Monday, 31 August 2015

Ghosts of Shanghai by Julian Sedgwick

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 360
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: 2nd of July 2015

Obsessed with martial arts and ghost stories, Ruby is part of a gang of Chinese and ex-pat children who hide out in ruined White Cloud Temple. 

But the world of Shanghai in the late 1920s is driven with danger: disease, crime, espionage and revolution are sweeping the streets. And since the death of her younger brother Thomas, Ruby is stalked by another anxiety and fear. Faced with a series of local hauntings, and armed with a lucky bookshop find - The Almanac of Distant Realms - Ruby forms the Shanghai Ghost Club to hunt down restless spirits.

 When best friend Faye is kidnapped by the Green Hand, Ruby must trust a mysterious stranger - and face her worst fears - in order to save her friends, and her own life. And in the ensuing fight she will catch a glimpse of the one spirit she has longed to see

 ...The secrets that Ruby's father and friends have kept from her are coming back to haunt them all

What I Have to Say 

This book has so many different threads to the story. It has the wonderful group of ghost hunting children that makes the basic idea of the book, but it's quickly overturned by the start of Communism in China. Ruby and her friends have to face the disturbances in their city and it shows how hard it was during this time, not only for Faye, a Chinese girl, but Ruby, a foreigner trying to save her. 

There's also the fact of Ruby's brother, who has been killed previously to the start of the book. Ruby is facing trauma, guilt and sadness over her brother's death. This all gives her one more thing to cope with and another layer to the story. 

This is a middle grade ghost story, but shows so many more human threats that the group face, that to be honest, the ghosts are a little lost in the story. Though I liked this, others may not. Personally I loved looking at 1920s China through a young girls eyes. 

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: 3rd of September 2015

While on holiday in Montana, Hope meets local boy Cal Crow, a ranch hand. Caught in a freak accident, the two of them take shelter in a mountain cabin where Hope makes a strange discovery. More than a hundred years earlier, another English girl met a similar fate. Her rescuer: a horse-trader called Nate. 

In this wild place, both girls learn what it means to survive and to fall in love, neither knowing that their fates are intimately entwined.

What I Have to Say 

I loved this story. There’s something about the American West which makes everything feel more exciting, not just in frontier times, but with modern day ranches and wild horses. This book had both. The interlocking stories were woven together so nicely, the modern day parts and the frontier parts paralleling well, both telling similar stories.

Even though I loved both stories, it’s the frontier story-line that sticks in my mind the most. I loved Emily’s relationship with Nate. I don’t normally like guys being cruel to women that way, but he was so arrogant and cocky and as he points out, he was only refusing to take her back to the town, not keeping her prisoner. I don’t know, it’s still probably not a good way to start a relationship in real life but the way that Emily was being such a sheep following a path that was set out for her and the way she develops whilst living in the cabin just makes it work for me.

I loved the horses and the Native American characters as well. Especially as the Native American culture is such an interesting one. Also Rose; there was no way I wasn’t going to love Rose and the way she was accepted by the tribe despite acting like a man. It’s such a contrast to Emily’s tight, corsetted life with her family.

I want everyone to read and love this book as much as I did.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Demon Road by Derek Landy

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 512
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Released: 28th of August 2015

Killer cars, vampires, undead serial killers: they’re all here. And the demons? Well, that’s where Amber comes in...Sixteen years old, smart and spirited, she’s just a normal American teenager until the lies are torn away and the demons reveal themselves.

Forced to go on the run, she hurtles from one threat to another, revealing a tapestry of terror woven into the very fabric of her life. Her only chance rests with her fellow travellers, who are not at all what they appear to be…

What I Have to Say 

 I only started reading Derek Landy's books recently (so late, I know). Not only are  his inventiveness and humour the things that make him the amazing author that he is, they are also the thing that I think I like most about him.

Demon Road is a really good book to highlight the amount of creativity that he puts into his work. 

The style of this book is much more serious than that of Skullduggery Pleasant. Although both possess serious plots and stories (at times), Skullduggery Pleasant is written in a more lighthearted style whereas this one on the most part is on the serious side, whilst still managing  to maintain it's humorous moments.

I did feel however, that there were moments when the humour was written more in the style of Skullduggery Pleasant than Demon Road. It wasn't a big deal, but it jolted me out of the book a little. At other times the humour blended perfectly, so I'm certain that Landy will get used to the style by the next book. 

I think my favourite thing about this book was how much of a teenager Amber was. Even though she had to be very grown up and brave running from her parents, she still had times when she dug her heels in and showed the ultimate stubbornness that only teenagers possess.

