Book Review: Shell – Paula Rawsthorne

Book Review: Shell – Paula Rawsthorne

BOOK REVIEW (93).pngRelease Date: January 4th 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.75/5

Synopsis

What if you thought you had died, only to wake up to find that your brain and eyes had been transplanted into someone else’s body?

When Lucy, a teen diagnosed with terminal cancer wakes up cancer-free, it should be a dream come true. But faced with a life she didn’t choose and trapped in a new body, Lucy must face the biggest question of all . . . How far would you go to save the one you love?

Review

book coverThis book was so freaky. Imagine waking up in someone else’s body, but with your personality and all your memories? All your friends think you’re dead and you have to pretend to be someone else. Could you do it?

2018 marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and I couldn’t think of a better celebration than this fantastic retelling. This book is quite fast paced, developing quickly as Lucy adapts to her new life in a new body. I really like Lucy as a main character, she was flawed and at times difficult, but that made her all the more realistic. I also found her parents really complex and fascinating, attempting to understand their motivations and looking at how far they will go to keep their daughter alive.

Shell touches on a lot of different themes, doing what’s right, finding yourself, friendship, bravery and family are just some of them. These really help to hook you in, and I definitely felt for Lucy and her struggle to keep going despite everything she’s been through. She has to make a lot of tough decisions, but the book is all the more intense and gripping for that reason.

Shell definitely also has some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. The ending is quite a surprise and definitely gives you some food for thought. At times I found the book pretty dark and gory, but also dramatic and addictive. This is a superb modern retelling, and if you’re looking for something different to read, or you’re a fan of Mary Shelley’s version, you definitely need to give this a try.
4 stars

2018 Wrap Up!

2018 Wrap Up!

BOOK REVIEW (70)
Now that January is here and I’ve finally managed to pick my favourite books of 2018. You can check that post out here, if you want to know what made the top fifteen. After deciding I thought it would be fun to do a little wrap up just to look at my reading over the last twelve months.

So in 2018 I read 142 books.

One of my reading goals for this year was to read more books. In 2017 I read 91 books so I was hoping to up it to 100. I’m so pleased I managed to completely blitz this challenge and read way more than I expected.

Breaking down what I read:

Review copy/ARC: 66book cover (56)
Backlist: 20
Newly Purchased: 37
Re-read: 19
I’m not particularly surprised about this as I tend to reach more for review copies and the titles I’ve most recently bought. I’m definitely going to aim in 2019 to read more of the backlist books on my shelves. (We’ll see how that goes!)

In terms of genre I read:

Non-Fiction: 3
Graphic Novels: 4
Poetry: 1
Science Fiction: 14
Crime/Thriller: 13book cover (57)
Classics: 7
Historical Fiction: 10
Contemporary: 19
Horror: 10
Fantasy: 61

There’s no surprises that fantasy was by far the most popular. I did plan to read more contemporary books in 2018 so I’m pleased by the 19 on the list and that’s definitely something I want to continue in the new year.

My average length of book was 345 pages with the shortest book being Warm Up by V. E. Schwab (15 pages) and the longest Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (744 pages).

My average rating was 4.0, which definitely shows how many amazing books I’ve read this year that the average rating is so high.

2018 was a brilliant year for books and I’m so excited to read and review more brilliant stories in 2019!

Best Books of 2018!

Best Books of 2018!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope whatever you’re up to today you’re having a wonderful start to the new year. I FINALLY managed to whittle down the books I read to a top 15 (honestly I really tried to make it 10 but it wasn’t possible), so I thought I would share my favourite books of 2018. All of these were five star reads for me and I would highly recommend them all. Because there’s quite a few I’m only going to have a sentence or two to sum up of why I loved them.

1. The Winter of the Witch – Katherine Ardenbook cover (53)
The epic conclusion to this gorgeous fantasy series absolutely broke me in the best way – Katherine Arden does not disappoint.

2. The Illuminae Files – Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The biggest surprise of 2018 – a crazy space adventure told in a completely unique way, I could not put this down.

