8 Nov 2014

I was here - Review

Available 29th Jan 2014
simonandschuster.co.uk 
What's it about?
When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything - so how was there no warning?
But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington.
About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open - until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.
My review
I was here is a sometimes sad but overall heartening story. While it explores the delicate subject of suicide, its just as much about Cody's journey in discovering just who she is and finding love in a very unexpected place.
As Cody follows the trail to find out just what was going on with her best friend in the time leading up to her suicide she feels a range of emotions which are bought forth really well in Forman's wonderful writing.
She's understandably shocked to find out just how Meg was feeling and the things she never told her that she ends up forced to question her own feelings towards life and even thinks about suicide in ways she never imagined she would have before her best friend did it.
Cody also feels a lot of confusion as she tries to match up her memories of Meg to the person she is hearing about from people she's never met before and even from people she's known a long time. It's definitely a hard time for Cody as she blames herself, blames others for what happened until coming to an eventual acceptance and some kind of closure.
Not only is this a wonderful story, it feels truthful and would be thought provoking to anyone who knows little about suicide not to mention creating a little awareness to the dark side of the internet.
Just like previous novels from Gayle Forman, I was here did not disappoint me and I don't think it will disappoint other fans of her books.

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20 Oct 2014

Antigoddess - Review

Goddess war book one
Available now
bookswithbite.co.uk 
What's it about?
He was Apollo, the sun, and he'd burn down anything that tried to hurt her... Cassandra and Aidan are just your average high-school couple. Or so Cassandra believes. Blissfully unaware that she was once a powerful prophetess, Cassandra doesn't even know thats god exist... Until now.
Because the gods are dying - and Cassandra could hold the answer to their survival. But Aidan has a secret of his own. He is really Apollo, god of the sun, and he will do anything to protect the girl he loves from the danger that's coming for her. Even if it means war against his immortal family...
Sexy, irresistible characters; romantic and mythological intrigue; relentless action and suspense - ANTIGODDESS is the YA novel you've been waiting for.
My review
While my review for Antigoddess is positive it does come with a but. The book is well written, exciting, with interesting characters (Athena kicked butt.) BUT I was so disappointed by the end when nothing about the main plot gets explained.
The Gods are dying but they don't know why, they''re all fighting each other to stay alive but how do they know that will work when they don't know what's happening and how do they know if they're on the 'right' side. No effort is put in to finding a reason why, which I found incredibly frustrating.
Other than this though, the rest of the book was really good, there's a lot of action and plenty of references to Greek mythology stories, though it mainly focuses on the battle of Troy there are subtle references to other tales and each characters origin. As a lover of Greek mythology I was happy to see how well researched that side of the book had been and it was woven in well to the main story.
The book follows two perspectives in alternate chapters, firstly Athena and Hermes in a quest to find Cassandra and then Cassandra herself and her friends. I much preferred the chapters with Athena and Hermes over Cassandra, they had more action to them and I just preferred the characters, they were more complex and interesting. Cassandra and co just didn't have the same spark for me and I found myself rooting for Athena even though she does some questionable things.
The writing was pretty spot on too, I immediately felt engaged in the story and characters and was wrapped up in the world fairly quickly and despite feeling disappointed by the end that I had raced to get to, I know I'll be reading book two looking for more of the same and hoping for some answers.

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8 Oct 2014

The 100 society - Review


Available now
www.bookswithbite.co.uk 

What's it about?

For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession.
Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag. 
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust. 
With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever...
My review
The 100 society was is a difficult one to review for me because I both liked it and didn't. There's a good bit of mystery and some exciting twists but there also parts that didn't make any sense. Like the whole fact of the 100 society for instance, I mean I know its a secret society so there should be some mystery to it but we aren't given any clues as to who they are, how they work or what it means to join.
And it doesn't make sense how you join, okay tagging 100 locations is simple enough but since Grace and her friends keep it secret and try to keep it out of the media, how are the society supposed to know its her and how come she's never approached by anyone? And I can't see why she's so determined to join anyway, her only reason is that they can get her into a good college, no promise of riches, future job security or even a prominent place in society, just something she could do herself by working hard in school instead of risking her life on graffiti.
To me it just didn't make enough sense but I enjoyed the rest. Trying to figure out who the bad guy was and wondering what they might do next helped save this book but some of the timing was off, without giving too much away, at the end Grace leaves someone behind locked in a room, yet when she races off somewhere, they're there before her and there were other times when people managed to get somewhere or do something quicker than the time that seems to pass, it took away part of the believability of the story as a whole.
However I did make it to the final page so that says something about the book too because if it had been terrible I wouldn't have made if far through before giving up and reading something else.
So I'd say read it if your looking for a quick mystery where you don't have to think too much or if the finer details are not something that bother you.

