Posts Tagged ‘reviews’
Today we hear from Bookbabbler Pamela…
The Dragon Princess is an awesome bumper back of three tales of magic, action and true love.
Join Emma and Eadric as they battle against the odds to prove their love and determination to be together, all the while trying to rescue Eadric’s younger brother in No Place for Magic. Grassina will charm and amuse you in The Salamander Spell as she struggles against feeling neglected and useless and what it really means to go back home again. And of course, Millie, the Dragon Princess, who is determined to control her dragon nature.
The Dragon Princess is packed with adventure, mythical creatures like vampires, werewolves, trolls and fairies. It will charm and delight its readers with laugh-out-loud hilarity and sweet tales of true love. Not to mention having them on the edge of their seats at the epic adventures.
Thank you Pamela and thank you to Bloomsbury for sending us a copy to review.
Today we hear from Bookbabbler Wendy…
This is a sweet simple little tale about a brave knight known as the Golden Prince. The story is short and based on what knights do such as hunting wild beasts and locking traitors in dungeons whereas the illustrations are off a little boy in fancy dress hunting his cat and playing with his little brother in the playpen. The imagined fantasy world is something that all parents and children can relate to.
I thought my children who are 4 and 6 would find this book too simple but they think it’s funny and is a much requested read. As the writing is simple it also would make a good early reading book.
Thank you Wendy and thank you to Inside Pocket for sending us a copy to review.
Sister, Missing is the sequel to Sophie McKenzie’s award winning 2006 debut novel Girl, Missing. I haven’t read the first book and was worried that I might have jumped into the story too soon. However, this was not the case at all and I think it is fine to read as both a sequel and as a standalone book.
The story is set two years after the events of Girl, Missing and follows sixteen year old Lauren and her younger sister Madison after a proposed morning at the beach turns into a nightmare. Lauren’s younger sister Madison is kidnapped from the beach in scarily similar circumstances to her own kidnap two years earlier. The book follows Lauren’s race against time to find her sister and find out who her sister’s kidnappers really are.
There are several prominent characters in this book and I think one of Mckenzie’s strongest traits is that you don’t really know who they are – there are some real shocking surprises in the novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat. I adored Lauren’s character and thought she seemed brave and friendly despite all of the things that she had been through.
This story is so gripping and fast paced that I found it difficult to put down, I got into the book so much that I actually felt I was really on Madison and Lauren’s terrifying journey. I will definitely be reading Girl Missing and looking out for more books from Sophie McKenzie after reading this fantastic book.
Thank you to Simon and Schuster for sending us a copy to review.
Today, Bookbabbler Liz reviews Between for us, and we have 5 copies of it to giveaway!
Between by Jessica Warman
Only the good die young. Right? Elizabeth Valchar has it all: friends, money, beauty, a cute boyfriend and assured popularity. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she is found drowned next to her parents’ boat. Everyone thinks it was a tragic accident – teens drinking on a boat, a misstep leading to a watery death. But Liz is still here after death, and she doesn’t know why. There are gaps in her memory. Her only company Alex, a boy killed by a car a year earlier, Liz sets out to piece together her life. But their small coastal town is hiding many secrets – about families, boyfriends and friendship. Plus, Alex hates Liz for being mean when they were alive. Was she as squeaky clean as she thinks she was? Could it be that she herself is hiding the biggest secret of all? Can Liz discover the truth? And if she does, who can she tell? An engrossing, compelling thriller that peels back the layers of small-town life to expose true, ugly, cruel human nature. (from Goodreads)
Liz Valchar dies on her eighteenth birthday. She sees her own body floating in the water, her boots knocking against the side of her boat, the Elizabeth. Her death seems like an accident – she was drunk, so it’s not unlikely that she stumbled and fell off the boat into the sea. But if it were an accident…why is Liz still here? And why can’t she remember about her life before she died? In a ghostly form no-one can see or hear, Liz and the ghost of Alex, a boy who died a year earlier, have to figure out why they are connected in death when they were so very different in life. Liz was the popular girl. Alex was a nobody. Yet it seems something has brought them together to solve the mysteries of their deaths. As they both watch over the events that unfold after Liz’s death, sinister secrets are uncovered, and Liz begins to realise that everyone seems to be hiding something – even the people she thought were her friends. What really happened the night she died? And more importantly – why?
