Sunday, 27 October 2013

Book Review: Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

Fearsome Dreamer (Fearsome Dreamer, #1)
Title: Fearsome Dreamer
Author: Laure Eve
Series:  Fearsome Dreamer, #1
Pages:  357
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: From publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: There is a world where gods you’ve never heard of have wound themselves into hearts, and choice has led its history down a different path.

This is a world where France made a small, downtrodden island called England part of its vast and bloated empire.

There are people here who can cross a thousand miles with their minds. There are rarer people still who can move between continents in the blink of an eye.

These people are dangerous.

And wanted. Desperately wanted.

Apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue knows that she is destined for more. She knows being whisked off from a dull country life to a city full of mystery and intrigue is meant to be. She knows she has something her government wants, a talent so rare and precious and new that they will do anything to train her in it.

But she doesn’t know that she is being lied to. She doesn’t know that the man teaching her about her talent is becoming obsessed by her, and considered by some to be the most dangerous man alive ...


My Thoughts:
I was so excited to start Fearsome Dreamer, as I'd heard so much great hype about it that it promised to be a good read. It's very imaginative and original and overall is a very enjoyable read, and I definitely recommend it!

It took a little while to get started and it also took me some time to really understand and get to grips with the world they lived in and all the different places and cultures, etc. I think there needed to be a little bit more world building, and while I know sometimes that can be a bit tedious and it isn't everyone's cup of tea, I do think it was necessary just to help the story begin to get going a little earlier, or to at least speed it up a little.

However, saying that, I did read it very quickly after about 100 pages, and I'd find myself having read for an hour and a half after what only seemed like twenty minutes, so that's always nice. Once I'd got to the second half though, which was when the story really picked up, with all the narratives coming together into one storyline, I raced through and read the rest in what would have been one sitting, if Strictly Come Dancing hadn't inconveniently come along and interrupted me :P

The story is told from three different perspectives, although it is written in third person which I think was done very effectively. Sometimes I think that dual narratives can be a bit disjointed and irrelevant when written in third person, but not in Fearsome Dreamer. Rue is a Talented apprentice hedgewitch living in Angle Tar, who leaps at the chance to get away and do something different - learn to use her Talent. White is extremely Talented, perhaps the most powerful Talented in the world, and Frith is a recruiter of the Talented to train them to fight against the thing that is coming to destroy the Castle. (This probably doesn't make much sense if you've not read it, but just run with it.) I liked Rue best, and yes, it's probably because she's a teenage (I think, anyway!) girl and she was the one I could understand and relate to the most. That's not to say that I didn't like White though, because I did, and Frith was cool but his narrative was a little confusing (this was where more world building was needed).

The overall plot was great and especially I loved reading about the university they're at and about the lessons with White, and it was great to learn about the Talent along with Rue. My favourite scene had to be the ball though - it was so beautiful... Aww. *sigh* The ideas behind the novel are very original and imaginative and I think that as the book went on, the pacing really evened out too and by the end it was paced brilliantly and the plot was engaging to read. It doesn't end on a massive cliffhanger either which is a bonus, although there is a preview of the next book in the series which does leave you in the middle of a scene wanting more, I'll not lie.

Overall, I definitely recommend that you read Fearsome Dreamer as soon as you can. Although the beginning does perhaps leave just a little to be desired, Laure Eve's writing is excellent and more than makes up for anything missing plot wise. If you're looking for a young adult novel with a fresh new voice and original plot line, look no further, as Fearsome Dreamer is the one for you.



*Huge thanks to Hot Key Books for providing me with a copy of Fearsome Dreamer in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Friday, 25 October 2013

Book Review: She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick

She Is Not InvisibleTitle: She Is Not Invisible
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series:  ~
Pages:  354
Publisher: Indigo
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: Birthday gift
Synopsis from Goodreads: Laureth Peak's father is a writer. For years he's been trying, and failing, to write a novel about coincidence. His wife thinks he's obsessed, Laureth thinks he's on the verge of a breakdown.He's supposed to be doing research in Austria, so when his notebook shows up in New York, Laureth knows something is wrong.

On impulse she steals her mother's credit card and heads for the States, taking her strange little brother Benjamin with her. Reunited with the notebook, they begin to follow clues inside, trying to find their wayward father. Ahead lie challenges and threats, all of which are that much tougher for Laureth than they would be for any other 16-year old. Because Laureth Peak is blind.


