Sunday 31 January 2016

Letterbox Love #120

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.

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfield (e-proof)

This version of the Bennett family – and Mr Darcy - is one that you have and haven’t met before: Liz is a magazine editor in her late thirties who, like her yoga instructor older sister, Jane, lives in New York City. When their father has a health scare, they return to their childhood home in Cincinnati to help – and discover that the sprawling Tudor they grew up in is crumbling and the family is in disarray.

Younger sisters Kitty and Lydia are too busy with their CrossFit workouts and Paleo diets to get jobs. Mary, the middle sister, is earning her third online master’s degree and barely leaves her room, except for those mysterious Tuesday night outings she won't discuss. And Mrs Bennett has one thing on her mind: how to marry off her daughters, especially as Jane’s fortieth birthday fast approaches.

Enter Chip Bingley, a handsome new-in-town doctor who recently appeared on the juggernaut reality TV dating show Eligible. At a Fourth of July barbecue, Chip takes an immediate interest in Jane, but Chip’s friend neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy reveals himself to Liz to be much less charming.

And yet, first impressions can be deceiving.

How excited am I to read this? SO EXCITED. Thanks NetGalley and Random House!

Mind Your Head, Juno Dawson (paperback)

Have you noticed how it's easier to talk about some medical problems than others?

Perhaps the hardest of all to talk about are mental illnesses – but we’ve all got a mind, so we’ve all got mental health. Can any of us say we haven’t been stressed, sad, anxious, angry, tired and emotional?

In this clear and informative guide to young people’s mental health, Juno Dawson, author of This Book is Gay, and clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt discuss a range of issues – whether fleeting or long-term – and how to manage them.

With witty illustrations from Gemma Correll, Juno and Dr Olivia cover topics from anxiety and depression to addiction, self-harm and personality disorders, with dozens of life stories from people just like you, who are living with mental illness.

Thank you so much Hot Key!

The Map of Bones, Francesca Haig (proof)

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding. The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

SO looking forward to this! Thanks Harper Voyager!

The Girl From Everywhere, Heidi Heilig (paperback)

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was 1774, though not for very much longer.

Nix Song is a time-traveller. She and her father use maps to navigate not just the globe but time itself. Their glorious old pirate ship, manned by a rag-tag crew of time-refugees, is stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical and takes them wherever their hearts desire.

But for all the adventure such a life holds, there is danger too. A danger that threatens Nix’s very existence. And when fate and a very particular map take Nix back to her origins, everything she knows is thrown into jeopardy. Including, perhaps, the path to the love of her life…

Lush, thrilling, and exquisitely romantic, The Girl From Everywhere will simply sweep you away.

I wasn’t completely sold on this until Jim from YA Yeah Yeah couldn’t stop praising it, and then it arrived in a completely gorgeous package the next morning. Thanks Hot Key!

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth, Katherine Woodfine (paperback)

The honour of your company is requested at Lord Beaucastle’s fancy dress ball

Wonder at the puzzling disappearance of the Jewelled Moth! Marvel as out heroines, Sophie and Lil, don cunning disguises, mingle in high society and munch many cucumber sandwiches to solve this curious case!

Applaud this bravery as they follow a trail of terrible secrets that leads straight to London’s most dangerous criminal mastermind, and could put their own lives at risk…

It will be the most thrilling event of the season!

So pleased this arrived! Thanks Egmont!


Saturday 30 January 2016

8 Things I Loved About Front Lines by Michael Grant

1. It’s really interesting to read about WWII from an American perspective, even if it’s an alternate version of the war. I must have studied WWII at least 5 separate times during my schooling and, obviously, we only really focused on the European side of things. It’s fascinating.

2. It really made me laugh at first that the Americans insisted that they’d enter the war (they didn’t join until two years in in 1941) and their prowess and numbers would end it all and they'd be home by Christmas – the same things the English thought when the war started! It was interesting to see them realise how big a war they were fighting, the realisation that they and their friends might not make it home, and the blind trust they were giving their superiors to try and keep them alive. It was rather sobering and a very powerful thing for the characters to realise.

3. Front Lines delivers effortlessly on diversity in our heroines (it’s a three-way split narrative between Rainy, Frangie and Rio) and in the supporting characters. There’s diversity in religion, race and social position and it’s so, so welcome. THIS is how you paint a realistic portrait of our world.

