Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cardsharp by Paul Westmoreland

Title: Cardsharp

Author: Paul Westmoreland

Published: December 2010

POW Books

Summary:  Cardsharp is an exciting adventure book for children set in the art world. Escaping house fires and fighting daring robbers is just the beginning for art researcher, Vincent Ward, and these battles do little to prepare him for the exciting adventure that unfolds. An old journal discovered at an auction in Rome puts Vincent on the trail of an undiscovered painting by one of art history’s most notorious masters, Caravaggio. But paintings this rare and valuable are sought after by more than just collectors and galleries. Vincent soon finds himself on the run from a brutal and lawless policeman, a gang of international criminals, and fighting vicious pirates. There are stings, tricks and conspiracies around every corner, and bullets flying from the shadows. Only The National Gallery, London is safe for Vincent and the painting. But is there a way back? Get ready to be thrown into the world of Vincent Ward, where getting through each day alive just isn’t enough.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I wasn’t really sure what to expect with Cardsharp but when I started it I got pulled into an exciting story that got more exciting and more interesting as it went along.

Cardsharp reminded me a lot of The Adventures of TinTin.  Vincent Ward sets off on an adventure and he ends up getting caught up in this world of intrigue and the bad guys have guns and there’s a little bit of violence from them as Vincent tries to get back his precious painting.

I thought that Cardsharp was a fun read but I have to say that it has really bad spelling and grammar errors.  I’m not sure if it’s just from the epub version I read or not but a lot of the words had the letters, i, f or t missing and so that really bothered me.

Not knowing much about Caravaggio or art for that matter I found that the explanations were really good and I was still able to enjoy the book with a very limited knowledge of art history and it made Cardsharp a learning experience as well which I always like.

Overall, I would say that Cardsharp was a really fun read and is good for anyone who likes adventure novels.  I’d say it’s more in the middle grade genre as it has quite a simplistic writing style to it which makes it an easy book to breeze through.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Angelina's Secret by Lisa Rogers

Title: Angelina's Secret

Author: Lisa Rogers

Published: 1 February 2012, Spencer Hill Press

Pages: 260

Summary: As a child, Angelina spent years in counseling learning that Josie, her imaginary friend, wasn't real, but it turns out her childhood friend wasn't imaginary after all. 

Now Angelina has to accept she's either (A) crazy or (B) able to see ghosts. Wanting to believe in her sanity, she chooses (B) and welcomes Josie back into her life. But even Josie can't help her deal with Shelly, the spirit of a confused teenager, and things go very, very wrong. 

When Angelina finds herself in a psychiatric hospital, she faces a choice: she can spend the rest of her life pretending to be someone she isn't, or she can embrace who she is and take a chance that she may never get to go home.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading the synopsis of Angelina’s Secret I was really excited about reading this book.  I do love a good ghost story and while I enjoyed Angelina’s Secret it wasn’t exactly what I had thought it to be.
I had thought that Angelina’s Secret was going to be a creepy ghost story but it was actually a lot more light-hearted and less serious than that.  There was a serious element to the book but for the most part Angelina’s attitude sort of made it more light-hearted and slightly comical at times.

In saying that I really liked the ghosts.  Josie was so nice and I found that I wished things would go well for Angelina but I really did not see how that would work.

In the beginning of the book I found it to be really addictive and so I was just flying through the pages but after a while Angelina’s mother started really getting on my nerves and it slowed my reading down a little bit.  Patty is one of those awful mothers who like to think that everything is their fault.  I have to say that Lisa wrote Patty so well in that sense.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Angelina’s Secret.  It was something different and it’s quite short so it’s easy to read in no time.  I loved the ghost aspect and I look forward to reading more from Lisa in the future.

Source: Purchased

Friday, January 27, 2012

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Published: Quirk Publishing, 2011

Pages: 352

Summary: A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Ever since I saw the book trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children I just had to read it.  I started reading it and I was hoping for a creepy sort of read.  I found the first part of the book to be quite creepy.  Unfortunately, once the book got a few chapters in, I didn’t think it was so creepy.

I really liked the pictures in the book.  Some of them were really creepy and I thought it was a nice different touch to the book.  Some of the pictures I thought were well placed and well put into the story but some of them I thought were put in there just to try to keep the story going.

I liked the characters in the book, especially Emma.  I think that Emma would be my favourite character.  As for Jacob, I thought he was interesting enough.  At times it didn’t really feel like he was 16 though.  It seemed more like he was about 12 or 13.

