VENOM – Bex Hogan

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RELEASED: 16/04/2020
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: YA Fiction, Fantasy

Marianne is now the Viper, but her hopes for peace in the Eastern Isles are being frustrated. The corrupt King remains on the throne, bandits are proving hard to stop and Marianne is not sure who among her crew she can truly trust.

For the islands to prosper, the invisible bond that once existed uniting land and sea must be reinstated. There’s only one way that can happen – the return of magic. To do that Marianne must put aside all her fears: she must return to her roots, the Western Isles, and call on the power that runs in her blood.

She must become a Mage.

Only then, can she possibly command the army needed to finally take down the King.

Bex Hogan is one of the loveliest authors I’ve ever met, spoken to online, and in general. So WHY DID SHE THINK IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO END VENOM LIKE THIS?!

I know that I am not alone in my desperation for book three in this series, Vulture, to come out next year; the cliffhanger that Venom finishes on…oh gosh! Obviously, with this review, I do not want to spoil anything. But as you start to near the end, you just know things aren’t going to tie up nicely ready for the wait for book three. It’s inevitable that you will be left hungry for more.

The Isles of Storm and Sorrow series started off with the incredible Viper, which was one of the best YA fantasy books I’ve ever read, and it continues with Venom, one of the best YA fantasy sequels I’ve ever read. Even if it did destroy me, and a lot of other readers.

The thing I loved about Venom was how the characters and story really developed, and how you can see the excellent world building is. I really began to get a feel for the twelve isles and understand more about the story and what’s going on. Like Viper, it’s one of those books that you can read 50 pages without even realising – it’s just so addictive and brilliant!

I can’t recommend this series enough, and Venom was a fantastic sequel that’s left me hungry for even more!

Six for Sunday – 3rd May 2020

Good afternoon! I’m looking forward to this month’s theme – I do love a good series of books! Six for Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by A Little But A Lot! Today’s theme is:

Showing some series love: favourite book one in series

  1. Midnight for Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo
  2. Viper – Bex Hogan
  3. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – JK Rowling
  4. Murder Most Unladylike – Robin Stevens
  5. The Doomspell – Cliff McNish
  6. Inkheart – Cornelia Funke

This was actually tricky – I LOVE so so many book ones in series! I could’ve gone on and on, so narrowing it down to six was hard!

kayleigh

 

VIPER – Bex Hogan

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RELEASED: 18/04/2019
PUBLISHER: Hachette
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

I am writing this review as I sit here with a massive book hangover thanks to Viper! I can’t believe that, despite owning this book for a year, I hadn’t read it up until now, but seeing as book two has recently come out and other bloggers have been raving about this series I thought I really ought to make the time to read it. And my god am I glad that I did!

I’ve discovered a new favourite YA fantasy series and I am hungry for more!

I’ll start by saying the two words that persuaded me to push this to the top of my reading list – Pirates and Assassins. The two types of characters in a good YA fantasy that tend to make for good reading. And Viper didn’t disappoint. Full of a vast array of characters from all walks of life, the good, the bad and everything in between, there’s so much to make you want to keep reading, and you want to know how the characters are going to turn out because this book is full of intrigue and twists and you just don’t know how things are going to end up!

The plot is gripping and makes you want to turn every page, right up until the end. Bex’s writing is just so easy to get lost in and the world really comes to life without it being overly descriptive. I was very impressed with how the world and story was built up despite it not being a massively long book and this is what makes it so much more engaging! I just loved everything about it!

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and am so so glad that I finally picked it up! Perfect for fans of To Kill a Kingdom and Throne of Glass, Viper is the start of a fantastic trilogy and I can’t wait to voyage on!

 

Sundays In Bed With…Viper

I’ve had a very productive Sunday morning reading and finishing an AMAZING book that I started yesterday, so I couldn’t resist doing this tag today! Sundays In Bed With… is hosted by Midnight Book Girl.

