Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Image result for the Accident season

A buried fear. A forbidden love. Every secret is an accident waiting to happen. 

I cannot pretend this book didn't leave me saying one word I over and over again. Huh!
I really loved the idea of an accident season, the blurb as it should completely enthralled me and I had to read the book.

Cara and her family experience a bizarre phenomenon that in one season of their lives each year they seem to be subject to a number of accidents from minor injuries to near death experiences. The family lives in fear of this season wrapping themselves practically up in cotton wool just to survive.
The starts as the family are nearing the end of the accident season, they are nervously counting down the days until it is over. Cara's mother is trying her best to remove all the dangers out of the house and keep her daughters and step-son safe.

This was an unexpected story there is so much more to it then just a weird accident season, it is full of witchcraft, abuse, romance and a variety of different themes. For me this was the issue - just a bit of an overload of identity. I'm not sure what the story was. Fantasy, drama, romance etc. Unfortunately for me I was super confused. Metaphor overload and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty. Credit where credit is due though I was drawn in by the mystery and eerie nature of the story. Sadly though at least the first half of the story really dragged and it wasn't until the secrets came out I was properly hooked. Part of me thinks I was only so hooked due to the fact I had a very thin grasp on what was actually being revealed and what the secrets actually were.

A clever twist to the truth about the accident season saved the book for me.

If you loved We Were Liars this is for you 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern


One choice could cost her everything

Having read quite a lot of Cecelia Ahern's older fiction I saw Flawed and was immediately intrigued. From the cover, the blurb and the premise you can see this is quite a change of direction for Ahern not to mention the fact it is also young adult.

Conveniently my mum brought herself a copy and I stole borrowed it as soon as she'd finished it as it has been on my list for such a long time.

Well the fact I was a little bleary eyed in the morning is testament to the fact I stayed up until crazy o'clock in the morning just to get it finished. I loved it. The story is based in society where one mistake gets you branded as flawed. This brand is put in a specific place to represent how you are flawed and what your failing is. Those branded as flawed are viewed as lesser humans, they have a set of rules to follow restricting everything from their diet to their lifestyle. They are ostracised by society and live as a second class citizen. Celestine North is perfect though. She and her family are not flawed. They see those who are flawed and are repulsed by them. Only Celestine's sister Juniper seems to speak up. But Celestine is logical, her world is black and white and suddenly she sees something illogical in the system and she must act and this changes the course of her life irrecoverably.

I thoroughly enjoyed Flawed. I loved the characters and their struggles. Celestine was passionate, sometimes a little hot-headed but her heart is in the right place. All her family irritated me at the start apart from Juniper but then as the story developed you could see their love for their daughter and how scared they were of the Guild who impose the Flawed rulings. I appreciated that it was not a heavy young adult romance, if anything although important Celestine's relationship with Art is very mature in how Ahern writes it. I personally really dislike Art so I hope he will be out of the picture in the second book. Ahern wove an incredibly emotive story, several scenes in the book had me literally sobbing - my heart was in my mouth.

I can see this being very popular for fans of dystopian fiction. I think it helped that I have had a break from the genre for a bit as it had all got a bit blurred. Fans of the Matched series and The Killables will enjoy.

Fans of dystopian will love. Superbly written!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5)

A fight for her throne. A war against darkness. 

The fact I was dying to get my hands on this book is an understatement. I literally adore the Throne of Glass series. I recommend it constantly because I just find it so engaging.
So the fact that installment number 5 was out was fantastic. I loved the Queen of Shadows but when I finished it I was desperate for the story to continue as Maas' writing was riveting.Empire of Storms was not quite what I expected. Returning us to a world with the same brilliant, witty, pithy and sarcastic characters that have a lot of bark and a lot of bite was amazing I relished reading the story trying my best to figure out what the end game was going to be.

We pick up where Queen of Shadows left of. Aelin is heading to Terrasan with her court of Rowan the Fae Prince, Aedion her cousin and Lysandra the Shifter. Dorian is now King of a crumbling Kingdom and Manon the Blackbeak Heir is still deciding her and the Thirteens place in the coming war. I found many things in this book I had to re-read just to make sure I was absorbing some of the complex twists and turns properly. Some chapters I felt I was missing something but really it was that Aelin herself had not put everything together yet either, in typical Aelin fashion she was savouring the twists to get the best reaction.

