The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor

The First Time I Died

The First Time I Died by Jo Macgregor


Outside myself, I saw my body drifting in the black water, still as death.

The prologue sets the atmosphere, and it wasn’t long before I was falling headfirst into the story.

First-time nerves. Next time I die, I’ll be sure to take detailed notes…

So captivating, I read deep into the night not able to stop until I knew… I had to know.

A prickle of primitive fear rippled up my spine.

Flirting back and forth between past and present keeps the mystery alive, as does Jo MacGregor’s careful and analytic writing.

And if I had my way, I’d never come back.

I loved the paranormal element, it added to the tension and rounded out the characters.

Feeling the pull of the pond, it’s frigid, watery kiss, the embracing darkness.

Jo Macgregor’s adult psychological thrillers are dark and this one is no exception, although admittedly being more of a mystery thriller it’s not quite as dark as her first Dark Whispers which I still get shivers when I think of it.

If you have only read her YA books (written as Joanne Macgregor) and you definitely should if you haven’t, you’ll be surprised at how dark her writing can get, and I love it! Links to my reviews: Recoil Trilogy (dystopian)The Law of Tall Girls – my favourite! and Scarred (contemporary), Hushed (retelling)

We have all heard the saying you should write about things you know, and again Jo Macgregor’s career as a psychologist shines through her new book. She shared her thoughts on this in a guest post earlier this year.4 star tiny flash reviews

 

 

Title: The First Time I Died 

The First Time I Died

Series: Garnet McGee # 1

Author: Jo Macgregor

Publication Date: October 8th 2018

Publisher: Jo Macgregor

Source: Review copy

 

Purchase this book 

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Add to your shelf:

Goodreads

 

The first time I died, I didn’t come back alone. 

When Garnet McGee returns to her small Vermont hometown for the holidays, she vows to solve the mystery of the murder which shattered her life ten years ago. 

But then the unexpected happens — she dies in an accident and gets brought back to life by paramedics. 

Now she’s hearing words, seeing visions and experiencing strange sensations. Are these merely symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and an over-active imagination, or is she getting messages from a paranormal presence? 

Garnet has always prided herself on being logical and rational, but trying to catch a killer without embracing her shadow self is getting increasingly difficult. And dangerous, because in a town full of secrets, it seems like everybody has a motive for murder.— Abstract from Goodreads.com

Adding to Your TBR – October 2018

TBR October 2018

Adding to Your TBR – October 2018

TBR – To Be Read tower/list 

TBR October 2018. Just spent a week in beautiful Cape Town with family and new friends and will be heading back home tomorrow with gorgeous photographs, inspiration and buckets of love. Enjoy these October’ 18 books!

 

The Ragged Edge of Night by Olivia Hawker

Expected: 1 October 2018

Set in Germany during WWII this book sounds very good. I am about to start the Audible audio edition. #Historicalfiction

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TBR October 2018

 

Germany, 1942. Franciscan friar Anton Starzmann is stripped of his place in the world when his school is seized by the Nazis. He relocates to a small German hamlet to wed Elisabeth Herter, a widow who seeks a marriage—in name only—to a man who can help raise her three children. Anton seeks something too—atonement for failing to protect his young students from the wrath of the Nazis. But neither he nor Elisabeth expects their lives to be shaken once again by the inescapable rumble of war.

As Anton struggles to adapt to the roles of husband and father, he learns of the Red Orchestra, an underground network of resisters plotting to assassinate Hitler. Despite Elisabeth’s reservations, Anton joins this army of shadows. But when the SS discovers his schemes, Anton will embark on a final act of defiance that may cost him his life—even if it means saying goodbye to the family he has come to love more than he ever believed possible. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Expected: 2 October 2018

First in a new fantasy series of the same name. #fantasy

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TBR October 2018

 

One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young 

Expected: 2 October 2018

Focusing on grief this book also includes a scavenger hunt so of course it’s a must read! #YAcontemporary

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TBR October 2018

 

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole world — the best friend in the whole world — has died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted.

