Book Review: Enchantee by Gita Trelease

0

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 480
About: Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…
When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.
But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

My heart is aching, this was such a perfect book for me. It is charming, hopeful and gracefully historic. I’ve had an inexplicable and emotional draw to the French Revolution for as long as I can remember. The ancien regime and the civil unrest that led to the end of the French monarchy has always held my attention. I have a theory as to what was the root cause of the breakdown within French society, but I’ve needed to find someone more read in the history than me.
I knew I would enjoy this book going in, perhaps be a little critical if history was not played out quite right but I k. Never, in my wildest dreams did I think I would have my heart stolen and my senses transported to such an authentic (yet utterly magical) world. Move over The Night Circus and make space for your literary equal.
Normally, it is the characters that pull me in first; there’s something about them that makes me root for them. While it’s fair to say this is true of the gorgeous and loyal Camile, it is the author’s use of language that charmed me so utterly that I was torn from the moment the first chapter ended; on one hand, I wanted to devour this story in one sitting but, on the other I wanted to savour it and make the book last forever. The use of French is the key. In other books, it wouldn’t have sat so organically beside the English. There’s a glossary, but the phrases and words are so well integrated into the dialogue that I certainly didn’t feel the need to search their meaning.
There are so many characters that bring life to this entwining plot of magicians, class system and the romance. As a reader, you will be as confused and lost as Camille when it comes to your appraisal of some characters, whereas others will win you over instantly.
I must say, I didn’t see the ending coming; literally and figuratively. I was so enchanted by the storytelling that I am still processing that I’ve read the final page let alone the fact that I missed something that with a lesser writer I would have called much earlier.
I cannot wait to reread this novel once I have the physical book in my hands and I am already looking forward to what Gita Trelease will publish next as I will forever be a devoted fan.

Love Han x

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

0

Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK Children’s
Pages: 416
Release date: 21st February 2019
About: Into every generation a Slayer is born…
Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.
Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.
Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.
As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…
But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.
One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

What a wonderful addition to the Buffy franchise.

It remained true to canon and everything a reader would know of Slayers, Watchers and everything that goes bump in the night. The plot is delightfully unique while adding in familiar names without making it feel forced. There’s nods to so many family’s within the show and we get an insight to where some fan favourites are. While I haven’t caught up with Whedon’s comic continuation, I’m well read enough to sense that this story is faithful to the Dark Horse comic seasons 8 onwards.
As a reader I was hooked from the first chapter and really warmed to all the characters from the outset. The mystery element was what made me frantic to get to the end; my heart in my mouth and constantly trying to predict the outcome.
I could see this as a TV series and Kiersten White made that very easy; the action was well written and incorporated into an expertly-told story. It’s a well rounded stand alone, with enough intrigue, mystery and plot left unexplored to want more.
I felt like I was living the best parts of my teen years while reading this book; it gave me a sense nostalgia that has me regretting gifting my Buffy book collection to family members. I just can’t wait for what happens next and rereading those who have softened the wait.

Love Han x

Han’s January Wrap Up

1

Now I’m no longer teaching and am on the road to officially being my father’s carer, I am hoping to up my game with my blog. There’s no goal in terms of followers or awards, I just want to be more organised and help more books to succeed.
One thing I’ve always wanted to do is show my gratitude for the books I receive and reflect on what I’ve achieved over the previous month. Hopefully, this will be the first of many Wrap Up posts in which I share with you my purchases, book post and Net Galley gains before implementing a TBR I hope to stick to.
As always, comment and follow.
Love Han x

