Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 400
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre 
Released: 7th of February 20019 

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn¹t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

When she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong. 

When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? 

As the two women's lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood¹s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. 

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

What I Have to Say 

After a shaky start, I got really into this book. I loved the way the friendship formed between Alice and Fleetwood. I think if it hadn't been for that strong class-defying friendship, I would have trudged my way through the book feeling really disappointed. But as it was, I was completely hooked by the end, desperate to have Alice saved and Fleetwood away from her husband, because let's be honest, she deserved way better. 

I was really fascinated to read the author's note and find out how many of the characters were based on real people. Even though they weren't much more than names, I love how the author took the details of the actual witch trial and mystery of Alice Gray and built so much around it, keeping so many of it grounded in the real people who lived in the area at that time. 

The facts of the witch trials were really interesting too. It was the kind of thing that could have weighed down the plot, and did a little at the start, but once everything started to get dangerous, it was just an extra detail as the plot unwinded and came to the thrilling conclusion. 

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

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

You Can't Hide by Sarah Mussi

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352
Publisher: Hachette Children's Group 
Released: 7th of February 2019 

When Lexi wakes up in the Hudson Medical Center, barely in one piece, she is unable to recall how she got there.

Nobody seems to be able to tell her.

Disturbing memories haunt her daylight hours. Nightmares stalk her sleep. 
With huge unanswered questions, like where is her Mom - why doesn't she visit? What's happened to her boyfriend Finn - and who is this friend, Crystal, who visits her a lot and of whom she has no recollection? Lexi sets out to discover what's happened.

But the more she searches for answers, the deeper and darker the mystery gets.

And as she begins to piece the fragments together, she remembers one thing: I MUST HIDE FROM CHARLIE.

But the question is: who is Charlie? And is he still out there?

Trigger Warnings: Domestic Abuse, bullying, 

What I Have to Say 

This was completely enthralling from the first page. The secrets, the loss of memory, the things that Lexi won't write because she's so worried about being found by Charlie? All of these added up to a great mystery. 

As the story unfolded, it grew darker. The pressure on her to go along with the bullying because she's so scared of Charlie finding them and hurting her and her mum. It makes it different from the typical bullying story, because if Lexi doesn't do what Finn's girlfriend says then a video of her will be posted on the internet and Charlie will know where to find her. 

I did have to wonder about some of the things Lexi did though. I mean she stood outside the school completely naked? And no teachers came out to tell her off? It seems pretty unlikely that no teachers saw her or at least heard the buzz from the other students and came out to find out what was going on. 

Still, it was a really great plot and I loved the ending. 

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

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Pretty in Punxsutawney by Laurie Boyle Crompton

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 304
Publisher: Blink 
Released: 15th of January 2019 

A Groundhog Day meets Pretty in Pink mashup from author Laurie Boyle Crompton, Pretty in Punxsutawney tells the tale of a girl willing to look beneath the surface to see people for who they really are.

Andie is the type of girl who always comes up with the perfect thing to say…after it’s too late to say it. She’s addicted to romance movies—okay, all movies—but has yet to experience her first kiss. After a move to Punxsutawney, PA, for her senior year, she gets caught in an endless loop of her first day at her new school, reliving those 24 hours again and again.

Convinced the curse will be broken when she meets her true love, Andie embarks on a mission: infiltrating the various cliques to find the one boy who can break the spell. What she discovers along the way is that people who seem completely different can often share the very same hopes, dreams, and hang-ups. And that even a day that has been lived over and over can be filled with unexpected connections and plenty of happy endings.

Trigger Warnings: Sexual harrassment,

What I Have to Say 

I've always been a sucker for a good time loop story. Groundhog Day has been one of my favourite movies for a really long time. So seeing a YA version of it? Obviously this was a book I had to read. 

While I feel like maybe the format didn't work quite as well in book format, I still really liked it. Andie was a great character and it was really interesting to see her navigating through the various cliques of the school, finding out what was behind the stereotypical exterior. I loved how she used her time to get to know everyone and how hard she worked to fit in with each group. She showed so much empathy and compassion, even on her first day, sympathising with a girl who had only been a bitch to her. 

I also loved all the references to movies. Andie's movie obsession and the way she could understand the time loop because she knew the Groundhog Day movie. Though I have wondered before whether movies like Pretty in Pink and the Breakfast Club are that relevant for teens today, I think that any teen who likes eighties movies will have fun seeing Andie geek out about these movies.

This book was gifted to me by the Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Thursday, 24 January 2019

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 352 
Publisher: Penguin 
Released: 31st of January 2019 

BREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead.
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm.

Jon Keller was on a trip to Switzerland when the world ended. More than anything he wishes he hadn't ignored his wife Nadia's last message.

Twenty people remain in Jon's hotel. Far from the nearest city, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a girl is found. It's clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer...

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what happens if the killer doesn't want to be found?

Trigger Warnings: Suicide, manslaughter, child murder, politics, animal death

What I Have to Say 

A unique take on an nuclear apocalypse scenario.Jon Keller is historian visiting Switzerland for a conference when the world ends. It made him a really great character to narrate this, because what would a historian do in a case like this other than start writing stuff down to make a record for someone to read in the future? I kind of liked how the other characters saw him as pretentious, but he was just doing whatever he could to cope with a situation that no one should have to go through. 

It raised a lot of questions about where fault lies when something so awful happens. Having the setting in Switzerland made for a cast of several different nationalities and the American characters got some of the brunt of the other's anger. It raised a lot of questions about how much blame is on the voters. Is it fair to blame someone just because they voted for one person or another? I went in with one opinion, but I have to say that I ended up feeling a lot less certain on the subject. It really made me think. 

This really isn't the average post-apocalyptic novel. It was much less action packed and so much more thoughtful. It had a lot to say about humanity and how people react to these sorts of disasters. 

I was gifted this book by Netgalley and Penguin in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen

Synopsis (from Goodreads) 

Pages: 320 
Publisher: Orion 
Released: 24th of January 2019 


Louis and Louise are the same person born in two different lives. They are separated only by the sex announced by the doctor and a final 'e'.

They have the same best friends, the same red hair, the same dream of being a writer, the same excellent whistle. They both suffer one catastrophic night, with life-changing consequences.

Thirteen years later, they are both coming home.

Trigger Warnings: rape, suicide, childbirth

What I Have to Say 

A fascinating thought exercise into how gender and the way people treat you because you are one gender or another. Louis and Louise are created carefully to be recognisably the same person, but the way that their lives have developed change the way their life goes. It's interesting how something as small as the fact that they make friends with the same gender as children, both of them making friends with a twin boy and girl, but with Louis being closer to the boy and Louise being closer to the girl. 

In the early stages, it was a little repetitive. Hearing both Louis and Louise's birth twice was a bit dull, even though they had the viewpoint from a different parent for each child. But soon it moved to either focusing on one of the Lou's at a time or talking about them both with a neutral They pronoun. 

I honestly wasn't sure what I'd think of this book when I requested it. I thought it might be interesting, but wasn't sure what it would be like, but I really enjoyed it. I thought it was well written and the two different versions of Lou were really well written and engaging. 

An interesting concept and a really engaging story. 

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

Saturday, 19 January 2019

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 496 
Publisher: Bloomsbury 
Released: 29th of January 2019 

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she's instead somehow sucked into Rhen's cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn't know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what's at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

What I Have to Say 

Until I read this book, I thought that I was fed up of Beauty and the Beast retellings. I mean there are some amazing ones out there, but in the last few years, we've had rather a lot quite close together. But A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a Beauty and the Beast retelling like no other. It was a beautifully unique take on the story while also keeping the heart of the story strong and powerful. 

Obviously I have to comment on Harper's cerebral palsy. This is the first character I've seen in a fantasy story with a disability like this and I felt it was handled beautifully. I'd love to see a review from some with cerebral palsy myself as I can't say anything about the accuracy of the writing, but Kemmerer made sure that it was a part of who she was and while also making sure not to see her only as her cerebral palsy. Harper was beautiful, strong, capable and determined. She wanted to learn how to do everything and refused to let her disability hold her back, except when it came to dancing (because who isn't going to be put off by passed experiences?) It felt so real and I loved her so much. 

