Review: Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods, #7) by Melissa de la Cruz

Gates of Paradise (Blue Bloods, #7)Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Gates of Paradise’ is the seventh and FINAL instalment in the ‘Blue Bloods’ series.
To be honest, I was VERY thankful.
This series has lasted for a lot longer than was absolutely necessary. I felt like the story plot was extended way beyond its needed timeframe. SO much was added that I felt was just unnecessary.
Schuyler just got way to fantastical for me.
The whole entire story was just a drama rama and romance.
And Melissa de la Cruz was just reaping the rewards and prolonged shelf life of her series.
I really felt like finishing the series by the end of the sixth instalment.
I did however enjoy the ending and it is probably the only reason I didn’t give it a one star.
Congratulations to Melissa de la Cruz on publishing her seventh instalment in the series!

View all my reviews

Review: Super Good Skills (Tom Gates, #9) by Liz Pichon

Tom Gates: Super Good Skills (Almost...)Tom Gates: Super Good Skills by Liz Pichon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Super Good Skills (Almost…)’ takes on a new approach to the way a reader can interact with the book: By giving us doodling pages which readers can fill in with their new doodles.
To be honest, this wasn’t the most unique thing I’ve seen. It has already been done by Jeff Kinney with the ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ series.
Overall, the story was a better success. I enjoyed the simple return of Tom and all his funny adventures – which are overdramatised – but seem incredibly in tune with the thoughts of a primary schooler.
However, I wish that this will be the final instalment in this prolonged series.
I really want to finish it by the end of this year.
Congratulations to Liz Pichon on publishing the NINTH instalment in the series!

View all my reviews

Review: Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton

Good Morning, MidnightGood Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Good Morning, Midnight’ is one of the most beautiful, atmospheric novels I’ve come across in a long time. Its words were like magic on the page and it’s setting a wonderful ethereal experience. But, despite my appreciation of the technique and style of writing, I felt that the novel could have been better. Here’s why:
1. The whole novel seemed to be a rather long exploration of the emotions one feels when met with absolute isolation. It would explore the minute influences and effects on a human mind and character. I found the concept rather enchanting, but it could have been conveyed in a better style. With more UMPH. I felt that there was just that missing piece to the whole story-telling. A missing piece that would have sky-rocketed my opinion of the novel.
2. The settings, in which the novel was written, were chosen quite nicely to convey a sense of isolation. But I felt that were unoriginal and a blatantly obvious choice. For humanity, the Arctic poles and deep space are probably THE most extreme environments – and definitely the loneliest. But these locations can’t be the ONLY ones that explore the impact of true isolation on the human mind! I felt like this choice – whilst capable of beautifully illustration their wonders – was the author conceding her choice to THE most obvious. It was a frustration that nagged me during multiple points in the novel.
3. The writing was…good and solid. But that’s all it was. Average; too average in my opinion. An idea – a STORY – such as this should be written in THE most beautiful style the author could think of! The writing needed more GRAVITY to it, and a more formal style would have done wonders, in my opinion. A more complex story and sentence structure would have effectively conveyed the complexity of the human character. And ‘Good Morning, Midnight’ just didn’t have that.
On the other hand, here are the things that I enjoyed:
1. The characters were highly complex…and highly flawed. I felt that they were well crafted and were very, very tangible. There was no comparison between the two main characters, Augustine and Sullivan. Augustine was a captivating illustration of the regrets of old age and the somewhat cruel nature we all possess deep inside us. He was a reflection of what most of us – I imagine – will come to when there is nobody to look at us and judge us: except ourselves. Sullivan was a more hopeful portrayal of humanity. She was the realisation that some of us are gifted with early enough the make a difference. Both were completely different; but also enchantingly similar as well.
2. There was one major “secret” that spanned the entire novel and wasn’t revealed until the very end. The connection that Augie and Sully have. From the beginning, the author would heavily allude to some sort of mysterious bond that was present between the two. It was THE mystery in the novel but also a somewhat obvious one. By the end of the novel I had an idea of the truth so its revelation wasn’t a surprise – but definitely thought provoking. It made me reflect back on the novel and look at it with a new insight.
3. The pace was slow but fit quite nicely with the idea behind the novel. It allowed for the reader to mull thoughts over and process each minute detail given to them. It also allowed for the atmospheric quietness and stillness of the novel to shine through. A great combination!
Congratulations to Lily-Brooks Dalton on publishing her debut novel, ‘Good Morning, Midnight’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles, #1) by Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of Fire (Kingmaker Chronicles #1)A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘A Promise of Fire’ has BLOWN my mind. I would have rated it TEN stars out of five if I could. It was so good that it has literally blown my mind right now. I’m in awe. This novel is too good. If I start speaking gibberish later on in the review, let me tell you it’s because the story was THAT good. Mind officially scrambled.
The tension/drama/anticipation which Amanda Bouchet created was just higher than the sky. Think of the highest point on earth or in space and the scale at which the tension was created and developed will exceed that point by…oh, let’s say…INFINITY! There was just so much UMPH added to every word and every event. Not one moment was boring. Each moment had something epic to tell or would lead up to something epic. The number one, and ONLY problem, with this novel was how hard it was for me to tear myself away from reading. It was literally impossible. I was incapable of doing so. My best advice to all readers out there is that:
1. PICK UP THIS BOOK!
2. MAKE SURE YOU PUT EVERYTHING ASIDE BECAUSE ‘A Promise of Fire’ WILL MAKE YOUR REAL LIFE NON-EXISTENT!
The plot. Was. So. Good. Better. Than. Food. And that’s saying something. This is probably an exaggeration but it’s the best one I could find to illustrate how masterfully put together the plot was. But in all honesty, this novel CANNOT be read whilst eating. You will find yourself so entranced by the words on the page you will forget to eat or drink whatever is front of you. Like I did. Multiple times.
The character development was a-FREAKING-mazing! Catalia was such a rich and vibrant character I would not have been surprised if she jumped out of the page and ended up being a real life person. And WOW was Cat sassy! And she had such spark to her! I can not give her enough credit. She was – IS – the most sassiest, strong-headed, steel-hearted woman/character I have ever had the pleasure of knowing or reading about. Cat was a real gem. The BEST character ever to tell this story in first person.
The world-building was a masterpiece. I could have fallen into Amanda Bouchet’s world and not have noticed the transition from reality to fiction. So beautifully done, every aspect of the world was concrete and thoroughly thought through. The history and landscape was crafted to perfection. I cannot wait to return to it in the second instalment!
The tie to Greek mythology was definitely unique and a lot more wonderful than other novels that I have come across. It was much more real and less mythological to me. I quite enjoyed this original twist to the idea of Greek gods in a fantastical setting. It was refreshing and unique.
The romance and chemistry is HOT, HOT, HOT. Cat and Griffin? I ship them together so hard it hurts. Be prepared to fall in love and to blush furiously.😉
The finale left me reeling and hungry for the sequel! Beyond description. I’ll leave you to find out why!
Congratulations to Amanda Bouchet on the publication of her award-winning fantasy debut!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1) by Ally Carter

