Friday 29 July 2016

With Malice, Eileen Cook

Pages: 304
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Release Date: 9th June 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Waking in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of Jill’s life are a complete blank…

All she knows is what she's been told: while in Italy on a school trip she was involved in a fatal accident and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team.

Because maybe the accident…wasn’t just an accident.

I was really excited about With Malice – it sounded like a fun, fast-paced read. And it was, but I was also pretty disappointed.

With Malice is pretty much a rehash of Abigail Haas’s Dangerous Girls which I read and completely loved a few years back. The unreliable narrator, mixed media evidence, a horrible crime and twisty motives should have been perfect and yet I just felt like I'd read it before, but better. I didn’t get fully sucked into the drama and the tension because of the trajectory of the plot and Jill’s characterisation just felt obvious. I was really hoping for something that I could hardly bear to put down, but I just ended up being a bit ‘meh’ about it.

I really wish that the Italian setting had been made more of. I know that Jill didn’t remember the trip, but there were dreams and visions and so many transcripts from interview and blogs that I’m sure there was a way to get some more Italy in there. It feels a little wasted.

On the positive side, it is a quick and easy read, and if this plot is a new one to you then you’ll probably be swept right up in it.

Thanks to Hot Key for the review copy.


Thursday 28 July 2016

Books I Couldn't Finish (9)

I used to finish every book I started, whether I was enjoying it or not. But life is short. I’ve realised that I don’t have time for books I’m not full involved in any longer so if I don’t like something or don’t connect with it as much as I want to, I’ll put it aside. It still makes me feel guilty though, especially if I received them for review so I still want to talk about them, explain why I didn’t like them. Here are the most recent books I DNF-ed.

Perfume, Patrick Suskind
I've wanted to read this one for years and I’m kind of gutted I didn’t like it. Set in mid-18th Century Paris, the novel vividly sets the scene, mostly using descriptions of scent, of course. I loved this element but there was so little about Grenouille’s descent into becoming a serial killer that it all just felt like filler. Waffle about the people who brought him up and others that seemed to be completely irrelevant to the story – it got rather frustrating and as I seem to have very little patience with audiobooks I’m not enjoying, I DNFed it at 23%.

What We Left Behind, Robin Talley
I was so looking forward to this. Talley’s debut, Lies We Tell Ourselves, was a beautiful tale of sexuality, race and the fight for equality in the 60s and I was really looking forward to seeing a genderqueer character in YA. I couldn’t do it. Everything felt like an agenda; Toni sexual identity was mentioned constantly and I felt like a message and explanations about what being genderqueer is were being forced down my throat. Everything was delivered in such a strange tone and it was clearly message/subject matter over story and characters and I could just envisage myself getting very angry at it so I had to put it down. DNF at page 86.

Girl Hearts Girl, Lucy Sutcliffe
I went into Girl Hearts Girl with serious excitement, but I ended up DNFing it at page 38. I was expecting to be swept away by a tough, romantic and important story, and maybe it still is, I just couldn’t get back the infodump of Lucy’s childhood. Of the 40 pages I read, only about 10 of them felt even slightly relevant to the story I was promised. I also struggled with the writing – it was unremarkable, but also managed to be irritating. It felt very unpolished and young. Such a disappointment.


Tuesday 26 July 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: Lady Chatterley's Lover

Originally published in 1928 by Tipographia Giuntina

My edition: The rather lovely Penguin Clothbound Classics hardback

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
Like with a lot of classics, I can’t recall a distinct moment of discovering Lady Chatterley’s Lover. It's just one of those canonical texts that has always been there.

WHY I Chose to Read It
I watched the new BBC adaptation when they ran a short series of adaptations earlier this year and while I enjoyed it, it felt a bit lacking. Twitter seemed to agree and suddenly floods of praise came in for the novel, people strongly recommending everyone not to be put off a wonderful book by a lacklustre adaptation. I was sold.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
DH Lawrence was writing about and during a time that will continue to fascinate for years and years to come: in between the wars. A time when modernity and tradition clashed, when women were still only beginning to fight the restrictions of society, when the leftovers from before the war feel old and stifling. And on top of that, he throws in lots of sex, scandal and high romance – he was paving the way for a new generation of writers.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
When Lady Constance Chatterley’s marriage to Sir Clifford turns stale, boring and unsatisfying due to Clifford’s paralysing war injuries, Connie turns her affections to the gamekeeper that maintains the ground of Wragby house.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover is one of the most accessible classic classics I've read this year and I really enjoyed it. If I hadn’t have been reading Middlemarch alongside it (which is a lot tougher to get through!) then I would have sped through this book.

