Virals, by Kathy Reichs

I found the icy calm more unnerving than the fury. But anger kept my fear in check. Given the chance, I knew Karsten would execute Cooper.

Suddenly I pushed forward, craning over the table. The move caught the old bastard by surprise.

“Bring it on,” I hissed, inches from Karsten’s face.

Meet Tory Brennan. She’s a perfectly ordinary teenager, apart from one thing: her obsession with bones and dead bodies. No, she’s not a goth. She’s the niece of the famous forensic anthropologist, Tempe Brennan. And Tory has inherited her Aunts love for the dead, decaying, half-buried mysteries.

But when Tory and her friends stumble upon a shallow grave of a girl who was buried over thirty years ago, they suddenly find themselves caught up in events they don’t understand. Determined to get to the bottom of it, they break into a laboratory to decipher a vital clue. But they leave with far more than they reckoned for…

I loved this book. It’s full of page-turning action, chase scenes and near escapes, but at the same time forensic science and detective work. A must-read for scientists and action-fans alike.

“Reich’s seamless blending of fasinating science and dead-on psychological portrayals, not to mention a whirlwind of a plot, make her novels a must-read.”

– Jeffery Deaver

The Hunger Games Movie Review

Winning means fame and wealth.

Losing means certain death.

The Hunger Games is set in a dystopian version of the future where, every year, one girl and one boy are from each of the twelve districts are selected to take part in the Hunger Games – a contest where all twenty-four tributes are released into an arena and forced to fight till the death… until there is only a lone victor remaining. Every single moment is televised everyone you see is out to kill you.

I had very high expectations for this movie: the book is brilliant, and so I expected the film to be brilliant too. I’m always so nervous when books become films because the directors tend to stray too far from the original plot.

But I’m pleased to say that the Hunger Games movie was pretty darn close to perfection!

Sure, they missed out some things. The Avox girl that Katniss recognised wasn’t there; it wasn’t Madge who gave Katniss the Mockingjay pin; and in the Arena, Peeta didn’t get blood poisoning. And of course, they had to fit the three weeks of the book into two hours of film, so everything seemed to progress a lot faster.

But still, they only missed out the most minute of details. Everything important from the book was in there: the reaping scene, the train to the Capitol, the interviews.

The Capitol was fantastic. The costumes that the citizens wore were insane and incredible, with crazy coloured wigs and lashings of make-up. Apparently, they had over three thousand extras for the Capitol scenes alone! The scenery of the Capitol was amazing too. Everything was marble and sleek and ultra-modern, in sharp contrast with the poverty of the outer districts.

I’m not ashamed to say that I cried during the movie. Even though I knew what was coming, I still cried like a baby. That, if nothing else, is proof that the film is (almost) as good as the book! I’ve heard rumours that even sixteen-year-old guys have sobbed during this!

I can’t criticize the acting, either; whoever did the casting did it well! Cato was just as terrifying, evil and slightly insane as he was in the book; Rue was just as sweet and adorable; and Effie was just as condescending, patronising and irritating as her fictional counterpart.

If you haven’t seen it yet… what’s taking you so long? This movie is not to be missed. And if you want to enjoy it even more, and find out exactly what’s going through Katniss’s head every second of the way, don’t forget to read the book too!

If you have seen it already, all you diehard fans… tell me what you thought! Was it what you expected?

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

 Enter a vanished world: Jackson, Mississippi, 1962. Where black maids raise white children, but aren’t trusted not to steal the silver…

I loved this book. I loved the way it took me to a different country, a different time, a different world, and then was so absolutely believable that I smiled and groaned at the characters’ triumphs and failures.

I thought it dealt with racism incredibly delicately, highlighting all the terrible things that were everyday life for thousands of these women but in a such a simple, brilliant way.

I really enjoyed the characters: the mothering, simplistic Aibileen, who loves the little white girl she looks after as though she is her own child. The sassy cook Minny, whose smart tounge has led to her being fired seventeen times. And white Miss Skeeter, who seems so weak and powerless against the manipulative and terrifing Miss Hilly, but actually makes a difference, in the end.

If you haven’t read the book, I reckon you should give it a go. And as for the film… is it any good? I’ve heard it’s won loads of awards, but how close does it stick to the book?

“Stockett is brilliant on people, on food, on relationships, on the weather. Draws you completely into a world of okra and fried chicken and peach cobbler.”

 

– The Daily Telegraph

The Strawberry Picker

The Strawberry Picker is a crime novel set in a sunny, peaceful, idyllic part of Germany. Everything is perfect: the summer is just in bloom, and everything is beautiful. Rows and rows of scarlet strawberrys infuse the air with sweetness. But this illusion of heaven is quickly torn to shreds by a string of terrible murders.

