Tag Archives: drama

book review: hate by Alan Gibbons

You can also see my post from the HATE blog tour, by clicking here!

Published 10th April by Indigo books.

18692305Goodreads Synopsis: Eve’s older sister, Rosie, was bright and alive and always loved being the centre of attention. Then one day, she is brutally murdered. Six months later, Eve meets Antony and discovers that he was there the night Rosie died and did nothing to help. Is there any way she can ever get past that? Inspired by the Sophie Lancaster murder in 2007, which saw Sophie and her partner Rob viciously attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, Lancashire because of the way they dressed. This is a hard-hitting real-life thriller about friendship, courage, loss, forgiveness and about our society and communities.

My Review: The real-life inspiration behind HATE really shocked me. It’s terrifying to hear stories of hate crime. I started HATE nervously; how would it treat the topic? How would I find a story, that takes such a serious real-life inspiration?

Luckily, I found it really well written. HATE was gripping and eye opening- I read the whole book in one sitting. HATE’s centered around Eve, whose sister Rosie was killed by a gang because of the way she dressed. One day at school, she recognises the name of the new boy, Anthony Ward. He was one of the witnesses that day, who saw Rosie but did nothing to help… and now at school, tension is rising between one character who speaks up and another character who hates him because of it.

HATE is quite a short read, no more than 300 pages, but its plot is quite complex. It did take me quite a few pages to grasp the format,  because it switches between six months before the present events in the book, and between the present tense narratives of Eve and Anthony. It did take me a bit to grasp everything about the characters, too, but after a few chapters I became completely engrossed in the story.

The plot is terrifying, made even more so, as it’s based on shocking true events. It really paints a realistic picture of the grief the victim’s families go through, as well as showing how hate crime can be caused, using homophobia and its effects for the central plot of this book. It’s a very tense book, and very heart-breaking, though at the same time, heart-warming at the end.

I grew to like the main protagonists- we learn so much about Eve, and after a while, I also grew to understand Anthony despite what he hadn’t done the night Rosie was attacked. Despite growing to really love the central characters the book is based around, I found the story a little too short, almost, to grow too attached to them! I blame that a little more on me reading it in one sitting- just over two hours- though…

Overall, HATE was a very tense, riveting and compelling read. It’s based around a scarily real topics such as homophobia and hate crime, and it’s not a book that can be forgotten easily. The characters felt three-dimensional, and Alan Gibbons’ writing is brutally honest and powerful. I felt the ending was a little bit abrupt, and the format was a little hard to get used to at first- but it’s most definitely worth picking up a copy of. HATE is a brave, and powerful read.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of HATE from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

book review: seven second delay by tom easton

Published 1st May 2014 by Andersen Press.

18300258Goodreads Synopsis: Mila has 7 seconds. 7 seconds to fight. 7 seconds to escape.

Seeking a new life on the futuristic Isles, Mila’s time runs out – she’s captured by Agents, who implant her with a phone that broadcasts her every move. Now she’s on the run, hounded by an elite fighting force who is convinced she poses a dangerous threat to society. Her only advantage: a seven second delay.

It’s a race against time.

My Review: Seven Second Delay was such an action packed, and thrilling read!I was looking forward to reading it, and wasn’t let down, though I wasn’t entirely sure at first how I’d find it , a dark dystopian, after having read Easton’s more contemporary, funny book!

It did take me a little while to understand the world; it was about a hundred pages before everything was explained fully. However, the rest of the book did make up for that! The plot is so interesting. The beginning of the book has the reader as clueless about what’s happening as Mila, the protagonist, so it’s really riveting to piece together all of the information along with her. There were a lot of unexpected twists and turns; I honestly didn’t know what was going to happen on the next page. 