The fact that Rhen went through most of the story not as a physical beast was so interesting. I had my doubts about it at first, but it worked so well. Because at the start of the story? Rhen was a bit of a beast personality-wise. It was interesting to see how much the curse had made him close himself off, how the very fact that he was turning into a monster at the end of every season and killing everyone he cared about was shutting him off and making it pretty impossible for him to find the love that would break the curse. Until Harper of course. Watching him and Harper move around each other and slowly open up to each other was also just perfect. 

I think this is the retelling of Beauty and the Beast that has felt the most real to me. Because the love was so real that it hurt. 

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

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Blog Tour: All the Lonely People by David Owen

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 320 
Publisher: Atom 
Released: 10th of January 2019 

Everyone tells Kat that her online personality - confident, funny, opinionated - isn't her true self. Kat knows otherwise. The internet is her only way to cope with a bad day, chat with friends who get all her references, make someone laugh. But when she becomes the target of an alt-right trolling campaign, she feels she has no option but to Escape, Quit, Disappear.

With her social media shut down, her website erased, her entire online identity void, Kat feels she has cut away her very core: without her virtual self, who is she?

She brought it on herself. Or so Wesley keeps telling himself as he dismantles Kat's world from across the classroom. It's different, seeing one of his victims in real life and not inside a computer screen - but he's in too far to back out now.

As soon as Kat disappears online, her physical body begins to fade and while everybody else forgets that she exists, Wesley realises he is the only one left who remembers her. Overcome by remorse for what he has done, Wesley resolves to stop her disappearing completely. It might just be the only way to save himself.

All the Lonely People is a timely story about online culture - both good and bad - that explores the experience of loneliness in a connected world, and the power of kindness and empathy over hatred.

What I Have to Say 

A look at online culture and community and the loneliness and alienation that exists in our society, All the Lonely People brings us the story of Kate, a girl who has had everything taken from her by the cruel bullying of an alt-right group. It delves deep into the feelings of loneliness and depression she feels at having her online identity stolen from her when she starts to actually fade from society, a beautiful parallel that is so well constructed to bring people right to the heart of her feelings. 

It hit me hard, because I know that feeling. I've felt all of Kat's feelings of isolation and the feelings that the Lonely people, a cult of people trying to disappear from the world just like Kat is. There's a feeling of deep depression where you feel like things would be so much easier if you just didn't exist, if you could just fade out of your life and become someone else, someone who has everything easier, who doesn't experience the same pain as you do, of giving up control and just letting someone else take the reigns instead, because it would be so much easier just to ride in someone else's life and not have to make all the decisions anymore. 

This is going to be a long post, but I just have to applaud David Owen on the beautiful balance of this book. The way that it showed the feelings of the Lonely People, Kat and Wesley and in a wider respect, those insecurities that everyone has. He truly showed things that everyone can relate to, but I especially want to talk about Wesley. This is NOT a love story between a member of an alt-right hate group and his victim. It's not even a friendship story. Because how could Kat ever forgive Wesley. It was perfect, the way that he was made to face up to what he was doing and change his ways without absolving him of the things he did or making Kat forgive him in order to help his character growth. It was the perfect way to show this story and give the message that people can change and recover even if they make mistakes or the wrong choices. It's an important message that I really think is important to give.

How has the internet made your life better and how has it made it worse?

As part of this tour, I was ask to think about my own use of the internet. As someone who grew up in the 90s and early 2000s, the internet was a huge part of my life and informed a lot of my childhood, so obviously, I have a lot of thoughts about this. 

The Good 

Let's start with the easy one. I have made so many friends online. As a teenager, it was an easy way to connect with people who I shared the same interests with. I spent so much time online, having fun and talking to people from around the world who I never would have met. 

