This is the third book by UK YA author Liz Bankes. It features my favourite so far of her female characters - the perennial worrier Rosie, who is abou...moreThis is the third book by UK YA author Liz Bankes. It features my favourite so far of her female characters - the perennial worrier Rosie, who is about to move in with her boyfriend Cal and start a brand new internship in Oxford. Rosie worries about everything (and with so many changes going on in her life, there are a little of things to occupy her mind) and feels socially awkward a lot of the time. She’s been with Cal for a year and the two of them seem quite secure in their relationship until Rosie freaks out about the fact that man-eater Cleo is moving into the house too.
Rosie undergoes a big transition throughout the book. She is at that crux point where she has to decide what she wants to do with her future and she has to finally stand up for herself and not bow to the pressure that her Mum is putting her under. This is something that everyone has to face at some point and it was interesting seeing Rosie begin to develop confidence in herself and find her own chosen path. She also learns a lot about relationships and trust as she and Cal have to weather the ups and downs of their romance.
‘Unstoppable’ features lots of familiar faces from Liz Bankes earlier books. There’s Mia and Gabi, as well as Jamie and Dan. It was great to catch up with them and see how all the friends were getting on and in which direction their lives were headed in next.
This was a sweet romance and a great summer read. I missed a little of the polish of some of the US YA books which I read but I still really enjoyed this one. It had a great mix of humour with drama and romance. I read it in one sitting and look forward to my next Liz Bankes story. (less)
This is the second book in the series about main character Alyssa and the girls of St Jude’s Academy. Alyssa’s photographic memory comes in handy when...moreThis is the second book in the series about main character Alyssa and the girls of St Jude’s Academy. Alyssa’s photographic memory comes in handy when a local girl dies and she begins to find unusual links between the two of them. She’s unable to resist investigating the death, when she starts to receive taunting clues and messages, indicating that someone is playing a taunting game of cat and mouse with her.
This series reminds me so much of the TV show ‘Unforgettable’ which is about a female detective with perfect memory recall. This is a trait which Alyssa shares and makes each mystery even more interesting because you know that even the smallest detail could be the one that breaks the puzzle and solves the case. There are several passages throughout the book where Alyssa has to think back on things that have happened or conversations that she has had with people. I always try to pay careful attention to these because I’m desperate to spot the clues that are vitally important.
Interspersed with the murder mystery, are scenes between Alyssa and her boyfriend Jack, who is still as adorable as ever. She is definitely one lucky girl!
The ending of the book was so surprising! I thought it was incredibly well potted and it really got me thinking hard to try and put all the clues together. I love books which are so full of twists and turns that by the end I still have no idea who might be responsible. This conclusion definitely provided a lot of shocks.
I’m not sure if Lucy Carver is planning another book about Alyssa but I hope so because this is shaping up to be a fantastic YA series, featuring lots of my favourite things to look for in a story – drama, intrigue and mystery with a fab boarding school setting and a great cast of characters. (less)
This is the kind of book that I probably would have enjoyed when I actually was a teenager but reading it now, I found the dialogue awfully simple and...moreThis is the kind of book that I probably would have enjoyed when I actually was a teenager but reading it now, I found the dialogue awfully simple and wooden and the storyline, although quite original, just didn't grab me. It was obvious that this had been co-written with Picoult's 16 year old daughter because it didn't have the polish of her adult novels.
I did enjoy looking at all of the lovely drawings throughout the book which were a great addition.(less)
'Eversea' is set in Butler Cove, South Carolina which is like my dream seaside town. It is small enough that everyone knows each other, with sea, sand...more'Eversea' is set in Butler Cove, South Carolina which is like my dream seaside town. It is small enough that everyone knows each other, with sea, sand and romance right on the residents' doorsteps. The main character Keri Ann has grown-up in Butler Cove and it is the only place that she has ever called home. With her older brother away at school and both her parents dead, she only has her best friend Jazz to rely on, until Jack Eversea - a gorgeous and famous actor, walks into her life and sets her heart spinning.
'Eversea' is a gorgeous romance which weaves a beautiful story about love against the odds. Keri Ann wasn't expecting to have her heart stolen by the handsome stranger who appears in her bar one night, but this is a love which although against the odds, will be hard fought for and cherished.
I really liked Keri Ann who is somewhat of an old soul. She is scared of opening herself up to anyone after having suffered terrible loss but Jack seems to wear down her resistance and makes her want to start living again and taking chances. She has settled for a life which she believes she must accept but he shows her that there is so much more out there for her to experience.
