Monday, 29 June 2015

A Darkness Strange and Lovely By Susan Dennard

With her brother dead and her mother on the verge of insanity, Eleanor Fitt is utterly alone. Even the Spirit-Hunters - Joseph, Jie and the handsome, enigmatic Daniel - have fled to Paris. So when Eleanor begins to hear the vicious barking of hounds and see images of haunting yellow eyes, she fears the worst - that the Dead, and the necromancer Marcus, are coming for her.

To escape and search out the Spirit-Hunters, Eleanor boards a steamer bound for France. There she meets Oliver, a young man who claims to have known her brother. Though friendly, Oliver entices Eleanor with necromancy and black magic, yet as long as she can resist his powerful temptation, she'll be fine. But when she arrives in Paris, she finds that the Dead have taken over the city...and there's a whole new evil lurking. With the body count rising, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will go against everything the Spirit-Hunters stand for.

In Paris, there's a price for this darkness strange and lovely...and it may have Eleanor paying with her life
. (Goodreads)

If you are anything like me, after finishing Something Strange and Deadly, your hands would’ve been spasmodically grabbing for A Darkness Strange and Lovely. You just HAD to know what happens! Well, it does not disappoint.

Image result for a darkness strange and lovelyDespite ADS&L starting off a few months after the events of the first book, it’s unbelievable how easy it is to slip back into Eleanor’s head, within the first page your engrossed once again, there in Philadelphia 1876. Dennard’s beautiful writing style continues to be a joy to read and also develops. I feel her writing is stronger now she has one novel out in the world.

After receiving a letter from the Spirit Hunters in Paris and frightened Marcus is coming after her, Eleanor decides to go and meet up with Joseph, Jie and Daniel in France. She meets Oliver on the way and the friendship that develops between the two is just wonderful. I like that there’s no romance between the two and it doesn’t create a second love interest; they just have a great bond. 
The romance in this trilogy just between Daniel and Eleanor is enough strain on the heart without another person added in. Just like in the first novel, every time Daniel and Eleanor are together you end up on the edge of your seat, their chemistry just crackles off the page. The romance doesn’t overwhelm the storyline, however, and allows it to grow slowly and realistically, which makes it even sweeter.

Eleanors character goes through some major character development in this novel. She’s still such an original character, she says and does what she likes, even if it’s the wrong thing to do. Eleanor makes mistakes and it makes her real. Even if you think that Eleanor is doing the wrong thing, you admire her conviction and know that she will learn from it. And all the way through, she remains her quirky, clever, easy-to-love self which keeps you rooting for her…and wishing you could be friends with her so you could quote Shakespeare together.

The introduction of Paris to the novel is beautifully described. You can just tell a great amount of research has gone into it being accurate. I’ve never been to Paris but Dennard makes it feel as if you have, and even better a 1876 version of it! You seem to stroll along the streets with Eleanor.
Dennard also keeps her characters accurate to the time, Eleanor uses saying like 'Shut pan' and dance cards are used at parties which all adds to transporting you to the 1800's. 

The storyline of ADS&L is still filled with the walking dead or ‘les morts!’, but also has a lot more mystery than the first. There are certainly some big surprises, which keep you clutching your book until the last page.

Worrying about second-book-syndrome? Worry no more. You have no fear picking up this brilliant second instalment in Susan Dennard Something Strange and Deadly Series. *throws stars in the air* ADS&L gets ALLL the stars!!
BE WARNED: It makes cause extreme obsession and swoons.

The Blog Tour Schedule! See where it’s headed next and catch up on old blog posts from the tour!
Sunday, June 21st:
Ellen @ YA Bookish News - Gushworthy Scenes with Daniel Sheridan & Eleanor Fitt
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Monday, June 22nd:
CJ @ Sarcasm and Lemons - Fancast/Playlist
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Tuesday, June 23rd:
Liran @ Hearts and Crowns - Fancast/Playlist
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Wednesday, June 24th:
Samantha @ 
And Then Celaena Set The World On Fire. - Playlist
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Thursday, June 25th:
Zoey @ Uncreatively Zoey - Throwback Thursday
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Friday, June 26th:
Christina @ Between Bookends - Fancast
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Saturday, June 27th:
Kim @ Dreaming in Libraries - TBD
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Sunday, June 28th:
Adriyanna @ Adriyanna K. Zimmerman - SS&D review
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Monday, June 29th:
Laura @ Under a Mound of Books - ADS&L review
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Tuesday, June 30th:
Kelly @ Audeamus. Let us dare. - S&EA review
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Enter for a chance to win a copy of one book in the Something Strange and Deadly Trilogy if you live in the US or an ebook of Something Strange and Deadly if you don’t live in the US!
The giveaway closes on July 10th, so QUICK!!

