Author: Alyce

Blog tour: The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud

Blog tour: The Codes of Love by Hannah Persaud

Hi everyone! Welcome to my stop on The Codes of Love blog tour. It means an awful lot to me that you’re checking out this post – considering the state of the world at the moment I’m sure you have far more important things to…

YA Book Prize 2020 predictions

YA Book Prize 2020 predictions

My favourite day of the year is almost here, with the YA Book Prize shortlist being announced on March 11th! So, as always, it’s time for my YA Book Prize predictions post. If you’d like to see my previous predictions, you can check out who…

Blog tour: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Blog tour: Foul is Fair by Hannah Capin

Hello, and welcome to my stop on the Foul is Fair blog tour. It has been a whopping six months since I last took part in a blog tour – I know, where has the time gone?! – but when Meghan from Wednesday Books reached out and invited me to take part in this tour I couldn’t resist.

If you haven’t heard of Foul is Fair I’ll be surprised, because it’s shaping up to be one of the most talked about 2020 YA releases. Marketed as a modern take on Shakespeare’s Macbeth, I’ll tell you a little more about what goes on in Foul is Fair before I share my personal thoughts on the book with you.

Hannah Capin’s Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes.

Jade and her friends Jenny, Mads, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Jade’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Jade as their next target.

They picked the wrong girl.

Sworn to vengeance, Jade transfers to St. Andrew’s Prep. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

The first thing it feels necessary to say is this: if you don’t like reading about sexual assault or violence, this is definitely not the book for you. The entire story centres around Jade being raped at a party and, although the rape isn’t graphically described and doesn’t happen on the page, it’s still not the most comfortable thing to read.

‘Every teenage girl thinks she and her friends are the mean girls, the ice queens, the wicked witches, but Jenny and Summer and Mads and me – we’re what they wish they were.
Savage.’

Everyone knows what the St. Andrew’s Prep boys get up to at the notorious parties they throw and their behaviour goes unchallenged. In fact, it’s a bit of a joke. One of the boys posts comments on their public Instagram pages alluding to their lewd behaviour, but they’ve still never experienced any repercussions.

Until now.

Foul is Fair is a pull no punches attack on rape culture. The morning after she is attacked, Jade gathers her coven around her and tells them how she wants to get her revenge: by killing all of the people who hurt her. Not only the boys who put their hands all over her and used her body without her permission, but the ones that allowed them to get away with it. The boy who stood outside and guarded the room they were in. The girl who left her alone with them, knowing exactly what they were going to do. The boy who crushed up a pill and spiked her drink.

And, if she can ever remember what he looks like, the boy who handed the drink to her.

This was an empowering novel. No, I’m not suggesting that you get revenge on the people who wrong you by murdering them, but you can’t lie and tell me that you’ve never been tempted.

I thought it was brilliant to see a character who had experienced something traumatic and wasn’t excluding everyone around them and keeping it to themselves. Before they even leave the party Jade has told her friends what she has experienced, and they support her unquestioningly. She then tells her parents the next morning, telling them that she wants to be able to deal with it herself, which they accept.

Quietly supportive parents in YA are rare – either parents don’t appear at all or they want the character to deal with their ordeal the way they think they should, rather than the way that they want to – and I thought this was one of the best things about Foul is Fair (along with the fact that Jade goes to the hospital to get checked out – something that is weirdly overlooked when characters experience sexual assault).

So many of the little choices Capin made elevated this novel. Mads is trans, while Jenny is in love with Summer (even though Summer doesn’t know it yet) and it’s great to read a story featuring LGBTQ+ characters whose identities are simply accepted.

As you can tell, there were a lot of things I appreciated about Hannah Capin’s second novel, but the one reason I didn’t give it five stars was because of the “mystery” surrounding the identity of the final boy. If you don’t guess it within the first couple of chapters I’ll be surprised, and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to believe that Jade herself wouldn’t have figured it out faster.

This book is wacky in the best kind of way, and it’s hard to resist gasping in shock at the audacious things Jade gets up to in her quest for revenge. Despite the dark subject matter Foul is Fair is a highly entertaining read, and if you’re someone who enjoys reading Shakespeare you’ll have fun seeing the clever ways that Hannah Capin brings the story into the modern age. It definitely feels like there must be a sequel on the way, and I can’t express how much I’m looking forward to picking it up.

For fans of: Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, Undone by Cat Clarke

The perfect soundtrack song for Foul is Fair is killing boys by Halsey

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Foul is Fair, you can get it directly from Wednesday Books here.

About the author:

Hannah Capin is the author of Foul is Fair and The Dead Queens Club, a feminist retelling of the wives of Henry VIII. When she isn’t writing, she can be found singing, sailing, or pulling marathon gossip sessions with her girl squad. She lives in Tidewater, Virginia.

If you’d like to check out Hannah Capin on social media, you can find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Thank you so much for visiting my stop on the Foul is Fair blog tour. See you soon!

