ENCHANTÉE – Gita Trelease

47584789_2034450909979277_7616072665545668784_n5/5

RELEASED: 21/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Pan Macmillan
GENRE: Young Adult, Historical Fantasy

A compellingly beautiful tale of magic, intrigue and deception, set against the backdrop of eighteenth-century Paris on the cusp of revolution.

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians . . . 
When seventeen-year-old Camille is left orphaned, she has to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the `Baroness de la Fontaine` and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life . . .

Enchantée, a word which translates to enchanted…and that is quite literally how this book made me feel throughout my whole reading experience.

As a student of French, I am a sucker for a book set in Paris so of course as soon as I heard about this book I knew that it was one that I’d have to get my hands on. I squealed when I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy from MyKindaBook and was desperate to dive into the world of revolutionary Paris. I had very high expectations going into this book, and thankfully it was everything and more!

Camille is a very likable main character. She’s not perfect and has basic human flaws, but she is definitely a good person and cares deeply for her sister. The family unit in Enchantée is an interesting one, and it’s one that changes significantly as the story progresses. We see how situations can have a massive impact upon a person, and yet how, even in the hardest of times, love and caring for others can make a huge difference.

Talking of love…we meet a host of different characters both in Paris and at Versailles, but the one who absolutely stood out to me was Lazare. I adore him. He’s got his own brilliant character arc throughout the story, and, again, he’s not perfect! But that’s part of why I finished this book loving him so much.

La magie in Enchantée is also a fascinating take on the whole magician thing; the knowledge of how it works builds up gradually throughout the book and slowly intertwines itself in the story. It’s a very clever world that Gita has crafted; you truly believe that you’re in Paris at a time of change, and that magic truly can exist!

If you haven’t gathered by now, I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It’s perfect for fans of historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and the comparisons to The Night Circus and Caraval are very much deserved. If you like any of those, I implore you to pick up Enchantée and discover a new favourite book!


Thank you to Amber at MyKindaBook for sending me a copy of Enchantée!
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My Year of Audible: 2018

It’s scary to think that I’m already over halfway through Blogmas 2018! Today I am going to share with you some of the audiobooks that I have loved this year; although I’ve not listened as frequently lately, I have got some brilliant audiobooks this year!

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson narrated by Leon Williams

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

The Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles narrated by Cynthia Holloway

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman narrated by Aysha Kala, Huw Parmenter

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven narrated by Laura Aikman

Legendary – Stephanie Garner narrated by Rebecca Soler

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo narrated by Jacob York, Stephanie Willis

Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller narrated by Marisa Calin

Although I haven’t got around to finishing listening to all of these, I have loved the freedom of having an Audible membership and having some wonderful titles added to my audiobook library!

Have you listened to any of these, or are there any you’d recommend?

FIERCE FRAGILE HEARTS – Sara Barnard

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So…as I write this review it’s 2018. I’ve already decided what one of the top books of 2019 is, and it’s this one – the sequel to the equally wonderful Beautiful Broken Things.

I was so desperate for a copy of this book, and I’m so glad that I was approved on NetGalley to read it early! The only reservation I had was that it was so long ago that I read Beautiful Broken Things that I thought I wouldn’t remember anything about it and would struggle to get into the new title, but how wrong I was! It’s a testament to how brilliant Sara’s writing and characterisation is that I was thrown straight back into the world with some of the most wonderful characters!

img_3606A key factor that makes Sara’s books so popular and loved is that her characters are real. They’re perfectly flawed, relatable and diverse. For example, as we’ve previously seen in her books, mental health is a key theme that she gets right – in Fierce Fragile Hearts, whether or not you have experience of anxiety, depression or bipolar, there’re parts of Suze (our main character) that are highly relatable to all readers on some level. However, the thing that I love is that those heavy topics that in so many books you have to put them down, such as abuse and mental health, don’t define the book and overshadow the story. I guess what I’m very badly trying to say is that a subject that could be incredibly triggering is presented in a way that doesn’t detract from your enjoyment of the book.

I could witter on about how much I love this book for ages, and as the day has gone on the intensity of that feeling has grown, along with my feelings for Matt *swoon*. Yet again, a five-star read that I urge everyone to get their hands on!


