Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Mini Review Madness: White Cat, Fallen Grace, Flip, Momentum, The Cursed Ones, The Damned

Hi everyone! I realised I didn't post an introduction to Mini Review Madness so this is how it goes; I have so many books stacked up ready to review that I read earlier in the year that I just haven't had time to sit down and review, so I'm trying to catch up before the end of 2011. I really want to start 2012 afresh with nothing backed up so fingers crossed I'll manage to get through everything.
For today's installment of Mini Review Madness I'm going to be looking at the following titles:

White Cat - Holly Black
Fallen Grace - Mary Hooper
Flip - Martyn Bedford
Momentum - Saci Lloyd
The Cursed Ones - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
The Damned - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

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White Cat - Holly Black

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Mini review: Unfortunately I wasn't a huge fan of White Cat and I did find it a bit slow going, which is a shame as I think it has such a strong premise. I didn't particularly bond with any of the characters, particularly Cassel, which made it difficult to root for anybody to succeed. It is a relatively quick read, though, so if you're a fan of this sort of thing then it's worth giving it a go - reivews of this one are generally positive with fans of the genre.

Fallen Grace - Mary Hooper

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Grace Parkes has just had to do a terrible thing. Having given birth to an illegitimate child, she has travelled to the famed Brookwood Cemetery to place her small infant's body in a rich lady's coffin. Following the advice of a kindly midwife, this is the only way that Grace can think of to give something at least to the little baby who died at birth, and to avoid the ignominy of a pauper's grave. Distraught and weeping, Grace meets two people at the cemetery: Mrs Emmeline Unwin and Mr James Solent. These two characters will have a profound affect upon Grace's life.

But Grace doesn't know that yet. For now, she has to suppress her grief and get on with the business of living: scraping together enough pennies selling watercress for rent and food; looking after her older sister, who is incapable of caring for herself; thwarting the manipulative and conscience-free Unwin family, who are as capable of running a lucrative funeral business as they are of defrauding a young woman of her fortune.

A stunning evocation of life in Victorian London, with vivid and accurate depictions, ranging from the deprivation that the truly poor suffered to the unthinking luxuries enjoyed by the rich: all bound up with a pacy and thrilling plot, as Grace races to unravel the fraud about to be perpetrated against her and her sister.

Mini review: Hooper's writing here is just beautiful and I loved Fallen Grace, which is a big deal for me as I'm not generally a fan of historical fiction. It was just impossible not to be pulled into Grace's world and Hooper really did get it spot on, the way she evoked the spirit of Victorian London through the tiniest of details was fantastic.

Flip - Martyn Bedford

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): Ever wake up in someone else's body? Fourteen-year-old Alex Gray wakes up one morning to discover he's not in his own bedroom. More surprising is that he doesn't recognize his hands, or his legs...When he looks in the mirror he gets the shock of his life! How is it possible that Alex has become another boy - a boy who everyone calls Philip? And how have six whole months passed overnight?

Mini review: I really enjoyed Flip and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to both boys and girls who are fans of YA. The premise is truly unique and Bedford is a fresh new voice in YA fiction, I'm really excited to see what he does next.

It was such a nice change to read something that isn't a flat out contemporary (even though I love them) or a paranormal romance so if you're looking for something a little different definitely try Flip.

Momentum - Saci Lloyd

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): London, the near future. Energy wars are flaring across the globe - oil prices have gone crazy, regular power cuts are a daily occurrence. The cruel Kossak soldiers prowl the streets, keeping the Outsiders - the poor, the disenfranchised - in check.

Hunter is a Citizen: one of the privileged of society, but with his passion for free running and his rebel friend Leo he cannot help but be fascinated by the Outsiders. So when he meets Outsider Uma, he is quickly drawn into their world - and into an electrifying and dangerous race to protect everything they hold dear.

Mini review: Momentum has such an interesting premise and it's executed brilliantly. The subject matter is particularly relevant, which just made me get even more drawn into the story.

Saci Lloyd is such an exciting writer, with both Momentum and the Carbon Diaries series and I'll definitely be keeping an eye on what she does next as I'm quickly becoming a huge fan of her work.

The Cursed Ones - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): The Cursed Ones, or vampires, have made their presence known to mankind. They promised to help bring peace to the world but then declared war on humanity. The identity of their leader is unknown. Most people are too afraid or unwillingly to take a stand against them. Others, like eighteen-year-old Jenn Leitner, train secretly to become vampire fighters and risk everything in the process. Alongside her is fellow Hunter, Antonio de la Cruz.

But Antonio has a secret - he is a vampire fighting on the side of humanity. Jenn must battle with her hatred of all things vampire, and her love for Antonio. For together only they can bring light into the darkness the vampires have drawn over the face of the planet…

Mini review: I was disappointed with The Cursed Ones as I think it could have been so much stronger and I did have high hopes for it. I was let down by the protagonist, Jenn, as her priorities were just a little bit ridiculous; it seemed all she cared about was her potential love interest (I won't give anything away but, yeah, it's pretty darn obvious from the outset), rather than the impending destruction of everything she knows and loves. Not a winner for me.

The Damned - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): There is a fine line between love and sacrifice…

Antonio would do anything for his beloved fighting partner Jenn. He protects her, even suppresses his vampire cravings to be with her. Together, they defend humanity against the Cursed Ones. But tensions threaten to fracture their hunting team and his loyalty—his love—is called into question.

Jenn, the newly appointed Hunter, aches for revenge against the Cursed One who converted her sister. And with an even more sinister power on the rise, she must overcome her personal vendettas to lead her team into battle.

Antonio and Jenn need each other to survive, but evil lurks at every turn. With humanity’s fate hanging in the balance, they must face down the darkness…or die trying.

Mini review: Following on from The Curse Ones, I did enjoy The Damned a little more than the first installment but I'm still not convinced by this series. The writing was quite clunky in places and I had to often double back and reread sentences to get them clear in my head; this did take me away from the story and meant I couldn't lose myself in Jenn and Antonio's world. Unfortunately the cover art is the best thing about this book.

6 comments:

  1. I loved White Cat! But then I kind of author worship Holly Black. I think she is utterly awesome. I abandoned The Cursed Ones as it really didn't appeal to me.

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  2. Great selection here :) I was thinking of doing a similar mini review blast to try and catch up myself!

    I REALLY want to read Fallen Grace - I think it will be one for the Christmas wishlist :)

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  3. Like Viv, I didn't get very far with The Cursed Ones. And I gave up on White Cat. I still have Flip and Fallen Grace on my shelves to read though..

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  4. I really loved Fallen Grace & enjoyed Flip too as it was so different from everything else I've read. I have White Cat on my to read pile & am looking forward to trying it, it's a shame you didn't like it as much as you were expecting to but I tend to be more into paranormal stories than you so hopefully I'll enjoy it more.

    I have TRhe Cursed Ones & The Damned on my to read pile so I really must get around to trying them soon :o)

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  5. I am so glad to have found someone else that didn't enjoy White Cat I thought I was the only one. I have The Cursed Ones to read and will push it down the pile now.
    I am loving your mini reviews <3

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  6. I really didn't get on with the cursed ones, I tried it and decided I couldn't be bothered even carrying it on...
    Also I keep getting told I should really try White Cat but I didn't like tithe and I don't think I'll get on with it either, great mini reviews :)

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Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.