Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Review on Foundation #1 Pieces Of Me

Peyton Lane has struggled with her weight her whole life. She has never been popular, and has definitely never been in a relationship before. However everything changes after Peyton creates a rock band with her friends. Suddenly Peyton is popular, and has the confidence to turn her life around. With her new found popularity, Peyton is thrown into a difficult decision, who should she give her heart away to? After the boy she has had a crush on for years takes a sudden interest in her along with his twin brother and one of the members from her favourite band, Peyton must make the right decision.

I initially loved Peyton and the fact an overweight girl who wore glasses was the protagonist of a love story. With a small group of friends and having no boys who were interested in her, I could easily relate with my own experience of high school. I found the start of the novel with her initial meeting with Jace quite frustrating, as I thought it was obvious what was going on, but it took Peyton a lot longer to figure out what I had known from the start. I loved Jace and the fact that he wanted to get to know Peyton despite his popularity. I liked that Peyton pushed herself to lose weight so that it would make her happier, but what I disliked was the fact that the boys only became interested in her romantically once she had lost weight and started to wear contact lenses. As a glasses wearer myself I love the rare occasions when I come across a character who wears glasses, but as is often the case when a character goes through a change to make themselves more appealing, the glasses are always one of the first things to go. I look forward to the day when I find a book where glasses aren't seen as unattractive, but unfortunately this wasn't the one to change that.

Although I loved that Peyton was becoming more confident due to her weight loss and success with the band, I found myself overall disliking her more as the story progressed. I felt as if she was accepting any male attention she received just because she had boys who were interested in her. This was apparent with her relationship with Jax, who had relentlessly bullied her, and suddenly seemed to change his tone and became interested in dating her. I was disappointed that she decided to agree to go on a date with him after all the humiliation he had put her through.

Even though I didn't dislike him as much as I disliked Jax, I still wasn't a huge fan of Colton. Although he had known her for years, he suddenly became interested in her after she had lost weight. To me this seemed like he was only interested in her because he found her physically attractive, and I was frustrated that Peyton didn't see this too and went along with it.

I thought Noah was a sweet character, but I felt that he was better as a good friend for Peyton. I loved their friendship and was really hoping that they didn't develop romantic feelings for each other, so I was slightly disappointed when he got thrown into the mix of potential love interests too. I also found it quite unrealistic that she would go from never having kissed a boy to thinking about potential relationships with four boys who were all interested in her. Love triangles can sometimes seem realistic, but love pentagons seem a little too far fetched.

The only boy who gave her the time of day before she lost weight and set up her band was Jace, so to me he seemed like the obvious choice from the start. Although he was still far from perfect, Jace seemed to me from the start to be the best choice. I loved that he liked Peyton before she lost weight, but the fact that he cared more about his popularity than admitting his feelings for her sooner. It made me wonder if he would still have pursued her if she had not lost the weight and gained popularity.

I liked the ending as Peyton finally seemed to be in a place where she was happy with her life. After the struggles she goes through at the start of the novel and being self conscious about her body I was glad she was finally accepting herself. I loved that Jace didn't seem to care about her imperfections but decided to help her be more comfortable in her own skin. Although I wasn't as invested in the characters as I would have liked to have been it was still an overall enjoyable read.

Pieces Of Me can be purchased HERE

Monday, 9 February 2015

Review on 'Dragon Dodgers'

Enrig's dream has always been to be a Runner, so when a group of Runners who call themselves Dragon Dodgers arrive in his town, Enrig can not pass up the opportunity to join them on their quest. However, Enrig soon finds out that the Dodgers, lead by Captain Targon plan on attempting to kill a dragon, the prize being ten thousand spades if they succeed. Captain Targon agrees to let Enrig accompany the group on their mission, but not everything goes to plan.

