Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Friday, 30 July 2010

The Hunger Games [Review]

Written by: Suzanne Collins.
Published by: Scholastic.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th January 2009.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. But Katniss has been clse to death before—and survival, for her, is second nature. The Hunger Games is a searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present. Welcome to the deadliest reality TV show ever..."

I think I may just have found a brand new obsession. The Hunger Games is one roller coaster of a book. Perhaps one the of the most amazing opennings to a trilogy I have ever read. Right from the very first page, you are drawn in the the futuristic but somewhat backwards, world of Panem - what was once known as North America.

The Capitol rule all. After a war, a rebellion, one district of the thirteen was destroyed leaving just twelve. And to remind them every year just who is in charge, and what they can do, they host the Hunger Games. A reality TV programme with a sickening difference. Two tributes are chosen from each district - one boy and one girl, between the ages of 12 and 18. 24 young adults who are thrust into the arena where the worlds camera's focus on them. Who will be the victor? Whoever survives the bloodbath, the death and destruction that follows.

Yes. To show they rule, the Capitol use murder as a form of entertainment. 

The concept was mindblowing and when I first heard of these books some time ago I was a bit reluctant. It's such a repulsive idea, that innocent young people who haven't yet really lived be thrown together and forced to fight to the death, for the sake of entertainment, for a reality TV show just like Big Brother. But I was sent these books (both The Hunger Games and the sequel, Catching Fire) by the brilliant Steven at Scholastic, and as soon as I began reading, I regretted the time that I have wasted by not reading them. The concept, yes it's repulsive. But the book certainly isn't. It's compelling. I know I seem to throw this word around a bit, but addictive - it truly is. I just could not bare to put this book down, even for just a second. I was totally overwhelmed.

I was captured from the word go. Always wanting to read on to see what would happen to Katniss Everdeen next. How would she fare in the arena? What will she have to face? Who will she have to kill?

The characters in this book all complement one another really well. I loved Katniss. I could really sympathise with her. I'd do almost anything for my younger sisters (although whether I'd go as far to volunteer for the Hunger Games, I don't know...). I thought that Peeta was an interesting character. And just like Katniss, along the way I just couldn't get a good idea as to what he was up to. Just like Katniss, I went through periods of liking him, thinking he was someone to keep on side, to hating him, thinking that he was sly and cunning. Haymitch made me laugh. Effie Trinket is the sort of character that no matter what they do, you just can't help dislike them - some of the things she says are anger-inducing. The other tributes however, I feel a bit mixed about. I loved little Rue. Cato I disliked quite strongly, along with all the other Career Tributes - their attitudes, just as they've been bred to have, are sometimes a bit too much to handle. But generally I thought the Tributes were a good mixed group. It's just a shame that you don't get to see too much of some of them. Overall though, they are a great bunch of characters and credit to Collins for creating such an interesting bunch!

Panem is also rather interesting. Once known as North America, natural disasters and wars have changed the landscape dramatically. The book is set in the future, although how far into the future, I don't know. But it's not how you'd expect. It's almost as if humanity has gone backwards. It has the feel of a medieval setting. The villages. The woods. Even the clothes they describe feel somewhat old, until you get to the Capitol. It's an interesting look into the future and shows that not everything moves forward as you might expect. 

Suzanne Collins, overnight, has become something of an idol to me. She has taken such a horrific idea, but given it such a twist. Her writing is smooth, her descriptions so vivid and encapsulating. I cannot praise her, or this book enough! I am dying to find out what happens next, and thank goodness I have Catching Fire sitting right next to me, so I shall be diving right back into the world of Katniss, Peeta, and the Hunger Games. I just know that the wait between Catching Fire and the third and final book out next month, Mockingjay, is going to be something of torture! Please do not miss out and regret the time lost that you could of been loving these books. Get them now!

My thanks to Steven Salisbury of Scholastic for my copy. I cannot thank you enough!

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Waiting On Wednesday (6): Mockingjay

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

Published: 24th August 2010.

