Posts Tagged ‘British book’

Waiting for Anya

Michael Morpurgo

anyaIt is World War II and Jo stumbles on a dangerous secret: Jewish children are being smuggled away from the Nazis, close to his mountain village in Spain. Now, German soldiers have been stationed at the border. Jo must get word to his friends that the children are trapped. The slightest mistake could cost them their lives.

Waiting for Anya is set in France in world war 2. When Jo’s Dad is sent to war, he is left in charge of the farm. One day when Jo is left in charge of the sheep, a bear pays an unexpected visit. The whole village is distracted enough for Jo to sneek off into the forest where he meets a man who will change the way he thinks forever. Benjamin is a Jew. France is a dangerous place for Jews and Jo must do all he can to defend his new friends and get them safely across the border into Spain. One mistake could cost their lives.

This is the best book I have ever read. This is also the first book I have cried whilst reading, and would have sobbed on end if I could get the tears out. The ending is a very sad one but was good as well. I definitely felt mixed emotions. The very best book I have EVER read.

Verdict: I loooove this book. Best.Book.Ever!

Reviewed by Izzy (10)

Publisher: Egmont
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 192
Genre: Historical fiction, WWII
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Izzy (10)
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Self Published Sunday: Glaze by Kim Curran

We are delighted to welcome author Kim Curran to Self Published Sunday. Not only has Kim taken the time to answer our questions, she has also provided us with an excerpt from Glaze and a fantastic giveaway!
GlazePetri Quinn is counting down the days till she turns 16 and can get on GLAZE – the ultimate social network that is bringing the whole world together into one global family. But when a peaceful government protest turns into a full-blown riot with Petri shouldering the blame, she’s handed a ban. Her life is over before it’s even started.
Desperate to be a part of the hooked-up society, Petri finds an underground hacker group and gets a black market chip fitted. But this chip has a problem: it has no filter and no off switch. Petri can see everything happening on GLAZE, all the time. Including things she was never meant to see.
As her life is plunged into danger, Petri is faced with a choice. Join GLAZE…or destroy it.

Glaze is your first self-published novel, was there anything in particular that prompted you to make the decision to self-publish?

Initially, I had hoped Glaze would get your normal, traditional publishing deal. And my agent sent the book out to a handful of publishers with that intent. However, it quickly became apparent that they either had something similar in the pipeline or they had doubts about the market for YASF. Combined with this was my realisation that the topics in Glaze were (sometimes eerily) starting to happen. The social network in GLAZE is accessed via a chip in the brain that creates an optical overlay – and I’d written it before I’d heard a thing about Google Glass. The first chapter features a riot in London – and it was written long before the London riots. And I realised that I was going to have to move super fast to ensure the book stayed topical. And that’s the beauty of self publishing. I was able to move as fast as I liked.

Plus, I really loved the idea of trying a new approach to publishing. And Glaze seemed to be the perfect book to do that with. It’s about disrupting the establishment after all 🙂

Glaze is a truly scary look at social media, where did your initial inspiration come from?

The initial spark came from watching this TED video on the Filter Bubble.

http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles

In it, Eli Pariser talks about how the filter through which we experience the internet is so designed around our personal interests that, in an attempt to be totally relevant, it risks cutting us off from the wider scope of topics. This really scared me, as it’s something I do personally: if someone on Twitter tweets something I don’t agree with, I unfollow them; if someone on Facebook bangs on about topics that don’t interest me, I defriend them. I started to wonder how this might work if it was done on a social level. If all of our relationships with each other and with our society was controlled and ‘filtered’. And so the idea for Glaze was born.

Prior to the start of Glaze, Petri is already socially isolated, how important was this to the decisions she made throughout the novel?

For me it’s Petri’s desire to ‘belong’ that is the main thrust behind the whole book. She’s an outsider looking in on a world that feels out of reach. And in my teenage years (and still today) I felt that intently. Even when surrounded by friends, I felt someone how isolated. And all it would take would be one of those days when everyone seems to have ‘in’ jokes that you don’t get and that sense of isolation could become crushing. And so I wanted the network to become a metaphor for that experience. It’s the ultimate ‘in crowd’!

