Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Review: Mad Dogs by Robert Muchamore

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Title: Mad Dogs

Author: Robert Muchamore

Series: Cherub #8

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: October 1st 2007

Format: Paperback | 394 pages

Genre: YA 

Goodreads



The British underworld is controlled by gangs. When two of them start a turf war, violence explodes on to the streets.


The police need information fast, and James Adams has the contacts to infiltrate the most dangerous gang of all. He works for CHERUB.



My thoughts:


Well this was definitely the most violent and action packed Cherub book I've read so far to say the least!


I don't really know what I can say about this book that I haven't already mentioned in previous reviews for past Cherub books. I really do love how fast paced these books are - they always go back and forth from Lauren and James' point of view and when both of them are getting up to no good, I end up flying through the pages. 


Another great aspect of the book was how it started off featuring Gabrielle and Michael. Gabrielle is a character I wanted to see more of so to have this book featuring her in such a way that it did was great. I loved her relationship with Michael and how they looked out for each other even when they weren't together - they were a really sweet, breath of fresh air kind of couple.


I'm really enjoying getting to know James more and more as the series goes on. He seems to have grown up a lot in this book especially. He's a lot more mature in dealing with the problems that come his way and I have noticed that he lashes out a lot less when someone annoys him. 


Overall this is a brilliant read. It has all of the good qualities a reader looks for in a book that makes the read a perfect one to keep coming back to. 


My rating: 10/10


 

Robert Muchamore:

 

 

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

 

 

 

Cherub:

 

 

 

  1. The Recruit
  2. Class A
  3. Maximum Security
  4. The Killing
  5. Divine Madness
  6. Man vs. Beast
  7. The Fall
  8. Mad Dogs
  9. The Sleepwalker
  10. Dark Sun
  11. The General
  12. Brigands M.C
  13. Shadow Wave


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Review: The Crow by Alison Croggon

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Title: The Crow

Author: Alison Croggon

Series: The Books of Pellinor #3

Publisher: Walker Books

Publication date: July 3rd 2006

Format: Paperback | 528 pages

Genre: YA | Fantasy 

Goodreads



The earth is poisoned by a deep wrongness and the forces of the Nameless One grow ever stronger.


The Treesong - the key to restoring peace - is lost, and only Hem's sister Maerad can unravel its mysteries. While she seeks answers in the frozen wastelands of the north, Hem is sent south to Turbansk with his guardian Saliman. Troubled and unhappy, Hem is both haunted by his bitter past and uncertain of his future, as evil forces threaten to destroy the city. But his destiny may be linked to the Treesong more closely than he knows.



My thoughts:


Even though I enjoyed this book, I was a little disappointed it wasn't focused on Maerad and Cadvan. Don't get me wrong, I think Hem is a fantastic character, but after two books based on the two bard's adventures I'd grown to love Maerad and Cadvan more than the other characters.

 

Even though I try my best to avoid it, I always ask myself if any book in a series was as good as the ones that came before. Unfortunately in the case of The Crow, I thought it lacked a few things and so I didn't enjoy it as much as the previous two books. I found it incredibly hard to get settled into the story if that makes any sense. The beginning was incredibly slow going in terms of plot development and action. Granted, there was a war going on and that counts for some action, but there was a whole load of waiting around happening. I did end up having to put the book down for a while and read a couple of others before getting back to it and that's something I've never done before.

 

That aside, I loved getting to know Hem a lot better. He grew so much in this book and really became and individual instead of just Maerad's brother. I really enjoyed seeing his character develop the entire way through the book - it was pretty impressive actually, how much he changes. I definitely won't see Hem the same way if I start the series again one day.

 

Another great aspect of this book is the way Hem becomes an active player in the overall plot of trying to find the Treesong. In the past books, aside from focusing completely on Maerad, I've always assumed the quest was completely down to Maerad, until this book that is. 

 

There are a few amazing new characters introduced in this book. They honestly make the read worth reading on their own - Saliman is no new character but he's featured a whole lot more in this book. Saliman is just lovely - we need a whole load of Salimans in this world. There are others too that I won't mention for obvious reasons if you read the book. I'm still heartbroken over one of them.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

 

Alison Croggon:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter

 

The Books of Pellinor:

  1. The Gift
  2. The Riddle
  3. The Crow
  4. The Singing

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Review: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

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Title: Second Chance Summer

Author: Morgan Matson

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: May 2012

Format: eBook | 480 pages

Genre: YA |  Contemporary 

Goodreads



Sandwiched between two exceptional siblings, Taylor Edwards never felt like she stood out—except for her history of running away when things get too complicated. Then her dad receives unexpected, terrible news, and the family makes the last-minute decision to spend the summer together in the cramped quarters at their old lake house.



Taylor hasn’t been to the summer house since she was twelve, and she definitely never planned on going back. Up at the lake she is confronted with people she thought she left behind, like her former best friend, Lucy, and Henry Crosby, her first crush, who’s all grown up…and a lot cuter. Suddenly Taylor is surrounded by memories she’d rather leave in the past—but she can’t run away this time.



