Reviews

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I hunt killers
By Barry Lyga
Jasper Dent Book 1
(ISBN13: 9780316125840)

killers

I posted the trailer for this book a few weeks back and having finally managed to get my hands on a copy have read it and here is my review. I was not disappointed with this book at all!
Jazz is the son of the world’s worst serial killer. He cannot escape his heritage and even though his father is locked away in prison, his town is not safe. Bodies have started piling up again and Jazz is determined to get to the bottom of it. He may however, be more involved than realises. There are so many things in this book which kept me hooked. Jazz continually has internal conversations with both himself and his father. Sometimes the “conversations” are quite brutal and you have to wonder just how cruel humans can be. The past keeps coming back in flashes that both haunt and confuse Jazz. There are moments when you think you know who is committing the murders and moments when you are as confused as Jazz. The pace is perfect and the language and tone are also just right. The author has obviously done his research and facts are thrown in from time to time about real serial killers. At times it is a little graphic for sensitive young adult readers but it is a book I highly recommend for a great thriller, murder-mystery and just a 5 out of 5 great read. I will certainly look forward to book 2 as the twist at the end leaves you hanging out for more!

Just a reminder that the book trailer can be found here on this blog.

circle   The circle

   Book one of  The sidhe series

   By Cindy Cipriano

  Calum Ranson is a young boy convinced his missing cousing Finley is still alive. Still out there  somewhere just waiting to be found. He feels a strong sense of guilt believing it was his own actions that caused Finley’s disappearance.

The arrival of Laurel, a girl with secrets of her own adds to Calum,s growing urgency to find Finley. When he discovers Laurel’s own brother has also disappeared the two of them begin to plot a rescue plan by visiting a place called Otherworld. It is this place that holds the key to everything.

For middle grade readers who enjoy magic, fantasy as well as a good mystery then this may be the one for you. Throw in a little jealous rivalry and even a bit of Halloween and you have the beginnings of a great new fantasy series. You can check out more here.

5

  Starters

  By Lissa Price

After the war Callie becomes an unclaimed minor living on the streets, squatting in old buildings with her sickly, seven year old brother and friend, Michael. Prime Destinations is a secretive organisation which offers a chance to make good money with a promise of a better life but only to a very select few. On hearing about this organisation and wanting only to help her brother, Callie visits the centre. She learns about ‘renting’ out her body to ‘enders’; very old and privileged citizens who will temporarily borrow bodies, paying huge amounts of money for the chance to be young again albeit for a short period. Three rentals will set her up well to take care of her brother.

The first two rentals go well but it is the third rental which creates havoc and danger. Callie begins to hear a voice. Something is dreadfully wrong and it isn’t long before Callie realises her renter is intent on murder.

This book is well written and the whole concept is intriguing. As the tension builds and the pace picks up, I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I loved this book and am waiting eagerly for Enders  – Book 2. The cover has immediate appeal with the perfect features of a young girl all in white except one eye is blue and the other a gold-brown. The background looks like a computer motherboard adding even more intrigue to this great story.  This book is a mix of science-fiction, futuristic action and danger. If we talk numbers then this is 5 out of 5.

Check out the trailer on a previous post here

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Red rain

R. L. Stine

A good read. Very similar to books I read by John Saul some years ago where the children are always evil or possessed. There is booktrailer on youtube http://youtu.be/ElXdWaH4uRE if you want a little teaser about the book. Evil, innocence and a good dolloping of creepiness. Twin boys are taken from an island after a devastating storm to live with a family where the mother insists the boys are just adapting. Turns out they are evil and the family are in danger along with everyone else in town.  4 out of 5. Aimed at  adult readers I have included this here for the young adults with a mature outlook – perhaps 15 plus.

 The unforgotten coat

 10844367By F. C. Boyce

This is a delightful story of how friends come in and out of lives and the impact they leave on us.

