Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

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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Harper and the Night Forest

Cerrie Burnell

Total fantasy bliss! Magical birds, dark forests and fairytale cities: there’s no better book to get lost in. Harper is on a mission! Rumours tell of the mysterious Ice Raven who lives among the ebony trees, singing a magical song that can melt hardened hearts. Now the Wild Conductor wants to capture this mythical bird and create the greatest orchestra ever known. So Harper and her friends set off to find the bird. Their journey takes them from the mysterious Night Forest to the City of Singing Clocks. But soon Harper realises she faces a dilemma. Should a wild, free creature like the Ice Raven ever be tied down?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
This book is one of those lovely, cute and entertaining reads that I absolutely wish that I had as a child. Harper and the Night Forest is the third book in the Harper series but it was by far my favourite one. Cerrie Burnell’s imagination knows no bounds and I really loved reading about Harper and her friends on their journey into the Night Forest. It was not what I was expecting and I found that to make the book even more interesting to read. I loved the fairy tale aspect and how it all came together in the end. Along with the wonderful story, came the beautiful illustrations by Laura Ellen Anderson. These really brought the story to life in a magnificent way. A truly perfect match between words and pictures.

Who was your favourite character and why?
While I am sure most people would probably choose Harper, I think that my favourite character is actually Nate. He is such a fascinating character and I think it is wonderful to find someone with a sight impairment in a children’s book. Nate can only see shadows and because of it he has a companion wolf who helps to guide him. It means that he can never see the expressions on his friends faces but he can feel when they’re happy or sad. He knows who is near by how they walk and he is excellent at leading his friends when it is dark as it is always dark for him. I really, really loved him as a character and would love to read more.

But really one of the best things about these books are that all of the characters are so vibrant and all work together as a team. Including the “villain” of the books. By the end of each adventure he is always shown why his ideas aren’t so great after all. I think that Cerrie has down a smashing job of creating realistic and likeable characters in all of the Harper books.

Would you recommend this book?
Definitely. These books are magical, and quite literally full of magic. They’re lovely stories. They have heart and emotion and a wondrous childish feel to them. I am certain that both adults and children alike will be blown away by both the adventures that the children go on and also the characters and how they all react. Cerrie has truly created an interesting world for these books to take place in and I just cannot recommend them all highly enough. If you haven’t yet read these books, what are you waiting for?

Summarize the book in one sentence. (Verdict)
Harper and the Night Forest is a splendid book that will steal your heart and fill you with hope all at the same time. It is magical, cute and full of adventure and fun too.

Reviewed by Faye

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: March 2017
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Genre: Fantasy
Age: MG
Reviewer: Faye
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Author Interview: Karen McCombie

We are delighted to welcome Karen McCombie to Big Book Little Book as she talks about her latest novel, The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall.
The Whispers of Wilderwood HallEllis is losing track of time…
After leaving her friends to move to a crumbling Scottish mansion, Ellis is overcome by anxiety and loneliness. Then she hears whispers in the walls…and finds herself whisked back in time to 1912.
At first, she feels like she’s finally home. But the past may not be as perfect as it seems – and is there more to hope for in the present than she first thought?

Wilderwood Hall is just one of many of your books, but can you tell us what your favourite book has been to write?
Erk! That’s a bit like asking me to choose my favourite child*! But okay, since you’re holding a gun to my head (sort of), I’ll say last year’s evacuee novel ‘Catching Falling Stars’, because it was my first historical book and fascinating to research. Though I did love writing ‘Life According to Alice B. Lovely’… the weird and wonderful Alice B. still feels spookily real to me. Oh, and my younger ‘You, Me and Thing’ series was SO much fun to write, and I adored the illustrations Alex T. Smith did for it. And– [large hook appears and pulls Karen away from the keyboard…]

Here at Big Book Little Book, we would love to know how you first got into writing?
I worked as a teen magazine journalist, occasionally writing short stories for the mags. Reviewing books wasn’t part of my job, but I loved flicking through the novels that publishers sent in. The great ones inspired me to have a go myself. The not-so-great ones inspired me too, just in a different way!

