Monday, 6 June 2016

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep Book Review

Bright Blaze of Magic by Jennifer Estep



In general the book is a good ending to the trilogy and wrapped up things in a way which had the right amount of closure and wanting for another book.

Firstly there was a ton of action in the book which isn’t surprising but given the events in the book it was well written and better than the other books. Also the book was way more violent than expected especially in comparison to the previous books. Which isn’t a bad thing, at first it’s surprising because the book is written in a softer tone than what’s in the content but then you get used to it and it’s a good mix.  
From the previous book there is a lot of focus on the black blades and I expected this to carry on because of Victor’s plan however I’m thankful they got that part of the story over with quickly because I didn’t want the main plot or fight scene to be about Victor using the black blades.

I liked the little Loch Ness Monster link and its importance in the book.

The romance in the book is cute for both couples and there weren’t any arguments which caused a break up to be a plotline.

One annoying thing in the book and the rest of the trilogy is the fact whenever she mentions appearances of characters etc Felix she always comments on his good looks and then compares them to Devon…it gets annoying after a while.

Also the book did follow stereotypes etc the bad guy aka Victor unleashing his ultimate power and his origin story linked to Lila by her mum, Serena.  Also the outcome of the book was predictable.

★★★★

Friday, 3 June 2016

Why I Went Back by James Clammer Book Review

Why I Went Back by James Clammer


“People hear messages from other places. Voices. They might not want anything to do with them, but that doesn’t stop the messages coming. "

Why I Went Back is written in a certain style but the novel has this element of magic in it which doesn’t suit the book. The book starts off well with the feel of a realistic novel from a male teen perspective with the issues he faces, the bike being stolen and then the chase to the building. However I didn’t like the main story. It was really weird and dragged on because it was mixed in with the subplot of the undelivered mail. The friendship was out of the blue with both of the minor characters and the story of mental illness wasn’t really truly focused on. The story behind the prisoner would have been good if the story wasn’t boring.


★★☆☆☆

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan Book Review

Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan


“Everyone thinks they know how everyone else is, but they’re usually wrong. People see what they want to see. It makes everything easier.”

Don’t Get Caught is a fun novel with the entire aspect of pulling pranks and I really liked how the pranks were planned/played out and how Max linked them to rules he followed from movies surrounding heists/scams. I liked the group that formed and how each of them had this different aspect they brought to the gang and their individual prank. Also the cat and mouse game with Max and his gang vs the Chaos Club was fun to read as they both tried to out each other and extract revenge. Plus I liked the ending with the video reveal.

What I didn’t like was how Max’s feelings towards Ellie, it was so instant and cringe worthy to the extent that his idolisation made the twist in the book so predictable. Another thing is with the way the book is written about a high school boy facing daily struggles the book wasn’t realistic and the school principle and town police force were are joke. Plus the whole pranks gone to the extreme and MC debating on his morals is such a cliché.

  ★★★☆☆

Monday, 30 May 2016

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry Book Review

Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry


“The boy everyone sees, but nobody knows is with the girl who everybody knows, but nobody sees.”  

If you’re into MC romance or just a general bad boy and good girl romance this book is probably for you. Breanna and Razor are photographed when they’re in a seemingly compromising position and from then onwards Breanna is blackmailed to do someone’s school papers.

The characters both seem to live different lifestyles but they have things in mainly surrounding their families and their baggage. The book does deal with some important issues which I think is essential in particular with Breanne’s situation and how easy it is for a guy to ruin a girl’s reputation with a picture like that.

There’s a subplot surrounding Razor’s mum which gives the book something other than romance which is good. However the main plot is on the slow build up of the romance which is full of stereotypes and angst but with a book like this you expect it. The good thing about this book is, mainly about ¾ of the book the characters have a big argument and thankfully in the book there was little to no arguments.

Generally just a fun book to read

“Don’t let your fears create walls or define you.”  


