Friday 29 April 2016

The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

Pages: 438
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 26th April 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Lament, Ballad, Shiver, Linger, Forever, Sinner, The Scorpio Races, The Raven Boys, The Dream Thieves, Blue Lily, Lily Blue

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into his mission: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey … and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Nothing dead is to be trusted.

Now the endgame has begun.

Nothing living is safe.

Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.


It feels like I waited forever for ‘The Raven King’. I had to have a re-read of the first three books so I could savour the final instalment in all its glory.

I can honestly say that I've never gone into a book feeling so damn scared for a group of characters. There were so many books that I had to put the book down and walk away for half an hour just to collect myself; I even felt a bit sick when I noticed that Gansey was wearing an Aglionby jumper and it was getting wet from the rain… It was kinda traumatic, actually. Part of me just didn’t want to read it because I didn’t want to know!

But guess what I 100% did want to know about? Blue and Gansey! I really am all in with them and I was so pleased when they finally revealed to Adam and Ronan that they were together. It was sweet and awkward and lovely. And that almost kiss at the toga party completely took my breath away – that kind of delicious, romantic tension is something that Maggie Stiefvater really does beautifully. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of it if I'm honest.

A photo posted by Sophie (@solittletimeforbooks) on

There was some with Adam and Ronan to a degree, but I have mixed feelings about their relationship. Up until ‘The Raven King’, I had only ever seen Adam as appreciating Ronan having a crush on him – he liked to feel loved and wanted and searched for Ronan’s approval, but I’d never gotten vibes of him actually returning his feelings. And I still didn’t until they kissed and then Adam was all confused about whether he felt anything for Ronan or not. That was never resolved or even really discussed again until the epilogue and Adam was driving Ronan’s BMW and his parents mentioned his ‘boyfriend’. Did I miss something? Although I love them together, I really do, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was a pandering to the fans.

The ending of the novel was just as heart-wrenching as I expected and I really liked the way that everything was worked out. Well, relief is a more accurate feeling than like… But I did feel a little underwhelmed by the epilogue. I was still left with lots questions: Can Blue and Gansey kiss now? Is the curse fulfilled, or is it a lifetime thing? Did Adam decide if he actually has feelings for Ronan? Did Noah pass over? It felt rather like it was all being left open for more, and while I'm completely up for that, I was expecting a bit more oomph from an ending to such a glorious series, and a book we waited 18 months for.

Thanks to Scholastic for the review copy.


Thursday 28 April 2016

Mini Reviews: Midnight Bites and Stars Above

Midnight Bites, Rachel Caine
514|Allison and Busby|3rd March 2016

Bringing together everything Rachel Caine has written in short form about Morganville, this collection is carefully organised into a timeline so you can read from the earliest adventures – some of which belong to vampires – all the way through to post-Daylighters, the final novel in the series. Midnight Bites includes more than 50,000 words of brand-new content, alongside stories compiled from the author’s website and anthologies.

Including ‘Dead Man Stalking’ and ‘Pitch-Black Blues’, these tales feature everyone’s favourite bunny-slipper-wearing mad scientist, a fatal car crash, zombies, eerie carnival grounds, a blood-dispensing vending machine and much more. This diverse and supercharged group of stories will shine a little more light into the murkiest corners of Morganville.

Midnight Bites was a sheer delight to read; Morganville is like coming home.  

This collection spans 22 stories. From Myrnin hundreds of years before the founding of Morganville to a few months after the end of Daylighters. It was awesome to catch up with Claire, Shane, Michael, Eve and the rest of the gang, as well as see glimpses of them between books and before. I especially loved Myrnin’s stories and delving into Eve’s background and her early crush on Michael.

I had actually read some of the stories before in various anthologies and as extras in the books, but I still loved reading them again. Some of the longer stories even felt like I was in the middle of a novel and I was sad every time a story ended. But it was super cool to read an intro from Rachel to each story explaining the origins and backstory of each story – it’s always a treat to get a glimpse into an author’s process.

It was so amazing to be back in Morganville and I’m so exciting that there’s a possibility of more from Morganville and the gang in the future.

