Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
A Season for Fireflies
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A story of second chances from the author of Between Us and the Moon, which Kirkus Reviews called “what first love is meant to be.”

A year ago, Penny Berne was the star of her high school’s theater department, surrounded by a group of misfit friends and falling in love for the first time. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, her new best friend is the most popular girl in school, and her first love, Wes, ignores her. Penny is revered and hated. Then, in a flash, a near-fatal lightning strike leaves Penny with no memory of the past year—or how she went from drama nerd to queen bee.

As a record number of fireflies light up her town and her life, Penny realizes she may be able to make things right again—and that even if she can’t change the past, she can learn to see the magic where she never could before.

This captivating new novel about first love, second chances, and the power of memory is perfect for fans of Lauren Oliver’s Before I Fall and Katie Cotugno’s How to Love.

A Season for Fireflies by Rebecca Maizel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Season for Fireflies “You’re in Providence Memorial. You were struck by lightning two days ago.”

This was a YA contemporary story about a girl hit by lightning.

Penny was confused in this book, which was understandable considering she’d been hit by lightning and couldn’t remember nearly 17 months of her life.

“I feel like a stranger in my own life.”

The storyline in this seemed to take a while to get going as we started with Penny with her original friends, then her new friends, and then her accident which left her with her dodgy memory. I did feel sorry for Penny when she realised that her friend weren’t her friends any more, but I also felt sorry for her new friends, who she seemed to just drop!

“I lost my best friend, Penny!”

The ending to this was okay, and things did seem to work out fairly happily. This book was just missing something for me though.

6 out of 10

Monday, 27 June 2016

Bridge Daughter by Jim Nelson

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kindle Scout.
Bridge Daughter
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Young Hanna thinks her thirteenth birthday will be no different than the one before—until her mother explains the facts of life. Hanna is a “bridge daughter,” born pregnant with her parents' child. In a few months she will give birth and die, leaving her parents with their true daughter.
A mature bookworm who dreams of college and career, Hanna is determined to overcome her biological fate. Navigating through a world eerily like our own, she confronts unyielding attitudes and instinctive fears as old as humankind itself.
Then Hanna learns of an illegal procedure that will allow her to live to adulthood…at the cost of the child’s life.

Bridge Daughter by Jim Nelson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bridge Daughter “Your mother wants the child you’re carrying. That’s the motherly instinct, one of the strongest instincts in the world. I’ve never heard of a mother seeing it any other way.”

This was a YA dystopian story, about a girl who was pregnant with her parent’s child.

Hanna was an okay character, and I felt quite sorry for her that she was having her life taken away from her. It seemed quite harsh the way her parents hadn’t prepared her for what would happen to her, although she was lucky in the way that she had been taught to read whilst other bridge daughters weren’t.

The storyline in this was about Hanna discovering that she was a bridge daughter – that she was carrying her parent’s child, and that when she delivered it she would die. And about how she wanted to not carry the baby and not die, even though she didn’t seem to have much choice in the matter. I did wonder at times where the story was going though, as it seemed like the outcome was pretty obvious.

The ending to this was okay, although it was very predictable. I wanted a different ending, just because it would have been surprising.

6 out of 10

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Awash in Talent by Jessica Knauss

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kindle Scout.
Awash in Talent
Blurb (from Goodreads):
So much Talent can kill you.
Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, home of telekinetics, firestarters, and psychics!
Emily can’t escape her annoyingly Talented telekinetic healer sister without committing a crime.
Kelly must escape her pyrokinesis school and bring Emily’s sister to Boston—her mother’s life depends on it.
Appointments with Emily might drive her psychic therapist insane.
With so much Talent, sometimes it’s all you can do to function in an un-Talented society.

Awash in Talent by Jessica Knauss

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Awash in Talent “We have to take you in for assault and attempted murder.”

This book consisted of 3 stories about 3 different characters with paranormal abilities.

