Really interesting and informative guide to helping understand issues that involve mental health. Love the combination of Juno Dawson, case studies, iReally interesting and informative guide to helping understand issues that involve mental health. Love the combination of Juno Dawson, case studies, illustrations (by Gemma Correll!) and the advice of clinical psychologist Dr Olivia Hewitt. Well put together!...more
Interesting story! Liked the story and characters and everything but didn't connect to it emotionally in a way that I wanted.
Crow Mountain by3.5 stars
Interesting story! Liked the story and characters and everything but didn't connect to it emotionally in a way that I wanted.
Crow Mountain by Lucy Inglis was another hugely fun read. I have to admit that I didn't know very much about the story before I decided to dive into the book. And you know what? Crow Mountain was hugely interesting and something that felt a little bit different as I was reading.
Crow Mountain has two time lines, a story set in the modern day and another set in the 1800s as settlers are moving west. Both characters in each of the story lines share many similarities. They both end up stranded in the Montana wilderness, both fall in love and their stories end up being a little bit more intertwined than you'd think.
In the modern day, we are introduced to Hope, a teenage girl who is in Montana on holiday with her mother. She is a little bit shy and reserved and more than a little intimidated by her bossy mother who does her best to mould Hope into a miniature version of herself, even though Hope has different interests and dreams to that of her mother. And there is also Emily, a girl who has promised in marriage to a man she's never met in San Francisco and shipped off from England to settle. Hundreds of years separate Hope and Emily but their destinies are linked.
Again, historical elements to a YA book are not story lines that grab my attention normally. However, I absolutely loved the historical parts of Crow Mountain. While travelling to San Francisco, Emily's carriage is destroyed and she becomes the only survivor in the midst of the Montana wilderness. Soon, she is rescued by horse trader, Nate, and lives with him for some time, slowly learning to become self-sufficient and accustomed to living in a very different environment to the one she has been brought up in. What I loved about Emily's story was witnessing her gradual changes from somebody who apologises for her the space she takes up in the world to that of a woman who can hold her own. I also found it really fascinating to hear of her experiences with the Native Americans in the area, the detail about the railroad expansion in the west, and also the fate of the bison.
I think I was less enthralled by Hope's story in the present. Her mother, Meredith, takes on a bit of a caricature role and I didn't feel as invested in Cal's story or the reasons why he is persecuted by his community or the police. However, I did quite like Hope and the ways in which she eventually stands up for herself. I think perhaps if there were more page time for Hope and Cal, I would have eventually loved them more. However I think that Emily and Nate stole the show for me!
As for the romance, I really loved Emily and Nate. It wasn't always great between the two of them, Nate makes choices I didn't agree with that take away Emily's choices for her own destiny but he makes up for that later on. The two of them were just not what I expected. Nate wasn't what I expected. And as I said, I loved seeing Emily's transformation and that was very much down to Nate pushing her into becoming more independent. The ending felt a little bit rushed and I think could have done with a bit more time to develop fully.
I wasn't quite sure where or how the two stories were ever going to meet and it really is in that last third of the novel that things start coming together and making sense. The ending is explosive and surprising and emotional. It plays a little bit with readers' emotions, but I also found myself swept away in the events that occur and hoping for the best.
Crow Mountain was a lovely story about breaking free from expectations, striking out on your own, being independent and taking risks with your heart. ...more
3.5 stars Loved the Welsh setting and Welsh history/mythology and all the awesome archery but I found the character development somewhat lacking. Stil3.5 stars Loved the Welsh setting and Welsh history/mythology and all the awesome archery but I found the character development somewhat lacking. Still, a very enjoyable story!...more
I absolutely loved Darkmere by Helen Maslin! I'd followed the author on Twitter for quite some time andLoved this! Really captivating and emotional.
I absolutely loved Darkmere by Helen Maslin! I'd followed the author on Twitter for quite some time and because she's lovely I was, at first, a little bit nervous to start this book for that reason. There was no need to worry as I absolutely loved it. I thought Darkmere was really pacey and addictive as well as being quite emotional.
Darkmere tells the story of two girls separated in time by hundreds of years. The first, Kate, in the modern day has been invited to spend the summer at a remote castle alongside the beach. Good-looking, popular Leo has invited Kate and some other friends to stay in this castle he has just inherited. Kate fancies Leo so says yes, despite the differences in their wealth and social standing. Darkmere isn't at all what she imagined it would be and soon she finds herself interested in the local legends of the castle and of the ghost who is said to haunt it. This is where Elinor comes in who tells us her story in the 1800s and how her own social standing and romantic prospects are called into question and how she eventually ends up at Darkmere.
