Please, Judge that Book by the Cover {+ Year Review}

Y’ALL. WHERE DID THIS FREAKING YEAR GO?

Let’s just talk about some of the things that have happened: I ordered the PERFECT gift for my family (they’re two pillows with maps of our home cities!), the election, I got some articles published to Her Campus (HELL YEAH!). Y’all broke my stats counter with all the visits to the Sex in YA post. That made me way more excited than it should have. I surpassed 1000 followers on Twitter.

The book blogosphere went super passionate over social issues like sexism, rape culture, and sex positivity. The election brought out the fire in people, and I hope we keep it burning these next four years at least. Crossing my fingers for forever.

I made some amazing new friends. I started college. Switched majors. Absorbed a minor. (officially, it’s now a Communications, concentration in journalism, with a minor in women’s and gender studies)

Oh yeah, and I did that one AMAZING internship at the beginning of the year.

This post is going to be a summation of all those things. I think that frequently, books are as they are presented. In that I mean, judge away. If a book has a cover that’s got me like “come hither” that bodes well for it’s contents. This has been a fantastic year for books. It’s been a lovely year for book covers. While I just did a once over of me, let’s get down and dirty with some of my favorite book covers of the year.

Leave a comment telling me the BEST thing that happened to you this year + your FAVORITE cover of 2016. 

xo,
Jackie 

One. 
Two. 
Three. 
Four. 
Five. 
Six. 
Seven. 
The Thousandth Floor by Katherine McGee
Eight. 
Nine. 
Ten. 
Eleven. 
Twelve. 
Thirteen. 
Fourteen. 
Fifteen. 
Sixteen.
Seventeen. 
Eighteen. 
Nineteen. 
Twenty. 

#ARC Review || The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis || How Deep is Your Love?

The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Published September 20, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen
Goodreads || Amazon

Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her.

So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

“My violence is everywhere here” (ARC)”

How does one even begin a review of a book that is literally EVERYTHING that they were hoping for? There’s this poem by Rudyard Kipling that you should read, mainly because the second half of “the female of the species” phrase is super revealing in terms of the context of the book. Plus it’s also just a really fun poem. Mwahaha.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is the story of Alex, Peekay, and Jack. The story begins with Alex telling the reader how she kills. Alex is damaged by the Criminal-Minds worthy murder of her older sister. Her sister’s name was Anna, and she was both Anna’s protector, and the one to calm her when she felt too much. Her story is what I wanted from the New Adult book Marrow, by Tarryn Fisher. While I liked that one, THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is a story that will stick with me for a long time. And it’s all because of Alex. She may actually be one of my favorite characters out of any book ever.
She’s incredibly unique. I haven’t read a character like her except for in Marrow.
Alex is the discourse of right and wrong, she is the line between sanity and the insane, she is the vengeance and redemption. She knows who she is, and she’s more than aware that she is capable of murder, and is able to do so again. When Peekay and Jack invade her life, she does not suddenly become a whole new person. Peekay is the preacher’s kid, and their working together at the animal shelter brings them together. Jack is the beloved sporty hot guy of the high school, and senior year marks a fascination with Alex that he can’t shake off. They both want to know her.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES is about social injustice (think rape, sex offenders) just as much as it is about murder, a wolf in human skin, and the main character interacting with people her own age—really just people in general– for the first time. The book is all about the gray areas.
The story itself is incredibly authentic. I was connected to the town, to each of the character’s families. I was made to wonder, wanted to look through my high school year book, which of my classmates was the one who quietly avenged those wronged by society. In the center of Alex’s turmoil with her own (being, should I call it being?) being there was still a high school with academics and teenage drama and Life After High School.

The fact is that this book is beyond beautiful, and brutal, and heart-wrenching. And I love it.

“I’m this raw, bleeding thing feeling everything for the first time, the joy and the pain” (ARC). 

#Review: Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Assassin’s Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Published: Feb 2, 2015
Goodreads || Amazon
HarperTeen

In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible—and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct—and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

Oh, beautiful cover and promising summary how you have deceived me. I wanted magic and murder, blood and romance. I wanted the brutality and the cunning nature of an assassin who kills for a living. Unfortunately, while I did get some of this, I did not get it all. And I certainly did not get it with the intensity that I was hoping for it. While the world was stunning, and I did like Lea sometimes, but to be honest I just wanted a whole lot more stabbing to occur. Death and murder and mayhem would have been exponentially appreciated.

