Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Wishbones
Blurb (from Goodreads): 
Feather Tucker has two wishes:


1)To get her mum healthy again


2) To win the Junior UK swimming championships


When Feather comes home on New Year’s Eve to find her mother – one of Britain’s most obese women- in a diabetic coma, she realises something has to be done to save her mum’s life. But when her Mum refuses to co-operate Feather realises that the problem run deeper than just her mum’s unhealthy appetite.


Over time, Feather’s mission to help her Mum becomes an investigation. With the help of friends old and new, and the hindrance of runaway pet goat Houdini, Feather’s starting to uncover when her mum’s life began to spiral out of control and why. But can Feather fix it in time for her mum to watch her swim to victory? And can she save her family for good?


Wishbones by Virginia Macgregor

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


Wishbones “I ate to survive. I ate to numb the sadness, to give me the strength to face another day.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose mother was morbidly obese.

Feather was a loving girl, and it was obvious how much she cared about her mother. I thought her attempts to help her mother lose weight were well-meant, even if she didn’t understand that her mother wasn’t quite as motivated as she was.

The storyline in this was about feather trying to get her mother to lose weight after being in a diabetic coma. All the way through the book was an air of mystery though, over what exactly it was that her mother was hiding from her, and why other people seemed to have more of an insight into her mother and her problems than Feather did. The pace in this felt quite slow though, and I did want answers a lot quicker than we got them.

The ending to this had a few shocking revelations, and I was pleased that we finally got some answers.



6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Gauntlet (The Cage #3) by Megan Shepherd

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Gauntlet (The Cage, #3)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in the final novel in the gripping and romantic Cage series, about teens abducted from Earth by an otherworldly race.


Cora and her friends have escaped the Kindred station and landed at Armstrong—a supposed safe haven on a small moon—where they plan to regroup and figure out how to win the Gauntlet, the challenging competition to prove humanity’s intelligence and set them free. But Armstrong is no paradise; ruled by a power-hungry sheriff, it’s a violent world where the teens are enslaved and put to work in mines. As Nok’s due date grows closer, and Mali and Leon journey across space to rescue Cassian, the former inhabitants of the cage are up against impossible odds.

With the whole universe at stake, Cora will do whatever it takes, including pushing her body and mind to the breaking point, to escape Armstrong and run the Gauntlet. But it isn’t just a deranged sheriff she has to overcome: the other intelligent species—the Axion, Kindred, Gatherers, and Mosca—all have their own reasons to stop her. Not knowing who to trust, Cora must rely on her own instincts to win the competition, which could change the world—though it might destroy her in the process.


The Gauntlet by Megan Shepherd

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


The Gauntlet (The Cage, #3) “The wolves are strong. But the rabbits are clever.”


This was a YA sci-fi story, and the end to the series.

I liked Cora in this story, and I liked how she kept in mind what was best for her species as a whole. It was pretty brave of her to face the gauntlet the way she did, especially knowing that no other human had ever managed to beat it.

The storyline in this was about Cora trying to take on the gauntlet in order to prove humanity’s intelligence. We also got quite a lot of fighting going on between species, a couple of heroic deaths, and some sneaky twists thrown in, and I thought the pacing was better than the previous books too. The trials in the gauntlet were done well, and I liked that they weren’t too obvious either.

The ending to this was pretty good.



7 out of 10

Saturday, 20 May 2017

The Scattering (The Outliers #2) by Kimberly McCreight

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins UK, Children's and NetGalley.
The Scattering (The Outliers, Book 2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The nail-bitingly tense sequel to THE OUTLIERS by New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight.
“Wylie, trust your instincts.” The line goes dead…
Wylie may have escaped the isolated camp in the woods, but she is far from safe. The only way to protect herself is to understand her strange abilities as an Outlier, fast. But allowing herself to read other peoples’ emotions isn't just difficult, it's dangerous.
And Wylie isn’t the only one at risk. Ever since they returned home, Jasper has been wracked with guilt. He can’t let go of the blame he so desperately feels, especially when someone has been taunting him with reminders of it. Wylie and Jasper would do anything for each other, but is their bond is strong enough to overcome demons from the past?
Amid this uncertainty and fear, Wylie is confronted with a choice. She was willing to do whatever it took to help Cassie, but is she prepared to go to the same extremes for complete strangers… even if they are just like her?
New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight raises the stakes in the second book of this heart-pounding series about secrets, betrayal and a group of people are blessed – or cursed – with an incredible power.

