Tuesday, 15 August 2017

The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Art of Feeling
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven’s New York Times bestseller All the Bright Places, this contemporary YA novel explores the friendship between a girl in constant pain and a boy who feels nothing at all.

Since the car accident, Samantha Herring has been in pain, not only from her leg injury, but also from her mother’s death, which has devastated her family. After pushing away her friends, Sam has receded into a fog of depression.

But then Sam meets Eliot, a reckless loner with an attitude and an amazing secret—he can’t feel any pain. At first, Sam is jealous. But then she learns more about his medical condition…and his self-destructive tendencies. In fact, Eliot doesn’t seem to care about anything at all—except maybe Sam. As they grow closer, they begin to confront Sam’s painful memories of the accident—memories that may hold a startling truth about what really happened that day.


The Art of Feeling by Laura Tims

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


The Art of Feeling “I do know one thing, and it’s that the blankness that I usually feel went away the second I got into his car and it hasn’t come back.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl who had injured her leg in the car accident that killed her mother.

Sam was likeable character and I felt really sorry for her losing her mother the way she had. I also felt sorry for her that her leg was so badly injured and she was in pain all the time.

The storyline in this was about Sam making friends with a boy called Eliot who had insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis. Sam found this a bit ironic considering that she was in pain all the time, and they slowly developed a friendship that seemed good for both of them. We also got a bit of mystery over who it was that caused the car accident which killed Sam’s mother, and a dog with epilepsy. We also got a little bit of romance right at the very end.

The ending to this was okay, and I was happy with how things turned out.



7 out of 10

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Our Broken Pieces by Sarah White

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Our Broken Pieces
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From Wattpad phenom Sarah White comes a steamy teen romance about one girl’s quest to find herself after a traumatic breakup.

The only thing worse than having your boyfriend dump you is having him dump you for your best friend. For Everly Morgan the betrayal came out of nowhere. One moment she had what seemed like the perfect high school relationship, and the next, she wanted to avoid the two most important people in her life. Every time she sees them kiss in the hallways her heart breaks a little more.

The last thing on Everly’s mind is getting into another relationship, but when she meets Gabe in her therapist’s waiting room she can’t deny their immediate connection. Somehow he seems to understand Everly in a way that no one else in her life does, and maybe it’s because Gabe also has experience grappling with issues outside of his control. Just because they share so many of the same interests and there is an undeniable spark between them doesn’t mean Everly wants anything more than friendship. After all, when you only barely survived your last breakup, is it really worth risking your heart again?


Our Broken Pieces by Sarah White

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Our Broken Pieces “The betrayal came out of nowhere. If I didn’t see it for myself , I would have never believed that either of them was capable of hurting me so deeply.”


This was a YA contemporary romance story featuring a girl with a broken heart.

Everly was an interesting character and I felt so sorry for her; catching your boyfriend making out with your best friend would be awful, but for the best friend to then start spreading rumours about her was even worse.

The storyline in this was about Everly struggling to come to terms with what had happened, and feeling like she had no friends left as several friends had known about the affair and not told her about it. She then met Gabe at her therapists office, and they slowly became friends, and then more than friends. Everly didn’t think she’d be able to give her heart again after what happened, but slowly began to realise that things were different with Gabe, and that she could be happy again. The romance in this was quite sweet, and Gabe and Everly worked well together. There were a couple of sex scenes though which might not be suitable for younger readers.

The ending to this was pretty good, and I was pleased with the way things worked out.



7 out of 10

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Blight by Alexandra Duncan

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Blight
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta since she was found outside the gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again. A fast-paced action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.


Blight by Alexandra Duncan

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Blight “Someone had to do it first.”


This was a YA dystopian story, about a genetically engineered blight.

Tempest was a strong character, although she didn’t catch on real quick that the people she was fighting for weren’t fighting fair, and continued to believe in AgraStar even when they were trying to kill her.

The storyline in this was about a group of rebels setting off a bomb near one of the AgraStar’s research and development sites, and accidently unleashing a blight which tore through all the crops. Tempest then found herself teaming up with one of the rebels in an effort to stay alive, and get some blight-resistant seeds to the people who might be able to help. This was an interesting story, although the pace did lag a little in areas. We also got a twist towards the end which was unexpected, but I did feel like the world building was a little lacking.

