Tag Archives: R&R

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.

View all my reviews

1 Comment

Filed under Advance Reading Copy, Young Adult fiction

Fast Money review

Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure (Shelby Nichols #2)Fast Money: A Shelby Nichols Adventure by Colleen Helme

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This series would make a great present for my mother. I’m finding it harder and harder to find things to read that my mother would also enjoy. I hate that awkward feeling I get when she asks me what I’m reading and if she can read it when I’m done. Fast Money has everything she enjoys in a story – a relatable female protagonist, minimal explicit language, a bit of humour to keep it light, implied violence, a mystery to follow, and no graphic sex scenes – WINNER!

Fast Money has just enough humour to balance with the mystery to make this a great holiday read. The protagonist is a mother and wife. Such a different sleuth from what I usually read. I think I would enjoy this series more my children were a little older so I could empathise with Shelby more.

I hadn’t read the first book so some parts were a bit confusing. I suggest reading the synopsis of the first book, Carrots, before reading Fast Money. There were a lot of characters and at times I was confused with who was who but a strong series needs a range allies and villains. You do need to suspend belief a little bit to truly engage with this series. I found that there was quite a bit of repetition in the novel due to its stream of consciousness style. This is good if you like to read small passages over a period of time or if you often put a book down and come back to it later.

I read the audiobook edition. I really liked the narrator. She really embodied the character of Shelby. Fast Money is written from Shelby’s perspective in almost a stream of consciousness style. Through Shelby we hear what the other characters are thinking, this meant that while the narrate or differentiated character voices, she didn’t attempt any rediculous accents – YAY!

There are several plot lines that intersect in interesting ways. The novel’s conclusion sets it a promising premise for the rest of the series

Next time I’m looking for a holiday read, I will pick up the next one.

View all my reviews

1 Comment

Filed under Audiobook, Mystery

Dream Student (Dream, #1)Dream Student by J.J. DiBenedetto

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Only the brave should listen to this book before bed and risk Sarah’s nightmares meeting your own.

The premise of this novel is interesting. Sarah is able to view other people’s dreams. However, as we all know, not all dreams are happy ones.

This is where the story turns into a mystery. Sarah and her friends must uncover the identity of the dreamer in order to try and stop him perpetrating again. The mystery was a real let down for me. I really enjoy trying to work out the mystery and love a few red herrings. However, I worked this one out really quickly. If you like to be able to follow the clues and unlock the mystery then you might enjoy Dream Student.

In my opinion, Dream Student could have been 15-20% shorter. I found that there was a lot of repetition and some scenes that did not seem to propel the narrative or drive character development. I also found that the audio narration was quite slow. This is the first time I have ever listened to a book on a faster speed. I found it worked quite well at 1.25x without sounding robotic.

I really wanted to like this book more but it was a lot slower paced from what I am used to reading.

Dream Student would make a good book for an occasional read. I’m sure many of you are like me and have multiple books on the go at once. The print version would be suitable for that book that you pick up every now and then to read a chapter or two. It is suitable for this casual reading because there are only a few characters, one main plot line rather than a series of intertwining subplots, repetition and a patterning of events.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Young Adult fiction

*Yawn*

Kiera's Quest: Awakenings (Kiera's Quest, #1)Kiera’s Quest: Awakenings by Kristy Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This really wasn’t my sort of book but I guess that I am also not the target audience for Kiera’s Quest .

The Good
This is a typical good versus evil story. It has simple, likeable characters and appropriate levels of language and violence for your 11 to 13 year old reader.

The Bad
My personal taste is against writing in vernacular, especially teen vernacular. Vernacular only works if it is an integral part of the story development or is used to demonstrate that setting. Some Science Fiction novels use it extremely effectively. However, Kiera’s Quest I found the dialogue to be outdated and distracting from the story. This really detracted from my enjoyment as there was a lot of dialogue.

The Verdict
This is a nice, short easy read for tweens but it will most likely not engage older readers.
View all my reviews

1 Comment

Filed under Fantasy

Great indie read! Memory’s Wake

Memory's WakeMemory’s Wake by Selina Fenech

My rating: 4.5 stars 

Memory’s Wake by Selina Fenech exceeded all of my expectations. This is one of the best indie books I have read. Fenech takes an interesting fantasy story and enhances it with her amazing artwork and crafted prose.

