Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

Book Review: One Of Us Is Next – Karen M. McManus

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Series:
One Of Us Is Lying #2
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

It is a year after the action of One of Us Is Lying, and someone has started playing a game of Truth or Dare.

But this is no ordinary Truth or Dare. This game is lethal. Choosing the truth may reveal your darkest secrets, accepting the dare could be dangerous, even deadly.

The teenagers of Bayview must work together once again to find the culprit, before it’s too late . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T172732.088One Of Us Is Next is the sequel to YA thriller smash hit One Of Us Is Lying and returns to Bayview High a year after the events of the first book. A game of Truth or Dare has started among the high school students, but with a lethal twist. The students must work out who the mysterious person behind the game is and why they’re so determined to get vengeance on Bayview students.

I really enjoyed One Of Us Is Lying when I read it last year so I was really interested in the sequel. The story follows some new characters as well as Bronwyn’s younger sister Maeve who we meet in book one. The characters were well fleshed out and I really liked Maeve as a main character. She was one of the characters I was intrigued by in book one so it was nice to read a story from her perspective. We also get to see snippets of the characters from book one and what has happened to them since the story finished. I really enjoyed seeing where they had ended up.

Like McManus’ other books, the story is action packed and full of twists and turns. It’s a fast paced story and perfect for binge reading on a quiet afternoon. The story is a little predictable – I’m not really one for guessing plot twists and I figured it out quite early on – but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. If you’ve read the first one it’s definitely worth checking out the sequel and If you haven’t yet tried them out these books are perfect for YA thriller fans.
4 Stars

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

Book Review: Burn – Patrick Ness

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Release Date:
May 7th 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this through Tandem Collective
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

In 1956 Sarah Dewhurst’s father shocks her by hiring a dragon to work the farm. The dragon is a smaller blue rather than the traditional larger reds, though even the reds are now scarce. When the blue dragon, Kazimir, unexpectedly saves Sarah and her friend Jason Inagawa from the attentions of the racist police deputy, Kelby, everything changes. Sarah is part of a prophecy and she must escape the clutches of Malcolm, an assassin from a Believer Cell, the dragon-worshiping cult. When Sarah, Malcolm, and Kazimir eventually converge, they are thrown into another universe, where dragons seem never to have existed. Can they save this world and the one they left?

Review

Copy of book cover (20)Burn is the latest release from acclaimed YA author Patrick Ness. The story is set in world where humans and dragons co-exist and the story follows Sarah Dewhurst, a young girl whose father has hired a dragon to help on their farm. Sarah soon learns the dragon has other reasons for coming to the farm and she finds herself entangled in a prophecy to stop a war that could threaten the whole planet. But Sarah and Kazimir aren’t the only ones who know about this prophecy, when an assassin arrives at the farm Sarah must fight for her life and those she loves.

Burn is my third Patrick Ness book and definitely my favourite. I loved this unique and engaging idea – 1950s America where dragons and humans have to tolerate each other. It’s a fascinating tale and tackles a whole range of themes from racism, homophobia, grief and family. The world building in this book is truly superb. The dragons and humans idea worked so well and felt very natural. I loved that Ness gives the reader a chance to learn a bit about dragon history too. I found this really intriguing and added another layer to this complex tale.

The story is quite a fast-paced one, with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. I ended up reading the book pretty quickly, especially the latter half of the book as the tension began to climb. Ness has created a gripping tale with quite a few surprise twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.

Burn features a really fascinating cast of characters. I really liked our main protagonist Sarah, as well as scholarly dragon Kazimir. Assassin Malcolm is probably the character I liked most. His story arc is really engrossing, as he goes from a member of the cult like Believers to an assassin. There is an immense amount of character growth in this book and it really kept me hooked.

Burn is an addictive read than fans of Patrick Ness are absolutely going to love. I definitely didn’t want it to end and if you’re curious about this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up!
4 Stars

Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

Book Review: Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire

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Series:
Wayward Children #3 (Reviews of book one and book two)
Release Date: January 9th 2018
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 174
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this on Scribd.
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.)

If she can’t find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests…

A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do.

Warning: May contain nuts.

Review

Copy of book cover (10)Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third instalment of Seanan McGuire’s Eleanor West series and this time we’re following Rini who visits the Home for Wayward Children in search of her mother Sumi. When she arrives she discovers her mother died before she was even conceived, sending Rini and the other residents on an adventure to restore Sumi before Rini is wiped completely from existence.

I have pretty much fallen completely in love with this series. Each instalment has been a magical tale, full of whimsy and adventure and Beneath the Sugar Sky is no different. This time around we get to visit a few different worlds, and I loved getting to see the Confection in all its nonsense glory.

