Thursday, 31 March 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 486
Publisher: Quercus Children's Books 
Released: 7th of April 2016 

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

What I Have to Say 

The first thing that struck me about the book was how slow it was. The whole journey on the ship, in the first part of the book, felt a bit dragged out and not much really happened. I think it was meant to build the relationship between the main characters. It might be better for someone who's more interested in the romance side of the book, but honestly I was glad when they finally reached New York. 

Once they had gotten the journey over with and things started to actually happen, I enjoyed it a lot more. Time Travel, historical and it even showed cultures that weren't white. I really enjoyed the detail that went into describing Damascus especially. When the view being described is different from the inside of a ship, it does tend to be more entertaining. 

I think I will like the next book in the series a lot more. It was really the journey on the ship that put me off and the rest of it was quite fast paced and entertaining. I feel really sad that my enjoyment of it was ruined by one thing, but I'm glad I persevered in the end. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Quercus Children's Books for providing me with this review copy. 

Monday, 28 March 2016

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books 
Released: 24th of March 2016 

Celestine North lives a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.

But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.

What I Have to Say 

This book left me reeling. It was so powerful that I couldn't stop thinking about it for days after. It was one of those books where you pick up your e-reader to carry on reading only to remember with crushing disappointment, that you finished it the previous night. 

Though when I started reading it, I didn't feel this way. It started out the way that most dystopias start. There was nothing special or unique about it except for the interesting society that Ahern has created. 

And then it started to get intense and everything changed. There are powerful scenes in this book, that I don't think will leave me for a while, that had me gasping aloud as I read them. Ahern deals well with intense pain and what is basically torture in a way that not only shock you as they happen, but deals well with the trauma that these things leave behind.

I've never read Ahern's other books, though I have thought about it in the past, but this has definitely made me want to know if she puts as much emotion into everything she writes. 

I cannot wait for the next book. 

Saturday, 26 March 2016

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368 
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books 
Released: 10th of March 2016 
Other Books in the Series: 
                     The Winner's Curse 
                     The Winner's Crime 

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

What I Have to Say 

On the Series in General 

As with a lot of people, this series captured me from the first book. I fell in love with the setting, with Kestrel, with the way it was written and of course, with Arin. It just has something. Something that pulls you inside the book and makes it a beautiful, rich and immersive experience. 

On The Winner's Kiss 

The thing I realised when starting to read the Winner's Kiss was how much the book has changed. It has always been a fantasy war book. It has always been very involved with the politics of the countries it is set in, but where the first one was focused on the romance between Arin and Kestrel, the second one became more about the politics of the court. It became about lies and spying and going behind one another's backs. The Winner's Kiss is different again. Eventually it becomes a war book, but I'm not even sure how to categorize the first half. 

What I can say about it, is that it was completely not how I expected the series to go. The drugs and other things that I won't say to avoid spoilers, were a very interesting twist. It's the thing about Rutkoski's writing. You just have no idea what she's going to do next or what direction she's going to take the story in, but it's almost written to make you think that you do. 

I'm really sad that this series is over, but I'm glad of how it ended. It really was a beautiful series. 

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Shadow of the Yangtze by Julian Sedgwick

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hatchette Children's Books 
Released: 7th of April 2016 
Other Books in the Series: Ghosts of Shanghai

Ruby - a Western girl who feels more Chinese than English - and her friend Charlie must follow the Yangtze hundreds of miles upriver, travelling by Chinese junk and rogue steamer, through bandit and ghost haunted countryside - doggedly tracking Moonface as he spirits Charlie's sister Fei off to his home village. Everything is in flux around them: civil war pulsing, with Nationalists, Communists and warlord bandits struggling for control. The river rises and falls, villages spring up and are gone again. 

Ruby and Charlie brave a shipwreck and a gunbattle and then take a perilous cliff path to Moonface's lair

What I Have to Say 

I think it's safe to say that my love for this series hasn't gone away. As soon as I got this book, I couldn't wait to read it. I was so excited to get back into Ruby and Charlie's world and find out what was next for them. 

Going back to the world felt like I'd hardly left it, although I always find it hard to remember where the last book left off. But Ruby is the same brave, determined girl that I remember and it was really interesting seeing her and Charlie growing apart. The racism that happens towards her in the latter part of the book shows how easily she can be offset as China changes and foreigners find they are no long welcome there. 

The mystery and tension in this book is spot on. Near the end, when certain things (which shall remain vague because of spoilers) were coming to a conclusion, it was hard to look away. It is always a sign of something truly special when a book can keep you transfixed like Shadow of the Yangtze did. 

