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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The Season of Sequels

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re all well.

With both Camp NaNoWriMo and my UKYA month over, it’s time to get back to business as usual here on Arkham Reviews. However, I can’t help but notice that there are a lot of sequels to previous novels that I’ve reviewed coming out over the next few months and so I would really like to have a chance to get my grubby little mitts on them. I have a lot of pre-orders winging their way to me at the moment, so expect my regularly schedule reviews to be randomly interrupted with the likes of the following:

Inferno by Julie Kagawa

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

The Extinction Trials: Exile by S.M. Wilson

Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up by Mariko Tamaki

Storm by Sarah Driver

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Charmcaster by Sebastien de Castell

Bruja Born by Zoraida Cordova

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthorn and Kira Breed-Wrisley

In between these exciting new releases, I will be picking my way through the many, many other books that are eagerly waiting for me on the always massive to read pile. This has recently been augmented by a few fantastic looking series that I managed to snaffle through YA Shot giveaways and I’m really excited to be able to share them with you:

Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

Sapphires and Secrets by Leila Rasheed

The Glass Republic by Tom Pollock

Cell 7 by Kelly Drewery

The Sword of the Kuromori by Jason Rohan

Fiendish by Brenna Yovanoff

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

The Book Knights by J.G. McKenney

Night of Cake and Puppets by Laini Taylor

The Runaways and the Everlasting by Monifa Anderson

The Girl Who Dared to Stand by Bella Forrest

Satellite by Nick Lake

Well, I guess it’s time for me to get started on them. Hope they give you some great ideas for potential summer reads!

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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The Beneath

The Beneath was written by S.C. Ransom and first published in 2015. It is an urban fantasy story with horror elements that focuses on a teenage girl who discovers the existence of a dystopian community living beneath the streets of London. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Lily has been having a rough time of it at school. She used to be rich and popular but the her parents lost everything. Now she lives with her Nan and everyone that she used to call a friend has turned against her. However, everything changes for Lily when she saves Aria from being hit by a train.

Aria is more than a little strange. She can’t read and seems confused by everything, from televisions to dogs. Lily soon learns that this is because she is seeing them for the first time. Aria has escaped from the Community – a group of people who have lived beneath London for centuries. In their culture, everything is dictated to them by the Farmer, who is the one person with control of the Crop – a deadly entity that keeps them all safe so long as they obey the Farmer’s strict rules to the letter.

Aria knows that she will be killed if she returns to the Community yet is torn by her sense of duty. She only came to the surface in the first place because she had been sent on a mission by Dane, the boy that she loves. Dane believes that the only person who can overthrow the Farmer lives on the surface but now Aria isn’t sure that she can go through with his plan. What would Lily say if she learned that Aria had only come to the surface to kidnap her?

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Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As you can see, today I’m taking another look at the Harry Potter series. I suppose that means that this is another milestone review! It’s hard to believe it but this post marks the 400th novel that I have review on this site. Thank-you all for your continuing support!

Anyhow, on with the review. As I expect that most of you have already read this book, please note that this post contains massive, massive spoilers. In case you’re not familiar with this novel (for example, if you’ve been living in a submarine since the late 90s), the Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon which was penned by J.K. Rowling. The main series consists of seven novels – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). This has been further supplement by a number of short-stories and plays that further expand the world.

Harry Potter has always hated spending his holidays at the Dursleys but this summer has been the worst yet. His friends seem to have forgotten all about him and he’s largely been forced to deal with his guilt over Cedric’s death alone. Everything seems to be crushingly mundane in Little Whinging until Harry and Dudley are suddenly attacked by two Dementors. Harry is forced to case his Patronus charm to save Dudley’s life. As doing so breaks the restriction for magic use by underage wizards, Harry finds himself on trial and risking expulsion from Hogwarts.

As Harry is whisked away to stay with Sirius while he awaits his trial, he is furious to find out that everyone he knows has been preparing for the battle against Voldemort without him. Dumbledore has made them all swear to keep him in the dark as they reformed the Order of the Phoenix – a secret society devoted to destroying the Death Eaters. It seems that the Order have discovered that Voldemort is searching for something and are intent on keeping him from obtaining it.

However, Harry also learns that he is no longer the golden boy of the wizarding world. Desperate to keep the truth about Voldemort from the world, the Ministry of Magic have publicly accused Dumbledore and Harry of lying and now portray him as an attention-seeking lunatic. When Harry returns to Hogwarts, he learns that the Ministry’s reach has even stretched as far as the school. Delores Umbridge – a ruthless Ministry official – is now the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and is intent on making some changes around the school…

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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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How I Live Now

How I Live Now was written by Meg Rosoff and first published in 2004. It is a work of speculative fiction, focusing on the experiences of a teenage girl in rural England as World War III breaks out. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it. It also won a number of literary awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Michael L Printz Award.

Daisy is fifteen-years-old and feels as though she has been utterly abandoned. Her father cares more about his pregnant wife than he does for her and has sent her away to live with her Aunt for the summer. Daisy finds this to be a bit of a culture shock at first. Not only has she been forced to trade Manhattan for the English countryside, but she has also got to get to know her four decidedly odd cousins – Osbert, Edmond, Isaac and Piper.

Luckily Daisy is quick to hit it off with her distant family, especially Edmond with whom she develops a mutual attraction. The summer seems to be perfect but everything changes when Aunt Penn leaves to attend a lecture in Oslo for a few days. It is over this time that the first bombs hit London and everything descends into chaos. The teenagers find themselves cut off from everything. Although the war has not reached them, they slowly begin to feel its impact through rationing and power failure to the village.

For a while, Daisy and her family are still happy and continue life as normal. However, that is before the army decide that they need to commandeer their house for a base. The girls and boys are split up and sent to different villages and everything suddenly becomes very real. Daisy and Piper know that they need to escape and find the boys, however how can they hope to do so when supplies are scarce and The Enemy could be anywhere?

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The Other Alice

The Other Alice was written by Michelle Harrison and first published in 2016. It is a middle grade fantasy novel which focuses on a young boy’s attempt to save his sister when the characters from one of her stories come to life. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Midge knows that his sister can be a little odd but he has always loved her stories. Alice’s imagination seems to be endless and she believes that every story should have an ending, no matter how silly. However, Alice seems to be having trouble with her new novel. She’s foregoing sleep and food but can’t seem to find a way to make the story end.

At first, Midge feels like Alice is over reacting but then one morning she suddenly vanishes. After that, things start to get very strange. A talking cat shows up at the house and he meets someone who looks strikingly like his sister, only seems to be unable to speak. When Midge finds his sister’s notebook, he realises that the characters from her unfinished story have come to life and are now wandering the village with no idea that they are fictional.

However, some characters seem to be more aware than others. It’s not long before Midge encounters the sinister Dolly Weaver and realises that his sister has a particular talent for writing psychopaths. Dolly is desperately hunting for Alice’s book and Midge knows that she does not care who she hurts in order to get it. Knowing that he has to find it first, Midge befriends a few of Alice’s friendlier creations – mute Gypsy, roguish Piper and Tabitha the talking cat – but in doing so he finds himself in trouble. How will they react if they find out that they’re just characters in a story?

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