Thursday, 28 December 2017

The Evacuee Christmas by Katie King

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: HQ
Released: 19th of October 2017 

Autumn 1939 and London prepares to evacuate its young. In No 5 Jubilee Street, Bermondsey, ten-year-old Connie is determined to show her parents that she’s a brave girl and can look after her twin brother, Jessie. She won’t cry, not while anyone’s watching.

In the crisp Yorkshire Dales, Connie and Jessie are billeted to a rambling vicarage. Kindly but chaotic, Reverend Braithwaite is determined to keep his London charges on the straight and narrow, but the twins soon find adventures of their own. As autumn turns to winter, Connie’s dearest wish is that war will end and they will be home for Christmas. But this Christmas Eve there will be an unexpected arrival…

What I Have to Say 

I must say I expected more Christmas from a book with Christmas in the title. I expected a lot of war time spirit, scraping together a fun and joyous celebration with whatever they can because they don't have much. There was a bit of war time spirit, but there wasn't really that much Christmas. There were preparations for Christmas but Christmas day was a paragraph on the last page and the preparations only started in the last fifteen percent of the book. It left me a bit disappointed, because I was hoping for a cosy holiday read. 

I also didn't get on much with the writing style. The author explained a lot of the character's thoughts in very great detail, often stopping in the middle of a conversation to think things through and work out the best way to respond for paragraph after paragraph. It gave the feeling that the characters were just standing awkwardly staring at each other until they were ready to continue. There was just too much exposition and the characters always seemed to be doing what was best for the situation, when real people aren't like that, because in real life, people don't think things through like that, they just act. 

I liked the characters well enough, but that's really all I can say for this book. I wanted to like it more, but I just didn't get along with it. 

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

Monday, 25 December 2017

Where the Stars Rise edited by Lucas K. Law and Derwin Mak

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Laksa Media Groups
Released: 8th of October 2017 



Follow twenty-three science fiction and fantasy authors on their journeys through Asia and beyond. Stories that explore magic and science. Stories about love, revenge, and choices. Stories that challenge ideas about race, belonging, and politics. Stories about where we come from and where we are going.

Each wrestling between ghostly pasts and uncertain future. Each trying to find a voice in history.

Orphans and drug-smuggling in deep space. Mechanical arms in steampunk Vancouver. Djinns and espionage in futuristic Istanbul. Humanoid robot in steamy Kerala. Monsters in the jungles of Cebu. Historic time travel in Gyeongbok Palace. A rocket launch in post-apocalyptic Tokyo. A drunken ghost in Song Dynasty China. A displaced refugee skating on an ice planet. And much more.

Embrace them as you take on their journeys. And don’t look back . . .

What I Have to Say 

Diversity is really the best word for this book. There was a huge range of characters with backgrounds from all across Asia, showing the wide rage of different cultures that Asia has to offer. There were characters with all kinds of background, from rich to poor and so, so many characters with various scars or disabilities. Though there was a very sad lack of sexual and gender diversity, in all other respects, it showed so many different kinds of people. 

It also showed a huge range of sci-fi, from very hard sci-fi to the softer stuff. I'm not a massive fan of the really hard sci-fi. I love a soft urban story, so there were a few stories that were a bit too much for me, but I have to say most of them I really enjoyed and there wasn't a single story I absolutely hated. 

There is so much I can say about the stories, but I'm choosing one to highlight and that's Back to Myan by Regina Kanyu Wang. This beautiful story of a girl returning to her native planet. A planet that she has no memories of and that has been completely changed. It shows the brutalism of  humanity and I think would resonate with anyone who has had their homeland taken over or destroyed by Western society. 

Anyone who has even the slightest interest in Sci-fi or Asian culture should read this book. I guarantee you will find something to love. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Laksa Media Groups for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 21 December 2017

It Started With A Tweet by Anna Bell

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 419
Publisher: Zaffre
Released: 7th of December 2017 

Daisy Hobson lives her whole life online. A marketing manager by day, she tweets her friends, instagrams every meal and arranges (frankly, appalling) dates on Tinder. But when her social media obsession causes her to make a catastrophic mistake at work, Daisy finds her life going into free-fall . . . 

Her sister Rosie thinks she has the answer to all of Daisy's problems - a digital detox in a remote cottage in Cumbria, that she just happens to need help doing up. Soon, too, Daisy finds herself with two welcome distractions: sexy French exchange-help Alexis, and Jack, the brusque and rugged man-next-door, who keeps accidentally rescuing her.