This week, I attended the Twitter launch party for Venom by Bex Hogan. Her first book, Viper, came out last year and received a lot of very good reviews, I bought a copy when it first came out, went to an event where I got it signed and got to meet Bex…then I just never got round to actually reading it. However, I wanted to join in with the Twitter launch for book two and see whether I really ought to read it soon, and it was without hesitation that many book bloggers persuaded me to give it a go!

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

So yeah, this sounds like my kinda book. As Steph said, Pirates and Assassins.

WHY HAVEN’T I PICKED THIS UP SOONER?!

I flew through Viper, and this morning I devoured the second half. The only downside is that I now have to find a way to get a copy of Venom and it’s not in my possession right now D:

Marianne is an incredible main character; at first I wasn’t too sure of her but as the story progressed I grew to really like her! There’s such a variety of characters, the story moves at the perfect pace and it’s just AHHHH!

If you loved To Kill a Kingdom, Throne of Glass…anything like that, you will ADORE this book!

Have you read Viper yet? If not, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO!

kayleigh

ALL THE THINGS WE NEVER SAID – Yasmin Rahman

all the things we never said4.5/5

RELEASED: 11/07/2019
PUBLISHER: Hot Key
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

16-year-old Mehreen Miah’s anxiety and depression, or ‘Chaos’, as she calls it, has taken over her life, to the point where she can’t bear it any more. So she joins MementoMori, a website that matches people with partners and allocates them a date and method of death, ‘the pact’.

Mehreen is paired with Cara Saunders and Olivia Castleton, two strangers dealing with their own serious issues. As they secretly meet over the coming days, Mehreen develops a strong bond with Cara and Olivia, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through. But ironically, the thing that brought them together to commit suicide has also created a mutually supportive friendship that makes them realise that, with the right help, life is worth living.

It’s not long before all three want out of the pact. But in a terrifying twist of fate, the website won’t let them stop, and an increasingly sinister game begins, with MementoMori playing the girls off against each other.

A pact is a pact, after all. In this powerful debut written in three points of view, Yasmin Rahman has created a moving, poignant novel celebrating life. All the Things We Never Said is about friendship, strength and survival.

As soon as I saw a table of this book in a bookshop, I was drawn to it. With a bold cover, I couldn’t resist picking it up, and, when I saw the subject matter, I decided immediately that it was something that I’d be interested in reading. My favourite YA contemporaries are UKYA, based on mental health and very much character driven. All The Things We Never Said screamed all of those.

I was not disappointed at all when I started reading as I found myself drawn in to the stories of the three girls. I loved the author’s note at the beginning which really set the tone for the book, and then as I learnt more about why Mehreen, Olivia and Cara had joined MementoMori I really began to connect and empathise with the characters.

One thing that I did love was how the characters were diverse but it wasn’t the sole focus of the story and it didn’t define the character entirely. Yes, Mehreen’s religion was an important factor, but she was so much more than just that and was such a real character that, despite me being from a totally different background, I could really relate to her. I found it to be the same with all the characters and that was something that I think Yasmin really hit the nail on the head with. (I do hope I’ve phrased all of that correctly!)

The only thing that I personally wasn’t too keen on was the typeface for Olivia’s chapters. I found myself skipping ahead and I didn’t really understand why it was written in such a way! That was the only thing that really hindered my total enjoyment of the book. Nevertheless, I would still highly recommend this book, and I’ve also got the audiobook to love and enjoy as much!

Before I sign off this review, I would just like to highlight that there are a lot of triggers in this book which people who are a bit more vulnerable to those kinds of books may struggle with. Topics touched upon, besides suicide, include self-harm, rape and severe anxiety and depression. I personally was okay with all of these and found that they were handled very sensitively and not in a way that made for uncomfortable reading – I have found books on these topics triggering before but All The Things We Never Said was so well written that I still found enjoyment in the reading experience of this one.

