4.5 stars Proper loved this. Had me crying several times because it felt really honest and painful.
I really loved It's About Love by Steven Camden. I4.5 stars Proper loved this. Had me crying several times because it felt really honest and painful.
I really loved It's About Love by Steven Camden. I had heard of the book when it was first published at the beginning of the year but I always felt a little bit on the fence about reading it. I knew it was about two characters, Luke and Leia, and that they meet on a film studies course at college, but nothing else apart from that.
It wasn't until I attended YALC in July that I changed my mind. I heard the author, Steven Camden, do a performance poem about this novel and that made me really sit up and take notice. This piece of poetry was amazing and his delivery of it made me incredibly intrigued. So when I saw It's About Love on a library shelf recently, I snapped it up immediately. It isn't the first or last book that I've read because of YALC. And with It's About Love I'm really glad that I did give this book a chance.
It is about two characters, Luke and Leia, and they do meet on a film studies course. That is true. But this novel felt like much more than that as well. It felt like a journey towards creating something wonderful and about identity and friendship and family and love and how all of those things can be messy and complicated and painful and beautiful. This book was filled with so many honest truths that I cried several times at the beauty of it. There was one particular bit about tears and how there are only two types of tears and reading it brought tears to my eyes so quickly that it took me really by surprise.
I really loved the unusual format of the story. It's told from Luke's perspective and it has his narration, but there are also hand-written journal entries of his memories or thoughts or dreams. There are also some bits that read like a film script with scene headings and descriptions. It really worked and the whole film motif really worked throughout the story. I loved all the film mentions and particularly the creative process Luke and Leia writing their own screenplay for the film studies class. I loved the idea of Luke taking inspiration from his friends and family for ideas and how these little bits of conversation help shape both his writing but also his identity.
This book, as I said, is many things. It's a bit of a love story between Luke and Leia. But it's also about Luke adjusting to a new school and a different setting and social circle and trying to reconcile this new part of his life with his old friends. It's also about Luke's brother, Marc, coming home from prison and Luke and his family adjusting to life with him home again. I loved some of the scenes between Luke and his father especially in which it felt like more was said in their silence than in their words. It's also a book about film and about telling stories in different ways. And I really, really enjoyed it. ...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
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
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
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
Wow. What a great book. And very surprising. That cover is selling me light, feel-good romance and what I got instead was something so much more. WillWow. What a great book. And very surprising. That cover is selling me light, feel-good romance and what I got instead was something so much more. Will be thinking about this story for awhile....more
Really enjoyed this one! Loved the two main characters and thought the plot was really tense and surprising! Plus it went pretty dark with the gruesomReally enjoyed this one! Loved the two main characters and thought the plot was really tense and surprising! Plus it went pretty dark with the gruesome deaths.
I really enjoyed The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery. It was a tense, pacey read and I loved how the characters interacted and how all of the different story lines merged together. Admittedly, story lines involving drugs and memory aren't my favourite and I was hesitant to read this book, I am still really glad that I did. I loved the way this book managed to surprise me. Both in terms of twisty plot line but also how dark it went.
The Memory Hit by Carla Spradbery is the story of two main characters, Jess and Cooper after both have pretty intense experiences on New Year's Eve. Jess ends up in a house fire after discovering her best friend and boyfriend have been cheating and that her boyfriend has been dealing drugs. And without having any time to adjust to that new scenario, her best friend is in hospital badly injured. Meanwhile, Cooper is attacked and ends up on the bad side of local drug dealer and is forced into coming up with way more money than would be possible with their family's limited income.
I really liked Jess and Cooper as narrators. Occasionally the narration drifts off into other perspectives and I found these fairly short chapters from another point of view jarred me out of the story but at least they were infrequent and I felt like Jess and Cooper did well to invest me emotionally throughout. The fact that these two are exes made everything between them super intense and I loved that between them. But I also just really liked them as individuals.
Jess is one of those strait-laced girls whose main focus is very much on good grades and this whole thing with her boyfriend and her best friend really sends her for a loop. She becomes very intent on finding out answers for all the questions raised by the texts she's seen on her boyfriend's phone and the things that Cooper has experienced. The whole idea of Nostalgex was intriguing. A drug that simulates past memories and helps clarify things and contort the memories into different ways. And Cooper was just lovely. Obviously a boy who has made plenty of mistakes but you can tell he's still a good guy. Especially by the way he treats his sister and how he shoulders the burden of keeping them both afloat after they fall on hard times.
I feel like there is so much to talk about with The Memory Hit. I loved the family relationships and the complicated mess of being exes and ex-friends after a break-up and the twisted family histories that crop up, both with Cooper and Leon, the drug dealer. I loved Jag and Cooper's friendship in particular. I thought it was interesting to see one of the characters succumb to the temptation of Nostalgex. The person behind it all was an absolute surprise to me and there were a couple of really gruesome deaths that felt a bit shocking. I loved that darkness. I just really found this book to be really entertaining throughout! ...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
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
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