Monday, 25 May 2015

City of Fae, Pippa DaCosta

Pages: 336
Publisher: Bloomsbury Spark
Release Date: 7th May 2015
Edition: UK e-proof, NetGalley review copy

From the moment Alina touches London’s hottest fae superstar, breaking one of the laws founded to protect her kind, her fate – and the fae – close in.

Below ground, the fae High Queen plots to claim the city as her own and places her pawns, ready for the battle to come. A battle she cannot lose, but for one small problem – Alina. There are four ancient keepers powerful enough to keep the queen in her prison. Three are dead. One remains… And to fight back, Alina risks everything she has come to love.

This new adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

I’ve come to associate Bloomsbury Sparks with quick, fun and lively novels and City of Fae met those expectations perfectly.

From the very start, Alina’s story throws up mysteries and questions, all surrounding a gorgeous fae rockstar. What has Reign done? Why are the authorities after him? And what on Earth does it have to do with her?! Answers are drip fed as Alina gets to know Reign a little more and discovers more about the deadly fae. In the 70s, the fae came out to the rest of the world and though there are government warnings and laws to keep humans safe, the fae are beautiful and dangerous and endlessly alluring.

The mythology that Pippa Dacosta wove around Reign and the fae was really, really interesting. It’s nothing I’ve ever read before and I loved how completely original it felt. The fae need draíocht to survive and humans are a plentiful resource. The draíocht can be leached from humans by a single touch, but a few too many times and the human becomes bespelled – they’re pretty much high and addicted to the fae who drew their draíocht. This is a risk that Alina dances around for the entire novel, bringing her growing attraction to Reign into question as dangerous situations bring them closer and closer. I really loved the high strung tension between them and the pure risk of them helping each other; it made me race through the novel.

As Reign and Alina become more and more entangled, so does the world Alina thought she knew. Though there is the fantasy staple of the heroine not being quite who she thought she was, I did enjoy the direction it went in. I loved that Alina didn’t like what she discovered, that it wasn’t all good and the high stakes that were placed on her shoulders didn’t feel forced; she was an unfortunate pawn in a centuries old game. Alina’s newfound knowledge led us deeper into the mythology of faerie, giving us a glimpse into the reality of the fae and where they came from as well as why they opened themselves up to humans in the 70s.  

City of Fae is a fun, original and sparky debut and I hope I get to see more of this world.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Spark for the review copy.


Sunday, 24 May 2015

Letterbox Love #90

Letterbox Love is a way to show you all of the lovely, lovely books I’ve gotten in the post, bought and everything else over the last week. Summaries are taken from the cover, or Amazon/NetGalley/Goodreads in the case of e-books, unless otherwise stated. Hosted by Narratively Speaking.

For review:

Legacy of Kings, Eleanor Herman (e-proof)

Imagine a time with the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains, and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedon’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world, but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life, while keeping hidden her own mission: kill the queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means competing with Hephaestion, a murdered sheltered by the prince.

And far across the seas, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly spirit eaters.

This sounds epic. Thanks Harlequin Teen and NetGalley!

The Thing About Jellyfish, Ali Benjamin (e-proof)

A stunning debut about how grief can open the world in magical ways.

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy is a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory – even if it means travelling the globe alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

This sounds sad and beautiful and completely wonderful. Thanks NetGalley and Little, Brown US!


Prudence: The Custard Protocol, Gail Carriger (paperback)

Introducing The Custard Protocol series, in which Prudence, daughter of Alexia Maccon, travels to India for Queen and country…and the perfect pot of tea.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon is bequeathed an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female under similar circumstances would do – christens it The Spotted Custard and floats off to India.

Soon, she stumbles upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife and some awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis (and an embarrassing lack of bloomers), Rue must rely on her good breeding – and her metanatural abilities – to get to the bottom of it all…

I adore Gail Carriger’s YA series set in this world so when I spotted this on Amazon for £1.99 I couldn’t resist. Now I just need to read the first series…

The Sun in Her Eyes, Paige Toon (paperback)

Blinding sunshine… A bend in the road… What became of the little girl with the sun in her eyes?

Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother’s life. She doesn’t remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thiry years later, she’s trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic.

As Ethan and Amber grow closer, married life in London feels very far away. Then Amber receives a letter that changes everything.

