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The Slowest Bookworm (Stockport, UK)

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by Mary Hoffman
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars David by Mary Hoffman, 11 July 2011
This review is from: David (Paperback)
David is set in Florence, Italy at the beginning of the 16th Century and is about a young man called Gabriele who leaves his home in the countryside to hit the city and make some money so he can return to his village and marry his sweetheart. His plan is to find his `milk brother' Angelo, more recognisable to us as Michaelangelo, the famous sculptor.

Gabriele's story is narrated by the man himself in his senior years and at points through the story he'll talk about something Gabriele or Angelo are working on or doing and tell you that actually it never came off or was never finished and later in the story you find out why. This worked really well and made me more compelled to finish the book.

I loved reading about Florence - the art, the buildings, the people and personalities we met and their way of life. Mary Hoffman's descriptive is superb! I really liked Gabriele, but he was quite naïve and although his character did develop somewhat, I was also a little disappointed in him too, which I'll explain later.

One of the major plotlines running through the story is the politics in Italy and in particular Florence at the time Gabriele and Angelo are there with the different factions fighting for leadership of the city. Unfortunately this part of the story went right over my head and most of the time I just ended up confused. Gabriele was very caught up in these political wars to the extent where he put his own life on the line on more than one occasion, but it annoyed me that he just took on whatever opinion he was told and became a `sheep' when he had a strong enough personality to reach further than that.

As I've mentioned above, David is set in Italy and so obviously there were a lot of foreign (to me) names and words in the book. At times I found this very confusing and often had to refer to the back of the book where there is a list of all the names used and who they were.

David does contain sexual content and would be most suitable for older teens and adults. All in all I did enjoy the parts of the story about Gabriele and his life immensely, but the overrunning political aspect of the story made it a very difficult read for me.

by Carrie Jones
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pixies and Were's galore!, 11 July 2011
This review is from: Need (Paperback)
I've had this book on my wish list for the longest time, but then Bloomsbury sent me a copy of Captivate for review, which is the second in the series and it gave me the shove I needed to get myself a copy of Need.

I was first drawn to it by the beautiful cover. I love her gold lips and really wanted to know what the significance of the gold was. Well now I know, but I'm not going to tell you just in case you haven't read it yet *grins evilly*.

We meet Zara as she's travelling to Maine to live with her grandmother after the death of her father. She's still grieving and does not want to be there and she's really pee'd at her mother for sending her away. To deal with her fears and frustrations, Zara has this strange coping mechanism where she reels off the names of phobias and what they are a fear of. I learned that there are some really strange and peculiar phobias out there!

As the story progresses we begin to realise that her friends and family are not all they seem, neither is the weird man that's been following her. I liked how open minded Zara was about the things her friends were telling her and I enjoyed her way of thinking, although I have to admit that sometimes she really did have stupid ideas that had me yelling at her to stop being so dense! On her first day of school, Zara met Nick, a good looking guy who she becomes friends with although she really would like it to be more. Nick was totally cute, even when he was angry and he made the perfect `love interest' for Zara.

I thought Need was an awesome paranormal story, with Pixie's and Were's galore. It's a really quick read and extremely engrossing and has definitely left me really excited to start Captivate.

The Dead Love Longer
The Dead Love Longer
Price: £1.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Transparent Lovers - multi genre appeal for 18+ readers, 2 July 2011
Richard Steele was a private investigator before he was shot dead. Now he has to make his mind up whether he wants to go to heaven or hell, and to go to heaven he first has to prove his worthiness by passing a test and solving his own murder.

Transparent Lovers is a novella of about (I'm guessing as I read it on my Kindle) 120-130 pages and was a very quick and humorous read which I greatly enjoyed.

I was surprised how quickly I became very involved in the characters lives (or un-lives as is the case for most of the characters in this book). I only kind of half liked Richard, the main character, at the beginning of the story, mainly because of his own thoughts and descriptions of himself, but as I read on and Richards girlfriend, Lee, became involved I found myself liking him much more.

