Archive | Young Adult RSS feed for this section

Book review: The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

2 Oct

TheNeverlandWarsCoverMagic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That’s what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn’t know this. She’s just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn’t know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she’ll discover she’s in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She’ll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won’t be the only one. Peter Pan’s constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she’s going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she’s going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance.

As regular readers will know, I love a good cover and the beautiful cover for The Neverland Wars leaped out at me straight away. I also love to read re-tellings or re-workings of classic stories so the premise for this novel immediately appealed!

The Neverland Wars is the story of sixteen year old Gwen who loves to tell fantastical stories to her little sister. After an evening of story telling, Gwen finds herself thrown into her very own magical story as her little sister is taken in the night by Peter Pan! The premise for this book is very interesting; that adults have been using magic for their own benefit and a war is brewing between the two worlds over the use of magic! As Gwen follows her sister to Neverland she’s drawn into the fray and has to decide where her loyalties lie.

Gwen is a very sensible girl and the opening chapters of the book give a good insight into her life at home and at school. I liked that Audrey Greathouse drew out the frustrations often felt by teenagers as they teeter on the cusp between childhood and adulthood. This is a key theme in the book and I liked the way the story invited debate although at times I felt that Gwen’s character seemed quite ‘young’ for a sixteen year old. I also liked the author’s exploration of an ageing Peter Pan; his visits to our world have caused him to get older and this opens up an interesting side to the story.

The magical elements of the story are beautifully written and I enjoyed discovering Neverland with Gwen including mermaids, pirates, crocodiles and fairies but I was a little disappointed that Tinkerbell didn’t make an appearance. As Gwen has to decide where her future lies, the story really picks up pace and leaves the reader wanting more with a dramatic ending! This is the first novel in a trilogy and Audrey has just announced that book two, The Piper’s Price will be available in February 2017. Do check out Audrey’s website for more details and another fab cover!

3/5

I’d like to thank Audrey for sending me a review copy of this book.

You can find out more about Audrey and her writing at: https://audreygreathouse.com/

Giveaway! Two copies of The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy to be won!

14 Jul

The Wildings by Nilanjana Roy is out today and to celebrate, publisher Pushkin Press has given me two copies to giveaway to lucky readers!

Author Nilanjana Roy spent most of her adult life writing about humans before realizing that animals were much more fun. The Wildings, her first novel, won the Shakti Bhatt First Book Award and was Shortlisted for the Commonwealth First Book Award and the Tata Literature First Book Award. She lives in Delhi with two cats (one of which is called Mara) and her husband. The story of The Wildings will be continued in The Hundred Names of Darkness.

the wildings

A small band of cats lives in the labyrinthine alleys and ruins of the Nizamuddin quarter in Delhi. Unfettered and wild, the tribe fear no one, go where they will, and do as they please. Until, one day, a terrified orange-coloured kitten with monsoon green eyes and remarkable powers lands in their midst, setting off a series of extraordinary events that will change their world for ever.

Prowling, hunting and fighting amidst the crumbling ruins of one of Delhi’s oldest neighbourhoods, are the proud Wildings. These feral cats fear no one, go where they want and do as they please. Battle-scarred tomcats, fierce warrior queens, the Wildings have ruled over Nizamuddin for centuries.

Now there is a new addition to the clan – a pampered housecat with strange powers that could turn their world on its head. And something is stirring in the old Shuttered House – something dark and cruel and dangerous. As a terrifying new enemy emerges from the shadows, the Wildings will need all the allies they can get, as they fight for Nizamuddin, and their lives.

To enter this giveaway just leave comment in the box below or re-Tweet one of my tweets with the link to this post or like one of my posts about this giveaway on my Instagram page. I’ll pick three winners using Random.org after the closing date.

This giveaway is open to UK residents only and will close at midnight on Monday 18th July. Good Luck!

