Saturday, 28 March 2015

Review: Half Wild by Sally Green

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy #2) by Sally Green
Publisher: Penguin
Released: March 26th 2015
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

After finally meeting his elusive father, Marcus, and receiving the three gifts that confirm him as a full adult witch, Nathan is still on the run. He needs to find his friend Gabriel and rescue Annalise, now a prisoner of the powerful Black witch Mercury. Most of all he needs to learn how to control his Gift – a strange, wild new power that threatens to overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, Soul O'Brien has seized control of the Council of White Witches and is expanding his war against Black witches into Europe. In response, an unprecedented alliance has formed between Black and White witches determined to resist him. Drawn into the rebellion by the enigmatic Black witch Van Dal, Nathan finds himself fighting alongside both old friends and old enemies. But can all the rebels be trusted, or is Nathan walking into a trap?
(from Goodreads)

I just. Words fail me. This book. THIS BOOK. I honestly can't stop thinking about it, even now, though it's been weeks since I finished it.

Nathan...I can't tell you the extent of my feelings for this character. The stuff he had been through, the stuff he had to keep going broke my heart. No-one would let him be happy. And this book was dark. I mean, the first book was too and this one generally continued in that fashion. It was a bit graphic at times so it's not for the faint-hearted. But back to Nathan. I don't even know what to say. He was...having a hard time. That's an understatement. He was determined to find Annalise and I just knew, KNEW that it would not end well. I couldn't understand why he was so obsessed with her. I know that she was nice to him as a child, and the only one who ever gave him the time of day but..ugh! I felt like he'd fixed it in his mind that he was SUPPOSED to be with Annalise and nothing else would ever compare. He had this image of her that wasn't true to reality and he wouldn't let anything ruin it. It was so difficult to read sometimes, because Nathan was more than Annalise had ever seen. She'd only ever seen one side of him, the only side he was comfortable showing her. He couldn't talk to her about things like his Gift, and his difficulty controlling it. He couldn't talk to her about the people he had to kill, or his father, or anything he thought would scare her off. She didn't really understand much about him, because he was hiding a huge part of himself, the side he thought was "bad" - and yet he couldn't see it. It wasn't even about good and bad. It was just about doing what you needed to do to survive, and that shouldn't have been something he had to hide. He was already struggling so much with accepting himself and his Gift and everything that had happened and there was this underlying feeling of not being good enough for Annalise that he had to put up with as well. I know he wanted to be with her but it just seemed impossible that it could ever work out and all I wanted was for him to even acknowledge that as a possibility.

Gabriel...well we all know I'm Team Gabriel in this love triangle. Have been since book one. He and Nathan were just so close. At the start of this book, Nathan was so worried about him. He waited in that cave for him to come back all that time. And they just trusted each other. Nathan COULD talk to Gabriel about everything, and vice versa. They understood each other. Gabriel knew that were lots of different sides to Nathan and he accepted them all. I just loved their interactions and every scene they were both in. The dark humour. The way they stuck together. And it's not like Nathan wasn't aware of his feelings for Gabriel [spoiler, highlight to read] ahem the "do you kiss all your friends like that" scene [end of spoiler] but he was just too hung up on Annalise to consider any other relationship. I kept wondering if there really was any hope for them but Sally Green knows how to keep you in suspense. I honestly have no idea how it will end. And Gabriel! He stuck with Nathan through everything. Okay he sort of blindly hated Annalise and thought she was a traitor that would be the end of all of them, but he was nice to her and he went to rescue her and he always had Nathan's back. I really liked his character. He was loyal to a fault in a way, but he was also kind of funny, a strong fighter and could bring people together in a way that others couldn't. He had a pretty depressing past too, with his sister, and I loved the scene where he made a certain vow. Ugh why couldn't these characters just be happy for once!

Annalise...I didn't hate her. I could understand how she felt. She was locked up just for paying attention to what her family considered the wrong type of person. Her own relatives didn't even bother to find her went she was missing, and yet she still loved them. She didn't know where she fit in anymore. But at the same time, I couldn't actively like her. She was too naive. What did she expect to happen? That no-one would die? That Nathan wouldn't be involved in the killing? I don't know what she was thinking. Did she not understand that this was what her brothers were doing? Killing people? Why was it okay for them, but not for Nathan? Or was it just the brutality of it all? Her decision in the end...ugh. She just had no idea what she was doing or the consequences it would bring. And I don't even know what's going to happen in the next book.

