Duology Recommendations!

This year has definitely been the year that we discovered duologies. They’re perfect! The trilogy has been done to death, and usually they follow the same pattern: the first one is the best, the second one takes a dip and depending, the third is either a nose dive to disappointment or a jump to satisfaction. With a duology, there’s less chance of what we like to call ‘Second Book Syndrome’.

So, which ones are well worth reading?

Fearsome Dreamer and The Illusionists by Laure Eve

Not only do you get a beautiful set of covers, these two books are absolutely phenomenal. For only two books, it feels like you’re reading seven because of the different point of view and locations explored throughout. The world is extremely well built, the characters are so varied, your bound to love at least one of them, (Rue and White, forever ♡) and the story…boy, I can’t even describe it. Imagine Under the Never Sky mixed with The Chronicles of Prydain and you’re pretty much there.

Pivot Point and Split Second by Kasie West

These books are perfect if you love the paranormal and contemporary genres. Addie has the power to see outcomes of a choice. Should she live with her Mum or her Dad, and what consequences will that have on her love life, her best friend, and the secret mind-power society she lives in? You get to read the two outcomes, both action packed and loveable, and be shocked and thrilled by what Addie chooses. The second book adds her best friend, Laila’s perspective to the mix, and deals with the aftermath of Addie’s choice. Seriously, could not recommend enough!

The Perfectionists and The Good Girls by Sara Shepard

Love Pretty Little Liars? This is practically the same thing, but in two books instead of sixteen! Perfect! These are about how six girls are affected by the murder of the high school’s most popular guy, Nolan Hotchkiss. Each girl is suspected in a slightly different way, and deals with a lot of personal drama amongst a murder inquiry. Are the girls really as perfect and good as they appear? And who’s going down for a murder they may or may not have committed?
Packed with the same drama and plot twists as PLL, this is a fast paced duology bound to leave you with an open jaw on the final page.

Vivian Versus the Apocalypse and Vivian Versus America by Katie Coyle

This duology takes a completely different turn to the other recommendations. About a girl called Vivian and her best friend Harp, trying to survive the aftermath of a religious cult takeover, stealing family members and bringing about the second coming. If it sounds intense, that’s because it is! But, despite the manic plot, the relationship between the girls

Breathe and Resist by Sarah Crossan

If you hate to see trilogies suffer from second book syndrome then the Breathe duology is perfect for you! It’s a fast-paced dystopian where the amount of oxygen you’re allowed is controlled by the Pod Leaders. The books are told from four different PoVs throughout the series so you get to see every part of the world, both Inside and Out, rebel and victim! If you liked the Under The Never Sky trilogy then this should definitely make your TBR!

Reboot and Rebel by Amy Tintera

After death humans can reboot, but the longer it takes the less human they are when they return. It took Wren Connolly 178 minutes to reboot, making her one of the toughest girls around. In the facility where the reboots live, Wren trains the newbies where she meets 22 Callum. This duology has something for everyone, romance, conspiracy, and a ton of action that will have you on the edge of your seat!

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Setting: Boarding School Books

One of the main criteria for a book to be part of my favourites list is for it to be set in a boarding school. It’s my favourite setting to read about, probably because it’s so unusual, and on the surface, seems fun. Books set in boarding schools are usually fantasy or contemporary and I really like how the setting is so adaptable to any genre.
boarding school 1

The origin of my love comes from the Secrets at St. Jude’s series, My Sister Jodie and Ottoline Goes To School. Why all these books are purple, I don’t know. New Girl was about four friends navigating their teenage lives, Ottoline seeks to find her hidden talent and Jodie…well, she gets up to some mischief.

boarding school 2

Magical ones are normally the best. The School For Good and Evil is The Best, because it combines boarding schools and fairy tales, which is downright perfect for me. I always loved any section on the curriculum – it’s so different from anything I’ll ever get to do. I used to hate it in Harry Potter when he had to go and battle evil, because it took him away from studying.(That sounds super geeky, but if I got to study potion making and transfiguration, I wouldn’t leave the library!) A whole set of books from Hermione’s perspective would be absolute heaven! But Fearsome Dreamer’s main plot point isn’t about magic school. It’s about a technological revolution, BUT for fifty sweet, sweet pages, Rue and White are studying their powers together in a sort of boarding school, complete with Yule Ball-esque dance sequence. Seriously, if the setting only came up for a few pages in a book, I’d be pleased.

boarding school 3

So, I fangirl about boarding schools a lot. I think the epitome of this obsession, though, can be rooted to one book series in particular. The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter. Six books of spy-socialite heaven. It’s become a dream of mine to write something in this setting, because I love it so much, and any research I had to do would be done willingly. What about you? Do you have a particular favourite when it comes to settings?154857-ml-1182951

UKYA Day! (with Recommendations!)

ukyadayToday, the 12th of April is UKYA DAY! (I think it should all be in capitals, I’m that excited!) It’s a celebration of YA, written by UK authors, or authors living in the UK, and it’s brilliant. (That’s a real fact.)

