Sunday, May 31, 2015

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden, Book One
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Published Date: 22 March 2011
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children.

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape - before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?
(summary from Goodreads)

Though filled with lovely prose and having a compelling world, Wither left no lasting impact.

I wanted so much to love this book. The cover is gorgeous and it's been sitting on my self for longer than I'd like to admit. There's always been something about it that held me back. Until now, when I finally pushed myself to read it. I had no major expectations other than simply hoping I enjoyed it, but unfortunately not even that was met. Wither starts strong, throwing you into a heart-pounding situation, giving you history as it goes, and ensuring you feel a desperate sort of chaos. But after all that I kept waiting for Wither to go somewhere amazing and kept being severely disappointed. We get to know characters, learn more about this world, see relationships form, sure, but it just kept feeling like DeStefano was building towards something that simply never occurred. I felt like nothing happened throughout this book. I get that as the first in a series Wither is a sort of introduction, but this is too much. I never became fully invested in this novel, not in its characters or its story.

DeStefano has some beautiful writing. Her descriptions are quite stunning and played on my imagination. But that's the nicest thing I can find to say. Because while the prose is pretty, there's no substance. I just could not shake the sense that Wither was lacking. I never felt that sense of "YES", never felt swept away, as such writing should have been able to do. Rhine is a smart character and has such rebellious thoughts, but her acting on anything is few and far between. She keeps oscillating between everything! Will she stay or go? Does she like Linden or not? Should she form a bond with her sister wives or not? Will she act on finding her brother or not? Rhine spends so much time trying to actually make a decision that it's frustrating, and a big part of why this book doesn't work for me. The only thing she's ever sure of is that she distrusts and hates Linden's father, and in that we agree. But even this - so many allusions to horrifying acts and dreadful truths, but no follow through.

Likewise, Rhine's relationships with Linden and Gabriel feel like shells. Linden is too idiotic in his obliviousness to be taken seriously as a character let alone as a legitimate love interest. Gabriel I was absolutely prepared to get behind, but then he disappears for most of the rest of the book...and yet I'm meant to believe in the true emotional bond between him and Rhine? Yeah, no. This is just more trying to develop something that ultimately goes nowhere. What I did like about Wither, for the most part, is Rhine's relationship with Jenna and Cecily. I liked Jenna. There was an authenticity to her that was practically the only thing that resonated throughout this book. I kind of only tolerated Cecily. She's certainly a bright spark, but too often her attitude annoyed me. It was nice to see the bond these girls formed, in spite of their situation. It still wasn't enough to save this book from a giant "meh", though.

It's terribly cheesy of me - but Wither lives up to its title. The longer it went on the more it withered.


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (52)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Share all of the bookish goodies you got during the week!

Despite visiting my favourite bookstore for the first time in a while I only found two new books. I'm both happy and disappointed!


The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
Althea & Oliver by Cristina Moracho


Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Pretty happy with my little haul this week! What did you get?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday: Number of TBR books

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers and have them meet you. Be sure to pop over and meet this week's featured bloggers!

How many books have you got on your TBR list?

Oh, Lord. The most terrifying question of all. Um. I'm too afraid to even try counting. There's a few. A lot. Yeah, it's in the hundreds, no doubt about it. I have nightmares about being buried alive under my ever growing TBR pile. Not really, but you get my drift.

Do you know how many books are on your TBR list? Are you happy to share the number? Or, if it scares you like me, let's comfort each other. Seriously, you will get them all read someday. I know it.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: 10 March 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.
(summary from Goodreads)

A character driven, tension filled novel, Vanishing Girls is hard to put down.

