Tuesday, 25 July 2017

City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson

City of Saints & ThievesStreet-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

Tina and her mother escaped the gang wars in the Congo to live in Kenya, where they worked and lived at the Greyhills. Tina grew up with the Greyhill's son Michael and then her little sister came along, a product of Tina's mum's affair with the master of the household. But when she is found murdered, Tina is sure that Mr Greyhill did it, and spends years working her way up in a street gang until she is strong and talented enough to break in and find the evidence she needs. 

I don't think I've read a book set in Africa before and that made this thriller very interesting. Along with the metropolitan cityscape, there was a much darker underbelly, with gangs, racism, gun trade and large class gaps between rich and poor. 

When Tina breaks into Mr Greyhill's office, she is surprised by Michael and he convinces her to let him help and prove his father's innocence. Thus begins a very uneasy partnership, as they search badly written police reports, old photographs and newspaper clippings for anything about Tina's mum's old life and who might have wanted her dead. Their search takes them, and Tina's friend BoyBoy, a hacker expert, back to Tina's home town. 

This book was not at all what I expected and so much better. It was part crime thriller, part social commentary with lots of issues and discussions about race, civil unrest, the dangers for women in wartime (and out of wartime, while we're at it) and gang life. I honestly couldn't bear to put this book down, I desperately wanted to know the truth, for Tina and for Michael. A surprising new favourite that I've already recommended to my family, and a great story that shows the world a little differently.  

Published 6th July 2017 by OneWorld. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 21 July 2017

The Crash by Lisa Drakeford

The Crash

Best friends Sophie and Tye are watching TV when a car crashes through the living room wall. The driver and passenger are twins, Harry and Gemma. Next door neighbour, eleven-year-old Issy, witnesses the accident. In the aftermath, Tye is thrown into a coma, Gemma’s dark past begins to haunt the present, and Sophie starts to fall for Harry – but how can she, when he was the driver who nearly killed her best friend? And Issy, meanwhile, hides a terrible secret... 

Having a car crash through your living room is sure to ruin any moment between best friends. One moment, it was fine and funny, if slightly awkward when Sophie kisses Tye, then the next, there's a car where the wall should be. Everything happens so suddenly, I could feel my ears ringing.

After that moment of truth, as it were, things are very different. Tye is in a coma, Sophie and her family is without a home, and Harry is in the hospital and facing a criminal charge for reckless driving. This was such a good story, having this one fatal event change so many lives so drastically. There are obvious ones, like Tye and Harry's injuries, and Sophie's home, but also Issy doesn't have her friendly neighbour there to help anymore; Sophie develops feelings for the boy who ruined her and Tye's lives; and Gemma is more determined than ever to escape her current life. 

Told between alternating chapters between characters, you see the aftermath of the crash and how everyone picks up the pieces. Gemma's chapters are in the past, in the couple of years before the crash, where you see a dangerous relationship brewing. And poor Issy, the 13 year old neighbour, is a victim of domestic abuse, along with her mother. With no kind neighbours to check on them and chat to, Issy and her mum fall deeper into the dark.

I adored this, it was incredibly dramatic but also real. Sure, it's not every day a car drives through a house but the problems that arrive after, and what the story mostly focuses on, such as new relationships, horrible home lives and family stress, were all, if not normal then at least very realistic. I flew through this, desperate to understand how the crash happened, for a happy ending for Issy, and for Sophie and Harry, and most of all for Tye. A great story that will leave you breathless and frantically checking the front windows!

Published 6th July 2017 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

Maresi (The Red Abbey Chronicles #1)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.

The Red Abbey is proud to be a refuge for girls and women the world over, offering sanctuary and an education to those who come to then leave and make the world a better place. Maresi has been there for years and now considers it home. She and the other girls learn about the world, how to farm and build, and read and write, and their belief system of the Mother goddess. 

It was such a quiet, almost quaint, setting for a fantasy world, and I loved it. Fantasies rarely bother with small-town sort of problems and just getting to know the abbey, known the world over but having no real part in it, was fascinating. 