The Books I Got

  • Slay on Tour by Kim Curran (Usborne book post)
  • Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway (Piccadilly Press book post)
  • Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge (Hot Key book post)
  • The Anomaly by Michael Rutger (Zaffre book post)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindelwald by J. K. Rowling (Sphere/ Little Brown. Bought)
  • Evermore by Sara Holland (Harper Teen. Bought)
  • DC Icons Batman: Night Walker by Marie Lu (Random House YA. Replacement purchase)
  • Doctor Who: The Good Doctor by Juno Dawson (BBC books. Bought)
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly (Piccadilly Press book post)
  • Monsters in the Mirror by A J Hartly (UCLAN publishing book post)
  • Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu (Hodder Children’s Press. From Wildest Dreams Book Box subscription)
  • Dark Blade by Steve Feasey (Bloomsbury YA book post)
  • Slayer by Keirsten White (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK. Net Galley)
  • Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (Orion Press. Net Galley)
  • The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson (Macmillan Children’s Books. Net Galley)
  • Ever Alice by HJ Ramsay (Red Rogue Press. Net Galley)
  • Aries 181 by Tiana Warner (Rogue Cannon Publishing E-Copy)

The Books I Read

  • Slay on Tour by Kim Curran
  • Hotel Flamingo by Alex Milway
  • Twisted Tree by Rachel Burge
  • Slayer by Kiersten White
  • The Anomaly by Michael Rutger
  • Dr Ninth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Tenth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Eleventh by Adam Hargreaves
  • Dr Twelfth by Adam Hargreaves
  • Enchantee by Gita Trelease
  • Twisted by Steve Cavanagh
  • Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
  • The Go-Away Bird by Julia Donaldson
  • Ever Alice by H.J Ramsay

So as it stands, I’m 14 books (18%) into my Goodread’s 80 book 2019 reading challenge. It also puts me a staggering 8 books ahead of schedule. I would love to keep this up, but I am also aware that 5 of my books are 5 minute reads.

The Books to Read in February

  • Monsters in the Mirror by A J Hartly
  • Dark Blade by Steve Feasey
  • Aries 181 by Tiana Warner
  • Time Traveller’s Guide to Modern Romance by Madeline J. Reynolds
  • Hunting Evil by Chris Carter
  • Extinction Trials: Rebel by S M Wilson
  • When We Collided by Emery Lord
  • Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  • The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
  • Doctor Who: The Good Doctor by Juno Dawson

Happy February geeks x

photo out-take

Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan

2

Muhammad Khan’s second novel is a relevant cautionary tale of self realisation, challenging the trappings created by fear and, most importantly, acknowledging stereotypes of gender and culture before working against them.

My affection for the protagonist hit me fast and hard. Ilyas is a young man I’ve had in my classroom time and time again. He’s a person who is so busy trying to balance what everyone else expects, that he forgets who he really is and what makes him happy.

The journey that Ilyas goes on, in part, is a solo one. However, as a reader, you feel every step he takes. It’s hard to see the assumptions made about him and decisions made for him when you get to hear his own thoughts of the matter.

By the time the reader meets Kelly, they already get a feel for the world in which Ilyas lives and the way in which it goes against his own moral code. Khan is able to explore the complexity of a teen’s life and how complications don’t always arrive from one social group or source alone.

Kelly’s arrival and Ilyas’ Maths teacher takes the story on a wonderful and heart warming adjacent storyline. It’s here where I feel Khan does his best work; raising issues and challenging stereotypes not only within the story, but to the reader directly.

My favourite aspect of this story is the comic Ilyas and Kelly develop. The glimpses you get about the story will have all readers scrambling to Twitter and begging Khan to create the comic book proper.

Kick the Moon is out now.

Love Han x

Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

2

Devoted is quite possibly the most difficult read I’ve ever experienced. It’s expertly written and contained wonderful, well rounded and well intended, characters to compliment a complex and compelling story.

However, it really held me ransom and I had to take a few pauses and even considered abandoning it completely at one point. Again, this is actually a testament to the writer. Mathieu has, again, created something real and emotive.

It just so happens that while I have a love of books like Book of Fire and The Special One’s that contain a cult-like society, I found devoted, being one rooted within a real religion, so unbelievably frightening. There were certain fears I had about the progression of the plot and that the book would send an anti-religion message. I think my fear came from the thought that this plot is so real in parts of the world.