Nicholson's storytelling always brings very vivid scenes into my mind and I can picture exactly where the characters are in detail without having to read pages and pages of descriptive text. The plot and storyline was funny, interesting and very different to most `afterlife' books I've read. There's plenty of cross-over appeal between genres such as crime investigation, romance and paranormal and if you're a lover of any of these genres, I'm pretty sure you'll enjoy Transparent Lovers as much as I did.

I would definitely recommend this novella to 18+ readers and if you've never read any of Nicholson's work before, I think this would be a great place to start.

Forgive My Fins
Forgive My Fins
by Tera Lynn Childs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and cute teen mermaid story, 30 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Forgive My Fins (Paperback)
Reading Forgive my Fins was like opening the covers of a book and watching a Disney film play out in front of my eyes. It is the story of first love, crushes and friendship and it is such a cute read that I can't see many people not loving it.

The main character, Lily, was really loveable and cute and she made me laugh. She has a crush on a boy at school called Brody, who in the three years she has known him has never really given her much attention, but now time is running out for Lily and she really needs to let Brody know of her feelings for him, like yesterday! I enjoyed reading Lily's thoughts, although I didn't always agree with her.

Quince on the other hand, the boy next door and the bain of her life, thinks she's making a big mistake and makes it his mission in life to get her to see that Brody just isn't good enough for her. Lily still thinks that Quince was just put on this earth to torment the hell out of her and she's just not having it. I thought he was an awesome character and he 'made' this book for me. He had a depth to him that I as a reader could see and was hoping that Lily would pick up on.

I loved the chapters that Lily spent in her underwater kingdom, Thalassinia. It is described perfectly and sounds so beautiful that I wanted to go there myself. Any Mermen out there who'd like to kiss me and make me their own? No? Shame.

I loved this book. Tera did a great job of making it a heart-warming, cute and funny read - one that I would most certainly recommend to my friends and I am looking forward to the second in the series, Fins Are Forever.

by C.J. Skuse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Rockoholic, 25 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Rockoholic (Paperback)
When I first came across Rockoholic I thought nah, it's not for me. A book about a girl obsessed with a rock star? Not my cup of tea. I'm not really into music in a big way and can honestly say I've never obsessed over anyone in a band. But I kept coming across it on the book review blogs and the more I read, the more intrigued I was, so when I got the opportunity to review it I jumped at it.

Oh. My. Word! What a painfully hilarious book this was. How can I explain what I mean? It was like watching someone walk into a closed door and fall on their backside ... and trying not to laugh out loud! Totally funny, but in a horrified kind of way.

Jody, the protagonist was not the kind of person I'd have liked in real life, but I totally loved her character. She made me laugh. She made me think. She couldn't give a damn what anyone thought of her yet she was kind hearted and loving. Jackson is the rock star that Jody kidnaps and although I thought he was an arrogant, self-centred moron, I enjoyed reading about this guy so much. I definitely had a love/hate relationship with him and he ended up being my favourite character. Add Mackenzie and his little sister Cree, who were definitely the `nicest' personas in the book and all these characters just fit together perfectly, like a brand new jigsaw.

Rockoholic was well written, witty and full of teenage angst. The plot was original and very well thought out. I loved how some objects that had been mentioned quite innocuously throughout the book suddenly had meaning. C.J. Skuse kept and held my attention from beginning to end. And what a lovely ending it was too!

I definitely recommend this book to older teens through to adults, whether you're a music lover or not (like me). I have to warn you though that inside these covers you will find F-bombs, drugs and misconstrued Curlywurlys!

by Lara Chapman
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Flawless by Lara Chapman, 21 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Flawless (Paperback)
Flawless is the retelling of Cyrano de Bergerac and it's about a girl called Sarah who has an unusually large nose! It is a story of friendship, loyalty and love with many hilarious scenes which had me laughing out loud. I really enjoyed the quotes at the beginning of the chapters and at just 255 pages, it was a quick and easy read.