I cannot /wait/ for the next book. Is anyone else reading this series? 

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Love Song by Sophia Bennett

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384 
Publisher: Chicken House Books
Released: 7th of April 2016 

A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.

She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancĂ©e, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …

What I Have to Say 

I want to say before I start that I liked the whole of this book. I say this because I'm only really going to be talking about the second half. The first half was good, easy to read and fun, but it just didn't stick with me the way the second half did. The first half, I liked. The second half, I loved

The second half of this book made me think of the golden age of rock music. The fact that I wasn't born then is completely inconsequential. It's the bohemian life style of the bands jamming together, making music and just having a great time. The image of the bands muse in the other room, painting, really stuck with me. 

I just enjoyed the atmosphere of the book more than anything else. It made me want to listen to more old music. It created something bigger than than the book and the story itself. Something that I think will stay with me long after I've forgotten the plot and details of the story. 

My thanks go to Chicken House for providing me with this copy. 

Monday, 21 March 2016

Radio Silence by Alice Oseman

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books 
Released: 25th of February 2016 

What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has. 

What I Have to Say 

I don't even know how to begin to sum up this amazing book. It is just so important. Alice Oseman has put into writing so many things that people have been avoiding saying for years. Things like the way our school system just doesn't give teenagers any other option than A Levels and university, simply by not saying that the other options are out there. How they are making teenagers feel like not getting good grades at GCSE will ruin their lives completely. And not only that, but she has dared to write a book where a boy and a girl main character are friends and never get together or have any romance with each other. She even used the word asexual. 

Not only did she manage to include all these extremely important topics, but she did so while creating a beautiful and moving story. A story about identity, taking the main character, Frances on a journey of finding herself, learning what she actually likes and is good at outside of what school has taught her that she has to be. 

This story has so much mystery, suspense and tragedy that it overwhelms me in a way that makes it hard to write about just how wonderful it is, because there's just so much that I could say. It's reminded me how great Alice Oseman is as a writer and what I originally liked about Solitaire, while also going on to achieve something even better. 

This book is definitely one that will stay with me and that I will force on all my friends.

I think that teenagers looking towards university and finding out what they want in life should read this book.

Students facing GCSEs, especially if they're bad at tests should read this book. 

And perhaps most importantly, anyone who feels that university or even A Levels may not be the right path for them, but doesn't know what other options are out there, should very definitely read this book. 

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

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 191
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: 1st of June 2009 

From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, hallways hum “Stargirl.” She captures Leo Borlock’s heart with one smile. She sparks a school-spirit revolution with one cheer. The students of Mica High are enchanted. Until they are not. Leo urges her to become the very thing that can destroy her - normal.

What I Have To Say 

I read this book in a day, partly because it was short and mostly because I was completely hooked on it. The mystery of who Stargirl is and what she's going to do next is so captivating that it holds the reader to the page just as much as it captures the attention of the students at her school. 

This is a story about identity and daring to be different. It shows a lot about conformity, bullying and what happens to people who dare to stand out from the crowd. But mostly, it's about seeing the world differently. It's like a fairy tale from start to finish, showing Stargirl as an ethereal character who catches the spirits and excitement of everyone around her. 

It truly is a beautiful story. The character of Stargirl is built up in a way that keeps her mysterious and elusive while still hinting at her feelings so that she feels both real and unreal at the same time. 

I'm not sure how the sequel will hold up, as I feel that maybe this story is better as a stand alone book, but I look forward to reading it anyway. 

My thanks go to Orchard Books and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book. 

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Bookseller: YA Book Prize shortlist!

On Thursday (the 10th) The Bookseller announced the 2016 YA Book Prize. As the YA Book Prize focuses  mainly on UKYA books, I feel that this is massively in my interests to promote it, so I thought I'd do a fairly simple post with details of the books and my thoughts on them.

I think it says something about my taste in books (or just how many books I buy) that I have a copy of almost every single book on this shortlist and have read six of the ten titles listed. 

All book covers and synopses are from Goodreads

Am I Normal Yet? By Holly Bourne

All Evie wants is to be normal. She’s almost off her meds and at a new college where no one knows her as the girl-who-went-crazy. She’s even going to parties and making friends. There’s only one thing left to tick off her list…

But relationships are messy – especially relationships with teenage guys. They can make any girl feel like they’re going mad. And if Evie can’t even tell her new friends Amber and Lottie the truth about herself, how will she cope when she falls in love? 

