I really enjoyed the first two books of this series but Entice took it up a whole step! Right from the beginning, it's action packed but Carrie Jones mI really enjoyed the first two books of this series but Entice took it up a whole step! Right from the beginning, it's action packed but Carrie Jones manages to include a lot of character development too.
Zara would do anything to save her boyfriend Nick, who has been sent to Valhalla, a a mythical place for warriors whatever the consequences. The only problem is, she has no idea how to get there and even has doubts about whether Nick is even still alive. At the end of Captivate, she turns into a pixie when she finds out that it is the only way she can save him. Yet, she knew that taking the plunge into becoming one of the race she hates could mean that her family and friends turn against her. She even wonders if Nick will still love her and accept her as a pixie when she is one of the very race he despises. In Entice, I began to see the effects of what she has done and Zara is scared of what she is and might become. She also has to deal with conflicting emotions over love and difficulties as those closest to her find it difficult to accept her as a pixie. Throughout, she remains grounded as she is determined to use her pixie powers for good to protect her town and those closest to her. I admire Zara for what she has to cope with and how she still remains strong. Astley, the pixie who turned Zara made a different impression on me this time than in the last book, where he was very mysterious. He is the pixie King of a group of pixies fighting for good in Maine and Zara is now his Queen. However, he has trouble convincing Zara that he can be trusted and will not betray her people despite the negative experiences she has had of pixies so far. Throughout most of the book, I felt the same as Zara; feeling trust in my heart but knowing in my head that there could be something suspicious about. Although, he could have forced Zara into things or done something to prove he is right but he lets Zara make decisions and form opinions in her own time without control or interference and this made me respect him as a character. What swings the balance for Astley is that he goes out of his way to protect Zara and is always kind, understanding, gentlemanly and brave. He also understands her desire to bring Nick back from Valhalla and tries his best to help her with this whilst sacrificing any chance he might have of her loving him. I was glad to see Zara growing closer to him but I still haven't decided who I want her to end up with in the end.
Towards the end, I did begin to wonder if getting Nick back would be worth the many sacrifices along the way but this didn't ruin the book for me at all.
For me, the best part of Entice was the ending because it was so full of suspense and has left the story very open for what happens next. I couldn't put it down and I can't wait for the fourth book in the series now! I think that all those who loved Need but were disappointed by Captivate should give the series another chance as Entice surpasses it. ...more
Enna Burning follows the story of Isi's best friend Enna and the war between Bayern and its neighbour. Whilst the Goose Girl was a loose fairy tale reEnna Burning follows the story of Isi's best friend Enna and the war between Bayern and its neighbour. Whilst the Goose Girl was a loose fairy tale retelling, this sequel is completely its own original story. That is why it would be possible to read this book before before the first without too many problems but I really reccommend that anyone planning on reading it should read The Goose Girl first to understand the background to the story better and because it is such an enchanting story that you wouldn't want to miss it!
This book has a slightly different feel to Goose Girl as I found it to be more dark than the first book in the Books of Bayern. The Goose Girl gives a much clearer picture of the lands of Bayern and Kildendree but this one is much more character orientated. However, I loved it just as much as the Goose Girl, just in a different way as it was a more pacy read with a lot more action happening at once. I am happy to say though that the beautiful descriptions that give Shannon Hale her distinct writing style are retained and I was submerged into Enna's world just as much as Isi's.
Opening the pages of this book is a bit like returning home after a short break away as all the characters- such as Isi (Ani), Geric, Razo and Fin- and the setting felt so familiar to me. Despite this the start was a little slow moving but this is more than compensated for by the fact that once the story gets going, it really sucks you in.
Enna's character is the complete opposite of Isi's as she is much more headstrong, fiery, strong minded and opinionated, (which suits her magical gift well!) but she is also fiercely loyal as is Isi. She is not as likable as Isi but I think that is what makes her such an interesting character. I really enjoyed getting to know her character more as not much was revealed about her in the first book. Also, I liked seeing how she grew as a character throughout the book and dealt with the challenges and need of inner strength and courage that come special powers as well as the effects that her gift with fire has on her. There are many times when she makes the wrong choices but she is very well meaning at heart and wants the best for all her friends and Bayern.
