Tag Archives: ya fiction

The Bibliomaniac: A Bookshelf Tour

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Every blogger and vlogger does one of these at some point, and yet in my five years of blogging, I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my shelves here! Admittedly I have on Twitter, a lot… but I figured a blog post would be nice. Especially as I just tidied / did a massive book cull so my shelves aren’t as cluttered so here goes!:)

MY MAIN BOOKSHELVES:

 

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These shelves are home to about half of the books that I have read and own. I’m usually incredibly obsessive and organised (as in, alphabetising everything I own, from DVDs to school books) but these shelves are in absolutely no logical order. They’re a massive rainbow, which I love sososo much even if it does show that I have way too much time on my hands. (Even the items on the shelves correspond to the colours… yep).

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These are part of the ‘main,’ bookshelf, but I count them at their own little sections, as they’re not YAwhich is what the shelves above mostly consist of. Two shelves are home to all of my classic books – from Enid Blyton, to Road Dahl, to George Orwell and my favourite thing I own – a 116 year old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. A larger space is reserved for all of my graphic novels and collected comic editions! I’m definitely going to need more space on this one soon, as I’m looking to expand my series reading. Current favourites are The Runaways and The Wicked and the Divine.

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This bit is the untidiest bit D:

This is where most of the books on my to-read (or in some cases, to re-read) list live! I should really order them into some kind of logical sense, but somehow I actually remember where all of these books are placed, so, I guess it’s all good.

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Most of the rest of my TBR books are on the my windowsill (top of this left photo) and sitting on my library steps, by my desk! So many books, so little time.

I do keep many of the proofs copies I’m sent – visible at the bottom of the left photo, under my windowsill. Hot Key Books all look so lovely together. A couple of more recently sent ARCs live under my bed, as I’ve run out of room (despite culling 100 books the other day!)

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And, finally – signed books! I haven’t been to any bookstore events in a long time (GCSEs, general exhaustion, etc) but I used to go up to Waterstones Piccadilly practically every week or so, attending talks and signings. My signed books don’t live in my room – they’re on shelves at the end of the hallway. But I do like that little area at the end of the house! More rainbow-ordered books!

So, that concludes the bookshelf tour! What do you think of my chaotic order of things? How do you organise your books?

Book Review: Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Published April 2016 by Little, Brown.

26030682Goodreads Synopsis: Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days finding and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the German army invaded. Her illegal work keeps her family afloat, and Hanneke also likes to think of it as a small act of rebellion against the Nazis.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person: a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such a dangerous task but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations—where the only way out is through.

My review: Anyone who knows me well enough will know that I do not shut up about Monica Hesse’s début YA books, STRAY and BURN, which are two of my all-time favourite books, ever. My excitement went through the roof when I found out that Hesse had written another YA book – and I was very interested to see her genre choice jump from Sci-Fi to historical fiction. I was delighted to have the chance to read it.

Girl in the Blue Coat is set in wartime Amsterdam. Hanneke is secretly running illegal errands, delivering extra rations of food to local people, and staying under the radar. But when one of her clients asks her to help search for a missing Jewish girl that she’d been hiding, her life is turned upside down as she is catapulted into a complex mystery, and begins to unravel dark secrets about the what is happening to Jewish people being captured in Amsterdam.

Story time: I visited Amsterdam last year, and had the chance to also visit Anne Frank Huis. It was really heartbreaking and moving to walk around the tiny place the Frank family had to hide in for years – it’s incredibly eye-opening, and hard to believe that this was a reality for many Jewish people during the second world war. Monica Hesse’s attention to detail is admirable; her extensive research is evident in her meticulous descriptions – from the streets of Amsterdam, to the place Jewish people were inhumanely held, to the hiding spaces in Dutch households.

The plot gripped me from the start and hasn’t really let me go, even after closing the book. I’m still thinking about the story weeks later. It’s rare to find something so incredibly raw as this is – the emotion in this book is so intense and it can be quite hard to read the brutal nature of events at points. Admittedly, I don’t take history, but I’m sure the level of detail Monica Hesse explores in Girl in the Blue Coat can exceed what people learn in schools. This has really opened my eyes to what happened in Amsterdam, and I’m eager to learn more.

