I can't do it. It turns out even Katie McGarry can't make a motorcycle club into anything other than skeezy and gross. I tried my very best with thisI can't do it. It turns out even Katie McGarry can't make a motorcycle club into anything other than skeezy and gross. I tried my very best with this one but I decided to DNF at 45% By this time I'm already annoyed at many things.
1. The whole set up of 'good girl' meets 'bad boy' - The good girl here is kind of boring and judgmental and the bad boy isn't winning any points for his behaviour. Also, hate the bias towards the MC being THE BEST. Like, everyone is ready to laugh and make fun of Emily because of her reaction to a dead body, but whatever, folks. Hers would be a normal reaction to something unusual. Also? She's not going to have the reactions you want her to have if you keep 'protecting' her from the truth. And I didn't get to the bottom of the whole mystery and secrets Emily's mom is holding but I don't think I'd want my child to grow up in the community of a motorcycle club either so you're not going to win me over with whatever 'traitor' stuff is going on.
2. The slut shaming is atrocious. Oz is all about one-time hook ups with girls he could care less about because gross, they gave it up. Whereas Emily is pure and good and I might just throw up. It all feels very much like girls and women who have sex are not worthy of respect and I don't agree with that.
3. All the macho bullshit. It's all guns and knives and violence and muscles and holy crap, I nearly rolled my eyes out of my head. Especially as everyone is taking it all so seriously.
4. The mention of the term 'old lady' which gives me the creeps. I actually shuddered at the mention of it.
5. A club house that has walls decorated entirely in bras. Because that's not disgusting. This is where I decided enough was enough. At 42%
Katie McGarry's previous books in the Pushing the Limits series were great, I loved them. I requested this book on Netgalley because of Katie McGarry's name and also the cover which looked summery and romantic. And I did not find that this book was either summery or romantic. I won't be continuing this book or with this series. ...more
I didn't realise this was the last in the series. I always feel like some of the descriptions of abuse or traumatic events don't need to be done in soI didn't realise this was the last in the series. I always feel like some of the descriptions of abuse or traumatic events don't need to be done in so much detail. And some of these books always feels a little bit cheesy in parts. But I'm really also sad to see this series of books come to an end. I love any book or story that features a group of friends who come together as a family in place of their actual ones....more
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent was so action-packed and fast-paced that in some ways I find it a little difficult toFast-paced and exciting!
The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent was so action-packed and fast-paced that in some ways I find it a little difficult to talk about in any kind of meaningful way. I was reading this book and it felt like this mad dash towards the end in which I was furiously clicking for the next page on my Kindle and everything kind of whizzed by me. It was an exciting read, that's for sure!
Without Rachel Vincent's name attached to this book, I'm not sure how excited I would have been. But it is Rachel Vincent and I loved her Soul Screamers series. They were emotional and surprising and every bit as fast-paced. So these were my expectations coming into this first book in a new series. And The Stars Never Rise really managed to do everything I wanted it to do including set up this new story and world and populating it with interesting characters and relationships.
All right, so this new series. It's set in a future America in which there have been a plague of demons that have consumed many souls. And it was only with the help of an exorcist and a war waged by the Church that the war has won and the demons defeated. Now the Church rules everything and there are few souls to go around.
Living in this world is our main character, Nina Kane. She is seriously struggling to keep afloat with bills and school and taking care of her younger sister, Melanie. The two girls live with her mostly absent mother, and are quite happy to do their own thing. Only doing her own thing has meant that 15 year old, Mellie, announces she is pregnant and it sets off this shocking turn of events that changes everything.
I don't want to tell you too much more of the story because that is really where everything switches gear into this fast-paced action-packed story in which Nina teams up with this band of bad-ass exorcists and wage their own battles against demons and the Church in order to protect both Nina and Mellie. There is a rather unconventional romance between Nina and one of the exorcists in this group who call themselves Anathema and I could not be more intrigued by how things will work out!
Speaking of the romance, ahhhhh! I loved Nina and Finn. But there is so much standing in the way of them being together. And the anticipation of all that drama coming our way in future books feels like delicious anticipation for me right now!
