Friday, 14 February 2014

Caragh Reviews - My Life Undecided by Jessica Brody

Published - 7th June 2011
Publisher Farrar, Straus, Giroux (BYR)
Format - Format
Synopsis - PLEASE READ THIS! MY LIFE DEPENDS ON IT! Okay, maybe that was a bit melodramatic, but I’m sorry, I’m feeling a bit melodramatic at the moment.  Here’s the deal. My name is Brooklyn Pierce, I’m fifteen years old, and I am decisionally challenged. Seriously, I can’t remember the last good decision I made. I can remember plenty of crappy ones though. Including that party I threw when my parents were out of town that accidentally burned down a model home. Yeah, not my finest moment, for sure. But see, that’s why I started a blog. To enlist readers to make my decisions for me. That’s right. I gave up. Threw in the towel. I let someone else be the one to decide which book I read for English. Or whether or not I accepted an invitation to join the debate team from that cute-in-a-dorky-sort-of-way guy who gave me the Heimlich Maneuver in the cafeteria. (Note to self: Chew the melon before swallowing it.) I even let them decide who I dated! Well, it turns out there are some things in life you simply can’t choose or have chosen for you—like who you fall in love with. And now everything’s more screwed up than ever. But don’t take my word for it, read the book and decide for yourself. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll scream in frustration. Or maybe that’s just me. After all, it’s my life.

I came across a short story relating to My Life Undecided and as is always the way with these things, by the time I was getting into it, it was over. Luckily Annamarie helped me out and let me read her copy of the book.

For the most part, it was as I expected; a quick, fluffy read without too much going on or taxing. I realise that makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the book but I did - it was what I was looking for. Sometimes there's nothing better than a nice simple read. My Life Undecided follows the (bad) life decisions of Brooklyn Pierce - a teenager who just can't seem to catch a break. As you can probably guess, Brooks finds herself in a position that she can't charm her way out of and that kickstarts her new idea to give the decision making to the people of the internet. That way, she can't be held accountable for whatever happens. 

Throughout the book we see Brooklyn's blog posts, poll results and see what happens when she does, or doesn't play by her own rules. Personally I was hoping that there would be more blog posts throughout the book being as that's what really got me interested. I thought the format of the book would be different from the regular words-on-a-page book. I was glad that Brooklyn eventually became the person that she wanted to be, because I was so freaking mad when she continued to make the same mistakes. I'm a pretty good judge of character and so it frustrates me endlessly when Brooklyn fails to see Shayne's toxicity. The romance in the book was pretty confusing for me too. Throughout My Life Undecided, Brooklyn is associated with Hunter and Brian and honestly, they are both pretty good guys from what I can tell. Naturally, one wins out and I'm super pleased about it but I can't help but feel bad for the other! 

If you're looking for a quick, fun read then My Life Undecided might be for you.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Caragh Reviews - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Published - 14th April 2009
Publisher - McElderry Books
Format - Kindle
Synopsis - When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air.  It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk.  Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know..

I know i'm way behind the rest of the world when it comes to reading The Mortal Instruments but i'd seen such mixed reviews that I wasn't sure I wanted to invest so much time into a pretty hefty series. The series is now a movie and i'm desperate to see it, but in the spirit of (the now deceased) Read It 1st, I decided now was the time. People are saying it began as Harry Potter fanfic and i'm not really into that kind of thing but it wasn't as Potter-related as i'd imagined. 

There were a lot of things that I connected to HP - I mean the series name itself is a pretty big connection to the Deathly Hallows but honestly, the book pulled me in pretty quickly and I got involved with the story so well that I stopped picking up on similarities and just went with the flow. There wasn't a huge amount of world building which is something I like. I enjoy discovering the world as it happens rather than info dump and it was pretty easy to follow. I really loved all of the characters too; they were so unique to each other and read as individuals rather than different names. I have this weird thing where I tend to love the secondary characters more than the mains and in the case of City of Bones, I am really intrigued by Alec. There seems to be a lot to him that City of Bones hasn't discovered yet and i'm hoping that as the series continues, he becomes more prominent. 

