Blog Tour: The Island – C. L. Taylor

Blog Tour: The Island – C. L. Taylor


Release Date: January 21st 2021
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher sent me an E-ARC to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Lost meets The Hunger Games in the thrilling new young adult novel from C.L. Taylor, the Sunday Times and million-copy bestselling author.

Welcome to The Island.
Where your worst fears are about to come true…

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday: a week-long trip for six teenage friends on a remote tropical island.

But when their guide dies of a stroke leaving them stranded, the trip of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare.

Because someone on the island knows each of the group’s worst fears. And one by one, they’re coming true.

Seven days in paradise. A deadly secret.

Who will make it off the island alive?

Review

The all new addictive YA thriller from C. L. Taylor, the story follows six families who holiday together every year. This time they’re in Thailand and the six teenagers are taking part in a week long survival trip on a remote island. When their guide dies suddenly the teenagers are stranded and the trip quickly takes a dark turn. As the group attempt to survive they quickly learn someone on the island knows their worst fears – but who is making them come true?

This was such a fast paced read and I raced through it in just over a day. I always love C. L. Taylor’s books and this one is no exception. Full of twists and turns, I didn’t guess the ending until it was revealed. Taylor has such a great writing style that it’s really easy to get absorbed in the story. I really adored the premise of this one – the idea of a once in a life time trip gone horribly wrong and the sinister notion of whether they are in fact the only people on the island.

The characters were well developed and I liked some of them and hated others. They made for a fascinating group and it was really interesting seeing the dynamics change as they fought to survive and grew suspicious of each other. Like the other C. L. Taylor books I’ve read there’s a tense, unsettling atmosphere that continues to climb right to the very last page.

If you’re a fan of C. L. Taylor or you love compelling YA thrillers, this is absolutely a must read. This is my fifth read by this author and I cannot wait to see what she does next.

Book Review: Wranglestone – Darren Charlton

Book Review: Wranglestone – Darren Charlton


Series:
Wranglestone #1
Release Date: February 6th 2020
Publisher: Stripes Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book for a bookstagram tour.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Winter was the only season every Lake-Lander feared…

In a post-apocalyptic America, a community survives in a national park, surrounded by water that keeps the Dead at bay. But when winter comes, there’s nothing to stop them from crossing the ice.

Then homebody Peter puts the camp in danger by naively allowing a stranger to come ashore and he’s forced to leave the community of Wranglestone. Now he must help rancher Cooper, the boy he’s always watched from afar, herd the Dead from their shores before the lake freezes over.

But as love blossoms, a dark discovery reveals the sanctuary’s secret past. One that forces the pair to question everything they’ve ever known.

Review

Wranglestone is the action packed, wintry tale of a world in which the Dead have taken over America. A small group of survives have created a community in a national park and they are kept safe from the zombies by the water that surrounds them. When the harsh winter draws in though, there’s nothing to stop the zombies crossing the ice. Peter is one of the youngest members of the community and when he accidentally allows a stranger to enter the community he learns a hard lesson. He’s forced to learn how to wrangle the zombies with Cooper, a boy he’s long had feelings for. But as winter draws closer Peter and Cooper soon learn that there’s more going on in Wranglestone that meets the eye.

I love stories with supernatural creatures and I haven’t read too many zombie stories so this was exactly the kind of book I was looking for. Wranglestone is a fast paced horror tale and one you absolutely cannot look away from. Charlton’s writing style is really easy to get absorbed in and I found myself absolutely racing through this one – particularly in the later half of the book when the action really picked up. I absolutely adored the beautiful setting of this story, the national park was really vivid and came to life in the descriptions. I loved the concept of a community free from the horrors of the dead until the winter freezes the river and they can cross over. It was something I’d never come across before and I’m so intrigued to see where the story goes next.

Wranglestone has some really interesting characters and I really liked our main protagonists Peter and Cooper. The romance is really sweet despite it being very quick to develop. I loved that the two characters were quite opposite – Peter prefers the comfort of his home and Cooper is always out in the wild – but that they fit together so well. There were a few twists in the story that I didn’t see coming and that made for a very exciting finale in this book.

