where our team of writers love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.



Friday, 20 April 2018

Reign of the Fallen | Sarah Glen Marsh | Review

“Those finished with life crave it less over time.” 
Odessa is one of Karthia's master necromancers, catering to the kingdom's ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it's Odessa's job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised--the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa's necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead--and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer's magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees? - Goodreads

I have to begin just by saying that the concept of this story is so unique. A necromancer main character who works for the Royal Family, bringing back the King time and time again so he can continue to rule ... who thinks of these things? Genius.

Reign of the Fallen was such a creative story. The main premise is that Odessa is a necromancer, someone who can walk between the land of the living and the land of the dead, bringing them through the veil into life once more. There's a catch though: once someone is dead, no living thing can see them. They have to wear a shroud all the time, because if someone sees even the smallest glimpse of their dead selves, the dead turn into Shades, uncontrollable monsters (kind of like zombies?).  Odsssa's job, as well a the other necromancers like her lover Evander, is to make sure the dead in the real world don't go mad; they have to kill them before they deteriorate beyond help, travel to the Deadlands to find them, then bring them back so they keep on 'living'.

A little complicated perhaps, but fascinating all the same.

The characters in this book were amazing; each one so beautifully created and left me wanting a whole story just for each of them. There's the squad of necromancers who work in sets of two - Odessa and Evander, Jax and Simeon - then there's Valoria the princess of Karthia, Meredy the sister of Evander and also a beast master (who has a bear as a companion), Danial who is a healer and is boyfriend to Simeon, and Kasmira who is like a weather-controlling pirate.

The villain in this story was a bit predictable, but it was a good plot all the same. There were definitely things I didn't enjoy about it, but on the whole I really liked it. If you're after a fantasy or young adult novel with a bisexual main character and a heap lot of dead people walking around like they're living, then this is the book for you!

Have you read Reign of the Fallen? What did you think? 
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Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Features | Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge Update #2

blogger's bookshelf the last star

The Next Book In A Series You Started | The Last Star, Rick Yancey (2016) 

If you caught my post earlier this year on the sequels I'd added to my 2018 TBR you may remember that The Last Star, the final book in the 5th Wave trilogy, was on the list. I have to admit I did struggle a little bit with this one as it had been over three years (!) since I read the second book and as it turns out I didn't remember it very well at all.

A Book You Meant To Read In 2017 But Didn’t Get To | Always & Forever Lara Jean, Jenny Han (2017)

Another book on my sequels list and a 2017 'vow to read' book I failed to pick up was Always & Forever Lara Jean, the third and final book in the To All The Boys I've Loved Before trilogy (which Sophie recently reviewed). This book follows the central character Lara Jean as she graduates high school and gets ready to set off for college.

A Book That's Published In 2018 | Clean, Juno Dawson (2018)

There are obviously a lot of books I could have chosen for this prompt but I'm a fan of Juno Dawson's writing and couldn't resist snapping up a copy of her latest release through Netgalley earlier this year. The book tackles some tough subjects, focusing on socialite Lexi who finds herself at an exclusive island rehab facility after almost overdosing. You can find out more about Clean in my recent collab post with Ria.

the strange library murakami blogger's bookshelf

A Book That Involves A Bookstore Or Library | The Strange Library, Haruki Murakami (2005) 

I'm so glad I landed on The Strange Library as my pick for this prompt as it was such a unique and quirky story which made for a fun read with a dark twist running throughout. Shared alongside the story were various illustrations from the London Library which added extra enjoyment for me.

A Book About Death Or Grief | Scythe, Neal Shusterman (2017)

Neal Shusterman's latest series takes place in a utopian world, where war, hunger, disease and misery simply don't exist and 'scythes' are tasked with controlling the population. Like most of the book blogging world, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and can't wait to read the sequel Thunderhead. If you missed my recent collab post with Anjali where we discussed the book you can catch it here.

A Book With Characters Who Are Twins | Here We Are Now, Jasmine Warga (2017)

Here We Are Now tells the story of teenager Taliah meeting rock star Julian Oliver... who just happens to be her father. Taking place over just a few days, the book follows her journey to his hometown to meet his half of her family for the first time - including her twin cousins!

If you're taking part in the Popsugar 2018 Reading Challenge I'd love to hear from you. Let me know which prompts you've crossed off the list and which books you're planning to pick up next!
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Monday, 16 April 2018

Features | 7 Things I Highlighted Whilst Reading Challenger Deep

1. "It was a problem with empty space that led me to art. I see an empty box, and I have to fill it. I see a blank page, and I can't leave it like that." - p.29

2. "I close my eyes and feel, pushing my thoughts through the soles of my feet." - p.18

challenger deep

3. "What is a permanent record? When does it stop following you? Will I have to spend my life looking over my shoulder for my permanent record?" - p.76

4. "Their laughter feels so far away it's as if there's cotton in my ears." - p.49

5. "I think it's outrageously cruel to keep a puzzle that they know is missing a single piece." - p.302

challenger deep

6. "We want all things in life packed into boxes that we can label. But just because we have the ability to label it, doesn't mean we really know what's in the box." - p.298

7. "How do you trust a therapist when even the plant in his waiting room is a lie?" - p.111
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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Send Us Your Thoughts On Our April Book Club Pick!

