Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed Outwith My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Enjoyed Outwith My Comfort Zone

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Today on Top Ten Tuesday we’re talking about books I enjoyed that were outwith my comfort zone. I’m pretty much open to reading anything except romance books so I don’t really have a strict comfort zone. I do tend to mainly read YA/Adult SFF so I’ve just gone for 10 books I’ve read this year that are not in those genres.

Copy of book cover (57)1. Last Time I Lied – Riley Sager
I finally picked up a Riley Sager book despite having had this and Final Girls on my shelf for ages. It was a dark and intense thriller and I really enjoyed reading it, it’s definitely made me want to pick up more from this author. It was a really dark and twisty read and really kept me guessing right to the end.

Copy of book cover (56)2. Night Film – Marisha Peshl 
OH MY GOD THIS BOOK. This isn’t necessarily something I would have picked up but I saw some booktubers rant about how amazing it was and put it on my wishlist for Christmas. I’m so glad I did because it’s become one of my favourite books of all time. A thriller with a touch of horror/supernatural aspects, it was a fantastic read and I can’t wait to reread it in the future.

Copy of book cover (58)3. The Princess and the Fangirl – Ashley Poston
I really loved Geekarella so I was excited to dive back into the convention world in this sequel. It’s really interesting because it is both a love letter to fandom culture and highlights some of the problems associated with trolling and social media. It was really nice to see some of the characters from book one as well!

Copy of book cover (9)4. The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder – Holly Jackson
This was a fun UKYA thriller that was getting lots of buzz at YALC and I’m so glad I decided to pick it up. I don’t really read YA thrillers, I tend to gravitate more to adult but this was excited and full of twists that I would never have guessed in a million years. I really liked the main character too, she was a brilliant protagonist.

Copy of book cover (6)5. As Far As the Stars – Virginia Macgregor
This is the heartbreaking and emotional story of two young people who meet whilst they are waiting for family members at the airport. The plane crashes and the two try to understand their feelings for each other as they battle their grief. It was definitely a tear jerker, and a book I still think about months later.

Copy of book cover (59)6. Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid
Now this one definitely is outside my comfort zone. I would never have picked this up, just because it wouldn’t strike me as the kind of book I would enjoy. I’d probably think it was okay, but that would be it. On a whim I picked it up and my god I loved it. I had to try and not cry on my commute home from work and everything. If you haven’t picked it up yet it’s totally worth the hype.

Copy of book cover (60)7. The Puppet Show – M. W. Craven
This was another thriller that I ended up reading and could not put down. The first in a new series, The Puppet Show is a dark and gory story, but one that definitely has you on the edge of your seat. I don’t often rate thrillers 5 stars, but this one definitely was and I can’t wait to read book two!

Copy of book cover (1)8. What Lies Around Us – Andrew Crofts
I read and loved The Secrets of the Italian Gardener by this author a while ago and really enjoyed it so I was excited to read more of his work. I loved this one even more, the story of a ghostwriter sent to write a book about a famous actress, but it turns out there’s a whole lot more going on underneath the surface.

book cover - 2019-03-17T113630.4779. Two Can Keep A Secret – Karen M. McManus
This ended up being the second YA thriller that I really enjoyed. I didn’t enjoy this one as much as One Of Us Is Lying but it was still a fun and fast paced read and it has definitely solidified Karen M. McManus as one my favourite YA thriller writer. Can’t wait to see what she does with One Of Us Is Next.

Copy of book cover (10)10.  Evidence of the Affair – Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is another one that I would never have picked up in a million years, but after loving Daisy Jones so much I thought I would give this novella a shot. Told in the form of letters between two people who find their spouses having an affair, it was honestly brilliant and I’m definitely going to try The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by the end of the year.

So those are the top ten books I enjoyed that were outside my comfort zone. What are some books you enjoyed that aren’t what you typically read? And if you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought!

Book Review: Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon

Book Review: Done Dirt Cheap – Sarah Nicole Lemon

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Release Date:
March 7th 2017
Publisher: Abrams & Chronicle
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel.

Review

Copy of book cover (46)Done Dirt Cheap was a book that really surprised me. I kind of expected a wild Son’s of Anarchy type of book full of biker gangs and crime, and while that was part of it, it was really so much more. The story of Tourmaline and Virginia and fascinating, two women sticking together despite the odds and defying the odds.

I thought the characters were really striking and they’re what kept me hooked the whole way though the story. Tourmaline dealing with her mother’s imprisonment and her father’s secretive nature, as well as the fact that he’s the president of a biker gang. Then there’s Virginia, who has no real family and has to work for the local drug dealer in order to get by. I loved that these two characters didn’t really have anything in common, but they formed a friendship and they stuck together, no matter how tough things got.

