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Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. Bennett

Posted November 8, 2017 by chooseyabooks in reviews, Uncategorized / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: S.T.A.G.S by M. A. BennettTitle: S.T.A.G.S
Author: M.A. Bennett
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: August 10th 2017
Pages: 290
Format: eARC
four-half-stars

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

Review: Greer McDonald is not finding her new school easy. St Aidan The Great boarding school is one of the oldest and most exclusive schools in the country and as a scholarship student she’s struggled to fit into the privileged, elite world it presents. Then an invitation arrives to spend part of half-term with the most influential, important group in S.T.A.G.S,  the Medievals, and Greer thinks things are looking up. The story however begins with Greer looking back on what led to that weekend and calling herself a murderer.

I didn’t quite know what to expect going into this book and I wasn’t sure if the book would 100% be for me. That said, I love the boarding school setting (I have ever since I was young and read Enid Blyton books which completely romanticised it – I’m sure I’m not alone there) and I also, as many of you know, really love a good crime story and thriller. Therefore this book had a lot to offer me and I wanted to read it. While I went into the book without many preconceptions, I came out at the end having really enjoyed the book and found it a really pleasant surprise.

Bennett’s debut is the type of book you cannot put down. I read it it in just one sitting as the slowly creeping sensation of doom came out and I wanted to know just what had Greer done and just how it had unfolded. It’s compulsive and compelling and as it progresses, more and more tense and you read the book wishing you could stop some characters.  The world the book inhabits is almost ruleless and the central clique within it at first seemed almost absurd (with some of their style and general choices) which really made me unsure but I am very glad I continued with the book.

Greer is a well developed character; smart, opinionated, defiant and herself. I liked that she and the book weren’t set in London, where so many YA books seems to be set but in the countryside instead. Not only that Greer felt imperfect, flawed and more realistic without the reader’s need to root for her being compromised.

Bennett deftly leaves the story open for a sequel and I would most definitely be happy to dive back into this world and Greer’s story. Either way, I’m intrigued to see what M A Bennett writes next.

four-half-stars

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA Releases

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA Releases

Review: Cell 7 has a brilliant concept and I was drawn in the moment I read the summary. In some ways the summary reminded me a little of When She Woke by Hilary Jordan in terms of someone being in a  televised cell after a crime but Cell 7 stands on its own and is a compelling look at media, reality and crime. I hadn’t read any of Drewery’s books before but knew her from twitter and UKYA Extravaganza as a strong voice in the UKYA world. Cell 7 begins after a celebrity is murdered and the teenager accused of his murder is processed on Death Is Justice, the TV show that over a week the public watch to vote on whether someone is innocent or guilty with death as the punishment for guilt. In itself, this is a fascinating […]

Posted January 2, 2017 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Review: Cuckoo by Keren David

Review: Cuckoo drew me in from the concept and I had a strong feeling this would be a great read for me.  Karen David tells the story of Jake,  a teenage actor who used to be on a popular soap, until it got cancelled.  Now he’s setting the story straight over events before the cancellation via a vlog. I liked the format of the novel being told through vlog transcripts and comments.  Keren David utilises a quite restrictive narrative device to great effect. Even in the comments there are small subplots and stories that really add to the book. I devoured Cuckoo and didn’t want to put it down. Jake really came off the page and I felt for his problems. I hadn’t personally seen explored in YA before in this way but Karen David looks at teenage homelessness without judgement. On the surface, Jake is not a character […]

Posted August 24, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Review: I adored Huntley Fitzpatrick’s My Life Next Door, and while I liked What I Thought Was True it didn’t quite grab me in the same way, so I was really looking forward to the chance to return to the Garrett family and Tim. My Life Next Door did a wonderful job in introducing a wide range of characters I felt deeply invested in. I really cared about the Garrett family, who felt realistic to me, I rooted for Sam and loved her development throughout the book. There were subplots and characters I cared about, like Nan and Tim. The Boy Most Likely To is definitely not My Life Next Door. It’s a little darker and moodier, not a ‘typical’ contemporary romance novel and this worked for me and felt right for her characters.. For me, The Boy Most Like To was more ‘Tim’s’ […]

