Tuesday, March 30, 2021

March Wrap-Up

 

 This wasn't a bad reading month for me. I DNF'd my second book of the year but I also had my first five star read of 2021!



 WHAT I READ



Fable (Fable, #1) by Adrienne Young - FairyLoot hardback - 3/5 stars

The Mask Falling (The Bone Season, #4) by Samantha Shannon - hardback - 5/5 stars



When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2) by Nghi Vo - audiobook - 3/5 stars

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison - eARC - DNF (1/5 stars) - read my DNF review here.



 The Shelf by Helly Acton - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.

The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3) by Rick Riordan - audiobook - 3/5 stars



The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune - audiobook - 4/5 stars

 


My Lady Jane (The Lady Janies, #1) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows - hardback - 3/5 stars

The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.


 

 

 Made You Up by Francesca Zappia - hardback - 3/5 stars
 
 
 
 
 
HAULED BOOKS
 
 I only hauled one physical book this month which was Firekeeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley. I pre-ordered a copy with a signed bookplate which arrived a week early.



I also picked up The Queen's Gambit for 99p on Kindle.




NetGalley ARCs:




My thanks to all the publishers!
 
 
 
 
 
BLOG POSTS
 
 
As well as the reviews linked above, I posted the following this month:



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CURRENTLY READING 
 

 Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson - audiobook



What did you read in March?



Saturday, March 27, 2021

Review - The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker by Lauren James

 

 


 Title: The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker

Author: Lauren James

Pages: 426

Publisher: Walker Books

Release Date: 3rd September 2020

 

Blurb from Goodreads:

Congratulations, new kid. Welcome to the afterlife.”

What if death is only the beginning?

When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.

Felix, Kasper, Rima and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.

 

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop

 

 

 

 

My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Walker Books and NetGalley*



When university student Harriet Stoker falls to her death in a derelict building on campus, she finds herself in the afterlife with a group of other ghosts.

The ghosts - Felix, Rima, Leah and Kasper - welcome Harriet with open arms into their group, but when Harriet learns that everyone develops a power upon becoming a ghost she becomes obsessed with discovering what her power is.

As Harriet's obsession strains her new friendships she will have to decide what is more important, having power or friends.


Going into this I wasn't sure how much I would like it as I was disappointed by the author's last book and the premise for this one didn't excite me overly. However, as a fan of some of the author's previous books, I decided to give her new release a chance.

I didn't find Harriet to be a likeable protagonist, but I don't think she wasn't meant to be. Harriet's relationship with her grandmother was complicated and reflected the way Harriet treated people herself, which was quite interesting.

Rima was my favourite character and I liked the relationships she had with Felix, Leah and Kasper.

The plot was a bit mixed for me, with times where the pacing dipped, but there were several things that happened that I didn't expect. However, these unexpected plot points didn't have the intended shock value and some scenes didn't have the intended emotional impact because I struggled at times to connect with the characters.

The book is told from several point of views and there were times when the point of views changed too quickly for me, making the story a bit jarring at times.

While I did enjoy the book overall, it didn't grip me or have me eager to keep reading.


Overall, this was an enjoyable read.

 

 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Forest of Stolen Girls

 

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.

 

This week I'm looking forward to . . . 

 


 

 Title: The Forest of Stolen Girls

Author: June Hur

Pages: 384

Publisher: Ffeiwel & Friends

Release Date: 20th April 2021

 

Blurb from Goodreads:

After her father vanishes while investigating the disappearance of 13 young women, a teen returns to her secretive hometown to pick up the trail in this second YA historical mystery from the author of The Silence of Bones.

Hwani's family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest, near a gruesome crime scene. The only thing they remember: Their captor wore a painted-white mask.

To escape the haunting memories of this incident, the family flees their hometown. Years later, Detective Min—Hwani's father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared under similar circumstances, and so he returns to their hometown to investigate... only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and reconnects with her now estranged sister—Hwani comes to realize that the answer lies within her own buried me
mories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.


