BURNING BRIGHT by Sophie McKenzie

“In this second book in the series, following on from Falling Fast, four months have passed and River and Flynn’s romance is still going strong. River thinks Flynn has his anger under control, but when she discovers he has been getting into fights and is facing a terrible accusation at school, she starts to question Flynn’s honesty. Things come to a head at a family get together when River sees Flynn fly into one unprovoked rage too many. The consequences for both of them are devastating and threaten to tear them apart forever.”

This is, as mentioned in the book’s blurb above, the sequel to Falling Fast. I read both books in one day- they were short and relatively easy reads- because I have been literally book starved as of late and I was desperate to read something new! I guessdisappointed is too strong a word, because- as I mentioned in my review of Falling Fast– this kind of book might be right up some people’s street. It’s romantic, simple, and short, and it’s very normal. It’s about a teenager who falls in love with a violent guy. I mean, Flynn’s not violent toward River herself, but he’s violent to everyone else. So this follows on from Falling Fast, and Flynn’s been getting into fights and being accused of stealing iPads and all sorts of things. So during this big drama over who “stole” the iPad, River starts doubting Flynn, and then Flynn beats up his dad- who is the definition of the “evil parent”, so I get why he did it even though it was a bit extreme- and he and River are torn apart by his having to move away.

One character I like is River’s dad. He’s laid back. But even he disapproves of Flynn, understandably, and this is where River turns into a bit too much of a “typical” teenager for my liking. Overall- I preferred this book to the previous, because there was a little bit more to the plot, but really not my kind of series. Genre- romance. Age, like the previous one, around 13-14.

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FALLING FAST by Sophie McKenzie

“When River’s all-girls’ school joins up with the local boys’ school for a performance of Romeo and Juliet, River auditions for a part and finds herself smitten by Flynn, the boy playing Romeo. River believes in romantic love, and she can’t wait to experience it, but there’s something about Flynn River can’t quite work out, and as they spend more time together, she finds she’s still a long way from understanding – or trusting – him. A roller-coaster story of first love and all the ups and downs that entails.”

This was a bit of a chick flick, if I’m honest. There’s really no other way to say that. It was girly and romantic and not at all my kind of thing, but I’m going to try not to be biased! It was, in my opinion, not one of Sophie McKenzie’s better books. You read the blurb and you’re not really surprised when you read the book itself…there’s not really a massive plot twist that really grips you. There’s River, and her two friends Emmi and Grace, and they audition for Romeo and Juliet- the girl parts, of course. Grace is shy-and-pretty, Emmi is bold-and-gorgeous, and River is River- which is to say, I-don’t-think-I’m-pretty-but-the-boy-I-like-finds-me-gorgeous. Flynn has not so much of a “secret” as a different lifestyle to the rest. There is one thing about Flynn, though, and that’s his personality. He’s moody and strange and yet she falls for him anyway.

It’s a story I’m not massively fond of, mainly because it’s not my type of genre. But it’s worth a read if you enjoy romance. It’s quite short and I have to say this for it- it’s quite ‘different’. Age, I’d say around 13-14.

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ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth

…okay, where do I begin for this one? There is so much I want to talk about and so much I can’t give away, no matter how much I’d love to…but for those of you who haven’t read this, considering it’s fairly new, I will warn you where there’s a spoiler alert. But for now, you’re safe 🙂

So, it’s the last in the trilogy by Veronica Roth. I had the date in my (virtual) calendar for months. And, well, I was disappointed.

I can safely say that Divergent is one of my favorite books. I’m not saying that lightly, because I am a huge bookworm, as I’m sure you’ve gathered. Divergent went past The Hunger Games. It was right up there with my all time favorite books, the ones I reread countless times. I got the collector’s edition of Insurgent while I was anticipating Allegiant. I spent all my spare time on Veronica Roth’s blog looking for quotes, hints, anything for Allegiant. On the 22nd, the release date, I went out first thing and dragged my poor mom to six or seven bookstores looking for it. I finally found it and read it all, that night.

