Monday, 29 January 2018

Second Best Friend by Non Pratt

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 152
Publisher: Barrington Stoke 
Released: 15th of January 2018 

Jade and Becky are best friends, but when Jade’s ex-boyfriend lets on that everyone thinks Becky is the better of the two, Jade finds herself noticing just how often she comes second to her best friend. There’s nothing Jade is better at than Becky. 

So when Jade is voted in as Party Leader ahead of her school’s General Election only to find herself standing against Becky, Jade sees it as a chance to prove herself. If there’s one thing she can win, it’s this election – even if it means losing her best friend.

What I Have to Say 

A very relatable story for anyone who's felt like they're not as good as their friend. No matter how much you manage to achieve, there's always this one person who will outshine you. 

As always, Non Pratt's characters are beautiful, fun and easy to like. Even when they're doing bad things, you still understand them and want everything to be okay for them. This story was maybe a little shorter than I'd have liked, but it was a really great read and so easy to get into. 

Being a Barrington Stoke book, this is a really good book for dyslexics to pick up. A great story with many dyslexic friendly features that make reading a pure joy. 

My thanks go to Barrington Stoke and Nina Douglas for providing me with this copy to review. 

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Tin by Pádraig Kenny

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 352
Publisher: Chicken House Books
Released: 1st of February 2018

Christopher is 'Proper': a real boy with a real soul, orphaned in a fire. He works for an engineer, a maker of the eccentric, loyal and totally individual mechanicals who are Christopher's best friends. But after a devastating accident, a secret is revealed and Christopher's world is changed for ever... What follows is a remarkable adventure, as Christopher discovers who he really is, and what it means to be human.

What I Have to Say 

This was amazing! It was an adventure story that explored the fine line of humanity and what makes someone a person. I loved the characters and how every worked together and banded around one another. I feel it really showed how family doesn't have to be related. Because the mechanicals are Christopher's family and he's theirs. 

It was definitely a different story to what I expected, but I was happy about that. It really surprised me, especially the twist near the start. I think if it hadn't changed so dramatically, I wouldn't have liked it so much. 

I loved the characters, especially the different mechanicals. They all had such great personalities and habits. They're the sort of characters that I don't think I'll forget for a long time and that I'll remember with fondness. 

I'd love to see more from this concept and these characters. 

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

Monday, 22 January 2018

Final 7 by Kerry Drewery

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 224
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 11th of January 2018

Martha and Isaac have escaped, but are now on the run - the government has branded them rebels and a danger to the public. Despite the rewards being offered for turning them in, Martha and her friends are safe in The Rises, the area of the city full of the poor and the powerless. But then the Prime Minister orders a wall to be built around The Rises. Is it for the the safety or the poor - or is it to imprison them? Martha needs to act, and to act fast, in a tale of breathtaking treachery that reaches right to the heart of government... 

What I Have to Say 

This is such a great series and a really great book, but I have to say, it scared and depressed me. When this series started it was an awesome dystopia that was a little frightening because it was something that seemed like it could actually happen. But since the first book came out, reality has moved even closer to fiction and it seemed to mirror our situation and the way the government feel they can get away with lying too us a little too close to comfort. 

The book itself was really good though. As always, Kerry Drewery's writing was beautiful and the book was filled with so many twists and secrets, right up to the very end. 

The end wasn't to my tastes, but it was an interesting way to end it. I like books that end happily really. I like things that come together nicely and give at least most people what they want. Sad endings just make me feel sad and that's the feeling I take away from the book. 

This is definitely a book to get but I feel like maybe it's one to leave on your TBR pile for happier times. 

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

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Synopsis (from Goodread)

Pages: 288
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 16th of January 2018 

Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a "suitable" Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City--and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she's only known from afar. There's the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya's last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

What I Have to Say 

This is a beautiful story with really great and interesting characters. Maya was so easy to like and get interested in. I enjoyed her funny interactions with both the boys she dated, her friend and her aunt. I wanted so much for her to get to go to film school and get what she wanted. 

The racism and terroism attack made it really interesting, especially with the bomber sharing Maya's last name, showing an important glance into what it's like to be Muslim after an attack. It showed the way that people are quick to take "revenge" on the Muslims in their community, taking out their anger on innocent people. 

I enjoyed every twist and turn of this book, watching Maya struggle to free herself from the overprotectiveness of her parents and chase her dreams of filmaking. I would definitely read more from this author. 

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

Monday, 15 January 2018

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

Synopsis (Goodreads

Pages: 304 
Publisher: Electric Monkey 
Released: 11th of January 2018

No one is good enough for Xavier. Not according to Sasha, his best friend. There's nothing Sasha wouldn't do to protect Xavier from getting hurt, especially by his cheating ex Ivy, who's suddenly slithered back into the picture. Worried that Xavier is ready to forgive and forget, Sasha decides to do a little catfishing. She poses as a hot guy online, to prove cheaters never change.

But Sasha's plan goes wrong fast, and soon the lies lead down a path from which there's no return . . . 

