Category Archives: Advance Reading Copy

Pawn review

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion, #1)Pawn by Aimee Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pawn is just another YA dystopian novel. If you’re really into this genre then it is worth a read. I read so many great reviews of this novel but for me it just didn’t have that wow factor. In fact, there were several aspects that got on my nerves.

Pawn is set in an American meritocracy where at seventeen, citizens are required to undertake an aptitude test. This test determines their social ranking and job. With shadows of Soylent Green but a little bit more tasteful, overpopulation is curbed by sending the infirmed, elderly and excess children to Elsewhere. The concept of Elsewhere had too many holes for me and it wasn’t really explained well. There is only so much hunting that the politicians can do!

The protagonist, Kitty, has undiagnosed dyslexia. This is why she performs poorly on the aptitude test. If this novel is supposed to be able the inequity in our schooling system and society for people with learning disorders or disabilities – it fall falls dramatically short. It also seems to waver between supporting and destroying the meritocracy. The only strong message was anti monarchy. I’m really confused about what Carter was trying to convey. Most successful dystopian novels have a clear message for society to act upon – I don’t think it was there.

The huge issue I had with Pawn was the title. There were two tacked on references to chess. They really stuck out. If the Harts had actually been a monarchy, perhaps it would have worked better. In my opinion the metaphor of the pawn failed. The other issue I had with this novel was the sheer amount of dialogue. If it is made into a film, the screen writer will have an easy job. I know the old adage of show don’t tell but sometimes paraphrasing can save ten pages!

Some people have really liked this novel. I thought it was ok. I think if you’re a fan of the genre then you should read it and form your own conclusion. I doubt that I will read the rest of the series.

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Diet book review

The New Low-Carb Diet CookbookThe New Low-Carb Diet Cookbook by Laura Lamont
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was really excited by this diet until I got to the recipes. I have a nut allergy. This, like many other diets, uses a lot of nuts in its recipes.

The Good
The photos in the book are great. I love seeing great photos on cookbooks. I'm alway so disappointed that my attempts never live up to the photos but I like to see them anyway.
The diet makes sense.
The diet uses colour coding to establish the 'rules' to follow. I thought that this makes sense and would make it easier to create your own meal plans.
The informative pages explaining the science behind the diet are in accessible language,

The Drawbacks
Too many nuts in the recipes.
The sample recipes all required a lot of cooking. When I'm detoxing off sugar, carbs and caffeine the last thing I want to be doing to baking my own bread for half a slice at breakfast.
Most of the recipes had at least a couple of ingredients that I don't usually buy. This makes it more difficult to get the rest of the family to eat with you.
The recipes were not colour coded to illustrated how the colour coded system works. I really expected the recipes to clearly model the system.

I have bookmarked six recipes to try. However, I don't think that I will try the diet because I prefer to have greater guidance.

Have a look for yourself.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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All Our Yesterdays

All Our YesterdaysAll Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

All Our Yesterdays is one of the best time travel stories that I have read. There are a few twists and turns in the plot and at times I wasn’t sure who I wanted to succeed. This is a well written and satisfying story. The resolution is really well done and leaves you feeling contented when you finally turn that last page.

Usually, I really don’t like time travel stories but All Our Yesterdays isn’t your typical time travel story. It really appealed to me and often after I had put the book down, I wondered what I would do if I had the technology to go back in time.

The characterisation was well portrayed. The chapters were written from different character perspectives and Cristin Terrill was able to successfully differentiate between the characters by giving them their own authentic voice. This isn’t easy to achieve so it is a huge kudos from me to any author who is able to pull it off.

This story is about choices, responsibilities, relationships and consequences. It stays with you and challenges you to think about your own choices and your impact on the future of our planet. So many times it provokes you to think about “What would you do?”

Even if you are not a fan of Science Fiction, if you are a lover of Young Adult fiction – read All Our Yesterdays.

