Thursday, 19 October 2017

Satellite by Nick Lake

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 464
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 5th of October 2017 

A teenage boy born in space makes his first trip to Earth.

He’s going to a place he’s never been before: home.

Moon 2 is a space station that orbits approximately 250 miles above Earth. It travels 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every ninety minutes. It’s also the only home that fifteen-year-old Leo and two other teens have ever known.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds.

What I Have to Say

 I really enjoyed this book. It was a surprise since I often find Nick Lake books to be a little slow, but this one had such a good concept and was written well enough for to hold my attention. It went into things that I would never even consider. No sci fi book I've ever read has even touched upon the significant differences in the way a child's body would develop when they have spent their entire life without gravity.

It was still slow, but I found that the slowness just didn't matter. I enjoyed taking my time over it and discovering more about Leo and how he adapts to life on Earth. The fact that there were always mysteries surrounding their birth and why Leo couldn't get in touch with Orion and Libra helped a lot, but I do think that the main thing was just the fact that it was so interesting and well thought out.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that it was written with u instead of you and c instead of see. It's something that just really annoys me. I'm not even sure teenagers write like that anymore. Without constraints on the number of characters, why would they need to?

In all though this was an amazing book, so different from anything else I've read.

My thanks go to Negalley and Hodder for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Treatment by C.L. Taylor

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384
Publisher: HQ
Released: 19th of October 2017 

You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

What I Have to Say 

This was a really interesting book. It took a detailed look into brainwashing and the way that it could be used to bring out of control children into line. It really went into the horror of how society could be changed so much if people in the government decided to fund this kind of research and kept it hidden like this. 

I loved all of the characters, though Drew was a little stupid and headstrong. I don't know what I'd have done in her situation or what other options there were available, but getting yourself sent to the same place seemed a little reckless. I'm not sure what she thought was going to happen when she got there. 

There was an interesting array of characters though and even though I think Drew should have thought things through a bit more, I felt she was clever and resourceful. I really liked her as a character. 

I'll be interested to see what C.L Taylor brings us next. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and HQ for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell

Synopsis (From Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 5th of October 2017 
Other Books in the Series: Spellslinger 

It's a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind. 

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and who carries a secret that's all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help - but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold - and Kellen can't help but suspect his own people may even be behind it. 

What I Have to Say 

This series just keeps getting better. I really enjoyed the first book and this one brought in even more intrigue and mystery. The new characters were interesting and fitted in well with Kellen, Feruis and the squirrel cat. Who were all just as good as in the first book. 

I still really love the setting. I think that it's interesting to have the slightly western theme, but I do think that the characters and the Argosi are the best part of it. It was interesting to meet Rosie and see how different Ferius is to her and how they both fit together well as Argosi while still arguing over the right way to follow the way of the Argosi.

I'm really looking forward to the next book. Things were really heating up in this book and I'll be interested to see how it goes on. 

 My thanks go to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 349
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books 
Released: 7th of September 2017 

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall…

What I Have to Say 

I have to say I was expecting better. I thought there would be more about Mariel and her investigation into Eris's death, but she wasn't given much space in the book for her thoughts and plotting. It was just the same characters as the previous book blackmailing and breaking up with one another. 

I liked what happened with Watt and Leda. I liked their scheming and where it got them. I also liked the stuff with Rylin starting at the highlier school. It was interesting to see her having to adapt to the world that she doesn't really like and it was great to watch her find a passion for something. I think out of the whole book, she and Watt are the only characters I actually like, unless you count Nadia who is awesome. 

I'll probably read another book in this series, because I'm invested and really hard to give up on series that might get better. But I wish this book had gone in a different direction and I didn't like it much more than the first. 

My thanks go to Harper Collins and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Red Ribbon Blog Tour - Excerpt

I am honoured to be able to take part in this blog tour, for the beautifully written, touching book. I'm delighted to be able to share a excerpt of this book with you all here today. 

