Wednesday, 27 April 2016

She Speak to Angels - Ami Blackwelder

                I truly enjoyed this book and look forward to the second one in the series. I used to work in a high school and it’s really hard finding books that are interesting to the kids but will still make them use their brains. The discussion questions at the back of the book make this a great suggestion book for a report, especially for kids who don’t generally associate a good book with anything school related. Along with an interesting story and great characters, there are some thought provoking ideas which are evident by the questions at the back of the book.
                I’ll start with the writing style which for me is always a make or break part of the book. This story flows nicely, one chapter into the next, and never becomes confusing. It’s descriptive but not too wordy, leaving me with enough room to imagine the scenes in my mind. For example, the distinct description of Dameon’s jacket or how Kian dresses, gives me an idea of how to imagine the characters will look but not in an overdone way. It is a book which will work not only for young adults but for older readers as well.
                The characters are great. They are all exactly as intended, whether it’s as a likeable, confused teen girl or as a homicidal dark angel. At first the friend of Ali’s that is quite analytical seemed a bit unrealistic but after it was explained a bit about her character, she seemed entirely realistic. After all, she wants to be a lawyer! Everyone else is written really well and Ali and Kian especially are well fleshed out so that I feel as if I know them. By the end of the book I became quite invested in them. A favorite character I hope to see more of in future books is Jacob. I think he has a lot of stories to tell. The only character I’d like to learn more about and maybe see more of his story before coming into Ali’s life is Dameon. I just felt like there wasn’t enough information about why he became the demon he now is, maybe something about his childhood, or even how his demon king father came into his mother’s life.
                The dialogue is very realistic and there is even a subtle difference in how the angels speak and how the humans speak. The angels somehow convey an old world elegance, in particular, the older angels like Jacob. The dialogue between the teens is very believable. This is important because a teenage reader will pick up unrealistic dialogue quicker than anyone.
This is a great book that is the first in a new series and I look forward to reading the others.


Monday, 18 April 2016

A Derry Tale - John Boyle

                A Derry Tale is a nostalgic look at the author’s childhood growing up in a small town called Derry during the 1950s. He writes about what life was like for an Irish Catholic boy in Northern Ireland, exploring the good, the bad, the funny and the devastating, as seen through the eyes of a child. It’s this insight as to how a child perceives different situations that gives the book all of the emotions that the story exhibits. The first quarter of the book seems a bit scattered, almost as if the author wanted to get so much down on paper that his thoughts are unorganized. However once the story becomes more cohesive, the book becomes an entertaining tale about growing up during an innocent time before technology took over our lives. I loved the descriptions about day to day life during the 1950s, from how laundry was done to selling cigarette butts outside the cinema for some extra pocket money. Mr. Boyle also touches on the difficulties that Irish Catholics experienced at the time, something I wasn’t entirely aware of. This book will provide nostalgia for anyone who grew up during the beginning of TV and electricity being brought into small town homes. It will also be of interest to anyone who is curious about life during the 1950s in Ireland. I read this book in digital form and it worked well. The cover didn’t really draw my attention as it was more so the title that made me take a look at the book.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Simon - Michael Mullin

                Simon is a fast paced novel that had me hooked from the very first page. A mass murder has occurred in a well-to-do New England community and five people are dead. How they died and who they are is slowly revealed throughout the book as the narrative moves back and forth from the present day news reports about the murders to the past events that led up to the crimes. Simon is a young man who lost his father and had to watch his mother marry his uncle. Scheming to get a hold of Simon’s share of his father’s company, Simon’s uncle weaves a wicked web that results in tragedy. Somewhat based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, this book is a thrilling read from the beginning to the end. The writing is gripping and keeps the reader wanting to turn the pages. The characters are well thought out and multifaceted, especially Simon, as the reader witness’s his descent into understandable madness. The dialogue is well written and believable. The writing is so good and the book full of so many twists that I didn’t have the entire story figured out until the author revealed it at the end. It has a unique ending and the lack of predictability made it a very enjoyable read. Aimed at young adults, it will also be enjoyable to older age groups as well. I read the book on my ereader and it formatted well. The cover didn’t really catch my eye at first but upon closer look it is quite unique. This is a really excellent read!