Monday, 31 May 2010

Rose by Holly Webb

Title: Rose
Author: Holly Webb
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 6th August 2009
Pages: 272
Genres: Children's/Magic
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Where have all the children gone? Mr Fountain's grand residence is a world away from the dark orphanage Rose has left behind.

For the house is overflowing with sparkling magic - she can feel it.

And soon Rose realises that she might be just a little bit magical, too...

But when orphans begin mysteriously disappearing, Rose's magic is put to the test.

Can she find the missing children before it's all too late?
The first of Rose's spellbinding adventures...

My first impression of this book was that it looked like it would be very predictable, and maybe aimed at much younger children than me. But I was surprised and amazed - this novel was really, really good!

I was gripped from page one. The characters had obviously been well thought about by the author, and so had the story line. It wasn't very realistic, but that's what I liked about it! There were a few very unexpected but pleasant twists to this story, which made you want to keep reading.

The cover is absolutely gorgeous. It's very simple, and I love the curly writing and the shiny stars. It looks mysterious, magical and marvellous - perfect! It makes you want to just....grab it. If I saw this in a shop, I would definitely pick it up and perhaps even buy it!

This definitely wasn't any ordinary novel - it was a gripping, on the edge-of-your-seat, what-happens-next book! I give this book 5/5 and recommend it for readers aged 10+. Holly Webb is an amazingly fantastic author and I can't wait to read her next book in the ROSE series which is called Rose And The Lost Princess and came out in February. Holly Webb - you rock, and you're now one of my new favourite authors!
Friday, 28 May 2010

Montacute House by Lucy Jago

Title: Montacute House
Author: Lucy Jago
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 3rd May 2010
Pages: 288
Genres: Young Adult/Historic/
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

A boy is found dead, his body blackened and blistered as if the devil himself has danced upon it!

Then Cess's friend goes missing and she realises that the death of the boy and her missing friend are connected.

Determined to solve the mystery, she becomes involved in a terrible intrigue that involves more than just the inhabitants of Montacute House and stretches right out into the whole of society. Soon Cess herself is in real danger as she threatens to uncover secrets people would kill to keep hidden.

"A boy was found dead by the river this morning and lies in the crypt or your church." Once again Ignatius's long chin dropped in surprise but he shut his mouth quickly. "Others, it seems, have disappeared. Maybe as many as ten or eleven."

The main character is Cess, who lives in a small straw and mud cottage with her Mother, Anne. They don't know where Cess's father is. Cess works as a Poultry Girl on the land of Montacute House, a very grand house that belongs to Lord Montacute. His son, Viscount Drax Mortain comes to visit, and that is where a lot of the trouble starts.

I'm not too sure about the girl on the cover. This novel is meant to be set in times when they didn't wear false eyelashes, lipgloss etc. She does look like how I imagine Cess, though, so I don't think it matters too much about the model.  I like the way the dark blue stands out against the old looking cover, it looks very mysterious and makes you just want to pick up the novel and start reading straight away!

This novel was extremely slow to get into; it took about 8 Chapters before I started getting into it. I think this novel focuses a bit too much on describing things, and not enough on actually making things happen. Also a lot of the names in this book were similar so sometimes it got a bit confusing - other than that, quite a good novel for an authors first ever book.

If you like murder, mystery, and surprising twists, this is definitely a book for you! I would recommend reading it, even though it's very slow to get into - it is worth it, trust me! The ending is just SO brilliant and unexpected that it makes up for the slow start.

Quite a few faults, but a very original and interesting story line. I give this book 3/5!
Saturday, 22 May 2010

Echoes Of Love by Rosie Rushton

Title: Echoes of Love
Author: Rosie Rushton
Published by: Piccadilly Press
Publication date: 26th January 2010
Pages: 208
Genres: Young Adult/War/Romance/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

What would happen if Jane Austen's 'Persuasion' was set in the twenty-first century?

Anna Eliot adored the gorgeous Felix Wentworth, but still called an end to their relationship. As time passes, Anna wonders if strict parents, interfering friends and misplaced loyalties had more to do with it than she wants to admit...

Now he's back from fighting in Afghanistan and Anna longs to rekindle their relationship - but will he give her a second chance? Or will the echoes of the past prove too difficult to overcome?

An evocative tale of the perils of listening to others, instead of your own heart.

