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!

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Out now from Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192733443


BOOK REVIEW – Books by Charlie Hill

Anger by name Angry by nature. Richard Anger is the owner of a small independent bookshop in the suburbs on Birmingham, where he is constantly fighting against the state of the modern publishing industry. Having been left alone by his girlfriend, whom she left for another man, Richard is at the end of his tether, book sales are down and so is he. As much a professional bookseller as he is an alcoholic, he has to find something or someone who can keep him from tipping over the edge.

While attempting to relax on a short break in Corfu, he is witness to the collapse and ultimate death of another holiday-maker, who just so happens to be reading a manuscript by novelist Gary Sayles. Gary Sayles is someone who Richard really doesn’t like and I mean really. His books are boring, easy, stuffed with rubbish….lazy writing at its finest. Richard is not alone at the scene of the death as there is also another witness in the form of Neurology Professor; Lauren Furrows.

Lauren begins to investigate the apparent accidental death and soon realises that it all ties into something that she is currently working on, a neurological condition known to her at SNAPS. The investigation leads them to believe that bad fiction, such as that written by Gary Sayles, could possibly…also definitely kill you! Could Gary Sayles’ books be the cause of the death? Would you need to read a whole book or just a few words?

Books by Charlie Hill is an often laugh-out-loud novel that is expertly crafted to include fantastic characters, twists, turns and drama at every page turn. Richard is the type of character that you both want to hug and punch at the same time and perhaps Lauren is the perfect candidate for that role. Secondary characters Pippa and Zeke are like no one you’ve ever met…well no one I’ve ever met anyway, thankfully. Satirical and just really very good, there’s not much more I can say for this.

Fellow Brummies, such as myself, will also enjoy the home-town references laced throughout the book. In all honesty this is, for me, is one of those rare finds that I legitimately love!

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Out now Tindal Street Press
ISBN: 9781781251638

BOOK REVIEW – Replica by Jack Heath

Imagine waking up on a normal day…any day of the week, totally at random only to find out that all of your memories have been erased? That alone is scary enough, but then to find out on top of that, that your one hope in the world is another person who is the exact replica of you. The same as you in both appearance and sound, this other person practically is you, they’ve got all the traits that you used to have and so much more.

Who is this other person and why is this happening to you? For Chloe that is the mystery that she must solve before its too late. Nothing is quite as is should be, or at least she thinks it isn’t, if you can’t remember anything…how would you know? Simply put, Chloe isn’t ordinary.

The opening chapters are honestly some of the best of any book that I’ve read and it doesn’t really relent right up until the end. Chloe (which ever one, trying to the review as spoiler free as I can) is an admirable character, she is a ‘machine’ with strength and determination that you will not believe. The only thing that let this down for me was a bit of a lacklustre ending, however I’ll let this off as I’m almost certain that this was done to allow for a sequel, that would tie-up some of those loose ends.

With incredibly striking cover art, Replica is exactly the type of book you’ll highly recommend to friends and then you’ll soon realise that you’ve started a trend! The style and pace of the book means that you’ll probably read it in a few sittings or even one long night if you’ve got the stamina, which I don’t! This is a smart YA novel that is action-packed and thought provoking, that raises some really interesting debate.

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Out 07/08/2014 from OUP Childrens
ISBN: 9780192737663