Thursday, 28 May 2015

Review: The Cost of All Things

The Cost of All Things
Publication Date:  May 12th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.

What would you pay to cure your heartbreak? Banish your sadness? Transform your looks? The right spell can fix anything…. When Ari's boyfriend Win dies, she gets a spell to erase all memory of him. But spells come at a cost, and this one sets off a chain of events that reveal the hidden—and sometimes dangerous—connections between Ari, her friends, and the boyfriend she can no longer remember.

Told from four different points of view, this original and affecting novel weaves past and present in a suspenseful narrative that unveils the truth behind a terrible tragedy

My feelings are all over the place for The Cost of All Things, I wish I could say I loved it, but I didn't. I wish I could say I hated it, which I did at parts, but once it all comes together and clicks, I can't say I truly hated it either.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#96)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Expected publication: June 23rd 2015 by Harper Teen

Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story

 Okay, I'm so cheating. I read this two weeks ago but so can't wait to pick up a copy because it is amazing and realistic emotions and just so freaking adorable.

What're you waiting on?

Monday, 25 May 2015

Review: The Girl at Midnight (WHY, ROMANCE? WHY?!)

The Girl at Midnight
Publisher: April 28th 2015 
Publication Date: Delacorte Press
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

For readers of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones and Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, The Girl at Midnight is the story of a modern girl caught in an ancient war.

Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she's ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she's fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it's time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it's how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren't as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.

How could it have gone so wrong? It's funny how you can go from really liking a book to really hating it within 30%. The first 10% of The Girl at Midnight was iffy for me, but then I really got into it, but somewhere between 50% and 80% things went downhill fast.

There are a few reasons why, the main reason being the dreaded obligatory love triangle, but I'll get to that in a minute. First, the good things about The Girl at Midnight.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Bad Bones Blog Tour: Extract!

Bad Bones (Red Eye)
Publication Date: May 4th 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Some things are best left buried. Gabe is feeling the pressure. His family has money troubles, he's hardly talking to his dad, plus lowlife Benny is on his case. Needing some space to think, he heads off into the hills surrounding LA. And he suddenly stumbles across a secret that will change everything. A shallow grave. Gabe doesn't think twice about taking the gold bracelet he finds buried there. Even from the clutches of skeletal hands. But he has no idea what he's awakening...A chilling new story in the Red Eye series

I've been loving the Red Eye series so far, if you want to check out what I've thought about them, Frozen CharlotteSleeplessFlesh and Blood and Bad Bones. Today we have an extract from Bad Bones.

Overhead the owl flew up to the small window set into the back wall, near the roof. It landed and sat, head on one side, observing. Gabe glanced over his
shoulder and saw the coyotes, inside now and on the prowl, eyes fixed on him, their prey.
There was something almost human about the way these animals acted. He hadn’t noticed before, but they appeared to have no fear at all. Instead there
was a feeling of recognition, like they were saying, ‘We know who you are, we know all about you.’
            Animals didn’t do that, tame or wild. It was the stuff of bad dreams. Like the ones he’d been having ever since he’d found the gold. But this – here, now – this was not anything he was going to wake up from.
            Gabe tried and failed to swallow. He wiped away the sweat that ran down from his forehead and looked at Father Simon. It was all down to him that the man had come here to deal with Rafael, exorcise him or whatever it was good priests did to evil priests. The Father was grimacing, like he was in a great deal of pain, and that had to be his fault too.
            Cecil LeBarron and his client had died because of him. Stella was… He didn’t want to think where Stella might be, but she was there because of him.
            He, Gabe Mason, had to answer for all of it. If he had never found the gold, none of this would have occurred, no one would have had their throats ripped out, the world wouldn’t be going crazy and he and the Father would not be about to die.
            “You, boy!”
            Gabe turned his attention back to Rafael, astonished at the number of different thoughts a brain could process in such a short space of time, wondering when the torture would begin.
            “Where is it – where is what belongs to me? What was taken from me should be returned!” Rafael, his head at a strange angle like he had a really bad crick in his neck, stared at Gabe, anger stoking the mad fire in his eyes.
            “You are my chosen one. I recognized you, that is why I spared you, boy! You were sent, you came to find me again … and you wished and prayed so hard. I knew you would come. You were born for these majestic days. Through you I have been reborn – you who will be anointed again, you who will now walk in my shadow forever, drink the blood of life with me and feel the last beat of
a thousand thousand hearts! Why have you let me down?”
            “I don’t know you!” Gabe couldn’t make any sense of what Rafael was saying – why was he making it sound like they’d met before? “I never wanted to be chosen, I never did!”
            “Be very careful what you wish for, boy. A question cannot be unasked. A wish, once granted, can never be revoked.” Rafael smiled. “And now I have you
back, you are mine.”
            Rafael’s mood seemed to change in the blink of an eye, one moment fired up with uncontained anger, the next placid and calm. It occurred to Gabe that
maybe being brought back to life did that to a person.
            “I told you!” Gabe screamed. “I told you I don’t believe in you!”
“Did you not listen? Are you an imbecile – so stupid you cannot understand?” Rafael reared back. “I warned you, boy. I showed you what would happen if you do not do what I say… If I do not have what is mine returned to me. Yet still you came here empty-handed. Where is what is mine, boy? Where is it?”

