Friday, 20 May 2016

Review: Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari


Title: Artichoke Hearts

Author: Sita Brahmachari

Series: N/A

Publisher: MacMillan

Format: Paperback | 336 pages

Genre: Children's | YA | Contemporary


Mira Levenson's family is always chaotic - with a little brother and baby sister, busy parents and her artistic, outspoken grandma. She loves them all, but sometimes it feels like nothing is private and there's nowhere for Mira to just be herself. And the thing is…Mira does have secrets - her beloved Nana Josie is dying, she's drifting away from her best friend, and she can't stop thinking about mysterious, confident Jide Jackson, who is definitely keeping some secrets of his own.

Everything's spinning out of control…can Mira let someone into her heart when it feels like it's about to break?

My thoughts:

Told from 12 year old Mira's point of view, Artichoke Hearts is a coming of age story focusing on a young girl's thoughts and feelings as she waits for her grandmother to die.

I don't usually read books like this one. I was a little apprehensive when I saw that the main character is so much younger than me. Not that I don't read books with teens as the protagonists, it is in most YA, but Mira is young even for most YA. I was unsure, but I just decided to give it a go anyway.

As the book went on I liked Mira more and more. She was very down to earth, especially with what her character was going through, and her thoughts about her experiences were something every reader should relate to in some way. I loved how realistic the character's reactions to everything were - there were no huge breakdowns and 'how will I live after this' kind of attitude, it was all reasonable reactions that would happen to everyone. In a way, that made it all the more emotional.

I thought the book had a pretty slow start. It seemed so different in the beginning too, there was so much focus on art and all that good stuff and then things suddenly took a depressing turn. I realise that's how it should be, but I thought there wasn't really a transition in between. It kind of jumped from Nana Josie still being so enthusiastic to do whatever she needs to, and then next thing you know she's in a hospice. Yes, things can happen that quickly, but the way it read just didn't sit right with me.

There was a huge variation in characters which I adored. Every character, whether they played a huge part or not, made a really big difference to the story. There were characters that were only mentioned once or twice and they still managed to make my heart hurt. Whether I enjoyed the story or not, an author who can give a character that depth is very talented.

All in all I really liked this read. It was a little slow at times but the characters were wonderful and the plot was very touching. I would definitely recommend it.

My rating: 7/10

Sita Brahmachari:

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

Review: The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd


Title: The Madman's Daughter

Author: Megan Shepherd

Series: The Madman's Daughter #1

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Publication date: 11/04/2013

Format: Paperback | 368 pages

Genre: YA | Science Fiction | Historical


To uncover the truth means risking all…

London, 1894, Juliet Monreau has built a life for herself working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns her father is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations were true.

Yet what she finds on the island is twisted beyond all imagining, and out of her father's control. As the island rapidly descends into chaos, she must escape the horrors of her father's creations, but not before she discovers the true extent of her father's genius - and madness - in her own blood.

My thoughts:

After Juliet's father is accused of horrendous crimes, Juliet is forced to make do with any job that will keep her off the streets. Working as a maid in the hospital, Juliet comes across something that may mean her father is still alive. Determined to find out if the accusations were true, Juliet hitches a ride with an old friend to an island filled with unnatural creatures and a dangerous murderer that leaves three claw marks as his calling card.

Wow this book had some creepy characters. I loved every minute of it. Seriously.

I'm a big fan of creepy reads - not necessarily horror but something that raises the hairs on the back of my neck. From the very first page, I could tell that this book would be a good one. The writing immediately had a feel of suspense and dark drama that was bound to creep me out. It did just that. There were creepy characters, a murderer that had everyone afraid to leave the house and bucket loads of suspense. I couldn't stop reading.

The characters were great. I loved how mysterious they were - nothing but their basic personality and history was revealed until close to the end of the read where everything got turned on its head. I found myself starting to doubt everyone, even Juliet. Were they who they said they were? Characters who seemed perfectly innocent beforehand were seen in a new light.

