Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Top Ten Reads That Remind Me of Summer

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish

1 - The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson
Such a brilliant summer rom-com - when Andie's internship falls through, she finds herself without plans or purpose for the whole summer break. But bumping into Clark and finding herself walking dogs lets her slow down for the first time in years and really enjoy her life.

London Belongs to Us2 - London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning
Set over 24 hours and all across London, Sunny takes us on a wild ride to find her soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. Funny, diverse, clever and such a fast-paced read, definitely a great love letter to the city. 

3 - Love Song by Sophia Bennett
Maybe not set in the summer, but a great UKYA story about boy bands and standing up for yourself. Plus, who doesn't love to read about hot boys while sitting your garden?

4 - How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
You might know Amber from Holly's first Spinster trilogy book Am I Normal Yet? but this is her story of going to America to meet her mum for the first time in years and spend a summer with her new family and working at their summer camp. Great British versus American banter, Harry Potter references and finding the balance between calling yourself feminist while falling in love.

5 - Amy and Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
I had to include a road trip story! After Amy's dad died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel to drive her car across the country to their new home. Enter Roger, family friend, willing to play chauffeur. It is the typical love story set in a car, but it's really sweet and definitely reminds me of long journeys to summer holidays. 

6 - How To Be Bad by E Lockhart, Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski
How to Be BadOh look, another road trip story! But this one is all about girl power, as Vicky, Mel and Jesse each have their own reasons to want to leave their small town for a while but after nearly getting eaten by a crocodile, end up with an unbreakable friendship. 

7 - 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Molly just has to last the 99 days of summer until she can escape her home town and never see these people again, these people who judge her for breaking the golden boy's heart. So you get all the hot weather, the crisp air by the pool, the friends round for barbecue's, but you also get the fear, the bullying, the finally accepting blame and moving on. 

8 - Remix by Non Pratt
A music festival, sleeping-bag hopping, parties and booze, best friends and boyfriends, practically everything is covered in this great UKYA story.

9 - You Know Me So Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour
When We CollidedFriendship can be found in very unlikely places, but meeting in a gay bar while dancing on the bar is definitely a strange one. When Mark and Kate meet, they encourage each other to get out of their comfort zones and be true to who they are. Short and sweet, ending with San Francisco's Pride Parade, definitely a great summer romp.

10 - When We Collided by Emery Lord
Quite heavy for a summer read but covers important topics really well, from grief to manic depression. Vivi and Jonah have a truly heart-breaking love story and one that will stay with you. 

Let me know what your favourite summer reads are, or if there are any books you are planning to read in the sun.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Barefoot On The Wind by Zoe Marriott

Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands, #2)There is a monster in the forest... 

Everyone in Hana's remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana's father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it - or be killed herself. 

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects...


Hana lives with her family in a small village in the middle of a dangerous forest. Her family has lost more than most to the monster that hides in the dark but one night, her father returns from an attack, the first ever to do so. But he is injured and Hana is the only one brave enough to take on the monster in the forest. 

Hana is hurt on her hunt and taken in by a stranger but it seems that he knows more about this dark forest than he lets on. As Hana heals and they grow closer, the magic in the woods turns deadly. Marriott has said that this is a feminist retelling of Beauty and the Beast, written as if Beauty had the choice to stay in the forest rather than as part of a deal to save her father. I think it made a huge difference in the portrayal of bravery and their love story, as the Beast doesn't hold anything over Beauty's freedom. 

The whole story was such an interesting re-imagining of the classic tale, and with Marriott's lovely descriptions and skill for magical worlds, it practically burst off the page. Although short and sweet, I really enjoyed this Japanese-style fairy tale and was reminded of why Beauty and the Beast is my favourite story. 

Published 1st September 2016 by Walker Books.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Great Book Mums

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Side note: while creating this list, I realised two things: one, there really isn't that many mums in YA books - even if they exist, they're not really there. Two: when they are there, they aren't always named. Or if they are, I can't remember them!

1 - The Upside of Unrequited
Actually both mum's to twins Molly and Cassie, and little brother Xander. They are crazy in love, demonstrate a great and healthy relationship as well as diversity and open-mindedness as they quietly fight for LGBT rights.