After reading that blurb, I had different expectations of Vanishing Girls, so I admit to being a little thrown once I got into the story. This was not quite the mystery I thought it'd be. Instead Oliver has delved into the nuances of a sibling relationship and dealing with tragedy. It's just as good as I'd originally hoped. The style of Vanishing Girls is spot on. With alternating point of view chapters from Nick and Dara, as well as shifts between now and the time before the accident, Oliver is able to offer bits and pieces, just enough to entice, and push us towards the big reveal. The twist is not the most original and it won't work for everyone. Part way through it hit me exactly what it was, and while at first I felt a tad disappointed, I still went on to really enjoy Vanishing Girls. I actually liked noticing the clues Oliver gives, to be honest. I'd be interested to know if maybe we're meant to figure out the truth before Nick does, because it becomes quite obvious as the novel continues. Personally, I think this adds to the gripping nature of the story - Nick's desperation builds and builds, and waiting for the inevitable moment it all comes to a head is heartracingly tense. Oliver brings all the loose threads together nicely to give a sense of closure, but I did have a moment of "that's it?" at the end. Vanishing Girls is definitely all about the build up. The aftermath? Not so much. 

The brilliance of Vanishing Girls lies in Oliver's characters and their relationships. Nick and Dara are thoroughly well developed and distinct characters. Their differences are so pronounced, from how they act, what they wear, how they see their place in the world, to how they view the accident. Their relationship defines this whole book - once so solid, and now broken. The sibling dynamic really shines. Certain things have more meaning and stronger reactions when it occurs between siblings and Vanishing Girls highlights this. Nick and Dara's relationship provides the emotion of the story, as you wonder desperately what actually happened and hope they can somehow repair not only their bond as sisters but their friendship. At times you will like each sister more than the other. Their edges are definitely catching. And in writing all of this, my awe for Oliver's work only grows. While the secondary characters are nowhere near the focus that Nick and Dara are, they each have their part and add that little extra to the story. Parker especially, caught in the middle as he is. I'm torn between comforting him and slapping him around for not knowing better. Here's a hint, boys - sisters are a no, no. 

While Vanishing Girls may not keep you guessing, Oliver's craftiness is still to be admired. The way it all plays out and works is masterful. There's a wounded quality to this book that stays with you.


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Waiting on Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

Please, please, please can I have...

Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stohl

Publisher: Marvel Press
Published Date: 13 October 2015
Pre-Order: Amazon | The Book Depository

Enter the world of Black Widow in this thrilling Marvel young adult novel, penned by #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl.

This novel features all the thrilling adventure readers will expect from the Marvel brand, backed up by the young-adult cred of #1 New York Times bestselling author Margaret Stohl. Uncover a new side of the Marvel Universe, accessible to old fans and new readers alike, as Stohl weaves an unforgettable story through the world of the Black Widow.
(summary from Goodreads)

Marvel has gone YA. With Black Widow. GIVE IT TO ME NOW! Seriously, I've had this one on my list for a while now, but as it finally has a cover, I can share it here! Yay! I am beyond excited for this one! 

Will you be adding this one to your TBR list? What are you waiting on?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they have a specific topic for a top ten list. Link up, visit some new blogs and add to your ever growing TBR list! This week's topic is:

Top Ten Books I Think Make Great Beach Read

Seeing as how we're going into winter here in Australia, I decided to do the other part of this week's topic. Summer for me is too far away to be thinking about anticipated reads!

I think of beach reads, I think of contemporary. These are the ones that came to mind, in no particular order. Plus Magonia because I am in love with it and it's an easy read, and Anna Dressed in Blood because I read it late at night in the dark...and no. Best to read it in the bright light of full sun.

What books made your list?

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: 28 April 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds... two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?
(summary from Goodreads)

Headley spins magic with every word. Soar with Aza and become a believer.

I have so much love for this book I honestly don't know how to put it into words. This is a favourite read of 2015 so far. Seriously, why is "Oh my god, I loved this book so, so much. Loved it, loved it, loved it! Read it now" not an appropriate review? Maybe on Twitter? I feel like everything I write is too inadequate to encompass just how amazing and spectacular I find this book.

Headley's writing style is simply gorgeous. I got so caught up in this book, never wanting to put it down. Even when I finished I wanted to just sit and stoke that pretty cover and wallow. So often Headley's prose left me breathless, which is perfect considering Aza and her situation. The beautiful descriptions, smart dialogue, and pure whimsy of Magonia is everything I didn't know I was hoping for. I had certain expectations, I guess, in waiting for and wanting this book for months, and they were completely blown away by everything Magonia is. Headley has created a unique world and infused it with such history that it grabs the imagination and makes you wonder. Everything about the Magonian's and the Rostrae is weaved in a way that keeps you wanting more. With ships that fly; people that are half human, half bird; political intrigue; and birds taking up residence in lungs, Magonia is a bundle of awe. I found myself honestly torn between wanting Aza to find a way back to the family she's always known, and to accept who she actually is and remain with the Magonians, because both worlds are lovely and moving in their own ways. There's true emotion and quirkiness to the human world, and such marvel to that of Magonia. Each is impossible to resist. 

