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Under The Mountain

Reviewing books since 2010. Obsessive dystopia fan.

Beware the Wild

Beware the Wild - Natalie C. Parker So surprised that this is a debut - the author certainly knows how to tell a story! This was so dark and creepy, I loved it. Full review coming up!

Poltergeeks

Poltergeeks - Sean Cummings DNF'd within a couple of pages. I knew instinctively that this was a male author and this type of author is the reason I tend to be wary of male authors. He kinda took the show don't tell rule and stamped on it, leaving the whole story feel like an unedited self published work and me feeling like I was reading a story too young for me. And I agree with something someone once said - if you feel too old for a story, there's a fault with writing there.

The Assassin's Curse

The Assassin's Curse - Cassandra Rose Clarke
I'm going to dive right in and say that this is the exact type of fantasy I've been waiting for since I read Poison Study a good four years ago. It has everything I wanted - pirates, assassins, adventure, quests and a couple that I completely and utterly wanted together so much it hurt. The description is clever, because while there is some romantic tension, there is actually no kissing. Yet?

The story just threw me right in, when Ananna (who I kept wanting to call Anarra) is about to get married off to some guy who's only interested in a new ship his father will give him. Being the most perfect main character ever, she quickly nicks a camel and ditches him. I mean you would right? She always seems to go from one bad situation to worse one and picks up a fair share of enemies along the way.

I really did love the romance or rather the lack of it. I mean, I didn't enjoy that there wasn't much of any but I like the slow burn romances rather than the seeing someone and declaring your undying love to them, which just isn't realistic. Ananna and Naji are two people thrown together which very different lives and they clash a lot because of this. But at the same time you can see how much they care about each other in their actions.

One thing I really liked about this was that although it's a fantasy novel, I had no trouble picturing the scorching deserts or islands or pirate ships, because they're all elements taken from our own world. I prefer these, much easier than trying to imagine a gigantic glass castle or something. Although the desert scenes made me uncomfortable thirsty.

My only regret with this story is that I didn't buy the sequel and spin off before I'd read it - I now have to wait over a week to find out what happens! The story did end on a seriously good cliffhanger and I desperately need to find out what happens next.

The Moment Collector

The Moment Collector - Jodi Lynn Anderson What the fuck.

Full review coming up I guess.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

The Miseducation of Cameron Post - Emily M. Danforth I'd seen this book in Waterstones over and over and never picked it up until one day when I went on a book binge and grabbed a copy. I've always been fascinated with the idea of 'degaying camps' in America but the only other time I'd seen anything about it was when I watched that cheerleader movie. You know the one. It's an amazing movie and everyone should see it. This however, was not anywhere near an amazing book for me.

My main problem with it was the sheer length of the thing. I figured 480 pages wouldn't be so bad, I'd read The Program in a couple of hours before now and that was 405. However, I didn't account for the layout - this book has small writing and a lot of it on each page, making the book even more tedious than it already was. The story itself isn't really that great either.

The way this story is written is a strange one. The rest of the year isn't really mentioned and therefore there are long drawn out descriptions of what she did each summer. Boy are they drawn out. Two summers could take up 100 pages, easy. Strangely though her only character development happened during the summer, so there was a strange effect of her only existing during summer.

The good stuff, the camp that I was waiting for for what felt like forever didn't actually start until around page 260. No, I'm not kidding. Her parents deaths only take up a small portion of the book before they're forgotten so you have to sit page after page, hearing her talk about smoking pot and thinking about Coley. However, the story did pick up a little when she got there but not enough to keep my interest.

Romance. I waited for romance. I hungered for romance. I even drooled a little in the hope that romance would happen. It. Never. Did. I think this was a big mistake because having a good romance in a story can really help keep things moving. There were two important girls in this: Irene, who discovered dinosaur bones, left for a posh school and was never heard of again and Coley, who was never interested due to probably being a supposed bisexual and after the camp thing just ignored Cameron.

There were a lot of characters who should have had a say towards the end and there was so much I wanted to happen that could have happened, had the descriptions not been so drawn out. Irene's and Coley's stories felt unfinished and the story itself ended in a really strange place.

Anywhere

Anywhere - Jon Robinson Much like the first book, this is an action packed novel with many characters. All of the characters are easy to keep up with thank goodness, I can't usually. The writing needed a little work but it didn't bother me too much as I was enjoying the story.

