I was incredibly excited to hear about a new Sarah Dessen book. I'm a big fan of hers and associate her with stories about summer, growing-up and relaI was incredibly excited to hear about a new Sarah Dessen book. I'm a big fan of hers and associate her with stories about summer, growing-up and relationship dramas. 'Saint Anything' ticked two out of three of those boxes. This definitely wasn't my favourite Dessen novel, I think partly because of the characters and partly the storyline itself, but it was still pretty great and dealt with some powerful subjects.
The book starts with the main character Sydney recounting the story of what happened to her older brother Peyton. There's a lot of hero-worship mixed in with new feelings which have surfaced in relation to his behaviour. I could empathise with the situation she felt in and the fact that she believed herself invisible to her parents. They were consumed with trying to help her brother and make sense of his situation and Sydney feels pushed to the side-lines. There's no doubt that she loves Peyton but she understandably also experiences a sense of guilt about the anger she has towards him. The brother-sister bond is one which Dessen explores a lot in this novel and that was one of my favourite elements of the book.
When Sydney starts at a new school, she meets Layla and her brother Mac. Being part of their group, helps Sydney to understand where she fits in and their friendship is the catalyst for her finally starting to get her own life together. I particularly liked Layla, especially the way she takes Sydney under her wing and the way she freely offers her hand in friendship without any strings attached. For some reason and I can't quite put my finger on why, I wasn't as keen on Mac which is a shame because normally I love the male protagonists in Sarah Dessen's books. He had lots of great qualities but I just didn't fall in love with him.
A lot of heavy and serious themes are touched upon in 'Saint Anything' and I thought that these were all explored in such a way as to really make the reader think about what they would do in the same situations. There are no right or wrong answers but it came across that everyone has to do what they personally feel is right, rather than trying to conform to what someone else thinks they should do or how they should act.
Sarah Dessen's books always feature stand-out writing and this was no exception but I found the pace a little slow at times and the romance felt a bit flat. I would still recommend giving this one a go but there are other titles by her that I personally have enjoyed more. ...more
'The Wondrous and the Wicked' is the third and final part of Page Morgan's gothic gargoyle trilogy, set amidst the streets of Paris.
The Waverly siblin'The Wondrous and the Wicked' is the third and final part of Page Morgan's gothic gargoyle trilogy, set amidst the streets of Paris.
The Waverly siblings have already endured so much and faced loss, pain and heartache. I wasn't sure what more could possibly lie in wait for them. In this concluding book, they each have their own personal challenges to face before they can have any chance at the lives they really want. Separated geographically, they are caught in the middle of a dangerous power struggle with heavy stakes.
Page Morgan quickly gets readers up to speed with what happened in the previous instalments. I was thankful of a speedy recap because it's been a while since I read this series. It actually reminded me of just how much drama and action had taken place so far. Everything is still to play for.
My favourite character in the series has always been Gabby, the feisty and brave younger sister. At the beginning of the book she has been sent to London for her own protection. I knew however, that she would still find her way back into the middle of the action. Gabby isn't one for just sitting on the side-lines. I have loved the growing romance between her and Nolan, which I'm pleased to say gets even better. There are some really fantastic scenes between the two of them.
Ingrid and Luc's romance is played out too with Vander and Luc still vying for Ingrid's heart. I won't reveal which one wins the girl in the end but I'm sure readers of the series will be more than satisfied.
This is definitely a very underrated series which I'm pleased to say I have really enjoyed. I've loved all the gothic and supernatural elements and the wonderfully dark setting of historic Paris where anything could be (and frequently is!) lurking in the sewers. ...more
If you're looking for a scorching hot read, then look no further than 'Rogue' by Julie Kagawa, the follow-up to the brilliant 'Talon'. The second bookIf you're looking for a scorching hot read, then look no further than 'Rogue' by Julie Kagawa, the follow-up to the brilliant 'Talon'. The second book in this fantastic series manages to do what few books can and that is to be even more gripping and captivating than it's predecessor. There's no case of second book syndrome here, as Julie Kagawa cranks up the action, ramps up the tension a couple of notches and leads the reader on a breathless journey of rescue, capture and escape. 'Talon' held me in thrall from the opening chapter and this was one book that I was most definitely going to finish reading in one sitting.
The story picks up after the action of 'Rogue' with Ember and Riley on the run and Garret held to account for his actions by the Order of St. George. It didn't take me long to get reacquainted with all the characters and the plot threads and I was soon immersed back into the world of dragons. I have read a lot of dragon books, going through quite a phase when I was in my teens, but this is the first series I've read where the author is spot on with the mythology and the world building. I love the idea of dragons assimilating themselves into the human world and walking amongst us without anyone realising.
The commentary is shared between Ember, Garret, Riley and Dante, with occasional flashbacks to twelve years ago when Riley, as rebel dragon Cobalt, was still working for the organisation he now despises. I wasn't too sure about Riley in the last book but he has suddenly become my number one favourite character. It was great discovering more about him and his past and I really enjoyed all the scenes between not only him and Ember but also him and Wes, his right-hand man. The love triangle between Riley, Ember and Garret continues to play out and while I feel strongly that I know which way it's going to end up, I am still firmly shipping Riley and Ember as a couple. They are great together and share a real understanding and bond.
There are some terrific action sequences in the book, particularly in the second-half of the story and I was on the edge of my seat throughout these. I honestly had no idea if everyone was going to make it to the end of the book alive. There is also a humongous revelation right at the end of the last chapter which leaves the reader on a massive cliff-hanger. I need to know now what is going to happen next!
The third book in the series, 'Soldier' will be published in 2016 unless my wish is granted and it gets an earlier release date! ...more
I love the story 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott. It's a childhood favourite which I still enjoy re-reading now. There's something utterly captivaI love the story 'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott. It's a childhood favourite which I still enjoy re-reading now. There's something utterly captivating about the March sisters which never fails to delight me. When I heard about Michaela MacColl's new book, I knew immediately that I wanted to read it because it weaves fact and fiction to present a portrait of the life of the famous author. I loved the little quotes from 'Little Women' which are at the start of every chapter.
Set in 1846, Louisa May Alcott's early life unfurls on the page. There's Louisa herself, along with younger sisters Beth and May, plus beloved Marmee and the elusive figure of their father Bronson. At the beginning of the book Marmee is getting set to temporarily leave the family to find work elsewhere and it's up to a young Louisa to step into her shoes and keep her sister and father looked after.
The Alcott family are vocal abolitionists and this plays a huge part in the plot of the book. It incorporates aspects of the slave trade and highlights the way in which the Alcotts helped to shelter slaves who had escaped and were looking for a new future. I found this aspect of the story really interesting, as Louisa and co place themselves in real danger to try to help those who desperately need their assistance.
The story features some other real life figures too. Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson are philosophers who play a big part in Louisa's outlook on life. I didn't know a huge amount about them beforehand, so I enjoyed discovering more about their beliefs and morals and the way in which their lives intersected with Louisa's.
There were some good plot twists near the end and some quite unexpected surprises which kept me on my toes. I loved the combining of historical and biographical details which made this a brilliant read which I would recommend to anyone wanting to know more about the famous author of a well loved classic. ...more
Described as "The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries" if ever a tagline is going to make me want to read a book, that is it! And what an unusualDescribed as "The Hunger Games meets The Princess Diaries" if ever a tagline is going to make me want to read a book, that is it! And what an unusual book, 'The Potion Diaries' by Amy Alward turned out to be. Unusual in a good way but not at all what I was expecting. It leant much more heavily towards the fantasy genre but was unlike anything else I've read before.
The book combines a modern setting with one where magic is still prevalent. This took a bit of getting used to because it's not every day that you experience magic being talked about in such a matter of fact way. The main character Samantha Kemi has the ability to mix potions. Her talent as an alchemist is second to none and is needed when her family are summoned to take part in an ancient quest to save the Princess from a potion gone awry. Fantasy, magical adventures and drama aplenty enthuse, as Sam joins the hunt to find all the ingredients for an anti-dote.
I have to admit that I wasn't immediately hooked by the story, although I loved the premise. I didn't really get engrossed in it properly until at least six or seven chapters in, so stick with it if it is the same for you because it's definitely worth it. The hunt itself was intriguing and trust me, you wouldn't even begin to be able to predict what was going to happen. It's best to just strap in and enjoy the ride.
I loved the character of Sam. She is brave, resourceful and talented but also incredibly modest. She wants to win the quest so that she can help provide for her family but along the way she learns a lot about her own abilities and talents. Handsome Zain is one of her rival competitors. Dark black hair and blue eyes is always a killer combination, so I was drawn to Zain even though I didn't know if he could be trusted. There are romantic sparks between the two of them, although the romance angle takes more of a backseat to the quest itself, so more romance and kissing next time please!
The book's recipe is to take a dash of humour and a sprinkle of romance. Stir it up with adventure, excitement and danger and you have 'The Potion Diaries'. ...more
'Finding Audrey' is Sophie Kinsella's first young-adult novel. I love all of her other books, especially the Shopaholic series, so I knew immediately'Finding Audrey' is Sophie Kinsella's first young-adult novel. I love all of her other books, especially the Shopaholic series, so I knew immediately that I wanted to read this title. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I didn't know a lot about the subject matter but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and laughing a lot as I was reading it too.
Wonderfully funny and heart-warming, the story centres around fourteen year old Audrey. Audrey is a fantastic character who I instantly liked. We learn throughout the course of the book that she is suffering from social anxiety disorder after an incident at her school. She can't leave the house, she wears dark glasses all the time and she struggles to make eye contact or even to talk to people she doesn't know. All in all, she is finding things hard going and is struggling to get her life back on track. I actually don't think I've read a book before which deals with this subject matter. I thought that Sophie Kinsella did a great job of portraying Audrey's emotions and feelings and I felt much more informed about the disorder itself and the effect it can have.
Audrey's family are absolutely brilliant. I adored her computer mad brother Frank and I loved the constant battle her Mum has to separate Frank and his beloved computer games. She certainly goes to some extreme lengths but it's always clear that she is doing it because she wants the best for him. Audrey's Mum is quite a larger than life character in the book and is often at the centre of some of the funniest moments in the book. Ultimately, you can see what a close knit family they are and the subtle ways that they are there to support each other.
Frank's friend Linus also helps Audrey to face the world again and I enjoyed seeing the progress that she makes to try and overcome the emotions that she is struggling with. By the end of the story she has undergone a lot of positive changes. Her message is one about facing life's ups and downs and trying to always have the courage to deal with the good and the bad. It's an uplifting story which teaches us to the importance of living without fear. ...more