In terms of the other characters, I really liked Van and Nesbitt, two new people introduced in this book. I don't think I wholly trusted them, but Van was smart and the kind of person Nathan needed to offer guidance. And Nesbitt, well he was willing to be Nathan's friend. And he tried, even if his jokes were rubbish and pissed everyone off. How could you not warm to him? Marcus also reappeared and I really liked that Nathan got to spend some time with his father, though I wish he'd been in it more. It was interesting to see his point of view and thought processes on things. Definitely enlightening. And despite everything, I couldn't hate him.

Plot-wise...well. So many things happened that I did not expect. We saw the return of several characters playing roles I didn't think I would see. And God, Jessica was a nasty piece of work. The writing was also excellent. There was, and I'm being honest, not a single boring moment. There were scenes that just made me want to cry, that made me so so angry, that me feel hope and then despair and basically every emotion ever. The humour was so dark sometimes I wondered whether it was even humour anymore. And the ending. The ending. HOW could it end there, HOW. What did that last line even mean? How am I supposed to live, until 2016, not knowing what happens next? I haven't wanted to read a sequel so much since Harry Potter, and that is saying something. I need book three.

Overall, Sally Green is amazing, I loved this book and everyone needs to read this series.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Review: The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Crime (The Winner's Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Released: March 12th 2015
My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Lady Kestrel's engagement to Valoria's crown prince calls for great celebration: balls and performances, fireworks and revelry. But to Kestrel it means a cage of her own making. Embedded in the imperial court as a spy, she lives and breathes deceit and cannot confide in the one person she really longs to trust ...

While Arin fights to keep his country's freedom from the hands of his enemy, he suspects that Kestrel knows more than she shows. As Kestrel comes closer to uncovering a shocking secret, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth.

Lies will come undone, and Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them in this second book in the breathtaking
Winner's trilogy. (from Goodreads)

For some reason, I did not have high expectations for The Winner's Crime. I wanted to read it a lot, but I just didn't think it would be very good. I have no idea why, since I did like the first book. But as it turns out I enjoyed The Winner's Crime a lot, maybe even more than book one, and it definitely surpassed my expectations. This time, I am very much going to be looking forward to book three.

Kestrel was trapped in a situation that required her to constantly be acting and lying and making sure no-one suspected where her true loyalties lay. She needed to try and convince everyone that there was nothing going on her between her and Arin and that she wasn't sympathetic towards his aims. As a result she had to play to a clever game to hide what she was getting up to, and I have to say she was really smart, much smarter than I would have been in her situation. At first she was reluctant to take an active part in helping the rebels first; she just wanted to keep her head down and avoid trouble. But in the end she felt like she had to do something; she couldn't live with herself if she just sat there and did nothing. I did feel like she was too closed off at times, I think she should have told the truth about Thrynne among other things but I understand how she felt and how concerned she was about keeping a low profile. Sometimes  I just felt so bad for Kestrel...especially at the end because oh my God. But I'll get back to that (oh will I get back to that). Mostly though I felt sorry for her because of this web of lies she was tangled in. It was sad that she had to pretend she didn't like Arin, or care about him. And I so desperately wanted her to tell him what was really going on, but I knew she couldn't and UGH.

Arin himself was interesting to read about. I really enjoyed his chapters; we got to find out more about him, like what happened to him in the first book all those times he wasn't with Kestrel and all the stuff he never told her, and it definitely gave us more insight into his character. We also got to see what he was planning and the people he was talking to and trying to make allies with. The Queen definitely liked him and I don't know how I felt about that. His reaction was kind of funny. Arin, however, did not spend much time with Kestrel in this book. They weren't often together. And when they were...goddamn it! He knew Kestrel was hiding something but he never found out what it was or why she agreed to marry the Prince or how she really felt - WHY couldn't he SEE ahhh! It was so frustrating  that he didn't get what she was doing. But to be fair Kestrel was lying to his face every time they met, so it wasn't surprising that he doubted her feelings. But still. These two. I have such feelings.