The more this book enfolds the more you realise that there has been a lot happening that we have known little about. I love the character of Elide, there is a scene in the book that literally had tears streaming down my face - I had wanted that scene for a long time and it was sensationally written with just the right amount of depth. Maas had my heart in the palm of my hand.
Sadly I had seen a lot of comments about things in the book that although didn't give spoilers hinted at things that made me quite paranoid throughout the story and had me second guesses a lot of the time which was frustrating.

The only negative and it is quite a big one for me was it was a bit heavy with the sex scenes. Literally nearly all the characters were having a sexual relationship of some sort at some point and it felt like it was done for the sake of it. They were not all necessary for the development of the story and it became a tad predictable when pairings in the story were going to be together. I wanted more about the actual war, the purpose of the characters and their destinies than whether they suddenly had a desire to have sex. Tagged onto this is the physical appearance of all the characters, there is only so many breathtakingly attractive characters a story needs and I feel this book might have over done it a tad.

On the whole though Maas has delivered another great installment that although not my favourite story continues the tradition of creating a pacey, intriguing and surprising story. For the first time in ages I did not re-read the series prior to reading this book again - massive thanks to Reviews from a Bookworm for her in depth review of Queen of Shadows that got me back up to speed!

I was so torn with what to rate this! I love the characters and the plot but I felt a lot of the actual story was lost because of the focus on physical relationships. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee

The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1)

The Higher you are, the father you fall

My Husband lovingly picked up this book for me as I had been quite keen to read it. I was really intrigued by the blurb and the cover was just so sensationally beautiful I had to have it.

The Thousandth Floor surrounds the mysterious lives of several upper floor and lower floor characters. There lives and wealth are in direct correlation to the floor they live on. Avery Fuller and her brother Atlas live on the 1000th floor. They are the pinnacle of the society with the ability to get their hands on anything and everything they desire. Set 102 years in the future with technology at their finger tips and for those on the higher floors an ability to get anything you want.  The story gripped me as it opens with a girl plunging from the top of the Thousandth Floor. I kept reading just to learn the identity of the young woman.

The trouble with this story for me is I hadn't really absorbed the comment on the front being written by the author of  Gossip Girl. Now the minute you actually process the Gossip Girl comment everything clicks a bit more as not one of the characters did I like. Credit to McGee as her characters are incredibly diverse. But they were all superficial, selfish and to be quite honest the most narcissistic people I've ever read about. They had no heart, no redeeming features and I just didn't like them. I briefly really liked Watt as him and Nadia are such a clever creation but unfortunately even he was driven by a belief that if you wanted something you could just do what you wanted to get it. I briefly thought that Marion seemed like an interesting character as she challenges the characters as she seemed more true and kind but you barely get to know her. I imagine she is going to appear in the rest of the trilogy quite a lot though.

From everything that happens the comparison I will make is Pretty Little Liars, it has that feel written all over it. The book clearly demonstrates the overwhelming power of secrets and the way they can be used to protect and to hurt. What I will say is I was really disappointed with who the girl falling from the highest floor was - she was the only character I was slowly but surely starting to find cracks of a normal girl inside!

Truthfully I wanted more from the futuristic elements of the story, the idea of a world created within a skyscraper with all kinds of technology, medical and scientific advancement was really fascinating and I wish McGee could have written more to do with those ideas. I am not sure if I will read the next instalments as a priority but it is a quick read.

Written well and is exactly what it says on the tin - fans of dramas will love!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Third book from the Zoella Summer Reading Club 2016 and another book that pushed me to read something different from the norm.


I'm supposed to be grieving not falling in love

Firstly I would say that I thought the creativity in this book was really engaging. The notes dotted throughout were an extra special addition to the book. However, the book was not what I wanted it to be.  Lennie, a self confessed Wuthering Heights addicted band geek is struggling to cope with the death of her vibrant and self confident older sister. Her grief changes how people see her and how she begins to see herself. She finds herself out of her depth with not one but two boys and her inability to deal with the grief of her sister affects both these relationships dramatically.

