Book Review – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Author – Kiera

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‘I have a curse
I have a gift

I am a monster
I’m more than human

My touch is lethal
My touch is power

I am their weapon
I will fight back

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.’

Shatter Me is a YA Dystopian novel centered around our main character called Juliette. When we first meet Juliette she is imprisoned in a brutal mental asylum, where she has been in solitary confinement  for the 264 days since she arrived. Until one day a boy called Adam is thrown into the cell with her, and she doesn’t know why. One of the things I should probably mention about Juliette is that any contact with her skin will kill you. She doesn’t know why or how, all she knows is that she can’t control it, her whole life her parents have hated her, she’s had no friends and she cannot make physical contact with anyone. So when Adam arrives into her small cell, she is sure he’s been sent to kill her.

The world building in the story was quite sparse. Most of what we knew about the world was from Juliette’s memories or from what she could see from her small window in her cell. We get the idea that we have run the world into the ground. Animals and plants are dying, people are starving and The Reestablishment are here to try and restore order, but in their own self-serving way. I’ve read quite a lot of Dystopian books, so I didn’t find this to be a huge problem and could fill in the gaps. For someone new to the genre it could be a bit of a problem.

For the most part I like Juliette as a character. She has been slightly broken mentally (for obvious reasons) and through out the story you see her claw back small pieces of her sanity and really develop as a person. She is strong willed and is fighting for what she believes in, and I like that she sticks to her principles when most people would thrown the towel in a long time ago. The only thing I disliked about her is that she seems to make some stupid decisions (and I’m sure there will be more to come in the rest of the series, I can just see them coming) and that can be quite frustrating. I did shout at the book a few times! Now Adam, I loved! He’s smart, strong, caring and super hot. What more could you want? I enjoyed the development of the relationship between Adam and Juliette, they seemed to mend each other. Warner on the other hand. Ugh. I don’t really like ‘bad boys’ in any stories and Warner is no exception. Can someone slap him already! He’s not a very nice person. Warner has power and influence, and he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. Unfortunately that happens to be Juliette.

The writing style of this book is beautiful. It’s poetic, filled with metaphors and the striking out of text. I can see how some people would not find this enjoyable to read, but I did. I felt in gave a real insight to Juliette’s inner thoughts, the ones we all have but never say out loud. You know the ones I mean, right?

“The moon is a loyal companion.
It never leaves. It’s always there, watching, steadfast, knowing us in our light and dark moments, changing forever just as we do. Every day it’s a different version of itself. Sometimes weak and wan, sometimes strong and full of light. The moon understands what it means to be human.
Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”

Overall I did enjoy Shatter Me. It was a fast paced and engrossing read especially if you like YA. There was just something that stopped me from loving it though, and I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Most Anticipated Reads!

Author – Laura

This post wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be at first. It turns out I am waiting in eager anticipation for quite a few books to be published… there are so many fabulous books earmarked for release in 2015 I imagine your list is as long as mine, if not longer!

 

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End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days Book Three)
Susan Ee
12 May 2015

I love this series. I have just started the second book and already I love it as much as the first. The characters are so beautifully written that I go from terrified to heartbroken to righteous to warm and fuzzy as quickly as I can turn the pages. I’m excited about the final book, but so sad that it will all be over…

 

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The Illusionarium
Heather Dixon
19 May 2015

Simply for this line in the description on Goodreads – “…The Night Circus meets Pixar.”

I can’t imagine many things more fabulous than that.

I’m sold.

 

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Ticker
Lisa Mantchev
1 December 2014

I love the premise of this book – I’m pretty new to Steampunk but the little I have read I’ve really enjoyed. The cover is also completely beautiful – shamefully it doesn’t take much more than a pretty picture for me to pick up a book and read it…

A girl with a clockwork heart must make every second count.

When Penny Farthing nearly dies, brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick manages to implant a brass “Ticker” in her chest, transforming her into the first of the Augmented. But soon it’s discovered that Warwick killed dozens of people as he strove to perfect another improved Ticker for Penny, and he’s put on trial for mass murder.

 

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The Bourbon Kings
28 Jul 2015
J.R. Ward

I’m about halfway through the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and I’m really enjoying it. What’s not to like? They’re sexy, dark and full of humour – tick, tick and tick! So when I saw J.R Ward had started writing a brand new series I figured it would definitely be worth a look – if the writing style is anywhere near as rich and sassy as the BDB I think I’ll love it. We’ll have to wait until July though…

The Bourbon Kings series will introduce readers to the Bradfords, a wealthy, aristocratic family in Kentucky who made their money from bourbon.

