Review – The Scarecrow Queen

31291543Title: The Scarecrow Queen
Author:  Melinda Salisbury
Published by: Scholastic UK
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 320, hardcover
Genre: fantasy, young adult, romance

The final battle is coming . . .

As the Sleeping Prince tightens his hold on Lormere and Tregellan, the net closes in on the ragged band of rebels trying desperately to defeat him. Twylla and Errin are separated, isolated, and running out of time. The final battle is coming, and Aurek will stop at nothing to keep the throne forever . . .

Explosive, rich and darkly addictive, this is the stunning conclusion to Mel Salisbury’s internationally best-selling trilogy that began with The Sin Eater’s Daughter.

***

After finishing The Sleeping Prince last month, I went to great lengths to get my hands on the third book as quickly as possible. I went to the What Makes A Girl Strong? talk in London (which was absolutely fabulous), and then I went straight online and ordered The Scarecrow Queen. To my delight it came straight away and I was able to take it on holiday with me a week or so ago (and now my collection is complete!).

Yes, I know. I did a review of Mel’s last book, The Sleeping Prince very recently, but dammit, I loved this book so I’m doing another review for The Scarecrow Queen.

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Review – Optimists Die First

32310961Title: Optimists Die First
Author:  Susin Nielsen
Published by: Andersen Press
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 272, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health, romance

Petula has avoided friendship and happiness ever since tragedy struck her family and took her beloved younger sister Maxine. Worse, Petula blames herself. If only she’d kept an eye on her sister, if only she’d sewn the button Maxine choked on better, if only…
Now her anxiety is getting out of control, she is forced to attend the world’s most hopeless art therapy class. But one day, in walks the Bionic Man: a charming, amazingly tall newcomer called Jacob, who is also an amputee. Petula’s ready to freeze him out, just like she did with her former best friend, but when she’s paired with Jacob for a class project, there’s no denying they have brilliant ideas together – ideas like remaking Wuthering Heights with cats.
But Petula and Jacob each have desperately painful secrets in their pasts – and when the truth comes out, there’s no way Petula is ready for it.

***

I read this book about a week ago as part of my WiFi-less Readathon, and I did it in almost one sitting! I’ve been itching to read it for a very long time, and was delighted to finally have the chance.

Starting with the title: I absolutely love it. I didn’t really think about it at first, but when I did my first thought was ooh that’s so funnyOptimists Die First, in my opinion at least, is a really intriguing title (also, my head teacher recently gave a weirdly motivational speech on why it’s logical to be optimistic, so that was also fresh in my mind). But my point about the title is more that it is relevant. Something that often irritates me is when YA novels are given quirky, charming titles which then turn out to have no relevance to the story; Optimists Die First was full of Petula’s random analogies of optimism and pessimism – it was clearly a huge theme. Which really pleased me.

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WiFi-less Readathon

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen that for the past week I have been absent from social media. I have been on a skiing holiday, with no WiFi. Well, if I really needed it there was WiFi available, but it was ridiculously overpriced and so I opted to just go without it for a week. A terrifying idea, I know.

But to make the most of our time, Jess (bookendsandendings) and I decided to hold a small Readathon. It’s insane how much reading you can get done if you’re not checking Twitter every few minutes. I read 10 books in total, 3 of them just on the way to the resort! I had with me some books that’d been on my shelves for a while, newly bought books, library books, eBooks on my kindle, plus all the books Jess had bought.

I’m usually very busy with schoolwork and preparing for exams, and what remains of my spare time is often taken up by social media, so I haven’t made my time to just absorb lots of stories in a while. Last week, I felt that as a reader I changed significantly (cheesy as that may sound!).

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Review – The Sleeping Prince

51afqm62bisl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Title: The Sleeping Prince
Author:  Melinda Salisbury
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 4th February 2016
Pages: 367, paperback
Genre: fantasy, young adult, romance

Ever since her brother Lief disappeared, Errin’s life has gone from bad to worse. Not only must she care for her sick mother, she has to scrape together rent money by selling illegal herbal cures. But none of that compares to the threat of the vengeful Sleeping Prince whom the Queen just awoke from his enchanted sleep.

When her village is evacuated as part of the war against the Sleeping Prince, Errin is left desperate and homeless. The only person she can turn to is the mysterious Silas, a young man who buys deadly poisons from Errin, but won’t reveal why he needs them. Silas promises to help her, but when he vanishes, Errin must journey across a kingdom on the brink of war to seek another way to save her mother and herself. But what she finds shatters everything she believed about her world, and with the Sleeping Prince drawing nearer, Errin must make a heartbreaking choice that could affect the whole kingdom.

***

I first read The Sin Eater’s Daughter in the second half of 2016, and this book in January. When I initially sat down to read it, I looked at the blurb, and I’ll admit I was really surprised to realise that The Sleeping Prince picked up the plot where it left off, but with an entirely different set of characters. I thought that might be something that bothered me, but I immediately connected with the new characters and could barely put the book down!

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Empowering Romances For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and if you do have a partner for the fourteenth, I’m sure your plans are sorted already. But there are plenty of other things to do if you’re single: something with your friends, or something alone.

Romances are great, it’s true – but surely it would be better to read something that’s both empowering and cutesy? There are so many love stories which focus purely on the romance, but there are also many in which the character development is not based off of their relationship. And so I thought that today I would share just a few suggestions with you

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January Wrap Up & The Month Ahead

janwrapup

This year, I have decided to start doing monthly overviews on my blog. January has been quite a busy month for me, and honestly I hope to read a bit more over February, but this month has still been quite eventful!

In this wrap up, I want to cast an eye over everything I read this month, celebrating my favourites, as well as talking about a few other highlights of my month! I also will be drawing attention to upcoming releases that I am excited for!

Something else I have decided to do is start setting myself monthly goals to do with my blog – as I mentioned in my Bookish New Year Resolutions, I want to work on different aspects of my blog, for example the layout, and this will help me do so!

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