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Books to read in the upcoming year

Saturday, December 29, 2012 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Well then, as everyone knows, the end of the year is steadily approaching. In other words, time for New Year's Resolutions! Are you joking, I don't even do them. Instead, I make a list, a very long list, of all the books that I have to read in the upcoming year. Normally, I don't finish half the books on this list, just like how some psople never fulfil their New Year's Resolutions, but it's always fun to try, then celebrate the books that I've actually gotten around to reading. I normally start the list with books I look forward to, then dwindle down to books that I actually have to read, to further my literary capacity. Hopefully, this list will give you inspiration and more books to read! Well, without further ado, let the list begin!
  1. Clockwork Princess- This is a book I've been waiting for so long to read! I might not even read it when it finally comes out on March 19th, for I'll be too busy admiring it and crying that it's the last book of Cassandra Clare's series 'The Infernal Devices'.
  2. The Indigo Spell- Richelle Mead, keep these books rolling! The intrigue and mystery is getting to me! How can Sydney use magic? What threat will the vampire hunters put on the Moroi? All these questions need to be answered! It comes out on February 12th! So soon, I can hardly wait!
  3. Goddess Inheritance- This is also the last book of the Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter! I've followed this series from the time when the first book came out... It's loosely based on Greek mythology, a topic I love discussing, reading or hearing about. Don't disturb me on February 26th; I'll be devouring this book!
  4. House of Hades- Rick Riordan's universe of Roman and Greek gods and goddesses captivates me, like quite a lot of other mythology spin-offs. It comes out in October, 2013. Why must I be tortured in this way?
  5. A Wrinkle in Time- I've heard this book, by Madeleine L'Engle, is really good, from my secret sources... It's about  time-travel I think... I've put this book on my list to remind me to read a sci-fi novel soon! It's already come out, like, ages ago.
  6. Promised- The last book of the Birthmarked trilogy by Caragh O'Brien, I have to read this! Everything coms to an end! I only just found out it came out already this year! Going to buy it very soon. Like soon.
  7. Around the World in 80 Days- A classic book by Jules Verne. Been on my bookshelf for quite some time now. I WILL READ IT.
  8. Anna and the French Kiss- I'll admit, I'm not a fan of overly-dramatic books. However, this book by Stephanie Perkins doesn't seem too bad, according to reviews I've read. I'm going to read this book for my annual chick-lit book of the year.
In addition to these books, I'll also have a bunch of other titles from Netgalley to read and review

Whew, quite a few of these books are books that I haven't thought about in months! Will keep you inundated with reviews of these books when I read them *cough* I'm going to forget to read some of these books somehow *cough*.

Yeah, quite a lot of the books are YA. I need to read other genres!!!! Have any suggestions? Pop a comment down! I'd love to expand the type of books I read.

Keep loving and reading books,

Entangled; a horrendous start to a series

Friday, December 28, 2012 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Entangled, by Nikki Jefford, is the start of a series titled 'Spellbound', according to my research on Goodreads. It's also won an award for Best Indie Book of 2012' and a few other awards too, as listed on, once again, Goodreads. However, this book did not leave me 'spellbound' at all. In fact, it brought me to a point when I almost felt like throwing my Kindle at the wall. This introduction that I read intrigued me a little:

Two months after dying, seventeen-year-old witch Graylee Perez wakes up in her twin sister Charlene's body.
Until Gray finds a way back inside her own body, she's stuck being Charlene every twenty-hour hours. Her sister has left precise instructions on how Gray should dress and behave. Looking like a prep isn't half as bad as hanging out with Charlene's snotty friends and gropey boyfriend.
The "normals" of McKinley High might be quick to write her behavior off as post-traumatic stress, but warlock Raj McKenna is the only person who suspects Gray has returned from the dead.
Now Gray has to solve the mystery behind her death and resurrection and disentangle herself from Charlene's body before she disappears for good.

This book seemed interesting to me from this introduction. After all, dying and coming back to life, in your sister's body, how weird would it be? I was all in for a paranormal story with Gray coming out of Charlene's body and finding peace in the end, but I ended up with a book with so much teenage angst and emotion, it was ridiculous. I guess I skipped the part in the introduction saying 'snotty friends and gropey boyfriend', because if I'd seen it, I'd never have picked up this book. I dislike stereotypical characters, and this introduction screamed 'stereotypical!' in that phrase.

