Awesome YA is awesome.

A while back I read and LOVED the wonderful and amazing ‘The Archived’ by Victoria Schwab and then last November for my birthday I was gifted the second book in the Archived series, “The Unbound” which is JUST AS WONDERFAB!

It’s taken me forever to get around to writing a review for ‘The Unbound’ because life and also thieving children, but finally and with much fanfare, here is my review:

‘The Unbound’ picks up pretty much where ‘The Archived’ left off. After a crazy summer of chasing down Histories, working with and finally trusting Wes, and fighting to save both the Archive and her own life, Mackenzie Bishop is ready to try something resembling a normal life. A new school and a new group of friends gives her the chance to start over, but Mac is haunted by the events of her past and when dreams start to feel more like reality, she knows she’s in trouble. When people start to go missing, Mackenzie realizes that there is something bigger going on, and all the evidence points straight at her. If Mac doesn’t figure it out fast, she’ll lose her place as Keeper, her friendship with Wes, and the most precious parts of her memory.

With ‘The Unbound’, Victoria Schwab delivers AGAIN!  Mac and Wes are wonderful characters (yes fans, there’s lots of Wes in the 2nd book) and the story is unique, rich and engaging. A little darker in tone than ‘The Archived’ be prepared for a rather thrilling adventure.

Why did I mention thieving children? Well, my eldest daughter occasionally moans and whines that she has nothing to read, and I sometimes (rarely) dare to recommend to her something from my own bookshelf. I’ve been trying to push books her way since before she could read (hehehehe) but when she was around eight years old I realized that her stubborn streak was so incredibly wide, that if I was TOO enthusiastic with my suggestions she would refuse to have anything to do with them. I did recommend ‘The Book Thief” and that was the last I saw of my copy, she later bought me a replacement copy, having fallen so in love with the story that she couldn’t part with it.

But I digress.

In passing I suggested that my daughter might enjoy ‘The Archived.” She didn’t bite. I walked away. Then one evening,  I was cooking dinner one handed while reading ‘The Unbound’ and she asked me if it was really that good.. I told her yes, and that she should read the first book. After dinner I handed her my copy of ‘The Archived’ and went back to reading ‘The Unbound’ and the following morning she explained how she had stayed up MUCH later than she had intended because she simply could not stop reading!

Two days later she asked if I had finished reading ‘The Unbound’ because she “needed it” – if that’s not a glowing recommendation for a YA book, I don’t know what is!

My daughter has since informed me that ‘The Archived’ and ‘The Unbound’ are now HER books, she is never giving them back, and that I should contact the author and make sure the third book is published ASAP.

Victoria Schwab has written quite a few other books including “Vicious”  and her brand new release “A Darker Shade of Magic” which I really think my daughter should buy for me.

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A review: The Reluctant Detective by Sinclair MacLeod

‘The Reluctant Detective’ is the first book in the series by the same name, written and published by Indie author Sinclair MacLeod.

The first thing I love about this book is the title – you know how some things just appeal to you? Well, ‘reluctant detective’ appealed to me.

The less than enthusiastic sleuth in question is Craig Campbell – insurance claims investigator. He steps outside the boundaries of his usual line of work when an elderly lady approaches him with the tale of her dead son. She’s convinced that the police missed something and when she begs Craig to look into things, he can’t turn her away.
As Craig digs into the case he soon finds himself knee deep in a world of deceit and corruption, with more mystery to untangle than he’d ever expected.

Set in Glasgow and it’s surrounding landscapes, with fantastic authentic patter (dialogue) ‘The Reluctant Detective’ is excellent both as a crime novel and as a teleportation device transporting me back to my homeland.

A (Brief) Review: The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

‘The Mark of Athena’ is the third book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, and the third book I have read by Mr. Riordan.

I first picked up ‘The Lost Hero’ because I saw ‘The Lightning Thief’ movie with my kids and thought it was kind of interesting to blend the ancient tales of Greek gods with modern day teens. All of my previous knowledge of Greek mythology was from the old monster movies 😀 (I think they did Medusa better.)

I loved that Percy’s dyslexia was useful in certain circumstances but still tripped him up, and that realizing he was a demigod and discovering his abilities did not suddenly fix all his issues – cool beans.

