Moonrise by Sarah Crossan | A Review

‘Any reader of a heart will weep buckets’ Sunday Times

It’s fair to say that Crossan did not fail to follow through with her new novel, ‘Moonrise’. The format is characteristic of her other works, in that the book is broken down into poem-like sections with a storyline running throughout. However, the plot is very different to anything I have read in a while. The narrator is the brother of Ed, who is on death row for committing murder. Ed has always pleaded guilty to his family and friends, but Joe (our narrator) is still unsure as to why Ed signed a form ten years ago that confirmed the case and Ed as guilty. The plot follows Joe as he struggles to visit Ed the month before his execution date, and we come to understand as the reader, how much Ed’s trial has shaken up Joe himself, and the family. Crossan touches upon themes of brotherhood, integrity and justice, and whether that can coexist with one and moral righteousness. It has been a while since I’ve read a book that has kept me so gripped that I couldn’t stop turning the pages, but ‘Moonrise’ did it for me! So compelling, so fast-paced, and the poems are beautifully written and run seamlessly into one another so the storyline is by no means lost. Joe is such a likeable character, but also raw and complex in his own ways, which adds to the realism of the plot. There are very few characters in ‘Moonrise’, but like the story that is revealed to us bit by bit, new characters are introduced at every hurdle – in turn, Crossan creates a tight knit group of well-developed characters and a storyline that is well mapped out and leads to a very interesting and engaging read.

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All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

I completely fell in love with the appearance with this book – I thought the idea was fascinating within its originality and the design cover was absolutely stunning. From the get go the pace was fast and snappy, enough information revealed to the reader at certain intervals but some cleverly kept back by Peñaflor in order to keep the reader intrigued. I was hooked from the beginning so it definitely worked on me! The storyline of a famous author using young female teenagers to write a novel is an intriguing idea, and I can’t believe no one has explored this theme of YA before that I’m not aware of already. The characters are all well developed and the writing itself I think is wonderful, however until a few chapters, the change in writing format and characters did confuse me. As a result I had to actually stop a few times to make sure who was who which did disrupt the flow of the storytelling. Otherwise, a really enjoyable read. Nothing like I have ever read before in Young Adult fiction!

I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter

Brutal and beautiful, I Stop Somewhere is a staple must for everyone. It’s not the easiest book to read, but it tackles issues that need to be spoken about from head on, and therefore sets an example for cases prevalent today that should and must be discussed. Ellie Frias is in no way the model example of a girl who has gone through what others also have gone through in society today, but brings a sense of determination and urgency, which I found inspiring and compelling to read. Despite the fact that I know some characters are purposefully cliqué, personally I would have liked to see a little more depth to those in particular. Nevertheless, I thought that the depth to Ellie’s character was stunning and I would definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone who sees how important these topics need to be addressed today.

The Wren Hunt by Mary Watson

Enigmatic and nothing quite like I have read before, ‘ The Wren Hunt ‘ is full of action from the very beginning. It is fast paced and I felt myself being drawn in after the first page, which is a sign that it’s a good book! Definitely a must for those who love The Hunger Games, which I can see has inspired elements of the dystopian world that Mary Watson has created. The writing is fluid and structured brilliantly, with so many twists and turns I wasn’t able to predict anything that was going to happen. The immersion of the thriller and love story was spellbinding, as we follow a girl both bound by ancient magic but at the same time, experiencing love which is timeless. The character development, especially with Wren, the protagonist, is impressive, and the style of writing is accessible for all age groups for the most part. The novel is refreshing and brings something completely different to the table, and I think people are going to love it as much as I did.

A little update to kick off 2018!

Hi guys! So I wanted to give you a little insight into what I’m currently reading and what sort of goals I’m setting for myself this 2018.

2017 was a hectic year, and although I read a lot on holiday and breaks, this year I want to find pockets of time everyday where I can wind down after working and read a few pages or so. I didn’t keep a reading track as such in 2017, but I’m sure I only read about 30 books or so. I remember setting a goal of around 50 and it all going downhill from there, so this year I’m going to aim for 40 to be read which gives me a bit of leeway if I really can’t fit in any reading time in the busier parts of the year. One of my resolutions is to practise mindfulness more, and I think that this includes books as reading for me is a time to destress and relax during the day.

I would also like to venture into new areas of fiction and non-fiction to broaden my general knowledge and to learn about different styles of writing or eras I had not previously known about. I would like to read more classic books, and genres that I don’t necessarily choose above others, such as adventure or thriller. I would love to read more French books, as I am studying French A Level currently, and more history-related books for the same reason.

Currently I’m reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, which is just beautiful, and other books that are on my reading pile are Tangleweed and Brine by Deidre Sullivan and Nights of the Circus by Angela Carter. Please let me know what reading goal you have for this year and what you have started reading to kick off 2018! X

Sampler of YA Usborne books coming out 2018!

