New Release Sunday #5

Sunday, 23 September 2012
This weeks new release that I'm looking forward to is Safekeeping by Karen Hesse. This is a stand alone novel which is 304 pages long. It was published on the 18th of September by Feiwel & Friends in the USA. It is about a girl who is trying to get home and then find her parents immediately after the President has been assassinated and a new political party has taken power.
"Radley just wants to get home to her parents in Vermont. While she was volunteering abroad, the American People's Party took power; the new president was assassinated; and the government cracked down on citizens. Travel restrictions are worse than ever, and when her plane finally lands in New Hampshire, Radley’s parents aren’t there.

Exhausted; her phone dead; her credit cards worthless: Radley starts walking." - Goodreads
You may like this novel if you like: YA, Dystopian, Contemporary

Book Review- Deception Point

Title: Deception Point
Author: Dan Brown
Publication Date: May 1st 2001
Publisher: Corgi Books
Pages: 585
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: 3/5

When a new NASA satellite detects evidence of an astonishingly rare object buried deep in the Arctic ice, the floundering space agency proclaims a much-needed victory...a victory that has profound implications for U.S. space policy and the impending presidential election. With the Oval Office in the balance, the President dispatches White House Intelligence analyst Rachel Sexton to the Arctic to verify the authenticity of the find. Accompanied by a team of experts, including the charismatic academic Michael Tolland, Rachel uncovers the unthinkable - evidence of scientific trickery - a bold deception that threatens to plunge the world into controversy...- Goodreads

Dan Brown is one of my favourite adult fiction authors, as I think he writes a really great thriller novel. When I found this novel in my local charity shop, I just had to buy it, so I could read another.
I have been very busy with school recently so I had very little time to read this novel, so it took me slightly longer than a Dan Brown novel would normally take. I don't know why, but I just couldn't get into this novel properly at all. It felt as if Dan Brown had just written the same novel again, except he had changed the names of his main characters. It felt predictable to me and I was disappointed that he couldn't think of anything unique to write, so he just churned out another book with the same formulaic feel as his last.
I can't even really remember what this novel was about, but I remember that it was quite fast paced, with a lot of action in it. It also had a reasonable twist at the end, with the reveal of who was the "baddie" in the book, of course this was someone totally unexpected. 
The two main characters are Rachel and Michael, who are supposedly "normal" people, thrust into these situations. As per most Dan Brown novels, these two characters are attracted to each other, and end up together. Also they both have something in their past that is a weakness, something that the other can get emotional when told about it. This is very similar to all other Dan Brown books, and although these relationships are written nicely, I still felt a bit cheated. 
One thing I do like about Dan Brown's books is his writing style. He writes in a nice, concise way, with a great ability to keep the reader in the dark about various plotlines. 
I know this is a very short review, and I do apologise, but I just don't have many feelings about this novel. Overall I gave it 3/5 as I still liked it even though.

Fall into Reading 2012

Friday, 21 September 2012
I recently discovered this reading challenge, called The Fall into Reading Challenge. It was created by This is basically a:
"fun low pressure reading challenge open to anyone and everyone. It will take place September 22nd to December 21st"-

All you have to do in the challenge is create a list of books you want to read by the end date, and then read them! Simple!

I really reccommend everyone at least checks out the blog post made about this challenge which I have linked HERE.

Here is my list of books that I want to read by the end of December!
  • Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde- Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Shipping News- Annie Proulx
  • Winter in Madrid- C.J Sansom
  • Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte
  • The Woodlanders- Thomas Hardy
  • At the Going Down of the Sun- Elizabeth Darrell
  • The Fellowship of the Ring- J.R.R.Tolkien
  • Perfect Storm- Sebastian Junger
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams
  • Great Expectations- Charles Dickens
  • A Game of Thrones- George R.R. Martin
  • Last Bus to Woodstock- Colin Dexter
  • Timbuctoo- Tahir Shah
Note: This list may change/be added to depending on how I feel the challenge is going.

