Throwback Thursday: Josephine's Book Edition

We’re going waaaay back in time this Thursday peeps, right back to my childhood when I loved L.M Montgomery more than marmite on toast. Well, almost. I loved her a whole lot anyway.

Growing up, the world that L.M.Montgomery painted in her books was a world I wanted to live in; her characters were people that I wanted to be friends with – I read her books so much that I felt like they were my friends. 
I loved the Emily books, and I loved the Anne books (I think that probably Anne and Gilbert were the first fictional couple I really ever fell for) and I read my copy of Rainbow Valley til the pages fell out. Pretty much most people-who-love books though, are familiar with Emily Starr, and with Anne Shirley so that’s not what I’m here for. What I want to talk about today is The Story Girl which for some reason doesn’t seem to be as well known, and you know, that’s a mystery to me because it’s SO GOOD. Or I mean, I thought it was so good 20-odd years ago. I have to admit I haven’t read it in a while.

The Story Girl is about a group of kids growing up on Prince Edward Island, in the rural type of community that Montgomery wrote so well – it’s one of those kinds of books where there’s a lot going on but not much happens. It’s a book about childhood, and about life and about that one summer. And it’s about The Story Girl:  Sara Stanley, who keeps the rest of the gang entertained with a never ending number of stories. I LOVED Sara when I was little; I kind of wanted to be her to be honest, in the same way that I loved Jo March. I wonder if I’d feel the same way now? (I still love Jo March, FYI…)

In true L.M Montgomery style, the book is charming and touching and paints an idyllic picture of a pretty much perfect summer (those halcyon days though) and each of the children is somebody that you end up liking: observant Beverley – it’s Bev who’s telling us the story, years later when he’s all grown up; sensitive Felix; cocky Dan; beautiful and bossy Felicity; Cecily, the advocate for peace with a stubborn streak; imaginative creative Sara Stanley; the weepy ‘other’ Sara (my least fave I think); and independent Peter, there’s something in them all that appealed to the child that I was, and as in all her books, Montgomery wrote friendship so well. She wrote children so well. They’re not a naughty group, but they’re not goody-goody’s either, and in a story where not much happens, where there’s no beginning-middle-end to speak of, their antics – mischievous and otherwise – drive the story (along with naturally dramatic Sara’s stories, natch.) There’s a bit in the middle that always comes to mind when I think about this book, where the children write their dream books. God, I swear it’s worth a read for that alone, that and the bit where one of the boys thinks that somebody praying for the opposite thing to him will cancel out his prayer. I was genuinely concerned that was a thing when I was small. Aaah, the logic of children. Oh and Sara’s story about how kissing was discovered, or or or, the story about the blue chest.

 "I am sitting on a tragedy," said the Story Girl suddenly”

Isn’t it funny what comes back to you? 
It’s kind of adorable this book, and, I’m sure I read somewhere that The Story Girl was L.M Montgomery’s own favourite so you know, there’s that.

The thing about Montgomery I think, not just here, but in all her work, is that she knew how to tell a story. She knew her audience and she understood them and because of that you don’t just like the world she creates, you become hopelessly attached to it.

I guess really, it’s one of those books that transports me back to my own childhood the second I see the cover. It’s for that reason that I almost don’t want to read it again now: what if by doing so it loses some of its magic?

If you’re interested and why would you not be, because surely everybody loves a lovely book, my copy looks like this:

Look at it; it’s so old and wonderful. That’s because it belonged to my Granny: check out the little dedication inside.

 I miss when people used to write in books like this. Which, it’s a weird thing for me to miss because I like books to be perfect. I think it’s the idea of a story telling a story you know? Like, this book isn’t just the story within it’s pages anymore, it’s its own little piece of the past with its own memories and its own stories to tell. I look at this book and I know where it came from and why, and it carries with it a whole other meaning because of that and I just love it. I love that my Granny read this copy, that her name is in it, and that my Mum read this copy, and that then, when I discovered Anne of Green Gables, Granny passed this copy down to me. I’ma keep it (obvs) and hopefully pass it onto my own daughter one day. It kind of feels like more than just a good book, it feels like a little piece of my family history.

