Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Redirecting you

Ok so, yeah, I've been playing around with this idea for a while, but the email for this blog has been acting up for a long time, so I'm redirecting you to my new book blog which will be me doing the same with a different format a bit easier to understand and all that jazz. If you want to follow me over, then please do, if not, then you don't have to :)

The site is http://ashersreviews.blogspot.com/ and as of yet I have no reviews. But I am starting with a review of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, so if you would like to follow me over there, I'd be extremely grateful :)

Thanks for reading guys! x

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Review 20- Don't Tell

Author: Karen Rose
Blurb: Don't Look
Desperate Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive husband was to stage their deaths. Now all that remains of her former life is at the bottom of a lake.

Don't trust
As Caroline Stewart, Mary Grace has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. Slowly she has learned to believe that her new life, and new identity, is here to stay.

Don't Tell
Then her husband uncovers her hidden trail. Step by step, he's closing in on her and everyone she loves. Now Caroline must decide whether to flee again or whether the time has come to stay and fight...

My review:

First off, this is a book with crazy serious subjects, and it's definitely a shocking book. If you can deal with it, it's an amazing book, if not, you don't want to read it. I read a book of hers which I've reviewed before and when reading it I hadn't realised that it was mid series of novels that linked through characters. So when picking up this one, I slowly came to realise that when Evie spoke about the man who almost killed her, I came to realise that this was explaining that story.

This book, like the other I've read from her, switches point of view to give you a full view of everything going on, you see the criminal & what he does, you see Caroline (the main character & victim) rebuilding her life, and you see all the other bits in between from so many other characters. It surprisingly isn't that hard to follow, you know who's talking, when we've changed setting and all that.

The plot is complex but not confusing, and it's (unfortunately in some parts) believable. You can break it down into three main plots. One, Caroline Stewart having turned her life around & finding love for the first time. Two, the police finding her car that she ran into a lake when she was running away, and investigating what exactly happened. Three, her husband's realisation that she ran away with his son, and his desperation to get his son back & get revenge on his wife. So it chops & changes trying to get the audience to go through each journey & find out what has happened while wondering when the other characters will realise what they already know.

The characters are extremely well developed and you can see the journeys they go through. Because there are so many I'll chose five to talk about. Caroline Stewart/Mary Grace Winters, Rob Winters, Tom Stewart/Robbie Winters, Max Hunter & Steven Thatcher.

Caroline is an amazing character. You see her determination throughout the novel, which (once you read the prologue) you know can't be easy. She will do anything to try and keep herself & her son safe. You can read that in her character and you can see that she's also hiding from who she was. Can't blame her really.

Rob Winters you can't have any sympathy for. He's a hideous character because of what he does, which is job (being part of the police force), you dislike it more. You get snippets from his past to indicate that he was brought up to be like this, so it's sad, but the anger & hate for him makes you forget about that. He isn't given any reason for you to like him as a character so you don't.

Tom Stewart/Robbie Winters is one of the best characters in this book in my opinion. He's fourteen but because of what he's been through, he seems a lot older. And you can see the reasons behind it so it's not something that you think shouldn't fit with his character. It's not like he's just mature for no reason, you know he's gone through a lot and you can see slowly how it's shaped him, made him guarded.

Max Hunter is at one point named as a "pompous, ungrateful, self-pitying sonofabitch" which makes me happy. In no way is he perfect, though he has aspects of perfection, you can also see his flaws, and that's comforting. Though you see him coming in on a white horse, you also see him as a human, with his faults and his pride and all the problems he has. You don't just see his faults, you see why he has the faults and what happened to lead him to where he is now. It's so refreshing to see all the reasons behind it.

And finally Steven Thatcher. He's the guy trying to find out what happened to Mary Grace Winters & her son. You see his family & you see him as a person first before you see him as an officer. You don't see that often so I really liked seeing this officer's backstory when he's not a full time main character.

Overall? If you like crime novels, Karen Rose is a must read author. I never get tired of her characters, her worlds, and the detail she goes into. In truth? Nothing massively exciting and proper happens until about 100 pages from the end, but the tension that she builds as you read the book and see one character realise something, then the next until things are too late is amazing.

