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Amazon Customer "rinoa_s_l" (UK)

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The Breakaway
The Breakaway
by Michelle Davidson Argyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Spine tingling Young Adult read, 29 April 2012
This review is from: The Breakaway (Paperback)
I feel desperately sorry for Naomi because she doesn't really live life until she's kidnapped. She suffers both emotional and physical abuse, not realising either was wrong until she encounters the caring side of life. Even though i knew what was happening, I still got tingles at the ever present danger to Naomi in this 10/10 read

My Scorching Summer Diary
My Scorching Summer Diary
by Liz Rettig
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Light hearted read, 23 April 2012
For most of the book I thought Kelly Ann was extremely ditzy, like me. As the farce continued, I realised she has a lying problem. I can understand why she did it - that's her biggest character fault, not being herself & thinking too much of how other people view her. She should have partied less & put more effort into her passion for dance. The end proves that although life can take away dreams in one breath, it can grant a different path to dreams in another. I laughed a lot and felt sorry for Kelly Ann in this 4/5 read.

Hazel Wetherby & The Elixir of Love
Hazel Wetherby & The Elixir of Love
Price: £0.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Never stand in the path of a thirteen year old girl who has determination by the bucketload: she will ferret out the truth even, 8 Mar. 2011
This was a very fun read. Having aliens inhabit peoples' bodies is a concept that I'm really enjoying at the moment. It was strange because Hazel knew her brother wasn't her brother from chapter one. This made the book instantly appealing. I wanted to know why he was an alien, and why he was with Hazel. Hazel loves him, and wants to keep him safe. She wants the same for her baby sister, Nut (no spelling error). That's why when her parents disappear she takes matters into her own hands. Understandably she was annoyed when the authorities couldn't and/or wouldn't tell her anything new. When major incidents happen, the people involved want to know what's going on. Hazel has enough people that she knows who end up helping her on her mission for the truth. She needs all their help, especially with the drama at the end.

The way Hazel thinks made me laugh a lot. Her mind keeps on working, and the tricks she pulls to get her own way are clever, even if they do sometimes put her in danger. She has to deal with a lot of incredible events, but knowing her brother is an alien puts things into perspective. Her best friend Luelle is essential to some of Hazel's plans. I enjoyed learning why they were best friends, even though they are polar opposites socially. I liked how Igor is always looking after Hazel, how he tries to deal with her injuries when she is hurt, and she always tries to ignore them as she searches for the answers to why she was attacked. The ones who are after Hazel are very evil, and seeing them in action made my spine tingle. This book is definitely actioned packed and full of mysteries that kept me guessing until the end.

This is pitched at young adults, although I feel it suits the older range of children's fiction better. Hazel didn't feel as mature as protagonists in young adult do. The only issue I have with it is the swearing. Even though the words were initialled or had stars for all but the first letter, they weren't appropriate to the story. They didn't fit in with Hazel's voice. It wasn't her who said it, but the point of view at that time didn't match up with the rest of the point of views. There were places in the book where swear words were alluded to, but never spoken. This worked, which is why I was surprised to see two extremely strong swear words, one of which under 18's should not know were used. It would be easy to figure out what it is, and I wouldn't want children reading that. That did detract a little from my overall enjoyment of the book.

(The book was a complimentary review copy from the author)

Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar
Zoolin Vale and the Chalice of Ringtar
by Craig Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.74

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun sword & sorcery fantasy, 8 Mar. 2011
This book takes well known elements in the fantasy realm and uses them to create an entertaining read. I liked how the book followed the two characters. That really heightened the intensity, especially when at least one, if not both, of the groups were in grave danger. I felt that I really got to know Tennen as a person. He has got such a prestigious role, but really he's fairly ordinary and doesn't see himself as others see him. He's sensible because he practices defending himself against magic, without the use of the stone which is in his possession. I feel that in the course of the novel he starts to accept the role he has, and although he doesn't necessarily like doing so, he calls on the benefits that role bestows him. I loved his dragon friend, who proved very useful in the quest in the later stages of the book. However, initially Berrin wasn't mentioned much. After his first mention, Tennen wasn't in touch with him for several chapters, which considering how helpful he is, I found that a little bit strange. After that though he became a regular feature, and I loved learning all the skills he had.

Devlin gets into just as many scrapes as Tennen does. It's so funny because for a while, wherever they go they managed to cause trouble so were worried about which route they would return by. I think my favourite moments with them was with the competition to become king. I'd have liked to see all the trials explained as they happened, rather than being retold later on to characters who couldn't compete. However the trials are really clever and meant that only a person worthy of being a leader gained the crown. I got teary eyed when Devlin finally meets his family.

