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The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Malachi the Queer
The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Malachi the Queer
Price: £2.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Crucifixion and Resurrection of Malachi the Queer, 28 Jun. 2015
Malachi is hiding a big secret from his devoutly religious family – he’s gay. He hasn’t told his family yet but he already knows they won’t accept his sexuality and will try to ‘cure’ him or convince him it’s just a phase. Of course, when they do find out things don’t turn out well for Malachi – convinced that he’s suffering from SSAD (same sex attraction disorder, which, by the way, some people ACTUALLY think is a real disorder) they enroll him in a controversial summer camp programme that’s supposed to set him on the ‘right’ path.

The horrors that Malachi witnesses and is subjected to during his gay conversion therapy are disturbing and upsetting to read, made even more upsetting when you realise there are real life cases where similar things have happened. Though this is fiction, it’s rooted in truth and shows just how dangerous religious extremism can be.

Strongly written and with a memorable cast of characters who will stick in your mind long after you’ve finished reading, Malachi the Queer isn’t an easy book to read and wouldn’t be suitable for younger readers, but it feels like a story that needs to be told, and touches on extremism that I haven’t seen explored in many novels. With a story packed full of twists and turns, as well as hope and love being thrown into the mix alongside pain and misery, this is a redemption story that will have your full attention until you’ve turned the final page.

No Title Available

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Tasting Protein Powder Out There!, 10 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I absolutely adore the taste of this powder and it's so versatile. I use it in breakfast smoothies with blueberries, banana and coconut milk, as part of a post-workout shake with coconut milk and to make protein pancakes. It tastes incredible, 1kg lasts me for a couple of months (I halve the serving size suggested on the back and that's perfect for me) and the effect it gives it great.
I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to any women looking for a protein powder.

Hama Star 62 Tripod with Carry Case
Hama Star 62 Tripod with Carry Case
Price: £18.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Great User-Friendly Tripod, 10 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This works perfectly with my Canon EOS D600 and I've used it non-stop since purchasing. It's perfect to take distance shots of people and landscapes and feels sturdy and secure.

Sharp Objects
Sharp Objects
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Gillian Flynn is Unstoppable, 10 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Sharp Objects (Kindle Edition)
The Queen of Unsettling Fiction, Gillian Flynn's debut novel is every bit as accomplished as her later work and just as unsettling.

She creates tense atmospheres and claustrophobic small town scenarios better than anybody else and I was utterly gripped by Sharp Objects from page one until the story's shocking end.

Wicked Games (Wicked Games, Book 1)
Wicked Games (Wicked Games, Book 1)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Worth it for the ending!, 10 Jun. 2014
Since I read Brother/Sister a few years ago I've been really excited to read more from Sean Olin, so I couldn't wait to get my hands on Wicked Games. I did initially think this one was a standalone but apparently it's the first in a series - though if you're not a series fan this definitely works just fine as a standalone and it is a self-contained story.

So, what did I think? Well, it's a tricky one. I really did enjoy Wicked Games, I read it in a single sitting and I've found myself thinking about it a lot since. However, there are some glaring errors that I can't deny, so I think your enjoyment of this one will depend whether you're looking for gorgeous writing or a story you can't look away from. If it's the former, you'll probably be disappointed, if it's the latter you'll probably be hooked in, just like I was.

Lilah is described as 'troubled' and there's certainly a lot going on underneath the perfect exterior she likes to portray, we have a couple of references to her 'meds' but apart from that we don't get to find out much about Lilah's issues. However, after her long-term boyfriend, Carter, betrays her in the worst way possible, all bets are off and Lilah sees red.

Lilah will stop at nothing to get revenge on Carter and the girl he cheated on her with, Jules. To be fair, I know Lilah's a bit...shall we say unstable? But I sure as hell preferred her to Jules. Jeez, I'm not sure if we were supposed to like this girl or find her awful, but I couldn't stand her. She's the dullest type of manic pixie dreamgirl you can imagine - Lilah might be psychotic but at least she was entertaining!

