Category Archives: kindle

Reclaiming the Sand – A. Meredith Walters

It’s been a while since I last posted. Many posts have been started and then life seemed to get in the way.  I currently have a second blog that if you are interested in being in publishing might be of some interest to you but it has taken my time away from this one. I found this book through bookbub and was a little apprehensive. It includes a boy who has Aspergers. I find these, if done badly, can be offensive. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime was excellently done and I feel many people just jumped on the Autism bandwagon. However, if done well then you bring the readers into this world and it can be beautiful.

Plot

Reclaiming the Sand starts off based on Ellie’s point of view. We see that she is in a dead end job, with dead end friends and on the road to living a life probably in prison, already having spent a stint in jail for arson. Ellie is on the brink of joining the local community college to study English Literature but is in fear of not being good enough, something her life in foster care has taught her.

Having committed to a study course, she runs into Flynn. He is the reason she was in jail, he is the reason she thinks she isn’t good enough, he is the reason she thinks she is a bad person. We learn about their teenage relationship through Flynn’s eyes and it shows how adult Ellie is still as confused as teenage Ellie. She wants to be friends with Flynn but doesn’t know how he could fit into her life of abuse, lies and status.

Flynn likes Ellie. He always has. In his head he can’t understand why she is sometimes nice to him and sometimes mean but he likes nice Ellie so much that he can forgive mean Ellie. Even when she pushed it too far, Flynn has already forgiven her for everything she did. The only question is can she forgive herself?

Opinion

This book is just breath taking in its elegance and structure. It was a stroke of genius to tell the story originally from Ellie’s point of view and to see her struggle to better herself and break free of her ‘friends’. It means that when you see how she acted in high school, you don’t hate her. You feel sorry for her, disappointed in her weaknesses but you admire her even more for the changes in her life that she managed to accomplish.

Flynn is exquisitely written. I have a slight understanding of Autism through a mother working within social services and Flynn is how someone with Autism acts. It never feels forced or contrite and you never cringe at the storyline and what he says. Walters either knows someone with Autism or did extensive research but Flynn is perfect. His attitude towards life is refreshing and his ability to forgive is one we should all hope to aspire to. He knows all the bad things about Ellie and while he might not be able to understand it or vocalise his feelings about it, he does forgive her because he loves her. It is that simple for him.

All in all an excellent read full of emotion. My verdict: 9/10. Don’t be put off by the seemingly heavy subject matter, give it a go! It wont disappoint!

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Filed under A. Meredith Walters, Book Review, Chick Lit, kindle, Romance

Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Sorry (again) for the delay in a post! So much has happened it is untrue! Little bit of personal news. I am now a student again! A masters in publishing is in my near future and I am ecstatic that I am hopefully on my career path. So ye. That’s it for me :).

Back to what this blog is for… Reviewing. As you maybe able to tell, young adult and vampire books are my little book secret. So when I watched Vampire Academy and found it was based on a book I was very happy. The film was so-so. The storyline seemed ok but the acting was very poor. It made me want to check out the books anyway. I downloaded the kindle version and can easily say this series is far superior to the film!

Plot

Vampire Academy is split into 6 books. We start of meeting Lissa and Rose, a vampire and dhampir. Lissa isn’t like the vamps we see in other books. She can stand a little sun, is not evil and has magic. Usually vamps can influence the 4 elements; water, air, earth and fire. They all have aspects of each in their magic but tend to specialise when they get older in just one field. Sometimes a vampire doesn’t specialise but those are rare cases. Lissa is part of the Moroi bread of vampire. Another strand is a Strigoi and they are the vampires humans have in their horror books and films. These have red ringed eyes, intolerance to the sun, drink blood until they have killed the supplier and are wickedly strong. They also find Moroi blood especially delicious and that is where dhampirs come into the picture. Originally, they were a result of Moroi and humans mating. This union later ceased to exist but it was discovered dhampirs cannot reproduce with their own kind. They rely on the Moroi to keep their race alive, meaning it falls to them to protect their only chance of survival so became Guardians to the Moroi. With these skill sets, schools/academies are set up to teach Moroi how to to control their magic and dhampir to protect Moroi. Rose and Lissa are at such a school. Unusual for this world they also share a bond. Rose can hear Lissa’s thoughts and sometimes put herself into Lissa’s head to see, feel and hear everything she can.