Plot-wise, this book was really engrossing. I really liked the scenes where Kestrel was trying to gather information to help the Herrani rebels. The moth method of passing messages for some reason really stood out for me. I think it's because I kept thinking how much easier this would be for everyone if they just had some damn phones! It would be much less dangerous. But then that would  be a whole different book. I just knew something bad was bound to happen eventually because of this risky method of communication. The Emperor (who was a horrible evil creep) was definitely playing a game and I knew he didn't really trust Kestrel. No matter what she did, he'd be watching her. The Prince though, wasn't as bad as I thought he'd be. He was stuck in this marriage too and I think he and Kestrel were forming a sort of tentative friendship (not really romantic though, I got the feeling Risha, who I quite liked, was a liittle bit in love with him). The ending though. The ending. How. What. I mean, I can't even express how I feel about what happened. [spoiler, highlight to read] HER OWN FATHER. [end of spoiler] HOW could it end like that? WHY WOULD MARIE RUTKOSKI DO THIS. I just. I'm kind of a little hung up on this ending even though I read this book months ago. At least I'm really looking forward to the next book now, and the different setting we'll probably get to explore.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Winner's Crime. I was an idiot to not expect great things from it, and I shall not be making that mistake with book three. Recommended.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Review: Mind Games by Teri Terry

Mind Games by Teri Terry
Publisher: Orchard Books
Released: March 5th 2015
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Luna is a no-hoper with a secret: in a world of illusion, she can see what is real. But can she see the truth before it is too late?

Luna has always been able to exist in virtual and real worlds at the same time, a secret she is warned to keep. She hides her ability by being a Refuser: excluded by choice from the virtual spheres others inhabit. But when she is singled out for testing, she can’t hide any longer.

The safest thing to do would be to fail, to go back to a dead-end life, no future. But Luna is starting to hope for something better, and hope is a dangerous thing...
(from Goodreads)

Mind Games was a book that had a pretty good premise but ultimately was a bit too confusing for me, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to.

Luna, the main character, was a Refuser; someone who refused to use technology, such as virtual plug-in systems, and insisted on a conventional education taught by an actual person. No-one could understand her reason for opting out; she wasn't religious and she didn't have a medical exemption. But for Luna, being a Refuser was for a reason she could never reveal to anyone - when plugged in, Luna had dual awareness, meaning that even when she was in virtual reality, she was still conscious of her body in the real world and could control her actions. But doing so made her very sick, and so under strict instructions from her grandmother, who had drilled it into her whole life, Luna never told anyone her secret. I really did like this idea, and I found the way Luna could perceive both worlds very interesting. Luna herself was generally a decent character as well; she clearly cared a lot about her grandmother, but she also hated being ridiculed and wanted to prove she wasn't useless. However, she made a lot of odd decisions and it just took her too long to work things out that were clearly obvious. First of all, she told Gecko most of her big secret like, five minutes after meeting him. Luckily it didn't turn out too badly, but come on. You don't just trust some random boy with your biggest secret you never even told your own family just because he's good looking. Second of all, there were certain people that Luna came into contact with who were clearly shady and whose suggestions were obviously part of some bigger agenda, and she only worked it out last minute when it was too late, and as a result made stupid decisions/mistakes that led to such frustrating consequences. It just didn't seem believable that someone who had spent her life being so cautious would fall so easily into these traps.

The plot, however, was my main issue with this book. I could have overlooked everything with Lila if we'd had a solid plot, but half of it just didn't make sense. Let me start off by saying that I really enjoyed the first half of this book involving the testing centre, the meeting with Gecko and the stuff with Jezzamine and Melrose and Hex. I liked the dynamic between all those characters and how things changed with the situation they were in. But after s'hacking (silver hacking) was introduced, everything just went downhill. I understand that the author did put some work into trying to explain the silver and how everything worked and all these grids, but to me, it made no sense at all. I just didn't get how some people innately had this power, how the void could be programmed into you, like what the hell? I didn't get how the void worked, or why Lila had [spoiler, highlight to read]the silver tattoos (was she born with them?!) and just knew how to control the void with barely any help [end of spoiler] and everything was so confusing. Even regular hacking wasn't explained well - I had no idea how the Implants worked at all. None of this stuff seemed to really have scientific basis and it seemed more like magic than anything else. Trying to explain it with science just didn't work and shouldn't have been attempted. I started skimming towards the end. Like, the hacking/silver/void stuff just seemed made up and not at all like it could actually be possible; I couldn't believe that it could truly be the result of an advanced technological society. And speaking of this advanced society - the world building was poor. We were never told why everyone was suddenly plugging into these virtual worlds, or what led to this happening or how PareCo became such a controlling company. World War III was mentioned a few times but again, it was never explained fully, we didn't find out what it was really about or why exactly it arose or how the outcome led to society becoming this way. And while I could believe some aspects of this novel (the more Psycho-Pass reminiscent aspects, if you've seen that anime that's a major clue), I mostly found it unrealistic and lacking explanation.

