Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  
Title: Trial by Fire

Author: Josephine Angelini

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy

Pages: 373

My Rating: 3.75/5

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.


What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected. 

This review has been one of the hardest I have ever had to write. I just don’t know what to say. I have never read a book about alternate worlds before and therefore, I have nothing to compare this book too. When I first heard about this book, I thought the concept sounded completely unique and that is one of the things that really stood out to me about this book. The overall theme was ‘alternate worlds’, and yet there were elements of science and even a few hints of comedy in there which I thought came together as a very eclectic mix.

Plot-wise, I could say that there is something in this book for everyone. There’s romance in there, you’ve got some science and some fantasy too, there’s also a strong sense of friendship and teamwork as well as a sense of war in this book which just adds to the overall individuality of the book. However, I have to say, I found the plot a little confusing at times with who was who and what was where and where we were. Sometimes I felt like we were just expected to know all of this without adequate introduction. Also, I didn’t appreciate the sudden introduction of multi perspective. I liked that we did get to see other peoples’ views and I feel the story would’ve lacked a lot if it were not for that, but I think a new chapter with the characters name at the top would have helped all the readers distinguish who’s perspective we were seeing the story from. For example, when this was first introduced- through Gideon’s perspective, I thought we were still reading from Lily’s point of view and found myself very confused through half of the first paragraph, and then, on realisation, had to go back and re-read over that same paragraph.

On the subject of chapters, there are only 15 chapters in the whole book. Now, I don’t know if this actually a notable observation on this book in particular, but for me, I find it so much easier to read a book if it has shorter chapters. This is probably why it took me so long to read this book and I almost found myself in a slump at the end of it. When a book has small chapters, I find that I want to keep reading and reading and I’ll feel so accomplished if I’ve read 5 chapters rather than just 1. However, this might just be my personal preference.

Now, moving onto characters. I think my favourite of the characters would have to be Rowan and I definitely ship Rowan and Lily together (none of this Lily and Tristan nonsense… Oh no…) I loved the way Rowan was at home anywhere no matter what and he would always manage to make it seem glamorous even though it really wasn’t. I don’t know exactly what it is that makes me like him more than Tristan but there’s just something, that’s usually what happens with love-triangles anyway. I have to admit though… Just before the middle, I was a little bit of a Tristan fan… God how embarrasing… I just couldn’t get over Tristan from the beginning and I can never fully trust him after that… But you have to read the book to find out what that is… Well… Despite the fact that I once had a small crush on Tristan and Rowan is my favourite characters, I wouldn’t put either of them on my fictional boyfriends list… Well, maybe Rowan? I haven’t thought about that much…

I should say a few words about the heroine, Lily Procter… I did really like Lily, and sometimes I found her to be really relatable and funny which is what I was hoping to see out of a character who has just been transported to an alternate world… However, sometimes I found her to be really annoying and she got into arguments for no reason in order to push the story forward. I also found that she just accepted everything from only being told once, like the idea that Lillian is evil which is a concept I didn’t grasp at all in the very beginning. One last thing I found confusing was the way Lily managed to master some of the most difficult magic straight away… This is making me doubt how powerful the magic is if someone can grasp it straight away based off pure, god-given talent. I found this unrealistic… Well, for magic.

Sorry this was a bad review, I just really had no idea what to write and I hope I wasn’t too harsh. I don’t like writing negative reviews…

Just a disclaimer, I definitely going to be continuing the series with the second book closer to the release of the final book in the trilogy.

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20613491-trial-by-fire?from_search=true&search_version=service

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A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you very much Pan Macmillan Publishers for sending me a proof copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

image

Title: A Thousand Nights

Author: E.K Johnston

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Pages: 259

Release Date: 22nd October 2015

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

The Most Dangerous Love Story Ever Told. 

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife. 

When Lo-Melkhiin- a formidable king- arrives at her desert home, she knows he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice- leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. 

But it seems strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic, powerful enough to save a king… If only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster. 

Set against a harsh desert backdrop, A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston is an evocative tale of love, mystery and magic that would not feel out of place if Scheherazade herself were telling it. 

