Sunday, 29 May 2016

Letterbox Love #134

Letterbox Love is a way to give all of the books I receive for review some exposure. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. All of the books are in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow Hour, Melissa Grey (eproof)

Everythin in Echo’s life changed in a blinding flash when she learned the startling truth: she is the firebird, the creature of light that is said to bring peace.

The firebird has come into the world, but it has not come alone. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and Echo can feel a great and terrible darkness rising in the distance. Cosmic forces threaten to tear the world apart.

Echo has already lost her home, her family, and her boyfriend. Now, as the firebird, her path is filled with even greater dangers than the ones she’s already overcome.

She knows the Dragon Prince will not fall without a fight.

Echo must decide: can she wield the power of her true nature – or will it prove too strong for her, and burn what's left of her world to the ground?

Welcome to the shadow hour.

The first book in this series was a lot of fun so I’m looking forward to this. Thanks NetGalley and Atom.

The Whispers of Wilderwood Hall, Karen McCombie (paperback)

Ellis is losing track of time…

After leaving her friends to move to a crumbling Scottish mansion, Ellis is overcome by anxiety and loneliness. Then she hears whispers in the walls…and finds herself whisked back in time to 1912.

At first, she feels like she's finally home. But the past may not be as perfect as it seems – and is there more to hope for in the present than she first thought?

Look out for a blog tour stop soon! Thanks Scholastic!

Strange Star, Emma Carroll (paperback)

The year of 1816 felt extraordinary, and all because of a strange sort of star in the sky…

Lake Geneva, Switzerland

Early one summer’s morning, a servant boy named Felix delivers an invitation. Tonight, at the mysterious Villa Diodati, there will be ghost stories that promise to ‘freeze the blood’.

As darkness falls, the guests arrive. The storytelling begins. Then comes an unexpected knock at the door. Felix discovers a girl on the doorstep. She's travelled a long way to tell her tale, and now he must listen.

But be warned: hers is no ordinary ghost story. Sometimes the truth is far more terrifying.

I am SO excited to read this! Thanks Faber!

The Graces, Laure Eve (proof)

Meet the Graces

They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Just like everybody else in her small town, River is obsessed with the Graces. Just like everybody else, she's been seduced by their wealth, their exclusivity, their beauty, and their glamour.

But unlike everybody else, River knows exactly what she’s doing.

Doesn’t she?

AHHH! Thank you Faber!

The Other Alice, Michelle Harrison (proof)

There was something odd about her eyes. They looked different to normal, but I couldn’t figure out why … I waited for her to answer, but instead she took out a pen and wrote something in the notebook. She held it up to show me.

I’m not Alice, it said.

When Midge’s sister Alice goes missing and a talking cat appears in her bedroom. Midge realises that Alice’s stories contain the clues he needs.

But every tale has its villains – and now that they are leaping off the page. Midge and two new friends must find Alice and work out how this story ends. Before a more sinister finale threatens them all…

Thanks S&S!

Stealing Snow, Danielle Paige (proof)

A queen will rise…

17-year-old Snow lives within the walls of a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong here, but she has no memory of life outside, except for in her strangest dreams. So when a mysterious, handsome man leads her to open a door, Snow shows that she has to leave…

She finds herself is icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. Secret after secret is revealed and Snow discovers that her choices of the heart will change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate…

This sounds like so much fun. Thanks Bloomsbury!


Thursday, 26 May 2016

20th Century Book Tag

The 20th Century Book Tag is actually a Booktube tag created by Leslie from Words of a Reader, but it’s one I find really interesting to watch and, for once, should actually translate to a blog post pretty well! So here we are.

The idea is that for each decade of the 20th century you pick a book that you’ve read, but because I’ve got a ridiculously long classics TBR I figured I'd also add in a book from that decade that I want to read!

1900 – 1909

READ: I read Heart of Darkness for my A-levels and I hated it. Like, violently hated it.
WANT TO READ: I read EM Forster’s A Room with a View and enjoyed it, but not as much as I wanted to, so I’m going to try again with Where Angels Fear to Tread.

1910 – 1919

READ: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden was one of my mum’s favourite children books so I had it read to me a lot. It was probably the first classic I read myself.

I want to read Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence mainly because I'm fascinated by the controversy that he caused with his books. I can't help but wonder if they’ll seem so salacious today.

1920 – 1929

READ: I took a module solely on Virginia Woolf in my final year of university and Jacob’s Room was the first book we studied, and my first Woolf.

