Book Reviews

Gallagher Girl series

Deer Reeder,

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Chronological book order is from bottom to top.

I read these quite quickly, so like the other bit of teen fiction I wrote about, I’m going to discuss the whole series instead of going through book by book.

How is it best to describe this series? Well, imagine a school full of teenage female James Bond’s, plus the best security system imaginable and you get the idea of what it would be like to go to the Gallagher Academy of Exceptional Young Women. The school is portrayed as one of the most selective schools for geniuses and is full of snobby rich kids. However, those who have a high enough clearance level know the academy for what it actually is; a school which specialises in the art of espionage. You know a school is going to be interesting when its moto is:

“We are the sisters of Gillian…..To learn her skills. Honour her sword. And keep her secrets…… To the cause of justice and light.”

Ally Carter writes the series in first person through the eyes of Cammie Morgan, daughter of the headmistress and a dead spy; and covers the last 4 years of her time at the academy (or it could be 3 but the American school system has never made sense to me, so it’s to work out what year means what age, etc.).

The first two books (I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have To Kill You; Cross My Heart & Hope To Spy) are more standalone then the rest of the series, as there is not a particular ongoing mission like throughout the others. The books are more there to set the scene for what it’s like to go to that school and Cammie’s increasing want for normality when she falls for a boy called Josh. The antics that her and her three best friends get up to did make me laugh, as it took Facebook stalking of guys to a whole new level. Almost verging on creepy.

The other four books however, have an ongoing mission/situation which guides the rest of the narrative. Suddenly, Cammie is thrusted into the real and dangerous world of spy-hood before she even gets to graduate. It is clever of Carter to write the first two books based around “Operations” that, in the grand scheme of things, are very childish; and then shift in book three to operations that involve real life or death situations. It helps highlight the growth in character development as the girl’s head towards 18. Cammie and her friends go from only caring about exams and boys, to realising that some things are worth risking their lives for, especially if it was Cammie’s dad’s last mission.

Constantly, the reader is taught to reluctantly give over their trust to the various characters who have a tendency to be more then they initially appear; and, most importantly of course, is to learn that girls are tougher then their stereotype alludes to.

My favourite book is the fifth (Out of Sigh, Out of Time) for Cammie wakes up in the Alps not knowing how she got there or what has happened in the past three months! It has a Jason Borne feel to the book, as she spends her whole time retracing her steps working out what the F@#! happened and who knows more then they are letting on. Just like Borne, it was probably one of the worst times for her to have gotten amnesia. Especially, since she knows the answers to the puzzle but now just needs to remember them!

This series is a bullet dodging, ass kicking coming of age story with a slice of romance on the side. A great series for teens to begin their love for thriller books.

Recommendations. The Imperial series (starting with the Imperial Spy) by Mark Robson is set in a fantasy world and follows the life of the Emperor’s spy. Another suggestion (for the slightly older reader) is Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination by Helen Fielding. This one is quite a laugh and shows what havoc a citizen can course when getting caught up in covert affairs.

-The End-

Deadline

Deer Reeder,

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This is one deadline no one wants to miss

I’ve been reading books in quick succession over the summer holidays but appear to have stalled in my reviews of them. Then again, it never helps when you leave your laptop charger in an office in London (and I don’t live in London bear in mind) and don’t realise this until you need to charge the laptop a few days later; to which the office people are then unavailable to post it to you for a week or so! So, as you can see, very inconvenient.

Anyway, now to finally writing about Deadline by Simon Kernick.

I’ve forgotten how interesting crime thrillers are as I tend to avoid them, as I’ll A) get far too engrossed in the book and shut myself off from the world, or B) find it too freaky which frankly is not the kind of escapism that I’m looking for. However, Simon Kernick writes a cracking story full of twists and turns that leave you guessing plot details through-out the whole book.

The book starts off with a short prologue where a man kills his girlfriend and leaves the reader with: Continue reading “Deadline”

According to Yes

Deer Reeder,

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I just love a simplistic book cover sometimes

I am always hesitant about reading books that are written by celebrities whose original claim to fame isn’t being an author. I just think, is the book a bestseller purely because Dawn French wrote it or is the book actually decent? And you know what? It was exactly what I was in the mood for; A bit of light-hearted fun that made me laugh.

