This Month in Books: May 2017 #TMIB #BookoftheMonth

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May was pretty busy IRL. Eurovision was a massive highlight, as was my blog turning four years old. 4!!! I didn’t even realise until WordPress kindly told me. Who would have thought it, eh!? I also went to the launch of Patrick Ness’ new book which was a great night, but unfortunately the book didn’t live up its greatness. I guess you can’t win them all.

May 2017 Stats

Total Posts: 13 (+4 from previous month)

Books Read: 6 (+1)
The Inexplicable Logic of my Life ~ Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Release ~ Patrick Ness
The Marsh King’s Daughter ~ Karen Dionne
The Knife of Never Letting Go (audio) ~ Patrick Ness
The Time Machine ~ H.G Wells
13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains ~ Sacha Black

The Breakdown:
Genres: YA (3/6); Science-Fiction/ Fantasy (2/6); Crime/Thriller (1/6); Non-Fiction (1/6)

Formats/Sources: Advance Copy (2/6); Digital (2/6); Hardback (2/6); Paperback (1/6); Audiobook (1/6) // Owned (3/6); Borrowed (1/6); For Review/proofs (2/6)

Most Surprising: The Marsh King’s Daughter
Most Disappointing: Release
Most Exciting: The Marsh King’s Daughter
Most Swoon-worthy: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life
Most Beautifully Written: The Inexplicable Logic of my Life/ The Marsh King’s Daughter (too close to call!)

Reviews

Most Viewed Posts

  1. This Week in Books 17.05.17
  2. Review: The Marsh King’s Daughter
  3. This Week in Books 03.05.17

Promos, Guest Posts and other Highlights

Awards

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TBR Shelf Update

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Earlier this year I decided I HAD to do something about my physical TBR shelves. Each month I’ll be doing a quick update to see how I’ve done. See my original post here, and my updated TBR list here. 

Previous TBR Count: 83

Books Added: 4

Books Read: 2

Remaining: 85

That was my month, how was yours?

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Release by Patrick Ness #BookReview #LGBT #YA

releaseTitle: Release
Author: Patrick Ness
Series: n/a
Format: Hardback, 287 pages
Publication Details: 
May 4th 2017 by Walker Books
Genre(s): YA; Contemporary; LGBT
Disclosure? Nope, my copy came with a ticket to the book launch – I was under no obligation to post a review. 

Goodreads 

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Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.


Review

You should all know by now that I love Patrick Ness, so I was of course very excited about his new release, Release, especially considering my friend Dora and I got tickets to the premiere of the book tour.

I posted about the whole shebang here. It was such a great night with insightful and inspiring discussions that my already high expectation bar was pushed through the roof…and I can’t help feeling a little deflated by the whole thing now that I’ve finished the book. SAD PANDA.

Adam Thorn is a gay 17 year old with a bad-boy magnet best friend called Angela, a strict preacher father, and a couple of ex-boyfriends who have treated him pretty terribly. What could go wrong, I hear you say!?

I loved everything Patrick Ness said when discussing this book – the need for diversity in books to reflect the world we live in, the need for YA books with gay protagonists to not shy away from sex scenes, all of it, but it just felt a bit forced here and I think the story suffered because of that.

Release is actually quite a subtle book, and whereas I don’t think that’s a bad thing, I just wasn’t expecting that from all the passionate discussion points in the book launch. I’m not sure this is quite the book Patrick Ness thought he had written. It does spotlight some important issues, but I felt like it needed more drama to really pack a punch. In trying to make it tender, I think a lot of its potential was quashed.

Running alongside Adam’s story is a strange, morbid fairy-tale allegory about a faun and a queen who is actually the ghost of a recently deceased fellow student of Adam’s, and this just did not work for me at all. It came across as a bit pretentious to be honest and I ended up skipping nearly all of these sequences after about a third of the way through. VERY SAD PANDA.