Synopsis: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge... The thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.

Now, I am a realtive newcomer to the world of The Hunger Games, only getting the first two books today and beginning to read the first. But already I am captured by this book. Completely addicted and dying to find out how it all ends in Mockingjay. I cannot imagine how you people who have had to wait since last year's Catching Fire are still sane!


And how amazing is that cover? I wasn't sure about it at first but now I love it. Very striking. Love the US cover as well! Roll on 24th August!

Monday, 26 July 2010

Numbers [Review]

Written by: Rachel Ward.
Published by: Chicken House.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th January 2009.
Rating: 4.5/5.


Official synopsis: "Since her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else's, a number pops into her head the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forever, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn. Waiting for the London Eye, she sees everyone in the queue has the same number - something terrible is going to happen."

Numbers is a thriller unlike many I have ever read. It's gritty. Powerful. Highly addictive and real. What if you could see the date that someone was going to die? What would you do? What would you say?

Fifteen year old Jem has always detached herself from others. She has a gift: she can foretell the date that people will die when she looks into their eyes. Her mother died of a drug overdose and ever since she has been jostled around, from home to home. She prefers to wander the streets by day, skipping school. She's alone, feels alone, and prefers to be that way. A troubled young girl, who struggles to handle her gift, often seen as a curse. But then she meet's Spider.

Spider is one of the most lovable characters I've had the fortune to read for a while. He's just one of those people you can't help but be drawn to. He's enthusiastic about life. And doesn't give Jem a choice as to how close they get.

The concept of being able to 'fortell death' isn't new. It's been done before. But Rachel Ward has succeeded in breathing new life into an old idea. It's fresh. Very different. And very real.

The book doesn't just deal with the paranormal idea of Jem's gift. They have to suffer at the hands of a cruel teacher who mocks them on a daily basis, telling them how they will never amount to anything. Predicting lives of poverty, unemployment, drugs and crime. The shame is that for a lot of people my age, this is a real prospect of life. For me, this only made the book more appealing because it deals with all sorts of issues that effect all teenagers today.

The cliffhangers at the end of chapters leave you gasping to read on and the book hurtles towards it's dramatic conclusion. 

Written with consummate skill, this gripping novel will have you aching for more. Thankfully, the second book in the series, Numbers 2: The Chaos came out last month! This is definitely a book you do not want to miss out on!

Thank you to Claire at Chicken House for my copy! :D

In My Postbox #12

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

First off, let me apologise for this epicly late IMP. I went to see Toy Story 3 yesterday (AMAZING! :D) and completely lost track of time. I meant to do this on Saturday and schedule it but I forgot! Well, I suppose it's better late than never! 

I got some very cool books this week. One I've read and adored. And some I am very excited about. So without further ado, let In My Postbox commence!


When I Was Joe by Keren David.

"When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he’s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image – life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe’s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent."

I ADORED this book and am so excited for the next book about Ty/Joe, Almost True, out in September! Thank you to Fabio at Frances Lincoln for my copy!

Candor by Pam Bachorz.
UK Proof/Advanced Reader's Copy.

"My name is Oscar and I am the perfect teenager. My girlfriend is the hottest girl in school. I get straight As. I am class president. But there is a terrible reason I am so perfect: the Messages. Oscar Banks lives in the pristine town of Candor. Son of the mayor, he is good-looking, smart and popular. And he knows something he's not supposed to - he knows about the brainwashing Messages embedded in the music that plays all over the town. But Oscar has found a way to burn counter-Messages that keep him real. Up to now, it's all worked perfectly. There's just one problem: Nia Silva, the newest Candor arrival. What will Oscar risk to keep the Nia he loves rather than watch her become a Candor automaton? Deeply chilling, "Candor" is a psychological thriller that will haunt readers with its vision of a world controlled by something worse than Big Brother."

This sounds so good. Looking forward to reading this! Than you to Jenny at Egmont for my copy! :D

Glee: The Beginning by Sophia Lowell.

