Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle. When i saw this book, i was drawn in by the title, and the synopsis- normally i am drawn in by covers, but this one was different. Nevertheless, i still liked the cover and realised a link from the story once it was read, which made me smile. This book is also a contemporary YA and right now i am really into reading these. Therefore, i had high hopes for this book! I also had it in my mind that we would have a book of 'confessions', all insights into what this girl had done wrong when angry and the reasoning..........but i was wrong! What it is, is much much more! and i have to say that i absolutely LOVED this book! When i finished reading it, i scribbled some notes down and one said..... 'Wow! Just Wow! But argh I need more!! I have read this so quickly- half the book in 1 sitting. I was so involved in the story, routing for Rose, a page turner and a half.......' The story is centred on Rose, who during a short period of time has had her dad die in Iraq, her brother go to college and change, a mum whom can help other troubled teens but can't help her daughter, a best friend Tracy- who is fickle, superficial and is all about image and status- wanting to be a cheerleader, into drinking and thinking about sex. They are both freshman at high school. She has an older love interest, Jamie who seems hot and cold, and she is getting bullied by his 'maybe' girlfriend Regina. Anyone going through all this is surely going to be angry, Rose is only 14 too (turns 15 in book) and all this for someone so young must lead to some intense anger inside.
Even though i knew Rose was 14, when i was reading the book, she just seemed older. Initially I wasn't entirely comfortable with the main protagonist being this age, because a 14 year old is very different to a 17-18 year old, the way of thinking and acting is yards apart despite only 3-4 years difference. I thought she would be a whiny teenager but i was wrong. Rose seems older than her peers; she thinks and acts older than them, she is the sensible one, much more clued up to the world by how she deals with peer pressure and teen issues. This is demonstrated with her view on drinking and how she educates her best friend with valuable lessons regarding 'sex education'. Not only is it the way she acts, but also in her mind set, we know her thoughts since the narrative is from her perspective, therefore getting a much deeper insight into this angry girl's thoughts and analytical mind. I am not saying Rose is perfect, she does some embarrassing things and some cringeworthy stuff but i mean in general and compared to her peers she does seem older.
Another problem i had with her age is to do with her love interest, Jamie, who is 17, 14 to 17 may only be 3 years but as a teenager this gap seems much bigger than say 24 to 27. This uncomfortable feeling is worsened when it is realised why Jamie came to be interested in Rose. Yet when you are Rose's age, it seems cool and grown up to have an older male like you! Despite the issues, I wouldn't let something like this put me off a book and i am so glad i didn't. The author portrayed these teenagers perfectly in my opinion and I thought it was brilliant that the author could write so realistically in the view of a 14 year old. This whole 'love interest' situation was kept at the right level given their age difference. The feelings were all there and you really felt them as a reader, which, as an adult author it cannot have been easy to convey them in a first person perspective. If the situation would have gone further than a kiss, than i would have felt extremely uncomfortable to the point of not reading it,as Rose would have been underage! Infact, they only share a stolen kiss or two, which were breathtakingly beautifully described by Rozett and raw with emotion! I did feel really sorry for Rose's close friend Robert, who is a true friend but has a massive crush on her and would do anything for her. He really did seem like an odd body guy, and no matter how sweet he was, why is it always the badass boys who get into trouble that get the girl? I was even leaning more for Jamie than Robert!
Another major theme in the book is bullying! and handled perfectly by Rozett, as unfortunate and horrid as bullying is, it does happen in schools, and it makes this story realistic. Bullying can start over silly events such as they did in the book. The author didn't just skim by it in a couple of chapters and then it drops, she had it weaved throughout and it is quite upsetting. I felt my heart strings pulled, it sent me straight back to high school in my head, so many emotions were involved, and i found it really uncomfortable to read about the bullying. I did wonder why she didn't ask for adults to help but then i realised that often adult's help can make things worse or so it seems that way when you are 14. I felt so protective over Rose, with everything she had gone through in a short space of time, i wanted the bullies to get their comeuppance and leave her alone!
Having so many high school issues in a book and portraying them in such a way for it deemed to be a realistic story is brilliant, these issues do not stop just because of what is happening in Rose's home life and i think that was a wise move by the author to add more depth to the story. These issues; peer pressure, drinking, smoking, underage sex, sex education, partying, teen relationships, friendships and bullying is so difficult for the majority of teenagers to deal with but Rose didn't give into any pressure despite the anger inside and everything else, it shows how incredibly strong she is. Throughout the book, i believe there is development in her character, she becomes more confident, deals with some issues with herself and her family. However, in my opinion i didn't find Rose as an angry girl. She doesn't take her anger out on people or things, she may have anger and upset inside, but mainly it was words (P*ssed off etc) which is understandable. However, i believe that she is also full of fear, scared of what could happen and consequences in all situations but by the end she does seem to be working on this. I think these attributes she has stem from her dad's death in Iraq, she has not gone through the grief stage properly as it has alienated her and her mum's relationship- her mum is no longer there for her. Her brother leaving for college, and doesn't want to talk about their dads's death either. She has is all bottled up with no one to talk too so she can deal with the grief.