Full review coming up!

Nowhere

Nowhere - Jon Robinson The writing isn't perfect, however the plot is pretty damn close to it. Lots of action and mystery! Plus some cool shooty guns that don't damage you. Review coming up!

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher I originally read Thirteen Reasons Why when it was first released and it has stuck with me ever since. For reasons (pun unintended) unknown, I no longer have my copy so when I spotted a cheap copy in a charity shop I grabbed it immediately and finished it the same day.

Hannah is a very damaged, fragile character who is disillusioned about the world she's in and the people she sees every day. You have to remember that a high schooler's mental health is much worse than those in a psychiatric facility and there is so much going on that you can quickly become overwhelmed, even by the little things. As Hannah said, for her this had a snowball effect and lead to her being more and more depressed before eventually committing suicide.

Clay is Hannah's opposite in many ways - he's the good guy. The guy that doesn't go to parties because he's at home studying. The guy that's in love with Hannah. One thing I particularly enjoyed about this book was Clay's grief, at the start he'd clearly not grieved for Hannah and we followed him as he went through the motions, listening to the girl he loved tell her story.

The only problem I had with this book was the way it was written, kind of. Hannah's sections are in italics and Clay's in normal type but my brain did get confused about who was talking at times, the same as when I first read it. I was forced to keep pulling myself out of the story so I could recognise who was talking.

I think this book is an amazing look at how people are affected by one person's suicide, and how kids in high school can be. It's a very volatile environment and one I'm particularly glad to have got myself out of. It's on my list of contemporary you must read, which is entirely in my head.

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5)

Night of Cake & Puppets (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #2.5) - Laini Taylor It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but once Zuzana dumped cigarette butts into someone's coffee cup I was sold an by the end I was wishing that this book was a full length novel about Zuzana and Mik.

I'm a sucker for stories that involves traveling around to find things, like in Since You've Been Gone, 13 Reasons Why or Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. So as soon as Mik started searching for the next clue is was sold. Mik did remind me a little of Clay Jensen from 13 Reasons Why, he has that nice guy personality. Zuzana and Mik really are a great couple and really rooted for them. I hope there's more about them in God and Monsters.

Zuzana is one of my favourite characters in this series and a part of me wishes she got more chapters in the main chapters (at least half, as much as I love Karou). Her personality really comes through here and she really had me laughing with the cigarette butt incident and the female baldness adverts. If you love Zuzana, definitely don't skip this book. It's a lot of fun and you get to know Mik better!

Tithe (The Modern Faerie Tales, #1)

Tithe (The Modern Faerie Tales, #1) - Holly Black I have an old battered copy of Tithe - a copy so old it took some digging to find even a passable photo of the cover. I've read it at least three times now and it's definitely an old favourite of mine. I've never reviewed it before though, and I do think that I was reading this for the first time I would probably rate it lower than I have (like a 4 maybe), so this review is completely biased and you can judge me all you like for that.

I love the fairy concept. I usually avoid books with fairies in them, finding the idea cheesy but in Tithe they're dark, scary and downright brutal. There are a lot of references to Chess too, chess boards being used, Kaye's mentioned as being a pawn in the description and the Seelie and Unseelie court essentially being the White an Black sides respectively.

I last read this at least five years ago and I did notice some things that I wasn't as okay with as I was before - how Violent Roibin could be to Kaye for example. However, it's a bit of a grey area as he was literally forced to, due to his name being used. Fairies *sigh*. The pace was very quick, almost too quite and one character in particular I wanted to get to know more about.

It does have it's rough patches (remember that this is Holly's first novel) but the story overall is very strong and very unique. It's one of the only stories that's really stuck with me over the years and I was happy to sit down and re-read it again. I have not read it's sequels yet, so I'm looking forward to reading more about that world.

Fortunately the Milk

Fortunately the Milk - Gaiman Neil It's no secret that I saw the name Neil Gaiman, got interested, spotted the name Chris Riddell and immediately grabbed the book (albeit carefully, so as to not damage the book), and ran to the tills with it. Without actually bothering to check the back of the book first, to see if I'd even like a book aimed towards younger readers. It's Neil Gaiman with Chris Riddell's illustrations - of course, I loved it!

