This book left me feeling giddy with joy! It's a wonderfully imaginative reimagining of what happened after Dorothy saved Oz and helped to ensure that...moreThis book left me feeling giddy with joy! It's a wonderfully imaginative reimagining of what happened after Dorothy saved Oz and helped to ensure that the Tin Man got a heart, the Scarecrow a brain and the Lion his courage. I love The Wizard of Oz. I've seen the musical countless times and my heart always feels lighter after I've watched Judy Garland skip along that yellow brick road. I'm also a huge fan of Gregory Maguire's Wicked books, so anything to do with Oz lore and I'm your girl. I adored every page of Dorothy Must Die and I never wanted it to end. This is a book which I will be picking up to read over and over again and it's one of my top reads of the year.
The main character Amy Gumm is swept away to Oz by a tornado, only to find that everything she had assumed about Dorothy and co from the books and movies is completely wrong. Dorothy is sucking the magic out of the land and the boundaries between good and wicked have become blurred. Amy doesn't know who she can trust and soon finds herself becoming embroiled in the politics of Oz as she is recruited to be the girl who will kill the famous Dorothy. Wow, if that plot doesn't make you want to immediately run out and the door and grab yourself a copy of this book then I don't know what will. The storyline was amazing and brilliantly combined so many of the elements of Oz that were familiar to me, while at the same time, turning everything on it's head.
There are some truly wonderful characters in the book. I loved Ollie the monkey and the kindly witch Gert who is a member of the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. I also thought Amy was fantastic and such a likeable heroine. Prepare yourself though for finding out what Glinda is really like and get ready to run and hide when the Lion, who is now quite frankly terrifying, arrives on the scene.
I was enthralled in the story from start to finish. I can't believe Danielle Paige left readers hanging at the end where she did but this has only fuelled my desire to read the sequel even more. There is also an e-book prequel novella called 'No Place Like Oz' which I will definitely be buying.
Fans of Oz MUST get their hands on this book. I can't recommend it highly enough. The writing is lush and original and the narrative just carried me away. I now have a desire to dye my hair pink and get a plucky rat sidekick. Sheer brilliance in a book! (less)
Warning: this book will leave your nerves in shreds!
This is the third book in the series about unlikely hero Finn Maguire. Left in a dangerous predica...moreWarning: this book will leave your nerves in shreds!
This is the third book in the series about unlikely hero Finn Maguire. Left in a dangerous predicament at the end of 'Incinerator', Finn has to try and save the girl he cares about while also attempting to extract himself from the growing feud between the Guvnor and the Turk - two of the most dangerous criminals you could ever have the misfortune to meet.
I have really come to admire Finn over the course of the series. He relies on his wits and nerves but he also has an inbuilt survival instinct which always seems to see him remain intact even in the midst of the most precarious and potentially deadly situations. He does take some punishment but he can also dish it out when needed! Niall Leonard seems to revel in putting Finn in the path of danger and the plot fairly hurtles along as he struggles to always stay one step ahead. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through as I was extremely worried that he might get killed off.
Nerve wracking, tense and full of suspense there are so many nail-biting moments in 'Shredder' that I recommend you read it in one sitting. I know that I couldn't put it down for even a second. It's well plotted and peppered with so many unexpected surprises that there was a continuous sense of danger throughout the whole book.
And oh that ending! I want to talk about it so much but my lips are sealed because I am absolutely determined not to spoil it for anyone but oh, Niall Leonard, you know how to put your readers through the wringer!
The Crusher series has been one of my favourites of late and I really don't want to say goodbye to Finn. A brilliant set of books which will appeal to both male and female readers, I love how tough and gritty and exciting they are. (less)
Set in 1989, this series was originally published in the eighties. Janet Quin-Harkin was a huge favourite of mine when I was a teenager and so I was t...moreSet in 1989, this series was originally published in the eighties. Janet Quin-Harkin was a huge favourite of mine when I was a teenager and so I was thrilled at the news that the Heartbreak Café series was being republished for a whole new audience of readers. I thought that the story might feel a little dated considering it's over twenty years old but it didn't at all. It deals with so many universal themes which will resonate with teens today, such as trying to become independent and find your own way in life, juggling the demands of school and friends with a part-time job and facing the trauma of parental divorce, that it still feels as fresh and new as when it was first written.
