Friday, 30 May 2014

REV Girl - Leigh Hutton

Plot: 

Clover Kassidy has been moved from a comfortable life to a new, hostile place. She is constantly picked on at school and seems to fail to live up to her parents expectations. Her dream of becoming a professional dirt bike racer goes full steam ahead until her social life surprisingly picks up. Clover finds herself a new best friend and even boyfriend, but the pressure to balance the two becomes too much.

Clover must stand up against those who doubt her and determine which path she really wants to travel on.

(Read here for more of a synopsis)

Review:

When I first heard about the plot of REV Girl, I was very intrigued as to how Hutton would play out the story. By having a female character competing in a predominately male sport, already Hutton has set her novel apart from others. After finishing it, I realised I had never read anything like it before.

The one thing I loved the most from the book was the meaning behind the story. REV Girl was very much a coming of age story, conveying the pressures of being a teenager. Yet, it also covered the issues of being a girl and, more so, being comfortable with who you are and what you do. I immediately liked that Clover was highly involved in dirt bike racing and she continued to do so despite what people said. It didn't matter that she was a female or that she wasn't the best at it, what mattered was the effort she put into it. Even when she had to make a choice between her aspiring career and the seemingly most important parts of her social life, she knew what she wanted more. A strong emphasis to this is right at the end and what Clover delivers spoke volumes. You don't have to bend to other people's will, especially if the reason is because "but you're a girl".

I'm not sure I connected that well with the actual characters or story line though. Hutton writes well, especially considering this is her debut novel. There weren't any awkward phrases or incorrect grammar. In fact I flew right through the novel and finished it in a day. I was caught up with the pace of the story - Clover's decisions and how far she would go. Yet, at the end I still had a number of questions and concerns that were not addressed. REV Girl is the first in a series (The Go Girls Chronicles) though, so I could hope to see some of it being resolved in the next addition.

The relationship developments were positive with some, and a little confusing with others. I loved that Clover bonded with her father, Ernie, the most just because it does reflect the relationship between my dad and I. Other than that, nothing really stuck out.

I would probably say only Clover shone as a character. She definitely grew up and learnt to deal with most of her demons, which made me glad I rode that journey with her. I liked some of the supporting characters, especially the other riders she meets in her races. Yet, not many of them were present for the entire novel - some even disappeared, although in Hutton's defence they weren't really necessary for plot development.

REV Girl is a short read and with such a fast pace, it does feel a little rushed and abrupt sometimes. Except in the end, it doesn't draw away from the lasting impression. I enjoyed the read, especially with the character being such a strong willed and passionate female. I actually have major respects for Hutton for producing such an unconventional character despite the target audience being Young Adults. She may have concerns about dirt bike racing, which readers might not relate to, but Clover is still a teenager and growing up is such a big thing in life that I could definitely see parts of myself in her.

Check out Leigh's website (here), where you'll be able to purchase copies of REV Girl as well.

Rating: 4/5

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Sunday, 25 May 2014

[Book Launch] REV Girl - Leigh Hutton

REV-GIRL-Blog-Graphic-1A couple of weeks back I was contacted by the lovely Leigh Hutton asking if I wanted to be part of her Blog Tour for her debut novel REV Girl.

After reading the synopsis and finding out that she is Australian, I said yes! It's baffling how I'm
such a small time blogger yet, I was even considered to do this. Still, I'm excited that I've been given this opportunity.

I can now announce that copies of Rev Girl are now available to purchase. The story follows a female protagonist, Clover, who has moved to a different place but is struggling to fit in. She's trying to balance her new life with her dream of becoming a professional dirt bike racer. Yep, that's right - this girl is actually awesome. What I take is that this is a coming of age novel, where Clover is trying to live up to expectations whilst struggling to be who she is. I'm very intrigued to get started because I've never read a story from a female who's so involved in a predominately male sport/occupation. It's really empowering. Rev Girl is also being pitched as inspired by a true story. For a more thorough synopsis visit Leigh's site --> here

This is the first in a series called The Go Girls Chronicles, where each female protagonist is
involved in an adventurous activity.

If you guys are interested in purchasing Rev Girl it is available in e-book (here) and physical form (here). A portion of the purchase is donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation as well!

Keep an eye out for my review, which should be up on the 29th of May. In the meantime check out the other blogs in the Blog Tour (dates in side picture)!


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Friday, 23 May 2014

[Film] The Fault in Our Stars Review

Plot:

Hazel Grace has lived most of her life with terminal cancer. She doesn't partake in normal teenage activities because she knows she is anything but. Yet, when her parents advise her to attend a Cancer Kid Support Group she meets Augustus Waters and life seems to right itself again.

