Sunday, 28 February 2010

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly event exploring the books received this week and is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. I'm using the term 'mail box' loosely this week as none actually came in the mail. All excerpts from Goodreads unless stated

From the library

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld   

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Specials - Scott Westerfeld

"Special Circumstances" 
The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.

And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

Incarceron - Catherine Fisher

Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...

Crocodile Tears - Anthony Horowitz

It's just another day in the life of an average kid. If you're Alex Rider, that is. A con artist has realized there is big money in charity-- the bigger the disaster, the greater the money flow! So that is what he will produce: the biggest disaster known to man, all thanks to genetically modified wheat that can release a virus so potent it can knock out an entire country in one windy day. But Alex Rider will face whatever it takes--gunfire, explosions, hand-to-hand combat with mercenaries-- to bring down his most dangerous adversary yet.

Often imitated, never equaled, the series that triggered a reading phenomenon is back, exhilarating and addictive as ever.


Ground Truth - Patrick Bishop

Afghanistan, 2008. After their eighteen-month epic tour of Helmand Province, the troops of 3 Para are back. This time, the weight of experience weighs heavily on their shoulders. In April 2006 the elite 3 Para Battle Group was despatched to Helmand Province, Afghanistan, on a tour that has become a legend. All that summer the Paras were subjected to relentless Taliban attacks in one of the most gruelling campaigns fought by British troops in modern times. Two years later the Paras are back in the pounding heat of the Afghanistan front lines. The conflict has changed. The enemy has been forced to adopt new weaponry and tactics. But how much progress are we really making in the war against the insurgents? And is there an end in sight? (from

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Mega Book Giveaway!

There's an awsome book giveaway on Teens Read and Write

Some of the books up for grabs are:

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Firespell by Chloe Neill

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme, running every Saturday, hosted by Book Chick City that allows us to share the books not yet bought but desperately wanted. All exerpts are from Goodreads.

The Puzzle Ring - Kate Forsyth

Hannah Rose Brown is twelve years old when she finds out that her family is cursed. Desperate to find the truth about her father' disappearance, she travels to her ancestral home in Scotland, and discover a chain of dark secrets that plunge her into different worlds, timeframes and dangers

Infinity - Sherrilyn Kenyon

At 14, Nick Gautier is an average kid who runs with the wrong crowd. But on the night he decides to go straight and refuses to mug an innocent tourist, his crew turns on him and just as he thinks his life is over... a new one begins.

Kyrian of Thrace isn't just a vampire slayer, he's a Dark-Hunter and he introduces Nick to a world that he never imagined.

With new enemies who make his old ones look like wimps, Nick must either measure up or get sized for a body bag. It's kill or be killed and this kid who was born on the wrong side finds a strength inside him that he never knew existed.

Now if he can only find someone to help battle the demons that don't reside inside him.

Strange Angels - Lili St. Crow

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)
Then her dad turns up dead—but still walking—and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever—or whoever— is hunting her?

Friday, 26 February 2010

Review: Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief - Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning ThiefPercy Jackson is a troubled kid, his school record proves it - he's been through six schools in six years. Taking a trip with his mother after leaving his last school, Percy runs into yet more trouble which he escapes from with the help of his friend Grover. They make it to Half-blood Hill where Percy finds out he's not exactly the person he thought he was. He's the son of one of the Greek gods - but which one?

The Lightening Thief follows Percy, Grover and another half-blood, Annabeth, on a quest to stop a war between the gods. On their travels, the trio ensue a number of chracters from Greek mythology.

While not a literary masterpiece, this book is a fun read with some great ideas and, as far as I could tell, well researched in terms ofthe mythology (I'm not an expert on Greek gods, lol). The characters are really likable and seemed well developed right from the start. I particularly liked Ares' human form!

There's obvious similarities to the Harry Potter books but in my opinion that's not a bad thing as I love them! Some of the 'twists' were a little predictable but as an adult reading a children's/young adult book that's often the case anyway.

Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

Other reviews of this book:
Reading Angel

You can now read my review of the second book here

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others.
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

As I'm reading two books at the moment, I'm giving you two teasers!

Teaser 1 - Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt

Pretending humility and obedience, I rushed my grandson away before he could pull a face or do some other fool thing to provoke the man. Bells rang and everybody hastened out of the church with the eagerness of cattle let out of the barn for the first time after a long winter.

Teaser 2 - Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

I backed up towards the creek, tried to raise my shield, but Clarisse was too fast. Her spear stuck me straight in the ribs.

Monday, 22 February 2010

It's Monday!

