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United Kingdom
I'm a librarian based in the UK who loves books. I'm happiest when I'm either talking about them, reading them or buying them. This blog is dedicated mainly to my addiction to YA fiction but you will also find some adult and non-fiction book reviews as well.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Review: Unrivalled - Alyson Noel

Unrivalled by Alyson Noel, published by Mira Ink on 10th May 2016

Goodreads synopsis:
Everyone wants to be someone. Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter. Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress. Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero. But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago. She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.
Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.



Review:
This was quite a different change of pace to Alyson Noel's previous books that were much more on the spiritual/paranormal side of things.  'Unrivalled' is a contemporary YA about a group of young adults vying for the same huge cash prize by promoting a series of nightclubs.  Each have their own reasons for taking part and wanting to win.  They get points based on how successful their night club is and each of them tries to get Hollywood IT girl, Madison Brooks, to grace their club.  That is the sure fire way to score some big points. 

The story actually starts one month prior to the rest of the plot. Madison Brooks goes missing but who the mystery surrounds who is responsible for her disappearance.  The rest of the book unfolds with the three main characters Tommy, Aster and Layla, each becoming untangled with the seemingly glamorous but ultimately seedy, Hollywood night club scene.  I have to say that I wasn't particularly a fan of any of the characters.  They all seemed pretty shallow and certainly not that likable.  I didn't care an awful lot about who won the competition and the Madison Brooks element of the plot was intriguing but not enough to keep me engrossed in the story.

I'm sad to say that I just don't think this title was very good.  Although it was compared to Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl it was a poor imitation of both of those series and isn't one that I'm invested in enough to want to continue reading.    

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Review: Soldier - Julie Kagawa

Soldier by Julie Kagawa, published by Mira Ink on 5th May 2016

Goodreads synopsis:
When forced to choose between safety with the dragon organization Talon and being hunted forever as an outcast, Ember Hill chose to stand with Riley and his band of rogue dragons rather than become an assassin for Talon. She’s lost any contact with her twin brother, Dante, a Talon devotee, as well as Garret, the former-enemy soldier who challenged her beliefs about her human side.

As Ember and Riley hide and regroup to fight another day, Garret journeys alone to the United Kingdom, birthplace of the ancient and secret Order of St. George, to spy on his former brothers and uncover deadly and shocking secrets that will shake the foundations of dragons and dragonslayers alike and place them all in imminent danger as Talon’s new order rises.



Review:
'Soldier' is the third book in the Talon saga.  I really enjoy this series and I continually marvel that Julie Kagawa seems to be able to turn her hand to any subject she fancies and turn it into an amazing story. The first two books in this series were beyond fantastic, so I had high hopes about this one.

Once again we get different insights from multiple characters,  Ember, Riley, Garret and Dante all narrate various chapters throughout the book.  Ember is still torn between her dragon and human sides, Riley is desperate to convince Ember that she belongs with him, Garret is searching for the truth, wherever it may take him and Dante is involved in a terrifying Talon experiment which spells danger for them all.  A lot more is revealed about Talon and the Order of St George in the book, which I enjoyed finding out about.   

Julie Kagawa most certainly isn't afraid to make difficult choices with her characters or place them in all manner of dangerous situations.  One of these left me absolutely stunned, although looking back at it now, I can see why she made the decision and how this will allow other characters to get their own resolutions.   

Fast-paced action throughout kept me turning the pages well into the night.  This is definitely a title you will want to read in one sitting.  The story was thrilling and exciting and crammed full of tense, nail-biting moments and explosive revelations.  There is one almighty big secret revealed at the very end which will have you in despair at having to wait for the next instalment of the series. 

I am so anxious to find out what will happen next that I just can't bear it.  Here's hoping that the wait for book four, 'Legion' won't be a long one. 


 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Review: London Belongs To Us - Sarra Manning

London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning, published by Hot Key Books on 2nd June 2016

Goodreads synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.




Review:
I thought I would enjoy this title a lot as I've really liked all of Sarra Manning's previous books.  Unfortunately it just didn't grab my attention and it seemed too much like other stories I've read before.  Maybe I wasn't in the mood for contemporary YA when I picked it up, but for me, it was more of a miss than a hit.

The main character Sunny spends most of the book, which takes place throughout the course of one night, on the hunt for her runaway, potentially cheater, boyfriend.  Her travels take her to numerous well-known areas of London, including Mayfair, Soho and Camden (Ahh Camden, I know it well).  What frustrated me was that I wanted to shout at her not to bother, to forget all about Mark and go home instead, rather than traipse all over London for someone that she shouldn't waste her time on.  On the other hand, I did enjoy being reminded about how diverse and varied London is and how much the City has to offer.  It's one of my favourite places to visit so it was fun to see some of the areas I haven't been to before. 

The ending was a bit too clich├ęd for my tastes and I felt that it didn't really offer anything new to the reader.  It's such a shame because the book sounded good and I thought it would be great fun, but in the end it fell flat for me and was a struggle to finish.

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