terça-feira, 26 de agosto de 2014

Review: Thief's Magic by Trudi Canavan

Thief's Magic [Millennium's Rule #1]
by Trudi Canavan
Format: Hardback / Paperback / E-book
Nr of Pages: 560
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group 
In a world where an industrial revolution is powered by magic, Tyen, a student of archaeology, unearths a sentient book called Vella. Once a young sorcerer-bookbinder, Vella was transformed into a useful tool by one of the greatest sorcerers of history. Since then she has been collecting information, including a vital clue to the disaster Tyen's world faces.
Elsewhere, in a land ruled by the priests, Rielle the dyer's daughter has been taught that to use magic is to steal from the Angels. Yet she knows she has a talent for it, and that there is a corrupter in the city willing to teach her how to use it - should she dare to risk the Angels' wrath.
But not everything is as Tyen and Rielle have been raised to believe. Not the nature of magic, nor the laws of their lands.
Not even the people they trust.

Rating: 4/5

Warning: This is going to be a LONG review so I am putting it under a read more. Please bear with me. I have a lot of feelings.

sábado, 23 de agosto de 2014

Review: Between the Lives, by Jessica Shirvington

Between the Lives
by Jessica Shirvington

Edição/reimpressão: 2014
Pages: 336 (Ebook)
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books

Summary: The perfect life or the perfect love. You choose.
For as long as she can remember, Sabine has lived two lives. Every 24 hours she shifts to her 'other' life - a life where she is exactly the same, but absolutely everything else is different: different family, different friends, different social expectations. In one life she has a sister, in the other she does not. In one life she's a straight-A student with the perfect boyfriend, in the other she's considered a reckless delinquent. Nothing about her situation has ever changed, until the day when she discovers a glitch: the arm she breaks in one life is perfectly fine in the other.
With this new knowledge, Sabine begins a series of increasingly risky experiments that bring her dangerously close to the life she's always wanted. But if she can only have one life, which is the one she'll choose?
A compelling psychological thriller about a girl who lives two parallel lives - this is Sliding Doors for the YA audience.

Rating: 4/5 

"Between the Lives" was given to me by Escape Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This book was such a good surprise. In fact, at the beginning I was feeling a little confused and not getting along with it, but then it got catchy and easy to go on. I guess my first issue was to really understand how the changing was supposed to happen. Not the physical part but the meaning of it. The way the first pages describe it, it looks like Sabine would live one live and exist in the other at same time but having the soul out of that body, when in reality it was something more simple: she would return to exact same point where she was during the switch. Which means that if she was falling in live A and if she shift during that time, she would live the exact same day in the life B (with other family and other people and context) knowing that at midnight she would really fall on the "previous" life. After understanding the mechanic, the book started growing on me and I could feel comfortable reading both realities of Sabine´s life. 
At first, it was a little confusing to understand why she would create almost different characters in each live until I figured that was her safe mechanism to keep going and trying not to mix up her realities, which only means Sabine was never a real person, not even for herself (at least from my perspective). 
It was fun to understand and see the dynamics she had with both families, and how she was connected with her parents, her siblings and her friends, from whom I would love to had time to learn more about. Even so, I didn't felt that was something missing there, or that the book had plot holes in that level. 
I didn't really felt she was the reckless delinquent the summary wants to sell, she was simply someone with different opportunities and more space to try to exist in one life than in the other. After the glitch, it was fun to understand the consequences of her actions while she also did, but even so I guess the author sometimes forgot Sabine didn't knew already what was going to happen and she looked to me stressed out with stuff less important than another. 
In another instance, when she starts the experiments, it isn't clear for me why she is tending in one direction, because the life where she seams more real and complete and with more possibilities of happiness is the one she is putting apart. 
Also, it was a nice change the big twist that happened in the middle of the book (I will not mention it to don´t spoil the story to everyone) and it kept me reading the book all night long. It created a nice dynamic in the story and made it different and original, which is something that we need in more books! Nearer to the end, there is another big plot twist and for a while I thought the book was going in a different direction, but since it's an young adult story, it turned out to a less troubled path, but even so enjoyable. 
The end was a little predictable but not boring or dishonorable to what Jessica Shirvington created and finalized in a sour and sweet conclusion. I will be watching Jessica´s future books! Well done.  

