All The Forever Things

All the Forever Things

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Albert Whitman & Company

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

“How many times have you saved me?” I ask Bree.

She grins. “Don’t you mean how many times have we saved each other?”

Nothing is forever. Gabe knows that more than most girls. After all, she lives in a funeral home (it’s the family business), and she gets that everything in the world dies eventually – people, rumors, fashion trends, the nickname “Graveyard Gabe.” But her best friend, Bree, has been a constant in her life; it’s always been the two of them together. Until Bree starts seeing a guy who stands for everything Gabe thought they were against. How could Bree change her mind and go for someone like Bryce Johnson?

Now Gabe doesn’t know who her friend is anymore. And the only person who seems to have time for her is Hartman, the new guy, who is somehow not weirded out by the funeral home stuff (well, a little). Still, Gabe doesn’t want to lose her mind over a guy the way Bree has, so she holds back.

But a very strange prom night (driving the family hearse instead of a limo) will change what Gabe knows about friendship, love, life, and everything that comes after – forever and otherwise.

Thought:

I have been a fan of Jolene Perry’s writing since I read The Summer I Found You, I recommend her books whenever I can. When I noticed that she had a new book coming out, I was very excited. I love reading her books because they’re often deeper than you might expect. This book is no exception! I wouldn’t say that this is my favourite book by Jolene, but it’s still a decent read which is well worth checking out!

All The Forever Things centres around Gabriella (Gabe) who lives in a funeral home as it’s the business her family are in. Gabe is a little strange, choosing to dress like Wednesday Addams after being teased about her life. Gabe thought she was happy enough alongside her good friend Bree. However, when Bree starts changing who she is when dating Gabe’s worst enemy, Gabe feels like she’s losing her best friend. Hartman, a new guy at school, comes into her life and isn’t weirded out by the funeral home business. Gabe holds back, not wanting to become one of those girls who changes herself. Gabe’s battle to keep her friend Bree takes a turn for the worse, when she drives Bree, her boyfriend and their group to prom…in a hearse…

I really liked the story line which I felt was quite unique. Gabe was certainly an interesting character. I have the feeling that you’re either going to love or hate her. She’s not the most likeable and can come across quite selfish and unaware of other’s problems. Bree is an interesting character too, I liked that she didn’t have it easy. Hartman was a good character, although I wish we had heard more from him. Hartman had a tragic past, and I feel that wasn’t as in depth as it could have been. I got past not liking some of the characters straight away, because I think that they all grew during the course of the story.

All The Forever Things is a decent YA contemporary read. It may not be my favourite book by Jolene Perry, but I think it’s worth picking up, especially if you’re a fan of the genre!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes- 3.5 stars

A unique YA read!

The Hate U Give

The Hate U Give

How did I get it?:
It was sent to me by Walker Books, many thanks to them!

Synopsis:

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.

Thoughts:

This book has been most anticipated by so many bloggers. I’m always scared of hyped books. Always. Quite often that hype monster appears and destroys a raved about book for me. I’m happy to say, that this wasn’t the case with The Hate U Give. I have to admit, as a teacher, the ‘U’ bugged me in the title, until I started to read it and realised why the author used a ‘U’. I’m also pleased to say that I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t quite a 5 star read for me, but it was very, very close.

It centres around Starr, who is only sixteen, but has seen two murders in her lifetime. The first was a friend in a drive by and the second was a black boy, shot multiple times by a police officer whilst she was in the car. Starr laid with him as he died. The boy in question didn’t do anything wrong. The story surrounds life after these murders. It explores the sensitive subject of racial issues in society involving black people and police officers. As a reader, we wonder whether Starr will stand up for Khalil and talk about what she witnessed.

I thought this was a fantastic book. It’s a story that should be read by so many. The fact that black people are still dying because of social issues with race is heartbreaking and scary at the same time. I think this book is incredibly educational. It tackles racism and injustice, but it’s not all doom and gloom. There are so many moments that made me smile.

This was an incredible debut novel. Angie Thomas writes so well. I’m looking forward to exploring what she writes next.  

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic, important debut!

The Half Life Of Molly Pierce

The Half Life of Molly Pierce

How did I get it?:
I borrowed it from Luna!

Synopsis:

You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering.

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves

Thoughts:

I borrowed this book from Luna over at Luna’s Little Library ages ago and have only just got around to reading it. I had heard mixed reviews about it, but like always, I was willing to give it a go. What I will say is that it can be slightly confusing but it’s really good at the same time- so stick with it.

The story centres around Molly who has regular blackouts. She has huge gaps of time missing from her life. Everyone around her is being cagey and Molly doesn’t know who to turn to.I was so intrigued by this story. I wanted to know what was going on with Molly. I can’t imagine feeling like you’re missing chunks of your life.