  ★★★☆☆

Absence From Blogging II

Absence From Blogging II

I made a post a while back explaining why I wasn’t blogging because I was busy and how I was determined to start blogging again. That was an epic fail! However now I’m done with a majority of my exams and have some time off school, I can finally start reading and blogging again. This time I’m way more determined to blog. 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor Book Review

Nora and Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor


“We stay in this never land between our two beds.
  
I think the synopsis of the novel is a bit misleading. I was hoping to do a bit of reading...just until the 2 characters officially meet but here’s the thing, they don’t properly meet until about 60% of the novel.

 The beginning of the book is way too rushed; slam bam in the middle of a certain major event and it’s very sudden which is off putting to me but as the book continues there’s good character building/world building especially surrounding Kettle.

As you’d probably guess the book is a retelling of Peter Pan but it’s done in a way in which we see more into Nora’s life and Kettle’s life and the situation they’re put in. Their lives are full of situations which a child/teenager should never be in which fits the idea of Peter Pan and running away.

When they do finally meet it has a good built up and the aftermath is this cute bit where Kettle is afraid that Nora won’t settle in to his lifestyle but she’s just grateful to be away from her old life.

However similar to the start the ending was rushed with the romance and the happy ending which didn’t suit the book.


  ★★★☆☆

Monday, 4 April 2016

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin Book Review

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin


“Because she was the predator this time. Not the prey. Never again.

Wolf by Wolf follows Yael as she impersonates Adele Wolfe to enter a tournament. Adele is the past winner of the tournament – a motorcycle tour from Berlin to Tokyo in the post war1956 where Hitler won WW2 – Yael’s mission is to win the tour and kill Hitler.

Yael is one of two girls in the competition and I’m thankful the author didn’t go down the cliché route with focusing on the fact she’s different from other girls.  She also isn’t portrayed as the perfect/innocent main character – she does kill and injure and these flaws shape the person she is. With Yael and the other characters not all the information about them was given at once which was good as it was it interesting to learn things about them further on in the book.

This book is really tense which is expected as it’s a book surrounding a competition but the way it’s built up is good and it’s not too over the top or too little. Plus there are many secrets that are revealed throughout the novel with a twist ending.

The concept of the book surrounds the fact that Hitler won the war. The world building was good and shows what Hitler did after the war and how he’s like now. It was interesting historical background and I liked the concept.

The writing style is really easy to read with a mix of present and past chapters to link the story. The portrayal of the race and the general plot made the book enjoyable.


  ★★★★

Monday, 28 March 2016

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews Book Review

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


“Of course it’s girly…My room doesn’t have no James Bond in no…thong”

Greg is just a normal teenager who spends his time making films with his friend and trying to blend in at high school. That is until his old friend, Rachel is diagnosed with leukaemia and his mum forces him to reconnect with her. The book is full of awkward, funny and relatable moments. The plot is based around his relationship with Rachel and how it first started until the present day.

There’s different ways in which books deal with cancer and this has got to be the most honest and refreshing one I’ve read. Greg is forced to hang out with Rachel because she’s dying and in this situation the book goes down a different route than any other YA novel.

Greg as the narrator makes the book funny and interesting as he’s such an awkward character.  He’s so honest throughout the novel which makes the book better as its not cheesy then. He knows that he doesn’t know Rachel well enough, he knows his films suck, he knows his friendship with Earl is based solely on filmmaking and he knows he’s completely out of his element when dealing with Rachel.

There is no deep meaningful message in the book – it’s not a survival story or a story where Greg learns something important in the end. This book avoids death and instead focuses on humour and friendship.

The focus of the book isn’t on Rachel and at the end of the story we know very little about her which is something Greg actually recognizes. The surrounding characters are each given one personality trait which develops in the book so we get to know them. Plus Earl is really funny too.

The book is told in different narrative methods which link to Greg’s filmmaking which is a nice touch.

Also the ending was good. It showed this element of moving on although I do like the movie’s ending.


