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Candor by Pam Bachorz

The Blurb On The Back:

My name is Oscar and I am the perfect teenager.
I go out with the hottest girl in school.
I get straight As. I am class president.


Oscar Banks lives in the pristine town of Candor. Son of the mayor, he is good-looking, smart and popular. And he knows something he shouldn’t – he knows about the brainwashing Messages embedded in the music that plays all over town.

Oscar has found a way to burn counter-Messages that keep him real. Up to now, it’s all worked perfectly. There’s just one problem: Nia Silva, the newest Candor arrival. What will Oscar risk to keep the Nia he loves rather than watch her become a Candor automaton?


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The Verdict:

1984 meets THE STEPFORD WIVES for a teenage audience, the idea behind the story is great and the way the Messages operate is really sinister but Oscar is not an easy character to empathise with and it was difficult for me to believe in the relationship between him and Nia. It’s an okay read and I’d definitely read more of Pam Bachorz’s work.

CANDOR was released in the UK on 2nd August. Thanks to Egmont for the ARC.

Cross-posted to books, bookish, bookworming, sf_with_bite and yalitlovers.
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Runemarks by Joanne Harris

The Blurb On The Back:

Maddy touched the final rune.
She spoke the cantrip.
The Hill opened ...


Maddy Smith has always been an outsider. Born with a rusty-coloured rune on her hand – what the villagers call a ruinmark – she is scarred by this symbol of the old gods, a sign of magic.

And everyone knows that magic is dangerous. Except for Maddy who actually thinks it’s rather fun. Until now. For suddenly her friend One-Eye, a rascally Outlander, wants her to open Red Horse Hill and descend into World Below – a world filled with goblins and far worse – to retrieve a relic of the old gods ...

Full of trickery, magic and the enchantment of the Norse myths, Runemarks is an epic fantasy adventure – richly inventive and superbly imaginative.


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The Verdict:

I bought this thinking it was another cynical attempt by a successful adult author to cash in on the YA market with a substandard story. How wrong I was. I loved this book. It’s a brilliant fantasy read, peppered with Norse mythology, a solid quest story and a central character who’s resourceful, clever and desperate to find out who she really is. My only criticism is that there isn’t a sequel so that I can read more about this fabulous world and the people within it.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, bookish, fantasywithbite, and yalitlovers.
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Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

The Blurb On The Back:

Falling for the fallen ...


For Nora Grey, romance was never part of the plan. Not until Patch came along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgement.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora isn’t sure if she can trust him. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and to know more about her than her closest friends. And when she tries to seek answers, she discovers she is right in the middle of a centuries-old battle between the immortal and the fallen ... and it’s time to take sides ...


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The Verdict:

If you’re already into YA paranormal romance then this is the type of book you’ll probably enjoy. However I found the plot formulaic, the twists too obvious and the romantic male lead, far from being attractive, comes across as someone who needs a punch in the nadges. It’s already a bestseller and its fans will be slavering for its sequel, Crescendo, but I will most definitely not be reading on.

Cross-posted to bookish, booky_talk, fantasywithbite, urbanfantasyfan and yalitlovers.
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iBoy by Kevin Brooks

The Blurb On The Back:

As amazing as Spider-Man
As electrifying as The Wire
A sci-fi crime thriller that grips like a vice ...


Before the attack, sixteen-year-old Tom Harvey was just an ordinary boy.

But now fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain and it’s having an extraordinary effect ...

Because now Tom has powers. The ability to know and see more than he could ever imagine. And with incredible power comes knowledge – and a choice. Seek revenge on the violent gangs that rule his estate and assaulted his friend Lucy, or keep quiet?

Tom has control when everything else is out of control. But it’s a dangerous price to pay. And the consequences are terrifying ...