I really loved both Kate and Elinor's perspectives in telling the story. I was hugely invested in both of these main characters and I found myself pulled easily into their stories and was rooting for them throughout, even when it became more obvious that Elinor's story becomes more tragic. What I loved about both of these story lines was that they are both hugely interesting and as the end of their chapters loomed little tidbits of exciting things were mentioned that left me hugely intrigued by what would happen next. There is quite a bit of surprise and twists to the story that kept me entertained and hooked.
Another favourite aspect to the story is the setting on the English coast line and discovering Darkmere's history with smuggling and how that aspect of the story unfolds as a bit of a surprise. I lapped every detail of this part of the story and now having finished the story I'm quite excited to learn more! Elements of historical fiction don't always grab at me the way the historical bits of Darkmere did, so I was quite surprised by this.
The romance elements to both of these stories ends up being a little bit dark and in a way, doomed and I loved that type of love story. Leo definitely isn't all that he seems, however I still found myself being slightly won over by him anyway. There was something appealing about him anyway. And also the other characters who come along on this summer get away. It's always nice to see that first impressions aren't always the best at showing a person's true character!
I absolutely loved Darkmere and I highly recommend it! Dark, addictive, romantic and very fast-paced. This is definitely a book to look out for....more
Wow, I really enjoyed Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. It's the story of a girl, Sam, who has Pure-O OCD. Pure-O is something I'd never heardWow, I really enjoyed Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone. It's the story of a girl, Sam, who has Pure-O OCD. Pure-O is something I'd never heard of before but it focuses on obsessive thoughts instead of compulsions which OCD is more known for. I really enjoyed getting to know a little bit more about this and also about Sam and her life and friendships.
I think the thing I liked the most about this book is the way that poetry is used to help struggling teenagers to battle through mental illness, heartbreak, grief, bullying and other really awful things that teenagers go through. Sam meets this band of misfits that don't really fit in and they become this great, comforting and supportive friendship group. Through words and song lyrics and poetry and they write all their thoughts and feelings down and share with the other members of the Poetry Corner in this really awesome, vulnerable, brave way.
In direct opposition to the Poetry Corner group are Sam's 'best friends' the 'Crazy Eights' who are all for the most part manipulative, bitchy mean girls who treat Sam really badly and leave her feeling uncertain and unwanted and unsure about where she fits in. It feels easy to just think Sam should walk away from this group of girls but it's all she's known for such a long time and I could understand why it was so difficult for her.
And while I don't think that the romantic elements of the story between Sam and AJ were at the heart of the novel, I did like them together. It was an interesting to see them become what they did after Sam and her friends bullied him when they were all younger. I'm not sure if that was quite believable but perhaps I'm just not as forgiving as AJ is.
My favourite thing about the whole book is witnessing Sam's progression throughout the novel from someone very unsure of herself to someone happy and confident and able to share with those closest to her. I was really drawn to her as a character and I always, always wanted the best for her. I loved her friendship with Caroline, I loved how she described her experiences in the swimming pool and I especially loved reading her raw, honest poetry.
This book inspired me. To read more about Pure-O and to try my hand at some of my own poetry....more
There were moments when I felt really emotional about this story and these characters but mostly it felt like I wanted to like it mMore like 3.5 stars
There were moments when I felt really emotional about this story and these characters but mostly it felt like I wanted to like it more than I actually did. Can't quite pinpoint what it was about this book that held me at a distance. Even so, I did enjoy it and I read it very quickly!
I was really looking forward to reading Lying Out Loud by Kody Keplinger and I think what really attracted me to the book, aside from the author and how much I've enjoyed her previous books, is that there's a person of colour on the front cover. Love that. It was pointed out to be at a recent Twitter chat and that very fact made me bump this book up my virtual-TBR pile. (Hurrah diversity!)
I didn't know very much about the book before I started reading. It shouldn't have come as a surprise that it's very much a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac but I didn't properly read the blurb! I love mistaken identity stories and this one with its modern technology and catfish thing should have been right up my street. But for some reason I felt a little bit distant from everyone. I didn't really connect with Sonny and Amy's relationship or Sonny and Ryder though I wanted to for both relationships. I thought they were cute but we never really reached that point where I was super invested in their dramas or problems.
