Dexter is a lonely English teacher, who enjoys being single! Surrounded by his closest friends who are coupled, he starts to begin to feel a bit lonely when he attends one of the friend’s wedding and when he sees his ex-Georgina one thing leads to another…. But then aliens land and they do not seem to be friendly. It turns out being single may save Dexter’s life.

Soon Dexter and his friends are on the run from the Aliens, what do they want? Can they keep running likes this? As the Aliens seem to ransack a city and then move on, Dexter begins to question what are they looking for. Could they be looking for resources?

This plot is really action packed, entertaining and funny. Dexter the main character is the one telling the story and he tells it in a humorous way. He has little nicknames for his friends for example Jay and Kay – JayKay. We can also see that Dexter has a good quality of life, for example he works during the day and most of the time he can hang out with his friends, however occasionally activities like clubbing and be difficult and rarely happen; one of the downsides of being single.

Every other chapter Dexter tells us the story of how he met his friend and the other chapters are the present, what the aliens are doing and how they are surviving.

This book is similar of course to Wars of the Words and Independence Day but the Aliens and characters are very different and creative.

A great entertaining, Sci-fi book!

Evelyn Hardcastle is going to die at least 7 times; the thing is why did Evelyn die? Did someone murder her? Well that is what Aiden Bishop is there for, to seek out the truth.

19 years ago, Thomas Hardcastle died, rumour has it that he died at the hands of his Dad’s best friend Charles, but no one was ever convicted.

19 years on and the Hardcastle’s through a party on the anniversary inviting the same people.

Aiden Bishop wakes up every morning in the body of one of the guests, using their status and resources he must uncover the truth about Evelyn. Every night at 11pm Evelyn kills herself, it looks like suicide, but it can’t be because Aiden would not be here otherwise.

Once Aiden has figured it out, he must tell the plague doctor and if he is right then Aiden will be released.

With the footman roaming the forest trying to kill his other hosts and other rivals who are competing against Aiden, will Aiden solve the mystery of Evelyn Hardcastle?

This book feels like something out of a Cluedo game! Who killed Evelyn? Was it the butler? Was it the parents? The plot was different to any book I have read; however I have watched a similar story-line in a film.

I really enjoyed this book but at time confusing and repetitive but only because Aiden wakes up with no or little memory when he transfers from body to body and has to leave himself little notes. The ending was slightly confusing for me, however I did not mind this as it made my brain work that bit harder which was weirdly nice.

I would suggest creating a mind map so that you can keep track of the characters and the plot.

At times I felt like Aiden was a bit slow on the uptake and kept willing him to hurry up his investigation but once he got into it, there was no stopping him.

Therefore, The Seven Deaths of Evelyn is an all-round intriguing book, that will keep you guessing and wanting to find out more. Each time Aiden swaps character you find out a piece of information that keeps you wanting more. Thank you, Stuart, for writing such a great book.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle also has a great message and reminder that everyone deserves a second chance.

 

The Final Book in the Noughts and Crosses series.

 

Jasmine and Jude were both killed by the bomb Callie-Rose had made in order to protect Callie from becoming a terrorist.

Jude’s heart had become full of hatred and the only way to save Callie was if he wasn’t around anymore. Meggie was heartbroken but Callie needed to be protected.

However, in book Callie, Meggie and Sephy took a back seat to make room for the lovely Tobey. Double Cross is centred around him.

At first, I was unsure, the series so far had been really good. Tobey had been a background character in the last book – Checkmate and it had a nice ending to it.

To start with I didn’t like Tobey, I thought he was weak but in Double Cross, we see a different side. Although as I read on his motives and reasons for what he did begin to make sense.

Callie-Rose is caught in a crossfire and is left fighting for her life in hospital. Tobey was devastated and instead of telling the police what he knew, worked his own plan to get revenge on the people who shot Callie.

Tobey is young and conjures up a masterful plan to bring them down. It works to an extent but innocent people get caught up in the crossfire.

The Chapters are alternate between Tobey and Callie-Rose, which is quite nice as you get to see what each character is feeling.

Does Tobey revenge plan work? Will Callie-Rose survive?

Once I got into the book, I couldn’t put it down. The storyline at times does seem a bit unrealistic; however, it works, and Tobey becomes a strong leader.