This is unlike any other crime story I’ve ever read. The identity of the murderer is not a massive secret: the brilliance of this particular book is the way it juggles so many complex and realistic characters at the same time and still manages to have you turning the pages in a fever.

The climax is one that will set your heart racing; as all the pieces fall into place it begins to dawn on you just how much danger they are all in…

A great story that kept me hooked from the begining. The characters are all so complex and likeable that I had to continue reading, if only to discover their fates.

Inheritance

It began with Eragon… it ends with Inheritance.

Not so very long ago, Eragon – Shadeslayer, Dragon Rider – was nothing more than a poor farm boy, and his dragon, Saphira, only a blue stone in the forest. Now, the fate of an entire civilisation rests on their shoulders.

Long months of training and battle have brought victories and hope, but they have also brought heartbreaking loss. And still, the real battle lies ahead: they must confront Galbatorix. When they do, they will have to be strong enough to defeat him. And if they cannot, no-one can. There will be no second chance…

This book is pure genius. Using the previous three books as a foothold, it takes the reader on an epic journey through all of Alagaësia, Paolini’s amazing fantasy world. The stakes are higher than ever before and I spent most of the book biting my nails and wondering how on earth Eragon was going to survive a meeting with the awful meglomaniac, Galbatorix!

The plot twists left me reeling, and the ending left me guessing up until the last page. Anyone remember Angela telling Eragon his future, back in book one? Well, everything she says comes true. Down to the very last world…

When I put the book down, I couldn’t help but smile. The ending is very clever indeed. It’s a happy ending, a sad ending, but all in all a very clever ending – it leaves nearly every loose thread neatly tied up. Although there are still enough questions remaining to make you stay up late at night, wondering.

Intrested this world of magic?  Read Eragon!

 

Molly Moon

I picked up one of the Molly Moon books the other day and suddenly found myself re-reading all of them again, sucked in to their imaginative world of hypnotism, friendships and dangerous adventures.

The first book is called ‘Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism’. It is about  Molly, an orphan who lives in a cruel, cold orphanage – ruled by the nasty Miss Adderstone. But Molly’s miserable life changes suddenly when she finds a book on hypnotism and she discovers that she is a very talented hypnotist. With her best friend, Rocky, she goes on an amazing adventure to New York… but soon finds that her unique talents are sought after by villains with less-than-innocent ideas in mind.

 

The second book is called, ‘Molly Moon Stops the World’ and is an exciting adventure in Los Angeles, where Molly must defeat a meglomaniac who is using his hypnotism to become president. Molly’s skills are tested to the extreme – and she realises that she may not be an orphan after all…

 

 

 

The third is entitled, ‘Molly Moon’s Hypnotic Time-Travel Adventure’ and is my ultimate favourite out of the four! Molly is kidnapped and taken through time to India, 1870, by an insane man called Waqt, where he plans to kill her so that she never finds the book on hypnotism. This is my favourite book because it’s so imaginative and takes you to places you’ve never been – riding an elephant, walking through the Indian streets, watching monsoon rains fall.

 

The fourth book is named, ‘Molly Moon, Micky Minus and the Mind Machine’. In this book, Molly is whisked into 2250 to try to locate her missing twin who was stolen as a baby. But soon she discovers that he was kidnapped by the maniac Princess Fang… and she finds herself in a world full of fantastic technology, space age vehicles, crazy clothing… and totally out of her depth!

 

These are fantastic books that every teenager and child should read! I read them when I was about ten, and adored them then – and even after five years they haven’t lost their shine! Parents, if you have a child aged 9-15, then buy them this series. Not only will they love you forever but you’ll enjoy reading it to them as well!

They are stuffed full of exciting adventures, hypnotic adventures and plot twists that’ll leave you reeling.

“Tired of Harry Potter?

Try Molly Moon… fast, funny and original”

The Telegraph

 

“It is hard to imagine a child who would not enjoy this original, funny and inventive book”

Eva Ibbotson

Sight

The Drifter took Clarence.
And then disappeared.
They said he wasn’t ever coming back.
But the first snow’s coming…
And he’s coming too.
Drifter, Drifter’s coming for you.

 

This is the freakiest book I have read in an awful long time. It tells the tale of Dylan, whose town is haunted by the murder of Clarence, who was killed ten years ago. Dylan and her friends grew up in the constant fear that the Drifter would strike again. But he never did.

