'Twinmaker' is a sci-fi thriller set in a world which on first appearance seems to be pretty much perfect. People are able to travel anywhere in the w...more'Twinmaker' is a sci-fi thriller set in a world which on first appearance seems to be pretty much perfect. People are able to travel anywhere in the world using d-mat technology which can transport them to their chosen destination in a fraction of a second. There are no limitations to where a person can go and the technology described in the book sounds amazing. For Clair and her best friend Libby, d-mat is a normal part of their everyday lives, until Libby decides to use it to 'improve' herself. Improvement turns out to be more dangerous than they could ever have thought possible and changes their very existence. Suddenly the world doesn't seem so perfect after all.
At the beginning of this book I wasn't convinced that it was going to be my kind of read. I love dystopian fiction and I'm quite keen on the sci-fi genre but I found the world building at the start of 'Twinmaker' difficult to get to grips with. There were a lot of new concepts to cope with and I didn't understand all the technological explanations of d-mat and how it worked. I very nearly gave up but I'm so glad that I stuck with it and kept on reading because Sean Williams turned out a great story which was thought-provoking and interesting and raised so many ethical questions that I'm still pondering some of them now.
It is quite a long book at over 500 pages and in places I thought that it could have been trimmed a little but once I got over my initial confusion about the direction of the story it really took off. Clair is a great heroine who surprises herself with her strength and bravery and she is at the heart of the plot. It's on her shoulders that the future of the world rests but she is more than capable of the journey ahead of her. There are some intriguing secondary characters in the book as well, including the elusive Q, bad boy Zep and Clair's counter-part Jesse who I really liked.
This is the first in a trilogy so there were a lot of questions left unanswered at the end, but I'm hoping that these will all be addressed in the sequel which will be out in 2014. (less)
Girls, ghosts and forbidden love. All the ingredients for what should be a stellar read but which for me, didn't quite live up to my admittedly high e...moreGirls, ghosts and forbidden love. All the ingredients for what should be a stellar read but which for me, didn't quite live up to my admittedly high expectations. 'The Lost Boys' was a Wattpad sensation for author Lilian Carmine and this book is the first in a trilogy featuring main character Joey and the handsome but ghostly Tristan.
Described as being perfect for fans of Stephenie Meyer and Lauren Kate, I really wanted to love this title but it didn't sweep me off my feet as I was hoping it would. It focuses on teenager Joey who at the start of the book meets Tristan in the graveyard near to her house. I won't spoil you with what happens next except to say that the two share a very unusual bond which leads to them going off to attend boarding school together. The latter half of the book centres on Joey's friendships with the other boys at the school, as well as her budding romance with Tristan.
My main issue with this book is that I found some of the dialogue to be extremely stilted. This could possibly be because the author is Brazilian. It just didn't flow off the page particularly well, so I found it difficult to become fully immersed in the story or to care hugely about the characters.
Although this title wasn't for me, there are millions of Wattpad readers that have fallen in love with Joey and her boys and would disagree with me, so I would suggest that if it piques your interest, you give it a try for yourself. It will appeal to fans of paranormal romance and ghostly love affairs. (less)
'Blinded by the Light' is a dystopian young-adult novel, written by a British author. The first book in the Union trilogy it paints a bleak portrait o...more'Blinded by the Light' is a dystopian young-adult novel, written by a British author. The first book in the Union trilogy it paints a bleak portrait of a future society which has been decimated by disease, leading to the formation of the Boundary. The latter has been set up to protect the people within it from the Echo who are feared by all.
The main character MaryAnn lives inside the Boundary with her parents. She's an Alpha - safe, well looked after and privileged. She always has enough synthetic food to eat, she's free from disease and is luckier than many of the Delta who hold menial jobs in society. At the start of the book I really wasn't sure about whether it was going to be for me because so many of the characters came across as quite unlikeable. As I read on, I was sucked in by the story but sadly never really became a big fan of MaryAnn and her friends and family.
Everything changes for MaryAnn when her parents are killed by a bomb. Trying to cope with her devastating loss, she goes to live with the Director but only begins to discover the truth about events when she comes into contact with her brother Daryl. I thought the plot was great. I'm a big fan of dystopian fiction and I enjoyed the idea for 'Blinded by the Light'. The world building in the book was excellent and it was interesting to read about a world where the residents live within a protected barrier, believing they are being kept safe from outsiders. The truth is something altogether different and I thought the way that Joe Kipling gradually revealed this was done brilliantly.
