Monday, 31 January 2011

It's Monday (40) and Weekly Round Up

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. Please comment or leave a link to let me know what you're reading this week!

Completed last week

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 3)

Outside In - Maria V Snyder
Gladiator: Fight For Freedom - Simon Scarrow
Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse - Rick Riordan

Currently Reading

Low Red Moon The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires, Book 2)

Low Read Moon - Ivy Devlin
The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville 2) - Rachel Caine

Up soon

The Other Countess

The Other Countess - Eve Edwards


Gladiator: Fight for Freedom - Simon Scarrow

Need Captivate Entice (Need)

Need - Carrie Jones
Captivate - Carrie Jones
Entice - Carrie Jones

Books Received

In My Mailbox

Posts of Interest

Teaser Tuesday
Read My Review: Favourite Authors
Waiting on Wednesday

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Review: Gladiator: Fight for Freedom - Simon Scarrow

Title: Gladiator: Fight for Freedom
Author: Simon Scarrow
Format: Hardback
Pages: 272
Genre: Historical, Children's
Published: 3rd February 2011 (Puffin)

It's Rome, 61 BC. Recruited as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior. But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father's old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape...

Marcus Cornelius Primus is the son of a Roman Centurian. With the first ten years of his life spent on his family's farm in Greece, Marcus' life is suddenly turned upside down when his father is killed and he and his mother are taken as slaves. Marcus is then sold to a Gladiator trainer where he learns to fight whilst all the time contemplating his escape and how he can find and free his mother. He sets his sights on somehow making it to Rome to find General Pompeius, who's life his father once saved, in the hope he will help ... that is until Marcus finds out that his past is not what he always thought it to be.

This is a fast paced, exciting adventure story that I imagine is primarily aimed at ten to fourteen year old boys but at the same time is a great read for all. Scarrow's writing superbly describes the scenes and the period in which the book is set and you really get a sense of what it was like to be a slave in the Roman era. It is clearly well researched. The fight scenes don't hold back on their realism but are still appropriate for the target age of the book.

I liked that Marcus acted his age. He would sometimes not make the best decisions, acting more in tune to his feelings than what might be best long term. He also had that determination and optimism that only a ten-year-old can have. He doesn't really consider that Rome is a heck of a long way or the dangers that might stand in his way. He's courageous yet vulnerable and in general a well balanced, well written character.

There were some aspects of the plot that were a little predictable but again, it is a children's/young teen book so that's usually the case when reading as an adult. Still, while it might have been obvious what the outcome was going to be, how the story got there wasn't always as predictable. And in any case, these elements were things that you wanted to happen so it was all good.

I'll definitely be looking out for the second book in this series and will likely also check out some of the authors other books.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

In My Mailbox (41)

In My Mailbox is a weekly event exploring the books received this week and is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren. What books did you get this week?


Grey Wolves - Robert Muchamore

Grey Wolves. by Robert Muchamore (Henderson's Boys)Spring, 1941. German submarines are prowling the North Atlantic, sinking ships filled with the food, fuel and weapons that Britain needs to survive. With the Royal Navy losing the war at sea, six young agents must sneak into Nazi-occupied Europe and sabotage a submarine base on France's western coast. If the submarines aren't stopped, the British people will starve.

Review: Entice - Carrie Jones

Entice (Need)Title: Entice
Author: Carrie Jones
Format: Paperback
Pages: 263
Genre: Fantasty, Young Adult
Published: 3rd January 2011 (Bloomsbury)

Zara and Nick are soul mates, meant to be together forever.
But that's not quite how things have worked out.

For starters, well, Nick is dead.
Supposedly, he's been taken to a mythic place for warriors known as Valhalla, so Zara and her friends might be able to get him back. But it's taking time, and meanwhile a group of evil pixies is devastating Bedford, with more teens going missing every day. An all-out war seems imminent, and the good guys need all the warriors they can find. But how to get to Valhalla?

And even if Zara and her friends discover the way, there's that other small problem: Zara's been pixie kissed. When she finds Nick, will he even want to go with her? Especially since she hasn't just turned...she's Astley's queen.

Essentially Entice is about Zara and her friends trying to rescue Nick from Valhalla. First they have to figure out how to get there which isn't helped by the various fake leads they have to deal with. Along the way, Zara and Astley visit Iceland and New York City which to me seemed a little bit strange, especially as there didn't seem to be much concern from Zara's mother and grandmother about the Iceland trip considering Zara's age and that they don't trust Astley. At least she does sneak out to go to NYC.

