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Untold (Lynburn Legacy 2)
Untold (Lynburn Legacy 2)
by Sarah Rees Brennan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Full of Gothic Horror and Witty Banter, 16 Sept. 2013
Unspoken was a book that I read when I was unwell last year and so what this series is actually about was a little foggy in my mind on picking up Untold. I did however remember that painful ending (how could I forget!?) and was eager to get stuck into Untold to see what would happen next. The book begins with an extract from Kami's newspaper `The Nosy Parker' and provided a clever and subtle re-cap without interfering with this story which I greatly appreciated. We are then thrown into a deliciously creepy first chapter full of gothic horror and witty banter between the characters which reminded me of what I loved about Unspoken.

The Lynburn Legacy books have some of the best dialogue and character interaction that I've ever come across. Each character is bright and brilliant, even the secondary characters feel well developed and perform their lines to perfection. I love the relationships between Kami and her friends and their lively and intelligent exchanges with one another. I was completely charmed by every single one of them and loved how we got to see from everyone's point of view at some point during the book.

Although I loved all of the characters Kami and Rusty are my absolute favourites. Kami is such a strong, resourceful, funny and intelligent heroine. She's just your normal everyday girl yet she's just as capable as any other paranormal heroine proving that you don't have to have superpowers to be brave and stand up for what's right. Rusty is a laugh a minute and lightens the dark and foreboding mood when needed with his wit and hilarious one liners.

Kami and Jared are without doubt one of my favourite YA book couples. Sarah Rees Brennan has the ability to turn me into a puddle of goo - I just can't handle the adorbs! Despite Jared being a moody moo pretty much all of the time I can always understand him and his actions. Kami and Jared have a really special and unique relationship and they understand one another like nobody else. They know each other so completely. I swoon when they're together and my heart breaks when they're apart.

This series is very much character driven. The premise isn't the strongest or the most unique nor does it have the fastest moving plot but it's intriguing enough to hold my interest and the characters keep me turning the pages and are what make me want to continue on with the series. Once again Sarah Rees Brennan deals us another torturous ending (I'm pretty certain that she's evil at this point) that'll have readers desperate for the third book. Overall Untold was a solid and satisfying sequel that has once again left me wanting more.


Soulmates
Soulmates
by Holly Bourne
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Contemporary Love Story With a Sci-Fi Twist!, 13 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Soulmates (Paperback)
Soulmates is a unique and compelling debut by fresh new British talent Holly Bourne - I was utterly blown away by it! "Soulmates" and "True Love" is a worn out concept in YA and yet Holly Bourne puts an exciting scientific spin on it. What if meeting your soulmate was a bad thing? Holly Bourne puts romance under the microscope and asks the eternal question "what is love?" In this contemporary love story with a sci-fi twist.

Despite being a fairly chunky novel I was immediately captivated by this story and never got bored nor did the book feel overly long. I think this was mainly down to the authors writing style; it was funny, thrilling, current and hugely readable. There were times when I laughed, sobbed, and was on the edge of me seat with anticipation. The book is told from Poppy's perspective and there are alternate chapters told in third person following a secret society who seem to be keeping tabs on Poppy and Noah's romance. I loved this extra insight and I was so curious to find out why Poppy and Noah were so dangerous.

Poppy was such a refreshing heroine. She's snarky and a complete cynic when it comes to the idea of "true love" so nobody is more surprised than her when she meets Noah and they have an instant connection. Don't get me wrong I'm not a fan of insta-love but for this particular story it worked in this books favour. What I really loved was that although Poppy and Noah had an instant spark their relationship still grew and developed over time as they got to know one another.

One of my favourite things about Soulmates was the scientific aspect to the book. Holly Bourne really examines what love is and the chemical reactions our bodies have to that loved up feeling. A lot of the science behind the book is actual facts and the nerd in me loved asking the big questions like "is love just an illusion?" "Is it a chemical reaction?" "Is there really a perfect person out there for everyone and if so what are the chances of finding them?" Soulmates looks at love from every angle and I loved how thought provoking it was.