4. The sexism and racism that the Soldier Girls experience is powerful, shocking and scary. Set in 1942, both of these things are accepted as how it is, but that makes it even more potent in my opinion. It was making me angry and every time one of the characters had a little victory I virtually cheered. There’s a point raised by one of the characters that boils down to this: we’re fighting a war against white supremacists with a segregated army. Takes you aback, huh?

5. This felt a lot slower than the other books I've read by Michael Grant, but I think it’s purposeful. He takes the time to set the scene and build the characters into soldiers and it gives them a really interesting journey and I was emotionally attached to them by the time they reached the war. I loved having the time to compare the journeys of the girls and see how they differed, came together and diverged. Front Lines is very much more character driven that the books in the Gone series and Messenger of Fear.

6. And what characters they are! The journey that Rainy, Rio and Frangie go on throughout Front Lines is huge. They turn from innocent girls to soldiers who have seen many, many horrors, but they also overcome so many things to get to where they are, namely their race and gender. Though it was often sad and horrific, it was interesting to see them go on that journey and become strong, respected (sometimes) women.

7. It was really cool to see the girls finally come together in the same place. Isn’t there a saying that goes: ‘War is the great equaliser’? Or am I making that up? It didn’t matter that Frangie, Rio and Rainy all went in different directions in their army career, that they started in different places and will end up in different places after the war, on the front lines, they’re all soldiers.

8. The stories of the girls in Front Lines is told by a mystery narrator who is writing everything down from an army medical centre as the war is coming to an end. We don’t know if she's one of the main characters, someone we’ve met, or someone completely unrelated to what we’re reading. We just know that she’s experienced what our heroines have – she's a Soldier Girl, too.  

About the Book:

1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance…are girls.

Set in an alternate World War II where young women are called up to fight alongside men, this is the story of Rio Richlin and her friends as they go into battle against Hitler’s forces.

But not everyone believes they should be on the front lines. Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity. Because the fate of the world is in the hands of the soldier girls.

480|Electric Monkey|28th January 2016


Thursday 28 January 2016

Adult TBR: Part One

Over the last year I’ve really been trying to read some more adult books to mix up my reading and I've really loved what I've read so far.

I've also found myself falling in love with audiobooks which has allowed me to get around to some adult titles without feeling so guilty! Below are the first section of the huge number of titles I've amassed in paperback, e-book and audio.

Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood
A short story collection by this incredibly famous author that I still haven’t read anything by…

Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides
I read The Virgin Suicides early in January and I really didn’t enjoy it as much as I had expected to, but this interests me completely: a family saga centering around an intersex character.

Interview with a Vampire, Anne Rice
Another book I'm ashamed not to have read! After listening to Audible’s new recording of Carmilla and loving it, I really felt the need for some proper, old-fashioned vampy goodness.

After the Last Dance, Sarra Manning
Ah, Sarra Manning. She's one of my very favourite YA authors and I’m still a little new to her adult work, but this sounds gorgeous. Two love stories, one present day and one during WWII, connected by something mysterious. Gimme.

The Dumb House, John Burnside
This was all over booktube last year and I’m so looking forward to it. it’s meant to be extremely dark and twisted, about a man who locks his children away with no outside contact as an experiment about language.

The Bees, Laline Paull
This is a novel narrated by a bee. And it was shortlisted for the 2015 Baileys. Through in the gorgeous cover, complete with soft touch finish and I had to buy it. So very intriguing!

The Accidental, Ali Smith
Confession time: I'm a bit intimidated by Ali Smith. Luckily, Jen Campbell uploaded a video exploring all her titles and recommending a starting point. I was very relieved to have somewhere to begin!

The Thing Around Your Neck, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’ve really got into short story collections recently and this will also go towards my challenge to read more BAME authors. I have to say that I love the cover as well – beautiful!

Outlander, Diana Gabaldon
I love the TV series whole heartedly, but I really am intimidated by the sheer size of this… I really want to see how it matches up to the show and you can never have enough Jamie Fraser. One day, one day.  

Sexing the Cherry, Jeanette Winterson
I have quite a few of Winterson’s novels on my TBR as I loved Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit and Why be Happy When You Could be Normal?. This is a story set in the seventeenth century, and that’s actually all I know about it!