Sarah was an interesting and intelligent character and I liked her right from the word go. I loved some of her snarky comebacks to the kids who laughed at her nose. The book is written from her point of view and I enjoyed reading her thoughts and feelings about her best friend Kristen and the man of her dreams, who unfortunately is also the guy Kristen is crushing on. Although I liked Kristen and loved the way she stuck up for Sarah when other people stared at her nose or made nasty comments, I also found her quite annoying at times. She pushed Sarah into doing things she didn't want to do and that they both knew were wrong. I really wanted Sarah to stand up for herself and say no! Rock on the other hand was pretty cool. He was sweet, intelligent and good looking ... and he loved to read! What more could any girl want from a guy?

I had to think about why some of the secondary characters were there at all. Jen was one such character and it wasn't until nearer the end of the book and I realised the story was all about loyalty, and then I understood why. I had mixed feelings about Sarah's mum and I didn't like how she seemed to just leave Sarah to bring herself up.

I enjoyed Flawless although the plot was a bit predictable and I pretty much guessed the ending within the first few pages, although when I got to those last couple of chapters, I was surprised how emotional I got. Flawless was definitely an enjoyable read but I thought it just needed that little extra 'umph' to make it stand out from the crowd.

Lost Voices (The Lost Voices Trilogy)
Lost Voices (The Lost Voices Trilogy)
Price: £4.27

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An easy read about mermaids, 20 Jun. 2011
I was really excited to read Lost Voices as I've never read a book about mermaids before. Unfortunately it wasn't quite as enthralling as I'd hoped and I was left feeling a little disappointed.

Both of Luce's parents are dead and she now has to live with her drunken, mean and cruel Uncle. She goes to school and all the kids there are mean too. Luce has no-one apart from a young, mentally challenged younger boy, who she can really call a friend. I truly felt sorry for Luce at the beginning of this story, and as I had kind of guessed already that she must be a mermaid (from the synopsis and cover of the book it really is quite obvious and this isn't a spoiler) I was desperate to reach the point in the book where she actually became one. This must surely be where the story really comes to life and Luce stops being the victim, right? Erm, no.

Lost Voices was an easy read and I loved reading about how Luce coped with the change and all her new abilities. There were some lovely descriptive passages about Luce's thoughts and feelings on becoming a mermaid, especially her new found voice. I did find though that the storyline got quite repetitive. The ship sinking scenes became very same-ish after the first couple and Luce always seems to be miserable and going off on her own someplace to get away from the mean mermaid girls.

During the first part of the book I had compassion for Luce, but later I started to lose interest in her character. I did enjoy reading about her life as a mermaid and her singing, but the fact that nearly all the other mermaids seemed to have it in for Luce got a little boring after a while. I know it probably would have been predicable, but I would have loved for the book to have ended with the death of a certain nasty, smartass mermaid and Luce having some friends at least.

Would I recommend Lost Voices? I would probably suggest you try to borrow this one from the library or from a friend.

Yesterday's Treasures
Yesterday's Treasures
by Richard Denning
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Hourglass Institute Book 2, 20 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Yesterday's Treasures (Paperback)
It was so good to be back with Tom and his friends. It's been a while since I read Tomorrow's Guardian which was the first in the series, but it didn't take me more than a couple of pages to catch up.

Tom has to save the world from imminent destruction and needs all the help he can get from his time travelling buddies to find all the pieces of the Crown of Knossos and stop this happening. I found Yesterday's Treasures to be more complex than the previous book with many unexpected twists and turns, which I did not see coming. Although the plot was intricate, Denning did a great job of explaining exactly what was going on via Tom and kept the story at a level that middle graders can easily follow.

As you'd expect from a time travel novel, the main characters are not all from the same era. I loved how Denning made each one's personality and traits so individual that you could totally believe that they were actually from that particular time. The protagonist in Yesterday's Treasures is an 11 year old schoolboy called Tom. As we found out in the first book in this series, Tomorrows Guardian, Tom is a Walker and this means he can not only travel through time but also into parallel worlds.

I really enjoyed reading the first book in this series, but I totally loved Yesterday's Treasures. The characters were amazing and I adored how Denning managed to bring great chunks of history back to life and create this fantastical time travel story around actual events. It is obvious that he has done a lot of research into the characters, events and places talked about in the book.