'No Experience Required' centres around Debbie, whose parents have just split up. Finding it hard to cope with a mother who has decided to go back to school, Debbie decides to get a part-time job. When she stumbles across the Heartbreak Café her mind is made-up that this is where she's going to work, even though she has never flipped a burger in her entire life. She begins to work alongside the gorgeous Joe and they develop a bit of a love/hate relationship. But with sparks flying between them, could their wisecracks mean something more?
I adored the Heartbreak Café gang. There's cool Joe who all the girls are head over heels in love with, Ashley and her penchant for chocolate, plus geeky Howard and carefree Art. They are such a great gang that I wanted to scoot over on a stool, with a dish of chocolate madness in front of me and join in with all their fun.
If you're looking for hot and sizzling then you won't find it here but what you do get is a sweet, clean teen series where the romance is innocent and you won't catch the characters using any expletives, not even when things get steamy in the kitchen. It's such a refreshing change that I enjoyed kicking back and delighting in a wonderful slice of nostalgia.
I can't wait for the rest of the series to be published. Next up is 'The Main Attraction'. Will Debbie and Joe ever become a couple? You'll have to wait and see. (less)
'Flashes' was originally released in three instalments as a hugely successful e-book. Now appearing in print for the first time, I'm not sure if I wou...more'Flashes' was originally released in three instalments as a hugely successful e-book. Now appearing in print for the first time, I'm not sure if I would have been able to stand the suspense if I wasn't able to sit down and consume the whole book in one go. It was utterly gripping and a brilliant addition to the YA crime genre which keeps getting hotter and hotter!
British author Tim O'Rourke's day job is a policeman which meant that I felt assured from the start that all the details about the police force and the way in which they investigated the crimes in the book were absolutely authentic.
The main character, seventeen year old Charley, has flashes. She has suffered from them as long as she can remember but after the death of her best friend Natalie, they start to become more vivid. Charley is able to see through the eyes of victims of murders. She can see their final minutes. Desperate to prove to her father that the flashes are real, she sets out to investigate the death of a local girl called Kerry, wanting to show that she's not going mad or suffering from an overactive imagination. She ends up assisting a young police officer called Tom but what she begins to uncover is far more frightening than she could ever have predicted.
The point of view of each chapter alternates between Charley and Tom, showing events unfolding through their eyes. I thought this was a clever way of showing how Tom has to try to rationalise what is happening to his superiors and where all his leads are coming from, where as Charley has nothing to guide her but her instinct.
'Flashes' was a really thrilling read. I did guess the culprit quite early on in the book, although there were a lot of false leads thrown in, but I was still very surprised at some of the revelations which were revealed at the end. Also although I was correct in my assumption about who was responsible, I had no idea about what the motive could be.
This book is YA crime at it's best! I was glued to the fast-paced story and to Charley's need to unravel the truth no matter what the cost. I'm so pleased that there will be more in the series because I can't wait to see what cases Charley and Tom will investigate next. (less)
I don't review many non-fiction books on my blog but anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge baking fan and am absolutely hooked on the Great Bri...moreI don't review many non-fiction books on my blog but anyone that knows me, knows that I am a huge baking fan and am absolutely hooked on the Great British Bake Off. I was extremely excited to get my hands on Cathryn's new book as I was rooting for her to win Bake Off season 3. It's great to see the success she's had since appearing on the show and I couldn't wait to have a go at making all of her lovely recipes.
'Let's Bake' is aimed at encouraging baking with your family. There are recipes to suit all levels of bakers, from those just starting out to those who feel more confident in the kitchen. The book is divided into four sections, each one encompassing a different season and incorporating some gorgeous seasonal recipes. For example in Autumn when the blackberry bushes are straining under the weight of all those ripe, juicy berries, why not have a go at making Cathryn's drop scones with bramble butter and fresh blackberries. I know I'll be trying this one out!
Each recipe is very easy to follow and the layout is extremely clear with handy step-by-step photos to lend a helping hand. Even the more challenging recipes look achievable with some handy tips to ensure that your all your bakes turn out perfect.