Wing Jones2 - Wing Jones
Along with both sets of grandmothers, Wing's mum works and looks after the house and family, holding things together after Marcus's accident. 

3 - The Next Together/The Last Beginning
I put these books on the list for Katherine but actually I want to mention Jen too because she and Tom actually raised Clove which Katherine and Matthew were stuck in time, or on the run or whatever it was they are doing.

4 - Did I Mention I Love You?
Again, I mentioning the mum and the step-mum to Eden, because as her dad is less than supportive (about everything, apparently) they both really step up and give Eden a shoulder to cry on and someone to lean on.

5- Vendetta
Vendetta (Blood for Blood, #1)Determined to protect Sophie from her father's family past, her mum is strong and brave in the face of danger. I mean, it's the mafia!

6 - Harry Potter and the... actually, all of them!
Mrs Weasley is bad ass and totally deserves a spot on this list, because not only she an amazing mother to her seven children but also to Harry and Hermione when they need it!

Wow, that was actually really hard to come up with! Apparently YA books are like fairytales in which most of the mothers have vanished. Or maybe teenagers are all about ditching the parents, that's probably more likely. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Circus by Olivia Levez

The CircusWhy would a girl who has everything want to run away and never be found?

Willow has staged runaways ever since she was a little girl. She has everything a young person should want: a rich daddy, clothes, money, a pony and a place at a prestigious boarding school. In reality, she has everything except the thing she really wants: a father who cares enough to find her.

Aged sixteen, on the eve of her father’s wedding, she ruins the bride’s dress and escapes through a window, determined never to return. Her missing mother was a circus performer, and Willow wants to follow in her footsteps. But the performers she meets don’t want her. When her last bit of money is stolen by Suze, another runaway girl she thought she could trust, Willow becomes really homeless. Then Suze comes tumbling back into her life and a desperate Willow has to decide whether to trust her all over again . . .

So begins their frightening, exhilarating odyssey though hunger, performance, desperation and dreams. Will they both survive and will Willow make it to the circus of her imagining?


Willow is a tried-and-tested runaway but this time she isn't coming back. On the morning of her father's wedding, she cuts the buttons off her future step-mother's dress and runs away, hops on a train to Hastings. Willow desperately wants to find her mother, the woman in the sole photograph she owns of her, standing in front of a circus tent. From what her father is told her, Willow's mother was a beautiful acrobat and had to leave when Willow was a baby to re-join her troop.


In quite a similar vein to her debut The Island, Levez tells of a troubled young woman who just wants to find her family. Having been ignored by her father and not impressed with his parade of women, Willow wants to be reunited with her mother and the only lead she's got is a circus in Hastings so that's where she'll go. But living on the run isn't easy, even with her gap year savings. But she is taken under Suze's wing and together they train to get into the circus.


As it is told from Willow's perspective, it takes a while to realise that she actually has it pretty good. She is spoilt rotten, if sometimes ignored, by her dad, and as she struggles with living alone and her reasons behind running away in the first place, it becomes clear that she is selfish, attention-seeking and na├»ve. But on the other hand, all she wanted was to find a real family - what's so bad about that?


It was sometimes quite difficult to read - Willow sure was an idiot sometimes, so much so that I wanted to slap her, but also the real-life troubles she encounters, from homelessness to assault, made me queasy. As for the friendship with Suze, that did seem rather one-sided but in her own way (maybe when she remembered) Willow did care about Suze and didn't want to leave her behind like she had been before.


All in all, a sometimes-difficult but quite spectacular story about family and love; it might have taken a while but I think Willow learned something about empathy and how destructive her previous selfishness was.


Published 13th June 2017 by Oneworld Publications. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Top Ten Things I Want More Of In Books, Dammit!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

1 - Pirates - what's not to love about pirates? It can be any sort of pirate, good or bad, or with any kind of twist, like time travelling pirates in Passenger.

2 - Realistic first times - the thing with reading YA is that most teenagers are probably having sex but rarely is it discusses properly. I'm talking awkward fumbling, getting the giggles, and being confident enough to open yourself up to another person. One of the only books that handles this well is A Quiet Kind of Thunder and I want more of that!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)3 - Space opera - stuff set in space that doesn't necessarily mean there's a space war - anything similar to The Long Way to A Small, Angry Planet.