Over your time writing you have written both series and standalone books, what is your favourite kind to write and why?
I’m lucky enough to write not only standalones and series, but books for different ages and genres too. I even write for a dyslexia-friendly/struggling reader-friendly publisher, and that’s pretty interesting because you have to think about complex phrasing etc that can trip up less confident readers. And the truth is, I enjoy all these different styles of books. Going back and forth between a long-form novel and then a short early reader, for example, is really great; the change of pace keeps you fresh.

Do you have any odd writing habits? (i.e. having to listen to music?)
Oh, I’d LOVE to listen to music! I’m so envious of authors who talk about the playlists they devised as a background mood for their work in progress… But it’s fatal for me; I just end up tuning into the words instead of my work. Even instrumental music doesn’t help; I start daydreaming and staring out of the window.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I am such a fidget, especially in the mornings; like a dog, I need to go out for a walk. So most mornings, I pack my laptop and head out to work in a café or library, which makes me more settled and focussed for writing in my wee back bedroom office in the afternoons. But my favourite place to write is the local garden centre café. It’s so light and bright, and perfumed by plants…it’s just fab. And most importantly, it has cake.

What is your favourite thing about being an author?
Ooh, there’s a lot of good stuff: dreaming up a new idea; having an editor love it; finding a way to solve something you’re stuck on; the thrill of finishing your novel; going out to schools for events… But my favourite? Well, nothing beats seeing your ACTUAL book in an ACTUAL shop. That’s always a total buzz.

If you had to describe Wilderwood Hall in a tweet (140 characters), what would you say?
I just practised on Twitter! So, here it is…
Ellis struggles with loneliness when she and Mum move to a dilapidated mansion in Scotland. That’s till she hears the whispers in the walls…

Who is your favourite character in Wilderwood Hall?
Ellis; when she struggles with waves of anxiety I want to wrap my arms around her and tell her it’ll be okay. I’d like to tell my 13-year-old self the same, sometimes. (I tell my daughter sometimes too.)

If you could live in any fictional world, which one would you choose?
Could I just visit? I’d love to spend time with author Laura Ingalls Wilder and her family in her autobiographical world of ‘Little House of the Prairie’. To see the prairies and buffalo and unspoilt world of 19th century America… it would be truly amazing. But then I’d like to come back to my sofa and eat crisps and watch ‘Friends’ with my daughter.

What is your next book going to be about? If you’re allowed to let us know!
I’m writing more historical and more funny books (not at the same time, or in the same books!). I’m not sure yet which is going to be published when, so if I say which novel is coming next, I’ll probably get it wrong and look stupid. But hey, looking stupid doesn’t usually stop me doing anything!

* Milly. Phew that was hard**.

** Alright, alright, she’s my ONLY child, so it wasn’t that difficult, I suppose!
Interview questions by Faye
Karen McCombieKaren McCombie is from Aberdeen but now lives in North London with her husband, daughter and one big ginger cat.
Before Karen became a full-time writer she worked for several teen magazines such as Just Seventeen, Bliss and Sugar in a variety roles – everything from Fashion Editor to Features Editor – all very exciting and glam!
Karen has sold over one million books in the UK alone and has been translated into 15 languages.
Find out more at www.karenmccombie.co.uk and take the opportunity to join Karen’s Club!

The lovely people at Scholastic have provided us with one copy of Karen McCombie‘s The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall for one lucy Big Book Little Book reader.

IF you could travel in time, when would you travel to and why?

To enter the giveaway, simply let us know, in the comments below, when you would like to travel to and why.

One commentor will be randomly selected to receive one book.

UK and IRL only

Comments made after the 24th of June will no longer be counted as entries.