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Review: Bad Bones

Bad Bones (Red Eye)
Publication Date: May 4th 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Some things are best left buried. Gabe is feeling the pressure. His family has money troubles, he's hardly talking to his dad, plus lowlife Benny is on his case. Needing some space to think, he heads off into the hills surrounding LA. And he suddenly stumbles across a secret that will change everything. A shallow grave. Gabe doesn't think twice about taking the gold bracelet he finds buried there. Even from the clutches of skeletal hands. But he has no idea what he's awakening...A chilling new story in the Red Eye series

I've been loving the Red Eye series so far, though my favourites have been Frozen Charlotte and Flesh and Blood, Bad Bones is still a good addition to it. I did, however, have a few issues with it, but I'll start with the good.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#95)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Expected publication: March 1st 2016 by Farrar Straus & Giroux

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it, with the East as his ally and the empire as his enemy. He’s finally managed to dismiss the memory of Kestrel, even if he can’t quite forget her. Kestrel turned into someone he could no longer recognize: someone who cared more for the empire than for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she cared for him. At least, that’s what he thinks.

But far north lies a work camp where Kestrel is a prisoner. Can she manage to escape before she loses herself? As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover unexpected roles in battle, terrible secrets, and a fragile hope. The world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and Kestrel and Arin are caught between. In a game like this, can anybody really win?

I am going to cry. I will cry. I will fucking cry, because 1) 2016. 2) The Winner's Crime and 3) Kestrel & Arin.

What're you waiting on?

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke

Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke
Publication Date: April 21st 2015
Publisher: Headline
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?

The first 70% of Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke can be summed up like this. Daniel and Gretchen go here, then they go there, then they go there and then they go here. They fester on their feelings for one another, if love is enough when they both want different things for their lives, and if one wins out, the other will be unhappy. More festering. Back and forth, back and forth. Oh, then there's this little murder Daniels been accused of that set the domino's to fall. Basically, I was bored. We got the same thing over and over, the same thoughts, the same emotions. And if I read 'Daniels good hand' or 'Daniels good arm' one more time I'll scream. We know early on the outcome of what happened to Daniel in Prisoner of Night and Fog, the desperation of getting to England eclipsed seeking help for Daniels arm, and because of that, that it's damaged beyond repair.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Review: The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters

The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters 
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Amulet
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

In Portland in 1983, girls are disappearing. Noah, a teen punk with a dark past, becomes obsessed with finding out where they've gone—and he's convinced their disappearance has something to do with the creepy German owners of a local brewery, the PfefferBrau Haus. Noah worries about the missing girls as a way of avoiding the fact that something's seriously wrong with his best friend, Evan. Could it be the same dark force that's pulling them all down?

When the PfefferBrau Haus opens its doors for a battle of the bands, Noah pulls his band, the Gallivanters, back together in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there's a new addition to the band: an enigmatic David Bowie look-alike named Ziggy. And secrets other than where the bodies are buried will be revealed. From Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand, this is a story that gets to the heart of grief and loss while also being hilarious, fast paced, and heartbreaking

One more add to The Strangest Books I've Read in 2015 list.

It makes a lot more sense once you read it, obviously, but still, the lead up, was so well done, and I surprisingly got rather attached to the characters,  and I say surprisingly, because...

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Fantasy In Real Life #FantasyIRLTag: Part One

The UK release date for An Ember in the Ashes is June 4th and Harper Voyager came up with an amazing idea. They sent out these #FantasyIRL cards with the proofs, about issues in An Ember in the Ashes (and Fantasy in general) that coincides with what we deal with every day in real life.

I was going to post this all at once, but it would be a long post, So I'm splitting in two.

 If I want to save him, I can't let fear control me.

It's easy to let fear control your actions- it governs Laia's decisions from the outset in An Ember In the Ashes. And in reality, the pressures of modern life can be just as difficult to navigate.

We all have moments where we feel out of control of our own lives. What helps you regain control? 

I let fear control me at times, I let stupid little things control me at times because of worry and stress, I latch onto the littlest things. To regain control? I distract myself. Read. Write. Listen to music. I've never been one for a journal or diary, I started writing music in high school, and I used that as an outlet, I guess.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#94)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Expected publication: January 5th 2016 by Disney-Hyperion 

Violin prodigy Etta Spencer had big plans for her future, but a tragedy has put her once-bright career at risk. Closely tied to her musical skill, however, is a mysterious power she doesn't even know she has. When her two talents collide during a stressful performance, Etta is drawn back hundreds of years through time.

Etta wakes, confused and terrified, in 1776, in the midst a fierce sea battle. Nicholas Carter, the handsome young prize master of a privateering ship, has been hired to retrieve Etta and deliver her unharmed to the Ironwoods, a powerful family in the Colonies--the very same one that orchestrated her jump back, and one Nicholas himself has ties to. But discovering she can time travel is nothing compared to the shock of discovering the true reason the Ironwoods have ensnared her in their web.

