Saturday, 30 April 2011

Looking Back : April 2011

I read eight books this April:

1. Wolf Hall By Hilary Mantel
2. Slice of Cherry By Dia Reeves
3. Ravenwild By Peter Plasse
4. The Help By Kathryn Stockett
5. Desires Of The Dead By Kimberley Derting
6. A Most Improper Magick By Stephanie Burgis
7. Monsters Of Men By Patrick Ness
8. The Dark & Hollow Places By Carrie Ryan

It's been a slower week than normal reading wise. I've been enjoying the Easter holidays though including the beautiful royal wedding yesterday. I'm back to uni tomorrow where I will be extremely busy as I've only got six and half weeks left before I finish for good so I don't know how much reading I'll be able to enjoy. This month I finished The Chaos Walking and The Forest and Hands Of Teeth trilogies, both of which were fantastic. My favourite though was The Help which I loved especially after reading Gone With The Wind last month.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Slice Of Cherry by Dia Reeves

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that's just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.

It's no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire - the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren't killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from their father's mistakes and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities...

I've never read another book like Slice of Cherry in the Young Adult genre. It is completely unique and original and at times utterly bizarre.

Kit and Fancy Cordelle are two sisters unlike any other. They both seem to have inherited the same intense fascination with killing that their father, the bonesaw killer, had. I never really liked either of the sisters which in a way is kind of a good thing because their hobbies are definitely twisted and horrifying. However, I did enjoy reading about them, it was disturbing, yet refreshing to explore their relationship, which had its ups and downs throughout the story. They like to think that they are practically the same person and almost have this unhealthy attachment to each other, but throughout the novel they start to realise they do have their differences just like all sisters. For Fancy, this unsettles her, as she hates change, so much so that she still plays with dolls and wears dresses more suited to little girls even though she is now in her teens. So when she realises that Kit is happy to spend time with somebody else other than her, she ends up feeling lost and I think this is what helps her grow up.

I found it fascinating how both of the girls gut reactions to anybody they don't like is to either torture them or straight out kill them. They are also completely nonchalant about killing. At first I thought Kit was the more bloodthirsty of the two, but you soon realise that Fancy is just as bad if not worse, she is just more creative and inventive with the way she kills. Kit is more impulsive at first, whereas Fancy likes to plan so as to wipe out the risk of leaving any evidence behind, so when she comes across a door into another world she realises it is the perfect place to kill. This new world is the definition of weird and it had this unsettling atmosphere to it which is really unnerving.

Portero is the creepy town they live in, where the strange is the norm. It is a place where corpses can rise, strange creatures are roaming in the woods and the neighbours are happy to overlook suspicious deaths as long as it benefits them. I haven't read Dia Reeves first book, Bleeding Violets, so I'm not sure of how much of Portero was explained, but I would have liked to have learned more about it, especially the doorways to worlds that seem to be scattered across the town. Although I did love the hot sticky summer atmosphere of it and the lure of knowing that anything could happen.

I loved how this book is so different from others and whilst there were some loose ends that were left untied (not crucial to the plot though) I did enjoy it. It is a mix of realism and surreal fantasy with the toxic relationship of the sisters and their brutal and terrifying interest in killing coupled with the exciting yet eerie world they live in. A must read for anyone that enjoys a dark, quirky and unique read.


Random Passage: Fancy and Kit jounced along redbrick streets past low, colorful buildings. The docile trees lining the medians had cute little cages around them and nothing in common with their cousins in the wild forest upsquare. The whole town generally smelled pine fresh or, when the wind was right, like freshly baked bread, thanks to the bread factory in the warehouse district. Many days, however, Portero smelled like blood.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

In My Mailbox (20)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

I got two books this week:

1. The Dark And Hollow Places By Carrie Ryan
2.The Iron Daughter By Julie Kagawa

The Forest of Hands and Teeth
and The Dead-Tosses Waves are two of my favourite books, so I can't wait to see how it all ends in The Dark And Hollow Places. Also, I really enjoyed The Iron King so I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for Meghan, Puck and Ash!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Ravenwild By Peter Plasse

Returning home from another grueling shift of E.R. work, Dr. Blake Lee Strong comes across a downed motorcyclist and stops to help, but little does he know that his world and that of his family will soon be turned upside down. Duped into being transported to another planet called Inam'Ra , Dr. Strong and his family are thrust into a medieval world populated by Trolls, Gnomes, Elves, Dwarves, Humans and other alien beings. An epic odyssey begins as the Strong family fights for not only their own survival, but also for the continued existence of the citizens of Ravenwild.

As soon as you turn the first page of Ravenwild you are immediately transported into the medieval fantasy world of Inam'Ra and introduced to the danger that the citizens of Ravenwild face from the encroaching Trolls and Gnomes. Unfortunately for the Strong family they are tricked into leaving the safety of their world by an unnerving wizard and end up separated and stranded amongst dangerous creatures in Ravenwild and its surrounding countries. What ensues is an epic adventure as Blake and Jessica Strong try to battle their way through Ravenwild to find their children.
I'm a big fan of medieval fantasy stories including the works of Trudi Canavan, Terry Brooks and J.R.R. Tolkien and now Peter Plasse. Inam'Ra is a diverse and exciting new world that I really enjoyed exploring.

I loved the way the whole family was involved in the story instead of just one of the children. In a lot of novels the parents are usually conveniently absent but in Ravenwild they were an important presence. The whole family have a really sarcastic humour which had me chuckling along with them at times. The three children Orie (16), Stephanie (15) and Jacqueline (10) are all likable with their own distinct personalities but with traits inherited from their parents, which shows how close they are as a family.

There is also a whole host of characters that you are introduced to, good and bad! There is the brave and loyal Forrester and even though he is a Troll he has a good heart and has banded together with Orie to help him find his family. There is also Jared, the intelligent and resourceful human that comes across Stephanie and believes she is the girl that is prophesised to change the fate of Inam'Ra in his beloved books. On the other side of the war there is the awful and downright evil Troll Emperor Malance Venomisis. So even though there was a lot of characters to keep track of I never forgot who was who and it was easy to follow becasue they all had there own personalities and none ever blended into one another.

Throughout the whole novel there is always the presence of danger and the threat is almost palpable. The Trolls are vicious and don't give a second thought about killing anybody for food or even just fun. There were times when some of the characters had just managed to escape from the Trolls only to find themselves back in their clutches almost straight away. This meant that I never knew what was going to happen next and there were also plenty of twists and turns that kept me reading and guessing.

Dotted amongst the pages of the book are great illustrations by Michael Longenecker of various characters and scenes which were an added bonus and very cool. The story ended satisfyingly, however, there are still questions to be answered and mysteries to be unraveled in the next installment and I can't wait to read it. Overall, it was a fast-paced, exciting read that transports you to a rich and amazing new world and is a great start to a promising new trilogy.

Random Passage
: Anyone would agree that it's tough to live every moment of your life in fear that you're about to die - when there might be danger behind every tree, under every bush, around every bend in the roadway - when every shadow might suddenely transform itself into some hidden creature and rip you to shreds.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

In My Mailbox (19)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren.

I received one book this week as a gift from my Dad.

1. The Ambassador's Mission by Trudi Canavan

I loved The Black Magician Trilogy so I can't wait to read this new companion series; The Traitor Spy Trilogy.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren

I got two books this week:

1. Ravenwild By Peter Plasse and Michael Longnecker

2. When God Was A Rabbit By Sarah Winman

Ravenwild is the first book I have received for review and I'm really looking forward to reading it. It sounds like a great fantasy read!