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dragon747

dragon747

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I'm an avid reader and also post reviews over on Amazon, Goodreads and my Book Blog.

Reviews written

since 29/08/2013

141

Time Travelling with a Hamster - Ross Welford 09/06/2016

Time Travelling With a Hamster - Book Review

Time Travelling with a Hamster - Ross Welford I really enjoyed this book although it was nothing like I expected. Full of twists and turns, the story was far from predictable. Also despite being dubbed a children's book, I think parts of the story are complex enough to have definite crossover appeal. This is without doubt a novel for both the young and old alike! When twelve-year-old Al receives a letter from his dead dad, containing a set of instructions for a homemade time machine, Al realises he has the power to change his life—or at least save his dads. But when a trip to the 1980s ends horribly wrong, Al creates an even bigger catastrophe. Now armed with only a spare jumper and his pet hamster, he must set about making things right. Otherwise he may be stuck in the past with no home, no family, and no future to return too… This is lovely story full of humour, drama and time-travelling action. However what starts as your typical children book soon turns into an emotional roller coaster and while I didn't cry, the last few pages certainly had me choked up and my eyes were admittedly damp. The characters were all vibrant and very life-like. I loved the relationships between them, and particularly adored the exchanges between Al and his quirky, Indian grandfather, Byron. Not only are Al and his grandfather really close, but I found it both interesting and honest how Al respects and admires his grandfather in general, yet can sometimes be embarrassed by his grandfather’s flamboyance, especially in front of his ...

Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys 31/05/2016

Salt to the Sea - Book Review

Salt to the Sea - Ruta Sepetys This book was one emotional rollercoaster after the other, but as heart-wrenching as it was, I absolutely loved it! A beautifully written story that offers a haunting glimpse into the journey undertaken by thousands of refugees in 1945, it follows the lives of three people as they travel across wintery Prussia in the hopes of escaping to a better life. Joana is a nurse running from the horrors of her past. Florian is man on a deadly mission. Emilia is a tragic girl without papers. When the three cross paths in the snowy hills of Prussia, they form a reluctant band of travellers that together, face many perils. It is a journey not everyone will survive… One thing that really came clear through the prose was the research the author put into this story. Through the eyes of her characters, Ruta Sepetys brought the world of 1945 Prussia to life, sharing with us the horrors of the war and the injustices suffered by so many. Yet she also revealed the kindness of others, such as the bonds that formed between the refugees, how they shared food and cared for each other, forming friendships to the point that new families were created from the heartbroken survivors. Yet while many of the events in the book are both sad and horrifying, they were portrayed in a way that the reader could resonate with and understand, tastefully written without being all blood and gore. Also the small details and facts weaved through the story were interesting as much as they were shocking. However like ...

Demon Road - Derek Landy 27/04/2016

Demon Road - Book Review

Demon Road - Derek Landy This was an interesting read as I really enjoyed most of the story, but found there were many times throughout the book when I couldn't relate, or get along with many of the characters. However I loved the many ideas, such as un-dead serial killers, demons, evil children and killer cars, that were woven into this story. Each was presented in a fun and very unexpected way and these unique plot lines were what kept me turning the pages. When sixteen-year-old Amber discovers she is a demon, and that her parents are out to kill her, she is forced into a life on the run. Now driving across America, keeping only a few steps ahead of her crazy, out-for-blood parents, she encounters vampires, witches and even more demons — all who seem to want to kill her. Only by making a deal with the biggest and baddest demon of them all, can she hope to find safety. But the big, bad demon’s protection comes at a price, and unless Amber can pay it, her soul will be taken in forfeit. Now Amber must decide, just which kind of evil does she want to become, and how much will she sacrifice to be free? There were many great elements about this book. The author has an imagination I can only dream of and I loved all the sub-plots and side-quests that hindered the characters in their journey. However the main plot, I didn't like quite so much, mainly as I didn't think the reactions of Amber’s parents were realistic since they seemed to blow hot and cold all the time. We want to kill you - maybe you ...