And perhaps she is…

Okay, overall I absolutely loved this story. I thought the plot was detailed and imaginative and at times, really unpredictable. I think the plot was one of my favourite parts about the book as a whole. 

When I first picked up this book, I was initially afraid that’s there wasn’t much room to roam around in in terms of storyline- but E.K Johnston took the story in a direction that I did not even think was possible and that opened up the potential for so much more. As the story progressed, I discovered more and more about the characters and was able to piece together certain parts of the story without being blatantly told. This gave me a sense of accomplishment and made the story all the more enjoyable. 

In terms of pacing, I found that, at the beginning at least, the story was a bit slow and dragged on a little. This meant that I had to re-read previous paragraphs or even whole chapters to gain a better insight to the story until the 100-page mark. As soon as I reached the 100-page mark, I was flying through the story so fast simply because I then understood what was going on and found the turn of events to be so gripping- I needed to know what was going on!!!

E.K Johnston has been so clever with her characters that it adds an element of mystery to the whole book. There is only one named character in the whole book- Lo-Melkhiin. Others may have names that were given to them by the king, but we never find out their true names- letting us think that Lo-Melkhiin scarred them so much, they simply forgot. The lead figure herself had no name, she is supposedly meant to be a Scheherazade figure or perhaps even Scheherazade herself. This was such a clever thing to do because it has given me a whole new view on One Thousand and One Nights. The Scheherazade figure was so relatable in that she was only doing what was right to protect the people she loved- not so she could die a small God, which is so often seen in young adult fiction now. Her motives and actions were exactly what I, myself, would have done and, to me, that just made the story all the more interesting. 

I loved the elements of magic and demons in this book. I loved the way the demons were portrayed and the way that they had their own narration so that we really understood what reasoning they had for doing what they do. The magic the main narrator herself possesses is described so clearly that it made me want to have that magic too and those amazing abilities. I really appreciated the difficulty it took her to come into her power and the speed at which it developed made it seem all the more powerful. 

In a nutshell, I really, really enjoyed this book- I found the plot line to be unpredictable and gripping, the characters to be relatable and loveable and the world to be detailed and beautiful (particularly the qasr) and this is why it deserved the 4 stars that it got. The only thing that let it down for me was the pacing although it definitely picked up as the story progressed. 

Just before I read this book, I went on a week long orchestra course (explaining my absence) where I fittingly played the music Scheherazade, based on the book One Thousand and One Nights. This really got me into the mood to read this book so I really recommend giving it a listen before diving into this book or any other based off One Thousand and One Nights. 

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean Review (No Spoilers)

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When her mother dies from a snakebite, Comity’s life in the Australian outback changes forever. As her father retreats into his work, Comity turns to Fred, the Aboriginal yard boy, who becomes her only friend. But then a new assistant arrives who delights in playing cruel games. As Fred becomes his target, events spiral dangerously out of control.

This is the third Carnegie book I have read so far and although I’m not allowed to say which book I think should win the award but I think eventually you’ll be able to figure out which one I like best.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book! It really had its highs and its lows but the lows really made the highs worthwhile. I will go into a lot more detail now don’t you worry.

Contradicting myself above, there isn’t really a lot I can say about this book. It took me a long time to read. A lot longer than it should’ve done in comparison with another book the exact same size. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, I think half of the plot was a bit irrelevant and we could’ve done without it. Also, that would’ve left so much room for stretching out the end scenes which I really enjoyed.

One thing I’d really like to point out is, at the beginning of the book, there is a picture of a grave and I really liked that (not that there was a grave, the fact that there was a picture.) However, that seemed to be the only picture in the book and I found that to be such a shame as that would’ve been a really great addition to the book. That might have just been my school’s copy of the book because I’ve heard there are too editions. I was disappointed with the lack of pictures but let’s focus on the writing now shall we?

I can definitely understand why Geraldine McCaughrean was chosen to write the sequel to Peter Pan as they way in which she writes is very fluid and descriptive. The descriptions she wrote in The Middle of Nowhere were really true to the Australian terrain and I think she did a really good job of making a book that is set in a deserted place seem really interesting!