As the days lying on the beach pass into nights gazing at the stars, Taylor realises she has a second chance—with friends, with family, maybe even with love. But she knows that once the summer ends, there is no way to recapture what she stands to lose. 

 

 

My thoughts:


Okay. So now that I've finally stopped bawling my eyes out maybe I can actually get a review up.

 

This is one of those reads where I feel anything I write in a review couldn't do it justice. The emotions involved in this book just blew me away and honestly, I don't think I'll be able to read for at least the rest of the day because I'll still be thinking about this book.

 

Second Chance Summer is truly a beautiful read. It has lovely descriptions of summer, a charming romance, endearing characters and a heartfelt plot that is guaranteed to make you cry at least once. It was one of those books that play on your mind well after you finish reading it and to me, that's what tells me I've just finished reading something I'll no doubt come back to. 

 

I could go on and on about how amazing the characters were and how invested I got in their lives, but I'm not going to. I want you to go and get this book as soon as you can and trust that you'll enjoy every moment of it. It was an experience to say the least. 

 

My rating: 10/10

 

Morgan Matson:

Goodreads | Website | Facebook | Twitter

 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Review: Forever by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: Forever

Author: Maggie Stiefvater

Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3

Publisher: Scholastic

Publication date: July 2011

Format: Paperback | 496 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal

Goodreads



Sam has always loved Grace. As a wolf, eh watched her from afar. As a boy, he held her in his arms.


Now facing the possibility of a life without her, he will do anything to keep her safe. Even if it means facing his demons. Even if it risks everything he has.


Anything, as long as their love can survive…



My thoughts:


I don't really have much to say about this read apart from I was thoroughly disappointed. I loved the first book of this series. The second not so much, but this one really let me down more than any of Stiefvater's books have.

 

The most immediate problem I had was that it took so long for anything to happen. I honestly feel like half of this book can be cut out and it wouldn't make any difference. It dragged on for so long until it came to the ending - I have to say, that was the worst ending I've read in a long time. Because everything was taking so long I assumed it was all leading up to this brilliant ending that would take my breath away. Not so...

 

The only reason I kept going was that I really love this set of characters. Cole really stepped up to the plate in this one and seriously grew on me. Sam and Grace were just perfect. I do think that Sam really sulked a lot which annoyed me, more so than in the past books I mean.

 

However, it didn't matter how much I loved the characters in the end, because it was all ruined by the ending of this book. I would have rated it a lot higher if it hadn't been for that let down. It was so rushed and unsatisfying. 

 

My rating: 4/10

 

Maggie Stiefvater:

Goodreads | Twitter | Website | Blog | Facebook

 

The Wolves of Mercy Falls:

  1. Shiver
  2. Linger
  3. Forever

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review: Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

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Title: Darkness Becomes Her

Author: Kelly Keaton

Series: Gods & Monsters #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: February 2011

Format: eBook | 288 pages

Genre: YA | Paranormal 

Goodreads



Ari can’t help feeling lost and alone. With teal eyes and freakish silver hair that can’t be changed or destroyed, Ari has always stood out. And after growing up in foster care, she longs for some understanding of where she came from and who she is.

Her search for answers uncovers a message from her long dead mother: Run. Ari can sense that someone, or something, is getting closer than they should. But it’s impossible to protect herself when she doesn’t know what she’s running from or why she is being pursued.

She knows only one thing: she must return to her birthplace of New 2, the lush rebuilt city of New Orleans. Upon arriving, she discovers that New 2 is very...different. Here, Ari is seemingly normal. But every creature she encounters, no matter how deadly or horrifying, is afraid of her.

Ari won’t stop until she knows why. But some truths are too haunting, too terrifying, to ever be revealed.



My thoughts:


This was another one of those reads that I didn't find amazing, but I still enjoyed reading it. These books are always the hardest to review for me because sometimes they don't leave enough of an impression for me to think 'there's something I have to put in the review later'.


While I did like the read, the scale was too heavy on the 'bad points' side for me to want to read it again or maybe carry on in the series. I'm not sure about that yet, but it's most definitely one that isn't going to be a priority out of all the series I'm dying to get my hands on.


The very first problem I noticed myself getting frustrated by was the way some events took place. For example, in a couple of action packed moments of the book, Ari - who I realise has had combat training but no experience with supernaturals and the like -  was fighting supernatural creatures with surprising ease. Everything that happened with her was too convenient and it made the story totally unrealistic.

 

It was the exact same problem with the romance that I had trouble with. I like romance in a story as much as the next reader but it has to be believable. It wasn't at all. Sebastian came across as a completely different character in the beginning to what he turned out to be at the end of the book. He didn't start off as someone who would just jump into a romance with anyone, let alone a cursed girl with beefy assassins out to get her. And then, without warning, he changes out of the blue to a really sweet guy who wants to be with someone he met the day before. He lost the air of mystery about him and that was really disappointing because it was what made me like him in the first place.

