Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Book Review: Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Unabridged edition (28 Aug 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447260821
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447260820
  • Love burns. Worlds collide. Magic reigns.
    This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying many of the experiences that other teenagers take for granted...which is why she is determined to enjoy her first (and perhaps only) high-school party. But Lily's life never goes according to plan, and after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class Lily wishes she could just disappear.
    Suddenly Lily is in a different Salem - one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruellest of all the Crucibles is Lillian . . . Lily's identical other self in this alternate universe. This new version of her world is terrifyingly sensual, and Lily is soon overwhelmed by new experiences.
    Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn't understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.
    But how can Lily be the saviour of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?

For as long as she can remember, the world has been trying to kill Lily Proctor. She is allergic to just about everything and it stops her from living her life the way she wants to…the way her friends take for granted. But the one positive thing in her life has always been Tristan. He is her best friend and has never given up on her when most other friends fall away when Lily can’t do all the same things they can. Of course, Lily is head over heels in love with Tristan. She is overjoyed when Tristan seems to return her feelings. But a devastatingly embarrassing night in front of her entire class destroys Lily. And when she hears a voice whispering to follow it, she has no reason not to.

Lily finds herself in her town of Salem, but it is not her town. It is a terrifying new world that is ruled by dark witches - the strongest of which is Lily’s other self, Lilian. Lily is thrown headfirst into a war she can’t begin to understand and if she discover her true potential, Lily might the only thing that can stop it. She is armed only by a few friends, one of which being the alternate Tristan…who I much preferred! And the distrustful Rowan, who used to be the closest person to Lilian.

I loved, loved, LOVED this book. I’m not usually one for witches and alternate realities, but I totally fell down the rabbit hole with this one. Lily is such a sympathetic and strong character. I loved that she effortlessly led us through the story and I cheered for her every step of the way. 

Trial by Fire is action packed and pulse-pounding and I sat on the edge of my seat for most of it. I cannot wait for the next in the series

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


Friday, 22 August 2014

Book Review: Time Storm by Julie Cross

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (30 Jan 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0230758487
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230758483
  • Tempest Agent Jackson Meyer’s back. Just . . . he barely survived the time jump forward to the year 3200 and another jump will probably kill him. Imprisoned by Eyewall, an opposition organization determined to shape the future according to their will, regardless of the human cost, Jackson needs to decide once and for all what really matters to him. Trying to save the people he loves – including Holly, one-time love of his life and in this timeline at least an Eyewall recruit – or risking everything to try to prevent this horrific future from ever taking place. But things are not always as they seem. And as the truth unravels, Jackson is forced to realise just how much love costs.

Timestorm picks up right as Vortex leaves off, with Jackson and his friends in the year 3200. It is there that Jackson learns the most about his genes and how if he time jumps again it will most likely kill him. He learns more about Eyewall and their cruel experiments and he knows he has to stop them, whatever the price may be. Jackson is surrounded by the people he loves. Including his one time love, Holly who turned Eyewall agent. Even his sister, who died many years previously is with him. 

Timestorm, and the entire trilogy, is a masterpiece. It is easy to get lost in the science with books like this, but when the main character is constantly learning so is the reader. There are a few information dumps, but nothing too overwhelming. 

There isn’t a single thing I didn't like about this series. The characters leapt off the page and were so well developed. The plot moved like a current, ebbing and flowing as it needed. This is the kind of series you curl up with one weekend and devour all three books. 

Timestorm was a perfect conclusion to what is a fantastic series. It broke my heart and pieced me together again and I can’t to read it all over again. 

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


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.

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