Thank you to MyKindaBook via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

Octavia’s Bookshop and the Importance of Children’s Books

43040787_936035309933128_6894985969526591029_nLast week, I had the pleasure of discovering Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester. This beautiful little independent is primarily a children’s bookshop which meant that gasps were heard all around upon stumbling across this hidden gem! Octavia’s is a stunning little shop that’s all cosy and welcoming, and full to the brim with wonderful children’s books. We also were able to have a chat with Octavia and get excited over books with her, as well as having a discussion about the importance of children’s books.

the goldfish boyThis is something that I’m sure many people encounter – book snobbery. When I first started at Waterstones, a colleague turned around and commented on how I read “rubbish”, also known as books from the children’s section, and I’ve come across this frequently. Particularly with YA, there seems to be this total disregard for its value and importance from individuals right up to the big companies. There is no investment, and yet children’s books and YA are arguably the most important books out there. You’ll notice that the first section to be downsized in most bookshops is the children’s and YA, despite the fact that those sections can often be taking a high proportion of the business. Children need books to be physical – an electronic picture book just isn’t the same as a print version, and there are a lot of children from less affluent backgrounds who don’t have access to an eBook in the same way that they would a physical copy.

that's not my unicornYou see, without these sections, where do the readers of “grown up” literature and non-fiction start? We have to develop that love of reading from children, which means we need books catering towards children. And no, that doesn’t mean that children should only read classics. In my opinion, although there is still something to be loved about them, the classics are often dated and usually irrelevant to the lives of children and young people today. I used to see parents come in and turn their noses up at all the wonderful books that today’s authors are bringing to the table, books that nurture a love of reading and books that I’ve seen make children into bookworms. Without these books, who is going to grow up and read all the books aimed at adults? If a child doesn’t develop a love of reading from a young age, what’s the likelihood of them developing it in adulthood?

words in deep blueAll of that said, children’s books are incredible for adults too; they provide escapism, reminiscence and life lessons. I’m finding that as I grow up, my brain still thinks I’m a teenager at times and so of course I’m going to relate to the angst of a young adult in teen fiction! There is so much that we can learn from children’s books, and especially empathy and respect for children.

 

What’s your opinion? I’d love to know!

kayleigh

 

An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

ALL ABOUT MIA – Lisa Williamson

5/5

One of the best UKYA contemporary releases in recent years.

All About Mia focuses on Mia as we see her develop from this self-centered teen into a more mature teen/young adult over the course of this story. What’s so likable about her is that she isn’t perfect; she’s very much her own character and she’s very real, and that is something that is so important for teens and young adults to connect with. To top off an awesome book, Lisa Williamson’s writing style is flawless and touches upon so many important/diverse topics in such a way that it isn’t thrust in your face like many other books can be – in this book there are hints of feminism, multiculturalism and relationships to name a few.

I didn’t expect to love this book quite this much, but honestly I couldn’t put it down! Mia is such a lively character who literally leaps off the page – whilst I probably have more in common with Grace, I could totally relate to Mia, and I think that everyone (whether or not they’re the middle child, or even have siblings) can understand how she’s feeling and why she acts like she does. We get to learn so much about all three sisters, who are all at different stages of their teen years and all have feelings that we can all connect with or remember from being those ages.

It’s been a fair while since I read this book, and I still think it’s a firm five star read that I would highly recommend.


Thank you to David Fickling books for my copy of this title!

LOOKING FOR JJ – Anne Cassidy

5/5

One of my favourite books of all time from my personal Queen of Teen Crime.

Looking For JJ starts with the story of Alice Tully, a 17 year-old girl living and working in Croydon. She seems to have it all – a job she enjoys, a loving boyfriend, prospects for university, a caring home…but all is not as it seems and we soon learn that Alice is hiding a dark secret.

Flash back 7 years, and we are introduced to Jennifer Jones, a 10 year old girl living a very dysfunctional life with her mother, a model of sorts, and struggling to deal with growing up in an environment where she is left to fend for herself. Jennifer is quiet, reserved and seemingly innocent, but all that changes when she and two friends go out to play…but only two of them return.

This book crafts the story of JJ perfectly – it’s so hard to actively dislike the young girl who we know does a terrible thing. It’s a book that makes you question rapidly judging people and whether we should give people second chances. The writing is exquisite, grips you from the get-go and draws you into the lives of the characters in such a way that it really does feel as though you know them. I can’t recommend this book highly enough!

NO SAD SONGS – Frank Morelli

4/5

A heartfelt story of family, friends and life.