My final thoughts? Excellent! This series is a must read for time travel lovers, whether you're a middle-grader or a grandparent!

Numbers 2 : The Chaos
Numbers 2 : The Chaos
by Rachel Ward
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome sequel to Numbers, 14 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Numbers 2 : The Chaos (Paperback)
Numbers: The Chaos is the second instalment in the Numbers series and OMG I loved this book! I just want to mention the beautiful cover. Online the background just looks plain white, but in real life the white is actually covered with sparkly silver numbers and it looks awesome!

The Chaos continues the story about 10 years after the end of Numbers 1 and is set mainly in London, England. Just like Jem in book 1, Adam can see the numbers. Something very bad is going to happen in London and many of the people Adam looks at have their date as 1 January 2027. Adam isn't the only one who knows about the 1st January. Sarah has been having nightmares about a fire, a baby and a boy with a scarred face for the last few months. She doesn't understand it and she's scared.

Rachel Ward's writing is amazing and I was totally immersed in the plot, so much so that as we were reaching the crescendo, I was virtually at panic stations with my heart nearly fighting its way out of my chest. Do you get so intensely involved in a storyline that you have to remind yourself that it is just a story?

What can I say about the main characters, Adam and Sarah? I don't know how to put it without just saying that they were totally awesome. Rachel Ward somehow manages to take a real person, squash them up into a book and suddenly there's this explosion of words that make up an intensely real character.

Just as with Numbers, The Chaos is a very quick read. The 345 pages just flew by for me and before I knew it I was at the end and wishing for more. You'll be pleased to know that there isn't a major cliff hanger at the end of The Chaos and the series could quite easily end there, but I can guarantee that you'll still be desperate to read more so it's quite lucky that Numbers 3: Infinity is out now too (published 3rd June 2011 in the UK).

I totally recommend this series to you if you're an older teen/adult. There are mentions of rape, incest, drugs and a lot of f-bombs. If you've read previous reviews of mine, you'll know I'm not one for swearing in books, but somehow in Numbers, these just do not seem inappropriate.

Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest
Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest
by Umbreen Asghar
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.86

4.0 out of 5 stars A cute fairytale, 11 Jun. 2011
When I first got this book I let my son have a look at it on his own first and he oo'd and ahhh'd over the beautiful illustrations for quite a long time, each page getting careful scrutiny. "Mummy, it's beautiful!" where his first words after receiving it. Then we settled down for some magical story-time.

The first read through we did went rather slowly as there were quite a few words he hadn't come across before and it took me a while to explain their meaning. At first I thought he wasn't enjoying it so much as he had such a frown on his face, but when asked he said, `Don't stop Mummy, I'm just concentrating'.

Since that first day we have read this book maybe 4 or 5 times and he still loves the story and has specifically requested it at bedtime on a couple of occasions. He acts out some bits of it as I'm reading and he's even had a go at reading some of the smaller words himself. In fact when I went to find the book this morning so that I could give it a re-read myself before writing this review, I couldn't find it anywhere. It eventually turned up in his bed as he'd obviously been looking at it again himself last night.

R had some favourite characters - Princess Zaara "she's so pretty!" and the little fairy Tiffany-Annabel "because she throws magic dust around and makes magic happen". He wasn't so keen on Banji and I could see why. Although the character in the book was funny, the pictures of him where a little scary. It was the eyes. You might just be able to see him in the trees on the book cover - like a teddy bear.

His favourite part of the story was when Tiffany-Annabel arrives and magically makes all the flowers looks bright and pretty. He also thought it was hilarious when the nasty man made one of the characters bark like a dog.

From my adult point of view, I really enjoyed reading this story to him. It is well illustrated and the pictures are colourful and pretty. With a fairytale Princess, a fairy, a giant and other magical creatures, this is definitely a book any little girl would love. I do also think it's suitable for boys in the younger age range, maybe up to about 5 or 6 because most of the other characters, including the baddie are male and R certainly enjoyed it.

Princess Zaara and the Enchanted Forest is a childrens books aimed at 4-8 year olds, with an independent reading age of 7-8.

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