John Dies At The End [Book Review]

A/N; I think I’m going to try to write this review slightly different, it being shorter than my usual efforts, but please let me know if you prefer the other way. There will be a post explaining why.

My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours.

You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye.

The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.

2/5 – some funny parts, but overall boring.

I was recommended this book by a university friend, she raved about how good it was, so I was expecting great things. I think that was where one of the problems lay, it just wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.

Starting with the things that I liked about this book, the humour at times was refreshing and it was genuinely funny. There were moments where the guys, John and Dave, interacted and it was hilarious and I really did laugh, sharing passages with my partner. I thought that the way that Dave told the story and his style of storytelling was what made the funny moments really pop and make the pace move.

Talking about the characters, I thought that Dave had a really weird personality, which had its good points and also its bad points. The good points being that it gave the narration an interesting twist especially with his reaction to things and John’s stories. Out of the two of them he was definitely the sensible, the one who questioned what they were doing, held down a job and still put up with John’s craziness. I felt that as a character I was really connected to him and the way that he saw things, probably because he was narrating the story. I will talk about the bad points as a collective below.

John on the other hand, I couldn’t connect to, and therefore had very few good points as a character. I thought that there was so much potential with this character that he was undersold and irritated me more than anything. I think that the only good point about John was the opportunities he gave Dave for a shoot down, and showed Dave as the better character which was appreciated.

Onto the story, I was looking forward to delving into the weirdness that was this book, and I thought that in some places it really delivered and in others not so much. In terms of the good things? In some places I was actually scared, like didn’t want to go to sleep scared, which is a massive thing. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t scare easily, but I haven’t been scared by a book since I was a child. Some of the imagery was fantastically well written and I was really impressed by these parts.

Now onto the not so good.

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Voice of Innocence [Book Review]

So begins the tale of Emma Ranstein and Corbin Jones, two typical teenagers who travel the road of first love together, hearts sealed by a seemingly impenetrable bond. When Corbin Jones is convicted of murder and faces years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, though, their love is put to the test.

3.5/5 – a good plot, and an intricate story

I was sent this book for review by the author in return for an honest review. I did enjoy this book, and I found that once I had started reading that I couldn’t put it down, which in the last couple of months hasn’t been happening.

I thought that the way the story switched between the point of view and time was well done. I was never confused as to who was talking and in which time frame we were in. It added a depth to the story, and allowed us to really get to know the ins and outs of the character’s lives. The way the character’s romance was explained and talked about was well written, and extremely relatable, which made all the painful twists and turns hit that little harder.

I thought that the twist with Corbin’s prison sentence was well done, however I thought that there wasn’t a lot to lead up to it, if that makes sense. The fact that although him and Randy had a past there was no real evidence that would convict him. But then again there might have been and that was the whole point, I just thought that the whole conviction process was a little shaky.

I did have a few problems with the writing within this book, I found that some of it was overwritten and in places there was too much description. It felt at some places that the storyline was weighed down by the writing and I was a little disappointed. There were things being described that needed to be, and then others that was unneeded and I found it hard to read through these parts. I thought that it doubted the intelligence of the reader.

I really did enjoy the progression of the story and the way that the characters grew. One thing that really surprised me was the fact that the relationship had flaws, that they weren’t completely secure within themselves. I think this is what differentiated this book from other romances I have read. There was no saintly pedestal, and even when Emma did do that, she immediately corrected herself and allowed herself to be called wrong. It was a nice change of pace and I really enjoyed that side of the story.

One thing I will say was I thought that the whole book was building up to this massive decision but then I got to the end and it was half a page. I thought that this was a wasted opportunity, and I was left hanging and wanting a little bit more from the whole experience. I had a lovely experience of meeting all the characters, and then no payoff at the end. It felt rushed and I felt a little let down. There was no real thought process about what the actual future held, it was all a little under thought, and almost as though it was being bent in a completely wrong direction.

I did really enjoy this book, because although I had problems within the writing, I thought the story was fantastic and the plot was well put together.


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Cinder [Book Review]

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

5/5 – Really nicely written retelling!

I was a little dubious going into this book because if you have read my review on Poison you will know that I absolutely hated that retelling, and I was afraid that this was going to be repeat of that experience. Thankfully it wasn’t and I found myself really enjoying it.

I thought that the characters had an interesting spin on them, I thought that there was more of a dynamic in the relationship between them, especially the family. I thought that there was so much done with the sister’s relationships and I thought that it was a refreshing change.

The plot was wonderfully done. The parts that were part of the original story were well entwined and added to the story. It was well done, without being overbearing. There was a lot more original thought that had gone into the story and the plot line.

Onto my detailed thoughts… SPOILERS AHEAD!

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Vicious [Book Review]

“Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.”

5/5 – a really well rounded book.

I loved this book, it was a wonderful read and I found it really easy to get through. It was a nice book to read after being disappointed by The Darkest Minds. I don’t know what exactly it was but this book was an all rounder for me, and had everything I wanted within this book.