Following a family tragedy, 18-year-old Gabe LoScuda suddenly finds himself thrust into the role of caregiver for his ailing grandfather. Between the shopping trips and the doctor visits with Grandpa, Gabe and his friend John try to salvage their senior year, meet girls, and make the varsity baseball team. It doesn’t take long for Gabe to realize that going to school and looking after a grandfather with Alzheimer’s is more work than he ever imagined.

And when long-lost Uncle Nick appears on the scene, Gabe soon finds that living with Nick and Grandpa is like babysitting two grown men. Aside from John, the only person who truly understands Gabe is Sofia, a punk-rocking rebel he meets at the veteran’s hospital. When these three unlikely friends are faced with a serious dilemma, will they do what it takes to save Grandpa? If there’s a chance of preserving the final shreds of Grandpa’s dignity, Gabe may have to make the most gut-wrenching decision of his life—and there’s no way out.

As soon as I heard the details for this book, I just knew I had to be involved in the blog tour and read this title! Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Jandy Nelson and Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, No Sad Songs touches upon so many aspects of Young Adult fiction that I, and many other readers, love, such as friendship, crushes and an emotional rollercoaster!

I have very rarely come across a book that focuses on the very common illness of Alzheimer’s, so this was a very interesting yet heartbreaking subject to read about. That said, the warmth that comes off the page doesn’t make this a depressing book to read, and rather it serves as an important book in YA to highlight what so many young people go through when relatives have this illness. No Sad Songs focuses a lot on how important it is to live in the present and to not focus on the past, and how life can throw all sorts of curve balls at us.

Finally, I must stress how beautiful Frank Morelli’s writing style is – this book was such a good read because of it! I found it so easy to get into and the characters really came to life; Gabe especially is a very interesting and complex character who has had to go through so much and yet continues to soldier on. His life is turned completely upside down and you can’t fault his resilience.

If you’d like to read No Sad Songs, and I highly recommend that you do, then you can get your own copy here: Amazon UKAmazon US.

 


Thank you to Neverland Blog Tours and Fish Out Of Water for the eBook of this title, and for the opportunity to be involved!

FLOORED – Various

4/5

Floored brings together some of the queens of UKYA (Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson, Tanya Byrne and Eleanor Wood)

I am a sucker for a good UKYA contemporary, especially when you throw in names such as Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne and Lisa Williamson; I just know it’s a book I will love! So, imagine my delight when I discovered that Floored is a thing and so it was the first book that I sent a begging email for since starting blogging! Despite not getting a copy, I was super lucky to get one straight away through NetGalley (thank you Macmillan!) and bumped this straight to the top of my TBR!

Floored is told from the perspective of six characters, and a narrator. What adds to its charm is how you don’t know which author wrote which parts – this makes for a fun game of “guess the author”! I loved how seamlessly the story seemed to flow between narrators and how all of the different writing styles complimented each other perfectly.

A key thing that makes Floored such a success is how relatable it is; the book spans several years and we “check-in” with our characters once a year, and so we see how in the space of a year so much can change when you’re in your teens and going into early adulthood. It’s during this time that our characters really develop and our friendships are evolving and you are beginning to realise what’s truly important. Floored is all about the ups and downs that these years can bring and it captures this perfectly.

I think that the only thing I really didn’t like was the bringing in of political parties to the story. I think that an unfair light was cast upon one party over another, especially when you consider the character narrating at the time, and this is something that put me off giving this book a higher rating.

Nevertheless, overall this book is a solid 4 stars – it tackles such a range of topics with some very likeable characters. Everyone will find some way to relate to what these narrators go through, you’ll see your positives and your flaws. I’d definitely love to see more collaborations from this group in the future!


Thank you to Macmillan via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

WWW Wednesday: 30th May 2018

Hello! I’m sorry for the lack of posting this week – I just haven’t had the energy to do anything really! But I’m back this week with another WWW Wednesday post.

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started Differently Normal by Tammy Robinson, which comes out on 7th June. I’m really liking what I’ve read so far so watch this space!

What did you recently finish reading?

I think the last books that I finished were My Box-Shaped Heart and two more additions to the Little People, Big Dreams series – Georgia O’Keeffe and Harriet Tubman, which were beautiful as always.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I think I’m going to try to read The Summer of Us by Cecilia Vinesse. I’m hearing such good stuff about it that I can’t wait to get to it!