Author Archives: Katie

The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Young adult, fantasy

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

My name is Meaghan Chase.

I thought it was over.That my time with the fey, the impossible choices I had to make, the sacrifices of those I loved, was behind me. But a storm is approaching, an army of Iron fey that will drag me back, kicking and screaming. Drag me away from the banished prince who’s sworn to stay by my side. Drag me into the core of a conflict so powerful, I’m not sure anyone can survive it.

This time, there will be no turning back.

This is the third book in the Iron Fey series, and like the other two, I loved it ♥ Once I had started reading it, I could not stop. At the beginning of this book Meghan is in exile from Nevernever because she chose to follow her heart, and her love, Prince Ash, who had been exiled for falling in love with her. Together they are in the human world, happy and alone. Until they are attacked by iron fey. They are quickly summoned back to Nevernever and receive a pardon, on the condition they take down the iron fey and the false iron king. This they agree to, and quickly war is on the cards, and Meghan has to battle and win, as being half-human she is the only one who can withstand the iron.

This book was amazing. Right from the start there was action. War and battles run throughout the book, making it exciting and fast paced. This book is different from the others in that this time Ash has given himself to Meghan, whereas before he was hiding his love. Their story and relationship flows alongside the story but this isn’t a problem, especially as after most love scenes along comes Puck with some sarcastic remark.

The imagery in this book is incredible. The descriptions of the faery land is beautiful, and it is so easy to picture this world. This is a fantasy book with dragons, dwarfs and gremlins but the way Kagawa writes makes it very accessible and I was transported from my chair to this world and quickly forgot it was make-believe.

The characters are great. I love Meghan. She is strong and determined. She didn’t give up and always did what was best. Puck made me laugh the whole way through. There were some touching moments with him but mainly I just enjoyed his wit and humour. My favourite character, as before was Ash. Strong, silent, brooding, and so easy to fall in love with! I’m easily Team Ash! I loved seeing a whole new side to him in this book, where he let his feelings for Meghan show. Grimalken the cait sith is great. He is exactly how I imagine cats would be if they could talk. Arrogant and only around when it benefits them! Together they make a great team.

I was intrigued by the ending and the role Meghan has taken on. I like the twist, it will change the direction of the story which is great. The epilogue and the suspense is already killing me! After the great battle I was almost in tears but this new spin has made me excited already!

This is classed as a young adult book but I loved it. I empathised with the characters, I was gripped the whole way through and I just loved it. There was action, fantasy, imagination and a bit of romance and it made for an extremely satisfying read. I cannot wait for book four!


Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Oracle Rebounds by Allison van Diepen

This review does contain spoilers!!!

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Female, young adult

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

As the “oracle of dating,” Kayla is supposed to have all the answers about love and relationships. She’s supposed to have the perfect relationship. But now that Jared is “taking a step back,” Kayla feels like a total fraud.
So the expert on dating starts taking her own rebound advice—and some from her friends—and stops moping around. Yeah, there are other possibilities out there—including the beyond-cute French foreign exchange student she’s showing around town. But when controversy erupts about the Oracle’s advice, Kayla is sent reeling once again. Will anything work out for her this year? Yet when her friends start seriously needing the Oracle, Kayla begins to focus on what really matters: Viv, Sharese, Amy and Ryan, her trueblue buds. And suddenly, everything starts making sense again…

This is the sequel to The Oracle of Dating, and I was excited when I saw this book because I really enjoyed the first one. I received this book from netGallery.

This is a book about a girl called Kayla, who is sixteen and writes a blog all about relationships. She has currently been dating the guy of her dreams, Jared. However, he doesn’t get the art scholarship he is desperate for and believes that it is because his focus has been on Kayla and not art. Therefore, he dumps her. The Oracle is now heartbroken, which on the bright side gives her something new to write about. As does the fling she has with the gorgeous French student who comes to stay at her home on an exchange visit. Things are good again until she realises that the fling was just that – two weeks of fun, and when her blog is attacked. Her attentions turn, her life gets hard, and she finally relies on her friends. Her life gets better, her blog gets more hits, and her love life could be turning itself around once more when Jared starts finding reasons to see her again.