Stars Above, Marissa Meyer
304|Feiwel and Friends|1st March 2016

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles hold stories – and secrets – that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf turn transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realise their destinies? With nine stories – five of which have never before been published – and an exclusive never-seen-before excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The feeling of being back in this world alone was worth the price of this book and much more. Pure joy!

It was interesting to see Cinder, Wolf, Winter and Jacin before we met them and to properly meet Scarlet’s grandmother, Michelle Benoit, and see Cinder’s journey to the farm and then to New Beijing. And, of course, the final story which was a sort of epilogue that went past the end of Winter and starred a wedding. That story was hands down my favourite and I even got a little weepy with all of the romance and sweetness and pure cute of it!

After ‘Something Old, Something New’, my other favourite was ‘The Mechanic’, a story not relating to any of the characters we’ve come to know and love. It’s a short, sweet tale of a mech android who is working on a luxury space ship and starts to develop human emotions for the designer of the ship. It was really cool to see more of the world and it was just a beautiful little story. I want more from this world!

Stars Above is a must-read for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and those pining for more of the gang after Winter. And now I’m off to find Fairest…


Wednesday 27 April 2016

What I Thought Was True, Huntley Fitzpatrick

Pages: 407
Publisher: Dial Books
Release Date: 15th April 2014
Edition: US hardback, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: My Life Next Door, The Boy Most Likely To

“Heaven by the water.”
“Best-kept little secret in new England.”
Seashell Island, where I’ve lived all my life, is those things and more.
And all I want to do is leave it behind.

Gwen Castle has never so badly wanted to say good-bye to her island home till now: the summer her Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Sommers, takes a job there as the local yard boy. He’s a rich kid from across the bridge, and she hails from a family of housecleaners who keep the island’s summer people happy. Gwen worries this will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she’ll never escape what happened – or the island – her past explodes into her present, redefining the boundaries of her life. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true – about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself – with what really is.

From the acclaimed author of My Life Next Door comes a push-you-pull-you romance, full of expectation and regret, humour and hard questions.

My Life Next Door is one of my favourite books and I was expecting the same kind of intoxicating summer romance from What I Thought Was True, but I didn’t completely get one. I did still it enjoy it though!

Within pages of starting this book I was entranced by the setting. The small New England island is a haven for rich people wanting to spend their summer on the beach, while the islanders work year round to cater for them. It has that delicious small, American beach town feel that suckers me every. single. time. I just can't get enough of it! It was super interesting to see the disparity between the islanders and the visitors, and sometimes extremely uncomfortable in the way the islanders were treated – as servants, as lesser.

But I didn’t find the characters as lovable as the setting, sadly. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, even though I liked them. Gwen is tangled and flawed in the best ways, but still did get on my nerves a little, unfortunately. A lot of the discussion around Gwen is about her sexuality. She's earned a bit of reputation and is reminded about it a lot, and yet she’s not ashamed of it unless someone makes her feel that way. It was very sex positive in that way and I was really pleased with the discussion it brought up.

Like in My Life Next Door, Huntley Fitzpatrick tackles lots of issues outside of the summer romance with subtlety and sensitivity. Gwen’s family are poor, sharing two bedrooms between the five of them in the house, constantly struggling with money; the pressure on Cass to follow the Ivy league path that his parents did; first love not always turning out to be forever love; and the lifetime of responsibility that Gwen’s little brother, Emory, will mean for the whole family, all play a part in the novel. It’s very rich in depth (if you know what I mean), but it never drags on those subjects at all.

What I Thought Was True didn’t live up to my expectations, but I did still enjoy it and I’m very much looking forward to finally getting stuck into The Boy Most Likely To.


Tuesday 26 April 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Originally published in 1848 by Thomas Cautley Newby

My edition: The Penguin Clothbound Classics hardcover.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
Anne Bronte’s Agnes Grey was my first classic of 2016 and I thoroughly enjoyed it. For such a short, simple novel, Anne’s writing really made an impact on me and I knew I had to read Tenant, and the more I learned about her and her novels, the more I became convinced that she’s my favourite Bronte.

