Really enjoyed this one and was close to tears at one point. Very quick to read and finished in a day! Will definitely look out for the companion noveReally enjoyed this one and was close to tears at one point. Very quick to read and finished in a day! Will definitely look out for the companion novels to this story....more
I wanted this book to be a little bit longer so things didn't feel quite so rushed at the end. Still, a beautiful book with an important message.
FullI wanted this book to be a little bit longer so things didn't feel quite so rushed at the end. Still, a beautiful book with an important message.
I didn't know anything about My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga when I first started reading it. And while I don't normally prioritise unsolicited review books, I was really attracted to both the cover and the unusual title for this book and so it landed on the top of my TBR pile. And I liked it. I thought it had a great message.
Suicide is one of those topics that I'm seeing more frequently in young adult fiction. I'm both happy and saddened by this fact. Happy that there's more representation but also saddened that it feels so necessary to talk about depression and suicide and suicidal thoughts. This book in particular brings up suicide support websites and also suicide partners. I hadn't really given much thought to such websites but I hear they are becoming more frequent which I find utterly disturbing.
My Heart and Other Black Holes tells us this story from teenage girl, Aysel's perspective as she meets another teenager, Roman, and they decide to become suicide partners and to commit suicide together in a month's time. This story spans that month between this partnership and the agreed date and in the meantime we find out more about Aysel and about Roman and why and how they got to that point where they want to end their lives. And we also see Aysel slowly change her mind through this connection and friendship with Roman.
I really enjoyed getting to know both Aysel and Roman and hear about their experiences and reasons for committing suicide. They're both really interesting characters and in particular I really enjoyed the fact that Aysel is a big physics nerd. She takes these different physics concepts and tries applying them to her life and it makes her question things in a way that I found fascinating. And while perhaps there's less of that sort of character development with Roman, I still really enjoyed this friendship between the two main characters.
I think my only really complaint about this book is that the ending feels a little bit too rushed for my liking. So while there wasn't quite enough time for to believe in certain thoughts and feelings and developments, I still really connected with what I thought the book's main message is. It was beautiful and sad, a little romantic but ultimately hopeful and I really recommend it. ...more
I really enjoyed Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I was excited to hear that this is the first book in a planned trilogy which will be a modern-day retell I really enjoyed Vendetta by Catherine Doyle. I was excited to hear that this is the first book in a planned trilogy which will be a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Isn't that fabulous? I really do love these sorts of twists on a familiar story. And while I thought from afar, there are similarities to Romeo and Juliet that I could see, it also felt brand new and I felt like even if this story was following a set chain of events generally speaking, I was always constantly on the edge of my seat and also surprised by where the story went.
So Vendetta is told from the point of view of Sophie, this teenage girl who has had her life changed quite drastically recently when her father is sent to prison. But despite that, Sophie is pretty determined to get on with her life, hang out with her best friend, and work in her family's diner. But her normal life is again shaken up by the arrival of a new family in town and Sophie finds herself irresistibly attracted to one of the five hot brothers.
Getting to know Nicoli and his brothers means being pulled into something much bigger than a teenage crush and it has far reaching repercussions for both her and her family. One of my only real complaints I had when reading this book was the slow start. I felt like things took awhile to get moving for no real good reason. Plus, I knew beforehand (from the book summary) that this book would be about warring families and the mafia and it just needed to get there quicker.
I really loved diving into this book and getting to know these characters though. I loved seeing the different sides to how both families are run and discovering all these massive secrets. There were a few gasp-worthy revelations and it really kept things interesting for me. I felt like maybe 2 of the brothers were unnecessary however and unless major things happened in future books only 3 were needed for the plot of this book. Still.
I think with any Romeo and Juliet retelling the love and romance elements of the book have to be at the forefront of any book. And I found myself feeling quite a lot about pairings that don't happen in this book. Sophie does some really great kissing with a hot boy in this book but I'm really looking forward to these pairings possibly changing throughout the course of the book. I live in hope.
All in all, Vendetta was a brilliant debut book. It was exciting and addictive and I feel really emotionally invested in these characters and their lives and relationships. I can't wait to see what happens next... ...more
First up, I read Sleepless by Lou Morgan. This is a story about Izzy and her group of fr3.5 stars Some quite creepy and tense situations!
First up, I read Sleepless by Lou Morgan. This is a story about Izzy and her group of friends. They're all rich and pretty and they all live in or near the Barbican Centre and attend this swank private school, Clerkenwell. At Clerkenwell, exams matter. They're super important and in fact, failure is not an option.
