Posts Tagged ‘Action’

Chasing Danger

Sara Grant
When Chase Armstrong (please don’t call her Charlotte) is sent to visit her Grandmother at a remote tropical resort, she is looking forward to sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling. The last thing she expects is danger. But when modern day pirates attack the island and take the guests hostage, it’s up to Chase to try and save her grandmother and herself, before it’s too late!

What were your initial thoughts on the book?

My first thoughts about the book where “I am not going to like this book”, but the minute I turned the page I had no words, it felt as if I was actually inside the story. This, I think, is one of my many favourite books.

Who was your favourite character and why?

I actually have two favourite characters in this book because they both have very different personalities. My two favourite characters are Chase (Charlotte) and Mackenzie, Chase is very brave and determined to save the day from modern-day pirates, but Mackenzie just wants to leave it to the adults and not interfere, as she doesn’t want to risk their lives. Chase, luckily, has ways of making Mackenzie risk it all, and, of course, her ways always work.

Would you recommend this book?

I would recommend this book to older readers which don’t get scared easily because this book is quite scary.

Verdict: A scary and mysterious adventure that makes you live the adventure as if you were part of the story.

Reviewed by Jimena (10)

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: April 2016
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Genre: Action, adventure
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena (10)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge:None
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The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones Movie

Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Jessica Postigo (screenplay), Cassandra Clare (based on the novel by)
Stars: Lily Collins, Jamie Campbell Bower, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Lena Headly

TMI-website-one-sheetHave you seen New York City’s dark side?
Clary Fray (Lily Collins) thought she was an ordinary teenager living in Brooklyn until one night in a downtown nightclub she encounters the sexy, mysterious Jace. Upon witnessing Jace hunt down and kill a demon in the crowded club, Clary begins to wonder if she is that ordinary after all. Especially as she appears to be the only one who can see him…
Jace Wayland (Jamie Campbell Bower) is a Shadowhunter. Part of a secret cadre of half-angel warriors, he is tasked with protecting humanity in an ancient battle against demonic forces. This battle has been fought secretly in our midst for centuries, but the stakes have just been raised.
When Clary’s mother is viciously attacked and taken from their home, she discovers her connections to Jace run deeper than she could ever have imagined and beneath surface of the city exists another world…one she unknowingly belongs to.
As both Clary and best friend Simon (Robert Sheehan) are drawn into this dark and dangerous world, Clary realises Jace is both the key to uncovering her past and protecting her future.
Based on Cassandra Clare’s bestselling novel, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones is directed by Harold Zwart and also stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Lena Headey.
Discover a world hidden within our own

It’s no secret that I love the work of Cassandra Claire (read my fan girling here). I’m sure that you can imagine my reaction when I received an email from the lovelies at Walker Books, inviting me to the press preview of The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones. The term kid on Christmas morning doesn’t quite cover it!

Arriving at Odeon West End in London’s Leicester Squire (the smaller cinema located south of the square), I shuffled past the long queue of very excited, very patient, Mortal Instruments fans waiting for their screening, to the press entrance. I was immediately directed to sign a non disclosure agreement, preventing me from talking about the film until now. Paperwork complete and “stele” pen in hand I explored the cinema. I was greeted by darken rooms, extremely tall “shadow hunters” serving canapés and a delicious bramble flavoured “Brooklyn Cocktail”.

Grabbing my drink, I made my way to the screening to meet up with fellow book bloggers Caitlin from The Cait Files (visit her blog here), Andrew (The Pewter Wolf) and Casey (from Dark Readers) both of whom I’d met for the first time queueing at a Cassie Claire signing ( read event repot here), and book tuber Katie (visit her you tube channel, Oh Cakey, here)

After what felt like a very brief catch up the movie began.

For a little taste of the movie check out this trailer.

In honour of my first ever movie “review” I decided to pluck up the courage to film my first ever volg (video blog).

I have to say a massive thanks to faye ( read her fabulous book blog, A Daydreamers Thoughts, here). Without Faye’s editing skills you would be subjected to at least four minutes of “ummm”‘s, not to mention a dozen or so more uses of “slick”, “energetic”, “firstly”,”so” and “I feel”.

So here it is, my thoughts and feelings on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones movie.

