Tuesday 23 December 2014

Review on Balky Point Adventure #1 The Universes Inside the Lighthouse

After 17 year old twins Emma and Charlie explore a lighthouse on the island they are vacationing on, their lives change forever. With help from their friend Ben, a resident of the island, they must discover the truth behind a man and a young girl who seem to never age, and what truly lies beyond a seemingly normal storage closet in the lighthouse. Emma, Charlie and Ben must travel through the universes with their new companions in search of Vik, a man who has been terrorizing the Universe. But is there more to Vik than meets the eye, and does Emma truly need to use the elevators to traverse the Universes?

I thought this book was really interesting and I loved the Sci-Fi theme of it. I loved the idea of the Hub, and felt that it was quite similar to the TARDIS from Doctor Who, as the twins gained access to it from inside a storage closet. The imagery for the Hub was fantastic and I had a clear picture in my head of what it would look like. I also loved that the Hub did not seem to have a fixed space, as the twins were able to access it from other planets.

The characters were interesting and well thought out. I particularly loved Dr Waldo who seemed like an eccentric mad scientist. I also loved Charlie as he was funny and quite sarcastic at times, and nothing ever seemed to phase him. His relationship with his sister was sweet, although I did find it strange that he was willing to leave her instead of staying around to protect her. I also felt that the alien characters were a little too familiar with Earth, and didn't stand out from the crowd. I felt that some of the adult characters such as Milo and Ed were a little one dimensional, but the teenagers were perfectly written.

I loved that the romantic sub-plot wasn't too much of a major theme, and didn't come up too often. I always feel that YA Sci-Fi and fantasy books include too much romance, but with this book it wasn't a problem, as the teenagers were more interested in exploring the Universes than dating each other, which I think made it seem more realistic to the situation.

The exploration of the planets was interesting, and I particularly loved the ghost planet. I did find myself wondering if there was more to the water and dead planets than met the eye, and would have liked to have seen the characters try to explore these more instead of leaving again right away.

One of the main themes of the book was loneliness, which I thought was interesting and relatable, as everyone feels that they are alone and no one cares about them at some point in their life. The explanation of The Void creating these feelings was a unique look on it, as sometimes we can still feel alone even if we are surrounded by friends and family.

I recommend this book to fans of Doctor Who, and anyone who loves to read Sci-Fi novels.

You can purchase The Universes Inside the Lighthouse HERE

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Review on 'Roots Entwine'

15 year old Joaquin is a Phoshat, a boy with a powerful gift which allows him to heighten his senses past that of a normal human. Joaquin's gift allows him to hear a person's movements from miles away, he can see much further than anyone else, and can smell what someone had for their dinner just from the scent left on their clothes. However, Joaquin's gift comes at a price, as the longer he uses it, the weaker he gets, causing him severe headaches and requiring him to sleep for long periods of time. After a stranger named Kallum arrives in Joaquin's village, his quiet life is turned upside down. Joaquin agrees to go on a mission with Kallum and his friends set by the King to track down Scarvus, a man who has been terrorising the country and is rumoured to be in hiding. With Joaquin's help, it should be easy to track down Scarvus, but will Joaquin's gift become more of a hindrance than a help?

This YA fantasy novel was an interesting read. I loved the protagonist, a teenage boy named Joaquin who has been shunned his whole life for being and looking different to the rest of his family. He is a strong character who stands up for what he believes in, and is a loyal friend. Joaquin often puts the safety of his companions before his own, and is sometimes wreckless, but he is also brave and kind. I loved watching the relationship between Joaquin and Hesir progress, as Hesir dislikes him at first, and I loved finding out the reason why Hesir was wary of Phoshats.

I felt that the book started out quite slow, and it did not really start to pull me in until Joaquin and his friends had entered Shenandya. The company travelling and stopping at inns did not grab my attention, as not a lot else was progressing apart from the relationship between Joaquin and his companions. However once they had entered Shenandya I was gripped by the story and couldn't wait to find out what would happen when they tracked down Scarvus. I loved the names of the characters, as they were so unusual and helped to give the story a mystical feeling.

I felt that the book lacked female characters, as Maylaya was the only one that stood out to me. Although I loved Maylaya's tomboyish attitude and refusal to be left behind by her father and the scouts, I also found her to be quite annoying at times, as she seemed to be quite spoilt and childish. Although she is the same age as Joaquin, I fel that Joaquin seemed to be a lot more grown up than Maylaya, and overall a much more likable character. I felt the romance between Joaquin and Maylaya seemed to be quite forced and unnecessary, and I would have preferred it if they had remained friends instead of turning it into a romantic relationship a couple of chapters before the book ended.

Overall I loved the book and this fantasy world, and would recommend it to fans of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, or anyone who enjoys the fantasy genre in general.

