Tag Archives: horror

Book Review: Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson

Published 22nd May 2014 by Pan Macmillan.

21243216Goodreads Synopsis: In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

My Review: I’m actually really mixed on Reckoning! I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, but I’m a little torn on whether I liked or disliked the book overall. Largely, though, I did enjoy it- I think most fans of the dystopia genre will definitely love it.

Reckoning is set in a post-war Britain (Which made for a nice change; most dystopia novels I read are set in the US!) where England has been divided into four realms and is ruled over by the new king, who essentially restored order from the war chaos. Every year, The Reckoning takes place in July for all of the teenagers entering adulthood, and determines where, and how you work for the rest of your life, under either Trog, Inter, Member or Elite (Which felt slightly Divergent-y).  A random lottery of Reckoning qualifiers selects ‘offerings’ for the king, who must live in Windsor Castle and serve him directly.

There were quite a few aspects of the book that reminded me a little too much of other dystopia novels. It definitely disappointed me a little bit… Though of course with dystopia being such a big, popular genre still it’s common to find books similar to others. It did take me a little while to get properly focused on the story, as I just kept picking up on similarities, though I’m probably exaggerating a bit… Reckoning still has many original aspects. After about half of the book though, I did start to get really engrossed.

Reckoning has so many plot twists! I honestly had no clue where the book was going, for the most part. I read one huge twist on a school journey, and had to restrain myself from gasping out loud! xD Wilkinson’s writing lures you into a false perception of things, then shocks you when you least expect it. That’s a big reason why I did really enjoy the story.

I’m mixed on Silver Blackthorn, who is the protagonist of the novel. I struggled to connect with her, for most of the story; a big reason why I love dystopia novels is because I find most of the characters really relatable, though for some reason I just didn’t connect with her, mostly! I think a lot of people will like her character. I think that, just like with some of the plot, I just didn’t really connect with her.

Overall, Reckoning is a really great read if you’re a fan of the genre. I liked the setting for the book, and the plot twists are totally shocking. Kerry Wilkinson’s writing is very enjoyable; I think I will read book two if I get a chance to (Reckoning kicks off a new dystopia trilogy!). I’m really sad I didn’t enjoy this as much as other people… I just didn’t click with parts of the story. However, all the Goodreads reviews of it that I’ve read have been glowing, so I’m pretty sure most people will love this book. ;D

My Rating:

bibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheart

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

Random bloggy note that’s too short for its own blog post:

Over the course of June and July I’ll be really busy with non-bloggy things; I have to revise for all of my end-of-year mock exams, and if I qualify on the next round on an extra curricular quiz team, I’m basically going to drownnnnn in revising for that, too xD Blog posts won’t always be as frequent from now on (Some of you might have noticed I only managed to get one published last week!).

I decided against going on a hiatus, because I don’t think I could manage leaving my blog for two months or so! However, hopefully blogging a little less over the next few weeks will let me get more reading done, and some more blog scheduling and planning for the future done, too. (: Thanks everyone for reading though, as always!<3

Book Review: The Fearless by Emma Pass

Published 24th April 2014 by Corgi Books.

18160146Goodreads Synopsis: The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect – anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. All Cass has left is her little brother – and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

My Review: I really loved ACID by Emma Pass last year. Ever since I found out Emma had written a new book, I’d been really excited, so I did a little dance when I got the chance to read this on Netgalley!
The Fearless begins with a completely scary prologue, where ten year old Cass and her parents experience the Invasion and are forced to risk everything and leave everything behind to get to a safe place: an island called Hope. I made the stupid mistake of reading the prologue before I went to sleep. It freaked me out. A lot. :O

The world building in The Fearless is awesome: I could really visualise this post-apocalyptic, almost, world- where England and (so far as we know!) the globe has been destroyed by a rapidly growing, almost zombie-ish army. The Fearless felt like a really original dystopian; it’s got that zombie invasion feel, but at the same time, it’s linked to the military and soldier serums and it’s really unique- I haven’t read anything like it!

Cass is a great main character- we see her grow a lot within the first few chapters- where we see her become a teenager intent on finding her brother, from a ten year old girl watching in horror as the Fearless rip her world to shreds. I was terrified for her, but she was a strong protagonist throughout. Emma Pass has expertly crafted another loveable, kick-butt heroine! There’s a… slight love triangle… but I coped with it. I have a tendency to really dislike love triangles, but I was okay-ish with this one! It was a little bit predictable, but I really grew attached to one of the love interests.

Overall, The Fearless was a really great second book from Emma Pass. I’ve been looking forward to hearing more from Emma since loving ACID last year, and though I think ACID is probably my favourite of her two books, The Fearless is definitely worth reading if you loved ACID or if you’re a dystopian fan! Emma Pass’ début novel was already dark and terrifying, and I didn’t think her next book could get scarier, but it did. the Fearless will freak you out, and keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Rating:

bibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheart

I received a copy of The Fearless from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

5 reasons to read say her name by james dawson

Say Her Name is James Dawson’s latest spine-chilling horror novel, out soon from Hot Key Books! I decided to make a graphic about it. It looks relatively freaky so that’s cool. The idea behind it?

“In five days, she will come…”

Say her name five times in the mirror, and in five days Bloody Mary will come for you… so, here’s five reasons to read the book!


WATERDROP-LANDSCAPE-2

 

I hope you enjoyed that, as I enjoyed making it, and hope that you now feel like picking it up- it’s definitely worth it! (: When you’re tweeting about the book, or if you want to find more info on it, use the hashtag #SayHerName.

Mini Reviews: Looking for JJ and The Naturals

More mini reviews… as I’ve not yet actually written any proper, long reviews for recent ARCs yet! *hangs head* I decided to do these two as mini reviews for now, though I may do discussion posts on them later, because both were really, really interesting. Looking for JJ and The Naturals are both chilling, crime-based books- I enjoyed both of them. They’re pretty dark YA novels… (:

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Published by Scholastic, August 2013 (10th Anniversary edition). Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

19301206

Looking for JJ is a really unpredictable book. I’ve heard a lot about it in the past, but I’ve never picked up a copy before! Hot Key Books were kind enough to send me a copy, because they’re going to be publishing the sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones, very soon. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store now. The main character here is under witness protection, after a traumatic experience in her childhood, which the media became obsessed with. The pot unwound in a way I would never have expected, and I was hooked right from the beginning until the very end. The main character, Jennifer Jones, is very relatable and understandable; even after I learned the truth about what happened in the woods that day…. *shiver* I think the only part that I couldn’t get used to was the format… I wasn’t expecting it to be set like that; starting with the present, then going to the past, then back to the present at the ending. It confused me, because JJ also had the flashbacks in the present… I just got a bit muddled at points! However, highly recommended- and I’m sure the sequel will be just as break-taking.

My Rating:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1

I received a copy of Looking for JJ from Hot Key Books, the publishers of book two, in exchange for an honest review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published by Quercus, November 2013. Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

18769818The Naturals was… wow. It blew my mind. The story was so original and clever, fast paced and action packed. The plot focuses around Cassie Hobbes, whose mum went missing, supposedly murdered, due to the terrifying evidence Cassie found years ago in her dressing room. Now, Cassie has been recruited to work in a secret branch of the FBI, solving mysteries with her talents.Cassie’s talent reminded me a lot of Sherlock Holmes. She’s amazing at breaking things down and solving mysteries. It was easy to connect with her, and I really enjoyed seeing her character develop a lot. As she’s solving a mystery, she realises it’s more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. I enjoyed it so much! The plot was really fast paced and addictive; I was left completely stunned. I think some parts seemed a little too… freaky? I know Liz, who let me read her copy, definitely saw this too! It’s a seriously chilling book, and definitely not for the faint hearted… there’s something about the murders that sends a shiver up your spine, stronger than a lot of other mysteries I’ve read.

My Rating:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1

I was given a copy of The Naturals from Liz, who told me I’d probably like it. Thank you so much!! 😀

I hope you enjoyed those reviews! both are spine-chilling books that you probably won’t want to read in the dark for the most part… Definitely recommended! (:

Guildford Book Festival: Darren Shan

I thought I’d written this post up, but I hadn’t! Just before Hallowe’en, the Guildford Book Festival happened! It’s a really awesome festival for literature, that has some really great authors for events. I went a few years ago to see Alex Milway, who writes the Mousehunter series. I know Matt Whyman, author of The Savages, was there for an event this year, but unfortunately I couldn’t get to that one! But, I did get to go and see the ‘Master of Horror,’ Darren Shan, talk about his ZOM-B books! I’m a huge fan of ZOM-B so I was so excited to see him talk about them and get my books signed again (I met him in a Waterstones signing a few years ago :D) I was armed with a notebook and a pen, and nearly went through a whole ink cartridge scribbling pretty much everything Darren Shan said, down! This is only… half of it. And it’s still long…

