Thursday, 31 January 2013

Reached - Ally Condie (#3)

**There may be some spoilers for those that have not read Matched (review) or Crossed (review)**

With dystopian being a genre that I enjoy, this series was one exception that I wasn't crazy about, as many others I think would agree. I found Matched too slow paced and boring and then, Crossed was a tad better but still not as good in my opinion. So in reading Reached, I was literally only doing so to find out what would happen in the end, to satisfy my curiosity about why all the things in the first two books happened.
I wasn't one of those counting down the days until its released, although I was aware after a customer at work pre-ordered it telling me 'it was the best series she'd ever come across' (I'd also like to point out she was wearing a Twilight t-shirt). When I went into my local library and, like the other two books in this series, found this in the Teen section, I decided to pick it up even if I was expecting not to like it at all.

Synopsis: After leaving the Society and going into the Carving to find the Rising, Cassia and Ky have found what they were looking for, in order to make a difference and stop the controlling Society. However, the two of them, and their friend Xander are apart from one another; Cassia is an undercover sorter in Central, Ky a pilot for the Rising with Indie and Xander is a medic, dealing with the increasing sick in the Society. They all wait and wait for the Rising to happen and then one day, all too soon, it begins.

Review: To say the least, I wasn't much at all from this novel. I disliked the last two books in the series so it's fair to say that I didn't think the last book would pick up. On starting this mammoth book, I knew this was going to take a long, long time to struggle through to find out the resolution for Cassia, Ky and Xander.

However, on starting the novel and after the first few chapters, especially when things started kicking off, I was becoming more and more engrossed in the story, I was starting to feel for the main characters and feel myself quicken the pace I was reading because I needed to know what happened in the end. It was a little bewildering really.
But it's true that after the disappointment of Matched and the boring parts of Crossed, that I came out of this series enjoying the last chapter where in my opinion, Ally Condie really picked her game up and writes some thrilling, beautiful stuff.

Differently to the last two books, this novel has alternating chapters from Xander, Cassia and Ky's point of view from their different locations within the Society. I thought this might make the writing confusing and that I wouldn't be able to realise who was narrating in a certain chapter but actually, I have to admit Condie did this incredibly well, keeping the pace and writing going yet not making the narration confusing and giving each character a personal touch. I remembered the cliff-hanger chapters, I knew who was talking from reading the first sentence of the chapter and overall, made reading this book a lovely experience.

In Matched and Crossed, I had a mediocre response to Cassia. I liked her take on life and her narration but her personality just wasn't interesting. In Reached, although I think Cassia is incredibly brave and strong, worthy of being the main protagonist, she still wasn't my favourite narrator. That job came to Xander who I was so pleased to find out had a part in this novel. In the last two books, he comes out as a bit of a background character who appears every so often so it was nice to have Xander the whole way through this book. He is the best character.
Being the male protagonist means that I should like Ky. But in the last two books, I really did not like him. He was annoying, did silly things and at times, did not seem like he cared for Cassia. Also, there was Xander and he was lovely. Yet in Reached, I started to really enjoy Ky as a character partly I think because of his maturation that has progressed in the trilogy. He is very level-headed, sensible really and it is clear he wants to do the best thing for Cassia. I ended up really liking his sensible approach as a character and felt for him when he keeps gaining and losing Cassia throughout. It was nice to end the series liking all the characters, especially Ky compared to in Matched.

Now. The writing and plot. Oh my, this book is epic! I didn't expect the main event to happen so early in the novel and Condie leaves you wondering what is going to happen for the read of the 500 page book which I liked. Although I anticipated the end, the main chuck of the story were totally unexpected as well as the secrets and mysteries revealed in this conclusion to the trilogy. Condie just keeps adding and adding to the drama and intensity of this book until the end to leave with, what I felt, was a satisfying end. The end ties up all the loose ends well and leaves a good picture of life for Cassia, Ky and Xander after closing the book.

