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Classics Carnival: Review: The Heartless City by Andrea Berthot

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Heartless City
Author: Andrea Berthot
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication Date: Aug 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Henry Jekyll was a brilliant doctor, a passionate idealist who aimed to free mankind of selfishness and vice. He’s also the man who carelessly created a race of monsters.

Once shared secretly among the good doctor’s inner circle, the Hyde drug was smuggled into mass-production – but in pill form, it corrupted its users at the genetic level, leaving them liable to transform without warning. A quarter of the population are now clandestine killers – ticking bombs that could detonate at any given moment.

It’s 1903, and London has been quarantined for thirteen years.

Son of the city’s most prominent physician and cure-seeker, seventeen-year-old Elliot Morrissey has had his own devastating brush with science, downing a potion meant to remove his human weaknesses and strengthen him against the Hydes – and finding instead he’s become an empath, leveled by the emotions of a dying city.

He finds an unlikely ally in Iris Faye, a waitress at one of the city’s rowdier music halls, whose emotions nearly blind him; her fearlessness is a beacon in a city rife with terror. Iris, however, is more than what she seems, and reveals a mission to bring down the establishment that has crippled the people of London.

Together, they aim to discover who’s really pulling the strings in Jekyll’s wake, and why citizens are waking up in the street infected, with no memory of ever having taken the Hyde drug…

Heart-eating monsters, it turns out, are not the greatest evil they must face.

REVIEW BY BETH

The premise of this novel really spoke to me, I adore The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll & Mr Hyde and have loved many reimagings and reworkings of Stevenson’s tale in many different ways (including the new TV programme which is awesome) so The Heartless City immediately caught my eye and I loved the idea that Berthot was working with.

The plot and story of this novel is great, I found myself needing to know where the story would twist and turn next as Berthot manages to set a fantastically creepy scene with London as a quarantined city packed full of what we’re first told are ‘monsters’ but are soon revealed to be people, infected people.

There are secrets within secrets in this novel and we follow the three key characters Cam, Elliot and Iris along their own plot paths that come together in dramatic fashion. There are further periphery characters such as Philomena who really add to the quality of the novel and the quarantined city of London is almost a character in its own right it is so well drawn and the depths of the quarantined city are just as dark, if not dark, than those in Stevenson’s London.

I found the dialogue between some of the characters the most fun and entertaining part of the novel, particularly those characters who clearly clashed and it adds a bit of youthful fun to an imagined world where the characters seem to be required to act older than their years.

For me the concept of this novel is really, really clever and I followed the plot with real interest and commitment only to feel the ending was a little flat. I think I was perhaps expecting a little more mystery and a bit more a bang and neither were delivered but it doesn’t detract from the quality of the characters and for the most part, the writing of this novel.

Classics Carnival: Tantalising Trailers: The Royals

TRAILER

PREMIERE MARCH 25th in the UK

Inspired by Michelle Ray’s Falling for Hamlet

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Falling for Hamlet
Author: Michelle Ray
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: July 2012 (PB)

Sometimes love can make you crazy.

Meet Ophelia, high school senior, daughter of the Danish king’s most trusted adviser, and longtime girlfriend of Prince Hamlet. She lives a glamorous life and has a royal social circle, and her beautiful face is splashed across magazines and television screens. But it comes with a price–her life is ruled not only by Hamlet’s fame and his overbearing royal family but also by the paparazzi who hound them wherever they go.

After the sudden and suspicious death of his father, the king, Hamlet spirals dangerously toward madness, and Ophelia finds herself torn, with no one to turn to. All Ophelia wants is to live a normal life. But when you date a prince, you have to play your part.

REVIEW HERE

Classics Carnival: Review: Brightling by Rebecca Lisle

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Brightling
Author: Rebecca Lisle
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 2 Jan 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Thrown out of the Knip and Pynch Children’s Home, Sparrow is an orphan accompanied only by her loyal cat Scaramouch and a single clue to her real family. Sparrow travels to the town of Stollenbach where, lost and afraid she is taken in by Gloriana, a strange and colourful street girl. Sparrow thinks she has found a home in the ‘nest’ – a hideout for homeless girls run by the beautiful but menacing Miss Minter. Sparrow is taught to make matches and stay quiet but all is not as it seems. And what does the vicious Tapper want with Sparrow? 

As Sparrow uncovers a web of strange and suspicious secrets she finds herself at the heart of an undercover smuggling trade with a price on her head. Kidnapped, beaten and locked in the coal cellar Sparrow’s dream of finding a family seems impossible.

A wonderful re-imagining of OLIVER TWIST, Sparrow’s adventure realises the dark secrets of Dickensian London with a fantastical twist for younger readers.

REVIEW BY OLIVER – YEAR 8

Brightling begins by introducing us to Sparrow, an orphaned girl, living in the’ Knip and Pynch home for Waifs and Strays’. The story describes her journey to Stlollenback and the difficulties she experiences along the way.

Set in Britain during an era when the streets were cobbled, people lived in extremely poor conditions and struggled to make ends meet, and scavenging for food was not uncommon.

Sparrow (named after her mother’s love for birds) is joined on her travels by her loyal and trusted cat, Scaramouch. On her journey she is threatened and hunted for her money and her inheritance, by Tapper Nash, Miss Minter and Miss Knip (the founders of the Knip and Pynch home).

My favourite part was when Sparrow was selling matches with the match stick girls and had to escape from the crowd, because someone found out that they were selling Brightling. I liked this part of the story because it was enthralling imagining the young criminal girls running for their freedom.

My least favourite part of the book was when Sparrow was tricked into doing something she shouldn’t, the atmosphere was tense with anticipation because it seemed unlikely that she would be able to escape.

My favourite character in the book was Scaramouch because he showed bravery and courage to remain by his owner’s side when she needed him most.

The character I liked the least was Miss Minter because she was cunning and untrustworthy from the beginning. When Sparrow had nowhere to go and she went to the nest (girl orphans go there to hide or for shelter) to gain shelter and food,  Miss Minter knew she could make money out of her from her inheritance, as she knew who Sparrows family were.

I would recommend this book to people who like mystery and adventure books because the story is all about finding people and objects.

This book would be great for an adventure reader because the book is one long journey (some might say an adventure) about Sparrow’s attempts to find her mother and father. The reader experiences with her the problems she encounters as she embarks upon this difficult journey. A fresh twist on the themes of the original Oliver Twist making it more accessible to younger readers.

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REVIEW BY SOPHIE – YEAR 9

Thrown out of the Knip and Pynch Children’s Home, Sparrow is an orphan accompanied only by her loyal cat Scaramouch and a single clue to her real family. Sparrow travels to the town of Stollenbach where, lost and afraid she is taken in by Gloriana, a strange and colourful street girl. Sparrow thinks she has found a home in the ‘nest’ – a hideout for homeless girls run by the peculiar and some what menacing Miss Minter. Sparrow is taught to make matches and stay quiet but all is not as it seems. And what does the vicious Tapper want with Sparrow? As Sparrow uncovers a web of strange and mysterious secrets she finds herself at the heart of an undercover smuggling trade with a price on her head. Kidnapped, beaten and locked in the coal cellar Sparrow’s dream of finding a family seems out of reach.

Throughout the duration of this book you begin to see each character link with one another and how the main character Sparrow fits in the middle of everything. Sparrow sets off a dangerous journey to find her family but the path to a family is littered with dangers and suspicious characters. She encounters Krackodyles and makes it out alive by a hair. After being locked in Betty Nash and Tapper’s house Sparrow struggles to reach Stollenbach however when she does even more troubles await her. She meets Gloriana (a quirky and upbeat girl) who offers Sparrow a place at the ‘nest’. Sparrow must work with the match girls all while trying to uncover her family’s identity but the innocent hide away of the ‘nest’ are selling more than just matches. My favorite part of the book was the circus as it was well described and I could really imagine it and it also hosted some exciting action too!

I believe the character developed in this book was good for Sparrow as it showed her close relationship to Scaramouch which allowed the reader to see the vulnerability of Sparrow however I felt the author could have developed Miss Minter and Gloriana’s relationship and characters further as they seemed intriguing. My favorite character was Glorianna as I felt she was a brave and witty girl but I felt she was longing for a family and someone to call home, this meant I was rooting for her to feel happiness throughout the book. I also liked the character Miss Minter for different reasons. I liked the mystery she had when she was first introduced however her past wasn’t fully explained which in a way left the reader decided for him/herself what happened to Miss Minter to make her like the way she is.

