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Review: Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Invisibility
Author: Andrea Cremer and David Levithan
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 7 May 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

A magical romance between a boy cursed with invisibility and the one girl who can see him, by New York Times bestselling authors Andrea Cremer and David Levithan.

Stephen is used to invisibility. He was born that way. Invisible. Cursed.
Elizabeth sometimes wishes for invisibility. When you’re invisible, no one can hurt you. So when her mother decides to move the family to New York City, Elizabeth is thrilled. It’s easy to blend in there.
Then Stephen and Elizabeth meet. To Stephen’s amazement, she can see him. And to Elizabeth’s amazement, she wants him to be able to see her—all of her. But as the two become closer, an invisible world gets in their way—a world of grudges and misfortunes, spells and curses. And once they’re thrust into this world, Elizabeth and Stephen must decide how deep they’re going to go—because the answer could mean the difference between love and death.

REVIEW BY AMY – YEAR 8

Invisibility is based in the modern day world New York . It involves a boy called Stephen who was born invisible to the world and even his own mother. He has had to cope with the fact that he will never be seen in society or have a voice or view in life. There twist in the story as to the origin of the curse. Unexpectedly, Elizabeth, a girl for Minnesota who moved to New York with her mother and brother, can actually see him.

The Authors really capture how cruel and painful the life Stephen has had to lead, how he must have felt with everything he has been through. His emotions fare portrayed in great detail adding a connection to him for the reader. The powerful sense of relief Stephen feels when he is no longer an outsider to the world resonates with the reader.

The two main characters quickly progress into a relationship which in itself is a challenge. Eventually, Elizabeth discovers Stephen’s curse, leading her on a journey with her brother, Laurie. Revelations uncover the depth of just how much Elizabeth is tied to Stephen’s curse. Leading them into a mysterious world full of spells curses and witches, progressing the story further encompassing  magic, curses, death and of course more details regarding the origin of the curse.

I thought the story was initially bland and confusing as it is told in dual narrative, Stephen and Elizabeth, detailing the life unfolding around them. Not being used to more than one narrator it took a little adjusting to. Although, it was very effective in helping understand the background lives and feelings of the characters and giving the readers different views, but still confusing as you have to pick out key information to understand which view the authors were writing from.

None the less, as the book continued it quickly became exciting involving a lot of drama and action and the fair bit of comedy. I liked this book, it reminds us that we often forget the little things in life, things we take for granted. Especially the everyday beauty all around us that we can often miss.

Overall, Invisibility is a page turner full of excitement, that will leave you on edge of your seat. I am hoping there will be a sequel in order to fully achieve closure :) .

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Angelfall
Series: Penryn and the End of Days
Author: Susan Ee
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: 23 May 2013
Source: Gifted
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

It’s been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back…

REVIEW BY GRACE – YEAR 7

It’s 6:30 am as I write this.  I have just finished reading Angelfall, a dark urban fantasy novel. I have read the book over the past three days.

Angelfall begins at a time of a post-apocalyptic event. It reminded me totally of a book namely “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy (2006).

Following on from an ‘Armageddon’, where angels attempt to conquer our human civilisation, the book is emotionally shattering. Angelfall affirms the pricelessness of what we as humans take for granted, the here and now of our ‘civilised’ lives. Angelfall creates a ‘nightmare’, which through Penryn’s character and life experiences highlight the cruelty and ugliness of some people’s lives; where they have been born into a situation not of their making. But how, despite this, everyone has something to lose…..Attachment and friendships are with us all, the fragile aspects of these concepts are highlighted in Angelfall.

The reader is never really told why the ‘invasion of angels’ has taken place.

One of the main characters in the book is Penryn, a tough but very vulnerable young lady, vulnerable emotionally prior to the angel invasion. Penryn’s mother is a fascinating character – a schizophrenic who alternates between a knowledgeable human being to a destructive, crazy wild animal.

The storyline follows Penryn as she seeks to save her younger sister who is wheelchair bound and has additional needs. Penryn’s younger sister is abducted by the angels.

The details and peculiarities of the characters are developed throughout the book. This is further enhanced by different layers of thematic events and past histories that all impact upon the apocalyptic situation as it unfolds. The storyline ignites the reader’s desire to investigate and visualise themes in the storyline, such as Penryn’s history with her mother; Penryn’s sister’s disposition and how all this came about as well as the reason for and the actual occurrence of the apocalypse; not to mention Raffe’s uniqueness and why he differs from his fellow breed of angels. The reference to Biblical matters, such as the crucifixion can be overpowering when reading the book, leaving myself, as a reader, feeling sad that such biblical events ever took place.