We meet Rose and Lissa outside of the academy where they have been on the run for 2 years. Rose was informed by a semi-insane teacher to run and hide Lissa. Rose has spent her life protecting her best friend and follows this strange advice. However, she never expected Dimitri to be sent after them. Regarded as a god in guardian circles, Dimitri is a young dhampir who is given Lissa as his Moroi to protect, depending on if he can find her. Taken back to school, Rose finds she is severly behind in classes and realises that to really be able to protect Lissa she needs to get her training back on track and be vigilant over her friend to avoid the danger she had been forwarned of. Dimitri becomes her tutor to catch her up on the 2 years she missed in hand to hand combat. With Lissa’s mental health deteriorating, Rose and Dimitri’s growing attraction and a danger lurking in the school as well as the usual high school drama, Vampire Academy has it all.

Opinion

I haven’t really given the plot to the other 5 books of this series as I don’t want to spoil it for those who want to read the series but I will be reviewing the whole series.

One word for this series. Wow. Just wow. It is rare to find a world and characters that you miss when you finish the last book but, like Rowling, Mead had me hooked for 2704 pages. The world is totally believable, characters loveable and writing sublime. English grads may argue my last point but at no time did I have to re read paragraphs to understand it nor did the writing bring me out of the story once. Like all great books, you forget you are reading and just see the story.

Rose is a fantastic character and her romance with Dimitri is believable and heartbreaking. Her sarcastic wit is never forced or contrite and the bravery shown makes you swell with pride. Lissa is a complicated character and your feelings for her are too. Their relationships with each other and everyone else are expertly shown.

Downsides are a few and far between but some of my main gripes are; why didn’t Lissa notice her best friend was in love yet her worst enemy knew and used it against Rose? Did anyone ever tell Dimitri’s family what happened? Read could have stopped the constant book repeat. If she wanted to fill people in on the last books then maybe a chapter telling people what happened not mid action sequence! And most annoyingly, what happens after the last book finished? I want back onto this world. I want back into the lives of these characters.

Mead has created a series everyone can enjoy young and old alike. The twists are sometimes obvious, sometimes surprising and I never guessed the culprit in the last book. Characters barely mentioned in book 1 play important roles later and I love this.

All in all a fantastic book. The pros far out-way the cons. For this I give this series a 10/10 Read it and don’t judge Mead’s sublime story by the sub par acting of the film!

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Richelle Mead, Young Adult

Caged – Amber Lynn Natusch

Have you ever read a book where you had forgotten the blurb? It is a very confusing/interesting experience. On KindleCaged was recommended to me so I checked it out and obviously liked what I saw and then downloaded it. However, I didn’t read it straight away. I left it for a few months. I tend to do that. I buy books in bulk and then it means I have a few to get through. However, I totally forgot what the blurb said about this book. I figured it was probably a crime book as that is what I tend to read and as I had chosen to download it, it must have seemed ok so I began to read it with no clue of its premises. I can tell you now that this is not a crime book!

Plot

We meet out leading lady, Ruby, under some dire straits. She seems to be able to see after a long time of not being able to but is attacked by a gang of men. We see she is saved by an ‘angel’. We have no idea who this man is but we see Ruby again a year later. She is now running her own shop selling jewellery and appears to be quite successful in this venture. However, she is completely cut off from the world. Perhaps due to the fact she was born blind and is now a medical marvel as she has regained full use of her eyes, she feels slightly in awe of human interaction. Fuelled by her desire to be social, Ruby sets forth to a club. Here she is once again caught in the terror of a man and is rescued by Sean who she recognises as the ‘angel’ who rescued her before. Shocked by this turn of events, Ruby runs from Sean.

Later, Sean finds Ruby and they embark into a rough friendship. However, on a night out, Ruby is inexplicably drawn to Eric. A man Sean seems to know and loathe. Ruby goes out with Eric and lands herself into a whole heap of trouble. She is exchanged by Eric for some goods into the hands of a (SPOILER ALERT) pack of werewolves who want to ‘mate’ with her. Here she meets Cooper who helps her escape from the pack and back into Sean’s world.

Opinion

I’d recommend reading a book when you have no idea what is supposed to happen. It makes for an interesting ride! However, I thought this book was mediocre.

I have read quite a few Werewolves, Vampire, Magical books as seen through my reviews so you can see that I do like this genre. Natusch just seems to want to prolong your knowledge of this fact. You don’t discover that Ruby is a werewolf until about 60% of the way through. You don’t find out why she was born blind and now isn’t. Nor why Sean is following her around, even before he knows what kind of ‘special’ werewolf she is. Why does she have such attraction to Eric? This is a first in a series so maybe these will be explained later but I don’t really have an interest in reading them after this one.

Ruby as the main character is awful. She is the most stupid, naive little girl I have ever met and she is meant to be 28… She should have more sense than she does. Especially with the level of intelligence she shows to have through her Uni degree and excellent wit. Perhaps Natusch is trying to go with the anti-heroine type character like Orissa from the Contagium Series but it is never fully successful as Ruby is just annoying.