Overall Rating- 8 out of 10
Would I read another- Definitely
Anything else- I'm starting to put the names of authors as well as blurbs up so if you like this please tell me and I'll continue to do it, if not tell me again and I'll switch it back.

Thanks for reading guys x.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Review 19- Bluebell Cottage

When I bought this book, I have to admit I kinda bought it out of pity. The author was there and I picked it up to read the back out of interest, and we talked a bit and it seemed like no one had bought one since she'd been there. So I got it signed and bought it. And after reading it, I have a few problems with it.

My main problem is the audience it's aimed at. It's in the 9-12 years old section. The main character is mid 30s, so I think it's hard to connect with her because of the age. Near the start there's a talk about her dead daughter, and near the end there's quite a strong conversation about relationship and such. It's not just a simple fairy war like I thought it would be, and it focused a lot more on the relationship between two characters which brings me onto my second main problem.

The author continuously talks about Twilight, for a few pages. It really annoyed me. Then you continue with it and you notice some similarities between the series and this book. Firstly, the two guys after her (I know that love triangles are common, but there's just this thing where there's the friend and then there's the incredibly hot guy who gives the friend no chance of getting the girl), second she actually leaves to protect him, which is role reversal from Twilight, but you get my drift. Oh, and the main character? Complete klutz. It was things like that which annoyed me, because obviously when she tells you about Twilight once or twice you start to see the similarities because there's this idea 'oh this is a good book that I love so I'm going to talk about it in my book' you know? I wanted to hear the author's voice, but I only got her admiration for that series.

I'm not going to go into anything else because I don't want to remember it because I'll just moan about it. To be honest the characters weren't too bad, they just seemed really similar to obvious characters.

Overall Rating- 3.5 out of 10 (that's being generous)
Would I read anything else by this author- No, definitely not.
Anything else- Usually I don't do this, but if you're thinking about reading this, just don't, I'm sorry it's not great.

Thanks for reading guys! x

Review 18- City of Ashes

So, wow, because this is the second book in the series I'm putting out a bigger warning than usual to say that it may have spoilers for the first one, if you have read the first one then I won't say don't read it. If you haven't picked up the first one i would because it is (so far) an extremely good series, I will try to lay off spoilers, but they may be dotted in there.

So first of all I want to say how well developed the characters are, seriously, you can feel their dynamics, and sometimes you want to scream at the characters because of what they do or say or any of that. They work, and she makes them constant. I'm gonna talk about them separately than as groups what I think of them, and I'll be truthful about them.

Clary, I sometimes find her quite a weak character. Not always. She seems to have bursts of bravery, but, I don't know, sometimes she does seem like a lost little girl in the middle of an unknown theme park. I like the fact that she does yell sometimes, and will stand up for what she believes in, you can see she has the teen spirit. I think because she's confused, about what's going on in her life, who she loves, what's happened to her mother, who her father is, she doesn't know what to do, which I guess makes it obvious as to why she sometimes seems like a lost little girl. I don't know, I definitely think she was stronger as a character in book one, is that because now we've seen the world of the Shadowhunters in more detail and the other characters are so strong, maybe that's why I see her as such a much more weak character.

Then there's Jace. I don't know what to think about Jace either, I like him, but at the same time I find him arrogant and annoying, and yeah, sometimes I want to scream at him or punch him. He's a very dynamic character, you can see why he's the way he is, you can understand why he does the things he does, even if we don't like him. It seems as if he's almost given up on everyone around him, like he doesn't see the point in pretending for people. I like that because he's not perfect. You see him dealing with this conflict inside & in parts of this book, you do see him give up, which is refreshing to see from a strong character.

Simon is a sweetheart, he's one of my favourite characters because he seems like just a nice guy. I felt really sad near the end of the book when something happens that I won't say because of spoilers, one of the only times if I'm being honest. I do think he's a good character, and I think that in this book he has the biggest character development of all the characters through this book, which is nice to see, because you kinda feel like he's just been dragged along. It was nice to see that he got some development.

Luke is the perfect father figure. I think he's brilliant, though he obviously has his own problems, he looks like an amazing leader & like he'll protect people he cares for in any way possible.