Whilst reading this book my heart raced, I had butterflies in my stomach, clammy hands and a dry mouth. My diagnosis? I've fallen head over heels in love with Soulmates! Holly Bourne is a bright rising star in UK YA if you love books by C.J Skuse and Cat Clarke you won't want to miss this extraordinary debut!


Hurt
Hurt
by Tabitha Suzuma
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.39

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Heart-Breaking and Tragic, 10 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Hurt (Hardcover)
Hurt documents the downfall of Mathéo Walsh a boy with the world at his feet with a bright future in Olympic diving, an expensive education, good friends, and a beautiful girlfriend. Mathéo is on top of the world, which of course only means that he has that much further to fall. After one weekend so traumatic that Mathéo's memory has literally blocked it out Mathéo awakens with the gut wrenching certainty that something earth shattering has happened, something that has broken and changed him. As Mathéo spirals into a sea of confusion and madness he needs to remember what happened that weekend - no matter how horrific - in order to pick up the pieces and begin to deal with the consequences.

Hurt begins with us getting a glimpse into Mathéo's life leading up to that catastrophic weekend and I loved getting to see his life before and who he was for a comparison to his life afterward. I don't want to go into certain details of this book because I don't want to give anything away. Unravelling the tragedy of Mathéo is the real joy of this novel so please forgive me if this review seems a bit vague.

This book certainly kept me on my toes trying to figure out Mathéo's secret. I suspected lots of different situations and different people and I thought I'd figured it all out by the end but I was completely surprised! My jaw literally dropped! I also felt uneasy liking Mathéo as you're never quite sure whether he was the one who did something terrible, whether he was the victim, a witness or an accomplice. I also felt uneasy with the secondary characters in this book but the two shining lights in Mathéo's life are his little brother and his girlfriend Lola who were two characters who I couldn't help but love too.

After the absolute gem that was Forbidden Tabitha Suzuma's next novel would always have a lot to live up to and whilst Forbidden is still my favourite Hurt was excellent in its own right and offers another emotionally compelling story that I'm still turning over in my head. Like Forbidden I was completely shocked by the ending. Hurt made me cry in a way that a book hasn't in a long time. Beautiful, heart-breaking and tragic Hurt is a masterfully plotted story that has confirmed Tabitha Suzuma as one of the best UK YA authors for young adults.


It's Raining Men: Every cloud has a silver lining...
It's Raining Men: Every cloud has a silver lining...
by Milly Johnson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite of Milly's So Far!, 23 Aug. 2013
I've read and loved four books from Milly Johnson so far and It's Raining Men has to be my new favourite! With three lovable heroines, one secretive little village, buckets of mystery and a sprinkling of magic I found myself engrossed in the story and reading long into the night.

The book is about three unlucky in love career girls and work friends Lara, May and Clare. All three of them are having relationship problems and are tired and overworked so they decide to treat themselves to a luxurious spa break to relax and catch-up. Only fate has other plans for our lovely ladies and they end up stuck in the mysterious little town of Ren Dullem a place where clouds hover forebodingly overhead, the locals are unwelcoming and secretive and there are hardly any women around at all. However appearances are not what they seem and as the friends open up to each other about the truth behind their seemingly perfect lives and relationships the mystery of Ren Dullem is slowly revealed as are the secrets the villagers are desperately trying to keep.

As well as being a brilliant new title in women's fiction It's Raining Men also has a real sense of mystery throughout the novel which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found all of the little clues and folklore cleverly placed. I quickly fell in love with the curious little village and I loved watching the girls slowly come to love it there too. It was lovely to bump into Coco and Gideon (two characters I loved from An Autumn Crush!) who were staying in Ren Dullem too and to have a catch up with them.

I loved all three heroines they were all distinctive from one another and I loved their individual stories as well as their friendship. My absolute favourite had to be Lara - her relationship with Gene reminded me of a Doris Day film. The two would end up in an argument every time their paths crossed but there was also chemistry there and as you get to know them you realise how perfect they'd be together. They were both unlucky in love and I really wanted a happy ending for them.