But that isn't to say that I didn't really enjoy this book or that I didn't race through it in almost a single sitting. I did. I just wasn't as fully there as I'd hoped. I did feel very emotional sometimes, mostly to do with Sonny's family and home situation and the fact that the Rushes take her in so completely and without question. But then, that's something that just gets to me every time, no matter what.
There are a lot of mentions of Wesley and Bianca from The DUFF in this book and that was lovely to see. Both how their relationship is going several years on but also how nice Wesley is with his sister and as a friend to Sonny. There were also some cameo appearances from other Kody Keplinger stories but, if I'm honest, they felt a little out of place and like they were shoe-horned in for the sake of it and threw me more out of the story. But then, I do also like how some books are interconnected in these small ways.
So, sort of a mixed review for this book. I did enjoy it! I liked how the fall-out from Sonny and Amy is at the heart of this story as opposed to Sonny and Ryder. More wonderful stories about female friendship, please. ...more
I read this book hoping that a nice, easy romantic read would help drag me out of a reading slump. And I was very pleasantly surprised by Taking the HI read this book hoping that a nice, easy romantic read would help drag me out of a reading slump. And I was very pleasantly surprised by Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl. This book is funny and romantic and had great characters. I'm even tempted to read the other companion novels in this series that focus on the romantic lives of some of Veronica's friends.
The main reason that I picked up this book is the fact that the love interest, Gabe, is a hot, bearded librarian. And I cannot resist the very hot idea of a hot, bearded librarian. Especially one is an outdoorsy rock climber to boot. But while the sexy man drew me into the story, what I really loved (besides their chemistry and funny banter) is that quite a lot of this story is more about Veronica's attempts at building her own self confidence.
At the beginning of the book Veronica is very much putting on an act, faking her through her own self-image and her job. She doesn't let her friends in on her her thoughts or stand up her to dad. And I loved seeing her progression throughout this book. And I loved that while her relationship with Gabe does help towards her confidence gain it isn't really about him. It's all Veronica's doing and I loved that while inexperienced, Veronica holds on her to independence and chooses herself over her romantic relationships even when it's difficult. Way to give us a kick-ass woman character in a romance novel, Victoria Dahl. High fives for that.
I really loved the entire aspect of Victoria's advice column. How a lot of it is flirty and fun but can also veer into the very serious and I liked how that aspect of bullying and suicidal thoughts was handled and how Veronica took a stand regarding it.
Taking the Heat was the perfect read for me right at this moment. ...more
This new book by Gena Showalter was just what I needed right now. I love how easy it is to be swept up into her stories, her characters and their relaThis new book by Gena Showalter was just what I needed right now. I love how easy it is to be swept up into her stories, her characters and their relationships with each other. I really loved the main characters of this story, Brook Lynn and Jace, and I especially loved their chemistry! I felt like my heart hurt a lot in that first 50% as both Brook Lynn and Jace were convincing themselves of why they couldn't be together. And I found it all very believable and emotional.
But even with the hotness and sexytimes between Brook Lynn and Jace, what really grabbed me with this story is how much I came to care about the two of them as individuals, as a couple and also everyone else in their lives. I love that The Closer You Come is the first book in a trilogy (I believe) around a group of characters in this community. I loved getting to know snippets about Jace's brothers, West and Beck, and I'm intrigued to know more. I grew to like Brook Lynn's sister, Jessie Kay and I look forward to her story. I really liked the community of Strawberry Village and the way so many other characters cropped up or made appearnces.
But of course, at the heart of this story is Brook Lynn and Jace. Brook Lynn's relationship with her party girl sister, Jessie Kay, was interesting and you could see the toll it takes of Brook Lynn as Jessie Kay's unreliability leaves Brook Lynn jobless and constantly on the brink of despair. There's a fierceness about Brook Lynn's relationship with her sister that I really liked. And Jace. Loved Jace. There's a man who has obviously been through a great deal and throws up walls to protect himself from being hurt again. The familial relationships between him and West and Beck were my favourite relationships aside from him and Brook Lynn. His internal struggles felt real and painful and I always wanted what was best for him.