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You (Gallagher Girls, #1)I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You by Ally Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Hachette Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You’ was – IS – the best spy-girl novel in the WORLD! I’ve LOVED re-reading this novel: ESPECIALLY with the series’ beautiful new covers!
There is a reason why Ally Carter is a legitimate New York Times Bestseller. The reason: she manages to successfully pull off the wildest stories of all and make them an unforgettable read for the YA community. I have read ALL of Ally Carter’s works, and every one is a unique literary gem. But her series, the ‘Gallagher Girls’, is the ORIGINAL spy series – YOU MUST READ IT!
Cammie Morgan is a character that will appeal to all readers out there. I’m not quite sure how to describe her (this may also be what appeals to me so much about her), but Cammie is a mixture of bookworm/introvert and this super cool spy girl. Her whole world is this unimaginable world of spies, secret agents, gadgets and exceptional education. Her secret world creates this atmosphere of excitement and tension. It’s so unbelievable it’s BELIEVABLE!
Ally Carter writes with an understanding and complete knowledge of her world. It’s confident and simple yet elegant. I love how easily her words carry across to her readers and that the moments with meaning are so readily accessible to her readers! What I mean by that is: Every single moment that held some sort of big importance or was emotionally significant created and impact on me. I would tear up when Cammie was sad, I would laugh out loud when she was amused! It was fantastic.
However, I had a few setback returning to this series.
One of them was that the series relies SO heavily on plot twists that sometimes rereading the novels was a bit dry. Reading it isn’t as tense and exciting as it would have been the first time around. I already knew what was going to happen and it ruined the novel for me in some ways. One of the positives about rereading this novel was that I had a greater understanding of Cammie and I was returning to a favourite character. But, in the end, the cons outweighed the pros.
To build on top of that, knowing what was going to happen in the rest of the series eclipsed this first novel. Each novel in the ‘Gallagher Girls’ series outdoes the previous instalment so that each previous book becomes slightly…less?…compared to the others. By the sixth and final novel, the plot is SO great that reading book one is like a giant fall from a high that you’ve been riding. For first time readers, this is great! For readers returning the series, it was like reading a full-length-novel prequel or a three-hundred-page introduction to the ‘Gallagher Girls’ world.
As always, Ally Carter wrapped up her novel in such a way that leaves you begging and on the edge of your seat for the next instalment. Reading the epilogue of the novel was BEYOND any massive cliff-hanger that you can possible think of. If you can think of a cliffie that you believe will be greater than the one in THIS novel: Well, I CHALLENGE you to pick up ‘I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You’!
Congratulations to Ally Carter on the publication of her tenth anniversary editions of the ‘Gallagher Girls’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The Memory Book by Lara Avery