As I mentioned before, there was a lot more action because of the war between Bayern and its neighbour, which naturally creates quite a stir. Quite soon into the book, I was launched into scenes of violent battlefields but Hale descriptions of it are very clean but still manage to capture the brutality of the war but also the tension within the young men fighting and their family.
I loved Shannon Hale's take on the use of magic because she shows that there is always a consequence to using it and that it cannot be used carelessly. Also, the magic of the natural elements and the balance that two of them can create as shown in this book is something I found more captivating than more fantastical magic perhaps because it is closer to reality. A lot of fantasy books just seem to take using powers it for granted and I found seeing the consequences making up a lot of the storyline very refreshing.
Verdict: The Goose Girl is a masterfully crafted wonderfully unique and vivid story using the foundations of The Goose Girl that portrays war, bloodshed and magic along with the power of friendship and trust that brings out the best in everyone ...more
I read Captivate straight after Need so it was very easy to get engrossed in the story and its characters again. It begins shortly after the first booI read Captivate straight after Need so it was very easy to get engrossed in the story and its characters again. It begins shortly after the first book Need and we find Zara and her friends facing more problems with the pixies as the needs of their King grows everyday as they remain shut away. Zara is plagued by guilt at this the decision she was forced to make to protect everything that means a lot to her as she fights for the freedom of individuals contained through Amnesty International. However, her boyfriend Nick finds it hard to understand when he feels such a hatred for the pixie race.
A lot of the story is focused on the relationship between Zara and Nick and how it grows as they spend more time with each other. I like both the characters and think that they fit each other well but I think that their romance was a little too soppy at points and after a while I became annoyed by Nick constantly calling her 'baby.' Although, like most couples enjoying first love obstacles soon form in their way and I found myself rooting for them.
Zara remains much the same quirky character and maintains the same distinctive narrative voice of Need and I really connected with her emotions and struggles throughout the book as she makes difficult decisions that will affect her life and the ones of her closest friends and family. However, the characters that I found most interesting in this sequel were Issy and Devyn because I felt there was a lot more character development for them. Issy matures a lot and experiences for the first time the teenage feelings of what seems to be unrequited love whilst Devyn seems to change from a geeky teenager to a young man. One of the two new characters, a mysterious pixie called Astley who is convinced that Zara is destined to become his Queen puzzled me. He stirred the plot up and provoked new feelings in Zara but I didn't feel that I knew enough about him to judge him as a character. I got the impression that he was meant to be a rather sexy character that would make readers re-think how they want the story to go. There are so many big questions left for me to ponder- can he be trusted? Whose side is he really on? It is almost as if Carrie Jones created this effect deliberately to make readers wanting to know more. If so, it certainly did the trick!
With the successively gripping events that move the story along, Captivate is a very good 'middle' book that sets the scene well for the third book in the series Entice where I think the tension that has been building in the past two books will come to a head.
Verdict: Captivate picks up very well from Need and delivers with changes that put the future of the plot in doubt. It lacks some of the more creepy scenes in Need but for me this was made up with the emotional turmoil that the characters face. Unlike other fans in the series, I can now read the third book in the series, Entice almost straight away! ...more
Charlie Tucker and Fielding Withers are hit Hollywood TV stars on The Family Network show playing the characters of puppy- love struck teenagers JennaCharlie Tucker and Fielding Withers are hit Hollywood TV stars on The Family Network show playing the characters of puppy- love struck teenagers Jenna and Jonah but their off screen romance has made them really famous. It looks like the perfect romance but Charlie and Fielding/Aaron actually can't stand being with each other and their relationship is a publicity sham. They are so bogged down in celebrity culture and so used to playing their characters that they have lost their true selves. Fielding just wants to get past the acting stage of his life and retire comfortably on his money and dreams of writing the next greatest American novel whilst Charlie feels trapped since she was forced into acting from a young age by her money-crazed parents and fears she wouldn't have a purpose if her career went down the drain.