You can purchase Roots Entwine HERE

Thursday 20 November 2014

Review on 'Two Boys Kissing'

When Harry and Craig decide to attempt the world record for the longest kiss, they don't realize that they will become the focus point for other teen boys around the world going through the same things as them. While they kiss, events start to unfold for other gay teens, including Peter and Neil, who have been together for a year, and Ryan and Avery who have only just met. Meanwhile Cooper is addicted to gay hookup sites, but feels empty inside. Although they all have separate lives, they all share the struggle of being gay in a homophobic world.

I thought this book was amazing and really captured the thoughts and feelings of the characters. I loved that so many issues were dealt with, such as relationship problems, coming out, homophobia, depression and gender identity. The gay characters are all very different as individuals, but as a group they share the same problems.

I think gay teenage boys would be able to identify with this novel, as sadly many of them have homophobic parents, and choose to stay in the closet for as long as possible to avoid confrontation. We live in a world where the older generation tend to cling to what they see as social norms. Being gay used to be a crime which could be punishable by imprisonment, and some people still see it as “abnormal” or “not natural.” It's not uncommon for parents to estrange themselves from their gay child, which is shown brilliantly in Craig and Cooper's cases.

I loved Avery, as it is even rarer to come across a transsexual character in YA fiction than it is to come across a gay character. Ryan's acceptance of Avery for who he is was adorable , and I loved how a big deal wasn't made out of it. I thought Avery was a strong character for standing up for himself, and empathised with him for not feeling 100% confident about his body, as I feel as if every teenager, no matter their gender or sexuality has felt like this at some point.

Cooper's storyline was important, as teenagers feeling unsafe in their homes is a huge issue. A lot of teenagers feel like Cooper does, but do not get the help they need, which results in hundreds of teen suicides every year. The book gives a strong message that teenagers shouldn't be like Cooper, and should get the help that they need.

I thought the narration was slightly strange, and it put me off the book slightly to start with, but got into the flow of things as it went on. The issue of gay men in the past not getting the help they needed having contracting AIDS is important, but I found it slightly strange that they were narrating from the afterlife, and gave a supernatural sense to an otherwise contemporary novel.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. It is aimed at an audience of gay teenage boys, but as I am neither of those things and still enjoyed it, I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys YA contemporary novels.

Thursday 6 November 2014

Review on Twisted Fate #1 Fate's Exchange

Alyssa Frank's fate was not to die, so when a brutal attack by a group of teenagers causes her untimely death, she is given a second chance at life. Alyssa must do things differently this time, and escape the clutches of death. But having been given no clues as to what she is meant to do, Alyssa must face D-Day alone. That is until a mysterious and gorgeous new student named David joins the school, and quickly forms a strong relationship with Alyssa. As D-Day approaches, Alyssa must tread her path carefully and finally escape the clutches of Death.

The first thing I thought when I started reading this book was that it reminded me of my favourite Supernatural episode, 'Mystery Spot'. I loved the idea of Alyssa having to come back to the same spot each time she died so that she could do things differently, and I felt that it was a bit like

I really enjoyed the first half of the book, and each time that Alyssa died in a different way, I was looking forward to finding out what she had to do to get out of the loop and stay alive until the weekend. I did however find myself wondering what would have happened if she had stayed at home instead of going to school, and found it slightly strange that she didn't really consider this option.

There are some strong themes in the book, particularly centred around rape. Although there is not an actual rape scene, I felt that it could still be triggering for some people, and thought it was worth a mention in case anyone finds it too upsetting to read about. I did however find that the topic was covered brilliantly, and showed how such an awful act can be life changing for rape victims.

I loved the introduction of David, and how he was hiding his true identity from Alyssa. His conflicted emotions of loyalty and love played out brilliantly. I did however find that the plot centered around the romance too much, and by the middle of the novel, Alyssa's relationship with David seemed to be more important to her than the fact that she could die at the end of the week, so I felt that she needed to sort out her priorities. I did enjoy the romance between them, and loved the idea of a supernatural being dating a human girl, but I felt that it would have been more enjoyable for me personally if it had been more of a sub plot, as I was far more interested in the storyline of Alyssa dying, and found it quite tedious to read through chapter after chapter of making out and going on dates before the story got back on track.

I liked the ending, and the hint that David would once again have to protect Alyssa. I also loved how one of the Sisters was keeping a secret about Alyssa's fate, and I would love to carry on reading this series to find out what that is. 

You can purchase Fate's Exchange HERE

Thursday 30 October 2014

Interview with S.L Bynum

Hello to you all! Stopping by on the blog today is S.L Bynum, author of
Grim Crush. 

She has taken the time to answer a few questions about her debut novel.

Hello! Tell us a little bit about your novel 'Grim Crush'
Seventeen-year-old Xia is just like any teenager—she loves to break rules—only difference is, she’s a grim reaper (yes, with a scythe and all). And now she faces consequences when she does something forbidden: she falls in love with a human.

Grim Crush is your debut Novel. What made you want to become an author?

