Posts Tagged ‘Publisher- Doubleday’

Clover Moon

Jacqueline Wilson
Clover Moon’s imagination is her best escape from a life of hardship in poverty-stricken Victorian London. When tragedy plunges her into a world of grief, Clover realizes that everything she loved about the place she called home is gone. Clover hears of a place she could run to, but where will she find the courage – and the chance – to break free? And could leaving her family be just what she needs to find a place that really feels like home?

What were your initial thoughts on the book?
I really enjoyed reading Clover Moon by Jaqueline Wilson because I always enjoy her books.
I thought the book was very emotional and funny.
I mostly enjoyed reading this book because it doesn’t have any pictures except for one at the beginning of every chapter which lets me use my imagination to make the people in my head by using the description from the book.

Who was your favourite character and why?
My favourite character is Clover Moon because she is the bravest, funniest, most adventurous girl and she cares for other people. Clover turns everything into an adventure which makes very easy to like her.

Would you recommend this book?
If you like Hetty Feather then you will definitely like Clover Moon because they are set in the same place and have some characters in common. I would recommend this book to other girls -from age 9- that are interested in adventures happening in the present, past or future.

Summarise the book in one sentence.
Clover Moon is a fun, attractive book that drags you in to the story the minute you turn the page.

Jimena Gutierrez-Reviriego (10)

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: October 2016
Format: Hardback
Pages: 400
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Jimena
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: British book
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Hold Back The Stars

Katie Khan

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
None of this was supposed to happen.
But perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…
Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return.
For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it?

What are your overall thoughts?

Despite the old adage about book covers and judgment, I’ve admitted more than once that that I’m a sucker for a pretty cover. I was powerless to resist when faced with Hold back the stars. It’s absolutely beautiful. With is hand drawn stars and character silhouette, it perfectly reflects the books content. Some of the stars are picked out in foil so that the stars actually twinkle- total book porn for book magpies like myself.
But even for me, a beautiful cover alone does not a purchase make, the blurb had completely ensnared at high stakes, Sci fi, love story and Hold Back The Stars quickly went from compulsive one click purchase to top of TBR.

While my love for the aesthetics of the book are clear-cut my feelings for the content are a little more complicated. I’m a total sucker for romantic love stories, caught breath, tentative, tension fill touches and impassioned declarations of love totally float my boat. Hold Back the stars is not a romantic love story and my pre conceived notions about the kind of love story I was going to read almost made me quit the story half way though.

Due to the peril the characters find themselves in it is understandable that they would want to look back at the significant events of their relationship and the events that led them to their current predicament. Like in life the significant events are often the more upsetting and unpleasant ones. While I appreciate that this is in keeping with the story and the dramatic device of the looming disaster, as a reader it made connecting with the characters and their relationship harder. If had been shown a few more tender moments of their relationship, it would have been easier to relate to the characters and the choices they made for themselves and each other, however with hindsight I can recognise the authenticity of the authors choices to the story being told and my own preconceptions about what that story would look like.

In the end it was the tension-building countdown that kept me turning the pages and my determination to finish was rewarded with a unique and surprising final third.

What was your favorite aspect of the book?
The concept is what drew me to the story and ultimately it was the concept that kept me reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed the world building. I liked Khan’s unique take on the utopian society and its effect on the individual. The concepts felt well conceived and grounded in logic, in so far as a post apocalyptic utopia can, not just pulled from thin air to act as a dramatic device to get the characters to a certain point.

Who was your favorite character and why?

This is the sticky point for me. As well as my love for fluffy romance the main thing that attracts me to stories and keeps me reading are the characters. For the most part a story can be set anywhere, in any time, be fast or slow paced, contemporary or fantasy, and I will enjoy it if I can relate to likeable characters.

Neither of the protagonists was particularly likeable. In fact, it was my absolute dislike of Max, the male protagonist, and his actions that almost has me giving up on the book midway through.