One of the very surprising elements of the story actually happens before Nina meets up with Finn and has all of these earth-shattering realisations about her family situation and the Church and everything she's ever known about demons and exorcists and the state of the media and the world in general. And the element of the story in which shows how far Nina will go to protect and feed her little sister was one of the things that surprised me about this book. Not the level of concern or love between the two sister but the lengths Nina went to. This book goes to some dark places, as witnessed towards the end of the story in the final show-down!
I thought The Stars Never Rise was a fantastic, gripping and addictive story. Sort of like a demon, this book swept into my life and consumed me until I was finished and I loved every second of it. I love Nina's determination and her bond with Mellie. I loved all the members of Anathema from snarky Devi with an attitude to loyal Maddock. I can't wait to read more in this series. ...more
In times where I suspect that I'm headed towards a reading slump, I usually turn towards contemporary romance stories. And, against my betteUggggghh.
In times where I suspect that I'm headed towards a reading slump, I usually turn towards contemporary romance stories. And, against my better judgement based on my previous history with titles in the new adult genre, I requested The List by Kate L. Mary after reading several positive reviews here on Goodreads. Despite rolling my eyes at the premise and containing at least two cliched story lines (an innocent girl and a love triangle) I thought I'd give it a try.
There are several problems I had with this story.
The first is my biggest problem. The main character of this story, Annie, continually says at the beginning of this story that she doesn't know who she is after growing up with an overprotective father. Her going to university on the other side of the country from her dad is apparently her attempt at 'finding herself.' Unfortunately, the only exploration of her identity Annie chooses to do is finding out who she is in terms of dating, sex and relationships. Throughout this entire story I was really losing my patience with the fact that Annie does absolutely nothing about finding out who she is apart from some shopping and some bar hopping. Could she not have found a university club to join? Started up a hobby? Had some inner reflection about what makes her happy? What she might do for a career in the future? She's in university but the only times actual university things are discussed is in terms of convenient study dates with one of the love interests and/or stalking the other love interest's current girlfriend in class.
Another thing I absolutely loathed about this book is the laxness in terms of friendship and family relationships. Annie starts up a close friendship with her new roommate but every obstacle, every time some adversity comes in the way of their friendship (like when Annie lied to her for two months) her response was very 'meh, these things happen, let's carry on like nothing has happened' which led me to believe that this was not a friendship that I could believe in.
Another character (and family member) turns out to be the main character's 'best friend' However we get to 87% through this story before these two characters actually interact with each other. Best friends, indeed.
There is some slight instances of slut-shaming. Once a character says 'I'm not a slut but...' and other time a more sexually active character is called out with terrible language (overactive holes) that had me nearly throwing my Kindle across the room.
At 78% I nearly abandoned the book entirely. The language and comments used about a mental health issue actually sickened me. It only went downhill from there.
The absolute worst thing that happens in this book is that the main character is supposedly incredibly worried and upset and even frantic about the well-being of one of her family members in the last 15% but uses that desperate time to have sex with her boyfriend and it is described in such detail that it was obviously meant to be a really hot scene. All I could think throughout was that if I thought my dad had harmed himself (which, was the case in this story) there is no way in hell I'd have felt sexually turned on by anything. Like, what even? Time and place.
Part of this, I can see was my own fault. I should have known to give this title a wide berth. I should have stopped reading when problem after problem arose. I didn't. I'll know better for next time. ...more
Loved it! Really clever and funny and thoughtful. Full review to come.
Truckers by Terry Pratchett is the first book in the Bromeliad trilogy aimed atLoved it! Really clever and funny and thoughtful. Full review to come.
Truckers by Terry Pratchett is the first book in the Bromeliad trilogy aimed at children focusing on nomes. It was first published in 1989 and has recently been repackaged into this brightly coloured edition with lovely cover and accompanying illustrations by Mark Beech.
I had a lot of fun with Truckers. I knew very little about the book before I began - only that it is a children's book and that it is not Discworld-related. And this book was a very fun surprise and there was much to find interesting and amusing, especially coming to this book as an adult reader. There is so much humour and thoughtfulness in Terry Pratchett's writing and in his stories.