4 - Fairy tales - I know there are plenty of re-tellings but I cannot find any original fairy tales. I'm thinking The Sin Eater's Daughter, because the way Salisbury blended magic and folklore was amazing.

5 - Nerds - there are nearly always nerds in books but more often than not, they are in the background or the sad kid getting bullied. I want more awesome nerds, like Cath in Fangirl or Lexi in Unconventional.

6 - Hate-to-love trope - I recently did a Top Ten of my favourite love stories with this trope but I'm always on the look out for more!
Am I Normal Yet? (The Spinster Club, #1)
7 - Mental health - this subject is finally getting the attention is deserves but I'm always looking for something different or a different angle on a familiar illness.

8 - Anti heroes - with their own story! It could be like Baz in Carry On or getting the villain's backstory like Levana in Fairest, but they are always fascinating characters.

9 - Dragons - either I missed the boat on this or there really are not many books on dragons! The one that I desperately want to get my hands on is A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan.

10 - Mythology - linked to fairy tales, I would like to read stories based on the unusual myths; everyone knows Hercules and Thor but what about the other heroes and gods, from all sorts of cultures? Books on those please!

Friday, 5 May 2017

One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton

One Italian SummerIt's been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie's dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer's here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy - but what's it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms - the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was ... 

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again - gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with - or so she thinks. What's going to happen this time? What's more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky - Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn't know how she fits in any more. 

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?


I adore Keris' writing style, it is always so easy to read and fall in love with. Her latest instalment follows Milly, the middle sister of three, as her family still struggle with the sudden death of her dad and the prospect of going to Italy for the first time without him.

Right from the off, it is evident that everyone has changed after their dad died, Milly in particular has retreated into herself. Their mum doesn't like to talk to them about it, Elyse the eldest is determined to pick up the pieces, and Leonie the youngest is getting more confident without Milly really noticing. It is strange how grief, especially long term, affects everyone differently but I think Keris did a wonderful job of sorting through everything and everyone's wavering emotions, especially in such a big family. 

So, they went to Italy for their aunt's wedding and they met up with their favourite cousin and his best friend aka Milly's crush. I thought this delicate balance between remembering their dad and having a nice holiday worked; I got the message about learning to get on with life, celebrate the good things, and how it's ok to start new things and move on without feeling guilty. Even a year after he died, their dad was clearly still around them and going to Italy, their regular holiday, meant that they could all remember him in a place that they loved and simultaneously get out of their holding pattern at home.

There was lots of really important and touching things about sisterhood, support and grief but also fun contemporary romance stuff about holidaying in Italy and growing up. Milly had lots of learn about finally confronting her fears and getting into a good place with Luke. All in all, a very sweet and moving story, equal parts funny and sad, cute and heavy. 

Published 4th May 2017 by Hot Key Books. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Never Judge A Book By Its Face

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is a freebie, anything to do with covers. And after some pondering, I decided on book covers with faces. Faces and eyes are quite common on covers, and I really like them, they can be damn dramatic. 


1 - And I Darken by Kiersten White - badass! Do I need to say anything else?

2 - Doing It by Hannah Witton - Hannah's said before how she likes how the banner looks like she's being censored and I agree

3 - Radio Silence by Alice Oseman - adore the colours and the blending effect


4 - Splintered by AG Howard - pretty and slightly mad, just like the original Alice in Wonderland

5 - Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol - I adore how the ghost makes up the lines in Anya's hair, and the differences in their expressions

6 - Trouble Makes A Comeback by Stephanie Tromly - I like this cover more than the first one, I think it's the bright glasses

7 - Seed by Lisa Heathfield - I think the flower covering her month is a subtle but strong link to the book's theme and Papa S's power


8 - Geek Girl by Holly Smale - nerdy glasses, unsure expression, doodles of math equations, yeah that's Geek Girl in a nutshell!

9 - Under My Skin by Juno Dawson - such a brilliant portrayal of the main character's tattoo

10 - Shut Out by Kody Keplinger - kind of childish font but I like the colours and the warpaint

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'May TBR' edition


Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

April seems to have flown by and I'm sure that because I had two weeks off for Easter. Unfortunately, not a lot of reading or blogging happened because I came down a really bad cold that knocked me off my feet for a week. Yay holidays!