What I Have to Say 

This book was absolutely not what I expected. It changed so much and so quickly throughout the book, often changing the feel of the book or even what you think you've read so much. I liked it. I think. It's hard to really say when it changed so much. I definitely liked the catfishing element of it and what it sort of became. Then the twist in the middle shocked me a lot and I wasn't really prepared for it, but it was okay. It all makes sense in the end and you can see where it comes together.  So I liked it over all but there were a lot of times where it was like what's going on. 

I liked the characters a lot. I liked how they were so defined. I think that made the book for me really. Though I think i would have liked to hear more about Ivy and her viewpoint. There wasn't really much time to get to know her and understand why she treated Xavier the way she did. 

It's a good book, but I think you have to like dark stories. I think it threw me a bit because I was so unprepared for quite how dark it was going to go. I also felt more could have been said about Sasha's bisexuality. Because it was just sort of thrown out there that she liked girls as well and then it wasn't really picked up again. For a while, I wanted her and Ivy to get together, because I thought that would be a good twist and be interesting. 

So yeah, mostly just prepare yourself for the fact that it gets really really dark. 

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

Thursday, 11 January 2018

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 384
Publisher: Hot Key Books 
Released: 2nd of January 2018 

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

What I Have to Say 

I was surprised by how hard I found it to get into this book. Normally, Holly Black is an author who can capture me instantly and keep me hooked on a book, but I didn't really get that until the end, which was amazing. I wonder if maybe it was because of what this book was leading up to. There wasn't really a lot of story other than survival until half way through and even then, it didn't really heat up until the last few chapters, so it felt a bit like a setting up book for the next one than an actual book in it's own right. 

I liked that the obsession that Cardan has for Jude isn't romanticised. Throughout the book, he torments and abuses Jude and though it shown to come from feelings about her several times, it's never looked upon as something good. It's shown as love corrupted. It's like a hatred thing, he has such powerful feelings for her that he doesn't want to have that it turns into an intense hatred of her and until the end, she never sees it as anything but hatred and she continues to hate him through. I really hope this continues throughout the rest of the series and any relationship between them is shown as toxic and awful. 

I also loved the way that everything was turned on it's head and nothing turned out to be as it seemed. I think the first half of the book felt too simple for me. It was too easy to see who the good guys were and who were the bad. Black showed that things are never that easy in faerie and the people you expect to be good will always betray you. 

I'm looking forward to the next book, but I'm sad at how hard I found it to get into this one. 

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

Monday, 8 January 2018

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Pages: 288
Publisher: Penguin
Released: 11th of January 2018

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren't hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they'll never think to look - the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret - the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . . 

What I Have to Say 

I didn't like this book that much. I didn't like the The One Memory of Flora Banks either, but that was written so much with that character's voice and her memory problems in mind that I wanted to give the author another chance. And I warmed to her writing style a lot more, but she still had this habit of going through everything that the character knows about the situation every few chapters. It may be fairly realistic when you're in this type of situation to stop and take stock of what you know, but in a book it makes it repetitive and annoying. 

I also felt the multiple personality/ dissociative disorder stuff was kind of harmful to people who suffer from that kind of thing. Whenever you see an alter personality in a book or a film or anything really it's always a bad one. And sure maybe that helps your story seem more dramatic if your character is pushing her to kill people all the time, but there are real people out there living in a world where that's what people think their condition means. If the market was more saturated with positive books or films then it wouldn't be so big of a deal, but everything out there just makes people more scared of the condition. 

I don't know how much research Barr did, but the whole thing felt clumsy and like she hadn't thought about the people suffering through this sort of thing.

As happens so much of the time, this book uses mental health issues as a form of entertainment for those not living through it and I'm getting pretty sick of it. 

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

Monday, 1 January 2018

The Secrets of a Teenage Heiress by Katy Birchall

Synopsis (from Goodreads)

Publisher: Egmont 
Released: 11th of January 2018 

Flick's family have owned The Royale – one of London's most prestigious hotels – for generations. But Flick isn't that interested. She is interested in the newest guest – superstar celebrity Skylar Chase, and Sky's mega-famous group of friends, including dreamy YouTube star, Ethan Duke. But just as Flick gets the chance to join their glittering squad, she gets grounded following an unfortunate incident involving a prince, a wardrobe and a selfie stick (it could have happened to anyone!). With only her Instagram star pet dachshund, Fritz, for company, will Flick find a way to escape The Royale and join the fame game?

What I Have to Say 

Katy Birchall's books are always a load of fun. She shows realistic teenagers getting into high jinks and escapades and generally getting into trouble. She doesn't shy away from the personality traits that teenagers often show, simply by being young. Flick is very self-centred and isn't very aware of people around her, something that we see change throughout the course of the book. 

I loved the general atmosphere of the hotel. I loved the family feel with the workers and the two families at the centre of the book. I love the idea in general of living in a hotel and having your family run it. I don't think that's something I could ever get tired of, because there's so much possibility for interesting characters and scenery. 

And Fritz was wonderful. Dogs in books usually are, but the way he had his own little fan club and all his outfits, it added a bit of adorable background to the book that I loved. 

I'm hoping this becomes a series. 

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