The Plot ||

Y’all here is what really had me a little bit bored. I never felt invested in what was going to happen. Like—yes, you’re on a journey. That’s great, babe. But I do not really care. Lea is on this quest to avenge her family which have been brutally murdered by the family of boy she loved: the Da Via family. They have a bit of a Romeo + Juliet thing going on, as well as the struggle of disassociating the family with The Family. There are nine Families of Assassin’s, and these children just happen to come from two of them who happen to have a bit of a feud. And since they are assassin’s feuds typically involve stabbing.
(again, why wasn’t there more stabbing?!)
Basically the girl who wants the lives of the people who took her Family’s/family’s lives is just super clumsy and falls into unfortunate situations and just doesn’t act very assassin’s like. Which leads me into characters.

The Main Character ||

Here’s the main theme of my thoughts with ASSASSIN’S HEART; I liked the book and the characters and the plot, but I never loved any part of it.
When it comes to Lea, this is especially true. Death is a part of being an assassin, even in the Family, and I just though the way she reacted was equal parts unprofessional as true to her age. She’s 17, for goodness sakes. She’s lost everyone she’s ever loved. Even the boy she loved. He’s betrayed her. So (obviously) she’s got to destroy his entire Family like he destroyed her’s. But, then again, she’s also been in training since she was born. Weapons and murder are a part of her daily routine, and are a way of worshipping her Goddess (who, by the way, is my favorite part of this entire book. Like swooooon; she’s badass). When trying to get her revenge, she makes some pretty significant oopsies and I just…I don’t know. I didn’t really believe it.

The Romance ||

I wasn’t feeling it. I don’t really have a whole bunch to say about why I wasn’t feeling it, but I wasn’t. It felt a little bland. I was, however, happy that it wasn’t insta-love. Even without it being insta-love, I still didn’t find myself into it.

Overall ||

As I stated on my goodreads review when I finished the novel, it really was fine. Just fine. Not bad, not great. It didn’t set my world aflame, and I did finish the book. I won’t be reading it again, however. One time is good.
One time is just fine.

Beautiful, but Disappointing || #Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Goodreads || Amazon
April 26, 2016
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen

Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds friendship and warmth.

But Akaran has its own secrets – thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran’s magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar’s plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk – it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.

Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.

Inspired by Indian mythology.

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones” (ARC). 

The best part of the book was all the endearing things Amar said to Maya. In fantasy books, I sort of expect the weirdly poetic phrasing (I’m not lovely? Oh, I’m like thunder and lightning and I’m a star-touched queen, and you’re going to rip the stars from the sky for me? Please, do tell me more) and bright worlds. I loved the inter-weaving of Indian stories and religion and myths. I love the splash of culture and spices and saris and magic. I love the grotesque—it’s my favorite kind of beautiful. One thing I didn’t love? The main character. I was not a fan of the star-touched queen, Maya.

Let’s chat about the plot, first off. Maya has a dark horoscope, and even with her royal background, it has put off potential suitors. Just when she is about to sacrifice herself for her father-the Raja- Amar comes swooping in like a super hot, smooth worded Dark Knight (I love the 1001 Nights, stories, and this book definitely had the same aura) and marries her. The entire rest of the story is a journey of self-discovery in a vibrant, shadowy world.

The culture is gorgeous. As a general thing, I really enjoy reading about Persian, Indian, and Middle Eastern cultures. I wish those were in YA more. And if y’all have any suggestions, please let me know! The Indian culture in this book was my favorite part, and Amar was a close second. Maya, she fell last.

I felt like she was supposed to be strong, but I just though she was annoying. I do understand her hope and desire for freedom. And I understand that she didn’t get the answers she was searching for immediately. However, in this life and any others to follow, instant gratification isn’t really up for grabs. Waiting to see what happens is how power is gained. I thought that Maya’s character was flimsy and that there was an unrealistic change in her once she got married. Power isn’t something you are immediately given, even by a marriage such as hers. I found myself annoyed with her unwillingness to compromise. She dealt with. She was given a pretty good hand, and she refused to recognize it. Of course, that was a part of her journey.

Overall, this book was pretty beautiful but I just didn’t like Maya. I love the bright colors and demons, and almost everything that had to do with Amar and the night sky and edible jewels. Unfortunately, it fell flat of my expectations overall.

#Review | HERE THERE BE DRAGONS | Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake

Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
Goodreads | Amazon
Published: January 5, 2016
Review Copy via Andye @ ReadingTeen.net

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed.

HERE THERE BE DRAGONS. 

