It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #1

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

What I Read Last Week?

I think I overindulged with my reading last week. There was a public holiday on Wednesday (for Anzac Day) and so I spent the day curled up with a book. And this past weekend? It’s the wettest few days we’ve had all year. I had to brave the rain to go out and vote in the local election but apart from that I stayed inside all nice and dry with a few good books to help me pass the time.

Divergent by Veronica Roth (BRILLIANT BOOK! I highly recommend it)
The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares 

What I Plan to Read This Week:

I’m planning on having an Aussie Author week so this week the plan is to read:

Blood Song by Rhiannon Hart
A Season of Transformation by Jayne Fordham (I follow her blog. She runs one of the best book blogs I’ve read)
Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby 

So only three books planned for this week. But depending on whether the weather clears up – it may be another wet weekend perfect for reading.

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Book Review: Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Title: Sisterhood Everlasting (Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants #5)
Author: Ann Brashares
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit 
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: March 2012
Pages: 400
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Ann Brashares comes the welcome return of the characters whose friendship became a touchstone for a generation. Now Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget have grown up, starting their lives on their own. And though the jeans they shared are long gone, the sisterhood is everlasting.

Despite having jobs and men that they love, each knows that something is missing: the closeness that once sustained them. Carmen is a successful actress in New York, engaged to be married, but misses her friends. Lena finds solace in her art, teaching in Rhode Island, but still thinks of Kostos and the road she didn’t take. Bridget lives with her longtime boyfriend, Eric, in San Francisco, and though a part of her wants to settle down, a bigger part can’t seem to shed her old restlessness.

Then Tibby reaches out to bridge the distance, sending the others plane tickets for a reunion that they all breathlessly await. And indeed, it will change their lives forever—but in ways that none of them could ever have expected.

As moving and life-changing as an encounter with long-lost best friends, Sisterhood Everlasting is a powerful story about growing up, losing your way, and finding the courage to create a new one

My Review:

After growing up with this series, in many ways, reading this latest instalment was like welcoming an old friend back into my life. The girls, now women, were true to how I remembered them and yet different.

This novel starts off with Carmen – the youngest of the group. Once an awkward teenager, now a glamorous TV star with a successful fiancé and a gorgeous New York City apartment, Carmen seems to have it all. Lena has embraced her artistic side and is selling her paintings and working at the art college she was attending as a student all those years ago. Bridget is still as impulsive as ever but still with Eric and now living in San Francisco. And Tibby? Well… that seems a bit of a mystery to everyone. Since she moved to Australia two years ago contact has been sporadic at best.

When Tibby organizes and sends the other three girls tickets Greece for an impromptu reunion all the women are excited. But what happens on the Grecian island is something that will change their lives forever.

I had some problems with this story. The characters were the same as I remembered and yet different in a way that felt odd to me. I connected so strongly with the girls when I was in my teens. Our struggles were somewhat similar and I could relate to them. But now, they’re facing problems that I haven’t – and hope in many ways that I won’t ever – and whilst I could imagine the things happening to them was right up their alleys, at the same time I didn’t feel the same way with regards to their relationships with me.

This story was in many ways nostalgic but I liked how whilst there were references to the events of the past books, the past wasn’t dwelt upon. The action was in the present. It was good to see that while life hadn’t gone exactly according to plan for all of them, for the most part they weren’t trying to relive their past. I did miss the little letters and emails that prefaced chapters in some of the other books but the quotes before each chapter were fitting.

I felt like Tibby was a little out of character. The message of this book for me is one of friends forever, and as long as you have your sisterhood you’ll never be alone. And yet Tibby embarked on a whole new life without letting the other girls in. It worked in the sense of that mystery was needed to drive the novel to a fitting conclusion but it didn’t sit well for me with regards to the close-knit friendship that the four of them had – and the others still maintain with each other. There is more that I want to say about this but I don’t think I can go into it without revealing some major spoilers.

I am a little worried about the sisterhood – Bee in particular. They seem a little too co-dependant. I like the friendship aspect but the ending message that I was left with was that for Bee, she couldn’t exist without the sisterhood and I for me… I’m so very worried about her. I spent the whole novel worrying about her and I hope that the others can help her. (I am aware these are fictional characters.)

