Saturday, 30 November 2013

BLOG TOUR: Freaks by Lisa M Forester + Giveaway!

Title: Freaks
Author: Lisa M. Forester
Published by: Self published
Publication date: 28th November 2013
Pages: 228
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

Nobody's perfect... or are they?

Abigail always knew that she was different, but what she didn't know was just how different.

That was until her 16th birthday, when her parent's revealed a devastating secret that confirmed her worst fears and changed her life forever.

Abigail is an Allelobrid: one of five children born as a result of their parents illegal science experiment in genetic engineering. The aim: to create a perfect human.

Yet perfection comes at a price.

Forced into a life on the run, Abigail finds love, danger and an organisation that will stop at nothing to get what they want.

When lives are at risk and freedom is threatened - could being perfect be enough to survive?

I can't stop freaking out - no pun intended - over how awesome this book is. Back when I participated in the cover reveal in October I was fangirling pretty hard. Now, after finishing the book, I'm fangirling even more.

Abigail has always been different - she is incredibly smart, she never gets ill and her physical fitness is so perfect she could run forever if she wanted to. Her parents have never allowed her to excel even though she could get A* grades in all her subjects so she's always had to maintain average grades at school. However, everything she has ever known changes on her monumental sixteenth birthday. She is an Allelobrid, of which there are only 5 in the world, and people are coming after her.

Freaks is a unique blend of science and romance; I loved it. The characters were well-developed and interesting and I especially liked the dialogue between Abbie and Max, another Allelobrid. This book is full of action and I truly cared about everyone...except the bad people, obviously. Everyone had their own voice and I adored being able to witness the characters develop! Something else Forester is good at is imagery; I could see everything happening so clearly in my head because her descriptions are so good! I'm really impressed with how Forester maintained the scientific and coming-of-age sides of the story whilst also developing the characters so realistically.

Forester writes with flourish and Freaks left me awestruck - this book definitely needs more attention! This is one of those rare but awesome occasions where I couldn't find anything wrong with the book. Perfect pace, perfect characters, perfect plot...maybe the book is secretly an Allelobrid too! ;) Seriously though, this book blew my mind and I cannot wait for the sequel. This book is definitely one to watch out for!
You are a lucky lot today because guess what? You have the chance to win a signed copy of Freaks for yourself as well as some extra goodies!

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Thursday, 28 November 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West

Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Published by: Harper Collins 360
Publication date: 1st November 2013
Pages: 352
Genres: Young Adult/Romance/Dystopian/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

Knowing the outcome doesn't always make a choice easier...

Addison Coleman's life is one big "What if?" As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It's the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie's parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with - her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the "Norms," or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One search six weeks into the future proves it's not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive,  artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school - but she never wanted to be a quarterback's girlfriend. When Addie's father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she's unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she's willing to live through...and who she can't live without.

'Pivot Point' is a novel in which two worlds exist; the paranormal and the normal. The paranormal is a world contained in Texas, but normal people can't see it; only people with the special mind powers can. In the paranormal compound, everyone has powers whether it's Telekinesis like Duke, mind erasing like Laila or lie detection like Addie's dad. In the normal world, well...we all know what that's like, because we live in it!
I love how the worlds kept getting closer and closer, making you anticipate the climax when both worlds would eventually collide. I think Kasie West could have done a bit more world building with the compound, but other than that it was excellent!

I loved the protagonist Addie. She was smart, independent, funny and I loved her power (which I've forgotten the name of but it's similar to Clairvoyance). At the beginning she didn't have a crush on the quarterback, Duke - in fact, she despised him - which I also liked because it avoided a classic cliche!
Laila, Addie's best friend, was nice at the start but towards the end I started to question whether she was a good friend or not. I couldn't really decide, so I'm hoping that will become clearer in the second novel.
I really didn't like Duke and I had suspicions about him from the start. Even his name irritated me (sorry if your name is Duke!) He was too full on and he always got what he wanted, including Addie.
Trevor, the other main male character, was lovely! I adored him and I definitely ship him with Addie. He is so sweet and genuine, whereas Duke isn't.