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Blog Tour: The Inventory: Iron Fist

Today we have the pleasure of hosting Andy Briggs as he answers some of our burning questions about his latest novel, The Inventory: Iron Fist.
Iron FistThe Rules: if you find a secret inventory of utterly deadly battle tech.
1) Do not try it.
2) Do not tell anyone.
3) Do NOT let thieves in behind you.
What’s more secret than top-secret? The Inventory. Home to the deadliest inventions the world isn’t ready for. Invisible camouflage. HoverBoots. Indestructible metals. Plus a giant creature of chaos: war robot Iron Fist. No one has ever broken past the state-of-the-art AI security system. (Seriously, most bad guys have no idea this stuff is even there.)
Problem 1: the security robot wasn’t ready for a gang of kids wandering in.
Problem 2: they’ve ONLY brought the ruthless Shadow Helix gang in behind them. Seriously dumb, but it’s a bit late for ‘sorry’.
Say hello to trouble: the Iron Fist is in the wrong hands!

Let’s start off with the basics, what made you decide to write The Inventory: Iron Fist?
The Inventory was a place I had thought about for a long time. It came from old comic books, or rather the classified ads they had at the back (which they sadly no longer do) offering x-ray specs for sale or mind reading caps or instant muscles. They were fabulous devices that always prized my pocket money out of my hand, and inevitably what arrived in the post was often a sad piece of cardboard that didn’t work. Of course, I knew the real reason I wasn’t receiving the gadget was because of a massive government conspiracy that placed these amazing devices in an underground vault to keep them out of the hands of the likes of me. Thus the concept of The Inventory was born. What if…? which is one of the best questions a writer can start with.

So far, what book have you enjoyed writing the most?
Ooh, that is such a loaded question. Of course I MUST say it’s this one! But that’s not entirely true because everything you write gives you something different. I’m lucky that I get to write TV shows, screenplays and comics too, so I have the opportunity to write across a massive range of genres and formats.
Last year I wrote my first non-fiction book, HOW TO BE AN INTERNATIONAL SPY (Lonely Planet), which was amazing fun, and a completely different experience to writing The Inventory. When I wrote the rebooted TARZAN series it was a joy to swing through the jungle, ride elephants and explore the savannah – both on the page and for research – giving me rich experiences I would never otherwise have had. Thinking about it now, The Inventory is the polar opposite of Tarzan – high-technology, set mostly underground, and not a parrot or chimp in sight. That in itself gave me a thrill as I was exploring new territory, this one set in the world of science.

If you could live in any one of your books, which book would you choose?
I am a self-confessed geek, and I love gadgets and gizmos. For me, living in The Inventory would be like Christmas day every day… if I was allowed to play with all the tech. But, like the hero of the book, Dev, I would probably grow very frustrated if I was told it’s all hands off. In that case, I would love the opportunity to jump books and live in the tropical paradises that form the rainforests of Africa…

If you could live in any book in print, which book would you choose?
If you had any doubts of me being a nerd, then I will erase them right now: The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Why? Because I would have the chance to explore an entire universe carrying only an eBook, a towel and a fish in my ear. So, okay, the earth may have been destroyed, but there is plenty more fun to be had out there…

What is your writing space like? Is it your desk? A library? A café?
I have a home office that is bedecked with toys, action figures, comics and other items designed to occupy my time when I am supposed to be writing. However, over the years I have discovered that when I have the onset of writer’s block, a change of location always helps. I have a small library space at home with a fish tank that provides yet more hours of distraction, and I tend to get more done there. I can’t work with other people about, so cafés are out of bounds for me if I want to get any work done. I prefer to have relative peace, a movie soundtrack blasting out to inspire me, and a pint of tea by my side.

What is the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received?
“Don’t run over the dog,” was a rather terrific piece of advice given to me on my first driving test. I failed the test, but the dog escaped (it was a textbook emergency stop). I also remember working on a movie with my brother in which we were told “This story is so great, we’ll use it as a sequel!” – unfortunately the first movie was terrible and flopped. But the very best piece of advice was given to me by my amazing English teacher, Mrs. Cross, while I was in Junior school: “That was a very imaginative story, you should write another one.”