I liked the fact that they had a physical barrier on the use of social media in schools; do you believe that the abundance of teenagers using smart phones affects their education and social interactions?

That’s a really fascinating question. There’s a genuine fear that our ‘always on’ culture is affecting our attention span and our ability for prolonged thought. But then, people said the same thing about books! Of course, smart phones and access to social media is changing the way we consume information and how we interact. However, whether that change is negative is unclear. I think it’s just change. And that’s a neutral thing.

What I really do worry about, however, are the changes that are taking place in our education system. It feels to me that we’re moving to an old fashioned view of what it means to be educated. Which is to have your brain stuffed full of facts and figures. For me, education is so much more than this. It should be about sparking a passion for ideas and encouraging young people to question their world and what has shaped that (whether that’s history or physics). And it’s this attempt to erode that space to ask questions that I think it the real danger in our schools!

Is there one form of social media that you personally cannot live without?

I wouldn’t say live without – as I do often wish someone would save me from myself and ban me from the internet! But I love Twitter so very much. Since going freelance to focus on my writing it’s become my work chat, my social group and my source of news and gossip.

Glaze, as mentioned above, is a little bit terrifying, I admit that while reading Glaze, I felt a little bit uneasy about accessing my own social media; did you experience this while writing it?

Absolutely! I started to question the motives of everyone I interacted with online. And I got the sense that everything I was sharing online was being watched (because IT IS! ☺ )

This paranoia was combined with the fact that as I was writing it, it all seemed to be coming true! I was sitting in an office in East London when the riots broke out. And that was after having written the riot scene at the beginning of the book. Then all the news about GCHQ started to break. And finally, Google Glass was announced and I started to get seriously worried someone was hacking my brain!

Is there one message you’d like readers to take away from reading Glaze?

Question who is in control of your information.

Which five words would you use to persuade someone to read Glaze?

Argh! This is so hard.

Try a twisty, thinky, tech-thriller. 🙂

What have been the most rewarding and most challenging aspects of self-publishing?

The whole process has been incredible! I thought it was going to be so isolating but the truth is it’s been one of the most supportive and collaborative experiences I’ve ever had. I’ve been really lucky that an imprint called Jurassic London got excited about the idea of Glaze and wanted to publish limited edition hardbacks. And so I was able to work with Jared Shurin – the editor there on that. Glaze was also edited by Amy McCulloch at Puffin, plus I had amazing copyeditors and proof readers. And so I had a team of people around me to help make the book better.

And then, when I reached out to bloggers #TeamGlaze was born and I was overwhelmed by the excitement and enthusiasm. It’s been such a humbling experience and I sort of feel that Glaze belongs to everyone who’ve helped me in that journey.

It’s also been really empowering to take control over my career. Ultimately, all the choices made, have been mine. Which is terrifying, but also really rewarding.

Honestly, the only challenging thing was making the decision to do it. Which was a really tough one. I thought people would judge me and think I’d somehow failed. But the support I’ve had has blown me away.

Can you tell us anything about what you’re currently working on?

I’m just finishing up the final edits on Delete ¬– the final book in my Shifter trilogy. And I’ve started a new book for young adults that I am so exceptionally excited about I can hardly sleep. I can’t tell you much about it, beyond the fact it’s tonally very different from anything I’ve written before. It’s a series of letters between two girls and…actually, that’s all I can say without giving it all away. The working title (exclusive here) is We’ve Only Just Begun. So, watch this space! 🙂

Excerpt

I sit on the least damaged of the seats and start to swing. The rusting chains are damp from the morning’s rain but the seat is dry, which means someone has been here before me. Kiara climbs up on the warped, burnt-out seat and pushes back and forth, her long, dark hair splaying out behind her, then catching her up on the upswing.

