Posts by Jocie
At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them.
Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen”
The Scorpio Races was filled with mythology, romance and violence.
The story itself is centred around Kate “Puck” Connelly and Sean Kendrick, two teenagers at the start of a romance despite the foreboding arrival of the Scorpio Races, a race of deadly water horses.
The premise of the book was intriguing and the capaill uisce mythology was fascinating. Scorpio Races really delves into that and ensures that the reader knew everything about the water horses. With that in mind, Stiefvater did a fantastic job of creating the small island of Thisby and makes the island seem almost real. I really got the small town feeling from it, with all the characters knowing each other from childhood and so forth. It was almost like a character itself.
The characters were, as well unique and were easy to relate to. I really got involved in their stories and enjoyed listening to them. Despite this, however, I did occasionally have trouble with the point of views. There were times when I had completely forgotten whether it was Puck’s or Sean’s character who was narrating.
The writing however was purely lyrical. It swept me in completely and was just lovely. It did not however, help the pacing of the book. I found it very hard to stay concentrated while reading a large portion of the book. While I liked how the two main characters weren’t swept up in a fit of insta-love, I just wish that the story wasn’t so laid-back.
Overall, while there were parts that I adored, I found the pacing at times painfully slow and that really let the book down for me. If you enjoy a poetic read that is very much character driven this book is for you.
Publication Date: 18th October 2011
Quote: “—”…I’m sorry. I’ve overstepped. It’s not my business. Let’s go. Pretend I didn’t say anything.”
-But he did say something, and it can’t be unsaid.”
For Dani, life in Argentina hasn’t been very normal or happy for a long time. A terrorist attack, which killed Dani’s aunt and unborn cousin, has sent the country into economic ruin. When Dani’s family can’t hold out any longer, they move to New York. It’s supposed to be a fresh start, but when you’re living in a cramped apartment, have an angry father, and are going to high school where all the classes are in another language – and not everyone is friendly – life in America is not all it’s cracked up to be.
Then Dani becomes friends with Jon – who isn’t like all the other students – and popular Jessica who is hiding a painful loss of her own. And then there’s Brian, the boy who makes Dani’s pulse race. In her new life, the one After, Dani finds the courage to heal and forgive, and to love and be loved again.
This is a sweet little book. After a terrorist attack devastates the Argentinian economy, many families are forced to conserve what they have. ‘Life, After’ is the story of Dani Bensimon and her family, following the death of a much loved Aunt, who was killed in the aforementioned attack, and their new life in New York.
The writing is gentle and affects you in a quiet way, so much so that it almost goes unnoticed. The imagery she creates for both life in Argentina and New York is impressive, and you really feel like you know the setting. Furthermore, Littman has created an exceedingly authentic voice in Dani, and should be applauded for that.
As for the characters, Dani is relatable in more ways than one. Her feelings of worry, and confusion and frustration are illustrated wonderfully. The secondary characters are also very authentic and memorable in that they’re vocal in their differences. I have a soft spot for Dani’s little sister, Sarita.
As for plot, Life, After was relatively slow in that respect. The big move to New York didn’t actually happen till about a quarter to halfway through the book, however I got a good impression of what Argentina must’ve been like for Dani. Despite this, I still had times where I wanted it to speed up a bit.
Overall, ‘Life, After’ is a gentle soul of a book that shows the effects of terrorism on families and the difficulties that many face through it.
Publication Date: January 2012
Quote: “Because with joy, we overcome the terror. With love, strength, and hope, we prevail.”
16-year-old Molly Dix loves her ordinary life in suburban Indiana, so when her single mother passes away, she is shocked to discover that her biological father is Brick Berlin, world famous movie star and red carpet regular.
Equally intrigued and terrified by her Hollywood lineage, Molly moves to Southern California and plunges head-first into the deep end of Beverly Hills celebrity life. Just as Molly thinks her new life and family couldn’t get any stranger, she meets Brooke Berlin, her gorgeous and spoiled half-sister whom welcomes Molly to la-la land with a healthy dose of passive-aggressive “sisterly love.”
Set against the backdrop of a sparkling and fashion-filled Los Angeles, this deliciously dysfunctional family soap opera will satisfy every reader looking for their next lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous beach read.
Molly Dix’s mother, Laurel recently died. On her deathbed, Laurel confesses to Molly that her father is world famous movie star, Brick Berlin. Thus, Molly moves to Hollywood, and starts a new life there. Navigating past a vindictive half-sister, the tabloids and a new school, Molly tries to fit her old life into her new one.
I was not impressed by this book. The plot was lacking, and really quite slow. I was bored for the first one hundred pages, and kept hoping something would happen. Nothing really did happen at all in this novel.
The writing was just average. There were some funny moments, but they were quite far and sparse. However I do think, the authors’ did a good job at including pop culture references and appreciate the almost satirical nature in which they plotted the novel. It was a clever move.
