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Finding My World: A Review

This is the second book I’ve read by Chris Ward as is in a very different genre to the first one, The Tube Riders, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Finding My WorldI can safely say I adored this story. I was dragged into the characters from the beginning and despite Jack’s very immature and often bafflingly dumb behaviour (I don’t think I’ll ever entirely understand boys) I adored him. The characters were definitely very flawed and I’m not sure I’d have normally read a book with quite so much delinquent behaviour in it but I’m glad I read this one.

The romance was wonderful, none of the falling in love far too fast problems that a lot of romances have. It was a good speed and for good reasons that made the book seem so much more real and believable.

I also really liked the rest of the plot that surrounded the love interests and their lives. They fell in love while they were trying to do life rather than it consuming them in a way that life rarely allows. There was just the right blend of action, romance, and mystery and I hope the author writes more books in this genre.

All in all a great romance and an interesting plot. Another of my recommended reads, although it does contain some lightly described sex scenes and light swearing, so not everyone’s cup of tea.

Apocalypse – Diary of a Survivor: A Review

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author, Matt Pike, in return for my review.

ApocalypseThis is one of those books that isn’t particularly original in terms of the idea for the plot. Let’s face it in the apocalypse genre there’s not much new and the meteorite idea has definitely been covered. But something about this book is fresh and new. I think it’s the main character and the style of telling, but I am really glad I picked this book up.

It’s written in the form of diary entries, something I don’t think is easy to do well, but the author pulls it off (and in the back info mentions being inspired by a relative’s diary of surviving war) so serious kudos there. The protagonist is also pretty awesome. There’s been a massive focus on YA dystopian fiction lately and almost all of the ones I’ve read have had a female lead. This one has a male lead and does a great job of it.

I have a very slight gripe with where the book ended. It doesn’t feel quite complete, although it’s not really a cliff-hanger ending either. It was a little sad, but in this case I think that’s more realistic and to be expected. I think there really needs to be a sequel to continue the story as this part and chapter of the tale has come to an end but there’s still more before the main character has reached the final resting point.

All in all, a brilliant YA diary style book and I can’t wait to read more.

Rivals: A Review

This is the second story in the Skid series and was gifted to me by the author, Doug Solter, in return for my review. I mentioned this coming out a while back and Doug did a guest post here last year at about the same time as the release date so I’ve been pretty excited about this book for a while. I adored the first in the series.

skid2The book picked up a little while after the previous Skid story, following our darling heroine Samantha and her boyfriend Manny. I must admit the very beginning threw me a little. Samantha was driving fast and recklessly on a normal road, something I felt was a little out of character given her past and what happened to her father. This happened again later in the book and made me feel a little frustrated.

I loved the chapters from Manny’s point of view and having Paige on the scene (Samantha’s younger sister). I also liked the general plot of the book and the extra elements added by Manny’s ex. The books was also written well in terms of pacing, and the balance of action and character  dialogue and down scenes.

But despite my desire to love this book as much as I did the first I just couldn’t. While some of how Samantha reacted felt realistic and understandable given the pressure she was under, she came across a little too immature for a girl her age. She whined a shed load, which was heavy slogging to read and although some of the things she did wrong were understandable I don’t know a single girl above the age of about 13-14 that still gives someone the silent treatment when angry.

I also have mixed feelings about where the book ended, half-way through a season and the story’s plot. While I can understand the author’s desire not to publish a sequel that’s way longer than the first one, I personally would have prefered a longer book that had a little less of the immaturity and whining and had a complete plot.

The last few percent redeemed the book a little so I’ll definitely read the next one but unfortunately this isn’t as good as the first.

London Belongs to the Alchemist: A Review

This s the fourth book in the Class Heroes series by Stephen Henning and I was given a copy of the ebook in return for my review.

London Belongs to the AlchemistThis book started a little after the third book from the usual protagonists point of view and continued the adventure of Sam, James and Lolly as they try to navigate being teenagers with superpowers. It also introduces some new characters which helps to keep the plot fresh.

As usual with these books there’s plenty of action and the characters are wonderfully consistent. I adore Lolly after book 3 and this story continued to build on the way I felt about her. Definitely think she’s my favourite character now.