I found the writing to be incredibly gripping but I can imagine that it might frustrate others. I personally couldn’t put the book down. I was desperate to find out what on earth was going on. I thought Katrina Leno cleverly pieced everything together. It was an interesting concept that I don’t want to spoil!

Molly is easy to like and I wanted everything to turn out well. She’s a complex character with issues and I always like to read about someone who struggles but is so determined to come out of the other side. This is so true for Molly!

If you’re looking for a book with resolution then this isn’t a book for you. There are some unanswered questions and some plot holes, but all in all I thought it was a fantastic read. I shall certainly be reading more from this author!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic, if confusing read!

My Lady Jane

My Lady Jane: The Not Entirely True Story

How did I get it?:
I received it from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. This hasn’t affected my opinion!

Synopsis:

A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger – and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that’s the least of Jane’s problems. She’s about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong.

Thoughts:

I am quite the fan of Cynthia Hand and Brodi Ashton. I’d never read anything by Jodi Meadows but had heard great things about her writing. I’m also a massive fan of the Tudor era. I had heard so much hype around this book and was desperate to read it for myself. If you fancy a funny, completely silly, re-imagining of the Tudor world then this book is definitely for you.

It centres around Lady Jane Grey, who in this reimagining, is a bookworm (I knew I loved her!) She’s about to be married to a complete stranger. Lady Jane Grey finds herself in the middle of a plot to rob her cousin King Edward of the throne. Unbeknown to Jane, she’s about to become Queen of England…

The plot is completely ridiculous. Like really ridiculous. Yet I absolutely loved it. The authors work so well together and bring some real laugh out loud moments within the story. I think it has to be one of the most unique books that I’ve read in a while. There really isn’t another Tudor book like this. It’s one of a kind! Also, there’s magic. Magic I tell you. It’s so much fun to have this take on the Tudor period even if it is completely unrealistic. Who cares? It’s fun!

I love how we saw from three points of view. I can’t really pinpoint a favourite point of view because each one had some fantastic stories to tell and some very cute romances along the way.

If you’re looking for a historically accurate portrayal of Lady Jane Grey then this book is not for you. If you’re looking for history mashed in with magic and humour then pick up a copy!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

This book was fun. Exactly what I needed to pick me up!

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

How did I get it?:
It was a Christmas gift!

Previously reviewed by Amie Kaufman:
These Broken Stars

Synopsis:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Thoughts:

Wow, I have really mixed feelings about this book. I was so nervous to read it because it’s been everywhere! Most people seem to love it and when this happens, sometimes I end up raising my expectations too high and don’t end up enjoying the book as much as I hoped I would. I tried to lower my expectations whilst reading this book because I really wanted to give it a fair chance. I thought Illuminae was a really intriguing, unique read. I wasn’t as blown away as I wanted to be by this book, but there’s no denying that it is a brilliant, original read that I think is well worth exploring.

It’s really hard to review this book because it is so different. It’s a story about Kady and Ezra. It’s based in 2575. There is a war over a planet, a deadly plague has broken out and a fleet’s AI could quite possibly be their enemy. Kady hacks into data to try and discover the truth. She needs the help of her ex-boyfriend Ezra. Illuminae is action packed and uses so many formats to tell the story. There’s emails, military files, instant messaging, medical reports and interviews. It really was a unique format which instantly appealed to me.

I think the formats really helped to tell the story in such a gripping way. I love short and snappy chapters. I love creativity in the way information is presented. It really did keep me turning the pages. Some of the art work is simply stunning and this is one of the highlights of this story for me.

At times, I felt this book got a little slow which is why I haven’t rated it four stars. Most of the time it was action-packed but some of the reports, in my opinion, slowed down the pace and I wanted to quickly skip through them but I was worried that I’d miss something important to the story. I also wasn’t overly convinced by Kady and Ezra’s relationship. It seemed a little forced to me.

Niggles aside, I do think that Illuminae is a decent read and I can definitely see why people have been raving about it. There is so much to enjoy within the pages. When I think of Illuminae it does bring back good memories and I would definitely consider reading the next book in the series. I’m just not in any rush to do so.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

A decent, unique YA science-fiction read!

Banned Books #32- The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Banner made by Luna @ Lunaslittlelibrary

Welcome to this month’s edition of Banned Books where Beth and I have read The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Synopsis:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a murder mystery novel like no other. The detective, and narrator, is Christopher Boone. Christopher is fifteen and has Asperger’s, a form of autism. He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.

The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time by Mark Haddon
First published: 2003
In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2015 (source)
Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”)

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: First of all, I can’t believe that this book is now fourteen years old! That blows my mind. Chrissi and I read it not long after it had first come out and it’s one of those books that we’ve both kept on our favourite shelves, such was the impact it had on us. Things haven’t changed that much in the last fourteen years so my opinion is going to be the same for the first two questions. (We may be a little biased also because it is one of our favourite books!) Only one of the reasons I can accept as being an accurate reflection of what is in the book but that is not to say that I necessarily agree with it.