The book was fairly well paced, though I did feel it slowed down a little in the middle as Virginia and Tourmaline were trying to lie low. The ending did definitely have me on the edge of my seat, rooting for the two girls to succeed. The book has a very feminist style feel to it, with the two main protagonists taking action and going where they need to – they definitely don’t rely on the male characters to do their dirty work or save them.

I also really loved the setting, with the beautiful American summer and the gleaming motorbikes. It really came alive, and I got completely sucked into the setting from my dreary Edinburgh surroundings. It features really strong and fierce women and it has everything from crime and trickery to romance. If you’re looking for a fun fast summer read about the friendship between two fantastic female characters, Done Dirt Cheap is exactly what you’re looking for.

4 stars

Book Review: Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Book Review: Summer Bird Blue – Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Release Date:
April 4th 2019
Publisher: Ink Road
Pages: 375
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at NYALitFest
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

Review

book cover - 2019-04-03T110806.863Last year I read Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman and completely fell in love with the characters and the beautifully written tale. When I heard Summer Bird Blue was going to be published in the UK I snapped up a copy straight away. The story follows Rumi, a young girl who loses her sister in a car crash. Her mother, consumed with grief sends her to live with her aunt in Hawaii over the summer and there Rumi has to learn to cope with her grief and find the music that was so important to her and her sister.

This is such a unique, beautifully told story about family, friendship and grief. The story very much focuses in on Rumi as she tries to figure out how to live her life without her sister. It was well executed and I enjoyed seeing Rumi make friends with next door neighbour Kai and find a way back to the music that she loves so much.

Starfish was a five star read for me and part of the reason for that was the realistic characters. The characters in Summer Bird Blue are very realistic and well fleshed out, but I didn’t connect with them in the same way I did with Starfish. I really enjoyed the story, but it didn’t take my breath away like the previous book.

The story is incredibly emotional and I love the beautiful Hawaiian setting. I also loved that Bowman could so easily have introduced a romance between Rumi and Kai and instead have them remain friends. The story touches on a lot of incredibly important issues – not just grief but finding yourself, relationships and what it means to be a family. It isn’t a particularly light book, the story is quite a heavy one, but it’s executed extremely well.

While I really enjoyed it this book just didn’t blow me away, but I know Akemi Dawn Bowman fans will be overjoyed to read another gorgeous book from her. If you’re looking for a story that will keep you turning the pages but will also give you a lump in your throat, you should definitely pick up Summer Bird Blue.

3 stars

April Book Haul!

April Book Haul!

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I’m managing to squeeze my April book haul in on the last day of May – hopefully I’ll catch up on reviews and other posts at the beginning of June! April was another great haul month and I have sixteen new books to rave about!

Books From Publishers:

1. The Kingdom – Jess Rothenbergbook cover - 2019-04-03T110403.651
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule. 

Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.

Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.

But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.

2. My Secret Lies With You – Faye Bird44127681
Three close friends… Two unforgettable summers… One girl’s deepest secret…

Alys appeared last summer, and then she vanished without a trace.

Ifan fell in love with her. Hannah hated her. And Marko regrets what they did.

This summer Cait is new in town, and a girl has been reported missing. Cait needs to uncover the truth. What happened last summer? And who is Alys?

3. The Princess and the Fangirl – Ashley Postonbook cover (43)
The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after. 

4. Beauty Sleep – Kathryn Evans42243323
Laura was dying. There was no cure for her illness. So her family decided to grasp a desperate last hope – Laura was frozen until she could be cured.

But what happens when you wake up one day and the world has moved on forty years? Your best friend is middle-aged, your parents presumed dead. Could you find a new place to belong? Could you build a new life – while solving the mystery of what happened to the old one?

Dark secrets lurk in the future of the girl from the past… 

5. A Dress For the Wicked – Autumn Krause40220881
Nothing much happens in the sleepy town of Shy in Avon-upon-Kynt. And for eighteen years, Emmaline Watkins has feared that her future held just that: nothing.

But when the head of the most admired fashion house in the country opens her prestigious design competition to girls from outside the stylish capital city, Emmy’s dreams seem closer than they ever have before.

As the first “country girl” to compete, Emmy knows she’ll encounter extra hurdles on her way to the top. But as she navigates the twisted world of high fashion she starts to wonder: will she be able to tailor herself to fit into this dark, corrupted race? And at what cost?

6. The Furies – Katie Lowebook cover - 2019-03-11T211035.250
In 1998, a sixteen-year-old girl is found dead on school property, dressed in white and posed on a swing, with no known cause of death. The novel opens with this image, as related to us by the narrator, Violet, looking back on the night it happened from the present day, before returning to relate the series of events leading up to the girl’s murder.

After an accident involving her Dad and sister, Violet joins Elm Hollow Academy, a private girls school in a quiet coastal town, which has an unpleasant history as the site of famous 17th century witch trials. Violet quickly finds herself invited to become the fourth member of an advanced study group, alongside Robin, Grace, and Alex – led by their charismatic art teacher, Annabel.

