Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide [Review]

Written by: William Hussey.
Publisher: Oxford Unitversity Press.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 4th March 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The first in a terrifying trilogy, read on if you dare: Jake could now see the demon fully. Its body was a mass of steely sinew, its arms roped with muscle. Six fingers sprouted from its hands, each ending in lethal talons. The thing did not possess a nose; instead a large hole, bubbling with green mucus, occupied the middle of its face. Mr Pinch's tongue flickered between his teeth and slurped across his fat lips. He was hungry. When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron's Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed 'for the greater good'. His blood is used to seal a mystical doorway and prevent an apocalyptic disaster known only as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, is about to be drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and their demon familiars stalk his every move, and his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century figure known only as the Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life forever . . .

I have just finished this book after spending the entire afternoon in a bid to finish it. And I have to say that I could not of spent the time better. Absolutely stunning. This is the single-handed best first book in a series/trilogy that I have read in the past few years.

I was gripped right from the word go! The first chapter (well, the prologue really) was a perfect opener. I mean, a boy has his throat slit in the first four pages. That'd make anyone want to read on right? Right!

I really don't know what I can say about this book, without giving too much away. So much happens - it's so jam-packed. Hussey's description is phenomenal - the horror is described with such detail that some scenes left me physically shuddering, and having to pause to calm down. It's that scary in places! Therefore, I wouldn't recommend this book for anyone under 12, or anyone who has a weak stomach! Read at your own risk!

Dawn of the Demontide is the first book in a planned trilogy. It is the kind of book that you find extremely hard to put down. I've had trouble, I'll be honest. A rick-rollocking read that makes you feel like you're on a rollercoaster.

It is amazingly narrated. The twists and turns are brilliant. Kept me guessing right until the end.

Like I said, I really don't know what to say. I'm just completely blown away. I know this review probably reads messy, but I'm just on such a buzz right now. Mr. Hussey, you are a genius and I cannot wait to read the next 2 books, Gallows at Twilight (Jan 2011) and The Last Nightfall (September 2011). William Hussey is one to definitely watch! Go out and get a copy as soon as you can. Seriously, do not miss out!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Dark Life [Review]

Written by: Kat Falls.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK.
Fortmat: Paperback.
Released: 29th April 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "Ty has lived under the ocean for his entire life. Following global warming and the rise of the seas, his family joined an underwater community in hopes of living in the new frontier of the ocean floor. But When Ty meets Gemma, a girl from "topside", who is searching the seas for her brother, she quickly makes his life very complicated. Together Ty and Gemma face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town's rough underworld as they search for her missing brother. But the deeper they dig, the more attention they attract, and soon Ty and Gemma find themselves being hunted by a gang of outlaws who roam the underwater territories causing havoc, and who seem to have eerie abilities. But Ty has a secret of his own, living underwater for his entire life has meant he has also developed a "special" power. Can he keep it a secret from Gemma and his family or is it time for him to finally tell everyone the truth?"

Dark Life is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the seas have risen, forcing human-kind to live on high rises of land, so close together, the only way to describe it would be like sardines in a tin! However, some have chosen a different way of life. They want a better life, and in their quest have become pioneers. They now live under the waves, known as subsea. With houses designed to replicate jellyfish, and technical feats you could only find in fiction (ie a bubble fence!), Dark Life is a book perfect for anyone with a big imagination. Who would ever think of raising livestock and farming on the sea floor?

It captivates you right from the very beginning, and you're not let go until the very last word! I loved this book so much, I cannot describe. Ty is a likeable character, who has lived subsea all of his life. Gemma is a Topsider, who knows nothing but living in just one room! You couldn't want for more opposite characters than one another, yet they mesh together so well.

Kat Falls' writing is top class. The book is beautifully written in first person, from the perspective of Ty. I'm not normally a fan of first person books, but in this case it really works. More than ever when reading, I felt like I was there, fighting against the dreaded Seablite Gang who are terrorising Benthic Territory.

Shade, the head of the outlaws, is terrifying. I won't spoil it for you, because his description when he first appears in the book is quite unique and was one of my favourite parts of the book.

Seriously, if you do not read this one, you are missing out BIG TIME! I hope that there's a sequel because at the end of this, I am begging for more!