The ending was well done although in some issues, I was left a little deflated, like 'Oh that's it?'. As I saw in one Goodreads review, the plot and end of this novel is fast-paced, jumpy and full of tension. Yet it's simple and pretty easy to follow, especially with all the sciencey stuff about The Plague (oh yeah that happens too...). Overall, I surprising enjoyed this book as I hope I've outlined. I understand a lot of readers like me disliked Matched and/or Crossed and are probably dubious about Reached then. My advice? Keep on reading, they only get progressively better throughout the trilogy to a lovely end for Cassia, Ky and of course, Xander. By far the best book in the Matched series.

I give this a 4 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 512
Publisher: Penguin
Challenges: None

Related Posts: 
Book #1: Matched
Book #2: Crossed

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tuesday Top Ten: Frustrating Characters

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and The Bookish. 

I think we can all point to a few characters that drove us crazy throughout the book they are featured within for a number of reasons, be it they were just plain mean, unrelatable or just simply annoying. 

1. Hannah from 13 Reasons Why - Okay, so I know Hannah kills herself and dies before the novel even begins but I still found her silly, little tapes incredibly annoying and in a way, a little attention-seeking. Hannah kills herself because of 13 different people doing things to her and making her life difficult so to point this out to them after her death, she rotates the tapes around the people as they discover what they did wrong. I read this a while ago but from what I can remember, some of her reasons were so bad for a reason to die. It really wasn't realistic. WHY DO THAT ANYWAY?!

2. Cassia and Ky from the Matched series - From the moment I began reading Matched, I definitely wasn't pro-Cassia and then when Ky zoomed into the story, ruining the lovely relationship of Cassia and Xander, I definitely didn't like him. Ky was a bit of a pathetic character for me in this series, always doing completely stupid things. I've just recently finished the last book in the series, Reached, where I actually liked Ky by the end! So not all bad. 

3. Zelda from the Once series - Oh. MY. If there was ever a character to win 'I was to punch you in the face despite being a child' award, Zelda is the one to win this numerous times. She is saved by the ever-so lovely but naive Felix yet she was so mean! And Felix thought she was his best friend?! It was the fact she kept saying 'Don't you know anything?' that really got on my nerves...

4. Ed from Why We Broke Up  - Oh buttons, this guy deserves all the abuse reviewers throw at him. So one minute, he's all like 'You are amazing Min, I love you, let's be together' and the next, he publicly humiliates Min and they break up for one of the most shocking and horrible reasons after a month of dating and making Min fall in love with him. Urgh, so annoying.  

5. Shay from the Uglies series - From the moment Tally and Shay become friends at the beginning of the book, I knew Shay wouldn't get any better. She is so demanding, annoying and just plain rude most of the time and expects everyone to follow what she wants to do. So selfish. Hate this character so much. 

6. Regina from Confessions of an Angry Girl - I think the connotations of the name (in reference to Mean Girls) say everything about why this girl is frustrating. She ruins Rose's life because she talks to a guy who, I quote, she is 'sort of going out' with. WHAT?

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Undone - Cat Clarke

I was lucky enough to get a proof copy of Undone through work. I have never read anything else by Cat Clarke but many bloggers and friends I know have continually recommended her books so I thought I was in for a really good read by choosing this.
I have to admit I really thought this was going to be one of those typical teen reads - silly, fun, a little bit frivolous, and you get that impression I think from the blurb. However, this was far from frivolous or silly. So FAR. And I was so surprised by the events in the novel, Jem's character, the writing - just everything wretched my heart into pieces. Wow, Cat Clarke sure knows how to write....

Synopsis: Jem is in love with her best friend, Kai. One problem: he's gay. Not exactly ideal but she's learning to go with it.
Until one night at a party. Something dreadful happens to Jem. But something even more horrible happens to Kai - he's outed online over his gayness. A couple days later, Kai is dead.
Jem is left alone and a wreak after her best friend's suicide and knows she cannot bring him back. But after discovering who she thinks is responsible for the video, Jem wants to get back at them. She wants revenge.

