Thursday 23 April 2015

Review on Midnight, Texas #1 Midnight Crossroad

When Manfred Bernardo moves to Midnight, a small town in Texas, he thinks he has found the perfect place to work on his online business from home. That is, until he meets his neighbours, who are far from normal. First there is Fiji, a self proclaimed witch, and Lemuel, a mysterious man who only comes out of his apartment at night, and who seems to have the ability to take energy from other people. Manfred soon becomes aware that all is not as it seems in Midnight when the body of his landlord, Bobo's girlfriend is found. Could Bobo really have killed his long term girlfriend, or could one of the other residents of the small town be responsible? Manfred must help his new friends find out who is responsible for this crime.

Being a fan of previous works by Harris, I was excited to find an email in my inbox asking me if I wanted to review a book in a new series by this author. Midnight Crossroad follows Manfred Bernardo, a young psychic who has recently moved into the small town of Midnight. Although the story had a slow start and was verging on the edge of being boring, I started to enjoy the book more once the murder mystery had started. I always love reading “whodunit” type books, as I love trying to guess who the culprit is. 'Midnight Crossroad' did not disappoint in this aspect. Usually I am able to correctly guess who the perpetrator is, but with this novel, I had no idea who it was until it was revealed.

The characters had potential, but unfortunately I felt that they were under developed. Although Manfred was in his early twenty's, he seemed mature for his age and not very interesting. His psychic abilities never really come into play, so it is unclear if he genuinely has these abilities or if he is just a fraud. I found Lemuel to be an interesting and mysterious character, and I would have loved to have known more about the reasons why he had stayed in Midnight for so many years. I also found Fiji to be one of the more interesting characters, and I would love to see the extent of her powers in future books in this series. As these characters in particular interested me the most, I would love to see more of the Supernatural side to the series.

I loved that every character seemed to have a secret that they were hiding from the rest of the town. Once I thought that I had a good idea what a certain character was about, they would always come back and surprise me. I found the majority of the characters to be unpredictable, and I loved that some of the characters were able to hide big parts of their lives from their unsuspecting neighbours.

Although little happens in the terms of plot, I still found the book an enjoyable read. I would have enjoyed it more if Harris had put more thought into the personality of her characters, as although I found some of the side characters interesting, I didn't particularly care about any of them, and didn't form any type of fondness or hatred for any of them. However, it is definitely worth a read if you enjoy a good murder mystery with a side helping of the supernatural.

Midnight Crossroad is available to purchase HERE, along with all good high street book stores

Monday 6 April 2015

Review on 'My Side of the Story'

After 16 year old Jarold's parents discover that he is gay, they force him into attending family therapy sessions. As he rebels against his parents by visiting the local gay club, he discovers the guy of his dreams. But things are more complicated than they seem. Jaz is still in high school, and relationship problems are the last of his worries when the school bully is torturing him, and his former best friend has seemingly turned psycho killer. With the help of his friend Alison, Jaz decides he needs to leave home, but things don't go quite to plan.

I found this book while browsing in my local library, and after reading the blurb I had to check it out. It's rare to come across a YA book with a gay protagonist, so this immediately drew me in. Jaz is a sixteen year old boy who, like all teenagers just wants a bit of fun in his life. He suffers from being the target of the school bully, and also has to deal with his homophobic mother and sister. Although Jaz was quite whiny, I found him funny and relatable. I sympathized with him for having to deal with his homophobic mother, as every time he tried to explain himself to her she started yelling at him.

Alison was a brilliant character who stood by Jaz no matter what, even agreeing to run away with him. She was the reliable best friend who Jaz could always count on, and she seemed to be the only person who genuinely cared about Jaz and didn't care about him being gay.

I loved that the book was set in the UK, as the majority of YA books are set in America, so it was a change to read about a teenager in a British high school as opposed to an American one. The lack of quotation marks in the dialogue was slightly annoying and confusing, and there were a few instances where I was confused as to if a character was speaking or if it was Jaz's narration. The story was not linear, and I felt that there was not a good reason for this and just contributed to the confusion. I feel as if I would have enjoyed the story a lot more if it had been linear and had quotation marks. It did however seem more like how a real teenager would speak, and even though some people may find it annoying that Jaz says “like” instead of “said,” I thought it was interesting as it seemed as if Jaz was telling his story directly to the reader rather than setting it out as a novel.

This was overall a great coming of age novel, and although I initially only decided to read it for the gay protagonist, I liked Jaz as a character and also emphasized with his struggle of being bullied and unpopular.

I recommend this book to fans of The Catcher in the Rye and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.