TOP 5 | Summer Bank Holiday reads

Bank holiday weekend is here and I have some ideas of what you can do this weekend – read of course! And if you’re struggling to know what to read, I have some great recommendations. Whether you want something fun and summery, or laugh-your-arse-off hilarious, this list is the key to the best bank holiday ever.

These five books are all quick reads that will have you constantly turning the pages and not putting the books down until you get to the final page!

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JUL WRAP UP | The Books & the Stats

This month, I’m writing this post on 31st July so if it doesn’t go live until mid-August, at least I started with good intentions. I’m getting better and hey, maybe this is the month that I post more than just my wrap up!

July has been busy, culminating in YALC last weekend. I don’t know yet whether I’m going to do a YALC post or not, but I will say that with that and my birthday, my July haul is off the charts. I’m never going to catch up on my TBR.

Big stat for the month though – this was my most consistently enjoyable reading month of 2019 so far with my star average being 4.63! My next closest was January with 4.42!

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REVIEW | The Betrayal by Kate Furnivall

81I9ggCoegLName: The Betrayal
Author: Kate Furnivall
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★☆
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Could you kill someone? Someone you love?

Paris, 1938. This is the story of twin sisters divided by fierce loyalties and by a terrible secret. The drums of war are beating and France is poised, ready to fall. One sister is an aviatrix, the other is a socialite and they both have something to prove and something to hide.

Discover a brilliant story of love, danger, courage … and betrayal.

*An electronic advance reading copy was provided courtesy of Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

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CURRENTLY READING | Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Genres: Young Adult, Historical, Mystery
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Format: Hardback
Source: Book Depository

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

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What are you reading right now? Are you enjoying it? Tell me in the comments!


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AUGUST WRAP UP

I’ve done pretty well this August, making my way through quite a few books on my TBR, those I managed to buy/scavenge/win at YALC and all while holidaying in Madeira, enjoying the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, house hunting and actually packing up to move! Check out my August wrap up to see what I managed to devour this month…

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Villains, short stories, fairytales, retellings.

I really enjoyed the concept behind this anthology and the execution was delightful, leading me to find some new favourite authors as well as falling in love again with the writing styles of my faves (hi there, Say Sha and Schwab). Having the stories followed by the booktubers’ prompt and commentary made this a more intriguing read as well as meaning I got to try and guess each prompt as I read the tale. Highly enjoyable.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Feminism, high school, slut shaming, guys are douchebags.

While not being released until March 2018, The Exact Opposite of Okay was exactly what I needed to read in the heat of a summer holiday. It was laugh out loud funny while still tackling important issues of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. Read this book when it comes out in March. Just read it.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Micah Grey series by Laura Lam ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

This series was everything I have ever wanted, but didn’t know it. At this time, I would say that all three novels in the Micah Grey series are up there in my favourite books I’ve read this year. If you love fantasy and adventure, read these books because they made my life infinitesimally better.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Diary entries, emails, space travel, easy reading.

Easy reading and fast paced leading to a pretty chill day. And it releases today! Happy Release Day to Lauren James – head on down to Waterstones! Worth a read and perfect for younger readers in the YA category.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Treatment by C.L. Taylor ★★★☆☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, adolescents vs. government, psychology, brainwashing.

The perfect thriller for younger readers. Intriguing story with great writing, making it a good read for all ages but especially perfect for those a little too young to get stuck into Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn just yet. If you’re a fan of these authors but not YA then check out Cally’s adult novels (I’m yet to read them but after reading this, they’re next on my list).

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes ★★★★★
KEY WORDS: Adventure, thriller, mystery, Berlin Wall, Cold War, friendship, family.

Probably my favourite book of the month. A beautiful stand-alone mystery which follows the lives of three seemingly unrelated people who are thrown together one summer. Molly Mavity, a soon-to-be-orphan whose mother committed suicide and whose father is on death row for commiting arson. Pepper Al-Yusef, a boy failing out of High School who struggles to speak to girls. Ava Dreyman, known as “The Anne Frank of the Cold War”, whose diary and death incited revolution in East Berlin leading to the destruction of the Berlin Wall.