But can Daisy, a London girl, ever really settle into life in a tiny, isolated village? And, more importantly, can she survive without her phone? 

What I Have to Say 

I thought this book would be a funny, intelligently written look into digital addiction and a nice romp in the countryside. I knew it would go into the way that people spend all their time on their phones, but considering this is written by an author with a twitter account, being given out on a digital review website and basically being sold to members of the digital age, I didn't expect it to be quite so anti-phones and social media. 

That's not to say that I didn't like the book, but that was the feeling that I took away from it, which isn't what you really want when you're a blogger who uses twitter and social media a lot to do that. I think I would have preferred it ending on a softer note, with a reminder to leave your phone behind every so often and enjoy life, but focusing more on a balance between the two. 

There were lots of things I liked though. I liked Daisy and Jack. I liked the dog and his habit of chasing pigeons into barns when he shouldn't a lot. It made me laugh a lot and I had a lot of sympathy for most of the characters. 

It just felt a bit preachy at the end and I don't think that it was the authors intention to give across that feeling. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre for providing me with this copy for review

Monday, 18 December 2017

Nevermore: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384 
Publisher: Orion Children's Books 
Released: 12th of October 2017 

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she's blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks--and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It's then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city's most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart--an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests--or she'll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

What I Have to Say 

Oh my gosh this book. I thought I knew what to expect. I have read so many books about young girls being transported to magical worlds and having adventures, but nothing prepared me for Nevermore. From the very start with the cursed children and the energy spikes, I knew that I was reading something truly special. And it only got better as the book went on. 

Morrigan is a character with a lot of feelings and it's very easy to get inside her head and find yourself truly caught up in her narrative. It is impossible not to feel sympathy for her, the treatment of her by those around her. Many magical child narratives draw abuse or neglect into the origins of the character, but this setting with the cursed children and the way that society treated them brought new life into the idea of a poorly treated child discovering that she can be more than she thought possible. 

The descriptions were amazing. Every image invoked emotions and imagination, drawing life into the words on the page. That and Morrigan's perspective made it so, so easy to just fall into the book and keep turning the page long after the time to go to bed. 

I cannot wait to hear more from this character and Nevermore and the Wundrous Society. I hope this book takes off and gets the attention it deserves. 

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

Friday, 1 December 2017

Apologies for the impromptu Hiatus

Hey guys,

Sorry that I haven't posted in a while, things rather got on top of me and my TBR suffered greatly.

I'm going to start trying to catch up on reviews as soon as I can and hopefully I'll be able to be back to the normal schedule as soon as possible.

This does mean that some of the books will be reviewed a little while after publication, but I promise all the reviews I have agreed to do will be done.

Lily xx

Monday, 6 November 2017

Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 183
Publisher: Open Road Media
Released: 5th of September 2017 (first published 1982)

When Liza Winthrop first lays eyes on Annie Kenyon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she knows there’s something special between them. Soon, their close friendship develops into a deep and intimate romance. Neither imagined that falling in love could be so wonderful, but as Liza and Annie’s newfound sexuality sparks conflict in both their families and at their schools, they discover it will take more than love for their relationship to succeed.

What I Have to Say 

This book was truly amazing. What struck me the most was how different it was from modern LGBT books.  Because it wasn't all about the struggle of being gay and coming to terms with it and all the other things that go along with it. I wasn't expecting such a positive book. Obviously there were struggles and a lot of hardship that the girls had to go through, but for the most part it was about two people just falling in love. The gender of them didn't matter until later.

You see that's what I want to see more of and it's so interesting that a book from the 80s can capture exactly what the genre is missing. Because so many LGBT books act like the gay characters can only possibly be defined by being gay. That all their story has to be about struggling to come to terms with it, or fighting to be accepted. It's never about just two people falling in love naturally. It's never about the gradual discovery of what it means to be gay.

Obviously there was drama at the end and it got very sad, but it ended on a hopeful note. And the characters were just beautiful. I have to say that I fell in love with Annie a bit too during this book. She was so lively and well rounded. I loved the made up games they played and the way they both were together. They fitted together so greatly and made a very beautiful, very realistic couple.

This is definitely a must for anyone interested in the LGBT genre, whatever your sexuality, it's a truly wonderful story.