 ★★★★★  

Monday, 7 March 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Book Review

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


“So this really was where the stories came to life. Heroes and monsters come to fight and die for the Rebel Prince”

The novel starts off with Amani joining a shooting contest in order to win money so she can leave her dead end town for a bigger and brighter city.  The story isn’t bad but it just follows a lot of ya novel clichés.

The start of the book was probably the best part. Amani is in the final 3 of the contest when things go down and it’s this chaotic scenario leading to a hasty escape. Trouble follows when an army comes to town looking for a fugitive who is linked to her. Eventually she escapes with the help of Jin, the fugitive.

The book was action packed and the pace was fast making the book easy to read. The writing style is enjoyable and Amani isn’t a ‘perfect’ character which is refreshing. Some of her decisions aren’t ‘good’ and this goes against what we expect from MC however in her situation it’s realistic.

 The book was fun to read but it had so many clichés that after finishing it, the book wasn’t memorable. Clichés include; MC has hidden power, MC has been lied to by love interest, MC has special talents which save her all the time and MC is run out of her home.

Also there’s this repeat of this basic plot used in a lot of YA novel where the first half is spent learning about a rebel group and then journeying to the rebellion base and the second half is the MC joining the rebellion and defeating the villain. The problem with this plot isn’t just that it’s overused; it’s also makes the novel way too rushed as a lot of things are crammed in.

The romance was good. It wasn’t rushed but slowly built up however the first kiss was something out of a cheesy teen movie.   

 The book is probably one of the only books where I want a prequel which involves the trials that the Rebel Prince faced also the history/beliefs in this book are really interesting and I hope it’s expanded in the following books.


★★★☆☆  

Monday, 29 February 2016

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich Book Review

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich


“But when no one will believe you, you become the liar they think you are.”

The Dead House has an interesting concept with the different presentation of narratives and the plot being based around events from the past and told from someone who supposedly doesn’t exist.

The novel had a good start with the incident being revealed and the sisters being in a mental illness hospital with the slow built up of their relationship to themselves and their doctor. The girls are allowed to move to school for their final year and this is where the sisters life start to differentiate. Carly is diagnosed with DID – Dissociative Identity Disorder where after her parents death, trauma has created an alternative version of her to protect her mind from bad things. So Carly lives the day whilst her ‘twin sister’ Kaitlyn comes out at night.  However the sisters have been this way before their parent’s death.

Half way through the novel something significant happens which is pretty surprising but after that the book goes downhill. There’s this build up of mystery but it’s too empowering and makes the book drag on and so boring. All these events occur and it’s just a continuous built up of mystery with no answers being given. There is essentially little plot going on.

Worse of all the two big reveals on who is behind it/their reasoning behind it and what happened to her parents is so disappointing.  
☆☆☆☆

Friday, 19 February 2016

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure Book Review

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure


“So I hope he never does kiss me. That would be nothing but a disaster.”

My first issue with the novel is that the focus is mostly on the romance and I didn’t like the romance. The love interest is presented as the typical best friend brother – he’s cute looking, nice and an athlete – he’s also got a serious girlfriend. So cheating is involved. Also the romance was weird because Lucille was so deeply in love with him, her words presented her as the definition of love sick. It wasn’t fun to read…it was more creepy than cute. Also near the end their romance turned way too dramatic and I just didn’t care for it.

The book is fast paced and I finished it really quickly but there are so many different plotlines in the book and some of them are pointless and others don’t really have a good ending to them. The main plot is then overrun by these other subplots and so there’s not that much of a story more just conversations between people.

Also I didn’t like the best friend’s plotline – it just felt like a cliché and unrealistic with how the friend was being presented. It felt like the author just wanted to get rid of her so her brother could take her place. Plus that ending was slightly predictable.

The writing style was lacking something so the characters apart from Lucille and her sister all fell flat.

What I did like was the sister’s relationship I thought it was really cute and also the “angels” aspect.

★★☆☆☆

Thursday, 18 February 2016

The Young Elites by Marie Lu Book Review

The Young Elites by Marie Lu


 “I have made a full circle and I have not escaped my fate at all.”