Overall It's Raining Men was a book that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish and is definitely a favourite of mine from this summer. If you love warm and relatable heroines, stories about friendship, mystery, fate and a little bit of that magic in life I'd strongly recommend It's Raining Men to old Milly Johnson fans and newbies discovering her books for the first time - this is a fantastic place to start!


Cruel Summer
Cruel Summer
by James Dawson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sun, Sea, Sand and Secrets! A Favourite for this Summer!, 12 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Cruel Summer (Paperback)
Cruel Summer was my first read from talented UK YA author James Dawson. I've been on a YA Summer Thriller kick this year and so was immediately interested in checking this book out after reading the synopsis. Then in came the glowing reviews and my book blogging friends telling me how much I'd love this one and so I decided to read it ASAP and promptly read the entire thing in one sitting because it was that good!

In a nutshell Cruel Summer is about a group of friends who haven't seen each other for a year since their friend Janey suspiciously committed suicide. On the one year anniversary of her death the friends decide to reunite for a sunny holiday in Spain. But in a remote area, with no phone reception, the teens are about to discover that Janey's death was only the beginning and that her killer might be on the Island with them demanding an encore.

Sun, Sea and Sand - I loved the setting for this story! The group's holiday villa sounded like a dream come true until it became their worst nightmare. I loved every single character in this book and really enjoyed reading about UK teen characters abroad. Each character gets to narrate the story and add their version of events at some point but for the majority this book is told from Ryan and Alisha's point of view. I really enjoyed having the dual boy/girl narrative that wasn't between a couple for once. Cruel Summer has a very cinematic feel which Ryan only adds to with his flair for the dramatic and how he imagines his life as an on-going TV series - starring himself as the main character of course! I can definitely see this as a TV show or British film - think Skins meets The Inbetweeners movie only with more murder and intrigue.

I really loved getting to know this group of friends and I soon felt like I was part of their group. But like every group of friends each of them has their secrets that they keep from each other. Some are connected to Janey's death and some are not. I loved untangling their messy little lies! Each character had motive to be the killer and I suspected everyone at some point or another but at the same time I couldn't imagine any of them being a cold blooded murderer because I liked them all so much!

Although by the end of the book I did suspect who the killer was (which I don't think really counts as like I said I suspected everyone!) I didn't see their motive coming at all although looking back there are some very subtle clues. There were twists and turns until the very end and there were a lot of red herrings to keep you guessing. I must warn you that this is most definitely a thriller, once you start it you won't want to do anything else! And James Dawson isn't afraid of killing off his characters so don't go getting attached to anyone like I did! *Sobs.*

Overall Cruel Summer delivered everything I could want from a gripping Summer Thriller/Murder Mystery and it genuinely gave me the creeps at times. I'd really love it if James Dawson stuck to this genre as I'd love a thriller as good as this one to read every summer! Cruel Summer is definitely one for the beach (or not if you're a big baby like me!) and I'm now eager to get my hands on Hollow Pike - James Dawson you have yourself a new fan!


Angelfall: Penryn and the End of Days Book One
Angelfall: Penryn and the End of Days Book One
by Susan Ee
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty and Absorbing!, 7 Aug. 2013
I'm a huge fan of both the Angel and Dystopia trend in YA so I really should have known that Angelfall ( a brilliant mixture of both genres ) would go on to become one of my new favourite books! I'm a little late to the party for this one but I recently found myself in a reading slump and needed something fresh and compelling to pull me out of it. I'm so happy that I decided to pick up Angelfall! I was immediately sucked into the world and I'd stay up late reading long into the night promising myself just one more chapter which would inevitably turn into several more.

