Monday, 29 February 2016

Action Scenes & Stalker Kings in Glass Sword

Hi Bookish People, 

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am going to be reviewing Glass Sword! This will be Non-Spoiler for Glass Sword but will include SPOILERS for Red Queen. I am also going to be writing my review titles differently above. I hope you guys like it! I also finally found out how to STOP the text highlighting so now I won't have too many mishaps hopefully! This week I will be posting a review a day aswell until Friday and on Friday I will have one of my first discussion posts up!


Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Published by Hachette Australia
Dytsopian YA
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Thanks so much to Hachette Australia for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.


Mare's blood is Red - the colour of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?


******3.5 out of 5 STARS*******

This review is going to be non-spoiler for GLASS SWORD. BUT it WILL include any spoilers for the first book, Red Queen.

The plot in this book was non-stop action. The characters rarely received downtime and were constantly fighting or exploring. I must admit to feeling a bit let down with the whole storyline. It was really simple (which you guys all know I normally like) but it was basically Mare finding all of the other newbloods and being chased by Maven. If not for the poorly written action scenes I think that maybe I could've rated this book a little higher! Unfortunately, the action scenes included in this book were too detailed and confusing and I found it really hard to focus and understand what was happening. 

What was let down in the plot was mainly made up to me in the characters. Mare definitely developed as a character. She became confident in her abilities as well as independent. Although she didn't always develop positively (she also became slightly too self centered) it was still great to have Victoria show character development and make her character more three dimensional. Mare was written as a leader but she often confused readers. For example: throughout the book, Mare is called a leader by others, yet she denies the name of the role constantly and says that is not what she is. But, when we read about Mare's thoughts and when other people doubt who's in charge, it is clear to see that she thinks she's a leader.

Mare and Cal's relationship is so refreshing in dystopian YA. They have difficulties and not everything is perfect. I'm so glad to see that Victoria has written these characters not to be perfect, and there relationship to have some difficulties.

I LIKED:
+ That the newbloods each had different powers as well as that they were different ages.
+ That Cameron (a newblood) didn't want to come with Mare unlike others.
+ The fear Mare and others share towards the end.
+The Relationships in this book are awesome.
+The paperback copy of this book feels great.
+Mare likes fish.

Thanks for reading x

Julia x

Thursday, 25 February 2016

NON-SPOILER REVIEW of NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST

Hi Picknickers,

Welcome to the Picnic and another post! Today I am reviewing Not if I See You First by Eric Lindstrom.
Not If I See You First by Eric  Lindstrom

Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Contemporary YA
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Thanks so much to Harper Collins for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.


Parker Grant doesn't need perfect vision to see right through you. That's why she created the Rules: Don't treat her any differently just because she's blind, and never take advantage. There will be no second chances. When Scott Kilpatrick, the boy who broke her heart, suddenly reappears at school, Parker knows there's only one way to react – shun him so hard it hurts. She has enough to deal with already, like trying out for the track team, handing out tough-love advice to her painfully naive classmates, and giving herself gold stars for every day she hasn't cried since her dad's death. But avoiding her past quickly proves impossible, and the more Parker learns about what really happened – both with Scott, and her dad – the more she starts to question if things are always as they seem.



*NON-SPOILER BOOK REVIEW OF NOT IF I SEE YOU FIRST*

PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY HARPER COLLINS AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOTE EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!

**** 3 out of 5 Stars****

This book is about a girl named Parker who is blind. Basically, it follows her and the difficulties she faces in day to day life and how she works with other people. Surprisingly, this book is light-hearted and easy to understand. No terms are used that some who isn't vision impaired wouldn't understand and the book doesn't get dark so that was great!

One of my favourite aspects of this book was reading from the perspective of a very independent character. Just because Parker is blind, doesn't mean that she is helpless. I felt that that was a strong message is this book. Parker is accustomed to waking up in the morning and going for a run, of which she goes on by herself and knows her way around her local oval well! Parker is also known for not accepting sympathy and when she sets her mind to something, it has to be done.

The novel doesn't get too dark although it does talk about some family issues, for example both of her parents are killed in very different but equally terrible ways, and Parker tries to deal with their birthdays and anniversaries. Unfortunately, this means that the reader doesn't get to hear about how parents treat their children who have a disability but this is just a minor issue when we can hear from her friends. The book also talks about Parker's ex-boyfriend who took advantage of Parker's disability. Although this is upsetting, this is what happens to people with this disability, and I felt that this aspect of the novel was very important.

