Friday, 29 August 2014

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Series: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Published31st March 2007
Number of Pages: 398
Book: Bought
Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Comedy, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Suspense, Horror, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Children's, YA, Children's-YA Crossover
Recommended Age: 9+
Contains: Violence, Death, Mild Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Skulduggery Pleasant Site: Skulduggery Pleasant


Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, magician, warrior. 
Oh yes, and dead.

Reading Skulduggery Pleasant takes me back to when I was like ten and reading this series for the first time.  I was instantly hooked.  This book is exciting, hilarious, fresh and funny.  It's magic.  Pure magic.  In the way Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, The Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy are magic.  And I know it's too young for me and it probably ought to be a guilty pleasure, but I just can't feel guilty about loving this amazing series.  It's just too freaking good!  It's awesome with a side of awesome with sprinkles and awesomesauce and chocolate on top.  And no.  I’m not exaggerating.  Read and find out – or at least read the rest of my review.  You'll get it.  
I hope...
 “A crazy laugh escaped [Stephanie’s] lips when she reflected on how much her life had changed in the space of a day.  She had gone from being a perfectly ordinary girl in a perfectly ordinary world to become a target for water-soluble weirdos and a partner for a skeleton detective out to solve her uncle's murder...”
Stephanie Edgley's uncle Gordon died suddenly.  At his funeral, she meets Skulduggery Pleasant.  He's completely mysterious, a detective and former friend Gordon's.
Oh yes, and dead.  
He's a living (in the loosest meaning of the word) skeleton.  And when Skulduggery busts a door in and starts throwing fireballs at an intruder, Stephanie's whole world crumbles around her.
Magic exists and it's everywhere.
And now she's involved with one of Skulduggery's cases: her uncle was murdered and a bad sorcerer is behind it.  Said sorcerer is also after a very powerful, very dangerous and all-too real 'mythical' item – one that could change the world as we know it.  
But don't worry.  Skulduggery Pleasant is on the case.  He might be dead, but he's the best detective out there.  Plus, he's joined by kickass swordswoman Tanith Low and sorcerer-slash-tailor Ghastly Bespoke.
Not that Stephanie herself is helpless.  She has a new name, a new goal, and a whole new world to explore.
Well, you know, unless it's destroyed first or something...
Skulduggery Pleasant has been one of my favourite series since I first read it.  So when I found myself a few books behind, I saw the perfect excuse to read the whole series all over again.  Oh, the hardship!   But I forgot just how much I adored this series.  Cause I love it.  It's funny, it's magic, it's exciting, it's action-packed, it's amazing, it's fun, it's awesome.  I can't get enough.  Derek Landy is my hero, Skulduggery my master-slash-comedian-slash-teacher and Stephanie my friend.  Yep, that good!  I just love it too much.  
And I love all the characters.  They are brilliantly bizarre and brilliant.  Plus, they all just have the coolest names in the history of ever
Now, Skulduggery Pleasant has got to be one of my favourite characters ever.  He's definitely my favourite skeleton.  He’s totally brilliant and just a little weird.  I love that.  And, my God, I want his mind.  He's amazing.  And hilarious.  I love him to pieces.
Stephanie, I love.  She's so determined and funny and weird.  Her wit?  Legendary.  And she's very relatable – haven't we all felt like we don't belong, like there's more out there?  I know I have.   And a little secret...  I wish I was Stephanie.  Not just for her wit, though that helps... But she's just really strong and brave and funny, has the coolest taken name and the most awesome friends...  I'm jealous of a fictional twelve-year old...  Something is wrong with me...
Anyway, I love Stephanie and Skulduggery's relationship too – it’s so funny.  Their witty repartee, their snarky, hilarious banter…  It just kills me and I love them so much – so, so much!
Oh, and the other characters are awesome.  Especially Tanith: I love her - she's so badass.  I love Ghastly too.  Serpine... scary as hell.  Shudder
But I loved that our heroine was Stephanie.  She didn't start off as a badass magic ninja like the others.  People saw her as helpless.  But she wasn't.  Why?  Because she was smart and strong and brave and good.  She's a good role model, really: even those who seem powerless have hidden strengths and can overcome anything if they're just smart and stubborn enough.
I'm reading too deep, aren't I?  Sorry...  
love Landy's writing.  So witty and funny and fresh.  And just so completely hooking.  I literally love every single second of his writing.  I love how he has me gnawing at my fingernails while also making me laugh my head off.  Skill, that is.  Legendary, awesome, kickass skill.  And my God, the plot was just too brilliant!  It's so fun and addictive!  So full of action and suspense and laughter.  Ergo, I just loved it.  It’s awesome.
And damn, I love this world!  It’s so freaking cool: I love love love it.  So much that I just wanna move there like right now!  I wanna be a sorcerer.  I wanna be Skulduggery’s sidekick.  Sigh.  I love all the mythology, all the lore.  How Landy’s taken old myths and made them awesome and new and sparkly.  He just breathed life into the whole paranormal genre.  It’s awesome.
Skulduggery Pleasant isn’t just a book that dazzles the targeted nine-plus audience.  It dazzles me, and I am not-so-much nine.  And I was just as much wrapped up and dazzled by it on what I’m pretty sure is my third or fourth reading.  That’s the sign of an awesome, legendary, new-classic book: you never get tired of it.  Never.  I could read this whole series in a single sitting and still not have enough.  Hell, if I was only allowed one series on my desert island, Skulduggery would be right at the top.  It has everything you can want - action, adventure, magic, excitement, suspense and non-stop laughter.  This is a must read for all kids - be they young, old, reluctant or book-addicted.  Even if they're not so much a kid anymore.  This series...  Well.  It's enough to get anyone hooked to reading!   I'm addicted again and I just can't get enough.