About the author:
Addicted to the library Claudia loves to read on the move and we can usualy find her sitting in a train or bus reading while commuting to and from work. But don't be fooled she is also keeping an eye on the landscape and all around her. She is an avid defender of sustainability and volunteering and it's as easy to find her starting a new project as it is to find her chatting with her friends. She is a dreamer and loves good stories so she keeps looking for them in her personal life.

quinta-feira, 21 de agosto de 2014

Review. Gangsta Granny, by David Walliams

Gangsta Granny
by David Walliams 
Ilustrated by Tony Ross
Published in: 2011 
Pag Nr: 299 
Editor: HarperCollins Children's Books
Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma's house. All she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn't know about his grandma: she was once an international jewel thief and she has been plotting to steal the crown jewels. Now she needs Ben's help.

Rating: 4/5

I have been promising myself that I will get around to read David Walliams books for almost a year now. I read great reviews about The Boy in the dress and later on of Billionaire Boy. By the time Gangsta Granny hit the shelves Walliams was already being called the next Roald Dahl and since I liked Dahl’s books I decided that I really should check out Walliams books.
Gangsta Granny tells us the story of Ben’s granny who is, as it is to be expected, a typical textbook granny. She is old, with white hair, fake teeth, and tissues up her sleeve… Oh! And stolen jewels from all over the world! Ben doesn’t like to spend every Friday night with his granny he believes she is boring until the day he accidentally finds the jewels and his granny becomes the most interesting person in the world.
Since I was young that I have always enjoyed being around elderly people, I always found them fascinating and wise and I was lucky to have grandparents who loved to tell stories and who always cooked my favourite meals. Unfortunately for Ben everything his granny cooks is cabbage based and that includes her cabbage cake. Ben really can’t get out of his granny house fast enough and I think most 12 year olds would probably feel the same way.
However there’s always a side of our grandparents, and most people actually, that we don’t get to know and when Ben finds his granny’s “dark side” he simply can’t leave her house. This leads to a bunch of misadventures and of course the biggest jewel theft ever.
I loved how the main message of this book was to respect and help elderly people, it was a book that spoke about kindness towards the old and how the young seem to forget that they will be old someday as well.  It’s a book that reminds young people that old people were young once as well and that they had adventures as well. It’s a book about following your dreams and about never giving up.
Also Tony Ross's illustrations really help the book come to life. I really enjoyed seeing his drawings of granny and Ben's parents. Specially mom with her makeup out of place.

Another solid 4 starts and a reading that I recommend for 12 year olds! (And 28 years old with children’s hearts). 

terça-feira, 19 de agosto de 2014

Opinião: Vingança de Sangue, de Wilbur Smith

Vingança de Sangue
de Wilbur Smith

Edição/reimpressão: 2014
Páginas: 576
Editora: Editorial Presença 

Vingança de Sangue é a sequela de A Lei do Deserto, obra também publicada pela Presença nesta coleção. Neste segundo volume reconhecemos de imediato a mesma intensidade dramática e o suspense levados a níveis capazes de desafiar o leitor mais intrépido. Aqui, Hector Cross tem encontro marcado com o inimigo, e fica a sabê-lo da pior forma possível, quando este ataca, sedento de sangue e vingança, assassinando brutalmente Hazel Bannock, agora mulher de Hector e nos últimos meses de gravidez.

Determinado a fazer justiça, Hector reúne os seus amigos mais leais e juntos viajam para o Médio Oriente. Mas Hector percebe que está a lidar com um inimigo de múltiplos rostos quando figuras sinistras do passado da família Bannock começam a emergir, envoltas em segredos hediondos que Hazel nunca teve coragem de lhe revelar.... 

