REVIEW: AFTER THE WOODS

 

after-the-woods

 

 

PUBLISHER: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

DATE PUBLISHED: 23rd February 2016

PAGES:  304

 

 

 

 

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SUMMARY: 

 

Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

 

WRITING STYLE: 

 

This book is told in the first person from the perspective of Julia. Julia’s voice was interesting, engaging and believable. This leant itself well to the plot.

 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT: 

 

The novel commences at the kidnapping of Julia and then flashes forward one year. Julia regains her memory and this ( as well as a dead body being discovers) drives the development of Julia’s character and the plot.

 

THEMES: 

 

Friendship: The nature of friendship and what one friend would do for another is examined. Julia gives herself up to save her friend. However, how strong is a friendship, really?

 

Trauma: I liked that Julia’s character reacts believably to the trauma she has been through. She does not just move on, she goes through the motions. In regaining her memories, the reader is able to follow Julia’s development.

 

Moving On: The idea of moving on, accepting the past and greeting the future, is one that Julia faces.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS: 

 

This book was an excellent examination of the personal trauma one person faces and their journey after coming out alive. The statistics was a nice touch, this displayed the idea that Julia needs to understand what happened and seeks out statistics in an attempt to do this.

A contemporary thriller that takes you on a journey through the psyche of a survivor and the outcome of a horrible incident.

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

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REVIEW: REBEL OF THE SANDS

rebel of the sands

 

PUBLISHER: Viking Books

 

DATE PUBLISHED: 8th March 2016

 

PAGES: 314

 

 

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SYNOPSIS:

 

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him… or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

 

WRITING STYLE:

 

This book is told in the in the first person from the point of view of Amani. The writing is a swirling prose of descriptiveness that wraps the reader in the desert sands of Miraji.

 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:

 

Amani begins the book with many goals and aspirations; the most important is to get the hell out of dodge. The story follows her as she discovers herself, love and a cause worth fighting for. By the end of the book she is ready to fight for all she loves and she has some rather rude awakenings.

 

THEMES:

 

Love: Within the beautiful setting and breathtaking imagery induced through the prose, the idea of love yourself, for another and for a cause are all embedded.

 

Rebellion: On her journey Amani learns more about Jin and his background and becomes a part of a revolution fighting against the system.

 

Finding Yourself: At the commencement of the book Amani has a plan to get where she wants to go. This get thrown out the window when she meets Jin and gets thrown into a whirlwind of high energy action and magic.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

 

A sweeping story through the desert and into a rebellion where you would swear you feel the sand against your skin.

This is a vivid story with beautiful prose and a firm plot. I was upset at the ending because it left me wanting more. For anyone who loves a great fantasy adventure stuffed to the end-pages with magic and romance in a time of revolution.

If you liked The Wrath and The Dawn give this one a go.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

REVIEW: FIRSTS

firsts

PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Griffin

DATE PUBLISHED: 5th January 2016

PAGES: 320

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SUMMARY:

 

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfils specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

 

WRITING STYLE:

 

This book is written in the first person from the perspective of the main character, Mercedes. Some of the statements made by Mercedes really shocked me but I believe that was the intent of the author, to take a look at the sexuality in modern high school and a look at slut shaming in modern society.

 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:

 

Mercedes is an intensely unlikeable and misguided character, whose perception on right and wrong is extremely skewed. Mercedes character develops through the book where she can be content letting go of the control and just coasting along, which is a big step for her. While I do not believe she ever becomes a fully likeable character, Mercedes does begin to understand the error of her ways and through the book the readers are given a background to this character that works towards explaining how her life led her in this direction.

 

THEMES:

 

Love: Mercedes lacks love in a lot of her life and when unconditional love is presented to her she cannot accept it. This may be due to the lack of affection se experienced at home or her past experiences. The development for Mercedes to a point where she can begin to accept this amazing.

 

Control: Control is a big part of why Mercedes does the tings she does. She wants control as it was taken away from her in the past. Another aspect of the character development was the eventual ability of Mercedes to begin to let go.

 

Friendship: I think the only thing that really held Mercedes together was her friendships with Angela, Zach, and eventually, Faye.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS:

 

While I do not agree with a lot of the choices Mercedes makes, I believe the plot moved well and the overall conflict of the story was explored along with aspects such slut shaming and sexuality in high schools.

 

This novel left me thinking about the contents long after I had finished the last page and if you can take in the main concept of the book from a third party perspective, not being for or against Mercedes actions you may end up liking this book. Many will take offence to the main conflict of the book and the perspective Mercedes holds and that is OK, this is meant to be a controversial book and that was achieved.

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟

 

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

REVIEW: THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR

 

thousandth-floor

 

Publisher: Harper Collins

 

Date Published: 30th August 2016

 

Pages: 448

 

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SYNOPSIS:

 

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

 

WRITING STYLE:

 

This book is told in first person from the perspective for five different teenagers living in the tower. A particular element of the writing style that I enjoyed was that as we got to know the characters and the complications of their own lives the plots tie into each other and we get to see each character from their own perspective and the points of view of other characters.

 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT:

 

I think a particular element of this book that was done very well was the character development. It is very easy to judge a person on their appearance to the outside world without knowing what is going on in their personal lives.

Each of the five characters slowly and methodically had all their dirty little secrets revealed to the reader and the lengths each person will go to so that they can keep their secrets.

