Thursday, 29 January 2015

Me & Mr J by Rachel McIntyre

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 309
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Released: 5th of February 2015

Fifteen-year-old Lara finds her soulmate. There’s just one problem – he’s her teacher. 

Lara’s life is far from perfect, but being an upbeat kind of person she saves her venting for her diary. It’s the only place she can let out her true feelings about the family dramas and hideous bullying she has to face every day.

And then a shining light comes out of the darkness – the new young and MALE teacher, Mr Jagger. The one person who takes Lara seriously and notices her potential. The one person who is kind to her. The one person who she falls madly and hopelessly in love with. The one person who cannot love her back … can he? 

What I Have To Say 

I went into this assuming it was a book about a predator. For a while, I was a little disappointed that it wasn't. But having finished it, I'm okay with it. It shows the complications that come with relationships. It shows that there are types of student/teacher relationships that aren't a teacher preying on a student, but without glorifying it. 

Lara is a train wreck. Let's be honest here. Her life is a mess and everything is ganging up on her at once. I think that there need to be more books like this. A lot of teenagers find their lives falling apart, or even just seeming to, and it's good to have a book that acknowledges that teenage problems can be serious. 

I really enjoyed reading this book and I really enjoyed Lara's voice. If I have one complaint, it's that it ended so abruptly. I'm not a fan of books that wrap things up so quickly in a short epilogue like that. 
Still, overall it was a good and interesting read. 


Monday, 19 January 2015

Mind Games by Teri Terry

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 448
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: 5th of March 2014

Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late? 

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer. 

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing...

What I Have To Say 

This lived up to my expectations of it, which were pretty high after how amazing the Slated trilogy was. While the concept of society being controlled by cybernetics is far from new, authors like Terri Terry continue to find fresh and exciting ways to build on the idea, making their stories interesting and unique.

One of the things that I loved about Mind Games, was how Terry looked into the angles of virtual reality and implants that I haven't seen before. She made the world detailed by included Refusers and people who could have implants due to religious or medical reasons and created a whole society of hackers who use their computer skills to play around with the virtual worlds.

I also loved Terry's references to her own books. It was quite nice to get that reminder of the series even though it's now over.

Whether you have read the Slated trilogy or are just curious to see what this book is like. I urge you to check it out.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Rebel Wing by Tracy Banghart

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 372 
Publisher: Alloy Entertainment
Released: 29th of July 2014

The Dominion of Atalanta is at war. But for eighteen-year-old Aris, the fighting is nothing more than a distant nightmare, something she watches on news vids from the safety of her idyllic seaside town. Then her boyfriend, Calix, is drafted into the Military, and the nightmare becomes a dangerous reality. 

Left behind, Aris has nothing to fill her days. Even flying her wingjet—the thing she loves most, aside from Calix—feels meaningless without him by her side. So when she’s recruited to be a pilot for an elite search-and-rescue unit, she leaps at the chance, hoping she’ll be stationed near Calix. But there’s a catch: She must disguise herself as a man named Aristos. There are no women in the Atalantan Military, and there never will be.

Aris gives up everything to find Calix: her home. Her family. Even her identity. But as the war rages on, Aris discovers she’s fighting for much more than her relationship. With each injured person she rescues and each violent battle she survives, Aris is becoming a true soldier—and the best flyer in the Atalantan Military. She’s determined to save her Dominion . . . or die trying.

What I Have to Say 

This book was actually better than I expected after reading the first few chapters. The character development of Aris was good. At first it seemed like it would be a really sappy love story of how a girl goes to war because she just can't live without the boy her entire life revolves around (and who she has no personality without). It turned out to be a whole different story about how she comes into herself and learns to stand on her own two feet. 

The writing was fairly good, except for one thing that bugged me. The pronouns for the females in the army. It jolted me out of the story quite a bit because when you are a woman sneaking into the army, surrounded by other women sneaking into the army, I feel in your head you would try to think of them as male even if you knew the truth. Because it lessens the chances of slipping up when speaking to other people. I don't know, that's just how I feel. 

The other thing that bothered me was the fact that a society that was happy to have women in charge of the government just couldn't stand to have them in the army. That just didn't make sense for me. The fact that a society could have that level of development and still have that kind of exclusion rang false to me. 

On the whole, this book wasn't that great. But as I said, it grew better as I continued reading it. 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The Map To Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 448
Publisher: Orion Books
Released: 4th of November 2014

'It is said the Bintheyr Map to Everywhere will take its possessor wherever he or she needs to go...'

Master thief, Fin, is unusual - when he's out of sight, everyone forgets he exists! He needs to find his mother - the one person who might remember him.

Schoolgirl, Marrill, boards a pirate ship in a car park and is carried off to another world. She needs to find her way home.

Fin and Marrill are on a wild adventure to find the Map to Everywhere, but can they escape the Oracle - a dark and powerful wizard who seeks the map to fulfil a terrifying prophecy?

What I Have To Say 

I always forget how much I love this kind of quirky middle grade fantasy adventure book until I read one of them. The Map to Everywhere was perfect. It had good ideas, a wonderful world and characters completed with a sense of fun that makes this kind of book such a wonderful experience to read. 

Fin was really interesting. I've never considered before how it would be to read about a character who was forgettable and how it would work with the other characters, but they pulled it off really well. He was a really lovable characters and I loved how he worked within the dynamics of the crew, having characters turn to him every so often and ask who he is. 

The Pirate Stream was inspired. It gave the possibility for so many different types of setting and gave a lot of potential to the story. Though I think that the kraken attack was defeated too quickly, there were so many different dangers that the stream brought to the story which made it exciting to read. 

I really hope there are more books about the Pirate Stream because I loved this book every second I was reading it. 

Monday, 5 January 2015

The Door The Led to Where by Sally Gardner

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 200
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 1st of January 2015

AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change - but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth - and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past - 1830, to be precise - where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain's means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They've gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose - and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them?

What I Have to Say 

Normally any book that has time travel to Victorian London in it would be right up my street. But this book didn't really catch me the way I wanted it too. I think it was the voice of the main character, I don't know what it was about it, but it just didn't do anything for me. 

That said, I really liked the story. Though I felt there wasn't much mystery in the poisoning subplot, I was engaged in seeing who would end up on which side of the door and whether AJ would lock it as well as the mystery of who his father was. 

It also really fitted together well at the end. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll keep this as vague as possible, but all the characters fitted well into the plot and everything was tied up neatly. There didn't seem to be any detail that the author missed when bringing the characters together. 

I really don't know what it was that put me off this book. I enjoyed it, but just not as much as I feel I could have. 

3.5 Stars