Author: Alyce

Review: Proud anthology

Review: Proud anthology

I was lucky to be invited to Stripes YA Afternoon Equali-tea back in January, where I picked up an early copy of Proud. Since Proud was announced last February, it’s been my most anticipated release of 2019, so I’m so excited to be able to…

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Blog tour: Trapped by Nick Louth

Hi there! Last week I took part in the blog blitz for Vivian Conroy’s A Testament to Murder and I told you that I had another exciting Canelo blog tour coming up, and today’s the day. As always, I’m going to give you a bit…

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d switch places with

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I’d switch places with

Hiya! Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday post. It feels like I’m writing one of these every other day at the moment – time is passing so quickly this year, and I can’t believe it’s already March.

This week’s topic is the ten characters that I would choose to swap places with. I don’t often find myself wanting to switch places with any characters – my life is pretty much perfect, so I have no reason to want to escape from it – so I’ve been thinking about this topic long and hard throughout the past week, but these are the ten that I’ve decided upon…

10) America Singer from The Selection by Kiera Cass

I was clutching at straws by the end of this list (this is the hardest topic this year so far!) but I decided I’d like to swap places with America for one reason: those big, beautiful dresses. I’d love to be able to justify wearing a luxurious, designer ballgown every single day of my life!

9) Georgie McCool from Landline by Rainbow Rowell

I didn’t love Landline all that much, but I adore the concept. Georgie’s landline allows her to phone back in time to talk to her husband when he was much younger – back before they started having problems in their marriage – and I would love to have the power to be able to phone people from my past.

8) Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Lazlo Strange dreams of exploring the city of Weep, and he gets to do that. I’d love to swap places with Lazlo, because not only does Weep sound absolutely beautiful (yet also scary), but he dreams of it his entire life and his dream comes true. I’ve dreamed of visiting many far off places and am yet to visit any of them – I was literally talking about the ten I want to visit the most last week – but hopefully I will eventually.

7) Denton Little from Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

On the one hand I’d hate to be Denton Little, because the day we meet him is his deathdate – the day that he’s going to die, the day that he’s always known he’s going to die on. So although I don’t want to be Denton specifically, I’d like to live in the world that Denton lives in: I think it would be nice to know when you’re going to go, because that means you won’t have any regrets at the end.

6) Effie Kostas from Vote For Effie by Laura Wood

Effie is at the forefront of my mind because I’ve only just finished Vote For Effie, but the entire time I was reading it I couldn’t stop myself from wishing that I’d been more like her when I was younger. I was very socially awkward and didn’t really give a shit about anything, so I wish I could go back in time and give past Alyce even a dash of Effie’s badassness.

5) Lara Jean Song Covey from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Okay, so getting my deepest, darkest feelings about boys posted to the boys themselves wouldn’t be great, but I think the way Lara Jean deals with the situation that she finds herself in is hugely admirable. I wish I could have even a dash of Lara Jean’s grace when it comes to dealing with adversity!

4) Schuyler van Alen from Blue Bloods by Melissa de la Cruz

It’s been a very long time since I read Blue Bloods, and I only ever got as far as the second book in the series, so I might be remembering how cool the world was incorrectly. However, as far as I can remember the Blue Bloods were the oldest of the vampires, living lives of absolute luxury in New York, with nothing getting in their way (well, apart from the odd vampire hunter).

3) Emika Chen from Warcross by Marie Lu

I’m only 100 pages into Warcross, so I might change my mind after I read a bit more, but at the moment it’s the kind of world I’d love to get transported into. A VR experience which is completely game-changing, and a game which is played by billions across the world – uniting countries the same way that the Olympics do – sounds extremely fun, and I’d love to get to try out Warcross.

2) Anna Oliphant from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I struggle to find anyone who hasn’t daydreamed about going to boarding school, so getting to go to boarding school in Paris would be wonderful. I know I’d get homesick, though, which is why being Anna wouldn’t be so bad – she’s only going to France for senior year, and then she gets to go home again.

