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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Behemoth | Scott Westerfeld

Potential Spoilers if you haven't read the first book in the series.

For all that haven’t read the first book:

This is the second book of an exciting adventure fantasy based on World War One about war between two types of people; one that uses machines and one that uses fabricated animals for everything.

This continues the story of our two main characters, twelve year old Alek, who was on the machine side and was the Arch Duke of Austria-Hungary. He was taken away by his teachers to protect him when his parents were killed. Deryn was on the animal’s side and was pretending to be a boy so that she could join the air service.

The Leviathan is a giant, flying, fabricated whale with guns on top (a war ship).
In this book it is heading for the Ottoman empire with Alek and Deryn on board, and they meet some clankers on the way.
They’re heading straight for an empire of trouble, with only one family in the empire they can trust.

This is extremely action packed with quite a few surprises all mixed up into one super book!

There is a new type of weapon invented by Mr Tesla, a radio inventor!
The war’s still going on and Alek has adopted a ‘pet’.

I give this book a 10/10 for suspense!

By MJ, aged 11

P.S. if you want to see the review for the leviathan you'll find it under the Scott Westerfeld label

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves by Carrie Ryan


This book is set in what I think it our world, maybe the future? It doesn’t specify. But, wherever it is, things are not going well. Cities have huge walls around them to protect them from the infected out in the forest. The infected are people that have been bitten by other infected people. When someone gets bitten, the infection kills them and they come back as either breakers or mudo (different types of infected) depending on the circumstances. When they return, they don’t remember anything about their past lives. All they do is try to infect other people who have no option but to kill them.

The main character is a girl called Gabry who starts the story by climbing over the wall with her friends. She is having the time of her life because the boy she likes (her best friend, Cira’s, brother, Catcher) has just told her he likes her and kissed her for the first time but it all goes wrong when a breaker crashes the party. Some of the kids become infected and the rest get caught for going over the wall. Catcher gets bitten but, as it is only a small bite, it will take a few days before he turns. He doesn’t want to infect the rest of the city so he hides in the forest waiting to turn. Gabry is scared so runs away which means she doesn’t get caught with her friends. She vows to find Catcher and to free Cira.

I love the whole concept and, at the beginning, I loved the story. I loved finding out about Gabry’s past but I got frustrated and began to hate her by the end because she changes her mind completely. There’s someone she loves who would do anything for her and she randomly decides to like someone else but still leads him on. Also, it wasn’t as scary as the cover and blurb suggest. I didn’t really find it scary at all. Maybe that’s because I didn’t feel that the infected and their attacks were described in enough detail to scare me. Despite that, I still really want to read the sequel.

By Zobdy

Age 13

Dark Secrets 3: The Back Door Of Midnight by Elizabeth Chandler

It is the third in the Dark Secrets series. I have read Dark Secrets 2. It doesn’t make a difference whether you have already read any of the previous books because they each have individual, unrelated stories with different characters. The first two have two stories in but the third one has one.

The story in Dark Secrets 3 is called The Back Door Of Midnight. The main character is a girl called Anna who has a complicated family history. Her mother, Joanna, was taken in by her aunt and uncle (Anna’s great aunt and uncle) when she was pregnant with Anna. Her aunt and uncle are called Iris and Will and are brother and sister. Joanna was murdered when Anna was three so Anna was adopted by Kathryn who she thinks of as her mum. She has a seven year old adopted brother called Jack and six year old adopted twin sisters called Claire and Grace.

Uncle Will invites Anna to stay with him and Aunt Iris but when she gets there she discovers that he has died in between sending the letter and her getting there. Everyone thinks that it was a simple accident but something doesn’t feel right to Anna. That added with Aunt Iris talking to Uncle Will as if he’s still there and local boy Zack seeming to know more than he’s letting on makes her look around to find out what really happened that night.

Like Dark Secrets 3 it was impossible to guess what had actually happened. I had a thousand theories buzzing around my head but none of them were right. I couldn’t wait until I could read some more to add more clues so I could try and work out the mystery. But the, more I read, the more options seemed possible and it was only at the end when I knew what had really happened. I couldn’t put it down and loved it to bits especially the last page.

By Zobdy

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Unit | Terry DeHart

The Unit by Terry DeHart


The Unit, is set just after a nuclear war; a time when there is no one you can trust except your family. Jerry, his wife, Susan, and his nearly adult children, Melanie and Scotty, are left with nothing except just enough food to keep them alive for a short while, four guns (though Melanie refuses to carry one), each other and a determination to survive.


Jerry just wants to protect his family and he’ll shoot anyone that threatens them. Susan wants her children safe and out of this mess. Melanie is trying to stand up for what she believes in. She won’t carry a gun and she’s desperate for this to end. Scotty was saved so now he plans to fight for what’s right and he plans on shooting anyone who gets in his way.


Bill and his gang, on the other hand, were locked up in a juvenile detention centre but the power went out and the guards left. They’ve found that everything is for the taking - if you’re strong enough to hold onto it.


