An action packed sequel to keep you guessing

TITLE = INSURGENT

AUTHOR = VERONICA ROTH

GENRE = WAR, ACTION, ADVENTURE, FAMILY, ROMANCE, POLITICAL INTRIGUE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

As expected, this sequel picks up where the action left off at the end of the first exciting book: Tris & Tobias have escaped from the fighting with her brother, Caleb and Tobias’ hated father, Marcuc. They have taken refuge in the Amity faction whilst they determine their approach for the future. Tris is racked with guilt over the deathy of Will and feels unable to share this with Tobias, which only deepens her sense of gulit and grief.

However, when they are forced to flee from the Amity and take refuge with candour, they find that they are both on the Wanted List for commiting crimes against humanity, in their supposed role in the Dauntless rebellion. Will they survive the truth serum that is a necessary part of their trial?? And if so, what lies ahead??

As they try to unravel the politics and lies of the differing faction leaders – does their best chance lie with the factionless? Or should they follow Marcus … despite Tobias’ feelings for him?? And should Tris follow her instincts even if this means lying to the one person she truly loves?

The stakes are even higher for Tris in this exciting sequel – she is battling against powerful forces once again but this time she is also battling against herself. How do you trust others when you no longer trust yourself? Is revenge more important than truth?

THis novel is action packed right till the last page … a great read!

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** 

More exciting seafaring action

TITLE = SHIP KINGS 2: The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice

AUTHOR = ANDREW McGAHAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, ACTION, FANTASY, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 AND UP

This second instalment in the Ship Kings quartet, is every bit as exciting as the first. There is again a sense of dread and fear lurking in the wings as Dow struggles to stay alive and free. He may have gained his dream of living and working on a sailing ship but has this dream come at too great a cost? Will a voyage to the icy edges of the world provide answers or more danger and possible loss of life?

Apart from the ever present dangers of the sea, Dow is also facing more personal dangers, especially when he seeks to find out more about the intriguing  scapegoat girl, Nell. We learn more about the back stories of some of the key characters in this book and Dow is put to the test yet again. Full of adventure and seafaring action – and moving human stories too.

Another great read – and readers will be excited to know that there is more action and suspense expected in the next eagerly awaited volume in this dense, beautifully written seafaring adventure story.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Final instalment was worth the wait.

TITLE = THE POWER OF FIVE: OBLIVION

AUTHOR = ANTHONY HOROWITZ

GENRE = FANTASY, ACTION, ADVENTURE, ANCIENT CIVILISATIONS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-10

When we last left the 5 teens who represent “the Power of 5” they were racing against the elements – diving through a gate in Hong Kong, in the hope of saving themselves and the future of the world. “Oblivion” is the final instalment of this highly charged fantasy-adventure series. It is double the size of previous volumes for a very good reason: each of the 5 main characters has been separated as they travelled through the gate, so each of their stories is told separately. They have landed on separate continents, sometimes alone, sometimes with another but there is a certain unity to their situations: firstly, time has progressed at an alarming rate and secondly, they are also ALL in a life and death struggle – almost on a daily basis.

Matthew has been the leader of the group in past series and he shoulders this mantle again, somewhat reluctantly. Can the five meet in the dream world? Can they each survive, let alone find each other and save the world?

Or in this strange new world of the future, is it all too late? Are the human race saving? And will 5 teens really stand alone against their longtime enemy … or is help at hand? Each character will be tested… but who will win?

