‘GEEKERELLA’ – Ashley Poston

 

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Anything can happen once upon a con…

When geek girl Elle Wittimer sees a cosplay contest sponsored by the producers of Starfield, she has to enter. First prize is an invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. Elle’s been scraping together tips from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck behind her stepmother’s back, and winning this contest could be her ticket out once and for all—not to mention a fangirl’s dream come true.

Teen actor Darien Freeman is less than thrilled about this year’s ExcelsiCon. He used to live for conventions, but now they’re nothing but jaw-aching photo sessions and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Federation Prince Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the diehard Starfield fandom has already dismissed him as just another heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, closet nerd Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Thanks to Random House for sending me a copy of GEEKERELLA for review!

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SOOOOOOO as soon as I heard about this book, I knew that I wanted to read it. The cover is gorgeous, Cinderella is my favourite Disney tale (and I’ve watched the live remake at least fifty times), and I’m a massive geek about a lot of things (including Cinderella and books) so I knew this was going to my kind of book!

So I started this yesterday afternoon and finished it less than twenty four hours later. It’s a fun and quick read, focuses on a cutesy Cinderella-like romance, with of course the drama, friendships and crazy families. I really enjoyed this book a lot and if you’re looking for a quick contemporary/ fairy tale retelling, then I highly recommend GEEKERELLA.

Darien is sooooo adorable! He’s kind of like your typical famous teenage boy that’s depicted in YA novels; he appears as a brat, snobby and is only in it for the money, but once we get to know him we realise that he actually has a heart and is really cute. The only difference this time is that he’s a total dork which only makes him more adorable! Just like Elle, Darien has his own crap going on in his life, and it was nice to see him overcome that.

The Cinderella retelling in the modern world worked really well. The two characters meet via text message and this is where they first meet each other, the pumpkin is actually a vegan food truck, the prince is a teen star, the ball is at a cosplay event and after ball, and of course there’s still Cinderella’s shoe. I just loved it so much… I’m going to watch the Cinderella live action movie again tonight (no shame)…

I don’t have much else to say about it. I wouldn’t say it’s a perfect book (I gave it 4 stars on Goodreads) but it’s definitely a fun and adorable read that’s perfect to sit down and read in a couple of sittings. Plus… Cinderella!

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Comment below if you’ve read GEEKERELLA and let me know what you think! Do you love Cinderella as much as I do?

‘THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER’ – Ann Brashares

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We live in the same place, but never together.

Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.

Thanks to Penguin for sending me a copy of the book in exchange for a review!

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I think that the whole idea of this story is really interesting… confusing… but intriguing. For the first third of the book I was really confused about Sasha and Ray; I thought that they had the same parents and was confused as to how their parents could keep them apart. Like, what is this? The Parent Trap 3.0?! But after rereading the blurb another ten times, I eventually got the point.

But the confusion about this didn’t stop there. There were so many other characters in this book and I didn’t know who was who. This was my biggest problem with the book; the blurb of the copy I own (assuming AU/UK paperback) makes it seem as if the whole story is about Sasha and Ray, their relationship, meeting for the first time, etc., and I honestly would have been happy with that. Except, they were more like minor characters. It focused more on the three older siblings; Emma, Mattie and Quinn. The blurb I included at the beginning from Goodreads is the hardcover and actually mentions the other siblings, so this probably would have been helpful! I was intrigued with Emma’s story, however, I skimmed over the other two so I probably wouldn’t be able to tell you what they’re about.

I’m just going to say here that I liked the book in the beginning; Sasha and Ray’s characters and story line had a lot of potential and I was excited to read about them. Also,  think Ann’s writing style is beautiful and she definitely makes some deep and insightful remarks. I read the ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ books in primary school and I remember liking them, so she definitely does a good job at that.

Despite this, I just think that there were too many characters she focused on. Instead of a story, this felt more like a bunch of characters who were linked together in one way or another, and therefore she was barely able to go into detail with each of the characters. I couldn’t connect to any of them because I didn’t know enough about them.

STOP RIGHT THERE!!! I was just reading through some reviews on Goodreads and saw that someone mentioned there was a family tree shown in the beginning of the book. It probably would’ve helped me a lot more if I saw this to begin with. Anyway…

Overall, it wasn’t a terrible book, it just didn’t do anything for me. On the plus side, I finished it in two sittings so it’s a quick read if that helps!

