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Book Review: Reached

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Reached by Ally Condie (Matched #3) – Paperback, 512 pages – Published November 30th 2012 by Penguin

So Reached is the final novel in the Matched series, written by Ally Condie. It’s by far the longest of the three, which can be a little off-putting to some readers. However, I managed to get through it all and enjoyed it a lot!

In this novel, the Rising finally comes into power, overtaking the Society. Cassia, Ky and Xander each play their individual parts, whilst trying to find one another again.

The Plague, designed for the Enemy, infiltrates the water of the Society, leaving thousands of people still. The Rising has a cure, and quickly gets to work curing everybody. Until an unexpected mutation develops, leaving people uncurable and even dead.

The three young people are finally reunited when the Pilot, leader of the Rising, gathers them together to begin creating a cure for this new Plague. But will they do it in time?

I’ve actually really enjoyed this trilogy. I know some people aren’t so keen on it, and I wasn’t sure how interesting this last book would be. I expected it to be a bit dragged on as it’s so long, but I didn’t find myself bored whilst reading it at all.

The love triangle between Cassia, Ky and Xander is finally brought to an end at the end of this novel. It’s nice how everyone ends up happy, and although they separate again everything is good.

They all play very important roles throughout the Rising’s takeover, and the hunt for the new cure. The book is written alternately from each main character’s point of view, giving us an insight on everything that’s happening with each person.

Condie seems to have a very unique writing style. It’s very to-the-point, yet expressive and romantic. I really like her writing, and I applaud her for writing such a long book without losing the interest of the readers.

So basically I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It’s a nice conclusion to the trilogy, leaving room for the imagination after the last page. Everything sort of works itself out, and although there are tons of losses and problems, the characters all find a sense of peace at last. 4 stars!

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Book Review: Mostly Harmless

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Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #5) – Paperback, 230 pages – Published September 1st 2009 by Pan Books

Mostly Harmless is the final book in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. It was originally mean to consist of only three books, but ended up far longer.

In typical Hitchhiker fashion, the plot is a bit all over the place. Everything cleverly fits together, and everything that happens is so absurdly peculiar that you can’t help but laugh.

Some things in this book are a bit hard to follow, but the gist is generally pretty easy to catch. As there isn’t a single plot exactly, I’ll try to summarise some of the main happenings in the novel.

Okay, so Earth had been demolished, Trillian was gone, and Arthur was in love with Fenchurch. But Fenchurch disappeared – literally, disappeared – and Tricia McMillan was back on Earth. It turns out that aliens are rather fond of astronomy, and Earth sometimes appears on the probability timeline, and sometimes doesn’t. During one of these times, Arthur ends up on a strange planet named NowWhat in the place where Earth should be.

It’s thanks to the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash – which is a lot more complicated than we ever believed parallel universes to be. On his travels, Arthur visits a village of oracles and becomes the Sandwich Maker in a small settlement on a peculiar planet, supposedly ruled by Bob. Everything was going swimmingly for him, until his daughter – yes, Arthur’s daughter – turns up, followed by a peculiar parcel from Ford.

Meanwhile, Ford himself had discovered that the Vogons had taken over the Guide, and created a strange new sequel. He jumped out of a window twice, lost a very expensive shoe, and then lost his ship to Arthur’s daughter after she threw a sharp stone at him. Basically, things weren’t going quite so well for Ford Prefect.

All the little ideas in this book are great – original, exciting, funny. Everything that makes the series so popular. None of these books have a straight-forward storyline, and that’s sort of what makes them so unique. Of course, the sequels are rarely as good as the first book, and this is no exception. However, I do believe this book has more of an interesting, easy-to-read vibe going on than the previous one.

Again, there’s no romance in this (yay!) and absolutely everything is completely unexpected. The Vogons have returned, but we still haven’t had any sign of Zaphod, or even Marvin. Kind of disappointing, as Zaphod was a real fantastic character! For most of the book, I’d give 3.5 stars, but in the end it managed to work it’s way to 4.

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Book Review: So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

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So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy #4) – Paperback, 167 pages – Published October 1st 2009 by Pan Books

This is the fourth book in Douglas Adam’s infamous The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. As is always the case, the first couple of books are definitely the best, but I always have to read the whole series after I start!

So in this book, Arthur Dent returns to Earth alone – amazed to find that is hasn’t, in fact, been demolished. Here he find Fenchurch, a girl who found a piece of knowledge suddenly when the Earth was supposedly destroyed, only to lose it again soon after. In order to discover the truth of the situation, Fenchurch and Arthur go to the Asylum in California – a peculiar inside-out house belonging to John Watson (or Wonko the Sane) and his wife Arcane Jane.