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
It’s an old tried and tested piece of advice: don’t give up, finish it. I don’t simply mean write a book then spend the rest of your life trying to sell it – that’s unlikely to ever happen. I mean write a book, then another, then another… maybe write a TV show or something else to change your pace. Find something you feel comfortable with. You may want to write a book, but it maybe, frankly, awful. However, you could have had huge success if you’d only taken the idea and developed it as a screenplay. I tour around the country quite a lot and one of the most common phrases I hear is “I’ve started writing a book,” – you seldom ever meet somebody who has finished writing the book. And, if it is your first book, I recommend shoving it in a dusty drawer and writing another because that one will be better in every way. You can always go back to book one and rewrite it!

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Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events. To learn more about Andy and his work visit his website here alternatively you can converse with him on Twitter (here)

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Create Your Own Spy Mission Blog Tour

We are delighted to be joined today by co authors Andrew and Chris Judge.
spymissionDOODLE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE!
Welcome to Doodle…where you draw the story. Help finish characters, build up the town and design a GIANT ICE CREAM POWERED robot to fight off…the SUPER villains that you doodle! Doodles get into LOTS of trouble. Watch out, it is up to you to doodle them out of it!

What made you decide to work on the Create Your Own Adventure series?
Chris: Our editor in Scholastic, David Maybury, had given me the idea of a story book that the reader could draw in, and asked me to come up with a pitch for it. I asked Andrew to help me out over a weekend, to come up with a story.
Andrew: We’ve been making comics and stories together for years, so we were used to throwing ideas at each other.
C: Andrew came back with the first chapter and an outline for the rest of the book. So I sent that to David and he liked it!
A: And then they couldn’t get rid of me.

Do you both write and draw or does one of you write and one of you draw?
A: For this series, I do the writing and Chris does the drawings. I know what Chris likes to draw.
C: And also what I can’t draw.
A: Ha Ha! Yes, that’s why all my character descriptions have spindly legs and black shoes, because I know you don’t like drawing legs and shoes.

If you were a spy, what kind of mission would you like to go on?
C: I would like to do a space spying mission.
A: I would like to go spying in Google, to see the room where they keep the internet.

Will there be another Create Your Own Adventure book? What will it be about this time?
A: Yes we are halfway through the third one, with a fourth also planned.
C: Are we allowed to say it’s about Superheroes?
A: No.

If you had to choose between being a spy or an alien, what would you choose?
C: I’d be an Alien Spy.
A: I can imagine Sigourney Weaver being chased by an alien with a false moustache and a trenchcoat.

Do you ever finish the stories yourselves?
A: No, because I live with a seven year old who finishes them for me, and he’s much better at it then I am.
C: If I finished it, then it would just be a normal book, illustrated by Chris Judge.

Where is your favourite place to write and/or draw?
A: I love to write on my private island in the Caribbean. Otherwise the bus on my way home from work.
C: I like to draw relaxing by my pond.

When you’re not working on these books, what do you do with yourselves?
C: I do commercial illustration work, big artworks for schools and hospitals. And I make picture books for younger children like The Lonely Beast. I also do the Danger Is Everywhere series with David O’Doherty.
A: During the day, I’m an architect, which is basically like making books, except with with Building Regulations.

markandnickChris Judge is an award winning picture book author/illustrator (THE LONELY BEAST, TIN) and co-author, with comedian David O’Doherty, of DANGER IS EVERYWHERE. Chris’s work continues to feature in advertising, newspapers, magazines and exhibitions in the UK and Ireland.
Learn more about Chris by visiting his website here or alternatively converse with him on Twitter here
Andrew Judge has written and illustrated countless short stories and comics with his brother Chris, including regular features for arts and culture magazines Mongrel and Totally Dublin. Andrew lives and works as an architect in Ireland. Visit Andrew’s website (here) to learn more about his work or make contact on Twitter (here). Find out even more about Create Your Own Spy Mission Visit more www.doodle.town

