Sunday, 31 January 2016

Weekly Highlights: the 'February TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

Now, I don't know about you but for me, January has been a slow month. I've been getting stuff ready to start my new job tomorrow and the anticipation is making time move really slowly! Speaking of which, I have some news: because of my new job and extra hours, I'm going to be working a lot and so I have no idea how much time I'm going to have to read and blog. But I will be on twitter and I've made an Instagram account which you can find here, where I will keep you all up to date on my reading and pretty new books. 

On The Blog
Review of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson (3.5 stars)
Review of The Next Together by Lauren James (5 stars)
Review of Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson (4 stars)
Review of The Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas (5 stars)

Currently Reading
White Wolf by David Gemmell - not my usual thing but it's my fiancé's favourite book and he wants me to read it. 

On My Bookshelf
Crush by Eve Ainsworth
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.

I'll admit, I'm a little worried about reading this, I know it's going to be rough as it's based around such a difficult subject. Saying that, Eve Ainsworth's writing is supposed to be fantastic so I'm excited. Thank you Faye Rogers PR and Scholastic! 

Legend by Marie Lu
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. 

Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. 

Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. 

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. 
Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

I bought the whole trilogy for less than a tenner! I do love The Works!

Maresi by Marie Turtschaninoff
Maresi came to the Red Abbey when she was thirteen, in the Hunger Winter. Before then, she had only heard rumours of its existence in secret folk tales. In a world where girls aren't allowed to learn or do as they please, an island inhabited solely by women sounded like a fantasy. But now Maresi is here, and she knows it is real. She is safe.

Then one day Jai tangled fair hair, clothes stiff with dirt, scars on her back arrives on a ship. She has fled to the island to escape terrible danger and unimaginable cruelty. And the men who hurt her will stop at nothing to find her.

Now the women and girls of the Red Abbey must use all their powers and ancient knowledge to combat the forces that wish to destroy them. And Maresi, haunted by her own nightmares, must confront her very deepest, darkest fears.

A story of friendship and survival, magic and wonder, beauty and terror, Maresi will grip you and hold you spellbound.

I've heard just incredible things about this so I can't wait to read it for myself! Thank you Netgalley!

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne
All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.

I've finally got my hands on this! I have no words for how excited I am for this!

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

And finally, I treated myself to one of my most anticipated reads and my own copy of my favourite classic. This will be my February book for the Classics Challenge. 

February TBR
Apart from the above, I also want to read the Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier and The Island which is coming out early March.

Friday, 29 January 2016

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas

Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price.

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

There were a couple of layers to this story. The most obvious one is the Beauty and the Beast parallels: Feyre was ripped from her home and taken to the faerie lands the other side of the wall, to pay for the life she took. Then there's the romance; complicated, forbidden, desperate love. And then the fae element: the courts, high lords and magical royalty, the savage and ruthless determination, the immortality that brings false invincibility, and of course the evil. So much evil. The horror and the cruelty of the faerie courts was quite brutal and it definitely kept me on my toes, unsure who (if anyone) we could trust. 

And it's even more complicated than that; their magic is dwindling, they all have masks permanently wielded to their faces and there is a mysterious "she" who strikes fear in everyone's heart. As much as I love a good dark romance, it is so much better when there's more substance to the story. And battling an evil faerie queen is just that!

I loved Feyre, I loved her flaws, her strength, her skills as a hunter and a provider for her family. She was just so complex and different, and Tamlin was an excellent partner for her. I totally swooned over Tamlin, he was strong and surprisingly sweet, hiding behind his mask - literally. And he was withdrawn, not wanting to put too much faith in Feyre, or put his heart on the line after so many years of hoping. There was also a great supporting cast, as well, from Feyre's family, especially her sisters, to members of Tamlin's court and household who help Feyre see the fae as something other than monsters. 

I feel head over heels for this book; it had everything I love from a forbidden romance to a well-structured magical world. Maas has out done herself once again in her incredible world building and story telling, not to mention bringing new light to a favourite fairytale. 