And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife?

In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows.

This boy, Elijah, might be just what Raquel needs to move on from her terrible loss. But can Raquel remain true to herself while also honoring her friend’s final wish? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

Expected: 2 October 2018

I am not usually attracted to time-travel books and have been disappointed by them in the past, so not exactly sure why this is on my list other than the great early reviews on Goodreads. #historicalfiction

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TBR October 2018

 

When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak 

Expected: 9 October 2018

From the author of The Book Thief, this #Contemporary has had rave reviews on Goodreads.

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TBR October 2018

 

The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. 

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. 

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore 

Expected: 9 October 2018

I love the sound of this book which reminds me of  Hans Christian Andersen’s The Wild Swans. #fantasy

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TBR October 2018

 

The biggest lie of all is the story you think you already know.

The del Cisne girls have never just been sisters; they’re also rivals, Blanca as obedient and graceful as Roja is vicious and manipulative. They know that, because of a generations-old spell, their family is bound to a bevy of swans deep in the woods. They know that, one day, the swans will pull them into a dangerous game that will leave one of them a girl, and trap the other in the body of a swan.

But when two local boys become drawn into the game, the swans’ spell intertwines with the strange and unpredictable magic lacing the woods, and all four of their fates depend on facing truths that could either save or destroy them. Blanca & Roja is the captivating story of sisters, friendship, love, hatred, and the price we pay to protect our hearts. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Witch Elm by Tana French 

Expected: 9 October 2018

FYI: Although the same book, the UK editions are titled The Wych Elm. #mysterythriller

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TBR October 2018

 

Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria 

Expected: 9 October 2018

Exceptionally good early reviews hint at a dark but hopeful story. #fantasy

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TBR October 2018

 

In the city of Eldra, people are ruled by ancient prophecies. For centuries, the high council has stayed in power by virtue of the prophecies of the elder seers. After the last infallible prophecy came to pass, growing unrest led to murders and an eventual rebellion that raged for more than a decade.

In the present day, Cassa, the orphaned daughter of rebels, is determined to fight back against the high council, which governs Eldra from behind the walls of the citadel. Her only allies are no-nonsense Alys, easygoing Evander, and perpetually underestimated Newt, and Cassa struggles to come to terms with the legacy of rebellion her dead parents have left her — and the fear that she may be inadequate to shoulder the burden. But by the time Cassa and her friends uncover the mystery of the final infallible prophecy, it may be too late to save the city — or themselves. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Expected: 16 October 2018

Written by the author of the fantasy series Shatter Me which I love, this book is set in the aftermath of 9/11 and focuses on religious and racial prejudice. A must for school libraries everywhere. #historicalfiction

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TBR October 2018

 

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Expected: 16 October 2018

Written by the author of The Orchid Thief this is one of the rare #nonfiction books on my list. #librariansunite

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TBR October 2018

 

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. As the moments passed, the patrons and staff who had been cleared out of the building realized this was not the usual false alarm. As one fireman recounted later, “Once that first stack got going, it was Goodbye, Charlie.” The fire was disastrous: It reached 2,000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed 400,000 books and damaged 700,000 more. Investigators descended on the scene, but over thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who?

Weaving her life-long love of books and reading with the fascinating history of libraries and the sometimes-eccentric characters who run them, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean presents a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling story as only she can. With her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, she investigates the legendary Los Angeles Public Library fire to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives. To truly understand what happens behind the stacks, Orlean visits the different departments of the LAPL, encountering an engaging cast of employees and patrons and experiencing alongside them the victories and struggles they face in today’s climate. She also delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from a metropolitan charitable initiative to a cornerstone of national identity. She reflects on her childhood experiences in libraries; studies arson and the long history of library fires; attempts to burn a copy of a book herself; and she re-examines the case of Harry Peak, the blond-haired actor long suspected of setting fire to the library over thirty years ago. Along the way, she reveals how these buildings provide much more than just books—and that they are needed now more than ever. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

That Night by Amy Giles 

Expected: 23 October 2018

An emotional story of a community wrecked by tragedy. #YAcontemptorary

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TBR October 2018

 

One night in March, a terrible tragedy shakes the Queens neighborhood where Jessica Nolan and Lucas Rossi live.