Some of my favourite recipes so far include the malty moon custard biscuits, the gorgeous easy feta cheese triangles and the sweetcorn and chorizo cornbread muffins. I would recommend following Cathryn's advice on the latter and eating them warm straight out of the oven. I also can't wait to make the beautiful white rabbit cake, as well as the cheese and chive biscuits in the shape of little mice. I think children would love these.
A round of applause to Cathryn for writing such a wonderful baking book. My copy is already splattered with flour but isn't that always a sign of a well-used and well-loved recipe book. I'm looking forward to whipping up lots more of these delicious looking recipes and I'm sure my family will enjoy eating them! (less)
Abbi Glines can do no wrong and with 'Rush Too Far' she treats all of us Rosemary Beach fans by taking us back to the beginning of Rush and Blaire's r...moreAbbi Glines can do no wrong and with 'Rush Too Far' she treats all of us Rosemary Beach fans by taking us back to the beginning of Rush and Blaire's romance. We get to see events unfold from the point of view of Rush as he meets Blaire for the first time and falls ridiculously head over heels in love with her.
I have to say that at no point did the story feel repetitive, even though I already knew what the outcome was going to be. There were some new scenes featuring Rush which I loved and I particularly enjoyed the fact that even when he was trying to make Blaire dislike him, he was secretly already falling for her and falling hard. It was great to see how much he changes to become a better person for Blaire and the type of person that she can be proud to stand beside. He hasn't always made good decisions in the past but he determines that he will do better and be better and he really manages to turn his life around.
It was such a treat to see of my favourite scenes again from Rush's perspective. I am obsessed with the infamous 'peanut butter' kitchen scene which causes him to constantly want to watch Blaire eat (so sweet!) and I also love it when he sees her in her cowboy boots for the first time. No one else can leave him lost for words like Blaire can. It was also great to see how sweet and caring Rush was towards Blaire. Although he has been a big womaniser and has a chequered past, he comes such a long way in managing to put that firmly behind him.
Although I was already a big Rush fan, I think this book definitely gave me a greater understanding of his character and I ended up liking him even more than before. Although I don't agree with a few of the things he does in the first part of the book, I found that I was able to more easily put that to one side this time around. He and Blaire are such a wonderful couple and I loved getting to read their story again. It was truly magical! (less)
'Blue' by UK author Lisa Glass sounded on paper like the perfect summer read with plenty of sun, sand and romance. I was looking forward to starting i...more'Blue' by UK author Lisa Glass sounded on paper like the perfect summer read with plenty of sun, sand and romance. I was looking forward to starting it but although there were some things I really liked about this book, there were other aspects which left me feeling a bit flat by the end of the story.
I loved the UK setting and the fact that I knew so many of the places mentioned in the book from Newquay and Exeter to the gorgeous Fistral Beach. I could almost imagine walking along the beach and dipping my toes into the water. Lisa Glass did an excellent job of capturing the beauty of the characters' surroundings and I felt completely transported as I was reading.
I normally really enjoy books which feature sports in some kind of way but I have to admit that I've never been a big fan of water sports and I felt at times like there was just too much surfing lingo in the book. This didn't particularly grab me and I felt took some of the focus away from the relationships between the characters.
I thought that Iris was an extremely likeable main character but I didn't fall for Zeke who is a surf champion who she meets at the beginning of the book. Instead of being a full on romance between the two, the story is more about their love of the ocean and their passion for surfing. The lure of the waves is something that neither of them can resist. I missed the sparks and sizzle which I normally enjoy between the two protagonists but if you like your romance sweet and clean that this might well be for you.
The ending was very exciting and the pace of the story stepped up a notch but it wasn't quite enough to get me to fall in love with 'Blue' like I had been expecting to. I originally thought that this was a standalone but the sequel is due to be published by Quercus later in the year. (less)
'White Trash Beautiful' is a gorgeous book which really tugged at my heartstrings. I found it very moving and emotional and I got quite weepy in place...more'White Trash Beautiful' is a gorgeous book which really tugged at my heartstrings. I found it very moving and emotional and I got quite weepy in places. It's best read with a big box of tissues beside you.
