December Book Haul!

December Book Haul!

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Today I thought I would post my December book haul! I’ve split this into two parts, this one being books that publishers kindly sent me and books that I bought and I’ll have another post later on with the books I got given for Christmas. I’m really proud of myself because I only bought two books in December, as I’m trying to lessen the amount of books I buy. That being said I did get quite a few from publishers, so lets dive in!
 

From Publishers

This Lie Will Kill You – Chelsea Pitcher
book cover (72)This young adult mystery/thriller has been likened to Riverdale and I’m so excited to pick it up.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

The Year After You – Nina De Pass
book cover (73)This is a beautiful contemporary ya novel coming from Ink Road books in February. It sounds like it will be a really moving story and I’m really looking forward to reading it.

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.

Once and Future – Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
book cover (74)A Merlin retelling in space? SOLD. I honestly squealed with excitement when this came through the door and it has gone straight to the top of my TBR pile. That cover is also stunning!

I’ve been chased my whole life. As an illegal immigrant in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

Stain – A. G. Howard
book cover (75)This is another release that I am honestly so desperate to read. A Gothic fairytale inspired by The Princess and the Pea? Who wouldn’t want to read that?

Once upon a nightmare, her fairy tale begins…

After Lyra—a princess incapable of speech or sound—is cast out of her kingdom of daylight by her wicked aunt, a witch saves her life, steals her memories, and raises her in an enchanted forest … disguised as a boy known only as Stain. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s rival kingdom, the prince of thorns and night is dying, and the only way for him to break his curse is to wed the princess of daylight, for she is his true equal. As Lyra rediscovers her identity, an impostor princess prepares to steal her betrothed prince and her crown. To win back her kingdom, save the prince, and make peace with the land of the night, Lyra must be loud enough to be heard without a voice, and strong enough to pass a series of tests—ultimately proving she’s everything a traditional princess is not.

Burn for Burn – Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivan
book cover (76)I recently read all of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before books and a few people have recommended this series to me so I was so pleased when this surprise piece of post arrived!

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

Slay On Tour – Kim Curran
book cover (78)The SLAY boys are back and this time they’re heading to Japan. I honestly can’t wait to find out what’s next in store for this demon fighting boyband!

SLAY are BACK…and this time they’re headed to Tokyo to track down another hell-raising demon. When they’re invited on tour with a super-cool band of holographic girls, SLAY find themselves whisked off around Japan – until strange things start happening on their tour train. Suddenly it seems it’s not just SLAY’s fans following their every move…

The Glass Woman – Caroline Lea
I absolutely adore historical fiction and this honestly sounds like the perfect book for me. This icy mystery is definitely going to be a great book to cuddle up with on a winter evening.

1686, ICELAND. AN ISOLATED, WINDSWEPT LAND HAUNTED BY WITCH TRIALS AND STEEPED IN THE ANCIENT SAGAS.
Betrothed unexpectedly to 
book cover (79)Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.
The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .

The Fork, the Witch & the Worm – Christopher Paolini
book cover (69)Eragon and the gang are back in this all new collection of short stories from the Inheritance cycle. I was on the blog tour for this so you can check out my thoughts here!

A wanderer and a cursed child. Spells and magic. And dragons, of course.

Welcome back to the world of Alagaësia. It’s been a year since Eragon departed Alagaësia in search of the perfect home to train a new generation of Dragon Riders. Now he is struggling with an endless sea of tasks: constructing a vast dragonhold, wrangling with suppliers, guarding dragon eggs, and dealing with belligerent Urgals and haughty elves. Then a vision from the Eldunarí, unexpected visitors, and an exciting Urgal legend offer a much-needed distraction and a new perspective. This volume features three original stories set in Alagaësia, interspersed with scenes from Eragon’s own unfolding adventure. 

My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
book cover (59)I was sent this book through ReadersFirst and I ended up reading it in one sitting. Dark, gripping and fascinating, this is a brilliant read.

Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

Books I Bought:

 Obsidio – Jay Kristoff & Ami Kaufman
book cover (77)The third and final book in the Illuminae Files, I had to rush out and buy this as soon as I finished Gemina. I’m pretty sure it’s going to break my heart though.

Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza—but who knows what they’ll find seven months after the invasion?

Meanwhile, Kady’s cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza’s ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys—an old flame from Asha’s past—reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. 

With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heroes will fall, and hearts will be broken…

Evermore – Sara Holland
book cover (36)This is definitely one of my most anticipated releases. I loved Everless so I’m really excited to get back to this magical world and I hope it’s just as good as book one!

Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

So that’s my December book haul! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought of them and also let me know which books you bought in December!

Book Review: Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

Book Review: Only Child – Rhiannon Navin

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Release Date:
February 8th 2018
Publisher: Mantle
Pages: 306
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

We all went to school that Tuesday like normal. Not all of us came home.

When the unthinkable happens, six-year-old Zach is at school. Huddled in a cloakroom with his classmates and teacher, he is too young to understand that life will never be the same again.

Afterwards, the once close-knit community is left reeling. Zach’s dad retreats. His mum sets out to seek revenge. Zach, scared, lost and confused, disappears into his super-secret hideout to try to make sense of things. Nothing feels right – until he listens to his heart . . .

But can he remind the grown-ups how to love again?

Narrated by Zach, Only Child is full of heart; a real rollercoaster of a read that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.

Review

This is a brilliantly written debut focusing on a horrific school shooting and the rippling aftermath that the event has on the local community. It is powerful, heartbreaking and incredibly relevant given the current news and media. The book really hones in on the community and the lasting effects that this single event can have.

book cover (71)The book is told from the perspective of young Zach, who is a powerful and fascinating protagonist. Navin does a fantastic job of bringing him to life, Zach along with the rest of the characters feel very realistic and complex, each dealing with their own complex emotions and grief as they deal with all that has happened. I definitely felt myself becoming attached to Zach, you feel for this clever young boy as he retreats into his books and drawings, while his parents attempt to cope with their grief.

I also found it fascinating that Zach chose to represent his emotions with colours. He’s a bright and fascinating character and seeing him bring people together was part of the reason I loved this book so much. It is excellently paced and the writing style definitely hooks you in from the get go. It might be a difficult topic but it is absolutely worth while.

This book is by no means an easy read. It is hard hitting and emotional, but it is one that you have to read. It stayed with me long after I finished reading it and I found myself thinking about it throughout the day afterwards. As a debut it is stunning and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what Rhiannon Navin has in store next.
4 stars

Book Review: Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman

Book Review: Starfish – Akemi Dawn Bowman

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Release Date:
April 5th 2018
Publisher: Ink Road
Pages: 353
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

A half-Japanese teen grapples with social anxiety and her narcissist mother in the wake of a crushing rejection from art school in this debut novel.

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

Review

I picked up Starfish when I had the weekend off work, thinking to get ahead in my blog tour reading. For two afternoons I was completely immersed in this emotional roller coaster of a book. It’s a beautifully written book and was a joy to read. If you haven’t added Starfish to your wish list yet, you absolutely have to because I’m already calling this as one of the best books of the year.

The thing I loved most about Starfish has to be Kiko and the amount of depth she had. book cover (50)She was an excellently written character and one that I could probably write about for days. I absolutely loved her and I became attached so quickly to this beautiful protagonist. The representation of anxiety in this book is completely spot on, and I loved watching Kiko as she grows and develops as a character. Starfish is sweet and sad in equal measure and I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough.

There is of course a romance aspect to the story, but I really enjoyed that it was a slow building relationship one that was well thought out and developed, it definitely added another layer to the story and made the characters feel more realistic. Jamie too is an excellently portrayed character, he’s sweet and determined and just the nicest character ever.

This book deals with so many more themes and topics beyond anxiety. I won’t say too much because I wouldn’t want to spoil this beautiful book for anyone but the story deals with trauma during childhood, dealing with a difficult home life as well as what it’s like to be bi-racial. This quiet, subtle book is all about finding yourself and creating an identity, and it’s the kind of book that stays with you long after you’re finished reading. It’s an absolutely stunning debut (with one of the most gorgeous covers I have ever seen!) and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Akemi writes next.
5 stars

Book Review: More Than We Can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer

Book Review: More Than We Can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer

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Series:
Letters to the Lost #2
Release Date: 6th March 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 410
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay…until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.

Review

When I was kindly asked to be part of this blog tour I hadn’t read the first book in this series, Letters to the Lost. I was told it could be read as a standalone, however I decided to pick the first book up anyway. After devouring the emotional roller coaster of book one I was so eager to read book two. In my head the book featured completely new characters so I was absolutely delighted when I realised More Than We Can Tell focuses on a new character Emma, as well as Rev who was one of the characters that most intrigued me from Letters to the Lost.

book cover (37)This book is beautifully written and really draws you in. I spent a full Saturday afternoon completely absorbed in this moving book. If it’s possible I loved this one even more Than Letters to the Lost. It’s a little quicker paced than the previous book and I think most definitely darker. More Than We Can Tell absolutely takes you on a wild ride of emotions, dealing with romance, friendships, abuse and lots of other things in between. I’m not normally a crier but a couple of times I felt myself getting watery eyed over this moving and emotional book.

