The Girl In The Steel Corset

The Girl In The Steel Corset

The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross
Published by MIRA Ink
Ebook
Published 1 January 2011
477 pages
Library book

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a steampunk novel’.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

In 1897 London, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the thing inside her. When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch. . . . Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she’s special, says she’s one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret. Griffins investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help and finally be a part of something, finally fit in. But The Machinist wants to tear Griff’s little company of strays apart, and it isn’t long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she’s on even if it seems no one believes her.

EXTRACT

 London, The Age of Invention, late April 1897

‘You’re the very spawn of Satan and I’ll not have you darken this door ever again’.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I was going to say this was my first steampunk novel but that’s not true, I love The Lunar Chronicles. I thought The Girl in the Steel Corset was great. I was surprised that it was set in Victorian London and would have expected this kind of novel to be set in the future. But what do I know, eh? This novel has clearly been influenced by Frankenstein and I really enjoyed this take on it. It’s not the deepest and most profound novel I’ve ever read but it was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it and there’s nothing wrong with that. I plan to read the series and would recommend this book.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

A Song For Ella Grey

A Song For Ella Grey

A Song For Ella Grey by David Almond
Published by Hodder Children’s Books
Hardback
Published 2 October 2014
276 pages
Library book

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

“I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the tale. I knew them both…knew how they lived and how they died.”

Claire is Ella Grey’s best friend. She’s there when the whirlwind arrives on the scene: catapulted into a North East landscape of gutted shipyards; of high arched bridges and ancient collapsed mines. She witnesses a love so dramatic it is as if her best friend has been captured and taken from her. But the loss of her friend to the arms of Orpheus is nothing compared to the loss she feels when Ella is taken from the world. This is her story – as she bears witness to a love so complete; so sure, that not even death can prove final.

OPENING 

I’m the one who’s left behind. I’m the one to tell the story. I knew them both, knew how they lived and how they died. It didn’t happen long ago. I’m young, like them. Like them? Can’t that be possible? Can you be both young and dead? I don’t have to think of that. I need to cast the story out and live my life. I’ll tell it fast and true and get it gone, right now, while darkness deepens over the icy North and the bitter stars shine down. I’ll finish it by morning.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

This is my first time reading the author. I have his book, My Name Is Mina, unread on my Kindle.

I thought A Song for Ella Grey was fantastic. This is one of those rare, magical books that reaches right inside your heart and squeezes so hard you can’t breathe. Is Orpheus just a boy, a beautiful boy with a talent for singing and charm or is he a creature from myth? Apparently this book is a retelling of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. I didn’t know this when I read it though it makes perfect sense given the descriptions of Orpheus and his talents and his quest to find his love, Ella. I’ve heard of Orpheus and Eurydice but never knew the whole story which meant I could enjoy A Song for Ella Grey on its own merit and not as a retelling. This book is beautifully written and I enjoyed every page. I loved the section where Orpheus journeys into death. The pages at this point are black and the text is printed in white. This shouldn’t really work but does. A Song for Ella Grey is amazing and I would recommend it.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION

Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone ILLUSTRATED EDITION by J K Rowling
Published by Bloomsbury
Hardback
Published 6 October 2015
248 pages
Owned

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book that you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile’.  

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation’s favourite children’s book – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic, Jim Kay’s glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he’s the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord’s curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous – or both. An incredible adventure is about to begin!

EXTRACT  

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I’ve read Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone at least ten times. This is my first time reading the illustrated edition. A word about the illustration edition; the illustrations are lush and gorgeous, and bring Harry’s first adventure to life. This book was a pleasure to read. As for the book itself, I am an uber-fan of Harry Potter. I’ve read the books at least ten times each and seen the DVD’s as many times. The Philosopher’s Stone has a special place in my heart as it was the first time Harry, Ron and Hermione have an adventure. I love this book. It’s easily at the top of my list of all-time favourites. There are so many moments that I love in this book; Harry finding out about Hogwarts, the midnight duel with Malfoy, Hagrid’s dragon, the trip to the Forbidden Forrest, solving the puzzles to reach the stone and a million other things. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is easily one of the best books ever written.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Fall In One Day ARC

Fall In One Day ARC

NETFall In One Day by Craig Terlson
Published by Blue Moon Publishers
Ebook
Expected publication 16 May 2017
327 pages
NetGalley

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I was given an ARC of this book by the publisher via NetGalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

WHAT IT’S ABOUT

In the summer of 1973, fifteen-year-old Joe Beck lives in a small Canadian city near the U.S. border where he watches dark-suited politicians lie on TV during something called Watergate. So when his best friend Brian goes missing, Joe has a hard time believing that adults ever tell the truth.

