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Review: Heap House by Edward Carey

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Heap House
Series: The Iremonger Trilogy #1
Author: Edward Carey
Publisher: Hot Key books
Publication Date: Sept 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 2/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Clod is an Iremonger. He lives in the Heaps, a vast sea of lost and discarded items collected from all over London. At the centre is Heap House, a puzzle of houses, castles, homes and mysteries reclaimed from the city and built into a living maze of staircases and scurrying rats.

The Iremongers are a mean and cruel family, robust and hardworking, but Clod has an illness. He can hear the objects whispering. His birth object, a universal bath plug, says ‘James Henry’, Cousin Tummis’s tap is squeaking ‘Hilary Evelyn Ward-Jackson’ and something in the attic is shouting ‘Robert Burrington‘ and it sounds angry.

A storm is brewing over Heap House. The Iremongers are growing restless and the whispers are getting louder. When Clod meets Lucy Pennant, a girl newly arrived from the city, everything changes. The secrets that bind Heap House together begin to unravel to reveal a dark truth that threatens to destroy Clod’s world.

REVIEW BY SAM – YEAR 9

Clod is an Iremonger, a cruel but hardworking family. The Iremongers live in Heap House, a group of buildings full of other people’s rubbish. Clod has an illness that allows him to hear objects talk including his bath plug (described as his birth object). All Iremongers are given birth objects to keep themselves safe.

When Lucy Pennant, a servant girl, arrives at Heap House everything changes. Clod and Lucy become friends, which leads to him discovering the truth about his family.

This book was rather unusual and I struggled with the first few chapters as the story was slow. For me the story was not compelling enough and the characters other than Clod and Lucy were not well developed. However the book was very imaginative and quirky; unlike anything I’ve read before.

I would recommend this book for fans of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events . But for me this book is like marmite, you either love it or you hate it.

Recommended reading age: 10+

Books I’ve Read: My Sweetest Escape by Chelsea M Cameron

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: My Sweetest Escape
Series: My Favorite Mistake #2
Author: Chelsea M Cameron
Publisher: Mira Ink
Publication Date: Jan 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The past will always find you.

Jos Archer was the girl with the perfect life; until the night it all came crashing down around her. Now, nine months later, she still hasn’t begun to pick up the pieces. Even transferring to a new college and living under the watchful eye of her older sister, Renee, isn’t enough to help her feel normal again.

And then she meets Dusty Sharp. For reasons Jos can’t begin to fathom, the newly reformed campus bad boy seems determined to draw her out of her shell. And if she’s not careful, his knowing green eyes and wicked smile will make her feel things she’s no longer sure she deserves.

But even as Dusty coaxes Jos to open up about the past, he’s hiding secrets of his own. Secrets about the night her old life fell apart. When the truth is finally revealed, will it bring them closer together;or tear them apart for good?

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I was so excited that there was a follow-up to My Favorite Mistake. The connection to the first book is tenuous in the beginning, you do get to see the progression of the main couple, Taylor and Hunter (the highlight of the story) as the plot progresses.

Told in first person narrative from the perspective of, Jocelyn (Jos) who happens to be Renee’s younger sister. Always the quintessential good girl, until an incident makes Jos re-evaluate herself and her direction in life. Multi-divorced parents and a myriad of siblings lead Jos to define herself in the only way she knew how. Making herself stand out by her attempts at being the ‘perfect’ daughter/sister/student/girlfriend. God, you can feel the stress pouring off her whenever she thinks about the person she was. She was basically living life within limitations she has placed on herself, surviving rather than living.

While the incident is alluded to within the narrative it isn’t fully divulged until much later in the story. There are a lot of assumptions open to the reader as they follow Jos’s story. The timing of the revelations adds intensity to the impact on the plot and the emotions evoked, showcasing Chelsea’s talent for both plot and character development.

The narrative clearly shows the different types of love and it’s effect on the life of the individual, especially their ability to bond with others.

There is a ‘six degrees of separation’ feel within the plot adding depth to the story and the emotions it delivers, alongside a hint of fate/destiny. My Sweetest Escape emphasizes the fact that a person’s identity is constantly changing and evolving due to their life experience, both good and bad.