Penryn lives in a future world where Angels of the Apocalypse have destroyed Earth as we know it. The world is in a state of chaos and the remaining humans are out for themselves with supplies and safe houses running low. It's a gritty and brutal new world and if survival wasn't hard enough Penryn also has a disabled younger sister to take care of and a schizophrenic mother who has run out of medication to stabilize her illness. All too often in Paranormal YA the characters are young, perfect, healthy and beautiful the fact that Penryn's family have real world struggles to contend with on top of the apocalypse made them feel like real people which I couldn't applaud more.

The book begins with Penryn and her family witnessing an Angel brutally having his wings hacked off by his own kind. Noting her sister Paige's distress Penryn tries to help the Angel and as punishment the angels that were attacking Raffe fly away with Paige and so Penryn and Raffe are forced to work together as Penryn needs Raffe to find where the Angels took her sister and Raffe needs Penryn to navigate the human world now that he's without his wings.

The banter between Raffe and Penryn was quick and witty. Their relationship builds at a slow and steady pace throughout the novel as they go from accomplices to something more. I loved that despite whatever Penryn felt for Raffe her priorities never shifted from saving Paige. Penryn had a good head on her shoulders and I respected her as our heroine. I loved the relationship between Raffe and Penryn - Raffe was always on hand to support Penryn but she was always more than capable of taking care of herself. Instead of the powerful angel saving the weak human girl they worked together as a team.

Although I loved them together I also enjoyed both characters separately. Penryn has quickly become one of my favourite heroines and Raffe one of my favourite book boys. Penryn was intelligent, loyal to her family, and strong both mentally and physically. She's a total survivor and adapts to her frightening new surroundings thanks to her mentally unstable mother having her trained in several types of self-defence to protect herself against her mother's dark episodes. Raffe was different to any other angel I've ever read about he's witty, hilarious, modern and doesn't believe in god. I loved him straight away but he's also still so much of a mystery. I can't wait to find out more about his past in future books!

Angelfall has such a cinematic feel to it that I could vividly picture everything in my mind making it easy to absorb myself in this gritty and harrowing world. I can't believe I waited so long to read this absolute gem of a novel but I am glad that I now don't have long to wait for the sequel!


Dangerous Girls
Dangerous Girls
by Abigail Haas
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read For The Summer!, 24 July 2013
This review is from: Dangerous Girls (Paperback)
As is with any good murder mystery the enigma surrounding Dangerous Girls is one of the best things about the book, the less you know - the better! So straight off the bat I'm going to say that if you love edgy YA contemporary or gripping thrillers you will NOT want to miss Dangerous Girls which promises to be *the* YA thriller of the summer. Although I'm going to keep this review spoiler free, if you like the sound of this book and are just after my personal opinion I loved it and I encourage you to stop reading right here and go buy it because the less you know about it the better this book will be for you. However if you're not completely sold yet and need a little more info feel free to read on without fear of getting spoiled.

Dangerous Girls is told in various different forms from television transcripts to crime reports but the majority of the book is told in a first person narrative from Anna throughout different stages of her friendship with best friend and murder victim Elise. I absolutely loved the way this book was written; every chapter gives you a piece of the puzzle that you put together as the book goes on. Each character has a dark side and their own secrets that get revealed slowly throughout the book and because of this you're never sure who to trust, who is lying, or if these secrets connect to the murder.

One of my favourite things about Dangerous Girls was how it shows that in a certain light anyone of us could look like we're capable of murder. From an argument with the victim, to an "I could just kill them!" text message after a hard day, we've all done it, we're all guilty. It was scary how the investigators would take such mundane things and twist them into something sinister. Anna is your typical teenage girl yet so many little things she'd done in the past got twisted around. I loved Anna as our protagonist and felt horrified and scared along with her at the terrifying situation she's put in.

Dangerous Girls was a book that I couldn't put down, I'd read it long into the night and at every chance I could get and it kept me guessing until the very end. The way the story was unveiled was perfection, the pacing was fuelled by an intense need to know what happened on that fateful night, and the characters were wickedly complex as was their tangled relationships with one another. I could not get enough of this book and the ending blew me away. Basically Dangerous Girls is one of the best YA thrillers I've ever read and is a must read for this summer!


