Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Best Books I Read in 2018

Happy new year everyone! 2018 was a heck of a year for me, from being one of the most stressful years to being one of the happiest- there was some real ups and downs.
This year I graduated from college / university for the final time, traveled a little, went to festivals, had my first job rejection and managed to become a little happier and more positive.
Although there was great ups and downs, the year as a whole was wonderful. I wouldn't change it for the world.

As well as my personal achievements I managed to read some great books this year. I read 46 books, which is more than last year (link) and discovered some great books! I finally feel I am getting back into the swing of reading and blogging and hopefully can keep up a schedule of both for 2019.

Here's my favourites of 2018:

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Review: White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

Publication Date: May 3rd 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

[ Goodreads ]          [ Book Depository


Peter Blankman is afraid of everything and must confront unimaginable terror when his mother is attacked.

Seventeen-year-old Peter Blankman is a maths prodigy. He also suffers from severe panic attacks. Afraid of everything, he finds solace in the orderly and logical world of mathematics and i
n the love of his family: his scientist mum and his tough twin sister Bel, as well as Ingrid, his only friend. 

However, when his mother is found stabbed before an award ceremony and his sister is nowhere to be found, Pete is dragged into a world of espionage and violence where state and family secrets intertwine. Armed only with his extraordinary analytical skills, Peter may just discover that his biggest weakness is his greatest strength.

 You know the feeling where you are utterly caught up in a story and its characters you never want it to end? Well that is how I felt while reading this novel. Another huge thank you to Walker books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for my full honest review. 

This book is the kind of book that swallows you up and then spits you out! The novel centers around Peter, a math genus with severe anxiety disorder. When someone tried to assassinate is mother, his world is thrown into disarray. He must adapt and begin a journey to try to understand just why his world has been thrown into chaos. 

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Review: All The Lonely People by David Owen

Publication Date: January 10th 2019
Publisher: Atom Books
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

[ Goodreads ]           [ Book Depository

Everyone tells Kat that her online personality - confident, funny, opinionated - isn't her true self. Kat knows otherwise. The internet is her only way to cope with a bad day, chat with friends who get all her references, make someone laugh. But when she becomes the target of an alt-right trolling campaign, she feels she has no option but to Escape, Quit, Disappear.
With her social media shut down, her website erased, her entire online identity void, Kat feels she has cut away her very core: without her virtual self, who is she?

She brought it on herself. Or so Wesley keeps telling himself as he dismantles Kat's world from across the classroom. It's different, seeing one of his victims in real life and not inside a computer screen - but he's in too far to back out now.
As soon as Kat disappears online, her physical body begins to fade and while everybody else forgets that she exists, Wesley realises he is the only one left who remembers her. Overcome by remorse for what he has done, Wesley resolves to stop her disappearing completely. It might just be the only way to save himself.

A huge thank you to Atom Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my full and honest review. This is one of my most anticipated releases of next year and let me say, David Owen has done it again!

I absolutely adored The Fallen Children when I read it, so I was looking forward to this but I was also apprehensive as I was scared it wouldn't live up to the previous novel. Thankfully, All The Lonely People met every expectation I had and surprised me in lots of ways. 

The novel centers around Kat, a girl who lives her life on the internet, who then becomes the target of a hate group. As a result, she shuts down all her social media and online presences to avoid the bullying. Slowly Kat begins to change, physically disappearing until no one can see her anymore or remember her! The only person who remembers her is her bully, Wesley. 

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Review: The Surface Breaks by Louise O'Neill

Publication Date: 3rd May 2018
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Bought

[ Goodreads ]            [ Book Depository ]


Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? 

Hans Christian Andersen's original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of this year and I was so excited when I picked this novel up. Yet, there was something lacking for me. 

Going into the novel, I was so excited. A combination of two of my favourite things - Disney and feminism?! Heck yes! As I began reading though my excitement began to wane a little. 

The novel is told by protagonist Gaia, a beautiful mermaid with a great singing voice. She grows up in the palace, daughter of a ferocious king who reigns over his kingdom and daughters. I found the oppressive world Gaia lives in to be so well written. The mermaid society is extremely patriarchal where the mermaids live to serve the mer-men and are judged upon their talents and beauty. Even the king lines his own daughter up in terms of preference, which I found extremely disturbing. 

Friday, 30 November 2018

Review: Crush by Eve Ainsworth

Publication Date: 3rd March 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Borrowed from Library

[ Goodreads ]             [ Book Depository


Love hurts ... but should it hurt this much? Reeling from her mum's sudden departure, Anna finds the comfort she needs in her blossoming relationship with Will. He's handsome and loving, everything Anna has always dreamt of. He's also moody and unpredictable, pushing her away from her friends, her music. He wants her to be his and his alone. He wants her to be perfect. Anna's world is closing in. But threatening everything is a dark secret that not even Will can control..

Eve Ainsworth's gripping second novel is a pitch-perfect exploration of love at its most powerful, addictive and destructive.

This was a book I had seen a lot of book bloggers talking about when it was first released. I was late getting around to finding a copy but I was glad I did! 

This is the kind of book I think young people and youth groups should be reading. The novel contains an abusive relationship, where a girl who is sick of her family life find solace in her new boyfriend...although is isn't as great as first appearances may seem. 

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Publication Date: June 5th 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Purchased

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Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear... But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it?

Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror... five days... but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before... 

 It is not secret, that Juno Dawson is one of my favourite authors ever! So it seemed the perfect time to read this book around the spooky month.

The novel is set in an all girls boarding school in England. I loved this setting as I felt that not only did the old building enhance the spooky-ness, the interactions between the girls were really well written. The hierarchical nature of the school is something that many can relate to. The novel plays upon many secondary school tropes such as the outcast / misfit girl, our protagonist Bobbie, being put in situations against the most popular mean girl in school. I really enjoyed this setting for the novel and found it interesting to read about. 

Monday, 26 November 2018

Review: Chaos Walking- Short Stories by Patrick Ness

Publication Date: May 16th 2013
Series Order: #2.5 - Read after The Ask and The Answer

[Goodreads ]  

The Wide, Wide Sea is set in the past, at a time before the Spackle War, and we get a first look at the fishing village on the sea where some very important things happen at the end of Monsters of Men.
The Wide, Wide Sea is set before the Chaos Walking series in a time before the division between man and spackle. 

I really enjoyed this novel. It provides a look at a world we only hear talk of but do not actually see within the series. The novel explores characters from bot sides - spackle and human. 

We see a young man bond with a spackle girl, their friendship and bond is something so completely new to the reader of this series as it is something we would never have seen or even considered before. 

I loved the character in this. Their vibrancy, closeness and relationship was so well written. I loved their unique ways of communicating and understanding each other. I would love to read more about the their story but unfortunately it was only a once off. 

I felt that this short story really packed a punch in its small size. Patrick Ness has endless ideas for this world. 

< Reviews of the other short stories to come here...stay tuned!>