WWW Wednesday: 22nd November 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I’m currently reading an ARC of How Do You Like Me Now by Holly Bourne. It’s not out until June next year (there’s not even a cover yet) so should probably be further down my reading list but it just sounded like the type of book I was in the mood for. It’s Bourne’s first adult novel (although I have to confess I haven’t read any of her YA books) and is about a 31 year old self help guru who’s life is not going as well as her bestselling book would suggest. I only started this late yesterday but finding it difficult to put down. The MC is not overly likeable but she’s a very real character and reminds me of more than one person I could name.

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)I’m also still listening to the audio of  La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. As of writing this I’ve just started disc 7 of 10 (this whole CD thing is weird) and I’m still really enjoying it. Michael Sheen does the narration and he’s really, really good. There are a couple of things that are still bugging me a little about the story but they are the same things that bugged me about the original trilogy so I can’t really complain.


Recently Finished

Hold Back the StarsOnly two books finished this week as I ended up having a bit of a Netflix movie marathon over the weekend. Does it count if I watched Mockingjay? Anyway the first book finished was Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan. I received this from NetGalley then realized I already had a copy which I’d found in a bargain bin (sorry) in the newsagents. I obviously really liked the sound of it but couldn’t remember its name.

I did really love the concept, that a couple are adrift in space with only 90mins of air left, but this is definitely a lot more romance than a sci fi as the focus is very much on their relationship. There were parts I loved, parts that made me cry and the world building is incredible. There were just a few things about it that didn’t feel right. I finished it feeling very confused about the whole thing and I’m still not sure whether I would say I enjoyed it or not.

Killman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)The second book finished was one of my most anticipated reads, Killman Creek by Rachel Caine, which I received from NetGalley. I read and absolutely loved Stillhouse Lake a few months ago so I was very happy to get my hands on the sequel. I’m not sure I would necessarily say it’s as good but I think that’s more because my expectations were higher rather than anything to do with the story. It’s a really gripping read, the stakes are even higher, and the conclusion is truly epic.


Reading Next

Miraculously I seem to have managed to get my NetGalley shelf under control (well almost) and my feedback is up to 80% so I think it’s time I read some of the bought books I haven’t had time to yet. Probably one of the following:

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grisha Verse, #0.5, #2.5, #2.6)They Both Die at the EndWonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, #1)Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1)It Only Happens in the MoviesForest of a Thousand Lanterns (Rise of the Empress, #1)Dr. Jekyll and Mr. SeekMemories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles, #2)The BreakLabyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

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Teaser Tuesday: 21st November 2017

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan. This is a book I bought ages ago then accidentally requested on NetGalley and got approved. I read it at the end of last week as I was looking for something different and it’s definitely that. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. There were bits I loved and bits I didn’t. I’m so confused :/


My Teaser

‘Settling,’ scoffs Gwen. ‘We all settle. There isn’t a person alive who matches every element of the fantasy we wish for. Every person in a relationship has settled. What you choose to compromise on is up to you.’

~ 81% Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan


BlurbHold Back The Stars

‘We’re going to be fine.’ 
He looks around, but there’s nothing out here: nothing but the bottomless black universe on their left, the Earth suspended in glorious technicolour to their right.

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
None of this was supposed to happen.
But, perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…
Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return.
For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it?

Hold Back the Stars is a love story like no other.

Review: If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout

If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very emotional and occasionally heartbreaking read. The story may not be the most original but it’s very well written. I found it difficult to put down and devoured the whole thing in one sitting.


THE BLURB

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She’s ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn’t looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends’ entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn’t even guaranteed?


MY REVIEW

Phew, that was emotional. I can’t remember the last time I cried so much reading a book, it should really come with a warning or at least a free box of tissues.

I started this early(ish) on Sunday morning planning just to read a few chapters before I got up and got on with my day but once I started I literally couldn’t put it down and demolished the whole thing in one go, bawling my eyes out for probably half of it.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail on the plot but it’s a not unfamiliar story in YA contemporary. It’s about how you live with the consequences and the guilt of one wrong decision, one mistake that changes your life and the lives of those around you forever. Main character Lena Wise has her whole life in front of her but that all changes at a party when she doesn’t listen to her instincts and makes that one mistake that I’m sure many others have and probably will.

