5 stars

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 28th February 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

After reading this, I can see why The Hate U Give has been on the NYT Bestsellers List for about a decade (only a slight exaggeration). The Hate U Give is important, topical, and so powerful, and it deserves all the hype it has been getting. I read it in less than a day, partly because I was challenged to, and partly because it’s an incredibly gripping read.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott LynchRed Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: March 12, 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Thief and con-man extraordinaire, Locke Lamora, and the ever lethal Jean Tannen have fled their home city and the wreckage of their lives. But they can't run forever and when they stop they decide to head for the richest, and most difficult, target on the horizon. The city state of Tal Verarr. And the Sinspire.

The Sinspire is the ultimate gambling house. No-one has stolen so much as a single coin from it and lived. It's the sort of challenge Locke simply can't resist...

...but Locke's perfect crime is going to have to wait.

Someone else in Tal Verarr wants the Gentleman Bastards' expertise and is quite prepared to kill them to get it. Before long, Locke and Jean find themselves engaged in piracy. Fine work for thieves who don't know one end of a galley from another.

After the masterpiece that was The Lies of Locke Lamora, I wasn’t expecting this sequel to top it. Sequels rarely do, especially when the first book is just so flawless that nothing can improve it. And that’s probably the best way to go into Red Seas Under Red Skies. I loved it. I wasn’t underwhelmed. I didn’t expect too much. It’s simply a fantastic fantasy book about people who are essentially ex-crime lords and, oh, some women who could technically be referred to as PIRATES. Continue reading

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott LynchThe Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
Series: Gentleman Bastard #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: February 1, 2007
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

An orphan's life is harsh — and often short — in the island city of Camorr, built on the ruins of a mysterious alien race. But born with a quick wit and a gift for thieving, Locke Lamora has dodged both death and slavery, only to fall into the hands of an eyeless priest known as Chains — a man who is neither blind nor a priest.

A con artist of extraordinary talent, Chains passes his skills on to his carefully selected "family" of orphans — a group known as the Gentlemen Bastards. Under his tutelage, Locke grows to lead the Bastards, delightedly pulling off one outrageous confidence game after another. Soon he is infamous as the Thorn of Camorr, and no wealthy noble is safe from his sting.

Passing themselves off as petty thieves, the brilliant Locke and his tightly knit band of light-fingered brothers have fooled even the criminal underworld's most feared ruler, Capa Barsavi. But there is someone in the shadows more powerful — and more ambitious — than Locke has yet imagined.

Known as the Gray King, he is slowly killing Capa Barsavi's most trusted men — and using Locke as a pawn in his plot to take control of Camorr's underworld. With a bloody coup under way threatening to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the Gray King at his own brutal game — or die trying...

The Lies of Locke Lamora is amazing. Freakin’ brilliant. I think it deserves 100x more attention than it is getting right now. With an easy but engaging writing style, lovable characters, and fantastic world-building, you can’t really go wrong. Continue reading

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J MaasQueen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #4
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Bought, Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

I don’t see this review turning out too well considering Queen of Shadows is one of my favourite books of the year (it’s in my top three and that’s all you need to know) and I have discovered that I am entirely unable to be coherent when I talk about this book. Expect fangirling and capslock throughout.

First thing’s first, Aelin’s the realest. AELIN. I loved her in Heir of Fire but if there’s another level of love like the alleged several levels of hell then I have surpassed all levels and reached the pit. I’m talking pure adoration and worship. That is how much I fell for her in Queen of Shadows because she is one of the strongest women I have ever read about and I will never let go. Continue reading

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick NessThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 27th August 2015
Publisher: Walker Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: five-stars

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

I have this problem with Patrick Ness’s novels in that I love them so much it renders me pretty much unable to do anything but cry and harass people to read them. So, um, can you all go out and buy his books and then read them and then get back to me with how he has destroyed your life, thanks. Much appreciated, it’ll be so nice to have company down in the pit. Continue reading