The ending to this was okay, but a lot of stuff was left unanswered, will there be a sequel to this?



6.5 out of 10

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
These Things I've Done
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A contemporary YA perfect for fans of Courtney Summers and Jessi Kirby, THESE THINGS I’VE DONE is the story of a seventeen-year-old girl who accidentally caused her best friend’s death and, a year later, is still grappling with the consequences.

Before:
Dara and Aubrey have been inseparable since they became best friends in sixth grade. However, as they begin their sophomore year of high school, cracks in their friendship begin to form, testing the bond they always thought was unbreakable.

After:
It's been fifteen months since the accident that killed Aubrey, and not a day goes by that Dara isn't racked with guilt over her role in her best friend's death. Dara thought nothing could be worse than confronting the memories of Aubrey that relentlessly haunt her, but she soon realizes it isn't half as difficult as seeing Ethan, Aubrey's brother, every day. Not just because he's a walking reminder of what she did, but because the more her feelings for him change, the more she knows she's betraying her best friend one final time.


These Things I've Done by Rebecca Phillips

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


These Things I've Done “They’ll never let me forget that my best friend fell into the path of an oncoming pickup truck and was crushed to death right in front of me.
And they definitely won’t let me forget that I’m the one who pushed her.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose best friend died a year earlier.

Dara was an interesting character and it was clear how much Aubrey’s death had affected her. It was brave of her to go back to her old school and to face all the people who had labelled her a murderer though.

The storyline in this was split between the present day, and Dara’s Sophomore year in the weeks leading up to the accident. It was interesting to see what had happened then and what was happening now in tandem, and I was also waiting to learn exactly what had happened between Dara and Aubrey before the accident, and why people were calling Dara a murderer. We also got some romance in this, although that was also tainted by what Dara thought Aubrey would have thought to the relationship.

The ending to this was pretty good, and this was an enjoyable read overall.



7 out of 10

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Secret History of Us
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Gorgeously written and emotionally charged, The Secret History of Us explores the difficult journey of a teenage girl who must piece her life together after losing her memory in a near-fatal accident.

When Olivia awakes in a hospital bed following a car accident that almost took her life, she can’t remember the details about how she got there. She figures the fog is just a symptom of being in a week-long coma, but as time goes on, she realizes she’s lost more than just the last several days of her life—she’s lost her memory of the last four years. Gone is any recollection of starting or graduating high school; the prom; or her steady boyfriend Matt. Trying to figure out who she is feels impossible when everyone keeps telling her who she was.

As Liv tries to block out what her family and friends say about who she used to be, the one person she hasn’t heard enough from is Walker, the guy who saved her the night her car was knocked off that bridge into the bay below. Walker is the hardened boy who’s been keeping his distance—and the only person Olivia inexplicably feels herself with. With her feelings growing for Walker, tensions rising with Matt, and secrets she can’t help but feel are being kept from her, Olivia must find her place in a life she doesn’t remember living.


The Secret History of Us by Jessi Kirby

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


The Secret History of Us “I don’t know who you are.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl with retrograde amnesia following a car accident.

Olivia was an okay character, although I expected her to be a little more frustrated by her lack of memories than she was. She did her best to get on with things though, and it was brave the way she tried to piece together her life after the accident.

The storyline in this followed Olivia after being pulled from the river and resuscitated, after her car went off of a bridge. She was diagnosed with amnesia, and had to then try and figure out who she was after being released from the hospital, re-meeting her boyfriend for the first time, and trying to work out why she wasn’t friends with one of her oldest friends anymore. The pace in this was quite slow, and I did guess the twist towards the end, but this was an enjoyable story overall.

The ending to this pretty good, and I was pleased with the way things worked out.



7 out of 10

Thursday, 27 July 2017

The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Mercedes Moreno is an artist. At least, she thinks she could be, even though she hasn't been able to paint anything worthwhile since her award-winning piece Food Poisoning #1 last year.