I wanted to try something out of my comfortable reading niche but this was not right for me. Frustratingly so. I just am clearly not cut out for typical teen romances and love triangles. This one was just trying to hard for me. Even the way the language was written to sound more teenagery adolescent was irritating. Both relationships with Joe and Toby make no sense whatsoever to me. Clearly Lennie is grieving and I know people make irrational choices when coping with death but Lennie's decisions are so warped. Not to mention the first sight nature of her love for Joe. Joe as a character is starting to become all too familiar. I much prefer my leading men to not be a cookie cutter reincarnation of a load of other male leads. He just felt too perfect, too good-looking etc. As much as it is a bit weird and he is a bit intense I almost prefer the character of Toby as at least he is a bit more human with some flaws.

Considering the premise I really expected to connect to Lennie more but I just didn't feel empathy the way I imagined I would. I think I would have appreciated more focus on her recovering from her grief then whether she kisses a boy or not. I think the tagline actually sums up my issues - for goodness sake Lennie you are supposed to be grieving!!

One compliment I can give is this is a very quick read. You will finish it in no time and if you love romances this is up your street.

I think I need a break from attempting to read outside of my comfort zone (bring on the magic and fantasy)

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1)

A New Dawn, A New Desert

Having delved into some books well outside my usual fantasy comfort zone and not quite enjoyed the experience, I decided to have a brief return to the genre.

Step in a book that had me from the first chapter. From the moment Amani stepped onto the scene I knew I was a goner. This book was effortless to read, a clear just one more chapter experience. I had to keep stopping myself reading just because I could easily have devoured the book in no time at all.
The story in a nutshell is about Amani and her desperate desire to leave her life in Dustwalk. Her mother is dead, by hanging no less, for the crime of murdering her husband. Amani has to suffer the humiliation of living with an Aunt who despises her and with no real idea who her father is. She has had enough, to her friend Tamid she has been joking about leaving for years but now with her mother gone and the threat of being married off to her uncle Amani realises she has no choice to escape. Then Jin turns up and turns everything around.

It goes without saying that I love fantasy fiction and I am especially partial to a cleverly constructed world - think Sandersons' Mistborn series. I love when an author manages to construct a new reality that I believe easily and without finding fault. The middle-eastern desert world of Miraji is just that. Believable, with it's guns, arranged marriages, sexism and rebel princes whilst being fantastical with the Djinni and First Beings.  These elements combined make for an exceptionally believable backdrop. The fantasy elements really work as they are well woven into the culture in the nation. Now it has a teeny tiny western feel to it. However, sand, horses, shooting contests and a few guns do not make a book a western. So if you are expecting a cowboys and gun toting western this might not be for you.

Surprisingly I really enjoyed the romance element of the story. I have heard a few people argue that there is zero chemistry between the two main characters. I personally couldn't disagree more. The heat between the two is palpable. Yes Jin is a blatant love interest within the first ten seconds of his introduction but this is typical of a lot of YA at the moment. Thankfully blatant love interest or not the word love isn't bandied about at all so it is not a case of love at first sight. Secondly the way in which Hamilton writes the two sizzles with chemistry and makes there attraction believable and a very enjoyable aspect to the story.

Alwyn has successfully managed to weave a story full of action, suspense, romance and depth and yet it is only 350 pages.  For me the book gets very character heavy towards the end and this is possibly my only negative. I know that Amani and Jin's journey was incredibly relevant but personally the introduction of the other characters added a necessary new dimension and I would have preferred to meet them all a little earlier in the story.

A brilliant debut and sizzling series opener

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart

We Were Liars

Beautiful, Privileged, Damaged - Liars

This book kept appearing on several Instagram accounts that I follow and both the title and the cover really intrigued me. It has also like Everything Everything been featured on Zoella's Book Club Summer 2016. I rarely read books like this. Even Everything Everything was bit out of my comfort zone. 

I literally finished the book within a couple of hours. I was really intrigued. I had my suspicious the whole time as I read and I could not put it down until the answers were given. Cadence has been injured and she can not remember her accident. It all revolves around her time on her families own island with her cousins: Johnny, Mirren and her friend and love interest, Gat. Her injury is serious and has affected her brain leaving her with crippling migraines and pain. When she is finally allowed on the island again her memories and feelings begin to unravel to reveal the truth amongst the lies.