When Laura and her father take a young woman named Carmilla into their home, their idyllic peace is disturbed. Despite the strange occurrences, the friendship between Laura and Carmilla grows, beyond what anyone thought. It is menacing and mesmerising in equal measure.
We really hope you're enjoying our fourth BB book club pick Carmilla and can't wait to hear your thoughts! There's just under a week left to make sure your opinions are featured in our April roundup and infographic - click this link to complete the Google form.

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Friday, 13 April 2018

Features | Books Set in Cornwall

Cornish Short Stories: A Collection of Contemporary Cornish Writing is a new collection of bright and atmospheric stories that celebrate Cornwall, its landscapes, and its people... and I just happen to have a story included in it. To celebrate the release of this varied and inspiring collection of short stories, poetry, and beautiful woodcut illustrations, (and my first published work) set amongst the famous Cornish beaches and countryside, I have five recommendations for you of books set in that very same county.

For more short stories, Diving Belles by Lucy Wood is a collection of magical tales that draws inspiration from the coastlines of Cornwall and from local myths and legends. Wood masterfully weaves these influences together into an enchanting collection of stories that reveal magic in the every day and the every day in magic.

Monsters by Emerald Fennell, on the other hand, could not be more different. A darkly comic story for middle grade readers of two children who meet in a hotel in Fowey and bond over the darkness they both share. They obsess over local murders, investigating and re-inacting the grisly acts for fun. Monsters is a more disturbing take on seaside life.

A poetic and lyrical story, again rich with magic, A Year of Marvellous Ways tells the story of a ninety-year-old woman, living alone in a remote Cornish creek, until a young soldier washes up on her shore. This is one I haven't read yet but I've heard so many positive things about how beautiful and evocative the writing is that I can't wait to get to it.

Not Forgetting the Whale tells the story of the small village of St Piran, disrupted when a young man washes ashore on the beach, naked. The villagers all rush to help but the spotting of a whale at the same moment is seen as an omen of things to come. This is another book still on my TBR, which promises to be a funny and heartwarming read.

And, of course, how could I write a list of books set in Cornwall without mentioning perhaps the most famous one of all? Ross Poldark, the first in Winston Graham's extremely successful Poldark series, paints a picture both romantic and slightly more realistic of life along the Cornish coast during the late 18th century, and if you're one of the many people who enjoy the TV series, the book is certainly worth a read.

So many stories have been inspired by Cornwall, including many of Daphne du Maurier's works, to name just one very famous author I've missed out here. If you know of any more novels or short story collections set among these famous moors and coastlines, let me know in the comments! I'm always on the lookout for stories that celebrate my beautiful home county. And tell me about any books set where you live too! It's always interesting how stories set in places we're so familiar with can make us think differently of our own surroundings.
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Thursday, 12 April 2018

The Hate U Give | Angie Thomas | Review

THUG The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas book review
I had heard so many great reviews about this book but whenever I'd look up the blurb I was really doubtful I'd feel the same. However, because of all the great reviews I still had it sitting there on my TBR list and finally, one day when I got some extra pay I thought "screw it" and ordered the damn thing. Lucky I did because like everyone else I really enjoyed it!

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Now as I was doubtful I did go into it with quite a different mindset than other books and frankly I was reading the first few pages going "Oh he's gonna be shot", "No it's gonna be her", "Actually her" until the incident happened (FYI, not a spoiler, it's in the blurb). But once it finally happened I got drawn in on the suspense and thrill of it all, eager for the idiot white man to be brought to justice!

I really enjoyed the way the story was told, through the eyes of Starr because it really gets you involved and tangles your feelings in a knot. Some stories are told in a way where you feel like a fly on the wall but this one you're Starr, you feel everything she feels and yes I even cried. It's such an important topic and very much related to what's happening at the current time. It's so realistic even to the point of the family dynamics and everyday life which makes it incredibly believable so it was great to see a topic as important as this told in a way that teens would understand and take note of - and even do something about. It may be told in a fictional way but events like these do happen so telling the story in a real and relatable way is key.

If you haven't read this yet, pick it up and make it your next read because not only will you enjoy it, you'll probably learn something too!

"What's the point of having a voice is you're gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn't be?"

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