Thursday, 25 April 2019

Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp Sticks

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

My Review:

“‘It’s dangerous to leave girls unprotected,’ a professor told me once. ‘Especially pretty girls like you.” 

This was such an intriguing and creepy read, I requested it on NetGalley because when I read the summary it sounded similar to Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill where there are girls who have been contained and have to remain obedient and ‘perfect’ for males. I’ve never read any of Suzanne Young’s other novels, however I enjoyed the writing style so I will definitely consider picking up some of her other books. 

The pace was great, it kept me on edge and I was reading until the early morning desperate to know what would happen! The plot wasn’t predictable, I didn’t know what the ending would be like –whether happy or sad. 

The main characters were the highlight of this book for me, their friendship was powerful and they truly cared for one another. I enjoyed reading the poem ‘Girls with Sharp Sticks’, this was inventive and rebellious and I could see it sparking a fire about their mistreatment and controlled lives. I wish that we’d seen more of Jackson and his side but that’s just a problem with first person narratives I guess. The villains were pretty straightforward, we found out who they were pretty early on and I was rooting for them to suffer! There was however, a twist that I didn’t see coming that was clever! This is explained more towards the end of the narrative and I enjoyed it a lot! 

I’ve seen there will be a second instalment entitled ‘Girls with Razor Hearts’ which sounds like a pretty cool title and I will definitely be reading this in 2020 when it’s released. 

Overall, this was a great read and kept me hooked! I’d recommend to fans of technology, feminism, friendships, revenge and romance. 

5 out of 5 stars. 

[Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK Children’s for giving me access to a copy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!]

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Review: King of Fools by Amanda Foody

King of Fools by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game #2)

Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all...

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive...

Or die as legends.

My Review: 

“The City of Sin would learn that a pistol painted pink was just as lethal.” 

King of Fools was captivating, thrilling, devastating and tense! It was a real whirlwind of emotions in the last third of the book and I couldn’t sleep without finishing and knowing what happened. King of Fools was even better than Ace of Shades in my opinion! The second half of the book was my favourite part, but the ending killed me!!! Why would you do that Amanda!? I need the third book now pls.

To be honest as it was a year ago since I’d read AoS, I’d forgotten a lot of what happened so had to refresh my memory before starting KoF and I would recommend that you recap too as you’re thrown into the City of Sin very quickly. The drama, suspense and stakes are piled SO high in KoF and I was worried for the characters the whole time, it was exhausting! 

The plot was honestly amazing; I don’t know how Amanda managed to keep all those multiple ties and sub-plots in check but it was superb! I thought it could have gone about ten different ways and there could have been various endings but the ending that we did get was gut-wrenching! There are definitely some major shockers in store for readers. There were some really funny moments of sass in this book which made me laugh out loud. I can’t wait to follow this journey and see where this will all go in book 3 and I’m so excited!!!

It was great meeting new characters such as Sophia, Harrison, Grace and more! I loved how they all added their personalities into the mix and felt very believable. I loved reading about Enne’s girl gang, they were fierce, confident and not afraid to be both girly and vicious! Their friendships were important to them, they looked out for one another and they each added something new to the story. I enjoyed the split narrative with Jac, Enne and Levi providing their own perspectives on the events. It was great to explore a new side of these characters and I love them even more. 

5 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to HQ for providing me with a Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review!]

Friday, 12 April 2019

Review: The Near Witch by V.E.Schwab

Goodreads: The Near Witch

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 

If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

There are no strangers in the town of Near. 

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.

My Review:

The Near Witch is enchanting, magical and wonderfully eerie! That cover too! *heart eyes*

Descriptions of the Moor and the village were so lush and vivid, they felt realistic and believable. The plot was good, the pacing was just right and the main character Lexi was my favourite! There was a sense of the unknown throughout The Near Witch that is unsettling (in the best way) and you can never fully relax with the next disappearance right around the corner.

I particularly enjoyed the witches Magda and Dreska, I want a full background history novel of them please! Cole was interesting and I couldn't decide whether to trust him at first, the other villagers were believable and I could imagine the small village where they live.

The Near Witch was a fairy-tale read featuring a sense of unease, eerie events, mysterious strangers and a few morals thrown in for good measure. It was a great novel and I'm so glad that I had the chance to read it! I would recommend to fans of fairy-tales, magic, ghosts and romance.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!]
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