Month: January 2016

The Radleys

The Radleys by Matt Haig

Where did I get it? The school library

41pckvr7bql-_sx324_bo1204203200_Summary: Life with the Radleys: Radio 4, dinner parties with the Bishopthorpe neighbours and self-denial. Loads of self-denial. But all hell is about to break loose. When teenage daughter Clara gets attacked on the way home from a party, she and her brother Rowan finally discover why they can’t sleep, can’t eat a Thai salad without fear of asphyxiation and can’t go outside unless they’re smothered in Factor 50.

With a visit from their lethally louche Uncle Will and an increasingly suspicious police force, life in Bishopthorpe is about to change. Drastically.

 

My Thoughts:

I had been meaning to read a book by Matt Haig for a while, so when I found this book in the library I knew this was my chance.

My first reaction after reading the blurb was that “The Radleys” sounded a lot like the “The Addams Family” for some reason. I absolutely adore that movie (especially Wednesday Addams) so I couldn’t wait to start this book.

All of the chapters immensely inventive and I enjoyed the opportunity to view all the characters thoughts and feelings at different points throughout the novel. The entire plot was so very well detailed and I could not have asked for a more engaging read.

Every one should read this book and I cannot rave about its uniqueness enough. I need to go and pick up The Humans next and hopefully it will be as good.

Rating: 5/5

What Lies Within

What Lies Within by James Morris

*I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review*

25813179Summary: Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance, one thing is certain:

Nothing will ever be the same.

 

 

My Thoughts:

Right from the beginning, when I first set eyes on this book I was intrigued. The cover is truly a work of art and I wanted to know more after reading the blurb.

Nothing could have prepared me for what followed. There was pot twist after plot twist just thrown at you an I could not stop myself turning the pages to find out what happened next.

Shelley was a very determined lead and an excellent narrator; I really felt her angst and confusion about her true identity. Had I been in her position I would not have been half as brave, that much I can certainly attest to. Winston, too was a great character and I couldn’t have wished for a more faithful or loyal best friend. Their relationship, especially the platonic parts consisted of some of my favourite scenes in this book an Shelley would not have got as far as she did without Winston’s help.

As I read further and further in, I was shocked by all the revelations that came to light and I was constantly at the edge of my seat. By the time I had reached the end of ‘What Lies Within’ I was emotionally exhausted but still wanting more.

I really hope that a sequel is published as I would love to see what happen to Shelley next.

Rating: 4/5

 

Novels of 2016 (Part 1)

Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

love-gelato-9781481432542_hr

A summer in Italy turns into a road trip across Tuscany in this sweeping debut novel filled with romance, mystery, and adventure.

Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is get back home.

But then Lina is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires Lina, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept from Lina for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and ever herself.

People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.

Release Date: April 12th 2016

 Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

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In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

With shades of The Godfather and Romeo and Juliet, this richly imagined fantasy from debut author Sarah Ahiers is a story of love, lies, and the ultimate vengeance.

Release Date: February 2nd 2016

 

tumblr_inline_nwvhzy8u4b1taa2fx_1280How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne

 

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber’s hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there’s prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie’s advice, there’s no escaping the fact: love is hard.

Release Date: February 1st 2016

 

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

 

V23 new typeface tagline.inddWhat if the person you need the most is someone you’ve never met?  
Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?

Release Date:  April 5th 2016

 The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani and Mindi Scott

 

22440677Six months ago, Ashlyn Montiel died in a bike accident.

Her best friend Cloudy is keeping it together, at least on the outside. Cloudy’s insides are a different story: tangled, confused, heartbroken. 

Kyle is falling apart, and everyone can tell. Ashlyn was his girlfriend, and when she died, a part of him went with her. Maybe the only part he cares about anymore.