Review: The Fire Sermon

I missed Throwback Thursday last week because I was too busy being ill and feeling sorry for myself. Seriously, I am the worst sick person ever, I’m pathetic. I did, however, finish my book in time for the weekend. & a very good book it was too. It’s one that I mentioned earlier this month in my exciting February releases post and I’m super duper pleased to be able to say it lived up to my expectations.

I’ve seen The Fire Sermon described as The Road meets The Hunger Games, which, it kind of bugs me actually how all the YA dystopian books around these days seem to be being dubbed as the next Hunger Games. I get why, because look at how successful THG has been, and it’s a surefire way to attract a shitload of readers - it works; it attracted me - but at the same time it kind of does books like The Fire Sermon a disservice, because this book, fine, it’s a dystopia and fine, it’s got a strong female protagonist and fine its set in a world where the ‘government’ hold all the cards, but it’s strong enough to be judged on it’s own merits; it doesn’t need to be the next anything, because it’s really good as it is. Let THG be THG and let The Fire Sermon mark out its own little patch and own it. I promise you it can.

Basically, we’re 400 years in the future. The world has survived a nuclear apocalypse referred to as ‘The Blast.’ Since the blast, all births have been twin births, always a boy and a girl and always with one ‘perfect’ human (the alpha) and one considered less than (the omega), most commonly with extra or missing features – limbs, eyes, digits -  who is branded as ‘useless’, cast away and forced to live on Omega settlements as a second-class citizen. Which, well it’s all a bit shit really, ableism at its extremes. The Omega’s are kept isolated but they’re not killed because in an excellent plot twist, if the one twin dies, the other dies too. I love that.

The story is that of Cass and her twin, Zach. On the surface Cass and Zach are both perfect. Turns out though, that Cass isn’t; she’s a seer. It takes 13 years for anyone to figure this out – well done Cass – but her asshat twin eventually drops her in it, Cass is sent away and, after escaping from the cell said asshat twin has kept her in for years (to protect himself. If one twin dies then the other dies too, remember), she quite accidentally becomes involved in a revolution that pits Alphas and Omegas against each other. That's a really interesting premise in and of its self because how can you win a war when each casualty of the enemy results in a casualty for your own side? You never just kill one person, you’re always killing two and that brings about a really interesting moral dilemma that I hope we see more of in the rest of the series.  Whilst all this is going on Cass is being stalked by The Confessor, (another Seer gone rogue and now working for the Alpha Council,) and slowly developing feelings for Kip, another Omega who she rescues as she makes her escape and who has no memories of his past. There is a lot going on here, it’s a roller coaster ride. Fun fact about me: I love a good roller coaster.

This book is very well-written. The thing about writing a dystopia is that you need to be able to create a world that’s out of this world and yet still be able to make it believable – imaginable – it’s something Margaret Atwood excels at (and if you haven’t read her Madaddam series, or Handmaid’s then you need to rethink your choices) and it’s something Haig pulls off pretty well; her descriptive abilities are excellent and almost poetic and the world she’s created whilst far-fetched isn’t so much so that you feel detached from it, or its characters.

It’s original – I’ve not come across anything quite like it – and the whole premise of twin births, of alphas and omegas, of life and of death is really really interesting. The characters are complex and well-rounded and make some less than great choices - Cass for example is blinded by this misguided love for her brother  to the point that you kind of want to bang her head against a wall because the guy is an absolute asshat but you know what, that’s really great because that love that Cass has for Zach who really doesn’t deserve it, and the way that colours her choices, it’s what makes you relate to her, it’s what makes her human: she’s an excellent character because  of her flaws and not in spite of them, because she has this undeserved loyalty to her brother, because she’s scared, because she’s lacking in a confidence in her own ability, because some of the time she has no clue what she’s doing. The thing about Cass is she’s honest: she wants to fight, she wants to do the right thing, but she’s just not sure she’s brave enough, and how true is that? So many books paint being a hero as an easy task and so Cass’s fear, and lack of self-belief were incredibly refreshing as is the portrayal of the Omegas. Lemme give you an example here: Kit and Piper, the two guys Cass teams up  with both only have one arm, yet this is never shown as being a disability. It’s just a fact of life and I think that – that they are never painted as ‘less than’ - is really important, even more so given the messed up view of this particular society that the Alpha twin is always somehow ‘stronger.’