This book was mostly about how Gray was coping with her new situation in Charlene's body, after being dead for 2 months. Since she is Charlene's twin, she wakes up, thinking she is still herself, Graylee Perez. She has no idea that she has been dead for two months. And before she knows it, she's skipped a whole day, a whole day that Charlene has used to take over her body again.The concept of the two sisters having to share a body was cool, especially the concept that Charlene doesn't know what's happening when Graylee takes control of her body, and vice versa.

Entangled seems to have been written as a spur-of-the-moment decision. The words, banter and characters are very unrealistic and sometimes offensive. For example, at the start of the novel, Charlene is on top of the school building, and the only reaction Gray has is 'I'm skipping out on Yeats for this?' Gray even goes as far to say 'Couldn't she have scheduled her dramatic death scene in the warmth of their home over a bottle of pills?', when complaining inwardly about Charlene's suicide threat. Considering that Gray's only sister is about to jump off a building, you'd think she'd be a little more concerned. Yes, Gray may make a point that jumping off that building wouldn't kill Charlene since she's a witch and can levitate herself, but shouldn't Gray be worried at the mere fact that Charlene is even contemplating death? This example makes suicide seem like a very light matter, which it is not.

The characters in this book were childish as well, especially Charlene. Since the characters are supposed to be 17, you'd think they'd be a bit more mature in the way they speak. In Chapter 2, when Gray returns back from school, she finds her mum trying to wrench a knife from Charlene, who screams out that Stacey Morehouse moved in on 'her man'. 'Her man'? I'm pretty sure people aren't possessions that other people own. This could be expected of Charlene, since she's stereotyped to be the selfish, whiny girl who wants everything she can get. However, the degenerate speech in this novel got to me, as I stated in the above paragraph. Gray, when threatening Raj, says, "If you ever use a spell on me again I'll bury you alive." This really does not sound threatening, and sounds overused instead.

The teenage emotion and drama in this book really irritated me as well as the lack of common sense Gray has. One moment Gray hates Raj, the next moment she decides that he's the perfect guy for her. The same goes for Raj. How do you like a girl that hates you and ties a shoelace around your neck in an attempt to threaten you? Then there was all that trouble with Charlene's 'snotty friends and gropey boyfriend'. Why couldn't Gray have just stopped following her sister's constricting life and just do what she wanted to do, like hang out with Thea, or another one of her friends, instead of sneaking around like a raccoon?

In conclusion, I'd rate Entangled 1.5 out of 5 stars. This book really did not cut it out for me. The text was too childish and sometimes unoriginal, the characters too stereotypical or unrealistic and as a whole, it was too dramatic. I'll definitely be reading the sequel soon, which is already out, but only to see if Jefford's writing has improved.

Keep reading and loving books!

(I got this book from Netgalley for an honest review)

Rapunzel Untangled; another take on Rapunzel

Monday, December 24, 2012 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Rapunzel Untangled was a book I picked up, largely due to my love for fairytales and retellings of them. A particular book, Bewitching, by Alex Flinn started this love. However, Rapunzel Untangled, by Cindy C. Bennett, did not enchant me like the previous book did. Reading this introduction, you can understand why I was so interested in this Rapunzel retelling:

'Told that she must be indoors at all times, Rapunzel feels trapped in the huge mansion where she lives. But when school demands allow her access to the Internet, she discovers Facebook and becomes friends with Fane, a local teenager who changes her whole world. This story will have you entangled from beginning to end.'

Firstly, it's clear that this retelling is a modern one, from the slight mention of Facebook and the Internet, and as the intro states, Rapunzel becomes friends with Fane, a local teenager. This, I found, was quite peculiar. Considering that Rapunzel has been kept indoors all her life, how could she possibly know a local teenager? As I dove further into the book, I found out that she didn't know Fane before she friended him on Facebook. Odd, is it not? Rapunzel has been locked inside all her life and yet, she seems to throw caution to the wind and friend a random person on Facebook, who for all she knows, may not even attend the school he states he does. Dispite this, Fane and Rapunzel gradually become real friends, conversing with each other on Facebook daily, to the point that Rapunzel reveals her real name and where she lives and starts going on trips outside with Fane. I felt that befriending a friend on Facebook like this was highly careless of Rapunzel, who would have been raised as a caution treading girl by Gothel, her mother.

This book wasn't bad though. Although some parts may have been a tad unrealistic for me, I quite liked the magical component of the tale. I liked how Bennett incorporated the theme of magic in this novel, rather than try to find rational reasons for, for example, why Rapunzel's hair grew longer than normal.

