Currently Reading

Currently reading: Simon VS the Homo-Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

Monday, 9 April 2018

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi [Review]

Written by: Tomi Adeyemi.
Published by: Macmillan.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 6th March 2018.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zelie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.  But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were targeted and killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope. Now, Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers—and her growing feelings for the enemy."

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Sometimes, a book comes along that is so rare and special, so unique and timely and just so freaking good that you can hardly believe you have it in your hands, reading page after page of wonder. Surely it cannot be real. It cannot be happening. Children of Blood and Bone is one of those books, and boy oh boy, it's real! Right from the first page we are thrown into a world of oppression, murder, epos journeys and lions big enough that people ride them, much like we do horses. I mean, this alone had me SCREAMING and totally in love with it, let alone the excitement of the book around it. Nailah the lionaire was a massive favourite for me. My dog (a golden lab) is called Nala and the name kept making me think of her and had me imagining what it would be like if she were the size of a lionaire, but given how naughty she is I know she'd be a terrible rider. Ha!

Zélie does not do well with instruction. She is impulsive, acts before she thinks and often gets herself into a whole world of trouble that could be avoided if she just sat back for a second and assessed the situation. I adored her. Her voice. Her thought process, or lack thereof. Her determination and drive to continue to fight even when the odds are unfairly stacked against her. She is a fantastically real and well rounded character that I found myself rooting for, right from the get go. And with a strong cast also narrating the book, from Amari, the crown princess who is rebelling against her fathers regime, and Inan, the crown prince on a mission to return a magical artefact and leave both Zélie and his own sister dead, the stakes are high.

The book clocks in at just under 600 pages, and you'd think there'd be a dip in the excientment somewhere, but no. Every single page served its purpose and drew you closer and closer to a climax that I for one didn't see coming, and when I turned the last page, expecting there to be another chapter, a paragraph, something, ANYTHING, and found only Tomi's acknowledgements, it had me HOWLING for book 2. Howling, I tell you. Howling. Because this book is so magical I could read it again, and again and again and I doubt I would ever get bored of it. You can tell it has been so intricately planned.

Inspired by West African mythology, with a hint of Avatar: The Last Airbender thrown in for good measure, the world that Tomi has created is massive in scope, is so imaginative, and vivid and real. You could almost feel the jungle around you, and the stifling heat of the desert. I was transfixed and I would go as far to say that Children of Blood and Bone is my favourite book since I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli in 2015. It has that magical quality to it that makes it both timely, and timeless all at the same time. Beautifully written. Captivating and lush. You'll be clambering for the sequel. I pray the next year flies by because after that cliff hanger ending I need to know what happens next!! Read it, read it, read it!

And the rights have already been optioned for a movie, with work already under way. You just know this is going to be massive. It's been at number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list since its release and with the hype and excitement surrounding the book, I cannot wait to see how it translates onto the big screen.



Friday, 6 April 2018

Clean by Juno Dawson [Review]

Written by: Juno Dawson.
Published by: Quercus.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th April 2018.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she's hit rock bottom. She's wrong. Rock bottom is when she's forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all... It's a dirty business getting clean. Addiction and redemption, love and despair. Clean will have you hooked from the first page."

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I've been a long term Juno fan now, since the days Hollow Pike was released, way back in 2012 (has it really been 6 years? YIKES! Time flies!) and haven't been able to get enough since. From witches, to hauntings, from murders by the poolside, to tattoos that take over the mind, Juno is in a league of her own and in Clean she really shines. In what is, in my humble opinion, her best book yet, Juno tackles the tricky world of addiction and recovery. 

Featuring a cast of the rich and privileged. A sharp protagonist in the form of Lexi who is used to having everything handed to her, so when we meet her, waking up in the back of her brothers car with no idea where she is going we know that things are about to kick off. Forced into a rehabilitation facility against her will, Lexi is furious and the language and thoughts of someone being forced into something they really do not want to do were perfectly captured and Juno did an excellent job of showing Lexi's anger without it going o.t.t, but still being a explosion of feelings. Whilst she may seem, on the surface as the stereotypical spoilt child of a multi-millionaire (think Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton...) as the book progresses we see that Lexi is actually an incredibly three-dimensional character and I loved her back story. By the end of the book I actually found myself really rooting for her, despite hating her in the first few chapters of the book. 

