Reading Roundup – 11th April 2014

April 11, 2014

I was recently given a free copy by the publisher to review The Monster Mob by Andrea Hertach.  It tells the story of a group of kids, Alex, Charlie, Leanna and Pete who share a love of creative writing and form the “Monster Mob” to share their (creepy) stories with each other.  The novel is structured around the kids’ stories and their attempt to find the storyworthy in real life.

From my reading I would guess this is aimed at middle graders, particularly those who already have a love of reading and writing.  I don’t think older readers would appreciate as much – the themes and concepts are kept pretty simple and there might be little to hold their attention.  However, there are a fair number of classical literary references – to Poe, Shelley, Shakespeare and Dickens and the author makes these pretty explicit in order for younger readers to appreciate them.

What I liked

The Monster Mob is a very light, quick read and passes a pleasant couple of hours. The writing style was clear and engaging.  I did enjoy the ending with Mr Hawthorn – I thought it was rather sweet.

What I didn’t like

This book is clearly aimed at a younger audience so more mature readers will probably find little depth to the book.

All in all I gave The Monster Mob three stars out of five

Added to my library this week

This week I’ve gone on a bit of an Audible spending spree.  There were some interesting daily deals as well as some I bought with the extra three credits I bought.

The first of the daily deals I bought was Cragbridge Hall by Chad Morris.  The synopsis for this seems intriguing: Imagine a school in the year 2074 where students don’t read history, but watch it happen around them; where running in gym class isn’t around a track, but up a virtual mountain; and where learning about animals means becoming one through an avatar. Welcome to Cragbridge Hall, the most advanced and prestigious school in the world.   It sounded a fun listen so I didn’t mind spending a couple of dollars on it.

The second daily deal I bought was C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters.  I remember reading Lewis’s work about a devil when I was very young and I seem to remember it was very cleverly written.  Again I didn’t mind spending a couple of dollars on that.

As I mentioned earlier this week I really enjoyed Eva Strachiak’s The Winter Palace, so I picked up the sequel The Empress of the Night also from Audible.

I’ve been hearing some good things about Half Bad by Sally Green – this is a contemporary supernatural novel about a young man who is half good witch and half bad witch.  I listened to the sample and was immediately hooked.

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