I have mentioned other characters throughout this review; Tracy, Jamie and Regina and there are other additional ones which i am not going to discuss. All these characters were great additions to the book regardless if i liked them or not because they are all people you can relate to and they were well developed characters. The only character that i took too and adored was Rose, how could i not! She grew on me so fast and i just wanted to hug her. Tracy, should have been there for her best friend in the situation but was selfish, she used Rose when needed and i really disliked her. Rose provided her with much needed sex education, this discussion and the other major issues mentioned are perfect for a YA novel; if teens read this book they could get so much out of it. Jamie, portrayed as a badass, getting into trouble, skipping school etc but at the same time he was loveable but he seemed hot and cold, i feel like he should have been there for Rose when he knew what she was going through if he did care for her! But then there were times when he was just so perfect, like when he ran to her when she fell running etc. I liked him when he was with Rose, but disliked him when not. Regina,a cheerleader was a bully, a nasty piece of work and how could someone be so heartless! I really wanted to punch her! It made me tear up at some points.
This book just takes you through a range of emotions, from laughing or smiling and then utter sadness and tears! For an author to be able to induce those feelings in a reader is incredible and shows the skills they have in writing. Another aspect i loved was that at the start of each chapter was a word with a dictionary definition plus a little phase to how it relates, i thought it was an original idea and Rose loves long words! I loved this book, i really did, i loved Rozett's writing style and even though is was quite slow paced at first, it really did pick up pace and was an absolute page turner, i couldn't put it down. I just wanted more and more. Yet the way it ended, it didn't feel like an ending, it annoyed me because it wasn't a rounded off conclusion. Therefore, i cannot wait for the next book 'Confessions of an Almost Girlfriend', i have high hopes for that book! I hope to learn more about Jamie, and i would like for him and Rose to have more time together. I am still not thrilled about the title as i don't think it suits the book like i said before but i worry this assumption could put people off from reading this book. I would recommend that people read this book for sure! Roll on the next book!
Overall, a fantastic read! even if there are some slight flaws, i still rate it highly! I would re-read it, i would recommend it and i think it is a perfect contemporary YA book. This book has so many different levels that it has taken such a long review to get my thoughts across. I actually found this review very difficult to write, because there is so much content to discuss, i loved it but i struggled to articulate my thoughts and feelings into words. So summary two words= READ IT! please :) Of course i give it a 5/5(less)
Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle. When i saw the book cover and title i was really intrigued and interested. The blurb had me hooked even more, it is a very long book description!! I do not believe it needs to be like that- less is more remember lol. The cover is interesting as it is mysterious and a little odd, are they running? running away or to something? are they trying to survive? From reading the book, but you realise this from the blurb; the baby 'Justin' is in hospital, and his life is literally on the line, on the line of finding a match but the best hope being to find his dad.
I enjoyed this book, i really did, in a lot of ways and the ending is just so heart-warming. Obviously with a crime/detective thriller like this, the ending is obvious in my opinion BUT it is more about the journey and how the jigsaw comes together. The book did take me a while to read because i found i had to concentrate extra hard to take in all the little details and conversations, i suppose it is because you want to put the pieces of the jigsaw together yourself because the book reveals them. It didn't help when they introduce so many characters with their career role stated, too much to take in. This got even worse towards the end and it was just too much with all the new introduction of people's names and roles whilst remembering all details and conversation. These didn't really add that much, they were just there and i scan read over their role because it drove me mad. The dialogue is something else that needs taking into consideration because i found it quite stiff and disjointed, it didn't flow well, again making it slightly difficult to get into the book. I wasn't sure whether it was just me who thought this, but since completing the book i have read a couple of reviews which have said similar so i know i'm on the right lines.
It is a great storyline, interesting and important reason to find this 'Paul', making you keep turning the pages to find out more. It is difficult to put down because you just want to know. What keeps the storyline alive is all the twists in there, things you think you know but really you are wrong. All the ways the information comes together is great, but is it actually believable as a story? and the team do seem a little far fetched in their characters and also their work within the team. You have to accept it at face value and not question everything, because all your questions will not be answered. Some areas where quite repetitive but i suppose this is needed in a novel such as these. The character development was minimal in my opinion and i didn't really take to anyone, Amanda in some ways due to baby Justin but i believe in a story such as these you don't/aren't meant too other than the 'victims'.
What i didn't realise is that this book is not a stand alone book, it is actually book #2, it works find as a stand alone in my opinion. Within the story they discuss a previous case, a kidnap case, but i didn't realise this 'case' was within a previous book. It may have been useful to read the first book as it would have meant i was familiar with the characters and learnt more about them. Maybe there was more character development within the first book and that is why there is minimal here. Despite enjoying this book, i will not be reading the first book.
This isn't my normal kind of read and therefore it wasn't the kind of book that you can review easily. It does has it's faults but because i did enjoy it and because it was a page turner, full of twists and unexpected turns, brought together well and a good ending but not what expected. I have given it 3 out of 5 stars- it was more like 3.5 but 4 seems too much in my opinion.(less)
Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle. When i saw the cover i was instantly drawn in because i thought it looked quite 'dreamy' and i loved how the sun shone onto the couple who were in a close embrace. Obviously i knew it was a love story from that and I'm a sucker for a bit of romance. Then with the title and the brief sentence on the front i realised it was about forbidden love- which i love even more than just 'love stories' and romance. I knew i wanted to read it before i had even had read the 'blurb', after reading that it just cemented that i had to read it. There is so many forbidden love stories out there but this was different, i have never read a love story where there was an Amish and Non-Amish couple, and actually i have never read a book which has featured the Amish community. This made it more interesting for me because i know about the community (this community is also referred too as a culture, religious group, cult and even an anti-feminist group) and have watched documentaries, but to feature in a novel was different for me.