This last installment of the Sisterhood was true to the series. In terms of structure and story it closely followed the formula set out by the others – They meet up, they have their separate adventures and they come together at the end with lessons learnt about life and love. Throw in some overseas travel for good measure. It’s a format that has worked for the other books and worked well for this one too.

Whilst it’s an odd thing revisiting the literary friends of your youth and have them grow up without you, I am glad that Ann Brashares wrote a conclusion to the sisterhood’s story. It’s nice to see that just because books about characters haven’t been written does not mean that the characters themselves stop living.

If you’re a fan of the Sisterhood series – I encourage you to read this latest and last instalment. I thought it was a lovely way to say goodbye to the characters.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Obsidian 
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary, Sci-Fi 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: November 2011
Pages: 299
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Starting over sucks.When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I’d pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring…. until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.And then he opened his mouth.Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something…unexpected happens. The hot alien living next door marks me.You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon’s touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I’m getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades. If I don’t kill him first, that is.

My Review:

I love when I come across a novel that features a supernatural being that I haven’t read much of. I don’t think I’ve read a YA alien story since I read the Roswell High series many years ago. It was on of my favourite series and I think that this series has the potential to become a favourite of mine too.

Katy’s mother moves the two of them out into the middle of nowhere for a new start. Both of them are living in the shadow of their former life since Katy’s father died of a brain tumour three years ago. Now, Katy has the entire summer with no friends in a small town (they don’t even have their own grocery store) with no one but her blog followers for company. Or at least she would have them except that the internet hasn’t been hooked up yet.

After promising her mother that she’d make and effort to try to enjoy life in West Virginia, Katy goes next door to introduce herself to the teenagers who live there. What she’s confronted with is a shirtless Daemon – the most irritating, rude and arrogant person she’s ever met. Despite the constant tension between the two, there are sparks of chemistry from the start.

Katy is furious with Daemon but manages to strike up a close friendship with Daemon’s sister, Dee, much to his disapproval. He wants nothing more than to ignore the girl next door but he can’t – his sister’s safety depends on him to make sure Katy isn’t a threat but also as much as Daemon would like to fight it, he can’t help his feelings towards the new girl.

I loved the relationship between Katy and Daemon. This is not a story where the main couple are insanely in love at first sight for no apparent reason. Instead, this is a novel where both the heroine and the hero seem to hate each other for many reasons. Katy can’t start Daemon’s attitude and hates herself for being attracted to him. Daemon thinks that Katy is a risk to his family and wants nothing more than for her to go back to where she came from. I loved their interactions. The novel takes place over several months and during this time you can see their relationship develop and grow.

As an avid reader myself, I could relate in many ways to Katy. I’m still unsure why her blog was featured so prominently in the story – as far as I could tell it didn’t really add anything – but I enjoyed how many of the memes and sites she talked about where ones that I’d come across myself and that helped make Katy the perfect girl-next-door. She amazed me with how calm she was with the revelations revealed in the book. I think I will put that down to how many paranormal novels she reads.

This was a perfect introduction to the Lux series. I loved the pacing and the interactions of the character. I can’t wait to read the second book. If you enjoy teen paranormal romances where the hero is not quite what you’ve read before, I strongly suggest you read this book.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Title: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Chick Lit
Publisher: Headline Fiction
Publication Date: January 2012
Pages: 240
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn’t forgotten the book. Or if there hadn’t been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn’t fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she’d run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else – the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn’t sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it’s the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver…

Set over a 24-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

My Review:

This novel is a sweet and realistic little window in Hadley’s life. After missing her flight to London to attend a wedding she doesn’t want to go to, Hadley is faced with a four-hour wait in the airport. She strikes up a conversation with 18-year-old Oliver, a student formerly from England who is now studying at Yale. They bond instantly and together they help each other during a difficult period in their lives.

I loved the realism of Hadley’s situation – a young woman who feels betrayed by her father when he moves overseas, divorces her mother and is now marrying “the other woman” who Hadley has never even met. Hadley doesn’t sugar-coat her feelings towards her dad. She’s hurt and she doesn’t care who knows it.

Oliver is a great travelling companion. He’s interesting, caring and the sort of boy any seventeen year old would fall for at first sight. He’s quirky enough to entertain the reader and I loved how the author made him have some flaws. He’s perfect for Hadley in his imperfection.