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week hosted at Book Journey. Post the books completed last week, the books you're currently reading, and the books to be read this week. Feel free to pile on a little extra.

Completed last week:
The Prophecy - Gill James

Currently Reading:

Up next:

Dead until Dark - Charlaine Harris
Inside Out - Maria Snyder
Percy Jackson and the Sea Monsters - Rick Riordan

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Review: Hard Magic - Laura Anne Gilman

Bonita is a Talent, the politically correct way of saying magic user. She is offered a job in a new team of investigators, Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations (PUPI), the first to use their talent in such a way - forensic magic. The team are learning as they go, using spells in different ways and adapting them to suit their needs. Their first case is important - to prove that the job can be done. There's people in high places who don't want them to succeed.

Generally I thought the plot was okay. I believe this is the first book of a series and as such part of the book was taken up with setting the scene. This was, however, largely related to the main character's background rather than the idea of magic itself. At times though I felt like I'd picked up the book half way through and missed out the part that explained how the Talents fitted into the world.

I loved the idea of forensic magic and at the start of the book I was please that there was detailed descriptions of how the magic works. However, as the book progressed, this sometimes got a little bit annoying, mostly because I couldn't really follow it - maybe that was just me expecting to understand it completely though.

I liked that each of the characters had their own special talent and that the investigators progressed as a group but I don't think the characters were developed as much as they could have been. I didn't particularly grow to like any of them all that much. I'd liked to have known more about the supporting characters. I'm sure they'll probably be developed more over future books but I think that a little more was needed to start with. On more than one occasion I forgot who was who because I didn't feel like I knew them at all.

While not one of my favourite reads, I'd probably read future books in this series. If you're interested in fantasy fiction and like the idea of an unusual take on magic use then you'd probably enjoy this book.

Other reviews of this book:
Reading With Tequila

Review: The Prophecy - Gill James

The Prophecy

Set way in the future, Terrestrians had gotten used to living underground due to a poison cloud that surrounds the planet. Miraculously the cloud lifted and slowly they are getting used to living above ground again.

Kaleem and his mother still live in one of the underground caves though. He doesn't know why they live there and he doesn't know who his father is. These facts along with his unusual looks makes Kaleem different. On Terrestra, different isn't a good way to be.

The story follows Kaleem as he finds out about his past, as well as trying to help Terrestra's future. This journey takes him to another planet in a quest for help.

I really enjoyed reading this book. There's loads of great descriptions about future technology and how different people live. The main character, Kaleem, is likeable and although he's the hero of the story he makes mistakes which he learns from and isn't perfect, making him much more realistic.

In places the plot was a little bit predictable but this wasn't necessarily a bad thing as the predictable elements were things I wanted to happen. The story was more about how these things occured than the end point.

I was pleased to find out that the book is the first in The Peace Child Triology and I'll definitely be reading the next one!

Other reviews of this book

Review: Pretties - Scott Westerfeld

Pretties is a great sequel to Uglies. Really well written sci-fi young adult fiction. This is a book that can be enjoyed just as a good story as well as having a more deeper level to it.
(some minor spoilers from the first book follow)

Tally is pretty - something that happens to all sixteen-year-olds. Being pretty isn't just superficial though, the operation has deeper consequences. At the start of the book, Tally doesn't remember that she's endured the operation so the cure can be tested on her. When we catch up with her it's a month after she returned to the city and Tally is making the most of young pretty life.

This all changes after a visit from a past friend bringing the cure for her to take. Tally becomes "bubbly" (able to think clearly) rather than being "pretty-minded" and we see how she deals with living amongst the pretties when she knows the truth. We also learn more about how the world got to be the way it is in Tally's present.

Some of the best parts of this book are the different technologies of the future which are described really well and while futuristic they are completely believable. Also the pretty-talk which use by the characters shows how they are moving further away from being pretty-minded.

Reviews of the rest of the series:

Review: Uglies - Scott Westerfeld

Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Adventure, Science Fiction
Published: 8th February 2005 (Simon & Schuster)

Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of videogames, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel.

Uglies is exciting adventure sci-fi at it's best! It's futuristic, post-humans-almost-destroy-the-world and pretty awesome. In places it reminded me of Orwell's 1984, Alex Garland's The Beach and the video game Fallout 3. I love all three and combined with a good handful of teen drama, this book was brilliant.

Tally Youngblood lives in Uglyville. All of her friends have already turned sixteen and had the operation to make them pretty, meaning they are living the party lifestyle in New Pretty Town. Tally has been left behind so when she meets Shay, who shares her birthday, the two of them set about having some fun until they're sixteen as well.