Plot wise, I think I still like number 3 the best but this one wasn’t far behind. My only dislike was the book having a bit of a cliffhanger ending. I will have to read the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it.

All in all another great book in the series with more of the good bits of the previous books, just don’t start this one until the next one is out if you can’t stand a cliffhanger.

Elemental Cascade: A Review

This is the third book in the Fuel to the Fire series by David Staniforth and I was given a copy in return for my review. I also reviewed both the first and second books in the series.

Elemental CascadeThis one didn’t start off quite where the previous one finished and it took me a moment to remember who everyone was and how they’d all got to where they were. I could only really remember the main character, Davran, which was probably more my fault for leaving it so long between reading book 2 and 3, but after a few chapters I had caught up with everything.

I was looking forward to finding out a few things in this book that appeared to be glossed over at first but most of my questions were satisfied by the end of the book so no complaints there. After all, every good series has some questions left unanswered.

Writing and plot wise I think this was by far the strongest of the three books. I just loved it and found it very hard to put the book down. The author had progressed through the series and really made this book work, especially all the ending stuff. The last few chapters were wonderfully woven together and not at all what I expected.

Like the first two there’s plenty of standard fantasy stuff, with dragons, creatures, different races and a bad guy. With a perfectly amazing ending that still had me feeling surprised even though it wasn’t an uncommon ending to this sort of book, I felt very satisfied by the time I’d finished.

Possibly one of my favourite books so far this year.

A Mug’s Game: A Review

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author, C. D. Swanson, in exchange for my review.

A Mug's GameThis book started of very intriguing, and had a very interesting main character. It’s a bit of a mystery/thriller type book and has some elements of science fiction with the references to advanced video gaming. I found the way of building suspense by withholding information rather than letting events build tension to grate on me a little. I’d have kept turing the pages anyway even if I’d known more, but it was only a minor irritation.

Character wise there were some really interesting and diverse characters and I liked the main character and how he wrestled with what was right and necessary. The detectives were a little stereotypical but otherwise fine as well.

I had a few problems with the formating and there were quite a few spelling mistakes still in the text, which was surprising for a book that appears to have a publishing company behind it. The first letter in each chapter was englarged and apart from one chapter the third line didn’t indent to make room for it so it covered up some words. There was also one strange bit in the third or fourth chapter where a sentence was all jumbled, then there was a gap and then the next sentence was in a completely different font.

All in all, not a bad book, although I’m not sure exactly what genre to call it. I’d read the author again but I’m not sure I think much of the publisher.

The Avengers – Age of Ultron: A Review

I think it was pretty obvious I was going to go see this film. The first avengers is still one of my favourite films and I must have watched it 20+ times now. I also totally love Joss Whedon’s character writing skills. Not to mention his dialogue.

avengers-ultronThis film sort of picks up where the previous marvel plots have left off, so it helps to have watched the Captain America film from last year as well as the previous avenger’s film, obviously. Right away there’s the focus on character and snappy one liners that Joss Whedon is brilliant at and in that respect this film was everything the previous one was. I laughed, a lot.

Avengers-ultron-3There’s a few more heroes in this one and some new and interesting powers, as well as the new and interesting bad guy, Ultron. This was some very well done animation. I often found myself loving the way his face moved as he spoke, and the voice actor, James Spader, was particularly spectacular with the expression and emotion he managed to get into it. I know there was quite a bit of news kerfuffle when he was announced but that was some definite fantastic casting.

I’m not sure what it was about this film though, but I didn’t quite love it as much as I thought I was going to. I liked it and laughed a lot. There’s nothing I can specifically say is wrong with it. But I’m beginning to wonder if the films are just a little too formulaic and I’m finally beginning to get a bit bored. Nothing totally surprised me and I like being surprised.

Avengers-Ultron-2There were a few things I really liked. I liked the massive iron man suit thing tony boosted his normal suit with in a very transformers sort of way, although I wondered if this contradicted the ending of Iron Man 3 a bit. I was fairly sure all the suits got blown up in that and would really like some kind of explanation on what happened there. I also totally loved what they did with Jarvis and Paul Bettany, and as usual he got some great one-liners.

