Book Review: A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

Book Review: A Sky Painted Gold – Laura Wood

BOOK REVIEW (23)
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

Book Review: Witchsign – Den Patrick

Book Review: Witchsign – Den Patrick

BOOK REVIEW (18)
Series: Ashen Torment #1
Release Date: 22nd May 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I pre-ordered this at my local Waterstones.

Synopsis

It has been seventy-five years since the dragons’ rule of fire and arcane magic over Vinkerveld was ended, and the Empire was born. Since, the tyrannical Synod has worked hard to banish all manifestations of the arcane across the lands.

However, children are still born bearing the taint of the arcane, known to all as witchsign. So each year the Emperor sends out his Vigilants across the continent to detect the arcane in these children. Those found tainted are taken, and never seen again. Steiner has always suspected his sister Kjellrunn of bearing witchsign. But when their father’s attempt to protect her from the Invigilation backfires, it is Steiner who is mistakenly taken. However it is not death which awaits Steiner, but an Academy where the children with witchsign learn to master their powers – some at the cost of their lives. Steiner is determined to escape the Academy and protect his sister from this fate.

But powerful enemies await him at every turn, and Steiner finds himself taken on a journey straight into the heart of the Empire’s deepest secrets, which will force him to reconsider everything he has known about witchsign.

Review

I really loved Den Patrick’s The Erebus Sequence so I was really excited to pick up a copy of this brilliant sounding book. The cover is just gorgeous and it sounds like a captivating story. Witchsign is the kind of book that you want to read all the time, squeezing in a chapter on the commute, on a lunch break and any other possible time.

Untitled design (61)I adored the world of Witchsign. Patrick creates a really fascinating world and the bleak and desolate landscape really comes across in his writing. The magic system and world building are told in a really elegant way, we are told plenty of information without it being a knowledge dump right at the start. It creates a really rich tapestry of magic, dragons and the cruel control of the Empire.

The story is told in alternating POVs between Steiner and his sister Kjellrunn, and I loved both of them as main characters. It’s rare in books with differing POVs that I like both perspectives equally, but in Witchsign I was dying to know what was happening to both characters.

I really enjoyed Patrick’s writing style and I loved the idea that the Steiner as ‘the one chosen’ is actually chosen by mistake. The story was quick paced, full of action and I definitely grew attached to the mix of characters. In Witchsign Patrick has created an enticing world and I can’t wait to delve back in with book two.
5 stars

Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

Book Review: Easy Prey – Catherine Lo

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Release Date: October 16th 2018
Publisher: Amulet Books
Pages: 352
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was given an ARC of this book at YALC.

Synopsis

Secrets and revenge run rampant in the Internet age—Easy Prey keeps you guessing until the final reveal.

Only three students had access to a teacher’s racy photos before they went viral. There’s Mouse, a brainy overachiever so desperate to escape his father and go to MIT that he would do almost anything, legal or not. Then there’s Drew, the star athlete who can get any girl’s number—and private photos—with his charm but has a history of passing those photos around. And finally there’s Jenna, a good girl turned rebel after her own shocking photos made the rounds at school last year, who is still waiting for justice. All three deny leaking the photos, but someone has to take the fall. This edgy whodunit tackles hot-button issues of sexting and gossip and will have readers tearing through the pages to reach the final reveal.

Review

Untitled design (11)Easy Prey is a perfect autumn read – it’s dark, mysterious and absolutely unputdownable.

The story follows three students who are accused of leaking racy photos of a teacher on Twitter. The three students are completely different – the geeky brainiac who is whizz with computers, the popular athlete and the good girl turned rebel after her own racy photos were leaked online. They all claim their innocent, but if they didn’t do it who did?

The one thing about psychological thrillers if that you can often tell what the ending is going to be, for that reason I don’t read too many thrillers, however with Easy Prey I would never have guessed the ending in a million years. It was an excellent twist and I definitely raced through this intense book because I was dying to know how it was going to end.