At first, when I looked at this book, I thought it looked a bit boring. I decided to try it anyway, and I'm so glad I did because it was one of the best novels I've read this year - seriously!

I haven't read any of Rosie Rushton's other books, but I think I might have to now, because this novel was amazing. It really made me think about how hard and worrying it must be when your partner goes to war. You don't know if they'll come back or not - the waiting must be horrible. There was a really nice chapter in this book where Felix and Anna met again after Felix had been away for so long, and it was just so nice. I really liked the way that even though Anna's Dad didn't approve of Felix, she stayed with him because she loved him and she didn't care what anybody else thought.

The first line in this Jane Austen style novel is 'Anna stared at the newspaper headline, her shaking hands making the type wobble in front of her eyes.' This is a brilliant first line because it makes the reader want to know what happens next.

I love the cover of this novel, I like the way the bright, shiny, pink writing stands out against the sunset. I'm not too sure what the title has to do with the story, though. Other than that, this book is fantastic!

I think there were too many characters and homes in this book. Sometimes I wasn't sure where Anna was, and who she was speaking too. Maybe this novel would have been better with a few less characters.

At the top of each chapter is a quote from Persuasion which is written by Jane Austen. Somehow they make sense, they go with the story. I really liked that.

Overall this book is absolutely amazing - it's a novel that makes you think a lot after you've read it. I give it a rating of 5/5, and I recommend it to readers maybe 11+.
Thursday, 20 May 2010

Swapped By a Kiss by Luisa Plaja

Title: Swapped by a Kiss
Author: Luisa Plaja
Published by: Random House
Publication date: 29th April 2010
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

I wish I wasn't myself anymore.

I wish I was her.

I wish I was Jo.

Rachel hates her life. When her on/off boyfriend David goes to a music festival she decides to surprise him - but she gets a shock of her own. Not only does she find David kissing someone else, but it's their friend Jo! Super-lovely, super-loved, all-round-perfect Jo.

Rachel runs away, wishing she could leave her life behind - and she suddenly finds herself in Jo's body! Can she keep this swap a secret? Can she unravel what's really going on? Can she get to grips with Jo's out-of-control curly hair?

And if she discovers that being in someone else's shoes isn't all it's cracked up to be, can she ever be herself again?

I was very excited when - after reading Split By a Kiss - I was told that there would be another book in the series - Swapped By a Kiss! And I was right to be excited, because I think that this is Luisa's best book yet.

The cover is brilliant. The cover actually pretty much sums up the story which I think is good, and as I said in one of my past reviews - you can't go wrong with a purple, shiny cover! I also like the way that all Luisa's book covers are similar; you can always tell it's one of her books without having to look for her name on it. The illustrator is Louise Wilkinson, and I have to say - she has done a very good job!

My favourite character was Rachel. I felt that in the last book I didn't get to know enough about her, but in this book I found out so much more. I'd always wondered what Rachel's secret was in Split By a Kiss, and she finally told everyone in this novel. I won't tell you what the secret is though, no way! That would be telling. All I'm saying's very surprising and you definitely won't be expecting it at all!

The ending was really good too, I liked the Alternative Ending written by David - it was funny! I was so sad when the book ended, though. I'm desperately hoping there will be another book in the series!

I loved this novel, it's amazingly fanbrillitastic! My rating for this book? 5/5 - definitely!
Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Totally Lucy: Best Friends Forever by Kelly McKain

Title: Totally Lucy: Best Friends Forever
Author: Kelly McKain
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 28th November 2008
Pages: 192
Genres: Children's/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Hi! Lucy Jessica Hartley here with something A-MAZING to tell you! I've decided to turn our yawn-oramic school disco into a super-stylish High School Prom!

Jules and Tilda, my fab BFFs are helping me organize a prom king and queen competition, and we're having actual ballroom dancing, AND I'm going to make my own mega-ly gorgeous dress.

Plus, Simon Driscott is finding us a cool DJ. It's soooo exciting!
Step out in style with Lucy Jessica Hartley, as sneaky schoolmates and stricty teachers threaten to ruin her prom-night perfection.

Best Friends Forever is the last book in the Totally Lucy series. Ten fabulous books, ten fabulous adventures! This one's the best of them all.

