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The 'Where Have I Been?' Book Haul

I'm finally on the last post of the week so I thought I would treat you guys with a book haul showcasing some of the books I've recently acquired, whether it be for review or ones I bought myself. Now if you do have any thoughts on the books I've recently gotten then please leave a comment but no spoilers, I beg you.

 
REVIEW COPIES
 
 
So over the last few weeks I've not been accepting as many books for review, mainly because I know I'm not going to have the time to read and review them in the time span that publishers or authors want. However, when I get the option to receive some books I've been anticipating then I will accept.
 
Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie is a YA Anthology where 13 authors pair up with 13 Booktubers to create a short story based around the Villains we love to hate. Now this book doesn't come out until July but Bloomsbury were nice enough to send me a signed sampler of the book.
 
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray has been on my wishlist since I found out about it and while this UK cover doesn't have the same appeal as the US edition I'm still super pumped to read what's on the inside. Hot Key Books were super lovely in sending this to me and I cannot wait to step into space and take a short vacation.
 
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer was sent to me by the ever so lovely Bloomsbury. Honestly Bloomsbury never fail to supply me with incredible books and I'm super excited to getting around to reading this one. I've heard it's a real tear jerker with a lot of home truths.
 
Release by Patrick Ness was sent to me by Walker Books UK the day it released in the UK and I'm so intrigued by this one. Essentially I thought it was just a coming out story within a religious household but the story also contains chapters from the ghost of the girl who's recently passed away. It holds this appeal and my friends have whispered nothing but high praise for this one.
 
 
 
BOOKS I BOUGHT THAT LEFT ME A POOR MAN
 
 
Lately I've been treating myself to US hardcovers because they're so pretty and also smaller than a standard UK hardcover. Plus the UK hardcovers normally end up with a demented spine because they're bound so tightly. One of these books was bought when I went to Liverpool for the day and partied the night away with RuPauls Drag Race Ambassador, The Vivienne.
 
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh ended up on my anticipated list after I read - and fell in love with - her debut novel The Wrath & The Dawn. It was beautifully written with such lyrical prose'. I just knew I had to have more of her writing so I instantly pre-ordered it. Flame in the Mist has been described as 47 Ronin meets Mulan and I am so ready for that.
 
Until Friday Night by Abbi Glines is actually one of my all time favourite YA Contemporary books, so I instantly needed to treat myself to the hardback copy. In fact I have the hardback copy of book 2 on it's way to me as well since the covers are so ascetically pleasing. It's a book that really hits home and also shouts out about controlling relationships. Abbi Glines can never do anything wrong for me.
 
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson really spoke to me when I was up Liverpool and shopped their Waterstones. Following the story of an unexpectedly pregnant sixteen year old Mary B Addison who's in jail because she murdered a 3 month old baby when she was 9. Allegedly. Need I say more about this one.
 
 
 
The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli shouldn't have really been in here. In fact I wasn't going to pick it up until a friend of mine reviewed it and said that it was one of the best contemporaries she's read in years. And that was saying something as said friend isn't the biggest contemporary fan. Now it does sound like there's the possibility of a love triangle, which I'm not too fussed on but the synopsis had me gushing.
 
Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han was the book I got half price when I purchased The Upside of Unrequited. I've not even started book one in this trilogy but I do now own all three books which means I can do some serious marathoning over the summer. I'm expecting meet-cute romance and a lot of drama.
 
Contagion by Teri Terry was a lovely surprise I found in my local WHSmiths as the book isn't actually out until later in the month so I'm so grateful that WHSmiths had it out super early for me to add to my Teri Terry collection. One girl missing. Two people out to find her. An epidemic that's sweeping the country. Why would I need anything else in my life?
 
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas is officially a book that intimidates me. I've not even started ACOMAF yet but seeing the size of this beauty has me scared. I'm sure my feelings are not prepared for the awesomeness that will ensue.
 
 

Underrated New Adult Books

I cannot believe that this is my fourth post of the week. I've been away from blogging for so long that I actually thought I couldn't get a post up each day of the week but I'm doing so well so far. Now todays post wasn't going to be a recommendation post, in fact it was meant to have been my ARC Review of 'The Names They Gave Us' by Emery Lord. However, I'm struggling to write up a review good enough for a book so fantastic. Anyway, today I'm talking about a few New Adult series that I feel are underrated and definitely deserve more positive attention.



