Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Hiatus Notice

As many of my regular readers may know, this weekend is YALC! The Young Adult Literature Convention. And since I'm going to be busy getting ready and then going and then having lots of fun with booky people, I'm gonna be too busy to update. So my next review will not be until Thursday the 4th of August.

Hope everyone else has a good weekend and I'll see some of you at YALC!

Monday, 25 July 2016

13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: 14th of July 2016 

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don't remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this - it wasn't an accident and I wasn't suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I'm sure of it. But that doesn't mean they didn't try to kill me. Does it?

What I Have to Say 

This was a really good story. I liked the suspense and the lies, how so much wasn't what it seemed. It was well told and extremely well written so that it was hard to figure out what happened, even when you pick up on forshadowing and figure out what might be able to come. 

The only thing was that none of the characters really had my sympathy. I think they were supposed to be that way, but I really don't like books like this. Teenage girls using and manipulating each other really just don't interest me that much. 

It was worth reading and I enjoyed a lot of it, but I don't think it's one that I will ever have the urge to reread. 

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

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Ned's Circus of Marvels by Justin Fisher

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 448
Publisher: Harper Collin's Children's Books 
Released: 30th of June 2016 

Ned Waddlesworth has always considered his world to be exceptionally ordinary. Until the day he discovers it ISN’T. AT ALL. Because on Ned’s thirteenth birthday he discovers that everything magical he’s ever read about or imagined is REAL.
And without him, the world will soon be engulfed in monstrous beasts and beings.

So with the help of a robot mouse, a girl witch and a flying circus unlike any other, it’s up to Ned to swoop in and save the day!

Roll up, roll up, and prepare to be AMAZED by Ned and the marvellous, magical, monstrous flying circus!

What I Have to Say 

This book was enjoyable, but it was one of those books that there's nothing really that sets it apart in my mind from all the other books I've read. It's just one of those books about a boy who thinks he's dull and ordinary and then finds out he needs to save the world. It's a great story, but there are tons of stories just the same on the market. 

I'm not saying that it's not worth reading. I'm sure that some people will find something to peak their interest. They might like the faery type creatures that are featured or the way the magic works. As I said, it's a perfectly written and well crafted story. It just fell flat for me. 

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

Monday, 18 July 2016

Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 382 
Publisher: Skyscape
Released: 5th of July 2016 

Eighteen-year-old Moira Mitchell grew up in the shadows of Vegas’s stage lights while her father’s career as a magician soared. More than anything, Moira wants to be a magician too, but her father is dead set against her pursuing magic.

When an invitation to join the Cirque American mistakenly falls into Moira’s possession, she takes action. Instead of giving the highly coveted invitation to its intended recipient, Raleigh, her father’s handsome and worldly former apprentice, Moira takes off to join the Cirque. If she can perform alongside its world-famous acts, she knows she’ll be able to convince her dad that magic is her future.

But when Moira arrives, things take on an intensity she can’t control as her stage magic suddenly feels like…real magic. To further distract her, Raleigh shows up none too pleased at Moira’s presence, all while the Cirque’s cocky and intriguing knife thrower, Dez, seems to have it out for her. As tensions mount and Moira’s abilities come into question, she must decide what’s real and what’s an illusion. If she doesn’t sort it out in time, she may forever remain a girl in the shadows.

What I Have to Say 

The Girl in the Shadows has a unique juxtaposition between stage magic and the kind of magic that you read about in Fantasy books. It shows the reaction of a serious stage magician who finds out that she has real magic for the first time, despite the fact that everyone knows that there is no real magic and only pretty tricks and illusions. 

Alongside this, Bond takes the opportunity to slip in the occasional fact and story about female magicians and escape artists of the past, using her character's act as a stage to showcase these artists. I enjoyed these little snippets of information. They were interesting and insightful and fit perfectly into the story, showing off Moira's desire to want to spread the word of her role models while also informing the reader of these great women who have been so overshadowed by their male counterparts. 