So when Tigs gives everyone a seemingly perfect solution to their problem, Izzy and her friends all jump at the chance. Tigs has found these special pills which enhance memory and really allows for more concentration and focus during revisions and exams. And everything seems to be going so well until after the exams when creepy things start happening and Izzy and her friends start seeing and hearing things and start to question: what actually were in those pills? And the realisation that they all come to? There are worse things to happen to them besides failing an exam.
While I thought that Sleepless was a little slow to get into and I never fully connected to the majority of the central cast of characters, I also found this book to have some really creepy and tense situations and I found myself a little uncomfortable reading this book alone and in the dark. I loved that this book is set in London, specifically at the Barbican Centre where I've been quite a few times. Having a familiar setting made things more real in my head and I loved the addition of other scary places: a hospital, a building site, a meat market. Even the Barbican with its confusing stairwells and passageways was a brilliant setting choice for this story.
In terms of horror, I was pleasantly surprised by where the story went. Some of these teenagers do die and in horrific ways. But the build-up to the gruesome scenes was quite chilling in parts as well as the characters start to question their own grasp on reality and I always love to see a group of characters turn on each other as their trust and camaraderie are shaken by rather shocking events.
I quite liked this story. It did need a tighter edit, particularly in the first quarter of the book, but overall an interesting idea that certainly gave me the creeps! ...more
This book got me with the creepy porcelain dolls. Few things are more terrifying.
Next, I picked up Frozen by Alex Bell. I did initially slThis book got me with the creepy porcelain dolls. Few things are more terrifying.
Next, I picked up Frozen by Alex Bell. I did initially slightly put off reading this book because I find the very idea of haunted porcelain dolls to be super terrifying and this cover constantly looks like it's watching and following me as I was reading this book! But I did gather enough courage to read this book and I really liked it. Again, I didn't think it was overly scary but it definitely had some really unsettling and disturbing scenes within it that made me uncomfortable at times! Especially as I was mostly reading it alone and at night in my creaky house.
Frozen Charlotte is mostly set on the Scottish island, Skye, in kind of a remote old Victorian school house. As with Sleepless, I thought the setting of this book really leant itself to a horror novel. I loved the idea of this island cut off from the mainland by bad weather and cancelled ferries and also this school house converted into a family home, especially as it is littered with so much history from its days of being a school - including a large collection of porcelain dolls. Plus, together with a Ouija board, ghostly sightings, unexplained fires and accidents and you have yourself quite the creepy story.
This story revolves around our main character, Sophie, who comes to stay with her cousins over the summer. She's recently suffered a big loss with her best friend dying in an accident and she comes to stay with this family she doesn't really know very well who have also had their fair share of loss. And Sophie's relatives are a family with a complicated family dynamic! I really liked that about this book as people aren't what they seem and everyone's behaviour has changed due to the evil intentions of these supposedly haunted porcelain dolls.
Throughout most of the book Sophie is searching for answers to her best friend's death which she thinks is connected to the death of her cousin, Rebecca, a few years back. While this puts Sophie in dangerous situations at time, I felt like it fit with Sophie's character and I quite liked seeing how this mystery unravelled.
I thought Frozen Charlotte had a very cinematic feel to it. I could quite easily picture the events of this book as a horror film and towards the second half of the book, when Sophie realises the extent of one character's intentions towards her I could feel Sophie's helplessness and frustration in this situation. I thought it was really good! ...more
3.5 stars. Felt like the student teacher relationship overshadowed the bullying in the second half and I really wanted to see more depth in the relati3.5 stars. Felt like the student teacher relationship overshadowed the bullying in the second half and I really wanted to see more depth in the relationship between Lara and her parents regarding how much they let her down.
I really enjoyed Me and Mr J by Rachel McIntyre. I find myself weirdly attracted to story lines that feature student/teacher relationships. I'm not even sure what that says about me, but I'm just going to go with it and say I really like the complications and emotions that go along with this type of forbidden relationship. And I think the bullying aspects of the book were well done too and I liked that this book two main story lines really tie in well with each other.
Me and Mr J is a story told in a diary format from 15 year old Lara. Things are not so great in Lara's life at the beginning of the story as her best friend has moved away, her dad has lost his job and the fact that Lara is being bullied at school because of her lower income and her mom's job as a maid.
I really liked Lara right from the start. I think she has a great voice and I loved how while she didn't always stick up for herself she at least never felt embarrassed about her family's circumstances or about her mother taking on cleaning jobs. I like that instead of complaining about her lot in life, she does her best to take on jobs herself in order to maintain her hobbies while things are tough at home. She's got a good relationship with her Nan and I quite liked that.