Guest post: Best Friends Forever or Just for Now? By Alison Rattle

19 May

Today I’m delighted to welcome Alison Rattle to One More Page on the latest stop of her V for Violet blog tour. Alison grew up in Liverpool, and now lives in a medieval house in Somerset with her three children, her husband – a carpenter – an extremely naughty Jack Russell and a ghost cat.  She has worked as a fashion designer, a production controller, a painter and decorator, a barmaid, and now owns and runs a travelling vintage tea room. Alison has also published three previous YA books about young Victorian women with Hot Key Books – The Quietness, The Beloved and The Madness. Welcome Alison! 

Alison Rattle photoRemember your best friend from school? Did you promise each other to be friends for always? Is she still your best friend now? Or did you lose touch the minute you walked out of the school gates forever?

Female friendships can be among the most intense relationships of our lives, especially those formed during our school years. Friendships can be made accidentally when you are thrown together by circumstances. I remember Raj who I sat next to in biology classes. We had nothing in common outside of those classes, but for those few hours every week we were the best of mates. She was the clever, good girl of the class and I was the slightly naughty one. But our friendship developed to such a stage that I once persuaded her to let off a stink bomb in the classroom, as we knew for a fact that she would be the one student no teacher would suspect. The plan worked. But to this day I have no idea what Raj did with her life. I don’t even remember her surname. And she probably doesn’t remember the stink bomb.

And then there was Amanda. We moved up to big school at the same time and only lived around the corner from each other. We spent almost every night at each other’s houses and went through puberty together. We compared the sizes of our growing boobs, practised kissing our reflections in a mirror and raided our mum’s supplies of sanitary towels and tampons, fascinated by these objects of womanhood that we didn’t need yet. We started our periods at around the same time and I had never felt closer to anyone. But then Amanda moved schools, her parents choosing to send her to a private school in another town. I never saw her again.

Then along came Pamela. We had seen each other from a distance, across the playground. She was always hanging around with a group of cool girls. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to wear my tie in a tiny knot and roll my skirt up to above my knees. They all had boyfriends too. Older boys who would meet them after school on their motorbikes. They were popular and thrilling and I wanted to be part of their group. When we moved up a year I found myself sitting next to Pamela in our English class. We hit it off immediately. We spent lessons giggling and messing about and thinking of ways to wind up our teachers and skip school. Our cross country runs consisted of Pamela’s boyfriend meeting us around the corner in his car and driving us around the course. He would drop us off twenty minutes later and we would run back into school pretending to be out of breath and always scoring the best times. Outside of school, we rebelled in the only ways we could in our small town. We tried our first illicit drink of alcohol together, snuck into pubs, went to parties, shared clothes and lost our virginities in the same week. We shared all the terrible, dangerous, wonderful things about growing up.

At the heart of my latest book, V for Violet, there is an intense friendship between the main character Violet and her best friend Jackie. All the v for violetway through school they have done everything together. Violet has a photograph album of memories in her head with pictures of all the special times they have shared. From their very first day at school when Violet accidentally wets herself and Jackie gives her her own dry knickers, to the rainy day when they both carve their names under a park slide and promise to be friends forever, Violet experiences the same intense feelings that first love brings. She can’t imagine her life without Jackie. But then school ends and suddenly Jackie has a new life and new friends and Violet is tossed aside, her heart broken.

 I’m happy to say that Pamela never broke my heart. We still keep in touch after all these years and when we do manage to see each other (we live at opposite ends of the country) it’s like no time has passed. We don’t even notice each other’s wrinkles. But I know that’s a rare thing and that I’m very lucky to still have that connection to my youth. Most teenage friendships are, like first love, so intense and all-consuming that they burn themselves out.

Of course, I grew up in the time before Facebook and all those other social media sites, so when you lost touch with someone, you really lost touch. I wonder now if that all makes a difference? Because even if your friendships fade after leaving school you can still keep in touch to a degree by simply finding someone on Facebook. If only I could remember Raj’s surname. I would definitely look her up, if only to reassure myself that the stink bomb incident didn’t completely ruin her life!           

 V for Violet by Alison Rattle is out now in paperback and ebook formats published by Hot Key Books.

Follow Alison at www.alisonrattle.com or on Twitter:@alisonrattle

 

April 2016 new releases – hot picks!

