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Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

Review: Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan MatsonSince You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon and Schuster Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 449 (hardback)
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars
The Pre-Sloane Emily didn't go to parties, she barely talked to guys, she didn't do anything crazy. Enter Sloane, social tornado and the best kind of best friend—the one who yanks you out of your shell. But right before what should have been an epic summer, Sloane just… disappears. No note. No calls. No texts. No Sloane. There’s just a random to-do list. On it, thirteen Sloane-selected-definitely-bizarre-tasks that Emily would never try… unless they could lead back to her best friend.Apple Picking at Night? Okay, easy enough. Dance until Dawn? Sure. Why not? Kiss a Stranger? Wait… what? Getting through Sloane’s list would mean a lot of firsts. But Emily has this whole unexpected summer ahead of her, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected) to check things off. Who knows what she’ll find? Go Skinny Dipping? Um…

*I was given this book for review by Simon and Schuster. This in no way affected my review.*

So this review is far later than I planned :( . One for school and stress and part-time jobs. But also because I thought I’d posted it months ago! Sucks for me. Without further ado, here is my review that should hopefully make you want to read SYBG

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GOOONE. I CANNOT BREATHE FOR THE FIRST TIIIME.

Since You’ve Been Gone is one of my favourite Summer books and was such a brilliant read. Emily is your average girl who hides behind her best friend Sloane. Yes, the premise is a bit cheesy (aren’t the MCs always boring and average?) but it’s relatable. Sloane abruptly leaves, and Emily is left friend-less all Summer. In the post she recieves a letter from Sloane with a list of things she must do. The list includes things like ‘dance at midnight’ and ‘hug a jamie’, I thought this list brought a fun element to the story and integrated nicely with the romance and ‘finding oneself’ plot.

This writing is along the lines of Gayle Forman’s, in which the romance isn’t the driving point of the novel, but rather Emily finding who she is without hiding behind an enigmatic best friend. I really liked Emily, and I surprisingly liked Sloane. Usually in these type of books where the friend leaves, the MC becomes insufferable and whiny. I know they’re missing their friends, I know. But I’m not reading this book to slog through pages of whining about their loneliness. Sorry.

Emily handles the situation really well–at first she’s a bit thrown–but for someone who’s not massively confident, she isn’t annoying and wimpy. SYBG handles friendships, love, relationships, etc etc–all the stuff I love, if I’m being honest. I adored how the main point of the book was for Emily to bring herself out of her comfort zone and do things she normally wouldn’t do. Summer books are so great because they always feel like they have so many possibilities. Anything could happen. This feeling of endless outcomes and situations is my favourite thing to read.

Emily’s character develops and grows really convincingly as she puts herself in situations she wouldn’t normally put herself in. The minor characters were also really enjoyable, and I learnt to really like them. Frank wasn’t my type of guy, but I warmed to him more than I thought, and himself and Emily were a perfect match. I got really excited for all the chapters and things on the list to get checked off.

SPOILER ALERT SPOILER ALERT : What I didn’t like was how easily Emily’s new ‘friends’ wrote her off. One quick mistake towards the end and these friendships kind of fell apart, what’s that about? Suddenly I didn’t like her new friends nearly as much. Nah. END OF SPOILERS END OF SPOILERS.

This book was an awesome Summer read, and I think it’s a must-read for those who love their Summer books. Despite it now moving into Autumn and cold weather, this Summer book might be necessary to warm you while you’re stuck in the cold.

Rating: 4.5 Stars– Morgan Matson I am following your new releases like a my dog follows food.

four-half-stars

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin RaeWish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae
Series: Wish You Were...
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on May 6th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Pippa has always wanted to go to Italy … but not by herself. And certainly not to sit in art school the entire summer learning about dead guys’ paintings. When she steps off the plane in Rome, she realizes that traveling solo gives her the freedom to do whatever she wants. So it’s arrivederci, boring art program and ciao, hot Italian guys!