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3 Oct 2014

Black ice - Review


Available October 7th 2014
kids.simonandschuster.co.uk 

What's it about?

Britt Pfeiffer has never been that adventurous, but that's about to change. Wanting to impress her ex-boyfriend, Britt convinces best friend, Korbie, to take a trekking trip with her. But when a freak storm leaves the girls stranded they seek shelter in a cabin, where they find two knights in shining armour. Or so they think.
Britt quickly realises that the girls need to get off the mountain, fast. In exchange for her life, she is forced to guide the boys down, and as they set out on a harrowing journey through the cold and snow, Britt realises the only way to escape with her life is to pretend she is on their side. But is gorgeous, sexy Mason an enemy or an ally? Tension mounts, and it's only a matter of time before things turn deadly . . .
My review
I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about reading Black ice, the little I'd heard about it was particularly positive and while I have read Becca's Hush, hush series, its not one of my favourites. That being said, I am SO glad I picked up Black ice because I absolutely loved it! I was hooked pretty early on, even though Korbie got on my nerves pretty badly I was still intrigued and when she was gone I couldn't stop reading, I had to know how it ended.
It's one of those books where you can't guess the end but once you get there, you realise just how many little clues were laid out for you along the way making it a very clever book.
Black ice is filled with twists and turns that will surprise you and keep you guessing and flying through the pages until you find out exactly what the hell is going on.
I found the story to be believable, including the ending and even the romance was done well. Going into the book all I could think was how can anyone fall for their captor? No matter the circumstances, how can you see someone who has kidnapped you, for what ever reason in a romantic way? But it was all handled really well and at a good pace so we weren't rushed into an unbelievable insta-love which would have ruined it completely.
I'm not usually one for thrillers but Black ice is definitely an exception for me, one that I will be recommending to others looking for a thriller within the YA genre and I hope Becca writes more more books like it as I will be first in the queue for my copy when that happens.

18 Sep 2014

The winner's curse - Review


The winner's trilogy book one
Available now
bloomsbury.co.uk 

What's it about?

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love.
As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction.
Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 
Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
My review
The winner's curse was a perfect mix of intrigue, politics and romance in a beautiful setting. It's everything a fantasy book should be and I really enjoyed it. I particularly liked that it was told from both of the main characters so that we really get to see both sides of the story here, as the General's daughter, Kestrel is in the social elite and as a slave, Arin is on the very bottom of the chain. It's your classic Romeo and Juliet forbidden love story but then it's also so much more than that and very well written. Although Kestrel is high in society, she's not the elitist princess you may be imagining, she's strong willed, passionate and independent, I liked her a lot, she's very smart and the kind of person you'd want as an ally, not an enemy. I liked Arin too and getting to understand the kind of hidden rage he has, something I don't think we'd have got to see at all had he been a secondary character in Kestrel's story, he has his own story to tell, something I hope to see more of in future books.
The story itself is woven together extremely well, its not all as simple as it all seems at the start and as we burrow deeper into the world and the learn more about both the past and present, the plot thickens and you'll find yourself torn between two sides. It wasn't rushed and the end will leave you begging for more.
Rutkoski writes a brilliant story with intriguing characters while simultaneously building a believable and complex world complete with a well described backdrop, a social hierarchy and a history.
I really can't wait for book two and I can't guess at all what will happen next but I'm excited to find out.

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12 Aug 2014

Dylan's amazing dinosaurs: The Stegosaurus - Review


Published by Simon and Schuster.

What's it about?
Join Dylan on his amazing dinosaur mission
Dylan loves exploring and learning all about dinosaurs. In his amazing treehouse he has a magic journal. Every time he opens it awesome things happen - even his toy pterodactyl comes to life! They fly off on dinosaur discovery missions to the Land of Living Dinosaurs. This time they are he has to discover what secret weapon a stegosaurus has.
Review
If your little one is a fan of dinosaurs then they're going to love this book. Its full of facts about the Stegosaurus, lovely illustrations and a nice little story to showcase the facts given about this particular dinosaur, plus it solves one little mystery about the creature at the end. It's a fun book, worth adding to your little ones collection and follows in a similar series, each book focused on a different dinosaur, I haven't seen those ones for myself but judging by this one, I'd guess they're just as good.
It's lovely and colourful and comes with a pop up dinosaur for them to play with, creating extra fun, I will definitely be looking out for the other books in this series for my little boy who really enjoyed listening to me read this one to him and pointing out the pictures.