As a result this wasn’t an easy read for me, however the rest of the book, and the subsequent actions of the characters, made up for this and having completed the book and stepped back to review the story as a whole I can see why the author made the choices she did.

Would you recommend this book?
Yes, surprisingly, despite my inability to really connect with the characters and their love story, I still really enjoyed this story. The dramatic devises held the story together and had me racing to turn the pages late in to the night. The final third of the book surprised and delighted me.

Verdict: Leave your preconceptions on earth to fully enjoy this page turning, unique, concept driven love story.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: January 2017
Format: Hardback
Pages: 304
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: Debut author
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Enders

Lissa Price

EndersSomeone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations -With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?
No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

Lissa plunges us straight back into the action following on from Starters. Callie may have brought down Prime, the organisation putting electronic chips into young people (Starters) so they could be rented out by Enders (the older generation) for their use and pleasure. But she is still not safe; her chip, and those of others, can still be accessed, and as she discovers, their mind and bodies can still be controlled. Callie has an additional problem because her chip has been altered and is the only one who can be used to kill others. She is a hot commodity and The Old Man is still after her.

Callie is desperate to get the chip out of her head, she is worried that Tyler and Michael aren’t safe and she is trying to get over the fallout from her relationship with Brad. On top of all that is the voice she heard that could be her Father, whom she thought had died in the Spore Wars. With so much going on in her head Callie is conflicted but as determined as ever to try and keep everyone safe and to try and win her freedom. But then she meets Hyden and everything changes again as she seems to have found someone to help her in her quest to finally bring down the Old Man. However things, as ever, are more complex than they first appear.

There is no doubt that this book is gripping, the plot races along and there is little time to catch your breath as we go from one revelation , plot twist or piece of action to another. The new characters are well drawn and the old ones further developed, although at times I would have liked a bit more depth on Callie’s feelings this is hard to do when the action just keeps on coming. There was plenty in this that kept me guessing and I really enjoyed Lissa’s ability to create characters or situations that appeared to be one way and then turned out totally differently. I can’t give away any more plot without spoiling it, but I did find the ending satisfying and realistic, especially in the way that not everything was resolved, just like real life!

Again part of the interest in this story was the questions it causes you to think about with the disparity between old and young people, the development of technology and its use and abuse being just some of the issues that are touched on.

Verdict: This was an exciting, action packed conclusion to this story.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: December 2013
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: none
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The Long Earth

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

the long earthNormally, when there was nothing to do, he listened to the Silence.
The Silence was very faint here. Almost drowned out by the sounds of the mundane world. Did people in this polished building understand how noisy it was? The roar of air conditioners and computer fans, the susurration of many voices heard but not decipherable … this was the office of the transEarth Institute, an arm of the Black Corporation. The faceless office, all plasterboard and chrome, was dominated by a huge logo, a chesspiece knight. This wasn’t Joshua’s world. None of it was his world. In fact when you got right down to it, he didn’t have a world; he had all of them.
All of the Long Earth.

The premise of this book is that the Earth is just one link in a long chain of Earths, each different. Plans are leaked onto the internet of a box, known as a “Stepper”, built from simple electronic parts and powered by a potato, with a three way switch on the top. Operating the switch allows a person, along with anything they are carrying, to “step” one link along the chain, either “East” or “West” as the two directions have been dubbed. Collectively, the whole chain is known as The Long Earth.

Most people can step using these boxes, though they experience severe nausea each time, so they tend to only move a few steps away from our Earth. A few people, such as Joshua are natural steppers, and can do so without the aid of the stepper box and with no ill effects; others cannot step at all. The tension between these groups is a constant undercurrent throughout the book.

It appears that humans have only evolved on our Earth (the Datum as it is called), so the Earths East and West of us are ripe for colonisation and solve overcrowding. The only snag is that objects made out of iron cannot be taken, though no-one knows why. Any steel has to be mined and forged on the planet it originated on.

