Profile for Ashleigh Allsopp > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ashleigh Allsopp
Top Reviewer Ranking: 8,950
Helpful Votes: 75

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Ashleigh Allsopp "Ashleigh" (UK)

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
The One (The Selection, Book 3) (The Selection Stories)
The One (The Selection, Book 3) (The Selection Stories)
by Kiera Cass
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent conclusion to one of my favourite YA trilogies – and better still there’s more to come., 21 May 2015
If you’ve followed my blog at all over the past three years, you’ve probably realised that I love Kiera Cass’s The Selection trilogy. In my reviews of The Selection and The Elite, I’ve described the series as peculiarly addictive, refreshing and a guilty pleasure, and the same can be said for The One.

I can’t help but love these novels, and I know that my sister Tayler and my bestie Zara felt the same way. Both of them are in their early 20s so despite my previous concerns that they’re really for a younger audience, it’s clear that even those who’ve passed their teenage years are suckers for handsome princes.

The romance in The One is cheesy but perfect, and the storyline is slightly flaky, but the combination of a love triangle, a dystopian world and princessy girliness is tricky to resist.

I am so pleased to say that I loved the conclusion to this trilogy, and I can’t wait to read even more in the fourth book/spinoff called The Heir. It’s rare for me to enjoy the last book in a trilogy so much: some of my other favourite series have disappointed me at the end, including the Delirium trilogy and Divergent. But The One’s ending was dramatic, shocking and had me on the edge of my seat.

It’s perfectly well rounded and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling, even if there were moments that were really rather sad.

I absolutely adored the relationship between the four girls in the Elite towards the end of The One, and was thankful that my questions about America’s father and also the King were answered. My annoyance with America from the second book didn’t creep back in, and I thought Kiera’s handling of the conclusion to the love triangle was perfection.

It’s recently been revealed that The Selection is going to be made into a movie, and I actually squealed out loud at the news. That’s a movie I can’t wait to see.

Heart of Dread: Frozen
Heart of Dread: Frozen
by Melissa de la Cruz
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Completely unique dystopian, fantasy world that crumbles thanks to crater-sized plot holes., 21 May 2015
This review is from: Heart of Dread: Frozen (Paperback)
I’m completely torn about Frozen. There are some elements to this book that I absolutely fell in love with, and there are others I really, really disliked. Let me explain:

I loved, and I mean LOVED, the world in Frozen. It’s a sort of dystopian fantasy world, set in a future in which everything is frozen (duh). Our story starts off in a very different Las Vegas to the one we know now, but it still felt remarkably familiar (particularly as I was in Vegas this very January). That made it really easy to place myself into this story and vividly imagine the environment, complete with trashbergs (like icebergs but made of trash, or rubbish as we like to call it in the UK). It’s unique, imaginative and magical.

What makes the world in Frozen even cooler (no pun intended) is the ‘Marked’. Marked people have all sorts of powers. There are other magical creatures, too, even zombies, which I thought was probably taking things a bit too far but I was willing to let that slide. It never was made clear how exactly a new ice age caused magic to be a thing but I tried not to ask too many questions about that one and just enjoyed it as a fantasy from the get-go.

But then came the mushy, over the top romance, which totally ruined things for me. It didn’t help that I didn’t quite ‘get’ Nat as our main character, a sign of poor character building, and the ending left me with that dreaded ‘what?’ feeling that I well and truly despise.

It’s a shame. This book had the potential to be so, so brilliant. The ideas behind the world are so unusual and it’s rare to read a book that feels so different from anything you’ve read before.

But the holes in the world building are enormous, and it’s only looking back at it now that I’ve realise just how huge they are. They’re more like craters, in fact. There are so, so many questions I have about it that haven’t been answered, and without those questions it’s like a jigsaw puzzle that has been forced together with pieces from 20 different puzzles. Each piece is intriguing, clever, unique, but put them together and it’s one giant, jumbled mess.

Frozen is actually the first book in a new series called Heart of Dread. Right now, I’m not sure I’ll continue reading the series, but I think I’ll eventually get curious about where the story went after that bonkers ending and give it a go. You never know, it could answer all of my questions!

by Non Pratt
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Charming, honest novel about teenage relationships., 21 May 2015
This review is from: Trouble (Paperback)
I sped through Trouble in a matter of hours. Don’t you just love a book that flows so nicely you forget you’re even reading? It’s like watching a movie in your mind. I was fully immersed, oblivious to the world around me and entirely invested in the Hannah and Aaron’s beautiful story.