Penryn’s love and admiration for Raffe and his qualities builds gradually as the storyline progresses. The turmoil of a ‘love/hate’, ‘trust/non-trustworthy’ relationship is communicated to the reader. The development of the relationship over time for Penryn is projected by the author rather ironically as the author tends to use this in contrast to Penryn’s mother’s relationships, that are built on “obsessional love at first sight – immediate and short lived”.

The book is full of anguish, graphical repulsion and dare I say ‘horror’ evoking. The consistent use of abusive language and swear words in the text further enhances the hostile manner the book is written in.  As such, this is one of my main reasons for saying, as a 12 year old reading this book, I appreciated that I had the ability to feel grounded in my own well-being. I clearly felt that if the book were made into a film, as the “Road” was, that it would definitely reach a PG rating of 12 years plus age range – and even this, pending the stability of the viewer, could challenge a lot of teenagers depending on their life experiences. The book has its moments of gore, deep grimness and bloody graphics, but, what I found more challenging was the realisation that other teenager’s lives could mirror the reality of having a parent with mental health problems and a sibling with complex medical and learning needs. These teenagers are real and exist and struggle in ‘our’ world today – just as Penryn portrayed to the reader in the book. The stark reality of this really does hit emotive feelings within me.

A lot of young teenagers and children in our world have had forced adult responsibilities placed upon them – often as a result of an absent parent and/or parental mental health needs. But despite this, the attachment they maintain with their parent is strong and the parents need to remain in contact is often present. Penryn’s relationship with her mother in the book highlights the turmoil of such needs from both parties perspective.

Penryn’s values, personality and unexpected skills all come together in a manner that displays her with a ‘hidden heart’. Penyrn is not projected as a superhuman…her hardships are fully exposed. Penryn becomes a very likable and admired character for her strengths and human weakness. Her loyalty to her family is something all people can relate to. But Penryn’s experiences are better kept in this fictional context than brought into reality.

The focus of survival of the fittest is a clearly highlighted aspect of the book. The nature of violence is presented in contrasting ways e.g. how Penryn’s sister gained her injuries compared to the fighting within the camp to alleviate tensions and frustrations in a controlled manner.

The use of a narrative style of writing, in the first person and present tense, I feel helps keep the reader encapsulated and wanting to read on. The pace when reading makes you feel as if the events are actually happening – almost outside your door – even though you know this would be absurd, given the fantasy element of the story. This makes the book exciting and engaging to read. As the reader, I felt often, that I was Penryn.

Raffe, by contrast, as a character is initially portrayed as an outcast angel, but an angel one would not want to associate with. However, as the reader reads on, and analyses Raffe’s character, you see Raffe’s sense of humour and very playful, young personality. His banter with Penryn further underlines his ‘playfulness’. He presents, at times, as human, which causes confusion for Penryn. He protects Penryn in much the same way that Penryn protects her family. Penryn’s and Raffe’s relationship can be tense, a confused partnership at times, but with an element of romance present. Penryn’s and Raffe’s ‘journey’ alone, maintains the reader’s interest. How they gradually develop a trustworthy relationship with mutual respect is intriguing. Then added to this the ‘why’ questions you ask regarding the circumstances they face together adds further intrigue for the reader to explore and ponder.

The books ending still left me with the question as to why in the first place did the angels carry out this apocalypse on human society. However the ending is abrupt – perhaps planned to lead to that 2nd book? After all it leaves itself open to a sequel. However, I’d think I would wait until I was a couple of years older before reading any sequel given the language and visual imagery of this book.

Musical Moments: Book Theme Song: The Faded Trilogy by Chloe Miles

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The Faded Trilogy by Chloe Miles

Series Overview

You only live once … unless you’re Hunter Emmerton.

A half-spirit girl. An irresistibly charming ghost. The beginning of a timeless first love. A town terrorized by evil … and dark forces who will stop at nothing to tear them apart. But how can they be together if they can’t even feel each other’s touch?

From the sweet love story of Faded to the heart-stopping action of See No Evil and the inspiring Ever After, find out why readers are buzzing about The Faded Trilogy … and falling head over heels for Hunter Emmerton.