Overall, this is a book I heartily recommend. It's not too dark and heavy, although some descriptions of the monsters had me wanting to run for cover. I really want a magic tent which provides enough room and resources no matter how many people need to use it. There were a few clunky sentences, but I read a proof copy so they've probably been ironed out now. Also there wasn't a lot of mention about the mysterious hawk, who I still don't know what it is. It certainly suggests there are more tales about Tennen and Devlin to be told. The content is clean and generally family friendly, so this is good for all readers.

Acorna's Search
Acorna's Search
by Anne McCaffrey
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Acorna's life continues to be full of adventure - this time there is a lot of sadness and heartache, 16 Jan. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Acorna's Search (Hardcover)
On with the story! I had read this one before...but I distinctly remember this is why I gave up reading it. I was distraught by the ending. I thought it was unfair, and how could the authors do that to Acorna? Now I totally understand why they chose that ending, and it provides an excellent premise for the next book, and will probably involve a lot of character development for all of those involved.

People disappearing off a planet for no reason is strange. I remember the first time I read it (and admittedly this time because I couldn't remember the details), I wondered what was going on. The truth of the matter is a little horrific. Acorna and the others get to meet with people from their distant past. They aren't as sweet and gentle as the Linyaari have been led to believe. There are a few issues which are only touched upon, but when you think about it they are horrific, and although this washed over me when I read it as a teenager, I can see why this is an adult book (although younger people could read it and not pick up on everything). It involves genetic engineering, torture for the sake of science and captivity.

Much of this story evolved around Acorna, rather than being based mostly on Aari. I enjoyed this because Acorna has to tuck away her emotions so she can be a useful member of the search party for her friends. Uncle Hafiz becomes more compassionate and less sly in his business dealings (he still worries about profit but he's grown soft over the years). There's little mention of Acorna's uncles, RK and Becker have quite a prominent role. As do the ancestors. They are really entertaining, and it's funny how much they hide from most of their species.

After everyone was upset at having to lose so much of their wildlife when the Khleevi invaded the Linyaari home world, the ending of this story is delightful. I was smiling and felt happy inside for what the discoveries meant for the Linyaari.

There is no shying away from the fact this is a sad book. It's good because it shows how well Aari has healed over time from his Khleevi torture. I'm looking forward to reading the next one because I'm sure he will be reunited with Acorna again (they have to be because there are 3 stories about her children).

The Left Hand of God
The Left Hand of God
by Paul Hoffman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Cale isn't a character you'd want to meet alone in an alley or get on the wrong side of him., 16 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Left Hand of God (Paperback)
I've wanted to read this ever since the adult version came out, so I was thrilled to hear of it getting a new cover for the young adult edition. It is a pretty exciting book. From the beginning I learnt that Cale has a harsh life under the stern religious rule of the Redeemers. It's only when he meets something so shocking involving someone that he has to act. His friends go along with them, but they aren't exactly willing. There are so many occasions when they complain and want to leave Riba behind so they can escape. They get captured by other people, (thankfully not the Redeemers), and Riba is treated a little better than them. Not only are there plots among the Redeemers, but there are plots with everyone who comes into contact with them.

I like it how Cale bluffs his way through quite a bit of his life. He has such strength, determination and courage. He is a bit of an idiot of times, not quite being able to read between the lines. All the characters he meets have several agendas. Surprisingly those who wish him harm or who are supposed to harm him find ways out so they don't have to hurt him. There are a few instances where he does the right thing, but by doing that he makes the situation worse for himself. There is a high level of detail which was a pleasure to read. A few sentences had my stomach turning. Content wise it was pretty much okay, some innuendo and the odd paragraph in a very rough part of town which thankfully I didn't entirely understand but I can guess what some of the phrases meant.

It's true that there is something about him that makes him amazing at fighting and killing people. This isn't learnt until the end. I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more emphasis on this through the story. The Redeemers wanted Cale back, and they did chase after him, but I'd thought there might be more scenes with the Redeemers so the reader could gain a feeling of why Cale is so important. When Riba was taken that was a huge blow to the Redeemers - I didn't feel that this was followed up as thoroughly as it could be. They didn't seem that bothered about her, and very little was given away about Riba's purpose. Additionally I wasn't so keen on the last battle (I think it was the last 75 or 50 pages). I understood what each side was doing - but it didn't seem to tie in as well with the rest of the story. It felt like there were a few points missing as to why it was all happening, almost as if it was a bit distant from the book. I confess to skim reading it just so that I could know what happened.

