Saturday, 23 April 2011

Mini reviews: Crash Test Love, Prisoner of the Inquisition and Shadows on the Moon

So I like to try and stay up to date with the books I’m sent for review so I’ve decided to write a collection of mini reviews to be posted each week to help me keep up to date. This week I’m featuring mini reviews of Crash Test Love, Prisoner of the Inquisition and Shadows on the Moon.

Crash Test Love - Ted Michael

Published: June 8th 2010, Delacorte Press
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): The last thing Henry Arlington wants is a girlfriend. He's just very, very good with girls—reading their body language, knowing what they want to hear, and more importantly: getting them into the backseat of his car. But all that changes when he meets Garrett Lennox at one of the many Sweet Sixteen parties he crashes.

Garrett thinks she's done with guys. She was dumped by her ex when she moved from Chicago to Long Island, and now she realizes that she needs to find out who she is by herself, instead of with a boyfriend. What she really needs is some good friends.

Fortunately for Garrett, the J Squad—the "it" girls of East Shore High School—want her in their clique. All she has to do is pass one little test: get East Shore god Henry Arlington to take her to one of the biggest Sweet Sixteens of the year, then dump him in front of everyone.

Garrett has promised herself not to fall for another guy, so playing with Henry's heart shouldn't be hard. Right? And Henry doesn't fall for girls, so when he and Garrett start to click, it doesn't matter. Does it?

My review: Crash Test Love is an interesting novel. It attempts a lot and, while I felt it fell a little short of the mark, I do appreciate what Michaels set out to do and the fact he tried something a little different from most contemporary YA novels.

We see your traditional high school novel played out from both sides of the coin - we get the point of view of both the lead girl and the popular, charming guy and it was interesting to hear from both characters. However, I have to say that I don't think Michaels quite got Garrett's voice right - the fact that Michaels is male did come through quite strongly in her chapters, which was a shame.

Crash Test Love isn't ground breaking but don't disregard it completely - I enjoyed it but I wouldn't rave about it. One to bear in mind.

First line: 'I am not the girlfriend type of guy.'

Rating: C


Prisoner of the Inquisition - Theresa Breslin

Published: June 2nd 2011, Random House
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Zarita is used to basking in the pampered lifestyle being the only daughter of the town magistrate affords; she is free to roam the town as she likes, consort with the son of a nobleman and spend her days studying the arts.

Saulo's family have fallen on hard times, and when his father is hanged for an assault on Zarita he did not commit and Saulo is hauled off to be a slave at sea, Saulo swears revenge. But when Zarita's mother dies in childbirth, and the formidable and frightening Inquisition arrives in the area, a curtain of suspicion and brutality comes down on her old life for good.

Saulo may believe that Zarita is his sworn enemy, but in a time when the whole of Spain is in turmoil, are him and Zarita each other's only hope of survival?

My review: Now I am not generally a fan of historical fiction and I have to admit that Prisoner of the Inquisition is probably the first historical novel I've read in over a year. Thus, I was a little wary of it and wasn't sure that I would enjoy it at all. I'm pleased to say, my initial thoughts were wrong.

I did enjoy this one - the writing is absolutely beautiful and this is sure to delight fans of the genre. Breslin really does have a talent with words and I'd love to read more of her books in the future.

Saulo is a brilliant character and I felt for him so much - Breslin did such a great job of bringing him to life. He had so much more to him than your run of the mill YA male lead and I loved the journey we saw him go on as the story moved forward.

While I'm not truly converted to historical novels Prisoner of the Inquisition has definitely made me much more open to reading them in the future. Good stuff!

First line: 'She begged for a cross to hold.'

Rating: B-


Shadows on the Moon - Zoe Marriott

Published: July 4th 2011, Walker
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): A powerful tale of magic, love and revenge with a strong female lead set in fairy-tale Japan; this is "Cinderella" meets "Memoirs of a Geisha".

Trained in the magical art of shadow-weaving, sixteen-year-old Suzume is able to recreate herself in any form - a fabulous gift for a girl desperate to escape her past. But who is she really? Is she a girl of noble birth living under the tyranny of her mother's new husband, Lord Terayama, or a lowly drudge scraping a living in the ashes of Terayama's kitchens, or Yue, the most beautiful courtesan in the Moonlit Lands?

Whatever her true identity, Suzume is destined to capture the heart of a prince - and determined to use his power to destroy Terayama. And nothing will stop her, not even love.

My review: Shadows on the Moon is a gorgeous, gorgeous story. Marriott is a sterling writer and I fell head of heels in love with the story she crafted of Suzume's world. Suzume herself was such a memorable character and I'm convinced it won't be long until we hear plans for Shadows on the Moon to be adapted into a film.

This novel will leave you with a lot to think about. It isn't one you can read in one sitting and then pop back on your shelf without a care - you'll catch yourself thinking about it weeks later and, for me, that's certainly the mark of a brilliant novel. Plus, just look at the cover art - beautiful!

First line: 'On my fourteenth birthday when the sakura was in full bloom, the men came to kill us.'

Rating: B


  1. Sounds like some noteworthy reads here! :)

  2. Great idea to do some mini reviews, I'm so far behind I might have to consider something like this or I'll never catch up lol. I can't wait to read Shadows on the Moon, I've been looking forward to that one for ages :o) I was sent Prisoner of the Inquisition too but wasn't sure if I'd like it or not. Your review has definitely convinced me to give it a try.

    Hope you're having a fab Easter xx


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