books review

BOOK REVIEW – Destination Earth by Ali Sparkes

Lucy is alone, after successfully surviving an attack on her home planet she is now wondering the solar system in her spacecraft, only accompanied by her ever faithful Mumgram. Ten years have passed and she now has all of the necessary skills and knowledge to be a real human! Her next stop? Earth!

Unfortunately as we thought earlier, she isn’t in fact alone. An alien responsible for the disaster that wiped out her planet has managed to secure a ride to Earth and is quickly setting its sights on wiping out the whole of life as we know it! Luckily Lucy finds friends and people that she can trust….and that eventually trust her too. Along with her new found group, can she finally destroy what has been destroying her?

I must admit, I didn’t think that I’d like this. I’m not entirely sure why but there was just something about it that didn’t sit right with me, but like I’ve said before…I was proven wrong. This book was honestly, really good. Having never read any Ali Sparkes before I didn’t quite know what I’d let myself in for but the surprises came thick-and-fast. The writing is excellent, it doesn’t aim too high but also doesn’t sell itself short either and the characters are equally as good too. Lucy is admirable and you can really feel the thoughts that are going through her friends heads.

Destination Earth is somewhere between a typical ‘younger-teen’ novel and a hardcore Sci-Fi book. There is enough of the human emotion aspects to keep everyone happy but the twists that you hit and the style in which it is written is really where this shines. Not at all what I expected, but a very good book indeed. A brilliant book to ease younger teenage readers into the world of Sci-Fi without scaring them off!

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192733443

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BOOK REVIEW – Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman

Like me, you will no doubt have an interest in books (not sure how you’d have got here otherwise!). Those brilliant, often mysterious objects that sit on our shelves…sometimes never being touched, but strangely always being loved. Books are one of those things that really will always be there; despite the growth of the Kindle over the past few years or so.

So we’ve established that I (and you) like books. So how about books about books? Even better! Ex Libris is a quaint little book about books. Anne Fadiman has done a brilliant thing by encapsulating what it is about books that people just love. Under the premise that Anne and her husband had decided, after numerous years, to mix their books together, Ex Libris is a collection of essays that range from the surreal to the bizarre and all the boring (in a good way) bits between.

The essays within the book range from topics such as book classification, how to order correctly, the joy of reading aloud and many others. This is one of those small books that you’ll either pick up based on a recommendation from a bookseller (like myself) or just because it catches your eye. Trust your eye with this one, its a cracker of a read and not one that will disappoint. A brilliant little tome of snippets that you’ll find yourself smiling and nodding along with in agreement. Not one that will have you laughing out loud but one that you’ll surely enjoy.

It now sits proudly on my bookshelf with the other ‘books about books’.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780140283709

GUEST BOOK REVIEW – I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

This fast-paced science-fiction novel tells the story of teen alien John Smith (Number Four), who is living on Earth after his home planet, Lorien, was destroyed in a devastating war. Accompanying him is his guardian Henri, who helps John to live on the run from the evil alien race, the Mogadoriens. They come across a small-town ‘Paradise’, Ohio, a perfect place to settle temporarily, where he meets the girl of his dreams, Sarah and his best friend, sci-fi nerd Sam. However, the Mogadoriens are still after him!

Not only does John have to contend with secret identities and romance, he has started to develop his Legacies, which are unusual powers that could help defend against the Mogadoriens, or reveal who he truly is. Three have already been killed, which means that Number Four is next.

The plot itself sounds predictable, the characters are fairly stereotypical (cheerleader girl-next-door Sarah, nerdy Sam and football player bully Mark) and the writing is straightforward, but I really enjoyed this book! As I read, I wanted to know more about the planet Lorien, about the Legacies and whether John Smith’s real identity would be revealed. The pace is quick, there’s plenty of action and there’s lots of special effect sequences. Yes, it does get a little silly, but if you read it with an open mind, you do begin to appreciate the bigger picture.

The main characters are quite likeable – my favourites being Henri and Bernie Kosar (the dog). They don’t give up in the face of evil and they always have hope, despite the circumstances being less than favourable. As well as the themes of hope, good vs. evil and friendship, I enjoyed reading the descriptions of Lorien, the conspiracy theories and the surprise near the end.

I am looking forward to reading the next stories in the series to find out more about the Loriens and whether they make it back home. I think many teen science-fiction fans would like this one, as it includes fantastical creatures and weird happenings, but is also action-packed from start to finish.

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now Penguin Books
ISBN: 9780141330860