Tag Archives: YA

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris. Review

There’s a reviewer on goodreads called Jilly who really sums up this series for me, she says ‘this series is one of those kinds where it doesn’t move all that fast but you just enjoy hanging out with the characters’ I couldn’t have said it better than that myself. I love the characters in this series and all their quirky, individual ways.

There are a few spoilers here from Midnight Crossroad but the review of Day Shift is spoiler free don’t worry!

Day Shift invites us further into the world of Midnight, Texas and the characters who live there. A tiny hamlet near Davy, Midnight has lots of boarded up storefronts and only a few people living there. There’s Fiji a self proclaimed witch who owns the store The Inquiring Mind, Manfred, still fairly new to the town, a telephone psychic, Bobo who owns the pawnbrokers, Olivia some kind of superhero fighter woman and Lemuel the emotion draining vampire. There’s also Joe and Chuy a gay couple who might perhaps be angels. Then there’s Madonna, Teacher and their baby who seem to be normal and the Rev who nobody knows quite what he is. There’s also the return of some of the characters from the Sookie Stackhouse series as well!

Manfred finds himself in a spot of bother in Day Shift when one of his clients dies during a private reading. Accused of stealing her jewellery by her psycho son, and suspected of potentially murdering the woman, Manfred has to rely on his friends in the town to help him out of this mess, even if their methods are a little unconventional.

I’m getting rather addicted to this series and looking forward to getting straight into Night Shift the final book in this trilogy series.

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Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris. Review

Midnight Crossroad is the first in Charlaine Harris’ new series Midnight Texas. The town of Midnight is grateful for the Crossroad as it drives business from outsiders into the tiny hamlet. With only a nail bar, Gas station, diner, pawnbrokers and magic shop, the town is quiet with only a few residents, well known to each other. Manfred Bernardo an Internet psychic moves into the town and soon discovers that there’s something a little unusual about the townsfolk.

I really loved the concept of this novel, supernatural people all living together in a little hamlet, disturbed by white supremacy is about what sums it up which sounds ridiculous but it works!

I loved all the characters, some of them are open about their supernatural powers like Fiji the witch, while others like the Rev and Bobo are yet to be revealed, although I already have my suspicions. I am a huge fan of the Sookie Stackhouse series and Charlaine Harris does not disappoint with this latest series!

The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. Review

A unique blend of historical and fantasy fiction. The Lie Tree is one of a kind.

Faith and her family are moving to the island of Vane so that her father the Reverend Erasmus Sunderly can consult on a new archeological dig. To most people Faith seems shy and demure but inside she is burning with questions about the world and in particular science.

But when her father’s body is discovered Faith can not accept the ruling of suicide or accidental death, so she begins her own investigation and uncovers her father’s biggest secret; The Lie Tree.

The Tree feeds off lies and in return reveals secrets. Faith sees it as an opportunity to discover the secrets of her father’s death, but doesn’t realise she is putting herself into the same kind of danger.

A cross between a Victorian Murder mystery and a YA fantasy series. A truly brilliant piece of fiction which brings brand new ideas to the table.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. Review

Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and Holly Black for my ARC of The Cruel Prince. If there’s anything in this world I love, its stories about fairies. Growing up I was obsessed with them, I had collections of picture books and of course the staple fairy book; The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. My favourite film was Fairytale A True Story and I was convinced that I would be able to see them. Because I truly believed, and that’s all you need right? If you believe in Fairies, you’ll see them.

Holly Black follows in the footsteps of her friend Cassandra Clare in that her Fairies are not the sprightly, sweet, pink wearing Flower Fairies of Cicely Mary Barker’s compendiums. Instead they are dark, the Seelie and Unseelie courts, Lords and Ladies of Misrule, tempting humans into slavery with their narcotic spiked fruits, ensorcelling them with their commands and dark magic. That’s exactly what kind of world Jude and her sister Taryn walk into when their older sister Vivienne’s fairy Dad walks back into their lives and takes them to live in Faerie.

Jude has a lot to contend with, not only does she need to protect herself and her sister from the charms of the fey, she has also found an enemy in Prince Cardan, the youngest and cruelest prince who seems to be doing his best to make Jude’s life a misery.

But there are bigger players in this game, a game much larger and more complicated than child’s play. Somehow, Jude finds herself right in the middle of it. With everything to lose, she’s everything to play.

Dark, dangerous and deliciously deceitful. The Cruel Prince is an outstanding first novel in what I think will become an addictively good series.

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt. Review

Claire is simply trying to get on with her life without forever being branded ‘milk tits’ after her bikini slip was caught on film. As part of her volunteering work, she reads to Kam, a boy from her school who had a terrible accident which has left him with a neurological disability.

