Lazy Saturday Review: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness #MiniReview #YA

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

therestofusTitle: The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: N/A
Format: Paperback, 434 pages
Publication Details: 
August 27th 2015 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, I borrowed it from Dora, thanks Dora! 

Goodreads 

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What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Review

I wasn’t sure about this at first but ended up absolutely loving it. Patrick Ness has this amazing ability to nail that insecure, confusing time of adolescence when you don’t really understand who you are yet, and he does so in increasingly imaginative ways.

TROUJLH is set in a world where zombies and vampires are real, but the main characters aren’t part of that world, they’re always on peripheries  – just watching, they’re just the normal kids in world full of superheroes and martyrs.

I loved everything about this book – the way it was structured, the uniqueness of the premise, and as always, the execution by Ness was perfect. But it’s the characters that really stand out. All completely different and unique but startlingly real. Whether they’re gay, unsure, struggling with OCD, depressed, or desperate to go to a concert, they’re all just doing what everyone is trying to do – get through the day, the week, high school, life.

Have all the unicorns, Patrick Ness!

unicorn rating

Lazy Saturday Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily #MiniReview #YA

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

twelvedaysdashlilyTitle: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Series: Dash & Lily #2
Format: Digital ARC, 240 pages
Publication Details: October 6th 2016 by Electric Monkey
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary; Romance
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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Glorious new collaboration from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Dash and Lily have been dating for nearly a year, but when Lily’s beloved grandfather falls ill, the repercussions take their toll on everyone. Even though they are still together, somehow the magic has gone out of their relationship and it’s clear that Lily has fallen out of love with life.

Action must be taken! Dash teams up with Lily’s brother and a host of their friends, who have just twelve days to get Lily’s groove back in time for Christmas.

Review

I was a little bit disappointed by this latest collaboration from these two get authors, probably because the bar was so high. I wanted to love it as much as Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares and Nick & Norah, but something was definitely missing.

This story is all about Lily’s holiday funk. She is depressed and even Christmas, her favourite holiday, and Dash, her favourite person can’t cheer her up.

I didn’t dislike this story at all, but it really suffered from Dash & Lily’s lack of connection. Their romance was at the heart of the first book, and without that, there wasn’t a whole lot left to be honest.

It wasn’t serious enough about Lily’s angst and ‘issues’ for it to feel like a  YA book that was cleverly tackling the issue of depression, instead the wishy-washy underlying theme of depression put a downer on the book itself, for me. Thankfully it had a happy ending or I’m not sure I could have coped. There’s just something about Lily’s sunny disposition that doesn’t suit being unhappy so instead of making me feel sad for her, it just annoyed me. Sorry, Lily!

Overall this was an OK story. It was a super-quick read that was written nicely. But it wasn’t anything exciting or surprising, and it didn’t feel nearly festive enough!

unicorn rating 3

Out now in paperback & eBook formats

 

Lazy Saturday Review: Siege & Storm #MiniBookReview #YA

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

siegeTitle: Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #2
Format: Paperback, 435 pages
Publication Details: June 5th 2014 by Indigo
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope. I borrowed it from the library. 

Goodreads 

bookdepo

 

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Review

I was looking forward to this book after loving Shadow and Bone, and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed, but I definitely didn’t love it as much as the first book.

I quite liked the plot of this one; with Alina and Mal on the run, the Darkling’s extra-dark return, and a whole lot of trust issues surrounding everyone involved. That was all good. It was the characters that bugged me…

Alina went all whiny on us, and then power mad and abrasive, and she could probably win some sort of Martyrdom award. Mal wasn’t any less annoying either. He became petty, and jealous and didn’t even try to understand what Alina was thinking, or why she was doing what she was, but I liked that he still stood by her, as much as he was able.

However, pretty much all of that is insignificant because ENTER: Sturmhond. My favourite character by far. Bardugo really knows how to write them doesn’t she!? Sturmhond was cheeky and witty. One of those all-round-good-guys-hidden-behind-an-armour-of-sarcasm-and-razor-edged-tongue kind of deals.

I never really saw him as a love interest because I kinda pictured him as this larger-than-life scruffy pirate but I’m so rooting for him now. Not that Alina will ever choose him over Mal but one can dream. Sigh.