By the way, I loved Montgomery he was totally steamy.

The plot with Juliet and her father was amazing. He was definitely a character I won't be able to get out of my head for awhile. Totally insane. I really liked how he still managed to get into Juliet's head even when she'd decided he wasn't worth listening to - you know, because of the fact that he's a total creep who enjoys inflicting pain in the name of science.

All in all I loved this book tremendously and I can't wait to get the sequel, especially with the way it ended. Never would have called it!

My rating: 10/10

 Megan Shepherd:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

The Madman's Daughter:

  1. The Madman's Daughter
  2. Her Dark Curiosity
  3. A Cold Legacy

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 10 May 2012

Format: Paperback | 272 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary


When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton's type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a blood-thirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun - but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

My thoughts:

After being dumped by his 19th girlfriend, all of whom were named Katherine, Colin is persuaded by best friend Hassan to go on a road trip to take his mind off his heartbreak. Being the prodigy he is, Colin is on a mission to save everyone the trouble of relationship break ups by creating a formula to predict who will be the dumper and who will be the dumpee.

What I liked most about this read was that it constantly had me laughing, either that or it left me with a huge grin on my face. There was just something about the characters that got to me. Colin's so clever and yet he manages to be so clueless about a whole lot of things, especially relationships. Hassan just has these great one liners that never failed to make me crack up laughing. Colin was cute but Hassan was just downright hilarious.

The plot to this book is pretty simple. It's all about character development, friendship and a little bit of romance thrown in. It's all carried by the characters in my opinion. With such brilliant characters who are truly great friends, you can't help but wish them to figure out where they're going and to make the best of what they've got. And they do. There was a very realistic ending that left a lot open to the imagination but the characters had gotten to where they needed to be. I thought the ending was perfect.


I do think that this book would be a hit and miss with a lot of people. I can imagine Hassan and Colin getting on some people's nerves if they're not into books that don't have such a clear direction.


Generally I really enjoyed this read, aside from it being a little slow at times, I loved how awkward it was and the situations the characters got into really did make me laugh. It was a good time.


My rating: 8/10


 John Green:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

Friday, 26 February 2016

Series Spotlight: Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

Chaos Walking


Series: Chaos Walking

Author: Patrick Ness

Publisher: Walker

Publication date: 2008 - 2010

Format: Paperback

Genre: YA | Dystopian


Book 1 Summary:

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him -- something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn't she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd's gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

 My thoughts:

I finished this series about a week ago now, novellas included, and up until now I just can't believe I put off reading it for so long. My sister read it before me and she doesn't read anywhere near as much as I do and a few of my friends started it a while ago. I've been told so many times to start it and I just had so many other books to read that I put them aside. It was pretty stupid of me considering how much I loved reading this series. At least I didn't have to wait for sequels to come out - I already had the complete series sitting on the shelf.


This series pretty much had everything I love in a book throughout the whole trilogy. It had some of the most amazing characters I've come across yet, great action, brilliant writing and suspense to the likes of which I've never felt before whilst reading.


What stood out to me most though, was the fact that each book stood out on its own. Usually in a series, especially a trilogy, I expect at least one book to fall through a little bit and act as a 'filler novel' but it wasn't the case with Chaos Walking. Each of the three books offered something new. Each time the characters were a little different, the setting was a little different and the plot was no worse for wear because of it. The protagonists served as the anchor for all three books while everything changed around them the whole time they were struggling to stay alive.


Todd and Viola have made their way into my heart - honestly, they are two of my new favourite characters of all time. I adored the way they worked together and any time they were separated I was just on the edge of my seat waiting for them to meet each other again. It wasn't even in the romantic sense necessarily, they just worked. I would believe it when they said they could do anything together if they put their mind to it and it would break my heart when one of them falls in some way and the other picks them back up with a heartfelt speech about how they never gave up on each other before now and they wouldn't start. 


The character development in this series is breathtaking. The Todd at the beginning of the trilogy is a different person entirely to what he becomes at the end of the series. Best of all, it didn't happen too fast and it happened with good reason. After every major event in each book, Todd learns something new and just steadily grows up. It's amazing to read.