I am generally not such a big fan of books that are set in Australian or African communities as I find them really hard to visualise and unfortunately I had that problem again, perhaps that’s just me but I really tried this time! I think I found the sheer number of characters the hardest thing to visualise as none of these side characters had any traits about them, they were simply just names that the reader was expected to remember. I didn’t find myself attached to any of the characters which is a shame as I think if more time was spent evolving the scenes instead of constantly referring back to the same old thing.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the amount of history and culture that was encased in this book. At the beginning of this book was a whole other language that was really real and was woven seamlessly into the stories. I really enjoyed flicking back and forth between the language translator and the actual story. It really added another layer to the story.

I think this story was really good for a lesson about morals for children but personally, for me, this wasn’t my cup of tea. I gave this a 3/5 stars because I really loved and appreciated all of the effort that went into researching this book. Thank you so much for reading this! All of my social media links are down below, including the Goodreads link for The Middle of Nowhere so go and check those out!

I will have another post up really soon! Talk to y’all later!

The Middle of Nowhere Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18684394-the-middle-of-nowhere

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan Review (No Spoilers)

Apple and Rain

When Apple’s mother returns after eleven years of absence, Apple feels whole again. She will have an answer to her burning question – why did you go? And she will have someone who understands what it means to be a teenager – unlike Nana. But just like the stormy Christmas Eve when she left, her mother’s homecoming is bitter sweet, and Apple wonders who is really looking after whom. It’s only when Apple meets someone more lost than she is, that she begins to see things as they really are.

Like a brilliant hybrid of Cathy Cassidy and Jacqueline Wilson, Sarah Crossan entices you into her world, then tells a moving, perceptive and beautifully crafted story which has the power to make you laugh and cry.

This is another book on this year’s Carnegie shortlist.

This is probably one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever had to write, because despite the fact that this book blew me away, there is not much that I can really say without giving too much away. I will try to explain this a bit better but just take my word for it. This book is amazing.

Okay, where do I start? Let’s start with writing style. The way in which Sarah Crossan writes is so beautiful, especially when she incorporates poetry so fluidly into the plot line. Argh, see I’m already mentioning plot line in the first sentence and it’s so difficult to talk about one aspect because all of these sections come together so beautifully and they create such an enthralling storyline.

Either I’m really stupid or the plot of this story was not too predictable. I mean, I wasn’t outwardly gasping at any small plot reveals but I wasn’t predicting the story in my head. I enjoyed just enjoying the story. Also, I found the plot to be incredibly gripping and I could not put it down and I managed to read the majority of this book in one sitting and then the rest the same day. I absolutely loved the settings of the book and how they contrasted with each other (obviously I can’t go into detail because of spoilery reasons). Another thing I loved about the plot was how it wasn’t repetitive in the slightest despite the fact the we know the life that the characters lead is sometimes very repetitive.

The characters were probably my favourite thing ever about this book. I mean, I close the cover after I’d finished it and immediately I wanted to start the whole thing again and jump back into the world and be with the characters again. I think my favourite of the characters would definitely have to be Del, honestly if he was real we’d be best friends because I just love him so much. His personality is so kooky and weird that he’s not your typical boy but he is certainly special. He has such a kind heart and his attitude towards Apple is so adorable. His character makes me so happy and he is so unpredictable. Another character I really loved was Apple’s English teacher, he was so inspiring and he really gave this book a new dimension.

All in all, I found this book a really enjoyable read which didn’t take anything out of me but gave me a lot to think about. Highly enjoyable, I definitely recommend it. I gave it a 5/5 stars.

Thank you so much for reading this I will have another blog post up very soon so keep an eye out for it! All of my social media links are down below, including the Goodreads link so go and check those out! Thank you so much!

Talk to y’all later!

Apple and Rain Goodreads-https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22171851-apple-and-rain

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_

 

More Than This by Patrick Ness Review (No Spoilers)

A boy called Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he is here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighbourhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this…

The first word I think of when I think about this book is: slightly disappointing..

