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

icon7

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

 

Advertisements

Good Girls Gone Bad: The Merciless by Danielle Vega #YA #BookReview

themercilessTitle: The Merciless
Author: Danielle Vega
Series: The Merciless #1
Format: hardback, 279 pages
Publication Details: June 12th 2014 by Razorbill
Genre(s): YA; Horror
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned…

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
 
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
 
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .
 
In this chilling debut, Danielle Vega delivers blood-curdling suspense and terror on every page. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Review

As a huge fan of YA (obvs) and horror I’m always excited to see YA horror books (Yorror as I’m now calling it) published, as they’re few and far between. It took me a while but I’m so glad I eventually got round to buying a copy of this- especially the awesome pink leather hardback version, which is pretty epic!

The Merciless isn’t a case of your old-school Goosebumps or Point Horror. It’s actual horror, that I imagine some parents wouldn’t be too happy about their teens (and certainly pre-teens reading. I kind of wish this book existed when I was 15 because man, I would have lapped it up then.

The Merciless is about a group of ‘good’ girls who take it upon themselves to exorcise the demon out of bully Brooklyn. A prank gone wrong? Revenge gone too far? There’s a whole lot of blood, torment and, well, torture, and the whole way through you’re left thinking ‘are they really doing this?’ 

I can definitely see where they got the whole ‘Mean Girls meets Stephen King’ tagline from. Unlike Stephen King however, this book is severely lacking in the character development department. But you know what? I kind of didn’t care. It would have perhaps made it easier to believe if we knew more about protagonist Sofia before she became friends with the ‘mean girls’ and got involved in the whole Satanic mess, but it wouldn’t make much difference, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment overall.

Like Mean Girls, this book is pretty shallow. But what it lacks in depth it makes up with in relentless action and chaos. It’s also mightily swift in pace. I definitely struggled to put it down, in fact I’m pretty sure I only put it down once. 

I also really enjoyed the sort-of-twist, and although most of the book felt predictable, it was quite easy to second guess yourself and end up with a genuine surprise on your hands. 

I’m already looking forward to the second book. I just hope Vega can develop the characters a bit more. 

unicorn rating 4

The Merciless is out now, and the second book will be released July 5th

Book Promo: Death Wish by Megan Tayte (includes excerpt)

Welcome to another book promo/spotlight on Lipsyy Lost & Found.

I love the sound of this one; the Devon setting and the beautifully dark cover did it for me!

deathwish1

About the book

Title: Death Wish
Series: Ceruleans I
Author: Megan Tayte
Editions: e-book/Kindle, 305 pages
Publication Details: February 7th 2015 by Heaven Afire
Genre(s): YA; Paranormal Romance

Goodreads // Amazon UK // Amazon.com // Website

IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.

Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.

As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.

What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.

To believe the impossible.

Meet the Author

deathwish2Once upon a time a little girl told her grandmother that when she grew up she wanted to be a writer. Or a lollipop lady. Or a fairy princess fireman. ‘Write, Megan,’ her grandmother advised. So that’s what she did.

Thirty-odd years later, Megan writes the kinds of books she loves to read: young-adult paranormal romance fiction. Young adult, because it’s the time of life that most embodies freedom and discovery and first love. Paranormal, because she’s always believed that there are more things in heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. And romance, because she’s a misty-eyed dreamer who lives for those ‘life is so breathtakingly beautiful’ moments.

Megan grew up in the Royal County, a hop, skip and a (very long) jump from Windsor Castle, but these days she makes her home in Robin Hood’s county, Nottingham. She lives with her husband, a proud Scot who occasionally kicks back in a kilt; her son, a budding artist with the soul of a paleontologist; and her baby daughter, a keen pan-and-spoon drummer who sings in her sleep. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her walking someplace green, reading by the fire, or creating carnage in the kitchen as she pursues her impossible dream: of baking something edible.

Excerpt

Waves everywhere, swirling, surging, seething – a raging melange of foam and salt and inky water biting at me, pulling at me, thrusting upon me a solitary invitation:

Death.

As I fought to remain on the flimsy polystyrene surfboard that seemed more bucking bronco than wave rider, I thought: That’s how easy it is – you just let go. Just release the grip on this world that in recent months had seemed so much an effort, and sink into the blue, beneath the waves, where chaos and fury turned to quiet and calm. Like she did.

Was drowning as they claim? I wondered. The easiest way to die – peaceful? How would it feel to give up all the dragging myself through the day, all the struggle to evade the aching void inside? A relief?

Another wave rose me up and slammed me down with breathtaking power. Its force stirred me. You could say a lot of things about Scarlett Blake – she’s a loner, she’s a wallflower, she’s a menace in the kitchen – but no way was ‘she’s a quitter’ on the list of character flaws.

‘Screw you!’ I shouted through the spray.

Funny, sounded like someone shouted back. But who else would be out in this tumultuous sea at six a.m. on a summer’s morning? Solitude was the entire point of hauling myself out of bed in the still-dark and picking my way down the cliff path to the beach just in time to see the horizon light up with the first burnt-orange glow of the rising sun. No one to see me make a damn fool of myself on my first surfing attempt.