Poppy - Mary Hooper 04/04/2016

Poppy - Book Review

Poppy - Mary Hooper I always enjoy Mary Hooper’s books. They are generally short, read-in-a-day sort of stories that have strong, independent heroines and lots of historical facts concealed within their pages. Poppy was no exception and yet another really enjoyable read. Set during the first world war, the story is told from the view point of fifteen-year-old Poppy Pearson. A simple parlour maid, her life is changed forever when the rich family she works for have their house requisitioned for use as a hospital. Deciding to seek her future elsewhere, Poppy, with the support of an old teacher, joins the up to the VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachment) and soon finds herself nursing wounded men at one of the biggest medical facilities in England. Here she learns to deal with and care for the many thousands of men wounded in action. Lost limbs, broken faces and most of all, crushed spirits, one by one, Poppy learns to assist them all. But fear continues to dwell in her heart for her brother, fighting on the frontline. For as if facing bullets and bombs was not enough, she know’s he is a coward at heart and may do something stupid if it would get him out of the war… But Poppy is also distracted by the charming Officer DeVere. After a couple of romantic meetings, Poppy knows she is in love, but the gentry are still off limits to girls like her, but with social barriers crumbling left right and centre, she can only hope DeVere will choose to defy his family's wishes and pick her. But Devere has secrets of ...

As White as Snow - Salla Simukka 03/03/2016

As White as Snow - Book Review

As White as Snow - Salla Simukka Despite being quite short for a YA novel, I really enjoyed this story. The plot was intriguing and the main character, Lummiki, once again managed to capture me with her bad-ass toughness and logical view of the world. However , compared to the first book in the series, As Red As Blood, I did feel there was less action in this story, with some parts of the plot not as fleshed out as they could have been. However, it was still a nice book to while away a long train ride. While the first book began in the cold of winter, this second book starts in the oppressive heat of summer. Venturing to Prague for a holiday, Lumikki wants a few weeks to herself, away from her concerned parents and the new found fame that arose after she helped uncover a local crime-circle. But mystery seems to follow Lumikki wherever she goes, and no sooner does she arrive in Prague when she is approached by a young woman claiming to be her half-sister. And as much as Lumikki wants to deny the claim, she suddenly finds herself plagued with nightmares that just maybe, are long suppressed memories from her childhood. But Lenka is no ordinary girl, and suddenly Lumikki finds herself forced to flee for her life when she inadvertently uncovers a cult of religious fanatics… fanatics who wish to go out with a bang! And they plan on taking Lumikki and her new half-sister with them… What originally captured me with these books was Lumikki’s character. After being extensively bullied as a child, she has grown up ...

A Thousand Nights - E.K. Johnston 25/02/2016

A Thousand Nights - Book Review

A Thousand Nights - E.K. Johnston A wonderful re-telling of the classic tale, A Thousand and one nights. This book comes with unique (and cleverly nameless) characters, and has some interesting twists and turns of its own. A really nice read. When the king, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her village searching for his next wife, she will do anything to protect her beloved sister. Even go willingly into the arms of death, for surely that is the fate that awaits her. For hundreds of brides have died by the King’s hand, but as the night ends and the sun rises each morning, She begins to hope that just maybe, she can survive the demon calling himself her husband. For as she soon discovers, she has powers of her own, and now the fate of the kingdom, and its King, is in her hands… It took a few chapters for me to get into this book, but once I found the main characters rhythm I soon sunk into the story. Everything is beautifully written and unfolds at a slow pace, allowing you time to enjoy the backstory and the main characters own woven tales that she uses to keep the king enraptured. It’s is definitely a story to be enjoyed at a leisurely pace! The writing itself is vivid with its imagery. Appealing to all your senses, the descriptions are full of smells, sounds, tastes and the soft feel of silk beneath your hands. Huge points for the world building. This book however will definitely appeal to women, since the story itself is full of subtle female power, the wit to survive, the power obtained from the love and ...

