WWW Wednesday #1

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

WWW Wednesday

To join in, just answer the following three questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading…

Post Mortem

Post Mortem by Kate London

This is the first crime novel that I’ve read, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m about 2/3 of the way through it, and a lot of pieces are starting to fall into place. This book captured my interest right from the start; it barely took 10 pages to draw me in. This might be the beginning of a beautiful relationship between me and crime novels.

The Whitechapel FiendThe Whitechapel Fiend by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

This is the third short story in the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy series. I don’t normally like to read more than one book at a time, but as this is an ebook, it’s easy to read on my phone when I can’t just whip out a physical book. I’m a little over halfway through, and it’s pretty good. I love reading stuff about Will, Tessa and co.

Recently Finished…

ChainedChained by Susanne Valenti

I received an ARC of this from the author a couple of weeks ago, and finally got around to reading it recently. You can check out my review of it here.

Reading Next…

A Killing Among FriendsA Killing Among Friends by Toni Morrow Wyatt 

I received a copy of this through NetGalley a few weeks ago, so it’s high time I read it.I’m not super excited to read it, but as it’s an ARC, I feel like I shouldn’t just leave it for ages. I’m not sure how much I’ll enjoy it, as it doesn’t really seem like my normal type of books, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Have you read any of these book, and what have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Series Spotlight | The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Author: Michelle Paver
Publisher:
Orion
Released:
2004-2009
Genre:
Children’s, Fantasy, Adventure, Pre-History
Number of Books: 6

Set 6000 years ago in Stone Age Europe, the series follows Torak, Renn, and Wolf. At the beginning of the first book, Torak is alone after his father is killed by a demonic bear that is terrorising the forest. It isn’t long before Torak stumbles upon Wolf, a recently orphaned cub, with whom he can communicate (having spent around three months in a wolf den as a baby). Torak and Wolf eventually meet Renn, a girl from the Raven Clan, whom they soon befriend. Throughout the series, the trio (among other things) aim to defeat the Soul Eaters, a group of former clan mages who have turned to evil, and who seek to control the forest.

I’m not really sure why I decided to spotlight this series, as it’s been between six and seven years since I read the books (and I’ve been planning on re-reading them for the last three years). I do remember that it’s a really good series, though. Michelle Paver put in a lot of research regarding the Stone Age, and fauna and flora that would have been in Europe at that time. The historical accuracy of the books is insane and has apparently been recognised in archeological circles.

Aside from all of that, I really love all the main characters of these books. The story is told from the three perspectives of the main characters (including Wolf!), favouring Torak’s POV. I can’t remember specifics, but I know that many of the characters are very complex for a children’s series, and all very loveable. The chapters from Wolf’s POV are always very interesting and fun to read.

The premise is very unique and thoroughly encapsulating. The whole world feels very real, which has a lot to do with the description of everything. Due to Paver’s knowledge of the era, everything from food to animals to plant life is described in incredible detail. All that information was so thrilling to me as an 11/12-year-old, and I’m sure older readers would love it just as much.

While I can’t remember many details from this series, I get a feeling of great love whenever I think about it. Though I have many books on my TBR, I still really want to get around to re-reading it as soon as I get the chance. No doubt, when that time comes, I’ll be posting reviews 🙂

Anyways, though this is technically a middle grade series, it doesn’t really feel like it. I highly recommend you give it a shot, as it really is a great story.

The first book can be found here:

GoodreadsAmazon

Review | Chained by Susanne Valenti

ChainedTitle: Chained (Cage of Lies #1)
Author: Susanne Valenti
Release Date:
October 1st, 2015
Publisher:
Self-Published
Genre:
YA, Dystopia
Pages: 313
Rating:
3.5/5

*This review contains some minor spoilers*

Terrified of the contamination and the creatures it has created, humanity hides behind The Wall. No one knows what lies beyond the wasteland. Maya has never thought much about what might still be out there, lurking in the forgotten places. But when she’s thrust into the unknown, she is forced to question everything she has ever been told. Not everyone outside died, some of them became something… else. As her heart is torn in two, every choice she makes is harder than the last. What she discovers will change her forever. She knows she will probably die, but Maya has seen enough of death and she won’t let it have her without a fight.

I really liked the story and setting of this book. The idea of The Wall and the city that lives inside it was truly interesting. There were just a few things that stopped me giving this 4 or 5 stars.