People laugh at fashion. It’s just clothes, they say.
Right. Just clothes. Except, not one of the people I’ve heard mock fashion was naked at the time. They all got dressed in the morning, picking clothes that said, Hey, I’m a successful banker. Or, I’m a busy mother. Or, I’m a tired teacher . . . a decorated soldier . . . a pompous judge . . . a cheeky barmaid . . . a lorry driver, a nurse . . . You could go on for ever. Clothes show who you are, or who you want to be. 
So people might say, Why do you take clothes so seriously, when there are more important things to worry about, like the War?
Oh, I was worried about the War all right. The War got in the way of everything. Out in the real world, outside of here, I’d wasted hours queuing at shops with empty shelves. More hours hiding in the cellar when bombers flew over. I’d put up with endless news updates, and Grandad plotting battle lines on a map pinned to the kitchen wall. I’d known War would come – it was all people talked about for months. We learned about War in history lessons at school. War was something that happened to other people a long way away. 
Then it came to my country. My town. 
It was War that brought me to Birchwood – known, in a harsher language, as Auschwitz-Birkenau. The place where everyone arrives, and nobody leaves. 
 Here people find out that clothes aren’t so trivial after all. Not when you haven’t got any. The first thing They did when we arrived was make us strip. Minutes off the train and we were sorted into male and female. They shoved us into a room and told us to undress. Right there. With everyone watching. Not even underwear allowed. 
Our clothes were folded into piles. Without them we weren’t bankers, teachers, nurses, barmaids or lorry drivers any more. We were scared and humiliated. 
Just clothes. 
I’d stared at my pile of folded clothes. I memorised the soft wool of my jumper. It was my favourite green jumper embroidered with cherries, a birthday present from Grandma. I memorised the neat folds of my trousers and my socks, rolled into a pair. My bra too – my first-ever bra! – that I’d hidden from view along with my knickers. 
Next They took our hair. All our hair. Shaved it off with blunt razors. Gave us limp triangles of cloth as headscarves. Made us pick out shoes from a pile about as high as house. I’d found a pair. Rose obviously hadn’t been so lucky, with her one silk shoe and her one leather brogue. 
They said we’d get our clothes back after a shower. They lied. We got sack dresses with stripes. As Stripeys we ran around like herds of panicked zebras. We weren’t people any more, we were numbers. They could do what they liked to us. 
So don’t tell me clothes don’t matter.

I hope you enjoyed this extract and want to read the rest of the book. For the rest of the blog tour see the banner below: 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Released: 10th of October 2017 

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. 

What I Have to Say 

This book was slow. I think if I'd relaxed, I would have been able to enjoy it a lot more. Other than the pacing, I loved it. The magic system was really interesting, I liked how each of the children had a gift that was just theirs and that they exhibited it without even trying, so that there was literally no way of escaping their magic. 

I think I also would have enjoyed it more if I had read Practical Magic first. There were probably references and stuff that I didn't notice because I hadn't read it. It had enough to stand on it's own, but I do think that reading Practical Magic first would probably be better. 

I liked the relationships between the siblings. I liked how they were close and always had each others backs. I think that and the magic were the main draws of the book. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with this copy for review 

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Publisher:  HQ
Released:  25th of August 2017 

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

What I Have to Say 

I have to say I wasn't as impressed by this book as I hoped I would be. The idea sounded great and at the start I was really interested in Arafel and their lifestyle. The Roman based life in the Dome was also really interesting, but beyond that, nothing really hooked my attention. 

Talia as a character was good, but she was so determined to get her family back and for most of it, she did nothing but what others told her to do. There was so much waiting around as she predictably got involved in a love triangle and got distracted from her goals by it. 

There was so much there that would have been great but for the most part it was just the same as every other dystopia book out there. There was nothing there that set it apart and there needs to be something, especially in this genre. 

My thanks go to HQ and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 7th of September 2017 

'Since I blacked out, the slightest thing seems to aggravate my brain and fill it with fire'

These are the things Lux knows:
She is an Artist. 
She is lucky. 
She is broken.

These are the things she doesn't know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.

'The nightmares tend to linger long after your screams have woken you up ...'

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux's time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If her dreams don't swallow her first

What I Have to Say 

This was a really interesting book that went in a lot of unexpected directions. I wasn't sure how it would go at first, but I quickly really came to like the characters and the school was so interesting and creative. While the school probably wouldn't work in real life, it was really cool to imagine. It also had this cult-like undertone that gave a good in-joke type vibe. 

The trauma that Lux showed was really intense. I loved how they gave such little pieces of information at a time. I couldn't possibly have guessed what really happened. 

In all though, it's hard to say much without giving too much away, but I just loved the atmosphere of the book and the secrets and lies involved in the mystery. 

Definitely a good book about trauma. 

