Tag Archives: action

Book Review: Boy X by Dan Smith

Published February 2016 by Chicken House.

28425665Goodreads Synopsis: Kidnapped and drugged, Ash wakes up on a remote tropical island. His mum – a genetic scientist – has been imprisoned and infected with a deadly virus. Where is he, and what’s he doing there? He sets out to cross the jungle to find out and rescue his mother. Soon he realises he’s quicker and sharper than before. But there’s something else …why are the animals watching him, and how can he use the jungle to his advantage?

My Review: Dan Smith is a fantastic author, and I was so excited to hear about Boy X, his latest book! I made time to read it as soon as my copy arrived, as I was really interested by the synopsis.

Boy X begins when Ash McCarthy wakes up, a week after his father’s funeral, in a mysterious island lab where chaos has broken out. Confused and afraid, he meets Isabel, daughter of another scientist trapped and infected. Together, they have to face the depths of this peculiar jungle, racing against the clock to find the cure for the virus.

As always, Dan Smith’s writing is brilliantly paced and addictive – I read most of the book in one night, totally disregarding school work, because I was really eager to see the mystery unravel. I really enjoyed the plot – it’s gripping, but not overly complex so I think the story will appeal to a lot of different age groups.

The characters were really awesome – Ash and Isabel made a great team fighting their way across the jungle to work out the truth about the virus. I really loved their chemistry. It’s a little hard to talk about why I loved Ash without spoiling elements of the story – but I did really enjoy his back story and how well he tied into everything.

Overall, Boy X was a really fantastic read – it will definitely appeal to lots of readers, from MG fans to adults! Every book I read from Dan Smith just gets better and better. I can’t wait to see what he writes next. Recommended!

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Boy X from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Lorali by Laura Dockrill

Published 2nd July 2015 by Hot Key Books.

24910026Goodreads Synopsis: Looking after a naked girl he found washed up under Hastings pier isn’t exactly how Rory had imagined spending his sixteenth birthday. But more surprising than finding her in the first place is discovering where she has come from.
Lorali is running not just from the sea, not just from her position as princess, but her entire destiny. Lorali has rejected life as a mermaid, and become human.
But along with Lorali’s arrival, and the freak weather suddenly battering the coast, more strange visitors begin appearing in Rory’s bemused Sussex town. With beautifully coiffed hair, sharp-collared shirts and a pirate ship shaped like a Tudor house, the Abelgare boys are a mystery all of their own. What are they really up to? Can Rory protect Lorali? And who from? And where does she really belong, anyway?

My Review: Mermaid books have never really been my ‘thing’ so I can’t say I’ve read many of them. Lorali had been on my radar for a while, but it wasn’t until I listened in person to Laura Dockrill brilliantly pitch it that I’d really wanted to read it! It was refreshing to delve into a new genre – and the writing of an author I’ve never read before. Needless to say, I’d love to read more YA from Laura in the future.

I didn’t realise the book was from multiple perspectives but it was maybe my favourite part of the book – especially the perspective of the sea, which was interesting and a really good way to tell parts of the story.

Lorali is not a typical princess and although I wish more of the book had consisted of it, I adored her narrative; written in a tentative, explorative style that reflects the surfaced mermaid’s confusion and discovery of a new world.

Rory, the boy who finds Lorali on the beach and soon becomes a love interest, was also very likeable, as he was so selfless and simultaneously very vulnerable-feeling. I’ve never read a character quite like him. Lorali and Rory’s love is a driving theme of the plot and I did quite like their chemistry.

The pacing was great and I raced through the book, always wanting to know what happened next. Though I haven’t read many similar books, this is undoubtedly a much grittier mermaid tale than many will anticipate. The world building was fantastic – it felt almost gothic in places, always richly imagined. There are a couple of ‘media clippings’ in the book too by the public about mermaids which made me giggle a bit, too.

Overall, Lorali was an unexpectedly very gripping and enjoyable read. I’m really glad I picked it up. The story was darker than I had anticipated and the ending was shocking; an outcome I definitely didn’t see coming! Lorali is definitely worth seeking out if you’re interested in a darkly fantastical read.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Lorali from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: OTHERGIRL by Nicole Burstein

Published 2nd April 2015 by Andersen Press.

22854303Goodreads Synopsis: Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers.
When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.
Life isn’t a comic book – it’s even crazier than that.

My Review: I’ve been following the author of Othergirl, Nicole, on Twitter for a while and she often tweets about geeky awesomeness, mainly comics – so I was really eager to read her début novel as soon as I heard of the book deal. After what seemed like a long time, I wandered into Waterstones a while ago and didn’t realise it was out. I’ve never purchased a book quicker!

A main reason I was excited about this was that it tells the story of the one stock comic book character who’s always left behind; the superhero’s best friend. Louise has known Erica for years, and helped her through her discovery of superpowers – even making a costume for her.When Erica’s secret powers suddenly mean she’s part of a very big event, Louise is pretty much left behind, as Erica quite literally flies off without her.

