And another board completed.
MG Book With Divorce: It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume (4 stars)
Story Regarding Anxiety: Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella (5 stars)
MG Book with Female Author: Clean Break by Jacqueline Wilson (4 stars)
Story with A Family Feud: The Weight of Feathers by Anna Marie McLemore (2 stars)
M/M Romance Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz (5 stars)
Chosen One Trope: Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne (Five stars)
Male M/C with female best friend/sidekick: Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner (5 stars)
Wizards and Witches: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling (5 stars)
Book with Multiple POVs: Rebel Springs (Falling Kingdoms
#2) by Morgan Rhodes (4 stars)
Mostly Yellow Cover: The Bourbon Kings by JR Ward (5 stars)
Dark Contemporary: Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (4 stars)
Strong Independent Female Lead: Frostblood by Elly Blake ( 5 Stars)
A Retelling: Blackhearts (Blackhearts #1) By Nicole Castroman (3 stars)
A Science Fiction Novel: Beyond the Red (Beyond the Red #1) By Ava Jae (4 stars)
Mostly Blue Cover: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) By Veronica Roth (3 stars)
Wolf/Lupine Element: Hemlock (Hemlock #1) by Kathleen Peacock (4 stars)
Diverse Author: A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) By Saaba Tahir (4 stars)
Story Centred Around Social Issues: How To Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake (5 stars)
PoC Main Character: Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (4 stars)
Book Addressing Socioeconomic Issues: Something In Between by Melissa De La Cruz (3 stars)
You can see my Goodreads shelf here which has dates read and some reviews.
And a huge thanks to Great Imaginations’ Kara for helping me find titles for the Middle Grade with divorce books (I’m not really a Middle Grade reader I’ve bought about five MG books from the lists provided).
Lots of really great books this time round, particular favourites were The Bourbon Kings, How To Make a Wish, Frostblood, Beyond The Read, Written in the Stars, Rebel Springs, Aristotle and Dante, Mark of the Witch.
The only truly terrible thing I read was Moon Called by PC Cast for the Chosen One trop which was so awful I DNFed after 20 pages, but I did find something else I really liked.
Obsesssed with the .musical? Check! I have tickets for Hamilton London next February so I'm determined to have this read by then.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
I pre ordered this ages before I requested a review copy from Netgalley. I must admit I pre ordered based on cover and the fact that the title is Taylor Swift song. I probably read the blurb at some point and forgot what it was about.
And to my immense surprise my Netgalley request was actually approved.
Possible trigger warnings for self-harm.
This was a fun book about a girl who’s visiting relatives in Scotland while at the same time having strange dreams about twin girls in the time of the Scottish Witch Trials. (I usually don’t like books where the characters have the same name as myself, but thankfully this was a first person novel so it didn’t grate on me too much). The main character Heather has some disturbing compulsions that make her carve intricate designs into her skin, which make her bleed.
At the start of the novel she’s been caught by her parents and been sent to a Wellness Centre for recovery. Which at least seems to be working, she’s taking meds, talking to a therapist and come home, and been allowed to go on to her annual vacation to visit her Aunt Abbie in Scotland. With check ins with her parents and on line Skye sessions with her therapist.
Only the need to carve the weird designs into her skin haven’t really gone away. She’s got it under control enough to fool the grownups into thinking she’s okay when she’s really not. To be fair though, she knows she’s doing something wrong, there is something unexplainable about the way the sudden compulsion over comes her. But she can’t cope or do anything until the design is carved into her skin. It’s a weird intricate knot type design.
There’s a historical element to the novel telling the story of twin sisters Prudence and Primrose who lived in the 1700s. Their story starts with one of them being burned as witch. Their history is revealed to Heather in the modern day through her dreams. Once loving sisters learning the healing craft of their ancestors with the mother, things turn sour turning the twins into bitter rivals going deeper into magic they should not be messing with.
All this is having a big effect on Heather in the modern day. In Edinburgh with her aunt Abbie, Heather gets some bad news about her aunt, and also has to deal with the fact that her grandmother has dementia and has been put into a home. Not fun on top of increasingly frightening nightmares starring Prudence and Primrose.
Having been to Scotland every summer for years and years Heather has made some really good friends with some of the other teens in town. She gets to see them in the summer. They’re all quite excited to be together again, though initially Heather is a little disappointed the older boy she likes isn’t there that summer, just his brother Robby who she’s known forever is. They’re good friends, but there’s a definite spark between them that everyone but Heather seems to see.