One of my 2016 reading resolutions is to read at least 12 adult titles and I've already read 2 so far (The Virgin Suicides and Carol) so I'm hoping I’ll be able to smash my target! What should I make sure I read over the next eleven months?


Wednesday 27 January 2016

Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton

Pages: 368
Publisher: Faber
Release Date: 4th February 2016
Edition: UK personalised proof, review copy

‘Have you ever wanted something so bad that it's not a want anymore? I need to get out of this town like I need to breathe.’

Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It's not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet it's the only home Amani Al’Hiza has ever known – the desert is in her bones.

Amani wants to move on, escape, to see the world she's heard about in campfire stories. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up and saves her life. Tell me how you want your story to go, he says, and we’ll write it straight across the sand. With him she has the chance to run.

But the desert plains are full of danger, blood and magic. The sultan’s army is on the rise and soon Amani finds herself caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion…

I feel like I've been being teased with how amazing Rebel of the Sands is for at least a year now, so when I finally picked it up I was a little nervous. But it was excellent!

The combination of a Wild West/Middle Eastern set-up in a world recognizable as our own but with magic and djinnis is just as wonderful as it sounds. I was captivated by the depth of the world building. The mythology, the religions, the origin stories, the magic, the creatures – everything is touched upon and explained in a way that really can only be described as magic. I was enthralled.

I don’t think I've ever come across djinnis in YA before, and maybe only once in adult fiction, but I really loved the mystical side to the magic they brought to the novel, as well as the potential for half-djinnis and the scary cool powers they can have. It was cool how they were tied into the origins of the world and how the modernisation of it (though not in a way we’d called modern!) brought about their downfall. It’s so interesting that I'd be happy to just read from Alwyn Hamilton’s notes about the world building and how she worked out all of the connections and crossovers. She's a very creative lady.

And Amani was quite a character to follow through this world. She’s just badass. I loved that her mouth fired off sarcasm and inflammatory comments in a way that nearly got her killed multiple times; her being the best shot most people have seen in a while; her impulsive recklessness; and her loyalty, when she found somewhere to place it. I just loved here, and from the first pages as well. Rebel of the Sands really does open with a bang. You’d be hard pressed to put it down after that!

Rebel of the Sands is an enthralling debut that crosses genres, makes your heart beat faster and your breath hitch with swooning and excitement. So when can I have book two?

Thanks to Faber for the review copy.


Tuesday 26 January 2016

2016 Classics Challenge: Agnes Grey

Originally published in 1847 by Thomas Cautley Newby

My edition: the free Kindle edition because I can't find a single paperback edition that’s actually nice… 

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
The lovely Lucy from Queen of Contemporary read it early in 2015 and fell in love with it so much she was shouting from the rooftops!

WHY I Chose to Read It
I read my first Brontë novels last year – Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre – so I decided it's only fair to give Anne a shot as well. I also decided to go with a shorter one to start off the year.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
Anne’s a Brontë! Though The Tenant of Wildfell Hall is Anne’s most famous novel (while still largely ignored in comparison to her sisters’ more famous works), Agnes Grey is her debut and was actually published in the same year as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
Agnes Grey tells the story of Agnes as she leaves her family home at 18 to become a governess. Her family is low on money after a failed investment and she wants to help, against her parents’ wishes. Agnes finds herself thrown into families of higher class who ignore, indulge and exacerbate the bad behaviour of her charges. Charlotte Brontë’s notes on the novel tell us that Agnes’s story stemmed from Anne’s own experiences as a governess.

Agnes Grey is a quiet novel. The story is simple and straightforward, the writing immediately engaging and the heroine pious and good. There are none of the Romantic high dramatics, Byronic heroes or catastrophic traumas of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. And part of me thinks that is exactly why I enjoyed reading it so much. It was nice to get a realistic glimpse into the working class life of a minister’s daughter. Admittedly, Agnes’s piousness could be a little too saccharine for me, but I instantly liked her and I championed her from start to finish. She's determined and refuses to break even under abuse from her charges, pressure from her employers and her homesickness. She keeps going and she doesn’t even really whine about it, even though she’s writing about her adventures. Agnes is very aware of her readers and I noticed her saying variations of “I will not inflict upon my readers…” something that she had thought or experienced. It was really interesting and reflected her character perfectly.