The story progresses slowly, but it doesn’t drag; every moment feels relevant and the twists and turns were enough to have me turning pages even though my poor sick self really want to do some sleeping. The whole world is really fascinating, even the parts that fill you with rage. It’s an interesting study of body image and relationships tied in to a dysfunctional (and that might be the biggest understatement you’ll read here for a while) society rife with segregation, discrimination and fear, oh, and a whole mass of ethical dilemmas. There’s also significant twist that might just blow your mind a little bit. 
 I really really liked it. In fact, my main problem is that I reckon there’s going to be quite a wait for the next installment. 

Patience has never been one of my virtues.

The Fire Sermon will be published on February 26th by HarperFiction.

Review: The Death House

Well then. This is a book I loved. I loved it in a ‘couldn’t put it down, needed some downtime when I’d finished it, honest to goodness book hangover’ kind of a way.

TFiOS for the dystopian fan, that’s how this book was sold to me and let’s be real, if you want to sell a book to me then that’s pretty much the sentence to use. GIVE ME ALL THE WORDS. I devoured it. I couldn’t read it fast enough and now I’ve finished it and I’m mad at myself because it’s over now and I half wish I’d taken my time because now all I am left with is ALL THE FEELS. I cannot with this book. I cannot. 

Toby's life was perfectly normal . . . until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.
Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They're looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it's time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium.

So basically, there’s this group of kids, aged between around 10 and 17 living in this kind of boarding school type house, on an island.

The Death House.

They’re all 'defective', which means at some point they’re going to present with unknown symptoms and be taken to the sanatorium where they’ll never be seen again. Nobody knows what happens in the sanatorium, or even really what the sickness is: it’s never ever explicitly stated and the symptoms seem to vary from person to person so that even a sniffle becomes something terrifying.  There are whispers of all kinds of horrors 'they say it makes you bleed from the eyes'; this is the very definition of living in fear. 
The children - teenagers mostly - pretty much have free rein: there are nurses, who administer their vitamins at night, and teachers who don’t seem to care much about teaching these kids that will likely not reach adulthood and there’s a matron who’s always kind of there in the shadows, a formidable presence, but mostly, they’re left to their own devices: forming friendships and rivalries and waiting until it’s their turn to be wheeled away in the dead of night.
It’s all kind of monsters-under-the-bed stuff really though in a way, the fear of the sickness. I mean it happens: children do get sick and once they are, they're taken, but the fear of that isn’t all there is, it’s ever present but not overbearing; there’s more going on in this book than that, so much more. Pinborough has a story to tell that goes beyond her dystopian setting and she tells it so damn well. The story is incredibly compelling and the characters utterly fascinating – Toby, Jake, Clara, all of them, they get under your skin so that every single one of them makes you feel something different. The book is miserable, God, so miserable and there’s a fear that you can almost taste but at the same time it’s strangely uplifting and some parts were so bittersweet they made my heart hurt.

The use of language is kind of refreshing too – this book contains swear words, kids, - and I liked that, I liked that Toby would tell people to fuck off now and then because let’s be real: you’re 16 and in a house full of people, yourself included, that are waiting to die. A simple ‘go away’ isn’t going to cut it.  It felt like it really was narrated by a 16 year old boy with little time for bullshit. There’s bitterness and anger here, just like there should be and it’s portrayed incredibly well – Pinborough doesn’t shy away from emotion in her writing and it’s incredibly powerful. In Toby, and in Jake – Jake is a freaking incredible character – that emotion is so well written that it makes your fists clench.

There’s this thread of fear the whole way through – of death and of isolation and of the unknown – and an indescribable sadness, but more than that, this is a study of how we react to the things that are inevitable and an incredibly insightful look at human nature and relationships; it’s a character driven story, a heartbreaking tale of love so atmospheric you’ll have goosebumps. And the ending, well. WELL. 

It’s beautiful, this book.  It made me cry.

I’ve been left feeling achey and I’ve been left wanting more and I’ve been left feeling sad that I will never get to read this book for the first time ever again. This book is extraordinarily beautiful. It’s moving and haunting and despite the tragedy of it all, there’s this constant glimmer of a zest for life. Not quite hope (abandon hope Helen, should you choose to enter here and consider this fair warning) but a strange sort of lightness, a demonstration of happiness being found in the strangest of places (and I need to use that Dumbledore gif again don’t I? Oh God. Sorry not sorry.)