WHY I Chose to Read It
I appear to have become a little obsessed with the Bronte’s since reading Agnes Grey and I've set myself a bit of challenge to try and read all of the Brontes’ novels by the end of the year. When I set this challenge I had The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, The Professor, Shirley and Villette to read. One down, three to go!

WHAT Makes It a Classic
Anne is a Bronte. I don’t really need to say any more than that, even though Anne is the forgotten Bronte! Did you know that after Anne’s death (and huge success of the novel), Charlotte prevented the re-publication of Tenant until after she was dead herself? Explains a lot about why she's not as known as her sisters, doesn’t it?

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I completely loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It's my favourite Bronte novel by far and I was so sad to finish it!

Even though I had very much expected to love Tenant, I was still really surprised by it. It has a very different feel to Agnes Grey that it's almost as if it were written by someone else. It’s complex in story, structure and character; the themes are hard-hitting and uncomfortable; the characters are bolshy and flawed; and it's over twice as long as Agnes Grey. I feel like Agnes Grey was Anne’s test novel and then Tenant was truly hers. She put everything into it.

When Mrs Graham and her young son move to the looming, unloved Wildfell Hall, the whole village is fascinated by the new arrival, her dead husband and her lack of willing to socialise. And of course, Gilbert Markham is enraptured, and tells his story via letters to a friend. But what's really interesting about the structure of Tenant is that most of the novel is actually from the perspective of Mrs Graham (Helen) through the diary entries she gives to Gilbert to read in place of her explaining her situation.

It was fascinating to watch Helen grow through those diary entries into the Mrs Markham we knew from Gilbert’s initial introduction and meetings with her. We saw her fall in love, get her heart broken, put her little boy at the centre of her world and suffer at the hands of her alcoholic, debt-riddled husband. The change was subtle and steady but seeing her harden her heart and build her walls around her completely changed how I saw Mrs Graham and my approach to whether I wanted Gilbert to convince her to marry him. I’m still undecided, actually!

Anne Bronte famously drew a lot of Mr Huntingdon from her brother, Branwell, who died at 31 from a combination of addiction and tuberculosis. All of the Brontes suffered because of Branwell’s inability to work because of his addiction and an affair with the mistress of the house where he was a tutor. It’s clear how angry Anne was about it. Mr Huntingdon is a vile character and he is repeatedly condemned by both Helen and Anne. It's been a long time since I so thoroughly wanted to punch a character in the face. Repeatedly. Awful. So, so awful.

Helen’s relationship with Mr Huntingdon gave a startling portrait of marriage and the position of women and wives in the mid-1800s. And it's a scary one. Lots of classic novels set during that period focus on the falling in love and diving into marriage in a romantic haze, but Anne Bronte shows what was possibly the harsh truth for a lot of young women at the time: marrying a man they actually knew very little about and becoming trapped in that marriage by law and society. Their inheritances went to their husbands, their property went to their husbands, their money was controlled by their husbands – they had no freedom or control over their own lives once they were married, and if they ended up in an unhappy, or even abusive, marriage they were expected to just get on with it. Tenant was the first time I'd seen that angle in a classic novel before and it was refreshing and fiercely feminist. Is it any wonder Anne’s my favourite Bronte?

I completely and utterly loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It’s my favourite Bronte novel so far and one of my very favourite books of the year. I’m so sad Anne didn’t get the chance to write any more books and I just wish she was as widely loved as her sisters.

WILL It Stay a Classic
100%. It's an impressive novel while still being brilliantly compelling and enjoyable. Plus, she's a Bronte.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- People who’ve struggled with Emily or Charlotte – join me in the Anne fan club!
- Those curious about the fallout of those quick Victorian marriages…
- Everyone.


Monday 25 April 2016

The Square Root of the Summer, Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Pages: 323
Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: 5th May 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

My heart is a kaleidoscope, and when we kiss it makes my world unravel…

Last summer, Gottie’s life fell apart. Her beloved grandfather Grey died and Jason – the boy to whom she lost her virginity (and her heart) – wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. This summer, still reeling from twin heartbreaks, Gottie is lost and alone and burying herself in equations. Until, after five years’ absence, Thomas comes home: former boy next door. Former best friend. Forever everything. And as life turns upside-down again, she starts to experience strange blips in time – back to last summer, back to what she should have seen then…

During one long, hazy summer, Gottie navigates grief, world-stopping kisses and rips in the space-time continuum, as she tried to reconcile her first heartbreak with her last.