I really loved Easton’s writing. He laces his chapters with tension and drama. It’s quite a fast paced book, set over a relatively short period of time, too. Seven Second Delay is pretty addictive, full of narrative hooks. I enjoyed all of the flashbacks woven around the story, that focus on Mila’s life before she’s captured by agents. They let me get to know Mila really well. I would’ve liked more flashbacks, though, because they were brilliant and gave good insights into the other areas of the futuristic world the story is set in. The book is shorter than I’d expected at just over 300 pages. I was left wanting to know a bit more about the world (hint, Tom Easton… sequel…? 😀 )

Overall, Seven Second Delay is a really action packed, fast paced book. It’ll definitely appeal to fans of Charlie Higson, and Anthony Horowitz! I really liked the characters. Mila is great- she reminded me a lot of many other awesome dystopian protagonists, namely the ones in novels by Emma Pass. I really loved the concept of the world, it’s so unique and clever. I would have loved a bit more about it, though… I’ve given this 4 hearts, but i’m really going for 3.75 (I’m awkward 😀 ) because it’s a brilliant read but I wish it could have been longer 🙂

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Seven Seocnd Delay from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

book review: writing in the sand by helen brandom

Published 1st April 2014 by Usborne.

20957971Goodreads Synopsis: “Amy! Wait till you hear this…”
I hold my breath. 

“What?” I say. 

“Last night someone left a baby on our doorstep.” My heart stops. This is it, I think. Now what do I do?

Sixteen-year-old Amy is used to keeping secrets – about her mum’s illness, her irresponsible sister and her ex-boyfriend. Amy is her mum’s sole carer and every day is filled with tiny battles to achieve the simplest things, from cooking a meal to keeping the house clean, especially when social services come round. No matter how difficult stuff gets, Amy doesn’t want anything to change. But then a shocking discovery turns everything upside-down. 

When a newborn baby is left on her best friend’s doorstep, it becomes the talk of the town, and only Amy holds the key to the baby’s identity. Now she has two choices: tell the truth, or live a lie forever.

My Review: Writing in the Sand is a very poignant, and brutally honest story! It covers themes of love, loss, and family, and I really enjoyed reading it.

The story begins with our protagonist, Amy, who, as she’s sitting her exams, is also experiencing a lot of pressure at home. She has to care for her mother, and she’s torn apart over her ex boyfriend’s migration, and now, a baby has turned up on her best friend’s doorstep and Amy knows who’s left it there, and it’s turning her life upside down.

I really liked the character of Amy, because she felt like such a realistic teenager. I was rooting for her all the way through the story, even though some of the choices she made weren’t the best available! I think she’s going to be well loved by anyone who reads this book!

I was really intrigued by the pretty mysterious plot (Though from a note on the press release I realised everything and AHHH! :s) and all of the débuts I’ve read so far this year have been stunning, so I had really high hopes! The plot deals with a lot of pretty scary themes for a teenagers to be dealing with. I’m really impressed that the début author, Helen Brandom, has written everything so well. I had a little correct idea of the outcome, though wholly, the book is quite unpredictable.

Helen Brandom’s writing is truly great. She’s captured the voice of a teenager so successfully and I really loved the narration!

Overall, I really enjoyed Writing in the Sand. It’s a heart-breaking, but also heart-warming story that deals with complicated relationships, pregnancies, and children who have to care for their less able family members. Riveting and powerful, I think a lot of people are going to find the plot really memorable- as they will also find the protagonist! There was one character I wanted to know so much more about, but, oh well… I would really love to hear much more from Helen in the future. A really great, recommended, contemporary!

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of Writing in the Sand from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Leopold Blue by Rosie Rowell

Published by Hot Key Books, 2nd February 2014.

Leopold BlueGoodreads Synopsis: Meg Bergman is fifteen and fed up. She lives in a tiny town in rural 1990s South Africa – a hot-bed of traditionalism, racial tension and (in Meg’s eyes) ordinariness. Meg has no friends either, due largely to what the community sees as her mother’s interfering attempts to educate farm workers about AIDS. But one day Xanthe arrives – cool, urban, feisty Xanthe, who for some unknown reason seems to want to hang out with Meg.

Xanthe arrives into Meg’s life like a hurricane, offering her a look at a teenage life she never knew existed. But cracks quickly begin to show in their friendship when Meg’s childhood friend Simon returns from his gap year travels. LEOPOLD BLUE is an emotionally taut and beautifully-written story from a debut author with a mesmerising voice.

