Genre: Fantasy & Magic

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA Releases

Posted January 2, 2017 by chooseyabooks in Uncategorized / 0 Comments

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesCell 7 by Kerry Drewery
Published by Hot Key Books on September 22nd 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories, Survival Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 384

Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions - all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?

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 concept, especially when you consider how prevalent reality TV is now and how TV audiences decide and judge guilt even without voting or causing direct consequence as in Cell 7.

Martha, the main character was well written and a strong narrator. I wanted to find out why she had been found holding a gun over the body.

The reality TV structure worked well and showed how editing and behind the scenes agendas can dictate how a story is told. That said, the ending felt a little weak to me and I think the format would potentially feel a little overdone if continued ad nauseam in the sequel.

While aspects were predictable, overall this was a compulsive page-turner and a terrifying plausible world.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesThe Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
Published by Faber & Faber on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Action & Adventure, Survival Stories, Fantasy & Magic, Fiction, Humorous Stories
Pages: 320

A stunning, operatic, epic drama, like no other. Meet Hel, an ordinary teenager - and goddess of the Underworld. Why is life so unfair? Hel tries to make the bets of it, creating gleaming halls in her dark kingdom and welcoming the dead who she is forced to host for eternity. Until eternity itself is threatened.
Francesca's first and wonderful foray into teen.

Review: I heard about the Monstrous Child at a Faber event at the start of 2016 (which now feels much further away than it actually was) and knew I had to read it. All about mythology? Grumpy teenage narrator? Grumpy teenage narrator who runs Hell? Yes, please! Atmospheric, very well crafted and utterly compelling, this is a brilliantly darkly fun and clever read.

Francesca Simon is most popularly know for her Horrid Henry books but according to Goodreads the Monstrous Child is third in her Mortal Gods series; that said the book description says it’s Simon’s first foray in YA so I I hadn’t read this series at all and yet it stood perfectly on its own for me and in fact I’m tempted to say from reading the descriptions on Goodreads it doesn’t really belong in a series.

Hel is exactly as she was pitched to me; an upset, irritable young woman who has not been dealt the easiest hand in life and now is going to make it work for her. The use of mythology works really well and Simon doesn’t avoid some of the more strange or grisly tales from mythology.

If you’re in the mood for a well written novel using Norse Mythology with an utterly flawed and teenage narrator then definitely check out the Monstrous Child.

Mini Reviews #5: Some 2016 UKYA ReleasesThe Deviants by C.J. Skuse
Published by Mira Ink on September 22nd 2016
Pages: 320

When you set out for revenge, dig two graves
Growing up in the sleepy English seaside town of Brynston, the fearless five – Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane – were always inseparable. Living up to their nickname, they were the adventurous, rowdy kids who lived for ghost stories and exploring the nearby islands off the coast. But when Max’s beloved older sister Jessica is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.
Now years later, only Max and Ella are in touch; still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. Their lives are so intertwined Max’s dad even sponsors Ella’s training for the Commonwealth Games. But Ella is hiding things. Like why she hates going to Max’s house for Sunday dinner, and flinches whenever his family are near. Or the real reason she’s afraid to take their relationship to the next level.
When underdog Corey is bullied, the fearless five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them. But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

Review: I’ve enjoyed several of C J Skuse’s YA novels so was pleased to see she had a new book coming out. The Deviants feels a little different to her previous books in my opinion, however at it’s roots is clearly CJ Skuse.

The Deviants looks at several big issues; teenage pregnancy, intimacy and several others View Spoiler » without getting preachy or didactic. There is, as you would expect with CJ, a creepy and yet realistic atmosphere to the novel with an increasingly sinister atmosphere

Overall, I enjoyed Deviants and felt the darker atmosphere worked very well. While at the start it felt a little less pacy, it developed quickly and I read the book in a couple of sittings at the most. Ella definitely felt the strongest of the characters and her journey was very interesting as her fears with taking her relationship with Max further were something not really explored in YA and yet something very real.

