In August I Read | 2017

in august I read

August has been and gone – the fastest of any month so far this year, I’m sure. I did manage to read seven books this month, which I’ll admit is less than I would have liked, but I was on holiday, and a lot of the books I read in August were classics!

Before I start, I would like to mention that I am now an affiliate for A Great Reads, an online bookseller, which I am delighted about! For those of you who have not heard this term before, this means that I receive a small percentage of the sales for books bought through these links. The books mentioned below that have affiliate links will be marked with a *!

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Review – Damage

Warning: this book/review contains reference to self-harm which some may find distressing.

Tdamageitle: Damage
Author:  Eve Ainsworth
Published by: Scholastic
Publication date: 2nd March 2017
Pages: 288, paperback
Genre: young adult, contemporary, mental health

How can you heal if you can’t face your past? Confident, popular Gabi has a secret – a secret so terrible she can’t tell her family, or her best friend. She can’t even take pleasure in her beloved skateboarding any more. And then one day an impulse turns to something darker. Gabi has never felt so alone. But then she learns that not everyone has wounds you can see. A searing look at self-harm and acceptance from hugely talented author Eve Ainsworth. Warning: includes content that some readers may find upsetting.

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I have been looking forward to reading Damage since I heard about it back in January, at Scholastic’s Bloggers’ Book Feast. This is a book about a girl struggling with self-harm – having read Eve Ainsworth’s previous two books, Seven Days and Crush, I know that she is an author I can trust to write about such an important topic in a way that is both sensitive and interesting. And I was not disappointed.

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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.

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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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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.

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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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Review – The One Memory of Flora Banks

coverTitle: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author:  Emily Barr
Published by: Penguin
Publication date: 12th January 2017
Pages: 303, paperback
Genre: young adult

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

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The One Memory of Flora Banks is a book that has been anticipated by the YA community for months. I couldn’t wait to read it, and once I’d read it I couldn’t wait to review it. As this is such a recent release and so many may not have had the chance to read it yet, I’m going to try and avoid any massive spoilers.

I read this book expecting a love story, and I think that it would have been a brilliant romance. Honestly, midway through the book I found myself wondering why the story was still focused on Flora’s journey, rather than her heartfelt reunion with Drake. However, once I understood the direction the story was going in, I was delighted. The plot was absolutely captivating, and I soon found myself completely forgetting Drake and becoming entirely absorbed in Flora’s adventures.

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