Now i had no expectations for this book at all, i did think i would like it and enjoy it. However, this book was one that threw me a little and i have waited 2 weeks post-reading to write this review because i couldn't articulate my feelings or what i wanted to say here. I didn't know how i would even rate it or if i would write a review without a rating. This book is the first book which i have loved but hated at the same time, and i don't think i can even explain my reasoning completely without giving spoilers! It is one of those books whereby you need to read it yourself and i do recommend that people read this BUT stick with it. I did almost give up with the first third of the book but i just had to keep reading. and i did get used to what was irritating me.
The basis of the plot is that Rose and her family move into the house next door to Noah's family following the death of her mother and her dad (a doctor) getting a new job in the area. Rose (Non-Amish) and Noah (Amish) meet quickly and the focus is on them and their 'relationship'. To be honest, I am not too sure there is anymore plot than just the desire they have to be together. It has romance at the heart of book and does have other aspects such as the relationships they each have with their family and the dynamics of each family-the Amish one was of interest for me and i found it fascinating to read about! But in regard to plot, there was little of one as i said just before. It didn't taken the shine off the book for me though because watching the relationship develop was a compelling journey to be taken on full of raw emotion. It doesn't seem like the couple will ever be able to be together given the difference in their cultures and the aversion of the Non-Amish from the Amish. The ending is interesting and yet some what annoying. This book works well as a stand-alone book, which I thought it was, but it will actually be a series. I cannot wait to see what happens next and I am excited for the next book! This says a lot about my feelings for this book really.
This book is well-written by Hopkins, beautifully descriptive and i loved her writing style. She is able to evoke feelings in the reader, which isn't an easy thing to do. For me I found it slow paced for the first three quarters of the book, but after a very significant event it vastly improved. This significant event was quite shocking really and featured 'something' that brought tears to my eyes. The story is written in first person perspective but a dual one, as it is told by both Noah and Rose. This is my favourite kind of style for a novel because you find out different viewpoints of a situation and there is some overlapping of time between the 2 perspectives. In this book, this works perfectly because we get to know what both of them are thinking, their feelings towards the other and their understanding of each others culture. Not only that but you get an inside view of what they expect from the other and from the relationship, some of it is quite hard hitting and shocking in my view, but then you have to remember they are only teenagers.
So, onto the main characters, Noah and Rose, who are both well written to reflect their community. Rose is only 16, living with her dad and brothers following the death of her mother. I liked her, she is sweet, caring, strong willed, thinks for herself, pretty, as well as quite naive and innocent when it comes to love. Noah is 18, and being Amish this means that he is at an age to take responsibility for a wife and family. He is a caring and kind towards Rose, family orientated but at the same time, he seems controlling, selfish and does have anti-feminist views. I know it isn't his fault and these traits are probably due to his upbringing in this community, but still, it frustrated me. What he said made me really angry and I have to say that I didn't actually like him for most of the book if at all. These next quotes from his dad show the influence Noah is under being Amish;
"We have become used to not having outsiders living so close by. I am sure it will take some adjusting to."
"English children will want to make friends- which creates a very difficult situation for us." "The father important -don't want to offend him." "But neither will I have my children spending much time with the English, being influenced and corrupted by them"
The words used by Noah and his family to describe Non-Amish and even Rose's family drove me crazy, especially in the beginning, I did get used to them, but wow did they grate on me, it felt like it was racist almost. The terms used were 'the English' and 'outsiders'.
To demonstrate Noah's controlling ways I have provided such quotes which made me so uncomfortable. Also on the 'first date' he showed his controlling and argumentative ways, this was towards Rose dancing! Rose actually picked up on the edge to his voice when he used the term "the English". I'm sorry but first date and now matter how much you fancy someone, that sort of behaviour would send you running!
"I didn't think she'd be receptive to being told what to do directly. I'd have to be subtle about it and make her think she was doing what she wanted" Wow that is scary! How devious is he, that is just mind games!
"I didn't have authority over her. That really troubled me more than I cared to admit" "take charge of her"
Aside from that, another aspect that I didn't enjoy, which I know a lot of readers also do not like, is this 'insta-love' as the love story. Straight away there were comments and references from both of them as being lovestruck, experiencing electric from touching and thoughts of when they are living together. Even thoughts of having a baby! The wanting, needing, pining that went on, urgh, it got sooooo repetitive and as I said their desire to be together was the plot really. I have to say that I believe Noah's feelings and thoughts to be more reliable and true due to his age and responsibility, whereas I feel Rose is swept along with the lust and excitement, she seems so young to be on the same wavelength as Noah in regards to a relationship. I had to laugh prior to one of their meet-ups and Rose is getting ready and looking in the mirror, it was such an argh!! moment but so typical of a teenager really
"Turning sideways I was surprised to see how I was filling the shirt out this year. I certainly didn't remember looking so.......developed in it last year"
Overall, this book is a lovely read, an emotional exploration of love that is forbidden. It is sweet and full of want and desire. There is obstacles and problems throughout it, there are moments when you want to scream and times when you laugh and go awww. I found this book difficult to review as i said but then I've written an essay so obviously i had lots to say and i enjoyed it more than i originally thought. I would recommend it to people but i would say that this will be a book you may love and hate at the same time but give it chance. I will definitely be reading the sequel. I have to give a rating of 3 out of 5 :)(less)
Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle. I have to say that i was really interested by this book when i saw the cover and read the 'blurb', however, at the same time i was hesitant to read it as i didn't know if i could 'deal' with this content in a harrowing story. I didn't know what was going to happen and as a parent, this is every parents' worst nightmare and for that i was debating whether to go ahead and read it. I did read it and i am SO glad i did because i LOVED this story. It was ABSOLUTELY UTTERLY THRILLING AND FANTASTIC. I could not put it down, i was hooked and i would even re-read it now that i know the 'outcome'. One word=WOW!