Image and blurb take from eOne Films UK. For more information on The Mortal Instruments City Of Bones and other films you can visit the site (here).

Posted by Caroline

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Captain Disaster

Del Shannon

Captain Disaster front coverKevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary twelve-year old dealing with the aftermath of his father’s tragic death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics, his ability to escape inside his character’s (Captain Disaster) head becomes critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father s death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin s teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin s whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon’s imaginative story telling and his appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages.

Back in the start of 2012 Jack reviewed a self published book called, Kevin’s Point Of View which he loved. Well Kevin has undergone a bit of a make over, with a new cover, new illustrations and a new title, Captain Disaster.
Read Jack’s original review below

Kevin’s point of view is a really great book that is about a normal 12 year boy still suffering from the quick, and suspicious, death of his father a year ago, who he loved so very much. He deals with this by wondering deeply into the depths of his talented imagination – separating himself from the rest of the world. A few days before he goes on his school field trip to the Rockies, a strange package arrives mysteriously for him at his home in Colorado. This package was meant to arrive at the home of Devin Talon but since when does anything ever go right in adventure books?!

The content of this important package is something called the I.N.F.L.U.X.I.T.R.O.N. With his friend Toby and his sister along with her boyfriend, a pizza delivery man, they work tirelessly to keep the I.N.F.L.U.X.I.T.R.O.N out of Devin’s desperate hands. But also Kevin has his own needs for this machine: to bring back his dad. They are able to do amazing things all around Colorado with the help of the “Shroom wagon” on their side.

I really enjoyed this book as it was full of danger and suspense all strung together cleverly by Del Shannon. At first I did actually struggle to get into the book as I found it a little confusing, but I persevered and found that this was a really exciting book that would keep me quiet for hours (much to my parents’ pleasure!).

Verdict: I would suggest this book to people who love books which include exciting, full-on action with plenty of fun and easy to understand humour.

Reviewed by Jack (11)

Publisher: Story Arts Media
Publication Date: April 2013 ( originally Oct ’10)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 515/559KB
Genre: Humour, Action, Adventure
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jack
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: none
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Carnegie and Greenaway Award: Code Name Verity

code name verityI have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.
That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmführer von Linden interrogating me again.
He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.
We are a sensational team.

Code Name Verity is set during the Second World. Split into two parts the first section is ‘written’ by one of two friends, though we don’t find out her name until the end of her section. Captured by the Gestapo whilst in Nazi occupied France, she tells the story of her friend Maddie, and through this the story of their friendship. The second part of the book is told by Maddie herself as she tells her own story in the aftermath of her friend’s capture.

Now I mentioned last week that I had tried to read this book some time ago, but had not managed to finish it. It wasn’t that I hated the book, leaving it wasn’t even intentional, I just put it down one day and then never picked it up again. Since then I have seen countless bloggers and librarians rave about the book, where I was left a little underwhelmed. So expecting the book to be on the shortlist I started it again with a completely open mind, hoping that I could see in the book what everybody else has loved so much. I did find the second reading so much easier, I was drawn into the book to a much greater extent than before. In the writing and the storyline I can see what everybody else has loved, but I still don’t think it’s the book for me.

Code Name Verity is undeniably a well written book, telling a beautiful story of an unlikely friendship set against the hardship of the Second World War. I am left wondering why I just don’t connect with the book. Although I have an interest in history, modern world history has never been my favourite period so that could possibly be an issue for me. I think the main issue for me the first time round was that the book was just not what I was expecting.

The dual narrative of the book works very well. The ‘voices’ of the characters are very different, but entirely consistent with the way that the other friend sees them. It is the relationship between Maddie and her friend that really makes the book. Two girls that would have been very unlikely to meet at any time other than war, just ‘click’ and quickly become very important to each other. They don’t need to see each other every day or know everything about the other’s life; they are just there for each other. The age group that the book is aimed at often struggle with forming friendships, doubts about their own identities come to the surface which affect their relationships with others and this is a really positive relationship that girls can use as an example. Though towards the end of the book something pretty shocking happens, it is completely in line with the friendship that the two young women have.

The book also deals with some very sensitive situations that go hand in hand with war such as death and torture, but these are handled well enough that reading the book is not an issue for younger secondary school students. They may however struggle with the writing style, which in a lot of ways is quite grown up. The Carnegie judges gave the book an age rating of 13+ and I would probably agree with this assessment, though there will of course be many exceptions!