I think Lara's family circumstances were quite hard to read as were a lot of Lara's thoughts on her bullying, and, of course, the actually accounts of bullying which start with name-calling and humiliation in front of others and escalates over time to physical and sexual assault. There's quite a lot of victim-blaming from Lara throughout the first 2/3 of the book which was really uncomfortable to read and one of my main issues with this book is that Lara isn't specifically told or comes to any strong conclusion herself about her lack of blame in 'bringing it on herself.' I did want that to be a little bit clearer.
And this escalation in bullying, I think, is what brings Lara into feeling how does about her teacher. With everything in Lara's life very difficult, with her bullies tormenting her at every turn, her family falling apart and the added stress of bearing the brunt of her parent's frustrations, Lara blossoms under any praise or nice word from her new, young, fit teacher. I thought it was interesting how the author illustrates Mr J and the circumstances in which he comes to this place in which he is potentially involved with a student on a romantic level.
The first half of the book seems to really focus on the bullying in Lara's life and the second half seems more concerned with the student/teacher relationship. While I felt like both of these story lines were well introduced and discussed I did want a little bit more closure and discussion regarding Lara's bullying as I mentioned and, in particular, Lara's relationship with her parents and the way that I felt Lara was let down by both her parents. I think I wanted the conclusion of this book to be a little bit more in depth to all the relationships and topics brought up. But overall, I really enjoyed this one. I thought it was hard-hitting and thought-provoking and it really hit me on an emotional level! One to watch out for......more
I didn't much care for the 1st book in the Rusk series, if I'm honest, so I didn't begin All Broke Down by Cora Carmack with particularly high expectaI didn't much care for the 1st book in the Rusk series, if I'm honest, so I didn't begin All Broke Down by Cora Carmack with particularly high expectations... I only vaguely remembered the characters introduced to me in All Lined Up, but sort of remembered thinking Silas Moore would be an intriguing, complicated character.
And he turned out to be. I really loved seeing his vulnerability in this book. I quite easily fell for him and was rooting for him from the beginning. Even though both him and Dylan both had their issues to address in their personal lives, it felt like his was the bigger journey and I loved seeing him transform into someone more mature and responsible and fighting for what is important. Plus? God, he's sexy. And him and Dylan had all kinds of crazy, hot chemistry.
While I liked Dylan's character on the whole, I did find the political activism included in the book to be slightly cheesy at times. Of course, sometimes, particularly in the last third of the book, I felt like the whole theme of injustice just really worked. I kind of wanted to see Dylan's relationship with her parents to be explored more fully as well. I feel like this was only briefly touched on and more depth in this area was needed to round out her story line.
All in all, reading All Broke Up was a great way to spend an evening....more
I've absolutely loved reading these Vestigial Takes and immersing myself again in the amazing world of Laura Lam's. The Card Sharp has definitely beenI've absolutely loved reading these Vestigial Takes and immersing myself again in the amazing world of Laura Lam's. The Card Sharp has definitely been a favourite as it features more back story for one if my favourite characters, Drystan Hornbeam. In this we see him living as a Lerium addict/Lerium dealer and how meeting another card player changed his life for the better. Absolutely beautiful writing as always and I lapped up every little detail. ...more
My thoughts in a nutshell: I read the first book in the series, Popping the Cherry, last year and mostly enjoyed it so when I saw this book, with thatMy thoughts in a nutshell: I read the first book in the series, Popping the Cherry, last year and mostly enjoyed it so when I saw this book, with that cover, on Netgalley, I thought I'd give it a try. But I didn't realise at the time that this book is about Lena's bully, Alice. If I'm honest, if I'd read the product description closer instead of requesting blindly, I might have skipped over it. I'm not the biggest fan of stories involving mean girls. But in the end, while I had some issues with this book I did also mostly enjoy it.
I'm going to start with the negatives. Throughout the book there's a real lack of subtlety. At times I felt like the author could have shown us certain things well enough without saying them allowed specifically. But that usually didn't happen. I felt like I was hit over the head with Alice's reasons for her behaviour and that I was being told how to feel about her and how I should see her rather than having everything laid out for me and for me to make up my own mind. Plus, this whole telling rather than showing never felt realistic. It was jarring at the beginning of the story for Alice to think along the lines of (not direct quote) 'bullying others made me feel better about myself because of my dysfunctional home life' It may have been the case but that wasn't the best way for me as the reader to care about the story or the character.
I also felt like things happened a little too easily. I didn't quote believe the quick transformation in certain relationships. Especially the one which switched from bully victim to best friend.