Joe learns that Brian left town with his father after Brian’s mother ended up in the hospital. He listens to the news reports for information, but nothing is being said. Eventually, Joe launches his own investigation, using a tape recorder—just like the American president—to help sift through the clues. Feeling that everything is up to him, Joe embarks on a perilous and enlightening journey to decipher a mental institution diary full of secrets about a drug called LSD, and uncover the truth about Brian’s father and save his best friend.

OPENING 

‘Out of sight’ was a thing Karl said when him and Dennis thought something was extra cool.

WHAT I THOUGHT 

I thought Fall In One Day was great. Joe’s got a great voice and he narrated the story really well. I really enjoyed the elements of mystery that are woven through the storyline. Why did Brian’s dad take him? Where to? Why did he hurt Brian’s mother? Does Brian really want to be found? Will Joe be able to make something of the meagre clues left behind? I thought Joe’s search for Brian, aided by his brother was really well written. The characters are all well written and really come to life on the page. Brian’s father is a very sympathetic character once it’s clear what’s happened to him to cause his behaviour. Fall In One Day is well written. I loved the descriptions and detail that brought everything so vividly to life. This is an engaging, enjoyable mystery novel and well worth a read.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
Published by Corsair
Ebook
Published 7 June 2012
247 pages
Owned

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book involving a mythical creature’.

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

With exquisite illustrations by acclaimed artist Ana Juan, Fairyland lives up to the sensation it created when the author first posted it online. For readers of all ages who love the charm of Alice in Wonderland and the soul of The Golden Compass, here is a reading experience unto itself: unforgettable, and so very beautiful.

EXTRACT 

Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her parent’s house, where she washed the same pink-and-yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I really enjoyed The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. This is a well-written, fun and very entertaining. I love fairy-tales. This book reminded me of Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and to an extent, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. This is a good thing. I got lost in the strange world September finds herself plunged into and enjoyed accompanying her on her strange adventures. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making is the kind of book that’s easy to enjoy. There is a lot of heart here and a lot of craziness as well – two things I adore. I also liked the illustrations at the start of every chapter. It was fun to get lost in Fairyland with September for a while. I might read the other books in the series as well. I’d recommend The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making.

RATING

4 STAR RATING

Freaky Green Eyes

Freaky Green Eyes

Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates
Published by HarperTeen
Ebook
Published 16 February 2016 (first published 1 January 2003)
368 pages
Owned

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WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

“Later, I would think of it as crossing over. From a known territory into an unknown. From a place where people know you to a place where people only think they know you.”

Sometimes Franky Pierson has a hard time dealing with life. Like when her parents separate and her mother vanishes, Franky wants to believe that her mom has simply pulled a disappearing act. Yet deep within herself, a secret part of her she calls Freaky Green Eyes knows that something is terribly wrong. And only Freaky can open Franky’s eyes to the truth.

EXTRACT

That night. I lie awake listening.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Oh, boy does JCO know how to pack a punch, even when writing YA fiction. Freaky Green Eyes turned out to be a lot, lot darker than I expected. I really like the YA fiction I’ve read by JCO in the past and was really enjoy this novel, which at first, seemed to be about a teenage girl watching her parent’s marriage fall apart. I was already in love with Franky’s voice and the way she saw the world. Then her mother goes missing and suddenly Freaky Green Eyes turned into a different, darker book. I loved it. I thought Franky/Freaky was a great character. She was clearly suffering from some version of the Electra complex by ignoring signs that her father was a bastard but she did the right thing in the end. I’d highly recommend Freaky Green Eyes.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

Paper Towns

Paper Towns

Paper Towns by John Green
Published by Penguin
Ebook
Published 16 October 2008
246 pages
Digital library book

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I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book involving travel’. 

WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows.

After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer Q gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew.

#1 bestselling author and Printz medallist John Green’s brilliant wit and searing emotional honesty have inspired a new generation of readers.

EXTRACT 

The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle. Like, I will probably never be struck by lightning, or win a Nobel Prize, or become the dictator of a small nation in the Pacific Islands, or contract terminal ear cancer, or spontaneously combust. Buy it you consider all the unlikely things together, at least one of them will probably happen to each of us. I could have seen in train frogs. I could have stepped foot on Mars. I could have been eaten by a whale. I could have married the Queen of England or survived months at sea. But my miracle was different. My miracle was this; out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.

WHAT I THOUGHT

I really loved Paper Towns. This is my second John Green book and I can see myself becoming a huge fan. I thought the characters were great, real, messy and complicated, and different from stereotypical teenagers you find in a lot of YA Fiction. I loved the way Quentin and his friends solved the crazy clues trying to find out where Margo could be and what had really happened to her. Margo is the best character, dark and messed up and painfully real. I loved the road trip Quentin takes with his friends. I thought the ending was the perfect combination of happy and sad and not at all what I was expecting. I’d highly recommend Paper Towns.

RATING

5 STAR RATING