Book Review – Vicious – V.E Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Well, this was a bit bloody brilliant wasn’t it? Vicious was the first V.E Schwab book I read and I’m more than a little bit in love with the novel and plot. Victor and Eli are both stand out characters and, more so, I was just knocked sideways by how smart the plot was.

When I first started reading the novel I did get a bit confused, there’s quite a few characters to start with quite early on, we’re going between modern day for the characters and 10 years ago. That took quite a bit of getting used to and I had to really concentrate at times to make sure I knew what was going on. However, once I got past that I was obsessed with this book.

Personally, I love Victor he was definitely my favourite character, even if he wasn’t always likeable. I feel that all of the characters were interesting but there was just something about Victor that I found so interesting, possibly in his way of thinking, his motives. I didn’t quite connect with Eli the same way but I might in the next novel, who knows?

This is a book that really kept me reading, I needed to know what what going to happen – how the ‘game’ was going to play out and more importantly who was going to survive. And I was completely hooked. I also had a huge soft soft for Sydney and needed to know what was going to happen to her.

Also, no spoilers but that ending, THAT ENDING. I absolutely loved it and I’m quite glad I picked up both novels after Vengeful was released because while I am taking time to process between books I can go to the next one without that much of a wait.

I gave this 5 stars, I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone. I am kicking myself for not picking up a V.E Schwab novel sooner. She is clearly an incredible story teller and I can’t wait to see what happens in Vengeful.

Book Review: Daisy Jones & The Six – Taylor Jenkins Reid

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six, but nobody knows the reason behind their split at the absolute height of their popularity . . . until now.

Told through interviews with the band and those closest to them, the history of Daisy Jones & The Six is laid bare, although some accounts vary. Each band member takes us through the late 60s and early 70s telling a story of what those years meant to them and ultimately what destroyed them.

I’d heard people say they fell in love with this book but I didn’t know how much I would fall in love with this book. Within a single novel I knew that Taylor Jenkins Reid was going to be one of my favourite authors – I immediately downloaded a few of her books in audiobook format after finishing Daisy Jones.

The fact that Jenkins Reid has been able to write an entire book in interviews and not leave out anything or feel like the reader is missing out was incredible. I also felt like we could really get to know each individual character, understand them and their motives and it really rounded out the plot.

It may come as a surprise to some, but my favourite character was Camilla. She was absolutely incredible, a strong woman who knew her own heart and did what was best for her and her relationships. She was a voice of reason and I just loved her so, so much. To be fair this is a novel full of incredible women, so there’s a lot of love all around.

This novel lived in my head for weeks after reading it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I made my own 70s playlist and wondered about what would have happened after. It is the sign of a truly great novel and great writer for that to happen. The band felt so real, personally, I’d love for the songs written in the book to be performed by recording artists for us to enjoy.

Is it any surprise that I gave this novel 5 stars? This was probably my favourite book of the year so far (in close competition with The Seven husbands of Evelyn Hugo, another novel by Taylor Jenkins Reid). I truly felt like this was real, I wanted to go and listen to music by The Six, hear Daisy’s soul in her voice. Absolutely incredible and I’ve been trying to make everyone read it.

Book Review: Prince Charming (Royals) – Rachel Hawkins

It isn’t every day that your older sister is set to marry a member of the royal family, but that’s the position that Daisy and her family find themselves in – and she wants no part of it. She’s happy with her florida life, her mermaid red hair and staying out of the paparazzi’s way. But, when a whiff of scandal comes for Daisy she’s shipped off the Scotland…and it’s just the beginning of a royal rollercoaster.

I picked this up at YALC last year, but didn’t get around to it until earlier this year and I’m kicking myself for waiting that long! This is a light story but one that is a lot of fun and has a healthy dose of romance. When I bought my copy the novel was called Royals, this has been update this year to Prince Charming, with a new cover to die for.

First things first, our protagonist, Daisy, is an absolute delight. She’s hilarious but also glaringly normal – which is why you relate to her so much. There’s no rule book on what to do if you become in laws to the royal family or how to get on with the aristocracy when it’s a whole different world – I know I would struggle!