The plot was so brilliantly written and paced. I intended to only read a few chapters, but ended up reading the entire book in one go. I loved the idea behind the story and it was told brilliantly, with some humour and a little romance too that I wasn’t expecting. The world in Othergirl is identical to our own… but there’s a world famous, world wide network of Superheroes called the Vigils, sponsored by large companies and immortalised on kids’ walls as posters. I really enjoyed reading about the superhero organisation, and kinda wish there was one like it IRL… 😀

The characters are so brilliantly crafted and understandable. Louise is a caring friend who always goes the extra mile, while Erica is more self-absorbed and tends to be more reckless and angry. Their chemistry is really interesting. I never fully liked Erica as she was often pretty dismissive of Louise – and I resonated with Louise more, being the typical quiet nerd. The ending made me tear up a little, actually!

Overall, Othergirl was definitely worth the wait. It was exactly as great as I wished it would be, and more. I’m so happy there’s a book like this in the YA market.  The characters were so fun to read about, as was the inventive world of superheroes Nicole Burstein has created. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an author’s personality reflected so much in their work as in Othergirl. (Also, bonus! Little comic book tributes hidden in the novel…) Highly recommended – this has fast become a favourite of the year.

My Rating:

five

I purchased a copy of OTHERGIRL from a local bookstore.

Book Review: If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn

Published 2nd April 2015 by Chicken House.

22892748Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of CHASING THE DARK comes a thrilling young teen crime mystery, guaranteed to keep you guessing until the very end.

Not long after Aliya’s family escapes Afghanistan for Britain, her brother is accused of a bomb attack. Aliya is sure of his innocence, but when plumber’s son Dan finds a gun in their bathroom, what’s she to think?
Dan has his own reasons for staying silent: he’s worried the gun might have something to do with his dad. Thrown together by chance, they set out to uncover a tangled and twisted truth.

My Review: Recently, I’ve read quite a few books based around religion, intolerance and terrorism – so I was very excited about getting to Sam Hepburn’s latest title, which is along the same lines. I really enjoyed it!

Aliya is an instantly loveable character; from the moments we see her forced to leave her home, to the closing pages. Her chemistry with Dan was great. I was a bit nervous watching them develop as I was certain it would end up in a love story, but I’m really glad it didn’t. The story is focused on finding the truth about Aliya’s brother – and told through Aliya and Dan’s switching perspectives, which were really insightful.

I am so glad that so many books are being written on similar themes lately (see also: You’re Not Proper and One Of Us) as terrorism and victimisation are things happening every single day. If You Were Me tackles stereotypes and the way the media portrays events expertly and brutally honestly – within a tense and gripping plot.

The plot was incredibly well paced and engrossing. Solving the mystery was such a thrill ride – I guessed some elements, but there were a lot of surprises. I think the only problem I had was that I lost track of characters at points: There’s an intricate web of antagonists and allies in If You Were Me and I got a little mixed up sometimes (partially blaming that on reading distractions though…:P).

Overall, If You Were Me was a lot more than I’d expected. It’s a totally gripping read with some unbelievable twists and turns that kept me hooked. With prominent themes of media portrayal, and terrorist attacks, I hope this gets a lot of attention as it’s a very relevant book. Definitely recommended if you’re looking for a nail-biting thriller, or something that’s very relatable.

My Rating:

four

 

I received a copy of If You Were Me from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Big Game by Dan Smith

Published 1st January 2015 by Chicken House books.

22892753Goodreads Synopsis: Written by acclaimed children’s novelist Dan Smith, BIG GAME is a stunningly told survival story set in the icy wilderness.

13-year-old Oskari is sent into the cold wilderness on an ancient test of manhood. He must survive armed only with a bow and arrow. But instead, he stumbles upon an escape pod from a burning airliner: Air Force One. Terrorists have shot down the President of the United States.

The boy hunter and the world’s most powerful man are suddenly the hunted, in a race against a deadly enemy…

My Review: I started Big Game a little apprehensively. I had read and really enjoyed Dan Smith’s previous historical novel, My Brother’s Secret (review here!) – though this new book is a novelization of a movie script, for a film of the same name. I wasn’t sure how I’d find it, because of that – would it be as good as Dan Smith’s historical YA? Would it be as enjoyable? I was a little nervous but very eager to read it, as the synopsis was awesome.

I loved Dan Smith’s writing yet again. It was fast paced and I was sucked straight into the story. I really loved Oskari’s narration. He’s comes across at first as a character defined by his flaws, but he flourishes throughout the story as an incredibly brave, powerful protagonist. He was so fun to read about! I really enjoyed seeing him develop.

The plot was so great and I am really looking forward to seeing it played out on a big screen. On the night before Oskari’s birthday, he must embark on a journey to the Finnish forest, and stay there for a night and a day. When he returns, he will be a man and must present a trophy – a hunted animal that will reflect his personality.