Another traveler has stolen an object of untold value from them, and, if Etta can find it, they will return her to her own time. Out of options, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the mysterious traveler. But as they draw closer to each other and the end of their search, the true nature of the object, and the dangerous game the Ironwoods are playing, comes to light -- threatening to separate her not only from Nicholas, but her path home... forever

I'm not going to lie. I haven't even read the synopsis. But that cover. A city. In a bottle. 

What're you waiting on?

Monday, 11 May 2015

Review: A School for Unusual Girls

A School for Unusual Girls
Publication Date: May 19th 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies—plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible—until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads—or their hearts...

Oh, A School for Unusual Girls, you were made for me, taking out the Regency England, which I've only read around four or five books, tops, of them. But, everything else. The characters. The romance. The humour. The cleverness. Basically, just all of it. It is similar to The Lovegrove Legacy series, although not in plot, but in what makes the book absolutely wonderful, not that it doesn't have its flaws, because it does, but it's that type of book that I don't even care because I adored it.

Friday, 8 May 2015

The Cage...and What You Shouldn't Do in It, You Weirdo's. (The Romance is Over When You Keep Picturing the Love Interest as an Oscar)

The Cage
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

The Cage is rather...weird. That's one word for it, different is another. You'd think weird and different would be right up my street, and usually it is, but this one...not so much. Not because of the actual story or world or plot or even characters, because for the most part of all of it, all of that worked.

The "Cage" was interesting in the fact that it feels like a paradox. Things look right, but they're wrong. Things look wrong, but they're right. The towns made up of different pieces of the countries from where the six characters lived. There's a beach, a jungle, mountains, a swamp, different temperatures and climates, all in a circle, all near each other but can take hours to get to, but then when returning to the centre of the town, it can take five minutes to get back.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Kerry Wilkinson: Guest Post & Giveaway

What if someone could tell you precisely what you're good at?

The first book in the Silver Blackthorn series is called Reckoning - which is named after the 'test' that sixteen-year-olds take to determine their place in society. Broadly, after taking it, young people are told the type of things they're actually good at and then directed to work in that area. For example, a person might be really good at architecture. He or she naturally knows how to design a building or a city - and yet it's not the type of thing that would be taught. Most people wouldn't even try it.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#93)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases.

Expected publication: October 20th 2015 by Macmillan Children's

LO-MELKHIIN KILLED THREE HUNDRED GIRLS before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time. But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

It. Sounds. Awesome. Right?

What're you waiting on? 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Review: The Wicked Will Rise

The Wicked Will Rise
Publication Date: May 7th 20105
Publisher: Harper Collins
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

In this dark, high-octane sequel to the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die, Amy Gumm must do everything in her power to kill Dorothy and free Oz.

To make Oz a free land again, Amy Gumm was given a mission: remove the Tin Woodman’s heart, steal the Scarecrow’s brain, take the Lion’s courage, and then Dorothy must die....

But Dorothy still lives. Now the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked has vanished, and mysterious Princess Ozma might be Amy’s only ally. As Amy learns the truth about her mission, she realizes that she’s only just scratched the surface of Oz’s past—and that Kansas, the home she couldn't wait to leave behind, may also be in danger. In a place where the line between good and evil shifts with just a strong gust of wind, who can Amy trust—and who is really Wicked?

I read Dorothy Must Die last year, and it fell flat for me. Maybe that was because of high expectations or the lack of learning the plot considering what you learn from the whole 452 pages was mostly on the back of the book. But, I did love how twisted Oz had become (or should I say, more twisted?) and it felt more of a companion to The Wizard of Oz in the vein of Splintered, which was the best part of the book. Going into The Wicked Will Rise, I lowered my expectations and I ignored the synopsis and the mission taglines on the back, and you know what? I liked it so much better for it. The Wicked Will Rise was everything I wanted Dorothy Must Die to be, badass, twisted, character development and originality in a world we already know. In short, The Wicked Will Rise brought it's A Game.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Review: The Lie Tree

The Lie Tree
Publication Date: May 7th 2015
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

The leaves were cold and slightly clammy. There was no mistaking them. She had seen their likeness painstakingly sketched in her father's journal. This was his greatest secret, his treasure and his undoing. The Tree of Lies. Now it was hers, and the journey he had never finished stretched out before her.

When Faith's father is found dead under mysterious circumstances, she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies. Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree. A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets. The bigger the lie, and the more people who believe it, the bigger the truth that is uncovered.

But as Faith's untruths spread like wildfire across her small island community, she discovers that sometimes a single lie is more potent than any truth.

A beguiling tale of mystery and intrigue from the award-winning author of Fly By Night and Cuckoo Song

There are two words to describe The Lie Tree. Masterfully and Done. I don't say that lightly. What I loved about Cuckoo Song was how vivid the writing was, and how it was skilfully created, and even though the plot and pacing was slow, it's pay's off when subtle connections are made. The Lie Tree is no exception. It is completely different than Cuckoo Song, but at its core, the writing, the descriptions, the lyrical feel and flow, is exactly the same and it's brilliant.