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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee (spoiler free review)

Okay, this had been one of my most anticipated reads for 2017 for so long. When Tori & I first came across it on Goodreads we were absolutely desperate to get our hands on a copy because it sounded so, so good.
And it was absolutely amazing.
(and isn’t the cover gorgeous?!)
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Here’s the description from Goodreads:
“An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Witty, romantic, and intriguing at every turn, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a sumptuous romp that explores the undeniably fine lines between friendship and love.”



The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is a whirlwind adventure across Europe that was sassy and hilarious. Wealthy gentleman, Henry ‘Monty’ Montague has been kicked out of Eton and is seen as a disgrace to his family, in a bid to try and curb Monty’s love for alcohol, gambling and late nights with lovers, his father agrees to send him off on a grand tour of the Continent with his charming best friend Percy and little sister Felicity, before coming home to take over the family estate. Monty, on the other hand, has no intention of visiting famous landmarks and portraits or attending philosophical talks, he plans to make the most of his trip with drinks, fooling around and as much flirting as possible.
Unbeknown to many (or so he thinks), Monty is struggling with his feelings for his impossibly handsome best friend and now close travelling companion, Percy, who is fighting battles of his own. Cue lavish parties, unwanted guardians, a highway robbery, a trek to Spain and some timely pirates and you have yourself an adventure.
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This book is a piece of gorgeously written historical YA fiction, and is fast paced and diverse with just the right amount of swoon to it. The characters are beautifully written and you fall in love with how charming both Monty and Percy are, together and apart.
Monty is the cliche wealthy charmer, who is cheeky and at some times arrogant. He is so endearing and lovely, you just want to sweep him up into a hug sometimes. Although most of the time he means well, he has a tendency to get himself into some tough situations with some poor choices, but he eventually makes good with some swagger and charm. His best friend Percy has known Monty since they were children and is his voice of reason, even whilst fighting his own demons. Percy is fascinating and delightfully cute, he was such a well written and thought out character. And his younger sister Felicity was such a standout, and such a badass! She was a strong, independant woman which is great to see in a historical fiction.
Another fantastic thing about this book is that it is so diverse. Not only does it feature a main character that is PoC, it tackles issues of race, gender, sex and disability in the 1700s. It is so engaging and such a perfect coming of age story.
Mackenzie Lee has written such a beautiful piece of historical YA fiction that is endearing, hilarious, fast paced, sassy and charming. This is definitely sitting at the top of my favourite reads of 2017 so far and it’s only March! I absolutely loved the story, the plotline and the characters and I already know I will be re-reading this at least once or twice more this year!
Definitely a 5/5 star read for me (and Tori as well!)
Siân x
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The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (spoiler free review)

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I was so excited to see we received a reading copy of ‘The Hate U Give’ from Walker Books, as it’s been a hot topic on social media (especially Twitter!) and I’ve seen people raving about it for weeks! I definitely wanted to see if it lived up to the hype, and I was not disappointed. I absolutely loved this book.

The book follows sixteen year old Starr, daughter of a notorious reformed gang member, and her life when it is shattered after seeing her childhood best friend shot in a routine traffic stop by police. A devastated Starr is then torn between her two personas, private schoolgirl and member of a struggling neighbourhood and community. Starr has to make a choice between standing up and making her voice known or keeping quiet for the safety of herself and her family.

 


 

This is the book that I think the YA community needs right now, a raw and informative book about something that is happening all too frequently to unarmed US teenagers. It is honest and riveting, educating us on a such an important issue with a healthy dose of humour and romance thrown in as well. I read it in one sitting one Sunday morning, unable to put it down.

 

 

This book’s main focus and inspiration is on the very relevant topic of the Black Lives Matter movement, and Angie Thomas has done such a wonderful job of introducing the issue to the YA community. The book is able to portray a first person view into a small experience of what it must be like in that situation, making the story appropriate for the YA audience, but at the same time not leaving too much to the imagination. As a white Australian, I was definitely not educated on the subject and only had what small portion of coverage I had seen in the media to go on. This book opened my eyes to the issues that some teenagers are faced with everyday in the US, through the eyes of someone living the story firsthand.