This book came through my letterbox just at the right time! I was ill in bed and it was a lovely surprise to open it when I went downstairs. It was the perfect book for me to read at that time because I has just a book which dragged a bit for me and I just wanted something light, fun and predictable that I didn't have to think too much about to enjoy. That's what I found in Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance.
The first chapters set the scene really well and bit by bit the world of celebrity culture and false pretence over their real-life 'romance' was pieced together and Ifound it quite easy to relate to how they felt about growing up in the public eye because they're just regular teenagers who have been sucked into a world of money and fame that they can't avoid. Being a teenager when you're worrying about your career falling apart and whether the paparazzi have got the right shots of you to give the impression that everything is as normal must be very hard. I found this exploration of celebrity culture very interesting and it made me ask questions about the secrets and contract restrictions of real life celebrities.
I liked the fact that the book was told through alternating points of view between Charlie and Fielding because it was interesting to see their differences of opinion and private view of each other. However, there were a few times when it almost felt that there was no distinction between the two voices and they kind of merged together sometimes even though they were written by different authors. My favourite narrator was Fielding because he was a more complex and interesting character than Charlie. Also, Charlie could sometimes be irritating because she thought of herself and her career more than the feelings of others.
My favourite part of Charlie and Fielding's relationship was their time alone whilst hiding from the paparazzi because they acted more of their true selves when they were away from the media and got to know each other more. The romance was really sappy and sweet, if a little cheesy, particularly at the end of the book and makes for a feel-good, happily ever after reading experience.
There were some big flaws though and this book was far from perfect. It sometimes felt like I was reading a script from a TV drama where the characters are trying to get one up on the other when Charlie and Fieling/Aaron were talking to each other. There were some good one liners and genuinely funny parts but at times it was a bit much.
Verdict: I did enjoy it overall (which is what my rating is solely based on) and read it very quickly but I felt that the story could have been expanded on so much more because of the brilliant premise and I wouldn't read it again. I'd recommend it to reluctant teenage girls readers because of the shortness of the book . If you're looking for a fun, cheesy and fast paced book with a cute love-hate romance, then this would be a good choice. ...more
A Beautiful Lie is set in India at the time of the partition in 1947 and centres around the life and problems of a young Bilal who is witnessing his FA Beautiful Lie is set in India at the time of the partition in 1947 and centres around the life and problems of a young Bilal who is witnessing his Father's beloved India and everything that it stands for fall apart before him. He is determined to protect his ill father from finding out the truth about what is happening in the outside world whatever the cost for he knows that it would break his heart. Helped by the best friends he has grown up with, it seems as though everything will go as planned but keeping up the pretence of the deception proves to be harder than Bilal anticipated and he must go to great lengths for it. But he begins to wonder if he is really doing the right thing even when the only thing he wants is for his father to die in peace. Can keeping the truth hidden really be right even if the lie is so beautiful?
I've never read a historical set novel in India before so I was very interested to find out about life there and I found learning more about India's past very fascinating. The setting really brings something new and fresh to the historical fiction genre. I learnt about the religious conflict that began to cause unrest and divide communities in riots. The little details that are hidden in Bilal's first person narrative make it clear that a lot of research was put into the novel.
Irfan Master's writing deals with a serious situation with sensitive, honest and beautiful writing and above all, Bilal's concern and love for his father can plainly be seen so that it is easier to understand why he spun the lie he did in order to protect him. This special relationship between Bilal and his father was lovely and convincingly touching to read about yet so sad at the same time. It also turned out to be one of my favourite things about the book.
I also liked the relationship between Bilal and his group of friends because despite their religious differences, which elsewhere were tearing the country apart, stuck with each other and were willing to do anything to help Bilal.The focus on the young boys in the book helped me to see how the events that took place around the partition affected ordinary people and also gave the book a lighter touch as I loved reading about their life at school and the excitement of cricket matches.
The underlying messages of religious tolerance and intolerance are just as important as they were then, as are the themes of truth, friendship and love that are intertwined with the story.
