Monday, November 12, 2012

REVIEW: Shift by Em Bailey

"There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even arrived at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And they were dead because Miranda had killed them."
 Since her breakdown last year, Olive has become the school loner, so she can only watch as new girl Miranda latches on to her old best friend, class queen bee Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie - even going out with Katie's boyfriend. And then Katie dies. Olive is convinced Miranda is somehow responsible, but the only person who believes her is Lachlan, the hot boy who won't take the hint that she wants to be left alone. And then Miranda turns her attention on Olive. She makes life so much fun that soon they are best friends. But what price will Olive have to pay for this new friendship?

Shift is a thrilling, psychological, and utterly captivating book. It's different from anything I've read before, and it's addictive and exciting - I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through! There's always something going on - the author doesn't waste time with descriptions, it's action all the way through. I loved it! 

I liked the way there was two different plotlines - the mystery of what was going on with Miranda, and then the mystery of what exactly the 'big thing' that happened to Olive a few months ago. It kept me reading till the very end, because I was just dying to know what had happened/what was going to happen. The only thing I didn't like was the way that the author dropped some pretty obvious hints throughout the book about what had happened to Olive. I prefer when twists in books are like bombshells, when you're totally not expecting them! There was a few genius twists in the book though, that I definitely didn't see coming! There was one at the end of part 1, and I honestly just sat there re-reading the paragraph over and over, I was so shocked! It was so clever, and I absolutely didn't see it coming!

Every one of the characters were intriguing and unique. Miranda is so creepy, but at the same time there's something very alluring about her. She's such a fascinating character.  She's horrible, but still fascinating! What she was doing to Katie and then Olive was creepily subtle. I didn't understand how Olive didn't realise what Miranda was doing to her, when she was the one person convinced of Miranda's guilt nearly the whole way through. Olive was a strange character - I liked her though. She was fragile, and she's one of those people you just want give a big hug to! I LOVED Lachlan, he was a fantastic love interest! He really cared about Olive and they were so cute together.

I loved the ending of Shift. It was so exciting, and the book's climax was just - OMG. I'm being honest, my heart was literally racing in that scene! It was a very satisfying ending, even though is was left open to interpretation...

I think the idea of Miranda being a sort of a shapeshifter was a fantastic one  - it's so original and it's refreshing and interesting to read such an unusual story. Shift is not a book to be missed. It's a brilliant, heart-racing and fast-paced novel!
                                                 Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Age group: 12+
Official Publication Date: 7th May 2012
Publisher: Electric Monkey (an imprint of Egmont)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Feathered Man blog tour

I am delighted to welcome Jeremy de Quidt to Bookster Reviews for the blog tour of his new novel The Feathered Man. He has written a brilliant post about Halloween when he was a child - enjoy!

(Sorry about the terrible photo alignment - I'm terrible at computer stuff!)

Halloween wasn't made anything of in my house when I was a child. The shops might have had toffee apples in, and I can remember them alright, but as for Halloween itself at home - it just was another day. People didn't dress up and go from door to door then, not like now. I’m glad they do, now. I like that. We always make a pumpkin lantern and leave it on the wall outside. I like the sound of the gate going and hearing the muffled conversations. I like turning out the light and slowly opening the door to see who’s there. A couple of years ago I whipped it open as fast as I could and growled at the ghosts and ghouls on the step - it wasn't quite what they’d been expecting and the shrieks and screams that went up could have woken the dead - which is, after all, what Halloween is really all about - waking and remembering the dead. I knew that much even when I was growing up as a child in a house where Halloween was just another day. But you see for me it wasn't the day that was the problem, it was the night. As the afternoon drew in and darkness began to fall, I started to wonder what really did happen when all the lights were out and the clock struck midnight on Halloween. I began to wonder with growing disquiet what the graveyard at the church - the one that I walked past everyday on the way home from school- was really like in the darkness; all those crooked headstones and the green coloured chips of glass that were strewn over the white marbled graves, the bunches of withered flowers in the little vases. And suddenly the dark wasn't a place I wanted to be in - even a trip with rubbish to the metal dustbin down the path by the back door was done as quickly as I could do it - down the steps, take the lid off, bang it back on and get back in and shut the door - keep all that darkness out. But as the evening wore on there at the end of it, like some grim, awful train approaching, would be bed time and the house would be clicking and cold and quiet, and whatever was outside, all that remembering of the dead, would come knocking on my bedroom door. One year in the weeks before Halloween, Mr Jones died. He was the old man who’d lived in the house next door. I remember the absolute terror of lying in bed that Halloween night and thinking that Mr Jones was going to come tapping on my window, dressed in his old brown jacket and grey trousers, a bunch of withered flowers in one hand, and broken chips of coloured green grave glass in the other. That night lasted for ever. I remember it now.