I loved all the characters throughout the story, Thomas has written each and every single one differently and all so important to the story. From Starr’s friends within her struggling community who understand her loss and have suffered loss of their own, to her private school BFF’s in the dark to what she is going through.

Arguably, the family dynamic was one of the things that made this book so fantastic. Starr’s relationship with her protective, caring father was filled with nothing but love and admiration, as was her relationship with her older, half brother. The family connection was so integral to this story, and it was so great to see a family dynamic that wasn’t problem free and perfect, or broken and horrible but normal.

This book is deep, confronting and so, so important. Not only does it tell the story of what is happening across the US to unarmed teenagers, it educates those that are worlds away. This book is definitely a must read for anyone, be they interested or curious in what is happening in the US or just like a riveting, informative read.

The Hate U Give was an immediate 5/5 stars for me, I think this one will definitely stick with me for years to come.

 

Siân x

Book Reviews

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett (spoiler free review)

Description from Goodreads

In this delightfully charming teen spin on You’ve Got Mail, the one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie buff Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent half of her junior year falling for a sensitive film geek she only knows online as “Alex.” Two coasts separate them until she moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.

Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist trap, the oddball Cavern Palace Museum. Or that she’s being tormented daily by Porter Roth, a smart-alecky yet irritatingly hot museum security guard. But when Porter and Bailey are locked in the museum overnight, Bailey is forced to choose whether she should cling to a dreamy fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex. Approximately.

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Oh my gosh! Jenn Bennett has done it again! I will start off by saying that I went into reading this book with high hopes because I absolutely adored her 2015 novel, Night OwlsAlex, Approximately did not disappoint, in fact it exceeded expectations.

Set in a fictional Californian beach-side surfer town, Coronado Cove with it’s boardwalks and quirky museum is the perfect setting for a summer romance. Moving to the coastal town to escape her mother’s newly imploding second marriage, movie nerd Bailey is both terrified and excited to be in the same town as her online crush Alex. But the avoider in Bailey has no intention of telling Alex she’s in town, well at least not until she’s eliminated all possibilities of any awkward situations or run ins. Bailey is relatable, an avoider, the Artful Dodger who avoids conflict and removes herself from uncomfortable situations. But maybe it’s time she faced some of these conflicts?

Then Bailey meets Porter, the cocky security guard at her summer job who is equal parts annoying and sexy. Swoon warning ahead! Porter has an arrogant cheekiness about him and some of his lines will have you a little hot under the collar. There is zero ‘insta love’ here, in fact our protagonists don’t even really like each other at first and it really does take them time to develop as friends and then something more as they realise that maybe they have more in common then they thought. They challenge each other and Bailey is forced to confront the idea that maybe she’s falling more for Porter and less for Alex. I enjoyed all the great dynamics between the characters from Bailey and her dad’s cute nerdiness to Bailey and Porter’s banter and sexual tension.

It was refreshing to read a young adult story with very real sexual experiences from the honest mentions of female masturbation to sexual encounters that don’t just fade to black. I applaud Bennett for including these details!

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Australian finished cover

Alex, Approximately is a delightful swoony read but it also deals with a lot of deeper issues and it is not just your average contemporary teen romance. The majority of the characters all have their own dark backstory which guides the way they behave and react in situations throughout the story. There are some confronting scenes about drug addiction, violence and past traumatic experiences but credit is due to Bennett for creating an accurate and honest portrayal of each character’s traumas and flaws.

There are so many movie references through out this story. I love when books reference things like movies and pop culture, it’s like a little high five to the reader as you go along. The ARC has movie quotes at the start of each chapter with some light foreshadowing which I loved, so hopefully they stay in there for the finished copies.

Bennett does swoony YA contemporaries with depth and substance, that you just can not put down. Peppered throughout with sassy banter, movie references and a deeper message about facing your fears and being honest with yourself and others, you will be rooting for Bailey and Porter until the very end.

5/5 stars for making me laugh, smile, tear up and generally just feel.

Tori xx.

 

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Tori’s Most Anticipated Releases of 2017 (Part 1 Jan – Jun)

2017 you are looking glorious! Here is part one of my most anticipated reads for the year 2017 – January to June. Somehow I’ve managed to narrow it down to 15 books but honestly this post could have gone on forever.

