Monday, 27 July 2015

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Publication: June 16th 2015 by Disney Hyperion 

Goodreads summary:
If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. 

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear. 

My thoughts:
I've been seeing glowing reviews of Every Last Word for ages and finally picked it up the other day,and I'm so glad I did because I loved this book. It was such a powerful story that made me think about who I am and who I really want to be. It was a beautiful and touching and held my attention the whole time.

This book deals with some serious topics such as anxiety, depression, suicide, bullying and mental illness in an excellent manner. I think the things the characters were dealing with were portrayed realistically and respectfully.

I liked all the characters for the most part. I felt like I knew Sam and connected well with her. Tamara Ireland Stone did an excellent job of making Samantha feel real and relatable. It's nice for readers to know that there are people out there who think they are crazy too.

Sam's psychiatrist, Sue, was one of my favourites. I liked getting to see how she made such an impact on Sam's life and the choices she made. Sam would often do something and think:this would make Sue proud. I also loved seeing how Caroline had such a positive impact on Sam. She made her feel normal and pushed her to do things that she wanted to do but scared her,like reading at Poets Corner.

We do get to know the other poets but I felt like they weren't as developed and Sam's 'friends', the crazy eights, felt a bit flat and cliche as the high school popular group.

Poetry is a big part of this book. All the poems were fantastic. I like how some where funny and lighthearted while other were much more emotional. Reading about Sam writing made me want to write more.

There was a twist thrown in near the end that I didn't see coming which I really liked. I love a book that can surprise me, and this one did. 

Every Last Word is an engaging read. Once I started I couldn't put it down. It's very easy to get through even though the topic is very serious. 

I think this book is super important because there isn't a lot of YA out there that deals with these kind of topics. It was a emotional story but a beautiful one and I think everyone should read it.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover

Publication:18th March 2014
Goodreads summary:
At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.

Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.

A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page. 

My thoughts:
I've read 5 of Colleen Hoover's books now and I love every single one of them. Maybe Someday isn't my favourite but its still amazing. I haven't come across one of her books that didn't impress me. All her stories are told so beautifully. It's impossible not to love them!

All the characters, even the side characters, are well developed with individual personalities and backstories. Each one is very vivid and realistic.

Music plays a big role in this book and luckily there's an official soundtrack. I highly recommend listening to it while you're reading. I think it really makes the reading experience something special.  

My only problem with Maybe Someday is that I wanted more. I'd have loved to see an epilogue that takes place a few years after the events in the book. But other than that this was a wonderful read.

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, 16 July 2015

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Warning spoilers ahead for The Final Empire and The Well of Ascension.

Series: Mistborn #3

Publication: April 28th 2009 

Goodreads summary:
Who is the Hero of Ages?

To end the Final Empire and restore freedom, Vin killed the Lord Ruler. But as a result, the Deepness---the lethal form of the ubiquitous mists---is back, along with increasingly heavy ashfalls and ever more powerful earthquakes. Humanity appears to be doomed.

Having escaped death at the climax of The Well of Ascension only by becoming a Mistborn himself, Emperor Elend Venture hopes to find clues left behind by the Lord Ruler that will allow him to save the world. Vin is consumed with guilt at having been tricked into releasing the mystic force known as Ruin from the Well. Ruin wants to end the world, and its near omniscience and ability to warp reality make stopping it seem impossible. She can't even discuss it with Elend lest Ruin learn their plans!

My thoughts:
I think The Hero of Ages is a very satisfying conclusion to the Mistborn trilogy. Everything was wrapped up very nicely and I got all my questions I had at the end of book two answered.

I think the world building is what really makes this series stand out. In this book we get to learn a lot more about the kandra and their politics and world, which was really interesting. We also get introduced to a new magic system called Hemalurgy.

I think The Hero of Ages is the most predictable of the three books. I was able to correctly guess some of the major plot points which was kind of disappointing, because while I like to be right I also like to be surprised.

I did feel like this book was slower than the other two. Sazed and TenSoon's POVs at the beginning of the novel weren't very exciting. I found the other storylines to be more captivating. But the pace did pick up later on. 

Spook has a much more prominent role in this book, I can't really get into it without spoilers but he's a very important character in this book and I really liked his character arc. He's become one of my favourite characters.

If your looking for a fun quick read this isn't for you. At around 700 pages it take a while to get through especially since the middle section is a bit slow.