Every character of Magonia is a bright and fascinating addition to a stellar story. Aza is sass personified, sarcastic and clever. She doesn't always act on her instincts and is sometime slow on the uptake, but she makes up for it with sheer personality. Likewise, Jason is smart and funny, vulnerable and determined. He is willing to act and I love him to pieces. Aza and Jason's friendship and blooming romance is one to squee over. I have as much love for Aza's family and Jason's Mums. Their love, loyalty and acceptance is so very touching. As the novel is told from Aza and Jason's point of views, I don't feel we truly get to know the Magonians, but I have hope for the next book. As it stands, there's enough to intrigue. Dai, Zal, Wedda, Jik, Milekt and Caru have so much more to offer and I want it all right now.

Magonia is an enchanting story. You'll never look at the sky or a storm the same way again. I {     } this book more than [[[{{{((       ))}}}]]]. Excuse me, I'm off to flail again. 


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Review: Modern Monsters by Kelley York

Title: Modern Monsters
Author: Kelley York
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Published Date: 2 June 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

I received this book through NetGalley from Entangled Teen for review.

Vic Howard never wanted to go to the party. He’s the Invisible Guy at school, a special kind of hell for quiet, nice guys. But because his best friend is as popular as Vic is ignored, he went…

And wished he hadn’t.

Because something happened to a girl that night. Something terrible, unimaginable, and Callie Wheeler’s life will never be the same. Plus, now Callie has told the police that Vic is responsible. Suddenly, Invisible Vic is painfully visible, on trial both literally, with the police, and figuratively, with the angry kids at school. As the whispers and violence escalate, he becomes determined to clear his name, even if it means an uneasy alliance with Callie's best friend, the beautiful but aloof Autumn Dixon.

But as Autumn and Vic slowly peel back the layers of what happened at the party, they realize that while the truth can set Vic free, it can also shatter everything he thought he knew about his life…
(summary from Goodreads)

Modern Monsters is one of those books you're not likely to forget anytime soon.

I'm not sure where to even begin with this review. Modern Monsters is the type of book that is fantastic, and I want to rave about it, emphasise that I quite loved it. But on the other hand, it's a book with such hard hitting and thought provoking topics, topics that will not be for everyone, even too much for some, that I feel the need to reign in my gushing to make that clear. I'm not even sure if that actually makes sense. So yes, having a hard time hitting a starting point here. The think to be said is that York writes these tough topics - rape, its aftermath, suicide - with such thoughtfulness. These aren't just elements of a story, but evoke awareness of a serious issue. For Modern Monsters, it's the act of wrongly accusing someone, of how that affects not just the person accused, but society as a whole. York aims to highlight how quick a community and the media are to ostacise without actual evidence, and she succeeds. You can't read this book without thinking when you've read something in the paper, or on the net, saw something on the news, or even heard about it through gossip and made a snap judgement. By the end of Modern Monsters, you'll be promising yourself you'll never do it again. Modern Monsters will likely come to mind at times like that though, as this is a story not easily brushed aside. It'll get under your skin.

