Uglies By Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: 8th February 2005

Blurb:

Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever. (From Goodreads, 26th February 2013)

Review:

I have wanted to read Uglies for a long time, ever since I saw the razor blade on the cover of Specials – morbid I know but was something that intrigued my – at the time – teenage mind. I never got around to reading this book until last year, a good 5 or so years since I first set eyes on it. So maybe I had set myself up to an ‘incredible read’ that wasn’t going to appear for me. Maybe because I was older when I read it also made it poor for me. I just really don’t know. But I was unimpressed.

So I have seen lots of bloggers rave about the series and it appears on many a bookshelf tour, and I’ll admit I love the idea – becoming ‘pretty’ at age 16 so everyone is equal in that department. But also as you get further into the book the more sinister the whole situation gets and that’s why I am going to en-devour to read the other three books in the series, because yes it did get better nearer the end of the book, and I hope that will continue in the next books.

After (for me) a slow start the novel does pick up pace, we begin to learn from those who have escaped the cities why they are against the operation to become pretty and their theories on why it is done.

I felt at the start the book was a bit too childish but I hope that as we get into more conspiracies and more run ins with the city authorities – which I guess is what happens in the next books – it will pick up a more adult theme to hold my interest.

Maybe this is not the dystopian series for me. Maybe it will be. Maybe years of wanting to read it have made it impossible for me to enjoy it. Maybe I’m to old now. Maybe it isn’t the genre for me.

But watch this space as the last three books in the quadrillogy – Pretties, Specials, and Extras – are on my ‘Dust of that Shelve’ list of books I need to read this year! I hope, in fact I pray I enjoy them and that this first book was just a slow start with some teething problems because I really want to love this series!!!!

Sorry but 2 out of 5.

Impulse By Ellen Hopkins

Title: Impulse

Author: Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Simon Pulse

First Published: 23rd January 2007

Blurb:

Sometimes you don’t wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act — suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun — and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other’s help, they can find their way to a better life — but only if they’re strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

Review:

I read this book a couple of years ago but I think it is a book worth highlighting and promoting on my blog as it encompasses one of my key interests – mental illness – and is also a book written in verse, only the second book I have ever read that is written in verse.

Ellen Hopkins is a fantastic author and has written many books now in the same style. She tackles the ‘hard issues’ and does not sugar coat them. I think I was initially put off by the fact the book is written in verse, but don’t let this put you off! It is different, though I think you will either ‘love it or hate it’. And I loved it, once I started I couldn’t put the book down. The short verses meant you quickly moved on and wanted to find out what happens next so you just keep reading and reading.

As you follow the stories of three teenagers you begin to learn why they are in a psychiatric facility and what has happened in their lives to lead them to attempting suicide. The stories are real and some may know people who have been through similar situations and problems. There is no sugar coating, and there is no magic cures.

I had heard a lot about Ellen Hopkins before I read this book and I guess I did enjoy it but maybe not as much as if I hadn’t heard so many ‘rave reviews’. I enjoyed her style as it was different but because the novel is written in verse sometimes I missed the increased depth and sometimes had to go back and re-read pages to make sure I understood what had happened. The book though looking big was an extremely quick read – one or two sittings if I remember correctly.

I loved the style, I loved the rawness, I loved the characters, but for some reason I feel I can only give it a 3.5 out of 5.

I would recommend the book to many people. But something is holding me back about it. I think finishing it so quickly left me a bit empty or let down, maybe wanting more? I don’t know. Maybe because it was a while ago I read this book. I really don’t know. I own ‘Crank’ By Ellen Hopkins and need to read that at some point, maybe in doing so I will see where my issue lies. But I still highly recommend due to the gritty nature of the topic and the way it is handled.

In My Mailbox 009

In my mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kirsti at The Story Siren in which bloggers can share the books they have recieved that week. Click on the images to go to the books Goodreads page, if the book is not on Goodreads it will link to Amazon.co.uk

For review from Netgalley:

Bought:


After watching the first season on E4 I decided that I should read the book! Hope it is good!

From the other half 🙂

I am so excited to get stuck into Wither, having seen a lot of posts about the trilogy recently. Just sounds really interesting! Need to read a few review books I’ve neglected recently but am itching to read it!

City of Ashes By Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Ashes

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Walker

Publication Date: 7th July 2008

Blurb:

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? (From Goodreads, 22nd February 2013)

Review:

Wow! I love this series! I must admit it is gripping me as Harry Potter once did! Different type of novel but just as exciting! I have been completely sucked in and cannot wait to move onto City of Glass (#3 in the Mortal Instruments Series). I don’t want to give too much away as it would give away what happens in City of Bones (#1 in the Mortal Instruments Series) but I loved it!

We begin to learn more about all the characters, more histories and more shocks of powers and actions and the messed up politics of the clave, past demons, past relations. But we get even more entangled in new mysteries and doubts and a thirst for more answers. This is what is good about this series, it keeps building up and leaving you wanting more – so in some ways I am glad that I waited to start this series now when I can just go onto the next book as I finish each one!