I felt like the book was let down slightly by some of the dialogue and by the fact that it was hard to feel real sympathy and understanding for some of the characters. There are hints of romance between MaryAnn and Peter but I suspect that this is going to be developed more in later instalments of the series.
There are some interesting questions raised in the book and it puts forward ideas about good and evil which show that this isn't always completely clear cut. I enjoyed the opening instalment, even though not everything came together completely for me and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. (less)
'The Trap' is an epic and exhilarating conclusion to one of the best series out there! I was on the edge of my seat as I followed Gene and Sissy's str...more'The Trap' is an epic and exhilarating conclusion to one of the best series out there! I was on the edge of my seat as I followed Gene and Sissy's struggle to save the ones they love and survive in a world riddled with danger.
I have loved each instalment but I think this was my favourite so far. It was an incredible, pulse-pounding read which I devoured in one sitting. The story takes up where 'The Prey' left off, with Gene, Sissy and co on-board a train headed towards an uncertain fate. As they face unimaginable horrors, they vow to stick together no matter what but someone from Gene's past has other ideas.
The plot rockets along at full speed ahead, as Gene and Sissy find themselves in one dangerous situation after enough. Having followed their journey this far and having invested so much in the characters I was desperately keeping my fingers crossed for them. They've faced such terrible situations that I really wanted them to come out the other side and have some hope for the future. They have a lot to get through first though before that's even a possibility.
Andrew Fukuda is an incredible writer. The scenes in the book leap off the page as his writing leads you on a journey full of horror, terror and danger. There are some wonderfully rich descriptive passages in the book which made everything feel very real and frankly left me quite terrified at times.
I was preying that the ending would leave me satisfied and wow, did it ever! There was a truly unpredictable twist near the end which was jaw-dropping and so, so clever. I never saw it coming which made it all the more surprising. Sometimes the last book in a series can let you down but 'The Trap' delivered right up to the last page.
This was a real page-turner that I can guarantee you won't be able to put down. I'm excited to see what subject Andrew Fukuda will turn his hand to next. (less)
I've enjoyed several of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's adult books, particularly 'The Shadow of the Wind' which is a big favourite of mine. I've also read quite...moreI've enjoyed several of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's adult books, particularly 'The Shadow of the Wind' which is a big favourite of mine. I've also read quite a few of his books for young adults which have also been very good. I'd heard of 'Marina' which is actually one of Zafon's earlier works and really liked the sound of it. I normally enjoy Gothic stories but sadly, I struggled my way through most of this book.
The story is set in Barcelona in 1980 and is told through the eyes of main character Oscar Drai. Oscar is a student at a local boarding school who one day inadvertently stumbles across Marina and her father Germain. I thought the opening few chapters of the book were intriguing and made me want to keep turning the pages. I actually felt that some comparison could be made with Dickens's 'Great Expectations' as Oscar and Marina reminded me initially of Pip and Estella. However, then the story took a completely different turn and the elements of Gothic horror really came to the fore.
Within the book stories within a story are recounted by various secondary characters. This continually added layers of mystery and intrigue which began to unravel as Oscar made it his mission to get to the bottom of events.
'Marina' is an incredibly creepy book. It has one of the most frightening scenes in it I've ever read and the grotesque aspects of the story really put me off wanting to finish it. I did persevere and I certainly do admire a writer who can be so versatile in writing about different subject matters but this one just wasn't for me. (less)
'The Waking World' is a futuristic Arthurian tale on an epic scale. It's set in a future society which is completely unlike the one we know today. The...more'The Waking World' is a futuristic Arthurian tale on an epic scale. It's set in a future society which is completely unlike the one we know today. The Earth has been ravaged by pollution and climate change and the people live as they did in the past, surviving off the land. The story is set at Hawk's Cross, the home of Aran, the main character in the book. He is one of the sons of a wealthy Law but the Island on which they live is under attack from the invading Marauders. Aran is desperate to protect his home but also must discover the secret of his true heritage if he is to fulfil the destiny laid out for him.
I really liked the fresh take on the Arthurian legend of Arthur and Merlin. It's one which so many people are familiar with but I thought that Tom Huddlestone still managed to bring something entirely new to the traditional tale. At the start I wasn't sure how he was going to link everything together but bit by bit all the pieces started to fall into place. It's an entirely different slant but it does work extremely well and the story is packed full of excitement and adventure.
One of my favourite aspects of the book was the friendship between Aran and his friends Cas and Mohanna. They have grown up together and know each other inside and out and I liked seeing them look out for one another when they were in some dangerous situations. I also loved the bond which develops between Aran and the mysterious Peregrine. The latter was extremely intriguing and it was a delight to get to discover more about him throughout the course of the story.