Music plays a huge part in the book making it very relatable as music is a large part of my life :)

My Sweetest Escape is cute, sweet with a smidge of smexy and there is a kitten. What more could you ask for :)

Hunter and Taylor are still my favorite – just had to get that out there ;)

 

Review: After We Collided by Anna Todd

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: After We Collided
Series: After #2
Author: Anna Todd
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: 25 November 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Tessa has everything to lose. Hardin has nothing to lose…except her.AFTER WE COLLIDED…Life will never be the same. #HESSA

After a tumultuous beginning to their relationship, Tessa and Hardin were on the path to making things work. Tessa knew Hardin could be cruel, but when a bombshell revelation is dropped about the origins of their relationship—and Hardin’s mysterious past—Tessa is beside herself.

Hardin will always be…Hardin. But is he really the deep, thoughtful guy Tessa fell madly in love with despite his angry exterior—or has he been a stranger all along? She wishes she could walk away. It’s just not that easy. Not with the memory of passionate nights spent in his arms. His electric touch. His hungry kisses.

Still, Tessa’s not sure she can endure one more broken promise. She put so much on hold for Hardin—school, friends, her mom, a relationship with a guy who really loved her, and now possibly even a promising new career. She needs to move forward with her life.

Hardin knows he made a mistake, possibly the biggest one of his life. He’s not going down without a fight. But can he change? Will he change…for love?

REVIEW 

Wow this series should come with a health warning; equal parts irritating, emotional and addictive.  It’s like watching a epic multi-vehicle pile-up and not being able to tear your eyes away. Reading the After series involves quite a bit of loud ranting at the characters, wishing you could jump into the book in order to knock their heads together while walking a knifes edge of tension.

I have to say I was beyond excited that this second book is in dual narrative. the chance to get inside Hardin’s very messed-up mind OH YEAH ;) That dude makes you question the definition of sociopath. To be completely honest even with his perspective I still don’t understand him in the slightest, not even a tiny little bit. The things he does and says defy logic at times. Hardin is beyond bitter and rage, his barriers have been so deeply enforced from a disturbingly young age you do question whether there is any hope of a long term breakthrough. That’s all I can say is dude needs some serious therapy.  For me, it seemed as if Hardin was intrinsically programmed to mess up; he is the poster child for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I liked Tessa more in this book as her character develops and for all intents and purposes grows a backbone. Don’t get me wrong, she makes some very major mistakes that make you question her maturity.  Yet, she is far stronger than she gives herself credit for and amazingly well-adjusted considering she has such a self-centered bitch as a mother.

Immaturity and insecurity aren’t good foundations to build a relationships on. Relationships require trust, without that what are you left with? As much as I crave Hardin and Tessa to achieve a HEA I can’t help but question whether their relationship is healthy for either of them. How can too people be both so bad and yet so good for each other? It is really confusing. Elements of soul-mates are explored within the narrative yet you continual question if they should be together because of all the negative aspects of their relationship. The back and for, up and down, is exhausting to follow. I felt as if I was on constant high alert for the next disaster to occur. Just when you think there is a small about of reprieve Anna Todd pulls the rug form under you with more revelations.

Anna Todd does a fantastic job of conveying the emotions the characters are experiencing within the narrative; from the very beginning it was easy to empathizes with their reactions.

Questions of popularity and identity are woven into the plot adding a thought-provoking element to the story as a whole. What would you do for popularity, examining Hardin’s reputation and behavior when he is with his so-called friends put this into perspective. To become the person you want to be you should value yourself above the opinions of others.

As I’ve said After We Collided is equal parts annoying, frustrating and irritating YET is totally compelling and so very addictive it borders on an obsession to discover what happens next. Once this story sinks it’s teeth into you it won’t let go :)

Review: Inspire by Cora Carmack

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: Inspire
Series: Inspire #1
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 15 Dec 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Kalliope lives with one purpose.

To inspire.

As an immortal muse, she doesn’t have any other choice. It’s part of how she was made. Musicians, artists, actors—they use her to advance their art, and she uses them to survive. She moves from one artist to the next, never staying long enough to get attached. But all she wants is a different life— a normal one. She’s spent thousands of years living lie after lie, and now she’s ready for something real.