Finally, the last third felt like a different story. It felt more like the end of a cheesy romance novel with a bare chested hunk of a man on the front cover with flowing locks of hair. I didn't think it was necessary and would have liked the story to focus on other things the story brought up better.
Now that I've said all of that I will say that I started and finished this book within a very short period of time so there was obviously something about the way in which it was written that I really responded to.
I was also close to tears at one point. This story does resolve around two things that I usually connect to and the first is a dysfunctional parent and child relationship, especially one that involves the rejection of the child by the parent. I'm a sucker for that sort of heartbreak. The second is finding a place to belong amongst family you choose for yourself. I did love that aspect of Alice's journey.
There was really great characters and relationships. I particularly enjoyed Alice's relationships with both Charlie and Derek.
I know this has been a very mixed review. I did enjoy reading this book, I just wanted different things from this story than I got in certain areas of it....more
Really enjoyed this one! Focused on two mermaids and their very exciting journey towards fighting evil. Loved that some things were resolved and otherReally enjoyed this one! Focused on two mermaids and their very exciting journey towards fighting evil. Loved that some things were resolved and other things threw up more obstacles! This series is one I look forward to continuing.
I have nothing but love for this series! I really enjoyed the first book in the series, Deep Blue, but Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly took this series to another level for me. I had a few concerns while reading the first book but reading Rogue Wave made me forget all about them.
I loved that while this book features many different mermaids who are instrumental in the story's plot line, Rogue Wave is mainly concerned with two particular mermaids. Serafina, the main character in Deep Blue, and also her best friend, Neela. Both Sera and Neela (and, of course, the other mermaids, Ava, Ling, Becca and Astrid) are on the hunt for more answers concerning this evil thing that is infecting their waters and the talismans that are needed in order to defeat the bad guy.
Both Sera and Neela go on really exciting and dangerous adventures in this book that include shipwrecked ghosts and deadly dragons and honestly, my heart was in my throat and I was on the edge of my seat throughout most of this book! And while I think Sera is an amazing main character and I really feel for her, for me, this book was all about Neela's journey. I loved witnessing her go from a slightly ditzy, sweet-obsessed mermaid who was overly priviledged and maybe slightly spoilt into a mer who is strong and capable and pretty fierce. It was difficult at times to see how much her family and friends resented this change in her but I'm glad to see that she doesn't give up.
And at the same time, this book uncovers some very emotional and surprising truths about Sera's love life and about the betrayals she faced in Deep Water. It was the thing I was most looking forward to finding out more about this situation and I definitely came to the conclusion that it was definitely worth the wait! I know that mermaids and underwater stories won't be everyone's thing, but after reading these two books in this series I know for certain that it is definitely MY thing. Will be waiting impatiently for more! ...more
Not read any books in ages then finish two in one night! I did have tears in my eyes at certain points while reading this one so I know I liked it butNot read any books in ages then finish two in one night! I did have tears in my eyes at certain points while reading this one so I know I liked it but I also felt a little like it was a bit strange and that it didn't feel like I was reading a Gayle Forman novel?
I Was Here by Gayle Forman was a good read ... it would be surprising that a book by this amazing author wouldn't be ... I quite liked how messy and complicated the friendships, romantic relationships and the families are but at the same time, I didn't always feel as emotionally connected to the story as I would have expected.
I Was Here tells this story of Cody, an 18 year old girl, who has learned of the unexpected suicide of her best friend, Meg. In an attempt to help Meg's parents out, Cody goes to clear out Meg's things at university and in the process tries to uncover what Meg's life has been like and piece together her motivation for suicide ... which takes some turns for the dangerous.
I quite liked Cody as a character and this journey she goes on towards discovering Meg's secret life. Over the course of the novel, Cody seems to reconcile the guilt at not knowing and also the guilt that comes with the distance that appears in her friendship with Meg as Meg goes off to university and Cody is left behind unable to afford the same experiences.
Another aspect of the book that really worked for me was the romance element. I love that everyone involved concedes that these two people are a great case of wrong time, wrong people together, but as I've already said, I quite liked how messy and complicated that relationship is.
There are parts of I Was Here that are really beautifully written and have a lot of honesty and emotion and insight to them. But for me, in some ways I felt a little bit disconnected from this story. I think that this is in some parts because I felt like the second half felt a little bit strange. It sort of veers off track of the grief and confusion of Meg's death and goes more into detail about suicide support websites and one person in particular who plays a helping hand in Meg's suicide. I liked the road trip element of this part of the book but I wasn't quite sure about this hunt for justice that Cody goes on nor was I particularly thrilled with the eventual outcome of this mystery surrounding Meg's suicide.