And can I just say one more time, thank you so so much to Jo (Ink and Paper) for my copy! You are a saint!

Cover VS Cover - Dark Life

US//UK

Okay, so while I'm waiting to do my review for Dark Life by Kat Falls, I thought I'd do a quick cover vs cover. UK vs US.

This for me is majorly easy. The UK cover is my favourite. It's stunning. It stands out, the colours are brilliant. The sharks. The sub. The divers. The font and the tagline. Everything about this cover is just brilliant. It'll look great in the shops, and as I have already said, it'll stand out.

However, there's something I like about the US cover. It's so simple, elegant and the meaning is there. How Gemma thinks that the houses are jellyfish and how Ty says that they are designed to be like jellies. A very good idea there. I like the blues used but when it's next to the UK cover, it doesn't really have any appeal.

Vampirates Catch-Up

Now, I am a massive massive massive Vampirates fan. I have been ever since the first book, Demons of the Ocean was published in June 2005. The artwork was dark, brooding, and so stunning, it just caught my eye at first glance. I'd also seen Justin talking about the book on Blue Peter and it sounded brilliant, so I knew I had to have a read. And I was not disappointed on iota.

Demons of the Ocean opens with Grace and Connor becoming orphans after their beloved father, and Lighthouse Keeper, dies. They have no other family, and so have nowhere else to go. And rather than be put in the children's home, they make a dash for it and head out to sea. But things all go quite wrong, very fast. There is a storm and the twins are ship-wrecked, separated, each fearing that the other has died.

Connor is saved by Cheng-Li. A brooding Chinese pirate aboard The Diablo. There he meets Captain Muluco Wraith, and many others. While his poor sister is picked up by a altogether more mysterious ship. That of the Vampirates. Here she falls for the dashing Lorcan Furrey. An Irish vamp frozen at 17-years-old. Oh yes, before your Edward Cullens there were Lorcan Furrey's!

I don't want to give too much away, and that's about all I can say without going into major detail on the next three books, 2006's Tide of Terror, my personal favourite Blood Captain released in 2007, and last years offering, Black Heart. For me, the books just get better and better. More and more epic every time.

Black Heart introduced us to the most chilling female character I have come across. Lady Lola Lockwood. She bottles blood for crying out loud! She baths in it. The woman is pure terror. But so amazing. There's just something about her that makes you like her, for me anyway. She's the sort of person that you love to hate. But you can't help forming an attachment to her.

The series even under-went a make over in-between Blood Captain and Black Heart, to give us the glorious covers that we have now!

There are twists and turns a-plenty in these books. You definitely will not be disappointed. I cannot recommend them enough, for boys and girls. And what with the fifth book, Empire of Night, published in just over a weeks times, things look set to get even darker. Expect a review! It's one of my most anticipated books this year!

Eclipse [Review]

Written by: Stephenie Meyer.
Publisher: Atom.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 7th August 2007.
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "'Bella?' Edward's soft voice came from behind me. I turned to see him spring lightly up the porch steps, his hair windblown from running. He pulled me into his arms at once, and kissed me again. His kiss frightened me. There was too much tension, too strong an edge to the way his lips crushed mine - like he was afraid we had only so much time left to us. As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob - knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Following the international bestsellers Twilight and New Moon, Eclipse is the much-anticipated third book in Stephenie Meyer's captivating saga of vampire romance."

I know it's late (very late, 1:12 as I write this!), and I really should be in bed, but I finished this about 20 minutes ago and raced straight through the first chapter of Breaking Dawn, and I wanted to get my thoughts down before I forgot.

Eclipse is by far my favourite of the three books I have read so far. I thought that Twilight was brilliant. A stunning debut that was incredibly captivating. I'm not normally a fan of romance novels, but the book was getting so much attention that I couldn't sit by and miss out. Plus I'm a big fan of all things Vampire. Glad that I didn't. But then there's New Moon which in my opinion is a bit dull. It's my least favourite of the three so far. I just didn't like it, to be honest. I found Bella far too whiny and miserable in the book. Yes, I get that she's a teenager, a girl and besotted with Edward, but I just thought it was a little far fetched. I don't agree with hitting women, but you just wanted to smack her and tell her to pull herself together!

