17 December 2015

Phoenix Awakens Review

Rating: ★★★ (3.5)

Title: Phoenix Awakens
Author: Eliza Nolan
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
Publication: Oct 12, 2015
Format: Arc E-galley, 187 pages
Source: I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

Julia has been having crazy dreams about weird cults, violent rituals and the charming new boy, Graham. Julia seems to think that these dreams are trying to tell her something and that somehow, she and Graham are connected. So when Graham admits that he's a Phoenix - a member of a secret society - and that he fled his old home to get away from them, they decide to try and find the truth behind the strange dreams and why Julia has begin to develop strange abilities. 
But the Phoenix Society want him back and they'll will do anything to get him. Now it's up to Julia to stop them and save Graham.
To what lengths will she go?

There must have been something about Phoenix Awakens that interested me - the secret societies or the fantasy/magic or the weird dreams - I don't know, but it was a decent book and I didn't completely hate it. After all, I did finish it. Due to my incapability to put my thoughts in proper sentences and construct an acceptable review for Phoenix Awakens, I'm just going to write a list of what I liked and disliked and let my opinions stem from there.

- The second half of the plot was very well paced and there was a perfect amount of action for the story to progress
- The mysterious and intriguing first page
- Mythology and secret societies (I just wish there was more of it)
- Violent and 'bloody' dreams
- Julia's determination to save Graham and help her friends
- The fact that she couldn't control her powers and didn't know when they would work or not
- The connections created between Julia's dreams, why her mother left when she was younger, her newfound abilities, the necklace her mother left for her, Julia's dad over-protectiveness, etc., etc.
- The cliffhanger at the very end. I can definitely see Phoenix Awakens as part of a trilogy

- Cliche, cliche, cliche. 
- The whole 'new hot guy + angsty teen girl = life is forever changed/romance' plot line
- I didn't really get any of the whole secret society concept and was kind of confused about it's origin and role in the story. Only a basic outline was given and if it was explained more, Phoenix Awakens would definitely have been a lot better
- NOTHNG WAS EXPLAINED. Everything just needed more development. Everything.
- The predictable plot; which is becoming more and more of a commonplace in YA.
- The dragging first half that just took too long to get to the whole point.
- Flat and plot driven characters. Graham was just the love interest and another member of the Phoenix Society. Why was he a member? What is his favourite food? Why does he even like Julia? Samantha was nothing but a passenger in the Plot Bus. She was there for a few chapters in the beginning and end but didn't really do much for the story. The second characters were okay and nothing exciting. Julia was pretty decent and likeable but 'immature' and didn't sound like a seventeen year old.
- Aydan. She was the 'guide' in Julia's dream. All I have is who, what, when, where, how and why. I need more explanation.

Overall, Phoenix Awakens was okay but there could have been a lot more plot and character development that would have made it a much better novel. Eliza Nolan had a likeable writing style and good premise and depending on your interest in paranormal fantasy, you may like this a whole lot better than me.

9 December 2015

Quote Compendium: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Here is a complete list of my favourite quotes that I found whilst reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower with page numbers and the diary entries they're found in.
Also, I have the Pocket Books paperback edition with 232 pages.
Lets go.

I just need to know that someone out there listens and understands and doesn't try to sleep with people even if they could. I need to know that these people exist.
- Aug 23, 1991, P3

So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.
- Aug 23, 1991, P3

Maybe it's sad that these are now memories. And maybe it's not sad.
- Sep 26, 1991, P18

It's just that sometimes people use thought not to participate in life.
- Oct 13, 1991, P26

We accept the love we think we deserve.
- Oct 13, 1991, P27

I feel infinite.
- Oct 28, 1991, P36

He's a wallflower.
You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand.
- Oct 28, 1991, P40-41

And in that moment I swear we were infinite.
- Oct 28, 1991, P42

I am very interested and fascinated by how everyone loves each other, but no one really likes each other.
- Nov 23, 1991, P60

I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. 
- Dec 7, 1991, P66-67

Once on a yellow piece of paper with green lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Chops"
because that was the name of his dog

And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and a gold star
And his mother hung it on the kitchen door
and read it to his aunts
That was the year Father Tracy
took all the kids to the zoo

