ELEGY - TARA HUDSON - REVIEW

Book: Elegy
Author: Tara Hudson
Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
ISBN: 9780007437290
Rating: B

A stranded spirit, and a love story that crosses the divide between the living and the dead...Despite everything she's lost in the last few months, Amelia's new half-life feels something like a victory. That is, until the demons of High Bridge make their ultimate move: rising from Hell and killing Wilburton's residents, one by one, to get to Amelia. When the death toll reaches too close to home, Amelia must make a horrible choice. Does she rely on the help of Joshua and his friends, or does she sacrifice herself...for the final time?

Elegy. Hmmm... Although in the end this was good I feel like this series has gone downwards, not up. Needless to say I did like book 3 and I'm going to go over everything that there really is to talk about.

So book three is the final book in the series and Amelia and Josh and Jillian yet face the same problem again. The dark still wants here, Jillian and Josh are in danger again and she must save the day. It was different from the other book yet still a little samey and although I didn't mind that one thing that did bug me is the fact Amelia doesn't learn from her mistakes but that's not really a fault with the book, come to think of it. That's just her character.
Anyway the book starts of promising and naturally this is the final book so it's all about final showdowns and it was really captivating. Hudson has definitely, within this series, shown her talent to be able to write many different genres well and the story line worked for me. I liked it, and it kept me guessing. It never got confusing or repeated itself but the amount of deaths and if I may add, unessacery deaths were overwhelming in this and sometimes I think you need to draw a line.

The setting in this shifted back to both Amelias and Joshua's hometown and it made sense, as the main plot line was focused around high bridge and bringing it down. I liked the fact that we went back to old places because it really helped us to understand the stories and the emotion behind all of the happenings and understand the light and dark better, in general.

The characters pretty much stayed the same in this which was nice. With the increase of characters in book 2 we were so busy getting know them there was no space to develop or uncovers true colours of other characters. Because the characters were pretty much the same in this we started to see peoples true colours and what they were really like. In fact we got a much better glimpse into the both Joshua and Amelia's past but more Amelia. I felt like this was really good and whilst other characters did come into play it was primarily based back onto Amelia, Josh and Jillian like in book 1 which leas back to my point of growing our knowledge bases on the characters so we ca really connect with them.

As usual Hudson's writing was a dream to read. Description flowed as did the story but what really stuck out to me was her world building. In this book there was a lot more of inter world interaction and they way she used words to craft these worlds in my mind was just perfection. I loved the way she formed the rooms of hell in high bridge and I would've loved to see more of the light worlds but from what she wrote I fell in love with the different places. Hudson had a knack for description, especially with places.

Overall this was the perfect end to this series. Well the ending, I'm not sure if that's how I would have done it, but however it was a beautiful and magical ending and this series had left me speechless. I'll definitely be coming back to it in the future.

ARISE - TARA HUDSON - REVIEW

Book: Arise
Author: Tara Hudson
Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
ISBN: 9780007437276
Rating: A

A stranded spirit, and a love story that crosses the divide between the living and the dead...In this hauntingly lovely sequel to HEREAFTER, Amelia - still trapped somewhere between life and death - continues to fight for her relationship with her mortal love, Joshua. Looking for answers, they visit some of Joshua's relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia just ends up with more questions...and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together. Then Amelia meets other spirits in-between and begins to seriously consider joining them. Caught between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the nether world can choose for her.

So I've been sitting on this review for a while now and I've come to the conclusion that I'm not sure how I feel about this. It was good overall but I guess it just wasn't as good as book 1 and some parts dragged. That's all. Aside from those two points I really did like this book and I definitely captivated me.

I'm gonna start off by talking about the setting. This was primarily set in New Orleans and New Orleans is somewhat of a sticky subject for me. Apart from interview with a vampire new orleans has always disappointed me with literature and sometimes it can be taken a bit too far but I was willing to see what hudson would do with it and she nailed it. Maybe it was her descriptive text but I saw New Orleans in a whole new light and I can honestly say it provided the perfect location for Arise.

