Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Book Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published: November 4th 2014
Pages: 470

Goodreads Synopsis:

Mara Dyer wants to believe there's more to the lies she’s been told. There is.

She doesn’t stop to think about where her quest for the truth might lead. She should.

She never had to imagine how far she would go for vengeance. She will now.

Loyalties are betrayed, guilt and innocence tangle, and fate and chance collide in this shocking conclusion to Mara Dyer’s story.

Retribution has arrived.

The third and final book in a trilogy is always my least favourite and this is still true for this series, however, it is probably one of my favourite final books, plot wise. I just love the story, its so unique and so different to the usual superhero stories. I never felt bored by the story as it was action packed throughout. However, I did have quite a few problems with this book, which really affected the rating I gave it. 

One problem I had with this book was the new P.O.V near the end of the book.For the majority of the book there is only one P.O.V. which is Mara's, however, towards the conclusion a second P.O.V. is incorporated, a male voice.  I found it really hard to differentiate between the two and kept having to go back to the start of each chapter to figure out which character was speaking. I wouldn't have had a problem with the new P.O.V. if it was effective, but I did not find the voice of the male character to be very believable as it was much too similar to Mara's. This was only a minor problem I had with the book and it didn't take too much from the story.

My main problem with this book, however, was the fact that this was not a satisfying conclusion. So many questions were left unanswered. For example, one character who was present for the majority of the book, just upped and left at one stage and there was no follow up or any other mention of the character. I don't understand the point of this character in the story. Why have this character the whole way through the story, have her dramatically leave, with no explanation of where she is going, and then not follow up on what happened her? I was sure that something awful would happen her but she just disappeared from the story as if Hodkin forgot all about her. The role of Abel Lukumi in this book was also questionable. There was some explanation of the Abel from Mara's grandmothers time but no real explanation as to what he was. He had no role at all in the present in this story except for a brief sighting by Mara. There were several hints to him but no real firm conclusion to his character. Everything felt a little unfinished. There was, also, no indication as to what the characters were going to do after the ending of the story. It was all left very open and I was sure there must be another book in the series only to find it this was only a trilogy.

While I did love the story I just wish everything was wrapped up a bit better. This book just left me with more questions than answers and that's why it received 3.5 stars.

I would still highly recommend this series as it is by far one of my favourites.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015

So this week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday by the Broke and the Bookish is: Top Ten Goals/Resolutions For 2015. Before I decided to write up this list I said I better read my list from last year which you can find HERE. Did I get through this last you may be asking....well, no, definitely not! One of my goals was to read 80 books this year and I only managed to read (at this current moment) 46 as I went through a major reading slump this year. My book blogging goal also suffered due to the start of my masters in September which left little time for reading or blogging. Last years goals were not very doable and as it was my first year making bookish resolutions I will forgive myself. This year, however, will be the year of realistic goals and so without further ado, here are my 2015 bookish Resolutions:

1. Blog at least once a week: When I first started blogging I was posting sometimes 3 or 4 times a week but I could not keep this up and ending up stopping altogether. This coming year I won't put too much pressure on myself as it is a hobby and pressurizing myself takes all the fun out of it.
2. Reread Harry Potter: This was a goal I had last year that I actually started only a couple of days ago. I think Christmas is the perfect time for reading HP and so I have sort of cheated with this one as I have read the first two books already.
3. Review books sooner: I have gotten much better at this lately, however, before I would tend to put off writing the review and then when I sat down to write it I would have forgotten everything I wanted to say. I now tend to write my thoughts up on Goodreads when I mark off that I have read the book so I don't forget everything and then write up my proper review here.
4. Only buy books I REALLY want: Seems a bit obvious but I tend to pick up all sorts of books just because I have heard others gush about them. I don't like contemporary books but have in the past bought several of them and hated them. I don't like to review these books as it is not the fault of the book but my own personal preference.
5. Read 50 books: I will still be very busy with my masters next year so I am not going to aim too high for the amount of books I would like to read. I have a 20,000 word dissertation to write so....yes not a great deal of free time. I nearly read 50 books this year with a major reading slump lasting several months so I think this is possible.
6. Start the Percy Jackson Series: I really want to read the Heroes of Olympus series but I don't want to read it without first knowing what happens in the Percy Jackson series. I am not particularly fond of middle-grade books but hopefully I can get through these to move onto the next series.
7. Read more non-fiction: I studied History in University and I am currently undertaking a Masters in Museum Studies. I am fascinated by history and would like to read more about certain time periods in history - particular the Viking and Norman eras.
8. Start the Game of Thrones Series: I have already read the first book but it was so long ago that I have no memory of it. It is my favourite TV show and I know I will love the books if only I could look past their chunkiness!!
9. Reread The Coldest Girl on Coldtown: This is one of my favourite books of all time, enough said.
10. Finish the series I have started: I have a habit of starting a series and even though I may love it, I don't finish it before moving onto another series. Obviously, I can't finish a series if the books aren't yet released but for the ones that are and that I have on my shelf, I hope to finish them.

