Thursday, 7 January 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Rating: 1/5
Release Date: January 5th, 2016
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 486 
Passenger (Passenger, #1)
passage, n.i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.


It is with a heavy heart that I only give 1 star to Bracken's newly released Passengers. The Darkest Minds is one of my all-time favourite series. The friendships demonstrated in those novels is impeccable. However, Passenger didn't show that to me. I had a LOT of issues with this book. Let me take you through them:

1) It took about HALF of the book before the "treasure hunt through time" began. WHEN YOU ADVERTISE WITH A TAG LINE LIKE THAT, AND HAVE A NEARLY 500 PAGE BOOK, THE TREASURE HUNT SHOULD HAPPEN BY THE FIRST 100 PAGES!!! *internally screaming*

2) The STUPID, REDICULOUS INFO-DUMP Q&A SESSION BETWEEN ETTA AND SOPHIE (another time-traveler who KIDNAPPED HER and then WILLINGLY told her information about time-travelling EVEN THOUGH Sophie was holding Etta as her hostage -.-; *more internal screaming*). I couldn't believe it when I read it. Bracken has written FOUR previous books, shouldn't she have enough skill to not have to info-dump at this point? AND ESPECIALLY IN THE WAY IT WAS GIVEN.

3) Etta and Nikolas' relationship. Just like with Ruby and Liam (I must admit), this relationship just felt flat and I never felt like the characters had any real chemistry. 

4) Loooooong, repetitive, rhetorical question inner monologue. Etta was constantly contemplating the same things OVER and OVER and OVER again. This book easily could have been cut by 200 pages if it had been condensed, or even taken out. It just didn't add anything to the story line and had me skimming paragraphs from time to time. 

5) The length of the chapters (this is more of a personal thing for me). Anything longer than 20 pages I consider to be a long chapter, and these were upwards of 30 pages at some points. I just don't like it. It means I have to wait longer for my next break. :P

6) The endless descriptions. I don't know if it was the writing style, or me, or what, but the endless description of clothes and food and other such things really irritated me - I started skimming on that too (maybe it's because I was trying to find the plot).

So, you're probably wondering why I read the nearly 500 page book in its entirety. ITS BECAUSE I WAS HOPING I WOULD FIND SOMETHING THAT WOULD MAKE THIS BOOK REDEEMABLE AND GIVE IT MORE THAN A 1 STAR RATING. But nope, didn't happen. Trust me, I'm super disappointed that this book didn't live up to my expectations. I don't even want to touch the second one.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf By Wolf (Wolf By Wolf, #1)
Rating: 5/5
Release Date: October 20th, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown
Pages: 388

First, a quick summary from Goodreads:
The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission?

This book was incredible. Graudin created a believable, tangible alternate history of Hitler winning WW2. The characters were incredible, I loved reading from Yael's point of view and watching her struggle with the fact that people are more than what they believe in. It made for a huge amount of grey area and I loved it.

The Axis Tour was also a great concept and done extremely well. The tour was rough, and Yael really had to struggle in order to compete in the race.

The ending also threw me completely for a loop, too! I did NOT see that coming. At all. And I loved it! I think this book would make an incredible movie and really hope that one day it does make it to the big screen.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

How to Demolish Your TBR

Like many book lovers and consumers across the globe, I have a ridiculous TBR pile. As I compile this post, my count sits at 120 books (and BookOutlet's Black Friday sale starts tomorrow). This past year I've attempted to reduce my TBR pile to less than 100 books, and it has worked and it hasn't. Let me explain.

Somewhere around the winter time at the beginning of the year (2015), I put what I like to call a "book buying limit" on myself. In an attempt to reduce that pile, I told myself that I could only buy 1 book for every 5 that I read, and that the 5 books that I read following that had to include my new purchase.

It was new, it was exciting, and it only lasted a month or two before I broke. So, how do you successfully eliminate your TBR pile? What kind of method should you use that will work for you in the long run? All of us are different, and not every solution will work for everybody, but here are some suggestions that I am going to attempt:

1. Book Buying Limit
This only worked for me in the short run, but I think if I changed up the rules a bit it could work in the long run. Here's how it works:

For every 2, 3, 4, or 5 books that you read (whatever kind of requirement you feel comfortable with setting for yourself), you get to purchase one new book in exchange.

I think the main reason this didn't work for me is because I didn't change it up. I set myself a ratio of 5:1, for every five books read I was allowed to purchase 1. It was fun and exciting and made me outrageously excited for buying books again, something that I hadn't experienced in a long time. However, it was short lived. Especially as new releases were coming out and I wasn't reading at a fast enough rate to buy them. So... Switch it up! Maybe you feel like reading 5 books for every book you get to purchase is too much, so make it smaller for a time being! Maybe it's your birthday month, so do something a little daring! For every book you read, you're allowed to buy TWO book for every book you've read during the week (or even the whole month, if you wish!) of your birthday!

You could even do this by setting a limit on how much money you want to spend on books per month, or how many you want to purchase in a month (you could always carry over if you don't max out!)

