Wednesday, 24 August 2016

I'M A BONE SEASON ADVOCATE!!


I have THE MOST EXCITING news to share. Some of the best news ever. EVER. I am officially an advocate for The Bone Season aka one of my favourite series in the entire world.

If you haven't yet read The Bone Season, I highly recommend you go pick it up because your life just isn't complete without it. True story. And if you pick up both The Bone Season and the sequel The Mime Order you should be finished them by the time the third book, The Song Rising is released early next year.

I found out I was going to be an advocate yesterday. I'd gotten home from a hard days work, and of course went to check Twitter. There I saw a few people tweeting about their own excitement at being chosen to be an advocate. My heart both started beating extra fast and dropped to my feet. People had started being chosen?! I was so nervous that I wouldn't have been picked, but I hadn't checked my email yet. But just waiting for me was that oh so special email, blessing me with it's presence. I may have squealed, I may have half cried a little. I'm certainly going to keep that email forever, It's now precious to me.

I also get to share something awesome with you: THE PRELUDE FOR THE SONG RISING. You can read below... (spoilers, obviously...)




 HOW EXCITING RIGHT? What a way to start off! It always feels a little surreal when you get something new from one of your favourite series of books after you've been rereading the previous books for so long. I JUST WANT MORE NOWWW.

What did you think?
Jaxon makes me so conflicted. He's so horrible and things would be so much easier if he were removed from the plot...by death. But he's somehow become the only 'evil' character that I don't want to die. I LOVE every scene he's in. He's such an amazingly crafted character. I'm so excited to see what he gets up to in The Song Rising!

Laura x

Friday, 19 August 2016

Sing to Silent Stones - Violet's War By David Snell

When 19-year-old Violet falls in love with Frank, a clerk in the family firm, her father refuses to allow their relationship. The year is 1913 and the world is spiraling into war.  After Frank goes off to the Front, the unintended consequences of their romance catch up with Violet and her family. 
The dramatic events in Violet's life before, during and after the First World War are exhilarating, emotional and deeply affecting. Sing to Silent Stones: Violet's War is a story of love, illegitimacy and changing social attitudes. 
This epic family saga offers a view into the lives of girls and women who served as nurses in the Great War faced with struggles that are almost inconceivable to us today. (From the blurb)

I haven't read a lot of World War I novels and now David Snell has made me definitely want to read more. I've seen many films and TV shows/documentaries about the war but being able to read and get inside the characters head to experience it through their eyes I think is better. I feel the emotion a lot deeper and connect a lot more with the characters by seeing events solely through their eyes. 

Being a young adult myself, the same age as Violet. It was so interesting to read about what my life could have been like if I'd been born 100 years earlier. I loved that the book's main character was a woman. Often war novels focus on men, as men were the ones on the front line in the thick of the war but as this novel shows, women also faced hardships and had to adapt and harden. It's wonderful to learn more about women's roles.

Usually, the end of the war marks the end of the book. End of the war = end of the struggles. I liked that David didn't do this. Instead we got to carry on for over 10 years after the war ends and experience what happened afterwards, what the lasting effects were. This was great as its something that isn't talked of/ written about much. 

The size of the book might put  people off, it's a large book, coming in at 563 pages. I enjoy big  books but I know a lot of people don't. However, reading other reviews of the book, SO many say they were completely put off by the size but then couldn't put it down once they tried it. It might be big but it reads so easily, never having a drop in keeping your attention.

Everything feels so real while reading, the language and descriptions makes everything feel so authentic. David clearly did his research and makes it very easy for you to imagine the struggles faced by people during the war.
It was interesting to learn that both Davids parents were wartime pilots so a lot of the details in the novel are probably stories and facts they've told him which makes the story come alive and seem even more real. 

I would read this book again, and I'll definitely be picking up Volume Two.

4 Stars! 

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

Asking For ItIt's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma. 

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does. 

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes... (Goodreads)

I've been meaning to read Asking for It ever since I heard it was coming out. I remember discussing the synopsis with my friends and talking about how we wanted to read it but knowing it would probably make us mad. So, I picked up a copy from YALC and now I've read it, rather than being mad, i'm just sad. Asking for It isn't an easy book - which it shouldn't be. 