A pairing that I love (THIS DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS YOU'VE BEEN WARNED) is Magnus & Alec, I think they're kinda adorable. When they fight when Jace blurts out he knows, it's hilarious how Magnus acts when Alec tries to deny it. Just such a cute little pairing. They're completely amazing. (END OF SPOILER)

There are some seriously hilarious parts in the book. In the court of the fairies, where they are bickering about who's got to kiss who, was my favourite part by far. It was just so funny.

I hated the cliffhanger at the end though. I wanted to scream, especially since I can't get the next one for a while.

Overall Rating- 8.5 out of 10
Would I read anything else by this author- Yes definitely I need the next book!
Anything else- Nope.

Thanks for reading guys! x

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Review 17- The Red Pyramid

I bought this and started it ages ago, but when I started it I got annoyed at one of the characters and at some bits of the way it was written. Though I know it's written for a younger audience, but still, when you get annoyed at a main character and narrator, it's hard to read a book. But let's start on something other than the characters this time.

The plot is definitely a very original one, you learn a lot about the Egyptian Gods and Mythology and it's extremely interesting. It has a very similar structure to his Percy Jackson series, but has more of the family aspect to it. I mean, yes the first Percy Jackson book has a lot to do with him looking for his mother to save her, but because this book is narrated by two narrators who are brother and sister, you can see the focus shifting more to the family as you see them interacting with each other, and how it's driven on by their family and who they've lost and found over the years.

One think I didn't really like about this though was how he started it. Rick Riordan started it with what seemed to be a life or death situation, the narrators directing a warning to the reader telling them that they were in danger, extremely dramatic and as if it was the most important thing in the world. That was fine, but he didn't follow through. By the end (I won't spoil anything I swear) it was as if it didn't matter, or the first page was completely separate from the story, almost like an after thought that he'd completely forgotten what he wrote at the start and just rushed back to it at the end. I think if he put it in it shouldn't have ended in the pathetic way he made it end. It could have just linked and the way he made it, he could have had the recording have stopped saying there was a glitch on the tape or they hadn't transcribed the full thing. In my opinion he rushed it out so he could tie it with the first chapter, and with a page or two of him telling us this pretty useless information that had nothing to do with the rest of the book, it felt like it could have been missed out altogether or been told in some other way.

Now for the characters. As i've stated I'm not keen on one of his main characters, but I'll just write what I think, why I think it and try not to sound too judgemental though I know I already sound it. I'll start with Carter. He was a character I liked, you saw his fear, you saw his knowledge, his love for his family, his jealousy toward his sister for her 'normal' life. He was definitely a well rounded character filled with faults and strengths. You saw him fall in love, you saw him grow basically, and it was just a good way to show him as a character.

And Sadie? This narrator I wasn't keen on. Sadie is twelve. She's English, and she drinks tea...which is made in a pot. This may be me being picky (it probably is), but I hate this stereotype that is pushed onto English people. I'm English, and I'm eighteen years old and I hate tea at this age, definitely wouldn't touch the stuff when I was twelve years old. So, in my eyes, I really can't see a twelve year old drinking a cup of tea in the best china that's been made in a pot which is how Sadie is portrayed. Unfortunately, Rick Riordan made this twelve year old girl have mannerisms of someone much older than she was, I mean she was wearing combat boots, had streaks of red in her hair, drank tea. She seemed like she was a sixteen year old wannabe Goth who drank tea to impress older people, not the twelve year old girl who should be carefree and happy and all that jazz. Don't get me wrong, she had her faults and strengths just like her brother, and is definitely a well rounded character as well, it's just hard to drop first ideas about the character when you see such a blatant over used stereotype that really annoys you. I apologise for the rant, but I can't help it when it comes to these stereotypes.

Overall though, it was an ok book. Definitely not his strongest book in my opinion, but the plot was good, most of the characters were good characters, nearly all of them well rounded and balanced, even if I didn't like some of them. And though I didn't like one of the characters, I must admit I will most probably read the next one.