Natusch also seems to brush over anything sexual. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with there being no sex or nothing overtly sexual happening in books. The Host is a love story yet doesn’t really broach the subject of sex. This book has strong sexual themes running through it but seems to be embarrassed to show them and this creates confusion. Is Ruby raped? Is she gang raped? Is she just ‘pawed’ at? As this is quite a pivotal point in the storyline it needs to be explained fully. Natusch either needs to tell us what happened or just not put it in. Either is fine, what she does do isn’t it.

Overall, a mediocre read. I finished it but aspects of the plot need to be explained better so a 5/10 for me I’m afraid. Very average.

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Filed under Book Review, Fantasy, kindle, Urban fantasy

Legend Trilogy – Marie Lu

As you do when you have a blog, you look at other people’s blogs. I stumbled upon The Infinite Power in 26 Letters. This blog is quite interesting. A book review blog and more. I stumbled across one of the posts and it was recommending YA fiction series’. From the previous reviews on here, you should be able to surmise that I am a big YA fan. The Hunger Games Trilogy, Beautiful Creatures, Twilight, Harry Potter are all great YA novels. So when I saw this post I decided to follow it’s advice and read some of its suggestions. One if these was the Legend Trilogy by Marie Lu. Brilliant suggestion. Read all three in two days!

Plot

We start off with Legend where we meet Day and June. The most wanted boy in the Republic of America and she, the golden girl of the Republic. It seems there is a plague affecting the poorer sectors of Los Angeles. Obviously not  very good, especially as we see Day’s home being marked as a home of the plague. Day decides to try and save his brother from the plague so breaks into the local hospital to steal some of the  plague medicine. However, here we run onto trouble. Whilst escaping, a guard follows him and Day throws his knife into his shoulder and makes his escape. This turns out to be a catalyst for the rest of the series. This man happens to be June’s brother and it seems Day’s throwing ability is off. Metias is now dead and a grieving June is taken from school and given the task of tracking down Day and bringing him to the authorities.

Prodigy starts us off where Legend left. June and Day are now on the run with Day’s brother held in captivity and being tested on. They run to the rebellious group of the Patriots, apparently funded by the Colonies. Here, in Las Vegas, they agree to help the Patriots in return for fixing Day’s leg which became injured during their flight from LA. June’s mission is to return to the Republic and try and befriend the new leader and Day is to rally the citizens and ultimately kill the new leader. However, June realises that the Patriots are wrong and her and Day turn on the rebels and again are fleeing for their lives. June catches some unknown disease and Day saves her by taking her to the Colonies. Whilst staying there, they realise that the Colonies are just another form of  a suppressed people and would be no better a rule than the republic. June and Day make it their destiny to help change the republic for the better and to do this they must return and throw all their support behind the leader.

In Champion we have June as the golden girl once again. She is now an advisor of the Elector and Day is trying to find a cure for his terminal illness. The Colonies decide to try and invade the Republic whilst it is still relatively weak with a new Elector and rebellious citizens. This calls for June to ask Day for permission to use his brother against a new plague that the Colonies seem to have and blame the Republic for. Of course, due to his own history of being a lab rat and the more recent experiments on his brother, he denies this request but does promise to help in anyway he can, despite his failing health. June discovers this medical ailment and realises it is the reason behind his sudden departure from her life. She also realies that Day can never truly forgive her for her part in the murder of his mother and older brother and it kills him to be in love with her. Day sacrifices himself to save the Republic against the Colonies and ends up with memory loss. He remembers certain people but not June. Should she stay with him and help him remember her? Or leave and takeaway the pain of loving someone who helped to kill your family?

Opinion

I really liked these books. Like I said above, I read all three in two days. It is a dystopian reality with a love story at its core. Similar to The Hunger Games it is a scarily realistic future that could happen to us. With the melting ice caps, the world would change indefinitely and who is to say that this future is not a possibility?

The connection between all the characters is fantastic and you believe them all. I was shocked by one of them as I didn’t see that relationship revelation at all. Maybe I am just naive. Or it was excellent writing. The writing throughout is flawless and really brings you into the story. Having said that, I’m unsure as to whether I like the ending. I think I do. It is definitely better than The Hunger Games ending which if you have read my post on that then you shall know my thoughts on its disappointing finale. So it is good but just not what I thought would happen.

All in all a great read. It made me regret my speed in reading as this meant I had finished them too quickly. My verdict: 9/10. Give it a go!