I knew very little about the plot or themes of this book outside of the vagaries of the BBC adaptation so I was really interested to see Lawrence exploring the clash between post-war modernity and the leftovers from the old-fashioned Edwardian era. Seeing this reflected both in Clifford and in Mellors in such different ways was fascinating. We learn a lot about the wars in the UK education system, but we rarely look at the non-war related effects on the years between them. Set around 1920, the shock of the war is still evident and it shows up in the disparities between Connie and Clifford and Mellors.

The clash between the times also showed up in the war between the classes and it was really interesting how Connie went back and forth between caring about her status to disregarding it and back again. It is expected for her and Clifford to care, and that’s what they’ve been taught since birth, but for Mellors and his own experiences in the war, his social position is no longer of consequence to him.

Connie and Mellors’ relationship is up and down from the outset, and I wasn’t always 100% on board with it. The first few times they were together, Connie wasn’t really a participant – it almost felt as if she wasn’t really sure she wanted to do anything. But as they got closer and closer, she warmed up and he cooled down. By the end of the book I felt that Connie had forced Mellors into a relationship that he didn’t really want. This weirdness meant I didn’t really connect with the passion and ‘love’ that was continually professed. I was also surprised by how explicit it was!

Though Lady Chatterley’s Lover was written and released in 1928, the full, unabridged version wasn’t published in its entirety in the UK until 1960 when Penguin were famously tried for the obscenity. Even with that in mind, I genuinely wasn’t expecting anything that scandalous. I was wrong! I figured it would be a little suggestive, slightly risqué, but nothing like what I got. I was so shocked at some of the word choices, and the frequency of their use. They’re words I cringe to hear even now, I can’t even imagine the reactions 60+ years ago. But for me, the crudeness of that language took something away from the romance and passion that Connie and Mellors supposedly felt for each other – it just didn’t seem like there was genuine feeling behind their actions. It’s kind of fascinating, really.

This was a perfect introduction to Lawrence and I’m really looking forward to reading more of his work, I only wish I hadn’t stretched it out for so long! I think this is the kind of novel best read in a binge or as quickly as you can – I think Connie’s passion and intensity will be served better that way.

WILL It Stay a Classic
Definitely. It’s accessible and fun, and the legacy of the scandal that this book caused for Lawrence will live on.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- Lovers of scandal fiction and those not put off by graphic content.
- Readers interested in the period between the wars and the effect on society.
- If you’re curious about early 20th Century exploration of women’s freedom and sexuality. 


Friday 22 July 2016

Run, Kody Keplinger

Pages: 326
Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: 14th July 2016
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

What risks would you take to save your friends?

Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and an alcoholic mom. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn’t care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never stayed out past 10pm, never gone on a date and never broken any of her parents’ overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally-blind daughter, but Agnes isn’t quite sure what they are protecting her from.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it’s the sort of friendship that runs more deeply than anything else. But when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, police sirens wailing in the distance, Agnes is faced with the biggest choice she’s ever had to make. Run, or stay?

I’m a huge fan of Kody Keplinger’s books, and while Run was as easy and enjoyable to read as her previous novels, it just wasn’t as immediately engaging as I was expecting.

Run is set in rural Kentucky and has an immediately different feel to Keplinger’s other novels. Mersey is a small, poor, religious town and the Southern accents are clear even through the narration. We don’t really have an English version of the small-town American South so I find this setting endlessly fascinating. The judgements and strictness of it baffle me. I really felt for Bo and Agnes suffocating under the pressure of their home town.

I loved the intensity of Bo and Agnes’s friendship. It’s that heady best-friendship you develop in your teens that hurts even more than a romantic break up when it fractures. Keplinger writes the agonies of it perfectly. I often found myself not especially motivated to pick this back up and it was only wanting to see Bo and Agnes learning from each other and teaching each other that kept me going.

