Tag Archives: 5*

‘Carry On’ and ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember reading a review of this by Becky at Blog of a Bookaholic and I quite liked the idea of the story. When I stood in WHSmith waiting to fly out to Florida in the summer, looking for another book to complete my 3 for 2 offer, I saw this and thought ‘why not’?

And then, I carried it to the US and back without reading it and placed it into the dreaded bedside table, where it ultimately became part of my challenge to clear out that book eating piece of furniture.

I really enjoyed Fangirl, not always for the storyline, which sometimes was a bit slow for me – but I loved Cather (although I wished she’d gone for Cath and Erin for the twins over Cather and Wren – it just reminded me of the word catheter, which isn’t a great connection to make). I think Rowell wrote a very believable story about an introverted character’s experience of going to university and particularly the thought-processes of a writer. There were things that Cath says in the book, which I can only assume link about to how Rowell feels about writing herself – and they could have been thoughts from my own head.

So, it wasn’t really the ‘fangirl’ elements of Fangirl I liked the most – it was reading about a writer, writing about what they read. The correlation between reading and writing, along with the experience of being a writer, was what I loved about this book. Probably not what was aimed at, or what most people will like about it, but that was what did it for me.

So, that brings us to…

Carry OnCarry On by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

DNF @ pg 145

I really hate not finishing books, but I was just finding this too hard to get into.

I really liked the Simon snippets in Fangirl and loved that book overall, but this just hasn’t worked for me. I think if it was written as the ‘proper’ Simon Snow book, i.e. like Harry Potter, I would have found it easier to engage with the story and characters – but as it is written in the style of fanfic, there was just too much implied knowledge needed for me to enjoy this.

So, sorry, just not for me.

View all my reviews

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Reviews, Writing - General

Just Finished…Fractured, by Dani Atkins

FracturedRandomly plucked from my Kindle list, mainly because the cover caught my eye, I got into this book straight away. Looking at the cover properly now, in full size and colour, it is just an even more perfect match for the story. Coming off the back of several quick ‘fluffy’ reads, I was ready for something a little more involved.

Much of the story of Fractured is told from inside main character Rachel’s head, which can sometimes make things feel less instant and pacy, but I didn’t find that with Fractured.

I’ve always liked the Sliding-Doors-type stories, you know: if one small thing changed, what would be the repercussions of that and how far-reaching are they? I like seeing an author set up one thing, and then flip it on its head – Fractured definitely delivered this. The characters were well-formed in both of Rachel’s realities and the journey you join her on is at times heart-breaking and others uplifting. I’m not normally one for crying at books, but the way Rachel’s story brings you into the middle of what she’s experiencing, I don’t think you can avoid an emotional reaction.
There are lots of things to examine in this book, which I’ll not share because of spoilers, but I do think it is the type of novel that stays with you afterwards, making you examine human nature, relationships and how the mind has the capacity to work in ways I don’t think we’ll ever work out.

Overall, a great read, but beware – your heart-strings will be pulled. Rating 5*

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Just Finished…Finding Sky AND Seeking Crystal

Joss Stirling A solid 4.5* for me – Stirling’s realistic, punchy dialogue is lots of fun, and as an English girl, I definitely found myself sucked in to the protagonists new life in America. Who hasn’t imagined themselves living in a new country? In lots of ways, it has the ingredients of a standard paranormal YA: bit of romance, paranormal-ish elements, school experience, issues with parents, etc. I just found that Stirling put it together in a really enjoyable, accessible way, that had me hankering for more.

As it often is, I think it was the realism of the characters that I enjoyed the most – there are some nice twists in the plot and I liked the main ‘couple’, even though Zed’s not my type really, so I’ll not be heading into a fan-girl frenzy (discovered reading another book, that I’m probably more of a Xav or Yves Benedict girl myself 🙂 Sky is a nice protagonist: a bit feisty, with some realistic splashes of nerves, sarcasm and self-doubt – Zed, as the slightly erratic ‘bad boy’ who is lovely with Sky, becomes more believable as you get into the story and understand the impact his Savant powers has on his life and perception of the world.

From the paranormal side of things, I liked the idea of Savant powers and look forward to seeing how the bigger network (that’s hinted at in this book) develops in the other novels. I went straight off to get another one, so I was definitely smitten 🙂

There was a ‘missing moment’ freebie – Challenging Zed – which I dipped into, before moving on to another book in the series. It is a nice little addition giving some of Zed’s perspective on his early meetings with Sky. It helps give you some background to why he behaves as he does – the only oddity for me, was that it was not written in first-person, as the other books are. It that sense, it gave you more information, but told you, more than showed you – slightly distanced from the character, it feels different from the main books. An interesting detour nonetheless.

Seeking CrystalSeeking Crystal 

I jumped straight to this book from Finding Sky – and this gets the full 5* (oddly enough, it’s book 3 not 2 – and I can’t actually explain why I did the jump, but hey!)

Picking up a familiar group of characters from another angle was a good start – as we had the backstory and saw what happened when soulmates (who knew about the whole system) react when they meet.

I loved Crystal from the beginning – different from Sky in book 1 and probably a more interesting a character from my point of view. Xav – the main man of interest in her world in the early chapters is also probably more my type – so I found their relationship development more fun – more sarcasm and eye rolling, than brooding and nervous.

