Book Trailer: Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman

Trailer
Cinnamon

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Title: Cinnamon
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Publication Date: May 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads

A talking tiger is the only one who may be able to get a princess to speak in this beautiful picture book set in a mythic India by Newbery Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman, illustrated in bold colors by Divya Srinivasan.

Previously available only as an audio book, Cinnamon has never been published in print before, and Divya Srinivasan’s lush artwork brings Neil Gaiman’s text to life.

This stunning picture book will transport readers to another time and place and will delight parents and children alike.

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Review: The Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Recommendations, Review, Uncategorized
Messenger of Fear

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Title: Messenger of Fear
Series: Messenger of Fear #1
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Publication Date: 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . .

REVIEW BY RHYS – Year 9

I didn’t have any idea what to expect from Messenger of Fear. When it comes to Michael Grant I usually expect violence and deaths, mature content, insane characters and a roller coaster ride of emotions. 

The first 1/3 of this book I felt unsure about where the story was heading, it was quite misleading. I did enjoy the story right from the start and was intrigued by the mysterious boy, the Messenger of Fear.

The story took off in the typical Michael Grant style I love  – bloody, gory, shocking and extreme!!!!!

The character of the Messenger of Fear was mysterious and interesting, a broken soul, and I wanted to know everything about him. Mara, the Messenger’s Apprentice,  was even more mysterious though because as we know next to nothing about her, even though the story is from her point of view. 

Besides the Messenger’s wicked games and his harsh judgment that leads to exciting and often fearful events. The story also made me curious about discovering the background details to Mara’s story. I wanted to  find out why she was the Messenger’s apprentice. These details add to the compelling nature of the plot, it induces you to rush through the book to the point it keeps you up all night in anticipation of uncovering the details you so desperately crave.

I will say Mara’s story comes with an awesome twist!

Even though Messenger and Mara have their shadowy pasts and I wanted to uncover their secrets get behind that, It was all the other characters we get to read about, which I really cared about or caused certain feels. I can imagine that after the end with its surprising revelation, I’m going to care more about Mara in the next book though.

This book The Messenger of Fear is not just a story about Fear and thrill shock value to make this story as exciting as possible. It also deals with interesting and important themes such as bullying. Bullying is a large part of this story and even though I’ve read multiple books about bullying before and have seen it happen in real life, it still made me speechless to see what people are capable of, what they do to other people to feel better, to deal with their own problems. In my opinion, Michael Grant did a great job of dealing with this topic, sending the right message and showing all the different perspectives of the people involved.

The other theme that I think is very interesting within the narrative is that of guilt and bad behaviour in general. It’s about people who drive other people into doing things but will never be judged for it, never be convicted for what they did. I enjoyed reading about this a lot, being in Mara’s head and thinking about these kinds of things.

Messenger of Fear is a dark story that though could have been even darker in my opinion. It’s a great start of a new series though and I hope that the next books will have even more characters that have to play the Messenger’s wicked games.

Review: Escape by Jeff Povey

Review
Escape Jef Povey

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Title: Escape 
Series: Realms #3
Author: Jeff Povey
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Childrens UK
Publication Date: 23 March 2017
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Get ready for another page-turning adventure as the gripping trilogy from Jeff Povey draws to a close!

REVIEW BY CERYS – YEAR 9

Escape is the third book in the ‘Shift’ series, and it just blows you away with epic but relatable characters, and awesome action, all set in a slightly different take on a modern-day city. The story is told from two perspectives, both from the point of view of Reva, your average school teenager in a really tricky situation.

One part of the story continues the tale of the gang stuck in the alternate earth with their terrifyingly evil doppelgangers, trying to find their way back to their own universe using Revs’ fathers’ plans. The other is Rev’s story in the upsetting universe she finds herself in, trying to make friends and escape, changing the world slightly. How do these stories link together? Will they ever find their way home? Find out in this wicked story which will stay with you even after the final page.

My favourite character has got to be GG as he is so fabulous, with a witty sense of humour and great fashion sense. My favourite part is towards the end- specifically the chapter ‘Reunion’ but I won’t spoil it for you!

The narration from Rev’s perspective was good, but I think that either 3rd person or switching points of view between the gang could’ve been more exciting. The plot was really intense and thrilling, but I was majorly confused at the different stories told in alternating chapters, as I just found it hard to understand. I loved the multi-universe concept for the series- I found it really interesting and it almost seemed realistic!

Jeff Povey creates such awesome, relatable characters teenagers my age can really relate with, and his modern-day setting near London was really easy to visualise. Everything made sense, and the ending was awesome. The last page made me laugh out loud!

I would recommend this book to any lovers of the Gone series or the Zeroes series. I would love to read more of Jeff Povey’s books and cannot wait to see what he has in store next!

Event: Laini Taylor Signing – Cardiff

Events

As part of the book tour to publicise her new book Strange the Dreamer, Laini Taylor is coming to CARDIFF!!!!!

