Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Book of Awful - Romi Moondi

Title: The Book of Awful
Author: Romi Moondi
Genre: Humour
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

I was looking forward to reading this when the author contacted me about it, it sounded amusing and I do quite like humourous essay collections similar to this. Happily, I did enjoy it and as I read through it, I couldn't help but laugh out loud and quote vast sections to my wife with a grin on my face. I enjoyed this book so much that I have now decided to be a devoted follower of the author's blog in the hope that it will be full of similar wit, sarcasm and humour.

This book is supposedly a parody of “The Book of Awesome” which I had never heard about before so can't actually confirm how well it actually parodies the book. Either way though, what this book does do is outline one possible awful scenario after the next in rather comic fashion to demonstrate how much worse life could be if any of these scenarios actually occured. My favourite scenario in the book is in regards to what would happen in Unicorns really existed. I am not sure if anyone else has ever truly understood the possible pitfalls of Unicorns but Romi Moondi has done and her descriptions made me realise that we are much better off without these majestic creatures in our lives.

As I said at the beginning of this review I laughed out loud many times whilst reading this book. The superb wit and sarcasm used by the author really tickled my funny bone, but I have always loved sarcasm and biting humour such as this so it isn't really a surprise. In addition to the style of comedy being employed however, it was also written very well, with good descriptive writing on show throughout to really give you a rich and vivid picture of the scenario being presented.

In conclusion, if you enjoy sarcasm and wit and are fed up of some of those motivational books out there that try and tell you why everything around you is fun and wonderful then go and pick this up. It is honest, funny and explains that the reason you should be happy in life is actually because things could always be a lot worse and not because something like flicking snot across the room or rubbing a freshly laundered pair of undies in your face is actually good which seems to be what some books and blogs tell us. Or to be precise, "The Book of Awful" would probably have been telling us that these things are good because in another world snot could actually be acidic and burn through your nose or laundered undies could be a cause of sterility and therefore end humanity.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Websites, Organizations, Apps. Etc.

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in. 

Due to my wife being induced last week I didn't post anything but luckily at the moment my newborn is asleep so I have some time to post this week! Anyway this week's top ten is about the top ten book related sites or apps that I use. As I am new to book blogging I doubt I have anything original in this list compared to other bloggers but I will give it a go anyway.

I have to admit I had never actually heard of Goodreads until a few weeks after I set up my blog. I really enjoy using it to help identify some good books to read and there are some great groups and communities there to get involved in. But I also like the fact that it lets me easily organise what I have read and what I plan to read.

Amazon UK
When Amazon appeared in the UK all those years ago it was amazing to me, no longer did I have to go and request books through bookshops that could take months to arrive. Now I could get something delivered to the comfort of my own home within a week at a lower cost. Also, with the UK Kindle store now also in place I felt happy to buy a Kindle and enjoy the space saving powers of an e-reader.

West Lothian Library Portal
I love reading but I can't always afford to buy a new book so the Library is used to provide my reading pleasures. This website enables me to check what it is availble in the entire county and arrange for books to me transferred to my local library for pick up. All this from the comfort of my own home!

Book Blogs Ning
The first community I joined upon starting a blog and one that has constantly proved helpful in enhancing my blog and understanding the wider community as a whole. I don't think I would have gotten anywhere in the world of book blogging without the people here.

This has proved to be a superb place for bloggers to get a hold of various ARCs to read and review. To be honest I don't use it that much as a lot of my reads tend to come from Indie authors but now and again I like being able to review an ARC from the publishing houses that use this site.

I never used Twitter until I started book blogging as it didn't really interest me in any way. However, it has proved a very good tool in reaching out and talking with like minded readers, authors, publishers etc.

Kindle Iphone App
I don't really like reading on my Iphone as it is small and has a backlit screen. However, there has been times where I have been stuck with only my phone to keep me entertained. The Kindle app lets me read all the books I have bought on Amazon even if I don't have my Kindle with me.

Project Gutenberg
I actually have a blog post discussing Project Gutenberg here. Basically this site is a collection of novels in various e-reader formats that have expired copyrights. It opened up so many classic books to me that I never thought about buying and I am hugely appreciative.

A godsend for me in finding books that aren't in my local library and are expensive to buy on Amazon. I have found many out of print books here for superb prices.

Baen Free Library
Free Ebooks from Baen that are Sci-Fi/Fantasy based. Not all of them are great but some are rather fun and have introduced a few new authors to me.