The book itself deals with many different forms of addiction. Drugs. Food. Sex. All have addictive qualities and all are explored in the book with varying scenarios and outcomes. It was fascinating to see inside the mind of someone who is addicted to something and then to see them work through their recovery. The book is split into ten sections, steps, each one dedicated to a step in a recovery programme and this really added to the feel of the book and I looked forward to the next one popping up to see what the next step was.

The exploration of mental health was also expertly done. So often, mental health is swept under the carpet and ignored, but here it is front and centre and dealt with so well that many teens, and indeed adults, who will read Clean will find themselves a place  of understanding in this book that made me, for one, feel as though I'm not alone.

Something this book also does incredibly well is trans reputation! And it is about damn time! Kendall is trans but it's all so natural. It's just a fact. It isn't something that is questioned, the interactions between Kendall and the other characters are so fluid and natural and real, just the way it should be in real life with any human being. Hopefully trans readers who have never seen themselves represented in any way shape or form before may come to Clean and see that, yes, while Kendall has her problems, she's real and human and has just as much right to live her life as anyone else. Bravo, Juno!

AND THAT COVER!!!! LORD THE COVER!!!! Rose gold! I have the proof (with a finished copy on pre-order, obvs...) which is a little different with a white cover, rose gold text and words written in this glossy effect that you can only see in certain light, but the cover for the finished book is rose gold foil and I can't wait to see it for myself, because you know it's going to be STUNNING!

As ever with Juno, her writing is witty, sharp and encapsulating. I found myself unable to put the book down. Pardon the pun, but it's an incredibly addictive read that will have you glued to the page. Thank you so much for sharing another awesome book with us. Here's to many, many more!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

THE WRONG TRAIN BLOG TOUR - Extract and Review



Today it gives me the greatest pleasure to play host to a stop on The Wrong Train blog tour. This book is truly an amazing find and one perfect for this time of year. It's a fanstastic little read that won't take you long as it's so gripping you'll be tearing through page after page.

Set out as a collection of short stories with an interlocking narrative in the form of scenes surrounding a boy who has, you guessed it, gotten the wrong train and has been abandoned at a stop where there are no trains coming and just an elderly man to keep him company and some spooky tales that only seem to breed the young boys fear further still.

I really enjoyed the sections between the stories featuring our main character and the old man who tells him these dark and twisted tales. My only gripe was that these were too short and too few. I really really loved these sections.

From creepy old ladies called forth by black candles burning in the night to rid parents of their "mistakes", to Dead Molly, the book gets darker and darker as it goes on. I would certainly recommend it, especially if you're looking for something creepy and spine-tingling to read over Halloween. However, I would recommend that if you do read it, you make sure you have plenty of lights on and make sure you aren't home a lone either as any little sound will make you jump out of your skin! If you're looking for happy endings, let me tell you, you're looking in completely the wrong place! The book itself builds and builds to a crescendo that will live you positively chilled to the bone.

If you don't believe me, take a read of this extract below, the first chapter, courtesy of David Fickling Books for your pleasure!



My thanks to Carolyn at David Fickling Books for asking me to be a part of this tour and for my review copy!

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake [Review]

Written by: Kendare Blake.
Published by: Pan Macmillan.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 22nd September 2016.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions. But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins. The last queen standing gets the crown. If only it was that simple. Katharine is unable to tolerate the weakest poison, and Arsinoe, no matter how hard she tries, can’t make even a weed grow. The two queens have been shamefully faking their powers, taking care to keep each other, the island, and their powerful sister Mirabella none the wiser. But with alliances being formed, betrayals taking shape, and ruthless revenge haunting the queens’ every move, one thing is certain: the last queen standing might not be the strongest…but she may be the darkest."

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Three dark queens
are born in a glen,
sweet little triplets
will never be friends.

Three dark sisters
all fair to be seen,
two to devour
and one to be Queen.

I mean if that doesn't get your heart racing and make you want to read this book, I don't know what the hell will! That was the first thing I heard about this book and it had me yearning to read it, so when Pan Macmillan reached out to me asking if I'd like to see an early copy, the answer was a resounding HECK YEAH I WOULD, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! And I have to say it didn't disappoint. If anything, Three Dark Crowns exceeded what I thought it would be. I knew it would be dark and it would feature a fight of some sort for a crown, but what we actually get is so, so much more. It's way darker than I imagined. The scenes where Katharine, the poisoners queen, is forced to eat a lot of food that has been laced with various poisons seemed so barbaric and medieval and so out of place with the way we are used to seeing royalty be treated. 

The book itself follows three sisters, triplets who are all queens and heir to a throne that only one may possess. Each of the sisters has their own gift with varying strengths and weaknesses - from ingesting poison, to controlling the weather, to befriending creatures great and small - and are preparing to battle it out to the death for their right to sit on the coveted throne. 

The world building is immense as we get to explore a world that feels medieval and fantastical.  The writing is beautiful and once you get used to the fact that the POV changes near enough every chapter you stop noticing the change and just go with the flow of the book itself. I personally really enjoyed it and loved every single page. It completely drew me in from the get go and had me racing to see what the sisters and their entourages were going to do next. Twists and turns a plenty and a touch of romance that doesn't feel like too much, which is sometimes a danger I think. Sometimes romance is kind of shoehorned in but with this book it works and it isn't too much! So kudos to Kendare for that! With the promise of a second book, One Dark Throne, due next year I cannot wait to see how this is all going to play out after that ending! Argh! I for one cannot wait and highly recommend that you all go out and get a copy right NOW!

Stunning. Dark and incredibly creepy. The perfect read for a dark, winters night with a cup of something warm!

In the UK we are super lucky and have three stunning covers to chose from, each based around one of the three queens!


Which one is your favourite? Mine is the poisoner cover, obviously featuring the snake! Pick your favourite and be sure to share your choice!

My thanks to Catherine at Macmillan for thinking of me and emailing me about this book and for my copy!


Friday, 7 October 2016

Thin Air by Michelle Paver [Review]

Written by: Michelle Paver.
Published by: Orion.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 6th October 2016.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far - and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free."

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Imagine it. It's a warm day in the middle of May. The sun is shining, the air is alive with the sounds of birds and insects alike. But you're huddled on the sofa, a verified block of ice. Shivering, jumping at the slightest of movements or sounds you aren't expecting, and have been transported to the snowy landscapes of the Himalayas. That, my friends, is what my experience of reading Thin Air was like. 

I've been a long term fan of Michelle's, for over twelve years since Wolf Brother came out and started an obsession with worlds and words that just won't ever leave me (and I hope it doesn't!). I've always been more of a YA reader. Adult fiction doesn't normally do it for me, but I have authors that are auto-buys, or auto-reads, meaning I will get whatever they choose to publish, be it their masterpiece or a shopping list. And Michelle is right at the top of my auto-read list, so I read her first ghost story, Dark Matter, when it came out a few years ago. I had always hoped Michelle would do another ghost story because I think her writing lends to them so well. She just builds suspense so masterfully and has you absolutely rapt. So when I knew Thin Air was on the way I could not of been more excited. On a personal note the book came on a day when I was feeling particularly down, given the horrendous year I've had, and the proof came with a little note from Michelle herself who is a lovely lady and I hope to meet again some day as I have fond memories of meeting her when I was a teenager!

Anyway, back to the book. It's a chilling tale which will take you right to the deadly peaks of Kangchenjunga. Yes I had to google how to pronounce it. And no, I'm not ashamed! Ha!