The first story was about Emily and Beth. Emily was Beth’s older sister, and didn’t really care for the way her parents gave Beth so much special attention. It then turned out that Beth had telekinesis and healing powers, while Emily seemed to have an unhealthy obsession with someone at her school who was already married!

The second story was about a girl called Kelly, who had pyrokinesis and wanted to change schools, and also met Beth and made use of her healing powers.

The third story was about Emily’s therapist, who was also a psychic.

These stories were okay, but I preferred the first one. The second and third were a bit of a disappointment after the first story, as I expected the story to continue following Emily and Beth. It was interesting the way that Emily and Beth popped up in the other stories, but it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

6 out of 10

Saturday, 25 June 2016

With Malice by Eileen Cook

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Bonnier Publishing and NetGalley.
With Malice
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Wish you weren't here . . .

When Jill wakes up in a hospital bed with her leg in a cast, the last six weeks of her life are a complete blank. All she has been told is that she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy and had to be jetted home to receive intensive care. Care that involves a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident . . . wasn't just an accident.

With no memory of what happened or what she did, can Jill prove her innocence? And can she really be sure that she isn't the one to blame?

With Malice by Eileen Cook

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars

With Malice “You were in a car accident.”

This was a YA mystery story about a girl who couldn’t remember the car accident which almost killed her.

Jill was an okay character, although her amnesia was a bit frustrating. She did seem totally in the dark as to what had happened though, and truly believed that she couldn’t have crashed the car on purpose.

The storyline in this was able Jill waking up in a hospital, and having no memories of the previous 6 weeks of her life, including the car accident that landed her in hospital. We got the police trying to work out what had happened, and Jill trying to regain her memories, as well as the threat of Jill being arrested for her part in the accident. We did get a couple of twists, and I thought the mystery aspect of the story was done pretty well.

The ending to this did thankfully tell us what had happened, although I did guess part of the mystery.

6.5 out of 10

Friday, 24 June 2016

Undeniable (Always #3) by Cherie M. Hudson

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Momentum Books and NetGalley.
Undeniable (Always #3)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Sit still for a moment. Close your eyes. Listen. Just listen. What do you hear? When I do that, I hear ... fuzz. Okay, not really fuzz, but it's hard to explain what I hear. Put your hands over your ears. Hear that? That's kind of like what I hear, but not really ...

I feel sound. Does that make sense? Being deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other sucks. People think I'm dumb. I'm not dumb. I just can't hear you. I've worked out however, people thinking you're dumb actually works to your advantage. When people think you're dumb, they don't expect anything from you. And when they don't expect anything from you, you don't have to engage with them. I'm okay with that.

So why the hell is my sister's boyfriend's cousin, an annoying Australian named Caden, so adamant he wants to talk to me? I can't work out if he's laughing at me, or if he can see what I can see ... the world is worth laughing at. What kind of name is Caden any way?

I also can't work out why, for the first time ever, I wish I could truly hear the way normal people do. Surely it has nothing to do with the fact I wonder what his heart would sound like beating in his chest if I lay my head on it. I can't work it out and I don't like it.

Damn it.

Undeniable by Cherie M. Hudson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Undeniable (Always #3)This was an NA contemporary romance featuring a girl who had hearing difficulties.

Chase and Caden were both okay characters, although I think I liked Caden most. Chase was a little prickly at times, and seemed to like to a bit of drama, while Caden was a bit more laid back.

The storyline in this was okay, although I had a hard time with the way the book was written as if the characters were talking to the reader at the beginning. Thankfully this changed though, and the book improved. The romance in this seemed to happen quite quickly for me, but I’m not sure whether this was because some groundwork had been laid in the previous books which I had missed. There were some steamy scenes in this book that were enjoyable though.

The ending to this was okay, although I did lose interest a bit before I got to the end.

6 out of 10

Thursday, 23 June 2016

In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Red Sparrow Press and NetGalley.
In the Hope of Memories
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Hope is dying.

