'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)
'The Fearless' by British author Emma Pass is pretty much awesome from start to finish. I was in a bit of a reading slump until I picked up this book...more'The Fearless' by British author Emma Pass is pretty much awesome from start to finish. I was in a bit of a reading slump until I picked up this book and it was just what I was looking for, a fast-paced story which led me on an exhilarating, terrifying and nail-biting journey. I haven't actually read Emma Pass's first book 'Acid' yet so I wasn't sure what to expect from her writing, but I loved it. The characters and the story concept were both brilliant and had me completely hooked.
I could definitely see the story transferring well to the big screen because everything was so well depicted and it had all the right ingredients to make anyone a fan of the series.
The plot is about a society which has been taken over by the Fearless - people who have been injected with a serum which takes away their emotions: fear, hate, love and their empathy for other human beings. Super strong and fast, they begin to destroy everything in their path, leading to families literally fleeing for their lives. The main character Cass lives on the island of Hope, where she and her younger brother Jori seek shelter from the horrors of the world. With her mother and father dead she is determined to protect Jori no matter the cost.
Packed full of suspense, the story hurtles along, hardly giving you time to breathe as Cass finds herself in some desperate and dangerous situations. I really, really enjoyed it and found myself unable to put it down. I was gripped by the adventure that unfolded but also liked the touches of romance and the strong bond between siblings that came across so well. It's nice to come across a British author who can more than hold her own with some of the most popular YA series in bookshops at the moment.
I'm extremely impatient to find out what lies in store next for Cass as the ending of the book signals more action still to come (I hope this isn't a stand-alone). I will definitely be along for the ride! (less)
There were a lot of things that I liked about this book but there were also some aspects of the story which didn't completely gel with me. I'm a big f...moreThere were a lot of things that I liked about this book but there were also some aspects of the story which didn't completely gel with me. I'm a big fan of Jackson Pearce and I've read and loved all of her previous books, so I was very much looking forward to starting this title which sounded so different to her other work. I enjoyed the fact that she's written a contemporary YA and I found it a quick read but one which contained real depth and honesty.
The main character Shelby narrates the story of her challenge to honour three promises that she made to her dying mother, while also trying to do the right thing for herself. Shelby has a fresh voice which I enjoyed listening to and I thought it was equally refreshing that she doesn't always make the right decisions but she learns by her actions and discovers more about herself in the process. I found the whole concept of the Princess Ball and Shelby's problem with having to vow purity to her father quite American and I couldn't understand why she was so desperately set on losing her virginity beforehand as it seemed such an extreme solution.
I enjoyed seeing the interactions between Shelby and her father. They are not particularly close and don't always know how to talk to each other but they are both willing to work at it. One of my favourite scenes in the book is the cake tasting they go to together, as it's the beginning of them trying to mend their fractured relationship.
The book raises philosophical questions about God, as well as exploring how to live your life in a way that's honest and true. Although I was surprised at some of the events which happened near the end of the story and things didn't necessarily unravel the way I would have chosen, I still thought that 'Purity' was a great contemporary read which deals with a lot of the issues that young people face today. (less)
One of the things I like about Cat Clarke books is that they always make me question my own opinions. I may not always feel comfortable with some of t...moreOne of the things I like about Cat Clarke books is that they always make me question my own opinions. I may not always feel comfortable with some of the scenarios and situations she puts her characters in but I think that's a good thing because Clarke often shows that things are not always as clear cut as they may first appear to be and this makes you think twice about your own feelings and standpoint.
'A Kiss in the Dark' throws up a lot of questions about identity which will resonate with teen readers. At a time when a lot of young people are just starting to work out who they are and who they want to be, I think the character of Alex is one that readers will find some sympathy for. A question mark hangs over many of the decisions that Alex makes throughout the story - were these made intentionally or unintentionally and this is something that I thought a lot about as I was reading. I have to admit that I still wasn't entirely sure of how I felt about things by the end of the book.
Based on a real life set of events, I'm going to avoid talking about the storyline at all because there is the potential to accidentally reveal a huge spoiler. Although this is revealed after only a few chapters, it is one that completely took me by surprise and turned everything on it's head. I can't imagine anyone would be able to guess what happens. This secret forms the structure of the book which is split into a before and after the reveal.
Although 'A Kiss in the Dark' isn't my favourite Cat Clarke book, I still thought it was an extremely thought-provoking read which was brilliantly written and absolutely fascinating in terms of the very different storyline. (less)
This is my first book by Jennifer L. Armentrout in one of my new favourite genres - psychological thriller. The combination made for a superb read and...moreThis is my first book by Jennifer L. Armentrout in one of my new favourite genres - psychological thriller. The combination made for a superb read and I will definitely be seeking out more books by this author in the future. I'm a huge fan of this particular genre because it's gripping, compulsive, addictive, dark and twisty. It makes for a story which you have to read in one sitting because there's no way you're going to be able to sleep until you know the outcome. I know I couldn't!
