Book Swap Haul!

Book Swap Haul!

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-29T211603.657.png
Coming to you with part two of my February book haul! I went to visit a friend who was getting rid of a whole load of books, she knew I was unhauling quite a lot of books too so we swapped some! I thought this would be quite exciting because it means I get to shout about some older releases that I’m excited to read!

1. The Unseeing – Anna Mazzolla
book cover - 2019-03-29T194411.418This was giving me The Corset and Affinity vibes when I picked it up so I was definitely intrigued to pick this one up!

Set in London in 1837, Anna Mazzola’s THE UNSEEING is the story of Sarah Gale, a seamstress and mother, sentenced to hang for her role in the murder of Hannah Brown on the eve of her wedding. Perfect for any reader of Sarah Waters or Antonia Hodgson.

After Sarah petitions for mercy, Edmund Fleetwood is appointed to investigate and consider whether justice has been done. Idealistic, but struggling with his own demons, Edmund is determined to seek out the truth. Yet Sarah refuses to help him, neither lying nor adding anything to the evidence gathered in court. Edmund knows she’s hiding something, but needs to discover just why she’s maintaining her silence. For how can it be that someone would willingly go to their own death?

2. The Darkest Minds – Alexandra Bracken
book cover - 2019-03-29T194620.962This is that classic YA that I feel like everyone has read except me so I’m really looking forward to getting the chance to read it.

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living…

3. Night of the Party – Tracy Mathias
book cover - 2019-03-29T205005.619This book feels like a very timely book given all that’s going on in British politics and I am equal parts intrigued and terrified to read it. 

How do you speak out if you have no rights?

After withdrawing from the EU, Britain is governed by The Party, and everyone born outside the country is subject to immediate arrest and deportation. Failing to report illegals is a crime.

Zara is the only one who knows her friend Sophie died. But Zara’s an illegal.

She can’t tell anyone her secrets. Not even Ash, the boy she loves. The boy who needs to know the truth.

As the country prepares for an election, Zara must make an impossible choice.

4. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August – Claire North
book cover - 2019-03-29T205237.941I’ve heard some really amazing things about this book and I’ve always wanted to try Claire North’s writing so I immediately picked this one up.

Some stories cannot be told in just one lifetime. Harry August is on his deathbed. Again.
No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes. 

Until now. 

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. “I nearly missed you, Doctor August,” she says. “I need to send a message.”
This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

5. I See You – Clare Mackintosh
book cover - 2019-03-29T205652.751I saw Clare Mackintosh speak at an event and ever since then have really wanted to read her books. This is one of her older novels and my friend raved about it so here’s hoping I like it!

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it’s there. There’s no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it’s just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make…

If you like Shari Lapena, Paula Hawkins, Rachel Abbott, B A Paris, Fiona Barton, Ruth Ware and CL Taylor, you’ll love this gripping psychological thriller.

6. Friend Request – Laura Marshall
book cover - 2019-03-29T205848.753This book had quite a bit of buzz on Twitter when it was released and I thought it sounded like such a fascinating idea, this is probably quite near the top of the new TBR pile!

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston is dead. Isn’t she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything the girls Louise hangs out with aren’t. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria’s sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone she’d severed ties with to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there’s more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what’s known to Maria–or whoever’s pretending to be her–is known to all. 

7. Everything Everything – Nicola Yoon
book cover - 2019-03-29T210114.680I fancied reading The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon so when I saw this in the pile I figured if I tried this and liked it I could pick up the other book.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

8. World After – Susan Ee
book cover - 2019-03-29T210338.621I had books one and three on my TBR shelf and put them in my unhaul pile but my friend rescued them because she had book two and told me they’re definitely worth reading.

When a group of people capture Penryn’s sister Paige, thinking she’s a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels’ secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can’t rejoin the angels, can’t take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

9. Shattered – Teri Terry
book cover - 2019-03-29T210506.776Teri Terry is an author who I have lots of books by on my TBR, but still haven’t actually read any of her work. So I figured why not add another one?