Hanneke is one of those characters I couldn’t help but adore. From the opening pages, I admired her daring nature, and her realistic inner conflict about searching for a Jewish girl in a dangerous world. I was rooting for her all of the way through, and loved the unlikely community she finds in the book, during her search. All of these characters will definitely stay with me for a long time – many scenes where their backgrounds are explored really moved me.

Overall, Girl in the Blue Coat was an incredible read. Monica Hesse has transcended into the historical fiction genre beautifully, with a powerful and mesmerising novel about the brutality of wartime events in Amsterdam, highlighting the bravery and selflessness of those who resisted Nazi efforts. The story is hard to fault, and was hard to put down; I was desperate to unravel the truth about this mysterious girl for myself. The ending was incredibly unpredictable, and the final events of the story brought me to tears! Highly recommended if you’re looking for a thought-provoking read.

My Review:

four and a half

I received a copy of Girl in the Blue Coat.

 

 

Page to Screen: YA Books That Would Make Great Movies

A lot of people seemed to love Paragraphs to Pictures, a blog post I published a few weeks ago on the YA books I’d love to see adapted as graphic novels. So, here’s a follow up post – this time, I’m looking at some books I would love to see on the big screen!PicMonkey CollageI’m normally team The Book Was Better when it comes to adaptations of books I love – take City of Bones, Stormbreaker or Harry Potter for instance – some of the increasing number of YA novels that have been brought to the screen. As brilliant as the films are, there’s always something more magical about reading the printed word and imagining the scenarios in your head.

I went to see Paper Towns a few weeks ago. I loved the book and it may be my favourite John Green novel – but the movie was unexpectedly maybe even better than the book. I thought the cinematography was perfect – scenes such as Q and Margo driving around the town at night captured beautifully. I think the story was translated fantastically.

It got me thinking about other YA books  that I love and treasure. What if these works were brought to big screens? Who would I pick to play characters, or direct the film? Here’s a list of some titles I think would be brilliant on screens.

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ALL OF THE ABOVE (James Dawson, Hot Key Books)

As soon as I put down All of the Above, I wanted to pick it up again. It’s a beautifully messy book, capturing the life of a teenager flawlessly. There’s lots of scenes I imagined so realistically in my head – I’ve never really envisioned a book’s setting so in-depth as I did with All of the Above! There’s potential for lots of beautifully shot scenes in the crazy golf course at night, where Toria and the crowd she falls in with hang out. Polly would totally be played by Cara Delevingne, as Cara has that crazy-awesome personality.

THE NEXT TOGETHER (Lauren James, Walker Books)

I am obsessed with a TV show called Orphan Black at the moment, which is about a woman called Sarah Manning, who finds herself falling into a dangerous spiral of events when she discovers she is a clone. The actress, Tatiana Maslany, portrays lots of different clones and it’s amazing. I was watching Orphan Black around the time I read The Next Together, and my thoughts while reading were often about how riveting a film of this book would be. Not only because the plot is constructed so well, and the different eras would be so cool to stitch together in a movie, but like Orphan Black, the same two actors would be portraying many different versions of themselves. It would be awesome.

ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE (Benjamin Alire Saenz, Simon & Schuster)

Aristotle and Dante is a beautifully written novel. Everything about it is beautifully crafted. Old me would say making this book into a film would be a terrible idea because you’d lose the magic of the writing. But I think seeing it in a different medium could bring a whole new level of magic to it. Also, of course – both of the main characters are LGBT* and Mexican. Name one movie out there with two PoC & LGBT* leading characters… *radio silence*

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES (Sabaa Tahir, HarperVoyager)

This book was one of the most epic fantasties I’ve read in a long time. It was fast-paced, gripping, and didn’t want to be put down for a second. I adored the characters and the writing evoked so much imagery for me. I couldn’t stop imagining the Empire in my head, how it would look and feel. I have a feeling Peter Jackson would be a pretty good choice as director / producer, as he’s fantastic at creating beautifully detailed alternate worlds – he did a stunning job with the world of The Lord of the Rings.

ALL THESE THINGS I’VE DONE (Gabrielle Zevin, Pan Macmillan)

All These Things I’ve Done is a dystopian novel where chocolate is illegal and the main character is part of a famed family that sells it. It’s so hard to describe (I recommend it to people all the time, but there’s no way to put its brilliance into words!) but it’s gritty, emotional and captivating. Anya Balanchine is one of my all-time favourite protagonists and she would be so cool on a big screen. The setting would be quite interesting to depict in a different medium, too, as it’s 2083 New York with a mafia undertones.

