Category: 2017

THE EXTINCTION TRIALS, Q&A with S M Wilson

ET-Blogger-tour

HG: Which character, if any, did you relate to?

SMW: It has to be heroine, Storm.  She’s angry and feels abandoned, and I felt that as I wrote her.  But Storm has a big heart and a strong sense of ethics and I hope that comes through.

HG: If you were to enter the trials, what would your motivation be?

SMW: Food!  I will admit to being a complete food lover.  I’m not particularly sporty.  The chances of me completing any of the trials is less than slim, but, if you were waving chocolate at me I would probably have a go.

HG: Comparisons to books like Hunger Games and Jurassic park are inevitable despite your book’s unique storytelling and plot. Are comparisons something you embrace as a writer?

SMW: I am so flattered by those comparisons.  Nowadays people only think of the Jurassic Park film, but the book by Michael Crichton is fabulous, so atmospheric and I hope I’ve captured a little of that in mine.  As for the Hunger Games, I read all those books, I loved the fight-to-the-death element.  So, yes, I’m happy with comparisons!

HG: You are able to write with two distinct voices for both of your main characters; was there a process behind this? 

SMW: No.  I’m very methodical.  I just wrote it in alternate chapters. I found it easy as both characters have very different motivations.

HG: Who would survive longer in the Trials; Katniss Everdeen or Alan Grant?

SMW: Nope!  That’s completely unfair.  You can’t make me choose between them.  Can I go for Chris Pratt’s character in Jurassic World instead please? Owen Grady looks like he could survive just about anything with that twinkling smile.  Can I be controversial though and say I might send a raptor after the heroine…

HG: Going to go all Sherlock on you now. If you were to give your fans three, individual and unrelated, words as clues for the next book, what would they be?

SMW: The title of the next book would have to be one of them: (TO BE REVEALED this weekend on #SundayYA!) It speaks volumes!

The other two I would choose are mystery and surprise.  They’re going to venture into some unexplored territory and get a few shocks along the way!

HG: Normally, this sort of book would have readers clambering for your back catalogue of books. Being your debut novel, everyone will be a little disappointed and be itching for that sequel. What 3 books would you recommend while they wait?

SMW: One I’ve already mentioned Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  Love, love, love it.

The other two are YA.  Warcross by Marie Lu and Invictus by Ryan Graudin.  Read both of these books this year and just loved them.


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Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Invictus by Ryan Graudin

Release date: 21.9.2017

Description: Time is running out . . .

Farway McCarthy was born outside of time. With nowhere to call home and nothing to anchor him to the present, Far captains a crew on a dangerous mission into the past.

When he collides with Eliot – a mysterious, secretive girl, whose very appearance raises questions about time itself – Far immediately distrusts her.

But he must take a leap of faith, following Eliot on a race against time, if he is to protect everything he’s ever loved from disappearing forever . . .

Buy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/1510102868/ref=mp_s_a_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1514300221&sr=8-13&pi=AC_SX236_SY340_QL65&keywords=invictus

Characters

Far and Eliot are the most interesting of the group. I don’t find them relatable, but they’re certainly likeable. Far isn’t as much of a hot head as you first expect; he’s Harry Potter but lacking the ignorance of his upbringing.

Plot

It’s a wonderful time travelling plot, that doesn’t fall into the trappings that some other books fall into. It has a feeling of the tv show Timeless about it, but it quickly diverts from the individual cases of time travel to a much larger story.

Writing

It’s a solid novel, written in third person and doesn’t hold back on the action. It has a delightful way of incorporating swear words that reminds me of Eion Colfer’s Artemis Fowl.

I personally could have done with it being about 100 pages shorter, but I was having to drown out Christmas TV and my father’s chatter so I was pulled out of it a fair bit.

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

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

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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

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.

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed #bookreview #hanreview Atom Press
Release date: 10.10.17

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From Goodreads: Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.

 

Who are the Nowhere Girls? They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:

Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.