Okay that’s two words but you know what I mean.

This story begins with the death of Seth and at this point while reading it I was sucked in to the action and mystery held in this book. 

However that was where my excitement ended…

I found the character of Seth to be really, really annoying. I didn’t like the way he repeated and over-explained himself. I think without that the book could’ve been half the size. I also found his character to be a little under- developed and I found him really hard to visualise and understand. 

When I think about the other side characters of this book, I find myself thinking that they are really interesting and add a lot to the story. Like Gudmund, for example. I love his character and I love his relationship with Seth. But again, I found Gudmund to be even more underdeveloped than Seth and I found myself wanting so much more from his character!

I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll stop talking about the characters and I’ll move onto the plot…

I thought that this plot had so much potential and there were elements of the story that I really enjoyed (redacted for spoilery reasons)

But again, I found that most of the plot was just rambling nonsense that could’ve been cut and save at least a tree or two in the process….

I’ll leave me rant there but I needed to review this book for you guys because this is one of the books on the Carnegie shortlist this year. In less than a month, I am attending the Carnegie shadowing- which I will blog in full- so I wanted you guys to have a full idea of what you can expect from this book. 

Thanks for reading, all my social media links are down below so go and check those out! 

Talk to y’all later!!

More Than This Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21969786-more-than-this

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_

 

The Rain by Virginia Bergin Review (No Spoilers)

 
JUST ONE DROP WILL KILL YOU

I will try to be honest and tell everything as it was, but I will not swear, because my mum hated swearing. I hope you’ll understand. I’ll write something beautiful instead. I’ll write Butterfly. For my mum.

Everything is Butterfly. The whole world is Butterfly, because there’s something in the rain that kills you if you get just one drop on your skin. I’ve survived this long – I don’t know how. I’ve got really good at watching the sky.

And the worst thing? I’m stuck with someone I wouldn’t kiss if he was the last boy on earth.

Which he kind of is.

Butterfly. Butterfly. Butterfly.

Okay guys, just as a disclaimer, where there are spaces there is meant to be a cute little butterfly. I have no idea how to get that butterfly and I’m not going to insult Virginia Bergin by trying to source one… But if you go on her website you’ll see what I mean, here’s the link:

http://virginiabergin.com
Okay, I actually read this book a while before I started blogging but so many exciting things are happening regarding this duology and I thought I would review the first book for you so you can be persuaded to buy this amazing book!

Like I always do, let’s start with a cover review. This cover is so, so beautiful! It really relates to the story and I love the colours and just everything about this cover is fabulous. It’s my favourite….

Now let’s talk about the actual book..

The plot for this book is so vividly thought out and it tricks you into thinking that this is just some story about a stupid girl who makes stupid decisions. But it’s not. This story has so many twists and turns that catch you off guard and they are all driven by the characters and their sometimes stupid decisions. The storyline is so detailed and fluid that I had trouble putting it down because I was whisked away into this intriguing world of post-apocalyptic madness. The world building is done in such a clever way because you can visualise everything so clearly but there isn’t and extensive amount of description. The balance is perfect. I think Virginia Bergin did a fantastic job of making an empty post-apocalyptic world seem full of excitement and mystery.

The characters…

The characters of this book are probably the most interesting characters I’ve ever read about and right now I miss them. I wish there was another book I could sink my teeth into just to relive the amazing characters in this book. The main character Ruby is so witty and funny and smart and her perspective gives such a refreshing take on young adult literature. Her attitude is snarky and irrational but that is only because she’s frightened- and who wouldn’t be in a world where the rain can kill you? Her decisions are based purely on what she wants to do regardless of what anyone else thinks and this gives her the edge above everyone else. Another character I absolutely adored was Darius. I think I loved him so much I could put him on my fictional boyfriend list. His ideas and attitude is so different to Ruby’s that they clash in a great way. They bounce off each other and despite the fact that they are so different, they are so compatible and are driven by exactly the same motives. I love the way Ruby talks about him too, and the way her opinions subtley change throughout the book- that was fantastic and very funny to read.

