Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Every Last Kiss - By Courtney Cole

Every Last Kiss is a book suitable for young adults aged 18 and over. There are some references to love making scattered throughout the book, so a little parental guidance might be a good idea for younger young adults.

The story starts out simple enough in the modern day where Macy is trying to come to terms with the end of her 2 year relationship after her boyfriend was found cheating on her. Before long, it emerges that that’s the least of her problems though when she finds a gift of a Bloodstone necklace.
It turns out that the necklace is the key to her true identity and she is catapulted back into a previous lifetime in Ancient Egypt. The question is can she get back to her modern life without unraveling ancient history and changing the world that we know today or is she doomed to failure?

The book, in itself, is well written in a way that is half believable – there’s just one area that causes me concern… and that would be the way that Macy responds to the Bloodstone. As a spiritualist myself, I’m well aware that many spiritual young adults go through an awakening during their teenage years – which is scary enough if they haven’t been warned or prepared for it, without the extreme reaction Macy had causing confusion or scaring them outright.
I liked the way that the plot flowed smoothly… even though there is some time travel involved in several places through the story.

With that said though, I did enjoy the book – and I’ll be reading the other 2 books in the series at some point in the future.

Monday, 10 December 2018

The Lost Diadem, A Rogue's Tale Part One - By Saoirse O'Mara

The Lost Diadem is a novella suitable for Young Adults aged 13 and over.
As far as stories go, it’s the typical “whodunnit” mystery with the diadem being stolen and a race against time to find out who the thief is.

You can expect plenty of twists and turns throughout the book with people you think are the good guys turning out to be bad and the bad guys turning out to be good. Although the book does give a sense of closure, there are still a lot of open ends left to the story because this is book one of a (currently) three part series.

As seems to be usual for me lately, the book seems to start off in a totally unrealistic way. I know that Young Adults can be a tad unpredictable at times, but it’s asking too much for me to believe that a young man would throw away a career that he’s wanted his whole life simply on a hunch – however, I stuck with the story and it got better… although I wasn’t pleased to see that the “open endings” started in the middle of the book.

I liked the way that the action scenes were written in a way that seemed to suck you into the book and leave you feeling like you were right there alongside the characters, though. I actually felt sorry for the poor girl who was caught by the law enforcement… and it usually takes a lot for me to feel sorry for any character.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

You Can Run, But You Can't Hide - By Duane "Dog" Chapman

This book is suitable for young adults aged 18 and over. As far as warnings go, Dog does talk about the Andrew Luster rape case in this book, but not in graphic detail. He also speaks about his own murder conviction in graphic detail. It's for this reason that I have rated this book at 18+

This was another book that had been on my bucket list for quite a while before I managed to get my hands on a copy, which my niece bought for me because she knows that I used to enjoy watching Dog on TV. As a fan of the TV show "Dog The Bounty Hunter", the book seemed like the next logical step for me to take... and I wasn't disappointed.

I enjoyed that the book gave additional notes on some of the cases seen in the show and clearly sheds light on bounty hunting from an entirely different angle to the one taken by the show. It's only in the book that I feel that you can appreciate that hunting a fugitive can take weeks or even months as opposed to just a few days.

I thought that it was good that Dog included some of the roughest parts of his life in the book and talked so openly about them because it helps people to see that, no matter how bad things might seem, there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

Personally speaking, I've never much cared for Beth. She was one of those people that I could tolerate in small doses - the smaller the dose, the better. Since reading the book, though, I have gained a better understanding of her and a greater appreciation of her, too. It really helped me to see that there's often more to someone than might initially meet the eye.

I didn't really like some of Dog's stories about God, though. Yes, I know that he's a Christian and that he talks openly about his faith - and that, I don't mind... I just found some of his visions to be a little too confusing for me to follow. It also would have been nice to have gotten more of Dog's thoughts about the awards that he has received for doing his work because this is obviously not something that he could have ever imagined as he sat thinking about how he was going to turn his life around.

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A Few Words About The Direction of This Blog

After a lot of careful consideration, I have decided to extend this blog to cover age ranges 13 - 35... while I know that this is a large age range to cover and not all the books that I review will be suitable for my younger audience, some research in my down time indicated to me that "young adult" is typically 18 to 35 anyway, but, at the same time, I didn't want to stop reviewing for the younger group because of the fact that thirteen tends to be around the age when reading becomes "uncool" for these children.

