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

#YALC Sampler Round Up One: @MKenneyPR , @akemidawn ,@HoJay92 & @mkhanauthor

0

City of Dust by Michelle Kenney
HQ
Kindle– 2 October 2018
PB– 13 December 2018
Book of Fire: Review & Buy

9780008281441

I fell back into this world like meeting up with a friend I’d not seen in forever. For both me and the story time has passed, but it feels like yesterday that I was racing through Book of Fire, as if the character’s chance of survival increased by my speed of reading. In the three chapter sampler, you are quickly caught up with the characters and their lives for the last year before Talia’s life is thrown a curve ball.
The sampler ends on a cliffhanger that will have everyone counting down to that release date.
For those who have yet to read Book of Fire, I suggest you get on it, post haste. It was one of my top reads for 2017 and I’ve been waiting with such anticipation for this sequel.

 

 


Summer Blue Bird by Akemi Dawn Bowma
Ink Road
Spring 2019
Starfish: Review & Buy

Summer Blue Bird

This five chapter sampler has such a powerful opening and lays down a solid foundation for what will be unfolded in 2019. From what I’ve read so far, the set up reminds me of Fly Away Home; my favourite film and worn out novelisation from when I was a kid.
It’s a testament to Bowma’s writing that I’m already attached to her characters. 

 

 

 


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Electric Monkey Press
2 May 2019
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40916679-a-good-girl-s-guide-to-murder?from_search=true

Holly-Jackson-Good-Girls-Guide-proof-cover

 

“We dare you to put it down” states the tagline on the cover of the two chapter sampler. Believe me, I’m gutted I can’t meet that challenge. It’s short, but very effective and I already have so many questions and theories that I need more information to be certain.
There was already a buzz at YALC about this book and even from the pages I’ve had the privilege to read, I can tell this is going to be the big book for next summer.

 

 

 


Kick the Moon by Muhammad Khan
MacMillian
19 January 2019
First book: I am Thunder

kick the moon

I knew nothing about Khan’s second book and I knew that I wanted it in my life. I work as an RE teacher in a diverse school in which some students feel they are almost invisible to society. Unless of course, they’re the subject of negative press. There are others who love reading, but find characters they identify with are tokens and there merely to check a box. It’s wonderful to say ‘here, you are being represented.’
Imagine my delight when I discover that the book will center around a protagonist that loves comic-book heroes. Not only is this perfect for me, I know of at least five students who will be fighting to be the first one to read it come January.

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK

0

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron #bookreview #hanreview @MacmillanKidsUK Release date: 22.03.18

35880579

From Goodreads: Sometimes, I imagine alternate endings to the story: last-minute miracles, touches of magic. I picture how things might have gone, if I wasn’t there. If I’d left just a few minutes later. If I hadn’t been alone. It doesn’t make any difference. One way or another, the crash always comes.

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Semi-Definitive-List-Worst-Nightmares/dp/147140661X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513773899&sr=8-1&keywords=Krystal+Sutherland
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36222995-a-semi-definitive-list-of-worst-nightmares

My first thoughts

It’s ET meets I am Traitor in this wonderfully thrilling story. I couldn’t put it down.

The Characters

I love Jaya. She is headstrong, wonderfully moral and self assured. This is quite possibly the first LGBTQ+ main character who knows what and who she is and therefore doesn’t divert some of the plot with that exploration. Plus, it’s wonderful to just have a character who happens to be gay and her sexuality have no direct impact upon the plot.

The angel that falls is wonderful and while unable to vocalise her pain, confusion she is able to communicate. I’ll leave the name for you to discover, but it’s a delight and reflective of her innocent charm.

The Plot

The plot is perfectly woven out of a teen thriller nursing an injured angel back to health and a commentary upon religious belief and how we respond to the end of the world.

The sub plot looks at cults that can arise in such situations and the people who join them. It comments upon the challenges people face when drawn in without considering a way out.

It’s a well developed plot that has a balance between humour and tense drama. Something that will keep you up at night; if you start it, you won’t stop till its finished.

The Writing

It’s clear storytelling and third person narrative gives the story a film-like quality. It’s demonstrated best as the action heats up in the later section of the book. It’s a perfect read and I’d gladly welcome a sequel.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz @MacmillanKidsUK @MelissadelaCruz

0

Characters

For fictional characters based upon historical figures, these are all wonderfully crafted and instantly authentic to me. From their social behaviours to their relationships with other characters, it’s how I would expect people of that time to act.