Before I get to those, I’m going to talk about what I did enjoy about this book. I already said it, but I absolutely loved the setting and society that was created. It was complex and constructed in a very thoughtful way. I really enjoyed the first part of the book, when Taylor and Maya got to explore outside The Wall. I loved reading their reactions to all the different things they found, things that are so common today. From there, I thought the whole SubWar thing was pretty good, though there were a few aspects surrounding it that bothered me (more on that later).

Similar to at the start of the book, I loved it when Maya got to experience the outside world after escaping SubWar. I do wish we got to see more of Kaloo (who was absolutely adorable), but that’s just the major dog-lover in me talking. I thought the description of the Creepers was great, particularly how they came to be and again when they showed up in the final third of the book.

I found Maya to be a really good narrator. I didn’t exactly love her, but I liked her well enough. I loved Alicia as a character, and her sisterly relationship with Coal. She was a really tough character, but not in a way that didn’t make much sense. She seemed very realistic for the setting, and how she had grown up. For the most part, I liked all the characters in the book (or at least the ones that are meant to be liked), which is always a bonus.

Now, unfortunately, there were quite a few things that rubbed me the wrong way in this book. One of the main ones is the fact the Taylor was unconscious for half the book. It felt like lazy writing to me, to just conveniently put him to one side, allowing Coal and Maya to (predictably) get together. I think Maya and Taylor’s relationship would have been really interesting to explore. And that’s not even mentioning what could have happened with him and Laurie…

Earlier in the book, the whole thing with Grey during SubWar seemed quite forced. The way he was so interested in Maya felt important. It gave me the impression that there was some deeper reason for it (my guess was that he had known her parents or something like that). At the very least, I expected an explanation for it, but there was none.

The character of Coal also seemed a bit forced, particularly his relationship with Maya. When they first met and he was super interested in her and vice versa, I was a little disappointed. I had expected a little less cliché with this book, and was saddened to see it appear in this way. The whole “love at first sight” thing is not really something I like reading. Coal also seemed a bit aggressively protective of her, which bothered me a little.

I know I’ve just listed a whole lot of complaints, but at the end of the day, I did enjoy this story. I really enjoyed the world that was created, but some of the details surrounding the characters just weren’t really my taste. I do recommend you check it out if you’re into dystopias.

Huge thanks to Susanne for providing me with an ARC for this book 😀

Buy it on Amazon
Buy it on Amazon

Friday Finds #2

Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm and showcases the books you’ve found during the week and added to your TBR list.

More Happy Than NotMore Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

I can’t remember where I found this book (it was an entire week ago, gosh…), but it seems like a really good novel. The New York Times even called it “mandatory reading,” so who am I to argue?

Legend by Marie LuLegend

This is one of those books that I’ve heard a lot about, so I finally caved and added it to my TBR.

CinderCinder by Marissa Meyer

Like Legend, I’ve heard many great things about this book. I’m not 100% sold on it, based on the description, but I still want to check it out.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsHitchhiker's Guide

Do I really need to say anything about this one? It’s one of those books that’s been around forever, and I finally decided to add it to my TBR. I have no idea when I’ll get around to reading it, but hey.

UnboundUnbound by Neal Shusterman

I posted about the Unwind series earlier in the week. This is a collection of short stories, set after the last book, that is due to come out in December. I only found out about it this week, but I’m super excited!

Miss Peregrine'sMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I’ve seen this book around quite a bit lately, so I wanted to hop on the band wagon. It seem very different to many of the other books I’m into, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

Those are all the books I added to my TBR over the past week. What new books have you recently found?

Top Ten Tuesday | My Fall TBR

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This weeks theme is Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR. Since I live in the southern hemisphere, this is actually my spring TBR, but whatever 😛

#1 – Post Mortem by Kate LondonPost Mortem

This book reminds me of all those cop shows I watch… I got this book from the library yesterday, so I’ll be reading it soon. Watch for a review in the next week or so!

Aristotle and Dante#2 – Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

I’ve heard so much about this book, and I’m dying to read it! I’m not even too worried that this isn’t going to live up to my expectations, because pretty much everyone has been raving about it.

#3 – Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour

I first heard about this book last week, and have seen it around a couple of times since. It seems like fairly easy read, but I have no qualms about that.

