What would you do to keep your family together? Fifteen-year-old Laurence Roach is prepared to do anything to keep his little brother Jay with him: SeWhat would you do to keep your family together? Fifteen-year-old Laurence Roach is prepared to do anything to keep his little brother Jay with him: See, his Mum has problems. She drinks a lot and smokes and works two rubbish jobs to get enough money to feed them all. But one day, she just doesn’t come home. To start with, Laurence isn’t overly worried. She’s disappeared before, gone off drinking ‘til her money runs out. But after a while, he realises this is different. And to keep Jay with him, Laurence has to pretend his Mum is still there. And as I said before, Laurence will do anything to keep his family together. Including dressing up as him mum.
The next fifteen days are going to change both Jay and Laurence’s lives forever…
I started this one as soon as I got it, but had to put it aside because of other review priorities. It’s been niggling at me ever since them. I only left it for a little while, and I almost went round the bend, desperate to know more about Laurence. And after reading the whole book: not disappointed! I loved every moment, loved Laurence and Mina and especially little Jay! I was just sucked into the story, and I had to know what happened to the boys. It was the most amazing debut!
Laurence Roach was someone I loved straight away. He was funny, but I also knew instantly that he’d been through so much. He was the most amazing big brother, always looking after Jay, always having to be strong for Jay… And Laurence really was so, so strong. He had to deal with too much, poor boy, so much responsibility. Laurence tried so hard to keep everything together: constantly looking out for his mum, getting up at 5am to get her ready for her job, even doing it for her. His biggest fear was that his brother would be taken away and he wouldn’t be able to stop it. Laurence Laurence Roach just felt so real to me. I feel Mina described him perfectly: “stupid – but brave”.
Jay Roach was sweet, and both too naïve and too old. He had a thing for dogs: he pretended to be one – mainly to bug Laurence. Strangers loved him because of his angelic looks. And he was just really funny – even if he didn’t mean to be! I mean, he turned into “Scooby Doo” – Scooby bites people, not Jay! I loved the kid, and felt so sorry for him as well.
‘Mum’ – Margret Roach, drank and smoked. Her kids hid until ‘Happy Hours’, when the drink would make her smile and be all hugs and kisses. She was so depressed: without drink she stayed in bed or locked herself in the bathroom and cried. Or she got mad. All the way through, I was asking: Why did she leave? By the end of the book, I had my answer. And everything I thought about her changed.
Mina was in a brass band, sort of bossy and confident. I liked her straight away! She was just really funny, and really nice to Laurence, as well as being smart and logical. Oh – and slightly mad! Plus I totally felt the Mina-Laurence chemistry! It was a really strong and sweet romance.
But probably my favourite thing about this story was the relationship between Laurence and Jay; I loved it. You could tell how much they loved each other: it was really touching and real. They stuck together through everything. Laurence always looking after Jay, who was the Scooby to his Shaggy. Although they were close, there was also just the right amount of exasperation and bickering. Siblings just aren’t siblings without a little fighting, after all! Most of all, I loved how the two of them and Mina pretend to be the Scooby Gang!
I love contemporary. The whole real-life horrors and dramas have become addictive for me. Fifteen Days Without a Head was an amazing contemporary. I loved the problems, how real it felt to me. I loved seeing how an ordinary teen, with extraordinary strength, handled everything, overcame it. I fell in love with Laurence and Jay, their relationship. And Dave’s writing was just infectious. It was totally teenager, without feeling forced. More importantly, it was Laurence Roach. I could feel him as I read, but more than that, it was emotional. I cried (out loud) at some bits, laughed my head off at others (mainly when Jay was involved). I just fell in love with the voice, and was left wanting more. Somehow, Dave managed to pull off a heavy subject with a light voice, something that is insanely hard to do, and I applaud him for it. I can’t wait to see what he brings out next. Maybe another Roach tale…
Fifteen Days Without a Head sucked me in with the characters, the plot, the writing. The reality. And the fact that Laurence was just so relatable. It was a beautiful but horrible, a moving, emotional and funny story, with lovable and relatable characters and a believable plot, Fifteen Days Without a Head is a stunning book, one I won't be forgetting for a long time, and Dave is an author to look out for! I loved this story!...more
It’s taken me forever to write this review. Not because I didn’t like Envy – I absolutely loved it. No, it was because I wasn’t sure what to say withoIt’s taken me forever to write this review. Not because I didn’t like Envy – I absolutely loved it. No, it was because I wasn’t sure what to say without giving away the whole plot. I hope I did the book justice! One evening, Sandra Berkley finds her daughter Katelyn in the bathtub. Dead. Also inside is an espresso machine, still plugged into the wall. Her death is heard all over town. No one knows how Katelyn died. Suicide? Murder? Accident? No one knows. Twins Hayley and Taylor Ryan need to know the truth. With their unique powers, they are determined to find out how Katelyn died. What they don't know is that in the process, they will shed light on a hidden secret from their past... Me, I’m a mildly twisted person who dotes of TV shows like Criminal Minds and CSI. However, whenever I try to read a crime novel, it’s either Sherlock Holmes or waay too graphic! But Envy was perfect and new and amazing! Two twin sisters with paranormal abilities, solving the death of an old friend, while struggling to keep their abilities hidden? Safe to say, I loved this book! I was constantly on the edge of my seat, desperate to find out who the killer was. Envy has gotta be one of my favourite crime novels ever and I really think everyone should read it! It is an exciting and entertaining read, but it has a hidden message too: bullying hurts and even the silliest thing can make someone feel horrible about themselves. It was strong, powerful, amazing and perfect for CSI-loving teens! Hay-Tay, the twins were just amazing: I loved them both. Hayley, the more practical and level headed twin, was really into forensic science and liked to have a reason for everything. With her analytic mind, she actually sort of reminded me of Sherlock Holmes! I loved her and really related with her because, like me, she seemed to love