3 Apr

So, March was the month where we all took it in turns to be ill in our little family so I didn’t get as much reading or blogging done as I’d hoped. But with a sunny new month comes a fresh start and I’m very excited about the April new releases. Here are the ten books I’m hoping to read this month.

head over heelsHead Over Heels (Geek Girl Book 5) by Holly Smale (HarperCollins Children’s Books) April 7th

I’m such a big fan of Holly Smale’s Geek Girl Series I’m currently halfway through this book and think it’s the best yet!

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I will always be a geek.”

The fifth book in the bestselling, award-winning GEEK GIRL series.

Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.

She knows duck-billed platypuses don’t have stomachs.
She knows that fourteen squirrels were once detained as spies.
She knows that both chess and snakes and ladders were invented in the same country.

And for once, Harriet knows exactly how her life should go. She’s got it ALL planned out. So her friends seem less than happy, Harriet is determined to Make Things Happen!
If only everyone else would stick to the script…

But is following the rules going to break hearts for GEEK GIRL?

Who’s That Girl by Mhairi McFarlane (HarperCollins) 7th Aprilwho's that girl

Another fab read from the author of the bestselling You Had Me At Hello. The hardback has a beautiful pearly cover and this is a story that will make you giggle!

When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracised by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her home town of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.

passengerPassenger by Alexandra Bracken (Quercus Children’s Books) 7th April. 

I’m so excited about getting my hands on this book having seen the great reviews from the US release. I love books with a travel theme and this one has the added bonus of another favourite theme of mine – time travel!

New York City, present day

In one night, Etta Spencer is wrenched from everything she knows and loves. Thrown into an unfamiliar world, she can be certain of only one thing: she has travelled not just miles, but years from home.

The Atlantic, 1776

Captain Nicholas Carter is tasked with delivering Etta to the dangerous Ironwood family. They are searching for something – a stolen object they believe only she can reclaim. But Nicholas is drawn to his mysterious passenger, and the closer he gets to her, the further he is from freedom.

The Edges of the World

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey
across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by a desperate thief. But as Etta plays deeper into the Ironwoods’ game, treacherous forces threaten to separate her not only from Nicholas, but from her path home – for ever.

The Map of Bones (Fire Sermon Book 2) by Francesca Haig (Harper Voyager) April 7thmap of bones

Having loved The Fire Sermon, I’ve been eagerly anticipating book two in the series! Do check out the blog tour and look out for my stop on 9th April!

The second book in Francesca Haig’s critically acclaimed debut fantasy series.

The ashes of the past cannot hide the truth forever.

The Omega resistance has been brutally attacked, its members dead or in hiding.

The Alpha Council’s plan for permanently containing the Omegas has begun.

But all is not entirely lost: the Council’s seer, The Confessor, is dead, killed by her twin’s sacrifice.

Cass is left haunted by visions of the past, while her brother Zach’s cruelty and obsession pushes her to the edge, and threatens to destroy everything she hopes for.

As the country moves closer to all-out civil war, Cass will learn that to change the future she will need to uncover the past. But nothing can prepare her for what she discovers: a deeply buried secret that raises the stakes higher than ever before.

these days of oursThese Days of Ours by Juliet Ashton (Simon and Schuster) April 7th

I heard Juliet read from this novel at the recent Simon and Schuster Spring Blogger event and I can’t wait to hear more!

A novel about love. Raw important love. Small, beautiful love. And what happens when the person you love cannot be yours… Perfect for fans of Rowan Coleman, Jane Green and David Nicholls.
 
Kate and Becca are cousins and best friends. They have grown up together and shared all the most important milestones in their lives: childhood birthday parties, eighteenth birthdays, and now a wedding day as they each marry their childhood sweethearts, Charlie and Julian.
 
Kate has always loved Charlie – they were meant to be. Then she discovers that life never turns out quite how you expect it to. And love doesn’t always follow the journey it should.
 
But best friends are forever, and true love will find a way, won’t it…?

The Keepers: Ethan by Rae Rivers (HarperImpulse) April 7thEthan Cover

Rae was one of the very first authors I read from HarperImpulse and I’ve been hooked on her Keepers Series ever since. It’s finally Ethan’s turn in the spotlight and it’s a sizzling read!