My thanks go to Open Road Media and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 

Pages: 432
Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Released: 7th of November 2017 

Catarina Agatta is a hacker. She can cripple mainframes and crash through firewalls, but that’s not what makes her special. In Cat’s world, people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, allowing them to change their bodies in any way they want. And Cat happens to be a gene-hacking genius.

That’s no surprise, since Cat’s father is Dr. Lachlan Agatta, a legendary geneticist who may be the last hope for defeating a plague that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. But during the outbreak, Lachlan was kidnapped by a shadowy organization called Cartaxus, leaving Cat to survive the last two years on her own.

When a Cartaxus soldier, Cole, arrives with news that her father has been killed, Cat’s instincts tell her it’s just another Cartaxus lie. But Cole also brings a message: before Lachlan died, he managed to create a vaccine, and Cole needs Cat’s help to release it and save the human race.

Now Cat must decide who she can trust: The soldier with secrets of his own? The father who made her promise to hide from Cartaxus at all costs? In a world where nature itself can be rewritten, how much can she even trust herself? 

What I Have to Say 

This was an interesting take on the whole concept of zombies and eating people. I loved the idea of gene hacking and the way that Suvada developed the idea of smart phones and apps to include things that actually change the way people look. The way that medicines had transformed and the problems that Cat faced because of her illness were so realistic and interesting. 

There were also so many twists and turns that this book took. Just when you thought you knew where things were going it zoomed off in another direction with a shocking turn of events. This is definitely a book where you can't trust anyone and even they can't trust themselves. There's so many secrets and lies that are hidden away. 

I can't wait for the next book to see what Suvada decides to do next. 

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

Monday, 30 October 2017

No Shame by Anne Cassidy

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 192
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre 
Released: 21st of September 2017 

Stacey Woods has been raped and now she has to go through a different ordeal - the court trial. But nothing in life it seems is black and white and life is not always fair or just. Suddenly it seems that she may not be believed and that the man who attacked her may be found not guilty . . . if so Stacey will need to find a way to rebuild her life again . . .

What I Have to Say 

I liked this a lot better than the first book. I almost think that this could be better as a stand alone, but then it is useful to have seen the actual event happen in the first book. Either way, I really enjoyed reading this book. With the horror of the actual rape in the past, it wasn't as hard to read and it was really interesting to see how the court proceedings in a case like this would actually go down. 

I was sympathetic and completely feeling for Stacey the whole time. It was very clear from every point how hard this was to do and her bravery really came through. I connected with her a lot more in this book than the last. 

The ending was really well written as well. The results of the trail and how it kept you reading until the last word because of what was happening and how much you wanted Stacey to be able to move on with her life and go back to fashion design and all the things she enjoyed. 

This is definitely a really interesting read and an important one. It shows the way that rape is handled in the legal system and how easily someone's actions can be twisted and used against them. 

My thanks go to Bonnier Zaffre and Netgalley for providing me with a copy for review. 

Thursday, 26 October 2017

The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: 12th of October 2017 

In the beginning, there was the Namsara: the child of sky and spirit, who carried love and laughter wherever he went. But where there is light, there must be darkness—and so there was also the Iskari. The child of blood and moonlight. The destroyer. The death-bringer.

These are the legends that Asha, daughter of the king of Firgaard, has grown up learning in hushed whispers, drawn to the forbidden figures of the past. But it isn’t until she becomes the fiercest, most feared dragon slayer in the land that she takes on the role of the next Iskari—a lonely destiny that leaves her feeling more like a weapon than a girl.

Asha conquers each dragon and brings its head to the king, but no kill can free her from the shackles that await at home: her betrothal to the cruel commandant, a man who holds the truth about her nature in his palm. When she’s offered the chance to gain her freedom in exchange for the life of the most powerful dragon in Firgaard, she finds that there may be more truth to the ancient stories than she ever could have expected. With the help of a secret friend—a slave boy from her betrothed’s household—Asha must shed the layers of her Iskari bondage and open her heart to love, light, and a truth that has been kept from her. 

What I Have to Say 

This book had everything stories, dragons, a rebellious and kick-ass main character. It was easy to get absorbed into the world and the beautiful, complex main character and her struggles. Asha was truly a beautiful character and it was really great to see her go through her journey and character dIevelopment as she started to do what was right and wrong. 