The pace of the book is quick, helped along a bit by the bizarre style of writing and punctuation. Cady is so ridiculously dramatic. Sometimes I wasn't sure what had genuinely happened to her and what was just her weirdly over the top way of describing her feelings. If you are anything like me you'll get confused about whether she was shot at the start - FYI she wasn't it was just how she felt about something. Some people will find the style of prose unbelievably frustrating and if you are even slightly OCD about punctuation this book might not be for you. I feel the style of writing reflects how Cady is after her accident but maybe that is just me being overly analytical.

The style of writing at least allowed me to finish the book at speed.  Personally I felt that the revelation of the truth was disappointing as it was revealed so abruptly, I was hoping for something less matter of fact. It was a  anti-climactic for me and considering how much Cady dramatises everything I was expecting a bigger reveal. The twist was a little predictable and I didn't really warm to Cady as a character. I was moved by the way Cadence and her family deal with the truth of her accident but at the same time it was not enough to endear me to the characters..  I can see why this has been popular as although a weird writing style it is an easy read for summer.

I initially gave this book 3 stars but on reflection it's more two for me. I'm just not convinced by the characters. .

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Power is a dangerous game

In January I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post in which I listed Red Queen as a book I really wanted to read. I have finally gotten around to it and I am so glad I did. We delve back into that familiar Dystopian genre with Aveyard. However, for me the fantasy element to this story really makes it stand out from the crowd.

Your blood matters more than gold in this story. It is your blood that determines your status. If you have red blood you are there to serve, oppressed and controlled by the incredibly powerful silvers. The silvers are superhuman they can manipulate metal, fire, water and some can even control your mind. This is how it has always been and yet Mare exits. Mare has red blood and a jaw-dropping ability that no silver has ever matched.

The discovery of Mare changes everything, she is a secret to be kept but used. They dress her up in silks and paint her up to hide her heritage using her as a pawn in a very twisted game. The trouble for them is that she is playing one too. You go from one extreme to another with this story. There are characters to love and to loathe. Ones that make your blood boil and the next moment melt your heart. You feel Mare's dilemmas her desperation for change and for understanding and the book carries you effortless into the story.

At first I was actually apprehensive to read this book. This was because it was described as quite the mash up of different Dystopian sagas. Even on the front cover it says it is a combination of dystopian heavy weights Divergent, Hunger Games, The Selection and Graceling. I have read all of these books and it does always make me slightly nervous when a series is compared to books that are so familiar. If I was to compare it I would say it felt more like the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. It has that same gritty weight to it. The characters are fantastically developed and Mare's although a tad too trusting has a fiery and feisty spirit that is very engaging.

As with many recent young adult series at the moment I was nervous that the love interest element of the plot would overshadow the better elements of the story . Thankfully it doesn't. It is relevant but not the main gist. Yes there is a love triangle but it is not everything, it does not drown out the amazing and cleverly written web that Aveyard weaves.

A must read for those who love a fantasy story and want more from a dystopian series then a save the world love story. I loved it so much I read Glass Sword immediately after.

I gave into the hype and the hype was right. Fantastic 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection, #5)

35 suitors entered the selection who will win her heart?

Having read all four of the The Selection series I knew I needed to finish off what Cass had started in so naturally I chose to read The Crown.

I pre-ordered the copy for the school library so managed to get it on the publication date. Sadly I have mixed feelings about this story. Although enjoyable to be back with the characters I just don't get a strong likeable feeling for Eadlyn. In The Heir I felt that this was on purpose but I assumed that in The Crown that Eadlyn would be mellowed and seem kinder.  Unlike her mother (America) before her Eadlyn does not have the same presence or heart and comes across like a brat a lot of the time.

In the original Selection series there is a lot of unrest and the difficulties with the caste system and problems are really tangible. You feel the tension throughout the books. However, even though there is supposed to be unrest again but it doesn't sizzle off the page in quite the same way. I think this makes it difficult to understand the reasons Eadlyn makes her decision so fast as the importance was not conveyed well enough.

In The Heir I wanted to know who she would choose but I felt her choices made no sense in The Crown and went against what it initially seemed she wanted. The romance just didn't feel real to me and it felt a little contrived and cliched.

