I knew before going in that One was going to break my heart but what I wasn't expecting was how beautiful the story would be. I don't tend to read manI knew before going in that One was going to break my heart but what I wasn't expecting was how beautiful the story would be. I don't tend to read many verse novels, in fact the last one I read was The Weight of Water, also by this author, three years ago but there is no doubt that this writing style can be extremely powerful when done well. Sarah Crossan definitely has the skill to pull it off and One is now my favourite of her novels.
This is the story of conjoined twins Grace and Tippi, they are joined from the waist down so although they each have two arms they only have one pelvis and two legs between them. Their condition has led to high medical bills which the family struggle to pay and it causes no end of difficulties for the girls when it comes to living their daily lives but the pair are overwhelmingly positive in their outlook. It was great to see them both as individuals and the way they work together as a team, they have an incredibly deep bond with each other and although there are times they wish for privacy most of the time they're just happy to be together.
When the girls start school for the first time it was heartbreaking to see how they were treated by the outside world, the cruel remarks don't just effect the twins though, both their younger sister and their parents are also under a lot of extra pressure. School isn't all bad though and for the first time they have a chance to make friends with people outside the family. Grace and Tippi go through so much but they are always a team, they're best friends as well as sisters and no matter what happens outside they always have each other to turn to.
I'm not going to say anything else about the story because I want readers to be able to enjoy it for themselves. It's being marked by Bloomsbury as "The ONE book to read this summer" and for once I'm completely on board with the marketing hype. If you're looking for something a little different, something that will give you an insight into the really rare condition of conjoined twins but is really all about sisterhood, love and friendship, then you really should pick up a copy of One. It's a beautiful book and it's one that has stuck with me in the weeks since I finished reading it....more
Caroline and Jason have a pretty perfect marriage, they're very much in love, incredibly happy together and they have a great sex life. So why would aCaroline and Jason have a pretty perfect marriage, they're very much in love, incredibly happy together and they have a great sex life. So why would a conversation with their best friends and neighbours change that? When Piper and Michael confess that they enjoy experimenting with other couples in the bedroom it gives Caroline and Jason all sorts of ideas. Jason knows that sex and love are two different things and is more than willing to take their sex life to the next level but Caroline is much more nervous, what if adding extra participants in the bedroom ruins the relationship they have as a couple? Caroline feels guilty even thinking about it and isn't sure if she's brave enough to try. Can Caroline put her fears to one side and let go enough to enjoy the experience or will it ruin their marriage forever?
When this book came highly recommended by Annie I knew I was going to love it, she promised me a scorching hot read and she wasn't wrong about that, What Caroline Wants is an incredibly erotic story pretty much from the first page. I've read a lot of stories with multiple partners but this is the first book I've read about a couple who are in a serious long term relationship and considering experimenting with others for the first time. I have to admit I wasn't too sure if I would like that aspect of the story, I don't think it's the kind of thing I'd be comfortable to experiment with myself and I worried that I'd have trouble connecting to the characters. I guess that's the great thing about fiction though, we can enjoy the fantasy without having to take any of the risk and I ended up loving the journey that Caroline and Jason took.
They are such a great couple and you can tell from the beginning that they are crazy in love and have a very solid relationship. They talk things through every step of the way and although Jason is the one who is initially more keen to experiment I never felt like he was pressuring Caroline into anything. In fact, he knows how much the idea appeals to her even when she is too scared to admit it and for Jason the fantasy is more about seeing how turned on it makes her. At first I found it very easy to relate to Caroline but I have to admit that her Southern Belle guilt trip started to irritate me after a while, it did seem to be a little over the top at times and it made it hard for me to believe that their experiments proceeded quite so quickly. I think her guilt at anything sexual could have been toned down just a little and there would still have been plenty for them to deal with as a couple, it isn't an easy decision for anyone to take that step but I ended up feeling that Caroline would have taken years to get to the stage they reached within a few months which was a shame.