Laini Taylor Signing

Received from Publisher

STRANGE THE DREAMER

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Strange the Dreamer

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Book Trailer: Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Trailer

Looking for a good villian – look no further!!!

Queen of Hearts

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Title: Queen of Hearts
Series: Queen of Hearts Saga #1
Author: Colleen Oakes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads

Only queens with hearts can bleed.

This is not the story of the Wonderland we know. Alice has not fallen down a rabbit hole. There is no all-knowing cat with a taunting smile. This is a Wonderland where beneath each smile lies a secret, each tart comes with a demand, and only prisoners tell the truth.

Dinah is the princess who will one day reign over Wonderland. She has not yet seen the dark depths of her kingdom; she longs only for her father’s approval and a future with the boy she loves. But when a betrayal breaks her heart and threatens her throne, she is launched into Wonderland’s dangerous political game. Dinah must stay one step ahead of her cunning enemies or she’ll lose not just the crown but her head.

Evil is brewing in Wonderland and maybe, most frighteningly, in Dinah herself.

This is not a story of happily ever after.

This is the story of the Queen of Hearts.

Book Trailer: Charlotte Holmes by Brittany Cavallaro

Trailer

ARE YOU HAVING SHERLOCK WITHDRAWAL THEN TRY THE CHARLOTTE HOLMES SERIES BY BRITTANY CAVALLARO

A Study in Charlotte

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Title: A Study in Charlotte
Series: Charlotte Holmes #1
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: March 2016

Synopsis from Goodreads

The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

The Last of August

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Title: The Last of August
Series: Charlotte Holmes #2
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: Feb 2017

Synopsis from Goodreads

Watson and Holmes: A match made in disaster.

Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes are looking for a winter-break reprieve after a fall semester that almost got them killed. But Charlotte isn’t the only Holmes with secrets, and the mood at her family’s Sussex estate is palpably tense. On top of everything else, Holmes and Watson could be becoming more than friends—but still, the darkness in Charlotte’s past is a wall between them.

A distraction arises soon enough, because Charlotte’s beloved uncle Leander goes missing from the estate—after being oddly private about his latest assignment in a German art forgery ring. The game is afoot once again, and Charlotte is single-minded in her pursuit.

Their first stop? Berlin. Their first contact? August Moriarty (formerly Charlotte’s obsession, currently believed by most to be dead), whose powerful family has been ripping off famous paintings for the last hundred years. But as they follow the gritty underground scene in Berlin to glittering art houses in Prague, Holmes and Watson begin to realize that this is a much more complicated case than a disappearance. Much more dangerous, too.

What they learn might change everything they know about their families, themselves, and each other.

Review: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

Review
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Title: Daughters Unto Devils
Author: Amy Lukavics
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: Oct 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Sometimes I believe the baby will never stop crying.

Sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner fears she is losing her mind. When her family move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, Amanda hopes she can leave her haunting memories behind: of her sickly Ma giving birth to a terribly afflicted baby; of the cabin fever that claimed Amanda’s sanity; of the boy who she has been meeting in secret…

But the Verners arrive on the prairie to find their new home soaked in blood. So much blood. And Amanda has heard stories – about men becoming unhinged and killing their families, about the land being tainted by wickedness. With guilty secrets weighing down on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or within her soul…

REVIEW BY LILY – YEAR 10

When reading the synopsis of this book I automatically fell in love, I am such a lover of horror books! Usually I wouldn’t read books that were set in a historical period, but this book I mainly enjoyed.

The story follows the Verner family and one daughter in particular. Amanda is a 16 year old girl who has been scarred from the events of last winter, when her mother fell ill and gave birth to her deaf and blind baby sister, Hannah. But something else happened to Amanda last winter, and throughout the story Amy Lukavics gives us details about what happened to Amanda to leave her in the state she is currently in.

The Verner family decides to move from the small cabin in the mountains the family shared to a bigger one in the prairie,  forcing Amanda to leave the boy behind she has been meeting in secret, and try to leave behind the memory of last winter. But when the family arrive to their dream cabin, they are horrified to find that inside the cabin is covered with blood. The thoughts of the cabin and the memories of last winter cause Amanda to be scared of her own sanity, worrying that one day she might hurt the ones she love, especially Hannah, who she has been secretly praying for her death.

Before reading the book, I decided to read a few reviews. This isn’t normally what I would do, but since Daughters Unto Devils isn’t the type of book I would normally read, I decided to see what other people thought about it. The reviews that I read were very positive, giving me a positive attitude when starting the book.

I didn’t particularly like the book at the start, it had a few adult themes, and already not being the type of book I would read, my optimism started to fade. But, after reading on I began to enjoy it, and by the end I was completely hooked.

