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
Very emotional and, in parts, painful to read. I'm finding it difficult to find the right words for how I felt about this story.
Panther by David OwenVery emotional and, in parts, painful to read. I'm finding it difficult to find the right words for how I felt about this story.
Panther by David Owen wasn't an easy book to read. It's a pretty short book and I sat down to read it thinking I'd whiz through it in a couple of hours. And that didn't happen. In fact, it took me almost three days to read the entirety its (roughly) 230 pages. And that is because this is a slim book packed full of issues and circumstances that are emotional and sometimes difficult and uncomfortable reading. And I just felt like, though this book also includes humour and light-heartedness, that this book was one that needed long breaks in between chapters.
And maybe I'm not selling this book very well right now, but I felt like those breaks from reading were necessary because I was connecting with this story on an emotional level and I felt like a lot of it felt very realistic and that it captured some really intense things in a really great way.
Panther's main character is this overweight teenage boy called Derrick. At the beginning of this novel, Derrick is in his garden late at night, eating junk food out of the rubbish bin. It's a very hard scene to jump into this story with, but very indicative of what's to come, I felt. Because Panther is the story about Derrick and his family and how him and his mother are coping with the depression and suicide attempt of Derrick's older sister, Charlotte.
Derrick is also dealing with bullies at school, the fall-out in the friendship with his old best friend, Tamoor, and his unrequited feelings for one of his sister's friends, Hadley. So, things aren't going so great for Derrick. Which, I think, is probably why he turns to disordered eating in order to have some control over one aspect of his life. Derrick also has this misguided belief that if he somehow manages to capture and prove the existence of a rumoured panther in the area that things will become better for Charlotte and his whole family and he really throws himself into this task.
I felt like Derrick and his mother both fall into the same sort of mindset. The one that says 'things will be different when...' and for Derrick, he believes this will be when he captures the panther and for Derrick's mom, it seems to be when Charlotte goes off to university and faces this bright future that Charlotte had ahead of her. These sort of thoughts are so common but can also be really damaging as it doesn't address the problems at hand.
I think one of the things that I think Panther did very well is to illustrate both how much the rest of a family is affected by one person's depression and the ways things change because of it and also paints a really great and complicated relationship between siblings. Charlotte's depression has very clear effect on the rest of her family. Through Derrick and Charlotte's mother you can see a lot of fear and worry and I felt like Derrick became very uncertain of everything.
It isn't a perfect story. At times, I really didn't like Derrick as a character and the ending isn't my favourite. But I also think that this book was really interesting and had thought-provoking things to say about depression and families and about how who we are and things we do plays an important part in the people around us. ...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
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
Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson is another really fascinating, exciting and emotional story by one of my favourite recentLoved this. Really emotional!
Liberty's Fire by Lydia Syson is another really fascinating, exciting and emotional story by one of my favourite recent authors. It's set in another historical time period that I knew nothing about and yet as I was reading this story, I was swept away into the lives of these four main characters and I found myself hugely emotionally invested in their lives and this Paris of 1871 that was under such tumult.
Knowing nothing about the Commune of Paris, I knew absolutely nothing about what would happen but the build-up to that last 100 pages quickly grew as I was reading the story. Everything is gearing up towards something massive and knowing very little about the actual historical events meant that I was both on the edge of my seat and also hugely surprised by the turn of events that occurred.
One of the major reasons that I love Lydia Syson's stories so much is because it really felt like this revolution in Paris was brought to life for me and it has been the same with her previous two books as well. These characters, their relationships to each other, the way in which everything happens: it all felt so real to me and I was definitely invested in each of the four characters' well-being. I felt like I understood them as people and while sometimes at the start of the story I felt shaky about the state of events politically in this story, by the end, I felt like I got it.
Liberty's Fire tells us the story of what happens between March and May 1871 in Paris during a time of political upheaval when a new socialist political party called the Commune came into power. This story is told from four perspectives and through these perspectives the reader is able to see these events in a much broader way.
The first main character, Zephyrine, is a teenage girl who has been looking after her poorly grandmother who passes away just as the Commune is taking over. Being all alone in Paris, Zephyrine worries about how she will feed herself and pay off her grandmother's bills. But she is soon swept away in the politics of this new party and becomes very passionate about the Commune's ideals of sharing the wealth and providing better social care and education for everyone.
