Liquidator by Andy Mulligan Review (No Spoilers)

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Thank you so much to David Fickling Press for sending me a press release copy of this book in exchange for and honest review. This does not affect my opinion, all opinions are mine only.

Title: Liquidator

Author: Andy Mulligan

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Comedy, Thriller

Pages: 416

My Rating: 4.5/5

LIQUIDATOR! The brand-new, delicious and wildly popular energy drink. “For those who wanna win!” The company that makes it is set to earn a fortune, with its global launch climaxing at an international rock concert that will SHAKE the planet. The only problem?An innocent child is dying. Meet Vicky and her class-mates – their work experience is about to spin totally out of control as they uncover a secret that could change the world. And put them all in mortal danger …From the award-winning author of TRASH comes an action-packed thriller full of danger, hilarity and – above all – friendship.

When I first got my hands on this book, my first impression was how intriguing the book looked as a whole. That sounds weird but honestly this book has the full package. Spread throughout this book are emails, posters, text conversations … Everything that is mentioned in the book is visually given and that is one of my favourite things ever. I love when a book has visual elements- it really adds to the whole experience! Also, I really liked the ‘spillages’ on every page. Seeing as this book is about a drink that may not be what it seems it was really fitting to have spillages of the drink everywhere. I found it so clever how the number of spillages on each character’s pages corresponded to their traits. That sounds confusing but you’ll understand when I talk about the characters.

Okay, plot. The whole pacing of the book was so, so fast because the story was just so fluid and easy to fly through. It made me feel really great that I managed to get through a 400 page book in three or four days. I loved the whole idea of setting the story around work experience, especially as I have already don’t some work experience and I will be doing it again next year. So I really related to the feelings that the characters, especially Vicky, felt- all the stress and the tiredness and just the general teenage feels. One of the really amazing things about this book is the speed at which we got into the action. Literally, there was action 50 pages in and it was actually crucial to the story line rather than early action that doesn’t mean much… I can’t really say too much more about the plot without giving away spoilers but just know it was such a fun, fast-paced read. A hell of a ride.

Yay! Let’s move on to my favourite part of the story which was the characters! When I first saw that this book was going to be written from no less than 10 perspectives, I was a little nervous because I sometimes find it really difficult to distinguish between different character voices- sometimes they just seem a little bit too similar to me. But here, it was as if every character was a real friend of mine and I was reading about a story they’d all been on together. Also, every single character was different. Take Vicky for example. I knew from the moment i started reading about her that she was the dominant one, the leader of the group. It was the fact that she had so many more chapters than anybody else that told me that. Edgar. I could tell that he was gay and that he had a crush on….. someone, I’m not going to say who- read it to find out! He was my favourite character because he gave me all the feels and he was just so adorable. I won’t comment on all ten characters but there are two more that deserve honourable mentions. First is Michael. Remember earlier when I said that the spillages on the pages represented each characters traits? Well Michael’s pages were completely clean if that tells you anything. I sussed him out to be the OCD, scared of everything child who wanted to be somebody but was brought up in such a way that he didn’t know how. And I was right, hopefully. Lastly is KatKat, wow she was a character. I think she was a little full of herself but didn’t exactly know it. She just had little touches. Like the way she named all her chapters dramatic things and no one else did. She made me giggle.

As you can probably grasp by now, there is a hugely eclectic mix of characters and character traits which I absolutely loved and gave the story a whole new dimension. Each character went on a completely different work experience but the way in which Andy Mulligan weaves it all together is practically ingenious. I loved his writing style and the way everything flowed so fluidly, it was just perfect. There was never a moment where I felt confused or as if the story was lacking in some sort of edge or plot twist. This book covers every genre and I had such a good time reading this.

Highly, highly recommended and I wouldn’t mind giving this a re-read some time in the future!

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27223936-liquidator

Come follow me on Instagram and see photos of this and other gorgeous books!: https://instagram.com/_proudfangirl_/

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Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, Review (No Spoilers)

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This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart…

I’m sure most of you will know about this book and there have definitely been some incredibly mixed things going around about it. I mean, some people really hate this book and they just cannot see and differences between this and any other YA books and then there are some who absolutely love this book and have it as one of their favourite books of 2015.

I have to say that I really enjoyed this and I really don’t see how people could hate it as much as they do. but I’m also not obsessed with it like some people. That does not mean it’s a bad book, honestly I really enjoyed it and I read it so fast and trust me, the betrayal was on point!

Okay, let’s back up a bit and talk about plot. The initial plot of this, I felt, was a dead end and I couldn’t see anywhere it could go. I also thought the separate elements didn’t fit together and I was so so confused… But when I persevered and pressed on and everything began to unravel I was so surprised! There were actually times when I was reading the book and something happened that was so unexpected, I had to put the book down and go for a walk and generally catch my breathe. No joke.

The idea of separate societies is definitely not unique, but the idea of division by blood is something that I really enjoyed and was really unique to me. I really like how Victoria Aveyard made you question something that should be so obvious- who was Silver and who was Red and then once you think you’ve finally sussed it out, everything just flips around and confuses you! I think I yelled multiple times whilst reading this book. Honestly, if you want all the fangirl feels then you should really check out this book!

I think my favourite character in the whole book was… Cal. Or Mare… I can’t tell. But let me tell you, I ship those two so much! I can’t tell whether there was a purposeful love triangle going on… I don’t think I ever hated Cal who I think we were pushed to try and hate for a while. The only thing I could possibly question about Mare is that she doesn’t like any other female character and I think that’s really sad and maybe she’d be happier if she had just one girl she could connect with… that’s all I can say…

I absolutely loved Victoria Aveyard’s writing style. I found it to be so fluid and I just whizzed through the book so fast because her writing was so suspenseful and mysterious and I just needed to know what happened because every chapter ended on a cliffhanger which resulted in me reading 100s of pages in one sitting.

I would highly recommend this book to anybody who is looking for a suspenseful dystopian with all the fangirl feels and a fast pace. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anybody who just likes books!

Red Queen Goodreads link- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17878931-red-queen?from_search=true&search_version=service

An Interview With Lisa Williamson

Hey everybody!

Today, I have the great pleasure of interviewing the lovely Lisa Williamson, author of The Art of Being Normal.

Hi Lisa, welcome to my blog it is a pleasure having you here!

Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I was born in Nottingham in 1980. My mum worked in a shop and my dad was a plumber. I have big sister who is now a nurse. I was a really shy kid and loved to draw and make up stories. When I got a bit older, I became a little less shy and got really into drama and through my teens I did loads of school plays and amateur dramatic productions. When I was 19 I moved down to London and did a degree in drama. I’ve worked as an actor ever since, appearing in plays, musicals and TV commercials. About eight years ago I realised I was craving an creative outlet I had a bit more control over and started writing again and rediscovering my passion for telling stories.
Funny, that is just like me! I am also really interested in my drama and have shows on the go all the time but I still crave to explore my creative writing side a bit more too! The trouble is, I never know what to write about…What is your inspiration for writing?
It could be anything – an article online, a snippet of conversation I overhear in the street, a memory that pops into my head – inspiration is everywhere (I try to carry a notebook with me at all times). I usually start out with a character and then try to put them into as many tricky situations as possible. I like to throw rocks at my characters!
That’s always the best way to write, I find! Sometimes I love to feel just as stuck as my character to before I find a way out of the situation I’ve created for them!What inspired you to write The Art of Being Normal?
 
In 2010, I got a job working as an administrator at The Gender Identity Development Service (an NHS service offering talking therapies for under-18s struggling with their gender identity). It was just meant to be a temporary thing between acting jobs but I ended up staying for two years! As part of the role I typed up notes from all the individual therapy sessions and heard all these incredible stories – happy, sad, painful, triumphant. I was writing something else at the time and it took a while for it to dawn on me that I had some incredibly rich source material at my finger tips and should perhaps be writing about that instead! I set about looking for fiction featuring trans protagonists and found very little. It quickly became very clear young trans people were massively under-represented in the arts and media, and I became very committed to doing something about it if I possibly could. I observed several group therapy sessions for trans teens, all of whom were as engaging and complicated and individual as any great YA hero or heroine. Collectively they inspired me to create a character who was struggling with their gender identity but not defined by it. They also inspired the tone of the book. Although several of the young people were having a really tough time, there was always so much joy and positivity and energy in the room at these sessions. I didn’t want TAOBN to feel like an ‘issue’ book or heavy or gloomy in any way. Although there are painful moments, there are also moments of magic. I wanted the book to have light and shade, and for the downs to be balanced with real ups, just like real life. 
 
That’s such a fantastic inspiration to get! Just shows that it can come from anywhere. That must have been so interesting to learn about! You are completely right with the tone of the book. I really enjoyed reading about such a taboo subject in such a normal sounding way, if that makes sense… The amount of joy in the book made it stand out against most of the other YA contemporaries out there that tend to opt for the sadder route. What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To keep writing, take risks and touch as many as people as possible through my books. I’d also LOVE to see a film version of TAOBN. That would be awesome!
A film would be so fantastic! It would really bring the book up and give it a whole new meaning as well as bringing a generally taboo subject out into the open and into the light. It could really teach us all and I think it would be a great laugh as well! Your characters are by far the most hilarious they can be and I really appreciate that. Give us an insight into your main characters. What do they do that is so special?
TAOBN is told from the point of view of two main characters – David and Leo, and I love them both! David is 14 and is starting to realise the desire to be female he’s had since a small child is not going away (if anything it’s getting worse). Despite his distress at his changing body, David is upbeat, kind and brave. Leo is 15, a grumpy loner, and the new kid at school. Having transferred from his old school under mysterious circumstances, he’s keen to keep his head down and avoid getting close to any of his new classmates. He certainly doesn’t bargain on falling for the most gorgeous girl in year 11. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms and they impact on one another’s lives in ways neither of them anticipate.
I loved all of the different situations you chuck your characters into, I think it gives them a real depth which you don’t normally see in YA contemporaries. How do you write? Full-time or part-time? Every day or three times a week? Do you have a structured plan for your writing?
I’m lucky enough to write more-or-less full-time. I continue to act in TV commercials but as the shoots tend to be quite short, the work fits round my writing really well. I work at home but occasionally venture out to work in a cafe or library for a change of scenery. I try to write every day if I can and have no set finish time. If it’s going well, I’ll work until my boyfriend makes me stop and eat something! I always intend to plan but invariably the plan falls apart the moment I sit down to write (my characters tend to be pretty bossy about what they want to happen and I regularly sit down to write one scene and it turns into something entirely different).
I should probably create a schedule for my writing too! I usually use my writing as a procrastination tool for when I have GCSE’s to work on! Tell us about your book covers. They represent the book in such a strong way.
I absolutely love the cover for TAOBN. The illustration is by Alice Todd, a young graphic illustrator based in Brighton. When my publishers sent me over her initial ideas, I was so chuffed! I love that she’s created such an iconic image and am thrilled we’re sticking with it for the paperback edition (out in January).
I love how deep a meaning they give to the book without you even realising- I didn’t realise how powerful the image was until I’d finished the book. What is the hardest thing about writing?
The days when it doesn’t come naturally and you start to feel like a fraud! Writing can be a very lonely profession and self doubt can creep in. That’s where the amazing UK YA community comes in. Over the past year I’ve connected with loads of fellow authors and taken advantage of their wisdom and experience, as well as made some great new friends.
Did you ever get Writer’s Block? If so, do you have any tips?
Yes! Sometimes you just need to get away from your desk – go for a walk, go to the gym, watch a film – just do something different and let your thoughts untangle themselves in their own way and at their own speed. Other times though, you need to battle through and just get words down on the page. I suffer from perfectionism and often feel I can’t move forwards until what I’ve already written feels polished, which incidentally is a really silly way to write! I’m trying to get better at being brave and not caring about writing badly. As someone very wise once said, you can’t edit an empty page. Free writes are a great way of getting into the right mindset to write.
Do you have any advice for inspired authors out there?
Write as much as you can (even if it’s just a few lines per day). Writing is a muscle and like any skill, you need to put the practice in to get better. I kept a diary growing up and it was a great way of getting used to expressing myself on the page. If you’re worried about it being found, set up a dedicated email address and email yourself instead (this is what I do). I would also recommend reading as widely as possible. I learn so much about plotting and characters from reading other books. Occasionally it’s intimidating when you read something amazing, but mostly I just find it really inspiring to read wonderful books. Another great advice I was recently given was to create tension but taking things away from your main character. I’ve tried it on my latest protagonist and it completely works. As I said earlier, I like to throw rocks at my characters! Finally, be true to yourself and the story to have to tell and follow your instincts.
How can readers find out more about you and your books?
Follow me on twitter (@lisa_letters) or visit my website – www.lisawilliamsonauthor.com. You can also find out more info via my publishers – http://www.davidficklingbooks.com
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me, it was lovely to speak to you!

The Middle of Nowhere by Geraldine McCaughrean Review (No Spoilers)

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When her mother dies from a snakebite, Comity’s life in the Australian outback changes forever. As her father retreats into his work, Comity turns to Fred, the Aboriginal yard boy, who becomes her only friend. But then a new assistant arrives who delights in playing cruel games. As Fred becomes his target, events spiral dangerously out of control.

This is the third Carnegie book I have read so far and although I’m not allowed to say which book I think should win the award but I think eventually you’ll be able to figure out which one I like best.

On the whole, I really enjoyed this book! It really had its highs and its lows but the lows really made the highs worthwhile. I will go into a lot more detail now don’t you worry.

Contradicting myself above, there isn’t really a lot I can say about this book. It took me a long time to read. A lot longer than it should’ve done in comparison with another book the exact same size. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, I think half of the plot was a bit irrelevant and we could’ve done without it. Also, that would’ve left so much room for stretching out the end scenes which I really enjoyed.

One thing I’d really like to point out is, at the beginning of the book, there is a picture of a grave and I really liked that (not that there was a grave, the fact that there was a picture.) However, that seemed to be the only picture in the book and I found that to be such a shame as that would’ve been a really great addition to the book. That might have just been my school’s copy of the book because I’ve heard there are too editions. I was disappointed with the lack of pictures but let’s focus on the writing now shall we?

I can definitely understand why Geraldine McCaughrean was chosen to write the sequel to Peter Pan as they way in which she writes is very fluid and descriptive. The descriptions she wrote in The Middle of Nowhere were really true to the Australian terrain and I think she did a really good job of making a book that is set in a deserted place seem really interesting!

I am generally not such a big fan of books that are set in Australian or African communities as I find them really hard to visualise and unfortunately I had that problem again, perhaps that’s just me but I really tried this time! I think I found the sheer number of characters the hardest thing to visualise as none of these side characters had any traits about them, they were simply just names that the reader was expected to remember. I didn’t find myself attached to any of the characters which is a shame as I think if more time was spent evolving the scenes instead of constantly referring back to the same old thing.

One thing I really enjoyed about this book was the amount of history and culture that was encased in this book. At the beginning of this book was a whole other language that was really real and was woven seamlessly into the stories. I really enjoyed flicking back and forth between the language translator and the actual story. It really added another layer to the story.

I think this story was really good for a lesson about morals for children but personally, for me, this wasn’t my cup of tea. I gave this a 3/5 stars because I really loved and appreciated all of the effort that went into researching this book. Thank you so much for reading this! All of my social media links are down below, including the Goodreads link for The Middle of Nowhere so go and check those out!

I will have another post up really soon! Talk to y’all later!

The Middle of Nowhere Goodreads- http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18684394-the-middle-of-nowhere

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_

The Rain by Virginia Bergin Review (No Spoilers)

 
JUST ONE DROP WILL KILL YOU

I will try to be honest and tell everything as it was, but I will not swear, because my mum hated swearing. I hope you’ll understand. I’ll write something beautiful instead. I’ll write Butterfly. For my mum.

Everything is Butterfly. The whole world is Butterfly, because there’s something in the rain that kills you if you get just one drop on your skin. I’ve survived this long – I don’t know how. I’ve got really good at watching the sky.

And the worst thing? I’m stuck with someone I wouldn’t kiss if he was the last boy on earth.

Which he kind of is.

Butterfly. Butterfly. Butterfly.

Okay guys, just as a disclaimer, where there are spaces there is meant to be a cute little butterfly. I have no idea how to get that butterfly and I’m not going to insult Virginia Bergin by trying to source one… But if you go on her website you’ll see what I mean, here’s the link:

http://virginiabergin.com
Okay, I actually read this book a while before I started blogging but so many exciting things are happening regarding this duology and I thought I would review the first book for you so you can be persuaded to buy this amazing book!

Like I always do, let’s start with a cover review. This cover is so, so beautiful! It really relates to the story and I love the colours and just everything about this cover is fabulous. It’s my favourite….

Now let’s talk about the actual book..

The plot for this book is so vividly thought out and it tricks you into thinking that this is just some story about a stupid girl who makes stupid decisions. But it’s not. This story has so many twists and turns that catch you off guard and they are all driven by the characters and their sometimes stupid decisions. The storyline is so detailed and fluid that I had trouble putting it down because I was whisked away into this intriguing world of post-apocalyptic madness. The world building is done in such a clever way because you can visualise everything so clearly but there isn’t and extensive amount of description. The balance is perfect. I think Virginia Bergin did a fantastic job of making an empty post-apocalyptic world seem full of excitement and mystery.

The characters…

The characters of this book are probably the most interesting characters I’ve ever read about and right now I miss them. I wish there was another book I could sink my teeth into just to relive the amazing characters in this book. The main character Ruby is so witty and funny and smart and her perspective gives such a refreshing take on young adult literature. Her attitude is snarky and irrational but that is only because she’s frightened- and who wouldn’t be in a world where the rain can kill you? Her decisions are based purely on what she wants to do regardless of what anyone else thinks and this gives her the edge above everyone else. Another character I absolutely adored was Darius. I think I loved him so much I could put him on my fictional boyfriend list. His ideas and attitude is so different to Ruby’s that they clash in a great way. They bounce off each other and despite the fact that they are so different, they are so compatible and are driven by exactly the same motives. I love the way Ruby talks about him too, and the way her opinions subtley change throughout the book- that was fantastic and very funny to read.

In case you didn’t know, I loved this book. 5 out of 5 stars 100%. This is one of my favourite books, it was amazing and if you think this sounds good, you should check out the sequel- The Storm. It is absolutely amazing and in my opinion, better. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting posts about this coming really really soon! Hope you guys enjoyed this review- if there are any other books you would like me to review just let me know in the comments down below. All my social media links are down below so go and check those out along with the Goodreads link for this book! Thank you guys so much for reading this!

Talk to you soon!

The Rain Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21116887-the-rain

My Goodreads- https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/38362004-caitlin

Twitter- @proudfangirl100

Instagram- _proudfangirl_