Malorie Blackman originally planned for the series to be a trilogy but Tobey kept pestering her and so Double Cross was born.

Please note that the first book is suitable for young adults, but this book is it. It contains a sex scene and violence, so as always you might want to read if your young adult is desperate to read Double Cross.

 

Book 3 of the Noughts and Crosses series

The story picks up from where it left off. Callie-Rose is a bit older now and we welcome back the old characters  – Sephy, Meggie, Jasmine and we see the introduction of some new characters.

As Callie-Rose gets older she starts asking questions about her Dad, who was he? Was she like him? How did she die? But tensions rise in the Sephy-Meggie household when Sephy lies and comes out with that Callum was a gardener instead of who he really was.

Sephy had the best intentions as she wanted to protect her daughter, however when someone gets in there with their version of the “truth” Callie turns to the Liberation Militia thanks to her Uncle Jude to finish what her father started.

Convinced that Uncle Jude is the only one who tells her the truth, Callie agrees to carry out the mission he had planned for her. Being young Callie is a bit naïve, she really believes Uncle Jude, unfortunately, Jude’s soul of full of hate, it is something he will never pass and although he tries to love he just can’t. The world has destroyed him. Does Jude want a relationship with Callie or is he just using her?

As we continue to follow Callie-Rose’s life we see her relationship with her Mum, Sephy, her boyfriends and her place in the society as Callie-Rose is neither Cross nor Nought. Her best friend Tobey has got her back, and although he succeeds in winding her up, she confides in him about her life. They even go to the same Cross high school together – Tobey had gotten a scholarship whilst Callie’s Nana Jasmine paid for her school fees.

When Sephy discovers Callie- Rose’s plan, she confides in her mother. Jasmine takes matters into her own hands. Now a devoted mother and grandmother, Jasmine is determined to get Sephy and Callie’s relationship back on track by locking them in the cellar. Will Sephy finally reveal the truth to Callie?

Meanwhile the Nana’s hatch a plan to save Callie from the LM. Jasmine will do whatever it takes to ensure Callie is happy and safe. She knows that if Callie ends up in the LM it will only lead to danger after all Jude is bitter and twisted.

Jasmine knows that she doesn’t have long on this earth but she must protect her Granddaughter at all costs, even if she does confront the LM with the bomb Callie made.

Checkmate is book 3 of the Noughts and Crosses series. Sometimes it can be tricky to come up with an engaging storyline when it is book number 3, but Checkmate delivers on every occasion.

I love the fact that we see the characters growing up and how they deal with life. I feel like Sephy has got wiser as she has got older and although she has not done right by telling her daughter what really happened, her heart is in the right place. We feel a bit sorry for Sephy as she has been through a lot and although her relationship with Callie is hanging by a thread, she meets someone! After all these years Sephy finally lets Callum go…

Please note that due to some of the content, it might not be suitable for young readers like the previous book where. However, if your children insist, I would recommend asking you as a parent to read it first.

Book 2 of the Noughts and Crosses Series

I couldn’t believe it when I discovered that there had been a sequel to Noughts and Crosses – you are only 15 years too late Louise!

I previously encountered Noughts and Crosses as a teenager and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was really good to revisit it and it was just as good as I remember.

To be honest I wasn’t sure if there should have been a sequel to the first book. Noughts and Crosses was very good and I felt that a second novel was not necessary.

However I was wrong, Knife Edge worked very well. I kept hoping for a familiar character to return. Here is what the book is about:

Noughts and Crosses do not mix – society says so. The Crosses rule the world and the Noughts tend to live in the poorer area, of course, some Noughts make it into the rich world – how clever of the Crosses to make them think that they have equal rights! But all Noughts know the truth, that they are far from equal.

Sephy was in a Nought hospital, Callum would have wanted that way. Since Callie-Rose had been born, no one had been to see her. It was just Sephy and Callie-Rose, although Sephy did not know what her next move is until she gets an inviting offer.

Jude is working to bring an intruder in the LM down, working alongside trusted Morgan, they hatch a plan but does it go the way they want it too?

Sephy begins to get her life back together at her new house, as a mother and a singer. However, when Jude is accused of a crime he swears he did not do,  Meggie Macgregor breaks down as she worries for her son’s life. The trouble with Jude is that he is on self-destruct, after what happens to his family makes him into someone who is full of hate, he doesn’t feel love, just hate and in a way we feel sorry for him that he is never fully able to lead a natural, normal life; although he did try to build a relationship with his girlfriend Cara until one day she got too close. The only woman that Jude cares about is his mother, who is desperate for Jude to stay alive as he is the last of Meggie’s son.

