Monday, 24 June 2013

Through the Zombie Glass - Gena Showalter

Publication Details

Will be published 24th September 2013 by Harlequin TEEN
468 pages
29 chapters

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Bloomsbury, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion.)

This book is the SEQUEL to Alice in Zombieland, however I will be making this review SPOILER FREE.


Inspired by the childhood classic Alice in Wonderland, this harrowing and romantic story features teen zombie slayer Alice Bell who has lost so much—family, friends, her home. After a strange new zombie attack, Alice fears she may be losing her mind as well. A terrible darkness blooms inside her, urging her to do wicked things. The whispers of the dead assault her ears and mirrors seem to come frighteningly to life. She’s never needed her team of zombie slayers more—including her boyfriend, Cole—than she does now. But as Cole strangely withdraws and the zombies gain new strength, Ali knows one false step may doom them all.


Let's start off with the fact that this book is the sequel to one of my favourite books of 2012 - Alice in Zombieland. I absolutely loved Alice in Zombieland and so I naturally was very anxiously awaiting the opportunity to read its sequel Through the Zombie Glass and this book was more than worth it!

This series follows Alice Bell, who's in her late teens and has a somewhat strong connection to zombies. Since this is the sequel and I don't want to give away too much, that's all I'm going to say about the series as a whole so far. Now back to Through the Zombie Glass.

The plot of this book is one of the most clever and thought out plots that I've ever read. This book is one of those sequels that you expect to be good but not as good as the first in the series, but then it turns out to be 10 times better. The start of the book is basically continuing from Alice in Zombieland and we continue following Alice around in her weird daily life. But then the main plot hits and I seriously never thought that this would have been something that would happen to Alice. Obviously as this is the sequel and I don't want to reveal anything major I won't say what the actual main plot is but trust me when I say it's amazing. It's creepy, it's weird and it's just all round phenomenal.

Gena Showalter is an amazing author. Her writing is so easy to read and everything she writes is detailed in a very simplistic but entirely understandable way that makes for easy reading. Gena also manages to create some very creepy scenes in this series, especially in Through the Zombie Glass. Although Gena is amazing at writing creepy and dark scenes, her humor shines through so perfectly in her books - Kat (mentioned below) is one of those few characters that I can read and almost all of her scenes make me laugh out loud, and for that, I am entirely grateful. Any time an author makes me laugh out loud, that's how I know they're a good author. Gena is not good, she's mind-blowingly phenomenal. If you haven't read any of Gena's work, you're missing out on so much and when you read her work, you'll be so angry that you were previously so oblivious to her writing. Trust me, read some Gena Showalter, you will not regret it.

Alice Bell is one of my favourite main characters, I just love her personality and how she can be so protective of her friends and family and when she's at her weakest she'll be the strongest she can be to protect the people she cares about. That's the kind of character that I love. I feel like even though Alice has been through some of the most horrific things that could happen to someone so young she manages to stay strong and even though everything keeps hitting her like a bullet through the chest she manages to take it all in her stride and find a way to remedy absolutely anything that comes her way from her friends' broken relationships to zombie-infested buildings. Alice is amazing, Alice is badass, Alice is just wow.

The only other character that I feel really stands out enough for me to mention in this review is Katherine "Kat" Parker - Alice's best friend. I can't describe with words how much I love Kat as a character. If someone offered me the opportunity to put all things I love in a person and mould them together to create a friend for myself, Kat would probably be the outcome. Kat is loveable, she's kinda weird and best of all she's hilarious. She just doesn't seem to care about much in life and she takes each day as it comes and she doesn't worry or stress about the implications of her actions or what the future will bring - she lives in the here and now and I love her for everything she is.