On The Blog

Top Merch for a Harry Potter Fan
Review of Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost
Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Ever Read
Review of Windfall by Jennifer E Smith
Top Ten Book Turn Offs
Review of The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Currently Reading
I needed something light hearted so I'm reading What A Girl Wants by Lindsey Kelk - a rom-com of a book, funny and sweet so far. It is also a sequel, which I did not know when I bought it but I'm powering through anyway.

On My Bookshelf
Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands, #2)Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriott
There is a monster in the forest... 

Everyone in Hana's remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana's father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it - or be killed herself. 

But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined. And the beast is not at all what she expects...


Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Because You'll Never Meet MeOllie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie is allergic to electricity. Contact with it causes debilitating seizures. Moritz’s weak heart is kept pumping by an electronic pacemaker. If they ever did meet, Ollie would seize. But Moritz would die without his pacemaker. Both hermits from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times—as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him.

A story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances, this debut is powerful, dark and humorous in equal measure. These extraordinary voices bring readers into the hearts and minds of two special boys who, like many teens, are just waiting for their moment to shine.
 


Both of these I picked up in charity shops, along with What A Girl Wants. I'm really excited about both books, I've heard great things and I especially cannot wait for a 'Beauty and the Beast' retelling set in Japan!

Flight of a StarlingFlight of the Starling by Lisa Heathfield
Rita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.

Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?


I've just been approved for this and I am so excited! It's being published early June, I believe, so I do want to read it soon and Lisa's previous books have been incredible. Thank you Netgalley and Electric Monkey!


May TBR
I have ordered A Court of Wings and Ruin and even though it's daunting, I want to read this first. I also have my (so far) lonely review book: Flight of the Starling. Apart from that, I'm purposefully leaving it pretty blank. I'm still in a bit of a weird reading mood, work is killing my brain but I've got some books that I'm actually excited for now, so here's to a better reading month! And let me know what you're planning on read in May.

Friday, 28 April 2017

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Island at the End of EverythingAmi lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?

Ami lives on a beautiful island but when an outsider comes to change the rules, she realises that the rest of the world doesn't see her home as beautiful, they see it as dangerous. Because lepers live there, and more are being moved there. Set in the Philippines in the early 20th century, Ami's life is uprooted by the government's new rules that she and other kids that don't suffer from leprosy are to be moved to another island, to an orphanage. 

Just as beautifully written as The Girl of Ink and Stars, it was so incredibly sad, both how they were treated and the individual stories of Ami and her mother, and others like them. When Ami is taken across the sea, she vows to return but turns out that's harder than is seems when Mr Zamora is on the warpath. He was an awful character, so fearful and rude of those who suffered. Ami is quick to realise something is wrong with him is a very different way than the physical, and that is why I adored her. She desperately wanted to go home but even as a twelve year old, she was blind to the prejudice and feelings of others.

This story can be summarised as short and sweet, although mildly heartbreaking as well. It's such a unique topic to explore but a very important one, as the scientific breakthroughs and the development of medicine impacted the modern world but the treatment of those people, seeing them as individuals with families and homes, isn't something we often consider. I adored this story, Ami was so incredibly brave and I can't believe Hargrave packed so much into 200 pages!

Published 4th May 2017 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Top Ten Book Turn-Offs

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish.

1 - Love triangles 
These are the bane of my reading existence. I believe that you cannot be in love with more than one person at a time; love yes but in love? No. So when Bella is confused over Edward and Jacob, I want to slap her upside the head. 

2 - Complicated magical worlds 
Sometimes they work and I love them but if I don't get invested or have a basic understanding early on, I can't be bothered. Case in point: Kate Daniel's Magic Bites series, gave up after 20 pages because there was so many creatures and magic rules set out that I lost track.

3 - Sports
I don't do sports. Not in real life, not in reading. My idea of exercise is holding the book above my head, so I don't really want to read about football teams, cheer-leading or rugby. The one exception being Wing Jones, which was amazing and I loved it.

4 - Motorcycle gangs 
Read one, from one of my favourite authors, and the sexism hurt. Not sure I want to try another.