The majority of the book follows Joshua, a recluse who, after some persuasion, foregoes his usual solitary lifestyle to go on an adventure. He beging exploring deep into The Long Earth with Lobsang, an AI who claims to have once been human (Lobsang seems to be a name that crops up a lot in Pratchett’s work!). Lobsang has built an airship called The Mark Twain that is capable of stepping much faster than any human can – worlds flick past in the blink of an eye, and they only stop when they find something interesting. They choose to travel West, in a choice I can only assume is meant to mirror the Westward exploration and colonisation of North America.
Unfortunately, Lobsang is a bit of a throwaway character – He’s quite quirky and funny, but I get the feeling he only exists to explain things to Joshua (and through him to the reader), and seems to spend the majority of his time being smug each time he does something new.

However, there are other groups of characters who offer alternative viewpoints to The Long Earth and its consequences, a group of settlers on their way to colonise an Earth ideal for their desired agricultural small town lifestyle; the police force in Madison, Wisconsin who have to make sense of everything that’s happened, and maintain law and order across several versions of their town; various groups of politicians bickering about who owns the other Earths, how to tax the people; other natural steppers who are hiding out a long way from Earth Zero; the nuns who brought Joshua up in the orphanage, etc.

It’s a fascinating novel that never gets dull as the book progresses, though I get the feeling that Pratchett and Baxter were struggling to find a good ending for this book – after all, if there are an infinite number of Earths on the chain, where do you stop? There’s a “shock” ending when the non-steppers have set off a nuclear bomb in Madison, the town where Joshua grew up, though the reasoning behind this is suspect. Why would the non-steppers want to destroy the only planet they have?

Verdict: A great start to the series, which feels more like a Baxter novel than a Pratchett. I can’t wait to read The Long War later in the year, which should hopefully answer some of the questions raised.

Reviewed by Keith

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: June 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 344
Genre: Science Fiction
Age: Adult
Reviewer: Keith
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British book
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Seraphina

Rachel Hartman

seraphina hbFour decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.
Seraphina has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift – one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

Seraphina first captured my attention over a year ago while I was exploring Goodreads and compiling a list for our 2012 debut reading challenge. The unique woodcarving aesthetic of the cover (not pictured) hinted at the medieval world hidden within and the idea of dragons taking human form and living among us was immediately intriguing.

While I didn’t manage to include Seraphina in my 2012 reads, I was still curious enough to add Seraphina to my personal wish list. Recent award wins; increased media attention and the paperback publication pushed the book in to the forefront of my mind. So that when fellow UK blogger Raimy ( from Readaraptor) was reorganizing her bookcase, I jumped at the opportunity to rehome her hardback copy and endeavored to make it my next read.

Having been attracted to this book by the promise of the world building, I was delighted to discover a comprehensively constructed world. Without resorting to “information dumping”, pages of descriptions and explanations, Hartman was able to bestow The Kingdom of Gorred with it’s own monarchy, history, art, vernacular, belief systems and political and religious tensions.

The world building was so encompassing and felt so authentic, that in no time I was fully immersed in the story and had no difficulty suspending my disbelief and accepting that not only did huge fire breathing, head eating dragons exist, but that they are able to fold themselves in to human form, albeit uncomfortably, and walk around Hartman’s pseudo medieval world.

All of the characters, even seemingly minor ones were well thought out and three dimensional and I loved how Hartman challenged my expectations. A character I quickly and harshly labeled in my mind as vacuous and shallow, turned out to be a loyal friend with backbone of steel and innate poise.

I adored Seraphina. Although at times she is crippled by self-doubt and self-disgust, I admired her strength of character, intelligence and determination. Whatever muddle she finds herself in, by design or accident, whether she is filling in last minute at a concert or interrogating knights, she throws herself in to the task and gives 100%. It was a joy to follow her developing from socially awkward, self-loathing keeper of secrets to a confident and hopeful young woman.