As it was all women, no men allowed, it really felt like a feminist story; the girls were aware that men can be dangerous but weren't taught to fear them necessarily, just be wary of different cultures. 

Things at the Abbey changed when Jai comes and Maresi tells the story of her arrival and her transition to life in the Abbey. It was an interesting concept, as the story is told as if from memory. It meant that some details were so obviously huge but we got a very clear picture of life and then how that drastically changed when Jai's nightmare comes true.

I was really late to the party with this book but I'm glad I finally got round to it, as I really enjoyed it. The mix of magical fantasy and cruel realism was jarring and dramatic but it really was a story about friendship and girl power, and I loved that. 

Published 14th January 2016 by Puskin. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Blog Tour: The Crash

The CrashToday we have a brilliant guest post from Lisa Drakeford, author of The Baby and The Crash. I adored both of her books, and they are so very different but gripping. Review of The Crash to come soon but right now, I'll hand it over to Lisa.

My Dream Movie Cast for The Crash

Ok, so I’m now the most powerful casting director in the world, because I can currently conjure up actors from any era. It’s a hard life, but somebody’s got to do it. I’m about to find actors who will play the five main characters in The Crash. Obviously they’re available!
Please mop my brow and feed me grapes as I make my decisions ...

Gemma: She’s snippy and prickly but gorgeous. She’s damaged and hard to love, but actually, strangely loving.
And the lucky actress is … Cara Delevingne from Paper Towns.

Tye: He’s strong, he’s funny and he’s a good best friend. He has a few secrets but he’s gradually dealing with them.
This time I’m going for Nathan Stewart Jarrett. He played the delightful Curtis in Misfits; perfect for the part.

Harry: Reliable but guilt ridden. Loyal and artistic. The best brother in the whole wide world and totally submersed in love.
A no-brainer here … Dylan Minnette, the actor who played Clay in Thirteen Reasons Why.

Sophie: A fab best friend but also riddled with guilt. She’s on a mission but gets somewhat distracted. Gets on with life despite some hard knocks.
I’m going for Katelyn Nacon who plays Enid in The Walking Dead. (Obviously she’ll have to change her accent.)

And finally, young Issy: The shyest, quietest member of the cast with the biggest, darkest secret. There’s a depth to Issy which nobody knows about. But eventually the truth has to come out and that’s when she finds her courage.
It’s obviously … Milly Bobby Brown – Eleven from Stranger Things, of course.

So, that was fun. Casting Direction could well be the dreamiest job ever. Is it too late to switch career?

Lisa Drakeford is the acclaimed author of The Baby, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition. Her new novel, The Crash, is out now priced £7.99.

Friday, 7 July 2017

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

When Dimple Met RishiMeet Dimple.

Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi.

He's rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she's got other plans...

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works even harder to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

As joyfully refreshing as Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han and Nicola Yoon, When Dimple Met Rishi is a frothy, funny contemporary romance told from the dual perspectives of two Indian American protagonists. While Dimple is fighting her family traditions, Rishi couldn't be happier to follow in the footsteps of his parents - could sparks fly between this odd couple, or is this matchmaking attempt doomed to fail?

The blogosphere practically blew up when this started making the rounds, everyone loved it and I'm happy to say I did too! Therefore this will be quite a short review as I'm sure you've already heard how amazing and cute and romantic it is.

Dimple and Rishi weren't supposed to meet, but their parents conspired and pushed them together. Rishi went to the same summer programme as Dimple just to meet her but she only wanted to learn. 

There was an overall great perspective of traditional Indian relationships. It was clear that Dimple identified as American but her parents desperately wanted her to be the perfect little Indian daughter. On the other hand, Rishi was more than happy to live up to his parents standards and was proud to carry on their ideals. 

The progress of their relationship, especially after they agree to not go along with the arranged marriage, felt natural and equal. Even though Rishi wanted to settle down and expected Dimple to move her life around his, when they got to know each other, they both realised that they wanted something different. Dimple might have been all about her coding and her career but when she started to care for Rishi, she was willing to give things a try and I was really proud of her. Of both of them, actually, as they changed their dreams when someone new came into their lives. 

