Release

Release

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Chaos Walking Trilogy:

Standalone:

Synopsis:

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

Thoughts:

As soon as I hear that Patrick Ness has a new book coming out, I pre-order it straight away. He’s one of my auto-buy authors. I don’t even read the synopsis of the book. It’s going to be mine, without fail. I always wonder if I hype him too much, I mean, I love The Ness, I’ve made no secret of that fact. I always think I’m going to be disappointed by my high expectations for his work. It hasn’t happened to me…until now. However, it’s only a slight disappointment and even though I have my reservations about Release, I have seen so many positive reviews, so if you’re a Patrick Ness fan, don’t despair. His writing is beautiful and story so unique.

Release is similar to The Rest Of Us Just Live Here in the fact that it has two parallel plots that don’t really hit each other. There’s the plot that follows Adam Thorn and his life and then there’s a magical realism type fairy tale. Something you’d think I’d love, given my adoration of fairy tales, right? It’s like reading two separate stories. It worked for me for The Rest Of Us Just Live Here but for some reason, it didn’t work for me with Release. The book covers a lot of issues in a short space of time. There’s teen angst, family issues, love and extremely likeable characters. It’s also got a touch of paranormal.

I absolutely cannot fault Patrick Ness. I am still a huge fan, despite not loving this book in particular. His writing is amazing and the characters he creates are in-depth and extremely well considered. Release’s two plot lines just did not work for me. I wanted more of Adam’s story. I found his story to be powerful and compelling whereas the other plot line just felt a little cold.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Whilst this wasn’t my favourite book by Mr Ness, it was still a good read and one which many’ll enjoy!

As I Descended

As I Descended

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

Previously reviewed by the same author:
Lies We Tell Ourselves
What We Left Behind

Synopsis:

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Thoughts:

I absolutely loved Robin Talley’s debut novel, but was a little disappointed by her second release. However, the synopsis of this book had me easily gripped and I knew I had to read it. I also really enjoy retellings and I was intrigued by the modern take on Macbeth.

As I Descended takes place at a boarding school. Our main characters use a Ouija board and that is the catalyst to the madness…Although this story is told from multiple points of view, Maria is the main focus of this story. She is determined to take down Delilah, who is the front runner for the Kingsley Prize, a scholarship for college. It will give her more time with Lily, her girlfriend. Maria and Lily work hard to make sure Maria gets that prize, no matter what it takes. The story definitely takes a turn for the worse when creepy things begin to happen….

I really enjoy Robin Talley’s writing style, she created such a wonderfully chilling atmosphere, I just had to keep turning the pages. I absolutely loved the diversity in the characters. As a reader, you can find LGBT characters and also a character with a physical disability.

If you don’t know much about Macbeth then it really doesn’t matter. I know the plot of Macbeth, but I’ve never read it and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the story.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! It’s not quite Lies We Tell Ourselves, but it’s a creepy, intriguing read!

If I Was Your Girl

If I Was Your Girl

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

Amanda Hardy is the new girl at school.

Like everyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is holding back. Even from Grant, the guy she’s falling in love with.

Amanda has a secret.

At her old school, she used to be called Andrew. And secrets always have a way of getting out.

A book about loving yourself and being loved for who you really are.

Thoughts:

I’m a big fan of everything diverse and I knew If I Was Your Girl had a transgender character at the heart of the story. Whilst this isn’t my favourite book on the topic, it was a decent read that didn’t take me long to read at all. As you’re reading it, you want to learn more about the LGBTQIA community and it certainly made me feel empathetic towards them.

If I Was Your Girl centres around Amanda, who is a transgender girl. All she wants is to get through school without being picked on. She has recently moved to a new school to finish her senior year. At first, things go really well for Amanda. She’s totally accepted as a girl (they don’t know otherwise), she makes friends and also gets a boyfriend. Amanda is in a great place, but she’s always torn between keeping her happiness and telling the truth about her past to her boyfriend.

This book really didn’t have much action at all. It just plodded along. It was quick enough to read and I loved the main character. It just didn’t have as much oomph as I would like it to have. It’s not a book that necessarily stands out in the genre, however, it’s still a book that I believe many will enjoy. It’s got a sweet romance and a wonderful main character.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

Not what I expected- but a sweet, important story nevertheless!

The Art of Wishing

The Art of Wishing (The Art of Wishing, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Synopsis:

He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life.

Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands?

But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him.

A whole lot more.

Thoughts:

I bought this book a while back and I’ve only just got around to reading it. It’s one of those books that’s perfect for reading in-between heavy going read. It was a fluffy read but fluff with genies. Yes! Genies. It does become a little silly towards the end, but that never dissuaded me from reading this book. It’s great for reading if you’re in the mood for a light contemporary. This certainly fits the bill.

It centres around Margo who meets Oliver and finds out that he is actually a genie. Oliver has granted a peer’s wish to be well liked. It’s landed her the role in the play that Margo was desperate for. Margo becomes intrigued by Oliver and wants to know more about him. When finding the ring that summons Oliver, Margo discovers that he’s a genie. Margo and her friends are great and I loved the growing relationship between Margo and Oliver. It wasn’t an instalove story which I always appreciate. The story then takes a turn when a fourth wish is introduced. Oliver’s rival also comes into the picture which brings a bit of a twist to the tale.