"CALLING ALL GLEEKS! Get more of your favourite characters in this official Glee prequel! All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High to find out what went on before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody. Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: it’s time to find out what happened to all your favourite characters before the show-mance began. These novels contain additional storylines to those featured in the hit TV show."

Gleeks! Looking forward to having a read of this. Although my sister has forbidden me from reading it yet. She's coming home off holiday today (Monday) and is demanding that she be allowed to read it first or I shall be in trouble! I don't fancy facing her wrath, so this will be reviewed in due course! :) Thank you to Sam at Headline for my copy!

Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow.

"Dru Anderson: Night Hunter. Knife Wielder. Heart Breaker. Dru can sense evil, which helps when she and her Dad are tracking down ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional reanimated corpse. It's a dangerous life, but it's the only one she knows. Then Dru's dad turns up dead and she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a deadly game where every move she makes could be her last. Dru is more special than she realizes - and whatever killed her dad could be coming for her next. Can Dru stay alive long enough to fall for one - or both - of the guys hungry for her affections? Find out in the heart-stopping first book in a thrilling series."


"The second novel in the Strange Angels series picks up with Dru neatly tucked away in a Schola that's more like a prison than a secret training facility. Except for one tiny detail ...she's the only girl in the place and is totally surrounded by tons of cute boys. But a traitor in the Order wants Dru dead and she can't trust anyone except for Graves. Too bad he's being kept busy with a new crew of wulfen teens and doesn't have time for her. As she learns the truth about who she can and can't trust, Dru's only hope may be to save herself - although the one gift that makes her special is draining away, and she doesn't know how to get it back. Will Dru survive long enough to find out who is really after her? Or is she destined for the same fate as her murdered parents? Lili's characters come alive on the page in a way that's visually stunning and she creates the same terrific pace, danger and teen romance as in Strange Angels."


"Dru has made it to Schola, the leading school where the vampire-fighting Order is based. There she is up against the capricious Anna, the only other female who shares her powers. Dru must unlock the mystery of who betrayed her mother, battle her intensifying feelings for both Graves and Christophe, and try to stay hidden from Sergej's deadly nosferat - bloodthirsty hunters who'll stop at nothing to destroy her."

Looking forward to reading these three books. They sound really good and I've read some of the reviews and they seem quite favourable! Thank you to Parul at Quercus for these!



Well there you go. That's what came through my postbox this week. What about you, what did you get? Hope everyone has a great week!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Trailer: US Vampirates

Check out this AMAZING trailer produced by Little Brown US for Justin Somper's Vampirates series. Very ciematic and epic. I love it! Well done Little Brown! And it showcases the stunning new artwork the lucky American readers can now get their hands on! 

Friday, 23 July 2010

When I Was Joe [Review]

Written by: Keren David.
Published by: Frances Lincoln.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 7th January 2010.
Rating: 5/5 (Although I feel a 10/5 would be more appropriate!).

Official synopsis: "When Ty witnesses a stabbing, his own life is in danger from the criminals he’s named, and he and his mum have to go into police protection. Ty has a new name, a new look and a cool new image – life as Joe is good, especially when he gets talent spotted as a potential athletics star, special training from an attractive local celebrity and a lot of female attention. But his mum can’t cope with her new life, and the gangsters will stop at nothing to flush them from hiding. Joe’s cracking under extreme pressure, and then he meets a girl with dark secrets of her own. This wonderfully gripping and intelligent novel depicts Ty/Joe's confused sense of identity in a moving and funny story that teenage boys and girls will identify with - a remarkable debut from a great new writing talent."

I have just finished what has to be one of the most amazing reading experiences I have ever had. I like my fantasy, but there is nothing fantasy about When I Was Joe. It's gritty, dark, but above all, realistic. It deals with the issues of knife crime (focusing on London) and the consequences that befall all parties involved.