There was more action in this book than the previous two which did make it a little more interesting and the lack of the Nick and Zara sappiness was a bonus, although she was still a bit annoying when she was thinking about him. I liked that Astley was kind of like he accepted that Zara was in love with Nick but at the same time he was also like "But you will love me one day" - even though I'm not sure I get why he wants her.

Again it was the same issues as the first two books that bugged me about this one and again, I think some people will really like this series and others won't.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Friday Friday Friday!!!

Book Blogger Hop

Read My Review is a chance for book bloggers to share new and old reviews, related to a theme. It is hosted here at A Trillian Books. Make sure you leave your Favourite Author reviews links to this weeks post and also visit some of the awesome reviews already there.

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jennifer @ Crazy for Books. It's a chance for book bloggers to connect and share the book love. Check out Crazy for Books (click on the button) for more details and to find the links of some awesome blogs.

This week's question is:
"What book are you most looking forward to seeing published in 2011? Why are you anticipating that book?"
City of Fallen Angels (Mortal Instruments)City of Fallen Angels is definitely one of my must-haves for this year, as is The Iron Knight. There's a bunch of 'next in the series' books out that I want to read as well but I need to read some of the earlier books first.

Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee. Just click on the banner below to see the rules and to join in.

This week's question is:
What is/was your favorite subject in school?
I loved science subjects, particularly Chemistry. I'm still pretty much a science geek now lol

Review: Captivate - Carrie Jones

CaptivateTitle: Captivate
Author: Carrie Jones
Format: Paperback
Pages: 273
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: 1st June 2010 (Bloomsbury)

Zara and her friends knew they hadn't solved the pixie problem for good. Far from it. The king's needs grow deeper every day he's stuck in captivity, while his control over his people gets weaker. It's made him vulnerable. And now there's a new king in town.

A turf war is imminent, since the new pixie king, Astley, is moving in quickly. Nick nearly killed him in the woods on day one, but Zara came to his rescue. Astley swears that he and Zara are destined to be together, that he's one of the good guys. Nick isn't buying it, though Zara isn't as sure -- despite herself, she wants to trust the new king. But it's a lot more than her relationship with Nick that is at stake. It's her life -- and his.

*possible spoilers of the first book in the series*

Captivate continues right from where Need left off. Zara and her friends have contained a bunch of pixies in a house - including her father - and now patrol to keep look out for any others. A turf war is about to start in Bedford, with different groups of pixies wanting to lay claim to the area.

I had a lot of the same issues with this book as I had with the first (my review of Need is here). By the second book I'd have expected the characters, especially Zara to be well defined but at times they appear somewhat disjointed. One moment Zara is telling Nick off for going out patrolling alone and then the next moment she decides to go out for a run on her own. Another thing that irked me was that Bedford is a small town and so I assume the high school isn't massive, yet the library is apparently huge enough that Zara and Nick can text each other a number of times as she walks across it (without either of them being able to see each other) and then they don't get seen while they have a picnic in there (which was a little bit weird that they did that in itself). Continuing from the size of the school, it also hit me as strange that in the same time scale as Zara not knowing the names of all the kids in her PE class (so I assume she has other classes with at least some of the same kids) she and Nick are completely in love with each other, like to the point of "I love you so much, baby".

Which brings me on to Nick and Zara's relationship. OMG. How annoying are they with all the calling each other 'baby' (I actually counted the word being used three times on one page), handholding and other ickiness. Seriously, about half the book was taken up with this and while I guess it was supposed to set up everything for what was going to happen in the second part of the book, it actually just made me dislike both of them even more.

Towards the end of the book, maybe the last hundred pages or so things seemed to pick up a bit as there was some action scenes, although it might have been that I was just glad to get away from reading about the romance of Nick and Zara. There was also a little bit of saving grace in the form of Astley, if only because he actually had some depth of character compared to the others.

From reading other people's reviews of books in this series, I think it's one of those love it or hate it kind of things. Personally, it's not to my taste but as I already had the next book I did continue to read the series and will be reviewing that one shortly.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Review: Need - Carrie Jones

NeedTitle: Need
Author: Carrie Jones
Format: Paperback
Pages: 306
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Published: 1st December 2009 (Bloomsbury)

Zara White suspects there's a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She's also obsessed with phobias. And it's true, she hasn't exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane...but Zara's pretty sure her mom just can't deal with her right now.

