Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick - Review

Date Finished: 13 April 2012

Series: Hush Hush, #1

Rating: 5*

Even writing about this book gets me hyperventilating...

I love it love it love it. The entire series. If I could take three books to a desert island, this would be one of them (don't ask me what the other ones would be, I love all my children equally... most of them). I love everything about it. The characters, the storyline, the romance, the sexy angel...

Okay, so maybe, maybe, the only reason I picked up this book was because Drew Doyon was on the front (not that I knew who he was at the time... but now I do... and so do all of my friends...) and because it had been recommended to me so many times on Kindle. To be honest, if I hadn't seen it in the library one rainy day and thought, "Eh, what the hell," and taken it out just for the sake of having something, ANYTHING, to read, I never would have looked twice at it. But I'm so glad I did.

Patch and Nora are just perfect. Nora's so relatable and Patch is just so... amazing. Best angel ever. Becca Fitzpatrick made me fall in love with both of them from the very first page. The storyline is incredible; I couldn't put the book down and probably pissed off several members of my family by reading it non-stop, finishing it in a day, and then forcing them to let me download the next two on Kindle immediately. I think my Kindle actually got banned at some point because my dad claimed I was being "unsociable" and "rude, not to mention "wasting money" by not reading any of the other books I got from the library. But it was worth it.

This book is incredible. I actually forced my parents to buy me my own copy for Christmas last year just so I could re-read it over and over again without the old ladies who work at the library looking at me funny (not that they already do, I'm there practically every second week, and I'm like, the ONLY teenager who's been there since the 16th century...). Hush Hush was the first book I fell in love with after the Hunger Games, and it will be a book that I force my children to read someday.

The Venetian Contract by Marina Fiorato - Review

Date Finished: 15 March 2013

Rating: 5*

Read the Goodreads description here 

Excuse me while I fangirl for a moment...

This book was absolutely beautiful. I don't usually manage to finish Historical Fiction novels, because they always seem to have the same storyline and outcome, and after a while my (extremely short) attention span gets in the way, and I end up doing ANYTHING except actually reading. But for some reason, I couldn't put The Venetian Contract down.

I don't know why. Really I don't. It didn't have vampires, or werewolves, or sexy aliens (yes, I am still hooked on the Lux series, don't judge me). It didn't have a hot hero to drool over. It didn't have a mystery woven into the story. Hell, it wasn't even set in this time period. But what it DID have was the Black Death (aka Bubonic Plague, Black Plague, or even just The Plague)... And Venice. Now that I think about it, that was probably the reason for my absolute obsession with this book.

If you've read any of my other reviews of Historical Fiction novels (read my review for Blood Red, Snow White here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...), or anything to do with History, you'll probably have noticed that I am a bit of a History nerd. Okay, a LOT of a History nerd. History-obsessed-psychopath-who's-constantly-preoccupied-with-the-middle-ages is probably the most correct term. And I love Venice. Probably because I've been there, so throughout the book, my friends, family and teachers had to deal with me shouting out: "I WAS THERE! SEE? READ THIS PARAGRAPH. YOU KNOW THAT PLACE? I WAS THERE!!" Yup, I am just that cool. So that was DEFINITELY the reason I loved it so much. 

But really. Even if I wasn't totally obsessed with the Black Death, I would have loved this book. Sure, you sort of have to like History to be able to read Historic novels, so I wouldn't recommend this to anybody who hates anything to do with the past. Or people like some of my friends who just respond with, "Yeah, whatever. Guess what rock that is?" when I try to tell them about my latest Historical obsession (Geography nerds...). But The Venetian Contract was seriously one of the best books I have read in the past few years. And even though I absolutely love my vampires and werewolves, aliens and fairies, it was really nice to find a book to read that didn't have anything to do with supernatural beings in it. 

Adding to the fact that this book was amazing because of the History behind it as well as in it, the writing was exceptional. I had to mentally prepare myself to come back into this world every time I wanted to put it down. I also loved the way that the story was told from the perspective of a Turk, and not a Venetian. It made the novel just that much more interesting. 

So to all my fellow History nerds out there, READ THIS BOOK. Seriously. You won't regret it.

Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Finished: 21 December 2012

Series: The Lux, #3

Rating: 5*

** spoiler alert **

If this is the end of the series, I am going to shoot myself.

I so did not see that coming. Not that I was surprised that I was surprised, if that makes any sense at all. This series is constantly astonishing me, and I should have known better than to believe that the ending to the third book, the book that mad me bite my nails down to stubs the whole way through, would be a "Happily Ever After" moment. I am so naive...

If that next book doesn't come soon, Jennifer L. Armentrout will be getting a LOT of hate mail, from me and all my friends. Probably also from all the other people who have read this series too. Because come on, how can Daemon and Katy, after all they've been through, now be in the same situation that Beth and Dawson were in, like, 20 minutes before? I'm still upset about it. It took a few moments for it to sink in that the book was actually OVER and Daemon and Katy were separated by that blue laser thingy, and Katy was now trapped by the Arum and the DOD. When it did sink in though, I think I was ready to bawl my eyes out. And I don't cry in books or movies. Like, ever. I actually had to shut my Kindle and get as far away from it as possible, then curl my self into a foetal position and attempt to think happy thoughts just to clear my head and remind myself that, actually, they are just characters in a book. It didn't help much, though. I am still in a fowl mood, and have been unable to read anything at all, almost three days after I finished Opal.

On the whole though, I think this book was my favourite in the whole series. There are no words to describe it. Exciting is an understatement; I literally had to force myself to put it down to eat and sleep, and do other things essential for living. I also think that Armentrout's writing technique has progressed incredibly throughout the series, she managed to make me feel as though I had climbed inside the book and was watching it unfold before my eyes. I always love it when an author manages to make me forget the real world and become so entangled in the storyline that I actually get startled when I glance up from my book and realise that I'm not actually in that special alternate universe that he or she has created. 

That next book honestly cannot come quick enough. I am worried that I will be unable to finish another book without reading the conclusion to this series, and I fear that that will negatively impact my mental health and turn me into some crazy psychopath. And that would be totally awful, because I doubt they let you read the Lux series in Juvenile Prison, especially if it's the reason you became psycho in the first place.

Onyx by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Finished: 17 December 2012

Series: The Lux, #2

Rating: 5*

Wow. I dare say that I think this book was even better than the first. Jennifer L. Armentrout has outdone herself once again and taken my breath away.

I have not been able to put this series down. Over the past two days, I have not been able to do anything without thinking of Obsidian and Onyx. In fact, my family has actually been begging me to come downstairs and watch TV, which is extremely out of character for my parents. I love the way that Armentrout has been able to create a storyline that makes me want to climb into the book and live there. The way that she manages to continue building the tension between Daemon and Katy throughout the second book in the series is astounding. I also loved the way she had Daemon show both his sweeter and darker sides in the space of seconds.

The storyline of Onyx was definitely more busy and exciting than Obsidian. I found that Armentrout wasted no more time than necessary on the introduction and build-up before throwing in climax after climax. Often, I find that the second book in a series is more boring than the first, focusing more on the heroin's feelings about her relationship with the hero rather than actually gripping the reader's attention. However, this was most definitely not true with Onyx. I loved the way that the climaxes overlapped slightly, creating a busy and exciting storyline without making the reader feel overwhelmed. There was always the main problem of finding Dawson and Bethany, which all of the other important aspects built up to.

I also love the way that Daemon and Katy's relationship actually IS complicated. Often the author creates a simple relationship between characters, but the characters are always moaning about how complicated and extraordinary their relationship is. In this case, Daemon and Katy are practically always at each others' throats and hardly ever get along, even though they're madly in love with each other.

I can't wait to read the next one, but, being the amazing friend that I am, I have promised to wait for SOMEONE (no names mentioned... you know who you are...) to get signal on her Kindle so that she can read it at the same time as me. Honestly, I don't think I'll be able to wait, even if it is only another twenty minutes until I am allowed to download it.