My thanks go to Hodder Children's Books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Pages: 290
Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Released: 18th of July 2017 

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

What I Have to Say 

I have to say that this book was not for me. It was interesting to see Nina slowly thinking more and more about her relationship with her husband and realising how little control she had; how little she knew about what was going on in her life. 

The portrayal of the children I found a bit off. Obviously they were upset by all the changes in their life and sometimes they rallied around their mother, but a lot of the time when they were being nice to the mum, it felt a bit false and unlike something a teenager would actually do or say. And when they weren't being nice to their mother it felt a bit like a cliché teenage getting upset about moving house/ losing their father. 

To be honest I was a bit bored. A lot happened, but there wasn't much to interest me. After everything was uncovered about the Finn and their finances, there just wasn't much of a hook to keep me reading. 

My thanks go to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 416
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster Books for Younger Readers 
Released: 1st of November 2016

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. There's no one Nemesis wouldn't kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy's most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she's been told she doesn't have - humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire... 

What I Have to Say 

I was completely blown away by this story. From the moment it started I was completely hooked. Nemesis was such an interesting character and seeing everything from the perspective of this creature that was breed to protect another person was such a unique and intriguing thing to read. 

It was very easy to fall in love with Nemesis as a character. Although she was so hardened and made fierce by her upbringing, her relationship with Sidonia and Sidonia's love for her made her so easy to empathise with and like. 

The twists and turns and all the politics were thrilling. It was impossible to figure out what would happen next. The Emperor was brutal and the other members of the elite were wonderfully venomous. It was all exactly what I like from a political thriller and set in a great sci fi background.

I'll be really interested to see what happens in the next book. 

 My thanks go to Simon and Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Glow of Fallen Stars by Kate Ling

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers 
Released: 24th of August 2017 
Other Books in the Series: The Loneliness of Distant Beings 

I longed so hard for all the things that make life life, and I never thought they'd be mine. But now ... now they are. Now I have something to lose.

Seren and Dom have fled their old lives on board spaceship Ventura in order to be together. They crash-land on a beautiful, uninhabited planet, which at first seems like paradise.

There is no one to answer to ... but no one to ask for help. And with each new day comes the realisation of how vulnerable they truly are.

This planet has secrets - lots of them. Uncovering them could be the key to survival, but at what cost?

What I Have to Say 

This was so much better than the last book. I was worried that it wouldn't be great after the last one, but after the way the last one ended, I really wanted to give it a chance. I'm really glad I did. 

It was still a little slow, but the planet was so amazing. I love a well made world and there was so much beautiful imagery in this book that was truly wonderful to read. I want to visit this planet and see all the sights, though I think it would probably be a bit dangerous to live on. 

The stuff with the coral life was a really interesting twist in the story. I was very intrigued by what was happening and I kind of wish there had been more of it. I loved the ending though. It felt right and it all tied up neatly, even though I feel that maybe there should have been a bit more of a fight to change everything. 

I probably wouldn't recommend the whole series even though I did like this book. The first one was just not worth it, though in retrospect, I'm glad that I got the chance to read this one. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Little Brown Books for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 464
Publisher: Orion's Children's Book 
Released: 21st of September 2017 

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems. 

What I Have to Say 

I want to squeal and jump up and down and just tell you all to read this book. But I'll work hard to be more professional. This book was beautiful. Ryan Graudin weaved a thrilling story that went throughout history to so many great locations. 

I loved the crew of the Invictus. They fitted so great together and I would love to read a whole series of books about their various adventures through time. I think that a strong team of quirky characters is important in a book like this to set it apart like the rest of time travel book, and Graudin had both that and a story that was unique and exciting. 

I fully respect any author who can write time travel well and having a great plot and a group of characters who I really want to read more from truly makes this a book that I will love for a long time. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Orion Children's books for providing me for this copy for review. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th of September 2017 

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

What I Have to Say 

This book caught me and kept me hooked from the first sentence, but it was a little difficult to get my head around the backwards storytelling at first, but after I'd gotten used to it, it was really great to see how each event had been triggered by the one before it. It was a very different way of storytelling but a very interesting one. 

Jules was a very interesting character. It was both hard to get to know her and very, very easy because there were some things that were very true to her, such as the superheros and the way she picked up on things so easily and could memories things so quickly. And other things that seem like a part of her but that she has lied about completely. 

