Wednesday, 19 September 2018

Review: Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow by Siobhan Curham

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2018
Source: Review Copy

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Fourteen-year-old Stevie lives in Lewes with her beloved vinyl collection, her mum ... and her mum's depression. When Stevie's mum's disability benefits are cut, Stevie and her mother are plunged into a life of poverty. But irrepressible Stevie is determined not to be beaten and she takes inspiration from the lyrics of her father's 1980s record collection and dreams of a life as a musician. Then she meets Hafiz, a talented footballer and a Syrian refugee. Hafiz's parents gave their life savings to buy Hafiz a safe passage to Europe; his journey has been anything but easy. Then he meets Stevie... As Stevie and Hafiz's friendship grows, they encourage each other to believe in themselves and follow their dreams.

 Big thank you to Walker Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my full and honest review. I had not heard about this book until I read the press release and once I did, I was extremely excited to read it. 

The novel is told through the dual narrative and perspective of our main characters, Stevie and Hafiz. Although leading very different lives and coming from very different backgrounds, both Hafiz and Stevie are struggling through issues which ultimately bring them closer together and help solidify their friendship. 

One of the aspects I loved about this novel was the way in which is highlighted and also delved into the issues the main characters are currently facing. Stevie, named after her mothers hero Stevie Nicks, has been moved to Lewes after the death of her father. Stevie is a carer for her mother who, since the death of her husband, has developed an extreme anxiety disorder and depression which prevents her from working and often times leaving the house. Stevie faces huge challenges living in such poverty to not only survive but also take on the parental role and be the carer of her mother. 

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Review: The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness

Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: May 2nd 2013
Source: Borrowed from library

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We were in the square, in the square where I'd run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her - But there weren't no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men...

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

So as you may know if you follow me on my Twitter or Instagram accounts, I recently re-read The Knife of Never Letting Go for the first time since I read it first six years ago! I loved the novel even more the second time around and finally had the motivation to continue with the series, and hopefully finish it this summer. Now after reading The Ask and The Answer I know that I immediately need the third book right now! 

The Ask and The Answer was not only the perfect sequel to what was an amazing introduction the the series, but also completely flipped the readers emotions and thoughts that they had gathered in the first book. In the sequel we encounter a completely new side to the story as Todd and Viola have now been captured by the Mayor and held captive. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Review: Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden

Publication Date: March 10th 2016
Publisher: Puffin Books
Source: Borrowed

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Denizen Hardwick is an orphan, and his life is, well, normal. Sure, in storybooks orphans are rescued from drudgery when they discover they are a wizard or a warrior or a prophesied king. But this is real life—orphans are just kids without parents. At least that’s what Denizen thought. . . . 

On a particularly dark night, the gates of Crosscaper Orphanage open to a car that almost growls with power. The car and the man in it retrieve Denizen with the promise of introducing him to a long-lost aunt. But on the ride into the city, they are attacked. Denizen soon learns that monsters can grow out of the shadows. And there is an ancient order of knights who keep them at bay. Denizen has a unique connection to these knights, but everything they tell him feels like a half-truth.
 If Denizen joins the order, is he fulfilling his destiny, or turning his back on everything his family did to keep him alive?

So this is a book I have seen so much buzz and chatter around since its release two years ago! I was so glad to finally pick it up so that I could see what all the hype was about. 

I was really looking forward to reading this novel as my interest was re-instated after seeing the recent publication of the third novel earlier this year. This series had taken the internet and my Instagram by storm! I really enjoy a gripping and adventurous middle grade novel and had not read one for a while, the final Percy Jackson book not included. This book also has one of the best first sentences I've ever read: "Looking back, it had been a mistake to fill the orphanage with books."

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Review: Release by Patrick Ness

Publication Date: 1st May 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Review Copy from publisher

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Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume's Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It's a big day. Things go wrong. It's intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches...

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It's a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won't come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

 Huge thank you to Walker Books for sending me a copy of this novel in exchange for my full honest review. I have read some Patrick Ness novels before (see reviews here!) and highly enjoyed them. I also had the pleasure of meeting Patrick Ness at Dept Con a few years back. Going into this I expected to enjoy it but was actually surprised to find myself loving it even more than I had anticipated. I will say that there is some sexual scenes within the novel, so would recommend it for older teens. 

The novel completely hooked me. I have not been reading very much this year up until last month, as you can tell from the review barren wasteland my blog has become. But this novel completely gripped me from the get go and I sped through in 2 days because I could not put it down! 

Monday, 25 June 2018

Review: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

Publication Date: January 2015
Publisher: Doubleday Publishers
Source: Borrowed

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Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…

 So this was a book I had seen EVERYWHERE around a year or two ago. Probably one of the biggest PR campaigns I'd ever seen around a novel to be honest. I'm not usually one to read hyped up books, mostly because I often feel that the hype surrounding it will make it read as not as good to me because I'll be constantly waiting to reach that level of "wow" in the novel. 

So when I found the opportunity to read this, I decided to give it a go. I am very glad that I did. I'm not usually a big reader of adult mystery novels, my last one being Before I Go To Sleep- which I also enjoyed, but after reading and loving this maybe I should change that. 

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Review: Sunflowers in February by Phyllida Shrimpton

Publication Date: February 8th 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

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Lily wakes up one crisp Sunday morning on the side of the road. She has no idea how she got there. It is all very peaceful. and very beautiful. It is only when the police car, and then the ambulance arrive, and she sees her own body, that she realises that she is in fact... dead. But what is she supposed do now? Lily has no option but to follow her body and see her family – her parents and her twin brother start falling apart. And then her twin brother Ben gives her a once in a deathtime opportunity - to use his own body for a while. But will Lily give Ben his body back? She is beginning to have a rather good time...

 Thank you to Hot Key Books for sending me an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for my full and honest review. This book was featured on my Most Anticipated 2018 Releases post which I posted back in January. I was extremely excited for this book and was so happy to be approved to receive and advanced copy of it.

The premise of this novel centers around our main character Lily, waking up on the side of the road looking down at her own body and realizing she is dead. Lily is then able to see the affect her death has had on the others in her life including her family, boyfriend, friends and her killer. Although this plot premise has been done before in many cliche ways, Phyllida Shrimpton brings the story line to life with her own wonderfully entertaining fresh spin on it. 

Friday, 4 May 2018

Review: The Never Dawn by R.E Palmer

Publication Date: 21 November 2017
Publisher:  FrontRunner Publications
Source: Received a copy from the author 

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All his young life, Noah has longed to see the sky he's only heard about in stories. For over one hundred years, Noah's people have toiled deep beneath the Earth preparing for The New Dawn - the historic day when they will emerge to reclaim the land stolen by a ruthless enemy. 

But when Rebekah, the girl of his forbidden desire, discovers a secret their leader has been so desperate to keep, Noah suspects something is wrong.

 Together, they escape and begin the long climb to the surface. But nothing could prepare them for what awaits outside. 

 Thank you to the author for contacting me and sending me a copy of this book in exchange for my full and honest review. 

So I went into this book not having heard anything about it before, and looking for a new exciting dystopia to pull me out of my recent sci-fi and dystopia lag where I just haven't been enjoying any. Unfortunately, although I enjoyed some aspects of this novel, it just didn't hit the spot for me.