Trucker is the story of nomes, these little creatures only 4 inches tall that live in places that humans do only without the humans knowing. Truckers follows Masklin and his small band of other nomes who have been living Outside and have left to explore, carrying along an important artifact called The Thing. They stumble across this huge colony of nomes living in a department store and at first there are some clashes between the two sets of nomes but they eventually band together after learning that there is very little time before the store closes down for good.
I can't say that Truckers has the biggest amount of plot ever. And while there are this core group of nomes that become influential in organising the knowledge and materials required for this mass exodus from the store, they aren't that well-developed, aside from perhaps Masklin. Perhaps that changes throughout the the two other books in the trilogy though? I'm not sure. I mention this, but it also didn't particularly make that much of a difference to my enjoyment of the novel!
What it does do though is have is a wonderful mix of humour with very clever and interesting ideas. I'm sure some children might read this story and enjoy it for what it is: a funny, adventurous story of a collection of nomes working together towards a common goal. But there is also this other layer to the story in which Terry Pratchett explores topics such as gender and leadership and belief systems and language in really thoughtful and interesting ways.
These subtle explorations of really big ideas is the real draw to this story for me. I've read other books in which Terry Pratchett points out some of the confusing (and therefore hilarious) elements to the English language and in Truckers he again pulls this off beautifully. There was a scene towards the end involving the highway code and road signs that actually made me howl with laughter.
And there's also a bit about gender and outdated ideas about women and education and it was lovely to see Grimma's transformation as she begins to read and plays a large part in moving the nomes towards their ultimate goals. Other scenes bring up the importance of faith and also challenging long-held belief systems and there are other characters who champion knowledge and literacy and it all just made me happy. That there is such an intelligent and thought-provoking book. For children.
Truckers by Terry Pratchett was a really fun and worthwhile read. It was clever and funny and I do very highly recommend it! ...more
So adorable! Love this new spinoff series to the Princess Diaries and cannot wait for more.
I found Notebooks From a Middle School Princess by Meg CaboSo adorable! Love this new spinoff series to the Princess Diaries and cannot wait for more.
I found Notebooks From a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot to be utterly adorable. I was always going to be hugely excited about a new Princess Diaries spin-off series and this first book in the series does a great job of introducing us to new (and old!) characters and a new setting for a brand-new middle grade audience.
At the same time as being very, very excited, I was also a little bit nervous that this spin-off series featuring Mia's long-lost half-sister, Olivia Grace, would feel very samey to what I've already read in the Princess Diaries series. It was a tough one. I think I wanted more of the writing style and sense of humour of the Princess Diaries series... but something different too. It's a very fine line, but I think Meg Cabot did a brilliant job of doing just that.
In this book, we're introduced to Olivia, a rather adorable middle school girl whose mother has died and who has never really known her father. She's written letters back and forth with him but knows very little about her dad. So little that Olivia resorts to making up a story about him and his life, pretending that he's an archaeologist who travels the world and therefore is unable to provide a safe and stable home for her. And she's okay with that. Even when she lives with her aunt and uncle and her cousins, none of whom are particularly that friendly with her.
I thought Olivia was quite sweet, with her interest in animals and particularly wildlife illustrations. This book is wonderfully illustrated by Meg Cabot herself and features quite a lot of cute drawings of animals and her observations on the events around her. She's quite plucky and interesting and she takes everything in her stride really well. I liked that about her. She's not had an easy time of things. She's being picked on at school by a girl jealous of her new fame and royal connections, she's clearly not treated very well at home. The media start speculating about the fact that she's mixed race and my heart broke for her. I was brought to tears quite often when Olivia finds such happiness in the smallest of things: a salmon and cheese bagel, the idea of a proper family.
It was also, of course, incredibly nice to see the return of some of my favourite characters. Especially Mia and Grandmere. I loved being back in this world and discovering more about the new characters and the old. This is very much the first book in the series and spends a great deal of time with introductions and laying out the future books in the series as Olivia will be carrying out her own princess lessons but instead of New York, she'll be spending hers in Genovia and I, for one, cannot wait to read more.