As you can probably tell, I loved every second; it was so completely sweet I wanted to hug it! The story was brilliant, the romance was spot on and realistic and so easy to ship, and the characters, the diversity across races and sexualities and backgrounds, were all amazing to read about. One of my new favourite books, easy. 

Published 1st June 2017 by Hodder and Stoughton. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'July 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!

It's the summer! One of my jobs has finished for the summer holiday so I have lots more time off to (hopefully) read and actually do stuff! Well, when I can go outside without pollen attacking my face. 

P.S - I know I am a little late, I usually post these on a Sunday but this week I did a whoopsie and completely forgot! Better late then never, yeah?

On The Blog
Review of Remembrance by Meg Cabot
Review of The Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield
Review of Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
Review of Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Currently Reading
A Girls Guide to Summer by Sarah Mlynowski - I bought myself a physical copy for my collection, even though I had an e-proof so I did have to wait for that to arrive before I could crack on but it is very good so far!

On My Bookshelf
As you can see, I went a little bit mad when I went up to London with my friend Alyce; we found some great books in a couple of charity shops and then went to Non Pratt's event in Waterstones and bought Tom and Lucy's new book Freshers! I read it in two days, it was brilliant, as expected, but be warned about reading it in public - I laughed out loud in the quiet coach on a train and got some funny looks!

I also got this month: Hidden Among Us by Katy Moran (bought off Faye - thanks Faye!) and Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, which I am beyond excited for.

True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop (Lonely Hearts Bookshop #2)True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
Verity Love – Jane Austen fangirl, manager of London’s first romance-only bookshop Happy Ever, and an introvert in a world of extroverts – is perfectly happy on her own (thank you very much), and quite happy hiding in the office and lying to her friends about her fictional boyfriend Peter, whose presence is very useful for getting her out of social events.

But when a case of mistaken identity forces her to introduce a perfect stranger as her boyfriend, Verity’s life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Because ‘Peter’ is actually Johnny, and he too could use a fictional girlfriend. So against her better judgement and because she can't stand sitting on the sad singles table, Verity and Johnny decide to partner up for a summer season of weddings, big number birthdays and garden parties, culminating in her sister’s Big Fat Wedding.

And by the end of the summer, there’s a bad case of heartache that even Verity’s beloved Pride And Prejudice might not be able to cure…

I adored Annie's first book The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts and am really excited about getting back into this book lovers world. Thank you Harper and Netgalley!

A Change is Gonna Come by et al
A Change Is Gonna ComeFeaturing top Young Adult authors alongside a host of exciting new talent, this anthology of stories and poetry from BAME writers on the theme of change is a long-overdue addition to the YA scene. Contributors include Tanya Byrne, Inua Ellams, Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Ayisha Malik, Irfan Master, Musa Okwonga and Nikesh Shukla.

Plus introducing four fresh new voices in YA fiction: Mary Bello, Aisha Bushby, Yasmin Rahman and Phoebe Roy.

I've just been approved for this so I am very excited! I don't really know what the stories are going to be about but with names like these, I'm looking forward to finding out! Thank you Stripes and Netgalley!

July TBR
I'm going to be slowly making my way through the new books I bought myself, but as usual my review books take priority as they are both coming out in August. Let me know what you're planning on reading this month and if you have any summer holiday plans!

Friday, 30 June 2017

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

GeekerellaPart romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Elle has inherited her love of cult classic TV show Starfield from her dad - her parents met at a con, they cosplayed the main couple from the show, and then Elle used to watch it with her dad after her mum died. But when her dad then died, her step-mother bans it from the house, makes all of their memorabilia disappear and insults Elle and her dad for enjoying that stupid show. 

I thought with a nerdy Cinderella re-telling, the fairy tale elements would be stretched or unlikely. But right from the off, you could see the recognisable traits in a modern and believable setting. Elle just wants to enjoy her favourite show and hope that the reboot movie doesn't crush her soul, or that Darien would ruin her beloved Starfield. Darien, meanwhile, desperately wants to do Carmindor justice, having been a huge fan all his life too. 