Published 5th May 2015 by Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Second Change Summer by Morgan Matson

Taylor Edwards family might not be that close - everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled, but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor's dad gets some devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

I can always count on Morgan Matson for a good contemporary, with its realistic romance, great family settings and just a sprinkling of heartache. This story tells of Taylor, a teenage girl who tends to run in the opposite direction when things get tough. Or she did, until she couldn't run anymore when her dad gets diagnosed with terminal cancer and they all have this summer together.

Taylor finally has a chance to make up for the mistakes she made five summers ago. Henry and Lucy were part of Taylor's past, a part she was ashamed of. By being forced to confront them, Taylor stopped running away and learned to deal with her issues, as well as getting to know her oldest friends as new people. It might have started off as incredibly awkward but facing them head-on, Taylor grew in confidence and that meant that she was able to restore those connections with the people who know her best. 

While it is about reconciling with her old friends and her first love, it's also completely heart breaking seeing her dad deteriorate in front of their family and Matson is incredibly skilled at keeping the balance between the funny and the sad. Taylor was growing up, developing as a young woman, but her family was slowly coming apart and she is dealing with a few complicated feelings of guilt over being so happy with Henry while her dad is dying. But their last summer together meant more than just coming together as a family and its clear that Taylor's dad is proud of all of his kids growing up and coming out of their shells. 

I loved this, it was so much more than a fluffy summer romance and the layers of family commitment, new and old friendships, and growing up made it more complicated but so engrossing to read. 

Published 7th June 2012 by Simon and Schuster. 

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Next Together by Lauren James

How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...

First off, I loved this way more than I thought I would - like, I don't know if I could love this any more! It told of multiple Katherine's and Matthew's, falling in love and reincarnating, their story spanning over hundreds of years. We saw from a few of them, from 1745 to 2039, and had a few references to other incarnations like at Bletchley Park where they helped Alan Turing solve the Enigma Code and saved his life!

We follow all the versions of themselves along the same path, as they meet, fall in love and generally make an impact in their respective time periods. It was really interesting to see them all at the same time, I didn't think it would be set up like that, but I warmed to it immediately. Quite early on you get the sense of the overlap - like Matthew in the Crimea making a reference to Katherine's family from Carlisle, over a hundred years ago. I liked the implications of their actions impacting their later counter-parts and then later regaining their memories.

I loved each time period equally, surprisingly! Even as the story progressed and the mystery in the 2039 time-scape became dominant and the links between all the incarnations become clear, I still loved hearing from all of the versions of Katherine and Matthew. It also had an original place setting, the border between England and Scotland, and Nottingham - not a city UKYA is usually set in but really liked it - especially as the near-future time-scape had an independent Scotland, so being close to the border had political implications. 

Then there was the conspiracy angle with the coding and "intervention requested" when either Matthew or Katherine were in danger. This wasn't explained until the last few pages and even though I would have loved a bit more detail, in a way it fit; it felt like it had come round full circle. Cannot wait for the sequel though, I would love more of James's unique storytelling and hopefully some more answers!

Published 3rd Septmber 2015 by Walker.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Published as a shilling shocker, Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with damnable young man Edward Hyde; the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer; and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil. 

This was not what I thought it would be like! Clearly the many re-tellings and references have morphed the original story in popular culture. For instance, it was told mostly from a friend of Dr Jekyll's perspective, Mr Utterson, so we spent most of the story completely unaware of Mr Hyde's origin, just thinking he was a slightly murderous friend of Jekyll's.

My favourite part was the last chapter, which was Dr Jekyll's letter explaining the journey he made in his discovery and the consequences of losing control. He explains how he thought that mankind would be better if we could completely divide the good from the bad, to give the good a chance to reach their full potential. However, he realises that by becoming Mr Hyde, he had no good conscience to control himself. Overall, it was a really interesting take on the human condition and the balance between good and evil. 

Published 29th November 2012 by Penguin, first published 1886.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Weekly Highlights: the 'Love Always' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

We are well and truly into 2016 and so far (apart from hearing about Alan Rickman, I broke down in tears) it has been good. I'm back in the swing of things at work, I start a new job in February with the promise of even more hours (which might kill me but yay for more money!) and I'm off to a good start on my reading challenges. 