In 'Pivot Point', there is insta-love with Duke and Addie. I'm not a fan of insta-love but in this case it had to be done and it definitely benefited the story. Through using insta-love, West was directing the reader to prefer Trevor and Addie's relationship over Duke and Addie's, and it worked!

Sometimes I was confused by the alternating chapters - one chapter would be in the paranormal compound and the next would be in the normal world. It got harder to distinguish between the two as the parallel worlds got closer because I would forget what had happened in the last compound chapter and so on.

I knew I would love this book as soon as I saw the beautiful cover. Yep, I judge books by their covers, guilty as charged! I'm desperate to read the sequel which will be out in February - I need it NOW! I'm absolutely delighted at how it turned out. *Simon Cowell voice* "It's a yes from me."
Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Interview with author Karen Saunders

Today I am delighted to welcome Karen Saunders, author of Me, Suzy P, to The Mile Long Bookshelf! Keep reading to find out about the publishing process of her book, the details on her new book coming soon, and a certain incident she had with some skis...

Hi Karen! Welcome to The Mile Long Bookshelf! Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your book, Me, Suzy P?
Hi, Amber! Thanks so much for inviting me on to The Mile Long Bookshelf. It’s fab to be here. I’m Karen, a writer with a fondness for guinea pigs and a rather unfortunate addiction to Haribo. I’m also the author of Me, Suzy, P. The Suzy P of the title is 14 year-old Suzy Puttock, a girl with an embarrassing surname, embarrassing family, and all-round embarrassing life. She’s a walking, talking disaster zone. Luckily she’s got great friends to help her through these mortifying times, and a lovely boyfriend, Danny, too. Problems arise for Suzy when a cute new boy, Zach, starts at her school and seems to like her. Now Suzy’s got to decide what to do – yikes! I've been told it’s funny and romantic.

I agree with that! How long did it take Me, Suzy P to get from inside your head to retailers, readers and reviewers?
A very, very long time! It was several years before it got taken on by a publisher, and people are often surprised how long it takes between an author getting a book deal and the book actually being available to the public. I think in my case Suzy was brought by Templar at the beginning of 2012, and then after the rewrites and the copy edits and the line edits and the cover designing, it was ready to publish at the beginning of 2013. There’s a huge team of people working on each book at a publishing house, and I really landed on my feet with Templar, they've been fantastic.

If Me, Suzy P was offered a movie deal, who would you pick to play the main characters?
I would LOVE Me, Suzy P to be made into a movie, so if any film producers are reading, get in touch anytime! But…I don’t think I can say who I’d pick to play the main characters, because I like people to form their own mental images of characters and settings when they’re reading. So if I give you celebrity names, you’re going to picture them instead of letting your imagination do the work, which to me, is half the fun. (This is why I think you should always try and read a book before seeing it as a movie!)

Reading a book before seeing the movie is definitely the best thing to do. Is there a book by someone else that you wish you had written?
Hmmm, there are some books that have made an awful lot of money that it would be nice to have written, as that sort of bank balance would be nice! The problem is that writing a book is a very different experience to reading a book, so if I’d written a book that I've loved, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of reading it, if you see what I mean. Maybe I need to find a book that’s made a lot of money that I wouldn't enjoy reading, and say that one…

Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
Read everything you can get your hands on. Write, write, write all you can. And persevere. It’s so important to keep going. Don’t give up!

What is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you?
Hah! How long have you got?! Just like Suzy, I’m a walking, talking disaster area. I had my nose broken in a tickling fight, broke my arm opening a window, walked into a lamppost checking out a cute boy and not looking where I was going, fell into a snowdrift while on skis, got stuck and had to be pulled out by the ski instructor, gave myself concussion on my birthday this year getting into my car, got smacked in the face by a football while I was watching a school football match… do you want me to go on?! Because I can, y’know…

Haha, oh no! Can you describe Me Suzy P in three words, each beginning with the letter P?
Argh! This is possibly the hardest question anyone’s ever asked me! And, erm, I don’t think I can. I might have to cheat a bit…

Properly funny, heart-warming.

