Hello, sweet peas!
Some books don’t need a long and winding review written about them. Some of them can just be wrapped up in a small review. Todays is mini review day again. Hussah!
The Crackledawn Dragon by Abi Elphinstone (Sampler)
What it is about: 11-year-old Zebedee Bolt is on the run. Again. Only this time it’s not the police who find him. It’s an evil harpy called Morg. And when she hauls him into Crackledawn, an Unmapped kingdom that conjures sunlight for our world, Zeb discovers running away only gets you so far. When magic’s involved, you’ve got to pick a side. And though Zeb vowed he wouldn’t trust anyone ever again, he didn’t expect to stumble aboard The Kerfuffle, an enchanted boat belonging to a girl called Oonie and her talking chameleon, Mrs Fickletint. Suddenly, Zeb finds himself on a voyage complete with silver whales, fire krakens and underwater palaces. Can he muster up enough trust in others, and in magic, to summon a dragon, find the Ember Scroll and defeat Morg once and for all?
What I thought: I’m waiting really hard for this book, especially now that I have heard that they have pushed back the release date. This sampler has made the waiting a little easier.
I’m very happy to return to the Unmapped Kingdoms. I was curious about the newest protagonist and freaked out by Morg and her newest scheme and I absolutely loved seeing Fox again. The sampler was a great introduction into the new book and I can’t wait to read the rest.
The Marriage Game by Sara Desai
What it is about: After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door. As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life. As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.
What I thought: I think what intrigued me first about this book was the gorgeous cover and the synposis of the book sounded great too. And hey, who’s not all for reading about characters with a different cultural background than your own.
Unfortunately, this book was rather a disappointment for me. While the overall idea of the story is great and funny, I couldn’t bring myself to like the characters. Especially Sam really irked me. While he was put up as protective, he seemed possesive and like he kept looking down on everybody else. Even with his backstory explained I couldn’t like him at all. There was just an inconsistency in his character that i didn’t like and in real life I would run far, far away from him.
Not liking the main characters just spoiles the story and in the end I couldn’t enjoy this book very much.
Nightmare Academy by Dean Lorey
What it is about: When Charlie Benjamin sleeps, monsters wake up. It’s hard to fit in when your nightmares open portals to the Netherworld, where horrible creatures live–like the class 3 Netherstalker that invaded a sleepover and tried to eat the other children. Luckily there’s a place for Charlie–the Nightmare Academy. Built from wrecked ships set in the branches of the world’s most incredible tree fort, the Academy trains people to use their unique gifts to fight the monsters that rush in when the lights go out. But Charlie is far more powerful than anyone ever imagined, and his entrance exam opens a portal straight to the heart of the Netherworld, where ultimate evil plots Earth’s destruction. He’ll need all his cleverness–and the help of his new friends–to save himself and his family and to put these bad boys to bed once and for all.
What I thought: I usually love books with secret schools which is why I’m so disappointed in this one. This book has so many good ideas behind it, so many characters that would have been interesting. I mean, a dormitory that’s basically a treehouse made from old ships? Portals to the nightmare realm? Monsters that come through nightmare portals to our world?
It sounds so great but in the end I’m afraid it just fell a little flat. There are definite paralells to Harry Potter in there, but it seems like a wannabe version of it, like it was trying very hard and did not achieve it.
In the end, there were so many great ideas packed into it but I still felt bored.
Finding the Fox by Ali Sparks
What it is about: Dax Jones is an ordinary schoolboy – until something extraordinary happens one day. Whilst frightened for his life, he inexplicably changes into a fox. Before long, both a government agent and an ambitious young journalist are on his tail.
What I thought: This book promised me everything I love – secret schools and shapeshifters. Man, was I excited. It started out really great too. I loved the parts when Dax turns into a fox. The descriptions are amazing. I felt fully engaged and I really loved it.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book felt kind a grey somehow. The characters felt all the same and somehow ageless, the setting somehow bland, even though it might have been very exciting. I was just not really engaged, did not care for the characters too much. Sure, the story was not bad, there was a lot of exciting stuff in there. However, the book was just missing some things to completely convince me.
Shadow School #1 Archimancy by J.A. White
What it is about: Cordelia Liu knew Shadow School was going to be different. Still, she didn’t expect the school grounds to be filled with ghosts. Cordelia soon realizes she’s not the only one who can see the ghosts; her new friend Benji can too. Together with super-smart Agnes, the trio are determined to find out why the ghosts are there, and whether there’s a way to set them free. But the school was created with more sinister intentions, and someone is willing to go to extreme lengths to ensure that the ghosts remain trapped forever.
What I thought: I fell in love with J. A. White’s writing when another one of his books – Nightbooks – was picked for BOTM by our bookclub. I’m all for creepy books with a good portion of old mansions, ghosts and ghosthunting. That’s what this book is about. I loved the characters, I loved the setting and I loved the twists and turns this book follows. I feel like it’s a different take on the idea of the haunted house and the whole lengh of reading it I was wondering where the story would take me.
It was a great ride and I will definitely read the rest of the series as well.