Wranglestone is an exciting debut and one I really enjoyed reading. If you’re a fan of zombie books this is absolutely a must read and I’m definitely counting down the days until the release of book two.

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey

Book Review: The Wolf and the Water – Josie Jaffrey


Series:
Deluge #1
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Pages: 268
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Some secrets are worth killing for.

The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.

Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.

Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.

With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.

If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.

Review

The Wolf and the Water is the first in an all new series from Josie Jaffrey, set in the ancient city of Kepos. The story follows Kala, a young girl who loses her father in mysterious circumstances. Her mother is remarried to a cruel man looking to gain more power in his position as head of the household. As Kala attempts to investigate the death of her father she uncovers a secret long hidden in the city of Kepos and must do everything she can to keep herself and her loved ones alive.

I’ve previously read Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign series so when I heard she had a new release coming out I was really intrigued. The Wolf and the Water is a fascinating tale and one I absolutely raced through. The story if full to the brim with mythology and the world building is well executed in the story. I was completely hooked on the story and the world that Jaffrey created. The story is a fast paced one and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger making me desperate to find out what’s in store in book two.

The thing that intrigued me most about The Wolf and the Water is the complex characters and their relationships in this story. I really liked our main protagonist Kala – she’s strong willed and determined to survive even if she is cast out from her family. I really liked seeing her relationship develop with Leon, and I really liked Lissa too. Nikos is a brilliant villain and is well depicted as the power hungry stepfather.

The story is full of mystery and it kept me hooked right till the very last page. If you’re looking for a fresh new fantasy with a unique setting and complex characters, this is definitely one to add to your wishlist.

Book Review: Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar

Book Review: Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar


Release Date:
August 11th 2020
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 435
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.

But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.

Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.

Review

Star Daughter is a beautifully written story inspired by Hindu mythology that follows Sheetal a young girl who is part star. When she is summoned to the celestial court Sheetal is forced to participate in a competition that decides who will be the next ruler of the heavens. With no choice but to agree, Sheetal participates in the competition, but as she learns more about the history of the celestial court she soon sees that all is not what it seems.

This was such a gorgeous, lyrical tale and honestly I didn’t want it to end. I really loved the writing style in this one and I actually had hoped there would be a sequel because the world Thakrar has created was absolutely fascinating. I loved learning about the celestial court and the families that ruled the heavens. Seeing Sheetal come into her star powers was all a really interesting part of the story.

A competition is one of my favourite YA tropes and it is executed incredibly well in this story. I loved seeing the different performances and competitors. I really liked the characters and in particular the strong focus on family and friendship. There is a romance element to the story, but I found myself less interested in this and more about Sheetal overcoming her feelings of guilt, making it through the competition and saving her father.

The story is really quick paced and it’s a really enjoyable read. It also has one of the most stunning covers I’ve ever seen. If you’re a fan of YA fantasy that’s full to the brim with mythology and really lovely writing, this one will be a must read.

Book Review: A Court of Lions – Somaiya Daud

Book Review: A Court of Lions – Somaiya Daud


Series:
Mirage #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: August 6th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this from Book Depository.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into complete isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has forced her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, her identity – and her betrayal – will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she step aside, and watch her people suffer, or continue to aid them, and put herself and her family in mortal danger? And whatever she chooses, can she bear to remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, Idris?

Review

Court of Lions is the second book in the Mirage duology. The story picks up straight after the events of book one and we’re still following Amani as she is forced into life as Maram’s body double. Amani has a difficult decision to make as tensions continue to rise and the spark of rebellion is ignited. Is she willing to sacrifice everything to save her people and can she help Maram to become the Queen her country so desperately needs?