If You Find Me
If You Find Me
by Emily Murdoch
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Guaranteed to Hold a Special Place in the Hearts of Those Who Read It!, 16 July 2013
This review is from: If You Find Me (Hardcover)
If You Find Me was a book that pulled me in straight away and had me emotionally invested. The book is told in first person from Carey who has such a strong presence and distinctive voice as our narrator. The writing and imagery was beautiful and I quickly became immersed in Carey's story.

This book deals with many issues such as child abuse, neglect, survival, poverty, mental illness, and drug addiction making this a difficult book to read at times but there is always an underlining message of hope that stops this from being a tragic and depressing read. The book mainly deals with the after effects of the situation. You know Carey and Jenessa are safe now and getting the love and support they need which makes their story slightly easier to digest.

One of the things I loved about this book was the special bond between Carey and Jenessa. Carey is the eldest of the two and would do anything to protect her little sister. She has practically raised Nessa with their drug addict, mentally unstable, mother leaving them alone for weeks on end in a camper van in the middle of the woods. The girls have been through some truly horrific things and I wanted so badly to wrap them up in cotton wool and protect them! Early on in the book the sisters are found and custody is given to Carey's father whom Carey was stolen from at a young age by her mother and that's where the story really begins as we watch the girls experience and adjust to everyday life for the first time.

The loving family that Carey and Jenessa are introduced to was one of my favourite things about the book and what made it so interesting to read. Carey's dad has a wife and step-daughter and the adjustment is a big one for everybody involved. For Carey and Jenessa modern living is one big discovery as they're introduced to television for the first time, eat food that's not from a tin, and attend school. Perhaps the biggest challenge they face is letting other people into their bubble and Carey handing the mothering role over to Melissa. For Carey's father and his wife Melissa there is the horror of learning what the girls went through and helping them adjust to a new environment and supporting them. I wanted to kill their stepsister Delaney at times but then I'd remember that she's a young girl going through a big change also and I'd feel bad about my original thought.

The characters were all so well developed and I fell in love with all of them even the family dog Shorty whose relationship with Jenessa brought a tear to my eye! Carey really shone as a heroine she's so brave, selfless and inspiring to read about. Although Jenessa doesn't talk, her lovely personality would shine through her actions. Both girls completely captured my heart and I felt fiercely protective of them.

I did have an inkling as to what might have happened regarding the ending. I could see it coming and was absolutely dreading it! I still wasn't prepared for the emotional impact it had on me though and there was an added twist that left me completely shocked.

Overall If You Find Me is a powerful debut novel that brought out a range of emotions in me from despair to hope, from love to rage. It's one of my favourite debuts of the year and is guaranteed to hold a special place in the hearts of those who read it.


Summer I Became a Nerd
Summer I Became a Nerd
by Leah R Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Adorbs!, 5 July 2013
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This review is from: Summer I Became a Nerd (Paperback)
If you know me you'll know that I love nerdy contemporary YA, so as soon as I heard about The Summer I Became a Nerd I freaked out and bought it straight away and I'm so glad that I did! This was such a `Jess book' and I loved it so much that it's now up there as one of my favourite contemporaries.

Like her favourite superhero's Maddie has a secret identity - popular cheerleader by day, nerdy comic book lover by night. Summer is Maddie's favourite time of year, she gets a break from school and from being the person everyone expects her to be, can catch up on her TBR list and chat on online fan forums to her hearts content. I loved Maddie from the moment I found out that she keeps a comic book journal to write down her thoughts and favourite quotes! I could understand her wanting to keep her nerdy side a secret - although my friends knew about my nerdy ways when I was at school I was teased for it and know first-hand that that's no fun. I love this book for busting stereotypes and Leah Rae Miller for creating a heroine who's a cheerleader but who also loves comic books with a passion. Basically I thought that Maddie was pretty freakin' awesome and only wished that she had the confidence to share her awesomeness with the rest of the world.