Hope Jackson has lived her short life to the fullest, but her four closest friends are dangling on the brink of disaster. Right before dying of a rare heart condition, Hope sets up a scavenger hunt across New York City using her graffiti art. The directions she leaves her friends are simple: Solve the clues hidden in her art, and they’ll solve the problems haunting their lives.

Hope is dead.

Two days after her heart fails, Hope’s friends are thrown together:

Aiden, her best friend, whose plans to attend college have been scattered by his OCD.
Kali, her foster sister, whose last ties to sanity are as razor-thin as her anorexic waistline.
Erik, her high school crush, whose success as an athlete is based on a lie with no end in sight.
And Sam, her online pen-pal, whose perfect life exploded into chaos in the aftermath of a school bombing.

Together, the four teens take to the streets of New York to complete Hope’s scavenger hunt and fulfill her dying wishes. But in order to unravel the clues hidden in Hope’s graffiti, her friends will need to confront their personal demons head on.

Hope is within reach.

  In the Hope of Memories by Olivia Rivers

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the Hope of Memories “If you finish the whole Polish dog, they’ll give you the next clue. If you don’t finish it, the scavenger hunt is over, and you’ve completely let me down.”

This was a YA contemporary story about the friends left behind after one girl (Hope) died.

The characters in this were okay, although I didn’t really connect with Sam very well. I thought that Aiden was quite intelligent though, and I felt quite sorry for Kali.

The storyline in this was about Hope’s friends following a scavenger hunt that she had set up for them before she died. The pace was a bit slow for me though, and I did lose interest a bit.

The ending to this was okay, and it seemed like they had learned something from the scavenger hunt.

6 out of 10

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Unplugged (The Wired #1) by Donna Freitas

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Unplugged (The Wired, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The first book in a provocative new series from acclaimed author Donna Freitas—Feed for a new generation.

Humanity is split into the App World and the Real World—an extravagant virtual world for the wealthy and a dying physical world for the poor. Years ago, Skylar Cruz’s family sent her to the App World for a chance at a better life.

Now Skye is a nobody, a virtual sixteen-year-old girl without any glamorous effects or expensive downloads to make her stand out in the App World. Yet none of that matters to Skye. All she wants is a chance to unplug and see her mother and sister again.

But when the borders between worlds suddenly close, Skye loses that chance. Desperate to reach her family, Skye risks everything to get back to the physical world. Once she arrives, however, she discovers a much larger, darker reality than the one she remembers.

In the tradition of M. T. Anderson’s Feed and Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, Unplugged kicks off a thrilling and timely sci-fi series for teens from an award-winning writer.

Unplugged by Donna Freitas

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars

Unplugged (The Wired, #1) “You’re stubborn, you know that? If you’re not careful that’s going to get you in trouble.”
“No, I’m determined to find my family,” I corrected. “They’re two different things. And it’s my determination that’s going to help your cause.”

This was a YA sci-fi/dystopian story, about a world where people lived in virtual reality.

Skye was an okay character, and it seemed like she had been wanting to be unplugged for a long time, mainly due to wanting to see her mother and sister. I did wonder whether she really considered what she was doing though, and how much she was sacrificing to be unplugged, with little knowledge of what the world awaiting her was really like.

The storyline in this was about Skye wanting to be unplugged, and trying to find a way to do that so that she could see her mother and sister again, and the lengths that she had to go to to achieve that. The pace in this was quite slow in places though, and the story dragged a bit.
We did get a little hint of a romance, but it was in the form of a love triangle between Skye, Rain and a girl called Lacy.

The ending to this was okay, although there was no real resolution at all; the book just seemed to stop.

6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Marked Girl (Marked Girl #1) by Lindsey Klingele

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Marked Girl (Marked Girl, #1)
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away (Los Angeles)…

When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day L.A. via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task…

  The Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Marked Girl (Marked Girl, #1) “They had no backup, no weapons, no knowledge of anything around them.
They were entirely alone.”

This was a YA fantasy story set in LA.

