By Your Side by Kasie West!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to locked in a library overnight? Wanted to ‘accidentally’ get stuck with a room full of books? Hmm…yes! I have definitely daydreamed about this a time or two! Surely it would be fun, right? A nice comfy armchair, shelves of books, hopefully a vending machine or some
thing so we don’t starve! It all sounds like a good night to me that’s for sure. Well, wonder no more!

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By Your Side follows Autumn Winters when she gets accidentally trapped in the local library for a full weekend. She was looking forward to a weekend with her friends and her crush, so getting trapped in the library wasn’t exactly at the top of her to-do list. Just as she’s starting to panic, she realises she’s not actually alone in the library – she’s trapped with Dax Miller, the mysterious, troublemaker from her school. He wouldn’t be her first choice, and he certainly doesn’t seem to want to spend much time with her either, but at least she’s not alone anymore! As the weekend pans out, things turn out to be better than they seem, and even Dax seems to warm to her. But then once they leave the library, everything all really kicks off!

I loved this book so so much! Autumn was a really easy character to like, and very relatable too! Although, I did wish she took more advantage of being trapped in the library! I mean, come on, so many books!  But not only was this my booknerd dream, it also tackled some really interesting issues too – anxiety, foster care, drugs, etc. In particular I thought the anxiety aspects were really well done! I think its great that we’re starting to see a lot more about mental health in YA books right now! And Dax…ahh Dax – he was a great love interest! I loved how there was a lot more to him – so many characters are so one dimensional, but Dax had so many layers, and was a genuine guy!

For my first ever Kasie West book I was definitely impressed! I don’t know if her other books will live up to my love for this one, but I’m definitely excited to try them out ASAP! This was a fantastic, cute, YA contemporary!

The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

Fun, cute, and romantic, Nicola Yoon’slatest book definitelyhas the “awww” factor! Its a YA contemporary that will give you the feels and keep you entertained! Ok. So yes there was some i16230968_426183081058186_8893793838745780224_nnstalove going on, and usually I really hate that, but with The Sun Is Also A Star it somehow seemed to work really well. It was unique and touched on some really important issues while still keeping that adorableness that keeps you smiling and turning those pages!

It follows Natasha, an immigrant from Jamaica about to be deported, and Daniel, son of Korean immigrants and a total romantic. On the day Natasha is about to be deported, they meet in New York City, and after MUCH persistence from Daniel they end up spending the day together. Natasha is doing everything she can to stop the imminent deportation of her family, and Daniel is there for a college interview…but somehow in the midst of all that they find each other. Although Daniel is definitely a lot more doe-eyed and dreamy than Natasha, they both begin to fall for each other…but it just can’t be that simple!

I enjoyed reading The Sun Is Also A Star, and I was really happy with the way the issues with immigration and deportation, family, first love, race, etc. were handled. It was powerful and moving, and put personality to some real problems! I don’t want to give too much away about the story, but the ending definitely packed a punch! And not what I was expecting at all!

If you want a YA contemporary that is both fluffy and meaningful then look no further! The Sun Is Also A Star and Nicola are taking the book community by storm at the moment so I definitely recommend you jump in on the action and pick it up!

 

Damage Control by Lisa Renee Jones

So, first off, this review contains spoilers for Hard Rules! Be warned! But its spoiler free for Damage Control!

Damage Control is the second book in Lisa’s Dirty Money series, and wow what a sequel it was! I’ve read a few of Lisa’s books now and this series is definitely shaping up to by my favourite! I gave the first book 4.5 stars and this one a solid 4! I’d definitely recommend it – its the perfect mix of  romance, mystery, and excitement. Go on, read it!

A little synopsis for you! Damage Control[411]

The only thing more dangerous than a dark secret is a damaged heart… 

Shane Brandon has been pushed to the brink, torn between his corrupt family and his explosive, all-consuming desire for Emily Stevens, who he now knows is not who, and what, she seems. Has he trusted the wrong person? Will she, not his brother Derek, be the ultimate destruction of his family Empire.

Emily tries to run from Shane, but he will stop her, confront her, force her to reveal all – one hot touch and kiss, at a time, under every intimate detail of who this woman is, and what she wants, is exposed. But as he tears away the dangers of the unknowns with the woman in his bed, and in his heart, The Martina Cartel, has set their sights on his company, his family, and the one piece of leverage they believe he won’t gamble with: Emily.

