Monday 24 August 2015


The Perfectionists
by Sara Shepard
Published: October 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: Mystery, YA

In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.

Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?- taken from Goodreads

The book is about a group of girls who are thrown together in a class all of whom have had negative encounters with Nolan Hotchkiss, the school's most popular, perfect boy. When they decide to get their own back they joke about how they would kill him if they were given the chance. When they get to the party that they have arranged will be the time to play a prank on Nolan, they perform the prank and even upload pictures online anonymously and other than a bit of a guilty conscience they seem to get away with it. That is until the next morning when Nolan is found dead by the exact method the girls had previously joked about, they then of course set about finding out who killed him and who is trying to frame them.  

I am going to preface this review with the fact that this is the first book I have read by this author, however, I watch Pretty Little Liars (Shepard wrote the original book series) so I am familiar with her style of writing. So lets get to the negatives first - my biggest issue with this book was that it had an overwhelming feeling of just a recycled version of PLL with different characters, you know with the plot line of mystery over a murder of a popular person, someone framing the group of girls, they all have motives for being the murderer etc

On the other hand, PLL was successful for a reason, the plot line is effortless and flows well, this book is fairly short but equally as fast paced. All the characters have different lives and what was interesting was that none of them were really friends beforehand and were thrown together because of the incident, I think it will be interesting to see how such different characters will get on in later books. Although all the cliches are there they don't feel that overdone which you have to give props to Shepard for. 

I fairly enjoyed my time reading this book and I think if I had read this when I was slightly younger I would have loved it. I will be picking up the next book as it has hooked me enough to want to know what happens as there was no resolution at all at the ending of this book (although I really hope it isn't a 15+ book series like PLL). So whilst this book has its flaws, you cannot deny that it was addictive and a light enjoyable read.

3.5/5 STARS
*this book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review*

Tuesday 26 May 2015


The Iron Trial
by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Published: September 2014
Publisher: Doubleday
Genre: Middle Grade, Fantasy

"Most kids would do anything to pass the Iron Trial.
Not Callum Hunt. He wants to fail.
All his life, Call has been warned by his father to stay away from magic. If he succeeds at the Iron Trial and is admitted into the Magisterium, he is sure it can only mean bad things for him.
So he tries his best to do his worst - and fails at failing.
Now the Magisterium awaits him. It's a place that's both sensational and sinister, with dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.
The Iron Trial is just the beginning, for the biggest test is still to come . . ."

When it was first announced that these two authors were teaming up to write a middle grade fantasy I couldn't have been more excited. I throughly enjoy Cassandra Clare's writing and have enjoyed most of what I've read from Holly Black, this was set up to be a great book even before I had started it.

So many people have compared this to Harry Potter and to be honest I think that's ridiculous. Due to the novel being set in a magic school, then of course there will be similarities, but the way this magic works is totally different, the teachers are totally different and so is the way that you get chosen to go into the school in the first place.  I almost feel as though people were picking things up just to spite themselves, all middle grade fantasy books follow a very strict progression of having a trio or double fighting against a greater evil, this isn't just specific to Harry Potter! 

I felt like the writing (baring in mind that it is a middle grade and not a YA) was pretty great, it flowed really nicely and it was obvious to me that the two authors worked meticulously to make sure that there were no obvious splits in the writing, it seemed as though they were one voice, which was extremely refreshing because usually joint authorships are quite disjointed. 

The world building could have been expanded on slightly, but you must remember that this is only the first in (what I think) is a five book series and so it will be explored more throughout the series. I enjoyed the magical element of this book, I liked that although you had your standard Earth, Water, Fire and Air magic you also had a Chaos element, which in my opinion brought something fresh to the table.

I thought that the characters were interesting and although at first there were quite a few characters to deal with they all got their own personality and soon enough it was easy to remember who was who. The plot twist at the end, had I been the intended age group for this would have blown me away (although I was still pretty impressed by it) and that is exactly what I am looking for in this type of book.

All in all, I loved this book, it was exactly what I needed and I think it is a fun read, when people read this they need to remember that is not a young adult book it is a middle grade book and so of course its not going to be as complicated! Take it for what it is and I think you will love it.

