Sam & Ilsa’s Last Hurrah

Sam & Ilsa's Last Hurrah

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Rachel Cohn

David Levithan

Every Day

Synopsis:

Siblings Sam and Ilsa Kehlmann have spent most of their high school years throwing parties for their friends—and now they’ve prepared their final blowout, just before graduation.

The rules are simple: each twin gets to invite three guests, and the other twin doesn’t know who’s coming until the partiers show up at the door. With Sam and Ilsa, the sibling revelry is always tempered with a large dose of sibling rivalry, and tonight is no exception.

One night. One apartment. Eight people. What could possibly go wrong? Oh, we all know the answer is plenty. But plenty also goes right, as well…in rather surprising ways.

Thoughts:

Coming at you with another post-it style review!

Would I recommend it?:
It’s not for me!- This book was okay, but not much happened and I couldn’t gel with the characters.

A quick read but don’t expect much depth!

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Girl With Sharp Sticks (Girls With Sharp Sticks #1)

Girls with Sharp Sticks (Girls with Sharp Sticks, #1)

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

Thoughts:

I really like Suzanne Young’s writing, so when I heard she had a new book coming out, I knew it was something that I really wanted to read. I’m pleased I picked it up because although I don’t think I’ll continue with the series, it was certainly a fantastic start to a series. The only reason I’m not continuing is because I don’t like committing to series at the moment with my work/life commitments. I’m not fitting in much reading at the moment, so standalones are better for me.

Girls With Sharp Sticks centres around Mena (Philomena) who attends an exclusive same sex boarding school. At this exclusive boarding school, they learn to be proper women. Hmmm… ‘proper’ women. The idea makes you cringe, right? The teaching methods are definitely ‘interesting.’ From wiped brains to keeping each student censored. It really did seem like a nightmare school to me. Eventually, Mena and her friends work out what’s actually happening at the school. They learn about themselves and who they really are. But the Innovations Academy is a very dark and dangerous place. Can they ever break free from it?

As I mentioned before, I do really like Suzanne’s writing. Right from the beginning, you know something is going wrong with these girls and you want the best for them from the very start. I was especially attached to Mena. I loved her development as a character as she found out what was really happening to her. I also loved how every girl seemed to support one another. I know this may not be realistic in a school full of hormonal girls but a group of supportive girls? Yes please!

I absolutely loved how this book was about the female characters taking charge and fighting back. Go female empowerment!

Would I recommend it?:
Yes! 3.5 stars

Although I enjoyed this book, I don’t think I’ll continue with the series (for time constraint reason, I may pick the series up in the future!) Worth checking out -especially if you’re into Girl Power!

Soulmates

Soulmates

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone

The Spinster Club 

Synopsis:

Every so often, two people are born who are the perfect matches for each other. Soulmates. But while the odds of this happening are about as likely as being struck by lightning, when these people do meet and fall in love…thunderstorms, lightning strikes and lashings of rain are only the beginning of their problems.

Enter Poppy, the 17-year-old cynic with a serious addiction to banana milk, and Noah, the heart-throb guitarist; residents of mediocre Middletown, sometime students, and…soulmates.

After a chance meeting at a local band night, Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance unlike anything they’ve ever experienced before. But with a secret international agency preparing to separate them, a trail of destruction rumbling in their wake, (and a looming psychology coursework deadline), they are left with an impossible choice between the end of the world, or a life without love… 

Thoughts:

I’ve read a few Holly Bourne books now, but had been shying away from her debut, as it was over 500 pages long. I don’t have a lot of time to read unless it’s the holidays, so I tend to stick to shorter books so my concentration doesn’t wane too much. I decided to put Soulmates on my holiday TBR and I’m so pleased I did, because I thought it was an excellent debut from Holly Bourne.

Soulmates may seem like a really overdone topic in YA, but Holly Bourne takes a new twist on it. In Soulmates she explores whether meeting your soulmate is a bad thing. The main characters Poppy and Noah find themselves swept up in a whirlwind romance. However, their love is dangerous. A secret international agency is working on separating the couple, because their love is causing destruction. Poppy and Noah have to decide between the end of the world or a life without their love.