Received from Author

Received from Author

Title: Faded (The Faded Trilogy, Book 1)
Author: Chloe Miles
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Links: Goodreads |AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes

Synopsis

“Savannah wanted to kiss him, but she had never even kissed a human guy before, let alone a ghost. How was she supposed to kiss him if he wasn’t really there?”

Savannah has never been in love before, but she’s in love with Hunter Emmerton. He’s cute, funny, charming … and a ghost. How can you date someone if nobody else can see them?

When seventeen-year-old Savannah Fraser and her three friends are killed in a car accident, they are given a second chance at life by a group of century-old earthbound spirits who need their help.

Savannah learns she is a Chosen One, which means she can switch between human and spirit form, heal people, and control the weather—and she is also now invincible.

The Chosen Ones are the only ones who can defeat The Forces—a trio of evil half-spirits who are slowly destroying the perfect little town of Fort Everwick with violent storms and not-so-natural disasters—and stop them from harming everyone they care about.

The Forces are set on destroying everything Savannah knows and loves, but they also have a more sinister plan—they want a new member to join them. They won’t give up until they get the one they want—and they have Savannah firmly in their sights.

But what Savannah didn’t count on was falling in love with Hunter. She’s never loved anyone the way she loves Hunter, and she knows he loves her, too. But how can they be together forever if he no longer exists and she’s the only one who can see him?

Will Savannah have enough belief in herself to defeat The Forces, or will they be able to lure her to the dark side and turn her against her loved ones—and tear her and Hunter apart?

Received from Author

Received from Author

Title: See No Evil (The Faded Trilogy, Book 2)
Author: Chloe Miles
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Links: Goodreads |AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes

Synopsis

“You could have perfect vision and still not see the evil in someone. Well, at least not want to see it, anyway.”

The enthralling story that was built in Faded continues in exciting and unexpected ways in this action-packed sequel in The Faded Trilogy.

Are Savannah’s dreams predicting the death of someone close to her? Or is it someone even closer than she thinks? Can Savannah save one of her best friends—and stop another from suffering the same fate?

Savannah will need more strength than she ever has before if she is to defeat The Forces for good, and with Hunter’s love and encouragement to believe in herself, she finds the confidence she never knew she had.

However, while The Chosen Ones become more confident in their roles as protectors of Fort Everwick, The Forces only become more evil—and prove they will stop at nothing to win.

What will Savannah do that will change everything and determine her position of power over The Forces forever—and prove to them that she just might have it in her to beat them at their own game?

But while becoming their biggest threat, it also reinforces Savannah’s position as Gwen’s most cherished target.

Received from Author

Received from Author

Title: Ever After (The Faded Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Chloe Miles
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal Romance

Links: Goodreads |AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes

Synopsis

One of Savannah’s friends is hiding a secret that will change her life—forever.

In this heartbreaking yet heartwarming conclusion to The Faded Trilogy, Savannah is facing an epic final battle with The Forces—and the possibility of losing Hunter forever.

If Fort Everwick no longer needed protecting, and Hunter was free to cross over, would he stay with Savannah as he promised—or leave her to live the normal life she deserves?

Savannah can’t imagine her life without Hunter, but does he love her truly enough to let her go?

Until then, The Chosen Ones only have one thing on their mind—defeating The Forces. But they are stronger than ever—and not prepared to go down without a fight.

Will The Forces finally be defeated once and for all? And can Savannah and Hunter really live happily ever after?

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The Song: Enchanted by Taylor Swift

The Scene: The Winter Formal

The Winter Formal was one of my favorite scenes to write, as well as being such a pivotal moment for Savannah and Hunter’s relationship. I adore Taylor Swift, and this just so happens to be one of my favorite songs of hers. The lyrics perfectly capture the innocent romance and magic of Savannah appearing as though she is dancing around all alone to the outside world, although knowing very well herself that her perfect Prince Charming is dancing with her … even if she is the only one who can see him.

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Author Bio

Received from Author

Received from Author

Chloe Miles is a twenty-something author, dreamer, shameless chocoholic, and hopeless romantic.

When she’s not writing or daydreaming, she loves escaping reality with her favorite playlists, eating too much chocolate, and curling up on her couch in her PJs with a good TV show and a cup of tea. The Faded Trilogy is her first series.

