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Rachel S (New Zealand)

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I Am Ozzy
I Am Ozzy
by Ozzy Osbourne
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 20.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An absolutely hilarious read, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: I Am Ozzy (Hardcover)
I Am Ozzy is a hilarious autobiography by Ozzy Osbourne, former lead singer of Black Sabbath. It's filled with humourous anecdotes from his life before and after the band and is a more than enjoyable read.

I've read a few musician's autobiographies, and I can honestly say that none of them have ever made me laugh like this one did. I was laughing aloud at something on almost every page and I loved Ozzy's British humour. There were some great stories about his time in the band and although the book was filled with humour, Ozzy also showed a sensitivity when it came to writing about the hard things, like death and drug addiction.

Although I loved the book and the stories in it, I couldn't help get the feeling that maybe there was some extra spice being added to some of the anecdotes. I mean, yeah, he was a crazy rocker, but after all these years and all these drugs, can he really remember as much as he claims to? Maybe so, but for me it didn't quite feel right, so I was unable to fully `click' with the book. It's a real shame, because I really did enjoy Ozzy's easy writing style.

I Am Ozzy was a fun read, but overall something just didn't come together for me. If you're looking for a musician's autobiography that has plenty of hilarity go for this one, but just don't expect too much depth.

The Lipstick Laws
The Lipstick Laws
by Amy Holder
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.33

3.0 out of 5 stars A sweet read perfect for tweens, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Lipstick Laws (Paperback)
While reading The Lipstick Laws I couldn't help thinking it would have been the perfect book for me at age 14. However, being almost 18 now, there was a little bit of a lack of a connection between the characters and I that prevented me from loving this book as much as I thought I would.

The characters in The Lipstick Laws were a big part of what saved the novel for me. The plot itself is quite cliched, but add in these wonderful characters and the result is quite surprising. April was a great protagonist, frequently coming out with witty observations - I laughed out loud numerous times, something I don't normally do. The supporting characters were great too, all realistic and flawed - although sometimes the flaws were a little too obviously told, instead of subtly shown to the reader. Even Britney had some redeeming qualities and even though she was horrible, it was easy to understand why and feel empathy for her.

One thing that I noticed was that the story line seemed to be very derivative of Mean Girls but just toned down for a younger audience. Maybe it was because I had just watched the film before I read the book, but I found more than one similarity - the revenge aspect being a biggie. It wasn't a huge deal, because there were enough differences to make it its own story, but for me it was just that wee bit too similar.

Overall though, The Lipstick Laws was a quick, enjoyable book. Although it wasn't quite the right fit for me, I know there will be countless other readers who will enjoy it. I would recommend it most for 13-15 year olds.

(I received this novel free of charge via NetGalley. This in no way affected my review.)

Delirium: 1/3 (Delirium Trilogy)
Delirium: 1/3 (Delirium Trilogy)
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.36

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing start to a new series, 12 Nov 2011
I have to start out by saying that no other author can make me cry like Lauren Oliver can. I never cry when I read, so this is a major achievement for an author - and for me to cry at both her books, well, it's unheard of. Anyway, onto the proper review.

I loved Delirium right from the get go. Admittedly, some of the world-building at the start was a bit slow, but I could read Lauren's prose all day so it didn't feel like a chore to read. The world-building was integrated seamlessly into the story and honestly loved every word of it. I also enjoyed the paragraphs above each chapter that were supposedly from this new world's handbooks and literature, they definitely gave me more insight into the world of Delirium.

Lauren has such a talent for creating believable characters, from the protagonist, Lena, to her best friend, family and every other character. Even the main characters feel rich and well-developed, like a book could be written about each of them as well. I especially like Hana, Lena's best friend. She was fun and rebellious, and for a while I wondered why the author didn't focus the novel on her. And although I loved her, I soon realized why Lena needed to be the main focus. Lena was very goody-good and never questioned the rules about the cure, and so she had the most developing to do.
She had the most potential for growth throughout the story, while Hana was already there.