I really liked the characters. The story was told in alternating points of view with each of the three students and it was fascinating to see things play out from different perspectives – it definitely added to the mystery surrounding which one was guilty. The characters are much more than their stereotypes of the geek, jock and rebel girl and I loved that as the book continued you learned more and more about them. They are definitely morally grey characters and nothing is what it seems in this story. The book also really delves into the issues of leaked photos and privacy on the internet – something that really needs to be discussed more in books.

Easy Prey is absolutely a five star read for me. If you’re looking for something mysterious and fast paced, this book is perfect for cuddling up on a dark autumn night.

5 stars

Book Review: The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

Book Review: The Gilded King – Josie Jaffrey

BOOK REVIEW (2)
Series: Sovereign #1
Release Date: June 25th 2018
Pages: 303
Find It On: Goodreads. BookDepository. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

Review

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey is the first in a new fantasy series in which we follow the residents of the Blue – the last remaining city on Earth. As soon as I picked this book up I was hooked on this intense and action packed story, and I’m so excited to find out what’s in store next!

Untitled design (9)The story is told in alternating points of view – one from Cameron, a noble with many secrets in his past, out in the wilds attempting to find someone who disappeared many years ago, and Julia, a young girl forced to serve the reigning nobles. I really liked the differing perspectives in this story, the characters were really complex and fascinating and I certainly found myself becoming attached to them as the story progressed.

The Gilded King is definitely an unpredictable story – I was never quite sure where it was going to turn next. The world building is excellent and Jaffrey has created a really fascinating world with a whole wealth of paranormal creatures. The story is well paced and has plenty of action, ramping up more and more to the intense ending. The story blends action packed moments with romance and mystery incredibly – this makes for one really exciting story. If you’re a fantasy lover, this is bound to be your new favourite series.
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Book Review: What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria

Book Review: What If It’s Us – Becky Albertalli and Adam Silveria

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Release Date:
18th October 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Pages: 433
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Arthur is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

Ben thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t quite nail a first date . . . or a second first date . . . or a third?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work . . . and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

Review

Arthur and Ben are officially my new favourite couple. This is my first time reading a book by either of these YA superstars but honestly I was so engrossed in this adorable story. I’m now dying to pick up more from these authors because I honestly can’t get enough.

book cover (15)The story is told in alternating POVs by Arthur, who is interning at a New York law firm over the summer and Ben a New York native. The boys have an adorable meet cute in a post office but don’t exchange numbers. After getting reunited they go on a few dates but things don’t really go to plan and they begin to wonder “what if it’s us” that’s causing the problem.

This story is such a fun and enjoyable read. I raced through it because I found these characters so sweet and complex. Both authors have done a terrific job bringing the characters to life, I imagine if you know both authors well you can tell who has written which POV but for me the transition between the two felt pretty seamless.

What If It’s Us is set in the heart of New York City and I think this book does a really terrific job of bringing the city to life. Chalk full of pop culture references and all those key New York landmarks. This book definitely had me laughing and grinning and there were plenty of heart warming and emotional moments too.

The story focuses not only on the relationship between Ben and Arthur but also their relationships between the characters and their families and friends. Ben is dealing with losing part of his friendship group after a bad breakup and Arthur finds his friends being distant with him. I really liked seeing how the friendships changed and grew as the story went on.

I also thought the ending for this book was pretty perfect. It totally wasn’t what I expected and I appreciated it all the more for that. It felt realistic and really added another layer to this well crafted story. What If It’s Us is the perfect contemporary romance and if you’re a fan of Adam and Becky you will not be disappointed.
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Book Review: Jinxed – Amy McCulloch

Book Review: Jinxed – Amy McCulloch

BOOK REVIEW (48)
Series:
Jinxed #1
Release Date: 9th August 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 323
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Lacey Chu has big dreams of becoming a companioneer for MONCHA, the largest tech firm in North America and the company behind the  “baku” – a customisable smart pet that functions as a phone but makes the perfect companion too. When Lacey finds out she hasn’t been accepted into Profectus – the elite academy for cutting edge tech – it seems her dreams are over. Worst of all, rather than getting to choose one of the advanced bakus, she’s stuck with a rubbish insect one.

