Monday, 13 August 2018

The Poet X by Elizabeth Agevedo

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368 
Publisher: Electric Monkey 
Released: 3rd of May 2018 

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, and the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed. And a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight.

Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.

What I Have to Say 

I'm not a massive fan of just sitting and reading poetry, especially with something like Slam where it's supposed to be read allowed, but I liked this book so, so much. The combinations of the story and the poetry meant that I could see Xiomara reading the poems. The beautiful cover is one that gets so stuck in your mind that it makes Xiomara so, so easy to picture. It was the perfect combination of Slam poetry and prose. 

I loved Xiomara's passion and the emotions that were stirred up in this book, especially when it came to her poetry around her family. It struck me that she and her brother had a lot of big secrets they were hiding from the rest of their family. 

I also really liked the romance. It felt so real and easily broken, especially considering her parents opinions on dating. I do think there's something about hidden romance that makes you more worried and invested in the characters. 

I promise, you will not be let down by this book. 

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

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Arrowheart by Rebecca Sky

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 384
Publisher: Hodder 
Released: 14th of June 2018

Kiss the boys and make them cry...

The gods are gone. 
The people have forgotten them. 
But sixteen-year-old Rachel Patel can't forget - the gods control her life, or more specifically, her love life.

Being a Hedoness, one of a strong group of women descended from Greek God Eros, makes true love impossible for Rachel. She wields the power of that magical golden arrow, and with it, the promise to take the will of any boy she kisses. But the last thing Rachel wants is to force someone to love her . . .

When seventeen-year-old Benjamin Blake's disappearance links back to the Hedonesses, Rachel's world collides with his, and her biggest fear becomes a terrifying reality. She's falling for him - a messy, magnetic, arrow-over-feet type of fall.

Rachel distances herself, struggling to resist the growing attraction, but when he gives up his dream to help her evade arrest, distance becomes an insurmountable task. With the police hot on their trail, Rachel soon realizes there are darker forces hunting them - a group of mortals recruited by the gods who will stop at nothing to preserve the power of the Hedonesses - not to mention Eros himself, who is desperate to reverse the curse . . .

Rachel must learn to do what no Hedoness has done before - to resist her gift - or she'll turn the person she's grown to love into a shadow of himself ... for ever.

What I Have to Say 

Never judge a book by it's cover! I went into this thinking it would be a bit lighthearted with a good adventure plot. Luckily, I absolutely in the mood for the book I got instead. This was such a beautiful commentary on consent and free will, showing Rachel as one of the few Hedonesses to see what their "gift" really was. My stomach was turned as much as her was while reading it! 

This was also less of an adventure and more of a resistance. This book was so dark with secret underground societies of Hedonesses running the world. It was amazingly addictive and suspenseful, the characters in danger at pretty much all times. Though there was the fact that I wasn't really sure what would happen to the characters if they were caught, it was more the boys and the world at large that I was worried for. 

The ending was really great and left a big wide opening for a sequel so I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next! 

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

Thursday, 9 August 2018

The Great Sea Dragon Discovery by Pippa Goodhart

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 272
Publisher: Catnip 
Released: 5th of July 2018

Cambridge, 1860

Would a plant drink ink as happily as it would drink water? Is there anything that eats a cat? How did any spider know how to make such a perfect sticky net for catching flies?

Bill’s head is full of questions and it always seems to get him into trouble. Especially when one of his experiments causes his father to lose his job. Bill gets a bit of money for his family selling interesting fossils he has found.

But it’s not much – and then someone else needs his help and fast.

And it just so happens that Bill has discovered something – something that could be the answer to his problems. But for the rest of the world, it is something that questions everything…

What I Have to Say 

This book had a lot more going on in it that the blurb suggests. And the blurb is pretty exciting to begin with. There's a lot hidden beneath the surface of both Bill's hometown and his family just waiting to be uncovered as things begin to change. 

I loved how sciencey it was despite Bill's class and time period basically meaning that he doesn't know what a scientist is and that it's a real job, it is undoubtedly what he is. From the moment he puts a daisy in his teacher's inkwell to see what will happen to it, the reader is let in on his scientific mindset and given the perfect glimpse of who he is. Or one layer of it anyway. 

I also really liked the way it showed how kids can internalise things so easily. How when parents call their child bad, the child starts to believe it, no matter how good his intentions are. It's an important point to make and I kind of wish they'd done more to challenge that believe in him. 

Definitely a good read for anyone interested in science and history. 

My thanks go to Catnip for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 6 August 2018

Giant Days by Non Pratt

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 288
Publisher: Amulet Books 
Released: 21st of August 2018

Based on the hit graphic-novel series from BOOM! Studios, the publisher behind Lumberjanes, Giant Days follows the hilarious and heartfelt misadventures of three university first-years: Daisy, the innocent home-schooled girl; Susan, the sardonic wit; and Esther, the vivacious drama queen. While the girls seem very different, they become fast friends during their first week of university. And it's a good thing they do, because in the giant adventure that is college, a friend who has your back is key--something Daisy discovers when she gets a little too involved in her extracurricular club, the Yogic Brethren of Zoise. When she starts acting strange and life around campus gets even stranger (missing students, secret handshakes, monogrammed robes everywhere . . .), Esther and Susan decide it's up to them to investigate the weirdness and save their friend.