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Interview With Danielle L. Jensen

If you follow Big Book Little Book you will already know that I loved Stolen Songbird ( read my review here), the debut novel by authorDanielle L. Jensen. You will therefore understand how excited I was to be given the opportunity to interview Danielle as part of her blog tour!

stolen songbirdFor five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

Congratulations on the publication of your debut novel, Stolen Songbird. I absolutely loved meeting Cecile and Co and I cannot wait to read the rest of the Malediction Trilogy. What have been the high and low points of your journey to publish author?
Thank you! I’m so glad you connected with the Trollus crew!!
High points of the journey have been signing with my agent, getting offered a book deal by Strange Chemistry, seeing my cover for the first time, and hearing positive reactions from readers. Low points were the many, many query/partial/full rejections I received over the years.

With her stunning singing voice and her unfortunate predicament of being kidnapped, Cecile is the aforementioned “stolen songbird”. Which animal best represents your personality?
Probably a donkey or a mule. I work hard, but I am known for occasionally being a stubborn a$$. Heehaw!!

During her incarceration in Trollus, Cecile empowers herself through the pursuit of knowledge, trying out many different activities in the process. Are there any activities that you have always wanted to try, but have yet to attempt?
I’ve always wanted to learn to play the piano. I have zero musical talent.

I really loved the detailed and absorbing world building- the aesthetics, the social structure, the mythology- you created in Stolen Songbird. Can you tell us about some of your inspirations for Trollus?
I pilfered quite a bit of it from 18th century French culture, although by no means should anyone try to hold me to the standards of accuracy expected of a historical novel, especially since I know I’ve plucked bits of inspiration from 19th century France for the second book, the Paris Opera being a big one. It would be fair to say that France is a huge inspiration: the excesses of the monarchy, the focus on fine arts, and the revolutionary spirit of the people – I don’t think anyone reading the novel could miss it. I’m slowly building a Pinterest board with images, but it’s not done yet.
As far as the setting goes, that is a strange and unexplainable product of my mind palace. Yes, I’ve been dying to use that phrase – it’s so gloriously pretentious.

I was really impressed with the attention you paid to the secondary characters, fleshing them out and explaining some of their motivations. I also felt as though the friendships were treated with as much importance as the romantic elements of the story. If you had to choose to befriend one of your own secondary characters, who would you pick and why?
Thank you! I adore Marc, but I’d probably choose to be friends with the twins because they’d be the most fun to hang out with.

I absolutely loved Tristan and Cecile’s chemistry and how the differences in their personalities complement each other. Tristan is a meticulous planner, and a bit of a control freak, while Cecile is much more impulsive. When it comes to your writing are you a plotter or a panther?
They are foils for each other, that is for certain!
I am a pantser at heart, but I had to provide synopses for book 2 and 3, which was very tough for me. I like to have certain key scenes outlined in my head and then to make up the rest on the fly.

Who are your favourite literary couples/friendships?
Tessa and Will from The Infernal Devices
Cole and Isabel from Shiver Trilogy (and the upcoming Sinner – so excited for that!!)
Gansey and Ronan in The Raven Cycle
Verity and Kittyhawk in Code Name Verity

I loved the pacing and tone of their relationship and was beyond delighted that Stolen Songbird didn’t contain even a hint of “insta love”. What is your least favourite romantic cliche?
Clichés don’t bother me if they are well executed, but obviously they can be a bit lame when done poorly. I have lots of pet-peeves, but almost all of them are related to crappy character development or lackluster world-building.

As I have already mentioned, I am already excitedly anticipating the 2015 release of book two in the trilogy. Are you able to give us any hints about what to expect?
I’m really excited to finish writing it – there will be champagne when I finally hand that one in. As it stands (pre-editorial), there are substantially more chapters from Tristan’s POV in the second book. You’ll also find out a lot more about the world outside of Trollus.