Ever since I heard about Harriet’s debut, I knew it was going to be right up my street. I totally called it; I loved The Square Root of Summer.

Gottie is drowning in grief. The loss of her grandfather, Grey, and the unceremonious not-even-dumping from her first love have left her reeling. She takes comfort in her love of physics and the combination of her studies and the return of her childhood best friend cause her to fall into wormholes from the last summer before Thomas left and the last she spent with Grey. I was a little worried about the physics element as although I like science, physics was never my thing, but I ended up really enjoying it. Even though I didn’t understand it! It's so nice to see a heroine with a love and understanding of such a complex, and stereotypical male, academic interest and it really set Gottie apart.

It brought up lots of questions and I had to keep reading to find out the answers: What happened the summer Grey died? What’s Jason’s deal? Why is Gottie experiencing wormholes and screenwipes? How? As Gottie’s summers tangled together, memories came flooding back and things were revealed about what happened and I just fell more and more in love with her and the rest of the characters. Everyone is so perfectly flawed in a way that made them jump off the page and straight into my heart. Every character in The Square Root of Summer makes a stupid decision, does something selfish, says something hurtful or retreats into themselves when they shouldn’t and that’s life. The relationships were only stronger for that.

The Square Root of Summer is a gorgeous debut filled love, grief, friendship, family and physics and I completely loved it. If Harriet carries on like this, I’ll have to make her one of my favourites…

Thanks to Macmillan for the review copy.


Sunday 24 April 2016

Letterbox Love #131

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 Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater (paperback)

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into his mission: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a life; and Blue, who loves Gansey … and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Nothing dead is to be trusted.

Now the endgame has begun.

Nothing living is safe.

Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

Oh, Scholastic, you are my FAVOURITE! Thank you!

London Belongs to Us, Sarra Manning (proof)

Twelve hours, two boys, one girl…and a whole lot of hairspray

Seventeen-year-old Sunny’s always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London – starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill…and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed shed have anything in common with – least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French ‘twins’ (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its heart and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone – from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers – is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.

A fast-paced, darkly funny love letter to London, boys with big hair and the joys of staying up all night.

Yay! Sarra Manning is one of my very favourites. So happy to have this in my hands. Thanks Hot Key!

Kill the Boyband, Goldy Moldavsky (proof)

Okay, so just know that that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near The Ruperts, our favourite boy band.

We didn’t mean to kidnap one of the guys. It kind of, sort of, happened that way. Now he's tied up in our hotel room. And the worst part of all, it’s Rupert P. All four members of The Ruperts might have the same first name, but they couldn’t be more different. And Rupert P. is the biggest flop out of the whole group.

We didn’t mean to hold hostage a member of The Ruperts, I swear. At least, I didn’t. We are fans. Okay, superfans who spend all of our free time tweeting about the boys and updating our fan tumblrs. But so what, that’s what you do when you love a group so much it hurts.

How did it get this far? Who knows. I mean midterms are coming up. I really do not have time to go to hell.

This sounds like a lot of fun, but I've also heard some not great things. Looking forward to finding out! Thanks Macmillan!


Friday 22 April 2016

The Glittering Court, Richelle Mead

Pages: 400
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 1st April 2016
Edition: US hardcover, purchased

For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure.

To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.

After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself even though she’s falling in love with him.

Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property.

But nothing is as daunting or as wonderful as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.

After Richelle Mead’s disappointing last novel, Soundless, I was a bit hesitant about going into The Glittering Court, and while it didn’t blow me away, I did enjoy it.

I went into this book completely blind, knowing nothing other than that it was the first in a fantasy companion trilogy, so I was quite surprised to see how similar the premise was to Kiera Cass’s The Selection series. It contained lots of the same themes and ideas: lower class women intent on ensnaring a rich husband, gowns and high society and girls grating against the confines of their positions, but it also delved into the role of women in this world, the prejudices against refugees and native people and the fear of new religions.