I'd also like to see more of this world. I feel like what we saw was almost the least interesting part of it, dragons aside. I want to see more of what the kingdom used to be and what it becomes after the events of the book. I want to see more of the other cultures in the book. I enjoyed the book so much, but I feel like there's so much more to see of this world. 

I definitely want to see more from this author and this beautiful fantasy world. 

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

Monday, 23 October 2017

Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 288
Publisher: Penguin
Released: 2nd of November 2017 

When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty - a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she'll soon discover that reality doesn't always have the happily ever after you'd expect...

What I Have to Say 

I really enjoyed this book, but the girls have got to get together in the next book or I'll scream. They are wonderful characters in a wonderful setting, but it feels so much like it could be gay baiting, especially when there are boys thrown into the mix. I really hope the author takes a stance one way or another because this series could be amazing, but not if we're just being set up for disappointment. 

I loved Rosewood so much. The school was a really interesting blend of magic fairy-tale school and elite prep school, full of beauty, secrets and pressure. It's a place that I know so many people are going to fall in love with and long to go to. 

Lottie and Ellie are great characters. Lottie is so full of dreams, fairy-tales and hopes and Ellie is a beautiful, unique person who I think I could read about forever. The plot is full of suspense, mystery and drama. 

I am definitely reading the next book. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Penguin for providing me with copies for review. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Satellite by Nick Lake

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 464
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 5th of October 2017 

A teenage boy born in space makes his first trip to Earth.

He’s going to a place he’s never been before: home.

Moon 2 is a space station that orbits approximately 250 miles above Earth. It travels 17,500 miles an hour, making one full orbit every ninety minutes. It’s also the only home that fifteen-year-old Leo and two other teens have ever known.

Born and raised on Moon 2, Leo and the twins, Orion and Libra, are finally old enough and strong enough to endure the dangerous trip to Earth. They’ve been “parented” by teams of astronauts since birth and have run countless drills to ready themselves for every conceivable difficulty they might face on the flight.

But has anything really prepared them for life on terra firma? Because while the planet may be home to billions of people, living there is more treacherous than Leo and his friends could ever have imagined, and their very survival will mean defying impossible odds.

What I Have to Say

 I really enjoyed this book. It was a surprise since I often find Nick Lake books to be a little slow, but this one had such a good concept and was written well enough for to hold my attention. It went into things that I would never even consider. No sci fi book I've ever read has even touched upon the significant differences in the way a child's body would develop when they have spent their entire life without gravity.

It was still slow, but I found that the slowness just didn't matter. I enjoyed taking my time over it and discovering more about Leo and how he adapts to life on Earth. The fact that there were always mysteries surrounding their birth and why Leo couldn't get in touch with Orion and Libra helped a lot, but I do think that the main thing was just the fact that it was so interesting and well thought out.

The only thing I didn't like was the fact that it was written with u instead of you and c instead of see. It's something that just really annoys me. I'm not even sure teenagers write like that anymore. Without constraints on the number of characters, why would they need to?

In all though this was an amazing book, so different from anything else I've read.

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

Thursday, 12 October 2017

The Treatment by C.L. Taylor

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384
Publisher: HQ
Released: 19th of October 2017 

You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

What I Have to Say 

This was a really interesting book. It took a detailed look into brainwashing and the way that it could be used to bring out of control children into line. It really went into the horror of how society could be changed so much if people in the government decided to fund this kind of research and kept it hidden like this. 

I loved all of the characters, though Drew was a little stupid and headstrong. I don't know what I'd have done in her situation or what other options there were available, but getting yourself sent to the same place seemed a little reckless. I'm not sure what she thought was going to happen when she got there. 

There was an interesting array of characters though and even though I think Drew should have thought things through a bit more, I felt she was clever and resourceful. I really liked her as a character. 

I'll be interested to see what C.L Taylor brings us next. 

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

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Shadowblack by Sebastien De Castell

Synopsis (From Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 5th of October 2017 
Other Books in the Series: Spellslinger 

It's a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind. 

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and who carries a secret that's all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help - but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold - and Kellen can't help but suspect his own people may even be behind it. 

What I Have to Say 

This series just keeps getting better. I really enjoyed the first book and this one brought in even more intrigue and mystery. The new characters were interesting and fitted in well with Kellen, Feruis and the squirrel cat. Who were all just as good as in the first book. 