Few books show teenagers as they really are and when they do, it's very easy for them to come across as annoying but this was perfect. 

I really like this series and can't wait for the next book. 

Monday, 24 August 2015

Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 314
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 6th of August 2015

After her parents get divorced, high school junior Zoe Webster moves with her mother from Brooklyn to upstate New York, determined to get back to the city and transfer to the elite private school her father insists on. But then she meets Philip Digby--the odd and brilliant and somehow attractive?--Digby, and soon finds herself in a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all centered on his search for the kidnapper of a local teenage girl who may know something about the tragic disappearance of his kid sister eight years ago. Before she knows it, Zoe has vandalized an office complex with fake snow, pretended to buy drugs alongside a handsome football star dressed like the Hulk, had a serious throw down with a possible religious cult, challenged her controlling father, and, oh yeah, saved her new hometown.

What I Have To Say 

If you want a really fun read with hi-jinks, crime and friendship then this is definitely the one you should choose. Digby was an excellent character. I loved the way he disregarded all of Zoe's protests that she didn't want any part of his schemes because he knew she would always come along anyway. 

I loved the way Stephanie Tromly wrote, setting up all the threads of the story from the cult across the road to Digby's missing sister to Zoe's plan to transfer to a private school. There was a lot going on in this book and it all worked really well together. I loved how easily the friendships formed between Zoe and Digby and Henry. Though the way that they became friends was unusual, it felt easy and natural that they did. 

Even the serious threads of missing persons and drug dealing running through the story, the lightness and levity that the author has managed to create in the story makes it a really fun and enjoyable book to read. 

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Night On Fire by Ronald Kidd

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 288
Publisher:  Albert Whitman & Company 
Released: 1st of September 2015

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn't think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town's residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can't help but feel stuck--and helpless--in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. 

So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. 

The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn't even know she had.

What I Have to Say 

This is the sort of book that really makes you think. It's a very interesting insight in the lives of the children during such turbulent historical events. It was obviously very well researched and thought out, because the two girls were fitted into the events that happened really well. Jarmaine obviously fits in as a young black character who is angry at the world, but putting Billie right up the road from where the bus event happens was a really good choice. 

At first I was a bit uncertain about the fact that the author was showing such an important part of black history through the eyes of a white girl, but as the book went on, I started to see what he was trying achieve and I think it worked really well. As Billie's eyes are opened to the prejudice surrounding her everyday life, it's easier for the reader to see it. Telling it from Jarmaine's perspective wouldn't have worked so well to highlight the segregation and how deeply it ran. That said, I think that a dual narrative would have been nice for this book. 

As I said, this book is obviously so well researched. It was clever how the author slid the two girls into the events so that they were at the center of everything without affecting the integrity of the events that happened. 

I stayed up late two nights in a row to read this book because it was so addictive. This is a must for all fans of Middle Grade and a great book for diversity. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Darkmere by Helen Maslin

Synopsis (From Goodreads

Pages: 368
Publisher: Chicken House
Released: 6th August 2015

A castle. A curse. A dangerous summer. Leo has invited Kate and a few friends to spend the summer at his inheritance, Darkmere Castle: as wild and remote as it is beautiful. Kate thinks it will be the perfect place for her and Leo to get together - but instead, she's drawn into the dark story of a young nineteenth-century bride who haunts the tunnels and towers of the house. And whose curse now hangs over them all. 

What I Have to Say 

I love the combinations of this book, the teenagers going to stay in the castle (well technically not a castle) for a fun holiday, the creepy dark nights and the story of Eleanor, the original mistress of Darkmere interwoven throughout the story. 

A lot of my favourite parts were the ones with Eleanor. I like that period of history and the female side of things a lot, I mean who doesn't like a period drama? Also the relationship between Eleanor and St. Cloud was really interesting and had a wonderful Brontë-esque feel to it. 

I also loved the way it could transition so quickly between the fun, happy teenagers-on-the-beach scenes into the creepy haunted castle scenes.  It always felt very smooth even though they are such different types of scenes and atmosphere. 

This is an essential book for people who like dark, creepy gothic books. 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Guest Post: Melissa Brown's Top Five books about Death and the Afterlife: Includes Giveaway


Melissa Brown is an American author that lives in Norwich, England. She is a teacher in ICT skills, English and creative writing. In 2014, she was shortlisted for the IdeasTap Inspires: Writers' Centre Norwich Writing Competition and longlisted for the Nottingham Writers' Club's inaugural National Short Story Competition. She was also a featured poet at the Norwich: City of Stories launch event, where she did a live reading of the poem 'The Library.' She enjoys films, books, comics, fangirling and subscription boxes. She blames her love of the written word on her hometown library and fanfiction. 