There is also Anatole and Jules, friends and roommates. Anatole, a violinist, meets and falls in love with Zephryine and becomes just as quickly wrapped up in her as with her politics. But Anatole's friends, Jules, a wealthy American photographer, and Marie, an opera singer worried about her brother, don't share this same enthusiasm.
Zephyrine's experiences both with working with the Commune and also in her relationships with Jules and Anatole show off a great many things about what it was like for poor women in this time period. There is a great deal about the treatment of women here and also about the conditions of poor people which is a deep contrast to the ways in which Jules lives. I think Zephyrine's reaction to Jules' and Anatole's cat, Minou, is a great example of this. Jules is very well-off and is able to provide for Anatole and a pet during a time when the divide between working class and the wealthy is extreme.
I really loved each of these characters and throughout the story I really got a sense for who they are and for what is important to each of them. I loved seeing the passion that each of these characters feels: Zephryine for this new radical movement. Jules for his photography and also Anatole. Anatole and his passion for music and Zephryine. Marie and her singing but also the welfare of her brother. When things kick off it is very interesting to see where these characters end up and to see where their passions and ideals lead them.
I really loved this book. It was shocking and fascinating and just hugely emotional. I found every detail of this book to be really interesting: the importance of the photographs, the fear and uncertainty of women who have been raised to a higher political power, the ending. This book was such a rollercoaster ride of emotions for me and I highly recommend that you read it! ...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
Loved Poppy and of reading her experiences. Mary Hooper really brought WWI alive with this really emotional and fascinating story of a voluntary nurseLoved Poppy and of reading her experiences. Mary Hooper really brought WWI alive with this really emotional and fascinating story of a voluntary nurse!
I absolutely loved the first book in this duology, Poppy, and was hugely, incredibly excited to find out how the story would end in this fantastic sequel, Poppy in the Field by Mary Hooper! It's being published by Bloomsbury on the 7th of May, and honestly? It's well worth reading.
I think what I loved so much about Poppy and about Poppy in the Field is that Mary Hooper has this fantastic way of weaving in great amounts of historical detail into an interesting narrative without the story feeling in any way educational or bogged down. Everything flows very naturally and it's all incredibly fascinating. That's what I felt when I was reading both books. But I also really cared for Poppy and her friends and family. And about the men who she comes across in her job as a voluntary nurse during World War I. Some of these men only come briefly into the story but all of the soldiers ended up having an impact on the story.
And then there's the romance element. Despite the tag line on this book - 'Heartbreak on the front line' - I think another one of my favourite elements of these two stories is that there is a romantic aspect to the story, but Poppy's own experiences in the war effort, her relationships with the other nurses and telling the stories of women in WWI and of the soldiers' experiences and the different medical advances that take place, for me anyway, are at the forefront of these two books. And there is also a very satisfying and sweet and rather subtle romance as well.
The rest of this review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, Poppy. If you have not yet read that book, and would like to, perhaps it would be best if you stopped reading now.
Poppy in the Field begins shortly after the dramatic ending of Poppy in which Poppy has found out that her sweetheart, Freddie de Vere, is now engaged to another woman and will be getting married very shortly. Poppy decides very suddenly to put her name down to volunteer as a nurse on the front line in an attempt to get over her broken heart. She knows it will be much more dangerous and difficult working overseas but she feels like this is a necessary change and she likes the idea of being useful during the war.
Unfortunately for Poppy, at the start, things don't go as well as she'd like. She's assigned to a difficult ward Sister who gives her very little responsibility and the other nurses are unfriendly and stand-offish. Together with her broken heart, Poppy must muddle through. And I loved seeing how well Poppy picks herself up following adversity.
Just as in the previous book, Poppy finds herself with some other nurse friends and endearing herself to her soldier patients. There are letters to her mother, her brother, the family friend who is supporting Poppy financially as a nurse and letters to Poppy's friend, Matthews. New characters are introduced in the form of American nurses, Dot and Tilly and old faces return such as Doctor Michael Archer.
And throughout we have Poppy Pearson, this strong, capable young woman taking things in her stride and doing the best she can. As I said above, I really love how much historical detail there is in this book without it ever feeling like it's crammed packed with history. It's just happens naturally in Poppy's conversations with those around her and we get a great glimpse of what the war was like in 1916.
