Thursday, 27 August 2015

Book review: The Rest of us just live here by Patrick Ness

Title: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Synopsis: What if you aren’t the Chosen One?
The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Review: THIS BOOK....I feel like recently I've been writing very similar things about books, or using the same words like 'love' (so maybe I should buy a thesaurus) but maybe that's also OK, because the sentiment is the same ( I loved this book like I've loved many this year), and maybe not every review has to be different...and that's where I promise to stop trying to stretch out a bad pun, as true as it may be.

So yeah...this book was fantastic, I flew through it like quick fire and didn't want it to end! Some books are written in a way that just clicks with you, and this clicked in so many ways I can't even tell you. There was this fluidity to the writing that haven't felt in literature for a while that was so easy to be drawn into.  And the cover...if that doesn't draw you in then we might as well leave it here :p it has this cool old movie poster quirk that I really like...and now have a print of on my wall.

The premise is simple and effective...not everyone has to be the hero, we just have to be yourselves and with that life happens, and you never know what that life is going to be. This was something that although was build up for the narrative of a book was also a subject that was relatable to so many people because we've all been in a school environment and remember what that was like, and especially myself, wanting to not be the 'it' person but plod along well enough in my own life. I was..and am and will still be Mikey. It opened up with these great natural conversations between friends and family, the personalities, situations and event we could all relate to in one way of another, and that's one of the things that made it so great.

At the beginning of every chapter there is this great ironic narrative of the 'hero's' story, that was just so funny, and also a little interesting that it swept you into that story, adding those little layers that gave the book depth without being a heavy read. I also loved how it was the 'indi' kids, because throughout the book there was this great feeling of the irony that it may or may not have been playing on but that gave this book that underlying feeling of something more.

This was a teen book for teens, but it was also soo much more than that, and is a book that (i hope and feel) that everyone who reads it will enjoy.

I now throughly can't wait to read more from Patrick Ness.

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Saturday, 15 August 2015

Book review: Skin by Ilka Tampke

Title: Skin
Author: Ilka Tampke
Release Date: August 6th 2015
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Synopsis: For the people of Caer Cad, ‘skin’ is their totem, their greeting, their ancestors, their land.
Ailia does not have skin. Abandoned at birth, she serves the Tribequeen of her township. Ailia is not permitted to marry, excluded from tribal ceremonies and, most devastatingly, forbidden to learn. But the Mothers, the tribal ancestors, have chosen her for another path.
Lured by the beautiful and enigmatic Taliesin, Ailia embarks on an unsanctioned journey to attain the knowledge that will protect her people from the most terrifying invaders they have ever faced.
Set in Iron-Age Britain on the cusp of Roman invasion, Skin is a thrilling, full-blooded, mesmerising novel about the collision of two worlds, and a young woman torn between two men.

Review: I'm very glad that I picked up and read skin when I did as it was very different to what I've currently been reading and it was great to have this change across the board. Pace, setting, story...cover! LOOK at that gorgeous cover, and the foil on the hardback (which will have to be imagined) makes it look so beautiful. I also love Celtic patters and gives you a great idea of what to expect...yet not at all.

There was a great fluidity to the writing that drew you in, and reminded me of when I read Hannah Kent's Burial Rights. Similarly the pace of both books was more subtle, and events just flowed so it was about the little moments and what they meant on the grand scheme of things than this massive action packed book, because you didn't need any of this.

I loved the concept of Skin as an identity and a defining point of someones life and how this was then also defined by certain animals. In many ways it still exists with the way that we hold onto traits like names, or geographic identity, just, we are not as controlled by it in the way that the characters are in the book. I think this is one of the reasons that I drew into Ailia so much. She was a great protagonist. I also think I have a thing for cookmother type characters because I'm also drawn to them! but that's made a story for a different day.

The history of the novel was balanced with the fantasy, which itself is interesting, because it is based on the truth of the lore and philosophy that people of this time believed in. It just brought it into reality. The loved the journeying into the Mothers realm, it gave little sparks to the book that brought of the tension and the emotion because it developed Ailia and through that as we were almost one and the same with her, we too grew to break down the ideologies of her situation and stand at the brink of change...where will book two take us I now wonder and wait....apparently patience is a virtue.

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Friday, 14 August 2015

The Healer eBook Novella by Virginia Boecker

Title: The Healer (The Witch Hunter 0.5)
Author: Virginia Boecker
Release Date: 11th August 2015
Publisher: Little Brown books for Young Readers
Synopsis: John Raleigh, one of the youngest and most talented magical healers in all of Anglia, can relieve any ailment except, perhaps, his own broken heart. Since the deaths of his mother and sister who burned at the stake for witchcraft, John has spent his nights lost in nightmares and his days drowning in melancholy. That is until he's summoned to the home of Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in the kingdom, who suffers from a mysterious illness that has confounded every other healer.
John immediately knows that this is no normal sickness. Nicholas, it seems, is falling apart because of a dangerous curse, and their only clue for a cure is a single name—Elizabeth Grey.
Who is this girl and how has she become mixed up with such dark magic? John must put these questions aside when Elizabeth is brought to him from the palace's prison on the brink of death. It will take everything he has to save her, and to save Nicholas, but perhaps he'll manage to save his heart along the way.

Review: Lets juts start off as I like to with how much I love this cover! Taking the American styling of the Witch Hunter which I liked because of it's simplicity yet impact, just like we have here. So a good cover is always a good way to start.

I really enjoyed The Witch Hunter (full review you can find HERE) so it's great to go back and get a little extra before the next book, and a novella is great for that. It's a quick easy read, where you fall back easily into the story, just from a different perspective.

And John's none the less. I did love John as a characters, and he was a natural choice to look at. His has a beauty to his personality which really came across and the story flowed well from him. It gave little bits of context and history that helped to build the world up and fill in some of the gaps.

As ever, and this is nothing against the book, but the nature of the novella, its was just that little bit too much for me because by the time i was really i the swing of thing it was over. But, and this is an important but, because you should still read it. Especially if you've ever lived or been to Harrow :p

If you're looking for something light and fun to read this - and if you like witch stories (and the magic here is much more subtle and natural) then read this!

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