*affiliate link used

Tuesday 14 April 2015


The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
By Sam Maggs
Published: May 2015
Publisher: Quirk Books
Genre: Non-fiction

When Quirk books offered the chance to get an early copy of this book I jumped at the chance, after all I am a proud fangirl, so why on earth would I not want a copy? 

This is a small and incredibly well made little guide on all things fandom and specifically how to cope with being a female in a male dominated group. (although as Sam points out, in this day and age there is pretty much a total 50/50 of male and female geeks and so why on earth women are still questioned about if they really are 'fan enough' baffles me.) 

The first thing I want to point out is the cover, its totally awesome (and I really want a graphic novel from Kelly Bastow who did the illustrations throughout, which again are totally awesome) and under the dust jacket is one of the most awesome hardbacks I've seen, plastered with the TARDIS, a robot, a bow and arrow, just to name a few all topped off with some bows, I want this on a wallpaper. 

Whilst this is a guide for beginners who are just entering the fan world (man, I wish I had this book a few years ago!) even your most experienced fangirl will learn a few things. For example all of the slang of fanfictions are explained, theres a convention guide on what to take with you and what to do and what not to do, a guide on 'fangirl speak' (which is completely necessary if you are a newbie), awesome interviews with iconic female authors and general content creators and so much more. There is also a very helpful resource chapter at the back filled with nerdy shops, websites and tutorials.

What was even more awesome though is the sense of empowerment that this book gave me as a female fan. I have never read any kind of feminist book before, I guess I was pretty daunted by it and assumed they would be preachy. This was nothing like that. Instead it talked about how women (who account for over half of the fandoms) have just as much right to love comics and television shows without being judged, just like can men do. 

The book is written very conversationally and Sam Maggs' humour totally radiates throughout the book making it a really pleasant read and a perfect gift for all of your fangirl friends.

*this book was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review*

Thursday 26 March 2015


by Richelle Mead
Published: January 2011
Publisher: Razorbill
Genre: YA, fantasy 
*spoilers if you haven't read Vampire Academy*
Buy this book here*
"Sydney protects vampire secrets - and human lives.
Sydney belongs to a secret group who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the world of humans and vampires.
But when Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, she fears she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. What unfolds is far worse. The sister of Moroi queen Lissa Dragomir is in mortal danger, and goes into hiding. Now Sydney must act as her protector.
The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one..." -taken from Goodreads

Bloodlines is the first book in the spin-off series to Vampire Academy, whilst a few of the characters from VA appear in this series it predominately focuses on new characters, or characters that didn't play a massive part in the other series, this book creates another dimension to the VA world.

Sydney, the main protagonist was first introduced in Blood Promise (from the VA series) and this spin off series focuses on the aftermath of helping Rose Hathaway with her predicaments from the previous series. Sydney is an Alchemist, which is a group that works alongside the Vampires and covers up any Strigoi attacks, however, they absolutely hate both the Moroi and the Dhampirs and think that they are an abomination. So when Sydney Sage is enlisted to help try and protect the next in line to the Moroi crown she isn't too pleased. Or so it seems. Her role in helping Rose has ensured that she is left throughly confused about if the Alchemists views on Vampires is entirely true. 

In Vampire Academy Sydney was a very odd, one-dimensional character with no real personality, however, this book she really gets to show herself off. She is annoying and flawed, like almost every protagonist in YA fantasy fiction, she is arrogant when it comes to her intelligence and sometimes her inner turmoil over the Vampires is a little frustrating, but totally understandable given the circumstances.

Adrian, for me is the real star in this book. I liked him a lot in VA but I absolutely love him in Bloodlines. I love that he is so flawed and a complete mess but he knows it and owns it. He has the best one liners with his sarcastic, witty usually rude remarks and always, always offers a sense of relief and entertainment. I am glad that he is finally having a life after Rose completely ditched him at the end of VA (nope, I'm still not over it). 

The plot in this book was brilliant, it was fairly slow at the start when it was setting the scene and the characters but as it progressed I was hooked. I like that although Sydney is the main protagonist, every other character like Eddie and Jill as well as Adrian all have their moments of spotlight and I really feel as if you get to know them all, rather than just getting one side of the situation. Its clever how even though it is all through Sydney's perspective you still feel as though you are getting to know the other secondary characters.

Overall, I was very impressed with this book and am extremely excited to continue on, I love Richelle Mead's writing and the way she world builds and her character progression is like no other.