Mirage was one of my favourite reads of 2019. I flew through it in a single day and I absolutely fell in love with the characters. Court of Lions was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 and while I did really enjoy it, it didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It’s a really solid book but I just didn’t connect with the story in the same way I did Mirage. In this second book it focuses much more on court politics, of Amani gathering followers and helping Maram to stand up for herself. Until the last few chapters the stakes didn’t feel as high – when the rebellion actually kicked off I couldn’t put the book down, but I struggled a little in the middle.

One of the stand out things about Mirage are the brilliant characters and the complex female relationships. I loved seeing Amani and Maram continue to grow and work together for the good of the country. I also really liked the romance that developed Maram and Aghraas. Court of Lions offered a satisfying conclusion to a really fascinating story and I’m keen to read more from Somaiya Daud in the future.

Book Review: Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Book Review: Wilder Girls – Rory Power


Release Date:
February 6th 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese’s hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all..

Review

Wilder Girls is the strange and compelling story of the pupils at Raxter School for Girls, which is put under quarantine after the island becomes infected with the Tox. Affecting every student and teacher differently, Hetty loses an eye, Reese loses a hand and many of the teachers have died off one by one. When Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty breaks the rules to search for her discovering the truth behind the mysterious disease that is affecting her classmates.

I wanted to love this one. There was so much hype around it that I think I might have built it up in my expectations just a little too much. It was a really enjoyable read but it wasn’t particularly scary and I think I was expecting that shiver up your spine kind of feeling. I really liked Hetty and Reese, they were great main characters and I really liked watching their relationship blossom. It was an enticing read, drawing you deeper and deeper into the reasons for this horrible plague.

I really liked Power’s writing style, the island and the setting beautifully described and the horror of the tox was highlighted in a really visceral way. The plot was pretty fast going and I read the first half of the book pretty quickly, but I did feel a little let down by the ending. It felt a bit on the rushed side and just wasn’t the type of ending I was expecting.

Overall Wilder Girls was a really enjoyable read and if you’re looking for a YA mystery with a touch of horror thrown into this mix this could be exactly what you’re looking for!

Book Review: The Stars We Steal – Alexa Donne

Book Review: The Stars We Steal – Alexa Donne

July 23, 2019 (12)
Release Date:
February 4th 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Engagement season is in the air. Eighteen-year-old Princess Leonie “Leo” Kolburg, heir to a faded European spaceship, only has one thing on her mind: which lucky bachelor can save her family from financial ruin?

But when Leo’s childhood friend and first love Elliot returns as the captain of a successful whiskey ship, everything changes. Elliot was the one that got away, the boy Leo’s family deemed to be unsuitable for marriage. Now, he’s the biggest catch of the season and he seems determined to make Leo’s life miserable. But old habits die hard, and as Leo navigates the glittering balls of the Valg Season, she finds herself failing for her first love in a game of love, lies, and past regrets.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174316.103This book captured my interest when I learned it was a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, but set in space. The story follows Leo, a Princess and heir whose family are on the verge of financial ruin. When the Valg season begins, Leo must do whatever she can to find herself a suitable husband to save her family – but at what cost? And when her ex Elliot returns to the ship Leo finds herself struggling to survive the secrets and lies of the Valg.

The Stars We Steal is a fun and engaging tale, full of beautiful ballgowns, secrets and drama. It definitely felt reminiscent of The Selection, but with a dash of science fiction thrown in. It is quite light on the science fiction scale and makes for a quick and enjoyable read. It’s been dubbed ‘The Bachelor in space’ and I think that sums this story up pretty well.

The characters are interesting ones, Leonie is an inventor and I was really intrigued by her water filtration system. I thought Leonie made for an interesting protagonist and I also liked her sister too. I wasn’t so keen on some of the secondary characters who I felt were a little one dimensional, and could have been explored in a bit more depth.

The Stars We Steal is a light and fluffy read, one you’ll whizz through because the glitz and drama will have you turning pages faster and faster. It’s a great story to get completely absorbed in and one I think lots of readers will enjoy. It also has a completely stunning cover that I can’t stop staring at. If you love retellings this is a fresh take on a well known tale, and definitely one to pick up.
4 Stars