Book Review- The Hunger Games

Tuesday, 18 September 2012
Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publication Date: January 1st 2008
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 458 (paperback)
Series: The Hunger Games #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Rating: 5/5

Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

May the odds be ever in your favour.
This is the second time I have read this novel, and I admit that I enjoyed it just as much as the first time. I read it a couple of years ago when it was a lot less well known in the UK, and I'm glad its got the attention it deserved. I owe this novel a lot, it is the novel that got me back into reading (and buying!) YA novels again, and just back into reading in general. Back when I read this novel, I wasn't reading very often, but when I was it was mostly adult novels, as I really didn't like YA novels, or reading at the time either! I picked this novel up from a shop on a whim, as I thought the premise sounded good, and I loved it. After reading this I wanted to check out some other YA novels, to try and find something that stood up to THG's standard. Basically I have to credit this novel with getting me back into reading, and into spending ridiculous amounts of money on books :)
Now onto the review.
First the plot; I think the plot is my favourite part of the novel, as it was something I had never read before, and even when I re-read it, it still stood up as a really great, unique plotline. It is a fast paced plot, it keeps you on the edge, never really allowing you to take a breath before the next piece of action takes place. This is also quite an emotionally driven story line, and the author writes in such a way that you find yourself upset or celebrating along with the characters.
I think the sign of a good author (and therefore a good book) is the author's ability to kill off characters. Of course this is terrible for the reader's emotional health, but it is a vital part of a good novel. The horrible feeling when a character you love is killed, and it feels as if you've lost a friend in real life. Collins does this perfectly, managing to kill off characters, without it turning into a bloodbath, and giving your favourite a suitably heroic/memorable death.
The novel is told in 1st person narrative, from Katniss' point of view. This gives you a great insight into her character, and also adds to the story as you only know what Katniss knows, so it adds an extra twist to the romance too. As the reader you really feel like you know Katniss, that you are going thorough the whole Hunger Games with her, and I often found myself wondering what I would do if I was in the same situation as Katniss.
The characters are another strong point of the novel, as they added to my enjoyment of the novel. The main character is Katniss, who is a sixteen year old, who volunteers for The Hunger Games in place of her younger sister. As I mentioned above, the story is told from her point of view, so this is the character you are closest to. She is probably the strongest female character in YA that I've ever read about, as she is brave, and a fighter. She is also one of my favourite female characters, as she isn't afraid, and doesn't need anybody to protect her, she also has buckets of common sense, and in this sense I think she is a relatable main character.
Another character who plays quite a big part is Peeta. He is the male volunteer from the same district as Katniss, and he has had feelings for Katniss since he was young. He is a really great guy, he's brave, and would do anything to protect Katniss. He also seems really strong, someone you could depend on. His feelings added a really great romantic twist to the novel, and the plotline.
Katniss' hunting partner back in her district is called Gale, and he adds a bit of confusion to the Peeta-Katniss love, as Katniss isn't sure about her feelings for him. I don't really like love triangles in YA novels, but this one doesn't play a huge part in the novel, so it's pretty easy to ignore. Gale seems like the cool, older brother figure to Katniss, he looks out for her, but also teases her like an older brother would.
The smaller characters in the novel were also really good, for example people like Rue, Cinna and Haymitch all added to Katniss' character development and the overall plot. I loved all the extra characters, even the other tributes, they were portrayed so well. Although they are "evil" they were still portrayed as human, which made sure you didn't forget what was going on, and how humans are being made to kill each other.
All the characters in this novel develop and grow really well, being more rounded and 3 dimensional, by the end. You feel very attached to the characters, which makes any deaths a lot more heart wrenching.
Although this was my second time reading this novel, I enjoyed it just as much as the first time, and still gave it 5/5. I have yet to see the movie adaptation, but I have high expectations of it.
Once I have seen the movie, I will definitely to a book to movie adaptation post.

Book Review- Winner Takes All

Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Title: Winner Takes All
Author: Jacqueline Rayner
Publication Date: 2005
Publisher: BBC Books
Pages: 245
Series: New Series Adventures #3
Genre: Doctor Who, Science Fiction, Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

Rose and the Doctor return to present-day Earth to visit Rose's mum, and become intrigued by the latest craze -- the video game, Death to Mantodeans. Is it as harmless as it seems? And why are so many local people going on holiday and never returning? Meanwhile, on another world, an alien war is raging. The Quevvils need to find a new means of attacking the ruthless Mantodeans. Searching the galaxy for cunning, warlike but gullible allies, they find the ideal soldiers - on Earth. Will Rose be able to save her family and friends from the alien threat? And can the Doctor play the game to the end - and win?