5 - Mary-Sue protagonists 
You know the ones, the ones that whine, that complain about boys, think there are plain looking but are never short of dates. This is the reason I only lasted 13 pages into the Vampire Diaries because Elena was bloody awful.

6 - Instalove
You can't be in love with that guy, you literally bumped into him ten minutes ago! Stop swooning about his eyes or his hair or his arms and actually talk to him, you nutcase! 

7 - Psychological thrillers
I can read these but definitely not often, they creep the bejesus out of me! Also, is it better or worse knowing that there's a twist coming?

8 - Violence
Not completely, I love a good stabby book about assassins as much as the next person, but violence for violence's sake? No thanks, that's just mean and gruesome. 

I think that's actually it! I'm sure there are more but these are the general ones. Please let me know if you share any of these turn offs or if there are any you would have added. 

Friday, 14 April 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

WindfallAlice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes. 

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall. 

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.


When Alice buys her best friend a lottery ticket for his birthday, the last thing they expect to happen is for it to win. But it does and all of a sudden, Teddy has a fortune. I absolutely adore Smith's books, they are simply beautiful but with hidden depths. And in this case, it was all about the happiness that money can't buy.

Alice is still dealing with the death of her parents when she was little, still coming to terms with her definition of "orphan", and now that she's 18, she's not sure whether to follow her parents' dream of Stanford or her own heart. Alice was taken in by her dad's brother and his family, growing up alongside Leo, her cousin. They and Teddy are an inseparable trio. 

Teddy has also had his share of bad luck: his dad liked to gamble and after he lost too much, he left Teddy and his mum with his debt and unable to afford their apartment. Teddy has always been self-conscious of his background so when he literally hits the jackpot, he (understandably) goes a little nuts buying all the things he's always wanted, from a sports car to a pinball machine. 

Like I said, Smith's stories tend to have hidden depths and the happiness that comes from winning the lottery is soon tainted when Teddy isn't doing anything responsible with it, at least in Alice's opinion. Things are complicated with the fact that Alice has a huge crush on Teddy but the money has created a wedge between them. I really liked seeing how things progressed, from Teddy going through the five stages of shopping, to Alice coming to grips with her identity of the girl with the dead parents. 

Luck mingled with fate, happiness with charity, money with gambling, everything interlinked and it took time and some serious maturity for things to finally settle down between Teddy, Alice and Leo. All in all, a surprisingly heart-warming story about responsibility, to your family and yourself, and love before material things. 

Published 4th May 2017 by Pan Macmillan. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Top Ten Most Unique Books I've Ever Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

I didn't do the original post from 2014 so I'm being boring and sticking to the basics. So here is my list of the most unique books I've read, be it in format, characters or plot. 

1 - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Written in different formats, from IM's to transcripts, this is one of my favourite books of all time and it is definitely unique in its story-telling and incredible plot.

A Quiet Kind of Thunder2 - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Every character is diverse in some way: Molly has anxiety, her twin sister is gay, their parents are gay, the love interest is a Jewish nerd - ok so that's not the best example but still! It has the most amazingly eclectic cast and all of them were brilliant. 

3 - A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Not only is it an amazingly realistic teenage love story, it's also all about communication because Rhys is deaf and Steffi has selective mutism so they talk through sign language.

4 - The Next Together by Lauren James
This is simultaneously about time travel and reincarnation as Katherine and Matthew are reborn across the centuries to fall in love and make the world a better place. Another one of my favourite love stories, as well as really clever use of different time periods, history, and multiple perspectives. 

5 - Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
A graphic novel written from the perspective of the bad guy? I am all over this one! Clever, funny and beautiful illustrations.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter (The Sin Eater’s Daughter, #1)6 - Seed by Lisa Heathfield
It's set in a cult. A cult! How wonderful and creepy it is to live in a cult but not knowing until Pearl meets Ellis, a boy from the outside.

7 - The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury
I haven't found another book that writes fairy tale-type stories like this. It is beautifully dark and scary and the bad guy makes my skin crawl, but the world building and characters are just incredible.

One8 - The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
Narrated by Death, we see Liesel, the book thief, grow up in Nazi Germany. Everyone should know this book, it is amazing and sad and so cleverly written.