She lives with her partner, Kris, and her awesome cat, Hailey. 



 Melissa's Top Five Books About Death/ The Afterlife

 1. Warm Bodies/ The New Hunger by Isaac Marion

'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead.

 Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins.

 This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight... 

2. Undead and Unwed by Mary Janice Davidson

It'a been a helluva week for Betsy Taylor. First, she loses her job. Then, to top things off, she's killed in a car accident. But what really bites (besides waking up in the morgue dressed in a pink suit and cheap shoes courtesy of her stepmother) is that she can't seem to stay dead. Every night she rises with a horrible craving for blood. She's not taking too well to a liquid diet.

 Worst of all, her new friends have the ridiculous idea that Betsy is the prophesied vampire queen, and they want her help in overthrowing the most obnoxious, power-hungry vampire in five centuries - a badly dressed Bela Lugosi wannabe, natch. Frankly, Betsy couldn't care less about vamp politics, but they have a powerful weapon of persuasion: designer shoes. How can any self-respecting girl say no? But a collection of Ferragamos isn't the only temptation for Betsy. It's just a lot safer than the scrumptious Sinclair - a seductive bloodsucker whose sexy gaze seems as dangerous as a stake through the heart... 

3.  Z-Chronicles - Girl, Running by Kris Holt (short stories) 

 Z. Among the most monstrous creations of our imaginations, the zombie terrifies with its capacity to pursue its prey unrelentingly, to run it down, exhaust it to surrender.

 In this title in the acclaimed Future Chronicles series of speculative fiction anthologies, fourteen authors confront that nightmare, that horrific mirror of ourselves turned base, soulless, and hungry. 

4. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris 

Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

 But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind. 

 And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next ... 

 5. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own. Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. 

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod's family . . .

There is also a tour-wide giveaway!

The prizes are:
5 necklaces inspired by Becoming Death
2 copies of Becoming Death

This giveaway is open to UK participants ONLY.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 17 August 2015

The Monkey's Secret by Gennifer Choldenko

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 249
Publisher: 6th of August 2015 
Released: Hot Key Books 

A segregated town, a hidden boy, a courageous girl - and a mystery in desperate need of solving.

San Francisco, 1900. Thirteen-year-old Lizzy Kennedy is not like the other girls in her town. She'd much rather be helping her doctor father with his patients than be stuck in frilly dresses and learn how to dance - but unfortunately for her, society (and her Aunt Hortense) has other ideas about what is 'proper' for a young lady. This includes not poking your nose in other's people's business - but then Jing, their beloved housekeeper, gets stuck in the Chinatown quarantine. Fear rules San Francisco - fear of the Chinese, and mostly fear of the plague rumours that circle them. Lizzie knows she has to help Jing, whatever the warnings. But what she doesn't expect to find is a strange boy hiding in Jing's room.

The boy is called Noah. He says he's Jing's son - although Lizzie's never heard of him - and although he's escaped the quarantine, he can't risk leaving the house in case he gets rounded-up too. Lizzie wants to investigate, but it seems her questions only get people riled up. Is there really plague in San Francisco? What have the Chinese got to do with it? Just what or who is the mysterious 'monkey' - and what has his secret got to do with anything? Lizzie will have to use all of her courage, instinct and cleverness to unravel the mystery of the monkey's secret, save Jing, Noah and Chinatown - and maybe even her change her own destiny.

What I Have to Say 

This was a beautiful story about class, race and gender, It worked so well with all the paralleling themes; Lizzy's struggles with her aunt, wanting to be a doctor when society pushes her towards marriage and more "suitable" female pursuits; Noah's similar desire to go to university when his race and class makes it harder and the search for Jung, trying to get him out of Chinatown when the whole place is under quarantine.  

I loved the mystery of everything. There were so many different mysteries  with in the main one of whether or not there is actually plague in Chinatown being very prominent with twists and turns all over the place. 

I liked the friendship between between Noah and Lizzy a lot. It was interesting how they managed the hiding and secrecy with the secret signs and messages they sent. I particularly liked the way they used the cat's collar as a way to deliver messages. 

This is not a traditional mystery, but definitely up there in with the top ones I've read this year. 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 546
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Children's Books
Released: 24th of September 2015

Ethan aka Scam has a voice inside him that'll say whatever people want to hear, whether it's true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn't - like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery. The only people who can help are the other Zeroes, who aren't exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, aka Bellwether, the group's 'glorious leader.' After Scam's SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals. At the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

What I Have to Say 

Who can resist a superhero book by Scott Westerfeld? I don't know much about the other authors, but their writing blends seamlessly, creating a wonderfully told story from six different perspectives. 