Adelina is rescued from execution by the Dagger Society for being a malfetto and committing murder. Her rescuers are the Young Elite a group of special malfettos with gifts and Adelina discovers her powers are in their rank. Teren, an inquisitioner who captured her starts to blackmail her to betray the Young Elites.

The best thing about this book is the character development. Adelina starts off as very insecure, not only in herself but in her powers and then she undergoes this near death experience, training and not only does her ability build but her personality does as well. The thing about Adelina is that she isn’t perfect or the chosen one – she’s the underdog of sorts. Her power is mainly effective when she’s close to death or experiencing fear so she is quite a dark character and add to the point that she’s willing to sacrifice other people’s lives for her goals makes a MC that’s not conventional and very ambitious to prove herself and save herself.

The plot is very interesting because Adelina stumbles into the Young Elite’s life when they’re planning to overtake the current monarchy and so she’s treated as the outsider. The good thing about Adelina is that although she admires the Young Elite she doesn’t idolise them so the way they’re presented isn’t all positive which helps build the image of the Dagger Society as grey ground – helping people that will benefit their cause. Also the multi-perspectives in the novel help build the overall story as we see different aspects of what is going on.

There are a lot of side characters – members of the Dagger Society and they’re presented by how they treat Adelina. But it’s refreshing to see Adelina build friendships with other females and it’s not all hate on hate.

The romance in the book is predictable and really cringe worthy to read. Their relationship and interactions are awkward to read but I liked how slow it was built and how it didn’t overtake the plotline.

I loved the sister’s relationship near the end of the novel and their shared connection.

The ending of the book had something I didn’t expect but I loved how the events although were sad made Adelina decide to do something which is set up for the next book. The epilogue links to something that happens previously in the book and I can guess on what it might involve… but you never know.

“How do you shut out a scream that comes from inside your mind?”


★★★★☆  

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard Book Review

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


“You want me to pin my entire operation, the entire revolution, on some teenaged love story?”

Mare’s just an average Red girl until the day she gets a job working for the Silver’s in the Silver Palace and during the Queenstrial discovers she has powers linked to electricity. However only Silvers have powers so to cover for her the King and Queen force Mare into being Mareena Titanos, a Silver from a long lost family, and she’s engaged to the second Prince.   

This book took me a long long time to read mainly because Mare was an annoying main character. Having read a lot of YA novels you get used to reading books with the main lead being special but this book focused too much on Mare and everything that happened seemed to have her at the centre of it. Personally I think the book would have suited having dual perspectives.

The plot wasn’t bad it just moved really slowly. There was a lot of focus on Mare’s character pre discovering her powers and this included the introduction of the rebellion group ‘Scarlet Guard’. Typically the rebellion is shown after the main character is with the opposition but by introducing it earlier it made the story predictable and solely focused on Mare’s actions.  But the thing is what did Mare actually do for the rebellion group before the Ball.

The romance in this book is really awkward which is natural when there are 3 love interests. The heir to the throne, Cal is the one who saves Mare and I know he’s supposed to be someone conflicted on the right thing to do but his character at the start is way different to him later on…his opinion changes and his character is contradictory. The next love interest is the one which is predictable, Kilorn her best friend. Following the stereotype he’s in love with her and she doesn’t see it but protects him all the same. Lastly the 3rd love interest is Cal’s brother and her fiancé Maven, the perfect prince.

There’s this major ‘twist’ near the end of the book but to be honest all the signs pointing towards it were in the book. The way that Mare describes Maven as a better King than Cal, what Julian says, how he’s the Queen’s son and how he’s presented as too perfect. Other aspects I didn’t like was how she knew all the bad stuff on Cal and yet she still went to him and hated Evangeline for being with him and how although there was a lot of death, no major character died.

What I did like though is the ending action scene it was well written but then the ending with the discovery of something was too cheesy.


☆☆☆☆

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis Book Review

Cage of Deceit by Jennifer Anne Davis

“The bars of her cage felt like they were collapsing in on her.”