I really liked Lena for the majority of this book. She has a lot to deal with and doesn’t always act the way she should but I could definitely relate to her and a lot of her actions are very understandable. I could very easily imagine myself acting in the same way even though hopefully I’ll never find out. The highlight of the story for me was however boy next door Sebastian. I’m not sure he’s wholly believable as a teenage boy (he’s just too good to be true) but he’s just sooo sweet and funny and lovely I could definitely understand why Lena had a major crush.

There is a little bit of romance but it too is very sweet and not at all heavy. I absolutely adored Lena and Seb together before everything changed for them and even afterwards I loved how he tried to stick by her despite her pushing him away.

This story does deal with some very heavy issues but it does it in a very responsible way. There are the proper consequences and it gives the right messages without ever really becoming too preachy.

There is definitely a lot of good in this book, there were however a few things that forced me to knock a star off my rating. Firstly, it’s just not original enough. The writing is great and the storyline really got to me but I’ve read it before, more than once. I do think it has messages that are worth repeating but I would have really liked something to make it stand out from the rest.

Secondly, I didn’t 100% buy into the friendship between Lena, Megan, Abbi and Darynda. I’m not sure why but there was something about it that just didn’t feel true to me. Possibly it was just that it was more tell than show. And lastly, the plugging of books written by the authors friends just really irritated me. If the main character is a big reader she would get through more books than just the ones by those two authors.

These are fairly minor niggles and despite them I did find myself completely immersed in the story. If you like YA contemporaries I think you’ll enjoy it. Just don’t expect it to be too original, and make sure you have a lot of tissues.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

WWW Wednesday: 15th November 2017

The WWW Wednesday meme is currently hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words and is a great way to do a weekly update on what you’ve been reading and what you have planned.

WWW Wednesday

To take part all you have to do is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading

I literally just finished a book five minutes before writing this post (on Tuesday evening) so while I’m sure I will have picked something to read on my commute this morning I’m not sure what that will be yet (I have plenty to choose from).

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)I do however have a new audio book on the go. I was wandering round the library (cos ya know, 400 books on my TBR is not enough) when I spotted some CDs one of which was La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. Needless to say I couldn’t resist. I do have the physical book but I just haven’t had the time to read it so this is working out really well.

I’m almost finished disc 3 of 10 and really enjoying it. It’s narrated by Michael Sheen who does an absolutely brilliant job at bringing the story to life. I will definitely be looking out for more books narrated by him.


Recently Finished

My house is an absolute disaster zone, I’ve had quite a few late nights and completely neglected my boys but it’s great news as it means I’ve finally got my reading mojo back. I finished three books over the last week and every one of them has been worth giving up sleep for (who needs it anyway).

Renegades (Renegades, #1)

The first book finished was YA superhero story Renegades by Marissa Meyer which I’d received from NetGalley. It reminded me a lot of X-Men with two groups of people with super powers battling it out for control. It’s full of all of the best superhero type cliches, secret identities, tragic backstory, development (or loss) of powers, high tech gadgets and a bit of betrayal. The highlight for me though was how Meyer had me constantly switching allegiance. She is brilliant at writing sympathetic villains and less than perfect heroes. It does suffer a little from too many characters and a lot of world building and back story but the second half in particular I couldn’t put down. You can read my full review here.

If There's No Tomorrow

Second book finished was another NetGalley pick, If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout. It’s a YA contemporary and in a not uncommon story is about a girl who makes a mistake that has life changing consequences for her and those around her. I started this on Sunday morning intending to read just a couple of chapters before I got up and ended up reading the whole thing in one go. I just couldn’t stop. It’s an incredibly emotional read and should probably come with a warning (or at least a box of tissues) but I really enjoyed it. It’s not wholly original in terms of plot so not a stand out read but still one I’d recommend if you like contemporary.

Copycat

The third and final book finished was Copycat by Alex Lake. I’d won this in a Goodreads giveaway and started it a couple of weeks ago but had to park it while I caught up on ARCs. I finally managed to get back into it on Monday and ended up blitzing my way through it. It’s about a woman who discovers someone else has set up a duplicate facebook account in her name and is sending emails to friends and family claiming to be her.

It is one of those books that’s kinda frustrating as the characters do silly things you want to shout at them for but it does keep you guessing. The ending was a little rushed and there were a couple of things that didn’t make sense but it was a very enjoyable read.


Reading Next

I finally managed to get a copy of Killman Creek by Rachel Caine (it’s Read Now on NetGalley) so I’m very tempted to read it straight away however having just finished a thriller I’m thinking I should read something else first. I should really be picking up Goodbye Perfect or My Side of the Diamond but I think I’m in the mood for a romance so any recommendations gratefully received.