So as you can imagine, I went into Eclipse with a little bit of trepidation, but I can say that any doubt I had was gone right from the beginning. It felt like Twilight all over again. I was captivated and I found it hard to put the book down, rather than finding it hard to pick it up. It's the same, catchy, adrenaline filled genius that first captured me and the millions of readers around the world.

And we finally got to see the big showdown with Victoria. Something that I'd been looking forward to since the ending of Twilight.

The only thing for me that let the book down, thus it not getting a 5/5 rating, is that in places, the dialogue didn't really run smooth. Everyone seemed to change in an instant. One moment there was fighting, then love, then fighting again. There wasn't really a definite line which sometimes meant I had to go back and read again. Otherwise, the book is considerably faultless. I cannot wait to read Breaking Dawn to see how it all ends! Expect a review when I finish it!

Now if you don't mind... SLEEP!

Monday, 22 February 2010

The Inheritance Cycle, Bks 1-3 [Review]

I was tidying and sorting my bookshelves earlier, and I stumbled across these book. I thought to myself, what do I actually think about them, and this prompted my review.

In all honsesty, I don't know what to make of them. Eragon, the first book was published in 2003. I absolutely adored it. The world was so magical, so mysterious. I fell in love with the character of Eragon. Just a simple farm boy but with a destiny so different, so spellbinding. It was perfect, and I read the book multiple times. Then I learnt that the second book, Eldest, was to be published in 2005.

Great! I couldn't wait. Christoper Paolini was a genius to me, and Eldest would be devoured. But sadly, I came back down to earth with a bump. Whereas Eragon had been so amazing, Eldest simply wasn't. It was messy. It didn't feel right. The characters grated on me. The writing was more like a list than a masterpiece. I was so let down. And the plot didn't seem to go anywhere! A whole 700 pages and I felt no further than when I had at the end of Eragon.

Still, I thought to myself, it's a trilogy, and there's only one book to go. You've come this far, you might as well see it through. So, when I found out that the third book was to be published September 2008 I couldn't wait.

And then Paolini dropped a bombshell. There were no longer going to be 3 books. The Inheritance Trilogy had become The Inheritance Cycle, with the addition of a fourth and final book. This in affect, didn't actually mean anything to me. I actually thought it would be a good thing. Wow, if he'd had to add a WHOLE book to get all the answers in, to tie everything together, what on earth must happen in this next book? So I waited patiently. Brought it. And the answer to my question was... Nothing.

Brisingr is possibly the most disappointing book I have ever read. I couldn't believe it. I didn't think it could get any worse after Eldest, but I was completely wrong. 700 pages, yet again, of absolutely nothing. I was bored stiff reading it, and no word of a lie, it took me 6 months to read. I just got so fed up that I had to read something else. Major disappointment.

And he broke the theme for the titles. A 6 letter word, beginning with E, so that was a bit annoying too.

So as it is, we're going in to the finale no further along than we were at the end of Book 1. Great. Good job Mr. Paolini.

I'm going to read Book 4, only because I've come this far, and I want to see how it ends. I really hope Paolini can redeem himself. An amazing book, followed by two dire books. Odds are, he's got to write a good'en sometime soon!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

In My Postbox #1

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon.

Yay. Wow. What a week it's been. An amazing first week in the blogosphere, and I have loved every second! I got some very cool books this week. So without further ado, my first ever In My Mailbox (but being British I've re-jiggled it to postbox).

For review:

Dark Life by Kat Falls

"Ty has lived under the ocean for his entire life. Following global warming and the rise of the seas, his family joined an underwater community in hopes of living in the new frontier of the ocean floor. But When Ty meets Gemma, a girl from "topside", who is searching the seas for her brother, she quickly makes his life very complicated. Together Ty and Gemma face dangerous sea creatures and venture into the frontier town's rough underworld as they search for her missing brother. But the deeper they dig, the more attention they attract, and soon Ty and Gemma find themselves being hunted by a gang of outlaws who roam the underwater territories causing havoc, and who seem to have eerie abilities. But Ty has a secret of his own, living underwater for his entire life has meant he has also developed a "special" power. Can he keep it a secret from Gemma and his family or is it time for him to finally tell everyone the truth?"

