Review – Girlhood

26224552Title: Girlhood
Author:
 Cat Clarke
Published by: Quercus
Publication date: 4th May 2017
Pages: 342, paperback
Genre: YA, contemporary

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

***

I’ve had a copy of Girlhood since YALC in the summer of 2017, and it intrigued me from the first time I heard about it. I haven’t read any Cat Clarke in a while, but a couple of years ago I made my way through the rest of her books, and I really enjoyed all of them, so I couldn’t wait to read this one! I raced through this book, and it is definitely one of the best YA contemporaries I have read in a while (I think it’s also important to point out, for those of you who are unaware, that this book does talk about eating disorders throughout the story, so that is something to bear in mind if that is a sensitive topic for you).

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Review – A Court of Thorns and Roses

22839894Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 5th May 2015
Pages: 419, paperback
Genre:
 young adult, fantasy, romance

Feyre is a huntress.

She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price…

Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feeling for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been told about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.

Feyre must find a way to break a spell, or lose her heart forever.

***

I have had A Court of Thorns and Roses on my kindle for ages now, and have been deliberating about reading it for even longer. Some people seem to adore this book and this series, and have done nothing but sings its praises, whilst others have criticised it for being problematic. I decided to read it for myself to make up my own mind, and despite the many cliché aspects to this book, I enjoyed it far more than I expected!

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Review – Flame in the Mist

23308087Title: Flame in the Mist
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 16th May 2017
Pages: 416, hardback
Genre:
 young adult, fantasy, romance, retelling

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

***

Flame in the Mist was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017, but somehow I never got around to reading it! I finally picked it up after writing my blog post on my fantasy TBR, which got me really in the mood for this genre, and I am so glad I did not wait any longer. I have been looking forward to sharing this review all week, as I have so much love for this book!

What intrigued me about this book from the beginning was it’s marketing: a retelling of Milan. Sounds perfect, right? Once I started reading, I found that it the story followed the plot of Mulan very loosely; aside from the fact that Mariko disguised herself as a boy, the story really took on a life of its own, which I loved! This book was action packed, with a little bit of romance and mystery, which, in my opinion, is absolutely perfect.

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Review – No Filter

29478908Title: No Filter
Author: Orlagh Collins
Published by: Bloomsbury
Publication date: 13th July 2017
Pages: 355, hardback
Genre:
 young adult, contemporary, romance

This is the story of THAT SUMMER … the one when everything changes.

Emerald has grown up in a privileged world – the beloved daughter of a wealthy family, friends with all the right people, social media addict. But Emerald’s family has secrets – and when Emerald finds her mum unconscious on the bathroom floor, no one can pretend any more. Now she’s being packed off to stay with her grandma in Ireland while her mum recuperates and her dad just works and works and works. 

Grandma’s big, lonely house is set back from the beach, and there’s no phone signal or wifi. It’s going to be a long summer … Until she meets Liam. 

When you’re falling in love, it’s hard to tell someone everything. Even if you’ve got nothing to hide any more. And when secrets and lies are all you’re used to, how do you deal with real love – brave and true – with no filter? 

The fresh, funny and poignant debut novel from Orlagh Collins, a bright new voice in YA fiction. Authentic, down to earth and sweepingly romantic all at once, No Filter is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Goodreads | A Great Read 

***

No Filter was one of the books I read last month, making it one of my first YA reads of 2018! I was lucky enough to be sent a copy of this book by Orlagh, the author of No Filter, as I am going to be interviewing her next month as part of the YA Shot Blog Tour. In the mean time, I read this book, and thought I would review it!

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Review – Genuine Fraud

33843362Title: Genuine Fraud
Author: E. Lockhart
Published by: Hot Key Books
Publication date:  7th September 2017
Pages: 267, hardback
Genre:
 young adult, contemporary, mystery, thriller

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete. 
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two. 
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains. 
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.

***

The hype for this book built up throughout 2017, and having enjoyed We Were Liars and adored The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, I was so keen to read Genuine Fraud. Having read both positive and negative reviews, I was slightly apprehensive going in, and unfortunately, I really don’t think this book was for me.