Regarding the ending I would have like to see it conclude differently. The ending although it was a twist it was slightly anti climatic and predictable. I was enticed by a certain event however when the end of the book approached it changed into a typical children’s book ending. Another difference I would have liked in the book would have been the relationship between Glorianna and Miss Minter develop as they seem to have a complicated one. Glorianna seemed loyal to Miss Minter and it seemed she was a mother figure to her but she also disliked her actions and approaches some situations I would have liked to see an insight into the history behind these two characters. Overall I thought the book adding some interesting plot twisting but if it would have done these two points I believe it would have been a shocking and heart breaking tale.

I enjoyed this book a lot has it was a modern and mythical take the Charles Dickens classic ‘Oliver’. The book shared similar themes and relationships but ‘Brightling’ was a magical and an easier read then ‘Oliver’. I would recommend this book as it was unique and would be rateable to animal lovers as Sparrow and Scaramouch have a very special and heat warming bond. The book has some funny but also some dark elements hence why the age recommendation should be 9-12. I am thirteen and although I greatly enjoyed ‘Brightling’ I felt it was aimed at a younger audience and I would probably go for more challenging readsI would give the book 4/5 because it was a magically story that combined bravery, friendship, determination and interesting plot twists along the way. The author described scenes and the relationship well between Sparrow and Scaramouch well however I think I would try more difficult books with more complex topics or plots.

Classics Carnival: Spotlight plus Give-Away: A Little in Love by Susan Fletcher

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Received from Publisher

Received from Publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads

As a young child Eponine never knew kindness, except once from her family’s kitchen slave, Cosette. When at sixteen the girls’ paths cross again and their circumstances are reversed, Eponine must decide what that friendship is worth, even though they’ve both fallen for the same boy. In the end, Eponine will sacrifice everything to keep true love alive.

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3 WINNERS EACH RECEIVING A COPY OF A LITTLE IN LOVE

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Spotlight plus Give-Away: Finding Mr Darcy by Erin Butler

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Received from YA Bound

Received from YA Bound

Finding Mr. Darcy: High School Edition
by Erin Butler
Release Date: 09/16/14
Swoon Romance

Blog Tour Organized by YA Bound Book Tours

Summary from Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Liza Johnson takes fangirl to a whole new level of crazy when she decides to take dating advice from her literary hero: Jane Austen.

With the help of her best friends, Liza sheds her ancient-speak and complete Austen wardrobe for something a bit more modern in an attempt at finding her very own Mr. Darcy.

Enter Will, the new kid and Liza’s Darcy incarnate. Add her BFF’s ex to mix and the sexy Brit who kisses with an accent, and Liza is in trouble.

So, what’s a girl to do? Without her mom to go to relationship advice, Liza turns to the only person she can truly trust with matters of the heart via her mother’s copy of COMPLETED WORKS OF JANE AUSTEN.

It’s too bad Austen’s heroines have never played Spin the Bottle or Seven Minutes in Heaven. Liza’s determined to find her true Austen-esque happy ending, but if she can’t trust herself instead of books, she just might end up in her own tragic love story.

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Full Tour Schedule HERE

Full Tour Schedule HERE

About the Author

Erin Butler is lucky enough to have two jobs she truly loves. As a librarian, she gets to work with books all day long, and as an author, Erin uses her active imagination to write the kinds of books she enjoys reading. Young Adult and New Adult books are her favorites, but she especially loves the ones with kissing scenes.

Erin lives in Central New York with her very understanding husband, a stepson, and doggie BFF, Maxie. She prefers to spend her time indoors reading and writing, but will venture out for chocolate and sunshine. She is the author of BLOOD HEX, a YA paranormal, HOW WE LIVED, a contemporary New Adult novel, and FINDING MR. DARCY: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, a contemporary YA.

Author Links: Website/Goodreads/Twitter/Facebook

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$10 Amazon Gift Card + ebook of Finding Mr. Darcy (INT)

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