Legendary

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Caraval. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Legendary was written by Stephanie Garber and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy novel that forms the second part of the Caraval series, following on from precisely where Caraval (2017) left off. Because of this, you do really need to read the novels in sequence to have any idea of what’s going on. The final instalment of the series – provisionally titled Finale – is expected to be released in 2019.

With the help of the mysterious Legend and his Caraval, Donatella Dragna managed to escape her father and save her sister from an arranged marriage. However, all of that has come at a price. It was made possible by the sway of a mysterious friend and now he wishes for payment. There is only one thing that the stranger wants is Legend’s true name. Unfortunately for Tella, that is a closely guarded secret.

It comes as a surprise when Legend announces that there will be another Caraval, only days after the previous one ended. This one is to take place in the opulent city of Valendia to celebrate the 75th birthday of the Empress Elantine. When Tella learns that the victor this time will meet Legend in person, she knows that she has found her chance. All she has to do is win the Caraval and she will be able to pay her debt.

Yet Tella should have known that nothing is ever easy. The Caraval this time is very different and feels more real than ever before. Tella soon realises that it is not just her life that is in danger but those of every person in the city. Legend became a master magician by stealing power from a pantheon of immortal beings, and now they want it back…

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Leah on the Offbeat

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Leah on the Offbeat was written by Becky Albertalli and first published in 2018. It is a work of contemporary fiction that focuses on a bisexual girl developing a crush on one of her friends. The story is part of the Creekwood series and takes place a year after Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (2015), however it does largely stand alone and could probably be fully enjoyed even if you haven’t read this book.

Leah Burke has known that she was bisexual for years but has never told any of her friends. Even though they were all supportive when they learned that Simon was gay, she’s always been paranoid that they would act differently to her. It’s never seemed very important anyway. She’s never had a relationship with anyone as she’s just not that kind of person. She’s more interested in her fandoms and drawing than being all lovey-dovey like her friends Nick and Abby.

However, the end of high school is drawing closer and now all that anyone can think about is the Prom. The need to find dates and plan their final blow-out is putting tension on everyone and cracks are starting to form in their friendship group. Leah breaks off a friendship with one friend after she makes a racist comment, Nick and Abby’s relationship starts to fall apart, and Garret actually asks Leah to the Prom. While Leah accepts his promposal, she immediately starts to regret her decision. She doesn’t really like Garret in that way and he seems to be getting really into it.

But more complicated still is her friendship with Abby. While Leah and Abby used to be good friends, they haven’t been close in over a year. Now, both of them have discovered that they’re going to be at the same university and Abby is keen for them to take a road trip together to check it out. Leah’s life seems to be spiralling out of control and she’s not sure what to do to keep things together. How can she cope with the fact that the end of the year is looming and nothing will ever be the same again?

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Inferno

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Talon | Rogue | Soldier | Legion

Inferno was written by Julie Kagawa and first published in 2018. It is a paranormal story with elements of romance set in a world where shape-shifted dragons live among us in secret. The novel forms the final part of The Talon Saga, following after Talon (2014), Rogue (2015), Soldier (2016) and Legion (2017). Because of this, you really do need to read the novels in sequence to have any idea of what is going on.

The final battle has begun. Although Ember and the rogue dragons managed to defend the Western Chapterhouse, the Order of Saint George was still decimated by the Vessels. Without their skills and weapons, it seems certain that Talon will bring the human world to its knees. However, when all hope is lost, the rogues learn that they have an ally in an unexpected place. One who also has no love for the Elder Wyrm.

Their new benefactor is not willing to risk himself directly but does give the rogues a vital piece of information – the location of the facility where the breeder dragons are kept. For Riley, this is a dream come true. Not only can he finally achieve his goal of liberating the captive females but he is certain that they will want to join their cause to have revenge on Talon.

But rescuing them will not be easy. The facility is on a remote island, protected by soldiers and adult dragons. To make matters worse, the Elder Wyrm is planning her final strike and recognises that the rogues and remaining members of the Order are the only things that stand in her way. She sets in motion a plan to destroy them all. How can Ember’s band of hatchlings and humans hope to withstand the terrifying might of a dragon who is hundreds of years old?

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Lumberjanes: The Moon Is Up

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up was written by Mariko Tamaki and first published in 2018. It follows on directly from where the first novel of the series – Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! (2017) – left off, as the girls encounter a mysterious creature in the forest. The series is a spin-off of the award winning Lumberjanes comic and is aimed at middle grade readers.

April, Mal, Molly, Ripley and Jo are about to take part in the camp’s first ever Galaxy Wars. The series of events are designed to test each cabin’s intelligence and teamwork as they battle win a unique badge and a spot in the Lumberjanes hall of fame. However, they will have their work cut out for them. Their rivals in Zodiac cabin also have their heart set on the prize and are determined to win.