It’s a tough book in every sense of the word. It’s not exactly an enjoyable read but I felt compelled to carry on anyway. I had to know what would happen to them. I hated Bill but cared a lot for the family, particularly Melanie. It was impossible to predict how it would end until I actually got there. Worth a look but don’t go in expecting a happy story. I definitely would not recommend it to under fourteens.


By Zobdy

Age 13

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Hex Hall | Rachel Hawkins

When young witch, Sophie Mercer, makes one magical mistake too many, she is sent off to Hecate Hall,
a reform school for magical beings. This sets the scene for a teenage adventure story.

In this book, no matter how bad the situation is, teenagers still manage to be, well, teenagers.
While an evil creature is attacking and even killing fellow students, the characters still find time to fall in
love, bicker over boyfriends and fall out.

As the story draws towards a climax however, Sophie is forced to put all this to one side to clear
her best friend’s name. Yet all the while, she is walking into a trap herself, and surely, it is only a matter
of time before the trap snaps shut.

An interesting read for all teenage girls.

Wombat – 11

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

The Graveyard Book | Neil Gaiman

The main character is called Nobody Owens; known as Bod. When he was a baby, his family was killed. Bod managed to escape being killed and ended up in the graveyard where all the graveyard folk (the dead) care for him. They call him Nobody because they decided that he looks like nobody but himself.

Throughout the book, Bod gets into a lot of scrapes but, with the help of his friends and adopted family, just about manages to get out of most of them. Until he faces the hardest challenge ever thrown at him – the man who murdered his family. But he must learn to stand on his own two feet if he ever wants to be ready for the world outside the graveyard.

I was sucked in from page one. In the opening, it describes a knife then goes on to talk about the man holding it. It’s an extremely descriptive and captivating opening. My school librarian and several of my friends agree with me. I felt everything Bod felt. I loved everything and everyone he loved and hated the things and people he did. I desperately wanted it to end happily for him. I loved the idea of a boy living and growing up in a graveyard with the dead as his friends and family. Despite its title, this book is not scary. To Bod, the graveyard is his home filled with people (well, dead people) he loves.

By Zobdy

Age 13

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Midnighters: The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

Midnighters is written by the same person as the Uglies series. It’s about a girl called Jessica Day who moves to Bixby from Chicago with her mum, dad and younger sister, Beth.

When she arrives in Bixby, things are a little strange but soon she discovers that it’s because she’s a midnighter. Midnighters are the select few people who are born within a second of midnight. They alone can live in the secret hour between midnight and one. But for some reason, this only happens in Bixby. Jess can’t enjoy it though because the darklings and slithers (the creatures who live in the secret hour) keep attacking her for no reason she can understand. The other midnighters try to help her. They all have a special power but Jess doesn’t seem to have one.

Jess is on a journey of discovery as she tries to understand this secret world that she has become a part of. The first half of the book seemed to drag a little and the story didn’t move on as fast as I might have liked. But the second half was worth the wait because it was interesting and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. It shows you all of the characters’ points of view and how everything affects them, and it makes you care about what happens to them. Definitely worth a look if you’re prepared to work through the first half.


By Zobdy

Age 13

Friday, 13 August 2010

Relaunch

Ok folks, there are changes afoot on Young & Un:Bound. We have had a wonderful new logo designed and will be revealing a new look. This is all happening in October, the relaunch will tie in with Everybody's Reading in Leicester where we are having a bit of a gathering at Kona Blue in the Highcross, 4pm onwards 6th October. If you are around drop by and say hi.
We will continue to post occasional reviews between now and then, but I am very excited about the relaunch and will be back with more news about the extension of the team and some new tie ins soon!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Perfect Chemistry | Simone Elkeles


Review for Perfect Chemistry By Simone Elkeles

Things look perfect in Brittany's life. She has the perfect hair, the perfect car, the perfect boyfriend and she is the perfect head of the cheerleading squad. To other people she looks, and acts, like a princess but when Brittany gets behind her front door she goes into overdrive looking after her disabled older sister, Shelley. Infact, Brittany's home life is a mess. Her parents only care about appearance, not about their Daughters' feelings.

As if Brittany wasn't juggling too much already, On the first day back to school, her chemistry teacher partners her with the biggest bad ass in school, Alex Fuentes. He's Mexican and in a gang. Not a stupid little group of bullies though, a proper gang that deals with drugs, killings and blackmail.

Forced to work together on a chemistry project, Brittany and Alex get to know more about each other and their feelings towards each other get more serious and it's only when Alex is forced by his gang to do something incredibly dangerous and illegal that Brittany decides that she has to go to extremes to keep him out of harms way. Even if others have to get hurt.

Simone Elkeles has created a wonderful romance novel. When I read this book I thought that it was really realistic because I could picture everything that was described. I would reccomend this book to all my friends but I think it is aimed at young adults because there is strong language and some of the contents of the book wouldn't be suitable for anybody under the age of 13.