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth – 18th January

This comes out TOMORROW! Holy lord I am so excited for this to come out so I can finally talk to everyone about it. I was very lucky to receive an ARC last year and I am busting to rave about it but all I can say is that it was freaking good and you are going to LOVE it.

The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles – 25th January

My current read, I’m about halfway through and really enjoying it so far. Bounty hunters, monsters, murderers and mystery abounds. I literally have no idea where this is going to go and the pacing has me on the edge of my seat.

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber – 31st January

Ok so I have to admit… I’ve had an ARC of this for many months and I just haven’t gotten around to reading it. Hopefully I can sneak it in before the release date because I’ve only heard good things about it. Definitely getting a The Night Circus vibe from this enchanting magical adventure.

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Wayfarer by Alexandra Bracken – 1st February

I’m going to be honest here, I liked Passenger but I definitely didn’t love it. In my opinion it’s about 200 pages too long and I found portions of it so slow. But in saying that by the time I got to that ending I was relatively happy. So here’s to hoping that all the slightly boring parts are out the way now and Wayfarer runs at a faster pace. I am intrigued to see where Etta & Nicholas’s story ends up.

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Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza – 15th March

Sci-Fi is my jam! So of course this book seriously appeals to me. Just give me YA space operas on the reg and I will continue to live a happy life. And so far the reviews have been pretty good… Game of Throne in space? Take my money.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – 28th March

Oh Laini Taylor, writer of wonderful things! If you haven’t read her Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy I suggest you cease whatever you are currently doing and start reading asap. This ARC has been sitting on my bedside table for a while now but it’s right up the top of my TBR so I’m sure you’ll be hearing me gushing about it soon.

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray – 29th March

Robotic technology, global politics, interstellar combat, a girl and a robot. Sold!!! Another gorgeous ARC currently sitting on my bedside table. I can’t wait to start this one. I’ve always enjoyed Claudia Gray’s writing and look at that cover!

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett – 1st April

Night Owls was one of my favourite reads of 2015. As someone who isn’t that big on contemporary YA, you know it’s good when I love it as much as I did Night Owls. So I have no doubt I’m going to love Alex, Approximately which is a teen spin on You’ve Got Mail. I’m about 1/3 of the way in and loving it so far.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – 1st April

I am a big fan of The Starbound Trilogy which Meagan Spooner co-wrote with Amie Kaufman so of course I’m excited to read her newest book, Hunted. Disclaimer though – I’m not normally a fan of retellings so I’m hoping this Beauty and the Beast retelling lives up to the reviews I’ve read so far.

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The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli – 18th April

Becky Albertalli’s debut Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is another one of my all time favourite reads. It will make your heart explode with all the cuteness. Just plain adorable. I am desperate to get my hands on an ARC of this *wink wink* Penguin Teen.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas- May 2017

Part of me needs this book immediately and part of me is absolutely terrified to see where Maas takes this story. I have no doubt that characters are going to die, hearts are going to break and kingdoms are going to fall. I don’t know if I’m ready for this. Should I be booking time off work in May to read and recover?

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Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare – May 2017

You would think by now that people might be a little tired of all the Shadowhunter books but to be honest I feel like I will always want more. I never get tired of this world and I love all the fantastic characters she creates. I probably connected with the characters in Lady Midnight the least out of any of Clare’s books but I’m sure I’ll grow more attached as the series progresses.

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The Crown’s Fate by Evelyn Skye – 5th June

The Crown’s Game very narrowly missed out on being in my top 10 of 2016. I love the Imperial Russia setting, the whimsical magic and that tragic ending had me in tears. I need to know what happens to Vika, Nikolai and Pasha!

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US Cover

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab – June 2017

Our Savage Song came in at #7 in my top 10 of 2016 with it’s dark gritty Gotham vibes and things that go bump in the night. I look forward to seeing where Kate and August end up and who embraces their monstrous side. I have to say I’m really enjoying all these duologies released 12 months apart, sometimes it’s nice not to be dragged into a long series.

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US Cover

Now I Rise by Kiersten White – June 2017

And I Darken came in at #4 on my top 10 of 2016. Kiersten White’s dark and compelling alternate history had me absolutely gripped from the very first page. Her character development over the course of book one was so wonderfully intense. I need his book now!

So it looks like I’ll be spending the next six months buried in books!