Although I could talk about this book for hours on end without running out of things to talk about, I can't continue this review without spoilers so I'll have to stop here. I just love this book so much, I love this series so much, these characters and the weird world they live in, it's all amazing. One more thing I would like to mention before I end this review is to those people who haven't yet read Alice in Zombieland - please don't go into this book expecting it to be an exact zombie-infested retelling of Alice in Wonderland because that's not what this series is. This series wouldn't be as incredible as it is if it was just an exact replica of Alice in Wonderland with a few zombies here and there, it's much, much better than that and deserves a whole lot more praise than it's already getting. So please, if you haven't yet read Alice in Zombieland and plan to, go into the book with a fresh mind, don't expect Alice to fall down a hole, don't expect a weird tea party or a mad Queen. Expect an Alice you've never known, a badass Alice that slays zombies on an almost-daily basis. 

This series has been fantastic so far, Gena's mind-blowing writing, the fantastic characters and incredible plots all make for a mind-blowing series about the Alice you thought you knew and one you'll never forget.

5 out of 5 stars

*Side note: READ THIS SERIES* That is all.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Teacher's Pest - Charles Gilman

Publication Details

Published by Quirk Books on May 7th 2013
170 pages
20 chapters

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Quirk, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion)

This is the third book in the Lovecraft Middle School series. The synopsis below *may* contain spoilers, however my personal review will be entirely spoiler free!


DON'T BE FOOLED by his friendly smile, his perfect manners, or his shiny red apple. Student council president Howard Mergler is actually a sinister bug-monster in disguise—and he's summoning swarms of roaches, wasps, fleas, and head lice into the corridors of Lovecraft Middle School!  Twelve-year-old Robert Arthur is the only student who can stop him--but he'll need help from his best friends: the school bully, the school ghost, and an extremely courageous two-headed rat.
This third novel in the Lovecraft Middle School series begins right where Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters ended—with more action, more adventure, and more outrageous monsters!


I loved this book just as much as I loved the first two in this series, possibly even a little more! I still love Robert and Glenn and Karina as main characters, I think they're fun, exciting, lovable and just all round fantastically well-written characters. I feel like these three characters are the perfect fit for a middle grade series such as this one; as main characters, Robert, Glenn and Karina are interesting and brave and care for each other - all of these are characteristics and personality traits that I feel could be really inspirational to readers of a similar age and it could be a really good influence on readers as opposed to characters that would be mean, cruel and rude.

One of my favourite things about this series so far is that each of these books has a different story line and situation for each book to focus on, however all of the books have the one same villain and predominant back story that the individual book plots revolve around. I feel like this makes for a really interesting series overall so far and it should help younger readers get much more invested in each book much easier than if each of the books were based around something entirely different to its predeccesor.

One more thing that I love about this series is that, even if you haven't read the first book, it is entirely possible to read the series out of order. Each book manages to fluently blend in information from previous books regarding characters and minor plot points without giving the reader a huge information dump at the beginning of the book. Information regarding the previous books is carefully slipped in throughout the entirety of each book so that the reader has a decent idea of the characters, character relationships and previous plots and situations. 

Overall, I loved this book and I love this series overall! These books are quick, fun, fast paced, imaginative and action packed reads that you'll read from cover to cover in no more than a few sittings, and you'll love every minute of it! I know I certainly loved every bit of each of the first two books in this series and this book was undoubtedly no exception! I can't wait to continue this series and find out what mishaps and sticky situations these children can wind themselves up in next!

5 out of 5 stars!

PS: If you would like to read my review for the first two books in the Lovecraft Middle School series, a link will be provided below to my written review where you will also be able to find a link to my video review of both Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Disneystrology (What Your Birthday Character Says About You) - Lisa Finander

Publication Details

Published on October 1st 2010 by Quirk Publishing
384 pages

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Quirk, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion)


Who’s Your Birthday Character?
Disneystrology combines astrology, numerology, and the magic of movies to help readers understand their own personalities. Within this beautifully illustrated volume, astrologer Lisa Finander has identified 366 unique Disney character types—everyone from Snow White to WALL•E—and paired these characters to corresponding birth dates.
If you were born on November 9, for example, you’re likely to be exuberant, friendly, and youthful—traits best exemplified by Pinocchio. Readers born on February 22 are often powerful, principled, and determined—the perfect words to describe King Mufasa of The Lion King. Open these pages to reveal your birthday character!
You’ll also discover character profiles, keys to personal success, and much, much more. Illustrated with hundreds of stills from more than 90 years of classic animation, Disneystrology is an entertaining tribute to the most delightful characters in movie history.