"The Rules" that are featured in this book also highlight how to act around someone who is blind and how to treat them. Although most people would expect Parker would want sympathy, it is quite the opposite for Parker and I feel that it's important to note that even though she can't see doesn't mean that she is incapable of doing anything.

This book lacked something to build up to. It wasn't like their was something that they had to get or Parker wanted to run in a race, it was just day to day. Although there was a goal, it was brought into the book 3/4 of the way and so the majority of the book was just getting to know characters and pretty much the way around.

I talked a bit about Parker up the top, but she was also a very self-centered character. Always thinking about how to benefit herself or something was always her friends fault. This was a very irritating aspect to read from and I didn't enjoy this at all!

Parker's friends were super supportive. They didn't treat her like she was helpless. In Parker's thoughts, she didn't judge her friends by how they looked, because she couldn't see them. Some of Parker's friends were overweight or of a different background, but she told many people that she only cares about what's in the inside!

On to what made me rate this book a three. The writing style. I absolutely, oh my goodness disliked is so so so much! It didn't flow well. Conversations were so disjointed because the characters names would be said once like: Parker said and then Joe said and then it wouldn't say their names again until the end of the conversation (which would go on for a long time, which I didn't have a problem with) but then I was just like 'who said what now?' and it just ahhh I really didn't like it and it dragged the whole thing down!


Julia x

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

NON-SPOILER REVIEW of SHADOW AND BONE

Hi Picknickers,

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am going to be reviewing Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Hope you guys enjoy!
Shadow and Bone (The Grisha, #1)

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published by Hachette Australia
Dystopian YA
Thanks so much to Hachette Australia for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.

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GOODREADS HERE!

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


3.5/5 STARS!

Starting with the plot, it was well planned out. It included a lot of plot twists and the start of the book where Alina had to cross the Shadow Fold was really intriguing! I must say though I did find some of the very first chapters of the book boring and slightly slow, but when Alina is treated as a Grisha, I absolutely loved reading about the Grisha Lifestyle. The settings were really well described and easy to understand the difference between a Grisha lifestyle and one of a normal human!


Alina was a good main character. I mean, she definitely isn't a favourite of mine, and at some points her decisions made me feel really annoyed at her, but ultimately she was head-strong and wise, pretty much the perfect character to be put in this situation.


I definitely wasn't sold on Mal. He didn't seem to care all that much about Alina at all. He preferred his mates more. Plus, how could he not address the fact that Alina has a MASSIVE crush on him?! (not a spoiler is in the first few chapters!) He was so oblivious and ignorant of Alina and for that reason... DARKLING WINS for me!!!!

OH MY GOSH! THE DARKLING IS SUCH AN AWESOME CHARACTER! He is the shadows...... (NO SPOILERS HERE SORRY, READ THE BOOK!) #Darklina #AlinaWearBlack

Anway overall it was a good read! I hear the books just get better so I shall continue reading!

Julia x

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

NON-SPOILER REVIEW of PASSENGER

Hi Picknickers,

Welcome to the Picnic! Today I am going to be reviewing Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. Let's get into it!
Passenger (Passenger, #1)

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Harper Collins Australia
Fantasy YA


Thanks so much to Harper Collins for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.

BUY ME!
GOODREADS ME!


Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy. When tragedy strikes and a mysterious power tied closely to her musical abilities manifests, Etta is pulled back through time to 1776 in the midst of a fierce sea battle.
Her capture was orchestrated by the Ironwoods, the most powerful family in the Colonies. Nicholas Carter, handsome, young, prize master of a privateering ship, has been charged with retrieving and delivering her to the family - unharmed.
Etta learns her fate is entwined with an object of untold value from her past. Ironwood is desperate to secure his future, but Etta must find it first in order to return home. Embarking on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind from a mysterious traveller, the true nature of the object and Ironwood's dangerous game, could mean the end for Nicholas and Etta ...



PLEASE NOTE: THIS BOOK WAS SENT TO ME AS AN ARC BY HARPER COLLINS AUSTRALIA THIS DOES NOTE EFFECT MY OPINION ON THIS BOOK!

