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Review: The Collectors Society by Heather Lyons

Received from InkSlingerPR

Received from InkSlingerPR

Title: The Collectors Society
Series: The Collectors Society #1
Author: Heather Lyons
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 23 Oct 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

After years in Wonderland, Alice has returned to England as an adult, desperate to reclaim sanity and control over her life. An enigmatic gentleman with an intriguing job offer too tempting to resist changes her plans for a calm existence, though. Soon, she’s whisked to New York and initiated into the Collectors’ Society, a secret organization whose members confirm that famous stories are anything but straightforward and that what she knows about the world is only a fraction of the truth.

It’s there she discovers villains are afoot—ones who want to shelve the lives of countless beings. Assigned to work with the mysterious and alluring Finn, Alice and the rest of the Collectors’ Society race against a doomsday clock in order to prevent further destruction . . . but will they make it before all their endings are erased?

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 REVIEW 

I cannot tell you how much this book ROCKS. Conspiracy theories, secret societies based around classic fiction crossing space, time and reality. OH MY. Plus you get two of the best book boyfriends you could ever dream of having. I dare you to choose just one, in fact I double dare you.

Told in first person narrative from Alice’s perspective, with a historical setting at the start of the book. We first encounter Alice in  an asylum having returned months earlier from spending six years in Wonderland. this is most definitely an adult version of the tale with revelations that will shock you but will also make complete sense in the twisted tale that is Wonderland. I loved Alice from the very first sentence, she is such a pessimist on the surface, always internalizing her more dramatic tendencies for fear of madness. She is a wonderfully feisty character :)

Enter Abraham Van Brunt and with his presence the plot takes a time travel/science fiction twist alongside some magical realism just to add to the wonder. Stunning use of classic literature alongside one of the most fabulous descriptions of readers combine to ensure true bibliophiles will pay homage to Heather Lyons ingenious writing style. The intricate world building alongside the simultaneous introduction and development of the characters ensure the is never a dull moment in The Collectors Society.

I am certainly not going to go into details of the plot within this review as you have to discover each faucet of the story for yourselves. The Collectors Society is a wonderfully grown-up take on Wonderland which doesn’t disappoint.

I have to mention to more things before I send you scurrying off to read it for yourselves. Firstly, I am desperate to know more about the creeptastic librarian in the story. I am convinced there is so much more there than meets the eye. Secondly, don’t you agree it is a a fantastic thing when a story makes you investigate the details of another story (in this case it was Huckleberry Finn) just so that you can understand the plot and characters better for the story your reading :)

What I need to know is how soon can I have the sequel please Heather ;)

Books I’ve Read: Damaged Goods by Nicole Williams

Books

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Damaged Goods
Series: The Outsider Chronicles #2
Author: Nicole Williams
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: 9 Sept 2014
Source: Bought
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

When Liv Bennett said good-bye to her sinkhole of a hometown, she planned to leave that chapter of her life behind forever. But forever turned out to only be three years.
After her addict of a mother up and disappears, Liv returns to what she considers her own personal hell smack in the middle of nowhere Nevada to take care of her two younger sisters, and she promptly reinstitutes the golden rule that got her through her first nineteen years of life without getting knocked up, roughed up, or messed up: don’t date the local boys and, god forbid, don’t fall in love with one of them.

It isn’t long before that golden rule is put to the test.

Will Goods grew up in the next trailer over, but the wild, careless boy who used to tear up the town with his three brothers has morphed into someone else so completely, he’s almost unrecognizable. The quiet, contemplative man who works on cars every night and takes care of his mentally ill mother every day is nothing like the local boys Liv grew up avoiding.

But when Liv considers suspending her golden rule just this once, she finds out something about Will that will change everything.

Will Goods isn’t who he used to be—he’s not even the man Liv thinks she’s gotten to know over the summer. He’s become someone else entirely.

He’s become . . .

Damaged Goods.

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 I have to start by saying that I adore Nicole Williams, her ability to feed my love of word play only makes me worship her more. The clever use of the title within the narrative was used to stunning effect *happy sigh*

Told in first person narrative from Liv’s perspective. At 25 she is hardened by life. She considers herself white trailer trash although she has fought long and hard to escape the confines of the small town and redneck mentality associated with it. She is very much a pessimist but with her upbringing it is completely understandable. However, she has boxed herself into following a set course for her future whether it makes her happy or not. It is soon apparent that Liv hides behind her protective shell but underneath she is responsible and selfless to the core. She always puts her two half siblings before herself. Thinking she had escaped the confines of her home town only to be thrust deeper into its shackles by a cruel twist of fate.

Liv is very judgmental of the people in her hometown and is quick to label them based on their location. Will Goods lives in the trailer next to Liv, recently returned from the army and caring for his ailing mother. It is soon apparent that Will defies all of Liv’s preconceived stereotypes.

Acts of kindness within the narrative help restore faith in human nature (mine as well as Liv’s) although it was a shame that the unexpected nature of the acts of kindness were such a shock to Liv.

Forced into taking a job she is uncomfortable with, Liv battles with her perception of herself. The idea of identity plays a large part within the narrative, showing that the things we do to survive aren’t who we are. It is how we perceive ourselves that ultimately defines who we are. Will plays a large part in helping Liv break through her barriers, opening up to both herself and others. The plot twist was completely unexpected and I have to say worked so well with the situation, forcing Liv to confront her inner demons. There was a point when I wanted to slap her for being so stupid but fortunately she redeemed herself in my eyes :)

I just loved the way in which this story played out – it is utterly brilliant.

I have to mention Nicole’s stunning ability to weave a in a Stripper 101 crash course within the narrative alongside a heaping serving of sarcasm – is it any wonder I love her writing so much ;)

Review: Rags and Bones by Melissa Marr

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Rags and Bones
Author: Anthology – Melissa Marr
Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: Oct 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

There are some stories that will always be told, tales as timeless as they are gripping.

There are some authors who can tell any story.

In RAGS & BONES, award-winning and bestselling authors retell classic fairytales and twisted tales in the way that only they can. With magic and love, they bring these stories – whether much loved or overlooked – back to life.

Read ‘Sleeping Beauty’ as only Neil Gaiman can tell it. See ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ through the eyes of Kami Garcia. And learn of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’ from the inimitable Garth Nix.

REVIEW BY LOUIS – YEAR 8

Rags and Bones is an anthology of fairy tales re-told/re-imagined with twists and turns, making a refreshing change from the typical Princess in tower rescued by Prince. These are not however, the well known fairy-tales most I hadn’t heard of before. For me this only makes the book more exciting because I didn’t know what I was going into.

I will be honest and say this is not the sort of book I would choose to read off of a shelf. But it surprised me because I actually loved it. I only wish that I could relate to characters more with anthologies because I always feel like time for the stories and characters are cut short.

My least favorite story in the book was The Cold Corner because I found the whole plot to be uninteresting. It takes too long to actually get into the story and it is not very engaging for the reader.

My favorite story is The Soul Collector. It has an exciting beginning and is instantly is engaging. To find a character who is a murderer in a fairy-tale is rare even when the murderer is the main character because fairy-tales are supposed to be innocent children’s stories????? Or so I believed. This story kept me hooked all the way through. The first person narration made it feel as if I was right there with the main character. It felt as if the character was speaking directly t me, telling me her life story. It has an exciting plot and changed my perception of fairy-tales.

I would have liked to see more well-known fairy-tales included in the anthology.  I didn’t feel as if the stories within the anthology were really fairy-tales due to the setting.

There are some mature parts of the book and a few swear words  (but it is fine as everyone age of 11+ would have heard these words before – one of the downfalls of modern society perhaps). It doesn’t make the stories any less exciting though.

Rags and Bones provides a great introduction to authors I wouldn’t have previously considered reading, I am definitely seeking out other books by them now :)

Review: The Templeton Twins Make a Scene by Ellis Weiner

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Templeton Twins Make a Scene
Series: Templeton Twins #2
Author: Ellis Weiner
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: 15 Oct 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

With its kid-perfect humor and dynamic illustrations, Book 1 of the hilarious Templeton Twins series left young readers clamoring for more. This time, Abigail and John Templeton find themselves at TAPAS (the Thespian Academy of the Performing Arts and Sciences) where their father, the illustrious Professor Templeton, has been hired to invent a groundbreaking theatrical device. Once again, there is drama (of course!), silliness, and suspense, as the twins (and their ridiculous dog) must thwart the dastardly Dean brothers in order to save the invention as well as their father (and the dog). Oh yes, there is sure to be another recipe. This time for guacamole. Or is it coleslaw?