We swing in silence for a while.

‘What’s it like?’ she says.

‘What’s what like?’

‘The blank chip. Can you feel it?’

‘Not really. At first, I could see the company logo, floating in my eyes. You know, like when you stare at the sun too long. Three faint triangles drifting around. But I don’t even notice them now.’ I look down. I was hoping that I’d feel something with the chip. Get some kind of feed. The time and date. My location. Something. Anything. But after the logo faded, there was nothing.

‘You know, you’re lucky.’

‘What?’ I look back up at Kiara flying back and forth.

‘Glaze. It’s not all that. I’m thinking of having the chip removed.’

‘What? Why?’

She leaps off mid swing and lands badly. I jump down and try to help her back to her feet. She sits in the mud and laughs.
‘Are you OK?’ I ask, meaning the ankle she’s cradling.

‘No, not really.’ Her smile fades. ‘I mean, I don’t know what’s wrong with me.’

I know she’s not talking about her ankle.

‘You remember when I was off school last month?’

‘With glandular fever?’ I say.

‘Yeah, only it wasn’t glandular fever. Unless you can get that from a stomach pump.’

‘What are you on about?’

‘I tried to kill myself.’

She says it like it’s perfectly normal. Like she’d just tried a new nail varnish. Or she has a crush on someone. I find I can’t breathe and slump to the floor next to her.

‘Oh, don’t worry,’ she says, leaning back on her hands and looking up at the clouds. ‘I did a really crappy job of it. Apparently it’s really hard to OD on ibuprofen. Who knew?’

‘Kiara, I… I… Why?’

She closes her eyes and tilts her head back further, as if she were sunbathing. Only there’s no sun out today. ‘The doctors say I’m depressed.’

‘Well, duh!’ I say. ‘Award for stating the obvious goes to the doctors.’

‘I guess. But I always thought being depressed meant feeling sad all the time and not being able to get out of bed. But I don’t feel sad. I just don’t… feel. Anything.’ She sits up again and rubs her muddy hands on her skirt. ‘I used to care about things so much, you know? My art. Music. But now, it’s all noise. And without it I feel empty. And I didn’t want to go on feeling empty.’

‘I wish I knew what to say.’

‘Don’t worry. No one knows really. Mum says I’ll get better soon. That it’s a phase. Dad’s ignoring it, pretty much, trying to carry on as normal. He can’t cope with the fact I’m not his happy little Kiki any more. My doctor wants me to take some pills. “Happy pills”. He actually called them that. Literally. Happy pills. Can you believe that?’

‘And you don’t want to take them?’

‘I don’t know. I don’t really know anything any more.’

‘Has this got anything to do with Pippa?’

Kiara laughs. ‘No. Poor Pippa. Can you imagine her dealing with this?’

I laugh too. But it comes out as more of a groan. ‘Yeah, she’d make a right drama out of it.’

‘No, it’s not her. I can’t even remember why we were friends in the first place. No, it’s just… life, I guess. My life. It really does suck.’

I turn away and sigh. ‘Tell me about it.’

‘I’m sorry I’ve been such a bitch to you lately, Pet. I wanted to tell you, I really did. But…’

‘It’s fine. I get it.’ I hate to admit it, but I’m kind of relived.

We both sit and watch the clouds float past overhead.

‘So, what’s that got to do with having your chip out. I mean, can you even do that?’

‘Apparently there’s a clinic you can go to. It’s not as easy as having it put in. But nothing ever is, right?
‘And you’re going to?’

‘Maybe. It’s weird. Since I got chipped I’ve felt shrunk, somehow. Lost among all those voices. I don’t know what I really think, about anything. You know, what my opinions are.’ She presses her hand to her chest. ‘I’m stretched out in all directions spread too thin. Like a pancake person.’ She laughs again, and this time, it sounds a little more like her real laugh. ‘But it could just be me. Mum did always say I was contrary.’