The story is great fun for readers of any age, and I have a feeling that my fellow Whovians would love this romp through space and time. This was made all the better by various references to Doctor Who, although I may have just been seeing these. I like to think they were there on purpose. Although this is a children's book, I never felt silly reading it, or like the tone of the story was too young for me, as a 22 year old.

There's so many things in this book it's hard to know where to start - Pirates, Vampires, Ponies, Aliens. I loved that there were various clues to all of these in Chris's illustrations and the beginning and even as I'm looking back at the book now I'm finding more clever references. And of course, a lot of milk.

The illustrations had me sitting in public with a stupid grin on my face, because there were just so many. I was like a One Direction fan with a free all access backstage pass. The Pirate Queen was exquisitely drawn with lots of lovely details like skulls and crossbones around her skirt and neck. The Vampires (or Wumpires) were made even more hilarious by the presence of 'Pale And Interesting Edvard' and my favourite, the Dad himself had an uncanny resemblance to Neil Gaiman. He also looked like he could be The Doctor.

Read this to yourself, read this to your kids, read this to your dog, your gerbil, your granny. Just... read it.

Since You've Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone - Morgan Matson The description for this amazing story just doesn't do it justice in my opinion. Since You've Been Gone is a perfect summer read, the kind that leaves you with a book hangover and a stupid grin on your face. I got an eBook of it, but will be buying the hardback and re-reading as soon as it arrives! It was everything I was hoping for from To All The Boys I Loved Before, and more.

Emily and Sloane are complete opposites but you know what they say about opposites. Although I didn't meet Sloane until midway through the first chapter (the chapters are a little long), the way Emily talked about her I felt like I knew her. She's that crazy best friend, the one that will text you at 2 in the morning before sneaking in your house, stealing your pyjamas and half your bed. Everyone needs a Sloane in their life.

Emily was really... as someone with Social Anxiety I don't want to say shy, as it brings to mind cute images of giggling girls. So, Emily had Social Anxiety and really struggled with how to act around people. In a way she let herself be in the background and just let Sloane do the speaking most of the time, so Sloane leaving was really the best thing for her. It was great to see her making steps towards being happier and gaining new friends without Sloane, although I missed Sloane a lot. Despite only knowing about her from flashbacks.

The relationship I loved the most in this book wasn't Emily and Franks (slow burn romance for the win though), it was Emily and Beckett's. Beckett being her brother, not another love interest. The younger siblings in stories are usually the ones that are kicked to the curb and despised by the protagonist, so it was nice to see Emily doing whatever she could to keep him happy while their parents were too busy typing to care. He felt like a real person too, despite being a less mentioned character.

The list itself was hilarious, and the reason why I mentioned To All The Boys I Loved Before. In that I was hoping that the letters would spark a lot of awkward moments and hilarity but that never happened. In this, each thing on the list has it's own chapter and detail descriptions of what happened. Hug a Jamie almost had me in tears and Steal Something was one of the most awkward moments I've ever read!

This is my first book by Morgan Matson but definitely not my last - I've owned Amy and Roger's Epic Detour for quite a while and will be picking it up soon to read. I just need to get myself a copy of Second Chance Summer. And re-read this at least ten times.

Perfect Lies

Perfect Lies  - Kiersten White While I really enjoyed Sister Assassin (or Mind Games), I felt that Annie's side of the story wasn't as strong or as interesting as Fia's, and never really connected with her. In Perfect Lies, it was kind of the opposite. Annie become more of a person and I really liked her but Fia was so obsessed with the end goal that it became a little boring after a while. I still loved her to death though.

Perfect Lies contained as much chicks kicking ass as in Sister Assassin, with one exception - Annie joins in! She may be blind but I saw why she was Fia's sister at that point. Instead of doing what she was doing in the previous book (sitting around worrying), she actually made plans and tried her best to help everyone out. My one fault with her was her visions - most of the time they had been incorrect yet everyone, including herself, continued to listen to them.

I was frustrated with Fia in this book. I know how mentally damaged she'd become but I didn't understand why she was content to just sit around and let James do everything without questioning the motives of the son of the man she wants dead. It was like she'd just given up. At the same time as not giving up.

This is a great conclusion to Annie and Fia's story with a lot of action, suspense and a great, explosive ending. It wrapped everything up perfectly but if there were a third book released I know I would buy it immediately, even if it was only about Annie and Fia sitting around watching movies all day!