When I realized I loved to use my imagination by creating worlds and characters with their own personalities, I attempted to write my first novel at the age of thirteen (it was super short, and super horrible). And when I realized that some authors, like J. K. Rowling, could make millions, even a billion from writing books, I thought, “well, if they can do that, I should at least be able to make a decent living on my own writing books.” I used to think writing books could only be a part time thing or just a hobby for me, but now I saw it could be my career (although I’m not sure I’ll ever be rich).

 Why did you choose to write with a Young Adult audience in mind?

;I was a young adult when I started writing, so I wrote characters that were my age. Then I just stuck with it because I like that young adults are old enough to experience first love and a few life problems, yet young enough to have fun and go on adventures.

Where did you come up with the idea to write Grim Crush?

;From a Terry Pratchett novel featuring a grim reaper. I remember thinking, what if a grim reaper wasn’t the usual stereotype? What if it was female instead of male, and wore a dress instead of a black robe? And then I liked the idea of a female grim reaper falling in love with a human, because that was paranormal romance and that genre was getting popular at the time I wrote this.

Did you relate to any of your characters while writing the novel?

Yes, my main character, Xia. I got a late start in the romance department, I guess because I was busy writing books while in high school. So love and affection felt as strange and new to me as it does to Xia.

You started writing at quite a young age. Do you have any advice for young aspiring novelists?

If you want to do this for a living, you have to ignore the people who don’t think writing is a real job. As for writing advice, you’ll hear this a lot, and it helped make my writing loads better: show, don’t tell.

If you could choose to live in one fictional universe, where would it be?

The universe of the Harry Potter novels! I would love to perform magical spells with the flick of a wand.

What can readers expect to see from the second book in the series?

;Xia and Shilah’s relationship will be put to the test even more, especially with Xia’s new responsibilities that are put on her at the end of the first book.

I'd like to say a big thank you to S.L Bynum for stopping by!

Grim Crush is now available in both ebook and paperback formats from Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Find out more at S.L Bynum's website at http://slbynum.wix.com/author

You can also follow her on twitter at https://twitter.com/WriterSLBynum

Tuesday 28 October 2014

Review on 'Storykiller'

When 17 year old Tessa Battle moves to a new high school, her life changes forever. Stories are real, and live in another dimension. Tessa is The Last Scion, the only Mortal who is able to kill Stories. Although she tries to reject her destiny, Tessa is pulled into the world of Stories, and must face up to who she is. With the help of her new friends Micah and Brand, and stories such as Robin Hood and The Snow Queen, Tessa must find out the truth behind who in the story world is trying to kill her.

I loved the idea behind this story and thought it was interesting and original. Tessa is a brilliant protagonist, and shows that girls can fight just as well as boys. I loved the friendship between Micah and Brand, as it is rare to come across male and female characters who have such a strong platonic friendship. It was a change to see such a loving relationship without romantic feelings developing. I also enjoyed how some of the Stories were fighting their fiction, particularly in the case of Romeo. I have always been an avid fan of fairy tales, and seeing characters such as The Snow Queen and the big bad wolf acting differently to what we have come to learn about them was interesting. Fenris was an interesting character, as throughout the novel it is unclear where his loyalties lie. I adored Fenris, and I found myself hoping that he would turn out to be good despite his history.

I didn't particularly enjoy the romantic subplot, as I thought it was slightly too cheesy. I also thought Tessa and Robin chose strange times to kiss, as personally I would not be thinking about kissing a boy if supernatural creatures were trying to break into my house and kill me. I also dislike love triangles, so I did not enjoy Robin's conflict over wanting to go back to Marian but also wanting to stay with Tessa. I also found the relationship between Brand and The Snow Queen quite strange, as although I loved the platonic friendship between Micah and Brand, I found myself agreeing with Micah that it was slightly weird.

I thought the narrative was strange in places, as although it is written in third person, it seemed to take on a first person style in certain parts. I found the epilogue involving Tessa's mum interesting, and would love to find out more about her intentions. Overall I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of adventure stories or fairy tales. 

Storykiller is now available to purchase in ebook and paperback formats HERE

Thursday 23 October 2014

Review on Shades of London #2 The Madness Underneath

After her encounter with the Ripper copycat, Rory has been living with her parents in Bristol, recovering from both mental and physical trauma. However, Rory misses her friends, both her classmates at Wexford and the Shades, a group of young people who like Rory, are able to see ghosts. The cover up story means that Rory can never tell her parents or her therapists what truly happened. Rory is desperate to get back to London, so when her therapist suggests she go back to school, she doesn't hesitate to leave. The Ripper may be gone, but there are now a new string of threats. A pub owner has seemingly been killed by his employee, and a woman was seen falling to her death from a window. Could these cases be coincidences, or is it the cause of something more supernatural? Rory and her friends must find out what really happened before it is too late.