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The Verdict:

The premise is a little strained, but the idea of setting a super-hero story on a gritty run-down council estate is generally well executed and the central theme of vengeance intelligently discussed in a non-patronising way. Although the gang-rape element to the story didn’t quite work for me, it’s an interesting read. Be warned that the f-bomb gets used frequently in the text (which I liked but may not be suitable for younger readers).

iBoy was released in the UK in July. Thanks to Penguin Books for the ARC.

Cross-posted to bookish, books, bookworming and yalitlovers.
pink macarons

PROMOTION: Nominations are now OPEN at bookcrushathon!


What is Bookcrush-A-Thon?

Bookcrush-A-Thon is a fangirly celebration for the best part of every YA book... the totally dreamy fictional guy who could never exist in real life!

There's been a lot of hoopla lately about Team Edward and Team Jacob, Team Peeta and Team Gale, Team Stefan and Team Damon, Team Vampire, Team Werewolf, Team Mortals, Team Immortals, Team Team Team Team Team team team team...

...and I thought, "I wonder whose Team really has the most might."

So now Bookcrush-A-Thon is borne! It's a friendly competition ONLY. NO BASHING IS ALLOWED!

Each round of bookcrushathon will last approximately six months. Twenty-four dreamy bookcrushes. One ultimately dreamy winner per Round! Each week, one more bookcrush will be eliminated until only one is left! It's like Survivor, only not stupid.

Nominate and support YOUR Favorite Literary Crush @ bookcrushathon!
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The Demon’s Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan

The Blurb On The Back:

Mae’s life has spun out of control.


She’s just learned that her brother Jamie is a magician and Nick, the boy she’d set her heart on, has an even darker secret.

Jamie has been meeting with the new leader of the Obsidian Circle, who is hell-bent on persuading Jamie to join the magicians. When Mae calls on Nick and Alan to save her brother, the Circle sets in motion a plot to bring Nick down – by convincing his own brother to spring a deadly trap.

With brother set against brother and everyone’s loyalties divided, Mae sees a chance to save them all – but it means approaching the mysterious and dangerous Goblin Market alone ...


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The Verdict:

A disappointing sequel to the promise of THE DEMON’S LEXICON, this sees Mae become much more of a stereotypical love interest rather than the strong independent character she was in the first book. Told through her eyes, there’s a curious passivity to the story, with the most interesting events happening off-page. There are some clever lines and good moments, but it’s not enough to turn it around and while I’ll read the concluding volume, this just didn’t meet my expectations.

Cross-posted to booky_talk, bookish, fantasywithbite, urbanfantasyfan and yalitlovers.
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Young Sherlock Holmes: Death Cloud by Andrew Lane

The Blurb On The Back:

Two dead bodies.

One unforgettable hero.

The beginning of a legend.


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The Verdict:

Although Lane has clearly done a lot of research on the Holmes books, for me this book is let down by a poor and deeply implausible central mystery. Also the inclusion of two American characters (including a potential love interest for Sherlock) seems more like a sop to the US market than something that adds something interesting to the original legend and certainly jars in the context of the historical period. All in all, it’s a book that didn’t quite work for me – an okay read rather than a great one.

SHERLOCK HOLMES: DEATH CLOUD was released in the United Kingdom on 4th June 2010. Thanks to Macmillan Books for the ARC.

Cross-posted to books, bookworming, bookish and yalitlovers.
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The Enemy by Charlie Higson

The Blurb On The Back:

When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician – every adult – fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry.


Only children under fourteen remain, and they’re fighting to survive.

Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city – down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground – the grown-ups lie in wait.

But can they make it there – alive?


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The Verdict:

This is 28 DAYS LATER for a young teen audience and is a must for budding zombie or horror fans. It’s a thrilling, action-packed read with a lot of violence and gore and an unsentimental attitude to its characters (many of whom get whacked). It’s not a book for sensitive readers and parents should be aware of the language (no f-word, but it gets close) but I’d have no hesitation in recommending it to all readers from age 13 up.

Cross-posted to bookish, horror_novels, and yalitlovers.