‘Why don’t you turn it off? Then when you feel better you can go back.’ I can’t get my head around the idea of someone choosing not to be on Glaze. Especially when I know I can’t. Like Ethan.

‘Yeah, but I’d only turn it back on again. I have no willpower.’ She shivers and wraps her arms around herself.

‘You want to come back to mine?’ I say, standing up. ‘Zizi will be there, though. She’s working on some big project.’
‘Won’t she go totally Metro for you bunking off?’

‘Nah, I’ll tell her I’m taking a stand against patriarchal institutions or something.’

‘Your mum’s cool.’

‘Hmm. Too cool.’

‘I have to be home normal time or Mum will call the police.’

‘We still have a couple of hours. And I’ve had enough of the police for a lifetime.’

She takes my hand to get to her feet then tucks it under her arm, linking us together. ‘What was it like? Being arrested?’ Her eyes light up and I realise now it’s the first time I’ve seen them like that in too long.

Kim PicDublin-born Kim Curran is the award-nominated author of books for young adults, including Shift, Control and Delete.
She studied Philosophy & Literature at university with the plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts. While that never quite worked out, she did land a job as a junior copywriter with an ad agency a week after graduating. She’s worked in advertising ever since and is obsessed with the power of the media on young minds.
She is a mentor at the Ministry of Stories and for the WoMentoring Project. And lives in London with her husband and too many books.
To find out more about Kim and her work visit www.kimcurran.co.uk
To view the full tour schedule visit A Daydreamers thoughts here

There is a tour wide giveaway during the tour.
The prizes include;
Hardback copy of GLAZE signed by the author and cover designer
Signed copies of Shift & Control
Glaze Bookmarks
Glaze badges
Meet with Kim Curran or Skype chat if not able to come to London.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Cross My Heart

Carmen Reid

cross my heartBrussels, 1940. Fifteen-year-old Nicole watches as the Nazis invade Belgium. Determined not to stand by as her country is brought to its knees, Nicole vows to fight back and joins the Belgian Resistance. Under her new alias – Coco – Nicole embarks on a dangerous new life as a spy, where the only question is not if you’ll be caught, but when…

As the Germans walk into Belgium in May 1940 Nicole’s world is turned upside down. Despite the danger, the warnings and the fear Nicole can’t help herself and joins the Resistance as her world is torn apart. Nicole shows herself to be a brave and resourceful member of the team. She is flung into more and more hazardous situations and has to make difficult and even life threatening decisions. Nicole is an inspiring heroine.

As people disappear, Jews are marked, food diminishes and everyone lives in fear as they witness the viciousness of Nazi rule, Nicole’s determination to help only gets stronger. Nicole’s involvement in the Resistance causes her to see the worst of the Nazi’s in action and as the story develops, Nicole sees more and more of the worst of the Nazi regime. The atrocities she sees and experiences are familiar to anyone with some knowledge of World War Two but I found that seeing them through the eyes of this teenager was a bit like hearing about it for the first time. There is a freshness and immediacy in the writing.

There is also a little romance in the tale as Nicole grows closer to Anton, a childhood friend who she joins the resistance with and comes to mean a lot to her. There is added poignancy in the situation the young lovers are in, knowing they are putting themselves in danger and could be ripped away from each other at any time.

Verdict: This was a great read; there is action, tension, fear, love , courage and inspiration in its pages. Whether you have read lots about WW2 or this is your first attempt at reading anything about that time it will draw you in and keep you there until the last turn of the page.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Corgi Children’s
Publication Date: August 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Bookish Brits: Bomb Maker Buddy Review

Claire McFall.
bombmakerThe English government have closed the borders with their Celtic neighbours. Any Celt found in England is branded with a tattoo, found twice they are executed. Scottish Lizzie is the ‘property’ of psychopathic London gang boss Alexander. Can Lizzie escape Alexander’s deadly grip and at what price her betrayal?