Another exciting instalment with action and drama aplenty, as is to be expected from Anthony Horowitz. A fitting conclusion to what has been an amazing journey for Matt and his peers … and for readers, too

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A FAST-PACED THRILLER WITH A DARK TWIST

TITLE = EVIL STAR

AUTHOR =ANTHONY HOROWITZ

GENRE =FANTASY, ACTION, SUPERNATURAL, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9

 

Check out the short book trailer below:

You might also like to look at the publisher’s website based on the series – plenty of games and info to entertain and intrigue.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Another seafaring adventure to excite the fans

TITLE = BROTHERBAND 2 : the invaders

AUTHOR = JOHN FLANAGAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, GROWING UP, FRIENDSHIP

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8

Hal, Stig and Thorn, our heroes from book 1 in this exciting seafaring series, return for more adventures in “the Invaders.  But this time they (and the Heron team) are joined by Lydia, a young girl who wishes to flee from Limmat after her grandfather has been killed by Zavac and his pirates. A local lad, Barat, who hopes to lead Limmat against the pirates, is a bully and believes Lydia will be his bride. But Lydia has different ideas. However, Hal agrees to help Barat to reclaim Limmat, in the hope of capturing Zavac and retrieving the Andomal treasure so he and the Herons can return to Skandia and save their reputation.

Hal is still a keen inventor and one of his inventions looks set to provide them with a key weapon in their battle with Zavac. But Hal’s fatal flaw remains: his inclination to overlook details in searching for the bigger picture. Could this flaw cost Hal his life in this exciting episode?

The inclusion of a forthright, courageous female character adds a bit of spice to the story – not only is Barat vying for affections but also, it looks like Hal and Stig may also both be keen on the same girl! Given the history between Thorn and Hal’s dad, this mutual attraction may not bode well for the future of the two friends.

Fans of the first book in this series will not be disappointed with the sequel and will be eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the adventures of the Herons. Don’t forget to check out the great website based on this book or watch a booktrailer about book 1 in the Brotherband series (The Outcasts) here.

Recommended (dma) ****

A grim and violent future

TITLE = DARK INSIDE

AUTHOR = JEYN ROBERTS

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FUTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10. 11

This is a compelling and violent novel about a grim future. Told from different perspectives it may take some readers a few chapters to pice together the actual storyline. We follow a number pf different teenagers as the world around them begins to crumble, partly from natural disasters and partly from human interactions. A terrorist bomb in a school blows away Mason’s friends, whilst he is watching his mother die from a car accident in hpospital. Aries is on a bus that is damaged amidst an earthquake, losing her best friend in the disaster. Clementine watches in horror as her townsfolk turn on each other and kill her parents. Michael watches in shock as the police turn against a perpetrator of road rage. As these 4 teens struggle to make sense of the world around them and survive the violence, their journeys bring them together. Can they work together to survive? And who is the lone voice that bodes ill for the future?

A thrilling and compelling dystopian book that will have readers on the edge of their seats and craving the sequel.

Highly Recommended (dma) ****

 

A story about dragons and storytelling and so much more …

TITLE = THE LAST DRAGON CHRONICLES SERIES

AUTHOR = CHRIS D’LACEY

GENRE = FANTASY, ADVENTURE, INTRIGUE, MYSTERY

INTEREST LEVEL =  YRS 7 -12

Watch the booktrailer below, read the review … then dip into the books for a great reading experience:

Music (“Believe” by Windsor Drive) sourced from the Animoto site. Many images from Animoto too but clay dragons and bears were homegrown. Text from booklover.

 

 

 

 

 

This is quite an unusual series. The first book reads a little like a story for young children, with its focus on saving squirrels and clay dragons that come alive. But each book after that takes the reader into new territory, both literally and imaginatively. We visit the Arctic zone to find a link between the last dragon, Gawain and polar bears. We follow our hero as he battles against beings from this world and evil beings from beyond. We are asked to ponder questions about how the Earth came into being and about the future of the planet … all amidst a central story of the battle between Good and Evil, a battle that plays out across different dimensions  and takes many guises. Even our hero, David takes many forms. Each book offers the readers something more to ponder as the plot, quite literally thickens. A series that will touch your heart and leave you with plenty to think about. The sort of series that can be read many times.

Check out Chris D’Lacey’s terrific website to find out more about the author, interviews, his other books and his inspiration.

Or go to the series website for more info.

