Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Last Ten Books I've Read

I don't really have a system to my reviews except I like to review books that impacted me and that I love. I usually want to shout out to the world READ THIS BOOK. I haven't really reviewed a book I didnt enjoy. mainly for three reasons:

  1. If I'm not into it, I put it down
  2. It's just too much effort to eloquently and politely explain why the book didn't work for me.
  3. It's someone's baby and I feel kind of bad to bag it out on the internet (but come and talk to me and I'll freely chat about what books I love and which ones ticked me off).

I also don't review every book I read as, ah, that would take up all my free time.

For this post I'm going to briefly let you know what I thought of the last ten books I read (which are the books I've read so far in September). Not really beautifully articulated reviews - just me chatting about them :)

Also, I am strict with my star ratings so I can save 5 stars for the best of the best - a three star from me means I liked it and enjoyed it, hey :) Links go to goodreads (for synopsis)

Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty.

I really liked this one, hey? It's older but a classic rite of passage, coming of age book. It was clever and had some lovely crush-worthy sentences and felt so teenagery. I liked it enough to plan on reading the rest of the series. 3.5 stars.

Jarvis 24 by David Metzenthen (2010 winner of CBCA)

I've read 4 of Metzenthen's earlier books which were well written but didn't necessarily resonate. Jarvis 24 though - was so brilliant. I felt so good while I was reading it. The characterisation was so good that I spent half the book being in awe and the other half grinning away at the Aussieness of Jarvis and his mates.

One of the best male POV's I've ever read (similar to Swerve by Phillip Gwyne). I think both those books have ruined other less superior male POV for me - as the standard has now been set higher. I loved every minute of this book and will be revisiting it for sure. 4.5 stars.

Loving Richard Feynman by Penny Tangey (short-listed for CBCA)

This book was refreshing and had it's own unique beat to it. Catherine (protag) reminded me a smidgen of Bindy (Jaclyn Moriarty) although the writing is not dramatic or Moriarty-esque, it is written in diary format and it's fresh and funny and heart-felt. This book will resonate with many teenagers.

 Catherine is such a cool nerd, awkward and smart and earnest. It was easy to feel that teen angst with her - reminded me of being back in school and studying and how huge exams and competitions are. This is an important and timeless book that also made me feel smart by association, haha. I flew through this one and have a fond little feeling just thinking about it now. Sigh :) Also, lovely to read a clean no swearing, no sex but totally rocking book. 4 stars.

Mistik Lake by Martha Brooks

(YA/cross-over Adult Fic, multi POV)
 A multi-generational novel that explores buried secrets and tragedies. I loved the rich prose here and the way it effortlessly flowed backwards and forwards in time. It's not a very long novel but it packed so much plot and emotion into it. It's really literary and the twists and surprises along the way are lovely. I enjoy slipping into novels like this and would read more of her work. 3.5 stars.

Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles

I loved the first book (Leaving Paradise) so I was very much looking forward to the sequel. I was so disappointed, hey. In fact, I really didn't like it to the point that it's tainted my memories of the first book and I'm not sure I will seek out another book be this author again - not that it's bad - more that it's not my kind of book.

I gave a more detailed review of me feelings about this on goodreads. However, I did love Leaving Paradise and maybe other people won't feel the same way I did about the sequel. 1.5 stars (I added half a star on goodreads b/c I felt bad for giving it just one)

Also: not a fan of the cover.

As You Wish by Jackson Pearce

I was so pleasantly surprised by this one. I got it for a light, relaxing read and therefore was not expecting something of such high quality. The writing was flawless with crisp, lovely prose. The characters were all nuanced and 3D and flawed and likeable. Pearce shows so well all their struggles and aches and feelings without ever once stepping into clich├ęd territory.

The romance was not an over the top paranormal love but a lovely tingly crush and blooming love. The world-building was flawless - it read effortlessly and likewise the pacing felt spot-on with rising stakes and an unpredictable climax. A smooth contemp with no sex, language, etc. Good times. I would have loved this as a teen. I liked it as an adult: 3.5 stars.

She's So Dead To Us by Kieran Scott

I love guilty pleasure reads in amongst award winners. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for a bludge entertaining read and this totally delivered. Actually, I feel ashamed about just how much I enjoyed this book. Which was a lot - and it was better than I thought it would be (I didn't expect much, really). Initially the characters seemed cliche - straight out of Mean Girls - but as the plot moves along - the two main characters had a lot of depth and I cared for them both.

 It was such a fun alternating male/female POV and a little bit sexy and the rising stakes and dramas made it an addictive read. Really, if you're in the mood for this kind of book - or if this kind of book is your fave genre - you will enjoy this one. 3.5 stars from me - I'm probably to ashamed to boost it to 4, being 30 and all :)

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley

Everyone I know who had read this gave it 5 stars. That still did not prepare me for how hard I would love this book.