Posted by Faye and Caroline

Publisher: Templar
Publication Date: February 2014
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline and Faye
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Miss Dorothy-Jane Was Ever So Vain

Julie Fulton

miss dorothy janeMiss Dorothy-Jane was ever so vain.
She stared in the mirror for hours.
Was her hair brushed just right? Was her jumper to tight?
Would her hair look much better with flowers?

This has everything my girls like in a story; brightly coloured, fun pictures, a humorous, rhyming story and plenty to talk about. Dorothy-Jane likes to look nice and wants to be noticed. When the Queen is coming to Hamilton Shady she chooses her best outfit so that she will be chosen to welcome her to the village. Dorothy-Jane then has several near misses trying to keep her clothes clean, but when her dog falls in the pond will she sacrifice her appearance to save him? Well I am going to put in a spoiler and tell you that she does, in the end, rescue her dog and the villagers are so impressed that for this reason she is chosen to welcome the Queen to the village.

We all enjoyed laughing over the near misses with the seagull who nearly pooped on Dorothy Jane and the car that nearly splashed her. I liked the moral message in here that your actions are more important than your appearance and we had a good chat about why Dorothy-Jane deserved to meet the Queen.

Verdict: This is another in a great series of books by Julie Fulton and it didn’t disappoint.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher:Maverick Arts
Publication Date: September 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 23
Genre: Picture book
Age: Picure book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Sawbones

Catherine Johnson

sawbonesSixteen-year-old Ezra McAdam has much to be thankful for: trained up as an apprentice by a well-regarded London surgeon, Ezra’s knowledge of human anatomy and skill at the dissection table will secure him a trade for life. However, his world is turned on its head when a failed break-in at his master’s house sets off a strange and disturbing series of events that involves grave robbing, body switching … and murder. Meanwhile, sparky, persuasive young Loveday Finch, daughter of the late Mr Charles Finch, magician, has employed Ezra to investigate her father’s death, and there are marked similarities between his corpse and the others. The mystery takes Ezra and Loveday from the Operating Theatre at St Bart’s to the desolate wasteland of Coldbath Fields, from the streets of Clerkenwell to the dark, damp vaults of Newgate Prison, and finally to the shadowy and forbidding Ottoman Embassy, which seems to be the key to it all…

What initially caught my attention with Sawbones was the somewhat dark and a little macabre cover, and subsequently the very short and brief synopsis that hinted to one mystery and perhaps an even bigger one lying beneath.

Having read The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and more recently Unrest by Michelle Harrison, two books that both took me out of my comfort zone I decided to follow my gut, take a leap of faith and go for it. Turns out I should do that more often!

Catherine Johnson’s story unfolds from an uncommon source in the rough and dirty London of 1792. Our narrator is non-other than a sixteen-year-old mulatto boy by the name of Ezra, a surgeon apprentice to one of the most prestigious and experienced surgeons of London. Under William McAdams wing he has grown up free, a man of truth and science, where rationality and reason reign sovereign, and where the mysteries of life lie in death and the veil that hides them will eventually be cut down by the scalpel of a surgeon postmortem.

Science is bursting with the desire to grow, expand and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable faster than it is accepted. Surgeons need to practice and need to learn, and they need corpses to both. Unfortunately not everyone willingly gives their body to science. It is in this environment that the resurrectionists are born, also known as grave robbers. Thieves paid well by thirsty scientific minds to bring to the anatomizing table a dead body that perhaps was laid to rest with the intention of staying that way.

When we meet him his biggest concern is not losing the girl he is giving his attention to now that he has come of age, and being taken seriously in the blooming surgeon community given the colouring of his skin. But when a corpse turns up on his master’s anatomizing table with a couple too many unexplained quirks, ones that might get undesired attention and might imply that the poor soul may actually be missed and claimed, Ezra raises his concerns with his master. Add to the mix a red headed girl with a fiery and willful personality who seeks revenge for the death of her father which she claims is murder, and you have yourself a mystery. But the mystery goes beyond that. There are more ingredients to this recipe, and the intrigues run deeper than the scalpel has initially cut and further than the streets of London.