The characters were well written and challenged every idea of good and bad that I had originally had laid out in my mind. My opinion of Victor and Eli was constantly changing and that really impressed me. If that wasn’t enough the secondary characters added a flair and dynamic as well. I really enjoyed learning about each and everyone of them.

One thing that made this book brilliant in my eyes was the split timeline, the way that the story was separated, almost creating a suspense all of its own. There was a mystery air about it and made the story move at a nice pace, I really enjoyed that aspect of it. It made me question the motives of the characters and what they were thinking in so much more detail.

Onto the next part of the review, please bear in mind that this part will contain spoilers.

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The Darkest Minds [Book Review]

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

 

3.5-4/5 – Good concept but there was a few things that let it down.

I really liked this book, I enjoyed the overall concept and I thought that it was a realistic outlook on what would actually happen, and therefore challenging the ‘moral’ high ground that Western countries usually take. The introduction of the camps and the way that the story arc was dealt with was really impressive, and I enjoyed the gradual leakage of information. However all the way through it was a mixed bag, some parts would be absolutely fantastic and others would let it down.

One thing I do want to focus on was there were points in this book where I was really confused, and some of the things that were said was contradictory. Especially when Ruby was talking about her powers, it seemed to switch from her using them and not knowing what they were. I was a little perplexed, which kind of ruined the overall effect for me.

The characters were well-developed and there’s a really nice dynamic to the relationships between the team. I would have liked a little more background information on the different members of the team, I thought that this was the one that was lacking in the dynamic. Especially as it made understanding the choices they make a little harder. I’m going to expand on the bad things in my step-by-step because it’ll contain spoilers.

Now onto my in-depth, step through the book thoughts.

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The Summer Garden [Book Review]

It all began when Tatiana fell in love with Alexander in war-torn Leningrad. And now their odyssey is just beginning…

4/5 – the finale of a heartbreaking finale

This book review will contain spoilers for the first and second books, so don’t read this until you have finished the others. I have to say that as much as I love this series, this book was not my favourite out of the entirety. I will be doing the massive post about all three books, but I am saving it, in case I have another slow reading month, so this, the same as the first two will be just my overall thoughts. The books are too long for a step by step.

This book had such a slow start, I was really surprised that I didn’t love it instantly. I was confused and some of it dragged a little bit. I loved seeing Tatiana and Alexander finally having the life they always dreamed of in America. I loved the way that the dynamics between the two of them change and even get worse. The fighting and the ultimatum had my heart in my throat, it really touched me, and I was so scared for the characters and the lives that they had built.

I loved the development of the characters and the way that they progressed throughout the story. Dealing with their individual pasts and the things that they have to get over. I thought the fact that Tatiana found it hard to look at the way her husband’s body looked and was to a certain extent afraid to touch him very powerful and the tension was so real. I thought that it was the perfect ending to the series in the idea that there was a struggling marriage instead of the perfection they thought they would have. It was real.

I thought that the twist with Anthony was well done and also a complete reflection of the second book, I thought that the part just after they returned from Vietnam dragged a little, and I definitely found that my knowledge in Russian history was desperately needed, and without it, I would have been drastically lost.

Overall, I loved the changes of the characters and how real that their lives were, there was no perfect life, but through all of it, their love survived it all and that was a really touching thing. It was the perfect ending to the series, and I was heartbroken and stitched back together. Now to find my next great love.

Tatiana and Alexander [Book Review]

Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.

5/5 – a brilliant sequel.

I would just like to point out that this isn’t going to be the usual setup as the book is way too long for a step by step thoughts, unless that would be something you guys would be interested in. This review will also include slight spoilers so if you haven’t read The Bronze Horseman then I would recommend you not read this review. I am reading the third and final installment of the trilogy and I am going to do an overview of all of the books, and what I thought of each of them.and whatnot, and look at it as a whole instead of separate books.

I was a massive fan of The Bronze Horseman and it was definitely one of my favourites for the year of 2014, and this book didn’t fail in living up to the expectations. I was so impressed with this book, my heart physically ached and I was actually crying at the end. It felt like a wonderful continuation of the first book and I felt as though the characters were wonderfully developed and it was a wonder to read.

I think the characters took on a whole new light and I loved the brand new look on Alexander, there was a new found sassiness and sarcasm that came out throughout the entirety of the book and I was really impressed with how the book developed. Although they were separated and Tati believes Alexander to be dead there was no real repetitive pity, and I really appreciated that. Instead of having the characters pity themselves and go on about the fact that the other was not there, but rather had memories flash up at inconvenient timing and through triggers that were just everyday life.

I really did enjoy the historical aspect of it and the insight into the cruel workings of the Russian prisons, and also the camps after the war was finished. The history is definitely one of the things that drew me into this series and keeps me coming back for more. This book was a fantastic sequel and I am enjoying The Summer Garden but I’m not sure if it is going to be quite as high up on my list.

The Night Circus

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called “Le Cirque des Reves,” and it is only open at night.

