Jun
05

Title: December (Conspiracy 365 #12)
Author: Gabrielle Lord
Published: December, 2010 by Scholastic
Pages: 181
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

On New Year’s Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Cal has one month to go, but the secrets are mounting higher and time is not on his side. The answers lie hidden thousands of miles away, but with friends and family at his side, Cal’s determined to reveal the truth or die trying …

Final Thoughts:
I finally made it to the end of this twelve-book series. There’s still Revenge, the epilogue book, but as for the main plotline of the series, everything has been pretty much wrapped up. Being so short, I whipped my way through these last three instalments at the same time, hence the lack of a review for the previous two months. October had some cool spy tricks as they attempted a bank heist, and also gave us some more info on Winter’s story, but again, didn’t move the plot a whole lot for Callum. November was just as bad at progressing things—the only thing memorable in that book was the revelation behind Callum’s double—and again, that wasn’t much of a shocker. December made up for its predecessors’ shortcomings, packing the gang up and sending them off towards a twist-riddled, action-full finale.

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Apr
25

Title: September (Conspiracy 365 #9)
Author: Gabrielle Lord
Published: September, 2010 by Scholastic
Pages: 181
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

On New Year’s Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a staggering, sick man with a deadly warning…”They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days. Hurled into a life on the run the 15-year-old fugitive is isolated and alone.

Final Thoughts:
These books are so short, so I thought I’d leave the reviewing until I got through a chunk of them. I’ve just read June through September over the past week, diving into them, hoping for some new discoveries, understanding the clues that have been dropped so far, and finally getting some closure. Being the middle of the series, we didn’t get too much of that. Instead, these books sought to develop the friendship between Cal, Boges and the mysterious girl, Winter. There are trust issues brought into it, and lots of betrayals that definitely warranted that scepticism. Reading them back to back like this, it’s easy to see how formulaic these books are. Each one begins with a quick resolution of whatever cliffhanger had proceeded it, leaving Callum scrambling to pull things back together, then another month of running around, looking for clues, leading up to another catastrophe that just happens to fall on the final day of each month.

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Apr
14

Title: Execution (Escape From Furnace #5)
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: March, 2011 by Faber and Faber
Pages: 336
My Rating: ★★★☆☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Alex Sawyer has escaped his underground nightmare to discover the whole world has become a prison, and Alfred Furnace is its master. Monsters rule the streets, leaving nothing but murder in their wake. Those who do not die become slaves to Furnace’s reign of cruelty. Alex is a monster too. He is the only one who can stop Furnace but in doing so he could destroy everything. Is he the executed or the executioner? Who will die? All Alex knows is that one way or another, it all ends now.

Final Thoughts:
It took me two weeks to get through—that should tell you something. Being the final book in the series, I pushed through to the end, just because I needed them to find peach—I mean peace—some sort of resolution. The series as whole has been hit and miss for me. The first book took me a while to get into, but then the second and third had me gripping the pages tightly, unable to stop. Book four—the actual escape, or rather fleeing—was the turning point, but unfortunately lost a bit of steam, the same happened with this one. Alex became very much a loner, taking away the fun, brotherhood aspects I’d come to love in the previous instalments. There were still bits of humour, bits of that camaraderie laced throughout, but it was few and far between, instead focussing on the final battle that Alex needed to face with Furnace, the one the whole series had been leading to.

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Mar
07

Title: Fugitives (Escape From Furnace #4)
Author: Alexander Gordon Smith
Published: February, 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Thanks: Macmillan via NetGalley
Pages: 288
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

Forever altered by his experience in Furnace Penetentiary, Alex has done the impossible and escaped. But the battle for freedom is only just beginning. Charged with his superhuman abilities, Alex must uncover the last of Furnace’s secrets—the truth about the man who built the prison, the man known as Alfred Furnace. And to do that he must stop running and finally confront his greatest fears.

Final Thoughts:
I love the progression this series has. The first three books built up the prison life, the beginnings of the escape, and Alex’s transformation, and their actual breakout from Furnace. Fugitives continues directly on, showing that the escape was barely the beginning of Alex’s story, and I love that. It maintains an edge of danger, with the three friends on the run from police, gun-toting choppers, and scientifically enhanced humans that more resemble rabid animals. And finally, there’s a female character. It was a gripe I had with the prior books—there were no female inmates, or even a mention of a female prison.

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Feb
13

Title: Zero At The Bone
Author: Jane Seville
Published: April, 2009 by Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 308
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

After witnessing a mob hit, surgeon Jack Francisco is put into protective custody to keep him safe until he can testify. A hitman known only as D is blackmailed into killing Jack, but when he tracks him down, his weary conscience won’t allow him to murder an innocent man. Finding in each other an unlikely ally, Jack and D are soon on the run from shadowy enemies.

Forced to work together to survive, the two men forge a bond that ripens into unexpected passion. Jack sees the wounded soul beneath D’s cold, detached exterior, and D finds in Jack the person who can help him reclaim the man he once was. As the day of Jack’s testimony approaches, he and D find themselves not only fighting for their lives… but also fighting for their future. A future together.

Final Thoughts:
A hitman falling for his target—it doesn’t sound too original, but it ended up being a completely addictive read. Alternating POVs, we get to see inside the closed off mind of a killer as he tries to come to grips with his warring emotions, as well as the mind of the target—a surgeon-turned-highly sought after witness. It’s a very long book, or at least it felt like it. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, spreading things out, giving them time to build, while still packing in oodles of plot. Once this thriller infused the romance, it became very hard to put down—I stayed up well past 4am on this one.

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Jun
02

Title: May (Conspiracy 365 #5)
Author: Gabrielle Lord
Published: May, 2010 by Scholastic
Pages: 181
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

On New Year’s Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Cal has hit rock bottom. He’s lost the only clues he had to the Ormond Singularity: the family secret that’s turned his life into a nightmare. And now, trapped in a high-security prison for the insane, he’s lost his identity too. Against all the odds, he must escape and carry on his father’s quest for the truth – but how? Nobody knows where he is, and no one can hear him scream. He has 245 days. His life is on the line …

Final Thoughts:
Probably the best so far in the series, plot movement wise. A bit of a shake up from the usual I’d come to expect during the first four books. Let’s just say, if you don’t like reading about sane people stuck in mental asylums, you are sure to be frustrated.

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May
30

Title: April (Conspiracy 365 #4)
Author: Gabrielle Lord
Published: April, 2010 by Scholastic
Pages: 181
My Rating: ★★★½☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

On New Year’s Eve, Callum Ormond is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning: They killed your father. They’ll kill you. You must survive the next 365 days! Stranded in the middle of nowhere, terrified and alone, Cal is on the run. Somehow he must make sense of his father’s mysterious drawings and solve a family secret from the past: the Ormond Singularity. But first he has to dodge the police and thugs who are closing in on him, and save his sister’s life. He has 275 days. His world is falling apart…

Final Thoughts:
The mystery is slowly unfolding, but there is still plenty to keep you guessing. More enjoyable than the previous books and with an ending like this one, it has me excited for more to come.

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