Thursday, December 27, 2012

Under Construction

Hey guys! I just wanted to let you all know that right now, Book Nerd & Critic is undergoing some changes. You may have noticed that the header has been changed, but that is not going to stay, some modifications regarding size need to be attended to. 
For now, the template will remain the same, but don't be surprised if that suddenly changes too. 
All these modifications are being made to help make this blog better, so if you've got any suggestions, please, please, please, with a cherry on top leave me a comment or email me so that I can see what you all want and put it into consideration. 
Also, a few new page elements have been added to the blog, including the new 'Follow by Email', and this way, all new posts are delivered straight to your inbox. I'm following a few blogs by email and it is easier to keep up to date with everything because you don't always need to actually get on their blog to read the posts.
Lastly, a poll has been added to the blog, inspired by the Fallen series being reviewed here. You can select multiple answers if you want. At the end of it, I'd like to be able to see what's most popular and review it, if I haven't already.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review: Fallen by Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Publisher: Doubleday
Year of Release: 2009
ISBN: 978 0 385 61801 4 (hbk)
Source: Purchased
Some angels are destined to fall. Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar...
The moment Luce looks at Daniel, she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can't shake the feeling that she has... and with him - a boy she doesn't remember ever setting eyes on. Will her attempts to find out why enlighten her - or destroy her?
Dangerously exciting and darkly romantic, Fallen is a thrilling story of forbidden love, centuries old battles and, naturally, fallen angels. Though I can't say that this was the best angel themed book I've read, it was still enjoyable. The plot of this book was incredible, it had an amazing story-line. This is a spoiler-free blog so I won't go into too much detail, but it was genius. Lucinda Price comes from a shaky past of anti-psychotic meds and strange shadows that seem to follow her around and always appear before something bad happens, but all she needs is a fresh start. After a fire that claimed the life of one of her friends, a fire that Luce can't even understand or explain, she gets transferred to Sword & Cross, a school for juvenile offenders, threats to society. She meets some new people and when things are finally looking up, she gets caught in a centuries old feud that could cost her her life and the lives of those around her. I hope that sums it up without revealing too much! The characters in this book are very well written. You get to know each one's personality within a few lines but then again, they are all keeping secrets, so you can't really know them until you get to the end of the book. 
It's been a while since I've had to thoroughly criticize a book, but there are a few concerns I need to express here. Though the plot of the book was great, the book itself was poorly written. It wasn't one of those books that captivates you and holds your attention while you read, I found that my mind was constantly wandering. Near the end of the book, when things are heating up, nothing is explained properly and readers are left confused. I was really disappointed that the fight scene didn't have much emphasis and it just was not expressed well. I didn't like it. 
I'm really hoping that the next book and the ones that follow will be better. Look out for my reviews on them in the coming weeks. 

I hope you've enjoyed my review!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Want cheap, discounted books? The Book Depository is the site for you!

What's up guys? I just found an incredible website for buying discounted and insanely cheap books. It's called...drum roll please.... THE BOOK DEPOSITORY! 
This amazing company that I think is based in the UK has more books than you can imagine. Just use the search-bar to look up a book and I guarantee it will be listed cheaper there than in the usual book stores. If it's not, then don't buy it. 
Shipping is free worldwide! Amazing right? You can pay with a credit card or even use PayPal, the safer, easier way to pay! 
Here's how I would advise using this site. Wait until you have a book in your sights, then do some research. Check the price of the book in stores and then compare it to the price on The Book Depository and see if you can get yourself a bargain! I mean, lets face it, we bloggers and authors read A LOT of books, but who wants to keep paying $20-30 or more every time we buy a book?! It's insane. 
The only crap thing is that most books take up to 48 hours to be dispatched and then depending on where you want it shipped to, it can take up to 3-10 working days to reach you. But when you're paying less than $10 for a book worth $30, I suppose it's worth the wait. Like I mentioned before, shipping is free and returns are allowed, just contact the site for more info.
If you like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, you can get it from $11 on this site. Amazing huh? 
Have fun! :-) 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Title: The Fault In Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publisher: Penguin Group
Year of Release: 2012
ISBN: 978 0 14 356759 2
Source: Borrowed
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story us about to be completely rewritten.
From the New York Times Bestselling Author of Looking For Alaska, comes an incredible story of bravery, true love and terminal illnesses, a story that will leave you heartbroken and amazed at the same time. After announcing that I had finished reading this book (in less than two days, I think that's a record), the first thing my friend said to me (who has also read it), was 'Are you going to be okay?!' 
This book is incredible. Amazing. Though-provoking. Un-put-down-able. I cried, laughed, then cried again, then laughed again, then stared blankly at my bedroom wall while I tried to figure out why life was so hard, then laughed and cried again as I started a new chapter. Other than star-crossed love, the main issue addressed in this book is cancer and how it affects the lives of not only the person suffering from the illness, but also those who love them. The honest way the book is written touches readers with the right amount of emotional acuity and precision. 
There were love scenes, cancer stories, deep conversations, early phone calls and a fixation on An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (not a real book FYI, I googled it) The Fault In Our Stars can easily be named one of the best young adult literature books around. After reading about An Imperial Affliction within the pages of The Fault In Our Stars I wanted to know if it was a book that actually existed. After a thorough Google search, I concluded that this book is made up. But what a task, to create a book within a book and to make the author of said book seem so real. When reading about Peter Van Houten in The Fault In Our Stars, I thought it was a little weird to portray an actual real-life author in a book, until I found out that he actually does not exist, he's just a fictional character from the incredible mind of John Green. The Fault In Our Stars even begins with a quote from this book! 
I'm going to wrap this review up here by saying that you should go out and get yourself a copy of this book, a cup of tea and a box and tissues and prepare yourself for a riveting read. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Review: Looking For Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking For  Alaska
Author: John Green
Publisher: Speak
Year of Release: 2005
ISBN: 978-0-14-240251-1
Source: Borrowed
Before. Miles "Pudge" Halter's existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the "Great Perhaps" (Francois Rebelais, poet) even more. He heads of to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
After. Nothing is ever the same.
Defined by answers about life and death after a fatal accident, this book is written by a writer of amazing talent. As hinted in the blurb above, this book is an original piece of work as it is split into a before and after, both revolving around one tragic event. This book was insightful (even poetic at times), had well-written characters and was instantly captivating. We are reading a story about a boy called Miles who moves to a boarding school where he finds out what it's like to have friends and crushes, smokes his first cigarette and gets drunk with his roommate. He meets a girl called Alaska with quirks and beauty. She's self-destructive and impulsive and surprises her friends everyday by doing something crazy no one expects. Pulling pranks and being original is her forte and she tends to just do whatever the hell she wants whenever she wants but that's why she's beautiful. Miles falls for her like most other guys who meet her, and she flirts with him shamelessly even though she loves her boyfriend. I'm going to keep this review short and finish by saying that this book is incredible and I would recommend it, especially if you liked The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Fateful by Claudia Gray