Tori xx

Book Reviews

Siân’s Top 10 of 2016!

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2016 was SUCH a good year for YA fiction! It gave us such a great range of sci-fi and fantasy books along with some amazing contemporaries (not to mention some incredible books by Australian authors!).

Here is a peek at some of the books (in order!) that made my Top 10 list for 2016:

 


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10. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Super cute contemporary set in the space of one day in New York, and also centred around the issue of deportation. Natasha and Daniel meet one morning on their way to two very different appointments, both to determine the outcome of their future. Fantastic story about family, love and reaching for your dreams.

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Photo credit: @carolinethereader
9. Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz
A beautiful contemporary that is, again, set in the US and dealing with the issues surrounding deportation and illegal immigrants. Jasmine’s dream of university is dashed when she discovers that her family is living in the US illegally, and facing deportation to the Philippines. Throw is some super cute romance, some cheerleaders and cue Jasmine chasing her American dream – you now have a fantastic read by Melissa De La Cruz.

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Photo credit: @flossthefangirl
8. It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt 
Heartbreakingly beautiful story of self discovery in a small town. When Mike meets Sean his life is turned upside down and all he’s ever known about himself before is questioned. If you’re a fan of Adam Silvera or David Levithan, this book is for you!

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7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne 
Okay, so this was one of the most anticipated releases of 2016 and for me it did not disappoint. A self confessed Malfoy family fan, I was so excited to be able to meet Scorpius and Albus and see the friendship/relationship between them and their fathers. Eagerly awaiting a stage play tour to Australia!

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6. Ruined by Amy Tintera 
Em is out for revenge. Revenge for her family and revenge for her country. Desperate to infiltrate the kingdom that kidnapped her younger sister, Olivia, she marries Prince Casimir. Fantastic story of deception, love and revenge. One of our bookclub reads that I was apprehensive about reading but ended up falling completely in love with! Hanging on the edge of my seat in anticipation for the second book in this trilogy, ‘Avenged’ – out in May 2017.

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5. And I Darken by Kiersten White
Historical fiction/fantasy set in the Ottoman Empire. Lada and her brother Radu are separated from their homeland of Wallachia and strike up an unlikely friendship with Mehemed, son to the Sultan. Kept me hanging on every page and I immediately wanted to be friends with Lada, she is such a knockout character! The second book, ‘Now I Rise’, is out in June 2017.

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4. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland 
A beautifully written story by a debut Australian author, Krystal Sutherland. This story follows the journey of two outsiders that find each other in the mess that is life. A high school romance with characters you will absolutely attach yourself to that is devastatingly brilliant, with a great twist of humour to it – I couldn’t put this one down!

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3. Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven
I originally planned to read a couple of chapters of Holding Up The Universe before bed and suddenly found myself finishing the book in the same sitting at 2am. Niven’s way of weaving together beautiful, heartbreaking contemporaries strikes again. Libby and Jack are fantastic characters who you instantly feel a connection with. If you enjoyed Niven’s first book ‘All The Bright Places’ like I did, you will not be disappointed with this read!

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Photo credit: @yabookgrl1981
2. Kings Rising (Captive Prince #3) by C.S. Pacat
Okay, I know this one isn’t strictly YA but guys, The Captive Prince Trilogy is three of my most favourite books ever. Hands down. And the third and final book, ‘Kings Rising’ was definitely my favourite of all. The trilogy follows the story of Prince Damon of Akielos who has been gifted to Prince Laurent of Vere, under the guise of a common slave. The three books detail their fight to win back the Kingdom of Vere and their tumultuous relationship.

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1. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
The absolute book of 2016. If you haven’t read this yet, what are you doing with your life??? I’m not normally a huge fantasy lover but this book blew me away. The world building and creation of characters is astounding, Kristoff is a master of words. And, the book is absolutely hilarious in parts. More than once I found myself cackling like a witch at the footnotes. Mia Corvere is the badass we all inspire to be, the Beyonce of assassins. I honestly cannot contain myself in anticipation of the second book, which is scheduled for sometime in 2017 (hopefully!).
(And yes, Tori & I have the same #1 book of 2016… This means you should direct it to the top of your TBR pile as soon as humanly possible!)