The main character Samantha is suffering from amnesia after an accident involving her best-friend Cassie, who has disappeared. With no trace of Cassie anywhere and Samantha unable to remember what happened, she has to try to piece her fragmented memories back together before suspicion falls squarely on her shoulders. The problem is that creepy notes start appearing and it seems that someone else desperately doesn't want her to remember the events which led to her friend's disappearance.
I enjoyed this story so much. I had my suspicions about what had happened and who was involved and I always have fun with these kinds of books in trying to follow all the clues but in this case I was way off the mark and completely taken by surprise when the truth finally emerged. I thought that Jennifer L. Armentrout did a great job of adding in lots of little things which threw me off the right path and made the ending even more exciting.
I loved lots of the secondary characters in the book too, in particular Samantha's twin brother Scott and her childhood friend Carson. I fell head over heels for Carson from the very first moment that we were introduced to him. He's so sweet and I loved the fact that he and Samantha had shared so many wonderful childhood moments together. I was definitely rooting for them to end up with each other.
'Don't Look Back' was a thrilling read which had me glued to my seat. I can't wait to get my hands on more titles by Jennifer L. Armentrout in the future and I would highly recommend this book to other readers. You won't be able to put it down! (less)
This book sounded exactly like my cup of tea and proved to be a real five star read!
The story is about a group of teenagers who form an unexpected fri...moreThis book sounded exactly like my cup of tea and proved to be a real five star read!
The story is about a group of teenagers who form an unexpected friendship when they all join the school's new Bake Club. It centres mainly on Lottie, who, desperate to escape her problems at home, throws herself into her passion for baking - a way for her to feel close to her deceased father. Although she tries to keep the truth about her home life secret from her teachers and her fellow students, because of her involvement in the club she makes new friendships, finds romance and gradually learns how to open up to those around her.
I love the fact that the characters perhaps wouldn't have ordinarily have become friends but because of Bake Club they form a solid friendship through their shared love of baking. They begin to help each other with their personal problems and their bond with each other was something that I really loved. There are some great secondary characters in the story and I found myself wanting to know more about all of them.
The romance between Lottie and Mac is so sweet and cute. He's the school bad boy but underneath his tough exterior he is a caring and considerate boy. He's misjudged by a lot of the adults in the book but with Lottie by his side he begins to turn his life around and build a new future for himself.
What I particularly adored about this book was the way it combined my love of reading and baking. I am a massive baking fan and I never miss an episode of the Great British Bake Off, therefore I absolutely loved the bonus addition of some wonderfully tasty recipes. I've already made the pumpkin pie and blueberry muffins and the chocolate chip cookies are to die for! Like Lottie and co, when I'm baking, I can forget about anything else that I have to do and just focus on the mixing, beating, measuring and stirring. This is captured perfectly in the pages of the story and was something I loved about the overall book which was truly as sweet and delicious as a cupcake!
Katy Cannon's next book is out in February 2015 and will be called 'Secrets, Schemes and Sewing Machines'. It's already top of my list of books I absolutely need to buy next year. (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)
This is the second book in the series about friends living in Brooklyn, New York, trying to have fun and find romance, while at the same time attempti...moreThis is the second book in the series about friends living in Brooklyn, New York, trying to have fun and find romance, while at the same time attempting to find their own individual future paths. This story centres around Pia's best friend Angie, who is about to turn 23 and realises that her life is a mess. She's single and unemployed, her parents are getting a divorce and she can't seem to leave her wild child days behind her, even though for the most part she's unhappy and spiralling out of control.
I really liked Pia in the last book and I knew that I was always going to struggle with Angie because her personality is so different. She gets herself into some extremely bad situations and although she does try hard to turn her life around, I thought that she was very lucky to have some things just fall into her lap at the right time. Underneath her tough outer exterior, which is all swearing and sex, she does want to have a purpose in life and she does want to make a success of herself, but it takes her a long time to get to that point.
A positive influence in her life is Sam, the mysterious boat boy who she just seems to click with. The romance between them is a bit of a slow burner which I liked but I couldn't help but wonder why she took such a long time to open her eyes and wake up to her true feelings for him. The thing I love about this series is that although there's romance, this takes a backseat to the friendship between all the girls at Rookhaven. As much as I liked seeing Angie and Sam together, I also enjoyed seeing a new friendship blossom between Angie and Julia, who realise that they actually get on really well.