It probably doesn't help that there weren't that many free reading lessons back when I was at high school... and, even then, the rules were so liberal that you could have gotten away with spending an entire lesson reading a comic book if you could have found one in the school library. I know that I spent a lot of time in the school library when I was at school, but, even I can't honestly say that I ever saw the entire contents of the library in the 5 years that I studied there.

Anyone who has ever read a few of my reviews will know by now that I usually specify a minimum age range and mention roughly if there is any content within the book to be wary of in order to help guide younger readers away from less appropriate books and to give older readers a chance to decide for themselves if they really want to read this book or not. I will be sticking with this warning system going forward from here.

Given that I usually read such a diverse range of books from across the whole age range and beyond, taking this step means that I'll get to share a whole lot more of what I have read and am reading with you all, which means that you'll get to see more content from me as well - and hopefully, some of it will be more in depth than you are used to seeing from me.

The Flirting Games - By Stella Wilkinson

Having been bought up on the St. Claire’s series by Enid Blyton, I always felt that no other boarding school series would ever measure up to those standards for me – but I was wrong! This book is suitable for young adults aged 13 and over.

The Flirting Games follows the story of Elle Parkhurst as she tries to protect her friend from the interests of school rogue Nate Naverly. If rumors are anything to go by, this guy has broken hearts all over the school and Elle has no desire to see her friend’s name added to the list. The question is, will Nate fall for her charms?

Anyone who reads this book can expect to be kept on the edge of their seats the whole way through – I know I was. The book, in itself, is well written with no obvious typing errors and the plot flows smoothly which made it more enjoyable to read.

I like the way that Jack started out as a reference in the story… but we actually got to “meet” him later on in the story. That added a little extra depth to the story for me.
I didn’t really rate the way that the boys were portrayed as the “Love ‘em and leave ‘em” types though. By all means make one or two like this but a group of four was a little too much for my liking and makes the plot a little tricky to follow at times.

The Tube Riders - By Chris Ward

One thing that any good book reviewer will tell you is that you never review any book without reading it in its entirety first - however, this was one book that I had to say something about before I even finished reading about it because it made me feel so angry. Needless to say, I did complete the book and have since edited my review to better reflect this.

If I had to place this book in a category, without any hesitation, it would have to be New Adult. Although it starts out simply enough to fit into the Young Adult sector, later on in the book, mature themes come into to and this is a book to avoid if you don’t like to read about murder and rape. Both play a large part in this story.

Personally speaking, I tend to steer clear of futuristic story lines after having read one too many attempts to write one where the author has gone badly wrong – but this one is well worth the time it takes to read it.

I didn’t really like the way that the book centers around an idiotic thing like jumping across train platforms in front of incoming trains and hanging onto the outside of trains because we already do too many daft things around the train tracks as it is without being encouraged to do more – that’s why Network Rail are always running adverts.

I found it to be a nice touch to see that death was included as a result of the activity undertaken by the young adults for no other reason than the fact that it was clear that death was a very real possibility.

One thing I did like is the way that the author really endears his characters to you – though it does make it that little bit harder when they get written out or killed off.

I also liked the idea of England of the future being divided into separate industrial zones and the way that this has opened up the option for the author to be able to pick up on this from a different zone if he wishes to at any point because I'd be interested to see how this would and wouldn't work.

The book is also well-paced and the plot is smooth – which has served to enhance my enjoyment of the book further still.

Bloom - By A. P Kensey

Bloom is book one of a three part series – it is suitable for readers aged 13 and over.

Bloom starts out innocently enough by following the story of a seemingly normal girl – however, it soon comes to light that she is anything but normal. After sneaking out to go to a party one night, she finds that her home is on fire – will she be able to make it home in time to save her parents and little brother? It doesn't take long for her to find out that she is anything but normal when she experiences a strange manifestation of her powers in the school cafeteria one lunchtime.

As if that wasn't bad enough, her little brother is missing, presumed  dead in the fire that destroyed the family home – could he really be dead or is there something that the law enforcement are missing?

As far as books go, this one is pretty good. There weren't any obvious typing errors, however, where I am, it seems that I always find something negative and in this book, it would have to be that it’s a little slow to warm up – but once you get there, it moves at a pretty fluid pace that does the author justice. I would have also have liked to have seen an “About the Author” section tucked in at the back rather than two tables of contents – if I didn't choose to go back to an earlier point of the book when I read the first table of contents, then it’s not likely I’ll change my mind if I read the contents again.