For me Cass wasted her long standing characters. America, Maxon, Aspen and Marlee as they do not feature enough and this was really noticeable. I always acknowledge that when a series is for young adults that it might feel juvenile when I read it. I did not feel this with the first 3 of these books but this one in-particular just felt aimed for much younger audiences then before.

Not for me - good for those who want to finish the story arc

Friday, 17 June 2016

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The greatest risk is not taking one.

I feel a bit stuck with how to review this one. I clearly enjoyed it as I sped my way through it, reading it in one day. However, the ending felt too predictable to me and I was a tad disappointed with it.

Yet, the story and it's characters hooked me. Madeline is 17 going 18 and is sick. She has a disorder that means she can not go outside as something might kill her. It's a very rare illness and she has to cope with living a very sheltered life. Her only company is her mum and her nurse Carla. To have any visitors they have to be decontaminated just to ensure that nothing is let in that could harm her.

Trouble is Madeline starts to want. She starts to want more then the restrictions her disease imposes on her. She begins to feel trapped by the airlock, the tests and the monotony. Naturally this is all because of a boy: Olly. Olly moves in next door and he is the predictably good looking, funny and clever boy next door. He moves in and takes over Madeline's heart.

It all moves very quickly. The chapters are short and to the point creating a very I'll just read one more page feeling. Madeline is a witty girl who despite her difficulties in life seems to be quite normal. I do find this a little hard to believe, I really feel if you had literally never been outside in your life you might be a little less well adjusted then Madeline appears.

For me the story is all a little too neat a little too perfect. I wish Yoon had done a little more with Olly's domestic abuse background and with Madeline's mother. I wanted more from those grittier aspects of the story. Although Madeleine falling in love is the key part of the story I wanted more then that. I was really rooting for a bit more development of the subplots.

On the whole it does grip you and for fans of books such as Before I die, If I stay, Fault in Our Stars and Wonder this will be right up their street.

I was hooked. Well written. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The House on Hummingbird Island by Sam Angus

The House on Hummingbird Island

There are monkeys in the parlour, turtles in the bathtub and secrets behind every door...

The House on Hummingbird Island, Bathsheba is reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier’s Manderley, full of mysteries waiting to be discovered.

Idie Grace is suddenly removed from the life that she has always known and plunged into a whole new world due to an unexpected inheritance. She must become the lady of the house and learn to navigate as a young girl in an adult’s world. Away from governesses and father figures for the first time Idie can now dictate her own life and surrounds herself with a menagerie of animals, turning Bathsheba into her own paradise. However, there is more to her heritage then she has been told and she must deal with the consequences of uncovering the truth.

This is no animal story as I was initially led to believe from the believe. I enjoyed it so much that I think I will be reading more by Sam Angus in the future!

She draws you into a story that touches on the role of women, race and war. Intriguing and beautifully written with mesmerising imagery and unique lovable characters. It is thought-provoking, moving and will wrap itself around your heart.

Poetically written - well worth reading and released tomorrow.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis

The Earth is Singing

I promised Papa I would survive to tell our story 

I was recommended this book by a colleague and I was pleasantly surprised. This is completely different from Vanessa's other works that I've read. Long-listed for the Carnegie Award I think it is a real shame it didn't make the short-list. 

Told from the viewpoint of Hanna as her family experience first hand the persecution of Latvian Jews by the Nazi Party. Hauntingly written, you feel completely invested in the story from the start. Expertly told Hanna and her families story is full of shocking moments that leave your heart in your mouth and a tear in your eye. 

As a History student I studied the Holocaust as my specialist subject at university. However, I did not do as much on the systematic persecution of the Latvian Jewish population. Unlike many a non-fiction book on the Holocaust this brings to the forefront the emotional upheaval, turmoil and utter fear that the Jewish people must have felt during the persecution. The story is poignant, thought-provoking and had it made the short-list (as it should) I think it would have been in contention to win.

Heart-wrenching page turner - Must Read!

Thursday, 12 May 2016

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake

There Will Be Lies

And then there will be truth...

Oh Nick Lake you have done it again! That is all I could think whilst reading this book. I have only read one other book by Nick Lake and I had the same thoughts about that one as I did about There will Be Lies. For some reason I find Lake’s writing style a bit of a chore to get into.  Like In Darkness it took me a really long time to get through the first few chapters of this book but once I had made it halfway I was flying through it. Part of me enjoyed it but part of me was just so desperate to understand what on earth was going on that I could not put it down. I had to know.