All three people have an identical silvery glass bowl, engraved with a final message from the dolphins before they disappear.

Ford Prefect soon joins Arthur and Fenchurch, and together they all hitch a ride on a flying saucer belonging to a large robot, leaving planet Earth after discovering all their lizards are retired. They head to the mountains of Quentulus Quazgar, where God’s Final Message to His Creation stands, hoping this will help Fenchurch’s missing memory situation. While trekking across the Great Red Plain of Rars Ford and Arthur are reunited with a familiar old robot, who seems to have nothing better to do than complain about life…

This is really quite a short book, with only 167 pages including the epilogue. It also doesn’t have such a clear, exciting plot as the first three books. There is also a bit of romance in this novel (that takes place in the clouds above London), and I can’t say I’m particularly fond of this. I mean, I don’t mind it, but is it really relevant?

The details are still Douglas’s strong point in my opinion. Take Wonko the Sane, for example. His house is designed to be outside on the inside, as he believes the rest of the world has gone insane and that the whole planet is practically an asylum. Hence, the only escape is his home – Outside the Asylum.

Arthur and Ford, the main original characters, are still fantastic. Their pointless comments and conversations, their quirky personalities, their odd lives are all very prominent still. Ford returns to Earth with a terrible case of space-lag, making it hard for him to keep his train of thought. And Arthur… Well, life doesn’t tend to go to plan for him very often. He repeatedly meets the grumpy Rain God, and even loses Fenchurch’s phone number she’s written on the back of his raffle ticket. Poor Arthur.

I really do like this series, and I’m about to start reading the next book (Mostly Harmless) in a matter of minutes. The previous book, Life, the Universe and Everything, is where the series began to deteriorate. This book certainly isn’t as good as the first one, so I’m going to have to give it just 3.5 stars. Still a good book, but not up to the standards the series started with!

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Book Review: Everblue

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Everblue by Brenda Pandos – eBook, 305 pages – Published July 29th 2011 by Obsidian Mountain Publishing

Ah, who doesn’t love a good mermaid story?

I started reading this a while ago, but never got to the end. This time I actually finished it, and am about to start the sequel, Evergreen.

Basically, Ashlyn’s best friend, Tatiana, is a mermaid. Her whole family are mer, including her twin brother Finley, Ash’s long-term crush. Their father guards the Lake Tahoe gate to Natatoria, the underwater land of the mer.

When their dad is requested for a mission, the twins and their mother are stuck in Natatoria. Meanwhile, Ash is getting close to the most popular guy at school, while worrying herself to death about her friends’ disappearance.

Fin sneaks out of the gate without permission, witnessing Ashlyn falling off a boat and injuring herself. The only way to save her would require the life-long joining of their souls. As punishment, Fin is thrown in an underwater prison, until Tatchi breaks him out and the pair escape Natatoria together. Again, they are captured – only this time, their punishment is to be promised. For mer, a promising is more powerful than marriage. But Fin is already promised to Ash, and he refuses to allow Tatch to be promised to someone she loathes so much.

Their father returns to break them out of Natatoria for good, but for Tatch he’s too late. The family flees without her, blocking up the gate in Tahoe. For a while, Fin and Ash finally get to be together, until the family receives word of mermen heading their way.

I’m really not a romance person, especially not cheesy romance. I do love a good mermaid book, and the way this is about a human girl and a merman (as opposed to the other way round) is refreshing. But it’s just a bit too lovey-dovey for me, and rather predictable.

Ashlyn herself seems to overreact rather a lot, and a lot of her “serious” problems are pretty, well, stupid. To be fair, I know of a few teens that would react in a similar manner, but they are not the kind of people I want to be around. So basically, Ash got on my nerves a bit throughout this book.

Natatoria is nicely developed, and the story behind the king and his son’s love for Tatch is a good detail. It’s not an ordinary mermaid book, but still has a nice hint of magic and mystery.

It’s a relatively easy read, but a bit too cheesy for my taste. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it. 3 stars for Everblue.

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Book Review: Unhinged

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Unhinged by A.G. Howard – Paperback, 387 pages – Published December 17th 2013 by Scholastic Australia

Ah, the cliffhanger!