Star Rating:
5 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Buffy The Vampire Slayer

A Special Team Skulduggery Pleasant Edit!

Happy Reading


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Derek's Phone & Chapter Three Extract!

I'm super excited to be part of Simone Elkeles' Better Than Perfect tour!  It's a really cool tour, as well: the posts are like snapshots of the character's texts, which give extra insight into the attached extracts!  Awesome!  And, of course, all this in celebration of one amazing author and one of her brilliant books!  So I hope you enjoy!! :D

Uprooted to Chicago, Derek is missing the company of his old roommate Jack back in California. Just what is with this mad new family he has been forced to live with? Find out in the extract...

Don't forget to stop by the rest of the blog tour!
Previous Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Uncorked Thoughts
Next Stop On The Better Than Perfect Blog Tour: Escapism From Reality


Thank you Bloomsbury for letting me be part of this awesome tour!  I'm loving the book!!  I hope you all read it and love it - oh, and that you love the new paperback cover!  :)
And you can check Better Than Perfect out on Goodreads and Amazon, as well as following Simone on her Blog, Twitter and Facebook!


Blurb From Goodreads!
Ashtyn's life just got complicated. Her boyfriend is being distant and her sister's back at home after ten years - with a stepson in tow!
Derek has a perfect body, THE sexiest smile and a car - Ashtyn's only way to escape from her crazy life. But Derek likes to play by his own rules and is keen to take Ashtyn on a ride she'll never forget. As they spend more and more time alone together, will Derek's flirty games drive Ashtyn wild?
A sweet and steamy romance from New York Times bestselling author Simone Elkeles.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Echo Boy by Matt Haig

Series: Echo Boy, Book One
Publisher: Random House
Format: Hardback
Published: 27th March 2014
Number of Pages: 416
Book: Bought
Genre: Science-Fiction, Dystopia, Suspense, Action Adventure, YA, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 13+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing
No Alcohol References
Author's Site: Matt Haig

Audrey has always surrounded herself with books and music, philosophy and dreams.  It’s what makes her different to the Echos: eerie, emotionless machines, built to resemble humans and to work for human masters.
Daniel is an Echo – but he’s not like the others.  He feels a powerful connection to Audrey; a feeling he was never designed to have, and cannot explain.
But he’s determined to try.
A powerful story about love, loss and what makes us truly human.

'What was he?
Savior, or monster?'
The year is 2115.  Much of the environment has been destroyed.  Technology has come on in leaps and bounds and the world is full of Echos: machines built to look like humans, to serve humans, emotionless and blank.  
Audrey Castle's father is anti-Echo, anti-technology.  He taught Audrey how to stay human in this inhuman world.  Castles in their castle, building a moat of thought to protect them from the technology…
But the moat isn't enough.  Audrey finally understands what he was talking about thanks to a devastating incident, after which she finds herself living with her uncle - Alex Castle, the biggest distributor of technology in Europe, who owns a house crawling with Echos.
One is a boy named Daniel.  But he isn't like the others.  His eyes are too bright, too alive.  He can feel pain.  He's... more.  More than just an Echo.  More… human
They could not be more different and yet they also could not be more alike.  Alone, they stand no chance.  Together, they might just have a shot...
I don't really know what I was expecting from Echo Boy.  I've read a few things by Matt Haig in the past, but Echo Boy... it was just so very different.  And not just from his other books - but also from similar-ish books I've read in the genre.  I was absolutely hooked from the very first page and was utterly absorbed from start to finish.  I cannot wait for the second book!
As for the characters, in sci-fi futuristic books like this, for some reason I tend to find it hard to relate to the characters.  But in Echo Boy, it was easy.  Audrey, for example.  Despite her futuristic world, she felt like someone who could exist today.  She loved her classics, hurt terribly and had a mistrust of the things that had taken her old life from her.  Saying this, however, I felt the way she suddenly came around to Daniel a little unconvincing – if I'd been through what she had, I would be way more jumpy, untrusting and resentful.  Nonetheless, I really liked Audrey.
I wasn't expecting that much from Daniel: he is, after all, a cyborg, an Echo.  But I loved him and was thoroughly intrigued by his character.  His chapters were slower than Audrey's to begin with, but I enjoyed them more.  I loved him and loved seeing him struggle with his humanity, struggle with discovering who and what he was.  He fascinated me and I was one hundred percent behind him. 
I also liked the relationship between Audrey and Daniel.  The beginning did feel a little unrealistic but I liked how their connection grew.  I also liked that the feelings between them weren't the typical YA feelings.  They were deeper, different, complex.  Beautiful.  
I don't really want to say too much about the other characters, because I really don't want to give anything away.  I liked that no one - not even Audrey and Daniel - were how they first appeared, how I always had to be on my toes.  I like that in a thriller!
A Special Echo Boy FanPic By Me!
The writing was also brilliant, although the lack of contractions bugged me a little.  I got the formalness in Echos and even adults, but teenagers?  Not so much.  Even so, I loved how we got to see through both Audrey and Daniel's eyes.  And I also loved how each word felt important, necessary and true – how they all had significance and opened up my imagination, as well as slowly painting the full picture.
I also loved the philosophical side of Echo Boy, all the moral issues, the deeper meanings and the emotions – it all just blew my mind!  I was just shocked by how utterly deep this book was: the more you think about everything brought up, the more there is to ponder.  I also seriously want to talk all things Echo and philosophical, so let me know if you're game for this!
However, I must admit that the beginning of the book felt weird for some reason - I don't really know why…  But I soon got over that, because this plot is brilliant.  It's like... a puzzle: we're given tiny snippets, piece by piece, until the whole picture slowly unravelled before our eyes.  I loved that.  And whilst the pace could be slow at times, it just added to the.  But that final quarter... wow!  The pace of that last bit was so different and makes me so excited for what is to come next!  So, people, if you're feeling like it's lagging, just hold on because Echo Boy really fights back with that last bit and it makes everything so worth it!
But the world building may have been my favourite part of the whole book: it is amazing!  This world... it's full of advantages, but they covered up a huge question: how can you hold onto your humanity when the world around you is so thoroughly lacking it?  The world, the technology and all the questions these raised intrigued me and I can't wait to read more about the world of Echo Boy.
So yes, Echo Boy was really not what I was expecting.  It was a million times better.  It’s the best sci-fi futuristic book I've read in a long, long time.  It is clever, thought-provoking, different, emotional, real.  It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was amazing.  It was made of the exact right amount of marvellous world-building, suspense and thought-provoking questions.  I loved Echo Boy and I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the second book.  I have a feeling that it'll be like the Empire Strikes Back...  

Star Rating:
4 Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Starters by Lissa Price
Partials by Dan Wells
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Happy Reading