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So, there’s my choices! What would yours be?

Book Review: All of the Above by James Dawson

Published September 2015 by Hot Key Books.

23156540Goodreads Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Toria Bland arrives at her new school she needs to work out who her friends are in a crazy whirl of worry, exam pressure and anxiety over fitting in. Things start looking up when Toria meets the funny and foul-mouthed Polly, who’s the coolest girl that Toria has ever seen. Polly and the rest of the ‘alternative’ kids take Toria under their wing. And that’s when she meets the irresistible Nico Mancini, lead singer of a local band – and it’s instalove at first sight! Toria likes Nico, Nico likes Toria, but then there’s Polly…love and friendship have a funny way of going round in circles.

My Review: I’ve been excited about this book for such a long time. I’ve been a fan of James Dawson’s books ever since his first horror novels – to see him delving into another genre is really exciting, and he’s done so excellently!

I adore how Dawson writes his characters, and All of the Above definitely has some of his best. I loved the friendship group the story is centered around so, so much – each character was really unique and although the book wasn’t that long, each character was really well developed and explored. Kudos to James for writing a great story where characters just happen to be queer / PoC, without the story being entirely about that. We need more books like this.

I really loved Toria, she was an incredibly relatable protagonist – from her tumblring to her exam pressure, to her process of figuring life out, she just really resonated with me, so I’m sure she’s going to be well received by other readers. Polly was an awesome character: Strong willed, stubborn and completely wild, she felt like a mash-up of John Green’s Margot and Alaska, though was completely unique.

The romance side of the book is brilliant – Toria falls for the local band’s lead singer, Nico, and for a while things are going great. But Polly, Toria’s best friend, is beginning to mean something else to her. The relationships felt so raw and realistic. I think the ways they progressed was perfect, and beautifully written.

The back of the physical copy of the book says “It would be neater, wouldn’t it, if this was a story about self harm or sexuality or eating disorders or ridiculously hot bass players, but it’s a story about all of them. Yeah, it’s a mess. And it’s about to get messier.” Sidenote: Most fantastic blurb ever. And the fact that ‘it’s a mess’ is the reason this book stands out. So much happens. There are parts that will make you grin from ear to ear. There are parts that hit you really hard, parts that will make you cry. Some elements are wrapped up perfectly at the end. Some things are never resolved. But that’s the best thing about it – it’s not sugar-coated and nothing is perfect. And that’s what makes this book perfect.

Overall, All of the Above was an exceptional book, and I can tell it’s going to be loved and related to by a lot of teenagers. As much as I loved James Dawson’s horror YA, (and would love to read more of the genre from him again) I can tell his ‘phase two’ is going to be awesome. Dawson covers so many topics in this book, and so well, it’s admirable. I really recommend this, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

My Rating:four

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

Book Review: Paperweight by Meg Haston

Published 2nd July 2015 by Hot Key Books.

24917415Goodreads Synopsis: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Struggling to deal with her brother’s death and a past she refuses to confront, Stevie knows she has problems. But she’s still furious about the fact that she’s been packed off to a health clinic, in the middle of nowhere, where mobile phones are banned and communication with the outside world is strictly by permission only. The regimented and obtrusive nature of the clinic and its staff is torture to the deeply private, obstinate Stevie – and don’t even get her started on the other ‘inmates’. All she wants is to be left alone…
But as Stevie is about to find out, life is full of surprises. And she will prove herself stronger than she knows – even when her past finally catches her up in the most shocking and brutal way possible.

My Review: I’ll have to admit that I didn’t know much about the plot of this one – I quite largely was interested in it because of that beauuutifullll cover – but once I’d started Paperweight, I couldn’t put it down. I meant for it to be a quick read for a train journey – and it turned out to be one of my favourite reads of the year so far!

Paperweight starts with Stevie’s induction at a clinic for people with eating disorders. As the story progresses, with every day spent there, we get to look inside Stevie’s head to see her memories of what’s ultimately brought her there, and how she is dealing with it – because it’s a heartbreaking and harrowing story of love, loss, rivalry and secrecy.