This is definitely one of these books that I sped through, not wanting to put it down and am now regretting it because it's over. If you're looking for something compelling and intriguing that will keep you reading then this is the perfect book. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304 
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 21st of September 2017 

Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla. In another life we might have all been friends together. But this was Birchwood. 

As fourteen-year-old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings. She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop. Hers are no ordinary clients. Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz. 

Every dress she makes could be the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival. 

Ella seeks refuge from this reality, and from haunting memories, in her work and in the world of fashion and fabrics. She is faced with painful decisions about how far she is prepared to go to survive. 

Is her love of clothes and creativity nothing more than collaboration wth her captors, or is it a means of staying alive?

Will she fight for herself alone, or will she trust the importance of an ever-deepening friendship with Rose?

One thing weaves through the colours of couture gowns and camp mud - a red ribbon, given to Ella as a symbol of hope.

What I Have to Say 

This was like a fairytale set in the worst imaginable place on earth. The background setting of Auschwitz was harrowing and detailed enough to give a good picture of life there, while the story of Ella and Rose held a beautiful light of friendship and hope, which made the story one that was a pleasure to read and not just a bleak picture of day to day life in a concentration camp. 

Ella was such a great character to read. The way she tried to ignore things about the camp around her, because they were too hard to think about was just a brilliant way of talking about the horrors without going into all the gritty details. Though of course all things must be faced eventually. 

I loved the descriptions of the dresses she made as well and the process of dress making. It was nice to see how much of her identity was in her dressmaking. It was a good way to show who she was. Because she was Ella who sewed. And that was a perfect way to add to all the themes of identity in the book. 

Rose was such a beautiful character too. It made me feel like crying a bit, but she was such a light in the darkness of the camp. 

This is a wonderful book and a great introduction to the horrors that happened in the concentration camps for younger readers. 

My thanks go to Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 


Monday, 4 September 2017

We See Everything by William Sutcliffe

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books 
Released: 21st of September 2017

Lex lives on The Strip – the overcrowded, closed-off, bombed-out shell of London. He’s used to the watchful enemy drones that buzz in the air above him. 

Alan’s talent as a gamer has landed him the job of his dreams. At a military base in a secret location, he is about to start work as a drone pilot. 

These two young men will never meet, but their lives are destined to collide. Because Alan has just been assigned a high-profile target. Alan knows him only as #K622. But Lex calls him Dad. 

What I Have to Say 

This was another book that just didn't dragged through most of the book. I liked the  setting a lot and it seemed really interesting, but so little happened except at the beginning and end. 

Alan was slightly more interesting than Lex, because it was interesting to see into the mind of someone who is so willing to kill people. It was interesting to see how he justified it to himself and how his world was shaken when it came to Lex. 

Lex however seemed only really to be there to have the romance. It just seemed rather pointless that there wasn't more to the plot like that. 

The ending was good, but I would have liked to see more that happened between the attack and the ending. I would have liked to know what happened to change everything so much. 

This book just disappointed me really and I wish it had been better. 

My thanks go to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 432
Publisher: Anderson
Released: 7th of September 2017 

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

What I Have to Say 

This book was so amazing and great to read but I don't really know what to say about it. I liked the characters a lot and the plot. The history was awesome and I learned a lot of stuff that I didn't know. It's an era of history that I'm really interested in, both the stuff with the suffragettes and with the First World War, so it's great to read about it from different perspectives and find out stuff I didn't already know. 

The peace stuff from May was really interesting. I had no idea how many women were working so hard to try and end the war. The whole peace conference was something that I knew nothing about so it was great to read that. 

I enjoyed Nell as well. It was great to see the idea of gender and homosexuality being questioned in a historical fiction book, because so many people pretend that this stuff didn't exist back then even though it's well documented. 

I loved the cover with the black girl on it, so I was sad that there was no mention that any of the girls were black in the book. I would have been so interested to see the issue of race and how it was treated in England back then because I only know some stuff about race and suffragettes in America and even that I don't know much about. 

This is definitely a great feminist read for anyone interested in women and history. Read it and get ready to feel powerful. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Anderson for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 31 August 2017

The Burning Girl by Claire Messud

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Little Brown Book Group (Fleet)
Released: 7th of September 2017 

Julia Robinson and Cassie Burnes have been friends since nursery school. They have shared everything, including their desire to escape the stifling limitations of their birthplace, the quiet town of Royston, Massachusetts. But as the two girls enter adolescence, their paths diverge: while Julia comes from a stable, happy, middle-class family, Cassie never knew her father, who died when she was an infant, and has an increasingly tempestuous relationship with her single mother, Bev. When Bev becomes involved with the mysterious Anders Shute, Cassie feels cruelly abandoned. Disturbed, angry and desperate for answers, she sets out on a journey that will put her own life in danger, and shatter her oldest friendship. 