I loved each of the characters in different ways. They all had a distinct and interesting personality to bring to the mix. I think my favourites were Flicker and Anonymous. Flicker because she was so sweet and because of the way her superpower helped a little to compensate for her blindness when other people are around. Anonymous's powers are so sad. His backstory is really tragic. Although the best scenes are where he pops into a scene from nowhere at just the right moment, 

The story worked best because all the characters; their stories and powers all fitted together so well. Mob was separate for a while, but even then she was there. She passed by Scam and was involved so deeply in the story. It shows how well thought out the character were so that they could work so well as a team. 

I can't wait to see how this series develops. 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Becoming Death by Melissa Brown

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 321
Publisher: n/a
Released: 12th of June 2015 

Ever since her father's demise, Madison Clark knew Death had her number. After losing her first job, she is ushered into the cryptic family business. Little does the teenager know her family is hiding a dark secret; they are grim reapers, custodians of souls on their journey to the beyond. Even years of studying comics doesn't prepare Madison for the reality of having a so-called superpower, the ability to kill with just a touch. Madison expects her historic legacy to have benefits beyond immortality but what she doesn't expect is to still be struggling for cash while reaping souls on the side. 

As if being Death's minion wasn't strenuous enough, Madison finds herself back in school with her worst enemy studying the ancient rules, methods and paperwork of her vocation. In a cascade of life changes: her best friend admits he’s in love with her and she starts a new job as a professional mourner, but she can’t help thinking her family might have other secrets. 

Just when things are finally starting to feel normal again Death throws her a curveball: her next victim is someone close to her. Madison must find a way to overcome the strict guidelines of being a grim reaper in order to save their life. 

What I Have To Say 

This book was good as a simple New Adult book. It was good to see a sort of coming of age type story for going out into the adult world, as this is a stage of life that a lot of people are completely unprepared for. It dealt well with the issues surrounding finding work, getting money and generally looking after yourself. This created a lot of the story and it did it really well. 

The grim reaper side of things parallels well with this; New job; going out into a new world; new responsibilities. It works well as a story and I liked the technical side of the reaper business with the app that they use, but I felt it wasn't well built enough. I feel that the system that the grim reaper business had was a really good start but I wish we could have seen more of it. 

All in all, I think it should have been longer. It could have been improved a lot by taking more time to set up the details of the business more as well as the relationship. 

3.5 stars

Monday, 10 August 2015

Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 256
Publisher: Harper Collins
Release: July 1st 2015

A teenage girl will soon discover, there are some things which burn even brighter than fire.

Iris’s father Ernest is at the end of his life.

Her best friend Thurston seems like a distant memory to her.

Her mother has declared war. She means to get her hands on Ernest’s priceless art collection so that she can afford to live the high life.

But Ernest has other ideas. 

There are things he wants Iris to know. Things he can tell her and things that must wait till he’s gone.

What she does after that is up to her

What I Have to Say 

This book was interesting. It took me a while to get into it and it hasn't left me feeling like it was anything special, but there are moments that I can think back to and remember I really enjoyed. I think that for someone out there, this could become their favourite book, but unfortunately for me, it wasn't the one for me. 

There wasn't anything wrong with the book that I can see. I really liked the relationships, or lack thereof, between the characters. Iris' background of not really feeling love and actually despising her mother was really interesting to read. Her friendship with Thurston and Thurston's character in general was one of my favourite parts of the book. I always love an eccentric character and an eccentric character who enjoys doing performance art was sure to win my heart. 

I was also very captured by the descriptions of Hannah and her fakery. It was good to see a character who by very definition hasn't got that much to her, but who is still a very strong, well written character. It is an easy thing to get wrong, making a character bland and uninteresting, but Hannah is just shallow, vain and driven by her greed. She makes the perfect antagonist for Iris, as Iris is striving to form a relationship with her father, Ernest. 

As I said, I enjoyed this book, but don't think it will stay with me as one of my favourites, but I would encourage others to read it as it is well written and full of lively characters. It may not be the book for me, but it could be for you. 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Kiss by Lucy Courtenay

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 336
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
Released: 2nd of July 2015

'Aphrodite kissed a mortal once by the light of this moon, many thousands of years ago. It drove him crazy. The next person that he kissed - boum. The craziness travelled like this from person to person. It travelled through time. Everywhere - boum! Tu comprends?'
'Where did it end up?' I whisper. His lips are on my cheek now.
'It ended with me. And now I am going to pass it to you. You will like that, mermaid?'