Charming, daring, and romantic, Bruno is just the Italian Pippa’s looking for—except she keeps running into cute American archeology student Darren everywhere she goes. Pippa may be determined to fall in love with an Italian guy … but the electricity she feels with Darren says her heart might have other plans. Can Pippa figure out her feelings before her parents discover she left the program and—even worse—she loses her chance at love?

*I was given this book for review, but it in no way affected my review or opinions–honest!*

This book. Man the cover is so cheesy I can’t get over it! It’s as bad as the old covers for Anna and the French Kiss (y’all who know what I’m talking about understand). However, this book has a lot to offer and I really enjoyed reading it!

Pippa doesn’t have the best relationship with her workaholic parents. For Summer they send her to attend an art course in Italy–something she’s not interested and doesn’t want to do. However, her mother told her about it a week before she was due on the plane. Her friend Morgan gives her a list of all the things she needs to complete for these 3 months (like the premise in Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson), and one includes: Fall in Love with an Italian. As Pippa arrives in Italy, she realises she utterly does not want to do this course…and she has a lot of money from her parents, so she decides to screw it, and travel Italy by herself.

I loved the self-discovery aspect of this novel, how the relationship with her parents developed, and the adorable romance. These Summer books are my favourite. I adore reading about travelling, and the fact that this was set in Italy, makes me yearn to go there myself. The list element of things she had to do was fun and exciting, it gave Pippa the push she needed to reach outside of her comfort zone.

The romance in this wasn’t sizzling or particularly amazing, but it was sweet in a way that is not always easy to find! Despite the fact that it wasn’t anything majorly exceptional, the romance was a really great addition to the story and fit nicely. I loved how his curly hair was a running joke between them!

I had a brilliant time reading the amusing and entertaining adventures Pippa goes through, along with the characters she meets and how she develops as a character in her 3 months in Italy. It’s amazing how something like this can make a person grow. It’s not an emotional romance or gritty or anything like that, it’s just a simple, pretty story to read in the sun. It’s feel-good, sweet, and a great Summer book. It will be going on my Summer recommendations pile!

Wish You Were Italian is the second book from the series Wish You Were…, however it can be read as a standalone, as I have not read the first. The cheesy covers are really off-putting, however I’m really interested in the other books now!!

ik

Rating: 3.5 Stars

three-half-stars

Thoughts on Tease by Amanda Maciel

Thoughts on Tease by Amanda MacielTease by Amanda Maciel
Published by Hatchette Children's on April 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 394
Source: Given From Publisher

*This isn’t really a review, it kind of is, and not. I might write a review afterwards discussing other aspects of the book. It’s more my thoughts on the book and my thoughts on the themes in general. For when I want to go beyond the review into my own personal views and experiences. Thinking of making it into a feature…?*

I was given this book a while ago Hatchette Children’s books, but have only gotten around to discussing it now.

I recently read Tease by Amanda McKiel and it frustrated me in so many ways, but also made me think deeper about suicide and the help given to suicidal people. When I recently went to San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge, they had to stop the tour bus momentarily because someone was busy jumping off of it. The tour guide then proceeded to tell us that SF is going to spend thousands on building a net below it to stop this. The stupidity of this annoyed me–people will simply find other ways to kill themselves, like jumping off of the Bay Bridge, which just so happens to be opposite. As my older brother said, why don’t they just use that money for charities to support suicidal people?

Tease was a very eye-opening read for me in a couple of ways. A girl commits suicide after being bullied horrendously for months. The main themes are bullying, slut-shaming and suicide, with a dash of friendship and romance. The book follows Sara, one of the many people who bullied Emma before she killed herself. The book is supposed to ask whether this is Emma’s fault, society’s fault, or Sara and the other bullies fault. With the amount of suicide’s on the rise in general, I can’t help but think it’s beginning to be more of an option in society, especially to young people. Teenagers are known to think that their life is over at things that would ultimately be tiny later in life, and many kill themselves over test results, or an unfortunate topless photo of them being passed around. I don’t ever think it’s the victim’s fault, especially to someone like Emma, who obviously had some self-esteem issues before some utterly horrible girls harassed her. I felt like Sara and her best friend Brielle had absolutely no excuse to bully Emma to the point that they did. They had amazing lives that could have grown into so much more. Even afterwards, Emma barely even resembled an emotion such as regret. She blamed Emma a lot at the beginning, and even though I think this was part of her development as a character, it didn’t make me like her much.