I still really love the setting. I think that it's interesting to have the slightly western theme, but I do think that the characters and the Argosi are the best part of it. It was interesting to meet Rosie and see how different Ferius is to her and how they both fit together well as Argosi while still arguing over the right way to follow the way of the Argosi.

I'm really looking forward to the next book. Things were really heating up in this book and I'll be interested to see how it goes on. 

 My thanks go to Hot Key Books and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Dazzling Heights by Katharine McGee

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 349
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books 
Released: 7th of September 2017 

New York City, 2118. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible – if you want it enough.

Manhattan is home to a thousand-story supertower, a beacon of futuristic glamour and high-tech luxury… and to millions of people living scandalous, secretive lives.

Leda is haunted by nightmares of what happened on the worst night of her life. She’s afraid the truth will get out – which is why she hires Watt, her very own hacker, to keep an eye on all of the witnesses for her. But what happens when their business relationship turns personal?

When Rylin receives a scholarship to an elite upper-floor school, her life transforms overnight. But being here also means seeing the boy she loves: the one whose heart she broke, and who broke hers in return.

Avery is grappling with the reality of her forbidden romance – is there anywhere in the world that’s safe for them to be together?

And then there’s Calliope, the mysterious, bohemian beauty who’s arrived in New York with a devious goal in mind – and too many secrets to count.

Here in the Tower, no one is safe – because someone is watching their every move, someone with revenge in mind. After all, in a world of such dazzling heights, you’re always only one step away from a devastating fall…

What I Have to Say 

I have to say I was expecting better. I thought there would be more about Mariel and her investigation into Eris's death, but she wasn't given much space in the book for her thoughts and plotting. It was just the same characters as the previous book blackmailing and breaking up with one another. 

I liked what happened with Watt and Leda. I liked their scheming and where it got them. I also liked the stuff with Rylin starting at the highlier school. It was interesting to see her having to adapt to the world that she doesn't really like and it was great to watch her find a passion for something. I think out of the whole book, she and Watt are the only characters I actually like, unless you count Nadia who is awesome. 

I'll probably read another book in this series, because I'm invested and really hard to give up on series that might get better. But I wish this book had gone in a different direction and I didn't like it much more than the first. 

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

Saturday, 30 September 2017

The Red Ribbon Blog Tour - Excerpt

I am honoured to be able to take part in this blog tour, for the beautifully written, touching book. I'm delighted to be able to share a excerpt of this book with you all here today. 

People laugh at fashion. It’s just clothes, they say.
Right. Just clothes. Except, not one of the people I’ve heard mock fashion was naked at the time. They all got dressed in the morning, picking clothes that said, Hey, I’m a successful banker. Or, I’m a busy mother. Or, I’m a tired teacher . . . a decorated soldier . . . a pompous judge . . . a cheeky barmaid . . . a lorry driver, a nurse . . . You could go on for ever. Clothes show who you are, or who you want to be. 
So people might say, Why do you take clothes so seriously, when there are more important things to worry about, like the War?
Oh, I was worried about the War all right. The War got in the way of everything. Out in the real world, outside of here, I’d wasted hours queuing at shops with empty shelves. More hours hiding in the cellar when bombers flew over. I’d put up with endless news updates, and Grandad plotting battle lines on a map pinned to the kitchen wall. I’d known War would come – it was all people talked about for months. We learned about War in history lessons at school. War was something that happened to other people a long way away. 
Then it came to my country. My town. 
It was War that brought me to Birchwood – known, in a harsher language, as Auschwitz-Birkenau. The place where everyone arrives, and nobody leaves. 
 Here people find out that clothes aren’t so trivial after all. Not when you haven’t got any. The first thing They did when we arrived was make us strip. Minutes off the train and we were sorted into male and female. They shoved us into a room and told us to undress. Right there. With everyone watching. Not even underwear allowed. 
Our clothes were folded into piles. Without them we weren’t bankers, teachers, nurses, barmaids or lorry drivers any more. We were scared and humiliated. 
Just clothes. 
I’d stared at my pile of folded clothes. I memorised the soft wool of my jumper. It was my favourite green jumper embroidered with cherries, a birthday present from Grandma. I memorised the neat folds of my trousers and my socks, rolled into a pair. My bra too – my first-ever bra! – that I’d hidden from view along with my knickers. 
Next They took our hair. All our hair. Shaved it off with blunt razors. Gave us limp triangles of cloth as headscarves. Made us pick out shoes from a pile about as high as house. I’d found a pair. Rose obviously hadn’t been so lucky, with her one silk shoe and her one leather brogue. 
They said we’d get our clothes back after a shower. They lied. We got sack dresses with stripes. As Stripeys we ran around like herds of panicked zebras. We weren’t people any more, we were numbers. They could do what they liked to us. 
So don’t tell me clothes don’t matter.