This is another novel, extending the adventures of the Doctor and Rose, in a series of books commissioned by the BBC. In this novel the Doctor (Christopher Eclestone) and Rose (Billie Piper) return home at Rose's request and find that everyone is obsessed with a new video game. This seems innocent, but as per every Doctor Who adventure, things are not as they seem.
Firstly I want to talk about the plot. This was a great idea for a plotline, the idea of a computer game (something we are so easily addicted to), actually being a way to recruit soldiers from another planet or species to fight a war against your enemies for you. Although this is an outlandish idea, you could see how we as a society could easily fall into this trap, and end up fighting someone else's war.
The plot was fast paced, keeping the excitement and the tension up, really adding to the story. The dualplot, with Mickey fighting his own battle at home, and the Doctor fighting on another planet, added to this, and meant that you were always wanting to finish the book to see how both storylines would weave together, and tie up the loose ends.  I also liked the addition of Robert's character, and the little Harry Potterish fantasy he had in his head.
The two main characters are the Doctor and Rose. I feel that the author really captured the essence of these characters and the relationsip they had with each other. The Doctor was his usual witty and sarcastic self, having some greatlines when he was talking to Mickey too. I was reading all his lines in Christopher Eclestone's voice, which added to the reality of his character. I felt that Rose was just as rounded a character as the Doctor was. She was just as strong and fierce as she was played in the tv series, also with a touch of softness and her friendliness. The Doctor and Rose's relationship was actually developed in this novel, you could see how much they like each other, but also how much they rely on each other and need each other. This showed a sense of vulnerability to the seemingly invincible Doctor, when Rose is taken, his emotions spill over in his urgency to get her back.
Overall this is a great Doctor Who novel, with a really unique and intriguing idea for a plot which is delivered in a short, fast paced novel. I would recommend this novel if you are a fan of Doctor Who, but even if you aren't, it's still an enjoyable read.

Book Review- The Reptile Room

Saturday, 8 September 2012
Title: The Reptile Room
Author: Lemony Snicket
Publication Date:September 30th 1999
Publisher: Egmont Book
Pages: 192
Series: A Series of Unfortunate Events #2
Genre: Childrens, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 4/5

Dear Reader,

If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I'm afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether. the story may seem cheery at first, when the Baudelaire children spend time in the company of some interesting reptiles and a giddy uncle, but don't be fooled. If you know anything at all about the unlucky Baudelaire children, you already know that even pleasant events lead down the same road to misery.
In fact, within the pages you now hold in your hands, the three siblings endure a car accident, a terrible smell, a deadly serpent, a long knife, a large brass reading lamp, and the re-appearance of a person they'd hoped never to see again.
I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter.
With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket.

This is the second novel in the Series of Unfortunate Events, and carries on where the last novel left off. Our three Baudelaire children, are being sent to a different relative, whom they expect to be as horrible as Count Olaf. However this time, they are pleasantly surprised when they meet their Uncle Monty, who seems like the perfect Uncle. Of course this happy situation cannot last, or it wouldn't be a series of unfortunate events.
I liked the first novel in this series, so I was excited to pick up the second, as I was interested to see where the author would take the series next. He didn't disappoint, as I felt this was a good sequel, on a par with the first.
I liked the plot, for a short book, it was understandably, fast paced, although a little predictable, I knew exactly what was going to happen, but that didn't take a lot away from the novel.
I enjoyed the development of the characters, and the relationship between the three children. They started to really act like a family, helping each other out, sticking up for each other, like a family would.
Overall I liked this sequel, as I thought it was a nice, easy read, which didn't take very long to finish. If you liked the previous novel I would continue with the series, as this is of a similar vein.

August Wrap Up

Sunday, 2 September 2012
This is a post listing all the novels I read in the month of August.
The first novel I read was THE BAD BEGINNING BY LEMONY SNICKET. I gave this novel 4/5 stars as I liked it and thought it was a good start to the series.
The next novel I read was TIMERIDERS BY ALEX SCARROW. This is a YA novel about three teens who are recruited to go back in time, and save the world. I gave this novel 4/5 stars too.
In August I also read DEAD FAMOUS BY BEN ELTON. I gave this novel 3/5 stars. This is a contemporary novel based on a murder on a reality tv programme.
Last month I also read ARTEMIS FOWL BY EOIN COLFER. This is the first novel in the Artemis Fowl series, which follow the adventures of Artemis Fowl, a teenage criminal mastermind. I gave this first instalment in the series 3/5 stars.
I also read WAR OF THE WORLDS BY H.G. WELLS in August. This is a classic sci fi book documenting one mans struggles against an invasion from Mars. I gave this book 3/5 stars.
I also read I AM LEGEND BY RICHARD MATHESON. This is another classic sci fi novel, this time about a man surviving as the last man on earth in a world overrun by vampires. I really enjoyed this novel and gave it 5/5 stars.
Last month I also read PURE BY JULIANNA BAGGOTT. This is one of my favourite YA novels of the year and I gave it 5/5. It is a dystopian, post apocalyptic novel, which I really enjoyed.

August Book Haul

This is a post all about the books I purchased this month.
The first book is Timbuctoo by Tahir Shah. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. This is a lovely edition of the book which has fold out maps and inserts. This book is set in the time when explorers from every country were trying to find the mythical city of Timbuctoo.
The next novel I purchased from Waterstones, and it is Fateful by Claudia Gray. This is a Young Adult novel, and is basically a love story set on the Titanic.
The next novel is The Luxe by Anna Godbersen. I purchased this novel at a charity shop,so it cost me about 50p, which is a great deal. This is another YA novel, set in the twenties.
The next novel, I was given by my mum, and it is Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee. This is a clasic novel, and I'm trying to read as many classics as I can, so I will give this one a try.
Another novel I was given is The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. This is a sci fi novel, and I'm looking forward to reading it.
I was also given No Great Mischief by Alastair MacLeod. This is an adult novel, which is set in Scotland in the 19th century.
My mum also gave me Under an English Heaven by Robert Radcliffe. This is another adult novel, set during the Second World War.
Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes is another novel I was given. This is a contemporary novel, which I want to read.
The last book I was given this month is Damn Rebel Bitches by Maggie Craig. This is set during the Jacobite uprising in Scotland, and is all about the woman who played pivotal roles.
Another book I purchased at the charity shop, was a hardcover copy of Double Cross by Malorie Blackman. This is the last novel in the Noughts and Crosses series, which I really enjoyed when I read it last year, so I hope this is a good ending. I got this hardback edition for £1, which I was really pleased to find.
The last book I purchased from the charity shop was Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. I really want to see the movie of this book with Leonardo di Caprio in it, so when I saw the novel, I had to have it too. It also only cost me about 50p.
The next book I got this month was The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore. I got this novel from Waterstones. This is the second novel in the I am Number Four series, which I really enjoyed the first part of.
Another novel I got from Waterstones was The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett. This is the first novel in the Discworld series, which is a fantasy series that I have wanted to read for a long time, so I decided to purchase the first novel and start it.
I also purchased The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Although I have read all these novels, I don'town any of them, and HMV were selling the 3 for only £6.
I also got 11.22.63 by Stephen King. This is a novel about a man who goes back in time to try and stop the JFK assasination.
This novel, which I was given by a family friend is Cry Freedom by John Briley. This novel wasmade into a film, and I really want to read it.
The last novel I got this month was Time Pullers by Horton Deakins. I was given a copy of this book by the author, after I showed an interest for the novel on Goodreads.

New Release Sunday #4

The book released in the past week that I'm looking forward to reading most is Undead by Kirsty McKay. This is the first book in the Undead series. This novel has 294 pages and was published by Chicken House, on September 1st.
In this novel, a group of kids are on a school trip, and stop the bus to get something to eat. All but two of the kids get off and when they get back on, they have turned into zombies.
 Out of sight, out of their minds: It's a school-trip splatter fest and completely not cool when the other kids in her class go all braindead on new girl Bobby.
The day of the ski trip, when the bus comes to a stop at a roadside restaurant, everyone gets off and heads in for lunch. Everyone, that is, except Bobby, the new girl, who stays behind with rebel-without-a-clue Smitty.
Then hours pass. Snow piles up. Sun goes down. Bobby and Smitty start to flirt. Start to stress. Till finally they see the other kids stumbling back.
But they've changed. And not in a good way. Straight up, they're zombies. So the wheels on the bus better go round and round freakin' fast, because that's the only thing keeping Bobby and Smitty from becoming their classmates' next meal. It's kill or be killed in these hunger games, heads are gonna roll, and homework is most definitely gonna be late.
Combining the chill of THE SHINING, the thrill ride of SPEED, the humor of SHAUN OF THE DEAD, and the angst of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, Kirsty McKay's UNDEAD is a bloody mad mash-up, a school-trip splatter-fest, a funny, gory, frighteningly good debut.- Goodreads

You may like this novel if you like; Zombies, Paranormal, Young Adult.