When I started this novel, I knew it would be break my heart into little pieces and scatter them about London. And Undone succeeded in doing so. The remarkable aspect of this novel which I think was done so so well, and not seen in most novels is the ability to make you as a reader think firmly throughout the majority of the novel that the ending will end in a certain way. But then that is turned completely on it's head once you reach the ending. I thought I knew how this was going to end, to me it was obvious. But then the last few chapters happened and I was told something completely wrong , shocking and a moment that stayed with me for quite a while after finishing the book.
The ending is amazing, dramatic and subtle in so many different ways. If you have any faults or criticisms of the novel itself, you cannot fault the ending. I think for those that are lucky enough to read this book, you will totally agree with me.

Another aspect that made this book, if it's possible, more heartbreaking was the realism that Clarke employs through the pages. I recognised Jem's struggle, her hatred for the elite popular group and the power they hold over everyone else and I think Clarke definitely portrayed this aspect in a way that was scarily real to me. I could relate to Jem a lot with my far share of arguments and isolation from those I considered my friends at the time. I hated the popular group, the way they felt they could do anything, be anything, get anything. There was this one girl who everyone loved in particular that I looked at and knew I didn't like her. The same for a few people at my college now, it's judgemental yes, but I think any teenager can detect who is or isn't popular in the social hierarchy of schools just by looking at them. Linked to this is the power of bullying that every teenager is taught about from an early age yet no-one takes any of the advice. I don't think people realise the power and magic the internet has on bullying and Clarke makes that poignant in Undone with the suicide of Kai.

I didn't mind Jem, she was neither too annoying or too weedy as I think a character in her situation could be considered. I found Jem a little scary at some points at the lengths and transgressions she was willing to go in order to carry out her plan of revenge. She is in a bad place throughout the majority of the novel and it the pure rawness and emotion that Cat Clarke portrays over the page to the reader that I think really makes this novel stick in your mind - there were many times when I felt violently uncomfortable at what was happening. Jem's resolution in revenge, her final act perhaps, is one of these moments that I don't think I expected at all. She is consumed by rage, fear and revenge that this makes this book incredibly intense to read. Do not go for this book for a light read.

As my first dose of Cat Clarke, I was impressed I have to say at Clarke's writing and style that I think any teenager in secondary school/high school would be able to relate to BIG TIME. It's refreshing to see a YA novel that deals with bullying in this way with both being bullied and doing the bullying and I think there needs to be more books such as this on the market.
Cat Clarke's writing is what makes this book so great as she has a mastery by not letting the reader know information until the last moment, I found just a constant stream of suspense throughout the novel that left me guessing and guessing until the end and beyond. This is a jewel of a book that I'm so glad I had a chance to read.

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 502
Publisher: Quercus
Challenges: BBC

Related Posts:
Review: Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher
Review: Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

UNDONE will be released on 31st January 2013

Monday, 21 January 2013

Snow and Awards

I hope everyone in the UK is enjoying this bout of snow that decided to fall here. I had the day off on Friday because of it and grudgingly went into college today although there was WAY too much ice around to be safe. I like snow and it makes the world look so much more prettier, although as it's starting to melt now, my likeness for the stuff is starting to fade.
I personally made a snowman with my Dad, named Buttons. Buttons is still in the garden but as we made it in the middle of the second shower of snow, he kind of has no eyes anymore.

Second thing is I was nominated for The Liebster Award by a blogger I had not heard of, Beth from Sky Rose Reviews. A little bewildered, I found out that she had nominated me because it was my blog that inspired her to make her own, which totally made my snowy day! I think, as bloggers, we all hope to inspire people to do these great things, like make a blog or read a certain book or help someone in need, but we never find out whether we do or not. So when someone declares 'I love your blog, it made me make my own', I think any blogger would agree, that it's a moment of, I guess, accomplishment and pride (not to sound too proud there). I guess it just makes me so happy for choosing to carry on blogging these three years. 
Anyway, back to the award, I don't 'do' awards as you could say but I very much appreciate them. This award is to those with less then 200 followers, and I'm all for new bloggers. It's important to remember sometimes that it's not all about the followers and looking for bloggers for this made me realise that. I love blogging, I feel people love my posts and reviews which I'm glad of. But it's been three years and I'm only on 115 followers which is a little depressing when looking at new bloggers with hundreds and hundreds of followers. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, who knows. 