‘Before your mother died, she asked me to tell you something…’

Oh, yeah! Love Paige Toon’s novels!

PS, I Still Love You, Jenny Han (hardback)

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

They were just pretending. Until they weren’t. And now Lara Jean has to learn what it’s like to be in a real relationship and not just a make-believe one.

But when another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him suddenly return too.

Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Lara Jean is about to find out that falling in love is the easy part.

I really loved To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before so I’m looking forward to this.  


Remix, Non Pratt (proof)

From the author of Trouble comes a novel about boys, bands and best mates.

Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life… Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.

Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.

FINALLY! Thanks so much Cait! This rather battered proof has been passed around and read by about 7 people so I’ll carry it on and pass it along once I’m done – anyone want it? (UK only!)


Friday, 22 May 2015

The Heir, Kiera Cass

Pages: 342
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Release Date: 7th May 2015
Edition: UK paperback, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: The Selection, The Elite, The One

Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon – and they lived happily ever after.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her own story to end in romance – she has no interest in repeating the fairy tale. But a princess’s life is never entirely her own – and Eadlyn cannot escape her very own Selection, and one particular entry who may just capture her heart…

The Selection series is one of my favourite guilty pleasure series’ so I was rather chuffed to hear that there’d be a book four and five, starring the next generation of the Illéa royal family. The Heir was a solid follow-up to American and Maxon’s story.

With Maxon and America’s oldest, Eadlyn, at the helm, The Heir feels like a very different story to the original trilogy. For one, it no longer even hints at a dystopia for me. If I hadn’t read the earlier and went in with this one (which you totally could, I think) I would have just assumed they live in a palace with some strange customs and the regular people are just rioting about how unfair life is. Even with the changes in Illéa since Maxon took the throne, it didn’t have that distinctive dystopian feel. The caste system has slowly been dissolved and the people are free from restrictions; they are able to take whatever career they wish and marry without restriction. But it’s not as perfect as it should be – the prejudice of the caste system is still widely seen. This world has so much potential and I never feel like Cass properly exploits that.

As a teenager princess, Eadlyn can’t really do much about this yet, other than watch her dad get more and more tired and stressed and so she agrees to have a Selection to boost morale while Maxon and America try to find a solution. It was really interesting to see the Selection from the other side. The balancing of her royal duties with the weekly Report and making a genuine effort to date and get to know 35 different boys, all while dealing with her feelings about the Selection itself, the people of Illéa and trying to keep a hold on her heart. I did actually find Eadlyn to be a little annoying in the beginning, but she really grew over the course of the novel. Her motivations and what lay under her cold, sometimes rude and selfish persona became more apparent and it was a lot easier to be on her side.

Eadlyn has a grit about her, a depth that has so many possibilities and she’ll undoubtedly do some awesome things for Illéa when her turn comes, but she’s still a teenage girl. I loved the balance between the princess and the girl and the way her brothers and parents brought that out in her. There’s a real sense of a strong, loving and supportive family in The Heir and it just made me so proud of America and Maxon! They did it. The reverence for the King and Queen, from both those in the palace and the public was clear. Their story is a fairytale and the things they achieved together are wonderful; and they’re so obviously still head over heels in love. I also have to say that I love middle-aged, Queen America a whole lot more than I did teenage, Selection America; the difference is huge.

I don’t want to say too much about Eadlyn’s experience of her Selection and the boys in it, but I will say that it’s a lot more dramatic and a lot stronger, actually, than Maxon’s. Everything feels heightened and way more intense, but there’s also some real humour in it. In The Selection I was only ever rooting for America, but I actually like quite a few of the boys vying for Eadlyn’s hand. I am, however, Team Erik. I want it to happen, and I really think it might. That’s the kind of choice that would totally suit Eadlyn and one that Maxon and America would secretly approve of, I reckon – they’re all about the fairytale and soul mates.

Kiera Cass delivered a thoroughly good fun companion in The Heir and I’m really looking forward to book five and all the drama that’s bound to come with it!


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Blog Tour: The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP)

Kate Winter is a journalist, novelist and storyteller from the North West of Ireland who was lucky enough to grow up with no TV (though she didn’t consider it a lucky break at the time) and lots of books. After graduating from the University of Ulster with First Class honours and the Ulster Television Award for her BA in Media Studies, Kate promptly forged a glittering career in waitressing. Then one day, beside the pool in Australia, Kate decided it was time to write a book. The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is her first novel.

