Monday, 8 February 2016

Review: This Song is (Not) For You by Laura Nowlin

Publication Date: January 5th 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Length: 224 pages

Thanks to Netgalley and Sourcebooks for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Bandmate, best friend or boyfriend? For Ramona, one choice could mean losing them all. 
Ramona and Sam are best friends. She fell for him the moment they met, but their friendship is just too important for her to mess up. Sam loves April, but he would never expect her to feel the same way--she's too quirky and cool for someone like him. Together, they have a band, and put all of their feelings for each other into music.
Then Ramona and Sam meet Tom. He's their band's missing piece, and before Ramona knows it, she's falling for him. But she hasn't fallen out of love with Sam either.
How can she be true to her feelings without breaking up the band?

You know when a book has so much potential and just fails to deliver and you want to wrap it up in blankets and weep for the lost possibilities? Yeah, that.
It’s a nice enough idea that attempts to tackle a different romantic story to your usual YA fare. There’s Ramona – hyperactive, always cheerful, and in love with her two bandmates. Sam – quiet, shy, and definitely in love with Ramona. And Tom – asexual, kind of in love with both Sam and Ramona, and feels disconnected and depressed in regard to most other things. See?! Look at all this potential! But instead of actually living up to that, it glosses over it all and leaves you feeling grumpy and let down.

Having an asexual character made such a refreshing change, but unfortunately it really isn’t handled very well. The love triangle just ends up feeling like a bit of a mess. The entire thing is built so that you feel as though there will be some big revelation or confrontation, but it never comes. Everything builds and builds, and you keep waiting and then suddenly, it’s done. It leaves you feeling frustrated, and like the main point of the story was never really reached. I like fluff in my stories, but I also like a bit of substance, and sadly this story was really lacking that.


I want to see more diversity in the romances we see in YA fiction, I want to see more relationships that incorporate more than two people – that represent asexual people. But I want to see them done right, and sadly this book really doesn’t.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Review: See How They Run by Ally Carter

Publication Date: December 22nd 2015
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Length: 336 pages

Thanks to Netgalley and Scholastic Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter. 
Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 
The twists get twistier and the turns get even more shocking in the second thrilling installment of Embassy Row.
 

I’ve loved so many of Ally Carter’s books that I fully expected the ‘Embassy Row’ series to be another hit. Alas, the first book in the series really didn’t work for me, and I was desperately hoping that book two would get me back on track with this series. Sadly though, I don’t think it’s mean to be.

I struggled with Grace in the first book, and whilst I had less issues with her in this book, she and I still don’t seem to be getting along. She comes across as very immature, and her reasoning and motives seem to be on crack half the time. She doesn’t feel real, she feels like a wildly swinging pendulum caricature. Add in a whole host of other interesting but not fully realised characters and I found it difficult to muster up any sort of enthusiasm for anyone in this book.

The plot trots along at a decent enough pace, and I did find myself curious to find out what was going to happen. It felt like it had a little bit more substance and intrigue than the first book which definitely helped. However we’re then thrown one of the most obvious and ridiculous plot twists on the final page which made me want to throw my kindle across the room in frustration. It just felt so forced, so obvious, and so utterly ridiculous. I want to be surprised by my books, not want to scream with irritation.


I want to love this series, and I know plenty of people that do, but sadly this second outing proves that this one just isn’t the one for me. I think I’ll stick with old favourites like ‘Heist Society’ and give the third instalment a miss.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Books I'm Squeeing About in February

I don't quite know how February crept up on me like that. I swear it was just Christmas and I blinked.
Luckily to help ease the stress and shock of hitting the second month of 2016 without even really realizing, there are a whole bunch of exciting books that are hitting our shelves this month that I cannot wait to get into.

4th - Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.
Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 
Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.


The buzz surrounding this book has been incredible (congratulations publicists on a truly brilliant campaign and build up) and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. It sounds brilliant, the early reviews confirm this, and it's been one I've been desperate to read ow for months.

9th - Blackhearts by Nicole Castroman
Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England? 
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.


I'm loving the sudden appearance of covers with boats in bottles on the front, pretty and eye catching. A Blackbeard retelling? Yes please, sign me up. The cover caught my eye, the title had me intrigued, but the blurb has truly sold me. Another one that I've been desperate to read for months now.