Sawbones’s narration was as clean cut and objective as the scalpel and the mind of he that wields them. Ezra tells us his most peculiar adventure in a fashion that shows a mind brought up surrounded by reality and reason, where no laws are defied and common sense and logic are the rules that must be abided. The language and style were faithful to such a mind and showed great care and research on behalf of the very clever author. Every detail was delivered with some detachment; detachment that I would also expect in someone who has made the examination of death his business, and therefore no description appeared or transpired as gruesome or stomach churning. The critical eye delivered an accurate picture allowing both my mind and his to soak in the relevant information to attempt to solve the ever growing puzzle of bodies.

Sawbones wasn’t quite what I expected, for some reason I had some version of Jack The Ripper murders in my mind. But it did not dissapoint by any means and was a very welcomed break of the increasing thrillers that has some romantic thread along the way. The pure science and riddle solving mind that Ezra brought to the story was refreshing. And because his reasoning was so dictated by logic I was able to follow each of his steps and conclusions, meaning that for once I was actually able to solve the murder mystery at the same time he was!!! Total bonus!!! And I have to say that I am (admittedly rather pathetically) very proud of myself!!! * claps and dances around *

Verdict: Dark, sharp and refreshing.

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: October 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 240
Genre: Thriller, Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Unrest

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

I acquired Unrest at last year’s Summer Scream Foyles event after having heard Michelle Harrison read a section of it and getting some serious goosebumps in the full blazing summer. Unfortunately my forever growing TBR pile meant that it had to be postponed again and again until…. Halloween rolled on. I put everything aside and immersed myself fully in the scary world on the night of witches, and boy what a scare!!!

I stupidly read it mostly at night after I finished work and couldn’t seem to manage more than a few chapters at a time as got too creeped out every time. Now I should inform you that I’m not much of a horror person. Scratch that, I’m just plain and simple not a horror person. I don’t watch horror and I don’t read horror. Michelle Harrison may have changed all that as I now hunt for another similar thrilling read!!

The style of writing and the narration were laced with suspense, eeriness and mystery at every turn of the page. The suspense slowly built to a rising crescendo as small bizarre events occurred growing into bigger, more threatening and frightening events.

But no book’s complete without a bit of romance, which Michelle naturally provided as mystery and ghosts wrapped themselves around the budding spark between Elliott and Ophelia.
I very much enjoyed this book not only for the spook factor, which was delivered in abundance, but also because the characters themselves had depth and were seen to grow with every nightmarish situation. Amongst the ghost hunting, some own personal soul searching was done and it was lovely reading and watching these two characters grow whilst also facing some of our own worst haunting nightmares.

I never thought I would stumble across a horror that I would actually enjoy, let alone love but I am lucky enough to say that I most certainly have. Unrest possessed romance, eeriness, mystery and depth in equal and abundant amount. And I loved every goose-bump endured moment of it. I would even go as far as saying that although reading it at night petrified me and made me jump at every creak of my new flat, I would definitely read it again in the exact same conditions.

Verdict: Couldn’t have creeped me out or made me enjoy it more!!!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication Date: April 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 375
Genre: Paranormal, Horror
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book
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The Legacy

Gemma Malley
the legacyWhen a Pincent Pharmaceutical van is ambushed by the rebel group known as the Underground, its contents come as a huge surprise – not drugs, but corpses in a horrible state.
It appears that the pharmaceutical company’s top drug, Longevity – which is supposed to eradicate disease and ensure eternal life – isn’t living up to its promises. Now a virus is sweeping the country, killing hundreds in its wake, and Longevity is powerless to fight it.
But when the unscrupulous head of Pincent claims that the Underground is responsible for releasing the virus, it’s up to Peter, Anna, and their friends to alert the world to the terrifying truth behind Longevity before it’s too late.