Title: Fateful
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: HarperTeen, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers
Year of Release: 2011
ISBN: 978 0 7322 9428 1 (pbk.)
Source: Borrowed
The RMS Titanic might be the most luxurious ship in the world, but all passenger Tess Davies wants to do is escape her dreary existence as a maid. Trapped in a web of painful memories and twisted family secrets, Tess vows to make a run for it as soon as the ship reaches New York. A new world awaits... and a new life! 
Her single minded obsession shatters when she meets Alec. Handsome and mysterious, he captivates her immediately- but Alec has secrets of his own. As she uncovers the darkness lurking beneath his sophisticated surface, Tess discovers a horrifying truth. Werewolves, once only the stuff of nightmares, are real- and they are stalking Alec. Tess's love for Alec puts her in mortal peril, but an even greater danger lies in front of her before their journey on the Titanic is over.
This book was fantastic. Upon picking it up, I thought to myself, this book sounds a little weird, but I like weird so I decided to read it. I've read the Evernight series, Claudia Gray's other work, and came to the conclusion that I wanted to read more of her books. This one got a few good reviews and I am about to write another one. Claudia Gray has produced an incredibly original book. Werewolf novels have been written before, but ever heard of one set on the Titanic? It's refreshingly original and a nice plot twist. Even though you know that at some point the ship is going to sink, that's the only real obvious spoiler in the book. Most books, readers are able to predict what will happen, but this one was the opposite of an open book. (Of course, I don't mean that literally.) 
Common knowledge is that the Titanic sank on the 15 of April, 1912. Everything about this book was accurate to that era, right down to the language. The inequality between rich and poor, some technological inventions we have today weren't even incorporated into the book, giving us an insight as to how people lived back then. Think horse and carriage, the old irons. So not only was this book a great work of fiction, it can also be considered as educational. 
This book was a prime example of what YA Fiction is all about. With just the right mix of passion, lust, mystery, suspense, inspirational characters and set against a backdrop of one of the most iconic events in history, with a supernatural twist, the book hooks readers from the very first page. 

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Review: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: Ballad
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books, an imprint of Scholastic Ltd
Year of Release: 2009
ISBN: 978 1 407 12112 3
Source: Purchased
Number of Pages: 388
When his best friend, Dee, fell in love with a faerie, James realised she'd never feel the same way about him. Trying to escape into music, James finds himself surrounded by more faeries than ever. Before he knows it, James is trapped in a dangerous game. One where the only way to win is to betray the one you love...
A ballad is a poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas. This book isn't a ballad, however it contains components of one. Many chapters are opened with a poem,  'Golden Tongue: The Poems of Steven Slaughter'. These excerpts are beautiful and many readers went mad trying to find the source of these poems, only to find out that they were written by Maggie herself. The last book, Lament, was told in Dee's perspective, but in this sequel, James is the main focus and the book alternates between chapters given from his POV and a faerie called Nuala. Nuala is quite a character. At the beginning of the book, we believe her to be evil and cunning. James is on her radar and her job is to make a deal with him- giving him her inspiration for his music in return for his life- or years of it, gradually being taken away from him, allowing Nuala to live. Nuala is what is called a leanan sidhe, and this means that she will live for 16 years and 16 years only, making deals with the musically gifted, and taking years off their lives, until, on the night of Halloween on her sixteenth year, she is burnt alive and reborn from the ashes as a new person, with new memories but always with the same twisted purpose. Until she falls in love with her next target: James. She refuses to harm him, even though she will suffer and grow weaker without making deals. We get a tiny perspective from Dee in this book- fifteen unsent text messages to James at the end of a few of the chapters. The two work through their relationship, made complicated by her fling with Luke and James' feelings for her. Nearing the end of the novel, James is put in a position where he must choose between Nuala, the faerie girl he has fallen for and Dee, his best friend and the girl he's loved forever. 
My only criticism is that the book was kind of slow and very complicated at times. It wasn't exactly the easiest book to read. You really have to pay attention or you'll find yourself rereading the previous page to figure out what the hell is going on. 
I hope you enjoyed my review! :)