Ward said: “The Bourbon Kings are just like my Black Dagger Brotherhood vampires, flawed heroes for strong women who live and love in a vivid, ever-changing world of passion and excitement. Readers can expect the same big emotions, epic storylines, and soul-deep love stories in these books—as well as those signature, OMG, I have to know what happens NEXT! kind of endings.”

 

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The Luminaries
Eleanor Catton
Published October 15th 2013

It is 1866, and young Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On the stormy night of his arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men who have met in secret to discuss a series of unexplained events: A wealthy man has vanished, a prostitute has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely ornate as the night sky.

Technically this book has been available for over a year, but I haven’t read it yet…  My parents gave me a copy for my birthday. At 834 pages it’s a bit of a tome, but I can’t wait to get stuck in.

 

This is just five of quite a long and varied list. But there is always room for one or two (or several!) more, so please share your most anticipated reads with us – we’d love to hear from you!!

Laura
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Book Club Review: Queen of Hearts: Volume One: The Crown – Colleen Oakes

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As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts – and the love of her life. When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe.

Buy it now on Amazon

Laura

I chose this book as, frankly, being the most miserable November since records began I felt the need for a little whimsy. I am so pleased that this book delivered it in bucket loads!
As a re-imagining of the well known story of Alice in Wonderland the author had quite a lot of material to work with, but instead of a same-old, same-old viewpoint we see Wonderland and all its subjects through the eyes of Dinah – the future Queen of Hearts.
Colleen Oakes manages to recreate Wonderland in a way that feels both familiar and fresh, with well loved characters popping up in new guises and new characters adding to the richness of the storytelling.
There is plenty of darkness, not unlike the original Adventures in Wonderland, and the scenes in the Towers were truly creepy which contrasted perfectly with the jam tarts and croquet at the castle (although I’ll never look at croquet the same way again!)

I absolutely loved this book, and there’s only one thing I can say to those who didn’t…

Off with their heads!!

 

Kiera

I loved this book! I’m probably a bit biased as I really enjoy anything Alice in Wonderland, and find retellings fascinating, especially when they take place before or after the story we all know and love. One of the main things I like about the story is that while we all know how it will end, the plot twists in between are still surprising and you have to work to figure out what is going on. The world building was kept to a minimum, with just enough to sculpt Wonderland to fit the story, but leaving enough to the imagination to make it your own. The characters were definitely my favourite part of the story. Love them or hate them they all had an impact on me, and the fact that they were original characters that weren’t in their original ‘forms’ gave them a sense of familiarity and made them very easy to connect with. Dinah’s brother Charles also known as The Mad Hatter was easily my favourite. There was a hint of romance running throughout between Dinah and Wardley, and though it appears to be almost unrequited I really felt that Wardley’s actions spoke louder than his words. The romantic in me really hopes it’s something that will continue into the next book, though we will have to wait and see! This is a book I will be recommending to everyone.

 

Hazel

I enjoyed the The Crown a little more than I anticipated. Alice in Wonderland isn’t my favourite fairy tale, I always found it a bit too eccentric for my tastes, which are definitely more the conventional types; Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood etc. The story didn’t grab me until about halfway through, I think but even then I wasn’t swept up in it. The writing is great and most of the characters felt realistic with flaws and all. The world building wasn’t extensive but I could imagine my surroundings whilst reading the story. The romance felt a bit one sided to me, Wardley didn’t seem to be giving anything away and Dinah’s father; what a piece of work!  He was a bully and a tyrant and showed no love to his children but it didn’t feel, to me, clear why.

 

Antonia

I thoroughly enjoyed The Crown! I love love love it! I’ve never been exposed much to Alice in Wonderland and have never seen either version of the film. After reading half of the book I had to watch the films. When reading I felt like the book sucked me right in and I was living it as Dinah was. The characters all stood out in their own way and although some weren’t very nice they all put the puzzle pieces together nicely. I really didn’t want the book to end… And then it did! I was left wanting more so have downloaded the second in the series and I can’t wait to get stuck in.

I would highly recommend this book :mrgreen:

 

Yasmin

I enjoyed reading this book more than I thought I would. I liked the main characters and their strengths and flaws but couldn’t quite connect with them enough to be emotionally committed to the story. But what I loved was the way the author wrote, it flowed very well and the descriptions of wonderland and its people and their fashion was detailed, quirky and sometimes disturbing without being over the top. To me the romance was one sided as I think Wardley is and will only ever be a friend to Dinah, but I like that about him, as he was one of the only ones to stick by her since their childhood. And like everyone I hated the king, Dinah’s father, but I didn’t understand his hatred for her or his reasons for blaming her.