I could tell this was going to be good because there were references to Doctor Who, Star Trek and Firefly in first few pages! It really was a love letter to nerd life - there was no fan-bashing (although some great comments about excessive fans, ambushing or stalking their - for want of a better word - prize), it was all about the community of cons and how you meet and recognise familiar faces and make a family in those who love something you do. 

I adored this whole story, from Elle and her desperate need to escape but also do her dad proud, to Darien and his catapult to fame and fortune. It was funny and quirky and so damn sweet, especially seeing not just Elle but one of her step-sisters stand up to the "evil step-mother". It really was a story about being true to you and not letting fear or someone else's expectations get in your way.

Published 4th April 2017 by Quirk Books.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Top Ten Books of the Year So Far!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

There is no way I could put these in any actual order of favourites so they are in order I read them. I've also kept it exclusive to 2017 releases, just to keep from going mental.

Unconventional1 - Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt
What can I say about this book that I haven't already gushed over? It was a brilliant love letter to cons and nerd life and falling in love with someone exceptional.

2 - Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
There was so many amazing things about this book, but what I look back on is two main things: the adorable romance and the incredible diversity.

3 - The Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury
The epic finale to Mel's Sin Eater's Daughter trilogy took my breath away and scared me beyond belief! Which I'm sure was her desired effect.

4 - The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli
Again, great love story - actually a few of them - and great diversity. Just all around smooshiness in this book, which is my favourite thing ever.

Doing It!: Let's Talk About Sex5 - Doing It! by Hannah Witton
I adore Hannah's YouTube videos and her voice is funny and refreshing and sometimes embarrassingly honest. Chock full of information that sex-ed just didn't get to or bother with.

6 - Truth of Dare by Non Pratt
I just wrote my review for this book last week and I still can't find the words for how incredible Non's teenage characters are. Both were just brilliant and so funny and lifelike that I wanted to smack and hug them both at various intervals. 

7 - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
When Dimple Met RishiAnother love letter to geek life! I'm sensing a theme here... This one was a Cinderella retelling, which I thought might be a stretch but actually worked perfectly. So cute and can definitely see myself re-reading every year.

8 - When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
This is everyone's favourite book of the year and I am no exception! Funny, cute and all kinds of adorkable.

Ok, so my list is only 8 books long - I'm still happy with that! My reading has been really weird this year so these 8 amazing books from the 50-odd I've read so far, I'm counting that as a win.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Told in two halves, between Claire and Sef, and sort of before and after, we see how both of them grow closer together but also grow as an internet sensation.

Claire has just started volunteering at the local hospital, reading to patients. Her first and main one is Kam, who had a terrible accident that left him in a coma for days. When she bumps into Sef, Kam's younger brother, they are both desperate to do something to help. Only problem is that he needs thousands of pounds to continue with his care and they only have 6 months to raise it.

Both clever and sad, Sef and Claire use the power of social media to raise awareness of their cause but get increasing drastic and dangerous as their deadline looms. I loved the use of YouTube and the under belly of the internet, as they encounter trolls, bullying and dangerous suggestions for dares. It was also lovely and diverse, as Claire's best friend is asexual and Sef's family is... argh, I can't remember but basically non-white (there was a great line about where he's from: "Britain, duh") which also opens them up to nasty comments, both in person and online.

Even though they are trying desperately to raise money for Kam's care, lots of other little issues crop up without feeling overbearing. Things like family, love and sexuality, but also racism, body confidence and disability, both Claire and Sef had to deal with as they get more out of control and reckless in their attempts to raise money. 

All in all, this was a fantastic book, an amazing story about love and sacrifice that had my heart in my throat and/or tears in my eyes. Non has once again proven she can write realistic but brilliant teenagers from all walks of life.

Published 1st June 2017 by Walker. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Top Ten Series I Would Start If Not For Other Things

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is something we all have in common: a list of series that we said we were going to read but somehow haven't yet. For whatever reason, the intention is there but the physical books haven't reached our hands yet. I did this list a few years back and a few of them are still on today's list. Whoops!

Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)1 - Across the Universe by Beth Revis
This is one from the previous list and I really have no idea why I haven't picked this up, I mean it's set in space!

