Monday, 15 August 2016

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

The Raven Boys
Series: Raven Boys #1
Pages: 454
Publisher: Scholastic (UK)
Release date: 19th September 2012
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Goodreads synopsis:
Even if Blue hadn't been told her true love would die if she kissed him, she would stay away from boys. Especially the ones from the local private school. Known as Raven Boys, they only mean trouble.

But this is the year that everything will change for Blue.

This is the year that she will be drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. And the year Blue will discover that magic does exist.

This is the year she will fall in love.

The Raven Boys is one that I've been wanting to pick up for several years now, but for some reason it never made it to the top of the list. I started reading it at long last because I would be meeting Maggie at YALC and I wanted to have read some of her stuff before meeting her (she's lovely, by the way. If you have the chance to meet her, go do it!). That and I've had friends constantly telling me how much I would love her writing.
I was only a couple of chapters in when I could see just how right my friends were – I could tell early on that I was going to adore the Raven Boys!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: Truthwitch #1
Pages: 415
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: 5th January 2016
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Goodreads synopsis:
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.

Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

This book was one of those rare times that I was ridiculously excited to read it, despite having never picked up a book by this author before. It was the kind of excitement reserved for Neil Gaiman, Sarah J Maas, Matt Haig and David Levithan.
It was a kind of excitement that perhaps gave this book shoes that were just a little too big for it to fill. Expectations and hype are dangerous things, and unfortunately, I don't think they gave Truthwitch much of a chance.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Review: The Next Together by Lauren James

The Next Together
Series: The Next Together #1
Pages: 356
Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: 3rd September 2015
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Goodreads synopsis:
How many times can you lose the person you love?

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated.

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace?

Maybe the next together will be different...

A powerful and epic debut novel for teenagers about time-travel, fate and the timelessness of first love. The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.

The Next Together is marketed as a sort of time-travel romance, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s entirely accurate. It is a romance, I suppose, in that there is a relationship between the two main characters, Matthew and Katherine, but I wouldn’t say that it’s the main focus of the book. Not really.
The relationship between the two characters seems to be a catalyst for other events throughout history. Each time the characters come together – be it in the 18th Century, or the 21st – they affect the events around them. The story seems to be more about what’s happening around the characters than about the relationship itself, especially as we know that the relationship will happen in one way or another each time they appear together in history.

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett **Audiobook Review**

The Painted Man
(The Warded Man, US)

Series: The Demon Cycle #1
Pages: 544
Publisher: Voyager
Release date: 1st April 2009
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK           Audible UK

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Goodreads synopsis:
As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise—demons who possess supernatural powers and burn with a consuming hatred of humanity. For hundreds of years the demons have terrorized the night, slowly culling the human herd that shelters behind magical wards—symbols of power whose origins are lost in myth and whose protection is terrifyingly fragile. It was not always this way. Once, men and women battled the corelings on equal terms, but those days are gone. Night by night the demons grow stronger, while human numbers dwindle under their relentless assault. Now, with hope for the future fading, three young survivors of vicious demon attacks will dare the impossible, stepping beyond the crumbling safety of the wards to risk everything in a desperate quest to regain the secrets of the past. Together, they will stand against the night.

I read this as an audiobook, narrated by Colin Mace. I've only recently started getting into audiobooks, and this is actually only the second novel I've listened to in that format (the others being non-fiction titles such as 'Fry's English Delight' and the like). I didn't think I would be able to immerse myself in the story properly if I was to listen to it rather than read it, but I've found that not to be the case – especially with The Painted Man (also known as The Warded Man).

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

You Know Me Well by David Levithan and Nina LaCour **Review**

You Know Me Well
Series: None
Pages: 256
Publisher: Macmillan Children's
Release date: 2nd June 2016
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this book

Goodreads synopsis:
Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other -- and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Although this wasn't my favourite David Levithan collaboration novel, I still really enjoyed it, and I loved the fresh angle that Nina LaCour gave it.
At the very beginning of the book, I was convinced that this was going to be quite similar to the 'David and Rachel' books – boy meets girl at an evening event and they have a one-night adventure where, despite their differences, they begin to fall for one another. But no, this was not that. For one, the boy meets girl had a different purpose – Kate and Mark quickly become friends in order to help the other overcome their separate relationship woes. And another thing? Both of them are gay. That's right – a lesbian in a David Levithan novel! Thank you, Nina! This is a rare occurrence for David Levithan, his books mostly being about gay boys (not that I don’t love David, because I really do!).

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout **Review**

The Problem With Forever
Series: None
Pages: 384
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Release date: 1st June 2016
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Thanks to the publisher for my review copy of this book.

Goodreads synopsis:
From #1 NY Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes a deeply powerful and emotional story about struggling to overcome your past and find where you belong.

When Mallory was a kid, she was bounced from one horrible foster home to another. At thirteen, a terrible accident got her removed from the group home where she was living to a hospital where she met the parents who would adopt her. But when she starts a new school and encounters an old friend from the foster system sparks start to fly.

I went into The Problem with Forever knowing very little about it. I often quite like to do this – it means that even any details revealed in the synopsis are a surprise, and often that’s a good thing. All I knew about this book was that it’s a contemporary YA about a girl who was in foster care. I possibly knew a little more than that when I first requested it, but that was all I could remember when I did eventually start reading.
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