Half Wild - Sally Green 19/02/2016

Half Wild - Book Review

Half Wild - Sally Green This is the second book in Sally Green’s Half Bad Trilogy and much like the first book, it took me several chapters to get into. However once I fell back into the rhythm of Nathan’s unique voice, I quickly found myself swept up in the story and enjoyed each and every page of it. Nathan now has his magical gift, but before he can use it, he must learn to control it. Yet with the White witches now organising, and targeting all who stand in the way of their new “Kill all Black Witches” regime, Nathan does not have the luxury of time. Joining the alliance of rebels - a group of White witches, Black witches and half codes - whose objection is to bring down the Council of White Witches, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside new friends and to his surprise — old enemies. But as more witches flee to the rebel cause, the chance of betrayal rises, and Nathan has more than his own life at stake… Sally Green has a fresh writing style that, while I don't think everyone will enjoy, I myself really like. Because despite the story being about witches, she paints a very realistic, very plausible world where secret wars could really be happening, and the battle between good and evil is not at all black and white. The story is told form Nathan’s POV and I love his simple way of viewing things. While his thoughts can sometime be a little disjointed, they are realistic for someone who has suffered through many years of both physical and mental abuse. However in this book, Nathan is a ...

Tease - Amanda Maciel 17/02/2016

Tease - YA book review

Tease - Amanda Maciel This is a deeply moving book that I think would get teenagers to really consider the consequences of their actions. Neither black nor white in its telling, the story will take the reader on a rollercoaster of thoughts and emotions, a truly eye-opening read! The story follows Sara, a teenage girl who is facing criminal chargers for being part of group who took it upon themselves to bully classmate, Emma Putnam, who’s troubled life eventually led to Emma committing suicide. Now several months after Emma’s death, Sara is forced to face the consequences of her actions. Shunned by her schoolmates, penalised by the public and media alike, and divided from her close friends by their lawyers need to place blame, Sara feels isolated from the world she once loved. And she hates Emma Putnam now more than ever! While her therapist and parents hound her to show remorse, Sara struggles to let go of her of her anger. Because her anger will lead her down a dark path and all Sara knows is that, because of Emma, her life will never be the same again… This was one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. While I rarely pick up contemporary YAs, I’m glad I chose to read this one, just for its sheerly unique perspective alone. With the chapters split into two parts of past and present, we see through Sara’s eyes the events leading up to Emma’s death, the scenes in which the bullying took place, and Sara’s reasoning behind it. However the story mainly stems from the present day ...

The Girl at Midnight - Melissa Grey 27/01/2016

The Girl at Midnight - Book Review

The Girl at Midnight - Melissa Grey I really enjoyed this book. The world building was creatively done with many fantastical elements, with each character unique and colourful - I especially loved one of the secondary characters, Jasper, and laughed so hard when I discovered him to be every inch a peacock! However this story follows the life of Echo, a sixteen-year-old runaway thief who loves words and shiny things. When she was young, Echo befriended a magical race of beings known as the Avicen. With feathers for hair, and magick that can transport them to any doorway in the world, they live generally peaceful lives, hidden away from humans. But the Avicen have a deadly enemy, the Drakharin - the people descended from dragons. And when war erupts once more between the two races, Echo will do anything to see her Avicen friends safe, even hunt down the legendary firebird - the one being with the power to bring about a lasting peace. But when Echo’s best friend is kidnapped, and she herself thrown into a Drakharin prison, she knows her chances are bleak. Yet when two rouge Drakharin offer to help, Echo attempts to set her prejudices aside. But the two Drakharin have their own agendas, and Echo must learn to tell the difference between friend and foe before it’s too late…. What really caught me about this book was how beautifully it was written. The writing is eloquent and the author’s love of words really shone through the prose. I can understand how this book has been compared to others such as The Daughter ...

