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Kingdom – Rachel Wollaston

Title: Kingdom
Author: Rachel Wollaston
Published by: Rachel E. Wollaston

Publication date: 2016
Pages: 309
Genres: Fantasy; Romance
Format: E-Book, Kindle
Source: Review Copy

10/10

 

Kingdom

 

Imaginations are just that: imaginations.

Or are they?

Pepper Fairfield is a high spirited young woman with an incredible imagination. When she accepts a job as a nanny at Calthorpe Manor, she finds that she has let herself in for a lot more than she expected. With mysterious disappearing doors, magical colour-changing bunnies and a couple of sassy sylphs, this house is nothing like what she’d anticipated. Is it haunted? Or is it something even more?

 

In a whirlwind of events, Pepper finds herself fighting against impossible odds, not only for her life, but for the safety of humankind. What this land needs is a hero, but how do you convince a hero who’s sure he’s anything but? If one thing is for certain, it’s that, in an existent world of non-existence, anything can happen . . .

 

Wow, is all I can say about this book. When I was offered the chance to review the debut novel of Rachel, I leapt at the chance, enthralled by the captivating synopsis I was provided with. However, when I began this book, I did not realise exactly how much I was going to be taken on a rollercoaster ride. From page 1, I was drawn into the plot and was unable to put the book down for a strong desire to know exactly what was going to happen next.

The characters are very well developed, particularly the characters of Pepper and Therron who are my favourite people in the novel. Pepper is a strong female character who has the perfect mix of selflessness, bravery and sensitivity towards others.

I very rarely give a book 10/10 but I could not fault Kingdom. It alternated between slower sections (which were still interesting) and fast paced action which left me on the edge of my seat, praying for the safety of the characters.

This is a very accomplished first novel and I highly recommend it! I look forward to reading more books by Rachel.

Amazon: Pre-order this book now (release date is 14th July 2016)

Fallen – Lauren Kate

Title: Fallen
Author: Lauren Kate
Published by: Corgi

Publication date: 2009
Pages: 452
Genres: Young Adult; Mystery; Fantasy
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

Fallen

8/10

 

Some angels are destined to fall.

Instant. Intense. Weirdly familiar… The moment Luce looks at Daniel she knows she has never felt like this before. Except she can’t shake the feeling that she has … and with him – a boy she doesn’t remember ever setting eyes on.

Will her attempt to find out why enlighten her – or destroy her?

 

To begin with, I thought that this book was going to be one of those vampire, werewolf books where the girl and the ‘bad boy’ fall in love but discover that they are unable to be together for some reason that the author has made up that makes absolutely no sense. But this book was not like that at all! From the very first page, it kept me captivated with the twisting, turning, mysterious storyline which takes the reader on a whirlwind of emotions from love, to fear, to worry, to sadness.

Luce is your stereotypical ‘bad girl’ main character sent against her will to reform school and the love triangle between Luce, Daniel and Cam keeps a constant tense atmosphere throughout the plot. There are many plot twists throughout this book, though I don’t want to give them away. 😛

 

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Amazon: Fallen

Witch and Wizard – James Patterson

Title: Witch and Wizard
Author: James Patterson
Published by: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 2009
Pages: 307
Genres: Adventure; Magic; Mystery
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

 

Witch and Wizard

7/10

This review first appeared on the 31st January 2016 on The Guardian Childrens’ Book Website: here

You are holding an urgent and vital narrative that reveals the forbidden truth about our perilous times….

This is the astonishing testimonial of Wisty and Whit Allgood, a sister and brother who were torn from their family in the middle of the night, slammed into prison, and accused of being a witch and a wizard. Thousands of young people have been kidnapped; some have been accused; many others remain missing. Their fate is unknown, and the worst is feared—for the ruling regime will stop at nothing to suppress life and liberty, music and books, art and magic…and the pursuit of being a normal teenager.

Wisty is a fifteen year-old with no regard for rules, whilst White is her eighteen year-old brother suffering with depression as a result of his girlfriend, Celia, mysteriously vanishing.