On The Blog
Review of Longbow Girl by Linda Davies (4 stars)
Review of Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard (4.5 stars)
Review of Drew by T Cooper and Alison Glock-Cooper (4 stars)
Blog Tour: Inferno by Catherine Doyle
Review of Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (4 stars)

Currently Reading
A Court of Thorns and Roses - I know, I am seriously late to the party but I am loving it! Reading progress has been kind of slow, due to life getting in the way, but am really enjoying another of Sarah J Maas's fantasy world's.

On My Bookshelf
Love Song by Sophia Bennett
A million girls would kill for the chance to meet The Point, but Nina’s not one of them.

She’s the new assistant to the lead singer’s diva fiancée, and she knows it’s going to suck. She quickly learns that being with the hottest band on the planet isn’t as easy as it looks: behind the scenes, the boys are on the verge of splitting up. Tasked with keeping an eye on four gorgeous but spoiled rock stars, Nina’s determined to stick it out – and not fall for any of them …

Yay, I am beyond excited for this! I adore Bennett's writing, it's so flowing and sweet and lovely to read so I cannot wait to see what she has next up her sleeve! Thank you Chicken House!

Friday, 15 January 2016

Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Justice is a young pilot with the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. On her way back from a semi-secret flight in the waning days of the war, Rose is captured by the Germans and ends up in Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi women's concentration camp. There, she meets an unforgettable group of women, including a once glamorous and celebrated French detective novelist whose Jewish husband and three young sons have been killed; a resilient young girl who was a human guinea pig for Nazi doctors trying to learn how to treat German war wounds; and a Nachthexen, or Night Witch, a female fighter pilot and military ace for the Soviet air force.

These damaged women must bond together to help each other survive. In this companion volume to the critically acclaimed novel Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein continues to explore themes of friendship and loyalty, right and wrong, and unwavering bravery in the face of indescribable evil.

Rose was a pilot, an American young woman now in England, ferrying planes and their passengers across the country and into France. Until she tries to take down a flying bomb and flies over enemy territory. Rose is captured and sent to a woman's concentration camp, where she sees first hand what she used to think was propaganda: young women being experimented on, their skin peeled away and injected with viruses to see the extent of the damage. For Rose, someone who hasn't grown up in the war, only recently exposed to the dangers, she is rudely awakened to the horrors.

This is my first audiobook, so it was a very different experience for me. It was quite strange listening to the words rather than hearing them in my head, but narrator was good and the songs and poems were meant to be read aloud. Hearing the Polish and French accents, the pure terror and un-shed tears in their voices, definitely added to the reading experience and tugged on my heart strings in a way that is different to reading them at my own pace. 

It took me longer to finish this; it's quite a long book, a little over 400 pages I think, but making time to listen was an odd experience but one that I would like to repeat. Hearing a definitive voice made the character much more real and all the girls were just incredible characters that deserved that extra attention. A companion novel to Code Name Verity, it was very much along the same lines of wartime scenes, horrible truths and unwavering loyalties, and just as heart-wrenching and moving. 

Published 1st June 2013 by Bolinda Publishing.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Blog Tour: Inferno by Catherine Doyle

Today I am delighted to host a guest post from none other than Catherine Doyle, author of Vendetta and Inferno, published by Chicken House. I absolutely love these books and cannot wait for the finale of the trilogy! Check out my review here of Inferno.

Examining bravery in YA: What makes a badass heroine?

In recent years, feminism in YA has been almost exclusively associated with heroines who wield a sword, exhibit impressive physical strength, or espouse typically masculine traits to reach her end goal. This singular notion of bravery coincides with the latest spate of YA novels and the booming success of dystopian novels. Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior are often lauded as being ‘badass’, but in placing them on pedestals, are we forgetting the other kinds of strength – intelligence, kindness, resilience – that can get overlooked for being quieter or less showy?

Feminism in YA is about more than brute strength, and bravery is about more than survival. A strong character is one who possesses noble qualities, and can fall anywhere on an entire spectrum.