My rating: 4 stars out of 5. Would have given it five but I had problems with the pacing.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson


Series: Mistborn #2

Publication: August 21st 2007 by Tor Books

Warning spoilers ahead for book 1, The Final Empire!

Goodreads summary:
The impossible has been accomplished. The Lord Ruler – the man who claimed to be god incarnate and brutally ruled the world for a thousand years – has been vanquished. But Kelsier, the hero who masterminded that triumph, is dead too, and now the awesome task of building a new world has been left to his young protégé, Vin, the former street urchin who is now the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and to the idealistic young nobleman she loves.

As Kelsier’s protégé and slayer of the Lord Ruler she is now venerated by a budding new religion, a distinction that makes her intensely uncomfortable. Even more worrying, the mists have begun behaving strangely since the Lord Ruler died, and seem to harbor a strange vaporous entity that haunts her.

Stopping assassins may keep Vin’s Mistborn skills sharp, but it’s the least of her problems. Luthadel, the largest city of the former empire, doesn’t run itself, and Vin and the other members of Kelsier’s crew, who lead the revolution, must learn a whole new set of practical and political skills to help. It certainly won’t get easier with three armies – one of them composed of ferocious giants – now vying to conquer the city, and no sign of the Lord Ruler’s hidden cache of atium, the rarest and most powerful allomantic metal.

As the siege of Luthadel tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows. Less

My thoughts:
I like The Well of Ascension much more than The Final Empire. I'd heard that The Well of Ascension was slower than The Final Empire,but personally I think The Final Empire is slower.

There was so much action in this book,which is no surprise since Luthadel is surrounded by armies. Vin really gets to show off her skills as a mistborn assassin which I loved. She's come so far since the beginning of the first book. She has become a legend of sorts in Luthadel because of her powers and I loved getting to see her struggle with the crowds following her.

I think I liked this book more than the pervious one because this one focused a lot more on Elend, who I love. At the end of book 1, Elend is appointed as king. I loved getting to see the idealistic young man really grow into his crown with the help of Tindwyl. She quickly became one of my favourite characters. She's tough on Elend but knows its what he needs to become a great king. He changes a lot but is still as smart and witty as ever. I loved getting to see him fight for what the people of Luthadel needed. He cares so much for his kingdom and people.

Sanderson slips in some thought provoking passages about belief through Sazed. The character who studies religion starts to question if he believes in anything and I found it to be very interesting. 

In The Well of Ascension we get to learn more about The Hero of Ages and prophecies through the research Sazed and Tindwyl, do. 

My rating: 4 stars. Usually sequels fall flat for me but this one was excellent.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Series: Mistborn #1

Publication: January 1st 2006 by Bloomsbury 

Goodreads summary:
In a world where ash falls from the sky, and mist dominates the night, an evil cloaks the land and stifles all life. The future of the empire rests on the shoulders of a troublemaker and his young apprentice. Together, can they fill the world with colour once more?
In Brandon Sanderson's intriguing tale of love, loss, despair and hope, a new kind of magic enters the stage - Allomancy, a magic of the metals.

My thoughts:
The Final Empire is very different from other fantasies I've read. There's no elves, fey, dwarf or wizards. But like every excellent fantasy story it has magic but this story has one of the most unique magic systems I've ever encountered. Allomancy is the magic of burning metals. I found it difficult in the beginning to remember which metal does what but as the book went on I started to understand.

I really loved that The Final Empire delves into political intrigue, religion and masks people use to hide behind. 

The main character Vin is portrayed as a strong female character who faces many challenges which cause her to grow and change. She's never know friendship or trust so watching her learn how to interact with those around her was a pleasure. 

Kelsier,our other protagonist is very opposite of Vin. He is extremely confident and is a leader.He comes off as reckless at times but throughout the story he learns that he can't fight every battle. I really enjoyed his relationship with Vin. He is seen as an older brother/father figure for the girl and also her first real friend.

While I did like Vin and Kelsier my favourite character has to be Elend Venture. He is a witty, smart nobleman, who spends most of his time reading,even at balls. I found Elends interest in polictics and the skaa (the oppressed slaves of The Final Empire) to be extremely fascinating because he is of the upper class.

I'm exited to see where the plot goes in The Well of Ascension. 

My rating: 4stars out of 5. I couldn't give it 5 because it was a bit slow in the beginning and I predicted a lot of the twists, but other than that this was an epic crazy ride and is definitely recommend for those who love fantasy with lots of action!