While Annabel claims her classes aren’t related to ancient rites and rituals – warning the girls off the topic, describing it as little more than mythology – the girls start to believe that magic is real, and that they can harness it. But when the body of a former member of the society – Robin’s best friend, with whom Violet shares an uncanny resemblance – is found dead on campus nine months after she disappeared, Violet begins to wonder whether she can trust her friends, teachers, or even herself.

7. The Fandom Rising – Anna Day42768840
The heart-pounding sequel to THE FANDOM!

‘I cannot recommend The Fandom highly enough.’ LOUISE O’NEILL

Nate’s time is running out. Violet and Katie re-enter The Gallows Dance to rescue him, but when a rogue fanfiction writer emerges online – determined to put the dys back into dystopia – Alice is the only one with the power to save the story …

8. King of Fools – Amanda Foodybook cover (44)
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

9. As Far As the Stars – Virginia MacGregor35657726
How do you change what’s already written in the stars? 

Christopher is the sort of guy that no one notices, yet when Air catches sight of him making intricate paper birds in the airport, she can’t look away.
 
But their worlds are about to collide in ways they never expected. Someone they love is on Flight 0217 from London Heathrow. And it’s missing.
 
Convinced that her brother was on a different flight, Air drives them hundreds of miles across the country, on a trip that will change their lives forever.
 
But how do you tell the person you’re falling for that you might just be the reason their life has fallen apart?

Books I Bought:

10. Truly Devious – Maureen Johnson29589074
Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history. 

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.

11. The Quiet At the End of the World – Lauren James32716442
How far would you go to save those you love?

Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking for artefacts from history and looking for treasure in their once-opulent mansion.

Their idyllic life is torn apart when a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide who to save and who to sacrifice . . .

12. Daisy Jones and the Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid40554141
Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock and roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.

Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice.

13. Red Country – Joe Abercrombie19042297
They burned her home.
They stole her brother and sister.
But vengeance is following.

Shy South hoped to bury her bloody past and ride away smiling, but she’ll have to sharpen up some bad old ways to get her family back, and she’s not a woman to flinch from what needs doing. She sets off in pursuit with only a pair of oxen and her cowardly old step father Lamb for company. But it turns out Lamb’s buried a bloody past of his own. And out in the lawless Far Country the past never stays buried.

Their journey will take them across the barren plains to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feud, duel and massacre, high into the unmapped mountains to a reckoning with the Ghosts. Even worse, it will force them into an alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, and his feckless lawyer Temple, two men no one should ever have to trust . . . 

14. Hunted – Megan Spooner24485589
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them. 

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. 

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

15. Release – Patrick Ness31194576
Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

16. Wicked Saints – Emily A. Duncanwicked saints
A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy..

So those are all the books I picked up in April! If you’ve read any of these I’d love to know your thoughts, and definitely let me know which books you’ve picked up recently!

Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

Blog Tour: As Far as the Stars – Virginia MacGregor

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Release Date:
May 21st 2019
Publisher: HQ Stories
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

How do you change what’s already written in the stars?

Christopher is the sort of guy that no one notices, yet when Air catches sight of him making intricate paper birds in the airport, she can’t look away.

But their worlds are about to collide in ways they never expected. Someone they love is on Flight 0217 from London Heathrow. And it’s missing.

Convinced that her brother was on a different flight, Air drives them hundreds of miles across the country, on a trip that will change their lives forever.

But how do you tell the person you’re falling for that you might just be the reason their life has fallen apart?

Review

35657726This is my first time reading a book by Virginia Macgregor and I very quickly became absorbed in this emotional tale. The story follows Air, a young woman who is tasked with one job: get her brother Blake from the airport and make sure he turns up on time to their sister’s wedding. Whilst waiting for the plane to arrive she sees Christopher, who is also waiting on the arrival of the same flight. Their worlds collide when they learn that flight 0217 is missing. Unsure whether her brother even got on the flight, the two drive across the country in a desperate attempt to find him.

This is a beautifully written story that grips hold of you and doesn’t let go. I completely fell in love with Christopher and Air – two complete strangers who have ended up together as a result of this horrible incident. The story is intense and the plot well paced but the thing I loved most about this story is the characters. Air is the youngest sibling but is always looking after her brother, bailing him out and making sure he turns up on time. Christopher is quieter, used to waiting around for his pilot Dad. I loved seeing them interact and watching as their relationship developed.

As Far as the Stars is a heartbreaking story and I struggled to put it down. It’s two people coming together but it’s also full of worry and stress at not knowing where their loved ones are. It was such a unique story – a mix of heavy worry and beautiful romantic moments. I love stories with a road trip in them and I think this has definitely become one of my favourites. If you’re looking for a new contemporary read that will definitely stick with you, As Far as the Stars should be your next read.
4 stars
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Book Swap Haul!

Book Swap Haul!

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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!

BOOK REVIEW - 2019-03-27T210731.771.png
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!