My Thoughts:
Before She Is Not Invisible, I'd never read a Marcus Sedgwick book, although I have met him and have heard so many great things about his books. I don't know why - I guess I've always just had so many books that I've never got around to it. Anyway, after She Is Not Invisible I shall definitely be making an effort to read more of Marcus Sedgwick's books because I really, really enjoyed it.

The book is about a girl called Laureth who drags her little brother off to New York to find her father, whom she believes to be missing. Just that sounded interesting, but then you find out that Laureth is actually blind, and that makes it even more so. I must admit I know very little about blind people and I don't think I've ever really had any experience with them. Because of this I really had no idea what to expect with the book, but that just made it all the more exciting.

I think that Marcus Sedgwick does a really great job of writing about Laureth's blindness, and in such a way that I feel like I understand much more now about what it's like to be blind. I'd always imagined that it's awful and I'm sure that if I were to lose my sight I would find it super difficult and probably wouldn't ever get over it. Laureth, however, is strong and determined, and she doesn't let her lack of sight get to her. She isn't embarrassed about it (not that it's something to be embarrassed about, but I imagine I probably would be if I were blind) and she's very brave, and I admired her greatly for it.

The book is also about coincidence, and the number 354. Feels like a kind of random combination, but Marcus Sedgwick wrote the book in such a way that it works completely and I didn't question it once. All the talk of coincidence made me really consider whether or not I believe that coincidences happen or whether everything happens for a reason, and to be honest I'm still not really sure. The number 354 is also woven into the story seemingly effortlessly and I loved seeing both the obvious and the obscure references to the number (it's very satisfying when you find an obscure one!).

Overall, She Is Not Invisible is a really great book that I heartily recommend to all of you, no matter what type of books you like. It's very original and I now totally understand why Marcus Sedgwick is such a popular writer. I'll definitely be eagerly checking out all of his other young adult titles and I'm sure that I shall be recommending this to everyone for a long time to come. This is not one to be missed!


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Book Review: Zom-B Angels by Darren Shan

Zom-B Angels (Zom-B, #4)Title: Zom-B Angels
Author: Darren Shan
Series:  Zom-B, #4
Pages:  239
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Date of Publication: 20th June 2013
Source: Publisher for review*
Synopsis from Goodreads: After spending the last few months wandering around London--a city filled with the dead--B Smith has given up hope for any sign of normal human existence. But then B finds strange signs all over the city--a "Z" plus red arrows. Following them, B finds The Angels-- a group gathered in the hopes of combating the evil dead and the forces that introduced them. But all is not as it seems and it's up to B to find out: what battle are they truly waging?


My Thoughts:
Zom-B Angels is the fourth book of the Zom-B series by Darren Shan. I really like this series, and I look forward to each book dropping through my letterbox every few months (another great thing - it's only every few months, rather than a whole year in between books! Anyway...) because it means I can get to read more of B's addictive story.

One of the best things about these books is that there's a very brief recap of the previous books at the beginning which makes it possible to get the story going super quickly. I know that I've said this before in reviews of this series but seriously it is so great and ALL BOOKS should have them. It makes life so much easier! Anyway. Right from the start we get to learn the truth about what it means to be a zom head, or an Angel, as new character Dr Oystein prefers to call them, which means that the action can start immediately and there's no boring build up, recapping things that we already know.

I liked reading about the sort of safe house that Dr Oystein set up. It was nice to read about B interacting and getting on with other revitaliseds and I especially liked the twins. I really liked how protective and defensive of them B was to the older revitaliseds, and she stuck up for them, which was great because she has seemed rather hard and ruthless in previous books (although it's understandable in her situation) but it still was really good to see her come out of her shell, even if it was just a little bit. I also really liked learning all about the revitaliseds and the extent of their abilities and lifestyles. I may have said before but I've never really read about conscious zombies, so it was great to learn more about them.

What stood out to me most about this book was the really unexpected twist at the end, and the explanation that is given for why this zombie apocalypse has happened. At first I wasn't sure about it and didn't really believe or even like it, but now having reread it a couple times it makes sense and I think it can work. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where Darren Shan takes it in the next few books! I won't say anything else so I don't spoil anything, but it was definitely unpredictable!

Overall I think that Zom-B Angels was a great addition to the Zom-B series and I'm very much looking forward to reading the next book, Zom-B Baby. I definitely recommend that you start this series if you haven't already and despite their kind of morbid subject - a zombie apocalypse - they are great fun and very quick reads, and if you read them at the rate I devoured them, I'm sure it won't take you too long to catch up.