Allyssa is thrown into an arranged marriage of convenience to a King of a neighbouring kingdom so that the two can unite in battle against a threatening enemy. However Allyssa has secrets of her own, things she does at night which aren’t suitable for a princess and with the arrival of the King and his people, she finds herself in a lot of trouble.

For the most part I really enjoyed the book it had an interesting plotline with subplots linking to the overall action, a variety of characters and had good world building.

However the book was so predictable that I knew from the start what  the ‘twist’ was and all the other ‘mysteries’ were so easy to guess. What was annoying was that Allyssa was always very close to finding out information and something or someone always stopped it occurring and this happened way too many times throughout the book.  

The relationship between the 2 main characters was developed well as they both struggled with their situation and other events. Although the blurb says ‘she unveils a heinous plot’ which is overrating her participation in the unveiling way too much

However although the book was predictable it was easy going in the sense it was fun to read and fast paced which helped me get out of my reading slump.

There are aspects of the story which do interest me – I haven’t read the original series based on her parents so I did find her parents quite close off and secretive and there is a link between the book which I think is relevant to the war that is mentioned in this book.

The romance aspect of this book is very tame which suited the plot and characters as Allyssa was coming to terms with her engagement.

Also Allyssa is supposed to be this trained fighter so when she’s attacked she can defend herself so why is it that when she needs to be a fighter the most she finds herself weapon less because she’s dropped them previously…surely years of experience would have made her more adaptable to these situations.


★★★☆☆

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Casquette Girls by Alys Arden Review

The Casquette Girls by 
DNF at 12%

This book wasn’t for me for various reasons mainly the annoying main character;

“Let my long waves of espresso-coloured hair” Who describes themselves like that

“I belong here, not with rich kids” Not sounding snobbish or up yourself at all

“I’d always thought of myself as just a normal teenager” You and every other main 
character

“I tried not to yelp as the solvent spidered into the wound” Again who talks like this

“The sound of the busy signal made me burst into tears” “Tears dripping” I have 
nothing against tears in books but why so many... It’s not interesting

I silently mourned the death of the Chanel as the blood soaked through it” This coming from a girl who doesn’t care for designer clothing or rich stuff


☆☆☆☆

Monday, 1 February 2016

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner Review

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner


“How do you live again, knowing what waits for you in the end?”

After the Icarus, a spaceship crashes down on an unknown planet there are only 2 survivors left; Lilac the daughter of the creator of the ship and Tarver a major from a lower class background. The story follows them as they have to trek through the planet in order to signal for help however they find they’re not alone on the planet and their hate for each other doesn’t help.

This book has an interesting concept and one of my favourite aspects was the scientific knowledge surrounding the hyperspace and reflectors however I didn’t like the characters, the writing style and the plot.

Lilac is annoying because of her constant need to be projected as cold and distant and she is so self-pitying. At the start of the book there’s a hint to the ‘mystery’ surrounding a bad past experience on her behalf leaving her scarred of showing real emotion to any guy however the higher class women role is stereotypical even her back story is typical and so added with her personality of trying way too hard to hate on Tarver I didn’t sympathise with her at all. Maybe it would have been okay if she hadn’t mentioned how lovely she really was constantly and that this was all an act to keep strong. As the novel progresses her character is more bearable and becomes a strong heroine without having to be kickass which I really liked however by this point I didn’t care for her so it meant nothing to me.

Tarver is supposed to be this strong handsome gentleman instead what we get is someone who constantly complains about how he’s not suited for the higher class lifestyle – he has the nerve to say that Lilac constantly complains when he doesn’t even listen to half the shit that comes out of his mouth.  Also he underestimates Lilac to the point it’s insulting – how she was totally defenceless in this planet even when they had been there for a long time. All the sexual tension and the things he said... were they supposed to be sexy or funny? Well he came off very sleazy and creepy.

The romance is predictable from the start. But it’s so cringe worthy to read because from the start all Tarver seems to be focused on is her looks yeah he says it’s her personality but why does it seem as if every time he mentions her he comments on her looks. Their relationship wasn’t slowly built or anything it was instant love from the start even if they masked it with hate. Their interactions when they were a couple were weird to read and out of place in the story.