I loved every second of this beautifully written mystery.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Mystery, adventure, sisterhood.

My first middle grade novel in what feels like forever, but still a very enjoyable read. A lovely little fanatasy that seld-describes as ‘Frozen meets Prison Break’ – Valor is on a mission to save her sister and break her out of the most secure and cruel prison in the land.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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Wunderkids Part 1: Wildwood Academy by Jaqueline Silvester ★★★★☆
KEY WORDS: Adventure, boarding school, mystery.

An intriguing boarding school adventure which leaves you on a crippling cliffhanger as you wait for the second installment, due to release in March 2018. When Nikka is accepted to Wildwood Academy for Talented Youth she thinks it’s heaven, then things start going wrong.

See my full spoiler-free review here.

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stats.png

Books read: 10
Pages read: 3,728
Approximate words read: 932,000
Books bought: 4
ARCs recieved: 6

NEW
New authors read:
 16 | New series started: 4

FORMATS
Hardbacks read:
 0 | Paperbacks read: 9 | eBooks read: 1

TYPES
Standalones read:
3 | Books within series read: 6 | Anthologies read: 1

GENRES
New Adult: 0 | Young Adult: 9 | Middle Grade: 1
Fantasy: 4 | Sci-Fi: 2 | Thriller: 2 | Contemporary: 1

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What books did you read in August? What was your favourite? Let me know in the comments!

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Ten Hidden Gem Series

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and I love a good list so here goes!

This was a lot more difficult this week because, to be honest, I’m a bit of a mainstream reader. HOWEVER, these are books which I haven’t heard loads of buzz about in the same way that certain series have become almost household names within the book-lovers sphere. Maybe you don’t think they’re hidden but either way, have a list!

Micah Grey series by Laura Lam
KEY WORDS: Intersex, queer, magical, circus, adventure, coming of age, SO SO GOOD.

I’m definitely going to be talking about this series for some time because I cannot believe that I’d never heard of it until I met Laura Lam in March. Now I’m completely mad for her writing. These books were beautifully written and one of my favourite series. If you are a fan of fantasy, magicians, circus and some good old LGBT+ representation, this is for you.

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Shadow Falls series by C. C. Hunter
KEY WORDS: Supernatural, summer camp, teen drama, trashy but great.

I am an absolute sucker for boarding school/summer camp supernatural novels. Vampire Academy is a long-time favourite so when my lovely friend Alys recommended Shadow Falls to me I was all in. It’s a little trashy teen drama but sometimes that exactly what I fancy. Vampires, werewolves, witches, fae, every kind of supernatural you can imagine all in a summer camp for ‘delinquents’. It is fantastic. Plus, with around twelve novels including the novellas and spin offs, it’ll keep you busy for a while.

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Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson
KEY WORDS: Ghosts, investigation, London, murder, mystery.

It’s been a while since I read Shades of London (and we’re still waiting on the fourth book) so maybe that’s why I haven’t heard a lot of buzz. Come on, Maureen, where have you been? Ghosts are all over London and Jack the Ripper is back – contemporary London, plus Victorian London, plus boarding school, plus ghosts. What more do you need, well, except the end of the series…

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The Elemental Trilogy by Sherry Thomas
KEY WORDS: Elemental magic, adventure, Victorian London, Middle East.

I can’t actually remember how I found out about this trilogy but I have to say, I haven’t heard very much about it since I started it. I loved this magical series – Victorian London (can you tell I like the Victorians?) crossed with mages in middle eastern desserts. Iolanthe Seabourne is my angel. It’s pretty great, I have to say.

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Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin
KEY WORDS: Psychological, mystery, adventure, mind powers, head fuck.

Another great trilogy which I read a while ago but I will be all over The Becoming of Noah Shaw, a spin off from this series, when it releases at the end of this year. Paranormal, weird mind powers and psychological thriller all rolled into three mysterious novels. To be honest, I think a re-read might be in order…

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Law of the Lycans series by Nicky Charles
KEY WORDS: Supernatural, werewolves, trashy, romance.