Easily one of my favourite reads of the year. Will plan on finding words to give it it's own review - but am still so blown apart by it's brilliance that I can't articulate the beautiful review-ish sentences it deserves.

 Brilliant. Addictive. A life-long favourite.

I am so inspired and floored by this. If you're an Aussie - get yourself a copy of this asap - you will not regret it! (I found mine for $11 in Kmart! Bargain) I plan on forcing this book onto all my friends. 5 stars of crushing so hard on this.

What My Mother Doesn't know by Sonya Sones

Oh, how I love Sonya Sones. Curling up with one of her books is just such an awesome way to spend an afternoon. I love verse novels and hers are just so easy to slip into and I think anyone who is an inpsiring writer can learn a lot from reading quality verso novels like this.

The way she uses words to so powerfully and succinctly encapsulate emotions and events is just gorgeous. I adore her characters and the events in the novel and truly feel all those intense and beautiful emotions of being a teen and falling in love and daydreaming and fighting with your parents. I so recommend her and love her and re-read her often. I think my favourite of hers is What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know (5 stars). 4 stars of awesomeness.

The Dead of The Night by John Marsden

Second book in the Tomorrow Series (after Tomorrow When the War Began). Obviously, my fave series of all time, so, you know, I love these books :) Loving the re-read. 5 stars, obviously.

Last ten books I've read:

  • four are Australian
  • one is paranormal (although with a contemp vibe)
  • one is crossover YA/adult fiction
  • three are diary format
  • four are alternating male/female POV
  • one male POV
  • one in verse
  • two are male authors

Bonus: a few books I tried to read (this month) and put down:

Take Me There by Carolee Dean
After such brilliant male POV in Graffiti Moon and Jarvis 24 and Swerve, the male POV in this just falls flat for me. Also, made it 40 pages in and am still not hooked - so much back story, hey? I own this one, so I'll probably give it another go at some stage.

Anyone else read this? Thoughts?

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
Probably wasn't in the mood for this light-hearted women's fiction. It's not really my genre, to be honest, but I gave it a go as The Princess Diaries are just wonderful.

Beautiful Creatures
I just keep getting restless in this one. Will persevere, I think. I need some inspiration. i.e. someone telling me it's brilliant :)

On a side note: is this post too epic and overwhelming? I just scrolled through and it seems huge. Maybe I should have broken it up a little and made it into a few posts?

What book have you read recently that you've absolutely loved?


  1. Nice idea, to do short reviews...I'm struggling to keep reviewing stuff - getting more interested in the other aspects of books (the publishing, the covers, etc)
    check it out!
    e-Volving Books

  2. I think the post is fine. I like posts to be all in one go. This was very interesting to read!

    Okay, read recently that I absolutely loved? Well, I haven't given over 4 in a while.

    However, I'll say that I just finished The Poison Diaries (review will be out in 2 weeks), 4 stars. The beginning was very sleepy, but from halfway to the end I couldn't put it down! (only when my new puppy scratched his way into my room asking for a hug :P)

  3. Didn't feel to epic to me :-)

    The Jessica Darling books are great, especially the last one, enjoy.

    Two books I loved recently are Anna and the French Kiss and Feeling sorry for Celia. I'll definitely be adding your five star picks to my TBR list!

  4. @ Deepali - I know - it can take ages to do a well written review. I only review some books and read heaps and usually never mention them on my blog.

    @ Cass - I've seen the Poison Diaries around and am intrigued. i love how you describe the beginning as sleepy :) looking forward to your review.

    @ Alexa - I love the sound of the 5th Jessica Darling - being set in uni. looking forward to it - have ordered the second one :) Am so jealous you've read Anna and the French Kiss! Plus, how much do I love Celia?

    @ E J Thanks mate! :)

  5. Ohhhh, glad you loved Graffiti Moon!! It was definitely one of my favourite reads this year :)

    I enjoyed Beautiful Creatures - I did find that it took a while to get into though - so persevere!


    *CONTINUES to drool*

  7. post wasn't too long for me. i read the whole thing. :) i like the mini-reviews.

  8. Thanks for sharing these! I'm always on the look out for new books.

    I recently read Candor, a YA dystopian book that I really loved. I also got an ARC of The Scorch Trials by James Dashner, and it was awesome. It comes out in October and is the sequel to The Maze Runner, which I also loved.

    I'm new here, and just wanted to say, I love your blog design! It's gorgeous. :)

  9. Paper Town - John Green. <33333 (I give 5 hearts instead of 5 stars hahaa . JUst a joke. But I really loved it.)
    Love male POV. I don't know if you have already read it. You seem to read every book in the world. I wish I could do it.
    Have a nice day! =D

  10. I posted as Anonymous...I don't know what was going through my head. My name is Stephanie.

  11. Love the post and am so looking forward to reading Graffiti Moon. I am also now listening to yesterday When the War Began. When I downloaded it I was actually thinking about how much you said you liked it and decided that is good enough for me.