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Marie Lu, Young Adult

Gone Girl – Gillian Flyn

First off, I would like to wish all my readers a belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope 2014 is all that you could wish for.

Now for this year’s last review, I shall be taking a look at Gone Girl by Gillian Flyn. It was rooted to be the best psychological thriller of 2013. In all honesty, when I finished this book my first thought was WTF???? There is no other sentiment for it. Trust me. If you read it you shall have the same expletive! (Caution: Spoilers in the Plot section!)

Plot

We start off with a husband and wife narrative, Nick and Amy. His written in the present, hers in the past through a diary. We find out that the day in the present is their 5th year wedding anniversary and that they are not a happy a couple. Nick recently lost his job and opened up a bar in his home town with his twin sister, thanks to some money off of his wife. He tells a tale of a couple who no longer want the same things any more, where as Amy’s story tells us of how they got to be married in the first place. We feel the sadness of this crumbling relationship and feel sorry for them both.

Then comes the interesting part of this story, Amy goes missing. Nick arrives home to find his door wide open, ironing not finished and his lounge to be in complete disarray. Obviously he calls the police and what we begin to see from Amy’s diary and Nick’s reaction to the whole saga begins to be suspicious.

Every year on their anniversary, Amy creates a treasure hunt for Nick which he never gets. The clues lead to things that Amy has always seen as important to their relationship and Nick never has. This means he never gets the clues, resulting in it looking like he doesn’t care. This year, the clues mean something to him and he can answer them. This takes us down a path that Nick cannot go back on. During which, we come to the end of the diary. Amy has painted Nick as the abusive husband, we now see he has a mistress and the police are closing in on him for the murder of his wife. However, half way through this book, we hear from present day Amy and find she has set up her husband. She wants him to be tried for murder (specifically her murder) and within the state of Missouri, this is punishable by death.

Amy’s plan is so excellently devious that it is the perfect crime. Nick is clearly the murderer. Everything points to him and it all came through the police’s hard-work. Nothing was handed to them and this just adds to Nick’s guilt. However, she was not able to perceive what would happen to her and she is robbed by some supposed new friends. This leads to a whole heap of trouble and definitely adds a twist that I never saw coming.

Opinion

Like I said earlier, this is definitely a WTF book. Amy and Nick are both downright cuckoo. Amy is from the start, setting her husband up for murder and then changing her mind and eventually committing murder herself. I think Nick turns insane throughout this book. Yes, Amy has him trapped in a corner and there is little he can do but his acceptance in the end of his wife is bone-a-fide crazy. 

I can’t decide if I like this book. As many other reviews have said, it is a book of two halves. When we see Amy through her diary entries, the book is almost boring, a typical husband killed his wife and we wont see his admission of guilt until the end. Then it twists for the first time and Amy is alive and basically she is a psycho. No matter how bad your relationship is, to frame your husband so convincingly for your murder, potentially resulting in him getting the death penalty and then committing suicide just to prove he did do it… psychotic.

Then we have Nick. A seemingly normal guy. An adulterer with his student but not a murderer, who works out his wife’s plan for him and desperately tries to find a way to successfully tell the truth.

The book is well written and Flyn gets you to believe what she wants you to believe at the right moments. She reveals things in stages and the twists are sublime. There is potential to guess the twists but it is only hindsight which makes you realise this. This truly is a psychological thriller as like I said, the characters are all crazy. There isn’t a single one who would not need a shrink in real life.

Unfortunately, the bad side of this book is that I don’t know what outcome I want. Nick is not a loveable character. Part of you almost feels that he deserves what happens to him. This isn’t great for the ‘hero’ of the story. Amy is a hard character to describe. I cannot like her nor hate her. She makes me feel uncomfortable and I am truly grateful I do not know her. Yet her parents almost make you understand why she is like she is. Everything they didn’t like about their daughter, they ‘corrected’ in their stories of Amazing Amy. Imagine reading about a perfect version of yourself and knowing you could never live up to it. Enough to class it as mental child abuse.

Also against this book is how boring and long winded the start is. I almost didn’t finish it because it is such an easy and bog standard detective story. Nick clearly is the murderer. It is boring to see the police put together such an obvious prosecution. It does get better when we find out that Amy is alive but then it takes so long for us to get to the end that again I was slightly bored with mild segments of interest.

Overall an interesting idea and in certain ways well written. The confusion of reading this book lets it down. Do you want Nick to be free, Amy to be alive, them to stay together? All these questions and more counter each other out and leave you firmly in the WTF category. So my verdict is a 5.5/10. Decidedly average but one that has managed to create quite a sensation. Give it a go, let me know if you agree!

