Monday, 30 April 2012

Review of Stealing Phoenix by Joss Stirling.

Pages: 272
Publisher: OUP Oxford
Released: September 2011

Plot Summary: Phoenix or Phee as she is known for short lives in a bad place. She steals for the Seer, the big boss of her community in London and isn't afraid to admit she gets a thrill from it. However life at 'home' if you can call it that is harsh and fearful and when Phee gets a job to seek out and steal from 'Yves Benedict' she isn't prepared to find out that he is her soul-finder, a thing only believed in her community to be a legend.
Yves wants nothing more for Phee to come back with him to America however Phee is trapped in the community under the influence of the Seer. Can Yves save Phoenix from this life?And can Phoenix save Yves from a life without his soul-finder?
Read to Find Out!!!

Good Points: Well, after reading Finding Sky (which I totally fell in love with) I knew I was in for a treat when Stealing Phoenix finally arrived in the post!!!
The main character - Phoenix- is strong, determined and smart (stealing Yves wise words)and I loved how although there was the similarity between Sky and Phoenix both having bad backgrounds, you are under no elusion that they compare. Phoenix/Phee's view on the world is cautious, she doesn't trust easily and you can immediately see why.  I loved how the relationship between her and Yves developed as not only does she have to comprehend that soul-finders are true but she also has to try to trust this person, something Phee isn't good at.
I also liked how we got to see a more detailed side of Yves and now can't wait to see what's in store for all of the other Benedict Brothers. Yves's character is not what I expected, you see a determined side to his character that Phoenix brings out of him and it was great to catch up with Zed and Sky ( The main duo in the 1st book Finding Sky). I thought the author did well in avoiding not bringing the focus back to Zed and Sky and instead keeping Phee and Yves the main build to the story, in my opinion Stirling struck a good balance with this which I admired.

Bad Points: I really did enjoy this book, I found myself rushing home after college to read on and I think that's what a good book entails, so I don't think I can criticise it. But if I had to push something it would be length- because I wanted the book to never end!

To Sum Up... If you haven't read anything from this author yet, please do so! I already can't wait for the next book in the series and if its anything like Finding Sky and Stealing Phoenix then neither should you! :D

Friday, 27 April 2012

Review of Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games #2)

Pages: 391
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: September 2009

Plot Summary: Although escaping the Hunger games, Katniss and Peeta have not escaped the attention of President Snow and as they become more aware of the rebellions taking place in the districts on their victory tour the preparations for the 75th Hunger Games or Quarter Quell as it is referred to begin to take shape. Can Katniss escape again?

Good Points: The book followed on almost straight after the first with Peeta and Katniss on the victory tour. I was so glad to have these characters back and couldn't wait for what would happen next. Katniss's character develops even further and we continue to see the struggle-some relationship between her and Peeta. Also there is the arrival of new characters such as Finnick Odair who immediately fell right in to place as being one of the 'Big' characters that the series has created. The second book in the Hunger Games series also included more information about the political side and we get to explore some of the other districts.
The book continues with the emotional and philosophical plot that is both thought provoking and entertaining. 

Bad Points: I really loved this book so its hard to fault it but if there had to be one thing it would be the love triangle, why do we need one again?

To sum up... This book is great. Don't be wary of reading the sequel because you were so amazed with the first book and don't want to be let down by this one because trust me you wont. This book contains a lot of emotion and the plot just gets better and better and it wouldn't be a Hunger Games novel without a bit of action! 

"May the odds be ever in your favour"

Review of Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

Pages: 409
Publisher: Mira Books
Released: 2007

Plot Summary: Yelena is given the choice of execution or to become the Commanders food taster, the person responsible to check for Poisonous substances hidden in an attempt to kill the ruler of Ixia. Yelena quickly accepts her chance at life however it is trapped by the knowledge that she has to be given an antidote daily by the mysterious Valek (Yelena's trainer) or face the slow death from Butterfly's Dust. 
However Yelena's past soon catches up with her as we uncover the truth behind her initial imprisonment and find that revenge is on its way.

Good Points: I really loved this book I thought that although it is aimed at a young adult audience the book is great for all. From page one I was caught into the story and was intrigued by Yelena's past. The characters were built well and the cliffhangers at the end of each chapter were tempting. The main character Yelena is strong and intelligent and wasn't afraid to get caught up in the action. 
The plot was great and I will definitely be reading the next book as soon as I can. 

Bad Points: I thought at times maybe Yelena was a little too good at times, It seemed that almost everything she did she mastered in no time at all and it was a little 'meh' after a bit.