The plot was unpredictable, a little hard to read at points because it became so sad – but, in all, a truly unique story. It was paced well and I raced through the book, as there was never a dull moment or a point in which I didn’t feel invested in the story. The realistic themes of anorexia, bulimia and death are treated well in the novel I think – though I’m not sure this is everyone’s cup of tea.

I connected with Stevie straight away. She had such a strong and believable voice; a personality driven by her eating habits that felt very painfully real. As the story progresses, Stevie lets the reader in on the reasons why she is where she is now; and it’s a complicated, unexpected tangle of secrets and drama. What I really liked about Stevie was that I never quite knew what direction Meg Haston was going to take her character in – I wasn’t expecting the romance side that became apparent but I loved the fact that Stevie’s identity was never labelled or questioned!

I have never read anything by Haston before (According to Goodreads she has written a few seemingly YA titles before!) but I would jump at the chance to read similar YA from her in the future. Her writing is brilliant; a talent I hope doesn’t go unnoticed when this is released. Writing about topics like she has here can be tough, but she has done so admirably. On top of the heavy themes, she’s written such unforgettable characters, the chemistries between which are well developed and raw-feeling.

Overall, I highly recommend Paperweight – I know that because of a lot of sensitive scenes it won’t be for everyone but it is an incredibly poignant read by a writer I hope to see more from. Stevie’s story has stayed with me long after I closed the pages – it ends on the perfect note. I’m so glad I picked this book up!

My Rating: 

five

 

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

Book Review: OTHERGIRL by Nicole Burstein

Published 2nd April 2015 by Andersen Press.

22854303Goodreads Synopsis: Louise and Erica have been best friends since forever. They’re closer than sisters and depend on each other for almost everything. Just one problem: Erica has superpowers.
When Erica isn’t doing loop-the-loops in the sky or burning things with her heat pulse powers, she needs Louise to hold her non-super life together. After all, the girls still have homework, parents and boys to figure out. But being a superhero’s BFF is not easy, especially as trouble has a way of seeking them out. Soon Louise discovers that Erica might be able to survive explosions and fly faster than a speeding bullet, but she can’t win every fight by herself.
Life isn’t a comic book – it’s even crazier than that.

My Review: I’ve been following the author of Othergirl, Nicole, on Twitter for a while and she often tweets about geeky awesomeness, mainly comics – so I was really eager to read her début novel as soon as I heard of the book deal. After what seemed like a long time, I wandered into Waterstones a while ago and didn’t realise it was out. I’ve never purchased a book quicker!

A main reason I was excited about this was that it tells the story of the one stock comic book character who’s always left behind; the superhero’s best friend. Louise has known Erica for years, and helped her through her discovery of superpowers – even making a costume for her.When Erica’s secret powers suddenly mean she’s part of a very big event, Louise is pretty much left behind, as Erica quite literally flies off without her.

The plot was so brilliantly written and paced. I intended to only read a few chapters, but ended up reading the entire book in one go. I loved the idea behind the story and it was told brilliantly, with some humour and a little romance too that I wasn’t expecting. The world in Othergirl is identical to our own… but there’s a world famous, world wide network of Superheroes called the Vigils, sponsored by large companies and immortalised on kids’ walls as posters. I really enjoyed reading about the superhero organisation, and kinda wish there was one like it IRL… 😀

The characters are so brilliantly crafted and understandable. Louise is a caring friend who always goes the extra mile, while Erica is more self-absorbed and tends to be more reckless and angry. Their chemistry is really interesting. I never fully liked Erica as she was often pretty dismissive of Louise – and I resonated with Louise more, being the typical quiet nerd. The ending made me tear up a little, actually!

Overall, Othergirl was definitely worth the wait. It was exactly as great as I wished it would be, and more. I’m so happy there’s a book like this in the YA market.  The characters were so fun to read about, as was the inventive world of superheroes Nicole Burstein has created. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an author’s personality reflected so much in their work as in Othergirl. (Also, bonus! Little comic book tributes hidden in the novel…) Highly recommended – this has fast become a favourite of the year.

My Rating:

five

I purchased a copy of OTHERGIRL from a local bookstore.

Review-Graphic: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

I borrowed Belzhar based on Lucy @ Queen of Contemporary‘s review from a little while ago. I devoured the book in one evening and was blown away. It was just stunning! Revision has been a little time consuming lately so I’ve done a little graphic instead of a full review…

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I borrowed a copy of Belzhar from my local library.

