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Archive for September, 2011

Blood Red Road

By: Moira Young

Saba and her twin live with their father and younger sister Emmi, in an incredibly desolate place. Things are tough. Everything changes for Saba when her brother is kidnapped and their father killed. She is determined to save her brother, no matter what. She leaves everything she knows behind and races across the harsh dustlands, fighting for her very survival, filled with a red hot rage that fills her up and spurs her on. She can’t trust anyone, not even the boy who saves her life, there is something about hime though that draws her. To fulfill her task and rescue her brother, Saba must learn to trust, lead and silence the stirring in her heart.

A civilization destroyed, reduced to scavenging and violence. This is the world Saba draws us into. At first I have to say I found the language style (spelling as spoken) a little difficult to get through but at some point I realised the story had swept me up and sucked me in and I didn’t even notice the laguage anymore.

Saba is an interesting, torn and stubborn character. She is tough, really tough and her journey is engaging. The characters around her are wonderful counterpoints to Saba, equally strong yet able to draw more out of her. Young has painted a harsh, often cruel environment and planted in it tough and ruthless characters. Even their sense of humour is rough, though the playful moments are welcome, timed well in the text and help bring balance into the tense atmosphere. Young has done a great job weaving such characters into this world.

Saba, her friends and the world are tougher, certainly rougher than some of the dystopian worlds that are making appearances in YA fiction and there is something very appealing in its rawness. For a reader willing to embrace it, this book will be a rewarding read. Gritty and enjoyable.

Recommended.

Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books

Published: 02 June 2011

Format: Paperback 544 pages

Categories: Adventure, Dystopia,

ISBN 13: 9781407124254

Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia

 

Sneak Peak – Reckoning

One of my fave YA paranormal series is drawing to a close.

The Lili St Crow Strange Angels series winds up with the book Reckoning and if you want to read the first chapter then head here.

How To Train Your Dragon

By Cressida Cowell

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is the son of Stoick the Vast, tribe chieftan, and he is not at all ready to take on the Dragon Initiation Programme, but he has little choice in the matter. Things go from bad to worse when the dragon he ends up with is tiny and toothless and remarkably unwilling to be trained. Hiccup has to figure out how to train his dragon or be exiled from his village. then things go from worse to worse than worse when a Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus appears. Can Hiccup figure out how to become a hero and save every viking on Berk?

Hiccup is nothing like a hero. He is, quite simply an underdog. He is notable for his perseverance and very likable, he certainly shows traits you would welcome in a leader, even if they aren’t the obvious ones. Cowell has created a fun world and populated it with familiar stereotypes. This is a fun read. Accompanied with plenty of black and white illustrations and side bits, the story moves at a fair pace and should keep even a reluctant reader engaged. Silly names, silly pictures and silly antics give us an overall silly book that makes for an entertaining read.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

Published: 04 February 2010

Format: Paperback 240 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Dragons, Vikings

ISBN 13: 9780340999073

Purchase: here or use link on side of page to Booktopia

Eon

By: Alison Goodman

Eon is training for Dragoneye selection, a revered position – a powerful Lord able to master the wind and water elements to protect the land. Eon struggles with a damaged hip and a desperate secret for Eon is in reality Eona, a gifted young woman disguised as a boy in order to provide her master with the chance for a return to power. This deception is deadly as the world she inhabits views women as powerless, they have no respect and can only be wives or servants, for the most part they are hidden away.

The outcome of the Dragoneye testing is totally unforseen and thrusts Eona right into the heart of a vicious struggle for the Imperial throne and ultimate power. With no way out Eona must learn to navigate the treacherous court and make the hardest decisions she has ever faced. She will need all her wits and strength just to survive the bloody struggle and hold onto her magic.

An amazing read, I just have to start there.

Goodman has created a wonderfully detailed world that draws you in and doesn’t let you go – like the monsoon winds controlled by the Dragoneyes. Eon/Eona is an amazing character of vulnerability, confusion, determination and strength. At her heart she wants to do good and she struggles with her lack of knowledge and uncertainty. She is thrust into a world far more complex than she could have imagined. The events around her sweep her in as much as they do us as she struggles to to come to terms with the depth of her deception and the scope of her responsibility.