When Daisy meets the younger royals and their friends, Prince Seb, Monty and the rest of the ‘Royal Wreckers’ is when the fun really begins. As Monty is instructed to teach Daisy the royal ropes, he finds his work cut out for him. Daisy doesn’t fit the role of the traditional lady, but it’s because of that she can teach them a thing or two.

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between Daisy and her older sister Ellie evolve throughout the book. It’s clear at the start they are very different people with different priorities but they need each other – even if they don’t always see it. I wish we saw more of the sister relationship in YA, this is part of the reason the novel really stood out for me.

I gave this 5 stars, this was an absolute joy to read. It had the perfect amount of romance, comedy and royalty for me to enjoy. I’ve recommended this to a lot of people and I will continue to. Keep an eye out for my review of the next book in the series (!!) following the roommate of Princess Flora.

Book Review: The Year I Didn’t Eat – Samuel Pollen

14-year-old Max has a fight on his hands. Living with Anorexia is tough enough without having to be at school and trying to keep it secret from your closest friends. As Max writes to ‘Ana’ and tries to navigate his illness he has to deal with the new girl at school who won’t stop staring, family drama and seeing his therapist. Can he beat this?

I was asked if I would like to receive a copy of this novel and I was immediately intrigued. There are very few stories of teenage boys going through an eating disorder, so of course, I wanted to read, I’m incredibly glad I did.

Starting and ending on Christmas day, the novel chronicles a year in Max’s life, alongside writing a diary to his disorder – aptly named Ana. This was a particular highlight for me, the writing was emotional but not sad – I actually laughed a fair bit reading this. Pollen isn’t trying to make Max a sympathy figure. The combination of the diary entries and showing some of the obsessive thoughts was incredibly well done –  I could see similarities between Max’s and my own thoughts from our respective mental illnesses.

It is mentioned a few times within the novel the disconnect that Max feels from what is stereotypically viewed as what a with Anorexia looks like – a teenage girl. By confronting this head-on, Pollen shows insight into something incredibly important – anyone can get a mental illness. The fact that Max is a teenage boy, known for being quite geeky with a loving family and great friends and still has these problems reinforces that.

This shows a new level of representation that is rarely seen, in fact, I don’t believe I have ever read a novel featuring a guy with an eating disorder – which is absurd! I’m hopeful that this will start more conversations. The fact that Pollen has drawn on his own experiences makes this even more realistic.

The novel shows not only the impact that eating disorders have on the person with the illness but also the pressure it can put on families. We meet Max’s family and often feel for them as much as him. That said, despite the hardships faced, Max’s relationship with his older brother Robin was probably my favourite part. They truly seem to care for each other and Robin’s encouragement of Geocaching really seems to be a turning point.

Of course, this is a tough read and it does give descriptions of disordered eating and calories – if these are tough for you to read it might be worth picking this up at a later point.

Is it any surprise that I gave this 5 stars?  This is a novel that needed to be written. Showing that eating disorders can affect anyone and that, by talking about it, we have more of a chance of helping those going through it. I absolutely adored this novel – it will truly make its mark. I truly feel that this will make people feel less alone.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Conker communications for the chance to read this in exchange for an open and honest review.

Book Review: Louis and Louise

Book Review: Louis & Louise – Julie Cohen

One life, two realities. 

Born on the same day, to the same family and named after the same ancestor Louis & Louise are the same person. However, cries of ‘it’s a boy’, or ‘it’s a girl’ change everything. Seen through the eyes of  ‘Lou’ in both realities this is Julie Cohen’s most impressive novel yet. 

Wow, wow, wow. I’ve been a fan of Julie Cohen’s since reading Dear Thing a few years ago, but this was something else. I’m not sure what I expected going into this and it was truly flawless. Seeing life and how different it could be simply due to gender was so interesting. 

It’s worth pointing out that it can take a little bit of time to get used to the differences in Louis and Louise’s life and who’s who. For the first few chapters I had to really concentrate on what was going on to make sure I was following the right timeline within the novel. 

This novel will make you think about what the characters are going through and, more importantly, why these lives are so different simply because of gender. That’s one of the best parts of the novel for me – it’s taking a wider question and slipping it into a story you can get lost in. 