In case you didn’t know, I loved this book. 5 out of 5 stars 100%. This is one of my favourite books, it was amazing and if you think this sounds good, you should check out the sequel- The Storm. It is absolutely amazing and in my opinion, better. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting posts about this coming really really soon! Hope you guys enjoyed this review- if there are any other books you would like me to review just let me know in the comments down below. All my social media links are down below so go and check those out along with the Goodreads link for this book! Thank you guys so much for reading this!

Talk to you soon!

The Rain Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21116887-the-rain

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_

The Territory by Sarah Govett Review (No Spoilers)

The territory cover

5th June 2059

Noa Blake is just another normal 15 year old with exams looming. Except in the The Territory normal isn’t normal. The richest children have a node on the back of their necks and can download information, bypassing the need to study.

In a flooded world of dwindling resources, Noa and the other ‘Norms’ have their work cut out even to compete. And competing is everything- because anybody who fails the exams will be shipped off to the Wetlands, which means a life of misery, if not certain death.

But how to focus when your heart is being torn in two directions at once?

Once again, let’s start with the cover. I love this cover, I love the colours, the title, the meaning. Usually you’ll get a cover with a face or a girl- usually a girl- and it will have no significance to the story inside. But this cover bears so much resemblance to the story inside. I don’t want to say too much otherwise I’ll spoil the story and we don’t want that.

Anyway, enough of covers, I feel like my reviews all start with the same thing about covers. Maybe I need to read a book with bad cover. Then you’ll see what I have to say about that.

Just as a little side note, I am 15 years old and- like Noa- I also have exams looming. I’ve been reading way too much and not revising- I should fix that. This book has been relatable but terrifying at the same time. I found myself wanting to put the book down so I could revise but, at the same time, fighting with myself because this book was so good!

Sorry, I should’ve mentioned at the beginning what I thought about this book! Well I’m mentioning it now! This book was absolutely fantastic, completely captivating, utterly enthralling. Okay maybe I went a bit overboard then but honestly this book is amazing! I have never managed to read a book in a day but with this I read it straight through in one day and I am so proud of myself! I was up all night crying my eyes out over the ending which is the reason I didn’t post a review sooner…

When I started reading this book I didn’t think much of it and I was afraid I would have to post a negative review but honestly I have never been so happy to be proved wrong! The way Sarah Govett writes is so so unique! Her writing style keeps you captivated with what you think is a predictable storyline and then it just whisks you off and plays with your emotions. Honestly guys the feels were raw with this book, it literally left me sobbing and rolling around on the floor like a little baby. I have never been so affected by a book before…

I think the characters were my favourite part of the story. Each one was so different and they were all developed so well. Noa, for example, she was developed so well but I found some of her decisions so stupid and I was sat there screaming at my book because of her actions. I was so tempted to throw my book across the room and I would’ve except I love this book so so much! Another part of the reason I got angry at this book (in a good way) was Raf. I don’t want to say too much because of spoilers but honestly? I hated him. But I think Sarah Govett wanted us to hate him. I can just sense something is up with him. All I’m saying is I love Jack and Noa. End of story. Let’s talk about Daisy. Wow, she was a beautiful character. I loved how different all three of the friends are and that really just gave the story a lot more depth. Daisy was my favourite character after Jack.

Okay, let’s wrap things up! I loved this whole story, every single part of it was thought out so well and the storyline had such a great fluidity and the plot-twists were insane, they caught me off guard. I actually had to put the book down for a full minute to be able to comprehend how big the plot twists were. I loved every second of this book it was phenomenal. It left my crying and speechless and terrified for my exams. So, thank you Sarah Govett for making me believe I will die if I fail my exams. I cannot wait for the sequel, I can guarantee it will be incredible!

This is the first new book in a brand-new dystopian trilogy that comes out on the 14th of May, so go and pre-order it now!

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed my review! I will be back really soon for another post! Leave any suggestions for anything you’d like to see in the comments box down below! All my social media links are down below along with the Goodreads link for this book!

Talk to y’all later!

The Territory Goodreads-https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24644285-the-territory?from_search=true&search_version=service

My Goodreads-https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_