To sum up... I really think this book is great. I bought it when it was on offer for the Kindle a couple of weeks ago and couldn't stop reading it. I was quite surprised by the book and will look out for more books by this author in the future!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Review of Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Pages: 372
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Released: September 2011

Plot Summary: Teenager Aurora 'Rory' Deveaux from Louisiana moves to London, England after her parents get a job in Bristol. Rory moves on her own earlier than her parents so to start her senior year at a boarding school in London but little does she know that soon she will get caught up in the strange copy cat murders of Jack the Ripper that have been taking place in East end London and bringing chaos and panic. The only problem is that Rory seems to be the only one able to see the killer? Is it the real Jack Ripper? It seems so, as Rory and her new friends try and solve the case however will Rory end up becoming just another victim?

Good points: I thought the book was well-researched and brought a new spin on the historic case of the Ripper killings. I also liked the fact that the author name drops a lot of places that I myself have visited before and it really helped make it feel real. The main character, I liked and thought the relations she has with the other students was believable yet somewhat stereotypical. However I thought the description was good and  the plot thickened every time another kill happened.

Bad Points: I thought there could have been a little more action and at certain parts whilst reading the book I admit I was a tad bored . The beginning for me was a little slow however it soon started to pick up later on and after that ending I certainly will have a look out for the sequel when it comes out.

To sum up... The book was okay. I like the character interaction however I would have preferred a little more action however worth a look at if you are interested in Jack the Ripper or bored of the same old American setting to your story.

Review of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Pages: 454
Publisher: Scholastic Fiction
Released: 2008

Plot summary: Panem,also known as the capital is the ruins of what used to be North America. The capital surrounded by twelve other 'districts' each responsible for a specific trade. Each year the Capital punishes these districts in remembrance to the attempt made by the now destruct district 13. Two children, a boy and a girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen are selected at random and forced to participate in the televised event that is The Hunger Games- a fight to the death where only one can become victor. 
In coal mining district 12, Katniss Everdeen soon finds herself in this very position. Can Katniss defy the odds and become victor or die trying?

Good points: I LOVED this book! I read it a couple of years ago when it first came out and soon became one of those people who couldn't escape the story. The main character Katniss is not what you expect, she's strong, will full and determined to win for her sister. The book really made me stop and think things at a deeper level and I found myself actually contemplating this happening in the future. The idea according to Collins began after flicking through TV channels one night and the events between a reality TV show and the news on war becoming blurred.
The characters long stuck in my head after finishing the book and I longed to find out what would happen to Katniss and Peter in the future. I also thought the imagination and philosophical debate within the book was really interesting and that added to the tense atmosphere within the arena, especially considering ideas such as what point has reality TV crossed a boundary and the political side also that President Snow dictates. 

Bad points: Like most people, I have noticed the similarities between the book and Battle Royale however despite this it should definitely not put anyone off reading the book as it was thoroughly enjoyable and in my opinion ticked all the boxes for what a good book   should be.

To sum up... READ THIS BOOK!!! :D And do so before you watch the movie!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review of Finding Sky (Benedict #1) by Joss Sterling

Finding Sky (Benedict, #1)
Finding Sky by Joss Sterling

Pages: 320
Publisher: OUP (Oxford)
Released: October 2010

Plot Summary: English teen Sky is immediately drawn to Zed one of seven brothers in Wickenridge, the all-American town herself and her adoptive parents have just moved to . Sky soon finds out that she is in fact a Savant (like superheroes without the tights) and Zed, another Savant is her soul-finder, destined to be together.
Sky struggles with her past and the nightmares of where she came from. Can Zed and his family help Sky uncover the truth help her discover and control her powers in time before the past catches up with her and the nightmares become her future?

Good points: I really liked that Sky was English, being English myself and I thought the author made light of the humorous differences. I also strangely liked the name Zed. The characters were fun and Zed's family were slowly introduced with unique personalities which I look forwards to reading about in their own Benedict brothers novel. The plot was really addictive to and i found myself finishing it in a couple of hours! 

Bad points: I thought it wasn't long enough. I really hate good books that aren't long enough. I would have liked to spend more time with the characters and not have jumped long periods of time.

To sum up... I think the book was great and defiantly good for a quick read. Excited for the next books but I hope they get a little longer in length! 

