“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” C.S. Lewis

chrissi&lunacompare1

Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe

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In a future London, Concentr8 is a prescription drug intended to help kids with ADD. Soon every troubled teen is on it. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Keep the undesirable elements in line. Keep people like us safe from people like them. What’s good for society is good for everyone.

Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze have been taking Concentr8 as long as they can remember. They’re not exactly a gang, but Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet, watchful sidekick – the only one Blaze really trusts. They’re not looking for trouble, but one hot summer day, when riots break out across the city, they find it. What makes five kids pick a man seemingly at random – a nobody, he works in the housing department, doesn’t even have a good phone – hold a knife to his side, take him to a warehouse and chain him to a radiator? They’ve got a hostage, but don’t really know what they want, or why they’ve done it. And across the course of five tense days, with a journalist, a floppy-haired mayor, a police negotiator, and the sinister face of the pharmaceutical industry, they – and we – begin to understand why…

This is a book about what how we label children. It’s about how kids get lost and failed by the system. It’s about how politicians manipulate them. Gripping and controversial reading for fans of Malorie Blackman and Patrick Ness.

 

Thoughts before you started reading Concentr8?

CHRISSI: I was excited to read Concentr8. I received a copy from Bloomsbury via NetGalley. I was immediately intrigued by the concept and thought it sounded incredibly intriguing.

LUNA: When I heard first about Concentr8 I was intrigued. Bloomsbury was kind enough to send me a copy for review (thank you!) and I read the book within a week of receiving it.

So was Concentr8 what you expected?

CHRISSI: No. I thought it was going to be much more about focusing on the main group of teenagers and how they dealt with their ADD. I thought this would be a really powerful read, however, it didn’t capture my attention or make me think like I wanted it to.

LUNA: Initially I thought the story would of a central main character or maybe just focus on the group. Instead the story has multiple points of narration. As such I felt there was little emotional connection for the reader, which makes it harder to care about what it happening.

I had a bystander-reading-attitude during Concentr8, because I wanted to see how this story would be resolved but I wasn’t emotionally involved.

The blurb on Bloomsbury’s website says: “This is a book about what how we label children. It’s about how kids get lost and failed by the system. It’s about how politicians manipulate them.” Yes I’d agree with that but for me I think having a connection to the character(s) in the story would have a much bigger impact. Having now gone to check the other reviews, I don’t think I’m the only one. :(

Best bit?

CHRISSI: Concentr8 is an intriguing idea for a story. I was pleasantly surprised that the book was informative at the beginning of the chapters. Concentr8 has short, snappy chapters so it was easy to get through.

LUNA: I thought the information at the beginning of the different chapters of interesting. It gave a very brief overview of the rise in ADHD diagnosis.

Worst bit?

CHRISSI: The amount I disconnected from the story. I didn’t care for any of the characters. I felt the story was a bit muddled with its narration and thus left me feeling disconnected. I read, but didn’t really invest in the character’s stories. Unfortunately, this completely affected my enjoyment of the story. :-(

LUNA: This is sort of two-fold. Firstly I’ve already mentioned the multiple points of view in which the story is narrated. You have all the four teens, the kidnap victim, a reporter, the negotiator and the major (think that’s everyone). My proof copy was 250 pages, strangely this felt long. With some of the characters I struggled to tell who was who.

Secondly (and I stress this is my interpretation) I came away with the message of “all drugs are bad”. Now for the plot in this book and what was done in regards to the drugs ‘concentr8’ I would agree. I’d need to do a lot more research on ADHD before I’d be able to comment on the whole. However as someone who has a chronic illness and needs to take pain medication daily I was left feeling like there was a judgement there.

Favourite character/moment?

CHRISSI: As I’ve mentioned before, my favourite part of the story was the informative element at the beginning of the chapters. I was surprised that this is what I enjoyed the most out of the story. I would love to say I had a favourite character, but unfortunately none stood out for me.

LUNA: I liked the reporter. I think she was the reason I continued with the book. William Sutcliffe uses her as the first adult character to see beyond the trouble-maker label for the teen characters and to dig deeper into the contenr8 drug.

Would you recommend it?

CHRISSI: It’s not a book that I would personally read again, but I do think some readers out there may enjoy it. The concept is interesting, but it didn’t work well for me.