I really sympathize with Veronica Roth. She had a deadline. She had all these readers, waiting. But I was reading the Amazon reviews for the book a few minutes ago, and it’s quite sad to see that a lot of people agree with me: the book really isn’t as good as we all hoped. In the couple of days that followed, I tried to convince myself that I loved it. I really, truly did. And I was all set to write a great big load of praise for how amazing the book was, and I wish I could! But I realized, yesterday, that I was trying to convince myself because I spent so much time waiting for it.

*spoiler alert from here onward*

The books were split onto Tris and Tobias’ POV, right? And, well, if you’re reading this bit I’m assuming you’ve read the ending: so it’s safe to say this was needed unless we wanted to end on the note where Tris dies.

But, and this is just my opinion: you couldn’t differentiate between the two. It became confusing. I had to go back to the start of chapters to remember who this was, because it all sounded like Tris! I mean, each character should have it’s own sense of identity, right? If you look at Noughts and Crosses: it’s in different POVs. But you can tell, just by each character’s manner of speech, who it is. But here? I couldn’t tell, and it became irritating(I can tell this is going to be one of my longer posts: there’s so much to say).

And, well, this whole “outside the fence” world…I was hoping for something really different, something that would kick start the real plot. I was hoping for some of the danger, some of the beauty of the other books – some of the perfect moments that make it Divergent. I felt like the whole book was a filler. I was bored, for crying out loud. And I think I was hoping, the whole way through, that this wasn’t all the book was going to be.

Tris is supposed to be from Abnegation. In Divergent, we see her slowly letting go of that in “Somewhere inside me is a merciful, forgiving person. Somewhere there is a girl who tries to understand what people are going through, who accepts that people do evil things and that desperation leads them to darker places than they ever imagined. I swear she exists, and she hurts for the repentant boy I see in front of me.

But if I saw her, I wouldn’t recognize her.”

And really? I was fine with that. She wrote Tris letting go of Abnegation slowly. But still, through Divergent and Insurgent, she is still Abnegation inside. She really is. Not in the asking-questions-is-not-allowed way, but in the forgiving way. In the good way. And if I show you a few more quotes from Divergent:

“Abnegation is what I am. It is what I am when I’m not thinking about what I’m doing. It is what I am when I am put to the test. It is what I am even when I appear to be brave. Am I in the wrong faction?”

“Tori was the only one in the tattoo place, so I felt safe getting the symbol of Abnegation—a pair of hands, palms up as if to help someone stand, bounded by a circle—on my right shoulder. I know it was a risk, especially after all that’s happened. But that symbol is a part of my identity, and it felt important to me that I wear it on my skin.”

She is Abnegation through and through; and in Divergent, there’s so much ‘bravery and selflessness are the same thing’ that the transition from Abnegation to Dauntless is smooth. Come Allegiant, suddenly she’s overbearing and she’s not the Tris I grew to adore. And the book felt boring because when out-of-character-Tris and sounds-the-same-Tobias weren’t arguing, there were more bad rebellion ideas that they still went along with. And Tori: her death felt so…insignificant. I didn’t feel anything until we met her brother.

Deaths…sometimes they’re necessary. They happen. They happen in Noughts and Crosses with Callum. They happen in Harry Potterwith Fred and Tonks and Lupin and so many others. They happen here, but I felt Tori’s was unnecessary. Uriah’s, I think, was the only one that worked for me. Uriah’s death broke my heart.

And that brings me onto the biggest part of this review…Tris.

She is- was our main character. To quote Divergent…”that is death – shifting from is to was.” And, well, I think this was the most horrible way to end the book.

Oh, she wrote it well. The way her mother appeared…and you can finally see why Tobias’ POV was needed. But I don’t think she really needed to die.

Her and Tobias fought so much; it was the kind of relationship that needed to end with ‘We were broken, but we were perfect.’ They had such a broken relationship that it needed redemption. But there never was any.

The rest of it, considering what had happened, was beautiful. That, I think, was the only return to the Divergent I knew and loved. After Tris died.

And I think that’s really quite sad.