One thing that majorly surprised me in the book is slut-shaming. Constantly Sara and Brielle, are calling Emma a ‘slut’, ‘whore’ etc. Emma doesn’t seem like a very nice person I grant you, she steals people’s boyfriends and sleeps with a lot of boys. I understand this isn’t something everyone respects. However no one comments on the guys that sleep with her, they get nary a mention. At all. The fact that girls are judged for sleeping with boys in high school is almost twice as worse because everyone knows about it two seconds after as well.

I think the worst thing about the events in this book – not the book itself – was the fact that the people doing the slut-shaming were girls. That stuns me. Constantly everyday, girls and women are trying to achieve equality and it’s being broken down by that very same gender. Has no one ever heard the phrase ‘us girls have to stick together’? Slut-shaming our own gender is undoing everything we’re trying to achieve and it’s based on such a double standard.

I’m obviously a huge feminist here, I honestly don’t know how you couldn’t be. Who doesn’t want equality? Has anyone else read this book, and what do y’all think? 

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)

Review: Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass 0.1-0.5)The Assassain's Blade by Sarah J, Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's, Bloomsbury Children's on March 4th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
five-stars
Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan's most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin's Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas - together in one edition for the first time - Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn's orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

I want to congratulate the person who designed these covers, they are freaking amazing!

Okay so this review is months overdue and all I can do is apologise and breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finally Summer. After requesting a copy of Throne of Glass last year on a whim, it has fast become one of my favourite YA series. That’s a tough feat. I adore reading about Celaena’s antics and these short stories were fast-paced, intriguing and had my constant attention. Maas is able to bring out every emotion possible from me including laughter, fear for the characters and sadness. I am not afraid to say I cried a little at the end, that was emotional shiz.

Celaena is the kind of protagonist I love reading about because of her awesome fighting skills and attitude (heellooo, Hardcore Heroines); whilst at the same time I openly wish I was as badass as her. Maas craftily weaves the romance, tension and intrigue together, leaving plenty of room for the interesting sub-plots and back-story. What with that and consistent character development, you’ve got yourself a winner.

I don’t know what to tell you if you haven’t read this series, apart from that it continually amazes and rarely (if ever) disappoints. I’ve read three of this series now and not once have I been let down, which I don’t think has happened to me before with such an intense, Fantasy world. I urge everyone to read this, even if you’re not a major fan of Fantasy because it’s really a fantastic series that offers a lot. It’s the kind of series that will be right at the top of my recommends pile yet I will hand out with caution to my friends in case they spill something on it. (I’m looking at you, Lois).

I want to be Celaena’s best friend, talk books with Dorian and learn to fight with Chaol. I cannot wait for what’s in store for Heir of Fire. I have no reservations on whether it will disappoint as Maas has proved her reliability and each book gets better and better.

Rating: no less than 5 Stars!

Tell me what you think of the series in the comments!

**This book was sent to me by Bloomsbury, however this didn’t affect my review or thoughts on the book one iota’s worth**

 

five-stars

18669197

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee

Review: The Midnight Dress by Karen FoxleeThe Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
Published by Hot Key Books on October 8th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Quiet misfit Rose doesn't expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It's better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can't resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.

Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee's breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.