Contains spoilers for earlier books in the trilogy.

The Declaration Trilogy reaches its conclusion in this book. Peter and Anna are in hiding with their daughter Molly and Anna’s little brother Ben. Jude and Pip are still working in London, with the Underground, to bring down Richard Pincent and Pincent Pharma and Peter is itching to get back in the fight. Out in the world there are people dying and Richard is being told by his scientists that there is now a virus that Longevity cannot fight. Richard becomes convinced he needs the original formula for Longevity that Albert Fern (its inventor) withheld from him.

As the death toll rises and people begin to suspect that all is not well Richard turns them against the Underground, the surplus children and the opt outs. Children begin disappearing from Surplus Halls, Peter and Anna are tracked down. Richard wants to discover what is so special about the ‘circle of life’. Eventually, through a thrilling sequence and a couple of great twists and turns things come together for a clever climax.

Yet again this was a story I couldn’t put down. I enjoyed the way the writing moved between the different groups of people and had some cameo’s from old friends from previous books. I also liked the prologue at the beginning giving us insight into how the drug had come to be developed, what had happened to Albert Fern and how Richard Pincent had wormed his way into this position at the head of the most powerful corporation on earth.

The ethical and moral questions keep coming and the questions continue to get you thinking. It all still feels very plausible as it is rooted in the reactions of people, fear of death, fear of living forever, the choices we make and their impact on our environment, the distribution of precious resources and the kind of world we want to leave for future generations. I particularly liked the little hint at the end that this could happen all over again, after all humans are well known for not learning from history and repeating their mistakes. It made you feel a little chill at how easily we could fall into a world just like this one.

Verdict: So this is a great conclusion to a brilliant series, highly recommended!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: November 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 272
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Up and Up

Shirley Hughes

up and upThe magical story of a little girl shoes wish to fly finally comes true, much to the alarm of the grown-ups.
A wordless story that is truly delightful – a triumph in true classic Shirley Hughes style.

When we borrowed this from the Nursery School Library my daughter (3 and a half) was most disconcerted when we got it home and realised there were no words in it. However once we began to look at it she was captivated by the enchanting drawings that tell the story.

A little girl watching birds longs to fly and when a magical egg gives her that chance she grabs it. Through the pictures we follow her on her exciting adventure, flying around the kitchen and then out into the garden and beyond to the street, over tree’s and away. The little girl is exhilarated by her new ability, her parents are a little concerned! They follow after her, as much as they can and are soon joined by a stream of people looking at the girl in the sky. She is keen to escape capture and leads them all a merry dance until, after evading nets and a hot air balloon, she finally comes down again having had an unforgettable time.

The lovely thing about this is that every time we tell it, it is a little different and every different person who tells it brings something fresh. The wealth of detail in the pictures encourages the use of more than a little imagination and it was particularly special to see my older daughter ‘reading’ this to my younger one and also the younger one’s pleasure in being able to tell us the story.

Verdict: This was a very popular book with my children and encouraged them to engage with a book in a different way. Brilliant!

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Red Fox
Publication Date: September 2007
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Children’s
Age: Picture book
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British book
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Netgalley November: Week Four & Challenge Round Up

netgalleynovember3Personal Target: To read and review eight netgalley titles and improve my approved/feedback rating

Number of books read this week: 3

Number of books read for challenge: 10

Netgalley Approved-Feedback: 64.2%

Feedback:
At the start of November I set myself the challenge of reading and reviewing eight of my approved Netgalley titles. My aim was to take charge of my Netgalley TBR pile and improve my Approval-Feedback percentage. My target took a bit of a setback in week two, when, unable to rest the lure of Netgalley I requested, and was subsequently approved for, a further four titles.

I am really please that I managed to read and review ten Netgalley books. The original eight titles and two of the shiny, shiny titles I added during the challenge. Unfortunately I was unable to read and review the other two titles I collected during the challenge. I have started reading The Edge Of Always by J.A. Redmerski and I am looking forward to reviewing Witch Finder by Ruth Warburton In January.