Until now. In a nearby town, news comes of the murder of a child. A week later, another dead. The Drifter is on the march again, and with every corspe he gets a little closer to their town…

This book has no blood or gore. The murders are not discussed in detail. You wouldn’t have thought this book would scare you. But the thing that makes this book creepy is the presence of fear. It’s the unpredictability of Vrettos’s writing. It’s the fact that you can’t guess where the book is taking you, and until the last page you aren’t sure if the ending is going to be happy or sad.

There are so many unexpected twists and layers of secrets. As the Drifter crawls closer to the town, the tension rises to boiling point. Friendships shatter under the pressure. And Dylan’s secret of Sight is revealed…

The Son of Neptune

Rick Riordan has officially done it again. No-one even comes close to his awesomeness. And his latest book in the Heroes of Olympus series is truly amazing.

The Son of Neptune began with our favourite hero, Percy Jackson, fleeing from two Gorgons. But something strange is going on… normally, when you kill a monster, it disintegrates into dust and is sent down into Tartus, where it stays for a least a hundred years or so.

But every time Percy kills the snake sisters, they form straight away from the dust. Something weird is going on.

And yet, is is the least of Percy’s problems. His memories have been well and trulywiped; he can’t remember anything from the last sixteen years of his life. Only one word really means something to him: Annabeth. On top of all this, Percy finds himself in a Roman camp called Camp Jupiter. He meets the cursed Hazel and a rather aloof looking guy called Frank. Together, they embark on a dangerous quest which takes them all the way to Alaska- the land beyond the Gods.

At first, I really hated the Roman Camp. It was all about rules, and status, and there seemed to be bad guys everywhere. But by the end I was starting to like it- mainly because of the fact that you can live there, have children there, settle down… something that you can’t seem to do at Camp Half-Blood.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but the ending is absolutely amazing. I turned the last page and started cussing Riordan for leaving the world’s hugest cliffhanger at the end. Oh, but the next book is going to be v-e-r-y interesting!

For those of you who have read the book, the demigods in The Prophesy of Seven are as follows:

Percy Jackson: son of the Greek God, Poseidon. Child of The Big Three, power over water. Annabeth’s boyfriend. Praetor of Camp Jupiter. “You are unswervingly loyal, and you inspire loyalty. You are the glue that will unite The Seven.”

Annabeth Chase: daughter of the Greek Goddess, Athena. Strategist, battle planner, rational thinker. Percy’s girlfriend. “The one who will cause you the most trouble is the one closest to you – the one who hates me the most.” Percy felt his anger rising again. “Annabeth?” The goddess smiled dryly. “She has a hard task ahead of her when you arrive in Rome. Whether she is up to it… I do not know.”

Jason Grace: son of the Roman God, Jupiter. Child of The Big Three, power over the sky and can fly. Brother of Thalia Grace.  Praetor of Camp Jupiter. Piper’s boyfriend but very close to Reyna. “The way you talk about Jason…” Percy said. “Were you two a couple?” Reyna’s eyes bored into his. “We might have been,” Reyna said, “Given time. Praetors work closely together.”

Leo Valdez: son of the Greek God, Hephaestus. The first fire user since 1666- he can burst into flames whenever he wants. To Hazel he is ‘Sammy Valdez’, her boyfriend from 1940 who should be really dead. Built the warship, the ‘Argo II’.

Piper McLean: daughter of the Greek Goddess, Aphrodite. Has the power to Charmspeak; she can make people do what she wants them to. Senior Counselor of the Aphrodite cabin. Jason’s girlfriend.

Frank Zhang: son of the Roman God, Mars. Can shapeshift. Is distantly related to the Roman God Neptune and is therefore related to Percy Jackson. Fancies Hazel.

Hazel Levesque: daughter of the Roman God, Pluto. Child of The Big Three, power over the earth. Can summon cursed gemstones and precious metal. Died in 1940 and was in the underworld for a long time. Brought out by Nico di Angelo, who is her adopted brother. Fancies Frank, but Leo is her ‘Sammy’, her boyfriend from 1940 who she was destined to marry before she died. “It’s Sammy Valdez,” She said. “It can’t be,” Percy said. “That guy’s name is Leo. And it’s been seventy-something years…”

Percy Jackson

I’ve just begun to re-read the Percy Jackson series, and straight away I remembered just why I loved them.

They are FANTASTIC! Rick Riordan is such an amazing writer. The books are stacked full of fighting, but they’re not gory.  They have romance, but they don’t go over the top and it’s so adorable you can’t help but smile anyway. Any kid, reading these, imagines themselves at Camp Half-Blood, with a god for a parent and a life of a hero.