Happy reading 🙂 

 

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These Broken Stars

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1)These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

These Broken Stars, co-written by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a perfect bridge into science fiction for lovers of paranormal romance and fantasy, like me It is one of those stories where you sit down and think ‘I’ll just finish this chapter’. The next thing you know, three hours and ten chapters have just disappeared. This is just what I needed to read this week – a book I could lose myself in.

Set in a futuristic universe, where cross-dimensional travel is the norm, Lilac, only daughter of the richest man, and Tarver, a decorated soldier, find themselves crashed on a planet. Together they must survive long enough to be rescued.

Kaufman and Spooner affectively use foreshadowing at the beginning of each chapter by flashing forward to Tarver’s interview after the rescue. Surprisingly, this adds to the reader’s desire to keep reading rather than acting as a ‘spoiler’.

There Broken Stars examines, without conclusions, what it means to be you. I wasn’t expecting this existential discussion on ‘who am I?’ while reading the novel. Am I my memories? Am I my body? Am I the combination of both? An interesting twist.

A story of love, class distinction, survival and identity that is well worth a read. Check out the first installment in the Starbound trilogy, These Broken Stars.

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The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

The BookstoreThe Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

When I saw that the title was The Bookstore I expected that the bookstore involved in the story would either be this living, personification of a store that acts as a character to bring an epiphany for the protagonist; or that the bookstore would be fundamental to story in some quirky or elegant way that enchants the reader. I was sadly mistaken.

When I read the blurb for this book and looked at the well-designed cover, I expected an uplifting and interesting read about a young woman overcoming adversity in New York City. I was sadly mistaken.

Instead, I found that The Bookstore was about a self-absorbed young woman who seemed to be preoccupied with valuing her intellectualism and rejecting wealth and status.

“Customers come in all the time. It’s a good sign, I think, for the intellectual health of the city, at least from this small sampling.”

This book was painful to read. It reminded me of listening to friends and relatives complaining about their lives for a couple of hundred pages. The characters were shallow and underdeveloped. Mitchell was a ridiculous representation of the author’s abhorrence of New York’s upper class elitism.

This book seemed to be all about egotism. I found this quotation to be pretentious as I was reading The Bookstore on my Kindle app:  “But in a bookshop you find things you didn’t know about”, I reply. “It’s much more exciting than Amazon’s ‘customers who bought this book also bought this one.'” Unless Meyler was purposely alienating her audience.

I hope that Meyler truly believed it when she wrote “People write for ego gratification, not money.” because I recommend that you save your money and that you don’t read The Bookstore.

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The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installation in The Raven Cycle will not disappoint Maggie Stiefvater fans. Sometimes the second book in a series is something that needs to endured in order for the story to progress rather than something to be enjoyed. Maggie Stiefvater has overcome this with a really strong subplot that keeps the reader engaged while the search for Glendower continues.

The Dream Thieves focuses on Ronan rather than Gansey, as we learn more about where Chainsaw came from and the Lynch family. “There are three kinds of secrets”and we soon learn that “Ronan Lynch lives with every sort of secret”. In The Raven Boys I didn’t relate to Ronan at all. While he still doesn’t seem as lovable as Blue, Adam, Noah and Gansey; we start to understand the boy behind the angst. Adam’s sacrifice to waken the ley line is taking its toll as he becomes more alienated from his friends and the reader. With Neeve gone, life at 300 Fox Way starts to go back to normal – if there is such a thing as normal for these vivacious women. Blue’s relatives become more involved with helping the boys; even if Calla is still referring to them as ‘the pretty one’, ‘Coca-Cola shirt’ and ‘the snake’.

The Dream Thieves is written in a way that makes you forget that you’re reading as the hours slip away while you fall into the story. A must read for everyone who enjoyed The Raven Boys.

The second installment in the all-new series from the masterful, #1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater!
 
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after…
 

From http://maggiestiefvater.com/the-raven-boys/the-dream-thieves/

AVAILABLE 17 SEPTEMBER 2013

Happy reading 🙂
 
 

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