My Side of the DiamondGoodbye, PerfectKillman Creek (Stillhouse Lake, #2)

Have you read any of the books on my list this week? Any others you’d recommend? As always please feel free to leave comments and links below.

Happy Wednesday Everyone!!!

Teaser Tuesday: 14th November 2017

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by The Purple Booker. If you want to join in grab your current read, flick to a random page, select two sentences (without spoilers) and share them in a blog post or in the comments of The Purple Booker.


This week my teaser comes from Copycat by Alex Lake, a book I had to put on the back burner while I caught up on ARCs but have finally managed to pick up again. I actually won this in a GoodReads giveaway. It’s a psychological thriller about a woman who someone has it in for. They set up a fake facebook profile in her name, send emails claiming to be from her…. It’s pretty creepy and does make you a bit paranoid about your online presence.


My Teaser

There was a strange paradox at the heart of it: she felt totally comfortable with him, trusted he loved her whatever she did, yet at the same time she still wanted to impress him, still wanted to show him she was a strong and intelligent and beautiful woman who merited his ongoing love and attention. She didn’t resent the feeling, because she didn’t think she had to do it.

~ Pg 83 Copycat by Alex Lake


BlurbCopycat

Your stalker is everywhere.
Your stalker knows everything.
But the real problem is that your stalker is you.

Sarah Havenant discovers–when an old friend points it out–that there are two Facebook profiles in her name.

One, she recognizes: it is hers. The other, she has never seen. But everything in it is accurate. Recent photos of her and her friends, her and her husband, her and her kids. Even of her new kitchen. A photo taken inside her house.

She is bemused, angry, and worried. Who was able to do this? Any why?

But this, it soon turns out, is just the beginning. It is only now–almost as though someone has been watching, waiting for her to find the profile–that her problems really start…

ARC Review – Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Renegades (Renegades, #1)
Renegades
by Marissa Meyer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brilliant beginning to a new series from Marissa Meyer. It’s packed full of all the best super hero cliches making it a really fun read but the real highlight is the wonderful writing and twists and turns which make you question just who’s the superhero and who’s the villain. I can’t wait for book 2.


THE BLURB

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.


MY REVIEW

I’m a huge big fan of Marissa Meyer’s and a huge big fan of all things super hero so this should have been a match made in heaven for me and for the most part it was.

The writing is as always wonderful and Meyer certainly knows how to create brilliant and complex characters who are kind of morally grey but it was maybe that little bit too long and had a bit too much going on for me to love it.

The story itself felt very X-Men, two groups of people with super powers (the Renegades and the Anarchists) who have very different ideas about what’s best for society and end up at odds. Nova (or Nightmare to use her super villain name) has been raised by the Anarchists following the death of her family at the hands of a gang. She feels the Renegades let her down and is determined to bring them down at any cost.

Adrian (aka Sketch) is a Renegade and, while he’s not wholly on board with the way some of the Renegade teams operate, he believes in the cause and wants to protect all of those who need it. His mother was one of the original members of the Renegades and after she died in mysterious circumstances he’s been determined to find out what happened to her.

When an attack by the Arnarchists on the Renegades goes wrong Nova decides her best chance to defeat them is to become one, going undercover to destroy them from the inside. Adrian however is obsessed with tracking down Nightmare as she seems to hold the clue to just what happens to his mother. Like Nova though, he also has a secret identity to protect.

I absolutely loved how twisty this story is. Pretty much every one seems to have some kind of secret so there’s a lot of mystery and reveals. The whole secret identity thing is just so wonderfully superhero-y. Although, like Superman, I found myself wondering just how no one could spot it was the same person with a change of clothes/mask/pair of glasses.

There are in fact a lot of the best cliches from the super hero movies, tragic backstory, discovery of powers, changing allegiances, double crosses, ya know all that good stuff. It may not be wholly original but it’s fantastically good fun. What I loved most however is how Meyer manages to take something that should be black and white and make it grey. As the story progresses it become increasingly difficult to work out just which side are the baddies and which are the goodies and I think I ended up with more sympathy for the villains than the heroes.

I really, really liked both Nova and Adrian as characters. Nova is a wonderfully strong character. She begins with some very strong convictions but finds herself questioning them. She does come across as a little naive (especially considering she’s part of the Anarchists) but I can let that go. Adrian is just very sweet and awkward and extremely gallant. He just wants to save everyone.