Review of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Pages: 448
Publisher: Walker Books LTD
Released: July 2007

Plot summary:The first book in Clare's series is named City of Bones and sports one of the main characters Jace on its cover wearing nothing but the 'runes' that each carry different magical attributes.
The book starts off immediately in a nightclub in New York City named 'pandemonium', a fitting name as within a couple of pages of the book all hell breaks lose when Clary, the green-eyed, flame haired girl see's a murder take place that nobody else can see.
Clary is then flung into the world of shadowhunters, half angel, half human beings that protect the world from demons or die trying.
Like most teen books Clary finds out not only can she see past these shadowhunters 'glimmers' but she is in fact one herself and more...

Good points: As the story progresses we see a relationship grow between Clary and Jace as they uncover more truths from her past and see the development of Jace's what you could call adoptive family, the Lightwoods and the Institute in which they all live in.
I have to say I think one of my favourite characters within this book is Magnus Bane, the high Warlock of Brooklin whom they call on for help when things get tricky. Magnus is an eccentric character with black spiked glittery hair and cats eyes, who we first meet at one of his extravagant parties which has been thrown for his cat-Chairman Meow.
The book is written in third person and in my opinion gripping from start to finish, with the introduction of  'bad guy' Valentine, and a cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more.

Bad points:don't think I could fault it, I really did love this book!!

To sum up... This book is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! I've been a fan of Cassandra Clare's writing for a while now and i thought it was about time i wrote a review. There will be 6 books in the Mortal instruments series and the prequel spin off series 'The infernal Devices' consists of 3 books which are equally as thrilling! 
Cassandra Clare has also released information that she will be creating another trilogy about the World of the shadowhunters called 'The Dark Artifices'. Cannot wait :D 

Review of The demon trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

The demon trappers: Forsaken by Jana Oliver

Pages: 448
Publisher: Macmillan children's books
Released:January 2011

Plot: The plot to the first in the series written in third person starts of with the year being 2018 and the world is filled with demons. Riley the lead female character in the book is the daughter of the one of the best demon trappers in the city and is training to follow in her dad's footsteps by becoming the only female apprentice in a male-dominated world.Not to mention Riley and her Dad are still trying to pay off the massive medical bills after her mothers death and this is complicated even further after he is killed by a Grade 5 demon and now necromancers want to raise his body to become a dead slave (deader).
Riley finds help from the likes of Beck, her dads previous apprentice whom Riley used to crush on when she was little. Also we see the introduction of religious-Simon, another young apprentice of the bitter and slightly twisted Demon Trapper, Harper whom takes over apprenticing Riley after her fathers death.
Like most young adult novels Riley finds out that she is more important than she thinks and with every demon knowing her name, something that is unheard of before things begin to start getting more hellish than usual.

Good Points: The dialogue flowed well between characters and there are a few moments in there. The story keeps you intrigued and i thought was fairly easy to get into.

Bad Points: Despite good, well rounded characters I thought the plot lacked in explaining how the demons got there in the first place and was a little disappointed when this wasn't covered. Yes, it probably is going to ( I hope) be covered in the next books but I thought there were too many dun- dun- duun moments.

To sum up... I think Oliver can be congratulated on creating an easy read where the dialogue flowed smoothly and the characters are built up into people, therefore a book I would definitely recommend you taking a chance on. 

Review of Starcrossed By Josephine Angelini

Pages: 528
Publisher: Macmillan’s children books
Released : June 2011

Plot summary:  Helen lives with her father on the island of Nantucket and is about to start her junior year with her best friend Claire however the island is bewitched by the arrival of the Delos family and their beautiful looks. Helen couldn’t give a damn until she meets Lucas Delos who she can’t seem to resist the urge to kill, but the problem is she doesn’t know why. Just to add to the mystery every time Helen sees a Delos member three haggard women appear, not to mention her too realistic nightmares.
Helen later discovers she is a Scion, a descendant of the Greek Gods, but there are secrets being kept from her by the Delos’s and begins to realise she has been fated to centre an ancient blood-feud.

Good Points- I really loved some of the characters and how they were developed. Also the description that Angelini goes into really sets the mood to the story in my opinion. I liked how the mythology was included as I was sick of books just being the usual love triangles.  The book was defiantly one that I struggled to put down and I thought the length was good also as sometimes books can cut off as they’re just getting interesting…

Bad Points- Some things really didn’t add up and I think the author failed to create a believable ending in the fact that none of the characters who were supposed to be smart realised the age /death difference was impossible (I won’t go into too much detail so not to spoil it)

To sum up… I liked the book as it made me laugh at times and I found myself thinking about the characters still long after finishing the book. Although some things didn’t add up I would still recommend this book (especially if you love mythology) as it is different to the usual teen fiction you find on the shelf.
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