Posted in children's fiction, young adult

Favourite Books Of The Year | 2016

It’s the end of another year which means it’s once again time for me to discuss my favourite reads of the past twelve months. 2016 has been a very interesting reading experience for me as I decided to start being a tad more honest with my ratings and if I wasn’t enjoying a book, then I simply tossed it aside rather than forcing myself to finish in an attempt to get one step closer to achieving my Goodreads target. So, without further ado, here are the stand out books for the year of 2016.

Gabriel And The Swallows by Esther Dalseno 

 

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Gabriel and The Swallows follows a boy who stumbles across an injured bird and takes it home in the hopes that he can save its life, only to discover that the creature is in fact not a bird… but a girl with swallows wings. This book is a slow read, taking place over many years but it’s such a beautiful story. It’s very much in the realm of magical realism and explores the friendship between the protagonist and this remarkable creature that fell into his life. It’s been a very, very long time since a book affected me so much at the end that I just sat there sobbing. I honestly cannot put into words just how outstanding the contents of this book are.

My full review can be found here and I also went to the launch event for this book which can be found here.
Inherited by Freedom Matthews 

 

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Inherited by Freedom Matthews tells the story of a group of people on a pirate ship, cursed with the inability to love:  If they were to confess love for another, that person would die. Together, the crew search for the remaining heirs to the curse and aim to track down the sorceress that put the curse on their parents and get her to change her mind.

Frankly, we don’t have enough pirate books and it was so refreshing to read this book. What I love the most about this story is that because the majority takes place on a ship, where the characters have no real place to escape to, it’s easy to get boring, but Freedom manages to keep it interesting, introducing new ideas and backstories through dialogue.

My full review of this book can be found here.
Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

 

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Set in the desert nation of Miragi, mortals rule and mystical beast roam free. Amani wants nothing more than to leave her dead-end town and when a shooting competition arises offering prize money larger enough to fund her escape, she disguises as a boy to take part. There’s a Sultan’s army, magic, a fantastic protagonist, vivid imagery and a growing rebellion.

I became very disheartened with Young Adult Fiction this year; an awful lot of the books I was excited for let me down. I was close to turning my back completely on the age range but Rebel of the Sands was utterly fantastic and proved to me that there’s still hope for good books in Young Adult.

My full review can be found here.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

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Am I Normal Yet? Follows Evie who was recently hospitalised for her eating disorder. Starting at a new college where nobody knows her “secret” she wants nothing more than to be normal. She meets Amber and Lottie and together they create The Spinster Club dedicated to reclaiming their womanhood. This was a very difficult read for me as it deals heavily with anxiety disorder but the really good thing about this book is it doesn’t sugarcoat. It shows just hard it is to live with mental illness and I hope will generate a platform where readers learn about what it’s like to be in that mindset and how to help someone they may know who deals with these experiences on a daily basis.

My full review can be found here.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher 

 

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As the first full length novel from Children’s writer Tom Fletcher, The Christmasaurus tells the story of wheelchair user William who wants nothing more than a pet dinosaur for Christmas and it just so happens that a dinosaur egg has been found at the North Pole. It’s a wonderful adventure that takes place one Christmas Eve. This book is hilarious, festive, and heart-warming, accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

It’s also great that Tom included a wheelchair user as his protagonist because representation is so important, especially when your audience is children.

My full review can be found here

So there we have it!
What were some of your favourite reads?

I will be back in the new year with many more reviews.

– Charlotte

For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

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Posted in fantasy, review, young adult

Inherited – Freedom Matthews

“And thus, in one short sobbing sentence she had unearthed my entire ethos. Love killed. Perhaps not literally, but metaphorically.”

 

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Blurb: “If saying ‘I love you’ meant death, would you still say it? The Wilted Rose, of faery-tale and folklore, is a pirate ship filled with unfortunate souls – each forbidden to love. One such soul is Valencia ‘Lennie’ Roux. Raised in a brothel and an heir to a curse, Lennie never expected to pique the interest of any man. Yet with the arrival of vivid-eyed Nathaniel, she is torn between wanting to know him better and fearing what that knowledge would mean. With Nathaniel bringing the crew’s total to six, The Wilted Rose sets off in search of the remaining two heirs. They hope that in reuniting, they will convince the faery sorceress responsible for the curse, to end it. However lurking beneath the water is a long standing enemy of The Wilted Rose; who is determined to thwart their quest and bring down its leaders. Together the eight heirs fight for survival, friendship, and love.”