The plot is startlingly original. They are comparable to Harry Potter- a completely new idea, unheard of, unthought of. Percy Jackson is a brilliant series of books for all ages that will capture your imagionation and your heart.

But the real question is, of course- who’s your parent?

Source Code

Ordinarily, this post would be about Doctor Who. But I prefer to post about something I actually enjoyed watching. So this post is dedicated to Source Code instead.

In Source Code, a man called Colter Stevens wakes up on a train heading to Chicago. He has no idea how he got there- his last memories being of him fighting in Afghanistan. Sitting opposite him is a lady he doesn’t know. But she knows him and says, “I took your advice. It was good advice, thank you.”  panicking, he runs for the toilet where he sees a strangers face in the mirror. Nothing is as it seems. This is the beginning of the strangest eight minutes of his life… But before he can even begin to work things out, a bomb, hidden somewhere on the train, explodes- killing everyone on board.

But then he wakes up. It’s dark and he’s tightly strapped into a metal seat, unable to move. Everything is just out of reach. A screen flickers to life and a lady named Goodwin begins to explain what is going on. She tells him how he is now in the Source Code, a project created so that you could go back to the last eight minutes of someone’s life.

Goodwin continues to say how the Chicago train bomb was just the first attack of many and it is his job to prevent them. He must go back, find the bomb and the bomber and stop them, at whatever cost. And he has to keep going back into the same eight minutes untill he succeeds.

I apsoultly adored this film. It’s a perfect blend of sci-fi, action, thriller and romance. It always keeps you on your toes, as you narrow down the suspects on the train to finally find the bomber. There are plently of false leads, as everyone seems suspicious and it seems as though everyone has something to hide. The filming is fantastic- you see through his eyes, noticing every detail. In the end, every detail was crucial.

Intrested? Here’s the offical trailer, and here’s the first five minuites.

“Lily awoke in an evening dress and an opera cloak. In her hand were five playing cards…”

The Time Traveler’s Wife

To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t posted on this before! This is my ultimate favourite book (and those who know me know just how much I read). This book is a sci-fi, an adventure, and a bittersweet love story all rolled into one.

It tells the tale of Henry and Claire. Claire first met him when she was six and he was fourty-one. Henry first met her when he was thirty-four and she was twenty-eight. Confused?

Well, this is the mixed up life that Henry leads. He is a time traveller- unwillingly, unintentionally, he disappears and finds himself in another time. He can’t control it- he can’t stop it. All he can do is try and lead an ordianry life.

This book is fabulous. It’s really, really amazing. Niffenegger is such a brilliant writer- the pages flow like poetry, and the description is so unique. There is only one downfall… this book is aimed for adults and there is content that could be inappropriate. But promise me- read this when you are older. You won’t regret it! :]

The Two Pearls of Wisdom

I recently read The Two Pearls of Wisdom by Alison Goodman (also published as Eon: Dragoneye Reborn and Eon: The Rise of the Dragoneye).

Eon is the main character. He is in training to become a Dragoneye, a powerful lord who is united with one of the twelve mighty dragons of power. Eon is one of many candidates, and due to the fact that he is a cripple, many do not consider him to be worthy of holding the Dragoneye title. But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is not actually a twelve-year old boy… but sixteen-year girl.

Women are forbidden from becoming Dragoneyes- it is said that they do not have the sight. It is a crime punishable of instant death. But Eon has raw power: the power to see all twelve of the dragons. She thinks she has a chance of becoming Dragoneye- until the Rat dragon rejects her. Then, in a unpredictable and fast-moving chain of events, Candidate Eon is suddenly Lord Eon. Thrust into a deadly world of politics, ranks and power, faced by a terrible betrayal by one she loves, and where the entire balance of a nation is held in place by one dying Emperor.

BFF-COAT: Teresa

Another strong character! Teresa is from The Maze Runner, a most excellent book that I love wholeheartedly. The main character of the book is a boy called Thomas. It all begins with him in a lift, going upwards. When he arrives he finds himself in a place called the Glade, surrounded by other boys. Thomas cannot remember anything about himself apart from his name, but after living with the boys for a little while he finds that everyone is like that.

Every month, a new boy gets sent up in the lift (which the boys nicknamed ‘The Hole’). All the boys are working together for one thing: to escape. Surrounding the Glade is a maze. And living in the maze are the Greivers. These are terrible, half-animal, half-machine creatures. At night, when the doors close, the Greivers come out into the maze. The Gladers think that if they run the maze every day they will one day find the way out.