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A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN – Sarah J. Maas

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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of ACOWAR for review.

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If you have been following me for a while, you would know my thoughts on this series. I read ACOTAR January 2016 and I loved it so much that I finished it within a day. I was in love with Tamlin and Feyre was a strong character that I was intrigued to read more about. When I read ACOMAF when it was released last May, I liked it however, I was a bit dissapointed. And despite what everyone says to me, I still love Tamlin and always will (not sorry).

I decided to go into ACOWAR with an open mind. I didn’t hate Rhysand before, I just missed Tamlin, so I told myself to accept that Tamlin is out of the picture and start focusing on Rhys. I also want to add that I haven’t been in a big fantasy mood this year, so I put off reading this book until I had enough time to focus on it without losing interest in the long and complex story.

I actually really enjoyed the first half of the book and I was only confused at times. I was following the story easy, Feyre wasn’t annoying me too much, and I loved that we got to see a lot of Lucien. Despite finding the story of the last book confusing and boring, I was so far enjoying ACOWAR and I was excited to see where it was going to go.

And then just after the half way point I realised that the book was just draaaaaaaaging on! And I understand that this is a fantasy book, and all Sarah J. Maas books are long and full depth, however, I can usually handle it. But I was just bored; nothing was going on, I was beginning to not understand the story line and I missed Tamlin…

I don’t really have much more to say about this book; Sarah J. Maas’ books usually have this affect on me. It was a decent ending to a trilogy that I started off loving, however, it was missing a lot for me. I have an unpopular opinion toward most of her books, including this one, so don’t take my word on it!

If you’ve read A Court of Wings and Ruin, let me know what you thought and if you had similar opinions to mine!

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‘THE HATE U GIVE’ by Angie Thomas

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Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

 

Thanks Walker Books for sending me an arc of THUG to review!

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I finally got around to reading this! The tagline on the arc I own is, “the book that everyone’s talking about” and it couldn’t be more right. I haven’t heard a single person say a bad thing about this book and it has an average 4.7 star rating on Goodreads! I’m so glad that I got the opportunity to read this heartbreaking yet important story inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

I freekin’ love Starr! She is such a complex character with a really vivid personality which made her much more interesting to read about. She has a lot going on in her life, but she doesn’t let that define her; she is more than the problems in the book which made her a relatable character.

I also loved how the book had a big focus on family. YA books with characters that have amazing support networks and loving families that are just as kick-ass as the main character are what we need more of – and THUG has all of that! Her parents are strong and stand up for themselves and what they believe in, and this definitely rubs off on Starr and her siblings (honourable mention to Seven!). I just loved all the characters in this book… okay? I don’t even have the words to talk about them.

Even all the side characters were interesting to read about and had their own stories and complexities. They weren’t just there for the sake of it; each and everyone of them added to the story. Chris, Starr’s white boyfriend is incredibly supportive of Starr and they are adorable together. However, I loved how the book barely focused on their romance (because that’s not what this story is about) and instead focused on Starr feeling like she is betraying herself and her race by dating a white boy. Maya, Starr’s Asian best friend, is also incredibly kick ass and it was interesting to hear her side of racism also. And then there’s Starr’s racist friend, (Hailey I think her name is???) and I’m pretty sure we all wanted to punch her in the face as well (Starr… we don’t blame you), but you can’t deny that she does add a lot to the story and I think it was a vital part.

A lot of the scenes in this book were heartbreaking to read, but it is so important as well. These things are happening in our world – this is basically a work of non-fiction – and we need to open our eyes. It’s so easy for us to hear things like this happen on the news and think. “oh, that’s terrible” but not do anything about it. Just because it’s not happening to us, it doesn’t mean that we can’t do something to help stop it.

Despite the heartbreaking scenes that made me want to cry, there was also a lot of humour in the book which was nice. So many times I found myself laughing at the jokes and interactions between Starr and her family especially, and her friends. So despite the touching focus of the story, it does have it’s light and lifting side as well.

Also, the ending gave me goosebumps. It was a nice ending to everything that happened throughout the story, but it wasn’t completely resolved, and that’s because it isn’t completely resolved in the real world either. But there’s hope that one day the world will be a much more peaceful and opening place, and Starr highlights this one the final page.