The role of women in the Glittering Court and the wider world of this novel was really interesting, but I don’t think it was explored as well as it could have been. The Glittering Court could have been a real feminist punch, but it didn’t quite stretch past some of the girls vaguely whinging about the treatment and expectations of women. It does highlight the inequality between men and women though, especially when it came to the lower classes, in a really powerful way towards the end. I feel like the real feminism will come from Mira’s story – there’s so much to her character and I can't wait to hear her story. While I didn’t mind Adelaide, I didn’t ever truly connect with her as much as I wanted to. She has strength and sass, but not a whole lot of substance or history – she was really rather blah, unfortunately – my hopes are pinned on Tamsin and Mira.

In the last 100 pages of the novel, Adelaide finally started to have some grit and I enjoyed that last quarter more than I’d enjoyed the previous 300 pages! It wasn’t until then that The Glittering Court started to feel a little bit more like a fantasy novel. There are no magical/mystical elements whatsoever in the novel, it’s just set in a fictional world, so that sense of adventure, a tendency for things to go horribly wrong and lives being risked left, right and centre made me race through the ending. While Adelaide’s story was wrapped up fairly neatly, there was enough left dangling to make me curious about the next two books in the series.

The Glittering Court is an interesting and enjoyable start to a new series from Richelle Mead, but I’m still holding out for that spark that has made the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series’ among my very favourites.


Thursday 21 April 2016

Blog Tour: Darren Shan & Giveaway!

To celebrate the final book in the brilliant Zom-B series, Zom-B Goddess, I've got Darren Shan on the blog to answer a few questions!

1. How was writing the Zom-B series as a serial different your previous books and series'? 
I hadn’t planned to write a long series before. The Saga Of Darren Shan and The Demonata evolved and grew as I went along. I had no idea when I wrote Cirque Du Freak or Lord Loss that I was at the start of something monumental. With Zom-B it was different, and I knew going in that it would be at least nine or ten books. That made it a very off-putting process, because I could see to the very top of the mountain that I had to climb before I took my first step, whereas with the other series I was halfway up before I realised what I’d let myself in for!

2. If you had to live through one of the Zom-B books as B, which one would it be and why? 
Well, B has a tough time of it in all the books, and I wouldn’t particularly like to live through any of them! But Zom-B Gladiator offered hope that the bad guys could be defeated through good old-fashioned grit and determination, and if I had to live one of the books, it would probably be that one, because it drew the first half of the series to an optimistic, happy close. In the second half, things got a lot darker.

3. There are a fair few characters in the Zom-B whose loyalties and are impossible to determine. What do you think makes a good villain/antagonist? 
I think the very best villains are the ones that we can see shades of ourselves in. I’m of the opinion that pretty much everybody has elements of good and bad inside themselves, that we’re partly determined by DNA and environment, but ultimately by the choices we make and the paths we choose to explore. The most intriguing villains are the ones who make us think, “There, but for a few good calls or lucky turns, go I.”

4. How would you ensure you survived the zombie apocalypse? 
The more interesting question to me is would I want to survive a zombie apocalypse. If the world descends that far into the darkness, and humanity is reduced to its ugliest, basest components, would I really want to go on and be part of a broken new world? I’m still mulling over the answer...

5. Can we get a peek into where you write? 
I write on a computer in an office at the back of my house, with a nice view over the river Shannon. Very dull for a horror writer, I know, but it is what it is!

6. Can you tell us anything about what's coming next for you? 
I’m working on a new series, but I can’t say much about it yet, except it won’t be as horror-driven as my last couple of major series. It will also be comprised of big books, rather than short books – so, just as long (if not longer) than my other series, but released in fewer volumes, which should make it easier (and cheaper!) to collect.

You can read my review of Zom-B Goddess here and don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the tour!

Thanks to S&S and Angel Publicity, I have a full set of the Zom-B series to give away! I know, the whole series!

Just enter the form below before 11:59pm on April 28th. This is a UK only giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is facilitated by the publisher so you must be 13 or over and have permission to pass your address along to them. I will also hold no responsibility for the prize once I have passed the information over.