All in all it's a great book and I could read it and re-read it over and over again.

PomPom.

The Chosen One | Carol Lynch Williams


The Chosen One, by Carol Lynch Williams.

The chosen one is a book by carol lynch williams about a girl who doesn't find it strange that she has twenty brothers and sisters, and his father has three wives. She does, however, dislike the fact that she cannot choose who she falls in love with. when she finds a travelling library and starts to read books, which are strictly forbidden by 'the prophet', and falls in love with Joshua, she wishes she could choose who to fall in love with, not be forced to get married-being the seventh wife to her sixty year old uncle. Kyra wishes to escape, but that would endanger all the other members of her family. this book is about what she does and how all the above happens.

This is a very touching book, although i didn't understand it at times. i think it is for maybe slightly older readers, of maybe 13 or 14, as lots happens at once and it can be very hard to comprehend. there is great detail in the writing and carol lynch williams is a very clever woman.

AV. age 12

Monday, 19 July 2010

Dark Secrets 2 | Elizabeth Chandler


Two stories with only one thing relating them. They are both about an unsolved murder.
In No Time To Die, Jenny’s sister, Liza, who she is closer to than anyone in the world, has just died. Jenny decides to go to the summer drama camp where Liza was murdered by a serial killer. But she goes under a false name so that no one will know who she is. Everything is exactly how Liza described it. But, as Jenny digs deeper, she begins to wonder if Liza was really murdered by a serial killer after all.

In The Deep End Of Fear, Kate’s father recently died. He left her two requests. One, to return a ring to Adrian Westbrook, and, two, to regain contact with her mother who she has not seen since she was five. Deciding to return the ring, she takes a job looking after Adrian’s son, Patrick. But that means returning to her childhood home where her best friend, Ashley, had died by falling through the ice on the pond. Patrick is behaving oddly and saying he can see Ashley even though no one has ever told him about her. Kate isn’t sure that Ashley’s death was an accident. There are plenty of people who would benefit from her death…and Patrick’s.

I couldn’t put it down. I just had to know what happened next. Certain characters I loved and others I hated. The bit I loved the most was that the outcomes are completely unexpected. I could have made a long list of the people I thought might have killed Liza and Ashley but the people who actually did wouldn’t have been on it. But then I saw that it was them all along. Well written and I would definitely recommend it.

By Zobdy
Age 13

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Wicked , Resurrection | Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie

Resurrection is the last in the five part Wicked series. It is particularly focused on the witch cousins, Holly, Nicole and Amanda, but there are so many other characters doing different things, it’s almost too hard to keep track of where everyone is or, even, who’s still alive. Definitely not a stand alone book. Do not try to read any of the books out of order or you will end up in a very confused mess.

The Houses of Cahors (Holly, Nicole and Amanda) and Deveraux (Jer and Eli) are forced to put aside their differences to face an enemy more powerful than any they have encountered before. New friends are found and old ones lost forever. It is full of action as the final battle begins. It makes you feel happy and sad and angry along with the characters. You feel like you are there with them experiencing everything they do. A real page turner. Brilliant, if you can keep up.

By Zobdy
Age 13

Monday, 12 July 2010

Nation | Terry Pratchett


Nation by Terry Pratchett

Nation is set in a world which is almost identical to ours. The Nation is a tribe that live on a tiny unknown island. That is, it was, until the wave came and wiped out everyone except Mau. But he’s not alone because there is a shipwrecked “trouserman girl” called Ermintrude and a very rude parrot. Ermintrude hates her name so tells Mau that she is called Daphne. They try to understand eachother’s cultures and languages and together they help all of people that come to the island.

I loved it right up to the end, which I hated. I’m not going to say what happens but it’s not what you want to. I know several people who agree with me. It’s a great book because it makes you care about the characters and what happens to them.

I tried reading it a few years ago because I got it for Christmas. At the time, I wasn’t particularly interested so I couldn’t get into it. But now I’ve picked it up again, I’ve really enjoyed it so even if you try it and don’t like it, try it again later and you might surprise yourself.

BY Zobdy
Age 13

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Hush Hush | Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey is an ordinary girl (aside form being anemic) who goes to school, does her work, and hangs around with her best friend, Vee. Until Patch turns up. Handsome, mysterious and slightly roguish, he is everything Nora doesn't want. Nora feels uneasy around him because of the fact that he knows everything about her and seems to be finding out more by the second, because whenever she is with him something bad happens, and because of the strange sensation she can't work out whenever she is near him.

Assigned to be biology partners with him, Nora can't help but get to know Patch and slowly starts to fall for him. But with crimes striking all over the place and with Nora caught up in it all, the only feeling Nora can have for patch is suspicion.

As life gets more dangerous and questions waiting around every corner, Nora puts her trust in Patch, only to find out that that could have been a bad Idea.

I loved this book and I can't wait to read 'Crecendo' the sequel.

I think this is a young adult book, probably for girls because the book is written from a girls point of view and I don't think that it would appeal to boys like that.