As the dreams get worse and worse, and a few visits to grandma reveal some surprising information, talk of witches in the family, something bad involving using blood for spells, Heather does some digging. And discovers some home truths she never knew.
It’s a good story with a great historical and some really good mystical elements. Some good teen angst added in and with an inevitable romance. My only real issue with this which is why it was a four star rather than a five star read was I found most of the characters very two dimensional. They were all likeable, but I didn’t get much of a sense of personality from any of them really.
The novel was exceptionally well written, so it didn’t really matter that the characters were a little flat, the history and mythology worked well, and the magic elements were well done and quite unique. There’s also a really good sense of place, the Scottish setting is brilliantly done. I really enjoyed the descriptions of Edinburgh and the Scottish countryside. Both modern day and historical it felt really authentic, beautifully written and easy to picture.
Despite a few flaws, it was a really good read and definitely something I would read again.
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s for approving my request to view this title
I received a copy from Netgalley.
A gut wrencher of an emotional ride. This novel tells the story of Grace who lives with her flighty mom who goes through strings of bad relationships. Grace only has one real friend, Luca, who looks out for her. When new girl Eva comes to town and moves in with Luca and his mom, she begins a friendship with Grace that slowly turns into something more. All the while things with Grace’s mom go from bad to worse, all the while Grace claiming she’s coping with it all and she’s “fine”. But is she?
The novel was deeply moving and very emotional and made me cry more than a few times as Grace struggles to keep her head above water. Her mom is a new contender for one of the worst YA parents. Her dad has never been in the picture, her mom has always followed her “creative” side, flitting from place to place and relationship to relationship, with seemingly little care to how all of this affects Grace. Mom also drinks.
At the start of the novel Grace’s mom has moved in with a new boyfriend, Pete, who happens to be the dad of one of Grace’s ex boyfriends, Jay, who was an asshole when they broke up. Pete actually turned out to be a pretty nice guy. Jay, who was big dick through most of the novel even stepped up to the plate and turned out to be surprising.
Grace and Eva start to bond and get to know each other, and it’s a delightful slow burn sizzle as things progress between them. Eva’s dealing with the death of her mom, (I can’t remember why her dad wasn’t in the picture). Grace sort of doesn’t know how to handle that. The more time they spent together the closer they become and it turns into a much deeper relationship. Eva’s completely comfortable and aware of her own sexuality - she makes it plain she likes girls. Grace is struggling - she likes both boys and girls and does eventually come to the conclusion she’s bisexual. Bisexual representation was handled really well. And there were some lovely romantic scenes between Grace and Eva.
But all the while Grace’s mom is flitting about, things start to go missing from Pete’s house. While Grace is mortified, mom’s like, oh it’s no big deal. Then Mom starts cooing over Eva, focusing most of her attention on helping Eva deal with her grief, which is pissing Grace off to no end.
Grace had a bit of a loner complex about her, though she had her BFF Luca, Luca had a new girlfriend Kimber, who was taking up a lot of his time, and while she and Grace got along, they weren’t exactly on the BFF train. More for Grace to deal with. She had a snarky attitude about her, and given her circumstances, it’s understandable, she’s had to deal with some tough situations where her mom is concerned. Grace has always been the responsible one, taking care of her mother, dragging her out of seedy bars, making sure rent and bills are paid. Basically having to grow up way too fast.
Though Grace has a dream of being a concert pianist. She’s got the talent, and even has an audition for a fancy music school in Manhattan. Though reality gets in the way and she’s struggling with the idea of leaving mom to cope on her own. Mom never seems to listen Grace. Mom’s been telling her they’ll make a day of it for Grace’s audition and go spend some time together in New York, and Grace seems to be clinging to the hope this of this idea. Yet, part of her isn’t entirely sure of whether or not it will happen due to circumstances in the novel. It’s gut-wrenching to read about Grace agonising over this.
Grace has comforting relief in Eva as their relationship takes a deeper turn, but with mom’s involvement in fawning over Eva, it’s not helping. Grace is pushing her anger and resentment back again and again and there’s only so much of this anyone can take before it inevitably explodes.
When it goes wrong, it goes wrong fast and hard and it’s painful to read. It was very emotional in parts, very raw and cut deep. I really wanted to slap the mother and hug Grace a lot. Grace handled a lot of things with immense maturity, even though she had (and was more than entitled to) a few stroppy moments.
