Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis has been taken from Goodreads.

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently…” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Release Date: 18th February, 2013

Pages: 368

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Younger Readers

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

If you’re looking to read a contemporary YA novel that will keep you hooked from start to finish, then Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian might be the book for you. Burn for Burn is a strong book and the writing is excellent. For me, Burn for Burn was one of those books that I couldn’t stop thinking about when I wasn’t reading it. It was always on my mind. Nearly everything about the novel was perfect and I found the last fifty or so pages to be very gripping – I just needed to know how everything was going to end.

The story is told from the perspectives of the three main characters: Kat, Lillia and Mary. I connected to all of the main characters really well and I went through a wide range of emotions as I read the novel. Many important issues, such as bullying and suicide, have been weaved into the story and this helped to build interesting back stories for Kat, Lillia and Mary. One of the things that I admired about the main characters is that they each had their own distinct voice. I’ve often read YA books that only have one narrator and yet the author struggles to create a well-defined and unique voice for the main character, resulting in many YA narrators from different books and genres sounding the same. This isn’t the case with Burn for Burn. Kat’s voice is definitely the most powerful and I enjoyed reading her perspective the most.

What stopped me from giving the book five out of five stars was the fact that towards the end of the book, things got a little predictable. I was able to work out how the book was going to end but it was still exciting to read. The only thing that I didn’t like about the book was the suggestion that something paranormal is happening to one of the characters. I felt that this particular plot line was unnecessary and I think that the book would have been a better read without it.

Burn for Burn is an addicting read and one that I recommend to YA readers out there. This particular trilogy could very well end up being a favourite of mine.

4/5 stars

 – Liz

The Falconer by Elizabeth May Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Release Date: 19th September, 2013

Pages: 368

Publisher: Gollancz

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

The Falconer by Elizabeth May is the first book in a trilogy that I’ve had my eye on for some time. I finally got round to reading it at the end of August and I was keen to find out if the book would live up to the expectations I’d held for so long.

The Falconer started off really well. For the first fifty pages or so, the book really held my interest and I was enthusiastic about the rest of the book. After a while, though, my enthusiasm started to wane. At first I couldn’t work out why my feelings towards the book were changing. I was really enjoying May’s style of writing and the voice that she give to the main character, Aileana. I loved the fact that the faeries in this book are horrible and nasty. I thought that May evoked the setting, Edinburgh, really well. Eventually I realised that my main problem with the book is the lack of originality. I’ve read YA books like this before. Putting my positive feelings for the first 50 pages or so to the side, I ended up struggling to finish the rest of the novel.

As I have just mentioned, one of the things I did like is the writing style but this became repetitive after a while and it lost the charm it had at the beginning of the novel. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, which I’m not going to discuss because of the thing we like to call spoilers. All I will say about the ending is that it was poorly written and presented. It definitely needed more development.

Perhaps my expectations for The Falconer were too high. One of my favourite YA series is Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey books so perhaps I was unfairly expecting The Falconer to give me the same experience I had reading The Iron Fey series. Even though my high expectations have played a part in my disappointment, I didn’t find anything about The Falconer to be remarkable. There isn’t really anything about the novel that warrants me giving the book higher than the 2/5 stars I gave it on Goodreads. I won’t be continuing with this particular trilogy, sadly.

2/5 stars

– Liz

“Waiting On” Wednesday #7: 23/09/2015

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine (http://breakingthespine.blogspot.co.uk) which allows readers and bloggers to feature an up and coming book that they’re excited about.

My pick for this week is:

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever.

Alexandra Bracken is the author of the popular The Darkest Minds trilogy, as I’m sure you all know. I read the first book in that trilogy a couple of years ago and I recently, and finally, got around to reading the second book, Never Fade, and I fell in love with Bracken’s writing all over again. I’m really excited to get my hands on Bracken’s latest novel, Passenger, which will be published on 5th January, 2016.

– Liz

#FridayReads 18/09/2015

In case you’re wondering, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

The following synopsis contains some spoilers.

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

This is the second book in The Darkest Minds trilogy and so far Never Fade has been a great sequel. I have about 200 pages left to read and I’m hoping that the rest of the book is just as good as what I have read so far.

What will you be reading this weekend?

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz

#FridayReads 04/09/2015

If you don’t know, #FridayReads originated on Twitter and every Friday people tweet what they’ll be reading over the weekend. Bunny Cates brought this over to Youtube and I’m hoping to write a #FridayReads post each week to share with you what I’ll be reading.

This weekend I will be reading:

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

So far, so good! Burn for Burn is turning out to be quite an addicting read! What will you be reading this weekend?

