Saturday, May 20, 2017

Bang by Barry Lyga

When Sebastian was four years old he picked up his father's gun and pulled the trigger - killing his infant sister Lola in the process.  It was a single moment that changed the course of his family's life, and ten years later he can still see the pity and disgust on people's faces because of what happened.  His life has found a rhythm over the years, a rhythm that flows around his friend Evan during the day at school, and the comfortable distance with his mother at home - living two separate lives in the same house.  It has gone of for years, and could go on for many more years if not for the little voice in his head whispering that it is almost time.  A gun changed the path of his life, and the little voice is whispering and preparing him for when a gun ends it.

With Evan away for yet another summer the voice is getting louder - until a chance meeting that will change the course of Sebastian's entire summer.  Aneesa is new to the neighbourhood, someone who doesn't know his past and what happened, someone he can relax around without worrying about those looks.  Her family is a breath of normality, a family life that he never quite had because of the gun and the death, and his own family falling apart.  Aneesa doesn't expect anything of him, Sebastian can be himself, and it is a liberating thing.  Best of all, being with Aneesa quiets the voice in his head, makes him think that their can be a future for him after all.

Bang is an amazing book, not just because it tackles two very emotive topics with style and grace (suicide and the Muslim community), but also because Barry Lyga has once again created a book that is perfectly balanced with a beginning that sucks you in, a middle that keeps you hooked, and an ending that leaves you saying "wow".  Right up until the end I didn't know what was going to happen with Sebastian, whether he would commit suicide or not, and by the last page I realised I didn't feel let down either way - if he lived it wasn't 'happily ever after' and if he died then it wasn't a 'predictable ending' either.  Lyga has taken a young man and allowed you to see inside his head and his heart as he goes through the motions of living a life he no longer wants to live, and you get to experience some of the pain and anguish along with him.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Kidnapped by James Patterson and Robert Gold

Jon Roscoe has been in Chicago for the trial of Matteo Ginevra, who was faced criminal charges for the deaths of two construction workers.  It seemed like he was going to get his just desserts, but then another witness recanted their testimony and the case was dismissed - leaving Roscoe with a bitter taste in his mouth and the determination to see Ginevra brought to justice. 

When he arrives at the airport for his flight back to the United Kingdom for Christmas, he saves the life of a young woman - who turns out to be someone in desperate need of help.  He also stumbles across a vaguely familiar face, a young woman with her family who is travelling back home to the United Kingdom for Christmas as well.  When Roscoe finds a note asking for help his loathing for Ginevra turns into something deeper.  Roscoe is determined to help, but he is about to enter a very tangled web of lies, deceit and hidden enemies. 

Kidnapped is another excellent addition to the Bookshots series.  It is a well executed novel that manages to keep you hooked until the end and the big reveal of what has been going on.  Roscoe is an interesting character, with a wealth of backstory and a temper that would surely have gotten him in trouble in his past life as a police man.  I really enjoyed the suspense of the story, and the blended storylines that divided my attention but also kept the tension really high as I tried to figure out what was actually happening.  The ending was satisfying and well received - and hopefully this is not the last we have seen of Jon Roscoe.

If you like this book then try:
  • The hostage by James Patterson and Robert Gold
  • The shut-in by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • The house husband by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski
  • Private Royals by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  • Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Chase by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
  • Airport code red by James Patterson and Michael White

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A court of wings and ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A court of wings and ruin is the third book in the A court of thorns and roses trilogy and you really need to read the series in order so do not read any more of this review as there are ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the first books in the series.

After everything she has been through, and everything she has faced, it is the return to the Spring Court that nearly undoes her.  After finding her mate and finding peace with her 'family' to return to the stifling and controlling world of the Spring Court is almost more than she can bear, especially when Tamlin and his infamous temper have done such an impressive job of reminding her why she fled from him - her old bedroom destroyed beyond recognition.  She has to walk a careful line, appearing to be his love, but in reality working quietly against him.  It is a dangerous game to play, and one that she must play at all times so that she doesn't give away her duplicity - but if she can discover the plans of the King of Hybern it will be worth the risks. 

When she finally has to shed the illusion Feyre does so in her usual discreet and quiet way - striking a blow to Tamlin and his enemies that can not be ignored.  In freeing herself Feyre exposes some carefully kept secrets, and discovers just how dangerous the world can be for a fae female in some of the Courts.  When she fainlly makes it back to Rhys and the rest of their family she discovers that they have also been busy, seeking out secrets and searching for hints about what the King of Hybern is planning.  It is a time of planning for war, but it is also a time of Feyre trying to heal the rift with her sisters - turned into fae by the King Of Hybern against their will, and hiding secrets of their own.  Nesta is a force of rage and discontent, while Elaine has withdrawn and refuses to connect with the world.  While her heart breaks for the stated of her family Feyre can't let it distract her from the war that is coming.

With the enemy at their door it is time for the fae to leave their petty squabbles behind and join forces, but centuries of distrust and shifting lines of alliance have left them ill prepared to work together - and with the shattered trust that they have left behind them it might be impossible for Rhys and Feyre to forge an alliance in time.  As secrets are revealed war is inevitable, and every member of her new family has a part to play in the war that is coming.  War means choosing a side - and making sacrifices.  While Rhys and Feyre attempt to unit the Courts, the rest of their family tries to find other solutions - but will they find them in time?

I have loved this series - partly because it is so richly imagined, but also because Sarah J. Maas has written a series for teenagers that doesn't talk down to them or treat them like children.  Amazing themes have been explored through this series, themes that young people need to know about - but also that they experience anyway so why not acknowledge it and give them a series they can sink their teeth into?  I will add that this is a series for older and/or mature teens as some of the themes and violence will be unsettling for younger or less mature readers, but this is a series that deserves pride of place in the teenagers section (although there are a large number of adults, myself included, who have devoured and enjoyed this series). 

This series was described as a trilogy when I picked it up, and while the story arc is closed at the end of A court of wings and ruin, Maas has promised more stories from the land of Prythian so this is not the last we have seen of this world.  There are some amazing moments in the story, including some that had me going "no, no, no", and there are some moments that are brutal because they are so realistic but this was an amazing ride and Maas is fast becoming a leading voice in young adult and cross over fiction - she has characters with strong voices and incredible worlds, and hopefully she is writing for many years to come!

If you like this book then try:

  • A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • A court of mist and fury by Sarah J. Maas
  • Arrows of the queen by Mercedes Lackey
  • Long may she reign by Rhiannon Thomas
  • Throne of glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
  • The Fire rose by Mercedes Lackey
  • Reserved for the cat by Mercedes Lackey

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Nowhere man by Gregg Hurwitz

The Nowhere man is the sequel to Orphan X, and while you can read the books independently there are ***SPOILERS*** in this review if you have not read the first book.  I highly recommend reading the books in order for the ultimate reading experience.

Evan managed to survive his scrape with the remains of the Orphan programme - but not without adding a few more mental and physical scars.  It wasn't enough to put him off helping people however, and with a well practiced moves his operation moves from one anonymous phone service to another.  Returning to his life and ways may seem foolish, but his network of safeguards and props have kept him (mostly) safe until now, and there is no reason to think that things won't keep running smoothly as long as he is careful. 

All the planning in the world can't protect him when he is caught off guard and taken down by a team that is fully prepared to take him down.  When he wakes up, he is puzzled to discover that he has been placed in a luxurious room that has been turned into a gilded cage.  The man holding him knows exactly what he wants from Evan, and even though he thinks he has the upper hand, he has no idea who he is really dealing with.  With a deadline looming Evan makes it his mission to escape so he can continue with his latest rescue mission, but Evan has never come across someone like Rene before - and Rene has never come across someone like Evan either.  Evan is determined to escape, but Rene is just as determined to get what he wants, and he doesn't care who pays the price.

I loved Orphan X when I read it earlier this year, and I was a little nervous about picking up The Nowhere man because sometimes the first book in a series is amazing, and then the rest of the series fizzles - I needn't have bothered because book two was another thrill ride that I had to read in one sitting.  Greg Hurwitz has found a well balanced writing style that keeps the tension and action moving at a fast pace, while remembering that there are people involved and that readers tend to lose interest when your characters are poorly written. 

I would compare the Orphan X series to a lot of the James Patterson novels - mainly because Hurwitz writes the series with short, sharp chapters that are highly focused on the story and the characters.  Evan is far from perfect, which makes him more relateable, and it is all too easy to feel the emotions he feels at different points in the books.  The 'villains' are also very well written, not James Bond or Alex Rider villains that are too bad or twisted to believed, but rather villains that are the products of their lives and (dare I say it) somewhat sympathetic villains because they were the result of their own upbringings and failures.

A great series, and hopefully there are many more books to come as the ending of The Nowhere man promises many good things to come.

If you like this book then try:
  • The killing kind by Chris Holm
  • Breaking Creed by Alex Kava
  • The Postcard killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
  • The basement: A novel  by Stephen Leather
  • City of the lost by Kelley Armstrong
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • Truth or die by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
  • Dead secret by Ava McCarthy
  • Never never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Darkly dreaming Dexter by Jeffry P. Lindsay
  • Kiss the girls by James Patterson
  • Kill me if you can by James Patterson and Marshall Kamp

Reviewed by Brilla