Thursday, 29 May 2014

One Wish by Michelle Harrison

Synopsis (from Goodreads

My thanks go to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with this e-arc. 

Pages: 346
Publisher: 22nd of May 2014
Released: Simon and Schuster

One wish only, understood? There are rules, so listen good . . .

The Spinney Wicket Wishing Tree can grant your heart’s desire – just wish out loud, or hang a message from its branches. It sounds as though the Wishing Tree is just a sweet old tradition, but Tanya is only too aware how real its magic could be.

Tanya can see fairies, and would love to meet someone else can see them too. When she meets Ratty and his cheeky fairy, Turpin, it seems at last she’s found them. But Ratty has a secret, and a dangerous enemy who'll stop at nothing to get to him.

Tanya must use her one wish to save her new friend - but wishes should be used wisely . . .

What I Have To Say

I adored Michelle Harrison's Thirteen Secrets trilogy so obviously I was excited to read the prequel. And it reminded me exactly why I loved Michelle Harrison's writing. 

This is how to write for young people. Anyone who thinks you have to dumb down writing for thirteen-year-olds needs to read this and see that it's just not true, because it's beautiful and emotional and completely right for the age group. 

It's been a few years now since I read the trilogy, so naturally I was worried that I'd forgotten too much. I had to get to know Tanya again, which luckily wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I settled back into the world really easily.

I think what's really great about Michelle Harrison's writing is that she has all the emotion and peril needed, but alongside is a sense of fun in her writing. She plays with words and ideas a lot, which I think can be seen most clearly by the rhyming speech of the Wishing Tree.

If you haven't read Michelle Harrison's books before then now is a great time to start. One Wish would be a great introduction to the series. And they've just given the books in these new beautiful covers that I'm trying to find an excuse to buy. 

Monday, 26 May 2014

Riot by Sarah Mussi

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

My thanks go to Netgalley and Hatchette Childrens's Books for providing me with this e-arc. 

Pages: 352
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 1st of May 2014

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

 But it is all so blatantly unfair - the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won't.

It's time for the young to take to the streets. It's time for them to RIOT:


What I Have To Say

I like books that really make you think. Some books do it well, others do it badly. This book is definitely the former. It was really interesting. It wasn't completely pro-protest. It wasn't anti- protest either. But a lot of books at the moment are very gung-ho about bringing down the government and so it's really cool to see a book that is actually taking a step back and talking about the downside of violence; how a protest can quickly become a riot.

The main character is really interesting. It was great discovering her layers and how she came to be the leader of a massive underground network of protesters and the teenage daughter of a politician who just wants to get back at her abusive father. 

This book just has so many twists and turns, so much suspense and danger that I adored every single page. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 352 
Publisher: Quercus
Released: 7th of November 2013

Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals.

Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilites.

For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother’s horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be...

What I Have to Say

This profiling thing looks like fun, so I’m going to give it a go, please bear with me.

Okay, so the book is written in such a way that it includes a lot of the profiling thought process. The main character, Cassie, profiles everyone she meets, giving a really great insight into the process. Perhaps the author – oh wait! I’m supposed to use ‘you’ or ‘I’, right? So maybe you want the reader to start thinking like a profiler. There are puzzles that are set as training for Cassie and Dean, which help to get the reader trying to solve them, though it would be better if we were given the answers at the end, in my honest opinion.

The characters are all quirky and fun. Their abilities help define their characters, perhaps trying to encourage the reader into defining them by their abilities making it easier to remember them.

I don’t know whether any of my profiling is right or whether I’m way off, but I think it’s obvious with or without profiling skills that I absolutely adored the book. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 387
Publisher: Puffin
Released: 5th of January 2012

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

What I Have To Say 

I should really know by now that putting off reading a book that everyone's reading because I'm not sure it's my thing is never a good idea. It's pretty obvious that anything the blogosphere is going nuts over is going to be good. And yet again, here is another series I'm late in discovering. 

I loved pretty much everything about this book. I loved the world, I loved the fact that it's inspired by fairy tales and I absolutely adored Cinder. 

Cinderella isn't my one of my favourite fairy tales, which I suppose is one of the reasons I've waited until the version of Rapunzel is out before getting into the series. But here is not some doe-eyed girl who just magically gets to go to a ball and marry a prince. Cinder is a girl with smarts and a knack for mechanics. Oh and did I mention the robot foot? 

Cinder doesn't just have a spiteful stepmother and a couple of spoilt stepsisters, she has to deal with being a cyborg and having to cope with the prejudice that comes from that. Her stepmother actually believes her not to be human. Toiling away over housework and sleeping in the fireplace is nothing compared to what Cinder has had to deal with. 

If you are even later at getting in on this series than I am, you need to now. 

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Fire & Flood by Victoria Scott

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 305
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: 25th of February 2014

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can't determine what's wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She's lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she's helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It's an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother's illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there's no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can't trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

What I Have To Say

I liked this book. I liked the writing. I liked the premise, though it really could have used some work. But the main character was pathetic. She didn't really do anything. She relied on other people to look after her. She jumped in a river and only ended up needing saving herself. 