2 - Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Another one from the previous list and again, I have no good reason for not reading it yet. Shame on me.

3 - Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Argh, why have I not read this yet? Honestly, I think this might have passed me by and now my tastes are different, I won't like it.

4 - Blue by Lisa Glass
Heard great things about this series but I cannot find it anyway physically, and honestly, as a non-sporty person, will a book about surfing put me off? Still want to read it though, especially in this heat!

Giant Days, Vol. 1 (Giant Days, #1)5 - Giant Days by John Allison
Whoo, a graphic novel made the list! This is one book that I am desperate to get my hands on, it's a graphic novel set in university, and the only reason I haven't read it yet is because my comic book shop don't have it in stock!

6 - The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke
Just a duology but another that I haven't been able to spy in bookshelves so never remember to buy it. Want to though, it's assassins and pirates, I'm happy!

7 - Wool by Hugh Howey
This is one that is supposed to be for fans of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but it's such a big series! I mean, it's only 3 books but all are over 500 pages!

8 - Defiance by CJ Redwine
Rivers of London (Peter Grant, #1)We have a copy of this in the library where I work and every time I tidy that area, I eye it up but haven't picked it up yet. I don't know why, maybe I'm just not really feeling dystopians at the moment, but some day!

9 - Rivers of London by Ben Aaronvitch
A friend of mine hails these books and they sounds incredible but once again, I fail at picking up books! Even though they sound right up my alley, I mean it's magic in London, come on!

10 - Soulless by Gail Carriger
This is definitely more my speed with magic in regency times but it's not something I come across on bookshelves very often so I haven't had a chance to pick it up yet. 

Friday, 16 June 2017

Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield

Flight of a StarlingRita and Lo, sisters and best friends, have spent their lives on the wing – flying through the air in their trapeze act, never staying in one place for long. Behind the greasepaint and the glitter, they know that the true magic is the family they travel with.

Until Lo meets a boy. Suddenly, she wants nothing more than to stay still. And as secrets start to tear apart the close-knit circus community, how far will Lo go to keep her feet on the ground?

Heathfield's third novel tells of two sisters who are used to sharing everything - until Lo falls for a flattie. Living in a travelling circus, the girls can't get attached or do more than flirt with the locals. But in one little town, a local lad has caught Lo's eye and makes her realise that there is more to life than the circus.

I adored this story, I thought it was beautifully simplistic in its passion for a normal life. I reminded me of Seed in the theme of exploring a different world, a different normal, but more subtle as of course the circus needs their audience. This need for a different normal was driven by Lo, the younger sister, as she starts to daydream about having a garden and a steady home, possibly with Dean. But her family means so much to her that she couldn't abandon them. 

The narrative still had Heathfield's signature beautiful writing, especially as she describes the trapeze and that sense of freedom when they preform. In fact the descriptions of the magic of the circus were incredible. But it wouldn't be a Heathfield novel without a twist and this time it was a doozy! The ending really made me cry, not just because it was sad (it was) but because it was so powerful. The whole story was, and it was amazing.

Published 29th June 2017 by Electric Monkey. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

It's A Father's Day Special!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This was a surprisingly difficult topic; it turns out that there are even less good fathers than there is good mothers in the books I read! I did find a few great examples and this list will not be any particular order.

Because You'll Never Meet Me (Because You'll Never Meet Me #1)1 - Mr Farber and Dr Auburn-Stache in Because You'll Never Meet Me
My first choice is a twofer, as they are in the same book. First, Moritz's adopted father is incredible because he rescued a little boy with weird abilities and a broken heart from his awful mother. Second, the doctor acts not only as healer for Ollie but also friend and only link to the outside world. They are both men who did not father these boys but look after them as if they had.

2 - Dad in One Italian Summer
Even though he's recently died, the girls' father is still such a huge part of their family, especially on their first family holiday to Italy since he passed.

3 - Art in Fangirl
Single parenting twin girls through their mother leaving and then puberty can be no easy feat. But Art manages it. Although there are times when the girls seem to be doing most of the looking after, they are a tight knit family.