So these are incredible people and bloggers that deserve much more attention that they get:

of course because at the moment, you are the top of my 'You Rock' list.

2. Lucy from Queen of Contemporary
Seriously, she is the nicest, most enthusiastic blogger I have come across, has a beautiful new blog design and is just so lovely to talk to on Twitter. And she was featured in the Daily Mail!

Sadly, those were the only two bloggers I found that I follow which had less than 200 followers. So go follow these guys and make them feel more appreciated, their blogs are great!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

On My Bookshelf (33)

This meme for originally inspired by 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren
Other versions are:
Letterbox Love created by Narratively Speaking
Stacking the Shelves created by Tynga's reviews
Showcase Sunday created by Books, Biscuits and Tea

This is probably the last one for a couple of weeks. The next one should include my 18th birthday (ah!) which is in just over two weeks. 

- The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan - This is a book I've read already (my review) after borrowing it from a friend. This is one of the most clever books I have come across, featuring the story in the form of a dictionary of words that mean something particularly special to this couple which when pieced together make a heartbreaking narrative. It is a book I liked, not loved yet when I saw this for £1 at work, it was a little too good not to buy. I'll be whacking this one out when I need a quick read or a good old cry.

- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte - After studying Wide Sargasso Sea (the unofficial prequel to Jane Eyre about Bertha), writing about in my coursework and then seeing the film of Jane Eyre, I realised I really wanted to read this novel. I need to read more classics anyway so I thought this would be a good start as I already know the story. I found this in the sale at work also and loved the cover. Nice cheap book buying spree!

I've had quite a lot of new e-books on my Kindle recently from Netgalley and the Amazon sale so I thought I'd include them!

- Dare You To by Katie McGarry
I've read the first book in this series, Pushing the Limits (see for my review) following two troubled teens, Noah and Echo. This book, for those that have also read PtL, is about Noah's friend, Beth and her romantic encounter. It's sure to be the typical easy holiday read so I may save this until March when I go away.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen

- The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher
When I saw the title for this on Netgalley, I was intrigued to see what this book was about. The blurb makes this book sound really powerful and quite promising so I was thrilled when I was accepted to download the galley. This book is about a high school where, after being bullied for making a bad choice, Lizzie commits suicide - but the taunting continues after her death and her best friend, Angie, tries to find out who drove Lizzie to her death. From reading some of the reviews on Goodreads, however, I might put this to the bottom of my TBR pile...
Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster

- How To Save A Life by Sara Zarr
I've never read anything by Sara Zarr but seen frequent shining reviews of her books, including this one. There was a review copy of this hanging around at work but after a little search, it seems someone threw it away.
I bought this in the Kindle 12 Days of Christmas Sale because 99p? I am so buying that.
Also, does anyone else think of The Fray song whenever they see this title? No? Just me...

- Glitches by Marissa Meyer
While waiting for the next instalment in Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, Scarlet, due out in the next few weeks, a free e-book prequel to Cinder (my review) is always much appreciated.
I read Cinder last year and it became one of my favourite books of the year quickly. Glitches is the prequel to Cinder looking at how Cinder came to be living with her horrible step-mother and sisters. Looking forward to this!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins

I've had this book on my shelf for nearly a year now after my friend gave it to me for my birthday after I told her about it. Yet, I haven't read it, like a number of books.
Stephanie Perkins is big on the blogosphere with her subsequent book Lola and the Boy Next Door being popular also.
What finally made me pick this book up was my trip to Paris between Christmas and the New Year. While choosing a book to take with me, it seemed like this would be the only one suitable to take with me to France. And I'm so glad I did.

Synopsis: As Anna prepares for her senior year at a high-school in Atlanta, her father - a famous romantic fiction novelist. Think Nicholas Sparks - drops a bombshell. Anna's senior year will be spent at an American school in Paris, France. Leaving behind her best friend, crush verging on boyfriend and great job, Anna is less than pleased to be starting a new life in France, a language she can't even speak. That's until she meets Etienne St Clair and a mismatch of lovely friends. Anna is instantly drawn to St Clair and soon they become best friends. Soon, she falls for him and it seems he might be too. Only problem: he has a long-term girlfriend.