Okay so enough of that! The cover is quite striking in a subtle way that grabs your attention because it is cold, chilling and looks like a winter setting. It does give you a chill and the child looks clearly unhappy. It definitely relates to the story given the situation and the title- doesn't directly relate to the story, however, when you have read the story you realise it is giving you something to contemplate, a message.
I will not go into the plot too much as i don't want to risk any spoilers and i have included a book description. For me, i hate reading a review that says no spoilers but actually tells you a lot about the plot and what happens with more detail than what is expected. Everyone knows the basis of the storyline, about a gunman coming into a school in Broken Branch. This place is actually a small town, which is a perfect setting for this story- in a way it makes it more of a catastrophic event as 'who would do this here?' the community are usually together, knitted with solidarity and thinking they know everything about everyone including their secrets,but this novel portrays that this is far from the truth. Setting it in spring but with an unusual snowstorm for the time of year makes it unbelievably unfortunate as this messes with communication, this would have aided with the rescue of the hostage situation.
It is well written, has quick pacing, full of suspense, keeps you questioning about who the gunman is and hence has you struggling to put it down. Gudenkauf's writing and how the story unfolded but then was brought together, reminded me of another author-Jodi Picoult, her fans are sure to adore this book just as much as they do hers. Another aspect of Gudenkauf's writing that i really liked was the thorough character development and i enjoyed how the story was delivered. It is told by 5 of the characters and is over an eight hour span, these characters are; a teacher in the room, a teenager, a mum who is miles away in hospital, a grandad from the town and a member of law enforcement. Each person has they own section-there isn't overlapping bwteen these sections, some are as long as a chapter and as some are very short. It keeps the story moving quickly, it also includes overlapping of time from different people, however this works perfectly for getting the different insights. Even though there are 5 characters 'telling the story', it never becomes confusing-each section is clearly headed and none of the characters are similar. From these only one is told in the author's 'voice' and the others are in third person. This is one of my favourite narrations as it tells the tale from each person's perspective which adds more depth and heart to the story.
This narration was perfect for this as you are given an insight into all aspects of the situation, including inside the school. Through their thoughts, words and actions it gives their account of this harrowing day and shows how they all react during this terrible incident. Every individual is different as their perspective is uniquely framed by their life-memories and experiences. We learn about these throughout from their stories, it also gives us more information to think 'who is the gunmen?'. It provides hints to several possibilities but in my opinion it is not obvious who the actual gunman is or his reasons for his actions.
These life experiences/stories definitely gives heart to the story and emotions are evoked in the reader which means that connections start to form with the characters, they become human as such. These stories deal with so many issues that it is unbelievable but it is handled so well and told so well that it isn't too much, There are issues exploring father-daughter relationships,mother-daughter relationships, siblings relationships, divorce, abandonment, affairs, life or death situations, bravery, sympathy, empathy, sacrifice, love and self-discovery. It evoked so many emotions in me, i just could not believe how i felt towards the characters and how i put myself in that situation as a parent/grand parent and even as an individual with a loved one trapped inside.
I am going to sum up here because i feel that this review is very long. I cannot express anymore why i love this book, and why everyone should read it! I would re-read it as i said. It lived with me for a long time after i put the book down, i couldn't stop thinking about it and trying to analyse it. The title is so true in respect that, 'One Breath Away' is all it takes to change your life forever.
Please Read it :) Without a doubt 5 out of 5!(less)
This isn't going to be an actual review whereby i give a 'rating', i just think for a memoir, and this kind of memoir especially- it isn't appropriate. Therefore, i am just going to discuss the book, i will try and include no spoilers. Many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle and the review is of my honest opinion.
I was first intrigued by this book because of the cover with a child and the title, but then when i saw the subtitle it clicked! I had seen a documentary on this little girl, called January a while before and i realised it had to be the same girl with a unique name and this severe mental illness. I wanted so badly to read more, i was really interested in the documentary and i knew this would be deeper insight. I am really glad that the little's girl portrait wasn't used on the front, that would not have felt right. I am not going into the argument of whether it was 'right' for the parents to include her in a documentary or even if it is right to have a book written about her mental illness and their experiences as parents. It is not appropriate to discuss here. This book is from her dad's perspective and starts right at the beginning of her life, it includes so many significant events and thoughts he has, it is very detailed at times and the emotion is weaved throughout the book. What is evident is how much they love their daughter and want the best for her (as any caring parent would). I believe they made the decision to be in documentaries and to write this book, so that they can tell their story, to tell January's story and to raise awareness. Awareness of a mental illness so rare in children! Mental illness is still a taboo subject in my opinion, there are stigmas attached even in modern society and there is little understanding by the general public of how complex mental illnesses are and the effect it has, not just on the individual but also to family life. This is even more difficult when it comes to children, since mental illness is rare or rarely diagnosed (or should that be misdiagnosed) .
I honestly loved reading this book, i was intrigued about January 'Jani', her story at so young, how the illness developed over the years, the illness itself and how the family managed. I was not disappointed, it was thorough and each of the 'situations' were well described and not drawn out, it kept the reader's interest. I take my hat off to these parents, what amazing people! Strong, resilient, determined and the most loving of parents! Throughout the book, i got angry a few times at healthcare professionals, regardless of this 'label' she has, she is a child first and foremost! Maybe i felt so strong towards the book because i am a mum and because i have experienced mental illness both myself and in my extended family. I just couldn't put this book down and i needed more and more information. I don't usually read memoirs but i just had to read this book and i experienced so many emotions- frustration, anger, worry, love, happiness, smiles, sadness, tears- yes i cried, a few times! My heart, thoughts and prayers go out to the family, especially to Jani and to Michael (her dad), he never gave up hope! and he fought for her throughout, and he will continue to do so. He remained strong and kept the family together. What a man! It is important to note how her mother is equal to this too, it is not just her father that is raising Jani.