I loved Poppy as a character. I loved her courage and tenacity. I loved her friendships and how professional she is as a volunteer nurse. I loved that she was heartbroken but still carried on as usual and eventually moves on. Poppy in the Field was a wonderful conclusion to Poppy's story and I really urge you to read it! ...more
When I first heard about Cleo by Lucy Coats, I was really excited. The idea of a book telling the adventures of a young Cleopatra? That's pretty excitWhen I first heard about Cleo by Lucy Coats, I was really excited. The idea of a book telling the adventures of a young Cleopatra? That's pretty exciting. And I think there is a lot of possibility in this idea as well, especially as very little is known of young Cleopatra's life.
It took me awhile but once I worked out where things were different to my expectations, and to separate my expectations from this book, I was able to enjoy it a lot more. This book's main character, Cleo, is a young Egyptian royal growing up in the Pharaoh's court. Her voice and character and whole demeanor isn't quite what I had in mind for a young Cleopatra. Teenage Cleo in this book is a little bit whingey and sulky and she drags her feet a little bit with the tasks she has been assigned. She seems a rather reluctant hero but I think this was mostly to balance out the 'chosen one' pressure that surrounds Cleo. I also had problems with the fact that book is set in a particular time period and yet feels like the main character is very modern in the way that she speaks. She isn't quite the person I imagine her, in my head, to be because I'm stuck on her being a young Cleopatra but this Cleo is years from being the grown-up, put-together woman from history. And that's okay.
I quite liked Cleo. We begin this story with a big loss: Cleo's mother dies at the beginning and that puts Cleo into a very vulnerable position with her sisters who are set on taking over as joint Pharaohs and Cleo knows that she must survive. In order to do so, her and her body slave (and best friend) Charm flee to another part of Egypt and take up in a Temple of Isis before returning many years later to do Isis' will.
One of the major themes running throughout Cleo is the idea of faith and a belief in gods and goddesses of this time period. I really enjoyed Cleo's questioning of her faith and of this religion and the ways in which this plays a huge part in her life. I think religion plays a part in many young people's lives and it is quite interesting to see it fully explored in this book.
At its heart, I think of Cleo as an action adventure story. Cleo is tasked with retrieving an artifact in order to restore the goddess Isis as a major presence in Egypt and to restore the balance of power and goodness in the Pharaoh's court. Cleo does this in opposition to her two Evil sisters and under great danger. But she does have the support of her best friend, Charm, some loyal guards and the help of super-spy and hot Librarian boy, Khai. While Cleo and Khai's relationship is slightly in the insta-love domain, I loved that he is a librarian and has a great love of books. It's always nice to see two people falling in love over a shared love of books. And I also really liked Cleo and Charm's relationship. Theirs is a relationship that I fully felt invested in throughout the story and I'd love to see more of them in future books in this series.
While I did have some issues with this book, I also really enjoyed it. I flew threw it pretty quickly and not only did I want to know more about Cleo's story, I also wanted to know more about the actual Cleopatra and also the environment and situations that she might have faced in her actual life. Cleo was a fun book!...more
Really loved this one! Funny, with great characters. Wonderful message about friendship and being okay with who you are. Loved Dog.
I recently read andReally loved this one! Funny, with great characters. Wonderful message about friendship and being okay with who you are. Loved Dog.
I recently read and really enjoyed The It Girl by Katy Birchall. I was lucky enough to hear a little bit about this book from the author at a recent book event and it was really interesting to listen to Katy talk about her own personal experiences that went into writing this story and how she went about it. She also read aloud an excerpt and it was absolutely hilarious. So I was always going to be excited to read it.
And The It Girl didn't disappoint when I read the full story. It was funny and sweet and had a really great message about friendship and being okay with you are and how there are more important things that popularity or fame.
The It Girl tells this story together with emails and voice mails about a 14 year old girl called Anna and her life in London with her father and her dog, called Dog. It sort of starts out as Anna has started a list of her aims in life. And these goals include training Dog to high five but also to figure out stuff so that she isn't such a social outcast in the things that she does. This is sort of eclipsed half way through the novel when she finds out that her father is currently dating a rather famous actress and the media dub Anna an 'it girl' and Anna really struggles with this new fame and attention that she is receiving.
