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Sisterspooky "Laura : Sisterspooky" (Bromley, UK)

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The Elites
The Elites
by Natasha Ngan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic story and brought up a lot of moral issues into the action and thrills, 12 Sep 2013
This review is from: The Elites (Paperback)
I was actually recommended this book by an author and if I were to tell you that author was Philip Reeve, then you can understand my real desire to get a copy ASAP. If it's got the Reeve stamp of approval on it, then I'm definitely up for giving it a go.

Silver and Butterfly are Elites, specially selected from the surviving population of the new world to train and protect their society and its way of life. Silver has always been a slower learner and Butterfly is her best friend and he's always one of the best trainees. Through a turn of events, assassination, attempted murders and kidnapping, the two decide they have to leave the city they know and try and find Silver's parents who have vanished leaving a mystery note to go Outside. Outside is the unknown and Inside the walls of Neo-Babel is safety but also secrets. Soon the pair find the world they've known is full of lies and begins to crumble around them and they have to decide if they are willing and brave enough to safe the people, even if it means betraying others.

The Elites is a debut but as I've learnt over the years, often debut novels are were you find some wonderful gems. I really fell into the story of The Elites and was wrapped up in the mystery and secrets that left me asking questions every time I ended a chapter. One great thing in it I adored was the parallel stories between our two Elites and the slums of Neo-Babel and how they inter twinned as the plot went on. Very clever story telling and must have taken a good long while to make it work.

Beautifully written by Natasha and full and some great imagery and ideas that you find in some stories but usually all at once like in The Elites. A hugely wonderful part of the story was the fact that even though there was a romance element to it, it wasn't the whole drive of the plot. I can not tell you how dull and predictable that gets when you see it over and over again. It's partly what's put me off paranormal romances and the likes of late. I love a book that has a story with romance in it, not a romance that has a bit of a story in it. Well done Natasha, you've proven it can be done and done very well at that!

Fantastic story and brought up a lot of moral issues into the action and thrills. Really looking forward to the next book.

Side Note: ADORE the cover art.


The Name of the Blade, Book One: The Night Itself
The Name of the Blade, Book One: The Night Itself
by Zoe Marriott
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Zoe Marriott always creates fantastic worlds and is a stunning writer, 16 July 2013
Oh Zoe Marriott; how I love thee. You always give me the best writing and stories to read and characters I don't want to leave behind. In a twist on her usual breed of stories, The Night Itself is a contemporary fantasy set in London *claps manically*.

Mio is a teenage girl who's family has a long history from Japanese culture but her parents don't alway embrace it. She's learnt a little from her grandfather before he died but now she's going to need to learn pretty quickly because her history and mythology are coming for her and she'll need every weapon within her reach. When she takes a family heirloom, a katana sword, to a fancy dress party she unleashes an deadly demonic being out to settle an old score. Thrown in a yummy looking action hero 500 year old warrior called Shinobu who has been trapped in time, a punk rocker BFF, evil cats and a fox spirit and then mix rapidly. That's roughly what you get in The Night Itself but with that Marriott edge that is clever and cool all at once.

I really adore how Zoe manages to make me want to learn as well as read. I've always found the Japanese culture fascinating and I end up craving to learn more about the mythology from her books. She's so passionate about what she writes that it can't help but filter through into her work.

Mio is transitioning from child to adult and finding it hard to fit in, even in her own skin and having a demon after your flesh and the fate of the city in your hands is a tad much for anyone. My favourite pairing in the book was the relationship between the two girls, who even through their differences are as thick as thieves. They are almost like sisters and the highs and lows of the relationship are well balanced through out the book. Plus the locations as ever made me squeak loudly because being able to recognise places near me is rather cool and fun.

The Night Itself is a complex story and isn't something you can expect a smooth ride with. It's got it's scary moments as well as the tender ones. I enjoyed it just as much as I've expected to love anything from Zoe Marriott. However Shadows on the Moon is still my favourite.