Wednesday 20 April 2016

Think Twice, Sarah Mlynowski

Pages: 288
Publisher: Orchard
Release Date: 7th April
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Magic in Manhattan series, Whatever After series, How to Be Bad, Gimme a Call, Ten Things We Shouldn’t Have Done, Don’t Even Think About It

The Espies are back in the smart and funny follow-up to Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski.

What's worse than having telepathy in high school?
Having telepathy in high school and then losing it.

When class 10B got their flu shots and developed the unexpected side effect of telepathy, it seemed like the worse thing ever. But two years later, they’ve got used to their powers. They’ve even come to like them. And as they prepare to leave school, they’re all making exciting plans – plans that involve them being Espies.

So when one by one they suddenly being to lose their powers, they know they can’t let it happen. Can they save their telepathy before it’s too late? Or will they have to learn to survive without them once again?

I really loved reading Don’t Even Think About It a few years back so it was super exciting when Think Twice popped up on my Twitter feed – I didn’t even know it existed! Sadly, I didn’t enjoy it as much as book one.

Think Twice picks up two and a half years after the Espies got a contaminated flu shot and developed ESP. Now they’re comfortable with their power and used to the ups and downs of them, and one by one, the Espies are starting to lose their powers. It was really interesting to see them all start to panic and doubt the futures that they had planned revolving around their ESP and using the perks that come with it. And then even more confusion and panic that ensued as they experimented with saving their abilities. I loved seeing the fall out of their lives change again and the relationships that were fractured by the change in the balance between them.

Yet I just didn’t fully connect with it. Think Twice is written in close up third and keeps up with most of the Espies, but it was so unclear who was speaking or thinking most of the time. I had to keep reading back a paragraph or two to try and figure it out, and then I mostly had to guess. It didn’t get clearer either. Other than that, Think Twice is a quick, easy and fun read and while it was fun to be back with the Espies, it wasn’t as good as book one.

Thanks to NetGalley and Orchard for the review copy.


Monday 18 April 2016

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld

Pages: 528
Publisher: The Borough Press
Release Date: 21st April 2016
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Prep, The Man of My Dreams, American Wife, Sisterland

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.

Eligible is witty, funny and brimming with charm. I loved every single page of it and I really didn’t want it to end.

I've never had any doubt that Pride and Prejudice is just as relevant in 2016 as it was in 1813. All five of the Bennett sisters are in a place that so works and I loved matching up little bits and the larger plots and characters from Eligible to the original. Darcy’s family home is on 1813 Pemberley Lane; Wickham’s discretion is even worse than Austen’s; Lady Katherine de Bourgh is now Kathy de Bourgh and is a famous second wave feminist and the social standing of the Bennetts in modern terms that seemed ridiculous. I did a little internal dance every time I saw a connection between the two. It gave me the most ridiculous amount of joy.

I really loved how Curtis Sittenfeld adapted the issues and scandals of Austen’s society and moulded them to ours. There are elements of Austen’s Mrs Bennett that seem relatable and understandable: if she doesn’t get her daughters married, they could all end up in poverty if Mr Bennett dies as girls weren’t allowed to inherit. But Sittenfeld’s Mrs Bennett just isn’t very nice. She's a racist, a snob, homophobic and really quite horrible to Liz and jane at points. Mr Bennett had lots of the same issues, but I did love his dry sarcasm.

I made so many notes about Eligible and how much I was loving it as I was reading, but I don’t even want to talk about most of them. I just want everyone to go out and buy this when it comes out and delight in every word. If you’re a fan of Pride and Prejudice, and even if you’re not, you need this book in your life.

Eligible is one of my very favourite books of the year and I’m already desperate to re-read it. It was just such a joy to read that I dragged it out for a whole week even though I could have devoured it in one go.

Thanks to NetGalley and The Borough Press for the review copy.


Sunday 17 April 2016

Letterbox Love #129

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.

Nightwanderers, CJ Flood (proof)

Rosie and Ti are as close as sisters – closer, in fact. While Rosie is shy and passive, Ti is tough and daring. They shouldn’t be friends, but they are.