In terms of the story, I did have one or two complaints: I thought Brook Lynn's fascination with zombies slightly silly and I thought the story went on a little bit too long with one too many obstacles in their path. But overall, I was completely addicted to this story and I felt like really invested in these two characters and their relationship together. Also? Nice touch adding one of Brook Lynn's recipes at the back of the book! This story was heart-felt, sexy, romantic and very emotional. I'm definitely looking out for more in the series and I cannot wait for it! ...more
4.5 stars What a book! I felt incredibly emotional from that first page to the last. I'm looking forward to more people reading this and will think lo4.5 stars What a book! I felt incredibly emotional from that first page to the last. I'm looking forward to more people reading this and will think long and hard about who I'll pass my second copy to....more
I am a big fan of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse series of books which delved into some Hindu and Chinese mythology.It was okay. Frustrating at times.
I am a big fan of Colleen Houck's Tiger's Curse series of books which delved into some Hindu and Chinese mythology. I thought it was an interesting story about brothers and this love story between a girl and a tiger shape-shifter. With than in mind, I was very excited to learn that Colleen Houck would be starting a new series of books that begins with Reawakened based around Egyptian mythology. Unfortunately, I wasn't as taken with this story, these characters or the relationships that were introduced in Reawakened.
This story begins with Lily at a museum in New York City in which she is drawing in a closed section of the museum and comes across Amon, a mummy and the descendent of an Egyptian god who is reawakened after 1,000 years in order (with his two brothers) to perform a ceremony that will hold off the god of chaos and save the world. In a nutshell.
To begin with, I didn't feel like I ever connected with the main character, privileged American girl, Lilliana Young. Her voice was grating and whingey in the beginning and I never really saw any development to her character and I couldn't particularly describe any defining character traits of hers. She does talk frequently about her image and clothing and her in relation to guys and I found it all a little frustrating. Several times she is rejected by the main love interest and asks herself 'maybe I'm just not pretty enough?' One of my biggest problems with Reawakened is how often Lily sees herself as a weak, unimportant girl compared to hot, powerful demi-god, Amon. And I wanted to scream.
I also thought the pacing was off. There were many times throughout this story in which there is a moment before something really dangerous or thrilling in which Lily (and the reader) is subjected to an info-dump and the characters all have this lengthy conversation about mythology and a history lesson on Egyptian gods or some aspect of Amon's personal history. And throughout I was thinking 'there are zombies/monsters trying to eat you right now, is this really the right time to give us this load of information?!' I just could not believe that Lily or anyone would calmly take part in such dull conversations in such a time of peril. It just didn't seem realistic.
What also didn't seem particularly realistic was the romance. I didn't really believe in Lily and Amon and I wasn't rooting for them either. There just wasn't any chemistry between them, for me. I think the problem was that Lily didn't have enough of a personality and Amon wasn't far too nice and it was as if the idea of Amon was trying too hard to be the ideal guy/perfection. Perfection is utterly boring. And while Lily was intent on telling us of his good looks and hard abs (during another life-threatening situation!) I just wasn't feeling it. I want more than a pretty face.
I think after reading the Tiger's Curse series, I was thinking that perhaps even if everything else was disappointing at least there would be an interesting dynamic between Amon and his two brothers? Unfortunately there wasn't enough of the three of them together to make any kind of impact. This book is the first in the series, so I'm guessing that will be explored more in future books.
This review is a lot more negative than I intended. I rated this book three stars because despite my many frustrations with the book, I did finish it and there were certain aspects of the book that I found interesting. I was just very disappointed on the whole and I wanted so much more from it. I wanted the mythology to be more seamlessly interwoven into the narrative. I wanted Lily to be a stronger presence in the story. I wanted the love story to take a backseat to other relationships, in particular the relationship between brothers. I probably won't be continuing this series....more
There were a few sections where my mind wandered but overall, really interesting.
I really enjoyed Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson. It was interestingThere were a few sections where my mind wandered but overall, really interesting.
I really enjoyed Dreamland by Robert L. Anderson. It was interesting and different and it went places that I didn't expect. I didn't know all that much about the book before I picked it up and I kind of liked that too.
Dreamland is the story of Dea Donahue, this teenage girl who lives with her mother and has this unusual gift of being able to enter other people's dreams. Her mother tells Dea there are three rules to dream walking. 1) Don't interfere with the dreams. 2) Don't be seen. 3) Don't walk the same person's dream more than once.
But then a new boy, Connor, shows up and their friendship is something that Dea has never had before and so she starts breaking the dream rules and now the separation between reality and the dream world is starting to deteriorate.