Bascially, please please read this book.

Review: Signal to Noise

This book is so great. Seriously. So great. It’s kind of like Eleanor & Park and kind of like The Craft and kind of like nothing else I’ve ever read before: it’s all teenage angst and magic spells and Mexico. It’s gorgeous.  Hang about a minute. I’ma find you a blurb…

Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said “I love you” with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends — Sebastian and Daniela — and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. With help from this newfound magic, the three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love…
Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father’s funeral. It’s hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, and it revives memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? And, is there any magic left?

You want to read it don’t you? You should – both want to read it and indeed, read it.

Signal to Noise is one of those rare novels that feels, quite fittingly actually, like a little bit of magic. You read this and you feel like you’re in Mexico 1988 and not in a ‘this book’s actually a bit dated’ kind of way, because it’s actually astonishingly relevant but in a ‘this author must be a sorceress because she has transported me back in time’ kind of a way.

Mexico City, 1988.

You can taste it and hear it and feel it, it’s so damn evocative I swear.

The setting is important, of course it is: place these characters anywhere else and you’d lose something for sure, but it’s not what matters, really. What matters is Meche, and Sebastian and Daniela. What matters is their story and what their story is, is one of friendship, with a side note of magic. That’s probably really important to note, that this is a book about people, not a book about magic. The magic is interesting and clever and a really neat twist, but it’s not what makes this book what it is.
Signal to Noise is also really cleverly done, because you’re in 1988 and Moreno-Garcia absolutely nails teenage angst, it’s absolutely spot on – the characters are solid and honest and awkward and a little bit self-centred and entirely flawed and so freaking likeable oh my god and you’re reading it and you can remember exactly what it was like to be that age. & then, suddenly, it’s 2009. Its 20 years later and these kids are adult now and that’s ridiculously relatable to as well. I mean, you kind of forget once you get into your twenties exactly what it was like to be a teenager, and how fucking awful it felt some days, how terrible and hard and confusing and shitty it was and at the same time how glorious and never-ending and consuming. Signal to Noise takes you right back there – heartache and first love and high school bullies all suddenly feeling as real and as all-important as they ever did, juxtaposed with this parallel tale twenty years in the future that makes how it was then and how it is now almost painfully familiar. You get to look at the world of a teenager from both angles and it’s, it’s just clever, the way that this narrative makes you think and feel. Moreno-Garcia doesn’t go easy on her characters, then or now, and I love that; there’s also a whole actions-consequences theme which is really quite excellent.

This isn’t a flashy novel and I reiterate:  it is absolutely not a story about magic. It is, quite simply, a slow building, beautifully executed book about people – about love, loss, friendship and family. The relationship between the three friends, particularly between Meche and Sebastian is stunningly written, both in ’88 and ’09 and the NOSTALGIA. Jesus God. Mix tapes and walkmans and no such thing as a mobile phone and feeling like you’d never feel more or different than you did right then. ALL THE NOSTALGIA.

Rewiew: Touch - Claire North

I saw 'The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August' everywhere last year, but I never got around to reading it. I don't know why. Perhaps because I really was trying hard to not buy more books. Don't look at me like that, I was trying, I was. Anyway. I saw it and liked the sound of it, but never read it. I'm going to though, because if Claire North's new book Touch is indicative of her talent as a writer (which it is because she wrote it) I'd be crazy not to.

From Goodreads:

Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.

Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.

Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life -- be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.

Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.

Excellent concept, no? I thought so too. What's not appealing about this kind of almost sci-fi-esque thriller? I did a small dance of excitement when I downloaded it to my kindle. I am so pleased it didn't disappoint.

Also, you know what the first word is? The very first? Josephine. Can I get a high five?!

It's really well written, thankfully (you may colour me pleased) - fast paced and cleverly executed, jumping from time and place as fast as Kepler jumps from body to body, the tension palpable and the story never anything less than fascinating, from the first word (Josephine!) right through to a conclusion that left my heart racing.

This book is really really good.

And it makes you think, which I like.