Rating: 2/5 

Opinião: Gostam de acção, descrições sórdidas, sangue e mistério? Este livro é para vocês.
Wilbur Smith completa em 2014 cinquenta anos de carreira que merecem ser celebrados. Ao pegar num dos seus livros, nenhum leitor deixa de se surpreender e é impossível sentir-se indiferente ao enredo e à construção complexa e cheia de pormenores que ele nos traz. Ao fim de dois livros deste autor, penso ter já detectado o seu estilo, mas ainda assim deixei-me levar pela narrativa e surpreender. Em Vigança de Sangue acompanhamos Hector numa demanda vingativa e intencional contra a força desconhecida que dilacerou o seu mundo e o deixou sem Hazel, o elemento mais estável da sua vida cheia de cicatrizes e desilusões (e sobre as quais, apesar de tudo, conhecemos pouco). E se algumas peças deste mistério parecem facilmente encaixáveis, acabam por não o ser de todo e deixar o leitor agarrado da primeira à última página. 
À semelhança de A Lei do Deserto, este é um daqueles livros que se lê com uma rapidez tamanha, sendo um autêntico vira páginas. As primeiras páginas começam logo a abrir, não nos dando muito tempo para respirar e aproveitar a nova situação familiar e vivencial de Hector e Hazel enquanto um casal a passar por um período de marés calmas. Ainda assim e atendendo ao volume anterior (o qual adorei e atribui 4 estrelas), Vingança de Sangue teve algumas partes mais maçudas que deram a sensação de o livro ser ainda maior do que na realidade. Mas já explico porquê.
Mantenho a minha opinião de que as personagens deste enredo individualmente não me agradam, pelo que ganham pela construção complexa da narrativa sempre cheia de acção, descobertas, mistérios e uns ossos quebrados. É este o ponto forte do autor e com o qual ele nos deveria brindar sempre. Hector é uma personagem com a qual não me identifico de todo, e cuja estrutra me irrita muitas vezes. É machista, armado em Don Juan, supostamente despretensioso e humilde, mas com uma dose de snobismo que não me passou despercebida. É enquanto operacional que esta personagem é forte e dá gosto de acompanhar, pelo que uma vivência mais demorada na sua cabeça não me agradou por aí além, mas também não foi insuportável. Acima de tudo, foi possível confirmar as minhas primeiras impressões sobre este homem, construídas já com o volume anterior.

 É quando o mistério se adensa que damos por nós expectantes, sabendo que o autor nos vai surpreender, não sabe bem como e/ou de que forma, mas com a certeza de que vamos ficar chocados. E vamos mesmo, acreditem.
Mas se tudo é bom, então porquê este rating? Para os que desejam saber, poderão surgir alguns pontos a rondar o spoiler, ainda que sem enquadramento ou referências a personagens e/ou situações, pelo que fica a vosso risco continuarem a ler. 
Após a morte de Hazel, vão-se passando vários meses, muitas vezes delimitados por capítulos de uma página, e que foram de grande ajuda nesse sentido. No entanto, e exactamente porque defendo que esta série sobrevive apenas de um enredo de acções e emoções fortes, após as primeiras 150 páginas que me presentearam com tudo o que esperava, surgiram vários momentos banais com descrições de rotina, que pouco fizeram por mim ao longo do livro. Mas esse não é o factor que me fez gostar menos do livro, com muita pena minha, mas sim um flashback de quase 200 páginas, que tanto oscilou para momentos mais agrestes como para outros mais maçudos, que no meu entender poderiam ter sido encurtados. E o que chamo de agreste foi o que realmente me fez dar uma classificação tão baixa ao livro. Eu gosto de acção, não me importo com um pouco de sangue e violência q.b., mas o autor em algumas partes tornou-se demasiado descritivo para mim, com uma apresentação crua das situações que retractava e que me fizeram sentir desconfortável (para além de me custar a ler). Refiro-me ao retractar de violações e de cenas de pedofilia (assim como algumas de tortura que me arrepiaram até aos ossos) que para mim foram de mais. Dou a mão à palmatória ao autor, que conseguiu de facto recriar com imensa clareza estas circunstâncias e colocar-nos quase na mente de uns quantos psicopatas, mas para mim ler aquela construção de uma perspectiva tão pessoal para além de me fazer impressão, deu-me imenso nojo. Isto só prova que Wilbur Smith conseguiu chocar-me e construir algo que soa realístico, o que comprova os seus dotes como escritor. No entanto, e enquanto leitora, estragou-me o prazer da leitura que só vim a recuperar já perto do fim. Acho que muitos leitores podem gostar do livro. Com a excepção do flashback excessivo, existe todo um enquadramento lógico e uma enorme capacidade de agarrar o leitor ao ecrã. É bom para quem gosta mesmo de ler descrições cruas e um pouco violentas, e não se inibe com uma certa maldade do ser humano.
Eu não o esperava com tanta punjança, e dessa forma, este não é um livro para mim. 