Now onto the part you really want to hear about - the love interest, Alex. He was utterly dreamy and I loved how natural his and Lena's relationship felt. It wasn't wham-bam, we're in love, but rather well thought out and their relationship developed slowly but steadily. It felt natural, but with the right amount of paranoia added to the meetings - they could not be caught under any circumstances. The suspense was also very well written - my heart was often pounding right along with these characters as they got themselves in and out of some sticky situations.
Honestly, I was not expecting Lauren Oliver's second novel to be as fantastic as her first, but I loved Delirium equally, if not more, than Before I Fall.

I fell in love with the characters and needed to know how their stories turned out. The only complaint I have is that we have to wait another year for the next installment in the series! This is a definite must-read.

(I received this novel free of charge via NetGalley. This in no way influenced my review.)

Infinite Days
Infinite Days
by Rebecca Maizel
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Great addition to the vampire genre, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: Infinite Days (Hardcover)
With so much vampire fiction around these days, it would be easy to dismiss Infinite Days as just another cliched, unoriginal novel. However, this is far from the truth and I was surprised at how much I loved this story.

The author did a great job of introducing Lenah to our world and her thoughts about adjusting to everything around her were believable. A lot of things that we take for granted today were completely new to Lenah, and it was intriguing reading the thoughts of somebody who was learning all about our world.

The book had time jumps from the present day to back to her time in the coven. Time jumps are always a risk, because it's very easy to turn readers off by having them interfere with the flow of the main story. Here, however, the jumps gelled seamlessly with the main story, and never felt jerky or out of place. I liked getting an insight into vampire Lenah as it helped me understand the self-loathing she felt for herself. The vampires in this novel are not vampires with a conscience, and some of the scenes from Lenah's past showed just how cruel and manipulative her and her coven were. For all her cruelty though, I never actually hated Lenah and I think that is testament to the author's writing ability to be able make me feel compassion for someone as horrible as Lenah was.

Human Lenah was much nicer than vampire Lenah. Although she still had a lot of vampire instincts - she regularly thought about killing people who got on her nerves and she had a fascination with seeing people's veins - she was able to control herself and make friends. She meets a boy named Tony, who takes her under his wing and is there to answer any questions she has about the world. It was a bit unrealistic that Tony never really questioned why she was so naive about everything, but he was still a nice friend for Lenah to have.

Then there was the love interest - Justin Enos. He is a big part of the reason this book did not score higher from me. He was too flat for my liking - we never really find out very much about him apart from that he's popular and good at lacrosse. Some of the dialogue exchanged between him and Lenah was painful and there was no reason for the passion between them. If he had been developed better and there was more of a build up to their relationship, I think I would have liked Lenah and him together. As it is, I never really understood the attraction.

Overall, Infinite Days stands out in the sea of YA vampire literature for being a bit different from the norm. Although it's not perfect, I am highly anticipating the next installment in the series as I'm interested to read the conclusion to the unexpected ending. A promising start to what I hope turns into an enjoyable series.

by Ally Condie
Edition: Paperback

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't live up to the hype, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: Matched (Paperback)
I have been excited to read Matched for ages now, I've read a lot of good hype about it. Although it didn't quite live up to my expectations, it was still an enjoyable, though predictable read.

Matched starts by painting a dystopian world that has all but eradicated disease, obesity and crime. It almost seems utopian, but there is an inherent sense that all is not as it seems, with The Society deciding everything about all the citizens - their jobs, their spouse, how many children they will have, etc. We are introduced to the protagonist, Cassia, on the eve of her Matching ceremony - the ceremony that will reveal who she is to marry. She is matched with Xander, her best friend and is happy, until a friend from her past flashes on screen for an instant, confusing her. So begins her journey of disobeying the Society to claim the rights to make her own decisions.

I was fairly indifferent to Cassia and Ky throughout the entire story and I never really understood the attraction between them. I much preferred Xander, and I wish Cassia could have seen past the glitch and accepted Xander for who he was. Ky seemed too flat to be the lead romantic interest and I never felt any emotional connection to him. He seemed to stereotypical to me, like the emo boy that Cassia felt she had to fix.

I felt similarly to Cassia as I did to Ky - I couldn't relate, nor develop any attachment to her. The author really needs to work on her character development, as this was the biggest flaw of the novel. If I had actually felt an attachment to the characters, the book probably would have scored higher, but as it is I didn't particularly care about what happened to any of the characters.