Notebooks From A Middle School Princess is the funny, sweet and adorable new story that will have you smiling and laughing and feeling very emotional for this newest Genovian princess! ...more
I was worried that I wouldn't like a continuation of Echo and Noah's story because I loved them so much in Pushing the Limits... But yeah, I shouldn'tI was worried that I wouldn't like a continuation of Echo and Noah's story because I loved them so much in Pushing the Limits... But yeah, I shouldn't have doubted. I was completely hooked and really fell for them both all over again! Plus, I cried so many times....more
What a great book! Finished it with tears in my eyes and I was completely invested in Maddy and Olly as characters and as a couple.
It was on a whim thWhat a great book! Finished it with tears in my eyes and I was completely invested in Maddy and Olly as characters and as a couple.
It was on a whim that I requested Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon from Netgalley. I hadn't heard anything about the book before I saw it listed there and I believe Nicola Yoon is a debut author. But for whatever reason, I did request it and it wasn't long before I decided to read it. And boy am I glad that I did.
Right from the start this book grabbed my interest and didn't let go right up until that very emotional ending. I loved the two main characters and getting to know them both. Just everything from the characters to their relationships to each other to this whole situation had me feeling all the feels. All of them. And it's been awhile since I felt so incredibly absorbed into a story like I did with Everything, Everything. It was a really amazing experience reading this book.
Everything, Everything is the story of teenage girl Madeline who has a very rare and unusual condition in which she is allergic to practically everything. In order to survive, she hasn't left her house in 17 years and is cared for by her mother (who is a doctor) and a nurse, Carla, who comes in daily. To be honest, Madeline has no real issues or complaints about her life, she studies online and she feels happy to spend time with her mom watching films and playing made up board games. And she gets on great with Carla (and their friendship is so adorable!).
That is until Olly and his family move in next door. And Olly and Madeline unexpectedly start up this friendship online that progresses into more. And with the arrival of Olly, Maddy starts having all these other thoughts about wanting more of her life than what she has. She starts to question what it means to live and what's important to her and she starts to realise everything that she's been missing and what things mean so much to her that she'd risk her health for.
One of the things that I absolutely loved about this book is the diversity in it. Obviously Maddy has this unusual condition but she's also mixed race and everyone (the two people in her life) are people of colour and that is what's normal for her. So much so that the fact that Olly is white is pointed out for being odd person out. I loved that. And more mixed race main characters, please.
Another thing I really loved about Everything, Everything are all of the relationships. Carla and Maddy's friendship was really sweet. It's quite clear that Carla is more than just a nurse to Maddy. There's friendship there but she's also sort of a mother figure as well, someone who is really trying to look out for Maddy and someone who does stuff like bring Olly into the house so that Maddy can experience new things. I loved Carla.
I also really enjoyed this complicated relationship between Maddy and her mother. You can see a lot of the cracks appearing in this mother-daughter relationship as this story progresses and as Maddy pulls away from her mother. She's growing up and becoming her own person which makes less room in her life for her mother's opinions and protection. It all really made sense.
But at the heart of this story is this incredibly sweet new friendship that turns into more between Maddy and Olly. I actually really love that theirs is a relationship that starts mostly with them talking online, sending messages and emails back and forth. They are impossibly cute together. And then when they start meeting in person? My heart almost burst at that exciting/nervous stage of new relationships. ARGH, the feels.
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon is definitely a book to keep an eye out for. It's emotional and romantic and diverse. It has a wonderful cast of characters and relationships that are fascinating and complicated. I'm definitely excited by this book! ...more
Really great and informative self-help guide to navigating the pressures of friendship, self-image, love and careers amongst other things in this dayReally great and informative self-help guide to navigating the pressures of friendship, self-image, love and careers amongst other things in this day and age. Very inspirational....more
It was an interesting read and a very different story than I'd normally read.
She Wore Red Trainers by Na'ima B. Robert is not like any other book I'veIt was an interesting read and a very different story than I'd normally read.