I really enjoyed this book. It was exactly what I wanted in the story. I liked how Lindsay Ribar gave quite a unique spin on genies. It was interesting to read her portrayal of how genies are born.

There are some fantastic characters to explore within this story and even if it does veer towards the ridiculous at some points, it’s still a fun and fluffy read.

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars.

A fluffy and little silly contemporary read!

One Italian Summer

One Italian Summer

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hot Key Books

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

Thoughts:

I thought this book was going to be a really cute, fluffy contemporary. The cute part was right, there are some incredibly cute moments in Keris Stainton’s One Italian Summer, however, it has depth to it that I certainly wasn’t expecting. It didn’t take me long to devour this book and I will certainly be recommending it as a summer beach read. I was transported to Italy and loved following this dear family who had been through so much.

It centres around three sisters who have recently lost their father. Everything is still raw for them, especially the thought of going back to Italy, where their father used to work and they often visited for family holidays. They have to return for a family wedding, but everything is of course, different.  It being a contemporary YA book, there’s also romance involved!

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially the sisters. I really enjoyed Milly. I loved how fiercely loyal she was to her sisters and her mother. She was honest about her grief and things didn’t just get easier for her once on holiday. Sure, she had some fun and distractions, but her dad was constantly in her thoughts which I thought was believable. The romance between her and Luke wasn’t vital to the story, but it certainly had its cute moments. I love reading books about sisters, especially when the author captures the true sister relationship. They ripped into each other as much as they loved each other which was so realistic!

I would’ve loved to have read some more descriptions and adventures between the sisters in Italy, but that is me being particularly nit-picky. As a whole, I thought the story was a fun, yet touching read about a family reconnecting after an unexpected and heart-breaking loss.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!- especially if you’re into contemporary YA!

A touching read- perfect for summer!

Girlhood

Girlhood

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Hatchette/Quercus

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows noone else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels…loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

Thoughts:

I really enjoy Cat Clarke’s books, so I always try to read one as soon as I can. I enjoy books that are set in boarding schools, so this was another thing that pulled me towards it. Whislt Girlhood isn’t my favourite book from Cat Clarke, it was still a decent read that didn’t take me long to read at all.

It centres around Harper, who has moved to an expensive boarding school, Duncraggan Academy. Harper is running away from her twin sister’s death and her own part that she feels she has in the death. Harper will never escape the guilt and she doesn’t feel anyone understands. Harper has a solid group of friends, but when new girl Kirsty starts the school, she gets Harper, more than anyone else. Kirsty has lost a sister as well. However, Kirsty turns out to be a little odd. Her life seems to be echoing Harper’s. She’s obsessed with Harper’s sister which is strange. Harper’s friendships begin to suffer due to her closeness with Kirsty.

There are some fantastic strong female leads in this book. I particularly liked Rowan, Harper’s roommate. I liked how she wouldn’t take any of Harper’s rubbish and would call her out when she did something wrong. There is quite a bit of girl drama in this book, as you might guess from the title, so if you’re not into that sort of read, then I’d be wary going into this book. That said, I think the friendships are so well written and developed. They are incredibly believable.

I think the story is incredibly easy to read. I was attempting to guess what might happen during the story, but I never quite got there. I had high hopes for this book at the beginning as it was so intriguing. However, I felt a little bit let down by the ending. I wanted it to be something more, something darker. Maybe that’s a little disturbing!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes!

This wasn’t my favourite Cat Clarke book, but it was still a fabulous, quick read!

Countless

Countless

How did I get it?:
NetGalley- thanks to Bloomsbury

Synopsis:

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 …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.

Thoughts:

I find books that centre around mental health really intriguing, so I was eager to get to reading Countless. I thought Countless was an incredibly established debut novel. I couldn’t put it down!

Countless is about Hedda, our main character, who suffers from anorexia. Pretty much from the offset, we find out that Hedda is pregnant. We experience Hedda’s battle with what to do about pregnancy. Hedda decides to keep the baby, but realises that she’ll have to start eating to keep the baby healthy.

Countless isn’t necessarily an easy book to read, but I think it’s an important one. Karen Gregory’s writing really made me sympathise with Hedda. I wanted her to pull through and get better both for her baby and herself. I liked that it wasn’t easy for Hedda. I felt like this made the book incredibly realistic. A person suffering from anorexia doesn’t get better overnight. It’s a battle.

I think that Hedda is a very well written character. I felt that she developed so much throughout the course of the story. She was stubborn and strong-willed, but at the same time determined to do right by her child. The only thing that really bugged me about Hedda was her mother! I understand that it must be incredibly hard to have a child that suffers from anorexia, but her mother’s attitude towards Hedda frustrated me on more than one occasion!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it’s such an important read.  I thought that the representation of mental illness was outstanding. It is a painful, emotional but incredibly sensitive read.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic debut with some strong character development!