I did like the way that this story went.  I wasn’t too sure where the book was going to go in the beginning or how things would play out but I was impressed by the abilities of the children and those sorts of things.

I have to say that I didn’t really like the ending of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  I felt like it was quite weird.  It sort of left a hole that I couldn’t stop thinking about.  Without trying to spoil anything, I just didn’t like Jacob’s decision and I didn’t really feel that it was well played out.  I have heard there is going to be another book and I’m just wondering if the aftermath of Jacob’s actions will be addressed.

Overall, I thought that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was an alright read for me.  I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.  I definitely found it to be quite original and it was worth a read.  However, I would say that it would be more of a book to borrow rather than buy.

Source: Library

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Coming soon from Strange Chemistry

Strange Chemistry which is a new YA imprint of Angry Robot have just released information about their first two books that are being released this year.  They both sound amazing so I'm going to share some of the information with you.

The titles are:

Shift by Kim Curran

When your average, 16-year old loser, Scott Tyler, meets the beautiful and mysterious Aubrey Jones, e learns he’s not quite so average after all. He’s a ‘Shifter’. And that means he has the power to undo any decision he’s ever made. At first, he thinks the power to shift is pretty cool. But as his world quickly starts to unravel around him he realises that each time he uses his power, it has consequences; terrible unforeseen consequences. Shifting is going to get him killed. In a world where everything can change with a thought, Scott has to decide where he stands.

Kim Curran was born in Dublin and moved to London when she was seven. After studying Philosophy and Literature at Sussex University her plan of being paid big bucks to think deep thoughts never quite paid off. She became an advertising copywriter instead, specialising in writing for video games. She lives in SW London with her husband, if they’re not both off travelling. When she’s not writing she fences and plays guitar, both very badly.

Poltergeeks by Sean Cummings

Julie is an apprentice witch – or so she believes. When a dark power comes stalking out of the past to haunt her and her mother, Julie learns that she is far more than just a witch. With the help of her best friend Marcus and a rather unusual Great Dane, Julie has to race against time to ensure she can defeat the bad guy, save her mother and avoid being grounded – again!

Sean Cummings lives in Saskatoon, Canada. He’s a comic book geek, superhero junkie, zombie fan and a total nerd. His interests include science fiction, the borg, cats with extra toes, east Indian cuisine and quality sci-fi movies/television. Sean has been writing since 1978 (as a means of liberating his “inner nerd”) and his published works for adults include Shade Fright, Funeral Pallor and Unseen World, all published by Snowbooks. Poltergeeks is his first book for Young Adults.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Title: Deadly Cool

Author: Gemma Halliday

Published: HarperTeen, 2011

Pages: 303

Series: Book 1, Deadly Cool

Summary: Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. 

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Deadly Cool is such an awesome book.  Hartley has attitude and she is a really funny narrator.  You’d think that reading a murder mystery wouldn’t be very funny but there were quite a few times where I was laughing out loud at the jokes.

As far as the mystery aspect goes I was curious as to who had done it.  I had my suspicions about who it could have been but at the same time there were a number of suspects so it was quite interesting.  I did manage to guess who the killer was in the end though which I always like.

I loved that in Deadly Cool, Hartley’s best friend is a main part of the action.  Sam is right there with Hartley most of the time which is just awesome.  I really liked Chase too.

I really loved Deadly Cool and only wish that I could have the next book sooner.  Deadly Cool is a cool, light and fun murder mystery story.

Source: Library

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Everblossom : A Short Story and Poetry Anthology by Larissa Hinton

Title: Everblossom

Author: Larissa Hinton

Published: 12 August 2011


Summary: An anthology that will quench your thirst for more than the ordinary. 

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts. It changes.   (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Everblossom is a story anthology that has three parts representing the three stages of life of a flower.  Throughout the book you see development of the author’s writing as well as some of the characters in previous short stories.

Every now and again I enjoy poetry so I was thrilled to be getting some poetry sprinkled in with the short stories.  I really liked all the poems as they were nicely written.

Then there were the short stories.  Each one was incredibly unique and they were very short so only focused on a small portion of what could otherwise be a very large tale.  It left me thinking about each story afterwards.  It made me wonder what had happened before and after each story.  I really feel that each story would make a great novel or novella in their own right.