WANT TO READ: We didn’t manage to get to all of her novels and I'd love to try and complete them all, even though I admittedly enjoy her non-fiction more than her fiction. I'm hoping that having more experience with classics now will make her easier to read and understand.

1930 – 1939

READ: Jamaica Inn is my most recent Du Maurier read and though I enjoyed it – Du Maurier’s writing is always flawless – it hasn’t been my favourite so far.

WANT TO READ: I watched the TV adaptation of And Then There Were None earlier in the year and became convinced that I need to finally read Christie. I've been told that this is the one to start with!

1940 – 1949

READ: I discovered Shirley Jackson last year and quickly wanted to read her entire backlist. The Lottery and Other Stoies was my first foray into her short stories and I thoroughly enjoyed the collection, especially the chilling title story.

WANT TO READ: I couldn’t even tell you how many times I got The Diary of a Young Girl out of the library only to not read it. Intimidation, maybe? I’ll get to it eventually.

1950 – 1959

READ: I read Catcher in the Rye for the Classics Challenge last year and really enjoyed it. I was a bit worried that Holden would annoy me as I’m no longer a teenager, but I still empathised with him a lot.

WANT TO READ: The idea of burning books is horrifying to me, and that makes me really want to read Fahrenheit 451. I have it, and have had it for years. One day!

1960 – 1969

READ: Roald Dahl was my childhood hero and my copy of Charlie and the Chocolate factory is barely still in one piece I re-read it so many times! It’s pure magic and I wanted Willy Wonka and his factory to be real so very badly.

WANT TO READ: This is a sci-fi classic that I'm so eager to read, I'm just hugely intimidated by the heft of it! I'm still a sci-fi newbie and I'm a little worried Dune might be too big of a leap for me.

1970 – 1979

READ: I picked up The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy on a whim one afternoon in my college library after I'd finished the book I had with me and needed something for the train ride home. I honestly don’t remember much about it, just that I really enjoyed it.

WANT TO READ: I'm not sure what made me pick An Interview with a Vampire up, but I'm really feeling picking this up lately. I've not read much adult genre fiction and I'm incredibly curious to see how vampires were handled before YA took them over.

1980 – 1989

READ: Following Terry Pratchett’s death, the wonderful Viv of Serendipity Reviews organised a blog tour to celebrate his life and I took part, reading The Colour of Magic – my first Pratchett – for my stop. It was a lot quicker and easier to read than I had imagined. I’d like to return to Discworld soon.

WANT TO READ: This is another book I've been meaning to read for years! The Handmaid’s Tale is a legendary speculative, feminist novel and I'm so excited to read Margaret Atwood for the first time. It's on my 2016 hit list!

1990 - 1999

READ: I devoured The Secret History last year and it turned out to be one of my favourite reads of 2015. It’s tense and unsettling and so exquisitely written. I immediately bought her next two books to be devoured too!

WANT TO READ: Oh, Outlander, I promise I’ll get to you eventually, you’re just so huge! I love the TV series and that’s what actually made me want to read this. I'm not usually a huge historical fiction fan, but I love Jamie and Clare’s story.
If you’d like to do this, consider yourself tagged! I'd love to see your choices!


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Mystery & Mayhem, The Crime Club

Pages: 300
Publisher: Egmont
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Twelve dastardly crimes have been committed…
They seem impossible…
But can you solve them?

The twelve stories in this collection contain murder, mayhem, poison and plot, dognapping, safe-breaking, sabotage and biscuits.

Only the intrepid young detective – and the reader – can crack the cases and save the day. Are you up to the Crime Club challenge?

As soon as Mystery & Mayhem was announced I knew it was one for the TBR and it definitely lived up to expectations – I loved it!

This is the perfect collection to dip in and out of on a lazy Saturday and that’s exactly what I did! The variety in these stories just makes it a delight – the setting, the time period, the crime – I was definitely kept on my toes. But it’s also a really quick and easy read and I think Mystery & Mayhem is the perfect choice for a reluctant or less confident reader. It’s hard to stop turning the pages! Though I loved all twelve stories, I did have a few favourites:

‘The Mystery of Diablo Canyon Circle’ by Caroline Lawrence

I was so surprised by how much I loved this one! Darcy and her family have moved from England to a small California town. It’s scorching hot, coyotes are on the prowl and a dog from their neighbourhood is missing. Darcy takes up the case and ends up finally meeting and making friends with her neighbours in Diablo Canyon. It’s so much fun! Plus, the three kids in the family are called Darcy, Heathcliff and Rochester. Amazing.