Handsome Jack Eversea is definitely my new boy crush! Phwoar, he is hot, hot, hot! I fell head over heels for him from the start. Although he is a famous movie star, he is incredibly down to earth and the sparks between him and Keri Ann are off the chart. I loved the way that the tension simmered away between them and built to a real fever pitch.
I was captivated and swept away by 'Eversea' which was impossible to put down. I would highly recommend this book to fans of the New Adult genre and I am utterly desperate now to read the sequel 'Forever, Jack' so that I can revisit my two favourite characters. (less)
I stumbled across ‘Sea of Shadows’ in my local bookshop without even realising that Kelley Armstrong had a new book out. It sounded intriguing and I t...moreI stumbled across ‘Sea of Shadows’ in my local bookshop without even realising that Kelley Armstrong had a new book out. It sounded intriguing and I thought the cover looked pretty striking so I picked it up. I’ve enjoyed some of Armstrong’s books in the past but not all of them, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started reading this. What I got was an exciting, action-packed fantasy adventure which started slow but then really picked-up and threw everything at the reader. Strangely enough it reminded me a little bit of ‘Blood Red Road’ by Moira Young, although that may just have been because of the giant worms!
At the heart of the story are twin sisters Moria and Ashyn. They are the Seeker and Keeper of Edgewood, charged with keeping the village safe from the angry souls of the dead that reside in the forest. They have been trained from birth to fulfil their roles and each have an immortal creature by their side: a wildcat and a hound. These animals are bonded to them and are like an extension of their own selves. When things start to go wrong with the ritual of quietening the spirits, a terrible evil falls upon their village, leading Moria and Ashyn to embark on a dangerous journey.
The journey itself takes up the majority of the book but I found it incredibly exciting because it was fraught with danger at every turn. There are a whole array of scary creatures which make appearances in the story and there are some seriously creepy moments which had me jumping out of my seat. I think Kelley Armstrong does a great job of keeping readers on their toes with this part of the plot. The sisters become separated on their journey but they are each accompanied by a potential love interest (although this isn’t necessarily how it starts out). Personally, I really liked Gavril and I thought that the bond which grows between him and Moria was much more real than the lacklustre sparks between Ashyn and Ronan.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed ‘Sea of Shadows’ and although it got off to a slow start it was well worth sticking with because it kept getting better and better and the second-half of the book in particular was fantastic. I sometimes find that I can get a little lost with fantasy books but I thought that everything was explained extremely well and the world building was brilliant. I’m now dying for the next instalment of this trilogy and I can’t wait to see what twists and turns are going to be thrown into book two. This is probably my favourite Kelley Armstrong title so far!(less)
Empower’ is the fifth and final book in Jessica Shirvington’s wonderful series. I couldn’t wait to find out how it was all going to end and I was desp...moreEmpower’ is the fifth and final book in Jessica Shirvington’s wonderful series. I couldn’t wait to find out how it was all going to end and I was desperately hoping that Violet and Lincoln would finally find a way to be together. Their love has shone through from the very beginning of the series and even though there have been so many obstacles in their way, as soul mates, I’ve longed for them to get their happy ever after.
After the events of ‘Endless’, Violet is now living in London, hunting Exiles and trying to survive without Lincoln by her side. When she gets a message that Spence needs her help, she doesn’t think twice before returning to the Academy to try and track him down. At times throughout the series I’ve found some of the angel mythology hard to follow but everything finally came together in ‘Empower’ where Violet faces her greatest test yet.
I adored all of the scenes between Violet and Lincoln. As soul mates they are two halves which are made to fit together and I thoroughly enjoying watching them find each other again. I know some people are in Phoenix’s camp but although I flirted briefly with the bad boy of the story, for me it was always about Lincoln. Saying that however, I did come to appreciate Phoenix a lot more. There were some great insights into his character, provided mainly by the fact that he gets to give his own point of view at various intervals in the story and these made me look at him quite differently.
The plot unravelled at high speed and was impossible to put down. There was a lot of action and wrapping up of plot points but plenty of romance and drama too. It was the perfect combination of elements to create a fantastic read.