Verdict: A Beautiful Lie is a very emotional and engaging debut novel but also a delightful one that is full of moments of smiles and tears. The vivid setting and characters made me really enjoy it and I think Irfan Master's next books will be ones to look out for!
It has just been shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. ...more
I started this book with hesitation because I didn't really know what to expect as I'd never read this type of book before. At the beginning, we meetI started this book with hesitation because I didn't really know what to expect as I'd never read this type of book before. At the beginning, we meet Bibi, an adopted teenager who feels that she doesn't belong in her family or in England. She often goes to the dilapidated old mansion called Thyme's End near her home when she wants to escape from troubles at home because she feels accepted and safe there. It was owned by the much acclaimed author of The Owl Of The Desert, H.J Martin but no one has seen the current owner for 10 years. Bibi came across to be very bratty girl who doesn't appreciate what she has and I found it very hard to like her at first. However, trouble starts she is discovered in Thyme's End by the twenty seven- year old owner, Oliver who is finally visiting from America. Over one day special day spent together,they develop a friendship and find that they have a unique understanding of each other and their feelings. The day that they spent together was lovely because although they only knew each other for a short time, I felt their relationship was believable as the bonding process was slowly built up. I would have liked to see more of their relationship because I love a bit of romance but I understand that would have undermined the impact of the book.
The next part of the book jumps back in time to when Oliver was ten years younger in 1996 and some of the mysteries about the house that were raised by Bibi were unravelled. We also learn the reasons behind Oliver's troubled feelings and problems in the first part, which helped me to understand and get to know his character a lot more. There was a lot of suspense in this part because an element of ghost stories slips in but it didn't capture my imagination although I can't place my finger on why because it was very well written. My favourite part of this section was learning about the history of the house.
The final part of the novel is set in 1936 and is told through the eyes of Oliver's Grandfather also by the same name), who we met in part 2 as an older man. I don't want to give too much away about it but it explores the relationship between Oliver and the author H.J Martin, who is known by him as Jack and reveals the true nature of who he was.
I thought that the idea of telling the novel in three parts was really clever and interesting and at the end, I briefly looked back through the first section with fresh eyes when I knew the truth about Thyme's End and saw the trail of hints left by the author. Another thing that I thought particularly effective was the way that the house was used as a kind of 'prop' or 'symbol' in the plot because it means something different to each characters and has a real presence throughout. Without the house, there would be no story!
Verdict: It's not at all that this book was bad, because it truly wasn't- but I couldn't immerse myself in the characters and story so I didn't enjoy it that much. However, I think that those who like Gothic types of books might like it because I believe that if you can really get into it, the atmosphere would be very spine chilling and tense. ...more
This third instalment of the Lacey family tales follows the story of the Lacey boy's illegitimate half brother Kit who was estranged from the family aThis third instalment of the Lacey family tales follows the story of the Lacey boy's illegitimate half brother Kit who was estranged from the family after their father died and enjoys a life on stage as a player at Richard Babbage's famous company whilst Mercy Hart is the daughter of a well respected London tradesman who belongs to the Puritans. All the unwritten laws of society declare that they cannot be together- is there love strong enough to overcome this and sacrifice part of themselves for each other? I loved the previous two books in the Lacey Chronicle series, The Other Countess and The Queen's Lady so I was really hoping that The Rouge's Princess would live up to my high expectations and it did! I fall every time for the 'will they, won't they' romances in books and this was no exception.
Kit made an appearance in the Queen's Lady and at first I was unsure of whether I liked him because he came across as irritating so I was apprehensive about him being a main character. However, I couldn't have been more wrong because out of the male leads so far, I think he is the most fun to read about because he leads such a different life than his half brothers. His gift with words and use of poetic flowery language makes him a real charmer complete with gorgeous looks- swoon! I doubt I will be the only reader crushing on him. At the beginning of the book, he has his heart in the right place but also likes a good drink down the pub like the other theatre boys but the thing that really won him over as a worthy hero of the book was his resilience in his pursuit of Mercy. He treated her with the utmost kindness and respect and was even willing to change his character to fit in with her Puritan ways by toning down his bright fashionable clothes. It was so sweet because it was clear that he really loved Mercy and she wasn't just a passing fancy because he was determined to continue his courtship even at the opposition of the Hart family.