However, one of the Roanoke scouts does not have her heart in the game. Jo has recently received a letter that invites her to take part in a special research programme, but if she accepts she will have to leave the camp. The experience would be life-changing, but she’s not sure how she can break the subject of leaving with her BFF, April.

The letter isn’t the only thing that is troubling Jo. She still isn’t sure whether or not she dreamed seeing an odd spacecraft land in the woods. Things soon start to get weird around the camp as their copious supplies of cheese begin to mysteriously disappear. It’s not long before the Lumberjanes find the culprit but discover that she has problems of her own. Will the Lumberjanes help their new friend and win the contest, and is this the last adventure that they will have together?

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Nina is Not OK

Nina is Not OK was written by Shappi Khorsandi and first published in 2016. It is a work of contemporary fiction that focuses on a teenager as she comes to accept the fact that she has a drinking problem. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Nina likes to have a drink but then, isn’t that true of all teens? A night out for Nina isn’t fun unless she gets absolutely plastered and her friends are always more than happy to fill her in on the things that she can’t remember. That is, until one night when everything goes wrong and Nina comes around in a taxi with her knickers in her hand. She can’t remember if she slept with the man who she met at the club and is filled with shame whenever she thinks about it.

From there, things start to go from bad to worse. Nina is not having a great time of things at home. Her boyfriend has recently left her, her mother is preoccupied with her new husband and young daughter, and her friends think that Nina’s drinking is a bit of a laugh. As Nina drinks more and more, she begins to do things that she never would sober but still keeps justifying it as all being normal fun.

That is until something terrible happens. A former friend posts a photo of Nina on Facebook, showing her doing something that she can’t even remember. Suddenly, everyone has an opinion about Nina’s behaviour and are more than happy to share it with her. How will Nina ever get her life back on track and does she have the strength to pursue the man who committed an unforgivable crime against her?

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Love Song

Love Song was written by Sophia Bennett and first published in 2016. It’s a contemporary romance that focuses on a teenage girl who finds love while travelling with a boy band. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Everyone knows who The Point are. Jamie, Angus, Connor and George are the biggest boy band to ever roam the earth and almost every teenage girl would give her right arm for a chance to meet them. Unfortunately, Nina is not one of these girls. She only attends a meet and greet with the band to chaperone her sister but while she is there something happens that changes her life.

When a freak accident almost injures Sigrid Santorini – reality TV star and fiancé of the beautiful Jamie – Nina is lucky enough to come to her rescue. A few days later, Nina is contacted by the band’s manager and offered a place on tour. Sigrid’s personal assistant has resigned and she wants to hire Nina to take her place. Although Nina is reluctant, the tour does offer a unique opportunity to see the world and so she accepts.

However, things soon prove to be a lot more difficult that she was expecting. Sigrid is rude and demanding and Nina soon starts to see that her continued presence is starting to put a strain on relationships between the band members. Slowly, Nina begins to help the boys overcome their problems and realises that they’re all quite different to how they appear on TV. However, in befriending the band she gradually starts to make an enemy of the jealous Sigrid…

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Jinxed

Jinxed was written by Thommy Hutson and first published in 2018. It is a horror story which focuses on a teenager and her friends as they are hunted by a masked serial killer. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s other work to full appreciate it.

The Trask Academy is one of America’s wealthiest and exclusive art schools. Teenagers who attend there are ear-marked to become the celebrities and Broadway stars of the future, and the best of them can expect to be scouted at the school’s annual showcase. Layna is disappointed when she loses out to her friend Sydney, but totally understands why. Sydney is stunning and talented, while Layna is at the school on a scholarship. However, she receives her chance a few days later after a tragic turn of events.

Sydney is found dead, apparently having thrown herself from the window of her dorm. Although the school is keen to write this off as an isolated incident, Layna and her friends can’t quite shake off their doubts. Sydney showed no sign of being unstable and was really looking forward to the showcase. It’s not long before their fears are justified when another of Layna’s friends mysteriously vanishes from the library.

The group soon discovers that they are completely isolated as the school is on a remote island and the phone lines are down. As a killer in a theatre mask stalks the halls, Layna comes to learn that he has some connection to both her and an unperformed play written by a former student. However, as the killer continues to strike those close to her, she realises that she must find out what that connection is and unmask him before the curtain falls on her forever…

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Derailed / Ouroboros

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ouroboros hosted by Xpresso Book Tours. Please note that it may contain spoilers for Moribund. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Ouroboros was written by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge and first published in 2018. It is an urban fantasy story, which focuses on two fae princess on a mission to stop deadly creatures from manifesting on earth. The novel forms the second part of the Circuit Fae series and carries on from shortly after Moribund (2017) left off, so you really need to read the books in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Now that Syl has awakened, she needs to learn how to control her magical powers. The threat of the Moribund still lingers over her home town. Before Agravaine died, he planted an unknown number of eggs around the city. If these aren’t found and destroyed, they quickly start to hatch out into Ouroboros – terrifying Moribund constructs that exist to infect and devour. With Rouen at her side, she spends her nights hunting down the Ouroboros. However, their mission is hindered by an unexpected complication.

