I was sceptical when I first heard of this book, it is not my genre of choice (I prefer faerie in my fantasy!), and although my teenage self would have snatched at it, I was not so sure I wanted to drag myself through what looked like an ‘out there’ story. I stalled, querying if this was in fact a young adult book as the protagonists were children, but was assured that they mature with each sequel and the series as a whole would suit a broad audience including YA. To be honest I was a little awed by the fact this was the first book I was asked to review and feeling as though I should at least give it a chance I chose a time when I was going to be stuck for long period of time in waiting rooms where anything is better than the old sporting magazines provided.
The first few chapters were hard to get through, featuring long descriptive passages that didn’t flow easily. I gave up at one stage, putting the book aside, intending to have a break for a day or two. But I was ousted by the characters who had wormed their way into my mind and I found myself repeatedly thinking about them and where the story would take them. I am so glad I persevered; this was an enticing, imaginative, slightly weird story that transported me into another world (or should I say worlds). As I read I began to think how it would translate into film and I think it has the potential to make a brilliant and successful movie.
The beautifully developed characters (FYI – Chimera is pronounced Ky-MARE-uh) were enhanced by Todd Morasch’s detailed illustrations which appear sporadically throughout. I wish that the cover had been better designed; it does not do the story any justice.
While I am not sure that this book will appeal to the majority (unless the movie version comes out), I’d like to thank the authors for taking me outside my comfort zone. A mature child who loves reading would enjoy this innovative book.
Recommended age: 10+
Sara and the Chimera: A Prison of Light – Book 1
Series: Sara and the Chimera
Author: Greg Dent & Todd Morasch
Publication Date: 27 July 2010
Publisher: Epidemic Books
Source: Free copy from author in exchange for honest review
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Sara Starbright has the most important gift the universe has ever given, and all manner of creatures from all realms of the imagination want to take it for themselves. What can one small girl do to protect herself from the deadliest and most impressive force creation has ever amassed? Yet in her darkest hour, Sara may have just met the one person in the entire universe capable of being her friend.
Stifled and stunted in the deepest inner chambers of the Fishman’s worldship prison colony, a boy named Jonathan Wheeler lies in a state of suspended animation. Through an unlikely twist of fate, he has found himself in the body of an ever-growing and ever-changing monster, the Chimera. With boundless energy and strength at his command, all he needs is the right bit of knowledge to get himself out of his cell and to freedom.
As they escape from one world to the next, Sara and Jonathan find that together they make a pretty good team. But when you can’t trust anyone, and when the universe turns out to be quite a bit bigger than you could have ever imagined, who can you count on to guide you towards somewhere you actually want to be? – Extract from Goodreads.com
The fact that I received this copy of this book from the author does not influence my policy to write an honest review.
A beautifully written story about the bonds of friendship, that also shines a spotlight on the dark world of manipulation which is sometimes the ‘reality’ of Reality Television. Where ‘real’ is edited until it is something else, something that will attract viewers, and where everyone loses something.
You Don’t Know Me exposes the ugly of social media, tabloids and unscrupulous production companies who will do anything to make money. Don’t miss this book.
Recommended age 12+
You Don’t Know Me
Author: Sophia Bennett
Publication Date: 2 May 2013
Publisher: Chicken House
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Sasha, Jodie, Nell and Rose never expected to be famous. They didn’t want to be. In fact, they wanted to keep their band a secret because it’s what they do when they’re being stupid together – dressing up and singing cheesy songs.
But someone has stolen a video they made. It’s online, and it’s been entered into a talent competition. And what’s more … it’s got 24 votes. In only a few hours it’s got 24 votes.
The girls are about to be faced with a big decision that could make them seriously famous.
Just not necessarily the way they hoped …
– Extract from Goodreads.com
Book Spine Poetry: The Things We Do for Love
Pushing the limits
Nothing but the truth
deadly little lies
The things we do for love
My first attempt at book spine poetry using the books on my shelf. Okay, poetry is clearly not my strong point but I had fun!
I am tempted to take my camera to our local public library – I wonder what they will think of the crazy (they already think that!) lady who is now taking books of the shelves just to stack them in random piles for photographs!
Has anyone tried to take photographs in their public library and what was their reaction?