UK Proof. Thank you so much to Jo for this one! :D

-


"The first in a terrifying trilogy, read on if you dare: Jake could now see the demon fully. Its body was a mass of steely sinew, its arms roped with muscle. Six fingers sprouted from its hands, each ending in lethal talons. The thing did not possess a nose; instead a large hole, bubbling with green mucus, occupied the middle of its face. Mr Pinch's tongue flickered between his teeth and slurped across his fat lips. He was hungry. When a violent storm rages around the little village of Hobarron's Hollow, a young boy is sacrificed 'for the greater good'. His blood is used to seal a mystical doorway and prevent an apocalyptic disaster known only as the Demontide. Twenty-five years later, another boy, Jake Harker, is about to be drawn into the nightmare of the Demontide. Witches and their demon familiars stalk his every move, and his dreams are plagued by visions of a 17th Century figure known only as the Witchfinder. When his father is abducted, Jake must face the terrible secrets kept by those closest to him and a shocking truth that will change his life forever . . ."

UK proof. Thanks to Michelle Harrison at OUP for this one!

-

Shadow Bringer by David Calcutt

"
It starts when Nathan is out walking in the fields with his dog. Something is watching him - something menacing and dangerous. Something without a shape, that he can't get out of his head. The Creature. Then there's the noises he starts to hear in the attic. Shuffling. Scratching. Even a voice. The Bogeyman. Somehow Nathan knows that the Creature and the Bogeyman are the same thing. And whatever it is, it's after him. As soon as it's strong enough, it will show Nathan what it really wants. And it's growing stronger all the time..."

Again, thanks to Michelle Harrison at OUP for this!






Brought:

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

"
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, she has endured a tumultuous year of temptation, loss and strife to reach the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fate of two tribes hangs. Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating and unfathomable consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life - first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse - seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed...forever?"

Thanks to my mum for this!

Friday, 19 February 2010

Necropolis [Review]

Written by: Anthony Horowitz.
Publisher: Walker Books.
Format: Hardback (now available as paperback).
Published: 31st October 2008.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Hong Kong has been taken over by the Old Ones and has become Necropolis, city of the dead. Once in, there is no way out...Evil has been unleashed on the world and only five children - with special powers - can save it. Matt and the other three desperately need to find Scar, the final gatekeeper, who has been trapped in Hong Kong, where puddles of water turn into puddles of blood, where ghosts, demons and hideous creatures stalk the streets. Matt has no choice but to follow her. Now, both imprisoned, their only hope of survival is to reach a secret door in the Man Ho temple. But even if Scar can find her psychic power, it may already be too late."

Necropolis is the fourth book in the utterly phenomenal Power of Five series. Many rave about Horowitz's Alex Rider books, and over look the Power of Five. This is just plain wrong wrong wrong!

For me, the Power of Five books are amoung my all time favourites. Absolutely stunning books. The first book, Raven's Gate, was published in 2005 and set a horrifying pace. A stand out scene has to be when a man is made to stab himself by an evil evil woman. Evil Star followed in 2006, with Nightrise following in 2007.

Necropolis is by far the most terrifying book in the series so far. It's the peniltimate book, and the evil is closer than ever before. The Old Ones have been banished before, but after escaping from the second gate in the Nazca desert, it it time for revenge. They have taken over Hong Kong, poisoning the air.

The race is on for them to find the five Gatekeepers before they meet. When the Gatekeepers meet, there will be no stopping them, and the Old Ones know that they will be destroyed. They will do anything to destroy the Gatekeepers so that they can wreak their havoc on the entire human race. Torturing and killing every living thing.

A terrifying read that froze me with fear, aptly released on Halloween. I cannot recommend these books enough. Horror. Fantasy. What more could anyone want?

And with the fifth and final book due for publication later this year, now is as perfect a time as any!

Wolven [Review]

Written by: Di Toft.
Publisher: Chicken House.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 3rd August 2009.
Rating: 3.5/5.

Official synopsis: "When Nat Carver takes home a strange and smelly mutt, his life is changed forever. Woody is the last of his kind, a Wolven, thought only to exist in legend. Then Nar discovers Woody has escaped from a top-secret science project - and some very bad guys want him back..."

I got this book free last year when I got GHOST HUNTER by Michelle Paver as it was a Buy One, Get One Free offer, and I only got around to reading it a few weeks ago.