We revisit some characters we met in the previous books as well as being introduced to a few new residents of the home. I thought Cora was quite an interesting new character and I loved the idea of her being from a world with mermaids. McGuire does a brilliant job of the world building with all these different worlds and each one feels well fleshed out.

Although I really enjoyed Beneath the Sugar Sky, it’s probably my least favourite out of the three so far. In the audio book version I found Rini quite irritating and I think this lessened my enjoyment of the story. Despite that it’s still a fascinating tale with plenty of action packed into just a small number of pages. This series is shaping up to be one of my favourites, and I’m so excited to explore the Goblin Market in In An Absent Dream.
4 Stars

Book Review: Firewalkers – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Book Review: Firewalkers – Adrian Tchaikovsky

July 23, 2019 (7)
Release Date:
May 12th 2020
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A thrilling new limited-edition hardcover concerning class and climate change from Arthur C. Clarke award-winning author Adrian Tchaikovsky.

Firewalkers are brave. Firewalkers are resourceful. Firewalkers are expendable.

The Earth is burning. Nothing can survive at the Anchor; not without water and power. But the ultra-rich, waiting for their ride off the dying Earth? They can buy water. And as for power?

Well, someone has to repair the solar panels, down in the deserts below.

Kids like Mao, and Lupé, and Hotep; kids with brains and guts but no hope.

The Firewalkers.

Review

Copy of book cover (8)Firewalkers is the bleak and harrowing tale of a world in which Earth is burning, with very little water left. Very little is able to survive, but the rich are able to ascend to ships that have everything they could ever need. While they wait they remain at the luxurious hotel, able to buy water and live and peace. Mao and his team of Firewalkers are tasked with ensuring the solar panels continue to function, to keep the rich people happy. But as the venture into the burning deserts, they find that there’s much more out there than broken solar panels.

This novella might only be 200 pages, but it packs a punch. It’s a fast paced tale that doesn’t let up the entire time. I read it in a day, but I thought about it for a long time afterwards. Touching on themes like class, climate change and the power of technology, Firewalkers is certainly a book that will give you food for thought. With many of the themes being incredibly relatable, it makes for a gripping read.  It’s a cleverly woven tale, and one that I think fans of Tchaikovsky will absolutely love.

The characters were really fascinating in this book and despite it being a short read you get to know them really well and are rooting for their survival. Mao, Lupe and Hotep make a brilliant team and I loved seeing them work together to survive the dangers of the desert.

The story does have quite a bleak outlook, with our main protagonists being made to risk their lives to keep the rich in comfort. The story does also have some pretty creepy moments, featuring some monstrous beasties as well as an ominous AI. Firewalkers is a brilliant read, and I can’t wait to pick up more from Adrian Tchaikovsky.
4 Stars

Blog Tour: The Book of Koli – M. R. Carey

Blog Tour: The Book of Koli – M. R. Carey

July 23, 2019 (6)
Series:
Rampart Trilogy #1
Release Date: April 14th 2020
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book through Compulsive Readers
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognizable world. A world where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly vines and seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, one of the dangerous shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He knows the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture beyond the walls.

What he doesn’t know is – what happens when you aren’t given a choice?

The first in a gripping new trilogy, The Book of Koli charts the journey of one unforgettable young boy struggling to find his place in a chilling post-apocalyptic world. Perfect for readers of Station Eleven and Annihilation.

Review

Copy of book cover (7)The Book of Koli is the first instalment in an all new post-apocalyptic series by M. R. Carey. The story follows Koli as he attempts to survive in his village of Mythen Rood. The rules are clear – don’t go beyond the walls and don’t let the trees get too close. When Koli doesn’t get a choice but to go beyond the walls it will take all his strength to survive this deadly landscape.

The Book of Koli is a clever and engaging read, with such a unique and fascinating premise. The idea of trees that were trying to kill people was definitely part of what intrigued me to pick this one up. Carey has created an incredible world in this book. Set in the future when there is only a small amount of old world tech left, the villagers must do everything they can to survive. The world building is excellent, with Carey laying lots of groundwork to give the reader a chance to get to know the world.

The story opens with Koli at fifteen, learning his place in the world. He’s a brilliant protagonist and I immediately found myself rooting for him and I really enjoyed seeing him mature as the story progressed. The story is told from Koli’s perspective as if he is reflecting back on his life, which was also really interesting. The writing style took me a little while to get used as but after a little while I really got engrossed in Koli’s tale.