This was a brilliant ending to the series but I am so sad that it’s all over. It’s been an incredible ride! (less)
Since You’ve Been Gone’ is Morgan Matson’s third book and focuses on the friendship between Emily and her best friend Sloane. The two of them have mad...moreSince You’ve Been Gone’ is Morgan Matson’s third book and focuses on the friendship between Emily and her best friend Sloane. The two of them have made all kinds of plans about how they are going to spend their summer together but when Sloane and her family disappear, Emily doesn't know what to do. She struggles to know who she is and how she fits in. What I liked about this book is that I could really identify with the character of Emily. She’s quite shy and reserved and she relies on Sloane always taking the lead. That way she never has to take risks or do anything outside of her comfort zone without first knowing that she has someone with her to take the first step. A lot of the story is about Emily learning who she wants to be and developing her own personality outside of being known as ‘Sloane’s friend’. That can be a difficult thing to do but I loved the fact that she is pushed to be brave and daring and find her own feet.
I have to say that when I started reading this book I thought there was going to be a more complicated explanation for what had happened to Sloane. I thought she might even have died! It was only when I got to about the mid-way point that I realised that Sloane didn’t actually matter a huge amount to the story. It’s Emily's own personal development which lies at the heart of the book.
Sloane leaves Emily a list which she spends her summer working her way through. Each item on the list challenges her in different ways but also brings her closer to a whole new set of friends, which she wouldn’t have made if she’d been stuck to Sloane’s side the whole time. One of these people is Frank who is sweet and funny but already has a girlfriend. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too sure about Frank to start with but he grew on me over the course of the book and by the end he’d totally won me over.
This book was quite long but don't let that put you off because it's a sweet, summer read about growing-up and finding your place with people who understand you and let you be the person you're meant to be. If you love contemporary YA then I recommend you read this title which I ended up really enjoying. (less)
Kind of like 'The Hunger Games' but with potential princesses competing against one another! I thought it was a brilliant start to the series and I ca...moreKind of like 'The Hunger Games' but with potential princesses competing against one another! I thought it was a brilliant start to the series and I can't wait to get my hands on the next two books. (less)
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)
'Shadow of the Wolf' is an astounding new interpretation of the traditional tale of Robin Hood by debut author Tim Hall. I was very excited to read th...more'Shadow of the Wolf' is an astounding new interpretation of the traditional tale of Robin Hood by debut author Tim Hall. I was very excited to read this book because I'm a huge fan of the original story and I couldn't wait to see which direction Hall was going to take with the plot and characters.
The story follows a young Robin who at the beginning of the book finds that his family have abandoned him. Left to survive on his own, he uses his independence as a shield to protect himself against further hurt. His solitary life begins to change however when he meets Marian in the forest and discovers his true soulmate. The two seem destined to be together but when Marian is taken from him, he determines to do whatever it takes to get her back.
My favourite part of the story was the very beginning when Robin and Marian are young and roaming free together. They are living an idyllic life which they both know won't last forever but which they cherish for the simple fact that they are with each other. They embrace the beauty of the forest which is all around them and revel in having nobody to answer to but themselves. Although deep down they realise they are playing at living a fantasy, nothing else matters to them except for being together.
Throw out all of your preconceptions about Robin and Marian because these two characters are unlike anything you could have anticipated. Marian is not the helpless heroine you may have been used to seeing her as. She is headstrong, fiery, determined, intelligent and above all resilient. She endures terrible things in the book but I had absolute faith in her that she would always manage see things through. Although there were times when I found her less that likeable, mainly due to her spiky temperament, I never stopped admiring her strength and endurance. Robin too has to face unspeakable horrors and is far from the merry figure with his bow and arrow that we are used to seeing. I felt great pity for him throughout the book and I kept desperately hoping for something good to happen to him.
Some other familiar faces crop up in the story with Will Scarlett, Much, the Sheriff of Nottingham and Sir Bors all making appearances. It was great to see Tim Hall interweaving all of these secondary characters, although again don't expect them to act like you would have imagined. The Forest too is like a character in itself. It is dangerous and mysterious and conceals many secrets which slowly begin to unravel.
'Shadow of the Wolf' is an unusual combination of history and fantasy which took a little bit of getting used to. The plot took an unusual and unexpected turn about half-way through which turned everything on it's head and made me think about the book in a totally different way. It is incredibly rich in detail, wonderfully written and so unique that this truly is a Robin Hood tale unlike anything you could ever have dreamt of. I was still left with so many questions at the end however, that I am looking forward immensely to the next instalment in the series. (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)