#4 – Everything, Everything by Nicola YoonEverything, Everything

This book was released at the beginning of the month, and has been hyped up a lot. It sounds like a really good book, so hopefully I won’t be disappointed by it.

#5 – Throne of Glass by Sarah J. MassThrone of Glass

I’m pretty sure I’m one of the last YA fans on the planet to have not read this series, but it is on my list. I really hoping it will live up to all the hype.

Hello, Goodbye#6 – Hello, Goodbye, And Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith

The description of this book reminds me of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, in that it takes place over one night and two people figure out stuff about themselves. If it’s anything like that book, I should enjoy it.

#7 – Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Simon vs the Homo Sapiens AgendaAlbertalli

This looks like a great contemporary LGBT novel, and it kind of reminds me of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, which I loved. It has really good ratings, too, so that’s a bonus.

#8 – Ready Player One by Ernest ClineReady Player One

This is another one of those books that everyone seems to be reading at the moment, so why not join in? And a love a bit of sci-fi/dystopia, so what the heck.

#9 – The Casquette Girls by Alys ArdenThe Casquette Girls

This book was first published in 2013, but an edited version is coming out in November. I got a copy of that version through NetGalley, so hopefully I’ll get around to reading it soon, as it seems like quite an interesting story.

#10 – Go Set A Watchman by Harper LeeGo Set a Watchman

I read To Kill A Mockingbird earlier in the year, so I’ll hopefully get around to reading this in the not-too-distant future. There’s been a lot of mixed reviews about this book, so I’m a little wary.

So, that’s my “fall” TBR. What books are you planning on reading over the coming months?

Series Spotlight | Unwind Dystology

Unwind Dystology

Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: 
Simon & Schuster
Released:
2007-2015
Genre:
YA, Dystopia, Sci-Fi
Number of Books: 4 + 1 novella + 1 collections of short stories (to be published)
Rating: 5/5

The Unwind series is set after the Second Civil War (aka the Heartland War) that was fought by the pro-life and pro-choice armies. The outcome was The Bill of Life. It states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. However, between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, later lowered to seventeen, a parent may choose to retroactively “abort” a child on the condition that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end. The process by which a child is both terminated and yet kept alive is called unwinding, now a common and accepted practice in society.

The story begins with sixteen-year-old Connor Lassiter, whose parents have just signed his unwind order. To avoid being unwound, Connor goes AWOL and attempts to make it to eighteen. The series follows Connor and other AWOLs as they try to put a stop to the practice of unwinding.

This series deals with the issues of abortion, life and death, free will, consciousness, betrayal, and hope. Initially, the thought of parents choosing to dismantle their children is hard to stomach, but it’s hard not to be drawn into the story and the characters’ lives. This series was recommended to me by my English teacher last year, and I am really glad I took the time to read it. I found the characters to be extremely complex and well-written. It didn’t take long for me to really care what happened to each of them. Each of the main characters had a developed backstory, so we’re able to understand why each of them act the way they do.

I found that information about the past and how The Bill of Life came about was revealed very tactfully, and only when it was necessary to the story. There was no great history lesson at the start, so bits and pieces were dropped in throughout the series. I prefer this style of storytelling as it focuses more on the main plot, and lets the reader piece together everything else as they go.

I absolutely adore Shusterman’s writing style, and have since read many of his other novels (my review of his stand-alone novel Challenger Deep can be found here). This series has quickly become one of my all-time favourites, so I’d love for it to get much more recognition. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys thought-provoking dystopia’s. It’s quite a chilling series, so be prepared to be shocked by many of the things that take place.

There are four main novels, plus a novella set in between the first and second books. A collection of short stories set after the last of the main books is due to be released December 2015.

The first novel can be found here:

AmazonGoodreads

Review | Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the StarsTitle: Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
Release Date:
1989
Publisher: 
Houghton Mifflin Company
Genre:
Children’s, Historical
Pages:
137
Rating:
5/5

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It’s now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are “relocated,” Ellen moves in with the Johansen’s and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen’s life.

I think this book is amazing, and beautifully shows the small acts of bravery committed by young children during the Holocaust. I thought that Annemarie was a really loveable narrator, and told the events of life in Denmark during WWII with the innocence of a child.

It’s quite a short story, and the main action takes place over one day, though there is a build up before that over a few days. Even over this short period of time, we saw Annemarie grow quite a lot as she was exposed to many things, and learnt more about the war and how that had affected her family and friends.