The Book of Koli is a fast paced read with the first half giving the reader the chance to get to know the world and the second half ramping up the action. It’s an engrossing and addictive read, and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in the trilogy.
4 Stars
Book-of-Koli-blog-tour-

Book Review: Seeker – Cate Tiernan

Book Review: Seeker – Cate Tiernan

July 23, 2019
Series:
Sweep #10
Release Date: April 1st 2002
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 172
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.
Source: I still have my childhood copies!
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s a time of joy for Hunter as he is reunited with his father, who vanished mysteriously years before. Only Morgan senses that something is wrong, that Hunter’s father is hiding a dark secret that could threaten them all.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-30T180003.028Seeker is the tenth instalment in the Sweep/Wicca series, a set of books that I absolutely fell in love with as a child. I read them over and over and I thought it would be fun to revisit them as an adult. I’ve slowly been working my way through the series and on reaching book number ten I was looking forward to reading from Hunter’s perspective, rather than our main protagonist Morgan. This instalment follows Hunter as he continues the search and is reunited with his long lost Father. However their reunion is not all he was hoping and his father is hiding many things. Combining that with a mission he has been sent to do for the Witches Council, Hunter will need all his wits to unravel what is really going on.

The Sweep series is such a fun and quick paced series to read. The story of Morgan Rowlands is an engaging one and I find myself still falling in love with the story all these years later. While Seeker is an interesting addition to the story, I found myself missing reading from Morgan’s perspective and was more interesting in revisiting her story than the one of Hunter and his father. The characters are complex and fascinating and I love seeing them attempt to find balance between all powerful witches and everyday life as a high school student.

The series is a long one (fifteen books total) but they are all under the 250 page mark. On reading them as an adult I definitely think I would prefer them to be condensed into three or four books, as I often found the books bringing up something that had happened in previous books again and again. Of the books in the series this has probably been my least favourite so far, but it was fun to get to know Hunter a bit better. If you’re a fan of witchy books this is definitely one to check out, and I’m definitely looking forward to revisiting the final books in the series.
4 Stars

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses – Sandya Menon

Book Review: Of Curses and Kisses – Sandya Menon

July 23, 2019 (22)
Series:
St Rosetta’s Academy #1
Release Date: February 18th 2020
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 384
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

The first novel in a series set at an elite international boarding school, that’s a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast.

Will the princess save the beast?

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?

His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…

As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-14T133113.709This is my first time reading a book by Sandhya Menon. I know lots of people love her When Dimple Met Rishi series but I haven’t yet had the chance to pick it up. When I heard she was releasing a Beauty and the Beast retelling I jumped at the chance to read it. I love retellings and Beauty and the Beast is one of my favourites, add that to the boarding school setting and I was dying to dive into this one.

The story follows Princess Jaya as she and her sister attend St Rosetta’s boarding school for the first time. They are fleeing a scandal at home and Jaya has plans to take revenge on the one she suspects is to blame – Grey Emerson. Jaya and Grey’s family have a long standing feud and Jaya plans to get revenge by making him fall in love with her, and then breaking his heart. But when Jaya meets Grey he isn’t all that he seems and is he truly behind the leaked pictures of her sister?

Of Curses and Kisses is a fun and modern take on the Beauty and the Beast tale. The characters were interesting takes on the ones we know and love. Jaya is kind and caring with an obsession with YA romance novels and Grey is dark and brooding. I really liked Jaya’s sister and I’m hoping we get to see more of her in books to come. I loved interesting ways that Menon brought in the classic tale, with Jaya’s necklace becoming the rose. It was a fun and fast paced read and one I’m sure fans of contemporary ya will adore.

The chapters alternate between Jaya and Grey which gives the reader a chance to get to know both characters really well. I loved the boarding school setting and plot was engaging and well written. Of Curses and Kisses is a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
4 Stars

Book Review: This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

Book Review: This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay

July 23, 2019 (17)
Release Date:
September 7th 2017
Publisher:  Picador
Pages: 280
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local supermarket
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Adam Kay was a junior doctor from 2004 until 2010, before a devastating experience on a ward caused him to reconsider his future. He kept a diary throughout his training, and This Is Going to Hurt intersperses tales from the front line of the NHS with reflections on the current crisis. The result is a first-hand account of life as a junior doctor in all its joy, pain, sacrifice and maddening bureaucracy, and a love letter to those who might at any moment be holding our lives in their hands.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-17T100406.445This is Going to Hurt is an account of Adam Kay’s time as a junior doctor in the NHS. Written in diary form the book gives an inside look into the highs and lows of life as a doctor.

I want to hold my hands up and say this is definitely not the type of book I would normally read. I very rarely read non-fiction, but at a recent book event I was recommended this book and I thought I would give it a shot. Equal parts hilarious and heart breaking, I can easily see why this book has won so many awards and is adored by so many people.