When Shay decides she wants to escape and find the Smoke - a camp where people stay ugly but free - Tally doesn't know what to do, all she's ever wanted is to be pretty.

Although it is a Young Adult book it didn't read like teen fiction - in a good way! The plot gave just enough away to make me want to keep reading, without being too obvious. The characters well written and believable - and I actually cared what happened to them, almost right from the start. Descriptions were enough to get the imagination going without giving every bit of detail away. If I were to write a book, I'd want it to be like this one!

Reviews of the rest of the series:

Other bloggers reviews:
Teens Read and Write

Scott's Blog - Westerblog

Review: Secret Army - Robert Muchamore

Secret Army (Henderson's Boys)Britain, 1941.

The government is building a secret army of intelligence agents to work undercover, gathering information and planning sabotage operations. Henderson's boys are part of that network: kids cut adrift by the war, training for the fight of their lives. They'll have to parachute into unknown territory, travel cross-country and outsmart a bunch of adults in a daredevil exercise.

In wartime Britain, anything goes.
A sign of a good book? Reading it straight through in an evening, pausing only to grab a drink or food. Well, that's what I did with this one because I literally couldn't put it down!

The Henderson's Boys series is pretty much a prequel to the CHERUB series. CHERUB is an organisation that was set up by Charles Henderson during World War II, training youngsters to become secret agents - because no one suspects a kid. The first two books have had Henderson, along with a handful of war orphans, scuppering the Nazi's plans to envade England. In Secret Army, they have now made it back to Britain and set up a training facility. Secret Army folllows the first lot of kids through their training and a final test which will enable them to be allowed to be dropped into occupied Europe on actual missions.

The characters in these books are pretty awesome. PT is my definite favourite - got to love the bad boy of the bunch! - but they're all very likeable in their own way. Charles Henderson himself is a great character, if only because he doesn't seem like the most obvious person to set up such an organisation.

Really great plot, combining the exciting adventure I've come to expect from this and the CHERUB books as well as loads of great detail about how the CHERUB organisation came to be.

Review: Princess Academy - Shannon Hale

I actually enjoyed this book muxh more than I expected. The title and cover put me off a little (I had the pink cover version - the one pictured here is much nicer) as it looked like some fluffy, girlie book but the plot summary caught my attention so I thought I'd give it a try.

The main character, Miri, has wonderful depth, making you care about what happens to her. The descriptions are detailed enough that you can imagine the village and the academy without being over the top. The back-story is interesting and the concept of the plot is well thought out and written.

This is definitely a book that falls in the fantasy genre rather than the fluffy romance genre which first impressions may suggest. A recommended read.

Review: What's New, Cupcake?

Awesomely cute! There's not many cooking/baking books you can actually look through from cover to cover like a 'normal' book but the amazing creations, vibrant colours and yummy pictures makes this book stand out from the others.

An essential for any cupcake maker!

Review: Moon Called - Patricia Briggs

Mixed opinions about this book. It had a reasonably good plot with a few twists and turn and is clearly well researched but I wasn't so keen on some of the characters. In fact the main character, Mercy, annoyed me a lot of the time - she just seemed a little bit too "I'm the main character, I have to do everything on my own". Even some of the werewolves seemed a bit blah. Some of the relationships between the characters were a bit unbelievable as well, in my opinion.

Stefan the vampire was pretty cool though, even though in this book he was kind of just a secondary character - I believe he's more important in the next book of the series though.

I have  heard good things about this series so I will give the second book a shot - especially as I've read a few series of books in which I haven't really got in to it until about the third book.

An okay read if you like supernatural stuff.

Other Reviews of this book:

Review: Marked - P.C. Cast, Kristin Cast

Typical teen fiction that has so many things in it that I don't like in a book but somehow I really liked it! It's Twilight without emo-girl and sparkley vampires. It's vampire Mean Girls meets Buffy. It's so wrong that it's right! How could I not love a country music loving vampire called Stevie Rae?

I'm not sure about the vampire-lore of this book and the overly detailed descriptions of what every character was wearing each time they were seen bugged the hell out of me. About half way through I was starting to worry that there wasn't going to be any plot to the book as up until then it was pretty much explaining everything. The rest of the book developed nicely though and while there still wasn't a great amount of plot there, it was clearly setting up the rest of the series.

The preview of book 2 seems to get right to the point though so hopefully there won't be a repeat of everything before getting into the plot of that one.

Maybe not a literary classic but a fun read for vampire fans

Disqus for A Trillian Books


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