«Estas e outras novidades no site da Editorial Presença aqui»
«Aquira o seu exemplar aqui

Sobre a autora:
Maratonista de bibliotecas, a Cláudia lê nos transportes públicos enquanto observa o Mundo pelo canto do olho. Defensora da sustentabilidade e do voluntariado, é tão fácil encontrá-la envolvida num novo projeto como a tagarelar sobre tudo e mais alguma coisa. É uma sonhadora e gosta de boas histórias, procurando-as em cada experiência que vive.

segunda-feira, 18 de agosto de 2014

Novidades: Clube do Autor

A editora Clube do Autor prepara-se para publicar dois novos livros destinados ao público juvenil. 

A partir do final deste mês chega às livrarias o segundo volume da coleção Os descendentes de Merlin, de Rita Vilela, autora que se prepara para apresentar A dama do lago na Feira do Livro de Toronto, no Canadá. Depois de Os guardiães dos manuscritos mágicos, no novo livro os leitores acompanham a história de Guinevere, uma mulher de coragem e de palavra que se casou com Artur e se tornou rainha de Camelot, cumprindo assim o juramento que o grande mago Merlin a forçara a fazer. O Palácio Nacional de Mafra, o Convento de Tomar, a Biblioteca da Ajuda, Paris e a sua emblemática Torre Eiffel são alguns dos cenários da nova aventura de Rita Vilela, uma das escritoras portuguesas mais profícuas na área infanto-juvenil e autora de vários livros recomendados pelo Plano Nacional de Leitura. 

Já em Setembro fica disponível mais uma aventura da famosa família Macedo criada por Odette de Saint-Maurice. As meninas do andar de cima, sétimo livro da coleção recuperada pelo Clube do Autor, centra-se nas peripécias da família que vive no andar por cima do da família Macedo. No andar de cima vive o casal Abegorim e as quatro filhas: Lili, a mais velha, de 24 anos, a altiva; Mirita, a inquieta; Rita, a rebelde, e Rosarinho, a meiga. A agitação e as peripécias das meninas do 4º andar traduzem a atmosfera de raparigas com problemas e personalidades distintos mas cujas experiências e descobertas se mantêm surpreendentemente actuais.

sexta-feira, 15 de agosto de 2014

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

by Lauren Oliver
Format: Hardback / paperback / ebook
Nr of Pages: 416
Published: March 6th 2014 by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd 
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them-and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

Rating: 3,5/4

Lauren Oliver is a favourite on our blog. We are very passionate about the way she creates real characters and how she moves her plot lines. We like her so much she even has her own tag (which is something not every author has on our blog so that gives her some status) and she was the first author we ever interviewed (our motto is “Go big or go home!”).
We have been following Lauren’s books since Delirium and besides Spindles we have read them all. Liesl and Po is my favourite. I have a soft spot for children’s fiction and Lauren’s book was just like reading a fairytale, also the illustrations were soft and amazing.
Panic is a stand alone YA book (which is becoming more and more unusual in the gender) and tells us the story of Heather, her friends and the very dangerous game that it’s Panic. Stuck in the little city of Carp the teens have found a new way to celebrate prom in a game were they will face their phobias, nightmares and possible and not at all improbable death. This years e prize is 67,000$ which is more than enough money for anyone to leave Carp behind forever. When we first meet Heather she is not suppose to be competing but things change quickly than the wind in a storm and before Heather even realizes she is in and nothing will ever be the same.
As a writer Lauren likes to get her hands dirty and to create different types of families. In this book alone we meet broken families, okay families, getting by families and “I ran from home” families. She also realizes that just because you have fallen out with your parents it doesn’t mean you have fallen out with your siblings. We also meet very brave characters that take it upon themselves to save themselves which is always a good approach to problems.
Panic is about courage in the face of fear but it’s ultimately the realization that we will always have fear and we will always rise above it. It’s a contemporary novel that reads like science-fiction or fantasy because the game is so intense and so out of the ordinary you completely forget that you are dealing with normal teenagers and not “super heroes”.
I rated Panic 3,5 stars because I am not sure how I fell about it. It was a fast paced read I rented out of the library Saturday and returned it on Tuesday but although I enjoyed the story it didn’t really catch my fancy. The book is well written and the suspense builds up to the Joust. We want to know who is going to make, who will take the grant prize and but at the same time the whole setting seemed strange. I think it’s because this is a dark book. People keep telling my teenage years are hard and if you have bad parents they are harder in the middle of her dark life Heather has the game which is even darker but since she has lived all her life in the dark she isn’t that much afraid. She is just afraid enough to not be insane. Even so I am not quite sure if she wasn’t truly insane because you see this novel has tigers in it.
Good book by an author we truly enjoy but not one of my favourites.