Alyce

X

Rapid Reviews #4: The Rant edition

Rapid Reviews #4: The Rant edition

So, when I said at the start of my last post that I hoped I’d be posting more regularly, what I actually meant to say was that you wouldn’t get a new post from me for two months. Whoops. In all fairness, since the last…

Rapid Reviews #3

Rapid Reviews #3

Oh boy, it’s already been over a month since I last posted. I wish I could say that things were going to start getting more frequent on here, but I can’t guarantee it! Throughout the last month I’ve continued binge reading NetGalley books from many…

Rapid Reviews #2: The NetGalley edition

Rapid Reviews #2: The NetGalley edition

Boy howdy, it has been a while. I’ve been vaguely reviewing over on Goodreads, but it wasn’t until I was looking through NetGalley this morning that I realised that there are so many books on there that I’ve read and just haven’t had a chance to review yet.

This edition of Rapid Reviews is gathering together eight titles from NetGalley that I really should have reviewed months ago, but I still don’t have a lot of time to blog so I’m only going to put my main thoughts down about each one.

Here goes nothing…

All We Could Have Been by T.E. Carter – 3 stars

All We Could Have Been didn’t come across as very realistic to me. Lexie constantly spoke in metaphors, making her the second most pretentious YA character I’ve come across (the first prize going to Augustus from The Fault In Our Stars), and the way the other characters reacted to Lexie’s past wasn’t authentic. I’ve known people who have been related to murderers and if anything it’s caused them to be pitied and wrapped in cotton wool, not treated as though they themselves have slaughtered whole families on a whim. It didn’t annoy me enough to rate it any lower than three stars, but it was pretty bland and didn’t do anything for me. I’ve heard that T.E. Carter’s debut is more successful than this book, so I might give that one a go instead.

Big Bones by Laura Dockrill – 1 star

I’m so surprised that Big Bones managed to get shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, because it’s highly damaging. Bluebelle is an overweight character who loves herself and doesn’t care about her size (something I would normally applaud in YA, as embracing yourself for who you are is an extremely important lesson to teach teenagers) but so much of this book is handled terribly. The first thing that springs to mind is the overly detailed description of how to make yourself be sick, as it would have caused me a lot of problems if I’d read this book at a younger age while I was struggling with my weight. Bluebelle’s general selfishness got on my nerves, and I was very close to DNFing it but I thought something redeeming must happen to merit that shortlist appearance. Sadly, I was wrong.

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard – 5 stars

I absolutely loved both Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but Goodbye, Perfect surpassed my expectations. I’ve read a LOT of YA books focusing on student/teacher relationships (I don’t know why, I had a bit of a thing about them at one point) but this one was the first one I’ve read which has really done it right. From exploring the worried people left at home to investigating exactly how something like this can happen, Sara Barnard leaves no stone unturned, and she once again nails the authentic teen voice through Eden. I’m so glad that she won the YA Book Prize with this one, and I can’t wait to read Fierce Fragile Hearts and be blown away by that one too.

In Bloom by C.J. Skuse – 2 stars

A highly disappointing sequel to one of the most fun adult thrillers I’ve ever read. In one of the most cliched depictions of pregnancy I’ve encountered, Rhiannon became a completely different character as soon as she got pregnant, and it made reading In Bloom feel like a complete chore. I honestly couldn’t believe how long it took me to read this one – I read Sweetpea in a week and it took me four months to convince myself to finish In Bloom, something that hardly ever happens. I’m very much hoping that there isn’t going to be a third installment in this series, because this one was highly unnecessary: there wasn’t enough going on to merit a second book, and I feel as though some chopping and changing in the first book could have made it possible to combine the two together.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman – 4 stars

The last of the YA Book Prize shortlisted books in this wrap-up, I didn’t love I Was Born For This as much as I thought I was going to because the story took so long to get going. From the 50% mark I flew through it and loved following Jimmy and Angel, bouncing backwards and forwards between their perspectives, and I thought that the way Alice Oseman explored fandom and the idolatry nature of teenagers was very interesting, but it just didn’t quite recover the momentum that was missing throughout the first half.

Naked by Stacey Trombley – 3 stars

Anna is a teenage prostitute living in New York until she’s arrested and sent home with her parents. Having left home at 13, Anna has a lot of catching up to do at school so her parents’ first ruling upon her return is that she must get back to school as soon as possible. I feel a bit torn over Naked because, although Stacey Trombley does a good job of exploring the idea that you can never really leave your past behind, a lot of this story just doesn’t feel authentic. If you really had run away from home for three years and you had very rich parents, I highly doubt sending you back to public school would be at the top of their list. Anna’s relationship with Luis also makes me raise my eyebrows: at the start of the story she defends him wholeheartedly because she says he’s never done anything wrong to her and that he saved her from a life on the streets, but later she admits that he both a) sold her and b) hit her, so I can’t imagine her feeling that loyal to him after those experiences. I didn’t feel strongly either way so I decided to sit in the middle on three stars, but I do wonder if I’m being generous.

