simon and schuster

BOOK REVIEW – We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride

We Are Called To Rise is about the connecting of people. The connection that we all have with each-other, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Four people from different corners of the world, differing lives and differing backgrounds are all connected in some way but before that connection, that meaning is discovered is it all going to be too late? A soldier who doesn’t quite know what going on around him, a social worker from Las Vegas, a run-of-the-mill housewife who is dealing the downward spiral that is her marriage and finally an immigrant child whose family are struggling…these are the four that we can all relate to.

When given the chance to sink or swim, which do you choose? Sink further and further down or rise with your head held high, knowing that what you did was the best you could possibly do?

This is the sad yet ridiculously beautiful tale of worlds colliding through a series of events that none of the individuals involved would see coming. We Are Called To Rise is a remarkable book about courage and bravery in the hardest of times and what we can do to keep ourselves sane even when there doesn’t seem to be a way out.

From the funny yet warm opening to the timely end that really is poignant, this book is an absolute triumph of a first novel from Laura McBride. Tough going at times if im brutally honest but the ‘pay off’ is more than worth it. I can almost guarantee that if you think that this isn’t the book for you then you’re wrong, step outside your comfort zone and give this a go. You will not be disappointed!

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781471132599

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GUEST BOOK REVIEW – The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda

Guest Reviewer: Ami  (@mama_roach)

Set in a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction, ‘The Hunt’ tells the story of 17-year-old Gene who has managed to survive. He is human or a ‘heper’ as called in the novel and he has disguised himself so that he can live among the general population, who crave heper blood. He has to meticulously shave and wash to hide any traces of heper scent. He also has to suppress smiles and laughter to avoid detection… oh, and wear fake fangs.

However, the real problem for Gene begins when he is selected to take part in ‘The Hunt’. The few remaining hepers, housed in a research Institute, are hunted down every ten years for entertainment. But before you roll your eyes, that’s where the similarities to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games end. At first, I also thought this was yet another dystopian / vampire novel, but I loved how original and different it was. It was a real breath of fresh air for the genre.

There were some really gruesome moments in this book and the non-heper characters actually felt threatening all the way through – I could sense their heper cravings and the danger Gene was in. The thrilling pace had me gripped; desperate to find out what happens. The writing itself is edge-of-your-seat and Fukuda’s grown-up writing style was superb, with hints of irony and a realistic feel.
Fukuda allows the reader to piece together the mystery of this new world through Gene’s clues, so some things are not explained, such as the non-heper characters’ bizarre behaviour and mannerisms, (Who knew vampires liked ice cream?). But it all adds to the unusual world and sense of mystery, which I am hoping will be explained further in the next books in the series.

I could not fault the writing. Nevertheless, there are still questions to be answered about the world that Fukuda has created, so I guess I will have to read the next in the series to find out. I am on the hunt for more!

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now Simon and Schuster Children’s Books
ISBN: 9780857075420

BOOK REVIEW – The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis

James is a 13 year old boy who is struggling to deal with the death of his mother and his new life with his stepfather (similar to the underlying story in The Year of The Rat by Clare Furniss). His only escape is an abandoned house that he visits frequently when he needs to be by himself. However, his whole world is flipped upside down when one day he discovers a man staying in the single place that he can call his own. The man, Webster, is apparently on the run from something and someone…something dark and evil.

Webster confides in James that he has been cursed and that he will soon ‘change’, unless a cure is found! Both James and Webster have difficulties with normal life and find a certain amount of comfort and understanding within each other that they soon bond. James opens up about his home life and Webster trusts James enough to tell him about his often harrowing past serving in Iraq.

I found both of the main characters to be genuine and easy to empathise with, even though there aren’t too many things that I share in common with either. The various trials and tribulations that have occurred for both characters in the past and present will certainly strike a chord for readers of varying ages.

This sounds like the ultimate book cliché, but there were twists and turns a-plenty throughout the whole book, a couple of which took me in complete surprise and kept me interested to see what the outcome would be for both. Not sure if anyone else will notice this, but I found that the more fast-paced the action was, the shorter the chapters were, while the more emotional and dialogue driven parts were longer and more wordier. This is in no way a criticism (or not a negative one at least) as I found this helped keep a steady pace throughout.

The Dark Inside is about one third fantasy and two thirds modern teenage novel, complete with brilliant character depth, warmth and feeling. Come at this with a slightly open mind and enjoy the tale as it unfolds.

— I’d like to thank the great people at Simon & Schuster for sending me a wonderful Exclusive Signed and Limited Edition of this (number 329 of 1000 to be precise!), you can follow them on Twitter at @simonschuster and @simonkids_UK) —

Buy from Waterstones.com
Out now from Simon and Schuster Childrens Books
ISBN: 9781471118913