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Battle Royale - Koushun Takami, Yuji Oniki

As someone who has never read The Hunger Games I can't really compare the two. Which I guess is a good thing considering I didn't already have it in my mind that THG would be better. I'm really not sure what I can possibly say about this book without there being a wave of spoilers, but I'm going to try.


This book is gory. If this makes you squeamish I really suggest you not pick this one up. The deaths are described in vivid detail. I mean one kid getting a hatchet to the face, pretty gruesome right? But that being said, I think there's a lot you can take away from this book. You can see what happens when a government gains too much power and can pretty much force a group of junior high kids to kill each other. You also really get to delve into the friendships behind these characters and just how much it will take to really discover who your true friends are, considering they may snap and end up taking you out when put under the pressure of the "game".


I honestly thought I would have a hard time keeping track of 42 different characters (just the students, not to mention the numerous other characters that were behind the program) but I was surprised when I could actually tell them apart. Sure I had my couple favorites, namely Shuya and Shogo, but I could appreciate the view points of every single character.


I really do think this book deserves to be read at least once. It's gruesome and horrifying yet there are the few characters who manage to retain hope in their situation. Don't let the blood and violence scare you off, once you get to the end you will be extremely glad you decided to take the chance.

Source: http://livinginabookwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/12/battle-royale-by-koushun-takami.html

The Book Thief

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak



One was a book thief.

The other stole the sky.

-page 381



Let me start off by saying that this book made me cry. Where The Fault in Our Stars failed this one had me sobbing like a baby. From the very beginning this book gripped me and throughout the twists and turns this book took I went along for the way. It was a sad experience but one that I am glad I had.


We follow Liesel throughout the story and watch as she grows up in Nazi Germany. We get to watch as she goes from a girl who cannot read or write to one who finds the beauty of words thanks to her foster father Hans Hubermann. There is thievery involved and lots of secrets she must keep but there is also joy and happiness and what it means to truly be alive.


The characters were so realistic it was impossible not to love each and every one of them. From Liesel and Rudy to Rosa and Hans and even Max and Death himself they all come together in one way or another to weave a tale that will leave you thinking about it long after the book has been closed. Liesel is a girl who has strong beliefs and finds strength in the words she steals. She was very easy to relate to even though the circumstance she faces are much worse than the ones I find myself in. The love of books seems to be the one bridge that can tie Liesel to any book lover. Then there were Hans and Rosa, Liesel's  foster parents. I loved them both, while Rosa was hard and did what she had to do Hans was kind and gentle and I just loved everything about him. Rudy Steiner was a character that I really enjoyed. The scenes with him always had me laughing (or crying) and he always managed to find a way to do what he believed in. Then we come to Max, there really isn't much I can say about Max. He was a sweet man who despite his circumstances managed to inspire Liesel.


Finally we come to Death himself. This was definitely an interesting character. He knew everything that happened beforehand and dropped hints left and right yet still managed to give that final blow that had me reeling. The fact that Death is the one who narrates the story makes it so much more powerful.




I am haunted by humans.

-page 552


The ending of this book is what really got me. So much happens and in a way it would not be as powerful if it happened any other way, it still doesn't make it any less heartbreaking. If you're worried about the hype surrounding this one do not be afraid, it is worth all of the hype. Much like the last line from our narrator, I am haunted by this book.

Source: http://livinginabookwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/11/the-book-thief-by-markus-zusak.html
Brightest Kind of Darkness - Patrice Michelle

When I saw this as a Kindle freebie and read the description I knew I had to get it. The plot sounded absolutely amazing and that something I would really enjoy. I'm really happy to say that this one did not let me down at all. The fact that the main character dreams her entire day the night before is just really cool and not something I have seen done in YA before.


The thin that really stuck out about Nara is that she really tried not to interfere with her powers except when confronted with the knowledge of a bombing at her school. The way she stood up and took action really set the tone for the way the book was going to go. It was also really interesting that Nara didn't know much about her powers at all even though she had been living with them for a long time.