It’s actually quite painful to slag off one of your favourite authors, but I’d be a pretty rubbish book blogger if I couldn’t be honest with myself about how I feel about a book. It has some lovely moments, and is of course written beautifully. And I love everything Patrick was wanting to say with Release, but I think maybe he tried a bit too hard and didn’t quite manage to pull it off.

unicorn rating 3

 

This Week in Books #TWIB #CurrentlyReading

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Welcome to my weekly post, where I sum-up what I’ve been up to in bookland the past week. 

Hope you guys are all having a good week. Here’s what I’ve been doing since last week…

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Now: The Last Days of Jack Sparks ~ Jake Arnopp // Glass Sword ~ Victoria Aveyard

I didn’t mean to start Jack Sparks yet but I finished You Know Me Well quicker than expected and I was stranded on a long bus journey with only my Kindle – you know how it is. Anyway, as much as I wanted to read Glass Sword, I’m a bit hooked on it at the mo, so I’m attempting to reading both.

Then: You Know Me Well~ David Levithan & Nina LaCour

This was really cute. My review will be up a bit nearer to the release date which is June 7th.

Next: ??? 

I’m not sure this time. Hopefully another one from my physical TBR pile.

New on the Shelves

(Linking up with Stacking the Shelves)

 

Bought: I haven’t bought any books this week.

From Netgalley: 

The War Against the Assholes ~ Sam Munson

waragainstMike Wood is a teenager at a decidedly unprestigious Catholic school in Manhattan, accustomed to solving problems using brawn rather than brains.

One day, his nerdy classmate Hob Callahan persuades him to read a mysterious old book of unknown authorship, The Calendar of Slights. On the face of things, the book is a guide to performing clever card tricks; but in fact, it is a test for recruiting new members to join a secret cell of radical magicians.

Amazingly, Mike passes with flying colours unlocking not only his potential magic powers – but also the door to New York City’s vast and hidden underground network of warlocks, sorcerers and mages.

Here, with Hob as his unlikely guide, Mike’s role as a steadfast soldier begins. For there is a war being waged. A war between rivaling factions of magicians that has spanned the ages. A clandestine war against the establishment: a war against The Assholes.

  

So, that’s my week in books, now how about yours?

If you’re joining in leave the link to your answers in the comments so everyone can take a look 🙂

Book Blitz: The Violet Hour

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Welcome to another great promo post at Lipsyy Lost & Found. I’m thrilled to host a stop on the book blitz tour for Andrea L. Wells’ debut release, The Violet Hour.

How stunning is that cover!?

(I have one copy of the ebook to give away and you can also enter the blitz-wide draw to win a Kindle Fire HD so keep reading…)

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About the Book

The Violet Hour by Andrea L Wells
Series: The Violet series #1
Publication date: May 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult

Goodreads // Amazon // B & N

Synopsis
Still shocked over her mother’s mysterious death, California socialite Logan Keller is handed a one-way ticket to her long lost roots in Wyoming where love, deceit and danger await. Though she could forget everything staring into Luke Callahan’s eyes, Logan is quickly thrust into a fight for survival. Taking fate into her own hands, she begins unraveling the dangerous deceptions that abound at every turn. Her father is keeping secrets and Luke is keeping more. But Logan is keeping the biggest secret of them all.

The Violet Hour is a page-turning captivating twist of young romance and the supernatural.

Meet the Author

violet2The Violet Hour Series has been begging to escape Andrea’s subconscious for more than five years. Focusing on a wonderful career, handsome husband and two beautiful children by day, she began feverishly penning the series by night. Now a full-time writer, Andrea debuts The Violet Hour.

Facebook
Website
Instagram:@andrea.l.wells

Giveaways!

One Lipsyy Lost & Found reader can win a copy of the ebook here, via Rafflecopter

Blitz-wide Giveaway:

Enter to win an Amazon Fire HD via Rafflecopter

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Many thanks to Andrea for the giveaways, and to Xpresso book tours for all their great work. You can sign up for tours, book blasts, and more by heading to their website. The image below will take you there.

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Friday Feature: May Releases & Cover Love

I usually list the month’s most anticipated releases on the previous monthly wrap-up post, but there were so many this month that I figured it warranted its own post. And for an added bonus, just check out the covers. I love them all.