The story had a killer storyline. So much happened in this novel and so much of it was so interesting I could barely peel my eyes away. And the twists and turns in this were relentless! The shocks and surprises were amazing and I felt like this could quite easily fit into the mystery genre as well. With hidden secrets etc this really was like a jigsaw puzzle that slowly fitted together throughout the series and I loved it so much.
I also loved the introduction of Voodoo as it's not something you see loads off in YA fiction. I loved the new realm and exposure to the magic and it definitely helped the reader to understand the ins and outs of being a ghost and what and how it meant. Of course this was briefly touched on in book1 but Arise gave a better understanding that to Gabi.
As I mentioned above in some place this novel did drag a little but with a little perseverance you'll definitely get to a better parts that will throughly entertain you.

The characters in this one definitely expanded as a whole group of Joshua's family were introduced and a hidden villain. I felt like we didn't get to know Josh, Jill or Amelia any better than before because we were being introduced to all these new characters so there wasn't really any space or time for that but I really did enjoy have the new characters to spice this book up because otherwise it would have been a tad mundane. Also Josh and Amelia have fairly similar personalities so having the extra people really brought the book together and to life.

The writing, as ever, was beautiful and Hudson's descriptive style of prose really made this novel spectacular, building this incredible vision of New Orleans in my mind and the overall effect was just stunning! I'm not going to comment too much on the writing because very rarely does the quality/ style of writing change between books in a series and it didn't really change in this.

Overall I really did like this. Yes there were some bumps in the road but overall it definitely satisfied me as the second book in the series and my review for book 3 will be up shortly.

ELIZABETH LABAN - INTERVIEW

1. What was you inspiration behind the novel?

I have always loved young adult books, and really wanted to write one. When I was in high school, I wrote a tragedy paper about Greek and Shakespearean tragedy that always stuck with me. A few years ago, my agent Uwe Stender suggested I read Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werter. I loved the story, and especially the structure of the story. I started playing around with ways to modernize and retell it. Being one of the classic tragedies, it sparked my memory of the paper I wrote in high school, which, in turn, brought back that whole world for me. It all started coming together in my mind and The Tragedy Paper was born.

 2. Are any of the characters based on people you know? 

 Mr. Simon is most definitely based on my high school English teacher Mr. Arthur Naething. He is the one who assigned me the Tragedy Paper. At the time, I had no idea that the impact that assignment would have on me would be so huge. The way I remember it, Mr. Naething really
was obsessed with words like magnitude and hubris. He really did dismiss us each day by saying, “Go forth and spread beauty and light.” There are some differences, of course, between Mr. Simon and Mr. Naething. Mr. Simon is a much younger man than Mr. Naething was when he taught me. Also, Mr. Simon is harsher in some ways. When he keeps the late students out of the room, for example, that is all him. Mr. Naething never did anything like that. As for the other characters in The Tragedy Paper, they are completely made up.

 3. Do you have a writing ritual? 

 I really don’t have a writing ritual. I am not one of those authors who writes for a certain amount of time each day. I write whenever I can. Sometimes that means I have hours, sometimes only minutes. Also, I can go days without writing. I do usually write at the same place in my house though – at the dining room table.

 4. What is your most embarrassing moment as a Writer? 


My theory about “most embarrassing moment” questions is that nobody ever really tells the truth since it would be too embarrassing. If you asked me my most embarrassing moment as a teenager, I would have to make one up. But I will tell you this. At one point a few months after my book was published, my editor wrote to tell me that a very well-known author’s agent had read my book and liked it a lot. The author she represents is one of my absolute favorites, so I saw her name and didn’t read the rest of the email carefully. I thought my editor was telling me the author had read it and liked it a lot. I went crazy! I wrote back an over-the-top email to my editor, telling her this was a dream come true, it was more than I ever could have hoped for, and asking if I could tweet about it. I few minutes later, I got another email asking if I had misunderstood what she had said. That’s when I went back and read the first email more carefully. I was so embarrassed! Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled that the agent liked it. But it would have been an even greater thrill if the author had read it, too. Most important, I wish I had just calmed down for a minute before reacting.

 5. When did you know you wanted to write? 

 I can honestly say that I have always wanted to be a writer – at least since I could hold a pen or pencil (or crayon). As a kid, I was constantly composing stories and poems. I focused on writing in college, and then went to journalism school. I have said this before, but it was reading S. E. Hinton’s books that really gave me the writing bug. I remember being in middle school and finishing That Was Then, This Is Now and thinking that more than anything I wanted to one day create a world that touched people the way I was touched by that book. Having said that, I should point out that it was thirty years later that The Tragedy Paper was published!