Furthermore, the characters in this novel were vapid, infuriating, and not very memorable. They were just there. Brooke annoyed me to no ends with the depth of her shallowness, and Molly just didn’t really do anything. I had a lot of trouble empathising with the characters, and couldn’t relate at all, pretty much.
I was really quite disappointed by this book. It was quite average, and I had a hard time liking anybody at all. I got painted a very insipid picture of what Hollywood is like, and if the way the Hollywood-ians act in this book is any indication of what to expect there, I’m not planning a trip anytime soon.
Publication Date: January 1st 2012
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Quote: “Laurel would have been proud of Molly – if she weren’t busy convincing Molly to slip and unlucky crystal into the perpetrators’ book bags.”
“OMG. Year 11 results are out TODAY, my boyfriend is MIA and my mum is acting TOTALLY WEIRD. I’d turn to my BF Kat, that her life has suddenly gone from hero to ZERO. I don’t know who to talk to an everyone’s got their OWN problems. What would life be better if I wasn’t such a STRESSHEAD?”
Stresshead is a light, easy read that is very, very Australian. Told in the voice of Dennie, we learn about her woes with life and pressure to live up to expectations.
I largely liked this book. I related to Dennie (real name: Denise) easily and quickly (I am a huge chronic worrier), however she sort of got on my nerves occasionally with her internal voice. I liked all of the characters. They were all colourful, unique and fiery. Admittedly, I was a little confused in the first few pages; so many characters are introduced so quickly. But I loved the atmosphere, Webster really got the right feeling to it; it felt like a real family.
The plot felt like it was trying to go in ten different directions. It was trying to be funny, yet serious, yet growing up. This led to confusion. The pacing, as well, was also very cruisey – I didn’t feel any inclination to read chapter after chapter.
However, the author really got the voice of a teenage girl, and the writing was good. There were moments when the things Den worried over were so silly they were funny.
Unfortunately, the setting of Sydney wasn’t really used. While the Australian-ess of it all was obvious, I didn’t really get a feel for anything except the feeling when the family are together.
The family, itself is a very, very important element in the book. It really brings home and collects all the mistakes. In their own dysfunctional way, Dennie’s family truly show the essence of family. I applaud Allayne Webster for that.
Overall, Stresshead is an enjoyable book that ensures you that no matter how screwed up you think your family is, the fictional ones are ten times more.
Publication Date: May 1st 2011
Publisher: Omnibus Books
Quote: “I’m toast. I’m burnt toast. I’m the charcoal you scrape off the toast with your knife”
“The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on… until Kendall’s boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it’s crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear…and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating…and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico’s mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.”
When I first read the blurb for this book, I was excited. Mystery/Horror/Thriller? I was totally in. However, sadly I was a little disappointed.
Something weird is going on in the small town of Cryer’s Cross. The small population freak out when freshman Tiffany Quinn disappears. When nothing is found, everything goes back to normal. That is until Kendall Fletcher’s boyfriend Nico Cruz disappears too. Diagnosed with OCD, Kendall struggles to cope with the loss of her boyfriend and the arising feelings for the new boy, Jacian.
I felt like there were several issues with Cryer’s Cross. Largely, it didn’t actually feel like a thriller. I wasn’t scared, I didn’t feel entirely compelled, and the plot was a little choppy (and I don’t like thrillers/horrors. In fact, I stay as far away from them as possible usually). Cryer’s Cross was slow paced, and while it claims to be a mystery, the mystery itself stops about halfway through to make room for the development of romance. The mystery and thriller aspect only starts back up within the last forty pages or so.
Despite this, I really liked the character of Kendall. In fact, I enjoyed most of the characters. I appreciated that the author made sure that while Kendall had OCD, it didn’t stop her or let it define her. She was quite a strong character. I also liked how Lisa McMann showed that the disappearances of the characters didn’t just affect the main character – it also affected the whole town.
Speaking of the town, it in itself was almost a character. While not was mentioned about what it physically looked like, a true atmosphere was painted about it, and a strong impression was made.
The writing in Cryer’s Cross was quite good. I especially enjoyed the ‘antagonists’ moments. It added layers upon layers of creepy.
The only other problem I had with the book was that it felt like McMann was almost generalising OCD a little bit. She had the chance to show reader’s how much it would rock the boat if a person who had OCD had a loved one go missing. People who have OCD are meticulous, perfectionists, and sometimes get to the point of obsession with the way they live and their routines, and I wish she had delved into Kendall’s mind that little bit more.
I think this book had the potential to be something amazingly creepy, but instead it went the opposite way. While it is an interesting read, it isn’t something I’d rave about.
Publication Date : February 8th 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins
Teaser Quote: “We. When it is over, We breathe and ache like old oak, like peeling birch. One of Our lost souls set free. We move, a chess piece in the dark room, cast-iron legs a centimetre at a time, crying out in silent carved graffiti. Calling to Our next victim, Our next saviour. We carve on Our face: Touch me. Save my soul.”