The small illustrations at the beginning of each chapter are beautiful. They give Memory’s Wake a fairytale feel. Thankfully the literary devices and the style of prose develop a more complex story that while inclusive of fairytale elements, is a far cry from a clichéd reinterpretation of a fairytale. Memory’s Wake also includes full page plate illustrations. Usually I am not a fan of illustrated novels because I often find that the artist’s interpretation of the characters and mine differs. As the illustrations are by Fenech, who was an artist before she became a writer, the characters are visually represented just as they are in the text. Fenech has created a phenomenal multimodal text.

There are an interesting mix of characters in Memory’s Wake . I’m in an unusual predicament where I can’t decide who my favourite character is. Each of the four focal characters have just enough flaws to make them loveable. Yet each also has his or her own unique quality that makes them special.

Memory’s Wake is a story of lost and hidden identities, betrayal, lies and the desire to uncover the past. It is a must read for all lovers of Young Adult fiction.

I can’t wait to read the second book

View all my reviews

 

1 Comment

Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult fiction

Help it’s Friday! A new to-do list.

I can’t believe it is Friday all ready. I have managed to have a bizarrely unproductive week. I’m pretty sure the only thing I achieved was to put more things on my to-do list.

Inspired by Daily Prompt: Viral. I have come up with a first. Well, a first for me at least.

I don’t know about you but I’m not really a Monday person. I tend to put things off until Monday, then nothing gets done anyway. My new idea that I am going to trial is the Friday to-do list.

The Friday to-do list is going to be more motivating. As each Friday I am going to sit down and evaluate my achievements for the week. If I have completed most of my chores, I will try to reward myself on the weekend.

Another reason I think that Friday is the right to-do list day is that often there is some down time over the weekend. Usually what is left on the to-do list  by the weekend are the things that you really don’t want to do. By getting organised on a Friday, I am hoping that I will knock off some of the more interesting items by the end of the weekend freeing up time during the week for the more tedious jobs. 

The final reason I think this will work is that on a Friday I am often looking for some ‘busy’work to do. Jobs that make it look like I’m busy working but really are not to0 mentally stimulating. 🙂

This Friday’s To-Do list of blog related tasks include:

1. Write a review for Once by Morris Gleitzman

2. Finish my review of Metatropolis

3. Finish reading Kiera’s Quest and attempt to tackle a tasteful review.

4. Finish listening to The False Prince and write a review.

5. Finish reading Memory’s Wake by Thursday (review due the following Tuesday)

6. Download the next lot of R4R books: All Our Yesterdays, BZRK reloaded, Into the Dark: The Shadow Prince.

As always, 7. Organise my To Be Read shelves!!!

Do you find that to-do lists help?

Any recommendations on how to keep on top of Read for Review requests?

Happy reading 🙂
 

5 Comments

Filed under Personal

For The Birds (A Tall Pines Mystery) by Aaron Paul Lazar

For the BirdsFor the Birds by Aaron Paul Lazar

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For The Birds makes a great holiday or travelling listening. While the plot has a few twists and turns, it is easy enough to follow while driving or relaxing on a trip. There isn’t an overwhelming number of characters to confuse you if you’re multitasking while listening. Instead you will be utterly enchanted by Ruby, a sassy, talking parakeet, who is brought to life by Hannah Seusy, the narrator.

Marcella was a character that I found myself empathising with her in one passage then being frustrated with her in the next when she acts as an impetuous child. I actually liked this and I wonder if Lazar has done this purposefully. Characters need to be flawed to make the reader relate to them and for plots to progress. Marcella’s selfish and irresponsible decisions reengaged me with the story as I almost yelled at her not to go alone or to call for help. It has been a while since I have been invested enough in a story to want to give the characters advice.

For The Birds makes a great holiday read because no matter what hiccups and delays you encounter on your trip, they will be nothing compared to what Marcella, Quinn and Thelma have to endure on their weekend escape to the bird show.

This is a mystery with a sense of humour that keeps the story enjoyable and balances well with the drama and light violence. This humour is evident in character names, the lavish bird motel, some of the plot twists and the dialogue of Thelma and Ruby.

I highly recommend that you give it a listen. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Aaron Paul Lazar – “You da man!”

View all my reviews

Synopsis

When her audacious mother, Thelma, is kidnapped, it is up to Marcella – with the help of her husband, Quinn, and parakeet, Ruby – to find her and unravel a fifty year-old mystery.

Have you read anything by Aaron Paul Lazar?

What is your favourite mystery series?

Happy reading 🙂

1 Comment

Filed under Audiobook, Mystery