Though this novel is aimed at children around 10, I think people of all ages will thoroughly enjoy it as it gives a very different perspective on the war.

Friday Finds #1

Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by A Daily Rhythm and showcases the books you’ve found during the week and added to your TBR list.

Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzieBlood Ties

My local library often has a shelf of withdrawn books for sale, and that is where I found this one. The blurb sounded good, and the book was only $0.20, so I bought it. Hopefully I’ll get around to reading it soon.

Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy and Roger's Epic Detour

I saw Amorous Reads’ review of this book. It looks like a fun contemporary road trip book, so I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

Hedon by Jason WerbeloffHedon

I entered a Goodreads giveaway for this book (which I didn’t win 😦 ) From what I can tell, it’s a sci-fi/dystopia kind of thing. Not sure when I’ll get around to reading it, but hey.

So there you have it – some of the books I found this week 🙂

Review | The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

The Journal of Curious Letters

Title: The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality #1) 
Author: James Dashner
Release Date:
March 3rd, 2008
Publisher:
Shadown Mountain
Genre:
YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy
Pages:
432
Rating:
3/5

What if every choice you made created an alternate reality?

In The Journal of Curious Letters, Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is an average thirteen-year-old boy until the day he receives a strange letter informing him that dangerous— perhaps even deadly—events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself. Tick will be sent twelve riddles that, when solved, will reveal the time and place of an extraordinary happening.

Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues and discover the life he was meant to live?


I really liked the premise of this book – the idea of alternate realities is truly fascinating. However, quite a few aspects of the story just didn’t click with me.

First and foremost, I found the writing style to be quite juvenile. For a book about intelligent people, I felt that this could have and should have been avoided. Now, I understand that this is supposedly geared towards the younger end of the young adult genre, so I’m not the intended audience, but I do feel that Dashner could have gained some older readers if the book didn’t feel like it was for the 9-12 market.

I found the character of Sofia, another thirteen-year-old who has been receiving the letters, to be rather infuriating. She was portrayed as a tough yet endearing young girl, but she just came of as mean and annoying. Throughout the book, she was constantly claiming to be of superior intelligence to everyone else, as well as holding her social status above the others. Like I said, she was annoying.

The overall story was interesting enough that I wasn’t bored while reading it. It didn’t thrill me, or keep me on the edge of my seat, but it was good. I guess I was expecting something stylistically similar to Dashner’s Maze Runner series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Anyone around the ages of 10-14 (give or take a couple of years) will probably be more likely to enjoy this series.

I wish I’d found out about this series four or five years ago, when I probably would’ve enjoyed it a lot more. It has the action and adventure that younger readers would definitely love, and a great father-son relationship that a lot of kids would be moved by.

For me though, I probably won’t continue reading this series, as it just doesn’t resonate with me.

Series Spotlight | The Tomorrow Series

Tomorrow Series

Author: John Marsden
Publisher:
Pan Macmillan
Released:
1993-1999
Genre:
YA, Action/Adventure
Rating: 5/5

The Tomorrow series is about a group of teenagers that get caught up in the invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power. The seven books are narrated by Ellie Linton in the style of a journal.

The series begins with Ellie and a group of friends taking a camping trip in the bush near the Linton family farm – they make their way down to a place known by the locals as Hell. The group return to find their families are gone. Eventually, they come to understand that their country has been invaded and their entire town taken prisoner. After gathering information and supplies, the group head back to Hell avoid being captured. Over the series, the teenagers become a gang of highly wanted guerrillas who wreak havoc around the town of Wirrawee and neighbouring cities.

This is a series about the horrors of modern war, and how a group of teenagers can have a huge impact. It doesn’t downplay any of the brutality, and not everyone comes out the other side. It deals with the psychological effects that something of this magnitude has on the people who are right in the middle of it. This is a very powerful series than readers of YA and adult fiction alike will enjoy.

Though I wouldn’t really call this a dystopian series, I recommend it to fans of that genre, as it has a few similarities. This is a very action based series, so anyone who likes that kind of thing will also really enjoy it.

The first book can be found here:
Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 3.00.48 pm

The first book of the sequel series – The Ellie Chronicles, set just after the war – can be found here:While I Live (The Ellie Chronicles #1)

The top photo is of my copies of the books