Buy it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nowhere-Girls-Amy-Reed/dp/0349003076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513777716&sr=8-1&keywords=the+nowhere+girls
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28096541-the-nowhere-girls?from_search=true

My first thoughts

Its not a book that people want to read, but it’s a book that everyone needs to read. While there are books that have tread this ground before, they have not brought together the complicity of rape culture in order to educate and inform a reader while delivering an immersive story.
This is a book that I will forever suggest alongside

The Characters

Erin, Grace and Rosina are the trio of girls that are developing their friendships under pressure. Grace feels more like our protagonist, she’s relatable in the fact that we arrive to the story when she does.

Each girl has her own story to tell, her own motivation to make the town listen to them in their mission to reveal the truth about Lucy’s rape. It hits home with each one individually and its different times.

Each of the trio have their time to shine, but it is Erin who I love most. Struggling against her autism diagnosis and her own past, Erin is an insight into the complexity of a condition close to my heart.

The Plot

Its not a comfortable read, but if you’re comfortable you’re missing the point. Much of the action takes place before the novel starts and deals with the fallout within the town.

It’s so shocking how the town responds to the accusation of rape. However, what is most shocking, is the fact that this will happen in many societies. Only a few years ago was a female monk thrown out of her community for being gang raped at the back of a bus while the driver looked on.

There’s an ending that should satisfy all and, most importantly, it will leave you with questions on how you perceive gender equality and rape culture.

The Writing

Amy Reed’s challenging and ground-breaking novel is such a well written jigsaw of a story. It’s engaging and heartbreaking, told with such heart. The story will haunt me for a long time and recalls the spirit of Moxie and the rawness of Asking For It.

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks

The Semi Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland #bookreview #hanreview @HotKeyBooks
Release date: 5.9.17

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From Goodreads: A funny, moving love story about facing fears hand in hand – one snake/spider/potentially unstable fourth-floor balcony at a time. From acclaimed author of OUR CHEMICAL HEARTS, Krystal Sutherland.

Esther Solar’s family is . . . unusual. Her father hasn’t left the basement in six years. Her brother is terrified of darkness.

Esther isn’t afraid of anything – because she avoids pretty much everything. Elevators are off limits, as are open spaces, crowds, family pets, birds, needles, haircuts, dolls and mirrors.

But when Esther is pickpocketed by her cocky old classmate Jonah Walker, Esther and Jonah become surprising friends. Jonah sets a challenge: every week they must work their way through the world’s fifty most common phobias. Skydiving, horse riding, beekeeping, public speaking, reptile houses – they plan to do it all.

Soon their weekly foray into fear becomes the only thing that keeps them tethered to reality, and to each other. But each is keeping a secret from the other, a secret that threatens to rip them apart.

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

I loved this book. It struck such a chord with me it ways I never expected it to. I hated that I started it while I was still working, which meant it became my commuter read, instead of devouring read that it should have been.

The Characters

Esther Solar is a unique and beautiful character who belongs in the wonderful world of Tim Burton. She is charming and delight to have on this journey. As a reader, I feel her pain and her triumphs.

Jonah is a mysterious addition to the narrative. He brings Esther out of her shell and helps her to come to terms with her life. He has his own personal challenge to face too. While it appears to be journeyed without the reader, the bulk of it is felt regardless.

The Plot

Its story is simple in terms of its outset, but is complex in its completion. Esther must complete each one of her fears in order to get her notebook back off Jonah. Having 50 items to be checked off could have become a little tiresome had Krystal chosen to depict every single conquest. Happily, we skip through them in order to progress to the deeper meaning of fears.

By the time the reader gets to the final act, we’re giving some heart wrenching twists that will tear up even the driest of eyes.

The Writing

The book is written in a fresh quirky style that pulls you in from the first sentence and doesn’t let you go, long after you finish reading.

Han’s Queens of Geekdom end of Year Round Up (2017)

This has been inspired/ lovingly stolen from Richard’s (@thehumposhow)  The Humpo Show End of Year Awards [2017]

Favourite Film of the Year
(1) Thor: Ragnarok

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(2) IT
(3) Spiderman- Homecoming

Favourite non-2017 Film
(1) The Thing (1982)

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(2) Poseidon Adventure (1972)
(3) Hunter for the Wilderpeople (2016)

Favourite Book of the Year
(1) Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

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(2) Book of Fire by Mich Kenney
(3) It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

Favourite non-2017 Book
(1) The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
(2) The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith
(3) Replica by Lauren Oliver

