Scrolling Covers

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


Blurb: Review by Dale: Format: eBook Available from Smashwords Link to Download: Here Price: $0.00c (at time of review) Wordcount: ,000 (appx) Author: Author's Blog: Here

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer

Blurb: Artemis Fowl receives an urgent e-mail from Russia. In it is a plea from a man who has been kidnapped by the Russian Mafiya: his father. As Artemis rushes to his rescue, he is stopped by a familiar nemesis, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. Now, instead of battling the fairies, Artemis must join forces with them if he wants to save one of the few people in the world he loves.

Review by Dale: St Patricks Day is a fitting day to publish a review of an Irish Author and the second book in the Artemis Fowl series is a cracking good choice. This book picks up not long after the events of the first book. The same old friends are back, that outrageous dwarf with the impressive bowl motions is again gracing the pages. He is a personal favorite character of mine.
All the goodies are back only this time some goodies are badies and some badies are goodies and some badies become goodies and some goodies seem bad but are really good or bad maybe? Confused yet? It will all make sense when you start reading. If you, like me, loved the first book then you wont be wanting in book two. I dont want to give away the plot but let's just say it thickens..

Best for ages 10+

Format: eBook Arc
Available from Book Depository
Link: Book Depository
page count: 227 (appx)
Author: Eoin Colfer

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Blurb: Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories—they're dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

Review by Dale: 
So you have read the Harry potter series, then you read the hunger games series. You may have even read the twilight books. But now you are wondering what am I going to read now? Have you read the Artemis Fowl series? This long running series is about to come to an end, after seven books the eighth and final book is coming this year. Lets have a look at this great series one book at a time.

Book 1 Artemis Fowl

Artemis is a young twelve year old genius with a penchant for thievery. In an effort to rob back his families fortunes he hatches an audacious sceme to steal gold from leprechauns. When I was a kid I heard the legends and studied the lore as all kids do. We all new about the gold at the end of the rainbow and that if you captured a leprechaun then you might get your hands on that pot of gold. Artemis has heard the legends as well and sets in motion a cunning plan to get that gold.

This book is told from a perspective thats not that common (and usually confined to caper plots) , in that the hero of the story is an anti hero, the bad guy. Imagine watching Star Wars where your rooting for Darth Vader instead of Luke Skywalker. It's certainly fun hoping the bad guy will get away with the treasure, cheat those cute little faires out of their hard earned gold and win the day.

This book is extremely well written, the story flows from the page and is a delight to read. Yet its not just the story itself thats immensely entertaining but also the way its written, the narrative prose in ever sentence transforms even the most mundane of character actions into a passage of beauty. It's little wonder when you consider that some of the greatest writers who have ever lived have come from Ireland and Eoin Colfer is from Wexford, not far from Dublin, home of the literary master James Joyce.

So if like Trolls, Goblins and Faery Folk, if you like polished poetic narration, and imaginative story, then you will love Artemis Fowl.

Ages: 10+ (mild action related violence)
Format: eBook
Available from Disney-Hyperion
Price: eArc (at time of review)
Wordcount: 280,000 (appx)
Author:Eoin Colfer
Link: Official Site

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Troll Hunters Skyfall by Michael Dahl

Blurb: Part of the Troll Hunters series. Evil and danger rumbles under the earth. Follow the adventures of a group of contemporary teenagers who discover that their town, and ultimately the entire world, is under attack by fierce creatures from deep beneath the earth. These creatures were known to the earliest humans as trolls or goblins, but they are much more dangerous than their fairy-tale versions. The teens make unlikely allies along the way, including a half-man, half-troll, as well as some legendary constellations that quite literally come to life. The young heroes will also discover their own untapped celestial abilities in an epic battle between good versus evil spanning four intense books. (Jacket Copy: Capstone. Image: Goodreads)

Review by Dale:

This is a short novella written in a very easy style that hits its mark with younger readers. I finished this in about forty five minutes, and found I had chewed my nails to the quick in the process. The story is about a group of young kids who stay up to watch a meteor shower and get attacked by Trolls. Then discover that is just the beginning of a troll invasion!