The thing that I loved most about the book was that it kept me guessing. Whenever I thought I had figured everything out something else developed and I was back at the beginning. I never once had everything all figured out and I love books that take me on a thrill ride like that.


The characters definitely made the book for me. The fact that Nara was a regular girl who wasn't exactly popular really helped me to connect with her. The only difference is she had the power to see the events of the following day the night before. She's a really likeable character who really stands up when she knows someone is going to be injured. When we really got introduced to Ethan I absolutely loved him. For a while I thought something dark was going on with him, with Nara losing her powers and everything, but he really turned out to be a sweetheart. He was caring and sweet and oh so adorable.


If you're looking for a book that will keep you guessing this one is definitely for you. Don't let the fact that it's free stop you from giving it a shot. It is really worth it and the storyline and the characters will have you eagerly moving on to book two.

Source: http://livinginabookwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/10/brightest-kind-of-darkness-by-pt.html
Something Like Fate - Susane Colasanti

Orange Rhombus.
Sky blue Triangle.
Red Circle.

No clue what I'm talking about? Well the characters, Lani and Jason, think different kinds of water taste like this. Evian tastes like sky blue triangles and Poland Spring tastes like red circles. Don't believe me, check pages 98 and 99 in the paperback.

If that wasn't ridiculous enough, half of the dialogue between Jason and Lani sounds like it belongs in the seventies. Who says "Far Out" anymore? Oh and Lani talks to her shopping cart. Just saying. That's kind of weird.

The talk of Fate throughout this book really got on my nerves. They live in a small town, where as children they would probably run into each other and just because that happened, they were "meant to be together" or because they like the same thing it's "Fate". It got to the point, where I didn't want to even finish the book. If I never hear the word Fate again in my entire life it will be too soon.

The characters were just so unlikeable. Erin was vain and self centered, everything in the entire world revolved around her. Lani had too much of an obsession with Fate and took everything to extremes. And Jason, he was just plain annoying. The conversations the characters had throughout the novel were unrealistic and extremely weird.

The only two characters who had potential were Connor and Blake and there just wasn't enough of them in the story, if there had been maybe it wouldn't have been so bad. They seemed like they were only there to move the main character along and when they weren't needed they disappeared.

So overall, this book was a bust for me. The premise of the book sounded like it could be interesting, but it just never delivered.

Source: http://livinginabookwonderland.blogspot.com/2013/02/something-like-fate-review.html

Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness, #1)

Brightest Kind of Darkness (Brightest Kind of Darkness, #1) - P.T. Michelle,  Patrice Michelle Review coming soon.
The Sea of Monsters  - Rick Riordan This review can also be found hereThis is one of the greatest sequels to a series that I love ever. I've noticed that the second book tends to be lacking but that did not happen with The Sea of Monsters at all. It was just as action packed and engaging as The Lightning Thief. Maybe even more so since we get to see more to Clarisse and we get introduced to Tyson.I was excited to jump back into the world of Percy Jackson and his friends so much that I started this book immediately after finishing The Lightning Thief and I am so glad I did. I still had everything that happened in the previous book fresh in my mind so when all of the action in this one happened I didn't have to try and force myself to remember information from the first since it was all fresh in my mind.It was interesting to follow Percy to the Sea of Monsters. Just from the title I knew that this was going to be one action filled adventure and I was not disappointed at all. The fight scenes were so suspenseful that I was hurrying through just to find out if everyone came out alright and the race against the clock had even more dire consequences that I could only pray that they made it in time.Percy is as funny as ever. I constantly found myself laughing at things he said or his thoughts. Everything that can go bad for this kid will and he's pretty much gotten used to it. I really missed seeing Grover in this one since he wasn't in it as much as the first but the times he was in it I absolutely loved. It was interesting to see more of Clarisse as well. She's such a difficult character to figure out. One minute she's doing something nice and then the next she's turning her back and acting cold again. I hope that we get to see more of her in the other books.The whole addition of Tyson into the storyline shocked me. I honestly didn't see the revelation about him coming. But once it happened I figured it made sense and really added another whole element to the story. I absolutely loved Tyson. He was so adorable and so loyal, I really hope he's in the later books as well.If you haven't gotten into this series yet I really suggest you do. You will not be disappointed and I'm ready to dive back in with the third book in the series.

