1 Point, Humour, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Dream on | Silver #2 | ISBN 9781627790796 | Henry Holt & Co., 2016 | 1 out of 5 Points

“Things seem to be going well for Liv Silver: she’s adjusting to her new home in London; she has a burgeoning romance with Henry Harper, one of the cutest boys in school; and the girl who’s been turning her dreams into nightmares, Anabel, is now locked up. But serenity doesn’t last for long. It seems that Liv’s troubles are far from over—in fact, suddenly they’re piling up. School gossip blogger Secrecy knows all of Liv’s most intimate secrets, Henry might be hiding something from her, and at night Liv senses a dark presence following her through the corridors of the dream world. Does someone have a score to settle with Liv?” Continue Reading

2 Points, Reviews, Time Travel, Urban Fantasy, Victorian, Young Adult

The Door That Led to Where | Stand-Alone | ISBN 9781471401084 | Delacorte, 2016 | 2 out of 5 Points

AJ Flynn has just failed all but one of his GCSEs, and his future is looking far from rosy. So when he is offered a junior position at a London law firm he hopes his life is about to change – but he could never have imagined by how much.

Tidying up the archive one day, AJ finds an old key, mysteriously labelled with his name and date of birth – and he becomes determined to find the door that fits the key. And so begins an amazing journey to a very real and tangible past – 1830, to be precise – where the streets of modern Clerkenwell are replaced with cobbles and carts, and the law can be twisted to suit a villain’s means. Although life in 1830 is cheap, AJ and his friends quickly find that their own lives have much more value. They’ve gone from sad youth statistics to young men with purpose – and at the heart of everything lies a crime that only they can solve. But with enemies all around, can they unravel the mysteries of the past, before it unravels them? Continue Reading

4 Points, Gothic & Horror, LGBT+ Fiction, Reviews, Southern Gothic, Thriller, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

As I Descended | Stand-Alone | ISBN 9780062409232 | HarperTeen, 2016 | 4 out of 5 Points

“Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them. Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey. Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word. Continue Reading

4 Points, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Reviews, Young Adult

CaravalCaraval | Caraval #1 | ISBN 9781250095251 | Flatiron Books , 2017 | 4 of 5 Points

“Remember, it’s only a game… Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over. But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Continue Reading

1 Point, Alternative History, DNF, Historical Fiction, LGBT+ Fiction, Medieval, Reviews, Young Adult

And I Darken | The Conqueror’s Saga #1 | ISBN 9780552573740 | Corgi, 2016 | 1 out of 5 Stars | DNF (skim-read the last 100 pages)

“No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way. Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets.

Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.” Continue Reading

3 Points, Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora | Gentleman Bastard #1 | ISBN 9780575079755 | Gollanzc, 2007 | 3.5 out of 5 Points

“In this stunning debut, author Scott Lynch delivers the wonderfully thrilling tale of an audacious criminal and his band of confidence tricksters. Set in a fantastic city pulsing with the lives of decadent nobles and daring thieves, here is a story of adventure, loyalty, and survival that is one part “Robin Hood”, one part Ocean’s Eleven, and entirely enthralling…

An orphan’s life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest. A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected “family” of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting. Continue Reading

2 Points, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Reviews, Victorian, Young Adult

The Quietness | Stand-Alone | ISBN 9781471401015 | Hot Key Books, 2013 | 2.5 out of 5 Points

“When fifteen-year-old Queenie escapes from the squalid slums of nineteenth-century London, she has no idea about the dangers of the dark world she is about to become embroiled in. Initially thrilled at being taken on as a maid for the seemingly respectable Waters sisters, Queenie comes to realise that something is very wrong with the dozens of strangely silent babies being ‘adopted’ into the household.

Meanwhile, lonely and unloved sixteen-year-old Ellen is delighted when her handsome and charming young cousin Jacob is sent to live with her family. She thinks she has finally found a man to fall in love with and rely on, but when Jacob cruelly betrays her she finds herself once again at the mercy of her cold-hearted father. Soon the girls’ lives become irrevocably entwined in this tension-filled drama. THE QUIETNESS is a novel of friendship and trust in the darkest of settings.”  Continue Reading

4 Points, Contemporary Fiction, Reviews, Romance

The Big Girl’s Guide to Buying Lingerie | Bluebonnet Texas #4 | ISBN 9781517413804 | Dancehall Diaries, Ltd, 2015 | 4 out of 5 Points

“”Redneck Casanova”: After a disastrous marital near-miss Jade Ballard retreats to San Antonio, cutting herself off from the world in general and more specifically her family’s country club lifestyle, which she no longer wants any part of. She takes comfort in food and eventually, the safety of an internet love affair.

“Miss Snooty Pants”: Rowdy Yates is a semi-reformed womanizer who’s leery of long-term entanglements. Until Jade, he never seriously considered anything beyond a “Wife-For-A-Night.” After months of flirting on the internet the couple meets, only to discover they already know one another.
Continue Reading

1 Point, Gothic & Horror, Historical Fiction, Reviews, Urban Fantasy, Victorian, Young Adult

The Beautiful and the Cursed | The Dispossessed #1 | ISBN 9780385743112 | Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2013 | 1 out of 5 Points

“After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris. In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures. Continue Reading