From the off, Agnes’ charges are her opposites. The Bloomfield’s children are spoilt, rude and terribly behaved and Agnes is given no authority over them and so they continue to refuse teaching. After only a year Agnes moves on to the Murrays. Once the boys are sent off to school for being so resistant, Agnes is left with Matilda and Rosalie. Matilda is a tomboy, intent on hunting with her father and learning as little as possible. Rosalie is clever and condescending, being openly rude to the poorer people of her town and not realising that could be offensive. But her worst offence, by far, is getting the men the men to fall in love with and then fobbing them off, all for her amusement.

This causes some serious heartache for Agnes as one of Rosalie’s target is the new parson, Mr Weston, who Agnes came to respect from his sermons and came to love for his goodness, gentleness and friendliness to her in a place where she is so ignored and isolated. This love story was an unexpected one as I hadn’t even heard of there being a love interest for Agnes in Agnes Grey, but I loved it. It’s quiet and unobtrusive and features none of the dramatics or traumatic misunderstandings that are a focus in lots of other Victorian novels. Honestly, I was shipping them from when Mr Weston picked the violets for her. So very sweet! I really liked how their romance built and concluded; it actually made me think of Austen a little which is always a wonderful thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Agnes Grey and it was so refreshing for a classic classic to be so effortless to read! Rather than intimidated by The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (Anne Bronte’s only other novel), I’m excited. Bring. It. On.

WILL It Stay a Classic
Yes, but I think only because she's a Brontë. That’s in no way a reflection of her writing or the quality of Agnes Grey, but because of the way that Anne is already pushed to the sidelines in favour of her sisters. I really hope that with the 200th birthday of Charlotte coming up this April, Anne will also get her chance in the spotlight she deserves.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- Someone scared of classics: it’s quick, easy to get into and the prose and plot are straightforward.
- Those interested in everyday working class Victorian life.
- Fans of Jane Austen.


Monday 25 January 2016

Waiting for Callback, Perdita and Honor Cargill

Pages: 342
Publisher: S&S
Release Date: 28th January 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

When Elektra is discovered by an acting agent, she imagines Oscar glory can’t be far away, but instead lurches from one cringe-worthy moment to the next! Just how many times can you be rejected for the part of ‘Dead Girl Number Three’ without losing hope? And who knew that actors were supposed to be multi-lingual, play seven instruments and be trained in a variety of circus skills?

Off-stage things aren’t going well either – she's fallen out with her best friend, remains firmly in the friend-zone with her crush and her parents are driving her crazy. One way or another, Elektra’s life is now spent waiting for the phone to ring – waiting for callback.

Can an average girl-next-door like Elektra really make it in the world of luvvies and starlets?

Waiting for Callback bounces into the world of contemporary YA with a funny, charming heroine and a behind the scenes glimpse of acting. I really, really enjoyed it.

Perdita and Honor blend the acting world and the world of a 15-year-old girl battling spots, her mum and exams perfectly. I loved experiencing the gritty reality of starting out as an actor – it was rather eye-opening! The only other experiences of acting I've read about are flashy movie stars in contemporary fiction or glossy American TV shows so it was really interesting, actually. I especially liked the pressure it put on Elektra, the surprising dinginess of locations and how agonising the constant waiting was for her. It made it seem like an actual job as well as enforcing just how much Elektra enjoys it: you’d have to in order to put yourself through everything she does in Waiting for Callback!

But I mostly loved reading about Elektra’s everyday life. What can I say, I'm a contemp YA girl! I love the friction a new boy on the scene causes best friends like Elektra and Moss, the agony of dissecting what two kisses on a text from the boy you’re crushing on really means (does that ever stop, btw? Maybe when you’re married and he can't get away any more?) and the sheer annoyance of parents at times. It brings everything I loved (now in retrospect, of course) and loathed about being a teenager. I did actually find Elektra’s mum a tad irritating, though; she has no life outside of Elektra! But she also rang very honestly in her worrying, wanting her daughter to do her best and wanting to do the best for her.

I thoroughly enjoyed Waiting for Callback and I'm already looking forward to the next instalment.

Thanks to S&S for the review copy.


Saturday 23 January 2016

Judged, Liz de Jager

Pages: 397
Publisher: Tor
Release Date: 14th January 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Banished, Vowed

Kit’s job description includes solving crimes – the supernatural kind…

Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.