We feel sorry for Meggie as she been through a lot and lost a lot too, and her only son left is a terrorist. She is desperate to lead a normal life but is grateful to have Sephy and Callie-Rose in her life.

With  Jude’s life on a knife-edge, does he get away with the crime he is accused of or is Sephy forced to reacquaint herself with the past?

I think the sequel was great, it was good to be reunited with some of the same characters such as Sephy, Meggie, Jasmine and many others.

The True Story of Lale Sokolov

Lale Sokolov – a Jew living in Slovakia; arrived at Auschwitz Concentration Camp, in April 1942. He gave himself in, hoping that his family would be spared; unfortunately, only his sister survived.

When Lale arrived at the camp, he saw how awful people were being treated, some people were randomly shot, killed and starved.

One day Lale contracted an illness, it was thought that he would not survive but Pepan the Tattooist managed to get some medicine and nurse Lale back to health, without the Nazi’s realising. (If the Nazi’s had noticed they probably would have killed Lale)

When Lale was better, he was told to be Pepan assistant, which is where he learnt how to tattoo the prisoner’s number onto them.

One day Pepan did not turn up for work, no one knew what had happened to him, whether he was shipped out or shot but Lale became the sole tattooist.

Lale became busy with tattooing, it was a job that he hated but if he knew that he must do it to survive. One of the prisoner’s arm felt delicate and made him look up, it was love at first sight for Lale, as Gitas eyes shone brightly.

From then on, Lale knew he would survive, his job came with perks, such as extra food rations, he would sneak these to his friends and Gita to help keep them alive.

Through the horrors of the camp, Lale did his best to help others and above all found the love of his life.

A definite read for your reading list!

Mariam lived with her mother on the outskirts of Herat Her father would visit her every so often to play with her and spend time with her.

Mariam’s mother had her out of wedlock, her father who had 3 wives and 9 other children was ashamed of them and so built them a house on the outskirts. Out of sight out of mind, but he continues to visit when he had the time.

However, tragedy strikes one day and Mariam had to pack her bags and go and live with her father. She did not feel welcome there, it was such a big house compared to what she was used too. It did not help that her stepmothers were jealous of her.

When she was 15 years old, the wives called Mariam down for a discussion with her father. A man was coming all the way from Kabul to marry her, someone she had never met before and was at least 30 years her senior. Mariam was to marry him and then leave on the bus with him back to Kabul.
She pleaded with her father not to let her go through with it but he made no hesitation.
After about a week Mariam got set to work on the tasks that Rasheed would expect her to do, for example, clean the house, prepare dinner and have it on the table ready for when he came home. She fell into the routine nicely, Rasheed took her out and bought her nice things and their relationship flourished nicely until Mariam could not bore him a child.

War was coming closing to Kabul, the Taliban were closing in. It was a terrible time, bombs were constantly going off.

A young girl found herself in hospital, she was getting ready to leave this country and make to Pakistan with her parents. She would meet her best friend Tariq and everything would be fine, however, she was all alone. Rasheed paid for her medicine, took her in and looked after her until she was better.
Rasheed informed Mariam that he would take this young girl who was 15 years old as his new wife, as people were talking and it would be dishonourable. Laila the young girl accepted a bit too quickly but was there an alternative reason for that?

Mariam and Laila did not get on very well, Mariam was jealous of the attention Rasheed was giving Laila, taking her out, buying her things like he used to do for her, but in a turn of events they developed a kinship in each other and vowed one day to be free.

As the Taliban began to take over, rules for women were too much, they were not allowed to walk on the street unless a male relative was present, reading and writing was banned, as were many others. Just what were women meant to do? Nothing, precisely nothing. If you were caught doing any of these you would be beaten, and Laila was caught, but she refused to give up.

People were losing their jobs, water was drying up and the food was becoming less and less – it was horrible.
A Thousand Splendid Suns has a great storyline. As we follow Mariam and Laila’s story we feel sorry for them. The schooling and education that they had seemed to be pointless and it was like there were only born to serve the men. However, times are changing, and I believe now in Saudi Arabi women are now allowed to drive.