There is strength in intelligence: In The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh teenager Shahrzad’s best friend has been put to death by order of the Caliph of Khorasan. Shahrzhad makes it her mission to avenge her, to infiltrate the palace and find out what has turned this ruler so callous in the treatment of his wives. To do this, she becomes a wife herself. Instead of matching his cruelty, she uses her talents as a storyteller to draw him under her spell. Her power here is gentle, careful, but effective. Her intelligence is her greatest weapon, and as it turns out, the most effective tool to gain the answers she needs and to set right a great wrong in the kingdom.

There is strength in vulnerability: Vulnerability is often considered a weakness, but there is bravery in daring to open your heart to someone else, and choosing to love instead of being afraid. Violet in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven might be an unconventional ‘badass’, but there are few things more difficult than pushing through a dark cloud of grief, acknowledging the loss of her sister and her closest confidant, and choosing to live a full life for both of them. There is strength in choosing to love the perfectly imperfect Theodore Finch, in opening her heart and knowing that even though it might not last, it does not mean it won’t have been worthwhile.

There is strength in being different: Jo March in Little Women blazed her own trail. She is clever, bold and outspoken. She doesn’t allow the external pressures of society to change who she really is inside. Her ambition to write stories is the fire inside her, that makes her passionate, dedicated, and unafraid. It makes her different, and different is most certainly good.

In Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Celaena Sardothien is strong and skilled. She is also unashamedly into boys – dating, kissing, flirting. She likes to wear beautiful dresses and make herself up. She is both a physical powerhouse and she is a teenager, complete with raging hormones and the occasional mood swing. Maas is determined to show that being interested in romance, among other things, does not make Celaena weak, nor does it stop her from being a feminist.

This year, I attended several panels on feminism in YA, where authors examined the idea of bravery in their characters, and discussed what they felt made their heroine strong. More than just physical displays of bravery, they spoke of the quieter ways in which their characters stood up for themselves and others, and how oftentimes, subtler noble characteristics make for a more impressive lead character.

There is more than one way to be strong; female badassery comes in many different forms.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Drew by T Cooper

The Cheerleader, The Nerd, The Jock, The Freak. What if you had to be all four?

Changers book one: DREW opens on the eve of Ethan Miller's freshman year of high school in a brand-new town. He's finally sporting a haircut he doesn't hate, has grown two inches since middle school, and can't wait to try out for the soccer team. At last, everything is looking up in life.

Until the next morning. When Ethan awakens as a girl.

Ethan is a Changer, a little-known, ancient race of humans who live out each of their four years of high school as a different person. After graduation, Changers choose which version of themselves they will be forever - and no, they cannot go back to who they were before the changes began.

Ethan must now live as Drew Bohner - a petite blonde with an unfortunate last name - and navigate the treacherous waters of freshman year while also following the rules: Never tell anyone what you are. Never disobey the Changers Council. And never, ever fall in love with another Changer. Oh, and Drew also has to battle a creepy underground syndicate called 'Abiders' (as well as the sadistic school queen bee, Chloe). And she can't even confide in her best friend Audrey, who can never know the real her, without risking both of their lives.

I was drawn to this because of the weirdness - I haven't seen anything like this before and was instantly intrigued. What I got was a lot more than I expected; not only was it Ethan turning into Drew and figuring out her new life, it also had this strange cult-like feel to the rules and regulations of being a Changer. Part science fiction, part religious, it did get a bit weird; I'm really hoping that later books will explain some more about the Changers Council.

Speaking of the Council, they abide over the Changers, made sure they were revealing anything secret or dangerous to people they shouldn't. The Council was all about being the best self you could be and held talks and wrote their bible on how the Changers were proof that people weren't that different and could be brought together towards peace. Then there were the Radical Changers (or RaChas for short), who didn't believe in the Council's view, they thought there was nothing wrong in revealing themselves to bring about change. All this political talk was kind of confusing and only came in every now and then, mostly (I'm assuming) because Drew didn't particularly care either way. She was more than happy to go about her life, figuring things out one step at a time.