Verdict: A beautifully written story of friendship set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Egmont Press
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 339
Genre: WW2, Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Defiance

C J Redwine
Rachel’s world is confined to the protective walls around her city. Beyond them are violent wanderers, extreme terrain, and a danger straight out of legend: a beast called the Cursed One that devastates everything in its path.
When Rachel’s father goes missing, she is desperate to search for him. But her attempts to flee the city bring her to the attention of its overbearing ruler. His efforts to control her make the world within the walls seem as dangerous as that outside.
Her only chance at escape is Logan. Once her father’s apprentice, and now her only protector, he feels that helping her might mean losing her completely. But if he can put his feelings aside, they might be able to save more than Rachel’s father. They might be able to break down the walls, and set their people free.

Like the thick stone and steel walls which surround the city of Baalboden, the archaic rules of the society are as restrictive to the people as they are protective.

Under the guise of Protection women are brought up to be dependent on the males in their life and obedient to them. Designated to the care and responsibility of a Protector, usually their father and later, a husband, women have no autonomy. Instead all decisions, from where a woman can go to whom she can marry, are made for her.

Every movement is chaperoned and traceable and the punishments for non-compliance are extreme; the last woman caught visiting the market without her protector accompanying her, was subjected to capital punishment.

While her peers were playing house Rachel, a motherless only child, was training with knives, swords and a bow. When her cohort’s educations focused on their future role as wives and mothers, Rachel was encouraged to think for herself.

Impulsive, often to the detriment of those associated with her and despite the potential repercussions, Rachel has no qualms about dropping everything, scaling the wall that encloses the city and searching for her missing father Jared.

As the only other person with the conviction that Jared still lives, Logan should be a natural ally in the search for Rachel’s missing parent. But an animosity exists between them, born out of hurt pride, humiliation and awkwardness.

While Rachel is impetuous, Logan is a deep analytical thinker, considering the best and worst case scenarios for every plan of action. Don’t be fooled by his attention to detail, nerdy focus on his inventions and awkwardness around the opposite sex. Logan is a hot boy with a sword and he knows exactly how to use it.

I really don’t know how to effectively express my love for this fantastic debut.

CJ has crafted a pacey, action packed, kick-arse, pseudo-historical dystopian, with fantasy, sci-fi and Steampunk elements. Thrilling, heart in your mouth action, sits side by side with uncomfortably honest narration, emotive, gut retching scenes, profound observations and an almost poetic descriptive prose.

Rather than being uncomfortably full and sickly from taking a bite out of every pie you are left with the experience of having tried a wonderfully unique flavor combination that experimental chef Heston Blumenthal would be proud of.

A romance junkie at heart, I simply adored the developing relationship between the two main protagonists. A foundation of friendship, turned sour by defensive pride, our protagonists have to wade through misunderstanding and miss communications before acknowledging that their uncomfortable, passionate responses to each other are formed from love, not hate.

Not only has CJ created two flawed but immensely likeable characters whose chemistry sizzles off of the page. But by writing a first person, dual narrative she has given us front row seats to the toe curling, breath catching action

Verdict: I feel like CJ Redwine sat down with a checklist of my favorite fictional ingredients, seamlessly combining them together in to one spectacularly decorated, mouthwatering treat. All that was missing from this surprising gift was an out of tune rendition of “Happy Birthday ”.

Review and interview questions by Caroline

Publisher: Atom
Publication Date: September 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 403
Genre: Speculative fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author

Big Book Little Book is delighted to welcome C J Redwine to talk about Defiance, work-life balance and sticky buns!

C.J. Redwine loves stilettos, lemon bars, and any movie starring Johnny Depp. She lives in Nashville with her husband, four kids, two cats, and one long-suffering dog. To learn more about C.J., visit her website.

What was your inspiration for Defiance?
For years, I’d had the idea of a Leviathon-like creature living underground with the capability to destroy our world if anyone accidentally released him. Then one day I saw a picture of a fortress and it reminded me of a city-state. I said “What if we lived in city-states again? Why would we do that?” One idea collided with another, and Defiance was born.