I’ve always wanted to use that in a review, and I don’t exactly have a reason to in this one, but this is the total vibe of the book. Daring sword fights, love with a sort-of-prince, magic (and I’m talking the magic that takes you to any library in the world—Paris, anyone?), and changelings. Sorry, there’s no actual dragons. But there are quite a few things that have the HERE THERE BE DRAGONS aura about them.

THE MAPS (for which the adventure is traveled by)

It began with a book and a hot guy named Arik in a leather jacket with a crooked smile who gave her that look that totally told her that he was, in fact, a dragon slayer. Other-wise known as a knight. And the dragons are actually hellhounds.

He’s the leader of the knights and he is head over amour with Gia. And he an I have a love / get out of my face relationship. I understand there are laws and such, and that he has a reputation to uphold and all that jazz (seriously, I do) but he just kind of got on my nerves. I feel like maybe the love interest shouldn’t get on my nerves for as small of reasons as Arik did much of the time? Maybe I’m totally off base here? While his character isn’t completely loveable, it is fleshed out. And he is relatable. And I do actually like the guy.

I also want his leather jacket.

He’s need to protect Gia paired with his backing her up when she needed to go do her- whether that was being a novice or slaying- was nice. He was the leader on this journey of self discovery.

THE PLOT 

This book did read very much like a book one, and I wasn’t particularly in love with that either. I found the book to move at a good pace. I wasn’t ever especially bored with the book but I did like the second half much more than the first. Once all the character development and plot devices were engraved in stone things began to really move along, Gia’s voice became more mature (something I appreciated), and more lovely characters were introduced.

There were twists and turns in the plot, but nothing too shocking.

The lack of shock factor contributed to the rating, but the end (and one character in particular) shoved that final half point onto the rating. The book itself was okay, just okay. But the characters gave it the extra oomph that it so desperately needed. It was fine, but I’m not eager to read for the plot. I want the next book because I need to know more about the characters. And magic.

FINAL WORDS

This book was okay, the cover is fantastically purple and gorgeous. I love the magic and heroics and the girl power. I really like the mystery character who you’ll juts have to read to find out more about.

RIDERS by Veronica Rossi // ARC Review (TorTeen)

RIDERS // Veronica Rossi
ARC via Publisher (TorTeen)
Feb. 16, 2016
Goodreads // Amazon

For eighteen-year-old Gideon Blake, nothing but death can keep him from achieving his goal of becoming a U.S. Army Ranger. As it turns out, it does.

Recovering from the accident that most definitely killed him, Gideon finds himself with strange new powers and a bizarre cuff he can’t remove. His death has brought to life his real destiny. He has become War, one of the legendary four horsemen of the apocalypse.

Over the coming weeks, he and the other horsemen–Conquest, Famine, and Death–are brought together by a beautiful but frustratingly secretive girl to help save humanity from an ancient evil on the emergence.

They fail.

Now–bound, bloodied, and drugged–Gideon is interrogated by the authorities about his role in a battle that has become an international incident. If he stands any chance of saving his friends and the girl he’s fallen for–not to mention all of humankind–he needs to convince the skeptical government officials the world is in imminent danger.

But will anyone believe him?



Okay, y’all. Picture this.
Picture out world: green trees in the spring time and wild fires in late summer. Now picture a lack of green and whole heck of a lot of fire. Picture out world consumed by fire. Consumed by things less than human eating goodness. Do you see the apocalypse?
Now, picture Horsemen. NO. Not the one’s of the head-less variety, but rather of the Biblical sort. From Revelations. YUP. War, Death, Famine, and Pestilence. Those are the one’s from the story. And RIDERS by Veronica Rossi tells the story of War and the girl he loves, and the way the world falls apart.
Isn’t that an introduction?
I can honestly say that me favorite part about RIDERS is the description of the horses. They sound so freaking bad ass. I want them. The writing, as we can expect from Rossi’s previous fantastic series, is stellar. But, young readers, don’t go into RIDERS expecting Perry’s Berries or any of that. This publication isn’t like the other in any sense other than the writing style is similar. And I have to say, although I like it, I don’t love it.
Go ahead, cue the sad face.
The romance. I wasn’t feeling it. I wasn’t feeling any of the characters other than the horses, really, but I adore the plot. It’s really a building for the second (but I’m not telling you a thing. Can’t risk giving anything away, y’all.) book. Which, surprisingly, I didn’t hate. YAY. But the romance was an aspect of the story that was especially hard to get into. I mean, I don’t need to understand why they like each other, but I would like to know why they like each other. Through all the questioning and confusion, self-discovery, and general bad-assery I was surprised that the romance even existed.
The general progression of the story was told by War recounting events to a government official. OKAY. So, I love, love, LOVE this aspect of the book. It was something totally unique that I personally hadn’t seen before. I was totally digging it. Even if it was a little interrupt-y at times.