I really enjoyed Brigid’s writing style and the character development is superb, I’m so happy that this was a chance to get to know Rev properly and that he gets his own story line. Emma is a fascinating character too. I loved that she was a gamer and I really enjoyed watching the relationship between Rev and Emma develop. It was sweet and interesting and extremely well done.

I would also say that romance and coming of age stories aren’t the kind of thing that I read often, so if you’re looking to dip your toe in more contemporary books this is definitely the series to go for. This book is an important read that’s done so so well and I highly recommend it.
4 stars

Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

Book Review: The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

BOOK REVIEW (37)Release Date: 8th March 2018
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an ARC copy of this at YALC

Synopsis

Izzy O’Neill is an aspiring comic, an impoverished orphan, and a Slut Extraordinaire. Or at least, that’s what the malicious website flying round the school says. Izzy can try all she wants to laugh it off – after all, her sex life, her terms – but when pictures emerge of her doing the dirty with a politician’s son, her life suddenly becomes the centre of a national scandal. Izzy’s never been ashamed of herself before, and she’s not going to start now. But keeping her head up will take everything she has…

Review

Contemporary YA can be a bit of a hit or miss for me but I thought The Exact Opposite of Okay had a really intriguing premise. After just a few chapters I was completely hooked on this funny and fascinating book. It is without a doubt my most favourite contemporary read ever.

book cover (12)This book is fun, clever and deals with a lot of important issues. (I mean what more could you really ask for?) Izzy is a teenager who is hoping to be a script writer when she’s older. She’s a comic and she’s hilariously funny. When a website surfaces claiming she is a ‘world class whore’ and highlights all the details of her sex life, Izzy is made to feel ashamed of her sex life and struggles to deal with the hateful comments. The book really delves into issues around slut shaming and the differing ways that men and women are treated regarding sex.

I loved everything about this book. I know a lot of the time people will say ‘oh this book is so funny’ but honestly I was laughing so hard at some moments that my boyfriend had to come and check that I was okay. The book is written as if Izzy is writing entries in her blog and I really liked this style. It’s also peppered with references to music and pop culture and they made me love this book even more (especially Dumbledore the dog).

This book is fresh and original and features such a fascinating protagonist. Izzy is sarcastic, brave, stubborn and brilliant and she’s definitely one of my new favourite characters. I loved that the book explored her relationships with her grandmother as well as her relationships with her two best friends, Ajita and Danny. I absolutely flew through this book because I just couldn’t put it down. It deals with important issues in such an interesting way and I am definitely looking forward to seeing what Laura Steven writes next.
5 stars

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

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

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

Synopsis

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

Review

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

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

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

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

Book Review: A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

Book Review: A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

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Published: July 5th 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Books
Pages: 356
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer – a handsome, dashing brother and sister – Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions… And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

Review

A Sky Painted Gold is a YA reminiscent of The Great Gatsby with the glitz and glamour of the 1920s. The story follows Lou, a young girl living in a small village in Cornwall. She has always dreamed of who might own the secluded mansion house in her village. When the owners arrive Lou is swept into a world of parties, glamour and romance.

Untitled design (75)This is definitely not the kind of book that I would typically read. I do love historical fiction but I tend not to pick up romance heavy books. This however really caught my eye and I’m so glad I picked it up because honestly I absolutely adored this book.

This book is gorgeously written and really envelopes you in the sights and sounds of the era and that gorgeous mansion by the water. I loved sinking into the story and it is definitely the perfect read for a beautiful summer’s day. The plot was well paced and it felt very character driven, giving us the time to get to know the wonderful characters in this story.

Our protagonist Lou is definitely one my new favourite characters. She’s smart, quick and just a brilliant character to follow. Although the story does follow a romance, there is so much more going on and there were so many other characters that I adored in this story. The book touches on such a wide variety of themes – family, class, relationships and so much more. Something I found really fascinating about this book is the way that Wood portrays Lou’s family. She has a big loving family and she’s incredibly close with her sister who has recently been married. It’s fascinating to see the dynamics change and the relationships evolve as Lou spends more and more time at ‘the big house.’

A Sky Painted Gold is a beautiful engaging novel. It has a gorgeous setting and exquisite writing. A Sky Painted Gold was easily a five star read and I’m so excited to read more from Laura Wood in the future.
5 stars