Even though this book is quite a beast, it’s so easy to read! The writing is delightful and I got easily captured within its pages. The characters are so easy to love. I always love the strong feminist tone in Holly’s books. It’s something I really appreciate. Poppy is a great character. I loved how she was so cynical about love but was totally open to it happening when she met Noah. It was a little bit insta-love, but for some reason it worked for me. I also appreciated how Poppy experienced panic attacks (although they seemed to disappear when she met Noah and I’m not sure that sat quite right with me!) It’s always great to read mental health representation in YA stories.

I loved how we occasionally got a different point of view from the secret international agency, it kept me interested as to why Poppy and Noah couldn’t be together. I was desperate to find out why. Soulmates is different because it has this almost sci-fi aspect to the story. It was a really interesting take on love! I would highly recommend this book, if you’re looking for something different in YA!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderfully gripping read!

The Boy Who Steals Houses

The Boy Who Steals Houses
How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:
A Thousand Perfect Notes

Synopsis:

Can two broken boys find their perfect home?

Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he’s ever known. Now Sam’s trying to build a new life for them. He survives by breaking into empty houses when their owners are away, until one day he’s caught out when a family returns home. To his amazement this large, chaotic family takes him under their wing – each teenager assuming Sam is a friend of another sibling. Sam finds himself inextricably caught up in their life, and falling for the beautiful Moxie. 

But Sam has a secret, and his past is about to catch up with him.

Thoughts:

I loved A Thousand Perfect Notes so much that I pre-ordered The Boy Who Steals Houses. It’s taken me ages to get around to reading it, but I’m so pleased that I did because it’s incredible. I’m all for representation of autism and this book has it in abundance. Representation that is so on point. I’ve worked with so many children with autism and I have to say, the author absolutely nailed the representation.

It centres around 15 year old Sam. He is desperate to take care of his older brother Avery. Avery has autism and needs consistent routine. Both Sam and Avery have had it hard in their lives. Their father is abusive, leaving the boys with an Aunt who doesn’t really want them. Sam and Avery end up homeless, with Sam stealing houses to ensure they always have somewhere to stay. Sam is getting good at working out when a house in unoccupied. However, one day he’s caught out when a family return home early. Sam finds himself being swept up by a large, pretty chaotic family. They each think Sam is one of their sibling’s friends. He finds himself involved in their lives and falling for Moxie. However, Sam has a secret he’s been hiding and it’ll soon be revealed…

The characters in this story are phenomenal. I loved Sam and Avery and Moxie was a fantastic character too. I loved the chaotic De Lainey family. I felt like they brought some joy to a story that is otherwise very dark. Sam goes through things he shouldn’t be dealing with at 15. He has to deal with so much in his young life. The De Lainey family are definitely welcome relief for him.

A word of warning, there is some physical abuse within the story that will hurt your heart. The story does have some lighter moments though which give you a chance to take a breather from the horrible events. Overall, it’s a messy story about family and devotion. It’s a heart-breaking read but so worthwhile.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Another incredible book from C.G Drews. Highly recommended!

Blog Tour- I Hold Your Heart

How did I get it?
Sent to me for the blog tour. Thanks to Bloomsbury!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Countless

Synopsis:

‘You make me feel like there’s something good in the world I can hold on to,’ Aaron says. He kisses me again, draws me so close it’s almost hard to breathe. ‘I love you, Gem. And I promise I’ll hold your heart forever.’

When Gemma meets Aaron, she feels truly seen for the first time. Their love story is the intense kind. The written-in-the-stars, excluding-all-others kind. The kind you write songs about.

But little by little their relationship takes over Gemma’s life. What happens when being seen becomes being watched, and care becomes control?

Thoughts:

I was approached to read this book and thought it would be something that I’d really be interested in. Relationships like those in this book, don’t always work for me and make me highly uncomfortable. However, I recognise that books like this do have a place and I thought Karen Gregory handled the relationship with sensitivity. This book gripped me from the very start and hardly took me long to read at all.

It centres around Gemma, who is a confident prospective songwriter. She’s got a great group of friends and life is going well for her. She meets Aaron at her brother’s football game. He’s confident, sensitive and completely into her. Aaron always says the right thing and quickly she feels intensely for him. Everything seems brilliant, except that Aaron isn’t all that he seems. As time goes on, Aaron becomes a lot more controlling. Gemma’s friends begin to worry for her wellbeing…

There’s no beating about the bush here, I Hold Your Heart centres around emotional abuse. As a reader, we see Gemma spiralling and completely oblivious to what is happening to her. This is the case for many relationships like this. Outsiders can see what’s going on, but when you’re in the relationship, it is everything to you. Aaron manipulates Gemma and we see her former strong self shrink into the shadows as she becomes more and more insecure.