It's chilling. Thrilling. And downright scary. From the get go I had chills running up and down my body. I had the shakes at one particular point and had to keep looking up to make sure that I was actually on my own. Such is the power of Michelle's story telling that I felt like there was an unwanted entity with me, watching me, plotting to take me down the way the ghost in the story does. When reading it you really feel the sense of isolation the characters are feeling. You can feel it build, and it almost feels like a physical reaction for you as the reader. You start to second guess things, start to try to think of a logical explanation, even when there isn't place for one. By the end of the book I really felt the paranoia set in and it made me wonder what I would be like in that sort of situation. I could hardly read it without losing my cool, I dread to think what I would be like.

It completely transported me away from the darkness of my own life and if even for a brief moment made me forget and drew me in so wholly that I was lost in this wonderful book, and that is something that seems to be very rare these days. 

I cannot recommend this book enough. If you enjoyed Michelle's previous ghost story, Dark Matter, you'll love this one. If you love anything supernatural, a bit scary, ghostly, then you'll enjoy it too. It's a fantastic read thats absorbing and totally paralysing. Beautifully, lyrically written. A five star read if ever there was one!

My thanks to Orion and Michelle for my early copy and postcard! It really meant a lot and came at a time I really needed a bit of cheering up, so thank you!

Monday, 6 June 2016

THIS SAVAGE SONG BLOG TOUR | Stop 6 | "This Savage Song"

Today I have the honour of hosting the sixth and final stop of the This Savage Song blog tour to celebrate the release of This Savage Song by bestselling author V.E. Schwab! The book itself is out tomorrow and it has a STUNNING cover! What I really love about this blog tour is that it features extracts from the book so it's giving us plenty of snippets to get us excited about the book! So without further ado... I present to you...


Leo reached into his jacket. August assumed he was fetching one of his own instruments. Instead, he withdrew a long, thin knife, and passed it to August.
“What is this for?” he asked.
Leo didn’t answer. He was staring down at his hand, now empty, and August watched as darkness began to roll up his fingers and across his palm. August recoiled instinctively, but only Leo’s hand blackened to shadow. The way he did that, slid between the two forms, that worked only because he’d torn away the walls between. August tried to imagine what Leo must have been like, back before he burned through his humanity, but he couldn’t. He watched as Leo reached out his shadowed hand and gripped the rusted doorknob. The metal
crunched like paper under his touch and fell away. The door swung open.
“Do what I say, little brother,” he said, his voice lower, stranger, more resonant.
“How do you know they’re here?” whispered August.
“I can smell the blood on their hands,” said Leo, the darkness receding from his skin, his voice returning to its usual pitch. He strode inside, and August followed, nudging the door shut behind him.
The house was dark and smelled of stale smoke and liquor, and when they moved, the boards creaked under their feet. August cringed. Leo didn’t. They reached the center of the room and stopped. Leo cocked his head, listening. And then August heard it, too. The floorboards groaned again. They were both standing still.
The first guy came out of nowhere. He lunged at Leo, but his brother was too fast; he plucked the man out of the air and slammed him down against the rotting boards so hard they split. The man squirmed and spat obscenities, but Leo crouched calmly over him like a cat pinning a mouse, but without the playful glee.
“What is your name?” he asked, and the air vibrated with his will.
“Foster,” spat the thug. His shadow writhed beneath him, clawing at the broken floor.
“Foster,” repeated Leo. “Are you here alone?”
The man thrashed, coughed, answered, “No.”
August’s grip tightened reflexively on the knife, but his brother looked unconcerned as he hauled Foster to his feet and spun him around so his back was pressed to Leo’s chest. 
“Pay attention, August,” he said. “There is more than one way to bring a soul to surface.”
With that, Leo wrenched Foster’s arm up behind his back, and the man cried out. August cringed, but Leo remained calm, unmoved. He kept twisting until August heard the tearing ligaments, and the man let out a scream.
“Why are you doing this?” asked August.
“To educate you,” said Leo simply. He twisted harder, and Foster keened.  
Bones broke audibly and August watched, horrified, first as sweat broke out across the man’s face, and then as his skin began to glow red. The light rose
like blood to the surface, and as it did, it began to pass from Foster’s body into Leo’s.