Honestly, Dreamland was such an exciting book to read. At first it felt very similar to the trilogy of books by Lisa McMann (Wake, Fade and Gone) which I loved and was a basis for me picking up this book to read but I loved the way Robert L. Anderson took this story in an entirely different direction. Dea was a great character and I loved being inside her idea and exploring both the relationship with her mother and also seeing what Connor's friendship means to her.
And everything that happens in these dream worlds was fun too. My mind wander on some of the really descriptive elements of the dreams but overall I found it very fascinating unravelling the mysteries this book throws at the reader: how and why can Dea walk dreams? What has happened to Dea's mother? What is stored in Connor's memories and dreams of his childhood?
I loved how all the different strands of this story come together and as I mention, a lot of was unexpected. I think it takes a lot for me to be surprised by a book but Dreamland definitely surprised me. Such a fun and unusual concept for a book and I highly recommend it!...more
This book went to a dark place and I loved it for doing so.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu was exactly my kind of book. In fact, if I'd know how wondeThis book went to a dark place and I loved it for doing so.
The Young Elites by Marie Lu was exactly my kind of book. In fact, if I'd know how wonderfully dark this book and the main character would be, I think I would have picked this book up far sooner.
It's so rare, I think, to read of a character like Adelina. And it would probably be easy for her to be turned into a different kind of character if she wasn't written just right. But I think Marie Lu did an amazing job of having her do questionable things but still remain as sympathetic as she is. There wasn't a single page or chapter where I wasn't rooting for her or hoping the best for her. And I think that's where the skill lies in Marie Lu.
The Young Elites is the first book in a trilogy set in a fantasy land in which an illness spread many years ago and some of the survivors were left with markings and these marked survivors are branded malfettos and treated like second-class citizens. But amongst the malfettos are a small group of people who possess gifts or powers that further separate them from the majority. They are called the Young Elites.
Adelina is a malfetto, her hair is silver and she is left with a scar where one of her eyes used to be. And since childhood, her father has beaten her and treated her horrifically in the hopes that Adelina's gifts would show themselves. Things begin to change when Adelina leaves home and is taken in by a band of young elites whose aim is to overthrow the corrupt government and put the outcast malfetto prince back on the throne. Adelina spends a great deal of time in this book mistrustful of her surroundings and this unusual band of superpowered teenagers. But also mistrustful of herself and the things she is capable of.
And I loved every second of this book.
I did. I loved it. I loved Adelina and her internal struggles, especially her uncertainty of where she fits into the world. I loved her bond with her little sister and her conflicted feelings for Enzo, the malfetto prince. I loved her friendship with Raffaele. And everything about the ways in which Adelina is trained and getting a clearer picture of what she can do. There is just so much about this book that made my heart sing.
But I think it was really just the magnetic pull of Adelina as a character that made me fall so hard for this book. There's something deeply dark about this book. But it's also sexy and painful and just felt really truthful. The pain that Adelina feels as she has faced such hardship and rejection in her life makes for a complex character in which darkness competes with her goodness.
I'm absolutely gasping to read the sequel to this book. I finished The Young Elites and I wanted nothing more than to flip this book back to the front and read it all over again just to be back in this world and with these characters. ...more
Unfortunately I didn't particularly like this book. I thought I was picking up a teen thriller (with a slightly unusual cover!) and while it is tryingUnfortunately I didn't particularly like this book. I thought I was picking up a teen thriller (with a slightly unusual cover!) and while it is trying to be a teen thriller, that's not what this book is. I wish this book wasn't written in the way it was at all, hiding what the book is really about in order to do a shocking reveal in those last few pages. Even the elements of mental illness were kept under wraps like being LGBT or a mental illness are things to be deeply ashamed. I knew from the first few chapters what Lauren's secret is AND who might end up sending her sinister presents so I read most of this story thinking 'why? Why tell this story in this way? Trying to make out that either Lauren did something terrible in the past or was the victim of something terrible?' I just didn't get it....more
I really, really loved this. So exciting and adventurous and romantic. Love the mythology, the story-telling. The characters are amazing, especially tI really, really loved this. So exciting and adventurous and romantic. Love the mythology, the story-telling. The characters are amazing, especially the main character, Amani, and so is Jin. Loved the relationships, with each other and the other characters in the book. Loved the surprises. Basically I have all the love for this book! ...more
Loved it. I loved the friendships and heartbreak over romantic relationships and the physics and all but I really loved this book so much because GottLoved it. I loved the friendships and heartbreak over romantic relationships and the physics and all but I really loved this book so much because Gottie's relationship with Grey broke my heart. ...more