Between was a book I thought about long after I finished reading. Though the main character Liz was dead throughout, it was mostly a book about life. To start with, Liz was a very unlikeable character. She was arrogant and rude and generally thought she was better than other people – especially Alex, who she didn’t even want to speak to at the beginning. As the story went on however, I realised that Liz couldn’t just be described as impolite and obnoxious. She was more than that; her life much more complex. From experiencing forgotten memories, from listening to Alex and from witnessing the effect her death had on everyone, Liz began to understand that she wasn’t as great as she thought she was. That not everyone thought in her way, or liked her as much as she believed they did. I wanted to know why Liz was the way she was, and by the end of the book, I found out. I could definitely relate to her a bit more, because while she was dead, I think she really learnt just how many mistakes she made when she was alive. She did some stupid things, some selfish things and some downright terrible things I don’t know I can forgive her for. And the fact that she couldn’t do anything to help while she was dead really got to her. Even when she discovered some horrible things her friends her done, her attitude to them didn’t change all too much, because I think when she died, she realised how much she appreciated them and how much she took them for granted. I felt Liz found out more about her life while she was dead than while she was actually living it.
Alex was probably my favourite character. He was all alone when he died, so he didn’t have much patience for Liz’s theatrics when they first met. He didn’t like Liz at all to begin with and he called her out on all the stupid or petty things she did, which I thought was great because it helped her grow as a character. I think the way their friendship developed was brilliant and I really enjoyed seeing them accept each other and become closer. I also loved finding out about Alex’s life – he was very reluctant to share any memories with Liz, so when he did, it was really interesting to see things from his point of view. I’m glad he got to find out more about Liz, and though I think his death was so awful and unfair, I’m happy with the way things turned out for him.
The minor characters were all relevant to plot; they all had imperfections but I think it’s the imperfections that made the story happen. Richie was Liz’s boyfriend – he was into drugs, but he seemed kind-hearted and really cared about Liz. I didn’t really know whether to like him or not (the whole thing with Josie – Liz’s stepsister – was really messed up), but it was interesting to see how he coped after Liz died. Josie was a character I really did not like from the beginning. She always seemed so false to me, whenever she was being kind or helpful, and I just couldn’t understand why Liz loved her so much, or why she seemed to have so many friends. Her role was an important one though, and I found myself curious about her in every scene she was in, mostly because I never knew what she was really thinking.
Plot-wise, I really enjoyed the mystery and I thought the way it played out was pretty exciting. I sort of guessed the way Liz died in the end, but there was one plot-twist I did not see coming! Between was definitely one of those books that made you feel a range of emotions. It covered various serious issues (there was some pretty heavy emphasis on eating disorders), and there was also a lot of casual drug use, so I would say this book is for ages 14 and up.
Overall, I really enjoyed Between. It wasn’t your usual YA; it wasn’t about a girl and a boy, or forbidden love or anything like that, but more a story where the characters learn to find themselves and also forgive themselves. Highly recommended!
Thanks, Liz! Thanks to Egmont, we have 5 copies of Between to giveaway to Bookbabblers now! To be entered into the draw, comment on this post or retweet it, and we’ll pick 5 winners at 7pm Sunday (UK only) – good luck!
Today we hear from Bookbabbler Luke….
Dust and Decay by Jonathan Maberry
Benny, Nix and Tom have returned from the heart of the rot and ruin with a plan. Ever since they saw a plane fly over the zombie-infested wasteland they’ve been clinging to the idea that there is somewhere out there where people live without fear. Now, after months of rigorous training with zombie-hunter tom, they’re finally ready to leave their home forever and head into the unknown in search of a better future.
But as soon as they start their journey, everything begins to go wrong. They are pursued by the living dead, wild animals, insane murderers and the horrors of the rebuilt Gameland, where teenagers are forced to fight for their lives in the zombie pits. Worst of all, it seems that the evil zombie-bounty hunter Charlie Pink-eye might still be alive…. And out for revenge. Can they make it out of the rot and ruin alive?
We follow Tom, his brother Benny and his friends as they leave their town in search of a plane which they hope will prove of life outside. Tom has been training his friends how to survive in the rot and ruin. On the way into the ruin they realise that the Gameland is up and running again under the new management of white bear and preacher jack.. They have to split up once in the ruin and some of the members are unfortunate enough to come across preacher jack and white bear, however they all end up meeting again in Gameland. Along the way they continue to fight the zombies. The book develops the characters and you get a great insight into their thoughts and abilities. Nix is the thinker of the group whose diary entries give an insight into life in the ruin, Lilah learns to trust and love and the friends develop feelings of affection for each other. My only problem with the book is that I wished I had read Rot and Ruin first so I could get a deeper understanding of the main characters. The book is very gory at times, however this is understandable as it is has loads of zombies and bad guys throughout. Very sad ending which I didn’t expect. Looking forward to the final book and to see who survives.