So basically this book contains 366 Disney characters, 1 assigned to each day of the year. Each Disney character has been assigned to the day of the year so that whoever's birthday falls on a specific day, the character assigned to that day will be used to describe the person's personality etc. With each character comes a personality description, "Magical Gifts" (describing what 'gifts' that specific character bestows upon the person who's birthday falls on that date) as well as "Keys to your Success". 

I love this little book, I think it's extremely creative and fun to find your birthday, discover which Disney character you've been matched with and read how that describes you as a person. It is evident that Lisa put a lot of work and thought into this book in order to get the best possible matches between Disney characters and birthdays in terms of astrology. 

As I said before, I found this book to be really fun and interesting to flick through. It combines two very exciting things; Disney and Astrology. Fun, quick and interesting, I really recommend you pick this up if you're intrigued about which character matches your birthday and what that says about your personality and you as a person.

5 out of 5 stars

Jokes Every Man Should Know - (Edited by) Don Steinberg

Publication Details

Published on April 1st 2008 by Quirk Publishing
143 pages

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Quirk, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion)


The Only Joke Book You’ll Ever Need
     •  Nine Jokes about Heaven and Hell
     •  Eight Jokes Just for Kids
     •  Nineteen Jokes Definitely Not for Kids
     •  Six Jokes about Lightbulbs
     •  Seven Jokes about Bars
     •  The World’s Only Funny Knock-Knock Joke
Plus alternate versions, roasts and toasts, historical footnotes, tips on telling jokes, and much, much more.


As you can probably tell by the title, cover and synopsis of this book, Jokes Every Man Should Know is a simple, small, pocket-sized book full of jokes that are pretty much appropriate for almost any occasion!

I can't really review this as I would normally review books, considering it's merely a joke book and not a full novel. But what I can say about this book is that it's pretty darn hilarious! I read through this in a couple of hours and had some of the best laughs I've had in a long time! There are over 100 jokes packed into this small little book, and 9 out of 10 of the jokes had me laughing out loud. There are also little sections included in random places throughout the book such as; "How to Tell a Joke: Eight Tips Every Man Should Know", "Ten Jokes for Roasts and Toasts" and "Where Do Jokes Come From?" as well as a number of others. These sections were nicely placed throughout the book so that they separated the jokes up nicely and you wouldn't get sick of reading tonnes of jokes at a time because they were split up with these little informative sections.

Also, after a majority of the jokes, there were small boxes that contained additional information about the previous joke including an alternative version of the joke, optional toppers to jokes and bonus jokes!

I found this little book of jokes to be extremely funny and entertaining. I feel like this would be that kind of gift that would work perfectly in a situation where you don't know what to buy someone for a birthday or it could also be used as a great stocking filler at Christmas!

5 out of 5 stars

PS: I understand that it seems like this joke book is targeted mainly towards men, considering the title, however, for any women that would like something like this, there is an alternative version of this book entitled Jokes Every Woman Should Know by Jennifer Worick

Monday, 29 April 2013

Book Jars!

Book Jars are totally going to be the new thing for readers with a significantly large to-be-read pile, which, admittedly, is probably everyone reading this. 

What is a book jar?

Basically, a book jar is pretty much when you find a jar, write/print all of your unread book titles onto some paper, cut the paper into slips with the titles on them and then put them into the jar.

Why have a Book Jar? What is the point?!

