Monday, 10 September 2012

New Blog

So I'm moving all of my content to a new blog.
The idea is to start things afresh!
It may take a few days to update it with all of my reviews.
Here is the URL:
http://areadersescape.blogspot.co.uk/

Alternatively, you can click here.

Happy reading!
Kate

Moving...

Hey. I don't think I've been on since I've started uni.
I'm studying Biomedical Science at the University of Bedfordshire.
I've missed this place. Between having two part-time jobs and university, I just haven't had the time to blog. However, this year, I should be going down to one part-time job and getting Student Finance. So time for blogging - yay!
This blog feels a little dead though. I think I'm going to create a new blog and move all the content there. I'm going to revamp it, give it a new name. In short, I'm going to start things afresh. I can organise all of my reviews. With all of these reviews though, this may take a while. Plus I'm working the next two days and trying to get student finance to give me money! I will update when I have more info.
Kate

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

My New Blog is Up and Running

Yesterday I published my review of "The Chosen One" and mentioned I would be creating a new blog. My new blog is now up and running. It's called "A Life of Ramblings" and will just be my general blog. I find that sometimes I want to blog about things other than books *gasp* and this will provide me with the place to do it. It could be general day to day musings or it could be on current political issues. If you want to check it out, just click on the link: A Life of Ramblings.

Kate

Monday, 25 October 2010

Review: The Chosen One

First of all I want to say a big thank you to Jenny from the amazing blog Wondrous Reads. Seriously, check out her blog! I wouldn't have even had this book to review if it wasn't for Jenny. I won a competition on Wondrous Reads with the prize being a copy of "The Chosen One". I'd heard great things about "The Chosen One" and was really excited to read it. The second point I want to make is an apology for being away. I have a habit of blogging a lot, then leaving for months, then returning again. For that, I apologise. Thirdly, I will be setting up another blog, but there wll be more details on that in another post. Onwards with the review.

For those of you haven't heard of this book or don't know what it's about, here is the blurb:

Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in her isolated community without ever questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters; without ever questioning the strict rules imposed by 'the Prophet' who leads them.

But now Kyra has started keeping secrets. She reads books that are forbidden and sneaks away to meet Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself, instead of having a husband chosen for her.

Kyra knows that it's only a matter of time before her two secret loves are discovered. And when the Prophet decrees that she is to become the seventh wife of her sixty-year-old uncle, Kyra is forced to make a desperate choice. But saving herself means endangering everyone she's ever cared for.

How far should she go for freedom?

The subject mater is what initially attracted me to this book. It had also received quite favourable reviews from other bloggers. I found the idea of a cult quite intriguing. I have rarely come across cults in the news and have never read books on them before. Therefore, I found this book informative as well as enjoyable.

Kyra is a strong character that I admire. I was impressed that growing up in a cult hadn't affected her psychologically. She had a strong sense of right and wrong and longed for freedom. In many ways, all she really wanted was equality. Kyra's secret love, Joshua, is mentioned quite a few times in the book. He seems to really care for Kyra in a way more than a simple teenage romance. Joshua comes across as a decent guy and I found myself rooting for him and Kyra throughout the book.

The cult itself made me so angry. It was a polygamist cult (the men were encouraged to have many wives). If memory serves me correctly, they were told they had to have at least three wives to pass in to the gates of heaven. The men get to choose their wives. They are not allowed to read literature other than that given out by the Prophet. Men and women can not have a casual relationship. You do not disobey the Prophet. Women couldn't go in to a neighbouring town by themselves. Kyra grew up having to follow these rules and saw the injustice of it all.

Kyra's real problems arise when she is 'chosen' by a man i.e. she has to become their wife. Kyra is in love and can't stand the thought of marrying another man. She tries to get out of the marriage through various methods. I won't say how because that would completely ruin the plot. The plot itself is intriguing and I couldn't put the book down. I wanted to know what would happen to Kyra. I loved Kyra as a character. She is strong but wants to protect her family. In the end, she has to make a difficult choice.

Overall, this book was heartbreaking. I felt so much empathy for Kyra who continuously had to make difficult decisions. I felt sorry for the world she was born in to and the life she experienced. I feel that you can really connect with Kyra on an emotional level. This book deserves all the favourable reviews it has received and more.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Review: Wicked Lovely

Rule 3: NEVER STARE AT INVISIBLE FAERIES. Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world.