“My brother believes he is being chased by a demon …a demon that makes things vanish.”

Chingis and Nergui arrive at school, nomads from Mongolia. Chingus begins telling stories of their travels to Julie their “good guide”.  A short story where the demon turns out to be real and the two boys and their family do vanish – taken away by the authorities for being in the UK illegally.  Now as an adult, Julie has reason to think about their young years and the impact of their short relationship. Moving and real, this is a great read.

  15749283   The rise of nine

By Pittacus Lore

 Book three in the Lorien legacies

This was action-packed and pacy right from the start. Characters tell their story in alternating chapters adding to the pace. Not normally into Sci Fi but this has had me reading the first three and I am now hanging out for number four in the series. Nine Loriens were sent to earth, the first three are dead. The remaining aliens must find each other and beat the nasty, vicious Mogadorian’s and save earth from destruction. In book two it is discovered that there is a 10th Lorien who has been sent to help. As they discover their “legacies” their powers grow. In The Rise of Nine Four, Six, Marina, Eight, Nine and the youngest, Ella begin their long search for each other and converge in a mighty fight for survival. Four continues to search for Sarah; the love of his life, and Sam, his best friend. Always near are the Mogadorian’s and Sekrakas Ra their leader. But why are the Feds involved and why are they on the side of the Mogadorians. Great read – come on Book 4.

                           

  Struck

By J. Bosworth

“Only one girl can save the world … or destroy it.”

     Mia Price has an addiction. Not your ordianry run of the mill addiction but a dangerous craving for lightning and the power and energy it inflicts when it strikes her. Needing to find a safe place to live away from regular lightning strikes, Mia, her mother and brother, move to Los Angeles where lightning hardly ever strikes.

However, shortly after her move a massive, deadly earthquake devastates the city and daily life becomes dangerous and desperate.  Mia is suddenly confronted by rival cults, both believing she is the answer to their needs. Their needs are not so ultruistic. And then, there is Jeremy, somewhat of a stalker, with secrets of his own. The two cults pull at her, as does Jeremy but her final choice could be the wrong one. And can she really trust Jeremy or even her own brother as he too succumbs to the idealism of the cults.

The abilityof both cults to manipulate and control their members is fierce and adds to the strength of this novel. This is a fast paced novel with heaps of action.  Thoroughly enjoyed this novel with its fast pace, great action and dangerous cults. Together they weave a solid, believable story captivating the reader from beginning to end.    Don’t forget to check out the awesome trailer for this book.

    

                

 The future of us

 By Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

Take a step back in time to 1996. No Twitter, no Facebook, no smart phones and dial up connections to the Internet.

That’s where the authors take us when we meet Emma and Josh, two teens who have grown up next to each other. Emma is given a commuter by her father, long since remarried and living miles away. Josh gets a free AOL CD in the mail.  When Josh shares this with Emma and installs the CD, what they discover is the future. The future of each other on a thing called Facebook. Each time they log on they discover their futures have been changed. What they do today, in 1996 affects their lives 15 years later. Emma gets caught up in trying to change things but somewhere along the way the consequences may just be too much.

The story moves along effortlessly and in fact, it doesn’t take much before you realise you are at the end of the book. A good pacey read.

    Wonder

     By R. J. Palacio

Auggie Pullman is a ten year old with severe facial deformities. In many ways he has been protected from the outside world by being homeschooled but that all changes when he agrees to start Beecher Prep Middle School. As the story unfolds, we get to know Auggie. He tells us that whatever we imagine his face to look like, that it is worse. People turn away, some people stare, some people scream.     We laugh with him, and we cry. In my case, heaps of tears! We get to know the nasty, bullying, characters as well as those with the strength to be loyal.  This is a gem.  It is one of those rare stories told with such honesty and insight you cannot help but be moved.  I fell in love with Auggie and Via, his strong and protective older sister.  If only all families were this caring. Wonder is a must read and quite frankly, a book which should be in every school and perhaps read to every class at primary and intermediate school.  Simply, a wonderful book.