Thank you so much for popping by and answering my questions.
Thank you for having me!

Questions by Caroline

dannielle jensenDanielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.

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Finish It February: Week Three Roundup

FinishItFeb1
Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: One

Total books read: Three

Series completed for challenge: Two

General feedback: So, yet another busy week in my household. I don’t know why I thought that I would get more reading done this week, considering that it is half term and I have two busy small people to entertain!

I am really not sure how successful next week will be as I have two books I need to read for Bookish Brits videos before I can return to the challenge. On the positive side, I have a week of annual leave (no night shifts, yey!), which means that I can afford a late night or two to squeeze in some more of my neglected novels.

Regardless of how successful next week is for my #FinishItFeb targets, I am really happy that I have managed to complete two fabulous series and I am really glad that I have taken the time to make (however small) a dent in my TBR pile.

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson

bitten kingdomIn the final volume of Carson’s trilogy, the 17-year-old sorcerer-queen will travel into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion – a champion to those who have hated her most.

Compared to some of the books on my shelf, five months isn’t such a long time for one of my preorders to languish on my shelf. Never the less, I am so MAD at myself for not reading this book sooner. I love this series and I have no excuses, NONE.

At over 400 pages, The Bitter Kingdom was a substantial final instalment to a wonderful fantasy series. I loved how the story was allowed to play out at a natural pace, no corners were cut, no plot line was rushed or unexplored, the world building just as detailed and sumptuous, and the relationships as messy and realistic as the previous two instalments, And yet, despite it’s size the pages just flew by and it was over far to soon.

I simply didn’t want the series to end and I finished The Bitter Kingdom with the desire to grab The Girl Of Fire And Thorns off of my shelf and read the trilogy back to back.

As with the previous two instalments, I was most impressed with the character development, particularly Elisa who continued her journey a from self conscious girl, to blossoming young woman to become a confident woman, a powerful sorceress and a commanding monarch.

The romance *sighs* the romance was everything I had hoped for since book one. I am a very happy bookworm.

Verdict: A Fitting end to a fabulous fantasy series

Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: Finish It February

To learn more about Finish It Friday and to join in visit our link up post here. To follow the challenge on Twitter search for #Finishitfeb

Posted by Caroline

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Treason (Secrets & Spies #1)

Jo Macauley
treasonFourteen-year-old Beth Johnson is a talented and beautiful young actress. She is also a spy. The year is 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but all is not well in the bustling city of London, and there are those who would gladly kill the king and destroy the Monarchy. One morning, a mysterious ghost ship drifts up the Thames. Sent to investigate by the King’s Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, Beth quickly finds herself embroiled in a dangerous adventure. Will Beth be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it’s too late?

Amazing! This book is very good for historical fiction novel devourers like me! So it’s 1664 and Beth is an actress at a theatre in London and a spy. She has been waiting for a while to get a good spying assignment and hopes that solving puzzles will help. The only problem is her arch enemy Benjamin Lovett is used to having the women parts in the plays but since the law changed, every theatre now needs a woman actor.

Being a spy is good, but that big assignment just hasn’t come yet and Beth is wondering if her Spymaster (Alan Strange) really doesn’t want her after all. So when she gets a call from him she rushes there to see what he wants. Her heart sinks as she gets assigned a ghost ship.

Meanwhile, John and his close friend William also go to investigate this Ghostship as he is a small junior Clerk and seeks adventure. Will disappears on the ship mysteriously, John is left alone. One day a pretty girl (aka Beth) turns up and asks him about the ship. Better together, they team up with a back street pickpocket and uncover the 2nd great gunpowder plot!

Will they save the king, rescue Will and warn everyone before it’s too late?

This book is very good and if you like historical novels this is definitely for you. This book is in the same genre as the ‘My Story’ series, although in my opinion not quite as good, but that is a lot to live up too! Definitely still worth a read though. I read this book in 4 hours and it was very good. Check out the others in the series: plague, inferno and New World.