There was no sugar coating to be found, and the actual pregnancy side of things wasn’t talked about much (I’m talking symptoms, obviously the whole book revolves around Hannah’s pregnancy). That wasn’t the important bit. What were important were the relationships that were blossoming and others that were breaking down.

I’ve often found split narratives to be hit and miss, but Non Pratt achieved two distinct voices that didn’t confuse me in the slightest. They both felt absolutely true to life, like genuine teenagers with real friendships and realistic attitudes towards sex. Hannah and Aaron’s alternative points of view were addictive, and the secrets they both held close to their hearts had me hooked.

Hannah’s voice is funny, honest and bold, while Aaron’s is calmer, softer but also somehow sadder. They make a spectacularly contrasting pair, but their stories and perspectives created the perfect momentum to keep the story rolling at an engaging pace.

Another plus is the fact that it’s set in the UK. It’s always a bonus for me to read a UKYA book, because coming from the UK myself, I find them to be more relatable, with more familiar language, environments and culture than books set in America.

However much I loved Trouble, and I’m sure you will too, I can’t quite give it five stars for a couple of reasons. The first is that I found it hard to believe that Aaron’s parents would agree to let him pretend to be the father of Hannah’s baby. They put up a bit of a fight, yes, but it’s one element of the book that I found quite unrealistic, particularly given Aaron’s past.

I also found the ending to be quite abrupt and I still have so many questions that I know will never be answered, leaving me with a slight feeling of disappointment despite my overall love of the book.

But I’m super-excited to start reading Remix, Non’s second novel set to arrive in June, and it’s just been revealed that she’s got two further books on the go, one set to be released in 2016 and the other the following year.

The Sin Eater's Daughter (Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy 1)
The Sin Eater's Daughter (Sin Eaters Daughter Trilogy 1)
by Melinda Salisbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £2.80

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with huge potential that sadly fails to deliver, 29 April 2015
I adored parts of this novel, despite having several gripes about it. It’s a well-built fantasy with all of the ingredients it needs to be appealing to a wide audience, and a particular highlight is the slightly mad and more than slightly evil queen.

I found the whole concept of a Sin Eater to be really intriguing, too, but I felt like it wasn’t explored particularly deeply. In fact, I’m not sure why the book is called The Sin Eater’s Daughter, because said daughter is taken in by the aforementioned evil queen and instead becomes the Daunen Embodied, a completely separate part of the world’s traditions.

But after first reading it I lent it out to a friend who enjoys fantasy novels, and I had an overall positive attitude about it, but the more time passes and the more I think about it, the more I realise I actually didn’t like it that much after all.

The problem is that I didn’t find it particularly memorable, which makes me wonder whether I’d ever really recommend it over many of the other incredible books I’ve read. If you’re familiar with my blog you probably already know that fantasy tends to be hit or miss with me but this one really sat on the fence, because I read it pretty quickly and didn’t find myself wanting to give up on it, but at the same time nothing really had me hooked.

I think one of the reasons for that is because it had the potential to be something more than it is. There are elements to the plot – like the boy Twylla killed when they were young and the guilt she felt as a result, for example – that could have been much more effective if they’d been better developed and explored further. I hear that there is going to be a second book (which actually came as a surprise because I thought it ended rather nicely) so perhaps some of those plot points will be expanded then. But is it too little too late? I think so.

And the well-built world isn’t explored enough either. Twylla basically just stays in the castle, mostly in her room, for the duration of the book. I think we’ll see much more in the second novel, but I’m not sure I’m going to be rushing out to buy it on the day it’s published.

There’s also the issue that I never really grew attached to the main characters in the way that I probably should have. I found Lief to be quite irritating even though he’s supposed to be the main love interest, and that’s always a bit of a disappointment. When I came to realise that I wasn’t going to fall for Lief (Twylla didn’t seem to have any trouble though), I turned off the part of my brain that was hoping for swoon-worthy romance and instead focused on the fantasy elements – the intriguing world filled with strange traditions, myths and legends, and with royalty.

Things improved from there, and I did enjoy the drama than ensued within the complex families, both of Twylla and of Prince Merek, particularly towards the very end when most of the secrets came bursting out.

Oh. I don’t know. I really can’t decide whether I liked this one or not. I’m indifferent. The good parts and bad parts levelled out almost perfectly evenly so I’m struggling to give a solid verdict. Perhaps I’ll simply say that if you’re struggling to find new fantasy books to add to your TBR pile then this one is worth adding, but it’s not going to be the best fantasy you’ve read, that’s for sure.

by Rainbow Rowell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars A much-loved book that was missing something for me (sorry!), 29 April 2015
This review is from: Fangirl (Paperback)
Right. This is a difficult one because I know a lot of you absolutely adore Fangirl and this might upset you a little bit. But I’ve always been an honest reviewer, so I’m not going to stop now.

