I am very excited about Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja! And I loved every minute I s...moreThis review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
I am very excited about Kiss Date Love Hate by Luisa Plaja! And I loved every minute I spent with this book and had a huge grin on my face throughout. It's very funny and fun and sweet and while at it's heart, the book is a love story, it's also about being OK with who you are.
I love how throughout the book Lex and her friends really discover more about themselves and also about their friends and exes and teachers and parents - we're all more complicated and holding onto painful or hidden or just bigger issues than we let on to other people. It is so easy to make assumptions about other people and what they're lives or loves will be like, but it's way more satisfying to actually find out.
Lex Murphy, our main character, is a teenage girl who has some issues. She has a bit of an attitude and is constantly being sent to the principal to be disciplined. It's all right though, because she often runs into (obviously hot) bad boy, Drew there. Lex harbours a crush on Drew, but is still quite hung up on her ex-boyfriend who happens to be currently dating her now ex-best friend.
When Lex and Drew are both required to attend a film-making course during the half-term holidays, the friendships and love lives of Lex and her friends are all put to the test. And all because of this (awesome) game discovered by Lex's best guy friend, George. In this SIMs-like video game, the appearance, mood and love settings of the players involved can be altered to best suit Lex (and George!). But will Lex continue to fight to get her ex back? Or come to acknowledge her growing feelings for Drew? I had so much fun finding out.
There are some truly wonderful things about Kiss Date Love Hate. I loved the nerdiness involved from the video game setting to George's seemingly endless references to Lord of the Rings. I loved the humour involved but also how it touches on some things are a bit more serious and that I don't often come across in YA fiction, which made me think. But it's the relationships that I loved the most, especially Lex's friendship with George.
But I loved witnessing these first baby steps towards a romantic relationship for Lex. I thought she was a great character. Plenty of annoying habits and she's obviously very flawed, but in an endearing way. From the very first page I really wanted her to figure things out and her journey throughout this book was a surprising one for me!
Only love for Kiss Date Love Hate for me! Highly recommended.(less)
Oh boy, was I excited to read Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan! When I read the first book...moreThis review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
Oh boy, was I excited to read Darkness Falls by Cate Tiernan! When I read the first book in the series, Immortal Beloved, I fell in love hard. With the story and the characters and the detail and how much layering was done with the different strands of the story. I had very high expectations for Darkness Falls and I was not disappointed! Darkness Falls is everything I loved about Immortal Beloved and more. More of Nastasya and Reyn, more history, more character development, more action and just more fun. I really love this series, it was such an addictive read!
Darkness Falls takes place not long after the events of Immortal Beloved. Nastasya is still attempting to make peace with who she is and the actions that have led her to where she is. She's an immortal being who has lived the past hundreds of years with no care or concern for the humanity that surrounds her and she's really beating herself up about her behaviour. But with the help of others at this sort-of rehab place for immortals, Nastasya is attempting to be a better person, to make amends and to shed the darkness that she feels lives within her. And despite her vow to try to connect more with the people around her, she's still reluctant to get any closer to Viking hottie, Reyn, who was responsible for wiping out her entire family.
When I started this series, I was really just expecting to find an interesting and emotional romantic story, and instead I found so much more. I was absolutely fascinated to read more of Nastasya's memories of her life through the decades. They are memories that pain her now, as she reconsiders how little regard she has had for other people throughout the years. It's sometimes a struggle to read of Nastasya's regret and also of how little she believes in her ability to change and make amends for the darkness, but it just made me feel so much more for Nastasya as a character. She's tough and snarky, but still so vulnerable and lacking in self-belief. So I could fully understand how that doubt causes her to make the choices she does in this book.
From the first book, I really wanted to know more about Nastasya and Incy, and Cate Tiernan definitely delivered on this part. I thought their relationship was wonderful delivered to us as readers. There's some really creepy and dark undertones as Nasty feels uneasy about the concept of Incy finding her in River's Edge having run away from him. We get to see how the two first met and a lot of their history together. I loved getting to know his character and this history more.