What attracted you to write a pseudo-historical society rather than one in which the inhabitant attempt to rebuild?
I’ve always loved reading about the medieval times, and I thought it would be fun to come up with a scenario in which we’d have to revert to that in some ways (though we still retain the knowledge gained before the apocalyptic event that destroyed society, so we aren’t totally turning back the clock). I’m always far more interested in swords and catapults and horse-drawn wagons than in guns and cell phones and fancy cars.

Logan’s inventions, made of wood, copper and cogs, have a definite Steampunk feel. Was it a conscious decision to include steampunk elements to Defiance or was it a case of the best fit for the world you had created?
It was a case of what materials would actually be available to him, and what he could somewhat realistically do with those materials. But I’m a definite fan of steampunk, so it was fun to give a little nod to that.

I loved reading both protagonists point of view. I understand that you initially wrote from single viewpoint. What prompted you to include Logan’s perspective?
I realized that Logan had an equal stake in the trilogy (both with his backstory and with his actions) as Rachel, and so he deserved a chance to tell his story. Plus, he was going to do some REALLY cool things while apart from Rachel, and I wanted the reader to be able to see that.

If Defiance came with a soundtrack which artists would feature on it?
Hans Zimmer, Red, In This Moment, Evanescence, and One Republic

How is work progressing on the rest of the Courier’s Daughter trilogy?
Book two is in edits right now, and book 3 is begging me to write it! 🙂

Was there a particular book, person (author or civilian) or event, which inspired you to become a writer?
I started writing stories in second grade after I read C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was my first fantasy book, and it just cracked my imaginative world wide open.

Like the BBLB team, and many of our readers, you are a busy mother (of FOUR no less!). How on earth do you manage to fit your writing in around a busy home life? Do you treat it like any other job, 9-5 with set childcare, or is it a case of catching time whenever you can? How do you maintain your work-life-balance?
I am probably super un-balanced, so…I won’t give advice on that aspect, lol. But I fit it in around my toddler’s naptime and then after bedtime at night. And at least two days a week, I head to the local bookstore after my hubby comes home and write at the coffee shop for a few hours.

In your personal and writing life do you associate more with Logan, planning to the nth degree or are you more impulsive and spontaneous like Rachel?
I’m much more like Rachel than Logan. I fly by the seat of my pants half the time, and thinking through science and logic like he does just breaks my brain.

Do you use anything to sustain you during the writing process? Coffee? Chocolate? Music?
Music! I build a playlist specific to each story.

One of the reasons we created Big Book Little Book was to share our passion for reading with children. Which books have you particularly enjoyed sharing with your own children?
My toddler and I love reading Goodnight Moon together every night as she goes to bed. For the boys, I’ve loved introducing them to Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

In Defiance as grandfatherly Oliver comforts Rachel he says
“It’s probably my job to tell you life isn’t fair, but I figure you already know that…So instead, I’ll tell you that hope is precious, and you’re right not to give up.”
How close is this piece of advice to your own personal ethos?

Oh, I believe that wholeheartedly. It’s one of the messages I hope readers take away from this trilogy. Sometimes hope is the hardest, most slippery thing to hold on to, but it’s always worth it.

What is the most important or memorable piece of advice you have ever received?
The only way to truly fail is to quit, so if you really want to do something, don’t quit.

As our Novel Nibbles feature will testify, I am a little obsessed with recreating food from my favorite books. Are any of Oliver’s baked goods based on actual recipes?
I was really close to my grandfather on my mother’s side. I had a very rough childhood, but he was my rock. He showed me what quiet, unconditional love looked like, and I based Oliver on him. He always baked for us, and one of his favourite treats to make was sticky buns! They’re like yeasty rolls with cinnamon and raisins inside and then they’re drizzled in a sticky maple-cinnamon syrup after they come out of the oven. I don’t have his recipe, he died before I could get it, but I wanted to honor what he meant to me by putting him in a book.

I would like to send out a huge thanks to C. J for stopping by to answers our questions and for writing such a fantastic addition to the YA dystopian genre. Now please excuse me while I scour the internet for bun recipes!

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Five Go Off In A Caravan

Enid Blyton

A caravan holiday for the Famous Five is bound to be an adventure! And when they stumble across a circus troupe, the gang are thrilled. But some of the circus people have more sinister plans than just clowning around…

I devoured the Famous Five books when I was a child, so when I spotted this in Oxfam I felt a trip down memory lane was in order. It was very much how I remembered it and I still enjoyed it. Of course my adult eyes do read things a little differently it’s not all as perfect as I used to think, I mean who would let four kids (at least if they are supposed to be between 10 and 14 years old) go off alone in a caravan these days?!