In all this was a good story, a great take on magic, both of the fantasy kind and the stage kind and an all round fun and interesting read. 

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

Saturday, 16 July 2016

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy

Synopsis (Goodreads

Pages: 336
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books 
Released: 7th July 2016 

A small band of cats lives in the labyrinthine alleys and ruins of Nizamuddin, an old neighbourhood in Delhi. Miao, the clan elder, a wise, grave Siamese; Katar, a cat loved by his followers and feared by his enemies; Hulo, the great warrior tom; Beraal, the beautiful queen, swift and deadly when challenged; Southpaw, the kitten whose curiosity can always be counted on to get him into trouble… Unfettered and wild, these and the other members of the tribe fear no one, go where they will, and do as they please. Until, one day, a terrified orange-coloured kitten with monsoon green eyes and remarkable powers, lands in their midst—setting off a series of extraordinary events that will change their world forever. 

What I Have to Say 

This is like Redwall but more diverse. Set in Delhi, the story takes us into the heart of the wild cat community, teaching us their rules and customs. It shows not only the street cats, but also into the life of house cats, feral cats and even tigers in the zoo. 

This was like being a little kid again. I adored all the books from the point of view of animals and the complexities between the characters made this the perfect version for teenagers. I enjoyed the conflict between Mara and the other cats over her fear of going outside. The different views of each cat were interesting and added a lot to the way the book turned out. 

The way that the cats communicate with each other and the other animals in their neighbourhood is really interesting and I definitely recommend his book 

My thanks go to Netgally and Pushkin Press for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384
Publisher: Allison and Busby
Released: 1st of July 2016

1926, the BBC. The nation listens. A woman finds her voice.

London, 1926. Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job at the fledgling British Broadcasting Corporation whose new and electrifying radio network is captivating the nation. Famous writers, scientists, politicians – the BBC is broadcasting them all, but behind the scenes Maisie is drawn into a battle of wills being fought by her two bosses. John Reith, the formidable Director-General and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary Director of Talks Programming, envisage very different futures for radio. And when Maisie unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air... 

What I Have to Say 

 This is a must read for feminists who are interested in some of the powerful women of early feminism. It so fascinating to read of some of the early women striking out into the work force and making a name for themselves, all told from the view point of a girl who just wants to do the same. 

I felt very absorbed into the time period. enjoying the story of Masie starting at the BBC but also loving all the real life facts and characters that were brought into the story. The tense political backdrop with the Nazis rise to power alongside the strides that women are making with sufferage and getting respected in the workforce. 

Also, as someone who has grown up with the BBC all my life, it's really interesting to see it's roots. To see it fight to gain respectability while being unable to report live news. 

This was a very insightful read. 

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

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Under Rose Tainted Skies Blog Tour: Introducing Luke! A guest post by Louise Gornall

As regular readers will know from my review, Under Rose Tainted Skies is a book very close to my heart and today we are lucky enough to have Louise Gornall herself stopping by on her very packed blog tour to introduce us to the lovely Luke, the love interest of the novel. 

Hi guys! My name is Louise Gornall, and I’m here to tell you a little bit about my best guy, Luke, he’s the male main character in my young adult contemporary novel, Under Rose-Tainted Skies.

Luke is bae, you can't have him! No, for reals, Luke is funny, charming, incredibly charismatic, and he just moved in next door to Norah. I guess we can share him.

Luke’s world is very different to Norah’s. He has a social life for starters, and he’s attracted the attention of the hottest girl in school -- which, isn't Norah. Though, attention isn't something Luke thrives off. He first meets Norah under...unusual circumstances, and is immediately intrigued by the quirky chick living beyond the boxwood bush.

Luke is laid back. He’s loaded with enthusiasm and ideas. He plans ahead, thinks of the future. He dreams of things that Norah could never do. Luke’s character actually underwent a huge facelift during edits, it wasn't that we changed him so much as made his role bigger. Turns out, he had a lot to add, once the secrets in his backstory slowly started to emerge.

