Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Undercover, Under pressure and Underestimated - Digit's On the Case!

A Girl Named Digit
Annabel Monaghan


Normal girls watch TV shows and think "Gosh, he is such a babe," or "WHAT is she thinking?! Mauve top with that skirt - nuh uh!" 

Normal girls don't let their attention stray, and they certainly don't use their genius Maths-wired brain to play with a set of numbers that just so happen to appear in the corner of the screen. 

And normal girls definitely don't end up decoding a secret terrorist message - a message that becomes reality when JFK airport is bombed.

But then again...Digit isn't normal. With the birth name of Farrah (don't smirk), Digit has always been the class nerd. The Maths geek. The 'yep she's totally memorised the textbook' kinda gal. But just as she's managed to 'fit in', Digit's world goes topsy-turvy when her innocent number-play games expose a set of crimes that could very well put her, and many others, in danger. Working with secret agents - one named John Bennet in particular (nope, not related to Lizzie) - Digit has to set the score straight; crossing her fingers that she is the only genius in the equation.

Best quotes:

- "The stench that surrounded me suggested that the tarp over my face had been previously used either to transport fertiliser or as toilet paper."
- "Sorry," he said, kissing me lightly once more and brushing my hair from my face. I'd never seen a less sorry person in my life.
- "Her safety is my utmost concern as well..." John started.
"You have no idea," Mr Bennet said under his breath. John ignored him.
- "I got home from the FBi that day, put on my pajamas got a pint of Chunky Monkey, and watched 'The Notebook'. Five times. Everyone left me alone. I suspect they were a little afraid of me. I went up to my room and listened to Taylor Swift's 'White Horse' on replay, knowing she was the only person in the world who could relate.

Team Edward? Team Jacob? NO! TEAM HUMAN!!

Team Human


When you live in a city that is a combination of vamps and humans, it makes sense that you'd have to overlook a few things.

Teenagers that met Napoleon. 
Blood in cups with pink straws and perhaps an umbrella.
Vampires on everlasting diets that could put a cheerleader to shame.
Skin that feels like the waters in which the Titanic sunk.

But there is one thing that cannot - repeat, CANNOT be overlooked. And that is the biggest rule of them all:

#1: Never, EVER - double-dog-swear-never - allow your friend to date a vampire.

They're not 'all that' - they are not brooding, poetic, 'Team Edward' replicas that waltz through the corridors like they wear rollerblades and have a fan behind them to make their hair go all Pantene-ad crazy. But when Mel's best friend Cathy falls for Francis, the new vamp in school, Mel goes to any means to get him out of both their lives. (Note: She doesn't try strings of garlic or salt. Weird.) And she consoles herself with the thought that Cathy is not in love with him.

Until the day Cathy tells Mel she's in love with Francis. For real.

Double-trouble, mystery, vampire humour, sunny beaches, volleyball, waltzing, ballads and immortal drama are brought to life in this cute and funny take on the craze that has hit our kind. So pick a side - support Team Human and all normal, living and respiring guys everywhere!! 

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Hitting the Funny Bone: Derek Landy Does it Again!

Kingdom of the Wicked 
Derek Landy

Rating: 4.9999

Our favourite Skeleton Detective is back, with his not-so-sidekick-sidekick Valkyrie Cain - but not for a holiday or a casual investigation. Everyday mortals are starting to have paranormal powers; fat butterfly men being the prime example (yep, that mental image is more scarring than the scars on Ghastly's face). 

But this isn't the only problem. Old friends return to backstab, ex's become fond of muffins, Grand Mage's don't bother to read the manuals, headless zombies search for new bodies, true names are found and enemies believed dead make reappearances. Why can't the dead just stay dead anymore? 

Valkyrie and Skullduggery are on yet another race against the clock. Valkyrie still has to figure out the puzzle that is Darquesse. Does she want her? Does she like having that power? Or does she need to find a way of sealing away Darquesse for good even if it means harming Valkyrie herself? The difference between friends and foe blurs and the fights get gory in the latest instalment in the series which is sure to have you hanging onto every word and laughing to death.

Best quotes:

 - “He could be a butterfly dreaming he's a man."
"Well, he's not. He's a big fat man dreaming he's a big fat butterfly. What the hell am I supposed to do?"
There was another hesitation. "I'm not sure. You don't happen to have a large net handy, do you?"
"I want to hit him. I want to hit YOU, but I also want to hit him.”

 - “I had an uneventful few days," it told her. "The most exciting thing was an hour-long lecture from the headmaster on taking our studies seriously. He said next year's exam will arrive sooner than we think."
"No, they won't," Valkyrie said, frowning. "They'll arrive next year, exactly when we expect them."
"That's what I told him," the reflection nodded. "I don't think he's comfortable with logic, because he didn't look happy. He sent me to the Career Guidance counsellor, who asked me what I wanted to do after college."
Valkyrie stowed her black clothes. "What did you say?"
"I told her I wanted to be a Career Guidance counsellor. She started crying, then accused me of mocking her. I told her if she wasn't happy in her job then she should look at other options, then pointed out that I was already doing her job better than she was. She gave me detention.”

Edge of Mercy by C.C. Marks

Edge of Mercy
C.C Marks

Rating: 4

In a shielded off place, there is a small group of humans that have managed to keep from being infected with the strange disease that has emerged, wiping out people and making them transform into beast-like creatures. But in order to survive, this place - and its Council - refuse to allow women entry, because something about the women attracts the attention of the beasts outside the barrier and challenges their safety.