Dark, twisting and tense, CJ Skuse fans and YA suspense lovers should find a lot to enjoy in The Deviants.


Review: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriot

Review: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoe Marriot

Review: As soon as I heard about Barefoot on the Wind, I was intrigued. Beauty and the Beast was probably my favourite disney film as a very young child. Seriously, my love of this knew no bounds; I’m talking clothing, seeing the musical in London, singing all the songs, seeing it on ice… No bounds, I tell you, no bounds. As I grew older it became clear there were some parts of the story that were a little less magical. Zoe Marriott explained it really well at the recent Walker Blogger event when she said -and I’m paraphrasing here – it didn’t seem right that the Beast got rewarded for making very little change or compromise while Belle seemed to be the one making those compromises and changes. Barefoot on the Wind has been billed as a feminist Beauty and the Beast and […]

Posted October 24, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: Othergirl by Nicole Burstein

Review: Othergirl by Nicole Burstein

Review: Full disclosure first; I’ve met and chatted with Nicole a few times through the blogging community and she was kind enough to send me a copy of Othergirl to review. As always, this doesn’t affect my review’s content, tone, or honesty. I was really excited for Nicole’s YA debut, especially as I’d been chatting with her from when she worked in book selling and blogged at some YA events and she’s brilliantly enthusiastic about YA. Othergirl has a fantastic premise about what happens when your best friend is the superhero and you’re just a regular person? This book is fantastically fun and fans of graphic novels and superhero stories will find so much to enjoy. The plot is original and despite sounding very removed from teenage experience, really highlights the difficulties in friendships, feeling like you’re not as good as […]

Posted June 1, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Review: The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co #2) by Jonathan Stroud

Review:  I loved The Screaming Staircase, Stroud’s first Lockwood novel, so was keenly anticipating the follow up. Lockwood and Co is a great series and the Whispering Skull offered the same humour, darkness, spooky scenes and engaging characters as in the first novel. This time, the central plot concerns a dare between Lockwood and Co and the rival Fittes agency. They need to find a missing relic and fast. The series is developing well and characters are feeling more and more three dimensional. George’s mishaps remind me of Jerry on Parks and Recreation as the poor guy just can’t seem to get it right. Lucy is also a strong narrator and we learn more about her as the story progresses. As for Lockwood, there’s an intriguing twist at the end of the book that offers more insight into his character. I […]


Review: The Illusionists by Laure Eve

Review: The Illusionists by Laure Eve

Review: I really enjoyed Fearsome Dreamer so was excited to read the conclusion, The Illusionists. I think Laure Eve has a beautiful writing style and I love her prose. What really makes this series standout for me is the world building and how vivid the setting feels. Both World and Angle Tar are so well described and so easy to visualise. This really made a difference for me reading the books as I was able to fully immerse myself in the world. It was great to see more of World as well in The Illusionists as in Fearsome Dreamer most of the plot takes place in Angle Tar. Seeing World through Rue’s outsider eyes worked really well as well because she was as new to this as the reader. The characters are really strong in the Illusionist and Wren in particular stands […]

Posted January 30, 2015 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Review: The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

Review: I enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s debut The Bone Season and was excited to see what was in store for Paige next. I found The Mime Order even more engaging and intriguing than The Bone Season. There’s definitely a very different tone and atmosphere to the Mime Order, whereas The Bone Season was Paige forced into a very difficult situation and fighting to escape, now she’s fighting the society she lives in and has developed as a character into more of a leader. We don’t see much of London in the Bone Season, it’s the secondary location and most of the book takes place in Oxford, so it was great to see and learn more about it in the Mime Order. We learn a lot more about the world and rules and politics behind in the Mime Order and I thought this really […]

Posted January 21, 2015 by chooseyabooks in britishbookschallenge, reviews / 1 Comment