This book was fairly predictable. The ending did not come as a shock but I was glad that Jared came to his senses and pursued Kayla again – and that she followed her heart and they got back together. I felt sorry for Kayla when out of the blue Jared ended the relationship; and to be honest I wasn’t happy with his reason. I really felt for her and her pain. I can’t help but like Kayla, although sometimes I found the storyline a little unbelievable. It was a bit too convenient that just after she was dumped her mother organised for a hot French student to come and stay. You could tell that he was only interested in a two week romance but I still found myself feeling sorry for Kayla when again she got dumped.

I thought it was interesting that van Diepen chose to write that Kayla’s blog faced some harsh criticism. I guess that would be the case if you were to advertise, and I think the way Kayla dealt with the situation was well written. I do find it hard to believe that a teenage girl who had only one boyfriend would be quite so knowledgeable about love and heartbreak – and also that she would be giving out advice to her older sister and her friend – both of whom were in the their twenties. However, none of these criticisms spoilt the book.

I liked the characters. Like I said, I found Kayla enchanting and really felt for her when she got her heartbroken. I loved how her friends acted and rallied around her. They seemed realistic and well written. The storyline is easy to follow and it did not take long to read this book. I was entertained and I enjoyed this book a lot. This would be a good comfort read for any female, whether in their teens or not. Although I was not surprised with the outcome, I liked it and I really enjoyed this book. I was hooked, however predictable. This is very readable and I recommend it.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

About A Boy by Nick Hornby

Addition: Hardback, library book

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Will is thirty-six, comfortable and child-free. And he’s discovered a brilliant new way of meeting women – through single-parent groups. Marcus is twelve and a little bit nerdish: he’s got the kind of mother who made him listen to Joni Mitchell rather than Nirvana. Perhaps they can help each other out a little bit, and both can start to act their age.

This book is great! It is funny, engaging, and really worth reading. This is the second book by Nick Hornby I have read, and I think if he is a new author to you, you should start with this book.

The story has two central characters: Will, a thirty-something who has never worked a day in his life. All he does is live off his trust-fund and look out for himself. The other character is Marcus. He is twelve and a touch peculiar. He sings in class, without realising he is doing it, and does not dress like his peers, or like what they like. The two meet when Will has a great idea to find new women to date. He decides the way forward is to pursue single mothers. That way, they won’t be able to have a long relationship, and they will do the dumping, so he won’t be seen as the bad guy. Will is dating Susan when she introduces him to Marcus. Susan is a good friend of Fiona, Marcus’ Mum, who suffers from depression. Occasionally Susan will take Marcus for the day, and on this fateful day, when they get back Marcus discovers his Mum has attempted to commit suicide. Will is thrown into the deep end, and from that point on Marcus starts hanging around Will. The two eventually form a funny friendship and bond, which helps them both in their lives.

This book is extremely well written and very entertaining. Hornby develops both Will and Marcus well, and the story is split equally between them. Some chapters are told from Will’s point of view, and others through Marcus’. From this we get a full picture of how the bond forms and the trials they both face. The dramatic irony in the book is great fun, and adds a wonderful and amusing level to the reading.

I think the storyline is incredible. I don’t know how Hornby came up with this idea, but it very well executed and original. I loved the twists and turns and the crazy characters in the story. Having seen the film first I did find myself visualising the actors used, but the film is very well cast and picturing Hugh Grant as Will was perfect. I loved Will, I found him hilarious. He has no morals but seeing him change – albeit slowly – out of his selfish character was very entertaining. I think Marcus definitely sits on the autistic spectrum, but he was very well written.

This is a great read and I highly recommend it.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

This is a series of short stories about a detective Sherlock Holmes, and his assistant, Dr. Watson. The detective is at the height of his powers and the volume is full of famous cases, including ‘The Red-Headed League, ‘ ‘The Blue Carbuncle, ‘ and ‘The Speckled Band.’

This is my first Sherlock Holmes book, and it will certainly not be my last. This is a collection of short stories, and I found it a great introduction to Doyle’s writing and the characters of Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Every story is no more than 25 pages long and is fun to read and engaging. The stories do not follow any particular order and one could easily dip in and out of this book or read the stories in their own desired order.

I liked all the stories, but probably The Blue Carbuncle which I did find fairly amusing. A man hid a stolen blue gem in a turkey before Christmas, and when the turkey was given to the wrong person he went a bit crazy! I did find myself laughing. Doyle is a clever, fun writer and Sherlock is intelligent, a bit bizarre and humorous.

I didn’t find this a quick read – I believe this is because of the old-fashioned language and structure. It took me a little while to adjust, however this was not a problem – I find this is the case with classics as well. It is worth pursuing and the stories are fantastic. There is adventure, mystery and humour. I don’t think I worked out any of the mysteries as this is not my usual genre, but I loved reading these stories and have even lent out my copy so others can share this enjoyment. I cannot wait to read more!

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

The Crepe Makers’ Bond by Julie Crabtree

Addition: Review e-book

Genre: Young adult

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Ariel is the head chef in her family kitchen. Cucumber salads, fettuccine carbonara, fish tacos, and peanut butter pie are just a few of the dishes she crafts when she’s feeling frustrated by the world. And it’s turning into a frustrating year. Ariel, Nicki, and Mattie have been inseparable friends since they were little kids, but now Mattie’s mom has decided to move away. It’s the girls’ last year in middle school, and they can’t fathom being separated. The friends concoct a plan that will keep Mattie in the Bay area she’ll move in with Ariel and her family. But before you can say “bff,” the party is over. Everything Mattie does gets on Ariel’s nerves, and it’s not long before the girls are avoiding each other. This was supposed to be their best year ever, but some painful lessons are threatening to tear their friendship apart. Can the girls scramble to make things right before the bond crumbles?

I received this book from netGallery to review – thank you.

This is a story of friendship and food. Ariel has two best friends: Mattie and Nicki. It has become a strange year. Nicki is creeping around and keeping secrets, but worse, Mattie’s Mum has a new job and they have to leave town. To keep Mattie around Ariel proposes that she lives with her and her family. Being a welcoming home, Ariel’s parents allow this. Mattie moves in, but soon she is getting on Ariel’s nerves. Mattie sees herself as just trying to fit in, and Ariel finds herself getting jealous. Their friendship is in trouble, and what is going on with Nicki? This story looks at the joy of food, how to fix a friendship and the truth about keeping secrets.

Firstly, I was drawn by the simplicity of the cover – just a few aprons hanging up. I also liked how the book contained the recipes mentioned as part of the story. They are unique and different. Not what I would eat or cook but it makes the book stand out.

The girls seemed realistic – just typical American high school teenagers. They were not the most popular girls, they were just nice, hard working and friendly. The book is about their friendship, and actually it is nice to read. The bond and the tension is well written and I liked them all. I felt sorry for Mattie, who was living away from her Mum and sorry for Ariel, who felt that Mattie was taking her place in the family. Of course, I did also think that they should have expressed their feelings instead of keeping it in and almost losing the friendship. I liked Nicki as well, but she wasn’t the main character. She was the third wheel in the group – joining late and keeping secrets, and I felt she was written just as an extra.

This is a girly story. The main characters are girls and the book is about friendship. The story line isn’t particularly original – I feel having the recipes in the book special, not the story line as such. It is an easy read and a young adult book. I enjoyed it. I did find myself getting exasperated with the girls at times; I felt they just needed to talk to each other and Mattie’s actions at the end didn’t impress me. Overall, this is a quick and easy read if you like female fiction and young adult books.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

Addition: Borrowed hard back

Genre: Love and Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Edinburgh, 1874: Little Jack is born with a frozen heart and immediately undergoes a life-saving operation — the implantation of a cuckoo-clock in his chest. From then on his days all begin with a wind-up, in this dark, tender fairy tale spiced with devilish humour.

I borrowed this book as my friend gave it a really good review, and I am glad I did. the cover is gorgeous and definitely helped attract me to the book, but it was the story line and the delicious use of language which kept me gripped.

The story is about Little Jack. He is born with a frozen heart, so Dr. Madeleine fits him with a wind-up cuckoo-clock to keep his heart going. As he grows up and is put up for adoption it quickly becomes clear that Little Jack’s ticking is putting off potential parents so Madeleine chooses to keep him and bring him up herself. All is going well until Little Jack breaks a vital rule: he falls in love. This causes bullying at school, and an accident that sees him fleeing from Edinburgh. He follows his heart and travels across Europe to find Miss Acacia, the girl he loves. On his travels he learns about the pain love and jealous can cause and ultimately sees his life changing forever.