Drew's narrative was very easy to read, almost train of thought style prose, as it was told by Drew's chronicle aka her diary in her head - yes, that's another reason I had problems with the cult/serious religion side of the Changers: she had a chip in her brain! But it was super funny and explores everyday sexism. As a boy for the first 14 years of his life, Drew is suddenly subject to leering and stupid comments, and she finds it hard initially to navigate life as a teenage girl. She also has to figure out her new wardrobe and her comments on the clothes she is now forced to wear caused me to fist bump the book, that's how much it made me happy to hear someone complaining about how utterly impractical women's jeans are!

All in all, a great start to what I hope will be an incredible series. It had great friendships, explored fluid sexuality as well as sexism, first love, the impact of religion and figuring out your sense of self. 

Published 12th January 2016 by Atom. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 8 January 2016

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

I loved just about everything about this: the importance of female friendships, the realistic portrayal of the teen years and the heartbreaking nature of secrets. It tells of Caddy, suddenly stuck between two best friends, Rosie who has been there since they were toddlers and knows everything about her, and Suzanne, the new girl with an enigmatic past. The complicated relationship between girls is what made this book; the story was completely engaging and the three girls were so real. 

All Caddy wanted was a significant life event, something exciting and defining. You know that saying, be careful what you wish for? Yeah, Caddy has no idea how dangerous a significant life event can be. When Suzanne comes into her life, she brings her secrets, her past, her horrible truths with her, and Caddy loves being part of it, loves being trusted with Suzanne's secrets. But, of course, it puts a strain on her best friendship with Rosie and with her parents. 

Throughout the story, there was such a great portrayal of the teen years, the close friendship, the feeling of powerlessness and of course the development as Caddy realised that Suzanne isn't her sole responsibility and the world doesn't end if they let someone else in. I loved this story, it practically broke my heart hearing about Suzanne's past but the message was clear: friendship is the best thing, as long as you don't let it rule you.

Published 11th February 2016 by Macmillan Children's Books. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2016 Reading Challenges

Here are details of all the reading challenges I'm taking part in this year.

Goodreads is the only way I keep track of my reading and my TBR piles and I've been getting better each year at how many books I can read. In 2015 I managed to read just over 150 so I've set it to 125 and see how we go.

A to Z 
I'm sort of unofficially doing this challenge. I was told about it by friend and colleague Alyce and it sounds like fun, a bit different. I believe it's hosted by a reading group on Goodreads and there are a few ways you can do it, for example by title or author or series; I'm doing it by title and have already got a few lined up. 

Sophie has convinced me to give this one a try and after my degree, I've been meaning to read all those books I should have already read. Hosted by Stacey at The Pretty Books, you can sign up here. On my list so far is: Pride and Prejudice, The Hobbit, Tell-Tale Heart, Alice In Wonderland, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and Northanger Abbey.

British Books
This year it is hosted by Kirsty over at The Overflowing Library, sign up here. I usually read quite a few UKYA books, it's a genre I enjoy anyway, so this way I can properly keep track.

I've also been challenged by my fiance to read his all time favourite book: White Wolf by David Gemmell, along with (hopefully/maybe) The Lord of the Rings.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Longbow Girl by Linda Davies

While out riding, schoolgirl Merry Owen finds a chest containing an ancient Welsh text that leads her into a past filled with treasure, secrets and danger. But it's her skill with the Longbow, an old family tradition, that will save her future.

Merry's family has lived and worked on the same farm in Wales for generations but now money is running out and their land is under threat from the other old family living in the hills. 

This was historical fiction with a twist of time travel. I loved the crossover; the actual time travel might have come a little late for my liking but Merry wasn't your typical young girl and worked out how to go back and forth and change her family's future. I loved how the history was intertwined with the present, the implications the burial site had on Merry's future. 

Plus, it was so easy to read, to fall into Merry's life and go along on her adventure, as she takes on her family's financial burden and desperately tries to save her family's legacy. And through this legacy, the two families history and battle for the land, we learned some Welsh mythology. I don't know much about that part of the country so it was really cool to see how the land, the Brecon hills and everything else, had influenced the stories that have been passed down. All in all, a great read, something new to break out of my comfort zone, maybe a little young but still a well written story of family and history.