The two siblings are living their normal lives when one night they are snatched from their homes in the dead of night, accused of having magical powers they didn’t even know they possessed (although their parents did).

Their parents hand them last gifts before they are separated and along the way discover powers which – besides scaring their kidnappers – doesn’t do anything to help their horrific situation.

This book by James Patterson is a wonderful book about adventure and magic, aimed at younger readers with easy to read, signature short chapters, making it very easy to be drawn into the story line.

The pace of the plot moves quickly and succinctly – finishing on a “to be continued” after 300 pages. This book had me on the edge of my seat in many places throughout, as in some sections it seemed like the two protagonists would be unable to escape the predicaments they constantly found themselves in.

For me, this book was the one that introduced me to the author James Patterson; you may know him as the author of the Maximum Ride series, or the Alex Cross detective books for adult readers. So I would highly recommended this book to get you hooked on a new author.

In my opinion, the short chapters are the reason his books are so addictive – this is not saying that Patterson’s character development and plot lines aren’t amazing, because they are – but that the short, snappy chapters ranging between half a page to three pages (as a general rule) means that the plot lines always travel at an astonishing pace, without feeling like the action is being rushed.

Many authors attempt to incorporate fast-moving plot but it feels rushed and unconvincing, but James Patterson is one author that adopts the fast plotline strategy in an effective manner.

Despite my heavy praise for the short chapters I hated the alternating narrators between Whit and Wisty because it broke up the plot, causing some confusion around what was happening.

I tend to become very much involved in the story so forget to read who is narrating the next section of the story, which is more so of a problem with short chapters as you are barely able to get involved with one character’s scenario before you are whisked to another part of the story with the other sibling.

Looking past this, though, this is merely a personal issue which other people may not have problems. However, all in all, I would definitely recommend this book!

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Amazon: Witch & Wizard

The Name of This Book is Secret – Psuedonymous Bosch

Title: The Name of This Book is Secret
Author: Pseudonymous Bosch
Published by: Usborne

Publication date: 2008
Pages: 380
Genres: Mystery; Suspense; Adventure; Magic
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

the name of this book is secret

7/10

This review first appeared on the 5th January on The Guardian Childrens’ Book Website: here

 

Warning: Do not read this book! …For amongst its strange and alarming contents you will find:

Two extraordinary adventurers…

A missing magician’s diary…

A symphony of smells…

And a deadly secret

But wait, you already know too much! It is too late. I’m afraid nothing will stop you now. Open the book if you must. But, please, tell no one.

 

Cass is 11 years old and is the female protagonist of the story; she is prepared for every disaster going from floods, to tornadoes and drives everyone crazy with her constant fretting about the next catastrophic calamity that could occur.

Max-Ernest is also 11 years old and his parents are divorced due to not being able to decide whether he should be called Max or Ernest (hence the double-barrelled first name). They live in the same house so Max is able to live a normal-ish childhood with two parents however both parents act as though the other isn’t there and the house is split down the middle with neither parent talking to the other. Max-Ernest has a speech impediment causing him to talk and talk and talk and talk and talk until he is told to shut up and as a result Cass is his only friend.

Cass and Max-Ernest are a match made in heaven as they both have their unique and, er quirky, personalities making them different to the average 11 year-old. Cass with her predicting of the next catastrophe and Max-Ernest with his lack of knowing when to shut up means that they get on like a house on fire even when no one else wants to know them.

An estate agent investigating a dead magician’s house finds a box labelled “a symphony of smells” and gives it to Cass’ grandfathers who investigate strange and mystifying objects, much to Cass’ mother’s dismay. Cass lets her new friend, Max-Ernest, in on the mystery and they begin to work out the mystery of the smells and look around the dead magician’s house. It is whilst they are in the house that they find a secret belonging to the dead magician but have to escape from a young couple who are looking around the house.