The Scattering by Kimberly McCreight

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


The Scattering (The Outliers, Book 2) “We are all Outliers. Every last one of us. And I might have suspected as much before, but now I am sure.”


This was an interesting sequel, and I liked it more than the first book in the series.

Wylie was a strong character in this book and she didn’t give up, even when things looked really bad. I also liked the way she tried to help people other than herself, and stood firm in her beliefs too.

The storyline in this was about Wylie ending up admitted to hospital and meeting a whole group of other outliers like herself. She then escaped the hospital and went on a hunt for more information, learning more and more about what was going on along the way. The pace in this seemed better than the first book, and things moved along nicely, the mystery aspect was also done well, and I liked the little twists we got thrown.

The ending to this held a bit of a surprise, although I had wondered if Wylie’s beliefs about a certain person were really true.



7 out of 10


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Contagion (Dark Matter #1) by Teri Terry

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley.
Contagion (Dark Matter, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Don't miss this startling first book in a breathtaking new trilogy from Teri Terry, queen of the teen psychological thriller and author of the bestselling Slated trilogy! URGENT! An epidemic is sweeping the country. You are among the infected. There is no cure; and you cannot be permitted to infect others. You are now under quarantine. The very few of the infected who survive are dangerous and will be taken into the custody of the army. Young runaway Callie survived the disease, but not the so-called treatment. Her brother Kai is still looking for her. And his new friend Shay may hold the key to uncovering what truly happened. From the author of the international sensation Slated comes the first book in a powerful new story of survival and transformation; love and power.

Contagion by Teri Terry

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


Contagion (Dark Matter, #1) “They say I’m sick, and I need to be cured. But I don’t feel sick. Not any more.”


This was a YA sci-fi story about a mysterious killer flu epidemic.

Shay was an okay character, and I liked Kai too. Callie was also an interesting character, and it was bad what she had gone through, I understood her frustration when she wasn’t able to communicate with anyone too.

The storyline in this was about Shay remembering seeing a girl who had gone missing a year ago (Callie) and contacting her brother Kai with the information. We then got a storyline about a disease known as ‘Aberdeen Flu’ spreading across Scotland and then the UK and causing masses of deaths. Parts of Scotland were under quarantine, and Shay and Kai were caught up in it, trying to help those dying, and trying to work out the source of the disease. The pace in this was pretty slow though, and the second half seemed to drag quite badly.

The ending to this was a cliff-hanger.



6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Grit by Gillian French

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Grit
Blurb (from Goodreads):
His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long.
Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.


Grit by Gillian French

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Grit “We may not have been friends anymore, but Rhiannon was my age, sixteen last summer, and one way or another, she never came home again.”


This was a contemporary story about a girl whose ex-best friend had gone missing the year previously.

Darcy was an okay character, and I thought it was really unfair the slut-shaming she had gone through. Everyone seemed to think that she was sex mad, which wasn’t the case at all, and she even got turned down for a job because of it!

“Sorry, honey pie, this is a family business.”


The storyline in this was about Darcy working picking blueberries over the summer with her sister and cousin, and there was also a storyline about her ex-best friend Rhiannon going missing the previous summer. The mystery in this was very low key though, with a lot more emphasis on Darcy’s day-to-day life, and her reputation than what had really happened to Rhiannon. We did get a bit of romance, and a storyline about Darcy being nominated for Bay Festival Princess, as well as a bit of a competition going on to see who could pick the most blueberries, but it all felt a bit like people picking on Darcy.

“It’s not fair and it isn’t right, but it’s always, always harder on the girl.”


The ending to this tied things up pretty well, and I was pleased that at least part of the mystery was solved.