In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil falls, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.

Thorn turns to the only person he knows who’ll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherworld and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequences of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.

It feels like I've waited forever to see how Kit’s adventures conclude, but boy was Judged worth the wait.

Kit is still suffering from the dramatic showdown at the end of Vowed; she's tired, experiencing migraines and nose bleeds and she's rather worried about her magic. But quite frankly, that’s the least of her worries! I swear this girl can't walk out of her front door without nearly dying… Kit is a serious badass, though, which definitely works in her favour. Even though she was suffering, she carried on with what she needed to do, even at her own detriment. But I loved that she wasn’t stoic about it, if she was in pain, she was in pain; if she was exhausted, she was exhausted; if she was fed up, she was fed up. I love Kit. A lot.

Kit, Aiden and Dante make such an excellent trio. I love the camaraderie and support between them, but also the affectionate mocking and the willingness to walk into deadly battle alongside each other at the drop of a hat. I particularly enjoyed Aidan’s goofy, awkward attempts at flirting. Sometimes it genuinely made me laugh aloud while also making my heart smile. Speaking of smiley hearts: Thorn. I’m so glad we saw a bit more of him in Judged than we did in Vowed! I missed him. His and Kit’s relationships really developed into something strong in this book and I loved watching it unfurl.

So many threads came together in Judged and it worked seamlessly. The Glow case was getting more serious by the day; attacks on Kit, Aiden and Dante were increasing and the powers of the Otherwhere are set to destroy everything – juggling all of this could so easily have ended in a long, confusing novel with things all over the place, but I loved how they linked and crossed paths throughout the novel.

Judged is a fast-paced and all-consuming ending to a wonderful trilogy. I’m already looking forward to Liz’s next adventure.

Thanks to Tor for the review copy.


Friday 22 January 2016

7th Blogoversary Giveaway! (CLOSED)

Believe it or not, So Many Books, So Little Time turns seven today. SEVEN YEARS. Bit ridiculous, isn’t it?

Though I've had some blogging wibbles over the last year, I still love doing this. I've been give some seriously cool opportunities, become part of a wonderful community and made amazing friends. What more could I ask for?!

So here’s a giveaway to thank you, whether you’ve been with me for a while or are new to the blogging world, I love you all.

This giveaway ends Friday 29th January at 11:59pm GMT. International. 


Thursday 21 January 2016

In 2016, I Vow to Read...

Every year there are a handful (or several stacks) of books that I really feel like I should have got around to and vow to finally read in the next 12 months. Here are the five books I really, really need to read in 2016:

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
Even though I bought this first, I tried to read Cline’s second novel, Armada, last year and I just couldn’t do it. I DNFed it after about 20% and it's made me really hesitant to pick this up, but I just need to bite the bullet and trust in the opinions that made me buy it in the first place.

Hero of Ages, Brandon Sanderson
Now this book is ginormous and I’m intimidated. I loved book one, The Final Empire, but book two dragged a little in the middle so I lost my push to move onto book three a little, but I've heard such wonderful things about the sequel series that begins with Alloy of Law that I know I just need to go for it. (Sidenote: The guy on this cover looks so much like Jensen Ackles it weirds me out...)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, Jesse Andrews
I bought a copy of this while I was in New York last Spring as I was excited about the movie and never got around to it. But then I didn’t read it in time and never got to see it. I've pre-ordered the DVD now though so I have to read it!

Yes Please, Amy Poehler
I bought a lovely hardcover copy of this not long after it came out and every time I pick up a non-fiction book I consider it, but then I pick something else instead! I've decided that I’ll listen to the audiobook as it's not too long and Amy herself reads it which sounds wonderful to me!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Laini Taylor
I adore this trilogy and I want to read the finale very, very badly, but I also feel like I need to re-read the first two books in the series beforehand to do it the proper justice. And that’s why I haven’t read it yet; these books are HUGE and rereading a trilogy of this size is a massive commitment, but I'm going to do it.

Which books are you determined to read in 2016?


Tuesday 19 January 2016

Blog Tour: Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison's Top 6 Books Written in Collaboration

Today I'm really excited to welcome Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison to the blog to celebrate the release of their second novel, Never Evers, with their Top 6 Books Written in Collaboration.