The story picks up after the cliff hanger that Hard Rules left on – thankfully after that I could immediately pick this one up! There was a lot of character development going on in Damage Control, particularly for Emily. We found out a lot more about her past in this instalment of the series and, in my opinion, we saw a much stronger side of her! I find that sometimes in romance books the girl is weak and has little personality…those books really annoy me…but that wasn’t the case here at all! And not just Emily too, I loved that there were a lot of really strong female characters in the Dirty Money series – I loved Jessica and Shane’s mum is really clever!

The plot thickens further in Damage Control, with more secrets coming to light about Brandon Sr, and Derek’s involvement with a drugs cartel. Its intense! Every time I think I have the story all figured out something happens and I have to rethink all my ideas! It definitely kept me on my toes. And alongside the swoon-worthy romance between Emily and Shane I really couldn’t have asked for more!

And of course I’m so excited to learn more in the next book which comes out in August!! I’m sure it’s going to be just as good!!

UK amazon link – http://bit.ly/DamageControlAmazonUK

US amazon link – http://bit.ly/DamageControlAmazon

 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Stalking Jack the Ripper – historical fiction, mystery, romance, steampunk…all rolled into one amazing book! Another great book to start off the year!

The story follows Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a girl with great breeding, but with a penchant for forensic medicine A girl who loves forensics and biology?! Gasp! A completely unheard concept for 1800s Britain! Audrey Rose is secretly honing her skills with a scalpel with the help of her uncle, working on cadavers of London’s deceased, when the infamous Jack the Ripper begins brutally butchering women in the city. As the corpses begin piling up in her Uncle’s laboratory, Audrey Rose gets pulled into the investigation, and she soon realises that she’s a lot closer to Jack than she could have imagined!

I just have two words for you – Thomas Cresswell! At first I thought he was going to be your typical YA love interest – broody and arrogant. But wow was I wrong! Thomas was funny, loyal, witty…and a bit of a rebellious gentleman! Definitely one for the book boyfriend list! As for the romance between Thomas and Audrey Rose, I thought it was really well done! It was a bit of a slow burn, but fitting with the manners and customs of the period! I can’t wait to see what becomes of this pair in the sequel!

One of my favourite things in the book was, of course, the stalking of Jack the Ripper! It was all very Sherlock Holmes! so I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t say too much! But I will say its really clever how it all fits together! I’d guessed Jack’s identity about half way through the book but that didn’t ruin it for me at all – I loved reading on to find out if I was right or not! I’ve read some other reviews and it seems a bit mixed as to whether people guessed the real Jack, so why not read and see if you do?!

If you love an entertaining book with a pull-you-in story line and a great leading heroine, then I’d definitely recommend Kerri Maniscalco’s debut novel! Stalking Jack the Ripper is fun, immersive, and imaginative! I’d definitely recommend you pick it up asap! 5 out of 5 stars!

Roseblood by A.G Howard!

Now, we may only be a month into 2017, but I’ve already read one of my favourite books of this year! Roseblood by A.G Howard! It was one of my most anticipated releases of this year, and I can definitely say it didn’t disappoint!

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Roseblood is a YA retelling of The Phantom of the Opera, and its full of lyrical language, intriguing characters, and a fascinating storyline! Rune Germain is a teenage girl with a haunting, beautiful compulsion to sing opera. It may sound like a blessing, a talent, but for Rune it feels like a curse. Once she hears the music she can’t help it, she just has  to sing. It’s caused her nothing but problems, especially since the death of her father a few years earlier. Sent to a private music conservatory in France to try and get some control over her talent, Rune is thrust into a dangerous game of  music, romance, and, of course, the Phantom.

So, I was a little apprehensive going into this because I’ve never actually read/watched Phantom of the Opera…so I was worried it might just go over my head a little bit. But, I needn’t have worried because really there was no need to have any prior knowledge of the Phantom, it all just flows nicely into the story! So if you’re hesitant to pick up Roseblood because of that then you really don’t have to worry about it! It has definitely made me want to watch the film ASAP!