My Review: I began Leopold Blue not entirely knowing what it would be about; only knowing that it was centered around a powerful friendship, in 1990’s South Africa. I had heard lots of really amazing things about it, though- so I started with high hopes! I really was quite blown away. Leopold Blue is a poignant and beautifully written debut. It’s captivating and emotional. The book begins with English Meg and her sister, living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, South Africa. Zanthe, rebellious and unique, starts at Meg’s school, and soon Meg realises Zanthe is a person she want to be like, and the two form an unforgettable bond, until things begin to slowly change after the arrival of Meg’s childhood friend.

I really loved the characters. Meg was quite likeable- I enjoyed reading about her, and her friendship complications. She’s a perfect representation of a teenage girl, who’s struggling to find her place. Zanthe is her almost her complete opposite; she’s ruthless, and rebellious, and I think I may have loved her a little more! I guess I liked Zanthe for her personality, though the ending was pretty… Whoa Zanthe Whyyyy??

The setting was the perfect backdrop for the story. The town, despite being too small and boring to Meg, is home to a lot of racial tension. I don’t know much about S.A., especially from the 90’s, but I think Rosie Rowell has definitely captured everything so well! The story and the setting was so vivid in my head. I loved Rosie’s writing- it was so beautiful!

The plot was really interesting. It covers friendship, and family, and has themes of peer pressure. It’s so relevant, to so many teenagers; definitely essential for young adults! I got a really great insight into 1990’s rural S.A., and enjoyed it all. There were some really shocking parts that I definitely wasn’t expecting. I think the main thing that I didn’t really enjoy, was the ending. It was so well written, and I think it was satisfying, but it seemed… abrupt? I wasn’t expecting the book to end like that; although it was a clever place to end the story, I still think I want to hear a lot more!

Overall, Leopold Blue was a really stunning debut, and as it says in the synopsis: Rosie Rowell really does have a mesmerising voice. I loved her writing- it just flowed so well, beautifully and packed with emotion. The characters were brilliant; especially Zanthe… I’m not sure how other people will see her, after certain points, though! Set in an exciting country at a really important time, I can’t recommend this more to every teenager for its themes, and to anybody who’s looking for a next big debut.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Leopold Blue from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Phoenix

By SF Said, published by David Fickling Books.

PhoenixGoodreads Synopsis: THE SUPERNOVA IS COMING . . . ONE BOY ALONE CAN SAVE THE GALAXY!

Lucky thinks he’s an ordinary Human boy. But one night, he dreams that the stars are singing – and wakes to find an uncontrollable power rising inside him.

Now he’s on the run, racing through space, searching for answers. In a galaxy at war, where Humans and Aliens are deadly enemies, the only people who can help him are an Alien starship crew – and an Alien warrior girl, with neon needles in her hair.

Together, they must find a way to save the galaxy. For Lucky is not the only one in danger. His destiny and the fate of the universe are connected in the most explosive way . . .

My Review: This book kept catching my eye in bookstores, and I was approved for it on Netgalley. I kept putting it off because it was on my kindle and I prefer physical copies! I wanted to buy this to read on paper but in the end, curiosity got the better of me and I started it on my kindle, even though the illustrations have a better effect in physical copies. Even though it probably wasn’t the best reading experience, on a kindle, I feel in love with this story. I’m definitely going to be buying it and re-reading it soon!

Phoenix is about a boy called Lucky, who’s living in a universe torn apart by war. When he almost burns his room down in his sleep, a chain of events starts, pulling him into the conflict between the humans and the Axxa. The plot unfolds really well, and there were some genius twists that kept me guessing at the ending. There’s no way I could have ever predicted the last chapters. They were heartbreaking, yet hopeful, and so beautiful.

The book was full of some breath-taking world building- It was so vivid and realistic, I felt like if I looked out of my window I’d see the starships flying across the skies and the feel the stars singing. It was amazing, how powerful the world was! The plot was action packed and adventurous, yet despite all of the fantastical happenings, the story can be applied to real life. It deals with the effects of war, and unlikely friendships, and I really loved how that’s relatable to loads of situations here in real life. The writing, as well as the illustrations, bring the story to life beautifully. It was so descriptive, but not over-the-top, and generated a lot of powerful imagery. SF Said is really talented at weaving tension into a story, and he made me really feel for the characters.