There were other great new characters too which I hope will return in the third book to sort his whole shadowy mess out.

Next! Thankyouplease.

unicorn rating 3

 

Lazy Saturday Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee #MiniReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

thousandthflTitle: The Thousandth Floor
Author: Katharine McGee
Series: The Thousandth Floor #1
Format: Digital ARC, 448 pages
Publication Details:  August 30th 2016 by HarperCollinsChildren’sBooks
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads 

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New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

Review

This book left me undecided. On one hand I enjoyed it and couldn’t stop reading, but on the other it drove me mad and made me want to throw it out of the window.

I shouldn’t be surprised because I’m not a huge fan of multiple narration and boy was this multiple. Two different narrative voices I can deal with. Maybe even three. But six, really!? Ugh!

The main protagonist is Avery, and hers is the first voice we hear. I was hooked on Avery’s story which was both a blessing and a curse because when her chapter ended I had to go through three or four other character’s stories and they just didn’t grab me as much. That was successful in that it kept me reading but, unsuccessful because it dampened my enjoyment of reading it and I found myself skimming through most of the book. 

It’s not a bad novel, don’t get me wrong. The world McGee has built here is very impressive, and I loved the idea of this thousand floor tower being their whole world. There are some flashes of really great Sci-Fi ideologies here too, and similar to Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, it was a worrying vision of the future. 

unicorn rating 3

Lazy Saturday Review: Shadow & Bone by Leigh Bardugo #MiniBookReview #YA

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

summer16.7Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha #1
Format: Paperback, 308 pages
Publication Details:  June 6th 2013 by Indigo
Genre(s): YA; Fanstasy
Disclosure? Nope, I got a free World Book Night Edition.

Goodreads 

bookdepo

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka. Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite – the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free? The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfil her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him. But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Glorious. Epic. Irresistible. Romance.

Review

I was told by so many people that I would love this book, and I did! I was really enticed and impressed by the Russian influences and mythos, and I thought it was written really well. I was worried it was going to turn into a superficial love triangle, but there was much more to it than that and I found that I couldn’t put it down. 

I saw influences from a lot of books I love such as Graceling and Throne of Glass, but Shadow and Bone felt fresh in some ways too. It was full of action and heartbreak, and I was totally invested in the great protagonist that was Alina. I need to know what’s going to happen next!

A must-read for any YA Fantasy fans!

unicorn rating 4

 

Lazy Saturday Review: And I Darken by Kiersten White

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

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Title: And I Darken
Author: Kiersten White
Series: The Conquerors Series #1
Format: Digital ARC, 484 pages
Publication Details: July 7th 2016 by Corgi Childrens
Genre(s): YA; Fanstasy; Historical
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advanced copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way.

Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.

Review

I LOVED the idea of this book. I loved that the protagonist is female and based on Vlad the Impaler. I loved that she is a brutal princess who falls in love and has the possibility of thawing throughout the story.

I assumed I would be rooting for her the whole way through. I assumed I would eat this novel up. But.I.Just.Couldn’t.Get.Into.It. I tried, I really tried, and I can’t even pin-point what I didn’t like about it but I kept putting it down and had no motivation to pick it up again. 

I enjoyed the complex relationship between Lada and her brother Radu and how she tried her best to protect him in her own feral way, even if she didn’t understand him and his weaknesses.

I also liked that Lada herself was so unique; she’s certainly not a character you’d come across much in YA so And I Darken definitely stood out for that reason but the pace was just way too slow for my liking. It felt like nothing happened for the first half of the book which frustrated me no end.

Overall, I think this book left me a bit cold due to the deadly mixture of the hype-monster and a slow pace/beginning.

I seem to be in the minority as far as opinions on this go though, so I’d urge you to try it for yourself if you like the premise.

unicorn rating 2 

 

Lazy Saturday Review: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook #BookReview

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I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy, and concentrate less on the plot (or content) and writing and more on my overall feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

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Title: PETA’s Vegan College Cookbook
Author: PETA
Series: N/A
Format: Digital ARC, 336 pages
Publication Details: April 5th 2016 by Sourcebooks
Genre(s): Food & Drink – Cookbooks
Disclosure? Yep! I received a free copy in exchange for an HONEST review. 

Goodreads 

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You can have the simplest, tastiest vegan recipes on a budget — and the best part is, the most complicated kitchenware you’ll ever need is a microwave. Including more than 250 recipes, we’ve got all the best insider info:

– Vegan alternatives to meat, eggs, and milk
– How to stock your kitchen/mini-fridge
– How to make meat-free sandwiches, salads, soups, and sauces
– Fun meal recipes, such as Fettuccine Alessandro, Walking Tacos, and Pancake in a Mug
– The best drinks, dips, and dressings
– Unbelievable vegan dessert recipes
– Spotlight sections on the staples we love: peanut butter, potatoes and Ramen
– And much, much more!

With new tips and treats to suit even the pickiest palate, this is the essential college cookbook for every vegetarian or vegan on a budget.

Remember: You have the power to save animals-every time you eat. We can show you how!

Review

OK so I’m not Vegan (and I doubt I ever will be), and I’m no longer a student (still poor though FYI) but I’m trying this dairy-free thing at the moment as an elimination test for allergies & eczema so I thought this book might give me some new dairy-free ideas.

I was wrong.

This book isn’t what I was expecting at all. Yes, I guess it does cater particularly for students lacking in money, time, space and equipment  but the recipes here are so basic that I wouldn’t even call them recipes. It’s more like “open packet of pre-prepared vegan food >>> eat >>>done”. Nearly everything involves a microwave and either tofu or ‘a packet of vegan _____ (enter anything and everything there)’. 

I guess I was looking more for  healthy, natural and yummy recipes that happen to be vegan, not recipes which mainly show you how to do vegan junk food on a budget. It certainly took the whole ‘college’ thing to the extreme and to be honest I’m surprised PETA put their name to this at all, not to mention that this is an updated version, and the original seems to have been pretty slated too (on Goodreads at least). Glutton for punishment it seems.

I am probably being a bit harsh. Maybe if I was Vegan when I was at university I would have relished this book. Although I honestly think I made better food in my student days from a trolley-full of Asda Smart Price products. Hmm.

I will say this though, it was an entertaining read. The LOLZ at student life and food puns to go along with it stood out much more than the food itself. I mean, I’m not sure if I was laughing at them or with them…but it put a smile on my face regardless. For that reason and because I’m sure it would be useful to many a lazy, poor student (who happen to be Vegans) am I giving it 2 unicorns. If this book was aimed at me, it would get 0.5. 

unicorn rating 2

Lazy Saturday Review: Beneath the Lake by Christopher Ransom

I started doing ‘lazy Saturday reviews’ as a way of getting reviews done in just 30 mins, and they proved to be quite popular. They are quick and snappy and concentrate less on the plot and writing and more on my general feelings about said book. They generally end up being a bit of a rant. My fave!

beneaththelake
Title: Beneath the Lake
Author: Christopher Ransom
Series: N/A
Edition: Kindle, 449 pages
Publication Details: September 10th 2015 by Sphere
Genre(s): Horror
Disclosure? Yep! I received an advance copy in exchange for an HONEST review.

Goodreads //
Purchase

Thirty Years Ago: On a camping trip by a remote lake, the Mercer family enjoyed the vacation of a lifetime – until a violent tragedy forced them to make a decision that would haunt them for ever.

This Summer: When the younger Mercers learn their father is dying, the family reunites at the lake, seeking a second chance to put their lives back together. But something is waiting . . .
Four Days of Hell: Also arriving at the lake are estranged son Raymond Mercer and an alluring stranger, Megan, both ignorant of the family’s secrets. Within hours, they are all trapped in a relentless nightmare and fighting for their lives. Some places are better left. Some secrets are better forgotten. Some people are better dead.

Review

Oh, I wanted to like this so much…but it was a bit of a let down. I really liked Ransom’s debut The Birthing House, but I’ve tried a few of his other books and they haven’t had the same impact on me…(that was one creep-ass read). Unfortunately, Beneath the Lake was a similar story for me.

It started off so well! The opening was full of unexplained, extremely bizarre happenings which urged me to read on. Then we are catapulted 30 years ahead without knowing what actually happened that day at the lake- but knowing it was something terrible- and now the estranged Mercer family are planning a reunion there.