Verdict: A very good book but may only appeal to a small age bracket (12-13 years)

Reviewed by Daisy (12)

Publisher: Curious Fox
Publication Date: June 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Historical, Adventure
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (12)
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut author
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The Elephants Tale

Lauren St John
the elephants taleWhen Martine and her grandmother discover that they might lose their game reserve, Sawubona, because of a clause in her grandfather’s will, Martine and her best friend, Ben, decide to take matters into their own hands. After Martine hears a prophecy that tells her: “The elephants will lead you to the truth,” Martine and Ben stow away in an airplane, get stuck in the desert, and help a group of elephants escape from a horrible prison. Along the way, Martine learns the truth about Sawubona, as well as the dramatic truth about her gift with animals and where it will take her in her life …

I loved this book, it has given me so much inspiration for my English work. It has inspired me in literacy to one day be as good as Lauren St John. She has really put her outstanding skills to great use to create such an imaginative series.

Martine and Ben hear their home ‘Sawubona’, the game reserve, was going to be taken over by the local baddie Reuben James after Martine’s grandfather Henry Thomas was tricked into signing away their home. They get tangled up in an adventure which leads to them breaking the law, making a new friend and enjoying a luxury hotel in the moon valley whilst figuring out how such a beautiful place could cause so much harm.

Can Martine and Ben save Sawubona before Christmas Eve?

Lauren St John has an amazing way with words and at times I nearly fell off my school chair with anxiety it was SO tense.

Verdict: This book is for kids aged 9+ and I love it.
By the way, I have already started another book in the series of 4. It’s called Dolphin Song and I’m really enjoying that as well even though I’m only up to page 4!

Reviewed by Izzy (9)

Publisher: Orion
Publication Date: 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 235
Genre: Animals, Adventure
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (9)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge:None
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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

the hunger games ebookCould you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before—and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hunger games already, but don’t always judge a book by its movie! I read this book in two days flat and I think it’s addictive! It’s set in the ruins of North America in a place called Panem in which there are 12 districts; district 1, district 2 and so on. The higher the number of your district, the higher poverty rates are. All of the 12 districts are run by the Capitol, the capital city and where the President, President Snow lives.

16 year old Katniss Everdeen lives in district 12 in a tiny house with her little sister Primrose, Prim for short and her mum. Because the capitol want to show the districts who is the best and to stop them revolting, they declare every year, that all children from the ages of 12 to 18 are to have their names put into a bowl and then, in each district, a male and female, will be selected to fight to the death in an arena, and it would be called the hunger games. The reaping day was when they picked out the names, and as you got older the more times your name would be put into the selection bowl. Katniss was in there 24 times, Prim was in there once. Before the Reaping, Katniss went out hunting in the woods, which was forbidden but she and her hunting partner Gale knew how to hunt.

So at the reaping, they line up the children from district 12 and they first pick out a girl. Out of 7000 people, Primrose Everdeen is picked. Katniss volunteers in place of her little sister. But out of the Boys Peeta Mellark is picked and he becomes very prominent in the next part of the book. Find out how Peeta confesses his love for Katniss, we meet some strange but amusing characters, they train hard, make an alliance with a little girl but does Katniss defeat the odds and rise to victory? Well find out yourself!

Verdict: you have to read this book! I mean it! I took no time to finish it, but the book has so much to it I couldn’t write it all down! I’m soo glad that there are two other books after it because I was left hanging off the edge. The most Thrilling, adrenaline pumping book you have ever read. You don’t want to miss out on it! I give it 10 out of 10 nothing else said.
Verdict the Second: Are you reading it yet? Don’t forget to read: Catching Fire (book 2) and Mockingjay (book 3), I’m reading Mockingjay at the moment, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Daisy(12)

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 2009
Format: eBook
Pages: 387
Genre: Dystopian, Adventure, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Daisy (12)
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: None
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