Look, I could go into the confusing viewpoint in Wicked Games, or the fact none of the characters were particularly likeable, but a story like this is for pure entertainment, and it did entertain me. I was gripped throughout the book and I couldn't wait to see what unhinged thing Lilah was going to do next. The epilogue was really great and had the same 'NO WAY' effect that Brother/Sister's twisty turny ending did.

There are a lot of negative reviews out there for Wicked Games, but I'm going to fly my flag as a fan and say I was thoroughly entertained. Go crazy Lilah, you do your thing!

New Girl
New Girl
Price: £5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars A Modern-Day Rebecca!, 8 Jun. 2014
This review is from: New Girl (Kindle Edition)
Paige Harbison’s debut, Here Lies Bridget, was one of my favourite reads of last year. I adored her style, her realistically flawed characters and the way her writing had the ability to have me laughing one paragraph and weeping pathetically the next. When I was offered the chance to review her latest offering, New Girl, I jumped at the chance, naturally.

New Girl is a retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s classic romantic thriller, Rebecca. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me when I say that Rebecca is, without doubt, one of the greatest novels of all time. I absolutely adore the story and the novel is right at the top of my top ten list, tied only with The Bell Jar.

But I’m getting sidetracked.

I was intrigued to see what Harbison did with New Girl, given that Rebecca is such a beloved novel. It was definitely a bold move on her part, bolder still that she reimagined it as a YA, complete with drinking and pretty boys. See, that last sentence is one of the reasons why I love this writer. Not many people would have the balls or the skills to pull that off but Harbison does it with style, grace and some brilliant one liners. Some of you may be put off by the Rebecca retelling but don’t be – it’s subtly done and with clear love for the original, which I think is always the key with reimaginings.

New Girl is one that can appeal to so many different readers. Contemporary fans (like me) will eat this one up but it’s also a great story for you paranormal fans out there. I don’t think it matters whether you’ve read Rebecca or not as the story stands out on its own, I just think knowledge of the original will enhance your enjoyment of New Girl but it certainly isn’t necessary, which is great.

Becca is, to put it mildly, a massive bitch. I’m sure a lot of readers will probably hate her but I thought she was pretty awesome. I do love a good bitchy character. Okay, she isn’t very likeable and definitely has a nasty streak but at least she feels like a real person. I’d much rather read about characters who might not always be pleasant but are realistic, rather than 2D characters who are filled with rainbow and unicorn farts and never put a foot wrong. Lame. Bring on the bitches, I say. Harbison is a pro at creating characters who have a tendency to err on the side of full on biatch but you can’t help liking, it happened in Here Lies Bridget and again in New Girl.

Our protagonist in New Girl is a great reimagining of our heroine in Rebecca. She’s meek and mild to a point but knows when to stand her ground and stick up for herself. Girlfriend ain’t no pushover. Her relationship with Max was great; I loved the mystery and angst and stolen glances and all that lovely teen drama. I’d really like to see New Girl as a Lying Game/Pretty Little Liars style TV show with a single season run. YES.

Changeling (Order of Darkness Book 1)
Changeling (Order of Darkness Book 1)
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An Exciting Historical Adventure, 8 Jun. 2014
When I was lucky enough to be invited up to London to meet Philippa Gregory and have a sneak preview of Changeling a couple of months ago I was pretty darn excited, I’ll tell you that for free. I hadn’t read any of Philippa’s books before and while it was tempting to dive into her backlist after meeting the lady herself I decided to hold off and make Changeling the first of hers that I read. I’m not the world’s biggest historical fan but Philippa was so inspiring to speak to and I’ve constantly heard such wonderful things about her novels over the years that I was beyond thrilled when my copy arrived last month.