sharing random facts and her mind went to the strangest places. Taylor was ruled more by her emotions and a real outspoken, feel-good kind of girl. She was very clever too but kind of more squeamish and peace-loving. And they were so close – they told each other everything. I loved seeing the similarities and differences between the two girls. Both had strong morals and the most awesome gifts! They knew things they couldn't know, felt things, saw things. They were like Nancy Drews with really special powers! And their bond was really sweet and really powerful. And, in a horrid way, I loved getting to know Katelyn. It was obvious straight away that she had been hurt – badly. The loneliness she felt was dreadful; she felt like she had no one. So many terrible things had happened to her, and she just cut herself off, thought she was worthless. Words really can have absolutely dreadful consequences. And Katelyn lived through the twins - we saw into her head, her life, through the girls. As the book went on, I must have had about a million suspects, quite literally suspecting everyone in the plot. But a few of the characters I liked and actually didn’t suspect (yeah, I suspected loads of the characters I liked… I may be slightly paranoid) were the twins’ family. Their dad Kevin was brilliant, with strong morals and a family orientated feel. Also, he role played serial killer scenarios with his kids over the dinner table: he was just brilliantly odd! Their mum Valerie was really supportive and I loved learning about her past. The whole family love and closeness really made the whole crime thing stand out even more. I can’t say anything else about the characters without giving the killer away, but I will say the vast range of people was brilliant, different and ever-so brilliantly described. Just amazingly padded out and real – every single character. Some I loved, some I hated, all were brilliant. I loved the writing: Gregg had the suspense thing down to a fine art. He gave us titbits about the bad guy – who was totally sadistic, btw – and I just had to know who he was! Also, Gregg totally got teenagers, how they think, talk, act. I loved the snark and that we also got to see everything from the adults' POV too. It was brilliant to see how the two age groups saw everything differently. And I just loved all the facts! About what goes on in the pathologist, how Katelyn died (call me morbid and twisted, but I swear I was a CSI in a past life). I also liked how everything was closed and how we got to see how everyone coped after. And that I was still left with so many questions that left me desperate for Book 2! I must say, normally, I'm good at guessing killers. But Envy... I had three suspects and four pages worth of notes, obsessing over movements, conversations. Well. I was wrong. I had an inkling at one point, then settled on a different - wrong - prime suspect. The way Olsen wrote made me completely oblivious and suspecting everyone. And left me honestly surprised at the outcome. Envy was amazing. I really loved it. It was exciting and new, thrilling and chilling. I write notes as I read, and I ended up with four whole pages worth of notes. Suspects, plotlines, theories, gushing about the twins and other characters. That, more than anything to me, is a sign of a good book. I mean, there really wasn't a bad word there. Well, unless you want to count a very, very bad word about a few of my least favourite characters. I just can't help being stunned by Envy. It pushes all the limitations of YA fiction, yet never actually crosses the line. And it does all that without speaking down to the reader. Gregg Olsen: you are amazing! I cannot wait for Betrayal! I may even check out some of his adult fiction!
Afternote: Cybercrime. While Envy's characters and paranormal sides were obviously fiction, the girls' death and the cyber bullying case was taken from a true story: The suicide of Megan Meier from Missouri in October 2006 brought about by the horribleness of cyber bullying. It's just as dangerous as physical bullying, maybe more so. You never know who someone is on the Internet, and cyber bullies use that to their advantage. So please, please be careful! And if all of you would like to know more, I'd tell you to you where Gregg told all readers to go: www.emptycoffinseries.com.
After-Afternote: Ok, so there are these letters in the front and back pages of my hardcopy that are meant to mean something to the readers. After hours of trying to solve the mysterious letters like an anagram on my scrabble board, just like the girls did, I realised something: I. Was. An. Idiot! I am, apparently, not-so-mildly stupid. So there you go....more
“I can’t decide what to do with your ashes. … “You don’t deserve to be liberated yet. … “This is not forgiveness. Don’t think that.” Star4½ Out of 5 Stars
“I can’t decide what to do with your ashes. … “You don’t deserve to be liberated yet. … “This is not forgiveness. Don’t think that.” Starting at the end with two funerals, we know Rob is dead. And that he did something those closest to him cannot forgive him for. The question is what? Introducing Caro: mysterious, impulsive and dangerous. Meet Jamie: sweet, naïve and desperate for Caro to notice him, although he never thought she would. Finally Rob, wounded and damaged, a devoted solider who is no longer in the army. It’s common knowledge that the beautiful Caro is trouble. Everyone warns Jamie not to get involved, but he’s under her spell. Over the summer, these threes’ lives are entangled, with explosive consequences… I’m a huge fan of Celia Rees – she is one of my favourite authors! I’ve become used to her historical fiction and the lyrical way she has of showing sometimes horrible events. This Is Not Forgiveness? The opposite. It was shocking – in such a good way. It was unlike anything I’ve read by her before, and like all her other books it has to be added to my favourites. Caro was a complicated character, one I couldn’t figure out whether I liked or not for ages. She was mysterious, a “trouble maker”, independent and unpredictable. Although she was from a privileged background, I liked the three-dimensional aspect her political views and recklessness gave her. Overall, though, she wasn’t exactly likeable, as she was manipulative and extreme, but she wasn’t as bad as she first seemed. Well, not by the end, anyway… Jamie was the average one, the ‘normal’ teenager. He was a little shy, but cute. However, the complete and utter obsession he developed for Caro? Yeah, not so sweet. It was like everyone else didn’t matter, only Caro: and let me tell you, the trait is as bad in a guy as it is in a girl. But he was sweet, and sensitive, and I did like him: he was probably the most likeable of the three characters, even if he wasn’t the most interesting. Jamie’s brother, Rob, completes our trio. Now, Rob, for me, was the most complex and intriguing character