You can read the story of the origin of the game Panic if you click here and follow the links.

 Cat / Ki
Known bookaholic and writer on free weekends. Cat loves books and everything that's related to them. Sometimes she has feelings and opinions about books and the world and she writes about them in her blog Encruzilhadas Literárias. She also has a personal GoodReads account and she believes the world is a better place for it (AKA no more repeated books from relatives as gifts). She lives in the UK and can often be found either in Waterstones or the Charity Shops.

terça-feira, 12 de agosto de 2014

Review: If, by David J. Smith

A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers
by David J. Smith
Format: Hardback / paperback / ebook
Nr of Pages: 40
Expected publication: August 1st 2014 by Kids Can Press
If the Solar System's planets were shrunk down to the size of sports balls, and Earth were the size of a baseball, what size would the other planets be? If your lifespan was represented by a pizza divided into twelve slices, how many slices would represent your time spent in school? These questions and more are explored in this innovative and visually appealing book about very big concepts made accessible when scaled down to kid-friendly size.

Rating: 4/5

For some of us visualizing number can be tricky for instance I remember having a friend in college that couldn't picture numbers on their own, she couldn't visualize 8, she had to visualize 8 pencils or 8 flowers so she could be able to do her math. I know she would loved the possibility to read this book when she was young. I can image it would have made her notion of space, time and numbers a lot easier.
Large numbers can be very confusing so this book tries in a simpler way to help children visualize them. Large numbers like the time that as passed since the creation of the universe or the number of people that are alive today and in which continents became easier to learn once you start seeing them as a measuring tape or slices of pizza.
I quite enjoyed the illustrations in the book and the approach the author took to some of the themes. Did you know that if the whole story of earth was a two hour movie, humans would only appear in the last two seconds? Well neither did I! I find this kind of trivia quite fascinating and both interesting to children and adults alike. I have actually broken the ice at a party with that question. People find it fascinating and because it's easy to understand it makes it easy for people to engage in a conversation.
A very interesting book that I do recommend to read as a family since everyone will benefit from it!

sexta-feira, 8 de agosto de 2014

Review: Doll Bones, by Holly Black

Doll Bones
by Holly Black 
Edição/reimpressão: 2014 
Páginas: 256 
Editor: Random House Children's Publishers UK
My name is Eleanor Kerchner. You can call me the Queen. I died in 1895. Now it's time to play.
Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.
[It's depressing how I can't seem to be able to find a good resume of this book!]

Rating: 4/5

I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

For years my sister Gaby has been asking me to read the Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black. She has begged, pleaded and blackmailed me into reading them without success several times. It’s not that I wasn’t curious about Holly Black’s writing it was just that her books seemed to be for a young audience and although I do love children’s fiction I just never felt the pull towards them. This changed when I read about Doll Bones and got curious about the story.
Holly Black has weaved an amazing web where history, change and growing up all mingle together in a quest that will leave you wondering. Our reluctant heroes have been friends for years and they have grown together but now they are without noticing slowly growing apart. The game they have been playing forever where they are pirates and thieves and all other sorts of wonder characters in their world of make belief  is suddenly taken by heartache and their friendship is almost shatter until a ghost of a girl asks for their help.
I have to admit that I like this type of books, the ones that mixture reality and supernatural but that always leave you to wondering. Was it all make believe? Was it really a ghost? I liked the way Holly Black just left the question hanging and even our heroes weren't sure of the truth.
I also liked how our heroes were all different and came from different types of households. (YEY For Diversity in YA) The make believe world of Alice and her friends was amazing and now I am craving the opportunity to read more of the adventures of Will and everyone else on board of the Neptune’s Pearl.
I believed that Holly Black made a fantastic description of what it is to play the game of make believe, I used to play with my siblings and like our heroes I played it until I was 12/13. The mind of a child is a wonderful place where worlds are born and collide; it is the true never ending source of entertainment.
Although some people found the book creepy I would say that it was spooky at times but not necessarily creepy also children tend to live on spooky and creepy things it’s us the adults that tend to forget how much of it it’s actually part of a child’s live.