I’ve always liked the programmes she has starred in and this book has the same feel as them. There is an air of humorous chaos where the main character, Rosie Kitto, finds herself asking: Continue reading “According to Yes”

Geek Girl series

Deer Reeder,

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Book chronological order is from the bottom to finishing the series at the top.

I’m just going to do something I haven’t done for this blog yet, and that is to review a series rather than an individual book. The reason for this is that it’s summer so I’ve got more time on my hands to lose myself in the fabulous world of books and it saves everyone time and effort as you don’t have to read 6 reviews talking about the same thing. How forward thinking of me!

Anyway, so the Geek Girl series, what to say…? Well, first off, I thoroughly enjoyed it actually. I haven’t read true young/teen fiction in a while and it was surprisingly nice to view the world from more innocent eyes. It always made me chuckle how the main protagonist, Harriet Manners, wouldn’t swear but would choose to say Sugar Cookies instead. Mind you, I don’t think the F word would go down too well within a book that has a recommended reading age of 11+!

In spite of this wonderful innocence I forgot and was repeatedly reminded of, what usually accompanies this characteristic; OH MY GOD, I have never read such a first person narrative from such a naive person! At points it almost had me screaming at the book saying “What are you doing? Why do you think that is a good idea?” Continue reading “Geek Girl series”

Jane Steele

Deer Reeder,

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Love the old design of this cover.

Well it’s about time I got down to finally writing another one of these since I finished the book almost two weeks ago! But hey I’ve just broken up for summer and it’s been sunny so… legit excuse!

Anyway, before I sail away into the deep depths of my mind I’ll reign it back to the topic at hand, books. More specifically Jane Steele. Now, despite writing a book blog I tend not to read others myself (bad I know). I let Amazon recommendations guide me because I’m lazy and very picky when it comes down to books. But, when I did read some other blogs I came across this book and I’m so glad I did, for I loved it. Yeah, some aspects were a little unrealistic but what can I say, isn’t every story a slight embellishment of reality?

It’s set in my favourite period in history, the Victorian era and constantly refers back to Jane Eyre and the themes presented in her novels. The independence of women, love and dealing with what life throws at you are some of the themes that the main character, Jane Steele, draws upon from the influential author. Continue reading “Jane Steele”

Assassin’s Fate

Deer Reeder,

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Always loved the design of this chronicle.

Finished this book at the same time as finishing my first year of uni, almost perfect timing apart from I now have plenty of guilt free time to read but no book! Oh well. Anyway, on with the book. This is the last in a trilogy which is (as far as I currently know) the last in a chronicle which are in the same timeline in the Elderling realm. Confused? Just know that there are a lot of books to read by Robin Hobb before this one basically starting with the Assassins Apprentice.

Obviously, I have much love for this book and had a high expectation, to which it luckily didn’t disappoint. What is nice about reading books that are set in the same world, is that you will eventually get to the book where all the story lines interlink. Where main characters from each stand-alone trilogy finally meet each other. This is what this book is really, the tying of loose ends, so don’t even think about reading this before reading the others, it just won’t be the same.

Compared to other books in this chronicle that feature Fitz (the main protagonist, and my favourite mainly due to his many flaws), this book had a split narrative between him and his daughter rather than just his side of the story recounting. Continue reading “Assassin’s Fate”

Wyrd Sisters

Deer Reeder,

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Part of the Disc World Series. The book covers are always weird.

Welcome to the magical land of Terry Pratchett’s Disc World. A world like no other that fundamentally defies all of physics. In fact, its inhabitants are probably disgusted that physics is even mentioned in its presence. This book, like so many others found in the Disc World series, has the wonderful balance of wit, humour, fantasy and real life parallels that is commonly found within Pratchett’s writing.  Now where to begin?

At the beginning, of course. One of the specific reasons why I liked this book in particular was that there was a running theme throughout. Constantly Pratchett hid little Easter Eggs (you know like Disney and Pixar always seem to be doing) that tied this story to that of Shakespeare’s Macbeth (thou who should not be named on stage for fear of bad luck, despite it being the name of a whole play, they didn’t think that one through….). He does this humorously, a good example being, changing “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning or in rain.” which is the 3 witches most famous saying, to actually writing:

Continue reading “Wyrd Sisters”