Because I just didn’t enjoy Fangirl as much as I wanted to. I would describe myself as a fangirl. I’m part of several fandom: I’m a Potterhead and a Galaxy Defender (I feel your pain fellow McFly fans). I love being a fangirl, and I find the escapism it brings totally addictive. I used to read loads of fanfiction and have tried my hand at writing my own, too. So Fangirl seemed like the perfect book for me, and with the number of people who love this book and have given it rave reviews I went into it with really high hopes.

It’s a typical case of diving in with expectations that are too high. If I’d begun reading this book with no prior knowledge of it I might have felt very differently, but like Half Bad, which I wrote about last week, it just didn’t live up to the hype for me.

That’s not to say that I hated it. Far from it, in fact. It was an okay read, and I know I’ll read Rainbow Rowell’s other books in the future. The characters are well defined and believable, and they’re consistent, too. Cath is super relatable, particularly to readers of YA.

But even so, I found her to be really quite boring. Aside from writing fanfiction there’s not really anything else interesting about her, which is certainly believable but doesn’t exactly make for a thrilling read. I loved Levi and Reagan, though. They’re both amazing characters that I think made up for Cath’s lack of oomph as a main character. I also found Cath’s relationship with Wren intriguing, even though Wren was a total bitch at times.

The problem is, I felt like nothing much really happens in Fangirl, and the things that do happen seem forced and kinda samey (I won’t give spoilers but I think you’ll know what I mean if you’ve read it).

I really enjoyed the extracts from the Simon Snow books and fanfiction, though. It’s clear that Simon Snow is largely inspired by Harry Potter which was fun (but how weird was it when Harry Potter was mentioned!? That threw me off completely).

Oh, I don’t know. I think the build-up and the hype surrounding this book made me expect something more than I got, and I feel bad for saying that because I think I’m in the minority on this one. Like I said, I didn’t dislike Fangirl, but I can’t say I loved it either. It’s missing the sparkle and charm I’d hoped for, and I don’t think I’ll be rushing to recommend it to anyone any time soon. There are other books (like the ones I’ve linked to below) that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend reading over Fangirl.

Half Bad
Half Bad
by Sally Green
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and surprising UKYA fantasy, 29 April 2015
This review is from: Half Bad (Paperback)
I’ve never read a book quite like Half Bad. I had heard so many good things about Sally Green’s debut before I began reading it that I had this idea in my head of what it was going to be like, yet it still managed to surprise me with how unique it is.

Half Bad introduces some stunning characters. I particularly loved Gabriel and Ellen, and I can’t wait to find out more about them. It can be tricky to decide whether they’re good or evil, and that’s part of this book’s magic.

I love the world building in Half Bad, too. The whole idea of receiving three gifts from your ancestors to become a fully-fledged witch and unlock your powers is awesome, and I hope to see more of the powers in book two, which is called Half Wild.

Half Bad is set in the UK, another thing I loved about this book. I live in the UK so it helped make the novel more relatable to me than many other fantasy novels I’ve read. Additionally, I thought that the writing style was fantastic. It’s concise and to the point, making it read like a contemporary novel and helping it feel wonderfully realistic despite being a fantasy.

I did find the narrative a bit confusing at times. I didn’t quite understand why we started with second person (addressing the reader as ‘you’) and switched to first person (I) and then temporarily back to second person mid way through the book. I wouldn’t say that I disliked it (in my teens I read lots of Harry Potter fanfiction that was second person, making me feel like I had been transported to Hogwarts and was really living among its students), but I thought it was a bit unnecessary in this case and didn’t particularly add anything to the story. I wonder if the second person narrative is one of the reasons it has received so much praise, though. It certainly makes it stand out from the crowd.

Despite everything I loved about Half Bad it didn’t keep me completely hooked in the way I’d have liked it to. I think I expected more than it offered, and that’s the downfall of a book that’s been hyped up – you go into it with expectations that are almost unattainable and then find yourself a bit disappointed.

I’m still looking forward to reading Half Wild and I’m interested to find out where the story is heading. That’s something else I enjoyed about Half Bad, actually – it’s not predictable at all, and that’s partly thanks to that uniqueness I was talking about. I have a feeling that I might enjoy book two more because my expectations won’t be quite so high next time!