It's also no secret that I love a good character driven tale, which this one absolutely is. Kepler isn't restrained by age, race, gender and that makes for a really fascinating protagonist. You never find out whether Kepler is male or female which is interesting to me, and could open up a whole discussion with regards to gender and sexuality and societal perception and whatnot. I'm not sure if that's what North was going for, but it struck me the whole way through - who Kepler was, and how Kepler and the other ghosts loved and the way they navigated relationships - and I liked it.

‘You have no preference – for either sex, I mean?”
“I have a preference for good teeth and strong bones, I replied. “I have a preference for clear skin and, I must admit it, I have something of a weakness for red hair, when I find it, and it’s real”

I also liked the back stories. I liked the lives Kepler has lived - the people, the places, the experiences and how in their own way they were all threads that tied back to the main story. I liked the main story, the man hunt from both sides. 

Both a thriller and a curious love story, a recurring theme of this book is 'do you like what you see?'

When it comes to Touch, my answer is a resounding yes.

[Touch will be published on February 26th by Orbit, an imprint of Little, Brown.]

Throwback Thursday: Josephine's Book Edition

It’s not the makeup and it’s not the way that you dance and this is like love too where there’s only one dancer who will win your contest that night and they are not particularly the best one”

Daniel Handler’s We Are Pirates is released today, did you know, which is super duper extraordinarily exciting. I am VERY excited to get my little hands on a copy of this book and as such it seemed fitting that my Throwback Thursday this week should be Adverbs, which I adore. For some reason this book isn’t on my Goodreads, which suggests I read it before I signed up (May 2009 if you wondered) which makes this a real life throwback. If you’d asked me I would have estimated my having read this around 2009, but it must’ve been the earlier part of that year. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. What matters, right now, is that I loved it. So much more than I love the Unfortunate Events books that Handler writes as Lemony Snicket (although I do enjoy those, I’m just not fangirling over them like so many others.) Adverbs though. Yep, that’s 2009 me fangirling like a pro.

And when love is over when the diner of love seems closed from the outside you want all those hours back along with anything you left at the lover’s house and maybe a couple of things which aren’t technically yours on the grounds that you wasted a portion of your life and those hours have all gone southside.

Adverbs is excellent. It’s somehow both novel and short story collection, with each chapter (story?) having a different adverb as a title, all focusing on love. It’s a love story. It’s full of characters all wonderful and puzzling and endearing and of stories that are the same. It explores love and loss, humour and anger and it does so in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It’s the kind of book that makes you love words and love writing and just love. It’s the kind of book that makes your face do the happy thing because it’s kind of remarkable and you don’t come across something remarkable all that often and GOD I cannot believe, actually, that I haven’t talked about it before. Writing this is making me want to read it all over again (and my copy has a pretty cover too, which helps.)

So she loved him. She just did immediately and again often and clearly naturally and soundly and obviously and many others

It’s probably not the easiest book to read, thinking about it, because you’ve got recurring characters but no obvious narrative (but a distinct ability to make the ordinary seem extraordinary) and Handler is all meandering sentences and disjointed thoughts and repetition, but that works for me: I am a fan, actually, of the run-on sentence, of the way it makes you feel like the writer is talking to you rather than trying to write to any set rules. (It’s a good job I am a fan actually, because oftentimes I look at my own writing and think ‘holy run on sentence, batman.’)

They looked at each other like a pair of parentheses.

Adverbs is a gem of a book, it proves in it’s own inimitable way that love really is a verb, that it can be found in a million different places and takes many forms: romantic, platonic, familial, each as precious, as joyful and as painful as the last.  It kind of feels like if you’ve loved or been loved then this book was written for you. I liked it a whole whole lot.

The clock in his car hadn't adjusted to daylight saving time yet and said it was four-fifteen when it was really five-fifteen. Peter probably didn't have time to fiddle with it, or it was tricky, as car clocks are. I didn't mind. You can't mind these things, you just can't, for to dislike what makes a person human is to dislike all humans, or at least other people who can't work clocks. You have to love the whole person, if you are truly in love. If you are going to take a lifelong journey with somebody, you can't mind if the other person believes they are leaving for that journey an hour earlier than you, as long as truly, in the real world, you are both leaving at exactly the same time.

