Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Don't Stand So Close by Luana Lewis

Thank you to Leanne at Transworld Publishers for the review copy of Don't Stand So Close.

A lingering, compulsive debut novel that will keep you tightly in its grip.

What would you do if a young girl knocked on your door and asked for your help?

If it was snowing and she was freezing cold, but you were afraid and alone?

What would you do if you let her in, but couldn't make her leave?

What if she told you terrible lies about someone you love, but the truth was even worse?

Stella has been cocooned in her home for three years. Severely agoraphobic, she knows she is safe in the stark, isolated house she shares with her husband, Max. The traumatic memories of her final case as a psychologist are that much easier to keep at a distance, too.

But the night that Blue arrives on her doorstep with her frightened eyes and sad stories, Stella's carefully controlled world begins to unravel around her.

I read the summary of this book in the Transworld catalogue and was instantly drawn to it.  Reading the book itself wasn't exactly what I had expected it to be.  I was expecting more scary thriller and less psychological thriller.  This book is designed to make you think, and is about the deep dark secrets of people who you thought you knew, and who you thought you trusted.  The two main characters also have deep-rooted problems of their own, both unique, but both linked in some way to each other.  The question is, how?

The chapters alternate so that the background story and the present day within the house play out piece by piece and you have to keep turning the pages to tease a little more information out before you can start to put the pieces together to make the jigsaw complete.

Personally, it didn't grip me as I had hoped it would, but it is a good book (and for a first novel, it is excellent).  I would definitely say it is worth a read if it sounds like your sort of thing.

Don't Stand So Close is released on February 13th 2014.

Parallel by Claudia Lefeve

Destiny has a way of catching up... 

Saddled with powers she doesn't understand, Etta Fleming's world is turned upside-down the day she meets Cooper Everett, the man who transports her to an alternate reality. A reality she was meant to be a part of. 

One minute, she's an orphan living at Dominion House for Girls, an institution for delinquent foster kids, then finds herself attending the exclusive Dominion Hall Academy. 

Plucked from the only world she's ever known, Etta now has to deal with an aunt she never knew, a boyfriend she doesn't know, and a best friend who can't know. 

So....I got an iPad for Christmas and, despite insisting I never wanted a kindle because there will never be anything like feeling the pages as you turn them, I couldn't resist having a look at what books were available to download. The cover of Parallel caught my eye, and the blurb sounded interesting too, as it would provide me with the relatively light read that I was looking for.  I'd been struggling to find a book to read, which could hold my interest, since finishing The Hunger Games and Angelfall. This book did the job nicely.

I'm not saying this book is perfect - at one point the author refers to the wrong character in a scene, which was slightly confusing and I found myself re-reading and re-reading the paragraph trying to work out if it was me being stupid or not, before deciding it wasn't and moving on.  I, personally, found this forgivable as I am used to reading proof copies where the odd mistake like that aren't totally uncommon.  However, if I had paid for the book, I would have been slightly more annoyed and it does slightly put me off paying for the follow up books.

However, I am desperate to know what happens.  Book 1 leaves you on a bit of a cliff hanger, a cliff edge which you want to jump off to plummet head first into the next book, Paradox, in order to find out what becomes of Etta.

The storyline is interesting and the characters are well drawn.  This book is a Young Adult book, but being now, in my late-20's, I found it perfectly enjoyable.  There were times where I had to re-read paragraphs to catch on to the mechanics of the plot, but overall it was a very enjoyable, fairly short and lighthearted read.

Monday, 23 December 2013

Angelfall by Susan Ee

I looked forlornly at my unread books after finishing The Hunger Games, knowing it would have to be something special to be able to follow the trilogy. I picked up a few, read the back and put them back knowing they just wouldn't cut it.  I finally settled upon Angelfall, resigned to the fact that I would probably be disappointed.

However, it was the perfect follow up book. It was supernatural enough to not be mundane after the excitement of The Hunger Games and it reminded me of Angel by L.A. Weatherly (another book I adored).

Angelfall tells the story of an angel apocalypse, and follows the journey of Penryn and her family as she tries to come to terms with the changes and the presence of both Angels and street gangs, all fighting for survival.  Penryn's little sister is taken by the Angels and Penryn will do absolutely anything to get her back.....but what will she encounter along the way and will she make it to the Angel's lair before it's too late?

I thought this book was fantastic, and I'm dying to read World After.  The characters were well constructed and the pace was perfect.  Every word drew me in further and further until I felt every emotion along with Penryn, and Raffe (who sounds divine!).

I do hope they make Angelfall into a film, so I can daydream over Raffe and his muscles!  If it isn't already, Angelfall really should be the next BIG THING! 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I'd heard the hype, how could you not have, but I didn't even know what The Hunger Games were about until I picked up the book to start reading.  Reading the synopsis, I wasn't entirely sure that this was going to be my sort of thing, it sounded bizarre and quite terrifying.

But boy was I wrong - I was hooked almost instantly and that deep need to read on engulfed me and continued right up to the very last page, leaving me feeling bereft.  

The Hunger Games are different, and deep down it's horrific, but god is it addictive!  I devoured the entire trilogy in a matter of days!

Personally, book 1 was my favourite; probably because it's so unique.  Once I started on book 2, desperately wanting more, I found the first half a little slow before the twist comes and it's back to The Hunger Games that you know and love.  The third book takes a different tack, but is more than enjoyable.

The Hunger Games are fast-paced and action packed, with the right dose of romance and family, and will leave you desperate for more.

The long asked question of Peeta or Gale? Anyone who has read this trilogy will have formed a view of who Katniss should end up with.  I usually have extremely strong feelings towards a particular couple in books, and I know, without question, who I want to end up with who, but I didn't have that with these books.  I was constantly torn, just as Katniss is.

If you've managed to avoid The Hunger Games like I had, grab yourself a copy and read like there is no tomorrow.  Now that I have finished, I feel bereft.....what could ever match up to this fantastic trilogy?