 I am so, so glad that this is on the list. I adored this books since I first heard of the concept of it. It is an absolutely hard-hittingly accurate look at OCD and mental health, while still managing to be sensitive, funny and incredibly enjoyable to read. Holly Bourne manages to do all this beautifully, while still finding time to fit in strong messages of feminism. 

If you want to see my review of Am I Normal Yet? you can find it here. I'm hoping to review the second book in the series when I have time to fit it into my schedule. 

One by Sarah Crossan 

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

Another absolutely beautiful book, One is poetic, poignant and will make you cry like a baby. With the whole book written in a kind of Prose Poetic style, this book has been one of the most beautiful piece of writing I have ever read. It definitely deserves it's place on this list. 

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham 

Three women - three secrets - one heart-stopping story. Katie, seventeen, in love with someone whose identity she can't reveal. Her mother Caroline, uptight, worn out and about to find the past catching up with her. Katie's grandmother, Mary, back with the family after years of mysterious absence and 'capable of anything', despite suffering from Alzheimers. As Katie cares for an elderly woman who brings daily chaos to her life, she finds herself drawn to her. Rules get broken as allegiances shift. Is Mary contagious? Is 'badness' genetic? In confronting the past, Katie is forced to seize the present. As Mary slowly unravels and family secrets are revealed, Katie learns to live and finally dares to love. Funny, sad, honest and wise, Unbecoming is a celebration of life, and learning to honour your own stories.

Here is the first of the ones I haven't read yet (though definitely want to even more now than it did before). I have heard some great things about Unbecoming and look forward to reading it myself. 

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge 

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father’s journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets. The bigger the lie, the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

The girl realizes that she is good at lying and that the tree might hold the key to her father’s murder, so she begins to spread untruths far and wide across her small island community. But as her tales spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter. . . .

For a few years now, Frances Hardinge has been one of my absolute favourite authors, which is a big thing for a Book Blogger to say as we have so many authors to choose from! While I really think that all this praise should have come for her book Cuckoo Song, which I think will be my favourite book for a long time to come, I am absolutely thrilled for her and glad that she's finally getting the recognition she deserves. Long may it last.

The Curious Tale of the Lady Caraboo by Catherine Johnson 

Cassandra Worrell is beautiful, rich and very, very bored. Trapped in her parents stately home, she dreams of escape. Life suddenly becomes much more interesting with the appearance of a beautiful, disorientated young woman, who speaks a mysterious language... Cassandra is convinced she's found a princess from a far away land. Could the princess hold the key to the adventure she's been seeking? Or might the escape she desires be found in the arms of the wholly inappropriate but utterly delectable local boy, Will Jenkins?

 I have heard many amazing things about this book and Catherine Johnson's other book Sawbones. I really must read them, but as of yet I haven't had the

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness 

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

It is an absolute travesty that I still haven't read this book yet. I am completely and utterly ashamed of myself. I promise you, it is close to the top of my pile and I swear I will get to it soon. But I have heard so, so many superb things about this book. Patrick Ness is a great writer and definitely deserves his place on this list.

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill 

It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma. 

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does. 

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes... 

How great is Louise O'Neill? She writes about topics that no one else will touch and she does it so well. She makes you feel things that you never thought you'd feel and pulls apart our society from the seams. Both Asking For It and Only Ever Yours deserve all the praise that they get and more.

The Sin-Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury 

I am the perfect weapon.
I kill with a single touch.

Twylla is blessed. The Gods have chosen her to marry a prince, and rule the kingdom. But the favour of the Gods has it's price. A deadly poison infuses her skin. Those who anger the queen must die under Twylla's fatal touch.

Only Lief, an outspoken new guard, can see past Twylla's chilling role to the girls she truly is.

Yet in a court as dangerous and the queen's, some truths should not be told... 

I could talk forever about my lover for Melinda Salisbury. She writes about dark and deadly topics with the kind of beautiful prose that you can get lost in (and read aloud to anyone who will listen). Not one to read if you don't want your heart ripped out and trodden into small pieces, but definitely a beautiful, beautiful writer. She deserves so much praise and recognition. Her place on this list is truly, far more than earned.

To read my review of the Sin Eater's daughter, go here.

Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe 

In a future London, Concentr8 is a prescription drug intended to help kids with ADD. Soon every troubled teen is on it. It makes sense, doesn't it? Keep the undesirable elements in line. Keep people like us safe from people like them. What's good for society is good for everyone. Troy, Femi, Lee, Karen and Blaze have been taking Concentr8 as long as they can remember. They're not exactly a gang, but Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet, watchful sidekick - the only one Blaze really trusts. They're not looking for trouble, but one hot summer day, when riots break out across the city, they find it. What makes five kids pick a man seemingly at random - a nobody, he works in the housing department, doesn't even have a good phone - hold a knife to his side, take him to a warehouse and chain him to a radiator? They've got a hostage, but don't really know what they want, or why they've done it. And across the course of five tense days, with a journalist, a floppy-haired mayor, a police negotiator, and the sinister face of the pharmaceutical industry, they - and we - begin to understand why ...
The only book on this list that I don't own a copy of. I'll have to admit, I haven't heard much about this book, though it has caught my attention in the bookshop a couple of times (takes a lot to commit to a hard back). I definitely need to get a copy of this and can't wait to read it.

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

Two boys. Two secrets.

David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he’s gay. The school bully thinks he’s a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth – David wants to be a girl. 

On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal – to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in year eleven is definitely not part of that plan. 

When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long…

This book is one of the few books that have made me so angry, I've had to put it down for a bit until I have calmed down. With such a fantastic look into bullying and identity, Lisa Williamson truly touches the heart of the reader. She is another writer who can make the reader feel so many different emotions. This is another book that I can say without a doubt deserves it's place on this list.

With so many fantastic books, I really don't think there's one that deserves the prize more than any other. I personally will be rooting for The Sin Eater's Daughter, Am I Normal Yet? and The Lie Tree.

The winner's will be announced at an awards ceremony at Hay Festival on the 2nd of June 2016 and I can't wait to see who wins.

Are you routing for anyone? Have any thoughts of the books on the list or any books you think should have been? Feel free to let me know in the comments. 

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Girl In The Well is Me by Karen Rivers

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 224
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Released: 15th of March 2016 

Newcomer Kammie Summers has fallen into a well during a (fake) initiation into a club whose members have no intention of letting her join. Now Kammie’s trapped in the dark, growing increasingly claustrophobic, and waiting to be rescued—or possibly not.

As hours pass, the reality of Kammie’s predicament mixes with her memories of the highlights and lowlights of her life so far, including the reasons her family moved to this new town in the first place. And as she begins to run out of oxygen, Kammie starts to imagine she has company, including a French-speaking coyote and goats that just might be zombies.

What I Have to Say 

This was a very quick and easy read. I pretty much read the whole thing in one sitting. There were funny bits and sad bits and very strange bits for example when Kammie was running out of oxygen. I felt it really captured the stream of consciousness of a young girl and the disorientation of her situation. 

However, even though this is written for a younger age range than I often read, I felt that it was perhaps written down too much, The fact is that kids are a lot smarter than adults often give them credit for. 

Even so, it was a nice little story. It went through many themes of bullying, identity and changing to fit in, as Kammie reflects on her struggles to make a place for herself in her little town in Texas. A cute read, but not really one that will stay with me for long. 

Thursday, 10 March 2016

The Exclusives by Rebecca Thornton

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 378
Publisher: Twenty7 Books
Released: 10th of December 2016 

In 1996, Josephine Grey and Freya Seymour are best friends and on the brink of great success. Both are students at the elite private school Greenwood Hall and Josephine, the daughter of the advisor to the Prime Minister, is heading for everything she has ever worked for: Head Girl, Oxford, the demons of her mother finally abated once and for all.

But in 2014, Josephine is hiding in Jordan — and has been for eighteen years since those catastrophic events in her last year at school. And then one day she is found. Freya, whom she has not seen since those fateful four months, insists on meeting to revisit their difficult past once and for all and finally lay to rest the events that have haunted their adult lives ever since. But Josephine can’t bear to — it only took one night for their whole lives, friendship, and even selves to unravel beyond comprehension. They have done truly terrible things to one another in the name of survival. She most of all.

All she has ever wanted was to forget, but Freya is no longer willing to let her and now at last, Josephine is to meet her reckoning . . .

What I Have to Say 

I enjoyed reading this book. It was written in a way that was captivating, compelling the reader to read on, but I found that there just wasn't much emotion in the writing. 

At first I thought that it was the character, as she holds a lot of what she's feeling inside, pushing it down and refusing to think about it. That still may be the case, especially as throughout most of the book she is subconsciously blocking out some of her memories, But even at the end when she was more in touch with her feelings, I still felt that it was almost completely lacking in emotion. 