Lucky is unforgettable. At first, over the first tenth of the book, I was a little unsure of him, because he didn’t seem to be that brave. Though, I think that may have been intended; because Lucky’s development over the story is amazing. His power, though it’s a burden to him, sounds pretty cool! (: Another character that I fell in love with, was Bixa. She’s an Axxa, as part of the starship crew that Lucky joins. She’s really unique and loveable- pretty awesomely kick-butt, too! Her friendship with Lucky was so… CUTE! I loved them, though of course all of the other members of the Axxa crew have a special place in my heart now… (:

Overall, Phoenix is a really amazing novel. I’m so glad I finally thought I’d request and read it. (I blame M at We Sat Down for this new bookish obsession!!) The plot was superbly written, and I immersed myself in the world so easily. I really, really didn’t want to leave it at the end! The characters were all flawless; each has such detailed backgrounds and personalities- I felt I knew them. I did really want to talk about all of McKean’s drawings for the book here, too: But on a kindle they really didn’t look as amazing as they do on paper. Phoenix is on my to-buy list for when I next visit a bookshop though, so I can read it in physical form and experience the illustrations better- they are breathtaking! Anyway- HIGHLY recommended for any sci-fi fans, fantasy fans, etc., out there- and also anybody who wants a new favourite book (:

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Phoenix from the publisher via Netgalley, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

Pivot Point

By Kasie West, published by Harper Collins (US).

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)Goodreads Synopsis: Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

My Review: WOW. Just, quite simply, WOW. This book was just mind blowing. It was so original, and thought provoking, and a brilliant science-fiction twist on a real-life situation, and I could literally talk about the concept for hours.

Addie is a girl living in a compound that we never get to know the full secrets behind, which annoyed me. (Though I’m guessing that’s to come in book 2, Split Second!) IT’s a mysterious town hidden away in America, where all of the residents have different kinds of powers- mostly mind powers. Some are telekinetic, or telepathic, or if you’re like Addie; at points where you have to make decisions, you can view the two paths you could take, before choosing one. Not reading the synopsis properly, I didn’t realise that the book was split into two worlds; two alternating chapters…

Addie comes home from her high school, to find out that her parents want her to make a life-changing decision: Who does she live with, Mum or Dad, when they split up? Utterly torn by the decision, Addie uses her Search skills, to view the futures she would have in either path, Mum or Dad. I was confused at first because I didn’t realise that every other chapter was of the different search, but once I’d realised that, I was amazed. I was really worried that the story would jumble up- there are, effectively, two different stories happening at once- but miraculously, it didn’t. Kasie West’s writing is immaculate. I understood everything perfectly- and the format was so original, and unlike anything that I’ve ever seen before.

Both plots (I’ll have to refer to them as two separate things! Though, they do link in places- that sounds confusing… but read this and it’ll all make sense!) were really well thought out. I couldn’t decide which one I preferred. In one Path, Addie moves out of the Compound to live in the real world, where she must conceal her powers. In another world, she stays in the Compound with one parent, but in both of the Paths, events behind to take place that shake everything up. I was so hooked on both of the stories; devouring each chapter, eager to read on. Kasie’s cleverly used cliffhangers to her advantage., and it definitely worked.

Addie is a character that I loved to read the story of. I could relate to her really easily, through her realistic teenage problems, to her love of books (yay!). She has a best friend who I also absolutely adored… and the last events of the book had me so scared for her, but I don’t think I can say much more than that without spoiling things. Addie has a very complex sort of love story woven into her life (lives?). IN one path, she meets a new boy who isn’t Gifted like her. However, in another path, she dates a boy with Gifts, who she has known vaguely for a while. Though you don’t get to know much about Addie’s opinions on her Path choices, you can interpret them- it’s obvious she really struggled with what side to pick. I loved her final decision, though.

As I was reading quite fast, utterly addicted to the story, I found the ending to the novel quite abrupt. I had to read over it a few times, for the result to actually sink in, and was a little bit disappointed the epilogue wasn’t slightly longer. I’m really interested to see what happens in the sequel, Split Second. I hope it’s in a format like this one was, with two different choices, and more detailing on the background of this supernatural Compound. Though, I think Pivot Point would be good as a simple standalone, because it keeps you thinking about the plot and the character long after you put it down.