6.5 out of 10

The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game #2) by Evelyn Skye

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game, #2)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The gorgeous and darkly compelling sequel to The Crown’s Game—perfect for fans of Red Queen and Shadow and Bone.
Magic is growing, shadows are rising, and the throne is at stake…
Russia is on the brink of great change. Pasha’s coronation approaches, and Vika is now the Imperial Enchanter, but the role she once coveted may be more difficult—and dangerous—than she ever expected.
Pasha is grappling with his own problems—his legitimacy is in doubt, the girl he loves loathes him, and he believes his best friend is dead. When a challenger to the throne emerges—and with the magic in Russia growing rapidly—Pasha must do whatever it takes to keep his position and protect his kingdom.
For Nikolai, the ending of the Crown’s Game stung deeply. Although he just managed to escape death, Nikolai remains alone, a shadow hidden in a not-quite-real world of his own creation. But when he’s given a second chance at life—tied to a dark price—Nikolai must decide just how far he’s willing to go to return to the world.
With revolution on the rise, dangerous new magic rearing up, and a tsardom up for the taking, Vika, Nikolai, and Pasha must fight—or face the destruction of not only their world but also themselves.


The Crown's Fate by Evelyn Skye

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


The Crown's Fate (The Crown's Game, #2) “I’ve told you before, magic comes tied with many strings.”


This was an interesting YA fantasy sequel, which picked up where the first book left off.

Vika was much more likeable in this story and really showed her true colours. Pasha seemed more serious about his role and becoming Tsar, but Nikolai was definitely changed, to the point where he was almost unrecognisable.

The storyline in this was about Pasha being challenged for the throne, Nikolai behaving badly whilst governed by some evil energy, and about magic being made public and people burning red-haired people as witches after seeing Vika’s magic. The story was enjoyable, but it did drag a bit in places, and once again the romance didn’t feature heavily at all.

The ending to this tied things up nicely, which surprised me as I thought there would be another book to come.



6.5 out of 10

Monday, 15 May 2017

Lady of Sherwood by Molly Bilinski #Giveaway


Lady of Sherwood
Molly Bilinski
(Outlaws of Sherwood #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 24th 2017
Genres: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, Young Adult
Robin of Lockesly was neither the son her father wanted, nor the daughter her mother expected. When she refuses an arranged marriage to a harsh and cruel knight, the deadly events that follow change her destiny forever.
After a night of tragedy, Robin and the few remaining survivors flee to Nottingham. With a newfound anonymity, they start to live different lives. There, she and her band make mischief, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. But charity isn’t the only thing she wants–she wants revenge.
As the sheriff draws his net closer, Robin’s choices begin to haunt her. She’ll have to choose between what’s lawful and what her conscience believes is right–all while staying one step ahead of the hangman.
Lady of Sherwood is a unique young adult retelling of the beloved Robin Hood legend. Filled with action and romance, this new series follows a teenage heroine through her fantastic, yet dangerous adventures.
EXCERPT:
Other girls—some of the youngest ones from the kitchen—came from the brush. Smoke clung to them like a shroud, and tears had run in rivers down soot-stained cheeks. Ginny, the youngest at six, ran to Jemma and attached herself like a limpet to the older girl’s legs.
“Where is everyone else?” Robin asked, glancing between them and then back at the flaming manor. “Where is—where’s—” Her face heated even as the rest of her body grew chilled, and she stuffed her first in her mouth to muffle her scream.
“We are the only ones.”
Robin looked up at Kitty, surprised to find herself on her knees in the damp grass. She curled her shaking fingers into fists, and then rested them on her thighs. “How—what happened?”
“That man,” the girl went on, absently twisting her skirt in her hands. “The one who’d been courting you… he came for you in the night. When he couldn’t find you, he gathered everyone in the great hall.”
“Except you lot?” Jemma inquired.
“He was hurting her.” Kitty’s eyes took on a glossy quality. “He had Maggie by the hair, and he was hurting her. She had Ginny behind her, protecting her. I—I hit him over the head with a candle stand.”
“We went through the old tunnel,” another voice piped up. Maggie slipped her hand into Kitty’s. “Me and Kitty and Ginny.”
“And my—my mother?” Robin took a deep, shuddering breath.
“She kept her secret. We heard ‘im, shouting. He wanted to know where you was.” Ginny, this time. She wandered away from Jemma, and Robin opened her arms for her to nestle into. She’d helped Jemma look after the younger servants on the sly for years. Whether they’d been orphaned at birth or left to the streets, Jemma had brought them each back to the manor, and she’d given them a home and a hope the rest of the world didn’t offer. “She didn’t tell, Robin. She didn’t tell him where you was.”
“I heard Charlotte say you were gone,” Maggie said quietly. “She’d gone to your mother’s chambers to tell her. Miss Jemma was gone, too, and so was your bow.” She shrugged, a delicate lift of her shoulders. “We all thought you had gone to the field.”
“And she said nothing?” Robin’s heart beat hard against her ribcage.
“Lady was very brave,” Ginny murmured.
“She was,” Robin agreed. “Like you are. You all.” She looked at each of the other girls, who stared back, clearly waiting.
It hit her then—they were waiting for her. With the only survivors of the manor in front of her, and her mother dead—God rest her soul, God hold them all in His hand—it occurred to her in that moment. She was the Lady of Lockesly.