While her mom was awful, the saving light adult in the novel came from Luca’s mom Emmy, who was there throughout when Grace needed someone, and really came through like a beacon when things got to the really tough stage. Emmy was the mom Grace really deserved. Though while her own was awful, at the same time, you can understand Grace’s attachment and reluctance to leave her to it, even when things got bad. Until they reached boiling point.
A beautifully, lyrically written novel, though can be very tough. I loved it.
Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for approving my request to view the title.
Review: Something In Between
I received a copy from Netgalley.
This was an interesting book, as it dealt with a tough issue, but I can’t say I actually liked the main character much at all. This book is about a Filipino girl Jasmine, who has spent most of her life in America, she’s captain of her cheerleading squad, incredibly smart and when she wins a very prestigious award that comes with a college scholarship, she’s thrilled to pieces, only to discover to her horror when her parents make a shock confession – they don’t have green cards, they are undocumented.
I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like. Jasmine’s whole world is thrown into total chaos, there’s an immigrant reform bill going on as well that would be helpful, but it’s not doing so well. On top of that Jasmine meets a handsome boy Royce, who just happens to be the son of a very powerful Senator who’s supposedly big on anti-immigration.
With the deadline for college applications coming up, getting her cheerleading squad to Nationals, a new budding relationship, Jasmine doesn’t seem to know which way is up and which way is down. Her family are very close, which was nice to see, though her dad is a bit on the strict side. They banded together to deal with the problems. There was a really good family dynamic, which was believable, Jasmine had two annoying little brothers who at the start of the book were loud irritating and got in the way, but the way the novel was written made them likeable (if annoying) characters. The parents had nicely formed personalities as well.
Jasmine herself, I didn’t actually like much after all. She was supposed to be one of these really nice, smart and popular types, but I found her pushy and condescending. I certainly empathised with her struggles as the novel progressed. I read the first hundred pages or so, then the second time I picked it up I finished it in an afternoon, I couldn’t put it down. Naturally she’s struggling with her family situation, and it’s worrying her to no end – are they going to be deported?
They find out what options are open to them, and decide which route to go down.
Then there’s Royce, the rich boy she falls madly in love with. Royce at first appears to be your typical senator’s son – rich and charming, but turns out to be a total sweetheart. He was lovely, very considerate and nice and not at all what you tend to expect from the very wealthy background he comes from.
The class divide between him and Jasmine seems to be a big issue as the relationship progresses throughout the book. Royce claims he’s not affected by it. She’s the one with the issue. She makes big deals out of little things and whines a fair amount. Yes she’s struggling with something gut wrenching, but she’s not the only character with problems in the novel. Royce is offering her help but she’s too stubborn to take it.
It was certainly an interesting read, if kind of predictable in the plot. Jasmine wasn’t my favourite character, but I definitely would recommend this for a good read about a tough issue. I did purchase a finished paperback copy.
Thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin (UK) Limited for approving my request to view the title.
Calling it quits at 200 pages.
Not for me. I made it 200 pages but I'm just not connecting with the main character and not that interested in the plot, I'm finding it very boring and repetitive. DNFing.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
Initially I went into this one not knowing much about it. It was a bit of coverlust, really. Though rereading the blurb when my Netgalley request was approved it sounded like a generic YA fantasy, also sounding a bit too much like Red Queen (which I really didn’t like) though Frostblood wound up really surprising me. I didn’t quite finish it before it came out, but before I was half way through I purchased a finished copy.
The main character Ruby lives in a world of ice ruled by Frostbloods who are cruel and vicious. Ruby has a special power of her own, she can create and manipulate fire – she’s a Fireblood. Firebloods are hunted down by Frostbloods and either killed or imprisoned. There’s a big dramatic history between the two factions of why things are the way they are which is revealed as the novel progresses.
Sounds a bit generic, but the world building is surprisingly in depth with well thought out mythology and history and works well with the plot. Ruby is captured by Frostblood soldiers after an attack on the village near her home which results in a personal tragedy for her, driving her need for revenge. Rescued by local monks Ruby is given an opportunity to help them bring down the Frostblood king.
Not all the monks are happy to have Ruby with them – she is unpredictable, can’t control her powers and a dangerous liability. Ruby has to train to master her ability. With the help of Arcus, who comes across as one of the monks less than pleased to have her there. He’s mysterious, and quite rude and obnoxious. He and Ruby rub each other the wrong way. It’s kind of obvious immediately where it’s going but it’s delightfully shippy, and quite fun to get into their training and snide back and forths with snarking at each other. (I did find myself wanting to shove them together and yell JUST KISS ALREADY! As they sort out their true feelings for each other).