I love A.G Howard’s writing style – it’s really beautiful, and wordy in a way that isn’t too wordy! And the plot is original and super imaginative. It’s a bit of a slowburn, but in the best way. You really get a feel for the Conservatory, for Rune and her friends, for Thorn and the Phantom. Considering this is a standalone, I felt like it was absolutely full of imagery and detail without leaving you feeling like you’re drowning in it! If it wasn’t for the creepy Phantom and the fact that I have no musical talent whatsoever, I would LOVE to have gone to school somewhere like this!

I don’t want to give too much away about the romance or Thorn…I think maybe it’s better to just go into it and enjoy it! Either way, I really liked their romance! One of my other favourite things about Roseblood was that it wasn’t all about the romance. Friendships and family play a big role in Rune’s life and that’s definitely reflected in the story. Her friends were great! They supported Rune, worried about her, tried to help her out in dangerous situations…definitely the sort of friends you’d want if you’re being lured in by a creepy Phantom intent on your death!

Overall, I gave Roseblood 4.75/5 stars! I thought it was exciting and imaginative….and I’m still absolutely amazed by the cover! I’d definitely recommend it to both the Phantom fans, and the Phantom newbies like me! Go on, give it a read!

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

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Salt to the Sea is a YA historical fiction that is taking the book community by storm at the moment .Goodreads, Instagram, youtube…everyone seems to be talking about it! So even though you probably already know just how amazing this book is, I’m going to tell you my thoughts on it!

So Salt to the Sea is set in WW2, and is inspired by the little known maritime disaster that was the Wilhelm Gustloff.  This was a German transporter ship that in January 1945 was sunk by a Soviet submarine while evacuating civilians and officials from the approaching Red Army. Roughly 9,500 lives were lost yet there are very few people who know about this disaster – including me!

The book follows four main characters – Joana, Florian, Emilia, and Alfred. They each come from different countries within Europe, but have all been brought together to this ship in East Prussia. The characters are so well developed; even the secondary characters feel totally important to the story! I loved Emilia and Florian’s characters – they were my favourites! – so I was rooting for them to survive from the start! Actually…I was rooting for most of the characters to survive! But given the nature of this time period – and the maritime disaster the book is based on – I knew that not everybody would make it.

Not many books can make me cry but this one did make me sniffle! It was such a beautifully written book full of raw, intense emotion…how could I not get upset by this? Especially with that ending! I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read the book yet…but wow it’s totally going to kill you! I reread the last ten pages or so a few times, waiting for it to finally sink in! Even now, a few weeks after I finished reading Salt to the Sea I am still thinking about the story and these characters.

Young adult historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, although I will admit I haven’t read a whole lot of it! But I have to say this is my favourite book in this genre so far. It is captivating, hear breaking, and so immersive. Pick this book up and I promise you won’t regret it! This was my first Ruta Sepetys book, but I’ll definitely picking up her others. If they’re anything like this one then I know I’ll love them!

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh!

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So today is the release day for a new YA novel – Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh! What better time is there to post a review.  I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Burning Midnight from Netgalley so I decided to pick it up last month!

Burning Midnight is said to be a fantasy book but to me it read more like a contemporary with some dystopian elements thrown in there too! The dystopian ‘thing’ in this book are spheres – spheres that when burned give you abilities/advantages. So one day these spheres just randomly turned up all over the world, some with basic, more common abilities and others with more rarer, sought-after abilities attached to them. Our main character Sully sells spheres for a living, to try and make ends meet for his mum. After he meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding hidden spheres, they set out on a mission to find some of the rarest Spheres  to solve both of their money worries.

Overall, I enjoyed this book – in the end I decided to give it 3.5 stars. When I first read the plot for this book I was immediately intrigued, especially about the Spheres. Unfortunately it had quite a slow start, it took me a while to get into the story. But, after about 25% I definitely started to enjoy it more. I’m glad that I pushed through because it was an enjoyable story. I liked the Spheres, I thought they were an interesting twist. The way they gave those that burned them abilities was a really unique idea. So that was my favourite part of the book! However, they could have been explained better. The author didn’t really look at how the Spheres arrived, or how people figured out how to burn them etc. There just could have been a lot more explanation that would have made the Spheres a lot easier to understand. There is a big twist regarding the Spheres towards the end of the book – and I totally didn’t see it coming! Big plot twist!

