Girl With Sharp Sticks (Girls With Sharp Sticks #1)

Girls with Sharp Sticks (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Thoughts:

I really like Suzanne Young’s writing, so when I heard she had a new book coming out, I knew it was something that I really wanted to read. I’m pleased I picked it up because although I don’t think I’ll continue with the series, it was certainly a fantastic start to a series. The only reason I’m not continuing is because I don’t like committing to series at the moment with my work/life commitments. I’m not fitting in much reading at the moment, so standalones are better for me.

Girls With Sharp Sticks centres around Mena (Philomena) who attends an exclusive same sex boarding school. At this exclusive boarding school, they learn to be proper women. Hmmm… ‘proper’ women. The idea makes you cringe, right? The teaching methods are definitely ‘interesting.’ From wiped brains to keeping each student censored. It really did seem like a nightmare school to me. Eventually, Mena and her friends work out what’s actually happening at the school. They learn about themselves and who they really are. But the Innovations Academy is a very dark and dangerous place. Can they ever break free from it?

As I mentioned before, I do really like Suzanne’s writing. Right from the beginning, you know something is going wrong with these girls and you want the best for them from the very start. I was especially attached to Mena. I loved her development as a character as she found out what was really happening to her. I also loved how every girl seemed to support one another. I know this may not be realistic in a school full of hormonal girls but a group of supportive girls? Yes please!

I absolutely loved how this book was about the female characters taking charge and fighting back. Go female empowerment!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Although I enjoyed this book, I don’t think I’ll continue with the series (for time constraint reason, I may pick the series up in the future!) Worth checking out -especially if you’re into Girl Power!

Defy Me (Shatter Me #5)

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Shatter Me:

Furthermore:

Standalone:

Synopsis:

Juliette’s short tenure as the supreme commander of North America has been an utter disaster. When the children of the other world leaders show up on her doorstep, she wants nothing more than to turn to Warner for support and guidance. But he shatters her heart when he reveals that he’s been keeping secrets about her family and her identity from her—secrets that change everything.

Juliette is devastated, and the darkness that’s always dwelled within her threatens to consume her. An explosive encounter with unexpected visitors might be enough to push her over the edge.

Thoughts:

It’s so hard to review a 5th book in a series, so instead I’m going to post-it note what I liked about this instalment…

image (1)

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Another wonderful instalment from Tahereh Mafi. I didn’t know I needed more of this series!

Restore Me (Shatter Me #4) *spoilers for previous books*

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4)

How did I get it?:
It was a gift!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Shatter Me

Furthermore

Synopsis:

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander, and now has Warner by her side. But she’s still the girl with the ability to kill with a single touch—and now she’s got the whole world in the palm of her hand. When tragedy hits, who will she become? Will she be able to control the power she wields and use it for good?

Thoughts:

I was really worried when I heard that the Shatter Me series was going to get another book. I really enjoyed the trilogy and I was anxious that it might not live up to expectations. I know not everyone likes this series, but there’s something about it that really captures my attention. I find it utterly readable. Now, this review might seem a bit short and vague, but I really don’t want to ruin it for those that haven’t read it yet, so I’m going to try and keep it as brief as I can.

Restore Me picks up not long after Ignite Me. Juliette has taken over the Sector 45 and has been named the new Supreme Commander. She has Warner and needs to get her sh*t sorted out. Understandably, Juliette is struggling with the enormity of the task. There’s so much she doesn’t know and secrets are starting to be revealed. Secrets that could turn her whole life around. The world in which this story is set is pretty terrifying and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better…

I loved that we were introduced to some new characters and met up with some others from the previous books. I absolutely loved that Warner and Juliette narrated this instalment. I used to be on neither ‘team’ but over the series I’ve really come to love Warner. I’m really excited to see where this story goes.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Bring on Book 5! Not something I usually say… but I’m excited!

Banned Books #48- Brave New World

Welcome to the 48th edition of Banned Books. That’s right, today marks the 4th year anniversary of this feature. Awoohoo!

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
First published: 1932
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2010 (source)
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit.

