Posted in 2018, Barrington Stoke, Book reviews, Bookshelf, Non Pratt, Ramblings, Reads of ...

Book Review: Second Best Friend by @NonPratt

Description: Stunning novella by a hot talent in YA, in a gorgeous collectable edition. Jade and Becky have always been best friends; inseparable and often indistinguishable. But when a spiteful comment from an awful ex pushes Jade to the edge, she begins to see that she has always been second best in everything. When the school election offers her the chance to finally be number one, Jade learns just how far she is willing to go to be better than her closest friend. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+

Buy it here

Characters

There are so many characters to empathise with. The protagonist, Jade is wonderfully messed up in that way that we all are and there are some fears that she has that I face even now. Becky’s past comes back to haunt her in a way everyone will relate to.

Then there’s Nick. I’m in love with Nick and I wish I had him in my life. He’s perhaps my favourite of them all. He is true to himself and someone I’d respect completely.

Plot

The plot is fast paced and emotionally charged. However, a lot is packed into 137 pages. From the first page, dominos are put in place ready for the topple as the book reaches its close.

Writing

Non’s writing has always been clean, character driven and emotive. Second Best Friend is no exception. Not going to lie, I do prefer her longer novels but I hang onto every word and even then, it’s not enough. So yes, I’m greedy, I have questions and I’m not quite ready to leave these characters.

However, Non must be commended for what she is trying to achieve here. Both this and her previous Novella are accessible to many, including those who perhaps have lost their love of reading.

Posted in 2018, ARC, Net Galley, Ramblings, Reads of ...

Clean by Juno Dawson

First thoughts

This is almost the novel I’ve been waiting for from Juno. I won’t lie, I’ve struggled with Juno’s work since moving from her Point Horror homage; I was comfortable with it and not ready to let go. I will always buy her work in the hopes that it will be the next Say Her Name or Hollow Pike; it’s always the cross an excellent writer has to carry. I am delighted to say that the hope paid off; this is Juno’s best work to date.

Characters

I can’t say I relate to any of the characters, they are put on a higher level to the reader. However, that’s no bad thing. Had I related to even one of them, this book would have destroyed me. I needed that little bit of detachment.

You can empathise though and what Juno provides is an eclectic group of addicts; food, OCD and sex. It enable the characters to get to the root of their problems.

Our protagonist, Lexi, is one of the Russian elite. There’s enough about the character to make that believable; Baba Yaga, I’m looking at you.

She’s not very likeable; the anger pours off the page in waves. However, her personality won’t stop you reading the book because you know it’s the drugs talking and you will want the best for her. She grows as the story progresses.

Plot

Initially, the plot reminded me on my favourite story arc and episode of Private Practice, in which one of the main characters ended up in a private rehab facility.

The chapters are numbered and named after each stage of recovery, which gives you a certain sense of where the plot is going. However, to say it’s a story of recovery doesn’t quite do Juno or her story justice.

It’s more a journey of self discovery, self repair and self acceptance. One that is not easy, or painless. Lexi’s dependancy on other people as well as drugs is something she needs to set right before she can be well.

Writing

Juno has found a wonderful voice with this novel. It’s modern, engaging and very real. While I struggle to get along with some of the dialogue, that’s a personal preference and I can accept it was necessary to give the story context and grounding.

The chapters are long, but fit the story telling. As someone who devoured the book, it certainly didn’t come as a hinderance.

It’s a self contained story and while I have questions, I’m not needing a sequel. However, what it has left me with is a want for a trilogy from Juno. I think I’m ready for a Juno Dawson world that I can fall into.

Posted in 2018, ARC, Book clubs, Net Galley, QoGA-Z, Reads of ...

Everless by @Sara__Holland

Characters

It’s not often you find a book where you enjoy and relate to most of the characters. From the protagonist to the staff at Everless, each one is fully developed and invite you in to this world. They are likeable, unlikeable and with one in particular you will be utterly conflicted from start to finish.

Jules is strong, angry and the perfect protagonist to be on this journey with. Her voice is clear and strong, even when under pressure.

Interestingly, it is Liam who was my favourite character from the outset. For the first time, I’ve not trusted the protagonist’s opinion. I willed it to be false. I put that down, in part, to Sara Holland’s writing.

Plot

It’s a heroes quest unlike any I’ve read before. It pulls you in from the very start and you’re along for the ride as ? learns about herself and the dangerous world she lives in.

The addition of the time bleeding and blood iron is genius. Elements relating to time can often feel overwhelmingly futuristic. However, we are treated to what I would consider a delightful fusion of steam punk and Historical Britain.

Writing

Sara Holland’s first person narrative unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced before. The ability to develop other characters and imply that there is an alternative view is utterly seamless. It’s only reflecting that I’ve realised I questioned Jules’ understanding throughout the novel.

The only time I stopped reading was when i paused to text my best friend, Gem, to tell her that she has to read this book.

One thing that really hit home with me was this quote: “It’s possible to feel joy and grief at the same time.”

No one, not even myself, has ever been able to articulate how depression feels to me. Not only has Holland done this, she has done it in such a beautiful and haunting way.

Posted in 2018, QoGA-Z, Reads of ...

Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

Welcome to The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

We are going to read a book for every letter of the alphabet in 2018…

They will be a mix of new releases and #QOG favourites.

The list below are some of my  favourites combined with some up and coming releases for 2018.

This is not a list anyone should feel obliged to stick to, they are just suggestions of ones I love and ones I am looking forward to! 😊

If you want to join in with myself and @hscptcrash  the hashtag for this is  #QOGAZ  (I’d get so many Scrabble points for this!)