Overall, Pivot Point is, as I said at the beginning, mind blowing. The concept is very powerful, and there is actually nothing I can compare it to. Well done, Kasie, for creating a book that I think I’ll be re-reading a lot, until I can grab a copy of the sequel! Addie is such an unforgettable protagonist. I loved her Talent, and the way that she dealt with everything. The plots were quite different but some of the events were similar- the two Paths were cleverly linked in places. I’m now really excited for the sequel, Split Second- As I have no idea what could happen in that, but I really badly want to re-visit Addie’s unique world again.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Pivot Point from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Lockwood & Co.

By Jonathan Stroud, published by Random House.

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Another five star review for my Halloween Reads! Yay! This one’s nothing like ZOM-B, which I reviewed earlier… it’s more for the fans of the paranormal who want a terrifying read to curl up with.

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)Goodreads Synopsis: When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Review: Thanks very much, Stroud. You had me tossing and turning all night thinking about ghosts, rushing up stairs in case there were ghosts that might haunt them (no really.), and made me a MASSIVE fangirl. I’ve given it a while to write this review, so I can let it sink in a bit. No review I could write could do this enough justice… it was just simply amazing. Stroud has created a unique, imaginative world in which ghosts roam freely. They haunt so many houses- they’ve turned into some kind of infection spreading throughout England. So, agencies have sprouted up around the country, too, and Lockwood & Co. is that one with the bad reputation and the low-ish income. Luckily, with the arrival of Lucy, things begin to get a lot more exciting for them, because they’ve discovered their biggest case yet.

Despite this book being set in the modern world, for some reason I imagined it all Victorian, and I have no idea why. Maybe it was because there weren’t that many technology references? Maybe it was because Mr Lockwood reminded me a bit of Will from the Infernal Devices- cocky, arrogant, mysterious, and just loveable. Either way, I loved the future that Jonathan Stroud has crafted! It’s eerie, and quite terrifying for a Children’s book. It’s just brilliant- a rich dose of paranormal horror that will send shivers up your spine and grip you like a vice.

Lucy was a fabulous main character. The story was structured in a unique way- starting with an event that sparked their biggest mystery- then zooming back in time to build up Lucy’s back-story, then zooming ahead of time again to carry on with the book. Maybe I didn’t make that sound great… but it’s genius. I got to know Lucy so well! He accomplices, Mr Lockwood and George were also both loveable and brilliant leading characters, that I really want to read more about.

Lockwood & Co. is so gripping, also because of the writing. Jonathan Stroud’s writing is just immaculate, to say the least! His descriptions were beautiful, and the dialogue witty, mostly, to give the rather grim book an upbeat, feel-good essence. The writing drew me into Stroud’s novel so effectively that I found the book hard to put down- devouring the book in about three sittings!

Overall, Lockwood & Co. was an amazing novel. I haven’t read any ghost story as brilliant for a while! The plot was gripping, and full of ghosts and spectres that’ll keep you awake at night. One word to describe the story? Addictive. That’s what this story was! It held onto me from the first page and didn’t let me go until I had read (and re-read) the last chapter. I can’t recommend this enough to fans of the ghoulish and ghost stories. I think I’ve now got to go and hunt down Stroud’s other series, and then impatiently wait for the next book. Bring on the sequel!

My Rating:

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I purchased a copy of Lockwood & Co. from a local bookstore, but also received it on Netgalley- In no way at all did that affect my thoughts.

Because It Is My Blood

By Gabrielle Zevin, published by Macmillan.

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright, #2)Goodreads Synopsis: 

“Every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”- Michael Corleone, The Godfather.

Since her release from Liberty Children’s Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship.But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It’s a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve–and her heart–will be tested as never before.

My Review: *I may accidentally drop spoilers about book one in this series here! You have been warned!* 

What an awesome sequel! I was really worried that this wouldn’t live up to the sheer perfection of the first book, All These Things I’ve Done, but it really did! Because It Is My Blood is a book I’ve been so excited for, all of this year, since I read the first one back in January, and have been impatiently tapping my foot, waiting to read about what Anya Does Next. This book has definitely disproved that statement about Sequels of books not living up to their predecessors. Because It Is My Blood was just as brilliant; a real roller-coaster-ride of a book. It was a perfect blend of thriller, dystopia, and family drama!