Like I said above this is probably going to come in most useful for those of us that have an embarrassingly huge to-be-read pile among our collection of books. So, the point of a book jar: when you inevitably get to a point of reading where you are unsure which book you would like to read next, you can just open your book jar, pull out a book and you read the book you picked from the jar!

What do I need to make a Book Jar?

To make a Book Jar, the only things you need is an empty jar, lots of paper (more paper for the more books you need to write down), either a pen or a printer to write or print the book titles onto the paper and some scissors. That's all you need to make your Book Jar!

How do I make a Book Jar?

Making a Book Jar is super easy, here's some pictures depicting the process I went through to make mine!

First off you'll need an empty jar.
I just used this empty used up Nutella jar.

You'll probably want to get the label ripped off the jar. 
You can do this at any point, before or after you have all the book titles ready to go in the jar, it's not a huge deal. 

I decided to type up and print out the book titles as opposed to writing them because I genuinely don't think my hand could have coped with writing them all down!

I cut up all of the book titles into little individual slips that would go into the jar. I also decided to mark all of my review books with a green sharpie, just so I'd have a pre-warning of whether it is or isn't a review book when I pull a book from the jar.

I folded each of the individual slips in half twice and then put them all into the jar for choosing at a later date!

And that's it! I understand that my Book Jar looks pretty plain and dull, but you can decorate the outside of the jar however you like to make it more pretty and fun! 

I'd just like to add that this idea is not my own. I got this idea from a video that was made by Sarah on her YouTube channel "MOTHEREFFINGBOOKS" (!

Also, keep in mind that if you don't fancy the idea of making a Book Jar for all of the unread books in your collection, you can do this for other things like maybe you want to read specific books during the Summer holidays but don't know what order to read them in, you could use this idea to help you choose!

I hope you enjoy this idea as much as I did and remember if you end up making a Book Jar of your own, let me know in the comments below! Tell me how you decorated it, what are you using it for? So that's it for this post, thought I would just share this awesome idea with everyone, I think this is going to really catch on!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Professor Gargoyle & The Slither Sisters - Charles Gilman

Professor Gargoyle (with holographic changing cover)

The Slither Sisters (with holographic changing cover)

Publication Details

Release Dates
Professor Gargoyle - September 25th 2012
The Slither Sisters - January 15th 2013

Page/Chapter Numbers
Professor Gargoyle - 168 pages, 18 chapters
The Slither Sisters - 172 pages, 19 chapters

Both books have been published by Quirk Books

Age Group - Middle Grade/Children's

(Please note that both of these books were sent to me from Quirk Books for free in return for an honest review. This does not in any way affect my final opinions or ratings for these books. Everything mentioned in this review is entirely of my own opinion and has not been influenced whatsoever)

Professor Gargoyle Synopsis

Strange things are happening at Lovecraft Middle School. Rats are leaping from lockers. Students are disappearing. The school library is a labyrinth of secret corridors. And the science teacher is acting very, very peculiar. Robert Arthur knew that seventh grade was going to be weird, but this is ridiculous!

With the help of some unlikely new friends, Robert discovers there's more to Lovecraft Middle School than meets the eye. Can he uncover the secrets of the school before it's too late?


(I will not be talking about anything specific in this review. I will be discussing both books in a single review and will review overall aspects of the books; writing, characters etc. This review will be spoiler free)

Let's start this review on a positive note - I loved these books. Both of these books were fun, exciting, unique, action packed and even funny here and there. The writing in these books is simplistic as the series is aimed predominantly towards younger readers, however it is not so simplistic that it becomes frustrating to read after a while. The writing is descriptive and runs smoothly throughout the entirety of the books. When necessary, the writing becomes fast paced and managed to create a vivid image of characters and creatures in my head which allowed me to enjoy these books so much more. Overall, the writing is extremely suitable for younger readers but also allows for an exciting and fun time for readers of all ages.

