts all squee-ish and stupid around and this hot guy/girl can kind of manipulate them to get his way (Justin from Total Drama, Aido from Vampire Knight), well Cupid was one of those kind of characters. I liked how he could charm people into falling head-over-heels in love with him, and that made Agent T totally funny too. Cupid was quite a wimp at times though.

Paelen - He's still the same cool guy as he was at the end of the previous book, I like how he gets into fights with Cupid.

The Nirads - It's great that the Nirads got some more screen time in this book. I liked their depth and their backstory, Tange and Segan were totally sweet and awesome. I still can't 
properly visualize any Nirads in colours other than grey, black, white, and pale green. 

The Gorgons - I thought it was great that the Nirads had a reason to attack the Olympians rather than the emotionless killing machines that they seemed to be. The gorgons have an actual reason for wanting to destroy the Olympians. It was also good that people don't turn into stone when they look at them but the Gorgons can choose to turn them into stone when they want to.

Others - It's great that Diana makes a cameo appearance in this since she can't be part of the main cast. Jupiter and Neptune also behave like I would expect them to.

The Plot:
The plot of this story was a good continuation of the plot of Pegasus and the Flame. It flowed well, was coherent and was interesting. It was great to see more of Olympus in this book, especially now that it had been rebuilt and all. It was also interesting to see the world of the Nirads.

The Writing:
The writing stayed pretty much the same as it was in Pegasus and the Flame, so it wasn't much to comment on, but it was fine.

If you liked the first book, then read this.

1 Year, 100 Books Challenge: Supernaturally

This is my 7th review for my 1 Year, 100 Books Challenge for more information about how I'm going about it click here.

Book Number: 7
Title: Supernaturally
Author: Kiersten White
Date of Completion: 10/1/2012
Rating: 4 stars

Supernaturally by Kiersten White is quite good for a sequel, in most trilogies and short series' the second book is always the wort, but Supernaturally, I felt, managed to stay on par with the first one, Paranormalcy which is not too common (because most are either noticeably better, or noticeably worse not at the same level of good-ness). I've already said most of this in my review of Paranormalcy and I'm not going to say them all again, so if you haven't already read it here's a link to my review of Paranormalcy. Waiting to get my hands on Endlessly, the cover is sooo purdy ^-^ yeah I'm a cover-whore.

Why I Read it: I liked the first one

After leaving the IPCA, Evie's finding out that normal life isn't what Easton Heights hyped it up to be. In fact, at the moment kicking paranormals' butts sounds far more appealing, but with Racquel returning to the scene with a new job offer back at the IPCA, this could be a reality. Meanwhile Evie is building a wall of lies between her and Lend, and a whole new cast of (totally different) characters is messing things up elsewhere.

The Characters:
Evie - Has pretty much stayed the same as she was in the previous book, but she is quite confused on how to react with the IPCA vs David's group battle, her boyfriend troubles and whether she should join the IPCA again. She's still fun and fresh to read about.

Jack - I reckon Jack was a really good addition to the cast of the Paranormalcy series, a human who can use and control the Faerie Paths, yay! He was funny and excited and reminded me of some uber excitable, happy, cute anime guy with a more serious side, aka the type of anime guy who nearly always becomes my favourite character (Momiji from Fruits Basket, Takuma from Vampire Knight, etc). **SPOILERS AHEAD:** I totally should of seen that Jack was really the bad guy, it wasn't too hard to spot but I don't come into books making predictions all the way, it just ruins my enjoyment of the book **END SPOILERS**

Lend - Suffered from something that I find happens to many love interests a a while after they and the lead girl actually start going out. Before they start going out you're like 'They are so sweet! and cute! and awesome! they should just get together already!" and during the 1st few weeks of their relationship you're like "Kyaaa!! They got together! They be even cuter now" and then in the following book you're like "You know, I totally adored this couple before but now their conversations go like: 3 sentences each, makes out, 2 more sentences, more makes out >.> - and that's what its like for most of their interactions in the book".

Racquel - She came back!!! and she's still pretty much the same, and that's the way I liked her. She's still business, but still like a mother to Evie. Racquel is probably my favourite character.

Arianna - In this book, Arianna becomes even closer to Evie, which is great, and in this book she was given more depth so she didn't seem like a second Lish. Her backstory was great, and I like how she's still awesome friends with Evie but they have their fallouts, so its not like insta-BFFs.

Other - The rest of the characters were decent. I like how Carlee is becoming Evie's friend in school, and how David isn't like a saint anymore because he likes paranormals but isn't with the IPCA, and uber-vamp succeeded in being totally creepy. It's totally weird that Vivian is becoming the buddy that Evie turns to when she doesn't know who to talk to.

The Plot: The plot was decent, I liked how the glamorous image of normal lifestyle that Evie built up is being deflated. And the wall of lies that Evie built between she and her boyfriend was also really good for the plot. It's really interesting when Evie visits the Faerie Realms too.

The Writing: Is pretty much the same as in the last one, so if you haven't the review I wrote for that, do it.

Recommendation: If you liked Paranormalcy, then read it (and seriously don't read them in the wrong order)