‘Trying… yourself killed?’

Definitely a voice. Male. Angry.

Scanning the surroundings for the source proved difficult while lying stomach-to-board. On an upward surge I got a glimpse of the Devonshire cliffs that fringed the cove, all dark, jutting rocks topped by bushes of gorse, and then a flash of the beach. On a downward plummet there was nothing but eye-burning, throat-choking seawater.

‘Forward… next wave!’

The voice was closer now. There was an edge to it beyond the anger. Something raw.

My eyes picked out a black form between the waves. Someone on a surfboard, paddling it expertly seaward. I took one hand off the board to push sticky tendrils of hair from my eyes. Rookie mistake.

Turned out holding on one-handed was impossible. The board shot upwards, out of my feeble grip, and then it was just me and Old Man Sea.

Kicking frantically, I tried to keep my head above the surface, but the waves were burying me, one after the other, only a second or two to come up for air before the next one hit. Far away now were thoughts of letting go – I was fighting furiously for life. Never in my seventeen years had I been so desperate. But my legs were tingling with effort, and I knew it was just a matter of time.

When the final wave broke me all I could think was, Sienna. With her name on my lips I inhaled a lungful of water and I sank…

… for all of a second before something grabbed the back of my t-shirt and hauled me upward. Coughing and spluttering, I emerged from the blue and was pulled roughly onto a board, my leg shoved over so that I straddled it. I had the fleeting thought that this board was much sleeker and more substantial looking than the one I’d just lost before my rescuer settled pretty much on top of me and started paddling toward the shore.

With him in command, we crested waves and glided down the other side with apparent ease, though I seemed unable to match the rhythm of our motion and kept taking in great gulps of brine. Over the sound of the waves and the wind and the splash of powerful arms cutting into the water to propel us along, I picked out low, irate grumblings.

‘… idiot tourists… total waste of… all we need… another bloody drama…’

Finally, we reached the shallow waters and he slid off the board and pulled me off to walk to the beach. But my legs didn’t seem willing to respond to basic instructions like ‘walk’ or even ‘stand’ and breathing between wrenching gasps had become a challenge, so he threw an arm around me and half-carried, half-walked me, dragging his board with his spare hand.

Ten steps up the beach he let me down onto the sand.

‘Head down,’ he commanded. ‘Between your legs. Cough it out.’

I did as I was told. Liquid spilled out of me with each retching cough, and the cool air I gulped in burned my throat. I fought the panic, I fought the pain, focusing instead on the shells and stones strewn around. Finally, breathing won out.

‘You okay?’

I was reluctant to look up. For starters, I knew I must look a mess – long hair plastered to my head rat-tail style, face flushed and salt-burned, eyes teary and bloodshot. And then there was the fact that this guy, whoever he was, had just saved my life, and was evidently pretty mad about having had to do so.

‘Hey, you okay?’

I lifted my head slowly. Took in broad thighs clad in black neoprene; hands reaching out, palms raised; a wide, muscular chest; a striking face – rugged, square jaw, full lips, ruddy cheeks, Grecian nose bearing a thin scar across the bridge, thick black lashes framing eyes… oh, his eyes.

I opened my mouth, tried to speak, but I was paralysed by his gaze. All at once I was home in the cottage, tucked up beneath the blue patchwork quilt of my childhood; I was watching my grandmother remove vanilla-scented fairy cakes from her powder-blue Aga; I was running through a meadow of sky-blue forget-me-nots with my sister – free, exhilarated, happy. The memories took my breath away. I felt the familiar burn in my tear ducts.

His eyebrows pulled together and he placed a hand on my trembling knee.

‘Are. You. Okay?’ he said with exaggerated care, as if he were speaking to an elderly lady having a turn at a bus stop.

I blinked, cleared my throat and managed a husky, ‘Yes. Th-thank you.’

Concern melted into exasperation.

‘What’s the deal,’ he demanded, ‘out there on your own, clearly no idea what you’re doing, children’s play surfboard… you got a death wish or something?’

I cringed. I’d known the board was short, but I’d thought it was me-sized – at five foot three, what use was some enormous board?

‘I’m sorry.’

‘You would’ve been sorry if I hadn’t seen you.’

‘I just wanted to get a feel for it. I didn’t realise it was so rough out there.’

‘Rough? That’s not rough. Not even optimum surfing weather. Piece of cake for someone who actually knows how to surf…’ He paused when he saw a tear escape my eye and roll traitorously down my cheek. Furrowed his brow, combed his fingers roughly through dark hair that was drying fast in the breeze.

‘Listen, I didn’t mean to…’

I brushed the tear away furiously. Enough with the vulnerability.

‘Right, well, thank you…’

‘Luke. My name’s Luke.’ The stress lines in his face smoothed out and his lips curved. Like this, smiling and relaxed, his scrutiny was a touch less unsettling. ‘And you are…?’

