Thursday, 11 February 2016

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble

Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

My thoughts

I have spent the last few months worried that I was going off reading. Everything I picked up wasn't keeping me interested at all and I thought maybe I have saturated myself. Then this beautiful little book came along.

Beautiful broken things is a perfect example of why I love UKYA so much. It has a brilliantly engaging story which I found myself unable to put down for very long because I was desperate to know more about what was going to happen. The main characters Caddy, Rosie and Suzanne drew you in from the first page. They are so real in the way they are portrayed and their story really resonated with my teenage self. All those confused feelings you have as a teenage about wanting to be accepted into a peer group and the awkwardness of trying to fit it were superbly put across. By half way through the book I just wanted to scoop up all the characters and tell them it'd all be OK.

A stunning debut which I will be raving about for a good long while to come and definitely an author to watch in the future.

Recommended if you liked
Undone by Cat Clake
Trouble by Non Pratt

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Wild Lily by KM Peyton

It's the 1920s - cars and aeroplanes are new. Lily Gabriel is 13 years old - she's scruffy and confident and takes no nonsense from anyone. Antony is 17 - he's rich, spoiled and arrogant and Lily is completely and utterly - no nonsense! - in love with him. So join Lily as she falls...Falls in love...Falls out of the sky...Falls through time...And effortlessly, inescapably, falls into her future. Life is never what you expect or what you predict. But if you're lucky, you hold onto exactly what you need - a young and wild heart.

My thoughts
I am shamefully late to the KM Peyton party but Wild Lily has left me with no doubt that she's an author I need to read more of.

I loved Wild Lily. I loved the history and found every part of the story fascinating in that regard as the story compares and contrasts the difference life experiences of Lily and Anthony the former leading a poor life of hard work and the latter a rich life of privilege. I adored Lily as a character and her story was really exciting. I loved seeing her wanting to be tough and as a result scaring the hell out of herself by doing a parachute jump to impress others.

All in all a book I thoroughly enjoyed and a perfect example of brilliant YA historical fiction.

Friday, 5 February 2016

The reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen

Thirteen-year-old wrestling fanatic Henry used to have a normal life. Now, his therapist wants him to keep a journal so he can express his feelings about what happened.
Henry has moved with his dad to a new city, where nobody knows their name. He lives off a diet of pizza, whilst hiding from the comically overbearing neighbours and avoiding being an obvious target for bullies at his new school. But then he meets Farley and Alberta, social misfits who refuse to let him be alone. And bit by bit, the past begins to come out.
Heartbreaking, surprising and laugh-out-loud funny, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen is about the things that remain after your life has fallen to pieces.

My thoughts
I enjoyed The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen. Henry is suffering after the incident. I won't say too much for fear of spoiling it for others but it really shows the impact events have on the wider family group and how people deal with the fallout. It also has a lot to say about the impact of bullying again not just on the individual but also on the wider family. I really liked Henry and very much enjoyed his story.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

How hard can Love by by Holly Bourne

All Amber wants is a little bit of love. Her mum has never been the caring type, even before she moved to California, got remarried and had a personality transplant. But Amber's hoping that spending the summer with her can change all that.

And then there's prom king Kyle, the guy all the girls want. Can he really be interested in anti-cheerleader Amber? Even with best friends Evie and Lottie's advice, there's no escaping the fact: love is hard.

My thoughts 
I did write an extensive review for this last week just after I'd finished it so I had the story in my head. The internet goblins have eaten that review and I've read ten more books since then so this rewrite is going to be shorter.

I loved the relationships between the characters and seeing the different ways in which they played out. I loved the main character completely because she was so relatable. I loved that there were positive girl friendships throughout. I loved the Harry Potter references. I loved that it really explored feminism and what that means to teenage girls now. I loved the setting. I loved the humour. I loved the boys.

In short I adored everything about this book and would recommend to anyone regardless of whether you had read the previous book in the series. I cannot wait for the next one.

Monday, 1 February 2016

British Books Challenge: Link your February review here

We are now onto month two of the British Books Challenge.

First up the winner of January's prize pack of a copy of The Icarus Show by Sally Christie was Bibliobeth for her review of Urban Legends by Helen Grant.

This month up for grabs is a copy of How not to disappear by Clare Furniss kindly donated by Simon and Schuster

please link reviews for your February British Books Challenge reads below. Happy reading

Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Review

January has whizzed by in a blur of crappy weather and too much work. Here's what I got up to bookwise.

Read in January
Shtum by Jem Lester (5 stars)
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary Schmidt (2 stars)
Keep you close by Lucie Whitehouse (3 stars)
Crush by Eve Ainsworth (4 stars)
The life changing magic of not giving a f*ck (4 stars)
Love Song by Sophia Bennett (5 stars)
Anzac Boys by Tony Bradman (3 stars)
The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis (5 stars)
The Blitz next door by Cathy Forde (3 stars)
Girl on a plane by Miriam Moss (3 stars)
Crooked Hearts by Lissa Evans (3 stars)
Mind your head by Juno Dawson (4 stars)
How hard can love be by Holly Bourne (5 stars)
Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley (5 stars)
The Widow by Fiona Barton (4 stars)
Royal Rebel by Meg Cabot (4 stars)
When we Collided by Emery Lord (5 stars)
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon (3 stars)
The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine (4 stars)

Book of the Month
Hard one to call because I've read lots of great books this month but if I had to pick I'd go with Love Song by Sophia Bennett. It is fabulous.

February's TBR pile
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetya
The Girl from everywhere by Heidi Heilig
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
Eleanor by Jason Gurley
At the Edge of the Orchard by Tracy  Chevalier
Look at me by Sarah Duguid
Strange Girls and Ordinary Women by Morgan McCarthy
I'd Tell you I'd love you but then I'd have to kill you by Ally Carter
Veronica Mars: The Thousand Dollar Tan line by Rob Thomas
The Secrets of Drearcliff Grange School by Kim Newman
Salem Falls by Jodie Picoult
Accidental Superstar by Marianne Levy
All the birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders
Party Princess by Meg Cabot
Not if I see you first by Eric Lindstorm
Book of Lies by Terri Terry
Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz
Six Four by  Hideo Yokoyama
Black Arts by Andrew Prentice

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Front Lines by Michael Grant

A tense, exciting and moving new drama from the bestselling author of the GONE series.

1942. The fate of the world rests on a knife’s edge. And the soldiers who can tip the balance . . . are girls.

Set in an alternate World War II where young women are called up to fight alongside men, this is the story of Rio Richlin and her friends as they go into battle against Hitler’s forces.

But not everyone believes that they should be on the front lines. Now Rio and her friends must fight not only to survive, but to prove their courage and ingenuity. Because the fate of the world is in the hands of the soldier girls.

The first of three books, this is Michael Grant at his epic best.

My thoughts
I really enjoyed this book. Regular readers of my reviews will know I can find historical fiction tough as I get far too critical about it and alternative history can send me into violent rages of hissy fits. I am very glad to report that I didn't have a problem with this at all.

For me why it worked is because it felt real. Obviously we know girls did not serve on the front lines during World War Two but reading this it felt like they could have. The accuracy in the other parts of the story made the whole thing feel real and I really enjoyed it for that. I also really like all the main characters and finding out more about their circumstances and reasons for joining up in the first place.

I'm already desperate to read the rest of the series as I cannot wait to find out more about where this series is going.