 6. Who is your favourite author and what is your favourite book?

 This is a hard question – and I will say it is constantly changing. There is no way I can name just one favorite author and one favorite book. This month, for example, I bought two new books by favorite authors just because they wrote them – Liane Moriarty and Curtis Sittenfeld. I loved What Alice Forgot by Moriarty and it is at the top of my list of favorite books. I loved David Payne’s Early From The Dance. I will also add Scott Spencer’s Waking The Dead, Sittenfeld’s American Wife, Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres, John Green’s Looking For Alaska, Jennifer Weiner’s Good In Bed, William Goldman’s The Princess Bride and Jane Schwartz’s Ruffian: Burning From The Start.

 7. What is the book you wish you had written?

 This is a tough one. Can I say John Green’s The Fault in our Stars? Doesn’t everyone wish they had written that book? Or Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. That is one of those books that you read and then find yourself thinking about at different times. It gets inside you and never leaves – which is a really good thing because it is such an amazing story.

 8. How does it feel to see your book in bookshops? 

 I love it! I hope I will never, ever get tired of it or used to it. Tonight, for example, my family and I are traveling and we went into a Barnes & Noble near our hotel. They had a stack of my books, and it was a thrill to see where they were displayed, and then introduce myself to one of the booksellers there.

 9. Can you give us any info of what you're working on next / what your next project is?

 Yes! I am working on another young adult book, not at all connected to The Tragedy Paper. This time the main character is a girl. I would say its biggest defining characteristic is that it’s a mystery.

 10. And finally a fun question! If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why? 

 Again, my answers would change depending on what’s going on with me or what I’ve been reading or watching. I would say Barrack Obama is at the top – I would love to sit down and talk to him, maybe meet his family. Next I would say an actor who worked on Friday Night Lights – we just binge watched the entire series, finishing last night, and it is all we can talk about! I would invite Kyle Chandler or Zach Gilford over for dinner and make some BBQ, ask them what it was like to work on such an amazing show. And finally, I would have to say S.E. Hinton because she had such a huge impact on me with her books. I see her on Twitter, and love reading what she has to say. But it would be pretty cool to sit down with her and get to know her a little.

HEREAFTER - TARA HUDSON - REVIEW

Book: Hereafter
Author: Tara Hudson
Publisher: HarperCollins Childrens
ISBN: 9780007430505
Rating: A

A stranded spirit, a sudden love! Beautiful elegiac love story that crosses the divide between the living and the dead, in a powerful vision of longing and loss. "A tender and poignant love story with a ghostly twist." Becca Fitzpatrick, bestselling author of Hush, Hush This debut paranormal romance will leave you breathless. Can there truly be love after death? Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life -- or her actual death -- she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive. Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit is doing everything in his power to destroy their new-found happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world! forever. Thrilling and evocative, with moments of pure pleasure, 'Hereafter' is a sensation you won't want to miss.

Hereafter is one of those novels that the moment it was released I wanted it. Not only was the cover gorgeous but the story sounded amazing and when I finally got my hands on a beautiful hardcover copy a couple of months ago I dove straight into the story and finished it in less than a day. It really us a stunning story and it took me back to a time when YA was just getting started. I personally feel that YA has someone what slowly deteriorated over time  Like after twilight it hit a peak of such good books (Hereafter is in that section - That section is called 2011) and whilst the YA now is good it's just not as good as then. Needless to say this book was stunning, and I enjoyed every single minute of reading this.

The story in this is actually really different. There's not much ghost in YA, and the only other real contender is Anna Dressed in Blood but this is complete different type of Ghost story. This isn't  a horror, it's a pure romance, ghost story with a twist and it drew me from page one. The story is intricate and detailed and whilst I did feel some parts were unnecessary and space fillers it was a beautiful novel and the rest of the story was pleasure to read.
All of the chapter left you thirsty for me and every time I told myself to take a break I physically couldn't pull away. The plot was just so intriguing and held that air of mystery about it that just thrills you so much. In fact the story did a lot. It had my heart racing but also had the power to evoke the right amount of emotion to really make me feel the book and it was gorgeous.

As for the writing I was literally drowning in the words. Hudson has such a beautiful, whimsical and magical prose that I just fell in love with. Her descriptive style - which I loved - build up vivd scenes and worlds in my mind and for the hours that I read this I was transported to a whole other place. It did well to display emotions and help me understand what the characters were feeling however I feel s though the fact it was put into first person from Amelia's perspective really did limit what we could see Josh was feeling and to a certain point I felt as thought it was almost capping him.