for me. A former soldier who had been injured while in Afghanistan, he was scarred both inside and out. We got to see how being over there had changed him: it was astounding, and I think Rees portrayed it brilliantly. It really showed how fighting in the war changes your mind and way of thinking, and all of this and Rob’s believable and rough voice made him feel so real and completely interesting. Rob and Jamie’s sister, Martha was someone I felt could have been used more, as a rather ‘impartial’ onlooker, not involved. She didn’t get to speak, but she made her thoughts known through her insistent warnings to Jamie. I think reading from her point of view may have made the whole story richer and that we could have seen more into the past of the three lead characters. The characters were amazing and so strong, each vividly believable. They may not have been exactly loveable all the time, but each had charms that draw you in and getting into their heads gives us that exclusive inside peek. And at the end. Well, one completely shocked me, one pleasantly surprised me and one lived up to my expectations. Who is who? you may ask. Well, you’ll have to read it yourself and make your own opinions, because you definitely won’t regret it! This Is Not Forgiveness tackles difficult issues effortlessly: war and how it affects those who have been there. Extremist views – ones developed right here in England – and how the ones who believe in them are willing to do anything to get attention. It also has sex, drugs and alcohol (no rock-n-roll, though) – maybe a little bit too much of those – that overall made the teens very teen. The story was powerful and intense, the subject brilliantly shocking. This may just be the best Celia Rees book ever! I loved the writing, these three so distinct voices! All too often you find dual narratives who sound so similar you can’t tell them apart. This Is Not Forgiveness? Not one of those, not even in the slightest: even without the names at the start of the chapter, I would have been able to tell who was who. And the writing, well, I’ve always loved Rees’ style and it truly comes through in Caro. All the writing had all her classic addictiveness, the one that keeps me totally hooked. Beautiful, raw, edgy and so, so strong, it was perfect for the book and each voice was perfect for the character. I was completely on the edge of my seat from start to finish. The beginning throws us in at the end and makes us desperate to know: How? What? Why? When? And the story? More powerful than anything I thought it would be. I was just sucked in by the plot, absorbed, unaware of the ‘real world’. The action started up and lasted until the end of the story, and God: I just couldn’t stop reading! And I did not see that final twist coming; actually, I didn’t guess most of the twists! This was a powerful, hard-hitting book that had me completely and utterly under its spell all the way through. Different lives and feelings wove together to create a brilliantly written, intense and explosive story that left me reeling. Beautiful, terrible, shocking and moving, This is Not Forgiveness is not one I will be forgetting in a long, long time....more
I cried, I laughed, I loved, I grieved. Saving Daisy was an emotional roller-coaster – one I adored and was sad to leave. Or, more precisely, I was heI cried, I laughed, I loved, I grieved. Saving Daisy was an emotional roller-coaster – one I adored and was sad to leave. Or, more precisely, I was heartbroken to leave Daisy: I really, really loved her and Ade too. Daisy never knew her Mum. Her Dad won’t – can’t – talk about her. In Daisy’s eyes, it was her fault. As the fear, the misplaced guilt over her Mum’s death gets stronger and stronger; her ways of coping become violent, extreme. But the one person she decides to trust does something they shouldn’t have, and once more Daisy tells herself she’s to blame. Her life spirals out of control, and before she knows it, Daisy is all alone. She doesn’t want help, doesn’t think she deserves it. She’s bad luck in her eyes: everyone she lets in gets hurt or hurts her. But can the kindness of a single stranger, one who is desperate to help, be enough to bring her back from brink. Will Daisy Houghton even let herself be saved? I love contemp books, especially ones that made me think, feel and (although I don’t know why I like it so much) cry. Saving Daisy made me do all three of these things and more. I loved every moment, wrapped up in Daisy’s world, her fears. I was so completely addicted from start to finish, unable to put the book down, desperate to know what happened to Daisy… By the end I desperately wanted to read the whole book all over again, and I need Being Billy. Daisy Houghton was a wonderful girl: snarkily funny, film-addicted, clever… She was also drowning in her fear and guilt. I loved her from the word go, constantly telling her “It’s not your fault Daisy!” She was so scared, betrayed by the ones she let it, always on the edge of everything. To begin with I thought her guilt was ridiculous, but in her mind, she really thought she was responsible. I felt so bad for her because I loved her so much. She was just so strong, so stubborn and she had to grow up so fast. I loved it when we got to see the sweet, grieving side of Daisy, rather than the guilt-ridden, self-blaming one. She was so real to me: it felt like I was the only one she trusted… Ade, Daisy’s key-worker, was lovely! The moment she walked in, she made Daisy feel better, like she was “being saved”, and made me smile. She really looked out for Daisy, was really smart, laidback, instructive without being bossy… She was just so strong, and really understood Daisy and I loved her so much! Bellfield, the place Daisy was sent to “find the answer” was amazing: You had so many different characters… The overly friendly, sweet Susie, who didn’t really understand personal space. The argumentative, snarky, slightly violent Patrick. The constantly texting, perhaps-perhaps-not delusional, laidback Jimmy, who couldn’t quite tell the difference between fantasy and reality. The moody, short-tempered, irrational, unpredictable Naomi. The various careers: young, laid-back Floss; efficient, friendly, respected-by-all Bex; the lovely, kind, patient Ade. All the different personalities made for a chaotic, volatile, never-dull place. My favourite was by far Jimmy (Ade not included): I loved Jimmy-style therapy: watching washing machines – “sweet”! You definitely have the “X-Factor” Jimmy! The writing was amazing. It was raw, emotional, powerful, addictive. It was teenager, but the voice of a teenager who knows too much. It was Daisy. 