If you have a list of your 2014 Bookish Resolutions feel free to leave me a link in the comments and I would love to check it out.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 Edition!

Jamie over at the Perpetual Page Turner, posted her 5th annual End of the Year Book Survey at the beginning of December. To link up with this just and share your End of the Year Survey just click here.

Number Of Books You Read: 46

Number of Re-Reads: 2

Genre You Read The Most From: YA/Fantasy

1. Best Books You Read in 2014:

Ok, I am weak. I could not chose just one, but narrowing it down to two was pretty good, no?

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t:

I thought I was going to love this one, I really did. I absolutely love Fantasy and this has an incredibly high rating on Goodreads. My mistake was probably thinking it was going to be like Sanderson's Fantasy and it just could not compare. I was really disappointed and struggled to finish this one. I will not be continuing this series. 

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014:

I went into this book, really not expected much from it. I am not too fond of books about Angels but this one blew me away and I ended up giving it 4.5 stars on Goodreads.

  4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did) In 2014:

Sadly, not a lot of people I know are into reading, particularly not the kind of books that I read, the exception being my youngest sister. I recommended this book to her ages ago as I absolutely loved it and she has just started reading it recently.

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best Sequel of 2014? Best Series Ender of 2014:

Best series is a tie between the 5th Wave and Darkest Minds but I chose Darkest Minds here because I have read the entire series. My favourite sequel had to be Scarlet, I love the Cinder series and really enjoyed this book. Finally my favourite Series Ender had to be The Retribution of Mara Dyer as I normally don't like the final book in a series but absolutely loved this one.

 6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014:  

I absolutely ADORE this man's writing style and can't wait to pick up more books by him.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone:

 I really do not like contemporary books or basically any book that does not have some fantastical element to it or epic battles. This book, however, completely blew me away and had me in hysterics. I was surprised by the book and how much I actually enjoyed it.

 8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year:

 Again, I am going to have to give this one to the Darkest Minds. I remember reading this at the start of the year and LITERALLY not being able to put it down. The 5th Wave comes a close second.

 9. Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

I hope to read the second book in this series and it has been a long time since I read this one so, just so I am not totally lost in the second book I will probably reread this first.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014:

Even though I HATED this book so much (hated because I expected so much from it and was really disappointed) I cannot deny that this is one of the most beautiful book covers I have ever seen!

11. Most memorable character of 2014:

This could be due to the fact that I read this book very recently but my most memorable character was Cole. I LOVED him...

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014:

For me this has to be The Infinite Sea. Rick Yancey's writing is phenomenal.

 13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2014:

I don't really have a book for this question!!

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read:

Probably stolen just because I had it at home for sooo long, I am talking years and never thought to pick it up.

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2014:

“It isn’t that the lies are too beautiful to resist. It’s that the truth is too hideous to face.” 
― Rick YanceyThe Infinite Sea

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013:

Longest: 638 pages

Shortest: 86 pages

17. Book That Shocked You The Most:

I seem to be one of the only people to be shocked by the twist in this book but nonetheless I did not see it coming.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!): 

I am really not a romance kind of gal but if I HAD to choose it would be Alex and Lena...

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year:

Cole and Ruby...I love Cole...LOVE HIM...

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2014 From An Author You’ve Read Previously:

HP forever and always.

21. Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:

Hated this book but heard all the hype so decided to pick it up...not a book I would recommend to anyone else.

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014:

I think you know this answer by's Cole from In the Afterlight and Never Fade

23. Best 2014 debut you read:

I didn't read any :O

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year:

I really enjoyed the world building in this series. It was very different to other books I have read and very interesting.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read:

I don't really read fun books but a series that always brings a smile to my face is the Harry Potter series and I read books one and two this year.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014:

We Were Liars....I was hysterical....

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year:

All the books I have loved so far this year have a cult following so I don't have a book for this question.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul:

Can't say why but if you have read the book and read any of my previous answers relating to this book you will understand.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2014:

This one is going to have to be Cinder as I have never read a cyborg book before.

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it):

All Julian and no Alex makes for a very angry Edel (me).

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2014 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2015:


I adored the first book in this series but have not yet picked up the second one. I must finish this series ASAP!

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2015 (non-debut):   

The third and final book in the 5th Wave Series by Rick Yancey...I must have it now!!

3. 2015 Debut You Are Most Anticipating: 

Not going to lie, the cover got me on this one. But look how pretty it is...

  4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2015:

See number 2.

 5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2015:

Post a blog at least once a week if my work load at Uni is not too much

Phew! That was a long one. I left out the section on blogging as I feel like I have not been blogging long enough or consistently enough to answer those questions just yet. 

