Monday, 31 December 2012

Blog News


 Sorry I haven't been posting lately. Currently revising for January exams, wish me luck :)
The books are piling up though so reviews will resume soon!

Hope you all had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hi Everyone!
Hope you're all having a great Christmas!
Posting will return soon!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Review of The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Pages: 352
Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens Books
The Madness Underneath (Shades of London, #2)Release: February 2013

Thanks to to Publisher for the ARC copy :)

Plot: When Madness stalks the streets of London, no one is safe...
There's a creepy new terror haunting modern-day London. Fresh from defeating a Jack the Ripper killer, Rory must put her new-found hunting skills to the test before all hell breaks loose...
But enemies are not always who you expect them to be and crazy times call for crazy solutions.

Good Points: The second book in the Shades of London series starts off with Rory living in Bristol and frequently visiting her therapist. Unlike some books where the protagonist simply deals with what's happened as if all they've seen is a fly being swatted, Rory actually reflects the emotions you assume a person would be going through after the ordeal that took place in the first book, The Name Of the Star, which saw Rory investigating and becoming a close victim to the Jack the Ripper Copycat that was terrorizing London.
The emotions are played subtly at first and then the stress builds when Rory returns to Wexford and struggles to cope with the workload and the stress of possibly being the key to the continuation of the group that helped her in the first book.
Other great points were the history and research that has gone into this book, everything surprisingly fit well together and the detail that Johnson has built in creating Rory's world is both descriptive and concise.
Also that ending! Maureen Johnson sure does know how to leave a book on a good cliff hanger and one that I'm sure will leave me hanging by those last pages until the third novel is released.

Bad Points: The book was a little slow. I read this on my Kindle and it was only after the percentage reached around 50% of the book that the real investigation into the murder at the beginning starts to happen. Also although Rory's character was explored much deeper the other characters seem to have been slightly forgotten in this one which was slightly disappointing.

To Sum Up... When I heard that Name of The Star was going to be part of a series I did wonder what direction Johnson was going to take the characters, especially after the seemingly complete ending to the Ripper case focused in the first book which I loved.
On the one hand I think this book does work well in following on from Rory's story although I would have liked a little more involvement from some of the other characters such as Jerome and Jazza and possibly a faster pacing to the book.
However I am extremely happy in the fact that Rory's dialogue is as ever funny and believably weird. The book although being a little too slow for me in its first half definitely redeemed itself in its remaining pages, ending on a cliff hanger that as I've already mentioned will leave you screaming "What the...?"
Oh, quick note- I forgot to mention it's pretty vital that if this is the first time you've heard of this series, read the first book Name of The Star first as this one doesn't really explain the details dealt in it so skipping is a straight no-go here.

Thanks for Reading and make sure to leave any comments you have on the review :)

Friday, 7 December 2012

Review of Shadowhunters and Downworlders: A Mortal Instruments Reader by Cassandra Clare and others.

Pages: 256
Currently Reading...Publisher: SmartPop
Release: January 2013
Thanks to the publisher for this ARC copy

Join Cassandra Clare and a Circle of more than a dozen top YA writers, including New York Times bestsellers Holly BlackRachel Caine, and Kami Garcia, as they write about the Mortal Instruments series, its characters, and its world.
Inside you’ll read:

-A cinematic tutorial on why the best friend (Simon) always loses out to the bad boy (Jace)
-The benefits (no, really!) of incest . . . at least in literature
-What we can read between the lines of Alec and Magnus’ European vacation
-The importance of friendship, art, humour, and rebellion
-And more, from the virtues of Downworlders to the naughty side of Shadow hunting

Good Points: Okay this book is really good if you are super obsessed with TMI and need something to read by Cassie until Clockwork Princess comes out (which b.t.w is already my book of 2013). The book contains a series of essay's written by different authors and edited by Clare discussing the roles in which the characters play, themes explored within the series and basically just about anything TMI.
When I first started reading I was quite surprised, I liked where it was going, kind of tying in philosophical elements and a bit of Psychology- think one of William Irwin's pop- culture- inspired philosophical texts, yet Mortal Instruments themed. Some of the essays I enjoyed more than others, the one about Tattoo's at the beginning was particular interesting. But then...

Bad Points: It seemed to get a little...boring. To be honest it was like somebody telling you the entire plot of a series you have already read again, in detail. Like a lot of detail. To be honest I may as well have read the books again, I think that the topics weren't really explored in a way that made them great essays. I would have liked more on what Cassie thought or why she chose to do certain things within the series rather than some other author guessing as to why. The chapter on the 'benefits of Incest in literature' speaks for itself really, though at least the word gross was used to describe it and I have to agree with the writer that 'everyone loves a good taboo'.

To Sum Up... To be honest if I hadn't of gotten this book for review copy I probably would never have read it. Though I love Cassandra Clare's work I do think maybe it is time to draw The Mortal Instruments series to an end, which before you start hating I know she is doing. But I think I'm going to have to be, for now, one of those whiney book-traditionalists (?) and say The Mortal Instruments should have remained a trilogy.
This book although contains some good essays describing every detail of TMI you could possibly want, in my opinion just takes away from what reading the books again can give you. The whole point is to explore and question these topics yourself while you read them and not for some other author to tell you how it is. I'm not saying everyone thinks this but personally I just like to keep the books and stay clear from now on of the 'Readers'.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Review of Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Pages: 481
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Released: 2008

Plot: In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graces with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Good Points: I really liked the main character, Katsa, she's definitely up there with some of the top female heroines in novels such as Katniss and Tris. The whole concept of people being 'graced' in society I thought was unusual yet I loved the idea of how you identify a 'grace' by the colour or in this case colours of their eyes.
The development of the characters was nice yet I have to say somewhat predictable and this was sort of disappointing though there were some surprises along the way whilst reading.
 The setting or world Cashore has created is filled with depth and description which I always crave in a book;the main purpose being- to transport you into a different world with new and exciting characters  which I think this book successfully accomplished.
The action sequences within the book were written beautifully, in some books the author writes the scene far too quickly and you end up loosing some of the kick ass moves the character makes in battle. In this book, I am glad to say that this didn't happen. In my mind reading the book, the stages of Katsa's dance, if you like, were clear and exciting and this in my opinion just added to the realism that the story produced.

Bad Points: If I am being honest, about halfway through the book I did loose a little bit of interest in what was happening and I think that's why it took me so long to actually finish it. I just didn't think that the books plot was really that exciting and towards the end I wasn't really getting excited about reading it.

To Sum Up... My expectations of this book when I first bought it were really high, everyone had praised it on its originality and Katsa's cool and very kick ass quality. Although I agree that Katsa is a great heroine I just feel that something was missing from this book which I really craved.
Over Christmas I probably will pick up the next two books in the series but I have to admit that I'm still on the fence with this one.
Thanks for reading!
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