She couldn't be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara's overactive imagination. In fact, he's still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There's something not right - not human - in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you'd have to fear.

Need follows the story of Zara White who is send to live with her grandmother after the death of her step-father. In a lot of ways, the plot was very typical of a Young Adult Fantasy book. Girl moves to a new town where something strange is going on. Girl is attracted to boy who is clearly hiding something ... basically, it sounds like it should be interesting but it's been done so many times before. Okay, so the pixie thing is a bit unusual but not really enough to make this book exciting.

However, with good writing and great characters, books like this can be a fun read. After all, there's a reason why a lot of the plot devices are used in so many books. Sadly, there were too many of my pet hates in the writing style. The thing that bugged me most was that there was too much description of pretty much everything. It might be just me but I don't need to know what band is on someone's t-shirt unless it's relevant to the plot. I also found that the plot 'twists' were too predictable and didn't have any impact of surprise when they were revealed..

The characters also annoyed me. Firstly because Zara made a bunch of new friends almost as soon as she arrived in town and not just people who were friendly to her but they acted like they'd known each other for years right from the start. The second thing that I disliked about Zara and her new best friends were that they were all too nice.

All of the issues I had with this book were down to personal preference though and I'm sure there are loads of people who'll read this book and enjoy it. If you like Twilight and the House of Night books then there's a good chance you'll like the Need series as well.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. What are you waiting on this week?

Scorpia Rising - Anthony Horowitz

Scorpia Rising: An Alex Rider NovelScorpia has dogged Alex Rider for most of his life. They killed his parents, they did their best to con Alex into turning traitor, and they just keep coming back with more power. Now the world's most dangerous terrorist organization is playing with fire in the world's most combustible land: the Middle East. No one knows Scorpia like Alex. And no one knows how best to get to Alex like Scorpia. Until now.

The chases have never been more intense, the fights more treacherous, or the risks so perilous to mankind. And this time, Alex won't get away

So excited about this one! I love the Alex Rider series. Sadly this is the final book though.
Scorpoia Rising is due for release in March 2011

Read My Review: Favourite Authors

Read My Review is a chance for book bloggers to share new and old reviews, related to a theme. It is hosted here at A Trillian Books.

Read My Review

What to do:
- Find one of your reviews that fits this weeks theme (you can be as creative as you like when choosing what fits). It can be a new or old review, good or bad.
- Create a post on you blog explaining your book choice and leaving a link to your review there.
- Leave the link to your post with Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post.
- Leave your link with Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. "Blog Name (Book Title)"
- Visit some of the other reviews and leave a 'quality' comment (a couple of sentences).
- Grab the button and let people know about Read My Review.

This week’s theme is:

Favourite Authors

Dig out a review from one of your favourite authors. The theme stays for a week so you can leave your link any time and don't forget to pop back and check out some more fab reviews. You can also clink the link at the top to see the previous Read My Reviews. Also, if you have any ideas for future themes you'd like to see leave them in a comment.
Behemoth (Leviathan)My choice for this week is Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. Epic Steampunk adventure with great writing, brilliant characters and an exciting plot.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Teaser Tuesday (30)

Teaser Tuesday 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!

Gladiator: Fight for Freedom - Simon Scarrow
The first glimmer of dawn was filtering across the horizon. At the stern of the ship there stood a man clasping the tiller that controlled the huge steering oar

Monday, 24 January 2011

It's Monday (39) and Weekly Round Up

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. Please comment or leave a link to let me know what you're reading this week!

Completed last week

A little bit of a slow week this week with only one book completed

Entice (Need)

Entice - Carrie Jones

Currently Reading

I'm a good way through Outside In which I'm really enjoying and I've just started a second book:

Gladiator: Fight for Freedom Outside In (Harlequin Teen)

Gladiator: Fight for Freedom - Simon Scarrow
Outside In - Maria V Snyder

Up soon

Really looking forward to this one

The Other Countess

The Other Countess - Eve Edwards


Two awesome books reviewed this week:

Calling For Angels - Alex Smith
The Iron Queen - Julie Kagawa

Books Received

In My Mailbox

Posts of Interest

Check out some fab book reviews from other bloggers as well as linking your own on this week's Read My Review: Contemporary Young Adult

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