I’m not generally a huge fan of books that are massively hyped up before release as I find they inevitably disappoint but, for once, the hype and buzz is absolutely deserved. Changeling is one of the most intriguing and well written novels that I’ve had the pleasure to read in a very long time and I cannot wait for all of you to read it, as I know you’re going to absolutely love it. I think Philippa Gregory may have single handedly turned me into a bit of a historical fan – bet you never thought you’d read those words, folks. No, there are no bitchy blonde cheerleaders or house parties between the pages but I fell in love with the sharp dialogue, memorable characters and beautiful visuals that Gregory creates in Changeling.

The first thing I want to talk about is the humour, as I never expected this book to be so funny. I genuinely laughed out loud more than once and Freize is one of the most comedic characters I’ve come across in a while. His relationship with Luca was one of my favourite elements of the story – they reminded me a little of Jon Snow and Sam Tarly in the Game of Thrones series but Freize and Ishraq's relationship is definitely one to watch in future books, I think those two could make an excellent team. Freize was far and away my favourite character; he’s smart, hilarious but also sweet, especially as the book moves into the last third and we see the goodness and kindness in him, when most characters display their bad side.

To prove my point that Freize is a comedy genius, I want to share my favourite quotation, taken from page 174 of the UK proof:

'Never eaten anything that couldn't be speared on the tip of a dagger,' Freize offered from the doorway.
'Enough,' Luca advised this most interfering servant.
'Or sucked it up,' Freize said. He paused for a moment, to explain more clearly. 'If soup.'
"'If soup!'" Luca turned on him wrathfully. "'If soup!" For God's sake, be silent. No, better still, wait in the kitchen.'
'Keeping the door,' Freize said, motioning that his work was essential. 'Keeping the door from intruders.'
'God knows, I would rather have an intruder, I would rather have a band of brigands burst in, than have you commenting on everything that takes place.'

Freize shook his head in remorse and once again folded lower lip over upper lip to indicate his future silence. 'Like the grave,' he said to Luca. 'You go on. Doing well: probing but respectful. Don't mind me.'

Even though I was completely engrossed in the story, I couldn’t help but make some technical notes about the sheer perfection that is Gregory’s pacing. She used snappy, short sentences to increase the pace in the action scenes and long, flowing paragraphs of gorgeous description during the more sedate moments. Anyone who knows me knows I do appreciate a well paced novel! Little things, and all that.

I touched on this earlier on in this post but I just want to mention again how visual Changeling is. There are so many scenes and locations that I saw so clearly in my mind and I think it’s a huge strength of Gregory’s that she gives us just the right amount of description to set the scene but pulls back enough to let the reader add in their own little details about the setting. I would love to see this on the big screen, there are so many elements that I know would work brilliantly, so fingers crossed for that.

Even though Changeling is the first book in a series I didn’t feel like we were left with a huge cliffhanger that was written purely to entice us into buying the next book. Although it’s clear that the overall story arc isn’t over, there are two wonderful stories in Changeling that make it a self-contained novel that could be picked up as a standalone. I’ll absolutely be racing to get the next book in the series but it was nice to read the first installment without feeling as though I was short changed by the ending.

Changeling is a breath of fresh air among the stacks of dystopia and paranormal series that are still dominating the YA marketplace. Books like this are exactly what we need more of: Engaging from beginning to end, wonderfully written and penned by an author who clearly adores her craft and knows her story and characters inside out.

Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian
Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian
Price: £4.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Artemis is Back!, 8 Jun. 2014
Well, it's finally here: the release day of Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian, the final installment in Eoin Colfer's beloved series. For over a decade children and adults alike have fallen in love with the world Colfer has created for one of the most memorable characters in children's literature - Artemis Fowl. It's always a bit of a nervous moment, isn't it, reading the final book in such a treasured series? It could go so very, very wrong but I'm happy to report that when it comes to this series, Colfer has got things so very, very right.

