Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Book Review: Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-18T103215.304.png
Release Date:
March 7th 2019
Publisher: Hutchinson
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in Sainsburys
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

For a while, Daisy Jones & The Six were everywhere. Their albums were on every turntable, they sold out arenas from coast to coast, their sound defined an era. And then, on 12 July 1979, they split. Nobody ever knew why. Until now. They were lovers and friends and brothers and rivals. They couldn’t believe their luck, until it ran out. This is their story of the early days and the wild nights, but everyone remembers the truth differently. The only thing they all know for sure is that from the moment Daisy Jones walked barefoot onstage at the Whisky, their lives were irrevocably changed. Making music is never just about the music. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where the sound stops and the feelings begin.

Review

40554141Daisy Jones and the Six tells the tale of world famous Daisy Jones and the Six, a rock band that took the world by storm in the 60s. After a hit record and sell out shows – the band suddenly disbanded and no one knows why. Now years later, the band recount the tale of what led to them breaking up.

Now I’m going to point out straight away that this is completely not the kind of book I would normally read. The majority of the books I read are Science Fiction and Fantasy, so this is completely outside of my comfort zone. I picked this up because of all the hype for this and another of Reid’s novels – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – and thought it might be quite an interesting read. What I didn’t expect was to be absolutely blown away by this book, and have it be one of my new all-time favourites.

Daisy Jones and the Six is told in a really fascinating way, the book unfolds as a series of interviews – with the band recounting their time recording music and touring. The story is exclusively dialogue, there’s not really anything in the way of scenery descriptions or anything of that nature. Despite that the story completely came alive for me and I felt like Daisy and the band were real people – in fact by the time I was finished I wanted to google the band to learn more about them. The story really makes you feel like these people were real, and brings to life the sights and sounds of life in the 60s.

Daisy Jones and the Six holds nothing back and there’s plenty of drink, drugs and the difficulty of dealing with fame. It’s a fascinating tale and you get the sense early on that it’s going to end badly, yet you absolutely cannot look away.

The story is emotional and heart breaking in the best possible way and I honestly struggled not to bawl my eyes out at it on the way home from work. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like Daisy Jones and the Six, and it’s definitely a book I keep thinking about despite finishing it a while ago.

I’m so glad I took the jump and tried something out of my comfort zone, because this is absolutely a new favourite. I’m incredibly keen to try more from this author and if you’ve seen the buzz around Daisy Jones and thought that the book isn’t your cup of tea I’d definitely suggest giving it a go – you might just find a new favourite.

5 stars

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Book Review: Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-12T182815.479.pngSeries: Aurora Cycle #1
Release Date: May 7th 2019
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Pages: 478
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

Review

book cover (45)Aurora Rising was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I adored the Illuminae Files and I was hoping this would be just as fun and exciting. If it’s even possible Aurora Rising was even more incredible than I had hoped and it was an immediate five star read.

The story follows Squad 312, a group of Legionnaires who are flung together as the academy dregs no one else wants on their team. When squad leader Tyler discovers the girl he rescued from space stowed away on his ship it sparks a series of events that they might not live to see the end of.

Aurora Rising is just the most fun and fast paced story. As can be expected with this space epic it sets a pretty relentless pace and I was constantly trying to squeeze chapters in because I was dying to know what would happen next. There’s a really brilliant cast of characters and I grew really attached to all of them. The book is full of sarky, sassy moments and plenty of banter between these wonderful characters.

The plot is really intriguing and I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the story – some of the surprises were a bit obvious and I saw them coming – but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. There were some emotional moments too and the story certainly ended on an enticing cliffhanger – I’m dying to find out what’s in store next for the squad.

There is a bit more romance in the story than I was expecting and a case of insta-love that I’m not so keen on but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment too much. Overall I thought this was a really fantastic read and if you enjoy fast paced action stories or you’ve read work by these authors before, I’m sure you’ll love this one.
5 stars

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

Book Review: How To Stop Time – Matt Haig

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-10T102446.693
Release Date:
July 6th 2017
Publisher: Canongate Books
Pages: 325
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly gave me a copy of this book when I was an Intern.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

“The first rule is that you don’t fall in love, ‘ he said… ‘There are other rules too, but that is the main one. No falling in love. No staying in love. No daydreaming of love. If you stick to this you will just about be okay.'” 

A love story across the ages – and for the ages – about a man lost in time, the woman who could save him, and the lifetimes it can take to learn how to live

Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old, but owing to a rare condition, he’s been alive for centuries. Tom has lived history–performing with Shakespeare, exploring the high seas with Captain Cook, and sharing cocktails with Fitzgerald. Now, he just wants an ordinary life.

So Tom moves back to London, his old home, to become a high school history teacher–the perfect job for someone who has witnessed the city’s history first hand. Better yet, a captivating French teacher at his school seems fascinated by him. But the Albatross Society, the secretive group which protects people like Tom, has one rule: never fall in love. As painful memories of his past and the erratic behavior of the Society’s watchful leader threaten to derail his new life and romance, the one thing he can’t have just happens to be the one thing that might save him. Tom will have to decide once and for all whether to remain stuck in the past, or finally begin living in the present.