Darren Shan kicked off the event with a little intro to the world of ZOM-B, then a reading of the prologue of the first book, which was even more terrifying when he read it aloud. It was really atmospheric! He also talked about putting in some emotion to the book, so that it wasn’t all gore and horror. “Any good book, even a horror boo, has to have an emotional journey,” He said. It definitely goes for his zombies book too, because the main character has to deal with an abusive, racist father.

He then read a little of ZOM-B City… and probably picked the worst scene in the book, about a baby and Mr Dowling, the evil zombie-like clown. It was so freaky and Darren made a lot of people jump (including me) at points!

After more talk about the rough plots of the books, and the readings, Darren moved on to a Q & A from the audience. My brother, obviously, had to stick his hand up first and tell Darren to not drop spoilers. He’d been trying to plough through the series on the train to Guildford! During the Questions and Answers, we got to find out that Darren’s favourite films were the old Hammer Horrors (I agree. I’ve watched a few and they’re awesome) and Salem’s Lot, which is an adaption of a bestselling King horror book. Someone did ask about a dream cast, for if the ZOM-B books were turned into films, but Darren couldn’t answer, as he’d rather focus on his writing than possible productions!

He said there’s nothing in the pipeline yet for ZOM-B to become a film… but I hope there will be, as that would make an awesome movie.

In one of the last questions, he revealed the name of the next book to be released in January. Soon after on twitter the cover (left) was revealed… ZOM-B GLADIATOR! ;D I am EXCITED.  According to the author, there’s going to be a new villain introduced… so I am double excited. There was one question on his writing, which I can’t remember, but scribbled down the answer to which was really interesting. Darren Shan said that there wasn’t much, horror-wise for children to read, when he was younger. That’s a reason he writes horror books; to fill the gap in his childhood.

 

Also, on stand-alones, Darren made a really brilliant point, that I wrote down. “I don’t plot, I just go from story to EMBEDDED IMUJ PERMALINKstory and give a story as much space as it needs.” Which, I guess, is why most books are turned into full-length sagas, because he has so much to write about! He also said he’d rather write stand-alones, but his ideas won’t let him. That’s obvious, considering all of the series he’s produced!

Nearer the end I asked a question, which was What character would he meet, from any of his books, given the chance? He replied that he’d really loved to meet Larten Crepsley, who is a character I absolutely loved, from the Saga of Darren Shan.

The event ended and my brother and I queued up to get our whole ZOM-B series signed! When Darren was signing our books, he recognized me from my blog, as he’d recently written up a guest post for my Halloween Reads event which took place in October- and I interviewed him a few months ago! It was awesome to get to talk to him properly, as I didn’t really talk very much at the signing I’d been to before, when I was about nine or ten. Above is the picture my brother and I got with Darren- he likes to strangle people. My brother pulls good I’m-Being-Strangled faces. I do not.

Thanks to Guildford Book Festival and Darren Shan for hosting a brilliant event, I enjoyed it so much!

 

Halloween Guest Post by Alexander Gordon Smith!

halloweenreads

Yes, the banner says my Halloween Reads event finishes on the 31st… but I have one more guest post! ;D

I met Gordon Smith at his Horror Writing Workshop at the Bath Kids Lit Festival in September. I read the first book in his ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series for Halloween Reads! (Click HERE for the review). Gordon talked about channeling his worst fears into his writing, at the workshop, and he’s been very awesome and written a guest post all about it for my blog- and it’s brilliant! Have a read:

Escape from Furnace 1: LockdownThanks so much for letting me visit your awesome blog, Georgia, it’s so great to be here! And thanks too for your amazing review of Lockdown, I was so thrilled that you enjoyed it!! 😀
I had the pleasure of working with Georgia during my workshop at the Bath Kids’ Lit Festival last month. She joined in my horror writing workshop, and came up with some fantastic scary stories! We were talking about how when you’re writing a horror story, the best way to make it scary is to base that story on your own fears. And that’s what I want to talk about today!
I’m very afraid of a few things, a little bit afraid of everything else! I think that’s why I’m a horror writer! The more you’re afraid of, the more you have to write about. Some of my fears are very rational – like dying in a plane crash, or losing my loved ones. Some of my fears are slightly less rational. Like porcelain dolls (they scare the living daylights out of me, it’s those soulless eyes) and slugs. Yes, you heard right, I said slugs. There’s just something really creepy about them, especially when you step on one in the middle of the night whilst not wearing any shoes or socks…
*Shudder*The Fury (The Fury, #1)
I haven’t quite found the courage to write about slugs yet, but I will one day! All of my books, however, are in some way based on my own worst fears. The Escape From Furnace series was inspired by a time in my own life where I went off the rails a bit – nothing too serious, but it could have been much worse. Back then I was terrified of being sent to prison, and I used that fear to come up with the idea of somebody being sent to a prison full of monsters!
The Fury was also inspired by one of my worst fears – the terror of being chased by a mob who want to kill you! This too came from a real-life incident. When I was at school, maybe fourteen or fifteen, I was in the bottom set for PE (I was always in the bottom set, because I was rubbish at sport). We had the world’s most evil PE teacher, and he would make us play a game called Murderball. Yep, that’s actually what he called it. The idea behind Murderball was that one person in the class would be given a rugby ball and a head start. Then everyone in the class had to chase him and get the ball from him. Murderball never actually worked like that, though. You would be standing there with the ball, then you’d hear the first whistle. The first thing you did was throw the ball away, because it Me with Gordon at the workshop!would only slow you down and you knew nobody actually wanted it. Then you’d run as fast as you could (which for me was sadly never very fast). Then you’d hear the second whistle, and the ground would start to shake, and you’d hear this roar of pure fury rise up behind you, and if you looked over your shoulder (always a mistake, but you couldn’t help it) you would see thirty people chasing after you with expressions like demons! It was terrifying!!
The weird thing is that everyone in that class was a friend of mine – the people I hung out with at lunch and after school. But something changed in them when we were playing Murderball. There was nothing human left in their expressions. All they wanted to do was catch you and kill you. Sooner or later you would be on the floor with thirty people on top of you kicking you, punching you, biting you, and sticking mud in your mouth and up your nose so you couldn’t breathe. I honestly thought I was going to die every time I played this game. Luckily nobody ever did, but I’m sure it was close!
I’ve had a fear of crowds chasing me ever since, and I used that fear when I was looking for a new idea. All I did was add the two magic words of writing: “What if?” What if one day, without warning, every single person in the Alexander Gordon Smithworld did try to attack me – not for sport, not for a game, just because they wanted to kill me. And The Fury was born!
Writing about your own fears makes the horror in your stories feel genuine, because it is! Fear is contagious, it’s a survival thing – if you see other people reacting to something with fear then you too begin to fear it. Once upon a time that communal panic is what kept us alive. Likewise, if a reader senses something genuinely upsetting in a story then they too will begin to feel the anxiety creeping in. It’s the best way of making your readers cower in terror!!
But there’s another reason why I always encourage people to write about their own fears. If there’s something you’re afraid of, and you write a story about it, then you take control of that fear. You are in charge of the story so, for the time you’re writing, you’re in charge of your response to that fear too. Writing is incredibly powerful, it is life-changing for you as an author as well as for your readers. If you can conquer your fears on the page then maybe you can conquer them in real life too. I certainly find that every time I write about something that scares me, I’m a little less scared of it by the time I write ‘The End’. Luckily for me, though, I’m always afraid of something else! 🙂

 

Thanks for a brilliant guest post, Gordon, it’s great to have you on my blog! The Murderball story behind your latest novel, The FURY, is pretty terrifying! D:

So, this is the last Halloween Reads post! I’ve decided not to review FRANKENSTEIN for the event, because I have lots of others reviews to write for ARCs. I will review it at some point in the future ;D I’ve really loved hosting two bestselling horror authors on my blog, and getting through a lot of my horror TBR pile. I enjoyed reviewing and reading one genre for a while- so my next blog event will be dedicated to Steampunk fiction, in December! 🙂

Halloween Guest post by Darren Shan!

halloweenreads

Happy Halloween, people!