The Memory BookThe Memory Book by Lara Avery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Hachette Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘The Memory Book’ was somewhat disappointing for me. I didn’t hate it, or even strongly dislike it, but I also didn’t love it. It was a sort of in between liking and thinking the book was average. I guess what let me down the most was that the cover was so gorgeous and it was screaming its little heart out, BEGGING me to read it with its shiny, pink post-it cover.
So (since I’ve been into lists lately), here’s a list of all the little things that let me down.
1. THAT FOOLISH COVER! IT FOOLED ME SO BAD! I thought that the book was going to be a lot more sadder than it was. I was ready for something heart-wrenching and tear-inducing and emotionally-destroying. But ‘The Memory Book’ let me down on all those areas. I’m not sure whether I’m sad or happy about that. I’m conflicted.😦
2. The plot. Seriously! What was up with it? How come the complication was sappy and how come it doesn’t make everything very dramatic and positively depressing! I was ready – emotionally, mentally and physically – to be DESTROYED by this book. (I was in the mood for something depressing but fate did not favour me.)
3. This was something that I cruelly quite liked about ‘The Memory Book’. It was NOTHING like a journal/diary. I was so impressed! Instead, it was exactly what Sammie described it as: a word doc. that contained all her thoughts and important past events so that if she ever forgets what happened previously, she’d be able to read back and remember.
4. I enjoyed how hopeful and determined Sammie was throughout her whole journey. She was a real force of life! Determined and ambitious, clever and courageous. And the style in which the author wrote really carried this across. It wasn’t always upbeat but the atmosphere those words created was always positive and hopeful. There was a sense of strength throughout the whole novel from Sammie. She was such a pleasure to get to know. She touched my heart.
5. The chapter structure was quite interesting. I felt as if the novel had a real contemporary style to it. There were text messages and emails and random unpunctuated paragraphs. It was raw. Real. Tangible. It was a great style to write the novel in.
6. I really didn’t expect the ending! I mean, I WAS expecting it, but it was just so sudden, and the last few pages were just hinting, hinting, hinting. Building the tension until…BOOM! There you have your ending. I just kept denying it. It was great. I really admired this.
7. ‘The Memory Book’ was a great exploration of what it is like to live with a genetic disease. One that so significantly impacts a person’s life and creeps deep within their genes until the time comes for them to strike. Understanding the impact of memory loss and eye-hand-coordination (as well as many other problems that come with Niemann-Pick Type C.)
A solid four star from me.
Congratulations to Lara Avery on publishing on a novel that beautifully captured the precious moments in life that matter!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Random House Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ is seriously overrated. I don’t know what all the fuss was about – have never known actually. There was just so much drama and enthusiasm with its publication and the subsequent instalments in the series! I really don’t see it! I believe the only great thing that will come out this novel is the movie. Because, have you readers SEEN who plays Jacob? ASA BUTTERFIELD, that’s who!
I had such great expectations for this novel. I literally was SO excited to read something that was different and unique compared to all the other novels out there. And ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ seemed to be just what I needed. Unfortunately, I got swept up with the hype. And I learned my lesson yet again: Don’t get too excited over books others are excited about. You’ll most likely not like them. Or take them with a grain of salt. Just in case.
One of my non-book-nerd friends (who and I kidding, all of them) actually said that this books was Tim Burton’s version of the X-men. And once you think about it, the novel does have some startling similarities. Like Miss Peregrine has a school for all the “peculiar” children out there. (Otherwise known as children who have special/supernatural abilities.) So does Charles Xavier who is the headmaster of his own school. Jacob is a unique character who has lived through some terrible experiences and brings a new perspective into the world of the “peculiar”. Surprise, surprise! So did Logan or the Wolverine in the X-men!
I really should have slapped some sense into myself a bit earlier on. How could I have not seen the similarities myself?! And, worst of all, why did I deny it and profusely defend this book amongst all my friends?!
What was interesting was that this novel wasn’t quite as frightening or horrific as I expected it to be. I believe that the only scary/night-marish aspect of this novel are:
• the very weird photos
• especially the photos that have a Santa Claus in them
Readers, BEWARE the Santa Claus’s in those photos! I was ready to have a night-mare about them as soon as I took one look at them. *shivers*
The writing wasn’t anything special. I felt as if there was just a lot of it. Ransom Riggs did have a certain style to his writing. The language was similar to something you’d find in older novels. More formal…sort of like your grandpa talking.
I really can’t say much about the plot because this is where the novel REALLY let itself down for me. I felt like it was a chore reading ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’! Everything was SOO boring and slow and with nothin that could make me feel even a little bit excited. It was just so full and average and with no excitement or epic DRAMA in it!
As for the characters, well, I felt like I barely knew them! And I spent a whole day READING about them! Jacob is just a posh/rich fifteen-year-old teenager who has the modesty not to run it into his readers faces. His dad is weird. Emma, Jacob’s love interest, was sweethearts with Jacob’s grandpa and then decides to make googly eyes at Jacob. (I know, this sounds weird but there is a time loop involved.)
When I finished the novel, I literally had two thoughts simultaneously pop into my head:
1. This whole entire story felt like it was randomly pieces together from some garbage/scary photos that the author bought or found at a garage sale.
2. I’m going to have to read more of this garbage if I’m to finish the series. And I always finish reading a series.
I really hope the rest of the series is better. I seriously believe the movie is going to be better. And THAT’S saying something!
Congratulations to Ransom Riggs on publishing the first instalment in the series! I can’t wait for the movie!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe

Concentr8Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Bloomsbury Publishing Australia in exchange for an honest review.

Review

‘Concentr8’ IS REAL!! Oh my goodness! I was so shocked when I found out! This is a heads up to those who may start reading thinking it is a figment of the author’s imagination. (Like I did.)
I feel like this novel was one big dramatisation of every single kid out there who “suffers” from ADHD. Like, the WHOLE ENTIRE STORY was cemented in the issue of the ADHD pandemic that is sweeping the world. I didn’t like it. Frankly, ADHD IS a problem but this novel just made such a big deal out of it; a BIGGER deal than it has to be.
And what puzzled me the MOST was the rave reviews the novel received from establishments like the Gaurdian and Daily Mail. I really don’t get them.
‘Concentr8’ is a novel about five kids who are diagnosed as ADHD and are given a medication called Concentr8. Unfortunately, for them, the government banned its production due to the negative health effects it’s had on children and adolescents. However, Concentr8 was the medication that almost everyone with ADHD was on, so its ban meant that all these kids and teenagers are going wild. And the whole community goes crazy, too. (I really don’t know why. Realistically, it’s only the kids and teens who are affected. Why, all of a sudden, grown people are doing random stuff such as smashing windows, stealing stuff and breaking law? I have no idea.)
This novel also questions whether ADHD is real or not. Whether it’s just a disease made by people who want profit from this “disorder”. It explores the historical background of ADHD and the reasons why the author believes it’s all a lie. I quite liked this. I have previously heard of the reasons why ADHD may not exist and was curious to see what would come of this novel. Nothing good it seems. I didn’t really like the approach that was taken to exploring this issue.
There was one aspect of the novel that I did quite like. It was how the author put his story together. There were so many interesting perspectives. Mayors, journalists; the five kids. They all had their roles and chapters in the novel. But William Sutcliffe also explored the complexity of friendship and leadership in teens. He very clearly described how often adolescents get carried away and into trouble often because of the overpowering influence of their friends. Or, more particularly, their one, charismatic, “leader” friend.
This is definitely a thought provoking read. And very quick to finish.
Congratulations to William Sutcliffe on the publication of ‘Concentr8’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: Top of the Class [Nearly] (Tom Gates, #9) by Liz Pichon

Top of the Class (Nearly) (Tom Gates, #9)Top of the Class (Nearly) by Liz Pichon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Top of the Class’ seemed a lot like all the other novels/instalments in the ‘Tom Gates’ series.
I liked the new characters which Liz Pichon introduced. They added something new and different which didn’t make reading the series so dull to read.
I still don’t get what is so funny about this series.
And I don’t get why Tom Gates is so fun to read.
Maybe I’m to old for this series.
Probably.
However, I did like how their was a bully in the story. It gave the novel a feeling of realism and something that all kids experience at some point.
Congratulations to Liz Pichon on publishing her NINTH instalment!

View all my reviews

Review: Best Book Day Ever! [So Far] (Tom Gates, #4.5) by Liz Pichon

Best Book Day Ever! [so far] (Tom Gates, #4,5)Best Book Day Ever! [so far] by Liz Pichon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

‘Best Book Day Ever!’ is probably THE SHORTEST and MOST SILLIEST novel that I have had the pleasure of reading in paperback.
Here is what I continue to like about this series. (And the random reason why I continue reading it.):
1. Its so easy to read through. Like, if you’re incapitated and literally cannot be bothered to read anything but you’re up for SOMETHING. This is a good read. Took me…30 min?
2. It reminds me a lot of ‘Diary of the Wimpy Kid’. And not in a good way.
3. I like all the illustrations.
Congratulations to Liz Pichon on publishing a new novella in the ‘Tom Gates’ series!

View all my reviews