3. Mirage – Somaiya DaudUntitled design (97)
Danger and doppelgangers abound in this new fantasy debut. A gripping adventure and I’m already dying for book two.

4. The Wicked Deep – Shea Earnshaw
By far the most atmospheric book I read this year. Witches with sinister intentions and twists you’ll never see coming.

5. The Sisters of the Winter Wood – Rena RossnerUntitled design (96)
A lush fairytale – esque story about two sisters and their shapeshifting abilities. One told in prose and one as a story, this tale is beautifully told.

6. Darksoul – Anna Stephens
Anna Stephens returns with this dark and brutal instalment in the Godblind trilogy. Addictive and full of action, I raced through this story.

7. City of Ghosts – V. E. Schwabbook cover (54)
My first Victoria Schwab book was a definite favourite. Ghosts and adventure in the heart of Edinburgh, this middle grade is definitely a lot of fun.

8. Show Stealer – Hayley Barker
This blazing sequel to Show Stopper by Hayley Barker instantly made it onto my favourites list. The stakes were even higher and I loved the political intrigue featured in this book.

9. A Sky Painted Gold – Laura WoodUntitled design (75)
Definitely my favourite book of the summer – A Sky Painted Gold is a gorgeous historical fiction story with beautiful writing reminiscent of The Great Gatsby.

10. Ravencry – Ed McDonald
The Blackwing series continues with this second instalment that I absolutely adored. Galharrow will forever be one of my favourite characters.

11. Witchsign – Den PatrickUntitled design (61)
Den Patrick is back with an all new series full of magic, danger and dragons. I mean what more do you need?

12. The Smoke Thieves – Sally Green
A new epic fantasy series reminiscent of A Game of Thrones with lots of political intrigue and magic. It was a great start to the series and I’m eager for more.

13. Ace of Shades – Amandy Foodybook cover (10)
Casino families, magic and crime all feature in this new series from Amanda Foody. This book features magnificent characters that you can’t help but love as well as a unputdownable plot.

14. Between the Blade and the Heart – Amanda Hocking
Kick-ass Valkyrie demon slayers? Yes please. This was my first Amanda Hocking book but it definitely will not be the last.

15. The Cruel Prince – Holly Blackbook cover (55)
Who doesn’t have The Cruel Prince on their favourites list? This gorgeous book features a dark and brutal world where two human girls are brought up amongst the fae.

So those were the best books I read in 2018! I’m so excited to see what 2019 brings. If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought of them and I’d love to know what your favourite books of the year were.

Blog Tour: The Girl In the Broken Mirror – Savita Khalan

Blog Tour: The Girl In the Broken Mirror – Savita Khalan

BOOK REVIEW (29)
Release Date:
29th March 2018
Publisher: Trokia Books
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The author kindly contacted me to participate in the blog tour and sent me a copy to review.

Synopsis

Jay’s creative writing exercise is to write a fairy tale, to end with ‘they lived happily ever after’. But the way her life is panning out she’s not sure it will ever reach that stage. A powerful moving gripping story which explores themes of family, loyalty and culture clash but is ultimately about hope and understanding.

Review

This is an incredibly moving story that I found difficult to put down. I picked it up early in preparation for the blog tour and found myself still sitting in the same spot a few hours later, absolutely gripped by this emotional tale.

Untitled design (95)This book covers a lot of difficult topics such as suicide and rape, so this is by no means a light read, but it is a beautifully written tale that stays with you long after you’re finished reading. The book follows Jaya – starting with the morning after she is raped and then jumping back to the events leading up to that night. The story really hones in on different cultures and Jaya’s attempts to be both English and Indian and in particular keep to the traditional Indian beliefs.

This is a gripping story that really looks in depths at relationships, between friends as well as between mother and daughter and I found it such a fascinating insight. The characters were wonderfully written and I definitely became attached to Jaya. On more than once occasion this book brought me close to tears and I think that’s a mark of a very powerful story.