‘Mel Foster and the Hound of the Baskervilles’ by Julia Golding

Mel lives at the Monster Residence in London with a house of monsters, including Eve Frankenstein who was made by Frankenstein’s monster himself! Set in Victorian England, Mel and Eve take up the case of the returning Hound of the Baskervilles after the original is dispatched by Sherlock Holmes. This story was funny and clever and I’ll definitely be looking into the series about Mel.

‘The Murder of Monsieur Pierre’ by Harriet Whitehorn

When Angelica arrives at the hairdressers she works at and finds her boss, Monsieur Pierre, dead, she immediately starts trying to figure out what happened. She soon starts to notice things and make connections that the policemen doesn’t and becomes his assistant, solving the crime in the end! I loved Angelica!

All of the stories in this collection feature children and young teenager who are ignored by adults but then triumph over them by solving the mystery and it's so fun to read! I loved this collection and I’m desperately hoping for another in the near future.

Thanks to Egmont for the review copy.


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Litsy: Where books make friends

A few months ago, the ever-lovely Jim of YA Yeah Yeah tweeted about a cool new app called Litsy that he’d found. He said it was a cross between Goodreads and Instagram and my love for both of those social media sites meant I downloaded it immediately! I’ve been using it ever since.

So when I got an email from the lovely people at Litsy introducing me to the app and asking if I fancied sharing my thoughts on it, I obviously said yes! Here are some awesome things about Litsy:

  • You can review a book, add it to a ‘stack’ (read and to-read), add a picture, add an update and a quote – it really is a mishmash of Instagram and Goodreads!
  • You get Litfluence points for everything you add and every time someone interacts with your updates!
  • It’s ridiculously easy to use. It only took me minutes to figure it out, add a profile and upload a pic and mini-review of my first book!

  • It’s still a new app so it’s easy to get your pictures and reviews seen and interacted with! 
  • The reviews have a 300 character limit. I love the brevity of it and the pressure to make sure you only include your strongest feelings about a title.

  • Litsy has already got big book communities like Epic Reads, Strand Bookstore in NYC, Book Riot and US publishers on their feed. I really hope it’ll spread to the UK soon!
  • I also think their logo is really cute…

There’s only one thing left to say: follow me on Litsy! I’m SophieWaters. You can download it from the App Store!

Disclaimer: This wasn’t sponsored and I’m receiving nothing in exchange for this review. Just sharing a cool bookish app!


Monday, 23 May 2016

The Unexpected Everything, Morgan Matson

Pages: 519
Publisher: S&S
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles from this Author: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour, Second Chance Summer, Since You’ve Been Gone

Before the scandal, Andie had important plans. And zero of them involved walking an insane amount of dogs, being in the same house as her dad or hanging out with Clark. Now there’s a whole summer stretching out ahead of Andie without a plan. And Andie always sticks to the plan.

But here’s the thing – if everything’s always mapped out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?

I’m a big fan of Morgan Matson’s so I always get excited for a new books from her. Enjoying The Unexpected Everything definitely wasn’t unexpected!

Morgan Matson has a way with writing friendships. As much as The Unexpected Everything is about Andie falling for Clark and Andie and her dad rediscovering their relationship, there is a lot of focus on friendship. The dynamic between Andie, Toby, Bri, Palmer and Tom is amazing. The in-jokes, the bets, the challenges, the traditions and the surety of them all being there – it’s the kind of friendship you can only hope you’ll get one day. But I also loved that it wasn’t impervious to fracturing and changing as they all grew and changed. It just felt so real and tangible and I 100% want to be a part of their group.

During the summer of The Unexpected Everything, Andie changed just as much as her friendship group did. As the daughter of a congressman her everything is strictly controlled and she always errs on the side of caution. I loved seeing her let it all go and crawl her back to opening herself up to new experiences and to the adorable Clark. They were just so cute together! SPOILER! Having Clark be a famous fantasy novelist who published young and now has writer’s block was so brilliant and it made me laugh out loud. It was a really cool thread to have running through the story and I loved how the excerpts from Clark’s books related to the main story. Very clever and a lot of fun! SPOILER OVER!

I actually think that the most interesting dynamic of the novel is Andie’s relationship with her dad, though. Since her mother’s death five years ago and her dad’s career as a congressman, they barely know each other. Watching them close the gaps, talk about Andie’s mum and share their lives with each other again was so lovely. Andie’s fear of losing him to his work again made my heart ache.

I loved The Unexpected Everything and it's made me so eager to go back and devour Since You’ve Been Gone!

Thanks to S&S for the review copy.