To finish I would like to say that I am now headed to the bookstore to get my hardcover version of this book because it’s truly amazing and my future children will forever thank me for the opportunity of reading it. A solid 4 starts and a reading that I would recommend. 

quarta-feira, 6 de agosto de 2014

Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
by E. Lockhart 
Edição/reimpressão: 2009 
Páginas: 345 
Editor: Disney-Hyperion
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14: Debate Club. Her father's "bunny rabbit." A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15: A knockout figure. A sharp tongue. A chip on her shoulder. And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston. Frankie Landau-Banks. No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society. Not when her ex-boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places. Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them. When she knows Matthew's lying to her. And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16: Possibly a criminal mastermind. This is the story of how she got that way.

Rating: 4/5

Once in a while I get my hands on a book that I read in one go. It’s became rarer and rarer that I do so because books are becoming bigger and some plot lines are becoming quite predictable making me bored quite easily. I picked up Frankie because her book was recommended by GoodReads in the “if you read and loved that you will love this” section. So I added Frankie to the list and eventually bought the book at a Charity Shop.
Last Friday I was all alone at the office and didn’t have much to do so when I finished my work load I picked up the book so I would look busy. It was definitively a bad move since I couldn’t put it down. I read it all the way home in the bus and continued to read as I had my tea. I finished it around 7pm and knew my world would never be the same.
I really can’t explain what it was that Frankie did to me. There was just something new and refreshing in the narrator’s voice, and something completely unexpected in the storyline. Mainly I think because the book starts off as a typical high school romance and suddenly it’s not. Out of the blue this secret society appears as well as   Frankie’s feminist older sister, Zara, along with some pranks, e-mails and a very intelligent girl who won’t take a chauvinist “no” for an answer.
Nothing is what it seems in this book, at a point I was fairly certain we would get a love triangle but that was completely dismissed two pages after. Frankie’s adventures and her own growth as she explores this new world that opened up for her but at the same time closes her off are the same adventures most girls have when they grow and suddenly start getting attention from boys.
Another thing that makes Frankie’s adventure so interesting is how a nice girl ends up becoming an evil genius and although one might argue that Frankie was always a genius and that she didn’t become an Evil Overlord it’s interesting to see her journey through her teenage years, and how she finds herself half pushed into, half embracing the situations that destiny (and the boys) puts in front of her.

An unique and interesting coming of age book that I recommend for intelligent girls that won’t take a “no” for an answer.

domingo, 3 de agosto de 2014

Review: Time After Time, by Wendy Godding

 Time After Time
by Wendy Godding
Edição/reimpressão: 2014
Pages: 247 (Ebook)
Publisher: Escape Publishing 
Summary: She has died countless times before, and she is not going to let it happen again.
Abbie Harper dies just before her eighteenth birthday. It has happened before, more times than she can remember — and always at the hands of the same man. Her dreams are plagued with past lives, cut short.
But this latest dream feels different. Her past life as Penelope Broadhurst — an English pastor’s daughter in 1806 — keeps bleeding into her present life in ways both sinister and familiar. As Penelope meets and falls in love with the dashing Heath Lockwood, so too does Abbie meet the brothers Marcus and Rem Knight. One wants to love her; the other to kill her.
Time is running out for Penelope, but as Abbie mourns her inability to change the past, she chases the slim chance to save her future. To survive, she must solve the puzzle of an ancient love story…and Penelope just might be able to help