9 - One by Sarah Crossan
Written in verse, this tells of conjoined twins as they grow up and have to deal with bullying, prejudices and medical bills.

10 - Girl Up by Laura Bates
Partly handbook on how to grow up female, partly feminist manifesto on how much it sucks sometimes to grow up female. But all brilliant writing, funny anecdotes and lovely drawings of dancing vaginas. 

Friday, 7 April 2017

Into The Fire by Jeaniene Frost

Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.

For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.


The Night Prince book four very much felt like a finale, the story was all about wrapping things up and lying lose ends. For our power couple, it meant that the hunt for Mircea now has a extra desperate edge: he himself has been kidnapped by necromancers and is being used to test Vlad's love for Leila.

Ian, the lovable rogue, is roped into helping Vlad and Leila navigate the magical underworld, which included some experiments with glamours and magical disguises. Those were hilarious, and there was even a little Buffy reference sneaked in there, which made me very happy. 

On this "magical journey", we learnt some real details about the origin of Leila's powers, which was pretty damn cool. Leila and her sister go to the reservation they used to live on before their mother died and discover some familial traits that come from the Cherokee part of their bloodline. I would have loved more details but we got the information necessary to whoop some Mircea butt.

As much as I loved it, and all of Frost's books, I did have some minor issues with it - the drama wasn't all there, the sexiness was definitely absent - but it was still funny, clever, dramatic and full of great vampire and/or magical characters. And it actually felt like a happy ending, even though parts were rushed or brushed off. Vlad might not have completely learned his lesson about keeping secrets from his wife, and Leila is still getting over some serious PTSD, but the worst is finally over and they can be a normal couple - well, as much as they can be.

Published 28th February 2017 by Avon.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Top Ten Merch for a Harry Potter Fan

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

The theme this week is a fandom freebie and I've decided to use it to highlight some of the (great) Harry Potter merchandise I've got along with some I desperately want. P.S - in creating this post, I went through my box of HP stuff and remembered how much of a nerd I was, I badgered my parents to buy me anything and everything HP related! You'll see.


1 - Pop Vinyls

I adore Pops, they are so damn cute and I have a growing collection. But my HP one's sit proudly on my HP shelf (yes, I have one of those), where I have Harry in Quidditch gear as well as Ron, Hermione and Luna. I desperately want Draco Malfoy and Hagrid.

2 - Jewellery 

The obvious ones for any HP fan is the Deathly Hallows necklace and the Time Turner, of which I now have both. From a lovely seller on Etsy, I also bought book-themed necklaces with a quote from Hermione on one, and the Marauders Map on the other. 


3 - Jewellery part 2
Officially Licensed Hermione Granger Wand Necklace With Ollivanders Wand Box! - Wizarding Wares
Hermione's wand as a necklace. This is something I talked about my Dream Loot Crate post last week and seriously, next pay day, I'm going for it, it is glorious!

4 - Stationary
This is a new addition to my notebook collection - I couldn't resist!

5 - Mug
It had an accident with the dishwasher but it still works and it holds the greatest amount of hot chocolate.

6 - Banner
A gift from one of my best friend's Sophie - she knows me so well!

7 - Wand

Voice activated, which doesn't work but I love it anyway. 

Side note: this is the photo I was talking about, this is all the cards, stationary, badges, toys, stickers and games I collected when I was a kid. The bag I used for primary school, the cards along the bottom are from Chocolate Frogs, remember those? That's a Mirror of Erised pencil case, a Book of Spells, a colouring pad, a sticker book, Top Trumps, House badges (don't ask me why I don't have Hufflepuff, I don't think I ever found one)... and I'm realising I am a huge dork and I am so proud of younger Anya for saving all of this!

 I know that's only seven but I'm going to stop because honestly, I have tears in my eyes from this trip down memory lane. Harry Potter has been a part of my life since I was 10 and all of the merch and stuff that came with it has allowed me to revel in this fantastic world for so long. 

Let me know if there's any Harry Potter related merch you are proud of, or if there's anything you desperately want!

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'April TBR' edition


Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

March was a funny month for me - reading took a back seat while I panicked and fought for my job (restructures are the worst). Luckily, I got it - yay! - but getting back into the book world has been a struggle. Please bear with me as I try to get excited about books again, but good for me I have a few really good-looking releases coming up!