Likewise, Mercy has a different personality than the other ladies in the books so far because she's quiet, shy and extremely modest about herself because of her Puritan upbringing and will not even allow herself the pleasure of a pretty new dress. Kit bought out the more wild side in her character, which was hidden inside at the start but started to show in her half shy cheeky flirtations with Kit when they first meet by chance. I admired her for the courage she showed and she is the kind of girl I'd like to have as a friend because she has a fun sense of humour that emerged but a sensible head.
The main characters from the other books with Will, James and Tobias Lacey as well as Milly Porter and her husband Diego appearing in person and Ellie, Jane and Sarah being mentioned. I particularly loved Tobias's mischievous neature and his witty and affectionate brotherly banter with Kit. That bought a lot of comic relief to the story and was funny to read.
Again, the Tudor era was described vividly and I found myself right in the heart of the streets of London and I could visualise the bawdy roar of the crowds at the Globe Theatre and sense the political atmosphere at the taverns that Kit visits. As in the other books, historical events were involved heavily in the plot and this book focused on suspicion of plots to overthrow Mary Queen of Scots and gave a glimpse into the start of William Shakespeare's career. I particularly enjoyed learning about the Puritan beliefs because I've heard things about them in other historical books but never in detail. Their simple and harsh way of life fascinated me and fitted in perfectly with the plot and setting. The author's biography says that she dined at a Tudor banquet in order to get the sounds and smells of the era right and this really shines through in her writing.
I loved curling up with the Rogue's Princess and it left me with a smile on my face. The character cast that Eve Edwards has created is wonderful and it feels like I know them. It's not often I feel that way about book characters and when you do find that special series, it feels like you've struck gold. I really hope that there will be more books in the series because I've thoroughly enjoyed reading them and of course, there's still the youngest Lacey brother Tobias and sister Sarah to write about.
Verdict/ Speed read: Eve Edward's evocative depiction of Tudor England took me to Elizabethan London along with well crafted and loved characters. Mercy and Kit's romance was adorable and I was so glad to see some characters from the previous books in the series. The Lacey Chronicle books are now firm favourites of mine and The Rogue's Princess is no exception to this. I savoured every last word and hope that we will see more books in the series! Highly recommended for fans of YA historical and those who are looking to escape in a wonderfully romantic book....more
Sigrun's Secret was everything that I expected it to be and more and stepping back into Marie Louise Jensen's wonderful writing whilst sunbathing in tSigrun's Secret was everything that I expected it to be and more and stepping back into Marie Louise Jensen's wonderful writing whilst sunbathing in the garden was like eating my favourite chocolate-a real treat! Sigrun's Secret is the loose sequel to Daughter Of Fire and Ice and tells the story of the MC of the first book's daughter Sigrun as she is exiled from the only world she has ever known and discovers the truth about who her family really are.
I connected with the MC Sigrun just as much as her mother Thora and from the opening chapter, where Sigrun is riding a runaway and unbroken horse, because I was instantly hoping that the horse would stop before they reached the edge of the cliff. Sigrun feels that she is forever in the shadow of her mother for it is her great sadness that she has not inherited the gift of her mothers visions or her talent as a healer but she is similar to her in more ways than she thinks for she proves her courage and love in her own way. Throughout these doubts about herself, the trials of young love and the challenges of leaving her home to live in a unknown city where everything is strange and unfamiliar to her, I was able to relate to Sigrun really well. This was because of the way Marie Louise Jensen built up a consistent voice for her character that kept me in the heart of the action. Also, I really enjoyed seeing her develop from a naive young girl who has some insecurities in herself into a confident, honourable and thoughtful young women.