The main character in these books is a little boy named Robert Arthur. Robert is starting at a new school - Lovecraft Middle school - and so he has no friends, doesn't know his way around the school and is confused and lost about what he should be doing and how he should be acting in his first year at middle school. I highly enjoyed reading about Robert, I thought he was a relatable character for most younger people that will be reading these books as he defines, in a way, the typical young boy that is worried about starting a new school, making new friends and the like. Robert was a strong, brave, caring and protective character that never failed to stand up for his friends in times of need, and I feel like this could be inspirational to younger readers. 

The actual plots of these books are fantastic. Lovecraft Middle school is no ordinary school, it's one with monsters as teachers and mutated creatures in its walls. Everything in these stories is incredibly creative and imaginative and combined with Gilman's writing, I found myself highly enjoying the school and its creatures and mysteries. Considering these books are less than 200 pages each, Gilman manages to squeeze in so much adventure and creativity that it makes for an extremely fun and addictive journey for the reader and one that is shockingly difficult to step away from as soon as you begin the books. 

Overall I feel like these books were fantastically executed and were both a fresh breath of air and creativity in regards to what books are circulating recently. These stories are unique, imaginative, exciting, fun and action packed - everything you could want in a book and more! Something else I felt was extremely well done about these books is that the books could be read out of order and they would still be as enjoyable as ever - if you do decide to read these books out of order the only real problem you may have is losing out on character development and also, The Slither Sisters may have a number of references to Professor Gargoyle which may be difficult to understand if you read the books out of order. 

Like I said above, I absolutely loved these books and I absolutely cannot wait to continue this series with the next book, Teacher's Pest! I highly recommend that you pick up this series as soon as you can - these are quick, fun and thrilling reads you don't want to miss out on!

Professor Gargoyle - 5 out of 5 stars
The Slither Sisters - 5 out of 5 stars

(3rd book in the Lovecraft Middle School series - Teacher's Pest - coming May 7th 2013!)

Watch my video review of Professor Gargoyle and The Slither Sisters!

Thursday, 28 March 2013

(Guest post by Jill Hathaway! IMPOSTOR Blog Tour!) Mini Contest: What's Your Favorite 90s Jam?

Get ready for another contest!
Vee is really into music from the 1990s. She has a big box of her mom's old CDs, and it's pretty much the only thing she has to remember her mom by. Also, Rollins is very into music from that time period himself.
To win a chance at a signed copy of IMPOSTOR, tweet me (@jillscribbles) with your favorite 90s jam! Submit your entries by April 1st for consideration. And, yes, this contest is international.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Dance of Shadows - Yelena Black

Publication Details

Published 12th February 2013 by Bloomsbury
389 pages
27 chapters

(Please note that this book was sent to me for review by Bloomsbury, however, this does not in any way affect my final opinion or rating on the book. Everything mentioned in this review is completely of my own opinion)


Dancing with someone is an act of trust. Elegant and intimate; you're close enough to kiss, close enough to feel your partner's heartbeat. But for Vanessa, dance is deadly – and she must be very careful who she trusts . . .

Vanessa Adler attends an elite ballet school – the same one her older sister, Margaret, attended before she disappeared. Vanessa feels she can never live up to her sister's shining reputation. But Vanessa, with her glorious red hair and fair skin, has a kind of power when she dances – she loses herself in the music, breathes different air, and the world around her turns to flames . . . 

Soon she attracts the attention of three men: gorgeous Zep, mysterious Justin, and the great, enigmatic choreographer Josef Zhalkovsky. When Josef asks Vanessa to dance the lead in the Firebird, she has little idea of the danger that lies ahead – and the burning forces about to be unleashed.