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson & the Olympians)

The Lightning Thief  - Rick Riordan

This review can also be found here.


I love this book. Seriously, everything about it is just amazing. From the characters to the plot to the fact that it revolves around Greek Mythology, this book had me hooked from the first page. I had first read this book before I became a blogger, but decided I wanted to re-read it because I finally purchased the rest of the series and I loved it just as much the second time around and I still found myself engaged in the story even though I already knew what happens.


The storyline in this book is just fantastic. It's full of adventure and action with a lot of friendship and thrown right in. I've always been interested in mythology and this book really captured my attention. The myths that were used in the book just added to the overall excitement of the story for me. From the Minotaur to chimaera, Rick Riordan really nailed the right amount of suspense, action and information.


I love almost all of the characters as well. Percy is the underdog and I found myself rooting for him to succeed because the kids in middle school and he's thrown into a world where the stories he's been studying turn out to be real instead of just myths and he goes in fighting and he's prepared to die to save what's important to him. Then there's Grover. He's just so funny and awkward and the story just wouldn't be the same without him. Annabeth is one of my favorites as well. She's smart and strong and she doesn't need a man to swoop in and save her. The girl knows how to kick butt and she does.


If you're a fan of mythology and middle grade stories that combine action and adventure with characters who don't give up no matter what, then I definitely think you should give this book a chance. It's a quick read that will have you flipping pages just to find out what happens to Percy and his friends.

House of Secrets

House of Secrets -

This review can also be found here.


I was really looking forward to this book. Once I read the description I thought this book was going to be amazing. However, I was extremely wrong. What I was expecting was a book full of action and adventure. What I got was a book that had adventure but it was slow and seemed to drag on a lot.


If this book had been cut down some and a lot of the slow parts were taken out, maybe the book would have been more interesting and exciting. The book definitely had potential, it was the way it was done that really took away from the story. It seemed at times that things were being told to you and not shown and that really took away a lot of my enjoyment during the story.


I wasn't really that invested in the characters either. The only character I really liked was Will Draper, and he wasn't even one of the three siblings who started out the adventure. However, half way through the story I began to not even like Will. He made a lot of sexist remarks about men's minds being superior to women's and things like that and I was not a fan of that at all.


I will not be finishing this series. I have no emotional investment in the characters and I have no urge to really find out what happens to them in the end since I really didn't like them to begin with. However, you may like this story. I just went into it expecting a fast-paced story full of action.

Liesl & Po - Lauren Oliver This review can be found on The Raven ReadersI was really expecting to love this one. I really enjoy stories that contain magic and when they are Middle Grade that just makes them even better. Unfortunately this one didn't live up to the expectations that I had going into it. Throughout the book I found myself quite bored. This book just didn't seem to have enough going on in it to keep me interested and even though there was alchemy and ghosts, I just wasn't a fan. At times the pace was really slow and there were spots where there really wouldn't be anything happening. The end however is what saved the book for me. It was fitting and really cute and I found myself glad that it ended the way it did. The characters deserved the happy ending.Po was my favorite character. He was adorable and funny. Plus he was a ghost and that was just plain cool. He kept Liesl safe and helped her with her mission even though he really didn't have to. Liesl was an alright character. She really didn't seem to develop much throughout the book but she did have her moments where she seemed to be getting better.I do have to say that Lauren Oliver does know how to tell a story and her writing is magical. It never seemed forced or unbelievable and because of that I think a lot of people will enjoy this story. It really just wasn't for me.

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Doll Bones - Holly Black

This review can also be found here.


This was my first Holly Black book and it won't be my last. As soon as I heard about this one I was really excited about it. I love Middle Grade and throw in a creepy doll and ghost story and you have me hooked. Unfortunately, I didn't love it as much as I hoped to but it was a good read anyway.


The thing that really bugged me the most about this book was the fact that the beginning was kind of slow. For a while it seemed like nothing was happening but once the children begin their adventure the pace picks up drastically.


