I was super excited to get this book, I haven’t seen the TV show but keep waiting for it toFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I was super excited to get this book, I haven’t seen the TV show but keep waiting for it to start showing here in Australia on free to air TV (apparently channel GO acquired the rights). So I started to read this with great anticipation and I think I must have built it up too much… it was a flop.
I think the main issue I had with the book is that I really felt it was being written with the specific aim to be turned into a TV show. I have no idea if this is actually the case but I could imagine that this book would adapt really well. There are 4 main characters and a number of secondary characters in the story which I believe is the main reason I found it an unenjoyable book. We got the same small window of time from multiple viewpoints and I just felt that it didn’t manage to hold my interest and it only got really exciting at the very end.
The characters have been set up well however that is really all the book was able to do given the large number of protagonists, you got the foundation of some slightly cliché people but that was it. I didn’t have a favourite and I wasn’t at any point desperate to find out what was going on for any of them. In the world of passionate YA fandom I think this is a little bit sad and as mentioned before the characters do seem a bit cookie cutter/cliché.
Glass: rich girl and star crossed lover in love with a poor boy
Wells: the son of a powerful and disliked leader
Clarke: the goodie two shoes who has been wrongfully incarcerated
Bellamy: the bad boy who actually is really a good guy
Ok so now I’ve got the bothersome bits of my chest , I’ll get to what I liked which was the fabulous premise of this novel! In the past something bad happened on Earth and the world went apocalyptic with a scant 2000ish humans escaping to space where they live on 3 (I think?) spaceships that have been bridged together. Things are tough and getting tougher out in space and the smallest infraction can lead to the death penalty, or in the case of minors a jail sentence until you turn 18 and you crimes re-evaluated. 100 of these minors are sent down to Earth on a mission to see if humans are now able to survive on the surface of the planet. Its a great idea it’s like a mix between Lord of the Flies and Wall-e very interesting and such great potential I’m not surprised it was picked up for television.
I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to give the sequel a go I’m really tossing it up at this stage. Perhaps I’ll try season one of the show and then make up my mind. Don’t let my thoughts deter you though, if your looking for a short post apocalyptic novel and are more into the story than the characters you will probably really enjoy this. ...more
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is herFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is her 7th published novel I was willing to give it a shot. Besides it’s been awhile since I’ve read a good creepy ghost story so I was excited to sink my teeth into this one.
The story starts off at the funeral of Chloe’s mother who died quite unexpectedly and has left her family reeling immersed in grief. Chloe our protagonist, has always had the “gift” of sight – she can see ghosts though until the day of the funeral she had managed to keep in control of things and ghosts left her alone. With her dad deeply affected with the loss of his wife and not quite keeping things afloat, Chloe’s grandmother decides it would be best for everyone if the kids come and live with her in England for the remainder of the school term.
As soon as Chloe sees her grandmothers house, Grange Hall which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, she knows there are otherworldly things afoot. On her first day exploring she meets the enigmatic ghost of Alex Reade who she is instantly attracted to, and with his help along with that of some eccentric ghost hunters who are holidaying at the estate Chloe sets out to uncover the mysterious past of the property and help lay to rest these troubled spirits.
I enjoyed this book though it did have a few issues that really bugged me. The major issue that I’m going to address front and centre is the large case of insta love between Chloe and Alex. This is one annoying romance and it also didn’t have any real chemistry. These two irritated each other throughout most of the book however we are meant to buy into an epic love that crosses the boundaries of life and death? No thanks I’m not buying.
The third equation in this little romance is the very sweet and very alive Joe who looks after the horses at Grange Hall. Joe is simply lovely yet even though he is right there under her nose Chloe seems completely clueless that she could totally have the guy because instead she is googly eyed over a ghost that very much has his own problems and romantic entanglements.
