- Non Fiction
Reviews by Angi Nelson
An historical novel set at the time of The Great Plague in London. It conveys how the atmosphere in London changes from a disbelief that the Plague is anything serious, to the full-blown horror of the death carts and being locked up - in effect to die - if your house is suspected of infection.
Brings history to life in a fun way
I can only Echo Lou's words in her review of this book.
It is a wonderfully colourful and descriptive tale that truly allows the reader to imagine the experiences of life in London at the time of the Black Plague.
The story is compelling and I cant think of a better way to learn about this subject and time period for children. Both my 12 year old daughter and I read the book within two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would also highly recommend reading the follow on book from this which covers the Great fire of London, with the same characters.
Max, Fang, Iggy, Gasman, Nudge and Angel are 6 extraordinary avian hybrids. The result of a cruel Biotech experiment. This flock has endured a turbulent upbringing and they have been continually faced with evil. Danger is never far away and while fighting to save their own skin, they have a mission to undertake, one with devastating consequences.
Disappointing offering from such an acclaimed writer
As an avid reader of James Patterson novels, I picked this from the library for my 12 year old daughter as an introduction to his writings - with it being aimed at young adults. Although it is part of a series I found no difficulty in reading it as a one off, but I did feel that I didn't get to know the characters particularly well.
This story is about a group of kids that have been genetically engineered, resulting in them having wings and some unusual special powers. Whilst they are trying to help scientists in Antarctica with research in order to help prevent the worlds enviromental problems, they face a threat of their own from another source and attempts are made to kidnap and auction them to the highest bidders.
I found the plot somewhat lacking and full of holes, the storyline jumps about a bit and lacks cohesion in my opinion. The characters could easily have more depth. I do wonder if writing for younger readers is not Mr Pattersons forte so to speak, or if this is just a one off - other reviews suggest that the rest of the books in this series have better storylines and appear to have been enjoyed.
The whole idea of this book appealed to me, sadly though I felt quite let down and feel it really lacks the intensity and thrill that is Mr Pattersons usual style.
Midnight: a mist-haunted wood with a bad reputation. A sweet sixteen party, and thirteen-year-old Nell is trying to keep her sister, spoilt birthday-girl Gwen, out of trouble. No chance. Trouble finds Gwen and drags her through the mist. Only Nell guesses who's behind the kidnap - the boy she hoped was her friend, the gorgeous but mysterious Evan River. Evan is no ordinary boy - he has a secret which will lead Nell to question everything she has always learned from her grandmother's stories. Evan lives on the fringes of Nell's world, rarely glimpsed, misunderstood and feared, but a long-simmering showdown between the two worlds is looming ...
A charming modern fairytale for young teen girls
Mist is a lovely mix of fairytale with modern western teenage life. It reminds me very much of the Enid Blyton books I read when younger, possibly as it contains underlying elements of morality, good versus bad behaviour, with the plot very much hinged on the main characters choosing to do what is right.
The central character is Nell, the younger, quieter teenage sister of Gwen who is extremely popular at school. An encounter with an unusual and mysterious teenage boy leads to her discovery of a whole new world and race ( the Elven) hidden deep in the foreboding mists within her local woods. Gwen disappears at her secret birthday party in the woods and Nell suspects the involvement of the Elven and sets out to find her sister.
As a book aimed at young ladies aged 10 and upwards I think it pretty much hits its target and provides a nice opportunity for escapism, although I am not convinced that it will keep the older teens enthralled. It is a nice opening book of a series that looks promising, with a pleasant introduction to characters that are due to feature in the second book due out in 2012
Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery has only four years left to live when she is kidnapped by the Gatherers and forced into a polygamous marriage. Now she has one purpose: to escape, find her twin brother, and go home – before her time runs out forever. What if you knew exactly when you would die? Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb – males only live to age twenty-five and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out. When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape – to find her twin brother and go home. But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.
Ms Destefano kicks of her debut offering by writing book one of a trilogy and what a fantastic start it is to her career as an author.
I enjoyed it so much that I flew through the pages in just two days.
I picked up this book with my 12 year old daughter in the young persons section as we both liked the description and I have not been disappointed, in my opinion it will appeal to adults just as much as the younger generation.
The novel is set in a future where floods have reduced earths landmass drastically and tampering with genetics has resulted in all females dying at age 20 and males expiring at age 25. Humanity has taken a bit of a backward step with people being kidnapped and sold as servants or if female then bought as new brides to provide children as populations are rapidly dwindling.
The main character Rhine is abducted and bought as a bride, she is desperate to escape her situation as one of three new brides in a captive household to return home to her twin brother.
