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Review and Trailer: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: March 2014
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.

REVIEW BY BETH

Before anything else it’s important to wallow in the beauty of Walton’s cover. The cover of this novel is so delicately beautiful I’m so happy to have a copy on my shelves and it’s worth it just to look at. The novel itself went off in some directions I wasn’t quite up to speed with but this didn’t detract from overall enjoyment.

This novel is strange, the title has got that much right and plenty of it is very beautiful (cover included). The story is entirely unique and Walton’s style draws you in in a simple, subtle way with no trickery or pacy action to keep you on your toes. There is a dream-like atmosphere throughout created by Walton’s prose and her quirky characters.

There is a magical element to this novel which always makes me feel a bit uneasy as I’m not a massive fan of anything fantastical or too out there but Walton’s novel needed this element to make it as good as it was. I have read many reviews saying this book was impossible to put down and whilst I didn’t feel this, I did look forward to going back to it and getting drawn gently back into Ava’s world and the world of those around her.

The characters, as mentioned, are as quirky as they come. Walton produces a cast of perfectly characterised people who genuinely jump out of the pages and their voices are almost audible. Her bad guys are just as effective and I really enjoyed how well each and every character was crafted.

I think the magical realism in this novel worked for me because it is a completely illogical inclusion. People turn into birds, ghosts appear and despite these facts, the plot seems like something that could genuinely have happened.

Walton’s novel covers some pretty massive themes amongst its whimsical tale. The power of love seems to undercut all the other issues and there is a real moralistic sense that the strength of a person is far more powerful than that of love. It’s whimsical, it’s magical and it’s the kind of thing I shouldn’t really like, but I did. Bittersweet and extremely memorable.

Tantalising Trailers: Half Bad by Sally Green

TRAILERS

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Half Bad
Series: Half Life #1
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: March 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads

Half Bad by Sally Green is a breathtaking debut novel about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches.

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch.

You get sick if you stay indoors after dark.

You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one.

You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen.

All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday.

Easy.

 

A boy centred witch book – an amazing addition to the school library especially when running a Witches Reading Theme :)

Tantalising Trailers: The Eye of Minds by James Dashner

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The Eye of Minds 
Series: The Mortality Doctrine #1
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: Oct 2013

Synopsis from Goodreads

 The Eye of Mindsis the first book in The Mortality Doctrine, a series set in a world of hyperadvanced technology, cyberterrorists, and gaming beyond your wildest dreams . . . and your worst nightmares.

Michael is a gamer. And like most gamers, he almost spends more time on the VirtNet than in the actual world. The VirtNet offers total mind and body immersion, and it’s addictive. Thanks to technology, anyone with enough money can experience fantasy worlds, risk their life without the chance of death, or just hang around with Virt-friends. And the more hacking skills you have, the more fun. Why bother following the rules when most of them are dumb, anyway?

But some rules were made for a reason. Some technology is too dangerous to fool with. And recent reports claim that one gamer is going beyond what any gamer has done before: he’s holding players hostage inside the VirtNet. The effects are horrific—the hostages have all been declared brain-dead. Yet the gamer’s motives are a mystery.

The government knows that to catch a hacker, you need a hacker.
And they’ve been watching Michael. They want him on their team.
But the risk is enormous. If he accepts their challenge, Michael will need to go off the VirtNet grid. There are back alleys and corners in the system human eyes have never seen and predators he can’t even fathom—and there’s the possibility that the line between game and reality will be blurred forever.

 

A brilliant idea to capture the imagination of the gaming generation.

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One of my Year 8 students has read this book, he stated that it is a perfect read for fans of gaming alongside Ready Player One.

Also the plot is quite complicated making it confusing in the beginning with a slow build up. the characters and their dynamic alongside the topical plot are the outstanding features of this book.

Tantalising Trailers: Disruption by Jessica Shirvington

TRAILERS

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Disruption 
Series: Disruption #1
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Harper Collins AU
Publication Date: April 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads

What if a microchip could identify your perfect match?
What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loves most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it. 

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for? 

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

I love Jessica’s writing. I desperately hope this one gets picked up in the UK

Tantalising Trailers: Hostage by Chris Bradford

Trailers

Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: Hostage
Series: Bodyguard #1
Author: Chris Bradford
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date:  2 May 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads

ASSESS THE THREAT.
COUNTER THE DANGER.
ESCAPE THE KILLZONE.

In a dangerous world, everyone needs protection. 

No one suspects that a teenager could protect someone – but Connor Reeves is no ordinary 14 year old. He’s a professional bodyguard trained in surveillance, anti-ambush techniques, hostage survival and unarmed combat. When he’s summoned to protect the President’s daughter, his protection skills face the ultimate test.

Alicia doesn’t want to be guarded. She just wants to have fun. With no clue that Connor is her bodyguard, she tries to escape the Secret Service and lead him astray. But unknown to her and Connor, a terrorist sleeper cell has been activated. 

Its mission: to take the President’s daughter HOSTAGE

This is high on my library wish-list. Perfect for fans of Alex Ryder, Cris Ryan and Robert Muchamore :)