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.

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack

Hi everybody! I'm back after being gone for aaaaages.

I missed this place :D

It's summertime! Yesterday I found myself wondering why I wasn't doing anything constructive between my shifts at work. Then the obvious hit me. I haven't read in a very long time and I have so many amazing books that have been waiting patiently for my attention.

Thanks for all your patience! You may be able to tell from my writing, I've had some caffeine. I'm currently reading "Trash" by Andy Mulligan and I should hopefully have a review up tomorrow if not sooner. Happy reading!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Review: Solace of the Road


My first thought when I saw this book was how pretty the cover is. I love the dress (or skirt). "Solace of the Road" was released in 2009 but the new rejacketed version (as seen on the left) is released Spring 2010. Unfortunately, Siobhan Dowd passed away in 2007 because of cancer. So when you buy a book that's written by Siobhan Dowd, the royalties will go to the Siobhan Dowd Trust. The Siobhan Dowd Trust aims to bring the joy of reading and stories to children who have no access to books and reading, especially children in care and other unfairly disadvantaged young people.

Here is the blurb for Solace of the Road:
I put the wig on and I thought myself into Solace. I was Solace the Unstoppable, the smooth-walking, sharp-talking glamour girl, and I was heading into a red sky thumb out and fag in hand.

Holly is sick of being told what to do. She's ditching her old life and she's heading off. She puts on her blonde wig, blows herself a kiss and flutters her eyelashes. And now she's ready. She's Solace, Solace of the road.

I wasn't at all sure of what this book was about when I read the blurb. However, when I started reading things started making sense. The first chapter starts off at certain event. And then the next chapters are from beforehand and what has lead up to the event. Once you've caught up with the story, the story progresses. I prefer books where you just enjoy the story as it progresses and the time unravels in a linear way. Otherwise, I'm just waiting until I've caught up the entire time. However, I was intrigued as to how Holly had got in to her current predicament.

The main character is Holly. Holly was taken away by social services when she was young and has grown up in care. She has previously been fostered by a couple before who had other children and hated it. Holly's deepest desire is to meet her mam in Ireland. She has a key worker who she really likes but he has to leave. Holly is really insecure and struggles with her emotions. She is fostered by a new couple but she doesn't believe they really want her. Holly as a character is okay if you're reading because you can understand her emotions. But I imagine if you met her in real life you might get frustrated.

We aren't really told why Holly was taken by social services apart from her own reasoning. However, as the story progresses you get the impression that she has less than stellar memories. But she shoves them in to a box in her mind. The story unfolds quite quickly which I like. I don't feel like I'm waiting around for something to happen.

I enjoyed this story and I really liked the ending. I've had mixed feelings over some of Siobhan Dowd's work before having loved "Bog Child" but not being as keen on "A Swift Pure Cry". Overall, I would recommend this book. I'm interested in becoming a social worker when I'm older so this book was particularly interesting to me. I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide

I've wanted to read "The Spiderwick Chronicles" for a long time. So I thought where better to start than the first book "The Spiderwick Chronicles Book 1 The Field Guide" by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black. It's going to be a long time until I finish this series because I only have the first book and am cutting back on book buying. If you don't know what the first book is about, here is the blurb:

We are very proud (and a bit wary) to announce the publication of The Spiderwick Chronicles. But beware, the faeries will use all their power to stop you from reading these books. Book 1 of The Spiderwick Chronicles in which Mallory, Simon and Jared get acquainted with their new home but find many unexpected things. It all starts when Jared Grace find their great uncle's book, "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You." and realises that are not alone in their new house. Now the Grace kids want to tell their story but the faeries will do everything to stop them...Its up to you to spread the word about their discovery. But heed their warnings, wear some red, turn your clothes inside out - all anti-faerie devices - and get ready to enter a world that you never knew existed...Its closer than you think!