Author Bio:
Molly is a 2013 graduate of William Smith College with a bachelors in chemistry. She puts her science powers to use by day and is a novelist by night (and weekend...and any five minutes she can find). When she's not writing or working, she's scoping out coffee shops, exploring her new city (Buffalo, NY), taking day trips to Canada, and putting together puzzles.

XBTBanner1

Sunday, 14 May 2017

The Lucky One by Sylvie Stewart #Giveaway


The Lucky One
Sylvie Stewart
(Carolina Connections, #3)
Publication date: May 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance
When your luck runs out, do you run away—or do you stay and fight?
Bailey:
Let’s get one thing straight. I am not your typical girl. Sure I’ve got all the parts, but I’ve been a stubborn, irreverent tomboy since the womb, as my Irish father would proudly attest. Despite my Irish blood, I’ve had a bit of bad luck here and there—I recently trusted the wrong guy and got derailed in my professional pursuits. But I’ve bounced back. With my shields firmly in place, I thought nothing, or no one, could touch me again. Until he did. And he just might make this tomboy do the girliest thing in the world—fall head over heels in love. Of all the damn luck…
Jake:
I’m a pretty lucky guy. I have a phenomenal family, a career I love, and I’m building a brand-new life back in my hometown. And, not to be a jerk about it, but I do more than all right with the ladies. Everything’s been going according to plan—like I said, I’m a lucky guy.
That was, until my luck ran out.
Until I met the girl I call “Irish.”
Irony can go kiss my a$$.
EXCERPT:
I was struck again by the thought that everyone in the world seemed to be good with kids but me. And how unfair was it that Jake Beckett was not only hot as sin and a wizard in the sack, but he was also nice to small people and fainting women?
What was I supposed to do with that?
We finally pulled into the driveway and I hopped out quickly to avoid any awkward assistance that might be offered. Seeming to need no invitation, Jake followed us inside and closed the door behind him.
I took a deep breath and firmed my back as well as my resolve.
“As you can see, we’re all fine. I appreciate your concern—and the burritos—but everything is under control. We’ll go ahead and get on with our day and you can get on with yours.” I held my hand out toward the door like some damn restaurant hostess.
“Uh-huh,” he replied and had the nerve to lean against the entryway wall and put his hands in his pockets.
What was this? Was he posing for a bachelor-of-the-month calendar?
Gah!
I performed the hostess gesture yet again.
This time it received a grin.
“What?!” I demanded.
He looked me up and down. “Uh-huh.”
I became acutely aware of my attire and general appearance in that moment. I could feel the heat rising to my cheeks.
My hair was in a messy ponytail and I was dressed in athletic shorts and a men’s t-shirt. I didn’t need to look down to know there was a ketchup stain on the hem and a dinosaur riding a bicycle on the front. I have no explanation.
I urged myself to ignore Jake’s look and not even attempt to interpret it.
This moment perfectly captured the reason all Jake’s texts and calls had gone unanswered over the past three weeks.
He wasn’t texting me.
He was texting the girl from the wedding.
The girl I’d pretended to be for one night.
The girl I would never be.
The one I couldn’t afford to be.
(Copyright 2017 Sylvie Stewart)