She Wore Red Trainers by Na'ima B. Robert is not like any other book I've read before and I really like it for that very reason. It's always a good thing, I think, reading books very different to our own personal beliefs. It's good to read a story with a very different perspective and to see things differently. And that's what my enjoyment of She Wore Red Trainers was about for the most part.
She Wore Red Trainers has the subtitle 'A Muslim Love Story' and it is a dual-perspective novel telling the story of two teenagers, Amirah and Ali, and how they came to meet each other and fall in love and how their relationship conforms to the ideals and customs of the Muslim religion.
It was a very different experience witnessing Ali and Amirah's feelings for the other develop over the course of this novel. A lot of that connection was subtle: there wasn't very much direct interaction with each other and I felt like the two characters found out about each other more from other people, through friends and family etc, than they did through actual conversations and spending time with each other. And while as a reader seeing the events unfold from both perspectives and seeing how both Ali and Amirah feels about the other, I think it's more apparent that these two characters potentially have a lot in common and that there might be the possibility of more, I still wanted to see them talk a bit more and to see some of their shared ideas and hopes and dreams verbalised.
I really enjoyed getting to know both Ali and Amirah throughout this book. I felt like the romantic elements of this story are kind of on a back burner and at the forefront of this novel is the character development of both of our main characters as they struggle in their friendships and families and their futures. And I really enjoyed seeing how their religion shapes a lot of their thoughts and decisions and how it both helps and guides them through.
We have Ali, who has moved to London with his dad and two brothers after the death of Ali's mother and the decline in his father's business. Everyone is handling their grief in different ways and I really liked seeing Ali's brother, Umar, struggle with Ali and their dad's return to Islam and we can see that, for Umar at least, it isn't quite that easy and that there's still plenty of anger and helplessness in the face of loss.
And then there is Amirah, who is pretty resistant to the idea of boys and marriage especially in light of her mother's disastrous love life as her mother is, at the beginning of the novel, grappling with her fourth divorce. And at the same time Amirah is also questioning what she wants to do with her life and what she sees for her future. She loves art but other more practical subjects are more encouraged and pushed.
It was great to see people using their religious beliefs to do good things, like setting up a youth group and raising money for charity. It was great to explore the Muslim faith more. I found it really interesting to see the pressures that both Ali and Amirah were under - from themselves, their families, their friends, their community and within their religion. It was a very interesting experience. ...more
This book sorely disappointed me. I am a big fan of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series of books and I had high hopes for this new story. What aThis book sorely disappointed me. I am a big fan of Samantha Young's On Dublin Street series of books and I had high hopes for this new story. What a shame that it was filled with convoluted family histories and drama and the back story for the main character was silly and dropped on us in that last 30%. So many things felt out of place and many of the secondary characters were lacking any character development at all. They were just there. It truly didn't feel like a Samantha Young book to me. I feel like three stars is a generous rating and it's only that high because I read it in a single day. ...more
So many people raved about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell when it first came out that I did two things immediately. The first is that I bouCute. Very cute!
So many people raved about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell when it first came out that I did two things immediately. The first is that I bought the book and the second is that I avoided reading the book until I felt like the hype had died down a little. There's nothing worse, I feel, than reading a book when the pressure is high to LOVE a book.
And now that I have read it, I think I'll always been wondering if my feelings towards the book have been affected in some way by all of the hype surrounding it? I don't know. What I do know is that I enjoyed Fangirl. I did, quite a bit. I didn't love it. I still prefer Eleanor and Park. But I liked a lot of the concepts to this story. I enjoyed the fact that the main character writes fan fiction and we see her experiences of adjusting to university life and having a roommate and her uni courses more clearly than most 'new adult' books. I liked seeing her explore new relationships and friendships. I didn't particularly feel emotionally invested in her relationships with her sister or with Levi but the other aspects of Cath's story kept me interested. Especially her writing journey.
And while I didn't fall for Levi in the same way I fell for Park, I loved that the main romantic scene in the book is the two characters falling for each other whilst reading aloud from The Outsiders by SE Hinton! I'm really glad that I finally read this book, even if it didn't wow me in the same way it has for other readers....more