I recently received a sampler of Usborne’s YA novels that will be coming out early next year – to say the least, there’s definitely something there for everyone! Six fantastic exerpts from what I’m sure will become incredible tales for everyone to enjoy at their own leisure. My personal favourite was ‘Rosie Loves Jack’, which follows the joys and sorrows of Rosie who has Down Syndrome – we see the world in brilliant colours as Rosie sees it – but it soon becomes clear that all Rosie ever sees is Jack. He has always been there for her, and when we find out that Jack may be taken away due to his sometimes uncontrollable anger issues, it is incredibly moving when they are unable to let each other go. I can tell ‘Rosie and Jack’ will become a staple read; heartwarming, emotional and funny in just the first few pages, I just know that this novel is a must and a true original. Another extract that caught my eye was Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen – despite the off-putting title in my opinion, there was so much action and a gradual progression of the main characters in the twenty pages or so that I read! Great stuff! Other tales included ‘Slay’ by Kim Curran, which was not so much my perfect genre to read, but I’m sure will prove very popular amongst the middle-grade boy area. The dystopian world created in S. M. Wilson’s ‘The Extinction Trials’ seems very much like The Hunger Games in its competitive nature and science-fiction genre, but I am willing to give it a go due to Wilson’s impeccable writing style. Linni Ingemundson sets the scene perfectly in ‘The Unpredictability of Being Human’, as in ‘Theatrical’ by Maggie Harcourt. Overall, I’m very excited about all the novels and I can’t wait for each and every one of them to come out next year!

The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr | A Review

So when I got back home and found this gem of a book waiting on my bed in all it’s glory, I got very very excited. Anything by Emily Barr is a delight to read, particularly after I read The One Memory of Flora Banks and completely fell in love with it. Barr’s most recent novel follows a 17 year old girl of the name of Ella Black, who thinks she has her life together. She might not have many friends but her two closest are lovely and kind, and her mum might be protective but she has all that she needs in the world. Inside, there is a part of her that wants to scream and tear and destroy, but for seventeen years she has hidden this away from everyone. So to the people around her, Ella is shy but nice in general, and on the inside she is Bella, dark, dangerous and extremely unpredictable. At first, I didn’t enjoy reading this as much as Barr’s other novels, just because it seemed similar to the other protagonists in her books, but I chose to stick it out and I’m glad I did. The plot is intriguing and immersive, with extraordinary character development that makes the impossible events that occur seem realistic. This is the first book that I have ever read that grew on me after each turn of the page, and by the end I just couldn’t put it down. Who knew that many feelings could be cramped into three hundred pages? Thoroughly recommend. X

Thanks to Love Reading who provided me with this copy of The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, publication date 2018

Dog by Andy Mulligan | Book Review

With charming and irresistably unique characters, ‘Dog’ follows the story of a pet’s life, Spider, and the adventures that it holds. Spider struggles with what he is and what he could be – through climbing out of his owner’s window to almost escaping the confines of a household by accident, he wonders whether a life of a cat would be better for him. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that centres around a dog and the complexities of an animal’s mind quite like this before – the vivacity of each and every character is truly astonishing. It is a very easy read that keeps you on your toes page after page until you find yourself reading 20, 50, even 100 pages in one complete sitting. I did think I wasn’t going to enjoy this as much as I did because of my acquired taste when it comes to the perfect read and the suggested age ranges that usually comes with this type of plot. However, I did surprise myself by really warming to Spider and the friends that he finds on his way whilst stumbling through life at the aid of others. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather | A Review

So I haven’t actually finished How To Hang A Witch entirely, but from the first turn of the page I knew it was going to be right up my street. Sam Mather is such a relatable character – witty, sarcastic and socially awkward, I feel like many young adults can find elements of themselves in her on some level. She is the epitome of a modern-day heroine; she knows where she stands and what she wants in the world, and I think that her fiery persona could become the ultimate role model to young middle-grade teenage girls out there.Yet at the same time, the bewitching, murky tale of events that run at an incredible pace throughout the novel distances the audience from the situation in order to fully appreciate the language and developed characters.

I love the ‘cliquey’ type of style to describe the Descendants, the group of teenage girls and guys who are direct ancestors to those involved in the Salem Witch Trials hundreds of years before. When the reader comes to realise that all of the strangely suspicious actions that are happening in Salem are linked to Sam in some way, they instantly begin to question – are Sam and the Descendants cursed? Will there forever be a shadow cast over Salem and all the people who live in it? This was such an easy yet enjoyable read, where I learnt more about the Salem Witch Trials of the 1600’s than I ever could have done from history textbooks. Anyone with a love for Mean Girls/ V for Vendetta should defo give this book a go. It’s typically aimed at the middle-grade area but as a young adult myself, How To Hang A Witch was a very relaxed and pleasant read.

This copy was reviewed for Love Reading, a fantastic site for browsing any type of book of any genre. Link can be found on the right hand side of the page! x

The Murderer’s Ape by Jakob Wegelius | A Review

A charming book, I knew ‘The Murderer’s Ape’ was going to be a thrilling read as soon as I turned the cover and saw the beautiful map outlining the journey the reader will follow. From the beginning, it was certain that Sally Jones was not a usual narrator – the fact that the gorilla lives among humans, completely understanding but does not speak any of their language makes for an interesting perspective on the story line. Her human qualities, like being able to help sail the ship and use a typewriter, is intriguing, and as soon as I read the first chapter I wanted to know more about how the Chief and Jones ended up unemployed and looking for day-to-day work. I love when books begin in the future because it leaves a framework for the story to follow, and it means that I am able to restrain myself to not flick to the last page straight away! It’s not often that I read adventure books because sometimes they tend to become quite hard to follow, but this novel seemed to flow with ease and I found myself turning the pages, eager to find out the next piece in the puzzle. A joy for anyone who loves Philip Pullman, I’m sure.