Geekhood: Mission Improbable
Geekhood: Mission Improbable
by Andy Robb
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If Geekhood CEOTGK was like Star Trek The Original Series then Geekhood Mission Improbable is Andy Robb's Next Generation, 6 April 2013
WARNING: This is the sequel to Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind and if you've read my review on that you're aware of my thoughts about it so don't spoil yourself here. Go read the first book and then this review. You won't regret it!

This is it folks. The sequel I've been waiting for and I've had it in my grubby little hands for two days, read it and so this means: time for my review. Which also means time to use real English words rather than just flapping around the room gleefully singing this book's praises and hugging it like an adorable kitten.

*deep breath and puts on sensible hat*

So Geekhood MI basically continues shortly after the ending of the first book and Archie is trying to get his head around Sarah turning him down and his dad moving to York, leaving him with his mum and Tony (now slightly less of a tosser it would seem). He's no less geeky and neither are his friends. In fact they are stepping up their level of geekdom and stepping into the world of LARPing (click here for info on LARP but imagine Role Play Gaming but dressing up and fighting with foam weapons for real).

I'm not going to pretend that I didn't completely love this book because I did but after my reaction to the first I didn't have much doubt I wouldn't love the second. What I will do is tell you why I loved it and the few bits I could see had room for tinkering. I still adore Andy Robb's writing and the way he makes you exist inside Archie's mind and experience the highs and the lows with him. There are some great highs and stomach churning lows and you feel every bit of them. Geekhood MI is just as funny and quick thinking as Book One and does what book one did so well and that was give you a heart felt message wrapped up in comedy. In Geekhood CEOTGK Archie learnt lessons about himself, girls, his divided family and friends and in Geekhood MI we see those lessons put into practice and the consequences.

Archie has grown up; well a little bit anyway. He's still the Geek we love.

I found myself liking Sarah much more in this book because she wasn't this magical being to Archie anymore and you see her as a full character with a past and emotions. She lacked that first time round for me. Archie's Geek crew of Beggsy, Matt and Ravi are growing up too and finding their own little corner of the Geekhood world to bloom in. Though I did feel like Ravi didn't have much going on in this book and it was very much focused on Beggsy and Matt with Ravi as just a side character. Though the champion of characters has to be Big Marv. He's like an otherworldly fantasy character plonked in suburban England and made to interact with others. So hilarious.

What stole my heart in Geekhood originally was that honest emotive story behind the geekery and laughs about a boy learning to live with a step parent and missing his dad after the break up of a marriage. It hit that lump of coal that is my heart and cracked it. In Mission Improbable it hammered home the cracks yet again. There is one line about Archie hugging his dad and it not being a "full time hug" but only a "part time hug" and it made my lip wobble and chest ache. Later on Archie has a moment with Sarah where he describes what he sees when he looks at her now, post failed asking out, and frankly if a guy could read me that well then he'd be able to date me whenever he fancied! I wished there had been more moments with certain characters and more detailed resolutions at some points but I wasn't left feeling unsatisfied at all. I'm just greedy.

If Geekhood CEOTGK was like Star Trek The Original Series then Geekhood Mission Improbable is Andy Robb's Next Generation. It's Adrian Mole after a wander in the big bad world and coming home a little wiser and in need of a cup of tea.

I am still a Geekhood Girl and now I'm off to go hug the book some more while researching LARPs


Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind
Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind
by Andy Robb
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars it's Adrian Mole for the Geek generation, 20 Aug 2012
Being a Geek is not a chosen path many would seek and it's really a way of life. For Archie it's who he is and how he is branded at school, home and by himself. Geekhood is his story of how he makes a brush with 'normalcy' and his Geek existence before and after his encounter with something unknown to many a Geek; a girl. DUN DUN DUH! I myself am a self proclaim, badge wearing =, convention going Geek (and darn proud of it) and even though the Geek in question here is a boy I COMPLETELY understood where he was coming from. From the Geekspeak to the internal monologue and the way he feels about himself and his Geek status is scarily the same as my own experiences. It's not to shocking though if you ever speak to or read the blogs of the author, Andy Robb, cause not only is he a Geek but he's waving the flag for Geek kind.

The best way I've been able to describe Geekhood to anyone that's asked is to say that it's Adrian Mole for the Geek generation. In the same way that The Big Bang Theory has found fame on TV for being out and out Geek friendly, Geekhood has that same appeal. If you are a Geek or not or even have just some small grasp of the worlds of Role Playing, Star Trek or Lord of the Rings then this book is likely to strike a chord with you as it did with me. It was funny and heartwarming when it was needed and it stuck with me even when I wasn't reading it. I just feel in love with Archie's world view and his complex family set up with a step dad lovingly referred to as Tony 'the tosser', his tea addict mum and distant Dad who seems to think text speak via Facebook is cool (it isn't).

Geekhood is a coming of age tale about a boy that is trying to break out of his shell in the hopes that it'll make him cool or that he'll become this James Bond sexy cool God and women will fall at his feet. This is VERY unlikely to happen but it can't hurt to try right? WRONG! Oh the inner turmoil and embarrassment. OH the shocking mistakes that you make in order to impress the opposite sex. I loved the use of the inner monologue in the narrative and how Archie's inner self was constantly telling him how stupid he was like a laugh a minute running commentary on his laugh.

My only irk (and it's a pretty small one to be fair) was the dream girl in question Sarah. I liked her but she was a bit annoying for my liking. I think because you see her through Archie's eyes you think 'wow she's the most awesome human being ever' and then you start to see her flaws and yet Archie still fawns over her. I wanted to slap Archie and tell him to get a grip more than once but young love is a hard beast to battle with. Especially when it's an earth shattering fact that a girl would even notice Archie, let alone want to date him.

If you want a book that will make you laugh and embrace you inner Geek then Geekhood is for you; if you don't then you should still read it cause it's bloody ace.


Department 19: The Rising
Department 19: The Rising
by Will Hill
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Action packed and a horror gore fest with a wonderful balance of heart and personal struggles, 25 April 2012
This review is for the second book in the series by Will Hill so will have spoilers for book one Department 19 and therefore THIS IS A SPOILER WARNING. No spoilers for this book though ;)

So Will Hill holds no punches now does he. This book rocked my socks and then knocked them straight off. I'd been hearing lots of super positive reviews and comments about this sequel but if i'm honest when I got it in the post my eye exploded at the size of it. It's a brick of a book and I thought 'oh gosh that'll take forever!' Want my advice. JUST BUY AND READ IT! IT'S BIG BUT OH SO WORTH IT.

The start of The Rising sets up the impending doom on the way with the rising of the first and original vampire, Dracula. He's been raised from the dead and the horrors that are coming make the last book seem like a picnic in the park. This book is full of action packed gore and fighting that you'd come to expect after the battles faced in Department 19 but so much more too. We get a real insight into the key players on both sides of this war and their past lives. It's like finding the diaries of people and finding out what makes them really tick. Going back and forth between the life at The Loop with Jamie Carpenter trying to cope with his new life as an Operator, the special situation his mum is now in after Lindsefare and his growing relationship with Larissa, a vampire girl who's now on the side of good. Their relationship is as complex as they come but the way they lean on each other and have the uncanny ability to read each other was one of my favourite things to read. They may be one of my favourite couples I've come across in YA so far this year.

Kate had been a girl that was caught up in the nightmare of an ending to Department 19 and now she's like a stealth ninja kick ass girl warrior. She's awesome. She's the sort of girl you can imagine would just deal what was thrown at her and she does but she's not all hardcore warrior gal because she's just broken from what she saw and now is living her life fighting because it's how she can deal with it and fight back. Though my favourite character had to be one of the "bad guys" as such. Valentin, one of the first vampires created by Dracula himself. He's witty, charming and deadly and almost like a Bond villain mixed with a bit of The Joker from The Dark Knight. You know he's done horrifying things and has no issue with them but you can't help but see his appeal.