I quite liked Liv as a character, but I wasn’t quite so keen on Cedric. Liv seemed quite focused on her goals, and quite set on protecting those she loved, which Cedric seemed a bit torn at times.

The storyline in this was about Cedric and two friends going through a portal from their own dimension – a place called Caelum, and ending up in modern-day LA. Then we had Liv and Cedric running into each other, and the story went from there, with Liv finding that she was actually key to Cedric getting back to Caelum.
We did get a bit of romance, but it was in the form of a love triangle, as Cedric was already engaged to a girl from his own dimension.

The ending to this was a cliff-hanger.

6.25 out of 10

Monday, 20 June 2016

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Hachette Children's Group and NetGalley.
The Loose Ends List
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine's grandmother is a young-at-heart socialite who has always been Maddie's go-to confidante. Although Maddie and the rest of her family have learned to expect the unexpected from their matriarch, Gram still manages to shock them all when she announces that she has booked the O'Neill clan on a secret death-with-dignity ship called the Wishwell; Gram has terminal cancer and is determined to leave the world in her own way--and give her family an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.

Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her wacky family. Aboard the ship, Maddie bonds with other Wishwellians and falls for Enzo, the son of the ship's owner, as they travel the globe. But despite the copious laugher, headiness of first love, and wonder of the glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram, and she struggles to find the strength to let go in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, grief, and the power of forgiveness.

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Loose Ends List “It’s my biggest nightmare – a dinner party where people introduce themselves by telling you how they’re dying.”

This was a YA contemporary story, about a girl whose grandmother was dying.

I felt quite sorry for Maddie in this book as having to spend the entire summer watching her grandmother die couldn’t have been easy. I also thought that the added grief of getting to know other people on the ship, only for them to die too was a bit harsh.

The storyline in this was about Maddie’s family going on a cruise for the summer, on a special cruise ship when dying people could die with dignity. It was a bit sad how people on the ship kept dying though, and I felt like this might have made things worse for Maddie because she kept losing people, even though she had only recently met them.
We also got a bit of a romance forming between Maddie and another boy on the boat (who thankfully wasn’t dying) although because they lived so far apart there wasn’t really a clear-cut happily ever after for this pair.

The ending to this was quite sad and emotional, and it did make me cry a bit.

7 out of 10

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale (Seasons of the Sword #1) by David Kudler

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Stillpoint Digital Press and NetGalley.
Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Can one girl win a war?

My name is Kano Murasaki, but most people call me Risuko. Squirrel.

I am from Serenity Province, though I was not born there.

My nation has been at war for a hundred years, Serenity is under attack, my family is in disgrace, but some people think that I can bring victory. That I can be
a very special kind of woman.

All I want to do is climb.

My name is Kano Murasaki, but everyone calls me Squirrel.


Though Japan has been devastated by a century of civil war, Risuko just wants to climb trees. Growing up far from the battlefields and court intrigues, the fatherless girl finds herself pulled into a plot that may reunite Japan -- or may destroy it. She is torn from her home and what is left of her family, but finds new friends at a school that may not be what it seems.

Magical but historical, Risuko follows her along the first dangerous steps to discovering who she truly is.

Kano Murasaki, called Risuko (Squirrel) is a young, fatherless girl, more comfortable climbing trees than down on the ground. Yet she finds herself enmeshed in a game where the board is the whole nation of Japan, where the pieces are armies, moved by scheming lords, and a single girl couldn't possibly have the power to change the outcome. Or could she?

Historical adventure fiction appropriate for young adult and middle-grade readers.

Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Risuko: A Kunoichi TaleThis was an okay story about a Japanese girl whose mother sold her to another woman, but I found it quite hard to get into. Risuko was an okay character and she seemed to have her wits about her, but she could behave a little rashly at times. I also thought that her brilliant climbing skills would have been used more than they were.

The storyline in this was about Risuko being sold, and then travelling to a place where she was to be trained. The pace in this was quite slow though, and there wasn’t really enough going on to really hold my attention.

6 out of 10