ARC/Book Review: Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

Title: Flame in the Mist (2017)
Series: Flame in the Mist – Book 1
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 400 pages
Release Date: May 18, 2017
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Mariko has always known that being a woman means she’s not in control of her own fate. But Mariko is the daughter of a prominent samurai and a cunning alchemist in her own right, and she refuses to be ignored. When she is ambushed by a group of bandits known as the Black Clan enroute to a political marriage to Minamoto Raiden – the emperor’s son – Mariko realises she has two choices: she can wait to be rescued… or she can take matters into her own hands, hunt down the clan and find the person who wants her dead.

Disguising herself as a peasant boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan’s hideout and befriends their leader, the rebel ronin Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, Okami. Ranmaru and Okami warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. But as Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets that will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

Review

I’ve been looking forward to Flame in the Mist ever since I finished The Rose and the Dagger last year. Shazi and Khalid’s love story was one I happily immersed myself in, and I loved every word and enjoyed every minute of it — which is why I was supremely disappointed, to say the least, that Flame in the Mist didn’t quite manage to captivate me in the same way.

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ARC/Book Review: One of Us is Lying – Karen M. McManus

Title: One of Us is Lying (2017)
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Extent: 368 pages
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Review

By nature I’m not a huge mystery-thriller reader: while I love the whodunit nature of stories in this genre, I scare remarkably easy and tend to shy away from anything that might make me feel creeped out. I could not, however, resist One of Us is Lying — anything with a group of misfits banding together is right up my alley. Even more so when they all have secrets of their own… and the characters in this book definitely do.

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Book Review: Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner

Title: Goodbye Days (2017)
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

Review

Jeff Zentner is the brains behind The Serpent King, a contemporary YA novel so realistic and unique, it’s still in the back of my mind a couple of months after reading it. Goodbye Days is his sophomore novel, and boy, does it also deal with some really, really tough issues. I mean, the premise alone is enough to send me into a loop of despair — and I tend to be quite unemotional when it comes to fictional characters!

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ARC/Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi – Sandhya Menon

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi (2017)
Author: Sandhya Menon
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: July 13, 2017
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Meet Dimple. Her main aim in life is to escape her traditional parents, get to university and begin her plan for tech world domination.

Meet Rishi. He’s rich, good-looking and a hopeless romantic. His parents think Dimple is the perfect match for him, but she’s got other plans…

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Review

If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know how tremendously in love I am with the arranged marriage trope. That moment when our two lead characters realise that crap, they actually have ~*feelings*~ for each other? I live for it, so imagine my excitement when I found out about When Dimple Met Rishi — it’s a diverse book with arranged marriage at the centre! What more can I want? As it turns out: quite a bit. 😶

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer (2017)
Series: Strange the Dreamer – Book 1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 544 pages
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review

Strange the Dreamer must be one of this year’s most anticipated releases. The cover is beautiful, the story sounds remarkable, and it’s written by Laini Taylor, a somewhat big-name author in the YA genre. My first attempt with her ended OK — I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but didn’t love it enough to continue — and I can safely say, thankfully, that I had a better experience with this book. 🙏

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