Plus where was the world building of this unknown planet?


☆☆☆☆

Friday, 29 January 2016

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers Review

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers


“I am beginning to think that love itself is never wrong. It is what love can drive people to do that is the problem.” 

Annith has spent all her life training to be a assassin and serve Death however after sitting back and seeing girls with less trained than her going out on missions, she finally finds out her true fate. The Abbess of the Convent wants her to become a Seeress and stay locked away from the outside world but Annith has spent her entire life waiting and she’s finally decided to break free of her constraints.

I loved the books before this especially Dark Triumph so I was wary to read the book as I didn’t want it to ruin the series for me but thankfully it was so good. The first two books are distinctly different but have a similar plot of the girls being sent on a mission and along the way they find adventure and love however from the previous books I knew that Annith’s book was going to be different.

The book is big it’s around 550 pages and so naturally there’s a lot of different plots. Similar to the previous novels this book is slow paced but the writing style stops it from being boring and the pace and length suit the book. The story to me is split into different parts regarding the setting and current plotline, all of them link together and make Annith’s story. Annith chooses her own journey so all the steps building up lead to her mission which is different to the other books.

As the book progresses we see Annith go onto different things which show her character development especially from what I’ve gathered from the previous books. I really liked her as the main character so much so that she’s probably my favourite now. Her story concludes the trilogy and includes Ismae and Sybella in it to show everybody’s role in the protection of the Breton Court and the duchess, which I think went well with it being the final book.

The romance was shown earlier on and could be considered very fast however I think it was just so sweet and cute. It seemed to follow a similar pattern to the other books however there’s a massive difference which when revealed it’s awkward but then they just seem to suit each other and have this playful thing.

There’s a better insight into the convent  and what happens especially when Annith’s past is brought up which like the other girls she has a horrible childhood. More information on ‘The Nine’ are given – on what each group believes and how they work compared to Annith’s convent. This is interesting to read about as it’s loosely based on real beliefs. There are some obvious clues given to certain twists however some of them are surprising like why Annith wasn’t sent on any missions.

Lastly although it’s the final book I hope there’s a book on the Duchess.


★★★★★

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish 
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books I’m Grateful I Read When I Was Younger

These are books that have either been really mind opening, influential, relatable or just so well written and good that they’ve had some sort of impact on me.











Monday, 25 January 2016

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken Review

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken


 “But inside or out, I was alone, and I was beginning to wonder if I always had been, if I always would be.” 

Ruby wakes up on her 10th birthday and something has changed within her, something so big that her parents don’t recognise who she is and enough to get her thrown out and into a camp for kids just like her. After living as a Green for 6 years – she’s been saved after being identified as an Orange one of the only kind left. However after finding some of the intentions of those who broke her out – the Children’s League – Ruby decides it’s better to leave and finds herself with a trio of misfit kids trying to find a safe haven.

The first half of the book was the best half - Although it was slow paced it was full of a lot of action and events. The plot was very typical of a dystopian novel with the MC being special and hiding who she is however the other aspects of the book made it worthwhile to read. I loved the plot and how it felt dystopian adventure road trip style book as it showed their journey and built up towards them finding the safe haven. The information surrounding the context and history of the characters were scattered throughout the novel so it wasn’t just an overload of information. The characters were individually really unique and their different personalities when together were good and added to their close bond. The relationships between Ruby and the other characters were all different which was nice so the reader knew more about the minor characters.

I haven’t read a dystopian novel like this in ages as they were all the hype 3 years ago and whilst reading this I wondered why I had stopped and then came the second half and I remembered just why. The book changed settings towards the safe haven and the plot was so stereotypical with her growing close with the main leader and it all ending badly. Ruby losing touch with the other characters and having a fall out with them, dealing with her powers and knowing she’s extra special and betrayal occurring. The entire set up was repetitive of other books and it just didn’t suit the first half. Also the second half was way too fast compared to the other half; the emphasis on the panic button thingy throughout the novel made it so obvious what was going to occur and the world building needed to be built up better as it was confusing sometimes how America had changed outside of what happened to the kids.