The ending I found especially disappointing, a) because it seemed rushed, and b) because we had spent so much time reading about this technology that could seemingly do anything, it then felt unrealistic that what had happened couldn't be resolved by using this technology, or at least temporarily leaving things the way they were until a solution was found. It just seemed like a sudden and kind of unnecessary decision to assume that things HAD to end that way.

Overall, I was disappointed with Mind Games. My main issue was the confusion I had, though it may just be me not understanding the explanations.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Waiting on Wednesday #65

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness
Released: August 27th 2015
Find it on Goodreads

What if you weren’t the Chosen One?

What if you’re not the one who’s so often the hero in YA fiction; who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you were like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend might just be the God of mountain lions...
(from Goodreads)

I have never read a Patrick Ness book before (I know, I know, I'm terrible, I'm a disgrace to YA, blah blah) but I really love the sound of this book. I think it's something most people can relate to. I do love to read and escape the world, I do love going on adventures with superheroes, but in reality, I am never going to save the world the way characters in YA books do. Most of us won't. So the fact that this book is about that, about a character who is basically us, the regular person, caught up in the end of the world, just trying to get by in life, is something that really appeals to me. I'm interested to see how everything plays out and where this book leads.

What are you waiting on this week?

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion
Released: February 12th 2015
My Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
(from Goodreads)

I...loved this book. I don't even know how to write this review. It was just amazing. Go read it. Seriously. I haven't liked a book this much in a while.

So before I started this book, I was super, super excited for it. When I first read the summary I knew it was something I had to read, it just sounded awesome. So when I saw it on NetGalley I was SO happy, I requested it straight away and practically cried with joy when I was approved. So needless to say I had some high expectations, and honestly, I was not disappointed.

First of all, Mare was such a brilliant character. Half the reason this book was so good was because of Mare. She perhaps didn't stand out in a big way like other characters in popular YA, but I really do think the book wouldn't have been as good if Mare weren't the main character. I just loved her dry and sarcastic sense of humour, and the way the narration came across because of that - it was so witty at times! I liked the way she was always suspicious of the King and the Queen - she knew they could kill her at any time if they wanted and didn't trust the promises they offered. I also liked the fact that she was willing to risk so much for her family. I could sort of understand her feelings at the start; she was overshadowed by her younger sibling who was much more talented than she was and was the one the family was proud of, whereas Mare was always looked down upon for stealing, even though she was the only reason the family could afford to get by. But after everything that happened, Mare was willing to do whatever necessary to keep her family (and her friend) safe, even if it meant abiding by the King and Queen's rules. She lived in a cruel world and she knew she had limited options. Her powers were definitely interesting as well. They worked differently to regular Silver powers and I liked learning more about them through her lessons with Julian and also through her physical training. I do think the plan to pass Mare off as a Silver was very flawed - did they really expect the masses to believe this girl had never bled for 17 years? And she was at risk of bleeding and showing the true colour of her blood in training! But as the book went on it seemed to be less about making the people believe and more about keeping them quiet and you could tell there was definitely something sinister going on behind the scenes.