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WONDER by R. J. Palacio

This one is by R.J. Palacio, and it’s one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

It’s not horrendously complicated. It’s not a billion words long. It’s simple, and short, and incredibly (sorry if this sounds sappy) moving. It’s about a boy called August, and he’s ten years old. The quote on the blurb is “My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.”He was born with rare genetic disorders, and his face is like a horror mask (not my description!), and it’s all about how people adapt, how people react, and how August takes it.

The characters were beautifully three-dimensional- even August’s older sister, Via, isn’t a cardboard-cut-out sister who is fine with her brother. She’s an amazing sister. But she has those moments, where she’s ashamed, and it just adds to the layers. The book is split into different POV’s, and that just adds to it; you see how the “normal” people adjust to August’s appearance, because really he’s just a normal ten-year-old boy. So there’s a section for Via, and a section for August’s friend (and I found this one really interesting, because it showed how kids react).

It’s a very easy read, so giving it an age would be hard; a ten-year-old could probably read it. But hey- teens can read it too, and I know some people who are reading years later and still loving it. It’s…perfect, seriously, and this is a must-read.

 

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THE FAULT IN OUR STARS BY John Green

This is by John Green, and it’s amazing. It’s about a girl- Hazel Grace- and she’s got cancer, and she falls in love with a boy called Augustus Waters, and it’s really…wow. It is gorgeous and if you haven’t read it…well, go read it…

The thing is- and I don’t know if this is just me- I didn’t find it as amazing as everyone’s been raving about. It’s definitely a very heartbreaking book, but it’s not- well, not as brilliant as everyone told me. I bought it on a recommendation, and it’s definitely one that will stay on my bookshelf- but it’s not quite as ‘you will start crying, seriously’ as I was told.

I’m not saying it’s bad, don’t get me wrong. But there was something about it that didn’t quite work for me. I loved it anyway, though that might be because I’m obsessed with sad books. The ending was amazingly horribly heartbreaking, but…if I’m honest, somehow it seemed predictable. But overall, I loved it!

Age: 14-ish.

I’m not going to spoil the plot for everyone, and I’ll end up ruining the ending if I start talking about the storyline. There are some quotes from that book I love, and one of them is “my thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.” There is something about that quote, and some of the other ones, that I love. And though it might not be as perfect as I expected, it was definitely worth a read.

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BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Second book in the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohil. It carries on from the last amazing book, Beautiful Creatures. Macon Ravenwood, Lena’s Incubus uncle, is dead- (so sad) he died while fighting Lena’s Dark mother, Sarafine. The night Macon died, on Lena’s sixteenth birthday, one of her eyes turned yellow, the other green. Usually when a Caster is claimed they turn Light or Dark- Light meaning green eyes and Dark meaning yellow- but Lena’s sort of half- and- half.

After Macon dies, Ethan is getting worried about Lena- she’s stopped writing in her journal and she’s become all distant. She’s even stopped Kelting with Ethan (like… talking through their minds.) and blocks him out instead. And Ethan’s started having these strange dreams which involve Macon and a woman called Jane, who Macon seems to be madly in love with.

On the last day of school, Ethan, Lena and Link are at the lake because of a school incident. After kissing Ethan, Lena runs into the forest and jumps onto the back of a Harley with a stranger. Ethan’s confused, duh.

So then, Ethan and Link meet Ridley, the Dark Caster Siren (power of persuasion). Ridley is with a guy- John Breed, who happensto be the guy Lena ran off with.

Ooh! And at his job at the library under Marian, Ethan meets Liv. Ethan and Liv are friends, and Lena sees them eating lunch together when she drives past and jumps to the wrong conclusion. At the County Fair, Ethan and Lena are talking. Lena’s wearing Ridley- style clothes. Liv turns up, causing Lena to go psycho. The three (Ridley, John and Lena) disappear.

For help, Link and Ethan go to the Lunae Libri, the Caster Library. Ethan hears a laugh and finds Liv, who explains that she’s a Keeper- in- training and knows about the Caster world. Determined to find Lena, Link, Ethan and Liv go through the Caster tunnels to find them. After a while, they figure out that Sarafine is trying to pull the seventeenth moon out of time so Lena has to claim herself early…

Amazing. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Not as great as Beautiful Creatures, but brilliant anyways. Age 12… I guess.