Right from the beginning chapter, I knew that this was something special, and the further the book went on, the more that point was proved. Ty/Joe is one of the most amazing characters I think I have ever had the fortune to read about. After witnessing a fatal stabbing, he gives evidence to the police, putting his life in mortal danger. A petrol bomb attack forces Ty and his mum, Nikki, from their flat in London and they enter into the Witness Protection Programme. Ty is given the new identity of Joe, and he couldn't be any more different from Ty. Everyone at his new school thinks he's cool, for the first time in his life, he isn't seen as a loser any more, and all the girls flock to him.

He finds something he really enjoys and is good at - athletics - and begins training under the supervision of strong-minded, determined Ellie, a paraplegic gearing up to enter the Paralympics. Life as Joe isn't so bad. But then things start to go wrong. His gran is injured - attacked by the people trying to flush Ty out. The people who he gave evidence against - it just so happens to be a very powerful criminal family. He's suspended from school after a fight and sustains broken ribs. The police won't let him go to see his Gran in case the hospital is being watched. When finally he does, it all goes wrong and Ty wonders whether he'll ever be able to have a quiet life ever again.

A hugely powerful book. Entrancing and beautifully written. I love the way that things are hidden - what Ty/Joe truly witnessed - until the very end. How there are secrets that even Ty/Joe refuses to face. Theres love and hate. Safety and fear. Anger and sadness. Everything you can want in a book. I cannot begin to tell you the impact this book has had on me. Seriously one of the best books I have ever had the pleasure to read and I cannot thank Keren David enough for writing a book to beautiful, so captivating and real. Books don't often make me cry, but I truly sympathised with Ty/Joe, and felt the emotions he was going through. Towards to end frustration was at an all-time high, and to be honest I felt the prickle of tears.

A beautiful book that I fear I will never be able to praise enough. Thank you to Fabio Grandi at Frances Lincoln for sending me the copy. Very VERY excited for the next book about Ty/Joe, Almost True, out next month! Make sure you don't miss out!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Dead Man's Cove [Review]

Written by: Lauren St John.
Published by: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 5th August 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "When orphaned Laura Marlin moves from a children's home to live with her uncle in Cornwall, she longs for a life of excitement just like the characters in her favourite detective novels. A real life adventure is on hand as she is deposited at her uncle's spooky house . . . Why does her uncle, Calvin Redfern, forbid her to go to Dead Man's Cove? What's the truth about Tariq, the silent Indian boy who lives with the flamboyant Mukthars? Who is J? Who has left the message in a bottle for Laura to discover? Mysteries abound and who better to solve them than Laura Marlin, ace detective? Accompanied by her trusty companion, Skye, a three-legged husky, the dog she's always wanted, Laura's adventures begin."


11 year old Laura is an orphan. Her father, an American soldier, disappeared long before she was born, and her mother died during childbirth. All her life, Laura has lived at the Sylvan Meadow's Children Home. Always hoping and dreaming of finding a home where she can stay longer than half a day because she is fussy. And then finally, such a dream comes true. Her uncle, her mother's brother, is found, and agrees to take her in. She moves to Cornwall to live with her uncle and immediately falls in love with it.


Her uncle, Calvin Redfern is a very intriguing character. Whenever he's around, you get the sense that there's something hidden about him. - secrets.


Laura has always wanted to be a detective. Her idol being Matt Walker, a character in a series of books. And soon, mysteries begin to surround her in St Ives. What are the Mukthars hiding? Who is J? And what is her uncle hiding.


It's gripping, hugely entertaining and has something special about it - I just can't put my finger on it. Lauren St John has written a beauty with this one! My only criticism is that it wasn't longer. I was left yearning for more! Very much looking forward to the second book in the series, Kidnap In The Caribbean, due next year.


Thank you very much to the amazing Nina Douglas at Orion for sending me the copy! :D

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

I Am Number Four [Review]

Written by: Pittacus Lore.
Published by: Razorbill/Penguin.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 26th August 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "In the beginning we were nine. We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now . . . Three are gone. We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We’re just trying to survive. Six are left. But we are hunted, and the hunters won’t stop until they’ve killed us all. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. I am Number Four. I know that I am next."