This is my absolute favourite book out of the Totally Lucy series. It's an original story line - I've never read a book like this one before - and the cover is so cute! I like the way the bright pink title stands out against the light blue background; you can tell the colours of this cover have been chosen really carefully.

I liked the way that sometimes Lucy used abbreviations in her diary, i.e BFF, BTW, LOL. It made the diary feel and look more personal although sometimes she used them a bit too much - that is my only complaint!

You don't have to read all the other books in the series first - they don't really follow on from each other which I think is good!

So, what can I say? This book is totally amazing, a definite 5/5! I really do recommend that you read it, you won't be disappointed.
Monday, 17 May 2010

Superstar High: The Time Of Your Life by Isabella Cass

Title: Superstar High: The Time of Your Life
Author: Isabella Cass
Published by: Corgi Children's
Publication date: 23rd October 2010
Pages: 256
Genres: Children's/Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Belle's falling for the new boy.

Holly's in love.

Cat's running out of time.

Life at the Garrick School of the Performing Arts is never dull, and Belle, Holly and Cat are determined to make the most of every minute.

But training to be a superstar is tough, and as the pressure mounts the girls are going to have to stick together...

Superstar High - where your dreams come true!

After reading the first book in this series (which I really enjoyed) I was very excited  when I received the sequel in the post from Random House (thank you!)

I love the cover - you can't not love a purple cover! I like the way the three main characters Belle, Cat and Holly are black silhouettes against the light purple background.

I'm not too sure about the title of this novel, though. I don't really see what it has in relation to the story. I only noticed someone say 'The Time of Your Life' once in this story - surely that's not enough to make the title?

Anyway, I enjoyed this book although it wasn't as good as the first book, Nobody's Angels. However I did like the way the story was set out - each chapter would be from a different character's point of view. It did get confusing though; sometimes I had to flip back to the beginning of a chapter to see who it was talking this time!

Other than that, it was an original story line and I automatically love books that are set in a performing arts school (seeing as I actually go to one and I want to be an actress when I'm older.)

This book is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves school and friendship stories and acting. I rate this book 4/5.
Friday, 14 May 2010

Totally Lucy: Style School by Kelly McKain

Title: Totally Lucy: Style School
Author: Kelly McKain
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 24th November 2006
Pages: 176
Genres: Children's/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Hey girls! Lucy Jessica Hartley here with a really, really secret secret!!!

I'm setting up a Style School to teach girls how to do makeovers, create fab outfits and even accessorize! It's gonna be sooooo cool. Gotta go and find some top-secret club members!

I'm just crossing my fingers that Mr.Cain (aka the school uniform police) doesn't find out - or I'll be in massivo trouble! Byeeeeee!

Read the crazy confessions of very-nearly-teenager Lucy Jessica Hartley as tyrannical teachers, feisty friends and fashion fiascos all stand in the way of her style-queen status.

I was actually quite surprised by this book. I wasn't really sure if I would like this one or not, but I kept reading it all the way through and...I absolutely loved it!

It was a little un-realistic in places, but somehow that made it even more enjoyable. The story was fantastically written and the author got into the mind of a 'very-nearly-teenager' really well.

I also like the cover, although I think it makes it look a bit more aimed at younger readers - it's definitely not suitable for them though!

The storyline did start to get a little bit predictable at the beginning, but it would be teamed with an unexpected twist. This. Book. Is. Amazing. It has everything a story needs!

If you want to read a book filled with fashion, adventure, humour and yes, even cheese sandwiches (See? Told you this book had everything!) then I definitely recommend this book for readers 10+.

My rating for the book? 5/5!
Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Totally Lucy: Star Struck by Kelly McKain

Title: Totally Lucy: Star Struck
Author: Kelly McKain
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 28th April 2006
Pages: 176
Genres: Children's/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Hi! Lucy Jessica Hartley here with something mega-ly exciting to tell you!

They're making a movie right here in my town and I'm going to audition for a part.

How totally cool is that?!!!

Right, must go this second and create a fab outfit to make me stand out on screen - fingers crossed that gorgeous Daniel Blake will notice me too!

Share the star-struck swoonings of soon-to-be teenager Lucy Jessica Hartley as she deals with demanding directors, costume catastrophes and fame-crazy friends.

The drawings in this book are so cool, and they seem to look slightly realistic at the same time as looking illustrated. I love the clothes Lucy wears and they have been drawn brilliantly. The illustrations are by Vici Leyhane and I think she's done a very good job - Vici, you rock!