REVIEW BY EVAN – YEAR 8

As you would expect, The Templeton Twins is about twins, Abigail and John, who are the son and daughter of a world famous inventor. He is about to create a device which could fetch millions but somebody is trying to take the credit for it. The twins will stop at nothing to make sure their father gets what is rightfully his. I feel that the Twins each boast qualities that will be put to very good use at the climax. On numerous occasions they have to work together, complimenting each of their strengths, aided by people who they believe are annoying, but are actually their friends.

The best parts of the book is when the narrator gets up to his antics and begins talking about how brilliant he is. He is not afraid to show his seeming dislike for us readers if we haven’t read the first book. However, the best thing about it is how if you haven’t read the first book, it doesn’t affect your enjoyment of the second. You don’t miss out on anything that is vital to your understanding of the story.

The way the characters develop, is one of the ways I think the story is kind to those who haven’t read the first book despite how unkind the narrator is if that is the case. My favourite character would be the boss of the Twins Dad. She steals the show when she is in the room and is portrayed truly brilliantly! It is one of the few books that will make you laugh out loud. Tell your friends, make them laugh as well :)

Unfortunately, some parts of the book were not quite as good as they could have been. The characters don’t get old but I feel that the narrators jokes did at times. At first, I think that when he was talking about how amazing he is and how disappointed he was if we hadn’t read the first book was quite funny. However, those jokes and the use of French words all the way through the book just got overused.

Despite this, I think I would read another book by the same author because I think that I did enjoy it. Out of five, I think I would give it a four because like I said, there was a bit of room for improvement but I enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend this book to others who are over the age of ten because there are lots of French words and I am not sure that they would fully understand the humor.

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and if you want a funny children’s book, you can’t get much better than this.

Review: Fire and Flood by Victoria Scott

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Fire and Flood
Series: Fire and Flood #1
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Chicken House
Publication Date: March 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Time is slipping away….

Tella Holloway is losing it. Her brother is sick, and when a dozen doctors can’t determine what’s wrong, her parents decide to move to Montana for the fresh air. She’s lost her friends, her parents are driving her crazy, her brother is dying—and she’s helpless to change anything.

Until she receives mysterious instructions on how to become a Contender in the Brimstone Bleed. It’s an epic race across jungle, desert, ocean, and mountain that could win her the prize she desperately desires: the Cure for her brother’s illness. But all the Contenders are after the Cure for people they love, and there’s no guarantee that Tella (or any of them) will survive the race.

The jungle is terrifying, the clock is ticking, and Tella knows she can’t trust the allies she makes. And one big question emerges: Why have so many fallen sick in the first place?

REVIEW BY RACHEL – YEAR 8

Fire and Flood is about a girl called Tella and her brother Cody, who has cancer. He doesn’t have long to live. Tella is determined to save him, even if it means risking her own life. She has been given the opportunity to compete in a treterus competition that will test her physically and mentally, she doesn’t think twice.

Tella meets Levi and Ransom when she is trudging through the jungle looking for food when their paths cross. They have to be my favourite characters. I thought they had a great personalities and always lightened the mood in the team. It felt as if I knew these characters personally and had been with them for years, they were very realistic and I was able to relate to them very well. They had an adorable cheekiness about them!

The plot kept me guessing the whole time, which made me want to read it even more! It was exciting and had lots of twists along the way, many of which were very unexpected. The story was very gripping and made me want to keep turning the pages.

The only things I disliked about this book was it finished very suddenly and we never find out the end. I found this very disappointing because I was very intrigued, and I wanted to found out how she finished in the competition.

I would recommend this book to anyone but only in the target age range, because it could be inappropriate for younger readers a times. But it was a great book and I really enjoyed it.