Action packed and twisting and turning. Grab this series and get reading if you haven’t already!!!

4.5 or possibly 5 out of 5!!

If I Stay By Gale Forman

Title: If I Stay

Author: Gale Forman

Publisher: Black Swan

Publication Date: January 1st 2009

Blurb:

Life can change in an instant.

A cold February morning . . . a snowy road . . . and suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone. Except one.

As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all. (From Goodreads, 17th February 2013)

Review:

If I Stay is a book that caught my eyes a few years ago but I never got around to getting it. Now I have it I am glad I did and glad I picked it up to read so soon after buying it!

Mia’s life is about to change dramatically. When a snow day is called – despite the very little snow – her parents and younger brother decide to go and visit some friends. But Mia is suddenly standing at the side of the road. Music still playing but interrupted by distant sirens.

Mia has now got a decision to make. Her body is being taken care of by doctors and nurses. Her family and friends crowed the waiting rooms. But Mia has lost so much. Should she live or die? Only she can decide.

This is a fantastic novel that shows the difficulty in making such a decision. It deals with an issue for young adults in a delicate and realistic way. Understanding and different to many other books out there. Dealing with death in a sophisticated way.

A book that will make you cry, laugh and anxiously wait to find out what Mia chooses.

4 out of 5

Somebody Else’s Kids By Torey Hayden

Title: Somebody Else’s Kids

Author: Torey Hayden

Publisher: Harper Element

UK Publication Date: First Published 1981

Blurb:

“Were all just somebody else’s kids…”

A small seven-year-old boy who couldn’t speak except to repeat weather forecasts and other people’s words…A beautiful little girl of seven who had been brain damaged by terrible parental beatings and was so ashamed because she couldn’t learn to read…A violently angry ten-year-old who had seen his stepmother murder his father and had been sent from one foster home to another …A shy twelve-year-old from a Catholic school which put her out when she became pregnant…

“What do we matter?”
“Why do you care?”

They were four problem children-put in Torey Hayden’s class because no one else knew what to do with them. Together, with the help of a remarkable teacher who cared too much to ever give up, they became almost a family, able to give each other the love and understanding they had found nowhere else. (From Goodreads, 17th February 2013)

Review:

I have read several Torey Hayden books and have enjoyed them all! In this story we meet several children all with their unique problems. You learn to love them and frantically go through the pages to see what happens next. One of the things though is you don’t always know what happens. Torey was a real teacher, the children real. And after the year is over life goes on and her class moves on too. These novels are filled with heart and understanding. You will be touched by them and once you have read one of Torey’s novels you will be hungry for more.

An author I highly recommend. And this book is yet another fantastic novel. Invest in Torey Hayden!

4 out of 5!

Ant Then I Thought I Was a Fish By Peter Welsh

Title: And Then I Thought I Was a Fish

Author: Peter Welsh

Publisher: Self Published

UK Publication Date: 1st January 2013

Blurb:

PATIENT NAME: Peter Hunt Welch SEX: M ADMIT DATE: 10/18/2000 DOB: 02/28/1980 HISTORY OF PRESENTING ILLNESS: The patient was a fairly poor historian, appearing unable to provide a coherent description of the events preceding his current hospitalization. In a rather vague and disorganized manner, he acknowledged the presence of persecutory concerns. He reported unusual experiences like having seen the earth and the bottom of the sea. In the emergency room, he reported concerns that he might have killed a buddy of his and that he could take a friend’s soul from his body. He also reported his ability to be in contact with God. Initially he denied any alcohol or drug use. Later on, he admitted having had LSD on several occasions. He described his trips as traveling the world and touching things. He also acknowledged the use of heroin, crack cocaine, mushrooms, ecstasy, and speed, but he was not able to provide more details. THIS REPORT IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL. Redisclosure is prohibited by law. NOTE: This information has been disclosed to you from records whose confidentiality is protected by federal law. Federal regulations (42CFR part 2) prohibit you from making any further disclosure of it without the specific written consent of the person to whom it pertains, or as otherwise permitted by such regulations. A general authorization for the release of medical or other information is NOT sufficient for this purpose. PERMISSION REQUEST: I would like to ask myself if it’s okay to put my medical records in a book to entertain total strangers. I need explicit permission. PERMISSION APPROVAL: Because of our tautological relationship, I hereby explicitly grant myself the right to publish this information in whatever form I please. (From Amazon.co.uk, 13th February 2013)
Review:
Okay, so I got this book after seeing it was a Kindle Freebie for a day or so and with my interest in mental health was interested to see this authors take on his experience. Unlike many of the books I have read about mental illness the author has only had one instance of serious mental illness, compared to the recurring problems many people are faced with. Ultimately he has concluded that his illness was to do with the drugs he took at the time and his lifestyle which tipped him over the edge.
This is a well written book, which captures the bizarre adventure Peter takes and his view of the experience compared to what nurses or doctors wrote while his was in a psychiatric ward. It shows the destruction drugs can cause without being a book to chastise those who take them on a recreational basis. Linked in with his experience there is some academic background to why he may have responded the way he did, but sometimes I felt these were given as far too clear cut and established then they are in reality.
I think the important thing I got from this novel is that it is an honest retelling of an experience which influence the authors life and is one which is worth reading. After the main text is other peoples stories, I did not go on to read these, but will return to them at a later date. They give response of others to the authors experience, questions the author has been asked via his website and their opinions.
An interesting read and one which I think many of those who dabbled in drugs would find interesting, or those with an interest in mental health.
3.5 out of 5