2. Read-A-Thons
Love read-a-thons? I kind of do. The ones that I'm really into are Booktube-A-Thon, and RYBSAT. Read-a-thons are a great way to read a lot of books in a small amount of time, a very effective way of demolishing that TBR!

3. Avoiding the Bookstore
I don't know about you, but if I walk out of the bookstore without a book I feel like I'm missing a limb on the way back home. This is very bad, especially since I tend to visit the bookstore two or three times a week. So... avoid the bookstore! In the mall doing some Christmas shopping this season? Don't forget your blinders! Avoid walking past the bookstore! DO NOT GO IN! (Just be very careful when you finally do enter, all those new shining books that you have yet to see in person can be very tempting.) You can't buy books if you don't have a way of getting a hold of them.*

4. Add up those Books!
Keep a running tab of what you're spending! These numbers can give you a huge reality check if you feel like you're spending too much money on books. I did this once before, and I was appalled by the results... So, naturally, I stopped keeping track and kept up my habits! (Don't follow by my lead, though. This will result in bottom line of $0.)

Do you have any strategies for keeping your book buying under control? What do you find does and doesn't work for you? I would love to hear your experiences, please share them with me!!

*This excludes online shopping, you're on your own for that one.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Breathe (Breathe, #1)RATING:1.5/5

I am extremely sad to say that BREATHE did not live up to my expectation whatsoever. I remember Breathe being one of my most anticipated releases of last year. Needless to say, I’m not disappointed that I waited this long before I finally got around to reading it.

The world has gone through an extremely rough time. Trees all over the world have  been dying off and now
there isn't enough oxygen left for the worlds population to live on. So, the government put its people through “The Switch.” Putting up domes in major cities around the world, the government found a way to manufacture the oxygen that we need to breathe. 

Bea is a lowly “auxiliary,” forced to walk only three miles per hour (unless she wants a fine) and her family can only afford powdered and chemically manufactured food. Bea’s best friend Quinn lives a much nicer life-style. Being a Premium, his family can afford all the oxygen they need and then some. They’re able to exercise, do the dance with no pants, and anything else that requires a high amount of oxygen consumption. Quinn has a new crush at school, Alina. From what Quinn can see she’s smokin’ hot, but Alina doesn’t want anything to do with him.

One day, Quinn decides to take Bea outside the dome on a camping trip since neither of them have ever been. So they load up with oxygen tanks and set out. But just before they reach border patrol, they run into Alina and she desperately needs her help. Quinn, having this massive crush on her, decides to help her with no questions asked. Little does he know that she’s running away to re-join the resistance. It’s no longer safe for her within the dome of Breathe.

From here, things take off and Quinn and Bea are introduced to the resistance pretty much right off the bat because there was NO DOUBT that Quinn and Bea would betray Alina and the resistance. Why wouldn’t they betray them, you ask? Because they LOOK like they would make good members. Alina TRUSTS them. She thinks they’re GOOD PEOPLE. Well, miss Alina. I think you SHOULD have been expelled from the resistance because you clearly don’t take this thing seriously enough. It was SO easy for Quinn and Bea to convince Alina to let them into the resistance, even though she pretty much met them for the first time at border patrol. Alina literally claims that they’re all best friends by the end of this EVEN THOUGH SHE HARDLY SPENT ANY TIME WITH QUINN AT ALL.

All of the relationships between any of the characters felt so 2D and fake and forced. This might have been because all of the characters were also so 2D and fake and forced. Nothing felt real, there was no real depth to ANYTHING in this book. GAH! IT JUST MAKES ME SO FRUSTRATED.

The plot is pretty much what held this book together for me. This whole idea of having to buy our oxygen and then having a resistance trying to re-plant trees and things (which would never actually work out considering how long it takes for a tree to grow) sounds so COOL. But because the characters were so flat, because the relationships were so forced, because it was so easy to get into the resistance I wasn’t really able to fully enjoy the plot since I was busy being mad by almost every other element in this book.

Needless to say (unfortunately), I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’ve been reading for a while. I have no doubt it will frustrate you on some level as well. Although, I do think this would make a good starting book for people who are just starting to get into reading because it's not a very huge book to process.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Shades of Earth by Beth Revis

Shades of Earth by Beth RevisRATING: 5/5

As the last book in the Across the Universe trilogy, I had high expectation for the finale. Admittedly, when I first started it I was disappointed. It seemed like Elder still couldn’t get his shit together and Amy wasn’t doing much better.

But wow, did I ever underestimate these two. The things they were willing to do, the things they were willing to sacrifice. It just about took my breath away. These two kids were phenomenal decision makers when it really came down to it. They had more sense than both the shipborns and earthborns put together. They took the time and effort required to gather together the information needed that enabled them to make these hefty decisions. And did they ever make those decisions. The fearlessness both Amy and Elder used to protect those relying on them and even those who weren’t was just… I have no words.

The plot twists in this novel were phenomenal! Although I was able to predict a couple of them, there were many that I never saw coming and one that literally made me go “Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?” out loud. And I NEVER do that. EVER. Needless to say, the twists to this book were pretty amazing. This book was amazing (clearly I don't know what synonyms are).