4 - Tom in The Last Beginning
I talked about Jen parenting Clove when Katherine and Matthew are off being stuck in time or prison or whatever, and the same stands for Tom, Matthew's brother. He really steps up for the family and Clove, and is a great dad full of good advice and programming skills.
Pride and Prejudice

5 - Mr Bennet in Pride and Prejudice
He might not say much but Mr Bennet is the strong structure at the heart of his family, staying calm in the face of his wife's hysterics and his daughters' drama.

6 - Arthur Weasley in Harry Potter
I can't not mention Mr Weasley! Not only is he a great dad to his huge family but also to Harry, and even Hermione and the rest of the Order. He does good work and is passionate about his job and about doing good with the Order.

7 - Hans Hubermann in The Book Thief
TroubleHerr Hubermann is kind and brave for taking in little Leisel but also protecting a friend's son, a Jew, from raids. He teaches Leisel how to read and write, he plays one wicked accordion and is willing to go against the Nazis, in small ways.

8 - Aaron in Trouble
This adorable lad is willing to say he is Hannah's baby daddy, to help her and save her face from admitting who the baby really belongs to.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Remembrance by Meg Cabot

All Susannah Simon wants is to make a good impression at her first job since graduating from college (and since becoming engaged to Dr. Jesse de Silva). But when she’s hired as a guidance counselor at her alma mater, she stumbles across a decade-old murder, and soon ancient history isn’t all that’s coming back to haunt her. Old ghosts as well as new ones are coming out of the woodwork, some to test her, some to vex her, and it isn’t only because she’s a mediator, gifted with second sight.

What happens when old ghosts come back to haunt you?
If you’re a mediator, you might have to kick a little ass.

From a sophomore haunted by the murderous specter of a child to ghosts of a very different kind—including Paul Slater, Suze’s ex, who shows up to make a bargain Suze is certain must have come from the Devil himself—Suze isn’t sure she’ll make it through the semester, let alone to her wedding night. Suze is used to striking first and asking questions later. But what happens when ghosts from her past—including one she found nearly impossible to resist—strike first?

I adored the Mediator series, it was so very funny and what originally drew me to paranormal books, so I was beyond excited to see how Suze had grown up. This time around, nearly ten years later, Suze has another ghost to wrangle, this time of a little girl clinging to her best friend, harming anyone who would hurt her, all the while trying to keep her job and plan her wedding to the gorgeous and very much alive Jesse de Silva.

Jesse was as cool and kind and handsome as I remember! Being bought back from the dead has clearly done wonders for him! Training to be a doctor, what he wanted to be if his father hadn't stopped him, Jesse had embraced modern life and his future with Suze. I mean, he still has old-fashioned values pertaining to certain intimacies that drives Suze bonkers, but apart from that, their life together is shaping up quite nicely. Until the devil returns.

Paul is back in Suze's life and she is not happy about it. I don't know how I feel about the fact that he hasn't changed much; when he was a teenager and all moody and self-obsessed, we could blame hormones, but as a mid-20 year old, he's just obnoxious and dangerously narcissistic. When he says that he'll help Suze with the so-called demon living inside Jesse but only if she sleeps with him, I practically shouted at the book. That's blackmail and not to mention a horrible thing to do! Paul really needs some help learning a little empathy.

I'm not going to talk about the plot too much, because in true Cabot fashion, the two sides of the story intertwine a bit. Plus I really wouldn't want to spoilt anything! I will say, however, that it definitely lives up to the rest of the series. I could tell how much time had passed, and although Suze still had her sarcastic voice and liked to punch first, talk later, she had definitely grown up. She was training to be a child psychologist, meaning she could help the living and the dead better, and for that I was beyond proud of her.

This was such a great read, both new and nostalgic, and full of Cabot's trademark wit and drama. A great ending to what will always be one of favourite series.

Published 2nd February 2016 by William Morrow Paperbacks.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

A Few Books to be Welcomed to My TBR

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is books of a certain genre that we've recently added to our TBR. So I thought I'd talk about the great contemporary books that are on my TBR or my wishlist - because summer reading, for me, is all about the realistic stories.