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Review – The Truth and Lies of Ella Black

35608668Title: The Truth and Lies of Ella Black
Author: Emily Barr
Published by: Penguin
Publication date:  11th January 2018
Pages: 288, paperback
Genre:
 young adult, contemporary

Ella Black seems to live the life most other seventeen-year-olds would kill for . . .

Until one day, telling her nothing, her parents whisk her off to Rio de Janeiro. Determined to find out why, Ella takes her chance and searches through their things.

And realises her life has been a lie.

Her mother and father aren’t hers at all. Unable to comprehend the truth, Ella runs away, to the one place they’ll never think to look – the favelas.

But there she learns a terrible secret – the truth about her real parents and their past. And the truth about a mother, desperate for a daughter taken from her seventeen years ago . . .

Goodreads | A Great Read*

***

This is another 2018 release I have been anticipating for months! I really wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book: maybe the story of Ella’s struggle with her darker, alternate personality (‘Bella’), or a thriller novel. In reality, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black struck me as a coming-of-age story, which was completely unexpected and very welcome!

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Review – When Dimple Met Rishi

28458598Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Published by: Simon Pulse
Publication date:  2nd January 2018
Pages:  320, ebook
Genre:
 young adult, contemporary, romance

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

***

When Dimple Met Rishi was one of my most anticipated YA releases of this year, and I have seen a huge number of reviews, some glowing with praise, others full of criticism. I had high expectations when I started this book, and unfortunately I was a little disappointed, although there were definitely parts of the book that I loved.

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Review – Everless

32320661Title: Everless
Author:
 Sara Holland
Published by: HarperTeen
Publication date:  2nd January 2018
Pages:  336, Hardback
Genre:
 young adult, fantasy

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

***

Everless is one of the ARCs I was lucky enough to receive at YALC this year, and it is a book I looked forward to reading so much! This is exactly the sort of fantasy story I adore, and the concept reminded me slightly of the film In Time (which I love) – and I was so glad to see that my high expectations were met!

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Three in One Reviews

As a book blogger, I do try to make sure I have variety in the things I post – however, when I get busy, I tend to write far more reviews compared to other blog posts. So this month, I’ve read three books for my Beat the Backlist challenge, and I thought I’d try writing three smaller reviews in one blog post! This will just be some of my thoughts on what I liked and didn’t like about books I have read recently (along with my star rating), and as pictured, today I will be discussing Unboxed by Non Pratt, Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman, and Blame by Simon Mayo.

IMG_20171126_133405_586

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Review – Charlotte Says

35005611Title: Charlotte Says
Author:
 Alex Bell
Published by: Stripes Publishing
Publication date:  7th September 2017
Pages:  352, paperback
Genre:
 young adult, horror, paranormal, historical

The much-anticipated prequel to the bestselling FROZEN CHARLOTTE, a Zoella Book Club title in Autumn 2016.
Following the death of her mother in a terrible fire, Jemima flees to the remote Isle of Skye, to take up a job at a school for girls. There she finds herself tormented by the mystery of what really happened that night.
Then Jemima receives a box of Frozen Charlotte dolls from a mystery sender and she begins to remember – a séance with the dolls, a violent argument with her step-father and the inferno that destroyed their home. And when it seems that the dolls are triggering a series of accidents at the school, Jemima realizes she must stop the demonic spirits possessing the dolls – whatever it takes.

***

I remember reading Frozen Charlotte back in 2015 – it was one of the first YA horror novels I’d read, and I absolutely loved it! I was delighted to hear that a prequel was being released, and was lucky enough to receive a copy at YALC this year; I read Charlotte Says in October, and ended up reading it in one sitting. Once I’d started, I knew I would not sleep until I finished, so I kept going until the early hours of the morning.

I’ve seen a few other readers comment that they didn’t find this book overly frightening, however as the type of person who has to peek through their fingers throughout horror films, I often found myself genuinely scared. I largely attributed this to the fact that the story is quite fast paced, with various horrors occurring at regular intervals. I was kept in suspense for the entire novel, and as a result of reading this book, my fear of creepy-looking dolls has increased significantly.

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