I loved the first book in this series and was eager to get onto the second. Although the Ripper is gone, there is definitely no lack of excitement on the streets of London. I loved the new cases and was eager to find out how the Shades would solve them. I loved how Rory was leading a double life, trying to keep up with her school work and her relationship with Jerome, while also sneaking out with Stephen, Callum and Boo to investigate the cases. I loved how Rory's relationship with the shades progressed, especially her relationship with Stephen. Although I loved Jazza and Jerome in the first book, I found that they were starting to become less significant to the main plot, and was drawn a lot more to the Shades, particularly Stephen. I also loved that Rory was needed a lot more in this book, as with the terminus being destroyed, Rory is the only one who is able to force the ghosts to move on. I found the ending really shocking, as the first book was overall light hearted with only a few darker parts. I was not expecting the book to end this way at all, and it has been left on a major cliffhanger which makes me extremely excited to get my hands on the new book once it comes out. I will definitely be continuing to follow this series.

My New Layout!

So my new layout is now complete! I may tweak a few things or add some gadgets but it will more or less be staying like this for a while.

I must thank my best friend Katie for creating the header for me and finding the layout. I'm really bad at these kind of things. She also runs a book blog so you should all go check it out by clicking HERE!

My contact details and review policy are once again in a place where they can be easily located, so make sure to check those out! In the meantime I shall get back to what I do best which is reading and reviewing books.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Site under construction!

So my old layout messed up for some reason and I am currently searching for a new one. This is going to mean that the site is probably going to look strange for a little while but bare with me while I try to find the perfect layout! I will be functioning as normal however, but contact information etc may not be available until I've figured this out so if you need to contact me for review requests etc then email me at rachelsreallyrandomreviews@gmail.com

Hopefully the site will be back to 100% functionality soon!

Thursday 2 October 2014

Review on 'The Covenant #1 Last Light Falling'

Fifteen year old Arena and her twin brother Gabriel are orphans. After they survived the car crash that killed their parents when they were just nine years old, they were taken into foster care, and have been living with their foster parents ever since. However, everything changes when Arena receives a letter, seemingly from their uncle Finnegan. After learning about her fate, Arena must use the combat skills she has been taught to fight against the corrupt government and bring justice to the thousands of innocent citizens that are being abused, beaten and raped.

I loved the idea of this book and found the idea of a post apocalyptic America with a corrupted government to be quite similar to the Hunger Games which is one of my favourite book series. Arena is a very strong female protagonist, and has had years of combat training, along with the use of bow and arrows, guns and knives. She has no problem in taking out armed soldiers, and it destroys the age old idea of females being weaker than men and not being able to fight as efficiently. I thought the biblical element was interesting, but as I am not religious myself I found it slightly strange that these characters were putting so much of their faith into a God. I also found it hard to believe that everyone Arena and Gabriel came across believed in God, and therefore it felt as if they were forcing their own beliefs on others, as they often tell them to pray for forgiveness. The book is action packed, and although I loved the fight scenes I felt that it would have been more exciting if there were more breaks from the action, as towards the middle of the book, almost every chapter contained blood shed. I felt that characters such as Juliana could have had more input, as I would have loved to have seen characters with no combat training also making more o a difference. There are quite a few disturbing scenes including strong violence and rape, so I would recommend it to older teenagers. I would love to continue reading this series, as there are a few plot points left hanging, such as what happened to Arena's step sister.

Last Light Falling can be purchased HERE

Friday 26 September 2014

Review on 'The Witch and the Baby Princess'


Mirabelle is born into the life of a Witch, meaning her only purpose in life is to make others miserable. She is able to perform spells that Witches double her age can not, and her parents, Antipathy and Gorgon have high hopes for her. However, Mirabelles life is set to cross with another, a girl named Claudette who was born on the same day as Mirabelle. As Mirabelle is commanded to make this girls life full of misery, she is drawn towards her simple life, and after years of torturing her, they finally speak. Will Mirabelle be able to continue doing her parents bidding, or will her new found friendship with Claudette change her life path?

I thought this was an interesting prequel to Cinderella, and I always love reading interpretations of what happened before a story took place. I thought it was quite similar to Wicked with the two girls becoming friends when everything went against that happening. I loved Mirabelle's progression from being a witch and obeying her mothers orders to disobeying and deciding what she wanted to do for herself. Although this wasn't entirely original, it was well written and the character development was well thought out. Some of the characters that we know from Cinderella were given their own back story and I thought this was brilliantly done and the continuity into the Cinderella story made sense, making it easy to believe that the story was really what happened prior to the Cinderella story taking place. Mirabelle is a likable character, and there is a good moral to the story, as it gives the message that anyone can set their own life paths even if someone is trying to lead you down a certain one. I recommend this book to anyone who likes Cinderella, or fairytales in general.

