Review: The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy

Another book I received in a subscription box is “The Disappearances” by Emily Bain Murphy. I always do my best to try to use the clues the companies give to guess the books that will be included, but I was absolutely surprised by this choice! I was very delighted with the surprise, and I was so excited when I found out it was set in the 1940’s! I have been reading too much contemporary fiction recently and got really burnt out, and this was just the change I needed.

First, a synopsis from Amazon…

35529075Every seven years something disappears in the remote town of Sterling: people’s reflections, the stars in the sky, the ability to dream. Aila realises that her mother may be to blame for the curse. But some mysteries are buried very deep and some secrets want to stay hidden – and one young woman’s desire to uncover the truth may not be enough to save Sterling from the past.

A beautifully told story of love, loss and finding the truth – no matter how difficult that may be.

So, the official synopsis doesn’t provide much information, so I’ll clue you in to the set-up for the series:

The year is 1942, and Aila’s mother has just died. She and her younger brother Miles are being sent to live with her mother’s best friend in a small town so their father can go fight in the war. Before she leaves, she comes across a volume of Shakespeare that her mother had scribbled over, as well as a letter to a mysterious individual accompanied by  a  ring. When Aila and Miles arrive in Sterling, they realize that the town is very odd: people don’t have reflections, some things don’t get wet when it rains, they can’t see the stars, they cease to dream, and all the color seems to leave their paints and crayons when they try to use them. The whole town believes that these Disappearances are linked to Aila’s mother, and she and her brother are ostracized. Continue reading

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Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I subscribed to Book Box Club a few months ago, and the very first book I received was One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. It was the featured volume in their “Schoolroom Scandals” box. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up if I hadn’t been sent it, but I enjoyed it very much!

Before I get too far into it, though, here is the synopsis from Amazon…

32887579Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.

Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.

Continue reading

Post-YALC thoughts and tips!

So, this year I had the incredible opportunity to attend the Young Adult Literature Convention, part of London Film & Comic Con. I was really really nervous and excited as I had never attended a convention before, but I was really looking forward to seeing some of my favorite authors!

To be honest, I had no idea what to expect. I knew that there were going to be a few exhibitors that I was really looking forward to, and LFCC published a schedule of talks, workshops, activities, and booksignings about two weeks before the events. This made it very easy to plan my day, however, I had a few hiccups (which I will explain later).

First off, I thought the venue was excellent. YALC had its own devoted entrance and floor with stairs and lifts taking you straight to the floor. It was spacious and roomy, and even had a small reading area and cafe! There was also plenty of open floor space, which lots of people took advantage of to sit and eat their packed lunches. The floor had its own toilets as well, though I understand that some people had some trouble accessing the disabled toilets, which were sectioned off as part of a VIP area =( Continue reading

Review: Because You Love to Hate Me

So I recently finished “Because You Love To Hate Me”, an anthology of short stories about villiany by some popular YA authors and BookTubers. It took me AGES to get through! I just haven’t had much time to read lately.

Anyway, as with any anthology, I liked some stories much better than others. Before I go into that too much, here is a synopsis from Amazon

becauseIn this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage–and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Featuring writing from . . .

Authors: Renée Ahdieh, Ameriie, Soman Chainani, Susan Dennard, Sarah Enni, Marissa Meyer, Cindy Pon, Victoria Schwab, Samantha Shannon, Adam Silvera, Andrew Smith, April Genevieve Tucholke, and Nicola Yoon

BookTubers: Benjamin Alderson (Benjaminoftomes), Sasha Alsberg (abookutopia), Whitney Atkinson (WhittyNovels), Tina Burke (ChristinaReadsYA blog and TheLushables), Catriona Feeney (LittleBookOwl), Jesse George (JessetheReader), Zoë Herdt (readbyzoe), Samantha Lane (Thoughts on Tomes), Sophia Lee (thebookbasement), Raeleen Lemay (padfootandprongs07), Regan Perusse (PeruseProject), Christine Riccio (polandbananasBOOKS), and Steph Sinclair & Kat Kennedy (Cuddlebuggery blog and channel). Continue reading

Service Review: Book Box Club

A few months ago, I was overloaded on working overtime and I figured I may as well treat myself — I had been wanting a book subscription box for a while, and I was combing instagram eagerly every month to see the books and contents of all the different boxes as they arrived with their subscribers. I eventually decided that Book Box Club was the best pick for me.

First, let me explain a little bit about the subscription service. You can sign up month-to-month, with the option of skipping a month if the theme isn’t for you, or you can buy a subscription block of 3-months, or 6-months.

What drew me to this service is that they don’t stick with a particular genre. They may send out a fantasy book one month, a contemporary one the next, and a historical one next month. I like the variety and I feel like it makes the box more of a surprise.

So, what do they include in their boxes?

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday 27/4/2016

It’s Waiting on Wednesday!

My pick for this week is The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray.

gildedFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

After growing up on a farm in Virginia, Walthingham Hall in England seems like another world to sixteen-year-old Katherine Randolph. Her new life, filled with the splendor of upper class England in the 1820s, is shattered when she discovers the corpse of her brother George in a lake on the estate-the tragic accidental drowning of a young man, the coroner reports, despite the wound to George’s head.