Emma was the perfect main character for the novel, because she really tested your opinions. Was she a nice person? No. Was she a good friend? No. Did she deserve what happened to her? NO. Was what happened to her her fault? No. Louise could've wrote a rape story about a girl who didn't have a lot of sexual partners or like to get drunk but that's not what she wanted to make a point about. I'm so glad she wrote it the way she did because the opinion that it's the woman's fault for being raped if she's drunk or dresses provocatively  or just looked at a man suggestively (that shes asking for it) NEEDS to end. 

It's my first novel I've read by Louise and I enjoyed her writing style. You need some skill to write such a hard-hitting story and make it really hit you and she has it. The only thing I wasn't a fan of is  how some of the flash backs were inserted. Often there'd be no warning of a jump forwards or back and it could be confusing. 

The ending Louise wrote was exactly the right ending the book needed. We all wanted it to end with justice for Emma, but then it wouldn't have been as true to life and the nightmare that rape victims can face every day. It also makes you angry that people still suffer through this every day and want to do something to change it. 

Asking for It should be read by everyone. It needs to be discussed. 

4 Stars.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

And I Darken by Kiersten White

And I Darken (The Conquerors Saga #1)No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. (Goodreads)

This book is so original. 
It's plot and characters are unique and the setting is underused in YA. 

And I Darken showed that women can be tough and fight and men can use words and looks to get into peoples trusted circle. Women don't have to enjoy wearing dresses to be women. Men don't have to like/be good at fighting to be men. 
Lada is badass. She's fierce and ferocious and fights to be treated as equally as any man. I really loved watching Lada grow and understand that women can be fighters in many different ways. I hope Lada can settle into her own in the next book and stop telling herself she can't do this or that because of what others will think because she needs to be seen as cold and hard. 
Radu is caring and emotional. This first book was definitely the story of him finding himself, what he is good at and his place in the world, something that Lada hasn't really found yet. 
And I Darken (Conqueror's Saga, #1)
I loved having both Lada and Radu's PoV's so we could read their opinions, reactions and motivations separately. Seeing what they thought of each other and being able to compare it to what they thought the other thought of them was interesting.  Their sibling relationship is a mix of love and respect but also hate and jealousy. 

There isn't a love triangle in this book, which is great, instead there's a very complex web of interactions and feelings between characters. The dynamic between Lada, Mehmed and Radu was impossible to stop reading. I just want the three of them to be able to somehow all live happily and contently together but whether or not that could ever happen is yet to be seen. 

I can't wait to see what happens next.
4 Stars! 

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Five Reasons to Read 'The Dark Days Club' by Alison Goodman

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap?

1) Regency!
Image result for dark days club    The novel is set in 1812, during the Regency era. Goodman has obviously done her research and it gives the story a great authentic feel.  It's super interesting to learn about social customs of the time. If that sounds boring, its totally not! Don't worry, it's not like a school textbook on the Regency era, with lists and info dumps, you just read and afterwards think 'wow- I learned something cool there!'

2) Romance!
    One thing that always niggles me in historical novels is when authors try hard to have their characters act like real people of that time would do. BUT, the romance will feel rushed so that it can lead up to an inevitable kiss by the end. I don't mind not having a kiss in the first book, I prefer for it to feel real and develop naturally. Goodman manages to brilliantly create tension between her two characters mostly through their conversations and body language. She adapts to rules such as women not being allowed to go out with a man (not from her family) alone and does it expertly.

3) Demons!
    You might think 'oh, so basically the mortal instruments, set in 1812 - its just another infernal devices!' But you'd be wrong. The demons in this novel aren't anything like the ones in the Shadowhunter Chronicles, instead of ugly and grotesque creatures, these demons look human. And they feed on something very peculiar...

4) Friendship!
    The novel features a wonderful female friendship between Helen and her lady's maid Darby. They both look out for each other and confide in one another. I'm excited to see if how their friendship grows in the next book.

5) Fate!
    Often in fantasy novels, there's a 'chosen one' who finds out they're destined to do/be something and they're shocked but shoulder the responsibility and go on to be heroes. Harry Potter. Clary Fray. Frodo. They don't ever say 'yeah, thanks but no thanks. I just want to go on living my normal life.' Sometimes they might falter and struggle and wonder why they ever chose this path, but they don't really entertain the possibility that they don't have to accept the responsibility that is being thrust upon them, that could possibly kill them and will complicate their lives a whole lot. The Dark Days Club however...