I'll Give You the Sun
I'll Give You the Sun
by Jandy Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, believable novel that broke my heart and put it back together again, 29 April 2015
This review is from: I'll Give You the Sun (Paperback)
Oh goodness, what a wonderful, wonderful book. I recently read Jandy Nelson’s The Sky Is Everywhere and upon finishing it and absolutely adoring it I couldn’t wait to pick up her new novel, I’ll Give You The Sun. And actually, I think I loved it even more.

I’ll Give You The Sun has a split narrative, alternating between Noah age 13 and Jude age 16 every chapter. So not only do we get to know each character and grow to understand their complexities, we also get to experience what the twins’ lives were like before the tragedy, during the days directly following the tragedy, and then how that tragedy had affected them a couple of years down the line. It’s a really clever way of telling the story and I thought it worked perfectly. There are several heart-breaking twists and turns in this novel, and that split narrative aids these twists brilliantly.

Noah and Jude are incredible characters. I believed every moment of this novel, and found myself growing really attached to them despite their flaws. Noah’s struggle with his sexuality, and particularly his relationship with his dad, is stunningly well-written. I loved the way Jandy Nelson splashed painting ideas throughout the novel so we could imagine every image Noah created in his mind and sometimes on paper.That’s made even cooler with the paint splatters and illustrations that grace the pages of this novel. It’s both beautiful to read and to look at. I also thought Jude’s relationship with her mentor was fascinating, and her tendency to speak to deceased relatives she knew were merely in her mind was both adorable and utterly sad.

I would strongly recommend reading I’ll Give You The Sun. I loved it, and I imagine it’s one of those rare books that I’ll pick up and read again at some point in the future. Jandy Nelson has quickly become a favourite author of mine, and I can’t wait to read whatever she comes up with next.

Mind Games
Mind Games
by Teri Terry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking dystopian for fans of Divergent., 29 April 2015
This review is from: Mind Games (Paperback)
Initially, I picked up this book and began racing through it. It started off brilliantly and I was certain it was going to be up there among my favourite books of the year. I loved the first two books in Teri Terry’s Slated trilogy (I’ve yet to read the conclusion to that series), so that also gave me confidence that Mind Games would be a good novel.

But then I got to around the halfway mark and I started to get a bit confused. It began to feel like the storyline had broken and been scattered all over the place, and the pieces were struggling to find their way back together. It began to get bitty, and not everything felt like it linked up properly.

I understand that it may have been intentional, because Luna was going through the same thing. She was finding out new information that didn’t always add up or make sense, and therefore she was confused, and questioning everything she thought she knew. But as a reader, I found it to be disconcerting. It’s like Teri Terry tried to do too much with this book. I think it could have been better if it had been stripped back a little bit.

That said, I did still enjoy Mind Games. I love the concept, and I really enjoyed the various characters and their reactions to the virtual world that they so frequently visit. I can completely imagine a future in which we have implants in our brains instead of carrying around smartphones and tablets, and we plug in to a virtual world to play games, go to school etc. It’s scary, but if technology becomes advanced enough (and I’m pretty sure it will) it seems like a natural progression.

There were many elements of Mind Games that reminded me of Divergent, too, and the Divergent series is one of my all-time favourite YA dystopians. It’s different enough for me not to feel like Teri Terry copied Vernonica Roth, but similar enough to appeal to the Divergent fan in me.

The biggest similarity is that Luna is able to exist in the real world at the same time as the virtual world (sort of), but she needs to keep that fact hidden from authorities like Tris does when she finds out she’s Divergent (able to successfully complete multiple faction tests).

I particularly liked the end of Mind Games – I thought that the twists were fantastic and unexpected, and I couldn’t put the book down when I reached those last few chapters.

But there are still lots of questions that haven’t been answered. There were times when Luna was hurt in the virtual world and somehow that pain/cut/bruise made its way into the real world. I don’t remember getting to the bottom of that, it’s still a mystery to me. I think this is a standalone book, too, so my questions are unlikely to be answered.

I’ll be giving Mind Games 4 out of 5 stars, because despite being confusing at times and leaving me with lots of questions, I still sped through it, and I loved the Divergent-like feel to the whole story and its characters. Plus, I talked about it with my boyfriend and with colleagues, which as I’ve mentioned in previous reviews is always a sign of a good book. If I’m not really that invested in a book I’ll never talk about it with friends because there’ll be something more interesting to talk about instead.