Her lack of inspiration might be because her abuela is lying comatose in faraway Puerto Rico after suffering a stroke. Or the fact that Mercedes is in love with her best friend, Victoria, but is too afraid to admit her true feelings.

Despite Mercedes’s creative block, art starts to show up in unexpected ways. A piano appears on her front lawn one morning, and a mysterious new neighbor invites Mercedes to paint with her at the Red Mangrove Estate.

At the Estate, Mercedes can create in ways she never has before. She can share her deepest secrets and feel safe. But Mercedes can't take anything out of the Estate, including her new-found clarity. As her life continues to crumble around her, the Estate offers more solace than she could hope for. But Mercedes can’t live both lives forever, and ultimately she must choose between this perfect world of art and truth and a much messier reality.


The Gallery of Unfinished Girls by Lauren Karcz

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


The Gallery of Unfinished Girls “The estate guides us to fulfil its needs,” Lilia says, “with art and music, structure and form, color and light. But it knows what you need, too.”


This was a YA magical realism story about a girl who was an artist, but had a bit of a creative block.

Mercedes was an okay character although she seemed to lack focus a bit when it came to her art, so it was good for her when Lilia turned up to help her.

The storyline in this was about Mercedes and her sister living alone for a short time while their mother went to look after their Abuela who was in a coma. Mercedes was having a bit of artist’s block, while her sister suddenly took to playing the piano that appeared in their garden one day. Then a new neighbour turned up – Lilia, who took Mercedes to an old building where she was able to paint, although the artwork couldn’t be taken out of the building without it disappearing.
We also got a storyline about Mercedes having romantic feelings toward her best friend Victoria, but the story didn’t really focus on the romance.

The ending to this was okay, but overall I found this to be quite an odd story.



6.25 out of 10

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

16 Ways to Break A Heart by Lauren Strasnick

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
16 Ways to Break A Heart
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Unfolding through letters, texts, and chats, Lauren Strasnick’s smart, sexy, page-turning new novel is the ultimate he said/she said breakdown of a relationship gone wrong.

Natalie and Dan were electric from the moment they met. Witty banter and sizzling chemistry made falling in love easy—even inevitable. He was in awe of her subversive art and contagious zest for life; she was drawn to his good-guy charm and drive to succeed as a documentary filmmaker.

But that was before. Before hot tempers turned to blowout fights. Before a few little lies turned to broken trust. Before a hundred tiny slights broke them open and exposed the ugly truth of their relationship.

And now Natalie wants Dan to know just how much he broke her.

Over the course of one fateful day, Dan reads sixteen letters that Natalie has secretly, brilliantly hidden in places only he will find. And as he pieces together her version of their love story, he realizes that she has one final message for him. One that might just send his carefully constructed life tumbling down.


16 Ways to Break A Heart by Lauren Strasnick

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


16 Ways to Break A Heart “Just don’t come crying to me when she boils your bunny.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a relationship that ended with a bad break up.

The characters in this both seemed a little self-destructive. Dan and Natalie didn’t seem like a good fit right from the start, and they both messed up within the relationship. Dan should have known better than to flirt with other girls over text, and Nat could have handled her jealousy a bit better than she did.

The storyline in this was about Nat writing letters to Dan chronicling the ups and downs of their relationship, with Dan then telling us his side of the story after each letter. There was a bit of mystery over what had caused them to break up, and we slowly got to know more as the book went along, but the characters also seemed to get worse as the story went along, and it was easy to see why they were better off apart.

The ending to this was a little unexpected, with Nat getting revenge on Dan, and there was no happy ending for this pair.



6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Everything All at Once
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From the author of The Half Life of Molly Pierce and The Lost & Found comes a magical new YA novel about 24 dares, 3 weeks, and taking a leap into the unknown.

Lottie Reeves has always struggled with anxiety, and when her beloved Aunt Helen dies, Lottie begins to fear that her own unexpected death might be waiting around every corner.

Aunt Helen wasn’t a typical aunt. She was the author of the best–selling Alvin Hatter series, about siblings who discover the elixir of immortality. Her writing inspired a generation of readers.