Book Review: BREAKDOWN by Sarah Mussi

Published 2nd October 2014 by Hot Key Books.

22432850Goodreads Synopsis: It is 2084. Nuclear radiation has poisoned the country. Society has fallen apart. Starvation is rampant, and power shortages have resulted in piles of obsolete gadgetry. Necessity has driven those who’ve survived to complete self-reliance, if they have the means to do so. For Melissa and her Nan, survival is just about possible, so long as they can guard the tiny crop of potatoes in their back garden and find enough fuel to cook on – and as long as they are safely barricaded inside their home by curfew.

For after dark, feral dogs hunt, and violent gangs from the old Olympic Stadium (now a miserable ghetto) roam to loot and plunder. If they catch you, they are not merciful; so when Melissa falls into the hands of Careem’s gang, her prospects look bleak. But Careem soon realises that she might just be more valuable alive, as a ransom victim. However, he hasn’t reckoned with Melissa’s resourcefulness. Soon part of his young gang are completely beguiled by Melissa and her story of a hidden valley in Scotland – a place that sounds like a comparative paradise, if they can get there. But apparently only Melissa knows the way, and only she can lead them there. But Melissa is hiding a secret. She has never been to Scotland in her life, let alone a mythically Elysian valley there. Can Melissa’s stories keep her alive long enough to escape – or will they get her killed?

My Review: I enjoyed Sarah Mussi’s RIOT (review here!) earlier this year – so when I discovered that Sarah’s newest tiels would be out so soon, I was eager to read it! I think I may have even enjoyed this more than Sarah Mussi’s last. It’s an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter of a novel, with some really clever plot elements.

I’m not actually sure if it’s intentional, because I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere – but I found some really bold parallels to Of Mice and Men in BREAKDOWN- a bit coincidental as I’m studying it in class! At first I thought this was some kind of dystopian retelling, because the main character meets a Lenny who she tells stories to about a place they’re headed, away from the hard work… Though the story takes a massive turn of events, I still found similarities to the novel and I’m not sure if they were even intended, if I just over-thought things because I’m studying the Steinbeck novel… but still, pretty awesome. 😀

The dystopian setting was very bold and interesting. England’s completely flipped around – the victim of nuclear destruction, growing slum-like conditions, a controlling army, and mass food shortages. Sarah Mussi gave such great descriptions of the world, building it up so it was a perfectly formed image in the readers head. However, I don’t think it was fully explained how England came to be such a dystopia – I would have loved for the book to delve into the reasons!

Marissa was a likeable main character. I don’t think I ever connected with her on a huge level, but she was a really strong, clever protagonist. I found her relationship with the main characters she meets, especially Lenny, so captivating and memorable. I really enjoyed reading about them!

Overall, BREAKDOWN was a great dystopian read. I really liked the protagonists, and the plot was very clever – there were so many briliant and unexpected twists and developments that made it hard to put the book down! I think Sarah Mussi’s dystopian world in BREAKDOWN is possibly her most unique… and I would happily read another book set there 😀 I think my main issue was that I wanted a more concrete story of the events that lead up to Marissa’s situation at the beginning, and the country’s situation in general too. Definitely recommended!

My Rating:

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

 

Book Review: The Memory Keepers by Natasha Ngan

Published September 2014 by Hot Key Books.

18196516Goodreads Synopsis: “No one can take your memories from you… can they?”

Seven is a thief with a difference – he steals downloadable memories from banks and memoriums to sell onto London’s black market, trading secrets and hidden pasts for a chance at a future of his own. He makes sure he keeps some special stuff back to ‘surf’ himself though – it’s the only real form of entertainment he can afford. But one night, as Seven is breaking into a private memorium in a wealthy part of London, he is caught in the act by one of its residents; Alba, the teenage daughter of London’s most famous criminal prosecutor. Instead of giving him away, Alba promises to keep Seven’s secret – as long as he allows her to go memory-surfing herself. In doing so, they discover a hidden memory about Seven’s past, revealing a shocking secret about Seven’s childhood, the government and a mysterious experiment known as The Memory Keepers…

Now Seven and Alba will have to race against time to unlock the maze of The Memory Keepers – but can they keep themselves out of harm’s way before the London Guard – and Alba’s father – catches up with them?

