reader review

Book Review: The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

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The Restaurant at the End of the Universe by Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #2) – Paperback, 200 pages – Published September 1st 2009 by Pan Publishing

This is the second instalment of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, which I’m absolutely in love with.

This novel begins with the Heart of Gold being attacked by the Vogons. You know, as you do. Obviously, nobody on board wants to die (apart from, perhaps, the Paranoid Android). They don’t have much time, so Zaphod Beeblebrox does the first thing that comes to his mind; he summons the ghost of his great-grandfather, Zaphod Beeblebrox the Fourth.

Zaphod suddenly finds himself in the lobby of the office blocks of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, upon the planet Ursor Minor Beta. To his unfortunate luck, he’s accompanied by Marvin, the depressed robot.

Thanks to the locked-off part of his brain (and a few hints from his deceased relative), Zaphod is certain that the reason he is where he is is because he needs to see Zarniwoop – a guy who he is pretty certain he’s never met before. Instead, an entire half of the office block is taken to Frostar World B, home of the Total Perspective Vortex. Being in this vortex is the worst fate anyone can suffer; being shown the true size of the Universe and feeling how very tiny you are to it in comparison.

Zaphod is led to the vortex by a disembodied mind, but surprisingly remains unaffected by what he sees. He then finds Zarniwoop on an abandoned airship, and is told that they are not, in fact, in the real world as such.

Anyway, Zaphod discovers that he has been carrying the Heart of Gold within his coat pocket, his friends safely on board. Zarniwoop revives it to its full size, and the crew ask the computer to send them to the nearest place to eat. It turns out that this would be Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. It’s located on Frogstar Planet B, but a fair while into the future – at the exact time the universe ends, in fact.

Marvin, having been left alone in the past, finally calls to tell his friends that he has been waiting for them in the car park the whole time. No longer interested in the Heart of Gold or the mission he required it for, Zaphod decides to steal a jet-black ship parked beside the limoship of a famous band. (They happen to be famous not due to their talent, but due to the sheer volume of their concerts.) As luck would have it, this ship is actually the stunt ship used in the band’s performances, and as its passengers their fate is to crash into the sun with it.

Using the unfinished transport device on board, the crew are sent safety. Trillian and Zaphod find themselves with Zarniwoop, on their way to interrogate the ruler of the Universe, who happens to live alone in a shack with a cat whom he has dubbed The Lord. Arthur and Ford, however, are aboard a ship full of frozen coffin-like items, which is fleeing a doomed planet and heading for a new home.

Upon this new planet, Ford and Arthur meet the ape-like beings who already live there. With the coming of the new people, these beings begin to die out. Much to Arthur’s dismay, as this planet turns out to be Earth two million years before its destruction. And if these native creatures don’t survive, then that means the human race is evolved from the idiots that crash landed there.

Desperate to help the natives along their revolutionary path, Arthur attempts to teach them the art of Scrabble. Sadly, this doesn’t quite work. All this really achieves is them discovering the Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, which they already knew to be forty-two. What they really want to know is the original Question, which they are certain is not six multiplied by nine.

This sequel is just as fantastically crazy as the first, and I love it just as much! The characters are all very much the same, with their unique personalities and quirks. Arthur’s love for tea also plays a huge part in this story…

It’s clever in the most absurd way, and as subtly hilarious as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyI love it so much, it’s definitely in my favourites! Five stars for this book by Douglas Adams.

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Book Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – Paperback (Film Tie-In Edition), 323 pages – Published April 1st 2005 by Pan Publishing

I actually read the film tie-in edition of this book, but practically ignored the photos and skipped the interviews and afterword, I’m afraid.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally published in 1979 but has remained a favourite of many people throughout the years. A lot of people will probably think of the famous film adaptation upon hearing the title, but I must admit that this book is fabulous and definitely worth a read.

It begins with an ordinary man names Arthur Dent, who’s house is about to be demolished. His friend Ford Prefect – who turns out to be a native not to Earth, but to a planet somewhere around Betelgeuse – abruptly arrives bearing news of the end of the world. The pair hitch a ride on the attacking Vogon airship, surviving the destruction of the planet Earth.

This book is a bit all over the place, but to give you the gist of it: Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Galaxy, steals the Heart of Gold – a one-of-a-kind spaceship named after the Infinite Improbability Drive. After Ford and Arthur are thrown off the Vogon ship, they’re rescued just in the nick of time by Trillian and Zaphod aboard The Heart of Gold. As luck has it, Trillian turns out to be the girl Arthur had tried to win the heart of at a party, and Zaphod the guy who won her instead.