In her will, she leaves one last writing project—just for Lottie. It’s a series of letters, each containing mysterious instructions designed to push Lottie out of her comfort zone. Soon, Lottie’s trying some writing of her own, leaping off cliffs, and even falling for a boy she’s only just met. Then the letters reveal an extraordinary secret about the inspiration for the Alvin Hatter series. Lottie finds herself faced with an impossible choice, one that will force her to confront her greatest fear once and for all.

This gorgeous novel is perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, with the scavenger hunt feel of Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes, and a dash of magic that evokes Tuck Everlasting.


Everything All at Once by Katrina Leno

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


Everything All at Once “I know Aunt Helen is the one who died, but now it kind of feels like I’m next.”


This was a YA contemporary story, with a bit of a fantasy twist towards the end.

Lottie was an okay character and I felt sorry for her when she had to try and deal with anxiety and panic attacks. It was also quite sad that her aunt had died so young.

The storyline in this was about Lottie receiving 24 letters from her aunt after her aunt’s death, and slowly opening them and doing whatever her aunt asked her to do in the letter such as reading a book, attending a party, or buying a copy of her aunts favourite record. I didn’t find these tasks all that exciting though, and they really didn’t come across as ‘dares’ like the blurb suggests. We also got a twist towards the end which was more out of a fantasy story than anything, which was a little odd, and which I didn’t really see coming.

The ending to this was okay, and the book did have some nice messages about stepping outside of your comfort zone and really doing something with your life, but overall I just wasn’t wowed by this book.



6.25 out of 10

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
This is How it Happened
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.


This is How it Happened by Paula Stokes

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars



This is How it Happened “I’m sorry, honey. Dallas didn’t survive. He’s dead.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl involved in a fatal car accident.

Genevieve was quite a strong character, and I felt bad for her when she heard the news that Dallas was dead, and again when she realised her part in the accident. It was brave of her to do what she did in the aftermath though.

The storyline in this was about Genevieve waking up after the car accident which killed her boyfriend Dallas, and about her getting plagued by the media as Dallas was a You Tube star and had just released his first album. Initially the accident was blamed on the other driver, but as Genevieve slowly got her memories back, she began to realise that maybe he wasn’t to blame after all. This was quite a difficult story to read in places, as Genevieve struggled with guilt and not knowing what to do, and it was quite hard hitting.

The ending to this was pretty good, and things were wrapped up realistically.



7 out of 10.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Art of Starving
Blurb (from Goodreads):
More Happy Than Not meets Glory O’Brien’s History of the Future in this gritty, contemporary YA debut about a bullied gay teen boy with an eating disorder who believes he’s developed super powers via starvation.

Matt hasn’t eaten in days.

His stomach stabs and twists inside, pleading for a meal. But Matt won’t give in. The hunger clears his mind, keeps him sharp—and he needs to be as sharp as possible if he’s going to find out just how Tariq and his band of high school bullies drove his sister, Maya, away.

Matt’s hardworking mom keeps the kitchen crammed with food, but Matt can resist the siren call of casseroles and cookies because he has discovered something: the less he eats the more he seems to have . . . powers. The ability to see things he shouldn’t be able to see. The knack of tuning in to thoughts right out of people’s heads. Maybe even the authority to bend time and space.

So what is lunch, really, compared to the secrets of the universe?

Matt decides to infiltrate Tariq’s life, then use his powers to uncover what happened to Maya. All he needs to do is keep the hunger and longing at bay. No problem. But Matt doesn’t realize there are many kinds of hunger… and he isn’t in control of all of them.

A darkly funny, moving story of body image, addiction, friendship, and love, Sam J. Miller’s debut novel will resonate with any reader who’s ever craved the power that comes with self-acceptance.


The Art of Starving by Sam J. Miller

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


The Art of Starving “Hunger makes you better. Smarter. Sharper.
I have learned this through practical experimentation.”


This was a YA contemporary/magical realism story about a boy who thought his eating disorder gave him super-powers.

Matt was quite a quirky character, and I liked how he was openly gay and unashamed about being who he was. I did feel sorry for him though that he had so much stuff going on in his life to deal with though.