Having watched ‘The Lightning Thief’ already I decided not to read Riordan’s ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series, I  moved on to the next set ‘The Heroes of Olympus’ and I got to know all the demigods and friends in both ‘The Lost Hero’ (book one) and ‘The Son of Neptune’ (book two) both fun adventures filled with quests and monsters and some very likeable characters. Reading these books reminded me of the adventure books I used to read when I was about 12 or 13,  books about two brothers who got into all sorts of trouble all over the world. Good memories 🙂

But I almost gave up on the HOO series when I encountered what I thought to be a fatal flaw in the story.

**SPOILER**
Throughout one of the HOO books various characters repeat the rule that in order to kill a giant, you need a God to help fight alongside the demigods. Demigods can’t kill giants by themselves. They need a God or Goddess. All through the book, this point is hammered home. And then two demigod kids team up and kill a giant with no God in sight. Uh… wait a minute… *shakes head and throws book at the floor*
This almost sealed the deal for me, not gonna read any more! But I LIKE the kids from Camp Half Blood and Camp Jupiter so eventually I had to go back and lo and behold, this happens.

IMG_0259[1]

Hmmm.
Okay then.
Nicely done Mr. Riordan.
Moving on.

**END OF SPOILERINESS**

‘The Mark of Athena’ is a fun read. The Camp Half Blood and Camp Jupiter kids are up to all their usual tricks, there are quests and monsters, unhelpful gods, prophecies to decipher, choices to make, friends to save, and enemies to outwit.
All good clean fun. With some stabbing and beheading on the side.

Don’t judge a book by it’s… review?

I feel like I learned a valuable lesson this week, one which will hopefully save me from disappointment as well as saving me a few dollars.
I learned not to judge a book by its online reviews. Or to be more specific, not to judge a Kindle title by its reviews on Amazon (who writes these anyway?)

I was about to say that in the past I have had great success with Kindle titles but thinking back to my Amazon book purchases, I have only bought books that I had already checked out – I have never before relied solely on the reviews on that site to guide me toward my purchases.

This particular title I came across by accident, it was one of those ‘down the rabbit hole’ moments that occur ( to me at least) quite often when I’m online. I start off with a definite destination in mind, but then I see a link, a tangent, and I follow it off in a slightly new direction. Then I find another possible route and I jump that track, and repeat, eventually ending somewhere quite unrelated to where I had begun.

Anyway, I digress *smirk* – as I’ve said before, I don’t like to review books I have not finished reading but I cannot bear to pick this one up again so this is the best I can do:

‘When You Found Me’ by Catherine Ryan Hyde has more than forty 5 star reviews on Amazon. I selected a few of those randomly (scroll, click. Highly scientific.) and the happy readers were all singing it’s praises. I hate to read spoilers so I stayed away from detailed summaries, sticking with reviews which gave good info on the premise and with enough detail to get the gist. It sounded pretty good, it had all those sparkly stars, and it was on sale – what could be better?
I bought the title and waited for some quiet reading time. I love the anticipation of a new book.

Yesterday morning I woke up way before the kids. I made a cup of tea, checked that I was indeed still alone (joy) and grabbed my Kindle. I settled in to my favourite corner of the couch (the one I usually have up give up for Little One because its her favourite too) and I opened my nice, new book to page one.
I didn’t immediately love it but I thought, that’s okay I just need to get used to this new-to-me author, let her turn of phrase settle in to my brain.
By page two her word choice was causing me mental anguish.

By about page five the final nail was in the coffin, hammered into place by the most ridiculous dialogue I have ever read. I can’t bring myself to look back T the book for an accurate quote but here’s how it went.

MC is surprised that the baby he found was wearing a little knitted hat because with the baby being mere hours or days old, how was there time to get the hat?? MC asks this of a policeman, who doesn’t seem to see the stupidity of this observation.

Clearly the author doesn’t realize that 1) pregnancy lasts 9 months, giving ample time for the knitting of small hats and 2) pregnant humans are capable of going shopping.

Heavy sigh.

Maybe this book gets exponentially better, earning those fabulous and glowing reviews but I can’t bring myself to do anything other than delete it from my library.