Previous to 2018 contemporary YA was not something that I read all that often but recently I’ve found myself picking up books in that genre more often. This is a really excellent piece of contemporary YA that I would definitely recommend. It might be a hard hitting read, but it is most definitely worth it.
4 stars
Girl in the Broken Mirror blog tour

Book Review: The Lost Witch – Melvin Burgess

Book Review: The Lost Witch – Melvin Burgess

BOOK REVIEW (43)
Release Date: 2nd August 2018
Publisher: Andersen Press
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Bea has started to hear and see things that no one else can – creatures, voices, visions. Then strangers visit Bea and tell her she is different: she has the rare powers of a witch. They warn her she is being hunted. Her parents think she is hallucinating and needs help. All Bea wants to do is get on with her life, and to get closer to Lars, the mysterious young man she has met at the skate park. But her life is in danger, and she must break free. The question is – who can she trust?

Review

Growing up I really loved Melvin Burgess’s books. I’ve read Bloodtide and Bloodsong more than a few times so when I heard he was writing a story about a young teenage girl who discovers she has magical powers I added it straight to my wish list. I must admit that after reading it I was a bit disappointed and it didn’t really live up to my expectations.

book cover (18)I found the pacing for this book to be quite off, the first few chapters were incredibly slow and I had to put the book down for a week and go back to it – which isn’t really something I do. I then felt the later chapters that had quite important scenes in them completely raced through and I didn’t get enough detail.

I really liked the Norse mythology elements and the way that Burgess wove that into the world building and the magic the characters could do. I also found the characters really interesting, Bea has some tough decisions to make about her future and I enjoyed seeing her develop as a person and own up to her mistakes. I also really liked Silvis, the one character who seems to really want to help Bea survive. The writing style felt very different to other Melvin Burgess books I’ve read and although I enjoyed it I definitely preferred the style of his previous books.

The book also deals with some pretty difficult topics such as abuse both physical and mental, rape, murder and blaming the victim which came as a bit of a shock as it definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. The book is certainly a dark one and was a bit of  a struggle for me finish. If you’re interested in witchy stories that touch on difficult issues, this could be just the book for you but for me it was big disappointment.

3 stars

August Book Haul

August Book Haul

Book Review (5)
I say every month that I’m going to buy less books because my TBR is out of control (it’s in the high hundreds) but looking at this book haul I have another massive bundle of books to haul. So let’s dive in!

390990671. Labyrinth of the Spirits – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I nearly screamed when this appeared through my letterbox. This mammoth book is the next in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, and it was definitely one of my most anticipated reads of 2018. I’m planning a full reread of the series in September because it’s been a while since I’ve read the others. Labyrinth of the Spirits is coming September 18th from W&N.

2. Anarchy – Megan DeVos40214283 (1)
I was on the blog tour for this gorgeous Dystopian novel and Megan kindly wrote me a guest post which I will have up again soon. I’ve heard terrific things about this book and it was massive hit on Wattpad before it was traditionally published. I can’t wait to see what’s in store! Anarchy is out now from Orion Books.

234034023. A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
I recently went to an event at Waterstones with V. E. Schwab, Christina Henry and Sarah Maria Griffin. I had a copy of Vicious with me but I ended up picking this up to get signed also. So many people adore this book so I’m hoping it lives up to the hype.

4. Darksoul – Anna Stephens36896810
This was another book that I was absolutely dying to read. HarperVoyager kindly sent me a copy and I tore through it in a few days. It gave me such a book hangover and now I’m so upset I need to wait so long to find out what happens to my favourite characters. You can read my full review over here!

401703115. Sleeper: The Red Storm – J. D. Fennell
This is the second book in the Sleeper series from J. D. Fennell. I really loved the first one and was featured on the blog tour, so I was so excited when this came in the post. Even more exciting was to find I was quoted inside! Sleeper: The Red Storm is publishing October 25th from The Dome Press.

6. Catwoman: Soul Stealer – Sarah J. Maas29749098
I ordered a copy of this from Waterstones and then ended up getting a copy in my August Illumicrate also. I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman and thought Marie Lu’s Batman was okay so I’m excited to find out how Sarah J. Maas handles Catwoman.