“Going to Ameera to find Hazel. Stealing the spell … You think you can pull it off?” he asked.
She nodded, not trusting herself to speak.
Just as she thought he’d kiss her, he reached for her jacket and said, “Then let’s go.”

A portal to another world has opened, unleashing dangerous creatures on earth. A dark witch is out for revenge. The stakes are high, a war inevitable.

One person can stop the madness. Jenna. She’s a Keeper to a powerful hybrid witch but she harbours a secret and if Jenna steps through the portal – seduced by the whispers of her hidden past – she may never return.

Fortunately, she has company… infamous Bennett brother and fiercely protective Keeper, Ethan. Their whip-cracking banter makes them perfect sparring partners in training, but how will they manage when their lives and everything they were born to defend are on the line?

When the battle lines are drawn, will Jenna and Ethan stand side by side – as friends, protectors, lovers … or as traitors?

the obsessionThe Obsession by Nora Roberts (Piatkus) April 14th

I do love Nora Roberts! I actually squealed when the proof of this book was delivered!

Naomi Carson is a survivor. As a child, her family was torn apart by a shocking crime. It could have destroyed her, but Naomi has grown up strong, with a passion for photography that has taken her all around the world.

Now, at last, she has decided to put down roots. The beautiful old house on Point Bluff needs work, but Naomi has new friends in town who are willing to help, including Xander Keaton – gorgeous, infuriating and determined to win her heart.

But as Naomi plans for the future, her past is catching up with her. Someone in town knows her terrifying secret – and won’t let her forget it. As her new home is rocked by violence, Naomi must discover her persecutor’s identity, before it’s too late.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (Borough Press) April 21st eligible

A favourite author taking on one of my favourite books – I can’t wait to see how the two come together!

From the bestselling author of Prep, American Wife and Sisterland comes this brilliant retelling of Austen’s classic set in modern day Cincinnati.

The Bennet sisters have been summoned from New York City.

Liz and Jane are good daughters. They’ve come home to suburban Cincinnati to get their mother to stop feeding their father steak as he recovers from heart surgery, to tidy up the crumbling Tudor-style family home, and to wrench their three sisters from their various states of arrested development.

Once they are under the same roof, old patterns return fast. Soon enough they are being berated for their single status, their only respite the early morning runs they escape on together. For two successful women in their late thirties, it really is too much to bear. That is, until the Lucas family’s BBQ throws them in the way of some eligible single men . . .

Chip Bingley is not only a charming doctor, he’s a reality TV star too. But Chip’s friend, haughty neurosurgeon Fitzwilliam Darcy, can barely stomach Cincinnati or its inhabitants. Jane is entranced by Chip; Liz, sceptical of Darcy. As Liz is consumed by her father’s mounting medical bills, her wayward sisters and Cousin Willie trying to stick his tongue down her throat, it isn’t only the local chilli that will leave a bad aftertaste.

But where there are hearts that beat and mothers that push, the mysterious course of love will resolve itself in the most entertaining and unlikely of ways. And from the hand of Curtis Sittenfeld, Pride & Prejudice is catapulted into our modern world singing out with hilarity and truth.

steeple streetThe Nurses of Steeple Street by Donna Douglas (Arrow) April 21st

I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all of Donna’s previous Nightingales nursing series so I’m really looking forward to this book which starts a completely new series. And it’s set in Yorkshire – yay!

Welcome to the district nurses’ home on Steeple Street, where everyone has a secret…

Ambitious young nurse Agnes Sheridan had a promising future ahead of her until a tragic mistake brought all her dreams crashing down and cost her the love and respect of everyone around her. Now she has come to Leeds for a fresh start as a trainee district nurse. But Agnes finds herself facing unexpected challenges as she is assigned to Quarry Hill, one of the city’s most notorious slums. Before she can redeem herself in the eyes of her family, she must first win the trust and respect of her patients and fellow nurses.

Does Agnes have what it takes to stay the distance? Or will the tragedy of her past catch up with her?