In adulthood, this has only grown more because as adults, especially adults who work from home or are unemployed, we don't have the guarantee of seeing our friends every day. Sites like Twitter and facebook have meant that I can get in touch with friends who don't live near me and keep up with their lives. I've kept up close friendships with people from Uni who, without the internet, I'm certain I would have lost contact with. I've also made new friends, from foreign countries. I have two particular friends on twitter who I couldn't imagine my life without. They have given me so much and are always there for me when I need them. They are possibly the only people I talk with every single day and I love them so much. 

The Bad 

Okay so the internet isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It definitely hasn't been for me, as much as it's given me some really great things. 

First up, I want to talk about the social pressure. Whilst being able to talk to people every day can be such an amazing thing, there's also a lot of people online who get offended if you DON'T talk to them everyday. It's caused a lot of problems, because while there are some people I can keep up this kind of communication with, these are rare, special people. Most people, I manage better with a casual relationship where we just talk when we have something to talk about. I've had a few people get mad at me for this, because so many people just expect it from their friends. 

Talking of people getting mad at me, online we mostly communicate through text. Which while it can be easier and less tiring to talk this way, you can't always convey tone and meaning as easily as you can in person. Having Autism, this doesn't come naturally to me. So I have gotten into a lot of arguments with people because of misunderstandings whether it's their misunderstanding or mine. It's led me to believe that we really need to work on using empathy with every interaction, if only everyone in the world would subscribe to that. 

So what is my overall opinion of the internet? 

Let's be honest here, I'm a blogger. If I didn't have the internet, I wouldn't be able to have such a great time reviewing books and being part of the bookish community! Of course I'm pro-internet. It's convenient, useful and so much fun. The good parts definitely outweigh the bad. Though as the book shows, it's created a bit of a breeding ground for hate groups and makes it so much easier to bully, send death threats or spread prejudice. As much as I love the internet, I have to acknowledge the negatives. But the thought I want to leave you with is that I wouldn't be here writing this post without the internet! My life has definitely been improved by having the internet in my life.

 I am so grateful to Sophia Walker and Atom for providing me with a copy of the book and the opportunity to be part of this tour. 

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America edited by Ibi Zoboi

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 416 
Publisher: Harper Collin Children's Books 
Released: 8th of January 2019 

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.
Black is male
Black is female
Black is straight
Black is gay
Black is urban
Black is rural
Black is rich. And poor
Black is mixed-race
Black is immigrants
Black is more

There are countless ways to be BLACK ENOUGH.

Featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling American black authors writing for teens today, Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

With an Introduction by June Sarpong, author of DIVERSIFY
Stories from: Renee Watson, Varian Johnson, Leah Henderson, Lamar Giles, Kekla Magoon, Jason Reynolds, Brandy Colbert, Tochi Onyebuchi, Liara Tamani, Jay Coles, Rita Williams-Garcia, Tracey Baptiste, Dhonielle Clayton, Justina Ireland, Coe Booth, Nic Stone and Ibi Zoboi

What I have to Say 

A wonderful anthology full of different ways to be black in America. I think it's so important with all the racial stereotyping in the world to show how many different ways there are to be black. It gives me so much hope that not only will it show the world how much diversity exists in just one part of the world, but also show black teenagers all over America that they are represented and that they are, as the title says, Black Enough. 

As with all anthologies, there were a range of stories on so many different topics. So many I loved and others I wasn't so keen on. Some of my particular favourites were: Half a Moon by Renée Watson, a lovely story about absent fathers and feelings between stepsisters, Samson and the Delilah's by Tochi Onyebuchi, a story about a boy meeting the girl next door and finding his true passion, despite what his parents want for him and Warning: Colour May Fade by Leah Henderson, a story about art and identity and breaking the mold at an exclusive private school. 

I love how anthologies share so many stories that you may not have picked up on your own and authors that you've never read before. It's a great way to showcase multiple authors and attract new readers. I'd love to see more by so many authors in these books and so I'll definitely see if I can find more by some of my favourites. 

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

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Nowhere On Earth by Nick Lake

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Publisher: Hodder's Children's Books 
Released: 10th of January 2019 

It starts with a plane crash.

There are survivors: a teenage girl and her little brother. They are running from something. But what?

Then the men arrive. They are hunting the girl and boy. And-

And that's all we can tell you ...