As you probably know, I am completely infatuated with anything Wonderland, hence my love for A.G. Howard’s Splintered series. At first, I didn’t know there were more books – I just thought Splintered was a lone novel. Imagine my joy when my dad bought the whole series!

So following Alyssa’s adventure down the rabbit hole last summer, Unhinged follows the netherling queen through her day-to-day human life. As she vowed last summer, she hasn’t used a single insect in her artwork – in fact, her mosaics are now being created out of her own blood. Thanks to her crown magic, these pieces feature images from the future, but Alyssa doesn’t know their true importance quite yet.

I don’t want to give too much of the story away, but Morpheus arrives in the human realm – and he isn’t alone. As the queen of the Red court, Alyssa must save Wonderland – and defeat Red. It doesn’t sound easy, and yet it still proves easier said than done.

Worst of all, it isn’t just Wonderland that is now in danger. The whole of the human realm is now at risk, thanks to the netherlings that have left the rabbit hole. Alyssa’s boyfriend goes missing, and her mother’s secrets begin to emerge, giving a new depth to Alyssa’s problems.

I really do love this series. The Wonderland vibe has really been captured, with all its great eccentricity intact. Every little twist on the classic novel is fantastic, and every character is so wonderfully unique.

Expanding on my point about the characters, I am even more in love with Morpheus than I was at the end of the first book. His mixed emotions continue throughout the book, but there are some lovely insights into his true feelings. There is such a great depth to Morpheus’s character! Alyssa realises that too, and her own feelings begin to surface more after she is told of Ivory’s vision.

Jeb is clearly very fond of Alyssa, but he’s caught up in his own little situation with his artwork. This leads to a little bit of trouble… But once he has his memories of Wonderland back, Jeb is back to being overly protective of his girlfriend. He’s as defensive in this sequel as he was in the first book.

And Alyssa. Ah, Alyssa… She’s finally accepted her mad side. She’s accepted herself for all that she is, and although she faces a few rough patches, this acceptance helps her through her battle. But as much magic as Alyssa uses, there’s nothing she can do to change the fate of her friends and family…

The ending was superb. Like last time, I just want to read on! I wasn’t expecting Alison, Morpheus and Jeb to all get taken away, and I was certainly not expecting Alyssa to end up in her mother’s shoes – or rather, her straitjacket.

As expected, this book joins Splintered in my favourites list. It’s wonderfully weird, even without Alyssa falling down the rabbit hole. The characters are fantastic, and each netherling is so unique and crazy and great. 5 stars for this, of course!

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Soundtrack to My Life Book Tag

ssssssssWatch the original video here!

A huge thanks to PerfectioninBooks for tagging me to take part in this tag. It looks so fun! Her post is here.

Opening Credits: Favourite Childhood Book

I can’t say I have a particular favourite, but these are a few that I really loved over the years:

Waking Up: A Book That Got You Out of a Reading Slump

Definitely the Divergent series. I had only been reading a couple of books here and there for a while until I read this series and decided to head back down to the library.

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School: A Book You Read for School and Ended Up Loving

I didn’t love this book, but I remember really enjoying it and have actually recently purchased a copy so I can read it again.

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Falling in Love: An Author You Love So Much You Want to Read All Their Books

Hmmm… I really do like Kathy Reichs at the moment. Her Virals series was just awesome, and I’ve asked for her other books for Christmas!

Fight: Book with the Best Action Sequences

I can’t say anything really stands out to me for this one, but these two are probably as close as it gets.

Break Up: A Book or Series You Did Not and Do Not Intend to Finish

Sorry, but I just couldn’t quite get into these.

Hanging With Friends: Book You Think Everyone Else Should Read

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Breakdown: Book That Seriously Affected You/Had You Crying Your Eyes Out

I’m not really a huge crier, but this brought me pretty close to tears at times.

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Roadtrip: Your Favourite Series (More Than 3 Books)

Flashback: Your Favourite Book From 5 Years Ago

I think that would be around about the time I discovered these beauties. (I went on to follow each series and still love them now.)

Getting Back Together: What Book Can You Not Stop Rereading?

There’s a few… I think I’m just going to have to say both these series again.

Wedding: A Book That is Really Special to You

Moment of Triumph: Longest Book You’ve Ever Read

I know, it’s not even that long… Embarrassing…

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Death Scene: Book or Series You Wish Had Ended Differently

As far as I remember, I really loved this series. And although the ending wasn’t bad, it just really upset me. Everything was just so different… I missed the good ol’ days of the first book!