Lady Dela is a wonderful companion/advisor for Eona allowing for a unique and interesting perspective. Other characters flesh out the world and contribute to it’s total believability.

The story is at one time both simple and complex. To say it is a story of good versus evil would be true but an oversimplification. The politics, culture and natures (hidden and open) of the characters make this story so much more. This was a book I didn’t want to put down and I look forward to reading the sequel Eona. If you are looking for a well constructed fantasy with layered and interesting characters and a story that won’t let you go, I would have no qualms recommending this.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd

Published: 01 December 2009

Format: Paperback 448 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Dragons

ISBN 13: 9780732290115

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

Dav Pilkey – Behind the Scenes of Super Diaper Baby 2

Just because these books are so very fun I thought you might be interested in this behind the scenes little video.

Let yourself be inspired and don’t be afraid to pick up a pencil.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret – Movie Trailer

Coming from such incredible source material is this movie version of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Renamed Hugo this film has been directed by Martin Scorsese and is set for release later this year.

It will be interesting to see how it turns out but the trailer looks pretty spectacular.

Marshmallow Skye

This book was sent to me by the publisher.By: Cathy Cassidy

Skye has an identical twin sister. They always do things together, that is they used too but recently Skye has been wanting to different things and she is feeling a bit left out. She is as the point where she really believes everyone is far more interested in Summer. To make matters worse her friend Alfie confesses to having a crush – on Summer, which hurts more than Skye expected, and her best friend seems more interested in hanging with her sister. Then Skye finds herself drawn to the mystery of one of her ancestors, something her sister wants nothing to do with. FInally maybe Skye can learn to be her own person and maybe people will begin to notice her for who she is, not just because of her sister.

Skye is a slightly quirky and incredibly appealing character. She is a wonderfully drawn girl who is struggling to find herself amongst the pressures of a blended family, having a twin who excels and the need to grow up. The way Cassidy has developed the family is very real and touching. As with most families there is chaos and clashing wills. This is the second of the Chocolate Box Girls series and you don’t have to have read the first to enjoy and understand the second.

Cassidy deftly and honestly deals with that awkward time of life when you being to discard the childish things in favour of the less childish ones. There is a dash of mystery, some good laughs and the honest texture given to it all through the lens of blending two families and and finding out who you really are.

If you are a fan you will love this, if you haven’t read anything by this writer before she is well worth picking up and giving a try, especially if you are a reader or know a reader who prefers stories more grounded in reality than fantasy. Read this and allow the heartache and joy of this story to wrap around you.

Publisher: Puffin Books

Published: 12/09/2011

Format: Paperback 294 pages

Categories: Fiction, Family, Divorce, Growing Up, Sisters

ISBN 13: 9780141325240

Purchase: Use logo on side of page to link to Booktopia

Fury

This book was sent to me by the publisher.By: Elizabeth Miles

Emily Winters is really looking forward to the winter holidays because they are looking like they are going to be really good. The guy she is into has finally started to notice her, little looks and touches, The problem is he already has a girlfriend but she is going away, the bigger problem though is the girlfriend is Gabby, Emily’s best friend. If she starts down this path it won’t be something she can ever take back. Sometimes sorry is not enough. Someone has seen, someone knows and someone wants Emily to pay.

Chase comes from the other side of town. His home life is tense and his social life is beginning to unravel, not something he wants with the big Football Feast coming up. But Chase has a secret, he has done something really cruel, it is the sort of thing the perfect guy he’s trying to pretend to be, would never do. Now he thinks his actions have resulted in something terrible. He is convinced that it is only a matter of time before he is exposed. Hen he meets Ty and her cousins and becomes obsessed, but what is Ty’s agenda?