11th - Glass Sword by Victoria AveyardMare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

I'm going to be honest with you, the first book in this series really didn't do it for me. Yeah I enjoyed it, yeah I stormed through it in one sitting, but it didn't grab me. The ideas were great but it never felt like they were fully developed.
But it was enough to intrigue me and to make me want to find out what happens in the next book. Here's hoping book two enthralls me in a way that book one failed to do.

23rd - A Gathering of Shadows by V. E. SchwabFour months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.
In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.
But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.


Confession time, I have yet to read the first book in this series... But I've heard such good things about it, I cannot wait to get stuck in. In a way I'm quite glad I've waited until now, because it means I can storm straight through both the first book and the second in one glorious reading binge...

25th - Night Study by Maria V. SnyderEver since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear. 
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.


Admittedly I wasn't as thrilled with 'Shadow Study' as I was with the original Study trilogy, but it was still wonderful to return to the world and characters I fell in love with and see what they were up to. 'Shadow Study' felt a little slow to get going, but with so much set up in that book I'm hoping that this one will really fly and I'll fall in love all over again.

There you have the five books that I cannot wait to get my hands on and start reading this month. Are there any here that you can't wait to pick up? Any new ones that have you intrigued? Or any that you think I've missed? Let me know in the comments below!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Book Announcement: Kaleidoscope Song by Sarah Benwell

Today is an incredible day for bookish news, because one of my very great awesome friends has announced news of her second novel. Simon and Schuster (US) will be publishing "Kaleidoscope Song" by Sarah Benwell.

This is a huge deal, firstly because Sarah's debut novel 'The Last Leaves Falling' was stunning, heartbreaking, and one of the best books of 2015. But secondly, because for so long Sarah didn't think this novel would ever be released out into the world.

The full story in Sarah's words is over on Dahlia Adler's Blog please do go and read a bit more about this important and exciting book. 

I'm not going to lie, I cried a little bit when Sarah told me the news that S&S were going to be publishing her second novel, because this book is so important. It is a story that needs to be told. We keep on yelling for more diverse books, for more stories that show every facet of humanity, and whilst we are starting to see more, there are so many more that we're not seeing. Publishers, take note, we want these books. These books will sell. I am so glad that S&S are listening and sharing Sarah's novel with the world.

South Africa is loud. Listen. Do you hear the song and dance of it? The chorus of Khayelitsha life? Every voice is different, its pitch and tone and intonation as distinct as the words we choose and how we wrap our mouths around them. But everybody has a voice, and everybody sings…Fifteen year old Neo loves music, it punctuates her life and shapes the way she views the world. A life in radio is all she’s ever wanted.When Umzi Radio broadcasts live in a nearby bar Neo can’t resist. She sneaks out to see them, and she falls in love, with music, and the night, but also with a girl: Tale has a voice like coffee poured into a bright steel mug, and she commands the stage.It isn’t normal. Isn’t right. Neo knows that she’s supposed to go to school and get a real job and find a nice young boy to settle down with. It’s written everywhere – in childhood games, and playground questions, in the textbooks, in her parents’ faces. But Tale and music are underneath her skin, and try as she might, she can’t stop thinking about them.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Next Ten Books On My To Read Pile

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created and hosted by the lovely folks over at 'The Broke & The Bookish' - to join in simply follow the link!

This week is freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, so I decided to keep it simple and talk about the next ten books I have stacked on my to read pile. I have a good mix of old books, new books, and yet to be released books, but they all have on thing in common - I cannot wait to get stuck into them!

Judged by Liz de Jager
Kit's job description includes solving crimes - the supernatural kind . . .
Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.
In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.
Thorn turns to the only person he knows who'll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequence of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.


I adored the first book in this trilogy, and then found the pacing of the second book a bit of a struggle, but I'm hoping that it was setting up for a truly glorious finale in 'Judged'. Regardless of whether it lives up to my (stupidly high) expectations, I know I'm going to really enjoy finishing this series, and will be incredibly sad to see the last of these characters.

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


The buzz around this book over the last few months has been substantial and everything I've heard has just increased my excitement to crack this one open and get sucked in. Here's hoping it lives up to my expectations...

See How They Run by Ally Carter
Inside every secret, there's a world of trouble. Get ready for the second book in this new series of global proportions--from master of intrigue, New York Times bestselling author Ally Carter. 
Grace's past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn't stop it, Grace isn't the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. 