Ruby has her doubts about what she’s got to do, and learns a few things that she’s unsure about. There’s of course a prophecy involved, a few twisty setbacks, and one big ass plot twist towards the end that was really good and completely unexpected when the truth of Arcus’s real identity and his intentions are revealed.
Despite the fact that the plot is nothing that hasn’t been done before, the novel is exceptionally well written, the characters are all interesting and well fleshed out, a mix of good guys, bad guys and one or two you’re not quite sure about. Good solid world building with an interesting history and its own belief system of gods and goddesses which work well within the plot and ties up nicely.
A lot of fun. I have already pre ordered the sequel, and am really looking forward to more from this series.
Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for approving my request to view the title.
I feel sort of bad for DNFing this one as this was a book I picked for a giveaway win. It sounds very much like my sort of book - average girl goes to super fancy boarding school and becomes friends with the most unattainable girl on campus - the one everyone wants to be friends with but it's this girl from a regular background that gets her attention. Things start to go great but then go very wrong.
Trigger Warnings for suicide and drug use.
I made it 265 pages and frankly just don't care anymore. I don't quite get what the point of this book is. I don't like the characters enough to care to want to finish to find out.
The style of the writing is bizarre. It's like the main character is chatting to a friend as she's telling the story, it's almost like - so I did this and that happens and you know that sort thing that you never think would happen to you? That totally happens to me and I know what you're thinking and don't think like that! Paraphrasing obviously. But it's sort of like that and disjointed and weird.
The main character is supposed to be very intelligent and sometimes it clearly shows and she can be very deep and insightful in surprising way. Other times the rambles are pointless. She starts off by describing her only friends with their disabilities and character flaws, she talks endlessly about wanting to kill herself, almost like it's just something to do. Which is annoying because of the almost blase way she talks something so serious. Then the plot sort of trails off and nothing really happens with it. It's never addressed. Only when she needs to use those emotions to manipulate something to her own advantage to change dorms. She pretends she's so stressed she'll want to kill herself and then remembers like - oh yeah, I sort of really wanted to do that so play off those emotions. Kind of disgusting. She uses the word "spastic" a lot when describing how her best friend is acting strange. And that pisses me off. No need to use that word.
The main character is horrible and annoying, and almost nothing has happened plotwise. Other than she's made friends with a very rich but flakey girl and now both girls are doing drugs - popping pills. One can get away with it because she's rich and everyone wants her to like them, but the other one is a scholarship student and can't afford to be strung out on drugs and not keep her grades up. It's blah and boring as hell. One is having an affair with a teacher and the other thinks it's a spectacularly bad idea. There are two potential boys the main character could be interested in.
I just have no desire to read anymore of this.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
Not for me. I made it ten percent and tried to go further but I just don't like this book at all. Premise is interesting enough, main character Britta is an outcast living on the edge of her community, mourning the death of her father, the kingdom tracker. Her only other friend ran off months ago and never returned. When she hunts on land belonging to the King which of course is strictly forbidden - she knows this - does it anyway - and then gets caught. She's offered the chance to track down her father's murderer to avoid being put to death for poaching by the royals. Her other friend may be involved.
Everything about this girl makes my eyes roll, plus there's made up words - floating around - she says Seeds! a lot - like an exclamation or a made up swear word which pisses me off to no end. And now other characters are starting to say this and I really just can't be bothered with this book. Plus Britta's very pale and very blonde and very very annoying.
Don't like this one at all. Don't care about the characters or the plot enough and too much is irritating for me to want to continue.
Thank you Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for approving my request to view the title.
I received a copy from Penguin's FirstoRead.com
The initial premise of this novel is nothing particularly original. Tina’s mother has been murdered, the police haven’t done anything and she’s hell bent on revenge. What gives this book an edge and makes it stand out in the YA mystery genre is its setting. The novel takes place in a city in Kenya and villages in the Congo. It’s raw, it’s violent and scary and incredibly well written.
Tina’s mother is a maid in the house of a very rich man who lives in Sangui City in Kenya. Tina lives there with her baby sister Kiki, and finds herself befriending the rich family’s son, Michael. When Tina’s mother is murdered, Tina runs away. Kiki is safe in a convent school, while Tina is on the streets and becomes part of the city’s most ruthless gang, the Goondas. Her quick thinking and small physique and some other talents make her a great thief and she toughens up, surviving in hard circumstances. The scary leader of the Goondas, a mysterious and very dangerous man, offers Tina the chance at revenge and blood against the man she believes murdered her mother.
