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The School for Good and Evil

the-school-for-good-and-evilBy: Soman Chainani

Sophie is so excited. Every four years two children from Gavaldon are kidnapped, supposedly they are taken to the School For Good and Evil. There the good one would be trained to be a fairytale princess or prince, and the bad one a villain. Sophie is so sure she is going to be taken to be a princess, it’s all she ever wanted. It is her destiny, her escape. She is everything a princess should be – pretty, blonde, health conscious and does good deeds. Her best friend Agatha doesn’t see things that way, everyone expects Agatha to be taken for the School of Evil. Agatha is dark, moody, not easily befriended and lives in a cemetery. Things however don’t go to Sophie’s plan. Sure both girls are taken but the rest goes all wrong. It seems sometimes the princess and the witch don’t look like everyone expects then to.

I don’t want to say much more about the plot because I don’t want to give too much away. This was a wonderful story. It takes the cliches and gives them a little twist. Chainani has created a world that is real and yet seems to have been created with tongue firmly planted in cheek. I love Agatha, she doesn’t fit but she does. Sophie is so determined to prove what she is that she misses what is plainly clear. The characters that surround our central two have as much to learn as they do, they see what they expect to see rather than what is really there.

A wonderful, and enchanting tale. Delicately crafted and layered. This story is all about the layers. It isn’t about what you see on the surface, rather it is about motivations, what is truly at the heart of someone. This idea is what drives this story along and it is told without preaching. The packaging, the world, the school is colourful, full of wonderful contrasts. The jump between good and evil is fluid, it never feels clunky. The descriptions make it easy to picture the entire school. Perfect for those who love fairytales, or even just a good story. Great for 10+  but younger YA readers will love it too.

Do yourself a favour and read it.

Highly Recommended

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 06 June 2013

Format: Paperback 496 pages

Categories: Fairytales, Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9780007492930

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Briar Rose

I received my copy from the publisher

9781447241096By: Jana Oliver

Briar Rose loves fairy tales, it’s a bit silly really but that’s how it is. She lives in the same town her family has lived in for generations, and is even involved in a honest to goodness family feud with the Quinn family. The whole thing is a bit strange, when they were younger Briar and Joshua Quinn used to be good friends, then something happened. A something that has had a lasting effect on both. The two are not allowed to talk or associate in any way. Sometimes though parents aren’t right, and now Briar is about to turn 16 she is going to find out the truth. Briar will find herself part of her own fairy tale, doomed by a curse to die. Her best friend isn’t about to let that happen and with a little magic the curse is changed and Briar is merely sleeping.

It’s not just any sort of sleep though, she now finds herself trapped in a twisted fairy tale, one with elements she recognises but that is in so many ways that matter, different to any tale she has ever read. Whilst trying to understand a strange land with strange rules Briar has to find a way out, she must complete a certain task and surely then she will be free. But in this twisted fairy tale things just aren’t that simple.

Briar is an average girl, who doesn’t understand her mother’s obsession with hating the Quinn family. She doesn’t understand why her mother has her effectively wrapped in cotton wool. She just wants a boyfriend, someone to love her and if he happens to be a handsome prince then that would be just fine with her. At her core Briar is loyal and brave. Her best friend Reena is the one with the magic touch and her loyalty is even stronger, she is able to see outside Briar’s prejudices and has great strength and determination. Joshua isn’t convinced the family feud is the right thing and he feels drawn to Briar. The addition of Pat, arrogant and selfish provides a nice counterpoint. He just wants to survive and get back home, he doesn’t care about the quest or helping the village, in some ways it is his character that has the most dramatic arc.

Oliver has taken a familiar tale and twisted it in a couple of fun, dark ways. The world of the fairy tale is gritty, bleak and a wonderful contrast to the world Briar comes from. The places where it differs from the tale you expect are what really holds your attention. An intriguing read. If you love fairy tales, magic and a little romance then definitely pick this book up.


Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Published: 12 September 2013

Format: Paperback 480 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tales

ISBN 13: 9781447241096

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

The Fault in Our Stars – Casting News

Well here we go, this could be really awesome news. The amazing book by John Green The Fault In Our Stars is to be made into a film.

Here is the casting news as I know it as of the moment.

Shailene Woodley will be Hazel Grace Lancaster


Ansel Elgort will be Augustus Waters


Natt Wolff will be Isaac


Laura Dern will be Hazel’s mother

'Nebraska' Premiere - The 66th Annual Cannes Film Festival

Seriously though if you have not read this book do yourself a favour and find a copy, it is wonderful. It made me laugh and it made me cry even when I was on the train.

Catching Fire – Movie Trailer

Well here is the official trailer. Hope the movie is good, it looks good, and there is so much potential in the source material.

Scarlet in the Snow

I received my copy from the publisher.


By: Sophie Masson

Natasha and her family have fallen on hard times, they aren’t living in the manner her sisters want to be. With her mother doing what she can to provide Natasha steps out to help. Then she gets caught in a blizzard, just when she thinks she is out of options she stumbles across a mansion. It’s a strange place, beautiful and mysterious, with no-one seemingly around. However when she reaches out to touch a perfect flower her life is changed forever.

The master of the house is caught in a spell but that doesn’t stop him demanding vengeance for her act. She comes to see she may be the one to break this spell, to uncover the mystery, but before she can everything changes again. If she is to have a chance at the love she thinks she could have then she has to outsmart a powerful sorcerer and get to the bottom of Beast’s unknown history.

A wonderful take on a couple of Russian fairytales, obviously one of which is Beauty and the Beast. Natasha is a generous, brave character. She has an inner strength that enables her to face the problems her family have and the terrifying situation she finds herself in. She is smart and determined, thinking her way through the obstacles in front of her.

The world Masson has created is wondrous, enchanting, it simply sweeps you up into itself. It’s a white, icy landscape, cold in so many ways, the perfect juxtaposition to the warmth of the story at it’s heart. If you love fairytales, romance, engaging characters and a bit of mystery thrown in for good measure, then give this a shot.

Actually if you just want to be swept away somewhere else for a few hours then pick this up, I read it in one sitting, staying up late into the night to finish it.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Random House Australia

Published: 1st May 2013

Format: Paperback 336 pages

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, Fairytale

ISBN 13: 9781742758152

Purchase: use the Booktopia link on the side of the page

Scarlet in the Snow – Author Speaks About

I’ve just read this book and will post my review shortly but thought I’d add this for something a little different.


I received this copy from the publisher.


By: Emma Pass

Jenna Strong is in a maximum security jail, locked away for life because ACID – the most brutal police force in history, say she murdered her parents. Jenna works hard to stay alive. It comes as a huge surprise to her when she is broken out of the facility. She doesn’t know what is going on but she knows these people who did this want something from her. She is given a new identity, a new life but things don’t exactly go according to plan and Jenna finds herself on the run with Max. On the run things go from bad to worse and Jenna struggles to see a way out. She is determined no to let anyone get the better of her though.

This is a great story but one I can’t say too much about or it gives too much away. Suffice to say if you like dystopian fiction and strong female characters then give this a look. Jenna is a headstrong girl, determined to survive. She feels responsible for the consequences of her actions, and even the actions others take on her behalf. The journey she goes on is rough, full of ups and downs, twists and turns. It is engaging, dark and gritty.

Highly recommended.

Publisher: Corgi Children’s

Published: 25 April 2013

Format: Paperback 448 pages

Categories: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Romance, Mystery

ISBN 13: 9780552566148

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