LUNA: Not sure. I do want to applaud what I think Concentr8 is trying to do but for me it didn’t work. Maybe for other readers it will.

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23573418How did I get the book? StorytellersInc Book Club

Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal

Synopsis: Jude and her twin Noah were incredibly close – until a tragedy drove them apart, and now they are barely speaking. Then Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy as well as a captivating new mentor, both of whom may just need her as much as she needs them. What the twins don’t realize is that each of them has only half the story and if they can just find their way back to one another, they have a chance to remake their world.

200words (or less) review:
Having been swept away by The Sky Is Every­where in my pre-blogging days I completely understood the excitement surrounding I’ll Give You The Sun when it was published. I mean this book was everywhere!

To love this book I think you have to love Jude and Noah and, personally, I lacked that. Consequently I really wasn’t all that invested. Jandy Nelson knows how to write beautifully and this book is vivid like the art both twins try and create. The last 100(ish) pages I thought were great but that’s ¾ through the book…

Honestly at times I thought about putting I’ll Give You The Sun down but then there were these moments that made it. So I’m torn because those sparks were worth it. I sound quite negative but I think it’s because I so wanted to love this book and I just didn’t have that experience, yet it is a really well written story.

I’ll Give You The Sun is good and if you connect with Jude and Noah I think it’ll be an amazing read for you. Personally recommend The Sky Is Every­where by Jandy Nelson first.

Recommend it?

Yes

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25767772How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Genre: Fantasy

Previously reviewed:
Riot
Angel Dust
Siege

Synopsis: Ellie Morgan wants a boy who’s all hers. Just for once, it would be nice to meet someone that Sheila the cow hadn’t got her claws in to.

A remote farmhouse on Mount Snowdon is hardly the ideal setting for meeting anyone – unless, of course, you count her best friend George or creepy Darren (which Ellie doesn’t). But when a boy, glimpsed through the mist and snow, lures her up to the Devil’s Bridge, Ellie realises the place she knows so well still has its secrets …

The stronger her feelings for this strange boy become, the more she is in danger: a battle as old as Snowdon itself has been raging for centuries and now Ellie’s caught in the middle.

Something has left its lair.
It’s out there stalking her.
Who ever said true love was easy?

200words (or less) review: Here Be Dragons is the first in The Snowdonia Chronicles but it’s a complete story. The book is narrated by Ellie, who has a very distinct voice.

My review is based on the proof I received so I don’t know if the final copy will differ but the tendency to strike cross words out (like so) became more irritating as the story progressed. The little sub-notes, mostly about translations from Welsh were helpful but others, like explaining why George was called Siôr, could have been part of the narration. I thought it stopped the flow of the story, having to go look these up and I’m not sure why this formatting has been chosen.

Setting this aside, the story itself has dragons so you know I’m already going to be happy. I liked legend and I love Ellie’s best friend George who is absolutely my favourite thing about this book.

As with Sarah Mussi’s other books it took next to no time for me to be at the hallway point without realising it. The last chapter has me intrigued enough to want to know what happens next and of course I need to know what becomes of George. ;)

Recommend it?

Yes

Expected publication:
September 1st 2015 by Vertebrate Publishing

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A little bit of background (btw you don’t have to read this. You can just skip ahead to the interview with Patrick Ness because Patrick Ness!!! But for context I thought why not give some details…) back in May Walker Books sent an invite for the 16th June #TheRestofUs Press Junket where you had the chance to interview Patrick Ness.

When I got the email my initial reaction was YIPPEE followed about 3 seconds later with reality kicking me by A) reminding me that I was 300 miles away from London and B) I would be at work (& yes I did check but no I could not have the day off *sighs*)

Sean at Walker did however encourage me to still send questions in (which of course I did) and then I completely forgot about it. So when I met Patrick Ness at YALC and he seemed to recognise the name Luna’s Little Library I was thrilled (but also confused and seriously regretting having introduced myself as the ‘back-end of his signing queue’). But nothing clicked…

Then I got an email with video files –

Turns out a very nice person (thank you Paul!) interviewed Patrick Ness for me, apparently my questions were the first ones. *gulp* no pressure. I’d deliberately not picked ones about the plot of The Rest of Us Just Live Here because I assumed there would be a lot of them.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Interview with Patrick Ness #TheRestofUs

I’d like to say a big thank you to Patrick Ness. I promise if I ever get the chance to do this in person I will bring doughnuts.

And thank you Walker Books. :)

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22910900

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?
What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.
Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.
Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

Expected publication:
August 27th 2015 by Walker Books

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Today I have not ONE

not TWO

but THREE stunning covers to share.

 

Faber & Faber will be publishing Darkthaw, the second book in Kate A. Boorman Winterkill Trilogy this November. Let me introduce to the covers to go with it.

Darkthaw

I heard the winter winds whistling through the trees, Kane’s heart beating loud in my ear.

We took shelter. The dark rushed in. The river froze.

And our dreams began.

 

To match the re-design of Darkthaw, Faber & Faber have giving Winterkill a makeover as well.

I like both the new and the old design, if you click on the link HERE it’ll take you to my review of Winterkill of you can see the previous cover there.

Winterkill

 

I promised you three covers and this is super special.

Heartfire, the final book isn’t out until August 2016 so the below cover isn’t the definite final version. But it’s pretty amazing in the current version already…

Heartfire

 

What do you think of these covers?
Any favourites?

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22910900How did I get the book? Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review

Genre:
Contemporary / Science Fiction

Previously reviewed:
More Than This

Synopsis: What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

.

*** may contain spoilers ***

Review: I wouldn’t have expected to have a “spoiler alert” on my review of Patrick Ness’s newest book but when it came to writing about The Rest of Us Just Live Here the thing I wanted to talk about might require it.
So consider yourself warned-

One of the main memories I have of The Rest of Us Just Live Here is the chapter of Mikey talking to Dr Luther. It’s just their conversation – it’s an amazing conversation and Patrick Ness/Dr Luther says wonderful and important things in this chapter. Things that made me want to hold out this book and get people to read it right then & there, because that chapter has some great dialogue about mental health. Thank you for that.

I liked the characters in this book and how complicated they were. The relationships between them (how things changed over the course of the story) and how Mickey, his sister and their friends dealt with trying to continue admit another ‘new thing’ threatening to blow the school up.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here is certainly a book I’d recommend, not just for the characters and writing but also for how it deals with mental health.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

Expected publication:
August 27th 2015 by Walker Books

I will be interviewing Patrick Ness this Saturday (22nd August)
excuse me while I freak out a little….
also virtual doughnuts (it’ll make sense!)

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18222540How did I get the book?
I bought it

Genre: Contemporary

Synopsis: A hilarious novel from Elizabeth Eulberg about taking the wall out of the wallflower so she can bloom.

Don’t mess with a girl with a great personality.

Everybody loves Lexi. She’s popular, smart, funny . . . but she’s never been one of those girls, the pretty ones, who get all the attention from guys. And on top of that, her seven-year-old sister, Mackenzie, is a terror in a tiara, and part of a pageant scene where she gets praised for her beauty (with the help of fake hair and tons of makeup).

Lexi’s sick of it. She’s sick of being the girl who hears about kisses instead of getting them. She’s sick of being ignored by her longtime crush, Logan. She’s sick of being taken for granted by her pageant-obsessed mom. And she’s sick of having all her family’s money wasted on a phony pursuit of perfection.

The time has come for Lexi to step out from the sidelines. Girls without great personalities aren’t going to know what hit them. Because Lexi’s going to play the beauty game — and she’s in it to win it.

200words (or less) review: Ok so I still don’t know what the “revenge” from the title refers to. It’s like I’m missing something or maybe I just think revenge means something else – in my book it’s ‘getting even’ and I don’t really Lexi has one of those moments…

Anyway ignoring the ‘revenge’ conundrum the actually story of Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is good. Lexi little sister is a frequent pageant contestant, their mother is obsessed by these beauty contests and Lexi is known as the one with the personality. She’s great to be around but not the pretty one. Partly as a dare from one of her friends Lexi ends up doing the ‘pretty’ girl make-over and unsurprisingly the IT crowd suddenly pays attention.

It sounds familiar I’ll admit but Elizabeth Eulberg makes this work. Lexi is relatable, she has really good friends and actually that pretty bow ending might not happen. Also the book is more about Lexi figuring out what makes her happy.

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality is well worth a read.

Recommend it?

Yes

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