1) Milly from SLAY by Kim Curran

Although becoming an orphan thanks to a demonic possession incident would suck, getting to console myself by going on tour – and slaying demons – with the hottest boyband in the world would be pretty fun.

That’s it for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you enjoyed my list! Which character would you switch places with if you had the chance?

Alyce

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Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher

After Shane Ferrick dies in suspicious circumstances, rumours point the finger of blame in a few different directions. At the party where Shane was last seen alive, Juniper, Gavin and Brett all did terrible things to him, and everyone knows Parker hated Shane after he…

Review: Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan

Review: Whiteout by Gabriel Dylan

A school ski trip turns deadly when a storm springs up out of nowhere, cutting the town where the group are staying off from the rest of the world. The ski lifts are out of action, the townsfolk seem to have evacuated and the teachers…

Review: The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Review: The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

‘It was a winter they would tell tales about. A winter that arrived so sudden and sharp it stuck birds to branches, and caught the rivers in such a frost their spray froze and scattered down like clouded crystals on stilled water. A winter that came, and never left.’

When Mila’s brother Oskar vanishes, her older sister Sanna is sure he has abandoned his family just like their Papa did years before.

But Mila knows Oskar wouldn’t do that, and she’s pretty sure it has something to do with the mystical man who stayed on their property the night before he disappeared.

A mystical man who didn’t sink into the snow.

A mystical man who knows their names.

Setting off on a journey across a land trapped in an eternal winter, Mila must enlist the help of a mage called Rune if she is to have any hope of finding her brother, let alone saving him.

There isn’t actually much to say about The Way Past Winter. I enjoyed it to start with, but the journey across the frozen lands quickly became stale and repetitive and stopped holding my attention. I found myself grateful for the book to be over, rather than dreading the story coming to an end.

I loved The Girl of Ink and Stars and hoped that The Way Past Winter was going to captivate me just as much, but this novel had less of a spark than Millwood Hargrave’s debut.

However, there were some aspects that were written brilliantly, and they’re the reason that I decided to write a full-length post.

The way Millwood Hargrave writes about grief is highly accurate. Mila’s Mama dies in childbirth and her Papa can’t handle it, so he walks out on the family and never returns. It’s not the best way of dealing with the situation, but that’s the thing about grief: it’s messy and personal and everyone copes in a different way.

I also loved the fact that the focus was entirely on family. Mila tries to leave her family behind when she goes looking for Oskar, but Pipa knows her well enough to know what she’s trying to do, and it isn’t long before Sanna follows her as well.

However, the characters didn’t feel all that well-developed, so I didn’t emotionally engage with any of them. This is particularly true about Rune, the mage who helps Mila on her journey, who we learn hardly anything about. I was so interested in his story, which made the focus on family both a blessing and a curse – if it doesn’t directly relate to Mila or her siblings, it’s hardly developed.

If you haven’t read any of Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s novels yet, I wouldn’t recommend starting with The Way Past Winter, but it is still a enjoyable and rather short story that you’d probably be able to read in one sitting.

Alyce

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YA Book Prize 2019 shortlist

YA Book Prize 2019 shortlist

In case you missed it, yesterday the YA Book Prize revealed this year’s #YA10. I put my predictions up on Wednesday, so today I’m going to share my thoughts on the shortlist: which inclusions surprised me, and which ones I feel stupid for not guessing!…

Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

Review: The Burning by Laura Bates

New girl Anna Clark moved from Birmingham to Scotland to escape something terrible that happened in her past. But you can’t outrun your demons quite that easily, especially not when they’re plastered all over social media for the world to see. While the other students…

YA Book Prize 2019 predictions

YA Book Prize 2019 predictions

With all of the excitement of giving birth last March, I didn’t have enough time to read all of the books that were on the 2018 YA Book Prize shortlist. Indigo Donut by Patrice Lawrence, Philip Pullman’s La Belle Sauvage and the winner – After the Fire by Will Hill – are still sitting on my TBR, but I am planning to get around to reading them at some point.