However, when he finds the president of the U.S.A in an escape pod after witnessing terrorists land close by, Oskari realises there’s a much bigger game being played than his own hunt. It felt really original and exciting to me; a real pulse-raiser of a book.  The ending felt a little abrupt, but made me smile.

Overall, I enjoyed Big Game a lot and I definitely recommend it. Smith’s writing is fantastic and enthralling, and he’s channelled the personalities and emotions of the characters brilliantly. I felt really attached to Oskari by the end and found myself wanting to read some more about him – the ending did make me smile but was a little abrupt. I can’t wait for the movie, which features Samuel L Jackson as the president – and I’m also eagerly awaiting Dan Smith’s next book now. 🙂

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Big Game from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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The Maze Runner Blog Tour: SIGNED BOOK GIVEAWAY

Martyn Pig stg2One day to go! It’s the 9th of October – Which means that tomorrow The Maze Runner is officially released in the UK! Today’s blog post is an exciting blog tour one, celebrating the movie’s release.

I read The Maze Runner at the beginning of 2013, and I loved every fast-paced, thrilling second of it. It was such a great book! I loved the mysterious world of the Glade – it interested and terrified me (as did the rest of the trilogy later on in the year…). The main thing I loved about the book, though, was all of the characters. Thomas was such a great protagonist, and I loved reading about the Lord of the Flies-esque community of Gladers too. You can read my review from last year by clicking here.

I can’t wait to see the book brought to life on the big screen. I’m a little nervous because so many YA novels are being adapted – but I’m a big Teen Wolf fan and love Dylan O’Brien’s acting in that… I think he’ll make a brilliant Thomas!:D View the trailer for the movie by clicking here, if you haven’t seen it yet! It looks awesome and the Glade is exactly the way I imagined it when I read it.

 

Giveaway time!!

The Bibliomaniac Book Blog is teaming up with Chicken House books for this giveaway –  and it’s a pretty exciting one! You can win a classic copy of The Maze Runner, SIGNED by James Dashner, the author. Enter using as many methods as you like from the rafflecopter menu below & good luck! AS I can’t get the widget working on my blog, click on the hyperlink below to go to the giveaway page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms / Conditions / etc etc

-This giveaway closes at midnight on the 19th of October: You have ten days to enter as many times as you like!:)

-I will tweet or facebook the winner of the giveaway a few days after the competition ends.

-I, the blogger, will NOT be sending out the book. I will pass postage details from the winner onto the publisher, Chicken House Books, who will post the prize.

-I’ll have to privately message the winner for their address (obvs:P) but as soon as I’ve passed the details onto the publisher I’ll delete them.

Good luck, and enjoy the book and movie!:)

Mini Reviews: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

I received copies of the first two books in The Name of the Blade Trilogy (Thank you Walker!) by total surprise a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to start them. After reading them I thought I’d do a combined-review post… Enjoy!(:

The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Published 2013 by Walker books.

20703287Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the Katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn how to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks not only losing her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

My Review: The Night Itself was such a brilliant book! I’ve been meaning to read something by Zoe Marriott for ages, as I’ve only ever read glowing reviews of her fantasy novels. I’m glad I’ve gotten around to The Night Itself at last, as I loved it! I was hooked in from the beginning – literally on the edge of my seat as I read about the freaky events taking place around Mio after she steals the katana.

I’ve fallen in love with Marriott’s writing:  it’s so gorgeous and I was completely immersed. She’s also really talented at crafting memorable characters. Mio was a really great main character, but I also loved her best friend Jack, who I found hilarious!

The plot was crazy and fantastical. I didn’t expect a lot of the aspects, but really enjoyed the story. Highly recommended if you love urban fantasy

My Rating: 

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Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

Published 3rd July 2014 by Walker books.

15723550Synopsis: Against all odds, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire. As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realizes that there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

My Review: I’m always a little bit apprehensive when starting sequels to really awesome books – but Zoe Marriott definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved how the romance developed between Mio and Shinobu. One character’s development that was most interesting (and shocking!) was Rachel’s, but she seemed a little bit forgotten about towards the end… I’m definite there will be a bigger focus on her, though, in Frail Mortal Heart. 

I wasn’t sure anything could terrify me more than the monsters in book one, but the new creatures after Mio in Darkness Hidden were terrifying! I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the most part – but there were points where I saw the jump-scares coming.:P

The ending had me in a complete mess. I honestly do not know what to do now until next summer, when Frail Mortal Heart is released.

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^Basically me. // All in all, though, I really highly recommend the first two books in The Name of the Blade trilogy! They were both fantastically action-packed and pacy, and I loved the originality of it. Urban Fantasy is becoming a popular genre, and Marriott’s books really stand out in the market, with the way she blends urban London with ancient Japanese mythology and horror.

My Rating:

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I received copies of The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.