Overall, I would definitely say that it’s worth getting a copy of this book, and of the audiobook, and I can’t wait to see what Yasmin writes next!

WWW Wednesday: 5th February 2020

Hello and happy Wednesday! Half way through the week already…just two days to go!

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started the second Kissing Booth book by Beth Reekles. I loved the first (and the Netflix adaptation) so can’t wait to see what’s in store!

heartstopper volume 3

 

 

 


What did you recently finish reading?

I’ve read a few books over the past week or so – All The Things We Never Said by Yasmin Rahman, The Sky Is Mine by Amy Beashel and volume three of Heartstopper! I loved all three, but am desperately awaiting volume four of Heartstopper now!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m not too sure; I’m kind of feeling in a YA contemporary mood at the minute, so we shall see!

kayleigh

THE SKY IS MINE – Amy Beashel

the sky is mine

RELEASED: 6/2/2020
PUBLISHER: Rock the Boat
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

Izzy feels invisible. Trapped under the weight of expectation and censored by shame.

Her mum Steph and best friend Grace have always been there to save her. But with one under the control of her stepfather and the other caught in the throes of new love, Izzy is falling between the cracks.

As threats to her safety grow, Izzy wants to scream. But first she must find her voice.

And if the sky is the limit, then the sky is hers.

[This book contains material which some readers may find distressing, including discussions of rape, coercive behaviour, domestic violence and abuse.]

I heard about this book quite a long time ago and loved the sound of it! However, when I went to pick it up I realised that it had themes of domestic violence which is an automatic no for me usually. That said, I knew there must’ve been a reason that I requested a copy of The Sky is Mine in the first place so I decided to give it a go, and I’m so so glad that I did!

It’s been a loooong time since I read a book in one sitting, and this was surprisingly one of those books! I simply couldn’t put it down; I just had to know what happened as I turned every page and I was completely hooked. I’ve read books that cover similar themes before, and I’ve kept reading despite feeling incredibly uncomfortably purely because I wanted to know that everything worked out okay. With The Sky is Mine, I kept reading because I wanted to know how everything worked out, of course, but I also cared about the characters and felt that, although it was an accurate portrayal, it didn’t leave me feeling awful as I read it. There were some lighter moments and that made all the difference which is what I loved about The Sky is Mine; despite having some pretty heavy themes, it didn’t feel like a heavy book to read and the topics were handled sensitively and very well. I did like the fact that it was focused on coercive control too; whilst that’ll hit home with a lot of readers, it, again, was handled in a way that made it informative and realistic without being horrid to read about.

I don’t want you to go away thinking that this is solely a book focused on domestic violence, however; there are themes of friendship, romance and just the general difficulties of being a teenager! Izzy was such a good main character; she was very realistic and relatable, and many of the difficulties she faces throughout the book are the kinds of emotions and feelings that so many young people face. 

The Sky is Mine is a brilliant example of what makes for a deep yet enjoyable UKYA read, and I’m very excited to see what Amy writes next!


Thank you to Rock the Boat for sending me a proof of this title.

SEVEN GHOSTS – Chris Priestley

5/5

RELEASED: 15/10/2019
PUBLISHER: Barrington Stoke
GENRE: YA, Ghost Story

Jake and the other finalists in a writing competition have been invited to a stately house for a tour like no other. As their guide leads them through grand rooms, hidden nooks and magnificent grounds, they hear the stories of seven ghosts who haunt the halls. But strange shapes and shadows follow Jake as he journeys through the house and with each tale that Jake hears, he begins to feel more uneasy. All is not as it seems and soon Jake will discover that something is very, very wrong … Old ghosts are stirred-up for Halloween in this spine-tingling, multi-narrative horror. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

It’s been a while since I’ve sat and read anything more than a picture book in one sitting, but Seven Ghosts just gripped me from the very beginning! I expected to like this book because I do love a good YA ghost story and I know that Chris Priestley is an example of a fab author for these books, but what caught me off guard was just how much I loved it. I finished Seven Ghosts and immediately wanted to pick it up again and revisit the story!