I love stories like The It Girl. It's been done before, with The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot and Geek Girl by Holly Smale. This fairy tale story of a normal girl thrust into the spotlight is an interesting and always fun story line annd Katy Birchall's story is just as entertaining. Anna's story is filled with hilarious and embarrassing moments. It starts off with Anna coming home from school after accidentally burning the most popular girl at school's hair and some rather frantic interactions between her and her best friend.
And some of the real strong points in the novel were Anna's friendships and her relationships with the people in her life. Particularly that of her relationship with best friends, Jess and Danny. But also her relationships with boy her mother and father. And also this burgeoning relationship with her future step-sister and actual It Girl, Marianne. I thought this relationship between Anna's mum and dad was wonderful and very unusual.
I really loved Anna as a character. She's awkward and nerdy and she's still figuring stuff out. She has an idea at the start of the book of what she wants out of life and friendships and relationships and because of this she makes some mistakes and bad choices along the way. I liked that about her and I liked how she developed over the course of this book.
The It Girl was all kinds of funny. I recommend that you pick it up for that reason alone but hopefully you'll also take away from this book some amazing characters and friendships and a rather lovely message. Really looking forward to book 2 now! ...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
Really very interesting. Quite tense and very dark!
Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy was first published in 2004. But for a book more than 10 years old,Really very interesting. Quite tense and very dark!
Looking For JJ by Anne Cassidy was first published in 2004. But for a book more than 10 years old, I felt like Looking For JJ felt very much important and relevant to the events today. It was thought-provoking and gripping and I felt like it had some very interesting things to say about the media and about guilt.
This book is told in several parts about one girl. A girl who at the age of 10 went out into the woods with two of her friends. And on that day, only two of the three girls came back. Since that day, our main character has spent six years in prison because of her involvement in the death of her friend and now, she has been released, has changed her name to Alice Tully and is living in secret with her social worker trying to lead a normal life. Only she has been written about constantly in the papers and feels constantly uncertain about her freedom and privacy based on how much interest the public and media has taken in her.
I think the portrayal of the media representation is one of the most interesting aspects of this book. The main character of Looking For JJ was once known as Jennifer Jones and has been written about in the papers for years. Everyone thinks they know everything about JJ, the child murderer, and everyone has an opinion on whether or not she should be free and about what she should be doing and it feels as though through the media portrayal of this crime, the public feel they have this right to know every detail about JJ and what has become of her while at the same time assuming they know the true story when they really don't. I think that aspect of the story is the most interesting.
The other part of this story is getting into the head of Alice Tully and seeing how she reacts to her freedom and everything on the outside. How she struggles with her relationship with her mother after all these years. How she's found a boyfriend and a job and a place to belong but also feels like she doesn't deserve happiness or the right to go on living after having taken the life of her friend. There's also this awful feeling of having a new life and this new identity and the prospect of happy times ahead at university but also knowing that if the media find out about her new name all of that could be taken from her again.
Looking For JJ goes to a very dark place. Which shouldn't have been surprising at all considering it is the story of a child murderer. But I was very surprised to see the darkness and intense turns in JJ's childhood story. JJ, as a child, has a very unstable relationship with her mother. A relationship that involves neglect and throughout the story goes increasingly to places that felt very disturbing and uncomfortable. And at the same time, JJ's friendship mirrored some of these complicated feelings as with JJ and her mother. It was all a mess.
I found Looking For JJ to be a really fascinating and surprising read. It really made me think and feel and I highly recommend that you pick this book up soon if you too have not yet read it. ...more
I had such high hopes for Othergirl by Nicole Burstein. I was under the impression it was a story about superheroes and friendship. But unfortunately,I had such high hopes for Othergirl by Nicole Burstein. I was under the impression it was a story about superheroes and friendship. But unfortunately, I wasn't really feeling the friendship between the main character, Louise, and her secret superhero best friend, Erica. For me, their friendship felt very one-sided with Louise putting in more of the effort and Erica basking in what Louise did for her and being generally ungrateful for it. Quite often within the narrative, Louise will bring up some aspect of their friendship that feels unfair or one-sided but very rarely calls Erica on it. In fact, I felt that way about all the major story lines brought up in this book.
I liked the super heroes (and one in particular Amazing Clara was mentioned a fair deal) but I didn't feel as though I came away from the story knowing much more than surface information about them. The problems in the friendship between Louise and Erica are brought up but not really dealt with. Neither is the mini-romantic element between Louise and another character. Mostly I just wanted more from this book. ...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