Regarding Maven and Cal - well I can't say much without spoiling the whole book. But for a lot of the book I was torn. I was suspicious of them both throughout - especially Maven, being the son of creepy mind-controlling Queen Elara and all - but at the same time, Victoria Aveyard managed to make me feel sorry for them both. Maven because, much like Mare, he was overshadowed by his brother; the Crown Prince who was better at everything, who was favoured by their father, who was the one who everybody loved, who was always chosen over him. He was bitter. And Cal, well Cal had no freedom. He was being forced to marry a woman he barely liked, he was always on show, always having to live up to his father's expectations. He didn't want revolution, he was too afraid of the war change might cause - and that was where he and Mare really differed (and I have to say I agreed with Mare. How could Cal possibly stand for the horrific injustices that occurred? How could he not want change if he disagreed with it so much?). He was sympathetic, but unwilling. Though I am intrigued to see if his mind will change in the next book. Mare clearly knew real suffering and didn't want to be part of such inequality. I don't know how much she influenced Cal, but I think out of the two, they had the best chemistry and I hope that Cal steps up because that's the only way I would like them to end up together. Ahhhh I honestly cannot wait for book two!

Plot-wise, I loved everything. Some parts were slightly predictable but I think you get that in every book. Red Queen differed from quite a few books in the sense that Mare actually played quite a direct role in the rebellion, as opposed to being a figurehead or motivational speaker or something. People died because of what Mare did, and even if it was for what she considered the greater good, even if she did regret it later, she had to live with that. I also liked the way certain actions affected Mare's relationships with some of the secondary characters (who were pretty much all fleshed out and not just random filler people), like Lucas (who I really liked) and Julian. And the ending, wow. Even though I was expecting something of the sort to happen, it was still thrilling and I could not stop reading. I finished this book at like, 2am, because I couldn't put it down. And after that ending, well. I just need the next book. I don't know how I'm going to wait, honestly.

I've probably missed out loads of things and I definitely haven't done this book justice, so all I can say to you is read it. Read this book. It is the best first book in a series that I have read in ages, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic Blog Tour: V. E. Schwab's Favourite Literary Villains

Hello everyone, and welcome to my stop on the A Darker Shade of Magic blog tour! Today I have V. E. Schwab (also known as Victoria Schwab) on the blog to talk about her favourite literary villains, so without further ado, here is her list!


Victoria's Favourite Literary Villains

*Cracks knuckles* My favorite kind of list.

1. The Thin Man from The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly. Creepiest dude ever. Enough said.

2. Mr. Croup, Mr. Vandermar, and the Angel Islington from Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I honestly couldn’t decide between the three, but Croup and Vandermar gave me the chills in the best way.

3. The Darkling from Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo. Tall, dark, handsome, and evil. You really can’t fault me.

4. The Falconer from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch. I love everything about this series. In fact, it, along with Sanderson’s Way of Kings are among the rare times I enjoy the heroes as much as the villains, but Lynch’s Falconer is one of my favorite villains: damaged, complicated, and vengeful.


There you have it! The only book I've read from that list is Shadow and Bone (I know, I'm terrible, but I have The Lies of Locke Lamora on my TBR pile) and I definitely agree with Victoria about The Darkling. 

I hope you've enjoyed my stop on the tour. Please see below for info about A Darker Shade of Magic and Victoria (seriously, if the synopsis and beautiful cover don't convince you to read this book, I can't help you). Also keep an eye out for my review which should be up fairly soon!

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Released: February 27th 2015
Find it on Goodreads

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.
(from Goodreads)

From Titan Books: V.E. Schwab is the bestselling author of Vicious, which was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2013, an Amazon Best Book of the Year (as well as Best Book of the Month), a semi-finalist in the Goodreads Choice 2013 Book Awards, and the ALA top pick for Fantasy for their 2014 reading list. It was also noted in various author best-of lists, from Laini Taylor to Chuck Wendig. She is also the author of The Near Witch, The Archived, and The Unbound.

Find Victoria:


Thank you for visiting my stop today. Don't forget to drop by So Many Books, So Little Time tomorrow for the next stop on the tour. Please see the blog tour banner on the sidebar for more details.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Blog Tour: Review of Jessica Cole: Model Spy - Code Red Lipstick by Sarah Sky

Code Red Lipstick (Jessica Cole: Model Spy #1) by Sarah Sky
Publisher: Scholastic
Released: June 5th 2014
My Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads

Models, spies and lipstick gadgets... When Jessica's father, a former spy, vanishes mysteriously, Jessica takes matters into her own hands. She's not just a daddy's girl who's good at striking a pose; she's a trained spook who knows how to take on MI6 and beat them at their own game. (from Goodreads)

I have always loved spy books and grew up with series like Alex Rider and the Gallagher Girls, so naturally I was very curious about Code Red Lipstick. After reading it, I can safely say that I really haven't changed at all - I still think spy books are awesome, and I will be looking forward to adding the rest of this series to my collection.