I absolutely adored the relationship between them. It’s a little bit Romeo and Juliet although Adrian is completely clueless that Nova’s there to destroy his family and she’s completely clueless about his secret identity too. It’s frustrating as hell (why don’t they know) but it’s also totally addictive reading.

The other characters are very well done and many of them surprised me. One in particular I was completely shocked to find myself feeling sorry for but it’s just a mark of how good the authors writing is that I was almost in tears when this horrible character got their comeuppance.

If I had one big gripe about the story it’s that there is possibly too much to keep track of. There are a lot of characters and I have to admit I struggled throughout to keep them straight in my head. Each one has a real name, a superhero name and a super power and it was all just too much for my feeble memory. I kind of hope there’s some kind of character list with all of this information, their relationships to each other and affiliations in the physical book and with a bit of luck in the next book too as I’m never going to remember.

I also think it was maybe a little bit on the long side. There were a few moments in the first half of the book which were on the slow side to allow for all of the world building and scene setting. I can completely understand why it was needed and by the second half I couldn’t put it down but I do wonder if it could have been done differently.

All that being said though I do think this was a brilliant start to the series. Towards the end I was finding it incredibly difficult to put down and ended up staying up till 1am wanting to know how it was going to end and it was totally worth it. That ending was wow and now I don’t know how I’m going to wait for the next book, I need it now.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.

ARC Review: Artemis by Andy Weir

ArtemisArtemis by Andy Weir

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An absolutely brilliant heist story set on the moon. Full of detail and, like The Martian, a lot of science but it’s a fascinating and fun read with a great cast of characters and a lot of action.


THE BLURB

Jazz Bashara is a criminal.

Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent.

Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of Jazz’s problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself – and that now, her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even more unlikely than the first.


MY REVIEW

So it’s safe to say that I have a rather complicated relationship with sci fi. I always say that I don’t really like it but there’s a surprising number of books in the genre that make my all time favorites list. When it works best for me I think is when it’s light on the science and heavy on the fiction. Long winded descriptions of how things work and why are a big turn off, I honestly don’t care.

This wariness of books heavy with science is in fact the reason I have never read The Martian. I heard there was a lot of descriptions and decided to stick with the movie (which I absolutely love btw). However, having now braved Artemis I think I may need to reconsider.

Very much like The Martian, Artemis is heavy on science, however this time rather than one astronaut trying to survive alone on Mars we have a whole colony living everyday life on the moon. All of them completely dependent on a myriad of systems that let them breathe, eat, drink, move around and keep them safe from any number of threats. It’s absolutely fascinating just how complicated these systems are and how everyday things are just a little bit different in such an environment. There is a lot of description in this but I absolutely loved it.

I have no idea how much is accurate or “real” science but it feels incredibly real and detailed and so well thought out. It’s never too overwhelming though and for someone like me it’s not too heavy and works around the story which is much more heist like in nature. Think Ocean’s Eleven on the moon.

Jazz is a porter and smuggler on Artemis and desperate to raise a very specific sum of money so when she’s offered a less than legal, highly risky job with a potentially huge reward she can’t resist. It all goes wrong however and she ends up on the bad side of some very dangerous people and the law. She’s forced to use her smarts and call in every favor she’s owed from her friends to pull off one more job which just might get her out of trouble or possibly even further in.

I have a feeling that Jazz will not be quite as popular as Mark Watney. She’s abrasive, has dubious ethics and despite being highly intelligent (possibly genius) she’s always looking for the highest reward for minimal effort. She keeps everyone at arms length, reader included, but despite some initial reservations she did grow on me. I loved her rebellious attitude and smart mouth and some of her comebacks really made me laugh. She’s a risk taker and is completely unpredictable which always makes for good reading.

The supporting cast of characters also make for great reading. Some are a little bit stereotyped in places but there’s something very likable about them and I loved the way they bounced off each other. The moments where they’re bantering were probably my favorite parts of the whole book.

The story is a little complicated in places (and not only because of the science) but it’s pretty fast paced and there’s plenty of action. There is the odd moment where it slows down but it did hold my attention throughout and it’s incredibly impressive the amount of detail and work that has clearly gone into it.

Overall, I’m really glad I gave this a go and it’s definitely one I’d recommend if you like a clever heist story.

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC, as always all views are my own.