Then, one day, a girl (Teresa) comes up in the box. In two years of the boys living here, a girl has never arrived. The next day the sun doesn’t rise. Then, the weekly supplies that are supposted to come up in the box don’t arrive. The final straw is the doors. They don’t close one night, leaving the entire glade open to attack from the Greivers. Mayhem insues, and the boys, looking for a scapegoat, blame Teresa, her being the last to come up. They lock her up. How does she react?

But before Teresa could answer, Newt was running out of the woods. “How in the…?” he said as he pulled up in front of them. Alby and a few others were right behind him. Newt looked at Teresa. “How’d you get here? Med-jack said you were there one second and buggin’ gone the next.”

Teresa stood up, surprising Thomas with her confidence. “Guess he forgot to tell the little part about me kicking him in the groin and climbing out the window.”

Thomas almost laughed as Newt turned to an older boy standing nearby, whose face had turned bright red.

“Congrats, Jeff,” Newt said. “You’re officially the first guy here to get your butt beat by a girl.”

Teresa didn’t stop. “Keep talking like that and you’ll be next.”

Not only that, but she is perfectly calm even though all hell has broken loose. What’s not to love?!

Missing You

Jess Mastriani has never been an ordianry teenager. She was struck by lightning, and developed the psychic ability to find anyone, anywhere. Her newfound talent made her invaluable to the US goverment, but her work with them took a terrible toll. Now back home, aged ninteen, and with her powers spent, Jess is Lightning Girl no more.

And now her ex, Rob Wilkins, is turning up and begging for her help in finding his long-lost sister. But how can Jess find anyone – let alone the sister of the man she once loved – when she can’t even find herself?

This is the epic conclusion to the Missing series (which if you haven’t read yet, you need to get, and quickly!). I loved this book so much. Meg Cabot established the charecter so well that I almost cried at the end of the book, so happy that Jess finally got the happy ending she deserved. One word- AMAZING!

It starts with Jess filling us in on the couple of years that have passed since the last book. She’s in a terrible way, her mind effected by the warzone the goverment had her work in. Every night she has nightmares so bad she can’t sleep, which stops her powers from working (For those of you who haven’t yet read the books, this is how her gift works: Jess is shown a picture of the missing person, and the next morning she wakes up with the knowlege of exactly where they are. The psychic stuff happens when she’s dreaming. Pretty cool, huh?).

Anyway, Jess is having a pretty rough time. Then her ex, Rob, turns up on the doorstep pleading for her to find his step-sister. Obviously, Jess tells him that she’s lost her powers. But she goes with him anyway, because- well, just because (Jess was never very good at keeping her nose out of things!). And suddenly, a lot more than a missing sister is unearthed- and Jess finds herself plunged into another crazy adventure.

Oh, and if you’re interested in reading the series, the first book is called ‘When Lightning Strikes’ (By Meg Cabot) . And in America I don’t think they’re called the Missing saga, they’re called something like 1-800-Where-R-U?

Gabrielle Zevin

“There will be other lives.
There will be other lives for nervous boys with sweaty palms, for bittersweet fumblings in the backseats of cars, for caps and gowns in royal blue and crimson, for mothers clasping pretty pearl necklaces around daughters’ unlined necks, for your full name read aloud in an auditorium, for brand-new suitcases transporting you to strange new people in strange new lands.
And there will be other lives for unpaid debts, for one-night stands, for Prague and Paris, for painful shoes with pointy toes, for indecision and revisions.
And there will be other lives for fathers walking daughters down aisles.
And there will be other lives for sweet babies with skin like milk.
And there will be other lives for a man you don’t recognize, for a face in a mirror that is no longer yours, for the funerals of intimates, for shrinking, for teeth that fall out, for hair on your chin, for forgetting everything. Everything.
Oh, there are so many lives. How we wish we could live them concurrently instead of one by one by one. We could select the best pieces of each, stringing them together like a strand of pearls. But that’s not how it works. A human’s life is a beautiful mess.” 

Gabrielle Zevin is an amazing author! She has written two books called ‘Elsewhere’ and ‘Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac’. The above quote is from Elsewhere, which all of my friends love! It’s written so well. This is the basic plot:

Liz is nearly sixteen when she is involved in a hit-and-run accident and suffers a severe head injury. She wakes up on the bottom bunk of a ship’s cabin. In the top bunk is another teenage girl with beautiful braids and a hole in the base of her skull. Her name is Thandi, and the two girls become friends. It is only when the peculiar boat arrives at ‘Elsewhere’ that Liz begins to realise that she – and everybody else – is dead.

This story is beautiful. It’s so bittersweet  it had me crying and laughing in equal measures. I would 100% reccomend that you read this wonderful book!

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