100%. I adored the descriptions, brilliant but not too heavy. I just loved the edginess, everything. I just loved Earle’s writing. Enough said! I thought the plot would be straight forward from the blurb. Boy was I wrong! There were twists I never saw coming, plot turns I never would have thought of, character changes that surprised me. I loved every turn, every unpredictable development. I was completely hooked from start to finish. What struck me straight away about Saving Daisy were the emotions. Instantly, I was tangled in Daisy’s head, not exactly sure where my emotions stopped and hers began. It felt like I was drowning in Daisy’s feelings, in my own. It was overwhelming, in the very best way. I was so wrapped up in the book, in Daisy: invested. It was a roller coaster of emotions, the main ones pain, sadness, grief, love and sympathy. I was almost constantly on the verge of tears, so the little bright spots, the small breakthroughs, the parts that made me smile, were even more potent. But in some probably twisted way, I loved crying, the constant battling emotions. Crying meant I adored this book and its characters and truly cared about what happened to them. Because I did. A heartbroken, guilt-ridden, scarred heroine, afraid to trust or love, a caring, always smiling care worker, with a secret of her own, and the hardest journey of all: facing your fears, you guilt and realising it wasn’t your fault, putting yourself back together… Saving Daisy was an emotional, powerful read that left my head spinning. I won’t forget you Daisy. Not in a long time....more
“You saved each other.” Rosie Kenning’s mum Trudie had Huntington’s. Rosie, dropping everything for her mother, had to watch the once vibrant woman she“You saved each other.” Rosie Kenning’s mum Trudie had Huntington’s. Rosie, dropping everything for her mother, had to watch the once vibrant woman she loved so much die slowly and terribly. With her Mum gone and her whole world in pieces, Rosie now has to find out if this is to be her future, if she has inherited the Huntington’s gene. Until she’s told that Trudie isn’t her biological mother. But how can that be? How can she not be Trudie? Is she grieving someone who isn’t even hers to grieve? And if so, who is her real mother? With her past as blank as her future, can Rosie continue living a lie, or can she risk destroying the lives of those around her to find out more about her past...? I knew this would be an amazing book – I mean, have you read the blurb?! – but I wasn’t expecting something twisty and swirly, full of shocks and surprises with characters I’d fall so head over heels in love with, I’d want to magic them out of the book! If this book isn’t already on your radar, by God, go get yourself a copy NOW! It’s such an amazing book and worth every penny! I adored every moment and was left wanting more, more, more! A book that truly tugged at the heartstrings one moment and had me stupidly smiling the next. Rosie Kenning was so strong and so caring. I admired her so much, putting her whole life on hold so she could take care of her mother. I just loved her from the word go. And it was just so obvious that she absolutely adored her mother Trudie. She had to grow up so fast, and she lost so much. But through it all she was selfless, brave, loving and strong. She was amazing, and we could all learn something from her. Andy Hunter, Rosie’s boyfriend, was sweet and caring and cute and yummy! He was just adorable, really protective and supportive, always there for her… Did you guess that I had a minor book-boyfriend crush on Andy? I have to mention Trudie Kenning, Rosie’s mother, who although was already dead by the time the story starts, played a big part in it none the less. She was strong, light-spirited, trying to make a joke of everything, and obviously loved Rosie just as much as her daughter loved her. She was inspirational, even though we never ‘met’ her. The rest of the supporting characters were equally amazing. Rosie’s Nana was so sweet and cheerful: I loved her! Jack Woods was funny, sweet and friendly, and just the perfect father. If I could have any fictional father, from any book, I’d pick Jack, hands down. Kitty Clare was someone I couldn’t figure her out. I thought: oh, so that’s the real Kitty. Then: wham! Still, I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her, seeing the position she was in… Aunt Sarah, who loved Trudie so much she… did what she did. She was a loving and kind person, one I found I couldn’t dislike at all – I felt sorry for her too, I mean: what would you have done in her position? What I liked most about this book is the flawless way Katie tackled the difficult issues. Huntington’s and the effects it has. And may I just say that I really admire the way Katie described the disease – enough of the medical info so we can grasp the basics, no jargon to confuse us. But more, the emotional description. The pain at watching your Mum die, the fear of not knowing if that could be you, drowning in it all. Throughout the book, I couldn’t help thinking: “Could I have done that, if I were in Rosie’s place? Dropped everything, even my friends and school, knowing I’d have to watch my mother die, watch what could be my future..?” And then there was the whole biological parent thing. The importance of being related by blood. I mean, any old person can make a baby. What’s hard is raising them and loving them. That’s what makes a parent. Rosie in particular really shows this: even though she was looking for her birth parents, Trudie is still her Mum and nothing could change that. The writing was just so, so good. Emotional, powerful and utterly addictive, it was just perfect for this kind of book – more than perfect, in fact. I could feel everything, see everything! And I adored the dual narrative; I loved that we had no clue who the other narrator was to begin with – I didn’t guess either! As for the plot, well, it was twistier than… a really twisty thing. There was just shock after shock, surprise after surprise and I literally saw nothing coming!! And that, may I just say, was a huge achievement and made the book so, so, so much more addictive! I loved every second… even the bits I cried at. Which was quite a few of them. An amazing, incredible, moving, emotional, thought-provoking story that had me surprised at every twist, hooked to every word and racing to get to the end, so I could know what happened next. Katie, whatever you may write next, you have me extraordinarily excited and I will be first in line, without a doubt! Beautiful, inspiring, heart-warming, life affirming, perfect… I came to the end and just wanted to read it all over again. As I said before: perfect....more