I even looked on the frost covered path the next day as I went to school to see if there were any pieces of green grave glass dropped there.

I still wonder to this day what on earth I’d have done, if there had been.

Wow, fantastic (and creepy!) post Jeremy, thank you for that!

The Feathered Man was published by David Ficking Books on the 1st of November, and is now availible in all good bookshops, as well as Amazon and The Book Depository.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

REVIEW: My Now or Never Diary by Liz Rettig

Kelly Ann has only just come to her senses and realised that G, the boy she’s fancied all year, is a total nerd and Chris, the boy next door who’s been in love with her all year, is actually the man for her. But does that mean she’ll live happily ever after with Chris, discovering the joys of sex and smugly advising her friends in the ways of true love? Of course not. With the help of her faithful friends Liz and Steph, Kelly Ann manages to muck it all up and finds that the path of true love never runs smoothly! Can her relationship with Chris survive being found by his parents semiclothed in their living room on the day of his surprise birthday party? Or her wild girls’ holiday to the domain of the holiday rep, Faliraki? Can Kelly Ann get through all these crises and manage to singlehandedly look after her sister’s baby and the fake baby school have given her as a project too? A hilarious riot of teenage fumblings, terrible teachers and skincare made from porridge.

Kelly Ann has to be one of my favourite fictional heroines of all time. She's such a brilliant character! She's hilarious and some of the things she comes out with are just genius. She's very naive at the same time though, which can be irritating sometimes, but at other times it can be a contributing factor to her lovableness! It annoyed me the way that she was convinced that Shelly was such a good friend, when it was obvious she wasn't. 

Stephanie and Liz are fantastic friends to Kelly-Ann, and I love them too! The friendship the girls have is so real and lovely! Stephanie changes in this novel, for the better. She grows up, and she becomes a more genuine person. Liz stays much the same, and doesn't really have a huge part in the book, but she's still great to have around as a character, because she's so funny!

I still don't know about Chris! He's the only flaw in the book in my opinion. I don't dislike him, he just doesn't feel real to me at all. His and Kelly-Ann's relationship doesn't feel genuine, and he doesn't come to life for me!

One of my favourite things about this series is that it's so true to life. Kelly Ann's experiences with friends, family, school, boys and everything else are realistic, and very relatable! This series describes the highs and lows of being a teenager, with no sugarcoating!

I flew through reading My Now or Never Diary. These books are so readable, and are literally impossible to put down! The (usually) short diary entries make the reader keep going and going, and you hardly notice the pages fly by! The author is amazing, it honestly feels like I'm actually reading Kelly Ann's real diary!

My Now or Never Diary is hilarious - the situations Kelly-Ann and her friends get themselves into are hysterical! If you need a good laugh, this is the series to read.

I know this is a short review, but to be honest I don't know what else to say - the Kelly-Ann series is fantastic, and if you're a teenage girl who hasn't read it yet, you're seriously missing out! My Now or Never Diary is one of the funniest books I've read, but it's also heartwarming and very likeable - like Kelly Ann herself! It's a great part of the series, not to be missed!

                                                Rating: 4.5/5

Source: For Review - a massive thanks to the publisher for sending me this in exchange for an honest review.
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
Age group: 13+
Official Publication Date: 1st June 2006
Publisher: Corgi Childrens (an imprint of Random House Childrens Books)