Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly 4.5 Stars – While middle grade isn’t the sort of thing I normally read I have been trying to branch out more. I picked it up mainly because it features a deaf main character and it is written by a sign language interpreter so the representation is going to be accurate. We are introduced to Iris who is named after a whale that beached on the day she was born and it was a connection she shared with her grandparents since they are both deaf. Iris has a hearing parent in her father and she also goes to a hearing school which causes some issues since she needs an interpreter there but he is funny and Iris goes out of her way to make him laugh throughout the day. Iris also likes to fix radios despite not being able to hear as it presents a challenge to her and she is good at it, however, the recent death of her grandfather and the moving of her grandmother into a retirement home has shattered the connection that Iris thought she has to the world and she is struggling.
The Girl with More Than One Heart by Laura Geringer Bass 4.75 Stars – The opening to The Girl With More Than One Heart was interesting as we are introduced to Brianna who father had an undisclosed heart condition and he had recently died from it. Brianna around this time believes she had a second heart that speaks to get in her father’s voice but it doesn’t make sense to her. This might just be a child’s way of dealing with the loss of a parent especially one she is close to. Brianna used to be close with her mother before the birth of her brother, Aaron but since then she had been a lot closer with her father which might explain her reaction to his death. She is not just dealing with grief and loss but the impending feelings of loneliness which isn’t something someone that she should have to go through.
Only We Know by Simon Packham 5 Stars – The opening to Only We Know was interesting as we are introduced to Lauren who for some reason has had to move home and school to St. Thomas’ with her sister, Tilda and her parents. From what I can gather either something happened to Lauren or Lauren did something that is forcing her to repeat the last year of school and she has panic attacks about people finding out about this event. On her first day of school she is understandably nervous but we don’t know the full reasons behind this but it must have been serious since her new school is keeping the exact details hidden on a need to know basis in order to protect Lauren and give her the best experience they can. There also seems to be a very strained relationship between Lauren and Tilda which Lauren is sad about since they used to be very close when they were younger and she wants to repair the relationship but doesn’t know how. Lauren is also under a lot of pressure to keep her head down but also create a good experience at this new school but in the age of the internet it won’t be long until someone finds out and I am excited to see how Lauren deals with it.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle 3.75 Stars – I remember there being a lot of hype surrounding this book around the adaption came out years ago so I don’t know why it has taken me so long to pick it up but I finally am. The opening of A Wrinkle in Time introduces to Meg and the rest of the Murray family including the twins, Sandy and Dennys, Charles Wallace and their mother. Their father seems to be away for a long time to the point where Meg as the oldest believes he is either not coming back or he is dead. There is also something strange about the family and this becomes apparent when we meet Charles Wallace for the first time. Despite his young age he seems to be highly intelligent like his parents and almost has the ability to read the minds of others. During a bad storm the family except for the twins meet an elderly neighbour who was out in the storm and before she leaves their home she mentions to their mother that the tesseract does exist and their mother is shocked by this although they don’t understand what this means yet.
The Comfort Book by Matt Haig 3.5 Stars – Having read both The Midnight Library and The Humans by Matt Haig I was eager to check out his non-fiction work which seems to be more polarising that his fiction and I was recommended The Comfort Book over How to Stop Time so I picked it up. The Comfort Book falls somewhere between a self help guide and a look into mental health from someone who has experienced it first hand and is able to give advice on the situation, however, I didn’t like that it seemed to push talking and talking therapy when it isn’t a one size fits all situation. The Comfort Book is also extremely short under 300 pages and read a lot quicker than that, I believe I read it in just under 2 hours which is impressive for me considering it is non-fiction which I actively avoid reading unless I have to.
One Thing Stolen by Beth Kephart 4 Stars – I have read Going Over by Beth Kephart in the past and really enjoyed it so I finally decided to pick up One Thing Stolen but I wasn’t overly impressed with the opening section of the novel. We are introduced to Nadia who is spending time in Florence with her family but she has recently a need to steal things which she is desperately trying to keep hidden. Until one day she witnesses a young boy stealing some important items for a church and decides to chase him but she is the only person who saw the boy and believes that she is going crazy for a moment. Nadia seems to have been close to her father in the past but that bond seems really strained right now because of the secrets she is keeping from him. While I did appreciate what Kephart was trying to do with her writing style it seemed very disjointed to me and made the reading experience a little off-putting but I am going to continue for now just to see where it goes.
Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos 5 Stars – When I got the chance to be a part of this blog tour I jumped at it since Go Hunt Me was a really hyped release I have been looking forward too and it sounds like something I am going to love. The opening to Go Hunt Me was amazing as we are introduced to Alex in the hospital after her friends have been killed at Castle Prahova in Romania but we don’t know how and why. We then jump backwards in time and realise that Alex was filming a short film in order to get into her dream school alongside her boyfriend, Jax and the numerous friends in Reagan and Kenna. On Halloween night they are preparing for a party but the others decide to surprise Alex by secretly filming some of her short film before the party kicks off but they unintentionally scare the living daylights out of her. I really liked the dynamics between the friend group and how they are helping each other out and I can’t wait for them to travel to Romania and for the horror elements to really take off.
Hide by Kiersten White 4.5 Stars – I recently finished Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos and Hide sounds like a similar kind of book so I decided to pick it up and give it a go since I adored Go Hunt Me. The opening to Hide was very interesting as we learn a lot of disturbing things early on. We learn about an amusement park where a five year old girl was murdered and even though an employee was arrested for the murder a shoe belonging to a child was found near a part of the park which had been closed off to the public since it opened in the 50’s. The second disturbing things is that our protagonist, Mack’s while family was murdered by her father and the only reason she is alive is because she hid the entire time. Mack is offered the chance to compete in a hide and seek competition for a large sum of money if she wins and after meeting her competitors she feels she had a good chance at winning. This is giving me similar vibes to the movie, Would You Rather? which had a similar premise. From the introductions of the 14 people competing many are either wannabe celebrities or down and out celebrities but there are a few like Mack. There’s a veteran named Ava wearing two sets of tags, one belonging to her and one belonging to someone else and a boy named LeGrande who is nervous and seems to be scared of women who might be Mack’s biggest competition.
Swipe Right for Murder by Derek Milman 5 Stars – I attempted to read this book a while ago but I wasn’t in the right mood for it but now I’ve getting back into horrors and thrillers I decided to pick it up. The opening to Swipe Right for Murder was interesting as we are introduced to Aidan who is meeting up with some friends after going to a hospital appointment. After having tea with Jackson and Tatiana, Aidan heads back to his room and looks for a hook up in the hotel and finds a boy from school but this meeting is a disaster so he goes looking for another one and finds Benoit. Benoit seems to want something from Aidan but he isn’t sure what, after the sex, food and sleep Aidan awakes to find Benoit dead in the bed. On Benoit’s phone he finds pictures of himself obviously taken from a distance and a sniper sight sweeping around the room. Aidan hides but then Benoit’s phone rings and he makes the idiotic mistake of answering it and I can only put this down to shock but it really sets the tone of the novel.
Gallant by V. E. Schwab 3.75 Stars – The opening to Gallant was interesting as it setting seems to be in a more historical period, we are introduced to Olivia Prior who has been living at the Merilance School for girls since she was two years old. Her mother seems to have left her there because of a mental illness which Olivia learns about through her mother’s journal and that her father died before she was born, Olivia is also mute making her life at the home difficult but at 14 she has learnt to live with her situation. However, there are a few strange things about her like the fact she can see ghouls and even in extreme pain has never uttered anything louder than a gasp despite wanting to on many occasions. One day a letter is sent to the school from Olivia’s uncle, Arthur requesting that she return home to Gallant but her mother’s journal warned her against the place but she is overjoyed at finally having somewhere to belong that she doesn’t really think about it. We also get a brief introduction to the Master of the House was from the synopsis I gather lives in an alternate version of Gallant and is looking for a way through and this might have been where her mother disappeared to but I can’t wait to find out.
The Loop by Ben Oliver 5 Stars – I have read both The Loop and The Block before but since The Arc came out recently I am rereading the first two books to read the conclusion. We are following Luka Kane who has just turned 16 and he celebrates inside a state of the at prison known as the Loop, which is run by the AI, Happy. The Loop keeps the prisoners in almost completely isolated apart from one hour a day where they can talk over the walls. All the prisoners have been sentenced to death and the only way to prevent the execution is by taking Delays. Delays are medical trials and experiments that the prisoners take part in to pay back their execution date. One thing to note is the society is split between Alta, genetically modified cyborgs and Regulars, non-altered humans and there are Naturals too, these are Regulars that are more beautifully that others but not as much as an Alt. Luka used to have a friend in the loop, Maddox but he went for a Delay and never returned which is pretty common, however, there is some good about Luka’s prison life. The warden, When seems to care about them smuggling them in non-technological items like books and using Happy’s update time to let them or of their cells to interact and it’s here we get to meet some of the other prisoners.