Sef is Kam’s brother and he’s struggling with the accident which he partially blames himself for. When he discovers that Kam needs thousands of pounds to be able to stay in his current care facility, he decides to set up a YouTube channel to help raise the money. Somehow, Claire ends up helping him and their worlds collide.

Truth or Dare is has an unusual USP, from page 1-181 we hear the story from Claire’s point of view, then, we flip the book over and start reading Sef’s point of view from the back of the book, until they meet again in the middle. I really liked this feature, it reminded me a little of the books where you used to be able to choose the ending.

I sort of loved and hated the relationship between Sef and Claire, but I can’t really say why without spoiling it! If you’ve read it though, please feel free to post your opinion in the comments as I’d love to discuss it further with someone!

Truth or Dare explored many issues from the obvious ones of Neurological disabilities and the way people (in particular teenagers) deal with guilt and grief when a family member or friend is injured, but also issues like sexuality, consent, emotions, and the difference between a beautiful heart and a beautiful face.

All in all a thought provoking and excellent read.

The Girls by Emma Cline. Review

It’s the heart of summer in Northern California. 1969 and the decade of free love and peace for all is coming to an end. Evie Boyd is a bored, lonely teenager, her crush has run off with his pregnant girlfriend, her best friend has fallen out with her and her parents have got divorced. Then she meets The Girls. Unable to recognise her new found friends as a cult, Evie is drawn into the world of free love, a ranch house, dirty and crumbling, The Girls always tripping on acid, and the charismatic leader Russell who is quick to envelope the needy Evie into what she perceives to be a ready made family.

Evie’s home life hasn’t been great since her dad left, and she sees the opportunity afforded to her by the beautiful Suzanne. Spurred on by her idealisation of the Girl, she is willing to do anything to remain part of the group.

The story is based on the Manson murders although I didn’t actually know this when reading it and know nothing about the Manson murders although I’ll be sure to look them up now. What this novel did do however was personify a utterly charismatic leader and the ease with which young people can be drawn into the circle. Convinced to commit violent crimes beyond human comprehension.

Well written, evocative and provocative, The Girls is a masterpiece of a novel. Truly unforgettable.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Review.

I’ve heard a lot about this book, and it’s currently being made into a movie which will hopefully spread the important message The Hate U Give delivers to even more people (non-readers). But I still cannot express the importance of reading this book. I often hear about lists of ‘books you should read before you die’ The Hate U Give seriously deserves a place on that list. Somewhere near the top.

Angie Thomas writes about a subject we all hear about, shake our heads at, feel sorry at, but do nothing about. Particularly, in the UK where it doesn’t happen. It’s easy to not worry about things which happen over the pond.

The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr. A 16 year old black girl living in the projects with her loving if dysfunctional family. Starr is lucky enough to go to a private school where she can be given a chance at life without falling into the gangland drug culture of her neighbour. Starr goes to a party one night and someone is shot. Escaping the party with her old friend Khalil he is explaining to her why Tupac is still relevant when a white police officer pulls them over and shoots Khalil dead. For nothing.

Khalil’s death changes Starr, suddenly she sees things in a different light, the little racist jokes her friend makes at school, the way that Khalil is dismissed as a gang member and drug dealer as if this means he deserved to die.

What Angie Thomas does is explore the reactions of both black and white communities, both the ties that hold them together and the violence which tears them apart. She doesn’t just look at what white people do to black people but how living in an environment like the Projects turns them against one another, as gangs fight gangs and innocent people are caught in the crossfire.

This is not a story where everything becomes ‘happy’ in the end. It’s a story of truth, of white privilege. How many white people insist that white privilege doesn’t exist? How many white people are told that if they’re lost or afraid they should seek out a police officer for help, how many black people are told the same thing as Starr? If you see a policeman only speak when spoken to, don’t make any sudden movements, keep your hands where they can see them? How horrendous is it that a child should be taught that lesson so that they aren’t shot? Where has this idea of ‘shoot first ask questions later’ come from?

This book has broken my heart, it’s not that I didn’t appreciate the importance of the subject matter before because I did, I’m a big campaigner of equality, of human rights and combating racism and racist behaviour. But what makes me sad is that in 2017 not everybody is. That everyone thinks that because black people are no longer slaves it’s all ok. But it’s not. Starr’s father said it right when he asked her where she thought this multi million dollar business of drugs came from and how it got into the streets of poor people, there aren’t enough people asking these questions and until we do, how will we ever find the answers to make it right?