As Tina puts her plan in motion, nothing is as it seems as she uncovers secrets and lies, and finds herself working with her old friend Michael – she believes it is his father who is responsible while Michael swears blind it’s not. Michael inserts himself into Tina’s investigation which yields more questions than answers, more danger and thing about Tina’s past and her mother come to light, things of course Tina never knew, which takes Tina, Michael and Tina’s technical whiz friend Boyboy who’s also helping out of Sangui City into the jungles of the unbelievably dangerous Congo.
It’s unflinching and brutal as Tina digs into her mother’s history. She’s smart, tough and wiry and never gives up no matter how hard or seemingly impossible everything looks. She’s just as brutal as the boys and men she has to work with, yet at the same time, she does have some softer moments. Just little things that make her human rather than just hell bent on revenge. Her resolve never really waivers until some really hard truths come to light about the truth of what happened to her mother in the villages in the Congo. There’s war and atrocities going on around them, and people who could be trusted may not be what they seem.
It’s very twisty turny, I never guessed who the killer was. I had several theories and all were wrong. Though in a way when the truth is revealed, you kind of find yourself thinking (or I certainly did) should have seen that one coming! but never did. It’s very harsh and not a comfortable mystery read at all. But it’s so different in its setting and characters and it’s certainly a very compelling read. It did drag a bit in parts of the plot, and some of the characters weren’t as fleshed out as Tina was, but the slowness of the plot does pick up.
Lots of dark secrets and lots of emotional impact. Tough, but very good.
Definitely an author I would love to read more from.
This was one tough book to get through, but at the same time it’s really hard to put down once you get into it. It tells the story of fall from grace of mean girl Regina Afton. Trigger warnings for attempted rape (twice in the book) physical and emotional violence. This is bullying to the extreme. The problem with this book is Regina is a big bitch and flat out unlikeable. Part of a clique of rich pretty mean girls she’s engaged in bullying behaviour herself to the point of completely destroying other girls to the point of the victims attempting suicide. So when she finds herself with her best friend’s asshole boyfriend who doesn’t get no means no and makes the mistake of confiding in someone she shouldn’t have – it’s all over the school that she slept with the most popular girl's boyfriend, and Regina finds herself the subject of the same abuse she’s inflicted on other girls.
It’s deep and emotional and horrible and the bullying goes from bad to worse and turns physical. At the same time there’s a sort of morbid sense of glee seeing Regina getting her comeuppance (especially as a reader who has suffered at the hands mean girl bullying) even though it’s still horrible. She’s got no one to really turn to and finds herself trying to sit with one boy Michael who everyone has dismissed as weird and unlikeable – because of rumours Regina and her former friends spread about him. Despite everything this poor guy has suffered at their hands he still (sort of) gives her a second chance. Doesn’t make them friends or anything, but he’s definitely the bigger person.
Even though she’s getting herself dragged through the mud Regina acts like she’s so above it all and better than everyone else (which makes her even more hateable) she’s done it to other girls, it’s sort of like so what? Doesn’t mean she deserves it (well, no she really didn’t deserve what the boy at the party tried to do, no one deserves that no matter how horrible they are as person).
It’s complex because as I said she does deserve some sort of consequences for her actions in abusing others. Her attitude doesn’t help endear her to anyone, and thankfully, it appears she’s not at all trying to be liked. She’s just getting through it as best she can. She wants to lash out and hurt the girl who’s responsible for spreading the rumour that knocked her off the top. (They have a less than pleasant history) and of course no one believes her about the attempted rape.
It is a tough, gut wrenching read and extremely uncomfortable in places. It did have a how on earth is this going to end tug pulling at me through the later parts of the book. The violence gets worse, it doesn’t let up at all. The novel makes no apologies for characters’ behaviour either, it’s something that happens and it doesn’t always end well or tie up with a nice satisfying bow. It’s very open ended and that, on reflection, actually worked quite well.
It’s a very good book, just a difficult one with some tough topics to deal with.
I received a copy from Netgalley.
A delightful story focusing on two teens during Pride week in San Francisco. Mark is in love with his best friend Ryan while Kate’s best friend has set her up with a girl who she’s built up in her mind and finally gets to meet after hearing about her from other people. Only instead of going to the meeting Kate chickens out and winds up at the same club where Mark and Ryan are hanging out. A chance meeting and somehow a friendship forms as the night progresses between Kate and Mark.