I found the beginning of this book slow, but it soon picked up! The language is just beautiful. It is so descriptive and inviting. My favourite quote from the book is:

“We love each other like two matches in the dark. We don’t talk, we just catch fire instead. Our kisses are an inferno as an earthquake registers across my entire body, all one metre sixty-six and a half centimetres of it. My heart escapes its prison. It flies away through the arteries, settling in my head. My heart is in every muscle, all the way through to my fingertips. A savage sun, everywhere. It’s a romantic disease with reddish glints.”

The love in this book is passionate and compelling, but ultimately this is a sad story. Jealousy and mistrust floats through this book and destroys all that is beautiful. The book has a sombre end but that does not spoil it at all. It is not what you would expect, which makes a nice change.

I loved Little Jack. I loved the way he followed his heart, even to the point of destruction. I felt for him as he was bullied by Tom, and how he struggled with a whole range of emotions. I felt so much empathy for him, and loved the people he surrounded himself with, including Melies, Anna and Luna. They support him and care for him like family.

The imagination in this book is great; from Madeleine and her medical inventions to the language and descriptions Malzieu uses. It is amazing that this is a translation – I didn’t notice at all. Aside from the slow beginning I loved everything about this book. At times my heart ached and at other times I enjoyed the humour in the book. This is a short book, small and sweet, and so readable. One I got to about page 60 I whizzed through the story and could not put the book down. I highly recommend this novel 🙂

Translator: Sarah Ardizzone

Categories: Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado

Addition: review paperback

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Christian Theology

Synopsis:

Some of the most powerful stories from the Bible will come alive for today’s readers through these inspiring selections from the writings of Max Lucado. Max provides a compelling look at the most high-impact moments in the biblical narrative, drawn from his previous 20+ years of writing.

At the end of each chapter will be study guide questions so the reader can go deeper into this scripture.

Extraordinary stories are told about the following characters:

Mary, Peter, Matthew, Joseph, Nicodemus, Woman at the Well, David, Esther, Job, The Samaritan Woman, John, Rich Young Man.

And more

I received this book from BookSneeze, and am glad I did. A long review is not needed for this book, as instead of one long story, Max Lucado looks at a range of different people from the Bible. Every chapter and point Lucado makes he backs up with Bible verses. It is clear from this book that he is man who knows his Bible well.

The first thing to notice is the beautiful cover. Every time I saw it I was drawn to the book. It is a gorgeous picture, full of colour and it just compelled me to read this book. Another great feature of this book is the short chapters. When I read theology books I worry that the chapters will be long and my concentration lost. This did not happen with Cast of Characters. Every chapter is only a few pages long. Lucado gets straight to the point and uses language which is simple and clear. He retells the story with modern twists, so we can see how they can be relevant to us today, and draws out what God is telling us. I found this helpful and made the book more readable.

There is not one chapter that sticks out more than the rest; all were helpful. I read this book with a notepad and Bible next to me, so I could check out the verses Lucado uses and note down what he teaches us. This was a great book that taught me a lot. I have already recommended this book to others, and it is a book I will keep and read again. Even if you aren’t a Christian and don’t fancy theology, this is a good book to dip into; it is well worth reading for everyone.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Descending by Catherine Chisnell

Addition: Review e-book

Rating: 2/5

Synopsis:

Emily is a lonely, disillusioned, teaching assistant at a college of Further Education. Jamie is a neglected, unpredictable student. Trapped together in a falling lift, wherever will this lead? Told from Emily’s point of view, this story explores the ambiguity of relationships between staff and students, and reflects on who is actually in control.

I saw this book advertised on a blog site and thought I would check it out. I got it as a review book from Smashwords but to be honest I wish I had not wasted my time. The story follows Emily, a teaching assistant who also works at a call centre. Due to having two jobs she has not made friends and feels isolated and alone. She does not even think the students appreciate her. She finds herself in the lift, after having handed in her resignation at the college when it breaks down. The other person in the lift is one of the students she helps, Jamie. Unsure as to his feelings towards her, she is shocked when he kisses her as the lift plunges downwards. This then leads onto a full relationship, and for a time he lives with her as his father has kicked him out. But all is not as good as it seems, and she finds herself manipulated by Jamie, embarrassed by the students and intimidated by Jamie’s father. All of which leads to the college finding out what has been going on…

This book had the potential to be really good. Other stories that have involved student-teacher relationships, such as The Ice-Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson and Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller were readable and gripping. This book wasn’t. I found Chisnell’s writing to be amateur – almost as if she wasn’t used to writing a story. The style reminded me of celebrity autobiographies, where they almost seem to list what has happened. There was also  a lot of bad language, which I didn’t like.