Marionette

Marionette - Anya Allyn The last chapter of Paper Dolls had such a huge plot twist, I wanted to read the next book as soon as possible, thinking that it must be amazing. The concept of alternate worlds added so much more to the story, I though that the author would be like a kid in a sweet shop for ideas for what to write next.

Sadly, this wasn't the case. This book was much shorter than it's predecessors, Dollhouse and Paper Dolls. by about 100 pages, and by the end of the book I was glad of this. I think this book would fall into the 'filler' category, as lot a lot happens and I spent the whole time waiting to get the end.

I knew When I started Dollhouse that this was a self published series, but this was the first book that felt self published. Some of the conversations between characters fell flat and even came off as cheesy at times. There was none of the suspense and mystery that kept me reading long into the night this time. There were a few chapters from Ethan thrown in, which weren't particularly memorable to me. He didn't say or do anything I didn't already expect.

The other worlds, I was expecting something a lot bigger I guess. Most of the one world we visit has frozen over and there's some giant snakes lurking about. The main world is this one castle on an island in France and the whole thing felt very claustrophobic.

The ending was interesting, and I do want to find out what happens next but I would be lying if I said I didn't see it coming. The ghost idea in Paper Dolls was creepy and certainly fascinating but much like the dialog in Marionette, it just felt cheesy here. I'm hoping Music Box gets back on track!

More Than This

More Than This - Patrick Ness There are a lot of books out there. Romance books, books about superheroes. Average books and amazing books. And then, once in a while, you get a book like More Than This. A book so unique, so perfect, that it stays with you forever and nothing quite lives up to it. Quite simply, this book blew. my. mind.

The problem with books like More Than This is that it's really hard to do them justice when reviewing, but I will try my best. It's a philosophical book, questioning what could happen after death, but I never really felt that it was trying to do that when I was reading. However, it did make me think of what I would do if I was Seth, having woken up in a familiar but barren landscape with no people around. Obviously, I'd set up camp in Waterstones but that's besides the point.

I had a lot of questions in my head while reading this too. Seth wakes up from death, something that he could not possibly come back from and yet he's thirsty, he's exhausted, he's hungry and he really needs to pee. All things that you would not expect in the afterlife. I did think that he might be in purgatory for a long time and indeed, he might have been. Honestly, I'm not sure on that part.

Every time Seth sleeps he gets vivid flashbacks to his old life. It was a pretty tough one and I hated his parents, particularly his mother. Through no fault of his own when he was young, his brother was snatched at the age of four and has needed special care ever since, something Seth's parents blame him for, despite them leaving him and his brother alone at the time. To make things worse, he and his best friend Gudmund have just been found out to be gay - and together. Seth's mom is freaking out about it and using it as an excuse to have another go at Seth. That woman made me so stabby.

I don't want to say too much about this book, and I think John Green's recommendation at the top of the cover sums it up perfectly - 'Just read it.' The cover is perfect and really makes sense when you've read the book. I haven't read the Chaos Walking trilogy yet but after reading this I'm going to start hunting down the copies that I know are in my house somewhere. If you see this, buy it. Please.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green;Penguin Books USA I wasn't sure what to expect from Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Secret clones? Same name romance? More hipster references than I could keep up with? Thankfully it was none of these things and actually turned out to be very sweet, gay, romance that I was completely rooting for throughout the story.

I'm not David Levithan's biggest fan, just to get that out of the way. I've read of his books now and each time I do feel like he's trying to be deep and philosophical and it just doesn't work for me. I know immediately that his Will was the angry one. Probably because I can't see John Green forcing us to read half a book in lower caps, which took some getting used to.

I loved John Green's Will. His section's characters seemed better developed and more memorable, particularly Jane and Tiny Cooper. Oh, how I loved Tiny Cooper. It would be hard not to love a large, sassy, gay man which a penchant for bursting into song. I could completely understand why John's Will found Tiny frustrating though, he did have a habit of only thinking about himself.

Both boys are going through the same thing, despite having different lives - struggling through high school and relationships, both romantic and not. Somehow, despite the darker humour coming off of Levithan's Will, the book was very positive and happy and easy to read. And funny! It did take me 50 pages to really get into it but after that I was hooked. This book is definitely the best one of David Levithan's I've read so far and I highly recommend it. Plus - no vague hipster references!