Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Book Review: Gloss: Summer Scandal by Marilyn Kaye

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (8 May 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447223993
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447223993
It's the summer of 1964 and the four Gloss interns are back in New York. Sherry is working at Gloss when she gets involved in the civil rights movement and finds herself falling in love with someone she never expected to, Donna is caught up in the world of high fashion and Upper East Side rich kids, Pamela is desperate to become an actress, no matter what it takes, and Allison is finding out that going steady with a teen heart-throb isn't all it's cracked up to be. The girls are discovering that following your heart sometimes means that you can't follow your dreams . . .

It’s the summer of 1964 and the four summer interns are back in New York. Sherry, Donna, Allison and Pamela are reunited and things couldn’t be more different for all of them. The four are all set with new challenges as they embark on new jobs and relationships. 

Allison is learning that dating a teen heartthrob isn’t all its cracked up to be…and you’re never really dating just him, but everything that comes with being famous. Pamela is desperate to break into fame and will do anything to get it, no matter who she stomps on to do it. Donna is living her dream job and has to put up with a nightmare boss to do, and possibly ignore some of her morals along the way. And Sherry is trying to make a name for herself in the magazine, but someone is determined to ruin the magazine itself. 

I absolutely adored this book. I have to admit I haven’t read the first in the series, but it didn’t ruin the second for me. The characters are introduced in a vivid way with just enough backstory to stop things from being confusing. The four girls could not be more different who, although they come together with this great bond, have four very different stories to tell. 

There is a very serious heartbeat to this book. Set in the middle of the sixties, there are many class and race issues that are raised. Sherry befriends William, a black man who is a student at Columbia University. Sherry is a southern girl and back home things aren't quite as liberal and forward thinking as the people in New York. She is a sympathiser and quite simply just wants equality for everyone, regardless of their sex, skin colour or social standing. Sherry is met with quite a bit of distrust when she tries to join a few groups who want equality and it is at one of these meetings that she is introduced to William. 

Donna mets Jack and there is instant attraction. It is later that she finds out his surname is Vanderwill and comes from one of the most wealthy families in the city. Neither of them care, but his mother isn’t pleased Donna doesn’t come from better stock.

Gloss: Summer Scandal is awash with interesting characters and I loved the gritty story lines. Despite these hard-hitting topics, it is, for the most part, a light-hearted read. Best read outside on the grass wearing large vintage sunglasses with the sunshine beating down on you and a frosted glass of lemonade.

Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for the review copy.


Friday, 15 August 2014

Book Review: Summer's Shadow by Anna Wilson

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Unabridged edition (3 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447241819
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447241812

When Summer's mom died, her life is turned upside down

Summer's mother's will states that Summer's legal guardian is her uncle Tristan: a man Summer has never even heard of before. Forced to leave her life in London, Summer moves to Tristan's creepy, ancient house in Cornwall. There she is met with indifference from him, open hostility from her cousin, and an aunt who has chosen to leave rather than to tolerate her presence. Soon Summer comes to believe that the house may be haunted. But is it haunted by ghosts, or by the shadows of her family's past? Scared and lonely, Summer begins to spend more and more time in the beautiful sheltered cove she discovers nearby. But she's not alone. A local boy frequents it too. Can Summer find first love and the answers to the mysteries of her new home with this good-looking boy who appears to be too perfect to be true?

When Summer’s mother dies, her will states that Summer would live with family she has never met before in Cornwall. Her Uncle Tristan seems anxious and doesn’t know how to deal with Summer. Her cousin Kenan goes out of his way to be mean and her aunt has moved out of the house. 

As if losing her mother wasn’t bad enough, now Summer has to leave behind her home, friends and normal life. Nothing is the same in Cornwall. Her family behave so strangely and she can’t even get a signal on her mobile phone. But that’s not all. Summer is haunted by strange occurrences that started with a phone call at the exact minute her mother died. Now there is a white cat that appears to Summer alone. 

Summer begins exploring the nearby beach she has discovered, and stumbles upon a secret cove. It is in the cove she meets local boy Zach, who seems to be the only person capable of pulling Summer out of her grief.

Summer’s Shadow was a good read, but perhaps at the younger end of the YA spectrum. 

Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for the review copy.


Friday, 25 April 2014

Book Review: Unforgotten by Jessica Brody

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (27 Feb 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447221141
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447221142

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await her and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her, a weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect.

Zen and Sera have escaped from the scientists at Diotech who created Sera. They have travelled back in time to 1609 and, so long as they keep to themselves and make sure nothing they do becomes part of public record, they can live out the remainder of their days in peace and safety but more importantly, together. Diotech can never find them. 

But something is making Zen ill, and even before that life was a daily struggle. Every move Sera makes she has to be thoughtful and cautious. One wrong move could expose her as different…something you really don’t want in 1609. And when Zen’s life is threatened it isn’t even a choice - Sera acts to save him and is apprehended shortly after. She is accused of being a witch and put on trial, which means it will be public record. 

Diotech has learned it’s mistakes and has created a weapon specially forged for Sera. They are equally matched and on paper, she cannot overcome him. But Zen will die if she doesn’t do something and so Sera must channel her human side and learn to get creative if either of them have a hope of seeing daylight as free people again.

I absolutely LOVE this series. Zen and Sera are very likeable characters, as are Kaelen and Cody. I could barely rip my eyes away from the pages and I raced through it as quickly as I could just to know what happened. It is fast paced and chock full of action and turmoil. Every emotion is channelled through this book and I think I felt every one. 

Fans of this first book will not be left disappointed and I sincerely cannot wait for the next book. 

Many thanks to Macmillan Children's Books for the review copy.

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