What I Have to Say 

These characters are the greatest! I definitely want to go and read the graphic-novels after reading this. This was a great introduction to Daisy, Esther and Susan, it gave me a good insight into their personalities and relationship with still enough time for a few quirky adventures. Having not read the graphic novels, I can't say much about how it would fit in with the series, but I feel it would add a nice extra adventure in for fans. 

I loved all the girls so much, but I think Daisy was my favourite. She was so sweet about throwing herself into the various clubs and feeling like she couldn't let them down. It was quite an accurate snapshot of the whirlwind first term of Uni (to me at least) and signing up for loads of clubs that you never actually go to, because most of us aren't as afraid to let people down as Daisy is. 

I loved the adventures of the other two girls as well, of course, but Daisy stuck out to me. I can't wait to get my hands on the graphic novels to read them too! 

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

Saturday, 4 August 2018

The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books 
Released: 1st of July 2018 

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet ...

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn's grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island's next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

What I Have to Say 

Oh this was the kind of book that made it easy to fall inside of and just live the story. From the start I was just taken away to the Island of Arranmore and deeply absorbed in the story. I loved every second of it. From Fionn's character to the magic of the candles taking him away to various places. I love this world and I can't wait to go back to it.

The magic system of putting the storms inside the candle's and capturing what happens in the candle is amazing. It's so unique and brilliant. I love the fact that the characters could experience stuff, time travel even through burning the candles and the hints that the power of the Storm Keeper was so much bigger than that were so enticing! 

I'm so glad that I read this book and didn't miss it. I'm so excited to see this story continue. To anyone on the edge like I was, absolutely give this book a go. 

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

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Truly, Wildly, Deeply by Jenny McLachlan

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Released: 8th March 2018 

Annie is starting college. She can’t wait. No more school, no more uniform, and no one telling her what to do. It’s the start of a new adventure and Annie’s not going to let anyone or anything get in the way of that. Freedom matters to Annie. She has cerebral palsy and she’s had to fight hard to get the world to see her for who she truly is. 

Then she meets Fab. He’s six foot two, Polish and a passionate believer in…well, just about everything, but most of all Annie and good old fashioned romance. The moment Fab sees Annie, he’s wildly drawn to her and declares she must be his girl. Annie’s horrified. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s anything, especially if it means losing her independence.

But then Annie finds herself falling for Fab. As things go deeply wrong, Annie realises that love can make you do wild, crazy things, and so she sets out to win his heart with a romantic gesture of truly epic proportions!

What I Have to Say 

Best Character of the year award goes to...! Seriously, Annie is fantastic. She's so strong and feminist and she knows her own mind. She won't take shit from anyone about her cerebral palsy or honestly, anything else. And when it comes to romance, she doesn't want to be tied to anyone. So when discussing Wuthering Heights in English class, she and romantic Fab have some very firey debates. 

The romance in this book, the struggle that Annie faces between wanting her independence and her feelings for Fab. It was beautiful watching her journey, the debate as to whether love can truly exist without giving up some of your independence. It was a book with so much to say. 

And the way it ended. That perfect, adventurous journey, a wild gesture to try and win back Fab's heart. It was such a good story from start to finish. 

If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for? 

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

Sunday, 29 July 2018

Colour Me In by Lydia Ruffles

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: 8th of August 2018 

Nineteen-year-old actor Arlo likes nothing more than howling across the skyline with best friend Luke from the roof of their apartment.

But when something irreparable happens and familiar black weeds start to crawl inside him, Arlo flees to the other side of the world, taking only a sketchbook full of maps.

With its steaming soup and neon lights, this new place is both comforting and isolating.

There, Arlo meets fellow traveller Mizuki. Something about her feels more like home than he's felt in a while. But what is Mizuki searching for?


What I Have to Say 

I loved this book so much! It a little slow to get into and finish, but it was so, so beautiful. The way everything was described and the magic of the abandoned places that Mizuki and Arlo go to. The fact that there were no place names at all in the book added greatly to the magic. It made it so that it could be anywhere, even after you've figured out what countries are being described. 

I liked Arlo a lot. He was buried in grief and depression, his mental health already crashing before the accident that sends him running. It's a very good look at how depression can infect your whole life and even when you're not struggling with it, you're still worried about it coming back and turning your life upside down again. 

I loved Mizuki too. Her quest for a photograph that had never been taken before, her enthusiasm to go to the abandoned places and find new things to capture with her camera, the fact that she has her own things that she's hiding from. 

Two characters travelling around, exploring places from islands full of wilds rabbits, to abandoned hospitals and theme parks, finding the magic in the places left behind. This is an amazing book about mental health. 

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