5/5 – best book to start the year on.

This is going to be a long book review because I have so much to say about this book. So as always, I will have my overall thoughts and then the longer details down at the bottom if you are really interested and want to have more of a discussion, it will obviously contain spoilers.

Overall I thought that this book was a fantastic piece of writing and the description of things was some of the best. I was really impressed all the way through. It was completely immersive and had some of the best usage of 2nd person I have seen. I was completely in love with the circus and all of the different tents and the acts that were inside of it.

The characters that are involved in the making of the circus were so intricately done, and well developed, I enjoyed all of the insight and extra details that they brought to the plotline and the circus as an overall experience. Celia and Marco were well developed and complex, there was nothing left to chance and they were all made to be magical in their own way.

The storyline and plot was fantastically done, the different times and the progression of events was natural and moved in a slow arc and allowed for a climax and a wind down. It was like taking a deep breath in and letting it go slowly, it was a relaxing read and it made me extremely happy.

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Poison Book Review

Poison is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairy tale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires.

1/5 – horrible read.

I did not enjoy this book at all, it was one of the worst if not the worst book I have read all year, and I was truly disappointed by it. I usually enjoy retellings of fairy tales, and the new perspectives that they offer, but that was one of the biggest problems with this book, there was no new perspective.

The plot was basically the same, with a few slight changes, I’m not really sure how the characters can have a modern spin when throughout the book the characters held onto medieval ideals about women and the way they should be acting. I was expecting a lot more, and I was disappointed on so many levels.

The characters, were something completely crap. I was hoping that there might be a whole new identity for each of them, maybe switching the roles, and making Snow White the evil one, etc. Nope, nothing like that, and what made it worse was the fact that the characters were actually horrifically written, there was no depth or added information, nothing that made them worthwhile.

The story dragged and with the pathetic addition of awful sex scenes I wish I’d have put this book down, but the compulsive reader in me made that impossible, and I had to see it through to the end. This was one of those things where I wish I wasn’t such a nerd and could give up on a book just as soon as I decided I hated it.

Onto the in-depth thoughts… Which are just as bad.

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The Maze Runner Series.

This was a series that I read a little while ago and I almost read them back to back and it wasn’t my favourite book series, in fact I really didn’t like it at all, I was bored all the way through and struggled to finish them. So here is my overall view of the books, it won’t be as detailed as my normal book reviews but I will try my best.

The Maze Runner

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.
When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone

This book took me forever to read, and not in a reading slump kind of way, it just seemed to go on forever and ever. It began to drag, which was a shame because I thought that the beginning was a really good start. The concept was really cool and the characters were well introduced, but as the book moved forward it became clear that the characters were faceless and it was hard to keep a track of what was happening to who and where they were.

I enjoyed the idea of the different factions and the employment that they have created and the democracy that seems to have taken place. What I didn’t like was the fact that although all the jobs are supposedly valued there are still ones that are looked down upon and unwanted, as though they mean less. This didn’t seem to be consistent with what their idea of their ideal society they were trying to create.

I thought that although this book started strong, the ending and the arc was obvious and really predictable, in fact I had already worked exactly what was going to happen at the end and how the whole thing was going to end. It was a really disappointing ending and I was left feeling as though there were too many loose ends, and I had no connection to the characters or sadness when things didn’t come right at the end. Overall it was a mess and a disappointment.

The Scorch Trials

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

I had heard that this book was better than the first, but unfortunately I had just as much trouble with this one as the other. I thought that the biggest problem was how confusing everything got, and the characters that were introduced had the same problem of being completely faceless and I felt as though I couldn’t connect to any of them. It was another problem that the girls group had been introduced and that we started to keep track of who they were which just made things a lot worse and lot more confusing.

The plot was really hard to follow and I found myself bored and struggling to keep up with what was going on and what was actually supposed to be happening. I was really confused by everything that Teresa was doing and the way that she was being painted. I was unsure of what was actually going down, and even at the end when everything was over and done with I found it exceptionally hard to figure out what was going on.

Overall I thought that once again the main problem with this book was the plotline and the lack of character development, I thought that this was a major problem. I found myself still having a problem connecting with the characters, and feeling any kind of sympathy to what was happening.

The Death Cure

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

I thought that out of all three this one made the most sense and it was the one that I had the most enjoyed, because we finally had some connection to the characters and I actually felt sad when bad things happened. I thought that the trials that they went through were a lot better than the others because it was a lot less like a conspiracy theory.

The plotline was a lot clearer and the conflict was better formed and made for a more interesting read. I really did enjoy the way that the plot moved in a clear line and was easier to understand. I liked the growth that the characters undertook throughout this novel and the way that there were hard decisions to be made and the way that they were made.

Overall, this was the best book out of the series. I thought that it was a surprising conclusion and I was impressed with how satisfied I was with it. However I don’t think that this book by any means makes up for the lack of organisation and love for the characters in the other books.

[I know this review is late, but I was hoping that I would have a new and updated review for you guys, still struggling with the reading]