While I think the idea to use Facebook was quite clever, the whole seeing into the future has been done so many times before and this story did not contain enough originality to give it an edge.
Disappointing character development, where are the characters that we can engage with? I know I was supposed to be rooting for Emma and Jay to get together, but in all honestly I couldn’t care either way.
Recommended age 12+
It’s 1996 and very few high school students have ever used the internet. Facebook will not be invented until several years in the future. Emma just got a computer and an America Online CD. She and her best friend Josh power it up and log on – and discover themselves on Facebook in 2011. Everybody wonders what they’ll be like fifteen years in the future. Josh and Emma are about to find out. –Extract from Goodreads.com
A mediocre read, especially disappointing because dystopian fiction has been one of my favourite genres (and I fell in love with this beautiful cover) – Does this mean that I am over dystopia? I hope not.
I did like the use of the future oxygen deprived world, a world with enough realism to be believable. It was the characters that were poorly developed. I need to emotionally connect with characters to care about them, one way or another, and I didn’t feel much for them at all. Right now I have no plans to read the sequel.
Recommended age 12+
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
Alina has been stealing for a long time. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy.
Quinn should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages.
Bea wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.
As they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to? –Extract from Goodreads.com
Top 10 Things on My Bookish Bucket List
(Not necessarily in order of preference)
I found my first geocache a few weeks ago, geocaching is my new hobby inspired by the amazing YA book North of Beautiful by Justina Chen, and would love the opportunity to travel so I can discover more. I wish I knew about geocaching when we lived overseas.
I would love see South Africa through Bill Bryson’s eyes. I love his humour and have collected all his travel books. I hope that he can be persuaded to write a book about my country one day.
I would like to meet author Alexandra Fuller who wrote the memoir Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight. Her story of her childhood in Rhodesia during the war was so close to my own childhood that I feel as though I already know her. A beautiful book that made me so nostalgic.
I have always wanted to join in the mythosphere treasure hunt game in my favourite children’s book The Game by Diana Wynne Jones. I would love a chance to retrieve a golden apple!
I would love to see my favourite South African YA fantasy book The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan be made into a movie.
I know this sounds naive, but I would like to find a way to rid the world of illegal drugs. As a parent it is the one thing that concerns me the most. If you haven’t read Crank by Ellen Hopkins, based on a true story, try it. It is a very powerful story.
I have always been fascinated by Occupied France during the Second World War and have devoured books set in these times. I would love to spend time in France discovering all the villages I have read about.
Few people know this… last year I was challenged to write a children’s picture book for a charity which I did, maybe I will be brave enough to share it here one day :-), but I also wrote another story and it is my ‘secret’ wish to see it illustrated and published one day…
What’s on your bookish bucket list?
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week’s task is to list the 10 book related things I would like to do.
Resistance by Craig Simpson
Tyranny, courage, betrayal and espionage feature heavily in this action-packed adventure set in Occupied Norway during the Second World War. Fourteen-year-old Marek and his brother join forces with the Resistance and stage acts of sabotage and rescue while battling the harsh sub-arctic conditions. Great read for boys – but also popular with girls in our school library.
Recommended age 12+
Norway, September 1943. For brothers Marek and Olaf, a hunting trip offers a brief chance to get away from the German occupying forces. But returning home they witness the horror of their father’s arrest by the Gestapo and the start of a brutal regime under the evil Lieutenant Wold. — Extract from Goodreads.com
Every once in a while, if you are lucky, you come across a book that changes your life. This book is one of them. Alternating between laughter and tears I read devoured this book. There is no way I can give it the review it deserves, so I am going to rely on my experiences with terminal illness – I trained as a nurse and midwife and have spent many years in hospitals and other such institutions where dying is exposed in all its undignified ugliness.
Dealing with teenagers dying is a tough subject to write about, not only is it a subject most of us either can’t or won’t face but it is difficult to keep the characters real and natural – our true fallible human personalities are only amplified by difficult times. John Green has not only created strong, believable characters whose circumstances ring true, but has interwoven the story with humour, hope and emotion. A must read.
Recommended age 13+
The Fault in Our Stars
Author: John Green
Publication Date: 10 January 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
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Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten. – Extract from Goodreads.com
The movie version of this book is due for release on 6 June 2014.