*Thank you so much Hot Key Books for this review copy, this in no way affected my review*

The Midnight Dress is very hard for me to describe, because it’s not my usual read. I was really fascinated with the blurb and the whole idea encasing it, so I decided to take the jump and request it. It’s a story about friendship, mystery and things that are not as they seem. First of all, Foxlee’s writing style is probably the most beautiful I’ve read in a while. I have certain preference when it comes to author’s writing; for example, I really don’t like Cassandra Clare’s writing. As much as I love her fantastic world and characters, her description is stuffy and feels like it’s suffocating me. I’m no expert, but I simply want it edited. Anyway, Foxlee’s vivid description is the kind that washes over you when you’re reading it. I also loved the fact that it was set in Australia, which made the description that much more captivating.

It was very different the way Foxlee carried me through the book and let me discover things, about Rose specifically. We learn about her mostly through the story and not through her thoughts, because it’s in a certain style of third person. There’s an incredibly subtle magical element that intrigued me, and weaves in the story quite well.

The thing that I didn’t like was the epic slowness of the book. I can appreciate the build of tension, but Karen Foxlee builds tension throughout practically the whole book, and things aren’t made clear until the very end.

I loved that every chapter is named after a stitch, for example ‘anchor stitch’ and at the beginning of each chapter a little snippet of the ending is revealed. We see the missing person’s case through the detectives eyes, and little pieces of what happens at the end are shown carefully. I thought that was really crafty and well-written. Except, it kept me wanting to know more, and then I felt like the actual chapter itself was a bit anti-climactic and boring. I mostly enjoyed the tension, and the way the characters developed different relationships. So much of the book tells what’s happening to Rose and about everyone else and their antics in the town it seems as if the ending was an afterthought, except it’s always present. I can’t help but feel that doesn’t make sense, but if you read it, hopefully you would understand my ramblings better.

The Midnight Dress is very hard to describe without giving anything at all away, but I can tell you, the ending is a shocker. Foxlee cleverly played against my assumptions and twisted it into something completely different. I was pretty shocked. This is a great read if you like tension, beautiful writing, ambiguity and slow-burning mysteries. It’s not something to read if you want something fast-paced and conventional.

Rating: 3 Stars– I guess it was the slowness that put me off. Nothing really happened for a good portion of the books as everything builds up. However, I did simply adore the writing style and the way the characters relationships developed throughout. I will definitely check more of Foxlee’s books.

three-stars

18518711

Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop

Review: The Isobel Journal by Isobel HarropThe Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop
Published by Hot Key Books on November 7th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
THE ISOBEL JOURNAL is no ordinary snapshot of a contemporary teenage life. A charming and vivid narrative scrapbook of the eighteen-year-old author's sketches, mini-graphic novels, photographs and captions, it captures her wit, her observations and her creative talent as she takes us through the three central themes in her life: 'Love', 'Friends, Art and Otters' and 'Me'.

*This book was given to me for review purposes by Hot Key Books, this does not affect my review in any way*

The Isobel Journal is a book filled with drawings, captions and photographs by Isobel Harrop, to illustrate her life. I’d never read this kind of journal-style book before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s a style of book that I loved and will search for more of in the future. I was reading it when I was in exam mocks period, and it thoroughly cheered me up and made me forget all the stresses I had going on! There is something about this book that is so endearing and I’ve re-read it many times since my first read. Harrop’s voice is one that any teenager can relate to and enjoy. It’s the kind of book where you can sit down, get comfy, and drink a cup of tea whilst looking at the pretty pictures and funny writing.

The pictures are in the style of a scarp-book drawn by Isobel Harrop with observations about daily life and random comments. I found it so interesting to read about another teenager in this kind of format. It was quirky, refreshing and such fun to read through!

I really loved stepping outside my usual fiction reads and sitting down with this one!

Rating: 4 Stars!

four-stars

After-Eden-Helen-Douglas

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)

Review: After Eden by Helen Douglas (After Eden #1)Aften Eden by Helen Douglas
Series: After Eden #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on November 7th 2013
Genres: Sci-Fi, Young Adult
Pages: 228
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
three-stars
Eden Anfield loves puzzles, so when mysterious new boy Ryan Westland shows up at her school she's hooked. On the face of it, he's a typical American teenager. So why doesn't he recognise pizza? And how come he hasn't heard of Hitler? What puzzles Eden the most, however, is the interest he's taking in her.