What we have here ladies and gentlemen, is what is sure to become the next global phenomenon of the literary world. Do not miss out!


One of the most hyped titles of 2010, I Am Number Four, begins with a bang. The middle part of the book is quite slow, but once things step up a notch, it's a roller coaster.


John Smith has lived under many names in his life. The last being Daniel Jones. He is living a life on the run with his Keeper, Henri, as they hide from the Mogadorian's. An evil alien race who wiped their home planet, Lorien, of all life and are now intent on killing them. The last remaining Loric. Nine children in all. All destined to become Garde, the fighters for their planet. Three are dead, and thanks to a Loric charm placed on them, they can only be killed in numerical order. So the stakes have risen, as John is Number 4. The next in line to die. But soon, trying to stay in one place for a reasonable amount of time is going to get a lot harder, as John begins to go through a kind of puberty unique to his race, with some pretty weird, but interesting, changes coming to him. Legacies. I will say no more!


They move to Ohio and John finally finds a sense of normality. He makes a friend in the form of alien obsessed Sam, and even gets a girlfriend, Sarah. Things seem good. Peaceful for once. And Number 4 hopes that finally they can stop running, at least for a long time. But things don't always go as planned. The Mogadorians are near. And with every passing day, they get closer. Soon, John is going to have to make a decision. To run, and leave his first true love and only friend, or to stay and risk not only his life, but everyone he cares about. Soon, the time to fight will come as the Mogadorians seem prepared to kill off a second planet after killing off their own, Mogadore and Lorien.


Despite loving the book, I have two minor criticism. The first: The book is supposed to of been written by a Loric elder, named Pittacus Lore. And yet it is in first person, told from Number 4's point of view. For me, this didn't seem to make sense and kind of confused me a little, if I am honest. I get the people behind the book wanting to create a behind the scenes story, but if it's being written by Mr. Lore, then I would of thought it'd be third person. Probably that's just me. It certainly doesn't take away from the book. And my second criticism falls to the climax of the book. It's brilliant, don't get me wrong, but at points it feels drawn out, some of it even downright confused me and I had to read it again.


Nonetheless, this is a fantastic book. Full of vivid imagery, both here on Earth and on Lorien. It's gripping, even in the slow parts. I've never really read anything about aliens before, and I have to admit I was slightly worried going into this, but these aren't your average, green little men with odd shaped heads and huge bulging eyes. I am hugely excited for the second book in the series, The Power of Six due next year, and indeed the rest of the series. And of course, the film adaptation being released next year also.


A guaranteed Number 1 bestseller that teens and adults alike will love.


Thank you so much to Ashley Wilks at Penguin for my copy!  


Why not check out the official website?! IAmNumberFour.co.uk

Sunday, 18 July 2010

In My Postbox #11



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

I had an amazing week this week. More books than I can shake a stick at. And some that I am super excited about! :D

Flood Child by Emily Diamand.

"Flooded England, 2216 ... England has changed for ever: most of it is under water. Worse, bloodthirsty pirates prowl the shores, and when they kidnap the Prime Minister's daughter it looks like war. But out of this drowning world comes Lilly Melkun, a girl determined to put things right, with the help of a pirate boy - and an extraordinary treasure from the past, with the power to change the Future..."

I've wanted to read this book for so long so cannot wait to read it!



Flood & Fire by Emily Diamand.

"Flooded England, 2216 - Lilly Melkun has outwitted the bloodthirsty Reavers, who prowl the waters that cover most of England - and escaped to Cambridge. But Lilly is far from safe, because stil in her keeping is PSAI, the last hand-held computer in existence - a now malfunctioning treasure from the past. Inside the jewel-like computer, is a sinister looking chip with an unknown purpose. Worse follows, when the professors of Cambridge plug it into an ancient mainframe computer setting in motion a fiery chain of eents leading back to London. A false, anti-terrorist alert has been activated. Strange, out-of-control robots from a long-ago technological time, threaten to use 'maximum force' to control everything in their way. Once again, it's up to Lilly, Zeph and friends to save the world from burning"

The sequel to Flood Child. Can't wait to read this either.