Rating: 2,5/5 

I don´t even know where to start - this book had so much potential but something got lost in the middle. Time After Time was given to me by Escape Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I love historical stories and quite enjoy the theme of time travelers (in this case reincarnations) so I was very curious about this book. It had a good start with Abbie explaining how she was related to her part lives which created a tension moment right in the first few pages.
By the summary we already knew that one of the old characters would be more developed but I wasn´t expecting to see all the others ignored, I just though we would only see one or two flashbacks and that would make me satisfied about it. Instead this story was just about Abbie and Penelope however I believe it could have been more developed. Why is that? These two girls don't live isolated by society (even Abbie has friends despite the fact she is some kind of gothic - or more likely dresses like one and is introverted) but all the other people with whom they connected are put on a third scale and we don´t learn anything about them. I wanted to learn more about Penelope and her father´s relationship, and how she felt about the absence of her mother or why were her two cousins living by themselves and how did her cousin start to be interested in science for instance. 
And about Abbie I would love to watch a major exchange between her friends and to see a few more conversations between them that weren't just about being an outcast or been forced to mixed with the rest of their high school students. 
Also there were a lot of plot holes not only about all these secondary characters but also with the major final development that was extremely confusing and profoundly anti-climax. For me the story wasn´t just that big plot so I wanted to understand the consequences of each character actions but the author didn´t give space to that. It was a little disappointing. But I can´t explain more about this point without giving spoilers and I will not do that. 
So let´s focus on the conducting plot for a while. I was expecting something darker from what was presented on general summary but I could understand the orientation Wendy Godding decided to give it specially considering this is a young-adult book. The parallelism of nowadays and XIX century was perfectly executed and readers had the chance to follow the story in both worlds without feeling lost and comparing two realities so different but also so similar. The arriving of Marcus made the first of many steps of a strange path that combined fate and determinism and tried to gave us a strange puzzle with mystery, action and affliction. His character could be less plane, since we don´t really know him besides the role he had to represent in the big plot and I really liked my first impression of that young boy. Which means that we could have learn more about his parents, the relationship with his brother, his family history, what he liked and who he really was before meeting Abbie. This point was important to me especially when looking at the book´s end and trying to understand what was going to happen with each character - in part at least. 
Also, there were a lot of unexplored details that didn´t make sense if was just to fill space. Like: who has her´s colleague boyfriend? What happened to her friends? And why was Lilly always against Abbie if she didn´t know her knowledge ofher past lives? Frustrating.
Nevertheless and even if only 6 characters were really explored, I liked what the author did with them during the major part of book, so that´s why I am classifying with this ranking.

Sobre a autora:
Maratonista de bibliotecas, a Cláudia lê nos transportes públicos enquanto observa o Mundo pelo canto do olho. Defensora da sustentabilidade e do voluntariado, é tão fácil encontrá-la envolvida num novo projeto como a tagarelar sobre tudo e mais alguma coisa. É uma sonhadora e gosta de boas histórias, procurando-as em cada experiência que vive.

sexta-feira, 1 de agosto de 2014

Review: White Cat, by Holly Black

White Cat [Curse Workers #1]
by Holly Black
Format: Hardback / paperback / ebook
Nr of Pages: 32
Publisher: Gollancz 
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers--people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, all by the slightest touch of their hands. Since curse work is illegal, they're all criminals. But not Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider--the straight kid in a crooked family--as long as you ignore one small detail: He killed his best friend, Lila. Now he is sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat. He also notices that his brothers are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of one huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen...

Rating: 3,75 Stars

I had been meaning to read something by Holly Black for quite some time now. My sister Gabriella read the Spiderwick Chronicles when she was younger and couldn’t stop saying that they were her favourite books. But as always life gets in the way, other books that you really want to read get to your TBR pile and I ended up looking at Spiderwick Chronicles thinking “do I really *really*  want to start a five book saga?”.
When I first started reading White Cat I didn’t knew that it was part of a trilogy. I was wrongly convinced that like Doll Bones this was a stand alone novel so when I brought it home from the Charity Shop and sited down reading it all happy I really didn’t knew where I was getting myself into.
Cassel is cursed and he should be after all he is a killer, he killed his best friend in cold blood when he was just fourteen. Born in a family of magic workers, Cassel’s family manage to contain the killing and now Cassel is living more or less a normal life, this is until a white cat starts to hunt him.
The Curse Workers is an elegant constructed work in which mob and magic go side by side. I enjoyed all the little details that Holly Black weaved into her story, e.g. Australia has almost 1% of curse workers because that’s where they ship them, and how the mobs were created. This is also a book about cons and I have to admit that I have a soft spot for con books/movies (*Leverage theme plays in the back*), and Cassel learned how to con from one of the best, an emotion worker, his mother.
Although you know he is a murder I think it’s easy to like Cassel, he is seventeen when the story starts and he is in a very fancy school were he studies and acts as the bookie for the rich kids. We get to follow his routine until the mysterious white cat appears and our stories starts to unfold. Cassel’s story is also a story about family, making friends and trusting your instincts.
Holly Black writing is both modern and simples, and you catch yourself turning page after page. Also she can manage to make you scared if needed and invested in her characters. Recently Holly Black associated herself with Cassandra Clara to write Magisterum a new saga that will hit the shelves in about a month or so.

I have become a fan of Holly Black’s writing, and got myself a new YA author to stalk, also I am now waiting impatiently for the library to have the second volume of this saga Red Glove delivered to the nearest branch so I can keep reading Cassel’s adventure.