Thanks, Luke, and thanks to Simon & Schuster Childrens Books for sending us a copy. It’s here for you to buy now…
Today we hear from Bookbabbler William..
Justin Thyme by Panama Oxridge
‘I don’t have to build a time machine; I could still change my mind…’Justin shook his head, grasping the futility of his dilemma. The first domino had already been pushed; the fuse had been lit; the countdown had started. He’d passed the point of no return, and was trapped in the adventure of a lifetime with absolutely no way out.
You probably know the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ but this book is just as great as its cover. On the front it has an ambigram of the title, which means that which ever way up you hold the book, you can read the words ‘Justin Thyme’.
The story is set in a remote Scottish castle by Loch Ness. The residents are: Justin Thyme – a 13 year old inventor and billionaire, his sister Robyn – your average teenage girl, their younger brother Albion, their mother Lady Henny- a celebrity explorer, and Sir Willoughby- their father, Laird of Thyme.
As Justin begins to wonder about time and chance, he suddenly thinks up a way to build a working time machine, but as soon as he mentions it to his father lots of strange things start happening; one of the family is kidnapped, Justin learns about his father’s past and soon realises there is a spy in the castle.
This is a great book with a really unexpected ending. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed ‘Tanglewreck’ by Jeanette Winterson, or Phillip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy.
Thyme Running Out by Panama Oxridge
As the threat of the Thyme Curse closes in on Justin’s family, his life is once again thrown into complete turmoil. Will he finally unmask Agent X and his spy? Has Evelyn Garnet stolen his wristwatch? Why is Eliza the tame gorilla acting so wild and aggressive? What’s suddenly made Sir Willoughby start planning a secret trip in the time machine? And where has Justin’s sister, Robyn, mysteriously vanished to? Only Nanny Verity knows the truth, but can Justin find her before its too late?
Following on from ‘Justin Thyme’ this book would have a lot to live up to, but this sequel was even more exciting than the first book and ticked all the boxes for a mystery/adventure story.
After buying a tropical island and rescuing a baby dodo, things keep on getting stranger and stranger for Justin.
Agent X strikes again, this time kidnapping Sir Willoughby, Robyn mysteriously vanishes and Evelyn Garnet starts threatening to get rid of Eliza.
Will Justin finally catch Agent X and find Robyn? All will be revealed in this amazing second book in the Tartan of Thyme series.
Thanks, William, and thanks to Inside Pocket Publishing Ltd for sending us copies of the books to review. They’re here for you to buy now…..
Today we hear from Bookbabbler Pamela…
Forbidden – Jana Oliver
Riley’s beginning to think being a demon trapper isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Her dad’s been stolen by a necromancer, her boyfriend’s gone all weird and she’s getting warm and fuzzy feelings for someone who’s seriously bad news. It’s tempting to give it all up and try to be normal, but that’s not an option.
Because the demons have plans for Riley.
And they’re not the only ones.
Forbidden is the kind of book that grabs you by the throat on the very first page and doesn’t ease its grip…even after the final page has been turned.
Full of action, suspense, jealousy, betrayal, scorching romance and all-out error, Forbidden takes you on an intense journey that you won’t forget in a long while.
The story starts as the Guild’s trappers are recovering from a demonic battle that left many of their own dead or wounded. Riley Blackthorne has a lot to deal with – an overbearing family friend who wants to protect her, or kill her, depends what day he’s asked; her recent deal with Heaven; her boyfriend who came to the brink of death; and finding the person responsible for reanimating her dead father.
First of all, I adored Riley. She had a spunky, no-holds bar of a personality and didn’t back down to anyone…not that that was always a good thing. I sympathised a lot with her whilst reading Forbidden, knowing that if I’d have been in her shoes, I’d have cracked a heck of a long time ago. But fortunately for Riley, she has more than a few friends on her side. Peter, the adorable tech geek, Ayden the street-wise witch, Mort, the charming necromancer…and don’t even get me started on Beck or Ori.
I was reminded a lot of Buffy while reading Forbidden – the weight of the world hanging over a teenage girl who likes getting distracted by good looking guys who may or may not have her best interests at heart. Suffice to say, it’s going to be long, long wait till book three.
Thanks, Pamela, and thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books. It’s available for you to buy here…
Today we share with you our Q&A with Aimee Carter, and then Pamela reviews her debut book, The Goddess Test..
Q&A with Aimee Carter
Tell us a little about yourself
Hi! I’m Aimée Carter, and I wrote a book called The Goddess Test. I live in Detroit, love books, movies, and Harry Potter, and I’m an Aquarius. That just about covers the basics.