Review: Firstly, I discounted this book as something a little too fluffy and girly for my liking just by reading both the title and blurb whilst grimacing at the front cover. The brunette's creepy, way-too-happy smile and awkward black scarf made me dubious whether I would like this book or even want to be seen reading it. The only reason I probably finally read this book is because my friend, Emma, bought this for me. So, I wasn't expecting much when I started this and after reading Just Listen by Sarah Dessen (one of the BEST books) previously to this book and my mother's look of worry when I passed this book to pack, I thought I would eye-rolling and cringing my way through this book.

Yet fear not, anyone that agrees with these observations on this book. This review does get positive because I actually really loved this book by the end. There is something about the charms of Anna, St Clair and the setting, Paris, that transforms this novel from okay to great. It's clear the setting is what I think makes this book hold and from visiting Paris soon before picking up this book, the beauty of the city definitely is shown through the page. I loved the descriptions of some of the well-known landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower, and the ones that only a tourist would know after visiting like the Luxembourg Gardens or the Pantheon - so much of Paris in one book! I think a lot of people would agree that it was refreshing to have a different setting that isn't the US or the UK.

This book is driven entirely by the characters, particularly Anna, whose adjustment to Paris is what makes this book initially interesting to read. Anna suffers a number of embarrassing and accidental moments that left me smiling at how realistic a character she comes across. I can totally relate to falling over in front of a group of people or getting tongue-tied. For me, Anna as a character was very likable. She was neither too perfect nor too annoying which I think her character could have become. It was just lovely to have a light-humoured contemporary like this with a likeable, realistic protagonist!
You can't mention the characters without mentioning the ever-so-lovely St Clair. Perkins has obviously just wrote a list of what every girl could want in a guy - sensitive ('a painter, but he was troubled' - totally thought of the lines in the Cell Block Tango from Chicago there), handsome, plain lovely, funny and just loveable. Oh and did I mention he has a proper English accent (which for me means nothing but obviously for Americans, that's a winner)? He has family problems of his own which becomes more and more serious throughout reading the novel. He's very flirtatious so a lot of the time there's some humming and erring whether he likes Anna in the way she evidently likes him since he has a serious girlfriend. But what I liked about this is that isn't the main plot of the novel, there are so many other events that make up the book. As well as Meredith, Josh and Rashmi (who grew on me, I have to say), this novel hosts some of the best, most vivid, lively characters I have had the chance to read and I put down the novel feeling completely connected to the emotions of the cast of characters, I was happy for the way it turned out.

The writing was something that also stands out for me, as well as those characters. Perkins writes with a clarity that makes the prose sound and feel like a teenager like Anna is writing it. There's the angst that every teenager, and most contemporaries, have especially emphasised by Anna's use of capitals. Although the novel is really a stream of what Anna is thinking, it's interesting and lively in a way that it makes you want to keep reading. The ending I guess is inevitable but halfway through the novel, I had little of an idea how it would get to that point. I just loved the carefree atmosphere of the writing, the loveliness of the characters coming off the page and the amazing portrayal of the scenery of Paris that really brings the novel to life.

If I could criticise this book for two things, it would the ending and, nick-picking, Etienne St Clair. Talking about the latter, St Clair, for me an English person, was not English in the sense that I took him to be. What I mean is that I imagined this very proper English accent, pronouncing all the 't''s and using words such as 'lift', 'pavement', 'rubbish' in an environment of Americans. However, although to begin with this did happen, on a couple of occasions, St Clair did not come across as properly English. That may just be me and my own Englishness but by the end of the novel, he was American to me.
The main thing, however, I criticise this book for was the ending. The majority of this novel I loved the events and the characters and I truthfully did not want the novel to end too soon. However (and I know I'm not the only one), the ending became a little bit too feeble and repetitive for me. Without revealing too much for those that haven't read this book, something keeps happening to Anna and it just made the ending a little, I guess, boring. The teenage angst is also intensified a little too much with Anna just seeming way too angry. Like I saw in one review on Goodreads, the book could have ended a little bit sooner for me.