1. Red Dwarf - Grant Naylor. One of the first books I remember reading, and really getting into. I had no idea it was a collaborative effort at first (it's co-authored by Rob Grant & Doug Naylor). The way it's written is totally seamless. And very, very funny. 

2. Diary Of A Nobody - George & Weedon Grossmith. Written by two brothers in 1892, this is genuinely one of the funniest books I've ever read. It's about a Victorian bloke called Lupin Pooter - a sort of older, proto-Adrian Mole figure - who decides to record the tedious minutae of his life in a diary. It's basically a series of incidents in which Pooter tells terrible jokes, makes vastly inappropriate comments in polite company and generally embarrasses himself in hilarious fashion. 

3. Q - Luther Blissett. This book's written by several anonymous Italian authors, who inexplicably took the shared pseudonym of a 1980s English footballer (Luther Blissett). It's a brilliant book about a religious rebel fighting his way through the bloodiest periods of the Reformation, and, again, you'd never guess it was written by more than one person. If you're into Game of Thrones, give it a go... 


4. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn & David Levithan. Romantic and indie-cool. It's really funny, and really hard to put down. Both voices are so well done, and the way it throws you straight into the action - midway through Nick's gig - is brilliant. 

5. Waiting For Callback – Perdita & Honor Cargill. I was lucky enough to be sent a proof of this (it's out at the end of January). It's written by a mother-daughter team, and it's BRILLIANT. You can really tell that an actual, real live teenager wrote the dialogue because it rings so true. Kind of Geek Girl-meets-show business. It's EXACTLY what I would have wanted to read when I was 12. 

6. Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green & David Levithan. Another amazing David Levithan collaboration. All the American YA authors seem to have this thing where they're constantly writing books with each other, which I really think us Brit YA writers should get into too!

Never Evers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison is published by Chicken House, priced £6.99


Monday 18 January 2016

This Raging Light, Estelle Laure

Pages: 320
Publisher: Orchard
Release Date: 14th January 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

How is it that you can suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend’s admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters and twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend’s unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together – just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure completely captures the agony and ecstasy of first love.

This Raging Light is very much my kind of novel: a contemporary novel about loss and love and friendship told in exquisitely beautiful prose. I really, really enjoyed it.

Within only a few pages Estelle Laure had flawed me with her writing. It’s fluid, lyrical and so evocative. The way that Lucille describes her feelings for Digby blew me away. It felt so familiar, so real in that abstract, dramatic way that unrequited love always does. I could have read a whole novel about Lucille waxing lyrical about Digby without a single complaint, other than Digby’s name ‘cos it’s a little strange and just reminds me of the teacher in Lizzie McGuire

Lucille’s friendship with Eden was one of my very favourite elements of This Raging Light. I loved the honesty in their relationship, especially with the advice and help Eden gave Lucille while she was struggling to come to terms with everything she now has to deal with. How Eden came to her rescue helping with Wren and did everything she could for her, but also didn’t stop them having the normal friendship difficulties was so well done. It felt fresh. Of course, Digby came to the rescue too, but he also gave Lucille a hefty dose of confusion and further agony to contend with. I'm glad that everything about Lucille’s narration didn’t begin and end with what she was dealing with, she still had room for the things that had plagued her before her mum left.

This Raging Light ends with on a wonderfully positive note, but still open enough to feel natural. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful but emotionally tough novel. I'm so looking forward to seeing what Estelle Laure brings out next.

Thanks to Macmillan for the review copy.


Sunday 17 January 2016

Giveaway: The Blackheart Trilogy by Liz de Jager! (CLOSED)

To celebrate the release of my lovely friend Liz de Jager’s Judged last Thursday, Tor have been kind enough to offer m a complete set of the gorgeous trilogy to give away!

The Blackheart series is full of monsters, fae, magic and girls kicking ass so if you haven’t read it, you’re in for a treat. Here’s the official synopsis for Banished, book one in the trilogy:

A Blackhart’s Calling:
to banish evil and hold back the night.

Kit is proud to be a Blackhart, now she’s living with her unorthodox cousins and sharing their strange lives. Especially since their home-schooling includes spells, fighting enemy fae and using ancient weapons.

