Saturday, 28 August 2010

Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-Day by Daren King

Title: Frightfully Friendly Ghosties: Ghostly Holler-Day
Author: Daren King
Published by: Quercus
Publication date: 2nd September 2010
Pages: 128
Genres: Children's/Light horror
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

It's winter, and what better than a ghostly holler-day by the sea? But how are the ghosties to decide between Frighten-on-Sea and Scare-borough?

A postcard from their friend Headless Leslie decides for them: Headless is in Frighten and cannot remember how to get home. He wrote the address on the postcard, then he forgot what the address was.

So the friends set off on an exciting ghostie caper; involving a haunted Frighten pier, a fun fair, and a mysterious phantom magician. But will it all end in spooky fun or devilish disaster?

And will Leslie keep his head?

This cover is really good. To be honest, I think it could use a little more colour because it doesn't stand out very well. I do understand that it is a ghost book though, so I know it needs to look a little dark and spooky - but a little more colour would be a great improvement. The picture above doesn't do the book in real life, justice. In real life, the spider webs are shiny and spooky; you can hardly see them on the picture used for this review. Other than that, I really do like this cover. It's very mysterious and it just makes you want to grab it and start reading straight away!

The characters names in this are ridiculously hilarious! Charlie Vapour, Humphrey Bump, Pamela Fraidy, Wither, Headless Leslie....to name a few. It's clear that the author has spent a long time thinking about the characters names and personalities - by the second page, you feel like you already know them!

This is a very unusual, unique, original book. A family of ghosts living in a house that is no longer occupied by the 'still-alives'. Of course, that is not all the book is about. It's a story of fear, haunted piers at night time, con-men, spooky Victorian magicians, strange trap-doors and lots more...mwahahahahahahaa! Also, I love the authors play-on-words. Frighten, Holler-Day, Scare-borough....basically the whole book is hilarious; it's a must-read!

I have only found ONE fault with this book and that is about the ending. The ending is extremely disappointing - it's as if the book has just stopped in the middle of the story. I would have liked a more detailed, dramatic, clear ending.

Other than that....wow. That's all I can say. Wow. This book was great! I absolutely loved it. It's not extremely scary so I'd say this book is for readers aged...7+. Maybe even younger, if this was read to the child. I give this a rating of 4/5 - excellent :) I've never read anything by this author before but I certainly will be reading more by him now!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Dear Dylan by Siobhan Curham

Title: Dear Dylan
Author: Siobhan Curham
Published by: Electric Monkey
Publication date: 2nd April 2012
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.


Fourteen year old Georgie Harris feels as if the summer holidays are over before they have even began.

Banned from going to the local drama workshop by her bully of a step-dad and her increasingly fragile mum she is consigned to six long weeks of babysitting her kid sister.

Sick of feeling like the outsider at home and at school, she starts emailing the one person she thinks might understand; Dylan Curtland, star of the popular soap opera Jessop Close.

And when Dylan starts emailing back Georgie finally feels a spark of hope.

At last she has someone who really gets her, someone who really wants to help. But in the faceless world of email all is not as it seems...

My first impression of this book was 'Ohmigod. This looks great! I can't wait to read this.' I love the doodles around the edge of the cover and the hearts in the 'D's' in the title are really cute. I think maybe it would look better if you could actually see Georgie's face. Other than that, a very cute and eye-catching cover which gives great first impressions :)

An interesting thing about this book is that it is written entirely in emails. The problem is that this sometimes made the book a little slow in places. Sometimes the emails are a bit too long for my liking and sometimes I just want a break from the long emails. Don't get me wrong, I like the unusual format, but sometimes it just got a little bit boring. It could have been better, but it was still a good read with twists and challenges along the way.

I like Nancy, or 'Nan' as Georgie calls her for short. She's really nice and she helps Georgie with all her problems. Also she gave lots of advice for acting during the book, which is good for everyone who likes drama. :)

My favourite character was Jamie Phelps, Georgie's crush. He seemed nice and he cheered Georgie up when she was sad or angry. A character I didn't like at all straight from the start was Jessica, Georgies 'Best Friend'. She sounded a bit jealous of her and sometimes she was mean to Georgie. Especially when she turned up at the woods and - oops! Can't tell you any more about THAT. You'll have to read the book to find out what she did. ANYWAY...

This book gets a rating from me of 4/5. The book could have been better, but it's a nice short read for the summer hols :) I do recommend this, it was a great book despite the few faults I found :)

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Half a Sister by Kelly McKain

Title: Half a Sister
Author: Kelly McKain
Published by: Usborne
Publication date: 30th August 2010
Pages: 272
Genres: Young Adult/Family/Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the author.

A half-sister is better than none - or is it?

Hannah is thrilled at the idea of her newly discovered half-sister coming to live with her family.

She's always imagined a lovely sisterly world of girly chats, swapping make-up and sharing secrets and clothes.

Beautiful, glamorous Ellie seems to live up to all Hannah's expectations.

But gradually she begins to realize that Ellie has a darker side - one that threatens to tear Hannah's world apart.

This book is in a diary format, which is - in my opinion - a more fun way to read a book. Plus, a book in diary format breaks it all up a bit so it's easier to read for younger children. This starts off with Hannah (main character) telling us about herself, and why she started the diary. The idea of having a half sister is a very common theme for books, but Kelly McKain has managed to make it into an original, unique, funny book with a few twists and adventures to Paris along the way.

The cover of Half a Sister is gorgeous, and it gives a great first impression! I like how most of the cover is illustrated, but there are a few real flowers on it too. I don't think illustrators of books get enough credit for what they do, so I'd just like to say that Katie Lovell has done a brilliant job on this cover - well done!

The characters in this book are just simply....awesome. ;) My favourite character is Ellie, Hannah's newly discovered half-sister. She sounds quite cool, and although she has her down sides, she's a great addition to the story. Her background is really interesting - but sad - and not many authors give a lot of information on the background of a character, so this was great.

My overall rating of the whole book? Well - I can't see any down sides to it at all! A great book to add to your bookshelf. Although my copy of this book can't actually fit on my bookshelf...wow I really need a third one....ahem anyway, I give this book 5/5! It really does deserve it. Well done Kelly - you rock! :)
Thank you to Kelly herself for sending me a SIGNED COPY (!!!) Thanks so much! And....apparently I'm the first girl to read this in the whole United Kingdom! WOW. I can't thank you enough :)

Friday, 13 August 2010

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

Title: That Summer
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published by: Penguin
Publication date: 2nd July 2009
Pages: 240
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Library.


For fifteen-year-old Haven this is the summer where everything changes.

Dad is remarrying. Her sister Ashley is planning a wedding of her own. They're both moving on, but Haven is lost in memories of a time when life was happy and her family was whole.

And then Ashley's ex, the charming and funny Sumner Lee; arrives in town.

He reminds Haven of carefree days gone by, and she can't help but wonder - has fate brought this person back from her past to change her future?

Firstly, I love how all of Sarah Dessens book covers are like a collage. They look amazing and every time you look at it, you see something new. It's interesting, eye-catching....Sarah Dessens books have the best covers I have EVER seen - seriously!

The story was a little slow in places. You found yourself wanting to skip some pages because they were boring, sometimes there wasn't enough....drama.  Other than that, this is a great book to start with if you haven't read anything by Sarah Dessen before!

My favourite character is Sumner Lee. Haven, (the main character), has an older sister called Ashley - Sumner is Ashley's ex boyfriend. He seems really cool, and he drives an old VW Beetle ;)

So....overall, it is worth reading. I'd give it a rating of 3.5/5....it's good, but not as good as some of Sarah Dessen's other books!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Almost True by Keren David

Title: Almost True
Author: Keren David
Published by: Frances Lincoln
Publication date: 2nd September 2010
Pages: 368
Genres: Young Adult
Format: Paperback
Source: Review copy from the publisher.

This isn't the first time that someone's tried to silence me forever. It's just the first time that someone else has died instead.

Ruthless killers are hunting Ty. The police move him and his Mum to a quiet seaside town. But a horrific attack and a bullet meant for Ty prove that he's not safe yet.

On the road again, Ty's in hiding with complete strangers...who seem to know a lot about him. Meanwhile, he's desperate to see his girlfriend Claire, and terrified that she may betray him.

Ty can't trust his own judgment and he's making dangerous decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters.
A thrilling sequel to When I Was Joe, shot through with drama and surprise.

After reading When I Was Joe (my review here) I was really excited to get to read this a few months ago. I've been dying to be allowed to review it since I read it, but I was requested to wait until nearer to the publishing date. So, what do I think of the book? Read on!

This story follows on from the last book, When I Was Joe. It tells how Ty finds his new life, but it also tells a story of danger, emotion, romance and life on the run.

I really, really liked this novel! It combines excitement with teenage realism, to create a unique teen book and it always has you sitting on the edge of your seat. I'd say that both girls and boys would enjoy this novel - and that's something hard to come across these days.

I don't like this cover as much as the cover of When I Was Joe, but I do like the fact that they both look similar, so you can tell they're both in a series straight away. This is a very eye-catching cover, and I think it makes you just want to grab it instantly and start reading!

My favourite character was Claire. She was nice and she had an interesting past.  I think she was one of the best characters in this.

Overall, this is a great novel that I would recommend to ages 11+ although it deals with some serious issues. It depends what you usually read. I give this a rating of 5/5 - brilliant book Keren!!