Their relationship blossoms into something that neither could expect.

Review:

Ok, so the movie comes out in a week (I think?) and finally I have managed to do a review for it. I'm not sure it'll do the movie justice but just know that it is a must see!



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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Bout of Books 10.0 Readathon Wrap Up!

 

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Okay, so I'm taking the lazy way out but I have no time at all to film. Therefore, I'm doing a write-up version of my wrap up.

So Bout of Books 10.0 lasted for a week, running from 12th May to 18th May. I had 4 books in mind that I wanted to tackle, 2 being repeats of my #AYearAThon Readathon that I never managed to get to.

(WATCH HERE FOR MY WRAP-UP OF THAT AND MY BOUT OF BOOKS 10.0 TBR)

I can now tell you guys that I did a terrible job for this readathon. I should be disappointed but I have been so caught up with university and work, I guess that's a good enough reason.

Day #1: I started and got 100 pages into Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J Maas. I was suppose to read this for the #AYearAThon but didn't, so it was first on my list.

Day #2: I don't quite remember my page count for this day, but I do remember being almost at the end of Throne of Glass.

Day #3: Managed to finish off, finally. It took me awhile to read for some reason. I did a mini thought review on Goodreads (here), but will try and do a full review soon!

Day #4: I started The Summer I Turned Pretty (Summer #1) by Jenny Han despite actually planning to read the second book to the Throne of Glass series. I felt like I needed something light to push my number of pages up. Also, Regan of PeruseProject absolutely raved about it!

Day #5: Finished off The Summer I Turned Pretty which was quite enjoyable (again Goodreads mini review here), but I wasn't wowed by it.

Day #6: Read bits and pieces from the other two books I wanted to read. I started Bad Kitty by Michele Jaffe, but jumped back to Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas. I worked in the morning and was out during the day so I barely managed to get anything done though.

Day #7: I decided to stay with Bad Kitty for awhile because it's humour grew on me, but picked up The Legacy by Katherine Webb. I started that 2 weeks ago and decided I felt like I reading something a little more thought provoking.

Overall:

I ended up finishing 2 books, page counts: 404 + 276 = 680 pages. Then I read bits and pieces of other novels, page counts: 43 + 23 + 30 = 96 pages.

Total: 776 pages. Not too bad of an effort, but I definitely could've done better.

If you took part leave a comment down below telling me how you faired! You probably did better than me.

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Thursday, 15 May 2014

Revived - Cat Patrick

Plot:

Daisy Appleby has lived 5 different lives. Each time she has to change her last name and move to a new city. That's because Daisy is part of a scientific experiment, classified "Revived". Daisy and 10 other participants were found dead in a bus crash, before being injected with the drug Revive. Now they are monitored by scientists and lead quiet lives, hiding their secret.

After her last "death" Daisy moves to a new city and finds herself bonding with Audrey and Matt.  For the first time she's made best friends, but guilt gnaws continues to gnaw at her as their relationship grows closer. Instead, Daisy has to choose whether to stick to her usual routine or live a normal teenage life.

Review:

I was very much a fan of Cat Patrick's previous novel, Forgotten, so I decided to pick this up and hope she would entertain me again. Patrick has great ideas behind her stories and they pose as very unique as well. Revived does have an interesting premise, but it fell a little flat compared to my expectations.

I think the main issue that Patrick tried to cram too much into it such a short novel. I was left feeling a little unsatisfied because it missed the mark with most things. I had a lot of trouble connecting with the characters, even Daisy. I think a lot of it was to do with the fact that whilst I was reading through Daisy's perspective, I didn't really spend a lot of "time" with her. I didn't get much of a backstory besides the bus crash, so already she seemed a little 2D. Her best friend Audrey had a bit more character and her personality was admirable. Except she seemed like more of a vehicle to drive a certain message for the novel.

There was very little relationship development between Matt and Daisy as well. A lot relied on me having to believe Matt really did like her, because it was basically insta-love. They hung out a couple of times and it felt "right". Matt as a character was cute, he was the typical male character who was good looking, smart and caring. You can't help but not like him. Yet, while I was reading, I actually thought they were a lot older than their own age. Daisy is only 15 but her and Matt's "love" sounded really intense for a high school romance. I only took Daisy's affections as a crush, so I was little confused.

What I did like though, was the questions raised about humanity. I thought the story did great in conveying the negative side to certain privileges and power abuse. It really made me think in terms of who has rights and who calls the shots. More importantly, it places emphasis on acknowledging what is wrong and working towards fixing that - even if it is just one individual at first.