Like I mentioned before, the suspense in this book is something else. Thank goodness my sister had already read the series because I was going around the house ranting and raving about something that was happening or about to happen and how I couldn't bear it if it all goes down the way I think it will. She just laughed at me. For all three books, no matter what, 'oh my God, OH MY GOD!' was constantly going through my head. 


If you couldn't tell already, this series is one of my favourites now and I strongly urge you to get it if you haven't already. I love it. Please, please give it a go.


My rating: 10/10


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent


Title: My Soul to Take

Author: Rachel Vincent 

Series: Soul Screamers #1

Publisher: Mira Ink

Publication date: January 1st 2011

Format: Paperback | 345 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal


Something is wrong with Kaylee Cavanaugh…

She can sense when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest boy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about the dark forces behind Kaylee's power than she does.

And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason and only Kaylee knows who'll be next, she realises that finding a boyfriend is the least of her worries!

My thoughts:

My Soul to Take follows Kaylee - a girl who just wants to be noticed by the hottest guy in school and to get over whatever's causing her supposedly random panic attacks. Kaylee's world soon gets turned upside down however, when healthy teenage girls collapse dead for no medically apparent reason and every time they do…Kaylee has an overwhelming urge to let out a screech that fights to make people's ears bleed.

I think this review will be pretty short, mainly because I found this read to be pretty average. There was nothing specifically wrong with it that made me want to vent my frustrations out in a review, nor was there anything that stood out that would encourage me to sing its praises. 

I could pinpoint a few ways this book fell short for me. For a start, I didn't like the way Nash and Kaylee first met - how their relationship started. Nash seemed to jump into the story where he wasn't necessarily wanted at first - way too fast and furious. It made Kaylee seem very shallow where I obviously don't think it was intentional. Of course, that also made the relationship look fake and uncomfortable to read. 


There was also an instance that I won't mention because, you know, spoilers and all - when the story is coming to an end and the plot is about to revealed. The big moment where the villain is finally ousted and you're like OMG! THIS IS NOT HAPPENING!!! because it turns out to be the character you all thought was innocent. Yeah that didn't happen for me. Not that I guessed beforehand, but because it was so unbelievable in the sense that I didn't believe in the motives wholeheartedly. There wasn't enough of a build up for me to really buy into it. So that sucked a little.


Aside from that I didn't really have a problem with the book. It was a little meh at times but for the most part it was a pleasant read. I liked the characters most of the time and the plot was suspenseful enough that it kept me going. All in all it was an okay read, however I don't think I'll be carrying on with the series.


My rating: 6/10


Rachel Vincent:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook


Soul Screamers:

  1. My Soul to Take
  2. My Soul to Save
  3. My Soul to Keep
  4. My Soul to Steal
  5. If I Die
  6. Before I Wake
  7. With All My Soul

Monday, 1 February 2016

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson


Title: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Author: Morgan Matson

Series: N/A

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: May 2010

Format: ebook | 352 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 


Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn't seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she's coming to terms with her father's death and how to put her own life back together after the accident.



My thoughts:

Following her father's death, Amy's family moves to Connecticut for a fresh start, but because of money troubles, Amy's mother decides she has to drive there with a friend's son, Roger. Amy's mother sets the route, books the hotels and hands over her credit card, but Amy and Roger are disappointed to see that the route set isn't one that inspires any sense of adventure…they decide to liven things up a little.

This was a great, feel good read. I really enjoyed it. I've only read a couple of books with a road trip as the main focus but it seems to be a really great way to tell a story. Especially for characters that have to get to know one another and maybe even themselves again - plenty of time to be left alone with your thoughts, close quarters with more or less a stranger and lots of things that can go wrong.

I loved how gentle the story was. Matson really took her time with the characters I think, I felt like I really got to know them. Amy was very vulnerable and the trip was her way of getting a little bit of her old self back but it took a lot of time. Nothing in this read was rushed, not one thing - not the friendships, not the romance and definitely not the closure of all the characters involved.