I have been a huge fan of Ally Carter's other books, but the first in the Embassy Row series really didn't grab me in the way I'd been expecting, in fact I was downright disappointed. However I'm not giving up on this series yet and I'm really hoping that the second installment will snag my attention and pull me into the story.

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.


I know next to nothing about this book other than the pretty cover and the blurb, but all of that is enough to make me really want to read it, so good job marketing. I have this on order and am desperate for it to arrive so I can get stuck in and see if it lives up to my expectations.

Night Study by Maria V Snyder
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia are safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear. 
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek...secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister that they could have ever imagined.


Admittedly I wasn't as thrilled with 'Shadow Study' as I was with the original Study trilogy, but it was still wonderful to return to the world and characters I fell in love with and see what they were up to. 'Shadow Study' felt a little slow to get going, but with so much set up in that book I'm hoping that this one will really fly and I'll fall in love all over again.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.
Celestine North lies a perfect life. She’s a model daughter and sister, she’s well-liked by her classmates and teachers, and she’s dating the impossibly charming Art Crevan.
But then Celestine encounters a situation in which she makes an instinctive decision. She breaks a rule and now faces life-changing repercussions. She could be imprisoned. She could be branded. She could be found FLAWED.
In this stunning novel, bestselling author Cecelia Ahern depicts a society in which perfection is paramount and mistakes are punished. And where one young woman decides to take a stand that could cost her everything.


I've enjoyed Ahern's adult novels and I'm always very interested to see how writer's fare with the transition to young adult. Plus with a blurb and premise like that how could I not be intrigued?

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control. 
The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.
Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors. 
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. 
Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?


I'll be honest, the first book in this series didn't blow me away in the same way that it did a lot of other people. However it did leave me curious and wanting to see what would happen next in this slightly strange x-men, dystopian, fantasy world and I can't wait to see if it catches my interest in ways that the first book didn't, or whether it kills my interest in the series for good.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. Victor and Eli started out as college roommates?brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find?aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge?but who will be left alive at the end? In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn't automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.


This book has been on my to read list for Far Too Long, and I am determined to finally get around to actually picking it up and finding out what all the love and fuss is about in the next couple of weeks.

Deathless by Catherynne M Valente
A glorious retelling of the Russian folktale Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, set in a mysterious version of St. Petersburg during the first half of the 20th century. A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya's fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace - only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.

A book that cropped up on my Instagram, I was so taken with the quote and the person's love of this book that I had to have it and it is currently queued up on my kindle ready to go. I know next to nothing about it, but I'm very curious to get stuck in.

My American Duchess by Eloisa James
The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford - an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.
But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.
The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honour clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:
All is fair in love and war.


A new Eloisa James is exactly what I need in the cold grey winter months and I cannot wait to get stuck into her latest in the Desperate Duchesses series and find a little bit of a fictional (and steamy) happily ever after.

So there you have the next ten books I'm going to be making my way through over the next couple of weeks. Are any of these on your to read pile? Are there any you've read already and what did you think? And are there any you want to add to your TBR pile after seeing them here?
Let me know and link me to your own Top Ten Lists in the comments below!

Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: Transmetropolitan Volumes 1 - 4 by Warren Ellis

Publication Date: January 1998
Publisher: Vertigo

After years of self-imposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job that he hates and a city that he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd Century surroundings. Combining black humor, life-threatening situations, and moral ambiguity, this book is the first look into the mind of an outlaw journalist and the world he seeks to destroy. 

I’m not a huge reader of graphic novels, I’ve dabbled in the past with things like ‘Watchmen’ but honestly they and the fan-base that surrounds them has always kind of intimidated me. But then Mum got rushed into hospital with heart failure at the end of November last year and I just stopped reading. I couldn’t focus or persuade myself to settle to more than a page or two of any books, no matter how much I was enjoying the story. So a friend handed me the first couple of volumes of ‘Transmetropolitan’ and told me to read them.

I was expecting to enjoy them, I wasn’t expecting to love them. They’re dark, they’re filthy and twisted and a little bit depraved in places, but what surprised me were the complex the characters, and the sucker punch to the feelings that they deliver with alarming accuracy.