Favourite audio Book
(1) Alien: River of Pain by Dirk Maggs and Christopher Golden [narrated by Anna Friel, Philip Glenister, Colin Salmon and Alexander Siddig]

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(2) You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) by Felicia Day [also narrated by Felicia Day]
(3) Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris [adapted for audio and narrated by Neil Patrick Harris]

Favourite 2017 TV Show
(1) Stranger Things

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(2) Rick and Morty
(3) Star Trek: Discovery

 

Favourite non 2017 Tv Show
(1) White Collar

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(2) Buffy the Vampire Slayer
(3) Private Practice

 

Favourite Podcasts 2017
(1) The Sunnydale Stacks

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(2) Hey, Do You Remember?
(3) The Franchise

Favourite WordPress Bloggers
(1a) https://goldenbooksgirl.wordpress.com/  Amy is a woman who I consider a wonderful friend. She never fails to like and comment on my posts; I honestly don’t know what I’d do without her positivity. Her blog is fab and has many guest posts to share the love.
(1b) https://acupofwonderland.wordpress.com/ Hannah, for me comes as a pair with Amy. I feel the three of us bonded over our love of Greys. Again, a brilliant human being who has been there for me so much over the last few months. Her blog is a mix of round ups, readathons and reviews.
(2) https://jilljemmett.com/ Jill is a very supportive reader and has a beautiful blog that looks at YA, graphic novels and best ofs… Jill is currently taking part in Blogmas and is certainly worth a read.
(3) https://confessionsofayareader.wordpress.com/  Kristi Housman’s blog is wonderful, beautiful and contains reviews, monthly book hauls and giveaways.
Favourite Posts from Bloggers
(1) https://goldenbooksgirl.wordpress.com/2017/11/28/the-greys-anatomy-tag/
(2) https://acupofwonderland.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/a-greys-anatomy-tag/
(3) http://www.nosaferplace.co.uk/2017/09/finding-your-tribe.html

Favourite Posts From Moi
(1) Otherworld Written by Jason Segel and Kristen Miller ( https://queensofgeekdom.com/2017/08/01/otherworld-written-by-jason-segel-and-kristen-miller/  ) This was my first book review and, as a result, rebranded my blog. Not only has it caused my third attempt at breaking into the blog world to be a success, this review got me published on the cover of the book. I’ve never been so happy.
(2) A Greys Anatomy Tag (https://queensofgeekdom.com/2017/10/21/a-greys-anatomy-tag/ ) It was put out there as a bit of fun, but I’m very happy to see that quite a few people have completed it.
(3) Mental Health- The Rabbit Hole and the App that saved me #mentalhealthmatterso (https://queensofgeekdom.com/2017/08/12/mental-health-the-rabbit-hole-and-the-app-that-saved-me-mentalhealthmatterso/) My first post looking at mental health. I was a bit nervous about the reception of the piece.

Favourite Quotes
(1) “They forgot nothing real can be perfect.”- Otherworld

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(2) “A creepy old man cut my hair off!” – Thor Ragnarok
(3) “I may be a pretty shitty boyfriend, but turns out I’m actually a pretty damn good babysitter.” —Steve, Stranger Things Series 2

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Twitterers to Follow
(1) Zoe Collins host of the wonderful #nspbookclub, very active blog and vlog. If that wasn’t enough talent, she has added a book subscription box business.
(2) Rachel (@_sectumsemprah) host of #SundayYA
(3) Suze Lavender is worth a follow for the giveaways and access to her blog.


I hope you’ve all enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. This isn’t the only post Queens of Geekdom will have over the final month of the year; both myself and Gem will be doing a countdown of our top books of the year and crowing one QoG’s Book of the Year 2017.

All the Wrong Chords by Christine Hurley Deriso #bookreview #hanreview @NetGalley

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Flux Publishing
Release date: 12.12.2017

From Goodreads:
Scarlett Stiles is desperate for a change of scenery after her older brother, Liam, dies of a drug overdose. But spending the summer with her grandfather wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. Luckily, Scarlett finds something to keep her busy—a local rock band looking for a guitarist. Even though playing guitar has been hard since Liam died, Scarlett can’t pass on an opportunity like this, and she can’t take her eyes off the band’s hot lead singer either. Is real happiness just around the corner? Or will she always be haunted by her brother’s death?