Funeral: Book with the Best or Worst Epilogue

I’m afraid nothing comes to mind right now. I’m sure there are tons of great ones I’ve read, I just find it hard to remember each one!

End Credits: Who Do You Tag?

If you’ve already been tagged, then I apologise! Also, I know I kinda cheated a couple times by adding multiple answers… Sorry!

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Book Review: Splintered

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Splintered by A.G. Howard (Splintered #1) – Paperback, 377 pages – Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books

I first read this book earlier this year, and loved it so much that I went and ordered the whole series.

Look at that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?! I absolutely adore it, along with everything else about this book. The purple font, the pattern at each chapter’s start, absolutely everything. It’s easily one of my favourite books, and I am dying to read the rest of the series!

Splintered is basically a modern, punky twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland.  I’m in love with everything to do with Carroll’s novel – I’ve even seen Alice Lidell’s grave, and am thinking of basing my bedroom on the novel – so when I saw this book in the library I just had to read it.

Alyssa is an almost-normal teenage girl. She’s a descendant of Alice from Lewis Carroll’s book, with a mother who’s trapped in a mental asylum. Her dad provides sporting gear for the inside skate park where Alyssa spends most of her free time, Underland. Her closest friend, Jebediah, also happens to work there. Oh, and Jeb’s girlfriend is the daughter of Underland’s owner (not to mention a major bitch).

For years, Alyssa has been able to hear the voices of bugs and plants around her. Afraid of suffering the same fate as her mother Alison, she’s kept this ability to herself, silencing the insects with death and using them in her artwork.

But one day she puts the pieces together, and realises that Alison isn’t all that insane after all. With a little help from her moth-like friend, Alyssa finds her way through the mirror and down the rabbit hole.

The tasks she completes with Jeb are just as eccentric as Carroll’s fairytale, with dark and strange twists on his characters and ideas. Zombie flowers, Rabid White, the octobenus, and, of course, Morpheus. Battling her mixed emotions, Alyssa is determined to do anything it takes to help her mother.

Little does she know, Morpheus is actually setting her up for the role of queen, not helping her escape Wonderland at all. Her final hope is her wish – a solidified tear given to her by a powerful netherling creature – but when she sees who freed Queen Ivory from the eternal imprisonment of the jabberlock box (therefore suffering that fate themselves) she is forced to rethink her plan.

I simply love this book. Alyssa is such a strong, funky character, and both guys are so different. Morpheus is full of tricks and deceives Alyssa on more than one occasion, but she still can’t let go of the admiration she’s held since the childhood they shared in her dreams. As for Jeb, Alyssa just can’t rid herself of her emotions toward him. He’s a sort of grunge/punk figure, who’s incredibly protective of his friend. When he finally admits his feelings for her, Alyssa can’t help but think of the girlfriend he’s left behind in the human realm.

Everything about this book is just so unique and quirky. Chessie, Rabid White, Grenadine, Ivory, the Twid sisters, Morpheus… Despite all the dangers Wonderland holds, I honestly want to go there even more since I read this boits,

I found this book so easy to read both times, and am simply in love with it. It’s funky, it’s full of amazing descriptions and imagery, and it’s a wonderful tribute to a fantastic novel. An easy 5 stars. I am so excited to read the rest of the series, it’s unbelievable!

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Book Review: The One

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The One by Kiera Cass (Selection #3) – Paperback, 323 pages – Published June 5th 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The One is the third book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass, following The Selection and The Elite.

Again, it tells the story of America Singer, an Elite, and Maxon Schreave, the heir to the throne.

On top of the Selection, the inhabitants of the palace also have to face the Northern and Southern rebels. One group is harmless, but the other… wants the royal family gone.

America isn’t the king’s favourite girl in the Selection, but once the people of Illéa catch a glimpse of her fighting spirit, they soon fall in love with her. Little do they know, she’s joining forces with the rebels, and little does she know that it runs in the family.

Although I’m not much into romance novels, I really do enjoy this series. I find each book so easy to read, and I love all the different aspects thrown in. The only thing about The One is that there are so many deaths, and they seem almost rushed. The first few tragedies are really touching, but then the crisis at the end – and the loss of such massive members of the royal family – just didn’t have as much detail and emotion as I would have expected.

I’m not going to lie, I also got a bit tired of Maxon and America’s constant fall-outs and arguments. Yes, it added another dimension to the story, but it was essentially just the same thing over and over.