Read it people! and recommend it! Please! Awareness really does need to be raised. I was sad when this book finished because i wanted to know more, as in what is currently happening but since it is up to date almost that is impossible. You can read about January by going onto the internet and searching 'Schizophrenia January'- this would be useful if you do not know anything about her or her family. I am not giving this book a 'star' rating, for the same reason that i said previous, it doesn't feel right, but i did love it, and would recommend it :)(less)
My Review. Firstly, many thanks to the publishers for granting me access to review this book, for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. This was read on my Kindle and the review is of my honest opinion. When i saw this book and realised who the author is, i did a little scream of delight because i absolutely adored her debut book 'Saving June'. Even now almost three months on, i still think about that book because it had such a lasting impression. Now i know this book isn't connected to the debut book in any way, other than the author connection, but still, i had to read this. After reading the synopsis, i thought it sounded fantastic and i was hooked. Obviously because of this, i had set high expectations! The cover whilst plain and boring can also be seen as quite intense in relation to the story and the title, but i would not have picked this up if i knew nothing about it because it doesn't appeal to me.
The plot is quite straightforward really, set with high school kids as most contemporary YA novels are, leading to obvious assumptions about possible themes that seem commonplace amongst teens. The main character Chelsea is part of a 'popular' girl group (we all had them in high school i am sure) but to put it bluntly, she is really being used by the leader of this group, yet she doesn't realise it and is a follower wanting to impress. This means Chelsea is quite horrid at the start, and gossiping about people, spreading rumours/lies, telling people's secrets and making people miserable. Hence, i really disliked her initially because i just could not relate to her; i hate seeing people get hurt and followers are just not themselves, they don't use their own mind, making them weak in character.
One night, everything changes, Chelsea sees something she shouldn't and once again she shoots her mouth off to all those who will listen to gain attention, regardless of anything else. This leaves someone's life in the balance and she is given a 'wake up call' in regards to her actions. She decides to stop gossiping and telling secrets/rumours by not using her voice, hence 'Speechless', perfect title! and she also does something quite impressive to try and 'correct things', which was a commendable action. This action is hated by her 'friends', who then turn their back on Chelsea and she finally realises that they aren't her real friends at all. Unfortunately, she does experience a lot of bullying at school for standing up for what is right; which is so sad to read because she did the right thing, infact it was heartbreaking to read about and made me feel uncomfortable. It leads Chelsea onto a path of self-discovery whereby she also finds new opportunities and new friends, but is there any forgiveness from them or herself? Well you will have to read for yourself.
After Chelsea did this commendable action and onto her path for self-discovery, i started to like her and i loved being in her mind as such She absolutely wanted to change, she knew her mistakes and was learning from them- she really needed to forgive herself though and i have to say that i started to feel sorry for her. Throughout the rest of the novel, i really did like her and took to her. There are several other side characters with means lots of names which i won't go into them all; her 'old' not real friends who are just nasty b*tches and then there is her new friends; Sam, Asha, Lou, Andy etc (her only communication with them is through text and notes) who are lovely, warm-hearted and funny. I adored them as they seemed really nice and funny too, i could totally relate to them. There is even a love interest for Chelsea and it's so cute, i wanted her to be happy. To get to know each other they have to use texts and notes since she doesn't speak, not even with him. There isn't a huge amount of romance in the book but it's a lovely friendship that is developing into a budding relationship.
I really did enjoy the book, it definitely improved as it went along but for me that was due to the characters and how i felt towards them. Not only that but there is underlying lessons inside for teens who read this book; around high school with peer pressure and friendship, around bullying and showing that even when standing alone is difficult, it is still possible to do the right thing. On the lines of self-discovery and how Chelsea feels, i have included a quote, which is her thoughts, it shows how far she has come and how strong she it. ".....except that night didn't change my life. I changed it. I have to stop acting like i have no control over these things. Like i'm letting them just happen to me. These are my choices. For better or worse" Such a powerful quote in my opinion. This is what i love about the author's writing style, she can evoke so many emotions in the reader, enabling bonds to be made with the characters, she kind of gets under your skin and just pulls you in. You can read so easily and so much at once because her writing just flows beautifully. She does the same with the 'Saving June', this lovely writing ability that she possess, but like i said you cannot compare the books, I loved them both. I loved this and really enjoyed it, I HIGHLY recommend this book for everyone to read because you will really enjoy it. Does Chelsea speak again? You will have to wait and find out. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars.(less)
My Review. Firstly, many thanks to Harlequin UK for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. The arc w...moreMy Review. Firstly, many thanks to Harlequin UK for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. The arc was sent as a download version onto my laptop to read via Adobe. Has soon as i read this book description i had to read it, it sounded full of mystery and suspense with some possible romance there with a bad boy- always seems to be a winner. This book didn't fail to impress, i thought it was most definitely impressive, it is mainly a road trip for a very important reason and the reader gets sucked into the story and it feels like they are there on the trip with them. It is a book with some mystery and suspense surrounding certain characters but for me, this wasn't that strong a theme through the book, compared with other emotions; fun, laughter, love, passion, tragedy, upset, sadness and as well as a road trip, it was a roller coaster of emotions, it is also a journey for the reader, and for the characters.