In this story the Five go off on hols in modern horse drawn caravans. They set up home in some hills above a lake next to which a circus camp is having its summer break. They befriend Nobby, a boy and Pongo, a chimpanzee. It transpires the Five have accidentally parked their caravan on top of the entrance to some caves in which the rogues from the circus, one of which is Nobby’s uncle, are using to store stolen goods. Lots of exciting adventures ensue as the mystery is discovered and subsequently solved.

I had forgotten that in these stories some pretty horrible things happen, the baddies are pretty bad; Nobby is badly beaten by his Uncle on a couple of occasions, the Uncle also throws a stone at Pongo and tries to poison Timmy and he and his partner in crime enclose the children in the caves and keep them prisoner. None of this is particularly graphic and I don’t remember being put off by it as a child, I think it must have washed over me as I was too busy wondering what was going to happen next!

The other thing that really stood out for me reading it now was the language. It was great to read all those Famous Five phrases ‘Golly’, ‘Super’, Top speed’ ‘good sort’. When I was younger I also didn’t notice how patronising they could be to other people. There is a lot of mention of how Nobby’s manners are not as good as theirs but he is good in his own way! However I think that you don’t expect Enid Blyton to be politically correct. The books are very much of their time and none the worse for that.

The best things about the story were that I still enjoyed reading about the children, the pace of the book is good and the story draws you in. I still wanted to know what was going to happen! It also made me remember the copious amounts of tongue sandwiches and ginger beer that were consumed. I still think that growing up as one of the Five would have been Super!!

Verdict: Still great, I will definitely be passing these on to my girls later on, and like me they might well need a square of chocolate and some water fresh from the crystal clear stream to sup as they read it 😉

NB Since writing this I have just read another that I got at the same time, soooo sexist!! Might have some discussion about that with my girls when I let them read them.

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 1999 (new ed.)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Action, Adventure
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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Department 19: The Rising

Will Hill

Sixteen-year-old Jamie Carpenter’s life was violently upended when he was brought into Department 19, a classified government agency of vampire hunters that was formed to deal with a little problem…known as Dracula.
But being the new recruit at the Department isn’t all weapons training and covert missions. Jamie’s own mother has been turned into a vampire—and now Jamie will stop at nothing to wreak revenge on her captors. Even if that means facing down Dracula himself.
The Rising is a fast, furious, can’t-turn-away thrill ride that will suck readers in just like a video game. This riveting second book in the Department Nineteen series is packed with cutting-edge gadgets, international locales, and daredevil action that tumbles ferociously across the page—perfect for fans of Darren Shan and Anthony Horowitz

While the pink, fragile scar tissue acts as a visible testament to the horrors Jamie and his friends experienced that fateful night on Lindisfarne, the hidden physiological trauma is no less indelible. Having turned their backs on any semblance of normality and accepted a life of danger and responsibility in the pursuit of world safety, Jamie, Larissa and Kate are now feeling the impact of their decisions and experiences.

A slick three person unit within the super secret department, they work instinctively together, trusting each other with their lives, but not always their secrets and insecurities. The trio cannot help but have matured in the three months following their withdrawal from society and their absorption in to the classified government department; nevertheless they are teens dealing with the huge emotional fallout from book one, coping with anger, grief and the absence of any real parental supervision and support. Jamie particularly is struggling with balancing his recently commissioned leadership while maintaining his friendships with Larissa and Kate.

The only negative thing I can say about this book is its size! You can’t fail to have noticed that with 700+ pages, this is a big book! I have to admit that while a gorgeous signed hardback graces my shelf I found the thought of starting the book a little intimidating not to mention difficult to manage with my preferred reading posture ( lying on my side if you must know). I found a really simple solution, I downloaded the kindle version!

Despite its length, the pacing of the book was spot on and I never felt bored. Will Hill cleverly manipulates multiple story threads, weaving together heart racing action with gut twisting emotional scenes and informative flashbacks to create a compulsive page turner. I particularly love how the author makes references to historical events and figures, grounding the fantasy world building with our own recognisable history.