Book Review- Time Pullers

Title: Time Pullers
Author: Horton Deakins
Publication Date: May 10th 2011
Publisher: 4rv Publishing
Pages: 272
Genre: Sci-fi

Rating: 3/5

Time Pullers turns your reality upside down as you discover the history you are so familiar with should never have happened. A mysterious, hairless visitor is thwarted by guards in an attempt to use a double semi-trailer truck to run a gate at a US Air Force base. The man insists upon seeing the base commander, and he spins an incredible tale of how his own continuum, his future reality, has been destroyed by sabotage to a point in the continuum of your own past.

The mysterious stranger, known only as “Mr. G,” pleads with his captors to help restore the damage done to the continuum by their common enemy. He alone has survived, of his entire civilization, to escape to your own present time to solicit help, bringing with him the means to make one, and one only attempt to bring his civilization back. If you help him, you will lose everything and everyone in your life, but if you do not, you face inevitable devastation in your own reality.

Time Pullers takes you on a ride through history that will not only make you wonder if we are really safe on our little blue orb, but it will also forever change your perspective about what we call “unidentified flying objects.”

Time Pullers puts the SCIENCE back into Science Fiction. This time-travel adventure is set at an Air Force base in the Oklahoma City area, but is it FICTION, or FACT? You decide.- Goodreads

*I received this novel from the author, after I showed an interest in his novel on Goodreads.*

This novel is a sci fi novel, set in an Air Force base in the US. The novel begins when a strange, mysterious man is trying to force his way into this Air Force base, insisting that he need to speak to somebody in charge. He calls himself "Mr G" and says he is from the future. He tells an incredible tale about how he needs help to change the past in order to save the future.  
I liked this novel, I gave it 3/5 stars, in my books this stands for "I liked it". There were, however a couple of things that lowered its rating for me.
This novel has a lot of physics jargon in it, as the author describes just how time travel would be possible in this situation. Physics is not one of my strong subjects and I can honestly say I couldn't get my head around it. At the beginning of the novel, I tried to understand it, making good use of the glossary at the back (good idea, by the way!), but soon it all got too much for me. Eventually I just read the information, without really knowing what I was reading about. Thankfully this didn't spoil the novel too much, as I could still grasp what was going on, without having to know the ins and outs. Due to the author describing the time travel in so much detail, this took up a large portion of the novel, which meant it took a little longer to read. I felt this meant the "real plot" of the novel didn't really get started until the last 80 or so pages. This also meant the plot was over quite quickly, I would have enjoyed a little more problems of action when they were trying to change the future, but at the end of the novel, it becomes apparent that the point of the plot is not what you expect.
My favourite part of the novel, is definitely the end, the plot twist is great. It was totally unexpected to me so I found the last 50 pages really enjoyable. I must say though it was a little gory, and I didn't quite have the guts for it at midnight, so I had to put it down until the morning.
What initially attracted me to this novel on Goodreads, was the really interesting and intriguing idea for a plot. I haven't read a novel like this before, and I thought it would probably be something I would enjoy, as I love everything sci fi.
I think the characters definitely played a great part in this novel, with the diversity between them, adding to my enjoyment of reading it. My favourite were probably General Vega and Dr Dubois. I liked the friendship these two had and the history in Vietnam, but I also liked their individual personality traits too.
I also enjoyed the slight romantic sub plot, between two of the team members. I thought this was a really interesting aside, which offered some light relief from the heavy informative main plot, but was also good to read on its own.
Overall I really enjoyed this novel, and I am very grateful to the author for sending me a copy. I would recommend this if you have a good knowledge of physics, as it will help with the details, but I would also recommend it if you like an interesting and unique sci fi novel.
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