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Mini Reviews: Heartless, Unconventional, and The Mystery of the Painted Dragon

Hello! Here are three mini reviews of some February releases!

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HeartlessHEARTLESS by Marissa Meyer
Published 9th February, 2017 by Macmillan Children's Books
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.


In this prequel to Alice in Wonderland, Cath longs to open a bakery, but her family and the king have other ideas. Set in the world of the Looking Glass, it promises to be weird and wonderful and deliver a heartwarming story of forbidden love... But it didn't really, to be honest.

After fifty pages, I found myself wondering where the book was going and when it was going to get started. Then fifty pages later, I was still wondering that. I wasn't excited about reading the novel, and I decided to DNF after 150 pages when I realised I just didn't care for the characters or what happened to them.  There's a big fat stench of instalove as well - Cath doesn't know Jest at all but suddenly she thinks she's in love with him? No thanks.

It does however do well at being as weird as Alice In Wonderland, which I really did enjoy - it has lots of strange animal characters, court playing cards characters, the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, but with a slight twist for Meyer's prequel world.  I also really liked reading about Cath's baking, as cake will always be a winner for me! However she didn't live up to her full potential here either, and so with the other problems I had with the book, it just wasn't for me.

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UnconventionalUNCONVENTIONAL by Maggie Harcourt
Published 1st February, 2017 by Usborne Children's Books
Everyone's a fan of someone...

I got this book from book club, not really knowing anything about it but thinking it sounded fun. After reading only a few pages, I knew that I was right! This book is SO much fun. Lexi's dad is a convention organiser, and so she's spent her whole life at these events. So when Aidan Green turns up and diverts the usual course of action, she's understandably a little bit miffed.

I loved the characters most in this book. Lexi is a great protagonist, and I feel like we could be good friends, if she were real. I could sympathise with her frustration at Aidan at first (people who mess up my usual order are the worst) but then as we got to know him more I fell for him too. The supporting characters are also really great, especially Sam, Lexi's best friend. The best books are ones that celebrate friendship just as much as romance, and Unconventional does this so well.

The conventional aspect was so great. Having been to LFCC a few times now I could imagine the setting so well, and I loved seeing it from the perspective of organisation as well. I loved reading about the cosplay (especially Sam's!) and the completely unashamed excitement that everyone had about them was so great to see (loads of my real life friends are like "eurghhhh con is weird... boo to them!"). Finally there were so many references to YA authors that I've read and loved and that was super exciting! Such a perfect ode to UKYA fiction and fandoms and I loved it. I would 100% recommend!

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The Mystery of the Painted Dragon (The Sinclair’s Mysteries #3)THE MYSTERY OF THE PAINTED DRAGON by Katherine Woodfine
Published 9th February, 2017 by Egmont Books
It's their most perilous adventure yet! 

This is the third book in one of my favourite series! The Sinclair's Mysteries are just so much fun and a delight to read and I always look forward to the new release, and this one didn't disappoint. Also isn't the cover just gorgeous?! :D

In this story, Sophie and Lil find themselves on the hunt for a missing dragon painting from an exhibition in Sinclair's. The mystery itself took a little while to get started, but I didn't mind so much since it meant I could spend the first 100 pages or so getting to know Leo and Jack and the whole cast of new characters from the Spencer Art Institute, which plays a large role in the book. Also feminists! Yay!

As I've come to expect from these books, the mystery was very exciting and gripping, and the last 50 pages or so were the usual romp through Edwardian London that is so hard to put down. Although I worked out who the thief was really early on, I enjoyed finding out how they did it and was still surprised by some aspects. There was also the return of a notorious criminal from previous books, and so the continuation of that story through the three books so far is still going strong and only makes me even more excited for the next one. I can't wait! Get on reading this series if you haven't already! It won't be a mistake ;)

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Have you read any of these books? Let me know what you thought in the comments!

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