Review: Reel Life Starring Us by Lisa Greenwald

Rockwood Hills Junior High is known for the close-knit cliques that rule the school. When arty new girl Dina gets the opportunity to do a video project with queen bee Chelsea, she thinks this is her ticket to a great new social life. But Chelsea has bigger problems than Dina can imagine: her father has lost his job, and her family is teetering on the brink. Without knowing it, Dina might just get caught in Chelsea’s free fall.



Lisa Greenwald's Reel Life Starring Us is one of those books that everybody can relate to. The characters go through ups and downs in life that are realistic, and I related to the characters so easily.

This book is marketed as middle grade, but I enjoyed it and I'm a young adult, the characters seem more mature than thirteen years old, but not too old that their ages are unbelievable (I'm not making much sense am I?), I especially loved Dina, somebody that i really related to in the way that she wanted to be popular, but also in the way that she was laughed at for being an individual and Greenwald wrote this so well.

The other character, Chelsea, was pretty well written, though not quite as well written as Dina. Chelsea is a popular girl who wants to stay on top, and thinks Dina will bring her reputation down, but also doesn't want to get close to anybody due to issues at home that she keeps secret from even her best friends.

The story was fantastically written and whilst some of the scenarios were quite out there and unrealistic but the rest of the book dealt with some issues such as friendship, bullying, money issues, family problems as well as the little bit of romance. There was always something exciting or personal happening, and this meant the pacing was pretty good. The story is written from two points of view - Dina and Chelsea, their voices didn't seem very different and I occasionally find myself forgetting who's perspective I was reading from.

I did have one issue with this book, and that was that the backing characters were pretty one-dimensional - Chelsea's friends (I can't even remember their names) were just the typical mean girls, always trying to stay on top no matter what it meant for everybody else, where was their background and their moral development?

Overall, Reel Life Starring Us was a nice book, with some good characters and some bad ones. The book deals with some issues in a sensitive way. While the book was well aced I never found myself gripped by the book.
Overall Rating: B



 Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: 1st September 2011
Book received as an ARC from the publisher



In My Mailbox (24/09/11)



In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, 
in which you post all of the books/e-books/audio books that you have recieved/bought/won this week and link 'em all up!

this week I've been suffering through a pretty horrible ear infection :( lots of reading time though!

review:
Glow

Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan (October 7th, Macmillan Childrens) - Excited about this! I love me a good sci-fi

Swap
Bones of Faerie (Faerie, #1)

Borrowed
The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1) The Seeing Stone (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #2)

The Field Guide & The Seeing Stone by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi - My friend Antonia is going to uni this weekend and I took her a bag of books to take with her. She's letting me borrow these until she comes back for christmas! :)

Diamond of Drury Lane (Cat Royal, #1)

The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding - Borrowed from my boyfriends mum, I've been dying to read this series since I totally loved Dragonfly by Golding! :)

Please link up your posts and I'll call by!

Review: Here Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

Here Lies BridgetWhat do you do when the five people you meet in limbo all want you to go to hell?
Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don’t worship as attentively, teachers don’t fall for her wide-eyed “who me?” look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she’s always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.

When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she’s wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she’s inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.

And Bridget’s about to learn that, sometimes, saying you’re sorry just isn’t enough.…




Why I Read It: I heard great things about it, and it has been compared to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, which I loved.


Review: This book was enjoyable enough, but I didn't love it, maybe because I went into it with such large expectations due to the comparisons to Before I Fall, one of my favorite books this year. I read Here Lies Bridget in three hours, I never got bored and at so many points I was totally absorbed.


My issues actually lie a little with the story itself - the story is quite cliche with a mean girl given a chance to redeem herself. Bridget is the typical mean girl and there wasn't really that much to her, she was mean and trying to give herself reasons for the things she did but it all seemed a bit one dimensional to me. The main event sort of thing didn't come in until quite late in the story and the first half was a bit repeptitive, with Bridget ruining peoples lives.


The other characters didn't have much meat either, Jillian and Michelle were the typical sidekicks, they didn't agree with how Bridget behaved but didn't tell her. They weren't unlikeable characters but they weren't amazing either.The only characters that weren't as one dimensional were Liam and Meredith, because you could see how hard they tried to change Bridget and how much they had changed. The voice was written very well though, Bridget did sound like a teenage girl. 


I was interested in how the story played out, and I was absorbed and never got bored, but I wasn't massively connected to the characters or the storyline. The ending was also unbelievable cheesy but cute as well.


Overall, here Lies Bridget was a quick and easy read with good pacing, but an overly cliche story and some badly written characters. I would recommend it but only if you haven't read Before I fall, because it is nothing compared to that.


Overall Rating: C+



Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone
UK Publisher: Mira Ink
UK  Release Date: June 17th 2011
Book recieved via Read It, Swap It

Review: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

RevolutionBROOKLYN: Andi Alpers is on the edge. She’s angry at her father for leaving, angry at her mother for not being able to cope, and heartbroken by the loss of her younger brother, Truman. Rage and grief are destroying her. And she’s about to be expelled from Brooklyn Heights’ most prestigious private school when her father intervenes. Now Andi must accompany him to Paris for winter break.

