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