1 - The Crash by Lisa Drakeford
Coming out in July, I do already have a copy (Thanks Chicken House!) so luckily I don't have to wait long to read it! Another multiple-perspectives story, this time with a darker twist as the five teens tell of the time a car crashed through a living room window. 

2 - Geekerella by Ashley Poston
I've heard great things about this story, despite its strange cover, so I picked up a copy this past weekend and am really excited about a modern nerdy Cinderella re-telling.

Truth or Dare3 - Truth of Dare by Non Pratt
I'm actually reading this at the moment but I couldn't not have it on this list, as it is a great example of not only contemporary YA but also UKYA.

4 - The Girl's Guide to Summer by Sarah Mlynowski
I adored Sarah's past books, they are so refreshingly funny and light hearted and perfect for a sunny day. Unfortunately we don't have a lot of those over here so I'll have to settle by reading about them in a backpacking trip through Europe.

5 - True Love at the Lonely Hearts Bookshop by Annie Darling
The long-awaited sequel/companion novel to The Little Bookshop of Lonely Hearts. This time following Verity's story on the path to true love, this will be the perfect fluffy rom-com to make me smile.
When Dimple Met Rishi

6 - When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon 
This is going to be on all of my wishlists until I finally get my hands on it!

7 - Becoming Betty by Eleanor Wood
I'm hoping that Eleanor's new book will be on a similar vein to her previous book My Secret Rockstar Boyfriend, because that was hilarious. Anyway, her new one is all about starting afresh for college and discovering music and reinventing yourself - sounds great.

8 - No Filter by Orlagh Collins
Coming out in July, this sounds kinda similar to Katie McGarry's novels and I love hers so I've got high hopes! Basically, after Emerald's mother is found unconscious in the bathroom, Emerald is shipped off to Ireland to her grandmother's, where she meets and falls for Liam. Only problem is, does she share the secrets she is running from and so used to hiding?

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Weekly Highlights: the 'June 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!

May seemed really busy to me; work was hectic, reading once again took a back seat but at least the month ended with a week off for half term! 

On The Blog
Review of One Italian Summer by Keris Stainton
Review of The Circus by Olivia Levez
Review of Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas
Review of A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

Currently Reading
Flight of a Starling by Lisa Heathfield - at time of writing, I'm not quite half way through but already it seems a different feel to her other books, in a good way.

On My Bookshelf
Truth or DareTruth or Dare by Non Pratt
How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

The Waking Land by Callie Bates
The Waking LandIt's been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father's rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she's come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again... but this time by her father's mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna's veins. Now she must decide which side she's on, and whether she'll use her powers for mercy... or revenge.

Both of these are from Illumicrate and both I'm really looking forward to! Non's books are always great and The Waking Land sounds different and magical.

The Girl's Guide to Summer by Sarah Mlynowski
The Girl's Guide to SummerSydney Aarons is leaving her Manhattan townhouse for a summer backpacking around Europe with her best friend, Leela. They're visiting London, France, Italy, Switzerland and everywhere in between - it's going to be the trip of a lifetime.

BUT... The trip gets off to a bad start when Leela's ex-boyfriend shows up on their flight out of JFK. When they touch down in London, Leela Instagrams their every move in the hope Matt will come and find them... Which he does, along with the most gorgeous guy Sydney has ever seen.

Will Sydney's summer fling last the distance? And what will happen when they all head home?

I adore Sarah's books and even though the formatting on this version was a bitch to download, I'm really excited to be laughing at her characters and stories again. Thank you Netgalley and Orchard Books!

The Crash by Lisa Drakeford
The CrashBest friends Sophie and Tye are watching TV when a car crashes through the living room wall. The driver and passenger are twins, Harry and Gemma. Next door neighbour, eleven-year-old Issy, witnesses the accident. In the aftermath, Tye is thrown into a coma, Gemma’s dark past begins to haunt the present, and Sophie starts to fall for Harry – but how can she, when he was the driver who nearly killed her best friend? And Issy, meanwhile, hides a terrible secret... 