I knew that Ruby would do something for Liam but I didn’t expect what she did to him.


★★★☆☆

Friday, 22 January 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Review

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly


“If you’re going to bury the past, bury it deep, girl. Shallow graves always give up the dead.”

After the death of her father Jo finds herself in a different world as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding his death.  The book deals with the treatment of girls in the 1890s both rich and poor, the slave trade and an ongoing murder mystery.

“The moment a girl learned to talk, she was told not to.”

The story follows Jo as she enlists the help of a reporter called Eddie to find information surrounding her father’s death. It does follow some typical conventions of the entire mystery adventure genre with her looking for clues in different seedy places, meeting different good & bad characters and the red herring however what makes the book interesting is as although it focuses on the action there’s this incorporation of the theme with girls and how they’re treated. Every step that Jo makes is so carefully measured out so at the end of the day her reputation will be intact and she’ll get a good decent husband. The pressure that society puts on her hinders what she’s allowed to do to such an extent that it’s not normal for a girl of her class to even be doing anything other than fawning over clothes and marriage proposals.  

Jo is a determined character who fights for what she wants and thinks is morally right and just overall she’s really brave to go forward with her plans even though they’ll hinder her future. She is quite naïve on certain matters but it’s realistic due to her background. I just found her really likable because she just forged on no matter what happened and didn’t do annoying stuff. But I do think there were too many additional characters in the book and it was confusing at the time on who was who.

“They hoped to save her reputation, to protect her; instead they destroyed her”

The book had a cute romance which dealt with the issues with a higher class and lower class relationship, dealt with how people blamed mental illness on anything to get the person locked up, the treatment of orphans, how men treat women of both classes, an awesome female friendship and family.

The only thing I didn’t like was how predictable who the main person behind the crimes was there were so many big hints right near the start.

The ending was perfect as it didn’t wrap up entirely but left hope for something to happen.


★★★★

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep Review

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep


“Sometimes, humans were more monstrous than anything else.”

The story picks up a couple of weeks after the events of the first book and focuses on Tournament of Blades – a competition involving every family competing in one and one matches to find a winner. On top of dealing with that Lila has to find out what Victor is up to and find out who’s leaving a trail of slashed monsters and humans in the forest. One thing I really liked that the author does is she leaves clues to what happened in the previous book so if you like I did had difficulty knowing what happened in the previous book it made it way easier to read.

I really liked the main character of Lila – just as a general she wasn’t annoying and she’s just your typical likable underdog but she doesn’t have all these stereotypes attached to her character. One think I didn’t like is the emphasis on food the author does a lot – it clearly indicates that Lila is different to ‘typical girls’ which is annoying because her character doesn’t seem like the one to hate or compare herself to other girls in that way.

“Because there’s nothing more vicious than a girl who’s just had her heart broken.”

To add to that point, at the beginning of the novel I felt as if the female characters aside from Lila weren’t given a good introduction and instead focused on how each girl related to one of the guys – though it’s irritating to learn about females through their relationship with the male though its relevance is given later on at the end of the book. However I think the author could have made the female characters not just focus on their relationships with males and gain a separate character before they have that.

Furthermore it was frustrating that Lila picking up on all the clues she did didn’t guess who the villain was. It was so glaringly obvious there was no surprise attached to it.  I did think that Lila could have guessed it if she looked at the possibility that it wasn’t just a male who could fit the role. Though I wasn’t surprised by the reveal there was a twist near the end relating two characters together which is going to lead onto the plot for the final book. I really liked the twist and felt it was important to relate these certain characters as they both have key roles in their families.

Lastly everything else I liked; the writing style and development of the story were really built up well and the plot and action lead to interesting other plotlines. I cannot wait for the last book in the series. Plus the romance was cute!


★★★★