Monday, 22 January 2018

Wildest Dreams January unboxing

This is the second Wildest Dreams box and again I'm so pleased with the contents! The items were very carefully chosen to match the 'Into the Jungle' theme. There was also a signed bookplate as an added bonus this month. I've already sampled the toffee apple 'Dinosaur DNA' tea and it's absolutely delicious! The Geeky Clean item is a room spray that smells gorgeous too.

If you want to find out more or order your own box, you can visit this website.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Walker YA Blogger Evening - 2018 releases

Photo taken by the lovely Olivia Gacka. You can check out her blog here.

On Tuesday, I attended the Walker blogger event to find out about all the wonderful titles that are coming this year. At events like this, I always feel so grateful to be part of the blogging community. I met so many new people and caught up with friends, as well as finding out about the exciting books to come! 

This is the fantastic selection of books that we received on arrival: 

How to Hang a Witch comes out this month (January 2018) and I can already verify that it's just as good as it sounds. Written by a descendent of a witch hunter at the Salem Witch Trials, it tells the story of a girl called Sam who finds herself at the centre of a centuries old curse. If you love modern day witch tales (like The Graces by Laure Eve), or mysteries with historical elements, then this is a perfect read for you!

This premise really captured my imagination and we only have to wait until February until the book comes out. Scythe is a darkly comedic thriller set in a world where disease, war and crime no longer exist. Citra and Rowan have been reluctantly enlisted to be professional 'scythes', the only people who have the power to kill others. This is a chilling idea and I'm intrigued by the potential for humour and darkness.

Also out in February is this wonderfully dark and quirky title! Landscape with Invisible Hand is a novella about the downsides of accepting help from extraterrestrials. M.T. Anderson is the author of the critically acclaimed dystopian Feed and this sounds like an equally entertaining but thought-provoking read.

This is another much-anticipated title: a collectable gift edition of the popular Magnus Bane short story. This is also out in February. 

In April, Ghosts of the Shadow Market will be released, the first in a new series by Cassandra Clare. This is a story about the young Jace going to live with the Lightwood family. 

In February, gorgeous 10th anniversary editions of the Chaos Walking series will be released.

I can't believe it's ten years since this series came out. Shameful confession time - it might finally be time for me to read them. I've been a huge fan of Patrick Ness' recent books, so I'm excited to finally read these!

This book sounds just as gorgeous as the cover! It's described as 'a sweet and kooky romcom for fans of R.J. Palacio's Wonder, Sarah Crossan and Susin Nielsen's We Are All Made of Molecules'. It's a story about a family circus school, friends, family and first love. Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is Kelly McCaughrain's debut and will be released in March.

The Wonder of Us will be out in May, just in time for summer, and it sounds like the perfect holiday book. It's a story about friendship and an epic road trip around Europe. 

This is a Patrick Ness book that I have read and it's absolutely wonderful. The paperback comes out in May, and if you haven't checked it out yet this is the perfect opportunity. Taking place over just 24 hours, Release is a story about a boy struggling with his family's religious beliefs and learning to let himself love, despite the ex-boyfriend he can't quite let go of. Another gorgeously dark storyline runs alongside this one and it's an incredibly gripping, moving book.   

I'm not able to share the cover for Lou Out of Luck, which comes out in June. I can share that the followup to Girl Out of Water sounds fun and hilarious, with a realistic portrayal of what it's like to be a teen. 

I can't put into words how excited I am about this book. We got to watch a video of Angie Thomas talking about On the Come Up. Not only does she seem absolutely lovely, but her next book sounds just as amazing as The Hate U Give. Also set in the world of Garden Heights, it's about an aspiring teen rapper 'and what happens when you get everything you thought you wanted'. This book comes out in June and I'm already counting down.

This comes out in June and it sounds like a unique, compelling thriller that also explores mental health. Tom Pollock was at the Walker event to discuss the plot of the book and read an extract. He very openly talked about his own struggles with mental health and I'm really excited to read a genre novel that also delves into this subject.