This is an incredible and important story that I think everyone should read (I will definitely be recommending it to my friends and family). I do think it’s a bit on the long side for a YA contemporary, but apart from that I cannot fault it. READ THIS NOW! I wish I had sooner.

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‘COUNTLESS’ – Karen Gregory

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‘Is there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of Countless to review!

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Wow. I just can’t find the words for what this book did to, and for me. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with the main focus being on an eating disorder, so I was interested to see what this book was going to hold. And it captivated me straight away and I couldn’t put it down until the end. Such a touching story that will be able to inform and educate readers on eating disorders (and also teen pregnancies).

Our main character Hedda has been through, and is going through a lot. She has had anorexia for a few years, been in and out of hospitals, experienced the death of a friend, got kicked out of home, and got pregnant at seventeen. This would cause anyone to go off the rails, but I really admired how Hedda went about things. She definitely had her ups and downs along with her mood swings, but when she found out she was pregnant and decided to keep the baby, she was selfless. She told herself she was going to eat during the pregnancy, and it was difficult but she gave birth to a healthy baby. However, the main struggle was after Rose was born. My initial assumption was that the whole book was focusing on the pregnancy, but then she gave birth and I wasn’t even half way through yet! But the story did pick up after the baby was born, and Hedda’s struggles continued.

I’m going to give Robin a quick mention. I loved how the story had little romance in it as it focused on Hedda’s eating disorder, recovery and relationship with both her baby and family. But, I loved Robin. As we do learn closer to the end of the book, he has his own stuff going on as well. Robin cared for Hedda and Rose, he took care of her in an under-baring way, and he is just a down right sweet heart!

Okay, back to the story.

I’ve never had anorexia before, so I comment on the accuracy of the portrayal, but I did read somewhere that this is an Own Voices Novel (don’t quote me on that). However, I can say just how eye opening this book was for me, and how much knowledge I was able to gain from that. It also felt so raw and real as it pulled the emotions out of me… yes… I did cry (I’m hormonal – OKAY?!). The story was just so amazingly touching, and Hedda as a character was just so incredible, and the ending (which I’ll talk about later) was so hopeful and I just… can you tell I loved this book?

Karen Gregory’s writing style was just so beautiful as well. Some of the things she wrote really hit me in the heart and definitely got me thinking. I think that the best thing that a book like this can do is get people thinking and talking about it. I don’t often hear people talking about eating disorders in an educational or understanding way, and I think a lot more can be done to ensure this!

And of course, the ending. The ending just felt so realistic for me, just as the rest of the book was. It didn’t sugar coat things, there was no “and we all lived happily ever after” ending, and just like the rest of Hedda’s story, it wasn’t easy or cute or fluffy. It was real. It was eye opening. But it was also hopeful.

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If it isn’t obvious to you already, I freeeeekin’ love this book – 5 stars – everyone should pick this up. Just keep in mind that there is a lot of talk about eating disorders and anorexia, so if you find that triggering just keep that in mind. But if you want to educate yourself on this topic and read more about it, then Countless is a great start!

‘THE NAMES THEY GAVE US’ – Emery Lord

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Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

Thanks to Bloomsbury Australia for sending me a copy of THE NAMES THEY GAVE US for review.

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I read WHEN WE COLLIDED by Emery Lord last year (it was actually one of my first review books I received!) and I enjoyed it. At the time I didn’t love it as I was bigger on fantasy and light hearted contemporaries. But since recently I prefer to read darker books that focus on topics such as mental illness, I feel like I would appreciate it a lot more.

I’m going off topic… how unusual… Anyway…

I was still really excited to read Emery’s new book, and I can say that I was right to feel this way! It was a really great story with developed characters and something a bit different to what I usually read.

I found the first half of the book slow and a tiny bit boring. We had been introduced to our main character, her mum whose cancer has returned, her father who is a pastor, and her boring boyfriend. And then she went to this summer camp and I was still a little bit disinterested. And then suddenly, we were introduced to all these other characters who had their own back stories. With such a diverse range of characters who continued to developed throughout the book, how could I not love them?

Firstly I want to talk about our main character, Lucy. In the beginning, I didn’t feel much of a connection to her, but as the book continued and we got to know her more, she definitely grew on me. She is strong, loyal and her thoughts are constantly running wild which just showed how curious she is about the world.