I wasn’t really a fan of any of the characters. Emily irritated me – I thought she was a bit needy, always wondering what people thought of her and whining that she had no friends. I thought she could have resolved her problems in another way. I also didn’t think much of Jamie, although he did come across as a stereotypical teenage boy – into alcohol, sex and the like.

The storyline wasn’t all that believable – the kiss in the lift was very cliché and so was the relationship, sneaking around and the worry of being caught. I think the college handled the situation well but I did think Chisnell weakened the story by having Emily resign before the affair started. I did finish this book, but I didn’t think much of it. Other reviews have rated this book highly, but for me, I just didn’t enjoy it at all.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: | Leave a comment

The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Addition: Review e-book

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron Fey, iron-bound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her. Worse, Meghan’s own fey powers have been cut off. She’s alone in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can’t help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

This is number two in the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, and I loved it ♥ Meghan, half Summer court princess and half human is a prisoner in the Winter Court. Having made a deal with Prince Ash of the Winter Court to go there willingly if he helped her rescue her brother, she is now alone. She fell in love with Ash on her adventures, and thought he loved her. But instead, since arriving at Court he has shunned her. Then, at the party to celebrate the changing of seasons in Nevernever, the Seasons Sceptre is stolen. Meghan knows that the Iron Fey have stolen it, but no one believes her. Winter is blaming Summer and the two courts are about to go to war. Ash re-appears and tries to get Meghan to safety but his brother catches him in the act, and he is deemed a traitor. He decides to drop off Meghan and go find the sceptre. Meghan, now reunited with Puck also has the same idea. Through unforeseen events they find themselves reunited and fighting the Iron Fey.

I really enjoyed this book. The story flowed and I found myself engaging with the characters. When Ash shunned Meghan my heart broke with hers, but I was very pleased with the ending! And quite a cliff hanger I felt! Again, I loved how Kagawa wove the story, the events and what she is able to imagine.

My favourite character this time was probably the Iron Horse. He was noble and fought for what he believed in, and he was loyal to his causes. I was surprised with his story line but really enjoyed it. His character developed and changed in a great way. I loved Grim as well. That cat is so arrogant and blunt – just what I would expect a cat to be like if they could speak! I was pleased to see Puck back, I missed him Winter’s Passage, and of course I’m still in love with Ash!

The characters Kagawa has created are incredible. Her descriptions are often breath taking and the action is superb. There are many fight scenes, many fleeing scenes and great interactions between characters. There is nothing to dislike about this book. I was gripped from the beginning and hooked all the way through. This did not take long to read and it was exciting and full of fantasy. The love story isn’t overpowering. This is young adult fantasy at its best!

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Winter’s Passage by Julie Kagawa

Addition: E-Book

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl…until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck–Meghan’s best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon–who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash’s detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter–a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat….

This is a short novella, less than 70 pages long. It is number 1.5 in the Iron Fey Series. It follows on from The Iron King. Meghan is home after having rescued her brother, but she made a deal with Prince Ash – the man who should be her enemy but instead she is in love with – that if he helped her save Ethan, she would hand herself over to his court without hassle. However, she does want to make a detour – to check up on Puck, who was seriously injured during her quest. Yet there is something chasing them, something deadly. Will Ash be able to save her and get Meghan to the Winter Court?

I have given this 3 out of 5 for one reason: this book is too short! I love this series and this book is good. It includes Kagawa’s imagination and what Meghan and Ash face is great to read! This is fantasy and adventure at its best! I found this easy to read and gripping. The story follows on nicely, and of course leaves the reader on a cliff hanger, ready for The Iron Daughter. The fight scene was great and the language is simple yet effective.

I loved Ash and Meghan as before but this book was too short for any further character development. It was a shame that Puck was not used in this story, but as a teaser for this series, it is good.

Categories: Reviews | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.