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The Slowest Bookworm (Stockport, UK)

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Running from Secrets
Running from Secrets
Price: £3.65

4.0 out of 5 stars A great contemporary/fantasy crossover read, 18 April 2011
Running from Secrets reminded me in some ways of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe with its contemporary/fantasy genre crossover. The story is about Bethany whose family have recently moved to Linwood, a small town surrounded by forest which some of the locals say is haunted. Bethany is a twin and the first chapter tells how her sister, Antonia, dies in a car accident and how her family are coping with their sad loss. It's during this time that Bethany starts to have strange dreams about a land called New Velerethland which she writes down in her notebook. Bethany soon discovered that she's not just noting down her dreams, she's actually creating the land and the characters and it's becoming part of her.

I loved Bethany's imagination and the story she created. Whilst in her fantasy land, Bethany changes from geeky girl to kick-ass heroine saving the land of New Velerethland from certain demise. The characters Bethany creates are pretty awesome. There's Chime, the main character in New Velerethland who is on the run from her cousin, the Queen of New Velerethland who wants her dead. We also meet a faun called David, a nasty Dark Lord and evil teachers. I enjoyed watching Bethany work out what she had to write next, or how she had to design a certain place so her beloved characters would survive, but my favourite parts where when Bethany was in New Velerethland and working alongside the characters she created.

Running from Secrets was a really quick read and only took me a couple of evenings to finish. Maybe that's because the story was so fast paced that I couldn't put it down!

In a way I am quite sad that this is a standalone novel as I would have loved more adventures with Bethany and Chime. Would I recommend this book? Yes! It's the perfect quick read for those times when you're looking for something a bit different.

Tommy Nightmare (The Paranormals, Book 2)
Tommy Nightmare (The Paranormals, Book 2)
Price: £2.22

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tommy Nightmare (Jenny Pox #2), 11 April 2011
You know how it is when you really enjoyed the first book in a series and when you read the second it can sometimes be a bit of a let-down? You've experienced that, yes? I know I have. Well, Tommy Nightmare definitely did not let me down and I loved it even more than the first book!

The characters J.L. Bryan writes are pretty amazing. I loved Jenny and her `opposite', Seth in book one. They were so easy to get to know and great fun to hanging around with. Just in case you don't know, these guys have special gifts, only Jenny doesn't see hers as a `gift' but a huge burden. I think I can tell you without giving out any spoilers that Jenny's touch kills. Even the slightest touch from her would give you the `Jenny Pox' and you'd probably die a horrible, painful death. Seth is her opposite, and then there's Ashleigh ... Listen, I'm not going to tell you anymore about Jenny Pox, you'll just have to read the book! In book two, the first character we meet is new to the scene. Tommy. Tommy is living with a group of other boys in a foster home with, lets just say, not so nice foster parents. He's not an evil kid and he can't help having a `gift'. I really liked Tommy, or maybe more to the point I felt sorry for him and I really enjoyed the character. There are a few new characters brought into this story, but I think you get my point about how much I loved reading about them.

It amazes me how this author sets the scene. There are no long, drawn out descriptions of anywhere, but he seems to implant the picture into your brain without you realising it and the plots are always fast paced and exciting, with Tommy Nightmare being no exception. There was nothing about this book I didn't like. I flew through it in a matter of days (which is really fast for me) and it's actually taken me longer to digest the story and decide how to go about writing this review without it being full of spoilers, than it did to read the book.

There is some swearing, the occasional sex scene and a bit of gore in here, but this is not a horror book and you won't have to check under the bed before you go to sleep after reading. Age-wise, I think it's pretty suitable for anyone over 16. Do I recommend it? OMG yes! This series is definitely not one to miss out on. Seriously!

The Limit
The Limit
by Kristen Landon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £13.27

4.0 out of 5 stars The Limit - will your family go over it?, 8 April 2011
This review is from: The Limit (Hardcover)
The Limit is Kristen Landon's first middle grade novel and what a great job of it she did too! The very first paragraph in this book grabbed me and I knew I was going to love it! Whilst the first three chapters could have been about any local kid living an ordinary life with his family, I soon realised from odd little whispered comments on `the limit' that things wouldn't stay that way for long.