4 Out of 5 Sam and Niamh’s mother disappeared when they were kids. No one knows where or how she vanished, but Matt, the twins’ father thinks it has s4½ Out of 5 Sam and Niamh’s mother disappeared when they were kids. No one knows where or how she vanished, but Matt, the twins’ father thinks it has something to do with the Bermuda Triangle. Every year the family return to the place she disappeared from, thanks to Matt’s obsession with finding his wife. Only, this year Sam is bored and sick of his father’s empty promises and obsession. So with his best mate, Callum, Sam ‘borrows’ his father’s boat. What started out as a great laugh soon turned into chaos and a strange world of monsters and mystery. They have become the pray of the Devil’s Triangle – can they escape or will they remain stuck there forever? I started to read this the moment it landed on my doormat. I mean, c’mon! Sci-fi twist on the Bermuda Triangle! Which happens to be one of THE coolest natural mysteries, way up there with Stonehenge, Lock Ness and Justin Beiber… And blimey was it good. I was just sucked in and couldn’t stop reading. I officially NEED to read Book 2 (thank God I have it already!) and I’m seriously thinking of getting another Robson series. So… awesome book, in shorter words. I loved Sam Cutler: the outspoken, athletic and confident twin. He had a good sense of humour and was brilliantly cheeky. While he was a trouble maker, he was also clever and logical, and such a brilliant survivor. Driven, friendly and supportive, he was a natural leader and so good at keeping him and Callum alive. Niamh Cutler was brilliant: cheerful and teasing, she seemed to be the calm and mature twin. She was quick witted and level headed, but also snarky and feisty! She was brave and determined, but I couldn’t help being shocked that she was flirting while her brother was missing! Then again, teenager girls always do think of guys at just the wrong time, don’t they? And Tony was rather hot! Sam and Niamh’s twin bond was amazingly described and really clever. Niamh got images of what Sam was going through and his emotions. Sam could sense her strong emotions. But Niamh couldn’t use it to find Sam. The magnetic thingy in the Triangle was scrambling Niamh’s feelings… hence not being able to sense him. Callum, Sam’s best friend, was awesome! He had a great sense of humour and was really snarky, along with being a curious, clever geek! While he was sensible and logical, he was always up for Sam’s jokes. What I really liked about his was his ability to keep up the humour in the most difficult places: he really made me laugh! Matt Cutler, was obsessed with the Bermuda Triangle, and never gave up on finding his wife. Which is rather romantic, if you ask me. While he could be moody at times he was great with boats and planes, relaxed and powerful under pressure. All the various characters were awesome, and I loved that all the minor ones felt so real and padded out. Carrie was one I adored – she was so sweet and cheerful and helpful. And Carrie’s brother Tony was just yummy! Moira Mitchell was one of my favourites, even though she was a super minor character. Her sense of humour and wonderful drawl were brilliant and funny. The writing was brilliant. I loved the teen-ness in the kids’ voices, and how American the Florida folk sounded. But more importantly: the action! It was non-stop and wrapped in mystery – my favourite kind! And I could see everything as I read – especially the world. And I loved the plot! Some bits were obvious (thanks to the blurb or common, maybe hopeful, sense) but everything Robson made up was unforeseeable! I was hooked, desperate to know more about the world, if the boys would be able to get home, if… And, man, did I not see this one particular twist coming. Just an overall awesome book packed with adventure and mystery. Yay! I loved the world! A sulphur-smelling sea, a crocodile-sea-lion-whale-looks-like-its-about-to-eat-me thing, communist dinosaurs, advanced technology… Yeah, welcome to the Devil’s Triangle, people! Unlike anything I’d ever read about before, I completely feel in love with the world. And Nipper, one of the raptors. (Is that strange?) But I loved the parallel to us: global warming and how much you’re willing to put at stake for technology and power – bearing in mind the method is killing the planet and endangering the inhabitants. Mark’s imagination was just amazing! I would never have been able to think up even the most basic bit of his world – and my imagination is worryingly vivid. Just… wow! A wow world, for a wow book by a wow author… More please?!...more
4 Out of 5 Sam and Callum are still stuck in a bizarre parallel world, having entered via the Bermuda Triangle. Sam is desperate to get home... until4½ Out of 5 Sam and Callum are still stuck in a bizarre parallel world, having entered via the Bermuda Triangle. Sam is desperate to get home... until he finds his mother, who has been lost for nine years, and discovers her cause. Suddenly, he and Callum are needed desperately - there is something terribly important they must do before they can all come home. Back in our world, Sam's twin Niamh is desperately trying to unravel the mystery behind her brother's disappearance - and trying to clear her father's name, who has been accused of killing the two boys. She has to prove his innocence and evade the cops - if she isn't there to search, she knows no one will be able to find Sam... But Sam's facing troubles of his own. The Imperium are after the band of rebels, and they are determined to make an example out of them... After reading The Devil's Triangle, I just had to read Eye of the Storm - ASAP! And it did not disappoint, not even one little bit! I was pulled straight back into the action, the world – I literally couldn't stop reading. Once this series gets its hooks into you, it just doesn't let go! It's so darn addictive! I quite frankly need Book 3! NEED it! I love all the main characters so much. Sam: athletic, smart, a survivor and now a rebel against the communist raptors. Gotta love it! I loved how snarky and brave he was – he was a great leader and kind of an adrenaline junkie! The ‘New Sam’ is a real rebel – hardened and just… changed, though... As for his sister Niamh, she was determined, resourceful, crafty and desperate to get her brother back. I loved how logical and matter-of-fact she was – the snarkiness and how she made me laugh was a bonus! Callum is just the funniest thing, though! He always manages to make me laugh with his sharp wit and great sense of humour. His enthusiasm doubled with his sarcasm was addictive and very funny and he was also a complete genius! I love Cal, and his brains never ceased to surprise me. Again, I have to mention the supporting characters. Matt, Claire, Archie… The latter was a bit of a posh twit to begin with, but he was actually ok and really funny. Plus: evil genius alert! Oh, and I have to mention Nipper, the raptor, ‘cause I just loved him. He was loyal and protective and so, so brave! Human-wise, I especially love Carrie. Over enthusiastic, sweet and cheerful, she was just so darn cute! As for her brother Tony: yum! And I loved that all the various raptors and rebels all had such distinct personalities. I loved this world so much. Mainly ‘cause of the raptors: highly intelligent, advanced and pure animal. And Communists too! See why I love it? It’s just