Thursday, 14 January 2016

Spring 2016 Penguin Teen Preview Sampler ~ ARC Review

Get a sneak peek at Spring 2016's hottest books! 

Penguin Teen's preview sampler provides sneak peeks into some of the best upcoming Spring 2016 reads, including: 

THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman
SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys
REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton
WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke


I was lucky enough to get the chance to review this sampler via Netgalley, and was truly over the moon with the selection! 

No one book outshone the rest, rather each book created its own unique spotlight - each story was carefully constructed with elements that made it unique and a joy to read.

Read on for my thoughts on the upcoming releases + sneak peeks! 

THE DARK DAYS CLUB by Alison Goodman

New York Times bestseller Alison Goodman’s eagerly awaited new project: a Regency adventure starring a stylish and intrepid demon-hunter! 

London, April 1812. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Lady Helen Wrexhall’s presentation to the queen, one of her family’s housemaids disappears-and Helen is drawn into the shadows of Regency London. There, she meets Lord Carlston, one of the few who can stop the perpetrators: a cabal of demons infiltrating every level of society. Dare she ask for his help, when his reputation is almost as black as his lingering eyes? And will her intelligence and headstrong curiosity wind up leading them into a death trap? 

Book cover: That font is driving me wild! It ties in perfectly with the 19th century setting of the book and sets a rather gothic theme for the cover. 

This is supported by the colour scheme (loving the hints of blue that give the woods an eerie look) and the gorgeous parasol our heroine is holding. 

Yes, I have a serious case of parasol envy right now...and don't even get me started on the adorable bonnet, dress, and gloves ensemble!

First thoughts: This book is the perfect marriage of information and entertainment. 

Political and social spheres of the time are not overly explained but are given in enough detail to submerge the reader fully. The author doesn't dumb any of the details down either, respecting the reader (and their intelligence) enough to allow them to fill in the blanks using their own imagination and knowledge. 

Lady Helen is everything you could ask for in a heroine from the very first page. With a sharp wit and a curious mind, you just know that she'll definitely find herself in the midst of trouble and of great happenings. 

Favourite quote from the teaser:

SALT TO THE SEA by Ruta Sepetys

The author of Between Shades of Gray returns to WWII in this epic novel that shines a light on one of the war's most devastating—yet unknown—tragedies. 

In 1945, World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia, and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, almost all of them with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer toward safety. 

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Book cover: I'm getting a lot of Inception and Titanic vibes, that's for sure! The stormy skies are the icing on the cake - this is one of those covers that speaks to you through its symbolism. All those empty life bouys give me serious chills and speak of unimaginable tragedies. 

First thoughts: The descriptions are golden.

I can't find the words to describe the way this book pulls you in. You're sent heart-first into scenes full of action and emotion, with descriptions that feel so raw you can't help but feel their realism. 

This teaser in one word? Haunting.

Favourite quote from the teaser:

REBEL OF THE SANDS by Alwyn Hamilton

She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands. 

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him...or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is

Book cover: Love, love, love! All the gold accents draw the eye and definitely make this one of the prettiest books of 2016. 

They say don't judge a book but its cover...but I'm going to anyway and guessing by this book's cover it's going to incredible.

First thoughts: Opening lines are everything. Truly talented authors can hook you in from the first word, and that is exactly what Alwyn Hamilton does. 

The descriptions aren't over-the-top, or lengthy - rather, they are rich and decadent. They fill the reader's mind with images as vibrant as the book's cover, sweeping them into Amani's world.

Favourite quote from the teaser:

WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT by April Genevieve Tucholke

The intrigue of The Virgin Suicides and the "supernatural or not" question of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer coalesce in this young adult mystery, where nothing is quite as it seems, no one is quite who you think, and everything can change on a dime. 

Every story needs a hero. 
Every story needs a villain. 
Every story needs a secret. 

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous. 

What really happened? 
Someone knows. 
Someone is lying. 

For fans of Holly Black, We Were Liars, and The Raven Boys, this mysterious tale full of intrigue, dread, beauty, and a whiff of something strange will leave you utterly entranced.

Book cover: First off, the title itself is so, so catchy. 

Not only to say aloud (try it!) but it's catchy to the reader's mind - the title becomes a mystery to unravel as you begin to wonder what each of the names say about their owners, and what roles they each play in this mysterious tale.

Loving the designs on the cover, although I'm hoping they hold some kind of significance and aren't just random. Will have to read the whole book to find out, I guess!

First thoughts: I liked how Wink's POV started with 'Every story needs a hero' and then one of her later POV's began with 'Every story needs a villain'. It was a great way of creating a sense of continuity and already you could tell the kind of booklover and storyteller Wink was, just by the way she organised her POVs.

For me Wink Poppy Midnight was a little too 'edgy' (if that is the right word to use in this case). I'm all for swear words and exploration of darker themes if done right, but I feel like Wink Poppy Midnight was a bit heavy-handed with them for a book that is YA - especially in the first few chapters. It definitely sits on the more 'adult' end of the YA spectrum, in my opinion. 

But the descriptions were genius. I loved how they just flowed on the page and really fit the characters or situations they were assigned to.

Favourite quote from the teaser:


I must write this account, and when I have finished, I will burn it. 

Buried deep within the archives of a convent in medieval France is an untold story of love, loss, and wonder and the two girls at the heart of it all. Dolssa is an upper-crust city girl with a secret lover and an uncanny gift. Branded a heretic, she’s on the run from the friar who condemned her mother to death by fire, and wants Dolssa executed, too. 

Botille is a matchmaker and a tavern-keeper, struggling to keep herself and her sisters on the right side of the law in their seaside town of Bajas. 

When their lives collide by a dark riverside, Botille rescues a dying Dolssa and conceals her in the tavern, where an unlikely friendship blooms. Aided by her sisters and Symo, her surly but loyal neighbor, Botille nurses Dolssa back to health and hides her from her pursuers. But all of Botille’s tricks, tales, and cleverness can’t protect them forever, and when the full wrath of the Church bears down upon Bajas, Dolssa’s passion and Botille’s good intentions could destroy the entire village. 

From the author of the award-winning All the Truth That’s in Me comes a spellbinding thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the final page and make you wonder if miracles really are possible.

Book cover: Simply stunning. Those are the only words to express how timeless and yet mysterious this beautiful cover is.

First thoughts: I don't think this book was written with a pen. Or typed. In fact, I kind of feel like this book was painted, using a delicate brush, to create rich, vivid imagery that you just want to wrap yourself in. 

The choice of words is impeccable, as is the pairing of words (for e.g. 'a city still bruised and bleeding from years of crushing war.'). I honestly just wanted to highlight every line of this book. It's a literary masterpiece.

Favourite quote from the teaser:

Which of these books are you most looking forward to reading?

Let me know in the comments!

Although I was provided with a review copy by the author and/or publisher, all opinions expressed in the following review are purely my own. To find out more, please visit my disclaimer page.

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