You can purchase The Witch and the Baby Princess HERE

Friday 12 September 2014

Review on 'Ascension series #1 Impervious'

Fifteen year old Fran has lived her whole life in Impervious, an underground city build for the survivors of the War. Although the residents have everything they could ever need, a sickness lies in the shadows, known only as The Beast. With each generation, the citizens of Impervious are living shorter and shorter lives as the illness takes over. But what is causing this illness, and how can it be stopped? Promises of the Epoch seem like empty words, and the outside world as inaccesible as ever. Fran sets out along with her friend Pete to find out the truth about Impervious, and if the world outside really is inhabitable.

I have been reading quite a lot of Dystopian novels lately and thought Impervious was definitely on the higher end of the spectrum. I loved the idea of humans surviving the post apocalyptic world by living underground, and not knowing if it was safe to go back outside. I thought Fran was a brilliant protagonist and loved that she was trying to figure out her world rather than going along with what the leaders told her. I thought their advanced technology was interesting, particularly that the majority of shops and food chains were ran by holograms rather than humans. I wasn't too keen on the romantic aspects, as I thought that the romance between Fran and Pete seemed slightly awkward and I would have preferred if they had just stayed friends, as I would love to see a friendship like theirs without the romance in a YA novel. I loved the idea of real people stuck inside a video game, but I thought that this seemed quite random and didn't fit in well with the rest of the story. I liked the idea overall, but I did not feel that it was the right way to progress the story. Finding out what happened to the members of the community after they got sick was really interesting and surprising, and I found myself wanting to carry on reading to find out the truth about the outside world. I would love to continue reading this series and find out what happens to Fran, Pete and the rest of the Impervious community.

You can purchase Impervious HERE

Sunday 7 September 2014

Review on 'Toto's Adventures with Dorothy'

In this retelling of the classic story The Wizard of Oz, Toto guides his fellow companions through the land, guiding them away from peril. At least that is what Toto thinks. In this humorous retelling from the point of view of Toto, journey once again through the land of Oz, but this time with a lot more input from Dorothy's doggy companion.

I thought that retelling the story through Toto's point of view was an interesting idea. I have not come across many novels that are told from the point of view of an animal, and the few that I have read have been really interesting. I found this book hilarious throughout, and it was a really fun and light hearted read. I loved that Toto believed that he was the leader and the brains of the company, and that everyone was following his orders. As a dog owner, I thought that captured the mind of a dog perfectly, and I had no trouble in believing that Toto's thoughts were what a dog in his position would be thinking. I loved the interpretations of the characters I have come to love, and I thought there was a good mixture of content from both the movie version and the original book. I had no sympathy with Dorothy in this version however, as she was quite selfish. All the characters were also portrayed as to be quite dumb, but I found it ironic that apart from Toto, Scarecrow seemed to be the smartest character even though he lacked a brain. One thing that I think could have improved the story would have been if Toto had some extra information to tell that was not shown in the original stories, and that only he knew about. The story more or less follows what fans of The Wizard Oz already know, so I think some new information would have improved the story, as although the story from Toto's point of view was funny, there was not much addition to the plot from the original story and therefore was quite predictable. I liked the story overall, and it is quite a short read so if you are a fan of The Wizard of Oz, or just like books told from the point of view of an animal then give this one a go.

The book is available now in both ebook and paperback formats

Monday 1 September 2014

Review on 'Shades of London #1 The Name of the Star'

After her parents decide to move from a small town in Louisiana to England, Rory Deveaux arrives at her new boarding school in London. Faced with a brand new culture and a large bustling city, Rory has problems fitting into this new way of life. However, there are more pressing issues at hand, such as the recent murders that mimic the style of Jack the Ripper, the most infamous murderer in all of England. Rory is sucked into the case when she sees a man in the school grounds on the night of one of the murders. But why did her friend Jazza, who was with her the whole time not see him too? There are people. People who only Rory can see. But who are they, what do they want, and why can only she see them? Rory must seek to find the truth of her new abilities, and along the way, solve the Jack the Ripper case once and for all.

I've always wanted to read some of Maureen Johnson's books, but have only recently done so. This first book in the Shades of London series is both fascinating and exciting. Rory is pulled into a world she never knew existed, where supernatural creatures roam the streets of London, unseen by all but a select few, including Rory. I really loved the characters, especially Alistair, as although he was not one of the main characters I found him funny and kind. I also really liked Stephen and overall just wanted to give him a hug. The plot is exciting and fast paced. I have always been interested in Jack the Ripper, so I found it really interesting that this story focused around a character claiming to be Jack the Ripper. There is a mixture of suspense, comedy and grief. There is some romance between Rory and Jerome, but the story does not focus on this sub plot too much, which I loved as many YA books seem to think that romance has to be a key plot point. I loved that there were some strong female characters, particularly Boo. I was surprised that my initial dislike of Boo disappeared as more information was revealed about her, which is rare for me as my first impressions of a character are usually what I stick by until the end. I liked the way that Boo introduced Rory to the world of the Shades, and how she had no choice but to adapt. I really enjoyed this book overall, and recommend it to any fans of YA fantasy.