Preorder it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Wrong-Chords-Christine-Hurley-Deriso/dp/1635830109/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1511710707&sr=8-1  Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34773854-all-the-wrong-chords?from_search=true

The Characters
Scarlett is a relatable teen for anyone who has suffered loss, crushed on the bad boy or used music as an escape. Her relationship with a number of other characters impacts upon her grief in such an understated and real way.

Declan, being the resident player of the novel, is drawn up to be someone rather sketchy and shallow. Others bring layers to the lead singer of the band; beautiful but vain.

Scarlett’s grandfather is much more than a plot device; he’s the exploration of how different generations grieve. While you might not agree with how he goes about things, you will understand completely.

The Plot
The plot is tightly woven over a summer, not too long after the death of Scarlett’s brother. While she grieves, she generates a crush for the lead singer of the local band.

Along the way, she discovers things about herself that helps her revaluate her view of society and the world. There are a number of twists and reveals that keep the plot moving forward until it reaches a satisfying end.

The Writing
Scarlett is given a strong voice throughout the book. It’s clear and engaging, despite a number of repeated phases that can occasionally jolt the free-flowing narrative.

@TheMagicMisfits by @ActuallyNPH #bookreview #hanreview

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Egmont Publishing
Release date: 30.11.2017
From Goodreads:
This book contains a BIG SECRET. Read on if you dare . . .
Do you believe in magic?
Carter doesn’t. He knows magic tricks are just that – tricks. And as a street magician he’s also pretty good at them. But then Carter runs away from his conman uncle and he finds himself alone and in danger from dastardly carnival ringleader, B.B. Bosso. He could really use some magic now . . .
A chance encounter with the mysterious Mr Dante Vernon leads Carter to a magic shop, where he teams up with five other like-minded kids and the MAGIC MISFITS are born! Can the gang use their magical talents to save the day and stop B.B. stealing a priceless diamond?
And now for the BIG SECRET . . .
Inside this book you will find a treasure trove of tips, codes and stage tricks that will help YOU join the Magic Misfits and make some magic of your own. (BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE.)

Preorder it here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Magic-Misfits-Neil-Patrick-Harris/dp/1405290331/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1511714070&sr=1-1
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28107444-the-magic-misfits?ac=1&from_search=true

The Characters

Carter is a moral and kind young man who even the coldest of hearts will warm to. He’s our eyes and ears into the world of magic, and he will keep you engaged from the very start to the last word. As an older reader, I take the perspective of wanting to protect him and keep him safe, to the point where I want to reach in and take him out of harm’s way. There’s little to fear though, as once the story gets going, there are enough characters that have his back.
Mr Vernon is very much my favourite adult within the book; part Dumbledore, part Neil Patrick Harris himself and just a splash of Mr Miyagi. I love that the characters allows the children to get themselves out of trouble, giving help in many different forms and taking almost no credit for it. I look forward to seeing more of him as the books progress.

The Plot

It’s a perfect origins story that has laid the foundation for any, and every, sequel Neil Patrick Harris will grace us with. In this novel, the protagonist is Carter; runaway orphan, looking for a place to call home when he gets wrapped up in the mystery of the Pock-Picketers and Frown Clowns.
The Magic Misfits, by the end of the book, have formed into a wonderful band of magicians and friends. While its ending is positive and delivers an uplifting success, it is more about the characters, and the magic.
If you’re anything like me, that uplifting feeling will not leave you; but pull you into the Mistfit’s charm and claim you as one of their own.

The Writing

Neil Patrick Harris, writing with Alex Azam has a wonderful way of breaking the fourth wall. I couldn’t help but read this in one sitting, even when I was reminded that it’s important to pee, I passed.
There’s a passion and deep-rooted love of magic and family woven into this narrative that not many people would be able to achieve without is feeling too overworked.
It’s undoubtedly an easy read for anyone reading alone and of a reading age beyond 12 years old, however I could imagine any parent taking joy in taking time reading this as a bedtime story; voices and all.

Illustrations

The pictures within this Middle-grade book are so beautiful, I really want to have some of them up as art work. They add to the richness of the story and with some aspects, help engage the imagination.