During a secret mission to the local comic book store for the latest issue of her favourite comic - The Super Ones #400 - Maddie runs into Logan the cute nerdy guy from school who works there. Logan quickly sees through Maddie's poor disguise and the two soon start regularly hanging out as Logan introduces Maddie to the world of nerd and teaches her to embrace her inner geek. Sweet, nerdy, boy next door types are my favourite, so I fell for Logan at Flash speed. Maddie and Logan's romance was so adorbs and is full of super cute moments. A personal favourite of mine was when they showed each other their very best happy dance. You see! Isn't that adorable!? This book was full of moments like this one that made my cheeks hurt from the big goofy grin I wore during every page of this book.

The Summer I Became a Nerd is full of nerdy references that are worked into the story that you'll appreciate if you're into the same things as Maddie. I also enjoyed learning more about LARPing (live action role play) which is something I didn't know a whole lot about before reading this book. Now I definitely want to take part in something like it in the future because it sounded like so much fun!

Overall I pretty much loved everything about this book. It was a cute, fun, summer read packed full of awesome nerdy goodness and the important message of being true to who you are. The Summer I Became a Nerd is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the summer so far!


Dare You To (A Pushing the Limits Novel)
Dare You To (A Pushing the Limits Novel)
by Katie McGarry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars An Unexpected Love Story, 20 Jun. 2013
I am a huge fan of Katie McGarry's debut novel Pushing the Limits so I was hugely excited to read this companion novel following Beth's story - who was a secondary character in Pushing the Limits. I have to say that as excited as I was for this book I was also a little apprehensive as I wasn't Beth's biggest fan in Pushing the Limits and always pictured her ending up with her best friend Isaiah so I wasn't sure how I would feel about a book from her point of view and a romance with anyone but Isaiah. However I'm pleased to say that Katie McGarry pulled off another gritty and romantic novel!

Dare You To follows a very similar formula to Pushing the Limits. Beth and Ryan both have terrible home lives and diabolical parents. Beth's mother is a drunk who puts her relationship with an abusive man above her own daughter and Beth is always looking after her when it should be the other way around. Ryan comes from a family that looks perfect on the outside but on the inside they're falling apart after his homophobic dad kicked out his brother for being gay. His mum and dad sleep in separate rooms and his dad puts a huge amount of pressure on Ryan to live out the dreams he had as a boy. Although both families are very different they were both just as bad as each other and I felt terrible for Ryan and Beth.

I loved Ryan as a character straight away and only grew to love him more as the book went on he's a genuinely nice guy but he also has a little bit of an edge, which I enjoyed. Although my heart broke at times for Isaiah in this book there is no denying that Ryan is Beth's perfect match as he challenges her and pulls the goodness out of her. Ryan is exactly what Beth needs as he provides stability and security in her chaotic life. The way Ryan makes Beth feel so special and loved melted my heart; he tames the wild hurricane of Beth's emotions into a soft and gentle rain.

I found that it took me a little longer to warm towards Beth. She has a tough, hardened exterior and she can be a real pain in the ass. But as the book goes on you see glimpses of the fragile, frightened girl underneath and you soon come to realise it's all a front she uses to protect herself. Underneath it all Beth has a heart of gold and is incredibly loyal to those she loves. I loved following her journey as she grows as a character and learns to trust and put faith in other people.

Although I didn't love Dare You To as much as Pushing the Limits and didn't find Beth and Ryan's story to be as emotionally compelling as Echo and Noah's it was still an excellent read in its own right. My only complaint is that although Echo and Noah do feature in this book there wasn't as much of a catch-up with them as I expected there to be, I really would have liked to have seen a little bit more from them. Overall Dare You To was another gripping novel from Katie McGarry about daring yourself to be a better, braver you and to go for what you want and not take no for an answer, even if saying yes scares you more than anything. I can't wait for Isaiah's story in Crash Into You, Katie McGarry is fast becoming one of my must read authors.


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