What I Have to Say

I hate to be so harsh, but this book bored me a lot. I don't know if I'd have gotten through it if it hadn't been for review. Just so much of the book was just exposition and setting up the relationship between the two girls. It felt like nothing was really happening at all. 

And even when things were happening, the plot was kind of obvious. I guessed easily where Cassie had gone. It was just predictable and there wasn't much at all to keep me reading. 

I did like Cassie as a character though. Julia was a little bland, but Cassie was quite well written, at least at first. She became a bit of a cliché when she was trying to be cool and out at parties all the time, though it was made less so by Julia's insights into Cassie's life, such as the fact that Cassie wouldn't drink. 

I dunno. I just like books with a strong plot and this was more based around Cassie as a character. It wasn't for me. 

My thanks go to Little Brown Books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

Moonrise by Sarah Crossan

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens 
Released: 7th of September 2017 

'They think I hurt someone. 
But I didn't. You hear?
Coz people are gonna be telling you
all kinds of lies.
I need you to know the truth.'

Joe hasn't seen his brother for ten years, and it's for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed's execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think ...

What I Have to Say 

This one took me a while to get into. At first the characters didn't seem that likable and the story progressed really slowly. But as I got into it and it was getting closer to the execution date, it got more gripping. 

I really liked Joe as a character as the novel went on. He was so faithful to Ed and seemed to really care about his family even though they didn't really seem to treat him well. He spent so much money to go to Texas and see his brother who he hadn't really seen since he was really young and so only had vague memories of. He was willing to stay in Texas even though he was barely scraping by enough to eat. 

I still like the poetry-ish feel of the book, but it isn't as exciting as it was in One. It was new and unique then, but now it's a little less new. It's still cool and easy to read though. 

My thanks go to Bloomsbury and Netgalley for providing me with a copy for review. 

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 288
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
Released: 7th of September 2017

Valor is under arrest for the attempted murder of the crown prince. Her parents are outcasts from the royal court, her sister is banished for theft of a national treasure, and now Valor has been sentenced to life imprisonment at Demidova, a prison built from stone and ice.

But that's exactly where she wants to be. For her sister was sent there too, and Valor embarks on an epic plan to break her out from the inside.

No one has escaped from Demidova in over three hundred years, and if Valor is to succeed she will need all of her strength, courage and love. If the plan fails, she faces a chilling fate worse than any prison ...

What I Have to Say 

This was a really great book full of daring escapades and unspeakable punishment. The relationship between the two sister was probably one of the best ones I have read, because they will do anything for one another, even risk their life. Valar does everything throughout the book with her sister in mind and doesn't stop caring about her for even a moment. 

The friendships formed with the other characters were great as well. There were good bonds formed between them, ones that you can only form by risking your lives for one another. 

Valar was such a great character as well. She was literally willing to do anything to achieve her goals, even when she feels like breaking. She's a strong, brave girl who doesn't let other people get in the way of rescuing her sister. 

I definitely want to read more about Valar. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 308 
Publisher: HQ
Released: 25th of July 2017 

Reality is in the eye of the beholder…
Even among the many unusual members of the travelling circus that has always been her home sixteen year old Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years.

This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all of their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival's Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real.

Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Now she must unravel the horrifying truth before all her loved ones disappear.

What I Have to Say 

This is my new favourite world. I was so sad to leave it. Both Gomorrah and the cities it was travelling through were so well built. The tension outside of Gomorrah with the people against Gomorrah and the people who reside within it made such an exciting background to such a personal story of family and loyalty. 

The illusions were wonderful. I loved the way that Sorina's family were introduced and how the illusions were all introduced through the performance. The emotions within their family quickly got intense after they started to be murdered. Aside from the rather creepy drawings throughout depicting how the murderer was planning to kill them, which were really unnerving but added nicely to the atmosphere of the book. 

Though I guessed the ending, it didn't feel predictable at all. It was such a brilliant plot, woven beautifully to create a creepy wonderful murder mystery. 