Throughout 2018 we will be posting about this challenge, and we will be reading books in any order so don’t think you have to start with A!

I’ve included a link to order the book through Waterstones as I worked with them for 7 years, but obvs feel free to order from whoever your preferred supplier is or get them in libraries, charity shops or as I do Abebooks.co.uk.

My friend, @ChelleyToy (award winning blogger extraordinaire, who gives wonderful hugs) is hosting a British Books Challenge, so if you could combine the two that would be even more spectacular! Chelley’s link to sign up is below;

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2017/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up-britishbookschallenge18/

https://i2.wp.com/www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/BBC-pointed-shaded.png

 The Queens of Geekdom Book Challenge 2018!

 #QOGAZ

A; Almost Love https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

B; Batman: Nightwalker https://www.waterstones.com/book/batman-nightwalker-dc-icons-series/marie-lu/9780141386836

C; Children of Blood and Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/children-of-blood-and-bone/tomi-adeyemi/9781509871353

D; Department 19 https://www.waterstones.com/book/department-19/will-hill/9780007354467

E; (The) Extinction Trials https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-extinction-trials/s-m-wilson/9781474927345

F; Fallen https://www.waterstones.com/book/fallen/lauren-kate/9780552561730

G; Grasshopper Jungle https://www.waterstones.com/book/grasshopper-jungle/andrew-smith/9781405278102

H; (The) Hazel Wood https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-hazel-wood/melissa-albert/9780141388663

I; Ink & Bone https://www.waterstones.com/book/ink-and-bone/rachel-caine/9780749017224

J; (A) Jigsaw of Fire & Stars https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-jigsaw-of-fire-and-stars/yaba-badoe/9781786695482

K; (A) Kiss in the Dark https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-kiss-in-the-dark/cat-clarke/9781780870472

L; (The) Luxe https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-luxe/anna-godbersen/9780141323367

M; Monster https://www.waterstones.com/book/monster/michael-grant/9781405284837

N; Noughts and Crosses https://www.waterstones.com/book/noughts-and-crosses/malorie-blackman/9780141378640

O; Orphan Monster Spy https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

P; Panic https://www.waterstones.com/book/panic/lauren-oliver/9781444723052

Q; (The) Queen of Tearling https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-queen-of-the-tearling/erika-johansen/9780857502476

R; (The) Renegades https://www.waterstones.com/book/renegades/marissa-meyer/9781509876433

S; (The) Sin Eater’s Daughter https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-sin-eaters-daughter/melinda-salisbury/9781407147635

T; Truly Devious  https://www.waterstones.com/book/truly-devious/maureen-johnson/9780062338051

U; (The) Upside of Unrequited https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-upside-of-unrequited/becky-albertalli/9780141356112

V; Vampire Academy https://www.waterstones.com/book/vampire-academy-book-1/richelle-mead/9780141328522

W; Wicked Deep https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-wicked-deep/shea-ernshaw/9781471166136

X; SiX of Crows https://www.waterstones.com/book/six-of-crows/leigh-bardugo/9781780622286

Y; If You Find Me https://www.waterstones.com/book/if-you-find-me/emily-murdoch/9781780621531

Z; Zeroes   https://www.waterstones.com/book/zeroes/scott-westerfeld/margo-lanagan/9781471124891

Posted in 2018, Book clubs, Han, Reads of ..., The British Book Challenge

British Book Challenge

We, The Queens of Geekdom are going to take part in the British Book Challenge #BritishBooksChallenge18 hosted by the awesome @ChelleyToy over at Tales of Yesterday.

http://www.talesofyesterday.co.uk/2016/12/tales-post-british-books-challenge-2017-sign-up/

We’ll be doing this in conjunction with the  #QOGAZ A-Z challenge so some titles will count towards both challenges, double the fun!

@gemlovesbooks books;

The books I’m intending on reading for the challenge are a mix of ones which have already been published and some that I’m impatiently waiting for in 2018!

I’ll put a link to Waterstones for the books so people can click to see the full synopsis of my chosen books.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

Release by Patrick Ness https://www.waterstones.com/book/release/patrick-ness/9781406331172

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219

@hscptcrash books:

I’ll be starting with the same list, except for one that I’ve already read.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neil  https://www.waterstones.com/book/almost-love/louise-oneill/9781784298869

State of Sorrow by Melinda Sailsbury  https://www.waterstones.com/book/state-of-sorrow/melinda-salisbury/9781407180274

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-song-rising/samantha-shannon/9781408877852

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen https://www.waterstones.com/book/orphan-monster-spy/matt-killeen/9781474942386

Book of Dust by Philip Pullman https://www.waterstones.com/book/la-belle-sauvage-the-book-of-dust-volume-one/philip-pullman/9780857561091

How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-do-you-like-me-now/holly-bourne/9781473667723

A Spoonful of Murder by Robin Stevens https://www.waterstones.com/book/a-spoonful-of-murder-a-murder-most-unladylike-mystery/robin-stevens/nina-tara/9780141373782

Rattle by Fiona Cummins https://www.waterstones.com/book/rattle/fiona-cummins/9781509812271

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig https://www.waterstones.com/book/how-to-stop-time/matt-haig/chris-riddell/9781786893161

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein https://www.waterstones.com/book/code-name-verity/elizabeth-wein/9781405278423

The Blood Road by Stuart Macbride https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-road/stuart-macbride/9780008208219