As Eden starts to fall in love with Ryan, she begins to unravel his secret. Her breakthrough comes one rainy afternoon when she stumbles across a book in Ryan's bedroom - a biography of her best friend - written over fifty years in the future. Confronting Ryan, she discovers that he is there with one unbelievably important purpose ... and she might just have destroyed his only chance of success.

*A review copy was very kindly provided by Bloomsbury Children’s , but this in no way affected the review*

After Eden is written in the perspective of a 16-year-old girl called Eden who starts becoming friends with the new guy in school–deliciously attractive Ryan. Sometimes I found Eden to be a tad one-dimentional. Sure, I related to her in quite a few ways, but she wasn’t the kind of character I admire for her complexity. However, I did like her and thought she was really funny at times.

I don’t want to give out to many spoilers, but Eden starts discovering things about Ryan that don’t add up–he’s never had pizza, and he doesn’t know who Hitler or Ghandi are. Soon she discovers Ryan’s from 100 years into the future and traveled back in time on a mission to save the world.

After Eden was a really intriguing read because I adored the time-travelling aspect of the story. I found it so interesting and I hope Douglas explores this area more in the next installment.  I wasn’t sure I bought that Ryan didn’t know what pizza was or who Hitler or Ghandi were. I understood there was likely to be a colossal culture shock, but they are key people in History and world renown. Surely, there must be some kind of education that informs us who Hitler was 100 years into the future? Of course, we can’t know what happens 100 years from now and I liked the way Douglas kept a mystery about the future and what it held. Eden couldn’t be told about anything because it could change the future and it went against certain laws. This just made me desperate to know more, and I really hope that at some point in this series we will see what becomes of Earth in the future, or be given more information.

I really liked that the romance was not massively insta-love, I had a feeling it was going to be, but thankfully I was proved wrong. I thought Ryan and Eden together were so funny together, but I didn’t feel like their romance had a spark. It was all very cute at times, and Ryan was romantic, but it wasn’t a love I was desperate to see survive. However, I love the trope of forbidden love, and I was interested to see how Eden and Ryan were going to overcome the 100 years that force them apart.

Some things were admittedly quite cliché and predictable. There was a girl antagonist that went to Eden’s school trying to steal the guy. This cheesy plot line usually annoys me a lot, but she played a small role and it didn’t bother me. In fact, it made for entertainment.

It pleased me that the setting was Cornwall! It’s such a lovely place, and it was awesome to read about a UK setting, and people in the same school year as me! There were really nice scenes at the beach and gazing at the stars, and I found the scenes about astronomy especially interesting.

I did really enjoy After Eden, I liked the occasional humour, the setting and the entire idea of  time travelling. However, at times I felt the characters were not complex enough and the romance was lacking in a bit of spark.

Rating: 3 Stars

three-stars

shadows-approved

Review: Shadows by Paula Weston (The Rephaim #1)

Review: Shadows by Paula Weston (The Rephaim #1)Shadows by Paula Weston
Series: The Rephaim
Published by Indigo, Text on July 2nd 2012
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 388
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
It’s almost a year since Gaby Winters was in the car crash that killed her twin brother, Jude. Her body has healed in the sunshine of Pandanus Beach, but her grief is raw and constant. It doesn’t help that every night in her dreams she kills demons and other hell-spawn.

And then Rafa comes to town. Not only does he look exactly like the guy who’s been appearing in Gaby’s dreams—he claims a history with her brother that makes no sense. Gaby is forced to accept that what she thought she knew about herself and her life is only a shadow of the truth—and that the truth is more likely to be found in the shadows of her nightmares.

Who is Rafa? Who are the Rephaim? And most importantly, who can she trust?

Fast-paced and gripping, Shadows, the first book in the Rephaim series, is a standout paranormal romance for fans of Richelle Mead and Cassandra Clare.

 

I was not expecting to enjoy Shadows as much as I did because I’ve had a bad experience with Angel novels lately, however it was very enjoyable.

