Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

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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

The Potion Diaries #bookreview #hanreview

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The Potion Diaries #bookreview #hanreview

Release date: 2.7.2015

From Amazon: The Hunger Games goes Princess Diaries in this modern, magical teen adventure!
When the Princess of Nova accidentally poisons herself with a love potion meant for her crush, she falls crown-over-heels in lovewith her own reflection. Oops. A nationwide hunt is called to find the cure, with competitors travelling the world for the rarest ingredients, deep in magical forests and frozen tundras, facing death at every turn. Enter Samantha Kemi – an ordinary girl with an extraordinary talent. Sam’s family were once the most respected alchemists in the kingdom, but they’ve fallen on hard times, and winning the hunt would save their reputation. But can Sam really compete with the dazzling powers of the ZoroAster megapharma company? Just how close is Sam willing to get to Zain Aster, her dashing former classmate and enemy, in the meantime? And just to add to the pressure, this quest is ALL OVER social media. And the world news. No big deal, then.
‘It’s so cool!’ Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella
‘Inventive, romantic, and downright delightful, The Potion Diaries cast its spell on me from page one, and is the most fun I’ve had reading in ages!’ Sarah J Maas, author of the Throne of Glass series

Buy it here
Goodreads 

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My first thoughts

Such a beautiful, wonderful and sweet read. It felt like it belonged in a world with Howl’s Moving Castle. It was a lovely commuter read; good to pick up and quick chapters meant that I could stop without jolting the action.

The Characters

I initially struggled because of the protagonist’s name. However, once I got over that bit of mind-shit, I fell in love with her. Her loyalty and pride were what struck me first.
Even when she gave up, she never truly was defeated. I loved it and her voice. I willed her to win and find her place within the world.
Princess Evelyn was an interesting character while under the spell of a misused love potion. While it did seem jarring at first, I was grateful to be shown the inner workings of her thought process while falling in love with her own reflection.

The Plot

The plot is a joyous McGuffin filled adventure. Samantha becomes a Indiana Jones icon who aims to save the princess. Each item required for the potion comes with its own challenges.
Along the way, Samantha teams up with a wide array of friends, foes and locals. It’s never boring and keeps you on your toes.

The Writing

The writing is easy and light, ensuring you never lose your way and can pick up after a brief pause; not that you’ll want to if you can help it.
It’s world building will have you ordering the other books in the series before you’ve finished the last page.

Sweetfreak by Sophie McKenzie #bookreview #Han

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Sweetfreak by Sophie McKenzie

Buy it here
From Goodreads: A brand new edge-of-your-seat read from bestselling author Sophie McKenzie!
Accused of bullying her best friend, Amelia, online, Carey isn’t prepared for the devastating consequences of online anonymity when the attacks spill over into real life. But who is really behind these vicious comments and threats? And will Carey be able to get to the truth before it’s too late?

Cyber Bully meets Gone Girl, SweetFreak is full of Sophie’s characteristic twists and turns, and will keep you guessing until the very end…

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I love Sophie Mckenzie’s books. They never fail to engage me from start to finish and this was no exception. I stickered so many parts throughout this book; it was far easier than updating my Goodreads every two seconds.

 

Characters
I hated Amelia from the get go; told myself I would tell her to get lost at the very start, knowing too well that I probably would do exactly what Carey did.
I successfully identified the sociopath! Once the story unfolded and we got to meet other people; I was able, through my recent research, identify the traits within a certain character. Oh how I wish I’d been able to read this book a year ago.
Carey is an amazing character and someone everyone would identify with. You might not agree with some of her actions, but you can understand why she would do it.
I found the actions of the parent’s the most alarming; mainly because I think that is exactly how many parents would react.

Plot
The plot, as with any McKenzie book, it full of twists and sinister turns that you think you can predict, but the moment you think you’re sure; the rug will be pulled from right under you.

The narrative explores many different forms of relationships, loyalty and betrayal. Its amazing progression does keep you on edge until the very end and you’re with Carey in suspecting everyone.

Writing
McKenzie’s writing is always gripping and fast paced. It’s comfortable in the sense that you know what you’re getting with the writing and the voices that leap from the page. McKenzie is comfortable bringing out the emotion and hints at a location without having to spend time describing it. There were so many snippets that struck me as things to keep in mind; they ended up as stickers that I intend to go back to when another school holiday comes around.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han

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They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera #bookreview #Han
Release date: 7.9.2017
From Amazon: On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.



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Initial thoughts
Another competition win that I very gladly received. Having read History is All You Left Me as part of Zoella’s book club, I was very excited for the release of this. Not only does it not fail to disappoint, it surpasses History in its engagement and concept.

It kept me calm while waiting for my first counselling session on Thursday. Believe me, when my anxiety is high it is hard to keep my attention so that is a true testament to Silvera that not only did he keep my attention, his words soothed my soul.

Plot
I have to talk about the plot first, as it is ‘high concept’. This is a world in which you are informed the night before that you have 24 hours left to live. No other details or specifics are given; just that you will not be around for the day after and that you should get your affairs in order.
I love that there is no explanation about how the system works. I don’t need to know, it exists and that’s all good to me.
Social media has hooked into this phenomenon and have introduced apps to help people through their last day, and that’s how two boys, on the cusp of adulthood, find themselves meeting. The are each other’s Last Friend and they do amazing jobs in helping the other live for the day.
You know how it ends; the clue is in the title. However, you don’t ever find yourself wishing it wasn’t true. At least I didn’t, it would have cheapened the experience.

Characters
I loved the joint protagonists; Mateo and Rufus. Not only were they able to pull me into their lives and make me care, they helped me live along with them. I liked the approach both took towards their deaths.
As I said before, I didn’t want them to survive. That sounds harsh and makes it sound like the deserve it. They don’t, but for me there is still hope at the end of the book for both of them and that’s the important part.
With death, it’s very rarely about the people who die, but those left behind. I found it an important factor to have chapters from their perspective, it’s what some of the recent books I’ve been reading have lacked because you don’t identify with those people and they’re left feeling a little flat. Not here, you find yourself identifying with those people. A subtle touch, but it makes all the difference.

Writing
The writing was addictive. The chapters were a perfect, digestible, length and had circumstances been different, this would have been a one sitting read.
There were subtle differences between the voices of the characters participating within the narrative. There’s nothing worse than having a book that requires a different font to distinguish between characters. For the two protagonists, you didn’t even need the chapter titles to keep up with who was speaking.

Without being specific, Silvera was able to convey the emotions of both boys clearly. I found that quite a refreshing read and makes me want to read more with male protagonist.


Final words

It is a book that will leave you thinking about what you would do and how you would live your life each day; whether it be because you know you are not set to die that day, or even more importantly, you knew any minute it could be your last.

It’s a book that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. Slvera has done an amazing job once again, and I look forward to reading more from him.