Despite the ending, the majority of this book was absolutely amazing, and a book in which I really, really enjoyed. Stephanie Perkins is definitely on my radar now for contemporary literature and I'll be trying to get my hands on her other books! If you love Paris, you should read this. The vividness of detail is so magical that I felt like I was in Paris again. Although I had my doubts on the title and cover, this book soon makes up for that and I'm thoroughly glad I finally picked this book up!

I give it a 4.5 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 372
Publisher: Dutton
Challenges: None

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Quick Note: I've Been Interviewed!

In case you didn't know, Lucy over at the newly named Queen of Contemporary asked to interview me for her blog which I accepted!
Check out the interview here, with me talking about historical fiction, books and some tips I've picked up in blogging for THREE YEARS (can you believe it?!).
Leave a comment telling us what you think and have a look at Lucy's blog, she's becoming one of my favourite bloggers out there. So, go, look!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Confessions of an Angry Girl - Louise Rozett (#1)

I liked the sound of this from the moment I read the synopsis - a contemporary that portrayed high school/secondary school in a way that I can relate to thrown in with some cat fights, deceit, romance and betrayal - perfect little read.
On the cover, I love this cover, especially the utter simplicity of it. For those that have read the book, it makes sense like the necklace and I love that aspect of some covers. On another note, I dislike the font on the UK cover. It's the same photograph but the font just clashes and contrasts horribly in my opinion with the simplicity and elegance of this cover (have a look here). Meh, do not like it.

Synopsis: Meet fourteen year-old Rose Zarelli. She's a word-geek, or geek in general. She has the total of two friends. Starting high-school. Her father died a few months ago. Oh and she's really really angry...

Review: I read this book in a record (for me) two days. I was off ill with a really terrible cold so was confined to my bed and read for THE WHOLE DAY. Literally, I only got up for toilet breaks and lunch.

My first impression when starting Confessions of an Angry Girl was that Rose didn't seem angry to me at all. She seemed like any teenager in that she hated high school but she didn't seem angry about everything as the blurb led me to believe. The novel follows Rose's antics throughout her freshman year at high-school (or Year 10 to English folk) which involves getting over her father's sudden death, having no maternal support or brotherly support for that matter, her best friend wanting a career in popularity rather than friendship, the affections of an older, attractive and um, taken guy. Oh and making enemies with the queen bees of the high-school, the cheerleading team most of all Regina (yes, her name IS Regina like Mean Girls Regina. BUT SHE'S WORSE) who has some serious vendetta against Rose after the suspicion that Rose and said older, attractive and taken guy are having a thing. This guy, Jamie Forta, is Regina's boyfriend...
For me, it wasn't until the rivalry developed between Rose and Regina with the addition of the lovely yet too fragile Jamie that actually the anger Rose has is expressed. So after like halfway through the book, the ANGER ARRIVES BIG TIME.

If you were meeting Rose in person, her reserved and quiet self would never show this angry girl that Rozett is trying to convey. However, through Rose's strong, feisty narrative voice, the raw emotion of her fury is very clear and it is this that I think improves Rose's character to a strong lead. In short, I did find her a little weedy at times on the surface until her anger came apparent. The emotion and annoyance in her voice has been remarkably shown in a way that I only realise upon finishing this novel.
Rose is your real, troubled teen and I felt very connected with her as she realistically goes through the peril and confusion of her teenage years. I understood her confusion towards the whole idea of sex and love, her attitudes towards drinking and just her cynicalism of the social ethics of a high-school/secondary school for teenagers nowadays. Rose may not be the most likeable protagonist, but she is one of the most realistic.
I really liked her feistiness and cynicalism that reminded me a little of Kat in 10 Things I Hate About You, she acts as a feminist for the teenage generation (and being a slight feminist myself, I was definitely pro-Rose). My only problem with Rose was that she felt too young to be 14 in the plot. That may be the point but I felt she should have been a little older to experience the things that happen to her. She acted much younger than a 14 year-old to me too, perhaps I was just a mature 14 year-old (that was like 4 years ago sooo I may have forgotten...). It just didn't seem to fit with her age for me.