Welcome to my wildcard entry. Imi will now tell you about her childhood. So I first read The Mating when I was about 15 on my phone in Biology because I hated listening to Dr Penny droning on about something I didn’t understand. I read the trilogy with ease and loved every second. Werewolves + romance = guilty pleasure. I continued to re-read them almost every year since AND THEN Nicky Charles kept writing spin offs and prequels and now there’s around ten of them! They’re all short and I will always have a soft spot in my heart for them.

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Rebellion series by Josephine Boyce
KEY WORDS: Dystopia, Europe, A* female protagonist, fast paced.

Josie is a self-published author who has done the most amazing job at producing a new and interesting dystopian series set in Europe. It seems so real and the politics within it reflect the world we live in now, making it seem all the more like it could actually happen. Due to her self-published status, this series is probably the most hidden of my hidden gems, but definitely a favourite. The first two books which are currently out work well as a duology, though there is a third novel on the way.

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Love Me With Lies series by Tarryn Fisher
KEY WORDS: Romance, amnesia, suspense, all the draaaaamaaa.

I heard of Tarryn Fisher due to my love of Colleen Hoover and if anyone knows Colleen, you’ve probably heard of her and Tarryn’s antics. Now, as much as I love CoHo, I have now become probably more fond of Tarryn’s writing now. She puts so much of herself into her novels and characters and I relate to so much of what she writes. The Love Me With Lies series was her first published novels and her only romance until the recently published Atheists Who Kneel and Pray. If you don’t mind having your heart shattered, repaired and then shattered again, give it a go because I loved this series. A lot of drama, hurt and emotion as well as love.

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I know that’s only eight, but I guess that means I’m failing this week…

REVIEW: The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

33258604Name: The Arsonist
Author: Stephanie Oakes
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
Publisher: Dial Books
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: YALC
Rating: ★★★★★
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Molly Mavity is not a normal teenage girl. For one thing, her father is a convicted murderer, and his execution date is fast approaching. For another, Molly refuses to believe that her mother is dead, and she waits for the day when they’ll be reunited . . . despite all evidence that this will never happen.

Pepper Al-Yusef is not your average teenage boy. A Kuwaiti immigrant with epilepsy, serious girl problems, and the most useless seizure dog in existence, he has to write a series of essays over the summer . . . or fail out of school.

And Ava Dreyman—the brave and beautiful East German resistance fighter whose murder at seventeen led to the destruction of the Berlin Wall—is unlike anyone you’ve met before.

When Molly gets a package leading her to Pepper, they’re tasked with solving a decades-old mystery: find out who killed Ava, back in 1989. Using Ava’s diary for clues, Molly and Pepper realize there’s more to her life—and death—than meets the eye. Someone is lying to them. And someone out there is guiding them along, desperate for answers.

KEY WORDS: Adventure, Thriller, Mystery, Berlin Wall, Cold War, Friendship, Family.

*I received an Advanced Proof Copy of this novel at YALC in exchange for an honest review*

From the very first page, Molly Mavity had me hooked. The book tells the story of three people whose lives become inextricably linked one summer when Molly and Pepper are thrown together to discover the mystery of who killed Ava Dreyman, “the Anne Frank of the Cold War”.

The tale of all three characters are intricately interwoven through Molly’s letter’s to Pepper as he lies in a coma, Pepper’s emails to Mrs Eldridge in order to not flunk out of High School and Ava’s diary entries from 1986-1989. Oakes expertly weaves these stories, leaving the reader hanging on the edge of their seat for answers. Who was Ava Dreyman? Why is Pepper in hospital? What happened to Molly’s mother? And so many others…

I was sucked into the mystery from start to finish, making up my own conclusions and solutions as I went, doubting myself at every next turn.