The story revolves around the main character Cass who is desperate to turn her life around. She scrimps and saves but fears that with a drug addict boyfriend and a dependant mother, she will never be able to escape her dead end job in a small town diner and her trailer park home. Things are bleak for Cass until Tucker waltzes into her life and brings with him hopes and dreams for the future that she had never dared imagine. I really felt sorry for Cass. She tries to keep things together and tries to do the right thing but her life is so awful and she feels a misplaced sense of gratitude towards her boyfriend Jackson which means that she doesn't kick him to the curb like I thought she should have. It's Cass that keeps things afloat for the people in her life but she can't help but dream of something more.
I loved Tucker and I was rooting for him and Cass from the start. He truly is like a knight in shining armour to her and I appreciated the fact that he was defensive of her right from the start of their relationship. Their romance is gradual but like a fairy tale to Cass and provides her with the escape from reality that she needs. I wish she could have believed in herself a little more though as at times she seemed far too hard on herself and didn't think that she deserved any more than she already had.
This is my first Teresa Mummert book and I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. 'White Trash Beautiful' is a gritty, realistic romance which features characters who have to fight against the odds to be together but who you'll be desperate to see together. I am so happy that this is only the first book in a trilogy about Cass and Tucker because I want to see much more of them and I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that they get the happy ever after that they both deserve. (less)
'Searching for Someday' is a sparkling romance with a slight touch of the paranormal. I absolutely loved it and it made for the perfect weekend read....more'Searching for Someday' is a sparkling romance with a slight touch of the paranormal. I absolutely loved it and it made for the perfect weekend read. It's the first in a new series which I will definitely be following. It's also my first Jennifer Probst book and as I enjoyed it so much I will now be trying to get my hands on her back catalogue.
This title really fits into the adult romance genre rather than new-adult. The characters are all in their thirties and have successful careers which often seem to stand in their way of finding love. The story centres around Kate, who owns a match-making business with her friends called Kinnections. Kate has inherited the ability to tell from a single touch if a couple are destined to be soul mates. This comes in handy when she's pairing together members of the opposite sex but so far hasn't helped her to find her own Mr Right.
Kate undertakes the challenge of finding a match for divorce lawyer Slade Montgomery who is more than a touch cynical about the whole process of finding love. Their relationship starts off on rocky ground but soon sparks start to fly. The question is, will Kate deny their connection or has she found her own soul mate? I loved the way in which Jennifer Probst kept the sexual tension high between Kate and Slade. They have bantering down to a fine art and the attraction they share is evident right from the first time they meet, but instead of giving into their feelings, they dance around each other and refuse to acknowledge how they feel. Their romance kept me on the edge of my seat and their scenes together nearly set the pages of my book on fire!
I loved the underlying theme in the book of not giving up on others, even if they are struggling with personal demons. We all need somebody to believe in us. This is no where more in evidence than in the bond that Kate shares with her rescue dog Robert. He was absolutely adorable. I'm not kidding you, you will fall in love with him! He steals every scene he's in and made me laugh, smile and cry.
I'm dying to read the second book in the series, 'Searching For Perfect' which is about Kate's best-friend Kennedy. I don't know how I'm going to stand the wait! (less)
Fast-paced, bloody and unflinchingly brutal, 'Run' is a book you will not be able to put down. It is a scary and terrifying suspense thriller which wi...moreFast-paced, bloody and unflinchingly brutal, 'Run' is a book you will not be able to put down. It is a scary and terrifying suspense thriller which will keep you on your toes the whole way through.
Rylee and her younger brother Hayden go on the run after their father is murdered and their mother disappears. They have been trained for this but nothing could have prepared Rylee for the truth she is about to discover. A truth which will change her whole life forever. I had my theories at the start about Rylee and her family and why they had moved so many times and assumed different identities but I was so wide of the mark that my original thoughts seem ridiculous now. The actual reason behind it all was utterly terrifying and shocking and very, very scary.