 If last year is anything to go by, 2017 is going to be absolutely amazing for YA fiction! I can’t wait to get stuck into some of the new releases coming!
 Added Bonus:

Books I cannot wait for in 2017
The beauty of receiving ARC’s as a bookseller is reading the anticipated new releases before they hit the shelves, the downside is wanting to recommend them to the perfect customer in store but not having them to handsell! Here are some books that are coming soon that I can’t wait to have on our shelves:
  • History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera – This is one of the most beautifully written books I have read in a long time, Silvera has such a way with words. It’s also heartbreaking and full of love, loss and growth. Due out March 2017.
  • Wing Jones by Katherine Webber – A powerful story about family and hope in the face of tragedy. Loss, love, passion and determination. If you’re a fan of Jandy Nelson, you’re sure to love this. Due out March 2017.
  • Remind Me How This Ends by Gabrielle Tozer – Fantastic new release by another incredible Australian author. This one has a little bit of everything – childhood friendships, family troubles, new romance, a road trip, uncertainty and tragedy. Due out in April 2017.
Siân x
Book Reviews

Tori’s Top 10 Books of 2016

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Yes I did almost break my arm holding all of these!

What an amazing year for YA books, I don’t even know how I narrowed this down to just ten books but here it is, my top ten 2016 books! There is a whole heap more I could add to the list but decided to narrow it down to just 2016 releases. The following is mostly me just fangirling over these authors and their greatness…

10. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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A rich, dark, fairytale like fantasy with a serious twist. A found this one to be a little bit of a slow burner to begin with but that ending left me absolutely speechless. I love how twisted the premise is of three sisters battling to the death to be queen and I found myself constantly chopping and changing between which sister I liked the most. I’m really interested in seeing where Blake takes this story. Book two One Dark Throne is due out late 2017.

Add it to your Goodreads

9. Holding up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

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This was deep, cutesy contemporary at it’s best. I’m mostly a Sci Fi/Fantasy reader but every now and again I like to throw in a contemporary and I always feel like I come away from reading them with a warm heart. The short chapters had me turning pages late into the night and I enjoyed watching Libby and Jack develop throughout the story. Niven has delivered a beautiful tale and I love the underlying messages about self esteem and being comfortable in your own skin.

Add it to your Goodreads

8. Thanks for the Trouble by Tommy Wallach

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This one was an emotional roller coaster ride for me, I was hooked from the very first chapter and devoured this in one sitting. Tommy’s teenage voice is honest, believable and funny as hell. Beware the stupid grin you’ll be wearing while reading this and the potential tears. Getting to host Tommy here in Adelaide as our first guest author to join The YA Circle was an absolute honor. Tommy is so lovely, both his books are divine and I can’t wait to read his next book Anchor & Sophia due out sometime this year hopefully.

Add it to your Goodreads

7. This Savage Song by V. E. Schwab

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Dark, gritty and brilliant! Set in a world with Sin City and Gotham vibes, full of things that go bump in the night. A delicious new take on monsters and characters who walk the fine line between monster and human. This would make a fantastic graphic novel! And refreshing to have male and female protagonists who aren’t constantly lusting after each other. The next book Our Dark Duet is due out Mid 2017.

Add it to your Goodreads

6. The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

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Nemesis is a Diabolic bred with a single task, to protect and even kill for the person they are bonded to. Dark, violent and addictive. I have to say I was so excited for this to be a standalone but by the time I got to the end I was not ok with leaving that world behind for good. Kincaid has done an amazing job at creating a brutal Sci Fi world and I cannot wait to find out where it will all go. Book two Untitled arriving later in 2017.

Add it to your Goodreads

5. Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

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This is not your average teen romance. Henry is the naive, innocent romantic. Grace is the mysterious new girl who dresses like a boy and walks with a cane. Henry falls hard and we witness utter disaster! Brilliant, heart breaking and hilarious. I love how Krystal has captured the all consuming feeling of first love, how when it ends it can feel like the end of the world but really it’s just the beginning. Not so patiently waiting for whatever Krystal writes next!

Add to your Goodreads

4. And I Darken by Kiersten White

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What if Vlad the Impaler was born a girl? Set in Transylvania at the height of the Ottoman Empire, this alternate history will hook you in straight away. Dark and compelling with a badass heroine. I love how intense and blood thirsty Lada is and White has done an amazing job of creating multi faceted characters. An insanely addictive read. Book two Now I Rise due out mid 2017.