so creative and new and scarily brilliant. I loved learning more about all the raptor traditions and rules. Well, I just love the world. But, uh, I don't think I really wanna go there... Oh, and I just adored Mark's writing: descriptive so I can see the whole world in my head, and not at all heavy. Also, I love how it jumps from Niamh in our world to Sam in the parallel world. As cool as the jump perspective is, the fact that we got to see into Nipper's mind was SO MUCH COOLER! I loved seeing into the raptor's head, especially as I have a real big soft spot for Nipper! As for the plot, it was just awesome 'cause it was pure action! There were twists and turns galore! I really couldn't tell where it was going. One twist in particular... yeah, I really didn't see that one coming. Not in the least. And as for the end... Well. I. Must. Have. Book. 3! A parallel world, a psychic link and a family torn apart on either side, Eye Of The Storm was a brilliant adventure - one full of mystery, suspense and communist dinosaurs! I loved every single second, was totally addicted, and I can't wait to get my hands on Book 3! I recommend it to boys, girls, reluctant readers and bookworms alike!...more
Ever since baby Jemma died, Lindy's family has fallen apart. Her brothers are in prison and her parents spend all their money on alcohol and gambling.Ever since baby Jemma died, Lindy's family has fallen apart. Her brothers are in prison and her parents spend all their money on alcohol and gambling. So when she's offered a job by her cousin, she takes it, desperate to escape. But she's soon in way too deep: her cousin is a drug dealer, and she's caught in the middle. With no way out, she's trapped, caught in a downward spiral… Until she finds an unexpected ally in the new boy: strange, mute Karl. With his help, can Lindy escape the web she is caught up in? When you've done what she's done, is being truly free ever an option? I love emotional contemps, so when Miriam asked me to review this, I couldn't say no! And Illegal did not disappoint! Emotional, powerful and addictive, it had me hooked from page one. It dealt with difficult topics like drug dealing brilliantly, and created a story with amazing and a believable plot. I adored Illegal, and can't wait to get my hands on Hidden and Stuffed (Books One and Three). Lindy Bellows was a really troubled girl who had too much responsibility, too young. She was tough, putting on a brave face, but she was drowning. And she was all alone. Her vulnerability broke my heart, and made me just love her to pieces. She'd lost so much, so she didn't really want to let people in and was scared and untrusting of the ones she did let in. She was so vulnerable and broken inside that it was impossible for me NOT to love her. Karl Reece was strong and cute and sweet and caring and darn irresistible! To begin with he never said anything, but he spoke volumes with his eyes, eyebrows and face. I loved him! He'd been through so much, and was so clever and oh-so-cute with his "I-love-facts-voice"! I loved the relationship between Lindy and Karl: it was so natural, so sweet, so real. I just loved seeing how Lindy's thoughts of Karl changed as she got to know him better, going from thinking of him as a "retard" to feeling terrible for ever thinking that. They were so different but so alike and when they were together, I just felt it. They were perfect. Garth Bellows, Lindy's 19-year-old brother, was someone I couldn’t figure out to begin with. He was meant to make everything better for Lindy, but he got her the job with Cousin Collin. But he really came through and tried to look out for Lindy, even from prison. He was so caring and reassuring and made me and Lindy feel safe. Cousin Collin Bellows, drug dealer. He was a shady character, tricking Lindy, lying, wheedling his way into everyone's good books. I agreed with Lindy: he was "totally insane". Jess... When I first 'met' her, I thought she was a total cow: she was horrid to Lindy, vindictive. But towards the end, I started thinking that she wasn't too bad. I think her character can be expanded on... And guess what! After meeting Miriam, she confirmed Book3, Stuffed, will be about Jess: Squeee! Can't wait! Lindy's family was really dysfunction and broken. Her dad was addicted to gambling, always down at the bookies. Her mum was empty, broken, never doing anything. Her big brothers were in prison, and her younger one was innocent and young and always hungry. And baby Jemma was dead. Although the family wasn't perfect, they were a family. And I could feel it, especially in the very last chapter. I'll miss the Bellows! I really loved little Sean - he doted on Lindy, worrying if she wasn't in... he was terrified he'd lose her too. He was so clever and so cute and I just loved him! A huge theme in this book is loss. Both Lindy and Karl lost someone, and it affected them both hugely. Friendship is another, especially in the unlikeliest places, and about being able to let people in and trust them after having loved and lost before. This in particular, I think Miriam did beautifully. The writing was brilliant: raw, emotional, powerful. Told in third person, it still really let me get into Lindy's head. I felt everything she felt, saw everything she saw. And it was authentically teen. It was simple, yet emotional and powerful. Just the way I like it! And the plot was brilliant and compelling, unlike anything I've read before. I've read ones with drugs in, but not ones like this. Not with characters I fell in love with the moment I met them and had me glued to the page so I could find out how it all ended. Although I had a vague idea about what the plot would be like, I really didn't see the twists coming. I loved every second! I just adored the setting. Hayling Island sounds beautiful, and I loved getting to see the huge variety of people who live there. All the little facts and places on the Island just made the story feel all the more real to me. I can't wait for my next Hayling fix! Emotional, powerful and about feeling trapped with no way out, Illegal was a beautiful and touching story, one that pulled me in and didn't let go, even after I put the book down. I just loved this book. Every. Single. Second. I can't wait to read the others in the series!...more