Through all the mystery and intrigue, there are lessons to be learnt from the fictional revolutionary, Ava, and her mother, the original Arsonist. This book touched my heart and set it on fire, we must fight everyday in the world for freedom for ourselves, our fellow human beings and for the future generations. I am lucky enough to be living in a country where, while we have our issues, they are not as serious as other places in the world. I am priviledged. My civil liberties are not being directly threatened every day. Even if you live somewhere where people of colour are not being killed daily, where trangender people are being denied the right to work in the armed forces, where the LGBTQ+ community are not being persecuted for being who they are and loving who they love, fight. Keep fighting. Keeping lighting fires.

“When they lock you in the darkness, become an arsonist. When they put you under house arrest, or defile your name in public, or make you live beneath the rules that suffocate you, become an arsonist. When they put a pistol in your hands and make you shoot your best friend, and when they throw you in a death camp, when you see everyone around you get sick from the poison they’re feeding them, light a fire that will destroy them. A fire they won’t forget the next time they try to do it to someone else.”

Mirka Dreyman in ‘The Arsonist’ by Stephanie Oakes

TOP TEN TUESDAY | Back To School Freebie: Ten Books That Should Be on the School Syllabus

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and I love a good list so here goes!

 

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
(Primary/Secondary/Sixth Form)

I think I will probably end up having Harry Potter on most of the lists I do for this. It has influenced so much of my life that it seems reasonable for it to continually appear. Rowling, through a magical world of wizards, witches and Hogwarts, taught us all the most important life lessons which we will always hold with us – love, friendship, bravery, loyalty – and these fantastic stories should undoubtable be told and taught in schools for the rest of time.

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The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven 
(Secondary)

Laura Steven’s debut novel which is to be released in March 2018 discusses the incredibly important topics of high school bullying, slut shaming and revenge porn. If nothing else, the themes within this book are ones that need to be addressed in schools and, for me, this is the most important release of 2018 which I have read so far.

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Gone series by Michael Grant
(Secondary)

This came to me like a revelation because it’s been years since I read this series but it truly is fantastic. Set in a dystopia where one day all the adults just disappeared and this world is now run by adolescents – it has a similar feel to Lord of the Flies but with mutants thrown into the mix. Basically, it’s the perfect update for the GCSE syllabus if you want a more modern story which young people are more likely to connect with.

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Wing Jones by Katherine Webber
(Secondary)

Another debut novel, this time from Katie Webber, telling the tale of determined Wing Jones who, following a family tragedy, goes out and makes something of herself for the sake of the ones she loves. Heart-warming and inspiring and the perfect addition to English for Years 7-10.

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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I strongly believe that Laini Taylor is one of the greatest writers of this generation (with the other two also entries on this list) and the beautiful way she crafts worlds, lives and stories should be studied by all. Her metaphors and similes, especially in this fantastic novel, deserve to be on the syllabus.

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The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Narrated by Death, a novel set within the depths of World War II which I wouldn’t be surprised to already find on the syllabus – it just wasn’t when I was still at school. Historical background, while conveying the power of literature, all with a far more interesting narrator than your average GCSE or A Level text.

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Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Entry number two in the greatest writers of this generation category is Leigh and her incredible spin-off duology in the Grishaverse. Her world-building is easily the best I have encountered and this tale of gangs, magic and mystery is undoubtably a favourite. If it had been on my syllabus, maybe I would have done better in A Level Eng Lit.

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

Easily the most important book I read during my school years which has stuck with me ever since and I still quote as being the best book I’ve ever read. The Kite Runner was on my A Level syllabus so why can’t this masterpiece be on it too? Following the life of a young Afghan woman through war, loss, life and fate.

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It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

I would say this is probably my wild card entry. I am a sucker for a CoHo novel and It Ends With Us is the one that impacted me most. I spent all night sobbing into my pillow until I could compose myself. A heart-breaking story of domestic abuse and the strength required to live through and confront it. It allowed me to question whether I could leave someone in the same situation and that is important for everyone to question.

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A Darker Shade of Magic series by V. E. Schwab
(Secondary/Sixth Form)

The third and final, ‘greatest writer of our generation’ for me goes to the Queen of all things fantasy, Victoria Schwab. Everything she writes deserves to be taught to all and read by all. This particular series is rife with detailed characters, intriguing plots and the most beautifully built worlds – three different Londons to be precise.

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