Anya was, and still is, one of my favourite female dystopia protagonists. She’s so three-dimensional, and despite living so far off in the future, very relatable. It was very interesting to see what she’d do after the ending of All These Things I’ve Done- as, boy, that was an evil cliffhanger! I loved her just as much in this installment: She’s a very down-to-earth character. I enjoyed following her as she was thrown back in Liberty- a rehabilitation facility for children; then as she escaped, assisted by awesome supporting characters, to Mexico to lie low for a while.

Gabrielle Zevin really played with my emotions in this book! Firstly, Anya’s brother. He was a loveable character in book one, who was then taken away for safety. Oh, was I upset at that- I thought I wouldn’t hear of him in this book! Fortunately, I did, but, I can’t say what happens to him in this book. All I can say is: Gabrielle! That plot twist made me cry and want to throw the book across the room, then made me laugh and do a little happy dance at the end. The author’s also made me learn not to trust any minor character in this book. I’m really scared as to what may happen in book three, now.

The plot was very different, to All These Things I’ve Done! I was ever so slightly annoyed at the fact that another love interest made his way into Anya’s life. I was pretty terrified that that might take over the rest of the book- but, luckily, it didn’t, so yay! The new love interest (Well, I guess he is. It seems that Anya sees him as a friend, but he’s competing with Will a bit, to me) was a very likeable character, though, and he and his family, who run the plantation Anya hides in, opened the gateway to yet more conspiracy theories and drama. I loved that! This sequel was pretty much unpredictable.

Overall, Because It Is My Blood was a really strong sequel to an amazing book. I don’t think I could pick out any major flaws! This series is an amazing thrill ride, and any crime/drama/romance/dystopia loving teen will also love it, I’m very sure. I loved reading more about Anya, and I think the book was great, but too short for me (maybe that’s just because I was so immersed in it, and wanted more!). With some new characters I’ve grown to love, and some old characters I’ve grown to hate (thanks to some double-crossing and plot twists!), I really can’t wait for the next book, which is called In The Age of Love and Chocolate. 

You can check out my review of ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE, HERE!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Because It Is My Blood from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: All Our Yesterdays and Doll Bones

I’m very behind on netgalley reviews- eek! I’ve decided to catch up on Netgalley titles I’ve forgotten to review, in my mini reviews posts, which may start getting more frequent! Here are two really different books! One covers time travel and sci-fi in a mind-blowing concept; the other an eerie quest to search for answers about a doll that may or may not be entirely made of bones. *ducks behind couch*

All Our YesterdaysALL OUR YESTERDAYS (By Cristin Terrill, published by Bloomsbury)

All Our Yesterdays was, quite simply, mind blowing. The concept was really original and a one-of-a-kind, fresh take on a time travel novel. I was really scared that I’d not like this, maybe because I’d find it too confusing, and I was really afraid I’d be the first of many readers, not to like this. Ah, I was too worried. This book was awesome! I delved into it knowing only that it involved a lot of time travel and action and drama. I was definitely right there. There was never a dull moment in this book: Right from the beginning, when Em finds a note from a version of herself in a different time, telling her she has to kill her best friend if she wants to save the world. I was a little bit confused as to why Em loved Marina so much as first, as I thought she didn’t know her, but then some extremely clever connections were made. *spoiler alert!!!* Marina is Em’s past self. *spoiler over!!!* That was just really clever, and I’ve honestly never seen a  plot twist like it in a book before. Whilst the ending was quite a bit too fast paced for me, I really did love the ending. It’s the kind of last chapter that you have to read over and over again- not because you didn’t understand it, but because it was just so unpredictable and genius that it’s hard to get over it. Just… ahh! Amazing, amazing book. Go find a copy, now!

Doll BonesDOLL BONES (by Holly Black, published by Random House) 

Doll Bones was such a fun, and relatively quick, read, that I’d really recommend to kids and teens alike! Holly Black is an absolutely brilliant author, though before this I’d only read her writing in the Spiderwick Chronicles. I was really glad that I got an ecopy of this book! It wasn’t exactly the story that I’d expected. It turned out differently than I’d guessed it would, but it really was a fun read. Three best friends, Zach, Poppy, and Alice, are whisked away on an adventure to bury a doll to put its spirit (the ghost of the girl its bones were made of) to rest. The whole thing was hugely eerie, and even though it was targeted at quite a young audience, it definitely sent shivers up my spine at some points! The other side to the story was quite unexpected. Really, if you stripped away the horror story and the ghostly aspects, the story was about growing up. Zach’s dad threw his toys away, saying he should stop playing with dolls, and that’s really what sparked their whole expedition. I really liked that aspect of the story, because it was quite emotional, too, seeing how Zach would cope with that on the side of their mystery. The characters were relatable, and the story was well structured, haunting and mysterious… what’s not to love about this?