I'm not saying that it ruined the book for me. I enjoyed it. But I do think that this book could have been incredible, but wasn't. I just really hope that she starts becoming a bit more capable in the future. She did seem to be developing that way. So hopefully it'll continue. 

I really, really loved her pandora though. He was so adorable and had such a great power. I don't want to admit to carrying on with a series just for a animal character, but... Just kidding. I'm looking forward to the next book as I think it could become something great. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 447
Publisher: Egmont Press 
Released: 6th of February 2012

I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

What I Have To Say 

You know those books where you get to half way through or something and there are reveals that completely change everything you’ve just read? Code Name Verity is one of those. I want to reread it. Before I had even finished it I wanted to reread it. And I will. I don’t get much time to reread books. There are always new and exciting books to read. But for Code Name Verity, I will definitely make an extra effort.

The characters were also so fun and easy to read. Queenie was one of those characters that is really easy to get to know and love. Maddie took a little longer but that was mostly because I missed Queenie. I wanted to know what had happened to her and I loved her voice so much.

The writing was very believable. It actually felt like reading their diaries, even Queenie being meant  to write down information and getting distracted all the time. She felt believable and lovable.

It’s another book that I just can’t get over how much I love it.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 325
Publisher: Orion
Released: 28th of February 2013

Eleanor is the new girl in town, and with her chaotic family life, her mismatched clothes and unruly red hair, she couldn't stick out more if she tried.

Park is the boy at the back of the bus. Black T-shirts, headphones, head in a book - he thinks he's made himself invisible. But not to Eleanor... never to Eleanor.

Slowly, steadily, through late-night conversations and an ever-growing stack of mix tapes, Eleanor and Park fall for each other. They fall in love the way you do the first time, when you're young, and you feel as if you have nothing and everything to lose.

What I Have To Say

The relationship in this book was absolutely beautiful. It was such a real romance. It developed so slowly and naturally, without being overdone. It was so obvious that they were falling for each other, without being overly blunt, leaving the reader to experience the feeling that they can see if, even before the characters.

 As a bit of a comic book fan, I adored the fact that Eleanor and Park started to fall for each other while reading comic books. And the fact that they started this having not even exchanged more than a few words with each other, and not nice ones at that. I would never have thought it possible for a romance to form without the characters speaking to one another until I read this book.

There was only really one issue I had with this book and that was the reveal at the end. It all felt a little sudden. Thinking back I can only really think of a couple of hints that were there. I don’t mind not knowing how something will end, but I like looking back and seeing how it was there all along

Monday, 5 May 2014

Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 304
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: 1st of May 2014

This is the story of how we became freaks. It's how a group of I's became a we.

When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn't expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.

What I Have To Say 

I really wasn’t sure about this book when I started reading it. The voice really threw me. Having a first person narrator can lead the way for a bit of interesting styles, but having a group of people narrating? Exchanging the use of “we” with third person? I found it clunky and irritating. And honestly cannot say when or why I changed my mind. I suppose I just grew used to it. By the end I was really loving the little asides where the narrators commented on the story or spoke to the other characters.

There was a lovely array of characters as well. Olivia, the quiet one, struggling with the fact that her thoughts are suddenly heard by all the others, how she suddenly can’t just hid in the background anymore. And Pi, selfish Pi, a girl whose only thoughts are about getting ahead of the crowd, whether by test scores or psychic abilities. I liked that about her, although obviously not in a way that I’d want to be friends with her. I also liked that she was the second smartest person in the class. Not the sort of annoying ones who flies through exams without trying, but the type who works hard and stresses about it all.

Finally, I liked the domesticity of it. The fact that what tore them apart was bitching and cheating. Their own everyday secrets. It made a really nice break from all the save the world, tear down the government books I usually read. And its something I think a lot of authors forget. Not everything has to be the end of the world.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

The Coldest Girl In Coldtown by Holly Black

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 419
Publisher: Indigo
Released: 3rd of September 2013

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. It's an eternal party, shown on TV 24 hours a day - gorgeous, glamorous, deadly! Because, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave...

What I Have To Say 

It has taken me far too long to fall in love with Holly Black. I know it has. A lot of people have told me it has. And finally I can say that it has happened. I am in love with Holly Black and now have to read everything she's written.

The vampires were so dark. Brutal, backstabbing, manipulative and completely out of control. A lot of authors have been trying to get over the influence that Twilight had on vampires and now, finally, Holly Black has managed. With so much darkness, it is far more natural to compare Black’s vampires to those of Ann Rice than those of Stephanie Meyer.

Though I liked all the vampires and their showyness, I think Gavriel was my favourite. His madness makes him much more interesting than the other characters. In the end any character that has a level of predictability that not even they can predict is one to watch.

Just everything about this book was interesting and exciting and just so different from most of the vampire books that are around at the moment. I cannot wait to read more from this world.