Overall, this book deserves 4 stars because of the plot and the individuality of the story. It was unique, and so not what I was expecting. But, that’s not really a bad thing- is it?
SO. Are you hard-core anticipating this book? Thank you TorTeen for giving me an eARC! I super duper really appreciate it. 

THIS RAGING LIGHT by Estelle Laure // Only Half In Love

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure
ARC via Andye (The All-Knowing) at readingteen.net
Pub Date: January 2016
Goodreads // Amazon // My Reviews

Can the best thing happen at the worst time? 

Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.


But I’m sorry I let her fall. (ARC)
Breaking, broken, and raging, raging, raging. Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has to care for her younger sister. And she’s terribly in love with the most inconvenient of boys. This book wracked my being with sadness. Pretty much this entire book was me feeling like this girl needed a hug, some time off, and a nice big, home-y meal.
THIS RAGING LIGHT was beautiful and so, so sad. It felt a whole lot like a drowning person struggling to keep their head above water. Although the beauty of this book is undeniable, this is a VERY emotion-driven book. And, unfortunately (me being a mood reader) I wasn’t totally head over heels for it. I need a bit of happiness. As much as I ship the love, I also really DON’T ship the love. As much as I love Eden, I also want to punch her.
So let’s talk the plot. After being sufficiently abandoned by those meant to take care of her, Lucille works herself to the bone and deeper to take care of her fourth-grade sister and to keep their little family fed and together. She doesn’t shy away from doing what she has to do in order to keep her head above water.
And then the character… There is Lucille, her younger sister, Eden, and Digby. The brief flashes of minor characters are what I think make this novel sort of build to a ‘fever-pitch.’ This community is what makes this book unique. Their willingness to be helpful. Anyways: Digby. I’m half in love with him, and half disappointed in him. But, then again, those disappointments and awe-moments is what makes the boy who he is.
That’s sort of what I like about this book, and also what makes it a 3-Star novel. The flaws and the mistakes develop the character and are used as a building technique instead of some kind of growth point.
Basically, THIS RAGING LIGHT was a very half-full, half-empty book for me. I didn’t feel as much as I wanted to. I was pretty monotone while reading it, and when I did feel something it wasn’t joy of amusement. It was the kind of sadness that weighs you down. After finishing it I had to read some upbeat book about friendship where no body is left. I think this book plays a lot on fears. Or at least some fears of mine. And maybe because it was so startling it deserves more stars, but for me…. this book just wasn’t it.

The novel was beautiful, and totally quote worthy. However, it wasn’t as emotion-inducing as I was hoping. I need to be able to connect with the characters. Unfortunately, I couldn’t.

ARC Review: Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett

Blood and Salt by Kim Liggett
ARC via Andye @ ReadingTeen
A m a z o n   //   G o o d r e a d s
Published: September 22, 215

What Blood and Salt is all about:
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.

“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”

These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.

Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.

As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.



First Sentence: The dead girl hung upside down over our kitchen table. (ARC)
As bloody as it is spell-binding (literally), as romantic as it is horrifying, Kim Liggett’s debut novel, BLOOD AND SALT, sinks it’s claws under your skin and doesn’t let you go until you heart is completely torn from your chest and thrown into the deepest ocean. Liggett’s writing doesn’t let you go until you are all in. Blood and salt. (and yes, I totally just used a book reference.) Gorgeous and tragic. Dark and riddled with a kind of romantic doom, this modern take on Romeo and Juliet combined with Children of the Corn is utterly delightful. In an earlier review of a different book, I complained because the creepy factor was too low. This one was what I was looking for. It was perfect. An old curse, madwomen and a field a corn. Dead girls hanging in sight of one girl, darkness and light, gruesome deaths, a cult set on becoming immortal, and a magic so dark the devil would be envious.
I tried to focus on his retreating footsteps, but all I could hear was the corn rattling, like it was whispering my name. (ARC)
Ash’s mother was born in Quivira, and Ash is a conduit. The only one in her family’s line. Her fate is entwined with Katia’s, the woman who plagued the Quivira community with the curse of sacrificing their bodies to act as vessels for Katia and her one great love. When Ash’s mother abandons Ash and her brother to go to Katia to act as her vessel, visions more powerful than anything that have been thrust upon her before consume her thoughts. She and her brother find themselves in a cornfield. In that field is Quivira and all the sinister alchemy, forbidden love, and murders that the town accepts. In this town Ash meets Dane.
When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in- blood and salt. (ARC)
Ash and Dane are quickly all in. But their love is also forbidden. So very forbidden. Potentially resulting in Dane’s own murder by the people of Quivira, who are desperate to have their taste of the life where dying is but a myth. Of course, what would this book be if Dane was hiding a secret, a secrets only he knows? But he still loves, and he does, indeed, throw his heart into the deepest ocean. God, the romance in this book is flipping fantastic. The writing is stunning and I just wish I could write like that. The plot: the plot, y’all.  Hells-to-the-freaking-yes. A thousand times yes. *shivers the best kind of shiver* Lordy, I love creepy stuff with cults and murder and dead people and things that are exactly what they seem and ALCHEMY. I love it. I love romances so dark and deep and heavy and bloody that they refuse to believe in it ending. The kind that makes the idea of immortality, however it be obtained, taste a little sweeter. The kind that drips down your chin like honey.
There was nothing innocent about the kiss; it was dark and deep, something I wanted to dive into and never return from. (ARC)