It’s not a surprise that I gave this 5 stars. This is a novel that has enormous heart but I think this is going to break boundaries. A huge thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an advance copy. 

Book Review: A Spark Of Light – Jodi Picoult

A Spark of Light - Jodi Picoult

A normal morning changes multiple lives forever. After calls come in that a shooting has taken place in a Women’s Reproductive Health clinic, negotiator Hugh heads to the scene, what he doesn’t realise is that his 15-year-old daughter is one of the hostages.

I’ve been a Picoult fan for almost 10 years and devour her books when they come out. So, of course, I was itching to get my hands on a copy of her latest novel and as soon as I heard the subject matter I really wanted to see how she would tackle this topic. She isn’t afraid of taking on complicated issues.

As always, we are introduced to a wide range of characters, all of whom have their own complex backgrounds, thoughts and emotions. You see a snapshot into their worlds at that time. A doctor that works because of his faith, a nurse who cares for others no matter what, a pro-life campaigner caught in the crossfire, a woman who has chosen to have an abortion.

This novel is different from Picoult’s others in the way that it plays out, and initially, this threw me. This works backwards from the point of conflict to how the situation started. From this perspective, the novel was a little difficult to follow at times I was unclear who was who and how they were related for the first few chapters. So be aware of this is you are a die-hard Picoult fan.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of the novel to read on my Kindle. I’m hoping that the final novel makes it more obvious when the narrative changes, but this is minor in relation to the novel itself. There is a richness within that shows so many perspectives and ultimately, this is a novel about choice.

I gave this novel 4 stars. I thought it was well written and showed an interesting perspective. As always I could have read another 300 pages about these characters, about their lives beyond the events of this novel. Of course, it broke my heart at times and I’m pretty sure it will for most people.

Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley and Jodi Picoult for this advanced copy. You can get your own copy on the 30th October!

 

Are you going to be picking up Jodi’s latest novel? Let me know in the comments below!

September Book Haul!

September Book Haul

A birthday and no self-control means a September Book Haul! Yay! So these are the few physcial books I’ve picked up in September, I’m now on a ban…who am I kidding there’s too many amazing

Let’s get started with some of the amazing deals I got on Amazon. First up Everything I Never Told You and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I keep hearing about this author and when they were £2 each I thought it was worth a go. I will report back.

Next up My Purple Scented Novel by Ian McEwan. This is absolutely tiny but I really loved Nutshell and wanted to read something else by McEwan without a huge time commitment. I also picked up Survivors: True Stories of the Children of the Holocaust by Allan Zullo, this was on offer and I want to hear the stories that these people have so it is never forgotten.

Kick-Ass poetry by amazing women? I’m sold which is why I bought She Is Fierce by Ana Sampson. It had Sylvia Plath in so it has to be good. Next up another poetry collection, I Hope My Voice Doesn’t Skip by Alicia Cook who is known to use music within her poetry – I’m really looking forward to this one.

I’d heard a lot about this. What Would Boudicca Do? by E.Foley & B.Coates takes women from history and modern problems, how would they deal with it? This looks really fun. Next up I pre-ordered The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White, I’ve heard a lot about the podcast and ones I’ve listened to have been great.

I’m trying to savor the Saga series so I went ahead and ordered Volume 6 and Volume 7. For my birthday I got Three-Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell in a mystery book package, New York, 1960s let’s give it a go. I also picked up Fierce Fairytales & Other Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill on the recommendation of my friend Sarah. Who am I to say no to feminist fairytales?

Another birthday gift was My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi. This is manga that I keep seeing again and again. I ordered Vengeful by V.E Schwab ages ago thinking I’d read Vicious before…that didn’t quite go to plan but HOW BEAUTIFUL! I was also sent a copy of The Witches of St. Petersberg by Imogen Edward-Jones as part of an upcoming book tour. I didn’t want to know too much about it before going in but keep your eyes peeled!

My final two books I also got at birthday gifts, I’ve really wanted to try some Leigh Bardugo and so I didn’t just get one, I got two for my birthday! Lucky, lucky gal!

Well, that’s all the books I got in September! Now I just need to get through them all…wish me luck! Are there any you’ve read and would recommend or any on your to-read list? Let me know in the comments below!