 
Why I'm Anticipating This Book:
 
I really enjoyed the author's previous book and this one sounds just as good. 
 




Saturday, March 20, 2021

Review - The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

 

 


 Title: The Black Kids

Author: Christina Hammonds Reed

Pages: 368

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books

Release Date: 4th August 2020

 

Blurb from Goodreads:

Perfect for fans of The Hate U Give, this unforgettable coming-of-age debut novel is a unflinching exploration of race, class, and violence as well as the importance of being true to yourself.

Los Angeles, 1992

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of high school and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer.

But everything changes one afternoon in April, when four police officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

As violent protests engulf LA and the city burns, Ashley tries to continue on as if life were normal. Even as her self-destructive sister gets dangerously involved in the riots. Even as the model black family fa├žade her wealthy and prominent parents have built starts to crumble. Even as her best friends help spread a rumor that could completely derail the future of her classmate and fellow black kid, LaShawn Johnson.

With her world splintering around her, Ashley, along with the rest of LA, is left to question who is the us? And who is the them?

 

 Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop





My Review:

*I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children's UK and NetGalley*



It's 1992 and teenager Ashley Bennett is weeks away from graduating high school.

Her home of Los Angeles turns violent when the trial of several police officers, who beat a black man to death, ends with them walking away with no reprimands or time to serve.

As her older sister, Jo, takes to the streets to join in with the riots, Ashley tries to live her life as usual, lounging by the pool with her friends. But Ashley finds herself questioning what it means to be one of the black kids.



I had heard a lot of hype about The Black Kids, so I had high hopes for the novel. However, I ended up not enjoying it as much as I thought I would.

I didn't find Ashley to be a particularly likeable protagonist - she was quite selfish at times and didn't think about how her words or actions would affect other people. However, I did get the feeling that she was kind of lost and didn't really know who she was as a person.

My favourite character was Jo, Ashley's sister. She was willing to fight and stand up for what she believed in and was quite a sad person. I felt that her parents didn't support her as much as they should have.

I also liked Heather and LaShawn.

The plot was quite slow and not much really happened. The book was definitely more focussed on Ashley as a character than the plot, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I lose interest around the middle of the book.

The themes of race, family and friendship were interesting, but there were a few times when the book felt a bit messy to me, like it didn't quite know what it wanted to be.

I found some of the events mentioned enlightening and horrifying.

The writing style wasn't one of my favourites and I found that the scene could jump unexpectedly to a flashback. There were also details that were mentioned that later seemed to be forgotten and weren't elaborated on at all. For example, Ashley was a cheerleader but there weren't any scenes when she actually did any cheering or practising.

I'm disappointed that I didn't enjoy this more, but I can see why other people have liked it more than I did.


Overall, this was a mixed read for me.






Thursday, March 18, 2021

Character Piece - Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw

 

 

 Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw is a YA horror novel that releases on the 1st April from UCLAN Publishing.

I'm part of the street team for the novel (#TeamMina) and have had so much fun taking part in the challenges and promo.

Today, Team Mina is sharing character pieces written by Amy.

 I got Mina in the character quiz (find out which character you are here) and so I'm sharing Mina's character piece . . .


Mina’s Horror Movies for YA Fans

 

I decided to combine two of my favourite things for this article: movies and book recommendations. So, snuggle down in your comfiest chair with plenty of snacks and a blanket (equally good for cosiness and pulling over your head at the scary bits).

 

The Forbidden Game by L. J. Smith: Jumanji meets Labyrinth

I’m starting strong with two movies to go with one of my favourite books. The Forbidden Game is the story of three teens who get sucked into a board game. Before they get to the end of the game, they have to conquer their worst fears and get the better of the wicked and gorgeous Erlking. It has the evil board game vibes of Jumanji and the sexy villain of Labyrinth. If that doesn’t get you to pick it up, I don’t know what will.