After 13 years in the health service with up close and personal experience of most body fluids, I consider myself to have a strong constitution, but even I have my limit and Will Hill writes to it. In Department 19 it was the creative use of violin strings, in The Rising, a scene involving Dracula and a library had me swallowing excessive saliva and pushing my lunch to one side. (In retrospect the unpleasant sensation may be due to the first vampire’s maltreatment of books!) However I don’t believe that the bloodletting is gratuitous, this is after all, a war between vicious, carnivorous immortals (old school vamps) and fragile humans. Rather, Hill’s imagery is so unapologetically vivid that it’s Technicolor.

Verdict: This book should come with a health warning; it will cause your stomach to flip and leave you physically and emotionally exhausted, but I promise that you will love every minute of it! Now time to read something light and fluffy, preferably with unicorns, kittens and rainbows!

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: eBook
Pages: 7000/ 1066KB
Genre: Action, Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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Kevin’s Point of View

Del Shannon

Kevin Tobin is a relatively ordinary 12-year-old dealing with the aftermath of his father’s death in a mountain biking accident near their home in Boulder, Colorado. To escape from his emotional turmoil, Kevin has developed his imagination into a dangerous foil and a powerful ally. While he antagonizes his sister through his superhero antics on an average Wednesday morning, his ability to escape inside a character’s head become critical to his survival after his life is once-again turned upside down a year after his father’s death. A mysterious package arrives in the mail, Kevin and his best friend are hunted down by a ruthless villain set upon world domination, and after enlisting Kevin’s teenage sister and her pizza-delivery boyfriend in a battle for control over time itself, the secret of Kevin’s whole existence is revealed to him by a source we never expected. Del Shannon’s imaginative story, appreciation for the powers of family and the desire of young boys to both escape reality and prove themselves within it, and fast-paced, adventure-filled storytelling style make this a book with wide appeal for readers of all ages.

Kevin’s point of view is a really great book that is about a normal 12 year boy still suffering from the quick, and suspicious, death of his father a year ago, who he loved so very much. He deals with this by wondering deeply into the depths of his talented imagination – separating himself from the rest of the world. A few days before he goes on his school field trip to the Rockies, a strange package arrives mysteriously for him at his home in Colorado. This package was meant to arrive at the home of Devin Talon but since when does anything ever go right in adventure books?!

The content of this important package is something called the I.N.F.L.U.X.I.T.R.O.N. With his friend Toby and his sister along with her boyfriend, a pizza delivery man, they work tirelessly to keep the I.N.F.L.U.X.I.T.R.O.N out of Devin’s desperate hands. But also Kevin has his own needs for this machine: to bring back his dad. They are able to do amazing things all around Colorado with the help of the “Shroom wagon” on their side.

I really enjoyed this book as it was full of danger and suspense all strung together cleverly by Del Shannon. At first I did actually struggle to get into the book as I found it a little confusing, but I persevered and found that this was a really exciting book that would keep me quiet for hours (much to my parents’ pleasure!).

Verdict: I would suggest this book to people who love books which include exciting, full-on action with plenty of fun and easy to understand humour.

Reviewed by Jack (11)

Publisher: Emlenl
Publication Date: October 20101
Format: Paperback
Pages: 402
Genre: Action, Adventure
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Jack (11)
Source: Provided by author
Challenge: None
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The 13th Horseman

Barry Hutchison

Drake Finn has just met the Horsemen of the Apocalypse but is that really the end of the world? Pratchett meets Python in this dark comic fantasy with plenty of action, perfect for 11+ boys Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He’s even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They’re missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he’s reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world? An apocalyptic blend of riotous comedy, heart-stopping action and a richly imagined fantasy adventure.

I now have a new favourite book and I shall be telling all my friends about it! The 13th Horseman is full of humour, action and suspense. This book is about Drake, a very normal school kid. Unfortunately, he gets expelled from school for the very silly reason that he blew up two toads, along with the top two floors of the school as well! It was all just an accident of course, but it means he had to move house in order to start a new school. He then discovers a shed in the garden – that bizarrely only he can see. Drake finds three of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse inside the shed playing snakes and ladders and to his surprise they decide that as they are short of a Horseman, and he was able to find them, Drake must be one of them too. He then finds himself becoming the 13th Horseman – the new ‘Death’!