  12. I like this post a lot! Like you I read a ton of books but don't have the time/energy to review them all.

    The only one I've read from these is Sloppy Firsts, and I felt the same as you... I think the 2nd one is on its way to my house now.

    I just read Vampire Academy and liked it way more than I thought I would. Have you read that one?

  13. i love the way you post, it's easy to read and yet you really get a feel for the books. i think i'll use your post as a base for me holiday reading since you seemed to have loved lots of them.
    i started reading tomorrow when the war began and it's really good. really really good, but somehow it hasn't got me hooked yet, i wouldn't read it all night. i'm only half way through though and i've been reading in little bits.

    i really want to read jarvis 24, we heard about it in our library period at school, but we aren't allowed to borrow it yet and there's a waiting list. but i'll seek it out at my local library. very few teenagers go there because the librarian is scary so i should be able to get it without waiting months.

    have you ever read a book you liked so much and wanted to review, but you were scared you wouldn't do it justice?

  14. If you loved Graffiti Moon, you'll also love Beatle Meets Destiny by Gabrielle Williams and Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood - both Aussie authors, MBD shortlisted for several awards, and SIT just ount recently.

  15. @ Robyn:Oh - I adore Beatle Meets Destiny! one of my favourite books ever. It's an Aussie cult classic, IMO :) And I so want to read Six Impossible Things. I have heard so many brilliant things about it! I think I'll have to pick it up soon as I'm getting to antsy waiting for my library to get it in.

    @ Elizabeth: My library has vampire academy so I've considered checking them out. I'll have to now that they have your seal of approval.

    i should be getting my copy of second helpings this week :) yay!

    @ Anna: yes - i am such an inadequate reviewer - i find it really hard to do the brilliant books justice. hope you can get jarvis 24 soon - i really liked it :) LOL @ scary librarians! they shouldnt be allowed - all my librarians are so lovely despite my excitable kids :)

    you should track down beatle meets destiny and graffiti moon - you'll love them!

    @ Steff - thanks for the lovely comment. I love John green too :) xx

    @ Shallee: Oooh - thanks for liking my design - I have no idea what I'm doing.

    I really should read The Maze Runner - it's got a brilliant premise and I love YA dystopia - I dont think Candor is out in Australia yet? I'll have to keep an eye out. yay for getting an ARC of a sequel to a book you loved - such a great feeling

    @ Jan: i hope you enjoy tomorrow when the war began :) i first read it when I was 14 (!) and so it's a very nostalgic read for me :)

    @ Erin: Thanks mate :)

    @ Girl I B: I know. i am drowning in books.

    @ Girl Friday: I will persevere. and how good is graffiti moon! the awesomeness of aussie YA blows my mind.

  16. oooh - that last comment felt as epic as the post itself! :)

  17. :) I think this is a great idea/format. Definitely not too long, especially since the format made it easy for me to scan through and focus on the books that drew my attention.

    I also had troubles finishing Beautiful Creatures, despite the beautiful drawing. I'll probably try again in the future.

  18. this post was fairly epic and overwhelming.
    I liked it, though - I will SO be reading LOving Richard Feynman!!!!
    Sorry you didn't like Queen of Babble - it's true that it's no Princess Diaries, but I still thought it was Meg Cabot being awesome!

  19. What a cool list. I will one day try BC too :)

  20. So many good books!!!! Thanks for sharing

  21. Wow, Nomes. Ten books already in September and the month is only half way over! Many of these sound like really good reads to me. I still have a pile I have to finish up before I buy anything new, but I'll put some of these on my list. I kind of like this conglomerate of summaries. No need to go into aching detail about each of them.

  22. i really liked sloppy firsts!! i still need to read the rest of the series. i want to read the return to paradise, i'm sorry you didn't like it though :(

  23. Loved the post, nah not overwhelming! Will definitely be heading off to K-mart for a copy of Grafitti Moon

    And I LOVED BC, keep going, it does take a little while to really get caught up in it but it's so worth it!

  24. What a list. Although I think I need to track down LOVING RICHARD FEYNMAN - my hubby is an engineer and I actually read on of Feynman's books a few years back at his recommendation. How fun!

  25. Wow, you've been busy! I haven't read any of these yet, so thanks for your reviews.

  26. Great, thoughtful post. Thanks for explaining your ratings, too. That's so subjective that it's good to hear what your system is.

  27. I did not enjoy Beautiful Creatures. Gave it a bad score when I reviewed it.

  28. Yay for the Aussie books! :D

    And thank you for the congratulations!


Thanks for the commenty love :)