This novel has elements of paranormal and romance but with a twist. The paranormal element isn’t angels, werewolves or vampires. In this way it is a little refreshing. Miles evenly spreads the Fury’s rage between male and female targets which is also a good touch. This is a story of choices, seduction and consequences. It is about opening your eyes to what is around you. Emily isn’t a character you will always like or even always cheer on, her choices after all are what bring her to the Fury’s attention. Chase is also a character written in a way that makes you feel he has no real redeeming features.

The story is fairly tight and mildly intriguing. If you are an avid reader of YA paranormal stories and you can get past the characters who are often quite unlikeable, then you will probably like this, though remember it isn’t a normal paranormal romance – which for me is a good thing.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

Published: 30 August 2011

Format: Paperback

Categories: Romance Paranormal

ISBN 13: 9780857074867

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

All These Things I’ve Done

This book was sent to me by the publisher.

By: Gabrielle Zevin

Anya Balanchine hasn’t had the easiest of lives. At 16 she is the one responsible for her family – her brother, her younger sister; their parents are dead and their grandmother is desperately ill, dying. Anya also admits she has bad taste in boys, until Win comes along. Added to all that, is the fact she is the child of an organised crime family. She tries to keep things separate from the ‘family’, until she gets arrested for attempted murder. The new ADA takes a particular interest in Anya’s case and in Anya, he is Win’s father after all and the son of a DA dating the daughter of a crime boss really doesn’t look like a good idea, especially in the long term.

Anya just wants to protect her family and tries to break it off with Win even though she loves him. It turns out there is much more going on than she realises and pulling herself out of the family business may not be the best course of action.

Will she decide for love or loyalty? Whatever chooses will have shattering consequences.

Anya is a refreshing young adult heroine. She is pragmatic instead of romantic, protective even if a little misguided at times. She is the lynchpin of her family and runs her decisions through that lens. Her best friend is a good foil for her and Win an appealing love interest, stubborn and charming. Her immediate family are wonderfully developed, each with an unique style, written in a way that wraps them together even as little things and big things try to pull them apart.

Zevin has done a remarkable job of painting a futuristic prohibition society. (One I would struggle to stay on the right side of the law in, as chocolate is illegal). The way she has put it all together it makes sense. This is a story that reads well, is very entertaining and does a good job at keeping the reader engaged. At a time where there are getting to be a good many futuristic/dystopian titles on the young adult shelves, this one stands out.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Published: 1st September 2011

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Dystopian Crime

ISBN 13: 9780330537896

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

The Gallows Curse

By: Andrew Hammond

CRYPT series Bk 1

CRYPT stands for Covert Response Youth Paranormal Team. This team is affiliated with MI5 and are the people called in when a crime is committed and  police are at a loss. It is their job to figure out if something paranormal is going on and if so what it is and how to stop it.

Jud Lester is CRYPT’s star agent, also one of their liabilities, for Jud has a secret past. This new case is a big one, a 17th century highwayman wreaks havoc on the underground, the police have no idea what to make of it. Then people go missing and yet others are viciously attacked. The thing these attacks all have in common is that all the culprits appear to be from the 17 century.

Jud is unwillingly paired with new recruit Bex and together they have to work out what has caused these dangerous spirits to return to London’s streets. More to the point can they find out how to prevent the violence escalating, or stop it all together.

After a very brief history of the CRYPT organisation this book throws you right into the gruesome action and I do mean gruesome, some of the descriptions are quite graphic. The story itself is tight and entertaining, with just enough layers to provide a good number of twists.

Jud is a troubled young man with plenty of issues, this is what makes him something of a liability but also makes him interesting. Bex is a solid counterpart to him, tough enough to stand on her own two feet and stubborn enough to go out on her own if she feels it’s the right thing to do.

This is a fun ghost-busting read. The story behind the ghosts mixed in with a modern corruption keeps you interested. This is full of action, moves at a brisk pace and will be enjoyed by readers of other action fueled young adult series.

Publisher: Headline Book Publishing

Published: 01 September 2011

Format: Paperback 352 pages

Categories: Horror Action Ghosts

ISBN 13: 9780755378210

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of the page

 

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