Passenger – Alexandra Bracken

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Title: Passenger
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Year Published: 2016
Publisher: Hyperion
Format: Hardcover, 486 pages
ISBN: 9781484715772

Beautiful cover, beautiful concept. A bunch of anticipation, and a bunch of hype. Sadly, I did not like this book as much as I thought I would, or as much as everyone else seemed to. This book was a massive disappointment, and this review will be very different from what the majority of people seem to feel about this book.

If you haven’t heard what Passenger is about, it’s basically a treasure hunt through time, as our main characters have the ability to time travel. Etta, is a violin prodigy, and on the night of one of her shows, she is thrust through a passage that ends up taking her to the year 1776. Unknown to her is that she is part of one of four families that have the ability to time travel, and it is her mother who has stolen and hidden something that the other time traveller families are after. They believe Etta is the key to finding the hidden object, and so they force her to travel through time to solve the clues left by her mother. Etta undertakes this journey with Nicholas, a boy who hates his family and decides to help Etta – or so it seems as Nicholas has struck a deal that may see him betray everything Nicholas and Etta are working towards.

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Shell – Chris Gill

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Title: Shell
Author: Chris Gill
Release Date: December 18 2015
Publisher: PRNTD Publishing
Format: Paperback, 262 pages
ISBN: 9780994462008

 Hello lovelies! I was sent this beautiful book by the publishers for review, so a big thank you to PRNTD Publishing. Normally when I’m asked if I would like to review a book for an author, I have to decline because I already own so many unread books that adding more just stresses me out, however I was so impressed with the design across the cover and the author’s website that I said yes to Shell. I’m so glad I did, because this book was a surprisingly refreshing dystopian that was a quick and enjoyable read.

First things first, can we just appreciate the beautiful design that is the cover for Shell. I love it’s simplicity, how clean and fresh it looks; the colours used, the typography; everything. This cover is just beautiful, and I particularly appreciate that it is so different from the typical dystopian covers we’ve all come to know (e.g. Divergent, The Hunger Games, etc.).

 Shell is set in a world where society was forced to retreat to a city under the ocean that came to be known as the Shell. Life as they had known (or the Old World as it is called) was destroyed, and due to the preparations made by the government, the people had somewhere to go. Though living in the Shell comes at a cost; fresh air and natural light are distant memories; jobs are hard to come by except for working for the government; crime and poverty rates are high; and from the latest reports of the government, ten years on and the Old World is still not stable enough to return to. But are the government telling the truth?

Shell follows Red, a 19 year old rebellious girl who came to the Shell an orphan after her Mother was suspiciously left behind in the Old World. Unable to have faith in the government, she defies them in her bleak life, and never stops questioning if she’ll ever make it back to the Old World.

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The Retribution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

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Title: The Retribution of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Year: 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format: Paperback, 472 pages
ISBN: 9781471122002

 

This is the third and final books in the Mara Dyer trilogy, and will most definitely contain spoilers for the first two books. I’ve reviewed the first two books The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and the Evolution of Mara Dyer, so if you haven’t read all the books in this series, I would suggest reading my review for one of those first.

The Retribution of Mara Dyer was one of my most anticipated releases of 2014. I was one of those readers who has been a fan of Mara Dyer since close to book one’s release date. The publication date of Retribution got pushed back so much, it ended up being an almost two year wait for it. A two year wait that almost killed me. To top it all off, on it’s initial release, the paperback edition was not released, and as I have the OCD tendency where my book series need to match, I couldn’t just buy the hardback edition. Once I could finally buy the paperback, I could not find it anywhere in any Australian stores, so I ordered it online. That then took a further two weeks to arrive. On top of that, when it finally did arrive, I was in the middle of my final weeks of the semester for uni, meaning I couldn’t start reading it because I was too busy completing final assignments and studying for exams. Anyways, the point of this long paragraph is to show you the ordeal I went through to read this book, and to kind of show that after all that, my expectations were fairly high. On completion of reading I would say I was disappointed, but not completely disappointed. The one positive to not getting to read this close to its release was that I got to hear about everyone else’s disappointment and lessen my expectations.

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Even In Paradise – Chelsey Philpot

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Title: Even in Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Year: 2014
Publisher: Harper
Format: Hardback, 360 Pages
ISBN: 9780062293695

 Have you ever read a book that you’ve really enjoyed, but you can’t quite work out why? A book where not much happens, but the story is nonetheless intriguing and captivating? A book where you worked out the secret well before it is announced in the book. A book that is reminiscent of books you’ve read previously and disliked, but somehow you still liked this book. Even in Paradise was this book for me. It had me from the tagline on the cover; “They were brilliant, beautiful, and broken.”

I first added this book to my TBR because of its stunning cover. It is absolutely beautiful. When I finally decided to buy it online, I never bothered looking up the blurb again. I went into this book not knowing anything about this book except for the quote on the back cover.

“Knowing what I do now, I would do it all again.
Beginning with the night I met her, then him, then the rest.
I would do it all again just to know that for a moment I was one of the Great Buchanans.”

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Firecracker – David Iserson

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Title: Firecracker
Author: David Iserson
Year: 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Paperback, 331 Pages
ISBN: 9781595146816

 

One of my favourite reading experiences is buying and reading a book that you know absolutely nothing about. With the internet providing us with so many ways to learn about books (blogs, Goodreads, Instagram), there are not many occasions where I find myself entering a bookshop and not buying a book I had already been planning on buying. One day I was in a bookshop, and I saw this beautiful cover staring at me. And I knew then and there that I was going to buy it. I didn’t even read the blurb to see what it was about. I literally took it for face value of its cover, and I am so glad I did because Firecracker was such a surprising read, one I immensely enjoyed.

