Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Last night I finished another great book – Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Blurb: Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

In an attempt to prove himself a true brujo and gain his family’s acceptance, Yadriel decides to summon his cousin’s ghost and help him cross to the afterlife.

But things get complicated when he accidentally summons the ghost of his high school’s resident bad boy, Julian Diaz – and Julian won’t go into death quietly.

The two boys must work together if Yadriel is to move forward with his plan.

But the more time Yadriel and Julian spend together, the harder it is to let each other go.

My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: Yadriel is a brujo, he knows he is, but his family cannot accept that. Brujo’s are men, only natural born men, and Yadriel is trans.

In an attempt to prove himself Yadriel accidentally summons the ghost of Julian Diaz – and now Yadriel has to find out why before ultimately releasing Julian’s spirit, just as a brujo does.

As they spend more time together Yadriel realises that he doesn’t want to let Julian go, but at the same time he has no right to keep him around.

This is a great story, part mystery, part romance – a wonderful back story of a community of people who are intimately connected to the world of spirits

Fully recommend this 🙂

The First to Die at the End

Yes, it’s not been long since I finished the amazing “They Both Die at the End” but I could not resist getting right onto the sequel “The First to Die at the End” by Adam Silvera

Blurb: It’s the night before Death-Cast goes live, and there’s one question on everyone’s mind: Can Death-Cast actually predict death, or is it an elaborate hoax? Orion Pagan has waited years for someone to tell him that he’s going to die, given his serious heart condition. Valentino Prince has a long and promising future ahead of him and only registered for Death-Cast after his twin sister nearly died in a car accident.
 
Orion and Valentino cross paths in Times Square and immediately feel a deep connection. But when the first End Day calls go out, their lives are changed for ever – one of them receives a call . . . the other doesn’t.
 
Told with acclaimed author Adam Silvera’s signature bittersweet touch, this story celebrates the lasting impact that people have on each other and proves that life is always worth living to the fullest. 
 

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: Set at the start of Death-Cast this story follows Orion and Valentino who meet at the Death-Cast launch party – a day which will change both of their lives forever, unfortunately only one of them get out of the story with a forever.

I especially enjoyed how the incidental characters are weaved into the story – even though it’s not immediately obvious how important they may be. I did shed a tear at the little cameo appearance of the young Mateo and Rufus (from the first book), a lovely little moment.

As with the first book, the ending was heartbreakingly beautiful and I genuinely hope to get more tales set in the world of Death-Cast.

They Both Die at the End

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while, so, yesterday I finally opened the cover, and today I turned the final page.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Blurb: A love story with a difference – an unforgettable tale of life, loss and making each day count in the INTERNATIONAL NO. 1 BESTSELLING book of TIKTOK fame, clocking up 80 million views and counting! The First to Die at the End, the prequel to They Both Die at the End, is now available to pre-order in hardback, coming October 2022.

On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: they’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day. 

Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: When you get a call from Death-Cast you know your end is coming – there is no getting out of it, all you can do is choose how to live your End Day.
Two teenage boys – who could not be more different – get that call and, via the Last Friend app, they learn how to make the most of life, even if they only have a few hours of it left.
A gorgeous tale of love, loss, and learning to live.
And yes, I had a few tears at the end
Loved it

Sixteen Souls

So until recently Rosie Talbot was nothing more than the woman with the lovely speaking voice known as Merrowchild on tiktok. Yes she sells books, yes she talks a lot about books… but did that mean she could actually WRITE one? As much as I liked how the book was described I wasn’t sure if I was going to give it a go… and then it got put on offer and it was as if something was telling me to just try it.. you might like it… and did I??

Well let me tell you about Sixteen Souls

Blurb: Someone is stripping Europe’s most haunted city of its spirits. When self-destructive, 16-year-old seer, Charlie Frith, realises that one of his own ghostly friends has gone missing, he must put aside his own safety – and reclusive existence – if he is to find them.

Charlie reluctantly teams up with Sam Harrow – the new seer in town – and a rag-tag group of ghosts, to save their friends from a fate literally worse than death.

But there is a dark purpose behind these disappearances – more sinister than Charlie could ever have imagined. And, as he slowly comes to terms with his romantic feelings for Sam, the stakes become even higher as time quickly runs out!

  • Perfect for fans of Cemetery Boys, Becky Albertalli and V E Schwab.
  • #SixteenSouls has more than a-quarter-of-a-million views on TikTok and counting.
  • A must-read for all young adult fans with intricately plotted mystery, sublime world-building and fantastically diverse cast of characters.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts: I was hooked on this story right from the first chapter. The character, the relationships, the whole arc of the story and its ongoing reveals – perfection!

At the start of the book Charlie is somewhat of a loner – his ability to see, and interact with, the dead has caused him to pull away from the people in his life. How can he explain why he does what he does, or the strange things that happen around him? Maybe it’s just easier to be the friendless weirdo.

When Charlie meets the strangely appealing Sam his entire life starts to change. Sam brings the news of the disappearance of many of Yorks ghosts and something needs to be done about it… who can help but those who see ghosts and know they even exist?

This story grows with every page, as does the relationship between Charlie and Sam.

Is Sam all he appears to be?

Who is taking the ghosts and why?

Is Charlie really able to stop it?

Will life ever be the same again?

If you want to know the answer to those questions (and believe me you DO), then grab a copy of this book today and enjoy the ride!

How to Kill Men and Get Away with it…

Okay… before anyone gets worried, this is a book review – not a list of instructions 🙂

How to Kill Men and Get Away with it by Katy Brent

Blurb: Meet Kitty Collins.
FRIEND. LOVER. KILLER.

Have you ever walked home at night, keys in hand, ready to throw a punch in self-defence? That’s how it all started. The killing spree, I mean.

I sort of tripped into this role… Literally. The first one was following me. That guy from the nightclub who wouldn’t leave me alone. I pushed him, he stumbled, and fell onto his own broken wine bottle. Oops. It was such a waste of a good house white.

But now I can’t seem to stop and nor do I want to… I’ve got a taste for revenge and quite frankly, I’m killing it.

A deliciously dark, hilariously twisted story about friendship, love, and murder. Fans of My Sister the Serial KillerHow to Kill Your Family and Killing Eve will love this wickedly clever novel!

My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: A wickedly fun tale of a seemingly perfect life which hold some very dark secrets. As a social media influence Kitty Collins has everything, the beauty, the friends, the money… what more could you ask for?

But then there are those men, you know the ones, they just can’t take no for an answer… they buy you a drink and somehow that entitles them to something in return? When one such man chooses to follow Kitty home, well it’s not her fault if, in the process of fighting him off, he falls onto his own broken wine bottle and dies… But what it doesn’t do is make Kitty feel bad, if anything there is a satisfaction in knowing such a man is no longer free to do the same, or worse, to another woman.

Unfortunately it does give her a taste for it… and before long the number of bodies just seem to be stacking up… still, it’s all for a good reason. Right?

A fab balance of a dark tale with humour mixed in. I really enjoyed this book and will look out for more by the author in future

All That’s Left in the World – Erik J Brown

Time to tell you about another book I’ve just finished… and this time’s it’s the post-apocalyptic story All That’s Left in the World by Erik J Brown

Blurb: Jamie and Andrew are strangers, but they’re two of the last people left alive. They don’t know what they’ll find on their dangerous journey … but they may just find each other. A queer romance about courage, hope and humanity for fans of They Both Die at the EndThe Hunger Games and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

When the Superflu wipes out most of the population, Jamie finds himself completely alone in a cabin in the woods – until an injured stranger crosses his path.

Life is dangerous now and, armed with a gun, Jamie goes to pull the trigger. But there’s something about Andrew … something that stops Jamie in his tracks. Jamie takes him in, and as Andrew heals and they eventually step out into the strange new world, their relationship starts to feel like more than just friendship …

But trouble isn’t far behind. As the boys make a perilous journey south, they’ll come face to face with a world torn apart and society in ruins. And who, or what, will they find waiting for them at the end of it all?

My Rating: 5/5

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story, a tale not only of finding love in a world that has fallen apart, but also finding hope. Alone Andrew and Jamie are struggling to get by, but together they give each other strength to face whatever the crazy new world might throw at them.

The love story element of this story is gentle and happens over time as a friendship grows into something more, something worth fighting for, or maybe even worth killing for.

Radio Silence – by Alice Oseman

Oh yes, yet another of the books belonging to the wonderful Osemanverse has been quickly devoured – and this time it was Radio Silence

Blurb: What if everything you set yourself up to be was wrong?

Frances has always been a study machine with one goal, elite university. Nothing will stand in her way; not friends, not a guilty secret – not even the person she is on the inside.

But when Frances meets Aled, the shy genius behind her favourite podcast, she discovers a new freedom. He unlocks the door to Real Frances and for the first time she experiences true friendship, unafraid to be herself. Then the podcast goes viral and the fragile trust between them is broken.

Caught between who she was and who she longs to be, Frances’ dreams come crashing down. Suffocating with guilt, she knows that she has to confront her past…
She has to confess why Carys disappeared…

Meanwhile at uni, Aled is alone, fighting even darker secrets.

It’s only by facing up to your fears that you can overcome them. And it’s only by being your true self that you can find happiness.

Frances is going to need every bit of courage she has.

A YA coming of age read that tackles issues of identity, the pressure to succeed, diversity and freedom to choose, Radio Silence is a tour de force by the most exciting writer of her generation.

Rating: 5/5

My thoughts: This is a wonderful tale about friendships, understanding, and being true to yourself. Frances’ entire life is centred around her education – getting into the right university is the ONLY thing that matters and she is risking working herself into the ground to achieve it. Yes she has some friends, but she is never fully comfortable in their presence, they don’t quite fit, or maybe she doesn’t quite fit with them.

And then there is Aled (a supporting character in Heartstopper – the books, not the show). Frances has always known Aled, but it was his sister who she really had the friendship with. When a chance meeting brings Frances and Aled together they being the sort of friendship that they both need, a friendship with someone who truly understands them, a friendship in which they can finally be themselves. A friendship – not a romance!

When Frances discovers they also share a passion for her one, non-educational, hobby – a youtube series called Universe City – their friendship grows even stronger. But it could also risk ripping them apart for good. When Aled goes silent and no one can contact him Frances knows she has to risk everything to find him, to save him.

A great read, loved it

If you don’t like it – don’t do it

I feel like I really want to say some deep and meaningful shit… but I don’t know if I really have the words (hmm yeah not a great claim from someone who occasionally identifies as a writer!).

But seriously – WTF is going on with the world these days?? We are meant to be moving into the future but instead it’s like we’re slowly slipping back into the dark ages – yes America I AM looking at you!

Who the hell has the right to tell ANYONE what they can do with their own bodies? How dare you claim to care about life when the only life you actually care about is before it’s even begun? How is the life of basically a few cells more important than the life of an actual grown woman, or, sadly on too many occasions, a young girl?

I know that your religion might say something is “wrong” – the book you like to read may suggest that being gay is somehow evil…. Well you know what? I’ve read a good few books where describes it with a more honest and real representation of what that is – an expression of love.

Yes I know I am jumping about between different topics but, let’s face it…. denying human rights to one group of people is only ever the first step… who’s next?

And the thing I don’t understand, hand on heart really DO NOT understand… How does what someone else does impact on your life AT ALL? If two men, or two women, are in love – what does that take away from your life? If someone chooses to be called they/them – how does that hurt you? If someone is so unhappy in their own body/gender that they need (need not choose) to change it – how does that impact on your day?

FFS people – just live your own life and let other people live theirs… how much happier would we all be??

So, sorry for the ramble to anyone who actually read it…

Loveless by Alice Oseman – Review

After discovering, and loving, the world of Heartstopper I had to follow on by reading Alice Oseman’s non-Nick and Charlie books… so I started with Loveless

Blurb: WINNER OF THE YA BOOK PRIZE 2021

The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman, author of Solitaire and the graphic novel series Heartstopper – now a major Netflix series.

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?
 
Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush –  but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.
 
As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.
 
But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic –  Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.
 
Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?
 
This wise, warm and witty story of identity and self-acceptance sees Alice Oseman on towering form as Georgia and her friends discover that true love isn’t limited to romance.

‘A joyous, disarmingly honest book that seems to leap right inside the mind of a teenage girl’ Independent [now iNews]

‘Loveless is an ode to friendship and platonic soulmates; this cosy blanket of a novel understandably won the YA Book Prize 2021’ Irish Times

‘A joyful tale of self-discovery” The Bookseller

My rating: 5/5

My thoughts: Georgia has never been in a relationship, never had a crush, never had a kiss… but that would change when she left for Uni, she was determined that it would. After all finding the right person and falling in love is what life is all about. But what if it isn’t?

A lovely story as we follow Georgia’s efforts to find some level of attraction to another person, and her final realisation, and acceptance, that she was actually asexual. But this is not just a story about potential sexual relationships and in fact the most important relationships in this book prove to the friendships which shine through.

A story filled with highs and lows, and ending with hope and an enviable friendship group. A great read.

Heartstopper – Pillow Talk

Okay, so I may just have developed myself a slight Heartstopper addition. Seriously, if you haven’t see the Netflix show/read the graphic novels, you are missing out BIG TIME.

And yes, I know – being a middle aged (ouch), straight woman, I am hardly the target audience, but that is partly the beauty of it. It really can appeal to anyone – such a beautiful and uplifting love story – with a cast I just want to put in a bubble and keep safe forever!

Anyway, it’s been a while since this has happened, but I got this little future scene starting to run around in my head, and I know from past experience that the only way to silence it would be to write it down. So I did. I really wish I could draw so I could have presented this as a little comic strip, but such a talent eludes me so instead here it is in a kind of dialogue block. I hope someone likes it, but if not, oh well… I enjoyed writing it down 🙂

Heartstopper – Pillow Talk

10 years in the future – Nick is 26 and Charlie 25.

Nick and Charlie are lying in bed, it’s getting late.

Nick is on his back, one hand on his chest, his eyes closed. Charlie is on his side facing Nick, one hand under his head, his eyes are open.

Charlie: Nick?

Nick: Hmm?

Charlie: Do you ever…

Nick opens his eyes and turns to face Charlie: What?

Charlie: Doesn’t matter.

In the subdued light of the bedroom Nick can see Charlie’s brow furrowed in thought.

Nick: No, go on, what?

Charlie: Well, I just… do you ever regret us getting together so young?

Nick turns to lie on his side facing Charlie: What? No… why would you think that?

Charlie: It’s just… I dunno… you never got to like… sleep with a woman or anything.

Nick smiles: Nor did you!

Charlie: But I never wanted to.

Nick’s smile widens: Nor did I!

Charlie pauses in thought before speaking again: But you do, I mean, you like women? You still fancy them and that?

Nick: Yeah, and you fancy other men sometimes, I mean, I’ve seen your face when that fit postman brings a parcel round.

Charlie: Hey, that’s not just me. You think he’s hot too.

Nick: Exactly. But neither of us want to do anything about it, do we.

Charlie: No, I guess not.

Nick: Besides, I only ever wanted to sleep with someone I was in love with.

Charlie: But you’ve only ever slept with…. oh!

Nick: Actually…

Nick pauses to kiss Charlie’s forehead: Actually, I’m glad we got together when we did.

Charlie: You are?

Nick: Yeah, I mean imagine all that drama of dating loads of people trying to find “the one”… and my “One” just came and sat down next to me in form room and said “hi”.

Charlie: That feels like a lifetime ago.

Nick: It was.

Nick returns to lying on his back.

Charlie: Nick?

Nick: Charlie, seriously, we need to get some sleep, we’ve got an early start in the morning.

Charlie: I know, just one more thing…

Nick turns his face to look back at Charlie again: Go on.

Charlie: I’m glad we got together when we did too. I don’t think I would have got through all that stuff back then without you.

Nick holds out his arm and Charlie snuggles into his chest: Yeah you would. You were always far stronger than you thought. But I was glad I was there to help.

Charlie turns his face to Nick and they share a soft kiss.

Charlie closes his eyes, knowing that he will never feel more loved, or more safe, than he does in the protection of Nick’s arms.