Imagine the perfect kiss. A legendary kiss that makes people crazy with love. Imagine a summer's night, on a moonlit beach in the South of France, as French boy Laurent kisses 16-year-old Delilah after the best chat-up line she's ever heard.


Delilah is pretty sure the Kiss is fiction, despite her head-spinning holiday fling. But with all the sudden crushes, break-ups and melt-downs happening back at home, the Kiss starts looking a little too real for comfort. If only Delilah could keep track of where it's gone ...

Who knew one kiss could cause this much trouble?

What I Have to Say 

For this book, think Chick Lit meets a Shakespearean farce, with a scattering of Greek mythology thrown in. It took me a while to get into the style of it, but once I got what they were doing, I loved it. It was really funny. 

I really liked the main two girls. Their friendship is one of the most real that I've seen because they fight and they make up, showing that not all friendships are easy. It's something that quite a few YA books are starting to do and it's a trend that I hope continues because perfect YA friendships lead to unrealistic expectations in real life. 

The ending felt a bit rushed though. The bits with the musical and Tabby were fine, but the rest of Delilah's personal resolution seemed to be resolved without any actual resolving happening. (Sorry for being vague, but I'm trying to avoid spoilers). I don't know if anyone else felt the same, but I just felt that wasn't a good enough reason to gain that resolution. 

All in all though, it was a really fun read. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Millie vs the Machines by Kiera O'Brien

Synopsis (from Goodreads

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

Pages: 320
Publisher: Quercus
Released: 6th of August 2015

Within the confines of Oaktree boarding school, Millie Hendrick and her friends are privileged kids in a future world, where robots are hired help for everyone.

But Millie has never trusted the Units. They're just... creepy.

When pupils start disappearing, and no one else shares her increasing terror, how can Millie find out whether she is the only person who can see the truth, or is simply going crazy?

Who can be trusted - and who will be next?

What I Have to Say 

This book was amazing. As I was starting to read it, I was worried that it was a bit predictable, but the unreliability of Millie's mind made it so that you're never sure whether to believe in Millie or everyone else. It creates this whole psychological feel where you're constantly questioning everything and looking for clues as to what's real and what isn't. 

The thing that I really liked about the book, right from the start was the setting. I love a boarding school book to begin with, add in awesome technology and androids and you get something even more special. It's obvious from reading how much work Kiera O'Brien has put into this inventive and immersive world. 

And the ending! It's the kind of book that leaves you with the feeling that you've just read the most amazing book (which a lot of the time you have) and makes you incredibly excited for where the author is going to go next. 

The problem with this book? The next one isn't out until March!! 

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 440
Publisher: Orion Children's Books 
Released: 6th of August 2015

Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 

Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.

Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?

What I Have to Say 

I was worried that this book would scare me more than it did, which might be a negative point for some people but it made it better for me. I liked the question of whether it was real or mental illness too. It made it really interesting to read because you're constantly doubting things. 

One thing I really liked was Naida and her Mala practices.  I've not heard much about Mala before, so I was really interested in it from that angle. 

The style of it was really interesting too. I really like books that are written in a variety of styles like this. It mixes it up a little to be reading a diary extract followed by a video transcript.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

In Which The Blogger is Drowned by Books

Hey guys, just to let you know that due to getting an unusually large number of review books (not all my fault, I was offered some brilliant ones this month) for at least this month I will be going up to three reviews a week on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.



Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 2nd of July 2015

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

 Struggling to deal with her brother's death and a past she refuses to confront, Stevie knows she has problems. But she's still furious about the fact that she's been packed off to a health clinic, in the middle of nowhere, where mobile phones are banned and communication with the outside world is strictly by permission only. The regimented and obtrusive nature of the clinic and its staff is torture to the deeply private, obstinate Stevie - and don't even get her started on the other 'inmates'. All she wants is to be left alone...

 But as Stevie is about to find out, life is full of surprises. And she will prove herself stronger than she knows - even when her past finally catches her up in the most shocking and brutal way possible.

What I Have To Say 

I really enjoyed this book. I've not read much about eating disorders before, especially not as severe. It was really interesting to see how much variety there is between the different girls as well as the organisation and ways they tried to treat it. 

The main characters voice was really strong. The way that her sense of identity was wrapped up in her illness made it really powerful. There was always this struggle between wanting to be seen as anorexic, wanting to die and wanting to just give up and submit to treatment. 

I liked the flashbacks too. It's become a bit of a trope in YA to start a story in the middle and show how the character got there though flashbacks. But I think that when dealing with mental health, it can be a really effective format especially when the character is working through trauma as they spend a lot of time stuck in the past.