Kyla is in danger from both the government Lorders who erased her memory and the terrorists who tried to use her. So now she’s on the run. Sporting a new identity and desperate to fill in the blank spaces of her life pre-Slating, Kyla heads to a remote mountain town to try to reunite with the birth mother she was kidnapped from as a child. There she is hoping all the pieces of her life will come together and she can finally take charge of her own future. But even in the idyllic wilderness and the heart of her original family, Kyla realizes there is no escape from the oppressive Lorders. Someone close to her may be one of them, and even more frighteningly, her birth mother has been keeping secrets of her own.

In this stunning series finale, Kyla finally finds out who she really is, and the road to this discovery, and to deciding who she wants to become, is full of dangerous twists and turns that will keep readers riveted.

10. The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
book cover - 2019-03-29T210719.130This isn’t the kind of thing I would normally read but I am a crazy cat lady so I thought I could give it a go!

It’s not the journey that counts, but who’s at your side.

Nana, a cat, is devoted to Satoru, his owner. So when Satoru decides to go on a roadtrip one day to find him a new home, Nana is perplexed. They visit Satoru’s old friends from his school days and early youth. His friends may have untidy emotional lives but they are all animal lovers, and they also wonder why Satoru is trying to give his beloved cat away. Until the day Nana suddenly understands a long-held secret about his much-loved owner, and his heart begins to break.

Narrated in turns by Nana and by his owner, this funny, uplifting, heartrending story of a cat is nothing if not profoundly human.

11. The Fallen Children – David Owen
book cover - 2019-03-29T211322.158I thought this book had a really strange concept and I’m not sure if it will be my cup of tea but I thought it might be fun to try something a bit different.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.

But change is coming…

One night everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower its residents turn against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha’s life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

The Fallen Children is a story of violation, of judgment and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.

12. Station 11 – Emily St. John Mendel
book cover - 2019-03-29T211159.825This sounds like such a unique book and I’ve seen some booktubers absolutely rave about this one so I’m pretty excited to try it out myself.

An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.

One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time—from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains—this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.

Sometimes terrifying, sometimes tender, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

13. Splintered – A. G. Howard
book cover - 2019-03-29T210845.213I recently read Stain by A. G. Howard and loved it so as soon as I saw this I knew I had to take it!

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

14. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
book cover - 2019-03-29T211041.427This definitely isn’t my kind of book at all. My friend pretty much forced me to take this one because she loved it so much. If you’ve read it let me know what you thought because I’m keen to hear!

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine. 

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

So those are all the books I picked up from my friend (who then came round to mine and took a big bundle from my unhaul pile too!). If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought as quite a few are not my normal type of book!

Lost-A-Thon Wrap Up!

Lost-A-Thon Wrap Up!

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I had big hopes that I was going to rattle through quite a few books for the Lost-A-Thon especially because so many of them were books I really wanted to read. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a slump and didn’t get to as many books as I’d hoped. This will be pretty similar to my February wrap up but I thought I’d do a separate post of the ones I did read for the readathon!

Untitled design (40)Long Term TBR: A Book that’s been on your TBR forever
For this I read The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano. I’ve had this for ages and always really wanted to read it because I love Lauren DeStefano’s writing. I found it a little chaotic and the story was pretty predictable so while I probably will continue the series I felt a little disappointed overall. (2.5/5 stars)

the callingA Book Less Than 250 Pages
For this I read The Calling by Cate Tiernan. The Sweep series is a childhood favourite and I’ve really loved revisiting these books. They’re fast-paced and fun reads and I can’t wait to pick up the next instalment. I’m honestly surprised that I still love them so much all these years later.  (4/5 stars)

vassaDiscounted Discoveries: A book you got on sale
For this I chose Vassa In the Night by Sarah Porter which really wasn’t my cup of tea. I really struggled with this and I think this is part of the reason I didn’t get around to reading more books because it took me so long to finish this one. I didn’t like the characters, the plot didn’t make sense and I didn’t really get any enjoyment from the story. (1.5/5 stars)

