Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Mini-Reviews: Monument 14 and Dead Romantic

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne
Publisher: Hachette Children's Books
Publication date: April 4th 2013
My rating: 3 stars 

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong ... Fourteen kids stranded inside a superstore. Inside they have everything they could ever need. There's junk food and clothes, computer games and books, drugs and alcohol ... and without adult supervision they can do whatever they want. Sounds like fun? But outside the world is being ripped apart by violent storms and chemicals leaking into the atmosphere that, depending on blood type, leave victims paranoid, violent or dead. The kids must remain inside, forced to create their own community, unsure if they'll ever be able to leave. Can they stop the world they've created inside from self-destructing too?

With survival type stories, I’m either here or there, they either win me over completely (This is Not a Test) or annoy me to death. Monument 14 kind of fell in the middle, there were parts which were riveting and had me on tenterhooks and there were others which felt a little flat.

Monument 14 starts off with a bang. On the way to school Dean’s bus is pelted with hail stones so big that they’re tearing through the bus. There’s chaos on the road that causes their bus to overturn. Kids end up dead and it’s only because of Mrs. Wooly the elementary middle school driver that helps them out and helps them hide out in a store. When Mrs. Wooly goes to search for help, the 14 kids are left in charge.

The kids were left in an awful situation, they hadn’t a clue about what was going on outside, but still had to try and survive on their own means. There were always dangers lurking outside who were finding a safe place to stay, but who could they trust? Could they ever trust each other? The kids were left with a lot of responsibility, they had some really young children to look after, keep them occupied and give them the necessary attention whenever they were distraught. Niko surprised me with his level headedness; he was calm, collected and always wary of anyone joining their group. I liked the stability and routine he tried to achieve amongst the group. But I really felt sorry for him when he had no-one at first and was just left at the side with everyone clambering at the popular lads Brayden and Jake. 

Dean was a hard mc to like, I did enjoy getting the story through his eyes, but wasn’t really able to connect to his character as I would have liked. Maybe that’s why I found it myself favouring Niko and Josie more, in my eyes they were characters I would more likely to get on with if I found myself in a similar situation. But the secondary characters definitely made up for it. I enjoyed getting stories from Max, Henry and Caroline, but definitely would have liked to get more of their back stories.
My feelings about Monument 14 are kind of hot and cold, I did find a lot of the time some scenes were really drawn out and my attention wavered quite a bit. But then we had some great pacier scenes with the risk of danger that I found myself zipping through in a frenzy. As I’m so torn, I’m not actually sure whether I would give the sequel a try, the way things were left, I definitely do want to find out how things end up, but I don’t really feel in a rush to do so. Monument 14 was a great start to a series, but I wish that it had left more of a lasting impression with me.

Dead Romantic by C.J Skuse
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication date: February 4th 2013.
My rating: 3 stars

Camille wants to find the perfect boy, with an athlete's body and a poet's brain. But when she's mocked at a college party, she kows there isn't a boy alive who'll ever measure up. Enter Zoe, her brilliant but strange best friend, who takes biology homework to a whole new level. She can create Camille's dream boy, Frankenstein-stylee. But can she make him love her?

Dead Romantic was a hilariously spunky tale of Camille trying to find her one true love. She’d fancied the school hottie Damian, but he didn’t show the slightest bit of interest, just for a quickie. And Camille didn’t want this she wanted something more deep and meaningful. That’s where the creepy girl Zoe from school comes in, there have been tons of rumours about Zoe and her unstable dad, but Camille doesn’t believe a word of it and when Camille’s friends are more occupied with their own friends Zoe’s the only girl Camille can turn to. Zoe comes up with the idea to create the perfect boyfriend for Camille, all the guys at school are a disaster anyway and Zoe’s learnt to bring loads of things back to life from her dad anyway such as hamsters, so how hard can a human be?

I truly felt for Camille, with all her friends pairing off with guys, she felt a little left out, so she was fully up for Zoe’s plan. But then as soon as Zoe started going full steam ahead, Camille started getting suspicious, so many people were going missing, was Zoe getting the body parts for her dream guy from them? And would her plan even work?

