Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

July 23, 2019 (2)
Series:
Havenfall #1
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC to review through the Fantastic Flying Book Club.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-27T191324.813I read and loved Sara Holland’s Everless a while back (I still need to get round to Evermore!) so I was really intrigued when I heard she was coming out with a new series set in a completely new world. Havenfall is the story of Maddie Marrow a young girl who spends her summers at the Havenfall inn – a sanctuary between worlds. She hopes one day to inherit this inn from her Uncle, but when a dead body is discovered and things start to go wrong, Maddie has to race to uncover the truth behind the goings on in Havenfall.

I always thought the concept for Everless was really unique and I felt the same way about Havenfall. The idea of a sanctuary between worlds was so fascinating and Sara Holland does an excellent job building this world for the reader to sink into. Holland has a really gorgeous writing style and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in her writing. I did feel the story was a bit slower paced, lots of the book is taken up my introducing the world and the characters so it is much more slow burn.

Maddie is a really interesting protagonist and I liked her as a character. There’s a bit of romance in the story and I enjoyed this because it didn’t take away from the main plot too much. The story touches on a variety of themes and has a diverse cast of characters. It also had a few surprising twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. Overall it was a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series. It also has a completely stunning cover and I can’t wait to pick up a physical copy.

If you’re a fan of Sara Holland’s Everless duology or you’re looking for an exciting new fantasy series to start, this is definitely one to pick up!
4 Stars

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

Book Review: Spontaneous – Aaron Starmer

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Release Date: May 4th 2016
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of the book when I was an Intern
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Mara’s senior year is proving to be a lot less exciting than she’d hoped, until the day – KABAM! – Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period. Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last senior to explode without warning or explanation. The body count grows and the search is on for a reason, while the students continue to pop like balloons. But if bombs or terrorists or a government conspiracy aren’t to blame, what is?

With the help of her oldest friend, her new boyfriend, a power ballad and a homemade disco ball, will Mara make it to graduation in one piece? It’s going to be one hell of a year, where the only test is how to stay alive and where falling in love might be the worst thing you can do . . .

Review

This was such a fun and quirky YA read and I raced right through it. The story follows Mara as she’s finishing her last year at high school in a quiet American town. Things go from bad to worse when her classmates start exploding, and no one can figure out why – or who’s going to be next. When I read the premise I wasn’t sure this was going to be for me, but the spontaneous combustion plot works really well and I found myself really enjoying this unique little book.

The book is divided into really short chapters (which is great for “oh I’ll just read one more…”). The book is full of bleak, dark humour and I really enjoyed that about Spontaneous. The characters are dealing with such a horrific event, but they power through to try and save the rest of their class. I also loved that weaved in the story was the usual YA tropes like new relationships, friendship and finding yourself. Spontaneous is a clever little book and one I think YA readers will really enjoy.

The book is told from the point of view of main protagonist Mara, who is rude, says exactly what she thinks and ultimately hilarious. I loved seeing the story unfold from her perspective – how her friendship with Tess and relationship with Dylan in particular are fascinating to watch and excellently plotted. If you’re looking for a fun and quick YA read – and one on a topic you’ve probably never read anything about (I mean how many YA books are there about spontaneous combustion really?) then Spontaneous should definitely be your next read.4 stars

Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

Book Review: Behind Her Back – Jane Lythell

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Series:
Storyworld #2
Release Date: August 10th 2017
Publisher: Heads of Zeus
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis

The second StoryWorld novel set in the glamorous, pressurized world of a live London TV station.

StoryWorld is the nation’s favourite morning show, and producer Liz Lyon wants to keep it that way. Her job is to turn real-life stories into thrilling TV – and keep a lid on the cauldron of conflicts and resentments that constantly simmers off-stage.

In this gripping novel of power, rivalry and betrayal, Jane Lythell draws on her experiences of working in the heated world of live TV. Liz Lyon must balance the monster egos at work with the demands of her teenage daughter – and the man she’s just started dating – at home. It’s all in a day’s work.

Review

sdskdjThis was a fantastic, gripping read from author Jane Lythell, full of twists and turns. When a new woman joins the team at work, Liz feels the balance of power has shifted. She has to keep a lid on all her feelings as she maintains her role as a television producer. Coupling this with raising her daughter and dating, Liz’s life is full of surprises and shocks.

I really enjoyed reading this book partly because I found the main character so likeable. She’s a strong woman who looks after her team and works hard. I liked seeing her play the peacekeeper, diffuse the tensions and solve problems on her feet. She felt like a realistic and layered character, dealing with a teenage daughter and starting a new romance. She often has doubts about herself too, which felt quite refreshing for a main character.

I must admit that when I read Behind Her Back I did not know it was a sequel and I haven’t actually read the first book. I didn’t feel that that hindered my reading experience though, and you can definitely read it as a stand alone. I am however excited to go back to book one and find out what I missed. I love the tense, explosive atmosphere that Lythell has created, and am definitely eager for more.

Jane Lythell has drawn on her own experiences as a TV producer for this series and I think that’s part of the reason that it works so well and feels so real. The book is well paced and definitely makes you want to just read one more chapter. If you’re looking for a gripping and engaging read that’s different from anything you’ve read before, Behind Her Back is exactly what you’re looking for.