I wasn't entirely sure what this book was about before I bought it. I knew there was a film about it and I'd seen clips of it. I'd glimpsed an intriguing world so I thought I'd ask for this book for Christmas. The main three characters are Jared, Simon and Mallory. I occasionally got confused between Jared and Simon. Mallory is the one who loves fencing and is also the oldest. I liked Mallory because I've tried fencing and I can see why she loves it. Jared is the bravest of the boys and I like him. He seems to be the one who always gets the blame for things though as he's been in trouble lately at school. Simon is a great animal lover and is the reader out of the two brothers. But it's Jared who finds "Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide".

The plot of this story is quite good. However, not a lot happens in this book. I imagine the story will unfold a lot more in the coming books. But as a singular book, the amount of content wasn't particularly impressive. I'd like to read the remaining chronicles and then see the film. This book was enjoyable but I don't think it's worth reading unless you plan to read all the chronicles. I read this a few days after Christmas so my memory is a little sketchy but I flicked through it as it didn't take me long to read originally.

Overall, I'm giving this book 3 stars out of 5 stars. I'd like to give it more as it was enjoyable but there just wasn't enough content in the book.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Review: The Splendor Falls


I was really surprised to receive "The Splendor Falls" by Rosemary Clement-Moore in the post! I'm going to assume it came from Random House, so thank you Random House! Here is the blurb for "The Splendor Falls":


Sylvie Davis is a ballerina who can't dance. A broken leg ended her career, but what broke her heart was her father's death, and what's breaking her spirit is her mother's remarriage.

Still reeling, Sylvie is shipped off to stay with relatives in the back of beyond. Or so she thinks, in fact she ends up in a town rich with her family's history... and as it turns out her family has a lot more history than Sylvie ever knew. More unnerving, though, are the two guys she can't stop thinking about. Shawn Maddox, the resident golden boy, is the expected choice. But handsome and mysterious Rhys has a hold on her that she doesn't quite understand.

Then Sylvie starts seeing things - a girl by the lake and a man with dark unseeing eyes peering in through the window... Sylvie's lost nearly everything - is she starting to lose her mind as well?

I'd read the blurb before but it was a while before I read the book. Before I read the book all I remembered was the end to Sylvie's dancing career. And in a way, I much prefer reading this way. I'm not waiting for certain events to happen and I can just enjoy the story as it goes along.

I like Sylvie as a character but I think there will be quite a few people who don't. She doesn't sugarcoat things and tells things as they are (rather like my own sister). I like Sylvie's cutting remarks and the way she responds when people insult her. She's also quite an intelligent person. I sympathise with Sylvie because she has just had her whole world come crashing down. I enjoy dance too but I'm nowhere near as passionate nor experienced as Sylvie. Rhys is a Welsh heartthrob. He's kind and Sylvie can't tell why he feels so familiar. There's also Shawn, a local gorgeous boy with a Tom Sawyer kind of charm. The town all seem to love Shawn who has his eyes set on Sylvie. But Sylvie is not so keen.

The plot follows Sylvie as she is shipped off to Alabama. It took me a while to work out my bearings. Sylvie had originally left New York. I worked out in the book that Yankee just means someone from New York (lots of us Brits or Limeys - we have many nicknames - believe it just refers to an American person). Sylvie starts seeing what can only be described as ghosts. She had previously had to see a shrink so she starts rationalising - after all, who wants to believe they're crazy. But as the presence she feels starts getting worse and there is actual violence towards a member of the household, Sylvie has to start unravelling the mystery of the woman who runs through the woods towards the sound of the baby crying and the man with black eyes who watches from the balcony.

This book is quite long (about 500 pages or so) and as such I could put it down, even if I do like reading a book in one sitting. I loved reading the story as it unfolded. However, there is a lot of history of the town involved. I could keep up but wasn't able to absorb all of the facts, and don't recommend other readers try. I got the gist of this book but there were some really fine details which - although it makes the story interesting - it seems to make the story too compact. If you're not familiar with ballet or dance terms, you may get frustrated reading this book as quite a few are brought up. I didn't mind this because I recognised a few terms and the others I googled.

