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Review: Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Goodbye, Rebel Blue
Author: Shelley Coriell 
Publisher: Amulet
Publication Date: Oct 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Rebecca Blue is a rebel with an attitude whose life is changed by a chance encounter with a soon-to-be dead girl. Rebel (as she’s known) decides to complete the dead girl’s bucket list to prove that choice, not chance, controls her fate. In doing so, she unexpectedly opens her mind and heart to a world she once dismissed—a world of friendships, family, and faith. With a shaken sense of self, she must reevaluate her loner philosophy—particularly when she falls for Nate, the golden boy do-gooder who never looks out for himself.

REVIEW BY MERIEL – YEAR 8

Goodbye, Rebel Blue is a contemporary realistic story about Rebecca Blue (nicknamed Rebel) a teen wallflower. She does not think much of her Aunt, Cousin Penelope, Uncle or the outside world, for that matter. She and her friend-of-sorts Macey are common detention comrades, but, one day Kennedy Green – your average know-it-all and good-doer – turns up to detention. On that day, Kennedy’s last on earth, she coincidentally writes a bucket list as a detention task, a list that later haunts Rebel. Rebel’s only way to end her torment, as she and Nate (her boyfriend) see it, is to complete Kennedy’s bucket list – every goal on which, contrasts with Rebel’s lonesome, resentful personality.

Gabby, Nate’s sister, is the character I like the most. She attempts to be mature, she is very observant with a outgoing personality. She adds a lively vibe to Rebel’s life when her and Nate’s relationships changes. Rebel, not affectionately loved by her relatives, prefers to aggravate them, shut people out, and do everything her own way. The list she inherits from Kennedy forces her to change her daily routines and anti-social character. I especially liked the way she builds relationships with Macey, Nate and his big family – particularly his sister Gabby, a grown up ten-year-old.

You find yourself constantly yearning for Rebel to put herself out there, be become more confident as the story progresses, she rebuilds her life after spending years locked up in her own mind. A defense mechanism  ever since her arty, spontaneous, travel-loving mother passed away. Coriell realistically represents the characteristics of typical teenagers; the book is relatable for many modern teens. I found the storyline in some ways inspiring – showing you can build your life up again, even if it is the last thing you want – amusing, light-hearted and relatable.

I would give it four stars out of five. For Goodbye, Rebel Blue to earn the last star, I would add some more adventurous plot-lines in the story – maybe something like completing the away-from-home bucket list points. I would definitely recommend this book to teens and pre-teens, as there is age-relatable content but no language to worry about and no particularly mature themes. If Shelly Coriell’s other books contained such invigorating story-lines, that were as addictive and page-turning as Goodbye, Rebel Blue, I would read them in an instant. I have nothing to complain about in Goodbye, Rebel Blue, apart from having a little lack of adventurousness towards the end.

Review: A Breath of Frost by Alyxandra Harvey

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Image from Goodreads

Title: A Breath of Frost
Series: The Lovegrove Legacy #1
Author: Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: 2 Jan 2014
Source: Reveiw Copy
Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

In 1814, three cousins—Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope—discover their family lineage of witchcraft when a binding spell is broken, allowing their individual magical powers to manifest. Now, beyond the manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, an alluring underworld available only to those with power is revealed to the cousins. By claiming their power, the three cousins have accidentally opened the gates to the underworld.

Now ghouls, hellhounds—and most terrifying of all, the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters—are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers. And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

Can the cousins seal the gates before another witch is killed…or even worse, before their new gifts are stripped away?

REVIEW BY JOSEPHINE – YEAR 7

This is a hooking novel set in 1814 London. It tells the story of Emma Day, a young woman who is expected by all around her to go to balls, wear dresses and find a suitor. But her and her two cousins are different; they never did fit in. Gretchen, Penelope and Emma don’t want to get married. Then one day everything is turned upside down when Emma finds a dead girl covered in frost and breaks the only thing she had of her mother’s, a perfume bottle.

I loved reading this book and I would definitely recommend it to others (older readers would be best suited to this book, 12 year olds at the youngest). I am currently waiting for the next two books in the trilogy and cannot wait to get reading them.

My favourite character would probably be Gretchen, Emma’s cousin, because she is totally different to everyone else and determined not to be a perfect example of a lady. In fact she wants to dress up as a boy and fight in the army against Napoleon rather than be a wife. Even though Gretchen is my favourite I think the other characters are imaginatively created and that Alyxandra is a very skilled author.

One thing that wasn’t so good about the book was the start. It plunged straight into action and didn’t tell me any background information but in the end I managed to piece everything together. One thing’s for sure, this book can’t just be read to pass the time while your mind is on other things, it needs your full concentration and attention.

Out of five I think this book deserves four and a half stars but I would definitely read this for yourselves and see what you think about it.

This is an exciting romance story that will leave you hungry for more. The next book Whisper the Dead carries on with the Lovegrove girls’ life with more danger, magic and romance than before as the Order stays in the shadows watching their every move and strange magical occurrences are happening all around them.

Review: Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Phillip Webb

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Image from Goodreads

Title: Where the Rock Splits the Sky
Author: Phillip Webb
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: 6 March 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Where Megan lives it’s forever dusk: an endless indigo sky above a wounded land that’s slowly dying. Ever since the ‘visitors’ came, the world has stopped turning. No one sleeps, everyone’s afraid. But Megan wants to know what’s coming. She’ll stop at nothing to save those she loves. She’ll ride across a forsaken wilderness to where the rock splits the sky to set the world spinning again – and discover what she’s truly made of.