Artemis is back, smarter and funnier than ever before. He's back on top form, with some of the best dialogue I've read in a long while. Artemis is such a complex character, with so many layers and sides to his personality. He's truly interesting to read about and I'm sure there isn't a reader around who isn't always absolutely rooting for him - despite his sometimes questionable behaviour! But isn't that what makes him such a great character? I'm not always such a huge fan of series but, with books like the Artemis Fowl stories, it's such a wonderful opportunity to really get to know the characters, to watch them grow and grow with them on their journey.

As always, Colfer gives some truly laugh out loud moments in The Last Guardian, which do lighten the tone of what is surely one of the most intense Artemis Fowl books in the series. One of my personal favourite scenes is one of the first in the book, which sees Artemis undergo a therapy session with Doctor Argon, the gnome psychiatrist. I just wanted to share a little passage (from page three) with you, in case you were on the fence about whether or not to pick up a copy of this one:

'From the Case Notes of Doctor Jerbal Argon, Psych Brotherhood:

1. Artemis Fowl, once self-proclaimed teenage criminal mastermind, now prefers the term juvenile genius. Apparently he has changed. (Note to self: harrumph.)

2. For the past six months Artemis has been undergoing weekly therapy sessions at my clinic in Haven City in an attempt to overcome a severe case of Atlantis Complex, a psychological condition that he developed as a result of meddling in fairy magic. (Serves him right, silly Mud Boy.)

3. Remember to submit outrageous bill to Lower Elements Police...

...5. Discuss my theory of relativity with Artemis. Could make more a very interesting chapter in my v-book: Foiling Fowl: Outsmarting the Smarty-Pants. (Publishers love the title: cha-ching!)'

I love just the humour Colfer manages to inject into every situation. It makes his books so much fun to read and I'm sure is a big part of the reason his books are read so widely and by so many different people, young and old.

We see our hero, Artemis, embark on the greatest journey so far; he is tested to his absolute limits, with the fate of humanity resting on his shoulders. Who ever thought the anti-hero we saw in book one would ever be the one fighting to save the planet? It just goes to show how much Artemis has developed and grown since the earlier books in the series - don't worry, though, he hasn't lost his edge.

I'm not going to talk much about the later events in the book, as I know everybody will want this review to be completely spoiler free, though I will say that it was a fantastic ending. Exciting, heartbreaking and warming in equal measure - I'm convinced that fans of the series will be so happy with how Colfer chose to end the series. It's perfect - and real - and that's what counts. Let me know if you make it all the way through with dry eyes - I'll be shocked!

This is simply an unmissable story, absolutely one of the most-hyped books of the year and it thoroughly deserves every bit of buzz it's been getting. Colfer has created one of the most magical and memorable series that I'm sure any of us has had the joy of discovering and I hope this wonderful finale delivers everything all of you hope - do let me know what you think once you've had the chance to read it.

Now is Good (Also published as Before I Die)
Now is Good (Also published as Before I Die)

4.0 out of 5 stars Prepare the Tissues..., 8 Jun. 2014
Yes, I'm ridiculously late to the party by reviewing this one five years after everybody else, I know. I received a copy of the newly titled Now is Good (to tie in with the film) at the Random House Blogger Brunch a couple of weeks ago and it reminded me that I still haven't posted my review of this one.

The main thing that struck me about Now is Good is how beautiful Downham's writing style is. Like Laini Taylor and Lauren Oliver, she has such a delicate, lyrical flow that it is impossible not to be moved by. It fitted in perfectly with the tone of the book and Tessa having such a vulnerable voice definitely made the story more powerful.

Tessa is such an interesting character. A sixteen year old girl who knows she has a matter of weeks left alive must be difficult to write but Downham does it perfectly. She's angry, she's upset, she's defiant and she's so strong, determined to get check off every item on her To Do Before I Die list, whatever the cost. We see her tearing her room apart and destroying her belongings, we see her losing her virginity (in the opening pages, no less - what a way to start a novel!), we see her at her darkest times and we see her emerge from all of that as a realistic, memorable character who I don't think will ever be forgotten.