As I was reading 'Run', half of me didn't want to know what was going to happen next and the other half of me was impatient to tear through the story and see what lay in store for Rylee. She is a pretty spectacular main character. She is strong, courageous, determined and resourceful and she is brilliantly depicted as a whirlwind force of nature that has one goal in sight - to get her mother back. I was gripped by her journey and the way in which she refused to back down or give up, even when she was confronted by some horrible revelations. I enjoyed following her as she put all the clues together and came up with some clever ways of tracking her mother down.
The content of the story is extremely hard-hitting and there are some disturbing scenes in the book which I wouldn't recommend for younger readers. The ending in particular is full on and although it is brilliantly truthful to Rylee's character, did cause my jaw to drop big time. I may even have wanted to hide behind the sofa at times!
Gregg Olsen has written an incredible book and never once takes his foot off of the gas. 'Run' is the first in his Vengeance series, which will be followed soon by 'Hunt'. I can't even begin to imagine what lies in wait for Rylee next but I'm eager to follow her as she takes her next steps. (less)
'Now You See Me' is a psychological thriller by British author Emma Haughton. This is her first novel for young-adults which is inspired by a true sto...more'Now You See Me' is a psychological thriller by British author Emma Haughton. This is her first novel for young-adults which is inspired by a true story. I was actually already familiar with the real events behind the book which slightly spoiled things for me because I knew what one of the big plot twists was going to be. This meant that I didn't find the story quite as suspenseful as it might have been but readers who approach the novel with no prior insight would probably find it quite gripping.
The story is narrated from the point of view of Hannah, whose best-friend Danny went missing three years ago. No one has seen him since then and the police investigation failed to uncover the truth behind his disappearance. Hannah has always wondered if she could have done something to stop him from vanishing but she's over the moon when he eventually turns up after so many years. The only problem is that Danny can't remember anything about his missing years and seems somehow different to the person who used to be her closest friend.
The majority of the story is about what really happened to Danny, as well as focusing on Hannah and Danny's families and the impact of his reappearance on everyone involved. I found it interesting to see the impact on each individual but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't already guessed the main twist. There was another surprise thrown in near the end of the book and I thought that was an intriguing and well chosen change of direction.
It's nice to read a British YA book but I wasn't completely hooked by this title as I would have expected to be from the blurb. That said, I think a lot of readers will enjoy 'Now You See Me;, particularly if you're a fan of this type of genre. (less)
This is the second book I've read by Frances Hardinge, after 'A Face Like Glass' which I adored. Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, there...moreThis is the second book I've read by Frances Hardinge, after 'A Face Like Glass' which I adored. Although I didn't enjoy this one quite as much, there is no doubt that Hardinge really knows how to craft a story which immerses you completely within it's pages and which whisks you away from reality.
'Cuckoo Song' is a creepy fantasy about Triss, who's not Triss. She wakes up after an accident with strange longings and cravings. She knows who she is but at the same time she doesn't. She recognises her mother, father and younger sister Pen, but the latter seems to look at her with true hatred and Triss can't understand why nothing feels quite as it should. As the story progresses, it twists and turns deeper into the fantasy realm where the truth about what really happened to Triss is stranger than anything I could have ever imagined.
Family is an important theme in the book. After the death of their son during the war, Triss's mother and father want to keep her at home, safe with them, but their behaviour is suffocating. Triss can't grow up while they are constantly fussing over her and trying to stop her from going to school or having any friends. Their attention is poisonous without them even realising it. The relationship between Triss and her sister Pen was one of my favourite things about the book. It starts off fractured and almost broken but things change for both of them and they begin to gain a better understanding of one another.
The story is a delicious blend of magic and fantasy which will entrance readers as they follow Triss on a journey of self-discovery and reconciliation. Although not my favourite of Hardinge's books, I was still in awe of the unique and original plot which kept me glued to the pages.
This book reminded me why I love the Bronte sisters so much. Their lives are absolutely fascinating and Michaela MacColl has done a superb job of inco...moreThis book reminded me why I love the Bronte sisters so much. Their lives are absolutely fascinating and Michaela MacColl has done a superb job of incorporating biographical facts with fictional events to create a story which provides both mystery and romance.
