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May Gil "BookLover" (London, UK)

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Fallen: Book 1 of the Fallen Series
Fallen: Book 1 of the Fallen Series
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A big book with little background, 23 Sept. 2010
I liked the basic outline of the story; a fallen angel in love and damned to an eternity of falling in love and tragically losing his lover, but it took ages for the story to get started! The storyline itself was incredibly predictable, I had already guessed the antagonist as soon as he made his first appearance and a few things were downright random; like the "good bad" thing, where did that come from?

I'd say around mid way through the book I was like "finally we're getting somewhere" and then I began anticipating the unfolding of relationships and dramas. However, I felt the actions came to late and the the characters were too vague, their backstories never truly explored - an example would be that we were told from the beginning that Daniel and Luce were in love and belonged together, but how? When did they first meet? What makes Daniel fall in love with her in the first place and vice versa? What about Arianne, Roland, Gabbe, Molly and all the other "main-ish" characters, who exactly are they and what's their role in the whole scheme of things? And why are people out to get Luce? After finishing the book, instead of getting a sense of amazement or satisfaction, I was left confused and frustrated because I didn't know anything about well...anything.

The book is thick with things that aren't important to the plot, which should have been replaced by things that would have made understanding the characters and the plot much easier. The authors decision to purposefully leave things ambiguous and vague may have been to encourage readers to anticipate the next novel to answer questions, but I would have to say there is a limit to the amount you should leave out - in her case she dissallusioned the reader...well me. I sincerly do hope they get explained in the sequel, but I have actually decided against bothering to read it since sadly I've lost interest in Daniel and Luce's story. Holding back although enticing for some authors left me baffled in the case of Fallen.


Leaving Paradise
Leaving Paradise
by Simone Elkeles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.38

4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story with a few flaws, 15 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Leaving Paradise (Paperback)
I wanted so much to like Leaving Paradise as much as I fell in love with Perfect Chemistry, but the story of Caleb Becker and Maggie Armstrong fell short. Nevertheless, it was another great example of an enjoyable storytelling and piece of writing for younger readers written by Simone Elkeles.

The novel is set in the small town of Paradise, which it's residents find anything but. Set a year after the life propelling events that changed the lives of Maggie and Caleb, the story begins with their struggle to pull their lives together and in the process find out about themselves, a perfect bildungsroman novel. You see, Caleb Becker has just been released from prison having run over and `maimed' a girl for drunk driving. That girl just so happens to be his neighbour and twin sister's best friend Maggie Armstrong. Caleb and Maggie having dealt with the disastrous accident in different ways: Caleb in prison and Maggie's constant ins and outs of hospital, leaves them both scarred for life.

Although the premise of the romance in the story is obvious and foretold by the blurb, one thing that perturbed me was how easily they fell for each other. Their history played a major role in them understanding one another, but after everything that they've been through it shouldn't have been so quick. There was no gradual falling in love, and that really disappointed me because I wanted so much to fall in love with Caleb the same time as Maggie only I couldn't, it happened too quickly.

Maggie and Caleb are thrown into the deep end, finding comfort and solace from the rest of the Paradise residents in each other. Escaping their own personal prisons by revealing them to the people they least expected would understand. It's a beautiful novel and even though at times I downright couldn't stand Caleb--it made me angry that he didn't show much remorse or guilt, and his anger was crazy--it all began to make sense by the end of Leaving Paradise. It had me laughing and tearing up as I anxiously made my way through the novel and it's definitely something I would recommend for those that loved Perfect Chemistry, although it is rightfully its own separate entity.

I'm really looking forward to the next novel, having left off the way it did makes me eager to know what happens with Caleb and Maggie.


Perfect Chemistry
Perfect Chemistry
by Simone Elkeles
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect Chemistry Indeed, 9 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Perfect Chemistry (Paperback)
Simone Elkeles is a genius. First, she writes a blurb that makes you question whether to read Perfect Chemistry. Secondly, she posts a hilariously amazing rap video book trailer of the novel on her website which seals the deal. The rap video is the best introduction to the world Simone Elkeles has created, but does nothing to justify how enjoyable the novel truly is. Perfect Chemistry is a beautiful unconventional Romeo and Juliet story with a fascinating twist.

Perfect Chemistry is set on the outskirts of Chicago in a small town ruled by a fierce social divide. The Northside of Fairfield is home to the wealthy and admired, whereas the Southside is where gangs and danger lurk at every corner. Northsider Brittany Ellis is everything a girl wants to be. She is rich, popular, captain of the pom squad, beautiful with an ideal set of friends and a picture perfect boyfriend and family. At least that's what Brittany wants everyone to think, you see, Brittany's life isn't perfect and everyday is a struggle to maintain control of that persona.