How to Stop Time is a bighearted, wildly original novel about losing and finding yourself, the inevitability of change, and how with enough time to learn, we just might find happiness.

Review

33590076I was really struck by the eye-catching cover for How to Stop Time and so when I picked it up and read the synopsis I just knew I had to read it. I really loved this book and absolutely raced through it. The writing is so addictive that I honestly couldn’t put it down. I loved the premise of this book, mainly because it was a unique spin on the being who lives for centuries idea. Tom is not immortal, he simply ages slower than the rest of humanity. It’s a rare condition, and this idea makes the book seem all the more believable.

I loved reading about Tom in different time periods, as he interacts with some of those most well known in history, each time period really comes alive and Haig’s writing really brings out the sights, sounds and smells of those periods. I think it’s definitely a mark of a fantastic story and a fantastic writer that each time period is so distinctive and vivid. The book is of course split into two different points, one from Tom’s past as he adapts to live in different periods, and his present day life as a history teacher in London.

This book was really the kind of book that sucked me in for hours on end, and definitely stayed with me after I finished reading it. There’s been plenty of hype about this book, and in this case I can say it is absolutely justified. It’s beautiful and will make you happy and sad in equal measure. Tom is a wonderful protagonist and this is a stunning book. This is my first time reading a book by Matt Haig, but after this whirlwind it definitely won’t be my last.
5 stars

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

Book Review: Wonder Woman Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-05-07T111053.634.png
Series:
DC Icons #1
Release Date: August 28th 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 364
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Daughter of immortals.

Princess Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mortal. Diana will soon learn that she has rescued no ordinary girl, and that with this single brave act, she may have doomed the world.

Daughter of death.

Alia Keralis just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted by people who think her very existence could spark a world war. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together.

Two girls will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. Tested beyond the bounds of their abilities, Diana and Alia must find a way to unleash hidden strengths and forge an unlikely alliance. Because if they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war.

Review

29749085This was a bit of an odd read for me. I love DC Comics, but have never really clicked with Wonderwoman. When I heard that Penguin were doing a YA series of DC heroes I jumped at the chance to read them, even more so when I found out that Leigh Bardugo (one of my favourite authors) would be writing one. However I was still a bit unsure how it would go when Wonderwoman wasn’t a story I was all that familiar with.

It took me a little while to get into the story. I found the beginning with Diana on the island a little slow, but as soon as Diana got to New York, I was sucked in and couldn’t put the book down. I’m so glad I was given the chance to review this book, because it’s honestly one of the best superhero stories I’ve ever read.

Warbringer really has it all. It’s full of action, Diana fighting bad guys and kicking butt, being the strong and fantastic heroine. It’s also full of mythology and meticulous research, a wonderful cast of characters – I loved scientist and all round geeky girl Alia and her best friend the fashion and style icon Nim so much. The one thing that really took me by surprise was how funny the book was. Bardugo gives Diana a really distinct voice, and it’s a wonderful story watching her be both Amazon Princess and a young woman doing normal things (interacting with boys, making friends, living up to the expectations of her mother). It’s a well crafted and multi-layered story that I lost myself in for hours on end.

As well as the fantastic characters and funny moments the story is just a really intriguing concept, the idea of the warbringer and the effect it has on the world. There were plenty of twists I didn’t see coming, and that made the story all the more enjoyable. This has even more solidified Leigh Bardugo’s place as one of my favourite authors, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s next in store for the DC Icons series.
5 stars

Book Review: The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

Book Review: The Wages of Sin – Kaite Welsh

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-04-29T121941.894.png
Series:
Sarah Gilchrist #1
Release Date: June 1st 2017
Publisher: Tinder Press
Pages: 309
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Sarah Gilchrist has fled London and a troubled past to join the University of Edinburgh’s medical school in 1892, the first year it admits women. She is determined to become a doctor despite the misgivings of her family and society, but Sarah quickly finds plenty of barriers at school itself: professors who refuse to teach their new pupils, male students determined to force out their female counterparts, and—perhaps worst of all—her female peers who will do anything to avoid being associated with a fallen woman.

Desperate for a proper education, Sarah turns to one of the city’s ramshackle charitable hospitals for additional training. The St Giles’ Infirmary for Women ministers to the downtrodden and drunk, the thieves and whores with nowhere else to go. In this environment, alongside a group of smart and tough teachers, Sarah gets quite an education. But when Lucy, one of Sarah’s patients, turns up in the university dissecting room as a battered corpse, Sarah finds herself drawn into a murky underworld of bribery, brothels, and body snatchers.

Painfully aware of just how little separates her own life from that of her former patient’s, Sarah is determined to find out what happened to Lucy and bring those responsible for her death to justice. But as she searches for answers in Edinburgh’s dank alleyways, bawdy houses and fight clubs, Sarah comes closer and closer to uncovering one of Edinburgh’s most lucrative trades, and, in doing so, puts her own life at risk…

Review

book cover - 2019-04-29T121734.477I loved this book from start to finish. Sarah Gilchrist is such a fascinating character. Forced to leave London in disgrace, Sarah is part of the first group of female medical students at Edinburgh University. She’s determined to become a doctor and help those in need. However those around her are not so thrilled at the idea of having female doctors, and there are those in her family who would much prefer she let the idea of doctoring go and get married.