Creeping out their homes at night, the girls secretly wander through their coastal hometown, Flushing, exploring empty streets and sharing their frustrations about school and their different, but equally difficult, families.

But when Rosie betrays Ti, the two girls run in different directions – making decisions that could do irreparable damage to both their lives. As Rosie confronts harsh truths, she must find a way back to Ti, and to herself.

Yay! I can’t wait to read this – thanks S&S!

And I Darken, Kiersten White (e-proof)

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

The first of an epic new trilogy starring the ultimate anti-princess who does not have a gentle heart. Lada knows how to wield a sword, and she’ll stop at nothing to keep herself and her brother alive.

This sounds so cool! Thanks Harper Collins and NetGalley!

Under Rose-Tainted Skies, Louise Gornall (proof)

Agoraphobia confines Norah to the house she shares with her mother. For her, the outside is sky glimpsed through glass, or a gauntlet to run between home and car. But a chance encounter on the doorstep changes everything: Luke, her new neighbour.

Norah is determined to be the girl she thinks Luke deserves: a ‘normal’ girl, her skies unfiltered by the lens of mental illness, instead, her love and bravery opens a wondow to unexpected truths…

This sounds so gorgeous and I’m so excited! Thanks Nina/Chicken House!

Mystery & Mayhem, The Crime Club (paperback)

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?

I’m so looking forward to this! Thanks Egmont!

Summer Days and Summer Nights, ed, Stephanie Perkins (e-proof)

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom.

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Yay! I’ll definitely be buying the gorgeous UK edition, but I couldn’t pass this up. Thanks NetGalley and St Martin’s Griffin.

The Crown, Kiera Cass (e-proof)

35 suitors entered the Selection. Only 1 will win her heart. The fifth and final captivating novel in Kiera Cass’s #1 New York Times Bestselling Selection series!

In The Heir, a new era dawned in the world of The Selection. Twenty years have passed since America Singer and Prince Maxon fell in love, and their daughter is the first person to hold a Selection of her own.

Eadlyn didn’t think she would find a real partner among the Selection’s thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult – and more important – than she ever expected.

This series is such a guilty pleasure for me – I can't wait to get stuck in! Thanks NetGalley and Harper Collins!

Lying About Last Summer, Sue Wallman (paperback)

It’s time

Last summer Skye’s sister died in a tragic accident. Now she's looking for an escape from reality. Her parents think that a holiday camp for bereaved teens might help her move on.

To face

At first camp doesn’t seem so bad. But when Skype starts receiving texts from someone claiming to be her dead sister, she fears the past is about to surface…

The truth

So looking forward to this! Thanks Scholastic!

Think Twice, Sarah Mlynowski (e-proof)

The Espies are back in the smart and funny follow-up to Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski.

What's worse than having telepathy in high school?
Having telepathy in high school and then losing it.

When class 10B got their flu shots and developed the unexpected side effect of telepathy, it seemed like the worse thing ever. But two years later, they’ve got used to their powers. They’ve even come to like them. And as they prepare to leave school, they’re all making exciting plans – plans that involve them being Espies.

So when one by one they suddenly being to lose their powers, they know they can’t let it happen. Can they save their telepathy before it’s too late? Or will they have to learn to survive without them once again?

I didn’t even know this existed until it popped up on Twitter on release day! Thanks NetGalley and Orchard!

Love and Other Man Made Disasters, Nicola Doherty (e-proof)

A contemporary teen romance by Irish author, Nicola Doherty, about facing your fears and falling in love. a story with humour and heart, this book is perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Holly Smale and Stephanie Perkins.

Juno is scared of a lot of things. Climate change, urban foxes, zombies – the usual. So when she goes on a skiing holiday with her mum’s adrenaline-mad new husband and his tearaway twins, she doesn’t hold much hope of surviving. Then she meets Boy. Gruff, hairy and thrill-seeking, he’s everything Juno doesn’t like. Or is he? Juno’s about to discover there’s nothing more scary than falling in love.

So looking forward to this! Thanks NetGalley and Orion!