Wolven is very funny in places, and is a brilliant read for young teens. Whilst I enjoyed it, there are some parts of the book that feel quite young.

My thoughts on it are quite mixed to be honest, and I'm not entirely sure what to say about it. Whilst I loved it, and thought it amazing, now after a little time away from the book, I don't know if I feel the same way. It is still a good book. But parts feel clunky and there are a few plot holes. Still, it's good for a light read I suppose.

I do have to say that the cover art is stunning, and very clever. The image changes as you move it, from a boy to a wolf. Very smart, something that made me pick it.

Still very much looking forward to reading the second book Wolven: The Twilight Circus due in May.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Alan Carr: Look Who It Is! [Review]

Written by: Alan Carr (No Ghost Writer like most celebs!)
Publisher: Harpercollins UK.
Format: Hardback (now available in paperback).
Released: 1st October 2008.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The brilliantly funny Sunday Times top ten bestseller. Alan Carr tells his life story in his own words, from growing up in a football-mad family in Northampton to his rise as one of Britain's best-loved comedians. 'Puberty had been unkind. Whereas it had come in the night and left the other boys with chiselled, stubbly chins and deep masculine voices, I'd been left with a huge pair of knockers and the voice of a pensioner.' Alan Carr grew up in one of the most boring towns in England -- Northampton. A place known for making shoes. It was also known for its football club, Northampton Town FC. Alan's dad as manager of the club was a local hero. A dream come true for most lads, but not Alan. Alan wore glasses and had man boobs at 14. He did not like P.E. In his very first book, Alan tells his life story, ('oh and what a life') with his unique twist of natural, observational humour -- 'I'm not saying I'm a fantasist but there have been times when things that I've seen on television when I was younger have tended to seep into my subconscious and blended into my own life. I remember telling my Mum about the time I stopped that woman from having a diamond encrusted necklace stolen and she'd say 'No Alan, that was Poirot.' With his tongue-in-cheek, end of pier humour that made him famous, Alan describes an ordinary life in bursts of technicolour. His journey from awkward schoolboy hiding his man-boobs on the pitch, drinking tea with the dinner ladies and working in a call centre, to becoming one of our best-loved comedians likened to the great Frankie Howerd, make his book a guaranteed tickler with a laugh-out-loud gag on every page."

I don't normally read autobiographies/biographies. It's only generally people who I am a fan of. And as my favourite comedian, Alan Carr's autobiography, Look Who It Is! was a must-read. And I wan't disappointed.

From the word go, Alan re-tells his life in hilarious detail. From his football mad dad trying to get him to be at least able to kick a ball, to the pet cat Big Puss who terrorised the neigbourhood. Laugh after laugh. It took me ages to read because I kept having laughing fits.

I've always thought Alan was funny, and this book only solidifies that for me. You can just hear him saying it as part of his show. He's the sort of person with a very distinctive voice, and so it's easy to imagine him reading. And he hasn't half had some funny moments in his life, some strage situations, so it isn't hard to see why he got into the comedy game.

If you are an Alan Carr fan, I cannot recommend this boom enough. It takes us right up to when Alan agreed to take part in the Friday Night Project and is filled with hilarious gags that will have you sputtering with laughter.

And most surprising of all, Alan actually wrote the book himself. No Ghost Writers here! Something that not many celebrities can say about their own autobiographies.

Michelle Paver's Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness

Now, I am a massive massive massive Michelle Paver fan. Her Chronicles Of Ancient Darknessbooks captivated me for 6 amazing years. The wait in-between books was murderous. They're just the sort of books that you crave for.

Set 6,000 years ago, in the Forest, in a world of clans named after the animals of the Forest, WOLF BROTHER was released in 2004. It's artwork was so different to anything I had ever seen. So vivid, stunning, and yet simple. The artist, John Fordham, has created 6 phenomenal cave painting covers for the entire series. Each one getting better than the last. It was the artwork that drew me to WOLF BROTHER all those years ago.

The series tells the tale of Torak. A fourteen summers old boy who's father is killed by a demon bear. Along his travels he befriends a wolf cub, aptly named Wolf.