Cleo - Lucy Coats 14/01/2016

Cleo - Book Review

Cleo - Lucy Coats I love historical fiction and was thrilled when I found out Lucy Coats had based a book on the adventures of a young Cleopatra. Woven through with facts and interesting tidbits about the Gods and daily lives of ancient Egypt, this book will open up your mind to a long forgotten time. Giving young readers a chance to put themselves in the sandals of one of histories greatest figures, Cleo is a very enjoyable read! When the horns sound, declaring her mothers death, Cleo knows her own demise can’t be far behind. Deserting her home city of Alexandria, she and her beloved body-slave, Charm, flee to a temple of Isis where years later, Cleo emerges a fully fledged priestess. Now charged by the Goddess herself to recover a map stolen long ago, Cleo’s bravery is tested to the limits when she is forced to return back to the palace of her childhood. But much has changed while she has been gone. Her two evil sisters now sit upon the twin thrones of Egypt and the whole kingdom suffers from famine and plague. Abandoning the true Gods, her sisters now worship the bloodthirsty Am-heh, better known as the devourer, and now his evil taint hangs like a dark cloud over the palace. Only Cleo, chosen of Isis, can save Egypt, but first she must find the map and restore power to the real Gods… but many dangers await her, and Cleo will need all her courage if she is to complete the tasks ahead… I really liked this book, but ultimately I think a younger YA or older MG would be its true target ...

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir 28/09/2015

An Ember in the Ashes - Book Review

An Ember in the Ashes - Sabaa Tahir Words cannot do justice to how much I enjoyed this book! After reading several reviews claiming it’s brilliance, my interest was peaked, and I can honestly say I think every five star review claims true. The sequel cannot come soon enough! Am Ember in the Ashes was utterly fantastical! Told from the dual Povs of Laia and Elias, the story follows these two teenagers on their criss-crossing path to survive their roles within a regimented empire. Laia is one of the last scholars, the original people of the land before the Martials invaded five hundred years ago. Now her people are suppressed and scorned for their knowledge. But when her home is raided in the night, her grandparents killed and her beloved brother thrown in prison, she will do anything to get her brother back. Even become a slave in the house of the Martial’s head commander, a viscous and cold-blooded woman known for disfiguring her slaves for the smallest of slights. Son of the commander, Elias is number one in his class of masked soldiers. Handsome and deadly, he keeps his kind heart hidden behind a cold indifference. All his life, he has been subjected to beatings, whippings and the harsh “survival of the fittest” ideal upheld by the marital soldiers. But as the days to his graduation draw nearer, so does the beginnings of a prophecy that will change the fates of both him and Laia, forever… I devoured this book in one day, staying up well into the early hours of the morning as I just couldn't stop turning ...

The Blackthorn Key - Kevin Sands 15/09/2015

The Blackthorn Key - Book Review

The Blackthorn Key - Kevin Sands A fantastic and brilliant Middle Grade read! Christopher’s character charmed me from the start with his curious nature, a nature that always seems to get both him and his best friend into trouble. This book is a really great start to what promises to be a very enjoyable new series. Apprenticed to a master apothecary, Christopher spends his days learning the delicate art of brewing medicines, mixing potions and experimenting with his masters more powerful and dangerous formulas. But when a cult begins killing off other apothecaries throughout London, it is only a matter of time before they find their way to Christopher’s door. Now accused of a crime he didn't commit, Christopher’s learning is really put to the test. Using his skills to hide himself within the streets of London, he has only the help of his best friend and a page of cryptic clues to help him prove his innocence. But can he crack the clues and follow the trail his master left for him before its too late? Yet as each piece of the puzzle falls into place, Christopher finds himself in the centre of more trouble, as clue by clue, he uncovers a secret that could change the course of the future. For the power to wield death is now in Christopher's hands… I really enjoyed this story. Christopher is a fun and resourceful character who faced trial after trial with every chapter. I’m curious to learn more about his past, something that I hope will be explored more in the next book, however the beauty with this first ...