This is the offensive language reason which, although I don’t think it’s particularly over-used in the novel but I admit there are several instances of swearing and even one instance of the “c” word which may offend some people and fair enough. You are entitled to be offended by foul language – that is your prerogative. However, I don’t see bad language as a reason to ban/challenge a book outright as I don’t think you can shield children from things they are more than likely to hear in the playground/on television/in the streets if they don’t read it in books.

CHRISSI: Fourteen years old. That’s crazy! I still remember reading it for the first time and being really impressed. On my re-read I was just as impressed. To be honest, I can see why it might be challenged due to profanity, but that’s not to say I don’t agree with it. Some children are exposed to profanity in their every day lives and I don’t think challenging a book because of that is the right thing to do. I can almost guarantee that this book wouldn’t be the first time children had heard bad language. Would I read it in the classroom? No. But it still deserves to be in the library just waiting to be explored.

How about now?

BETH: Same answer – I don’t agree with the reasons for banning/challenging this book. Particularly those that wax on about a religious viewpoint/atheism. Personally, I love learning about beliefs from all over the globe from a variety of different people and I really can’t remember an instance in this book where I felt like the character’s religious views were shoved down my throat. I’ve read books before that fall into the “preachy” line and was immediately put off however this was unequivocally NOT this kind of book. As for it being inappropriate for the age group (young adult) – seriously what was so appalling that a well-adjusted or even not so well adjusted teenager should be protected from this book??

CHRISSI: Again, I wouldn’t personally use it in the classroom with teenagers (if I taught teenagers!) but I’d highly recommend it to them to read as an independent choice. Yes, there’s bad language, but as I mentioned before they’ll hear it anyway. I teach a boy with Asperger’s and I could recognise so many qualities in our main protagonist. I believe that many people with autism could find something special in this book. Those that don’t, can get an insight into what life is like for those with ASD.

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: Well, this is pretty obvious I guess….I loved it! I’m always worried when reading an old favourite that I won’t enjoy it as much as I did previously however this definitely wasn’t the case. In fact, I feel I got even more from the book than I did on the first reading and especially loved the additional illustrations and maths problems that broke up the text and gave us a real insight into the mind of Christopher. It is so important that conditions such as Asperger’s are highlighted and I think a book like this could really help anyone with it or those who know someone with it. For me, it was an education and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

CHRISSI: I really enjoyed rediscovering this book. As I mentioned, I have experience with children on both ends of the spectrum and it reminded me how difficult life can be for them. It made me feel super proud of their day-to-day achievements.

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: But of course!

CHRISSI: Without a doubt!

Bone Gap

Bone Gap

How did I get it?:
A copy was sent to me by Faber in exchange for an honest review!

Synopsis:

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Thoughts:

I had heard so much about Bone Gap so when I was given the opportunity to read it recently, I jumped at the chance. I absolutely love magical realism and this book is perfect for that. Laura Ruby is a phenomenal writer. Bone Gap is beautifully written and really should be read.

The premise is interesting. It centres around a woman named Roza who is taken away by a rich and powerful man. He falls in love with her and takes her into a world where everything she needs is available to her. All the man wants is for her to fall in love with him. However, she really doesn’t feel the same way. When Roza goes missing from Bone Gap, her friend Finn is determined to find her. He believes that she wouldn’t go anywhere without her consent and he feels very suspicious about it all since he witnessed Roza disappearing with the man. However, no-one really believes Finn as he is known for being a little bit odd and dreamy. (There’s a reason why, but I don’t want to ruin it!) Finn is incredibly troubled by her disappearance, especially because he seems to be the only one that’s looking for her. He is surprised that his brother Sean, who he thought loved Roza is not searching for her.

Bone Gap is told from mainly Finn’s point of view, but we also read from Roza’s point of view and experience the world in which she is in. Both perspectives are fascinating and really add something unique to the narration. Another character that we hear from is Petey- Finn’s strange bee obsessed love interest. The story really focuses around Roza’s experience in Bone Gap and how her disappearance made an impact on the inhabitants of Bone Gap.

It’s so hard to review this book because I don’t want to spoil the story, it’s really one you’ve got to get into to enjoy and experience the vivid world as you turn the pages. It really is quite fairy tale-esque which of course is what I LOVE in a story.

There are such intriguing characters in this story. I really enjoyed the connection between Finn and Petey. Both Petey and Roza are such strong female characters and really make you think about the world which places such an emphasis on outer beauty. Both characters have been affected by the perception of beauty and I love the way Laura Ruby explores this in Bone Gap. 

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Bone Gap is a book about perception. It’s fairy tale-eque and SO beautifully written!