As for the characters, they were a bit hit and miss for me. I liked Sully, he was kind and loyal to his mum, and his friends were nice too. But these three felt a bit flat at times! As for Hunter – I didn’t warm to her at the start and as the book went on, and her decisions became more and more stupid, I disliked her more and more! She just made the stupidest, most selfish, decisions without considering how they would affect Sully and the others. The characters overall were ok, but nothing special.

So I know I’ve ranted about Burning Midnight quite a bit, but I did like it – especially as the book progressed. And while the characters weren’t anything to write home about, the plot itself was unique and interesting. I’m curious to learn more about the Spheres, especially after the big reveal at the end! I’ll definitely be picking up the next book when its released!

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin!

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Wolf by Wolf is an intense YA historical fiction set in an alternative 1956 where Hitler and the axis powers won World War Two. As soon as I heard this I knew I had to buy it! I love historical fiction, especially those set in Nazi Germany. I couldn’t resist it! I’m so glad that I picked this one up! Wolf by Wolf was a fantastic read – full of action, intensity, and raw emotion. It is one of my favourite books of 2015.

The story follows Yael, a girl who was experimented on in a Nazi concentration camp, on her mission to assassinate the Fuhrer. Yael has the ability to change her appearance, to disguise herself as an ordinary German, rather than a Jew who has escaped her Nazi captors. She uses her ability to disguise as a motorbike racer in an epic race across rough terrain and harsh conditions – a competition where the other racers are certainly not your friend! All in order to get the chance to dance with the Fuhrer…and kill him! Honestly, if you haven’t read this yet, you really need to!

Yael is a phenomenal character, so well developed and intense in a way I’ve never read before. She had such a traumatic upbringing in the concentration camp, and she had lost so many people! It shaped her in a way that’s actually quite chilling at times. And sad too, so, so sad! Especially since she can’t remember what she truly looked like before the experimentation. I’ve read so many reviews on this book and it seems that almost everyone agrees that Yael is an amazing, unique, and dark main character.

The one thing I was apprehensive about when I started Wolf by Wolf was the motorcycle race. I thought it was a really original idea, but I don’t have a lot of interest in motorcycles. However, I loved the race! It was so addictive to read about! The race itself was brutal! Not only were the racers battling crazy weather, they were also battling against each other. So many of the racers were willing to attack/kill the others to get ahead in the race.

There was a little hint of romance in Wolf by Wolf between Luka and Yael. But it’s not a simple or straightforward romance at all! Yael is in disguise as Adele, and there is a definite history between Adele and Luka from the previous race! It’s all very complex to get your head around. I’m definitely interested to see where it’s going to go in the next book. And I can’t wait to learn about what happened between Adele and Luka in the last race!

The ending of Wolf by Wolf was such a twist! I didn’t see it coming at all! I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone, but seriously you need to pick this one up! I didn’t realise when that Wolf by Wolf was the first book in a series, for some reason I assumed it was a standalone. So I’m very relieved! I want at least two more books! You should definitely go ahead and read this book, you won’t be disappointed I promise!

The Awakened by Sara Elizabeth Santana!

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Today is the release day for a book that I’ve been anticipating for so long now – The Awakened! I’ve read excerpts on Instagram, chapters on Wattpad – I’ve been following Sara’s progress with this for a while…and now finally its here! And I’m SO SO happy that I’m part of the Street Team/Blog Tour for this book! Its so exciting!

First up, a quick synopsis!

Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.
That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They’re faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh.
The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with the awakened.
Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country.

Doesn’t it sound great? Well, it is great! And I’d definitely recommend you pick it up!

I’ll cut to the chase – buy this book! I promise you that you won’t regret it! I’m a big fan of books set in an apocalypse, and as I’m a bit of a Walking Dead junkie,  this book gave me an apocalypse fix! It’s full of action, gore, and romance – and is totally addictive. It left me angry, upset, and swooning! I need the sequel right now!

The Awakened follows Zoey – a kickass heroine – that you can’t help but love! I wasn’t even a chapter in when I realised that this was a main character I could root for. Her ‘Battlestar Galactica’ ringtone had me wanting to be her best friend straight away! Zoey finds herself on the run with her dad and next door neighbour (and biggest annoyance in her life!) Ash. Now, I totally ship Zoey and Ash. At first I wasn’t sure, but the chemistry between these two definitely won me over! I need a real good Zoey/Ash relationship in the next book! Don’t expect an easy road for these two though! There are so many obstacles in their way, and Zoey is determined to stay away from him at all costs!