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

The story follows Lennie who lives aboard a pirate ship named The Wilted Rose. She is the only woman in a five person crew all of which are victims of a curse, passed down from their parents. They are forbidden to love and doing so means death. Together, the crew searches for the remaining three heirs (identifiable by a mark on their wrist) so that they can track down the sorceress in the hopes she lifts the curse. Having a ship that steers itself and does all the searching for them makes things slightly easier. The crew quickly becomes comprised of six people after the arrival of Nathaniel Davenport-Lee, a handsome man who could prove a problem for Lennie.

The first thing I noticed about this book was that the writing style is a lot better than in the prequel Into The Forest. I got the real sense while reading this that Freedom really knows the world, the characters and every detail that makes up this story. I could really believe in what was happening. Freedom has a truly wonderful style and I loved her choice of words and phrases.

While the sorceress seems like the initial villain, I felt that the character of Hadnaloy, the sea witch, was a lot more threatening and possibly the most fascinating character I stumbled across on this adventure.

Given that the central theme is love because of the curse, I thought the romance was a bit forced. It’s often predictable in the YA genre but it would have been nice if there was a slower build up to it.

It was interesting to learn about the characters and see how they fitted into a confined environment as a lot of the story takes place on the ship. My favourite scene is when the crew are all sat together telling the story of how they got their marks and how they found The Wilted Rose. It just added more depth to the characters and cemented the world and the characters and their personalities. Plus, it warmed my heart a little.

This is a wonderful story about love, pirates and adventure that you simply don’t want to miss!

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Posted in fantasy, review, romance, young adult

Into The Forest – Freedom Matthews

“Ravenzara became one of us, winged and powerful, the heir to our beloved forest. It is her turn to join the ranks and become the sorceress she was created to be.”

 

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Blurb: “Before the Wilted Rose, the pirates who sailed upon it, or even a curse, there was a young faery who lived amongst the dense tress of the forest… a princess among a tribe of fantastical creatures. On the day of Ravenzara’s coronation as leader of the fae, her sister bestowed upon her two things: – a rose and a curse. No good shall come if you should give your heart away.”

Into The Forest is a prequel short story to the full length novel Inherited which is due to be released July 2016. I met Freedom Matthews at a book launch not too long ago and she is literally one of the loveliest people. I tried to get as much information about her upcoming releases and she was quite tight-lipped. Now I finally have an insight into the world with this story. So the joke’s on you now Freedom! HA!

The main thing you need to know is that there are faeries. I adore anything with faeries in so I was quite biased when I picked this up. The protagonist, Ravenzara, is preparing for her coronation following on from the death of her mother. Her rule is short lived when the pirates make an appearance on the island. They are wounded and many of them are close to death.  She is reunited with her lover Gaspard and together they sail off for many adventures (with the approval of her people of course!)

My favourite scene was a moment when Ravenzara is looking around a cabin on the ship and she replaces all the dust with flowers. It was such a beautiful scene described in such an elegant  way that I could see the event unfolding before my eyes as if I was in the room with her.

There’s sibling rivalry in the form of Tatiana; a character I liked the most and have discovered will play a bigger role in the sequel to Inherited.  There’s magic, faeries, pirates, exciting worlds. She’s not too happy about Ravenzara’s crowning, believing that it should have been her instead. I love seeing how kingdoms work and the kind of ideals they subscribe to so it was nice to not only get an insight into that but also see two different worlds collide together.

While I do talk to Freedom Matthews quite often, it would be unfair to only talk about the good (which there is plenty of). I’m aware that Freedom had a tight word count for this story but I felt like some of the description was lacking in places.  It was disorientating.  I also feel like this was out of order in the sense of it read like you already knew the characters so didn’t need that initial introduction to them and their relationships. It seems like something that would have worked better coming out after Inherited however, I have heard from another reviewer who has read Inherited that there are a lot of references you only get if you have read this short story. So I’ll be able to form more of an opinion on that once I’ve read Inherited. 

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed Into The Forest and it has me very much interested in the world and I cannot wait to read her new book. Freedom Matthews has an astounding ability to create incredible worlds that I cannot wait to experience more of. She is definitely one to keep an eye on!

 

 

This release is ebook only.

For more of my reading adventures follow me on Goodreads

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