Southsider Alejandro Fuentes is one of the baddest bad boy's around town. He has a knack for creating fear and trouble everywhere he goes, usually it isn't his fault. Alex isn't affected either way since no one expects him to graduate High School, even if he secretly wants to. Alex is a fully fledged member of the Latino Blood gang that dictates Southside Fairfield. His sole focus is protecting his mother and brothers from the gang that rules his life, whilst maintaining his gang banger image. The irony baffles Alex tool.

On their first day as seniors at school, hot-headed-zero-tolerance-for-trouble teacher Mrs Peterson pairs Brittany and Alex together as chemistry partners for the rest of the year. Providing a new meaning to the term `opposites attract'.

The novel is written in a joint perspective, switching from Alex's and Brittany's perspective every chapter. This aids in understanding the characters for who they are inside and not what they are perceived to be by the rest of Fairfield. By getting access into both Brittany and Alex's head we understand the motives behind their actions, as well as who they really are inside and who they want to be.

Although the plot unfolds through the growing friendship and romance between the protagonists, which is predictable and doesn't appear as a surprise, Simone Elkeles explores the harsh realities of characters both South and North of Fairfield. She tackles issues like disabilities, drugs, sex, violence, loyalty and familial relationships whilst maintaining the lightheaded and sarcastic humour that she is renowned for.

The main obstacle was the constant use of Spanish, especially in Alex's perspective. Having only little experience in reading and understanding the language, it became difficult deciphering his meaning and I constantly had to look up the meaning of a few words. However, sometimes the translations flew naturally in the way Alex would express them. After finishing the novel I came to realise how important the use of Spanish words are in the novel. It is a reflection of Alex Fuentes, a part of his personality, his connection to his family, gang and friends, a way for him to express himself naturally. Instead of finding it a nuisance, I found it refreshing and original, a lot like the novel itself.


Need
Need
by Carrie Jones
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Need more pixies, 9 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Need (Paperback)
The idea of pixies fascinated me, and yes I did instantaneously assume Tinkerbell lookalikes but hey with books these days you never know. I was fascinated by how Carrie Jones would develop and portray pixies. When I started reading the story I got so many Twilight flashbacks. The fact that she is sent away by her mother from South Carolina to some hick town in the middle Maine to live with her Grandmother (her stepfather's mum), how she meets "creatures" that surpass normality, and most importantly how she attracts them like glue. I was apprehensive because I felt it was way too similar to Twilight, but it got better. Instead of fancy, sparkly vampires we had pixies...which are far from perfect, because they aren't. I'm still unsure whether I should be fascinated or afraid of them, good job on that part from Ms Jones.

The story is told to us in the first person narrative of Zara White, an avid Amnesty International supporter and a phobia expert. Every chapter is entitled with a phobia that relates to themes or emotions being felt in the chapter. The plot unfolds as strange things start happening around Zara. She begins being stalked by a freakishly tall man that has the tendency to point at her and leave a trail of gold dust behind. Local boys are going missing and her gramps is acting weird. Zara also begins to develop a crush on the school's popular boy and acclaimed jock, Nick Colt. In all honesty, Nick Colt wasn't sold to me, sure he was described as gorgeous, strong, helpful and an all round nice guy, but he seemed...too perfect? with an overactive "hero complex". The relationship is built on the whole `new girl in town' cliché. It was also pretty strange how Nick, being someone popular and jock-ish, had designated freaks/outsiders as his best friends (although pretty cool characters) Issy and Devyn.

When you suddenly learn that pixies kings are fierce leaders who maintain authority and power by having a pixie queen, and without a queen the king's `need' grows, and his leadership is brought into question by his subjects causing chaos to engulf their community. And when that same person informs you that they think that you are being stalked by a pixie king, how would you react? I'm no expert, but I'm guessing incredulity and absurdity are top of the emotion list, right? Issie and Devyn accept the Pixie theory in a snap and then so do Nick and Zara, that was a major letdown. But, hey, at least it gets the story moving on.

The introduction of were-creatures adds spice to the novel, being the natural enemy of the pixies, an interesting take. On the other hand, the whole novel deals with the existence of pixies, how comes we get our first experience of actual pixie-ness so late in the novel? The mythological references were captivating and incredibly relevant when it came to the pixies, especially to those who don't know anything about pixies. However, I wanted to know more, More, MORE about the pixies! They were just described as evil minxes thriving off their `need' and nothing else, I actually found myself sympathising with them instead of the characters I presumed I was supposed to like. Considering the book was called Need, I just hoped for a more pixie presence.