The Assistants by Camille Perri (Corgi) April 21stthe assistants

I’m looking forward to discovering a new author with this debut. There’s a fab quote from  Paige Toon on the front cover –  an excellent endorsement!

Behind every successful man is a busy assistant and Tina’s boss is very successful.

But Tina is tired of being overworked and underpaid.
She’s bored of her damp flat and her mounting debts.
Then a blip in the expenses system sends Tina a cheque.
She’s a good person.
But she’s desperate.
This isn’t stealing.
It’s an administrative error.
Right?

What would you do if you thought you’d get away with it?

 


What are you looking forward to reading this month?

The One Where I Join A Book Club!

11 Mar

I’ve always wanted to be part of a real life book club so when a friend who lives round the corner suggested setting one up with some of the other mums from school, I jumped at the chance. Last night was the first meeting of the book (wine and cake) club and it was a resounding success! There are thirteen of us, so quite a big group and plenty of opportunity for discussion!

As last night was our first get together we hadn’t read a book in preparation but everyone had been tasked to bring one book suggestion with them. We all wrote the name and author on a piece of paper and put them in a hat. We drew them out to get an order and now have at least a year’s worth of reading to look forward to as we’re aiming to meet every 5-6 weeks.

I was really intrigued to see what our reading list would be and spent quite a while trying to decide on a title to throw into the hat! I’m really excited about the final list and of the 13 books on it I’ve only read two already! I’m looking forward to discovering new books and authors as the year goes on and getting to discuss them with friends. As we read the books below I’ll try to summarise the thoughts of the group!

Our reading list is:

  1. The Green Road by Anne Enright
  2. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
  3. The Blue by Lucy Clarke
  4. The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett
  5. The Stranger by Harlen Coben
  6. Us by David Nicholls
  7. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
  8. A Little Life by Hanya Yanaginera
  9. The Secret History by Donna Tart
  10. The Actual One by Isy Suttie
  11. The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies
  12. The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker
  13. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge

Have you read any of these? Are you part of a book group and how does it work?

Book news: The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

10 Mar

I love the sound of this book which is out from HarperCollins in June!

crowns game

Vika Andreyev can summon the snow and turn ash into gold.

Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air.

They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, a duel of magical skill. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Reading Round Up – February

29 Feb

With this post I’ve blogged every day for two whole months!! Including this post, I’ve written and published 61 blog posts since the start of the year and I’ve really enjoyed getting back into blogging.

February has been much tougher than January to keep the momentum of posting up, especially when I came down with a nasty cold this weekend and could barely think straight let alone write reviews!

But I managed to blog something and here I am on the last day of the month wondering if I can keep it going. Lets just see … March is a really busy month in my day job and I’ve got loads of family stuff going on too so just watch this space!

So, onto the books. My Goodreads challenge is telling me I read twelve books this month. I should admit that three of these were shorter reads – two from the new Quick Reads releases and I discovered part one of Cressida McLaughlin’s lovely new serialised novel, The Canal Boat Cafe.

IMG_4113

In February I read:

  • two books with magical or fantasy elements
  • 1 young adult and 11 adult fiction
  • one short story collection, one short story and one part of a serialisation.
  • two historical fiction
  • 5  contemporary romance/dramas
  • one thriller

IMG_4116

I also did a little bit of book shopping …

IMG_4117

My book of the month for February is:

You And Me, Always

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

Coming in March

My ‘to read’ pile for March is full of treats again and I’m looking forward to reading new novels from Debbie Macomber, Jane Costello, Rae Rivers and the start of a new serialised novel from Cathy Bramley. I’ve got an exciting blogger event to attend mid-month and I’m taking part in some exciting blog tours including one to celebrate Erica James’s 20th novel! Look out for my March ‘hot picks’ tomorrow for more books to look out for next month.

Book review: 13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough

21 Feb

13 minutesI was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 Minutes is Sarah Pinborough’s first foray into writing for a young adult market but the book shouldn’t be dismissed by those not in that age bracket – I’m an old(er) adult an I couldn’t put it down! This is a chilling look at schools, the pressures faced by teenagers today, social media and the cult of the queen bee.