If you follow my blog, you know that I am an OBSESSIVE when it comes to Darren Shan and his ZOM-B books ;D. Well, I was lucky enough to interview him in July (Click HERE to see it!) and hoped I could include him somehow in my Halloween Reads fortnight. Despite a busy schedule, Darren wrote up a guest post for me, and I’m so excited to post it here! It’s all about Trick-Or-Treating- and going up on Halloween, its content is very relevant… Over to Darren!

Zom-B (Zom-B, #1)

I miss Halloween. Oh, of course I know it hasn’t stopped, but for me it’s not the same as it used to be.
I always loved Halloween, dressing up, playing games like bobbing for apples and coins, eating lots of sweets and watching scary movies. But my favourite part was Trick Or Treating.
I didn’t go Trick Or Treating when I was child, as it wasn’t as popular back then, and I lived in the countryside where it was more complicated to get around. But when I was older, I started taking my young cousins out every year. I didn’t dress up, but I loved seeing their costumes, escorting them around from house to house, organising games for them when we got back to base.
One year, as part of the festivities, I read out an extract from a children’s book I had not yet published, a little number called Cirque Du Freak. Someone filmed it, recording for posterity my first ever public Darren Shanreading. You can check it out here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z89HivgkbTQ&list=FLO3n4WBGNkRM1c8navqLXdQ
I loved those years of Trick Or Treating. I hoped they’d never stop. But then the children grew up and stopped wanting to tag around the roads with me, and I was forced into retirement.
If I ever have children of my own, I can start going out again on Halloween at some point in the future. But at the moment I’m home bound, limited to stocking up with lots of treats and wearing a scary mask when the youngsters come knocking on my door. (I picked up a creepy Chucky mask last year, which I plan to wear lots of times again!)
If you are going Trick Or Treating this year, my advice would be to have a whale of a time, relish every moment of the experience, and make sure you enjoy it while you can. Because, as unlikely as it seems, you too will grow older, and one day, like me, you’ll find yourself restricted to fondly reflecting on memories of Halloweens past, while dreaming of scary delights to come.

 

Thank you so much, Darren, for a fantastic guest post! It’s not fair you didn’t get to trick or treat enough- but at least you get to wear a cool Chucky mask now 😀 I also got to listen to and meet Darren at an event in Guildford last weekend- it was awesome! I haven’t yet written everything up yet- but I’m hoping to publish a post on that on Sunday.

 (Also- I finished FRANKENSTEIN yesterday, but didn’t manage to get the review up last night, so that will hopefully be up tomorrow, meaning Halloween Reads hasn’t quite finished yet…)

UNREST

halloweenreads1

We’re drawing closer to Halloween now… and what better book to be one of the finishing Halloween Reads recommendations than a spine-chilling, ghostly thriller? This book was terrifying- great to curl up with when you’re not trick-or-treating this Halloween!

By Michelle Harrison, published by Simon & Schuster.

UnrestGoodreads Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for six months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Now he is afraid to go to sleep. Sometimes he wakes to find himself paralysed, unable to move a muscle, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around, while his body lies asleep on the bed. According to his doctor, sleep paralysis and out of body experiences are harmless – but to Elliot they’re terrifying. Convinced that his brush with death has opened up connections with the spirit world, Elliott secures a live-in job at one of England’s most haunted locations, determined to find out the truth. There he finds Sebastian, the ghost of a long-dead servant boy hanged for stealing bread. He also meets the living, breathing Ophelia, a girl with secrets of her own. She and Elliott grow closer, but things take a terrifying turn when Elliott discovers Sebastian is occupying his body when he leaves it. And the more time Sebastian spends inhabiting a living body, the more resistant he becomes to giving it back. Worse, he seems to have an unhealthy interest in Ophelia. Unless Elliott can lay Sebastian’s spirit to rest, he risks being possessed by him for ever, and losing the girl of his dreams…

My Review:  UNREST was an awesome ghost story. Right from the beginning I was captivated by Michelle Harrison’s terrifying plot! This book’s perfect for a Halloween read- or if you want a serious scare…
Plot wise, the book was brilliant. It’s a bit disappointing, actually, that the synopsis gives quite a lot away. Without that blurb on the back, it would be utterly unpredictable. Apart from the parts of the book it talked about on the blurb though, it was very hard to predict! I wasn’t expecting any of what happened. Michelle is an expert at writing terrifying, layered plots, packed with plot twists.