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard #bookreview #hanreview @NetGalley

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.

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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.

Soulmates by Holly Bourne #Bookreview #Han

Soulmates by Holly Bourne

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The first book of Holly’s I read was Am I Normal Yet? It talked to me; I related with the anxiety portrayed in the book. She’s my go to writer and I’m off to her next book’s launch on the 20th September.
I devoured the Spinster Saga and I’ve handed them to anyone who was looking for something to read.

Soulmates is Bourne’s debut novel. It only pales because of her writing going from strength to strength. You can see Bourne’s Spinster characters being developed here in this novel and a lot of her style and tone is here too.
There’s what feels like a supernatural element to this romantic story. I had it in my head that Rain and his manager were angels and there was something larger at play. So I was surprised when it fell firmly into reality with a little artistic sudo-science. It was a nice touch. I just wished that I’d read it before the others as it didn’t gel with my expectations.
I liked Poppy; she was a good and well-rounded character. It was just a shame I didn’t really like anyone else, especially Noah who was too Edward Twihard for my liking.

The Fallen Children by David Owen #bookreview

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Release Date: 4.5.2017

From Amazon: Inspired by The Midwich Cuckoos, The Fallen Children is a gripping ‘science fiction-meets-real world’ story of the teenagers who, during one inexplicable ‘Nightout’, have their futures snatched away by circumstances beyond their control. It is a story of violation, of judgement, and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.

 

I am in love with this book. Not only do I want someone to wipe my memory of it so I have the joy of reading again, it’s currently in a pile of books waiting to be collected by a friend. I need everyone to read it. If this isn’t turned into a film by the end of 2018, it will be a travesty.

 

Characters
Owen presents a diverse group of teens who are so interconnected that it’s difficult to talk about one without mentioning the others.

Initially I am drawn to Morris. I’m not sure if that’s because he’s the first voice I hear or whether he is the one who has no reason to stay, but volunteers to be involved from the very start. He’s a likable character making the best of the environment he has grown up in. I admire most of the decisions he makes and even when he falters; he has the right intentions.

While it is an ensemble narrative, I can’t help but feel that Keisha is the protagonist. The other characters have her as the connecting feature, she drives at least the second part of the narrative and she’s surprisingly the one I identify and empathise with.

At first, I felt Olivia was a little underdeveloped, but then I realised that was more because she was not as connected as the other girls; reinforced by use never having narrative from her perspective. It’s quite a beautiful device, subtle and effective.

Effort has gone into making the women of this novel real. From emotions, cramps and fears; it’s all there. I know I shouldn’t be giving more credit to the author, it’s their job to make it believable. However, when Your author is a man, I think some time needs to be spent on that. Owen has crafted 3 distinct female voices and they are so authentic, if you told me they were written by a woman, I wouldn’t question it.

Plot
There’s two sections to this book and a time jump that splits the two. The true horror of the book comes in the second half.

The sci-fi aspect is so grounded in realism that, like the girls, you begin to question your perception of the story. It takes a perfect pace and is able to switch characters to propel the narrative along. The abilities gained by the girls also means that things can be conveyed in other ways.

The second half, however, sees the consequences of ‘Nightout’ comes to fruition. No one is left unaffected; even the reader. You are left questioning whether society would respond in this way. The horror comes from knowing they would.

I want more, but I don’t need it. The plot is resolved so as a reader you are satisfied, but there are questions that an imaginative mind will ask. The book holds a wealth of ideas for those inclined to write fan fiction and leaves enough questions on the tip of the brain to be invited to do so.

Writing

The writing is clean, clear and and just a hint of colloquial language. Some might say there could have been more of a distinction between voices, but I would rather have the character’s personalities and identities developed rather than a literary voice. For example, Maida is shown to be conscientious of her Islamic faith, right down to the Arabic used during prayer. It’s an intimate detail that Owen has taken care to include.

There are lessons to be learnt within The Fallen Children, but the writing places the book firmly into a place where you don’t think anything is rammed down your throat. Except for fear. There’s a whole chuck of atmosphere in this novel. Any more and I’d be placing the book in the freezer.

I can’t wait for what David Owen has in store for us next.