Category: britishbookschallenge

Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Posted March 1, 2015 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Random House Children's Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co #2) by Jonathan StroudTitle: The Whispering Skull
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Publisher: Random House, RHCB
Publication Date: October 10th 2014
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Format: Hardcover
Source: Random House Children's Books
three-half-stars

Ghosts and ghouls beware! London's smallest, shabbiest and most talented psychic detection agency is back.

Life is never exactly peaceful for Lockwood & Co. Lucy and George are trying to solve the mystery of the talking skull trapped in their ghost jar, while Lockwood is desperate for an exciting new case. Things seem to be looking up when the team is called to Kensal Green Cemetery to investigate the grave of a sinister Victorian doctor. Strange apparitions have been seen there, and the site must be made safe. As usual, Lockwood is confident; as usual, everything goes wrong, a terrible phantom is freed and a dangerous object is stolen from the coffin. Lockwood & Co. must recover the relic before its power is unleashed, but it's a race against time. Their obnoxious rivals from the Fittes agency are also on the hunt. And if that's not bad enough, the skull in the ghost-jar is stirring again!

The author of the blockbuster BARTIMAEUS sequence delivers another humorous and chilling instalment in the critically acclaimed LOCKWOOD & CO. series.

Review:  I loved The Screaming Staircase, Stroud’s first Lockwood novel, so was keenly anticipating the follow up. Lockwood and Co is a great series and the Whispering Skull offered the same humour, darkness, spooky scenes and engaging characters as in the first novel.

This time, the central plot concerns a dare between Lockwood and Co and the rival Fittes agency. They need to find a missing relic and fast.

The series is developing well and characters are feeling more and more three dimensional. George’s mishaps remind me of Jerry on Parks and Recreation as the poor guy just can’t seem to get it right. Lucy is also a strong narrator and we learn more about her as the story progresses. As for Lockwood, there’s an intriguing twist at the end of the book that offers more insight into his character. I love his confidence in the book and how this often borders on arrogance, particularly regarding the agency.

The only flaws I found in the book was that the word felt a little less certain, I can’t help wondering what the adults in this world do as they become more unhelpful as they grow up and surely everyone can’t be involved in the supernatural business? What about all of the kids, are they all involved in that business too? Despite these questions and the fact I found it a little slower to develop in parts, the book was still great fun and I’m glad I read it. Stroud writes creepy, dark scenes very well and juxtaposes these beautifully with wonderful humour. The characters are great and I’m constantly rooting for Lockwood and Co to come out on top.

Fans of the first book should find a lot to enjoy in this latest addition and tantalising clues about the characters and their backstories. I really like this series and despite not being as swept away as I was in the first book, I enjoyed The Whispering Skull and plan on continuing the series.

three-half-stars

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Review: I enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s debut The Bone Season and was excited to see what was in store for Paige next. I found The Mime Order even more engaging and intriguing than The Bone Season. There’s definitely a very different tone and atmosphere to the Mime Order, whereas The Bone Season was Paige forced into a very difficult situation and fighting to escape, now she’s fighting the society she lives in and has developed as a character into more of a leader. We don’t see much of London in the Bone Season, it’s the secondary location and most of the book takes place in Oxford, so it was great to see and learn more about it in the Mime Order. We learn a lot more about the world and rules and politics behind in the Mime Order and I thought this really […]

Posted January 21, 2015 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Review: I love Juno Dawson’s writing; it’s the perfect combination of witty humour and tense creepiness. It goes without saying, therefore, that I was really looking forward to Say Her Name from the moment it was announced, however I was a little worried. The Bloody Mary legend is the one urban legend that has crept under my skin and scared me a bit – it’s probably to do with the mirrors – so I was simultaneously intrigued and terrified of Say Her Name. Say Her Name is set in a British boarding school where Bobbie and her friends summon Bloody Mary. They expect nothing to happen, like it hasn’t happened for most of the millions of teenagers who have said those fateful words before. However, soon mysterious things begin to happen. A message saying ‘five days’ is just the start of it. […]

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Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Review: The Bone Season intrigued me early on with its prepublication hype and also the fact I’d heard it described as an adult/crossover novel with YA appeal. While not necessarily my usual type of read, I did find myself enjoying this book and getting swept into the world of The Bone Season. For the first 10% of the novel, I have to admit I was very confused. We are immediately thrown into the novel’s world and it is a complicated one. The language, alternative history and level of detail did make me consider giving up as I felt a little overwhelmed. However, after taking a break I persevered and I am glad I did as I became quickly engrossed and accustomed to the world. The novel begins in London with Paige, a secret voyant, working for the criminal underworld. Paige is […]

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Blog Tour: Tinder by Sally Gardner

Blog Tour: Tinder by Sally Gardner

Interview: Sally Gardner on Fairy tales and Retellings I was so excited when the lovely people at Indigo offered me the chance to interview Sally about her latest novel, Tinder, and her approach to retellings and fairytales. It was the first phone interview I have conducted so I was quite nervous, by which I mean very, nervous however Sally was absolutely lovely and I could have talked to her all day! Here is the interview, as transcribed by my notes and memory so hopefully I’ve not missed or misrepresented anything pertinent, however it is important to note that Sally’s answers are not word for word as she answered but paraphrased and recalled from my memory and notes.   After thanking Sally for holding the interview and introducing myself, my first question was about how she approached retelling The Tinderbox fairytale by […]

Posted November 11, 2013 by chooseyabooks in blogtour, britishbookschallenge / 2 Comments
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Review: Hurt by Tabitha Suzama

Review: Hurt by Tabitha Suzama

Tabitha Suzama is one of those authors whose work I’ve wanted to read for a long time; especially as she isn’t afraid to tackle meaty and controversial issues in her writing like mental illness. As soon as I heard about Hurt and was offered a review copy from the publisher I knew I had to read it even if it would make me cry, which other reviews seemed to imply. It took me a while to face the book but once I started Hurt I read it one sitting which I always feel tells you a lot about a book. Hurt is Matheo’s story told in third-person. He has it all; a great girlfriend, friends, tipped for the Olympic diving team and a national diving prodigy but over the space of one weekend everything changes and he can barely even […]

Posted October 22, 2013 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 0 Comments
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Review: The Savages by Matt Whyman

Review: The Savages by Matt Whyman

The second I read the blurb for  The Savages  I knew I had to get my hands on the book. Cannibalistic family? Vegetarian boyfriend? Dark comedy? What else does a reader need? The Savages tells the story of the Savage family, perfectly ordinary in every sense but they have a secret. A predilection for a certain taboo delicacy on special occasions. When Sasha Savage, the teenage daughter, reveals her latest boyfriend is a vegetarian, the family’s way of life comes under threat. I don’t want to spoil the plot too much for anyone who hasn’t read it but The Savages is a brilliantly dark comedy that fans of Matt Haig’s The Radleys, Hannibal and will find a lot to love in. The balance between domestic drama and dark cannibalistic humour is well done and really makes the book stand out […]

Posted September 18, 2013 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

Review: Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud

I love ghost stories so when Jonathan Stroud was a guest at the Random House Blogger Brunch back in March and told us about his new series I was immediately intrigued. Before I start my review I just want to say how great Stroud was at the brunch. He bought a ghost-hunting kit from the book to show us all and was very funny and engaging, leaving all of us desperate to get our hands on the book! Lockwood and Co. tells the story of a teenage ghost-hunting agency. In Lockwood, Britain has seen a dramatic increase in paranormal activity and hauntings in the last fifty years and children and teenagers are the only people who can see the ghosts, meaning they often work for these agencies. Anthony Lockwood, his deputy George and new recruit Lucy run Lockwood and Co. […]

Posted September 10, 2013 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 1 Comment
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Review: Soulmates by Holly Bourne

Review: Soulmates by Holly Bourne

From Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde and Nathan and Haley (yes, that’s a One Tree Hill reference, I have no shame at all in admitting this) the course of true love rarely runs smoothly. It is this notion that Bourne critically looks at in her electrifying YA debut. Poppy is seventeen, cynical and occasionally gets panic attacks. Noah is a teenage musician trying to deal with his own problems. When the two meet at a local band night, Noah’s amp literally explodes and despite strong chemistry, the two don’t initially see eye to eye. However as the two fall in love, things outside of their bubble seem to be going wrong. A mysterious agency is watching them and intending to pull them apart, plus the weather is erratic and borders on natural disasters at times.  Soon they are faced […]

Posted September 4, 2013 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews, yadebut / 3 Comments
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Review: Silent Saturday by Helen Grant

Review: Silent Saturday by Helen Grant

Silent Saturday was a book introduced at the Spring RHCP Blogger Brunch and I was really happy to receive a copy for review shortly after attending (and I’d like to say sorry to the people at Random House especially Lisa for this review being so late). As some of you know, I love YA crime novels and I’d never read anything set in Belgium before that I could remember. Silent Saturday tells the story of Veerle. Years ago she and a local boy Kris saw something terrifying, a murder, from a tower on Silent Saturday, a festival where the bells stop ringing I believe, something Veerle has actually forced herself to forget about. Years later their paths interweave again and soon she is drawn into his secretive hobby; trespassing empty buildings (where the deal is you do something good to […]

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