There were a lot of intertwining parts of the story, and I was kind of scared that ends wouldn’t tie together very well. It was less than a hundred pages from the end, and not much had been resolved… there was the mysteries behind Hodge; Ophelia; Tess the ghost; Sebastian the ghost… I was scared things would be forgotten and I’d be left wanting more of the story. Well, everything was resolved and linked together in a way I can’t describe in words other that genius, and I was left wanting more for a GOOD reason!

Michelle’s writing was brilliant. I can’t remember much of her writing style in the Thirteen trilogy, sadly, thought I can remember loving those books a couple of years ago. UNREST was written superbly. Harrison’s writing conveys so much tension and suspense, and I felt like I was there. I know I probably say that a bit in reviews, but this time it was vivid- I really did feel like I was watching Tess in an out of body experience; I felt like I’d had my body stolen by Sebastian; I felt like I was watching ghosts appear on a museum tour. I found the writing so descriptive and beautiful.

Elliott was such a flawless main character. He was very realistic, and his background was really well explained. I knew exactly what had happened to him, and it made me sympathize with him throughout the whole story. His story was riveting, and scary- I’d never be able to confront ghosts like he does, in this book! I adored his relationship with Ophelia: She was, too, a really amazing character. They’re both really unique protagonists. I want to read more about them! (Hint, Michelle Harrison, hint! :D). There were multiple points when I didn’t trust multiple character. A main one was Hodge. I can’t really detail on this- but I’ll just say that some characters can’t be trusted…

Overall, Unrest was a novel I absolutely loved reading, and it’s a book I think I’ll re-read again and again. The character were unforgettable, and I didn’t want to let them go at the end of the book. The setting was interesting, and so was the ghostly aspect of the book. I’ve also gotten really interested in the subject of out-of-body experiences now! The plot is complex and clever- the twists and turns in the story will get you hooked on this book. It’s a great novel as a standalone- I don’t think anything should be added, in fear of spoiling the story- but I want to read more at the same time! I can’t wait for more books from Michelle Harrison. She’s a fantastic author… I’ll stop now. I’ve written a long enough review!

My Rating:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1

My Dad received a copy of UNREST in exchange for a review. Then I stole it a while after to review it myself. In no way at all did this (The source, not the stealing-from-Dad’s-bookshelf, obviously ;D) affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Boy With 2 Heads

Well, that was a long blog post title…

This post was intended to go up yesterday! However, I went to see Susan Cooper and Marcus Sedgwick in conversation last night- so I didn’t have time to finish and publish it. ): (The event was great, though! I may write a post on it soon).

halloweenreads1

Anyway, today I have two very different books for Halloween Reads! One I enjoyed, one… not so, unfortunately ): I’ll start with the mostly negative review, to get that out of the way!

The Boy with Two HeadsThe Boy With 2 Heads by Andy Mulligan: Oh, why didn’t I like this! The synopsis and cover made it look so good; a really outrageously strange novel. I’m including it here, because it has some horror-fiction aspects, too….

I enjoyed this in a few ways; the idea was original, and explained in a way that it was made scarily realistic. The characters, apart from the second head, I liked. They all had well developed back-stories, which was great! The story started off well, and the book was reasonably short- I sped through it over my weekend at the Bath Lit Fest. However, I just couldn’t get on with the book, and I really don’t know why. The boy’s second head annoyed me- and even thought that was the point of the book, pretty much, I just really wanted to put the book down because of him. There’s having a dis-likable character, and then there’s having a character who’s just plain offensive sometimes. I didn’t really like him (head number two) because of the things he’d blurt out- I thought this was a children’s book, but evidently not.

Plot wise it was quite enjoyable… There were clever links to references from earlier in the story… but I really didn’t see how some things matched up. So much was packed into this rather small book, and I felt a bit overwhelmed at all the events going on and having to track all of them (I was reading this on train journeys, etc.!). IN fact, after about 30%, it felt liked the end of the book as this big event had happened and I thought This would be a good place for it to finish. But it just seemed a bit too dragged-out for me :(. I’m sure others will enjoy it, though!