Matt is 13 years old and a genius at math. His character is well developed and I felt at ease with him. I loved him like an aunt, got annoyed with him when he did stupid things and wanted to praise him when he did well. I liked that although he was extremely bright, he was also just a normal kid, doing normal things like playing basketball with his mates after school and going grocery shopping with his mum. The nicknames Matt gave other characters in the book made me giggle. Throughout the whole story we know one of the main adult characters as `Honey Lady' because she pretends to be so sicky sweet and then there's Crab Woman, an older lady with a crabby attitude. There were a few others that I can't remember off the top of my head, but they definitely added a bit more fun and '13 year old humour' to the story.

In The Limit each family has a financial debt limit and if they go over that the government removes the family children and puts them into workhouses so they can earn money to pay back their family's debts. That's what happened in Matt's case on one particularly fateful grocery shopping trip. His parents were so self-obsessed and greedy that they didn't even bother to keep tabs on what they were spending and I really had some nasty thoughts on what I'd like to do to them both. How dare they be so irresponsible as to put their son in that position? I really wanted to give them a good shake and I know Matt did too.

At 291 pages, this is quite a short book and only took me (a slow reader) two evenings to finish. That could also be because I just couldn't put The Limit down. All day at work I was thinking about it and desperately wanted to get home to finish it off. I really needed to know that badly what was going on and if Matt and his friends were going to be ok. The fast pace of the plot carries you right through to the last page and is wrapped up well with no cliff hangers.

I would definitely recommend this middle grade dystopian thriller to everyone - middle graders through to adults. The lively fast pace will keep you entertained and engaged.

Dead Spell
Dead Spell

4.0 out of 5 stars Dead Spell - A spooky ghost story, 2 April 2011
This review is from: Dead Spell (Kindle Edition)
Dead Spell is the perfect book if you're looking for a quick read. At just 197 pages of fast flowing spookiness, I finished it in just a couple of evenings.

I really enjoyed the main characters, Brea and Harmony and their boyfriends, Jaxon and Adam and I loved reading about the girls lifelong friendship. Both girls were struggling with different aspects of their life and helping each other through with a little help from the boys. Adam, Harmony's boyfriend was such a great guy. He was the kind of boyfriend any girl would want - sensitive, caring and loving and I really wished that Harmony would have trusted him more. I did like Jaxon, but it took me quite a while to warm to him.

Reading about Tom, the ghost who was haunting Harmony and making her do things to harm herself was really creepy. With her mother too ill to care, Harmony tried to deal with Tom's ghost on her own, but things have been getting way out of hand and Brea is drawn in, which puts her in Tom's spotlight too. Some of the things Belinda Frisch came up with for Tom to do to the girls was really freaky and I was quite jumpy about them for a while after putting the book down, but I totally love it when that happens because if I'm reading about spooky stuff I want to feel spooked!

The plot was intriguing, with lots of twists and turns and I didn't guess the ending so it was a nice surprise ... well, maybe not so nice, but still great.

I would definitely recommend this book to older teens and adult readers. The storyline deals with some pretty adult themes like drugs, suicide, mental illness and sex so I don't think the book is suitable for younger teens.

Mr. Beams MB720 Wireless Battery-Powered Motion-Sensing LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight
Mr. Beams MB720 Wireless Battery-Powered Motion-Sensing LED Stick-Anywhere Nightlight
Price: £10.95

21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Night Light, 31 Mar. 2011
I'd been searching Amazon for a small battery powered nightlight - something I could switch on at bedtime and leave on my bathroom windowsill to light up the bathroom for my 4 year old, when I came across this little gem. Not only does it produce more than sufficient light to use the bathroom without turning on the main light, (my 4 year old can't yet reach light switch), it's also got a motion sensor, so I don't have to even think about turning it on at bedtime or leaving it on and wasting the batteries. Another battery saving feature is that it doesn't come on when it's already light, so during the day or when an adult uses the room with the main light on.

It came with a sticky pad and screws to fix it to the wall. (Batteries are not included). I positioned it about 4 inches above the toilet cistern and it switches on as soon as the bathroom door moves, stays on for about 3 minutes then switches itself off. It's been installed for about 3 weeks now and my son loves it, and so do I!

The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children Book 1)
The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children Book 1)
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing and beautifully written book, 26 Mar. 2011
This book is the most powerful, beautiful, amazing book I have ever read!