This book does not take its time when it comes to getting started on the plot. The book opens with our main character, Vanessa Adler, settling into her new dorm room in the New York Ballet Academy - the school she's attending in the hopes that she'll find her missing sister, Margaret. For about the first half of this book I enjoyed Vanessa's character, I respected the level of determination she felt towards finding her sister and what she was willing to do and go through in order to get Margaret back. I didn't seem to find any major issues with Vanessa up until the point where the romance was officially introduced. I feel like Vanessa was pretty stupid and gullible when it came to romance. The only interaction she seemed to have with her love interest was the odd glance across the room at each other, and then suddenly they seemed to be practically infatuated with each other. This was what really pissed me off about Vanessa, I just felt like she was a strong character in the beginning of the book and then she turned out to be a gullible and idiotic girl. So by the end of the book, I felt like I neither loved or hated Vanessa as a character.

There are several other characters we meet throughout the entirety of this book, but the only others that really stood out to me were Vanessa's friends; Steffie, Elly, TJ and Blaine, especially Blaine. I really enjoyed all of these characters, I felt like they were bubbly and just generally happy people, which seemed to add a bit of lightness to the book's dark plot. Although I thoroughly enjoyed all of Vanessa's friends, Blaine was definitely my favourite, not only in the group of friends, but in the entire book. Blaine is the gay friend that everyone wishes they had. He is hilarious in the way he acts, and the things he says. I found myself genuinely laughing out loud at particular scenes with Blaine just because he was such an enjoyable character that I feel really contributed to how I felt about the book, and if it weren't for him, I wouldn't have enjoyed the book as much as I did.

The predominant plot of this book is Vanessa trying to find Margaret, so with Dance of Shadows, we are mainly getting a mystery. I definitely feel like this book is an excellent mystery in the sense that there are a lot of questions that are asked from beginning to end and the story just constantly leaves you guessing, with no clue as to what could be right around the next corner. Something I absolutely loved about this book was the creepy factor that it had. I am, personally, a sucker for anything creepy or scary, and this book delivered! There aren't a whole bunch of creepy scenes, but when they do pop up, they are awesome-sauce. So if you're a fan of creepy/scary things, I definitely recommend you check this book out.

There were moments in this book that left me breathless and there were moments that left me shocked and excited, but there were also moments that left me angrier than any book has ever made me. And I say this in reference to the romance! The romance in this book took insta-love to a whole new kind of stupid. Vanessa and her "partner" barely knew each other before they pretty much decided to trust each other entirely and practically feel connected to each other mentally and physically. And even after they became extremely close, they still barely knew each other, and they hardly got to know each other for the entire book. And this to me is just idiotic in so many ways, so every time Vanessa felt 'lost' without her love interest, I just wanted to punch her in the face and tell her to get a grip or just push her off a cliff, sometimes both. As I mentioned before, when I started the book I felt like Vanessa would turn out to be a strong and independent character, and I just didn't get that vibe from her in any way, shape or form. 

As for Yelena Black's writing. I pretty much loved it. I feel like Yelena wrote this story the way in needed to be written - beautifully. The way that the author describes the dance performances in this book are just magnificent - reading the dances was probably my favourite part of this book. I felt like I was joining the dancer and could feel myself getting lost in this performance as the dancer spun and twisted and stretched and posed. It was just magnificently described in a way that pretty much blew my mind while I was reading it. Also, I felt like the authors descriptions were very well done, I found I could picture the characters and settings and scenes very vividly in my head, I managed to create an image in my head that just made the book that much more exciting for me to read.

So overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I thought it was brilliantly written and planned, I enjoyed the majority of the characters and the mystery behind the story was both exciting and mind-boggling. I highly enjoyed the creepy scenes and the slight twist that the book took within the last few chapters. I thought it added an interesting concept to the book and asked just enough questions to leave us wanting more - which is exactly what I want. More. Although the romance in this book, as well as the main character (a little), pissed me off more than I can explain, I enjoyed the plot to an extreme degree and I highly anticipate the sequel to find out how Yelena Black continues this story and continues to ask and answer questions that I'm sure will continue to boggle my mind.

