CRYSTAL KINGDOM - Amanda Hocking
Published: 2015 - Pan Macmillan
Genres: Young adult / fantasy / romance
Pages: 422.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Fantasy violence.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Cast out by her kingdom and far from home, she's the Kanin people's only hope. Bryn Aven - unjustly charged with murder and treason - is on the run. The one person who can help is her greatest enemy, the enigmatic Konstantin Black. Konstantin is her only ally against those who have taken over her kingdom and threaten to destroy everything she holds dear. But can she trust him? As Bryn fights to clear her name, the Kanin rulers’ darkest secrets are coming to light… and now the entire troll world is on the brink of war. Will it tear Bryn from Ridley Dresden, the only guy she’s ever loved? And can she join forces with Finn Holmes and the Trylle kingdom? One thing is certain: an epic battle is underway—and when it’s complete, nothing will ever be the same…

I am so, so, so disappointed with this book, and I don't think I'm going to be reading another Hocking novel anytime soon. I used to enjoy them simply because they were light and fun, but I can't take her writing style any more.

The writing is the main issue. There is so much telling and exposition that it grates on my nerves till I want to shriek. Just when an action scene gets going, Hocking has to throw in some pointless dialogue or monologuing to give the reader useless information. She doesn't allow you to think for yourself - she dishes everything out in painful, thick dollops. It's so unnecessary!
Oh, and the dialogue is terrible, too. It's really bad.

The characters are one-dimensional. Bryn has some personality (although the fact that she's literally perfect annoys me to no end), but everyone else is weak. I'm also annoyed with the love triangle, which is forced and badly written and has Bryn not wanting to pull away from another guy's kiss even after she's decided loves Ridley. I don't get that. It's so inconsistent.

But to be positive, the plot of this book is much better than the first two in the trilogy (excluding the love triangle aspect). There's more intrigue, and it's not so predictable. So yay.

Published: 2015 by Macmillan Children's Books
Genres: Middle grade / fantasy /
Pages: 224.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Nothing.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

People are flocking to Ghastly-Gorm Hall from far and wide to compete in Lord Goth's Literary Dog Show. The esteemed judges are in place and the contestants are all ready to win. Sir Walter Splott is preparing his Lanarkshire Lurcher, Plain Austen is preening her Hampshire Hound and Homily Dickinson and her Yankee Poodle are raring to go. But there's something strange going on at Ghastly-Gorm - mysterious footprints, howls in the night and some suspiciously chewed shoes. Can Ada, the Attic Club and their new friends the Vicarage sisters (Charlotte, Emily and Anne) work out what's going on before the next full moon?

Oh please people, if you have a little kid, or if you're in the mood for an outrageous, innocent adventure, read this book. It's Middle Grade at its very best. It's absolutely lovable.

The characters are fantastically eccentric, and the themes of family and friendship are tender against a backdrop of craziness and absurdity. The plot is all over the place, but it's still so much fun. It's beautifully written, and the imagination is incredible. The bizarreness of everything is both overwhelming and exhilarating. It's a wonderful, heartwarming tale.

And the humour is amazing! It's so cute. The characters include "Homily Dickenson", "Anne Bowl-In", "Anne of Peeves", " Georgie Elliot", "Plain Austen", "Hands Christmas Andersen", and more - they are an absolutely hilarious. I also adore the many absurd twists on famous literature classics and lines; I lost count of how many times Austen was misquoted. It's delightful. I smiled so much.

The black and white sketches are also gorgeous. The detail is exquisite, and they're just adorable. I love them.


Jazzy Jessie: Going for Gold - Emma Moss
Published: 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
Genres: Middle grade / contemporary /
Pages: 305.
Triggers/Content Advisory: Nothing.
Format: Paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan Ball SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.

Jessie's got a lot going on . . . As well as having to give up her bedroom to the new lodger, she's busy filming her popular pranking videos for the Girls Can Vlog channel, there's an important gymnastics competition to prepare for, and the SummerTube convention is just around the corner! But there are only so many hours in a day, and the girls are getting fed up with Jessie constantly running late. When a huge row breaks out, she is faced with an impossible choice . . .

This is a sweet, relaxing, fun story, but I didn't love it.

The writing is irritating. There are so many exclamation marks, and all the teen slang is overdone and cringy - I got sick of hearing the girls say stuff like "Hashtag incredible!" and "Hashtag ridiculous!" And yes, they actually say hashtag. It's not funny or adorable, it's embarrassing and cringy.

The story is okay. I like the themes of female friendship and the vlogging, but all the "mean girl" drama gets too much. I rolled my eyes at that.

Just FYI: I've eaten some of the chillies Jessie and her father ate and let me tell you there is NO way her whole family reacted so calmly to eating those chillies. They wouldn't have laughed about it - they would've been screaming and possibly vomiting. Believe me, I know. I've been there.

This is a decent book, but all the slang and "cool, hip, teen talk" is way overdone.

Hope you liked these reviews! Have you read these books? What did you think of them? 

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