I accepted to review this book on a whim as it involved dragons, and as anyone who reads my reviews regularly will know, I love dragons. I thought this novella had a great start, as anything that starts out with a great tragedy to force the protagonist into making a decision is always a brilliant way to start off a story. I did however find that the action lagged towards the middle. The novella is a journey story similar to Lord of the Rings, with an ultimate goal at the end. Although the journey would have been perfect for a full length novel, I felt that it dragged on a little too much for a novella, as the main action happened in the last ten pages. I felt there needed to be less build up and more action, as the journey felt more like it should have belonged in a novel.

I thought Enrig was a great protagonist, as although Captain Targon made his goal of becoming a runner difficult, he remained persistent, eventually wearing Targon down enough to agree to accept him onto the team. I also loved that he refused to be called a liar, and faced dangerous consequences to prove to his companions that he had told them the truth.

I loved the ending of the book and found it really shocking as it was the last thing that I was expecting to happen. I'm usually able to tell where a plot is going, and often correctly guess how a story will end, but with Dragon Dodgers I had not expected it to end the way it did at all. I would love to see how Enrig's journey as a runner continues in future novellas. As the series is also expanding into novels, I would also be interested in reading those too. I would recommend this series for fans of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.

You can purchase Dragon Dodgers HERE

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Review on 'Our Wild and Precious Lives'

When their father is stationed at a base in Werteim, Tom and Melly Mcarron must adapt to their new temporary home in 1960 Cold War Germany. Although apprehensive about leaving their American home, Tom and Melly create strong bonds of love and friendship with the other teenagers on base, something that the majority of the teens parents have never truly known. However, tensions in Berlin are rising, and with the construction of the Berlin wall, the teenagers worry that this will bring about a third World War. With an abusive father who served in World War II and the Korean war, and a war bride mother, Tom and Melly struggle to find a love that their parents never had, and hope to find some sort of stability in their ever changing lives.

I loved that this novel was set during the Cold War and found the setting interesting. Tom and Melly are both likable characters, and their bond of pure unconditional love for each other is something you don't often find between fictional siblings.I loved Melly's feistiness, but also thought she was quite spoilt at times, such as when she complained to her mother about the dress she had made for her looking too similar to her friends. The siblings don't get on with their parents, with their father often physically abusing Tom and their mother doing nothing to stop it, so I felt that his strong bond with Melly was important, as she is the only person he can truly talk to about it.

Although I disliked their father, I loved reading the back story provided for him, as it showed that he was once not as heartless as he seemed to be in the present day. I also love reading war stories, so I enjoyed reading about his time fighting in World War II. I also enjoyed that his time in the Korean war was mentioned, as novels often focus on the World Wars, but not lesser known ones such as the Korean war.

I immediately loved LJ, an army brat living on the same base as Tom and Melly. I felt that he was an important friend to Melly, and I loved that although he had romantic feelings for Melly, he never tried to force a relationship, and remained a loyal friend to her even after she started to date Wes. I initially disliked Wes, but warmed up to him when it became clear that he genuinely did like Melly, and wasn't just carrying out his fathers orders. I felt that Wes was a brave character, and I loved that he ended up defying his father and not allowing him to control his life.

Although I loved most of the characters, I did feel that there were too many minor characters, and often got confused over who they were when they came up. I also felt that there were too many abbreviations, as although they were all explained, I found myself forgetting what certain ones meant and having to go back to check. I loved that the book spanned over the course of three years, but I personally thought that school dances were mentioned too often. I'm not fully aware of the American high school system, so I don't know if they would truly have that many dances, but I felt that other aspects of school life could have been shown more instead, such as seeing more interaction with their school friends inside classes rather than continuous dances and sports games.

The ending of the novel was both shocking and heartbreaking, and I felt great sympathy for the pain that the characters had to endure. It definitely was not a happy ending, so I’d recommend to avoid this book if you are looking for a happily ever after. However I overall loved the book and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good YA historical novel.

Our Wild and Precious lives can be purchased HERE