A great, courageous story of bravery and survival in a male-dominated country.

Andrew grabbed Harry’s shirt collar. ‘Look closer, Harry. Use your eyes! See…’ he started, then gave up and sank back on the pillow.

‘See what?’ Harry persisted, but Andrew had closed his eyes and was waving for him to stop.

Inger Holter – a young Norwegian girl has been murdered and Norway’s best detective Harry Hole has been assigned to help with the case. Poor Harry must pack his bags and travel all the way to Australia. When Harry arrived it was soon clear to Harry that he was meant to sit back and watch, but as he delves deeper it is obvious there is a serial killer on the loose.

The Bat is the first of 10 books in the Harry Hole series. It is best to read them in order as he does reference them in each book and you may misunderstand his character.

The book was originally written in Norwegian, it has been translated into English so that we can enjoy the novel too.

The Bat is a slow starter but Jo has to set the scene somehow, this way we learn a lot about Harry and we also learn a lot about Australian Aboriginal history, not only is the author educating his character but he is educating us too.

Whilst reading this book, several things cropped up for me. Why did Harry have to come all the way from Norway to assist in the case? Surely, they have not run out of police officers? However, as the book progresses it soon becomes clear that the case needed an outsider’s touch as he could see things that the other could not.

The bar fight that Harry started seems a bit odd and out of place in the book. It seems a bit reckless for a top policeman to begin a fight but the reason it is there to show more of Harry’s impulsive character.

The first half of the novel shows Harry not doing much work but this is due to Jo building up the scene and trying to show us who Harry is and his past.  Also the Australian expect Harry to sit back and relax but that is not who he is – he did not become Norway’s best detective by sitting on his bum!

After seeing the first two films I had to go and buy the last book. I was desperate to find out what had happened to Peeta but the film was not out until November and this really bugged me. I was not at all disappointed, the author has written this very well. I have read the other books and Suzanne Collins keeps me constantly engaged; I could not put the books down. We also see different sides to the characters, that we have come to love over the last three books.

In this book Katniss leads the revolution as the Mockingjay, she has asked President Coin for one favour and that is to kill President Snow; Katniss was granted this wish but it is a secret mission. Katniss leads a small army to the Capitol where she encounters many dangerous things and Peeta also joins this army despite the fact that he still hates and wants to kill Katniss. I won’t go too much into detail in case I ruin it for others but this has many twists and turns including the death of one of our beloved characters. This story about war was very well written and creative, she has researched this well and Katniss still displays her strong character throughout the books despite everything being taken from her.

Although I was addicted and obsessed with this book, I was a little disappointed with the ending, we don’t really much about Gale,despite Katniss and Gale being inseparable best friends; and although Katniss committed a crime and we don’t really know the outcome of the trial. I feel that the end was rushed a bit and warranted a lot more descriptive along with a more in-depth storyline. However the way it ended was realistic as this would happen to solider out fighting a war.

I think that Suzanne Collins had got her point across as I felt empty and drained after (as I discovered many other people did)

However I give this book a big thumb up, I do find the mark of a good author is one that makes you cry and I am not ashamed to admit I was emotional over these books. Mockingjay is very different from the other two books and a lot more intense; although I do recommend reading the book before watching the film; as they are very different.
I rate this book 10/10

I bought the Divergent books from The Works in my local town, they were recommended to me and as it had been made into a film I thought it’s bound to be good.

I started off reading with great promise but once I got to a certain part of the book my imagination halted, unfortunately, I could not read any further perhaps it was too similar to the Hunger Games book? However, on a more positive note, I decided to buy the film as it was on offer; here I understood the book a lot more and although it was good I am not racing to see the next one.

The main character is a young girl called Trish and when they are 16 they have to choose whether to stay within their faction or whether to move on; a heart breaking decision for any person. Tests are undergone to advise them which faction are the best however Trish was found to be “Divergent” and is told to tell no one as the head of the all the factions are scared of Divergent.

The storyline itself is different; however we are told that it is located to Chicago but it is rundown and therefore not familiar to us. According to sources as you read on through the trilogy you find out what is beyond Chicago.

Therefore I would not recommend this book to others as I did not find it engaging at all. I struggled a lot when reading this and could not get my head into it. The writer does not engage me at all. (sorry Veronica Roth)

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