Mark is trying not to be jealous while Ryan is out on the dance floor and having fun, Kate is trying not to freak over ditching out on meeting Violet, the girl she’s supposed to be meeting. Each chapter is told in a viewpoint of either Kate or Mark, both voices are likeable, and very believable. Mark as he tries to convince Ryan they should be together, and the effects this has on him when trying to work through as Ryan meets someone else. While Kate is struggling to understand why she’s friends with her best friend Lehna. She’s known Lehna forever, they’re both out and proud and a beacon for other gay kids at their school. Yet Lehna’s personality is very forward and brash and I found her character irritating and obnoxious. Violet, the girl Kate is supposed to be meeting is actually Lehna’s cousin, and Lehna has told her things about Kate that aren’t exactly true.
Though through meeting Mark at a club in San Francisco and winding up at a glamerous party somewhere later, Kate finds the stories Lehna told about her are actually, in a kind of unexpected way, turning out to come true. Out of the two storylines, Kate’s I found was more interesting when Violet finally turns up, Kate’s story I found as a reader I was able to identify with much more and therefore liked her character a lot more. And there was some pretty swoony romance.
While I liked Mark, his story was more angsty, and seemed to just be focused on I love Ryan, does he love me or this other guy he’s started seeing and wouldn’t have started seeing him if I hadn’t convinced him to go out that night? It does get a bit emotional, but I did find it kind of repetitive. Though together, the two stories actually did work pretty well.
There was one bit towards the end where Mark and Kate go to a poetry slam and some of their other friends are there, some of the poetry was a little lost on me, some of it was awful, while other pieces were incredibly powerful and very moving.
All in all a very good read that managed to smoothly go from quirky and funny to angst to emotional and switch back and forth provoking a range of different emotions. I liked this so much I bought a finished copy.
Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for approving my request to view the title.
No stars. Doesn't even deserve 1 star.
May be my quickest DNF ever. Barely 3 pages and I loathe this book. Stuck it out to 20 pages, but no more. I hate the characters and the world buildings is nonsense, the dialogue is ludicrous and the plot is awful. Big ass NO WAY am I wasting any more time on this rubbish.
I received a copy from Edelweiss
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one, it was a bit of coverlust more than anything about it that caught my attention and I snagged it as soon as I saw it on Edelweiss as a read it now. I’d forgotten what it was about by the time I finally got around to read it. Pleasantly surprised to find how unique this novel was and how much I enjoyed and how unexpected the plot was. It’s a turn of the century historical set in the Isle of Man.
The main character lives in small island village steeped mythology regarding the sea and the creatures within and the strange fairy folk (think more traditional type fairies, Little Folk, mysterious and hardly ever seen but a somewhat worrying presence).
Bridey, the main character, just wants to escape from the island and go experience London and the mainland. She has a close tightknit family of a number of siblings, a couple of best friends, though her male friend Lugh’s attention seem to be changing slightly towards her. The town even has a creepy old lady who lives, Morag, alone with a mysterious past known as the local witch.
Bridey is haunted by the mysterious death of her grandfather. She was there when it happened, the official cause is drowning, but she knows there’s more to it. Problem is no one believes her. Not helped when Bridey is looking for work and her mother sends her to go apprentice to Morag. Then girls start disappearing and turning up dead.
Along with the arrival of a strange boy washed up on the beach. The boy has horrible wounds and no memory of who he is. Bridey takes him home to help nurse him back to health, as he has no name, she names him Fynn.
Beautifully written, almost lyrical, and completely captivating, the mythology of the sea beasts and magic of the isle is woven in and it’s absolutely fascinating. The cast of characters is pretty incredible, from the stubborn townsfolk who can be at once giving and incredibly small minded, and of course there’s much more to local witch Morag than anyone thought to look at.
And the slow build of trust and friendship between Bridey and Fynn is very well done and believable. It’s not insta-love, it takes time and work. Coupled with the mystery of the disappearing girls it all mixes together and works incredibly well. It’s not just focused on Bridey and Fynn, I really liked the inclusion of Bridey’s family and her friends and how they all cope differently with the events in the novel as they unfold.
The plot has a few surprising twists and turns and it’s impossible to guess, and the end really threw me and was completely unexpected. Some of the ending was a little hard to follow, I had to go back and read some of the scenes twice to make sure I was following the plot correctly, but the initial twist at the end was still a big surprise.
All in all a fantastic read and definitely an author I look forward to reading more of.
My official sign up post for the Flights of Fantasy reading challenge from Alexa Loves Books
This is a new to me challenge I found on twitter, so as I read a lot of fantasy, why not give it a shot?
My goal is going to be 20 fantasy books.