Alex and Eliza are wonderful and I’m drawn to both of them. While there’s initial conflict between them, it’s never dismissed and often referred back to.

I find myself drawn more to Eliza than Alex. I engage with her a little more. However, seeing elements of the story from Alex’s point of view adds tension you would not perhaps get otherwise.

Plot

I don’t think I can gush enough about this book. I want to fall into its pages, Potter-style. I love that this book expands upon what is essentially one song within the award-winning play.

It doesn’t skirt around the hardship faced during the time, nor does it romanticise it. However, it adds to the characters, their motivations and the development of the plot.

I love how it ends and where the characters end up. However, It’s left me begging for more.

Writing

The writing is truly stunning. It incorporates the past without being too bogged down with heavy language; something, I’m not going to lie, i was worried thats what i was getting myself into.

I loved the two voices presented through an omniscient third person narrative. It gave the book a feeling that it was making a commentary of the letters that were written between the pair.

I cannot wait for the second book, which is due for release on 17th April 2018.

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard #bookreview #hanreview @NetGalley

0

Release date: 8.2.18
Preorder here
From Goodreads:

Eden McKinley knows she can’t count on much in this world, but she can depend on Bonnie, her solid, steady, straight-A best friend. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Bonnie runs away with the boyfriend Eden knows nothing about five days before the start of their GCSEs. Especially when the police arrive on her doorstep and Eden finds out that the boyfriend is actually their music teacher, Mr Cohn.
Sworn to secrecy and bound by loyalty, only Eden knows Bonnie’s location, and that’s the way it has to stay. There’s no way she’s betraying her best friend. Not even when she’s faced with police questioning, suspicious parents and her own growing doubts.
As the days pass and things begin to unravel, Eden is forced to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her best friend and herself.

35495848

The Characters

I’ve never spent time with a character like Eden. She’s far from perfect, temperamental and loyal to a fault. It’s wonderful to see her develop throughout the book and becomes self-aware.
The pain and confusion Eden feels when her best friend leaves and the truth begins to unravel is very raw and real. Her relationships (adoptive parents, boyfriend and sisters) add to her complexity and gives her a vulnerability and equal inner strength that makes her a relatable character.
Valerie is Eden’s sister and a surprisingly good addition to the plot. Initially, I disliked her; I trust Eden’s voice. However, as the plot progresses I warm to her and I’m able to distinguish between Eden’s perception and the truth of the character.

The Plot

Finally! A YA novel that doesn’t glamorise or romanticise the student/teacher relationship that is often prominent in teen fiction. Not only that, Goodbye Perfect delves into the consequences of engaging in this sort of relationship.
The key here is that the story focuses on those left behind, but leaves room to show how the core couple feel about each other. The book explores the complexity of love, the consequences and dangers of grooming.

The Writing

Barnard gives Eden a strong voice that makes Goodbye Perfect an easy read; it’s clear and modern with a message all should hear.

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell Illustrations by Simini Blocker

0

Almost Midnight by Rainbow Rowell Illustrations by Simini Blocker

Buy it here

Midnights

Is a wonderfully charming story that will fit within a tube ride if you time it right. You can see where it’s going before the characters do, and this one does leave you wanting more.

I could see this being an individual story, showing a development over time. However, the snapshot of this one evening every year works well and will leave a smile on your face.

Kindred Spirits

This is my favourite of the two; it is relatable, nostalgic and totally sweet. Taking place in the run up to 2015’s release of Force Awakens the main character explores Geekdom and managing expectations.

I was a romance like the one that appears in this second short story. It’s not a sweeping gesture, but a warmth and comfort that comes with trusting a person.

This book will make a perfect Christmas gift for any fan of Rowell’s previous work.

I Am Thunder by @Mkhanauthor #hanreview

2

I Am Thunder by Muhammad Khan

Release date: 25.01.2028

Predorder here

Good reads

Description: Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing and dreams of becoming a novelist. There’s just one problem – her super-controlling parents have already planned her life out for her:

Step 1) Get educated

Step 2) Qualify as a doctor

Step 3) Marry a cousin from Pakistan. Oh, and boyfriends are totally haram.

No one is more surprised than humble Muzna when high school hottie, Arif Malik, takes an interest in her. But Arif and his brother are angry at the West for demonizing Islam and hiding a terrible secret. As Arif begins to lead Muzna down a dark path, she faces a terrible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak up and betray her heart?

