Sunday, 6 July 2014

June Wrap Up

Another month is over *sigh* and it's that time again. This post is going to be my monthly wrap up - mini reviews of all the books I read in June. Sometimes I don't have enough to say about a book to fully review it, but I always have something to say which is why I like to do this. Also I find that this is a great way to keep track of the books I have read, what I thought of them etc. and these mini reviews, I think, are handy for people who don't like lengthy, rambling ones. I managed to read 6 books and a total of 2164 pages in June, which isn't too terrible but it's not that great either. However considering June was exam month for me I have a good excuse, and I'm waaaay ahead of my 2014 Goodreads reading challenge anyway. (Just a side note, I've converted to percentage ratings as I think they're way more accurate)

Thirteen Reasons Why       by Jay Asher                                 (95%) 
I have mentioned this countless times on my blog and have also done a full review on it which you can find here, so I won't give you much of a synopsis or go into much detail concerning my opinion except to say: Thirteen Reasons Why is about a girl who commits suicide and leaves behind 7 tapes holding 13 reasons why she did what she did. These tapes are then delivered to 13 people one by one who are each responsible for a different reason.
I loved this book. I found it extremely interesting with a unique premise. It addressed very important themes, was thought-provoking, raw and emotional. If you enjoy darker, contemporaries that will really make you think differently about things then this is definitely one I recommend.

Allegiant (Divergent #3)        by Veronica Roth                      (62%) 

Because this is the final in the series I can't give you a synopsis otherwise I'll give away spoilers but I am sure you have all heard of the Divergent trilogy. If you have haven't then I will just quickly mention that it's a young adult dystopian where a girl lives in a city split into different factions (one for the brave, the selfless, the kind, the honest, and the smart) and when she turns 16 she has to choose between staying in the faction she was brought up in and staying with her family or moving away from a place she feels she doesn't belong.
I have to say I was very disappointed with the ending of this trilogy. I loved the first two books (though I enjoyed the first one, Divergent considerably more than Insurgent) but I feel like the final one just turned into every YA dystopian ever and became really generic and pointlessly ridiculous at times. I already knew the massive "spoiler" (worst kept secret in all of history I think) and although I didn't think it was a bad idea, in my opinion, the way Veronica Roth wrote it was terrible and overly dramatic in a way that was trying to hard to be emotional but then wasn't at all,. Saying that I still did enjoy parts and I know that loads of people really enjoyed Allegiant so you should still finish the series regardless of the bad reputation this conclusion has been building. 

#Scandal         by Sarah Ockler                                                (69%). 
Lucy's friend, Ellie getting sick and asking her to be Ellie's boyfriends (who, incidentally, Lucy has been crushing on for forever) date for prom wasn't exactly the best idea. It gets worse when Cole decides to kiss Lucy at the after-party under the stars. Now she's in big trouble, dreading Monday when she will have to fess up to what happened, Lucy goes on her Facebook page the next morning and realises someone's beaten her to it. Her phone has been stolen amidst last nights drama, and photos of Lucy kissing Cole along with many other scandals that happened that night have been uploaded onto her Facebook wall. Come Monday morning everyone's either branded her school slut or a back stabber and she's looking to find the person responsible for this mess.
I found this a fun, light hearted read that I easily finished in just one evening. It did feel quite "watt-pad" (if you have any idea what I mean) at times but I still enjoyed this read. It addressed the interesting issue of social media and how that can become a really big problem in society when people use it for the wrong reasons. However, it was still a fast, fun and easy read with a little romance thrown in there. It got me out of a mini reading slump I was experiencing after finishing Allegiant and was exactly what I needed although it wasn't perfect by any means. I didn't really relate to any if the characters and found the writing style a bit "meh" which is why it's not something I will re-read but I would recommend if you are looking for a very easy and light read.

Wither (the Chemical Gardens #1)       by Lauren DeStefano      (79%) 
A botched attempt to create the perfect human race means that men die at 25 and women die at 20. Young girls are been abducted and forced into polygamous marriages in a desperate bid to keep humanity ahead of the disease that that threatens to eradicate it. When Rhine is kidnapped, she is sold as a bride to Linden, a rich young man with a dying wife. But, even though he is kind to her, Rhine is desperate to escape her gilded cage - and Lindens cruel father.
If you are interested in this book, I advise you not to read a synopsis more detailed than the one I have given because it gives away something that doesn't happen until close to the end and I think it's better to go it to this book without knowing much. I really enjoyed this dystopian novel. I thought the story line was very interesting and thrilling and I found it quite an easy read as far as dystopias go. It wasn't your average revolution story that you tend to get from a YA dystopian these days and I really enjoyed that. However I found it quite slow-paced and not much happened until the end few chapters. As it was the first book in the trilogy I didn't mind that massively though because it was setting up the world, characters and giving a little background. Exciting things still happened, but it wasn't something fast-paced but more interesting instead which I did enjoy. I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for an easy and slightly different dystopian novel.

Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman      (82%)                                   
Sephy is a Cross- a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a Nought- a "colourless" member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood, but that's as far as it can go. Noughts and Crosses simply don't mix. Against a background of prejudice and mistrust, intensely highlighted by violent terrorist activity, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum- a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger. Can they possibly find a way to be together?
This book has a mountain of hype surrounding it so as you can imagine I had very high expectations. At first, I found myself quite disappointed as in the beginning it felt slow and a bit boring however as I read on it became increasingly better very quickly. It brought up interesting issues of discrimination and terrorism, how it is dealt with and how it can affect so many people. It reminded me a lot of both To Kill a Mockingbird and the Help which, as it am sure you know, are both novels about racism in the states, however it did so in a more dystopian and diverse way. Also, I thought the ending was something that you wouldn't necessarily see coming even though it was foreshadowed throughout the novel. I don't really think that the story needs to be continued as a series as I felt it would have been interesting to end it the way it had, however I will probably pick up the next one eventually as I am intrigued to see how Malorie Blackman adds to the story. Overall I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in the theme of prejudice, discrimination and racism as it addressed some very interesting issues surrounding the topic.

The Sign of Four (Sherlock Holmes #2) by Arthur Conan Doyle           (80%) 
Sherlock Holmes is sitting in a cocaine-induced haze until the arrival of a beautiful young lady, seemingly very distressed, forces him into action. Having received a rare and lustrous pearl each year following her fathers death, Miss Morstan consults Holmes and Watson on the day she is summoned to meet her anonymous benefactor.  
I am slowly aiming to make my way through the Sherlock Holmes series but as you can see I am not very far through the books. I am enjoying them a lot so far though and I like the fact that they are quite short, interesting stories which are useful when breaking up reading when moving from one intense and long book to the next. I really enjoyed the second instalment, once again full of mystery, intrigue and genius. However, I definitely enjoyed the first one more as I felt that this one was a little more slow paced and didn't quite have as much of an interesting story. I still found it a very pleasing read and definitely recommend the Sherlock Holmes series to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or likes the BBC series as it's really interesting to see how the original story and characters of the books have been adapted for the modern day situation of the tv series. 

I hope you enjoyed this wrap up. I am sorry it was so long, I didn't realise I had quite so much to say about these books. What did you read in June? Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post?
Love Ellen xxx