I liked Zach and Alice. They were my two favorites. They both seemed pretty level-headed for middle schoolers and they looked out for each other. Poppy however tended to get on my nerves. She was constantly on Zach's case about him not wanting to play their game anymore and she did some things that would have had me hating her if she was my friend.


As far as the whole creepy aspect goes, it was okay for a Middle Grade novel. Nothing too scary but there were times when I got freaked out by the doll. If you were considering this book I definitely think you should go for it. It was a quick read and it had a great adventure and just the right amount of creepiness for the age the book was targeted towards.

City of Bones: Mortal Instruments, Book 1

City of Bones  - Cassandra Clare

This review can also be found here.


When I started this book I was kind of afraid that I wasn't going to love it as much as everybody else seems to, especially with all of the hype surrounding it. I'm glad to say that I absolutely adored this book.


I loved the world that Cassandra Clare created, her storytelling is magical and really drew me in. The plot was exciting and full of action and I found myself rooting for the characters and their struggles really played on my emotions.


The characters were so well developed and they all had a unique voice. I loved Jace. He was so witty and sarcastic, his lines had me cracking up and more than once I randomly started laughing out loud. He seemed hardened on the outside but once you got past his walls you could see that he was really quite vulnerable. I really liked Clary, she was strong and even though she knew nothing about the shadowhunters and their world she still threw herself into their problems and really cared about them.


I will definitely be continuing on with this series. Especially after the ending in this book, how could I not? It left me wondering what was going to happen next and I am excited to find out what adventures Jace, Clary and the group get into next.

The Collector - Victoria Scott This review can also be found hereThis was one of my favorite reads this year. From the moment I read the description I knew that I had to get my hands on this book. I had high hopes for this one, and I was not disappointed. From the beginning I knew that I was not going to be able to put the book down, and as soon as I finished reading I had the urge to flip back to the beginning and read it all over again.The plot was awesome. I loved the idea of there being collector's that collect souls for hell and work for the devil. Then throwing in the liberators just made the story all the more interesting. The book was fast paced and full of action and I wouldn't want it any other way. The great thing about this book was the fact that while there was some romance it didn't take away from the story at all but only added another element to it.I loved Dante. I knew from the beginning that I would. Even though he was a jerk and extremely egotistical, the guy was funny. Even though he could be quite mean, I found myself laughing constantly when Dante did or said something hilarious, which happened to be pretty much all the time. It took a little while for me to like Charlie however. She was a sweet girl but at times I found myself wishing she would put Dante in his place. She was awkward and geeky and the complete opposite of Dante and that's what made the relationship so great.If you're worried that you won't like this one just give it a chance. The book is full of funny lines that had me laughing out loud and Dante will definitely grow on you. The fact that the romance doesn't happen instantly is another great thing about this book, the fact that it happens gradually just adds to the story. I cannot wait for the next installment and I am not so patiently waiting to see what happens with Dante and Charlie next.

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner Series #1)