Agnes has the same condition as Kody Kepliner herself and it was fascinating to read about. I don’t think I've ever read about a legally blind character before and it was super interesting to see how day-to-day life worked for Agnes. It had never occurred to me before how over-protective parents would be of their blind child, the daily struggles at school and the idea of you being a ‘burden’ on your friends. But I loved that it wasn’t written that way – it’s not something to be pitied, and it's not all that Agnes is.

Run didn’t blow me away as much as Kody Keplinger’s previous novels have, but it was still an easy, enjoyable read about friendship, family and the thrill of freedom.


Thursday 21 July 2016

In Three Words: My Favourite Books of 2016 So Far

I can’t quite believe that it’s already nearly the end of July… But it is, so I figured it was about time I told you about some of the best books I've read so far in 2016. I've been rather picky about handing out five star reviews this year and that’s definitely reflected in this list!

As ever, I've been keeping a running list of the books that have blown me away, adding them and taking them away as my feelings changed, but I think I've got a pretty firm decision. And here they are in three words:

A Court of Mist and Fury, Sarah J Maas
Sexy, addictive, unrelenting.

Under Rose Tainted Skies, Louise Gornall
Honest, moving, fresh.

The Madwoman Upstairs, Catherine Lowell
Literary, fascinating, pacy.

Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld
Funny, romantic, absorbing.

Mistborn: Hero of Ages, Brandon Sanderson (Read by Michael Cramer)
Relentless, emotional, intense.

Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (Read by Rosumund Pike)
Pitch-perfect, funny, nostalgic.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Anne Bronte
Feminist, powerful, unusual.

Treats, Lara Williams
Relatable, strong, identifying.

Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
Powerful, moving, feminist.

What are your favourite books of the year so far?


Wednesday 20 July 2016

Blog Tour: Did I Mention I Miss You?, Estelle Maskame

Pages: 372
Publisher: Black and White Publishing
Release Date: 21st July 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

A year has passed since Eden last spoke to Tyler. She remains furious at him for his abrupt departure last summer but has done her best to move on with her life at college in Chicago. As school breaks up for the summer, she's heading back to Santa Monica, but she's not the only one who decides to come home...

Having been left behind to deal with the aftermath of their bombshell revelation and a family torn apart, Eden has no time for Tyler when he reappears. But where has Tyler been? And is she as over him as she likes to think? Or can Tyler and Eden finally work things out, despite their family and against all the odds?

My love for this series is no secret, and I was so excited for the finale of Tyler and Eden’s story – it managed to exceed my super high expectations.

We pick up nearly a year after the dramatic end of DIMINY and the aftershocks are still violent: Tyler is still gone, Eden is angry, confused and miserable, and the whole family is in tatters. I was expecting there to be drama, but wow, I wasn’t expecting how horrible Eden’s life had been since people started finding out. I loved how extreme and forbidden it made everything that Tyler and Eden had felt for each other seem again, it jumped back to the feeling of DIMILY. It didn’t think it could get any more tense, and then Tyler came home.

I haven’t seen a character with an arc like Tyler’s for a long while. He grew, developed and matured so much over the trilogy that he was nearly a different person by the time I turned the final page of DIMIMY, but he was still 100% Tyler. Though not as extreme as Tyler’s, Eden also changed too. I love how she came to learn more about her parents and almost began to see them as people as well as her mum and dad. The continuous revelations and tension in Tyler and Eden’s family, and between themselves, made DIMIMY compulsive reading. I would have read it all in one sitting if I could!

We were in Santa Monica for book one, NYC for book two and DIMIMY takes us to Portland. I don’t really know much about Portland, in fact, I've never really given it much thought so it was cool to learn about a new American city outside of the typical settings in YA. I kinda fell in love with it. It almost sounds a little like an American version of Brighton (and I love Brighton) – I just want to go exploring! These books always give me serious wanderlust.

Did I Mention I Miss You? is the perfect ending to a brilliant series. Though I’m rather gutted to see Tyler and Eden go, I loved how their story ended. This will be a trilogy I’ll read over and over again.

Thanks to Black and White for the review copy.

Make sure to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!


Tuesday 19 July 2016

Mini-Reviews: Little Birds, A Study in Scarlet & Me Before You

Little Birds, Anais Nin
144|Penguin Modern Classics|1979

This collection of 13 of Anais Nin’s short stories were published several years after her death. These stories explore love, lust and women’s sexuality in 1940s Paris, Spain and New York City.