I started Modern Monsters late at night, and got so hooked I just had to stay up until past 2am to finish it. I could not put it down. York certainly knows how to push my buttons and provoke all of my emotions. Often I was brought to tears, to anger, to disgust, and I was always, always worried about how Modern Monsters would end, terrified about what would happen to Vic. York's characters make this book, no doubt about it. I adored Vic and felt for him from beginning to end. I've never read a book like this, not from the point of view of the victim or someone close to them, but from the point of view of the person wrongly accused. It's unique. It's especially hard when that someone is Vic, so nice and truly good, but quiet and shy, a little unsociable, unable to stand up for himself. It's powerful. Added to Vic is Autumn, who is all sorts of awesome. As Callie, the rape victim's, best friend, she's ready and able to kick ass but is also willing to take a step back and see the truth. Modern Monsters is all the more heartfelt for its not just being a book about rape, but about people and their relationships in the worst of times. The friendship and romance that develops between Vic and Autumn is a bright spot. As is the tentative friendship he forms with Callie. Modern Monsters is not at all what I was expecting, and Callie, her strength and her goodness is a truly unexpected inspiration. There's so much more - Vic's relationships with his mother and his best friend, Brett; the truth that is inevitably revealed and how; the people willing to bury the secret; it's all emotional and so very well done. Your heart will race, ache, break, and be stitched back together.

I will say, my one gripe about Modern Monsters is the number of coincidences, especially concerning Vic, his mother, and the truth about his father. It certainly adds another layer to Modern Monsters, ensuring the story is that much more tragic and compelling, but I can't help but wonder at the chances. That's not to say it isn't as well done as the rest of the story, because it really is. But it has just enough unbelievability to it that it doesn't resonate with me as much.

York has crafted a story that is relevant, full of heart, and both truly haunting and beautiful. 


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (51)

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Share all of the bookish goodies you got during the week!

No money spent this week, woo! I doubt I'll be able to say the same next week though as I'm off to my favourite bookstore on Monday.


Night Owls by Jenn Bennett
Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry


A Court of Thorns and Roses metal bookmark and temporary tattoo, with huge thanks to Bloomsbury!

What new bookish goodies have you added to your shelves?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday: How I Write Reviews

Feature & Follow Friday is hosted by Rachel over at Parajunkee's View and Alison of Alison Can Read. This is a chance to get to know fellow book bloggers and have them meet you. Be sure to pop over and meet this week's featured bloggers!

How do you write your reviews?

Well, I usually always scribble out my reviews in a notebook first. Sounds time consuming, I know, but it's how I've always written anything. I think better putting pen to paper, as I can see what I've crossed out still and continue from there rather than restarting after deleting. If that makes sense. In my reviews I try to comment on what I liked the most, what I disliked, the general feeling of the book, the writing style, the characters, and their relationships. I do my best to just let it flow, not to overthink it. I'm very critical of myself, so I'm never truly happy with my reviews. I think they all sound alike and that I use the same words to describe everything over and over again. But last time I tried book blogging, putting too much pressure on myself took all the fun out of it, so I've learned from that - mostly! - and now just let it be. I find that I struggle the most writing reviews for books rated 2.5 to 3.5 stars. If I really didn't like a book there's heaps to explain why, and if I really loved it, it's so easy to gush about it. Saying 'it's okay' with more than those two words is harder for me, it would seem.

Do you have a certain way of writing your reviews? Please share in the comments. Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review: Kissing in America by Margo Rabb

Title: Kissing in America
Author: Margo Rabb
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published Date: 26 May 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

I received this book through NetGalley from Penguin Teen Australia for review.

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms.
(summary from Goodreads)

At it's heart, Kissing in America is a beautiful story of loss, of friendship, and of the intricacies of love, but it suffers from a naive protagonist and misconstrued expectations.

The misconstrued expectations is mostly my fault. I had it in my head that this book was a romance, and while in a sense it has romance elements, not in any way I was expecting - or hoping for. The romance is pretty much that Eva is obsessed with romance novels and fantasises about overly exaggerated romantic encounters. Not hard to see why, considering the books she's reading. In all my years loving romance novels even I haven't read anything quite as bad as Eva! For a book titled Kissing in America I was certainly expecting more actual kissing to be involved, that's for sure. I admit to having mixed emotions regarding this book. If I hadn't gone in with these expectations, I would've loved it a lot more, because the topics Rabb does tackle are heartfelt and real. I guess I'm a little like Eva right now in that my judgement has been clouded by romantic fancy! The thing is though, it became clear pretty quickly where the romance between Eva and Will was headed. Will rang all the warning bells with his self-involved douchery, after all. So while not what I hoped for, Rabb doesn't exactly blindside in terms of the romance.

