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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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

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 13/4/2016

It’s time for Waiting on Wednesday again!

This week I read about a book titled “If I Was Your Girl” by Meredith Russo.

Here’s a synopsis from Amazon:

ifiwasAmanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret, and she s determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself, including her past. But Amanda s terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda s been keeping? It’s that at her old school, she used to be Andrew. Will the truth cost Amanda her new life, and her new love? 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

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

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

So, I finally visited my local library and picked up a book — The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black! I was so stoked they had it. When I first read the synopsis, it sounded super intriguing — how can you not love a story with a boy in a glass coffin, knights, princes, faeries, and curses?

I have to say, though, that this book was NOT what I thought it was!!!

the-darkest-part-of-the-forest-holly-blackFirst, a synopsis from Amazon:

Near the little town of Fairfold, in the darkest part of the forest, lies a glass casket. Inside the casket lies a sleeping faerie prince that none can rouse. He’s the most fascinating thing Hazel and her brother Ben have ever seen. They dream of waking him – but what happens when dreams come true? In the darkest part of the forest, you must be careful what you wish for…

Pretty straightforward, yeah?

I think because of the whole faerie prince and glass casket thing, it immediately put me in mind of some medieval-type setting. You know the ones — women wearing laced bodices, drawing water from a well — that type of story.

It’s not. Continue reading

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

I’m not gonna lie — I went on a Rainbow Rowell kick. I got a few of her books for my birthday, so the next few reviews I will be publishing will be reviews of her works.

The first I’m going to review is the short story she did for World Book Day: Kindred Spirits.

First, a synopsis from Amazon:

‘Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.’
‘Are you mad because other people like Star Wars? Are you mad because people like me like Star Wars?’
‘Maybe.’

If you broke Elena’s heart, Star Wars would spill out. So when she decides to queue outside her local cinema to see the new movie, she’s expecting a celebration with crowds of people who love Han, Luke and Leia just as much as she does.

What she’s not expecting is to be last in a line of only three people; to have to pee into a collectible Star Wars soda cup behind a dumpster or to meet that unlikely someone who just might truly understand the way she feels. Continue reading