Monday, 29 July 2019

The Shadow Keepers blog tour – review

Sixteen-year-old Georgia Boone has seen the shadow creatures in mirrors and other reflective surfaces since she was six-years-old. But no one--not even her brother, the person she’s closest to in the entire world--believes her. She is all alone in the hellish world where crow-like creatures hunt her everywhere she goes.

When an afternoon of shopping ends in violence and blood, Georgia is sent to one of the UK’s most prestigious mental health hospitals: Brookwood Hospital. There, she’s forced to face her fears and answer the question:

Are the shadows real, or is this all in her head?

At Brookwood, the shadow creatures are more present than ever and are getting stronger every day. Only with the help of a mysterious boy who lives inside the mirror world might she be able to prove that she’s not hallucinating and stop the shadows from destroying the human world.

Content warnings: self harm, mental health treatment, alcoholism and suicide

The Shadow Keepers is a creepy YA horror with a unique premise.

It's rare to see an exploration of mental health in genre fiction, particularly when it's own voices. The book explores day-to-day experiences with mental health amongst the life or death scenarios of the shadow world.

There's an interesting cast of characters and all felt like heroes of their own story. I enjoyed trying to figure out which characters could be trusted and which might be part of the mystery.

The worlds in this book, both real and fantastical, feel well-developed and thought out. I also really liked the horror elements and there were certain moments that really got under my skin!

This was an enjoyable read and I'm looking forward to reading Marisa's next book.

I received this book from the publisher and author in exchange for an open and honest review. Marisa was my mentor during Write Mentor.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Heartstream by Tom Pollock – review

I just wanted to see you. Before the end. A taut psychological thriller about obsession, fame and betrayal, for fans of Black Mirror.

Cat is in love. Always the sensible one, she can’t believe that she’s actually dating, not to mention dating a star. But the fandom can’t know. They would eat her alive. And first at the buffet would definitely be her best friend, Evie. Amy uses Heartstream, a social media app that allows others to feel your emotions. She broadcasted every moment of her mother’s degenerative illness, and her grief following her death. It’s the realest, rawest reality TV imaginable. But on the day of Amy’s mother’s funeral, Amy finds a strange woman in her kitchen. She’s rigged herself and the house with explosives – and she’s been waiting to talk to Amy for a long time. Who is she? A crazed fan? What does she want? Amy and Cat are about to discover how far true obsession can go.

This is a tense, clever thriller with a technological slant that makes it completely unique.

My favourite thing about it is the dual narrative. I loved trying to work out whether the two characters were connected, and each voice was totally distinct. Both characters are really well developed and believable too. 

The plotting in this book is brilliant. It's incredibly tense and builds to a thrilling conclusion, and there are also lighter moments. I predicted a couple of things but mostly had no idea what was going to happen, which I really enjoyed. The technology is really creative and scarily believable, and it added an incredible degree of tension!

This book gripped me from the very beginning and I'd highly recommend it to YA thriller fans. 

Friday, 12 July 2019

Take a Chance on Me – review

The brand-new sunny, funny, feel-good rom com from bestselling Beth Garrod, perfect for fans of TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE and THE KISSING BOOTH. Meg had a disastrous first kiss she would rather forget, but this is the summer she puts it behind her. This is the summer she has a perfect, swoony, just-like-in-the-movies kiss with a hot boy - and what better setting than the sun-drenched Greek island she's holidaying on? But with three very different boys vying for her attention, this mission to reset her first kiss may be more complicated than she bargained for...

Take a Chance on Me is a hilarious, summery and romantic read about friendship and feeling good about yourself.

I really enjoyed the multiple potential love interests in this story and I kept changing my mind about who Meg might end up with (if anyone). As great as the romance was, it was Meg's friendship with Neet that made me feel all warm inside. Their relationship was so lovely and realistic and is definitely friendship goals. It was also refreshing that the book delved into family dynamics, for Meg and Neet. 

I also really liked how the book was more about Meg learning to feel comfortable in her skin and see her own worth than it was about gaining approval from others. It feels like Meg goes on a real journey through the book and I loved that. With the brilliant voice and humour, it feels like you really get to know her.

The Greek island setting of the book is gorgeous. It's the perfect book to take on a sunny holiday or to escape for a while from the unpredictable British weather. 

Thank you to Scholastic for the review copy!