And he let them sing on the bus
And his little sister was born
with tiny toenails and no hair
And his mother and father kissed a lot
And the girl around the corner sent him a
Valentine signed with a row of X's

and he had to ask his father what the X's meant
And his father always tucked him in bed at night
And was always there to do it

Once on a piece of white paper with blue lines
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Autumn"

because that was the name of the season
And that's what it was all about
And his teacher gave him an A
and asked him to write more clearly
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because of its new paint

And the kids told him
that Father Tracy smoked cigars
And left butts on the pews
And sometimes they would burn holes
That was the year his sister got glasses
with thick lenses and black frames
And the girl around the corner laughed

when he asked her to go see Santa Claus
And the kids told him why
his mother and father kissed a lot
And his father never tucked him in bed at night
And his father got mad
when he cried for him to do it.

Once on a paper torn from his notebook
he wrote a poem
And he called it "Innocence: A Question"
because that was the question about his girl
And that's what it was all about
And his professor gave him an A

and a strange steady look
And his mother never hung it on the kitchen door
because he never showed her
That was the year that Father Tracy died
And he forgot how the end
of the Apostle's Creed went

And he caught his sister
making out on the back porch
And his mother and father never kissed
or even talked
And the girl around the corner
wore too much makeup
That made him cough when he kissed her

but he kissed her anyway
because that was the thing to do
And at three a.m. he tucked himself into bed
his father snoring soundly

That's why on the back of a brown paper bag
he tried another poem

And he called it "Absolutely Nothing"
Because that's what it was really all about
And he gave himself an A
and a slash on each damned wrist
And he hung it on the bathroom door
because this time he didn't think
he could reach the kitchen

- Dec 21, 1991, P75-77

I don't know if you've ever felt like that. That you wanted to sleep for a thousand years. Or just not exist. Or just not be aware that you do exist. Or something like that. I think wanting that is very morbid, but I want it when I get like this. That's why I'm trying not to think. I just want it all to stop spinning.
- Dec 30, 1991, P100

Just tell me how to be different in a way that makes sense.
- Apr 26, 1992, P149

I walk around the school hallways and look at the people. I look at the teachers and wonder why they're here. If they like their jobs. Or us. And I wonder how smart they were when they were fifteen. Not in a mean way. In a curious way. It's like looking at all the students and wondering who's had their heart broken that day, and how they are able to cope with having three quizzes and a book report on top of that. Or wondering who did the heartbreaking. And wondering why.
- Apr 29, 1992, P153

It's much easier not to know things sometimes.
- Apr 29, 1992, P155

It's just hard to see a friend hurt this much. Especially when you can't do anything except "be there". I want to make him stop hurting, but I can't.
- May 17, 1992, P173

Try to be a filter, not a sponge.
- May 21, 1992, P177

I would die for you. But I won't live for you.
- Jun 2, 1992, P182

I think the idea is that every person has to live for his or her own life and then make the choice to share it with other people. Maybe that is what makes people "participate".
- Jun 2, 1992, P182

And I guess I realised at that moment that I really did love her. Because there was nothing to gain, and that didn't matter.
- Jun 13, 1992, P193

I just want you to now that you're very special... and the only reason I'm telling you is that I don't know if anyone else ever has.
- Jun 13, 1992, P195

She wasn't bitter. She was sad, though. But it was a hopeful kind of sad. The kind of sad that just takes time.
- Jun 22, 1992,  P213

I don't want to be somebody's crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don't want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it, too. I want them to be able to do whatever they want around me. And if they do something I don't like, I'll tell them.
- Jun 22, 1992, P216

So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.
- Aug 2, 1992, P228

I think that if I ever have kids and they're upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.
- Aug 2, 1992, P228-229

We didn't talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough.
- Aug 2, 1992, P229

7 December 2015

Dead Ringer Review

Rating: ★★★★

Title: Dead Ringer
Author: Jessie Rosen
Genre: YA, Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Publication: November, 2015
Format: Arc E-Galley, 302 pages
Source: Thanks to Full Fathom Five Digital for sending me a copy of this book.