Saturday 23 August 2014

Review on 'Looking for Alaska'

Miles Halter's life has been unextraordinary, but once he moves to Culver Creek boarding school to seek his "great perhaps" nothing will ever be the same again. When he meets Alaska Young, a smart and attractive girl who lives down the hallway, his life is turned upside down. From going down to the smoking hole to smoke cigarettes to pulling pranks and drinking Strawberry Hill wine in the barn. Miles, or "Pudge" as his new friends have nicknamed him, has a new and exciting life. However, tragedy strikes, and Pudge must pull together with his friends to try to find out what happened and why, and to try to pick up the pieces of his life. 

Once again John Green has managed to break my heart. I really enjoyed this book, although I have to admit not as much as I enjoyed reading The Fault in Our Stars. From reading John's later works first, it is obvious how much his writing has improved over the years, and how he has gone from a good writer to a great one. The book is split into two parts, “before” and “after”. I found this really interesting as this shows that a huge event happens about halfway through the book, and the whole time I was reading the “before” section I was wondering what was going to happen at this point. The first half deals with Pudge's new life at his boarding school, and the adventures that happen with his new friends. I found this similar to books such as the perks of being a wallflower, as Pudge has never smoked or drank alcohol before, but he decides to try it so that he fits in with his new friends. Pudge shows the desperate attempt to try to fit in with his peers that every teenager at a new school goes through, and also the bullying that can and so often occurs. The second half of the book deals with the tragedy that occurs, and how Pudge and his friends deal with it. Everyone deals with grief in different ways, and each character has their own unique way of dealing with what has happened. This half of the book had a completely different tone to the first half, and was a lot darker. However it was not completely doom and gloom, as I found the prank that Pudge and his friends play near the end of the book hilarious. The book covers a number of important themes that many young people go through or think about such as depression and suicide. This book is definitely not a light hearted read, but there is a good mixture of both humour and serious subjects. It may not be as good as The Fault in Our Stars, but it is still worth a read.

Thursday 14 August 2014

Review on 'Jaded'

Sixteen year old Jade Green has lived her whole life in a small knit community called Nirvana, where everyone must go through an eye colour surgery, the colour depending on which career path they choose. However, once Jade's Grandmother dies and leaves behind her diary, Jade learns that not everything is as perfect as it seems. Jade, along with her best friend Tyrian, and Peaches, the commune leaders daughter decide that they must escape to the outside world at all costs. If they are caught, severe consequences wait for them, including having their sight taken from them and being banished to the slave cabins. Will Jade and her friends manage to escape, or will they be doomed to live in a world of deceit and lies forever? 

I thought this was a really unique story line and I loved the idea of the eye colour depending on the career path chosen. I thought Jade was a wonderful character overall, although I did find her to be quite whiny at times, particularly when she wasn't sure about Ty's feelings for her. I also loved her relationship with Peaches and how it develops through the course of the novel. The explanation of how Nirvana came about seemed to be quite vague, and I would personally have liked to have known more details about that. There were a few plot twists in the novel that I really loved, and although there was a bit of foreshadowing going on, I did not pick up on one of the twists until it was revealed. I really loved Tyrian and thought he was a really sweet and kind character. He is the type of character who you instantly fall in love with and wish was real so that you could be friends with him. The characters names are all relevant to their eye colour, which I thought was really clever. It also cuts them off from the outside world, as although some of the names such as Jade and Ruby are actually used in the real world, others, such as Navy and Royal are not. I also found it interesting that outsiders who have come into Nirvana who do not need an eye colour change such as Steel still have their original name changed to be relevant to their eye colour. I'm looking forward to the sequel and finding out what happens to Jade and Peaches, and also if Ty finds a way to join them. If you love The Hunger Games then I definitely recommend this book!

Saturday 19 July 2014

Review on Bentwhistle the Dragon #2 A Chilling Revelation

After narrowly escaping the clutches of the evil Manson, Peter Bentwhistle is slowly recovering from the ordeal. However, things are far from over, as after as visit to the King, Peter, along with his friends Tank and Gee Tee are drawn into a plot involving a dragon named Flash, who narrowly escaped a mission in Antarctica that had gone horribly wrong. What is going on in Antarctica? Are there dragons who plan on committing reason? And most importantly, what has happened to Manson and the missing pieces of laminium? An evil plot is brewing, and it is up to Peter and his friends to stop it before innocent lives are lost. But will they be able to do it in time? The countdown begins as the friends race to save both humans and dragons alike

I loved the first book in this series, and was looking forward to reading the sequel. This book is just as action packed as the first, delving even deeper into the realms of the dragon world. There are new and exciting characters, and even new creatures. I particularly loved Flash, an ex member of the Crimson Guard who Peter, Tank and Richie soon become good friends with. As he had been a part of the Guard his whole life, I found it interesting and funny that he got excited over simple dragon activities such as laminium ball matches. The laminium ball was one of my favourite parts of the first book, so I loved that this sport made a comeback in the sequel. I also loved the twist of events at the New Zealand match, making it that much more exciting and suspenseful. I thought that Peter's grandfathers story line was interesting, but I was slightly disappointed that this was left about three quarters of the way through the book to focus on Peter's story line. I felt that this could have been left in a more suspenseful place than it was, as Peter's story was left on a huge cliffhanger, but his grandfather's was not. 

