Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Arrow’

Virals

Kathy Reichs

Tory Brennan is as fascinated by bones and dead bodies as her famous aunt, acclaimed forensic anthropologist, Tempe Brennan. However living on a secluded island off Charleston in South Carolina there is not much opportunity to put her knowledge to the test. Until she and her group of technophile friends stumble across a shallow grave containing the remains of a girl who has been missing for over thirty years.
With the cold-case murder suddenly hot, Tory realises that they are involved in something fatally dangerous. And when they rescue a sick dog from a laboratory on the same island, it becomes evident that somehow the two events are linked.
On the run from forces they don’t understand, they have only each other to fall back on. Until they succumb to a mysterious infection that heightens their senses and hones their instincts to impossible levels. Their illness seems to have changed their very biology – and suddenly it’s clear that the island is home to something well beyond their comprehension. It’s a secret that has driven men to kill once. And will drive them to kill again…

Now, I know good old Kathy from her Tempe Brennan series. This was a series where the first books were amazing but then, as the series progressed, got a tad too detailed into subjects that bored me and I had lost interest in the characters. I think that it was halfway through ‘Deadly Voyage’ that we finally parted ways. It was with surprise, intrigue and hope then, that I picked up ‘Virals’ from the library. I was interested in seeing whether this was another Adult fiction author trying to milk the, what is now incredibly lucrative, cash cow that is Young Adult fiction or whether Kathy had a story to tell that suited this genre best?

The female protagonist in this book is Tempe Brennan’s niece, Tory. Amusingly, because of the connection, so many ‘adults’ have purchased this book assuming that it is a continuation of the Tempe Brennan series and then slammed this book for not being so. Whilst Tempe is mentioned as is clearly idolised by her niece, that is about the extent of her role within the book and will most probably remain as such in the series as a distant figure, due to the fact that the book is very much a preternatural, science fiction based read.

The main characters are an intelligent bunch of young teenagers who, thanks to being the only children of their age, are living on an island that is closely connected to the mainland. They find themselves isolated geographically and socially from their more affluent, mainland peers. But that’s okay as at the moment they’re happier being a tight social unit, playing on nearby islands that house research facilities, that, believe it or not are doing unlicensed experiments on animals. They then save a sick ‘Wolfdog puppy’, subject to unknown experiments, not realising that he is contagious.

I found this book very slow to get into. Too much narrative was used in places i.e, unless you’re a budding marine biologist do you really want to read half a page dedicated to how to clean a shell properly? I found it to be very cliched, maybe that’s due to being older and potentially much more cynical than the intended age range? It was also surprising just how many big words are in the book that even I didn’t understand. The argument could be though that Kathy is trying to not be patronising towards the younger reader or that I am not as clever as I think I am!

Verdict : An enjoyable yet not the most thrilling of reads in this genre. I am glad that I borrowed it from the library instead of purchasing. I will however give it the benefit of doubt and read the next book in the series as there is potential, now that the foundations have been laid, for the series to greatly improve.

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: October 2011
Format: Hardback
Pages: 464
Genre: Paranormal
Age: YA
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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A Perfect Proposal

Katie Fforde

Sophie Apperly has spent her whole life pleasing others– but when she realises her family see her less as indispensable treasure and more as general dogsbody, she decides she’s had enough. So when an old friend offers her the chance of a lifetime, she decides to swap Little England for the Big Apple, and heads off to the land of opportunity.
From the moment Sophie hits the bright lights of Manhattan she’s determined to enjoy every minute of her big adventure. And when fate throws her together with Matilda, a spirited grande dame of New York society who invites her to Connecticut for Thanksgiving, she willingly accepts. English-born Matilda is delighted with her new friend – though her grandson Luke, undeniably attractive but infuriatingly arrogant, is anything but welcoming.
When Luke arrives in England a few weeks later, Sophie hardly expects him to seek her out, but Matilda has hatched some complicated plans of her own– and so Luke has a proposal to make…

Sophie comes across at the start of the book as a complete dogsbody who her family take for granted and uses to keep their own lives running. I found her goody two shoes routine quite irritating at the start, even down to her constant keeping busy whilst looking after ‘Evil Uncle Eric’! That aside her character does start to grow on you and I found myself rather enjoying the story as things moved along – which they do so at a swift pace. Whilst in New York, which the overall summary leads you to believe is where most of the book is set but is in fact a relatively short part of the overall story; Sophie has a chance meeting with a rich elderly lady by the name of Matilda and her grandson Luke. Luke is not a particularly likeable character and acts for the most part like a sullen schoolboy, however he does somewhat redeem himself by the end! Matilda on the other hand is a superb character, not to be underestimated and certainly manages to engineer situations in a very clever manner. Sophie starts to come into her own and is an interesting and likeable character as the story unfolds, with a very practical side to her nature which she puts to good use during her excursion around the countryside with Luke!

A few nice touches and turns, round the story off in a clean if somewhat predictable manner.

Verdict: Reasonably predictable in places, your fairly typical ‘girl meets boy’ storyline, it was nonetheless an enjoyable story punctuated with some interesting and humorous characters. Not one I would rush to re-read or necessarily keep though.

Reviewed by Jane

Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: February 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Genre: Chick Lit, Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Jane
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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Sweet Valley Confidential

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later

Francine Pascal

It’s been ten years since the Wakefield twins graduated from Sweet Valley High, and a lot has happened.
For a start, Elizabeth and Jessica have had a falling out of epic proportions, after Jessica committed the ultimate betrayal, and this time it looks like Elizabeth will never be able to forgive her.
Suddenly Sweet Valley isn’t big enough for the two of them, so Elizabeth has fled to New York to immerse herself in her lifelong dream of becoming a serious reporter, leaving a guilt-stricken Jessica contemplating the unthinkable: life without her sister.
Despite the distance between them, the sisters are never far from each other’s thoughts. Jessica longs for forgiveness, but Elizabeth can’t forget her twin’s duplicity. Uncharacteristically, she decides the only way to heal her broken heart is to get revenge. Always the ‘good’ twin, the one getting her headstrong sister out of trouble, Elizabeth is now about to turn the tables…

If you spent some of your teenage years reading about Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and would like to know what happens to everyone in the end, then this book is for you. (But please note, I only read about the first thirty books in the series, if you have read them all, and the spin off series’ too, you may have an entirely different view on this final episode.).

As Francine Pascal, who wrote the original stories, has written this one, the style has a very familiar feel, and is definitely what I would call an ‘easy read’. There are some new characters, but the focus of the story remains on the twins and their friends.

Interestingly, it is Elizabeth who has departed Sweet Valley for New York and is trying to get her career off the ground while Jessica is at home…with Todd! Through first person narrative from both Elizabeth and Jessica, and flashbacks and past memories we gradually discover how this has come to pass, and who is going to be with whom in the future. It is a great premise for all followers of the Wakefield twins to enjoy and does come with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Although not dark in any way, it is true to say that this book has moved on from the innocence of the originals. Things no longer stop at a goodnight kiss, and there are some character developments that would not have featured in the Young Adult novels.

The best part is at the end when there is an epilogue that covers what happens to everyone, so no stone is left unturned. If you don’t want to know what happens, don’t look at the end first, I had to resist the temptation to do this standing in the shop!

Verdict: For me a guilty pleasure, I really enjoyed it! But probably not something I will read again now I know what happens.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Arrow
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 293
Genre: Contemporary fiction, Romance
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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