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: First of all, I’m so, so surprised that this book was only put on the ALA Banned & Challenged Books List in 2010! Not because I believe it should be banned or challenged, not at all. But Brave New World is counted as quite the classic and is one of the oldest books we’ve read and reviewed, being published in 1932 so I’m wondering if there were so many issues with it, why wasn’t it put on the list earlier? Food for thought. Anyway, I’ve already mentioned that I love trying to figure out the reasons why a book might be problematic (for some) before looking at the reasons and I’m always, ALWAYS surprised by the reasons they end up listing. For example, in Brave New World, they worship Henry Ford (founder of the Ford car company) as their God and in one particular scene at the end, suggest that the people who worshipped Jesus/God in the past were delusional. Aha, I thought! One of the reasons for this book being challenged is that it is anti-religion! Nope. That’s not a reason.

Instead, as with many of the books we’ve looked at so far, the reasons just make me laugh. Even thinking about back in the thirties, I’m struggling to figure out how this story could have been insensitive or offend anyone with the language. Unless they’re considering the whole growing embryos in bottles thing? Or deliberately depriving said embryos of certain vital materials i.e. oxygen to make them a lower class of people? Which of course makes for horrendous reading but at the end of the day, it is just a story and if you’re particularly sensitive to that sort of thing, you just put the book down, right?

CHRISSI: I can’t believe that it wasn’t banned earlier as well. I’ve known about it forever, even though I hadn’t read it earlier.  It was always one that I had known as a controversial read. Some of the reasons do make me roll my eyes. However, I can see that this book would make people uncomfortable. I certainly felt that way with this book.

How about now?

BETH: It’s quite frightening to think that nowadays we live in such a scientifically advanced age that things like this could be possible. Aldous Huxley has chosen a controversial and insightful topic to base his novel around and the culture and world he describes is horrifying of course! Yet when you mention reasons as racism or being sexually explicit as reasons for taking it out of people’s hands, I just don’t get it. The lower classes in Brave New World are treated disgustingly and this made for quite an uncomfortable reading experience at times but I think the author is deliberately trying to push our buttons and realise what living in a world like this could be like. And with the sexual explicitness? I roll my eyes. Our female lead removes her underwear by unzipping it. Saucy! Also, the people living in this world have quite open sexual relationships with a number of partners. Okay. BUT there is no graphic mention of sexual acts at all (which counts as sexually explicit in my opinion). So just by mentioning the word “sex,” it’s too graphic? Please!

CHRISSI: I think there’s much more explicit content out there. I think Aldous Huxley was totally pushing the boundaries, especially the time in which he wrote this book. As I mentioned before, this book made me feel uncomfortable. Perhaps because, as Beth mentioned, things like this could potentially happen now. That scares me.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: Brave New World is a re-read for me and I seem to get something different out of it every time I read it. The part with the embryos and the way they are modified depending on the social class they are in is horrible and I’m always moved when I read it. This time around, I did find some parts a bit slower and hard to digest but generally, this is a fascinating classic that I think everyone should be exposed to at some point in their lives.

CHRISSI: I feel like I recommended this book because it was a book I ‘had’ to read rather than wanted to read. I felt like it was a hard, heavy-going read that didn’t grip me. I just couldn’t get excited by it. I hate not liking a classic like this but it didn’t work for me.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: It’s not for me!

 

Son (The Giver Quartet #4)

Son (The Giver Quartet, #4)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

They called her Water Claire. When she washed up on their shore, no one knew that she came from a society where emotions and colors didn’t exist. That she had become a Vessel at age thirteen. That she had carried a Product at age fourteen. That it had been stolen from her body. Claire had a son. But what became of him she never knew. What was his name? Was he even alive? She was supposed to forget him, but that was impossible. Now Claire will stop at nothing to find her child, even if it means making an unimaginable sacrifice.

Thoughts:

Another series bites the dust! I’m thrilled I finally got around to finishing The Giver Quartet. I have really enjoyed this series and think Son is one of the strongest books in the series which is great as all too often I’ve been let down by the final book in the series. This certainly isn’t the case with Son. 

This quartet is a little bit different to other series. Each book is told by a different narrator, however throughout the quartet the characters slowly weave together. It all begins to make sense. Son is certainly one of my favourites in the series. It centres around Claire, Gabe’s mother. Claire was assigned to be a birthmother at a young age. She had to carry a product. However, the birth went wrong and Claire was reassigned. She later found out she had a son and was determined to find her child.