And finally, do you have a new book coming out anytime soon? Is there anything you can tell us about that?
Yes, I do! The sequel to Me, Suzy P, called Suzy P: The Trouble With Three, will be out early next year, and I’m just about to start on the third Suzy book. So watch this space!

Ooh, I can't wait to read that! Thank you Karen!
Thanks SO much for inviting me onto your blog, it’s been ace to talk to you!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

Title: Revolution 19
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Published by: HarperCollins 360
Publication date: 30th January 2014
Pages: 265
Genres: Young Adult/Sci-fi/Dystopian
Format: Hardback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

At first we called it system-wide malfunctions when the robots stopped fighting at exactly 2:15pm Greenwich Mean Time, August 17, 2051. For twenty-two hours the battlefields were silent. Then when the bots began killing again, now targeting their human commanders, we shook our heads and called it fatal programming errors. A day later, the skies over cities on six continents grew dark with warships, and we began to understand. When the bombs rained down and then legions of bot foot soldiers marched into the burning ruins, killing any humans who resisted and dragging away the rest of us, we finally called it what it was; revolution. 

Revolution 19 revolves around three siblings - Nick, Cass and Kevin - who live in a small settlement in the middle of nowhere. Life is good; ordinary. Little do they know that a mysterious black device Kevin picked up is going to alert robots to their whereabouts and their settlement will be under attack in a matter of hours. The bots capture their parents and the siblings decide to fight to set them free, but will they manage it? And how much trouble will they get in to along the way?

Rosenblum's writing very much reminds me of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness in the way that you are dragged into the story without much explanation of things, like: What is a Freepost? What is a Kidbon? These are both things that feature in the story and I'm still not entirely clear on what they are. They're obviously part of the world building but what actually are they? This doesn't effect the quality of the story too much, but I think it would be better with annotations or a glossary.

There was only just enough world building to keep me interested. Instead of going into a lot of detail with the descriptions the writer seemed to concentrate more on other things, like finishing the story. That's not to say the story was too fast-paced because it wasn't, it was just right. But maybe if the writer had spent more time setting the scene the book would have stayed with me after the last page was turned.

The characters didn't develop at all. Sure they were likeable, but if you asked me what each of their personalities were I wouldn't have a clue. I know their names and I know their ages. I know Nick likes to be the hero and....well, that's it. When they got into tricky situations I didn't feel nervous for them and I didn't particularly care if they lived or died. Also, what's with naming two of the main characters after the Jonas Brothers?...

There was a very subtle hint at romance but nothing actually happened. This would usually disappoint me but I think it benefited the story because the focus was more on survival and defeating the bots instead of crappy love triangles. Revolution 19 was very well thought out, plot wise - it was interesting, unique and plausible. I liked how it was set in our world but in the future and it had been taken over by robots. I mean, that could happen...I know in 2006 I was thinking we would have flying cars and other cool stuff in 2013! ;)

This review has been very hard to write because to be honest I don't remember much of it even though I finished it last night. It isn't a story that stays with you after the last page and it doesn't require much thinking either. Even though it's a really unique and enjoyable book it just didn't stand out for me amongst other books that I've read! Saying that, I would like a sequel because the characters - as undeveloped as they were - and the world and the robots interested me and I think a sequel could be better than this. Fingers crossed!

I have mixed feelings about this book as you can probably tell. I did enjoy it but unfortunately it lacked a lot. It's well worth checking out, anyway!
Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Bloggers on Bullying: My Experiences

I've been bullied a lot. Not as much as some people I know, but a lot. In primary school I was constantly being called 'fat' and not just by children, but by adults too. I wasn't even fat.  My Year 1 teacher was abusive - she would call the other kids horrible things and once when I did something that she didn't like, she grabbed me by the neck of my school jumper and shouted in my face. Yeah, I'm pretty sure she wasn't allowed to do that... 