Bennett places twists in the book, twists that can be predictable for the thoughtful reader, but still interesting. These twists all lead up to the finale, where the final truth is revealed. The revelation of why Rapunzel leads the life she does is revealed. The motives of several characters are revealed, as well as the mysterious Vedmak's. After all this excitement, Bennett ends the story in the typical fairytale manner, a 'happily ever after'. Thankfully though, the ending is a 'happily ever after', but not in the way that readers would expect. I'm glad Bennett chose to end the book in this way, because, if she hadn't, she wouldn't be faithfully retelling the tale of Rapunzel. Every fairytale needs a happily ever after, and that's what Bennett has given in this novel.

The characters in this book were rather flat, and did not live up to my expectations. I felt like Rapunzel was supposed to be more brave, especially at the start of the novel. She was too cowardly, in my opinion, especially when asking Gothel questions on, let's just say, suspicious activity. Fane was the stereotypical hero. He loved Rapunzel so much that he worried about her all the time, even when she says she's fine. Although this is 'so romantic', I found that it was creepy. Loving a guy that you barely know and having him love you back is just so, once again, unrealistic.

Overall: I'd rate this book 3 out of 5 stars, based on how unrealistic this book could get at times and how the characters didn't live up to my expectations. The plot, nevetheless, was gripping, and left me wondering what certain symbols and motifs meant in the novel, like any good book.

This book comes out on February 12th, 2013. For all you fairytale lovers, grab this book and devour it! Same to everyone who likes books with a bit of romance and magic in it! This book is suitable for a light read, for anyone!

Keep reading and loving books!

(I got a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review)

Hooked; a novel by Liz Fichera

Wednesday, December 19, 2012 Geraldine Lee 0 Comments

Okay, so I first read a brief introduction to this book, I was kinda interested. I'm not really into the mushy, generic stuff, so I was put off with 'impossible romance' part of the introduction. However, the thing that really drew me into this book was how motivated the main character was described to be. From the blurb, I gathered that the main character, Fred Oday, is girl who is determined to work hard and give herself a good chance in life.

Have a look at the introduction I read:

'When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.
But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred.
But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile...

And as the introduction said, I did get 'hooked' on Fred. Fred intrigued me. I'd never really had any enthusiasm for golf, never bothered to learn anything about it. It seemed too boring, too slow for me. After reading this book, I still have no interest in the sport. However, I have now learnt some terminology of the game known as golf. Fichera pops in a few golf terms in here and there in the novel, which was quite irritating for a newbie to golf like me. Luckily, I didn't have to have a dictionary nearby to understand it all. Fichera provides ample definitions at the back of the novel. Phew!

The romance between Fred and Ryan was nice at times, annoying at others. For me, I couldn't believe that anyone could fall so head over heels for someone, like Fred and Ryan did for each other. There were sweet moments, of course that made me swoon (I'm embarrassed to say), but there were also moments that made me cringe from the overdose of romance in the page.

Now, for Ryan. He seemed so protective, sweet and yet antagonistic! He seemed to keep picking fights with multiple people, from Fred's friends to eventually his own friends. He may have fought with his friends over Fred, but harming one of them physically really seemed quite violent to me. Maybe it's part of his character, but I felt that he was too violent.

Fred is a good role model for adolescent teenagers, dealing with bullying, racism and several other problems. She raises her head high, no matter what problems face her, from the racism she receives at school to the personal problems she has to deal with at home. Fichera keeps Fred in character, by not having any disruptions to Fred's character. For example, Fred doesn't tell her father what's really going on, something that's' typical for most teenagers. In this way, Fichera has kept Fred's character realistic.

Lastly, I would like to write about the other characters. Fichera has done such aa great job in incorporating all the characters, and not making them feel minor. They have depth to them, especially Seth Winter. Instead of just turning Seth 'evil' because she felt like it, she had the character's background all plotted up, and gave a legitimate reason as to why he was 'evil'.

So, in conclusion, I'd rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. This book has educated me a little bit, not just entertained me for half a day. Although what I'll do with golf terminology, when I don't have an interest in the sport at all, confounds me, it's one more piece of information. In addition to teaching me weird and probably useless information, this book explores large issues such as racism, sexism, bullying and adolescence.

For anyone interested, it most definitely is not out yet. The waiting time for this book isn't long though, to those of you desperate to read it. It comes out 29th of January 2013! I read it all in one day, savouring the pages of the book as I frantically read on, desperate to find out what would happen next.

Flood the bookstores getting this book!

(I got a copy of this book beforehand at Netgalley for an honest review)