That said, I did really like the character and it was good to see that the book focused on the dangers of suppressing emotions, as it's something I feel is really important. 

I'd be interested to see other books by this author, so I could tell whether it was written this way deliberately or all her work is as emotionless as this was. 

Monday, 7 March 2016

The Number One Rule for Girls by Rachel McIntyre

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 309 
Publisher: Egmont UK 
Released: 25th of February 2016 

Daisy knows a thing or two about love and romance. She’s surrounded by it – in fact, there’s no escape! Not only are her parents childhood sweethearts turned soulmates, they also run the very successful wedding agency 'Something Borrowed', helping couples to tie the knot in whatever frilly, quirky, tasteful, outrageous way they choose. So it's no surprise that Daisy has a pretty clear vision of how her life with boyfriend Matt is going to pan out.

There’s one major flaw in this plan – Matt and Daisy have split up! Determined not to brood, Daisy sets out to re-invent her life and her dreams. And that’s when Toby enters the scene, who appears to be perfect, but is turning all the Rules upside 

What I Have to Say 

Contains spoilers, trigger warning for abusive relationships 

The most important rule in this book "It's better to be single than to date a twat.", is something that I think we should all live by, but I love the way that this book tips the ideas of who is abusive and who just seems to be on it's head. We all want to think that we could spot an abusive person a mile off, but there are stereotypes that we're all guilty of. We want to assume that the abusive person will be a big tough looking bouncer with tattoos, but the fact is, sometimes it's the pretty heartthrob. 

What struck me with this book, which I don't remembering much of in Me and Mr J, was how funny and easy to like the narrator, Daisy was. There were a few times when I laughed out loud at this book and I loved Daisy's personality. She was easy to read and I fell comfortably into the book from very early on. The wedding business that her parents ran and where Daisy helped out multiple times during the book, just made it for me. It was the perfect touch to the book making for an entertaining subplot as well as giving a few nice contributions to the main plot. 

This book is a must read for feminists and a fantastic look at abuse and misconceptions. 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 335
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
Released: 1st of January 2016 

“My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was twelve.

The first time had nothing to do with me. The second time definitely did, but I would never even have been there if it hadn’t been for his ‘time machine’…”

When Al Chaudhury discovers his late dad’s time machine, he finds that going back to the 1980s requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, burglary, and setting his school on fire. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…

What I Have to Say

I'd heard a lot about this book before I got it. Mostly what I heard was that it was good, but a bit young. And I think that is a terrible thing to say. Because, yes it's about a 12 year old boy, but as a 25 year old woman, I really enjoyed it. 

There are books I read that make me feel like a child. They take me back to my childhood and I get a warm fuzzy comforting feeling inside. For me though, this was not one of these. I read it as just a really good book about a twelve year old boy. 

It was not a light book at all. It was emotional, moving and had a lot of information on theory of relativity. It probably wasn't the most scientifically accurate book considering time travel stories don't tend to be. But Einstein's theories were to my knowledge, explained correctly and it felt very realistic. 

Basically, don't listen to nay saying adults. This is a book for all ages.  

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Superhero Street by Phil Earle

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 192
Publisher: Orion Children's Books 
Released: 25th of February 2015 

Mouse is desperate to be a superhero. To find that power that will make him stand out in the crowd. But his every attempt ends in failure. He can't even get any attention at home as his five brothers (triplets AND twins) take every second of mum and dad's attention. When mum foils a bank robbery while on duty as a lollipop lady, she and Mouse are lauded as superheroes. Joining forces with Mouse are The Z List - a group of unlikely crime-fighters. But in their midst is a traitor hell-bent on revenge. Will Mouse be super enough to spot this danger, and is he brave enough to do anything about it?

What I Have to Say 

I have so much love for this book. I'd only read Phil Earle's Young Adult books before picking up Superhero Street, so I wasn't sure how he'd write for children. It's so different, but I like both of his styles. His Middle Grade books are far less serious. They're written in a style that reminds me so much of Roald Dahl, a lighthearted approach to writing with a lot of funny jokes and asides to the reader. 

I loved Mouse a lot and definitely need to go back and read Demolition Dad so that I can catch up with the characters on Storey Street before the next book comes out, because this is certainly a series that I want to continue reading. 

The illustrations by Sara Oglivie weren't the style of art work that I really like, but they were really funny and enjoyable. They definitely added a lot to the story and were worth the extra minute it took my tablet to load as a I turned the pages. 

This is a definite read for children who like superheros or even children who you want to introduce to superheros. I also think that reading it as an adult is really enjoya