In secondary school I was no longer called fat. Instead, people chose to call me any other name they could think of and occasionally it would be physical instead of just name-calling. They would make comments on the way I look and they would ruin my things. They didn't think there was anything wrong with hitting someone round the head for no reason. It even progressed to cyber-bullying.

However, that only lasted through Year 7 and 8. Year 9 was completely different because I no longer cared what they thought and I had a bigger group of awesome friends. I wouldn't say I've been bullied a lot. I was pretty popular in Year 9 for some reason; maybe because I finally knew who I was and because I had finally become comfortable with who I am - Jessie J's song 'Who You Are' helped me realise that. Because I know first-hand that bullying is a horrible experience, I thought I'd tell you what I did. Even if this post only helps one person, I'll be happy.

1) Laugh...
I know it sounds weird, but hear me out. If someone is bullying you, laugh at them. It will completely throw them off. They might think you're a bit weird for it but hey, they were bullying you before so they probably already thought it. Laughing makes it look like what they're doing is not getting to you. If they realise they're getting underneath your skin, they will carry on. They're just doing it for the entertainment, so don't give them any, you're not a TV.

2) ...or just completely ignore them.
Act like they're not there. Don't say anything, don't look at them. If they're as unintelligent and unimaginative as most bullies, they won't know what to do so they'll walk away.

3) Talk back.
Okay so maybe this isn't the wisest of my suggestions, but you need to stand up for yourself at some point. Plus, if you say something really intelligent, it's hilarious looking at the "whaa?" expressions on their faces afterwards. If you're full of clever comebacks and a pro at eyebrow-raising go for it. If not, might be getting yourself into more trouble.

4) Tell a trusted adult.
No, this does not make you a wuss, or a tell-tale, or a wimp. Telling an adult is probably your best bet at getting the person to stop bullying you. I'm not ashamed to admit that one of the tactics I used when I was being bullied in Year 7 was telling my parents and my head of year. Within a week it was sorted and the girl never came near me again. She never apologised for the endless list of things she did to me but you can't get everything in life. If the person bullying you is an adult themselves, this is a different kind of abuse and you should tell a different adult such as a teacher, parents or the police. Everything will be easier after that.

5) Remember why they're bullying you.
In all honesty, they're not bullying you because you look weird or because you talk differently or because you always have your head stuck in a book. They're doing it because either that's how they've been treated or because they're going through some tough things in life. It's no excuse but remembering this will help how you mentally face the situation. Don't be scared of them, pity them and remember there is nothing wrong with you. It's them.

I would like to end this post by saying you're special and you'll get through this. Unless you're one of the people who bullied me before, because I happen to know that some of them still read this blog. If that's you then I'm sorry you have such a hard time in life that you feel the need to take it out on others by bullying them. That's not the answer.

A fantastic eBook by YA author Siobhan Curham was published on November 18th. It gives you tips on beating the bullies, encouraging words of wisdom and it's FREE! One of my poems is also in there, which I wrote in the hope that it will help any victims of bullying. Click here to find out more!

If you ever need someone to talk to, you can always send me a DM @MileLongBookS on Twitter. I don't judge. :)

Have you had any experiences with bullying? How did you deal with it?

'Bullying' image source.
Sunday, 17 November 2013

Roller Girls: Boot Camp Blues by Megan Sparks

Title: Boot Camp Blues
Author: Megan Sparks
Published by: Curious Fox
Publication date: 12th September 2013
Pages: 199
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary/Sports
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

This review contains spoilers, which I have covered up. To see spoilers please highlight the blackened text.

Ladies, get your glitter and your skates on!

Annie Turner is single again and it really kind of sucks. It doesn't help that her ex is now going out with a cheerleader! But she's also confused by her new feelings for skater boy Jesse. They're just friends...aren't they? Meanwhile, Annie and her roller girls are each desperate to make the cut for an all-star team. Tensions run high as the teammates compete against each other for roller glory.

Will the stars in Annie's eyes get in the way of her friendship?