“My best guess is that a spell has been cast on me, so that everyone else sees me as a scrawny gangly bag full of bones, and I alone see the truth, which is, as I mentioned, that I am an enormous fat greasy disgusting creature.”


The storyline in this was about Matt’s eating disorder, his sister running away from home, and even a little romance. We also got a bit of a strange storyline about Matt thinking that the hungrier he was, the more his special powers worked, and he was able to smell people and know their secrets. This was a little strange, but it did seem like these weird things were really happening to him rather than him being delusional. I was also surprised by the romance in this story as I wasn’t expecting that at all, but I was glad that someone saw Matt and accepted him for who he was.

“I saw, heard, smelled things others could not.
Somehow, I had become Peter f*cking Parker.”


The ending to this was okay, but this did feel like rather an odd story overall.



6.25 out of 10

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Little Wrecks by Meredith Miller

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Little Wrecks
Blurb (from Goodreads):
In this haunting and explosive debut, Meredith Miller explores the truth behind three girls on the cusp of adulthood, and all the shocking realizations that come under the guise of growing up. Perfect for fans of I’ll Give You the Sun and Girl in Pieces.

Ruth, Magda, and Isabel are different from everyone else. They can see beneath the seemingly perfect, cookie-cutter exterior of their small town of Highbone, Long Island. They know that below the surface, each house is filled with secrets, indifference, and violence.

These girls refuse to become willing participants of these fake lives. Instead, they are determined to fight every condescending comment, every unwelcome touch, and every lie they’ve been told.

When the opportunity to commit the perfect crime appears, the girls finally start to see their way out of Highbone. But for the first time, Ruth, Magda, and Isabel are keeping secrets from each other. As they drift apart, the weight of reality starts to set in. These girls can’t save each other. They might not even be able to save themselves.

“Darkly atmospheric and brutally honest, Little Wrecks depicts girls becoming women in a society that devalues both.”—Mindy McGinnis, author of Female of the Species


Little Wrecks by Meredith Miller

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars


Little Wrecks “They want to steal his weed and turn his life upside down,”


This was a YA story about three girls who stole some pot and then didn’t know how to sell it on.

Firstly, I’m not sure what time period this book was set in, but all the cars had cassette players, and nobody had a mobile phone, so it obviously wasn’t this decade!

This story had three main characters, Isabel, Magda, and Ruth, and at times I had trouble knowing who the story was following as it was written in third person. Isabel was a bit of a rebel, and liked to get revenge on people, Magda had a younger brother who she cared about and a mother who had run away, and Ruth was sick of her mother’s string of boyfriends.

The storyline in this was mainly about the girls stealing some weed from a dealer and getting him in trouble with the people who supplied the weed. This was a little odd, especially as the dealer in question was supposed to be a friend of theirs, and once they’d stolen it they then didn’t know how to sell it on, so they didn’t really benefit from the theft at all. We also had storylines about Isabel stealing from a cop, someone going missing, and a sexual assault, but I found the story a little odd, and had trouble following what was going on at times.

The ending to this was okay, but I did find this to be quite an odd story overall.



6.25 out of 10

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Midnight at the Electric
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Kansas, 2065 Adri has been handpicked to live on Mars. But weeks before Launch, she discovers the journal of a girl who lived in her house over a hundred years ago, and is immediately drawn into the mystery surrounding her fate. While Adri knows she must focus on the mission ahead, she becomes captivated by a life that’s been lost in time…and how it might be inextricably tied to her own.

Oklahoma, 1934 Amidst the fear and uncertainty of the Dust Bowl, Catherine longs for the immortality promised by a professor at a traveling show called The Electric. But as her family’s situation becomes more dire -- and the suffocating dust threatens her sister’s life -- Catherine must find the courage to sacrifice everything she loves in order to save the one person she loves most.

England, 1919 In the recovery following World War One, Lenore tries to come to terms with her grief for her brother, a fallen British soldier, and plans to sail to America in pursuit of a childhood friend. But even if she makes it that far, will her friend be the person she remembers, and the one who can bring her back to herself?

While their stories spans thousands of miles and multiple generations, Lenore, Catherine, and Adri’s fates are entwined in ways both heartbreaking and hopeful.


Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Midnight at the Electric “Maybe now would be a good time for me to pre-apologize. I’m not really a get-to-know-each-other kind of a person. I’m not charming or anything. I’m, like, the opposite of that.”


This was a YA story about a girl leaving for Mars, who finds an old relatives letters and reads them.

Adri was quite a prickly character, and she really didn’t seem to like being around people much at all. I did understand her need to find out how things ended though, and I was pleased that she began to appreciate people a bit more towards the end of the book.

The storyline in this was about Adri going to stay with a distant cousin whilst training to go live on Mars, and finding some old personal letters in the room she was staying in. These letters then gave us the stories of Catherine - who lives in Oklahoma in 1934, and Lenore - who lives in England in 1919. Catherine was worried about her younger sister who had dust pneumonia, and Lenore was coming to terms with her brother’s death during the war, and hoping to travel to America to meet up with her childhood friend. I did find these interlocking stories quite interesting, and I found myself wanting to know what happened next, there was something missing for me though.

The ending to the story was okay, and I was pleased that we got to find out what happened to each of the girls, and how their stories tied together.



6.5 out of 10

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me by Andrea Portes

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Andrea Portes is back with a fast-paced, super-fun spy novel, told in her signature snarky, voice-driven style.

What is a hero? Paige Nolan knows.

Edward Raynes, the young man who exposed America’s unconstitutional spying techniques, is a hero, even if half the dum-dums in the country think he’s a traitor. Or her parents, journalists who were captured by terrorists while telling stories of the endangered and oppressed. They were heroes, too. Were. . . or are—no one has ever told Paige if they’re still alive, or dead.

Not heroes? Anyone in the government who abandoned her parents, letting them rot somewhere halfway across the world. And certainly not Paige herself, who despite her fluency in five languages and mastery of several obscure martial arts (thanks, Mom!) could do nothing to save them.

Couldn’t, that is, until she’s approached by Madden Carter, an undercover operative who gives her a mission—fly to Russia, find Raynes, and discover what other government secrets he’s stockpiled. In exchange, he’ll reopen the case on her missing parents. She’s given a code name and a cover as a foreign exchange student.

Who is a hero? Not Paige Nolan, but maybe, just maybe, Liberty is.


Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me by Andrea Portes

My rating: 3.12 of 5 stars

 

Liberty: The Spy Who (Kind of) Liked Me “She’s alive.
And my father’s alive.
And I will find them.”


This was a story about a teenage spy, whose famous journalist parents had gone missing.

Paige was quite a witty and funny character, and it was hard not to find the things she did amusing, especially when she was going on about how much she hated guns, and pretty much removing them from anyone who had them, even when they were a lot bigger than her.

The storyline in this was initially about Paige’s missing parents, but then became about Paige being recruited as a spy and sent to Russia. There were some amusing moments, and Paige was quite funny, but I just lost interest as the book went along, and really struggled to stay focused, especially when the mystery over Paige’s parent’s disappearance was put on the back burner.

The ending to this was okay, but it seemed like the ending was set up for a sequel in which Paige would actually go after her missing parents.


6.25 out of 10

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back #1) by A.V. Geiger

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to SOURCEBOOKS Fire and NetGalley.
Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.


  Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Follow Me Back (Follow Me Back, #1) “Eric Thorn (@EricThorn) followed you”


This was a YA contemporary romance story about a girl with agoraphobia, and a pop star, who fell in love over twitter.

I felt really sorry for Tessa in this story, her agoraphobia seemed really bad, and it was totally ruining her life. I really liked Eric though, even if he was catfishing her.

The storyline in this was about Tessa being a fangirl for Eric Thorn, and Eric setting up a fake twitter account from which to contact her, after her hashtag #EricThornObsessed got to the top of the list of trending topics. It started out as him calling her out as a leach, and ended up with him falling slowly in love with her as they conversed in direct messages over twitter. We also got a bit of mystery over the cause of Tessa’s agoraphobia, but it was the romance that really sold this book for me, as Tessa and Eric were just so adorable!