A Court of Thorns and Roses ~ Sarah J. Maas

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A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

5th May

The Far End of Happy ~ Kathryn Craft

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Twelve tense hours, three women, and the suicide standoff that turns one family’s little piece of heaven into a scene from hell

After enduring years of a struggling marriage, Ronnie Farnham has decided to divorce her husband and is beginning to hope for a happy future–until the morning Jeff is supposed to move out, when he locks himself in their barn with a rifle.

When a massive police presence arrives to control the 12-hour stand off, the women in Jeff’s life are pushed to their breaking points.

Based on the author’s harrowing personal story, The Far End of Happy is a powerful novel about the way one man’s spiral towards life’s violent conclusion tests the resolve, love, and hope of the women he will leave behind.

5th May

The Heir ~ Kiera Cass

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Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she’d put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess’s life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can’t escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn’t expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn’s heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she’s always thought.

May 7th

The Violet Hour ~ Andrea L. Wells

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Still shocked over her mother’s mysterious death, California socialite Logan Keller is handed a one-way ticket to her long lost roots in Wyoming where love, deceit and danger await. Though she could forget everything staring into Luke Callahan’s eyes, Logan is quickly thrust into a fight for survival. Taking fate into her own hands, she begins unraveling the dangerous deceptions that abound at every turn. Her father is keeping secrets and Luke is keeping more. But Logan is keeping the biggest secret of them all.

The Violet Hour is a page-turning captivating twist of young romance and the paranormal.
11th May

5 to 1 ~ Holly Bodger

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In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa, though, doesn’t want to be a wife, and Kiran, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Kiran thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

This beautiful, unique novel is told from alternating points of view-Sudasa’s in verse and Kiran’s in prose-allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

12th May

Made You Up ~ Francesca Zappia

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Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

19th May

Hold Me Like a Breath ~ Tiffany Schmidt

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Penelope Landlow has grown up with the knowledge that almost anything can be bought or sold—including body parts. She’s the daughter of one of the three crime families that control the black market for organ transplants.

Penelope’s surrounded by all the suffocating privilege and protection her family can provide, but they can’t protect her from the autoimmune disorder that causes her to bruise so easily.

And in her family’s line of work no one can be safe forever.

All Penelope has ever wanted is freedom and independence. But when she’s caught in the crossfire as rival families scramble for prominence, she learns that her wishes come with casualties, that betrayal hurts worse than bruises, that love is a risk worth taking . . . and maybe she’s not as fragile as everyone thinks.

19th May

Penny Heart ~ Martine Bailey

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A historical novel of suspense, seasoned with recipes and remedies, THE PENNY HEART draws on age-old themes of cooking, trickery and revenge.

The North of England 1787. Sentenced to death for a simple confidence trick, Mary Jebb escapes the gallows … but her reprieve is harsh: seven years in the unforgiving penal colony of Botany Bay. Yet Mary is determined not to be forgotten, sending two pennies, engraved with a promise, to the two men who sealed her fate.
Timid artist Grace Moore jumps at the opportunity to marry handsome gentleman Michael Croxon – happy if only to get away from her drunken father.

But when Grace takes on a new cook, the two penny heart love tokens reveal she is tied to a world she didn’t know existed … A world of deceit, double-crossing, revenge and murder.

21st May

The Cage (The Cage #1) ~ Megan Shepherd

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The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

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Do you have any of these lined up, or a favourite May cover?

You’re the One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher (Out next week!)

youreMaddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it…

When I heard that Giovanna ‘Mrs Tom McFly’ Fletcher had ventured into the world of Chick-Lit I didn’t know what to expect. I have to admit I did the usual well it’s easy to get published when you’re already famous by default thing, which I realise is a horrible thing to think, but I’m cynical like that.

And then I saw some really good reviews of her first book, Billy and Me, so I decided I should check them out for myself. I never did get round to Billy and Me but as soon as I saw this one on Netgalley I decided to request it.

You’re the One That I Want pleasantly surprised me and would make a great beach read, but I wasn’t completely won over by it.