11 Aug 2014

Better than perfect - Review


Wild cards book one
Available now
bloomsbury.co.uk 

What's it about?
Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!
Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?
My review
While Better than perfect was a perfectly good read I didn't find that it held the same kind of tension as the Perfect chemistry series, the only other other series by this author that I've read. I was completely hooked to those books so of course was excited when I had the chance to read her new book and admit the bar was set pretty high for me after reading some of her previous work. But anyway, perhaps I shouldn't be comparing it to her other books and just review it for what it is.
Better than perfect was a fun read with a believable, imperfect love story. I've read many stories where the characters start off hating each other only to realise that they're actually in love and were confusing their emotions. It can get annoying and sometimes it doesn't work but in this case it did, I appreciate that Elkeles was trying to build up a tension with the two characters arguing a lot but sometimes it did feel a little flat and I didn't feel the sexual tension between them. But I enjoyed the story and read through the book quickly and will certainly be reading more in the series as they become available.
I really liked Ashtyn, she wasn't a typical heroine, she plays (American) football and can hold her own which is always something I admire in female characters, I'm not one for damsels in distress and Ashtyn certainly wasn't one of them, she has a strong head and is dedicated to her sport, not to mention how she faces the struggle of being a girl in a boys world, for example, when she goes to football camp, she is literally the only girl there, the boys don't want her and she spends a lot of the book being told football is not for girls, which just isn't true. I'm glad she was strong enough to stand up for herself and continues to keep trying.
Derek was a good protag too but I was definitely more team Ashtyn in this one.
The writing was just the quality that you'd expect from Simone Elkeles, she knows how to get to the heart of a characters emotions and I always felt like I knew what everyone was feeling which sometimes had me near screaming at the book when they were both trying to deny their emotions to themselves when it was clear as day.
I'd recommend this to any fans of the other or anyone just looking for a summer read, its a perfect beach book for your holidays.

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4 Aug 2014

Mr Brown can moo! Can you? - Review


Moo moo! Hoo hoo! Cock-a-doodle-doo! Oh, the wonderful sounds Mr. Brown can do. Now see if you can do them too! This fabulous book is ideal for teaching young children all about noises!

Review
This may be an old one but that doesn't make it any less fun. Me and the kids had fun making all the animal and other noises, doing them in the order they are in the book and trying to do them quickly and with silly voices. You can do so much more with this book than just read it, there's lots of fun to be had and I think its a perfect example of why Dr Suess' books have stood the test of time and are loved by many.
Although this is a new edition, I like that the original artwork has been kept as its a big part of what makes it recognisable as a Dr Seuss book and I couldn't imagine the artwork being any different.
This is one to add to your children's collection, both for them and yourself.

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31 Jul 2014

Divergent official illustrated movie companion - Review


Available now
harpercollins.co.uk 

What's it about?

With never-before-seen photos; personal interviews with the directors, actors, and writers; and exclusive extras, this lush, oversize volume is a true behind-the-scenes look at the filming of Divergent.

Review
The illustrated movie companion for the Divergent movie is full of beautiful images from the movie and behind the scenes. It also has some really interesting insight into what went into making the movie, like building the sets and even how much difficulty they had casting Four, I for one can say I'm glad they waited until the found the perfect actor because I couldn't imagine anyone other than Theo James playing him.
I definitely think this book would make the perfect little extra for fans of the movie and/or books who want to know a little more of how making Divergent into a movie became a reality and its amazing to see just how dedicated the whole team were in being true to the book and the lengths they went to, to make sure the sets were perfect. It makes you realise that they didn't just make the movie for themselves but for the fans too whom they also used as extras in some scenes, something I didn't know.
So, if you're looking for something to tide you over while you're waiting for the DVD release so you can watch Divergent again, I 'd recommend picking this up, if for no more reason than there are full page pictures of Four in it!


18 Jul 2014

Inside Divergent; The intiate's world - Review


Available now
www.harpercollins.co.uk 

What's it about?

This eye-catching volume takes you inside the film version of Divergent. With more than 100 photographs—many never before seen—Inside Divergent will immerse you in the thrilling dystopian world of futuristic Chicago, where you'll meet the initiates and discover the factions.

Review
This is a nice little extra for fans of the movie, although if you've read the books then don't expect to learn anything new as it only covers the basics about the factions and main characters. But it comes with some lovely glossy pictures from the movie and is still worth a look through. I particularly liked the pictures in the last section which is about Dauntless because you get to see up close some of the extra little details that went into the set for the movie and its all as I imagined. I liked the little character profiles and what's not to like about a full page picture of Four?
So I'd certainly say give this a peruse even if you're a huge fan and know all the details, it won't take long to read and will sit pretty next to your collection of the books. Its also a great intro into the world if your not familiar with it or if you need reminding of  a few facts if you haven't read the book in a while and want to brush up before watching the movie.


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