Anyway, please post any of your own favourite sites/apps and let me know if you think any of them may appeal to me.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Lilith's Brood - Octavia E. Butler

Title: Lilith's Brood
Author: Octavia E. Butler
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2000
Formats: Paperback

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

Lilith's Brood by Octavia E. Butler is a Sci-Fi novel that is the June read for Women of Science Fiction Book Club . The first thing I noticed when I picked up this novel is that it is quite long and this is because it is actually a collection of three novels that form the Xenogenesis trilogy.

The overall plot of this collection is that after the end of human civilization in World War Three (a very typical sci-fie beginning) an alien species called the Oankali intervenes and rescues what it can from Earth. This alien race then begins an attempt to repair the planet prior to re-populating it with the rescued humans and other creatures. However, very soon it is revealed that as payment for this help the humans must "trade" with them. This "trade" entails inter-breeding to create a new species that takes genetic traits from the aliens themselves and the humans. As you can imagine some humans dislike this plan, especially when it is revealed that humans will not be able to breed amongst themselves anymore without the intervention of the Oankali and will therefore soon cease to exist as an independent species. The collection takes us through the lives of several Human and Human-Oankali hybrids as some members of humanity try and resist the "trade" whilst others are willing to accept this quasi colonisation attempt.

It is a rather complex and thoughtful book and I won't really say much more about the plot as I think it may ruin it for any readers. This is due to the fact that one of the most interesting aspects of this collection is the way in which Butler slowly reveals information to both the characters and readers about the full predicament that faces humanity and Earth itself. I will just say that the book's plot enables it to delve into various aspects of society such as slavery, freedom, eugenics, racism, sexuality, violence, rape and what it really actually means to be human.

One specific thing I am going to have to speak about is Butler's attempt at creating an alien species that has three genders. It is very strange concept to try and get your head around as a reader and I think that she has made a reasonable attempt at doing it. I will say however that in my opinion the characters that were from the third gender grouping mainly just came across to me as being male. I suspect that this is because any reader will understand a two gender species and therefore will usually try to typecast anything into the male or female box no matter what an author may try to do.

Other than this, the main issue I had with "Lilith's Brood" is that I found some of the various descriptions and points being made were being repeated throughout. I can understand that this was probably quite useful when the three stories were released over a period of time and it enabled the reader to re-mind themselves about overall plot points etc. However when reading the collection in one go I found that my overall desire to keep on reading diminished as I progressed so that I found it rather slow going. For example, I finished the first book in the collection titled "Dawn" in a couple of days whereas the final book titled "Imago" took me several weeks.

To summarise, I did like Lilith's Brood despite the fact I found it slow going as I progressed. It was quite enjoyable getting to read about an alien species that really was different to us and overall it was a very thought provoking book that didn't follow the normal alien invasion colonisation route of many other Sci-Fi stories.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Father Again!!

Hi Everyone!

Apologies for the lack of posts recently but it has been due to various issues around the fact that my wife went into Hospital this week in regards to her pregnancy.

In the end all is well and today she gave birth to a baby boy called Alexander David King.

I hope within a week I can back to posting normally on here, but until then I can only continue to apologise to those mad enough to actually follow my blog!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Phobic Dawn - Katy Walters (ARC)

Title: Phobic Dawn
Author: Katy Walters
Genre: Sci-Fi / Thriller
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Release Date : 4th July 2011

I will start this review by letting you all know that I was given a copy of Phobic Dawn by the publisher as part of their e-reader test programme. Basically, I was to read over the novel and highlight any obvious formatting issues that had appeared when viewing it on my Kindle. For that reason my review of the book will not comment on the formatting or grammar etc. as I am going to assume that anything I and other testers highlight will be rectified prior to the official release of the book. I am just going to stick to the story and the manner in which it is told.

Anyway, the story starts up as if this is a normal crime mystery novel set in the near future. We get to follow the police as they attempt to solve some rather sickening crimes involving murder and abduction of various women. However, the story quickly expands beyond this as the main investigating officer, Ben Tobin visits a therapist due to his growing phobia to snakes and other developing mental issues. This is the first stage in the ever expanding storyline that involves conspiracy, cover-up and dark secrets that are slowly revealed.

I suppose the simplest description of this novel is that it is a Sci-Fi Thriller. However, it is much more than this as it is very varied in its scope, with sci-fi elements, action, mystery, crime, romance and thrills aplenty. The overall plot is also rather enjoyable and it is told in a slow and deliberate manner, yet the story is also interspersed with various individual revelations that are quickly revealed. I liked this as it made sure that there was always something new to be revealed but still an overall mystery would remain. In my opinion it keeps the reader interested as they do not know what will be revealed next, yet the overall mystery remains.

I did note that the author is very descriptive in regards to her writing style and most things are detailed quite thoroughly throughout the novel. Personally I prefer novels written in a less descriptive manner than this but it wasn't something that affected my enjoyment of the story. Other than this, I did feel that she had created a novel full of interesting characters with various flaws and weaknesses. This was nice to see as it made the characters seem to be human and fallible which can sometimes be lacking in novels, especially Sci-Fi related ones.

One thing that did come across quite strongly was some of the author's psychology background as I felt there was quite a lot of psychological discussion throughout the novel. This is reasonable considering the overall plot of the story but I have to admit that as I am not that interested in psychology and such, therefore some if didn't really make much sense to me. I think that this was probably the aspect of the novel I disliked the most as my lack of overall interest in the subject of psychology and neurology made it difficult for me to read.

I won't go into the romance aspect of the story much except to say that once again it didn't really ring true with me. From the point of view of Ben and his various issues, the way he was feeling and how it came across did actually make sense and was well written. However, the therapist Lucy just seemed to fall in love with Ben after spending a few days with him. In my opinion she didn't have the various issues that made it an understandable reaction as it is with Ben. I just don't get people seemingly "falling in love" that quickly, maybe it is just me but it always feels a little like it is being forced for the sake of the story. As I have said in previous reviews though, it could just be me being a grumpy old goat.

Overall, I did enjoy the thriller/crime aspect of the story and the various secrets that are revealed throughout kept me interested. I just didn't really find the psychological aspects of the storyline very interesting personally and this is a reasonable portion of the overall novel. In the end though, there was enough there to make me pick up the sequel that Katy Walters is planning on releasing in the future. I hope that this novel will cover more of the overall conspiracy aspects of the world she has created as I found that this had captured my interest. Basically, there is a lot to this novel and it won't appeal to everyone, but there are plenty of sample chapters around the internet so give them a read and pick up the full novel if you enjoy them.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Map of the Known World (The Tree of Life Book 1) - Steven Smith

Title: The Map of the Known World (The Tree of Life Book 1)
Author: Steven Smith
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2007
Formats: Ebook / Paperback

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel
Lulu (Ebook Here)

"The Map of the Known World" written by British author Steven Smith, is pretty much a standard fantasy novel. Like a lot of fantasy novels I could see the strong influence of JRR Tolkien, this was especially the case because the journey of the main character Elowen across the countryside with a group of people helping her reminded me slightly at times of the travels of Frodo across Middle Earth in The Lord of the Rings. However, in my opinion the manner in which the story is written was much lighter and easier to grasp than Tolkien's work.

The story follows the orphan Elowen who ends up being tasked with delivering a map to a group known as the Illuminati. This group are fighting against a tyrannical church that is destroying anything and anyone that goes against the will of its leader claiming it as heresy. Her travels are varied as she tries to evade both the minions of the church and other nasty creatures. However, she is assisted in her journey by various people; a fellow orphan, a pirate, an exiled prince, a wolf, a pixie and various other creatures and animals. The young girl is tested many times and faces many challenges on her journey but this assistance and her own bravery helps her through.

Steven Smith has created an interesting and colourful world that I did enjoy reading about. The various people and sights that Elowen sees during her journey actually help to slowly reveal and expand this world and its society in an enjoyable manner. The only minor issue I did have is that I felt the story got a little bogged down a little in the middle. This is in relation to an island Elowen and one her companions visit that goes on for several chapters and didn't really add much to the overall progression of the story beyond adding another character. It was the only part in the story that I just wanted to get past so that Elowen could continue with her journey and I felt that the character introduced could have been added elsewhere without to much issue.

The characters are all quite varied and some of them such as Elowen and the exiled Prince, Bo are very well developed. For example, I can truly understand Elowen's plight inside the orphanage and how it affects her self-belief at times throughout the novel. In regards to the secondary characters, they are developed enough so that you have a decent understanding of why they are acting the way they do. I do hope to see some more expansion of these secondary characters throughout the trilogy but this novel was mainly about Elowen and the author managed to create a character there that I could understand and like.

To summarise, I really enjoyed reading this book and struggled to put it down. I constantly felt the desire to turn the next page and find out what Elowen was going to face next and which aspects of this interesting world I was going to have revealed to me. If you enjoy a good fantasy novel in the same vein as JRR Tolkien's work, yet told in a lighter and easier manner then I think you may like this book. It can actually be picked up for free in Ebook format at the Lulu link I have posted above so don't be scared to give it a read and then maybe pick up the sequel. I have already started on the sequel and hope that it is just as enjoyable.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten "Awww" Moments

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in. 

This week is in regards to the top ten "Awww" moments in books. Basically it is asking me to think up any sentimental, cute or charming related moments within the stories I have read. I have to admit I have struggled hugely here, probably because I the epitomy of a grumpy man when it comes to this type of thing. However I have tried to identify at least a few moments in books that met the "Awww" criteria with me.

The Graduation - Christopher Pike
In the final novel of the Final Friends trilogy Michael and Jess finally get together after so many things had come between them throughout the series. actually thinks that Jess has gotten together with another guy but is happily surprised when he reads the words she writes and then makes him read in his Yearbook "I love you, Michael".

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling
I remember a lot of people I knew were interested in the Hermione/Ron relationship. However, for myself I was happy to see that moment when Harry and Ginny finally kissed.

The Gold Falcon - Katherine Kerr
It is quite a sentimental thing when Neb and Branna get together in this book after more than 600 years apart in their various past lives. I admit that the actual written moment itself doesn't really feel as powerful as it should do, but overall I was truly happy to see them get together.

I have to be honest and say that is about it for me, I really need to work on my sentimental side some more! Anyway feel free to share any of these "Awww" moments that you may have. Also, if any you struggled like me to think of any then let me know so I won't be grumpy alone.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Should I Use A Rating System?

I read plenty of other book related blogs and I note that the vast majority of them seem to have some sort of rating system for book reviews. On my blog I don't post any sort of rating and I wonder if it would add anything to my reviews to actually do so. As it is, I do currently post shortened versions of my reviews on Smashreads, Goodreads and Amazon UK and use their 5 star rating systems but that is mainly just because the option is there when I post my review.

Currently I try to actually detail my actual thoughts and opinions of a book in any of my reviews. My aim has always been to try and point out what I think is good or bad in a novel and why I reached that opinion. I don't post a rating because I sometimes think that putting a rating down can almost limit what you are actually trying to say in your review.

However, I do know some people who like to quickly check out a rating first if they are skimming for something to read. It will grab their attention so that they decide to read the review or not. This works for both good and bad ratings as some I suspect some people also enjoy looking out and reading low rated reviews and ignore the high rated.

In the end though, I suppose the best people to ask are the people who read this blog. What do you all think? Should I add some sort of rating system to my review or is this not needed?

Friday, 10 June 2011

Family Forever Friday (4)

Family Forever Friday

One of the blogs I follow, E&K Family Book Review have is running a Meme and I have decided to take part.  It’s called “Forever Family Friday” and each week KW will post a question for us to answer that will hopefully tell everyone a little bit more about the bloggers taking part.

This week’s question is:
What is the biggest goal that you set for yourself that you have COMPLETED so far?

This is something I had to think about, I could just use my goal that I had as a kid that I would get to University but I think that is a little cliché.

Therefore I am going to mention the fact that last year I took part in something called "The Global Corporate Challenge". This is basically an event for people who tend to work in office based environments and it is meant to promote exercise and healthy living. The challenge is to wear a pedometer that captures your steps each day and to set yourself an improved target to hit. My average prior to the start of the event was around only 5000 steps per day which is supposedly not unusual for lazy office workers such as myself. I therefore decided to set a target to double it as I now had a child and wanted to make sure that I would find a way to get myself into a healthier routine. Well, by the end of the event I had an average step count above 10,000 and I actually felt fitter overall. Probably one of the first times in my life I actually managed to stick to some sort of exercise target.

I am taking part again this year and my real goal is to actually continue on with my new evening walks and such after the even finishes.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

3 Lies - Helen Hanson

Title: 3 Lies
Author: Helen Hanson
Genre: Thriller
Published: 2010
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

3 Lies by Helen Hanson is twisting techno espionage thriller full of suspense, deceit and thrills. It was sent to me by the author and I had some reservations at first as I have been struggling to find any thrillers that really excite me recently. I didn't need to worry though as the author has created a vivid and well thought out story that grabs you right from the beginning and refuses to let you go until the last page is turned.

The story itself mainly follows Clint Masters who has taken a leave of absence from his own high-tech company whilst he awaits the divorce from his childhood sweetheart to become final. He is happy though as he has met a woman named Beth Sutton with whom things are going well until he arrives at her home one morning to find her missing. Clint investigates the disappearance even though her family keep telling him that there is nothing wrong. What he uncovers throughout his investigation is a plot involving multiple kidnappings, missing CIA agents and much more.