The main characters are Harper, Jake and Laney. Harper is June's sister, with Jake being the boy with mystery/secrets and Laney is Harper's best friend. These are the 3 who go on the road trip to California with June's urn. Initially, Harper cannot really stand Jake, she is a girl who is also meant to be the 'bad' one in the family, being rude, poor grades and living in her sister's shadow to her parents who have divorced. What we learn about Harper is how different she is from what she is 'meant' to be and how many questions and blame she puts on herself for June's death. Her character does grow on you extremely easily and as well as being on this road trip, she is also on a journey of self-discovery and seems to grow up. Jake in the description is made out to be this bad-ass rocker but i don't believe he was at all; he worked in a music shop, loved music and had a vast knowledge of songs, artists and albums that swan over the years. He was previously meant to be a bad-ass but i don't believe he was in this book. He is a completely compassionate guy, who is a good listener, good with advice and as a reader he kinda makes you swoon. Yes if you could fall for a guy in a book, Jake would be one! Laney, not so much a strong main character but she is important during the story; she is the complete opposite of Harper but she is a fun-loving, sociable, addicted to guys and precarious. She is another character on a journey in this book, she grows up, becomes sensible and responsible for her actions, as well as realises she can be like this but still have fun.
This is the first road trip book i have read, and i never thought i would enjoy it, but i loved it! Has well as all the references that Jake made to songs and artists- you can hear the songs in your head as they are played in the van on the trip, there was also reference to places on the trip and events, they meet new people and stay in different places. I loved the soundtrack list in the back of the too for each of the CD's, i thought this was funny and cute but quite important too. So has i said, i LOVED this book, i really did, i was completely enthralled with this story. I couldn't get enough, i couldn't put it down and i was sad that it had finished.
I am not a big fan of quotes from books but there were two that just jumped out and almost bite me so i had to include them; *"He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that's what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you." *"“If you really want things to change, you can make them change no matter where you are.” (less)
Firstly, many thanks to Harlequin UK for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. The arc was sent as...moreFirstly, many thanks to Harlequin UK for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received via Netgalley. The arc was sent as a download version onto my laptop to read via Adobe. When i was granted access to review this book, i was beyond excited and happy! Diane Chamberlain is one of my favourite authors and therefore i had high expectations for this book before i even read the book description.
Before i say anything, i have to say that OMG, I LOVED this book! I had every right to have high expectations of it and it definitely exceeded these. I went through so many emotions with this book; hope, joy, sadness, happiness, relief, love, tragedy, warmth to name a few and i felt i went on a journey with the characters. I could not put it down, it was a page turner because i had to know what was going to happen and i finished this book with a day and a half. The storyline was told from three people's point of view, who aren't necessarily connected in the beginning but the connections slowly unravel to show how they all tie together and why they are all important in this story. We get the views of Travis, Erin and Robin. Travis is the father of the little girl; Bella, Erin is a woman that Travis and Bella see regularly at the coffee shop and Robin is Bella's mum but why she is not involved is explained later in the book.
From these main characters (there were several other characters in the book that were part of the storyline) i have to say that i took to them all, i felt something for all of them because they had each experienced loss and tragedy in their life, and none of them had any malice about them. Travis is an amazing guy, putting his daughter first throughout and the love he feels for her is so evident that you can feel it. Through is life with Bella, you begin to fall in love with the absolute cuteness of this little girl who has her parents' determination, resilience and strength. Travis seems to attract bad luck though, no matter what he does. There is such desperation also with this character to get his daughter back! He only wanted to do good but made a bad decision. Erin is a character who is going through so much, once again, the reader can really sense how she is feeling and can sympathise with her, she seems so lost in life that Travis and Bella give her a purpose in life. Throughout the story Erin's character goes through a journey, one of working through heartbreak and grief; and coming out the other side, gaining strength, determination and growing as an individual. Robin, is also experiencing loss and tragedy and living a 'double life' almost, she is a kind, warm hearted character and she also is on a journey throughout the story. She also grows as a character, becoming stronger and more determined.
With all this occurring with these characters, the story could easily become too much, complex and confusing. However, this is not the case because the story is very slow paced, which works perfectly as it let's you take the information in, and digest it, which enriches the story on all levels. Whilst being such an emotional book, the writing is beautiful. The reader isn't feed the information about the characters, you discover it yourself, you see the underlying messages, you are able to use your imagination more because you discover how it is. Also, including all this is an element of suspense throughout the book, wondering what will happen, how does it all tie together, is it all going to 'come good' at the end or has he lost Bella forever. In my view, there is nothing that would make this book any better, i was so sad it had finished but when i saw there was an epilogue i did a little scream because i love these. This book really has stayed with in and in fact i could read it again :)
I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars because I well and truly LOVED it. ***** (less)
Firstly, many thanks to the publishers, Speak, for granting me the early review of this book for which was kindly received. This book was open to everyone on Netgalley for a period of time after i was granted access, however, I was pleased that i was given the opportunity prior to this.
The book description gave me a buzz of....'I need to read this'. A summer read with intrigue and suspense and just what i need- a light-hearted book but with interest. Now, i was right in some aspects, this book is a lovely light-hearted summer read, there was intrigue and suspense but it didn't hit the note I expected it too. I really enjoyed the book because it was so easy to read, i didn't have to think or really connect, I felt like I was watching a TV programme or a film and being spoon fed everything rather than having to use my mind and imagine.