I'd been seeing this around on bookstagram a lot and I finally decided to give it a go. I’m so glad I did! Though the sexytimes are seriously blush-worthy, Nin’s writing is also genuinely beautiful. Her stories are set in the hazy summers of 1940s New York and Spain and Paris and I was completely suckered by the atmosphere. It’s a really gorgeous read. The only complaint I have is the sometimes outdated attitudes towards women and marriage, though Nin’s embracing and celebration of female sexuality has to be revelled in. I’ve already bought my next collection, Delta of Venus!

A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle
234|Penguin English Library|1887

When Dr John Watson takes a room at 221b Baker Street with amateur detective Sherlock Holmes, he has no idea about the world he’s entering. When they visit a crime scene to find a dead man with no visible wounds but a word written in blood on the wall, Watson is baffled, but Holmes soon uncovers the truth.

This was my first foray into Sherlock Holmes – I haven’t even seen Sherlock… But it was a lot of fun! Seeing Holmes and Watson meet for the first time was really funny, especially as Watson became completely baffled by the way Holmes’ brain works. I loved how punchy the mystery was and everything was a genuine surprise. And then part two started and I was confused. We jump to Mormons in Salt Lake City and although it eventually made sense and tied back into the original story, it was a bit disorientating and I definitely didn’t enjoy that as much as the first part of the novel.

Me Before You, Jojo Moyes

When Lou loses her job, she takes a six-month contract looking after Will Traynor, a paraplegic who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident. Everything in his life feels dull and joyless, but Lou is determined to change his mind. She just doesn’t expect to be changed forever, too…

The hype for Me Before You, and the nagging of one of my friends who wants me to see the movie with her, meant I finally had to read this. And I’m really glad I did. I hadn’t expected to become so involved so quickly! The characters in this book, particularly Lou and Will’s family, did err into stereotypical every now and then, but they were the perfect vehicle to tell the story and it didn’t bother me at all. The only thing that disappointed me about Me Before You is that I didn’t get nearly as emotional as I was expected – I was fully anticipating being destroyed by this novel but I only got a bit teary. Oh well. I’m looking forward to catching up with Lou in After You!


Monday 18 July 2016

Blog Tour: Everything you need to know about Lucy Sutcliffe's 'Girl Hearts Girl'

Lucy Sutcliffe’s ‘Girl Hearts Girl’ is finally here, and this is what it’s all about:

An inspiring, uplifting and sympathetic story about sexuality and self-acceptance, Lucy Sutcliffe's debut memoir is a personal and moving coming out story. In 2010, at seventeen, Lucy Sutcliffe began an online friendship with Kaelyn, from Michigan. They began a long distance relationship, finally meeting in 2011. Lucy's video montage of their first week spent together was the first in a series of vlogs documenting their long-distance relationship. Now, for the first time, Lucy's writing about the incredible personal journey she's been on.

Want to know a little more about Lucy?

Co-star of the popular YouTube channel Kaelyn and Lucy which documented the long distance relationship she had with Kaelyn Petras. She and Kaelyn finally came together in August of 2014, ending the long distance element of their relationship.

She graduated from Plymouth College of Art and Design in 2014 with a degree in Film Arts

She works as a freelance film editor and author. Her and Kaelyn's channel mainly focuses on advice videos for LGBT youth.

Now that you’re dying to read Girl Hearts Girl, enter this amazing comp to win yourself 1 of 3 copies if you live in the UK or Ireland!

PLEASE NOTE: This giveaway is being run by Faye Rogers PR and Scholastic so I have no responsibility for the prize or the winner.

You can find Lucy and Girl Hearts Girl on:

Girl Hearts Girl is out now in paperback from Scholastic!


Friday 15 July 2016

Under Rose Tainted Skies, Louise Gornall

Pages: 272
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 7th July 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

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 window to unexpected truths…

I knew I was going to enjoy Louise Gornall’s debut, but I didn’t expect to love it as whole-heartedly as I did. Under Rose Tainted Skies is my favourite contemporary YA read of the year so far. Hands down.