The book itself is about the Departments race against time to find where Dracula is lurking and hiding until he's at full strength to return because once that happens there's no way he can be defeated. The Department is full of secrets itself which as you'd expect get revealed at just the worst moment, though the secrets you'd never guess. I had more than a few heart stopping moments reading it.

The Rising is the kind of perfection of a sequel I wish some books could capture in their first novels. Action packed and a horror gore fest with a wonderful balance of heart and personal struggles that makes The Rising a book about real things that linger in the dark but not a book just for boys. Everyone should read this.


The Perks of Being a Wallflower
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.98

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sheer perfection, 25 April 2012
I've always seen this book in top ten lists and favourite titles but have never read it. It's one of those stories I didn't really know much about but like To Kill a Mockingbird or Catcher in the Rye I knew people loved it and it was a book they'd re read again and again but I'd just never picked up. I mentioned this to C.J. Skuse (smooches) after she put it on her Top Ten YA list and she just said 'It's been sorted' and low and behold a copy turned up in my little wooden mailbox. I know C.J. pretty well (i think) and vica versa and so thought that if was so passionate about it then i'd probably love it too.

UNDERSTATEMENT.

After I finished reading this book I wanted to cry knowing that I'd missed out on years of having it in my life. I gush about a lot of books but this is a book I'm going to treasure because it captures that bemused and confused bit of teenage life we all feel. Charlie is that part of us when we are growing up that is lost in a sea of other peers and he's broken but he's surviving and even if it's not true of us all it's certainly how we all feel when we are teenagers. We are looking for ourselves and it's hard but we keep trying even when we fall down.

I felt an honest connection with the highs and lows of Charlie's life and how he's sort of distant from the world around him but so involved in everything he does. He's a truly unique character that I wanted to hug so much and try and make him laugh just to cheer him up some days. Having the story unfolded before you in the form of letters makes his story far more raw a tale to absorb. He doesn't hold back his emotions and gut reactions only because he doesn't think he has to. He is bearing his heart and soul to another person that doesn't know him; almost like he's writing his letters to us (the reader) directly.

The story goes in waves and you roll with them. I could care less if you see my review and think it's all fawning rubbish because I would just ask you to go and buy a copy of the book and judge for yourself. It's worth it just to experience this wonderful book. One moment that just shone out for me was Charlie in the truck with Sam and Patrick and he describes the moment by saying 'And in that moment, I swear we were infinite'. I think in that moment I feel in love with this book. It is that one golden moment that unless you were there you'll never understand what being 'infinite' feels like and I've been there and I'm so happy this book let me remember it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the one book every teenager should be given on their 15th or 16th birthday with a card saying 'This has some of the answers you need and some questions you'll want to ask. Enjoy'


Dead Rules
Dead Rules
by Randy Russell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.17

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but couldn't connect with the main character as much as I'd like, 25 April 2012
This review is from: Dead Rules (Hardcover)
I wanna start this review by saying read the blurb on the back of the book because I didn't and just started reading it without a clue what it was about and was both lost and confused. Only because it starts out with Jana on a school bus to a place she doesn't know and not knowing where her boyfriend is and surrounded by people she doesn't know. Then weird things happen but the weirdest for me was when one girl is chatting casually to her and then she turns round and she has a massive lawn dart sticking out of her head. What The....? Then I read the back where it explains that the school Jana is going to is Dead School so school for the Dead thus all the dead students. MAKES SENSE!