Posted June 8, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
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Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Review: These Shallow Graves was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015. From the moment I read about it in the Bookseller, to hearing the enthusiasm from Hot Key Books at their 2015 blogger brunch, I knew this would be a book I couldn’t wait for. It has taken me a little time to review it however do not think this is because it’s not met my expectations or I didn’t enjoy it. I did. Jo Montford wants to be a writer, however that isn’t what her family or society expect from her. Everything changes when her father is found dead after supposedly accidentally shooting himself. However, Jo knows her father wouldn’t clean a loaded gun so tries to uncover the truth behind his death and is later joined by keen reporter, Eddie. These Shallow Graves is a brilliant historical […]

Posted March 30, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter

Review: The Serpent King by Jeff Zenter

Review: I heard about the Serpent King on twitter (from the lovely Carly at Writing from the Tub whose review is here) and it sounded completely up my street so I was really pleased when I was able to obtain a review copy on Netgalley. I love books set in the Southern US states, there’s something about them and the Southern Gothic movement I find completely fascinating and the summary seemed to suggest a True Detective style atmosphere. The Serpent King is beautifully written and the small Tennessee town Dill, Lydia and Travis live in is bought off the page and feels so real. Dill, Travis and Lydia are defined, compelling and well-drawn out characters each of whom has their own story and arc within the book. Dill in particular really stands out as the main character who loves Lydia but knows […]

Posted March 28, 2016 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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January Wrap-Up

I can’t believe it’s February already, once again time just seems to be passing me by so quickly. This year I’m hoping to post monthly wrap-ups and keep to them, I have some short codes and ways that should hopefully make these a lot simpler to write. Reviewed in January Non-review posts in January What I’ve Read This month I managed to read 15 books and make some progress on my reading challenges. 1. Yes Please – Amy Poehler 2. Only Ever Yours – Louise O’Neill 3. All Fall Down – Ally Carter 4. Us – David Nicholls 5. The Murdstone Trilogy – Mal Peet 6. Don’t Ever Change – M. Beth Bloom 7. Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell 8. The Minaturist – Jessie Burton 9. Simon vs the Homo Sapien Agenda -Becky Albertalli 10. Mind Games – Teri Terry […]

Posted February 4, 2015 by chooseyabooks in monthly wrap-up, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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Very important notice for current wordpress/ email subscribers

This post is just for those of you who subscribe to my blog via email, specifically through wordpress, feedburner is unaffected by this as far I as am aware. I’ve recently started using the UBB plug in which I love and I’ve noticed that Jetpack doesn’t let me keep the short codes in my emails so you guys just get the review body of text. As I’m not happy with this, I have removed Jetpack email subscriptions from the sidebar and replaced with a different email subscriber widget.  I would ask any current subscribers getting email subscriptions from wordpress please transfer to feedburner as I am deactivating Jetpack subscriptions as of now (Friday 16th January 2015) TLDR: If you subscribe to ChooseYA via email/via wordpress and wish to continue this you WILL need to resubscribe via feedburner using the widget in the side […]

Posted January 16, 2015 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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2015 Blogging Survey

Hi everyone, I mentioned at the end of last year I wanted to conduct a survey this month to find out about how to improve ChooseYA this year. I’d also like to start a newsletter and want to gauge if people would actually read and subscribe to this. I would so appreciate you spending five minutes or so filling out this brief survey (multiple choice). If there is anything you think you would like to see more of, or would like to see on the blog and it’s not in the survey please leave me a comment or email me. The survey will be live for the next 1-2 weeks. Loading…

Posted January 13, 2015 by chooseyabooks in discussion, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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2015 Goals and Reading Challenges

This year I want to take part (and actually remember to link up the reviews) in a few challenges as well as setting some blogging and reading goals of my own. I’m also starting a survey which should be up soon so I can have a look at how to make chooseya even better and if some features I’m toying with, like a newsletter, would be wanted so please take part if you can. 1. Maintain a regular posting schedule on the blog. Ideally 5 days a week, but three would be acceptable too. 2. Explore plug-ins and ways of enhancing the blogging experience both for myself and viewers. On that note, what are your must have plug-ins for wordpress? 3. Get more involved in things like bookstagram and maybe, just maybe one day book tube- that said, because I like […]

Posted December 30, 2014 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 1 Comment
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