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Date Finished: 17 December 2012

Series: The Lux, #1

Rating: 5*

When I started Obsidian, I really wasn't expecting much. Judging by the blurb and the cover (okay, I know that judging a book by its cover is like, the biggest literary crime EVER, but don't pretend you've never done it), Obsidian looked like just an average, cheesy teenage romance about a girl whose life is boring and normal until she meets a drop dead gorgeous, supernatural bad-ass who completely turns her world upside down and they fall madly in love. Needless to say, I was wrong, otherwise I would be giving this book one star instead of the five it deserves.

Okay, maybe it is a little like that. Sure, it's not COMPLETELY cheesy, and it is most definitely not average, but the part about the desperate girl (Katy) and the super hot, supernatural bad-ass (Daemon - who is an alien) is definitely a large part of the storyline. To be perfectly honest, when I started reading Obsidian, I couldn't help but compare it to Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (which is definitely very high up on my list of Best Books Ever, along with The Hunger Games). You know, the whole situation where the girl's father is recently dead and then she meets a tall, dark and mysterious stranger who totally pisses her off, but you know that they're gonna end up together by the end of the book. The comparison stopped when I got to about the tenth page. By that stage I was so completely engrossed in the book, nobody in my family dared disturb me for fear of getting their heads ripped off, if I even bothered to register their existence.

Seriously, this book is awesome. The storyline is basically about a girl, Katy, who moves with her single mom to a small town which she didn't even know existed. The only other people who live on her street are twins Dee and Daemon. She instantly befriends the talkative and bubbly Dee, while Daemon both pisses her off and intrigues her from the moment she meets him. She soon discovers that Dee and Daemon are far from human and this puts both her and the twins in danger.

After finishing Obsidian and reading the first half of Onyx (the second book in the series), I can not only say that I now wish my neighbour was a super hot alien (actually no, my neighbour should be REPLACED with a super hot alien - if you knew my neighbour, you'd understand), but also that I am now obsessed with Jennifer L. Armentrout's writing. She created possibly the best sexy male book character ever. Not only does Daemon make his first appearance in all of his shirtless glory, he is also a bad-ass alien with awesome super powers, which he uses to save Katy countless times.

This is a must-read for all the girls (and maybe guys) out there who love supernatural books, but hate the whole vampire theme that just seems to be getting worse and worse since Twilight (seriously, am I the only one who's sick of seeing shelves lined with vampire books? No? Okay, whatever...)

Sunday, 7 April 2013


This was an extremely traumatic incident in my lifetime. Don't laugh, okay? Seriously, I am never, ever, ever going to be able to forget this. Ever. Ever. My family still laughs about it. I still tremble with fear...

If you know me personally, you should be aware of the fact that I can't cope with anything that flies. Seriously, I can do birds and butterflies, but that's about it. Pair that with my pathological fear of rodents and you get a teenage girl hyperventilating in a foetal position. So you can just imagine me with a bat. In my mind, the only thing worse than a bat is a lizard. Or a flying lizard. Or a flying lizard as big as my food. Ugh.

So my family and I were staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. No names mentioned; I don't want to get sued. We managed to get one of those shaley thingies where theres a double bed downstairs, and then two single beds in a tiny attic room above it. With a thatch roof. I'm sure you can see where this is going. I was already in hell. I was trying to download Hunting Lila onto my Kindle, and, with us being in the middle of nowhere and all, I had already had to practically climb onto the roof for an hour just to get signal for it to start downloading. After which I found out the hotel had free wi-fi, while I was trying to get like cell phone service (*face-palm moment*).

After dinner, my sister and I were sitting in our tiny little beds, reading and getting ready to go to sleep, all innocent, when this THING just flew at my face.

As I mentioned before, I don't DO flying things. So you can just imagine my reaction when it flew at my face. There was a lot of screaming (from both me AND my sister, no matter her version of the story) and we ended up in my parents' bed downstairs, me almost in tears. So, my dad, being the man of the house, went upstairs with my sister to check it out, thinking it was probably this huge moth or whatever, because that was what it looked like. You've guessed it already, it wasn't a moth (well duh, the title is "THE BAT INCIDENT") but I didn't know this yet, okay? What little logic I had was trying to figure out: "Why me, God? Why is it always me???!!!"

My dad and sister couldn't find it, so I went up to help them out (by peering in from the doorway with a pillow as a weapon). I saw a THING on the curtain, so I pointed, shrieked, and ran downstairs like a typical teenage girl (which is what I am, so shut up). From the bed, under the covers, I heard my dad hit something (with a shoe, I found out later - nice, dad *face-palm*), then my sister said, "THAT is DEFINITELY NOT a moth," followed by: "SHHHH... Don't tell your sister..." after which I almost burst into tears and half died inside. My dad, being the city-boy he is, then covered it with a PILLOW, and sent us back upstairs.

I shouldn't have been surprised that, not even twenty minutes later, as I was falling asleep, my sister screamed something along the lines of, "GETOUTGETOUTGETOUT!!! THERE'S ANOTHER ONE!!" but I seem to remember a couple of swear words no twelve-year-old should know thrown in there, too. Which sent me hurtling downstairs and into the bed. Again. There was a lot of crying and screaming, and I flat out refused to go upstairs again.

So my dad phoned management, and basically they moved my sister and I into a honeymoon suite on the other side of the lodge. Happy days. And I managed to convince my sister to tell me that THE THING was actually a bat. So I didn't really sleep, but when I did, my dreams were haunted by flying lizards (don't ask me why). Thankfully, we left the following day, and I don't think we'll ever be going back...

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Date Finished

Series: The Hunger Games (Series Review: #1, #2, #3)

Rating: 5*

I think it's appropriate that my first review on my blog is of a book I am still thinking about, and re-reading, over a year after I finished it.

I love Suzanne Collins, and I love her writing style. It still ceases to amaze me how she managed to write about such a gruesome, terrifying topic, while still managing to make it popular all over the world. It has been impossible for me to read a book since this one without comparing it to The Hunger Games,  and without thinking, "I would give this five stars, but I gave The Hunger Games five, and this one was NOT The Hunger Games." My friends and I actually STILL argue over Peeta and Gale, and who Katniss should have chosen (btw I am team Peeta ALL the way... He gave her bread... still brings me to tears...)

If you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, read it now. If you are not reading it because you think it's too gruesome and disgusting a concept, shame. Deal with it. You are seriously missing out if you don't read this in your lifetime. For those of you who don't even know what it's about, you should feel ashamed. There's even a movie, for goodness sake. But, for those of you who have been living under a rock for the past two years or so... Basically The Hunger Games is about a teenage girl, Katniss, who lives in Panem, a country made up of twelve districts. She lives with her mother and sister, Prim, in District Twelve, which is responsible for the mining of coal. Every year, the Capitol (the Government, basically) holds a public reaping in which one girl and one boy from each district are chosen to go and fight in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants fight to the death in an arena in order to remind the public not to rebel against the government. Katniss' sister gets chosen, and in order to save her sister's life, Katniss volunteers in her place. The book follows Katniss as she fights for her life in the arena, and it even has a love triangle for all you romantics out there.

Panem is so real to me. Throughout the series I felt as though I was right beside Katniss, experiencing everything just as she did. The characters are so real and believable; Suzanne Collins never lets you forget that the participants of the Hunger Games are only children, fighting to the death in some sick custom created by the leaders of a country devastated by poverty, in order to get revenge on its people for a rebellion that occurred 74 years earlier.

Seriously, READ THIS SERIES. Now. No matter your age, interests, favourite genre... even if you don't read. Even if you've read it. Read it again. It's amazing.

"Deep in the meadow, hidden far away
A cloak of leaves, a moonbeam ray
Forget your woes and let your troubles lay
And when it's morning again they'll wash away
Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet and tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you."

My First Blog...

So a lot of people have been telling me that I need my own blog... Here it is! I hope you're happy, now the entire world can laugh at my life... yay...

I should probably start off with a little bit about myself. My name is Amy Bouwer. I'm pretty much your average teenage girl... ish... not really. I love to read and write. I love music; I play the piano, flute and bass guitar, and am forever annoying our neighbours because I believe the world should be full of beautiful noise (but evidently, some people disagree). I also love to laugh. Life is too short to be serious all the time, seriously. Sometimes, even the worst situations are just plain hilarious when you look at them from a different angle.

Basically, I created this blog to share my opinion on life, boys, books, boys in books, music... whatever. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope that I can make you laugh, even just a little.

- Amy