Review: The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Title: The Diabolic (The Diabolic, 1)
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (1st November 2016)
Blurb:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much a sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the Empire . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE DIABOLIC is the first book in a new series by S. J. Kincaid. Diabolics are genetically engineered to protect an individual at all cost, and are considered too savage to be human. THE DIABOLIC follows the story of Nemesis, a Diabolic, as she tries to protect her charge Sidonia, the daughter of a galactic Senator. When the Emperor demands that Sidonia graces his court, Nemesis reluctantly takes the place of her master so that Sidonia does not become a hostage in galactic politics. The Emperor’s court is a deadly place, even for a Diabolic, and Nemesis must learn to navigate is quickly.

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Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (UK edition).

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, 1)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (5th May 2015)
Blurb:

FEYRE IS A HUNTRESS.

She thinks nothing of slaughtering a wolf to capture its prey. But, like all mortals, she fears what lingers mercilessly beyond the forest. And she will learn that taking the life of a magical creature comes at a high price . . .

Imprisoned in an enchanted court in her enemy’s kingdom, Feyre is free to roam but forbidden to escape. Her captor’s body bears the scars of fighting, and his face is always masked – but his piercing stare draws her ever closer. As Feyre’s feelings for Tamlin begin to burn through every warning she’s been hold about his kind, an ancient, wicked shadow grows.

FEYRE MUST FIND A WAY TO BREAK THE SPELL, OR LOSE HER HEART FOREVER.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas is the first book in the series of the same name. The book follows Feyre; she is the youngest of three daughters, and her family has fallen on hard times. With her father injured and neither of her elder sisters willing to, Feyre is forced to hunt to bring in a supply of food and coin for her family. Whilst out hunting for food desperate Feyre slaughters a wolf to gain its prey, so she can feed her family. But it is not just a wolf she kills, and taking the life of a magical creature comes with a hefty price.

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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (UK edition)

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: Contemporary, Social Realism, Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books (6th April 2017)
Blurb:

“What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and the posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

THE HATE U GIVE is Angie Thomas’s debut novel. It tells the story of sixteen-year-old Starr who lives with her family in a place called Garden Heights; it’s a poor neighbourhood with a strong community. Starr and her brothers don’t attend the local school; instead they travel to a posh high school in the suburbs. This means that Starr lives something of a double life, so she can fit into both worlds. The balance is destroyed when Starr is coming home from a party with her best friend Khalil and they are pulled over by a police officer, and she witnesses him shoot and kill her unarmed best friend.

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Review: Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton (UK edition)

Title: Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands, 2)
Author: Alwyn Hamilton
Genre: Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Faber and Faber (2nd February 2017)
Blurb:

This is not about blood, or love. This is about treason.

Amani has always been more gunpowder than girl. But as the Blue-Eyed Bandit her powers have gone from strength to strength – as has the rebellion she risks her life for.

Then a brutal kidnapping leads her straight to the Sultan’s palace, and she is forced to return to her desert-girl’s instincts for survival. Betrayal, cunning and espionage are a way of life here – and Amani finds she fits right in.

But with the ghosts of her past swirling all around her, Amani’d greatest fight may be to keep her own secret heart and desires under control . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

TRAITOR TO THE THRONE is Alwyn Hamilton’s stunning sequel to REBEL OF THE SANDS, and the second instalment of the trilogy. Amani escaped Dustwalk and found the rebellion in the first book. Known as the Blue-Eyed Bandit to some, she helps the rebellion rescue those persecuted under Sultan Oman’s rule. Then she is brutally kidnapped and ends up in the Sultan’s palace, where she gains not only his attention but also that of his heir. Betrayal, cunning and espionage are the only way to survive, so Amani finds herself returning to her roots – the desert-girl’s instincts of survival that she honed growing up may just serve her well.

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Review: Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton

Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex by Hannah Witton

Title: Doing It! Let’s Talk About Sex
Author: Hannah Witton
Genre: Identity, Non-Fiction, Sex Education
Publisher: Wren & Rook (6th April 2017)
Blurb:

Sexting. Virginity. Consent. The Big O . . .

Let’s face it, doing it can be tricksy. I don’t know anyone (including myself) who has sex all figured out. So I’ve written a book full of honest, hilarious (and sometimes awkward) anecdontes, confessions and revelations. And because none of us have all the answers, I’ve invited some friends to talk about their sexuality, too.

We talk about doing it safely. Doing it joyfully. Doing it when you’re ready. Not going it. Basically, doing it the way you want, when you want. So. Let’s do this . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

DOING IT! LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX by Hannah Witton is a book I have been curious about since I first heard Witton mention it on her YouTube channel. I’m in the same boat as Witton (and a lot of other people) in that I don’t think sex/sexuality/relationships/sexual health is talked about enough whether that’s at a school level or between friends/family members/partners. DOING IT! covers a wide variety of topics within this spectrum, though most are only briefly touched on, and serves as something of a handbook to point people in the right direction as well as expand (a bit) on SRE/PSHE lessons.

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Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (UK edition)

Title: Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns 1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Genre: Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books (22nd September 2016)
Blurb:

IN EVERY GENERATION ON THE ISLAND OF FENNBIRN A SET OF TRIPLETS IS BORN: THREE QUEENS, ALL EQUAL HEIRS TO THE CROWN, ALL POSSESSED OF A COVETED MAGIC.