What I Have to Say 

Beautiful, unique and with so much heart beneath it all. These are all words I'm coming to relate to Nick Lake's writing. I didn't get along well with the first couple of his books that I tried to read, but Satellite and Nowhere on Earth have been so beautiful and spell-binding. I love his characters and the messages of hope and love that are at the central to his writing, especially with Nowhere on Earth. 

Emily and Aidan were beautiful characters. Emily with her love for Aidan and how much she cared of him, which despite being part of an alien defence mechanism to help Aidan survive, felt so real and beautiful. And Aidan. His love for Emily. The way he's so amazed by the beauty of earth and is apologetic and sad about the way his presence has affected the humans, because he can't help his defense mechanism kicking in and pushing them to look after her. 

The key themes of this novel are definitely empathy and love. It's shown everywhere. The message of how we as humanity view things as threats instantly without asking questions is very much an important reflection of our society and resonated deeply within me. 

Filled with Lake's unique, well thought out concepts of how things might really work in space and with alien life, this book felt as realistic as Satellite. I want everyone to read it. 

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

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Blackberry and Wild Rose by Sonia Velton

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 416 
Publisher: Quercus 
Released: 10th of January 2019

WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she strikes up a relationship with one of the journeyman weavers in her attic who teaches her to weave and unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household.

What I Have to Say 

This was beautifully written. It delved a lot more into the Huguenot faith and how blind Esther was to what it really means to help people. How her charity wasn't as beneficial to the people she was trying to help than she thought. How she lived in luxury with servants and expensive furniture when so many people, people she employed in her household, people who worked under her husband had so much less. 

I liked both of the women, though. Despite how badly Esther handled things and how abrasive Sara was, there was something about their stories that drew you in and made it easy to get caught up in their hopes and dreams. I wanted Esther to have her own silk and I wanted Sara to be safe and happy. Their story was tragic, though. But the way it ended made a lot of sense and I was satisfied by it. 

In all, this book did just go a lot deeper than I expected it to. I was really glad, because it was interesting to see all the issues laid out and the characters dealing with them. The book showed people with realistic faults, when it would have been so easy to have good characters and bad character, although there are some very, very bad characters. It showed that everyone makes mistakes. 

I'm really happy to have read this book, 

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

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 419 
Publisher: Doubleday 
Released: 1st of January 2019

A dark midwinter’s night in an ancient inn on the Thames. The regulars are entertaining themselves by telling stories when the door bursts open on an injured stranger. In his arms is the drowned corpse of a little child.

Hours later the dead girl stirs, takes a breath and returns to life.

Is it a miracle?

Is it magic?

Or can it be explained by science?

Replete with folklore, suspense and romance, as well as with the urgent scientific curiosity of the Darwinian age, Once Upon a River is as richly atmospheric as Setterfield’s bestseller The Thirteenth Tale.

What I Have to Say 

I'm not even sure how to start to say how much I loved this book. Everything from the mysteries, the characters, the plot and the unique narration was just perfect. From the first sentence, I was pulled deeply into the world around the river. I loved how the folk tales surrounding the river were interwoven with the story, how they were spoken of as facts because that's how the locals would see it. Stories passed from mouth to mouth and seen as true despite the fact that it's more local superstition. 

Stories are a massive part of this book, the way that stories were passed by word of mouth, the way that folklore and rumours were spread back then from people talking to one another and spreading the gossip. I loved to see how all the characters were connected and how they found out about the girl and what happened on the night she was found.

I loved the narration so much. The omniscient  narrator connected everything back to the river, talking about the story in terms of the river and conspiring with the reader to tell the story. Often I like to fall into a book and get lost in the story, but in this case with stories at the very heart of the book, it was just the perfect way to tell the story.

Whether you want a story full of magic and mystery or a story full of scientific reasoning this is the story for you. It balances the story perfectly to explain everything reasonably as well as leaving it open for those like me who would rather believe in magic.

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

Saturday, 5 January 2019

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 464 
Publisher: Wednesday Books 
Released: 15th of January 2019 

Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can't yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much.

Together, they'll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive.