The zombies in The Awakened aren’t your typical zombie. They aren’t mindless creatures, stumbling around craving flesh…they’re smart and fast – nothing like what you expect. I found that to be really refreshing as a lot of books/TV/films tend to lean towards the more out of control, brainless zombie. Sara’s creations were a lot creepier! I definitely wouldn’t want to have to face a pack of Awakened! Of course if you’re Zoey and have crazy good martial arts skills and a police officer for a dad then you’re probably more likely than most to survive!

I don’t want to accidentally leak any spoilers here, but let’s just say that there is a really unique twist to The Awakened that I so did not expect. The path this book goes down is a lot more sinister and intriguing than I was anticipating…but wow its good! After all the twists and turns The Awakened has taken I am so so excited to read the sequel which I believe Sara has been working on during NaNoWriMo in November! So hopefully I won’t have to wait too long to get my hands on it!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading The Awakened, it was an apocalypse novel that stands out from the rest, and is packed with suspense, humour, and of course zombies!!

Rating: 4.5 Stars!! 

If you’re thinking of buying The Awakened then I definitely urge you to! I’ll leave the Amazon UK and US links down below for you! And, if you do buy it then send your proof of purchase over to sesantanawrites@gmail.com and Sara will send you a signed The Awakened bookmark!

The Awakened – Amazon US

The Awakened – Amazon UK

Sara Elizabeth SAttachment-2antana is a young adult and new adult fiction writer. She has worked as a smoothie artist, Disneyland cast member, restaurant supervisor, nanny, photographer, pizza delivery driver and barista but writing is what she loves most. Her first story was written at age nine. She runs her own nerd girl/book review blog, What A Nerd Girl Says. Her favorite books are a tie between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling and Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. She lives in Southern California with her dad, five siblings and two dogs. Her debut novel is The Awakened.

 

End of Days by Susan Ee!

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End of days is the third and final book in Susan Ee’s Angelfall trilogy – one of my favourite YA trilogies! I am heartbroken that the journey is over and that this series has come to an end! But it was such a satisfying ending! It wrapped the series up really well! It was an explosive, romantic, and action packed conclusion!

The story picks up where World After left off, with Raffe and Penryn on the run with Paige and her band of locusts. After the twisted experiments carried out on both Raffe and Paige, they’re searching for answers, and a way for Raffe to return to the angels as messenger. The aim? Stop the apocalypse and save the human race from extinction at the hands of the angels. Of course, that’s no easy task! To do this they have to make unexpected alliances, dangerous decisions, and risk their lives. Honestly, it was so, so intense!

Penryn is one of my all-time favourite YA heroines. She’s brave and badass, but has these really hilarious girly moments that I love! One minute she’s fighting for her life against hellions, and the next she’s admiring pretty prom dresses! These moments were one of my favourite things in End of Days, they gave the reader a bit of respite from the intensity and darkness of the story! In End of Days, Penryn is dubbed the ‘angel killer’ and is more determined than ever to protect her family – whatever it takes. With Pooky Bear the angel sword at her side (I love that name!) Penryn was pretty formidable!

The family aspects of the Angelfall trilogy has to be another of my favourite things about this series. It focuses a lot of Penryn’s complex relationship with her schizophrenic mother, and her disabled sister Paige – and for me this made me connect to the story more, it made it feel more real. Let’s face it, if there really was an apocalypse then your priority would be your family!

If I was stuck in an angel apocalypse I’d definitely want an angel like Raffe on my side! Even with Beliel’s demon bat wings! I’ve been totally shipping Penryn and Raffe since book one, but in both Angelfall and World After there were barely a hint of romance between the pair! But the wait is over! End of Days has romance! Lots of romance! Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t overwhelm the story, but it  was there – and I loved it! It definitely had me swooning! Penryn was Raffe’s ‘daughter of man’ – aww!! However, the course of true love never did run smooth! Especially when you’re an angel of Go on a mission to lead your fellow angels back to heaven!

I don’t want to give too much away, I definitely don’t want to spoil this for anyone! But the ending was totally gripping – I was completely immersed in the action! If you have yet to pick up End of Days then I totally recommend that you do! You won’t be disappointed! I’m just sad that the trilogy is over!

Rating – 5 stars!