Tell us about The Goddess Test
The Goddess Test is essentially a sequel of sorts to the myth of Hades and Persephone, and it’s about a girl, Kate, who takes a test to see if she’s fit to become a goddess. I’ll let the back of the book do the talking for me.
“Every girl who has taken the test has died.
Now it’s Kate’s turn.
When her mother’s dying wish is to return to her home town, Kate’s willing to do anything to make it come true. Even if it means starting at a new school with no friends—and no hope.
Then she meets Henry. Dark, tortured and mesmerising. Henry offers Kate a reprieve. She thinks he’s crazy. Yet when he brings a dead girl back to life right in front of Kate’s eyes she’s not so sure any more…
Claiming to be Hades, God of the Underworld, Henry’s prepared to make Kate a deal.
He’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
If she succeeds, she’ll become a goddess—and Henry’s bride. If she fails she’ll never see her mother again…
Though based on a mythological tale, how did you come up with your storyline?
It was a process that literally took most of my life. The ‘what if’ if the scenario – what if Persephone left Hades? – came to me when I was young, and that niggled in the back of my mind for a very long time. It wasn’t until I started to write original stories as a teenager that it came back to me, and it took a while for me to sort out how I wanted to explore that scenario. Eventually I figured that there was a test to see if a mortal was worthy of becoming a goddess, but the circumstances behind Kate’s situation didn’t occur to me until about a year before I started writing the book. That final piece – her mother dying from cancer, and Kate walking into this test in order to buy more time – was what really pushed me into the story properly.
What’s your favourite tale from Greek Mythology?
Probably the myth of Hades and Persephone, but I’m also partial to Orpheus and Eurydice, as well as Castor and Pollux. I love the idea of someone loving someone so much that they’d be willing to go to hell and back to save them.
What were your favourite books when you were younger?
I was really into a lot of series when I was younger, including The Babysitters Club and the Thoroughbred series, by Joanne Campbell. I also love The Giver, and I’ve been a fan of Harry Potter since I was in middle school. Mostly I read whatever I could get my hands on, even the backs of cereal boxes.
Thanks, Aimee! Aimee will be on Twitter this Sunday from 8.00pm-9.00pm doing a Book Club so you can join in and ask her any more questions you have about The Goddess Test! Follow her on @aimee_carter. And now onto Pamela’s review..
The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.
The Goddess Test, quite simply, was one of the best YA novels I have read this year. And trust me, I’ve read a lot.
The story follows eighteen year old Kate as she moves from New York City with her mother to quiet and rural Eden. Kate’s mother is dying and her days are numbered – and she wants to spend them where she grew up. At her new high school, Kate isn’t interested in making friends or fitting in. All she wants is to make her mother happy…and being in Eden does that.
Kate elicits unwanted attention at school and becomes the target of a cruel prank that has deadly consequences. Popular and beautiful Ava wanted to scare Kate and give her a warning – not lose her life. Ava’s death brings Henry into Kate’s life. Gorgeous and mysterious Henry who, if he is who he claims to be, has the power not only to bring Ava back, but prevent her mother’s death also.
But the question is – what price is Kate willing to pay?
For anyone, let alone a teenager, Kate is under a great deal of pressure. She struggles to come to terms with her mother’s illness and what it will take to save her. Kate was a likeable and sassy character and it was a pleasure to read her story.
The Goddess Test had plenty of twists and turns – a great mystery and also a heart-stopping romance. The Greek mythology throughout was well placed, informative without being overwhelming.
The author’s new and exciting twist on the Olympians was nothing short of fabulous. The great thing about myths is they are open for interpretation – and I loved Aimee Carter’s.
I’m recommending this book to anyone who will listen and I myself cannot wait to reread it. As for the next instalment…can it be 2012 right now?
There aren’t enough stars that will do justice to this sensational novel.
Wow, thanks, Pamela! Thanks to Mira Ink for sending us a copy. It’s available to buy here now..
Today we hear from Bookbabbler Pamela….
After Obsession by Carrie Jones & SE Wedel
Aimee and Alan have unusual pasts and secrets they prefer to keep hidden. Aimee’s deceased mother struggled with mental illness and hallucinations, and Aimee thinks it could be hereditary. After all, she sees a shadowy river man where there isn’t one. And then there was that time she and her best friend Courtney tried to conjure a spirit with a Ouija board …Alan is Courtney’s cousin. His family moved to Maine when Courtney’s father went missing. It’s not just Alan’s dark good looks that make him attractive. He is also totally in touch with a kind of spiritual mysticism from his Native American heritage. And it’s not long before Aimee has broken up with her boyfriend …But it’s not Aimee or Alan who is truly haunted – it’s Courtney. In a desperate plea to find her father, Courtney invites a demonic presence into her life. Together, Aimee and Alan must exorcise the ghost, before it devours Courtney – and everything around her.