There are some mildly cheesy elements to the book – James Bond-esque action included – but you know what, it worked. Venice as the backdrop came to life well for me (I’ve been many years ago) and if you do suspension of disbelief and just go with the story, then you can sit back and enjoy it. Let’s face it, you’re reading about Savants, with a multitude of psychic gifts, in the first place.

One thing that I got more involved with in this book was the Benedict family as a whole – there are a lot of them (9 in total), and that’s a lot to take in during the first book. I could not have matched guys with their powers after reading that – as they are more fleeting characters and outside the main activity for much of the book. In Seeking Crystal you get to see them used in context, which makes them more memorable, and the whole ‘Benedict’ thing begins to make more sense.

I read this in just over a day and enjoyed every minute. Meeting Phoenix in this book, I’m looking forward to finding out more about her in her own story (Stealing Phoenix book 2). I think with the explanations given, you can easily read the books out of order, without losing anything – although why you’d be as silly as me to read them out of order, I wouldn’t know.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews

Just Finished…Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet

Fab, fab…fab, fab, fab!

When I read Cinder last year, I really liked the way Meyer blended the sci-fi / futuristic elements of the story within a loose framework of the original fairy tale – rather than sticking too rigidly to it and writing a simplistic re-hash. Looking back now, I think I preferred the second half of Cinder to the first, which is perhaps why I liked book 2 better than the first overall.

I have to say that the cover didn’t grab me in the same way that Cinder did – the cyborg foot in the slipper was what drew me to reading Cinder in the first place – to be honest, if this had been book 1 I’d probably have skipped over this one, as it doesn’t have the same intriguing originality of the Cinder cover. That said – even after the first couple of chapters, I had a feeling this was actually going to be better!

Scarlet is a great character, and splitting the novel between her and Cinder provided a nice variation and created a good pace throughout – I found it difficult to put this down and was always wondering where it was going to go next. Scarlet’s story – once she meets Wolf, street fighter and ex-Wolf gang member – is intriguing; as a character she’s pretty feisty and stubborn, which makes for interesting reading and contrasts Cinder’s gentler personality.

The interplay between Scarlet and Wolf is good – always wondering how much you can trust him and how the ‘Red Riding Hood’ fairy tale piece would come into play. Just like Cinder, the fairytale elements are subtly done and when you pick them out, you may find yourself smiling at them like I did – I loved the chase through the wooden forest – visually you could see it making a great scene in a film of the book.

I think the wider story, beyond the fairytale, comes into play more in this book. A lot of the groundwork from Cinder is now developing into a very full and interesting world. The escalation of the situation with Luna and also the glimpses of their society you get now indicate a much wider piece that is sure to come into play next time..

So…why does it get a 5* review? Well, I struggled to put the book down every time I had to; I would have picked up book 3 as soon I finished this one if I could! And I’m still thinking about the characters now and wondering where everything is going to go next….I can’t believe we have to wait until 2014 to find out!

1 Comment

Filed under Reviews

Just Finished…Angelfall


I thought Angelfall was a really original take on the ‘angels on earth’ theme – I’ve read a few so far (Hush Hush, Forgotten Self) and this definitely leads the pack.

Set in a post-apoclyptic landscape, where angels have been the bringers of destruction – as you might expect from their biblical heritage, but which I’ve not seen used particularly in other angel books – Penryn is our feisty female protagonist, fighting to survive. I found her skills and behaviour plausible in the same way I did Katniss in The Hunger Games: her motivation is protecting her family; her skills come from having to survive a difficult environment, before she was plunged into the apocalypse. The relationship she develops with Raffe (an injured angel) is based on mutual need, and had good depth.

There’s plenty of action in the book, nicely tempered with the world building, so that you see how people have changed because of the apocolypse. Questions of humanity are raised throughout and examined well through secondary characters. There are also some pretty gruesome descriptions and troubling images – they fit with the plot and the events at the end of the world, although some readers might have wished for a more ‘fade to black’ approach…particularly in the big climax at the end.

One thing I especially liked was the presentation of the angels as just another species – so you can get agnostic angels!! – rather than fixing them into traditional biblical roles as you might expect. The angel culture and behaviours are also nicely examined and explained to fit with the author’s world.

Overall – this was a great read – it gets five stars because I struggled to put it down (when I had to) and went searching for the next book as soon as I finished (and was disappointed to find that there’s nothing out as yet!). I need to know what happens! Definitely recommended for fans of angel/demon books, as well as post-apocolyptic.

2 Comments

Filed under Reviews

Heavenly reading challenge review at Auggie Talk

asidefromwriting

Oh yes – it gets 5* 🙂 

 

Forgotten Self is a really good read. Although I’ve not read a huge amount of books in the YA Angel/Demon field – Hush Hush series, Katherine Pine’s After Eden (good) and a couple more I won’t mention as they were shockingly poor– I quite like them when they’re done well. Forgotten Self is done very well and of those I’ve read I would rate it as the best.

The story is a good length and I read it in a couple of days in two long-ish sittings. Even though it’s not a long book it is well-detailed; the ‘angelic’ world has a good depth to it, the explanations for which are delivered nicely throughout the book alongside Abby’s ‘real’ life. The characters are very well drawn, especially Abby, whose POV we read from. And although I tend to plump for one…

View original post 256 more words

Leave a comment

Filed under Reviews