PomPom

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Wintercraft - Jenna Burtenshaw

Wintercraft is set in a country called Albion in a made up world. Kate Winters has a rare power, she is one of the Skilled. She can look into the veil and manipulate life and death. But Kate doesn’t want to have any part in it because the Skilled are hunted. She just wants to be left alone. When she is captured by the infamous Silas, who is known for killing people without a second thought, she tries to get away to find her friend, Edgar, and her uncle, Artemis. But then she learns the truth about Silas and the job he wants her to do. They make a deal which leads to chaos and death.
I found it hard to get into the book. Every time I picked it up, I struggled through the first few pages but, after a few minutes, I was hooked again. So, once I got started I couldn’t put it down. The story is fast paced and full of action. For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was interested in this new world and fascinated by the Skilled. But, although I think it is an excellent book well worth reading, unfortunately, I don’t agree with the comment on the inside cover that says “Wintercraft is set to be the most exciting teen title of 2010”. Despite that, an amazing read.
By Zobdy
Age 13

Friday, 28 May 2010

Darklife - Kat Falls

Darklife by Kat falls is set in the future. The whole world has grown unbearably hot and most of the land is now underwater. Ty was born underwater and knows it as home. He meets a girl, Gemma, at the beginning of the book and she explains that she is searching for her brother. Gemma lives in a care home and wants to get out. She hangs out with Ty and his family under the sea and slowly they become best frineds. While searching for Gemma's brother, they come across a nasty gang called Sea blite and their leader, Shade. Gemma's brother is nowhere to be found and Sea blite are growing more and more dangerous. Lots of mysteries are waiting to be answered and Gemma is under threat of being taken home to the 'Top side'.

Overall this was a very good, interesting book. aimed probably 11+ years, Girls or boys. Definatly a 10 out of 10!

Pompom

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Giveaway - Hush Hush

I have a paperback copy of Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick to give away. All you need to do is comment and one commenter will be selected via randomiser.

This is my review from the hardback in October 2009

It's beautiful. The cover isn't just a great image it's beautiful with it's slightly metallic quality to the cover, the evocative font type and on the inside of the hardback cover the white feathers showing on the black paper. I could happily just hold it.

I read it in two big happy chunks, before bed last night and over breakfast this am. Hush Hush is a paranormal YA and in an increasingly popular genre it is becoming more and more difficult to stand out. This stands out. It's tense and dramatic, Nora is riddled with doubt, unsure who to trust, who is a threat and what is really going on. Fitzpatrick is very effective in creating the doubts and anxiety not only in her heroine's mind, but in her readers. There are enough potential threats and twists that for everyone I saw coming there were more that caught me by surprise. Nora is a likeable heroine who is drawn gradually from normality into a world of angels and fallen and that allows the reader to be drawn into a place where such things are possible with her.

Ok Patch is a silly nickname, but I got over that pretty quickly and that really is the only nitpick I can manage with this one.

Becca Fitzpatrick, like Sarah Rees Brennan, is an author set to make a real impact in a YA market with a thirst for the paranormal.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Vampires Assistant - Darren Shan

The Vampires Assistant is a mind blowing adventure that will capture you in the moment!
I read this every day and at night I would stay up way past 11 o'clock just to finish the chapter .I just couldn't put it down and even got told off for reading in class when I supposed to be doing a maths paper!

The book is about a teenage boy (Darren Shan) who enjoys his life until one day his mate brings in a flyer saying about a freak show in town.He ends up going and falls in love with a spider. Darren sets up for a adventure training the spider until one day an awful mistake happens. Darren is forced to make a life changing decision.

You have GOT to read this book! I didn't think it was very good at the start until I got to chapter 2 and then I couldn't put it down. I think this book is better than Harry Potter and that's saying something!

Cookie Monster
age 10

Monday, 19 April 2010

Extras - Scott Westerfeld

Extras is a book that goes with the Uglies, Pretties and Specials series. It is set slightly later than the others and the main character is a girl called Aya. Aya lives in a different city to Tally (the star of the main series) but knows about her because she is famous worldwide. In Aya’s city, everyone has a face rank determining how famous and popular they are.

Aya starts off as a nobody, an extra, but then she joins a mysterious group called the Sly Girls and kicks (puts on her feed, which is a network similar to the internet) a story about aliens planning to destroy the world and suddenly everyone wants to listen to her. But then who should turn up but Tally herself and then Aya goes with Tally to uncover the truth.

When I had finished reading the other books, I really wanted to know what happened next and Extras does that. It’s thicker than the others so there’s more to sink your teeth into. It’s fast paced and exciting. The futuristic slang is really easy to pick up but it adds that extra something. It’s great.

By Zobdy

Age 13

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Review Captivate - Carrie Jones

This is an absolutely brilliant sequel to "Need" By Carrie Jones. In this book, Zara, Nick, Issie, Devyn and Betty discover that an outbreak of pixies have come from Valhalla to help release the pixies that Zara once trapped in a pixie house. Zara wants to know who they are and where they come from, and, on her journey she finds a young, Handsome pixie called Astley. His name means 'Star'. Astley keeps showing up where Zara needs him...and when she doesn't. Take the girls toilets for example! One day, when Zara realises that Her biological father is about to die, she goes to the pixie house to save him.

Spoiler Zone..........highlight to view
Nick gets attacked by a pixie there and is on the verge of dying when an evil pixie takes him away. They are just about to kill Zara when, surprise surprise, along comes Astley and swoops her into his arms. Astley explains that he is a pixie king who has learned to control his need. He says that he needs a queen and he feels that Zara is the one! But of course, she would need to turn pixie.
Zara has to choose between turning pixie, Being astleys queen and being strong enough to get Nick back,
or let him live his own life in Valhalla......without her.
Either way has its consequences and it is a tough decision for Zara to make.
End of Spoiler Zone.....

This is a fantastic book, only one thing annoyed me.
The ending.
It made me so angry that i could have hit myself! I don't think that there is another book in this series and the way they ended this book implied that there was. Spoiler It leaves Nick in Valhalla half dead, with Zara vowing to come for him, even if she has to kill thousands and it doesn't say a word about what they do or how they get there!End of spoiler I don't think I've ever been so mad at a book before! Other than that though this is an awesome book and I'd recommend it to anyone.......but warn them about the ending!

(it's ok, this is listed as the second of the series so eventually it will all be resolved - Hagelrat)

Monday, 22 March 2010

Uglies, Pretties, Specials - Scott Westerfeld

It is a series of three books. They are set in the future with a Sci-Fi theme. In the future, when they reach the age of sixteen, everyone has an operation that turns them from an ugly (a normal person) into a pretty. The story starts when the main character, Tally Youngblood, is fifteen and waiting impatiently for her birthday. But, when she becomes friends with another ugly called Shay, Tally is forced into the wild and she learns the terrible secret about the operation. With her new friends, Tally battles with the city but she can’t tell which side she’s on when people keep messing with her head.

It is an exciting story full of action and adventure. It has suspense and it’s even a little sad sometimes as Tally struggles to find who she is, save the world and protect the people she loves all at the same time. It is a great series and I loved the adventure.

There is a fourth book called Extras which is set slightly later and stars a girl called Aya. There was a sneak peek at the end of Specials and I would love to read it.

By Zobdy

Age 13

Wait! I’ve got Extras now! Yay!

Friday, 12 March 2010

13 Curses - Michelle Harrison

Hi folks, another new reviewer here on Young & Un:Bound, please welcome cookie monster - Hagelrat

The thirteen curses is about a teenage girl named Rowan who runs away only to discover that her brother (James aged 2) has somehow run away too .They end up in a care home and Rowan realises that she must protect her brother from the fairies who are trying to capture James. She goes out of her way to protect him by finding every item of red clothing she can. This is because Rowan knows that red is invisible to fairies. But one night she wakes up only to find her brother gone…

Rowan suddenly gets captured by the Hedge Witch and makes friends with a young man called Stitch. They bond well and decide to escape. Tension builds as they escape and steal a glamour disguise that is a fox coat. The fairies set Rowan a challenge of retrieving all of the thirteen treasures and only then will she get her brother back. She meets a boy and a girl who decide to help her. They have found eleven of the treasures when Rowan has a feeling that the twelfth is at her Aunt’s house. She travels there only to discover that her Aunt has been keeping a dark family secret for all of these years.

I felt this book was well thought out and had a fantastic story line. The characters are very strong willed and show that you don’t have to give up easily. Whilst I was reading the book in class I started to cry because it was really sad at the end. However my friends are all desperate to read it now! I’d highly recommend the Thirteen Curses to boys and girls aged 10 upwards who enjoy adventures. I will definitely now read more Michelle Harrison books!

cookie monster

Age 10


Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Dork Diaries - Rachel Renee Russell

Hi all, please welcome Young & Un:Bound's youngest reviewer Pyjama Slug. - Hagelrat

Dork Diaries is about a girl called Nikki who moves to a new private school. She is annoyed at her parents for making her move school, she hates MacKenzie who is popular but is really a bully and she gets fed up with her little sister Brianna. The book is written on lines to look like a real diary, but I think it would have been nice if the book had spiral binding so that it looked like a proper girls’ diary!

I like all the doodles in the book as it made it feel like I was reading a proper diary and they helped me to understand some of the words better. There were lots of labels next to the doodles to tell you what Nikki was doing. There is a lot of text language in the diary like OMG so I had to ask my older sister what some of it was, but now I know!

I really enjoyed Dork Diaries and I couldn’t put it down at bedtime! I would like to read more books by Rachel Renee Russell now. I recommend Dork Diaries especially to girls aged 7-10.

Pyjama Slug

Age 7

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Stravaganza: City Of Ships by Mary Hoffman

City Of Ships is the last book in the Stravaganza series. It is the only one I have read but it works by itself because in each book, a new person finds out what’s going on and it is written from their point of view.

It is about a girl called Isabel who discovers that, with the help of a secret talisman, she can travel to a country called Talia (based on our Italy) in a parallel universe. To travel to there, she has to fall asleep holding her talisman. Talia is actually four centuries behind our world and they have day when we have night.

I enjoyed this book because I thought the whole idea of travelling to another world during the night is interesting. I also enjoyed the fact that Talia is based on Italy because I don’t know much about Italy. It was fun to watch Isabel stop being the shy, unnoticed girl, always hiding in the shadow of her twin brother, and grow more confident and start being her own person.

By Zobdy
Age 13

Friday, 19 February 2010

Monday, 15 February 2010

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

This is an exciting adventure fantasy based on World War One about war between two types of people; one that uses machines and one that uses fabricated animals for everything.

For most of the story I couldn’t wait for the two main characters, which were on opposite sides, to meet. Twelve year old Alek, who was on the machine side and was the Arch Duke of Austria-Hungary, was taken away by his teachers to protect him when his parents were killed. Deryn was on the animals’ side and was pretending to be a boy so that she could join the air service. The Leviathan is a giant, flying, fabricated whale with guns on top (a war ship) which Deryn accidentally lands on.

It was really exciting when they finally met. The first three quarters of the story was serious but exciting, then after Alek and Deryn met it got much funnier. I really enjoyed the whole story but I liked the last quarter best. I found going backwards and forwards between two sides a bit confusing, and the story didn’t do this anymore when they were together.

I enjoyed this book so I think other children from aged 10 would also enjoy it.

By MJ
Aged 10.
P.S. I’m going away for 6 months so I won’t be writing anymore reviews for a while!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Need - Carrie Jones

Highlight the spoiler section to view if you want to - HR

When Zara’s step dad died from a heart attack, she had fallen deeper into depression. Her mum decides to send her to live with her grandmother in Maine, deciding that leaving the memories of her step-dad behind she might be happy again.

In Charleston, her old hometown, it was nice and warm but in Maine, it’s always cold and snowy. She begins school almost as soon as she arrives there and she immediately makes a new enemy, Megan.

Megan makes it clear that she hates Zara right from the beginning and is horrible to her. Zara also makes four best friends, Issie, Devyn, Ian and Nick. Those aren’t the only people watching out for her though, a creepy man keeps stalking her. All the time she hears him whispering her name, pointing at her, leaving a trail of golden dust and constantly following her around.

One night she finds a very large, injured, dog in the woods. She takes it home and cares for it whilst waiting for Nick to come home from searching for the stalker. When it gets late and she starts to worry about Nick, she gets ready to go and look for him, only to find him standing right behind her!

Spoilers***
She demands answers and eventually he tells her that he is a were-wolf, Devyn is a were-eagle, The school receptionist is a were-bear and her grandmother is a were-tiger!
Of course she doesn’t believe him but when Ian and Megan try to turn her into something evil they realise that the stalker is a pixie, Ian and Megan are pixies, all of the pixies had been killing the local boys for their power.
***end Spoilers

Zara and all her friends have to work together to trap the stalker (who Zara finds could mean something to her) and his followers.

Carrie Jones has written a tale full of magic, evil and romance. It has been put together perfectly and is brilliant. I don’t think I could find any better word to describe this book than ‘Magic’. I would say this book is aimed at girls 12+.

by PomPom

Monday, 1 February 2010

A Million Shades of Gray - Cynthia Kadohata

This book was quite difficult to get into. When I started reading it, the story started from quite a random part and that made it quite difficult to get a grasp of. It was only at chapter four that I really started getting into it, that is why it has taken me so long to review it.
Y'tin and his family live in Vietnam, there is a war going on and Y'tin knew little about it. He didn't really care to know anything about it for he loved, more than anything in the world, to spend his time with elephants. His elephant, Lady, was the one he loved best and Y'tin spent most of his time with her. But when the war actually comes to his village, he is forced to let Lady go on her own into the jungle. Y'tin is captured by the North Vietnamese soldiers and is held hostage. After seeing many of his best friends killed, right in front of his eyes he makes a narrow escape into the jungle. There, he meets up with the other Elephants, and one of the elephant handlers, Tomas. The third elephant handler had been killed. Day after day they go through the jungle searching for their lost relatives. When one of his friends goes missing and he is put in charge of the search, a lot of the villagers are counting on him.
I think this an ok book. I wouldn't pick it from a shop and I think it's rather sad about all the deaths and everything and there are quite a few upsetting parts, but otherwise it's interesting and tells us about the Vietnam war, but from a young boy's point of view. I don’t think this would be for younger children because of the upsetting bits and they mightn’t understand some of it, I think this book if for girls and boys, aged 13+.

Pompom.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Interview with Debbie Viguie & Giveaway

The lovely Debbie, co author of the Wicked series has, rather awesomely agreed to be interviewed by Zobdy and PomPom so without any more rubbish from me enjoy - HR

Z&P: Where did you get your inspiration for the Wicked series?

DV: The journey of Holly is very much like the hero’s journey. She gets the call to adventure, finds out that the world is a much larger place and that she has a role in it, and then goes on a quest to defeat evil. We took a lot of inspiration from some of the locations the books are set in as well as some of the historical events we embrace.

Did you have to do some research to write your books or did you make it all up?

That’s actually a very tricky question. In a way the answer is yes to both. A lot of research goes into every book I write. I wrote a series about theme parks and went to a lot of theme parks before creating my own. While mine is completely made up, it feels real for people who read the books because of the amount of detail I put in. When writing a scene that’s set in a place I’ve never been I try to do some research about the place, see if there are a few facts I can put in, and then I just have to imagine what it’s like to be there.

It’s the same thing with the Wicked series. We both researched Wiccan rituals and beliefs and then, with that knowledge in the back of our head, made everything up for the most part. That’s why real practitioners will sometimes point out that our use of some ceremonial objects or other details aren’t completely accurate. They’re not meant to be. We’re not writing factual accounts about practicing Wiccans at the end of the day, but taking some of the flavor of those beliefs and then asking ourselves “What if black magic existed and the world functioned in a certain way and someone who had no background or training could wield awesome powers?” Then we just went for it, trying to create a believable world in the Wicked books that our readers could really get into.

One of the really cool things we did revolved around actual historical events. We took real events, massacres, disasters, etc., and found ways to insert our characters into them. That actually required a lot of research, but was incredibly rewarding when we finally wrote the scenes.

When you were little, did you dream of being an author or something else?

I had two dreams when I was little. I wanted to be a writer and a veterinarian. I spent a lot of time studying to become a veterinarian before turning aside to pursue writing instead. I still love animals, but I think ultimately I chose the right career for me.

Now, if you weren’t an author, what do you think you would be?

If I wasn’t a writer I would be an actress. I love to act, to help bring other people’s stories to life. As it is, I do a lot of acting in community theater whenever possible. I find that the more I hone my writing skills, the more insightful I am as an actor. The one thing that’s better about acting than writing is you don’t have to wait as long to know whether or not people enjoyed your work. Rehearsals for a play typically run about six weeks and two hours after you step on stage opening night you know what people think of your performance. For a writer it can be up to a year before you get feedback from your audience.

How long does it take you to write a book?

Anywhere from three weeks to six months. It varies from book to book and a lot of factors go into it. Some books are easier to write than others and just seem to flow really well. Others require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to write a single chapter.

Has a person ever inspired you?

A lot of people inspire me including family and friends. As far as helping me to choose to become an author I was deeply inspired by the western writer Zane Grey. He died long before I was ever born, but his books inspired me and I wanted to become a writer to make people feel the way I did when reading his books. My Wicked co-author, Nancy Holder, continually inspires me with her dedication to her craft and her ability to write so much so well.

What is your favorite character that you have made up?

That’s a really hard question. My favorite character, I guess, is in a book that has not yet hit stores so nobody would have a frame of reference if I tossed out that name. In the books that are already out, I guess my favorite character would be Becca from the Sweet Seasons series. The character was crazy fun to write and actually made me laugh out loud when I was writing her. She has this extreme allergy to sugar and whenever she gets hold of some, which she does at least once a book, she goes crazy hyper. The character is actually a composite of me, a friend of mine, and a stuffed bunny rabbit I have. Even though Becca isn’t the main character of the series she has gained a lot of love and support from readers. My husband was constantly lobbying for me to add more Becca scenes to each book.

What is the best book you have read?

The Lone Star Ranger by Zane Grey is the best book I have ever read. It was the first Zane Grey novel I read and when I finished reading it I knew I wanted to be a writer too. The book follows the story of a gunfighter in the old west through his fall into outlaw ways and his eventual rise and salvation through joining the Texas Rangers. Zane Grey had a way of making the characters so incredibly real, it feels like you know them.

How has the co-authoring process worked on the Wicked series?

Nancy and I write very well together and we have similar writing styles. In order to write books together we put aside our own egos and make decisions not on personal wants or tastes, but on what’s best for the story. We have a rule “Never back, always forward”. What that means is that if one of us changes something, the other isn’t allowed to change it back, but only to change into something else new. This way the story constantly evolves forward until any particular piece isn’t my idea or hers, my words or hers, but ours. We generally split up the chapters and each write half. Then we swap them and revise them. Then each of us takes one last read through the manuscript to change/tweak what we need to. It’s worked out very well for us. The great part is you can point to almost any sentence in a book and although we can tell you who wrote the chapter initially, even we don’t know who actually wrote that particular sentence. It’s fantastic. The result is that the reader doesn’t hear my voice or her voice, but our voice. Many writers reference their books as their children and I guess in this way it’s an apt analogy. When you look at a book we wrote together you can distinguish Nancy’s rich descriptions and my fast pacing.

How did you write the book together, did you sit together and write or take it in turns to write different bits?