All in all, I came out happy and pleased I’d gone to see it, but something was a little too samey about it, even if I can’t put my finger on what exactly. If you like Marvel films though this one really won’t disappoint.

The God Particle: A Review

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author, Daniel Danser in return for my review.

God ParticleThe blurb for this novel really made me rather interested in reading and finding out what the story was about, as it mentioned the CERN project and as the title suggests the quest for the Higgs-Bosun particle, otherwise known as the God Particle. I was expecting a sort of dan brown mystery with a whole bunch more sci-fi and that was sort of what I got.

I liked the story idea and thought it was a really interesting look at what might happen with the collidor if it’s left on for too long. It was a little far fetched in places but almost all disaster stories are to make something fairly normal lead to an epic disaster, so no complaints there.

Mostly though I found the book a little tough to read, especially near the beginning. I couldn’t actually work out who the main character was to begin with and felt a little confused as to why I was introduced to so many characters that appeared for that one chapter and then that was it. I know it was a way to provide a more human perspective on what was happening to the world, but I found that it just made me loathe to get attached to any of the characters. The only one I liked of these was the one towards the end with the surfer, as it felt more tense and well described than the others.

I also felt the ending dragged out a little. I got to a bit several times where I thought, this is the final showdown, and then something happened which led things elsewhere, and then someone escaped, and then there was a another bit, and then another character escaped and finally it got to the end, at which point I wasn’t sure I’d enjoyed the book.

All in all a book I’m still not sure if I enjoyed or not. There was nothing in particularly wrong with the writing itself, I just was never quite sure where I was and who I was meant to be getting attached to.

Fast and Furious 7: A Review

I think it was pretty obvious I was going to go and see this film. I reviewed pretty much the rest of thr franchise over the years and liked all of them. I couldn’t not see the last film Paul Walker was in.

Like most of the fast and furious films you do have to slightly suspend your sense of reality to cope with all the crazy stunts, but in a film like this, which even makes a few jabs at its own brand of nuts, it’s not too hard to do.

The pacing of the film felt even more relentless than the previous ones with action every five seconds although not quite so much of the usual street car racing. I missed the epic race styl part of the film, although there’s a quick drag race between Letty and some random guy so it’s not completely missing. I guess the much more serious nature of the plot was not so conducive of some racing.

Although the film had me laughing at several points by the end I was crying. I think that’s probably something I expected though. The ending was very much a tribute to Paul and was very well done. I don’t think there was a woman with a dry eye in my showing and had it not been a public place I wouldn’t have been surprised if a few guys would have shed a tear or two either.

There was a lot of emotion throughout the film, despite all the action too. With all the backstory for Letty and Dom to sort as well as the families growing, the death of Han in Tokyo Drift (film 3) being at the start of this film and all of the other stuff thrown together, it was defintiely big on the emotion anyway. I don’t know if it was because they felt this film was extra important but it seemed like the acting in this film had stepped up a notch, as well.

furious 7 carsI don’t know if they really did a good job of using Statham to his full potential but it was interesting seeing him as the bad guy, pitted against the fast crew. I think there’s going to be an 8th (Vin Diesel has hinted at it very strongly) and given the final bit with Statham in, I’m assuming we’ll be seeing more of him for that.

All in all, I still very much enjoyed the film, even if it wasn’t quite perfect, and was very glad to have some tissues to hand. I’ll be seeing any more these guys want to trot out.

Where’s Lolly: A Review

This is the third book in the Class Heroes by Stephen Henning, and I was given a copy of the ebook in exchange for my review.

Where's LollyI loved the first two books in the series and the plotline in both, but this one is by far the best. Lolly is just perfect in this story and despite being the third in a series it really stands alone well. I definitely think this is my favourite so far.

None of the other major character’s are in this novella, just Lolly, which made me a little wary when first picking up the book. I didn’t like Lolly (with good reason), when reading book 1 and only started to like her a little in book 3, and while I still can’t agree with all her methods I must admit she’s really grown on me and now I’m very eager to read book 4 and see her reunited with the other characters.

In terms of the writing style, Stephen has grown as an author over the series and this one really shines. Well written with a great pace and sense of style.

Can’t wait to read book 4.