I presume this is the first in a series as I finished it feeling like there was lots more to come. I hope so because I enjoyed getting to explore Aran's world and I'm hoping to read more about him and his friends in the future. (less)
The second book in Cora Harrison's Debutantes series focuses on the two middle Derrington sisters, Poppy and Daisy, as they arrive in London for their...moreThe second book in Cora Harrison's Debutantes series focuses on the two middle Derrington sisters, Poppy and Daisy, as they arrive in London for their debutante season. I was a big fan of the first book about the Derringtons and their home Beech Grove Manor, as it reminded me of some of my favourite books when I was growing-up by Noel Streatfield. It had the same charm and easy manner about it which always appealed to me, plus I adore books about large families and sisters in particular.
The story is set in 1924 and so we get the era of the roaring twenties. Life and society are changing rapidly, with art, music and literature coming to the fore. The book touches on the divide between duty and passion and between following the same well trodden path or carving out a new future, outside of the rigid confines of society.
Beech Grove Manor is left behind as much of the action takes place in London. It was interesting to see how Daisy and Poppy functioned away from their more familiar surroundings and how they strived to build lives for themselves, while at the same time attempting to follow their dreams. The focus is on affairs of the heart and while Poppy and her childhood friend Baz begin to explore a new dynamic to their friendship, Daisy worries that she must marry well to ensure the Derrington future. Daisy has always been and continues to be my favourite character. I love her passion for her film-making, as well as her dedication to her family and her struggle to balance both is at the heart of the book.
Cora Harrison is on to a winner with this lovely series. The books are attractive on the outside and in and I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the next instalment about the Derrington sisters. I wonder if the time is approaching for Rose, the youngest of the siblings, to get her own story. (less)
I don't know where to start with my review of 'Becoming' because I loved this book and indeed this series so much that I can't believe it's all over!...moreI don't know where to start with my review of 'Becoming' because I loved this book and indeed this series so much that I can't believe it's all over! When the final instalment landed through my letterbox I was equally torn between shutting myself away to start reading it immediately (because I really couldn't wait to start it) and wanting to wait and prolong the enjoyment and anticipation. In the end, my desire to find out how the story was going to conclude and what was going to happen to my very favourite book couple, Ronnie and Kalen, won out. I read it in one evening and could not put it down. Samantha Summers storytelling held me in the palm of it's hand and each chapter delivered so much that I was gripped and absorbed the whole way through.
It's no secret that I love the romance between Ronnie and Kalen. What I love even more is the fact that there's no obligatory love triangle thrown into the mix just to shake things up between the two of them. They've only ever had eyes for each other and although obstacles have frequently been put in their path, when it comes down to who their hearts belong to, there's no doubt that they are soul mates. Although there wasn't quite as much romance in this instalment as I would have liked ('As You Were', the second book, delivered this in spades), I did enjoy the final twist that was thrown in and I thought it made the last few moments of the book even more special. I'm trying desperately not to give away any spoilers but I do want to say that I thought the ending was mind-blowingly brilliant and was very true to all the characters and their stories.
Ronnie has taught Kalen so much about himself since they met. I particularly liked some of the flashbacks in the book to when he first set eyes on her and how he couldn't get her out of his head, even when he tried desperately to forget about her. They've always had an amazing connection and although at times Kalen has doubted whether or not they should be together because of the danger it puts Ronnie in, there has never been any doubt in my mind that they are a team and always work better together.
With Kalen and co plotting to take down The Agency once and for all, there are lots of new faces in the book as the other boys of Project Five Fifteen begin to surface. I loved seeing them all together and although they're not actually related by blood they are like a family and have each other's backs. Ace is yet again utterly adorable and I really warmed to Denver who steps up and takes charge when needed. There's definitely potential for a spin-off featuring some of the other characters or even a TV show! (I pictured Colton Haynes in my head when I was reading about Kalen).
'Becoming' was a superb read which delivered romance, adventure, action and excitement in spades! I was absolutely engrossed in the story and found it compulsive reading. I'm so sad that the series is over because I've become invested in the characters and their lives and I don't want the adventure to end. I'm going to be re-reading the trilogy over and over again because I have so many favourite moments that I want to go back and relive. Samantha Summers, I applaud you and I will read anything you turn your hand to next. Thank you for giving me Ronnie and Kalen and thank you for writing such a wonderful series of books. (less)
'Briar Rose' is a southern retelling of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. It's about a young girl who on her sixteenth birthday is doomed by a curse...more'Briar Rose' is a southern retelling of the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. It's about a young girl who on her sixteenth birthday is doomed by a curse which threatens to rob her of everything she holds dear unless she can find a way to break it.