Shadows was so easy to read, not only was the book nice and floppy–I like floppy books!–but I would get immersed in this world and later realise that I’d read 150 pages or so, which is a lot for a slow reader like me.

I love books where you’re thrown into a story because there’s a lot about the characters past that you don’t know. It also means that the world-building can go terribly wrong, because the narrator is not new to the story, yet it needs to be explained to the reader. However, Weston cleverly avoided this by having the best of both worlds and giving Gaby a memory problem, meaning she’s learning the world with us, but technically, she’s not new. This hopefully means that Weston can give us some prequel novellas and some insight into the story before Shadows, because she very carefully gave us enough information to keep me begging to know more about Gaby’s past. I desperately want to know the past between her, Daniel and Rafa; and also Gaby and her brother Jude.

Gaby was an interesting character, because she had no idea who she was, exactly. She had little memory of her former life, and she was grieving for her twin brother. Although Gaby is 18, and this could technically be described as a YA novel, I really think it’s more of a Paranormal Romance, simply in the way it’s been written. Gaby was fairly helpless in this book, because fair enough, she’s forgotten all of her fighting skills. She’s not very savvy about this new world or how to fight. I really want to see her training with Rafa in the next instalment because I don’t like my heroines completely useless!  Rafa reminds me of Daemon from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux series, arrogant and not entirely explained yet. I can’t wait to see more of his character!

The pace of Shadows starts off fairly slow, and gains speed about 100 pages in, but I feel this series has yet to reach it’s full potential. I think Weston has a lot more in store for the next book. I hope that as the series goes on, more plot twists are revealed, as there were quite a few in Shadows that kept me entertained.

I don’t think the world-building was that extensive, possibly not to overload us, but I’d really like to know more about the world.
Overall, I really enjoyed Shadows and I flew through it!

Rating: 4 Stars

four-stars

This Northern Sky

Review: This Northern Sky by Julia Green

This Northern Sky by Julia Green
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on July 4th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 230
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
three-stars

  • Source: Bloomsbury–thank you very much, this in no way affected my honest review!
  • Goodreads
  • Amazon UK
  • Kate’s parents are taking her on holiday with them to a cottage on a remote island in the Hebrides. Kate can’t imagine anything more boring. But underneath her sulkiness, Kate is scared. Her parents have been fighting and she knows that for her parents this holiday is make or break. Once at the cottage, Kate escapes – outside, anywhere. And there she meets the warmth of the islanders, who are prepared to accept her and to listen to her. And possibly fall in love with her . . 

I was expecting a sweet YA chick lit when I picked this up, and I think the synopsis is very misleading. It says ‘And there she meets the islanders, who are prepared to accept her and listen to her. And possibly fall in love with her.’ Emphasis on the word Possibly, because actually, it’s quite clear 1/3 of the way through, that’s never going to happen. They love her, but nobody falls in love with her, which I was disappointed with. However, this is a YA novel, and the focus wasn’t particularly on Kate’s love life, but making new friends and noticing her parents that are growing apart. It was also very nice to read some UKYA!

Other than that, This Northern Sky by Julia Green was rather enjoyable, and quite a small, easy read. It didn’t take me long to finish, because this isn’t an action book or anything, it’s a quick contemporary.

A lot of teenagers could relate to This Northern Sky because Kate faces her parents rocky relationship, and turns to the solitude of the island to keep her centred. There were many questions asked wondering if Kate was to blame herself or if things were different, could her parents still love each other? I really liked the idea of leaving everything behind and finding new friends, and there was a quote in it that was my favourite, and very true:

‘You have to think about why people move over here,’ Isla says. ‘Quite often they’re running away from something. People who aren’t so good at getting on with others, they don’t understand how a real community works.’ She laughs. ‘They forget that they bring themselves with them, where ever they run.’

This was not the deepest or grittiest of books, for me. However it’s a great book for teenagers with divorced/divorcing parents to relate to, and quite a touching novel in that respect.