America also has a moment of total desperation in this book, where she just goes way too over the top trying to win Maxon over. I just didn’t like it. But the relationship that developed amongst the Elite was nice, though I doubt it would happen quite so smoothly in real life. If a bunch of girls were fighting over a guy, let alone a prince, I’m pretty sure it would involve a little more bickering, even at the end.

Anyway, I did like this book, and it might actually be my favourite out of this series. I flew through it with no trouble, and can forgive the faults I found. Like the rest of this series, I’m giving The One 4 stars. I hope to read the next book, The Heir, soon!

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Book Review: Doon

Doon by Carey Corp - eBook, 334 pages - Published August 20th 2013 by Blink (Zondervan)

Doon by Carey Corp – eBook, 334 pages – Published August 20th 2013 by Blink (Zondervan)

II review for BookLook Bloggers received an ebook copy of Doon by Carey Corp from BookLook Bloggers, in return for my personal and honest opinion.

Veronica lives in Indiana with her mother. Her father left, her mother barely acknowledges her existence, her best friend moved to Scotland and now her boyfriend’s gone off with another girl. And to top it all off, she’s now delusional – or so she assumes, when a gorgeous Scottish boy begins appearing to her at random.

Vee’s best friend, Mackenna, invites her to stay in Alloway for the summer. Vee’s looking forward to the escape, but even she couldn’t anticipate the amazing events that would take place.

Kenna discovers some of her deceased aunt’s belongings, including two beautiful rings and an old diary. To Vee, these are the link between Alloway and the land of her dreams.

Together, the girls venture into a mystical land, frozen in time. They’re accused of helping the witch and thrown in the dungeon, before being removed by the younger prince of Doon, Duncan.

Veronica’s dream boy happens to be the heir to the crown; Prince Jamie. But things don’t go as smoothly as she hoped. First of all, he seems to absolute despise her. And secondly, Vee discovers his relationship with the gorgeous Sofia Rosetti. Ouch.

However, things are going rather well for Vee and Duncan, as well as Fiona and Fergus. But Vee refuses to fall in love with the prince, as she knows she will have to eventually return to her own land to fulfil her dreams.

It turns out that the witches magic has, in fact, found its way inside the kingdom. Veronica figures out the cause, and risks everything to fix it – feeling responsible for the problems caused.

Eventually, the witch is defeated. But now Mackenna has an important decision to make: Doon or Alloway?

This novel is extremely fantastical, like an old fairytale with a modern twist. It contains three romances, which was a little too many in my opinion. And the plot was rather complicated, and I did feel a bit lost in it sometimes.

The writing style is very in depth, perhaps too much so in fact. Especially at the beginning, the book just seemed a bit dragged on, and I got rather bored. It took me a very long time to get toward the end of the book. Although description is certainly important, I sometimes found that the author seemed to be trying a little too hard.

Doon is a modernised fairytale, full of romance and suspense. It’s a bit cheesy, a bit complicated, but still good. 3 stars!

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Book Review: The Elite

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Selection #2) - Paperback, 326 pages - Published April 23rd 2013 by Harpercollins Childrens Books

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Selection #2) – Paperback, 326 pages – Published April 23rd 2013 by Harpercollins Childrens Books

The Elite is the second book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass. It follows the progress of the Selection’s participant America Singer, and her struggles within the palace.

First of all, I’d like to say that this book was actually a lot better than I had originally expected it to be. I’m not much into romances, and the main plot of this is relatively predictable, but there are definitely some unique aspects. Honestly, the situation with Marlee was just… awful. But in a good way. I mean, it was written wonderfully, and it made me really angry. But Maxon managed to bring it around so well, in a way that I really wasn’t expecting (and neither was America!).

As for the king’s reaction… I really wasn’t expecting that either. I think it really brings some depth to Maxon’s character, and some suspense to America’s fight within the contest.

One thing I’m not so sure about is the way America just decides to accept the way Maxon flirts with the other girls. I understand that he has to have a back-up in case things don’t work out with his first choice, but I would not be as calm as her about it. She does get a little upset by it, but I just feel like Maxon’s just that bit shallower thanks to his relationships with the other girls.

America continues to be a strong character, and as defiant as ever. But something about her was missing in this sequel. I’m not sure, perhaps she seemed a little less passionate in this book or something. Something with her just didn’t seem quite right.

Anyway, I did enjoy this book. There’s a decent amount of action with the rebel attacks, and a fair amount of romance (if you’re into that kinda thing). Some parts were a bit rushed in my opinion, but there were multiple unexpected, unique parts too. I think The Elite just about deserves 4 stars.

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