Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die For Me

Die For Me

Revenants are ugly scary creatures arisen form the dead… or are they! Set in Paris, this novel give Revenants the sexy treatment, dividing the ‘species’ (I suppose you could call them that) into good vs evil.

Kate’s world has been shaken up, turned upside down and transported from America (Brooklyn no less) to Paris in the space of just 3 short paragraphs. Her parents have died in a car accident and Kate and her older sister Georgia move to Paris to live with their Grandparents within days of the funeral. Kate is not coping. Not so much with the move as the two sisters have spent many months in the past visiting and living in Paris. The death of her parents has hit her hard and she is slowly withdrawing from the world around her. Only visiting the museums and reading her favourite books in some of the many cafes is keeping her remotely sane… until she see him.

Kate quickly becomes obsessed with Vincent, the devastatingly handsome guy who seems to pop up wherever she goes. She sees him everywhere – but more to the point, she starts to look for him everywhere. Of course they meet up and with some trepidation go on a ‘date’ of sorts. Kate witnesses a terrible accident where one of Vincent’s friends is killed and is then appalled by his lack of emotion… eventually to be told the truth – Vincent and his friends are no longer human. They are revenants, who spend their time rescuing people form death, often at the expense of their own lives… but then they rise form the dead and continue on!

I enjoyed this version of revenants – not zombified residents of horror movies, although once the bad guys kick into action, it is definitely not all roses and soft music! Kate is at first very torn by her reactions to watching Vincent and his friends die – having seen her own parents killed, the idea of watching her love and his friends die over and over again is not something she feels she can deal with! Eventually her need to be with Vincent overcomes her apprehension… but then the bad guys step up the drama, kidnapping, killing and threatening everything Kate holds dear!

I liked Kate. She is far from perfect and often spends days or even weeks arguing with herself and battling her depression. Vincent is flawed too. His own past experiences (he is nearly 100 years old) and present existence are not conducive to long term relationships! He often over or under-reacts and says or does the wrong thing only to turn around and prove just how romantic a city Paris can be! Definitely as tory for the romantics, but with quite a bit of blood, death and destruction in there as well!

The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine

The Dark Divine

I read this book last year… and have to admit that I had to re-read/scan quite a bit before I was up to speed with which book it was!

Grace is the goody two shoes daughter of the local pastor – or is she. She struggles with the ‘Pastor’s Daugter’ tag a bit and especially with her family’s treatment of her childhood friend, the now estranged Daniel.

The family has good reason to be wary of Daniel, especially given the circumstances surrounding his disappearance, the behaviour of his father, and the injuries caused to Jude (Grace’s brother). Once again, there is no hodling back true love – against all odds and of course there is the obligatory werewolf angle!

An interesting take on the werewolf legend – controllable with magic talismans, but also curable through the sacrifice of true love…

Strong characters. Grace is quite conflicted, with her needs and desires at odds with her family loyalties. I particularly like the art references and descriptions.

Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Reckless

Reckless

I am a big fan of Cornelia Funke – Inkheart, The Thief Lord, Igraine… I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I hoped!

Jacob and Will Reckless lost their father… he disappeared one night, never to return. this had a profound effect on both boys, but particularly on the eldest, Jacob. Eventually he learns the secret of his father’s mirror, the strange world on the other side and slowly but surely he too begins to disappear beyond the mirror on the wall.

Will (and his fiancée) try to follow, just at the worst possible time and falls victim to a terrible curse. Slowly, inexorably Will turns into living stone – a creature from prophecy, destined to lose his humanity and become the ultimate weapon in a fairy tale war of politics and deception – but not if Jacob has anything to say about it!

A great premise for a story, but Jacob in particular, but the characters in general, don’t quite connect for me. Still enjoyable and readable, but not as good as I expected!

The Reformed Vampire Support Group by Catherine Jinks

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

The Reformed Vampire Support Group

Nina did not want to be a vampire. There is nothing romantic or glamorous about being a vampire. Nina spends every day being dead, locked int he basement of her mother’s Sydney house.Most of the other vampires in her support group (lead and counselled by Father Ramon – one of the few humans to know of the reality of vampire existence) had been vampires for much longer and had still not adjusted to feeding on guinea pigs, vomiting and nausea most days and splitting headaches and dizzy spells. None of them were normal or adjusted.

When the oldest of their group is killed, the group goes into panic and after many miss steps and many heated debates, Nina, Dave and Father Ramon travel into the remote outback of New South Wales in search of silver bullets and find an underground werewolf fighting ring instead.

I loved this book! The detail of the lives and the emotions being dealt with by the diverse characters in the book are fascinating! Highly recommended!

The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King

The Dust of 100 Dogs

The Dust of 100 Dogs

I have very mixed feelings about this book. I love the idea behind the book. Pirates, voodoo, ancient curses, unrequited love, yet the characters tended to be so self centered that they were difficult to like. Yes, I know, in order to survive the experiences of war, slavery, rape and murder, the characters needed to be hardened and self centered, however I had hoped that after coming back for the 101st time,and the 1st time not as a dog, Emer/Saffron  would have learnt something! The side stories discussing the habits of dogs were interesting, but I can’t say I would rush out to read this again!

The Wereling: Wounded by Stephen Cole

The Wereling: Wounded

The Wereling: Wounded

Tom does not want to be camping in the middle of nowhere with his family. Especially his younger brother. With typical teenage angst, he argues every point, resists every activity and is generally a royal pain!!!

Then he gets attacked and bitten by some animal in the woods after storming off in a huff and his life changes drastically.

Kate is the youngest daughter in a family of werewolves. She has not yet changed and will not change until she mates. Something she is determined will never happen. Her parents want her to mate with another werewolf – preferably one of their choosing and one who has been recently changed, not an inherited werewolf. They need ‘new blood’ to help with the inbreeding problem facing werewolves as a race.

Since Tom was bitten and is newly changed, Kate wants nothing to do with him, but things get out of hand, her brother is killed and Tom and kate find themselves on the run with only each other to rely on against the whole werewolf race!

I normally love werewolves (even more than vampires and angels) however I found this book to be simplistic given the premise behind the story. I did not empathise overly with the characters and found their banter more annoying than entertaining.

I’m sure there must be someone who thinks differently…

Nearly Departed by Rook Hastings

Nearly Departed

Nearly Departed

Woodsville is a scary spooky place to live. Violence, gangs, death, curfews, strange things happen. An oddly mixed group of students is set a homework task as a punishment. The disparate students give each other attitude and grief, none of them want to be there, until Emily totally freaks out and brings the group face to face with the supernatural. Ghosts.

This book really had me going. The group slowly band together to help Emily, each taking her under their wing in their own way, confronting their own demons along the way. I did not pick the twist in the book until right at the end! I was so drawn into the characters and story, that I overlooked what should have been obvious, but was not!

Thoroughly enjoyed this book… and I’m not usually a huge spooky ghost story fan!

Has anyone else read this? What did you think?

Trash by Andy Mulligan

Trash

Trash

I found this book quite confronting. It took me a little while to work out which country or continent in the world the book is set in. At first I thought it might be a children’s version of Slumdog Millionaire, but then realised that it was set in a South American style city.

Raphael, Gardo and Rat are three children from the cardboard slum at the trash heap. They spend their lives sorting through the trash heaps, looking for items they can use, trade or sell, until one day Raphael finds the unexpected, and amazing windfall with some pretty serious consequences.

Giving glimpses of the life of the desperately poor, prison life and police brutality (at one stage Raphael is beaten within an inch of his life and then hung by his ankles out of the upper story window of the police station). The three boys find themselves with a mystery to solve, codes to break and millions of dollars at stake!

Another book I struggled with, but well worth persevering!!!!

Gone by Michael Grant

Gone

Gone

This is a very popular book with the Year 6s and 7s at my school, so of course I had to get hold of a copy and read! the fact that Michael Grant was visiting didn’t hurt either (although I managed not to see him!).
High school. Boredom. Teenagers angst. Bullies… and then everyone over the age of 15 disappears!
In this situation what do you do? Do you step up and take charge? Do you let someone else take over? Do you throw a party and do whatever you want because no one can tell you not to?
What happens when things start to go wrong? and what about those freaky super powers?
I enjoyed this book after I got half way through. The main character, Sam is your average hero in a crisis who would rather not be the one in charge. He constantly second guesses everything he says and does and it is not until he finally accepts the situation that the story really gets moving. The book looks at some fairly solid issues – bullying, social standing and taking responsibility.

Triple Ripple by Brigid Lowry

Triple Ripple

Triple Ripple

I love the concept behind this book – three stories to be told, each slightly intersecting, but also totally separate.

The Fairy Tale: Not a traditional tale, more a tale told in the tradition of Fairy Tales. There are no fairies involved as the writer does not believe in them, just magic,  princesses and destiny!

The Reader: A young girl who is struggling after her only real friend moves away, is also dealing with school bullying and home disturbances. She uses the Fairy Tale book her mother has given her as a release.

The Writer: Eccentric, inspired, blocked, messy, distracted… discusses some of the ideas and motivations going into the story.

My only criticism is that I wanted more depth and detail in all three stories. The fairy tale was short and a bit disjointed, but a great background story. Nova had a lot to deal with and kept mentioning how she wanted to know what happened next in the book, but she only ever read really short sections at a time! The writer I definitely wanted to know more about!

I enjoyed it… I just wanted more!