There were some interesting aspects to the novel, like the idea of the 100 books, 100 songs 100 movies, etc. I thought that that was really interesting, and I can't imagine what it would be like to only have 100 of all of these things for my entire life. The scene where Cassia's dad was in charge of getting rid of an entire library was almost painful to read - all those books, just being destroyed.

Ultimately, Matched felt too much like a lead up to the second book in the series. It didn't feel like it's own story and there was a lack of any forward motion for a large chunk of the book. However, with the way it ended, I'm hoping there's going to be a lot more action in the sequel, and hopefully some serious character growth for Cassia. I'm interested enough in the series to give the second book a try, but if it is another letdown, then I won't be really care enough to see how Cassia's story pans out.

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but forgettable, 12 Nov 2011
I was really excited to read this book. My sister had loved it, and it sounded like a quick, entertaining read. However, it seemed to fall flat for me, with uninspiring characters, debatable dialogue and average action scenes.

The book's first half was slow moving, but filled with descriptions of Lorien and the back story of how and why the Mogadorians took over. The imagery was strong and I enjoyed reading about the beauty of Lorien in its prime. There were also many references about the dangers of staying in one place too long, and a lot of emphasis put on Number Four not drawing unwanted attention to himself.

Of course, things don't go to plan and John soon agitates the head football captain, falls in love with said football captain's ex-girlfriend and displays his powers carelessly. His guardian Henri wants to move, but John refuses and forces Henri to stay. I found this quite unrealistic, as at the first hint of danger in the past, they had moved, whereas now when there was more than a hint of danger, John was willing to stay, for little more reason than a crush. I understand that he just wanted to have a normal life, but frankly, when the fate of a planet rests on the shoulders of you and five other teenagers, a normal life is just something that has to be sacrificed. John was selfish, and he paid the price for it later in the book.

The character development left a lot to the imagination. John's girlfriend, Sarah, especially fell flat for me. She was portrayed as kind and sweet, and wasn't at all fazed when John revealed his secret to her. I can't recall one flaw of hers that was mentioned, so she was not relatable at all, and I quickly grew tired of her. The same could be said about all the side characters - the guardian/teacher who acted more like a father, the stereotypical jock who's maybe not as bad as he seems and the outcast who is the only one that befriends John.

This is a book for people who prefer plot over character development. Plenty happens and there are some fun action scenes, but overall it didn't quite come together. I know that many will probably enjoy this book, and with the movie being released shortly, its popularity will see a rise in coming months. It just wasn't the book for me.

The Sky Is Everywhere
The Sky Is Everywhere
by Jandy Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly touching novel, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: The Sky Is Everywhere (Paperback)
The Sky Is Everywhere was a poignant, one minute tear-inducing, next minute hilarious, gem of a book. I read it at the very end of the year, and I'm glad I did because it turned out to be my favorite book of 2010. There was honestly nothing I disliked about it, and countless things that I loved.

The main character, Lennie, was instantly relatable and often unintentionally funny. It was great to get into her head and the author made it easy to understand her often unpredictable mood swings from happiness to guilt and sadness about her sister. I have a sister, and I could see a lot of us in Lennie and Bailey's relationship, so it was all the more tear jerking for me, when Lennie was thinking back to all the good (and not-so-good) times that her and Bailey shared.

Lennie's poems about Bailey were another thing that made this book stand out. They were sprinkled sporadically throughout the book as photos of the places the poems were `found'. When I was reading the poems, those were the times that I could feel myself getting choked up, as Lennie recounted her last words to Bailey, or how gut-wrenchingly lonely she was without her. The poetry was a highlight of the book and served well to set it apart from other YA books dealing with grief and loss.

Another aspect I loved was the effort the author went to, to create rich and distinctive supporting characters. How could you not love Gram with her kind heart and love of green paint, or Big, Lennie's pot smoking, love guru uncle? Then there was Sarah, the feminist best friend, who may not have always agree with Lennie's decisions, but always tried to understand them. And, of course, there was Joe.