The couple then trace Cass and Max-Ernest to their school, but instead of finding them, they find a young artist named Benjamin Blake and Cass decides to be a hero and try to save him. The young couple aren’t what they seem from the outside as they have a goal and won’t stop until they achieve it. Will Cass and Max-Ernest save Benjamin and find out the secret of the dead magician?

Can we just look at the front and back pages of this book to begin with? The book is called “The Name of this Book is Secret”, now if that doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t know what will. The author’s name is a pseudonym as well, I mean obviously “Pseudonymous Bosch” isn’t the author’s real name; but right from the word go, the author has cleverly built the mystery and suspense that this book incorporates into every single page. On the back page it reads “warning: do not read this book!” and I don’t know about you but that immediately makes me want to read it anyway, because it’s just a book, right? What harm can it do?

Right from page one, Cass and Max-Ernest are such quirky characters that they introduce an element of humour into the book. Cass is paranoid about the next disaster that always seems to be imminent, and Max-Ernest never shuts up. No, seriously. Taking these factors into account, it seems strange that they make such a good team to work out a mystery. Cass seems like the last person who would want to put herself in any danger considering she’s always working herself up over absolutely nothing. And Max-Ernest, surely you’d hear him from a mile off, I mean he just talks. And talks. And talks. But somehow, they work together as a dream team to solve the mystery of the dead magician.

I loved this book, from beginning to end; it has constant suspense and leaves you on cliff hangers at the end of chapters causing quite a few late nights/early mornings because it is very hard to put down once you begin. This book isn’t quite aimed at my age group (young adult) but I still enjoyed the story and plotline.

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Amazon: The Name of This Book is Secret (The “Secret” Series)

Banished by Liz De Jager

Title: Banished
Author: Liz De Jager
Published by: Tor

Publication date: 2014
Pages: 388
Genres: Fantasy; Magical; Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

 

Banished

8/10

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and user her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

 

Kit is a Blackhart and proud of it; she has just completed her first solo mission and heads back to the manor to celebrate with the rest of the Blackharts. She is fatigued though and is told to wait behind whilst the others go off on another mission to rest for a little while. When the youngest son of the King, Prince Thorn arrives outside her Manor, she takes it upon herself to deliver him back to safety.

This is a definite must-read for fans of The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. Filled with monster fighting/hunting you will get swept along with the action of the fast-paced, packed with excitement plot and it is certainly unputdownable.

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Amazon: Banished (Blackhart Legacy )

Fractured (Slated, Book #2) – Teri Terry

10/10

Fractured

Synopsis

“With what I did yesterday, I should be dead: zapped by the chip they put in my brain when I was Slated.” Kyla shouldn’t remember anything from before she was Slated, but dark secrets of her past will not stay buried. Caught in a tug of war between Lorder oppression and the fight for freedom, her past and present race towards a collision she may not survive. While her desperate search for Ben continues, who can she trust in this world of secrets and lies?

Overview *Contains Spoilers*

This was an amazing second book in the Slated trilogy! I often find that books in a series decrease in quality but Teri Terry’s writing still manages to capture my attention right from the word go. If you enjoyed “Slated” you will adore this book. It’s packed with more action than the first and Kyla begins to learn that not everyone is as they first appear. She matures in herself, and there is a definite progression in the development of her character between the first and the second book, and even throughout Fractured. She starts off as a girl who doesn’t know who she is and then learns of her identity before she was Slated. She also begins to think for herself, rebelling against what she has been told “Rain” would do.

Kyla is forced to take sides in this non-stop action thriller and although it is constantly packed with action right from the first page, the last few chapters are paced perfectly. They force you to continue reading as you want to know what is going to happen next.

I would highly recommend this book to teens, particularly if you enjoyed Slated. I would read Slated first, though, as I feel without the background knowledge gained in book 1, Fractured won’t make a whole lot of sense. You can check out my review of Slated here.

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Amazon: Fractured: 2/3 (Slated Trilogy)

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort – The Bane Chronicles, Book #7 (Clare, Cassandra)

6/10

The Fall of the Hotel Dumort

 

Synopsis

Her silver-blond hair was long and down, looking wild. She patted the end of the bed. This was not the greeting he’d been expecting. This was not the Camille he remembered, or even the one had seen in passing.