The world is split in two, at war with one another. A war for the solar system... Tom Raines is a gamer, playing to keep a roof over his and his dad'sThe world is split in two, at war with one another. A war for the solar system... Tom Raines is a gamer, playing to keep a roof over his and his dad's heads, his father being an unsuccessful gambler. But as much as Tom loves his father and gaming, he can't help wishing for more. Wishing to be important. And then his wish comes true. Someone has noticed him, his amazing skill at virtual reality games. He's accepted into the Pentagonal Spire, a military academy where he will be trained to fight in World War Three. It's like all Tom's dreams have come true all at once; he's important, taller, acne-free, with a computer as a brain and a cause to fight for – and maybe even a girlfriend. But before his new life has even truly begun, will everything be torn apart; will he be forced to leave the Spire? To go back to being a nobody? I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up. I'd been told that if you love Cherub you'd love this, so I was picturing teen spies. And while there were teens and bundles of action, Insignia was in a world of its own. It was funny and addictive, with the most amazing characters and world. I was expecting another dark dystopia, but this was so, so, so much more than that. It was original, it was addictive, it was freakin' hilarious. I loved this book to pieces! Tom Raines was someone I loved right away. He was clever, sneaky, brave and funny, and just made me grin with his witty snark and cheekiness! I just loved him! Oh, and he was also such an evil genius! And as sweet as he was and as much as I loved him, the boy really did have the killer instinct! All the characters were incredible, hilarious and either utterly and completely loveable or hateable. Par example, Dalton I hated with a passion. Tom, Vik, Wyatt, Beamer and Yuri, meanwhile, I adored! And the friendships between them all were so real, so sweet, so funny! God, I loved them all – especially Vik the “the spicy Indian” who made me laugh non-stop and Wyatt Enslow, AKA “Man Hands” or “Evil Wench”, who had no social skills and really made me laugh with her wit! Oh, and Elliot Ramirez I started off thinking was really stuck up, but he really did grow on me: he was do sweet and friendly and his inspirational talks killed me! I have to mention Vik and Tom’s friendhip, because they were just classical! Those two absolutely killed me; they actually had me cracking up in public spaces. I was enjoying their wittiness too much to even care about looking like a total weirdo! Their immature madness was addictive and absolutely sent me into hysterics. I LOVE the "Doctors of Doom" (PhD and MD)! The world was amazing and so well thought out. And the technology? Amazing! The virtual reality games, the way the war was fought; it was all so new and, well, amazing! I liked the parallel to privatisation and media moguls in this book, how they bought about World War Three – it intrigued me, in a twisted way. And you know what? I just want to jump feet first into this world, to be a CamCo myself and fight wars in space. And that may sound kinda nerdy, but trust me. If you read this book, you'll so totally get it! The writing was just brilliant! Witty, action-packed, addictive and absolutely hilarious! I don't know how Kincaid did it, but her words and characters just had me creased with laughter. It also had me scared, touched and just overall hooked. Loved it! And the plot was equally addictive! I was sucked in from the very first page and hooked from start to finish! This was a believable, funny, technology-filled, action-packed and twisty book I just gobbled up. I loved that most of the plot was completely unforeseeable, that it twisted and turned and never failed to surprise me! I loved that Insignia wasn't depressing like so many dystopias, but that it had the perfect mix of horror and humour, adventure and friendship, technology and emotions. I loved everything about this book! I seriously cannot recommend this one enough! Kincaid is an author to look out for, an author who had me hooked to every word. I cannot wait for the next in the series! Ms Kincaid, you have a new number one fan in The Book Addicted Girl!...more
4 Out of 5 “But why we're the black warriors after Outsides? It didn't make sense. Nobody cares about Outsiders; they're the lowest of the low…” Hylas4¼ Out of 5 “But why we're the black warriors after Outsides? It didn't make sense. Nobody cares about Outsiders; they're the lowest of the low…” Hylas is an Outsider, a boy without kin, ancestors or a clan. A nobody, the lowest of the low. No one cares about him, no one other than his sister Issi and his dog Scram. And then the Crow warriors attack. They are killing Outsiders, and Hylas has no idea why. He doesn't know where his sister is or if she is even alive. Scram is dead. On the run and fearing for his life, Hylas fled the only home he's known - he must carry out his quest alone. Until he finds Pirra – the daughter of the High Priestess, who grew up in the House of the Goddess and has just seen the outside world for the first time, having fled the arranged marriage she is meant to be forced into – as well as a dolphin named Spirit. But even with their help, can Hylas escape the Crow Warriors? Can he find his sister? And will he ever know why the Crows are after him? And what is the importance of the plain bronze dagger a dying man pressed into his hand...? I love Michelle's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. It's so new and awesome and cool. Gods and Warriors – well, it just exceeded even my highest expectations. I raced through the story at warp speed, gobbling it all up. I felt like I was there with Hylas and Pirra and Spirit, going on all their adventures with them, seeing the island and Blue Deep with Spirit. I loved every second of the book and can't wait for the sequel: I also can't wait to pass this onto my brothers – they love Michelle just as much as me and are desperate to get their hands on Gods and Warriors! Hylas was an outsider – and really kind of amoral. I found finding out what he didn't know intriguing – he didn't know what a bath was, for example, and had never seen a horse up close. And even though he had this rule to not help people who couldn't help you, he was still caring and a generally good person, albeit a bit selfish. As for Pirra, I totally got her obsession with freedom. She was totally useless at living rough, but she was strong and tough and determined. She kind of hated her mother, but in her toughest moment, Pirra thought of her. It's little oddities like that that made Pirra – and in fact, all of the characters – come to life. And I loved Spirit, the dolphin. He was so clever and protective and I loved seeing the world through his eyes – he saw everything so differently and it was so intriguing and amazing. I just loved him to pieces. Plus, the relationship between Hylas and Pirra killed me. They were such unlikely friends, so mismatched. That just made me crack up – how they scoffed at everything the other didn't know... Until they had to ask what something meant! But they were totally on the same level and were a brilliant team, even though they really were the oddest pair! There weren't really that many big characters in the book. Sure, we had the leads but there weren't that many others. Somehow, Michelle made me fall head over heels or into an instant burning hate for these few characters. She's