Published 3rd September 2015 by Chicken House.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Weekly Highlights: the 'Post-Christmas/New Year TBR' edition

Weekly Highlights is a feature borrowed from Faye of A Daydreamer's Thoughts, where I get to highlight my posts of the week, show you my new books and talk about bookish things!

Happy New Year guys! Hopefully by now you have recovered from any celebrating you might have done and have got the new year off to a good start, reading wise. I've gone back to work this weekend after nearly two weeks off - unintentionally, as the library was closed Christmas weekend - and I am surprisingly tired but I'm glad to be back in the swing of things. 

On The Blog
Review of The Girl in the Mask by Marie-Louise Jensen (4 stars)
Review of the Splintered trilogy by AG Howard (4 stars)
Review of Unsticky by Sarra Manning (5 stars)
Review of Inferno by Catherine Doyle (5 stars)

Currently Reading
I'm reading the Love By Numbers trilogy by Sarah MacLean, just pure indulgence on my part but still easy to read and very sweet. I'm also reading Drew, The Changers book 1, which is something new.

On My Bookshelf
The Appearance of Annie Van Sinderen by Katherine Howe
It’s summertime in New York City, and aspiring filmmaker Wes Auckerman has just arrived to start his summer term at NYU. While shooting a séance at a psychic’s in the East Village, he meets a mysterious, intoxicatingly beautiful girl named Annie.

As they start spending time together, Wes finds himself falling for her, drawn to her rose petal lips and her entrancing glow. But there’s something about her that he can’t put his finger on that makes him wonder about this intriguing hipster girl from the Village. Why does she use such strange slang? Why does she always seem so reserved and distant? And, most importantly, why does he only seem to run into her on one block near the Bowery? Annie’s hiding something, a dark secret from her past that may be the answer to all of Wes’s questions . . .

I snatched this up when a review copy was offered - seances, ghost girls and dark romance? Yes please! Thank you Rock The Boat!

The Next Together by Lauren James
How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...

This has been on my wishlist ever since it came out! Thank you Secret Santa!

Ruby Red trilogy by Kirsten Gier
Sixteen-year-old Gwen lives with her extended - and rather eccentric - family in an exclusive London neighborhood. In spite of her ancestors' peculiar history, she's had a relatively normal life so far. The time-traveling gene that runs like a secret thread through the female half of the family is supposed to have skipped over Gwen, so she hasn't been introduced to "the mysteries," and can spend her time hanging out with her best friend, Lesly. It comes as an unwelcome surprise when she starts taking sudden, uncontrolled leaps into the past.

She's totally unprepared for time travel, not to mention all that comes with it: fancy clothes, archaic manners, a mysterious secret society, and Gideon, her time-traveling counterpart. He's obnoxious, a know-it-all, and possibly the best-looking guy she's seen in any century . . . .

Christmas present from my fiancé - I read the first book like two years ago but not the rest of the trilogy so he got me the box set! He knows how much I love matching covers

How To Build A Girl by Caitlin Moran
My name’s Johanna Morrigan. I’m fourteen, and I’ve just decided to kill myself.

I don’t really want to die, of course! I just need to kill Johanna, and build a new girl. Dolly Wilde will be everything I want to be, and more! But as with all the best coming-of-age stories, it doesn’t exactly go to plan…

Picked this up in my charity shop - I've heard all sorts of good things but never read anything of hers so I thought I'd give it a try!

Judged by Liz de Jager
Kit's job description includes solving crimes - the supernatural kind . .

Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.

In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.

Thorn turns to the only person he knows who'll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequence of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.

This was a surprise review book - book three in the Blackhart Legacy series, I haven't read the first books but Sophie has been bugging me for months to pick them up, so I'm taking this as a sign! Thank you Pan Macmillan!

January TBR
Start of the new year, how exciting! I'm doing a few reading challenges this year, details later this week, so I've got a few books in mind to get me off on a good start. I've also got a few review books to get a head start on. Let me know what you're planning on starting the new year reading.