Katherine is expected to observe the mourning customs and get on with her life, but she can’t accept that her brother’s death was an accident. A bitter poacher prowls the estate, and strange visitors threaten the occupants of the house. There’s a rumor, too, that a wild animal stalks the woods of Walthingham.

Can Katherine retain her sanity long enough to find out the truth? Or will her brother’s killer claim her life, too?

Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday 20/4/2016

It’s Waiting on Wednesday again and I’m really excited for the pick this week!!

My WoW choice is…. Kingdom of Ash and Briars by Hannah West.

kingdomFirst a synopsis from Amazon:

Building on homages to”Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” Jane Austen s”Emma”and the Chinese legend of Hua Mulan, Hannah West makes a spectacular and wholly original debut.

Bristal, a sixteen-year-old kitchen maid, lands in a fairy tale gone wrong when she discovers she has elicromancer magic in her blood. Elicromancers are an ancient breed of immortal people, but only two remain in Nissera. Bristal joins the ranks of Brack and Tamarice without knowing that one of them has a dark secret . . . Tamarice is plotting a quest to overthrow the realm s nobility and take charge herself. Together, Bristal and Brack must guard Nissera against her black elicromancy. There are cursed princesses to protect, royal alliances to forge and fierce monsters to battle all with the hope of preserving peace. Continue reading

Waiting on Wednesday 6/4/2016

It’s Wednesday again! And that means it’s time to feature another great book that is upcoming…

My pick this week is Charlie N. Holmberg’s “Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet”.

magicbmagcsA synopsis from Amazon:

Maire is a baker with an extraordinary gift: she can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities, which are then passed on to those who eat them. She doesn’t know why she can do this and remembers nothing of who she is or where she came from.

When marauders raid her town, Maire is captured and sold to the eccentric Allemas, who enslaves her and demands that she produce sinister confections, including a witch’s gingerbread cottage, a living cookie boy, and size-altering cakes.

During her captivity, Maire is visited by Fyel, a ghostly being who is reluctant to reveal his connection to her. The more often they meet, the more her memories return, and she begins to piece together who and what she really is—as well as past mistakes that yield cosmic consequences. Continue reading

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

Okay, another book that was not what I thought!!

I really need to stop imagining things so vividly when I read their synopsis.

So, I mentioned that I got on a RR kick and read a few books of hers in a row. I think I have almost everything now — minus a short story (or two), and I’m saving Carry On for when I have a good few days off in a row.

landlineBefore I dive into this, though, the synopsis from Amazon:

What advice would you give the younger you…and would you listen?

As far as time machines go, a magic telephone is pretty useless. TV writer Georgie McCool can’t actually visit the past; all she can do is call it, and hope it picks up. Is she going crazy or is this a chance to make things right with her husband, Neal?

Maybe she can fix the things in their past that seem unfixable in the present. Maybe this stupid phone is giving her a chance to start over…if that’s what she wants…

A heart-wrenching – and hilarious – take on fate, time, television and true love, Landline asks if two people are ever really on the same path, or whether love just means finding someone who will keep meeting you halfway.

So, I’ll make this clear — this is NOT a YA book. It’s about a woman in her mid-30’s who is faced with the possible break-up of her marriage.

I knew *that* going in. What I didn’t expect was the connection into the past. The synopsis — especially the first line of it — makes it seem like Georgie would be speaking to herself in the past.

She doesn’t.

Let me start from the beginning.

Georgie is a television writer for a somewhat successful show. However, she has been working on a script for a television series that would be HERS. She receives a green light from an interested party and is enthusiastic to throw herself into her project — but it means that she will have to miss Christmas with her husband and children. Her husband, Neil, takes the children to his mother’s house for Christmas and Georgie is left at home wondering if she made the right decision.

Every single time she tries to call her husband, though, she cannot get through to him. His phone is either off, busy, or he’s not in. When she calls from her old landline phone at her mother’s house, though, she speaks to him. But it’s not HER Neil — it’s Neil from when they were dating. So her Neil, but past Neil.

Speaking to past Neil helps her reconnect with why she fell for him in the first place.

It’s very sweet, but very frustrating to go through the situation with Georgie. You identify with her — you sympathize with her — you understand why she wants to have her own series so bad and stop working on the crap series that she’s on, and you understand that she only has this one chance — but you also get so frustrated that she isn’t spending Christmas with her husband and children. (Or maybe it’s just me — I haven’t been able to spend the last two Christmases with my family =( sigh)

A few entertaining things happen along the way — her sister has a crush on the pizza delivery driver and orders pizza all the time, and Georgie’s mother has a pregnant pug who is due to give birth at any moment.

Overall, it was enjoyable. Rowell is an excellent writer and I could definitely sympathize with her characters.

Have you read this book? Did you have the same misconception I did? What did you think?

 

Waiting on Wednesday 30/3/2016

It’s Waiting on Wednesday again!

This week I’m waiting on Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee.

Synopsis from Amazon:

outrunSan Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can’t sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the ‘bossy’ cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

Breakout author Stacey Lee masterfully crafts another remarkable novel set against a unique historical backdrop. Strong-willed Mercy Wong leads a cast of diverse characters in this extraordinary tale of survival. Continue reading