I’m happy to say, the message I wanted was made very clear. It’s the first contemporary book I’ve read in a long time that has had me question the world in which we live in. My main reason for not abandoning the book was that I felt I had a duty to not leave Rachel with her family. I felt overwhelmed and trapped within the narrative, just as she did.

Mathieu’s writing helped me moved past my own weakness and I felt like I was supporting Rachel on her journey. I loved the romantic sub plot between Rachel and Mark. More so that there was no rush to tell their story within the confines of the novel. I’ve been inspired, they’re now part of me and I will spend some time considering their blossoming friendship and perhaps romance.

Love Han x

Distortion by @VictorDixen @HotKeyBooks

1

About:

After a speed-dating show that is literally out of this world, twelve young astronauts are set to become the first humans to colonise Mars. They are also the victims of the cruellest of plots.

Léonor thought she was a pioneer on an extraordinary mission. She thought she had left all regrets behind her on Earth. But when memories are this painful, there can be no forgetting . . .

Characters

Leonor is as wonderful as ever. Her relationship with the rest of the crew is a little more open. It gives the story scope and allows her to become the leader, whether she wants it or not. She is the consistent within a world of chaos and you’ll want to stay by her side from start to finish.

Returning characters Harmony and Andrew are thrown further into the fray in Distortion and they are a welcome addition to the narrative. Now Andrew is not trying to put pieces together on his own, the tension has changed somewhat. Allowing him to spend time with Harmony gives the reader more scope into his character and he’s someone I want to spend even more time with.

Plot

Not going to lie, I wasn’t sure where the sequel was going. By the mid way point I was convinced there wasn’t a sequel. I assumed that perhaps the trilogy was condensed, and it was leaving me a little sad. It’s on of the reasons why the final act pulled the rug from under me and yet again had me begging for the sequel. 

Collision cannot come quick enough for me. The writing is engaging and the story is compulsive. You can’t put it down and it certainly would make the perfect TV show for all ages.

 Pick up Distortion and Ascension now. Collision is due April 2019

https://amzn.to/2AmrhVq

OtherEarth by @jasonsegel and @banksirregular

0

//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=hscptcrash-21&language=en_GB&marketplace=amazon&region=GB&placement=B07BHMMR68&asins=B07BHMMR68&linkId=a4669b42ba9ef83fddade6ccec109185&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true

What do you do when your first novel in the Otherworld trilogy is near perfect? Well, you up the stakes of course. And with Jason and Kirstin at the helm, boy do they amp up the pressure!
A year ago, I went on an adventure that surpassed all my expectations. This year, I feel as if my imagination has been hijacked, given an upgrade and thrown onto a high speed rollercoaster. I was a bit worried that we’d be spending too much time out of the simulated world, but it’s actually where the drama and tension can really be found.
Simon has a plan, and he can’t do alone. In what can only be described as a Bond on the run, Simon and his friends locate allies, makes deals with enemies and try to not get the rug pulled from under them too many times.
The plot is such a wonderful treat, its best kept a secret until you read it for yourself, but I will say that there is a gritty realism within the narrative that is a refreshing change from the nostalgia trips other books like this provide. Kristin and Jason are able to provide a commentary on some deep and serious topics, including addiction.
The final act brings a mental health sub plot to a head. It’s something that is so subtle and unobtrusive to the plot that don’t be hard on yourself for it blind siding you.
The only fault I can find it that there wasn’t more of the book to read. It ends in such a way that you’ll be screaming and shouting about it for weeks after. Then, just to escape the fact that there’s a year until OtherLife reaches us, you’ll head back to Otherworld for another trip with Simon.