The world in the books is a fascinating one. The Forest is completely made up. Although Michelle has said that it's European (around Scandinavia) just with the mountains moved, and the north moved to make it suit the story. Michelle researched brilliantly, going on trips all over the world to get a feeling for how the characters would feel in their settings. She even met a mother bear and her two cubs in a remote valley in Southern California.

Throught the series, Torak learns things about him that he never thought possible. Powers that the Clan Mages would die for. Powers that the dreaded Soul-Eaters want.

The Soul-Eaters are you classic villains with a twist. They are all people who should do good, the people who you should trust more than any other, Clan Mages. Instead they choose a world of demons, evil and sickness. They want to rule the Forest, and call it their own. And they are willing to do anything to achieve their goals. One of the Soul-Eaters, the Eagle-Owl Mage, Eostra is truly one of the most evil and terrifying characters I have come across. She is pure, un-adulterated evil. With an unhealthy obsession with the dead, it is plain to see why she is the last Soul-Eater standing when GHOST HUNTER, the sixth and final book in the series came around last Summer.

Michelle's writing is captivating. Completely mesmerising. She knows the world, and the characters in it, so well. Back to back action, some very chilling scenes throughout the series (there's one in GHOST HUNTER, involving Eostra and a corpse, believe me, it's not pretty).

I'm not going into too much detail here, because I really don't want to ruin these books for anyone. Michelle Paver is probably my favourite author out there. Yes, she pips JK Rowling (and JKR is a god to me!). Her books are consistently good, getting better every time. When reading them, you are transported back 6,000 years ago, back into the flickering torchlight of pre-history. The description is on target every time. The characters are believable, and interesting. The plot is fantastic. The twists and turns. Revelations that take you unawares (even on second and third readings).

I simply cannot express my love for these books enough. And having met Michelle twice she is also one of the nicest people I have ever met. She makes time to talk to you and I've met some authors who have a little chat but you can tell they kind of just want you to hurry up so they can get on and get home. But with Michelle you don't get that. She replies to all my letters.

Please, if you haven't read these books, please do. They are brilliant and should definitely not be missed. Also, they look very nice on the bookshelf. Nice and colourful...





Monday, 15 February 2010

The Thirteen Treasures [Review]

Written by: Michelle Harrison.
Published by: Simon and Schuster UK.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th January 2009.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: While visiting her grandmother's house, an old photograph leads Tanya to an unsolved mystery. Fifty years ago a girl vanished in the woods nearby - a girl Tanya's grandmother will not speak of. Fabian, the caretaker's son, is tormented by the girl's disappearance. His grandfather was the last person to see her alive, and has lived under suspicion ever since. Together, Tanya and Fabian decide to find the truth. But Tanya has her own secret: the ability to see fairies. And, after disturbing an intruder in the night, it emerges that someone else shares her ability ...The manor's sinister history is about to repeat itself ...

A stunning debut novel that I absolutely devoured. I read this last year and have read it several times since. The writing is top class, beautiful and easy to read, yet at the same time, it doesn’t feel as if the writing has been dumbed down so that younger audiences can keep up. When reading it, there is no doubt as to why it was awarded the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize for 2009.

These are not the fairies you’d associate with Disney. These fairies are dangerous, and torturous. They hate that Tanya can see them, and so want to make her life hell. There are many stories about fairies out there, but what is magical about The Thirteen Treasures is that it feels completely original. One of the fairies stood out more for me and that is Brunswick, an ugly little goblin, who suffers beatings from his fellow goblins. Something I loved so much about the goblins was how they talk in rhyme and cannot understand anything said unless it rhymes. This I thought added real character, and also showed that a lot of thought went into the characters.

Tanya, the main character is entirely likable. In some books, there are characters that have annoying traits in their personality, and do silly things, but with Tanya, everything about her is anything but annoying. Fabian, another main character, is equally as excellent. His dedication to Tanya is very admirable. What I liked about this book is that there are some heroes that have to go it alone completely, wheras in The Thirteen Treasures, friendship and loyalty are very important.

Overall, The Thirteen Treasures is an excellent read. Compelling and beaurifully writte, it will be appreciated by people of all ages, male and female (although the cover is a bit of a deterent to male readers). And what with the second book in the series, The Thirteen Curses published last month (January 2010), and a third book titled The Thirteen Wards due next year, Harrison’s career in literature looks set to flourish.