And not only that, but the new centauri-earth was amazing (that glass stuff was incredible!). Revis described it in such detail and everything was so different and lethal from sol-earth while at the same time everything also felt so similar and safe. I don’t think there was a better way that she could have constructed it.

Needless to say, this trilogy is easily one of my new favourites. I will push it onto anyone who will listen and maybe even onto a few who won’t. If you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? That was the first question that popped into my head when I finished the book. Why had I waited so long? I’m so glad this was the titled I picked from my TBR jar this month. SO GLAD.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Book Buying Habits

So, I've been watching BookTube for a long, long time now (online book community on YouTube), and I always see the book vloggers come out with these cool, fun looking tags! So I've decided to tag myself and post it to my blog. :) (The video originated from Megan Olivier!)

Without further ado, let's get started!

1.Where do you buy your books from? 
A number of places, but the places that I'm consistently buying books from are Chapters/Indigo's/Coles and the Book Outlet. 

Chapters/Indigo's/Coles because they're all so close to home and the hardcovers are 30% off online! Then there's Book Outlet because they're books are even cheaper than that! I think the most I've paid for a book off of there website is $7.99 for a hardcover!

2.Do you ever pre orders book and if so do you do this in store or online?
I do! Quite often, actually. Especially when I'm really excited for a book! I will always order it online. This way, I don't have to worry about picking it up or anything since it will be delivered straight to my door-step!

3.On average, how many books do you buy a month?
Eesh, definitely way more than I should. I've actually started to keep track of how much money and how many books I'm buying a month in an excel sheet. I'm averaging about 11 books a month so far this year... Poop. :(

4.Do you use your local library?
No... And it's not really anything I plan on starting to use anytime soon. I love my books. I love buying them, I love reading them, I love smelling them, and I love owning them. Those things would be a little weird and gross to do if I got them from the library. Not to mention illegal...

5.If so, how many books can you/do you borrow at a time?
Not applicable to me!

6.What is your opinion on library books? 
Oh, I'm kind of repeating myself here, but they're just not my thing. I love owning my books and being able to see all the ones I've read over the years and keep the ones that I've loved and even see the ones go that I hated. I wish to have my own library someday. :D

7.How do you feel about charity shop/second hand books?
I have bought a couple of them! But for the most part I don't go looking for them. I find a lot of them smell old and dusty and that smell really doesn't sit well with me. Actually, I've had to stop reading a book before due to that very reason. 

8.Do you keep your read and TBR pile together/on the same book shelf or not? 
I do! I have a little double-stacked book case that comes up to my chest with three shelves in it. I also have a shelf that's nailed to my wall that holds some of the books I've yet to read.... And that's just at my dad's house, haha.

9.Do you plan to read all of the books that you own? 
Of course I do! That's always my intention when I buy new books. Never have I ever bought a book for the sole purpose of having it sit on my shelves. Now, getting around to actually reading it? That's another story... (see what I did there)

10.What do you do with books that you own that you feel you will never read/felt you did not enjoy?
I get rid of them! I find going through my books is just like going through my wardrobe. Some books I grow out of and some books I don't like anymore or some book I didn't like once I tried them on. These are the books that I will say goodbye to. This usually happens every couple of months and I'll get a pile of about 10 every time. :)

11.Have you ever donated books?
I have! This is exactly what I do with the books I no longer want. Usually a donation company will call my house sometime soon after I've gone through my shelves, or them calling is what will prompt me to go through my shelves, and I'm just glad to be rid of them so easily. 

12.Have you ever been on a book buying ban? 
I have. But it never works. Whenever I get off of it I go book crazy and end up buying way more books than I would have if I'd never put myself on the ban in the first place.

13.Do you feel that you buy too many books?
No. I mean, I do buy an accessive amount and probably more than I need to. But, I do I consider it too much? Not at all. The way I see it is I'm spending my hard earned money on the things that I love. And do I ever love books!
If any of you guys do this tag for yourself, link it for me down below! I would love to see them! :)

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Before I Die by Jenny Downham
 RATING: 3.5/5

If I were to use one word to describe BEFORE I DIE by Jenny Downham, it would be depressing. This book is extremely depressing. There are no true happy moments in this book, only moments that are just sad.

However, I did like how Tessa acted while having cancer. While it was extremely sad and gloomy, it was believable and realistic and traumatizing. I could feel Tessa’s low spirits creep into me as I read the book. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t finish this book with a heavy heart.

When Tessa realizes that she can’t let her cancer dictate how she’s going to live the rest of her life, she makes up a list of ten things that she wants to do before it consumes her. At the very beginning of the book we cross off the very first on her list: sex.

The beginning of this book bothered me quite a bit and made me feel uncomfortable with the way Tessa started crossing off the things on her list. She did it in a very dark and haunted way that made me cringe on the inside. Although the rest of the book always has that dark under-tone to it, you can begin to see that Tessa is starting to have her happier moments as we get closer to the 150 page mark. But use the term “happier” loosely because I just want you guys to understand how extremely depressing I thought this book was.

Bleh. I’m just going to end my review here because simply thinking about this book is making me sad.