I’m going to acknowledge now that this book is most definitely not for everyone. It has a particular kind of humour that you are either going to love or hate. If you love it, like I do, you can tolerate the main character Astrid. If you hate the humour, chances are you will hate Astrid and therefore hate this book.

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The Evolution of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

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Title: The Evolution of Mara Dyer
Series: Mara Dyer Trilogy
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Year Published: 2012
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN: 9780857073655

 

I recently posted my review of the first book in this series, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, and that is a book that I loved. But if possible, I actually love The Evolution of Mara Dyer more, which is a very rare occasion for me as it is not often that I enjoy sequels more than the original novels. The Evolution of Mara Dyer continued to wow me with it’s beautiful and haunting writing, it’s realistic and captivating characters, and it’s tendency to make me question what the hell is going on. This review will contain spoilers for the first book, so if you have not read that book I would suggest you stop reading now! Also, this review is based upon a reread, and not the first time I actually read the book!

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Ruby Red – Kerstin Gier

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Title: Ruby Red
Author: Kerstin Gier (Translated by Anthea Bell)
Year: 2011
Publisher: Henry Holt
Format: Hardback, 324 pages
ISBN: 9780805092523

Ruby Red was one of my favourite reads of 2014. I loved this story. It was beautifully written, and it had fun and snarky characters, and it had an interesting and exciting plot that had me manically reading long into the early hours of the morning. Ruby Red is a book I would recommend immensely!

Ruby Red follows Gwen, a 16-year-old girl who lives in London with her rather strange family. The female line in her family has a rare time travelling gene that appears randomly throughout the line. It had been predicted that the last time traveller would be Gwen’s cousin Charlotte, meaning Charlotte has had a life of training to prepare for time travel. Gwen on the other hand has lived a normal life. When Gwen is the one who travels back in time, she is incredibly unprepared, and her life is changed as she is thrust into a mysterious secret society where no one trusts her, and she is forced to risk her life travelling through time.

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Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

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Title: Girl Online
Author: Zoe Sugg
Year: 2014
Publisher: Penguin UK
Format: Hardback, 346 Pages
ISBN: 9780141357270

 Let me start off by saying that this was not a book I was rushing to read. It wasn’t that I thought I would not be interested in it, nor was it because I don’t like Zoe. I just did not have this book high up on my list of books I should read/buy. There is a lot of controversy about this book, mostly which I don’t agree with. But I also feel that there is a lot of praise for this book based on people’s personal opinions of Zoe. This review is somewhere in the middle. I’ve watched the occasional Zoella video, but I am not a subscriber, nor do I watch every single new video the second she uploads them. The only youtube videos I particularly watch are booktubers. I find that people who really enjoy Zoella’s videos, rave about how amazing this book is. And then there are the haters who are annoyed about the whole ghost writing controversy. In my opinion, this book is not amazing, but it is also not bad. It is somewhere in the middle.

Girl Online tells the story of 16 year old Penny, a Brighton teenager who blogs about friendship, boys, family, and her life. After being involved in a car accident along with her family, Penny begins to have panic attacks, and she writes about them on her blog, Girl Online, as a way of coping with them. Readers of Girl Online appreciate the realistic and honest approach to writing that Penny takes on her blog. Over Christmas, Penny’s family go to New York, and it is whilst she is here that Penny meets Noah, a cute boy who she begins to fall in love with. Everything seems perfect, until she discovers the secret Noah’s kept from her, and suddenly the blog she loves so much along with her life is spiraling out of control. Continue reading

The Museum of Intangible Things – Wendy Wunder

IMG_5211 Title: The Museum of Intangible Things
Author: Wendy Wunder
Year: 2014
Publisher: Razorbill
Format: Hardback, 292 Pages
ISBN: 9781595145147

This is a book that has left me with very mixed feelings. On the one hand, I loved this book, but on the other hand, I didn’t love this book. It was most definitely not what I was expecting. When I look at this cover, I would think this book is about two hipster girls (hipster because they like flower crowns obviously). The colours, the hipsterish vibe, and basically everything on this cover led me to believe that I was picking up a book that was going to be a cute and light contemporary about friendship that would leave me feeling warm and fuzzy. If this is what you are expecting with this book, I’ll let you know now that this is not the case. As this book deals with some darker themes, and it most definitely left me a little surprised.

The Museum of Intangible Things follows best friends Zoe and Hannah. Neither has had an easy life, nor a life with much in it. But they have always had each other. Zoe’s younger brother Noah, has Asperger’s syndrome, and struggles to process anything irrational or intangible. To aid in his development, Zoe created the museum of intangible things, where every once and awhile Zoe picks an emotion and teaches him all about that emotion through an exhibition she holds in a room in her house. On one summer day when Zoe decides she needs to get away from everything, her and Hannah head out on a road-trip leaving behind their small town and everything/everyone in it. Whilst on the road, Zoe believes Hannah is destined for greater things, and begins educating Hannah on the intangible things that she’s missing in her life.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – Michelle Hodkin

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Title: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
Author: Michelle Hodkin
Year Published: 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Paperback, 452 pages
ISBN: 9780857073631

 I always love stumbling across books that no matter how many times you read can still leave you feeling the same emotions that you felt the first time you read them. Shock, surprise, confusion, and humour that you think would be gone once you’ve read it, only to discover that the book can still send you on an emotional rollercoaster. Well done to Michelle Hodkin for writing not one, but two books that can make me feel this way, as it is not only the Unbecoming of Mara Dyer that had this effect on me, but its sequel the Evolution of Mara Dyer too (expect a review for that one shortly!).

I’m going to state this nice and early for you so there is no confusion. I LOVE this book, and I’ve been in love with this book since I first read it shortly after it’s release in 2011. This review if you haven’t picked up on it, is based on a reread, which for this book is probably about the fourth time I’ve read it. Continue reading