Overall, I give this book 3 out of 5 stars

- I also want to say that I really don't think this book will be liked by everyone. I think it's going to be a little like marmite, you'll either hate it, love it, or a little of both. -

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Review: Girl, Aloud

I loved reading "Girl, Aloud" by Emily Gale. If you're not familiar with the story, here is the blurb:

This is serious.
This is big.
Dad has finally lost it.
He's entered me for The X Factor.
This would be slightly less of a crisis if:

1. I could sing.
2. Any part of me wanted to be a star.
3. I hadn't lost my two best friends over a boy in brown boots.

Inside I'm screaming, I just wannabe... me!

I loved this book. I picked it up and just expected a fun read. What I found was an amazing book. When I picked up this book I was a little prejudiced. I expected it to be light and fluffy. In contrast, I found a book with a lot of depth. It touches upon some important issues e.g. the effects of having a bi-polar parent and what can happen if a boy goes too far when you tell him to stop.

The protagonist is a teenager called Kass. She's a fun person who deals with everything the best she can. Kass also has two best friends: Izzy and Char. Izzy has been seeing a therapist since her parents split up and as such, tends to psychoanalyse people and their problems. Char is the quite and kind one.

I never realised that Kass' dad had bi-polar until it was pointed out. I guessed it was some kind of mental illness but had difficulty pinning down which one as my knowledge on the subject isn't that great. I think the book does raise a great issue. At one point it focuses on how people joke about mental illness. And I think it's still true to say there is a fair amount of stigma surrounding mental illness. Not far from the end another big issue is raised where Kass decides where her loyalties lie. However, I can't go in to this without spoiling the book.

I had real trouble putting this book down because I wanted to see how Kass would deal with all her problems and the mounting pressure as The X Factor drew nearer. Overall, I would give this book: 4 out of 5 stars

Friday, 19 February 2010

Review: Monster Republic

I was really curious read to "Monster Republic" by Ben Horton when I first saw it. The cover and bold font promise action and the challenge written on the front cover "Have you got the guts?" only spurred me on. Here's the blurb:

An explosion in a nuclear power plant.

Kids patched up with scavenged body parts and bionic implants.

A growing army of superhuman soldiers programmed for destruction.

Cameron Riley is about to discover that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...

I can see this book as the perfect gift for boys who don't like reading. It's got action, it's not too long, the font is relatively big and at the end there is a comic version of everything that has happened in the story. I love the illustrations by Christian Scheurer.

The story centres around Cameron Riley. He's an athletic guy who genuinely seems quite sweet. Cameron's going out with prettiest girl in his class, Marie Lyons. Unfortunately, he has also made himself a bit of an enemy with the school bully Carl Monkton. My favourite character in the book is Smarts, a blind kid that cracks sight jokes. Things are simple in Cameron's world, that is until the day of the accident...

When a school trip goes wrong, Cameron awakens to see "mechanical components exposed through tears in his skin" and "the emotionless O of the mouth of a gun barrel". Obviously he's scared about what has been done to him. Cameron trusts a stranger to help him escape from the place that has done this to him. After being shunned by his family, Cameron finds hope in a group called the Monster Republic. There are others like him and he's not doomed to have to live alone. However, he must still stay hidden from the public. But what if the Monster Republic isn't everything it's cracked up to be?

The pace of this book is quite fast which I like. It meant that it was hard to put down as there was constantly something I wanted to see resolved. The ending left me on tenterhooks. Cameron is offered something by the man who took away his old life if he'd only change sides. This book is the start of a series. I'd like to see the story progress in the sequel and see how Cameron feels about the man who has changed his life forever. On the negative, I just wish a little more had happened. I could have done with the book being a little longer.

Overall, I would give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.

Today's Task

I'm going to finish "The Splendor Falls" by Rosemary Clement-Moore. And then I have four reviews I am going to write up. I'll schedule them over the four days. The reviews will be of "Monster Republic", "Girl, Aloud", "The Splendor Falls" and "The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide". If I have time, I shall do some more reading.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Recommendations?

Okay, I've enjoyed lots of books. But the two series that I first read and fell in love with are the Alex Rider series and the Harry Potter series. I started both of these series when I was quite young. I loved the action in the Alex Rider series.