I am totally in love with these characters. They are amazing. Iza the medicine woman and Ayla's adoptive mother. Creb, the spiritualist/magic man or Mog-ur as they were called then. Ayla, the strange looking girl with the blonde hair and blue eyes - one of `The Others' - found by Iza at deaths door and adopted into the clan. The characters in this book don't just come to life, they take you back with them to their time. You watch as Iza grinds roots to make medicinal teas or poultices to dress burns or wounds. You see Creb hobbling off into his private section of the cave to talk to the totems and spirits to ask their advice. Brun and Broud and the other clan men will take you hunting Mammoth and you will watch as Ayla tries to overcome the differences in her body, her language and her instinct and learn the ways of The Clan.

These cave people with no foreheads but massive brains at the back of their heads to allow the storage of memories, and not just their own memories with large overhanging brow ridges were adults at the age of 8 or 9 and able to mate and have children of their own. By their mid 20's they were very old and probably not long for this world. Ayla was different. She was what the Clan spoke about as `the Others' and from the description I think Ayla must have looked a lot like we do today.

Jean M. Auel has done a lot of scene setting, but it's interesting and beautifully written. I really enjoyed learning about how the land looked in the days of the cavemen, the plants, trees and animals that existed then. How the plants and shrubs were used for food and medicines and even as recreational drugs. It was like reading a novel and watching a very interesting documentary at the same time.

This book does contain scenes of `mating' and violence, but these were `the norm' in the days of The Clan and although this is an adult book I don't think that I would stop a younger adult reading it because of those scenes.

I would definitely recommend that you read this book. It will be loved by young and old alike. If you, like me, shy away from larger books or books with tiny print, I do suggest you opt for the e-book version. It really made a big difference to me. I have already bought and downloaded the second in the series, The Valley of Horses and am looking forward to reading it.

Possessions (Evil Girls)
Possessions (Evil Girls)
by Nancy Holder
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Boarding School Creepyness!, 22 Mar. 2011
Possessions was a very creepy book (do bear in mind that I'm a wimp when it comes to scary) and had me quite jumpy for a few days after finishing it. The setting is Marlwood Academy, a boarding school for rich girls and Lindsay, the main character got in on a scholarship. In the middle of nowhere and surrounded by forests and a lake, Marlwood seemed like the perfect place for Lindsay after her breakdown. Nobody knew her and what had happened. She could make a fresh start.

I liked Lindsay. I totally `got' her, but I can't say that about most of the characters in this book. Of course, some of them were meant to be mean and nasty and totally freaky (even the teachers were freaky!), but others who were meant to be Lindsays friends, just didn't seem that sincere at all and I didn't warm to them.

The plot itself was fascinating and towards the middle of the book I had a hard time putting it aside. Although it creeped me out a lot, I was totally intrigued and really had to know what was going on. At this point I would have given Possessions 4 stars. Then, all of a sudden we were at the end and I was confused. Like what the heck happened there? I went back and re-read it and the second time it did make a little more sense, but was not what I'd call a great ending. The plot had so much promise and I felt a little let down. Saying that though, I will probably pick up the second book in this series, The Evil Within, at some point.

Immortal Beloved (Book One): Immortal Beloved: Book One
Immortal Beloved (Book One): Immortal Beloved: Book One
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What happens when Immortals go off the rails?, 15 Mar. 2011
Nastasya is a wild party animal when we first meet her in Immortal Beloved. All she seemed to want to do was be with her `not so nice' gang of friends, go partying and clubbing and drink herself into oblivion. I didn't like her. Her friends were awful too and I wondered what I was letting myself in for reading this book.

By the second chapter though our protagonist was having similar thoughts to me about her friends and her situation, and that became the turning point in her life, the story and my enjoyment of it. It didn't take me long after that to start loving Nastasya and thoroughly losing myself in this book. Once she arrived at the commune, (a kind of rehab for Immortals who'd lost their way in life,) Nastasya became an immensely interesting main character. She was funny, snarky, desperate to overcome her fears and learn, but also reluctant to change at the same time. Spending time with her at the commune was great fun. I loved her attitude to the jobs she was required to do. Some of her thoughts and comments were hilarious, some snarky, some scary and I enjoyed laughing and holding my breath in anticipation alongside her. I also loved reading about her past and watching how she slowly came to terms with the horrors she'd encountered. I had lots of questions and slowly they were getting answered. really enjoyed the present and her time at the commune.