Controlling, manipulative relationships are not my favourite thing to read about. They make me intensely uncomfortable. However, I think it’s important that there are books out there that cover this subject. People should understand what love should and shouldn’t be and it’s clear throughout this story that the relationship is not healthy. It shows how a seemingly perfect relationship can spiral out of control.

Gemma’s friendship group are wonderful. I think Karen Gregory really showed how friendships are affected. I wanted to scream out at Gemma to trust her friends and keep them with her. Aaron’s behaviour isolated Gemma from her friends and it took her a while to realise what a great bunch of friends they were.

I Hold Your Heart is not an easy read by any means, but it’s utterly addictive and so important.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought Karen Gregory dealt with the topic very sensitively.

Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Standalone

Letters To The Lost

Synopsis:

When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care. 

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship…

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

Thoughts:

Oh my goodness. I think I might adore Brigid Kemmerer’s contemporary books. They’re so utterly moving. The ones I have read have absolutely stolen my heart and I’m not sad about that.

Call It What You Want is a story of two characters. Rob who is treated awfully because his father was caught up embezzling funds. Rob’s dad tried to commit suicide, but failed. However, his life changed dramatically and so did Rob’s. He was no longer the popular kid, he was an outcast. Then there’s Maegan. She comes from a family that’s seemingly perfect and the pressure got to her. She cheated on the SATs, getting caught and as a result hundreds of her peer’s marks were cancelled. Both Rob and Maegan are hated at school for their mistakes. I do feel for Rob though as it was his father’s mistakes that made him hated.

The characters are so beautifully written in this story. I once again fall in love with the characters in a Brigid Kemmerer novel and end up rooting for them. Both characters are deeper than you might think but so utterly easy to understand. I did feel more for Rob, as I felt like his situation was worse. There was so much hatred towards him for something he hadn’t done. Both characters don’t make great choices within the story, but that makes them human.

I always feel like Brigid Kemmerer novels make me feel something. They make me think about the bigger picture. This story includes isolation, loneliness, hatred, family and friendship. There’s so much to think about.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A wonderful touching read. I highly recommend Brigid Kemmerer!

Music and Malice in Hurricane Town

Music and Malice in Hurricane Town

How did I get it?:
I bought it!

Previously reviewed by the same author:

Synopsis:

Jude Lomax scrapes a living playing the trumpet on the neon streets of Baton Noir. Then she is invited to play at the funeral of the infamous cajou queen, Ivory Monette. Passing through the cemetery gates, Jude finds herself possessed by the murdered queen’s spirit. And Ivory won’t rest until she’s found the person responsible for her death.

If Jude wants to be rid of the vengeful spirit, she must take a journey deep into the dangerous underbelly of the city, from the swampy depths of the Black Bayou to the velvet opulence of the vampires’ secret jazz clubs. But as Jude untangles Ivory’s web of secrets, she is confronted with a few dark truths from her own past… 

Thoughts:

I have really enjoyed Alex Bell’s step into YA horror/fantasy in the past so I was super excited to read her newest book Music and Malice In Hurricane Town. After the first few chapters, I was gripped.

The story centres around Jude who is a young woman that works hard to pay the rent. Jude looks after her father who has become very dependent on her after a tragic accident. Jude plays in the Done and Dusted band and has accepted a job in Moonfleet Manor. The Phantom owns Moonfleet Manor and he’s just as creepy as the estate itself. Jude is desperate to save her dad from the past. Whilst playing at the cajou queen’s funeral, she is possessed by the spirit of the murdered queen. Ivory is determined to find out who murdered her and she doesn’t mind using Jude’s body until she finds out exactly who killed her. Everywhere and every single thing that Jude does, something dangerous occurs. Just how far will Jude go to help her father?

Jude is such a strong character. I really enjoyed reading about such a powerful female character. She goes through so much throughout the story, but she still keeps going. Many female characters could learn a lot more from her. I admired her inner strength. The Phantom was such an intriguing character. I don’t want to say too much about him and ruin the story, but my… he was interesting.

The plot itself is exciting. There’s so much going on but it never feels like an info dump at any point. It definitely has that eerie vibe and I adored that!

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

A fantastic YA horror/fantasy read. Well worth checking out!