MIRABELLA, a fierce elemental, can spark hungry flames with the click of a finger.

KATHARINE, a poisoner, is known to be resistant to the deadliest of snake bites.

ARSINOE, a naturalist, is rumoured to have the ability to bloom the reddest of roses.

But becoming the Queen Crowned is not just a matter of royal birth. These three sisters must fight to the death for the throne, and on the night they turn sixteen the battle begins. Only one queen can inherit the crown.

WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THREE DARK CROWNS is the first novel in Kendare Blake’s latest series. The book tells the story of a set of triplets born on the island of Fennbirn. These triplets are all considered queens, and all three of them have an equal claim to the crown. All three of them possess a coveted magic, though that is where their similarities end. Mirabella can control the elements; Katharine is a poisoner, known to be resistant to the most deadly or toxins; and Arsinoe is a naturalist who can make flowers bloom and call animals to her. Only one of them can claim the crown, and the winner must kill her sisters.

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Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (UK Edition – Zoella Book Club)

Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Usborne Publishing (1st June 2016)
Blurb:

AMANDA HARD IS the NEW GIRL AT SCHOOL.

Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.

AMANDA HAS A SECRET.

At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

IF I WAS YOUR GIRL is Meredith Russo’s debut novel. It tells the story of Amanda Hardy an eighteen year old who has moved in with her dad for the first time, and is starting a new school. Like everyone else, she just wants to make friends and fit in. Amanda has a secret, one that has caused (and is causing) her a lot of heartache and pain: one that has pushed her and her family to their limits. Amanda used to be called Andrew. The trouble with secrets is that they have a way of getting out, whether you’re ready for them to or not.

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Review: Goldenhand by Garth Nix

Goldenhand by Garth Nix (UK edition)

Goldenhand by Garth Nix (UK edition)

Title: Goldenhand (The Old Kingdom Series, 5)
Author: Garth Nix
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hot Key Books (4th October 2016)
Blurb:

Lirael is no longer a shy Second Assistant Librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind.

When Lirael saves Nicholas Sayre after he is left unconscious by an attack from a hideous Free Magic creature, she finds he is deeply tainted with Free Magic. Lirael must seek help for him at the Clayr’s Glacier, her childhood home.

But even as she returns to the Clayr, a messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother, Arielle, about the Witch With No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?

Once more a great danger threatens the Old Kingdom, and must be forestalled not only in the living world, but also in the cold, remorseless river of Death.

Goldenhand is the long-awaited fifth instalment of Garth Nix’s New York Times bestselling Old Kingdom series.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

GOLDENHAND is the fifth book in Garth Nix’s sprawling young adult fantasy Old Kingdom series. This book continues the story from ABHORSEN, so there will be some spoilers from previous books in this review. When the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Lirael, gets called to deal with a Free Magic creature that is the Wall she discovers Nicholas Sayre unconscious and deeply tainted with Free Magic. Unsure what is going on, or how to help him Lirael decides to seek help at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier. Meanwhile, a messenger is searching for Lirael with a warning from her mother about the Witch With No Face.

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Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (UK edition)

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (UK edition)

Title: An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes 1)
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (11th February 2016)
Blurb:

UNDER THE MARTIAL EMPIRE, DEFIANCE IS MET WITH DEATH

When Laia’s grandparents are brutally murdered and her brother is arrested for treason by the empire, the only people she has left to turn to are the rebels.

But in exchange for their help in saving her brother, they demand that Laia spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff, the Empire’s greatest military academy. Should she fail it’s more than her brother’s freedom at risk . . . Laia’s very life is at stake.

There, she meets Elias, the academy’s finest soldier. But Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined – and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is the debut novel of Sabaa Tahir, and the first book in an intriguing young adult fantasy series with lots of potential. The book is set in a traditional style fantasy world. It tells the story of Laia, a young Scholar, and Elias, who is just about to graduate as a Mask. Their paths cross after Laia loses her family and desperation sends her to the rebels, who demand that she acts as a spy on the ruthless Commandant of Blackcliff the Empire’s military academy, the place Elias is receiving his training, and it’s not long before their paths cross.

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Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman (UK Zoella Bookclub edition)

I Was Here by Gayle Forman (UK Zoella Bookclub edition)

Title: I Was Here
Authors: Gayle Forman
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster (29th January 2015)
Blurb:

I regret to inform you that I have had to take my own life. This decision has been a long time coming, and was mine alone to make. I know it will cause you pain, and for that I am sorry, but please know that I needed to end my own pain. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It’s not your fualt.
Meg

Cody and Meg were inseparable – best friends for life. They knew everything about each other. Or Cody thought they did. But how well do you ever really know your best friend? And what do you do when they choose to leave you behind?

Rating:  ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman is a standalone novel that tells the story of Cody Reynolds. As the novel starts we discover that Meg Garcia, Cody’s best friend, has committed suicide. I WAS HERE follows Meg’s journey as she struggles to deal with the loss of her best friend – someone she thought she knew, someone who she’d grown up with in a small town. Meg’s suicide blindsided her; Cody had no idea that Meg was struggling. Cody finds herself questioning what she knew of her best friend, and soon sets out to get some answers – surely there was more to Meg’s death than there appeared?

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