The ending was nice, and left me satisfied, but it didn’t leave me with a huge imprint. Overall, I’m going to give it 3 Stars.

three-stars

ThroneofGlass

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on 2nd August 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher

Paperback: 432 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens (2 Aug 2012)

ISBN-10: 140883233X

Source: Bloomsbury–thank you! This has in no way affected my honest review!

Goodreads

Amazon UK

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

This entire world is entrancing and amazing. I was gripped all the way through, which doesn’t usually happen, I get slightly bored at some places. Not with Throne of Glass, plot threads linked seamlessly together and complex characters kept me entertained.

I got so invested in all the characters, not just Celeana. Although Celeana was badass and completely my type of heroine. She’s independent, witty, and has a vulnerable side to her past. She’s the type of character who pulled me in instantly and I rooted for all the way through. She was actually really funny, not what I was expecting from a master assassin. Which is fantastic, I like characters who don’t take themselves too seriously and make me laugh.

Chaol is so mysterious, we are kept in the dark a lot about him, so of course that makes me desperate to know more about his character, and I hope he’s explored more in book 2. He’s the kind of character who doesn’t access his feeling easily and I was kind of frustrated with him!

Prince Dorian reads. I don’t know how many times I have to say how much I love a guy that reads. He’s also an expert swordsman, but he prefers to hunker down with a thoughtful book. He constantly had witty back and forth with Celeana which proved entertaining. I found him so charming!

I adore the character development, how Celeana learns to trust, and actually have friends. She sets in wanting to win this competition, but she’s very loyal, despite how determined she is. Chaol also becomes a little more open, though not as much as I’d hoped! Also, Prince Dorian stops being so fickle!

This love triangle is excruciating, because I don’t have a favourite. I thought I did, at parts I’d be sure it was one person and then I realised I love the other as well. This hardly ever happens, I always have a definite favourite! It’s completely thrown me off!

There were a couple of antagonists to keep things interesting, I get bored with the entire focus being on destroying one bad guy. Some of them are undoubtedly going to cause trouble in the next book.

The world itself is captivating, it’s set in a castle, in a historical time period, which I always enjoy. I honestly loved this book sooo much, and completely recommend it to anyone who enjoys strong heroines (who doesn’t?) and amazing worlds!

I am now mourning this world, and desperate to read the next one!

Rating: 5 Stars!

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Release Day Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays #1)

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill
Series: All Our Yesterdays #1
Published by Bloomsbury, Bloomsbury Children's on 1st August 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Given From Publisher
four-half-stars

 Amazon|Goodreads

  •  
  • “You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

After I read this my head was left spinning—as anyone who follows me on Twitter will know. I tweeted about this…a lot. All Our Yesterdays is a time-travel Dystopia, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but it did not disappoint.

There are mainly two points of view, Em and Marina. Marina is Em’s past self. Em goes back in time to stop the making of Cassandra (the time machine) to a time where Marina is inhabiting. I loved the way they were very different, yet ultimately still the same person. Marina is far more superficial and trying to fit in with her friends, having a teenage love for James. She doesn’t get enough attention from her parents and is trying to be a ‘normal’ teenager.

Em is far more grounded, she has figured out how to love herself, but she’s haunted. She’s been through so much after the making of Cassandra. She’s been tortured and left in a cell. Em doesn’t want Marina to have to go through what she has gone through, and sets out with her partner to stop the making of Cassandra. Em’s love interest is hilarious, he’s the perfect blend of cockiness and sexiness. Such a great addition to my fictional boyfriends! Which there are shamefully many of.

We also got flashbacks from the time when Em was running away from the corruption, and the awful memories of what happened to those she loved. These flashbacks filled in the blanks and made the story a lot more interesting.

I went in All Our Yesterdays without knowing anything at all, I didn’t even read the blurb! Instead of confusing me, it actually made everything more interesting. The plot twists are shocking, delightful, and at times cry-worthy. Seriously, read page 364 and get back to me, because that was the most awful thing in the entire book.