I will always love Gayle Forman and be excited about her books. I think even a book that I didn't love as much as her others is still an amazing book so again, I do highly recommend this book. ...more
I adore Megan Miranda's stories. This one pulled me out of a book slump.
I really adore Megan Miranda. Ever since I read her debut book, FrI adore Megan Miranda's stories. This one pulled me out of a book slump.
I really adore Megan Miranda. Ever since I read her debut book, Fracture, I have fallen in love entirely with her stories and characters and I always get wholly wrapped up in the relationships and everything. Which is why, when in a reading slump, I relied on Megan Miranda's latest, Soulprint to drag me out of it. And unsurprisingly, it worked a charm. I found Soulprint to be a really addictive, exciting read and one that made me think.
Soulprint is sort of unusual story set in a future in which the reincarnation of souls has been proven and is also able to be tracked. As we begin this story, our main character, Alina, has been imprisoned most of her life for her own 'protection' because of the crimes committed by her soul in her previous life that are a bit unclear. She has no privacy, no possessions, no relationships or friendships of her own and she has a very skewed perception of who she is. When she is helped to escape from her prison, she finally has the ability to track down some answers and possibly clear her name and free herself from future imprisonment.
What I really liked about this book most of all was the questions it raised... I liked considering different ideas about reincarnation and about punishing a person for crimes committed in a previous life and the ethics behind the incarceration of an innocent person. I also really liked the way in which love is portrayed in this book. How Alina's previous soul, June, had this huge and passionate love affair ... and how it doesn't necessarily translate over a different life and in different circumstances.
I thought Soulprint was really interesting and thought-provoking with plenty of action and excitement and a dash of romance. This book really just confirmed Megan Miranda as a recent favourite author. ...more
Stronger first half. I didn't quite feel the connection between the two love interests but I liked how much of the story felt like it was about askingStronger first half. I didn't quite feel the connection between the two love interests but I liked how much of the story felt like it was about asking difficult questions and about taking responsibility for your actions. Full review soon!...more
I wasn't quite sure what to make of Hard Time by Cara McKenna when I first received it. Adult romance isn't something that I read a great deal of ANDI wasn't quite sure what to make of Hard Time by Cara McKenna when I first received it. Adult romance isn't something that I read a great deal of AND it's a story about a romance involving a convicted criminal whilst he is in prison (which sounds more than a bit iffy!) but this book came along at a time when I was feeling adventurous... and I'm really glad to say that I absolutely loved it and after reading it I immediately decided to seek out more books by the same author. There was just so much to enjoy about this book that I couldn't resist.
So, Hard Time tells this story about Annie, a librarian, who as part of her job goes into a prison once a week in order to run different courses for the inmates in order to promote literacy. On her first day she sees Eric, one of the prisoners, and she's immediately drawn to him: his sexy good looks, his bad boy vibe. And this crazy and intense attraction is shared by Eric. And very quickly, Eric ends up writing Annie a love letter.
Now honestly? I think I could fall in love with the most unsuitable person in the world once he's written a love letter. There's just something about putting thoughts and feelings into words that can make most things sexy. And while I feel like things between Eric and Annie get a little hotter a little quicker than perhaps I was ready for, I really enjoyed seeing how things progressed between the two of them. Also, I loved that there was more to this story that each of the characters had to overcome. In particular, Eric's dysgraphia was an interesting addition to the story. I'd never heard of the term dysgraphia before but I assume it's more common than most people realise.
Eric and Annie are an interesting couple. Annie is still reeling from a past abusive relationship and at times I felt uneasy about her exchanging letters with Eric considering her background, but I could also see quite clearly that through Eric she was reclaiming something that was taken from her. I liked witnessing her grow in confidence again. And as for Eric, as I was reading, I was thinking it could have been a lot easier for Cara McKenna to turn his character into something easier for reader to digest - if, for example, Eric was innocent of the crime or if the crime was something more 'acceptable' - it would have been a lot easier for readers to fall for him and root for happiness for all involved. Instead, we have a convicted criminal charged with assault who has committed the crime and admits to choosing the same course of action in future. It really made for interesting reading when Annie learns of this and watching her struggle with this information as well as her growing attraction not only to Eric's physicality but also to what she reads in his incredibly romantic, sexy letters.
I was really surprised by how addictive I found this book. I found myself really sympathising and relating to both of the main characters and I did want the best for both of them. I felt really sorry for Eric throughout because in his letters and the way he speaks and behaves, it really does come across as him not believing that things can be real between him and Annie, especially when the two have to face the realities of an actual relationship. Hard Time was a really sexy, emotional and addictive story to read and I really did love it....more