The Maze Runner - James Dashner This review can be found hereActual rating 3.5 starsWhen I started this book I really wasn't sure what I expected. I thought it would be a basic dystopia/end of the world story but it turned out to be so much more. As the boys in the glade struggled to find out what they were doing shoved in the middle of a maze, I found myself asking the same questions. There were elements that I really enjoyed, like the memory wipes and the monsters that are in the maze as well as how they are stuck in the middle of a maze in the first place. Unfortunately, I also think the monsters, also known as Grievers, could have had more description because I was under the impression that these were scary beyond belief. Sure they were creepy and the descriptions made them sound quite scary but if they have the ability to climb the walls of the maze what was stopping them from climbing over the walls of the glade and attacking the boys while they slept?This book had me flipping pages well into the night just trying to find out what happens next. The story is slow in the beginning but once things get rolling the story just seems to fly by. By the end some of my questions were answered but I had a bunch of new ones that came to mind when I closed the book.I really enjoyed Thomas' character. He was intelligent and went after what he knew he wanted. He wasn't afraid to stand up for himself or his friends and when things seemed to be impossible he continually managed to look at the bright side. I absolutely loved Chuck and Newt. I managed to connect with all three but Chuck was just so sensitive and fragile where Thomas and Newt could take on anybody. This is definitely a series I will be continuing with. After that ending how could I not? The mystery and suspense surrounding this story has me wanting to get to the next book as soon as possible. I can't wait to see what comes next for Thomas and the gladers and where their stories will lead them. And I hope to see more information on WICKED and what role they will continue to play throughout the entire series.
Across the Universe - Beth Revis This review can also be found here Actual rating 3.5 stars.I have seen this book all over the blogging community and I admit I was a little afraid to read it since everybody seems to love this one. I am glad that I did decide to read it though because I really enjoyed the story. I am a huge fan of books dealing with space and this one had the advantage of taking place on a space ship. To make it more interesting the person in charge is lying to practically everybody on board.The first chapter had me hooked and I couldn't put the book down. I loved the fact that it was in dual POV and it was done well. Each character had a strong voice and I didn't get confused as to who was who. Towards the end I did guess who the murderer was, but for over half the book I was just as confused as Amy and Elder.The characters in this one were so well fleshed out that I was interested in all of them, even if I didn't necessarily like them all. Amy was intelligent and strong, she had to be, being the only different person on a spaceship where everyone else is the same. Elder was an interesting character for me. He was meant to be like everyone else, even though he would be the leader one day, but he was so different from what everybody on the ship was like. I loved the chapters that were in his point of view because we really get to see what his life is like. I know Elder is supposed to be the love interest in this one but I loved Harley. I couldn't help it. He was so sweet and amazing that it was impossible not to love him. His artistic talents that everyone else considered crazy made him unique and that was the greatest thing that he could be. If you're a fan of space books but are afraid of the hype surrounding this one I really recommend that you read it anyway. It was an amazing story that sucks you in with the mystery and at the end leaves you wanting more. I am definitely going to be finishing this series and I can't wait to see what happens between Amy and Elder next.
Confessions of a Shopaholic  - Sophie Kinsella This review can also be found here I really enjoyed this book. I've been meaning to get into more adult books and start reviewing them but I always end up pushing this one back on my list. When I found it at the library I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it since I could always just not finish. As I started reading however I quickly grew hooked and I was looking forward to finding out how Rebecca fixed her financial problems.Quite a few times however I found myself shaking my head at how Rebecca handled things. If only she had done things differently, maybe things wouldn't have gotten so bad for her. At times it seemed like proper actions weren't taken against Rebecca just so the story could go on and I found myself thinking that certain things wouldn't work like that in the real world. Her antics and schemes to fix her money troubles did have me laughing though and I couldn't believe all of the trouble she went through.Rebecca was hilarious. I really enjoyed being able to see the things that went on inside the woman's brain because they were ridiculous. Even though she seemed to be scatter brained a lot of the time Rebecca is quite smart when she applies herself and I love that in characters. Of course everything worked itself out in the end and she even hooked up with a swoony guy (which I saw coming from the beginning). I can't wait to see what situations Rebecca gets herself into in the following books and I will hopefully be getting to them soon.


Coraline - Dave McKean, Neil Gaiman This review can also be found on The Raven ReadersThis is one of the few books where I actually saw the movie first. After seeing that movie I figured at least books are usually better anyway since I didn't like the movie. I was horribly wrong. This book was just about as bad, if not worse. It seems that a lot of people really love this book, but I just don't see it. I didn't care about any of the characters.. well maybe the cat since he was so snarky. This book is supposed to be creepy and honestly I was bored throughout the entire thing.The only really good thing that comes out of the story is that Coraline realizes that her life isn't as bad as she thought and that her parents are perfect just the way they are. Coraline was supposed to be smart girl wasn't she? Then why did it seem that she kept making the worst choices imaginable when all of the signs were right in front of her? Don't even get me started on her parents. They acted like their own child was nothing but a bother to them and that their work was more important. Is it really any wonder that she almost stayed with her "other" parents though?Will I be checking out another of Neil Gaiman's works? Sure, I won't judge him based on just one of his books. Just because I wasn't a huge fan of this one doesn't mean that you won't be.