The thing that struck me about this book is just how honest it felt. There are plenty of moments that will make you laugh out loud, but there are also lots of sobering ones that are difficult to read. It paints a very stark picture of what working in the NHS is like, and should probably be required reading for everyone. This is Going to Hurt is an eye opening reading experience, and it definitely made me view the brave NHS staff in a whole new light.

Kay has a really captivating writing style and I ended up reading this book in an entire sitting on a journey to visit family in England. It’s quite a quick read too, despite the medical terminology I didn’t have any trouble following along. Each chapter takes you through Kay’s life as he progresses in his career before his eventual decision to stop practising medicine altogether.

This is Going to Hurt is definitely one of those books that sticks with you and if you’ve been interested in picking it up but maybe weren’t sure if it would be for you, I’d absolutely recommend giving it a go – you won’t be disappointed.
4 Stars

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

Book Review: Always Here For You – Miriam Halahmy

July 23, 2019 (15)
Release Date:
February 11th 2020
Publisher: ZunTold Publishing
Pages: 280
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

14-year-old Holly is lonely. Her parents are never around after Gran’s Crisis and best friend Amy to Canada, loved-up with her new boyfriend, Gabe. Holly has no-one to hang out with at school apart from moody Ellen and misfit Tim.

Home alone in Brighton with no-one to talk to, Holly is at rock bottom. That is, until she finds Jay. Caring, funny and with so much in common, Jay is the perfect guy. They chat online, but Holly knows to be careful, she’s heard the horror stories. As they grow closer and closer, chatting with Jay is all that makes Holly happy. Mum and Dad’s rows get more intense and Amy’s radio silence continues; the only one who understands is Jay. As Holly lets her guard down, is Jay all he seems? Is Holly in too deep? And is it too late?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174939.477Always Here For You is the tense and gripping tale of a young girl named Holly who is struggling with being lonely. Only fifteen, her best friend has moved to Canada and is having the best time without her, and her parents are preoccupied with Holly’s ailing grandmother. Looking for companionship she begins talking to a stranger online. She knows not everyone is who they say they are online but as she begins to feel more and more isolated, Holly feels like she only has Jay to turn too. When they decide to meet face to face Holly begins to wonder if she’s made a mistake, and if Jay is all that he seems.

Miriam Halahmy has created a fast-paced and timely tale about how easy it is to fall victim to someone on the internet. The brilliantly depicted characters highlight the unnerving realty of how chatting to a stranger for a few minutes can change your whole life. The story is a tense one, with the tension ramping up the closer Holly gets to meeting Jay face to face. I thought Holly was a really fascinating protagonist, she’s aware of the dangers of the internet, but it doesn’t stop her from being unknowingly groomed.

Always Here For You does a fantastic job of raising awareness for something that occurs all too frequently. A well written contemporary story that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. It’s a pretty quick read too, so definitely one to recommend if you’re looking for a story to get lost in for an afternoon.
4 Stars

Blog Tour: The Night Dragon – Julie Kagawa

Blog Tour: The Night Dragon – Julie Kagawa

July 23, 2019 (11)
Series:
Shadow of the Fox #3
Release Date: March 31st 2020
Publisher: HQ Young Adult
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Master storyteller Julie Kagawa concludes the enthralling journey into the heart of the fantastical Empire of Iwagoto in the third book of the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. As darkness rises and chaos reigns, a fierce kitsune and her shadowy protector will face down the greatest evil of all. A captivating fantasy for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas and Marie Lu.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-10T181007.492Night of the Dragon is the third and final instalment in Julie Kagawa’s Shadow of the Fox series. This fast-paced fantasy tale follows a young shapeshifter named Yumeko as she and her ragtag group of friends attempt to save the world from being destroyed by use of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers. This epic tale is full to the brim with magic, action and friendship and book three is no exception – if you’ve read and loved the first two in the series, you are not going to be disappointed.

I won’t say too much about the plot as I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone – it’s best to go in knowing as little as possible. The whole series has an anime feel to it, there’s ton of action to keep you gripped and a brilliant cast of characters to root for. After following Yumeko and her gang from the beginning you become very attached and each character is well written and I must be honest I felt quite sad to see the characters go. The conclusion to the story is executed really well, but I would have loved to see more of this wonderful cast of characters.

The series started out incredibly strong and with each book the stakes have become higher and the cliffhangers even bigger. Julie Kagawa writes a compelling and addictive tale and I found myself turning pages faster and faster, desperate to know how it was all going to end. The world building in this series is also competely superb, steeped in Japanese mythology, I honestly couldn’t get enough.

If you’ve read the first two books in this series, prepare to be completely sucked into Night of the Dragon. If you haven’t yet had the chance to try the series out, now is the perfect time to get binging – I definitely recommend picking up all these because you’re going to want to dive back into this world immediately – I know I did!
4 Stars

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