Adding to the awesomeness of Rose, we have a bunch of hilarious, annoying and just plain lovely characters. I liked Jaime, his gentleness, sarcasm and the older tone to him I think worked well with the story. Angelo and Peter, her brother were some lovely additions to the story that kept it different and entertaining. Now onto the annoying. We all remember the boom of Mean Girls don't we? Meet Regina, the antagonist of Confessions of an Angry Girl (I personally think the name has been used on purpose). We remember the cattiness, rudeness and just plain stupidness of Regina from Mean Girls? AMPLIFY THAT BY LIKE 3 AND YOU HAVE THE OTHER REGINA. Oh my. She is scaaaaary, I would not like to be in Rose's shoes. And the annoying thing: she gets so hung about the fact she thinks Rose and Jaime are TOGETHER when she herself may not even be TOGETHER. She is pure evil.
And then we have Tracey who I have to say wins 'Worst Friend Ever' hands down. I liked the friction and the differences displayed throughout between Tracey and Rose but after a while when Rose goes through quite a lot, I felt Tracey just became this character that was constantly opposite with Rose. A friend that felt she needed to talk to Rose because she's known her so long. I think we all have at least one of those in our lives.

I did really enjoy reading this book, I enjoyed all the little secrets, the drama playing out and mostly the realism that Rozett displays through Rose that I think any teenager would be able to relate to. This is a perfect series as a survival guide to high-school/secondary school. I liked most aspects of the novel, the only one I really did not like was the ending. It is clear that Rozett is trying to end Confessions of an Angry Girl for the sequel in the series, but I did feel it was a little TOO open. Without revealing too much, there are a lot of loose ends that are yet to be tied up upon ending the book. There is still doubt between Rose and Jaime's relationship (which from the title of the next book I think will be cleared up) and ah Rose!

This is a lovely little find on your bookshelf to pass a sick day, like me, or boring, dreamy afternoon away that should keep you hooked with the plot and the interactions of the characters. I felt that the romance and ending could have been a little more developed but I hope that the next book will sort that out! So looking forward to getting my hands on a copy!

I give it a 4 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 272
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Challenges: None

Thank you to the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this through Netgalley.

The next book in the series, CONFESSIONS OF AN ALMOST-GIRLFRIEND is out July 2013

Monday, 7 January 2013

On My Bookshelf (32) - The CHRISTMAS and PARIS edition!

This meme for originally inspired by 'In My Mailbox' created by The Story Siren
Other versions are:
Letterbox Love created by Narratively Speaking
Stacking the Shelves created by Tynga's reviews
Showcase Sunday created by Books, Biscuits and Tea

Gifted for Christmas:

These are some of the highlights of my Christmas presents which I was most excited about (as well as a spotty hot water bottle, yes I am an old lady...). And those ARE penguin slipper socks.

- Downton Abbey Series 3 DVD - For American fans where series 3 is just starting, a LOT happens, both lovely and bad. Just, Branson. And Matthew. Oh and we can't forget Mary. I LOVE THIS PROGRAMME TOO MUCH.

- The Cat Returns DVD - A few weeks ago, two of my best friends and I discovered the world of anime movies, first with Howl's Moving Castle and then this - both of which I enjoyed much more than I thought I would. I know some people are a bit like 'Urgh, anime/manga', but I have to admit these movie was goood. And I love cats. And this is all about cats. So perfect combination! Try it, this film is so cute.