Having said that my complaints really were fairly minor and What Caroline Wants is a scorching hot read that I had trouble putting down. It introduces us to the two couples who feature in the rest of the trilogy, each pair have their own hang ups and kink and I'm looking forward to reading more about all of them. Amanda Abbott has definitely caught my attention with this series and I have no doubt that each book is only going to get hotter. If you like your stories full of intense emotions, highly erotic and with more than a little kink then you definitely need to give this a try....more
British author Francesca Haig has created a really interesting world in her debut novel The Fire Sermon. Four hundred years after an explosion that neBritish author Francesca Haig has created a really interesting world in her debut novel The Fire Sermon. Four hundred years after an explosion that nearly destroyed the world life is very different for the survivors, technology was blamed for the apocalyptic event and is now banned so in a lot of ways it is like taking a step back in time and living in the past. Ever since the blast babies have been born in pairs, there is always one boy and one girl and there is always one Alpha and one Omega. The Alphas are strong, healthy and physically perfect while the Omegas are born with some kind of deformity and often much weaker and more sickly than their Alpha twin. You might think that natural selection would see to the deaths of the weaker twins but one other thing is completely certain, the twins lives are inexplicably linked and, no matter how far apart they are, the death of one always results in the death of the other.
The Alphas are the ruling class, the are the leaders and the ones with power while the Omegas are treated like second class citizens. The Omegas are forced to leave their homes as soon as they're disability is discovered and sent to live in special settlements with others of their kind. They are not allowed to mix with the Alpha's and they live difficult lives where they only have enough food to barely survive. Cass and Zach are different, where most twins are separated practically from birth they were raised together until they were 13. Cass always knew she was the Omega but because her disability wasn't visible nobody was able to prove it and all she ever wanted was to stay with her brother. Zach had other plans though, Cass was holding him back and preventing him from taking his rightful place in society and he will always hate her for that. Even when they are separated Zach holds a grudge and his hatred may well be the cause of all out war between the Alphas and Omegas.
The Fire Sermon raises so many interesting questions and really makes you look at how humanity can be so quick to judge people. Why do groups of people always find it so easy to turn on each other for such silly reasons? We've seen it time and time again in the past so I don't know why it would surprise me to see it happening here but really you'd expect twins to be protective of each other - especially if they know that they will die if their twin does! That link between the twins also makes it very difficult for the Omegas to fight back, how can they fight the Alphas when for every Alpha they kill they also murder one of their own? Cass seems to be one of the few people who always sees both sides to things but that doesn't mean it's easy for her to convince others that she is right.
I really liked Cass, she has such a unique way of looking at things and in spite of all the horrible things that her brother does to her she always tries to see the good in him. She is in a pretty impossible position and because of her link to Zach she is in as much danger to from the Omegas she is fighting besides as she is from the Alphas who hunt her. I enjoyed seeing her relationship develop with Kip but we never got to know him as much as I hoped to, mainly because he had no memory of his past so was pretty much a blank slate when he met Cass. I was worried at one point that we were drawing into love triangle territory but happily this was completely resolved by the end of the book even if it was in a very unexpected way. Talking of the ending there are some fantastic twists and revelations towards the end of the book, a few that I'd figured out myself but even though I had an idea about some things I would never have guessed how they would resolve themselves!
The Fire Sermon is a great start to the series and it left me desperate to find out what will happen next. The story has already been optioned by Dreamworks and I would love to see it on the big screen too but no matter what happens with the movie the sequel will be jumping straight to the top of my to read pile and I really hope Francesca Haig doesn't keep us waiting too long for it!...more
It's no secret that I love Zoe Marriott's writing, I've been a fan of hers ever since I picked up Shadows on the Moon (which is still my favourite ofIt's no secret that I love Zoe Marriott's writing, I've been a fan of hers ever since I picked up Shadows on the Moon (which is still my favourite of her books and one I would HIGHLY recommend if you haven't already read it!) and her Name of the Blade trilogy has been outstanding. I'm always a little wary of trilogies because more often than not at least one of the books ends up being a disappointment but I knew that wouldn't be the case here and I'm happy to report that Frail Human Heart ends the series on the biggest possible high.