*Huge thanks to Simon and Schuster for sending me this in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Character Names That I Loved

Hey everyone! I'll be back with a review in the next couple of days hopefully but today I thought the Top Ten Tuesday topic was fun so I'm taking part! Here are my Top Ten Character Names That I Loved!


1. Cricket Bell. Right, so he's from Lola and the Boy Next Door and at first I hated his name and thought it was stupid - I mean who would think Cricket was a good name? But as the book went on and he got more adorable, the name completely suited him and although I still think it's weird, it kinda fits and I actually really like it!

2. Plutarch Heavensbee. He's from Catching Fire and Mockingjay, and I just think his name is great! I love how there are so many names of Greek (Plutarch) and Latin (Caesar, Seneca) origin in The Hunger Games trilogy, but Plutarch Heavensbee was my favourite, I think.

3. Laureth Peak. I've just finished She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick and I laughed at how she was named this. Also her little brother's raven, Stan, too.

4. Blossom Uxley-Michaels and Petrina-Ola Olsen. I've put these two together because they're from the same book, Weirdos Vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough, and because I love them for the same reason - just look at their initials! ;)

5. Bennett Cooper. I don't know why but I just loved that he was called Bennett. Time Between Us is also an adorable book and I kind of fell in love with Bennett so perhaps that has something to do with it...

6. Pippi Longstocking. Her name is just the best :P

7. Augustus Waters. It's a good name, that one! Again of Latin origin, which makes it even more awesome. I love Latin!

8. Aurora "Rory" Deveaux. Rory is the main character of The Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson, and although I generally think of Rory as a boys' name, I do really like it. Also the name Aurora is really pretty and reminds me of one of my favourite characters in Animal Crossing, so it's a pretty good name I think :P

9. Etienne St. Clair. It's just such a good name.

I can't think of a tenth name that I particularly liked so I'll leave it at nine. On the whole I like most character names, unless I don't know how to pronounce them in which case they're just annoying. On the other hand there are a few names I can think of that I really hate but for fearing of insulting people I won't share them :P Thanks to Broke and Bookish for hosting Top Ten Tuesday!

What are your favourite character names?
Are there any character names that you really don't like?
If you could rename a character, who would you rename and what would you change their name to?

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Book Review: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse by Katie Coyle

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseTitle: Vivian Versus the Apocalypse
Author: Katie Coyle
Series:  ~
Pages:  288
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date of Publication:  5th September, 2013
Source: For review from publisher*
Synopsis from Goodreads:
A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated 'Rapture' -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church's thrall for too long, and she's looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed 'Rapture', her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling...

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been 'left behind', they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving 'Believer' gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the 'New Orphans', Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.


My Thoughts:
Vivian Versus The Apocalypse was one of the two winners of the Hot Key Books Young Writers Prize 2012. It sounded so different to anything I'd read before, or even heard about before, and I find books about faith really interesting (as long as they're not too preachy) so I couldn't really pass it up. I read it during my work experience and devoured it in just two train journeys, and I can definitely say that it was a very worthy winner of the Young Writers Prize. Definitely.

It's described as post-apocalyptic but while I was reading it, it didn't really feel like it was, if that makes sense... I mean, it is one, but I thought it was kind of pre-apocalyptic at the same time, if that's even a thing (I'm aware that that makes NO sense but hopefully it does sort of, if you've read it at least?) There was a lot of build up to the second 'Rapture', where all Believers are taken and everyone else is left to wither away on Earth. It sounds like it'd be really sort of preachy, and a little bit extreme, and it is extreme I guess but it definitely isn't preachy, if that makes sense. I just don't want people to see the whole Church of America thing and think eurgh, that'll be really preachy. It's not! :)

I thought the characters in Vivian Versus The Apocalypse were really great. I really loved Vivian and I loved watching her grow up and mature as a person as the book went on. At only 288 pages, it's not very long, but Vivian's character development does not seem rushed or unrealistic at all. She's forced into a difficult situation and to grow up very quickly and she kept her cool and was mostly sensible. I also really liked Viv's best friend Harp, even though I'm sure she'd be that one girl in school that I really can't stand... Sorry Harp! However, in the book as we get to know her it becomes blindingly obvious that she's so broken and so alone that I couldn't help but feel sad to read about her. She wasn't wimpish or anything though - I admired her strength despite everything that was going wrong for her. She had a few wobbles but ultimately she was there for Vivian and she held it together, and I really loved the emphasis on the importance of reliable and strong friendships throughout the book, because that's something that is so important to me.

