Friday, July 19, 2013

31

Stacking the Shelves #2

Stacking the Shelves
Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews - it's a way for us to chat about the books we bought, borrowed, received during the month.

Book Haul

(In order)

Bought
The Farm by Emily McKay

For Review
The First Third by Will Kostakis (Thank you Penguin Australia for the finished copy at the Sydney LIVE event)

Won
Angelfall by Susan Ee from Goodreads Giveaway (Thank you Hachette Australia for the finished copy). See my review here.

Gifted (Thank you to the University of Sydney Business School awarding me a $100 Co-op Bookstore voucher!) 
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta

What books have you recently received? Comment below with your book haul links :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

8

Review: Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett

Release Date: 28/08/12
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon | The Book Depository
My Rating: 3.0 out of 5 stars
Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett
Description from Goodreads:
Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some confessions to make…

1. I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

2. I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who might be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

3. High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry—get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.)

(Sorry. That was rude.)

(This review was also posted over at Book Probe. I'm a frequent guest reviewer there so come over and say hello!)

This book has a very fitting name. It certainly made me feel so angry for the characters that it induced strong homicidal tendencies from me. I never even thought I had a violent side in the first place, so it’s an impressive feat for a book to be able to incite such a passionate response from me. If you are the type of person who has already moved on from high school and never looked back since (gosh I feel so old saying this when graduation is months away), stay as far away from this book as you can. Can’t stand high school drama or clichés? The [X] button on the top right hand corner of this window will be more appealing to you than the rest of this review. This is my final warning.

Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett is a contemporary novel about a 14 year old girl Rose Zarelli who has to deal with the loss of her father as well as the absence of her brother as he leaves for college. She also shares a strained relationship with her therapist mother and is forced to endure the tribulations of starting high school as a freshman. Needless to say, you will find a lot of teenage drama and backstabbing in this setting full of cliques, cheerleaders and parties. It’s not exactly a light-hearted read either, as the book does dwell upon various issues such as sex, alcohol, peer pressure and bullying that many young people can relate to. I thought that Rozett had good intentions in the way that these things were portrayed and I appreciate the messages that she was ultimately trying to convey.

I liked Rose as the main character. She had an engaging voice and brutally honest narration that made the story quirky and interesting to read. There was a scene with the gynaecologist that absolutely cracked me up due to the way she described it, and it was definitely one of the most hilarious things that I’ve come across in YA contemporary fiction. Since she was only 14 years old, I had to give her some slack at certain parts of the story however she was overall a very believable character. In fact I didn’t think that she had any real anger issues at all, as most of her actions seemed perfectly normal to me considering her dire situation. She was also the only character in the whole book that I didn’t want to strangle at least 10 times, so I have no major complaints about her there.

On the other hand, I found Jamie Forta to be dull and definitely not worth all the fuss about. To be honest, I’d almost forgotten his name when writing this review at 4AM and the only thing that was interesting about him was the fact that he did Remedial English. Since male love interests in YA fiction are too often portrayed as overly smart/perfect, it was refreshing to see Rose having the upper hand in academics. Thank god she did not have to tutor him, because who hasn’t seen that plot device before. The whole romance between them was a huge ‘meh’ for me although I’m glad that it didn’t dominate the story. In addition, the writing was mostly simplistic and straightforward despite Rose’s attempts to use ‘AP English’. I also found the dictionary definitions at the beginning of each chapter to be underwhelming as even my 14 year old self would have known all of those words.

[Warning: Rant ahead!]

However, the most frustrating aspect of this book was the portrayal of cheerleaders as one-dimensional, cartoony villains. They simply existed for the sake of being responsible for almost every single bad thing that happens in this story, whether it’d be downing a 15 year old girl with vodka, forcing the said girl to dance half-naked in the cold with the act filmed and uploaded to YouTube as well as countless other outrageous acts of extreme humiliation. You think Voldemort and Sauron and [insert famous villain] are evil? Heck, think again. These cheerleaders will make them look like fluffy little bunnies in comparison (I know I’m exaggerating a LOT here but considering that this is freaking contemporary fiction, I just wished that there was bit more depth to all of these characters especially when my willingness to suspend my disbelief is limited for this genre).

The cheerleaders’ group was basically made up of larger-than-life caricatures instead of 14-15 year old teenaged girls you’d expect with pom poms. From the way they spoke and behaved, I half-expected them to be trolling and instead turn out to be aliens or something. Ha, wouldn’t that be a plot twist! I’m not naive enough to believe that bullying and hazing rituals don’t exist at all in the real world. I just felt that the cheerleaders were portrayed in an extremely clichéd and superficial manner that doesn’t do justice to Rozett’s otherwise decent book. There many times where I was so angry for Rose that I had to stop reading and put my e-reader down (after resisting the temptation to chuck it at the wall, which I nearly did since it’s an old, cheap and broken thing anyway). All in all, I know that other readers may be able to better relate to this book. Coming from a student who attends an all-girls secondary school in Australia, I’ve always viewed the American high school scene from afar through movies, TV shows and of course, books. I’m quite sceptical of the extent that which they translate to real life, so my incredulous reactions here are purely based on my personal (and somewhat sheltered) experiences.

Overall, this is a relatively quick light read once you get past the frustrating high school clichés and drama. I liked the book on most part and I have already picked up the sequel. I think most readers will enjoy it for its highly entertaining storyline and likeable main character. It certainly allowed me to be emotionally invested into the plot, albeit not in a very positive way. For that, I’ll give it a solid 3 stars.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

22

Waiting On Wednesday #1: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted on Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

It's technically 12:00AM Wednesday in Australia right now which means it's time for my first WoW meme :) The book I'm waiting on Wednesday this week is

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Release Date: 18/02/14
Author Info: Website | Twitter | Facebook
Publisher: Del Rey
Buy the Book: Amazon | The Book Depository
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Description from Goodreads:
Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies... even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Excited

Words cannot describe how PUMPED UP I am for this book! February 18th 2014?! The wait is excruciating when there are so many 5 star ARC reviews popping up everywhere already. Don't believe me? Check out these awesome reviews and I dare you to tell me that you aren't excited for this book too after reading them!

*awkward silence*

Heh, thought so.

Add this to your to-read lists as Red Rising is THE dystopian book to look out for next year. I'm in love with the blurb and the cover also looks pretty damn epic. As further evidence of my anticipation, I've even pre-ordered the hardcover version (for those who don't know me, I RARELY buy hardcovers since I'm too stingy and 95% of titles printed in Australia are only in paperback form anyway).

230 days left until the release date? Yeah, it's not like I'm anxiously waiting or anything...

obsessively waiting
 

Header Graphic by Inside the Kaleidoscope