A POUND OF FLESH BY SOPHIE JACKSON

When I first read 'A Pound of Flesh' I was unaware that it was actually a hugely popular Twilight Fan Fiction and honestly I don't think anyone could tell. A Pound of Flesh tells the story of Kat and Carter who find love through the prison system and have to face the struggles of outside life. The honest truth is that I loved every single page of this novel. It's romantic, luscious and dark. Exactly how I like my romances to be like. This series really left a lasting impression on my heart and hit me right in the feels. And if like me you enjoy this novel then you can dive straight into Book 2, An Ounce of Hope and Book 3, A Measure of Love.




IDOL BY KRISTEN CALLIHAN

I had already read the first two books in the 'Game On' series by Kristen Callihan when she announced this new series and I'm being honest when I say I did a little (nothing about me is little, neither was this) squeal. I'm a huge lover of Rock Star Romances and this one hit it out of the park. Literally. Idol tells the story of shy girl, Libby who finds a very drunk, yet stark naked Killian in her front yard. And their story goes from there. Idol was down right dirty and fun, just like a normal Friday night in the clubs for myself. Honestly I just love anything this author writes and Book 2, Managed is even better!



MR. PRESIDENT BY KATY EVANS

I've always had a rocky relationship with Katy Evans' books. Some I love, others not so much but I have to be honest by saying that Mr. President is definitely my favourite of hers. Now at the time I read this the US election was taking place so I found it weird, however, I absolutely loved Matt and Charlotte's story, despite the age gap between the couple. It was a beautiful, raw, stripped back and honest romance story that shows the price of what you pay when you want your cake and try to eat it too. Simply beautiful, even better that their story continues in Book 2, Commander in Chief.




STIPPED BARE BY EMMA HART

I've read a few Emma Hart novels now and I'm always torn on how I feel about them. Some of her earlier works truly feel naively written, however, over the last two years I have seen such a growth in her character development, story telling and writing. Especially with her 'Holly Woods Files' series and now her 'Stripped' Duology. Stripped Bare pulled me in with the love story of Mia and West. Set in the back drop of Las Vegas and filled with the Vegas strip I couldn't be any more enamoured with the story. I couldn't put the book down until I finished it in one sitting. I don't know what it is about forbidden romance but all I can say is that it's one of my favourite tropes. Incredible.



ALL LINED UP BY CORA CARMACK

I had first heard of Cora Carmack when her self-published novel, Losing It had been picked up by a major publisher and while that series didn't have any appeal for me the 'Rusk University' series definitely did. The entire series takes place in and around Rusk University and follows a friendship group while they deal with college, family life and falling in love. All Lined Up is the first book in this series and I can only praise Cora for making me fall in love with a good guy because Carson is the true definition of a Gentleman. His story with Dallas was a total meet-cute and I loved how Cora really pushed boundaries and made this one feel a little more mature in dynamics. This is a favourite of mine and Book 2, All Broke Down and Book 3, All Played Out are super great follow on as well. Now I just need Book 4, All Closed off in my hands when it releases in July.



I hope any of you guys reading this post will pick at least one of these series up because they're so, so, so good. All of them drew me in from page 1 and left me wanting more. And while New Adult is a somewhat controversial genre, I honestly believe that these books represent the genre so well.

Books With Taboo Topics | My Summer TBR

I cannot believe that this is my third blog post this week, it's crazy! I've been so busy with work and life in general that I've kind of forgotten about my blog and reviewing books. Does that make me a bad book blogger? It probably does, however, reviewing books doesn't pay my bills; my job does. Now this post is going to be about a few of the books I want to read this summer that deal with very taboo topics in YA. 2015 saw the introduction of books focusing more on mental illnesses which is great but I've slowly seen its decline again and I don't want it to be forgotten.



WHEN WE COLLIDED BY EMERY LORD

This book was massively talked about last year on Booktuber as its US publisher sponsored a lot of videos for it to be promoted in. However, I'm totally excited to read this one. It follows two characters Vivi and Jonah who are both lost souls in the world and when their world collides it creates fireworks. The book heavily deals with depression and grief, which I'm interested to see how Emery deals with it as I'm currently reading her 2017 release 'The Names They Gave Us' and I really love her writing style and views on faith.


ALLEGEDLY BY TIFFANY D. JACKSON

The story of a sixteen year old teenager, Mary B Addison is in prison and unexpectedly pregnant with the guy she's fallen in love with child. Mary B Addison allegedly murdered a 3 month old white baby when she was 9, except with this news of pregnancy Mary realises the truth needs to be finally told to stop the state from taking away her unborn child. Now I've never read anything like this in my life and I'm so excited to read something that's so taboo. I'm intrigued to see how the author will deal with the alleged murder and teenage pregnancy.


HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME BY ADAM SILVERA

Adam Silvera is a well loved author as his books tackle real life issues in a brilliant and realistic way. History is All You Left Me caught my attention before it released as it follows a gay guy named Griffin who struggles with OCD and it gets worse after the death of his first boyfriend/best friend. And despite his struggled feelings the only person who seems to understand him is Jackson, the boy he's supposed to hate. I'm just super excited to finally getting around to reading this book. I've heard it's beautiful and lyrical and really raw, honest.



What books are you looking forward to reading?
Let me know in the comments.

Books I Wish Had A Sequel

This week I'm really working hard on bringing you guys a post each day of the week except the weekend. So that is five brand new content of work from me, all different and all relating to our favourite things in the world; books. So todays topic is books I would love a sequel to. Now all three books are standalones, however, I do sometimes feel that while the ending is nice there is still so much more I want from these books, or another POV I'd like to see. Now my list does only consist of three books but all the books on this list are some of my all time favourites.




I WAS HERE BY GAYLE FORMAN

In 'I Was Here' we know that Megan has committed suicide, we know she's battled with depression which may seem unusual as to why I'd love a story from her POV. Set before her ending in life and after she starts at her new school. I want to see what really factored into her suicide and what her final thoughts were. And while that may seem personal I really feel like there's a lesson to be learned from it.


ELEANOR AND PARK BY RAINBOW ROWELL

We've all mentioned how we'd love a sequel to this story, because the truth is Eleanor and Parks story is not over. Even Rainbow mentioned that herself when I went to a book signing of hers back in 2014 and she mentioned that Eleanor and Park always felt like a duology but the two combining books being set years apart. And it totally makes sense. Do Eleanor and Park finally reconnect? Are they happy with other people? This is the important stuff I want - and need - to know.


THE HATE U GIVE BY ANGIE THOMAS

THUG is one of my favourite books of this year and I know Angie has announced that there will be another book set in the same world, which I'm so excited about because Angie just delivers on a raw, fresh narrative that we don't see often in YA. Now for myself I'd really love to see a story about DeVante and how he copes with leaving the gang and what happens in the gang world, because normally their motto is "Once your in you can never leave". I also want to see what happens with his future as I believe he has some great things ahead of him.



So those are a few of the books I'd love to see a sequel to.
What books do you wish could have a sequel?
Let me know in the comments.

Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Title: Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA Paranormal / Fantasy
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Published: March 8th 2016
Page Number: 698
Rating: 4.5/5

Summary:

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

 
REVIEW
 
It's been a long time since I've had anything to do with the Shadowhunter world and I'm being honest when I said I was scared to delve into Lady Midnight. I had heard the great reviews and I know Cassandra Clare is one of my all time favourite authors, which is what made me nervous. What if I didn't like the book?
 
Well, luckily enough I actually loved Lady Midnight. In fact I think this one is Cassandra most richest story yet. It jumps straight into the story 5 years after the events of City of Heavenly Fire and follows Emma Carstairs who's out for revenge on the people who murdered her parents, now she has even more problems when humans and faeries are turning up dead, burned, drowned and covered in unusual markings.
 
Now it did take a while for the story to really take off. Until page 140 not much was going on. We were getting to know the new characters, their personalities and lives and the issues that surround the LA Institue, which is fun and all but once the story got going then it went to a whole new level. Emma's character only grew in maturity and getting to see her relationship and feelings for Simon blossom in a realistic way was so refreshing. I also loved Mark and Kieran together. My only question with those two is on Kieran's sexuality, which has nothing to do with the book but my curious mind is wanting the answer. I also really appreciated the family orientation in this book, Julien being a father to his younger brother and sisters made me appreciate what I have in life.

When we find out who's behind the murders I'm being honest when I say I was left disappointed, only because I really liked that character. They were loving and fun but it also made total sense since that character also left you feeling uneasy as to why they acted a certain way.

With Cassandra's beautiful writing and a deep, rich world I'm one hundred percent sure that all Shadowhunter fans will love this book just as much as her previous series. My only not to future readers would be to make sure you read 'Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy' as it really helps and slowly introduces some characters who will turn up into the Lady Midnight book.