Chloe herself was pretty shallow and every time you felt she might have a bit of integrity she gives you an insight into her best friends from the US who are portrayed as fairly stupid, incredibly loose sexually and more interested in daddy buying them the latest “it” handbag compared to trying to excel at school. Her besties sounded horrible and in all honesty it didn’t match up with Chloe’s internal voice at all it was quite jarring and instead made you think less of her especially when she was chucking a hissy fit about a ghost, or about having to be in England in the first place.
What this book did well was build a great atmosphere with a mixture of creepy flashbacks to the past, scary interactions with the vengeful ghost Isobel and a slow unravelling of the background of what happened at Grange Hall 157 years earlier.
The climax when you discover what happened was unexpected and it threw me for six. It was pretty horrifying and while it was a bit hard to read I really feel it was a very authentic background that could indeed cause a person to turn into a twisted evil ghost who can’t let go of the past. I also got a real shock of anticipation with the last shock twist that came in the very final paragraphs of this book hooking you in for the sequel. I have no idea how the author plans of pulling it off but I for one can’t wait to find out! ...more
This series has to be one of the most underrated YA trilogies I can think of. I picked up AFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
This series has to be one of the most underrated YA trilogies I can think of. I picked up Awaken on a whim when going through my dystopian phase back in 2011 and simply adored it. I felt that it was such a believable scenario considering how humanity is with its addiction to screen time and the fear mongering seen in all avenues of media. I simply loved Awaken and I also loved it’s sequel – Middle Ground. I loved it so much in fact, that 17 week pregnant me decided to name my then unborn daughter Madeleine as the name really grew on me while I was reading it.
Fast forward 2 years and I find myself with a 15 month old Maddie of my own and a copy of the final book in this series, Still Point. It had been so long I wasn’t sure how to really get started on it, I barely remembered what had happened at the end of book 2 and I was both excited and worried about how I would connect with the last instalment of this story. Reflecting back now that I’ve finished reading it, I think going in with a break was probably a good thing and I quite enjoyed the ending, though I imagine there will be many who will come away from this book feeling deflated or unimpressed with how things wrap up.
The final book takes place with Maddie back at home trying to reconnect with her father and assist Justin and the Digital School Drop Outs from the inside. Not a lot actually happens action wise throughout this story it predominantly focuses on character development and plot conclusion. Maddie is defiant and strong as ever and romance takes a definite back stage to her emotional journey and relationship with her family. Justin is thought about a lot however isn’t around for much of the story and we are introduced to a new character, Jax who agrees to assist Maddie with her plans to publicise the harmful side effects of Digital School.
Being the final book in a trilogy its very hard to write a review without giving away too much of the story so my apologies if this review doesn’t cover things in too much detail, there is so much I want to say but you will have to read it yourself to find out what happens at the end. I will say that there are a lot of revelations for Maddie and much of what you thought is turned on its head in terms of character motives. The ending with the voting of whether Digital School should remain the only choice available to students, was well done and I was hooked on this book from beginning to end.
This book is just such a great story for today’s western civilisation. The questions surrounding quality of life when digital use is constantly on the increase, addiction to screens and its susceptibility with young children are just a couple that would make this series a great platform for classroom and family discussions. A great novel and series in general – it should definitely be added to every ones to read list immediately! ...more
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it wFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it was so different to many YA covers out there. I then realised that the book was by an Australian author and my mind was made up I wanted to read this book! I started reading this book with no expectations, I knew nothing about the story though I had gathered it was going to have a gothic horror vibe to it. I wasn't disappointed, while the book had some issues it definitely carried off the mysterious spooky vibe brilliantly.
The story centres around main character Cassie who along some of her classmates get caught up in the mystery of the Australian bush where many girls have disappeared over time. Cassie's best friend Aisha goes missing right under their noses while hiking and taking photo's for a school project. Aisha's boyfriend (and Cassie's crush), Ethan gets blamed for her disappearance, so Cassie, Ethan along with Lacey decide to investigate a creepy mansion they discovered near where she disappeared. Things start to go downhill for them when they discover a hidden entrance filled with carousels and end up caught in a mysterious web of disturbing secrets when they find what lies beneath the mansion.