4.5/5 STARS

On a side note though, I really wish that both this series and Vampire Academy have cover changes as they just really, really don't give an accurate representation of the book and I feel like so many people will be put off by the covers. 

Thursday 12 March 2015


Fish Out of Water
by Natalie Whipple
Published: March 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genre: YA, contemporary 
"Mika Arlington was supposed to spend the summer after her junior year shadowing her marine biologist parents at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but when her estranged grandmother randomly shows up on the doorstep one day, those plans are derailed. Because Grandma Betty isn't here to play nice—she is cranky, intolerant of Mika's mixed-race-couple parents, and oh yeah she has Alzheimer's and is out of money.  While Mika's family would rather not deal with Grandma Betty, they don't have much choice. And despite Mika's protests, she is roped into caring for a person that seems impossible to have compassion for. And if that wasn't hard enough, Mika must train the new guy at her pet shop job who wants to be anywhere else, and help a friend through her own family crisis. Something's gotta a give, but whichever ball Mika drops means losing someone she loves. Not exactly a recipe for Best Summer Ever—or is it?"

So typically these types of books annoy the hell out of me (you know the ones where the female protagonist drops everything to be with the boy who is oh so dreamy?) but this was totally different. There seemed to be much more substance to it than just girl meets boy, girl falls head over heels in love with boy, some problem happens that tears them away, boy apologises and they live happily ever after. That did happen, but it was the other stuff that went on that really set this one apart from other contemporary books I've read.

The first thing I liked was that these characters all talk and act like real teenagers, which is what so many contemporary books do wrong by making the teenagers seem far too mature and pretentious, you could really imagine these scenarios happening. It is important for me to feel as though I can connect or at least recognise these characters rather than reading about some dreamboat guy who speaks poetry as if its his first language. The level of love-talk and actual real life conversations were balanced really well in this book.

The second thing I liked was how the author explored Alzheimer's. I have a personal experiences with this disease in the family and to see it portrayed so real was refreshing and equally important. It was amazing to see how raw it was, I think its obvious that the author either also has personal relationships with this disease or has done a lot of research about it because everything she wrote was just so accurate. It really encapsulated how scary it is to not know where you stand with someone you love (or have grown to love), one day they are your best friend and the next they are screaming and shouting at you. I think it was really brave to talk about it so truthfully.

The third thing I liked was how race and prejudice was shown. It was interesting to read from the perspective of someone who is often at the butt of others jokes or inconsiderate comments. There needs to be more books like this, it was a welcome change to read something from a 'diverse' character that isn't totally thrown in your face every five minutes that they are different. You were just reading from a character that had really harsh things said about her and you subconsciously thought "oh well thats not right", it was all just done very well. 

And finally, I can't really do a review without talking about Dylan. He is one of the best love interests I've read from in a YA contemporary. His character progression was amazing and I must say the romance was cute (although occasionally I did roll my eyes at the severity of it all, I guess I'm just not that romantic) and the characters are totally what made this book so fun to read. I am a fan of flawed characters, and this certainly had its fair share of flawed characters. Mika, the main protagonist loses her temper, is quick to judge and sometimes thinks before she speaks, but she is also strong, loyal and funny. Her friends, family and Clark her boss all have minor parts but the author makes it clear how much they impact Mika, again really encapsulating real life scenarios of how people around you affect you.

4.5/ 5 STARS
*thanks to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review*

Friday 6 March 2015


Red Queen
by Victoria Aveyard
Published: February 2015
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA, dystopian
"The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?"

As this was on my most anticipated releases of 2015, I was pretty excited about this one. The premise sounded like something I would enjoy and I was intrigued because it was a debut novel and I'm always keen on supporting new authors. 

I will start by saying that I will be continuing on with this series as I felt that this book was a well written one. Once I got into the story at around 50 pages I wanted to keep reading, the plot was fast paced, although occasionally any action scenes did go by in the blink of an eye but I wouldn't say that is a negative. Whilst the plot and characters itself aren't the most imaginative in the world, I think that the actual world of Red and Silvers and their abilities IS original and incredibly interesting. That being said I can see why this book has got a lot of hype, but I am glad I read this without reading too much into the hype as I do think that would have left me feeling slightly disappointed.