The characters, some likeable- Em, Gwenny, Cade, Tilly and some not- Em's parents. Em was dull to begin with but over time she grew on me, her character developed into a stronger, more determined and confident one. The characters all needed more depth to them, to put some meat on them bones as such, sadly they weren't and again you were 'spoon fed' as it was told to you and not shown. More, likely this was the style of the writing and the quick pace of the book maybe. Another major depth that was needed, even though it was touched upon, is the connections with certain characters; Em with Gwenny, Cade and Tilly. Don't get me wrong, you were told this but i didn't feel it, it was sort of 'oh ok', rather than 'aww or wow', the complexity of the characters connections, especially the family ones really need just that bit more depth, a bit more time to feel it and become absorbed with the story.. The romance was lovely, nice and simple, and heart-warming, but, given the nature of the 'Summer made my life', it could have been more passionate, intense, made you feel the connection. I do like a bit of romance though and i was really happy for Em as in...good for you girl!lol.
The storyline, for me it wasn't anything new. It was all done before in some kind of form and i guessed the family secret way early in the book, same as I knew what was going to happen with other storylines- the romance and her career. What I absolutely LOVED was the fact it had an Epilogue at the end to let you know what had happened a month or so on, for me that just brings all the snagging ends together beautifully and makes you close the book with a smile on your face. I mentioned early in the review how I felt about this and lacking depth, being told not shown and the whole spoon feeding. I didn't need to use my imagination or think, the kind of book you sometimes do just need and that's probably why I read it so quickly. It did have interest to keep you reading, you wanted to know what was happening and gain some answers. Even though the big intrigue is the family secret, there is also some smaller suspense storylines to add further intrigue. I won't mention these as I don't want any spoilers in my review, but I knew what was going to happen with all these storylines quite early on too...damn!!
Overall, I enjoyed this book, I am glad I read it and I would recommend it for a light-hearted read but I would explain what I have said. A lot of people absolutely LOVE books likes this, an escape from life in a book but without complexity in depth or storyline- perfect! I feel a bit harsh giving the rating I have but I feel it is justified as this, if there were halves I would say 2.5.
Sorry this review is a bit all over, rambling and lacking in parts.(less)
The storyline is of a girl starting a boarding school, which she has wanted to go to since she was younger. She got turned down at thirteen but her pa...moreThe storyline is of a girl starting a boarding school, which she has wanted to go to since she was younger. She got turned down at thirteen but her parents kept applying for her and she got a place for her last year at school, it meant she had to move quite far away. The only reason she got the place is because a student 'Becca' had disappeared. This whole storyline didn't fit that comfortably with me or seem that believable, that one, her parent would keep applying without her knowledge because what you want as you go through your teens changes- she got the idea of boarding school from Harry Potter books! Therefore, it could have just being a phase she was going through. Her parents had already paid in advance without her knowledge, which considering what i have just said seems a bit far fetched and a big risk. Plus, in the last year of schooling, the most important year, she would go to a new school, be uprooted, know no-one and risk affecting her grades, surely parents wouldn't do that and also would a teenager in this situation actually go when the idea has phased out. There were other 'situations' that occurred during the story that seemed so far-fetched and so questionable that it wasn't believable. I will mention these later in the review.
Apart from this, i really enjoyed the book. It was given from two points of view- Becca's and also the new girl- Interestingly we don't find out her name until the end! I didn't even realise this till past half way. The different view points made the story far more interesting as you got an all round view of the characters and events. It begins with both Becca and the new girl starting at the school and then alternates with the chapters, but thankfully it states whether it's Becca's chapter or not, so the reader doesn't become confused. It sort of answers questions that the new girl has, by giving Becca's side of the story, which is really from the past (the year before). The storyline is definitely enhanced by doing it this way rather than just a flat storyline from the new girl's view of starting the school.
There is several character's in this book that feature in both points of view-the main ones been; Dana, Max and Johnny. I easily took to the new girl's character, she is just your normal kind hearted teenager who aims to please. Becca was a complex character that i disliked initially, she was rude, arrogant, b*tchy, selfish, and i could go on but as the story goes on, you realise that this is all a front and really she's a lost and lonely person wanting to be loved and she does this by being the centre of attention. Becca's character is pushed by the narrator in my view, it's sort of spoon fed that 'this is how she is', she's not given the chance to develop from the reader's perspective. Now a character that is given this chance is Dana, the room mate to Becca and then the new girl. She is there, in the background and you aren't told about her but she seems sort of dark, miserable, moody and obsessive- you are not told from the narrator that she is x,y,z, if you get what i mean. This is fantastic because you discover it as a reader and you begin to understand and from that you get your answers and her character seems to blossom. Interestingly, part of the storyline is that Becca's belonging are still in the room that the new girl moves into, now i am sure this would not be the case in the school and they would move them! again another unbelievable part of the plot. However, the story wouldn't be the same if this didn't happen. Another character is Max, you see two very different sides of him from each of the girl's views and how he treats them differently. Johnny seems to be the same from both sides and is a kind caring guy with some mystery about him. Funnily enough both the girls fell for the same guy!!
The characters, even though in a boarding school, seem to party a lot (security taking no notice and umm what about the teachers?? so not believable again but hey never mind, the plot would not happen without this) and there is a lot of drinking, some drugs, and sexual encounters. It doesn't go into detail or be descriptive with the sexual encounters but you just know what is happening, and it happens so often and so freely. It didn't bother me too much but it wouldn't sit comfortably with some people, especially as they are teenagers. From the drinking and drugs we learn the effects and there is some horrid explanations and encounters which highlight the effects. There could be some underlining messages in this book for teenagers in relation to the opposite sex, partying, drinking and all that goes with it and what can happen. It feels bizarre reading a book that mentions Harry Potter and Facebook, how times change.