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury: This was a really interesting read. I’ve never read anything by Ray Bradbury before (I know! THE HORROR.) and so I was really excited to start one of his titles (Though I did watch the movie of this- years ago!). I thought this would be a fitting one! I really enjoyed reading it- though, at points, I found myself unable to get into the story. I’m not sure why that was- though I have been in a little bit of a reading slump lately, so maybe that’s why… I really did love Bradbury’s writing, though. At points I didn’t, but wholly I loved his style and his unique ways of building up tension. His protagonists, James and Will, had interesting back stories- especially with the one-born-one-minute-before-one-born-one-minute-after-Halloween-night aspect. I couldn’t relate to them that much, however. Overall though, it was a great, eerie story! I loved the idea for the book; of a carousel that can reduce or increase your age, depending on the way it’s going. Also, the circus members were very creepy, especially Mr Dark. He sent shivers up my spine! I’m not sure if a reason I couldn’t get into this as much as I wanted was because I was reading this in small snippets of time between lessons at school. I’ll have to re-read this whenever I can, to see if I can enjoy it more!

My Ratings:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1

to The Boy With 2 Heads

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystemhalf

to Something Wicked This Way Comes

I recieved a copy of The Boy with 2 Head from the publisher via netgalley in exchange for a review, and I borrowed *COUGH* stole *COUGH* Something Wicked This Way comes from my dad’s bookshelf 🙂

FURNACE: LOCKDOWN

halloweenreads1

 

Another brilliant book for my Halloween Reads event! This isn’t quite like the ones before this month, though, as it’s more of a dystopian. Highly recommended, though!

By Gordon Smith, published by Faber.

Escape from Furnace 1: LockdownGoodreads Synopsis: Beneath heaven is hell. Beneath hell is Furnace.
When thirteen-year-old Alex is framed for murder, his life changes for ever. Now he is an inmate in the Furnace Penitentiary – the toughest prison in the world for young offenders. A vast building sunk deep into the ground, there’s one way in and no way out.
But rowdy inmates and sadistic guards are the least of Alex’s problems. Every night an inmate is taken from his cell by guards and returned the next morning changed. Where are they taken and why are they returned covered with scars, acting as though they are not quite human?
In a desperate bid for freedom Alex discovers a horrifying truth – that the Furnace Penitentiary is a place of pure evil, a place where cruel experiments take place every day, where inmates are guinea pigs, where monsters make monsters, and where death is the least of your worries . . .

My Review: WHOA. LOCKDOWN blew me away! I bought this and got it signed at an event with Gordon, and I’ve been excited to read this since I’ve got it. It’s kind of freaky, how Gordon was such a happy nice guy, but could write such a freaky, twisted, dark tale.

Plot-wise, I was very intrigued. The idea of a government passing crime-committing kids into the hands of evil, torturous people was really sinister! I love dark, macabre books- so this ticked all of the boxes for me. I delved into the story not knowing too much about it, just the synopsis: I was unexpectedly plunged straight into the action of Alex’s life. Each page was full of action and drama, and I felt like the story had a bit of a horror movie vibe to it, I don’t know why. Speaking of the horror: this book’s not for the faint hearted. The bit with the gas-masked thieves who steal the boys away (that are on the cover) was truly terrifying.

The story was brought to life so well with Gordon’s vivid, rich descriptions. I loved his writing so much! I could tell the writing had been well thought-out, and there wasn’t a moment reading this where I was bored. It’s packed with action, and when it’s not at a bit with much action, the story is laced with suspense that reels you into the book. Also, Gordon is an evil writer. THAT CLIFFHANGER! The ending. WHY. I must hurry up and read the sequel, now!

Alex was an interesting protagonist. At the beginning of the story he was robbing, thieving, causing havoc. I didn’t really like Alex at first, but then I warmed to him, despite his criminal life… Probably because he began to seem less awful as he got into Furnace. Alex’s life wasn’t really detailed on massively, but the only reason that didn’t concern me was because I’m sure it’ll detail I the next books. He definitely did develop a lot throughout the book, which I liked: and his friendships with two of the supporting characters were strong, believable, and made him a very realistic character to me.

Overall, FURNACE: LOCKDOWN was an awesome read. It is dark and twisted, and will keep you turning the pages rapidly, with its tension-filled writing. The character are great (overall I think I preferred the supporting characters for some reason, though!) and are really great, rebellious kids. I loved reading their terrifying story! Lockdownwasn’t the longest book I’ve read, so afterward I was left itching to read my copy of the sequel. I can’t wait to start it!

My Rating:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1

GFFOtherig

I purchased a copy of FURNACE: LOCKDOWN at the Bath Kids Lit Fest event.