UKYA needs to be championed by all who love it. Reading books by UK authors is so inspiring, especially because both Bee and I want to be authors some day, and part of not just the people who love it, but the people who create it.

So, without further ado, let’s have some recommendations!

121278101. Solitaire by Alice Oseman
I almost can’t believe this book is written because it’s so realistic, I’m not quite sure how Alice Osman wrote down what teenagers think that accurately! Tori Spring, the main character, is a child of the internet and a pessimist. She mets a boy called Michael Holden, who helps her to realise that she’s not alone. What makes ‘Solitaire’ so great, though, is that it’s not a love story. Who would have thought it, a boy and a girl can be friends without a romantic attachment! There’s some mystery and some mental health and sexuality representation…it’s got everything you need and everything the current YA market is missing. Read it, like, now.

fearsome-dreamer-wip2. Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve
I will champion this book to my grave, I swear. A lot of the UKYA that’s popular are contemporaries. ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ makes it’s own YA genre, as a mixture of technology and fantasy. There’s magic. There’s computer-generated worlds. There’s a ghost girl, and a hedgewitch and a monster lurking in a creepy castle. So many beautiful things combined to make the most exciting and vivid duology. Again, I could not recommend it more.

3. Geek Girl by Holly Smaleall that glitters
UKYA Day is just another opportunity for us to rave about how much we love the ‘Geek Girl’ series. Harriet Manners is an amazing character – she’s well-rounded, endearing, hilarious, sweet and a little bit clueless. (All my favourite qualities!) I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much at four books. FOUR BOOKS. If you haven’t started this series yet, you’ve got a lot of amazing UKYA to catch up on!

4. Kisses for Lula by Samantha Mackintosh 
This EXCELLKisses_for_LulaENT book often slips under the radar, because it was published in 2010. ‘Lula’ was probably our very first UKYA, and we will treasure it forever. Like ‘Solitaire’, so much goes on within this book. It’s not just one girl’s quest to be kissed before her 16th birthday. It’s a crime mystery, there’s a witchy presence in the forest and Lula has a job all book lovers would crave. She works in a library. Funny and adorable, ‘Kisses for Lula’ is not to be missed.

176969735. The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss
All the books I’ve recommended so far have been quite cute. ‘The Year of the Rat’ is completely different. I absolutely love books that deal with difficult subjects, like bereavement. What was so amazing about this book, was its sense of realism. The protagonist, Pearl, did not glamourise the situation. She was not mature and sensible. She was a real teenager, dealing with the death of her mother. If you’re looking for something a little deeper than a search for true love’s kiss, this is it.

So, those were are recommendations for UKYA. The sub-genre of YA is definitely rising to prominence, as more authors take to the shelves, with a UK background. (Have I said UKYA too much in this blog? Answer: no. I’m going to shout it from the rooftops all morning.)

What would you recommend on this glorious UKYA Day? Let us know!

Review: Mind Games by Teri Terry

18664167Mind Games by Teri Terry
Genre: Techno-fantasy, girl vs government
Published by: Orchard Books
Pages: 448
Format: ARC E-Book
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

If I was going to compare this book to any other, it would be Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve, because of the similarities in world-building. So, if you like your fantasy books to have a more technological feel, then this is the book for you. And if you’re read Slated by Teri Terry, you’ll be able to recognise similarities between the main characters. Continue reading “Review: Mind Games by Teri Terry”

Review: The Illusionists by Laure Eve

IllusionistsThe Illusionists by Laure Eve
Genre: Techno-Fantasy
Published By: Hot Key Books
Pages: 412
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Series:
Fearsome Dreamer (#1)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I was so excited for the sequel to Fearsome Dreamer but somehow I managed to put off reading this book for months due to other reading endeavours. But I was so glad I waited to read this majesty of a book.

‘The Illusionists’ fulfilled my expectations of how this series was going to end. Of course, I had no idea how the series was going to end, Laure Eve has a wonderful way of keeping you guessing. I didn’t see any of the twists coming, which I was thankful for, otherwise I would have been heart broken.

I really think that both books in this duology have really branched out into a new genre. I’ve never really read ‘technofantasy’ before and now I’m desperate to get my hands on more, hence my newly found love for the ‘Under the Never Sky’ series. Rue is such a strong main character, the world building is excellent and you really know what Laure Eve was trying to create with this book.