Overall rating- 5.5 out of 10
Would I read anything else by this author- Yes, I still love his Percy Jackson series
Anything else- Nope

Thanks for reading guys! x

Friday, 18 March 2011

Review 16- I Am Number Four

I didn't know what to expect from this book going into it, I'd heard a lot of mixed reviews about it, a few people saying it was hard to get into at first. I didn't think so. From the start I loved the action, where you found out about Number Three, and then straight into what's happening with Number Four. Straight in with the action and we get a feel for the characters straight away.

The characters were amazing, they had enough about them that they felt real. John/Four had enough emotions that he could be seen as real and not just a super human that was extremely unrelatable. He was constantly growing as the plot progressed. We saw him go from a secretive individual to someone who began to experience every day emotions like friendship, love, all the emotions you expect to see from a teenager the age of 14. Though i think some of the things he did were a bit farfetched seeing as he had been told to 'lay low' and he'd obviously had done this lifestyle for an extremely long time to know what he had to do, you could see why he did it and you could see his thought process behind it. You see him grow as a character which is great to see because sometimes in books you don't see characters grow in the space of one book. And then he brought out Number Six. She is the type of character I'd love to see more in books like this, she's badass, she's awesome, she knows what to do and keeps her cool. I think it's refreshing to see a character like her, who doesn't fall in love with a strong guy, who doesn't do anything obvious, someone who comes in, can fight, knows what she's doing, does what she needs to do and doesn't mix her words. When the next books come out I can't wait to find out her back story, to see what she's like, to find out more about her. Brilliant character, super excited to see how she got to be like she is.

The plot is good. I can't say it was the best plot as in my mind it was slightly generic & obvious, but there were twists and turns here and there that kept it interesting. If I'm being honest, I didn't think he'd dwell on the teen romance aspect as much as he did, I wanted to see more action, but I can understand that if he wants to get that audience and make it a range of readers he has to put that in. But apart from that it was a good read, and some parts you read and you don't want to put the book down for any reason. I was at one part like about two thirds of the way through, where I had to put it down because of a class I had, and I sat through the class desperate to pick it back up because I was desperate to know what happened next.

Pittacus Lore definitely has an audience in mind and I think he knows how to write for them. It was a good read altogether, and a fantastic way to start what is seen to be the next big thing in YA Literature (or from what is says on the back of my book what's expected of it anyway). I'm hoping that the second book is just as good, though from reading the excerpt in the back of this one, I'm nervous to see if he will deliver, but .

Overall rating- 7 out of 10
Would I read anything else by this author- Yes
Anything else- Nope

Thanks for reading guys! x

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Review 15- Greywalker

This is a really good start to a series. At the start you can't help but wonder how everything is going to come together, how all of the characters will turn out, what will happen when Harper (the protagonist) starts working properly, how her investigations will come together in the end. It takes a while for it to get fully into the story, but once it did, I was gripped. Harper Blaine is an amazing character and a good narrator to follow the story with. As a private investigator you know that she would be used to some slightly strange situations, and you see her professional view on things come out in different situations, and slowly it begins to be revealed that maybe her clients aren't all who they seem to be.

We see the characters coming together, not because they want to, but because they have to work together. Doing this we get to see a range of paranormal creatures and we get a sense of mystery from the different investigations. Kat Richardson has done an amazing job rounding these characters, giving them emotion, flaws, it's an amazing group characters to say the least.

For the plot, it was very complicated, but not in a bad way. You have so many things going on, Harper trying to deal with becoming a Greywalker and accepting all of these things that are happening to her, her two main cases, the love aspect we see, Quinton and what goes on with him, then Mara and her problems. I think it could have been extremely rushed and badly done, but Kat Richardson does it well, she's able to balance it all out and make it so that you see all the things that are needed, without it being rushed. This is something that could have been missed, with the rush and the action it could have been done terribly, but she paces it well, keeps it action packed and fast paced but gives us all the detail we need.

Overall it's an amazing start to the series, a fantastic read, action packed, with an amazing set of characters, and just a good book in general. If you read and enjoyed books like Working for the Devil (Lilith Saintcrow) and Guilty Pleasures (Laurell K. Hamilton)

Rating?- 8 out of 10
Would I read anything else by this author?- Yes definitely want to read the next one

Thanks for reading guys! x