I hope you enjoyed this extract and want to read the rest of the book. For the rest of the blog tour see the banner below: 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 384
Publisher: Simon and Schuster 
Released: 10th of October 2017 

Find your magic

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. 

What I Have to Say 

This book was slow. I think if I'd relaxed, I would have been able to enjoy it a lot more. Other than the pacing, I loved it. The magic system was really interesting, I liked how each of the children had a gift that was just theirs and that they exhibited it without even trying, so that there was literally no way of escaping their magic. 

I think I also would have enjoyed it more if I had read Practical Magic first. There were probably references and stuff that I didn't notice because I hadn't read it. It had enough to stand on it's own, but I do think that reading Practical Magic first would probably be better. 

I liked the relationships between the siblings. I liked how they were close and always had each others backs. I think that and the magic were the main draws of the book. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with this copy for review 

Monday, 25 September 2017

The Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Publisher:  HQ
Released:  25th of August 2017 

Life outside the domes is not possible. At least that’s what Insiders are told.
Twins Eli and Talia shouldn’t exist. They’re Outsiders.

Their home is a secret. Their lives are a secret. Arafel is a secret.

An unexpected forest raid forces Talia into a desperate mission to rescue her family while protecting the sacred Book of Arafel from those who would use it as a weapon. As Talia and her life long friend Max enter the dome, she makes some unexpected discoveries, and allies, in the form of rugged Insider August, that will change the course of her life forever.

She’ll stop at nothing to save her family but will she sacrifice her heart in the process?

What I Have to Say 

I have to say I wasn't as impressed by this book as I hoped I would be. The idea sounded great and at the start I was really interested in Arafel and their lifestyle. The Roman based life in the Dome was also really interesting, but beyond that, nothing really hooked my attention. 

Talia as a character was good, but she was so determined to get her family back and for most of it, she did nothing but what others told her to do. There was so much waiting around as she predictably got involved in a love triangle and got distracted from her goals by it. 

There was so much there that would have been great but for the most part it was just the same as every other dystopia book out there. There was nothing there that set it apart and there needs to be something, especially in this genre. 

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

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Taste of Blue Light by Lydia Ruffles

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 7th of September 2017 

'Since I blacked out, the slightest thing seems to aggravate my brain and fill it with fire'

These are the things Lux knows:
She is an Artist. 
She is lucky. 
She is broken.

These are the things she doesn't know:
What happened over the summer.
Why she ended up in hospital.
Why her memories are etched in red.

'The nightmares tend to linger long after your screams have woken you up ...'

Desperate to uncover the truth, Lux's time is running out. If she cannot piece together the events of the summer and regain control of her fractured mind, she will be taken away from everything and everyone she holds dear.

If her dreams don't swallow her first

What I Have to Say 

This was a really interesting book that went in a lot of unexpected directions. I wasn't sure how it would go at first, but I quickly really came to like the characters and the school was so interesting and creative. While the school probably wouldn't work in real life, it was really cool to imagine. It also had this cult-like undertone that gave a good in-joke type vibe. 

The trauma that Lux showed was really intense. I loved how they gave such little pieces of information at a time. I couldn't possibly have guessed what really happened. 

In all though, it's hard to say much without giving too much away, but I just loved the atmosphere of the book and the secrets and lies involved in the mystery. 

Definitely a good book about trauma. 

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

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Pages: 290
Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing
Released: 18th of July 2017 

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.

What I Have to Say 

I have to say that this book was not for me. It was interesting to see Nina slowly thinking more and more about her relationship with her husband and realising how little control she had; how little she knew about what was going on in her life. 

The portrayal of the children I found a bit off. Obviously they were upset by all the changes in their life and sometimes they rallied around their mother, but a lot of the time when they were being nice to the mum, it felt a bit false and unlike something a teenager would actually do or say. And when they weren't being nice to their mother it felt a bit like a cliché teenage getting upset about moving house/ losing their father. 

To be honest I was a bit bored. A lot happened, but there wasn't much to interest me. After everything was uncovered about the Finn and their finances, there just wasn't much of a hook to keep me reading. 