I’m not really sure where to begin with reviewing The Wages of Sin. I loved it so much, and there’s just so much going on in this complex and addictive story. The first thing I adored about this book was the setting. I love historical fiction, and so when I heard about this book set in Victorian Edinburgh, I was absolutely dying to read it. Not only that, I did my undergraduate degree in Edinburgh, and at the time of reading the book I was interning just off the royal mile. It’s very rare you’re actually in a place where a book is set, and the fantastic depictions of Victorian Edinburgh really made the story come alive for me. I often spent my lunch break in cafe comparing the Royal Mile of today to the dark and eerie Royal Mile of the story.The descriptions of the medical procedures and events in the infirmary are also very visually depicted, bringing alive the stench and sounds of the medical world.

I also adored the characters, they’re so wonderfully depicted, and there’s such a range of interesting characters. Sarah is dismissed from society, yet she’s still determined to see her dream of becoming a doctor through. She’s strong and she fights for what she believes is right. I also loved Elizabeth, Sarah’s only real friend that she confides and finds solace in. Elizabeth appears as the perfect depiction of a good wife who stays at home, but she’s so much more. Professor Merchiston too is a fascinating character he’s both Sarah’s lecturer and some how tied up in the mysterious death of her patient.

The Wages of Sin is such a fascinating exploration into how women were treated in Victorian times, but enveloped in a dark murder mystery. The back drop of women being ridiculed and shunned for studying medicine, as well as obstructing them from getting the vote, makes for a really interesting and complex story. This book kept me guessing, and kept me wanting more. The book is incredibly well researched, and is definitely one of my favourite historical fictions ever. It’s full of darkness and corruption, This is a completely engaging book, and I hope this isn’t the last we see of Sarah Gilchrist.
5 stars

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-04-23T140119.615
Release Date:
September 7th 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 290
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this from the Waterstones stand at YALC
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Review

book cover - 2019-04-23T135811.201This is easily one of my favourite books of 2017. (I know I’ve said that a lot this year, 2017 has been a fabulous year for books after all). But honestly, I can’t reccommend this book highly enough. I’d heard some of the buzz about it on social media, and so when it was announced that people attending this years Young Adult Literature Convention would be able to buy early copies, I jumped at the chance.

This was my first outing into a book by Lauren James, but I’m now eager to read all her other books too. This book is superbly written, enveloping you completely in the claustrophobic confines of space.

I just adored the premise of this book – Romy Silver has never been to Earth, she was born in space, but now she’s completely alone living in a space ship in search of a new Earth for future generations. I loved Romy, the girl who has dealt with so much in her young life, yet never actually set foot on the earth, had a sleepover or been around anyone her own age.

Romy is smart, stubborn and a fantastic protagonist. She might be the youngest Commander of a spaceship, but she also just kind of wants to obsess over her favourite TV series and write fan fiction. She’s relatable in so many ways, she’s a bit awkward and suffers from anxiety – I absolutely adored her.

The plot of this book is tense, and more than a little creepy and on several occasions I definitely felt the urge to gasp out loud. James drew me in hook line and sinker, and I loved every second of it.

I must admit I had sort of expected to read this over a few days, the short chapters being great to read over my lunch break at work. However after getting home from YALC I decided to read the first few chapters and by then I was completely sucked in and finished the book in one sitting.

If you’re looking for a tense, superbly written mystery, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is definitely the book to pick up this month.
5 stars

Book Review: Everless – Sara Holland

Book Review: Everless – Sara Holland

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-04-23T134959.184
Series:
Everless #1
Release Date: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Orchard Books
Pages: 362
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC of this at YALC
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-23T134901.120This has got to be one of the most unique YA fantasy books that I’ve ever read. I picked it up on a whim from my YALC pile and absolutely couldn’t put it down. I devoured this book in one breathless sitting, and it definitely left me hungry for more. The concept was probably what intrigued me most about Everless, the idea that time is a currency and if you don’t have enough money to pay for something you can bleed your years to pay for it.

The setting is really lushly described, the stunning Everless estate, which despite its beauty is fraught with danger for Jules. The latter half of the book certainly ramps up the tension, and there’s more than a few twists and turns along the way. I loved the characters, particularly our main protagonist Jules. The characters feel very life like and complex, and that’s something I really enjoyed about Everless. I also loved the mystery aspects of the story – what’s really going on at the Gerling Estate? So many of the characters have secret motives and more going on beneath the surface. The mix of mystery, fantasy and romance is just perfect.

The writing in this book is really beautiful, and the world building is exquisitely detailed. I must admit I had a bit of a book hangover after finishing this gorgeous book. My proof has a plain white cover but I’m so excited to also have a beautiful hardback copy because that cover is just stunning. If you’re looking for a new addictive YA fantasy read that feels truly unique, then you definitely need to pick up Everless.
5 stars