It’s a messed up, twisted and utterly brilliant world, but the true heart and drive behind these books is Spider Jerusalem himself. He of the filthy mouth, bowel disruptor gun, and surprising heart that shows up at unexpected moments and completely floors you. There’s a depth to these books that I wasn’t expecting, an intensity and morality that is what shifted these swiftly from an enjoyable read into something extraordinary. They are now an all-time favourite.

The first two volumes offer more disjointed but no less enjoyable and interesting stories, before shifting into a lengthy and more cohesive whole for the third and fourth. There’s so much more to this world than is obvious at first, a complexity and sometimes painful view that left me in turns breathless with laughter and close to tears.

Brutal, brilliant, and definitely not for younger readers, Transmetropolitan will offer a surprisingly insightful view of the world we live in, through a very surreal lens on a very different future with a complex lead at its heart.

“Trust the fuckhead.”

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Books I'm Squeeing About in January

A new year is almost upon us! How did that happen?! This last year has been an incredible year for books with so many amazing releases we have been thoroughly spoiled. Normally I'd worry that this coming year would have a hard time beating it, but then I look at all the books due out over the next twelve months and I know that it's going to be another incredible year for amazing books.
And January is no exception, there are some stunning books kicking off the year in style. So here you have the books releasing in January that I'm squeeing about.

5th January - This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03
The auditorium doors won't open.
10:05
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.


So I already read this book months ago, and it is still haunting me. This debut is stunning. A heart wrenching, terrifying and utterly brilliant debut. I cannot recommend it enough.

5th January - Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever


Complete honesty? This is one of the cases where a book went on my want to read it now list based entirely on buzz and the cover. I hadn't even seen the blurb when I added it, but now I have I'm doubly excited and cannot wait to get reading.

14th January - Judged by Liz de Jager

Kit's job description includes solving crimes - the supernatural kind . . .
Glow, a fae-created drug, is rapidly going viral and the suppliers have to be shut down. Teaming up with Aiden and Dante, Kit follows leads across London, tracking down dealers. They stir up trouble, making themselves a target for the gang they're trying to stop.
In the Otherwhere, Thorn stumbles across a secret that could destroy both the human and Fae worlds. The Veil that separates our human world from the fae realms is weakening and the goddess is dying. And if she dies and the Veil fails, madness and chaos will wreak unstoppable havoc upon both lands.
Thorn turns to the only person he knows who'll be able to help him: Kit. Torn between working the Glow case and her loyalty for the young prince, Kit is propelled headlong into a world of danger. She faces enemies from both the Otherwhere and our world. And as the stakes are raised, the consequence of failure for both Kit and Thorn, and two realms, could be devastating.


I may not have gotten along superbly with the second book in this trilogy, but the first book was so brilliantly written that I cannot wait to get my hands on the third and final book. I'm hoping that the momentary dip experienced in the second book was that dreaded but expected moment where set up for the third book drags at it, and that the excellence of the first book will be back for this last installment.

14th January - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.


There has been so much buzz surrounding this book for months that I'm thoroughly excited about it already. It just sounds like it's going to be something I love - fantasy, magic, peril. Colour me thoroughly intrigued and excited.

26th January - My American Duchess by Eloisa James
The arrogant Duke of Trent intends to marry a well-bred Englishwoman. The last woman he would ever consider marrying is the adventuresome Merry Pelford - an American heiress who has infamously jilted two fiancés.
But after one provocative encounter with the captivating Merry, Trent desires her more than any woman he has ever met. He is determined to have her as his wife, no matter what it takes. And Trent is a man who always gets what he wants.
The problem is, Merry is already betrothed, and the former runaway bride has vowed to make it all the way to the altar. As honour clashes with irresistible passion, Trent realizes the stakes are higher than anyone could have imagined. In his battle to save Merry and win her heart, one thing becomes clear:
All is fair in love and war.

It's Eloisa James, of course it's on my need to read it now list, it's going to be superb.

There you have the books I'm going to be squeeing about in the coming months! Have any of these caught your eye? And are there any books that aren't on here that you think I need to check out? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas From The Review Diaries

The Review Diaries would like to wish all readers a very Merry Christmas filled with many wonderful bookish things.

I hope wherever in the world you are you have a lovely day with family and friends.

It's been a very disjointed end of the year here, so I know there hasn't been as much activity as usual. However I will be back to your regularly scheduled reviews and posts after the festive break!

Merry Christmas!