Then, one night, Lacey comes across the remains of an advanced baku. Once it might’ve been in the shape of a cat but it’s now mangled and broken, no sign of electronic life behind its eyes. Days of work later and the baku opens its eyes. Lacey calls him Jinx – and Jinx opens up a world for her that she never even knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profecus. Slowly but surely, Jinx becomes more than just a baku to Lacey – he becomes her perfect companion. But what is Jinx, really? His abilities far surpass anything written into his code or built into his motherboard. He seems to be more than just a robotic pet. He seems … real.

Review

When I picked up Jinxed I had expected to really enjoy this book. What I didn’t expect was for this book to completely blow me away, and be one of my favourites of 2018. Amy McCulloch has written a wonderful gripping story, and I absolutely could not put it down.

book cover (23)There were so many things I loved about this book. Lacey Chu is a fantastic protagonist. She’s strong, determined, she works hard and all she wants is to succeed in reaching her dream job at Moncha. I really loved her character, seeing her develop as she ends up at Profectus, bonds with Jinx and meets new people at this prestigious school. There’s an intense amount of character development, and it really made me fall in love with Lacey.

The story is fast-paced and gripping and has definitely left me wanting more. I thought the concept was so fascinating – curing the world’s addiction to smartphones by having a companion with all your smartphone needs built right in. But as always there’s that question – how far is to far? What happens when the robotic pet starts to seem real?

It was such an addictive read and I loved so many things about it, the science and technology, the romance that was a slow burn and didn’t take over from the main story as well as the buzz of the school and its secret goings-on. This book is entertaining and fun and I guarantee you will love it. This has been my first time reading a book by Amy McCulloch (Amy Alward) and it definitely won’t be my last.
5 stars

Blog Tour: The Caged Queen – Kirsten Ciccarelli

Blog Tour: The Caged Queen – Kirsten Ciccarelli

BOOK REVIEW (44)Series: Iskari #2
Release Date: 25th September 2018
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.

Synopsis

Once there were two sisters born with a bond so strong that it forged them together forever. When they were angry, mirrors shattered, and when they were happy, flowers bloomed. It was a magic they cherished—until the day a terrible accident took Essie’s life and trapped her soul in this world.

Dax—the heir to Firgaard’s throne—was responsible for the accident. Roa swore to hate him forever. But eight years later he returned, begging for her help. He was determined to dethrone his cruel father, under whose oppressive reign Roa’s people had suffered. Roa made him a deal: she’d give him the army he needed if he made her queen.

Together with Dax and his sister, Asha, Roa and her people waged war and deposed a tyrant. But now Asha is on the run, hiding from the price on her head. And Roa is an outlander queen, far from home and married to her enemy. Worst of all: Dax’s promises go unfulfilled. Roa’s people continue to suffer.

Then a chance to right every wrong arises—an opportunity for Roa to rid herself of this enemy king and rescue her beloved sister. During the Reliquishing, when the spirits of the dead are said to return, Roa can reclaim her sister for good.

All she has to do is kill the king.

Review

I was so excited for the release of The Caged Queen. I absolutely adored the world Ciccarelli created in The Last Namsara and this second instalment definitely didn’t disappoint.

book cover (19)Fast paced and action packed, The Caged Queen follows a different point of view character this time around. We also get to stay characters from the previous instalment and it was great to revisit the characters I’ve grown attached to. They are well developed and it’s great to see them grow and develop as the story continues on. One of the things I love about this story is that the characters are scheming, looking to take power or advance their cause. It makes for a really interesting set of dynamics and something that Ciccarelli does incredibly well. It was also great to get more history about Roa and the other characters from the series.

The Caged Queen has plenty of political intrigue and mixing this with the history and backstory for the world and the character makes for a really engrossing tapestry. The Last Namsara was more action based, with dragons and fighting whilst this instalment was much more politics focused, bringing in the trials and schemes of court life. I really love the author’s writing style and think that this is a really fantastic new fantasy series. Ciccarelli has done a magnificent job with this second instalment and I’m so excited to see how the story is going to continue in The Sky Weaver.
5 stars