Most Anticipated Reads!

So we’re doing something a bit different this week. Normally on a Friday we talk about books that we know and love, but for a bit of a change we thought we would share some books we can’t wait to read! Hopefully you’ll see something that takes your fancy.

 

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

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I know what you might be thinking, this is another book I was drawn to because of the cover, and I have to say you would be absolutely right! Then I saw Neil Gaiman’s quote about the author and that was enough for me to read the blurb and decide this was firmly on my to read list.

‘Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?’

Due out April 28th 2015

 

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey

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I saw a review for this book with the tag line ‘Readers of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone will love this book.’ So of course I’m going to give this a read! After doing a bit of research on it, I’m excited to read it in it’s own right.

‘Beneath the streets of New York City live the Avicen, an ancient race of people with feathers for hair and magic running through their veins. Age-old enchantments keep them hidden from humans. All but one. Echo is a runaway pickpocket who survives by selling stolen treasures on the black market, and the Avicen are the only family she’s ever known.

Echo is clever and daring, and at times she can be brash, but above all else she’s fiercely loyal. So when a centuries-old war crests on the borders of her home, she decides it’s time to act.

Legend has it that there is a way to end the conflict once and for all: find the Firebird, a mythical entity believed to possess power the likes of which the world has never seen. It will be no easy task, but if life as a thief has taught Echo anything, it’s how to hunt down what she wants . . . and how to take it.

But some jobs aren’t as straightforward as they seem. And this one might just set the world on fire.’

Due out in April 2015

 

Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler.

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Now religion is normally something I stay away from in most forms. I’m not religious personally but I’m not opposed to any religion in any way, it is just a subject that is very sensitive and can cause offense and upset very easily. This book has me intrigued though! I really want to find out which direction the story will take, and will approach it with an open mind.

‘Mina is seventeen. A virgin. And pregnant.

Mina is top of her class, girlfriend to the most ambitious guy in school, able to reason and study her way through anything. But when she suddenly finds herself pregnant—despite having never had sex—her orderly world collapses. Almost nobody believes Mina’s claims of virginity. Her father assumes that her boyfriend is responsible; her boyfriend believes she must have cheated on him. As news of Mina’s story spreads, there are those who brand her a liar. There are those who brand her a heretic. And there are those who believe that miracles are possible—and that Mina’s unborn child could be the greatest miracle of all.’

Due out May 26th 2015

 

Twisted Fate by Norah Olson

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This book has been dubbed the ‘We Were Liars’ of 2015. Sometimes I find myself in the mood for a book filled with suspense, but being a bit of a wuss I tend to go for the YA kind. This looks like it will it will do the job!

‘When Alyson meets Graham Copeland, the new boy next door, she instantly feels like he’s a kindred spirit—shy and awkward like her, someone who has trouble making friends. It’s impossible to resist having a crush on him.

As usual, her sister, Sydney, sees things differently. In Sydney’s mind, Graham’s odd personality and secretive past scream psychopath, not sweetheart. Her gut is telling her to stay away from him, and to protect a love-struck Alyson from her own naïveté. But despite her instincts, Sydney is surprised to realize that a part of her is drawn to Graham, too.

And the more Sydney gets to know him, the more she realizes just how right—and wrong—she is about everything.’

Due out January 2015

Forbidden by Kimberley Griffiths Little

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I love history and historical fiction, so when I saw that this book is set in 600BC I was instantly interested! I’m really looking forward to giving this a read.

‘In the unforgiving Mesopotamian desert where Jayden’s tribe lives, betrothal celebrations abound, and tonight it is Jayden’s turn to be honored. But while this union with Horeb, the son of her tribe’s leader, will bring a life of riches and restore her family’s position within the tribe, it will come at the price of Jayden’s heart.

Then a shadowy boy from the Southern Lands appears. Handsome and mysterious, Kadesh fills Jayden’s heart with a passion she never knew possible. But with Horeb’s increasingly violent threats haunting Jayden’s every move, she knows she must find a way to escape—or die trying.

With a forbidden romance blossoming in her heart and her family’s survival on the line, Jayden must embark on a deadly journey to save the ones she loves—and find a true love for herself.

Set against the brilliant backdrop of the sprawling desert, the story of Jayden and Kadesh will leave readers absolutely breathless as they defy the odds and risk it all to be together.’

 

So these are my highly anticipated reads. What are yours?