Buy from Amazon UK

Buy from Amazon US


Angel [Review]

Written by: Cliff McNish.
Publisher: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 7th June 2007
Rating: 4/5

Official synopsis: "It's been many years since fourteen-year-old Freya's life was ruled by an obsession with angels - an obsession which destroyed her family. She has a burgeoning social life at school, and feels adjusted in the world. But then the angels return, and Freya discovers that she herself is a guardian angel. What makes matters worse is the arrival of the strange new girl, Stephanie, who craves for herself the angelic power that Freya resists."

I know this book has been out for a few years now, but I re-visited this a few weeks ago and feel that I should review it (also I want some more content for my blog! :P)

Fourteen-year-old Freya has been ridiculed all her life. She's had a major obsession with Angels, claiming to see them, leading to her being institutionalized. Now older, and able to learn to keep her thoughts to herself, Freya begins to see angels again.

This book has to be an all time favourite. There are some quite haunting moments that make you near enough freeze with terror, and some moments where all you want to do is laugh.

Not only does Freya have to contend with the angels, but her father is gravely ill, and only her brother knows.

A main theme in Angel is of the need to belong, and to be normal. Freya never wanted a life like this, but at the same time, it is something that is so rare and so beautiful that she cannot help but relish in it.

Beautifully written, Angel is a book to read and read again. The characters are believable, and easy to relate to. And most importantly, the story is quite simply beautiful. And not only is it a book that teenagers and possibly adults alike will love, it is beautifully designed. The artwork is stunning. If you don't read it, you are missing out big time!

Skins: The Novel [Review]

Written by: Ali Cronin.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Format: Paperback.
Released: 7th January 2010.
Rating: 4/5

Official synopsis: "Effy, Freddie, JJ, Cook, Naomi, Pandora, Thomas and Katie are all dealing with the aftermath of the events at the end of series 3. Effy has fled to Italy with her mum, where she tries to put her feelings for Freddie, and the guilt she feels for stealing him from Katie out of her mind. The perfect distraction comes in the form of sophisticated older man, Aldo...Naomi and Emily are struggling with spending time apart when Em goes to France with her parents and battles with her stubborn twin sister, Katie, Back in Bristol, Naomi pines for Emily while wondering about her future education, Thomas and Pandora are sweetly in love, and finding it difficult to consummate their feelings for each other. Freddy and Cook are engaged in a vigorous game of sexual one-upmanship with a frustrated JJ as referee...By the end of the summer, the gang will have resolved some issues and brought up some more."

Skins: The Novel is the first book to be released based on the popular E4/Channel 4 programme, Skins. Based in Bristol, the book takes off from Series 3 of the tv series, and tells the story of the summer that passes in-between Series 3, and Series 4 (currently airing on E4 on Thursday nights at 10pm).

The book was written by Ali Cronin, a freelance writer from the UK, and captures the characters brilliantly. It feels exactly like watching the programme. The characters sound right in your head. You can believe that it's them speaking. It seems to have come easy to Cronin. It doesn't feel like too much thinking has gone into the dialogue, because it matches the characters perfectly.

The only downfall of the book is that some scenes go far too quickly, taking a page or less.

I recommend this book very highly, although only for 18+. It does feature a fair bit of swearing, and there are a few sex scenes that aren't really appropriate for younger readers.

Empire of Books

Hello. And welcome to Empire of Books.

Please, let me introduce myself. My name is Ryan. I'm 18 and I live in the UK. I have been an avid reader for as long as I can remember and am never happier than when curled up with a good book. I admire a lot of authors (wanting to be published myself, some day). My favourites include JK Rowling, Michelle Paver, Anthony Horowitz, Justin Somper and Zizou Corder.

The way things will work here are quite simple. I'll read a book. Think about said book. And review said book. Simple. I write reviews on my computer after reading a book, so decided to start a blog to share my thoughts on books that I find interesting, or just plain amazing and need to be shared with the world.

If you are a publisher, or an author, and would like me to review your book, then please do e-mail me at empire-of-books@live.co.uk. I love reading new authors.

My first review will be of Skins: The Novel, based on the popular E4/Channel 4 show.