Monday, 29 July 2013

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong



"Chloe Saunders is on the run and raising hell. Literally." 

Well that's good, because she doesn't do much else. I rarely ever write a review of a book which comes out negative, but I'm afraid that in this case it has to be a one off. For the whole book, we saw Chloe, Simon, Derek and Tori running while trying to find one of Derek and Simon's father's friends, Andrew. The Book starts with the four teens on the run from a supernatural experimentation group called The Edison Group, and the book also ends with them running from the Edison group.

In terms of what happens in the middle of this, I can sum this up in a few points:

1. Chloe plays the damsel in distress and hurts her arm three times. I only hope that her arm doesn't end up a separate character in the next book, but it's had enough cameos. 

2. Tori gets ignored for just about the whole book. And despite her characteristics of being a powerful witch that could probably kill Chloe in an instant, I was saddened to read that she chose not to. 

3. There is a lot of 'will they, wont they' tension between both Chloe and Simon and Chloe and Derek - which doesn't make sense because the author is obviously confused as to which boy she wants Chloe to hook up with in the end. Chloe also is confused as to what the funny feeling in her stomach is when she looks at either of the guys, which doesn't correspond with her character profile either as she isn't stupid and should know what a crush is. Maybe I'm wrong, and she just ate something bad. But then again, the teens (including Derek who requires constant feeding and Simon who is diabetic) survived on two candy bars each for the whole week. Maybe she's secretly a cannibal - that's just about the only thing that could have made this book even slightly appealing.

I'm going to be sympathetic here... I completely understand that in real life, if four unexperienced teens managed to run away from a secure home, the path to safety wouldn't be easy and there would be a few complications. But this was a fiction novel, and Armstrong had the power to play each chapter out however she wanted. 

Obviously she went for the realistic touch, because all 400 or so pages were of them running and nearly getting killed and them complaining that they were hungry, even with four hundred dollars stashed in Chloe's shoe. That, and Chloe blushing that one time when Simon gave her a thumbs up. 

There were far too many sentences of dialogue that were cut off. Kelley Armstrong hardly let a character get a word in edge ways without another cutting in to have their opinion. After a while I really started to notice the dashes on the page and was dreading the next one which I knew was just a page turn away. 

Here are some positives, though. Kudos for being able to drag a book out that long, because I know how hard it is to get a few thousand words out when you're beautifully uninspired. Also, I have loved Derek from the first book and I hope he continues to be a successful character in the final book. If I can just mention the boys, I'm glad this book isn't dominated by the theme of love. It would have been downright cringy in the circumstances. Don't get me wrong, I like love-orientated books, but this wasn't something I wanted in this series. 

This book was dedicated to Julia, who I'm presuming is a friend of Kelley Armstrong. Poor woman. I would have been mortified to get a dedication in a book like this. 

SPOILER ALERT:

The teens finally find Andrew, and then begin hiding away from The Edison Group again. After a six page description of Derek transforming into a werewolf, I was ecstatic to come to the end of the book. The two stars I gave this book are literally just for Derek being in it. 

I wouldn't recommend this book to many people. Read the first book in the series by all means, but just google it to find out the ending. It really isn't worth reading another 800 pages of running and jumping, as your time definitely will be wasted. I've got another 400 pages to go, as I will be attempting to gather any life that hasn't already been sucked out of me from the first two books, and I shall be reading the last one in the series. I also want to see if Derek finally gives in to his hereditary cannibal needs and eats Chloe.

And the most ironic quote award goes to...

"I knew this wasn't the end. Not by a long shot."

Me too, Chloe. Me too.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Fanfiction Focus: Shamy

Shamy is a name for the couple consisting of Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory, or as Leonard describes them, 'a couple of weirdos'. Personally, they are my OTP and Johnlock follows closely behind them. 

This is my first fanfiction focus post, where each Tuesday I will be recommending the best fanfiction around the internet... as well as the more creepy stuff too. 