The characters were beyond lovely. I don't know why I'm using that word to describe them, but it seems to fit them perfectly. They gave each other so much space at first because they each had their own problems. I adored how they took their time to get to know each other, because really, doesn't it just make sense that way? Who rushes into any kind of relationship? Even of the friendly sort. 


I also thought it ended in such a lovely manner. It might have annoyed me if the read was any different, but I loved the fact that it was an open ending. It wasn't a bad ending in the sense that nothing was resolved - things were resolved and it ended on a good note, but it was also open to interpretation a little. I thought that for characters who had a long way to go, it would have been hypocritical in a way to end the book with full description of where the characters are going to end up and where they all stand with each other. Like Amy's mother for example, I would have liked to see how things between Amy and her changed, but I also knew that they had a hell of a lot to work out. Seeing them work it out in a couple of pages wouldn't have sit well with me I think. It was a great way to end the book.


Overall I loved this read and I don't have a bad thing to say about it. Not one. I'm definitely going to keep watching this author.


My rating: 10/10 


Morgan Matson:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Review: The Girlfriend Request by Jodie Andrefski


Title: The Girlfriend Request

Author: Jodie Andrefski

Series: N/A

Publisher: Entangled: Crush

Publication date: January 11th 2016

Format: Kindle | 267 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary | Romance


Updating best friend to girlfriend is more than a change of status...

Emma has been best friends with Eli since she moved to his neighborhood ten years ago. Tired of being cast in the role of the girl next door, Emma creates a fake Facebook profile in the hopes of starting an online friendship with Eli, which would hopefully lead to more. Like...way more. From friend request to In a Relationship--it all seemed so completely logical when she'd planned it.

Eli can't figure out what Emma is up to. He’s pretty sure she's the one behind the Facebook profile, but then again, why would she do something so drastic instead of just admitting she wants to be more than friends? And who the heck is this new guy he saw her with? Eli starts to think that just maybe...he missed his chance with the girl next door.

Two best friends, one outlandish ruse. Their status is about to become way more than It’s Complicated...
This Entangled Teen Crush book contains one fake Facebook profile, two best friends who secretly crave each other, and a dreaded sex talk with parents...boy crush in the room included. Pushing a relationship beyond the friend zone has never been so crazy...

My thoughts:

I always pick up books like this and end up saying exactly the same things about them. I don't know why I bother sometimes, but for some reason, silly little cliched romances are my 'in-between books' kind of reads. They always put me in a good mood even if I know what's going to happen and the cliches are enough to get anyone rolling their eyes. I think it mostly boils down to not taking them seriously and just going with it. Pretend to live in a world where best friends always fall in love in the cutest way and nothing serious ever happens. Life is so much less complicated. At least for a few hours until you're at the last page and reality checks right back in.

This read was pretty much the same deal as other feel good reads. There's a girl, who's best friends with a guy, she falls for said guy, and tries weird ways to get him to notice her as more than a friend without telling him directly. The only difference with this one was the guy notices and figures it out straight away. I appreciated that too because what best friend wouldn't notice something was going on?

I liked Eli and Emma. They worked as friends and they worked as a couple. Emma was a sweet girl and Eli was so cute - if he was real, I would pinch his cheeks. Don't judge me.

This read was still totally predictable and it was still chocked full of cliches, right up until the very end. But all that aside, it was a sweet, cutesy and quick read that I enjoyed.

I will say Emma got a little annoying towards the middle of the read. She had so many signs that I think anybody in reality would notice - like you would notice a big red flag in front of your face right? Emma was just a teensy bit of an idiot for not going for it at that point. But whatever.

All in all I liked this read for what it is. It's not an emotional roller coaster - it won't make you cry and it probably won't even make you laugh but it's nice for just getting away from reality for a little while and that's what reading is all about.

My rating: 6/10

Jodie Andrefski:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter