Book Review: Jesper Jinx by Marko Kitti

jesper jinx

Jesper Jinx (book 1)
Marko Kitti, author & illustrator
Humorous Middle Grade Fiction
Date of publication: 28th April 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
The book is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00JZY5VJM (Kindle)
and http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1497458226 (Paperback)

More information about the book can be found at http://www.jesperjinx.co.uk and http://www.markokitti.net
Jesper is also on FB at http://www.facebook.com/JesperJinx

Synopsis:

Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

In this first book of Jesper Jinx’s wonderfully wicked adventures you’re going to meet Jesper’s family and Snowy the Cat. Also, there’s a mysterious new classmate with a moustache. And it’s up to Jesper to launch his famous Boredom Breaker. What harm would it do to have a little fun?

Contains the stories: JESPER JINX and the COLOURFUL CAT, JESPER JINX and the SPANISH SHENANIGANS and a bonus story: JESPER’S RIDICULOUSLY SHORT NIGHTY-NIGHT TALE.

 

Marko Kitti

About the Author:

Marko Kitti is a Finnish-born author who currently lives in East Sussex, England. He has been writing fiction since 2001 and his Finnish publications include two collections of short stories, two novels for adult readers and one novel for young adult readers.

His second novel Meidän maailma (Our World) was shortlisted for the Runeberg Prize in 2009, a Finnish literature prize named in honour of Finnish national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877).

Jesper Jinx is his first children’s book written in English.

My Thoughts:

This is one quirky, fun-filled book which will remind you of your childhood and of reading books by Roald Dahl. The story is about Jesper, an eleven year old boy who seems to be stuck with the worst luck ever. His main interest is in doing something to break the boredom. In this book, Jesper manages to turn the cat red and teach the new teacher some of his prized tricks. His relation with his sister and parents is touched upon ever so subtly and we are also introduced to his best friend Oliver.

The story is written in a narrative style and the reader will get the feeling that the author is talking only to them specifically. The author describes how he met Jesper and makes us sign an agreement to never reveal the existence of this book to him. The book was supposed to have been top secret after all.

The tricks that Jesper pulls off and the bad luck that follows justify why he is called Jesper Jinx. He is truly a character that all youngsters will love and even grownups will enjoy. A wonderful middle grade fiction, this book is worth a read with all it’s humor and fun.

 

The Torturer’s Daughter by Zoe Cannon

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Synopsis:

When her best friend Heather calls in the middle of the night, Becca Dalcourt assumes it’s the usual drama. Wrong. Heather’s parents have been arrested as dissidents – and Becca’s mother, the dystopian regime’s most infamous torturer, has already executed them for their crimes against the state.

To stop Heather from getting herself killed trying to prove her parents’ innocence, Becca hunts for proof of their guilt. She doesn’t expect to find evidence that leaves her questioning everything she thought she knew about the dissidents… and about her mother.

When she risks her life to save a dissident, she learns her mother isn’t the only one with secrets – and the plot she uncovers will threaten the lives of the people she loves most. For Becca, it’s no longer just a choice between risking execution and ignoring the regime’s crimes; she has to decide whose life to save and whose to sacrifice.

It’s easy to be a hero when you can save the world, but what about when all you can do is choose how you live in it? The Torturer’s Daughter is a story about ordinary life amidst the realities of living under an oppressive regime… and the extraordinary courage it takes to do what’s right in a world gone wrong.

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/The-Torturers-Daughter-ebook/dp/B009UEVWCW

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-torturers-daughter-zoe-cannon/1113578832?ean=2940015509359

Kobo: http://www.kobobooks.com/search/search.html?q=1230000026330

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/247175

Excerpt:

Becca’s steps slowed as she approached Processing 117. The floodlights of the parking lot shone down on her, exposing her. Past the lot, the darkness threatened to close in. There was no other source of light nearby except for the dim glow of the streetlamps, nothing but trees for at least a mile in every direction.

The concrete structure loomed taller than its five stories—maybe because of the invisible presence of the underground levels, or maybe because in a moment Becca was going to have to walk inside.

Heather can’t have been arrested. If she were a prisoner, they wouldn’t have let her call.

But when Becca remembered the panic in Heather’s voice, the thought wasn’t all that reassuring anymore.

Becca took the last few steps across the not-quite-empty parking lot. The windows of the upper floors glowed in a patchwork of lights, showing who was working another late night and who was at home sleeping… or down on the underground levels. Becca knew that in one of those dark offices, a phone had been ringing off the hook for the past half-hour, its owner oblivious to Becca’s pleas for her to answer, to find Heather for her, to fix this.

Becca reached the double doors of the entrance—and froze. Her heart thudded against her ribcage.

Heather is in there, she reminded herself. Heather needs me.

She pulled the doors open and stepped inside.

The doors slammed shut behind her, the noise echoing off the stark white walls. Security cameras stared down at her from the ceiling. The guards, one to either side of the metal detector, pinned her to the floor with their eyes, but said nothing.

Opposite the metal detector from Becca, the room was bare except for a huge metal desk with corners that looked sharp enough to cut. Behind the desk, a dark-haired woman with a headset clipped to her ear stopped mid-yawn and jerked up to face her.

Becca held her breath and stepped through the metal detector. Its light flashed green, and one of the guards waved her forward. She let her breath out and stepped up to the desk.

She eyed the woman’s crisp gray suit, and the desk that gleamed like it had never seen a speck of dust in its life. Then she looked down at her own clothes, the jeans and wrinkled t-shirt she had grabbed from her dresser after hanging up with Heather. She crossed her arms around her stomach.

The receptionist’s bleary surprise had vanished, replaced by a stone mask. “Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for…” Becca bit back the name on her lips. No. If she were in her office, she would have answered the phone. Anyway, Becca could imagine her reaction at finding out about this midnight walk to 117. Becca was on her own.

“…Heather Thomas,” she finished. “She called me half an hour ago and told me she was here.”

The receptionist’s expression didn’t tell Becca anything.

“She’s here… somewhere… she called me…” Becca’s voice trailed off. I’m not doing anything wrong, she told herself. I’m not a dissident. Heather’s not a dissident.

Which led Becca back to the question that had been circling through her mind since she had gotten Heather’s call. What was Heather doing here?

The receptionist turned away and tapped something out on her keyboard. It only took her a few seconds to find what she was looking for. She typed in something else and touched her earpiece. “We have a detainee in temporary holding,” she said to someone Becca couldn’t see. “Last name Thomas. Her file says she’s waiting for a relative to collect her. Right, that’s the one. Someone forgot to collect her phone, and she called a friend.” A pause. “No, that won’t be necessary. Just confiscate the phone.”

She turned back to Becca. “Heather Thomas is waiting for her guardian to arrive. Are you Lydia Thomas?” She gave Becca a skeptical once-over.

Becca considered saying yes, but even if the receptionist weren’t going to ask for proof, there was no way she could pass as Heather’s… aunt, she remembered after a moment. Aunt Lydia, the one who always looked at Becca and Heather like being in high school was catching.

The receptionist took her silence as an answer. “I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Becca wanted nothing more than to do just that. But she couldn’t leave and let this place swallow Heather. “If she’s waiting for her aunt to get here, I can wait with her until she shows up.”

“I’m sorry,” said the receptionist, already turning back to her computer. “The policy is clear. The detainee will remain in temporary holding—alone—until her guardian arrives.”

Becca was losing ground. And somewhere in this building, Heather was waiting for her. “I’m not trying to take her home or anything. I only want to…” To make sure she wasn’t locked away underground. To make sure they hadn’t gotten her mixed up with somebody else, some dissident slated for execution. “…to let her know I’m here. I promised her I’d—”

“Your refusal to leave the building when instructed will be recorded.” The receptionist placed her hands on her keyboard. “May I have your name?”

“At least tell me what happened. Why is she here? Is she all right?”

“Your name, please,” the receptionist repeated.

If she stayed much longer, the receptionist would order the guards to drag her out—or worse, in. She could end up in one of those underground cells… She shivered. They couldn’t do that to her just for asking about Heather, right?

“Your name,” the receptionist repeated again, with a glance toward the guards.

Becca slumped. “Rebecca Dalcourt.”

The receptionist blinked.

“Well,” she said, her voice suddenly warmer, “I suppose we can make an exception.”

Author Bio:

Zoe Cannon writes about the things that fascinate her: outsiders, societies no sane person would want to live in, questions with no easy answers, and the inner workings of the mind. If she couldn’t be a writer, she would probably be a psychologist, a penniless philosopher, or a hermit in a cave somewhere. While she’ll read anything that isn’t nailed down, she considers herself a YA reader and writer at heart. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and a giant teddy bear of a dog, and spends entirely too much time on the internet.

Connect with the Author:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

My Thoughts:

The story focuses on how the protagonist, Becca believes in standing by her friends and fighting for what is right even if it means going against those you love most dearly, in this case her mother, Raleigh Dalcourt. The story is set in a dystopian society where the government’s say is final and they can arrest anyone they think is going against them. Such people are called “dissidents”.

The way in which the protagonist deals with some truths she comes across and the way she handles the confrontation with her mother, who happens to work for internal and is their most infamous processor, forms the crux of the story. The decisions she has to make especially when your loved ones are involved is what this story deals with.We also become aware of the decisions people may take out of fear or love. Such decisions can prove to be the tuning point in some situations.

It is a well written story with a plot that unfolds smoothly and keeps you turning the pages for more. The characters are well rounded and are easy to relate to. This is a story that I recommend for everyone especially the young adults and people who love this genre out there!

 

 

TTDS3

Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton

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Some of the earliest books I remember reading are those by Enid Blyton. Among the authors for children’s books, she stands far ahead in the kinds of stories she tells. She has written so many books that it is difficult to keep track of, but some of her most famous books do bring back fond memories when I think of them. This is the first of many reviews I plan to write about some of her novels and series.

The Malory towers series is about a boarding school in Cornwall by the same name for girls. They begin school there at the age of 11 and then continue to finish by the age of 17. The series chronicles the life of the students and the fun they have. It talks about strong bonds of friendship and great values in life ad how these can shape a person. The first book is about a girl called Darren who joins the first form and how she adjusts to the new life where girls sleep in dormitories and share their things and are loud but have a lot of fun playing pranks on their teachers and of course having the ever famous midnight feasts. The rest of the books follow the same set of girls as they go up each year and the kind of problems they face with each year. It describes the hard work they need to put in and the kind of qualities brought out in each girl.

The stories are heartwarming, fun and light to read. In spite of that they keep you entertained and you end up loving the characters you read about. Such harmless stories filled with so much meaning and a lot of ideals which we can and should follow in life. These are the kind of books that one can read at any time. There is no particular age to read these books and Enid Blyton’s books are forever. I recommend these books for the sheer joy they bring and the life they add. Frankly I have always secretly wished I could attend one of their midnight feasts!!

More thoughts and reviews on the various books by Enid Blyton will come soon. I do hope there are people out there who share my love for these books.

– Dark Warrior

THE JOYS OF READING

There is a saying that goes – Books are a man’s best friend. When I say books, I am talking about fiction, stories made up or inspired by real events but still changed to suit the writer’s imagination. It all comes down to imagination. When we read a novel, our imagination is fired. We are able to visualize characters, places and every scene as we interpret the description. Everything is left to our imagination and interpretation.

Reading takes a person to a whole new world where there may be magic or dragons or witches or fairies. Where people can fly or animals and insects and even vehicles can speak. Once you immerse yourself in a book, you develop a relationship with the characters, the kind you would never have imagined. You can share their happiness and their sorrows, we laugh at jokes, smile at the most wonderful of situations and cry when the character cries. We cry for them, for their sorrows for their life. We develop a rapport that surprises us and makes a lot of people feel out of depth. But that is okay. It is enough to realize that you have entered the world created by the writer and are now experiencing everything he/she did while writing the story for us. I encourage more and more people to read so that they experience the joys of reading and the joy of disappearing into a new world for a while.

images          – Dark Warrior