I Am Thunder is the debut novel from stunning YA voice, Muhammad Khan, which questions how far you’ll go to stand up for what you believe.

 

 

Characters

Muzna is our protagonist within I am Thunder. She is a wonderfully strong voice. She is relatable and inclusive, no matter the background of the reader.

It is powerful to know I’m one of the first people to connect with Muzna and that, come January, all the Muslim and Pakistani girls I teach who have been reading Moxie will be reading this.

I love that even during the events, events that some might argue a weakness in character, she remains strong. She’s the preverbal frog within the slowly boiling pan.

Arif is an interesting and complex character. His charming exterior does disarm you along with Muzna. I want to really like him, but he’s almost too good to be true.

I don’t think I could review without talking about Muzna’s parents. It’s hard to blame them for what happens to Muzna, especially as we only see them from her perspective. It’s clear they care for her, but Muzna is frustrated by their perspective of the world and it’s certainly a problem many teens will relate with.

Plot

The plot is empowering and akin to the struggles many people face when it comes to religion. There was even echoes to the journey Malcolm X went through to discover the true meaning of Islam.

Muzna is on a path to spiritual discovery. On the way, she questions the authority of people’s interpretations of the faith and how that makes one a true Muslim.

This is not a question unique to Islam, but it is a topical discourse that perhaps needs an answer.

It’s a brave look into terrorism and Islamaphobia with enough insight to make all people question what is going on in the world.

Writing

The writing is wonderfully colloquial. It also integrates Islam’s key phrases without isolating or patronising any potential audience.

The writing gives Muzna a real voice; she’s the path to understanding what young Muslim’s go through in our mixed up world.

 

This is a MUST read for anyone and everyone.

Who Runs the World? by Virgina Bergin #Bookreview #Han

0

Who Runs the World? by Virgina Bergin 

Buy it here
From Amazon: Sixty years after a virus has wiped out almost all the men on the planet, things are pretty much just as you would imagine a world run by women might be: war has ended; greed is not tolerated; the ecological needs of the planet are always put first. In two generations, the female population has grieved, pulled together and moved on, and life really is pretty good – if you’re a girl. It’s not so great if you’re a boy, but fourteen-year-old River wouldn’t know that. Until she met Mason, she thought they were extinct.

512DddPpBrL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_

Characters

I liked the bond between the characters and the way each was formed based upon their upbringing. The older generation speak and act exactly how they would have when they were children.
Interestingly, I thought the main character of River was male at first. I wonder if this is due to there being no gender stereotypes in the world run by women.
Mason, aside from my aversion to the name, was a likeable character and I was happy with his vulnerability and his misconceptions of women.

Plot

I want more. I like where this went and I was happy with the ending, but if this was Hunger Games; River is Katniss and I want her to lead a revolution, or at least I would like to have had the hope that one was on the cards.

The Writing

I loved the use of language to convey the generations. The thought of an elderly person using slang brings me a surprising amount of joy.
It seems a little void of descriptions, which works for me; I don’t need to know what is in the corner of a room or how fresh an apple tastes to get a feel for this world.

Trial by Fire written by Josephine Angelini #bookreview #gem

0

Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini
Buy it here

51KCGO7RzfL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_

I loved everything about this book! The story was amazing and intricately plotted, the characters were all unique, well defined and genuinely served to further the action and the descriptions of the places were wonderful.
Lily and her identical other self were captivating, they reminded me of Elena and Katherine in the Vampire Diaries, but the plot adds to their depth of character and makes them even more interesting.
The magic that powers the other world is brilliant, the idea of magic v science was really clever and I loved that it was set in modern times, yet seemed almost medieval.
The tension builds throughout the novel to bring it to a dramatic ending that had me screeching at the book that it couldn’t possibly end there because I wanted the next instalment straight away!
Absolutely riveting!

Stella by Helen Eve #bookreview #Gem

0
Stella by Helen Eve
Buy it here
reviewimagestellabyheleneve_zps69a662dd
This is a brilliantly engaging and pacey YA thriller – think Mean Girls meets Pretty Little Liars with a heck of a lot more venom thrown in!
The dual narrative by Stella and Caitlin was brilliant, it allowed insight into each characters thoughts as things got more and more complicated and heated. Each chapter provides more revelations into Stella’s past and Caitlin’s developing character and your alliances to characters change consistently.
This is a really dark tale of friendship, romance, obsession and power play… I loved it!