Maddy has grown up with two best friends who just happen to be boys. They’re inseparable from childhood to adulthood, through thick and thin. But when adolescence hits, things begin to change. Both boys start to see Maddy as more than a friend, but which one will declare their feelings first? And which one, if any, will Maddy end up with?

I’m not a hater of the love triangle trope like a lot of people are, so I wasn’t put off by that aspect of the book. I was interested to see how the choices that were made could affect the strongest of friendships and I definitely found myself engrossed in the story. Like Maddy, I was torn between Robert and Ben at different stages of their lives.

But there were a few things that prevented me from really loving this book. The writing wasn’t bad, but I felt like the tone, and some of the ideas were way too immature, even as the characters got older. I mean, I know people mature at different ages but it seemed like these friends led pretty sheltered lives until they got to Uni. They were climbing trees and not allowed out after dark at the age of 15 which didn’t strike me as being very realistic – or maybe I just grew up different!??

When they go away to Paris for a 6th Form trip, it’s like they’ve never been away from home before, and when they get to Uni, it’s like they’ve never got drunk before – I found it odd. However, I loved the second half of the book – once they were at Uni – finding it much more riveting and realistic than the first, and I was eager to find out who Maddy had chosen, and if they would all be able to remain friends.

I thought the structure of the book really worked too. I’m not always a fan of multiple narrators, but it was definitely the way to go for this book. I also liked that it was written from the present time of ‘the wedding’ but not knowing who she had chosen, and looking back in chronological order as to what had led them there.

You’re the One That I want developed into an interesting story of friendship and love, how those lines can be easily blurred, and how one decision can change the course of your life forever. I was impressed by Fletcher, even if I didn’t completely love it.

It makes a really nice summer/holiday read. Give it a chance.

unicorn rating 3

Disclosure?: I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: You’re the One That I Want
Author: Giovanna Fletcher
Details: Paperback; Kindle; 320 pages
Published: May 22nd 2014 by Penguin
My Rating: 3/5

The Unicorn Thief by R.R. Russell (Released 06.05.14)

uniA dangerous thief is at work in the land of the unicorns…
Twig and Ben are hard at work taming the last free unicorn herd on Lonehorn Island when Ben’s loyal unicorn, Indy, disappears. When their search leads them to the island’s secret passageway to Terracornus, the land of unicorns, they discover a bold thief at work.

There Twig learns the tangled truth about Ben and the evil queen who’s enslaved all of the unicorns. Now all of the captive unicorns are in danger and only Ben and Twig, the last unicorn riders, can save them.

Like Twig and Ben readers will be drawn to a beautiful and mysterious world where unicorns roam wild. R.R Russell’s storytelling is sure to captivate unicorn lovers of all ages.

It saddens me to say that I didn’t enjoy this book very much, but I don’t think it’s the book’s fault really. When I requested it from Netgalley I didn’t realise it was the second book in a series. I wanted to give it a go anyway…because UNICORNS…but I just couldn’t get into it at all.

I was kind of confused about how Twig and Ben had ended up on The Earth Lands instead of Terracornus, and why they keep some unicorns with them but not others. But that being said, there were some things I did enjoy about The Unicorn Thief.

Once Twig and Ben move into the cave to be herders, (which I assume is like a birthright?) and then set out to find Indy the missing unicorn, the pace increases and I did eventually feel involved in the story. It’s a story that’s full of adventure and action, and a quick read to boot.

If I’d been up to speed with the first book, I’m pretty sure I would have loved that this book gets straight into the action, but as it was, I was just a bit lost.

I enjoyed the characterisation here too. Ben and Twig have a nice relationship which is tested throughout the book, and the bond between unicorn and rider was evident, making it realistic that Ben would go to such lengths to find Indy.

All in all, don’t be put off by my rating, I just felt like I was coming into the middle of a story with no background, which I guess I was. I’d really like to go back and read the first book to see if that’s all it was preventing me from loving it.

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Disclosure?: Yep, I received a copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an HONEST review
Title: The Unicorn Thief (Unicorns of the Mist #2)
Author: R.R. Russell
Details: Hardcover, 288 pages
Published: May 6th 2014 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
My Rating: 2/5