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BEAUTIFUL CREATURES by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Awesome first book in the awesome Beautiful Creatures series by (hold on, let me check… got it (Google rules)) Kami Garcia and (checks Google page again) Margaret Stohl.

The Beautiful Creatures book is pretty amazing. Can’t speak about the movie, because I have yet to rent the DVD from the library, but the book is brilliant. Basically, it’s about this boy, Ethan Wate, and the book starts off with a dream. In the dream there’s a girl, and falling, and I’m not getting any more specific than that.

It’s a love story. And the main characters are Ethan and LENA DUCHANNES, hint hint. She’s a Caster, which is basically another word for witch. And on her sixteenth birthday, Lena will be ‘claimed’ for either the ‘Light’ or the ‘Dark’. Light casters have green eyes and Dark casters have yellow.

Lena lives with her uncle, Macon, and her family are pretty much outcasts in their town, Gatlin. Lena moves in with Macon because her dad’s dead and her mom, Sarafine, is a Dark caster and wants to murder her.

On her first day of school, Ethan recognizes her from his dreams. And they’re connected. They fall in love, but the Book of Moons and Sarafine are complicating things.

I’m just touching on some stuff:
 
The song, Sixteen Moons- It’s quite creepy. Well, that’s an understatement. It gave me goose bumps. Ethan hears it in snatches as it keeps appearing in his head- well, the first part appears on his iPod.
The Book of Moons- what’s with all the moons in this? A Dark book.
People:
Lena’s cousin, Ridley- she’s a Dark caster, a Siren.
Lena’s uncle, Macon- not Ridley’s dad. An Incubus.
Lena- a Natural.
Ethan- a Mortal. His dad’s gone strange since his mom died. Amma looks after him.
Link- Ethan’s best friend. Mortal.
So, I’m being pretty vague about this book, because to be honest, I found some parts so confusing that I can’t explain them on… not paper… I can’t explain them on laptop? Also because it’s amazing, a must read, and there are three more in the series, the Caster Chronicles, which I’m trying to get you curious about…

Age… err… 12/13?

Also, this is the song Sixteen Moons, which Ethan keeps hearing:

sixteen moons,

sixteen years,

sixteen of your deepest fears,

sixteen times you dreamed my tears,

falling, falling through the years…

 

sixteen moons,

sixteen years,

sound of thunder in your ears,

sixteen miles before she nears,

sixteen seeks what sixteen fears…

 

sixteen moons,

sixteen years,

sixteen times you dreamed my fears,

sixteen will try to bind the spheres,

sixteen screams but just one hears…

 

sixteen moons,

sixteen years,

the claming moon,

the hour nears,

in these pages darkness clears,

powers bind what fire sears…

 

sixteenth moon,

sixteenth years,

now has come the day you fear,

claim or be claimed,

shed blood,

shed tear,

moon or sun destroy me here…

So lighthearted, right?

 

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

This is the fourth in the Harry Potter series (duh) by J.K. Rowling. (double duh).

Harry Potter and the Goblet of FireA lot of my friends consider this one to be the best one, but I didn’t like it at all initially, to be honest. I’ve grown to quite like it over my 18 times reading it, but I still don’t consider it to be that brilliant. That’s just in comparison to the other Harry Potter books, though; it’s still absolutely amazing. No question.

So this book starts in the arguably quite boring setting of the village Little Hangleton. It’s got a kind of dark air to it because years ago, the three Riddles were killed. No trace was left; the Muggle authorities were totally confused. But the Ministry of Magic knew it was a wizard murder. Since then, an old Muggle, Frank, has tended to the Riddle house, and the Muggles suspect that Frank actually killed the Riddles, and so he is disliked. One night there is a light in the Riddle house, and Frank sees it and thinks it’s just some rowdy boys messing around, because they know Frank will have to clear up. So Frank goes, and when he approaches the room he saw the light in, he hears voices… and that’s Lord Voldemort (in whatever mangled state he’s in) and Peter Pettigrew (wormtail) plotting to kill a boy called… guess who… Harry Potter. Nagini, Voldemort’s snake, notices Frank listening outside the door, and tells Voldemort (in Parseltongue). Voldemort ‘invites’ Frank inside and kills him immediately.