The City of Bones By Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Bones

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Walker Books Ltd

UK Publication Date: 2nd July 2007

Blurb:

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . . (From Goodreads, 13th February 2013)

Review:

This is the first book in The Mortal Instruments Series and I am so glad I have invested in the first four books when I saw them. I am kicking myself for not picking them up sooner! One thing that put me off slightly was the fact the cover I got has a quote from Stephenie Meyer. I read the Twilight Saga, I liked the story but there was just a bit to must relationship stuff for me! But I’m glad I didn’t let that put me off!

The novel has twists and turns all the time, you are unsure who to trust, and when you finally decide to trust them something happens and you are unsure again! There is a lot of layers and unanswered questions which I hope the following books bring more light too.

Clary is brought into a world that she is unaware off and soon becomes entwined. There is fights, history of wrong doings and return of a powerful Shadowhunter whom Clary is learning is no good. Vampires, warewolves, warlocks, demons, there is everything. Along with the action there is past stories, love, affection, families, secrets, deception, trust. A series which has begun well and I look forward to getting deeper into.

Also is you haven’t started this series and are a bit slow of the mark like me, my advice is get it! The film adaptation is coming out in August 2013 (UK) so get reading before then!

4.5 out of 5

In My Mailbox 008

In My Mailbox is a weekly Meme hosted by The Story Siren in which bloggers can share the books the have acquired over the past week. (Images link to Goodreads)

After my rather big haul last week I have just one book to show you all.

Description:

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Mila 2.0 is Debra Driza’s bold debut and the first book in a Bourne Identity–style trilogy that combines heart-pounding action with a riveting exploration of what it really means to be human. Fans of I Am Number Four will love Mila for who she is and what she longs to be—and a cliffhanger ending will leave them breathlessly awaiting the sequel. (From Goodreads, 11th February 2013)

What did you get this week?

Loss By Jackie Morse Kessler

Title: Loss

Author: Jackie Morse Kessler

Publisher: Harcourt Graphia

UK Publication Date: 20th March 2012

Blurb:

Fifteen-year-old Billy Ballard is the kid that everyone picks on, from the school bullies to the teachers. But things change drastically when Death tells Billy he must stand in as Pestilence, the White Rider of the Apocalypse. Now armed with a Bow that allows him to strike with disease from a distance, Billy lashes out at his tormentors…and accidentally causes an outbreak of meningitis. Horrified by his actions, Billy begs Death to take back the Bow. For that to happen, says Death, Billy must track down the real White Rider—who is lost in his memories.

In his search, Billy travels through White Rider’s life: from ancient Phrygia, where the man called King Mita agrees to wear the White Rider’s Crown, to Sherwood Forest, where Pestilence figures out how to cheat Death; from the docks of Alexandria, where cartons of infested grain are being packed onto a ship that will carry the plague, to the Children’s Crusade in France—all the way to what may be the end of the world. When Billy finally finds the White Rider, the teen convinces the man to return to the real world.

But now the insane White Rider plans to unleash something awful on humanity—something that could make the Black Death look like a summer cold. Billy has a choice: he can live his life and pretend he doesn’t know what’s coming, or he can challenge the White Rider for his Crown. Does one bullied teenager have the strength to stand his ground—and the courage to save the world? (From Goodreads, 8th February 2013)

Review:

The third book in Jackie Morse Kessler’s Horsemen of the Apocalypse is slightly different from the first two. Billy has not been chosen by death to become Pestilence but was tricked by the previous Pestilence when Billy was only a child. Pestilence is not dead however but hiding in his past, comatose, and thus unable to do the job he accepted a long time ago. Billy does not want to be Pestilence, but to escape the job he must bring the previous Pestilence back.

Billy enters the memories of Pestilence to find where he is hiding, he must learn about the life Pestilence that has lead, and why he is shirking his duties.

Through this journey Billy begins to understand his life and understand that of the ‘man’ whom has been in his nightmares for years.

This is a fantastic novel with has an amazing journey through the past, madness, illness and all manners of other topics/themes.

I give this novel a 5 out of 5. Fantastic! I cannot wait until Breath comes out!