I also felt that a lot of questions were put forward, but non of them were answered. I realize that these will probably be all cleared up in the next book, but felt that a couple of plot points could have been cleared in this book. This could potentially be confusing, as there are so many problems that need to be resolved in the last book that I felt Cude could have resolved some of the minor problems and only saved the bigger problems for the final book. That said, I loved the book overall, and as it reached it's climax, I found myself reading into the night, as the book was too suspenseful to put down. I look forward to the final book and seeing how everything is resolved.

Thursday 17 July 2014

Thoughts on The Fault in our Stars movie

So I realize I don't usually write movie reviews as this is meant to be a book blog, but I had had to write a review on the movie adaptation of one of my favourite books, The Fault In Our Stars. I'll admit, I was nervous about watching it. Although I had heard good things about it, I was still worried that it would not live up to my expectations. I have been disappointed with so many book to movie adaptations that I thought there would be at least one major point I would be annoyed at. However, this was not the case and I was extremely happy with it. Shailene and Ansel are literally perfect as Hazel and Augustus, bringing the characters I loved so much in the book to life. There were more comedy moments than I thought there would be which I loved. Isaac was also perfect, and I think Nat Wolff should be getting a lot more credit for his performance. After reading the book and knowing what would happen, I thought that I would not cry over the movie. However I started crying about 20 minutes before the movie ended and barely stopped until the end. The majority of the movie theater was in tears, which shows how well these actors portayed the story and the emotions of the characters. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who has not yet seen it, but of course, remember to read the book first!

Saturday 31 May 2014

My top five tips for authors sending review requests

As an author, you will be wanting to get as many bloggers as you can to review your book. I, like many other bloggers  get new review requests sent to me every day, and I have to reject a lot more requests than I accept so that I am not bogged down with requests that could potentially take me months to get to. So how do you make yourself stand out and be one of those that will be picked rather than discarded? I  can't speak for every blogger out there, but here are my top five things that I take into consideration while reading requests.

 Introduce yourself 

Tell the blogger a little bit about yourself. Be brief, but let the blogger know who you are. Don't send a request with no introduction. When an email contains nothing but a synopsis and a link to an amazon page, I am more likely to not reply to that request. Even if you have review request as the title of the email, I still want a sentence telling me who you are and a little bit about the book, e.g what the genre and intended reader age is. Try to personalise the email, such as mentioning the persons name or the blog name. Otherwise it will seem like you have just sent a mass email to multiple bloggers. Also, I prefer when a request is informal and friendly. Remember that bloggers are only human. Personally, an informal request makes me a lot more comfortable than a formal one. I am by no means a professional, so I feel slightly uncomfortable when I get addressed as one

Don't be presumptuous 

Don't just assume that the blogger is going to accept your request. By all means provide a summary and a link to your goodreads profile or website, but don't attach a copy of your book in the first email. Wait for the blogger to get back to you. They will let you know if they want to accept the request and what format they would prefer the ebook to be in.

Be Brief

Do not send more information than is necessary. I once received a request where the author had sent me the whole plot condensed down into one page. Why would I want to read a 300  page book if you just told me the entire plot? I enjoy plot twists and suprises. This can't happen if I already know exactly what is going to happen before I read the book.

Read the Review Policy

If a blogger has a review policy, make sure you read it before you send a request. If for example, a blogger specifically states that they don't review erotica, chances are they're not going to want to read your book about sexy times. Ignoring a review policy means that you're wasting both your own and the bloggers time. Doing this could also mean a blogger will not accept review requests from you in the future, even if future novels meet their policy.

Do not ask a blogger to buy your book

This does not happen to me often, but it has happened. A blogger is willing to take the time to read and review your book for free, so the least you can do is provide them with a free copy. You're not losing out on sales by doing this, as you are likely to gain them from readers liking the review and deciding to buy the book.

I hope these tips have been helpful and good luck with your requests!

Wednesday 28 May 2014

Fissure Blog Tour

So today is my day of participating in the blog tour for Fissure by Marilyn Almodóvar. As I had not read the previous book, 'Interred', I will be posting reviews for both books.