My thanks go to HQ and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review 

Monday, 21 August 2017

The Vanishing of Audrey Wilde by Eve Chase

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 324
Publisher: Penguin
Released: 13th of July 2017

From the present day . . . 

Applecote Manor captivates Jessie with it promise of hazy summers in the Cotswolds. She believes it's the perfect escape for her troubled family. But the house has an unsettling history, and strange rumours surround the estate.

to the fifties . . .

When teenage Margot and her three sisters arrive at Applecote during the heatwave of '59, they find their aunt and uncle still reeling from the disappearance of their daughter Audrey five years before.

The sisters are drawn into the mystery of Audrey's vanishing - until the stifling summer takes a shocking, deadly turn. Will one unthinkable choice bind them together, or tear them apart?

What I Have to Say 

I really enjoyed this book. The modern day story-line combined with the things that happened in the fifties made the story all the better. I'm not sure that a book without both thee storylines would have worked as well as it gave a lot more depth to the book and showed how much such a tragedy as a missing girl can haunt a place for so many years, even after everyone connected to the events is gone. 

I liked Margot a lot. Her story was my favourite I think I liked how torn she was. How much she missed Audrey and wanted her back, but how much her aunt unsettled her with the things they did together in Audrey's room to feel close to her. 

The mystery at the heart of the story was really compelling. With every thing of Audrey's that was found during the modern day construction work, with every new piece of evidence that Margot and her sisters found out I wanted more and more to know what happened. The conclusion of what happened as well was thrilling and interesting and it all came to a conclusion that was unexpected but that still made sense. 

Eve Chase is definitely a mystery writer I will look out for in the future. 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 294
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 10th of August 2017 

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

What I Have to Say 

There are few books that can keep me up and reading late into the night these days. STAGS was the first one in a while, but it was just so good. I didn't want to stop reading, even when I knew there would be a while before the action got really good again. 

It was all just so ominous. Even when Greer was trusting Henry and putting the "accidents" that happened down to just bad luck, there was this background sense that they were being toyed with. I'm not sure how much that's because of what it says in the synopsis. If the synopsis left us questioning more over whether they are just genuinely accidents, would it have felt so ominous? It would be something I'd like to know. 

I really enjoyed the relationships between the characters.  The friendship that formed between the three victims and the way that they barely knew each other before, but being in the house drew them closer together. 

After the way it ended, I'm really hoping for a sequel. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Dragon Rider and Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke

Dragon Rider 

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 400
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: 1st of February 1997

With lonely Ben aboard, brave dragon Firedrake seeks mythical place where silver dragons can live in peace. Over moonlit lands and sparkling seas, they meet fantastic creatures, summon up surprising courage - and cross a ruthless villain with an ancient grudge determined to end their quest. Only a secret destiny can save the dragons and bring them the true meaning of home.

The Griffin's Feather 

Pages: 416
Publisher: Chicken House 
Released: 6th of July 2017 

The last winged horses are on the brink of extinction. Three foals lie curled in their eggs in a sanctuary for threatened creatures, where a young dragon rider lives with his silver dragon. The foals are ill, and the pair volunteer to seek the only cure: a Griffin's feather. But Griffins, with the heads of eagles and bodies of lions, are a dragon's fiercest enemy, and live far across the world in the sweltering jungle. A dangerous and exciting adventure begins...

What I Have to Say 

I remember reading Dragon Rider when I was young. It probably was a few years after it came out, because I think I would have been a little too young for it when it came out in 1997, but I remember liking it immensely. So I was very excited to hear that not only were they reprinting it, but there was going to be a sequel as well. 

Rereading the first book was interesting. I could vaguely remember bits of it, but as it turned out, they were really only tiny bits of the plot. I remembered the brownies and a few things felt vaguely familiar, but other than some stuff that I had misremembered, that was about it. But it meant that I got to read it again with fresh eyes that didn't have a clue what would happen next. I loved it as much as I remember loving it the first time I read it, which I'm really glad wasn't something I'd misremembered! 

The second book was even better. I loved the descriptions of the Pegasus foals inside their eggs and the Griffins, even though they were so cruel. And FREEFAB. I love the idea of an organisation that helps keep these creatures hidden and protected in sanctuaries. The story was exciting and well written, but I think the thing that really makes it for me is all the different creatures. 

Cornelia Funke has shown us time and time again how perfect she is at making tiny details to fill a world to make it seem real and I can't wait to see what creatures she chooses to write about next. 