Sweet, sexy, and steady, Wilder Bell feels more real than anything else in her long existence. And most importantly… he’s not an artist. He doesn’t want her for her ability. But she can’t turn off the way she influences people, not even to save a man she might love. Because in small doses, she can help make something beautiful, but her ability has just as much capacity to destroy as it does to create. The longer she stays, the more obsessed Wilder will become. It’s happened before, and it never turns out well for the mortal.

Her presence may inspire genius.

But it breeds madness, too.

REVIEW 

Inspire literally sweeps you off your feet. I have to be honest I’m hoping for inspiration to hit this review ;) Cora Carmack weaves mythology seamlessly into a contemporary setting, laying the groundwork for the plot in a uniquely realistic manner.

It is easy to identify with Kalli; her immortal existence is weighing heavily on her. While it would be nice to regenerate at the stroke of midnight every day it does limit the amount of personal expression a person can have; just think tattoo’s and piercing would heal immediately :( Plus the deeper connection each person craves, family, children and unconditional love. The only relationships Kalli has experienced have been based on her ability.

The fine line between genius and madness is examined closely within the narrative. Especially when connection turns to obsession due to Kalli’s abilities, sending a person over an edge they can never get back from.  Plus causing immeasurable guilt to Kalli. However, Kalli has no choice but to share her gift otherwise it can cause her own madness and infect those not destined to experience such things. Leading to undesirable after-effects for everyone concerned. I have to be honest and say the experiment Kalli undertakes is one I personally would have considered a long time ago.

I absolutely loved the use of the threads of fate within the plot. Adding depth to the romantic aspects within the narrative. The dual narrative between Kalli and Wilder balanced the story-line beautifully aiding a deeper understanding of both characters and their reactions to certain revelations ;)

The detail to the mythological aspects of the plot created a stunning backdrop to the story as a whole. Enriching the story-line while simultaneously creating an alternate reality based within contemporary society, which was surprisingly very easy to picture :) Prophecies and repercussions lead to a tension fueled cliffhanger.

Inspire combines romance, mythology and creativity in a completely addictive fashion. I can’t help but say it, Cora will Inspire obsession in you ;)

Books I’ve Read: The Ever After of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Ever After of Ella and Micha
Series: The Secret #4
Author: Jessica Sorensen
Publisher: Sphere
Publication Date: 4 Dec 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The day Ella has waited for is just around the corner. It’s the day she’ll marry Micha, the love of her life, the light that guided her out of the darkness. It looks like it will be the perfect Christmas, until an unexpected package arrives with a harsh reminder of Ella’s past. Suddenly Ella doesn’t feel as confident about her future. Can she really have a ‘happily-ever-after’ if she’s never even seen one?

Micha will stand by Ella no matter what she’s going through, though he worries that she might leave him standing at the altar again. When he’s offered a once-in-a-lifetime chance to tour with his favourite bands for three months, Micha knows he can’t leave Ella behind. But can he ask her to uproot her life to join him on the road?

Now Ella and Micha must find a way to balance their fears, their dreams, and their love . . . if they ever want to hear wedding bells.

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While I love these books and especially Ella and Micha, I have to say I am a little disgruntled by the seemingly endless additions to the story-line. Quite a bit that is superfluous to the main story-line. I would have preferred to see less books with more content in each one. I’m sure I am not the only person to feel like this. Sorry for the smidge of negativity but I had to be completely honest.

I love Ella and Micha, their relationship has stood the test of time and more than their fair share of turmoil. I felt it was a privilege to witness the strengthening of the bonds that hold them together. The way they support each other emotionally, helping each other fulfill their dreams is especially heart-warming.

Ella, in particular, has developed so much as a character since the first book. While her moments of insecurity relating to her mental health are understandable to a certain degree, you can’t help but be frustrated with her at times. Emphasizing just how much patience Micha has with her *SWOON* The defining moment for me with their story was that previously when Ella panicked she would run; now, she turns to Micha. Anyone who has followed their story from the beginning will understand what a HUGE turning point this is for Ella.

The Ever After of Ella and Micha provides pure heart-warming goodness with it’s fair share of swoon inducing moments.