amazing... But I also really liked Userref, Pirra's slave and surrogate big brother. I really didn't like Pirra's mother, though, 'cause she was heartless! But Telamon was a great character too – he was noble and honourable: a warrior. I love Michelle's writing to absolute pieces - it's so marvellously descriptive and paints a picture in my head. And I absolutely loved the time I spent in Spirit the dolphin's head – I loved being a dolphin! He thought hair was seaweed – that one really made me giggle! Now, I'm not squeamish or anything, but the scenes where Hylas was eating raw fish or turtle eyeballs or drinking blood – just YUCK. It doesn't help I'm a vegetarian, I think. But kids will love the gory stuff – they do love Horrible Histories after all! Actually, I love HH too... So funny! Back on topic: the plotline was even better. It had me hooked from the very first sentence. The action started on the very first page and didn't let up. It was nonstop and totally addictive – I loved every second and was constantly guessing: I had no idea where it was all going whatsoever! And the setting? Oh, so epic! I loved learning about all the rituals and rites and beliefs. They were all so different and intriguing to me. I could so see how much work Michelle had put into it - it was all so amazing! Their belief system knocked my socks right off! I loved learning all about all the gods, all the mythologies and rituals. And I loved all the spirit-y stuff. Oh, I just loved the entire setting full stop. Loved the whole book full stop… A story that had me hooked every single moment and racing towards the end, Gods and Warriors us a book both children and their parents will love – whether it's being read aloud or in your head, you're always be hearing: just one more chapter... This is the perfect book for all reluctant readers and reading addicts alike – whether you're ten or a little older... I know I'll be anxiously and excitedly waiting for the next in the series – what can I say? I'm hooked!...more
4 Out of 5 “Ashleigh Jarvis was lying bleeding and unconscious in the gutter behind him. “She was no longer hugging herself though, and perhaps that's4¾ Out of 5 “Ashleigh Jarvis was lying bleeding and unconscious in the gutter behind him. “She was no longer hugging herself though, and perhaps that's why she looked as if she had finally fallen apart...” The police service has just set up a pilot scheme called the Trainee Police Officer program. It lets exceptional young people join the force at the age of sixteen and fast track them those with the ability to be amazing officers through the ranks... Holly Blades is one if those people. Her first serious case is that of Ashleigh Jarvis. The fourteen year old girl ran shoeless and terrified through the streets before running into the road and into the path of an oncoming lorry... Holy knows she shouldn't allow herself to become emotionally involved in cases, but she can't help it. She is determined to solve the case for Ashleigh. Even if she puts her future as a TPO in danger... Oh, how I love crime fiction! There seriously isn't enough YA stuff around and Knock Down was such a gem! Gritty, addictive, thrilling and unique, it had me hooked from start to finish. I even missed my favourite shows to finish gobbling it up! Now that's a sign of a good, good, good book if ever there was one! Knock Down was amazing and Ould is definitely a YA author to look out for! I loved this book to pieces – all sixteen-year-old must read this! The characters felt so real to me. Even if I didn't know much about them, they all really jumped off the page. None of them felt like they were stereotypes or just walking props. All of them had a personality, all of them had secrets and hidden agendas. I loved that. How they were all so complex. Take Holly for example: she was caring and devoted, and knew how to stand up for herself – which was important as people didn’t always take her seriously, since she was only sixteen. I felt like I really knew Holly’s personality and character but not much about her past – what made her her, if that makes sense. But I didn’t care: she was such a good person and such an amazing copper and I can’t wait to see where she goes. Plus, she’s really relatable, even though she’s a policewoman (girl?). I also really liked her fellow TPO Sam: I don’t really know why but I found Sam really, really cute! He was funny and protective and dedicated: I can’t wait to see more of him! Plus, I just really loved all the cops – they were all awesome. And while I didn't really like them, I loved getting to know all the gang people - they were all really complex. I found myself addicted to the gritty realism in Ould's writing. It was so realistic and authentic. The writing was very detailed yet simple, a real pleasure to read. Plus, I just loved all the cop stuff – and how real it made it all. And I was just as intrigued as Holly was about the events behind Ashleigh’s accident. The pace was non-stop and action-packed, full of suspense and thrills. And I did not see anything in the whole darn plot coming! On top of that, the chapters were so short – a danger! danger! alert on that front, I'm afraid! But as well as the police stuff, I was thrilled and intrigued by all the gang related chapters and trying to figure out what was going on on that front. And all the unanswered questions - well, I just can't wait to get them answered! I need a new book, a new case - ASAP! I loved how real all the police stuff was. I loved all the cop talk and cop procedures. It was awesome! You could tell that Ould had a background in the genre – his The Bill experience definitely came across in his gritty, realistic writing style. Loved it! And I loved even more that Ould doesn't talk down to you – he shied from nothing and sugar-coated nothing. Loved that! Speaking of the awesomeness of crime fiction and gritty realistic, anyone else notice that crime thrillers are sneaking and coming into YA fiction? Gotta say, can't wait for it to explode! Teens love CSI and whatnot and there's nothing more gripping than a good crime thriller - especially if we wanna get teens back into reading! And it's even better when our leads are people teens can relate to - say, teen cops! Plus, all the issues tackled were just so relevant, so current, which is just the cherry on the cake of crime awesomeness! A totally kickbutt crime drama, the first in a series I just know I'm going to love to bits and never want to end! Twisty, gritty, action packed and just plain awesome, Knock Down has just left me desperate for more, more, more! I'm always saying we need more crime fiction in YA lit and I so wish there are more now I've read how freaking AMAZING Knock Down was! I can't tell you how bad I want - no, need - a sequel! Crime loving people, young or old, you all have to read this! It's so awesome, awesome, awesome, AWESOME!! I can't wait for Case número Two!...more