It's really hard to write this review without giving away too much of the story. As I mentioned before the author pulls off the gothic horror theme beautifully, unfortunately though the actual plot was at times overly complicated and pacing a bit all over the place. This coupled with some poor character development is why I've chosen to only give the book 2.5 star rating.
The pacing of the book was what I had the biggest issue with. It started out well and I couldn't put it down, then there was a large part in the middle of the book that just really dragged and I found a lot of the story to be a bit repetitive and mundane. I also felt that there were some very large climatic things that were just brushed over towards the end in a rush while other parts that weren't particularly interesting or important seemed to get a lot more attention.
The characters weren't particularly likeable and also quite two dimensional - they all annoyed me at times though Cassie particularly did things often that just irritated me beyond belief. There is no real romance in this book, while Cassie and Ethan clearly like each other she falls for him before the story starts and the chemistry isn't particularly great though it probably doesn't help that Ethan is dating someone else for the majority of the book.
A lot of very interesting lore is dished out towards the end of the story and I really enjoyed this and want to find out more, the author also ended the book on a major cliffhanger so I think I will be picking up the remainder of the series just to get answers for all the questions marks I now have. I have high hopes that this book was setting the stage for some great things. ...more
The Jewel was completely different to what I expected when I first picked up this book andFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
The Jewel was completely different to what I expected when I first picked up this book and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Underneath the glamour and pretty dresses of this debut dystopian novel by Amy Ewing is an undercurrent of systematic human abuse, forced surrogacy and political exploitation that makes this book anything but the fluffy read the cover would suggest. This is the 2nd YA novel I have read recently that included forced pregnancy in teenage girls and I find the very idea confronting though for this reason alone I think its worth an avenue of exploration in a futuristic/dystopian genre.
The book centres around our protagonist Violet and the book starts with the ominous line:
“Today is my last day as Violet Lasting”
From there the story takes you on a journey of a teenage girl, now only to be known as Lot #197, who was ripped from her family upon puberty and taken to a special boarding school for future surrogates to learn how to control the auguries (magic manipulation, though magic is not really a central focus of this novel) along with etiquette and how to be a proper “seen but not heard” surrogate for the aristocracy who live in the Jewel. The Jewel is one of 5 areas in this city which is cut off from the remaining world, and this particular zone houses the wealthy land and business owners plus the political rulers. All the surrogates come from the very poorest region – The Marsh where poverty and hunger are rife. To some this selection to be a surrogate and live surrounded by wealth and beautiful things seems a small price to pay, though many of these young girls can sense the wrongness of this even if they can’t verbalise or pin point what exactly the problem is with the exchange.
The political slinging matches and the world building in this novel is excellent. There is no brain dump of information on how things turned out the way they did but slowly as the story evolves you get a general idea, though there is still enough mystery to ensure your audience will rush out to buy book two. The verbal and nonverbal exchanges between the ladies with surrogates in this novel just brought the book to life. I found myself reading over the comments and text quite slowly making sure I picked up any nuances and hints I was meant to get out of the dialogue. I could never quite tell whether or not the Duchess of the Lake, Violet’s owner, was meant to be seen as the good guy or whether she too was a villain. The fine line, subtlety and shades of grey in some of these characters was extremely well crafted.
The downside of this story was the unfortunate instant attraction and ridiculous romance between Violet and Ash. Ash is not even mentioned until over half way through the story and in all honesty I couldn’t really see the need for him at all. If this was meant to be a bit of a star-crossed romance then his intro into the Lake family could have happened from the get go instead of so late in the plot surely? While Ash seemed lovely it definitely dampened my enjoyment for this novel and I wasn’t that disappointed with how things ended up during the finale of this book.
Probably the best part of this novel was the very last page of this story where I was totally taken off guard by a major plot twist and I can’t wait to find out how this changes things in the sequel. While this book is by no means perfect I think it stands out from the crowd of YA debuts and is worth getting your hands on a copy. ...more