The romantic element of Seraphina was beautifully done. While there is no doubting the connection between the characters there was no sign of the dreaded “insta love”, but rather a foundation of mutual respect and team work from which their relationship was allowed develop organically. Not that they don’t suffer from their own brand of angst. For one thing, Lucian is promised to someone else. For another, how do you reconcile a relationship between a girl whose very existence is protected by a veil of lies, and a boy who has pledged his life to the pursuit of truth.

I was completely enamored by the experience of reading Seraphina. I found myself in that wonderfully joyful situation of total absorption and enjoyment of a book while realising that I had over fifty percent to go. All too soon though, I’d raced through the pages and found myself staring at the final chapter. Sentimental fool that I am, I delayed reading the last few pages because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Gorred and it’s inhabitants.

Verdict: Reading Seraphina was an absolute pleasure. The countdown for the July release of Dracomachia begins.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Doubleday Children’s
Publication Date: July 2012
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Gifted
Challenge: None
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Hetty Feather / Sapphire Battersea


Jaqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt (Illustrator)

Hetty Feather: London, 1876. Hetty Feather is just a tiny baby when her mother leaves her at the Foundling Hospital.The Hospital cares for abandoned children- but Hetty must first live with a foster family until she is big enough to go to school.
Life in the countryside is sometimes hard, but with her foster brothers, Jem and Gideon, Hetty helps in the fields and plays vivid imaginary games. Together they sneak off to visit the travelling circus, and Hetty is mesmerised by the show – especially the stunning Madame Adeline and her performing horses.
But Hetty’s happiness is threatened once more when she must return to the Foundling Hospital to begin her education. The new life of awful uniforms and terrible food is a struggle for her, and she desperately misses her beloved Jem. But now she has the chance to find her real mother. Could she really be the wonderful Madame Adeline? Or will Hetty find the truth is even more surprising?

Sapphire Battersea: Hetty Feather is a Foundling Hospital girl and was given her name when she was left there as a baby. When she is reunited with her mother, she hopes her beautiful new name, Sapphire Battersea, will also mean a new life! But things don’t always go as planned…
Follow the twists and turns of Hetty’s adventure as she goes out to work as a maid for a wealthy man. She longs to be reunited with her childhood sweetheart Jem – but also finds a new sweetheart, Bertie the butcher’s boy, who whisks her away from her chores to experience the delights of the funfair!But Hetty’s life may also take a darker path. Can she cope with the trials ahead?

I’m reviewing these books together as they are the first two parts of a trilogy by Jacqueline Wilson.

In Hetty Feather we are introduced to Hetty, a feisty red-haired girl from the Victorian times.

Abandoned by her mother, she is taken to a foundling hospital in London.She gets sent to a foster home and six years later she returns and discovers her mother and her true name, Sapphire Battersea.

This leads me on to the next book Sapphire Battersea. This is the story of when she leaves the foundling hospital for good and takes up her job of being a house maid. There she befriends the friendly cook and Sarah the other housemaid. I don’t want to give anything else away so I will leave it there!

These books are very difficult to put down and the illustrations don’t give too much away at the start of each chapter. I would highly recommend these books to any 9-14 year old girls. I am slightly annoyed that Jacqueline left the second book on a cliff hanger…

Verdict: I can’t wait for the last book to come out.
Reviewed by Daisy (11)

Publisher: Doubleday/Yearling
Publication Date: Nov 2009/July2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 309/432
Genre: Historical Fiction
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Daisy
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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Starters

Lissa Price

First, Callie lost her parents.
Then she lost her home.
And, finally, she lost her body.
But she will stop at nothing to get it back…

When I read the blurb for this story I was really curious, after all how can you lose your own body, let alone try and get it back? In this dystopian future it would seem it’s not too difficult! I will fill in a little background to whet your appetites, much of the basics come out in the first chapter and are then built on through the story. America has been at war and this included the dropping of spore bombs. As only the most vulnerable in society were immunised, there is no one left between teenagers (Starters) and octogenarians plus (Enders). The Starters are now at the mercy of the Enders, they either need to be ‘claimed’, or they are put in institutions and needless to say these are horrible. Callie has been on the run for a year, along with her much younger brother Tyler. Tyler is ill and Callie is desperate to find them a safe home and medicine. For this she needs money and she has found a way to get it. An illegal organisation is paying youngsters to rent out their bodies to the Enders, who pay highly to have fun in a young body again. But for Callie the process doesn’t go according to plan and she begins an action packed journey to save herself, and others.