You don't know who to trust in this novel, everyone is suspicious and everyone has their own motives. I can't say I loved anyone in this novel but that's not really the point. Mare, the main protagonist was often annoying and made mistakes (so like pretty much all of the protagonists in YA dystopians) but she was made of fire and wit. I can't imagine how she found the will to go on when everything was against her. The Silvers are menacing and so overpowering that it made me wonder a) how they got their abilities and b) why the Red's don't just band together and overrule them, its often hinted at that the Reds outnumber the Silvers, but then I supposed you wouldn't really want to go against someone who has the ability to read your mind and disable your thoughts...

I can see great things in this author's future if this is the standard of her debut novel. Harper Collins did a great job in snapping her up, I am looking forward to the sequel. If you are a fan of dystopians then I would recommend this in a heartbeat. 


Tuesday 10 February 2015

BOOK TOUR: Remote by Lisa Acerbo

Today's blog post is on a book tour hosted by Red Moon Book Tours, below I have a synopsis, and except and a get to know about the author of Remote. If this book interests you there will be links below where you can buy the book as well as follow the author on social media.

Lisa Acerbo
Publisher: Etopia Press
Genre: Science Fiction, romance

"When technology fulfills every dream, reality becomes a nightmare.
Below the streets of New State, the undergrounders fight to remain free of the te
chnological control of the world above. Every night, Yara risks her life fighting New State’s deadliest weapons, the drones. Half human and half machine, their living half tortured until everything human is gone, the drones have only one objective. Kill. And they do it with exacting precision.
Yara is good at her job and committed to her raids on New State. Until one of those raids brings her face-to-face with Joshua, a New State citizen who doesn’t quite fit her preconceived expectations. After a couple of awkward encounters, he shows her the meaning of hooking up—a computer simulation that allows people to live out their fantasies—without the complication of emotional entanglements or physical reality. But what Yara feels for Joshua is very real. And it’s punishable by law.
As she and Joshua grow closer, she convinces him to leave New State for her underground cause. But as the unrest between New State and the underground escalates, and the drones move in to destroy her world, nothing goes as planned. Families are arrested, loyalties are strained, and Yara’s forced to choose between her people and her feelings. The wrong choice could mean the end of her people, and reality could slip away—forever..."

“Hi,” he called out
Yara’s heart hammered, and adrenaline coursed through her limbs. She turned to run.         
“Wait,” the stranger whispered. “I won’t turn you in. I’m out here too.” He obviously didn’t realize that Yara was a rebel. He might not know it yet, but he would soon. Still, he didn’t sound dangerous. Maybe Yara could take care of him. She had never had to kill anyone totally human, but she had trained to do so. At this point, she didn’t think she would need to. The skinny boy didn’t look like a real threat, either.
She turned back toward him and attempted what she hoped was a look of death and destruction.
Instead of being scared, he smiled at her and brushed the hair out of his eyes. Even in the shadowy street, Yara could see the color was a beautiful emerald green. She had a hard time looking away, until his voice jarred her back to reality.
“I’m Joshua15111,” he said robotically. “What are you doing out here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.”
“Enjoying the night sky,” he replied, each word clipped and succinct. Unable to make prolonged eye contact, he looked toward the stars.
“Aren’t you supposed to be hooked up to an alternate universe, enjoying battle, boobs, or whatever perverted fantasy you want to conquer tonight?” Yara asked, and then instantly regretted her words.
“Hey, it’s not like that. You know how it is.” For the first time, his voice took on a more humanistic quality. He sounded peeved.
She grunted in response. She didn’t know anything of the sort.
Joshua15111 looked at her briefly, quizzically. “Wait, do you know that? Are you one of them? The rebels?”
Oh no. “What rebels?”
“Are you for real? Everyone knows about the rebels. You must be one. Are you a rebel? That’s so cool.”
Me and my big mouth. Fear finally overtook her. Vague ideas about running away from or fighting the stranger flitted by, but Yara’s feet felt like concrete blocks. She wasn’t even sure she’d be able to form a coherent sentence if he asked her something about the underground.

 About the Author:

Lisa Acerbo is a high school teacher and holds an EdD in Educational Leadership. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, daughters, three cats, and horse. She is the author of Apocalipstick and has contributed to local newspapers, news and travel blogs including The Patch and Hollywood Scriptwriter.

Lisa's social media

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