I thought I was going to love this book. I'm a massive fan of Jana Oliver's previous series The Demon Trapper's Daughter and I couldn't wait to read this as soon as I first heard about it. The plot sounded brilliant, I love fairy tale retellings and I fell in awe of the book cover but I'm disappointed to say that the actual story I really struggled with. I normally finish books quite quickly but this one took me over a week to read, a sign that I just wasn't hooked by the actual telling of the tale.
It's quite an unconventional retelling and actually bared very little resemblance to the traditional version of Sleeping Beauty. The blurb of the book therefore seemed to be slightly misleading. I wouldn't necessarily have minded this if the story had been amazing but for the most part I often found it strange and confusing, particularly when Briar enters the dream world. Nothing here is familiar and everything seems foreign and dangerous.
I thought that the romance in the story would perhaps have redeemed things for me but unfortunately I wasn't won over either by the bond between Briar and her childhood friend Joshua. As individual characters they were okay but together I didn't feel the spark between them. I actually preferred the scenes between Briar's best friend Reena who tries to help her and a local boy called Pat who also finds himself pulled into the dream world.
I'm sad to say that this book just wasn't for me although I kept on hoping until the very end that something would happen to turn it around for me. Regardless of this, I'm still a huge fan of Oliver's work and I will certainly be reading more by her in the future. (less)
I really wanted to read this book because I love stories which involve time-travel and the overall synopsis sounded really great. It's about a secret...moreI really wanted to read this book because I love stories which involve time-travel and the overall synopsis sounded really great. It's about a secret government organisation called Oberon which recruits teenagers as agents and then sends them back in time to stop catastrophic events from happening. At the beginning of the story street-smart Darius becomes the newest recruit and is made to leave his entire life behind.
Although it was the time-travel element which originally hooked me onto the idea of reading this book, I have to say that I found the way it was dealt with quite confusing at times. The passages explaining how it worked were just too confusing and over-complicated and I've read other books which have provided much clearer and more believable explanations.
The book features an interesting cast of characters. As well as Darius, his team also consists of fierce and feisty Bianca, along with Leon, Malik and Constance. None of them were particularly big favourites of mine, although Darius did grow on me as the book progressed and he turned out to have some rather surprising skills.
This was a fairly quick read at only 240 pages long but sadly didn't end up winning me over. It lacked that special ingredient which makes me fall in love with a book. I liked the fact that it was action-packed and full of adventure but I found it a bit lacking at times. I'm not sure if there will be a sequel but if so, I don't think I'll be joining for the rest of the ride. (less)
'The Burning Shadow' is the second book in Michelle Paver's Gods and Warriors series. When I read the opening instalment last year I was extremely imp...more'The Burning Shadow' is the second book in Michelle Paver's Gods and Warriors series. When I read the opening instalment last year I was extremely impressed so I was excited to pick up the threads of the main character Hylas's story and see what lay in store for him next.
The plot again follows Hylas the Outsider and Pirra, who is on the run from her life as daughter of the High Priestess. The two have been separated but they are never far from each other's thoughts and their paths seem destined to collide again in the future. The adversity that both characters face is shown but their strength lies in their determination to overcome all the obstacles put in their way.
I absolutely adored the chapters told from the viewpoint of Havoc the lion cub. Michelle Paver writes beautifully through the eyes of Havoc, conjuring a real sense of the animal's thoughts and feelings. She also shows wonderfully the cruelty and beauty of nature working in tandem together. Havoc and Hylas develop an amazing bond and it's this which for me is one of the main strengths of the whole book. I've yet to come across another author who writes about animals in the way that Paver does.
An incredible sense of history is conveyed throughout the story. I knew very little about the Bronze Age before I started reading this series but I feel like I've gained a real understanding of this particular period of history and I'm eager to find out more about the way of life of the people that lived during this time.
Overall, this was a tale of exciting adventure which hooked me from the very first page. The third book in the series is set to be published in 2014 and with the ending of 'The Burning Shadow' leaving the reader in great anticipation of what will come next, I for one am going to be counting down the days until it hits bookshop shelves. (less)
'The 100' is a sublime combination of science fiction and dystopia, interlaced with hints of romance. This was an absolutely stunning read which I tho...more'The 100' is a sublime combination of science fiction and dystopia, interlaced with hints of romance. This was an absolutely stunning read which I thought was superb from start to finish. I already can't wait for the sequel and the spin-off TV show which has already been commissioned.