Rule 2: NEVER SPEAK TO INVISIBLE FAERIES. One of them, a beautiful faery boy named Keenan, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule 1: DON'T EVER ATTRACT THEIR ATTENTION. Now it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King and is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost. Without her, summer itself will perish.

I've heard a lot of good things about this series. I bought this book about a year ago and have only just got around to reading it. I also loved the cover. Onwards to the review...

I really wasn't sure what to expect with this book. I think I've only read one other book about faeries. The beginning confused me. There were quite a few characters (Seth, Aislinn, Donia, Grams, Keenan, Beira) and I had trouble working out who was who and how they related. However, as the book progressed, everything fell in to place and it all made sense.

My favourite character was Aislinn. She is a fiery person with a good heart. Aislinn has lived by certain rules all her life and not been adversely affected them. She also has the Sight which is a gift that runs in her family.

Seth is a caring individual but I felt like I didn't know enough about him. He was just, well, too perfect. Keenan is a character I could truly hate. I know he has to do certain things, but if I were Aislinn or one of the Summer Girls, I would not be able to forgive him.

The book centres around one main plot and as such I found it made slow reading. I could put the book down very easily.

Overall, I found Wicked Lovely to be an average book. It was readable but my interest never particularly peaked at any point in the story. I own the series so I may continue, I just hope it improves.

And I have one question for anyone who has read this book: why is it called wicked lovely?

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Review: Fortune

Madison is so over New York. Her mom won't let her have botox and she can't leave the city because her step-father is sick. Snoresville. So when she gets a mysterious invitation to a private party in Capri, held by billionaire music mogul Brad Masters, she's determined to go.

Simonetta wants her mamma off her back. Of course she's not going to give up modelling in Rome to go back to her dull little village. When she gets her invitation, she sees the chance to lose her roots forever.

Sapphire just wants to write songs and hang out in the London record shop where she works. When she's invited to Brad's party, she doesn't even want to go - but her mum seems strangely excited about it.

Madison, Simonetta and Sapphire: three girls from different worlds who are about to find out they have more in common than they think...


"Fortune" is what I'd describe as a good summer read. And for me, it helped me escape England's summer, or lack of it. After reading it, I now really want to go on holiday. So if anyone can smuggle me in their suitcase, just let me know! On to the review...

As described in the blurb, the book centres around three main characters: Simonetta, Madison and Sapphire. Madison is an American who is used to wealth. That's about the best thing I can say about her. She is manipulative, sneaky and at times a real air-head. At one point she is described as a "grade-A bitch". I couldn't agree more. Madison is a character that you love to hate.

Simonetta doesn't appear much nicer. I did warm to her though. She isn't stupid and is trying to escape the life she was born into and better herself. Simonetta is extremely devious. She'd rather get other people to do the dirty work so she couldn't be implicated if a plan failed. Simonetta has a certain dignity that Madison lacks and her mysterious way had me intrigued. She was a difficult character to work out but I liked her.

Sapphire was my favourite character. She was English, a sweet person and appreciative of beauty when she saw it. However, this also led to Sapphire being too trusting. She was easy to manipulate. But Sapphire only takes things to a limit before she gets really angry. She is not a petty person but this also means she'll take a certain amount of insults from other people. This is the disadvantage of Sapphire's sweet nature.

I enjoyed the plot of this book. It was set against a stunning background which made me even happier. I don't know if I've mentioned before but I love reading about beautiful places. As the story unfolded, I decided I hated Brad Masters; you'll have to read the book to find out why. The story moved at a good pace with enough action to keep you engaged. Fortune was an easy and enjoyable read. As soon as I put it down I wanted to return to the beautiful world inside "Fortune".

Overall, "Fortune" is the ideal summer read for those lazy days under the sun. It's easy to read and the ending will leave you with a smile on your face.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Something Important

I recently heard about the changing of Cindy Pon's covers. There is no doubt in my mind that they have been whitewashed, an attempt to appeal to a broader market. The question is: why? Why did those in charge feel the need to take the beautiful hardback cover of Silver Phoenix and change it when they decided to sell the paperback? I think most people would agree the harback for Silver Phoenix is stunning. Why fix something that isn't broken? The sad thing is, this isn't the first time this has happened. I imagine most people will remember the "Liar" controversy.