After Obsession was one of those rare books that took me totally by surprise.
Aimee and Alan are two teens who come from two completely different backgrounds but have one crucial thing in common – they both have secrets they are desperate to keep. Alan is part Navajo and greatly believes in the history of his ancestors and their gifts and has an incredible destiny to live up to. Aimee has dreams that sometimes come true and has a healing touch.
Aimee lives in a quiet Maine town with her father, brother and grandfather. Aimee’s life was flipped upside when her mother died in the river near their home. A river that has claimed more than one life.
Alan comes from Oklahoma, but is forced to move with his mother to his aunt’s house as she has recently lost her husband to the water. Alan cousin to Courtney, who happens to be Aimee’s best friend, and while there is an electric charge the first time they meet, it isn’t the strangest part. They dreamed of each other first.
When Courtney starts acting odd and the rest of the town’s people get meaner, crankier and just plain bad, Aimee and Alan know what is the cause of it. The River Man, an evil spirit. And together they have to do what they can to put things right.
After Obsession was a pleasure to read – a beautiful and tender love story while also being steeped in horror. What I enjoyed most was the enjoyable and informative trip into Alan’s Indian background and learning more about his beliefs and history.
The story flips between Aimee and Alan’s POV and this is done very well, both characters were smart, funny and easily held the reader’s attention. Fans of Carrie Jones’s other series will not be disappointed by this book.
But the best part? Gotta be the Cheeto.
Thanks, Pamela, and thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sending us a copy. It’s out to buy this month..
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Today we hear from Bookbabbler Sarah…
Traitor’s Kiss by Pauline Francis
This is the captivating true story of the young Elizabeth I, as she struggles to survive the treacherous world of Tudor England. After the death of her father, Henry VIII, a young Elizabeth journeys to London to live with her father’s widow, Katherine Parr, and her new husband, Thomas Seymour, brother-in-law to King Edward. Surrounded by malicious whisperings of her late mother’s witchcraft, Elizabeth is desperate to escape suspicion and discover the truth about her mother. A young stranger asserting Anne’s Boleyn’s innocence sends her on search a that takes her on a dangerous midnight journey to Bedlam, the hospital for the insane, to meet her mother’s former lady-in-waiting. This encounter changes the way she views her mother – and herself. Meanwhile, at home, Elizabeth’s reputation is increasingly under threat, as her stepfather, Thomas Seymour makes unwanted advances toward her. Her stepmother witnesses a kiss and Elizabeth is sent back to Hertfordshire in disgrace. Here she falls seriously ill and rumours abound that she is hiding a pregnancy. When Thomas Seymour is arrested for treason in a plot to overthrow King Edward, Elizabeth is implicated by association. Now it is up to her to defend her integrity – and her life…From the author of the best-selling Raven Queen comes a new masterpiece of historical fiction.
Traitor’s Kiss is a fast moving story based around the early life of Queen Elizabeth I when she was still a young princess and sister to King Edward VI.
The novel is based around real life events and follows Elizabeth as she tries to find out information which may prove her mother Anne Boleyn was innocent. In the dangerous Tudor world of plots and accusations; Elizabeth soon finds that her quest may lead her into great peril.
The plot of this novel is gripping, we are taken from the beauty and splendour of the rich Tudor courts to the shocking horror found at the depths of Bedlam. To make matters harder for Elizabeth, her stepfather Thomas Seymour (husband of Katherine Parr; Henry VIII’s last wife) makes unwanted advances towards her and compromises her position in the household. A new accusation soon takes shape with Elizabeth herself at the centre of a terrifying scandal. Traitor’s Kiss is told in the first person from Elizabeth’s point of view, which makes the reader feel that they’re really there witnessing these events first hand. Elizabeth comes across and as self assured and somewhat naïve at the same time. It is definitely a different portrayal to the side of Elizabeth I that we are usually shown.
Overall, Traitor’s Kiss is a real page turner and I felt that I didn’t want to put this book down. I also really enjoyed reading about Elizabeth’s early life, which I knew little about. This is a great historical fiction novel that I would recommend to anyone interested in the Tudor and Elizabethan periods and in historical fiction in general.
Thanks, Sarah, and thanks to Usborne Children’s Books for sending us a copy. It’s out now and here for you to buy now…