Beautifully written and taking you away from the usual sorts of books I highly recommend Larissa Hinton’s Everblossom to those who like short story anthologies and are looking for something a bit more adventurous and ponderous.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Prophecy of the Flame by Lynn Hardy

Title: Prophecy of the Flame

Author: Lynn Hardy

Published: Resilient Publishing, 2010

Pages: 373

Series: Book 1, Prophecy of the Flame

Summary: In a blinding flash of light, five nondescript strangers are yanked from this world and thrust into a land of sorcery. Transformed into the characters they were pretending to be; Archmage Reba, Jamison the healer, Jerik the dwarf, Charles the prince charming, and Allinon the druid elf blend twentieth century technology with the supernatural powers of this new world. 

This band of wannabe heroes soon discovers that having the powers you have always dreamed of, does not make life a dream come true. The Crusaders of the Light struggle to form a cohesive band as they fight to liberate the kingdom of Cuthburan from the evil horde threatening humanity. 

For those who believe the struggle of love adds a greater depth to any story, the romantic thread in Book One is explored in greater depth in this version. 

Battle is also waged within Reba, an ordinary housewife who has become the most powerful mage on the planet, as she struggles to remain true to her wedding vows. Drawn against her will to the arms of Prince Alexandros, Reba must choose between the prophesied marriage to a handsome prince in a magical world or returning to the husband she left behind.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I really loved the description of Prophecy of the Flame and thought that it sounded like it could be quite an interesting book.

I felt that parts of Prophecy of the Flame were quite dry and boring and it took me quite a while to get through those parts.  I just personally, found it hard to read Prophecy of the Flame due to a lack of interest.  I think for me I prefer it when books tell you about the world they’re in earlier on so that I can get into the plot but in Prophecy of the Flame I was unsure of both the plot and the world that they were in.  As the plot went on however, I did find it got better and I began to quite enjoy the book.

I also thought this book is made more for people who like role playing games such as dungeons and dragons or live action role playing games as the story dives into some of the concepts without actually explaining them and so if you don’t know anything about rpgs or larping then you would get lost or confused easily for the first few chapters, after that it doesn’t really seem to matter too much.

As far as characters go, I liked Reba although I felt that whenever someone flirted with her she would think about how she was married but she never actually thought about her husband and how she felt about him.  I would’ve liked to know more about her and her husband’s relationship.  I think my favourite character within the little party would be Jamison, he just seemed like an interesting guy, it was a shame that he wasn’t in the book as much as I would have liked.  I also liked Prince Szames, he seemed like one of those genuinely nice guys.

I enjoyed Lynn’s writing style and thought that Prophecy of the Flame was very well written.  The writing style was quite simple but also effective.  The descriptions of things were really well done and so I enjoyed that part of the story.

Another thing that I really enjoyed about Prophecy of the Flame were the illustrations.  I hadn’t realised the book had illustrations so when I stumbled across one in the book I was pleasantly surprised.  I thought all of the illustrations were fantastic and I really enjoyed seeing them in the book.

Overall, I would say that fans of fantasy would enjoy Prophecy of the Flame.  I have to give warning though that at first it’s hard to get into the story but once getting past the start the book gets so much better.

* Note: The proceeds of this book will be going to help Lynn's homeless shelter called Agape Assistance*

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould

Title: Flidderbugs

Author: Jonathan Gould

Published: August 2011

Pages: 72

Summary: As Kriffle the Flidderbug investigates why his fellow ‘bugs find it impossible to agree on the pressing issue of how many points there are on the leaves of the tree on which they live, he finds that the truth is more complicated, and ultimately more terrifying, than he ever could have imagined.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: After reading Jonathan Gould’s other book, Doodling, I was excited to be given the chance to read Flidderbugs.  I really like that Jonathan’s books are simplistic in their storylines but have this deeper meaning wrapped up in them.

I found Flidderbugs to be a really enjoyable read.  It was light and really entertaining.  I read it on one of the days where I was on holiday so I could just sit in the sun and read it.  I found this to be quite a good book to read like that.

While I found the book to be quite predictable it was still highly enjoyable.  I knew how things were going to turn out but there was one part that I couldn’t quite figure out so that was really enjoyable to read about.

I really enjoyed Flidderbugs and the underlying meaning was a really good one.  I think that Flidderbugs is a perfect read for a middle grade audience.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi, The Story Siren.  It is a weekly feature where book enthusiasts showcase the books they got in the mail, from bookstores, from the library or anywhere else for the week.

It's been a while since I did one of these but now that it's 2012 I'd like to do these on a regular basis again.  This week I went a little overboard on the books that I got.  I bought a couple but I got out a few at the library.