book cover2
Historical Conversations: A book that makes you think

I read The Familiars by Stacy Halls for this one and it was a really brilliant story about female friendship and the witch trials. I read it one day at work and it’s probably my favourite historical fiction that I’ve read this year. (4/5 stars)

book cover (76)
Mystery Genre Pick: Contemporary

I chose contemporary because it’s something I don’t read all that much of. I ended up reading Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan. I thought this was a solid read, I wasn’t over fond of the characters but I enjoyed the plot. (3.5/5 stars)

blood and sandA Book With Red on the Cover
I finally read Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk for this one. This is another book I have mixed feelings about. I loved the female Spartan determined to reclaim her homeland idea but the story felt too focused on the romance between Attia and the Gladiator who becomes her owner for me to give it a higher rating. (3.5/5 stars)

So those are the books I read for Lost-A-Thon. Let me know some books you’ve read recently and what you thought!

February Book Haul!

February Book Haul!

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-24T181442.944.png
There will come a time when I am able to post my wrap ups and my book hauls right at the end of the month and not near the end of the following month. Today is not that day obviously because I have my February book haul for you all. It’s actually a massive haul so I’ll try and keep it short and sweet on each book. As always I’ve split it into books I bought and books from publishers!

From Publishers:

1. Sleep – C. L. Taylor
book cover - 2019-03-24T181054.124I’ve really been getting into adult thrillers and loved Fear by C. L. Taylor. I’ll also be participated in the blog tour for this in April!

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

2. The Ruin of Kings – Jenn Lyons
ruinThis is book one in an all new fantasy series so I’m incredibly excited to read this one.

There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.

Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.

Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it . . .

3. Slayer – Kiersten White
slayerA kick ass story set in the Buffy universe? Sign me up!

Into every generation a Slayer is born…

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

4. The Year After You – Nina de Pass
bosdfsrThis emotional and beautifully told stories was one of my favourites in February and you can check out my full review here!

New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend, Georgina, doesn’t.

Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides that packing her off to a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.

On the plus side, up in the vertiginous Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But her classmates, Ren and Hector, have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the
walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to. 

The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara’s quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.

5. The New Boy – Paula Rawsthorne
book cover - 2019-03-24T181004.342I loved Shell by Paula Rawsthorne so I’m incredibly excited to reading her newest release!

When new boy Jack starts at Zoe’s school, something about him makes her nervous – he’s so perfect, he can hardly be real. But Zoe is soon swept up in how charming, popular and handsome he is. Soon, they’re dating and he’s everything she dreamed he might be – kind, attentive, full of romantic gestures. Eventually, though, the cracks start to show and Zoe wonders whether she was right all along. Is Jack too good to be true?

6. Master of Sorrows – Justin Call
mosThis was another incredible new fantasy series that I just adored. You can check out my stop on the blog tour here!

You have heard the story before – of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.

But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same?

What if the boy slowly came to realize he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?

Among the Academy’s warrior-thieves, Annev de Breth is an outlier. Unlike his classmates who were stolen as infants from the capital city, Annev was born in the small village of Chaenbalu, was believed to be executed, and then unknowingly raised by his parents’ killers.

Seventeen years later, Annev struggles with the burdens of a forbidden magic, a forgotten heritage, and a secret deformity. When he is subsequently caught between the warring ideologies of his priestly mentor and the Academy’s masters, he must choose between forfeiting his promising future at the Academy or betraying his closest friends. Each decision leads to a deeper dilemma, until Annev finds himself pressed into a quest he does not wish to fulfil.

Will he finally embrace the doctrine of his tutors, murder a stranger, and abandon his mentor? Or will he accept the more difficult truth of who he is . . . and the darker truth of what he may become . . . 

7. Bloodwitch – Susan Dennard
book cover - 2019-03-24T180811.629I’ve had Truthwitch on my TBR for ages so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to binge the series and I am absolutely loving it so far.

Fans of Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling Witchlands series have fallen in love with the Bloodwitch Aeduan. And now, finally, comes his story.

High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past. 

8. Emily Eternal – M. G. Wheaton
book cover - 2019-03-24T180649.748This sounds like such a brilliant science fiction read and you can check out my stop on the blog tour in April!