There will be lies is nominated for this year’s Carnegie Award. Unlike The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge which I adored this one has been a real battle for me to read. Shelby Cooper has lived a very sheltered life. Her mum has wrapped her up in cotton wool shielding her from a normal life. She doesn't have friends, she is home schooled and she follows the same routine with her mum week in week out. All this changes when Shelby is involved in a car accident and from that moment on her life spirals into a journey of lies and truths and Shelby must learn along the way about who she really is and who she wants to be. 

For me the style of first person writing was not to my taste. I felt Lake really tried to make Shelby almost too teenage so a lot of the time some of what she says felt garbled and nonsensical and there is definitely a thing as too much sarcasm. I found it irritating. The story jumps between Shelby going on the run with her mum and going into a place called The Dreaming. I really struggled with The Dreaming, I found it tedious and an unnecessary distraction from the thrilling part of the story. For a good three quarters of the story I was pretty lost (much like Shelby). Frustratingly though I had to keep reading. I could not put the book down as I just had to understand what on earth was happening. 

I know many people who loved In Darkness and I think would love this too as it’s very quintessentially Nick Lake in style.

Not my winner but at least I finished it!

Friday, 22 January 2016

City of Legends by Cheyanne Young

For my first read of 2016 I chose a previously self published titles by Cheyanne Young that is being re-released on February 5th and is available for preorder now.

City of Legends is the first book in the trilogy of the same name. Originally released by Young with the title Powered this is a fast pace young adult sci-fantasy adventure. 

From the very start you are plunged into a high octane story, it really does not start off slowly. From chapter one we meet Maci Knight a 'super' merely a day away from her eighteenth birthday and subsequently her Hero examination. However we learn, as does Maci a secret that could potentially change everything, she was a twin at birth, to be a twin as a 'super' is dangers as it is common knowledge that one twin will be evil and one will be good.  Maci's twin died so there is no way to know who was the evil twin. Maci must find herself and see if nature outweighs nurture. She must deal with the stigma that comes with the revelation as those around her treat her with new suspicion for fear she will go rogue. I liked the character of Maci and enjoyed the way her character developed during the story gaining a greater sense of self and her purpose. 

Many books of a similar genre for young adults are often weighty tombs so it is refreshing to read a much more accessible book. I think some less confident readers will be able to access these stories as a opposed to books well over 400 pages that can be quite intimidating. Although I found a lot of the story predictable I did read it in one sitting so I was clearly gripped. 

Young's world is cleverly created and her characters are witty and well developed. As an opener to a trilogy it's a good set up.

I really toyed between 3 - 4 stars. Part of me feels I should give 4 stars as I read this in one go. However, purely because I found aspects of the story really predictable I had to go for 3

* I was asked to review this by the publishers. All views and opinions expressed are my own

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I've Recently Added to my TBR List

Joining back in with the fantastic meme from The Broke and the Bookish. This week the Top Ten Tuesday is books I have recently added to my TBR list.  Now any book worm knows that the to be read list grows more then it shrinks. I often find that my list feels a bit daunting but I love the lure of a new book. 

So my list has grown at an alarming rate now I'm gearing up to return to the school library world. I have done half a list of young adult read and half books I am hope to read from my own personal collection. 

1. The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

This keeps popping up on my instagram feed in various post from other book enthusiasts and even a sponsored audible post. This actually was released on my birthday last year but I've only started seeing some buzz now I am back into more young adult reading. The sequel is released on the 9th of February so I'd like to try read it before Glass Swords comes out. One review on good reads proclaimed it an X-Men Dystopian story so that has hooked me in already!

2. A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab 

I was tipped off to this by another blogger. This is a fantasy story that takes place in four versions of London. I love that it is set in a UK and I can't resit a good young adult fantasy to add to the school library . 

3. Jekyll's Mirror by William Hussey 

I stumbled open this in the teen section of my local library and as I love the Robert Louis Stevenson original inspiration I could not resist picking this up.  This a modern re-imagining using social media as the tool to create the nastier side. I think I'll race through this one. 

4. Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

I enjoyed the Delirum series by Oliver and this story sounds utterly different so I really want to see how Oliver deals with a different genre. This story is about two sisters whose lives are dramatically altered by a terrible accident that leaves one of them with facial scaring. 

5. The Death House by Sarah Pinborough 

I've seen a few reviews of this book appear on my goodreads feed and initially it looked like another dystopian story but this isn't about challenging the oppression in society instead its about the love that blossoms between those who have been deemed 'defective' by society. I think it sounds like a riveting read. 

6. Angel of Storms by Trudi Canvan 

I had completely missed the release of the sequel to Thief's Magic. Although it took me a while to get into the first one in this series I love pretty much anything Trudi puts her name on so I just can't ignore this new release. 

7. The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith 

I resisted reading the crime fiction by J.K Rowling under her pseudonym as Galbraith just in case I was disappointed. It is no secret that I love the Harry Potter series so I was a bit concerned. However it doesn't feel like Rowling wrote this at all. To be truthful it might as well be written by a man called Galbraith as it feels like a completely different style. I loved the first one and with the release of the third last year I need to hurry up and read the second so I can be up to date for the third. 

8. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson 

I read the Mistborn trilogy last year and I honestly loved it. The fantasy that Sanderson created was on another level and I was transported into the world he created effortlessly. This is another installment in the Mistborn world. It is set 300 years later so I am yet to decide if I need to re-read the other 3. Thankfully I can remember quite alot so I am probably going to risk it. I got this for Christmas so it keeps beckoning me from the shelf. 

9.  The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson 

Ok I know it is another Brandon Sanderson but it was another Christmas present so it got added to my list to read when I was bought this by wonderful husband. He had clearly heard me waxing lyrical about the Mistborn trilogy. I started this a few weeks back but got distracted by life so I am hoping to get into it again soon. 

10. The Lake House by Kate Morton 

I completely missed the release of this new Kate Morton. I always enjoy escaping into the twisting tales she weaves and I know this will be a relaxing book to read that won't be too complex for my tired mummy brain to escape into. 

What is on your TBR list at the moment?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

I requested to review this book - Seven Ways We Lie as I was intrigued by title. I wanted to branch out in my YA reads and try avoid a fantasy story or a series.

Seven Ways We Lie is a debut novel by Riley Redgate. Considering her influences on goodreads are listed as Neil Gaiman and J.K.Rowling her own writing genre is considerably different. I think for myself this was always going to be a bit of a tough sell. Not only am I not really familiar with the 'drama' that seems to exist in American Highschools (at least fictional ones anyway) but I also work in a secondary school and found some of the ways issues were dealt with to be quite implausible.

Having said all this I think the characters were really well written. Redgate develops each of her characters by letting them author individual chapters. I have always liked this style of writing when done well. I think its a mark of a very talented writer to be able to switch from character to character creating seven distinctly different voices with each chapter, which Redgate manages superbly.  Each character has some secret or lie whether its a lie to friends, family or even to themselves that they are all hiding. Each individual voice in the story deals with some tough topics and sometimes it has moments where it feels like its a bit  much. However, the constant change of voice helps to break up the issues and keeps the story compelling.

Each character is dealing with their own personal problems. Twin sisters Kat and Olivia are dealing in their own ways with their mother abandoning them. Claire is dealing with a massive inferiority complex, Juniper is struggling under the weight of her supposedly perfect life, Matt his parents disintegrating relationship, Lucas with his sexuality and Valentine is dealing with the weight of his involvement with the rumour regarding the student teacher relationship.  All these stories are connected. The rumour of the student teacher relationship is the core of the story weaving its way into each characters own personal journey. I found each story compelling and each individual story was quite emotional, particularly that of Kat's, who was by far for me the most intriguing character.

Unfortunately for me however, my background working in several schools made the handling of the student teacher relationship implausible and really damaged my ability to connect with the story as it was just too far fetched (says the girl who likes any story with a dragon in it).  Firstly the headteacher holds an assembly and tells the whole school about the as of yet unsubstantiated rumour. Although naturally some gossiping occurs I don't think Redgate captures the pandemonium that would undoubtedly ensue if this kind of rumour was announced in a 'normal school'.  Additionally in order to ferret out information every student in the school is asked to complete a statement about what they know on the issue. I just can't see this happening . Again from my own experience I can just imagine the ridiculous responses students would write on these. Finally the way Redgate shows the school dealing with a student vindictively identified as the one involved in the affair is just absurd for me and would never be allowed to occur. The headteacher meets with this student alone - no parental presence at all. Sadly this really hampered my ability to take this aspect of the story seriously.