I wanted to see more of the Dystopian world, when most of the book is set in today’s world. It was enforced many times throughout the novel how corrupted the world had become with the making of Cassandra, yet we didn’t see it as much I would have liked. I’m hoping this is going to be in the next instalment.

I definitely recommend this book to Dystopia lovers, or even people starting out with Dystopia! I’m left empty without the next book, which is not out until 2014!

Rating; 4.5 stars

four-half-stars

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ARC Review: Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield
Published by Text on 4th July 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Given From Publisher
four-stars

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Amazon.com 

Friday Brown was saved by Silence. Brought up travelling the endless roads of the Australian wilds, Friday’s past was shaped by stories, told dreamily by her mother around glowing campfires and on the edge of endless plains. But her mother’s death left Friday lost, and running from a family curse that may or may not be real. Desperate and alone in the middle of a strange city, a voiceless boy with white-blond hair and silver eyes appeared from nowhere, stole her heart and took her home. Friday is welcomed by a strange gang of lost kids and runaways. Led by the beautiful but fearsome Arden, the group live an underground life in the city, begging, stealing and performing to keep themselves alive. But when Silence returns to the house covered in someone else’s blood and terrified, the gang escape to an outback ghost town, leaving everything behind. Murungal Creek is abandoned, desolate and full of empty promises. Life in Arden’s gang starts to unravel, and the anger, lies and deceit that have been hidden for so long start to float to the surface. Having been swept along by the currents of life for as long as she can remember, Friday suddenly finds herself struggling to stay afloat, and alive. As devastation threatens, Friday must face up to her past, and fight, for the first time in her life. From the winner of the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, 2012, Friday Brown is a remarkable story, described by the Weekend Australian as a story with ‘characters so palpable you can imagine passing them in the street.’

I’ve heard so many amazing reviews about Friday Brown from Jack at The Book Stop and Ruby at Feed Me Books Now, but I started reading it tentatively, because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. That wasn’t a problem because I really enjoyed it. A big thanks to Stephanie Speight at Text Publishing for sending a copy from…Australia!! That’s crazy, thanks again. This in no way affected my honest review.

I am a stickler for interesting characters, and there were plenty in Friday Brown. Friday was vulnerable and compassionate, but a little lost after her mother died. She was used to being on the move, never staying in one place and having the luxury of many fresh starts. After her mother died though, she had to stay with her Granddad, something that felt isolating, so she leaves and joins a group of runaway teenagers.

Friday’s relationship with Armen was ever-changing and reflected on both characters personalities and pasts. Armen was so captivating, she had an energy that made people want to be her, and Friday instantly feels drawn to her.

Everyone in this book had a story and an intriguing past, which made the characters deeper. Not all past’s were revealed, some left mysterious and that left things for the readers imagination. I liked the subtlety, it wasn’t shoved in my face, and sometimes that’s better than being told everything, because it keeps the reader guessing. I finished it on Wednesday, and I’m still thinking about the events and the characters.

Silence was a heartbreaking and amazing character, he feared being forgotten if he died, of never leaving an imprint on the world. He felt so inconsequential, especially when no one in his life has ever given him the right attention. He was just a runaway kid.

I enjoyed this book for the writing style and the characters, not so much the storyline. It’s very slow going until the climax—which is shocking and upsetting. It was like freezing water slapping me around the face. It really hit me. In addition, the prose was beautiful, sometimes I just got lost in the words. A lot of writing was on grief and death, which I could very much identify with.

Friday Brown took me out of my comfort zone and gave me deep, meaningful characters, with beautiful writing.

Rating: 4 Stars

 

Other reviews:

Ruby at Feed Me Books Now Rating: 5 stars

Jack at The Book Stop Rating: 5 stars

Georgia at Books and Writers JNR Rating: 4.5 stars

Maya at What Should I Read Next Rating: 5 stars (She’s also holding an ARC giveaway of Friday Brown, click on the link!)

four-stars