This really saddens me.

Below are a couple of links where I learnt of the changes. Check them out. They're amazing:
http://tinyurl.com/34hs63l
http://tinyurl.com/2bvp9gk

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Review: Torment

How many lives must you live before you find someone to die for?

Lucinda is sure that she and Daniel are meant to be together forever. Now, in this sequel to the bestselling Fallen, they are forced apart in a desperate bid to save Luce from The Outcasts - immortals who want her dead. As she discovers more about her past lives Luce starts to suspect that Daniel is hiding something. What if he has lied to her about their shared past? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

Before I start with the review I just want to say one thing... LOOK AT THAT COVER! Seriously, I fell in love with it when I first laid eyes on it. It's beautiful.

Don't get me wrong, I loved Torment but I did have a few niggling issues with it so I'm going to have a different layout for my review today. I'm tired and so my review today may seem a little haphazard. I'm going to apologise in advance for that. I like to end on a positive note so I'll start with the negatives.

Dislikes

I had been rotting for Cam in the previous book before I knew what he was. And although my opinion of Cam may have changed, I still don't like Daniel. In fact, I was warming to him at the end of Fallen. Now, however, Daniel really irritates me. This may turn in to a rant. He never tells Luce anything which is dangerous. If he knew her well, he'd know that she will just search for the truth, even if that leads to dangerous situation. He also seems quite happy to leave her at the end of an argument with no consideration of her feelings and not once do I recall him saying sorry.

This paragraph is a spoiler so please move on to the next one if you don't want "Torment" ruined. I've never really been a fan of love triangles. In "Fallen" it was generally quite intriguing. In "Torment" it felt a little cliche. Two guys swooning over one girl who thinks she is nothing special. It brought back memories of "The Twilight Saga". Of course, you can't compare the two in my mind, after all, I didn't read "Torment" wanting to repeatedly bang my head against the wall as was the case with "The Twilight Saga". *hears die hard twilight fans unsheathing their swords and hides in my room* *also wonders why I think they'd have swords *

In my mind it's natural to draw similarities between books. So when Luce entered a world where she was famous and didn't know why, I thought of Harry Potter. It was "The Twilight Saga" I mainly thought about. Spoiler coming up -----> Particularly when they talked about Team Miles and Team Daniel shirts.

Loves

I'm done with the negatives and my ranting now. It's time to move on to what I loved about this book. It may sound strange but I love the setting of this book. I could actually imagine myself in this warm sunny place near a beautiful ocean. I love being transported to beautiful places in books. I also found it really easy to connect to Luce. Her emotions were understandable, she wasn't whiny and she wasn't afraid to confront people if necessary. As I'm on the subject of characters, I would like to talk about Shelby. I adored her. Unless you've read "Torment" you'll not have heard of Shelby before. She is bad-ass, caring and gifted at yoga. And then there's Miles: the cute, caring guy who listens to Luce and is there for her. I'm fond and a little bit cautious of Miles.

The plot ran quite smoothly throughout the truce. I was intrigued about what Daniel was doing but there was plenty of action going on in Luce's life. I enjoyed learning more about angels, demons and outcasts during the book. Everything was relevant to the story. As corny as it sounds, I felt like I was going on a journey with Luce.

"Torment" had me hooked. I started this book today... and finished it today. I couldn't put it down. When I read the Harry Potter series there was a feeling of tremendous joy that I got. A feeling I thought no book could even come close to delivering. I was wrong. The "Fallen" series have brought about the same magical feeling in me that I got when I read the "Harry Potter" series. And coming from me, that's a huge compliment.

Conclusion

I said earlier that I loved "Torment" and I wasn't lying. There were some niggling issues which kept popping up in my head during the book. As enjoyable as it was, I felt it would be unfair of me not to include these issues in my review. Overall, I loved "Torment" but I think I prefer Fallen. There's no doubt that in my mind that if you loved "Fallen" you'll enjoy "Torment". I would still rate "Fallen" and "Torment" as a couple of my favourite books and I think they should be part of a new smash hit series. I bought my friend "Fallen" for her birthday and she absolutely loved it. We then went shopping where she bought "Fallen" for another friend's birthday. The joy this series brings in contagious. So after reading this, please don't doubt I love this book. But feel free to make up your own minds on whether or not you want to read it.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Review: Beastly

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright - a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever - ruined - unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly... beastly.

I'm going to start off by telling you why I wanted to read this book. Belle was always my favourite princess. I never did like the blonde ones. She loved books, was sweet by nature and able to see the beauty in people. So a book which is a modernised version of Beauty and the Beast caught my attention easily enough. The second reason is Alex Pettyfer. Okay, I'll admit now, I do like him. And I knew he was going to play Kyle in the film later this year, so I thought I'd read the book first. But onwards to the review...

The main character is Kyle Kingsbury. He is the perfect looking guy in school. Kyle is top of the social ladder and is son to a rich news-presenter. But to say Kyle was perfect would be a lie. Firstly, he lives a life where his father cares more about work than his son and takes little interest in his life. His father is concerned mainly with his life and his reputation. Secondly, Kyle is generally quite a nasty and spiteful person. He has a large ego and is aware of the power he has over people. What I liked about Kyle is that he was realistic as a character. There are shallow and spoilt people out there so it wasn't as if he was difficult to picture.

Having seen the film "Beauty and the Beast" before, I knew what the general plot would be. However, I didn't know any of the finer details or how Alex Flinn would modernise this classic. I think Alex Flinn did a very good job of keeping this book relevant. I did have a few problems with this book though. I felt that for such a short plot, the book was quite long. I enjoyed seeing the relationship between the beast and the beauty (I won't put the name so I don't spoil it) develop, however, I did think it was dragging on at parts. I'm generally not a very patient person so this may be less of an issue with other people. Knowing the plot also meant that I was waiting for certain parts to happen.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I love the story of Beauty and the Beast and I love the modern version. This book was good but not great. There was just something it lacked. If you like the story of Beauty and the Beast I recommend it.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Review: Trash

I was surprised and overjoyed to receive "Trash" by Andy Mulligan in the post. With such a unique title, I was intrigued before I'd even read the blurb. Here is the blurb:

I've been picking up trash since I could crawl, and people always say 'maybe one day you'll find something special'. Then one day I did.

Raphael Fernandez is fourteen years old and part of the slum that barely makes a living on the mountains of the dumpsite. No education and no prospects: a lifetime of sifting through rubbish.

Then, out of the blue, he finds a key.

Keys open doors, and soon Raphael and his friends are just one step ahead of a desperate and dangerous police force. The three boys hold the key to a deadly secret. It leads to corruption, unimaginable wealth, and one man's mission to put right a terrible wrong.

Children can't be children when their lives are at stake... they have to be heroes.

I said previously I was intrigued before I'd even read the blurb. After reading the blurb, I was hooked. Here is my review:

There are quite a few essential characters in this book but I will mention only three. The first is Raphael, a boy who has spent his life sifting through rubbish to find things to sell. Raphael is a caring character who is, in my opinion, rather intelligent. He sticks by what he says but at times seems fearful of following through. Raphael is a rather lovable character.

The second character I will introduce you to is Gardo, Raphael's best friend. Gardo is the more serious of the two friends. He is brave and prepared to stick with Raphael through thick and thin. The third character I wish to introduce you to is Jun-Jun AKA Rat. He is so named because he lives in an area surrounded by rats and people think he looks like one. Rat has no family unlike many of the other people on the dumpsite. He is easily my favourite character. Rat is smart, brave and has dreams of living a better life. He sticks with Raphael and Gardo is trusting.

The story is set in Behala, and in particular, the dumpsite where Raphael lives. It is clear that the country is an LEDC given the description of the slums. The story follows Raphael as he makes a discovery which will turn his world upside-down. To tell you what was found would be to ruin the story. However, I will tell you that the repercussions of this discovery are potentially fatal to all those involved. As the story continues, the situation becomes more tense and the results more dire.

This book had me hooked. If I had to describe it in three words I would probably describe it as a 'feel-good book'. The change in narratives meant it never grew dull and everything written was relevant to the plot. You have to read this book if only for the ending. I finished reading this book with a smile on my face.