It’s an age old story; every school has that girl and group of girls that everyone either wants to be, or wants to be friends with; even those who don’t, know who they are and what they are up to. In this novel, Jenny, Hayley and Natasha are The Barbies; all blonde, beautiful and confident – they rule the school.

Becca used to be friends with two of the Barbies and is now on the outside. She was best friends with Natasha  and 13 minutes is as much an examination of the dynamics of female friendships as it is a chilling psychological thriller. The dark and twisted characteristics of Sarah’s other novels are firmly present in this book as she sets up a complex web of friendship and deception seen through the eyes of several narrators. By the end of the novel I was questioning everything and feeling distinctly shaken – this is a story that you will not put down easily and will linger with you when you do.

The novel opens with Natasha’s near death experience. Technically, she was dead for thirteen minutes, pulled from a frozen river in the early hours of the morning. As Natasha awakens in hospital she has no memory of the events leading to her being found in the river.  The narration of the book from different points of view adds to its complexity. Short narrative chapters are interspersed with extracts from newspapers, text messages, diary extracts and police reports. My mind was working overtime as I tried to work out what was really going on and one of the reasons’s I enjoyed this book so much is that every time I thought I’d worked it out, Sarah turned the tables!

I’ve been a fan of Sarah’s writing for a while now but this is my favourite of her books that I’ve read so far. 13 Minutes is a gripping and tense psychological thriller that will keep you up turning the pages long into the night and then have you sleepless as you try to get to grips with the frightening premise!

5/5

13 Minutes is out now in hardback and ebook formats from Gollancz.

Find out more about Sarah and her writing at: http://www.gollancz.co.uk/sarah-pinborough/

Book review: For the Most Beautiful by Emily Hauser

2 Feb

most beautifulThree thousand years ago, a war took place that gave birth to legends – to Achilles, the greatest of the Greeks, and Hector, Prince of Troy. It was a war that shook the very foundations of the world. But what if there was more to this epic conflict? What if there was another, hidden tale of the Trojan War?

Now is the time for the women of Troy to tell their story.

Thrillingly imagined and startlingly original, For The Most Beautiful reveals the true story of Troy for the first time. Krisayis, daughter of the Trojans’ high priest, and Briseis, princess of Pedasus, fight to determine the fate of a city and its people in this ancient time of mischievous gods and mythic heroes.

In this novel full of passion and revenge, loyalty and betrayal, bravery and sacrifice, Emily Hauser breathes exhilarating new life into one of the greatest legends of all – in a tale that has waited millennia to be told.

From the beautiful cover with its gleaming golden apple to the richly detailed descriptions of an ancient world and the wonderfully imagined meddling ways of the gods, For the Most Beautiful is a fabulously original take on the story of the Iliad. Emily Hauser takes the women of Troy; women who are mentioned briefly or as background characters in the original text and breathes life into them, weaving a tale of love, loss, war and bravery that I thoroughly enjoyed.

For the Most Beautiful is the story of teenage Krisayis, daughter of the High Priest of Troy whose father has a very different plan for her future than the one she imagines for herself. It’s also the story of Briseis, a princess who has her own fight against a deadly prophecy.

Emily Hauser has created two headstrong and engaging female leads for her story and given them clear voices to tell their sides of the story. This is the first time I’ve been truly caught up in a work of fiction that examines the Trojan war and with this book, I think Emily will open up this area of history and legend to a whole new audience.

The descriptions are rich and sumptuous and as someone who has studied a tiny bit of Mycenaean archaeology and has always been fascinated by Greek legends the story, despite its mythology and elements of fantasy felt believable to me! The colours and descriptions of clothing, treasures and locations are vivid; feelings are intense and the Gods are in turn, playful, humorous and downright dangerous!

The story is narrated in turns by Krisayis and Briseis and I was completely caught up in both their plights. From joy and romance, adventure and secrets to their capture and the losses of war, I felt intensely along with them both and the story is written in a very accessible and easily readable way.