I was kept engaged throughout the book until the last chapters, where I felt the ending was a bit of a none event, although the story was rounded off so to speak, it seemed to just fizzle out rather than go out with any excitement. Maybe this is partially as it is part of a trilogy, but other series set out in this pattern manage to keep some thrill towards the end. It also could have done with the addition of just a little suspense at the end, something to tantalise our tastebuds for the next edition. But I do see this as a minor fall down given how much I relished reading the book on the whole
Its a pleasure to discover another author whose writing style I delight in so much and despite the rather weak ending I will definately read the next installment.
Civilisation is gone. Where does humanity go from here...? The world lies devastated after the massive oil crisis that was described in LAST LIGHT. Human society has more or less entirely broken down and millions lie dead of starvation or disease. There are only one or two beacon communities that have managed to fashion a new way of living. Jenny Sutherland runs one of these groups. Based on a series of decaying offshore oil rigs - for safety - a few hundred people have rebuilt a semblance of normality in this otherwise dead world. But as Jenny and her people explore their surroundings once again, they start to realise not every survivor has the same vision of a better future than their catastrophic past. There are people out there who would take everything they have. War is coming, and the stakes are truly massive ...
In this second installment of this series, Alex Scarrow tackles the scarily possible scenario of a future suddenly without oil, a world plunged into chaos and dark times. Violence prevails as people fight for scraps of food and supplies of water. Innitially in the UK safety can only be found in a few safe havens ran by government officials where supplies had been stored in the event of disasters occurring. These communities soon start to break down and only one of these communities, the Dome, survives 10 years after the disasters which halted the oil flow. Life there is bleak, rations are running extremely low and will inevitably run out. It is ran by a man who has trained an army of young boys to ruthlessly run his domain, who has decieved the community by hiding the truth of their dire food situation, a man who cares for no one but himself. and who will do anything to ensure his own survival.
Elsewhere another smaller community of people is struggling to survive on the safety of an old oil rig where it is less likely they will be attacked for food. They are self sustaining through fishing, rearing chickens and growing other food. They are peacefully led by the Sutherland family, but the harmony is soon threatenned by an outsider with his own brand of faith and his own agenda.
The two communities eventually hear of each others existances and members set out to discover if the stories are true, with some shocking consequences.
The book flits between two points in time, the weeks immediately following the oil disaster and 10 years later, which helps the reader to understand events better.
Its a very interesting book, certainly thought provoking, it shows the best and the worst of humankind. The whole storyline is quite unlike any other I have read which is refreshing. It is a bleak and haunting look at humanity, I could defintely see people behaving the way Scarrow depicts in the given circumstances. However, I am left doubting that the ending is realistic, even though people die, I still feel the author tried to give the book a happy-ish ending which I am not sure is what would really happen.
I did enjoy the book and would recommend it to others though
When the prophetic writings of sixteenth-century visionary Nostradamus begin to ring alarmingly true, Jonathon Payne and David Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race across the world to stop those who would use the French seer's predictions for their own dark purposes.
Not quite the fast paced thriller it is made out to be
The Prophecy is a rather laid back mystery thriller with a pinch of history weaved in, much along the lines of Dan Browns Da Vinci code, although not quite as gripping. It has a good storyline and is an easy read, but sadly predictable throughout.
The two main characters Payne and Jones have consistently humourous banter which is certainly a positive if slightly unusual aspect of a supposed " fast paced thriller" and consequently I will seek out Mr Kuzneski's other books containing these characters.
The ending is the books biggest downfall in my opinion, being very weak and left me feeling a tad disappointed.
Mo is about to hit the big 50, and some uncomfortable truths are becoming quite apparent: She doesn't understand either of her teenage kids, which as a child psychologist, is fairly embarrassing. She has become entirely grey. Inside, and out. Her face has surrendered and is frightening children.
Had Me Laughing
Dawn French's debut book is an amusing take on modern day family life.
It drew me in from the very first page and had me laughing regularly.
Whilst the overall plot is not exactly rivetting, I still felt
compelled to keep reading, partially for the wonderfully clever humour
but essentially because I wanted to know what happenned in the
The book is presented in alternate musings
from 3 characters of the Battle family, each in their own little world.
There is Mo, a middle aged mum, working as a child psychologist who is
struggling to understand her own two teenagers - Dora - a stereotypical
teen with the usual teenage worries, rapidly approaching her 18th
birthday and Peter who prefers to be known as Oscar, a rather eccentric,
unusual and slightly delusional young man. Each member of the family is
so caught up in their own mini crisis and seemingly lacking
understanding of each other that they struggle to function together as a
Whilst I found Ms French's very current and at times
touching take on modern day family life to be both witty and accurate, I
found the characters presented their reflections in a manner that was a
little too similar, which reduced the books believability slightly. But
despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend
it as an easy read. I look forward to Ms French's next book.