****4.5 out of 5 Stars****

This book was so unique! I'm going to start with the world and try and get my feelings together! The development of the world was crazy good! I really enjoyed how travellers went through passages or slits in time instead of using a time travel machine! I loved how they could alter events in time as well. Bracken also used some of the most intriguing places in the world for the passages!

As for the characters, we follow Etta & Nicholas to teens from completely different eras brought together by a passage. I absoloutley loved Etta! She was a very relatable, being a city kid and all. It was interesting learning about how isolated Etta was, being a violin prodigy, Etta's only friends where her violin instructor, Alice and her Mum, Rose. For a small piece of time you are looking into the life of a child who will become a famous musician and what they must sacrifice for success. When she is tossed through the passage for her first time, she is unaware of where she is and what is happening, much like the reader.

Nicholas is well, sarcastic and well, perfect for Etta. Whether or not they get together, you will have to read!

This was my first book of Bracken's and well I loved her writing style. It was quirky, and I haven't seen it done before. Her descriptions were so detailed and yet didn't drag on for an eternity! Every word kept me reading more! PLUS THAT ENDING!!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!!!! I NEED THE SECOND BOOK ASAP!

I rated it 4.5 our of 5 because for the first few pages or so, I didn't really understand what was happening on the ship with where they were going, the prize crew and what side was the battle etc.

My advice: READ IT!

Feel free to comment your thoughts below! Thanks for reading one of my first Goodreads Reviews!

Julia

Monday, 22 February 2016

NON-SPOILER REVIEW of ILLUMINAE

Hi Picknickers!

Welcome back! Thanks for being so patient! I have some new stuff around (social media icons and this font) so feel free to have a look around! I have really enjoyed having a few weeks off but I am now super excited to start talking books! So to start off with I thought it's about time I posted a review of Illuminae by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff! Don't worry this is completely non-spoiler! ALSO, I will be posting a review every day this week (until Friday) to make up for my time away! Thanks and let's get into it!

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Published by Allen & Unwin
Sci-fi YA
Thanks so much to Allen & Unwin for providing me with a physical review copy! Please remember that this doesn't and will not ever affect my opinion of this book.

BUY ME!
GOODREADS HERE!

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded. The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto one of the evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again!

*REVIEW OF ILLUMINAE*

4/5 Stars! Great Book towards the middle & end! Loved the format and plot twists! I found the start really slow and some of the action that played out confusing (hence the 4/5 and not 5/5)

I really enjoyed the sleuthing based plot. I loved how Kady learnt things by working around security systems and hacked into systems. It was really enjoyable how Kady understood that there was something dodgy going on and investigated using her prime skill, hacking. It's really fresh to see that there are GIRL hackers in the YA community FINALLY! The fact that the book is a compliment of different documents in one file getting sent to another person is awesome and so new! My favourite set out was the text messages. I found that the surveillance camera pieces were really boring to read, but were great to listen to on audiobook because the Officer reporting on it was Irish!

Kady is so sassy! She is confident and rock solid on the outside. She is so firm, but from the inside and hearing about her feelings we can tell that she is always a little softer on the inside. For example, as much as she denies it she cares for Ezra, and she is scared to death for her Mum! Her sarcastic and witty texts and messages made me smile, and I was so grateful that Amie and Jay created this unique and genuinely funny humour into Kady's character it definitely made the book that much more enjoyable.

Ezra is also a great character. He's a typical boy. And more. It's easy to tell how desperate he is for Kady to like him. It's adorable how much he want's Kady to be his girlfriend. He's the typical, needy, desperately in love teenage boy. The witty texts he sends to Kady are hilarious and I was definitely wanting Kady to just say YES!

Aidan was so freaky! I love how he thought he didn't and couldn't ever have feelings because he was a machine yet he betrays his captains in the blink of an eye! PLUS: I love how he was in total control of the ship e.g. he can open doors! HE'S AN AWESOME THINGAMAJIGI I DIDN'T KNOW COULD EXSIST.

I will admit I found the start of the book really boring! The only thing holding me through was a sassy Kady, formatting and graphics! The start was mainly information on what happened and it felt like it went on for ages! Then when we finally jump into the documents, I'm intrigued and the writing picks up!

Amie & Jay's writing together was really nice. The documents and texts were short, sweet and witty, my A+ combo! So yeah I loved the writing IN THE DOCUMENTS. The surviellence camera footage dragged on a bit but still great job!

Julia x