Book Review – Apolonia by Jamie McGuire

Author-Hazel

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Apolonia is a New Adult, Science Fiction story about a girl called Rory. Rory survived a horrific attack that left her parents and best friend dead. Three years later, she’s attending college and is working as a research assistant for her college professor Dr Zorba. Dr Zorba comes into possession of a rock believed to be from outer space. Along with Dr Zorba and Cyrus, Rory’s fellow research assistant, Rory is analysing and recording data about this rock and the plot develops from there. I can’t say anymore without revealing spoilers.

Rory is a bitch to put it bluntly! You may forgive her because of what happened in her past but having said that, it didn’t make me like her anymore. A love triangle of a sort develops between herself, Benji a fellow classmate and Cyrus, the other research assistant. Benji was a bit sappy and stalkerish for my tastes and Cyrus’ character felt mostly unbelievable.

I felt that the story was a bit predictable and unfortunately I didn’t care for any of the characters, so I wasn’t bothered about what could happen to them or who Rory ended up with. The plot, although it was action packed enough to keep me reading, didn’t have much depth.

I don’t understand why the novels namesake is a character that you don’t meet until 3/4’s of the way through, and she’s essentially a side character. She wasn’t a driving force in the story and she wasn’t significant enough to have the book named after her!

Overall the story was OK. It didn’t captivate me like previous works by this author but at the same time it wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t finish it.  I recommend this story to fans of New Adult novels that want more than just a romance story but not with a deep and meaningful plot.

Friday Favourites – Book Covers!

Author Yasmin

Beautiful book covers, don’t you just love them? Like many other people I do buy a lot of books for their looks. I can’t help it, I just like pretty things. But even if the book cover is amazing the story still has to spark an interest for me. So here are the top 5 covers I’ve chosen.

1. Alienated by Melissa Landers

This book for me wasn’t as good as it could have been. I enjoyed the story but it was definitely the cover that attracted me to it. I love it, the contrast between the lovely sunny day on earth and the dark glittering stars of space makes it a fave for me. If you ever watched the TV show Star Crossed before it was cancelled it is very similar to that. Aliens come to earth and are integrating into human society. This is where we meet Cara, as her school has been chosen to have some of the first aliens attend, and she’s been picked to look after hot alien guy Aelyx. But Aelyx is hiding the truth of why he’s really there and that could have deadly consequences.

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2. Rae Wilder series by Penelope Fletch

I did enjoy this series by English indie author Penelope Fletcher. She takes you on a big adventure in a Dystopian world, where humans have walled themselves inside a huge compound so they can keep everyone safe from the demons ( fae, vampires, shifters etc ) on the outside that arrived after the great rift. Rae is a girl who knows she’s different from others. One day on her usual run through the woods she sneaks out to find everything has changed. The story and characters were good but I did feel there could have been more done to make it better; spell check and better editing would have made the story flow all the better, but I still enjoyed it and love reading books by indie authors. I really like the book covers with their pretty but simple colours, and the models on the covers are really eye catching.  I couldn’t find a picture with all the books together, so I chose the first one which has also been renamed Demon Dark)

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3. The Artist Trilogy by Karina Halle

I loved this series by Karina Halle, but that’s not surprising as she is an amazing writer and I loved her other series. This is about con woman Ellie Watt trying to get her life back on track, away from the past and the things she’s done and been through. This story is dark, tempting, sexy and filled with betrayal, action and romance. I think the book covers are perfect and reflect the story’s content, and I like the dark gloomy colours used in the background.

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4. Guild Hunter Series by Nalini Singh

I really enjoy reading these books, and I do like the angel theme, but I’m not one to go mad over it. Nalini Singh puts a good twist on the angel stories that have been done over and over. It’s set in New York, which is sexy and hard as nails archangel Raphael’s territory. Vampire hunter Elena Deveraux lives and breathes her job, and when Raphael hires her to help capture someone things start to get intense, with sizzling sexual attraction between the two. But the job puts her in the middle of a killing spree like none she’s seen before. I love the covers for these; so simple with the colouring and tattoo like wings yet to me they stand out on a shelf. There is more to the series but again I couldn’t find a picture with all of them in, except for the American covers, but I prefer these ones much more.

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5. Fantasyland series by Kristen Ashley

I’ve only read the first book in this series, and although fantasy isn’t normally something I go for, I did enjoy reading it and going on the journey with the main character into another world. There’s excitement, romance, adventure and dragons; I love dragons!! And I love the classic look the books have; simple, pretty and eye catching.

 

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