  The trailer for this book can be found on this site here.

   Homecoming

    By Michael Morpurgo

     Walker Books UK

Once again Michael Morpurgo gets right in to the heart of his characters. Homecoming was originally published as Singing for Mrs Pettigrew in a collection of stories in Singing for Mrs Pettigrew : a story-maker’s journey. So while it is not a new story, the format and stand alone book is delightful. The book feels good in your hands and the illustrations by Peter Bailey are just gorgeous.

It’s amazing but every time I read a book by Morpurgo I am blown away by the fact that I start reading and then suddenly I am transported back in time with the characters.

 As a young boy, Michael loves visiting Mrs Pettigrew, the wonderful woman who helped him out after a bullying incident. Their relationship grows and he comes to love visiting her in her railway carriage home  with her dogs and her donkey. It is a special bond which is treasured long after significant events occur.  As always, Michael Morpurgo never fails to deliver.  Great for primary school kids and those who just love quality writing and a good story.

           

  Free falling

   By Nicola Moriarty

 Belinda and Andy are a young couple who have recently become engaged. They are happy and content with work, university and life.  Andy’s sudden death turns Belinda’s world upside down. His mother, Evelyn is also devastated but looking for someone to blame. In alternating chapters each woman tells their own story. Not only does this reveal insights to the two women, but also shows the passage of time and helps pace the story.

Grief makes people do strange things, like sky-jumping or shoplifting.  For Belinda and Evelyn their grief is raw and always at the surface waiting to bubble over. They haven’t seen each other since Andy’s funeral when Evelyn openly blamed Belinda for her son’s death.  Friends don’t know what to do or say and Belinda is now more alone than she has ever been before in her life. She is also convinced that her dead fiance is haunting her. Strange things are happening that leave her bewildered. How on earth does a car battery arrive from nowhere just when she needs one? Or flowers when she is feeling low. It just has to be Andy!  Her best friend, Stacey is a little obnoxious and even irritating but that adds flavour to the novel.

Free falling is not a pacy action novel but is instead a gentle story of overwhelming grief and loss. But it is much more than this. It is a story of hope.

The prince of soul and the lighthouse

By Fredrik Brouneus

Steam Press

The prince of soul and the lighthouse is unique. It is quirky in its humour and philosophical, a mix not often found together but it works. I was convinced at one stage that 18-year-old George Larson was bordering on some form of attention deficit disorder with his constant  internal dialogues. What this offers as a result, is a deeper insight into George’s confused character. Confronted with bizarre “messages”, his zombie dead Grandpa, and a Tibetan monk, George and Kaisa, the beautiful Finnish girl of his dreams,  are forced on a dangerous journey. Reincarnation and some heavy soul-searching  lead George to search for a machine called the lighthouse, an invention which only he and he alone can turn off in order to save life as we know it. A good pacy read.

 

 The one and only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

 Ivan is a Silverback gorilla, forced to live at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. He remembers little of his past but loves art and painting or drawing on paper.  Important too, are his faithful friends; Stella, an elephant, Bob a stray dog who loves sleeping on Ivan’s big warm stomach and Julia a young girl who also loves art.  The language in this book is beautiful. It is simple,  clear and concise. Gorillas don’t need too many words. Ivan thinks humans talk too much. “Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.”  Ivan narrates the story and it is not long before we are totally captivated by his beliefs, his strengths and his love. When Ruby, a baby elephant arrives at the mall it becomes clear that something has to change. Ivan is forced to make a promise that will leave you gasping.  This truly is a beautiful book and I urge you to find a copy. You will not be disappointed. Magic!