So we get into the nitty gritty of Jana's world which has taken a major shift since become a student at Dead School. She has always been one of two. Everyone knew he as the girlfriend and other half to Michael and she's obsessed with trying to get back with him someway. Death is only a minor detail for Jana. The other part of this tale is one Mars Dreamcote. Let's take a secret to appreciate that character name shall we. *swoon* It's like chocolate bar of hunky bad boy. He is on the other side with Jana and against his best judgement he decides to help Jana reach out to her still living boyfriend much against Jana's new dead friends. Jana is a Riser, on her way up after Dead School, and Mars is a Slider, on the sliding slope down unless he changes. Getting that across the social divide romance vibe yet.

So what to say. I loved the idea of the book about afterlife school for those that died young like Jana and the interaction between the Planet and Dead School and I really enjoyed reading the death stories for each characters because it reminded me of one of my favourite TV shows 'Dead Like Me' that had the same dark humour but what put me off was the character of Jana herself. I think I called her a drip when someone asked me because she just kept pining over her boyfriend. I wanted her to click that she could be a whole person without a boyfriend sooner than she did. The whiney tone of her longing for Michael grated me after a while so when she starts to become independent it was sweet relief.

R.S.Russell has really got a nice unique setting and has really thought through all the avenues of loose ends and possibilities in the story from why Sliders can do things that Risers can't and the rules of the two worlds. Even the sub characters like Wyatt honestly grew on me but I'm a sucker for a bad boy.

Dead Rules has an attractive appeal to me because of the storyline and the Riser characters that were in my opinion more gritty characters because they had a tainted quality to their personality that I like to read in a book.


Drive By
Drive By
by Jim Carrington
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A dash of supernatural on the side and it's a great read to dip into., 25 April 2012
This review is from: Drive By (Paperback)
The story of Drive By is like a moral complex tale about action and conscience that is relatable to a contemporary audience. Set in South London, an area I know really well and was sort of funny reading about places I've been to, the world of two teens collide when fate draws them together. Though they don't know how much connection they really have but as they get to know each other it slowly unravels how much they really are connected. Johnny and his mates pull a small prank against a neighbour they have a problem with and the fall out is far worse than they could have ever guessed. Summer is lonely with her sister at uni, her mum at work all the time and her father dying before she was even born she spends her time trying to know the father she never met. She visits her grandparents out of kindness and its during these visits she keeps bumping into Johnny.

I started out really liking this book and how it was the story of two parallel lives that overlap and how one moment can change the course of someones life. It was all about the guilt that one moment and then Johnny's life as it changes the more and more time rides on his back. What sort of bugged me the more and more I got into the book was it kept reminding me of another book with a similar plot that I adored. It isn't this book's fault that it had a similar plot (prank goes wrong and then guilt drives the character to possible madness or guilt ridden life choices) but it wasn't as good as the other book so I kept comparing it. Drive By was a good book but I just didn't love it as much as other books I've read with a similar storyline.

I loved the two main characters and especially Summer's search for the father she never knew. She's so desperate to connect with someone in her life that her top choice is someone she'll never meet. She idolises him and has taken on his interests and this has almost trapped Summer into a life that she is now trying to break out of. She loves her dad but she wants to just be "Summer" so her mum lets her be herself.

All in all I did like this book and how the story panned out but at the end I felt like something should have happened more or that there would be a bigger ending than there was but I wasn't disappointed. A believable story about simple mistakes and how they can change the course of your life before you know it. A dash of supernatural on the side and it's a great read to dip into. I'd be interested to see what Jim Carrington's other books are like now.


Desires of the Dead (Body Finder 2)
Desires of the Dead (Body Finder 2)
by Kimberly Derting
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars A real gem of a book and a great sequel, 25 April 2012
This is the second in the series by Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder being the first) This is a major warning for spoilers for the 1st book in this review but it IS SPOILER FREE for this book.

So we know that Violet is special and not just because she's got a talent at school or generally well liked. She can sense the dead but not just anything that has died; the dead animals and people that have suffered in their death. Murder victims, suicides, road accidents and this isn't an easy gift to bear when you're a teenage girl that is trying to make it through high school without anyone else finding out your secret. Violet and Jay are still very much blissfully in love when we meet them again in Desires of the Dead which I'm SO happy about because I love Jay and I love those two together. In the last book I was getting actual achey pains in my chest when it was all 'will they; won't they'. That rarely happens to me so it's a general sign of great writing and I just love how Kimberly Derting builds her characters and the sense of dread and danger through out her books.

In the 1st Body Finder book we had a serial killer on the loose and this time its the death of the past that is haunting the present. It's forcing Violet to keep secrets to those she loves and risking exposing and revealing her secret to those she doesn't know. She has to decide if telling people the truth about her gift is worth the risk or will it just put them into harms way. With two new kids at school, one of which is best buds with Jay, Violet has to get used to new people in her life while she's also being stalked by a mystery person leaving her on edge.

I think I loved the characters and how they developed in this book more in this book than the last. Violet and Jay's relationship was EPIC. They are just so cute together and a big high five for role reversal (Violet very much wants "things" to progress quicker than Jay does). Jay is her knight in armour but Violet isn't a damsel in distress; she can fight her own battles and this can cause some friction between them but I kind of like that it's not perfect 24/7.

I did wish that the plot had a few more twists and turns like the 1st book which had me doing the awkward gasping in public when you get TOO into a book on the train but it was still full of questions and that lurking danger like The Body Finder; just wanted more.

I've already got The Last Echo, the 3rd book, on my TBR and it's calling me like one of Violet's death echo signals.


The Chemical Garden (1) - Wither
The Chemical Garden (1) - Wither
by Lauren DeStefano
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A bravely told story, 25 April 2012
This book has been on my TBR pile for a fair while and then I received the sequel Fever in the post from the lovely people at Harper Collins so I thought 'Geez I better read the first one pretty sharpish!' I was majority sold on the idea behind this story and its plot; when a generation dies in their early 20s and there seems to be no cure for the illness they succumb to then what happens in a world where girls are traded as young brides against their will and the only future is death at a young age. Rhine lived with her twin brother in New York in a future where the world has crumbed around them and she is just seen as a potential object to be kidnapped and sold to the highest bidder as a wife or slave. Those not bought are killed like excess stock. Rhine is whipped away from her home and finds herself sold off as a bride to a young man, Linden, along with 2 other girls. This not a strange thing and they are known as 'sister wives'. They have to share the husband and the home and all they want to do is to either be a good wife or to escape.

While trapped in this life Rhine finds herself trying to plan to escape and return to her brother and also drawn to Gabriel, a servant in the house who has a bound with her and yet any betrayal of her marriage to Linden could result in severe punishment or death at the hands of Linden's over baring father hell bent on find a cure to save his son's life. Your heart really goes out for each of the sister wives as they have all been thrown into this awful life and expected to fulfil their 'wifely duties' with no questions asked. On the flip side my heart broke for Linden who was married to his childhood love and she has been taken by the illness and it seems like he doesn't understand just how his brides came to be his. He believes they have been 'trained' to be wives and volunteered for this life but nothing could be further from the truth.

It's a slow building story that has some fast paced emotions bouncing around this confined space of a house and your emotions really bounce around with them. The 3 wives are really strong and individual characters that they make this book a bit different from the average dystopian. They are all individual characters thrown into one story and even though its told from Rhine's point of view its a story about the people in the house as well as Rhine's journey there.

It might not be an easy read for some because the story doesn't shy away from issues like sex, death and child bearing and in a way it made me like the book more because if it glossed over the issues it was trying to confront it wouldn't have made it's point at all. This book for me was about that need for freedom both in spirit and life. These characters in the house have all been trapped in one way or another; physically, mentally and emotional and together they break free and find out who they really are, who they used to be and who they want to be in the future even if that isn't long.

A bravely told story that left me wondering where it could go next so I'm glad Harper Collins sent me book two so the wait to find out won't be long


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