Meet Emily – she can solve advanced mathematical problems, unlock the mind’s deepest secrets and even fix your truck’s air con, but unfortunately, she can’t restart the Sun.

She’s an artificial consciousness, designed in a lab to help humans process trauma, which is particularly helpful when the sun begins to die 5 billion years before scientists agreed it was supposed to.

So, her beloved human race is screwed, and so is Emily. That is, until she finds a potential answer buried deep in the human genome. But before her solution can be tested, her lab is brutally attacked, and Emily is forced to go on the run with two human companions – college student Jason and small-town Sheriff, Mayra.

As the sun’s death draws near, Emily and her friends must race against time to save humanity. But before long it becomes clear that it’s not only the species at stake, but also that which makes us most human.

9. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
book cover (70)I was so excited when this arrived because I loved book one in this intense and gripping duology!

Sequel to STATE OF SORROW by best-selling fantasy author Melinda Salisbury.

Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…

Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.

10. The Near Witch – V. E. Schwab
book cover - 2019-03-24T180513.572V. E Schwab’s first book has been republished and I was so excited when it arrived in the post. I went to see her talk about the process in Glasgow and it was such a brilliant read.

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

And there are no strangers in the town of Near.

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger-a boy who seems to fade like smoke-appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true.

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. Still, he insists on helping Lexi search for them. Something tells her she can trust him.

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know-about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

Part fairy tale, part love story, Victoria Schwab’s debut novel is entirely original yet achingly familiar: a song you heard long ago, a whisper carried by the wind, and a dream you won’t soon forget.

11. The Cold is in Her Bones – Peternelle Van Arsdale
book cover - 2019-03-24T180421.958This story sounds so dark and gripping I honestly can’t wait to pick it up. I’m also completely obsessed with the cover!

One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

12. Holy Sister – Mark Lawrence
Untitled design (80)I made the most ridiculous noise when I received a copy of this. Mark very kindly sent me a signed copy and it’s now officially my most treasured book. I read this book in one day and it’s all kinds of brilliant – a review will be coming very soon!

They came against her as a child. Now they face the woman.

The ice is advancing, the Corridor narrowing, and the empire is under siege from the Scithrowl in the east and the Durns in the west. Everywhere, the emperor’s armies are in retreat.

Nona faces the final challenges that must be overcome if she is to become a full sister in the order of her choice. But it seems unlikely that Nona and her friends will have time to earn a nun’s habit before war is on their doorstep.

Even a warrior like Nona cannot hope to turn the tide of war.

The shiphearts offer strength that she might use to protect those she loves, but it’s a power that corrupts. A final battle is coming in which she will be torn between friends, unable to save them all. A battle in which her own demons will try to unmake her.

A battle in which hearts will be broken, lovers lost, thrones burned.

13. Lord of Secrets –  Breanna Teintze
book cover - 2019-03-24T180245.092This beautiful fantasy sounds so good and is next on my TBR to read!

Magic is poison. Secrets are power. Death is . . . complicated.

Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.

So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.

In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.

Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul . . .

Books I Bought:

I’m still on a bit of a book buying ban so I’m pleased that I only bought four books!

14. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
I read and loved One Of Us Is Lying so I picked this up straight away. It was a really great read and I’m so looking forward to reading what Karen M. McManus writes next!

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.477Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself.

15. The Fever King – Victoria Lee
book cover - 2019-03-24T175742.540I saw this on Amazon First Reads for only 3.99 so I obviously had to snap it up regardless of my book buying ban!

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

16. A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven
shameI received an ARC of The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven at YALC one year and ended up absolutely adoring it so when I heard the sequel had been released I went straight out to get a copy!

Funnier. Ruder. Angrier. Izzy O’Neill is back in the hilarious sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay. 

It’s been two months since a leaked explicit photo got Izzy involved in a political sex scandal – and the aftershock is far from over. The Bitches Bite Back movement is gathering momentum as a forum for teenage feminists, and when a girl at another school has a sex tape shared online, once again Izzy leads the charge against the slut-shamer. This time she wants to change the state law on revenge porn. 
Izzy and her best friend Ajita are as hilarious as ever, using comedy to fight back against whatever the world throws at them, but Izzy is still reeling from her slut-shaming ordeal, feeling angry beyond belief and wondering – can they really make a change?

17. Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
Untitled design (10)I’m pretty sure everyone has this massive book on their February book haul. I got my copy signed at NYALIT fest so now I just have to work out how to read it without getting a dead arm.

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

So those are all the books I picked up in February! Let me know your thoughts if you’ve read any of them and definitely let me know which books you’ve picked up recently!

NYALitFest TBR!

NYALitFest TBR!

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I’m so excited to be going to my first ever Nothern YA Literature Festival! This is a wonderful event that takes place in Preston on the 16th of March. There’s lots of amazing authors going and quite a few them have books which are sitting on my TBR so I thought it would be fun to make a post about all the books I’m hoping to read before the event. It’s a pretty ambitious TBR, but I’m up for a challenge!

1. After the Fire – Will Hill
bffAfter the Fire is a book I know very little about, except that I know lots of people absolutely adore it, and it’s won tons of awards. I’m pretty sure it features a cult, and I’m really intrigued to know more.

Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming.

Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out.

What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?

2. Trouble – Non Pratt
gdfNon Pratt is one of those authors I’ve always wanted to read and just haven’t gotten around to trying yet. I saw Trouble in a second hand book shop so I quickly snapped it up and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”

Told in alternating perspectives between Hannah and Aaron, Trouble is the story of two teenagers helping each other to move forward in the wake of tragedy and devastating choices. As you read about their year of loss, regret, and hope, you’ll remember your first, real best friend—and how they were like a first love.

3. Monsters in the Mirror – A. J. Hartley
hjThis is a middle-grade fantasy novel that just sounds brilliant! I’m going to be on the blog tour for this one so stay tuned for full review!

Darwen Arkwright’s world is turned upside down when he is forced to move from a small English town to Atlanta in the United States of America. Feeling out of place and struggling to fit in at school, Darwen seeks solace in a mysterious shop full of mirrors. It’s there that he discovers the ability to step through mirrors into different worlds – worlds beyond his wildest imagination. Darwen befriends creatures including Moth, a tiny being with mechanical wings, but he soon learns that there is a terrible darkness threatening this new world . . . and only he can save it.

The problem with doors is that they open both ways. There are monsters inside, and some of them are trying to get out . . .

4. Song of Sorrow – Melinda Salisbury
book cover (70)Melinda Salisbury is one of my favourite authors so I am super excited to have a copy of Song of Sorrow to read. This is the second instalment in the series and I’m so excited to find out what’s going to happen next!

Sorrow Ventaxis has won the election, and in the process lost everything…

Governing under the sinister control of Vespus Corrigan, and isolated from her friends, Sorrow must to find a way to free herself from his web and save her people. But Vespus has no plans to let her go, and he isn’t the only enemy Sorrow faces as the curse of her name threatens to destroy her and everything she’s fought for.

5. The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
Untitled design (10)This one is technically cheating because it doesn’t come out until next week but it is one of my most anticipated releases and I’m just dying to read this one.

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

6. The Graces – Laure Eve
book cover (87)I got this as a Christmas present last year and I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet but it sounds amazing and I definitely hope I get to it before the festival!

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

7. Spark – Alice Broadway
mlkI read Ink a while ago and loved it but I still haven’t gotten around to Spark yet so I figured this was the perfect opportunity!

Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself.

As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them.

But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets? 

8. Floored – Various Authors
florredThis book is really intriguing to me because it’s written by so many authors that I love, and quite a few that are going to the festival –  Melinda Salisbury, Sara Barnard, Non Pratt, Holly Bourne, Tara Byrne, Eleanor Wood and Lisa Williamson. I’m excited to see how it will work with so many authors collaborating in one story.