Zoe and Camille’s adventure was made fun along the way with the endless snooping around they had to do. But what I enjoyed the most was the shenanigans they got up to with Damian and Louis. Damian and Louis accidently kind of discovered Zoe’s big plan, but instead of running away scared decide to help out. The snarky comments and banter between these four characters when they clearly didn’t want to spend time together made Dead Romantic one heck of a hilarious read. I just wished we got down to the making of Camille’s dream of a boy a lot sooner, there was so much build up and then everything went crazy at the end and left me wanting more! But other than that Dead Romantic was a fun mission which I enjoyed being a part of.

*My reviews were totally meant to be mini ones :(


  1. Jasprit, I always mean to write mini-reviews, but it never does happen, so I perfectly understand, no worries! I've heard a lot about Monument 14 but never felt compelled to read it. It's a shame both these books were only just likable for you, but I think I'll skip them as they don't seem to be for me. Lovely reviews, dear!(:

  2. I always feel like I'll like survival stories (I think the amazing Hunger Games), but it always turns out that those books don't sound like they would be good for me. I'm glad I read your review on Monument 14 then! The secondary characters are so important, I'm glad they were great :)

    This sounds like such a fun book! I'll definitely be reading this one. I hate it when there's TOO much build up, but I'll definitely try to overlook it. Great mini reviews, Jasprit!

  3. Haha J, you're so cute. <3 I completely understand, there's so much to say- I would never be able to write a mini-review. ;) Monument 14 seems so interesting, it's a real shame that it fell flat for you. I think that the MC through who we see and experience the story through makes a big difference as to whether we end up liking the book or not, the fact that you didn't quite warm to Dean would have made it harder to enjoy the story. Dead Romantic seems awesome, albeit slightly creepy... Zoe and Camille seem so hilarious and sweet, I think I'm definitely going to pick this up at the bookstore. :D Thanks for the fabulous mini-reviews, J!

  4. Dead Romantic really reminds me of the 80s movie Weird Science. It seems so fun! I typically like survival stories, and Monument 14 seems good, but I doubt I'll ever get to it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jasprit.

  5. Ahhh! Where were the body parts coming from??? I've never even heard of that book and it doesn't necessarily sound like my type of thing but I must admit how curious I am. I have not read Monument 14 either. I just added it to my TBR recently but I'm still not sure if it is for me. Thanks for these mini reviews!

  6. It's odd how much I loved Dean precisely because he was no hero. His place somewhere in the middle was super easy to identify with, and his voice, while snarky and sardonic, was immediately likeable to me.
    In fact, I loved how well she did with all the characters. I can't wait for book 2.
    Lovely reviews, Jasprit!

  7. Dead Romantic sounds really cute and fun - I kinda like the idea how the mission gets the four characters together :)

    I've read a number of mixed reviews on Monument 14 so I'm not sure if I'll pick it up but I appreciate your honesty in sharing what worked and didn't work for you.

    Thank you, Jasprit!

  8. I haven't really heard of both those books, they didn't seem my type. Though I'm very curious to read Monument 14 and find out more about those kids and the mystery surrounding them. I'm sorry you didn't connect with the characters as much, but I'd still add it to my tbr. Thanks for the reviews, Jasprit!

  9. :) Lovely humorous reviews!!!!!!! I enjoyed them both. If only M 14 could have been more memorable, the premise is terrific. Dead Romantic sounds fun, Zoe sounds very spunky the way you wrote about her, event with an eccentric plan.

  10. I remember being very excited for Monument 14 before its release, and then being a bit turned off by the lukewarm reviews. It seems like you also mixed feelings on this one! The premise definitely sounds promising, and I think I might pick Monument 14 up one day--but not very soon. As for Dead Romantic--this one sounds really good! I LOVE funny books, and I don't read enough of them! Brilliant reviews, Jasprit. :)

  11. Sorry Monument didn't stand out like you wanted it to, but at least it was still entertaining.

  12. You've set some new definitions for a mini-review Jasprit ;) I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy Monument so much. I was really interested in it because look at the cover. Still haven't read it cause I'm afraid of disappointing. I haven't heard of the other one but I like the title :) Great reviews :)

  13. Hehe, I always think "I have nothing to say about this book" and then manage to knock out a few paragraphs :)

    These are both great, I have Dead Romantic and it sounds like a lot of friend from your review and Monument 14 has always intrigued me, too!

  14. I just bought monument 14, sorry you didn't enjoy it more! Will have to let you know what I think when I eventually get to read it!

  15. Survival type of stories are my addiction. They're suspenseful and can be thought-provoking at times. I just added Monument 14 on my TBR pile :)


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