As Syl is a Light Fae and Rouen is a Dark Fae, their powers are fatal to one another. To make things worse, Rouen’s touch automatically causes Syl’s powers to blaze out of control as they instinctively lash out to purify the darkness. The only way that Rouen can hope to withstand Syl’s power is by forming a soul-bond with her but that is impossible. To form a soul-bond, she would either need to best her father in a duel and become queen, or drain a Light Fae princess’s blood.

Things grow more complicated still as they are targeted by enemies both old and new. Fiann has returned to school and is as crazy as ever. She still wants to be the queen of the Dark Fae and puts a dangerous plan in motion to ensure that this comes to pass. At the same time, Syl is approached by a Light Fae prince named Aldebaran. He claims that she has been promised to him, and if they don’t become soul-bound soon it will spell the end to the Light Fae. Syl and Rouen though that their troubles would end with Agravaine’s death, but things have just become much more complicated…

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The Change 1-3

The Change is a series of loosely connected horror novellas that were written by Guy Adams and all published in 2017. They take place in a post-apocalyptic world where reality has been warped and impossible monsters now roam the streets. The series currently consists of six instalments: London: Orbital, New York: The Queen of Coney Island, Paris: A City of Fools, London: Dirt, New York: The River That Runs Both Ways and Tokyo: Noriko’s Story. For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at the first three novellas only.

Nobody who witnessed The Change lived to tell the tale. Those who saw the strange creatures appear in the sky died instantly, and anyone who watched the footage of the event on YouTube was sent irreparably insane. The only thing that the survivors know is that The Change affected everything. Reality was rocked by the event and the streets became filled with danger. In this new world, anything is possible and even the most innocent looking creature could hunger for human flesh.

In England, a young man awakes on the motorway to find that he has no memory of what had come before. His only clue is a journal written by a man named Howard. Assuming that this belongs to him, Howard began to travel towards London in the hope of finding out who he is. On the way, he meets a teenager named Hubcap and his biker friends at the Kingdom of Welcome Break. However, they soon find themselves hunted by a terrible monster made of flesh and metal.

In New York, Grace desperately tries to find passage to Riker’s Island in search of her missing brother. With the assistance of an insane priest who believes himself to be God, she seeks out the Queen of Coney Island – the only person with the power to grant her request. However, the Queen does not offer her services for free. In return, she wants to Grace to perform a simple task for her. However, in this strange new world, even the simplest of things can have deadly consequences.

In Paris, Loïc is forced to leave his subterranean home when his friend Adrien is kidnapped by the Impressionists – odd creatures made out of paint. He follows them to their lair in the Louvre where he discovers that they are subjecting people to a fate worse than death. As he tries to get Adrien to safety, he learns that the surface world is more dangerous than he could imagine. It’s not long until he finds himself fighting for his life at the foot of a sentient guillotine and desperately trying to escape from the revived Grand Guignol…

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Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis

Perfect Blue: Complete Metamorphosis was written by Yoshikazu Takeuchi and first published in Japanese in 1991 as Pāfekuto Burū: Kanzen Hentai. It is a horror story that focuses on a young pop idol being stalked by a psychotic fan. The book was finally translated into English in 2018 and served as the inspiration for Satoshi Kon’s classic animated movie, Perfect Blue. The novel is followed by a spin-off anthology titled Perfect Blue: Awaken from a Dream which is due to be released in English later this year.

Mima Kirigoe has never been the most popular of pop idols in Japan, but she has still gained a small following of loyal fans. While she has never had much trouble with these, one has recently been causing her distress. Though largely harmless, he has been repeatedly calling her home and promising to “protect” her, and has recently been seen trying to gain access to her studio.

His persistence worries Mima a little, but she has bigger problems. Eri Ochiai – a new pop idol with a risqué image – has decided that Mima is her rival and has dedicated her life to ruining Mima’s career. Mima’s manager has decided that it’s time that she had a change of image to combat this and has suggested that she produce a photo book that presents her as being older and sexier. Mima really isn’t sure about this as she has built her career as being a traditional teen idol, yet as Eri ups her game she sees no choice but to take part.

However, this new sexy image for Mima drives her stalker over the edge. In a bid to save Mima by preserving her innocence, he sets out on a mission to kidnap his beloved idol. Is there any way that Mima can hope to survive when she does not even know what her stalker looks like?

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