My thanks go to Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with this copy for review

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 416
Publisher:  Simon and Schuster Books for Younger Readers 
Released: 1st of November 2016

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator's daughter, Sidonia. There's no one Nemesis wouldn't kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy's most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she's been told she doesn't have - humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire... 

What I Have to Say 

I was completely blown away by this story. From the moment it started I was completely hooked. Nemesis was such an interesting character and seeing everything from the perspective of this creature that was breed to protect another person was such a unique and intriguing thing to read. 

It was very easy to fall in love with Nemesis as a character. Although she was so hardened and made fierce by her upbringing, her relationship with Sidonia and Sidonia's love for her made her so easy to empathise with and like. 

The twists and turns and all the politics were thrilling. It was impossible to figure out what would happen next. The Emperor was brutal and the other members of the elite were wonderfully venomous. It was all exactly what I like from a political thriller and set in a great sci fi background.

I'll be really interested to see what happens in the next book. 

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

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Glow of Fallen Stars by Kate Ling

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 368
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers 
Released: 24th of August 2017 
Other Books in the Series: The Loneliness of Distant Beings 

I longed so hard for all the things that make life life, and I never thought they'd be mine. But now ... now they are. Now I have something to lose.

Seren and Dom have fled their old lives on board spaceship Ventura in order to be together. They crash-land on a beautiful, uninhabited planet, which at first seems like paradise.

There is no one to answer to ... but no one to ask for help. And with each new day comes the realisation of how vulnerable they truly are.

This planet has secrets - lots of them. Uncovering them could be the key to survival, but at what cost?

What I Have to Say 

This was so much better than the last book. I was worried that it wouldn't be great after the last one, but after the way the last one ended, I really wanted to give it a chance. I'm really glad I did. 

It was still a little slow, but the planet was so amazing. I love a well made world and there was so much beautiful imagery in this book that was truly wonderful to read. I want to visit this planet and see all the sights, though I think it would probably be a bit dangerous to live on. 

The stuff with the coral life was a really interesting twist in the story. I was very intrigued by what was happening and I kind of wish there had been more of it. I loved the ending though. It felt right and it all tied up neatly, even though I feel that maybe there should have been a bit more of a fight to change everything. 

I probably wouldn't recommend the whole series even though I did like this book. The first one was just not worth it, though in retrospect, I'm glad that I got the chance to read this one. 

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

Monday, 11 September 2017

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 464
Publisher: Orion's Children's Book 
Released: 21st of September 2017 

Farway Gaius McCarthy was born outside of time. The son of a time-traveling Recorder from 2354 AD and a gladiator living in Rome in 95 AD, Far's birth defies the laws of nature. Exploring history himself is all he's ever wanted, and after failing his final time-traveling exam, Far takes a position commanding a ship with a crew of his friends as part of a black market operation to steal valuables from the past. 

But during a heist on the sinking Titanic, Far meets a mysterious girl who always seems to be one step ahead of him. Armed with knowledge that will bring Far's very existence into question, she will lead Far and his team on a race through time to discover a frightening truth: History is not as steady as it seems. 

What I Have to Say 

I want to squeal and jump up and down and just tell you all to read this book. But I'll work hard to be more professional. This book was beautiful. Ryan Graudin weaved a thrilling story that went throughout history to so many great locations. 

I loved the crew of the Invictus. They fitted so great together and I would love to read a whole series of books about their various adventures through time. I think that a strong team of quirky characters is important in a book like this to set it apart like the rest of time travel book, and Graudin had both that and a story that was unique and exciting. 

I fully respect any author who can write time travel well and having a great plot and a group of characters who I really want to read more from truly makes this a book that I will love for a long time. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Orion Children's books for providing me for this copy for review. 

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Released: 5th of September 2017 

The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

What I Have to Say 

This book caught me and kept me hooked from the first sentence, but it was a little difficult to get my head around the backwards storytelling at first, but after I'd gotten used to it, it was really great to see how each event had been triggered by the one before it. It was a very different way of storytelling but a very interesting one. 

Jules was a very interesting character. It was both hard to get to know her and very, very easy because there were some things that were very true to her, such as the superheros and the way she picked up on things so easily and could memories things so quickly. And other things that seem like a part of her but that she has lied about completely. 