In terms of originality, yes, pixies are not something we hear or read about everyday and the phobia-chaptering was also intriguing. I have yet to decide whether or not to read Captivate, I hear that there is a new pixie king called Astley who makes an appearance.


Touch of the Wolf
Touch of the Wolf
by Susan Krinard
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £7.50

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Romance with a Werewolf Twist, 9 Jun. 2010
Touch The Wolf was a really interesting historical novel with a werewolf twist. The characters were intriguing and well developed and the plot line was fascinating and tinted with random surprises, and not forgetting the constant nail-biting `will they, won't they' moments. Braden Forster is a mixture of Rochester and Heathcliff with the usual werewolf elements, but Cassidy Holt is something else altogether. She is an orphan who was abandoned by her father and brother at an early age and soon after suffered her mother's demise, Cassidy was then taken in by her father's brother's family who treat her with nothing but fear and disdain. For Cassidy Holt is loup-garou. After memorising a letter her mother wrote in her childhood about having kin in England that would help her through her transition she heads off in search for them.

The novel begins with a prologue of when the Earl of Greyburn Braden Forster was a mere child, we are instantaneously introduced to the "Cause" - a form of arranged marriages to restore the purity of their loup-garou bloodline. Written in the joint perspectives of Braden Forster and his distant cousin Cassidy Holt provides the perfect insight into two different views on the Cause and being a werewolf in Victorian society. Braden Forster is adamant to uphold his grandfather's wishes and when he stumbles across his long lost cousin, yes stumbles, he instantaneously assumes a position for her amongst his Cause. Braden decides that Cassidy, a beautiful, abrasive American will suit his reckless yet thoughtful brother Quentin. However, things don't go according to plan once Braden begins developing his own feelings for his brothers chosen wife. A subplot within the novel is that of Quentin and Braden's sister Lady Rowena and her own interpretations of what being a werewolf entails. It is an interesting portrayal to see the opinions of a whole array of characters, each with their distinct view on the Cause, whether it be that they despise it or that they tolerate.

The action within the novel arises when secrets from Braden's past come to haunt him in the present in the form of the villainous Russian werewolf hell-bent on wreaking revenge on Braden and his family. I felt however that the action was to late coming, Susan Krinard spends so much time building the tension between Braden and Cassidy and maybe not enough time reflecting the tension between Braden and his enemies. The end was inevitable but I also expected more from Braden, however, the loose ends pave the way towards the other novels in the series. Although as a paranormal romance there isn't much werewolf changing elements except when it comes to Cassidy's own transformation, for she has yet to have her first change. The novel upholds the loup-garou theme as a way of understand the characters and the reason why they do things, more romance then paranormal but still something worth reading. I really did enjoy it. ;)


Moon Called: Mercy Thompson book 1
Moon Called: Mercy Thompson book 1
by Patricia Briggs
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Great!, 11 Dec. 2008
I started looking at this series after beginning the Women of the other world series, it was reccomended by Kelley Armstrong readers, but I was pretty hostile because I like my fantasy books in a certain way. :S So when I started Uni and starting blabbing about my love for werewolves and all things supernatural, a girl in my class recommended I read Moon Called because she though I would love it.
I decided then that I had to give it a go...and man am I glad that I did!
I loved it! From beginning to end! It was great! The characters didnt annoy me and we got a great insight into the lives of werewolves and other creatures like the Fae, vamps and witches!
Would defo reccomend this to werewolf lovers like myself! :D I've bought the next two and will start them tonight!


The Host
The Host
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Just as great as Twilight!, 6 Jun. 2008
This review is from: The Host (Hardcover)
I bought this after reading the Twilight series, I'd been told that it wasn't as good as the books, but wanted to read it anyway. And I'm glad that i did, it's just as great, i was captivated from the start. It had everything i needed in a good fiction novel. All written in the Stephenie Meyers perfect style.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone, never would i have imagined reading a book about aliens, but this book was Amazing!


Me and Mr Darcy
Me and Mr Darcy
by Alexandra Potter
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good!! :D, 22 Sept. 2007
This review is from: Me and Mr Darcy (Paperback)
Ok..I admit its not as good as Be Careful What you Wish For, but it was still a great read...It gives a different impression of Mr Darcy...And i really enjoyed it...It made me laugh and i couldnt put it down till i finished it..That meant waking up and reading the remaining chapters, before doing anything else...!


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