I don't know what it is I love about the Harry Potter series. It's just... everything. It was a whole new magical world. The storyline and characters had me captivated. I genuinely cared for the characters. I cried and laughed throughout the series and was shocked by twists and turns. I grew up with this series and waited at midnight to get it! It will always be a series with a special place in my heart. Children everywhere do owe JK Rowling a lot.

But my question is, I've read and enjoyed these books, I wanted to know if anyone can recommend something that is similar? Not necessarily in storyline but something that will compete for the top spot as my favourite book series? And just a quick question for anyone who has read the Lord of the Rings series, what are the orders of the books because I'm not sure if the Hobbit is related? And is the series by J.R.R. Tolkien any good?

Today's Task...

Catch up on other people's blogs!
Not too difficult. I take Lent seriously. Not because I'm really religious, I just like to challenge myself. For example, for my New Year's Resolution I decided to give up chocolate for a year. I'm the biggest chocoholic ever but I'm still going strong!

As for Lent, I'm giving up biscuits, crisps and ice cream. What is everyone else giving up?

Contrary to popular belief...

I am alive. I've just taken the hugest blogging break ever. I tried to focus on my grades. But after still failing, I decided it was pointless. Who am I kidding? I even managed to procrastiante for studying, I've just been lazy. So if you've sent me any emails and I haven't replied, it's not that I'm ignoring you, it's just that I haven't checked my emails in months.

Lent has started. As well as giving stuff up, I'm gonna start something. I must do one thing blog related a day whether it be some reading or writing a post. I've set goals before, but this one is achievable :)

Monday, 25 January 2010

Fallen Footage

You've seen pictures of what the Fallen team did. Now you can watch the videos!

Video 1: The Stunt



Video 2: Lauren Kate interview



Video 3: Hear an Extract of Fallen

Sunday, 24 January 2010

How cool are the Fallen Publicity team?!

I'm guessing that most of you have heard of Fallen by Lauren Kate. For those who haven't, here is the blurb:

Daniel's gaze caught hers, and her breath caught in her throat. She recognized him from somewhere. But she would have remembered meeting someone like him. She would have remembered feeling as absolutely shaken up as she did right now.

But what do you do when the person you've spent your whole life looking forkeeps slipping out of your grasp? What if the person you are meant to be with can never be yours?

Dangerously addictive and darkly romantic, FALLEN is the ultimate gothic love story - a page turning thriller about fallen angels.



I reviewed this book a while back and absolutely loved it. So what have the publicity team been up to since then?

On the 11th December, (sorry this is a really late post but it's worth it), the Fallen Army took to the streets of London with their very own Fallen Angel to spread the word that Angels are the new Vampires!

The army targeted shoppers outside Topshop, Oxford Circus then walked down Regent Street to Piccadilly Circus handing out copies of the books – in total the army gave out 150 copies! Each book contained a specially designed Fallen postcard directing people to the fiercebook site. The Fallen Angel braved the freezing temperatures and attracted quite a crowd!

The army then popped into the Heat offices on Shaftesbury Avenue and gave a copy to one of the girls from Heat plus one to the lovely receptionist who let the photographer take lots of snaps in the office. More magazine are also based there so the army personally delivered them a copy too. After leaving a few copies lying about on tables in reception the army left to a chorus of ‘There’s a naked man in reception!!’ from a group of ladies peering round the office doors.

Finally the army walked through the Christmas Market on Piccadilly to the small courtyard behind and took a few final photos of their brooding Fallen Angel.

Here is a picture of he gorgeous guy who wore the angel wings:


There are many better quality images of the day out here. Watch it! There's more snaps of the guy ;)

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Monster Republic

My review, which will be up in about an hour (because that's how long they take me to write) shall be of Monster Republic by Ben Horton. Here is the trailer to enjoy until then =)

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Coming Soon...

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and a Happy New Year. I shall be back on Friday 15th January - after my exams. I have a review of "The Monster Republic" and first Spiderwick Chronicle book to come.