A separate narrative following the actions of the Gods is slipped into the story and acts as an excellent device to explain and give different perspectives but also to highlight that the players on the ground are subject to more than their own rivalries, desires and whims. I loved Hauser’s depictions of Gods like Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo and Poseidon  and the drama of their interactions with each other.

This is one of those books that spans readerships. It’s appropriate for adult and young adult readers, it will appeal to fans of historical fiction, romance, paranormal and fantasy (which is probably why I loved it so much.) For the Most Beautiful is an accomplished debut and I was delighted to read that this is just the first book in the Golden Apple trilogy. I can’t wait to read Emily’s next book!

5/5

For the Most Beautiful is out now in hardback and ebook formats.

Find out more about Emily Hauser and her writing at: http://www.emilyhauser.com/ 

February 2016 new releases – hot picks!

1 Feb

It’s a while since I’ve done a monthly hot picks but now I’m back in the blogging habit I’m going to try to post my top picks from the new releases each month. There are some crackers on my ‘to read’ pile this month. Look out for these lovely books!

SwylerE-BookOfSpeculationUKThe Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler (Atlantic Books February 4th )

I read this when it was released as an ebook last year and absolutely loved it. Magic, mystery, love, romance, tarot and a family curse – it will have you hooked! And the lead character is a librarian!

Simon Watson lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a cliff that is slowly crumbling into the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a travelling carnival and seldom calls. On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookseller; it has been sent to him because it is inscribed with the name Verona Bonn, Simon’s grandmother. The book tells the story of two doomed lovers who were part of a travelling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes and sketches. He is fascinated, yet as he reads Simon becomes increasingly unnerved. Why do so many women in his family drown on 24th July? And could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in years, risk the same terrible fate? As 24th July draws ever closer, Simon must unlock the mysteries of the book, and decode his family history, before it’s too late.

The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky (TOR 11th February) tiger and wolf

This is such a beautiful book with its black and gold foil cover – look out for my interview with Adrian next week.

In the bleak northern crown of the world, war is coming

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?

the stylistThe Stylist by Rosie Nixon (MIRA 11th February)

Hello! editor Rosie Nixon uses her insider celebrity knowledge to write a sparkling debut novel about fashion, celebrities and the red carpet.

When fashion boutique worker Amber Green is mistakenly offered a job as assistant to infamous, jet-setting ‘stylist to the stars’ Mona Armstrong, she hits the ground running, helping to style some of Hollywood’s hottest (and craziest) starlets.  Over the next few weeks, awards season spins into action with The Golden Globes, BAFTAs and the big one, The Oscars.  Mona is in hot demand and Amber’s life turned upside down as dazzling designer gowns are paraded on red carpets in Los Angeles, London and back.  Romance, red carpet crises, and crushing hangovers on both sides of the Atlantic ensues.  Meanwhile Mona is unravelling faster than a hemline.  What is Mona’s secret?  How will Amber keep her head?  And what the hell will everyone wear? 

 

When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid (Atom 11th wefltmFebruary)

This book has already won or been shortlisted for several awards – I can’t wait to read it.

Everyone wanted to break me. But stars aren’t broken, they explode. And I was the ultimate supernova.

My name was Jude. They called me Judy. I was beautiful either way.

School was basically a movie set. We were all just playing our parts. The Crew, the Extras, the Movie Stars. No one was ever real . . . especially me. I didn’t fit any category.

All the girls watched me – I could walk so much better than them in heels, and my make-up was alwaysflawless.

All the boys wanted to, well, you know . . . even if they didn’t admit it.

They loved me, they hated me, but they could never ignore me.

I only had eyes for Luke. A red carpet rolled out from my heart towards him and this year, on Valentine’sDay, I was going to walk that carpet and find my mark next to him. It would be like a dream.

But my dream was going to turn into a nightmare.

This is my story.

#WEFLTM

glittering art of falling apartThe Glittering Art of Falling Apart (Orion, 11th February)

I love the title for this book – sounds like a great time slip novel!

1980s Soho. Parties, love affairs and secrets . . .

1980s Soho is electric. For Eliza, the heady pull of its nightclubs and free-spirited people leads her into the life she has craved – all glamour, late nights and excitement. But it comes at a heavy cost.