Falling in love is never simple. Especially when you’re dead.

When Rosie Potter wakes up one morning with what she assumes is the world’s worst hangover, the last thing she expects to discover is that she’s actually dead. With a frustrating case of amnesia, suspicious circumstances surrounding her untimely demise, and stuck wearing her ugliest flannel PJs, Rosie must figure out not only what happened last night, but why on earth she’s still here.

Slowly the mystery unravels, but there are many secrets buried in the quiet Irish village of Ballycarragh, and nobody is innocent as they first appear. Aided by the unlikeliest of allies in her investigation, Rosie discovers that life after death isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, particularly when you might just be falling in love…

In this hilarious, life-affirming and romantic journey through Rosie Potter’s afterlife, she shares the ghostly tale of how she lived, she lied, and she loved (in that order).

The Happy Ever Afterlife of Rosie Potter (RIP) is out in trade paperback and e-book today!

Waterstones                    PB
Amazon                           PB|Kindle
The Book Depository        PB
Hive                                PB|EPUB


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Read Me Like a Book, Liz Kessler

Pages: 293
Publisher: Indigo
Release Date: 14th May 2015
Edition: UK hardback, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: Emily Windsnap series, Philippa Fisher series, A Year Without Autumn, North of Nowhere, Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins?

Ashleigh Walker is in love. You know the feeling – that intense, heart-racing, all-consuming emotion that can only come with first love. It’s enough to stop her worrying about bad grades at college. Enough to distract her from her parents’ marriage troubles. There’s just one thing bothering her…

Shouldn’t it be her boyfriend, Dylan, who makes her feel this way – not Miss Murray, her English teacher?

Read Me Like a Book was a novel fifteen years in the making for Liz Kessler and you can really feel that fifteen years’ love and heart went into it. It’s gorgeous.

As soon as we meet Ash, she’s in a bit of a pickle. Stuck in the middle of her parents as their marriage disintegrates, she’s tired of being ignored, of being their go-between and of the constant gloom in their house. I can only imagine how much worse that must be if you’re an only child with no one to shoulder the misery with. It’s no wonder she’s not all that bothered by school, even though her A-level exams are looming and she has no idea what she’ll do come the summer. It’s a good job her birthday brings a distraction in the form of a pretty boy.

Ash’s relationship with Dylan seems to be going okay, if a little quickly, but she’s not really all that fussed. And the pushier Dylan gets, the more distant Ash feels. It made me so upset to watch her go along with things she really didn’t want to do just because she felt she should. But at the same time, she also wasn’t afraid to tell him to back off which I think is such an important message to have in YA. So, so important.

It’s not long, however, until Dylan is replaced in Ash’s mind by her fun, young and engaging English teacher, Miss Murray, who really sees Ash and believes in her. I really liked that Ash’s feelings for Miss Murray and the LGBT element of the novel evolved slowly and steadily. She had to work out what she felt and what all that meant which isn’t always like a lightning strike! Teacher/student romances are some of my favourite relationships to read about and I really loved the way this turned out. It could have gone in many directions, but I think this was true to life and a responsible way to handle a delicate topic. !SPOILER ALERT! I loved that Miss Murray pulled away, that she never officially said anything to Ash that could have been taken the wrong way, that reading through Ash’s perspective could have meant that actually it was just her bias and wishful thinking that made me as a reader think that she had feelings for Ash too. As I said, beautifully done. !SPOILER OVER!

As heroine’s go, Ash is pretty stellar. She’s clever and funny and vulnerable but she’s also gobby and abrasive and makes some very poor choices that could get her into serious trouble. I think she’s pretty representative of lots of eighteen year old girls at the moment. Forced into education when you don’t really want to be there, bored by the teaching and the dry content, making stupid decisions as a distraction from some seriously difficult home and personal issues. But Ash had a teacher who believed in her, who encouraged her and made her realise that she could achieve as week. Sadly, not everyone gets that. I do wonder how different an experience school and the results of it would be if there were better teachers.

Read Me Like a Book is beautiful novel of discovery, love, family and friendship and I thoroughly enjoyed it.