Saturday, 30 April 2011

Mini Reviews: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, The Bad Karma Diaries and Montacute House

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 The Two Who Leapt Through Time, The Bad Karma Diaries and Montacute House.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time - Yasutaka Tsutsui

Published: May 25th 2011, Alma Books Ltd
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): One of Tsutsui's best-known and most popular works in his native Japan, The Girl Who Leapt through Time is the story of fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kazuko, who accidentally discovers that she can leap back and forth in time.

In her quest to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure that she believes to be responsible for her paranormal abilities, she'll constantly have to push the boundaries of space and time, and challenge the notions of dream and reality.

My review: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is certainly not the sort of book I'd usually accept for review. However, I've heard such wonderful things about Yasutaka Tsutsui that I thought I'd give it a go. I'm still not sure whether I enjoyed the book or not - though it did entertain me. I think it's one that you probably need to read more than once to pick up the subtle details that are so easy to miss first time around.

My main issue with this book is that it felt very, very short and didn't seem fully developed - that could be to do with the translation but I didn't feel like I got to know any of the characters very well. Everything seemed quite rushed and, at 170 pages, there was definitely room to expand the story and spend a bit more time developing the characters to their full potential.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is certainly an interesting story but it's not something I'd leap at the chance to read again straight away. I do imagine this one would work well on the big screen as it is quite visual so I'll be interested to see the film when I get a chance.

Rating: 3/5


The Bad Karma Diaries - Bridget Hourican

Published: March 7th 2011, O'Brien Press
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from back cover of book): Best friends Anna and Denise need some cash, so they go into business running birthday parties for younger kids in the area. They earn a bit of money AND have lots of funny stories for their blog...

But then the girls come up with an even madder money-making scheme and the Instruments of Karma are born, taking revenge on bullies - for a fee! They even blog about it (anonymously of course). But Karma is a funny old thing, and the girls learn the hard way that revenge isn't always sweet...

My review: The Bad Karma Diaries is pure fun and I dare anyone to read it without cracking a smile. This one will have you creasing up - perfect to read in the garden when the sun is shining.

The plot of The Bad Karma Diaries is what makes is an enjoyable read and I loved that the book featured a blog (go bloggers go!). However, I did feel that Anna and Denise let the story down a bit as I just didn't bond with them. They were likable girls but I don't think they stood out - I certainly won't be able to remember their names for very long and that's a shame.

The Bad Karma Diaries is a good read, not a great one (in my opinion). It's worth a go but I wouldn't recommend it to those of who like your books with a bit of edge - this one's pure sugar-coated but entertaining nonetheless.

Rating: 3/5


Montacute House - Lucy Jago

Published: May 3rd 2011, Bloomsbury
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): At first a boy’s body is discovered, then John, Cess’s best friend, disappears . . . What is the mystery behind these sinister events?

Cess works caring for the chickens at Montacute House but on her thirteenth birthday everything changes. She finds a precious locket hidden in the chicken coop and is convinced someone has placed it there for her to find. But the day is overshadowed by fear as a boy’s body is found by the river, and then John disappears. Cess is determined to find him but is soon embroiled in a plot that threatens her world and forces her to draw on powers she never knew she possessed, powers that will place her life in danger if they are discovered by the villagers.

Witchcraft, politics and religious ambition combine in this gripping and wonderfully realised novel set in the Somerset of the 1500s.

My review: I am SO happy that somebody has finally written a novel about the beautiful Montacute House. I grew up maybe five minutes away from it and it's still close to the top of my list for prospective wedding venues! I've always loved Montacute House and it's the perfect place to set a novel so I'm really happy Lucy Jago decided to set her story there.

Montacute House is a great book and, as someone who knows the place extremely well, Jago does a really brilliant job of getting the tone of the estate and the surrounding area spot on. Cess was a really sweet girl and I loved her personality - she had a bit of bite to her wasn't afraid to get stuck in and stand up for herself, what a great heroine.

Hooray for Somerset, my homeland! This one's a cracker. Read it tucked up in bed on a windy, miserable day and you'll be sucked into the fantastic world Jago creates for you and her characters.

Rating: 4/5


  1. Great reviews! I really enjoyed The Bad Karma Diaries - I found I got really involved in the girls' lives. I haven't read the other two but they sound interesting, and it's always great to hear about books set in the West Country!

  2. Montacute House is real? I didn't realise that. Definitely a book to read.


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