In the mail:

Hannah can't wait to sneak off for a romantic weekend with her boyfriend, Colin. He’s leaving for college soon, and Hannah wants their trip to the lake house to be one they’ll never forget.

But once Hannah and Colin get there, things start to seem a bit...off. They can't find the town on any map. The house they are staying in looks as if someone's been living there, even though it's been deserted for years. And Colin doesn’t seem quite himself. As he grows more unstable, Hannah worries about Colin’s dark side, and her own safety.
Nothing is as perfect as it seems, and what lies beneath may haunt her forever.  (Taken from Goodreads)

For three years, Alexandria has lived among mortals—pretending to be like them and trying to forget the duty she'd been trained to fulfill as a child of a mortal and a demigod. At seventeen, she's pretty much accepted that she's a freak by mortal standards... and that she'll never be prepared for that duty. 
According to her mother, that’s a good thing. 
But as every descendant of the gods knows, Fate has a way of rearing her ugly head. A horrifying attack forces Alex to flee Miami and try to find her way back to the very place her mother had warned her she should never return—the Covenant. Every step that brings her closer to safety is one more step toward death… because she's being hunted by the very creatures she'd once trained to kill. 
The daimons have found her.  (Taken from Goodreads)

High school can be a battlefield, but for Lily Parker, surviving at St. Sophia’s School for Girls is a matter of life and death...

Protecting Chicago from the dark side can be an exhausting job, especially when you’re a junior. So when the girls of St. Sophia’s start gearing up for Sneak, their fall formal, Lily decides to join in on some good, old-fashioned party prep—even if it means not giving demons, vampires and the twisted magic users known as Reapers her undivided attention.

But when a Reaper infiltrates the school, Lily doesn’t forget what she’s sworn to protect. She reaches deep into herself to draw out her magic—and finds that it’s gone. And it turns out she’s not alone. A magical blackout has slammed through paranormal Chicago, and no one knows what—or who—caused it. But Lily knows getting back her magic is worth the risk of going behind enemy lines...
 (Taken from Goodreads)

The war against the Grand Army raged for over a year and a half. Despite their valiant efforts, the rebels of Militia 28 are losing. With dwindling supplies and eroding hope, they have one last chance. The recent discovery of a weapon long thought lost rekindles their ambitions of eventual victory. If only they can get to it before Night Viper’s past comes back to destroy them.

With his massive Ziggurat almost complete, the dictator Zodiac is poised to unleash his “final solution” upon the shattered remnants of humanity. The pawns are maneuvered into place and secrets will be revealed that will change the face of the rebellion forever. Who is Zodiac? What was the purpose of Project Scorpion? Most important, will the war ever end?
   (Taken from Goodreads)

From the library:

Welcome to P.U.P.I.—Private, Unaffiliated, Paranormal Investigations 
A handpicked team trained to solve crimes the regular police can't touch—crimes of magic. 
My name's Bonnie Torres. Recent college grad, magic user and severely unemployed. Until I got a call out of nowhere to interview for a job I hadn't applied for. It smelled fishy, but the brutal truth was I needed the work—so off I went. 
Two days later I'm a PUPI—me and Nick, Sharon, Nifty and Pietr. Five twentysomethings, thrown into an entirely new career in forensic magic. 
The first job we get is a doozy: proving that the deaths of two Talents were murder, not suicide. Worse, there are high-profile people who want us to close up shop and go away. We're sniffing out things they'd rather keep buried. 
Looks as if this job is gonna get interesting.  The only problem is, we're making it up as we go along...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool. 
But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.  (Taken from Goodreads)

Every ghost has a story to tell.
The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.
Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.  (Taken from Goodreads)

May Contain Spoilers!  It’s been a year since the torturous notes from A stopped and the mystery of Alison DiLaurentis’s disappearance was finally put to rest. Now seniors in high school, Aria, Spencer, Hanna and Emily are older, but they’re not any wiser. The Pretty Little Liars have more secrets than ever - twisted secrets that could destroy the perfect lives they’ve worked so hard to rebuild. 
Aria’s jealous of her boyfriend’s new exchange student. Spencer’s getting a little too cozy with her soon-to-be-stepbrother. Hanna’s one scandalous photo away from ruining her dad’s Senate campaign. And Emily will do anything to get a swim scholarship. 
Worst of all: Last spring break in Jamaica, they did something unforgivable. The girls are desperate to forget that fateful night, but they should know better than anyone that all secrets wash ashore … eventually.  (Taken from Goodreads)
And that was my week in books.  Can't wait to see what everyone else got!