The plot is definitely very thrilling - it's a page turner! I thought that the idea of the Church of America was really well thought out and it was written brilliantly and in such a way that I could believe that it could actually happen. I needed to keep reading to find out what actually happened to all the Believers - did they actually get taken, or did something else happen? And was the second Rapture actually going to happen? Oh it was so frustrating, not knowing, but I think Katie was absolutely right to keep the reader hanging on until almost the very end to find out what actually happened and what's going to happen next. I wasn't expecting the ending at all and it's impossible to predict, which of course always makes the most exciting stories!

Overall I really enjoyed Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and I cannot wait to read more of Katie Coyle's work in the future! I definitely recommend you check it out, especially if you're looking for a fresh take on young adult apocalyptic fiction.

*Huge thanks to Hot Key Books for sending me this in exchange for an honest review! In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Book Review: Weirdos vs Quimboids by Natasha Desborough

Bella's Reading...Title: Weirdos vs Quimboids 
Author: Natasha Desborough
Series:  ~
Pages:  285
Publisher: Catnip Books
Date of Publication: 3rd October 2013
Source: Event
Synopsis: Blossom Uxley-Michaels and Petrina-Ola Olsen, aka Bumface and Poohead are the school Weirdos. Fiona Tittledown and Lucy Perkins are the Winners biggest quimboids and stupidest slangers.

All that's set to change when Blossom and Petrina start on the school radio station. Not only do they get to work with the coolest proper real time HOTTEST boys in school, but Blossom has big plans to book some special guest appearances international ROCK GOD JOSH RAVEN. Plus working on the radio is the perfect opportunity to launch their band,

Nina and the Norks
The Violent Amputees


CAMEL TOE!


My Thoughts:
I was lucky enough to attend the launch party for Weirdos vs Quimboids on Tuesday last week. I didn't know too much about the book before I went, just that it looked really funny and it had had a few really glowing reviews. So, I went along and had such a great time that as soon as I'd finished the book I was reading, I started Weirdos vs Quimboids, and I whizzed through it it a matter of hours.

The first thing to say about Weirdos vs Quimboids has to be that it is really funny. Like, laugh-out-loud-in-public funny. Some of the things that happen are so ridiculous and so silly that you can't help but snigger and cringe and at there were points that I was actually crying with laughter. With the two main characters being called Blossom Uxley-Michaels (initials BUM) and Petrina-Ola Olsen (initials POO) and their band called Camel Toe, it's impossible not to laugh! Brilliant.

I actually really liked Blossom. At first she got on my nerves a little bit because she was so obsessed with becoming popular and wanting to get Felix to notice her, but once I got used to her she really made me laugh and I could forgive her for being so obsessive. As she was the narrator of the story, her voice seemed very authentic and being a teenager myself it was really great to be able to relate to her and I can totally understand some of her problems, from experience... :P

The rest of the characters were really great and had awesome personalities that were so individual, so it felt like each character was fleshed out really well. Blossom's family especially were great, although I do feel like her father could have fought harder to fix the problems he had with his wife, if that makes sense? (It will if you read it :P) I did really like Breeze though, Blossom's sister, and I liked how individual she was, but especially how she was confident and liked being different. I really hate it when people are ashamed that they're not the same as everyone else, or because they have a little bit of individuality... Anyway. That's a rant for another day!

I also really enjoyed the plot. Blossom is trying to get Josh Raven, a mega star, to perform at her school disco while simultaneously trying to get the hottest guy at school to dump his 'quimboid' girlfriend and snog her. Every few chapters Blossom sends Josh Raven's manager or publicity team (I forget who she actually emailed) an email to ask him to play, and each time they get more and more desperate as the school disco approaches and Blossom's still had no reply. These were so funny and so ridiculous, and I can totally imagine an obsessed fangirl doing that. There was also the Dempsey dating agency thing, which was great and it really worked well. It was so fun to read about! I won't say much more though, to keep you intrigued!

Overall I actually enjoyed Weirdos vs Quimboids way more than I thought I would. I don't often find books hilarious but I genuinely thought this one was. Full of awkward dates, embarrassing parents, and frequent naked moon dances, there's definitely something in there to make everyone laugh and I would most definitely recommend it if you're looking for something light and funny to read to relax. When can I read the next one?!

*Huge thanks to Catnip for hosting the launch and for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. In no way has this affected my opinion of the book. 
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