Numbers by Rachel Ward.

"Since her mother's death, fifteen-year-old Jem has kept a secret. When her eyes meet someone else's, a number pops into her head the date on which they will die. Knowing that nothing lasts forver, Jem avoids relationships, but when she meets a boy called Spider, and they plan a day out together, her life takes a new twist and turn. Waiting for the London Eye, she sees everyone in the queue has the same number - something terrible is going to happen."

I simply cannot wait to read this! :D


Numbers 2: The Chaos by Rachel Ward.

"Like his mother, Jem, when he looks in people's eyes, Adam can see the dates of their deaths. It's hard enough living with this terrible gift, but life is about to get tougher. Adam sees that everyone around him has the same date - 1st January 2027. Something huge is going to happen. Something bad. But what is it? And what can he do about it?"

Can't wait to read this either! Going to read them back to back.




The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
UK Proof/Advanced Reader's Copy.

"When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out."

Read this already, and absolutely loved it. You can see my review here.

Thank you to the amazing Claire Skuse at Chicken House for all the above! :)



Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St John.
UK Proof/Advanced Reader's Copy.

"When orphaned Laura Marlin moves from a children's home to live with her uncle in Cornwall, she longs for a life of excitement just like the characters in her favourite detective novels. A real life adventure is on hand as she is deposited at her uncle's spooky house . . . Why does her uncle, Calvin Redfern, forbid her to go to Dead Man's Cove? What's the truth about Tariq, the silent Indian boy who lives with the flamboyant Mukthars? Who is J? Who has left the message in a bottle for Laura to discover? Mysteries abound and who better to solve them than Laura Marlin, ace detective? Accompanied by her trusty companion, Skye, a three-legged husky, the dog she's always wanted, Laura's adventures begin."

Looking forward to reading this. Loved the White Girrafe books! Thanks to the amazing Nina at Orion for this!
I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore.
UK Proof Copy/Advanced Reader's Copy.

"
In the beginning we were nine. We left when we were very young, almost too young to remember. Almost. And now . . . Three are gone. We are here to keep our race alive, which was almost entirely obliterated. We’re just trying to survive. Six are left. But we are hunted, and the hunters won’t stop until they’ve killed us all. They caught Number One in Malaysia. Number Two in England. And Number Three in Kenya. I am Number Four. I know that I am next."

Reading this right now and loving it. A beautiful white hardback with an orange logo and an orange slipcase with white logo and writing. Almost too good to read! Thank you to the amazing Ashley Wilks at Penguin for this! :D

A happy boy this week. Thank you to all the amazing publicists for their generosity. Hope everyone else has a great week. :)

Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Maze Runner [Review]

Written by: James Dashner.
Published by: Chicken House (UK).
Format: Paperback.
Released: 2nd August 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrols its corridors, to find out."

The Maze Runner is perhaps one of the most exhilarating, exciting books I have ever read. Wall to wall action, suspense. It doesn't stop. Not even for a second.Right from the moment that Thomas wakes up inside the Box, to the dramatic climax of the story.

The Glade is a place where all of these boys have been sent. They don't know why. They don't know how. And they don't have a clue who sent them there. They've all had their brains wiped and all they know is their names, and that their purpose for being there is to try and to find a way out. The Glade is a fantastic setting. A square where the teenage boys farm, butcher their own food and try to find a way out through the mystifying maze that surrounds them. There are four entrances to the maze, the North, East, South and West. Huge walls enclose the Glade, and at night, the walls defy the laws of physics and close, protecting them from the horrors of what lie outside of the walls in darkness.

The Grievers! Terrifying creatures. Slug like, about the size of cows with hypodermic needles pulsing in and out of their skin. Arms with all sorts of horrific appendages for torture flailing. I think they are an amazing concept and really add to the story. Get stuck outside the walls at night, and you're sure to meet your end thanks to one of these bad boys. 