Happy reading! 🙂

– Liz

“Waiting On” Wednesday #5: 02/09/2015

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“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine (http://breakingthespine.blogspot.co.uk) which allows readers to showcase an up and coming book.

The book that I’ve chosen for this week is:

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety?

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.

Walk on Earth a Stranger is set to be released on 22nd September, 2015. I’m really looking forward to this one as it has been a while since I’ve read any historical fiction. The reviews that I’ve read have been positive so I hope that the book lives up to my expectations.

– Liz

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Release Date: 2nd October, 2012

Pages: 340

Publisher: HarperCollins

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi was a book that I bought when Bookubers began raving about it a couple of years ago.For a really long time it has been sitting on my bookcase waiting to be read. I finally got to sit down and read Shatter Me recently and I was eager to see what all the fuss was about. The hype surrounding the book certainly didn’t ruin the book for me but I was ultimately left feeling very disappointed.

This book has been billed as a dystopian when it really shouldn’t have been. Shatter Me is a romance novel with a dystopian setting. I was in the mood for a really good dystopian story and I did not get that with Shatter Me. I found Shatter Me to be bogged down with a cringeworthy romance that I just didn’t care about. I should be in the Guinness World Records for the amount of times a person has rolled their eyes while reading.

I also found it difficult to care about the characters. There was nothing about Juliette, the main character, that made her stand out from all of the other YA female characters out there. I had the same problem with Juliette’s love interest, Adam. There was nothing unique about him as a love interest and he blends in with all the other YA male love interests that I’ve read about. And then there is Warner, the villain. Absolutely nothing about him had me quaking in my boots. Honestly, he has to be one of the worst villains I’ve ever read about.

I hate giving books a one star rating and I even find giving two star ratings difficult. All I can think about is the amount of effort every author puts in to creating their novel.  The writing was the best part of Shatter Me and is the reason I gave this book two out of five stars rather than one star. I’m aware that some readers found the writing to be nothing but purple prose and that style of writing doesn’t really bother me. I enjoyed the way the book was written and the crossed out sentences didn’t annoy me like it has with some readers. I have to admit, though, that the amount of metaphors used in Shatter Me did get ridiculous after a while.

Shatter Me might be the book for you if you’re someone who enjoys romance novels. I have to say, however, that if you edited the romance out of the novel you would be left with a story that really isn’t worth reading. I found it to be unoriginal and uneventful, with only Tahereh Mafi’s writing saving the day. I had good feelings about Shatter Me before I started reading it but now that I’ve finished the book I think I’ll be passing on the rest of the trilogy.

2/5 stars

 – Liz

Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs Review

Image Source: Goodreads

Image Source: Goodreads

“With the scale and scope of the great science fiction epics, Lost on Mars tells the story of Lora and her family, settlers on the red planet struggling to survive in incredible circumstances. The family clings to life on a smallholding, surviving storms and sinister rumours of people disappearing – until one night Lora sees the Dancers. When her father and grandmother disappear, Lora and her family are driven out to seek a new life across the plains. But none of them are ready for what they find – the beautiful, dangerous City Inside.” (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)

Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs

Release Date: 14th May, 2015

Pages: 352

Publisher: Firefly Press

Format: Paperback

Source: Purchase

I came across Lost on Mars by Paul Magrs at the YALC event at July’s London Film and Comic Con. I would usually pass on reading a book like this, as Lost on Mars is sci-fi and I am not a fan of the sci-fi genre. I was intrigued by the cover but, most importantly, the blurb captured my attention straight away. Kudos to the author for making me want to read a story that belongs in a genre that I don’t usually enjoy.

I liked Lost on Mars but I didn’t love it. I found that the first half of the book was the strongest and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. However, the rest of the book did not hold my attention like the first part of the book did. I felt that both halves of the book belonged to two different stories. The endings of some of the chapters felt a bit awkward too. Some of the chapters ended abruptly and it threw me out of the reading zone.

My favourite character has to be Toaster. I would enjoy reading a novella about this particular character. However, I didn’t really care much for the rest of the characters and as I read more and more I found myself caring less and less. The main character, Lora, was not distinguishable from other YA main characters out there, making it difficult for me to want to know more about her and her story.

Even though I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would when I first began reading it, I would still recommend it to readers who, like me, are not big fans of sci-fi. Lost in Mars isn’t loaded with sci-fi tropes and elements that make it difficult for me to get into the genre. As you can tell, I have read very little sci-fi and I am not claiming to be an expert on the genre, but for the reason just stated I think that this book would be a great introductory read for anyone looking to give sci-fi a chance.

3/5 stars

 – Liz