But it’s not until she rescues a rather handsome fae prince, fighting for his life on the edge of Blackhart Manor, that her training really kicks in. With her family away on various missions, Kit must protect Prince Thorn, rely on new friends and use her own unfamiliar magic to stay ahead of Thorn’s enemies.

As things go from bad to apocalyptic, fae battle fae in a war that threatens to spill into the human world. Then Kit pits herself against the Elder Gods themselves – it’s that or lose everyone she’s learnt to love.

Sounds amazing, right? Then enter the giveaway to win the trilogy below!

Disclaimer: This giveaway is only open to UK residents and will close as 11:59pm GMT on Sunday 24th January. The publisher will be sending the prize to the winner so I must have your permission to pass on your address and for that reason, only those 13 and over may enter.

I hold no responsibility for the package being lost in the post or anything after I pass on the winner’s address. From then on, it is out of my hands.

Good luck!


Saturday 16 January 2016

Letterbox Love #119

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.

Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard (e-proof)

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she’s different.

Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who have betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her suppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of the rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

SO EXCITED! Thanks Orion and NetGalley!

When We Collided, Emery Lord (e-proof)

Seventeen year old Jonah Davies has lived in Verona Cove, California, his whole life, and only one thing has ever changed: his father used to be alive, and now he's not. Jonah must numbly take care of his family as they reel from their tragedy. Cue next change: Vivi Alexander, new girl in town.

Vivi is in love with life. A gorgeous and unfiltered hurricane of thoughts and feelings. She seems like she's from another planet as she transforms Jonah’s family and changed his life. But there are always consequences when worlds collide.

A fierce and beautiful love story with a difference, When We Collided will thrill fans of All the Bright Places and I’ll Give You the Sun.

I fell head over heels in love with Emery Lord’s books last year so I’m beside myself with excitement about this. Thank you Bloomsbury!!

Masks and Shadows, Stephanie Burgis (e-proof)

The year is 1779, and Carlo Morelli, the world renowned castrato singer in Europe, has been invited as an honoured guest to Eszterháza Palace. With Carlo in Prince Nikolaus Esterházy’s carriage, ride like a Prussian spy and one of the most notorious alchemists in the Habsburg Empire. Already at Eszterháza is Charlotte von Steinbeck, the very proper sister of Prince Nikolaus’s mistress. Charlotte has retreated to the countryside to mourn her husband’s death. Now, she must overcome the ingrained rules of her society in order to uncover the dangerous secrets lurking within the palace’s golden walls. Music, magic, and blackmail mingle in a plot to assassinate the Habsburg Emperor and Empress – a plot that can only be stopped if Carlo and Charlotte can see through the masks worn by everyone they meet.

Yay! I love Stephanie Burgis’ Regency MG trilogy so I’m excited to dive into this. Thanks Pyr and Edelweiss!

The Sleeping Prince, Melinda Salisbury (paperback)

Some fairy stories should never come true…

Errin knows the old story well: the Sleeping Prince, who rises from his slumber every hundred years to wreak horror and bloodshed. She just never imagined he was real.

As this terrifying enemy rises and a war begins, Errin is forced to flee. With no one to turn to, her only hope is the mysterious Silas, a man whose face she has never seen…

YAY! This book is ridiculously beautiful. Thanks Scholastic and Faye Rogers PR!

You Were Here, Cori McCarthy (e-proof)

Jaycee is about to accomplish what her older brother Jack couldn’t: live past graduation.

Jaycee is dealing with her brother’s death the only way she can – by recreating Jacke’s daredevil stunts. The ones that got him killed. She's not crazy, okay? She just doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for staying alive.

Jaycee doesn’t expect to have help on her insane quest to remember Jake. But she's joined by a group of unlikely friends – all with their own reasons for completing the dares and their own brand of dysfunction: the uptight, ex-best friend; the heartbroken poet; the slacker with Peter Pan syndrome; and…Mik. He doesn’t talk, but somehow still challenges Jayce to do the unthinkable – reveal parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

Cori McCarthy’s gripping narrative defies expectation moving seamlessly from prose to graphic novel panes and word art poetry. From the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum to the skeletal remains of the world’s largest amusement park. You Were Here takes you on an unforgettable journey of friendship, heartbreak, and inevitable change.

This sounds like my kind of contemporary, but what really made me request it was the inclusion of graphic novels panes and word art poetry. EXCITEMENT. Thanks NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire!