Wind Dancer | Chris Platt

Synopsis {Goodreads}
Ali McCormick used to love horses. But then she and her beloved pony Max were in an accident; Ali was injured, Max died, and Ali’s brother Danny, who caused the accident, joined the military. Now Danny has returned from Afghanistan, injured and traumatized. He’s learning to walk with the prosthetic that has replaced one of his legs, but he can’t seem to find a way to reconnect with family and friends. Withdrawn and quick to anger, Danny suffers from terrible nightmares and frightening mood changes.

When Ali and her friend Cara realize that an elderly neighbor has been neglecting her horses, they decide they have to act. Little does Ali realize that she’ll end up having to help care for these two horses, who are starved and suffering from malnutrition. Can Ali rise above her painful memories and love a horse again? And can Wind Dancer, also injured and traumatized, help Danny find meaning in his life again?

Review
I won this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. 

As a lover of horses, and books about horses, I was so excited to start reading this book when I got it.

Ali and Cara notice that the owner of two Appaloosa horses is seemingly failing in caring for them and so, they break into her barn late one evening and find the horses starving, thirsty and basically living in their own filth.

After they report it to animal control the next day, they hope they haven’t gone and caused more trouble.

After losing her previous horse, Max, Ali doesn’t want another horse to care for. But when her parents and the local vet decide that the best place to keep the two horses is Ali’s corral, and the ask for her help, Ali slowly comes to realise that she misses caring for horses.

This is a nice, quick read and is suitable for horse lovers of all ages.

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Wonder | R J Palacio

Synopsis {Goodreads}
I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. 

August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

Review
I had been wanting to read this book for such a long time, and when I finally decided to pick it up I wish I had picked it up sooner.

I raced through Wonder in just a few hours and I fell completely and utterly in love with the characters an with Palacio’s style of writing. The way that she brings her characters to life on the page just brings a smile to your face and you just cannot help but feel for her characters.

Wonder not only made me laugh, but it also made me cry. I just wanted to bundle Auggie up in a bunch of blankets, give him hot chocolate and keep him safe.

Overall, a heart-warming story that gives the reader a whole bunch of different feels. I am very glad that I decided to read this.

The Year We Fell Apart | Emily Martin

Goodreads {Synopsis}
Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

Review
I bought this book simply because of the cover -holds hands up in surrender- I’m sorry! It was just too pretty to pass up. I didn’t even read the synopsis before hitting the Add to Basket button. I was not disappointed either… Maybe I should cover buy more often.

While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Harper {I am not very often a fan of the female lead, especially in contemporary novels}, I adored Declan. I loved how the relationship grew between the two characters again, after being so hesitant to start with because of the past.

Overall, a great first novel, and I cannot wait to see just what else Martin has in store for us after The Year We Fell Apart.

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2) | Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Goodreads {Synopsis}
Hanna Donnelly is the station captain’s pampered daughter and Nik Malikov is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. Together they struggle with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, blissfully unaware that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall with news of the Kerenza invasion.

Review
Did I struggle to start this book? Yes. I bought it while I was in a reading slump and regretted not being able to get into it straight away. But when I finally did manage it, this book literally tore my heart into pieces, before haphazardly sticking it back together again with sticky tape. I didn’t know what to expect with each page turn, what would happen to the characters, or who was going to kill who, be killed, or betray someone next.

It’s been a while since I read Illuminae but, I think that I actually preferred Gemina over it. The plot moved a lot faster and I loved how it showed the parallels that run throughout the book, after a certain point.

I can’t wait to see what else the authors have in store for this world, and just how they’re going to tie everything together.

Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) | Jay Kristoff & Amie Kaufman

Goodreads {Synopsis}
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Review
When I first saw the cover for Illuminae I was intrigued. When I saw some of the inside pages, and how it was going to be set out {told in a compilation of hacked documents, emails, military files, IMs, interviews etc} I was sold. I knew that I had to have my own copy.

I’m not really a sci-fi kind of person, but when I started Illuminae , it made me realise that I really do enjoy the genre. While I found it a little hard to get into at the start, one I got a bit further into it, I was soon flying through the pages.

When I got around to THAT plot twist, I literally screamed at the book at stopped reading it… For all of about 10 minutes.

Overall, I am sooo looking forward to the rest of this trilogy and I cannot wait to see what these authors have in store for our characters.

Prince of Shadows | Rachel Caine

Goodreads {Synopsis}
In the Houses of Montague and Capulet, there is only one goal: power. The boys are born to fight and die for honor and–if they survive–marry for influence and money, not love. The girls are assets, to be spent wisely. Their wishes are of no import. Their fates are written on the day they are born.

Benvolio Montague, cousin to Romeo, knows all this. He expects to die for his cousin, for his house, but a spark of rebellion still lives inside him. At night, he is the Prince of Shadows, the greatest thief in Verona–and he risks all as he steals from House Capulet. In doing so, he sets eyes on convent-bound Rosaline, and a terrible curse begins that will claim the lives of many in Verona…

…And will rewrite all their fates, forever.

Review
Wow… Just… Wow.

Having previously read the first 11 novels in the Morganville Vampires series by Rachel Caine, when I saw that she was going to be releasing a stand-alone novel, and a retelling of Romeo and Juliet at that, I knew that I was definitely going to buying this one when it came out. I did, and then let it sit on my shelf for a couple of years, as I normally do with all of my books.

When I finally did pick it up, reading it made me wish that I had picked it up sooner. Prince of Shadows is told from Benvolio Montague’s, cousin to Romeo Montague, point of view and boy does it breathe a breath of fresh air into the well-known story.

Seeing the lives of the Montagues and the Capulets through a different set of eyes provides you with more of an insight as to the lead up to, and the aftermath, of the events that take place in Romeo and Juliet.

I found Prince of Shadows to be heart-stopping in places, and I knew that I would not be able to put the book down until I had finished it. Caine just seems to have a way with words that pulls you in from the very first page. It is now one of my aims to read as much of her writing as I can.

The Girl with All the Gifts | M R Carey

Synopsis {Goodreads}
Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Review
I will be totally honest when I say, this book was completely and utterly out of my comfort zone, but oh boy did I love it to pieces.

The Girl with all the Gifts was definitely… different from most of the other novels that I normally read. A different take on zombies as these are not the brain-eating, undead zombies that you see in most films. These zombies won’t attack you, if they can’t smell the pheromones that you emit.

I thought that Melanie was such a cute, clever girl, so very different from the rest of the kids around her. More human. I loved Carey’s style of writing, it is that type of writing that gets you hooked, and makes you not want to stop reading until you get to the very end.