Battling against the former ‘Death’, who is trying to end the world early, he finds his best friend Mel’s life is at stake… along with the world! One of the funniest parts for me was when yet another ‘Death’ has been travelling across the galaxies to find the garden shed – the meeting place of the Horsemen. He keeps cropping up during the book on his quest and when he finally gets there…well you will have to read it to see, but it really made me laugh out loud. I have enjoyed this book incredibly and would recommend it to anyone who loves a humorous adventure story. I now really REALLY hope there will be another book by Barry Hutchinson. This is the sort of book that would make a really good movie!

Verdict: A brilliant book, really good fun and very humorous.

Reviewed by Jack (11)

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Jack (11)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British Book
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Every Other Day

Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Every other day, Kali D’Angelo is a normal sixteen-year-old girl. She goes to public high school. She attends pep rallies. She’s human. And then every day in between…She’s something else entirely. Though she still looks like herself, every twenty-four hours predatory instincts take over and Kali becomes a feared demon-hunter with the undeniable urge to hunt, trap, and kill zombies, hellhounds, and other supernatural creatures. Kali has no idea why she is the way she is, but she gives in to instinct anyway. Even though the government considers it environmental terrorism. When Kali notices a mark on the lower back of a popular girl at school, she knows instantly that the girl is marked for death by one of these creatures. Kali has twenty-four hours to save her and, unfortunately, she’ll have to do it as a human. With the help of a few new friends, Kali takes a risk that her human body might not survive. . .and learns the secrets of her mysterious condition in the process.

With a synopsis like nothing I’ve ever read before and having enjoyed one of Jennifer’s earlier books, Raised by Wolves, I was dying to get my hand on Every Other Day. I am glad to say that this action packed paranormal, urban fantasy did not disappoint.

Darwin not only returned from his voyage on the HMS Beagle with the experiences which formed the basis of his theories on natural selection, he returned having discovered a hydra. Subsequently over the following two hundred years scientists have discovered an entirely new genus known as preternaturals. These 37 species, including Dragons, Zombies, Hellhound and Chupacabra’s, with their triple helix DNA, are believed to be the product of a different pathway of evolution from our own.

No longer the stuff of folk laws and horror stories the existence of these creatures is accepted by society. Although viewable as exhibits in zoo’s, studied by scientists and even protected by the government on endangered species lists, they are largely ignored by society. A zombie attack is merely and inconvenience dealt with a simple phone call.

This acceptance is rather problematic for Kali who spend half her existence consumed with a blood lust and compelled to hunt and destroy preternatural creatures. The illegality of her activities, the innate violence of her demon hunting self has and her overwhelming aversion of becoming a specimen, has her hiding her true nature from society and from the one person in the world she should be able to be honest with, her scientist father.

Jennifer Lynn Barnes excels at creating likeable, kick ass female characters who, despite their extraordinary talents or situations, manage to maintain an air of relatable normality.

I challenge anyone not to admire Kali’s awesome slaying skills while in demon hunting mode or her protective instincts, despite her fragile human form. You cannot fail to fall for the charms of Skylar, an eccentric mother hen with her collection of “odd ball” friends, a feisty younger sister to five over protective brothers who could possibly be just a little bit psychic. Skylar infuses humour, unconditional support and warmth in to Kali’s life. Even the popular and permanently snarky cheerleader Beth refuses to keep to type. I was completely won over by her dogged loyalty and quest for truth not to mention her emotional strength.

While the female characters are well drawn the male characters felt very much like supporting cast members. I hope that if the author continues Kali’s story we get to learn more about Skylar’s siblings and the mysterious Zev.

Verdict: Every Other Day is a fast pasted, action filled, paranormal rollercoaster ride with exciting, edge of your seat fight scenes, emotional highs and lows, not to mention the odd blindsiding plot twist. The violence is very graphic and the main character is perpetually covered in blood, so if you have a weak disposition you might want to think twice before picking up a copy! Now excuse me while I go and download Raised by Wolves: Trial by Fire.

Reviewed by Caroline

UK Paperback published by Quercus on the 2nd of Febuary 2012.

Publisher: Egmont USA
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: eArC
Pages: 352
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Action
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by US publisher
via Netgalley
Challenge: None
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