I think all readers were probably left reeling at the end of Darkness Hidden (well I know I was!) so it's been a long wait for this book. Mio paid the ultimate price for saving the world and I was absolutely heartbroken right alongside her. Now she's grief stricken and terrified of losing anyone else that she cares about, she knows that she has to stop Izanami but she's worried about the upcoming battle and doesn't think she'll survive it. Luckily her friends and family aren't going to let her face her enemies alone, it was great to see how everyone had Mio's back and I loved that they all have a role to play in what is happening.
I really don't want to say much about the plot but you should be prepared for epic battles, terrifying monsters, heartbreak and grief but also the strong bonds of love between friends and family. Zoe Marriott is an expert when it comes to Japanese mythology and I've loved the variety of creatures she has introduced us to from the friendly kitsune like Hikaru to the horrifying Jorogumo and many more in between. I have to also give a shout out to the side characters because they've all been fantastic and I particularly loved some certain developments in Jack's love life but I'm not going to say more about that for fear of spoilers. Frail Human Heart was an absolutely fantastic conclusion to this trilogy and I'm sure fans are going to love it just as much as I did....more
I don't tend to buy multiple copies of the same book, my shelves are close to collapsing as it is and it seems pointless to waste space on duplicates. There are a few exceptions to that rule though & I think Shadow and Bone must be the book I own the most copies off.
What girl doesn't need 4 copies of one of their favourite books though? Well OK, you're right, none of us do, but how was I supposed to resist the pretty new purple cover?
Especially when you throw in the fact that this has exclusive extra content! I didn't reread the whole book but it was worth buying this version just for the letter from Mal to Alina. It was perfect getting to see some of his thoughts after Alina first discovers her powers & I love him more than ever now :o)...more
From the minute I saw the cover of The Novice I wanted to read it, I'm a huge fantasy fan and that stunning cover totally did it's job on me3.5 stars
From the minute I saw the cover of The Novice I wanted to read it, I'm a huge fantasy fan and that stunning cover totally did it's job on me. Then I heard that the story was a Wattpad sensation and to be honest that made me a little nervous, I know from experience that being a Wattpad hit doesn't always mean a book is good. In fact, some of the Wattpad success stories I've attempted to read have been pretty terrible and I really, REALLY didn't want that to be the case here. I'm so glad I decided to give this story a chance though because I ended up really enjoying it, it's fast paced and very easy to read and it actually managed to pull me out of a really annoying reading slump where I'd DNFed 6 books in a row!
The Novice isn't perfect, there were times when I found myself getting the secondary characters muddled up so I had to backtrack to remind myself who was who and the plot is fairly easy to guess because of the similarities to several other well known stories but overall there were far more positives than negatives and I think the series as a whole has a huge amount of potential.
I really liked the main character Fletcher and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him as the series continues. Abandoned as a baby Fletcher was adopted by the town blacksmith and has had a fairly good life, he works hard but has been well cared for and his adoptive father obviously loves him. Fletcher is an apprentice blacksmith and he fully expects to spend his life working alongside Berdon supplying swords for the army and shoeing horses. Everything changes the day he finds an old scroll though, when he accidentally summons a demon while reading it. Demons in this series aren't quite the evil things we expect them to be though, in fact they are kind of a cross between the Daemons from Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series and pokemon. There are numerous different types of demons, they all have different abilities and different power levels and summoners are able to create a bond with them so the demons will do their bidding. Fletcher's demon, a salamander called Ignatius, is utterly adorable and I loved him.
