Monday 26 October 2015

Review on Last Light Falling #2 Into the Darkness

After Arena’s attempt to overthrow the government, the nation’s government have a renewed hope of winning against the Russian operatives. After reuniting with their friends and family, Arena and Gabe must go on a journey to find a group of fellow rebels known only as the Southern Resistance where they will find safety in numbers. But the journey will be dangerous, and with Russian soldiers hiding everywhere, there is no guarantee that Arena will arrive in one piece.

After reading The Covenant I was excited when author J.E Plemons announced that the second book in the Last Light Falling series was out and immediately requested a copy to review. As it is over a year ago that I read The Covenant I was worried that I would be completely lost, but I quickly picked up on Arena and Gabe’s storyline and wasn’t as confused as I thought I was going to be.

I loved the addition of Alison into their group, as it gave Arena someone to keep safe and made her become a little less reckless in her actions. Arena’s maternal instincts for Alison showed a completely different side to Arena making her seem less like a ruthless killer with no empathy for other humans. I did however still feel as if Arena lacked empathy towards strangers especially towards the end of the novel where she thought the rebels were stupid for not running when the camp was invaded, obviously not thinking about how they were probably terrified. I felt that Arena seemed more like an anti hero, as she cares a lot about the people who matter to her but has little sympathy or patience for strangers.

I felt that Arena’s attraction to Nic was strange, as she obviously didn’t trust him so I felt that it made no sense for her to be attracted to him. The loss of Jacob weighs heavily on Arena, and I thought that the only reason for her feelings could be that she was trying to fill the hole left by Jacob with the first guy that she came across. I did however feel that Nic was a great villain, as although it was unclear at first where his loyalties lay, his misogyny made him instantly dislikable.

Although Arena was smart and didn’t trust any newcomer, I felt it seemed slightly out of character for her to trust Matthew so quickly. Even though she found him attractive and he seemed genuine, Matthew could easily have been leading them into a trap, yet Arena followed him without giving this a second thought. After seeing how wary she was around Nic and after having recently been betrayed, I was expecting her to take a lot longer to warm up to Matthew.

The book was just as action packed as the first one, and Plemons spares non of the gory details. There is a lot of killing, torture and gory descriptions, so I would recommend staying away from this book if you find that upsetting. It shows both how good and how terrible humanity can be, and although the book is set in a post apocalyptic world, it is scarily relevant to what is happening in the world today.

The ending of the book was not what I was expecting at all! It was a huge surprise and left the series on a massive cliffhanger. Nothing is tied up at the end of this book leaving it wide open for what could happen in future instalments, and I definitely want to continue this series to find out what happens.

Into The Darkness is now available to purchase!

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Review on 'Love Spell'

Chance C├ęsar has been different ever since his earliest memories where he had strutted around the house in his mother’s high heels, but how that he’s a senior in high school, he is starting to question who he really is. When he meets the gorgeous Jasper Donohue at the annual pumpkin carving contest, he creates a plan to win his heart following a ten step article he finds online. But making Jazz fall in love with him isn’t as easy as he thought, and with Jazz seemingly ignoring his advances, Chance worries that Jazz won’t like him for who he is, and with the pressure of fitting into a label Chance wonders who Jazz wants him to be.

When I saw that this book involved a character who was both gender fluid and gay I knew I had to read this book. It’s extremely difficult to find a YA love story that doesn’t involve a straight cis couple so reading a romance novella that was neither of these things was a breath of fresh air. Chance is extremely camp and flamboyant, and although he fits into the gay stereotype to a T, he is an extremely likeable and funny character. Although Chance expresses his feelings on not feeling like he fits into one gender, I felt that like Chance himself, gender fluid was not the correct term for what he was despite the blurb stating that. Although Chance wears make up it is always clear what gender he is, as he never goes so far as to wear feminine clothes or even talk about that being a thing he wants to do. To me Chance seemed like he constantly wanted to be a male but sometimes wanted to look a little more feminine rather than identifying as female, as Chance says that he doesn’t ever allow anyone to call him by female pronouns.

I was slightly disappointed that the book didn’t involve more about gender fluidity, as the main plot of the story is Chance trying to get a boy who goes to his school to fall in love with him. I did however enjoy the chase, as Chance trying to flirt was hilarious, especially as he was following an online article on how to get a man to fall in love with you word for word. I felt that an important point the book made was to be yourself, as once Chance stopped lying to Jazz he started to like him more.

Although the book is a novella I still would have liked to have seen more of Jazz’s personality. We learn the moment Chance meets him that Jazz is amazing at carving pumpkins, but his creativity isn’t mentioned again at any point in the book. I would have loved to have seen more of Jazz’s creative side such as him drawing, painting or sculpting. Although Jazz is extremely busy with school and looking after his little sister, it still would have been possible for him to draw or paint while babysitting. As he tells Chance that he carved the pumpkin for his little sister, it would have made sense if he had also created drawings for her.

I was confused at some points in the story, such as Jazz almost full out telling Chance in the library that he liked him, but Chance being almost oblivious to this. As a character who was meant to be smart, I thought it was strange that Chance didn’t catch on. 