What an amazing year for Walker Books! Thank you for a wonderful evening to all involved. I can't wait to read all of the books!

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Zenith blog tour – review and giveaway

Authors: Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings 
Publisher: HQ Young Adult (11th January 2018

Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Marauder, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a powerful bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal. (Publishers' blurb)

I was so pleased to join the blog tour for this much-anticipated new title. For my stop, I'll share my thoughts about Zenith and then you can find out how to win your own copy! The publishers have kindly offered copies for three lucky winners. 

The premise got me really excited - I can't think of many better ideas than female space pirates! The relationship between the crew (the Marauders) was probably my favourite thing, and it was fun to learn their different origin stories. I found Androma very similar to other fantasy characters, such as Calaena Sardothien, and I really liked the other crew members (especially Gilly and Breck).

This book had a space western feel that I enjoyed, and overall the plot kept my interest. The story was told from many different perspectives, which made it a little hard to follow for me personally, but a strength of the plotting was in the slow release of details. I found that this kept me intrigued and there were some character developments that I didn't see coming!

Zenith has qualities that will appeal to fans of Throne of Glass and Six of Crows, and I'll definitely check out the sequel.

To enter the publisher's giveaway to win one of three copies of Zenith, simply comment on this blog post or follow me and retweet my pinned tweet on Twitter (@yaundermyskin). Winners will be selected and notified on 25th January (UK only).

You can follow the rest of the Zenith blog tour at the stops below:

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather - review

Publisher: Walker Books (4th January 2018)
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an open and honest review.

The trials of high school start to feel like a modern-day witch hunt for a teen with all the wrong connections to Salem's past in this thrilling, creepy and romantic New York Times bestseller.

"I am utterly addicted to Adriana Mather’s electric debut. It keeps you on the edge of your seat, twisting and turning with ghosts, witches, an ancient curse, and – sigh – romance." Jennifer Niven
After Sam's father is hospitalised, she has to move from New York to Salem with her stepmother, Vivian. Unfortunately, Sam is related to Cotton Mather, one of the men responsible for the Salem Witch Trials, and to say she feels unwelcome in Salem is an understatement... She is particularly unnerved by The Descendants, a mysterious and tight-knit group of girls related to those persecuted in the Trials. At the same time, she must deal with Elijah, the handsome but angry ghost who has appeared in her house, and her new neighbour Jaxon only complicates things further.
When a centuries-old curse is rekindled, Sam finds herself at the centre of it. Can she stop history repeating itself? (Publishers' blurb)

This book has been described as 'Mean Girls meets history class' by seventeen magazine, and that's a pretty accurate description! I've always been fascinated by the Salem Witch Trials, and this book does a great job of fusing elements from the past to a fun contemporary story.

The historical elements were the real highlight of this for me, and I loved the fact that the author is actually a descendent of a witch hunter from the Salem Witch Trials. I really liked how historical events and characters impacted on the modern day events. 

I also thought this book had a really compelling plot, and I enjoyed trying to work out what was causing the curse. The book felt fast paced, and I read it really quickly. There were a couple of plot elements that felt familiar from similar books, but overall I felt this was a new take on the subject matter.

How to Hang a Witch was an enjoyable, intriguing read and I'll definitely read the sequel (which is already out in a previous edition).

If you liked the sound of this, try The Graces by Laure Eve.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton - review

PublisherFaber & Faber (30 Jan. 2018) 

Once, in the desert country of Miraji, there was a Sultan without an heir.
The heir had been killed by his own brother, the treacherous Rebel Prince, who was consumed by jealousy and sought the throne for himself.
Or so it was said by some. There were others who said that the Rebel Prince was not a traitor but a hero...
In the final battle for the throne, Amani must fight for everything she believes in, but with the rebellion in pieces, and the Sultan's armies advancing across the desert plains, who will lead, who will triumph, who will live and who will die? (Publishers' blurb)

There aren't many books that I've anticipated quite as much as this one, so I wondered if it could possibly live up to my expectations. I should've known that it would exceed them, and that I would go through every emotion (including buckets of tears).

Sometimes by the end of a series, I feel like the books (and my interest) have run out of steam. If anything, the action and tension were even greater in this book, so I almost couldn't bear it by the end!

The plotting is one of the best parts. I loved how Hero at the Fall pulled everything together from the other books, and how every detail in this one counted.

The mythical stories are another thing I absolutely love. I'm obsessed with myths, and not only are these beautifully written, it's also really clever how they reveal other elements of the story.

I can't talk about this series without mentioning the characters. Alwyn's books have some of my favourite characters of all time, especially Amani, Jin and Shazad. Even the minor characters feel well-developed, and I really cared about all of them (and who made it to the end).

This is an absolutely incredible series of books, that will give you all the feels (happy and heartbreaking ones). If for some reason you haven't pick it up, it's the perfect time to read Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne before the new book comes out!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

I am Thunder by Muhammad Khan - review

Publisher: Macmillan Children's books (25th January 2018)

I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

Fifteen-year-old Muzna Saleem is passionate about writing and dreams of becoming a novelist. There’s just one problem - her super-controlling parents have already planned her life out for her:

Step 1) Get educated

Step 2) Qualify as a doctor

Step 3) Marry a cousin from Pakistan. Oh, and boyfriends are totally haram.

No one is more surprised than humble Muzna when high school hottie, Arif Malik, takes an interest in her. But Arif and his brother are angry at the West for demonizing Islam and hiding a terrible secret. As Arif begins to lead Muzna down a dark path, she faces a terrible choice: keep quiet and betray her beliefs, or speak up and betray her heart?

If I'd read this book sooner, it would've made my post of books of the year. It's powerful and thought-provoking, with an incredibly believable voice.

It's a while since I've read a book this compelling. The plot is utterly gripping, and at times hard to read because of the experiences that Muzna has. I am Thunder deals with a tremendously difficult subject in a realistic, unflinching manner, at the same time as being empathetic.

I'm still thinking about Muzna as a character. Her thought processes and voice were very believable to me, and this book made me think a lot about the treatment of young Muslims by people who don't share their beliefs and those who do.

This is an incredible book, which is enjoyable at times and heart-wrenching at others. Everyone should read it.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

British Books Challenge 2018 - signup post

Last year was amazing for YA books, and a lot of my favourites were written by British authors. 

I've decided to join in with the British Books Challenge again, which involves reading at least one British book per month and linking to it on the British Books Challenge website. This year I will actually remember to link my posts every month!

If you want to find out more about the British Books Challenge, you can do so here. You can also use the link to sign up!

There are lots of books by British authors that I'm excited to read this year. Here are just a few of them:

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Wildest Dreams Book Box - December unboxing

The very first Wildest Dreams book boxes went out in December and I wanted to share how gorgeous mine was! The boxes start at £18 including postage, which is an absolute bargain, and there are different subscription options. You can find out more on Twitter (@wdbookbox) or on the website here

The company was started by the lovely Zoe, blogger and booktuber extraordinaire, who has excellent taste in books and has obviously put so much time and thought into this box. Every month you can expect a book, tea and other goodies.  

Now to the unboxing... I'm not the best at taking photographs, but I wanted to share how beautifully presented everything was.

I really liked how everything was wrapped - it just made the whole thing even more exciting! The branding on the stickers is also really cute.

This month's book was the perfect choice - I've wanted to read The Nowhere Girls for ages since Zoe reviewed it, but I hadn't yet bought a copy.  

This chocolate orange tea is absolutely delicious and I loved the fact that it's linked to a book (the excellent After the Fire by Will Hill!).

I've wanted one of these 'Sorting bathbombs' for so long, which fizz down to a charm that sorts you into a Hogwarts house. 

There was also a lovely 'Book of Fire' postcard and a bookmark signed by Michelle Kenney.

I loved my first Wildest Dreams box and I'll certainly be ordering more!

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Books of the Year - Jim from YA Yeah! Yeah!

The last post in my 'Books of the year' series is an especially good one! Jim always gives amazing recommendations and I'm so happy to share the books he's enjoyed most this year.

Wed Wabbit, by Lissa Evans, is a staggeringly imaginative MG novel which sees Fidge catapulted into a strange world ruled by the title character, a cruel dictator. As the 10-year-old girl and her cousin Graham struggle to try to return home, there’s action, excitement, and a huge amount of fun in store for readers. Some  of the best world-building I’ve read in ages, and pitch-perfect character arcs for both Fidge and Graham, make this an absolute gem.

Speaking of MG books with characters trying to return home, Katherine Rundell’s latest, The Explorer, is a sheer delight.  This is absolutely not a surprise, of course, but it’s an amazing read. Like her previous novels Rooftoppers and The Wolf Wilder it’s a lyrical and evocative novel with a wonderful cast of characters, and the setting of the Amazon jungle is brought vividly to life. Hannah Horn’s gorgeous illustrations add even more to this wonderful book.

Angie Thomas’s YA debut, The Hate U Give, is a stunningly powerful novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. Lead character Starr, witness to the shooting of her unarmed friend by a police officer, is an incredible narrator whose story is hard-hitting, moving, and even surprisingly funny at times despite the subject matter. As a rousing call to arms to stand against injustice, books don’t get much better than this.

And finally All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai was a rare adult novel which completely captivated me, Starting in the 2016 we were meant to have – a wonderful utopia with unlimited energy, this follows a slacker who is the son of the man who’s invented time-travel. Despite the perfection of this world, main character Tom is left alone by a series of heartbreaks, and after a time-travel accident ends up wiping out the world and catapulting him into ‘our’ 2016 – which may seem like a nightmare world in comparison, but which has people who love him in it. He’s left to try and decide whether to ‘fix’ the universe, or to hold on to the people he cares for. Stunning voice here, genuinely unexpected twists and turns in the plot, and really lovely characters.

Thank you to everyone who helped me with 'Books of the year' week! It's been great to see such a range of favourite books and I'll definitely try to read as many of them as possible next year.

Monday, 18 December 2017

Books of the year - Cora from Tea Party Princess

I had a great time with Cora at Quiz YA this year, and I can't wait to share the books she's chosen. 

Usually when it comes to reflecting on the best books I've read, I find it quite easy to pick the standouts. But I have read a lot of exceptional books this year, so this was a toughie. I had to narrow it down to 2017 releases only and be really harsh. But for me, these were the cream of the crop.

This book was a bit of a roller-coaster of emotions and settings, and it was exhilarating to read. I read it mostly in one sitting, only putting it down because I wasn't ready for it to end yet.

This book was creepy as. I was lost in the setting, caught up in the atmosphere, gripped by the plot. It's dark and addictive and do not read it when it's snowing.

I fell instantly in love with this book. It is beautiful and slightly decadent, rich with research and passion. It was inspiring, and I had so much fun reading it and creating things inspired by it.

This book broke my heart and had me messy-crying over my kindle. It was wonderful and heart-breaking in one, difficult for me to read at times as it hit so close to home. But I have no regrets.

This was my biggest SURPRISE book of the year. I picked it up, read it, and realised that I had read something special. I found myself quickly sucked deep into the world of the Medievals and Savages and the intrigue of school politics, madly turning pages.

Wing Jones by Katherine Webber ( 
This was the first book I read this year and it utterly blew me away. There was a lot of hype, and this book truly lived up to it. It made me angry and sad and happy all at once.


Thanks so much for your recommendations Cora! I feel like I've got a lot of reading to do. Tomorrow, Jim from YA Yeah! Yeah! will share his books of the year.