401273697. The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey
The author kindly reached out to obtain a review for this gorgeous book and as soon as it arrived I picked it up. I’m almost finished it and I’m enjoying it so much. This paranormal fantasy is such an addictive read. She kindly signed it for me too so I can’t wait to add it to my favourites shelf!

8. Cold Iron – Miles Cameron30344847
This was another blog tour that the publisher kindly sent me a copy for. I’ve never read anything by Miles Cameron but really enjoyed this original fantasy that plays on the themes of the traditional farm boy turned hero trope.

377158599. We Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix
Grady Hendrix writes these fantastic stories that are just perfect for Halloween. I so loved My Best Friend’s Exorcism so I can’t wait to get stuck into this one. I might even save it for closer to Halloween so I can have a bit of a readathon. We Sold Our Souls is coming 18th September from Quirk Books.

10. Impostors – Scott Westerfield37825397
This is a new book set in the world of the Uglies series. I’m really excited to read this as it has been a long time since I read the Uglies books and I’m looking forward to diving back into Scott Westerfield’s writing. Impostors is coming 11th September from Scholastic.

2555860811.  A Torch Against the Night – Sabaa Tahir
I honestly picked this up because I’ve heard such amazing things about this series and it was a gorgeous hardcover that I couldn’t resist. I have (but haven’t read) An Ember In the Ashes so I’m hoping now I have another in the series it will guilt me into reading them.

12. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – Jenny Han15749186
I think everyone bought a copy of this book in August. I picked mine up from Waterstones and read it really quickly. It was fun and light and I’m definitely planning on picking up the rest of the books in the series.

3601629713. Falling Creatures & The Magpie Tree – Katherine Stansfield
I have been admiring these beautiful covers on Twitter when the publisher offered me the chance to review them. This historical fiction series seems very mystery focused and I’ve read some really terrific reviews about them. Falling Creatures is out now and The Magpie Tree is coming 19th November from Allison & Busby

14. Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine38471929
Allison and Busby also kindly sent me the next instalment in Rachel Caine’s Great Library series. I’ve really been enjoying this fast-paced series and I’m looking forward to finding out what the fourth book in the series has in store!

4089199815. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
This book has had so much buzz on Twitter already and I’ve seen a few bloggers say they read it in one sitting because it was so addictive. I was planning to read it a bit closer to the publication date but I’m probably not going to be able to hold off that long. The Silent Patient is coming 7th February 2019 from Orion Books.

16. What Was Lost – Jean Levy40488637
It gets to this time of year and I get really in the mood for psychological thrillers and creepy tales, so when I got offered the chance to review this debut from Jean Levy, I jumped at the chance. It sounds dark and creepy and absolutely what I’m in the mood for. What Was Lost is publishing 13th September from The Dome Press.

3660454517. The Familiars – Stacey Halls
This book is absolutely gorgeous. I love books about witchcraft (I love love loved The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown), so I cannot wait to read this story of two women accused of being witches. This is another one that I know I won’t be able to hold off reading! The Familiars is coming 7th of February 2019 from Bonnier Zaffre.

18. The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood – Susan Elliot Wright40493757
This was a surprise piece of book post that sounds like such a fascinating read. I’ve seen a few reviews already but they have been mixed so I’m excited to see how I find it. It’s described as ‘An urgent and important novel of love, loss, tragedy and daring to hope again.’ The Flight of Cornelia Blackwood is coming 21st February 2019 from Simon and Schuster.

3922753719. Killer T – Robert Muchamore
I received this book through ReadersFirst. I read the first impression and thought it was really intriguing so I’m excited to see how the rest of the book plays out.  The publisher had people dressed up in lab coats at this year’s YALC so that definitely made me excited to read it. Killer T is coming 6th September from Hot Key Books.

20. The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock – Imogen Hermes Gowar37678008
There’s a little second hand bookshop in Pitlochry that I just adore and I go in every time I’m in the area. I popped in during August and I found an ARC of this beautiful book. I’ve heard amazing things about it so I quickly snapped it up and I can’t wait to read it!

So that’s my slightly ridiculous August book haul. Which books did you buy in August and have you read any of these? If you have, what did you think?