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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

One By Sarah Crossan

Tippi and Grace. Grace and Tippi. For them, it’s normal to step into the same skirt. To hook their arms around each other for balance. To fall asleep listening to the other breathing. To share. And to keep some things private. The two sixteen-year-old girls have two heads, two hearts, and each has two arms, but at the belly, they join. And they are happy, never wanting to risk the dangerous separation surgery.

But the girls’ body is beginning to fight against them. And soon they will have to face the impossible choice they have avoided for their entire lives. (Goodreads)

Personally, I have never read a book like One. It unexpectedly had such a huge impact on me. Its definitely a book you never forget.

I think the immediate thing that would make people sceptical about reading One is that its written in free verse. In other words, it almost looks like a poem. But it isn’t hard to read like some poems can be, there’s no rhyming, it still flows and reads like a story. I had never read a novel written in free verse before, but I’m so glad I got to read One, so please don’t let it put you off. Imagining One written in prose form ( how novels are usually written) doesn’t feel right. Crossan’s lyrical writing only adds to its impact.
One has plenty of depth to it; however, I can understand how people could think its minimalistic writing style limits its depth as the pace of the story moves so fast.

If you have previously read any of Crossan’s books, you know that she deals with important and sensitive issues, and she does it so well. I admire her so much for writing this story, clearly a lot of dedication to research and emotion has been poured into this story. She brilliantly portrays something us readers can only imagine living like.

One portrays the issues Grace and Tippi have to deal with every day, the stares to using the toilet. They’re both two amazingly imagined characters. Reading from Grace’s point of view, you understand just how different these two girls are. They are individuals, but many, by just looking at them see them as just one. Reading about people staring makes you question whether or not you’d be one of those people staring.  And if you would stare, would you think about how that makes those people feel? Would you treat them as individuals ?

I don’t want to spoil the story for you, but you may need a few tissues to get through this touching novel. Its ups and downs will both warm and break your heart.

I would give One 4/5 stars. It is most definitely the One book to read this summer.

Thank you to Bloomsbury for an ARC of One!

Monday, 22 June 2015

Sentinel By Joshua Winning

"What is a Sentinel? A guard. A detective. A killer..."

They are the world's best-kept secret - an underground society whose eternal cause is to protect the world against the dark creatures and evil forces that inhabit the night.

Now Sentinels are being targeted, murdered and turned as the fury of an ancient evil is unleashed once more. And when 15-year-old Nicholas Hallow's parents are killed in a train crash, the teenager is drawn into a desperate struggle against malevolent powers.

Sentinel is the first book in the Sentinel Trilogy - a world of unconventional heroes, monsters, murder and magic. (Goodreads)

Although the storyline of Sentinel follows the trope of having a teenage character discover he’s special and his parents have been lying to him, Sentinel makes it seem very individual, not overused.
Sentinel is essentially a battle between good and evil and Winning is very good at writing creepy scenes. You might not want to read Sentinel late at night, or you might end up sleeping with the light on.
The story is a little like The Mortal Instruments – The Sentinels are almost Shadowhunters, protecting mankind from the dark forces and one teenager finds out his parents had kept secrets from him his whole life and is thrown in at the deep end. But Sentinel is darker and scarier. If you like TMI I’d definitely give this book a go, and even though they sound similar, they read very differently.

I feel that any novel that isn’t contemporary suffers from having to set up its world to the audience throughout the first novel, which isn’t a fault to the author, and this can make the story drag. Sentinel manages this well, Winning builds its world slowly, and its slow release of information of the Sentinels and the ‘evil characters’ point of view keeps the reader eager to learn more, whilst avoiding an information dump onto the reader. The mix of plot and building throughout balances them, making it more enjoyable to read.
Sentinel is full of action, but I feel the mix of building and plot prevented the overall plot from moving forward very far, which isn’t a bad thing, it makes me hopeful that the next novel will pick up the pace and allow the reader to sink more fully into the story.

Even though Nicholas Hallow is the main protagonist, the mix and switching of different points of view didn’t allow the reader to connect very much with him. However each of the characters are very well written and interesting and individual in their own way. They’re each so likeable in their own individual way, Sam is so caring and strong, Nicholas has courage in the face of loss and Malika is evilly enticing.

Winning’s writing is enjoyable to read, and I feel that its only going to improve throughout the next novel.

The first novel ends with a lot of questions left unanswered and the reader eager to find out what happens next. I’m very excited to read Ruins!

I would give Sentinel 3.5 stars!!

Thanks to @SentinelTrilogy on twitter and Peridot Press for sending me Sentinel and Ruins!