Yes that's right, I'm directing that at the Phandom.

I read a lot of fanfiction because it calms me down during a hiatus or a show or book/movie franchise. The one I would like to recommend to you today is a one-shot called "Prince or Frog?" by user inwhatuniverse and it follows the end of an episode of The Big Bang. The actual episode, The Contractual Obligation, ended on the women coming home in their Disney outfits, and while the other two men were pleased with the cosplay, Sheldon left poor Snow White (Amy) hoping for a kiss to wake her up.

But what really happened after the episode ended? Well, I'm assuming the actors went home. But in a fictional situation, what would have happened between Sheldon and Amy?

I guess you'll have to read this story to get a better idea.


It is well worth a read! I read it today and I found it really delightful to get stuck into. The scene was written out so tastefully and I shall be reading more of this user's work.

Go and have a read! Be sure to write nice comments if you liked it as much as I did.
The Book Critic x

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong




This book is the first in a trilogy called 'The Darkest Powers Trilogy' and the whole series is based around Chloe Saunders, a fifteen year old girl who has been able to see ghosts since she was young. However, with her father away on business trips and her mother having passed away, Aunt Lauren looks after her most of the time. One day at school, Chloe is chased by a ghost man who can manipulate his face to look as scary as he wants to, leaving poor Chloe (who hasn't seen a ghost in years) to run around the school looking like a maniac. She is restrained, taken to hospital and diagnosed Schizophrenic, which is the point in which Aunt Lauren take her to Lyle House with a bunch of teens with supposed mental illnesses too.

I'm not going to tell you the rest or give out any spoilers, but let's just say that none of the other teens, as well as Chloe, have mental illnesses. They have also been grouped together for a special reason...

On to the review! I have been as two-sided as I can but obviously I need to express my own opinion. 

Our protagonist, Chloe Saunders, was a very relatable character for a teenage girl. She especially related to me because I am a late developer as she is, and this allowed me to bond with the character throughout the book. She wasn't a particularly strong main character as she seemed to change personas every once in a while, but for a teen who loves an easy-read, this would be your kind of book.


I found the beginning of the book fast paced and the story caught my attention throughout, but I feel as though there was a lot of plot dragging after the fist hundred or so pages. Perhaps the whole trilogy could have been spread out better into one or two books, but then again good things always come in threes and this is an approach popular modern authors like to take. 



I am not disappointed with this book because it was the sort of story that I usually really enjoy, so if you're a teen you will probably get the same enjoyment that I did out of it. If you don't mind the story dragging on a bit, you'll love it. However, I wouldn't recommend it to adults as this just isn't the sort of young adult literature that adults typically go for. 



The other characters had a bit more life in them. I particularly enjoyed the care that Simon had for his brother and Chloe. Derek has to be one of my favourite characters so far - he can't feel emotion like other people but you can tell he really does love Simon and he feels very protective over Chloe. Tori really annoyed me throughout the book, but then again I'm one for the good guys. Tori isn't supposed to be an enjoyable character, so maybe Armstrong got her spot on.








SPOILERS COMING UP:


The ending was shocking and yet I feel somewhat embarrassed that I gasped while reading it. Aunt Lauren seemed like a shady character from the beginning and I suppose I should have seen her true objectives coming. I felt like she was not a sturdy character and maybe that's why I was so confused as to why she would compromise her own niece's happiness. I was disappointed that Chloe and Rae actually got caught and taken to yet another mental institution (well, it was the asylum in the hospital but you catch my drift) as I thought if they were successful then they could find Simon's dad by the end of the book. Unfortunately, I can see myself trying to be bothered to keep up with another 200 pages of running and hiding in the next book.



In conclusion: if you like paranormal novels that you can relax with, this is your kind of read. I do not recommend this to adults at all, as I think you will find yourself very disappointed with the quality of plot. 