Exciting February Releases

I wanted to post this last week but alas I was on a mountain and could not. That means some of the books I am super excited about this month have already been released, but you'll forgive me, right? I mean it doesn't really matter. There's some gems in here too; February, the month of ski holidays and Valentine’s looks like A Good Book Month. Depending on your view point this is either a good or bad thing as my January book ban has been lifted and I can now buy ALL THE BOOKS. All the boooooooks. Yep, my book haul for February is gonna be a big one.

So, what do we have. What's being released this month that's made its way onto my radar?

I love Anne Tyler. I've loved her since I read A Slipping Down Life when I was fifteen (which is still my fave a whole lifetime later) Anne Tyler's like the apple crumble of authors you know? Delicious and familiar and comforting and I really can't wait for this. I don’t have to either: it’s out tomorrow.

I have a bit of an author!crush on Neil Gaiman. I don't know if that's because of his hair or his writing. Mebbes it's both. Either way I am super excited for Trigger Warning which sounds like a short story collection of delightfulness and which I want. I love everything of Neil's that I've read so far, especially ESPECIALLY Stardust and Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book (still love Silas so hard) and I really really want to read this. Trigger Warning was released on the 3rd. If you already have your copy then let me know what you think!

Everyone knows about Lemony Snicket, right? And I'm working my way through those books and I think they're ok. They haven't rocked my world thus far but I like them. Why'm I so excited about We Are Pirates! then?  Because you know what, if you haven't read Handler’s Adverbs then you're doing life wrong. Seriously. It's so amazing. So SO amazing and....and actually, I'ma talk about it on Thursday so just come back then, please?

As for this. God it sounds equally amazing.

[We Are Pirates! is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives.
Also, it's about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home] 

I did a small dance at my desk when I first read the blurb because it sounds delightful and it has pirates which always says to me Captain Jack Sparrow and I'll be buying this as soon as it's released which is on Thursday actually. Hurrah. 

Touch is really really good, it’s released on the 26th  and I will be reviewing it here on Friday so make sure to come back then for a sneaky read, til then though, if you want a reason to get excited about it: the first word is Josephine. Clearly this is excellent.

Holy Cow - David Duchovny which I read last week and talk about here and which, look I'm not going to lie, this book is really fucking weird. But it's also funny and sentimental and well worth a look. It was released on the 3rd. Just you know, be prepared for the weird okay?

I'm reading this now and so far I love it. It kind of feels kind of like Eleanor and Park and also kind of like The Craft (anyone else remember that film? I loved that film) and also kind of like nothing I've ever read before and it's so cool, so cool it kind of makes me want to be it. It’s about this girl called Meche, and tells her story as a teenager in the 80’s in Mexico, where she was friends with a couple of misfits and her Dad was her hero and she thought she’d found some kind of magic in music – with old vinyl records as objects with enough power to bring down high school bullies and a Grimoire written in a notebook - and her story in the present day, coming back to Mexico from Oslo to bury her now estranged Father and desperately opposed to seeing any of her old pals. The two stories are woven together, the then and the now, and the story is so interesting and well thought out and I really really like it – so far at least. Release day is Thursday so again, not long to wait.

"Toby's life was perfectly normal . . . until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.
Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They're looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it's time to take them to the sanatorium.
No one returns from the sanatorium."
How good does that sound though? I know: really freaking good. Bleak but compulsive. Tfios for the dystopian fan. That's how it's been described and seriously, has this book been written for me? This is the book I am reading next because I cannot wait. It’s released on the 26th and  if it’s as good as I want it to be you shall likely need to drop all things to read it.

Another book released on the 26th and THIS SOUNDS SO GOOD. Here, have the blurb:

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. The complete set. They would have been disbelieving – nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
Born as twins. Raised as enemies.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.
Yes. This is a thing that appeals to me.

 I've heard whispers of this book here and there and Jen talks about it on her most anticipated books of 2015 video. It feels like Snow White with a twist. I'm excited to see how it's going to pan out. It's "a fairytale more Grimm than Disney" and it was released on the 5th so have at it! I’m going to download this on payday (because sadly I do not have the space to own physical copies of all the books I want to read) and I’m really looking forward to it.