Okay. Basically, what I’m attempting to get across it that thIS BOOK IS CREEPY AND ROMANTIC AND CORN-FILLED AND I LOVE IT. Very much. And you should totally pre-order and read it. There’s another quote I love but it’s at the end of the book and very spoiler-y. So none of y’all get to see it. Guess you’ll just have to order it. *winks*
Tell me your secrets. Or just tell me you like the creepy, bloody stuff as much as I do. Or tell me you don’t. If you don’t–I recommend this book.

Covers on NetGalley that are Colorful and Beautiful

So I was on NetGalley the other day, totally minding my own business, and I stumbled (in a super graceful manner) across these covers. They aren’t books I would normally read, but the covers…oh, man. They’re actually kind of stunning. Of course, I’m a total cover freak. So maybe it’s just me. But I can’t resist them.
Then, as this is my usual train of thoughts, I though ‘HEY!’ I’ll put this on my blog and have it foreverrrrrr. Because that’s totally just what I do. Also, you kind of really need to see these two colorful covers. 
So without further rambling, here they are. 

In the summer of 1965 the informal parties that Ken Kesey was holding at his house in Palo Alto California were about to evolve into what became known as the Acid Tests. 
These spontaneous anarchic gatherings spread their tentacles far and wide until an entire generation seemed to be under their spell. Fifty years on from the Merry Pranksters multimedia mayhem, acclaimed author Rob Chapman explores in crystalline detail the history, precedents and cultural impact of LSD, from the earliest experiments in painting with light and immersive environments to the thriving avant-garde scene that existed in San Francisco long before the Grateful Dead and the Fillmore Auditorium. 
In the UK, he documents an entirely different history, and one that has never been told before. It has its roots in fairy tales and fairgrounds, the music hall and the dead of Flanders fields, in the Festival of Britain and that peculiarly British strand of surrealism that culminated in the Magical Mystery Tour. Sitars and Sergeant Pepper, surfadelica and the Soft Machine, light shows and love-ins – the mind-expanding effects of acid were to redefine popular culture as we know it. 
It’s a story that you think you know, but no one has laid out the narrative quite like this before. Chapman documents psychedelia’s utopian reverberations – and the dark side of its moon – in a shimmering day-glo portrait where the sublime, the sinister and the just plain silly co-exist in imperfect harmony.
The funny, moving and heartfelt family saga continues in the third instalment in Bluebell Gadsby’s diaries.
It’s the summer holidays and Flora has gone off with Dad to the exotic set of his new film and Mum is at home having a much-needed rest with baby Pumpkin. Bluebell, Twig and Jas have been sent to stay with Grandma at Horsehill in the countryside.
With Grandma keen that the children get as much fresh air as possible, they are sent off on bikes to go wild swimming and befriend the boys next door. With so much freedom, they can’t help but get into trouble, and Grandma doesn’t seem to be as capable as looking after them as she should be…
Natasha Farrant has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years, running her own literary scouting agency for the past ten. She is the author of the Carnegie-longlisted and Branford Boase-shortlisted YA historical novel The Things We Did For Love, as well as two successful adult novels. Natasha was shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Award 2014, and the second Bluebell Gadbsy book, Flora in Love, was longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Prize. She lives in London with her husband and daughters.

Book + Flower: A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.