I really liked her first book The Baby so I'm looking forward to her mix of characters with something a bit darker. Thank you Chicken House!

City of Saints & ThievesCity of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C Anderson
Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

A little something different, I wanted to read about a different place in the world and the Congo is pretty new to me. Thank you Oneworld!

June TBR
Definitely starting with Truth or Dare! Also this month I need to read my review books, starting with A Girl's Guide to Summer and City of Saints and Thieves. Let me know what you're planning on reading this month!

Friday, 2 June 2017

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

Before we start, this is going to be short, because if you want to read this then you would have by now, and it will also be full of spoilers, as it is the third book in a series.

Ok, let's go! With all the drama around SJM's characters, worlds, whitewashing and flighty females, I can see how she tried to address and correct these issues in this book. Feyre and Rhys were still going strong and was, in my opinion, a great example of a healthy relationship. After what Tamlin did to her, Rhys clearly states that he views and wants to treat Feyre as an equal. Yes, he wants to protect and shield her, but if she wants to do something then he's not going to stop her just because he thinks it's too dangerous. 

We see much more of the world in this instalment, with a congregation of the Courts to deal with the Hybern issue. Here, we see different skin colours, different powers and varying sexuality's at play. Not only did I really appreciate the diversity but also the banter was legendary! Anyway, back to the world-building, we also saw elements of different mythologies as folk tales and legends for the magical explanations. 

There was a lot to love in this book, as I was quite worried going in! The tension was building throughout most of the story, as Hybern's forces were gathering, allies weren't forming and the Wall between the Fae and human world was weakening. All this accumulated into the epic battle finale, where I definitely cried on two occasions! I think as a conclusion for Rhys and Feyre's story, I really liked it. A lot of loose threads were tied up but enough left open for other character's stories to be explored. 

Published 2nd May 2017 by Bloomsbury.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Top Ten Most Anticipated Read of July-Dec '17

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish.

Here is my list of books I am dying to get my hands on, in the second half of this year. Apparently, and luckily I guess, most of them come out in the summer, so I won't have that long to wait! Let me know if you share any of these on your wishlists, or if there's something else you're dying to read asap!

Now I Rise (The Conqueror's Saga, #2)Now I Rise by Kiersten White - 6th July
The sequel to the absolutely amazing And I Darken where Vlad Dracul is re-imagined as a girl. We're finally getting into the gritty teenage years with Lada and I really want to see the details of her growing up into the notorious and deadly leader we know as Dracula. 

Songs About Us by Christ Russell - 13th July
The complete opposite of the above, this is the sequel to Songs About A Girl, with more boy band drama and first love heartache. 

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon - 13th July
The debut that everyone has been raving about! I'm really excited about this one, I've heard amazing things and I'm looking forward to a different perspective on first love when talking about traditional arranged marriage.

Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo - 29th August
Ahhh! Do I really need to say more? First the film and now this book - I am over-joyed by this female-led superhero overall.

Freshers by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison - August
The Loneliest Girl in the UniverseI really liked Lobsters and Never Evers but now Tom and Lucy's new collab is set in university and I don't think I've ever been more excited for a new adult-style rom-com!

The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James - 7th September
After The Next Together duology, I have high hopes for Lauren's next project, which is set in space! Colour me sold!

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff - 7th September
Sequel to Nevernight, which I adored even though it was pretty heavy and confusing. The world of dangerous assassins and dark magic was brilliant though, and I can't wait to find out what Mia does next on her quest for vengeance.

The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co., #5)The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud - 28th September
The finale to the insanely-good series, where all questions on the skull, on the ghost problem and hopefully Lockwood and Lucy will be answered!

The Fandom by Anna Day - 5th October 
When die-hard fans are mysteriously transported into the world they love, can their knowledge help them survive? Hardcore fans, comic cons and sci-fi worlds, I am so there!

Renegades by Marissa Meyer - 7th November
And finally, we have Marissa Meyer's next book, all about futuristic robots, justice and cool super powers. It sounds a little more like her Lunar Chronicles, which is clearly where she shines, but I'm not sure if it's getting published over here, so the date might be off.