I can’t talk that much about ‘The Illusionists’ without giving away HUGE spoilers, which I don’t want to do. If you’re interested in finding out what happens to these marvellous characters then you’ll have to read it for yourselves! However, I think that the cliffhanger that was tacked on the end of ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ perfectly prefaced this book. The monsters in the Castle and the threat to mankind was thrilling and really underpinned the whole plot.

The relationship between Rue and White reached its peak and I’m so glad that the two of them found happiness. They were the cutest things ever and just…meant to be! Everything I type must sound really subjective because I just love this series so much. Good just doesn’t begin to describe it.

For the first time in ages, I read a book in under three sittings. I swear, I read about two hundred pages way past when I should have gone to bed because I just couldn’t put it down. The action and the drama has you hooked throughout and the changing perspectives help to freshen up the setting and the pace of the book.

The only bad thing about this series is that it only consisted of two books. I would have loved for Frith and Oaker’s relationship to be explained more. I’d love to know more about the primordial gods that Rue and Angle Tar believe in. What happened with the technophobes? Some of the surrounding plot points seemed to have been forgotten as Rue, White and Wren tried to close the Castle and dispel the threats it was creating. I just need MORE! Thank goodness for fan fiction.

Overall, I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I didn’t love it as much as the first book, but I did love the addition of actual romance, the emotional torment and the small amount of Cho’s perspective we were given. The epilogue (and Fernie) just threw me for a loop, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the whole thing for days after I read it. Definitely would recommend.

Review: Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

Fearsome Dreafearsome-dreamer-wipmer by Laure Eve
Genre: Techno-Fantasy, Romance
Published By: Hot Key Books
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Series:
The Illusionists (#2)
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

Laure Eve has created a beautifully original new genre of book, combining fantasy, technology and romance in a stunning debut novel that could not have been more satisfying.

Although the blurb suggests the story is told from Rue’s perspective, it is not only Rue’s mind we inhabit. Two other characters, both male, White and Frith offer their thoughts up to the scrutiny of readers, adding to the well roundedness of the novel. Each character has such an action packed story line, I would have been completely happy to have read individual books about each character.

Rue is a girl who was training to be a hedgewitch but felt that she was not as well suited to the role and knew that she had a power that made her different to other people in Angle Tar, the remote island where she lived, that had separated itself from World.

World is the rest of the world; countries that have come together, united under the technology of Life, sort of like a simulator that means travel is no longer an object and people can just connect to Life in order to meet others, shop, go to school, everything! White lived in World, but was being persecuted for his powers, the same powers Rue possessed, but he dealt with them with a lot more experience. He wished to seek the refuge of Angle Tar, a place that would not threaten a prison sentence for being a Talented individual.

Frith is a government agent, working to recruit Talented people like Rue and White in order to train them to be used for government means. Undertones of evil, I suspect.

Sometimes when a story is told from multiple perspectives in can be clumsy and ineffective, yet Eve’s characters wove together perfectly and the POV changed at just the right moments in order to gain the biggest scope of the story world.

I was expecting more love story between Rue and White, because their romance was tantalizingly forbidden by society. Neither Rue nor White would admit they had feelings for each other, leading to ultimate distress at the end of the novel for White in particular. But I think Eve has left it at a dramatic place for the next book – fingers crossed they’ll actually get the kisses they both crave!

Slowly, we were fed information about Angle Tar and World from a variety of sources and an emphasis was placed on choosing whom to believe. My advice: never trust people with unnatural eye colours. They’re just looking for trouble.

IllusionistsI loved the ambiguity surrounding the government and their involvement in things. Sometimes when explanations are too explicit it’s easy to see how the characters are going to react to the corruption but ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ left a lot unsaid which just made me want to read more and more. What’s the ‘Castle’? Why is there a ‘Ghost Girl’? Who are these people? Who am I?

Overall, I’d say that ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ is like nothing else out there. I never knew where the book was going to take me, literally, and loved the sense of surprise with each new development. I feel I’ve really discovered a gem with this book and can’t wait to read the sequel ‘The Illusionists’ in August (which could not come soon enough!) Did I mention that the covers are beautiful? I need this book constantly on display so I can bask in its beauty for as long as possible.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone that is willing to try something different compared to the popular ‘girl vs government’ dystopians that are flooding the shelves at the moment.

Rating: 4.5 stars Can’t be given 5 because I was not emotionally fulfilled with Rue and White’s relationship. More information needed! (and more dancing too, that was cute.)