As Baxter Jacobs' sixteenth birthday approaches, a strange visitor arrives in the middle of a snow storm who brings news that will change Baxter's life forever. Under the safe foundations that Baxter's mother has built to protect her there lays a dark family secret. Baxter is a Timebender, a magical being who has the ability to control time. As Baxter tries to come to terms with her new abilities, she is thrown into the world of Timebenders, Warriors and Healers. Baxter learns more about this world with the help of Declan, a boy who has been trapped in a time loop for 122 years who only Baxter can free, and Jack, a boy who Baxter has been told is dangerous. With the realisation that the Council is out to try to take control of her powers, Baxter must use her new found powers to help her friends to escape, and finally free Declan from his prison.

I thought that this story was interesting and unique. Time travelling stories usually require an object, such as the cases in Back to the Future and Doctor Who, so I found it interesting that Baxter was able to manipulate time and create portals to different places and times without the need of such objects. I found Baxter to be a likeable, strong female protagonist, although there were a few cases where I thought that Almodóvar was trying too hard to make Baxter sound like a teenager, and I found a couple of the word choices to be a little off. I adored the character of Declan, and although he was slightly cocky he became my favourite character in the book. I thought that Jack was slightly too full of himself, and although he is sweet and unselfish at times, I felt myself being drawn more to Declan's personality than Jack's.

I was slightly disappointed that some of the characters that I thought had potential were so short lived. As they were given their own personalities and character descriptions, I thought that they would become characters that we would hear a lot of, but sadly that was not the case. I loved the characters of Sydney and Arthur, and was intrigued by their relationship and how it would progress, so I was disappointed when this relationship was cut short. There are a lot of events that cause great trauma for Baxter, and I felt that there were not enough raw emotions from her. Baxter is constantly on the run, but I felt that in the parts where the action slows down slightly, Baxter's emotions should have caught up to her a bit more. I loved the fandom references that Baxter makes, particularly to Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Supernatural, as I am a fan of these franchises and found it amusing how she was relating them to her own life.

If you love stories of time travel and magic, then you will definitely love this book.

After being thrown head first into the world if the Interred and losing almost everything that mattered to her, Baxter Jacobs is ready for things to calm down and allow her time to grieve and figure out her new Time Bending skills. However, things aren't going to be so simple, as Baxter's Uncle Bryan is determined to take her away from the English Council and back to New York. Baxter is reluctant to leave her Healer, Jack behind. Along with being able to heal Baxter, Jack also has a link directly into Baxter's mind, allowing them to communicate telepathically. There is also the problem that after falling from the cliff top, Baxter's memories seem to have been wiped as to how she got there in the first place. She also has the note left by her mother to consider, "Fred and B." Could this mean that Bryan has intentions other than keeping Baxter safe? Baxter, along with the help of Jack and her other interred friends must work to find the truth. Can they really trust all of the members of the English Council? Secrets are revealed and old enemies fought as Baxter unravels Time to find out the truth.

After reading Interred, I was eager to find out what would happen next in Baxter's story. I felt that the book started off a little slow, but once Jack was back in action and Baxter was once again using portals to travel through time I started to enjoy the fast paced action that I loved in the first book. There are some new characters introduced in this book, and I particularly loved Nicolas and Dare. I found it interesting that Baxter had seemingly had some of her earlier memories wiped, as although Dare was her childhood friend, Baxter does not remember her. I found Baxter's memory loss to be interesting, as it means that as the reader, we know what has happened whereas Baxter does not. At first I wasn't too keen on Nicolas, as he seemed to be protecting Baxter only because he was asked to, and just carrying out his Warrior duties. However, as the book goes on his personality is revealed, and I felt that he was a good ally for Baxter to have. I loved that there were different versions of certain characters from different points in time, and the way Baxter comes in contact with these different versions. It was all a bit “wibbly wobbly timey wimey.” Speaking of Doctor Who, I loved the references to the show in this book, as in Baxter's situation, I would probably be making the same references. I also found it funny how some of the characters were oblivious to these comments and had no clue what she was talking about. I thought certain aspects of the story were similar to Doctor Who. For example, I felt that the relationship between Aaron and Baxter was similar to that of The Doctor and River Song, as Aaron explains to her that he keeps meeting her at different points in time, but she has never seen him before, so that although he knows her, she does not know him.

The climax of the book was very fast paced, and I was excited over the return of Declan, as I thought he was a very interesting character in the first book, and was initially what made me so interested in this series from the start. I felt that the book could have been slightly better if Declan had been a more active character, as I felt that he could have used the fact that Baxter still trusted him to his advantage. The book is left on a cliffhanger, and it took me a couple of minutes to realise that the book was actually over and it wasn't the page on my e reader refusing to turn. Although I wanted to keep on reading to find out what happened next, I feel as if it is a very interesting place for the next book to pick up from, and I look forward to reading it when it is released.

Make sure to check out the book trailer for Fissure!

Also there is a competition running to win an ebook of Interred, plus other merchandise related to the series! Feel free to try your luck below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interred and Fissure are both ready to purchase now in both ebook and paperback formats.

Find out more about this series at