What I Have to Say 

This has all the workings of a new favourite series! I found the world really interesting and would love to see more of it. I also really liked the characters. They worked well together and had the sort of humour that I love. The book came together perfectly to make just the sort of story I liked

I loved the mythology in it too. The way that the fictional society, the artefacts they seek and the dangers that the team face are rooted in various cultures and mythology, from the biblical tower of Babel, through Chinese numerical code, to the Egyptian Eye of Horus. I loved to see so many different myths brought together to create a story that felt real, like it could be hidden in the shadows, just waiting to be found.

Everything about this book felt rich and detailed. It's definitely a new fantasy novel to look out for!

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

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 306 
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 
Released: 10th of Januray 2019 

Rachel Walker's family and community have turned away from the world.

Every part of Rachel's life is controlled, from what she reads to where she goes and what she wears. Her parents dictate how her life must be: marriage, modesty, children and obedience to her future husband. But when a former member of her community, a girl who escaped, moves back to her small Texas town, Rachel's world turns upside down.

She realises that her life is her own. But can she find the courage to fight for it?

What I Have to Say 

This was such a great book. Moxie is still my favourite, but this had a lot of the same things in it that made Moxie so great: A fantastic main character, a well constructed setting and a need to fight back against the patriarchy. 

I loved Rachel so much. She was so easy to get inside the head of and empathise with. I wanted her to get away from her family and out of the community that was confining her so badly. But I also wanted to see more of it. I really wanted to see what Journey of Faith was like. I was torn in two ways, interested to see more but also wanting so much for Rachel to get away and not have to go there. I've never felt so torn while reading a book like this before. 

The community was constructed really well. You could see how everyone was made to believe in the ways that they did things, that the way that they were living was the right way that would take them to heaven. And it was also easy to see where there were holes in their argument, if only Rachel would just figure it out quicker!! 

This was such a great book and it's definitely one that everyone should read. 

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

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

The Dog Who Saved the World by Ross Welford

Synopsis (from Goodreads

Pages: 416 
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books 
Released: 10th of January 2019 

When eleven-year-old Georgie befriends an eccentric retired scientist, she becomes the test subject for a thrilling new experiment: a virtual-reality 3D version of the future.

But then a deadly disease threatens the life of every dog in the country and Georgie’s beloved dog, Mr Mash, gets sick. And that’s only the start of her troubles.

Soon, Georgie and Mr Mash must embark on a desperate quest: to save every dog on earth, and maybe even all of humanity …

… without actually leaving the room.

An extraordinary quest with the biggest stakes of all, and a huge idea at its heart, this is time travel – but not as you know it.

Trigger Warnings: Illness, animal death, dead parent 

What I Have to Say 

DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU ARE A DOG LOVER. From the title, my dog loving heart thought "oh good, a nice heart warming book about a dog saving the world." Never have I been so wrong. I mean, sure I read the blurb and therefore must have seen that there would be a deadly dog disease going around, but I guess I hadn't really connected it to the sort of mad cow disease sort of illness that means mass slaughter of animals. There were some really grim scenes in this book. And though the main character does warn you to look away at certain points, it's probably best not to read it if you get really upset about dogs being killed in books. 

Other than that though, it was fairly good. It left me with the same feeling that I'm coming to know well from Ross Welford though: Nothing quite lives up to the beauty that was Time Travelling With a Hamster. It's probably a case of a really amazing first book that other books just can't reach the same heights as, rather than anything lacking, but it leaves me deflated all the same. No matter how great the characters are, how quirky the story is, it's just not Time Travelling With a Hamster. 

If you push all that aside though, it really was a great book. Easy to read and with some really fun lighthearted moments. It's so interesting to see Welford's depiction of a near future where disease has changed our lives in so many ways, where UV lights and hand-sanitiser are part of the regular routine to keep these things at bay. The quirky professor with an AR machine was also great fun, though I really think eleven-year-old children should know better by now than to go visit a stranger just because they're invited! 

Basically, it's good, but potentially upsetting for dog-lovers. Maybe go read Time Travelling With a Hamster instead. 

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