There are a few females in the book, Riba and Arbella Swan. I really liked Riba, yes she was spoilt and didn't know any better but she was a sweet girl and ended up okay. I liked Arbella as a character, her position in society and the early part of when she met Cale. What happens in the rest of the story I wasn't so fond of her character - I don't like girls like that and I actually didn't care if she got hurt.

Although I had a few issues with the book, I am eager to see what happens in the next one. It could be that I find the answers I've been looking for. It is at times an intensive story, but throughout most of the novel you'll be desperate to keep turning over the page to watch Cale's exploits.

Acorna's World (The Acorna Series)
Acorna's World (The Acorna Series)
by Anne McCaffrey
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome continuation of Acorna's life (contains tiny spoilers), 15 Jan. 2011
I'm not actually keen on this particular cover version, I don't feel it fits in with Acorna's personality.

Back to the book which is amazing :) It's a little strange that on re-reading the series I understand it and love it more than when I was first introduced to Acorna. It's been over 10 years since I read them, and that's a long time, long enough for my perspectives on many things to change. As I read it I knew what the major events were as they crept up, but I'd forgotten all the smaller details. I realise that is probably to be expected, but I don't recall caring so much about everyone. The last time I read it I wasn't keen on Aari (so bad!). I thought he ought to get a grip, and possibly that Acorna was wasting her time. I didn't like Uncle Hafiz that much, thought he was rather selfish and narrowminded (traits in my former self!). Now I see that he always keeps business in the back of his mind, but he dotes on Acorna and does want the best for her which includes her people, and also the children she protects. He admits he isn't keen on children, and at one point in the story he is on board a ship with a lot of children. Due to misadventure he has to find ways to keep them entertained and he does a remarkably good job. He puts all his skills into practice and creates something highly entertaining. Don't make the mistake that I did and think that he isn't good at self-defence. He found a way to use the entertainment as a means of defense.

Defending people isn't left solely to Hafiz. The Linyaari themselves have to face up to facts that if they don't want to be destroyed, they have got to take action. However the best thing about being allies with humans is that someone else can take over the more violent parts :)

The violence is much needed, because the Khleevi are back. The details about them made my stomach churn. They truly are a parasitic race who are evil to the core. They wreck everything. Although the Linyaari would like to believe there is good in everything (well, a few might), there isn't.

Acorna's relationships with previous characters are a pleasure to watch. I love it when she gets reunited with and concerned about her human uncles. The children that she rescued are back - they play a part in this story. I found it really funny because Khetala, who was taken into prostitution before Acorna saved her, tried to convince some holograms that how they dressed/what they were meant to do wasn't appropriate or the only course of action. She's so passionate she tries to tell everyone, regardless of whether they are real, the better option in life.

Acorna's people are definitely more accepting of her now. There is one who isn't, but she causes trouble and eventually get their due at the end. Unfortunately there is tragedy in this one, and I was crying away. I found myself tearing up for Aari as he had to remember more of his torture with the Khleevi. His and Acorna's friends care about them both, and give them a little push so that they can be together before it's too late

Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love (Graphic Novel)
Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love (Graphic Novel)
by Shawn McManus
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cinderella, spy and shoe shop manageress!, 13 Jan. 2011
How could I resist learning more about one of my favourite fairy tale characters? This is Cinderella like you've never seen her before. She didn't get the happily ever after with Prince Charming, but she is relatively happy now. She runs her own shoe shop - well, what else do you think she could sell? She isn't around the shop much, which shouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately in this story her shop assistant gets too big for his boots (slight pun intended), has crazy ideas which create a moment of popularity followed with many complaints and protests outside the shop. In between her spying, Cinderella manages to sort out the problem swiftly.

Yes, Cinderella is a spy! How cool is that! She is nifty with weapons, and equally dangerous without them for she uses her environment to hurt her attackers. One of her attackers turns out to be working on her side (not that you'd believe it at first). Cinderella goes undercover, which involves going back to her roots to get to the bottom of the mystery. There is magic abound in the gadgets she uses. But to be fair magic is only a part of the story. A lot of it is about Cinderella's courage, quick thinking in a crisis, her ability to formulate a plan and be able to modify it when circumstances change.

The illustrations are stunning. Cinderella visits a variety of locations, each with a different outfit. There are a few pictures with outfits that aren't used in the story, but are more of a chapter break. Despite having a mature readership suggestion on the back, this book isn't too steamy. There is the odd use of strong language, and there is innuendo and a few half-intimate scenes but generally it's a decent book.

It was fascinating to learn what Cinderella did over her long life (we are talking a few hundred years), and how her work impacts on normal people and other Fables. The only down side was that the outfit on the front cover wasn't actually used in Cinderella's story. It provided a nice chapter interlude though :)

I recommend this book for anyone who loves a strong female protagonist who can hold her own in a fight, who is intelligent, has an extensive wardrobe and who is fun to read about.