I think the reason I enjoyed this book so much was because it gave me all The Giver emotions but from a different point of view. I loved the beginning and the end of the story when Claire came across Gabe. I didn’t so much enjoy reading about Claire’s life outside of the Community, but that’s because I wanted to read about Gabe. I wanted her to find him so badly. It made my heart hurt a little.

I feel like Son tied lots of loose ends together which I always appreciate with a series. I’d always felt like this series was a little disjointed but this book really did bring everything together. I love seeing how some journeys ended and how some relationships came together. This quartet both broke my heart and warmed it at the same time. It’s a highly enjoyable reading experience that I highly recommend!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A highly enjoyable finish to the quartet. I recommend The Giver if you’re looking for a decent dystopian read!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit- Maggot Moon

Maggot Moon

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Synopsis:

When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realises that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of The Motherland.

Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure that I’d heard of this book before Beth decided to pick it as part of our challenge. I mean Maggot Moon is a memorable title, you’d have to admit! I wasn’t sure what I was going into though when I picked up this story. I thought it was highly engaging and very easy to read. Maggot Moon has such short chapters its easy to make your way through and I believe would encourage some more reluctant readers!

Maggot Moon is a dystopian tale which follows a dyslexic protagonist Standish. Standish lives in an alternate univeerse where the Motherland has taken control of England. In this reality, surveillance and capital punishment are totally normal. It’s a horrible existence for everyone in society. Standish is singled out from his peers because of his dyslexia, vivid imagination and his one blue and one brown eye. It makes him a target for bullies and for the awful society in which he lives in. Standish lives with his grandfather as his family has been taken by the Motherland. However, there is a secret hidden below Standish’s house which could destroy the Motherland.

I loved the short chapters in this book, because they kept me utterly gripped. I went into this book thinking that it might be suitable for younger children but I don’t think it is. There are some incredibly violent moments. Maggot Moon is a well written book which I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. It’s about friendship, loyalty and being different to the rest.

For Beth’s wonderful review, check out her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit Challenge (August):
Looking for JJ- Anne Cassidy

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit- Noble Conflict

Noble Conflict

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Beth!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Noughts and Crosses
Knife Edge
Checkmate
Double Cross
Pig Heart Boy
Cloud Busting

Synopsis:

Years after a violent war destroyed much of the world, Kaspar has grown up in a society based on peace and harmony. But beyond the city walls, a vicious band of rebels are plotting to tear this peace apart. It is up to the Guardians – an elite peacekeeping force – to protect the city, without ever resorting to the brutal methods of their enemy.

When Kaspar joins the Guardians, he has a chance encounter with a rebel – a beautiful girl named Rhea. Haunted from that moment on by strange visions and memories – memories that could only belong to Rhea – he realises he hasn’t been told the truth about what the rebels really want, and what he’s really fighting for.

Thoughts:

As you can see, I’m a big fan of Malorie Blackman. I really enjoyed her Noughts and Crosses series. I loved Cloud Busting and Pig Heart Boy too. It’s safe to say that I went into Noble Conflict with very high expectations. Unfortunately, they weren’t met. I thought Noble Conflict was a decent read, but it didn’t capture my attention as much as I wanted it to.

The book starts off incredibly well. The plot, whilst a little predictable in parts is interesting enough to continue reading. I was intrigued at the start when we meet Kaspar, on the day of his graduation. Straight away the action starts and the reader wants to know more about the Guardians. The first section of the book was particularly exciting and fast-paced, but for some reason, my interest waned and I didn’t feel connected to Kaspar as much as I wanted to. In fact, I was more intrigued by Rhea, the girl that saved Kaspar’s life. I would have liked to have read more from her perspective. I think it would have added some more depth to the story and given the character a lot more life. I’m sure she had an intriguing story to tell.

That’s not to say that this book isn’t well written. It is. I liked the mysterious element to the book. It kept me questioning and interested enough to carry on reading. For me, it simply just does not stand out in the YA dystopian genre.

For Beth’s brilliant review, please check out her blog HERE. Her review will go live tomorrow I’m interested to see if a fellow Malorie Blackman fan feels the same…

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Next up in the Beth and Chrissi do kid-lit challenge (May):
The Horse and His Boy- C.S Lewis