I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads because I personally enjoyed it to the point where I picked up the next book. I only wish I could give this a better review, but I had to tell the truth. 


So here is my personal 4/5 British Scrabble rating: 






Happy reading :)
The Book Critic x

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Saturday: Book Haul and What You've Missed!

Hello! It has been a few days since my last post but I'm going to start my new schedule today by showing you my latest book haul and a sort of 'that's what you missed on glee' sort of post. 

Book Haul:

I recently bought this fantastic new series of books by Kelley Armstrong. The first book, which I am currently reading, is called 'The Summoning' and it is about a firm called Chloe who can see ghosts. No one believes her though!




The other books in the series are called 'The Awakening' and 'The Reckoning'. I am loving the series so far and a review of the first book will be on the blog soon. The books are not predictable like a lot of young adult fiction and I have found myself gasping in shock a couple of times already! 

Today I met up with Kendal again, and we took a much awaited trip into Waterstones. I bought three books while we were in there - 

The first is 'Infinite Sky' by CJ Flood and the cover just blew me away. I don't usually judge a book by its cover but I made a decision based on both the cover and the blurb. This book literally looks awesome.


The other two books were by Annabel Pitcher and they are called 'Ketchup Clouds' and 'My sister lives on the mantelpiece'. They both sound like very heart wrenching books and I would recommend buying these editions as the sides of the books have cute little patterns where the pages fit together! Not only that but it's buy one get one half price in Waterstones! 




You haven't really missed anything on my social media accounts because I have been really busy. These photos are all taken with Instagram. However, if you have been following my Instagram (bookfangirlingblog) then you will see that I managed to buy a 'Wreck this Journal' and I am failing miserably at filling it in!


And I bought my very first book journal on my day trip with Kendal... It was on sale at Paperchase! I would show you a picture of it but my phone has enlarged it too much... Maybe next week? 

Finally, it was sunny in England! I posted a photo of me reading 'The Summoning' in my garden:


Me and Kendal had a great time today. Did anyone else do anything special today? Today was certainly special for me because I don't get to see Kendal all that much, and its nice when we finally do get to spend time in person together.
She made me AMAZING cookies while I made her some cakes and a card. It was a great day overall.

Have a good weekend!
The Book Critic x

Friday, 5 July 2013

Kendal's Column: Lifescouts #6

Play piano
when I was about 6 my brother started taking piano lessons and I thought it was really cool so i asked my parents if I could have lessons to.
I had lessons from when I was about 6 until I was 9  and I stopped simply because I lost interest. I do regret not staying with it but I know that if I had carried on, I wouldn't have put in enough practice and I wouldn't have progressed much further.




Have a birthday party
My birthday is on November 5th which is bonfire night in the UK.
Bonfire night is a tradition of lighting a bonfire and setting off loads of fireworks to commemorate the gunpowder plot (a plot to blow up British Parliament and, more specifically, King James I). A man part of the gunpowder plot was found under the House of Lords on the night of November 5th 1605. That night, to celebrate the fact that King James was still alive, the people lit bonfires around London, throwing dummy 'Guys' onto them.
A few months later, November 5th was declared a day of national thanksgiving and since then it has been celebrated annually nationwide.
Therefore, on my birthday (and even before I was born) my family have always gathered at our house and we set off fireworks, blow up pumpkins from Hallowe'en and light sparklers until we're frozen to the bone. This doubles as my birthday party- and I love it!

Climbed Dragged up a mountain
My parents have forced me to climb many mountains in the past which I have gained many blisters from.
I've climbed Ben Nevis (which is the highest mountain in the British Isles) and more than a few 'hills' in the Lake District, some twice.
it would've been ok if it was a nice day and you had a good view but it rained....every time.
I wouldn't condone climbing because it is a good way to keep healthy but you should a) check the weather and b)take blister plasters with you.


This is war-30 Seconds To Mars
Harry Potter Fan video.

Happy Friday!
@Team_Haymitch
Kendal
xx