The story focuses mainly on Charlotte and Emily Bronte, the two older sisters, although their brother Branwell and their father both feature. Charlotte is definitely my favourite Bronte. She is torn between her practical and artistic sides and feels a great sense of responsibility to look after her siblings. The book opens with her elder sister being buried and this has a huge impact on the decisions she takes in her own life. She assumes her position because she has to and you definitely get a sense of the worry that hangs over her about her father's precarious financial standing. Emily is more of a wild spirit, drawing inspiration from the beauty of the moors which surround her. She is headstrong and impetuous and often disappears for hours at a time while she explores the rugged hills and moors.
The setting of the book makes it easy to understand where the sisters draw their inspiration for their own stories, which at this point they haven't started writing yet. Certain events that transpire could almost have come from the pages of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. 'Always Emily' definitely made me want to pick up the latter two books for a re-read as they are big favourites of mine.
Well researched and with an intriguing plot, MacColl has captured the spirit of the Bronte sisters. This title will appeal to YA readers who are looking for something different to all the dystopian and paranormal books out there at the moment. (less)
This is the first book I've read by Alison Rattle and I found it a superb example of historical fiction which brilliantly conjures up a sense of the p...moreThis is the first book I've read by Alison Rattle and I found it a superb example of historical fiction which brilliantly conjures up a sense of the place and time of the story. It's set in the year 1868 in the seaside town of Clevedon. I love reading about the Victorian era and it was a nice change of pace from a lot of the more contemporary books I've read lately.
The main character Marnie has been crippled by polio and walks with the aid of a stick. She has been taught by her Ma to love the sea and she feels most at home and in her own skin when she's slipping between the waves, free and alone. Her Ma is a dipper which was fascinating to read about. Well to do ladies come to be dipped into the sea to improve their health at the recommendations of their doctors and it's Marnie's mother who runs a fairly successful business doing exactly this.
Marnie's story is interspersed with journal entries from Noah de Clevedon, who is temporarily staying in Clevedon, so that his mother can be near the sea and improve her health. Marnie soon becomes infatuated with Noah but his journal reveals that he sees Marnie as nothing more than a way to have some fun and pass the time. She is an amusement to him but her feelings for Noah run far deeper.
I felt sorry for Marnie but I have to admit that I never really liked her. She's involved in a tragic event at the start of the book and almost from this point onwards I found that I couldn't give her my complete sympathy. She begins to spiral out of control when her fixation with Noah takes over her life. I thought Alison Rattle did a brilliant job of depicting the gradual deterioration of Marnie's senses but I still wasn't sure about the extent to which she was willing to go in her pursuit of Noah.
'The Madness' was an interesting read with lots of lovely details of the period. This will appear to readers who like psychological dramas, as well as historical fiction. (less)
I'm a massive fan of the Agent 21 series by Chris Ryan, so I was extremely excited about getting to read the newest instalment. Teenage agent Zac Dark...moreI'm a massive fan of the Agent 21 series by Chris Ryan, so I was extremely excited about getting to read the newest instalment. Teenage agent Zac Darke is one of my favourite male characters and I couldn't want to dive in and find out what adventure he was going to become embroiled in next.
This time around Zac's old nemesis, Cruz Martinez, rears his head again. Zac's former friend, he is now his sworn enemy due to the death of his father. Cruz's movements lead Zac, along with Gabs, Raf and computer whiz Malcolm, to Africa, where they uncover a shocking conspiracy which will endanger the lives of innocent citizens unless they can stop it.
The story is set mainly in the African jungle, which was a brilliant backdrop because of all the natural dangers which awaited Zac and co. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them having to survive in the wilderness and struggle against the elements, as they face dehydration and exhaustion, as well as the threat from other animals in the jungle. It was nice to see Zac's training really kicking in now. He's able to use all of his new skills and abilities in the field and he never stops thinking two steps ahead. He even, on occasion, surprises Gabs and Raf with his ingenuity and quick thinking.
Each chapter in the book was fraught with danger and the story was tough and gritty. A real page turner, I found it hard to put it down as it was so gripping. Zac hurtles from one tense predicament to another which was extremely thrilling.
'Deadfall' was an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride of adventure and suspense. This is a top series and I love reading about Zac and his missions. I hope there are lots more books to come in the future! (less)