One of my favourite aspect of this book was Sigrun's relationship with her childhood friend Ingvar. When her father, brother and Ingvar come back from a year long trip, Ingvar seems changed and Sigrun develops feelings for him that she never knew she posessed. Just as their romance seems to begin blossoming, they are separated from each other and must live with the prospect of not seeing each other for three years-can their love last that long? Their romance was really sweet and it added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. Oh, and did I mention how handsome Ingvar was?
The secondary characters such as Sigrun's parents Bjorn and Thora, her mute friend Maria and Leif, the son of their host Thrang in Jorvik were all well written too and I cared about what happened to them too. I particularly liked finding out what happened to Bjorn and Thora after their struggle to be together in the first book.
As in Daughter Of Fire and Ice, the Icelandic setting was excellently described from the lush bay where Sigrun has grown up to the sights and smells of the bustling city of Jorvik. I found learning a bit of Norse myths and legends and the way of life back then from the slave trade to the different medicines that healers like Sigrun used really interesting.
Verdict: Sigrun's Secret is an adventuruous and emotional coming of age story complete with the trials of young love, loyalty and bravery set against the vivid backdrop of Iceland and the Norse city of Jorvik. Excellently written with lots of twists and turns in the plot and a lifelike heroine, I would reccommend it to anyone looking for something fresh and new in the YA historical fiction genre. Marie Louise Jensen is one of my favourite authors but she is not very well known at the moment and I hope that will change in the future!
You do not have to have read Daughter of Fire and Ice to enjoy this sequel but keep in mind that if you like this book, then you will know the ending of DOFAI if you decide to read it after. ...more
I was very interested by the fact that the book is told from the point of view of Jone, who is a historical figure that I had never heard of before anI was very interested by the fact that the book is told from the point of view of Jone, who is a historical figure that I had never heard of before and not much information is know about her. When we first meet Jone she is a six year old child who is very naive but still knowledgeable for her years and is often neglected by her parents King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine who are feuding. Whilst her brothers are fighting for the attention of her father, her mother teaches her about the politics of the country and court and how a good Queen should act. I was captured by the confusion that young Jone felt by loving two parents who hated each other and wanted to find out what her fate would be as she grew up as a political pawn for her torn family. Coventry’s phenomenally descriptive writing really drew me into the story and Jone’s world- I felt her pain and shared her heartbreak as she was married off to King William of Sicily-who is ten hears older than her and has no time or patience for a child bride except to one day produce an heir- and her joy in her later marriage to Raymond of Tolouse. Kept as a virtual prisoner in her apartments in Sicily, Jone proves herself to be a strong and determined young woman trying to make the best out of her situation even though she is homesick and lonely.
Susan Coventry did a wonderful job of padding out the character of Jone around the few basic facts about her life that we know about and I loved following her story from young Princess to a thirty year old strong and passionate woman through the many ups and downs that she experienced. I also liked the way that her 'voice' in the narration matured (even though it wasn't written in the first person), it was especially fascinating at the beginning to view the turmoil and undercurrents at court between her parents and her brothers the young King Henry, Richard Duke of Aquitaine, Geoffrey Duke of Brittany and John through the eyes of six year old Jone. By the end of the book I felt like I knew Jone inside out as I had ‘seen’ her grow up and go through a journey and I wanted a happy ending and a marriage based on love for her.
Jone’s story was rich in historical detail that was clearly well researched and I really enjoyed finding out about the 12th century in different countries, as this is something I have never read about before. I was particularly interested in the inclusion of the Crusades in the story and would like to read more about it. However, I sometimes felt that there were a few too many facts, which overpowered the story in places. This was partly why I found the beginning of the story slow paced and a bit hard to get into but it also meant that I was able to follow the story better and know the large cast of characters.
Verdict: The Queen’s Daughter is a book that really brings the life and character of Jone to life, when she is so often overlooked in history through heart wrenching emotions and in depth and captivating setting as well as detail. I would highly recommend this book to historical fiction fans young or old, it makes a brilliant introduction to a famous historical family. The Queen’s Daughter is an amazing and creative debut- I can’t wait to read what Susan Coventry writes next!
Note: Whilst this is a young adult novel I would like to point out that there are a few sexual references although nothing is explicit at all otherwise I would not have read it...more