When they got in the lift, they were strangers (though didn’t that guy used to be on TV?): Sasha, who is desperately trying to deliver a parcel; Hugo, who knows he’s the best-looking guy in the lift and is eyeing up Velvet, who knows what that look means when you hear her name and it doesn’t match the way she looks, or the way she talks; Dawson, who was on TV, but isn’t as good-looking as he was a few years ago and is desperately hoping no one recognizes him; Kaitlyn, who’s losing her sight but won’t admit it, and who used to have a poster of Dawson on her bedroom wall, and Joe, who shouldn’t be here at all, but who wants to be here the most.

And one more person, who will bring them together again on the same day every year.

9. A Girl Called Shameless – Laura Steven

shameI read The Exact Opposite of Okay last year and it was an instant five star read for me. I picked up the sequel today and I’m so excited to dive in!

Funnier. Ruder. Angrier. Izzy O’Neill is back in the hilarious sequel to The Exact Opposite of Okay. 

It’s been two months since a leaked explicit photo got Izzy involved in a political sex scandal – and the aftershock is far from over. The Bitches Bite Back movement is gathering momentum as a forum for teenage feminists, and when a girl at another school has a sex tape shared online, once again Izzy leads the charge against the slut-shamer. This time she wants to change the state law on revenge porn. 

Izzy and her best friend Ajita are as hilarious as ever, using comedy to fight back against whatever the world throws at them, but Izzy is still reeling from her slut-shaming ordeal, feeling angry beyond belief and wondering – can they really make a change?

So that’s my TBR for NYALitFest! Hopefully I can make a good dent in it over the next week or so and I do have the three hour journey down there to read some books too! I would love to pick up Wing Jones by Katherine Webber and maybe something by Lucy Christopher too but I’m not sure I’ll be able to squeeze anymore in. If you want to know more about the event, or register to attend (it’s free), all the information is here! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know which ones to prioritise!

Book Review: The Reason You’re Alive – Matthew Quick

Book Review: The Reason You’re Alive – Matthew Quick

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Release Date:
July 5th 2017
Publisher: Piacador
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 2.5/5

Synopsis

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man.

The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.

Review

bookThis is a fascinating read from author Matthew Quick of Silver Linings Playbook fame. The story follows David Granger, a veteran of the Vietnam war. After his brain surgery to remove a tumour David attempts to right some of the wrongs he’s done in his life as well as salvage his relationship with his son Hank.

I’m not sure how I feel about this book. It was a really interesting read, David recounts some of the horrors of his experience in Vietnam, as well as his adjustment to civilian life. I have mixed feelings because I found it difficult to get on with our protagonist, he was brash and had some very pointed political and social opinions. I preferred the second half of the book much more to the first, particularly as the story started to unfold and you learn more about his life as banker and family man.

The plot is an interesting one, particularly relating to the mysterious Clayton Fire Bear that David mentions throughout the book. I like the personal way the book was written, almost as if the reader is having a conversation with the main character. This is my first book by Matthew Quick, and while I didn’t absolutely love it was a unique and interesting read, and I look forward to seeing more from this author.
3 stars

Blog Tour: The Year After You – Nina de Pass

Blog Tour: The Year After You – Nina de Pass

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Release Date: February 14th 2019
Publisher: Ink Road
Pages: 352
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

New Years’ Eve, San Francisco. The most promising party of the year ends in a tragic accident. Cara survives. Her best friend Georgina doesn’t.

Nine months later, Cara is struggling, consumed by guilt and grief. Her mum decides a Swiss boarding school will be the fresh start Cara needs. But Cara knows that swapping sunshine for snow won’t make a blind bit of difference. Georgina is gone, and nothing will bring her back.

Up in the Alps, Cara’s old life feels a million miles away. At Hope Hall, nobody knows about her past. And she intends to keep it that way. But classmates Ren and Hector have other ideas. Cara tries to keep her distance, but she’s drawn to the offbeat, straight-talking Hector, who understands her grief better than anyone. Her new friends are determined to break down the walls she has so carefully built up. And, despite it all, Cara wants them to.

The closer Cara grows to Hector, the more Georgina slips away. Embracing life at Hope Hall means letting go of the past; of her memories of that fatal New Year’s Eve. But Cara is quite sure she doesn’t deserve a second chance.