"Every girl appreciates a little attention. Even a dead one"

She looks just like her. Uncanny. The hallways are filled with whispers that Laura Rivers, the new girl at Englewood High, looks just like a girl that used to go there - the girl who committed suicide two years ago. Sarah Castro-Tanner. Laura doesn't want this new label as she starts a new high school and is determined to begin a new, fresh life where she can be herself. Fortunately, that plan goes to work and sparks fly between her and Charlie, the it-boy of Englewood High. But as Charlie and his close friends, Amanda, Kit and Miller, begin to receive creepy messages, Laura begins to notice their constant paranoia and dishonesty and she can't help but think that maybe Sarah Castro-Tanner has something to do with it. 

Dead Ringer was such an impressive take on the classic dead-girl-haunting plot. When I read the first chapter I thought I wasn't going to like it but I was dead wrong. Jessie Rosen's execution of this novel and the suspense was so unerring I didn't suspect half of the plot twists that were thrown at me. It is written in third person through the eyes of the three main characters, Laura, Charlie and Sasha. I loved how the different POVs layered different mysteries and stories on top of each other and I got to see the perspectives of the characters and understand their feelings and roles a lot better. Writing related, there was too much mystery. Literally everything was a mystery and I think that if they were just knowledge to the reader than everything would have played out the same way.

Dead Ringer has a very detailed and tenuous plot that needed a lot of thinking in order to get it right and Jessie Rosen rendered me speechless. The tension and suspense remained throughout the whole novel and I just wanted to keep reading to unravel the mystery. I loved how there were so many surprises that threw my theories and the characters courses off balance. It was fun to be constantly guessing and asking questions. The plot also flowed very smoothly and developed quite well - plot holes were nonexistent. The one problem I found plot-wise was the pacing. It took too long, approximately 300 pages, to explain everything and get to the point. But if you enjoy suspenseful novels, then you might even end up eating this up in one sitting. 

All the characters were so likeable and relatable and quite realistic too, except for their ages. In the book they're 16 and most of what the novel is based around was two years ago, meaning they would have been roughly 14. Being 14 and having whatever (I won't say anything that will spoil it) happened to them is really unbelievable and maybe increasing their ages would have made it more plausible.

Dead Ringer is a great suspenseful novel to keep you on your toes and I definitely recommend this one because it hits thriller right in the centre. It will leave you bewildered and mind blown and will prevent you from sleeping when you start reading it. Also, keep in mind that this book will most likely have a sequel as it ends in a serious cliff hanger. I can't wait to read the next instalment.

4 December 2015

My Most Anticipated for December 2015

Here are six upcoming releases for December this year that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on along with the synopsis' and book covers.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

So I recently reviewed this, which you can find here, but I am looking forward for it to come out so every one else can read it too. I really enjoyed this book and I plan to buy the published copy for myself when it is released this month.

Can the best thing happen at the worst time?

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she's about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend's brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure's soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

Hellraisers by Alexander Gordon Smith

Horror. Fantasy. Thriller. YES. I am looking forward to this new series called The Devil's Engine - and the first book is coming back this month.

There is a machine from the darkest parts of history, concealed in an impossible location, that can make any wish come true, and the only price you have to pay is your soul. Known as the Devil’s Engine, this device powers a brutal war between good and evil that will decide the fate of every living thing on Earth. When a 16-year-old asthmatic kid named Marlow Green unwittingly rescues an ass-kicking secret soldier from a demonic attack in the middle of his Staten Island neighborhood, he finds himself following her into a centuries-old conflict between a group of mysterious protectors and the legions of the Devil himself. Faced with superpowers, monsters, machine guns, and a lot worse, Marlow knows it's going to be a breathless ride—and not just because he’s lost his inhaler along the way.

Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

A book about kids figuring murder mysteries with a twist of romance. *Clapping excitedly*

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman

I haven't read the first two books in this series but I'm interested in them and I am considering reading this series (and look at how gorgeous the cover is). We'll have to see, but here is the synopsis.

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.

Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.

Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.

When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.

What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass

Tragedy, secrets and romance are all what draw's me into this new release and here is the synopsis so you can understand what I mean.

A year and a half ago, Amanda Tart's brother got behind the wheel drunk and killed his best friend. Today, he's coming home from prison.