Revived was by no means an exceptional story. It fell flat at some points but it wasn't as forgettable as I thought it would be (I read this last month!). Patrick's writing makes it a lot more bearable, because she can create right tensions and some plot twists. Check it out for yourself?

Rating: 3/5


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Sunday, 4 May 2014

APRIL WRAP UP

This month went by so fast that I had trouble remembering what I had read!

I didn't do anything special this month besides going to a book event hosted by Penguin Teen Australia. It was definitely a fun night, spent with mutual Young Adult lovers!



No book haul for this month because of how little I acquired. Wait until May though, that will be massive.

Instead, here's a TAG video that I really enjoyed doing. Seriously, my team is so ace (but really).



Yet again, 11 books were read this month. See them down below and links to reviews. I've actually been on top of reviews this month, which is great!



Reviews:

Uglies Series - Scott Westefield

Mystic City - Theo Lawrence

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek - Maya Van Waganen

Side Effects May Vary - Julie Murphy

Vampire Academy: The Movie

Cheers for a great month yet again!

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Friday, 2 May 2014

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek - Maya Van Wagenen

Plot: 

Maya finds herself sitting at the lowest tier of her high school's hierarchy. She's never been popular but a run in with a 1950s "Guide to Popularity" by Betty Cornell, Maya decides to change herself. Treating it as a social experiment, Maya decides to follow the rules laid out in each chapter every month.

The outcome is surprising to everyone, especially Maya.

Review:

When I first saw Popular I was very unsure how to approach it. On the hand, it looked like it would be a fun and easy read, and on the other I felt like it could bore me. Still, I headed to Goodreads to check up on some reviews and was pleasantly surprised to see very high ratings for it. Feeling a little positive I decided to go for it. I guess I was proved wrong. Well for some parts anyways.

Popular is written by the lovely Maya Van Wagenen, who is also the main character in this memoir. She is only 15. That's right, 15. Knowing that, I didn't expect to be blown away by the writing, but I loved that it was easy to read and very heartfelt. I think being a memoir, Maya was able to convey much of her emotions through her writing and I could feel her reaching out to me. A lot of it was very humourous as well, with bits clearly sounding like it's from a 15 year old, but had me giggling. Especially when her class had to do Sex Ed.

Another thing that I liked was how relatable this story is. Although I wasn't much of a "geek" in high school there were still moments when I felt like I was probably one of the lowest ranked people in school. Maya represents the entire community of socially awkward and unaccepted people. Kids who have their own way of thinking, are probably a bit more mature, but find themselves constantly being picked up by the "popular" kids. Being able to make that connection right from the beginning really  helped me ease into the story. It's actually nice to be able to read something that reminds me of my past, something that I can reflect on.

Maya is a very strong female character. Her perseverance and intelligence is really awe-inspiring. It goes to show you don't have to have a lifetime of knowledge to develop the rights views and values. Maya is level-headed, understanding and passionate. She's not about to jump the gun and think that what she's reading from a 1950s book is going to guarantee her a spot that the jocks/cheerleaders table. Instead, I felt like it was more about taking a stand and finding comfort in being yourself.

At first I felt like she was foolish to follow along with a 50s standard of popularity, I mean it is the 21st Century. Yet, I came to realise it was more about doing something you want to and feel comfortable about it. In fact Maya concludes that it's more about going out of your way to do things for others, and being yourself that matters the most. It's great to get people's attention, but in the end you have to be true to yourself. It's probably what I liked the best from Popular - the fact that Maya is able to relay such a strong message to young high schoolers, who probably think social acceptance is the most important thing.

There's a lot of positives that come out of Maya's debut novel. She certainly has left a mark on a lot of readers. Yet, for such a short novel I actually didn't fly through it. I started it not knowing what was going to happen, and while I did reach half way quite quickly, I never had the urge to finish it after putting it down. It didn't captivate me and I did get bored after half way. It picked up and I got to see a few more teenage topics being addressed. On the whole though, I think the effect wasn't as great on me because I have passed that age. I don't think I really worry about those things anymore.

Popular was a light and entertaining read. I got a couple of laughs out of it. I'm going to be totally honest and say that if I didn't receive a free copy of this book, I don't think I would even give it a second look. It's not a topic I would approach and the tagline is not that appealing. Still, I think it delivers a really honest meaning, and should be read by younger readers. I'm probably going to pass this on to someone I think would benefit more from it because I can't see myself re-reading it.

All the best to Maya though, she will definitely go far!

Rating: 3.5/5

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