This is a lovely novel that I recommend for anyone who likes their teen romances short and sweet but with a lot of feeling.


Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa (Blood of Eden #1)

Format: ebook

Published:  April 24, 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Vampires, Dystopia

Synopsis (from Goodreads)In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Review: 

This book is dark, gritty and exciting – but not for the faint hearted. Unlike most young adult vampire novels I’ve read in the last few years, The Immortal Rules is an incredibly dark and dangerous story. The vampires in this world are not the kind you’d want to kiss but rather the kind that haunt your nightmares and terrify you at their mere mention.

In the future, Allison (Allie) Sekemoto, a feisty and kick-ass seventeen year old girl who lives with her gang of misfits, is living in a world where a disease called Red Lung has wiped out the majority of the human race.

In come the Vampires – they now rule the world and have enslaved the remaining humans as their pets. Humans have the choice to Register or remain Unregistered. Registered humans are provided for with meal tickets and all the Vampires ask/demand in return is a blood donation every so often. Miss a blood donation appointment and the Vampires will come to collect… and they won’t be nice about it. Unregistered humans have none of the privileges of the registered and are forced to scavenge and steal to survive  but get caught thieving and it’s the gallows for you – and they’re serious. The first scene of this novel has Allie witnessing three teenagers hanged as punishment for their stealing ways.

And then there’s the Rabids – much like zombies and rabid dogs – these former humans roam the land biting and feasting on humans. For an unregistered human there’s much to fear in this new world.

Allie refuses to become Registered. She hates the hunger that plagues her, never knowing when her next meal will come from but she’d rather scavenge than be owned by a Vampire. So when Allie finds a stash of food outside the Wall, she tries to hoard as much as she can only to be attacked by a gang of Rabids. On the verge of death, a strange man gives Allie a choice: to die forever or to die as a human and rise as one of the creatures she’s always despised. A Vampire.

This story surprised me. I have to admit it has a lot of plot twists and turns that I was not expecting. And I loved Allie. She’s fierce and feisty. She’s lead an incredibly risky life and managed to survive. She doesn’t take any shit from anyone and knows what she wants from life. She wants to free the humans from the enslavement of the Vampires.

And she has her priorities right… “Owning books is highly illegal” … and yet she still manages to have a secret library hidden from everyone as owning books is punishable by death – not just to her but the Vampire’s “Pets” would burn her home and everyone in it to the ground.

The romance plot was well received with me. This is not a story of instant love nor is it one where the author forces a love triangle just to make things more suspenseful. A good thing too because there enough suspense in the other parts of the story, I think I’d go into overload if there was any more. I loved the relationship of Allie and Zeke. It was beautiful constructed and realistic in a way that made their relationship all the more meaningful to me.

I thought the beginning was brilliant but then things slowed down a bit until half way though the story. It was a bit hard to fully get into the story as things were dragging. But all the information was necessary in order to get a truly fantastic ending.

Brilliant book. Recommend it to fans of the Hunger Games – this novel has a kick-ass heroine who tries her hardest to survive anyway she can in a dystopian world – and anyone who loves the darker side of vampires.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository (hardcover) / Book Depository (paperback) / Amazon (kindle version)

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent by Veronica Roth (Divergent #1)

Format: paperback

Published: 3rd May, 2012

Genre:  Dystopia, Young Adult

Synopsis (from Goodreads)In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Review: 

I have a term for books that I am so into I stop for nothing. Not food, nor sleep, nor anything else. These books are my cereal-for-dinner books – the ones where I don’t even want to take a break for a decent meal but rather I just pour a bowl of whatever I have on hand and some milk and keep on reading. Last night was a weet-bix kind of night.

At the age of 16, everyone must undergo an aptitude test to determine which faction of society they are best fitted to and then choose where they will spend the rest of their lives. Faction before Family. 

When Beatrice Prior undergoes the test which decides which faction she is best suited to, there is an anomaly with her results. She is “divergent” – not a perfect fit into any one of the five factions but rather equally suited to three; Dauntless – the dare devils who protect everyone from the horrors outside the city limits, Erudite – the book smart people who think the answer to everything is knowledge AND Abnegation – the people Beatrice grew up with who are selfless above all else.