I can't say I'm Eva's biggest fan. This would be my greatest disappointment with Kissing in America, that I found myself only tolerating Eva. I kept having to remind myself she was 16 because she was so silly and immature. When it came to Eva's dealing with the death of her father, Rabb knocked it out of the ball park. That loss and the emotion evoked was honest. But the rest of the time I found myself rolling my eyes and wanting to tell Eva to grow up. Her sheer naivete and shock at how the 'real world' works - or doesn't work out the way she wished - was a little too much sometimes.

Everything else about Kissing in America? Worked like a charm. I adored Rabb's secondary characters, each individual and, let's face it, a tad quirky. The relationships throughout Kissing in America are stellar. With her head stuck in her fantasies Eva has missed a lot and taken the rest for granted, so her quest teaches her not only about herself but those around her. There's an authenticity to these relationships that is charming. Too often romantic love is idealised as the be all end all, so when a novel illustrates love in its many forms I find joy and inspiration in it. That can be said for Kissing in America. The mending of Eva's relationship with her mother, their dealing with their loss together, finally, is touching. There's a hopefulness to this book that resonates.

It may not be quite what I was expecting, and Eva often too silly to take seriously, but Kissing in America is a solid contemporary and coming of age story. It has a message that ultimately carries depth and is uplifting.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Waiting on The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff & Tessa Gratton

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine. It spotlights soon to be released books that can't come quick enough!

I'm curious about...

The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Brenna Yovanoff & Tessa Gratton

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Published Date: 1 October 2015
Pre-Order: Amazon | The Book Depository

The follow-up to the acclaimed novel The Curiosities: A Collection of Stories by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff.

In an unassuming corner of Brooklyn, a young woman learns to be ladylike, to love context, and to speak her mind from a very curious sort of tutor.

In a faraway land convulsed by war, a young soldier hears the desert’s curious hum as he disarms bombs with the person he doesn’t know how to love.

In a place so shriveled by drought that any drowning is a curiosity, a young writer tries again and again to tread water beneath the surface of a vast and unusual sea.

Three new stories—complete with commentary on the creative process—from three acclaimed young adult authors working at the height of their powers.

(summary from Goodreads)

As I love these authors this is a must have!

What book caught your eye this week?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Ten Books Whose Characters I Want as Pop! Figurines

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started over at The Broke and The Bookish. Each week they have a specific topic for a top ten list. Link up, visit some new blogs and add to your ever growing TBR list! This week's topic is:

A freebie, so I've decided on...

Top Ten Books Whose Characters I Want as Pop! Figurines

I love Funko Pop! Figurines and collect those from my favourite movies and TV shows. I'm so excited the Harry Potter collection is soon to be released, so in honour of that, I chose this topic.

If they were to start making one's based on books, these are the Top Ten I'd choose to buy immediately.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Magonia The Night Circus Lola and the Boy Next Door Anna Dressed in Blood
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone - I can just imagine Karou with her blue hair, as well as Akiva and the Chimaera. Oh, and Zuzana could have one in her puppet costume!
  • Magonia - I only just read this book and have a lot of love for it. The Magonian's and Rostrae would look awesome as Pop! figurines.
  • Night Circus - I have so much awe for this book and the costumes of its characters would look amazing.
  • Lola & The Boy Next Door - One of may favourites, and I can so imagine Lola as a Pop! There could even be a few different ones showing off her many lovely outfits. Especially her prom outfit, please.
  • Anna Dress in Blood - Again, a favourite, and Anna all bloodied and The Obeahman would be kinda creepy.
The Agency Shiver Pride and Prejudice The Babysitters Club Wuthering Heights
  • The Agency - I just love Mary and James too much to not want Pop! figurines of them.
  • Shiver - My first introduction to the awesomeness that is Maggie Stiefvater, so it's only right.
  • Pride and Prejudice - Mr Darcy, yes please!
  • The Babysitter's Club - It has to be done. HAS TO BE!
  • Wuthering Heights - I have a soft spot for this book and would definitely collect it's characters as Pop! figurines.

If you collect something like Pop! Figurines, which books would you like to see made into some? What topic did you pick this week? Please share in the comments so I can check it out.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien

Title: Bone Deep
Author: Kim O'Brien
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Published Date: 19 May 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository

I received this book through NetGalley from Spencer Hill Press for review.