 

The Betrayal (The Fear Street Saga) by R.L. Stine and Hocus Pocus

In The Betrayal, you get the Fear Street origins and why the horror began. I won’t give too much away, but if you want witch trials and family feuds, then this is the book for you. It pairs perfectly with Hocus Pocus, the story of three teens who accidentally wake three witches intent on sucking the life out of every kid in town. If you’re after dark magic and witches with attitude, give these two a go.

 

The Silent Scream (Nightmare Hall) by Diane Hoh and Urban Legend

Looking for a creepy campus setting to get your heart racing? In Silent Scream, Jess is excited about college until she starts to unravel the dark secrets surrounding her dorm. Then you’ve got Urban Legend, the ultimate serial killer thrill fest. A killer is stalking a group of college students, picking them off in the style of urban legends. There’s something about a college setting that I can’t resist, with parents safely back home, the suffocating pressure of exams and the small campus environment… Definitely check these two out.

 

Secret Vampire (Night World) by L. J. Smith and The Lost Boys

Yes I’ve put another L. J. Smith book on the list, because I couldn’t resist adding some of my favourite vampires to the mix. Poppy is dying, and it just so happens that her best friend is a vampire who could save her. This one is full of smouldering tension and is only the first of a long, brilliant series. It pairs great with The Lost Boys. Michael’s family moves to a town overrun by vampires. He’s drawn to a girl who is one of them, but will he join her on the fanged side? I love everything about this movie, from the killer soundtrack to the Gothic set pieces. Look no further than these two for your vampire fix.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Ones We're Meant to Find

 

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.

 

 This week I'm anticipating . . .



Title: The Ones We're Meant to Find

Author: Joan He

Pages: 384

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Release Date: 4th May 2021

 

Blurb from Goodreads:

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars with sci-fi scope, Lost with a satisfying resolution.

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-cities—Earth's last unpolluted place—are meant to be sanctuary for those committed to planetary protection, but they’re populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she'll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most.

 

 

 Why I'm Looking Forward to this Book:

This sounds so good and is so pretty!




Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday - Books On My Spring 2021 TBR

 

 Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.



This week the topic is 
Books On My Spring 2021 TBR

 

 

 There are lots of books I want to get to soon, but here are my top ten picks . . .

 

 


Emma by Jane Austen 

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

 


The Doll Factory by Elizabeth Macneal

Eight Will Fall by Sarah Harian


 
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow



The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes



The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4) by Rrick Riordan

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas



What books are on your spring TBR?

Have you read any of these books?





Monday, March 15, 2021

FairyLoot Unboxing - Greek Mythology (January Box)

 

 FairyLoot is a UK-based YA subscription box.

Each box contains a variety of objects and a book with an exclusive cover.  


 The January theme was
Greek Mythology

 



Here's what was inside . . .


A wooden spatula featuring a quote from Lovely War by Julie Berry. This was designed by @kdpletters.

Two Tarot cards inspired by The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. These were designed by @arz28.


A trinket dish illustrated by @taratjah which features Eros and Psyche.

An enamel bookmark with the goddess Athena, designed by @monolimeart.

A Medusa iron-on patch illustrated by @alyesasworld.


A booksleeve inspired by and featuring a quote from Circe by Madeline Miller. This was designed by @chattynora.

An art print designed by @arz28 which features Percy Jackson and Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.


The book of the month was Lore by Alexandra Bracken.

FairyLoot really went all out with this exclusive edition - it has an exclusive cover, sprayed and stenciled edges, artwork on the inside of the dust jacket, foil embossing on the front, back and spine of the naked hardback, custom endpapers and a printed signature. It also came with a letter from the author which has character art on the reverse.

 



Here's everything all together . . .




This was definitely my favourite box for a long time. Everything in it is so beautiful.

My favourite item is the trinket dish but I love all the extras on the book.



Did you get this box?

What's your favourite item?