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Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me by Various Authors

December 22, 2014

Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me by Various AuthorsMy True Love Gave To Me by Various Authors
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 9th October 2014
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Pages: 355
Goodreads
four-stars
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ...This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories set during the festive period, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. The stories are filled with the magic of first love and the magic of the holidays.

As soon as this book hit my radar I knew I’d have to get my grubby mitts on a copy. I mean, look at that author line-up! You couldn’t get any better if you tried. Well, I don’t think you could, anyway. There’s some old favourites mixed in with authors whose writing I’m yet to try for myself, and My True Love Gave to Me was the perfect way to be introduced to those authors.

For the most part, My True Love Gave to Me is full of excellent holiday-themed stories. And, much to my surprise, they aren’t all contemporary stories. There’s a few paranormal ones thrown into this anthology too, which I loved. My personal favourites had to be those by Stephanie Perkins, Myra McEntire and Kiersten White. Kiersten White’s story almost had me in tears, dammit. As I said on twitter, nice stepdads get me every time. Every. Single. Time. As with all anthologies, there were a few stories I didn’t enjoy as much. Not because they were bad, but a couple of them confused me so much, I didn’t really have a clue what was going on as I was reading, which was a shame.

On the whole, My True Love Gave to Me is a wonderfully festive read, perfect for that run-up to Christmas. If filling up your belly with warm fuzzy feelings as you read something you enjoy doing, then this is definitely a book for you.

Book Review: On the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor

October 20, 2014

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: On the Road to Find Out by Rachel ToorOn the Road to Find Out by Rachel Toor
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 10th June 2014
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 320
Goodreads
three-stars
A funny, uplifting debut about running, romance—and dealing with college rejection and other hurdles

On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined.

Sometimes I go through a lot of ups and downs with a book as I read it. I never know how I truly feel about the book until it’s over and that is exactly how I feel with On the Road to Find Out.

Let me get one thing clear: I did not like Alice. As a character, I found her rude, selfish and extremely ungrateful. So she got rejected from college. So what? A lot of people do. A lot of people deal with a lot more crap at 18 than getting rejected from a college. She was so out of order, particularly with the way she treated her parents and her ‘best friend’ Jenni. Particularly her mother, who just tried her best to be there for Alice, even when Alice pushed her away. I’ve never known a character to get under my skin as much as she did. But maybe that’s because I saw more of myself in Alice than I really wanted to.

However, I did like the journey Alice went on. The running storyline and how she improved gave me something positive to focus on, and almost almost inspired me into taking on my own challenge. (I’m not quite convinced, but to get me thinking about it again is impressive.) The way Alice’s running developed was so important and the better she got, the nicer a person she seemed to become.

The romance was a bit meh for me, I could take it or leave it if I’m honest. The great thing about it was that it wasn’t the main story. The romance could’ve been taken away from the entire book and the story would have still remained and I commend Toor for that.

I would recommend giving On the Road to Find Out a go, purely because it’s unheard of for me to hate the main character in a book but still enjoy the book overall. Something about this book kept me reading it every spare moment I got, but it also meant it was over far too quickly for my liking!

Book Review: Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel

October 14, 2011

Book Review: Infinite Days by Rebecca MaizelInfinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
Series: Vampire Queen #1
Published by Macmillan Children's Books on 3rd August 2010
Source: Bought Physical Copy
Pages: 400
Goodreads
four-stars
For 500 years Lenah Beaudonte has been a vampire. 500 years of seduction, blood and destruction. But she is sickened by her dark powers and longs to feel the sun on her skin, grass under her bare feet, and share the breath of a human kiss.

She wants to be mortal again.

But is she really capable of being human, after her long years of darkness? Waking up as a sixteen-year-old girl brings Lenah many things the life she has missed, taste, touch, love. But a vampire soul is not easily shed. And her coven of four vampires she led in decadence and thrilling destruction want their queen back... 

I picked up this book knowing very little about it. It was a part of a ‘buy one, get one for £1’ offer at Waterstones, so I picked up this one along with Fallen by Lauren Kate. I skimmed over the blurb, and decided that the premise of a vampire turning back into a human sounded interesting enough for me to buy the book, and bought it. I then left it to gather dust (along with so many other of my books) before finally picking it up last week. And wow, am I so pleased I did! The book left me so hungry for the next in the series, I don’t think I’ll be able to wait until next year until it’s release!
I loved how real all the characters were, there were no ‘perfect’ characters, they were all flawed, which I feel is so important to all fiction. No-one is perfect, and sometimes I feel that authors try too hard to make their characters perfect. I particularly loved Tony, Lenah’s new best friend that she meets on her first outing outside her new room at the Wickham boarding school. Tony was an artist, a fact that is always noted upon throughout the story, as were tiny little details like ear gauges and mismatched boots. The writing really came alive for me in this book, and I felt as though I was right there at Wickham with all the characters.
I loved how Maizel incorporated flashbacks of Lenah’s vampire life, these in particular were vivid in their description, and I could easily imagine every place, person, noise, you name it, I imagined it. Sometimes I preferred the flashbacks to the present day scenes, probably because of the rich description they contained. I also grew strangely attached to Lenah’s coven, something which I didn’t think would happen, but considering these men were her family, it was difficult not to. I liked how each coven member had a different interest or culture, it added so much more depth to the characters.
Lenah herself was an exceptional character. She knew she had been a vicious, murderous vampire in her past life, and tried desperately to live her newly human life to the full. This included going snorkelling and bungee-jumping with Justin Enos and the Three-piece, and of course, Tony. I loved how Lenah lost no memory of her vampire life, as I felt this really helped her character develop. I felt I could easily connect with her character, and I think that was why I felt for Tony and Justin so much, I loved them just as much as Lenah did, and I could see why she loved them both.
Her relationship with Justin was the only tiny thing that really bothered me, it felt like he dropped his ex like a hot potato, then went straight to Lenah. That felt a little too rushed for me, which was a little disappointing.
And the ending! Seriously, I cried. And cried. And cried some more. Talk about a cliffhanger! I don’t want to talk about it too much, as I don’t want to spoil anything! But I desperately need the sequel to be released soon.
One of the best first books in a series I’ve read in a while.