I really liked Jessica. She and her dad had a close relationship, which was nice to see, and he was the one who readied her for the world of spies. Her dad was ex-MI6 turned private investigator and he taught Jessica a lot about being covert and sneaking around as well as how to use a lot of his cool gadgets. When Jessica found out her dad was missing, her first thought was of course to find him. And while Jessica perhaps did seem a bit older than her age of fourteen, the way she used her surroundings and modelling to make it to Paris was well done and I liked that she had an actual plan of what she was going to do. She was determined to find her dad, no matter what, and she wasn't going to let any MI6 agents get in the way of that. It was admirable, though definitely reckless (a few of the scenes did push the limit of believability) but I have to say that Jessica was way more fearless than I would have been her situation. I did think she maybe didn't pick up on a few clues she really ought to have, but I guess she was so worried about her dad that a lot of the time she wasn't thinking properly about the things she'd seen and heard.

There wasn't much focus on secondary characters in this book, besides the agents Nathan and Margaret, who I'll talk about later. However, I did like Jessica's best friend Becky and I hope we get to explore her character a bit more in book two. Jamie was a potential love interest but Jessica was too busy trying to solve the mystery of  her father's whereabouts in this book to really concentrate on him (which I actually really liked because I think a romance would have ruined the plot at this point). It may be that he plays a larger role in the next book, so I am intrigued about that. In regard to Nathan and Margaret, [spoiler, highlight to read] I suspected Margaret from the start, she was way too accommodating and pushing Jessica towards Allegra who was obviously dodgy whereas Nathan seemed genuinely concerned [end of spoiler]. I think maybe Jessica should have realised what these characters' aims were, but as I said before, she was probably too worried about her dad to think about anything else. I do hope to see more of Nathan and Margaret in book two, especially after the ending, because it will be interesting to see how Jessica will act around each of them now she knows more than she did at the start of book one.

Plot-wise, I have read a LOT of spy books, so I did find a few things a bit predictable (e.g. the villain, the ending) but to be honest, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book and a lot of the time I really didn't know where the story was going. I was pulled in from the beginning, which was a great way to start the story, and it was also fun to read about Jessica combining her model skills and her spying skills and seeing her snoop around to look for clues. I liked how things turned out and I am very excited to see what Jessica does in the next book. I really want to find out more about Sara as well, whose character was very briefly focussed on and yet managed to be one of the most interesting of the lot. This book actually reminded me a little bit of Miss Congeniality (in a good way, of course) but with younger characters, and I can see it making a good film.

Overall, I really enjoyed Code Red Lipstick, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading the sequels. Recommended to people who like spy books, especially if you're looking for something to fill the gap now that the Gallagher Girls series is over, but also to people who enjoyed Geek Girl, because the modelling aspects are similar.


Sarah Sky is the author of Scholastic's Jessica Cole: Model Spy series with Code Red Lipstick and Fashion Assassin. Catwalk Criminal is published in June 2015.

Sarah is a freelance education journalist and lives in West London with her husband and two young children.

She grew up in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, and studied English at Nottingham University before gaining a post-graduate diploma in journalism at Cardiff University. 

She trained as a journalist at the Western Daily Press in Bristol. Her highlight was interviewing screen legend Charlton Heston and lowest point was being sneezed on by a cow at a fatstock competition.

Sarah worked as an education correspondent for a national newspaper before going freelance. She now divides her time between journalism and writing.

She loves reading, baking, table tennis and martial arts. She's a green belt in kick-boxing and a brown with two white stripes at karate, currently training for black.

Find Sarah:


Thanks for visiting my stop of the Jessica Cole: Model Spy review tour! Don't forget to visit tomorrow's stops at Tales of Yesterday, Blame My Bookshelf and Fiction Fascination. Please see the blog tour banner on the sidebar for more details