If you have partaken in this survey do leave a link in the comments as I would love to check out other surveys. If not what were your favourite reads of 2014...because my TBR list can never be too long :)

Book Review: In the Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

Title: In the Afterlight
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Published: October 28th 2014
Pages: 535

Goodreads Synopsis:

Ruby can't look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government's attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. With them is a prisoner: Clancy Gray, son of the president, and one of the few people Ruby has encountered with abilities like hers. Only Ruby has any power over him, and just one slip could lead to Clancy wreaking havoc on their minds. 

They are armed only with a volatile secret: proof of a government conspiracy to cover up the real cause of IAAN, the disease that has killed most of America's children and left Ruby and others like her with powers the government will kill to keep contained. But internal strife may destroy their only chance to free the "rehabilitation camps" housing thousands of other Psi kids.

Meanwhile, reunited with Liam, the boy she would-and did-sacrifice everything for to keep alive, Ruby must face the painful repercussions of having tampered with his memories of her. She turns to Cole, his older brother, to provide the intense training she knows she will need to take down Gray and the government. But Cole has demons of his own, and one fatal mistake may be the spark that sets the world on fire.

I really enjoyed this book and had it finished in under 24 hours. However, this was my least favourite book in the series (the third and final book nearly always is for me). The story didn't have me as gripped as the other two and the main reason for this is the lack of action in comparison with The Darkest Minds  and Never Fade. A great deal of the story occurs in the one place - headquarters - and this got a bit tedious for me. In the other two books there was a lot of moving around, and you were always fearful that they might get caught at any second, making it much more of a thrilling read. With all of the characters confined to the one place for the majority of the book there was very little room for suspense.

My favourite character by far in this book was Cole which is probably not very obvious if you have read the book. Like most of the characters in the story Cole is an incredibly flawed character possessing powers which tend to have more control over him than he has over them. We glimpse into Cole's past and see a sliver of his upbringing, an explanation for his temper. As Cole was such an imporatnt character in this book I wish there had been more of a backstory, more of an explanation into his and Liam's tumultuous relationship or even an insight into Liam and Cole when they both worked with the Children's League before Ruby. There was no resolution for Cole's character, especially not between him and Liam. Cole's demons were never faced and as he was my favourite character I wish there had been more of a conclusion to his story (there is a conclusion to Cole, just not one that answered my questions). 

There lies my major problem with this story: unanswered questions. I had more questions finishing this story than I had answers.  I feel like there was wasn't enough of a conclusion in this book. Things weren't wrapped up well enough for me and I feel like more time could have been spent explaining Cole's rage (like Clancy's was explained) or his relationship with his brother or detailing the liberation of all the camps or what future lay ahead of Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Zu - a glimpse into the future perhaps similar to Harry Potter. More time could have been spent on one or more of these aspects rather than such time spent detailing the events in the headquarters. However, in saying this I did like how being stuck in the headquarters made the reader feel the frustration and annoyance of the characters in the book.

I gave this book 4 stars as I really loved the story and really loved the character Cole - loving a character in a story as much as I loved Cole automatically raises the books rating.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking The Shelves is a meme created by Tynga's Reviews. It is "all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks". If you would like to find out more about this meme click here. 

So I think the book buying ban went pretty well, with only the minor slip-up here and there. I am now, however, well and truly sick of it and I am lifting the ban! I have quite a few books here, mostly books that were kindly given to me by the O' Brien Press as I am currently undertaking work experience there (blog post on this to follow). I also picked up a couple of books in WH Smith and one book in a random bargain bookshop.

All of the images below will have clickable links to their Goodreads profile  (while some of the O' Brien Press books without a profile will link you to the O' Brien Press page).

Firstly we will start off with: THE O' BRIEN PRESS BOOKS

There is a great mix of contemporary, fantasy and historical fiction in this group. I have already started The Million Dollar Gift and I am loving it so far. If you like X-Men you will love this book.

Next up we have: BOOKS THAT I BOUGHT

Yes, sadly it has taken me this long to finally pick up the Percy Jackson book. I have been itching to read the Heroes of Olympus series but I know I must read the Percy Jackson series first and for some reason that has really put me off it (possibly because I have seen the terrible films!). I have had Falling Kingdoms on my TBR list since it first came out and I finally saw it in WH Smith so I had to get it. The last book I picked up was Elantris by Brandon Sanderson. If you don't know I absolutely fell in love with Sanderson after reading the Final Empire (review here). Elantris is an international bestseller and I do believe it is Sanderson's most popular book. I love his writing style and I love his incredibly unique magic systems which I have heard also features in this book, so it was a no-brainer when I saw it in WH Smith.

If you have read any of these books, let me know what you thought of them or if you yourself have taken part in this meme please feel free to leave a link in the comments
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