Similarly to Lucy, I wasn’t a big fan of Henry in the beginning and I felt like he had no depth to his character. But then he and Lucy started hanging out and we learn’t more about him, and all of a sudden I really liked him. We still didn’t get a lot from him by the end of the book, but he was just a side character. This story wasn’t about Lucy and Henry’s romance, so I’m glad that not too much of the book was focused on that.

What I loved most about the book was the exploration of faith and Christianity. I’ve read maybe one book before that explored this scene, so it was really nice to pick this up and immediately be thrown into it all. I am Catholic, I believe in God, and I pray every night before I go to sleep, and this is something about myself that I don’t often see in YA characters. It was nice to be able to relate to Lucy in more ways than one.

As I briefly mentioned before, I felt a lot of different things for the story line. It was slow at first, but once it picked up pace I became interested in what was happening. However, thinking back on the story now, it wasn’t overly eventful (this isn’t always a bad thing). There were a few different side story lines happening at the same time, but the story wasn’t BIG (am I making any sense right now?). I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book mainly focuses on the characters, their back stories, and their development throughout the book; I actually liked this. It would’ve been nice to have a bit more of something, but overall it was a nice story.

I want to briefly mention the ending because I really don’t know how to feel about it. It ended so quickly and suddenly with really no closure. I was reading through the final page and flipped over expecting there to be another chapter, when i was faced with the acknowledgements. Open endings can be good because it’s left to the interpretation of the reader, but I’m not a big fan of them. I just want to know what happened to all the characters in the end!!!

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Comment below if you read THE NAMES THEY GAVE US and let me know what your thoughts are!

 

 

‘BUT THEN I CAME BACK’ by Estelle Laure

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“Something does exist. I saw. It’s a place. Like this but different.”
“Okay, so let’s say we do reach her, that something like that is even possible. Then what?”
“Then we ask her to come back.”

Eden: As far as coma patients go, Eden’s lucky. She woke up. But still, she can’t shake the feeling that she might have dragged something back from the near-afterlife.

Joe: Joe visits the hospital every day, hoping that Jaz, his lifelong friend, will wake up. More than anything, he wants to hear her voice again. But he’s not sure anyone can reach her.

Eden & Joe: Even though she knows it sounds crazy, Eden tells Joe that they might be able to talk to Jaz. Opening themselves up to the great unknown—and each other—Eden and Joe experience life: mysterious and scary, beautiful and bright.

Thanks to Hachette for sending me a copy of BUT THEN I CAME BACK for review.

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I just want to start off by saying that I absolutely loved this book SOOOOOO much! I honestly think that it’ll make it to my top books of 2017. This is a contemporary book that had factors of cute romance, family and friendship bonds, dreams and passions (ballet!) and it focuses on the afterlife and what’s in between.

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the first book to this companion series but now I really want to.

I loved Eden’s character. The book starts off with her waking up from a one month coma and her life being turned completely around. She has to learn to walk again which means for the time being she can’t dance, her twin brother and best friend are now dating, and she can’t tell anyone about the things she saw while she was asleep. So obviously when she wakes up, Eden is going through a lot. She has constant mood swings and is confused about pretty much everything – and I don’t blame her! Eden likes to make a joke about everything and her humour always overrides serious moments – something I can relate to.

And Joe! I love Joe so much! His best friend is in a coma and has a a big decision that he needs to make. But Eden is the light that he’s been looking for. I really liked how their relationship was very subtle and it didn’t override the main story line. But it was a cute and fun side story between two amazingly developed characters.

You know those books that are so amazing and you loved so much, but you just don’t have the words to say what you want to say? That’s me right now!!!

Anyway…

I also really enjoyed the aspect of The Inbetween (the space between death and life) which Eden experiences during her coma. I have never actually read anything like this before so it was fun to open my mind and think about what people experience when they’re in a coma. I also loved the little inserts throughout the book where people who were once in a coma talked about their experiences in The Inbetween.

There’s also Eden’s relationship with her twin brother Digby, her parents, her parents, and a couple of her other close friends. Because I haven’t read This Raging light, I felt a little bit confused but I guess if I read that book then I would understand it a lot. But with Eden missing out on a month of life, everyone else needed to continue on, so she feels extremely out of place in what was once her world. It was nice to see the connections she had with each of her loved ones and how these relationships fell apart and grew throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to any fan of contemporary fiction that focuses on deeper topics. I read this book in less than a day, and I wanted more!