The ending to this left us with a massive cliff-hanger! I can’t quite believe the crazy turn this story took at the end and I can’t wait for the second book now, I really need to know what happened!



8 out of 10

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A sweeping fantasy, by the bestselling author of The Testing, about two royal siblings forced to compete for the crown.

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option: to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?


Dividing Eden by Joelle Charbonneau

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars


Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden, #1) “The council will create a series of trials for our prince and princess to participate in that will decide the true successor to the Throne of Light.”


This was a YA fantasy story, about a set of twins forced to compete for the crown.

I liked Carys, and I liked how much she looked out for her brother Andreus. She seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty to keep him safe and to keep his secret hidden, and it was clear how much love she had for him. Andreus on the other hand seemed a little weak and easily swayed for me.

The storyline in this was about Carys’ and Andreus’ father and older brother being killed, and the queen being unable to take the throne leaving twins Carys and Andreus as next in line to rule. However, because both had equal right to the throne, they had to take part in a Trial of Succession – fighting against each other to see who would who would be the next ruler, which was especially brutal because it pitted sibling against sibling, and because they had no other option. I liked how Carys tried to find a way for them both to survive the trials though, and continued to have her brother’s best interests at heart right the way through the book. I also thought the pace was pretty good, and I liked that things kept happening to keep the story interesting.

The ending to this was quite eventful, and it will be interesting to see what happens in the next book.



7 out of 10

Friday, 2 June 2017

One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Penguin Random House UK Children’s and NetGalley.
One Of Us Is Lying
Blurb (from Goodreads):
One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.
 
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
    Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
    Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
    Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
    Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
    And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.


One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


One Of Us Is Lying “A sex tape. A pregnancy scare. Two cheating scandals. And that’s just this week’s update. If all you knew of Bayview High was Simon Kelleher’s gossip app, you’d wonder how anyone found time to go to class.”


This was a YA murder-mystery story, about a dead teen and 4 possible suspects.

The characters in this were all okay, but I didn’t particularly love any of them. They were all lying about something as well, so the title didn’t make much sense!

The storyline in this was about a boy (Simon) dying after drinking water laced with peanut oil, whilst in detention with 4 other students. Simon ran a website which posted gossip (think Gossip girl) and had juicy secrets about all 4 of the kids in detention, meaning that they were all suspects in his murder. The pace in this was quite slow though, and I was ready for answers a lot sooner than we got them. I also guessed who was behind Simon’s death way before it was revealed.

The ending to this was okay, and I was pleased that the truth came out in the end.



6.5 out of 10

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

I received an advance copy of this book for free. Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) and NetGalley.
The Names They Gave Us
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From the acclaimed author of When We Collided comes a vibrant, compelling story of love, loss, faith, and friendship.

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake and spending quality time with her parents. But when her mom's cancer reappears, Lucy falters--in her faith and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend "pauses" their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp--one for troubled kids--Lucy isn't sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Emotionally-charged and unforgettable, Emery Lord's storytelling shines with the promise of new love and true friendship, even in the face of life's biggest challenges.


The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Names They Gave Us “We don’t want you to worry,” my mom says. “Surgery is scheduled for Monday morning.”


This was a YA contemporary story about a girl whose Christian faith was tested when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time.

Lucy was an okay character and I felt really sorry for her and her family. Going through a breast cancer diagnosis must be super hard, and to have to face it twice felt really unfair, and I could see why she stopped praying for a while.

The storyline in this was about Lucy’s mom asking her to be a counsellor at a camp for troubled teens instead of at her parent’s church camp, and Lucy doing it because she knew it would make her mom happy. We also had Lucy’s faith being tested by the diagnosis and a bit of a romance storyline, with Lucy’s boyfriend Lukas ‘pausing’ their relationship at such a hard time for her, and Lucy finding another romantic interest at Camp Daybreak. The pace in this was so slow though! After the initial getting to camp was over, it was just day-to-day camp activities, very little romance, and even Lucy’s mom’s cancer seemed to take a back burner which was surprising for me as it felt like it should have been the main storyline.

The ending to this was a big disappointment for me as the story seemed to just leave us hanging, and it didn’t feel like a proper ending at all.



6 out of 10