Charlie and his little sister were taken in when they stumbled across this place - but it is far from a haven and everyday Charlie fears for his own life. 
Why? Because Charlie is actually Charlotte; a girl. And if the Council were to ever find out she, and her sister, would be in grave danger.

As she uncovers the dark secrets that make up the Council and the decisions they make, Charlotte has a choice: to reveal the truth to those she cares about and change life for everyone or to keep her and her sister safe. This story explores what makes a person good, whether bad people deserve a loveless fate, whether ones past can determine ones future and most importantly whether doing the right thing - even at a cost - is worth it.

A thrilling tale with a daring heroine who isn't afraid to be strong and stand up in the face of injustice - who admits her weaknesses and soldiers on in a way that is equal to, or better than, the strength of any man. 

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Silence is Golden ~ Speechless by Hannah Harrington Review

By Hannah Harrington

Rating: 4.3

Silence is golden...or so they say. 

But there isn't anything golden behind Chelsea's vow of silence. In fact, the truth is as black and dappled with purple as Noah's healing bruise. 

Chelsea swore herself to silence when her curiosity, need to fit in and please - and not mention her loud mouth - got Noah into serious trouble, landing him in hospital. 

But silence is hard to keep when everyone has their own versions on what happened, and some choice-names to say about you behind your back...as well as to your face. 

Chelsea finds herself alone, and those who she thought were friends abandon her to save face.

Then she meets Asha and Sam - two fellow students who she had seen but never met. 

One, Asha, her detention buddy and the Knitter of Scarves. 
The second, Sam, her art project partner and the King of Tuna Melts. 

Regardless of her past and considerate of her vow, the two become her friends even though neither of them has heard her speak and not a word escapes her lips. Together they help her recover, stand by her during some serious bullying and also help her understand that it's ok to hate. 

Hate is easy. But love...love is harder. 

Can Chelsea face what she did that night? What does she achieve from her vow? And more importantly, can she find a way to make everything work?

My thoughts on the book:

I loved this book. 

At the beginning, I detested Chelsea's character - so fake, so 'foundation, lipgloss and Pradas'. 

But with her vow came a deeper understanding of human suffering. Not to mention the consequences of doing the right thing as well as doing something that doesn't seem harmful, but turns out to lead to disastrous repercussions. Sam made me melt as fast as his famous tuna melts, and Asha was such a cutie...and she really is the square root of awesome!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Addictive and Powerful: Pushing the Limits

Pushing the Limits
By Katie McGarry


A tale of two teenagers.
A tale of loss and overwhelming sorrow.
A tale of insomnia and denial.
A tale of finding strength and defying reason.

Echo and Noah. Two teenagers with stuffed up lives, who struggle to hold the pieces of their worlds together with no guidance, alone, in a world where they're viewed as strange by those around them. Echo fights to recall the night her world changed; when she awoke in a hospital with jagged scars down her arms and no memory of anything. Noah fights to hold onto his brothers, his only family, when everyone and everything seems to want to take them away from him. Both of them have so much going on under the surface. More than either of them would guess about the other.

The unlikeliest of acquaintances, they turn into the unlikeliest of allies - helping each other find 'normal'...a place where none of the mess their lives have become seems to matter. They bring out the best in one another, but are they hurting or helping one another? Can they get back the lives they once had...or do they really want to?

Raw, powerful, addictive and heartbreaking, Pushing the Limits takes you on such a journey - you feel so much for these poor characters who have so much to deal with. From the very first page, you're already feeling the pressure that Echo goes through, and until the last page, Noah's underlying honesty and integrity are sensed. Two wonderful characters in one spectacular novel.

Quick Picks ~ One Whole & Perfect Day

One Whole and Perfect Day
By Judith Clarke

Rating: 4.9

What if you could have one, whole perfect day - a day as perfect as your gran's spongecake, as a pure blue sky, as a shiny coin or as perfect as a cool breeze winding its way through a hot town in summer? 

How much effort would you put in? Who would you include? And what changes would you make in your life, and to yourself, to try and make it last?

A heartwarming, raw and simply-put tale of a family whose idiosyncrasies, imaginary friends, red faces, dishcloths, Bestie magazines and love of Bronte books make them who they are.

And maybe that is better than being perfect.

An Electric Read ~ Gift

By Andrea J. Buchanan

Rating: 4.3

Daisy has always had a gift. 

A gift that is the bane of televisions, MP3 players and school firealarm systems - it is as if electricity flows through her very being, and from a young age Daisy has had to learn to control and tame her gift...keeping it hidden.

And nothing seems unusual until a girl in her class, Vivi, nearly kills herself in the school bathrooms...saying the words, "He's gone!" with a desperation that makes its mark on Daisy. 

Who is this 'he' that no one but Vivi seems to see? And what is the subtle connection between Daisy, Vivi and Daisy's best friend Danielle? 

The answers aren't clear, but as the girls begin to sense chilling presences in the halls and experience vivid and realistic shared dreams, they begin to realise that the answers do not lie in the present. They lie in a past that none of them seem to recall.

With the help of the mythology-expert and senior student Kevin, the group must try and figure out what is happening and why before somebody gets hurt. 

Solving mysteries from the past and present and fuelled by the responsibility and exhilaration that comes with having Daisy's abilities, this tale is a great YA novel; the original songs by Kevin (http://youtu.be/Gniu2fQT-os) adding another dimension to an already unique and fascinating book.
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