The Storm (The Rain 2)
The Storm (The Rain 2)
by Virginia Bergin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-read, 20 Mar. 2015
This review is from: The Storm (The Rain 2) (Paperback)
I’m struggling to put into words how much I love this book and its predecessor. If you’ve not yet read The Rain, head on over to my review to find out more about it. The Storm is the highly anticipated second book in the series, and quite possibly the last.

I’m a sucker for an apocalyptic storyline, so The Rain and The Storm‘s killer rain that wipes out most of the world within minutes certainly fits the bill. But it’s not just the action-packed, horrifying and tension-filled plot that helped propel this series so high up my all-time favourites list; Virginia Bergin’s humorous writing style is absolute genius.

You wouldn’t think that such a charming and funny character would work in such a gruesome and frightening setting, but it really, really does. I fell in love with Ruby and Darius and Princess, despite their flaws and sometimes poor decisions that’ll have you pulling your hair out. But that’s what makes them feel so real, and made it so easy to believe in.

I don’t want to spoil anything for you, but I will say that while the twist is a tiny bit predictable it doesn’t matter at all because of that aforementioned genius writing style. Virginia Bergin has pushed the boundaries and ignored the rules to create a masterpiece. Ruby rambles, she talks ridiculously quickly sometimes with out taking a breath. Grammar simply flies out of the window, and that’s exactly why it works.

She uses symbols, often in the place of swear words to allow the reader to come up with their own (mine tended to particularly strong but I’m sure younger readers would come up with much less vulgar language). There are words in all caps and lots of onomatopoeias and it’s exactly how I imagine I would have written and spoken when I was Ruby’s age, and if I had been left in her awful situation.

The relationships between the various different characters in The Storm were intriguing, too, more so than they were in The Rain. There’s an exploration of family relationships, friendship, teenage love and interactions with people in power, and sometimes I found those relationships refreshingly unexpected.

Then there’s the ending, which I actually found completely satisfying despite how open it is. I like the idea that the story is in no way over, and that, if Virginia ever decides to, she can write more about Ruby’s life after The Storm. But I also like that we can use our own imaginations to come up with our own ideas about what happened next for Ruby. There are so many questions left unanswered and so many possibilities.

I can’t wait to read whatever Virginia Bergin comes up with next!

Vendetta (Blood for Blood)
Vendetta (Blood for Blood)
by Catherine Doyle
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An action-packed modern day Romeo and Juliet, Vendetta is an amazing start to the Blood for Blood trilogy, 20 Mar. 2015
endetta is a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but it’s also much more than that. Centred around the brilliant, believable character of Sophie Gracewell and her encounters with a family of five particularly attractive brothers, this book is a teenage girl’s dream. It’s full of adventure, mystery, action and romance, and it’ll have you hooked.

If you haven’t guessed already, I really enjoyed this book. It’s action-packed and I totally agree with Chicken House publisher Barry Cunningham’s comment about Vendetta being a lot like reading a movie: every scene is easy to visualise thanks to Catherine Doyle’s brilliant writing style and there isn’t a dull moment. Plus, the romance is pretty perfect.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t hit a few speed bumps along the way. First up, as a thriller you’d expect a lot of mystery from this novel, and yes, you get it. However, there are A LOT of hints that meant I figured out the main twist very early on. The amount of times Sophie felt like there was “something familiar” about someone or something was a bit excessive and therefore made the twist quite obvious (to the reader, but unfortunately not to Sophie).

I’d also say that a major part of the twist was a bit odd. I don’t want to spoil it for those of you who’ve yet to read Vendetta but I’d suggest that, when the twist is very, very closely related to a HUGE part of the main character’s life, it’s unlikely that a quick Google of the matter would be the key to unravelling the secrets, right? I’m pretty sure Sophie would have Googled it a long time ago…

And then there’s the actual twist, which is really difficult to talk about without giving everything away so I’ll move on quickly but I’m not sure it’s morally correct. I mean, doesn’t Sophie realise how wrong it is to be mixed up in all this? It’s BAD Sophie. Really bad. Bad bad bad. So stop all the snogging and run away already, alright?

Also, did anyone else notice how often Sophie bumped into people in Vendetta? I think someone needs to go to Specsavers.

I found myself on team Luca by the end of this novel, which is by no means a bad thing but I’m not entirely sure that’s even supposed to be a team at all. Am I alone in that one? Let me know in the comments.

Overall, I loved Vendetta, although I expect I’d have loved it even more as a teenager. It’s got the perfect mix of drama, suspense, mystery and swoon-worthy boys, and it’s not even over yet – Vendetta is part of a trilogy and I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in the series when it arrives.

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8