Summoners are rare but extremely useful in the ongoing war with the Orcs because the demons they control can make a huge difference in the outcome of any battle. When Fletcher's summoning abilities are discovered he is sent to the Vocans Academy where he will be trained alongside other summoners and learn everything there is to know about demons. It is only recently that commoners have been accepted into the academy, previously it was believed that only those of noble blood were capable of summoning, but now they are so desperate for demons to help turn the tide of the war the rules have changed. Not everyone is happy about the new system though and there is a lot of bad blood between the nobles and the commoners, something that isn't helped by the academy accepting their first ever dwarf and elf students too.
The Novice is mainly Fletcher's story, we get to see him grow as he learns more about his abilities and tries to find his place in the world. I really liked how loyal he is, he's the kind of guy you'd want to have at your side because he always has his friend's backs, even when that puts himself in danger. He isn't afraid to stand up for himself even against people who are stronger and more powerful than he is but that doesn't mean he is stupid and I enjoyed seeing him come up with smart ways to protect himself. The world building is interesting, The Novice touches on themes of bullying & racism and there is also plenty of politics. I have lots of questions about the ongoing war that I'm hoping will be answered as the series continues but this was definitely a strong start that has hooked me enough to want to carry on reading....more
The cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to doThe cat is out of the bag and Cassel now knows he is a Worker, he also knows that his brothers have been manipulating him for years forcing him to do unspeakable things and then tampering with his memory so he won't remember what he has done. He still doesn't have his memory back but he has a pretty good idea of what he was forced to do and it doesn't sit well with him. His relationship with his older brothers is more rocky than ever and it takes everything Cassel has got just to act normal around them, his mother is out of jail and up to her old tricks and the girl he loves has been cursed to love him so there is no hope of pursuing any kind of relationship with her. Yes, Cassel's life pretty much sucks right now and that was before one of his brothers was murdered and the government decided to try and turn him into a snitch. Now Cassel is in a very difficult position, he doesn't want to join the Zacharov crime syndicate but that doesn't mean he wants to become a police informant either. Unfortunately neither side is giving him much of an option & it's going to take all of Cassel's wits just to stay alive and out of trouble.
As much as I loved White Cat I think I enjoyed Red Glove even more, the story is really cleverly woven together and it is difficult to see how Cassel will manage to keep himself out of prison. He is forced to deal with his crazy family members and it seems like everyone wants something from him, his mum wants him to help with her latest cons and his brothers see him as an easy route into the syndicates. The only family member I trust to have his back is his Grandad but he has been kept in the dark about so many things that Cassel can't really turn to him for help. It has been great to see Cassel slowly building his friendships with Daneca and Sam though, he has come to trust them both and finally starts to open up a little and share some of his secrets. It's great to know that he has a couple of people who have his back, he is in desperate need of some allies considering all the things he has going against him right now.
I hated seeing how distraught he is over his relationship with Lila, he cares about her so deeply but now that his mother has cursed Lila to love him he is unable to trust her feelings or act on their mutual attraction without feeling incredibly guilty. It's quite disturbing that his mother doesn't even see what she did wrong and that more than anything shows just how twisted her abilities are. I thought things between the two of them were handled really well, I loved that Cassel was honest with Lila about what had been done to her and I was glad that he didn't take advantage of her. It was sad to see them so far apart though and I really hope they can find some way through it in the final book. It's difficult because I do have trouble connecting to Lila at times and her goals seem so different to Cassel's but I feel that after everything they've both been through they deserve some kind of happy ending. I'm just not sure if they can find it together or not.
Red Glove is a brilliant book, one that focuses on the murder of Cassel's brother and who was behind it but there is so much more to it than that. There are some fantastic twists and I enjoyed getting to continue exploring the world Holly Black has created. I eat up anything about the Workers and the consequences they have for using their abilities, I always prefer when magic has a price and that is definitely the case here. It's rare that I pick up the final book in a trilogy without even a vague idea of what to expect but I honestly can't even guess at what is in store for Cassel in Black Heart and that makes me even more desperate to read it....more