Joe Fontaine was the new kid in town, who only knew Lennie post-Bailey. He was the dreamy love interest who made the sky burst open to allow Lennie to feel again. Their relationship never felt rushed, but natural, as Joe got to know Lennie by arriving at her house every morning, as a friend, for weeks before they became a couple. I also liked how Joe wasn't just there for Lennie, but he also became a life raft for Gram and Big, who were also lifted by his infectious smile and ever-positive attitude.

The Sky Is Everywhere continuously inspired me to just live, and I truly loved every aspect of the story. It is a book I can see myself coming back to over and over, just to re-immerse myself in these unforgettable characters lives.

Torment: Book 2 of the Fallen Series
Torment: Book 2 of the Fallen Series
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Better than the first, but still pretty bad, 12 Nov 2011
I have to admit, I wasn't a fan of Fallen, the first book in this series. However, I was pleasantly surprised with Torment, and although I wasn't totally thrilled with it, it was enough for me to want to continue reading the remaining books in the series.

One thing that stood out to me as better than the first book was the dialogue. Some of the dialogue in Fallen was cringe-worthy, so it was nice to see that the author had worked harder to make it more believable. I felt like the dialogue was a lot more realistic to how people - particularly teenagers - actually speak, so it was a lot easier for me to read.

I also loved Steven and Francesca's lessons and the effort that went into creating a believable back story for the angels and demons that was unique and thought-provoking. The quote that said `the winners get to write history' made me think a lot our own world and what may or may not be true.

However, there were definitely aspects of the story that I disliked. I felt that Luce had done no growing up, despite what she has seen, and was as annoying as ever. She was too whiney for my liking and it was frustrating that she couldn't just take Daniel's - the man she supposedly loves - word that some things are safer for her not to know. I also disliked how Daniel continuously told her not to do anything dangerous, while simultaneously putting her in danger every night by coming to the campus. It seemed very unrealistic that he wouldn't be able to hold off for sixteen days, if it meant saving the life of the one he loved.

Another issue I had was that the plot `twist' was much, much too obvious. I understand that the author was trying to foreshadow, but it really only to serve as to reveal where the story was heading, even at its very first mention. It could have been surprising if the author hadn't made it so painfully obvious, but as it was, I was continuously asking `okay, when are we getting to the action?'.

Although I didn't love Torment, it had enough to keep me interested in seeing how this series plays out. Judging by the ending, the next book could be an extremely interesting journey!

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend
by Emily Horner
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 9.91

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A mildly enjoyable, though severely lacking read, 12 Nov 2011
The summary of this book drew me in immediately and I thought I was going to be in for a fantastic read. Unfortunately, the story fell flat for me and I was left feeling disappointed.

Cass was a likable enough lead, but she just wasn't distinctive enough to make a lasting impression on me. She could be very selfish at times, and had a real problem facing up to her issues. A lot of the story talked about how much Cass felt excluded when her best friend Julia made new friends, but in reality, if Cass had actually made any effort, she would have been readily accepted into the new group.

Speaking of the supporting characters, they were another issue for me. They suffered from a lack of development to the point where they all more or less blurred into one for me. They were also very stereotypical, don't break the mold types of characters and I felt it was a real shame that the author didn't take the time to flesh them out more, as strong supporting characters can often lift a book from being average, to being great.

The time jumps in the book were quite jerky and sometimes took away from the flow of the story. It could have been improved if the jumps to the `Then' chapters actually related to what was going on in the `Now' chapters, but to me, it just felt too much like two completely different stories.

Overall, the book was a sometimes fun, but mostly disappointing read. If the author had spent more time developing stronger characters, I think the outcome could have been quite different.

by Cynthia Hand
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic addition to the angel genre, 12 Nov 2011
This review is from: Unearthly (Paperback)
I have to admit, with all the awful YA angel novels out there, I didn't expect anything special from this book. However, Unearthly turned my expectations on their head and was a fantastic read. I loved that the author researched her subject material and knew the mythology behind what she was writing about. Many YA authors fall at this simple hurdle, so it was refreshing to see one that puts some effort in. I also loved the way Clara was written - she actually had a personality! She was funny, undramatic and intelligent, and didn't succumb to the `instant-love' trope so many YA protagonists fall into. Her relationship with Tucker was believable, happening over time and never becoming her whole life. Unearthly is a great addition to the paranormal genre, and I, for one, cannot wait for the sequel.

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