3 of 5 stars

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Pigeon English - Stephen Kelman

Publication Details

Published by Bloomsbury in March 2011/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on July 19th 2011
263 pages
Unknown number of chapters

This book was sent to me for review from the publisher in return for an honest review. I have not been paid or told in any way to review this book positively or negatively. Everything stated in the review below is purely of my own, personal opinion.


Lying in front of Harrison Opoku is a body, the body of one of his classmates, a boy known for his crazy basketball skills, who seems to have been murdered for his dinner.

Armed with a pair of camouflage binoculars and detective techniques absorbed from television shows like CSI, Harri and his best friend, Dean, plot to bring the perpetrator to justice. They gather evidence—fingerprints lifted from windows with tape, a wallet stained with blood—and lay traps to flush out the murderer. But nothing can prepare them for what happens when a criminal feels you closing in on him. Recently emigrated from Ghana with his sister and mother to London’s enormous housing projects, Harri is pure curiosity and ebullience—obsessed with gummy candy, a friend to the pigeon who visits his balcony, quite possibly the fastest runner in his school, and clearly also fast on the trail of a murderer.


Pigeon English is an originally Adult novel turned YA novel that tells the story of one boy's life in a Britain, as it explores the ups and downs of friendship, family and life.

For being such a small book, we meet a significant number of different characters from start to finish, varying from the main character's friends, family, enemies, local residents and more. Due to the high number of characters introduced throughout the entirety of the novel, I am going to focus on the main character - Harri Opoku.

Harri Opoku is our eleven year old narrator. Harri moved to Britain from Ghana with his 'Mamma' and sister - Lydia - in what we can only assume is the search of a new and better life. I didn't love Harri as a character, but I didn't hate him either, he kind of irritated me a tiny bit in some parts of the book, but not enough to make me dislike him, but he also never really did anything that made me absolutely love him either. Harri seems to be entirely oblivious to just how big and dangerous the world really is - he doesn't realise that he's surrounded by violence and hatred. He also doesn't understand how the world works - he tends to assume that whatever he thinks is the correct answer to everything and anything. So overall, I thought Harri was a pretty O.K. character, I didn't love or hate him, even though the fact that he could be extremely gullible really aggravated me sometimes!

As for Stephen's writing style, I kind of had a love/hate relationship with it to be honest. One of my biggest 'pet peeves' when it comes to writing is when the author repeats words over and over and over.. and over. And this book did that with a few words. I can understand why this happened - the book is narrated by an eleven year old boy, so it can be expected that his vocabulary isn't going to be that wide and so he would be likely to repeat words, but when I read at least one of the four or so words on almost every page, it can get extremely irritating and I almost put the book down and stopped reading it because of this at one point. And the worst part is that two of these words were 'slang' words so I wasn't even sure if I was pronouncing them right, so almost every other page I found myself struggling to pronounce these simple words. The four words I found to be repeated a lot are; hutious, brutal, asweh, and bo-styles. That's the only real issue I had with the writing. As for the positive side; I really liked that Stephen's writing in this was really simple and basic, it really helped me get into the mindset of Harri and allowed me to feel more empathetic towards him, like I was really in his shoes and almost as if I were participating in his every day activities.

Overall I enjoyed this book, but not as much as I'd hoped to. There are a couple more things I'd like to discuss before I end this review: 1. Plot. 2. Ending.

1. Plot: I was extremely let down by the plot. In the synopsis, we are told that Harri sets out to discover who murdered his 'friend' and the synopsis makes this sound like a pretty critical and dominant part of the book - it isn't. I would guess that this actually makes up about 25-30% of the entire book, it's only mentioned every 20 pages or so, and when it is mentioned, it only lasts for a few pages, maybe a chapter at most, and this really disappointed me. I was setting up for this story of a young boy setting out to find his friends killer and all that good stuff, but it's barely discussed and on top of that, as far as I'm concerned, we never even find out the dead boy's name! For the entirety of the book, he is literally referred to as 'the dead boy'. I guess it just stresses me out when the synopsis of a book is totally misleading.