Some parts of the book were predictable, but that didn’t stop excitement. Amy Lukavics drew you in with curiosity by slowly giving you clues as to what really happened to Amanda last winter that claimed her sanity, making her a danger to her family. When I finally found out what happened to Amanda, it didn’t exactly make my jaw drop but did put together all the clues that Amy Lukavics dropped throughout the story.

I loved all the characters, all of their personalities and relationships were explained well and thankfully there were no pointless characters, all of them contributed well to the storyline.

Adding onto my previous comment about relationships, one part of the book I especially liked was the relationship between Amanda and her younger sister, Emily. The relationships adds texture to the story, and a feeling of comfort to see two sisters become so close. Family is very important to me, and to see a sisterly bond so strong in a book makes me warm even more  to the story.

Amy Lukavics is an extremely skilled writer, I would definitely read another book of hers. Although one problem that ran throughout the story was the description of events, and the way she set the scenes. The scenes were described well, and I always knew what was going on, yet there still was something missing from scenes that really had potential to make my jaw drop and haunt me even when I put the book down. For example, when Amanda and her family found that their dream cabin was drenched with blood, the scene really had the potential to be a thrilling horror scene, yet Amy Lukavics didn’t use her writing skills to make the scene stand out as a key horror scene. She could have chosen key objects, thoughts or feelings and use these to build up the tension and drama of the scene.

Considering all of these factors, I would give Daughters Unto Devils a star rating of ⅗, I absolutely loved it, but there still were a few things that could have been written slightly differently. I would definitely recommend this book to friends, especially fellow horror lovers like myself, despite the description problems, this book is still a thriller and I am not surprised that many people have enjoyed it.

Review: A Hollow in the Hills by Ruth Frances Long

Review
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Title: A Hollow in the Hills
Series: Dubh Linn #2
Author: Ruth Frances Long
Publisher: O’Brien Press
Publication Date: Sept 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

The sequel to A Crack in Everything. When an ancient and forbidden power is unleashed, Izzy, who is still coming to terms with her newfound powers, must prevent a war from engulfing Dublin and the fae realm of Dubh Linn. But by refusing to sacrifice Jinx – fae warrior and her ‘not-really-ex’ – Izzy sets in motion a chain of events which will see them hunted across the city and into the hills where she’ll face the greatest challenge of all.

REVIEW BY LILY – YEAR 10

I absolutely love anything to do with angels, demons, or anything supernatural! I was so excited to start this book, but I struggled to really get into the story as I hadn’t read the first book.

A Hollow In The Hills follows on from the first book of the series, A Crack In Everything. Following the events of the previous summer, it is set in late October in Dublin. The story is told in the third person, yet still through the eyes of three people, Izzy, Jinx, and Dylan.

In the first book Izzy is told about another world hidden within Dublin called Dubh Linn, home to Fae and Fae warriors like Jinx and that she has hidden powers as her father is a Grigori and her birth mother is the powerful matriarch of a hollow .

In A Hollow In The Hills, Izzy is still coming to terms with her power, and is quickly faced with the task of stopping a war between Demons, Angels, The Dead, and Holly, a previous matriarch that turned evil.

As I hadn’t read the first book, I found this book really difficult to get into and to understand what was happening. As soon as I started the book, I was faced with so many names of creatures and of places such as Sidhe and Eochaid (which after realising there was a pronunciation dictionary at the back of the book, I  had been pronouncing them wrong the whole time). After a few chapters, I started to piece together what happened before October, and soon understood what was happening. But I still just couldn’t get into the story. I’m not sure why, looking back on the characters and the story it doesn’t seem that bad, but I just got bored throughout the book and felt as if it dragged on in some places.

The descriptive writing was good, I could easily picture what the characters and scenes looked like. I knew exactly how the main characters felt and Ruth Frances Long really drew you in and made you feel as if you were in the characters shoes.

I loved all the characters and their personalities. My favorite character was Silver, I love how she was shy to such an important role yet soon became a powerful matriarch and became courageous and brave. I love how she was portrayed, her personality, and she would do anything for the ones she loves.

The only character I found pointless was Clodagh. As much as she was a nice character, I found that she didn’t contribute anything to the storyline and when she was first involved in the fae world, she was annoying and dragged the story on too much as she had to know everything that had happened.

As a star rating I would give this book a 3, as much as I loved the story line and the characters, I still found the book dragged on and was really difficult to get into the story. I probably would recommend this book to a friend, as long as they read the first book first.  

Book to Film: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Trailer
13 Reasons Why

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Title: 13 Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Publisher: Penguin UK
Publication Date: Sept 2009

Synopsis from Goodreads

You can’t stop the future.

You can’t rewind the past.

The only way to learn the secret is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home to find a strange package with his name on it. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker – his classmate and first love – who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

Hannah’s voice explains there are thirteen reasons why she killed herself. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

All through the night, Clay keeps listening – and what he discovers changes his life… forever.

DON’T MISS THIS NETFLIX ORIGINAL SERIES BASED ON THE BOOK!!!