City of Dust by @MKennyPR @HQDigitalUK

0

City of Dust_FINALCharacter
Talia is back on fighting form, with Max and her twin right at her side. The book jumps right back into Arafel life and brings with it a reunion of old friends and introduction of new players.
Talia continues to remain a character that will forever remain the perfect heroine that from the very start joined the ranks along with Katniss, Triss and Hermione. The impact of Book of Fire is clearly ingrained; she’s battle bruised and trying to keep her thoughts on track. It’s only really when she’s set on a new path that her strength is really propelled to the limelight.
While those who have given their hearts to August will have to wait patiently for his presence within the pages, it only gives you the opportunity to consider Max as a strong character and romantic partner for Talia. He’s Talia’s equal and not scared to show his annoyance. There was the briefest of minutes when I’d forgotten about August.

Story
The world building is as immersive as ever and will consume you completely. The description of the desolate streets are hauntingly beautiful. Aside from the characters, the world building is my favourite part of this series.
The story sees Tailia back in old territory and searching for a stolen item. However, it’s only the tip of the iceberg as the plot opens up to an exploration of eugenics of mythic proportions.
Readers will need to breath when they can, because as the story reaches its final act you won’t get opportunity to. It’s fast paced and epic showdown will leave your heart in your mouth. No one is safe and the fates of many will be left clinging to the edge of a shocking cliff when the final page comes around.

Writing
Just like meeting up with an old friend, the words envelope you in a comfortable hug. Just like Book of Fire, City of Dust contains a glossary for terms. However, the world is so beautifully written, and the action so carefully crafted that the words don’t need the glossary.
The only negative would be that it’s so good that it’s going to be a painful wait for the next instalment.

Blog Tour: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

0

Characters
Lulu is a brilliant young woman, growing up in a mixed culture household and not knowing where she truly belongs or its impact it has on her identity. That’s all before we even get onto the fact that she’s a teenager in high school and dealing with the social etiquette of that too.
I love her fire and loyalty. She’s honest and uncompromising with her views; it gives you a good basis for the plot to revolve around.
James is a curious individual who isn’t overly likeable at first, but as Lulu gets to know him, you’ll be forgiven for having a change of heart.
Plot
It’s Easy A meets Heathers, by way of Mean Girls. You get an understanding of teen life, before Lulu’s life is turned upside down. It causes her to confront aspects of her life that she has always questioned; enabling her to understand herself a little better before the status quo is finally reached.
You don’t leave Lulu’s perspective, so her friend’s views are given to us through Lulu’s perspective or second hand news. It gives you an interesting view of what Lulu thinks of herself and others.
Writing
The writing is crisp, clean and emotional; you can clearly feel the torment of a person caught between two cultures. It is perfect for anyone wanting to understand what it feels like to almost have your very existence questioned.

Not the Girls You’re Looking For – Book except

0

“It’s a matter of principle.” Audrey crossed her arms.

When it came to Audrey and her sister, everything was a matter of principle. Lulu shrugged. What Lulu knew of sisters, apart from Audrey, she had taken from fiction. Lulu suspected that Audrey found her sister to be a Mary Bennet– priggish and pedantic– while Audrey’s sister probably thought of Audrey as a Lydia Bennet– thoughtless and selfish. Or maybe they were Amy and Jo March and this was all about a burnt manuscript and an heiress of a boy. Lulu found the idea of sisters fascinating, but her only vocabulary for the relationship was borrowed. She did the best she could to keep up, given the circumstance.

Audrey turned the radio back up. Lulu flicked Audrey’s fingers, like swatting a fly, and turned the radio back down. Audrey sighed. After waiting a beat, she turned up the radio in one grand, sweeping effort, “So where to first?”

“‘Emma’s, then Lo’s,” Lulu punched off the radio with her knuckles. Her ears vibrated from the aftermath of that decibel level. “Then I’m thinking tacos. We haven’t had tacos in forever.”

“Two weeks. Yes, that was forever ago.” Audrey used as much condescension as she had in her. And Audrey had been bred to hold plenty of condescension.