The year since the shooting has played out differently for Jess and Lucas, both of whom were affected by that night in eerily similar, and deeply personal, ways. Lucas has taken up boxing and lives under the ever-watchful eye of his overprotective parents, while trying to put good into the world through random acts of kindness — to pay back a debt he feels he owes the universe for taking the wrong brother.

Jess struggles to take care of her depressed mother, with the help of her elderly next-door neighbor, and tries to make ends meet. Without her best friend, who’s across the country at a special post-trauma boarding school, and her brother, who died that night, Jess feels totally alone in the world.

When Jess and Lucas’s paths cross at their shared after-school job, they start to become friends… and then more.

Their community — and their families — were irrevocably changed by a senseless act of violence. But as Jess and Lucas fall in love, they’ll learn to help each other heal and move forward — together. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Expected: 30 October 2018

Rave early reviews = a must-read. #fantasy

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TBR October 2018

 

All her life, Teodora has hidden the fact that she secretly turns her family’s enemies into music boxes, mirrors, and other decorative objects. After all, everyone in Vinalia knows that stregas–wielders of magic–are figures out of fairytales. Nobody believes they’re real.

Then the Capo, the land’s new ruler, sends poisoned letters to the heads of the Five Families that have long controlled Vinalia. Four lie dead and Teo’s beloved father is gravely ill. To save him, Teo must travel to the capital as a DiSangro son–not merely disguised as a boy, but transformed into one.

Enter Cielo, a strega who can switch back and forth between male and female as effortlessly as turning a page in a book. Teo and Cielo journey together to the capital, and Teo struggles to master her powers and to keep her growing feelings for Cielo locked in her heart. As she falls in love with witty, irascible Cielo, Teo realizes how much of life she’s missed by hiding her true nature. But she can’t forget her mission, and the closer they get to the palace, the more sinister secrets they uncover about what’s really going on in their beloved country–and the more determined Teo becomes to save her family at any cost. – Abstract from Goodreads

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

Thousand Perfect Notes

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

I have been so excited to read A Thousand Perfect Notes. Excerpt from my June TBR post where I flail around in anticipation: C.G. Drews (aka Cait @Paperfury) is an extremely popular book blogger (slightly obsessed with cake and stabbing) who writes fun blog posts, laugh-out-loud Twitter feeds and is an amazing photographer as seen in her Instagram posts. 

Sharing music is personal because music speaks, it feels, it breathes. 

But with that anticipation came a bundle of anxiety – what if I don’t like it, and it’s Cait. Everyone knows the Paperfury and who am I to judge… I shouldn’t have worried. It was Cait’s voice, a little tamer than her blog posts, but recognisable and I loved it.

The characters are brilliant! I am so in love with Joey and August – they totally stole the show.

“… I want a knife.” Of course she does. Tiny, scary, violent child.

Is possible C.G.Drews aka Paperfury is more marshmallow than world dominator? As I anticipated cake, chocolate, knife-brandishing and stabbing are featured in the book, but not quite in the way I expected.

It’s like fruitcake but also has almonds and small explosions of chocolate…

The cover is beautiful! I bought the Kindle edition when it first came out, but when I saw the paperback in a bookshop at Singapore’s Changi airport. I just had to have it and I have been carrying it around with me just because I am not ready to let the story go.

What he wants most in the world is to cut off his own hands.

I questioned one aspect while reading (in the spoiler box below), but this didn’t detract from my overall experience of the story.

Spoiler Alert!

It was out of character for Beck to leave Joey to go to the hospital with their mom.  All the time he was with August I couldn’t stop worrying that social services would step in and separate the siblings, wanting to scream at Beck to go back and get her! Although I do also realise that as Joey had called the ambulance it would be difficult to explain why she wasn’t there.

[collapse]

He floods the house with music that shook the world a hundred years ago.

PS Cait’s second book is called The Boy Who Steals Houses (due 4 April 2019), Have you ever seen such a brilliant title? I love it!

People can betray you, but the piano does not.

5 star

 

 

 

Title: A Thousand Perfect NotesThousand Perfect Notes

Author: C.G. Drews 

Publication Date: 7 June 2018

Publisher: Orchard Books

Source: Purchased

 

 

Purchase this book 

Amazon.com

Amazon(UK)

Book Depository

Worderly

Loot.co.za(SA)
 

Add to your shelf:

Goodreads

 

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?  — Abstract from Goodreads.com

Adding to Your TBR – September 2018

TBR September 2018

Adding to Your TBR – September 2018

TBR – To Be Read tower/list 

September’s list is full of exciting reads and I am very grateful for the Kindle app which allows me to read on my trusty Android device while travelling without the burden of heavy bags. There are more historical fiction stories than usual, just a sprinkling of thrillers and fantasy and a couple of contemporaries. Which one are you looking forward to?

 

The Storyteller’s Secret by Sejal Badani 

Expected: 1 September 2018

From the early reviews on Goodreads, it’s obvious The Storyteller’s Secret has a large following of emotionally slain but ultimately happy fans. #historicalfiction

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TBR September 2018

 

An epic story of the unrelenting force of love, the power of healing, and the invincible desire to dream.

Nothing prepares Jaya, a New York journalist, for the heartbreak of her third miscarriage and the slow unravelling of her marriage in its wake. Desperate to assuage her deep anguish, she decides to go to India to uncover answers to her family’s past.

Intoxicated by the sights, smells, and sounds she experiences, Jaya becomes an eager student of the culture. But it is Ravi—her grandmother’s former servant and trusted confidant—who reveals the resilience, struggles, secret love, and tragic fall of Jaya’s pioneering grandmother during the British occupation. Through her courageous grandmother’s arrestingly romantic and heart-wrenching story, Jaya discovers the legacy bequeathed to her and a strength that, until now, she never knew was possible. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake

Expected: 4 September 2018

I usually try to avoid sequels in these book recommendation posts but this series is so good and I am beyond excited to read this book. If you are interested in the series pop over to my review of the first book Three Dark Crowns which has the relevant links to get your hands on it. #YAFantasy

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TBR September 2018

 

 

 

Queen X (no spoilers @ Crushingcinders!) sits on the throne, Queen Y and Queen Z are in hiding, and an unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The crown has been won, but these queens are far from done.- Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

Expected: 4 September 2018

A Spark of White Fire is the first of a new sci-fi/fantasy series (The Celestial Trilogy) and was inspired by a Hindu mythology poem called Mahabharata. Early reviewers on Goodreads describe it as ‘fast-paced’, ‘twisty’ and ‘addictive’. Sounds amazing! #YAFantasy

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TBR September 2018

 

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back. 

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali. 

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.  – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

In Her Bones by Kate Moretti 

Expected: 4 September 2018

Kate Moretti’s new sinister sounding thriller follows the daughter of a serial killer obsessed with her mother’s victims. #thriller

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TBR September 2018

 

Fifteen years ago, Lilith Wade was arrested for the brutal murder of six women. After a death row conviction, media frenzy, and the release of an unauthorized biography, her thirty-year-old daughter Edie Beckett is just trying to survive out of the spotlight. She’s a recovering alcoholic with a dead-end city job and an unhealthy codependent relationship with her brother.

Edie also has a disturbing secret: a growing obsession with the families of Lilith’s victims. She’s desperate to see how they’ve managed—or failed—to move on. While her escalating fixation is a problem, she’s careful to keep her distance. That is until she crosses a line and a man is found murdered.

Edie quickly becomes the prime suspect—and while she can’t remember everything that happened the night of the murder, she’d surely remember killing someone. With the detective who arrested her mother hot on her trail, Edie goes into hiding. She’s must get to the truth of what happened that night before the police—or the real killer—find her.

Unless, of course, she has more in common with her mother than she’s willing to admit… –  Abstract from Goodreads

 

Dare You to Lie by Amber Lynn Natusch

Expected: 4 September 2018

For some reason Dare You to Lie has been flying under the radar despite some excellent early reviews which describe it as full of ‘whiplash twists’ and ‘snarky characters’. #YAthriller

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TBR September 2018

 

When her FBI agent father is framed for murder, Kylene is forced to move in with her grandfather, back to the small town that turned its back on her, and the boy who betrayed her.

All Ky cares about is clearing her father’s name, but someone won’t let her forget the photo scandal that drove her away two years ago. As the threats gain momentum, Ky finds an unlikely ally in the rookie FBI agent sent to keep an eye on her.

Determined to expose the town’s hidden skeletons, Ky unwittingly thrusts herself into a much bigger plot. They thought she’d forgive and forget. They’re about to learn they messed with the wrong girl. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

When Elephants Fly by Nancy Richardson Fischer 

Expected: 4 September 2018

This gorgeous cover! I have been seeing this book for months on publishers catalogues and book blogs and I know I will read it for the cover alone. It’s had mixed reviews, but I like that it includes mental illness which is often marginalised. We need to shatter the stigma. #YAcontemporary

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TBR September 2018

 

There are some battles worth fighting even if it means losing yourself.

T. Lily Decker is a high school senior with a twelve-year plan: avoid stress, drugs, alcohol and boyfriends, and take regular psych quizzes administered by her best friend, Sawyer, to make sure she’s not developing schizophrenia. Genetics are not on Lily’s side. 

When she was seven, her mother, who had paranoid schizophrenia, tried to kill her. And a secret has revealed that Lily’s odds are even worse than she thought. Still, there’s a chance to avoid triggering the mental health condition, if Lily can live a careful life from ages eighteen to thirty when schizophrenia most commonly manifests.

But when a newspaper internship results in Lily witnessing a mother elephant try to kill her three-week-old calf, Swifty, Lily can’t abandon the story or the calf. With Swifty in danger of dying from grief, Lily must choose whether to risk everything, including her sanity and a first love, on a desperate road trip to save the calf’s life, perhaps finding her own version of freedom along the way– Abstract from Goodreads

 

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Expected: 6 September 2018

With the promise to feed my addiction to WWII and espionage stories this one is at the top of my list. It has had rave early reviews on Goodreads with one reviewer describing it as ‘beautiful, harrowing and haunting’.  #historicalfiction

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TBR September 2018

 

Transcription is a bravura novel of extraordinary power and substance. Juliet Armstrong is recruited as a young woman by an obscure wartime department of the Secret Service. In the aftermath of war, she joins the BBC, where her life begins to unravel, and she finally has to come to terms with the consequences. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Real Name Is Hanna by Tara Lynn Masih

Expected: 11 September 2018

Exceptional early reviews on Goodreads with a rating of 4.49 (out of 5) this book has already proved it’s success before it is even published. Inspired by real events during the Holocaust this WWII story is a must-read. #YAhistoricalfiction

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TBR September 2018

 

Hanna Slivka is on the cusp of fourteen when Hitler’s army crosses the border into Soviet-occupied Ukraine. Soon, the Gestapo closes in, determined to make the shtetele she lives in “free of Jews.” Until the German occupation, Hanna spent her time exploring Kwasova with her younger siblings, admiring the drawings of the handsome Leon Stadnick, and helping her neighbour dye decorative pysanky eggs. But now she, Leon, and their families are forced to flee and hide in the forest outside their shtetele—and then in the dark caves beneath the rolling meadows, rumoured to harbour evil spirits. Underground, they battle sickness and starvation, while the hunt continues above. When Hanna’s father disappears, suddenly it’s up to Hanna to find him—and to find a way to keep the rest of her family, and friends, alive. 

Sparse, resonant, and lyrical, weaving in tales of Jewish and Ukrainian folklore, My Real Name Is Hanna celebrates the sustaining bonds of family, the beauty of a helping hand, and the tenacity of the human spirit. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty 

Expected: 18 September 2018

After binge-reading all of Liane Moriarty’s books via Audible it has been a long wait for a new one! Sha has an incredible knack of getting inside people’s heads and bringing out their insecurities. One of auto-buy author’s – If you haven’t read her books yet I suggest starting with my favourite The Three Wishes. #contemporary

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TBR September 2018

 

 

 

Could ten days at a health resort really change you forever? These nine perfect strangers are about to find out… – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan 

Expected: 18 September 2018

Of course, there is a psychological thriller on my list! #mysterythriller

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TBR September 2018

 

Twenty years ago, eleven-year-olds Charlie Page and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger.

For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings. But there are many people who don’t want the case—along with old wounds—reopened so many years after the tragedy, especially Charlie’s mother, Jess, who decides to take matters into her own hands.

When a long-dead body is found in the same location the boys were left decades before, the disturbing discovery launches another murder investigation. Now Detective John Fletcher, the investigator on the original case, must reopen his dusty files and decide if the two murders are linked. With his career at risk, the clock is ticking and lives are in jeopardy…- Abstract from Goodreads

 

Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton 

Expected: 18 September 2018

I love the sound of eerie forests, sacrifice and dark deals. It’s had mixed early reviews on Goodreads but those who like it describe it as ‘compelling’ ‘atmospheric’ and ‘twisted’ so I am persuaded!

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TBR September 2018

 

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

 

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White 

Expected: 25 September 2018

A dark, twisted retelling from a master storyteller, Kiersten White author of the formidable historical fiction And I Darken. #YAretelling

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TBR September 2018

 

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness– Abstract from Goodreads

 

The War Outside by Monica Hesse 

Expected: 25 September 2018

The third WWII book on this list – it’s going to be a good month for me! This one deals with a huge and terrifying concept – that of imprisoning civilian citizens during a war just because they were born in the country of the enemy. #YAhistoricalfiction

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TBR September 2018

 

It’s 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado–until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.

Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a “family internment camp” for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother’s health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.

With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone–even each other? – Abstract from Goodreads

 

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

Expected: 25 September 2018

Admission: I haven’t read any of Heidi Heilig’s books… They have been so popular I that I feel guilty they still languish under my TBR. Note to self: search online for immortality spell #YAfantasy

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TBR September 2018

 

A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. 

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumour has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

See All the Stars by Kit Frick

See All the Stars See All the Stars by Kit Frick

 

See All the Stars is a beautifully written story that I sank into like a comfortable armchair -one that bites occasionally just to keep you on your toes!

That we revolved around her was simply a fact.

The lyrical words felt like coming home and I wanted to stay surrounded by the characters long after the story was told.

Ret Johnson was the sun. Hot, bright, at the center of our universe. 

I love books that skip between the present and the past and See All the Stars does this seamlessly, trickling out the storyline slowly, strategically. Until desperate to know all the secrets, I let the story take over and gave up trying to live in the real world.

In my reality, there is only the aftermath, the nights when all I can hear are the scraps of his voice.

This is the book. My favourite 2018 read. Not without faults, I have a couple of unanswered questions and the main character was occasionally frustratingly naïve. In a way that only added to the story because in real life it’s often easier to ignore the obvious to avoid confrontation and pain.

But that day I was the moon, dark and cold without the sun’s light.

5 star

 

 

 

Title: See All the Stars See All the Stars

Author: Kit Frick

Publication Date: 14 August 2018

Publisher: McElderry Books

Source: Review copy

 

 

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Goodreads

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. – Abstract from Goodreads

 

The fact that I received a complimentary advanced copy of this book does not influence my policy to write an honest review.

Disclaimer: The quotes appear in my review copy and may not appear in the final version.

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