Comment below if you’ve read BUT THEN I CAME BACK and let me know what you thought of it!

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‘THE BLUE CAT’ – Ursula Dubosarsky

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A boy stood in the playground under the big fig tree. ‘He can’t speak English,’ the children whispered.

Sydney, 1942. The war is coming to Australia – not only with the threat of bombardment, but also the arrival of refugees from Europe. Dreamy Columba’s world is growing larger. She is drawn to Ellery, the little boy from far away, and, together with her highly practical best friend Hilda, the three children embark on an adventure through the harbour-side streets – a journey of discovery and terror, in pursuit of the mysterious blue cat …

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of THE BLUE CAT for review.

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WHAT I LOVED:

This was an insightful short story told from the perspective of a young girl during WWII. Firstly, I want to say that I love reading book set in Australia because it’s always nice to hear about things from home, plus I LOVE Sydney and it was so cool to hear about locations that I knew and could picture.

Ursula’s writing style was simple, yet beautiful which makes it an inviting read for readers of all ages.

There were pictures, newspaper articles and primary sources scattered throughout the book to add to the story that was being told. I thought that this was such a nice touch because it definitely helped me visualise the story and it was interesting to read first hand accounts on the war.

It was a nice and quick story with a simple and easy to understand story line. I finished this in one sitting not only because of the small page number count, but also because the story was so easy to follow. This left a lasting impression.

 

WHAT I DIDN’T LOVE:

There was a lack of the cat. I mean, the title is about this blue cat, and the synopsis suggests that the cat has all these secrets, but we barely ever get to see this cat. I get that it’s probably supposed to symbolise something, but I didn’t quite get WHAT.

There was very little character building or development. Our main character, Columba’s personality didn’t shine for me, and neither did the other characters that she encountered with. Not even the cat!

I also just feel like SOMETHING was missing from the book. It felt like there was a bit of suspense leading up to something, which I am all for. But then the book ended, and that was it. It just kind of ended and I felt slightly unsatisfied with what happened throughout the book and how it ended.

 

I still think that The Blue Cat was a nice and quick story set, and it was interesting to read about Australia’s view on the war which is something that we don’t see often. If this is something that interests you, than I recommend The Blue Cat because it does give an insightful intake on this topic.

Comment below if you’ve read this book and let me know your thoughts.

 

HISTORICAL FICTION that I’ve enjoyed previously:

The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

Wolf by Wolf – Ryan Graudin

Prisoner of Night and Fog duology – Anne Blankman

 

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reading books out of your age category (adult fiction) – ft. ‘INDELIBLE’ by Adelia Saunders

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Magdalena has an unsettling gift. She sees writing on the body of everyone she meets – names, dates, details both banal and profound – and her only relief from the onslaught of information is to take off her glasses and let the world recede. Mercifully, her own skin is blank.
When she meets Neil, she is intrigued to see her name on his cheek. He’s in Paris for the summer, studying a medieval pilgrimage to the rocky coast of Spain, where the body of Saint Jacques was said to have washed ashore, covered in scallop shells. Desperate to make things right after her best friend dies – a loss she might have prevented – Magdalena embarks on her own pilgrimage, but not before Neil falls for her, captivated by her pale eyes, charming Eastern European accent, and aura of heartbreak.
Neil’s father, Richard, is also in Paris, searching for the truth about his late mother, a famous expatriate American novelist who abandoned him at birth. All his life Richard has clung to a single striking memory – his mother’s red shoes, which her biographers agree he never could have seen.
Despite misunderstandings and miscommunications, these unforgettable characters converge, by chance or perhaps by fate, and Magdalena’s uncanny ability may prove to be the key to their happiness. Indelible pulses with humanity and breathes life into unexpected fragments of history, illustrating our urgent need to connect with others and the past.

Thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me a copy of INDELIBLE to read and review!

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So I’ve had this book on my TBR for a couple months, but I’ve been putting it off because it is out of my usual YA comfort zone. During Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon (check out my wrap up on my blog), I decided to pick it up because it is a short and quick read and I thought it would be best to get it over with.