‘Thank you, Luke, for your, um, help, but I’m sure you’ve better things to do, so I’ll just be…’

Before he could protest, I launched myself to my feet. He instinctively rose with me, and my water-fogged mind registered belatedly that my rescuer was a giant of a guy – my head was at the level of his chest. As I looked up to take in his stature I staggered slightly and he reached out to right me, but I stepped backwards. I didn’t need his kindness.

He looked awkward, unsure of himself, as he towered over me. ‘Hey, will you be okay?’

‘Yes, yes, I’m fine. I’ll just head home.’

‘You live close?’

I pointed vaguely west. ‘Yes, not far.’

‘Up there?’ He looked puzzled, and then interest sparked in his eyes. ‘You mean the Blake place?’

Busted. Of course being vague was pointless. My grandparents’ ramshackle cottage on the western cliff was the only building up there. I made a noncommittal mnnnhnnn noise, but Luke was not to be deterred.

‘But that place has been empty since…’

He was looking at me now with such scrutiny that I took a further step back. I saw the cogs turning in his mind as he took in the classic green Blake eyes and then compared her – short, spiky red hair, eternally crimson lips, tall and impossibly slender – with me – petite and curvy, hair more blond than auburn reaching to the base of my spine and a pallor worthy of a vampire. His eyes widened.

‘Scarlett? Scarlett Blake!’

There was shock in his tone, and then sympathy.

Author Links

Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

If you are an author, publisher or agent and would like to be featured on Lipsyy Lost & Found, drop me message on lipsyylostnfound[at]gmail[dot]com

Paladins & Politeness: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

rebelbelle
Title: Rebel Belle
Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Rebel Belle #1
Edition: Paperback, 368 pages
Publication Details: March 3rd 2015 by Speak
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it

Goodreads // Purchase

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

Review

If you’re looking for a fun, quirky, fast-paced read then Rebel Belle should be right up your alley. It does exactly what it says on the cover – ‘high spirits and high-jinks’ it certainly was. I came away feeling elated.

Harper Price is a bit of a goody-goody. She’s that girl in school who’s involved in all the extra curricular events and a bit of a teacher’s pet, but she’s also extremely popular – and I liked that. I’m bored of the popular girls being the mean girls!

She can also be seen as your typical southern belle. She’s polite to the point of annoying, and holds old-school values like always respecting your elders (even when they’re trying to kill you) and not cursing (even in the face of death).

It all begins when Harper is attacked in the school toilets and ends up killing a homicidal teacher with her stiletto, discovering that she appears to have super-strength, ninja-like abilities. FUN!

I pretty much liked everything about this book. The action was good, I was invested in the characters, and it made me laugh. There were a few moments when I snorted at the ridiculousness of it, but that shouldn’t come as surprise with a book that was pitched as Legally Blonde meets The Terminator – seriously!

I can’t help likening this to Buffy as well, and not just because there are references to Harper trying to find ‘her Giles’; it has that perfect balance of wit, high-school drama, and mythology, not to mention an awesome, reluctant heroine.

Can’t wait for the next book!

unicorn rating 4

Top Ten Tuesday: I Can’t Believe I Haven’t Started These YA Series Yet…

icon4-ttt
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the link to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books I can’t believe I haven’t read from X Genre…

I’m almost as bad at starting series than I am at finishing them. But the following books are ones that I do fully intend on starting…at some point…

tttseries

1. The Giver Quartet ~ Lois Lowry: I’ll be honest, I hadn’t even heard of this series before the movie came out and I can’t believe how long ago it was released. I’m very intrigued for that reason alone, so I’ve avoided the film thus far.

2. The Grisha ~ Leigh Bardugo: I’ve heard so many good things about this series and people have told me I’d love it.

3. Splintered ~ A.G Howard: I’ve enjoyed some re-imaginings of Wonderland before, and this one sounds great. Plus, the covers are awesome.

4. Percy Jackson ~ Rick Riordan: I love Greek mythology so I’m pretty sure I’ll love these books.

5. Matched ~ Ally Condie: I got the first book in this series from the YALC book swap last year, but I just haven’t got round to it yet.

tttc1

6. Young Elites ~ Marie Lu: I haven’t read any Marie Lu yet and this series sounds full of action.

7. The Magisterium ~ Cassandra Clare and Holly Black: I’m intrigued by this collaboration!

8. Snow Like Ashes ~ Sarah Raasch: The cover! That is enough of a reason to want this series.

9. The Children of Camelot ~ Donna Hosie: I love, love, love Arthurian lit, so a YA series based on that = slobber.

10. Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins: I’ve wanted this since it was released. Everything about it just screams awesome.

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I want to Start

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top New (ish) Series I Want To Start.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find enough books to do a Horror October twist on this week’s top ten… I admit defeat. So, here are ten new(ish) series of varying genres, (OK just YA then) that I want to start.

tttc1

Young Elites by Marie Lu
The Magisterium by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black
Snow Like Ashes by Sarah Raasch
The Children of Camelot by Donna Hosie
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

tttc2

Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
Veronica Mars by Rob Thomas
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare et al
The Grisha by Leigh Bardugo

Have you read any of these? Let me know if I neeeeeeeed to bump them up my list!