 
 

Review: Under the Lights by Abbi Glines


Title: Under the Lights (The Field Party #2)
Author: Abbi Glines
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
Published: August 25th 2016
Page Number: 336
Rating: 3.5/5

Summary:

Willa can’t erase the bad decisions of her past that led her down the path she’s on now. But she can fight for forgiveness from her family. And she can protect herself by refusing to let anyone else get close to her.

High school quarterback and town golden boy Brady used to be the best of friends with Willa—she even had a crush on him when they were kids. But that’s all changed now: her life choices have made her a different person from the girl he used to know.

Gunner used to be friends with Willa and Brady, too. He too is larger than life and a high school football star—not to mention that his family basically owns the town of Lawton. He loves his life, and doesn’t care about anyone except himself. But Willa is the exception—and he understands the girl she’s become in a way no one else can.

As secrets come to light and hearts are broken, these former childhood friends must face the truth about growing up and falling in love…even if it means losing each other forever.  

 
REVIEW
 
After finishing up the first book in this YA series by Abbi Glines I had one thought in mind: I want more. So much more. The small town romance mixed with the drama and football. It reminded me of watching episodes of Friday Night Lights with a cup of cocoa on a Friday night as a child while having me dream of living the life of the rich.
 
That was until I read this book.
 
Abbi Glines delivers a book filled with drama. I thought RuPauls Drag Race could only bring the type of drama that has me shook but Under the Lights had me Shooketh. It was an addicting read that I honestly could not put down until I finish the last page of the book but that doesn't always mean it was a brilliant read.
 
Now don't get me wrong I enjoyed the book. I loved our main character Willa and how strong and honest she was about her past and what she wanted for the future. I saw so much of younger self in her. I also loved Gunner and how much he grew and developed as a character. He showed there was more to him than just a rich spoilt brat. And together their romance was something different all together.
 
But then we have the confusing part of the story, mainly in our third main character Brady. For me he didn't fit in the story, I grew tired of his POV. He was whiny and unlike the character I read about in Until Friday Night who came across as someone who'd do anything for anyone and wore his heart on his sleeve. I'm not sure if Abbi had him in the book for the added drama or because she saw him as a vital character in Willa and Gunner's story but I think the story would have been delivered better without his overdraught POV.
 
Despite the mishap in the series I'm still super excited for book three, After the Game, which focuses on Riley and Brady. I'm sure Abbi will use her power of writing luscious romantic scenes to pull me in and use the drama to keep me hooked.
 
 
 

ARC Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: April 6th 2017
Page Number: 438
Rating: 5/5

Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend, Khalil, at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, Khalil’s death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Starr’s best friend at school suggests he may have had it coming. When it becomes clear the police have little interest in investigating the incident, protesters take to the streets and Starr’s neighbourhood becomes a war zone. What everyone wants to know is: What really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could destroy her community. It could also endanger her life.


 
REVIEW

The Hate U Give may just be the best book I'll read this year.

The hype has been well alive since the announcement of the book and with each and every review that came in - including those 8 starred reviews - I wasn't sure if it was going to live up to it. However, Angie Thomas really delivered a raw, poignant novel with a relevant narrative that showcases the harsh lives of Black people.

Starr lives one of two lives: Her life in Garden Heights filled with shootings and Drug Lords and then her life at Williamson Prep, a boarding school for the white and rich. Tying between two complete opposite communities leaves her feeling restless and after the murder of her childhood friends takes place in front of her she has to choose which side to take: Remaining silent or getting justice for Khalil.

Starting the novel I wasn't too sure what I really thought of the writing as I've never experienced a book in the narrative of a black character from what I would call the 'Hood'. It's ratchet talk to me, however, it was needed for it to be fresh and honest. Every character interaction only showed me just how difficult black people have it, but also how narrow minded some of their older generation could be in regards to interracial relationships.

I can't pretend to understand how people in these circumstances feel but we can all be empathetic and sympathetic in times of needs and learn to understand what they're going through, which Angie Thomas did well for me. The Hate U Give was a learning curve for me, an education I never saw coming but ended up being thankful for.

It's books like this one that deserve to be Number 1 New York Times Bestsellers. It's books like this one that everyone deserves to read because it's impactful, important. A story that needs to be told because otherwise we'll just continue being ignorant. Sometimes your voice is more powerful than words but words were enough in this case. The Hate U Give is imprinted in my heart, soul and mind. It's constantly with me in my every day life and that's why I think it'll be hard to knock this from my number 1 spot this year.

 
 
 
 
 
A copy of this book was sent to me by the publisher, Walker Books UK for an honest opinion.