Unfortunately Nancy and I live in different states. Our collaborating happens on the phone and over email. Sometimes when we’re writing our own chapters we’ll wait until we get the previous chapter from the other. Other times we just carry on and change what we have to later to make sure everything fits together smoothly.

Did you find it difficult to write a book with another author instead of just by yourself?

Co-writing can be difficult, but with Nancy and I it is almost easier than writing by ourselves. That’s because whenever we don’t like something or are trying to work out a certain problem, the other one probably has the answer. When you can bounce ideas off someone you really trust it makes for a fun experience and also can ease the load and the pressure.

What was the first thing you got published, how did you do it, and how old were you?

I was twenty and I published a poem in an anthology. I got poetry magazines and market guides and entered contests and submitted for anthologies. I had half a dozen poems published this way. Then, I wrote an article about throwing a themed wedding which was published in a local bridal magazine because my florist knew the editor and the editor really wanted an article about what it takes to throw that kind of wedding.

The first book I had published was Wicked: Witch. Nancy invited me to co-write it with her after we had met a couple of years earlier at the Maui Writers Conference. A lot about getting writing work is networking, and that is true even when you’ve published several books. It’s always nice to know other writers who can tell you when an editor they know is looking for a particular kind of book that you might just happen to have.

I got my first rejection letter when I was twelve. I submitted a story to a children’s magazine and was told my work was too violent for children. I was a little confused by that. When I was twenty-nine I got to stand in a bookstore and see my name on a book for the first time. It was a long, hard road, but well worth it!

Me again, just to say a huge thanks to the girls and Debbie for this excellent interview. In addition and rather excitingly, I have a copy of the second volume of the Wicked series, that's books three and four to give away. So if you are interested all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and make sure you can be reached by email. It's open world wide and will close on the 7th February. - HR

Sunday, 24 January 2010

The Wicked Series - Nancy Holder and Debbie ViguiƩ

This is a series with five books in it. To start with I was only going to read the third and the fourth, Legacy and Spellbound. I started reading them but I didn’t understand what was going on so I read the first two, Witch and Curse. After I read them and everything made more sense, I was hooked.

It is a story about Holly Cathers who, when her parents die, goes to live with her twin cousins, Amanda and Nicole. Together, they discover that they are witches from the ancient house of Cahors. They get sucked into a feud with the house of Deveraux going back generations. When their lives are threatened, they have no choice but to fight back.


It is an action fantasy and, in some ways, a horror. I loved it. They are quite thick books and you may want to use a bookmark because the chapters are very long. I would recommend them for teenagers (mainly girls) as lots of people die so it might be upsetting for under tens.


I think it is a great series because it was full of suspense and I was desperate to know what would happen next, especially when they were separated from each other because the author made you care about the characters. I would love to read the fifth one.

By Zobdy

Age 13


Ok folks, just popping by to say the lovely Debbie has kindly agreed to be interviewed by Zobdy and PomPom. The interview should be up in a week or so and we will also be giving away a copy of the second volume (books three and four) so check back for that. - Hagelrat

Sunday, 17 January 2010

YA Highway highlights YA blogs

Saw this post, highlighting a bunch of blogs that focus on teen and YA fiction. It's a great spotlight post.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Magic Under Glass - Jaclyn Dolamore


(this is the first post by one of our new reviewers so please giver her the customary warm Un:Bound welcome - Hagelrat).

Magic Under Glass By Jaclyn Dolamore is the best book I have ever read.

It is about a seventeen year old girl called Nimira, she sings and dances in a show that pays very little. When a gentleman named Hollin Parry walks into the show and asks her to work for him, singing alongside a clockwork man who plays the piano, she accepts gratefully.

When she sees the clockwork man or 'Automaton' she notices something strange about it. A few days later when the automaton was wound up, it starting murmuring, Nimira was shocked, she then realised, he was trying to communicate with her by tapping the piano keys. The automaton's name is Erris, and Nimira, finds out he is a fairy prince.

Erris explained that in the midst of a battle, Fairies against Sorcerers, he had been turned into the automaton. A kind Sorcerer called Garvin had found him and had planned to restore Erris to a fairy, but Garvin was killed mysteriously.


Spoiler section highlight to read.

Eventually, with the help of Annalie and the mysterious Queen of the longest night, Nimira manages to turn Erris into a human. When Hollin finds out he is furious! For he thinks fairies are all evil. When Smollings takes Erris away, all of them think up a plan and Garvin's spirit enters Annalie to defeat Smollings. Fortunately, Erris is alive but all his clockwork mechanism is opened up. In the end they defeat smollings and are going in search of Erris's sister's husband.

End of spoilers


I think this is a brilliant book. Probably aimed at girls, aged 12 - 14

You need a very good imagination for this book otherwise the plot would not make sense. I would love Jaclyn Dolamore to make a sequel to this book as I think the ending suggests another part of the story is needed. I read this book solid in 6 hours and loved it to pieces.