Review

bosdfsrThe Year After You follows a young girl named Cara who is sent to a boarding school in the remote Swiss Alps. On New Years Eve she survived a fatal accident, but her best friend Georgina did not. Consumed by grief, she wants nothing more than to complete the school year and move on, nothing is going to bring down the walls she has built around herself. But as she is drawn into life at Hope Hall, she begins to hope that maybe, things will get better.

The Year After You is such a beautifully told story. It begins with a single tragic event that completely changes Cara’s life. The story focuses very heavily on grief and PTSD and it handled both of those issues extremely deftly. It really hones in on the idea of loss how others around Cara – such as her mother – don’t want to believe that she’s suffering from a mental illness. The story is stunningly told with beautiful writing and I definitely felt myself becoming wrapped up in this well executed plot.

The thing that really made the book for me is the characters. Cara is a real fleshed out character and she seems very realistic, but I also really liked Ren, Hector and Fred. They’re all loyal and fascinating characters and each one is dealing with their own secrets. I really liked seeing them develop as friends and grow as characters and that’s definitely one of the reasons I enjoyed this story so much.

The Year After You also features a really stunning setting and the remote boarding school trope is one that I absolutely adore. The beautiful old building in the snowy Alps, the cable car journeys and the remoteness of the school really helped to bring this beautiful story to life.

The Year After You is a beautifully told tale of friendship, grief and ultimately of second chances. The story completely blew me away and if you’re looking for a brilliant new read – I can’t recommend this highly enough.
5 stars
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Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Couples in Books

ttt
Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday! This week we’re talking about our favourite couples in books. I don’t read romance novels or much in the way of contemporary so most of these are from fantasy books! There might be slight spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read these books so I’ll try to keep it short and sweet.

1. Yelena & Valek – Study Series
Yelena and Valek are definitely my favourite couple from a book. This series is one of my all time favourites and I loved watching their relationship grow over the six books.
the calling
2. Hunter & Morgan – Sweep Series
These two were some of my favourite characters growing up and I loved them as a couple. I’m currently rereading this fifteen book series and I still adore the characters so they definitely deserve to be on this list.

3. Vasya & Morozoko – Winternight Trilogy
I recently read the final book in this beautiful trilogy so I couldn’t make this list without my favourite heroine and the King of Winter. They were such fascinating characters and the romance between them blossomed so well in the story!
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4. Jude & Cardan – Folk of the Air
I imagine this one might be on a lot of people’s lists. The love/hate relationship between Jude and Cardan is one of the things I love most about this trilogy and honestly I’m just dying to read Queen of Nothing.


5. Hanna & Nik – Illuminae Files

I loved these two so much. Hanna is on the surface a pampered princess but with much than meets the eye and Nik is the drug dealer with a heart of gold. What’s not to love about this couple?
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6. Alosha & Riden – Daughter of the Pirate King

This duology was completely not what I was expecting and was much more romance focused than I originally thought but I really loved the sassy banter and budding romance between Alosha and Riden in this series so they were an easy choice for this list!

7. Lara Jean & Peter – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
THEY ARE JUST SO CUTE AND ADORABLE. This is the only contemporary couple on this list but they are just perfect. I loved them in the books and I adored them in the movie – they’re sweet and funny and definitely one of the best couples.
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8. Alina and Mal – Grisha Trilogy

This might be a bit of a controversial one. I know a lot of people don’t like Alina and Mal together and while I really love the Darkling, I think Alina and Mal make a really lovely couple and ultimately she ended up with the right person.

9. Hoshiko & Ben – Showstopper
These two make a really fascinating couple because they come from such different worlds. Ben is rich and lives comfortably with his status as a Pure and Hoshiko is forced to perform in a deadly circus as one of the Dregs of society. They get together and they’re such a sweet couple!
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10. Lou & Robert – A Sky Painted Gold

This Gatsby-esque historical fiction novel features a romance between the wealthy Robert Cardew and local girl Lou and I completely fell in love with their story when I read it last year. It’s a perfect summer read and a gorgeous romance!

So those are my top ten couples from books. Which couples made your list?