Spending the summer on an archeological dig sounds like fun, and it would be, if Paige Patterson didn t have to work for her dad--the man who walked out on their family. Luckily, her best friend Emily Linton is also interning for her dad. The summer takes on a romantic possibility when she meets Jalen Yazzi--the super attractive son of her father's project manager. But then Emily vanishes. As the police struggle for answers, Paige sets out to find the truth. What was Emily doing alone in the ruins the night she disappeared? Did she see something she shouldn t have? The search for Emily brings Paige and Jalen closer together, but it also unlocks long hidden crimes and dangerous mysteries. As Paige digs deeper into Emily s disappearance, she realizes that uncovering the truth may cost her everything--even her life. (summary from Goodreads)

While Bone Deep has some fascinating elements, it never quite develops into a truly engrossing mystery.

I enjoy a good mystery, so I had high hopes for Bone Deep. The summary entices and in some ways it lives up to those expectations. The insight into an archeological dig is amazing. The history is intriguing and adds a slightly sinister atmosphere to the story. In much the same way, Jalen is a great character, caught between two worlds but trying to find a place rooted in both. He's a smart and spiritual character who's point of view chapters are moving. Emily is also an interesting character whom I would have liked to learn more of through chapters from her point of view. I especially liked her relationship with the MC, Paige. It's intense and there's a mysteriousness to their past friendship that drives readers to want to know more. 

Unfortunately, the mystery of Bone Deep does not develop as well as it could've. It's obvious from very early on what happened to Emily, and so the rest of the book is partly a waiting game to see when the characters will finally figure it out. I was disappointed by how much the mystery is actually overshadowed by Paige's self-involvement and the shallow romance between Paige and Jalen. Most of the novel is narrated through Paige's point of view and it's to the detriment of the story that all her focus is on herself - how she's suffered through her parent's divorce, how she feels unloved by her parents, how Jalen doesn't notice her, woe is Paige. Personally, I began to wonder if she cared about Emily at all. At first I felt for Paige, but her attitude is dragged out too long and by the end she simply annoys. I was not invested in Paige's relationship with Jalen either. It's very much a case of insta-love. We're meant to believe in it because Jalen's parents experienced the same sort of instant connection, but no.

O'Brien proves she can write some amazing and tension filled prose throughout Bone Deep. As stated, the archeological element is fab, plus an attempted rape scene is dark and terrifying, and the scenes where Paige confronts Emily's killer make your heart race. O'Brien has a knack for evoking some truly nerve-wracking and darkly atmospheric tones. It's just too bad her focus often draws away from these elements for a lackluster MC and romance. Also, there's some plot lines left unresolved at the end of Bone Deep. What happened to the Native Americans that once lived in the ruins the characters are investigating? But more importantly, what was Paige's father up to? So much tries to portray him as suspicious but when the truth is revealed there's no explanation offered for his actions. It's a little infuriating that this seems to have simply been forgotten. And how can Paige never confront her mother after how she's treated her father? 

Bone Deep had the potential to be an awesome read, as it has some truly intense characters and scenes, but unfortunately it's misses keep it solidly in the realm of just okay. 


Bout of Books Read-A-Thon: Sunday Update

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is over! I had a blast. I got so much reading done and I enjoyed every challenge. I'm already looking forward to the next read-a-thon!

So this is the final progress update, listing what I read yesterday, and again, throughout the week.

Number of books read yesterday:

1. I had hoped for 2, but my family took exception to the amount of time I've been holed up in my room ignoring them and demanded attention.

Total number of books read throughout the week:

10!!! YAY!

Books read:

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulous
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Bomb by Sarah Mussi
Bone Deep by Kim O'Brien
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker
Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Modern Monsters by Kelley York
Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

I'd challenged myself to try to read 2 books a day throughout the read-a-thon for a total of 14 books. I figured I'd be lucky to actually read 7, so to read 10 is amazing. I'm very proud of myself. I hope everyone who joined the read-a-thon is also happy with their progress throughout the week and had a fun time! Til next time!