It is a well-written fast-paced novel that is full of intrigue, wit and likeable characters. The various twists and turns keep you turning the pages and wondering "who done it" right to the very end of the story. I always enjoy a thriller that doesn't come out and explain the entire mystery early on and I have to admit that I had no idea who the "bad guy" was until the end. So if you don't like novels that hide the truth from you and keep you guessing then I suspect this won't be for you. However, I would be surprised if anyone who normally reads books from the thriller genre would dislike this aspect.

In addition I felt that the author's own knowledge and history serves her well in describing and explaining the various technological issues that occur throughout the novel. It all helps to add depth to the story and none of it comes across as being unrealistic, which I have seen happen in some techno thrillers.

Overall I found the novel to be an exciting and suspenseful thriller. After a few other thrillers I have read recently it was nice to read one that was better than just being "okay". I would therefore happily recommend this to anyone who enjoys a thriller and I look forward to reading more from Helen Hanson.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Settings In Books

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which I am taking part in. 

In my opinion some locations are magical because of the novel itself, yet some locations actually enable a wide and varied type of novel. I have therefore mixed between specific locations from a novel and more generic places from various sources for my listing below;

The Shire - The Hobbit & Lord of The Rings by JRR Tolkien
A small village with peace, tranquillity and people with hairier feet than me. The green and rolling hills speaks of a quiet and pleasant life that I think most people would enjoy.

Makkathran - The Void Trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton
This city is full of canals, bridges and amazing buildings designed for non human life. It seems such a magical place, especially as the city is actually alive and can move and alter it's shape to serve those who can control it.

Discworld - Discworld Novels by Terry Pratchett
Discworld is at times nothing like our own world, but there is so much there that is familiar. It is full of magical characters and amazing locations, a really vivid and exciting place.

USS Enterprise - Star Trek Novels by Various
This ship has it is all, transporters, endless decks, pulsing engine rooms and a heroic crew. The fact that both the novels and the various Tv shows can spend so much time on this ship without it getting dull is a testament to the location and the people there.

Baskerville Hall - The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Now I have to admit that I love Baskerville Hall in part because of an outdoor play I saw when I was young which left a lasting impression on my mind. However, the dark and gloomy setting in the foggy moors is superbly portrayed in the novel and fits in well with the demonic hound that seems to prowl the area.

The Chocolate Factory - Charlie & The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
A chocolate factory full of chocolate lakes and many other magical sweet related things. How could anyone not be impressed with such a superb place and the adventures that could be had there.

Hogwarts - Harry Potter Novels by JK Rowling
I suspect this will pop up on many other lists as I think most people would love to go to school at such a superb location. Even if you ignore the magical aspects to the story, Hogwarts is an large and beautiful building that people could probably spend a life time exploring.

Tabb High - Final Friends Trilogy by Christopher Pike
When I was a teenager I always wished I could go to Tabb High as I imagined it as some sort of Nirvana of a school. As someone who went to a small British High School this large place with it varied social groups who seemed to get on relatively well seemed like a whole amazing and interesting community in its own right.

Victorian London - Various Novels
The colours, smells and darkness that pervade this city helps create some amazing stories. I also always enjoy looking at the city with a modern eye and seeing the issues hidden behind the scenes.

Mars - Various Novels
A planet that is not our own but yet it is so close to Earth that the stories created there can explore so many possibilities. The bleakness is some novels is contrasted with the green terraforming of others, Mars has so much to offer a Sci-Fi author.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Inklings - Aparna Warrier

Title: Inklings - Very short stories and other babies born of Ink.
Author: Aparna Warrier
Genre: General Fiction
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK
Barnes & Nobel

"Inklings" is Aparna Warrier first book and it is a short collection of unrelated flash fiction stories. In all honesty, I don't normally read this type of book and the last flash fiction collection I read left me rather confused at times. However, I am always willing to keep on trying things and was happy to give it a read when the Author asked me to do a review.

After reading this collection, my opinion is that it would actually be a good introduction to flash fiction. I found that the stories were all very varied in regards to length, topic and style. But the majority also seemed to have some sort of deep and profound meaning behind the basic story that the author was trying to portray. Personally, some of the stories did confuse me a little and think that I missed the point the author was trying to make. However, this is likely due to the fact that I am not someone who likes to go over stories multiple times to try and pick apart everything an author is trying to put across.

I did still enjoy several of the stories however and liked the fact that each one seemed to be so varied. My favourite piece in the collection had to be "The Revolt of the Coconut Trees". It was funny and there was a little hint of sci-fi to the story. I also believe there was an underlying point being made by the author regarding how we treat the environment. It actually reminded me of the movie called "The Happening".

To summarise, if you would like to try out flash fiction and enjoy trying to understand some of the deeper meanings behind a story, then I would recommend this book as one to pick up. It is not as heavy as some of the previous flash fiction collections I have read and Aparna Warrier has created a nice range of stories.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Family Forever Friday (3)

Family Forever Friday

One of the blogs I follow, E&K Family Book Review have is running a Meme and I have decided to take part.  It’s called “Forever Family Friday” and each week KW will post a question for us to answer that will hopefully tell everyone a little bit more about the bloggers taking part.

This week’s question is:
What was the book that sparked your love of reading? How old were you?

Well, when I was younger I sat through the various books being read at school and my parents read books to me hich were usually by Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton. It wasn't until I was around 13 that I started to pick up books to read myself without being forced. This occurred because I had some friends who told me some of the YA horror books were brilliant with particular mention of the Point Horror series. I basically decided to see if they were right. So I went around the local bookstore and saw a book in the YA section called "Monster" by Christopher Pike, the hugely un-original title was enough to make me pick it up. In the end I loved it and I went on to read loads of Christopher Pike books, before slowly expanding my reading list.

Anyway, I am sure most of you will also have a book that first got you into reading so feel free to share it.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Being - T.R. Mousner

Title: Being
Author: T.R. Mousner
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2011
Formats: Ebook

Available at:
Amazon UK

"Being" is T.R. Mousner's debut YA novel and I managed to get a copy through a blog giveaway that I won. I have to admit I had never heard of it before, however as Sci-Fi is my staple and the synopsis interested me I was pretty happy when I won. The novel I got turned out to be an enjoyable Sci-Fi adventure with an underlying message regarding how we treat our planet and each other.

The story is basically about the alien EBN who crashes on Earth, a planet believed to be constantly shrouded in chaos and war. We follow her trials and tribulations as she tries to survive, learn the ways of humanity and remain secret whilst she awaits rescue. The story is told from the point of view of EBN herself, as well as a human teenage boy named Shale who lives on the California trailer Park that EBN is hiding on and EBN's brother, Aix who is still on their home planet wondering what has happened to his sister. There is a little more depth to the novel than this though as there is also an over-arching plot that develops in regards to why EBN has to wait so long for any rescue. The ending manages to close out most of the current plot issues whilst creating enough of a cliff-hanger regarding the over-arching plot that I am eagerly awaiting the sequel to come.

The book was well written and I was quite surprised when I read the last page and realised I had spent nearly the whole day glued to its pages!! The whole thing flows very naturally and this was probably why I got so engrossed. I enjoyed the way that the author used the three characters to tell the story from different viewpoints as this enabled us to slowly learn about the characters and what they really were about. There were two aspects that I especially enjoyed in the novel, the first was the fact that the sections from EBN's viewpoint showed an opinion on our world that is different from the norm and this was a rather interesting and eye-opening experience. The second was that we get to learn of EBN's home planet through her brother Aix's eyes as he tries to understand what has happened to his sister. Their customs and how they live day-to-day is brought out in a clever and engaging manner.

In regards to the characters, I found that they were all very varied and interesting. All three of the main characters though are well-developed and expanded upon as you read the story, I think most people will like all of them for varying reasons. I have to admit that I did find EBN herself to be almost too kind, but she is an alien so I just accepted she wasn't expected to come across like a "real" person. I did think that her determination, kindness, respect and resolve she shows throughout the book are good models for any teen who may read this novel.

One thing to note is that the novel comes across as being quite strong on the environmental front. The author uses real world occurrences to show the issues with our planet's health and the way an "outsider" views what we are doing to our home. The author has also created an alien race that is very different to our own; this race of beings makes big issues out of the environment, the treatment of animals etc. Therefore, if you are the sort of person who believes that there is an environmental conspiracy out there to trick you all into stopping buying gas guzzling SUV's etc, I suspect you may not enjoy this novel very much.

To summarise, I think that this book is a superb read; T.R. Mousner creates her scenes wonderfully and really pulls you in. It is filled with interesting characters and I think the story will appeal to both those who love of Sci-Fi and those who tend to stay away.