The crew set off toward a legend of a planet – Magrathea, where customised planets were supposedly built. Here, Arthur is told the truth about Earth – and how the mice were in charge – by Slartibartfast and the rodents Trillian brought to space with her attempt to buy Arthur’s brain, due to it having the Ultimate Question to Life, the Universe and Everything, to which the answer is 42 (as determined by the Deep Thought computer).

Arthur is also informed that dolphins are far more intelligent than any human realised, and had made many attempts to warm us of the impending doom. One message of theirs, had we bothered to listen, translates to So long, and thanks for all the fish.

This book is so fantastically eccentric. I absolutely adored it! The characters are just great, and the humour is so subtle. Everything fits together in weird, ingenious ways, and every piece of (seemingly) irrelevant story is so well written, and I loved every bit. Even the bit about the sperm whale, and his thoughts throughout his short lifespan. Poor whale…

And poor Marvin… To be a maniacally depressed robot doesn’t sound like much fun, does it?

This is definitely in my favourites, and I cannot wait to read the rest of the series. (In fact, I’m about to grab the second book right now!) I have to give The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5 stars out of 5.

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Book Review: Sentinel

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Sentinel by Joshua Winning – eBook, 264 pages – Published May 6th 2014 by Peridot Press

Sentinel begins with the death of Anita and Max, the parents of fifteen-year-old Nicholas. After this, the book follows Nicholas for a majority of the time, occasionally switching to a different characters situation.

Before he is sent to live with his godmother, Nicholas discovers a hidden room beyond his parents’ bedroom. While Tabatha, a close friend who’s become his part-time carer, sleeps a few rooms over, Nicholas collects a few mysterious items from the hidden chamber. One of these is a copy of The Sentinel Chronicles, of which there happens to be dozens of.

Nicholas soon moves in with Jessica, into Hallow House. He is accompanied on his journey by Sam, an old family friend, who tells him of his Sentinel heritage. But before they make it to Hallow House, a strange and powerful creature attacks…

While all this is going on in Nicholas’s life, Sam’s friend is horrifically attacked by a rival being. As horrible as it is, it isn’t half as bad as what he becomes after the incident.

This novel is full of strange creatures; Garm, Dark Prophets, demons. It has a rather old-fashioned sort of feel to it, thanks to Winning’s writing style. Sadly, I don’t think this style quite fits with this YA book, and I actually found it a bit, well… boring. I’m not saying descriptive writing is bad at all, I just found this book a bit of a slow read. Nonetheless, it had a good plot and some nice little sub-plots, and I am intending to read the sequel, Ruins.

Overall, Sentinel isn’t the best or the worst book I’ve read. It isn’t my usual kind of book anyway, and although it isn’t exactly long at just over 260 pages, I took a fairly long time to read it (for me). I think I’ll have to give it 3 stars out of 5.

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Book Review: All Our Yesterdays

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All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill – Paperback, 360 pages – Published August 1st 2013 by Bloomsbury Childrens

Okay, the plot of this book is kind of complicated and my summary probably won’t do it justice, but here goes:

Em and Finn have been held prisoners in their cells for months. The doctor puts them through horrific interrogations on a regular basis, trying to determine the location of some documents he believes to be in the possession of Finn and Em.

Em is obsessed with the drain in the centre of her cell, positive that it has some kind of important meaning. Eventually, she manages to unscrew it, and discovers something incredibly unexpected; a note from herself.

With the the help of Mike Connor, a guard that other versions of themselves had convinced to help them in the past, Em and Finn escape their cells and make their way to Cassandra. Before the doctor can stop them, they switch on the machine and are transported four years into the past.

This is written from two different perspectives; Em’s, and Marina’s. Through each girl’s story, we discover the truth about the doctor, Cassandra, and the death of Nate, the brother of Marina’s childhood love’s brother.

I know this all sounds really complicated, and sometimes it does get that way, but it is written so well. Em looks at Marina like she’s a different person, which I suppose she is, really. The relationships between each version of Marina/Em and the two different boys is so unique to this book. I suppose it’s a regular love triangle, but at the same time, it’s not.

I really liked this book. It’s not quite made it’s way to my favourites list due to the fact that there were times where I got a little bit lost. But it definitely deserves 4.5 stars, because it is such an gripping, unique book. I’m so glad I read this.

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Book Review: Splintered

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Splintered by A.G. Howard (Splintered #1) – Paperback, 377 pages – Published January 1st 2013 by Amulet Books

I first read this book earlier this year, and loved it so much that I went and ordered the whole series.

Look at that cover. Isn’t it gorgeous?! I absolutely adore it, along with everything else about this book. The purple font, the pattern at each chapter’s start, absolutely everything. It’s easily one of my favourite books, and I am dying to read the rest of the series!

Splintered is basically a modern, punky twist on the classic Alice in Wonderland.  I’m in love with everything to do with Carroll’s novel – I’ve even seen Alice Lidell’s grave, and am thinking of basing my bedroom on the novel – so when I saw this book in the library I just had to read it.

Alyssa is an almost-normal teenage girl. She’s a descendant of Alice from Lewis Carroll’s book, with a mother who’s trapped in a mental asylum. Her dad provides sporting gear for the inside skate park where Alyssa spends most of her free time, Underland. Her closest friend, Jebediah, also happens to work there. Oh, and Jeb’s girlfriend is the daughter of Underland’s owner (not to mention a major bitch).

For years, Alyssa has been able to hear the voices of bugs and plants around her. Afraid of suffering the same fate as her mother Alison, she’s kept this ability to herself, silencing the insects with death and using them in her artwork.

But one day she puts the pieces together, and realises that Alison isn’t all that insane after all. With a little help from her moth-like friend, Alyssa finds her way through the mirror and down the rabbit hole.

The tasks she completes with Jeb are just as eccentric as Carroll’s fairytale, with dark and strange twists on his characters and ideas. Zombie flowers, Rabid White, the octobenus, and, of course, Morpheus. Battling her mixed emotions, Alyssa is determined to do anything it takes to help her mother.

Little does she know, Morpheus is actually setting her up for the role of queen, not helping her escape Wonderland at all. Her final hope is her wish – a solidified tear given to her by a powerful netherling creature – but when she sees who freed Queen Ivory from the eternal imprisonment of the jabberlock box (therefore suffering that fate themselves) she is forced to rethink her plan.

I simply love this book. Alyssa is such a strong, funky character, and both guys are so different. Morpheus is full of tricks and deceives Alyssa on more than one occasion, but she still can’t let go of the admiration she’s held since the childhood they shared in her dreams. As for Jeb, Alyssa just can’t rid herself of her emotions toward him. He’s a sort of grunge/punk figure, who’s incredibly protective of his friend. When he finally admits his feelings for her, Alyssa can’t help but think of the girlfriend he’s left behind in the human realm.

Everything about this book is just so unique and quirky. Chessie, Rabid White, Grenadine, Ivory, the Twid sisters, Morpheus… Despite all the dangers Wonderland holds, I honestly want to go there even more since I read this boits,

I found this book so easy to read both times, and am simply in love with it. It’s funky, it’s full of amazing descriptions and imagery, and it’s a wonderful tribute to a fantastic novel. An easy 5 stars. I am so excited to read the rest of the series, it’s unbelievable!

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Book Review: The One

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The One by Kiera Cass (Selection #3) – Paperback, 323 pages – Published June 5th 2014 by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The One is the third book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass, following The Selection and The Elite.

Again, it tells the story of America Singer, an Elite, and Maxon Schreave, the heir to the throne.

On top of the Selection, the inhabitants of the palace also have to face the Northern and Southern rebels. One group is harmless, but the other… wants the royal family gone.

America isn’t the king’s favourite girl in the Selection, but once the people of Illéa catch a glimpse of her fighting spirit, they soon fall in love with her. Little do they know, she’s joining forces with the rebels, and little does she know that it runs in the family.

Although I’m not much into romance novels, I really do enjoy this series. I find each book so easy to read, and I love all the different aspects thrown in. The only thing about The One is that there are so many deaths, and they seem almost rushed. The first few tragedies are really touching, but then the crisis at the end – and the loss of such massive members of the royal family – just didn’t have as much detail and emotion as I would have expected.

I’m not going to lie, I also got a bit tired of Maxon and America’s constant fall-outs and arguments. Yes, it added another dimension to the story, but it was essentially just the same thing over and over.

America also has a moment of total desperation in this book, where she just goes way too over the top trying to win Maxon over. I just didn’t like it. But the relationship that developed amongst the Elite was nice, though I doubt it would happen quite so smoothly in real life. If a bunch of girls were fighting over a guy, let alone a prince, I’m pretty sure it would involve a little more bickering, even at the end.

Anyway, I did like this book, and it might actually be my favourite out of this series. I flew through it with no trouble, and can forgive the faults I found. Like the rest of this series, I’m giving The One 4 stars. I hope to read the next book, The Heir, soon!

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Book Review: Every Other Day

Every Other Day - Paperback Cover

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – Paperback, 329 pages – ublished February 2nd 2012 by Quercus

Contains a few spoilers.

Wow. This book was actually amazing. I saw it on Goodreads and decided to order it into my library. I’m so glad I did!

Kali is like any other girl, every other day. She has no friends, no mother, and not much of a dad, but she’s human.

But every other day, she’s not.

She hunts. Not deer, or wolves, or foxes. She hunts hellhounds and basilisks and zombies – preternatural creatures. So when she sees popular-girl Bethany with an ouroboros (the death mark of a chupacabra) she knows it’s up to her to save her.

That day also happens to be the day Kali meets Skylar. Her instincts tell her to keep Skylar away – the less people she puts in danger, the better. But Skylar has other ideas, and soon she gets caught up in Kali’s world, along with Bethany and Elliott, Skylar’s brother and Bethany’s boyfriend.

The chupacabra has unexpected effects on Kali thanks to her difference to other people, and she finds herself connected with another of her kind; Zev. She is immediately determined to rescue him from where he is imprisoned, Chimera Biomedical. While trying to achieve his rescue, Kali begins to discover things about Bethany’s parents, who work at Chimera, as well as the mystical woman in heels…

Along the way, Kali also discovers the truth about who – or what – she really is. Her father brings light to some of the questions she’s had for years, and she finally discovers her mother – or mothers.

When the kids reach their final destination – the secret Chimera facility where Zev is being held – they are truly tested. Kali doesn’t want to drag her friends into it, but they want to help her. Skylar claims to know that her decision to come is the right one, thanks to her psychic gift. Things get incredibly interesting at this point…

I was not expecting what happened to Kali to happen. Even afterwards, I was waiting for something to come along and fix it, but that never happened. The letter toward the end is such a great touch, I really liked it. And it ends on an amazing cliffhanger!

Kali’s a great character. She doesn’t know her mother (yet) and up until now, thought her dad couldn’t stand to look at her. But she begins to understand his actions, as well as the true meaning of friendship. (Cheesy, I know. Sorry.)

As for Skylar… I loved her so much! She had such an awesome personality. And Bethany was a well-developed character too, who Kali gets to know slowly throughout the novel.

Every Other Day brought on so many emotions. It was thrilling, exciting, and surprisingly sad. I wasn’t sure about Kali as a character at first, but she really did grow on me. This didn’t have the typical romance story in it that many YA books do, which I appreciate. I actually think this managed to work its way up to 5 stars, and into my favourites.

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Book Review: Doon

Doon by Carey Corp - eBook, 334 pages - Published August 20th 2013 by Blink (Zondervan)

Doon by Carey Corp – eBook, 334 pages – Published August 20th 2013 by Blink (Zondervan)

II review for BookLook Bloggers received an ebook copy of Doon by Carey Corp from BookLook Bloggers, in return for my personal and honest opinion.

Veronica lives in Indiana with her mother. Her father left, her mother barely acknowledges her existence, her best friend moved to Scotland and now her boyfriend’s gone off with another girl. And to top it all off, she’s now delusional – or so she assumes, when a gorgeous Scottish boy begins appearing to her at random.

Vee’s best friend, Mackenna, invites her to stay in Alloway for the summer. Vee’s looking forward to the escape, but even she couldn’t anticipate the amazing events that would take place.

Kenna discovers some of her deceased aunt’s belongings, including two beautiful rings and an old diary. To Vee, these are the link between Alloway and the land of her dreams.

Together, the girls venture into a mystical land, frozen in time. They’re accused of helping the witch and thrown in the dungeon, before being removed by the younger prince of Doon, Duncan.

Veronica’s dream boy happens to be the heir to the crown; Prince Jamie. But things don’t go as smoothly as she hoped. First of all, he seems to absolute despise her. And secondly, Vee discovers his relationship with the gorgeous Sofia Rosetti. Ouch.

However, things are going rather well for Vee and Duncan, as well as Fiona and Fergus. But Vee refuses to fall in love with the prince, as she knows she will have to eventually return to her own land to fulfil her dreams.

It turns out that the witches magic has, in fact, found its way inside the kingdom. Veronica figures out the cause, and risks everything to fix it – feeling responsible for the problems caused.

Eventually, the witch is defeated. But now Mackenna has an important decision to make: Doon or Alloway?

This novel is extremely fantastical, like an old fairytale with a modern twist. It contains three romances, which was a little too many in my opinion. And the plot was rather complicated, and I did feel a bit lost in it sometimes.

The writing style is very in depth, perhaps too much so in fact. Especially at the beginning, the book just seemed a bit dragged on, and I got rather bored. It took me a very long time to get toward the end of the book. Although description is certainly important, I sometimes found that the author seemed to be trying a little too hard.

Doon is a modernised fairytale, full of romance and suspense. It’s a bit cheesy, a bit complicated, but still good. 3 stars!

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Book Review: The Elite

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Selection #2) - Paperback, 326 pages - Published April 23rd 2013 by Harpercollins Childrens Books

The Elite by Kiera Cass (Selection #2) – Paperback, 326 pages – Published April 23rd 2013 by Harpercollins Childrens Books

The Elite is the second book in the Selection series by Kiera Cass. It follows the progress of the Selection’s participant America Singer, and her struggles within the palace.

First of all, I’d like to say that this book was actually a lot better than I had originally expected it to be. I’m not much into romances, and the main plot of this is relatively predictable, but there are definitely some unique aspects. Honestly, the situation with Marlee was just… awful. But in a good way. I mean, it was written wonderfully, and it made me really angry. But Maxon managed to bring it around so well, in a way that I really wasn’t expecting (and neither was America!).

As for the king’s reaction… I really wasn’t expecting that either. I think it really brings some depth to Maxon’s character, and some suspense to America’s fight within the contest.

One thing I’m not so sure about is the way America just decides to accept the way Maxon flirts with the other girls. I understand that he has to have a back-up in case things don’t work out with his first choice, but I would not be as calm as her about it. She does get a little upset by it, but I just feel like Maxon’s just that bit shallower thanks to his relationships with the other girls.

America continues to be a strong character, and as defiant as ever. But something about her was missing in this sequel. I’m not sure, perhaps she seemed a little less passionate in this book or something. Something with her just didn’t seem quite right.

Anyway, I did enjoy this book. There’s a decent amount of action with the rebel attacks, and a fair amount of romance (if you’re into that kinda thing). Some parts were a bit rushed in my opinion, but there were multiple unexpected, unique parts too. I think The Elite just about deserves 4 stars.

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Book Review: Terminal

Terminal by Kathy Reichs (Virals #5) - Hardback, 380 pages - Published March 26th 2015 by Arrow (Young)

Terminal by Kathy Reichs & Brendan Reichs (Virals #5) – Hardback, 380 pages – Published March 26th 2015 by Arrow (Young)

Terminal is the fifth book in the Virals series by Kathy Reichs. I know I’ve reviewed a ton of books in this series now, so I’ll try to keep this one relatively short!

The Virals gang are always getting into trouble. But this time, they have multiple severe problems to worry about: a rival pack and, worse, some mysterious black-suited men asking questions about them. Which was worse? Losing against the Trinity, or becoming a bunch of lab rats for some secret government agency?

First, Tory and her friends need to find out the identities of their opponents. While the first two seem to be somewhat easy to find, the third member of the Trinity – the mystery girl – brings quite a shock to every member of the Viral pack.

As usual, the Reichs’ bring tons of action, problem-solving and surprises in this Virals sequel. Nothing is certain: who are the Trinity? Who are these mystery detectives? Will this be their last adventure? 

I said I’d keep this short, so I’ll try to wrap this up now. I love this series. I’ve been looking forward to this book for ages, and I definitely was not disappointed. As well as the two main problems the pack is facing, Tory has another issue; multiple boys are after her, and she doesn’t know who she wants. I love how this book has teenage humour to it, a little bit of romance – the perfect amount, in my opinion – and tons of unexpected plot twists. 4 stars for Terminal!

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