The characters were perfect in this story. At times I wondered what they were doing there in the first place, for instance ELi, but of course later all was revealed and everything slotted into place. The characters were really well formed though. Limiting the amount of them allowed us to really get to know about them and what I did like about this novel was that everything was explained to us about this ins and outs of Ghosts and their worlds. Of course in this book the characters are still fresh and we'll definitely see more to them come book 2 and 3 but from I've seen so far I'm definitely ready to meet them again.

Overall this book was a full five stars. I don't often use this word to describe book but this novel was beautiful, and it's not even the beginning. I can't wait to see what Hudson has next for us.

ELEANOR AND PARK - RAINBOW ROWELL - REVIEW

Book: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 9781409120544
Rating: A

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and she's never felt more alone. All mismatched clothes, mad red hair and chaotic home life, she couldn't stick out more if she tried. Then she takes the seat on the bus next to Park. Quiet, careful and - in Eleanor's eyes - impossibly cool, Park's worked out that flying under the radar is the best way to get by. Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall in love. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're 16, and you have nothing and everything to lose. Set over the course of one school year in 1986, Eleanor & Park is funny, sad, shocking and true - an exquisite nostalgia trip for anyone who has never forgotten their first love.

So I read this quite a while ago now and I guess I've been sitting on the review because I'm not quite sure what to say. I'd say 85% loved it whilst 15% didn't and I think that's really down to the ending. I mean don't get me wrong, I'm all up for dramatic or non-expectant endings but I still like to have this clear up a few things with this. Needless to say, if there is a sequel, then I have no problems with the ending because it will be explained but with no certainty for a companion novel, I have to say the ending didn't do it for me.

However the novel in itself is beautiful. This is the type of book I never read. Ever. Something I just don't do, not because I don't like them but because it's not me. I've never enjoyed these book and Rowell has changed that, exposing me to a whole new world of YA contempt fiction. Anyway, the reason I gave in and got this was from the endless reel of reviewers ranting about how good this was, and they were right it was extremely good. The novel is beautiful and touching and sometimes it's just want you need to pull your head out of the sand. What I mean by that is that with general YA a fiction it focuses a lot on stuff that wont/can't happen and people that have amazingly good looks and perfection and I love how this really grounded me back into the real world and really played on the aspects of growing up in real life and how everyone's not good looking and popular and perfect and it can be really hard. I can't say I've experience any of the hardships in this novel but I feel like a lot of people can relate to this and it was great how as well as insecurities and appearance were covered in this is played on things that will bring back memories to anyone older, like the idea of falling in love for the first time.

The story itself really surprised me. The moment Rowell started the idea of being on the bus in every chapter I thought it would be painfully boring but I couldn't have been wrong. Rowell has taken something as simple as riding the bus everyday and made it both interesting and the beginning of a love story that you can't help but be drawn into. The story itself covers so so much. Teen appearance, bullying, new schools, falling in love, discriminations, reputation, abuse, divorce, immigration. It's one of those books anyone can read, love and relate and that's what makes it really special.
The story is a love story between chubby ginger eleanor and kinda-popular korean, park, and well that's enough info for to figure the story beyond them falling in love.

The writing was nice. It was pleasant enough and had this bluntness to it. which I surprisingly liked. Really, this book was full of surprises. It flowed well and the chapter left the right amount of info between each one to figured either what had happened or to leave wanting to know what would happen. I liked the split POV as well, giving insight to both characters and I can't I particularly preferred a singled point of view as I feel like the writing for them both was perfect and Rowell has slotted into the teen mindsets with no issues whatsoever.

The characters themselves play a massive role in grounding the novel int he fact that they all have differences and are not the standard perfect YA couple. In fact I found myself not quite at ease with Park which just made him all the more human to me because in what world do you like everyone? The characters all had insight to their history and home life's as well as the facades they put on for the world and it was just another aspect for people to relate to. I guess the main thing that struck me about these characters is about how human and real they were compared to other YA novels and that just really made me love them, because I really could imagine them being my friends.

Overall it was a gorgeous novel. It will evoke so much emotion and it so relatable in so many ways. You will find yourself truly falling in love with this novel.