All in all, this is a fantastic, no, AMAZING, book that you just have to read! One of the best books I have read this year! I cannot stress enough what an experience it is. The writing is fluid, the book highly addictive. The first chapter is a stroke of genuis and draws you in instantaneously. Mr. Dashner, I am now a reader for life! I cannot wait to read the second book, The Scorch Trials, and I found out earlier today that a third book is in the works. The Death Cure. Sounds brilliant! Simply cannot wait! 

Thank you to the amazing Claire Skuse at Chicken House for my copy! 

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

White Crow [Review]

Written by: Marcus Sedgwick.
Published by: Orion Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 1st July 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "It's summer. Rebecca is an unwilling visitor to Winterfold - taken from the buzz of London and her friends and what she thinks is the start of a promising romance. Ferelith already lives in Winterfold - it's a place that doesn't like to let you go, and she knows it inside out - the beach, the crumbling cliff paths, the village streets, the woods, the deserted churches and ruined graveyards, year by year being swallowed by the sea. Against her better judgement, Rebecca and Ferelith become friends, and during that long, hot, claustrophobic summer they discover more about each other and about Winterfold than either of them really want to, uncovering frightening secrets that would be best left long forgotten. Interwoven with Rebecca and Ferelith's stories is that of the seventeenth century Rector and Dr Barrieux, master of Winterfold Hall, whose bizarre and bloody experiments into the after-life might make angels weep, and the devil crow."

There is no doubt about it, this is perhaps the most scary book, the creepiest book, I have read aimed at younger readers ever. You will need, not want, to read this with the lights on, in broad daylight, if possible!

Set in the middle of summer, the heat stifling, Rebecca and her father move to Winterfold for the holidays to get away from their past, back in London. Here, Rebecca meets the mysterious, even odd, Ferelith. There are three main characters. Rebecca's story is told in third person, a sense of foreboding, that knot in the stomach sensation, hanging over them all the time. Ferelith tells the story from her own point of view, while our third character is the Winterfold Priest in 1798. He is obsessed with the afterlife, and his section of the story is told in the form a journal. Often, he talks about the repulsive goings on in hell, asking God why it is he only see's hell in his dreams, and not heaven.

A highly gripping novel from Mr. Sedgwick. Right from the beginning you are drawn into this world of fear, as the question is poised: what really lies in wait for us after we die? Deeply thought provoking, and as mentioned earlier, devilishly scary. The writing is of the highest calibre. I would recommend this book to everyone, although maybe not those easily scared, or under the age of 12.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Leopard's Claw [Review]

Written by: David Miller.
Published by: Oxford University Press.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 1st July 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "BETRAYED. ATTACKED. LOST. Life has returned to normal for Hanna, Ned and Jik after their adventures in the tempestuous Sulu Sea. But then Dad heads to Borneo to look for gold and everything goes horribly wrong. Dad is accused of murder, and Hanna, Ned and Jik know they must go into the jungle to prove his innocence. It is a race against time but the tropical forest is filled with predators - both animal and human. And what deadly secret waits in the heart of the jungle?"



You've got 28 days to save your dad from being executed for a crime he didn't commit: MURDER!

Leopard's Claw opens with a bang and it doesn't stop right till the very end. This is the third book in the series, following on from Shark Island and Sea Wolf, and there are no signs of it slowing down just yet! Ned and Hanna are in just as much danger as ever. 

From the streets to the deep and deadly rain forest, Ned, Hanna and Jik begin to unravel the truth as they battle against deadly animals, evil spirits and something far, far more sinister. With suspense coming in from all angles, and a pace that doesn't let up even for a second, drawing you in, deeper and deeper, David Miller has created the best book in the series so far, the most exciting book so far! 

A brilliant read with fluid writing, an effortless read. A breath-taking read. If you haven't read this series yet, you seriously need to! Do not let it pass by!

Thank you to the amazing Liz Scott for my copy! Very grateful. THANK YOU!!