My thanks go to Nina Douglas and Chicken House for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

All the Ways the World Can End by Abby Sher

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 336
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 27th of July 2017 

Lenny is preparing for the apocalypse. Every night, she researches vacuum decay, designer pathogens, that inexplicable sleeping sickness knocking people out in Kazakhstan. Not many sixteen-year-olds are this consumed with the end of the world. But Lenny needs to have some sense of control. Her dad is dying of cancer. Her best friend Julian is graduating early and moving three states away. She's having to rehearse for a toe-curling interpretive dance show at school, and deal with her mum's indefatigable jolliness and smoothie-making in the face of the disaster they are confronting. The one thing keeping her hopeful is Dr Rad Ganesh - her father's oncologist. Surely Lenny can win him round to her charms - and he can save her father? 

What I Have to Say 

This was a good story with a lot of humour. Even in Lenny's obsessive research into the different ways that the world could end, as frightening as they were, there were jokes and comments and things that made them so obviously written by Lenny. It was a nice way to start each chapter and it was interesting to see how they changed with what happened throughout the book. 

All the characters were really strong too. Even though it might seem a little over the top sometimes, especially with the dance teacher, I like having that sort of thing, a character with a real sense of personality that adds to the humour. It makes for a lot of interesting ways in which they react to things and fleshes out the book so it doesn't seem to be just one or two characters who're holding everything up. 

This is a really serious subject, so I was really glad to see how they kept the humour up throughout the book, even when it could have gone really serious and depressing, there was a morbid joke or something to keep the mood up, even though it shouldn't be appropriate. 

This was definitely a really good book to read and I loved Lenny so much. It would be cool to have sequel though I don't know what it would be about. 

My thanks go to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Freshers Blog Tour - Best Friends

I am so happy to be hosting Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison for today's stop on the Fresher's blog tour. This book has meant so much to me, even though it is a very different look at University Life than I had, because it brought back so many memories of my own experience during Fresher's Week.

I had the best experience in Fresher's week and the memories are still strong even though it's getting to be quite some years ago now. But Fresher's week was the time when I met my best friend Katrina. She was alone and I was spending most of my time that week inviting people who looked lonely to join our group so they weren't left out.

Kat was the only friend who really stuck with me, but we spent the rest of our time at Uni stuck at the hip and I still see her all the time. I really know how my life would have gone if I didn't have Kat for a best friend.

Because of this, I've asked Tom and Lucy to talk about their fabulous friendship for their piece and how they've kept it so strong for so many years, especially after dating for a time(which is often the end of friendships, no matter how firm).

Probably the question we get the asked the most, regardless of what book we are promoting or who we are talking to, is ‘isn’t it weird to write a book with your ex?’ For everyone else it is definitely weird, it must be or we wouldn’t get asked about it so much. But it to us it doesn’t feel strange at all. We have known each other for almost twenty years. We’ve been to school together, been to uni together, lived through our twenties side by side and now into our thirties. In Freshers, there is a line where Phoebe says that she doesn’t have that many memories before she knew Luke Taylor, and in a way, that is true of us too. We were once interviewed by some young people in Holland and one of them asked Lucy what she thought of Tom. Lucy just stayed (quite awkwardly) quiet for a bit and then said she had ‘no idea’. The blogger thought it was a simple question – and it is. But the thing is in the same way you don’t consciously think about your elbow, we just don’t really think about each other that way. Your elbow is just always there and always has been and that is kind of how we are with each other. Sometimes we row, especially about timekeeping and Tom being miserable and Lucy not understanding the basic principles of English grammar and sometimes we laugh for ages but we are such a constant in each other’s lives that it just isn’t something to note. A lot of the time when we go for walks to think about plot or things about a book we are struggling with, we don’t really talk at all, sometimes for ages. 

We were friends before we went out – proper, actual mates. And when we decided to get together, we almost didn’t because we were so nervous about ruining our friendship. So we made a solemn vow in Tom’s parent’s kitchen that whatever happened between us, we would stay friends. And we have. Just because you realise that you aren’t right together in a relationship, doesn’t mean that you aren’t right to be loyal and supportive and there for each other for the rest of your lives. When you have shared as much as we have, it seems ridiculous to do anything else…

Before I go, I'd like to thank Tom and Lucy for writing such a lovely piece for me, Nina Douglas for inviting me to be a stop on the tour and you guys for reading. I hope you enjoy the rest of the tour!