I just want more of this series as soon as possible! I want to know more about Nastasya. I want more of Reyn. I want to know more about Nastasya's past and her experiences, more Incy! Just more of everything. (less)
I think Torn by Cat Clarke is the book I was most looking forward to read. Cat Clarke's pre...moreThis review was originally posted at Fluttering Butterflies
I think Torn by Cat Clarke is the book I was most looking forward to read. Cat Clarke's previous book, Entangled, was just that good - very emotional and hard-hitting that I could not wait to get my hands on Torn. And it's sometimes scary to have such huge expectations for a book. But Torn lived up to all of the expectations I had. I loved the flawed characters, the emotions I felt witnessing this revenge against the mean girl gone wrong and all the guilt and horrible feelings afterwards as everyone involved tries to get on with their lives. It was a wonderful, emotional book and I think I'll always be excited about reading new books by Cat Clarke!
Torn is told from the point of view of Alice King who recently went on a school trip to Scotland. There, sharing a cabin with her best friend Cass, social reject Polly, emo-girl, Rae and Mean Girl Tara. When Tara's bullying and mean girl ways go a bit too far, Cass and Polly decide to teach Tara a lesson in humiliation.
What happens next was difficult to read, but it was also really gripping and I found myself unable to tear my eyes away from the pages. I loved how conflicted these characters are and how much in particular Alice struggles with the choices and decisions that were made. There's a deeper layer of guilt to Alice's story as she begins a romantic relationship with Tara's younger brother Jack. How can she carry on with Jack and not tell her what she knows about his sister's death?! And to make things worse, Tara isn't gone for good. Instead, Tara haunts Alice.
Torn really has so many great things going for it - a really ruthless mean girl, some hugely flawed and relateable characters, a sweet love story, a dead girl, and a ghost! But what I loved so much about it is how much emotion there is, especially from Alice. Not just guilt and horror at what happens, but all the complicated feelings that come with first love and a friendship that have ended badly. I love Alice's relationship with her father particularly as they are both still grieving from the loss of Alice's mother.
Torn as a brilliant book, one that really made me think about seemingly small actions that mean so much more to other people. It made me think about how I treat other people, how honesty and doing the right thing can feel like such a grey area. Mostly it just made me feel. Angry and confused and hurting and hopeful - and I think that's a sign of a great story. Torn is a book not to miss! (less)
Oh, this book. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins was utterly sweet and ado...moreThis review was originally published at Fluttering Butterflies
Oh, this book. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins was utterly sweet and adorable. And whilst I preferred Anna and the French Kiss, this book still made me incredibly happy and I felt very emotionally connected to the characters right from the start.
I really liked Lola as a character. I loved her wacky fashion sense and her originality, while at the same time you can see how vulnerable she is underneath the outrageous costumes she wears. She's a loyal friend and daughter and feels the pressure of her unusual family.
Lola is also still smarting a bit at the events that occurred so long ago with her neighbours - Calliope, the talented and snooty ice-skater and her adorable twin brother, budding inventor, Cricket. And despite Lola's musician older boyfriend, good job and seemingly perfect life, when Cricket returns, everything in Lola's life turns upside down.
This book was so good. I really loved how reading this book made me feel as though I were there in San Francisco, seeing everything happen through Lola's eyes. I could just really believe and relate to her story. Her two over-protective dads are wonderful, and I felt rather relieved to read a story in which parents are portrayed in a positive and supportive light. I thought Lola had a great relationship with both of her parents, which felt refreshing as well as heartwarming. I also thought it was rather fun to see Anna and Etienne appear in this book as older friends around to give Lola some advice and to be a sort of relationship guide.
And in terms of Lola's lovelife, at first I was pretty conflicted. I really liked beginning-of-the-story Max. Being older, and a musician, him having a literary tattoo and being very patient with Lola's dads. But of course, in walks Cricket. And oh god, I love that Cricket is so very NICE and NERDY as well as HOT. What a winning combination. I thought the build-up to their relationship was really sweet, especially as we can see how inexperienced and awkward Cricket really is and how much he really wants to be with Lola.
The conflicts between them were suitably conflicted and angsty and drawn-out. There seems to be some pressure from Lola's dads and family members on both sides on who should be with whom, but I love that both Lola and Cricket make their own decisions here. There is also a rather sweet and important message about being OK with who you are. All in all, a really sweet and romantic read which I thoroughly enjoyed!(less)