As the two people who loved Ashlyn best, Cloudy and Kyle should be able to lean on each other. But after a terrible mistake last year, they’re barely speaking. So when Cloudy discovers that Ashlyn’s organs were donated after her death and the Montiel family has been in touch with three of the recipients, she does something a little bit crazy and a lot of out character: she steals the letters and convinces Kyle to go on a winter break road trip with her, from Oregon to California to Arizona to Nevada. Maybe if they see the recipients—the people whose lives were saved by Ashlyn’s death—the world will open up again. Or maybe it will be a huge mistake. 

With hundreds of miles in front of them, a stowaway kitten, and a list of people who are alive because of Ashlyn, Cloudy and Kyle just may find their way to back to her…and to each other.

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

These are my first five most anticipated novels of 2016, what are yours?

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

throne_of_glass_ukSummary: After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

My Thoughts:

I have re-read this book so many times I feel like I know it from cover to cover. Although I did not immediately connect with Celeana by the end of the book I was in love.

Celaena was so bad-ass and I enjoyed learning that even after all that she has seen and done and been through she can still have fun and laugh. All the times that she fought were so well written that I felt like I was right there in the same room. Her training scenes were some of my favourite parts of the book, everything was told in such high definition!

None of the characters were one dimensional (especially Dorian) and I wanted to get to know them all better. At the end of the novel, I was sad to see how things played out between Dorian and Celaena but I can see why it had to be that way.

I would recommend Throne Of Glass to fantasy fans and pretty much anyone who loves a strong heroine. I am so glad that this a six-book series!

Rating: 5/5

Blackberry Blue

Blackberry Blue by Jamila Gavin

Where did I get it? I bought it

blackberry-blueSynopsis: Prepare to enter a world of magicians, enchanted forests, talking animals and wicked witches . . .

Here are six magical stories to thrill and enchant you. Watch Blackberry Blue rise from the bramble patch; follow Emeka the pathfinder on his mission to save a lost king; join Princess Desire as she gallops across the Milky Way on her jet-black horse.

My Thoughts:

I raced through this book! I loved was emerged in all of these characters stories and plights and not once was I bored. There were six stories all immensely well written and all with beautiful illustrations to match.

My favourite tale was that of Leyla’s brother who went on a mission to find his sister and defeat the Purple lady. Most of the protagonists were young children but all felt wise for their years and handled everything that was thrown at them immensely well.

Another tale that I enjoyed was Emeka the pathfinder and I especially loved the relationship between the evil queen and her adopted daughter.

I have no doubt that readers will enjoy this book and all the characters will capture your hearts!

Rating: 5/5

 

The Last Summer of Us- Giveaway

The Last Summer of Us by Maggie Harcourt

22815665Summary: Limpet, Steffan and Jared. Three best friends crammed into a clapped-out rust bucket of a car on a whirlwind road trip to forget their troubles and see out the end of the summer. But no matter how far they drive, they can’t escape the hidden secrets and slow-burning romance that could upset the balance of their friendship – perhaps forever.

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY

To enter the giveaway just leave your name and twitter handle in the comments.

Goodluck!

(Giveaway ends on the 14th February)

A Little Something Different

A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

Where did I get it? I bought it

20801166Synopsis: The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together….

My Thoughts:

I have been meaning to read Sandy Hall’s books for a while and I am glad I finally got around to it. We never actually see what Gabe and Lea are thinking, rather we see their relationship develop through others points of view. While I was a little worried that this would be a downside to the book, I was actually really pleased by the way it was written.

My favourite views were probably the Chinese Delivery guy and the Squirrel. All of the 14 or so characters who narrated the book were all unique and easy to like. The Bench was a nice touch too.

This was an a light fluffy read that would definitely be one of my new favourite contemporary books. There was never a moment that I was bored throughout this novel.

If you’re looking for a fast humour-filled contemporary romance this is the book for you!

Rating: 4/5

 

The Wrath and The Dawn

The Wrath and The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Where did I get it? I bought it

18798983Synopsis: In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My Thoughts:

I opened this book unsure what to expect. I heard so many great reviews, but this isn’t the kind of novel I usually like, so I was skeptical.