REVIEW BY SASHYA – YEAR 8

I could tell, immediately, what this book was going to be about. It is an action based story that brings three friends together to face the unpredictable zone.

The first few pages are quite hard to understand because it is sort of set in the middle of nowhere. However, as you read deeper into the story, it all comes together. Basically, this girl called Megan Bridgwater has lost both her mother and her father. She has never met her mother and therefore has no clue about her. On the other hand, she did know her father. He is a great tracker in the zone but one time he never returned. Many thought he had died. This great loss meant that Megan had to live with her horrible aunt.

The zone is a country which is always changing. Visitors, who are creatures that live disguised in the zone are very dangerous to humans. Megan’s aim is to go and look for her father in the zone, whether he is alive or dead.

Luis, a boy who grew up with Megan really wants to see the wanders within the zone and so he travels with her into the zone. While travelling through the zone, they encounter an abductee named Kelly. After they get to know each other, she joins them on their journey to find the mystery of Virgil Bridgwater.

The story then continues with the three of them facing the problems they encounter in the zone. On the whole, I found the book very slow-moving because it would be quite boring for a bit and then something sudden would happen. The pacing just felt a little off.

While I don’t think this book was really for me, I would recommend this to people who like science fiction and a bit of horror.

Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

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Image from Goodreads

Title: Poison Princess
Series: The Arcana Chronicles #1
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: Oct 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

REVIEW BY EMILY – YEAR 8

Poison Princess is full of mystery and twists, the questions posed within the narrative aren’t straightforward. Drawing you into the plot in order to gain the answers.

The setting and character tends to switch allowing a deeper leave of understanding however, this is initially very confusing but does weave together eventually. From my perspective it felt as if the pace of the story took a little while to get going.

The main character, Evie Greene, a teenage girl, although Evie is anything but normal. She has visions and hears voices, just like her grandmother before her. This is the cause of her being sent away from home.

The use of Tarot Cards within the story was extremely well developed and executed, the in-depth explanations as to their significance added a high level of understanding to events within the plot.

Throughout the book Evie becomes more aware of her powers and how to use them to her strength, even if she doesn’t want to. Evie discovers that she is not the only one with powers. There are others; some good, some bad. An ancient prophecy is being played out, a battle of good versus evil and it is not always clear who is on which side.

One character in the book that plays and important part in Evie’s life is Jackson Deveaux, he is like a bodyguard helping her find her destiny, always trying to uncover her secrets. Although there is a hint of romance in the story it isn’t the main focus.

My favourite part of the book is at the end, when everything is comes together to make sense. Although I did feel as if the ending was a little abrupt. A cliffhanger type ending enticing you to read more. While answers were given more questions were posed. Hopefully I can start the next book soon!

The only downside to this book is the start felt almost dragged out. Personal preference is for books that get straight to the point, with action from the start.

If you like romance, dystopia, action and thrillers, you will love this book.

Review: The Devil in the Corner by Patricia Elliott

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Image from Goodreads

Title: The Devil in the Corner
Author: Patricia Elliott
Publisher: Hachette Childrens
Publication Date: 6 March 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Penniless, and escaping the horrors of life as a governess to brutal households, Maud seeks refuge with the cousin-by-marriage she never knew. But Juliana quashes Maud’s emerging friendships with the staff and locals – especially John, the artist commissioned to restore the sinister Doom in the local church. John, however, is smitten with Maud and makes every effort to woo her.

Maud, isolated and thwarted at every turn, continues to take the laudanum which was her only solace in London. Soon she becomes dependent on the drug – so is this the cause of her fresh anxieties? Or is someone – or something – plotting her demise?

Is the devil in the corner of the Doom a reality, or a figment of her imagination?

REVIEW BY AMY – YEAR 8

The Devil in the Corner is about 15 year old Maud who has lost both of her parents and was working as a mistress. It is also about John a young artist who is not recognized within the art world.

The story is set in the Victorian era in Marsham. The dual narrative and multiple scene setting at the beginning did prove a little confusing.

Although the scene setting does provide insight into how both main characters came to Marsham. Following her parents death, Maud, goes to live with her relative Julian. He is ill and lives alone in Windward house, a dark, disturbing mansion at the end of town. John is also at Windward House, hired by Julian to complete painting work on the dooms. This involves a painting of God and Satan, re-enforcing the imagery of the battle of good versus evil at play within the narrative.

The book progresses slowly with a dark Gothic twist. Details of Maud’s background are sprinkled through the book allowing the reader to piece together all the details leading to the twist.

A shocking turn of events leads to Maud being the main suspect in a murder investigation. The plot leads you down many paths where you constantly question who is guilty. The tension leaves you on edge, wanting to continue reading in order to confirm or deny all the suspicions you have.

The author takes you through moments of heart-stopping fear, questioning the motives alongside the actions of the characters.

Personally, I thought The Devil in the Corner was a brilliant book that left you with questions; thought-provoking in the way that it left you curious as to how far someones love will take them.

Altogether a dark, mysterious tale about how love can be torture and make you do unforgivable things to get it