Also, the storyline is, while not so original, still enjoyable and it still manages to have you waiting in suspense for the next thing to happen.

I really liked the way the book was set out in a diary format, with a date, time and where she was at the top. I also liked the way some of the words were written in a handwriting font, and there were real looking photos stuck in too to make it look like a real, proper diary.

My favourite character was Jules, Lucy's best friend. Sometimes she was moody and rude, but other than that she was, well...a character you liked to dislike! And when she wasn't being moody and rude, she seemed really nice.

I have no complaints about this book except the length of it! For me, it was too short. I was really sad when it ended - but then I cheered up because there are 9 more, as Jessica would say, 'fabulissimo' books in the series!

My rating of this book is 5/5, I really enjoyed it and recommend it for ages 9+ but I reckon it would still be enjoyable for older girls too. And just girls, because I really don't think this would be a boy's kind of book at all!!

Girl, 16: Five Star Fiasco by Sue Limb

Title: Girl, 16: Five Star Fiasco
Author: Sue Limb
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 7th June 2010
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult/Romance/Comedy/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

The chaotic world of Jess Jordon is not looking rosy.

Mum has joined an online dating programme and has recruited Jess as advisor, while Jess's best friend Flora, has got a new boyfriend who Jess can't possibly keep up with.

Then Jess's own boyfriend, Fred, does something unbelievably treacherous and spineless...

To be honest, I found this novel a little slow to get into at first. It took me about four chapters before I actually got into the story. Other than that, this novel was SO funny - Jess and Fred had me laughing out loud most of the time.

I found it got a bit predictable near the end, though. Jess would be in tears because she couldn't find lighting or caterers - and then suddenly an adult would come and say 'Oh my friend does lighting,' or 'Well I'm very good at cooking, I'm sure I can...' etc. I would have liked it if there was more sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, seeing what Jess would do to solve the problem.

My favourite character was probably Polly, daughter of Jess's Mum's Disaster Date #1. I think she was really kind, and I liked the sound of her cool goth clothes! It was really nice of her to help out with the cooking at Jess's Valentines Dinner Dance, Chaos, too.

Overall this was quite a good book - not the best in the series, I don't think - but I still really enjoyed it. :O) This novel gets a rating of...3.5/5!
Sunday, 2 May 2010

The Ice Cream Con by Jimmy Docherty

Title: The Ice Cream Con
Author: Jimmy Docherty
Published by: Chicken House
Publication date: 7th January 2008
Pages: 240
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Jake and his buddies are over being bullied by the thugs at the housing projects he calls home.

That's why Jake decides to play the goons at their own game by creating a fake gangster, the Big Baresi.

But before long, the imaginary mobster seems to have taken on a life of his own!

The stakes are raised when a stash of stolen diamonds goes missing.

From behind the wheel of an ice cream van, Jake's got to pull off the ultimate con--while managing to keep the mint chocolate chip from a meltdown.

Because, as the Big Baresi knows, revenge is a dish best served cold.

The Ice Cream Con is all about a boy called Jake who lives in a rough area called  the Lochrannoch Estate which is home to quite a few criminals and gangsters.
Jake lives with his ill grandmother in a small flat, and they don't have much money. Jake's grandmother never sets foot outside the house because she's too scared, so one day she gives Jake £20 and asks him to go and get her some groceries but Jake is mugged on the way there. He returns home with no money and no food - and that's where the trouble starts. Jake is so angry with the muggers that he gets his friends (Harvey, Aidan and Sofia) to help him get revenge. Revenge that includes a made up gangster called Baresi, which leads them into all kinds of trouble.

This book was very funny, the funniest characters being Harvey (who is obsessed with ice cream) and Jake's grandmother who takes pills to help with her illness - the side effect makes her fart at the most inappropriate times! This book is one of the most hilarious books I've ever read, and I was really sad when I got to page 188 - the end.

Some of it was a bit complicated I think, and some of it wasn't very realistic, but other than that I really liked it!

I don't know if there is a sequel or not, but if there is I would love to read it. The author, Jimmy Docherty, has written this fantastically - he knows how to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, while in a fit of giggles! I'd recommend this book for kids ages 10+, and I give it a rating of 5/5.