This review will be short and sweet because I honestly think going into this book knowing as little as possible is the best way! It’s so well written and the story flows perfectly keeping you gripped throughout. It’s chilling and spooky and makes for the perfect Halloween read. I will definitely be picking up Seven Ghosts every year to read in October, and I highly recommend that if you’re after a good scary YA book that you do the same!


Thank you to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this book!

NO BIG DEAL – Bethany Rutter

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RELEASED: 08/08/2019
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary

It’s not my body that’s holding me back. It’s more of a problem that people keep telling me it should.

Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in.

With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

No Big Deal is a warm, funny inspiring debut YA novel from Bethany Rutter: influencer, editor and a fierce UK voice in the debate around body positivity.

I wasn’t too sure at first as to whether I wanted to request to read this book before publication; I’m not a huge fan of the cover (it just isn’t something I’d pick up off the shelf and it’s pink…) and books about weight can be a bit hit and miss for me. However, I am so so glad that I did decide to hit that request button and grateful to the publisher for sending it to me!

From the very beginning I was hooked; Emily is a brilliant narrator and it was so easy to get lost in this book. On the surface it ticks all the boxes for a great YA contemporary, but it goes so much deeper than that with the whole body image storyline. Add to that there’s a whole host of interesting and diverse characters who didn’t just fit into their stereotype.

The main theme of body image is handled brilliantly and in a way that isn’t triggering. It’s about acceptance and feeling comfortable in your own skin rather than about trying to change yourself and be someone you’re not. The thing that really pushes this over to a 5 star book is this aspect because it promotes positive body image and this is something that’s extremely important to get across in YA books at a time where teens and young adults do tend to struggle with these issues. However, I do love that it also showed how negative body image can be something that impacts upon later life. This really is a book that I could’ve done with when I was younger, but even now I’ve found it to be so beneficial in making me feel more comfortable about myself!

I’d find it quite interesting to hear what a male’s take on this book would be; whilst it is very much catered for young females with its narrator and themes, without giving too much away there are aspects where it touches upon how guys respond to girls and how a girl’s body image can be impacted upon by their reactions and what they do and don’t do/say.

It’s without hesitation that I give this book five stars; days after reading it I still can feel its impact and would love to read it again in the near future! Highly, highly recommend.


Thank you to My Kinda Book via NetGalley for sending me the eBook of this title!

BECAUSE OF YOU – Eve Ainsworth

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RELEASED: 15/07/2019
PUBLISHER: Barrington Stoke
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Dyslexia Friendly

Poppy’s having a nightmare at home. Her parents have split up and her mum’s new boyfriend is moving in. Dad is the one who’s always been there for Poppy, but now he’s drifting further and further away. It seems like things can’t get any worse until it all goes wrong at school as well and Poppy finds herself being targeted by spiteful bullies. As the vicious online comments keep coming, who can Poppy turn to for help? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 12+

Eve Ainsworth is a staple author for fans of UKYA contemporary books, and so I was very excited to see that she’s releasing a novella with Barrington Stoke this year! The thing that I love about Eve’s books is how she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics but also creates stories and characters to love. Because of You is no exception.

I think that Eve has really hit the nail on the head with all the emotions that go with being a teen in a non-nuclear family, as well as dealing with some difficult topics such as parents separating, rejection and bullying.  Change is something that can be so difficult to deal with, no matter what age you are, and so to see it handled so positively and constructively is brilliant. I also like how this is suitable for the younger teen market which is an area where there are few books.

This is a standout title from Barrington Stoke for me; it’s full of what makes UKYA so brilliant, but in a way that’s accessible to a wider range of readers, and so I’d highly recommend it!


Thank you to Kirstin at Barrington Stoke for sending me a copy of this book!