Beatrice has more to think about than most when deciding which faction to dedicate her life to. Does she go with the Abnegations – and live the life she’s been brought up with but never truly feeling like she belongs? Or does she take a chance and abandon her family?

There are a lot of plot twists and turns in this novel. There are so many things that I wasn’t expecting (and a few that I was) but overall I think what I enjoyed most about this book was that it was different. It’s set in a post-apocolyptic dystopian world and for many people, they will see many similarities with The Hunger Games. But I found there to be enough differences to be throughly entertained.

Beatrice (aka. Tris) is a fantastic heroine. She’s more than what she seems. Her transformation from an Abnegation child to a Dauntless inductee was fascinating to read about. I did have a few problems with her (I can’t believe some of the things she does or more disturbingly, the way she feels about some things) but I think I’m hard to please and had she been less hard and a little softer I’d have been disappointed too. Four is my favourite character. He’s fascinating. I had an inkling about who he was and what his former faction was a long time before it was revealed but still enjoyed the journey. I liked how his relationship with Tris progressed.

It’s a good think that there’s only a few weeks till the sequel comes out. I’m impatient to find out what happens next. This book was fantastic. I recommend it to anyone who likes teen fiction that’s not romance centric, likes dystopia stories and isn’t scared off by a bit of violence.

Rating:

5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter


Title: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: March 27, 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it…

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

Review: 

I was going to hold off on buying this book for a few weeks. My to-read pile is enormous at the moment (I have two full shelves in my bookcase to read and don’t get me started on all the kindle books I have waiting for me).

But when I was in a store and saw the Australian cover? I couldn’t help myself! It’s gorgeous! I love the font, the colours… it’s beautiful! I bought it straight away… (Hi. My name is Kate and I’m a bookaholic… and I’m only half-way joking. I went out to buy milk last week… came home with 4 new books)

The story starts with Kate returning from her summer in Greece with James (otherwise known as Hermes). But things aren’t how she’d imagined them to be. There was no happy reunion with Henry (Hades) and one of the original Titans, Cronus, has started to break free from the prison that the six original gods had sentenced him to thousands of years ago.  It seems that Calliope (Hera) wasn’t happy with the punishment Kate bestowed upon her last winter – and she’s out for revenge.

The only way Kate can think to help the Original Six in their efforts to try to fight Cronus and Calliope is to track down the gate to the prison. The only problem is that the only person apart from Henry who knows that secret location is his former wife, Persephone.  Considering Kate is already suffering from jealous issues regarding the former Queen of the Underworld, you can tell this isn’t going to be an easy journey.

I enjoyed this novel so much more than I liked the first one in the series, The Goddess Test. I felt I got the know the characters and the motivations behind their actions a lot more in this one – maybe it’s because now we were in on the secret of just who each of the members of Henry’s family were.

Kate’s struggling with a lot of things in this novel; her place in Henry’s life, her new job as co-ruler of the Underworld, the whole Persephone issue, James – not to mention the whole Calliope wanting her dead and not caring who she has to hurt or kill to achieve it. All things considered, I think she handles her new position in life rather well. There are times when she came across a bit like a petulant child but I think that’s understandable. In terms of the gods and goddess, her lifespan is barely a heartbeat of theirs. They have thousands of years of experience and habits on their side and she has a mere nineteen. In all respects she is a child in their world. But she manages to grow as a person and a character as the novel develops.

I like Kate and her conversations with Henry in the latter part of the novel. I loved that she was staking her claim on her man! But there were times when I felt she took it a little too far – from assertive Goddess! to a little too whiny and too insecure for words. But she managed to come back from it – “I never would have gone looking for something better. You are my something better, and I wish – I wish I was yours, too.”

Ingrid was a pleasant surprise. She’s delightfully cheerful and up-beat whilst also being incredibly insightful and shows a wisdom beyond her years.

Another surprise for me was how much I liked Calliope as a villain. She’s good at what she does. I swear I could almost hear the evil theme music whenever she would appear on the scene. Her dialogue was perfect too.

The plot was well paced and interesting. The novel does end  on a bit of a cliff-hanger but leads in well to the next in the series. I’m definitely going to be continuing reading these books.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon / Book Depository

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1), please click here

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test #1.5), please click here