    The name of the star

  By Maureen Johnson

  Rory Deveaux arrives in London from the USA  to attend boarding school. The excitement of her new life is overshadowed by news of a serial killer hitting the streets of London. This is not just any serial killer but one who is copying the killings of Jack the Ripper of Victorian London, so many years ago. Rory finds herself caught up in the mystery when she is the only witness to the only possible suspect. Repeating the murders of the original Jack the Ripper allows everyone to know just when the next murder will take place. But how can the murders happen with cameras all around yet none pick up the murders. The bodies are simply found. The story unwinds at a steady pace rather than fast paced action. This allows you to digest the clues and  be ready for the finale so to speak. A good story overall and if there is a second book I will be ready.

                      

  Dark inside

  By Jeyn Roberts

All across the world, massive earthquakes have demolished cities in seconds, killed people and destroyed   all communication links. For some reason the earthquakes unleashed a rapid and unrelenting rage. People are killing each other totally unprovoked. The story is told in alternating chapters by four different teenagers and a non-specific character called “Nothing”.  As each of the  teens stories begin to unfold, their paths begin to cross. Survival is all they can think about. Trusting each other is just as difficult as trusting themselves as the possibility that the rage may overtake them is real.  Not all the characters are strong or likeable, some are just awful but there is hope especially as there is the probabilty of book 2. This book has plenty of action and plenty of violence. Not for the faint-hearted but definitely a good read.

               

Anna dressed in blood

  By Kendare Blake

Cas Lowood kills dead people. Ghosts, that is. It’s what his father did until he was murdered years earlier  by a vengeful ghost. His weapon is his father’s deadly athame. Cas and his mum move regularly in search of ghosts. In this new town Cas is in search of Anna, a teenage girl, brutally murdered in 1958. For years she has killed and mutilated anyone who comes across the threshold of her old house. However, when Cas enters her house, for some unknown reason, she spares his life. For a ghost story it wasn’t scary but it had a good pace and definitely some gross bits. I certainly felt for Anna and wanted to know why she did the things she did. A very good read. I loved it.

  

   A monster calls

  By Patrick Ness

    My reaction to this wonderfully dark and moving book took me by surprise. I cried before I finished   it  and I cried after I had put in down. Conor is bullied, feels betrayed by his best friend Lily, feels abandoned by his father who lives a new life in America and watches the decline of his mothers health. She is the most important person in the world to him. But one night, just after midnight a monster comes calling. The monster has reasons for being there, reasons Conor isn’t prepared for. This is an incredibly moving book intensified by the Jim Kay’s haunting illustrations. Absolutley loved this book.

The trailer for this book is also on this blog   

         

    The house of dead maids

     By Clare B. Dunkle

Orphan Tabby is hired as a nursemaid to a young nameless book.  This book is great. Loved the eerie feel and the language. Tabby is haunted by ghosts, one in particular who turns out to be from the same place she came from. There are many ghosts and they all share the same dark secret. Giving the boy the name, Himself,  Tabby does her best to deal with ghosts that haunt them both.  This book has a great mood and the best cover. A quick short read that will leave you totally believing in the strength of Tabby.

 The haunting of Charity Delafield    

    By Ian Beck

This is the story of Charity Delafield, a 12 year old who is basically held captive in her own home, by her  father. She is not allowed to roam the house – one part is completely forbidden to her. Nor does he allow her to go outside their huge house unsupervised. She never leaves the property and has almost never seen anyone other than those in the house. One day while outside, her guardian turns away for just a moment just as an old woman approaches and begins to tell Charity there is much more to her life than she knows and that she should look for the horn. Bewildered, Charity begins questioning everything she knows. With the help of her new friend Silas; the chimney sweep they begin to explore the house and empty corridors. They begin to unlock the secrets of her past and the mother she never knew. This is a sweet and magical tale and will delight young readers

           

  The prince of mist

 By Carlos Ruia Zafon     

Max and his family move to an old house by sea to escape the realities of war. Max discovers an abandoned garden with mysterious statues and the evil preseence of a clown. His new friend Roland takes him diving on the site of an old shipwreck. But it the symbol of a six pointed star within a circle which disturbs Max. He sees it in the garden and also on the shipwreck. The story is woven with wonderful descriptive language.