Like the rest of the female population - of course I fell in booklove with Jace. Total badass with a real sincere, loving and sensitive side? YUP. The one thing that I really wanted to talk about in this review is probably way too spoilery but ARGH! Clare certainly knows how to frustrate a girl when it comes to her ships. I shipped Jace and Clary SO HARD and then of course, if you've read the book - you know what i'm talking about. What do I do now? Can I ship it? Just one of the many reasons that i'm anxious to start reading the next book in the series. 

City of Bones has a lot of soft, intimate moments between characters and there's a lot of backstory that is revealed throughout the book that creates the world Clary is finding herself in the middle of but it's also action packed and is never stale. The story flows excellently which is great as it's actually a pretty big book. I didn't realise the length as I read it on the kindle and I flew through it so fast. City of Bones isn't going to be for everyone but one book into the series and I think i'm going to like it so watch this space when I get around to reading the next one!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Caragh Reviews - Heartside Bay: The New Girl by Cathy Cole

Published - January 2014
Publisher - Scholastic
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Life, love and everything in between...Lila Murray is determined to leave behind the drama of her old life and make a fresh start in Heartside Bay.
But when she falls for Ollie the hottest boy at Heartside High, she makes an instant enemy of Eve, the school's Queen Bee. Eve wants Ollie for herself and now she will do anything to keep them apart...

Cathy Cole is a new-to-me author and I hadn't heard anything about this book before picking it up! It's super short, barely reaching 200 pages and was super cheap too!

I had no expectations about the book as I hadn't heard of it or the author before, other than I assumed it would be a teen-romance book, which is pretty spot on! However I did find that despite the series name and the synopsis, the romance was the least thing I was interested in. The mystery surrounded Lila, who has recently moved home and changed name in order to make a new start, is what really prompted me to keep on reading. 

Though the mystery was kind of explained in the book, not in any great detail and as this is going to be a pretty big series of books, i'm hoping that gets expanded later on! Lila is a really interesting character. She's outgoing, a bit of a smart-mouth and has bundles of sass - all of which she is trying to cover up with an innocent facade. I think we all know that isn't going to last! I'll touch on the romance briefly - it's pretty generic and obvious. Though Lila falls for the Hottie i'm pretty sure that's not where this romance is heading and i'm glad about it! I'm looking forward to catching up with the teens of Heartside Bay when the next book is available.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Caragh Reviews - The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Caroline Mackler

Published - 5th January 2012
Publisher - Simon & Schuster
Format -Paperback
Synopsis - It's 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on - and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they'll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out.

Not too long ago I read Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why and it really impressed me! So when I saw this for £1 in a local bookstore I had to have it and I read it pretty much immediately. I was born at the end of the 80's so I grew up without the internet and I remember it's impact as it started filtering into our every day lives and in peoples homes rather than at school. My first internet provider was also AOL and so this was right up my street.

The idea of not just being able to get glimpses of your future but through Facebook is terrifying and insane. I wonder what my past self would have thought if I could see the Facebook status's I post about my life now. I probably would have given up all hope! That's the beauty of this book, and it's really moralistic. Context is everything. Sure, if all I saw of my future was how I have baby food in my hair and no social life to speak of, i'd probably want to do everything I could to make my future a little bit more pleasing but in reality - I probably was happy about that. 

The Future of Us had so much potential that I scrambled to the end to get the satisfied feeling I was craving from this book. It just...sort of didn't happen. I did enjoy it! It was a fun, quick read but I felt like it really missed an opportunity to do something amazing. Instead, The Future of Us focuses on the petty romance/friendship between Josh and Emma and perhaps more infuriating - Emma's obsession with having a good husband. Somebody should inform the writers that a girl does not equate her lifetime happiness with whether she has a decent husband to make her happy. I thought that perhaps Emma would see the error of her ways and realise that she doesn't NEED that man to have a happy future - but she doesn't. The teens do learn valuable lessons of course - live for the moment and see what the future brings. It was just disappointing that both in the present and the future, these two kids are preoccupied with being in love. I'm not sure if it's a book I would really recommend to people unless they specifically wanted something like this but it was cheap and passed a couple of hours so it wasn't too bad.

January Wrap Up

I can't believe that it's February already. January just flew by. Here's a little recap of what's happened on the blog during January.

Book reviews -

Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton
A Princess of Mars  by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Shadow Web by N.M.Browne
Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs

Other posts -

We're really excited about all the new things we plan to do at Loaded Shelves and so we hope you'll join in with us! We hope you all have a great February and manage to get loads of reading done :)
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