Norah is the kind of character you fall in love with pretty much immediately. She’s sharp, funny and bitey. She also suffers from OCD, anxiety and agoraphobia, but she’s working on it. Norah’s frustration and anger with her illnesses is vivid and tangible; it was heartbreakingly honest. I’ve never suffered from either OCD or agoraphobia but I now feel like I understand them a bit better, the thought processes and the day-to-day limitations as well as what they really are.

When Luke moves in next door, Norah suddenly has a whole host of new things to worry about and these two are ADORABLE. I mean, seriously, it should be illegal to be that cute! Their relationship moved beautifully, and realistically, slowly and I loved watching Luke learn about Norah’s illness and take it in his stride while Norah adjusted to let Luke into her world. It was incredibly sweet, but it also felt honest and right.

Now, Imma talk about the ending for a bit, so if you haven’t finished the book, know that I loved Under Rose Tainted Skies completely and scamper off to finish it. Right. The ending. Lots of YA that I've read dealing with mental illness seem to have a miraculously happy ending, with the illnesses forgotten or just gone, or a horribly sad one, so I’m really glad that Norah’s story didn’t end like that. I mean, it was happy and hopeful and authentic, but it wasn’t perfectly wrapped up in a bow, and I can’t imagine Norah’s life will ever be that easy, but it can better, and it will. I loved the hope and positivity in it while keeping it real. This book just made me really happy, tbh.

I completely loved this beautiful, brave, and honest book and I’m genuinely excited to see what else Louise Gornall has up her sleeves.

Thanks to Chicken House and Nina Douglas PR for the review copy.


Thursday 14 July 2016

Booktube: My Current Favourites

Way back in 2013, I wrote a post about this new, burgeoning thing called booktube and shouted about my favourites. Now booktube is well and truly at the top and I’m back to share even more of my favourites.

Three years on (almost to the day!), my reading has changed and expanded hugely, and so has my taste in booktubers. Here are a few of my current faves:

Monica from ‘shemightbemonica’

Monica lives in NYC, has crazy cool hair, even cooler dress sense and I love the way she talks about what she reads. She mostly reads YA, is a huge fan of fantasy and Patrick Ness and her set-ups always look amazing. I pretty much just want to be her.

Alysia from ‘Ex Libris’

Alysia was one of the first booktubers I can across that talked exclusively about classics. Now that I'm delving into them more, I love watching Alysia’s hauls, reviews and tags and learning about books and authors I've never even heard of before.

Amy from ‘shoutame’

Amy is one of the newest additions to my favourites list as I've only been watching her videos for a month or two, but I love the variety of the books she reads. There’s a mixture of literary fiction, classics and YA and her discussions about them are so intelligent and thoughtful.

Mercedes from ‘Mercy’sBookishMusings’

Mercedes reads so widely it makes my head spin. I rarely watch one of her videos without coming away with a list on books on my TBR that I’d never even heard of before. She’s a huge resource of info for short story collections, magical realism and indie publishers. Her videos are fairly long though, so make yourself comfy!

Elizabeth from ‘booksandpieces’

Elizabeth is just so cool, and I really love her voice. It’s a really crystal, southern English accent and it’s such a lovely change from booktube being mostly American. This whole channel focuses on fantasy and sci-fi and it’s another channel where I rarely know any of the titles mentioned, but I always go away wanting LOADS of them!

Sanne from ‘BooksAndQuills’

Sanne seems so lovely. Her videos are clean and sharp and perfectly short. Like lots of my other new favourites, Sanne reads widely, from YA to classics, general fiction to literary fiction. It’s also really interesting to hear from a booktuber who also works in publishing!

Darran from ‘ShinraAlpha’

Darran was already a badass blogger and bookseller before he started booktubing a few months ago. I love his videos. They feel relaxed and like sitting down and listening to a friend ramble about books. Lovely.

Tell me about your favourite booktubers, especially if they focus on more than just YA! I’m always up for recommendations.


Tuesday 12 July 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: A Moveable Feast

Originally published in 1964 by Scribner’s

My edition: The 2000 red spine Vintage Classics paperback.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
Though Ernest Hemingway is of course an author whose name I've heard a lot, I’d never heard of this short memoir of Hemingway’s time in Paris in the 1920s until Will from the Vintage Vlog read it for this challenge earlier in the year. Happily, I won a copy!

