Thursday, 24 July 2014

Ender's Game - Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet #1)
By Orson Scott Card
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: January 1985
Publisher: Starscape Books
Pages: 324
ISBN: 0765342294

Once Again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a front assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens.
But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. In simulated war games he excels. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game.
Right? (Goodreads)
 *4.5 stars

I loved this book! Unfortunately I went to see the movie before I read the book and I REALLY wish I hadn't, because the major twist at the end was not a surprise to me, and what a twist it is, I mean, I can imagine reading it and being like WOW! This is a very fast paced and interesting book. The idea of leaving the fate of the world up to children is crazy but it worked so well for the story. Ender was in a constant struggle with himself and I really felt for him in everything he was made to do. Ender never wanted to hurt anyone, but sometimes he just had to, it was very interesting getting a glimpse inside of this mind, such complex thoughts for such a young boy.

I definitely recommend this book, and I urge you to read the book before you watch the movie (both are great) because you will enjoy the book so much more in that order!!

4.5/5 Albi Cats!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

Delirium (#1)
By Lauren Oliver
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: August 2nd 2011
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 441
ISBN: 0062112430

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe.
I wonder whether the procedure will hurt.
I want to get it over with.
It’s hard to be patient.
It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet.
Still, I worry.
They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness.
The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t. (Goodreads)
 *3.5 stars

I quite enjoyed this book! While it wasn't my favourite dystopian, I still found it different and very interesting. The overall premise of the story is very farfetched but at the same time really makes you think about what a world without love would really be like and how scary that it. It also makes you think about what love does to us, and how from the outside looking in it could seem like a mental illness! I thought this book had a lot of passion and action, which I really enjoyed. However, at times I also found myself slightly annoyed with the story and Lena (the main character), she was at times a bit overly dramatic. It did make me think though of how sometimes high school students fall in love so deeply and surely without any regard for consequences and sometimes without any regard to reality, I mean, we've all been there! Right?....At least I think most of us have! I also hated her Aunt, but I think we were meant to dislike her. The love interest was alright, he wasn't anyone I would drool over, but he was nice and the romance was sweet. 

I overall really did like this book and I'm looking forward to finishing up the series!

What went through my mind when Lena met Alex..... haha I knew she was doomed!
3.5/5 Albi Cats

Under-Hyped Books Readathon - Giveaway!

What is the Under-Hyped Books Readathon?

So this readathon is for anyone who wants to promote under-hyped books, books you think are worth the buzz but just aren't getting the attention they deserve!
Under-Hyped Readathon on Goodreads

What you can win:
Jamie's Picks
The World to Come - Dara Horn
Beach Colors - Shelley Noble
Catch a Falling Star - Kim Culbertson

Jeff's Picks
Amped - Daniel H. Wilson
Child Thief - Brom
An Idiot Abroad - Karl Pilkington

Giveaway Rules:
1. Must be a subscriber to our Youtube channel - Ermahgerd Berks!
2. If you are under the age of 18, you must have parental permission
3. Open Internationally! 

Good Luck everyone!!!

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1) - Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Darkest Materials #1)
By Philip Pullman
Reviewed by Jeff
Published: January 1st 1995
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Pages: 409
ISBN: 0679879242

Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved. (Goodreads)
 I feel like I just read two different books. My first attempt at reading this book was almost a year ago, and I think I made it 60 pages before having to stop. The first half of this book is excruciatingly boring. Too much banter over stuff that really doesn't need to be so focused on. The second half was much better but overall the book still lacked something for me. I like the concept, but the concepts are not explained in earnest. The daemons are a really neat and potentially intoxicating development, but Pullman never really focuses on them until briefly at the end. Granted this is a trilogy and one can expect the first in the series to be bland, but this was too bland. There were some definite plot holes, like why Lyra doesn't use the altheiometer to determine exactly what lord astriel is up to, (however would make the whole book pointless.) among other events where a simple question to the device would have saved loads of time and chapter writing. Anyway long story short, it is an ok read.... An ok world build with mediocre characters. Will finish the series out of due diligence so hoping it gets better from here!

3/5 Carls

Saturday, 19 July 2014

The Funny Thing Is... - Ellen Degeneres

The Funny Thing Is...
By Ellen Degeneres
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: October 1st 2004
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 192
ISBN: 0743247639

Ellen DeGeneres published her first book of comic essays, the #1 bestselling My Point...And I Do Have One, way back in 1996. Not one to rest on her laurels, the witty star of stage and screen has since dedicated her life to writing a hilarious new book. That book is this book. 
After years of painstaking, round-the-clock research, surviving on a mere twenty minutes of sleep a night, and collaborating with lexicographers, plumbers, and mathematicians, DeGeneres has crafted a work that is both easy to use and very funny. Along with her trademark ramblings, The Funny Thing Is... contains hundreds of succinct insights into her psyche and offers innovative features including: 

More than 50,000 simple, short words arranged in sentences that form paragraphs.
Thousands of observations on everyday life -- from terrible fashion trends to how to handle seating arrangements for a Sunday brunch with Paula Abdul, Diane Sawyer, and Eminem.
All twenty-six letters of the alphabet.

Sure to make you laugh, The Funny Thing Is... is an indispensable reference for anyone who knows how to read or wants to fool people into thinking they do. (Goodreads)

This is a really enjoyable quick read! It didn't quite live up to what I thought it would, in comparison to Seriously I'm Kidding by Ellen it just wasn't as funny and captivating. That being said this is still a great little read! It definitely had its laugh out loud moments and I recognized some bits from Ellen's stand up from back in the day, which was awesome! I wish I would have listened to it on audiobook, I think it would have made the experience better!

I just LOVE Ellen :)
3.5/5 Albi Cats

Maus: My Father Bleeds History (#1) - Art Spiegelman

Maus 1: My Father Bleeds History (#1)
By Art Spiegelman
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: November 1st 1991
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 160
ISBN: 0394541553

A story of a Jewish survivor of Hitler's Europe and his son, a cartoonist who tries to come to terms with his father's story and history itself. (Goodreads)

 This graphic novel was amazing. Such a tragic story. It was so captivating and heart wrenching that I just couldn't put it down. Stories of the Holocaust are always so difficult and emotional and I thought this was done so beautifully. I HIGHLY recommend this graphic novel, its my new favourite.

This graphic novel will make you feel so many emotions
5/5 Albi Cats

Opal (Lux #3) - Jennifer L. Armentrout

Opal (Lux #3)
By Jennifer L. Armentrout
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: December 11th 2012 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 382
ISBN: 1620610094

No one is like Daemon Black.

When he set out to prove his feelings for me, he wasn’t fooling around. Doubting him isn’t something I’ll do again, and now that we’ve made it through the rough patches, well... There’s a lot of spontaneous combustion going on.

But even he can’t protect his family from the danger of trying to free those they love.

After everything, I’m no longer the same Katy. I’m different... And I’m not sure what that will mean in the end. When each step we take in discovering the truth puts us in the path of the secret organization responsible for torturing and testing hybrids, the more I realize there is no end to what I’m capable of. The death of someone close still lingers, help comes from the most unlikely source, and friends will become the deadliest of enemies, but we won’t turn back. Even if the outcome will shatter our worlds forever.

Together we’re stronger... and they know it. (Goodreads)
 Another great addition to the Lux series! 

Theres not much I can say without spoiling anyone on everything because the majority of things that happened in this book are spoilers! All I can say is... THAT ENDING.... what?!?! I knew something crazy was going to happen but I really didn't see that coming at all! My only issue with this book is the same I had with the last book and that is that I find they can be a bit repetitive at times. Overall though these are really entertaining reads!

Seriously though... that ending

4/5 Albi Cats

Pathfinder - Orson Scott Card

By Orson Scott Card
Reviewed by Jeff
Published: November 23rd 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 657
ISBN: 141699176X

A powerful secret. A dangerous path.
Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg's strange talent for seeing the paths of people's pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him--secrets about Rigg's own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.
Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent…or forfeit control of his destiny. (Goodreads)
 When you spend the entire novel trying to explain exactly how your time traveling philosophy works, you are doomed for mediocrity. I seriously in no way enjoyed this book. I did not connect with any of the characters, and the plot was influenced by the multitude of explaining Card had to do, in order to make sense of his theory. The potential of this book is easily a five, but there is just way too much explaining. Granted that there is a second book out, and if this first book merely exists in order to explain and develop for the second then so be it. I struggle through the entirety of this, again I felt like every chapter was devoted to the characters having a lengthy discussion on how exactly they can and do manipulate time. The premise is there and was exciting, but when 600 pages in you are still trying to deduce the exact idea behind your time travel theory, you might want to move on. I feel like book two will be much better, but I really did not connect with this novel on any level. 
2/5 Carls

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Confessions of a Shopaholic - Sophie Kinsella

Confessions of a Shopaholic (#1)
By Sophie Kinsella
Reviewed by Jamie
Published: March 3rd 1999
Publisher: Dial Press
Pages: 312
ISBN: 0385335482

Meet Rebecca Bloomwood.

She’s a journalist. She spends her working life telling others how to manage their money.
She spends her leisure time … shopping.

Retail therapy is the answer to all her problems. She knows she should stop, but she can’t. She tries Cutting Back, she tries Making More Money. But neither seems to work. The stories she concocts become more and more fantastic as she tries to untangle her increasingly dire financial difficulties. Her only comfort is to buy herself something – just a little something…

Can Becky ever escape from this dream world, find true love, and regain the use of her Switch card? (Goodreads)
 Another great book by Sophie Kinsella! I swear her writing style is so entertaining and her characters are so hilariously flawed that you just can't help but smile while you read her books!

I have to admit, there were moments in this book where I was seeing a lot of myself in Rebecca Bloomwood! I am a bit of a shopaholic myself and this actually made me take a step back and think.. wow, I do this too, and its not good!! As I said before, Rebecca is clearly a flawed character and there were moments in this book where you will find yourself saying "WHAT ARE YOU DOING???" ha but its all in good fun! I LOVED Luke Brandon and the chemistry between the two was awesome. I actually loved every character in this book, her parents and her parents friends were some of my favourites!

If you haven't picked up this series yet, or anything by Sophie Kinsella, I highly recommend you do! Her books are great for a laugh!

I feel the same way sometimes

However at times I found myself saying this about Rebecca

4/5 Albi Cats