          

Eight keys

 by Suzanne LaFleur

    Eleven year old Elise is being bullied everyday. Her best friend Franklin only makes things worse even though he is totally unaware of his actions.   Elise has been living with her aunt and uncle after her father’s early death. Her mother had died when she was born.  One day a key appears seeminlgy from nowhere and it leads Elise on a wonderful journey and seven mores keys. Each key unlocks a door to her past. This  is  a sweet and rather delightful coming-of-age story. Great for 10 – 12 year olds.

                                      

   Switched

By    Amanda Hocking

    On her  sixth birthday Wendy is attacked by her knife-wielding mother trying to kill her,  ranting on and on  that she is monster and not her child.  Wendy’s mother is sent to a pyschiatric hospital and she is then raised by her older brother Matt and her Aunt Maggie. But Wendy has a secret. She has the power to persuade people to do things they don’t want to do even though she can’t understand this power or where it comes from. It is not until she starts another school yet again and meets the handsome Finn that things begin to really change.  Suddenly her life is in danger and it is the broody Finn who comes to her rescue. What he knows about her will challenge  everything she has ever known and change her life forever.

Look out for the next two books in the series; Torn and Ascend.

Thanks to PanMacmillan Australia

     

    Blood red road

   By Moira Young                          

     Saba, her twin Lugh, younger sister Emmi and their father live far from anyone and any other place. Then  one day a massive dust storm blows in and with it four horsemen. They are Tonton who kill her father and kidnap her brother. What follows is a journey through all manner of danger and desperation as she and Emmi attempt to find their brother. Saba and Emmi are captured by scavengers and Saba is forced to fight other slave girls. Her determination not to lose earns her the title “The Angel of Death”. But she is even more determined to find her twin brother. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, for its story and for its language. You can hear the voice of Saba. You can also witness the growth of a character who is often selfish and inexperienced.  Saba changes along her treacherous and deadly journey and that is always a sign of a good book. And of course there is Jack! Is he friend or foe and why does her heartsone heat up every time he is near?

   The Gallows Curse

 CRYPT Covert response youth paranormal team

  By A. Hammond

MI5 have a secret recruit of teenagers who have extra sensory perception. These teenagers are sent on cases where there is no human explanation for murders and mayhem. In The Gallows Curse, Jud Lester and his team are desperate to find the source of mysterious and vicious attacks which have left many people dead. The one thing in common is that witnesses all claim the attacks were done by ghosts. There is heaps of action and gory bits, especially if you like maggots crawling everywhere. The heart of London is under siege from the hangman’s noose. This is a great ghost story right from the start.

                         

                                         

Dirt bomb

By Fleur Beale

Jake, Buzz and Robbie are best mates. While hanging out together they discover an old damaged Holden in a ditch. The decision is made to rescue the Holden, fix it up and use it as a paddock basher. The trouble is finance. It costs money to fix the car, buy parts and petrol and can they actually get the car running. Buzz and Robbie are willing to work to fund their plans but Jake isn’t so keen.  Jake doesn’t want to work and he is not interested in being part of ‘the rat race” but he is interested in driving and he doesn’t want to miss out.

To begin with Jake isn’t the nicest of characters; he is moody, lazy, self-centered and a bit rebellious but he does grow on you. It is this growth that makes the book. This is a great read for car enthusiasts. Great for ages  12 up.

                          

   Virals

By Kathy Reichs
Tory Brennan is the niece of the famous forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. She lives on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. While a bit of a mission she and her friends rescue a caged dog which is being held for medical testing on a nearby island. Un beknown to them they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus. The consequences are life-changing. But they are also confronted with a murder mystery. A great book and am hanging out for book two. Seizure

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