The story is a definite page turner, especially during some parts. It has an eerie and mystery feeling to it, with some creepiness (going to the boathouse!) whilst being completely captivating and intriguing because you want to know what has happened and from Becca's point of view you could find out why and how in more depth. To be honest, I think the ending needed a bit more of a thriller aspect but overall, this book has substance to it and for that i would definitely recommend it.
I have given this book 4 out of 5 stars. ****(less)
Firstly, many thanks to St. Martin's Press for granting me the early review of this book for which it was kindly received. I only had 5 days prior to the publication date to review this book and try as i must i could not and only finished it on the 1st May. I will explain throughout the review. Secondly, the book cover, misses out on the Kindle it really does. But i can see the significance of the book imagery; the lilac background and are they pomengrates and how they link with Hera-...interestingly this is mentioned at the back of the book.
Initially this book took me FOREVER to get into, on one occasion i put it down and read the information for the book and pushed myself to go with it and i got into the book really well. What makes it difficult in the early parts is there is only small parts to grab onto. There is a different culture with foreign names, that were new to me, and many of these included Greek mythology, all with a short space in the book and i found it really overwhelmed for the start. But i did pick it back through and pushed through. If i had any knowledge of Greek mythology it may have make this easier.
Once i pushed through i did notice a bit difference, people were explained more and their character's developed and blossomed. Anita Nair has a lovely way to describe individual characters in a way that they feel like family; it looks an some characters more in depth than others but i really warmed towards Meera as the book progressed. So many different aspects of life is experienced-marriage, family, parent-child relationship, friendship, loss-om so many levels, and these are all are explored whilst having characters who are going through changes in their character; showing strength, determination, love, loss, grief, and making changes. It isn't just set in the present as i said, it also goes into the past, which then explains things that are occurring in the future.
Therefore, all this jumping about tenses, the Greek mythology and the complexity of the characters is the reason why is seems a difficult read, and then added to that is the Indian culture and settings with Indian place names. I have never read a book set in India and places names can be quite difficult to 'say it properly' meaning you can't just read the sentence in a flowing way but you stop to focus on the word. It does show a lot about Indian culture and i did like this enrichment of the book; for one of the major topics which is 'outcasted', the book was perfect being set there. This major topic is a massive issue (not going into for spoiler reasons) and to focus on this in a book and makes you think, wow, does this actually really happen and then you find out it does, sadly.
The Greek mythology is explained more in depth at the end and yes Meera is right to compare herself to Hera, but i had no idea about this and if there wasn't any Greek mythology in the book i think that it wouldn't have made a difference, in my eyes, it didn't add anything. Another aspect that let the book down is that some storyline parts just weren't needed, they were short, added nothing and let you with questions and then there would be aspects went on and on,added nothing and was a waste. Some characters needed more 'padding' to enrich their presence more rather than the briefness used. I think the book was really too long for the storyline even with the complexity. The start and middle went on forever it seemed whereas the end and the summing up seemed to happened really quickly but those were the best bit of the book and the first bits should have being short and more focus on the medium to end and ending/summing up.
The book does seem to all come together and you don't go away feeling any sadness which is entwined throughout the book, but you feel some relief, some positivity, happiness and hope. It's lovely how individual stories can be told about the characters and then come together and the stories fit perfectly!
This review goes on forever and i am really sorry. Again i did enjoy the book when i made myself read it. The negative aspects i said let it down for me but it was BEAUTIFULLY written and a lovely book.(less)
Firstly, many kind thanks to Angry Robots for allowing me to have a review copy via Netgalley. This is not usually a genre i read but needed to give t...moreFirstly, many kind thanks to Angry Robots for allowing me to have a review copy via Netgalley. This is not usually a genre i read but needed to give this a go.
Secondly, the cover of this book is just absolutely amazing, once you have read the book you see how it definitely links to the lead character Miriam. The look on the face gives shows the attitude that Miriam has and her messy hair which she dyes in the colour 'blackbird!
Onto the actual book. I LOVED this book!! Just loved it. I was hooked within the first chapter and i couldn't put it down. I was instantly drawn in by the description as i am obsessed with the whole psychic thing and i liked the idea of the dark element with seeing when someone dies/murdered. The whole idea of fate and whether we can have any control, can we change it, this book questions and challenge this. I loved the descriptions of what Miriam saw even with people she touches accidently who weren't a character in the story. There's even a bit of a love story there which is interesting based on the fact that Miriam struggles with making connections and relationships due to her past.
In the first chapter i was weary of Miriam's character and not what i expected from the description of the book, but that may have been my interpretation. However, very quickly, i grew to love her. Despite the foul language (didn't bother me at all!) she is one strong kick ass b*tch and it's easy to understand why she has being shaped into this person with this attitude due to her past and current lifestyle. I felt quite protective over her because she left herself so open in vulnerable situation but my gosh she can look after herself. No surprising with the horrid nasty men she has to deal with.
The dark humour and foul language definitely added an essence to the book and enriches the story, without this, it would be a very different read. Yet from this, it will go to grotesque, sick situations with descriptions of brutal beatings/fights that are so well told you can picture it and hear the noises....eww!! Nothing is held back at all, but it is so well told. It is set in the present tense so there is this sense of urgency and fascination of what is going to happen and it makes you just keep reading and reading. It also goes into dreams/interludes which takes you away from the present but by doing so will give you information about an event/person that will add an understanding to the situation that was occurring at that time or an individual. It is just an absolute rollercoaster but one you don't want to get off.
Roll on the sequel, Mockingbird that in released in June.(less)