Add to your Goodreads

3. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Book 2 of A Court of Thorns and Roses)

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An enthralling blend of fairy tale elements set in a gorgeous fantasy world. This is the second book in the series and it completely broke me by the end. How does Maas write such addictive characters?! You get so invested in them and their lives it’s like a part of you actually breaks when something bad happens to them. And don’t get me started on all the sexy time, much sexy time, much enjoyment. Highly recommend! The third and final book in this series A Court of Wings and Ruin is due out May 2017.

Add to your Goodreads

2. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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Without a doubt the absolute highlight of my year was getting to host these two legends at Dymocks Adelaide for the launch of Illuminae Files #2 Gemina. And getting to meet them literally hours after finishing Gemina (which hit me like a train) was a crazy experience. Illuminae was my favourite book of 2015 and Gemina did not disappoint… I might even go as far as to say I loved it more than Illuminae (which is a hell of alot). I will never not be surprised by the gorgeous format and the crazy plot twists. The only bad part about this series is that it’s actually going to have to end *insert ugly crying*. The final book in this series Untitled is due out late 2017. I’ll be scheduling in time off from work for the recovery I’m going to need after finishing this awesome series.

Add to your Goodreads

1. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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And my number one read of 2016 is obviously the book I just can’t stop selling and talking about! In short: Apprentice assassin on the warpath to avenge her family; journeys to the assassin’s version of Hogwarts and all hell breaks loose. This is everything I needed in a fantasy and more. That world building, those characters, the humor, the #stabstabstab. Mister Kristoff I am convinced is some form of  evil genius and this book is like fantasy crack… I need my next hit!!! I’m already craving a reread but I’m going to make myself hold out until closer to book two’s release date. A violent bloody, sexy, stabby, badass journey from beginning to end. If you haven’t read it, you are missing out!

Add to your Goodreads

Now to think about my most anticipated reads for 2017!

Tori xx

 

Book Reviews

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven – Spoiler Free Review!

 

Guys, I loved this book. Straight up. Heartwarmingly cute, eye opening and adorable. Much like ‘All The Bright Places’, ‘Holding Up The Universe’ brings many twists and turns that you don’t see coming & I absolutely loved it.

 

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Here’s the blurb for a little more about it:

“Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.” (Goodreads)

 

The two main characters in this book are just amazing, they’re so well written and witty as hell. I want to be best friends with Libby Strout, I think she’s a total brave badass and an inspiration and I want to be her friend immediately. She has such a fierce spirit, you just want to protect her at all costs. She’s such a strong character who has suffered so much heartbreak in her life, I was her biggest cheerleader from the first page.

And Jack is really very sweet (once you get to know him), misunderstood and a total babe. He portrays the fear of being judged at High School so well, you hate what he is doing but you can see why he is. Niven has such a gift for writing characters – they both have such depth to them and by the end of the book you feel as though you really know these characters in real life. I was rooting for these two from the beginning, the connection written between them was just fantastic.

I really went into this story blind, the perks of having a reading copy without a blurb (and I never like to search for the blurbs on Goodreads). I knew I was getting into something beautifully written and different, as I had recently read and loved ‘All The Bright Places’, and I was absolutely captivated by the story… – I had only planned to read a couple of chapters before bed but ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting because I just couldn’t bear to put it down. I found myself smiling, cheeks hurting and gasping at certain points because the storyline is just TOO CUTE in some places. Niven has such a wonderfully heartbreaking way of writing the issues and struggles that teens/young adults may be facing, and the way she weaves these sensitive subjects through the storylines is amazing – she is, without a doubt, one of my favourite authors.

For those of you who come to The YA Circle meetings, know that I absolutely gushed about this book from the moment I finished it & I am so, so excited that ‘Holding Up The Universe’ is our current read for the November meeting! I can’t wait for all our bookclub members to be able to read this journey between Libby & Jack and fall in love with them just as much as I did.

‘Holding Up The Universe’ is hands down, one of my favourite reads of 2016. And I can’t wait to see what other beautiful stories we may get from Jennifer Niven.

 

Siân

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