- The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern - Ah, The Night Circus (review). After borrowing a friend's copy and absolutely loving the design of the hardback she had, I decided to ask for my own for Christmas because it really is such a beautiful book on the outside and in the writing. Recommend to EVERYONE (literally, this is one of the only books I genuinely recommend at work)

- Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver - This was a little bit of a surprise when I opened my present from my best friend. I could feel it was a book through the wrapping paper but I was intrigued to know what book I'd accidentally slipped into conversation. And found this! I was surprised because I've never discussed this series or this author with her before. I liked Delirium (review), which I read in 2012 and Oliver's other book, Before I Fall (review) and was quite keen to get a copy of this to find out what happens to Lena next in the series.
As my friend said 'Buying presents helps when you publish your life on the internet'

Borrowed from Library:

Reached by Ally Condie - I literally only went into the library for a peek at what new books they had in as I haven't looked in ages and I didn't want to go home quite yet. When I did, I was faced with this book sitting on the table straight as I walked into the Young Adult area. I had to pick it up right?! I've read the first two books in this series, Matched (review) and Crossed (review) but I wasn't too impressed with Crossed being marginally better than the first. However, I want to know what happens to Cassia, Ky and Xander in the end, even if I have to struggle through a 500-odd page book to find out. Please Cassia choose Xander...

As those that follow me on Twitter know, I went to Paris last week in between Christmas and the New Year which was lovely. Before I went, my friend, who went to Paris last summer, told me about this amazing bookshop called Shakespeare and Company. A little intrigued by her words 'Just go there', I fully researched where it was in Paris, opening times etc. I'm not sure what I was expecting, a little second hand shop by the Notre Dame perhaps, but not what I was faced with.

So pretty!

Shakespeare and Company is a great mix of new and old books, with the shelves homing brand spanking new books ready to be read as well as donations that have been clearly been loved with the slight tear here, a break of the spine there. And so many shelves on every topic you can think of crammed into shop with piano playing constantly set slightly back from the main road by the Seine. There's a strange mixture of tourists and full-on book geeks (I was in between) as well as the mix of different languages from French and English to German and even Japanese. It's somewhere I didn't think existed if I'm honest, and a dream to visit for any book lover. While I was there, I, of course, HAD to purchase something.

I've always wanted to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I know the story from the films but it's always better to read the actual story. And it was in the old style Penguin covers which made me want this more. I was going to get a copy of Wuthering Heights for English, but the vintage copy I found was too nice to have to write and highlight to shreds. It was a lovely experience, just wandering around for an hour in there alone (my parents ditched me for a cup of coffee). They gave a little stamp in the book too so I don't forget where I brought it: 

Aaaaand I was reading Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins because well, it was just TOO appropriate  On the day I visited Shakespeare and Company, I went back to the hotel for some downtime before dinner and guess what cropped up in that book? 

Me too, Anna. Me too.

Friday, 4 January 2013

2013 Historical Fiction Challenge

I have participated in a challenge much like this for the last two years as I'm a big historical fiction fan. It's one of the genres I enjoy the most so it's nice to have something to encourage me to do just that.
The challenge, run by YA Bliss last year, doesn't seem to be continuing but after a quite Google search, I found this one run by Historical Tapestry so I decided to join it. If you would also like to join, click here.

Essentially there are 5 levels, depending on how many books you would like to read, and the challenge is to successfully beat or match that level in the next 12 months.
Last year, I read 15 historical fiction novels (which I'm a little bit surprised at) and considering the amount stress there is going to be in my personal life this year, I'm going for the Medieval level of 15 books. Let's see if I can match that!

To-read list:
A Company of Swans - Eva Ibbotson
Velvet - Mary Hooper
The Lucky Ones - Anna Godbersen
The Book Thief - Marcus Zusack
Changeling - Philippa Gregory

Books I have read:

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Create my Blogging Resolutions 2013

I did this last year and it proved to be successful in telling me a little bit about what people actually thought of the way I ran my blog. Sometimes I think owners of blogs can kind of glaze over what their blog is like for their readers because it's really how THEY want a blog to be run.

I would truly appreciate it if you could fill the form below in as truthfully as possible. It would really help me in looking at what I need to do this year on the blog. And also make it better for you!

I have made the form anonymous because I think people are more truthful then. If you do want me to know who you are at the end of the form, just put your name and any links in the last box before the finish.

Thank you so much and I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say!

(The results will be posted later in the month)