WHY I Chose to Read It
There’s just something about 1920s Paris that is endlessly appealing. Writers who will soon be megastars scribbling away in shabby chic coffee shops, enjoying decadent luxuries or struggling with the expenses of Paris as a writer – it all has such an atmosphere and I was really curious to see how Hemingway tangled with the other famous names that made the city home during the 20s.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
It’s a glimpse into the early life of one of the most famous, most troubled and most read American authors of the 20th century in his own words. And the literary world at that time was fascinating.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I have to admit that I went in to A Moveable Feast with low expectations, albeit optimistic ones. I'd loved what I'd heard from the Vintage Vlog and I loved the sound of everything that Hemingway writes about in his memoir, but I'd also heard a lot about Hemingway himself that didn’t sound up my ally. He was fascinated by fishing and wrote a lot about war (he was a war journalist) and those topics have never, ever interested me, and I’d also heard that he was rather mean, grouchy and misogynistic.

And he is grouchy and mean, but it doesn’t come across as a necessarily terrible thing in A Moveable Feast. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to spend time with him myself, but his interactions with the people around him were really quite funny, and rather sad too. I especially loved how much he despaired over F Scott Fizgerald. What a character! But he also spent time with TS Eliot, Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein, Wyndham Lewis, James Joyce and Ford Madox Ford and it just blows my mind a bit. It sounds stupid, but it made me realise that these legends of art and literature were real, actual people and I just can’t.

Hemingway tells the stories of how these people’s lives entwined with his own in such simple prose that when I first started reading I thought it was too simple, even mundane. As I carried on and got used to his style and the world he was writing about, I became unexpectedly entranced by it. I came to see the subtle beauty in his prose and I loved reading about his own reflections on refining his style and his attempts to strip back his writing and stories to the core. It’s interesting to wonder how I would have felt about his prose if I had introduced myself to it via one of his novels.

I’m so curious that I’ve actually ordered a copy of The Old Man and the Sea – it won the Pulitzer and contributed to Hemingway being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. It was also the last big fiction work from his before his death ten years later. It’s about a fisherman, though, so again, I have major doubts. I’ll keep you posted!

WILL It Stay a Classic
I think it will definitely stay under the radar, popular with either die-hard Hemingway or Fitzgerald fans and those fond of memoirs of Jazz Age Paris, but it’ll definitely stick around.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- People who want an introduction to Hemingway but are intimidated by his novels.
- If you have any interest in Jazz Age Paris, this is for you.
- Want a glimpse at the infamous relationship between Zelda and F Scott Fitzgerald? A Moveable Feast gives you a look from a really interesting angle.


Monday 11 July 2016

Paper Butterflies, Lisa Heathfield

Pages: 320
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release Date: 30th June 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Seed

My dad didn’t see, or maybe he just didn’t want to.

June’s life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one – and a secret one. Not even her dad knows the truth. She's trapped like a butterfly in a net.

But then June meets Blister. In him, she finds a glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away.

Because every creature in this world deserves their freedom. But what price?

Paper Butterflies is Lisa Heathfield’s incredibly powerful second novel, and it more than lived up to the emotional punch of her first.

For weeks and weeks before I finally picked up Paper Butterflies I'd been hearing how June’s story had left people in floods of tears so I went into this book fully expecting to get my heart broken. And get my heart broken I did, but not in the way I was expecting. June’s story is not comfortable reading. The abuse she suffers is horribly brutal and I kept having to put it down and step away for a while – it ended up taking me a good few days to finish this when I really could have read it in two sittings. It's shocking and powerful.

We begin when June is 10, moving through her story and flashing forward to After. We don’t know what has happened, just that it’s Not Good. Everything is slowly revealed and I was blown away by the twist in Paper Butterflies. It took the story in a direction so unexpected and tense that I pushed through my discomfort and raced through the final third in one sitting.

By the time I reached the end I was too stunned to cry. My lack of tears aren’t an indication of a lock of impact or anything though – I lay awake for ages thinking about this story. About the moments of beauty and light in darkness, about friendship and family and love, about hope. That’s what Paper Butterflies is all about – love and friendship and beauty and hope.

Paper Butterflies is brave, bold and beautiful – I've never read anything like it. Lisa Heathfield is an incredibly powerful writer; a real force to be reckoned with.

Thanks to Electric Monkey for the review copy.