Reading List

Book Review #26: Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

(Finished Reading 18/05/13
My 25th book this year.)

This is Book 2 of the Leaving Paradise series.

Maggie is now more confident, daring and stronger. Caleb is still very much the same. Being dragged into the police station for a drug related offence, he has no choice but to call his previous transition counsellor from when he was released early from a juvenile detention centre.

The book brings Maggie and Caleb together to battle out their confused feeling for one another. Both very much needing one another but finding it very difficult to overcome all the troubles in their way.

This book focuses on a group going on a month long trip to various outreach centres to teach other youngsters the importance of abiding by the law and how recklessness can ruin lives.

We meet a group of very unique characters who struggle to get along. Each with their own stories to reveal about what they did that changed their lives forever. Through sharing their hardships they bond and form mismatched friendships.

A very enjoyable book. Yet again a little too short. But otherwise I loved this book and would definitely recommend this to other readers. I could read Simone Elkeles books all day long. She is an amazing author who needs to keep up the great work. I love bad boys and girls who get caught up with them.

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Book Review #14: Chain Reaction by Simone Elkeles

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars

(Finished Reading – 01/03/13
My 13th book this year.)

As always Simone Elkeles has done a great job.

Although all 3 books are quite similar, each of the 3 Fuentes brothers meets a girl who plays hard to get. They play pranks on each other, a bit of gang drama occurs and we have to guess if each brother has the same ending or if one of them are less lucky than the others.

This book is about the youngest Fuentes brother, Luis, and a girl called Nikki. Luis has higher hopes in life than his older brothers, an Nikki is just as feisty as Brittany and Kiara were back in the school days.

I wanted to give this book a higher rating but unfortunately Simone Elkeles lacked gang creativity. A lot more drama could have happened. It feels like the 3 books were a little too similar but in some ways because I enjoyed one, I enjoyed the whole series.

I’d recommend the read and I love how the author adds an epilogue and gives us a glimpse into their futures. ALL authors should do that so we don’t have to be left wondering what happens to all the other characters after the book ends.

I’m now looking forward to trying another series written by this great author.

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Book Review #13: True Love Story by Willow Aster

I rate this book 5 out of 5 star.

(Finished Reading 28/02/13
My 12th book this year)

I don’t often give out 5’s unless the book is absolutely amazing. I’m not even sure how long ago it was since I last read a book worthy of a 5 star rating.

Willow Aster is one of the most amazing romance novelists. The book had me captivated from page 1 all the way to the end.

I felt the passion and joy and pain with the main characters as they progressed through their relationship.

Sparrow is a unique girl who always wanted to save herself for marriage. She had her life planned out and knew what she wanted in life. Until she met Ian Sterling. Her life was then full of surprises, excitement, unexpected ups and downs.

Ian is a musician. Handsome and troubled and falls into Sparrow’s life. He has every girl falling for him but he only has eyes for Sparrow… Until he’s away from her.

I don’t know how Willow Aster made every page worthwhile. I wish I could write like her. But believe me when I say, you get caught up in their whirlwind romance and wish with all your will power for it to be a happy ending.

I’ll say no more for fear of telling too much. I would like to say that this is a must read!! Highly recommended. Before I finished reading the book I was already searching for more work written by this amazing author! Well done Willow!

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Book Review #12: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

(Finished reading – 25/02/13
My 11th book this year.)

This book is the 2nd of the “Perfect Chemistry” series. It is about the 2nd boy, Carlos, in the Fuentes Family. He is just like his brother, Alex, used to be. Full of attitude, spirit, surrounded by gang drama but eventually having hopes and dreams of a different future.

The main female character, Kiara, is the good girl who wants to make a difference. But she has a speech impairment causing her to stutter whenever she is nervous, embarassed or under pressure. More of a tomboy who prefers hiking boots and big baggy T-shirts over the latest fashion. Kiara also knows her cars, how to bake, and comes from a loving family.

The 2 teens play pranks and challenge one another until one day their games become more serious.

So the big drama is the battle of keeping the relationship together whilst they work out gang issues, trust issues and Carlos’ troubled past and Kiara’s unique personality.

At 1st, this book felt like I was reading Perfect Chemistry (book 1), all over again with additional scenarios. But then the last quarter of the book was very well written. Although I feel like the gang scenes could have done with a little more imagination, I absolutely loved every moment that Carlos and Kiara had together.

I would recommend this book to any teenagers. I guess the older generation would probably not enjoy this series as much as I have so far.

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Book Review #11: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

This is a very difficult book to rate. But I guess overall I would give it a 3 out of 5.

I guess I was disappointed with the first half of the book. I’m surprised that such a large number of readers have gotten this book a rating of over 4.10 on Goodreads.

The story itself didn’t really feel real even in my imagination. The words don’t seem to flow as smoothly as many other supernatural books that I have read. The style of writing makes the book feel like it was written for young teens, or maybe even a younger audience than that. But then the story has a lot of random gruesome scenes and a very disturbing relationship between two characters. I don’t want to mention their names as I hate spoiling books for those who are intending to read it.

But then about 2/3 of the way through the book, it feels like a different writer has picked up where the first person left off. I began to enjoy the book towards the end and felt like the first part MUST have been either unedited or more probably written by a ghostwriter.

What I loved about this book is the way the ‘sight’ allows certain people see demons and other supernatural beings. The way ‘glamour’ (the cloak/mask that humans see) can make something terrible look magnificent or visa versa.

Usually I try to start of with a brief review of the book. I hate leaving negative comments about books but there’s something about the way this book was written that I just cannot place and cannot keep to myself.

Very briefly, this book is about Clary, raised as a human but with ‘shadowhunter’ blood in her. One night out, Clary all of a sudden gains the ‘sight’ and watches a ‘shadowhunter’ kill a demon. She cannot understand what she has seen, especially when there’s been a murder but the bodies just disappears.

Then her mother suddenly goes missing. Clary then finds herself getting dragged deeper and deeper into this whole new world where vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks and demons all coexist. Clary’s human best friend is Simon. Simon has secretly had feelings for Clary since forever, but as always she just doesn’t know it. Then along comes shadow hunter Jace, who is a good looking ‘bad boy’, who slowly develops feelings for Clary. Clary also begins to fall for this boy. The ‘shadow hunters’ team up with a pack of werewolves on a search for Clary’s mother, meeting challenges and betrayal all the way.

My suggestion is, if you choose to read this book, then please, please, please read the WHOLE book. Sometimes the 2nd book in a series is better than the 1st, so I might be willing to give book 2 a try sometime in the future. But if I were asked to recommend a read, unfortunately, this would not be one of the books on my list.

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Book Review #4: Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

I rate this book 3.5/5 stars.
I loved the ending, this is what made the book worthwhile I guess.

The book is about a woman called Christine, who is in her 50’s. Every morning she wakes up having little or no recollection of her life over the last 20yrs or more.

She has a husband who lives with her and helps her survive with the condition that she’s in. He tells her a simplified version of her past with very little detail. But he has to explain to her day after day, that she has amnesia.

Some days she remembers very important flashbacks of her past. Leaving her more confused and doubtful of herself. Unsure of whether they are real memories or if her mind has been ‘creating’ memories to fill the void in her past.

Christine secretly communicates with, and sees Dr Nash on a regular basis. He is trying to help her regain her memories and recover from the accident that caused this. He encourages her to keep a journal so that she has ‘memories’ of her own to help guide her through her days. Dr Nash calls Christine to remind her of their meetings and to write in her journal. That way, when she wakes up remembering nothing, she can see for herself what progress she has been making.

She soon begins to doubt her husband. She believes that he lies to her and she can’t decide if it’s because he loves her or because it’s just easier to erase the bad parts of her life to make their daily routine more bearable.

With her condition slowly improving, along with her memories and her past, she finds that the few people she comes to rely on are all trying to protect her in different ways.

She needs to work out who to trust, who to believe and what is real in her life.

I would recommend this book because it has a lovely twist. The author made the book easy to read but I personally wouldn’t include this book on a list of books to read before you die. It’s a good book yet I can’t say that it will be on my favourites list.

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Currently Reading: (10%) Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson

As far as I know, this novel is about a woman called Christine. She has a severe memory problem that allows her to remember anything she does during the day, but once she falls asleep and wakes up again the next day, her memory is wiped clean.

I really enjoy reading books that differ from my reality. I always wonder what if I were the main character within the books that I read.

Waking up every day in a ‘strange’ place. Being married to someone that you have no memory of. Knowing only what this person chooses to let you know. I would feel scared, yet there would be no place to run to. You must rely on your instincts on whether you can trust the person you wake up with.