Now is Good is difficult to read in places. Reading about a sixteen year old preparing to die is never going to be a particularly enjoyable experience but there are moments of joy and light and laughter in this story, which stops it being too depressing and leaves you feel uplifted instead of just sad. Although you will feel sad, that's inevitable. I would have shed a tear at the ending (which was just fantastic), if it wasn't for my boyfriend choosing that moment to throw a pillow at my head in an immature bid for attention. Douche bag.

What I loved most about Now is Good is that it's real. Real to the point that sometimes you question Tessa's actions, sometimes you feel angry with her and even more often you feel angry with her family and friends, especially her mother. But I'd rather read a book that makes me angry but rings true than something with a Hollywood ending that loses its authenticity in a bid to make everybody happy. Tessa's mother and Zoe were both very interesting and, although I didn't particularly warm up to Zoe, I really did feel for Tessa's mother, who was hopeless but still charming.

I was a little dubious when I heard about the film adaptation but we were shown the trailer at the Random House Blogger Brunch and it's great, it really looks as though they've done a great job so I can't wait to see it. What do you think about the film adaptation? Are you excited or do you think they should have left the book alone? Will you be going to see it?

Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend
Nine Uses For An Ex-Boyfriend
Price: £3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars What Would You Do If It Happened To You?, 8 Jun. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The lovely Michelle over at Fluttering Butterflies posted about this one a few weeks ago and it inspired me to pick up my copy and see what her post was all about. She'd asked readers what they thought they would do in Hope's situation and reading everybody's answers was fascinating. Nine Uses for an Ex-Boyfriend (Nine Uses, from now on) definitely throws up a lot of questions and that's one of the things I like about it, there's so much potential for discussion and I think everybody will come away from the book with a different opinion about the situation, which is great.

I've read a few reviews that criticise Hope's behaviour throughout the book, that say she should have been more ballsy, less like a doormat, tried to get even and should never have wanted Jack back. Okay, the way I see it, it's easy to sit there and say how somebody should act, it's easy to say you want a strong female lead who doesn't let a man treat her like crap etc etc. Those are great ideals. But, unfortunately, the vast majority of the time they are unrealistic. If your boyfriend of over a decade, the man you love, the man you've built a home with cheats on you with your best friend, I'm pretty sure you're not going to get over it in an afternoon and display exemplary behaviour at all times. I'm pretty sure you're going to eat your weight in carbs, wallow in self-pity and and wonder what the hell you did to make him leave you, which is precisely what Hope does.

What I loved is how realistic Hope acted. I loved that she doubted herself, blamed herself at first but then slowly began to snap out of that mindset as she gradually tried to get over the relationship. I like that it was gradual, slow process, not just an overnight job like we've seen in countless movies. Sure, her behaviour can be frustrating but so are real people and I think Manning did a brilliant job at showing the various stages Hope goes through in her quest to get over the breakdown of her relationship.

A couple of things that did throw me were the title and blurb, which I thought were quite misleading. I'm still not sure what the title has to do with the story, except for the fact there is an ex-boyfriend involved. The whole 'Nine Uses' element seems completely redundant, as it's not something touched on in the story at all...unless I totally missed something. Did I? Was there a whole 'Nine Uses' sub-plot that completely passed me by? Similarly, I think the blurb was a bit off as well, particularly the teaser at the end of it that talks about true love getting mad and getting even. I went into the book thinking it would be about Hope getting revenge on Jack and Susie for betraying her but it's not something that happens at all. It just struck me as a little odd that the book was set up in the summary as being something it's not at all. These are more issues I had with the marketing side of things rather than the writing itself, which was great, as it always is with Sarra Manning.

Have any of you guys read this one? If so, what did you think? How do you think you would react in Hope's situation? Did you warm to Hope or were you frustrated by her behaviour? Let me know in the comments!

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