2. Ending: I am both utterly furious and fascinated by the end of the book. Put it this way - when I read the ending I thought, "ARE YOU FREAKING SERIOUS?! THAT'S HOW YOU END THE BOOK?!". However, after giving it some thought, I realised just how though-provoking it really is, I realised that for this book to really make an impact, it needed to have an ending that explored the harsh realities of life and how the unexpected can lie right in front of us, yet remain in hidden darkness.

It's for the ending specifically that I gave this book the rating that I did in the end. If it weren't for the thought-provoking ending, it would have been one less star. Also, this book has quite a fair bit of humour throughout it that made me giggle and laugh out loud, so that helped me get through a lot!

4 out of 5 stars!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Operation Eiffel Tower - Elen Caldecott

Publication Details

Published by Bloomsbury on July 5th 2011
200 pages
37 chapters

This book was sent to me for review from the publisher in return for an honest review. I have not been paid or told in any way to review this book positively or negatively. Everything stated in the review below is purely of my own, personal opinion.


Lauren, Jack, Ruby and Billy live by the seaside with their mum and dad. But their parents are always arguing, and then their dad moves out. Lauren and Jack decide they have to get them together again. And so begins Operation Eiffel Tower...


Operation Eiffel Tower is a children’s/middle-grade novel that bravely explores the issue of how children cope and react when their parents argue, fight and pretty much hate each other.

In this novel we have three main characters – Jack, Lauren and Ruby.  Although there ages are never specified in the novel, we can assume that Lauren and Jack are around the 12-15 age range, while Ruby is presumably within the 6-8 age range. We also have Billy – the baby of the family, but he’s not mentioned much. Jack, Lauren and Ruby are siblings that are currently suffering through their parents arguing and yelling and fighting constantly, over and over.  Pretty early on in the book, the children discover that the number one way to get two people to fall in love is a romantic dinner for two by the one and only Eiffel Tower. Once the children discovered this information, they become instantly set upon raising money and paying to send their parents away to Paris for a romantic weekend.

I enjoyed all of these characters, especially Ruby. I enjoyed the enthusiasm and dedication they had throughout the entirety of the book. These children are so determined to help their parents stop fighting and once and for all, get them to love each other again, and I really loved that determination, it made me enjoy the book a lot more and hope that the children would get what they wanted in the end. I loved Ruby’s character especially because she was like a constant light in a dark room – being so young made her kind of oblivious to everything going on and the consequences of what could happen and I found I liked her character the most because of this, she is the perfect character to have around in a situation as dire as the children’s, she never fails to melt your heart with adorability and make you giggle with her obliviousness to what was truly surrounding her and the situation she was in with her siblings.

Overall, the writing style was enjoyable. It’s a little less advanced than what I’m normally used to considering this is a children’s novel and I usually read Young Adult novels. Although I enjoyed Elen’s writing style, I did have issues with it. I found that there wasn’t enough description – especially when it came to the characters. I feel like a huge part of reading a book is being able to visualise and place yourself in the setting with the characters, watch their movements, hear their words and in order to create an image of the characters we need descriptions of what they look like, what age they are, how tall they are – and that is exactly what this book lacked. When characters were introduced we were told their name and we’d move on without a description. Basically, we’d be expected to create the characters in our heads, based off nothing, which for me made it much harder to visualise and therefore enjoy the book at certain points.

Although the writing style kind of put me off a little at some points I still managed to thoroughly enjoy the book and the characters within. Considering the book is only 200 pages long, Caldecott manages to squeeze in a decent amount of stuff whilst keeping the pacing of the novel fluent and consistent, there were never moments with too much going on or moments when I was bored – and that’s one thing I always look for in a book, if it bores me for a significant period of time, I’m likely to lose interest and put the book down. This book succeeded exceptionally in this area and kept me engaged and interested from beginning to end.

5 out of 5 stars

Check out my YouTube video review of Operation Eiffel Tower!