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Review, Young Adult / June 27, 2016
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer DonnellyThese Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Date: 2015
496 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery
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Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.

The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.

The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

I don’t read historical fiction very much, which may seem funny as I study history at University, but I tend to stick to fantasy and contemporary. I picked up These Shallow Graves after mulling it over for several weeks after spotting it in my local Waterstones. There was just something about the cover, synopsis and the fact that it was set in early 1900s New York that I could not shake. I ended up buying it finally and I do not regret it one bit. The book was written well, the plot was well thought out, the characters were very interesting to read about. read more

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By: Vicky
Review, Young Adult / June 8, 2015
The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann AguirreThe Queen of Bright and Shiny Things
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends, Macmillan
Date: April 2015
336 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Contemporary
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Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won't peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She's learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it's working just fine . . . until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He's a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He's got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn't expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn't mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again. . . .

I have been a huge of fan of Ms. Aguirre’s work ever since I read the Razorland Trilogy. When I received a copy of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, I couldn’t wait to read it. Boy, oh boy, I was not disappointed!

Sage is on her third year of living with her aunt, who took her in to help her get her life together again after a very rocky past. Sage always tries to go above and beyond to be the perfect teenager – both at home and in school. Sage has taken on a new outlook on life – she tries to only look on the bright side of things and help others to do the same. How does she do this? At school she does it by leaving a post-it note on the locker of one student she feels deserves some cheering up. At home, she is the very grateful teenager who eagerly helps her aunt cook, clean, and does all of the chores without question. What Sage is trying to cover up by doing all of this is her very troubled, disturbing, terrifying past. A past she would rather forget because it is actually the very opposite of the persona of who she is now. read more

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By: Sara
Adult, Review, Young Adult / March 27, 2015
Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini TaylorDreams of Gods and Monsters
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date: April 2014
613 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
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By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

Common enemy, common cause.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love.

But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky?

From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter?

It was always going to be hard to end a series like this, whose first two instalments Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight, were so incredible I struggled to find words to describe how much. Worry not, as Laini Taylor did an exceptional job with Dreams of Gods and Monsters which has more incredibly written prose and a beautiful ending (although I’m still sad it had to end—I could read this series forever). read more

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By: Daphne
Review, Young Adult / February 17, 2015
The Murder Complex by Lindsay CummingsThe Murder Complex
Author: Lindsay Cummings
Series: The Murder Complex #1
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Date: June 10, 2014
416 pages
Source: Purchased
Genres: Dystopian
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An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

Action-packed, blood-soaked, and chilling, this is a dark and compelling debut novel.

WOW. That’s the one word I want to use after reading this book. I love a good dystopian story and this one did not disappoint me. It had everything I hoped it would – action, suspense, danger, broken society, a corrupt system that has lied to everyone, and a strong main character that won’t back down from a fight. read more

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By: Sara
Review, Young Adult / February 12, 2015
Red Queen by Victoria AveyardRed Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date: February 2015
400 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
Genres: Fantasy
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Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard's sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king's palace. Will her power save her or condemn her?

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.

To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

The story of the Red Queen is set in an interesting, fantastical world where humans are divided not by the color of their skin or any other physical characteristic, rather by the color of their blood. Those with Red blood are considered commoners, workers, soldiers and less than worthy of walking the streets of Norta. Those with Silver blood are royalty. Silvers have all of the riches, power and even special abilities. Those abilities can range from telekinesis, speed, fire-making, mind-reading, super human strength and so much more. read more

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By: Sara