It all sounds good right? Well, it was for a while, but intrigue turned to boredom somewhere in the middle and I found it a struggle to get to the end. It just fizzled out for me I’m afraid.

I thought this had an interesting plot, but it peaked too soon, giving way to bad pacing. It did succeed in keeping me guessing for a while, and I did detect a constant uneasiness, but it just wasn’t enough to keep me hooked.

unicorn rating 2

Lazy Saturday Review: Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

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Title: Hold Me Closer: The Tiny Cooper Story
Author: David Levithan
Series: Companion to Will Grayson, Will Grayson
Edition: Paperback, 256 pages
Publication Details: March 17th 2015 by Puffin
Genre(s): YA; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it

Goodreads // Purchase

Larger-than-life character Tiny Cooper, from the bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, finally tells his own story the only way he knows how – as a stupendous musical.

This is the full script of Hold Me Closer, the musical written by and staring Tiny Cooper, from the New York Times bestselling novel Will Grayson, Will Grayson, written by David Levithan and John Green. Filled with humour, pain, and ‘big, lively, belty’ musical numbers, readers will finally learn the full story of Tiny Cooper from his birth and childhood to his quest for love and his infamous eighteen ex-boyfriends.

Review


I loved John Green & David Levithan’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It’s a beautiful coming of age story about two different Will Grayson’s who both struggle to be open with people for different reasons, and whose lives intertwine during the makings of the biggest, gayest high school musical in the history of high school musicals.

When I finished reading WG, all I could think was that I wanted to watch (or read) Tiny Cooper’s musical so badly, it was definitely one of my favourite things about the book – and here it is; The story of Tiny Cooper, BFF to Will Grayson, hopeless romantic, and self-proclaimed biggest, gayest, most fabulous human there ever lived!

Hold Me Closer is a funny, adorable, sometimes sad, but always fabulous story of Tiny cooper’s life, written as a musical, the very musical Tiny and Will worked so hard to produce in Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I loved it. The songs were great and funny, and I could picture exactly how it would look on a stage – it totally needs to be a stage show now, right?

It was exactly what I imagined from reading Will Grayson, I only wished it was longer! Hold Me Closer is an extremely quick read and easily devoured in one sitting. I highly recommend reading WG first, but it would probably still be a fun read regardless!

unicorn rating 4

Available now in hardback, paperback and e-book from Waterstones

Lazy Saturday Review: The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick

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Title: The Ghosts of Heaven
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Series: N/A
Edition: Hardcover, 424 pages
Publication Details: October 2nd 2014 by Orion Books
Genre(s): YA; SciFi
Disclosure? Nope, it was a gift!

Goodreads // Purchase

The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.

It’s there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin. There centuries later in a pleasant greendale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch. There on the other side of the world as a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors the hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.

Each takes their next step in life. None will ever go back to the same place. And so, their journeys begin…

Review


You should all know by now that Marcus Sedgwick has become one of my favourite authors in recent years. His books seem to fall into two categories; dark and foreboding, or beautifully poignant, but they all have one thing in common – they are written wonderfully.

The Ghosts of Heaven is no exception, but… sigh, I was quite disappointed. I think my main issue was the format. It was hailed as a book in which the four parts of it can be read in any order and still make sense. I thought the idea was pretty cool and wondered how he’d managed it.

Well, in my opinion, it can be read in any order because this is a book of four completely different stories. I mean sure, I get the spiral thing, and see the tenuous links between each of the stories, but they are essentially four short stories with one common element. It kind of reminded me of some of David Mitchell’s books – all of which I didn’t enjoy.

That being said, I was completely enthralled by the futuristic part involving Keir Bowman who is scheduled to wake up on a spaceship every ten years, and is journeying to a new earth-like planet to inhabit. Only every time he wakes up, more of the crew are dead…

This one was definitely my favourite of the four, it was dark and twisted and reminded me why I love Sedgwick – he can write in every genre – so I’ll try not to dwell on my disappointment of this one. You can’t win them all, right? And anyway, the book is very pretty!

unicorn rating 3

Available to buy in both paperback and hardback, from Waterstones now.