I shouldn’t have worried. The story began straight away with Shazi the MC getting ready to marry the Caliph. Immediately I was captivated. The writing just seemed to flow and I couldn’t stop turning the page. Like Shazi, I felt myself warm to the Khalid as we got a glimpse past his carefully controlled facade.

The Wrath and The Dawn was narrated from alternating perspectives and although I generally prefer a novel told written in first person, I found that  I didn’t mind in this case.

All of the characters were portrayed in depth, helping me to understand the reasons behind their actions. I can’t wait to see where their story goes in The Rose and The Dagger.

Rating: 4/5

Interview with Jamila Gavin

 

jamila_gavin-detailJamila Gavin was born in 1941 in India “in the foothills of the Himalayas”. Her father was Indian and her mother English, and her earliest memories are of travelling by sea between England and India. She came, with her family, to live permanently in England when she was twelve years old. Although she trained as a pianist and worked on music programmes for the BBC, she has become an author of books for children and young people. Her first book, The Magic Orange Tree, was published in 1979 and has been followed by a number of prize-winning publications. Coram Boy won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award in 2000; The Wheel of Surya was the runner up for the 1993 Guardian Newspaper Children’s Fiction Award. Jamila Gavin’s writing often explores issues of class and racism, historical themes and children’s identity and place in society.

Interview:

1) What were your favourite books of 2015?

Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill; wonderfully illustrated by him, and full of great nerdy facts, like how many huskies he had to go to the Antarctic and all their names. 

2) How long have you been writing?

I have loved writing stories and poems all my life, but I was first published in 1979 and have been writing ever since.

3) Where is your favourite place to write?

(Answer in poem form!)

My Favourite Place to Write            Jamila Gavin 
 
 Scribbling, scribbling, anywhere, everywhere,
From Moscow to DelhiCairo to Samarkand.
Or sitting at dawn on the No 27 bus 
Going down Marylebone Road before rush hour.
Never have my notebook to hand when I need it!
Scraps of paper suffice, or backs of old envelopes.
Even long supermarket receipts are repositories, 
Of  ecstatic inspirations or jumbling ideas.
Reminders of characters huddled on pavements, 
Remarks overheard with a frown or a glance!
That little dropped stone in the pond of my consciousness 
Rippling out as a novel or play.
 
But my favourite place to write?
 
Why my study of course, with its Big Bang of chaos; 
My computer, my books and my dictionaries all. 
My view from the window; my garden-half-wilderness,
And the green leafy calm of my five watchful sycamores. 
4) Do you have any more novels planned for 2016?
Yes – I’m working hard on one now which I hope to finish by the end of the year – but it won’t be published till at least 2017. No title yet.
5) What is your favourite past-time?
Playing the piano. Would have said skiing too – but I haven’t been for about 3 years, and now I wonder if I ever will again.
6) Your most anticipated novel of 2016?
I’m waiting with great interest for the third of Hilary Mantel’s trilogy the first two being Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies.
7) Which of your novels did you find hardest to write?
The one I’ve been battling with for 8 years, and it’s still not published, and may never be published, but I can’t give up on it yet.
blackberry-blueThank you so much to Jamila for taking part in this interview!
You can find her novel, Blackberry Blue, here and here.

Top Ten Tuesday

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. The topic this week is about the Top Ten Resolutions we have for this year.

  1. I have heard so many good reviews on the Lunar Chronicles and I hope to finally get around to reading them this year.lunar-chronicles
  2. I resolve to finish reading the Throne of Glass series.throne-of-glass
  3. To start reading the Raven Boys series by Maggie Stiefvaterft_image
  4. To finish reading the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clareimmortalinstruments6books
  5. To read at least 10 of the first books I put on my TBR list
  6. To read “The Bell Jar”o-the-bell-jar-facebook
  7. To finish “V for Vendetta”v_for_vendettax
  8. Start reading the Legend series by Marie Lu3033529_orig
  9. Achieve my Goodreads challenge target
  10. Read at more classics and middle-grade books