 

Aside from all that negativity, I really liked the plot of this book. It was entertaining, full of secrets and loveable characters. Enough so that I enjoyed the book despite all my ranting.

 

I especially loved Violet. She was such an intriguing character in so many ways. She had such loyalty to her friends and left such an impression on me without saying very much at all throughout the story. Her and her scary pet. I liked how all of the characters acted as a unit - they acted as a family in order to survive but ended up caring for each other perhaps more than blood relations would.

 

Overall I found this to be a pretty average book. I enjoyed it for the most part, but while the problems I had with it were few and far between, they really irked me. 

 

My rating: 5/10

 

Kelly Keaton:

Goodreads | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

 

Gods & Monsters:

  1. Darkness Becomes Her
  2. A Beautiful Evil
  3. The Wicked Within

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Review: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

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Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty 

Author: Jenny Han

Series: Summer #1

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication date: December 2010

Format: eBook | 304 pages

Genre: YA | Contemporary 

Goodreads



When each summer begins, Belly leaves her school life behind and escapes to Cousins Beach, the place she has spent every summer of her life. Not only does the beach house mean home away from home, but her favourite people are there: Susannah, her mother's best friend, and her sons, Conrad and Jeremiah. Belly has been chasing Conrad for as long as she can remember, and more than anything, she hopes this summer will be different. Despite distractions from a new guy named Cam and lingering looks from Conrad's brother, Jeremiah, Belly's heart belongs to Conrad. Will he offer his to her? Will this be the summer that changes everything?

 

 

My thoughts:


Can someone please tell me why I've waited so long to read this book?


What I loved most about this read was not only was it all about summer, it was about how one girl changes over many summers. There were quite a few flashbacks of past summers with all of the characters living together so it made for some amazing opportunities to get to know the characters a whole lot more. You get to learn what makes them who they are and why they act the way they do in the main part of the story (the present time). The characters were amazingly well rounded and perfectly developed so I pretty much fell in love with every single one of them for different reasons.


The writing really captured the essence of summer - I could imagine all of the settings with ease and be reminded of my own summer experiences just from the tone of the book sometimes. Since it is December while I'm writing this review, this book succeeded in making me look forward to the summer if nothing else. 

 

The plot was also wonderful. It was nothing like I was expecting. I was thinking there would be a huge focus on romance for obvious reasons but there was so much more. This book was pretty heartbreaking at times and it left me in tears more than once. Since I loved the characters so much, everything that happened to them really hit home more than usual. 

 

Aside from the ending, which I hated, I thought this book was a fantastic read. I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.

 

My rating: 8/10

 

Jenny Han:

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

Summer:

  1. The Summer I Turned Pretty
  2. It's Not Summer Without You
  3. We'll Always Have Summer

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Review: Man vs. Beast by Robert Muchamore

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Title: Man vs. Beast

Author: Robert Muchamore

Series: Cherub #6

Publisher: Hodder

Publication date: 19 Oct 2006

Format: Paperback | 320 pages

Genre: YA 

Goodreads



Every day thousands of animals die in laboratory experiments. Some say these experiments provide essential scientific knowledge, while others commit acts of extreme violence in order to stop them.


James and Lauren Adams are stuck in the middle.



My thoughts:


This book pretty much had everything I've come to expect from a Cherub novel. There hasn't been a disappointing book so far and considering how long the series is, I hope it continues to be the case.


I'm still slightly amazed at how this author almost lets me forget that these spies are actually kids. It all gets put back into perspective when James does something ridiculous like sneak a burger when he's supposed to be a vegetarian on a mission. There's such a perfect balance between the kids' training and their age - it adds some really great elements to the story. 

 

This plot wasn't my favourite in terms of the action involved, but it definitely had some great moments. It was such a quick read that I finished it in no time and the characters involved when everything got exciting were brilliant to read about. One was absolutely crazy and wouldn't care if he killed someone by accident, whereas his brother was the complete opposite and couldn't decide whether what he was doing was morally right or not. 

 

I loved Kyle being with James and Lauren for this mission - I'd missed him somewhat since the first couple of books, so it was great to get to know him a little better. The way all three worked as a team when it was important to do so was one of those moments where you realise how much training they'd really had where you might have forgotten before. 

 

Overall I thought this was a fun-filled, entertaining read and a great addition to the series so far. As usual, I'm going to pick up the next book as soon as possible and see where it goes from here.

 

My rating: 7/10

 

 

Robert Muchamore:

 

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook

 


 

Cherub:

 

  1. The Recruit
  2. Class A
  3. Maximum Security
  4. The Killing
  5. Divine Madness
  6. Man vs. Beast
  7. The Fall
  8. Mad Dogs
  9. The Sleepwalker
  10. Dark Sun
  11. The General
  12. Brigands M.C
  13. Shadow Wave