Links: Goodreads |AmazonBarnes & NobleiTunes | Twitter | Facebook

Review: Who Framed Klaris Cliff? by Nikki Sheehan

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Who Framed Klaris Cliff?
Author: Nikki Sheehan
Publisher: OUP
Publication Date: 6 Feb 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

People used to call them ‘friends’ and said how they were good for your brain. And then a day came when all that changed . . . when they became our enemy.

Now, anyone found harbouring a rogue imaginary person is in for the Cosh, an operation that fries your imagination and zaps whatever’s in there, out of existence.

That’s why I wish Klaris Cliff had never shown up. And why I know that proving her innocence is the last hope I have of saving myself.

REVIEW BY GWYDION – YEAR 7

The book is based on the idea that imaginary friends are part of your brain and can become dangerous in ways including a “rogue” which is when an imaginary friend can change from person to person.  However there is a treatment for this which is called the “cosh”; removal of your imagination but when a rogue calls Klaris arrives in the Cliff household all actions possible must be taken to prove her innocence.

The main character of this story is a boy named Joseph.  He is one of the people in the household who has known Klaris for many years without telling a sole.  As soon as this secret is out then it all kicks off for him.

My favourite part of the book was when Joseph was giving evidence and reasons why Klaris Cliff was innocent for all the supposed crimes she had committed.  This was because this part of the book was executed with great detail and description.

My favourite character was a boy named Rocky.  He is Joseph’s best friend in the story.  He is my favourite character as he has a good sense of humour and he is a bit of a couch potato which makes him quite accessible as a character.

The only item that I did not like about the book was the imprecision over the location and timing of the book.  I didn’t feel that the book made this clear which left me feeling a bit frustrated.

I think that I would like to have seen the part where Joseph finds out A HUGE REVELATION handled differently.  This is because it puts a rather negative point on the book especially near the ending.

Despite this I think I would as this author was very good at setting the scene and describing the characters.  This is not a book that I would have naturally chosen so it a refreshing change from my usual choice.

I would recommend this book to others because it is an enjoyable book to read.  The most appropriate age group would be years 6  / 7.  Anyone above this age group would potentially find it dull whereas below the age group may find it confusing.

Books I’ve Read: Fierce by LG Kelso

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Fierce
Author: L G Kelso
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 14 Aug 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Tori’s MMA career was taking off, until she beat the wrong man. Her training partner, nursing a bruised ego, snapped—shattering her trust and confidence. 

Three years later, Tori’s keeping her fists to herself as she struggles to put herself through college. But when a group of gangbangers hassle her at work, old habits kick in and her fists fly. Max Estrada, a frequent diner customer, steps in and gets them out of hot water, but Tori is still fired… days before tuition is due.

With no other option, she’s forced to take a desk job at her old pounding grounds, where her demons still haunt the cage and the temptation to go glove-to-glove with familiar pro-fighter, Max Estrada, is too much. The sexy Colombian draws her back into the world of MMA and revives her dreams of becoming a professional face-puncher—until Will, her old partner and current Middleweight Champion, struts back into the gym. The secret they share is an unexpected liability to his career, and he’s determined to keep her silent. 

With her life on the ropes, Tori will have to face the past for a shot at winning back her future, or carry the weight of a loss even greater than before.

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OK you know I hate comparing books BUT in this case I have to mention that it really reminded me of Katie McGarry’s Take Me On with respect to the main female character. The grit, determination and strength to overcome her own personal demons and carve a path in a male dominated sport.

I really loved the characters in Fierce. Each having an internal battle with aspects of their lives that have shaped them. The story is told from Tori’s point of view, I would really have liked to see inside Max’s mind, there were some things I would have liked his thoughts on especially the Nicole situation. I utterly adored Max, this guy is the real deal; physical perfection, a committed athlete AND *fans self* he’s a LIBRARIAN.

The training and atmosphere portrayed in the narrative is utterly realistic and draws you into the world of MMA. The way in which the fighters push themselves during training, both mentally and physically especially during the weigh-ins makes you appreciate the commitment and dedication athletes show to achieve their dreams. I loved how that commitment and dedication also applies to other areas of their lives especially their friends and relationships *swoon*

The story focuses around Tori’s character development and the overcoming of past demons. It was easy to relate to Tori and her training being a part of who she was. It was a large part of her and to lose it was like losing a part of herself leading to lower self-confidence and therefore poor decision-making.

Fierce is a story of overcoming fear and failure, it truly is a case of what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger ;)