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Filed under Book Review, Gillian Flyn, Gone Girl, kindle, Psychological Thriller

Three Girls and a Baby – Rachel Schurig

 I originally got this book because of the title. I t reminded me of one of my favourite films “Three men and a Baby”. It is very similar to this film but different enough to not be classed as a copy cat. I had never heard of Rachel Schurig before and this was recommended by Kindle. It’s a first in a series, followed by three other “Three girls and a…” books. I have now read all four and they all follow the same main three characters (which later turns to four). Shows this must have been an ok read to want to follow the girls through their lives.

Plot

We meet Ginny, Annie and Jen. Three house mates who have been friends since high school, finished college and moved in together after. Ginny and her high school boyfriend have been split up for a few months and Ginny can see her friends are getting tired of her constant moping. She has a job as an au-pair for a rich family, a little below her English degree intelligence. One night her ex comes back into her life and a quick night of remembrance occurs. Ginny asks Josh to stay away for a while as she needs to get her head screwed back on after their break up. However, that one night has changed everything for Ginny. She is now pregnant and with the help of her best friends she embarks on a journey of love, life and laughter.

Opinion

This is a great book. It had some real laugh out loud moments and great wit about it. It won’t win any writing awards but that’s not what this book  is about. It is a book written by a woman, about women, for women. The humour, content and friendships are all “girlie” and as such I doubt any male would understand it or find it funny. Each character reminds you of one of your best-friends and the situations that arise can be placed easily into your own. Schurig has created a world that we could all potentially live in and it is this one fact that makes this book one of the best ‘chick flicks’ I have read in a while.

Great storyline, great characters and you will find great heart within the pages. my verdict 8/10. A great bedside read.

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Filed under Book Review, Chick Lit, kindle, Rachel Schurig, Three Girls and a.... series

Kindle

This is a webpage about books so why not a review on how you read them. I have always loved books, the feel of a new book as you open it for the first time and the smell of them (as long as they don’t smell like your incontinent aunty Muriel!) always sent a shiver of excitement down my spine. A kindle brings you non of that book feeling. I have to admit it was my only slight hesitation in buying one but when your taking ten+ books on a 2 week holiday then you begin to see the advantages over the disadvantages.

1) you can store over 3000 books. I worked out that at my 3 books a week reading pace, my kindle’s memory without deletes would take me 20 years to get through all the books. Quite a feat when you think I would be on the faster time than most.

2) it’s a lot lighter than 10+ books. In fact you take it with you in your hand luggage. This means you suddenly have half a suitcase more to fill with clothes or other electronic devices.

3) many books are free. This has meant I can read many many more books and genres that I wouldn’t have really picked up before. Such as “Dick Long: sexual saviour of the universe”. Ok it hasn’t really enriched my life to be able to read this book but I wouldn’t have nor dear readers, enjoyed it if I hadn’t have got it free on kindle. Firm favourites whilst not free are mightily cheaper than in book form obviously due to the cheaper production.

4) the environment. With fewer books needed to be printed to fill demand and even some books being kindle only this means less paper needed so less trees cut down so better for the environment! Good for everyone then.

5) free 3G for only 50 quid more. Anywhere in the world you have access to books and the experimental browser. No pesky and secret fees here. Just what it says on the tin.

6) connection to Amazon. Now this point could be a disadvantage depending on how you look at it. A bit like apple, you can only download your books from amazon. However, amazon has to have one of the best online selections for books. So really you’ll always find what you want.

7) your quality of reading isn’t dampened by slow electronic page turning. You hardly notice the transition from page to page and when absorbed by a book, you aren’t pulled out of the story by dodgy graphics.

8) you can download the kindle app onto your android and apple phones/ tablets. As long as you have a kindle already it will let you use it as if it were a kindle. Those not owning a kindle don’t have the ease of access to the books via the kindle store on the app. The excellent thing about this feature is that all your devices will sync to each other so you can always pick up your book were left it on your other device. Handy.

Overall well worth a buy. If you’re a reader who saviours the feel of a page and the turning of paper then this is not the reading device for you! Or even if you like to take 10+ books in physical form with you on hols I’d urge you to reconsider the purchase of a kindle. However, if your like me dear reader and would want an accessible ans easy to use e-reader, by al means browse the shelves of the copious amount available to you but this one has my seal of approval!

Rating: 9.5/10 (has crashed a couple of times but only when one person used it so I am inclined to blame them and not the kindle but the reason for the loss of a half point.)

(side note: reading on something futuristic… Well “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” is pretty futuristic! Read it. Or watch the film.)

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Filed under Book Review, kindle, Presents, Side Note