There were many other characters in this book - way too many to mention them all, so I'll just run through a couple of the more `main' ones. Once we reach the commune we meet Reyn, who Nastasya called 'The Viking' because of his golden locks and stunning looks and Nell, an English Immortal who wants Reyn all to herself and is intensely jealous of Nastasya's arrival. Then there's River, the commune leader and one of the teachers. She was such a beautiful character. I loved her to bits and would have really liked to know more about her history as well.

The writing flowed beautifully and at times I was just so engrossed I didn't realise I was actually reading words (do you have that happen when you're enjoying a book?). The plot was exciting and interesting and there is a lot more going on than just Nastasya working at the commune. I can't say much more about the plot without giving out spoilers. What I can say though is that I am so glad this is not the end of Nastasya. The story continues in Darkness Falls which is due to be released this year.

I would most definitely recommend this book to all lovers of YA literature.

Tomorrow's Guardian (Hourglass Institute Series Book 1)
Tomorrow's Guardian (Hourglass Institute Series Book 1)
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Time Travel adventure, 8 Mar. 2011
My first thoughts when I was offered this book for review was Time Travel = Dr Who. I was wrong. Tom, the main character does not need a Tardis to travel in time. Hey, come on ... this is `real' time travel we're talking about!

We first meet Tom Oakley on the morning of his 11th Birthday as he awakens from a nightmare. He's a clever lad for his age, but not to the point of becoming unrealistic or obnoxious. I loved that he was quick witted and caught on to what was going on and was soon making life changing decisions, but sensibly and his reasons were sound. He's a really great character and as the mother of a young boy myself, I have to admit that I felt my heart racing and was quite protective towards him as the book progressed and he was put in mortal danger more than once.

Not far into the book we meet Septimus Mason. I'm sure at some point early on Tom tries to pinpoint Septimus' accent and decides he must be Welsh. Anyway, whenever I read his lines, I read them with a Welsh accent. He came across at first as a nice guy. Then suddenly I wasn't so sure...

There are quite a few other characters in the book - Mary, Edward and Charlie to name but a few, but I don't want to go into too much detail about them and spoil the book for you. Lets just say that they're not all from the 21st century and it was really interesting to learn their stories and see them adapt to their new lives.

The plot in Tomorrow's Guardian is very fast paced. There are wars, fires, sinking submarines, other realities running alongside our own, bad men, good men, some I couldn't decide on and a wealth of history. I wasn't bored for even a minute whilst reading it. Sometimes I felt like I could even hear the characters sigh a little and say `good grief man, give us a few minutes to recover!' LOL.

I loved that Denning brought history back to life and from more than one era too. It really was a thrilling, heart stopping, but also fun and fast paced read. Tomorrow's Guardian is aimed at middle grade/teens, 10+ years, and although it's written more with boys in mind, I guarantee girls will love it too. I would have loved to have read this myself at that age, heck I loved it now as a female adult! Tomorrow's Guardian is the first book in the Hourglass Institute series and book two, Yesterday's Treasures is due out in the Spring.

Would I recommend this book? Oh yes! To adult and children alike.

The Tapestry of Love
The Tapestry of Love
by Rosy Thornton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful love story set in the glorious French countryside, 22 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Tapestry of Love (Paperback)
The Tapestry of Love is a beautiful story set in the French mountains. Rosy Thornton paints the scene so beautifully that you almost feel like you're there with the main character, Catherine, sitting on her cottage doorstep looking out over the beautiful French landscape. How I would love to live in that cottage with those fabulous views!

Catherine is a charming character and very artistic, which she brought out in her tapestry and upholstery work. She moved out to France with the idea of a fresh start and had decided to use her seamstress skills as the basis for a business run from the cottage. As someone who also stitches, I enjoyed the insight into Catherine's restoration and tapestry work. I liked how strong and down to earth Catherine was and her sense of humour came through on many occasions. I also enjoyed her enthusiasm for the countryside around her - her longing to see the wild boar and her excitement when she eventually did.

Catherine is a divorcee with grown children, Lexie and Tom, who also regularly appear in the story along with Catherine's younger sister, Bryony. Bryony is Catherine's opposite - very sassy and opinionated and I really loved the chapters which she appeared. We meet a myriad of other characters during the story, mostly Catherine's neighbours and one in particular, Patrick Castagnol, a handsome and secretive man who Catherine likes more than just a little!

The Tapestry of Love is a relaxing love story moving along at a much slower pace to my usual reads and it was a nice change. A well written and enjoyable read.

This is an adult book and not suitable for a younger audience due to a couple of mild sex scenes and the very occasional swear word.

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