timecurseTitle: Timecurse (Darkside, #4)

Author: Tom Becker

Pages: 262 Pages

Publisher: Scholastic

The Blurb

A fourth spine-tingling visit to the secret London borough of Darkside…

A Blood Succession, a mysterious watch, and chaos in the streets – just another day in Darkside. Jonathan is back home again when he hears that Vendetta has gone missing – and that’s not even the worst of it.

Teaming up with some old friends, Jonathan becomes embroiled in a terrifying Darkside mystery – and he discovers the answer to a question he’s been asking for years: could his mother still be alive?

The Review

Oh I do love the Darkside series. In my quest to finish the many series of books that I have started (The Hunger Games, Geek Girl etc.,) I decided to read the 4th book in the Darkside series.  It was bloody good.

In keeping with the gothic dark nature of the book we are once again thrust underground into the Darkside, a Victorian city that runs parallel to modern day London. We meet the same cast of characters from the previous books but what is impressive about Timecurse is that we start to see a different side to some of the more twisted characters. We see that the nature of our villains isn’t one dimensional.

Further villains are thrown into the mix and Jonathan Starling, once again, gets caught up in the drama…but he is also one step closer to finding out what happened to his mother.

Basically, Timecurse is boss and it has made me all the more eager to read the final book in the series.

Timecurse (Darkside, #4) by Tom Becker is available now.

For more information regarding Tom Becker please visit his Twitter page (@Tbeckerlegge).

For more information regarding Scholastic Books (@Scholasticuk) please visit www.scholastic.co.uk.

35-stars

The Blurb

Life is hard for Jess. School should be a safe place but at the moment it’s everything Jess dreads, and it’s made even more difficult by the threatening presence of Kez. Kez lives in a nicer part of town but her life isn’t any sweeter. The only place she finds comfort is knowing she is better off than Jess – or so she thinks.

The Review

Ooh I have very mixed feelings about this book.

Ok, so the story of 7 Days is about a girl called Jess, a slightly overweight teenager who is the perpetual victim of the taunts and bullying of Kez – the classic pretty and popular girl. It follows their dysfunctional relationship over the period of seven days. We see the things that Jess has to put up with on a daily basis. All this I have no problem with. However, my issue lies with the trying to humanise Kez. Eve Ainsworth has given her a problematic background to make the audiences see that she has problems too.

I understand why Eve Ainsworth has done this and due to her background working as pastoral staff in a school this makes perfect sense. However, let us pretend that we are the average teenager reading this book who may have experienced being the victim of bullying at some point reading a book like this would anger me. It is like it is justifying the bad person’s actions.

I feel that this is a bit of a cop out. Some people are just mean for the sake of being mean. The victim of bullying isn’t going to care if the other person comes from a broken family; they are just going to care if they are going to make it through the day without being made to feel like crap.

I feel that Ainsworth chose the moral high ground rather than a more realistic ending which made the story feel a little false to me. 7 Days is a good quick read but it didn’t hit the right buttons for me personally.

7 Days by Eve Ainsworth is available now.

The Blurb

Soon after Sally Lockhart’s father drowns at sea, she receives an anonymous letter. The dire warning it contains makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about her father’s death, Sally is plunged into a terrifying mystery in the dark heart of Victorian London, at the centre of which lies a deadly blood-soaked jewel.

The Review

Having read the opening paragraph to this story with some students that I work with I was compelled to read more. The story of Sally Lockhart seemed both mysterious and dangerous; it sounded exciting and full of adventure and to be fair…it was full of adventure. However, for me after the initial first page thrill The Ruby in the Smoke started to drag.

I liked the characters in the story and I liked that Sally Lockhart joined a motley crew of friends who were all out to help save her; and indeed, Philip Pullman created some very ghastly villains but the story just fell flat with me. I was expecting a full on rollicking adventure and instead I found myself struggling to convince myself to turn the page.

It is not written poorly, the characters are fleshed out, the twists of the plot are very clever – The Ruby in the Smoke just wasn’t for me.

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman is available now.

The Blurb

Ethan can’t remember exactly when he stopped speaking or why. It is only when he meets Polly that he begins to wish things could be different. She is fun and exciting and helps him to see how vivid and colourful the world is.

Can Polly help Ethan to find his voice again?

The Review

Ethan’s Voice is a lovely, sweet and unusual tale of a young boy who is a selective mute. After a traumatic event Ethan has stopped talking altogether. His parents have tried everything to get him talking again but to no avail. It is controlling his life so much that Ethan is now home schooled. He is alone and has no friends.

Along comes Polly, a girl of a similar age to Ethan. She quickly understands the situation and doesn’t pressurise Ethan into speaking but she does provide him with some much needed companionship. It is this friendship which makes Ethan’s Voice such a beautiful read.

The book isn’t over dramatic, some of the things that happen within the narrative are simple and lovely and I think it is this that sets it apart from a lot of YA fiction. It is not dark or harsh or depressing; it has a hopeful quality that a lot of modern day stories often lack due to our jaded MTV culture. It is an impressive debut novel from Rachel Carter and I cannot wait to see what else she has in store for us all.

Ethan’s Voice by Rachel Carter is available now.

Ethans Voice

Synopsis

The Song girls have always been close. After the death of their mother Margot, Lara Jean and Kitty have had to work together to be strong; not only for each other but for their father too. So when Margot flies 4000 miles away to study in St Andrews University in Scotland, middle child Lara Jean finds that the majority of the responsibility falls heavy upon her shoulders.

It is difficult enough being the responsible one but Lara Jean has to deal with her burgeoning feelings for her sister’s ex-boyfriend Josh; a boy who she once loved but stopped herself from thinking about due to Margot liking him too. However, when a box of love letters that Lara Jean has written somehow get sent to all the boys that she has had feelings for before her whole world is turned upside down.

Review

Initially I wasn’t really feeling this book. I felt that it was paced at warp speed and the short scenes felt a bit choppy to me. However, I think this could have been because of the sweeping narrative of the book that I had previously read was still playing in my mind. This is not a fault of Jenny Han’s but just because it was such a sudden shift. I needed t readjust.

As I got further into the story I actually began to see the pacing as one of the books main attributes. Life is like that when you are young and in love. Everything goes fast, one drama after another that lose significance as the weeks go on. It was actually a clever stylistic trick employed by the writer.

As for the Song girls, they were so easy to like and what I thought was so special about Lara Jean is that she was the balance between the two surrounding sisters. She had the heart of Margot and the playfulness of Kitty and it was s lovely to see her develop and take on the role as older sister as opposed to middle child.

What was also rather lovely about the story is that it didn’t make grand sweeping gestures. It was the simple things that were important such as the little notes passed back and forth between Lara Jean and Peter or how they slowly got to know one another. Lara Jean came across as a young insecure teenager. She wasn’t whiney or gauche which you can sometimes find in YA fiction. She was still growing and developing.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before was a sweet innocent book that has the ability to remind us just what it is like to be in the first throws of teenage lust; a gloriously wretched feeling. Jenny Han has done herself proud.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han is available now.

*             Special thanks to Sophia at Scholastic for sending me a copy for review.