A Highly Recommended series (dma) *****

 

A haunting, mesmerising tale

TITLE = THE CHILDREN OF THE KING

AUTHOR = SONYA HARTNETT

GENRE= WAR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 12

This is an unusual novel. The cover looks decidedly old fashioned, no doubt because the tale itself is set in a time long ago. Three children have been evacuated from London during the war so it is no wonder that 3 children in old fashioned clothes grace the cover of the book. However, whilst the cover may look a little like an Enid Blyton story of old, it is certainly far more than this.

For these 3 children are not facing smugglers and mysteries with their pet dog; instead they are battling with the harsher realities of war: being separated from parents, losing loved ones in battle, fearing that London itself may be lost! And how are children meant to understand this crazy, frightening world? How are they meant to fit in? Young Jem wants to be seen as a young man not a child, he yearns for a noble role… but will he just put his own life in danger?

And what about clumsy, thoughtless Cecily and the self-sufficient May? Will they become friends or will their different backgrounds and differing sensibilities, stand in their way? Whilst the 3 children struggle to come to terms with their war-affected lives, Uncle Peregrine tells them a tale about power and betrayal, a tale which seems to reach across time to their own lives.

This is a beautifully written novel with intriguing and complex characters and a sense of mystery underlying the main action. A novel which is slow moving and occasionally rather didactic but nonethless quite enchanting for those willing to look behind the old fashioned cover.

No wonder this book was shortlisted for the 2012 CBCA Book of the Year (Younger Readers).

Recommended (dma) ***

Time travel with action and danger

TITLE  = TIMERIDERS

AUTHOR = ALEX SCARROW

GENRE = TIME TRAVEL, FANTASY, SCIENCE FICTION, HISTORICAL FICTION

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 AND UP

This is the first book in an exciting new time travel series by Alex Scarrow. Join Liam, Maddy and Sal in a wild ride as they come together from the past and future to try and protect the present. They must travel back in time – never to change the past, only to protect history from change. But what will happen if others also ride time for less honourable purposes? Will Liam be stuck in a brutal dark past? Will the present-day be damaged forever? Can newbies Sal and Maddy rescue Liam and save the day?

This book is a deserved winner of the Calderdale Children’s Book of the Year.

Highly recommended (dma) *****

Why not check out the following book trailer to learn more about this great book:

All images from the Animoto site. Music also selected from the Animoto site (“Battle Song” by Vaeda). Text provided by booklover.

 

The impact of terrorism explored with humour & sadness

TITLE = WE CAN BE HEROES

AUTHOR = Catherine Bruton

GENRE  = GRIEF, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP, 9/11

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8

This novel is an engaging combination of action, adventure, humour and emotion. It describes the impact of 9/11 on modern day Britain, as seen through the eyes of a young boy. Ben is a quiet, observant boy who copes with life’s mysteries by making lists of questions (often quite poignant) and drawing cartoons (often quite funny). Ben’s dad died in the 9/11 attacks and his grieving mother is in hospital, so Ben is spending the summer holidays with his father’s grandparents. Here he meets Priti, who is everything that Ben is not: loud, outspoken and fearless. She is the youngest daughter of the Pakistani family who live next door to Ben’s grandparents. Within a few days they are joined by Ben’s angry cousin, Jed and then the fun really begins.

Soon the three youngsters are caught up in the adventure of spying on Priti’s brother, Shakeel, who they suspect (on very flimsy evidence) of being a terrorist bomber, and trying to hide the unsuitable romantic liaison of Priti’s eldest sister, from her hot headed brother, Mik. But what seems like a game to the children suddenly takes a more sinister turn when adults become involved. Only then can the true heroes emerge – and the readers may be surprised by the end result!

There is horror, sadness and plenty of high drama before the situation can be resolved. But fortunately there is also humour to be found especially in Ben’s comic at the end of the novel which also allows the children to finally be the heroes they yearned to be!

Highly Recommended (dma) *****