On The Blog
Review of The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury 
Review of The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Discussion: Dream Loot Crate

Currently Reading
Into The Fire - book four and the finale in Jeaniene Frost's Night Prince series - details below.


On My Bookshelf
One Italian Summer
One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
It's been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie's dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer's here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy - but what's it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms - the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was ... 

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again - gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with - or so she thinks. What's going to happen this time? What's more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky - Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn't know how she fits in any more. 

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?


Didn't even realise that Keris had a new book coming out so when I spotted this on Netgalley, I was all over it! Thank you Hot Key!

Into The Fire by Jeaniene Frost
Into the Fire (Night Prince, #4)In the wrong hands, love can be a deadly weapon.
For nearly six hundred years, Vlad Tepesh cared for nothing, so he had nothing to lose. His brutal reputation ensured that all but the most foolhardy stayed away. Now falling in love with Leila has put him at the mercy of his passions. And one adversary has found a devastating way to use Vlad’s new bride against him.

A powerful spell links Leila to the necromancer Mircea. If he suffers or dies, so does she. Magic is forbidden to vampires, so Vlad and Leila enlist an unlikely guide as they search for a way to break the spell. But an ancient enemy lies in wait, capable of turning Vlad and Leila’s closest friends against them…and finally tearing the lovers apart forever.
 


I adore Frost's books and cannot wait to find out what happens in Vlad's finale.

The Island at the End of EverythingThe Island At The End of Everything by Kiran Milwood Hargrave
Ami lives with her mother on an island where the sea is as blue as the sky. It’s all she knows and loves, but the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: her island is to be made into a colony for lepers. Taken from her mother and banished across the sea, Ami faces an uncertain future in an orphanage. There she meets a honey-eyed girl named for butterflies, and together they discover a secret that will lead her on an adventure home. Ami must go back to the island of no return, but will she make it in time?

I loved Hargrave's first book and am really looking forward to more of her beautiful writing. Thank you Chicken House!

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval (Caraval, #1)Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.


Went on an ebook shopping spree to get me out of this reading slump, so along with Caraval, I also bought Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink, The Deal by Elle Kennedy, and All Fired Up by Elle Kennedy and Vivan Arend.


April TBR
First up are all my review books, those mentioned above as well as Windfall and The Circus. I think that's all I'll be able to read, like I said I've been in a weird reading place for a while now so I'm not putting too much pressure on myself. Let me know what you're planning to read this month and if there's any of these books you're also excited for!

Friday, 31 March 2017

King's Cage by Victoria Aveyard

King's Cage (Red Queen, #3)Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


The third instalment started off pretty slowly; Mare is a prisoner, paraded and used as a puppet for Maven's amusement. Mare is showing signs of PTSD and the longer she is prisoner, the more she seems to show Stockholm Syndrome, being glad to the smallest acts of kindness from Maven. I had forgotten how twisted Maven was, but peeking behind the mask and seeing his weaknesses made the black and white seem grey. It's not his fault that his mother was insane and messed with his head, but now that she's gone, it is entirely Maven's decision to continue acting like her puppet.

Like I said, the book started off slowly, there didn't seem to be a whole lot of plot, which is why it took me so long to read it. However, the character development, especially on Mare and Maven's side, was brilliant and terrifying. While Mare was with Maven in the palace, we had odd chapters from Cameron's perspective, to see what's happening back at camp, and then later on from Evangeline, which was utterly bizarre. Honestly, I couldn't remember Cameron at all, I had no idea who this person was, which ruined things for me a little bit, but the pieces came back together (albeit slowly).

I really enjoyed this, even though it felt so long. The villain dissection with Maven was quite spectacular, even made me feel sorry for him, and Mare went through a lot for the cause, which made up for the whining she was doing in the previous book. The last third made the book for me, the action finally picked up and although there's a long way to go, it felt like the Guard was actually getting somewhere in there fight against the Silvers. Plus, Cal and Mare reached a good point in their relationship, until the last second when someone (Cal) did something stupid, but we'll have to find out the repercussions of that in book four!

Published 7th February 2017 by Harper Teen. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.