Cassie is fascinated by her family’s history and the abandoned Beaufont Hall. Why won’t her mother talk about it? Offered the chance to restore Beaufont to its former glory, Cassie jumps at the opportunity to learn more about her past.

Separated by a generation, but linked by a forgotten diary, these two women have more in common than they know . . .

 

The Double Life of Mistress Kit Kavanagh by Marina Fiorato (Hodder, 11th February)kit

This sounds like a great historical romance read.

Dublin 1702. Irish beauty Kit Kavanagh has everything she could want in life. Newly married, she runs a successful alehouse with her beloved husband Richard. The wars that rage in Europe over the Spanish throne seem a world away.

But everything changes on the night that Richard simply disappears. Finding the Queen’s shilling at the bottom of Richard’s tankard, Kit realizes that her husband has been taken for a soldier.

Kit follows Richard’s trail across the battlefields of Italy in the Duke of Marlborough’s regiment. Living as a man, risking her life in battle, she forms a close bond with her wry and handsome commanding officer Captain Ross.

When she is forced to flee the regiment following a duel, she evades capture by dressing once more as a woman. But the war is not over for Kit. Her beauty catches the eye of the scheming Duke of Ormonde, who recruits her to spy upon the French. In her finery she meets Captain Ross once again, who seems just as drawn to the woman as he was to the soldier.

Torn between Captain Ross and her loyalty to her husband, and under the orders of the English Crown, Kit finds that her life is in more danger now than on the battlefield.

just havent met you yetJust Haven’t Met You Yet by Cate Woods (Quercus, 11th February)

I saw Paige Toon recommending this earlier today – it sounds like a great debut from Cate Woods.

Percy James has everything a girl could want: a comfy flat, a steady relationship and a truly lovely group of friends. Then she is approached by Eros Tech. Eros is ‘the future of love’ – an agency that brings together soulmates using phone data. Percy has been identified as a match for one of Eros’s super wealthy clients. The only problem is she already has a boyfriend . . . but what if this is *destiny*? Would you – could you – pass up a chance to meet your one true love?

 

A Summer at Sea by Katie Fforde (Century, 11th February)A summer at sea

I’m a big fan of Katie’s books and this is my favourite cover of hers yet!

Emily is happy with her life just as it is.

She has a career as a midwife that she loves . She enjoys living on her own as a single woman. But she’s also feels it’s time for a change and a spot of some sea air.

So when her best friend Rebecca asks whether she’d like to spend the summer cooking on a ‘puffer’ boat just off the Scottish coast, she jumps at the chance.

But she barely has time to get to grips with the galley before she finds herself with a lot on her plate.

Rebecca is heavily pregnant and is thrilled to have her friend on board doing most of the work. Then there’s Emily’s competitive and jealous kitchen assistant who thinks she should be head-cook, not Emily.

And there’s Alasdair, the handsome local doctor who Emily is desperately trying not to notice.

Because if she falls in love with him, as he appears to be falling for her, will she ever want her old life back again?

13 minutes13 Minutes by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz, 18 February)

I’ve already read the first couple of chapters of this and I don’t want to stop – gripping stuff!

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this – it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter by Dinah Jefferies (Viking, 25th February)silk merchant

Number one best-selling author Dinah Jefferies is back with a new novel set in Vietnam and it sounds brilliant!

1952, French Indochina. Since her mother’s death, eighteen-year-old half-French, half-Vietnamese Nicole has been living in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Sylvie. When Sylvie is handed control of the family silk business, Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in the Vietnamese quarter of Hanoi. But the area is teeming with militant rebels who want to end French rule, by any means possible. For the first time, Nicole is awakened to the corruption of colonial rule – and her own family’s involvement shocks her to the core…

Tran, a notorious Vietnamese insurgent, seems to offer the perfect escape from her troubles, while Mark, a charming American trader, is the man she’s always dreamed of. But who can she trust in this world where no one is what they seem?

The Silk Merchant’s Daughter is a captivating tale of dark secrets, sisterly rivalry and love against the odds, enchantingly set in colonial era Vietnam.

What are you looking forward to reading this month?