In 'Boot Camp Blues' it's building up to Valentine's Day and Annie's spirits are running low as she recently dumped her boyfriend Tyler. With both of her parents dating other people, Annie can't help but feel depressed. Then she gets an anonymous Valentine's card and a CD. She instantly assumes it's from her Dad trying to make her feel better, but maybe she shouldn't completely rule out the whole 'secret admirer' thing. And then she's off to Roller Derby boot camp for a week with her friends, where we get to witness everything that could go wrong, going wrong...

This is the last book in the series but it doesn't feel like it's over. So much happened in this book that I feel there should be at least two more books in the series. I want to hear more about Annie and Jesse's relationship - I waited four books for that to happen - and Annie's place on the all-star team. I want to see more of Annie's Dad's relationship with Coach Ritter. There is so much potential for this series to carry can't be over, surely? I'm not the only one who feels this way!

I really liked this book, especially the dialogue between Annie and Jesse. I also liked the fact that Holly's more vulnerable side was shown because I hadn't liked her that much before. It's really obvious that all of the characters have grown into themselves which is really nice to see.

Overall, I really liked this book but I - along with many others - am so sad to see the end of the series! Fingers crossed for more Roller Girls books. They always manage to put a huge smile on my face!
Thursday, 14 November 2013

Cyberstalker by Jens Hildebrand

Title: Cyberstalker
Author: Jens Hildebrand
Published by: Warped Tomato
Publication date: 1st October 2013
Pages: 239
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

"I love you."

Lilly's heart misses a beat when those words appear on her screen. Okay, she'd love to have a boyfriend, and when Ian sends her a friendship request, she eagerly accepts. He just looks so gorgeous in the pictures. But when she's about to meet him in person, things take a dramatic turn. Who is Ian really? And how far will he go to get what he wants?

It all starts with an Internet ban. Lilly gets a bad grade in her Maths exam and as a result, her mother bans her from going on the Internet. Lilly rebels and is online in no time at all, checking her MyWorld account where she has several friend requests. One of them is from a guy she doesn't know but she assumes he's from the sixth form and she accepts. Little does she know that she's putting her whole family in immense danger. Is he who he says he is? They chat regularly and soon Lilly wants to meet him, which results in a wild car chase and more drama than Eastenders packs in at Christmas...

Damn this book is creepy. Not in a bad way, but it creeped me out enough to make me delete several hundred people on Facebook! I think this book is great at raising awareness of how serious and common Internet grooming is. 'Cyberstalker' is frank and honest whilst thrilling at the same time, so I think it's an excellent book for teenagers and possibly even mature pre-teens as Hildebrand dealt with the subject in a mature way.

I'll be honest, I didn't like the main character Lilly. She didn't have to accept Ian's friend request; it's common sense not to accept people you don't know. However, a lot of teenagers add people they don't know because it's like a popularity contest; who has the most friends? Lilly just frustrated me. Her only ambition was to get a boyfriend and even when someone was outside her bedroom window one night, she didn't bother to let her parents know. It's like she didn't have any common sense at all.

There were only two characters I properly liked, and they were Emma (Lilly's best friend) and Lucas (Lilly's younger brother). Emma always seemed to be there when Lilly was in trouble and she was generally a lot nicer than any of Lilly's other friends. Lucas was sweet and you could tell that he truly cared about his sister, even though he was always grassing her up to their parents.

Lilly's friendship group confused me. For a start, I wasn't sure how old they were - on one page they were referred to as Year 8s, but on the next page it said they were Year 9s. Secondly, I couldn't tell if Lilly and her friends were popular or if they were wannabees...their actions and the dialogue just didn't add up. They acted popular but Lilly didn't act like the rest of them and it never mentioned whether any of them actually liked each other. This is the only time you'll ever hear me see me type this, but I think their friendships should have been more stereotypical. Otherwise, it just wasn't obvious what kind of people they were.