My Review: I read and loved Natasha Ngan’s striking fantasy début, The Elites, when it was released last year. Ever since I finished the last page of it I was eager to read more from Natasha! I was so glad when this arrived in the post, I delved straight into it and devoured the story in a day. It’s richly fantastical, but scarily real and possible at the same time. I’m so glad I enjoyed it as much as The Elites!

I adored Natasha Ngan’s world-building in her début novel, and was eager, but nervous, to see what her new dystopian world would be like. Ngan is so inventive and creative: Long after I put the book down, I was wondering about the futuristic imagining of London. It’s divided completely between a rich north and a poor south, with technological advances like memory recording. The book explores so much of the city and there were a lot of well developed parts, like the Underground communities… I’d really love another book set in the world of The Memory Keepers, as I was fascinated by the world-building.

The plot was really awesome. It was actually much darker and much more action-packed than I’d initially anticipated, though that’s not to say I didn’t love it! I was hooked from start to finish. I thought I’d guessed the ending, but it turned out to go in a completely different direction! I think the only thing that I would’ve liked in the book was to see more about the whole “memory” viewing technology. Of course, it’s a hugely central part of the book – but being really nerdy, I wanted to know a bit more about the history of it and how it came to be. That sci-fi element really interested me 😀

The book is written in switching narratives between Alba and Seven, who both lead completely different lives but are brought together when Seven breaks into Alba’s house to steal one of her family’s memories. I loved the narration immensely. The switching narrative was perfect for the story and Natasha Ngan has crafted two great, individual voices. I love Alba and Seven, the protagonists, too! I connected with them a lot and really didn’t want to put the book down while reading, eager to know what happened next to them.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Memory Keepers – there was a part of me a little nervous I wouldn’t love it like I did Natasha Ngan’s first novel… but it exceeded me expectations and was a total thrill ride of a book. The sci-fi elements of the story are imaginative, inventive and really clever. I loved Ngan’s writing even more with her second book. I think the narration was brilliant. Highly recommended, whatever your genre preference:)

My Rating:

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

Mini Reviews: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

I received copies of the first two books in The Name of the Blade Trilogy (Thank you Walker!) by total surprise a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to start them. After reading them I thought I’d do a combined-review post… Enjoy!(:

The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Published 2013 by Walker books.

20703287Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the Katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn how to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks not only losing her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

My Review: The Night Itself was such a brilliant book! I’ve been meaning to read something by Zoe Marriott for ages, as I’ve only ever read glowing reviews of her fantasy novels. I’m glad I’ve gotten around to The Night Itself at last, as I loved it! I was hooked in from the beginning – literally on the edge of my seat as I read about the freaky events taking place around Mio after she steals the katana.

I’ve fallen in love with Marriott’s writing:  it’s so gorgeous and I was completely immersed. She’s also really talented at crafting memorable characters. Mio was a really great main character, but I also loved her best friend Jack, who I found hilarious!

The plot was crazy and fantastical. I didn’t expect a lot of the aspects, but really enjoyed the story. Highly recommended if you love urban fantasy

My Rating: 

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Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

Published 3rd July 2014 by Walker books.

15723550Synopsis: Against all odds, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire. As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realizes that there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

My Review: I’m always a little bit apprehensive when starting sequels to really awesome books – but Zoe Marriott definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved how the romance developed between Mio and Shinobu. One character’s development that was most interesting (and shocking!) was Rachel’s, but she seemed a little bit forgotten about towards the end… I’m definite there will be a bigger focus on her, though, in Frail Mortal Heart. 

I wasn’t sure anything could terrify me more than the monsters in book one, but the new creatures after Mio in Darkness Hidden were terrifying! I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the most part – but there were points where I saw the jump-scares coming.:P

The ending had me in a complete mess. I honestly do not know what to do now until next summer, when Frail Mortal Heart is released.

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^Basically me. // All in all, though, I really highly recommend the first two books in The Name of the Blade trilogy! They were both fantastically action-packed and pacy, and I loved the originality of it. Urban Fantasy is becoming a popular genre, and Marriott’s books really stand out in the market, with the way she blends urban London with ancient Japanese mythology and horror.

My Rating:

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I received copies of The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.