Next chapter, the scene shifts to Harry Potter, who has just dreamt about that whole scene. His scar is hurting, and he writes to Sirius, his godfather. The next morning, Uncle Vernon receives a letter from the Weasleys inviting Harry to join them at the Quidditch World Cup. (I laughed at this scene… “I hope we put enough stamps on!!” made me laugh.)

Harry goes to the Burrow the next day. Early the morning after that, Harry, Hermione and the Weasleys head to the Quidditch Cup. They travel by Portkey, which I’ve always thought is awesome. At their Portkey they meet Cedric Diggory, a Hufflepuff seventh year. At their seat, they meet Winky, Barty Crouch’s house- elf (they didn’t include her in the movie… L ) who says she’s saving a seat for Barty, but he never turns up. Winky is terrified of heights, but she stays there.

That night, after the match, a crowd of Death Eaters destroy the campsite and torture the Muggle owners. Harry, Ron and Hermione escape into the woods, where Harry realizes his wand is missing. While Harry, Ron and Hermione are searching for the wand, someone fires Voldemort’s symbol… the Dark Mark.

Harry is thrown into fourth year, where it soon becomes apparent that someone wants him dead; though Ron doesn’t seem to see it that way. And is Mad Eye Moody supposed to act like that?

Read… I generally force people into reading these, and once they’ve read them, nobody’s complained about it, so they must be worth reading!! Age… umm… whenever, after age 7. I read it at about nine.

 

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FRACTURE by Megan Miranda

This is a (really good) book by Megan Miranda. It’s about this girl, Delaney, and she dies.

Yeah, she dies.

But she lives… (it makes no sense when I say it like that, but…) because… well, she’s dead for eleven minutes… then she goes into a coma… and survives.

So she dies at a lake in winter; she was walking across it, because it had supposedly ‘frozen over,’ when the ice cracked, and she fell in. Her friends got her out, mostly her best friend Decker, and she lived.

So she wakes up in hospital a while later, and everybody is like, ‘oh my god, you were supposed to die, that’s a miracle.’ Her doctor says she’s back to normal, but Delaney knows she’s not. Nobody really gets that, except Troy. Troy seems to share her weird gift/problem, but does Troy actually want to help her??

(What a cheesy ending line.)

It’s… age 12ish, again… and it’s amazing.

 

 

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DOUBLE CROSS by Malorie Blackman

THE FINAL BOOK in the… well, I’m sure everybody’s sick of my raving about this series, so… I’ll just say amazing. Let’s start that again:

THE FINAL BOOK in the amazing Noughts and Crosses series by Malorie Blackman!!Double Cross by Malorie Blackman

In the last book, Checkmate, it ends with Sephy and Callie Rose finally talking to each other again, after Jasmine resorts to locking them both in a cellar together.

Everyone thinks the bomb that killed Jasmine was the work of a Nought terrorist, but Callie knows the truth. She is also afraid that Jude is still alive and planning revenge, though later you learn that Jude did actually die in the hotel room.

Her best friend, and later boyfriend, Tobey, is a nought boy at an exclusive school. Tobey hopes to stay out of trouble, go to university and get a good job. But the area where Tobey lives is carved up by two rivaling gangs: one headed by ruthless Nought Alex McAuley, and the other headed by the Dowds, a ruthless Cross family. Tobey wants to stay out of this, but then his friend Dan offers him the chance to make some money by making a few ‘deliveries,’ for McAuley. Tobey agrees, eventually… so this book is more about the gang wars than about Sephy, and Jude, and stuff. And of course, Tobey has to choose between Callie Rose and Rebecca Dowd. So I didn’t find this book as great, but that’s just because I got so immersed in Sephy’s world that now, Callie and Tobey’s world seems different… if that makes any sense.

Do I need to carry on telling people to read these?? Fine then… Read. Read. Read. Read. Read. Have you got the message?? Good.

READ.

Age 12/13 is when I read it… and I think that’s a pretty good age.

Age… umm… well… 12/13, I guess.

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