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds – 5 stars

Opposite of Always is the best 2019 release I’ve read so far this year. Jack and Kate meet on the stairs at a party and quickly fall in love, but their relationship does not have a happy ending: Kate has sickle cell, and it kills her. However, something doesn’t want this to be the end of Jack and Kate, and her death constantly sends Jack back to the moment that they left, leaving him fighting against death in a race against time which he seems destined to lose. Taking the idea of Groundhog Day and combining it with two star-crossed lovers is brilliant, but the thing that really grabs you about Opposite of Always is the cinematic way that Justin A. Reynolds tells the story. If this one isn’t adapted into a film sooner rather than later I’ll be highly surprised.

Wild Blue Wonder by Carlie Sorosiak – 5 stars

A heart-wrenching exploration of grief, Wild Blue Wonder brought me to tears twice – unfortunate, as I was reading it on my phone and walking around town both times. It’s difficult to explain exactly why I loved this book so much, but there is literally nothing I can criticise about it. The way Carlie Sorosiak organises the story – jumping from the winter following Dylan’s death back to the summer leading up to it happening – gives you a bittersweet sense of inevitability that propels the plot along at a breakneck speed, while the way it’s told is utterly beautiful. I’m looking forward to reading If Birds Fly Back as soon as possible, because at this point I genuinely believe Sorosiak could become one of my favourite authors.

I hope you enjoyed these Rapid Reviews! Fingers crossed I’ll have more time and energy to dedicate to blogging and can get back to posting regularly, but until then I’ll carry on sporadically hopping in and out every couple of weeks.

Thanks for sticking with me,

Alyce

X

Blog tour: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Blog tour: I Hold Your Heart by Karen Gregory

Hello everyone! This is the most exciting blog tour I’ve been involved in all year, and I’ve been dying to share my thoughts on I Hold Your Heart – Karen Gregory’s third novel – with you all. I absolutely loved Countless and Skylarks left me…

Blog tour: The Partisan Heart by Gordon Kerr

Blog tour: The Partisan Heart by Gordon Kerr

Hi there, and welcome to my stop on The Partisan Heart‘s blog tour. It’s a huge honour to have been invited to take part in this tour, and I’m so excited to be sharing a brilliant extract from Gordon Kerr’s newest release with you. As…

Blog tour: Breaking the Lore by Andy Redsmith

Blog tour: Breaking the Lore by Andy Redsmith

Hi there! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve had time to post (working in a chocolate shop at Easter is even busier than working retail at Christmas, so I’ve been struggling to recover) but I’m glad to be back and taking part in the blog tour for Breaking the Lore.

I was originally hoping to review Breaking the Lore as well as posting a spotlight for it, but unfortunately I’m only 10% through it (I wasn’t kidding about how exhausted I’ve been!) so this is solely going to be a spotlight post for today. Pop back in a couple of weeks and I should have a review up.

The cover for Breaking the Lore.

A magical, mischievous mystery perfect for fans of Douglas Adams and Ben Aaronovitch.

How do you stop a demon invasion… when you don’t believe in magic?

Inspector Nick Paris is a man of logic and whisky. So staring down at the crucified form of a murder victim who is fifteen centimetres tall leaves the seasoned detective at a loss… and the dead fairy is only the beginning.

Suddenly the inspector is offering political asylum to dwarves, consulting with witches, getting tactical advice from eves and taking orders from a chain-smoking talking crow who, technically, outranks him.

With the fate of both the human and magic worlds in his hands Nick will have to leave logic behind and embrace his inner mystic to solve the crime and stop an army of demons from invading Manchester!

If you’re interested in reading Breaking the Lore, you can purchase a copy via Amazon, Kobo, Google Books or Apple Books. Breaking the Lore is Andy Redsmith’s debut novel, and the first book in the Inspector Paris Mystery series, so this is the perfect time to get on board.

About the author:

Andy Redsmith was born in Liverpool and grew up in Runcorn. For university he moved the enormous distance to Salford and has lived in Manchester ever since. He says the people there are great, but we don’t talk about football.

He worked for many years as a project manager in the computing industry, a job which really is every bit as exciting as it sounds. Eventually the call of writing became too hard to ignore and he went off to do that instead. Over the years in IT he worked with some very clever people and some complete weirdos, none of whom bear any resemblance to the characters in his books. Honest.

He has a wonderful wife, a great son, and a loft full of old Marvel comics. One day he’ll get round to selling them. That’s the comics, not the family.

If you’re interested in learning more about Andy Redsmith, follow him on Twitter.

A huge thanks to Canelo for allowing me to get involved in this blog tour, and to you for putting up with me pulling yet another disappearing act. I should be back to regularly scheduled programming soon, I promise!

Alyce

X

Top Ten Tuesday: First ten books I reviewed

Top Ten Tuesday: First ten books I reviewed

Wow, this is such a fun topic. For this post I’m delving back in time to the beginning of my previous blog, Everything Alyce. Travel back in time with me to the summer of 2014, and check out my first ever book reviews. 10) Picture…