This is definitely one of these books that I sped through, not wanting to put it down and am now regretting it because it's over. If you're looking for something compelling and intriguing that will keep you reading then this is the perfect book. 

My thanks go to Netgalley and Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304 
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 21st of September 2017 

Rose, Ella, Marta and Carla. In another life we might have all been friends together. But this was Birchwood. 

As fourteen-year-old Ella begins her first day at work she steps into a world of silks, seams, scissors, pins, hems and trimmings. She is a dressmaker, but this is no ordinary sewing workshop. Hers are no ordinary clients. Ella has joined the seamstresses of Birkenau-Auschwitz. 

Every dress she makes could be the difference between life and death. And this place is all about survival. 

Ella seeks refuge from this reality, and from haunting memories, in her work and in the world of fashion and fabrics. She is faced with painful decisions about how far she is prepared to go to survive. 

Is her love of clothes and creativity nothing more than collaboration wth her captors, or is it a means of staying alive?

Will she fight for herself alone, or will she trust the importance of an ever-deepening friendship with Rose?

One thing weaves through the colours of couture gowns and camp mud - a red ribbon, given to Ella as a symbol of hope.

What I Have to Say 

This was like a fairytale set in the worst imaginable place on earth. The background setting of Auschwitz was harrowing and detailed enough to give a good picture of life there, while the story of Ella and Rose held a beautiful light of friendship and hope, which made the story one that was a pleasure to read and not just a bleak picture of day to day life in a concentration camp. 

Ella was such a great character to read. The way she tried to ignore things about the camp around her, because they were too hard to think about was just a brilliant way of talking about the horrors without going into all the gritty details. Though of course all things must be faced eventually. 

I loved the descriptions of the dresses she made as well and the process of dress making. It was nice to see how much of her identity was in her dressmaking. It was a good way to show who she was. Because she was Ella who sewed. And that was a perfect way to add to all the themes of identity in the book. 

Rose was such a beautiful character too. It made me feel like crying a bit, but she was such a light in the darkness of the camp. 

This is a wonderful book and a great introduction to the horrors that happened in the concentration camps for younger readers. 

My thanks go to Hot Key Books for providing me with this copy for review. 


Monday, 4 September 2017

We See Everything by William Sutcliffe

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books 
Released: 21st of September 2017

Lex lives on The Strip – the overcrowded, closed-off, bombed-out shell of London. He’s used to the watchful enemy drones that buzz in the air above him. 

Alan’s talent as a gamer has landed him the job of his dreams. At a military base in a secret location, he is about to start work as a drone pilot. 

These two young men will never meet, but their lives are destined to collide. Because Alan has just been assigned a high-profile target. Alan knows him only as #K622. But Lex calls him Dad. 

What I Have to Say 

This was another book that just didn't dragged through most of the book. I liked the  setting a lot and it seemed really interesting, but so little happened except at the beginning and end. 

Alan was slightly more interesting than Lex, because it was interesting to see into the mind of someone who is so willing to kill people. It was interesting to see how he justified it to himself and how his world was shaken when it came to Lex. 

Lex however seemed only really to be there to have the romance. It just seemed rather pointless that there wasn't more to the plot like that. 

The ending was good, but I would have liked to see more that happened between the attack and the ending. I would have liked to know what happened to change everything so much. 

This book just disappointed me really and I wish it had been better. 

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

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 432
Publisher: Anderson
Released: 7th of September 2017 

Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote.

Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom.

May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place.

But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

What I Have to Say 

This book was so amazing and great to read but I don't really know what to say about it. I liked the characters a lot and the plot. The history was awesome and I learned a lot of stuff that I didn't know. It's an era of history that I'm really interested in, both the stuff with the suffragettes and with the First World War, so it's great to read about it from different perspectives and find out stuff I didn't already know. 

The peace stuff from May was really interesting. I had no idea how many women were working so hard to try and end the war. The whole peace conference was something that I knew nothing about so it was great to read that. 

I enjoyed Nell as well. It was great to see the idea of gender and homosexuality being questioned in a historical fiction book, because so many people pretend that this stuff didn't exist back then even though it's well documented. 

I loved the cover with the black girl on it, so I was sad that there was no mention that any of the girls were black in the book. I would have been so interested to see the issue of race and how it was treated in England back then because I only know some stuff about race and suffragettes in America and even that I don't know much about. 

This is definitely a great feminist read for anyone interested in women and history. Read it and get ready to feel powerful. 

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