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 The Next Together is told through a mixture of regular prose, diary entries, letters, "original" historical documents, news reports and internet articles.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.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon **Review**

The Bone Season
Series: The Bone Season #1
Pages: 452
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: 20th August 2013
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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Goodreads synopsis:
The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine and also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

My initial reaction to The Bone Season was definitely one of excitement. I knew it was mostly set in Oxford (albeit an alternative, future version of Oxford), and this being a city I both love and know fairly well, I was looking forward to seeing how it would be adapted for a fantasy novel. I was also quite excited by the idea of different kinds of clairvoyants, or voyants for short. Add to that that the main character was obviously in constant danger just for being what she is ... I was expecting to be immediately hooked. And I was. The beginning was instantly engaging. Straight away you learn so much about Paige, her abilities and how she puts them to use in the criminal underground of Central London, now known as Cohort I. The opening chapters are full of action, and it was fairly easy to get to grips with the world and its inhabitants.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern **Review**

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern
Series: Flawed #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Release date: 24th March 2016
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon UK

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

Goodreads synopsis:
The stunning YA debut from internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern.

Celestine North lives 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 first read Cecelia Ahern when I was about 17, starting off with A Place Called Here, a book that I really loved. Despite that, though, I haven't really read too many of her books, mostly because I rarely read the kind of books she writes. But when I heard she was publisher her first YA novel, my interest was immediately piqued, and I knew I had to read it. Her style was always easy to get on with when I did read anything of hers, so I expected it to be similar with Flawed. If anything, I think Flawed was even easier to get on with than her adult books, and I was drawn into the story almost immediately.
But it wasn't until things started to go seriously wrong that I became totally engrossed.
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