This was a great reading challenge. It feels really good to take control of my digital TBR and I hope that I will maintain my percentage. Now all I need is a challenge to help me put my physical TBR to rights!

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
these broken starsIt’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

As These Broken Stars is not due for publication until December/January, I am planning to wait until later in the month to post my full thoughts, in a Bookish Brits Vlog no less! (Visit here to lear more about Bookish Brits). For now, let me say that this collaboration between two gifted authors, for one of whom this is a debut, had me gripped from the very first page.

With the slow burning romance I adore, strong flawed characters, a futuristic universe, space travel, survival, mystery and blindsiding twists, I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t love about this book.

Verdict: Titanic in space- but better!

These Broken Stars is due for publication on the 10th of December 2013 the US, while us Brits will have to wait until the 23rd of January 2014.

Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date:December 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Genre: Science Fiction
Age:Young Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Doubting Abbey by Samantha Tonge
dounting abbey

Acting purely out of a desire to help her closest friend -and following a Ladette to lady crash course in etiquette and make under- loud, fun loving and immensely likeable Gemma finds herself imitating aristocratic Abbey

While you can’t help but root for Gemma as she attempts to maintain the charade, it is when Gemma is being her down to earth, reality TV loving, “normal” self that the story is the most fun. I couldn’t help but snort with laughter as she repeatedly attempts to give the viewers what they want, a “sexed up” Million Dollar Mansion.

I’m not going to lie. I am a fan of Light, sweet and fluffy “candy floss” books. They are my go to when I am in the need for a predictable, safe, comforting read. After the last few weeks of dystopian devastation and heart crushing contemporary I was in the mood for something fun and light hearted and Doubting Abbey fit the bill perfectly.

Verdict: Doubting Abbey was a predictable but fun and fast romp of a read.

Publisher: Carina UK
Publication Date:November 2013
Format: eARC
Pages:
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age:New Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November, British book

unleashing Mr DarcyUnleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman teetering on the verge of thirty must be in want of a husband.
Not true for Manhattanite Elizabeth Scott. Instead of planning a walk down the aisle, she’s crossing the pond with the only companion she needs; her darling dog, Bliss. Caring for a pack of show dogs in England seems the perfect distraction from the scandal that ruined her teaching career, and her reputation, in New York. What she doesn’t count on is an unstoppable attraction to billionaire dog breeder Donovan Darcy. The London tycoon’s a little bit arrogant, a whole lot sexy, and the chemistry between them is disarming. When passion is finally unleashed, might Elizabeth hope to take home more than a blue ribbon?

It is no secret that I adore Jane Austin. What you might not realise is that far from placing her books on a pedestal, behind a velvet rope and insisting that they can only be admired reverently from afar. I am the kind of Austin fan who loves to consume books, movies and web serialisations, based on her works. When I saw Unleashing Darcy, a contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling set in the world of dog shows, I couldn’t prevent my huge smile, and I just had to request a review copy.

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice, I can recognise how Wilson has based her novel on the classic- all the important players are there and all the significant events are represented- however Wilson has taken the liberty of shuffling around the timeline to best suit her characters. She has also provided us with Darcy’s point of view. As a result Unleashing Darcy, doesn’t follow the original story line as closely as some other retellings.

Unleashing Darcy was every bit as fun as I had anticipated. One of the things that I loved about this particular retelling is the way Wilson managed to incorporate so many of the classic lines from Pride and Prejudice, very often with no alteration, without interrupting the feel of her very contemporary novel. I couldn’t help but smile every time I recognised a line from the original text.

Verdict: A comforting, smiling inducing read for like minded Austin fans.

Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Publication Date:December 2013
Format: eARC
Pages: 368
Genre: Contemporary romance, retelling
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Netgalley November

Reviewed by Caroline

To learn more about the reading challenge and to sign up visit here

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