In 'Cyberstalker', there are a few illustrations of Lilly's MyWorld account that show her status updates and comments etc. I'm not sure if my copy is an ARC - if it is then I'm sure these problems will be sorted out sooner or later - but sometimes in the illustrations, Lilly was referred to as Lena Joelle. There were also a couple of grammatical and spelling mistakes, but I believe this book has been translated from German so that is expected.

Some parts were just unbelievable. Towards the end of the book one of Lilly's friends tells her that if she put the letter 'o' in front of a URL on a mobile phone, she'll be able to access the website for free. I know it's fiction, but I think Hildebrand could have come up with something more complex and believable than just putting a single letter in front of a URL. If it was true, none of us would be paying for Internet on our phones. (Oh, how I wish it was true...)

To conclude, this is a really good book that focuses on some serious topics that definitely need more limelight in the YA world, but there were a few faults. I give this book a 3/5 and I do recommend it. Why not check out the first chapter and see what you think?
Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Me, Suzy P by Karen Saunders

Title: Me, Suzy P
Author: Karen Saunders
Published by: Templar Publishing
Publication date: 1st January 2013
Pages: 304
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

This review contains spoilers. To view the spoilers, drag your mouse over the black text.

I'm Suzy Puttock (yes, Puttock with a P), fourteen years old and a total disaster magnet.

My life's full of ups and downs. My loved-up big sister Amber's getting married and wants lime green bridesmaids' dresses. I'm not happy about that.

But there's this hot new guy, Zach, just started at my school. I am happy about that. Only...I've had a boyfriend since forever, Danny.

So now I'm all kinds of confused!

'Me, Suzy P' is a hilariously cringe-worthy book which centres around - yep, you guessed it - Suzy P. Suzy is a walking disaster area, which is proved within the first ten pages when she slides onto a football pitch in the middle of a game and accidentally tugs someone's shorts down in front of everyone... Suzy has to deal with two sisters who are both different kinds of crazy. Her big sister Amber is bridezilla and her little sister Harry is always up to something, whether it's putting a bucket of ice water on Suzy's door or creeping everyone out with fake eyeballs!

Suzy is great. She gets into a lot of embarrassing situations (I can definitely relate to that...) and she's really funny. I felt so sorry for her at times, like when she found out she had to wear a lime-green bridesmaids dress, and when Zach dumped her in front of Danny. Which brings me on to Zach. What an idiot. I thought he was really nice at the beginning but it was soon obvious that that wasn't the case. I also really liked Millie, Suzy's best friend. She was really energetic and hyper all the time yet always there for Suzy.

This book really was everything I'd hoped for and more! With likeable characters (except Zach...grr) and a relateable plot, 'Me, Suzy P' is great for those rainy days where you just want to snuggle up with a good book! It doesn't matter if you only have ten minutes to fit in some reading before you have to go out or something, you won't be able to resist reading the whole book in one sitting. It wasn't over-the-top-spectacular but it's a fun read that you won't be able to put down. Plus, the cover is gorgeous. Now I'm eagerly anticipating the next book in the series!
Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title: The Naturals
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Published by: Quercus Books
Publication date: 7th November 2013
Pages: 308
Genres: Young Adult/Crime/Romance
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Name: Cassie Hobbes
Age: 17
Skill: Profiler
Status: Recruited

Cassie Hobbes is joining The Naturals: a secret FBI programme for exceptionally talented teenagers. But when a new serial killer strikes close to the Naturals HQ, Cassie starts to learn all about mortal danger - outside the classroom.

Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse, Cassie and her friends will have to use all their skills just to stay alive...

Cassie's mother was murdered five years ago, but the killer was never found and neither was the body. Cassie has always been good at reading people; her mother taught her to look for BPE - behavior, personality, environment - so when Cassie is approached by a mysterious guy in a cafe who invites her to be part of The Naturals, a secret FBI programme for people with special abilities, she jumps at the chance. Maybe she can find her mum's killer and put her skills to good use at the same time.