Then I looked over at my 3year old daughter and am even more thankful that this story has happened to an adult. I cannot even begin to imagine what life would be like if my daughter were to wake up and not know who I were.

Memories are of immense importance to each and every one of us. They help us to learn from our mistakes and grow into the people that we have become. Try to remember the good memories and don’t let the bad memories linger on your mind too much. Life is too short to waste on sadness and regret.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I like to lie in bed and choose a moment from my past and relive it, so that I can fall asleep with a smile on my face. 🙂

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Still keeping up with my New Year’s Resolution…

I’m still keeping up with one of my New Year’s Resolutions and it seems like this time I will even stick to this one until the end.

It’s time to decide on the next book to read now.

Having just finished Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier, I feel like I need to read something drastically different. Although I enjoyed the novel, I need something with a bit more passion or action or drama.

The next books on my list are:
Girl with a Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Forever by Judy Blume
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
The Fault in our Stars by John Green
Before I go to Sleep by SJ Watson
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

So back to the topic of Resolutions. How are you all getting on? It’s time for another bit of encouragement. Even if you think you have given up on your resolution already, DON’T! Be positive and start again where you left off. You’ll feel all the more better for it when you complete what it is that you set out to do. The feeling of achieving something that you worked hard for is well worth the effort. So keep up with me and I will keep shouting out. Even if I fail to help anyone achieve their goal, at least I know I have tried.

Always try your best in all that you do! Keep fighting to keep your dream alive! It’s not always an easy thing to do. So don’t give up! If you keep trying then it means there is still hope for your dream to come true. 😀

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Book Review #3: Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

I rate this book 4/5 stars. This book is full of beautiful references to painting’s by Vermeer. How he sees colours, how he processes his work. How an artist spends hour upon hour sitting in front of the easel and just ‘seeing’ how he wants to paint the picture. The book is about love, hardships of life, relationships in the home and in the workplace.

Griet’s family were forced to send her and her brother out to work after her father was involved in an accident that left him blind.

Her parent’s arranged a job for her. Her new employer’s were with the Painter Vermeer and his wife, Catharina, who is continuously pregnant and giving birth to child after child. Catharina holds much jealousy and distrust towards Griet.

Catharina’s mother, Maria Thins, and her loyal personal maid, Tanneke, make life more interesting for Griet. Some days they are good to her, other days they want to punish her for things that she usually hasn’t wronged in. But life as a poor maid for a large family can never be easy.

Although Griet and her painter barely talk throughout the book, you can see their relationship grow. You recognise his trust in her and you know of the underlying feelings between the two.

Where there’s a girl close to becoming a woman, there is always a man who likes to cause trouble. The one who pay’s for Vermeer’s artwork, van Ruijven. He is continuously trying to dishonour Griet with his sly smiles, his wandering hands whenever he corners Griet. Using his wealth and power to gain what he thinks should come free.

Griet has also attracted the attention of another man. The butcher’s son. He courts Griet, openly gaining himself an invite to meet her parents. Due to the circumstances, her parents encourage Griet to be nice to Pieter the son. If she were to marry the butcher’s son, they would never go hungry again.

I don’t want to include any spoilers yet I can’t help but to state my disappointment in regards to the ending of this book. I feel like I’m left yearning for more. Like this book was pointless but at the same time I couldn’t put the book down. I enjoyed every scene with Griet and her painter. How she feels love and loyalty to Vermeer and I wish she had chosen a different path for herself.

Recommended read, but I would say this book is probably more for females and art lovers who pay attention to detail.

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New Year’s Resolution #4 in progress: reading challenge 2013 – TBR Book Pile Challenge

To make a start on my New Year’s Resolution #4: The Book Challenge

I am having a go at reading 12 books from my “To Be Read” list. (I found this challenge through a fellow wordpress user with the username “The Book Wheel”. I would like to say thank you for helping me on hopefully achieving this resolution by the end of the year.) The book challenge can be found on google search engine by typing “2013 TBR book pile challenge”.

I’m doing this challenge without entering through the link. I have only chosen 1 book so far and don’t want to waste days of time just compiling 12 books for the list. So I will begin on book 1 soon, then add to the list as I read.

Here’s my “list” : –

1. Life of Pi by Yann Martell

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