I was sucked in from page one, as Lissa starts off with Callie’s visit to Prime Destinations to find out about renting out her body, it feels tense from the beginning. Callie herself feels the danger of what she is doing and as a reader it is easy to feel her vulnerability in this situation. In the descriptions of what will happen to Callie and her body I couldn’t help but think of The Matrix films and losing yourself to the computer. Although it has to be said that is the people who are the villains in this story not the computer. But the whole idea is so plausible and it was so easy to picture this happening.

From this premise Callie’s world begins to fall apart as she wakes up in mid rental and finds that her renter wants to use her body to commit murder. From here on the action is fast paced and full of twists and turns. There is a sprinkle of romance and a little bit of a love triangle, but the focus of the tale is Callie’s ever growing awareness of what is happening to her and around her, alongside her desire to intervene in what she sees and experiences. I found that it was possible to predict some parts of what was going to happen, but other things were a complete surprise, I like books that include the unexpected.

As is so often the case these days, the novel finishes on a cliff- hanger, so much happens in the last couple of chapters, some ends are tied up (thankfully) and some are left open, or half tied! There are also big hints that some ideas that have been set up are about to be turned on their heads. There is much that sets us up for the next book, but for me the final development felt like a step too far, it was the only point that I felt that things were getting a little silly and maybe it wouldn’t all hang together. I would happily have read the next one without this hint of what might come. However the good points in the story absolutely outweigh this more negative one. Hopefully Lissa will maintain her ability to make fantasy feel like reality in the next instalment.

I really enjoyed this, for me not quite in the league of The Hunger Games, but I am waiting impatiently for the next instalment and to see where the story goes next.

Verdict: A great debut novel, if you like YA futuristic stories I am sure you’ll enjoy this. I will definitely be looking out for more by Lissa.

Reviewed by Helen

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: ARC
Pages: 336
Genre: Dystopian, Sci=Fi
Age: YA
Reviewer: Helen
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: Debut Author
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Where She Went

Gayle Forman

It’s been three years since Mia walked out of Adams life.
And three years he’s spent wondering why.
When their paths cross again in New York City, Adam and Mia are brought back together for one life-changing night. Adam finally has the opportunity to ask Mia the questions that have been haunting him. But will a few hours in this magical city be enough to lay their past to rest, for good or can you really have a second chance at first love?

Having devoured If I Stay in one sitting I waited expectantly for the Continuation of Mia and Adam’s story. Where She Went is set three years after the events of If I Stay.

The subject of miles of gossip column print, a superstar girlfriend on his arm and a bathroom cabinet full of prescription medications, Adam is a 21 year old rock god.

A chance encounter enables the couple to reunite for one night. Through a series of flashbacks and moving song lyrics we explore the lead up to, and the aftermath of, their break up from Adams’ first person perspective. The camping flashback is probably one of the sweetest romantic scene I’ve read this year. Adams voice is honest with a maturity that reflects his experiences of grief, loss and unfulfilled expectations.

The major supporting character in the book is New York City. The descriptive narrative completely immersed me in the sights, sounds and smell of the city. If I ever have the opportunity to visit NYC I will be adding Mia’s places to my itinerary. Never mind breakfast at Tiffany’s, I want black coffee and vanilla scented croissants in the historic district.

Although the premise of this book is not as harrowing as the preceding novel, suffering from less tear-stained pages, Where She Went contains it’s fair share of ‘bash their heads together’, will they won’t they, heart in the mouth moments.

Verdict: Another Gayle Forman triumph consumed in one sitting. Definitely one for the re-read pile.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 260
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: N/A
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