Author Bio:
Sylvie Stewart’s addiction to books has been a lifelong problem. It was the cause of many scoldings when her mother discovered Sylvie army-crawling to the bookshelf after lights out. And it is the reason her husband would have a fairly solid case if he claimed “alienation of affection” and pointed a finger at her e-reader (a.k.a “The Precious”). Never-the-less, books are in Sylvie’s heart to stay, and she has transformed her love of books into a career as an author.
A recent move to North Carolina inspired Sylvie’s debut Romantic Comedy series. Carolina Connections is a collection of standalone novels based in her new hometown, and it combines her love of romance, humor, and sexy times. There is also some wine drinking incorporated in there, as this is another of Sylvie’s passions. Perhaps a future story will also involve kayaking, a new interest in Sylvie’s life. Experience has taught her that you can’t kayak and drink wine simultaneously, though, so don’t try this at home!
The Fix, The Spark, and The Lucky One are now available. The fourth book in the Carolina Connections series will release in Fall 2017.. That is, if Sylvie’s eight-year-old twins will stop trying to peek at her laptop while she’s writing. That might lead to some awkward parent-teacher conferences.

XBTBanner1

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Deacon Locke Went to Prom
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Promposals are taking over Deacon Locke’s high school and there is no place left to hide. But even with graduation looming, shy and unusually tall Deacon doesn’t think he can get up the nerve to ask anyone to the dance. Especially given all the theatrics.

It isn’t until Deacon confides in his witty and outgoing best friend Jean that he realizes should could be a great person to take. Only problem is Jean isn’t your typical prom date. She’s older. A lot older. And she’s Deacon’s grandmother.

But when Deacon meets Soraya—a girl unlike any other he’s ever met—he fears he has totally squandered his chances of having a prom he’ll never forget. Deacon couldn’t be more wrong. About everything.


Deacon Locke Went to Prom by Brian Katcher

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


Deacon Locke Went to Prom “Like the universe, my future is limitless. And like the universe, my future is mostly uncharted and kind of scary.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a boy who took his grandmother to prom.

Deacon was an okay character, he wasn’t very confident when it came to girls and I understood how nervous he got when it came to asking one to prom.

The storyline in this was about Deacon taking his Grandma to prom because she missed her own senior prom, and becoming semi-famous because of it when someone posted a video online. We also got a bit of romance with a girl called Soraya who was Deacon and his grandmother’s dance instructor, but I found the pace of the book quite slow, and there wasn’t really enough going on to keep me interested.

The ending to this was okay, although I felt quite sorry for Deacon’s Grandmother.



6.25 out of 10

Friday, 12 May 2017

Feel Me Fall by James Morris

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to James Morris and NetGalley.
Feel Me Fall
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Secrets and survival in the Amazon

Emily Duran is the sole survivor of a plane crash that left her and her teenage friends stranded and alone in the jungles of the Amazon. Lost and losing hope, they struggle against the elements, and each other. With their familiar pecking order no longer in place, a new order emerges, filled with power struggles, betrayals, secrets and lies. Emily must explain why she's the last left alive.

But can she carry the burden of the past?

Discover the gripping new adventure novel that explores who we are when no one is watching, and how far we'll go in order to survive.


Feel Me Fall by James Morris

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Feel Me Fall “My counsellor told me to write my story down, By writing I could make sense of all that happened. I keep thinking if I remember everything the way I need to that the memories will fade away. That I can accept what happened. I can accept that I survived and everyone else died.”


This was a YA survival story about 6 teens stranded in the Amazon rainforest following a plane crash.

Emily was an okay character and I felt really sorry for her for what she was going through. Being stranded in the Amazon rainforest could not have been easy, and I really wouldn’t have wanted to have been her.

The storyline was about Emily and 5 other teens from her school being the only survivors of a plane wreck after a school trip to South America. They tried to walk from the crash site to find help, and the story followed them as they made their way through the jungle. Secrets were revealed, people died, and still there was room for more twists before the end. I also liked the way we found out what happened to Emily after she was rescued too.

The ending to this was pretty good, but did leave us with a bit of a cliff-hanger.



6.5 out of 10