Is it just me or are trolls scary? I mean really scary, they want to eat you, they live in the woods, underground and did I mention they want to eat you? This well written story by Dahl is very spooky, and dark and very readable for younger readers. It appears to be the first in a series because there are so many questions left in your mind after reading this. What about the centaur or Doctor Hoo and what's with the glowing eyes? Yes so many unanswered questions I can't wait for book two!

This book is illustrated too and the pictures are fantastic, just enough detail to capture the action but not overly done to spoil your own imaginings of the scene. 

So if you want something to read this saturday afternoon, something easy, spooky, and exciting, pick a good spot and read Skyfall by Michael Dahl. Ages 10 and up

Format: eBook ARC
Available from Capstone
Price: $0.00c (at time of review)
Page count: 114pp (appx)
Author: Michael Dahl
Available February 2012

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Starters by Lissa Price

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

Review by Dale
The world that Lissa Price has created in Starters is vivid and alive; it's packed with imaginative detail in every scene. From the food, the cars, the holo televisions to the radical new society itself. Price has gone all out to construct a setting rich and dangerous for her characters to survive. The most startling thing about this book, however, is the grand premise itself. That all the adults under sixty have died and only the children and senior citizens remain. Not the caring old nana that always has a candy tucked away in a pocket for you though; these 'Enders' are nothing but contemptuous of the displaced youth.
Young Callie Woodland lives in this dystopian disaster; and by living I mean only managing to stay alive. In an act of utter desperation in order to feed herself and buy medicine for her only other family member, her younger brother, she visits the body bank. That’s a place where mouldy, old, crusty Enders go to rent out hot young bodies for a bit of fun and excitement. There are rules of course, but what if one of those renters had a secret agenda that went beyond night clubbing and snowboarding? What if they wanted to assassinate someone?
This is such a spooky concept, I really felt for the young heroine as she struggled to stay alive and prevent her own downfall. I think that this story is best suited for younger teens. The descriptions and narration is aimed at a younger tween reader rather than the late teen reader. The romance is there between Callie and Blake but only a light taste. The fantastic details complementing the storyline also resonate with a younger mind more than a mature teen reader. I'm sure younger minds will delight in the Cinderella Easter egg tucked away in one scene. I'd see this book being a hit with the 12Yrs and up group.

Available March 13
Format eBook ARC at time of review
PageCount 335 Pages 
Author Lissa Price
Publisher Random House Children's Books

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Interview with Indie Legend Laura Eno

Today we are very lucky to be able to bring you an in-depth interview with the stellar writer Laura Eno. Laura is the author of the amazing Realms of the Red Rabbit and several other books for young adults.

The first big questions burning a hole in my mind are:
Where did you get the idea for the Red Rabbit story? Was Dante an influence?

Although there are a few Alice in Wonderland references, Dante was my main influence for the story. Not many people caught that, though. His version of Hell fascinates me. I like the darkening shades of gray—the punishment fitting the crime, so to speak.
As for the idea behind Red Rabbit… I can only say I grew up an avid reader of science fiction/fantasy and it punched holes in my brain. Now stories leak out of it.

Do you have a classical education? What is your background that you use to draw upon in your writing?

In college, I took every English literature and composition course I could find, reading everything from ancient Greek stories to Shakespeare, as well as mythology.
In regards to Dante, I had a stern, librarian-type professor who asked for a synopsis of the book. I presented mine in the form of an epic poem. She was not amused. I still have it, though!

Yes I think that is what impressed me the most, your very powerful and original imagination. Even though the story concept is familiar the elements of the story are so fantastically unique. Which brings me to my next question. Regarding your writing process, are you a meticulous planner? Do you create moral needs and revelations, identifying and separating needs with desires and weaving it all together under a design principle? Or Do you just let the creative juices flow and the story and characters develop themselves as the plot unfolds? I.e. a planner or a seat of pantser?

Other than knowing how I want the story to end, I'm pretty much a pantser. My imagination runs in an unbridled fashion as I write. I will jot down notes of future scenes as they come to me but I don't outline, except for a few bullet points. I've tried planning before but it kills the story. I used to design jewelry the same way—strictly free-flow, without a pattern.

So we know your background in literature, and some of the influence that sprung from that have been examined in two of your great stories we have reviewed previously. But what about modern influences? Who do read and aspire to emulate? Who are your writing role models? Are there any Indie Authors in the list?

Actually, I try very hard not to have role models per se, as I'm afraid of losing my own voice by emulating anyone. Some of my current favorite authors include L. K. Rigel, Lauren Oliver, and Maggie Stiefvater.
I would say that 80% of all books I read these days are Indie Authors, so I'm definitely influenced by the Indie trend. The wide variety of imagination and genre blending by Indies step outside of the rigid protocol of legacy publishing and that's a refreshing thing to me. Indies charge less for their books as well, making it affordable to feed my passion for reading.

In terms of your own writing Laura, do you think it's important that your stories have a message for your readers? In the realm of the red rabbit there is a clear tone about the consequences or amoral behavior, the moral code isn't as clear in tempest child, however. In other words do you like to write fun and exciting stories with a definite message?

I do like messages, but I've changed it some. Whereas in Realms of the Red Rabbit it was about amoral behavior, in Tempest Child the message is about believing in yourself and making the hard choices. YA is a hard market to compete in with the current popularity of vampires and werewolves, neither of which I write, so I've chosen to take my message in a more positive direction—softer, if you will.

It's also been amazing to see the polarizing effect Red Rabbit has had on reviewers. They either love it or hate it, with poison arrows slung at my "repetitive plot device." I suppose those people don't like Dante either.

Being an indie often means going it alone, being cut off from the powerful marketing machine of big publishing house like penguin and random house. It is especially difficult for those of us who write for younger children. Whilst older teens have twitter and Facebook and even credit cards, most Tweens don't, and many aren't aloud on the Internet at all. How do you reach out to your audience and engage with them? How do you get your message out there and get heard against the white noise of today's Internet?

Word-of-mouth is still the biggest marketing tool out there, even for the big publishing houses. Unlike twenty years ago, if you're a mid-list author with a big house today, you only get one chance to prove yourself and your book before they dump you. An author has to be proactive in social media, no matter how they're published.

Getting reviews and interviews on blogs geared toward the appropriate age group is vital, which means a lot of research and contacting on the author's part. There are also happy surprises, like when you picked up my book! I've found that the lasting friendships made over the internet are special to me—not only as an author, but in a personal sense as well.

As far as tweens go, this last Christmas saw a huge jump in ereader sales, many of them now in the hands of tweens and even younger children. It's a trend that will continue and make it easier to connect with that age group…or at least with their parents.

What are you working on now? Can you tell us about it? Why will we want rush out to buy it as soon as it hits the eShelves?

I just published a YA fantasy called My Enchanted Life last month! Its 'theme', if you will, is acceptance—of others, of oneself, of looking beyond the surface, of making the most of your destiny within the confines that you're given and accepting the things you cannot change. It's also fun!

Here is the blurb:

An American teen finds herself thrust into a world she never knew existed in England's magical community of Wode Gate. While dealing with gnomes, a cranky dragon, murder and mayhem, Emma tries to cope with her unwanted duties as Sentinel and fights to get back home again.
She finds that things aren't always what they seem, people aren't who they pretend to be, and someone wants her dead. The king of the underworld wants her too, but he may be the least of her problems as Emma struggles to control her powers—while losing her heart to a demon.

I love high fantasy! Dragons and Gnomes, sounds exciting I cant wait to have a look. 

Since the world of publishing has been opened up to virtually anyone with an idea and a computer, there are now many more aspiring young authors. What advice do you have for the next generation of young people out there?

Some people will tell you to write what you know, which I think is ridiculous. I would change that to write what you love. It's the author's passion that will come through the story. Having said that, it's imperative that a writer learn the craft. Get your story edited as well. Nothing kills an indie's chance for success like a poorly edited story!

Keep writing, no matter what. It's your tenacity that will cause you to succeed. Don't treat writing as just a hobby.

That's some great advice for all our aspiring young and talented writers out there! Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

I'd like to thank you, Dale, for taking the time to interview me and featuring it on your blog. The same goes for the book reviews you've done. A lot of time and effort goes into those and I appreciate it.

I am humbled and honored each time a reader chooses one of my books out of the millions available. My hope is to continue to entertain people with my words for many years to come. In this age of ereaders, the possibilities are endless! Thank you all for sharing a few moments of your time with me.

Thank you Laura for taking valuable time out of your writing to connect with your devoted readers! I'll be checking in from time to time to check out your newer creations as time goes by, I'm sure we will see Laura's fantastic book on here again soon.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Shadow Rising by Jamie Sedgwick

Jamie has shared the cover art from his upcoming new book Shadow Rising. The sequel to the Shadow Born that we reviewed here previously. 

I love the bold orange colour of the sun, in contrast to the menacing blackness of the castle and surroundings. The small airship in the background looks cool too. Hinting at a lot of movement in the story again I guess. Jamie is such a talented story teller I can't wait to see this book launched. Wont be long now. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Shadow Born by Jamie Sedgwick

Blurb: When Gabriel appears on a dark and stormy night, he seems just like any other twelve year-old... except for the scars that cover his back and the fact that he has no memory of his past. The wealthy couple who rescue Gabriel promise to help him find his parents, but their mysterious behavior soon leads him to wonder if they really are who they appear to be.

Review by Dale:

I love adventure stories, I remember the excitement I felt when I first saw the Indiana Jones stories back when I was a kid. It was a thrill a second as the story smashed one high-action scene into the next. It's all terrific and thrilling stuff.

It's always difficult, I think to maintain that kind of momentum in a story. It can also leave you feeling drained as you saunter out of the movie theatre at the end of the show, having emphatically experienced all the action as you ducked and weaved in your seat right along side Indie.

So it is with Gabriel, as he lurches from crisis to crisis. You barely have the time to digest the development of the story before it carries you off to another part of the world to once again fight evil in a hopelessly outnumbered capacity. Unreliable weapons, double agents and an almost unbeatable enemy. What more could a young boy want in an action story? No kissing, not even a forlorn look between characters. So if you are well tired of romance or just want an old fashioned thrill a minute ride, then I suggest you try this, the first book in the Shadow Born Trilogy.

Format: eBook
Available from Amazon
Link to Download: Here
Price: $0.99c (at time of review)
Word count: Unknown
Author: Jamie Sedgwick

Saturday, January 14, 2012

An Interview with Indie Superstar Jamie Sedgwick

Accomplished Indie Writer Jamie Sedgwick has graciously given some of his time away from writing to answer a few questions for us. This is the result of an email interview that took place over December.

Jamie’s books have been featured here on Chilli Tween Reads before look for links at the bottom of the interview.

Your stories are quite unique, you seem to be able too mix differentstory elements together with great success (like high fantasy andsteam punk).  Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?

I’ve been trying to think of a way to answer this question without getting too convoluted, but I don’t think I can. The simple and direct answer is that the books I’ve read and the genres I’ve enjoyed in the past have influenced me. Of course, nothing is ever that simple.

Part of my writing style stems from my slightly ADD personality, which I’ve discussed in my blog. My approach to writing is to do everything in my power to keep the story interesting to me, and hope that my effort pays off for readers as well. A number of reviewers have mentioned that I pack a lot of story into a book -a lot more than most authors do- and hopefully, that makes the stories pack a punch, so to speak. So far, it seems to work.

Before I start writing though, I usually start with the character. When I began writing “The Tinkerer’s Daughter” I had no idea where the story was going to go. I just knew that I had to tell the story of this poor orphaned girl who didn’t have a chance at life. The entire world was against her, but she was pure and dedicated, and a little naive, and because of that she overcame everything the world could throw it her. I knew that the time and setting would be the verge of an industrial revolution, but the political revolution that came with it was completely organic. To be honest, I was probably influenced by Japanese anime more than high fantasy or steampunk, but I followed Breeze and that was where her story took me.

In my newest novel, “Hank Mossberg, Private Ogre,” I thought about the character for several years before I finally wrote the book. I just had this character stuck in my head. He was a big, green hulking figure in a trench coat and fedora, like Mike Hammer or Dick Tracy meets The Incredible Hulk. The character was there, but I didn’t quite know what to do with him for a long time. Eventually that evolved into something simple and unique: A fairy tale murder mystery.

Most of my books are like that, to some extent. They draw on things familiar, but become something new and different in the process.

Your stories do have a universal appeal to them across age groups and sexes but is there a particular reader that you are aiming for when you write?  I know I often misjudge how seemingly more grown up the younger generation are today. They are not the same readers we were when we were young. Enid Blyton's Famous Five is a stark contrast to the Twilight books they read today, how do you stay connected with today's readers?

It’s certainly a different world than it was when I was growing up. I must admit that I have a little extra insight into the young adult mind because I have children, and lots of nieces and nephews. I do pay attention to the books they read, the movies they watch, and the way they interact with each other. And yes, I do keep them in mind when I’m writing some of my novels. Having said that, I’d also have to say that the way we define literature has changed just as much.

When I was kid, there were three sections in the library: Children (Dr.Seuss, etc.), YA (Hardy Boys & Nancy Drew, Where the Red Fern Grows, the Hobbit, etc.) and Adult. At first, I presumed the Adult section of the library was full of terrible and inappropriate things and I avoided it for fear of the consequences. Eventually, when I had exhausted everything in the YA section and I knew Middle Earth and Pern like the back of my hand, I courageously ventured into the Adult section. I half-expected alarm bells to go off and some terrifying library policeman to arrest me. Instead, I just found a bunch more books. I found James Michener, James Clavell, Zane Gray, and Stephen King, along with the rest. And some of them were the same names I’d seen in the YA section!
There was a middle ground there somewhere; a magical place occupied by science fiction and fantasy writers like Tolkien and H.G. Wells and Robert E. Howard, and that was where I always felt the most comfortable. In those days, genre fiction wasn’t for adults, yet it often contained subject matter that was quite mature. I didn’t mind. I’d found my place.

Today, we have a lot more to choose from: Children, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Tween, Teen, and so on. I can’t even remember them all and I couldn’t begin to tell you where one ends and the next begins. I think it started as a marketing tactic, but ultimately it just became a caricature. Today we have women in their twenties and thirties reading so-called YA fiction so voraciously that publishers can’t keep up with demand. And many of the teens I know roll their eyes when the subject comes up. I’ve never met a young adult male who has the slightest interest in sparkly vampires, and yet I’ve worked in office buildings full of women who have families, full-time jobs, and run business who can’t get enough of the subject. So, why is the YA section full of sparkly vampires? Why not the Adult section? Are we pretending, or somehow being politically correct by telling teens they should only be interested in one thing? Or is it just another marketing strategy? Either way, it’s shrewd business.

But regardless of how the market has changed, I think we all still really just want the same thing. We want a pleasant fiction, an exciting story, a temporary escape to a world more interesting than our own. I try to keep that in mind regardless of what age group or genre I’m writing.

Publishing has changed a lot in the last ten years. Where some fantastic writers were overlooked because their content wasn't current, today anyone can publish anything. How do manage as an indie writer in today's market?

In some ways, this new digital marketplace is fantastic, but in others it's extremely challenging. Like many Indie authors, I turned to self-publishing because the industry wasn't interested in my product. When I made that decision, I took on a lot more than just writing. I became a publisher. I formed a small business. I've had to keep track of profits and expenses, purchase and create art for covers, and seek editorial assistance. It's a lot to juggle, but I think the rewards are there for those who tough it out.

Competition has always been stiff. The number of titles at places like has grown exponentially, but so has the market. Thanks to the low cost and instant gratification that comes with e-books, more people are reading now than ever. That translates to a huge opportunity for those of us who never had a chance in the collapsing legacy system.

I see you mention some of the great old masters in writing as influences, greats like H.G Wells, and Julies Verne, whose writing was so far ahead of its time in imaginative content.... What do you think they would be writing about if they were alive today?

I've been thinking about this question for a week and I'm still not sure. It would have been easy if you'd said Tolkien, because that man was so in love with his world that he never wanted to leave it. If J.R.R. Tolkien was still alive, I have no doubt that we'd still be learning about Middle Earth. But H.G. Wells and Jules Verne... that's tough.

In a way, these two authors were really products of their time. They witnessed the industrialization of the world and it sparked their imaginations. That's not to say that their writing was less than brilliant; I consider them both literary geniuses, but in those early days of the genre, science fiction was as much fantasy as science. Some of the things they imagined we still haven't achieved.

I'd have to guess that they would still be pushing the limits. In our modern world, I can imagine Wells and Verne conducting massive amounts of research and then pushing the boundaries of what we understand, much in the way that Michael Crichton did. Having done a little research, I suspect they might have used their persuasive talents in fields outside literature as well, such as politics, though I wouldn't dare speculate about what they might think of our current political landscape.

I too struggled with the H.G.Wells question and finally decided that they would probably writing the exact same stories because as you say, most of it is still sci fi. Aliens haven't invaded, and people don’t run around at 20,000 leagues, and we don’t have time machines.  So final question for you Jamie. What are you currently workign on and when can your fans read it!"

I'm finishing a new novel in the "Hank Mossberg, Private Ogre," series, but I won't be publishing it for a few months. My next release will be "Shadow Born II: Shadow Rising." It's the continuing story of my young adult assassin Gabriel Frost. It's a very exciting sequel that reveals the truth about Gabriel's past and the origin of his special abilities. His friend Jodi develops some unusual powers of her own, and I think the story goes in some very unexpected directions. I wrote it last summer, but I try to keep several months between my first draft and publication. It's too easy to overlook amateurish mistakes on a new work. I find that allowing a few months between the first and final draft lets me see the story differently. I've forgotten many of the details, so when I come back and re-read, it's not so familiar. That's when the mistakes really start to appear and I can see where changes in pacing and plot structure might help the story.

Do you have anything you would like to add in summary? Or say to our readers?

A: I'd like to wrap it up by thanking you first of all, for your patience and generosity in putting all of this together. I'd also like to thank the readers who've taken time out of their lives and money out of their pockets to give my books a chance. When I hear from someone who's loved my stories and passed them onto friends, that's huge. It validates everything that I've been working so hard for. It's tough to be a writer. You spend thousands of hours creating stories that people might never read. You don't know if anyone will like them or if you'll ever make a penny. But you keep writing out of love for the craft and the dream that you just can't let go. Right now, I'm virtually unknown in the publishing world, but when people leave positive feedback, send emails, and comment on my blog, I know that I've succeeded. Regardless of how small my audience, my stories have connected with people and that means a lot.


Thank you Jamie for your thoughtful and candid answers.  I’m sure I speak for all our readers when I say we can’t wait to read Shadow Born II: Shadow Rising. I’m sure we can beg an ARC out of Jamie to give readers a preview before it goes live (wink, wink) or maybe even a giveaway!

Now go and read the reviews of The Tinkerer's Daughter and The Darkling Wind if you haven’t already. Then stop by Jamie's blog to check out his other books. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Blurb: Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12.

Review by Dale:

Finished the last book in the trilogy and its an impressive finish to an amazing series. I really admire the skills that Collins has displayed in putting this together. It's engaging, its educating its immensely entertaining and its almost one of those books that really makes you think differently about life. In fact for Young Adults it probably is. The first book I ever read like that was John Wyndham's the Chrysalids and there are parallels here with the Hunger Games. I might reread it and post a review so you can all compare.

But back to Mockingjay, and its easy to to point out that Collins manages to maintain her amazing style of keeping every scene buzzing, and forcing you to turn the page to see how things will turn out for Katniss. She has a great talent for building up a scenario and then doing the complete opposite of what you would expect. It almost become a little game of mine as I read. As Katniss would pursue some element of the story I'd try and guess how Collins would twist my expectations around.

And what of the characters themselves? Katniss Everdeen, is she someone you can relate to? I must point out that she looked much younger in the trailers for the Hunger Game's Movie than I had imagined in my head. Same was true for Peeta's character. I think it's great how both those characters developed over the series. And again in ways i didn't expect. Sorry to disappoint you mills and boons die hards, it's not a hands held gazing into your lovers eyes till time turns you into dust kind of book.

I would suggest you read it before Hollywood destroys it.

Highly recommended, 5 stars. Suitable for Ages 14+ (violence)

Format: Hardback
Available from Amazon Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)

Link to Download: Here
Price: $9.50c (at time of review)
Pagecount: 390 pp (appx)
Author: Suzanne Collins

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Blurb: Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge.

Review by Dale: ***Contains Mild Spoilers***

Fortunately I purchased the Hunger Games as  a box set and didn't have to wait for the sequel to arrive to read it. After allowing a mere 8 hours (to sleep) I plunged into book two. I had to finish it before I came home from holiday so my mum could read it too.

This book picks up just a few weeks after the first book, The Hunger Games (which I reviewed  Here) and again it immediately draws you in to the creepy world of Katniss and Peeta. 

Before starting this book I set about wondering what the author had in store for us. I imagined this book would be about the victory tour and maybe a mentoring of another unlucky candidate. Then in closing, probably a lead into revolution. I wondered how exciting that could be. But the minute Collins mentioned the Quater Quell, I knew we were in for another blood thirsty treat.

The writing is again instantly engaging, the story suitable complex and yet has an easy flow to it. My mum made the same comment that it was very easy to read and yet a throughly complex and compelling story. 

Often it is the case that you can guess where a story is going a few chapters in, and yes it was kind of obvious with the Quater Quell that Katniss would be heading back to the arena. But by the same token it makes you read all the more faster to find out how on earth she gets back out again. And it really comes down to the wire on this one (wink). Carefully twisting and turning the plot and dialoge until bam! 

Now with a cliff hanger the size of Niagara falls I'm rushing back to my favorite reading chair to start the final book, Mockingjay. Look for a review soon.

And again I wasn't disappointed, all the elements were there. The precise ability of Collins to keep every scene an exciting one. No padding, no boring bits. I think there is a lot to learn for other young adult writers like myself here. I guess i'm saying that Suzanne Collins makes me want to be a better writer.

Age 14+
Format: Hardback
Available from: Amazon Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)


Link to Download: Here
Price: $9.50c (at time of review)
Pagecount: 391 pp (appx)
Author: Suzanne Collins

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blurb: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival

Review by Dale:

A Happy New Year to all my followers and with a new year brings some new books. I have chosen The Hunger Games as the first book to read in 2012. I saw a trailer for the movie and was intrigued as to how the 'running man' theme for a young adult story might play out.

First impression, this book is amazing. The author, Suzanne Collins has a brilliant technique in her writing that makes even the most mundane of plot essentials riveting. She maintains the excitement of the story from page to page so that you can't help but read the entire story in one or two sittings. Obviously a lot of thought has gone into the construction of this meticulously crafted story. I really marvelled out how she has constructed her scenes

The story premise itself is also very powerful. The background of a dystopian future full of government control and censorship. The severe oppression of the subjugated peoples of the 12 districts, the 'reaping' of children; some as young as 12 years old. It is a disturbing theme that you know can't have a happy ending. The whole book has that edgy feel that George Orwell's 1984 or Animal Farm had. The scary faceless government watching and listening to everything the workers say and do. People forced to put on a brave face and hide or bury deep down inside themselves their true feelings.

When we are introduced to the other characters; the naive Peeta, the courageous Rue and the horrible Career fighters, we know by the nature of a death-match there is going to be tragic outcomes for these characters.

Since the writing is close first person how do the other characters fair in gaining our empathy and love? Again Collins does a superb job at this even when the character is present for only a small number of scenes. Rue who is barely in the book is mourned profoundly when she passes. How does Collins achieve this empathic connection with the reader in so few pages? Well you will have to read it to find out.

I consider this an awesome book for young readers. While the sentence structures and writing is easy for younger readers to follow the context and themes in the book might be more suitable for readers 14 years and up?

Highly recommended, 5 stars.

Format: Hardback
Available from Amazon The Hunger Games
Link to Download: Here
Price: $9.50c (at time of review)
Pagecount: 374 pp (appx)
Author: Suzanne Collins