Amanda's been the one living with the fallout, made worse by her brother's recent unapologetic TV interview. People think he's a monster. Still, she loves him. It's her dark secret, until she starts getting close to Henry again--whose sister is paralyzed from the accident.

A year and a half ago, her brother destroyed his life. Now Amanda has to decide if she'll let his choice destroy hers.

Instructions For The End of the World by Jamie Kain

I've been getting into family-oriented/self discovery books lately and this seems like another that I would be interested to read. It also has a 'survival' kind of vibe to it that I really enjoy reading about in books.

He prepared their family for every natural disaster known to man—except for the one that struck. 

When Nicole Reed’s father forces her family to move to a remote area of the Sierra Foothills, one without any modern conveniences, it's too much too handle for her mother, who abandons them in the middle of the night. Heading out to track her down, Nicole’s father leaves her in charge of taking care of the house and her younger sister, Izzy. For a while, Nicole is doing just fine running things on her own. But then the food begins to run out, the pipes crack, and forest fires start slowly inching their way closer every day. Wolf, a handsome boy from the neighboring community, offers to help her when she needs it most, but when she starts to develop feelings for him, feelings she knows she will never be allowed to act on once her father returns, she must make a decision. With her family falling apart, will she choose to continue preparing for tomorrow’s disasters, or will she take a chance and really start living for today?

For You Fridays

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

This book was incredibly emotional and beautiful. I completely understand why this is praised by everyone. Khaled's writing style. The characters. The emotions. The stories. AMAZING. Laila and Mariam were strong and wonderful characters that go through such hard and terrible circumstances, but keep going despite everything that has happened to them. I just didn't want to put it down.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is just a vividly real and breathtaking novel that really made me think.

3 December 2015

Divided Review

Rating: ★★★ (3.5)

Title: Divided
Author: Sharon M. Johnston
Genre: YA, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Publication: Nov 4, 2015
Format: Arc E-Galley, 195 pages
Source: Thankyou to City Owl Press for sending me a copy of Divded through Netgalley.

"Sometimes life is stranger than fiction."

- page 132

After just recently getting a heart transplant, Mishca is expecting to feel energised, healthier and like she is finally going to have the normal life she wanted. Unfortunately, she gets a lot more than she bargained for. She develops supernatural abilities and a plague of nightmares that begin to haunt her sleep. Mishca also develops new romances and is torn between two guys, Ryder and Colin who both have equal pieces of her heart. But as the truth behind her adoption and her instant attraction to Colin, her university professor, surfaces, everything isn't as it seems and romance will be the absolute last of her problems.

Divided is the first novel in the Open Heart fantasy/sci-fi series by Sharon M. Johnston and is set in Australia (which is exciting because I live in Australia too). I gave this book three and a half stars because despite enjoying it, I found a couple of faults and areas that I personally disliked. The general writing style was in first person and it was very easy to follow, although it kind of felt rushed to me. I hated Mishca's constant inner monologue too because it just seemed to be after every few sentences and was very annoying. They didn't really match her bad-ass personality. 

You're instantly thrown into action when you begin the novel as Mishca receives her heart transplant and this drew me in immediately. Divided has the perfect amount of plot twists that kept me engaged and hooked whilst reading. At one point, I finished the chapter and intended to put the book down for the night, but a cliffhanger sucked me in and I ended up reading for another hour. The romance was almost, almost, perfect. Mishca and Ryder's relationship was not insta-love at all and developed at a very realistic pace. I loved all their little moments. But then the whole 'forbidden love' and 'love triangle' element was thrown in and I felt like throwing the book at my wall. Introducing Colin as another love interest was just unnecessary.

I'm still trying to decide if I liked Mishca as a main character or not. At first, I found her whiny and inconsistent as her personality and moods changed from sweet to kicking-in-a-wall mad. Then I realised that she was realistically portrayed considering she's adopted, doesn't have many close friends and is experiencing unworldly things. I liked most of the characters and their roles in the novel really worked and I didn't really expect a thing - I won't say much more in fear I'll give away any spoilers though.

Divided is a new and sci-fi fresh novel that I predict will be very popular in future and well-liked by many. I recommend it to anyone looking for an intense read for this upcoming summer (if you're in Aus).

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