I thought I would enjoy this title a lot as I've really liked all of Sarra Manning's previous books. Unfortunately it just didn't grab my attention anI thought I would enjoy this title a lot as I've really liked all of Sarra Manning's previous books. Unfortunately it just didn't grab my attention and it seemed too much like other stories I've read before. Maybe I wasn't in the mood for contemporary YA when I picked it up, but for me, it was more of a miss than a hit.
The main character Sunny spends most of the book, which takes place throughout the course of one night, on the hunt for her runaway, potentially cheater, boyfriend. Her travels take her to numerous well-known areas of London, including Mayfair, Soho and Camden (Ahh Camden, I know it well). What frustrated me was that I wanted to shout at her not to bother, to forget all about Mark and go home instead, rather than traipse all over London for someone that she shouldn't waste her time on. On the other hand, I did enjoy being reminded about how diverse and varied London is and how much the City has to offer. It's one of my favourite places to visit so it was fun to see some of the areas I haven't been to before.
The ending was a bit too clichéd for my tastes and I felt that it didn't really offer anything new to the reader. It's such a shame because the book sounded good and I thought it would be great fun, but in the end it fell flat for me and was a struggle to finish. ...more
My favourite thing about this book were all the lovely recipes interspersed throughout the story. I need to dig out my apron and whip some of these upMy favourite thing about this book were all the lovely recipes interspersed throughout the story. I need to dig out my apron and whip some of these up!...more
‘V For Violet’ by Alison Rattle is set in the 1960’s. I’ve been trying to think and I don’t think I’ve actually read anything set in the sixties befor‘V For Violet’ by Alison Rattle is set in the 1960’s. I’ve been trying to think and I don’t think I’ve actually read anything set in the sixties before. It’s not my favourite period but it was an interesting choice and worked well not only with the overall themes of the book but also in terms of showing what post-war society was like for a lot of teenagers. I’m doubtful that the historical setting will appeal to all readers however.
The main character Violet has finished school and is working in her parents fish and chip shop. She’s afraid of being left behind by her best friend who has a job in a factory, new friends and a fella on her arm. When Violet meets the dangerous and exciting Beau, she discovers the possibility of a romance of her own. However, she also has family problems to deal with when her long presumed dead brother returns, at the same time that girls from the area start turning up dead. I really liked Violet and I could identify with some of the feelings she had at the start about finding her place and the worry she has about what’s coming next. Having left school behind, the real world is opening up to her and that can be scary. She grows a lot as a character throughout the story and I think even surprises herself by the end.
Unfortunately the overall book was a bit hit and miss for me. There were parts I liked and thought were well done and there were other aspects of the story that felt a bit rushed. It seemed like Alison Rattle was trying to work a lot of different threads into the story and not all of them were given enough attention. The mystery element of the book was probably my favourite part but I was disappointed with the outcome. I don’t want to spoil anything about the plot but I thought this could have had much more impact if a different direction had been taken in terms of the murderer. The romance between Violet and Beau was okay but I didn’t feel any real sparks between them and Beau came across as a bit one-dimensional at times. The storyline with Violet’s brother could have been quite powerful but again, I think this wasn’t given enough attention until near the end of the book and by then I didn’t feel invested enough in the conclusion.
What I do like about Alison Rattle’s books is that they are all so different and she doesn’t restrict herself to one particular time-frame, setting of theme. You never know what to expect from her stories. Although this wasn’t a huge hit with me, I have enjoyed her writing in the past, so will put this title to one side and will look forward to whatever she has in store for readers next.
'Bullet Catcher' was a brilliant read, based around a unique plot which was totally different to most of the other Young Adult books around at the mom'Bullet Catcher' was a brilliant read, based around a unique plot which was totally different to most of the other Young Adult books around at the moment. Very refreshing. It was gritty and exciting, placing the characters in life and death situations where there was no easy way out. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but think that it would make a fantastic book-to-film adaptation. A western for teens with a strong female heroine.
The story unfolds with the main character Imma, longing to escape her pitiful existence in the small town of Sand. When she sees a chance for a different future for herself, she grabs it and follows a mysterious bullet catcher out of town and across the desert. Her fate inexplicably linked to his, she has no idea that difficult choices await her as she starts out on a journey that she can't turn back from.
I loved the idea of bullet catchers - people who can catch bullets and turn them back on those who fired them. How cool is that?! The concept is so original and different. Imma has to choose between this life and that as a gunslinger. It's great that these roles are not barred from females, who can equally do everything that a man can do.
Joaquin Lowe has ensured that the reader stays gripped from start to finish. Family ties are forged and broken, alliances are made and forgotten as everything is put on the line in the fight for survival. This was a fantastic read which I would definitely recommend to male and female readers alike. I haven't heard anything about a sequel but the story was left open-ended, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that there will be another book in the series very soon. ...more
This was quite a different change of pace to Alyson Noel's previous books that were much more on the spiritual/paranormal side of things. 'Unrivalled'This was quite a different change of pace to Alyson Noel's previous books that were much more on the spiritual/paranormal side of things. 'Unrivalled' is a contemporary YA about a group of young adults vying for the same huge cash prize by promoting a series of nightclubs. Each have their own reasons for taking part and wanting to win. They get points based on how successful their night club is and each of them tries to get Hollywood IT girl, Madison Brooks, to grace their club. That is the sure fire way to score some big points.
The story actually starts one month prior to the rest of the plot. Madison Brooks goes missing but who the mystery surrounds who is responsible for her disappearance. The rest of the book unfolds with the three main characters Tommy, Aster and Layla, each becoming untangled with the seemingly glamorous but ultimately seedy, Hollywood night club scene. I have to say that I wasn't particularly a fan of any of the characters. They all seemed pretty shallow and certainly not that likable. I didn't care an awful lot about who won the competition and the Madison Brooks element of the plot was intriguing but not enough to keep me engrossed in the story.
I'm sad to say that I just don't think this title was very good. Although it was compared to Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl it was a poor imitation of both of those series and isn't one that I'm invested in enough to want to continue reading. ...more
'Shaken' is the third book in Joss Stirling's fantastic series about the Young Detective Agency. This time, the story takes place on the other side of'Shaken' is the third book in Joss Stirling's fantastic series about the Young Detective Agency. This time, the story takes place on the other side of the Atlantic in Manhattan, New York.
Rose Knight, the girl next door, is hiding a big secret. She is trying to raise millions of dollars to pay for her father's ransom using her brains, genius and stellar computer skills. She wants help from no one but Damien Castle, on a visit from abroad, is determined to ensure that Rose doesn't get herself any deeper into trouble.
I liked both Rose and Damien, who don't necessarily get off on the best foot, but end up becoming friends and then a pretty cool couple. They are very different but their personalities compliment each other well and although I didn't initially see sparks between them, they work well together. It was also great to see Damien and his friend Joe again, after they both featured in earlier books in the series.
The story was a bit slow at the start and I kept waiting impatiently for something to happen but the plot built nicely and in the second half there were plenty of exciting moments and some great action packed chapters. It was great to see Rose not just sitting around and waiting for someone to help her like a helpless female. She tries to get out of trouble on her own, using intellect and wit.
I loved the ending so much! Thank you Joss Stirling. It was absolutely perfect!
I hope there's another book in the series. It would be brilliant to see Joe find his perfect match too. ...more
I wanted to like this book. I thought that I would like it. It sounded right up my alley with a plot which is based on Shakespeare's Othello but set iI wanted to like this book. I thought that I would like it. It sounded right up my alley with a plot which is based on Shakespeare's Othello but set in space. How awesome does that sound?! I usually love books that are a spin on a Shakespeare play but this one didn't do it for me at all. There was too much sci-fi, I thought that the dialogue was quite wooden and clunky and I didn't find the relationships between the characters very believable, especially the insta-love between Vee and Nathan.
The story seemed to take an age to really get going and as this is quite a big book, I toyed with the idea of giving up on it and moving onto something else. However, I'm always hopeful that things will pick up and improve and I like to give every book a fair chance, so I carried on until the end. But I just didn't enjoy it at all. I do have a rocky relationship with Malorie Blackman's writing. Some of her books I've thoroughly enjoyed and others have been more of a struggle to finish. Sadly, 'Chasing the Stars' just wasn't for me, although I will still be looking out for other Shakespeare spin-offs in the future. ...more
'13 Minutes’ by Sarah Pinborough is a dark and captivating tale, inspired by a true life event. I picked it up with the intention of reading a few cha'13 Minutes’ by Sarah Pinborough is a dark and captivating tale, inspired by a true life event. I picked it up with the intention of reading a few chapters and ended up finishing the whole book in one sitting. The plot is gripping and the various twists and turns throughout the story ensured that I was constantly kept on my toes. The killer twist near the end was absolutely brilliant and made me want to turn back to the first page and read everything again but in a new light.
The story highlights the fraught teenage friendships that are formed in high school, the power of the Queen Bee and the changing dynamics of female friends. Who’s in and who’s out is all important. With echoes of ‘Pretty Little Liars’, the book centres around a pivotal event which unfolds right at the start of the story. The near drowning of Natasha who is found just in time to prevent disaster, but who was technically dead for 13 minutes, is the mystery that gradually unravels. With no memory of what happened leading up to the event, did she slip or was she pushed? And who would have wanted to cause her harm?
Much of the story that follows is told by her former best friend Becca. Pushed aside by Tasha when she formed a friendship with two other girls, Becca is gradually drawn back into Tasha’s circle by a series of circumstances. The dynamic between the two girls is interesting and well written. I liked the chess analogy and the way that you are never quite sure if they really are friends or adversaries.
I enjoyed the structure of the book itself, and the way that the characters have to work backwards to make sense of what really happened. The addition of notes from Tasha’s journal and the case notes of the Detective on her case, also added an extra layer to the narrative.
There are some jaw dropping moments in the book and a dark edge to the plot. It reminded me a little of ‘Suicide Notes of Beautiful Girls’ by Lynn Weingarten, but although it had similarities, it was still a unique and original read....more
First things first…the cover art for this book is mesmerising!
I initially thought that this was going to be a straight sequel to the superb3.5 stars.
First things first…the cover art for this book is mesmerising!
I initially thought that this was going to be a straight sequel to the superb ‘The Sin Eater’s Daughter’. I was expecting the action to pick up with the main character Twylla, so I was puzzled at the beginning why the characters didn’t seem familiar. I soon realised that this was more of a companion novel. It takes place in the same world originally created by Salisbury but features a new protagonist and approaches the story from a different direction. It’s not until near the end of the book that everything starts to make more sense and the threads of the plot weave together.
I enjoyed ‘The Sleeping Prince’ but I did find it quite slow. Most of the action in the first-half takes place in the home of Errin, a young apothecary-in-training who has been left alone to look after her mother. Her brother turns out to be Lief, who readers will be familiar with from the previous book. The only help Errin receives is from the mysterious Silas who she knows little about, except for the fact that she is unwittingly drawn to him.
When the neighbouring kingdom of Lormere is invaded by the Sleeping Prince, a fairy book nightmare come to life, Errin has to make the difficult decision to undertake a dangerous journey to save her mother.
At the start, I kept wishing for things to speed up a bit more. I liked Errin and I was intrigued by Silas but it was slow. Be warned. Don't give up too quickly. The second half of the book was much faster paced and featured a whole host of new and old faces. I was drawn more into the story and into Errin’s struggle and I started to really enjoy it.
The ending was such a cliffhanger and left me frantically checking that there weren’t just a few more pages to enjoy! It's going to be utter agony waiting for the next instalment.
Overall, not as gripping as ‘The Sin Eater’s Daughter’ and suffers a little from middle book syndrome but sets things up deliciously at the end for the big finale....more
‘The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl’ is written by Aussie author Melissa Keil. It’s the first of her books I’ve read but it won’t be the last!‘The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl’ is written by Aussie author Melissa Keil. It’s the first of her books I’ve read but it won’t be the last! The title alone was enough to pique my interest, although I wasn’t initially sold on the blurb. I did have my doubts that it was going to be my kind of read but I was very pleasantly surprised. There was a real warmth to the characters that I wasn’t expecting which drew me in and made me care about what happened to them.
The story is set at the start of the summer and is based around the central character of Alba, a budding graphic artist and comic book fan. She is genuinely happy with her life, which was actually refreshing to see. She loves her home town of Eden Valley, she loves living behind her mother’s bakery, she has a great group of friends and adores her best friend Grady who she has known since childhood. What could she possibly have to deal with? The story focuses on what happens when you have everything you think you want and are afraid to take the next step because it might never be as perfect as it is in that moment. Alba has to face making big decisions about her future without knowing if they are the right ones to make. Should she stay in Eden Valley or leave and go to university? Will Grady always be her best friend or is there more between them? These are questions that will be familiar to most teens. I thought that Keil did well to make these issues in the book so realistic and easy to identify with.
There is a humorous steak throughout which made me laugh and smile as I was reading. The idea that Eden Valley is the only safe place when the end of the world comes, was somewhat strange but actually worked well with the overall themes of the story. You don’t always know what is around the corner so you should live life to the full and enjoy every moment you have.
My absolute favourite thing about this book was the friendship between Alba and Grady. It’s easy, it’s comfortable and it’s the kind of best-friend bond that I would have loved to have had with someone growing up. These two practically live in each other’s pockets and have supported each other through thick and thin. Their friendship has taken a different direction by the end of the book but this works so well and was a joy to see develop.
This is a contemporary YA novel that you won’t want to miss. Grab it now and bump it straight to the top of your TBR pile.