Lulu laughed. Her freshly won freedom made her gracious enough not to hold a grudge. She had taken the blame for the night of the pool incident, getting Audrey off nearly scot-free. But Audrey would do the same for her, even if Audrey knew the world to be a certain way. A way that didn’t hold water, but still.

Lulu made an unprotected left turn and Audrey swooped in to turned the radio back on. Lulu paid these antics no further attention. They constantly danced around like this, attracting one another with what ought to repel. The two girls chatted and laughed until they became four. How any of them could hear one another, over each other, or the music, or the wind coming into the car as it sped along, was anyone’s guess.


BOOK INFORMATION

 

TITLE: Not the Girls You’re Looking For

AUTHOR: Aminah Mae Safi

PUBLISH DATE: June 19th 2018

PUBLISHER: Feiwel & Friends

SYNOPSIS:

Lulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

 

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.

 

Debut author Aminah Mae Safi’s honest and smart novel is about how easy it can be to hurt those around you even if —especially if—you love them.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35795940-not-the-girls-you-re-looking-for

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1250151813

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/not-the-girls-youre-looking-for-aminah-mae-safi/1126791458?ean=9781250151810#/

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9781250151810

Audio (Amazon): https://www.amazon.com/Girls-Youre-Looking-Aminah-Safi/dp/1250314577/ref=tmm_abk_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

 

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Aminah Mae Safi is a Muslim-American writer who explores art, fiction, feminism, and film. She loves Sofia Coppola movies, Bollywood endings, and the Fast and Furious franchise. She’s the winner of the We Need Diverse Books short story contest. Originally raised in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California, with her partner, a cat bent on world domination, and another cat who’s just here for the snacks.

 

Author website: http://www.aminahmae.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16090821.Aminah_Mae_Safi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/aminahmae

Instagram: http://instagram.com/aminahmae

Tumblr: http://aminahmae.tumblr.com/

Book Review The Island by M A Bennet

0

The book is an epic rollercoaster from the first page. There are layers and twists within the plot and narration that will ensure you’ll want to read it again. I garentee you’ll discover something new every time as well.
Such a refreshing change having a male main character within a first person narrative. You’ll feel a little like a helpless, frustrated, Jiminy Cricket as Link’s story develops and he faces challenges on the Island. I found myself shouting as the pages one or twice. Okay, it was at least five.

Taking the concept of a private school with a skewed idea of success looks like, Link is your underdog and a book like this would normally be about the problems he faces and how he overcomes the challenges without sacrificing himself. But, you are not entering into that sort of narrative and you quickly find out Wonderland rules apply; up becomes down, the strong are weak and the geek will rule all.

While the twists are shocking, it’s the character responses to them that are the bit that will make sure you don’t put this book down.

All of This is True

0

Release date: 15.5.2018
About: In this genre-defying page-turner from Lygia Day Peñaflor, four teens befriend their favorite YA novelist, only to find their deepest, darkest secrets in the pages of her next book–with devastating consequences.
Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to hear the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her.
Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck–especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too.
Penny Panzarella was more than the materialist party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was–and she was willing to share all her secrets with Fatima Ro to prove it.
Jonah Nicholls had more to hide than any of them. And now that Fatima’s next book is out in the world, he’s the one who is paying the price…
Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying–and told as a series of interviews, journal entries, and even pages from the book within the book–this gripping story of a fictional scandal will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
Buy it here


Character/s

This book wouldn’t be the same without each and every one of these complex characters. Their personalities don’t work in isolation and are a result of actions of others. Meeting them in a Pretty Little Lies post-event environment makes for some unreliable narrators and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Plot.

It’s a puzzle piece plot that will only make sense once you get to the end. Because of the nature of the plot, I can’t actually talk much about it, other than the fact that it will consume you completely. You will not want to put it down until you have all the answers.

Writing

It’s amazing when you have so many different characters with their own narratives going on that a writer can give each one a unique voice on paper. You don’t have to read the start of chapters multiple times to find out whose views your reading.