I received this as a complimentary book from the publisher

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove
The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove
by Lauren Kate
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is the first book where I've hated the main character 100%. Strange how I'll re-read at some point!, 28 Dec. 2010
I was super excited about this book, considering how much I loved Fallen and Torment. The cover is in a similar style to the others. The precise meaning for using that particular cover is discovered at the end of the book.

My excitement dropped dramatically. Natalie Hargrove is a spoiled, selfish airhead. She embodies everything I hate about airheads. She's obsessed with how she looks. She thinks she looks amazing. She acts like the queen bee. She pushes the younger girls at school around. She gets her way. She is wrapped up in her boyfriend - and what she does is definitely not PG rated. I couldn't find one redeeming feature about her. It got worse when she pulled the prank. At that point when she took it all too far (it was too far to begin with in my opinion) I knew my hatred for her wouldn't change.

Please don't misunderstand me - I really liked this book. It's weird hating a character. I liked all the intrigue with her father, and learning the truth about his fate. I would have liked there to be more involvement of the issue surrounding her father.

Natalie lives in some stranger wonderland all on her own. What possesses her to think she can cover up her evil crime? It's not going to work. There is always evidence. She arranges it so that she will look innocent, but there's a paranormal element that wants to make sure justice is done.

I was thrilled when life started going wrong with her. I felt that at last she was getting proper justice for being a mean person. It got better and better. She lost it. People knew she lost it. She lost her prestige, she lost her standing at school. I loved the scene which echoed one at the start of the novel, where Natalie goes to someone for advice. The first time Natalie is the one in control, she's a self-centred self-styled princess. The second time, she's begging for help and advice.

As for the end - well there was a huge plot twist! Okay, I did feel sorry for her when a moment of her past was recalled. It was a terrifying ordeal. However, by agreeing to the stupid teen get together, she was asking for trouble. The one person I felt sorry for was her boyfriend. She dragged him into a load of mess, and refused to come clean when she had the chance. He would have got off lightly - well more lightly than Natalie. At least he was able to flee from the humiliation at the end.

All in all, this was a fun read. Yes I hated Natalie with a passion. But she really gets what she deserves, and then some. (It takes a lot for me to hate someone that much).

The book is a review copy from the publisher.

Homeless Bird
Homeless Bird
by Gloria Whelan
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Trust your instincts - if you feel someone is unpleasant and not to be trusted, try to get away from them., 28 Dec. 2010
This review is from: Homeless Bird (Paperback)
Marriage is supposed to be the biggest moment in anyone's life. Naturally Koly is really excited about it, and wants to be loved. Unfortunately the groom's parents are reluctant to hand over a photo or many other details for their son. Koly's family needs the honour of the marriage, so off she goes to the groom's house for the ceremony. Koly looks beautiful, but the illusion ends there. Inside she has a heavy heart. She had misgivings about the marriage. And by the time her family realise this, it is too late. In Koly's world if you turned down a marriage it brought public shame and humiliation on the family.

Being married means sharing your life with someone. Koly wasn't allowed anywhere near her husband, who is definitely not what she expected or wanted. The brief time she spends with him she does start to like him, but then he is wrenched away from her. Koly's miserable existence is worsened by the treatment from her inlaws (who, quite personally, are out-laws). They steal from her. They treat her like dirt. There are a few acts of kindness by members of the family which help make life a little bearable. But mostly Koly's life is dismal.

It shouldn't have been such a big surprise to Koly when she is betrayed by her new family, but to her it was. She was so young and naive that she truly thought it was a big mistake. I suppose it is a blessing that she wasn't sold off to someone. She had a run-in with a most unsavoury character who would have taken her away and abused her. Fortune smiles on Koly a little: as a consequence of the worst time in her life she finds peace and happiness, sprinkled with a little sorrow and grief.

I strongly admire all the widows who help Koly out. They really could have just fended for each other, but they had realised that by supporting each other through the tough times, they all had a chance at not just surviving, but leading a good life.

What stands Koly in good stead is her needlework. She does it for the joy of her marriage. When that joy disappears, she finds a way ton continue her art. It is an art because she puts all her emotions into the stitches. Other people recognise this, and provide Koly with a way of making a living.

I think this book opened my eyes as to what can happen to some widows in the world, how they are shunned by a lot of society for no good reason. I hope that this practices continues to decline, and that in the future young girls will be able to say no to unwelcomed marriage and not be cast out of their family.

I received this book for review by the publisher

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