So I read it and I just didn’t feel anything for it. It wasn’t bad, but I just couldn’t connect to the characters or have any emotions for the story line, which I was disappointed with because the blurb sounded really interesting and I thought I was going to enjoy it. If I was reading it at any other time, I probably would have DNF’ed it. But since I was dedicating 24 hours to reading, and because I hate DNFing books, I just pushed through it.

So when I sat down to write a review, I couldn’t decide what I wanted to write about because I don’t really have much to say about the book (apart from what I already said). So instead, I’m going to talk about my thoughts on reading within and outside of age categories, and some of my favourite books out of the young adult age genre that I’m used to reading.

I really only became familiar with YA when I joined the book community in 2015. Although I had read Twilight, John Green and a few other YA books, I didn’t really understand that there was a difference between them and the other books I had read. A lot of the other books I owned consisted of Nicholas Sparks, Gillian Flynn and a few autobiographies. But when I joined bookstagram and discovered YA, I realised that these were the books that I enjoyed most, and I hardly ever explore outside of this.

Below are some of my favourite adult fiction books, or books other than YA. Be sure to comment below what your favourites are;
Love, Rosie – Cecelia Ahern
Nicholas Sparks
Me Before You – Jojo Moyes
Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Comment below what your thoughts are on age categories, and how often you read outside of your usual age range, assuming that you have one. I would love to hear what other people’s thoughts are on this discussion.

Also let me know if you’ve read Indelible and what you thought about it!

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‘CLOSE YOUR EYES’ – Nicci Cloke

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Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be.

Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes is the story of a school shooting which, through interviews, messages and questionable actions, asks: Who is truly responsible?

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for sending me a copy of CLOSE YOUR EYES for review.

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The synopsis on the back of the book I received was no where near as detailed as the one I above (from Goodreads) so I really had no idea what to expect. All I knew was that there was a school shooting involved – but I didn’t think it would go down the way it did.

I want to start of talking about the different characters. The character I feel we got the most from was Aisha, however, she was probably the most “average” of all the characters. I feel like everyone else had distinguishing features and characteristics and had their own little side stories going on, so I found it weird that the blurb made it seem as though Aisha is the protagonist. Then there’s her twin brother, Ash (confusing, right?) who is all about school and the books and is a bit more shy than her. But they’re super close and hang out with the same friends. Remy and Gemma have been their best friends since they were all young, and I would say they’re the loud ones in the group who made the most noise and got up to the most mischief. And then we have Elijah (Eli) and Elise – once again, really confusing! And both of these characters are developed as the story goes on and we learn more and more about them.

The book is not told in a conventional format; instead the story pans out through interview transcripts, blog posts, journals, messages, and with the odd third person omniscient past tense perspective. Although I found this a little bit confusing in the beginning, once I got used to it I really liked it. Because there’s so many characters who are all going through different things at different points of the story, I thought this was a really intriguing way to do so.

We also have the suspense and mystery of the school shooting. We know from the beginning that it’s going to happen, but we don’t actually get to that part of the story until the very end. I spent the whole book trying to figure out what was going to happen, and I kept thinking that I knew who it was that was doing the shooting, but I was wrong! The last third of the book is so intense that I literally couldn’t put it down – I needed to know what was going to happen! I’ve never actually read a book before that’s based around a school shooting, so not only did I find this scary and emotional, but also quite confronting. It was also different to read about it set in the UK as opposed to the US where most of these stories are set in.

However, there wasn’t just the school shooting involved, there were the events leading up to it that created suspense as they panned out. There was bullying involved, not only amongst the main characters but others as well. It was emotional and eye opening to see the different effects and repercussions that bullying (and additionally with social media) has on kids and teenagers. It was good to see the different circumstances that Cloke used in CYE, including the school shooting, murder and suicide.

The one problem I had with this book was that I found it a bit slow in the beginning and I just couldn’t get into it. It took me a few days to read the first half, not because it was bad or dis interesting, I just couldn’t get a grasp on the story and what was happening. I was a bit disappointing to wait the whole book to find out about the shooting, for it to only happen in the end. It didn’t have the same intensity that I thought it would initially, but it definitely still did leave quite an impact.

 

I highly recommend reading this book if it sounds like something you might like. It’s a touching and eye opening story about the repercussions of bullying, and further highlights the point that we don’t know what is truly going on in other peoples lives, even the ones we are closest to.

 

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