I wasn’t a huge fan of Emily, as she seemed quite judgemental, especially with telling Jazz to leave Chance alone when he was trying to be friendly and telling Chance that Jazz was dumb. From what we learn about Jazz, the reason his grades seem to be slipping is because of having to spend a large amount of time running errands for his mother and babysitting his sister leaving him no time to study. Jazz is also extremely talented in pumpkin carving, so Emily insisting he is “dumb” is obviously her judging Jazz without knowing anything about him. 

I felt that the book could have gone on a little longer as I would have loved to have seen how Chance and Jazz’s relationship progressed. I think that an epilogue would have been a good idea to tie up loose ends such as if Emily got into Julliard and if Chance and Jazz’s relationship would have survived once they had graduated high school. Although I did enjoy the book and loved the gay romance story, I felt that the promise of a gender fluid character fell a little short.

Love Spell is now available to purchase!

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Alice takes back Wonderland blog tour

Today I am participating in the blog tour for Alice takes back Wonderland by David D. Hammons!

Alice has always believed in Wonderland ever since she visited it when she was seven years old, but with her parents telling her she is delusional and can’t tell reality from fantasy and forcing her to take medication, she eventually stops believing. That is until the white rabbit appears in her bedroom, taking her on another journey down the rabbit hole, except this time Wonderland is not like how Alice remembered it. The Ace of Spades has taken over Wonderland, forcing the wonder out of it’s inhabitants and turning it into a dull, colourless land of concrete buildings. Alice must find a way to stop Ace before it is too late, and with the help of her new friends, reclaim Wonderland and restore it to how it once was. But it won’t be easy. Ace has an army at his disposal, and it will take courage and strength to stop Ace once and for all. Will Alice be able to take back Wonderland, or will it be doomed to be a greyscale city forever?

I immediately wanted to read this book when I saw the title. I am a huge fan of Lewis Carrol’s work and I always enjoy fairy tail retellings. Alice takes back Wonderland is much darker than the original story, with a teenaged Alice who isn’t afraid to kill. I loved Alice’s character development, as she started out as being quite timid and terrified of using her father’s shotgun to being a fierce warrior. I was rooting for Alice the whole time, as she was a likeable character and it’s impossible to not want her to achieve her goal.

I loved the addition of the fairy tale characters we all know and love being present, but being slightly different to how we know them. The idea of fairy tail characters being an echo on Earth to what they are in their own world was an interesting and unique concept and I loved that Alice already knew who they were, but at the same time didn’t know this version of them. Character’s like Peter Pan, Pinnochio and Snow White were both similar and different to what Alice expected them to be, and I found it interesting how she interacted with each one.

I found the imagery to be beautifully detailed and gave a clear picture of each world, but I thought at times some things were overly described and left little to the imagination of the reader. One of the things I love about reading is that each individual person will have a different image in their head when they’re reading, and sometimes I prefer it when details are a little more vague so that I can build up the image for myself. I think the show don’t tell approach could have been used to solve this, especially as the book is told through a first person narrative. Describing every tiny detail so vividly did not seem like something someone telling a story would do, and I just felt as if it needed to be toned down a little to be more enjoyable. Readers can always fill in visual gaps by themselves, and I feel that telling the story is more important that describing a tower as “dark and twisted.” I would have preferred to have seen Alice’s thoughts of fear and dread from seeing this tower rather than her describing it visually.

There was just enough action to keep me on my toes, and there was a good build up to the climax of the battles against Ace. However I would have preferred more emphasis on the idea of Alice having schizophrenia towards the end of the book, as it was just implied that everything had been real. I think it would have been more interesting to have left it open ended for the reader to decide if it had been real or if Alice really had found a boy in the street who had been shot, such as her returning in her original clothes rather than the ones she had changed into in Neverland. 

Overall I enjoyed the story and think it would be a perfect read for anyone who loves fairytales with darker elements.

Alice takes back Wonderland is now available to purchase!

Amazon US | Amazon UK

About The Author:
While visiting Cambridge during my time studying abroad, I tried to sneak into C. S. Lewis’s old apartment. I wanted to stand where the old master stood. I wanted to glean bits of imagination that no-doubt still clung to those walls. A locked door barred my path, and I fled to the safety of the campus pub.
It has been my goal to live a life that is notable as the life of that master of writing. I’ve climbed the slopes of Machu Picchu, swam in Loch Ness, smuggled ice cream into China, and made moonshine in my hometown. I studied writing and business in school, and gave up a position in my family’s Black Walnut company to chase my dream. Life, if you make it so, can be an adventure.
Despite all my adventures, there is no greater journey than that which can be found in a book. It was cartoons that got me into writing, works meant for children that as an adult fascinated me with their joyful outlook. It was the old masters, Lewis, Tolkien, Hemmingway, Vonnegut, who challenged me to live an adventure of a life, and then write even greater adventures in books. Perhaps one day I’ll make it into that old Cambridge apartment. Perhaps one day I’ll be invited.

Find David Hammons Online: