Six Months Of Reading In Bite Size Reviews…(Part One)

I suppose by now, anyone who follows this blog is quite used to the long breaks and I didn’t want to bore you with yet another ‘where I’ve been post’. Life has been crazy the last few months with work, taking on two Uni modules at once, exams, and organizing Lu’s extremely active social life. I managed to read a few books. Actually, that’s a lie. I read a lot of books for Uni, but I doubt you really want to hear about those. Anyway, here are some bite size (mouse sized bite size at that) reviews of  the BOOKS FOR FUN I read  in the last few months.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom 

‘You must not become too friendly with them,’ she said. “They are not the same as us.’

‘How?’ I asked. ‘How are they not the same?’

1791: When seven-year-old Irish orphan Lavinia is transported to Virginia to work in the kitchen of a wealthy plantation owner, she is absorbed into the life of the kitchen house and becomes part of the family of black slaves whose fates are tied to the plantation.


But Lavinia’s skin will always set her apart, whether she wishes it or not. And as she grows older, she will be torn between the life that awaits her as a white woman and the people she knows as kin. 

I loved this book. Powerful, heart wrenchingly sad and sensitively written. A 5 star read.

The Second Life Of Amy Archer by R.S Pateman 

On 31st December 1999, ten-year-old Amy Archer went missing from her local playground. Her body was never found and the lives of her parents, Beth and Brian, were torn apart.

On the tenth anniversary of the disappearance, Beth is alone, still struggling with the enormity of her grief and the horror of not knowing the fate of her only child. But the fear and confusion have only just begun, and Beth’s world is turned upside down when a stranger knocks on her door, claiming to know what happened to Amy.

Beth is introduced to a little girl who is the uncanny double of her missing daughter, who knows things that only Amy would remember; the name of her favourite toy, the place where she scratched her initials, what Beth likes for breakfast. But this can’t be Amy, she hasn’t aged a day…

Now Beth is forced to question everything she has ever believed in, and push her faith and her sanity to the limits, if she is to find out the truth about what happened to Amy. 

I was expecting a deeply suspenseful, slightly supernatural unputdowner of a book with this one. In truth, I was a little underwhelmed. Hated the main character and in this story, that was NOT a good thing. Good enough to finish, but not particularly memorable. 
Shades Of Earth by Beth Revis 

Shades of Earth is the final novel in the teenage romantic science fiction trilogy, from New York Times bestseller Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe and A Million Suns. Perfect for all fans of The Hunger Games. Across the Universe was longlisted for the prestigous Carnegie Medal.

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn’t the paradise that Amy had been hoping for.


Amy and Elder must race to uncover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. But each new discovery brings more danger. And if their colony collapses then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been meaningless . . . 

No secret I’m a massive fan of this series and the final book in the trilogy was no let down, keeping me on the edge of my seat throughout. Highly recommended (Reviews of Across The Universe and A Million Suns)

Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone 

Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet. Why would they? Anna is sixteen in 1995, fiercely determined to leave her quiet town and finally travel the world. Bennett’s seventeen in 2012, living in San Francisco and trying to control his ability to travel through time – an incredible gift, but also an unpredictable curse, which constantly threatens to separate him from the people he loves.


When Bennett suddenly finds himself in Anna’s world, they are inescapably drawn to one another – it’s almost as if they have met before. But they both know, deep down, that it can never last. For no matter how desperate Bennett is to stay with Anna, his condition will inevitably knock him right back to where he belongs – and Anna will be left to pick up the pieces 

Billed as reminiscent of The Time Travellers Wife, this was a no brainer for me. I loved the romance and the nineties flashbacks. Beautifully and subtly done.

The Hit by Melvin Burgess  

Take it. Live it. F*** it.

A new drug is out. Everyone is talking about it. The Hit. Take it, and you have one amazing week to live. It’s the ultimate high. At the ultimate price.


Adam is tempted. Life is rubbish, his girlfriend’s over him, his brother’s gone. So what’s he got to lose? Everything, as it turns out. It’s up to his girlfriend, Lizzie, to show him… 

Woah, this was not for the faint hearted at all. Violent, Gritty, disturbing… but strangely compelling. I’m not sure if it was brilliant or awful. Thought provoking nonetheless.

More next week…..

Book Review: A Million Suns by Beth Revis

Trapped on board the spaceship Godspeed, Amy trusts no-one. 

The ship’s ruler is dead and a rebellion threatens. Amy wants to help Elder as he tries to take charge, but she’s torn between her feelings for him and the chaos that’s pulling everything apart. As more harrowing discoveries are made about Godspeed, Amy is caught in a desperate race to unravel its secrets. Only one thing is certain. 

They have to get off this ship. 

The heart-stopping sequel to Across the Universe: a story of love, murder and madness – set in space. (From Goodreads.com)



*** This is a review of the sequel to Across the Universe. To avoid spoilers for either book I’m keeping it very short and vague*** 

It seems like a lifetime since I read Across the Universe and was blown away by it. At almost eighteen months on I was a little concerned I’d find it hard to pick up the story in A Million Suns. I needn’t have worried because as soon as I started reading it all came back to me. I was completely drawn into the world of Godspeed once again.

And Wow… it;s very, very rare I say this about a sequel, but I actually think I liked this one better! It picks up very shortly after ATU ends and continues the dual narrative between Amy and Elder which I love. I find the world aboard the spaceship so well crafted and the voices of the two main characters genuine and authentic. Before I picked up this series I would have said I didn’t like sci-fi. But Beth Revis pulls me in with a fascinating plot full of twists and turns and a beautiful romance. I’m a convert and now count this as one of my most favourite series ever. 

A Million Suns follows a period of transition for the people on the ship, and most particularly for Elder. I feel we really get to know his character here and I thought the dynamics of the ship were fascinating. It ends on a huge cliffhanger which leaves me desperate for the third and final book, Shades Of Earth, and I can’t believe I have to wait until 2013. 

If you’ve yet to try this series I suggest you obtain a copy of Across the Universe asap. Even if you think you hate Sci-Fi…give this a go. And if like me you’ve been long awaiting this sequel but have been worrying it won’t live up to the first, then I can put your mind at rest and promise that you won’t regret keeping up with this series. 

Published by Razorbill January 2012 (my copy is a US Hardback)

The UK edition is published April 2012 by Penguin. Here’s the cover. I prefer my hardback personally. I do like the mechanical and futuristic look but it’s so different to the cover of the Across The Universe cover, it just doesn’t match (I hate that!) It has a bit of a Hunger Games look about it..right? Maybe that’s no coincidence.

You can read my review of Across The Universe HERE

Book review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Reviewed by Vicki)

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.


Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. (from Goodreads.com)
Space. Not something I’ve ever really felt that drawn to in a book if I’m honest, but for some reason Across The Universe by Beth Revis really appealed to me.  When an early copy came up on UK book tours I signed up immediately and wow, I wasn’t disappointed!


I know Lyndsey said in her review earlier today that she found the book slow to start. Well I have to disagree. I was hooked right from the very start. We begin with Amy making the agonising decision of whether to be cryogenically frozen along with her parents and set off for a new life, on a new planet, 300 years away. Immediately the weight of such a decision plus the horrifying reality of actually being frozen gripped me. It’s far from pleasant and Beth Revis conveyed Amy’s fear and anxiety perfectly, it was so intense!


The book then switches to Elder’s point of view and continues in alternating chapters throughout. Duel Narrative is one of my favourites when it works well, and in Across The Universe it does. Very. Through switching voices we get an all round picture of life on the ship and the pace is kept speedy and fresh. It’s with Elder, who was born aboard the ship several generation after take off that we learn about the dynamics of the ship and the society that has built within it. Then we see a contrast through Amy, who has been awoken 150 years into the voyage and struggles with the cultures and behaviours of a society who have only known life in space. One ritual that has developed is the mating season, and like Amy I found this horrifying. I should warn that in this section no holes are bared, it’s primal and graphic and includes an attempted rape.  For this reason I wouldn’t recommend Across the Universe to younger readers under 14 years old.


At the heart of the story is a murder mystery. This starts out quite tense but ended up being perhaps the weakest element in the book. I worked out pretty early on what was going on. However it was the themes of racial discrimination, dictatorship and leadership, which really made this story for me. It wasn’t something I was expecting to find in this book and was scarily very similar to issues here on earth. While I did guess who was responsible, the journey there was still extremely worthwhile and there were some real ‘OMG’ moments throughout.


The ending sets the scene firmly for a sequel and as I finished the last page I was desperate for more. I became fully immersed in the world Beth Revis created and adored her writing style. I liked and related to both Amy and Elder very much and loved hearing from both sides. There’s definitely a blossoming romance between the two, which while it doesn’t fully take off in this book, a subtle chemistry adds to the story beautifully. Across The Universe ended up being so much more than I expected and one of the best books I read last year. If you think you don’t like sci-fi I’d urge you to still give it a chance. It’s so much more than a book about space, being part murder mystery, part romance and part dystopia too…you won’t be disappointed. I raced through Across the Universe with lightening speed, couldn’t put it down and can’t wait for the next instalment expected some time in 2012!






‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ Featuring Beth Revis


‘So I Say Thank You For The Books…’ is a regular feature where we invite Authors and book bloggers to share with us who or what inspired their love of books.


Find out more and how to get involved HERE


Today we’re welcoming Beth Revis, whose debut YA novel Across The Universe hits UK shelves on the 3rd March. 


Find out how what we both thought of this book in our reviews later today.

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I am definitely a reader type of writer. As a child, I obsessively read everything I could, even the backs of the cereal boxes and tubes of toothpaste. A few books, of course, stand out more than any other.

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle first opened my eyes to the different kinds of stories you can find in books—not just the typical story of babysitters or twins in Sweet Valley (though I read enough of those) but books where people weren’t people, and sometimes you do have to go out into the dark and stormy night to save the people you love.

CS Lewis’s CHRONICLES OF NARNIA were the first books where I realized there was more to the story than just the words on the page, and that affected me greatly for the rest of my life. It made me a stronger reader, looking for meaning in stories, and it made me a stronger writer, making me more aware of the importance of words.

I discovered Robin McKinley when I was in high school, and I have read THE HERO AND THE CROWN nearly every year since I was seventeen. There’s a passage in there, when Aerin returns to Tor and Arlbeth after battling the dragon, that I consider to be among the most perfect prose ever written. That book taught me that language itself can be beautiful and good.


And finally, I have to give credit to Agatha Christie. I ate her books up as a kid, and one story, the play THE MOUSETRAP really affected me and my desire to write a mystery, to layer in clues for the reader to find, and to cast about red herrings and guns on the mantelpiece.

Books are amazing, beautiful, astounding things—and I owe much to them all!


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A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.
Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.
Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.
Published by Penguin 3rd March 2011 in the UK

For information and updates like the Across the Universe UK facebook page HERE
Visit Beth at her website Here
Follow Beth on twitter @BethRevis