I know we all say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover, but I did. As soon as I pulled this out of the jiffy bag I knew I would love it. Turns out I was right! Cassie is an awesome, badass member of the FBI whilst still being relateable and having a relatively normal life. I loved how unique everybody was! Cassie and Dean, able to infer the personality and intentions of people by Profiling them. Michael, able to detect every emotion someone is feeling just by looking at their face for a second. Sloane, who is constantly spouting statistics and facts, and Lia who can spot a liar in the blink of an eye. All of these rare kinds of people made the book even more interesting - I just couldn't get enough of it!

A lot of people have complained about the love triangle between Cassie, Dean and Michael. I agree that it did seem unnecessary, but I liked it at the same time and it will probably develop later on in the series anyway. I think Cassie and Dean belong together - if any of you have read 'The Naturals', what do you think?

I found the psychology side of 'The Naturals' really fascinating. It was interesting to read how each character formed their individual opinions on the criminals, and how they could link clues to form the bigger picture.

I actually didn't have any problems with this book at all. 'The Naturals' is SUCH a good book and I can't recommend it enough! I love all of the characters and it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. The ending in particular blew me away - I really didn't see that coming! Full of thrilling action, surprising plot twists and a sprinkling of romance, this is sure to be a big hit in the YA market. It's a shame the next book in the series doesn't come out until November 2014 because I need to read it now! *fangirls and then cries because of the long wait*
Friday, 1 November 2013

HALLOWEEN WEEK: The Long Walk by Stephen King (written as Richard Bachman)

Title: The Long Walk (a short story in The Bachman Books)
Author: Stephen King (written as Richard Bachman)
Published by: Hodder
Publication date: 1st August 1987
Pages: 992
Genres: Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Stolen Borrowed from the biggest SK fan ever my Mum

On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as "The Long Walk". If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying... 

This is only the second book I have read by Stephen King, and it really defined how far apart YA books and Adult books are. It is written in a very different style to what I'm used to, which resulted in me having mixed feelings about this book.

The 'Long Walk' is a fictional annual event in the US, where 100 teenage boys from all around the country participate. They walk to the death - no breaks, no opportunities to sit down, just pure walking until there is only one boy left. If you sit down, or slow down, or try to run away, you will be shot, no questions asked. The boys get a few tubes of concentrate every morning, but that has to last until the next morning. If they need the toilet, they have to do it whilst they're walking, no matter what exactly they have to do...

This isn't really a horror story, but it is very gory, quite brutal and scarily realistic. Stephen King is also renowned for generally being a horror writer, so I thought one of his books would be perfect to review for Halloween Week. I read one of his other books, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon when I was 9 (I was a pretty mature reader for my age) and really, really loved it. However, 'The Long Walk' wasn't quite as good, in my opinion.

This book is kind of like The Hunger Games, in the way that a group of teens are competing to the death. At the same time it isn't like The Hunger Games at all because a group of the boys actually make friends even under such dire circumstances, which I liked. The book showed how - under pressure - your mind can push you on past limits you never even knew you possessed.

A lot of the things in this book went way over my head. I think it's partly because it's set in America so they used American terms (although I've never had this problem with American books I've read before). I was constantly asking my Mum - who read it years ago - what things meant and her answer was usually 'They say that over there.' Had I completely understood everything, I'm sure I would have enjoyed this loads more. Obviously that's not the author's fault, but mine! Another problem I had was that this seems to have no sub-plots, which is something I haven't experienced before, so I always felt like something was lacking. 'The Long Walk' is officially a short story (even though it's 400 pages...) and short stories  generally only have one main plot, so I understand that.

This story was so slow. Honestly, it's a 400 page book and about 200 pages in, I felt like it should have finished already. I only kept reading because I wanted to find out who won the walk (so I guess King did something right). The slow pace made the story lose tension, I thought, and that really disappointed me. I think I would have enjoyed the novel as a whole a lot better had it been faster paced or a bit shorter. Because of this, I'm going to have to give 'The Long Walk' 3/5. The concept was brilliant, but sadly it just wasn't for me! I know people who absolutely loved it though, so I guess it's one of those books that is a bit like Marmite. ;)

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