My Ratings: 

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To All Our Yesterdays

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To Doll Bones (This seems like a low rating… but check out my rating system page and it’s really not! :))

I received both of these titles from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

More Than This

By Patrick Ness, published by Walker Books.

Apologies to Walker Books UK for such a late review! This was due to school and also the fact that it took me a few days to actually form coherent sentences about this book.

More Than ThisGoodreads Synopsis: A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What’s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonizing memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this. . . .

My Review: more Than This, quite simply, just blew me away. It’s taken me a while to get round to writing a review, mostly because I really don’t know how to review such an amazing book! Firstly, can I just say: this book is the best book I’ve read this year. No doubt. It’s quite hard to review this not just because of its amazingness. How do I write a review without spoiling this?! More Than This is the kind of book where, if one thing is spoiled, the whole thing is! I’m going to try anyway…

Firstly, Seth. I read the first chapter, then put the book down, and stared at it for a while. The main character dies in the first chapter? What? How does the book go on? Then, in chapter two, Seth’s woken up in a place that looks freakily similar to his childhood home in England. How is he here? Why’s everyone upped and left? The book follows Seth as he tries to figure out how he got to this place. I loved Seth for a lot of reasons. Firstly, I connected with him not entirely because of his personality, but mainly because he’d appeared, lost and confused, in this unexplained world. It was exactly what the author had done to me, really!

As the book progresses, (and I don’t think I can really say how it progresses) I got to know Seth from his ‘original life’ much better, as when he goes to sleep in this empty world, painful memories for him surface. This book is very emotional, mostly at these points. Argh! I’ll spoil it if I say much more. But his early childhood, involving a kidnapping, was terrifying, and I felt like hugging him when his love life was ruined after a friend betrayed him, and his parents discovered he was gay and disapproved. The love life aspect leads to Seth’s death, and Patrick Ness can really play with the reader’s emotions, I can say that. Bring Kleenex.

The plot was just immaculate. I originally guessed that the whole book was Seth, figuring out how he got here and possibly unlocking the reason he came here. While that technically does happen, it most certainly didn’t happen it the way I had guessed! Patrick Ness split this book into three roughly equal parts, and I think I loved the first one the most because it was mainly getting to know Seth’s background, and was very raw and brutally honest. Not that the other parts weren’t. The rest was just as emotional, really, but the first part focuses on Seth more than the others (as some new THINGS- not saying what exactly- enter the story). Each plot twist made me gasp, or put a blank expression on my face and made me go “Whoa, what?!”. More Than This was entirely unpredictable!

The idea behind this book is just genius. It’s original, thought-provoking, questions reality, and I’ve never read anything like it before. Patrick Ness, why?! I really can’t go into this for fear of ruining things. But, the idea is centrally themed around the question, What’s Real and What’s Not? This book made me wonder if what had happened to Seth could possibly happen to me; that I could wake up in a barren landscape due to a mystery behind reality. As much as I thought about things whilst reading the book, after I’d put it down (at stared at a wall for a while wondering what else to do with my life after that ending) I found myself picking it up, hours; days later, just to read parts again because I’d loved this so much!

Overall, More Than This was a really unique book that is absolutely nothing like anything on the YA market at the moment. It stands out from the current dystopia craze at the moment- while, I guess, it is a bit dystopian, it’s nothing like any other in the genre. It’s probably the most original- and my favourite- book that I’ve read this year! More Than This is packed with shocks, emotion, a couple of laughs, thrills, horror, mystery… the lot. It ticked all of the boxes and more, for me. I honestly can’t recommend it enough! I was tempted to make a six hearts on my rating system, reserved for this book. Simply amazing!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of More Than This from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.