Set in the future, the 100 refers to a group of teens, all convicted of various crimes and misdemeanours who are sent to earth to recolonise the planet after a nuclear war. The war led to the human race living in spaceships far above radioactive earth and learning how to survive by a number of methods, including limiting the number of new lives allowed to be created. The plot was fantastic. It was fast-paced, exciting and gripping and I was never sure what was going to happen next, so I was intrigued the whole way through.
The book features a four person perspective which alternates each chapter. The four main characters, Bellamy, Clarke, Wells and Glass, all have differing stories to tell and I was fully immersed in each of them. I initially worried that I might struggle with the multiple points of view, but it actually worked tremendously well. I loved the characters and thought they were all equally strong and interesting. I liked the way they all intersected with each other and it will be interesting to see how their personalities develop in future instalments as they face continued adversity and new challenges.
Some of my favourite scenes in the book were those that took place on earth. The characters experiences really shone through and I could feel their wonder and amazement as they experience things like a sunset, rain or birdsong for the very first time.
I was sucked into 'The 100' and by the second half I couldn't put it down. Kass Morgan's writing is wonderful, the world she's created is amazing and I would definitely give this book top marks for it's sheer brilliance. (less)
Being a big fan of Lee Monroe's Dark Heart trilogy, I was excited to see that she had a new book out. Rather than focusing on the paranormal, 'Love is...moreBeing a big fan of Lee Monroe's Dark Heart trilogy, I was excited to see that she had a new book out. Rather than focusing on the paranormal, 'Love is a Number' is a contemporary young-adult story about two teenagers whose lives are set on a collision course due to a series of unexpected events. I was expecting something different to Monroe's previous work and that's exactly what I got.
The narrative alternates between the two main characters: Eloise or Lo as she is known and Daniel. We find out at the beginning of the story that Eloise's boyfriend Huck has died. She is trying to pick up the pieces of her life again but can't seem to dig herself out of the depression that she's sunk into following her loss. I kind of had a love/hate relationship with Eloise. I sympathised with her predicament and the difficult time she was going through, but as I began to learn more about her I didn't particularly like what I discovered. She has allowed herself to be steered through life by her mother who goes as far as to choose her clothes and who she should be friends with, but up until this point she hasn't ever really stood up for herself. It was nice to see her gradually becoming more independent and doing what she feels is right rather than what people tell her to do.
Daniel is in Spain and trying to open himself up to new experiences before he starts university. I thought he was a great character and had a very appealing personality. As he begins to mature as a person, so many good qualities about him shone through and I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters which centred around him and his journey.
I did think that the story was a little bit predictable at times. It was slow to start but it picked up in the second half when I became more engrossed in the events surrounding the characters. It's not hugely heavy on romance but is more about finding yourself and making true friendships which will last through life.
Although this is probably a book that I wouldn't pick up to read again, it was still a nice, sweet read which will appeal to fans of contemporary YA. (less)
Sometimes there is nothing better than kicking back and relaxing with a good book and checking in with a familiar face. That's exactly how I felt when...moreSometimes there is nothing better than kicking back and relaxing with a good book and checking in with a familiar face. That's exactly how I felt when I picked up Ellie Phillip's new book and plunged back into the crazy, hairstyle loving world of irrepressible heroine Sadie Nathanson.
Sadie is now working in her Auntie's hairdressing salon as a Saturday assistant but spends most of her time sweeping the floors. She dreams of winning the Thames Gateway Junior Apprentice Hairdresser of the Year Award but things get off to a bad start when things go awry in the salon. In addition, after previously finding her biological Dad, there's also another surprise in store for her as she discovers a new family link.
I loved the way in which each chapter begins with some advice and guidelines for budding hairdressers. This was a nice touch and often linked neatly with what was actually happening to Sadie in the story. Her determination to follow her dream of being the best hairdresser ever is admirable. For Sadie, cutting hair is like a vocation and she definitely has a talent for knowing what style suits each individual.
There's a lovely relaxed style to Ellie Phillip's writing which instantly puts you at ease and allows you just to sit back and enjoy the story, forgetting about everything else going on around you. There's humour, warmth and drama and plenty of fun unfolds along the way. Sadie is a fantastic main character who I found myself cheering for, along with the rest of her huge extended family. (less)