Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes

June 6, 2018 in Book Reviews, YA

Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews
Published by Orchard Books on 7th June 2018
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: Paperback
Source: Subscription Box
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.

When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Ever since I came across Cait’s (the author’s) blog, Paper Fury, several years ago, I’ve been waiting for the day that I’d get to hold her book in my hands and savour more of her writing. That day has finally arrived with A Thousand Perfect Notes gracing the shelves TOMORROW (7th June 2018), and it was definitely worth waiting for!

A Tiny Summary

Beck Keverich, 15, lives with his 5-year-old sister, Joey and his mother, whom he calls The Maestro. In her earlier years his mother had been a famous pianist. Now, The Maestro pins all of her hopes and dreams on Beck’s shoulders as she forces him to practice the piano constantly, to the detriment of the other aspects of his life.

His mother left Germany with him when he was young, but his uncle still lives there – a world-famous pianist and composer who continues to promote the Keverich name. The Maestro is determined that Beck will live up to that famous name.

Beck and Joey live in poverty – going hungry and lacking in clothes as their mother has spent all of her savings on the piano that she insists Beck plays at all hours of the day and night. She wants Beck to emulate her, but what does Beck what? It isn’t until August enters his life that he starts to wonder this for himself.

My Thoughts

This book was an emotional rollercoaster. Beck’s mother abuses him, dictates his life, destroys his confidence and beats him. All the while, Beck tries to protect Joey and allow her some semblance of childhood.

The characters in this book are marvellous. I adored Beck, Joey and August and the interactions between them are simply fantastic. Drews had me snorting with laughter one minute (which is rare for me when reading), and had my heart breaking the next.

I don’t tend to read many YA contemporaries but this book drew me in from the first page. If you read Cait’s blog, you’ll feel her style leaping off the page. Her characters are so real, her writing is stunning and, as one would expect from Cait, this book is laced with delicious food!

Truly, this is an incredible debut that managed to tackle such important and difficult issues, while still entertaining the reader. I devoured this book and I’m sure you will too!

Apparently, this wonderful book hasn’t been picked up by US publishers yet, so if you’re in the US remember you can still get your hands on this gem via Book Depository (not an affiliate link).

I can’t wait for Drews’ next book, The Boy Who Steals Houses, which is out in 2019. In the meantime, I’ll continue to get my fix of Cait’s writing over on her blog Paper Fury.  If for some strange reason you aren’t already a visitor to her blog, I suggest you do the same. Oh and read A Thousand Perfect Notes – it’s not to be missed!

four-half-stars

Review: Everless

December 14, 2017 in Book Reviews, Fantasy, YA Fantasy

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Everless Everless by Sara Holland
Published by Orchard Books on 4th January 2018
Genres: YA Fantasy, Fantasy
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
five-stars

In the land of Sempera, the rich control everything - even time. Ever since the age of alchemy and sorcery, hours, days and years have been extracted from blood and bound to iron coins. The rich live for centuries; the poor bleed themselves dry.

Jules and her father are behind on their rent and low on hours. To stop him from draining himself to clear their debts, Jules takes a job at Everless, the grand estate of the cruel Gerling family.

There, Jules encounters danger and temptation in the guise of the Gerling heir, Roan, who is soon to be married. But the web of secrets at Everless stretches beyond her desire, and the truths Jules must uncover will change her life for ever ... and possibly the future of time itself.

I’d heard so much love for this book among fellow reviewers who’ve also been lucky enough to get early copies so I was excited to delve into this new fantasy series. However I must admit, I started reading Everless with a little trepidation. Could this book live up to the early hype? The simple answer, for me, is yes.

I actually had a whole section written to try and describe this book but honestly my draft was long and I just didn’t feel it did the book justice. So we are just going to skip that bit and I refer you to the synopsis above!

This is a hard book to put down, and yet I didn’t want it to end. The concept of time as a currency, extracted from the blood is so creative. I’ve never read anything quite like it. Sara Holland has created a fascinating, rich world where the gulfs between rich and poor are not only measured in monetary value but in time, lifespan.

There’s so much to like in this novel. The storyline is absorbing and mysterious, with characters that I certainly became invested in. It’s a clever, well-written novel that may on the surface appear like others in the genre but is actually quite unique. It has a fairytale-esque feel to it, with the same looming darkness our favourite tales contain.

All in all, this is an excellent, addictive read. I genuinely cannot wait to read the second book in this series. I really think Everless will be hugely popular in 2018. Expect to see this book everywhere.

five-stars