I also didn’t keep up to date with YA releases as closely as I normally do, so crafting this prediction post was actually really difficult! But I had a lot of fun seeing which books I predicted would be on the shortlist actually appeared on it, so with the list being revealed tomorrow I couldn’t resist putting a post together.

In alphabetical order, these are the ten books I think deserve to be shortlisted for this year’s YA Book Prize: 

Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? by Holly Bourne

Holly Bourne almost always appears on the YA Book Prize shortlist, so I wouldn’t be surprised if 2018’s Are We All Lemmings and Snowflakes? is on there. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but considering how much I enjoyed Am I Normal Yet? and It Only Happens in the Movies, this is bound to become a fast favourite.

Clean by Juno Dawson

I didn’t read many five star books in 2018, but Clean was one of them. It was actually the first book that popped into my head when I started planning this predictions post! Juno Dawson has been one of my favourite authors since releasing All of the Above, and Clean was an unapologetic look at an upper-class socialite forced into a stint at a rehab centre by her brother.

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

Laura Steven’s debut novel was a book which I deeply related to, and I know a lot of people who felt the same way. Telling the story of a girl called Izzy who gets slut-shamed for sleeping with two guys at one party, it’s a surprisingly hilarious book.

Goodbye, Perfect by Sara Barnard

When Sara Barnard’s second novel, A Quiet Kind of Thunder, was missing from last year’s shortlist, I was absolutely gutted. It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, and I was certain it was going to be the winner, so for it to be missing from the shortlist really surprised me! I haven’t read Goodbye, Perfect yet, but if it’s anything like Barnard’s first two books it deserves a spot on the list.

I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman

I haven’t read I Was Born For This yet, but it was one of the most talked about YA releases of 2018. Radio Silence is one of my favourite novels and Alice Oseman is a stunning writer, so even if I Was Born For This isn’t on the shortlist I’m still going to be picking it up fairly soon.

My Box-Shaped Heart by Rachael Lucas

I’ve been a huge fan of Rachael Lucas’s writing since I read her first young adult novel, The State of Grace. I read My Box-Shaped Heart through the library and it was such a quick and fun read even though it tells the story of a girl who has to deal with a mother who is a hoarder, making their life rather difficult!

Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

Sophie Cameron’s debut novel is a YA fantasy set in Scotland. Angels start falling from the sky soon after Jaya’s mother’s death, and her father becomes utterly obsessed with hunting them, predicting where the next one is going to fall. Unfortunately, Jaya’s the one who’s on the scene when an angel comes plummeting out of the sky in the location he’s predicted… Just a little bit early. Out of the Blue was the first book I finished after my daughter’s birth, and it’s that good that I even found myself reading it on my phone in the hospital while we were waiting to get her checked over just after she was born!

Rosie Loves Jack by Mel Darbon

Rosie Loves Jack should certainly be one of the top ten. Following a girl with Down’s syndrome as she travels to see her boyfriend, you’ll be heartbroken by the way evil people take advantage of Rosie, but totally empowered by the way she sees herself.

Skylarks by Karen Gregory

I still haven’t been able to review Skylarks, because it’s impossible to put how I feel about it into words. The best book I read last year by far, Karen Gregory’s second novel is a politically-minded novel fighting back against austerity, while also exploring the strain placed on romantic relationships between people who come from different economic backgrounds.

Tender by Eve Ainsworth

Tender is Eve Ainsworth’s fourth novel, but it’s my favourite by far. Ainsworth is known for tackling difficult topics head on, and this look at teen carers is excellent, educating the general public about the emotional and mental impact of looking after a close family member who is suffering.

I hope you enjoyed this prediction post! Do you think the YA Book Prize shortlist is going to look anything like this, or are there some really obvious titles I’m missing?

Alyce

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Top Ten Tuesday: Places I want to visit

Top Ten Tuesday: Places I want to visit

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is supposed to be all about the places in books that you want to visit, but I was having a hard time coming up with a list of books that featured the places that I want to visit. Instead, I’ve…