Overview *Contains Spoilers*

The seventh story in the Bane Chronicles. This story shows how drugs can even negatively affect Vampires who aren’t supposed to become ‘ill’.

The sixth book in the series is here.

The eighth book in the series is here.

Buy this book on Amazon: The Bane Chronicles

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The Runaway Queen, The Bane Chronicles, Book #2

8/10

The Runaway Queen

 

Synopsis

On the word “Axel,” she froze. This was all he needed. He shoved her backward out the window. The balloon, bumped back by the force, shifted a foot or so away from the window – so she landed half in, half out.

Overview *Contains Spoilers*

This book gave me constant excitement from beginning to the end; Clare’s writing keeps you in constant suspense and the plot line is further excelled with Bane’s wit and humour.

The first book in the series is here.

The third book in the series is here.

Buy this Book on Amazon: The Bane Chronicles

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Messenger of Fear, Messenger of Fear Series, Book 1

10/10

 Messenger of Fear

Synopsis

He is the messenger. He offers you a game. Play or Pay. “Who are you?” That was the first question I asked the boy in front of me. The pale, solemn young man in the black coat with small silver skulls for buttons. But he didn’t answer it. Instead he answered the question I never asked, but which was nevertheless what I really wanted to know. Am I dead? No. Not dead, he told me. But surely not quite alive, either. How could I be? I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, still shuddering at the memory of the creeping yellow mist that had awoken me in that strange silent land, I could recall nothing else about myself. And then the games began.

Overview *Contains Spoilers*

When Mara wakes up in a land that seems to be full of a yellow mist, she doesn’t know where she is, who she is, even what her name is. Her memories appear to have vanished and she knows nothing of who she was before she awoke in the mist. Then she meets the ‘Messenger of Fear’ who slowly begins to tell her who she is and why she is there.

This book was absolutely amazing! I was hooked from the first page and couldn’t stop reading until I finished it a day after starting it! I loved Michael Grant’s ‘Gone’ series, so I had high hopes for this book. I have to say, this book outshone the entire of the ‘Gone’ series. It was full of messages about anti-bullying and making the right decisions in life and the punishments that are given out by the Messenger of Fear are a metaphor for the consequences that can happen as a result of the bad choices that you make.

It was an incredibly thought provoking book with well-developed characters and a rounded plot. This could have worked as a singular novel, but I’m pleased to discover that there are more to the Messenger of Fear series, as I loved it that much!

Buy this book on Amazon: Messenger of Fear

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Gone, Gone Series Book 1 (Grant, Michael)

9/10

Gone

 

Synopsis

299 Hours 54 Minutes. Suddenly it’s a world without adults and normal has crashed and burned. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes. A small town in southern California: In the blink of an eye everyone over the age of 15 disappears. Cut off from the outside world, those that are left are trapped, and there’s no help on the way. Chaos rules the streets. Now a new world order is rising and, even scarier, some survivors have power – mutant power that no one has ever seen before…

Overview *Contains Spoilers*

One minute Sam is daydreaming about surfing in his lesson, the next his teacher has just vanished into thin air. Along with everyone over the age of 15. Then begins a whirlwind of adventure and emotions as Sam, Astrid, Quinn and everyone within the dome begin to fight for what little resources there are left with no fishermen, farmers or even police to provide food and keep the peace. What doesn’t help is that a select few of the survivors appear to have powers, superhuman powers making it very hard for everyone to get on. Everyone is petrified of turning 15.

This book is amazing! Although it is a fantasy book, it is so realistic; this is most likely because all the characters start off in a setting that is very familiar for the reader: school. This book is scary because it shows a possible forecast of a life without adults and how children, up to the age of 15, would cope without a superior force.

This book is a ticking time bomb as the countdown ticks away the time and the chapters towards the end of the book…

Buy this book on Amazon: Gone

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