Publisher: Hot Key Books

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
Divider

Mini Reviews #6: It’s Thriller Time

Mini Reviews #6: It’s Thriller Time

Review: I’m always intrigued by cults and new religious movements so The Special Ones definitely appealed to me when I saw it on Netgalley and sounded like a slightly different YA thriller. The Special Ones is told through Esther’s perspective. Esther is one the four ‘Special Ones’ who live in an isolated house away from the modern world after He has chosen them. Each of them has a skill, expectations and are expected to promote their lives through online chats to their followers. On renewal day, He chooses one of them to be replaced and the cycle continues. Until something happens and things begin to change. I think it’s best not to delve too deeply into the plot intricacies as I don’t want to spoil it. However, what really makes this book work is Esther. Her character comes through well and carries the […]

Posted July 4, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
Divider

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
Divider

Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Review: Moth Girls by Anne Cassidy

Review: I’ve read and enjoyed several of Anne Cassidy’s YA novels (for example her Murder Notebooks series I’ve previously reviewed) over the years so I was looking forward to Moth Girls. The concept, with two missing girls, Petra and Tina, and their friend, Mandy, who has been left behind was intriguing and I liked that it showed the aftermath of these very difficult situations. How do you grow up knowing your friends went missing and you didn’t and that no-one knows what’s happened to them? I found Mandy the most interesting and vivid character in Moth Girls. I think this is probably because her arc is the most compelling to me personally. She has survivors guilt, wants to know what happened to her friends and she’s traumatised by her own potential culpability. As the book develops, we get to see Petra’s point of […]

Posted January 4, 2016 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
Divider

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
Divider

Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton

Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton

Review: Boy’s Don’t Knit came into my life at just the right moment when I really needed cheering up. Told in a (slightly reluctant) diary format, Easton has the teenage voice down perfectly. Ben is a great character and you can’t help rooting for him as he unintentionally lands himself into chaotic situations. After an unfortunate accident and misunderstanding, Ben is now giving back to the community and being forced to take up a hobby and ends up in the knitting class. Suddenly he finds out that maybe knitting isn’t as bad as he thought, in fact he might actually be good at it. If only it wasn’t such an ‘uncool’ hobby. I adored this book. It’s funny, it feels very authentic and it looks at how we can tell ourselves not to do something due to a fear of being […]

Posted August 4, 2014 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
Divider

Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Review: Say Her Name by Juno Dawson

Review: I love Juno Dawson’s writing; it’s the perfect combination of witty humour and tense creepiness. It goes without saying, therefore, that I was really looking forward to Say Her Name from the moment it was announced, however I was a little worried. The Bloody Mary legend is the one urban legend that has crept under my skin and scared me a bit – it’s probably to do with the mirrors – so I was simultaneously intrigued and terrified of Say Her Name. Say Her Name is set in a British boarding school where Bobbie and her friends summon Bloody Mary. They expect nothing to happen, like it hasn’t happened for most of the millions of teenagers who have said those fateful words before. However, soon mysterious things begin to happen. A message saying ‘five days’ is just the start of it. […]

Divider

Review: The Madness by Alison Rattle

Review: The Madness by Alison Rattle

Title: The Madness Author: Alison Rattle Publisher: Hot Key Books Publication Date: March 6th 2014 Series/Standalone: Standalone Format: Paperback Source: Free copy for review from publisher Also by this author: The Quietness Goodreads Description: Sixteen-year-old Marnie lives in the idyllic coastal village of Clevedon. Despite being crippled by a childhood exposure to polio, she seems set to follow in her mother’s footsteps, and become a ‘dipper’, escorting fragile female bathers into the sea. Her life is simple and safe. But then she meets Noah. Charming, handsome, son-of-the-local-Lord, Noah. She quickly develops a passion for him – a passion which consumes her. As Marnie’s infatuation turns to fixation she starts to lose her grip on reality, and a harrowing and dangerous obsession develops that seems certain to end in tragedy. Set in the early Victorian era when propriety, modesty and repression were the […]

Posted February 27, 2014 by chooseyabooks in reviews / 0 Comments
Divider