A Whisper of Wolves - Kris Humphrey 09/09/2015

A Whisper of Wolves - Book Review

A Whisper of Wolves - Kris Humphrey I liked the premise of the book and found it to be a sweet and simple story that I think will be enjoyed more by younger MG readers. I say this as I didn't find the ‘bad guys’ at all frightening, and I felt the suspense is always underlined by the safety net that you just know everything will be ok in the end. Still, A whisper of wolves made for a quick, light read and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series. Alice is an apprentice whisperer. Never knowing her parents, she was chosen at birth by the white raven, and gifted with the magical ability to connect with the earth and communicate with her animal companion, a wolf named storm. But around her small village a sickness is spreading through the forrest, signs that an ancient evil is returning to the world. Meanwhile on the other side of the kingdom, Dawn has just finished her apprenticeship, and with the passing of her teacher, has graduated into a full fledged whisperer who is now in charge of protecting the palace, and its royal residents. But because of her young age, she is met with opposition from the kings officials. No one will believe her that evil has returned to the kingdom and so she and her raven companion, Ebony, must strike out on their own to save the palace before its too late. As both girls battle to save their homes, they fight to be believed by their elders, all whilst training to attain the highest ability of a whisperer, the power to banish demons… I quite enjoyed this story. Both ...

Hide and Seek - Jane Casey 03/09/2015

Hide and Seek - Book Review

Hide and Seek - Jane Casey When I picked up this book, I had no idea it was actually book 3 of a series. However Jane Casey is a great writer and although I was new to the character of Jess Tennant and her world, I had no trouble understanding the story. It seems each book is written with a standalone mystery and any important events that happened in previous books are always rehashed through the main characters thoughts. It’s very nicely done. In this book Jess investigates into the disappearance of one of her classmates, Gilly. But with only a few cryptic clues from Gilly’s diary - Jess doesn't have much to go on. With her boyfriends father, Police detective Dan Henderson hassling her to stop interfering, Jess knows she should just leave the investigation to the police. But after being one of the last people to see Gilly, Jess can’t help but want to help. Yet her curiosity may just cost Jess and her friends their lives, because Jess never considers that just maybe, Gilly doesn't want to be found… I really enjoyed this book. It has an emotional depth to it, with so many characters connected together through secrets, history, lies and deeds best forgotten. So while the mystery of Gilly’s disappearance is still the main plot, their are so many sub-plots branching out in and around Jess character that you feel she is constantly being plagued with other peoples problems. Not only does Jess devote herself to looking for Gilly, but she must deal with untangling the web of chaos all the secondary ...

Courting Magic: A Kat Incorrigible Novella - Stephanie Burgis 22/08/2015

Courting Magic - Book Review

Courting Magic: A Kat Incorrigible Novella - Stephanie Burgis I adored ‘The Kat’ series and was utterly delighted when I found out Stephanie Burgis had written this novella. Set five years after the series ended, it follows the life of a now grown up Kat as she debuts as a society lady … what could possibly go wrong? Now with the rest of her siblings happily married and producing families of their own, everyone’s attention is focused on one sole task – Introducing a now eighteen year old Kat to society with the hope of finding her a husband! Something that Kat herself is forcibly objectionable too. Not only is Kat now a fully-fledged guardian – a role that comes with a power and responsibility to protect the world from evil magic – but she is still the stubborn, adventurous, trouble seeking girl who knows there is more to life than dresses and parties. And right now, with a magical thief divesting the upper classes of their jewels and finery, Kat has more to worry about than hapless romance… or so she thinks. But when a friendly figure from her past makes an unexpected return, Kat is suddenly plunged into a new world of feelings and emotion. Can she keep her head and do her duty as a guardian, or will she let both the thief and her legacy slip away as she dreams of green, green eyes… Yet another story of magic and mayhem, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Kat all over again! As a character she has truly grown. Mastering her temper, she is both smarter and more controlled in her actions, yet remains a feisty tom-boy in her ...
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