The setting for this series is brilliant and I like following the girls as they try to carve out careers for themselves, against the backdrop of New York. A quick and fun read, although Angie wasn't my favourite of characters, I am looking forward to the next instalment in the series which focuses on Coco, who I've always liked. (less)
I'm a massive fan of Cat Patrick and I've loved all of her previous books, so I jumped at the chance to read 'Just Like Fate' which is co-authored wit...moreI'm a massive fan of Cat Patrick and I've loved all of her previous books, so I jumped at the chance to read 'Just Like Fate' which is co-authored with Suzanne Young. The story adopts a really interesting sliding doors type scenario, focusing on the main character, teenager Caroline, who has to decide at the start of the book, whether or not to stay with her dying grandmother or go to a party with her best-friend.
The idea of having alternating chapters showing what happens when she goes or stays, was an interesting narrative device. It enables Patrick and Young to present both sides of the story and to leave it up to the reader to decide what course of action they would have taken. Both stories are cleverly depicted and flow nicely, so it never feels in any way disjointed.
Both paths that Caroline potentially follows have their ups and downs. She has a fractured relationship with her divorced parents and a difficult sibling bond with her older sister. Family is a big theme in the book and I thought all the issues that Caroline has to face in terms of finding her own place in her various family units, were dealt with really well. There's also romance in her future. In one half of the story, she finally starts seeing the boy she's been mad about since they were children and in the other, she meets a college guy who is smart and funny and makes her feel wanted. I know which boy I preferred but Caroline has to work through her feelings for both before she can begin to build a proper relationship with one of them. I must admit that the romance aspect of the story was a bit of a slow burner for me and at times, I just didn't feel any real sparks between the characters. However it did pick up a bit in the second half of the book and by the end I was really rooting for one particular couple.
The story is largely about fate itself and philosophises about the choices that we make throughout our lives. There isn't always a 'right' choice but the decisions we make shape and change us as people and the lessons we learn stand us in good stead for the future.
This was a great contemporary YA read and will particularly appeal to readers who like the idea of parallel lives. Although it didn't quite reach the heights of Cat Patrick's previous books, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and at the same time have discovered a new author in the shape of Suzanne Young. (less)
I really wanted this book to pick up from where 'Just One Day' finished. It didn't, and that disappointed me. I felt like the story didn't significant...moreI really wanted this book to pick up from where 'Just One Day' finished. It didn't, and that disappointed me. I felt like the story didn't significantly progress enough to hold my interest. (less)
It's hard to believe but 'Maybe Someday' is my very first Colleen Hoover book. I don't know how I've managed to go so long without picking up one of h...moreIt's hard to believe but 'Maybe Someday' is my very first Colleen Hoover book. I don't know how I've managed to go so long without picking up one of her novels but now that I have, I will definitely be tracking the rest of them down immediately. I'd heard such great things about her stories and now that I've experienced one first-hand, I just know that I'm going to love them all.
I have to start this review off by commenting on the fact that this book has the most beautiful cover art. The colours are gorgeous and very spring-like and if I hadn't been offered this one for review, then there's no doubt that this would have caught my eye in my local bookshop. It's so, so pretty!
The story itself centres on Sydney, who has just found out that her boyfriend of two years has cheated on her. With her life spiralling out of control, she ends up living with her neighbour Ridge, a gorgeous musician that she's previously only seen from her balcony when she's listened to him play his guitar. Sydney and Ridge begin to write songs together and soon find that they are attune to each other in so many different ways. It doesn't take long before they have grown extremely close but the only problem is that Ridge already has a girlfriend.
At the start I wasn't sure if I was going to like the cheating aspect of the story but Colleen Hoover handles it perfectly so if you feel the same don't let this put you off. I really liked Ridge's girlfriend Maggie and I actually liked her before she'd even physically appeared in the book. When I finally saw her and Ridge together in the flesh then I was convinced that they made the perfect couple, until their relationship is examined in more detail. Sydney grew on me throughout the book and I admired the way in which she always tried to do the right thing, even if her attraction to Ridge only kept on growing stronger and stronger.
The book very uniquely blends the story and the music together. If you scan the QR code in the front of the book then you can actually listen to the songs sung by musician Griffin Peterson. This adds another layer to the plot and creates a real emotional connection between the reader and the characters.
'Maybe Someday' is a really moving, emotional and heart wrenching book which throws up lots of questions about love and life. I thought it was an utterly gorgeous read and I'm now looking forward immensely to working my way through the rest of Colleen Hoover's back catalogue. (less)