 PARIS: Alexandrine Paradis lived over two centuries ago. She dreamed of making her mark on the Paris stage, but a fateful encounter with a doomed prince of France cast her in a tragic role she didn’t want—and couldn’t escape.

Two girls, two centuries apart. One never knowing the other. But when Andi finds Alexandrine’s diary, she recognizes something in her words and is moved to the point of obsession. There’s comfort and distraction for Andi in the journal’s antique pages—until, on a midnight journey through the catacombs of Paris, Alexandrine’s words transcend paper and time, and the past becomes suddenly, terrifyingly present.



 Why I Read It: I've heard amazing things about Donnelly's other book and received this one for review.

Review: I'm going to start this review off by saying that I totally enjoyed this book. I'm starting off with this because this review is going to cover a lot of flaws that i found and I want to get the point across from the start that this book is great.

Donnelly grabbed me from page one with her writing, with the way that she can put emotions through her writing so easily, I was absolutely awestruck with how quickly I came to like Andi, the main character and how involved I was with the story. The story is told mainly from the point of view of Andi but has excerpts from a diary written two hundred years into the past, all writing is time appropriate with historic facts stated in the diary excerpts and a lot of brand-dropping in the present-day storyline.

The story itself is great, though very melodramatic. What annoyed me a lot is that I was expecting one thing and got another and the last one hundred pages seems completely different to the first four hundred (I'm attempting to be cryptic for a reason). I loved the way that Andi's story develops and interlaps with Alex's and I loved how both of their stories ended. Donnelly really gave the story her all.

My issue was that the story dragged a little, especially in the middle and I found myself begging for it to pick up because I had loved it so much up until then. It didn't pick up for a while and I forced myself through, the ending was awesomeness and I'm glad that i didn't give up, but it was difficult.

The characters are great. Andi is realistically written and whilst I was a little annoyed because she was very angsty, after hearing her story i think I can understand it. I loved watching the development the characters go through, Andi reaches closure and Alex - I won't give anything away. Virgil was maybe a little too perfect for me, but the romance was well written and didn't take over the plot.

Overall, Revolution was a deep, meaningful read which had a few pacing issues. I loved the story and the characters.

Overall Rating: B


Stand alone/Series: Stand Alone
UK Release: 8th October 2011
UK Publisher: Bloomsbury childrens
Book sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Fifty Fifty & Jessie Hearts NYC Giveaway Winner

Oops, so i had a few giveaways going on... but due to technological issues I couldn't post the winners and so I forgot. So a little late, here are the winner!

The winners of Fifty Fifty by SL Powell are:

Jel - International
and
Emma @ BelleBooks - UK

The winner of a copy off Jessie Hearts NYC by Keris Stainton is
Tasmin Sheikh

Congratulations people, you'll be receiving emails soon and have 72 hours to reply!! :)

Jade

Review: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton

Angelfire (Angelfire, #1)

When seventeen-year-old Ellie starts seeing reapers - monstrous creatures who devour humans and send their souls to Hell - she finds herself on the front lines of a supernatural war between archangels and the Fallen and faced with the possible destruction of her soul.
A mysterious boy named Will reveals she is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior, the only one capable of wielding swords of angelfire to fight the reapers, and he is an immortal sworn to protect her in battle. Now that Ellie's powers have been awakened, a powerful reaper called Bastian has come forward to challenge her. He has employed a fierce assassin to eliminate her - an assassin who has already killed her once.

While balancing her dwindling social life and reaper-hunting duties, she and Will discover Bastian is searching for a dormant creature believed to be a true soul reaper. Bastian plans to use this weapon to ignite the End of Days and to destroy Ellie's soul, ending her rebirth cycle forever. Now, she must face an army of Bastian's most frightening reapers, prevent the soul reaper from consuming her soul, and uncover the secrets of her past lives - including truths that may be too frightening to remember.




Why I read It: No particular reason, I just saw it and liked the blurb.


Review: I've seen so many mixed reviews on the blogosphere for Angelfire and so didn't have great expectations for it, which is good because while I did like this book, it was only okay for me.


Firstly, I want to get the ranting out of the way. I hated the heroine of this book, my days, Ellie was so annoying! At first I thought she was pretty awesome and would break the age old cliche of stupid, whiny heroines but nope, she just carried on the trend. Firstly, she's rich, she has massive parties at her house and an expensive car bought for her, but is always moaning because her Daddy's a bit mean. She also let's Will protect her all the time, she's meant to be THE MOST POWERFUL BEING IN THE WORLD.


Will was sweet, yeah, but he was typical. Mysterious, mythical, tall dark and handsome, he also has a nice scottish accent. I liked Will but he didn't bring anything new to the story. I did like their romance, it developed at a nice pace and they still weren't together by the end which was really good.


The story was original, whilst  angels/demons theme wasn't the way that it was put was original. I really enjoyed the storyline and it's great development and pacing. The writing was good, despite a lot of brand dropping and despite all of the issues I did enjoy it.


Will I be getting the sequel? Yes, but it isn't a MUST READ, it's one that I'll add to the list.


Overall, Angelfire had a few character issues but a good plot line and pacing.


Overall Rating: C+



Stand alone/series: First in a series
Release date: 15th Febuary 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Book recieved via Read It, Swap It