Under Rose Tainted Skies went on sale on the 7th of July, so you can find it in all good book shops!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

The Raven's Call by Kris Humphrey

Synopsis (from Netgalley

Pages: 224
Publisher: Stripes Publishing 
Released: 14th of July 2016 
Other Books in the Series: 
            A Whisper of Wolves
           Warning Cry
            Gathering Voices 

When a raven drops a white feather at the doorstep on the day of your birth, it is a symbol of your destiny. You are a Whisperer – a guardian of the wild.

As Dawn races to find the earthstone – the final link in the battle against the Narlaw – Ona struggles to keep control as the situation in the capital reaches crisis point. Can the young Whisperers of Meridina banish the shape-shifting demons once and for all? 

What I Have to Say 

A great end to the series! It was dramatic and thrilling enough to satisfy me with such clever use of their powers and unique skill sets. I definitely liked this series a lot, but I do feel that it had more potential than it fulfilled. 

As I said in my review of Gathering Voices, there are just too many characters to keep track of and the shifting perspectives between them have made it so that you get to know one in a previous book and then never hear from them again. I think if it had stuck to maybe three to five points of view and revisited each of them in every book then I might have kept better track of them, but I got to this book and found that I'd completely forgotten Alice even though she was such an important character in the first book. 

Still I think that if you're one of those people who rereads books over and over again then these girls could become beloved friends because they are all well defined and lovely characters, it's just there's not enough of each character's voice. 

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

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Loneliness of Distant Beings by Kate Ling

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Younger Readers
Released: 19th of May 2016 

'It is that quick, it is that strong, it is that beautiful. And it is also totally impossible.'

Even though she knows it's impossible, Seren longs to have the sunshine on her skin. It's something she feels she needs to stay sane. But when you're floating through space at thousands of kilometres an hour, sometimes you have to accept there are things you cannot change.

Except that the arrival of Dom in her life changes everything in ways she can barely comprehend. For a while he becomes the Sun for her; and she can't help but stay in his orbit. Being with him flaunts every rule designed to keep their home in order, but to lose him would be like losing herself.

In the end they must decide what is most important: loyalty to the only home they've ever known, or to each other?

What I Have to Say 

Overall, I liked The Loneliness of Distant Beings. It had a nice story behind it and was written in an engaging and relatable way, but the style put me off a bit. I think that the teenage voice was very accurate is very similar to the way that a teenage girl would write in her diary, especially while suffering from depression. I got into it after a while, but it did put me off a lot at the start. 

I also felt that the action was all clustered too much at the end. There just wasn't much really happening throughout most of the book and then shortly after things start happening, it ended. It's another of those books where I feel like the relationship had a bit too much importance put on it. I feel that I would have enjoyed it more if it was more about a girl who is so desperate to get away from the stifling atmosphere of the ship and feel the sun on her face and the sand beneath her feet for the first time rather than having it so much about trying to have a relationship with Dom. 

It was really an interesting book though. The idea of how humanity would react to potential contact extraterrestrial life and send a ship to seek it out as well as the rules in place to ensure that the human culture stays consistent throughout such a long voyage was really interesting. 

I think if there's a sequel then I would be very interested to read it. 

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

Saturday, 2 July 2016

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 240 
Publisher: Orion Children's Books 
Released: 14th of July 2016 

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother's stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.
The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family's love songs and tragedies.
Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before.

What I Have to Say 

This was a beautiful magic story set against the backdrop of one of the worst places a human can exist. The magical feeling of the Night Sea and the Shakespeare duck are a massive contrast to the grim and horrific reality of the center. Subhi is the perfect person to tell this story because his optimism and imagination soften the tone and make it so that it doesn't get too depressing.

I loved Jimmy as well. Having the two views, one from inside the camp and one from outside the camp really contrasts the differences, even though Jimmy's life isn't that great, it highlights the fact that even someone living in a trailer with very little in her life, she is still better off than those in the camp.

This is definitely an eye opening book, but it is also a really fun and enjoyable read.

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