Thankfully however their are several redeeming features including the developing relationship between Matt and Olivia as well as the transformation of Kat. Although I found elements of the story really cliched and absent from reality I equally found parts moving and though provoking. This would be a great read for an older teen, especially one struggling with issues at home and with their identity. This book is avaliable to preorder and will be published on the 8th March.

A compelling and thought-provoking read in parts. 

Friday, 8 January 2016

Return to Reviewing: Daugther of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

As this year marks the year I shall finish maternity leave and return to my librarian ways I thought it was a good a time as any to return to my book blogging ways. Although I have not been blogging I have been reading and have discovered some new authors and series that I have absolutely loved. I have not managed to read quite as many books as I usually do but having a baby will do that to you!

As before the blog will feature a variety of books and I will try my best not to pick just fantasy series. Having said that I am going to kick of this years blogging with a phenomenal fantasy series I devoured in the final few weeks before my little girl arrived.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Do you belong here or Elsewhere?

My eldest sister like me is a keen reader. As part of her book group this fantasy title was suggested and after storming through it she recommended it to me. As I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of little miss I decided to treat myself to the whole trilogy . I was worried I would struggle to read all three before her arrival but they are a truly spectacular series that hooked me from the first few chapters. 

Although I had heard of the series I had missed all the hype surrounding it so was not really aware of what the story was about.  The central character Karou has been precariously balancing two lives. One in which she is a semi-normal teenager with a flair for drawing whilst simultaneously living with a group of Chimera and collecting teeth for the intriguing Brimstone.  She has no idea what Brimstone uses the teeth for but she continues to collect teeth from a whole array of different places and animals.  Her discoveries throughout each book plunge her deeper into a world where teeth are more important than gold and she has a pivotal role in a war that has been raging between Angels and Chimera for centuries. 

Karou is an enigmatic and feisty lead character and Taylor’s writing style brings her to life brilliantly.  A book can pass or fail for me on the way a lead female is written – I really dislike sappy and somewhat pathetic female leads (Bella – Twilight for one).  Karou is far from this and if one dynamic female character is not enough Taylor creates several strong female characters throughout the series that demand a readers respect. Zuzana is by far my favourite and is used instrumentally by Taylor to provide a lighter side to the darker moments in the story. Zuzana, as Karou's best friend in the real world, allows Karou’s  worlds to mix. In many fantasy sagas two worlds are often mutually exclusive and it is difficult for the protagonist to have a foot in the real world still. Zuzana helps to keep Karou involved in both worlds which I loved.  The other central character is Akiva, the male lead and as is often the case he is insanely handsome. Fortunately there is depth to his character that thankfully means his otherworldly looks do not ruin him. Several moments in the books with Akiva brought me to tears.  

This series is also a fantastically written love story and is one that spans decades, species and worlds and is written fluidly and beautifully by Taylor.  Her writing jumps off the page keeping you reading and reading. Taylor manages to create emotion with her words without laying it on too thick. Yet even though this is a superbly written love story it is an incredible fantasy epic. The world she writes is hauntingly beautiful and she challenges the perception of war having to be good versus evil.

If you are toying with the idea of reading a fantasy book give this series a try. It is a complicated fantasy but Taylor’s writing style is so clever and she keeps the pace steady and manages not to overdo it, giving you time to really absorb and enjoy the story. Her writing style is almost melodic, never weighing you down and although you are in the midst of some dramatic scenes she still manages to interject humour just when you really need someone to cut the tension.

My only criticism is that I actually think this should have been a quartet. I feel parts of the story in the third instalment were rushed. In particular new characters were introduced with little background for them to then suddenly play a quintessential role.  For me this did a disservice to her well developed original characters. I think stretching the story over four books would have meant she did not need to suddenly introduce a character in order for them to be a plot catalyst. Really I am just greedy and wanted to read more from this world. 

On the whole I did love them. I laughed, cried and devoured this whole trilogy and would gladly read them again.