Friday, 22 November 2013

Mini-Reviews: Eleanor and Park, Heartbeat, Witchstruck

*Because of my huge absence from the world of blogging, I'm desperately trying to catch up on reviews of the books I read while I was away*

Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis: Eleanor is the new girl, the one with a disturbing family life, mismatched clothes and bright red hair. She sticks out without trying.
Park is the boy who sits at the back of the bus, absorbed in his music and a comic book. He thinks he can make himself invisible to those around him. But not to Eleanor. Slowly, the pair fall for each other through mix tapes and comics. They fall in love for the first time - when you feel if you have nothing and everything to lose.

Review: So I read this book because of what everyone else had been saying about it. Then, my best friend, Emma, read it and said it was just so, so good. AND then I knew it was time for me try this. I mean, this looked and sounded like a book I would love.
So I started reading it. And thought it was a bit...just not all that I guess. I was sitting there, wondering about the hype and thinking that maybe I shouldn't have bought this book, maybe I should have not followed the hype, wondering if I should put it down because Park was getting a little bit boring and there was Sarah Dessen's shiny new book on my bookshelf and-
Then, it hit me suddenly that I was actually utterly enjoying and loving every single word of this novel.
This book is unique in, oh, so many different ways. There's the characters of Eleanor and Park to start with, who connect so beautifully with one another but particularly, with a reader. As a teenager, they were echoing the things I had thought for years - the typical teenage angst, the mix of confusion and fear, the feeling that everyone judges you for every word you utter. These are unique, authentic and just charming characters that makes book lovers like myself remember why they love books to much. The narrative runs throughout as the reader tracks their relationship from alternative perspectives. The ending isn't perfect (another thing I loved) but let's face it, life isn't perfect anyway. Rainbow Rowell is one author to look out for!

I give it a 5 out of 5

Heartbeat - Elizabeth Scott

Synopsis: Emma would love to talk to her mother and tell her about her slipping grades, her anger at her stepfather, tell her she was right about her ex. But she can't. Her mother is brain-dead being kept alive by machines to deliver the baby growing inside of her. Emma hardly talks to her father, her only social connection is her friend Olivia. That is until she meets Caleb, a guy who knows exactly how she is feeling - more than anyone else. Emma believes there is no hope for her now, but perhaps she is wrong.

Review: Hm. I'm not sure how I feel about this one. In fairness, when I read this one, I was moving into university and going to bed at like 2am every day so this took a while to read...But I still don't think it was a brilliant book.
I've read a mixture of good and bad reviews for this one so I guess it's not JUST me. Elizabeth Scott was an author I always wanted to give a go, especially with many people saying she was similar to Sarah Dessen and we all know how much I like her books...
So when I finally had the opportunity to read something of hers, I was expecting great things...and this wasn't great.
I thought it was a good concept, I mean, it's a rare thing to happen but it's interesting to see the different character's reactions. I think there are two things that ruined it for me. Firstly, I hated Emma so much. She was so whiny, so negative and just plain boring at times. There is a lack of speech in this book which I think works negatively for the narrative. I just got bored of her narration going on and on. The second thing is that the romance between Emma and Caleb seemed so false and unrealistic, it was just too cliched, too awkward, too cringey. I just wasn't a fan.
I know Clover from Fluttering Butterflies LOVED this book, so maybe this is Marmite type of book - you either love it or hate it. But this book definitely wasn't for me. I liked the focus on family a lot, but there was too much I found negative to truly appreciate it. Sorry...

I give it a 3 out of 5

Witchstruck - Victoria Lamb

Synopsis: Meg bears a dangerous and powerful gift - she is a witch, which in 1554 England and in service to the banished Tudor princess, Elizabeth, it could never be more dangerous for her to practice her art. Entrapped in an old palace, there are suspicious eyes everywhere which, with one wrong move, could end both Meg's and Elizabeth's life. She cannot trust anyone. However, when everything turns against Meg, she must find someone to trust.

Review: I love history. I always have. Since specialising in Tudor history for my A-level History course, I've had a certain love for anything Tudor. I cringed a little bit when I read the blurb. I've never been much of a fan of paranormal stuff in literature, but I do love historical fiction and what girl doesn't like a dash of romance?
I thought this book would be ridden with moments where I was wincing at moments of cliches. But thankfully not.
I actually really enjoyed this book! The plot wove in the dangerous feelings of the time under Mary Tudor especially for those like Elizabeth and Meg. A lot of Tudor novels focus on the political intrigues and battles at court so it's refreshing to see a book which veers away from that and looks at the feeling outside of London and focuses on the adventures of Meg rather than the manipulation behind it all.
The characters are all unique particularly Meg and the male protagonist, Alejandro. The relationship between these two that progresses throughout the novel was one of the best parts and written in a way that a reader can believe, it is a relationship that reflects the time.
This books stands out to me out of all the historical novels I have read, particularly those aimed at Young Adults. It is refreshing to see a book that is not too cliche or samey to all the other historical novels out there, especially those set in the Tudor period. I really, really enjoyed this book, despite my reservations and I'm quite looking forward to finding out what happens next for Meg.

I give it a 5 out of 5

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