 

THEMES: 

 

Friendship: Friendship is a major theme within this novel. The major twists and turns of this book see friendships being created and going sour and examine what it is to be a friend in this society.

Wealth: It is hard to read a book that is dubbed as “Gossip Girl” for a new age without commenting on the theme of wealth. There is a serious segregation of individuals based on wealth. The further down the tower you are the less wealthy you are. This is displayed very well when one of the high flyer characters ends up on a lower floor and the differences this character faces. (Trying to avoid spoilers here).

Secrets: The last theme I am going to talk about is secrets. This is where you can definitely see the “Pretty Little Liars”esque concept. Secrets and blackmail are extremely prominent in this book and you are gripping your seats waiting to see the outcome of all theses secrets and which ones will come to light.

 

OVERALL THOUGHTS: 

 

I listened to The Thousandth Floor on audiobook via Audible and really enjoyed listening to this story. This book was sold as being Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars and I think this is just the perfect description for this book. The beginning of the book is a girl falling from the roof of the thousand floor tower and the rest of this book examines the lives of these characters as you try to unravel who exactly is the one who fell and how she ended up falling.

 

I found myself theorising on different reasons why each and every character could have been the one to fall from the tower. Another thing I really liked was how the author incorporated modern technology with a slight twist. Some futuristic books have technology that I absolutely have no idea what it would be like. But this author has made technology that is extremely realistic.

 

I could keep going, but lets just say…

 

If you like mystery, futuristic fiction, awesome new-age technology, romance, rumours, secrets, and revenge then definitely give this one a try. I guarantee this is definitely Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars.

 

🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

2016 DEBUT AUTHOR CHALLENGE

 

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This is a challenge that I have recently come across and I realise this started back in January but I want to participate.

I am firstly going to explain the concept of this challenge and then how I am going to go about doing this.

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This challenge is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and aims to introduce readers to new debut authors and provide support for these authors.

I have reviewed the list of 2016 debut books and realise that I have already read 8 and the goal of the challenge is to read at least 12 so thats awesome. The books I have reviewed I am going to update so you know they are for this challenge and I am going to aim to review the debut books that I haven’t yet.

There are also other books that I am aiming to read by the end of the challenge. So, wish me luck.

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

REVIEW: GEMINI BY SONJA MUKHERJEE

gemini

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date Published: 26th of July 2016

Pages: 336

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BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old conjoined twins Clara and Hailey have lived in the same small town their entire lives—no one stares at them anymore. But there are cracks in their quiet existence, and they’re slowly becoming more apparent.

Clara and Hailey are at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid all attention, and study the night sky. Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys.

As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s, and figure out what it means to be her own person.

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REVIEW: 

The premise of this book was what really drew me in. I have never read anything about conjoined twins before.

This did not strike me as an examination of what it is like living as a conjoined twin in general, but more as a contemporary story with the main conflict being the perceptions of others about being conjoined.

The two protagonists are teenage girls in their final year of high school. These girls could not be more opposite, Clara has her head in the stars and loves science while Hailey is artsy with pink hair and tattoos. These girls could not be better friends.

These girls face the concept of the future and what this will mean for them when others can go off and live their lives without facing some of the issues and challenges that these girls would face.

The concepts of bullying, friendship and family are also explored. Another element I liked was that, while there was romance in the story, it did not overpower the story.

Overall, I really liked this book. It was a contemporary read that had main protagonists that I had never heard from before. I am giving this book a rating of 4/5.

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Keep Calm and Read On,

Kati

REVIEW: INTO THE DIM BY JANET B. TAYLOR

into the dim

 

Publisher:  HMH Books

 

Date Published: 1st March 2016

 

Pages: 428

 

 

Blurb: 

 

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.

 

Review:

 

Firstly, I would like to comment that I listened to this book via audiobook and this review will be based on that experience.

 

This book was dubbed as “Outlander for Teens”, I am very interested in Outlander and really need to read it, therefore I had to try this. I’m glad I did. I really enjoyed this book.  This is a wild romp through London in the Middle Ages.

 

The buildup for the main plot of the book was just enough for me. This is a time travelling book and therefore, I wanted to get into the time travel as soon as possible. I really appreciated the motivations of the protagonists. I could understand why they were doing what they were doing and I was really rooting for them.

 

There was one element of the plot regarding a male character that I had picked out from the first time we were introduced to him. But then, later in the book, I was thrown for a tailspin as there was a plot twist I was not expecting whatsoever… Wow.

 

This book went back to one time period in particular and I felt it was really well researched. I really felt like I was in this world with the characters. The main element that really sold it for me was the descriptions of scent. There was descriptions of what things smelled like, and, most of the time it wasn’t pretty.

 

I was not knowledgeable about the time period whatsoever. After this book I am keen to do some research. These characters meet up with some major historical figures… Kings & Queens.

 

Before I finish up I am going to quickly talk about Hope. Hope could at times be kind of whiny but I understand why and where she is coming from. Hope has a fear of tight, small, dark places and she seems to have to go into places that meet this description a lot in this book. That poor girl.

 

There was multiple times when I thought the book was going to conclude, and then, our protagonists are thrown back into danger, I was almost cursing my car on multiple occasions… just let them be safe already! I am looking forward to the second book as there are so many loose ends that I want tied up. This book is getting a 4.25/5 rating. 🌟🌟🌟🌟